Sunday, November 25, 2012

A guide to safe sects?: Roger Olson's list of "approved denominations."

My colleague, Roger Olson, has published this post on his blog, "My List of `Approved Denominations.'"   One commentator says: "I’m disappointed that you have nothing to say about the Catholic and Orthodox Churches."  Roger replies: "Would any faithful Catholic or Orthodox theologian put any Protestant denominations on his or her list of approved denominations to recommend to people? Not in my experience."

My answer: Roger's correct. We wouldn't, since we don't think it's up to the individual Christian to treat communion with the Church as a matter of spiritual consumerism. The Catholic (or Orthodox) is, or ought to be, more concerned with the Church approving him rather than him approving it. At the end of the day, the whole idea of "church shopping" sounds like a brief for ecclesiastical promiscuity, which, in my experience, always leads to unsafe sects, no matter the advertised effectiveness of one's theological prophylactic.

 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Evangelicals, Catholics, and the Ecumenism of Conviction

That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins:


[caption id="attachment_2649" align="alignright" width="300"] Timothy George, Chris Castaldo and yours truly[/caption]

“We are committed to an ecumenism of conviction, not an ecumenism of accommodation.” Those are the words of my friend, Timothy George, a Baptist theologian who serves as Dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University. He was referring to the signatories of “The Gift of Salvation,” one of the many statements issued by Evangelicals and Catholics Together, a group that was formed through the initiative of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and Charles Colson, both of whom are no longer with us.

I spent most of last week experiencing the delights of this “ecumenism of conviction” first hand. I delivered three papers at the 64th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, the academic association for which I served as president until resigning a week after I was received back into the Catholic Church in May 2007.  Two of my papers were given on panels that directly addressed issues over which Catholics and Protestants disagree.

>>>continue reading

Monday, November 12, 2012

Getting ready for the 64th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society: three papers and a lecture

Tomorrow I am flying to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to attend and participate in the 64th annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS). Held at what was once called the Frontier Airlines Center (now the Delta Center) , it will last from Wednesday, November 14 until Friday, November 16. I will be delivering three papers at the meeting, all of which were invited: (1) In the Bioethics Section I will be delivering a paper that critiques the argument for “After Birth Abortion” recently defended by two philosophers in the Journal of Medical Ethics; (2) In a special session on the book,Journeys of Faith: Evangelicalism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Anglicanism (Zondervan, 2012) (of which I am one of the four main contributors), I will offer a reflection on my return to the Catholic Church five years later; and (3) In one of the sessions sponsored by the  Evangelical Philosophical Society (a group in which I hold membership), I will provide a Catholic perspective on Jerry Walls’ book, Purgatory: The Logic of Total Transformation (Oxford University Press, 2011). (If you want to look at the entire conference program, go here)

I will also be participating in the Reason for Hope Conference, an apologetics event sponsored by the Evangelical Philosophical Society (EPS) and held at Spring Creek Church in Penwaukee, Wisconsin. In my session I will talk on the topic, "Can We Be Good Without God?"

I look forward to seeing many of my old ETS and EPS friends.