Monday, March 7, 2011

Who Says Rob Bell is a Heretic?

If you haven't heard, evangelical pastor Rob Bell is being accused of heresy. But not by the CDF (though they probably would if he was Catholic).

It hasn't even come out yet, but other evangelicals are accusing him of heresy, or at least calling him a false teacher, based on what appears to be some sort of universalist stance (according to the promo-video and publisher's description) in his up-coming book Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.

It may be too early to tell if Rob Bell truly is a universalist. But I have found the evangelical backlash as being, frankly, very revealing of how bankrupt sola scriptura is. This is because, if Rob Bell were Catholic, and if he is actually putting forward some kind of universalism, then he would indeed be teaching heresy...

...but I can say that as a Catholic because I believe that God has placed an organization here on earth to make such a determination. And universalism has indeed been rejected by that organization, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

It's not simply my opinion of what Scripture teaches against Bell's. We Catholics believe that Jesus gave his apostles authority, which was passed down through apostolic succession to the Magisterium of the present day, to settle just these kinds of disputes. But subtract the Magisterium from the picture, as evangelicals have done, and these kinds of disputes can be no more than just that, differences of opinion.

Yes, evangelicals want to base everything on the Bible, but I'm sure Rob Bell quotes (and perhaps twists) Scripture in his book, which means evangelicals who disagree with his conclusions have a limited number of options.

First, evangelicals can enter into respectful debate with Rob Bell on a level playing field. They can produce arguments with the hopes of showing Bell the error of his ways. Maybe they'll convince him, maybe not. But if not, which I think is most likely, I'm sure that the evangelicals who are upset by Bell will not be content to agree to disagree. Surely, many people will be misled, or at least confused, by someone as prominent as Bell teaching something like universalism. Such evangelicals rightly see universalism as attacking the heart of the gospel and not something that can be left to the realm of non-essentials. Which leaves them with the other options:

Next, when biblical arguments (even correct ones) fail to persuade, evangelicals can cite Christian history - which is exactly what one prominent evangelical, Justin Taylor, did. A CNN article reports:

"Though [there are] many things that separate Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christians, 'this isn’t one of them,' Taylor said. 'We’ve historically agreed on many things, the person of Christ, heaven and hell. This isn’t a peripheral academic debate...' "

I've heard a similar argument used by evangelicals against the acceptance of homosexual behavior by Christians. This is what Christians have always believed, they argue. Evangelicals are learning what Catholics learned a long time ago. Since we believe that God's full revelation occurred at a point in history, with no need to be added to, when disputes arise we should favor the older doctrine over the newer one. This is partly what Catholics are doing when they cite what they call Tradition.

The problem with evangelicals ever citing "the historically Christian view", however, is that they've already rejected a large number of historically Christian beliefs. They've already rejected parts of the historic Bible, apostolic succession, the Councils, the Mass, the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, regenerative baptism, all of the sacraments, the infusion understanding of justification, the traditional view of sex and marriage, everything about Mary and the saints, and the use of icons in worship, to name a few. If a person wants to be in line with what has been historically Christian, evangelicalism is the wrong place to be.

When presented with arguments from history, Rob Bell can give the same reply that other evangelicals give regarding the beliefs just listed: I don't care what the Church says or what has been passed down in the Tradition, I'm going to follow (my own interpretation of) the Bible.

There's still one option left: an evangelical can just simply declare Rob Bell as wrong. No need to humbly say that one reads Scripture differently, but just that Bell is wrong. And this is what Justin Taylor has done. Taylor has come right out and declared Bell "a false teacher".

But what gives Taylor, or any other evangelical, the authority to declare something like that? In other words, who put him in charge? Just because someone might be a popular, or even a well-respected evangelical leader, it doesn't give them to the authority to decide definitively what is or is not God's teaching.

And some evangelicals realize this. They see that being humble means not imposing one's own interpretation. But others, rightly convinced that universalism is uncompromisingly wrong, but finding themselves with no living authority on which to fall back, will take themselves (or their favorite leader) as the authority by which to condemn everyone who disagrees. Thus, as I argued back when I first started this blog, sola scriptura tends toward either pluralism or fundamentalism.

When I was at Wheaton College, the "Harvard of evangelical schools", I had an evangelical friend once lament to me how the theology teachers would never just come out and call something heresy. They always simply presented different sides of the debate, maybe "showed their cards" and let you know their viewpoint, but always left the door open for you make your own decision. I told him that what he was desiring was the God-given authority of the Catholic Church.

