Thursday, March 06, 2008

Flying in Circles

Read this during my lunch break. It's pretty good and I wanted to pass it on...

Trying to Fly with One Wing, Part 16: Arguing in Circles

I had just become Catholic and was intent on producing the grand television documentary that would reveal once and for all the great misunderstandings that had separated Protestants and Catholics for centuries.

To be fair, I figured we'd let both sides tell their stories, and so I set out to interview, on camera, some of the leading Protestant theologians in the area. One was Rev. P.Z., a theologian and apologist for the Reformed Presbyterian Church. If "Reformed Presbyterian" sounds redundant to you, it wasn't to them. Indeed, this denomination didn't believe contemporary Presbyterianism, which they claimed had drifted from the "ideal" of John Calvin's teachings, was sufficiently Protestant. So they "resurrected" a theology that Reformed the Presbyterians. I had no idea what I was in for.

In my interview, I wanted to allow my guest sufficient time and latitude to explain what I could never figure out — how the authority of the Bible could provide answers about life's vexing questions, when so many Christian leaders seemed to disagree about what the Bible said. In short, this is how the interview went:

Me: In your denomination, when members have a theological disagreement between them, how do you resolve the difference?

PZ: We go to the Bible. It's the final authority in everything, about everything, for all time.
Me: So, what do you do when these members are both looking at the same verse in the Bible, and they're disagreeing about its interpretation?

PZ: Well, like I said they look to the Bible for the answer. The Bible interprets itself.

Me: But, that's what these two guys just did. They're looking at verses in the Bible about baptism, and to one guy one passage says you have to do this and the other guy clings to a another passage that says you have to do that. Who decides what is right?

PZ: In that case the church elders get together and decide.

Me: Sorry, I forgot to tell you that these guys that are disagreeing, are the elders.

PZ: Ah. Well, again, we'd look to the Bible, our final authority.

Me: But that's where we started.

PZ: Actually, our pastor would be over the elders, and he would decide.

Me: So, what if the elders disagree with the pastor and want to start their own church?

PZ: They wouldn't likely do that.

Me: Yet, there are over 20,000 different denominations that have. Is that what the leaders of all of those have done, all gone to the Bible?

PZ: Well, ah... yes.
Me: ?

Do you see the problem?

I've got to read Parts 1-15...

Well, I skipped the gym today and cheated with a beans and cheese burrito from 'Baja Fresh'. I thought the 'Fresh' part would justify the gym break (you know, fresh, ...healthy... it seemed logical at the time).

Beautiful weather in L.A. (Manhatten Beach specifically)

Enjoy the read...


1 comment:

  1. Awesome!

    P.S. You should've saved the bean & cheese burrito for tomorrow (for Lenten Fridays)