Sunday, 18 May 2014

Other Christians...

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16).

The other day I was chatting quite gaily with a Muslim girl about the Bible and Holy Orders. Another girl at the table said that she didn't know that I was Christian and raised her hand so as to "high five" me. I proceeded to give this other girl my "sod off" look and carried on talking to the Muslim. You see, the other girl styles herself "Christian." No, I don't think she is a Papist but she is clearly one of those wishy-washy liberal types who would sell her soul to Starbucks rather than even consider covering her head on Sunday morning. I would gladly talk to the Muslim about the Christian faith; not because I exemplify Christian moral principles (does anyone?) but because I'd rather talk to someone ignorant of our faith, from outside, than to someone who dares to call themselves Christian and yet violates the heart of Christianity. There are no grey areas. Truth is not relative. And liberalism is not synonymous with compassion and understanding.

On the subject of being those of you who do not set a very high store by the Petrine ministry as it is exercised to-day, I have some questions. What do you think the pope really is? What does he represent?, if not Christ Himself? Who is the pope? Whom does he really serve? If you are in schism with him, why do you not remove his name from the Canon? Do you suppose that he is a harmless old man, dressed in white and leaning on a staff? If so, what is this harmless old man capable of? Can he not be compared with a pendulum within the Roman communion? Have not successive pontificates shewn that the incumbent of the Roman see can affect, in a profound way, the life of the Roman communion to the remotest parish? John Paul II liked travelling, and so popes travel everywhere now, attracting huge crowds so as to seem even as Christ among the thousands. Benedict XVI liked pseudo-Baroque tat and liturgy, though he can have had no sure knowledge of it, and so his lasting monument will be Summorum Pontificum. (I don't doubt there will be cries of santo subito from Traddieland when he finally kicks the bucket...most other recent popes have been canonized, why break with "tradition?").

Who would thus exalt themselves in Christ's Church? Why would you not despise such a man? Are you afraid of looking ridiculous in the eyes of the world? Perhaps you've already burnt the bridge leading to respectability and you think that by condemning monstrous tyranny in Romanism, you might lose even more? Well, banish your respectability; I have! Except a man declares the Bishop of Rome to be Antichrist and of Satan, he shall be in peril of Hell Fire. You cannot be indifferent about the pope. Either he is Vicar of Christ, or he is Antichrist. History has shewn that he is by no means of Christ, having been the continual sower of schism and destructive of tradition, and so, logically, he must be of Antichrist. If you do not see this in these terms then you are lukewarm. I will spue thee from my mouth, forsooth!


  1. I think that there might be more options than Christ or Antichrist. There are many natural vices that could give rise to self aggrandizement. Also, the pope is the head of a hierarchy that appointed him. That hierarchy, being composed of human beings, is certainly subject to normal human vices (such as venality) that can explain much of their bad behavior without needing to resort to demonic influences as an explanation. That is a view possible for non-Christians, perhaps not for Christians. I cannot speak as a Christian.

    From outside, it is often difficult to determine what is a Christian belief other than anything asserted as such by a self-identified Christian. However, because self-identified Christians are not consistent among themselves in their beliefs, this definition does not give rise to a self-consistent set of moral principles. Certainly, individual Christians are capable of forming such sets of principles, but, for an outsider, it is very difficult to pick among these differing sets and label one as fully Christian and the others as divergent.

    I note that you identify as Christian although you note that you do not manage to fully exemplify Christian more principles. This is common enough among adherents of many different faiths and philosophies. However, it is not clear to me how you come to know those principles---probably because I do not know you or your history very well, yet. For example, the importance of women covering the head while attending Sunday services seems to be one belief you hold, and I think this can be derived from a reading of the New Testament. I do know know that such is your basis for this belief. I am just guessing, so please correct me if your basis is from some other source.

    Do all your Christian beliefs derive from the New Testament exclusively? Do some derive from the Old Testament? If you exclude some parts of the Old Testament, how do you choose which to omit? For example, most Christians do not seem to conform to all restrictions in Leviticus, which I believe, forbids the eating of pork and shellfish. I think that some Christians excuse this saying that, under Christ, they are no longer subject to the restrictions of Leviticus, but they do choose to keep some of those restrictions, typically in the matter of sexual morality. If that is so for you, how do you make those choices?

    Do your beliefs include content that is from historical practice but that is not directly supported in the Bible? For example, I believe that you derive great spiritual utility out of various liturgical practices if they are correctly performed, which I suspect is something you find rather rare (being correctly performed). From the outside, I do not see these practices much documented in the Bible (I could be wrong, being an outsider), so I would imagine that you accept these practices based on tradition. Is that so? What principles do you use to determine which traditional practices are validly Christian and which are not? What is the role of tradition in determining your Christian beliefs?

    Do you assert that Bible is inerrant?

    From the outside, you seem to be what is sometimes described as "High-Church Anglican". Is that accurate? I am not entirely sure...

  2. You're a very strange creature, dear Patricius!

    You lambast the papacy, and decry "other Christians" because of them being separated off from the main stock of Catholicism. Yet, one would think you would say that legacy of the Reformation, the sundering of Christian denominations is the fault of the Papacy.

    Whilst history will not disagree that they have contributed to it, I'm really no longer sure of your position, when you slight other denominations. Are they really lukewarm? I know Truth is not relative, but the calling of their own hears (i.e. the pull of conscience) is very much so, being subjective. We ought to value them for attempting to heed, at the very least, that.

    I wonder if you would slight 'liberal' Anglicans and Orthodox (do such exist) as much? Or is it reserved for the possible-not-Trinitarian definitely-not-Apostolic there-be-no-Orders-here ones?

    Hína Kemenduro: don't call him an Anglican! He'll have apoplexy.

  3. Well, I would not want to offend Patricius. I feel very strongly that I should avoid offending people. I never do so intentionally, but unintended insult is something I do far too often, I am sad to say. So, no insults intended... sincere questions only.

    I am trying to get a coherent sense of what Patricius believes. He seems to be very Catholic, at times, but not at others, and he seems to bear great affection for the queen. I think he is in the middle of a great internal battle. It will be interesting to see what he decides.

    BTW, I changed my Google name to my given name (so no more Hína Kemenduro). I like that chosen name better, but I became concerned that it might convey a sense of hiding. People would be unsure as to who they were dealing with.

  4. Thanks, Kevin. I'm not sure I thought you were hiding, but Hína sounded very exotic...

    I think Patricius (not to talk about him as if he's not here, but dear, you need to hear this) has an internal battle too, but needs to let go more. That way it has the opportunity to be transformative or redemptive.

    I'm sorry if I offended you by correcting you, though if you read all of this blog (and maybe the former one), you might realise more of our dear author's origins.

  5. No offense taken here.

    I am keen to know Patricius's current thought. I have read some of the older postings, to which I was attracted because of the mention of Tolkien, whose languages interest me. I am not Christian, and so not educated in liturgical matters, but I became interested in the well being of Patricius. I do not know why, and there is not much I can do to affect his well being other than to openly rejoice when things are going well for him.

    I should read the older postings and the older blog, but I will not have time for thatuntil winter. My garden feeds me, I am caught up in garden work right now... much to do, and it will not wait as I must get much done by the end of the month. As it is, I cheat a bit by taking time to read this blog, but it is interesting, and I can squeeze it in before sunrise, most days, as I get up at 5:00 AM, locally.

    Apologies to Patricius for talking of you in the third person. I am not skilled in this medium. I would never intentionally insult you. I wish you only happiness, something very hard to find in this world which is so relentless brutal.