I was just scanning through the overnight materials on FB and Twitter (well, overnight here in Ukraine anyway), and came across Patrick Madrid’s announcement of a new book against sola scriptura, based on Yves Congar’s materials on “Tradition.” For those not familiar with the debate, it is the old “material/formal sufficiency” distinction that *some* Roman Catholics have depended on over the past half century or so. I say some because, obviously, Madrid isn’t the Pope, and his opinions are just that…opinions, private interpretations, and carry no magisterial weight. Congar’s take is just one of many, and again, is not “infallible.” Hence the never-ending task of responding to this new subtle twist, or that one. At times you just want to throw up your hands.
But I am likewise reminded of my discovering Jason Stellman’s participation in a relatively new podcast called “Drunk Ex-Pastors” where he and an agnostic, both former ministers, drink alcohol while blathering on about snobbish topics as if the onset of inebriation gives you some special insight that no one else has. Stellman’s spectacular plummet into the abyss is a spectacle, to be sure, and one that should warn any others of the true results of CalledtoConfusion disease. But what is the relationship to Madrid’s book? It’s pretty clear: Madrid’s thesis has always been “sola scriptura is the blueprint for anarchy,” but the reality is exactly the opposite. Rome offers certainty for the cost of your mind and soul—and then reneges on the offer once you really find out what it is like on that side of the Tiber. No non-inebriated mind will miss the reality of the plurality of views that exist in Rome (which may explain Stellman’s stunts). In fact, it is highly ironic that Madrid is putting out a book critical of sola scriptura right at the same time the wider world is recognizing just how malleable and changeable Rome’s doctrinal expression really is. Everyone with common sense can see how vastly different Francis’ views are than even his immediate (and still living) predecessor, let alone any of the Popes of only a century past. The myth of the unchanging church, infallibility, etc., are so painfully clear today, and yet the Madrids of the world soldier on despite the obvious contradiction. And the result is seen in the ruined lives and ministries of men like Jason Stellman.