And the authority of the Catholic Church is exactly what evangelicals need in this situation: an authority, not just a human authority, but one with real authority from God, to step in, stand up for the truth, and legitimately declare for us what is and is not heresy.

28 comments:

  1. Yes, this situation with Rob Bell reveals clearly Protestantism's lack of authority and its inability to make binding decisions about truth and falsehood, about what is divine revelation vs. the opinions of men.

    If the Bible is the highest authority and the sole infallible one, who has the authority to interpret the Bible?

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    1. Duh, they're not "interpreting," they're just repeating what the Bible says. That's their line. :)

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  2. "who put him in charge?"

    A constant theme in my Catechism class.

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  3. Cardinal Newman:

    "A revelation is not given if there be no authority to decide what it is that is given. . . . If Christianity is both social and dogmatic, and intended for all ages, it must humanly speaking have an infallible expounder. . . . By the Church of England a hollow uniformity is preferred to an infallible chair; and by the sects of England an interminable division. Germany and Geneva began with persecution and have ended in skepticism. The doctrine of infallibility is a less violent hypothesis than this sacrifice either of faith or of charity. It secures the object, while it gives definiteness and force to the matter of the revelation."

    From his _Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine_

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  4. Well, my thought would be that the early Protestants didn't leave the Catholic Church over historical doctrines but over wrongs that all godly Christians, including Catholics, have to agree are wrong. Martin Luther, for example, was driven out and threatened with death for questioning the authority of the Roman Catholic Church to sell indulgences to poverty-stricken masses.

    You can complain about his later life and theology, but he did not leave the Roman Catholics over those things. Salvation by faith alone was not mentioned in the papal bull excommunicating him.

    Returning to historical authority is a great idea, but Roman Catholics are no more able to do that than Protestants.

    Why are the Orthodox and Roman Catholics separated? Is it not because the pope added something to the Nicaeano-Constantinopolitanum (sp?) Creed that had been authorized and accepted at the Council of Chalcedon?

    Did the Roman church back down because they changed historic tradition? Not at all, and they were willing to split the catholic churches over their stance.

    The fact is that some traditions are difficult to determine, but in other cases determining apostolic tradition is pretty easy, and the Roman Catholic Church does not always hold to apostolic tradition on such topics.

    That's what prevents many of us Protestants from returning to Catholicism, not an aversion to the authority of tradition.

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    1. You are completely correct about the pope inserting the filioque to the Creed.

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  5. As a fellow Wheatie (94)...thank you for your post... you hit the nail on the head and affirmed why I believe what I believe...

    Thank you.

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  6. Paul, you do know the addition of the Filioque was at the bequest of Charlemagne, based on the theology of Augustine that is the basis of 4/5 of Protestant thought?

    Or that the Simony in the late Renaissance that Luther denounced was targeted at the nobles (who became his patrons), not at "the impoverished masses"? Huh, funny thing, none of the masses seemed to get any less impoverished after the Reformation—significantly worse, actually—and yet lots and lots of wealth was no longer concentrated in the hands of monasteries. Wherever can it have gone?

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  7. Rob Bell is a heretic if he believes in universalism because it is squarely against both tradition AND scripture. (As a caveat, if we were to be completely honest, we could use only tradition OR scripture to make the argument for heresy.) This has been put forth quite nicely by this article (for my money, the best article on the book--and I have no attachment to the author, so it is not an "appeal to my favorite evangelical". Let us just understand that we are probably not going to settle the sola scriptura debate here;).

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2011/03/14/rob-bell-love-wins-review/

    Engaging Bell with scripture AND history, both from an evangelical protestant perspective yields results that are irrefutable. Simply because Protestants do not have a magesterium guiding theologic decision making does not therefore mean than an appeal to history is bankrupt. Protestants (at least this one) would argue that history and tradition do matter (duh)-- but we must read it through the lens of scripture in order to make sure that what we did in the past is really right action. This is where the reformation came out of-- Luther saw indulgences, and said, hmm... this does not square with what I am reading in the Bible. (Whatever his faults, that was one of the root causes of the reformation)

    As a postscript, Really, in some ways your argument is as if I just made the opposite argument that Catholics appealing to scripture through the lens of tradition is bankrupt-- it is a straw man argument to say that Protestants do not care about history, just as holding up Catholics as not caring about Scripture is also a straw man.

