Sunday, July 03, 2011

Anarchy Comparisons?

I find it a bit interesting to watch Protestants attempt to defend their anarchist position by comparing their fundamental disagreements between sects of Protestantism to ignorance among Catholics who do not understand a part of the Catholic faith and/or by pointing to dissident Catholics who openly disagree with a point or more within Catholicism.  I stumbled across one such attempt to make precisely that sort of comparison by James Swan on Beggars All...  One of the points which Swan explicitly refers to mentions that another Catholic apologist admits that 70% of Catholics do not have a proper understanding of the Eucharist.
JS wrote: I'm arguing disunity or confusion in Romanists doesn't necessarily refute Romanism. The corollary though is that disunity or confusion doesn't necessarily refute sola scriptura either.

I respond: (Overlooking the indignant slurs of "Romanists" and "Romanism") The problem, James, is that your oversimplification ends up comparing apples to oranges. Yes, both apples and oranges are fruits but you speak of a disunity among Catholics due to a misunderstanding of what the Church really teaches on the Eucharist and compare THAT to the "anarchy" of Protestantism which has differing sects of Protestants in FUNDAMENTAL DISAGREEMENT with each other! In short, you make a comparison of Catholic ignorance to Protestant disagreement and the two cannot be compared by one with any amount of integrity.
The point is that all truly faithful Catholics do not willfully disagree with each other on matters of dogma, whereas faithful Protestants do disagree on matters like infant baptism, the number of sacraments and whether or not Holy Communion is a "Real Presence" or mere symbolism, to name but a few which fundamentally divide Protestants.  When Catholic apologists make statements about Protestant anarchy - we compare what we believe Protestantism REALLY TEACHES in the various sects to each other; we do not make comparisons based in say a Lutheran's ignorance to what their sect of Lutheranism really teaches.  Since I have brought up Lutheranism, let me posit as well that I believe most Lutherans would be shocked as to how "Catholic" many of their positions and theological teachings are!

What Swan is defending in his article is the concept of sola scriptura, the teaching that the Scriptures are the ultimate and sole infallible authority for the Christian (actually "ultimate" itself is a denial of "sola" but we'll save that for another discussion) and that the teaching of sola scriptura does unite Protestants - but does it really?  Just from the examples I mentioned above we can see that sola scriptura alone (no pun intended) does not provide unity!  Some sola scriptura Protestants believe in infant baptism, and support their belief with Scripture - others flatly deny infant baptism and condemn those who practice it.   Some Protestant sects accept 2 sacraments as being validly sacramental - others deny ANY sacramentalism.   Some sola scriptura Protestants accept a belief in the Real Presence of Christ in Holy Communion - and treat Communion as such; while others declare Holy Communion is simply a memorial of symbolism.  So the so-called "Blueprint For Anarchy" truly IS a blueprint for anarchy, regardless of Swan's rejection of the concept.


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