In case you’ve run into the new-fangled “Reformed Catholics” running about the web, eagerly displaying their erudite insights, “ecumenical” willingness to read Calvin (they only seem to see parts of what he wrote, however) while extolling Chesterton and the like, you may be a tad confused by their constant discussions about how everyone else (hey, isn’t that very sectarian?) believes in “discreet propositions about salvation” that must be “correctly parsed” and how everyone else views the doctrines of the faith as “abstract and invisible” things that “float about” above our heads. They, of course, have a holistic, robust, culture-changing view that somehow manages to maintain the substance of the doctrines of the faith without ever really talking about them, defining them, or defending them against those who deny them. In other words, their theories, sort of like the “ecclesiastical text” theory, sound really neat in the very unlife-like world of the blogosphere, but whether they actually mean anything in the real world of time and space is something else.
What is so odd about these new-fangled folks is that they don’t seem to have a solid grasp on the views of those they constantly lampoon (indeed, one wonders if they could define their position without making reference to others?). That is, do they seriously expect to get away with this constant misrepresentation of others that is so plainly in error? Surely there may be some folks, somewhere, who believe the truths of the gospel are merely ethereal, other-worldly realities that just float about in a hazy fog of theological introspection, but I don’t happen to know them. Do you? It’s ridiculous to say I believe this about the doctrines of the faith simply because I do not accept a particular form of post-millennial sacralism that seeks to build a “Second Christendom” by chopping down trees and baptizing pagans without repentance or confession of faith in Christ. The irony is, some of these “Reformed Catholics” well know that I have consistently taught the need to live the faith in life and not merely in profession. There is nothing “ethereal” about forensic justification or total depravity or the nature of the new covenant: they are exegetical truths that the Spirit makes real in the life of the believer and, because of this, in the life of the gathered community as well. So don’t let this new breed of highly sectarian cyber-theologians get away with their misrepresentations: without those false representations of others, they’d really have little to say. Just realize this is their means of avoiding the fatal flaw of their system: they can’t survive the one-on-one, honest, open, biblically based debate that would take place if they would accurately represent the views of their opponents. But they cannot do so.
“For piety has no enemies more inveterate than those who have sincerely embraced a false religion, thinking it true.” Theodore Beza