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    1. It's my understanding that a heretic has to embrace the Faith in the first place. Rob Bell couldn't be a heretic unless he was a Catholic.

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  8. Hey Andrew,

    Haven't heard from you for a while! (I'm assuming that this is Wheaton Andrew)

    I hope it's clear to everyone that I agree that universalism goes against Scripture and Tradition!

    "This has been put forth quite nicely by this article (for my money, the best article on the book--and I have no attachment to the author, so it is not an "appeal to my favorite evangelical""
    This person may not be your favorite evangelical, but this is still just an article YOU personally happen to find persuasive. Rob Bell, and other universalists, obviously do not find such arguments persuasive.

    "Engaging Bell with scripture AND history, both from an evangelical protestant perspective yields results that are irrefutable."
    I think you missed a key point in the post here: "irrefutable" according to whom? You are just stating that such arguments are irrefutable. You seem to be falling prey to what I described as the third option in the post. Rob Bell obviously doesn't think that such arguments are irrefutable. Who are you to just declare that as such? Is Rob Bell just blind? If so, are you sure that you are not blind, even on this issue? How can you be sure?

    You miss a logical step. Implicit in what you're writing, there's Rob Bell's interpretation, and then there's what Scripture "irrefutably" says. You miss that you are also interpreting. What gives you the right to equate your interpretation with what Scripture "irrefutably" says? Did God give you that right? When, and how? As I'm sure you would, we must be extremely careful about representing what God thinks.

    "Protestants (at least this one) would argue that history and tradition do matter (duh)-- but we must read it through the lens of scripture in order to make sure that what we did in the past is really right action."
    I didn't say that evangelicals (I haven't mentioned Protestants in general) don't care about history at all. I quoted an evangelical, Justin Taylor, citing history. But I pointed out that doing so is very problematic since Taylor himself has already rejected most of what most Christians have held most dearly throughout most of history. As stated in the post, Bell can simply say that the idea of an eternal hell - like indulgences (according to you) - should simply be abandoned when compared to a correct (aka his) reading of Scripture.

    "As a postscript, Really, in some ways your argument is as if I just made the opposite argument that Catholics appealing to scripture through the lens of tradition is bankrupt-- it is a straw man argument to say that Protestants do not care about history, just as holding up Catholics as not caring about Scripture is also a straw man."
    Faulty analogy. Catholics hold Scripture and Tradition in equal esteem. Evangelicals hold Scripture over Tradition. Saying that Catholics don't care about Scripture is simply false. Most evangelicals themselves would openly and proudly say that they don't give Tradition any weight at all. Evangelicals that do care somewhat about Tradition are very willing to dismiss most of it.

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  9. Brantly, this post is right on. I was making this point a few weeks ago when there was a big Rob Bell fight amongst some Protestant friends of mine. What he's teaching is heretical, but they don't have any grounds to say that (or really, anything more than "his theology disagrees with mine").

    --

    Paul, the Filoque clause was added in the 6th century, and the Great Schism occurred in the 11th. It's sort of a joke, historically, that this was what lead to the Schism. This was just an ex post facto justification for a Schism caused by much stupider reasons. The clause was also used in parts of the East before the West ever added it formally. And of course, it's theologically accurate. The Holy Spirit proceeds from a single source: the Father, through the Son. This is the clear attestation of Scripture in places like John 16:7 and John 20:22. That why Paul, in Romans 8:9, calls the Holy Spirit both "the Spirit of God" and "the Spirit of Christ."

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  10. Yep, same one, wish I had more time to come and post, but unfortunately school is keeping me a bit busy;)

    A few responses (probably not altogether formulated as well as I would like-- I don't have time to edit it. Forgive me for this)

    Many people don't find Catholic tradition persuasive-- does this make it any less true? I don't think you would say that if I asked. Yet it is implicit in your statement that it is just me finding him persuasive. "This person may not be your favorite evangelical, but this is still just an article YOU personally happen to find persuasive." I would argue that most evangelicals find it persuasive--categorizing it as only my opinion is a powerful rhetorical tool, but ignores the point that this isn't just one person's opinion. In sort, it's almost like a makeshift Protestant magesterium if that makes you feel better;) Just because Rob Bell doesn't find it persuasive does not mean that it is without merit.

