/ Gentle Reformation

Contemporary Roman Catholic Theology – Dr. Robert Strimple

Mary is the mother of Jesus.
Jesus is God.
Therefore, Mary is the mother of God.
God commands us to honor our mother and our father.
Therefore, Mary as the mother of God deserves to be especially honored (insert veneration).

Sometimes our reasoning can slip out of joint; bend in directions not entirely proper.  In the case of Roman Catholicism, I’ve found that they’re extremely good at formulating some real head scratchers; lines of argument that make you feel uneasy, even if you can’t put your finger on the exact point where the logic runs askew.

Here I’m reminded of something Melville once wrote.  In his classic work, Moby Dick, which I might add, is the single greatest work of English literature (sorry, Jane Austen fans), and with which, I might also add, R.C. Sproul agrees (see here), and which, ahem, inspired the last chapter of my book, Melville provides an interesting little twist in “Christian” logic.  In the following quote, Ishmael is debating whether or not he should bow down to the idol of his new friend, Queequeg.  Ishmael reasons as follows:

“I was a good Christian; born and bred in the bosom of the infallible Presbyterian Church. How then could I unite with this wild idolator in worshipping his piece of wood? But what is worship? thought I. Do you suppose now, Ishmael, that the magnanimous God of heaven and earth- pagans and all included- can possibly be jealous of an insignificant bit of black wood? Impossible! But what is worship?- to do the will of God? that is worship. And what is the will of God?- to do to my fellow man what I would have my fellow man to do to me- that is the will of God. Now, Queequeg is my fellow man. And what do I wish that this Queequeg would do to me? Why, unite with me in my particular Presbyterian form of worship. Consequently, I must then unite with him in his; ergo, I must turn idolator. So I kindled the shavings; helped prop up the innocent little idol; offered him burnt biscuit with Queequeg; salamed before him twice or thrice; kissed his nose; and that done, we undressed and went to bed, at peace with our own consciences and all the world. But we did not go to sleep without some little chat.”

So anyway, one must be careful with their so called logic.

Now if you’re interest in digging deeper into Roman Catholicism, let me tell you about Dr. Strimple’s fine lecture series.  In his thirteen part series, Contemporary Roman Catholic Theology, of which I haven’t yet completed, but am very pleased with what I’ve heard so far, Dr. Strimple’s handling and treatment of the subject is uncommonly deep.  These lectures aren’t “Look here at Ephesians 2:8-9.  See how dumb Roman Catholics are?”  This is meaty stuff.  And for most, it’s probably going to be excruciatingly boring or confusing.  But for those few theological buffs out there who might want to dig deeper into this subject- and I know you’re out there- I would heartily recommend these messages for your consumption.

As for the rest, run for your life.

Must Listen Factor: Specialized.

**Difficulty: **Advanced

Length: Longer than Band of Brothers

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