Continuing the Future Discussion

OB is at it again and they are actually referencing intelligent discussions.  If they would only manage to let contrary voices participate, we might get somewhere.  Before I continue I must make one clarification.  Whatever good points Leithart may have made, he missed the most important point:  if Rome and Constantinople’s claims are true on church unity, then we are all in damnable sin.  You can’t simply say, “Hey bro, let me play too.”

OB’s post revolves around the debate between Hauerwas and Mohler.  Hauerwas writes,

But I suspect it’s true in most places because basically a buyers’ market, that very description, reproduces the presumption that you live in a demand economy that says that the buyer is supreme and they get to buy what they want and therefore…

As a sociological description, this is probably the case and few can deny it.  OB comments,

Membership is a matter of individual choice; one is not bound to a particular church body.

But I have to ask, “Did you not make a choice to become Orthodox?  Why are choices a bad thing when Protestants do it but the right thing when you do it?”  They further note concerning the revival of doctrine among the Reformed wing,

 Their stress on covenant and disciplined church life can be seen as a reaction to libertarian individualism rife in popular Evangelicalism.

This is a very important admission.   He rightly contrasts Evangelical libertarianism with Reformed covenantalism.  Keep this in mind, for any charge of “individualism” against “Protestants” (a word he always leaves undefined) will not stand by his own admission.  They note in regard to Leithart’s position:

If Hauerwas’ metaphor of Evangelicalism being in a buyer’s market holds true then the question needs to be raised as to whether Peter Leithart’s Reformational Catholicism can ever expand beyond being a niche market.  Leithart’s call for “Pentecostals attuned to the Christian tradition” (20:14), “Baptists who love hierarchy” (20:17), “liturgical bible churches” (20:22) runs against the grain of specialization and niche marketing that underlie Protestant denominationalism.

Who cares if Haeurwas is correct?  What matter is if it is true.   Other than that it is a good expose of Leithart’s position.

But what is Orthodoxy’s role and challenge today?

 It can be expected that Orthodoxy will hold fast to Apostolic Tradition into the twenty second century and beyond, while Protestant denominationalism will continue to mutate and morph into forms barely recognizable to those living today.

Nikonian reforms.  Desponysii. New Calendarism.  Sergianism.  They won’t touch these issues with a ten foot pole.

Where Protestantism emphasized the individual, the catholic dimension emphasizes the Christian life in community.

But earlier he noted that the Reformed emphasize the covenant, which contradicts this statement.   It hinges on what we mean by “Protestant.”  Historically, the term preserved these values, give or take:  Reform of worship, papacy is the Antichrist, penultimately legal binding of Confessions, and the covenant.  It appears that he is using Protestant to mean slappy-clappy-baptist.  He is equivocating on the term.


OB ends with an analysis of Internet Monk.  That doesn’t concern me here, except on a humorous point:  Spencer was giving an Anabaptist critique of the worst elements of Baptist culture in America.  I couldn’t care less.

Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I’m convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.

To which Grumpy Cat says,

Remember, Protestant =/= Evangelical.



One comment on “Continuing the Future Discussion

  1. John* says:


    Re your: “Nikonian reforms. Desponysii. New Calendarism. Sergianism” (etc) and OB’s refusal to touch these issues with a ten foot pole . . .

    Perhaps that would undermine what RA and company are trying to posit on the Vincentian Canon???

    Besides, to the extent that both Rome and Constantinople are Hellenized is the extent to which they *cannot* claim authentic “Apostolic Succession”* from the Jerusalem Church of St James the Just, and thus to that extent, their claims that all others are in damnable sin are weakened.

    *[Here I am not referring to tactile (laying-on-of-hands) “succession” – some sort of ecclesiastical “conga line” – with an unbroken hand-on-head down through the ages. All “offshoot heretics” could also make that tactile claim: eg the Arians and Nestorians the Oriental Orthodox, Monophysites, Monotheletes, Iconoclasts etc..]

    “Hellenization” here includes hermeneutical methodoogy and philosophical presuppositions.

    How many other areas could we also include that challenges both “apostolic succession” beyond the tactile, and their appropriation (or should that be misappropriation) of the VC?

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