    When I say Irrefutable, I am referring to Christian orthodoxy, which is found in the creeds (Nicene in particular, which is not specific to Catholicism and is pretty non-universalist), and sound scriptural exegesis based on the leading of the Holy Spirit.

    I've always had this question-- but what is it implicit in Catholic theology is not interpretation? If we accept a magisterium and tradition, it still stands that at one point, and at one moment, the establishment of said authority could be traced back to an interpretation (rightly or wrongly, I'm not saying it is not legitimate). Everything-- including Catholic tradition-- is based on some human interpretation of some event or text. I think I would argue that what is important is that that interpretation is driven by the leading of the Holy Spirit (who often uses past experience and tradition to guide). Using an argument that says that because human interpretation is involved it cannot be one hundred percent right is self-defeating. Of course humans don't interpret things correctly. I freely admit that. But you cannot have your cake and eat it too...

    Indulgences are indefensible from a plain reading of scripture, as is universalism. Just because Tetzel thought it was ok (and even had an argument from tradition!) does not mean that he was correct-- and here scripture was the only defense against wrongdoing (tradition had kinda dropped the ball...) That's partially what Luther pointed out. Similarly, Bell saying scripture supports universalism is wrong based on a plain reading. Him saying it is so does not make it an spirit driven reading of scripture (though I admit here that the tradition of the church is another powerful argument against his heresy).

    I think that would be my the base of my defense-- the Holy Spirit determines orthodoxy. Admittedly, that is a difficult thing to parse out, but I'm okay with a little mystery;)

    Only one true bone to pick...I think your last statement about Evangelicals dismissing tradition is entirely unfair, especially given that I said that I think tradition is important. Two things--
    1. Lots of evangelicals care about church history.
    2. I bet I can find just as many lay Catholics who don't give a hoot about either scripture and/or tradition. The lukewarm nature of Cultural Catholicism is a strong reason why I am not Catholic. Is that unfair? Probably. But, the fruit is interesting.

    That was probably too long and too convoluted, but thanks for the response!

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  11. Brantly (and brother Joe),

    You guys are committing the same wrong against Bell that the neo-Cals did (apart from maybe a couple like Taylor). You didn't read the book. I have. Bell is not a Universalist. He simply believes in "second chance after death" theology. He denies a person must make some kind of definitive profession of faith based on some master "salvation formula." He also denies that a person must belong to a specific tribe prior to death to "be saved." He stands with C.S. Lewis more so than with any salvation pluralist which is what his critics are really accusing him of. He most certainly believes in hell and after death separation from God, because although he believes in the ultimate sovereignty of God and power of God's love, he also believes in human free will, a natural extension of that love.

    Now, I might not agree with his hermeneutic or his conclusions in the book, but I appreciate the hope of which he writes...the same hope we declare when we Catholics pray for the dead that God have mercy and welcome them into heaven. He simply tries to wrap scriptural and theological evidence around that hope (without the authority you speak of behind him).

    (Brantly, we haven't chatted in a while, but yes, I've returned to the Catholic Church...Joe already knew that.)

    But, Bell believes in the particularity of Christ, the criticality of Christ in this age and for this life, in a "new heaven and earth" as promised by scripture, AND that some will not accept any of it and in their rejection end up experiencing the restored universe as a kind of hell...much like many experience the current universe as hell because of either their sin or the sin of others.

    I think he gets tripped up on things like Rev. 20:15 which supposes an act by God to punish forever (as opposed to a passive experience wrath of those who refuse to receive His grace.)

    It's funny that this spurred talk of orthodoxy. I like the way I've heard many of their tribe describe hell...that it is the final act of grace and mercy by God toward his people (that deny him.) All acts of God toward his creation are acts of Grace and Mercy (Love). Why is being cast into hell merciful for some people? Because being in the fiery presence of the All-Consuming One while holding onto one's sin, is quite simply the most hellish experience one could ever have. By God casting those people as far from him as possible, although they still burn since in the new heaven and new earth God's presence is experienced everywhere, they at least burn more mercifully than they would if they were for example standing in the throne room.

    I hope that made sense. Bell (and I think Lewis, too) believes that God's mercy and love eventually win out in ways scripture simply doesn't say.

    Does that make sense? I should never write this early int he morning (I'm with the kids and started this at 630a only now to close), but if I didn't do so now, I'd never get it done.

    Peace,

    DJ|AMDG

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  12. hey DJ,

    Thanks for trying to keep us honest.

    In my post, I don't say definitively that Bell is a universalist, but that people are accusing him as such. I qualify several times in the post that I'm not sure if Bell truly is a universalist.

    And the post isn't really about Bell anyway, it's about how this question shows forth the weaknesses of sola scriptura.

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  13. You're right...and I think that's what i liked the most about the post. I'm hoping Joe is reading this too...would you guys say that for something to be truly heretical...based on the history of the church in making such declarations, the particular theology would have to ultimately impinge the concept of the Trinity or the concept of the Incarnation?

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  14. Hey DJ,

    Heresy is defined this way by the Catechism:
    "Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same" (CCC 2089)

    So something could be heresy no matter what it is directly dealing with if is something that is deemed necessary for belief by the Church.

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  15. That sounds right, but how has it been used/declared by the church. Just because something "is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same" does not mean it is heresy...unless so declared by the church. I think that historically/traditionally, a theology is only declared heretical by the church when it's logical conclusion comes in opposition with the Trinity or with the Incarnation. I could be wrong, but if so, I'd love to know in regards to which belief.

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  16. How do you Catholics know your religion isn't teaching heresy when you have dogmas that can't be sourced back to the Apostles? Seems to me this makes it easy for Satan to do his work of deception and it seems to be working too. If you think that God will protect your religion from the "gates of hell" then why did Jesus even bother warning the early church of false teachers coming in as soon as He returned to Heaven? Why did God leave some teachings in writing bu the rest in "oral"?

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  17. I've heard a similar argument used by evangelicals against the acceptance of homosexual behavior by Christians. This is what Christians have always believed, they argue. Evangelicals are learning what Catholics learned a long time ago. Since we believe that God's full revelation occurred at a point in history, with no need to be added to, when disputes arise we should favor the older doctrine over the newer one. This is partly what Catholics are doing when they cite what they call Tradition.

    Where's the historical belief that Mary was immaculately concieved without sin, she was assumed into Heaven even though there were no eye witnesses [heck you guys can't even say for sure if she died or not], where she is the Queen of Heaven [though the bible does mention this in the OT]and a recent push by Bishops to define a last dogma that she is Co-Redemtrix and Mediatrix?

    You are all talk but you have not backed up anything with historical facts! This is why you need to stick with Scripture alone! You follow whatever doctrine the wind blows in. You need to listen to God and go by His Book and not a man-made ever "evolving" catechism book.

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  18. Anonymous -

    Brantly has some wonderful posts on this site regarding the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. I would suggest reading those prior to getting into it here, since it is off topic.

    I would, however, like to challenge your presuppositions regarding scripture, because that gets us to the root of the important questions at hand, anyway. First, how do you know that the writings contained in the Bible are God Breathed? I doubt that you came up with the list, the Canon, on your own. Rather, you accepted what was given to you by previous generations. If your Bible contains 66 books, the tradition that you follow regarding the Canon came from Martin Luther. He was the first person in history to decide that those 66 books and only those 66 books were God breathed.

    What authority did Martin Luther have to determine this?

    You might not agree with everything the Catholic Church teaches, but at least the Catholic system of thought doesn't have any of the glaring inconsistencies that protestantism has within its system.

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  19. I will assume that the last 2 anon comments are from the same person (though I can't be sure) and will answer them together.

    Anon,

    "How do you Catholics know your religion isn't teaching heresy when you have dogmas that can't be sourced back to the Apostles?"
    Catholics believe that all of the Church's teachings can, in some sense, be traced back to the apostles, whether it be from the Scriptures or Tradition from the apostles. This does not mean, however, that everything that they taught was always explicit, but was sometimes implicit and still must be worked out and made explicit. For example, the Scriptures do not teach the doctrine of the Trinity in the exact words that most would use to describe it today. But the idea of the Trinity is their in Scripture, even if it must be teased out. The doctrine of the Trinity is the teaching of Scripture made completely explicit.

    "If you think that God will protect your religion from the "gates of hell" then why did Jesus even bother warning the early church of false teachers coming in as soon as He returned to Heaven?"
    I believe that Jesus will protect the Church from the gates of hell because Jesus said so (see Mt 16). Warning of false teachers is one of the means by which the Church was protected, though not the only means.

    "Why did God leave some teachings in writing bu the rest in "oral"?"
    It was how God chose to do it. I'm not sure what else you'd be looking for here.

    "Where's the historical belief that Mary was immaculately concieved without sin, she was assumed into Heaven even though there were no eye witnesses [heck you guys can't even say for sure if she died or not], where she is the Queen of Heaven [though the bible does mention this in the OT]and a recent push by Bishops to define a last dogma that she is Co-Redemtrix and Mediatrix?"
    I am not an expert on all things historical (though I do know the history of certain doctrines well, and I have blog posts about them, such as apostolic succession, the biblical canon, relics, etc). Below is the best I can do regarding the teachings you mention. Notice that, below, I say "explicit belief", which means that we have physical evidence today that the belief was held at that time (which does not mean that it wasn't held earlier), and also means that the belief may have been implicit in Scripture and Tradition earlier, but hadn't be worked out or expressed clearly yet. (That's one of the reasons we have theologians.)

    As far as I can tell (and anyone out there please do correct me):
    Explicit belief in the sinlessness of Mary can be traced to around the 5th-7th centuries.
    Explicit beliefs in her assumption can be traced to the 4th century.
    The title Queen of Heaven for Mary is highly related to the title Mother of God which was made dogmatic in the 5th century council of Ephesus , though I will point out that, as far as I understand, the idea that she is the Queen of Heaven is not itself dogma.
    Some argue that Irenaeus in the 2nd century, although he doesn't use the word "CoRedemptrix", refers to the idea.

    "You are all talk but you have not backed up anything with historical facts!"
    In previous posts I have backed up many doctrines from the Tradition with historical facts. That was not the focus on this blog post.

    "This is why you need to stick with Scripture alone!"
    Sola Scriptura is not only not scriptural, not only goes against scripture (see 2 Thess 2.15), but was invented by the Reformers 16 centuries after Christ.

    "You follow whatever doctrine the wind blows in. "
    You missed the whole point of this blog post which shows that evangelicals lack a means of definitively avoiding exactly what you are accusing me of, while Catholics do have a means.

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  20. Your question was very simply answered last week when I hear Rev Bell in person. He is not only a heretic, but he appears to be on crack as well...hehe.

    Aside from my slight sarcasm above, my point is I could NOT make head or tails of even one answer to any of the questions posed to him. He either deliberately skirts all issues or does not know literally anything about "historical Christianity."

    Bottom line is that your point regarding the safety of Sacred Tradition is so utterly important in this argument, and one that is easily forgotten. What makes him a heretic is not his fallout with other evangelicals, but rather his not falling INTO the truth of the Church Universal, started by Jesus and headquartered, at least in an earthly sense, in Rome. Your post is right on, friend.

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  21. One thing you seem to be overlooking whilst talking about the magisterium. The magisterium is responsible for many doctrines that are not actually biblical. ie original sin, mary as co-redemptorix with christ as just two examples.
    The other great fallacy is saying peteer was the first poe of the Catholic church when in fact he wasn't, look into the origins of the Catholic church and see that didn't actually exist until constantine, made Catholocism the state religion.
    I am not picking on the catholic church here I am just reminding you that final authority lays with G-d not with the bible alone nor with scripture and tradition. Even though evangelicals say sol scriptura what they really mean is the bible and their tradition. Personally I think the reformation was the worst thing that could have happened because it divided the body of christ.

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  22. Here's a good commentary on Rob Bell I think. I think the 'Love' message is creeping into Catholicism as fast as Sharia is creeping into Dearborn. It is a common generic homily topic at my parish for sure. When the deacon actually preaches the truth the Kumbaya crowd has a fit and calls him "shrill and intolerant." I actually find it much more loving to hear the truth. It's no wonder the confession lines are so short.

    http://townhall.com/columnists/janiceshawcrouse/2011/04/23/obamatizing_the_church

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  23. +IOGD+

    This is fantastic - thanks so much for your insight! And thank you, Lord, for giving us a Church with authority to keep us in line :)

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  24. I only just started reading this blog (which is super) because I just read and reviewed this book on my blog and was searching for what other Catholics think about this book.

    Your article is excellent on how it views tradition and authority, but doesn't really go into what Bell talks about in the book...

    Anyhow, while I still have to finish ALL the comments (whoa! that's deep reading, partner), if anyone is interesting in reading my far more lightweight commentary on Bell, you can do so at:
    http://aftertheecstasythelaundry.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/stuff-catholics-like-love-wins-part-i/

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