Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

Christianity and Politics

January 14, 2009

I don’t usually listen to the White Horse Inn. I happened to come across this episode regarding Christianity and politics (link).

Charles Hodge apparently said that having an American flag in one’s church is the equivalent of singing the Star Spangled Banner at the administration of the Lord’s Supper!

I enjoyed the presentation, but I found a theme that seemed odd. It seemed that the participants were suggesting that preachers cannot speak to issues of sin with respect to the political sphere. It almost sounds as though they are saying that the church can only talk about the gospel, and not the law.

On the other hand, Scripture seems to be chock full of admonitions to kings and those in authority. So, while I appreciate their concern for a clear demarcation of the roles of church and state, I think it’s not quite as clear-cut as they may like.

One example I typically use is this: very often churches own property. When this is the case, they tend to get advised (more or less authoritatively) by the state with respect to temporal things, such as whether they have to pay taxes on the property, how they can use their property (zoning laws and the like), and who owns the property (if there is a dispute). It’s very rare to hear that this is not proper.

If so, why shouldn’t it be proper for the church to be advising the state in things moral? Why should the church-state relation be one in which the state tells the church what to do, but the church doesn’t tell the state what to do?


Armstrong vs. Aquinas – Classifying Reformed Christians

April 9, 2008

As recently noted by the “Shrine for the Holy Whapping,” a Catholic blog, Aquinas quoted with approval, the following (link to source):

“We believe that the bodies of the saints, above all the relics of the blessed martyrs, as being the members of Christ, should be venerated in all sincerity” and “If anyone holds a contrary opinion, he is not accounted a Christian, but a follower of Eunomius and Vigilantius.” (citing De Eccles. Dogm. xl)

Lay Catholic Dave Armstrong has asserted: “I would note that the official Catholic position is to acknowledge Protestants as Christian brothers, whereas many Protestant groups either are officially anti-Catholic or contain within themselves a strong legacy of anti-Catholicism which is then passed down almost unconsciously. ” (source)

Let me be clear: the body (in whole or in part) of no Christian whatsoever should receive religous veneration of any kind, whether alive or dead. Furthermore, religious veneration of corpses is open necromancy (in the broad definition of that word). Nevertheless, that does not mean that we cannot treat corpses with respect, or that we cannot hold funerals, etc. Thus, religious worship (such as Catholic veneration of relics) is to be distinguished from non-religious consideration. In view of these statements, it should be apparent that I hold a contrary position to that of Aquinas expressed above. According to Aquinas’ standard, I should not be accounted a Christian.

On the other hand, Armstrong broadly defines Christianity this way: “[A]nyone who is a trinitarian and who adheres to the Nicene Creed is (doctrinally) a Christian (that is basically the official Catholic position on other Christians)” (source – including all bracketed material).

So, now the question is this:

1. Is Aquinas out of touch with the Official Catholic Position?


2. Is Armstrong out of touch with the Official Catholic Position?


3. Has the Official Catholic Position changed? (If so, when and by whose authority?)


4. Are Aquinas and Armstrong somehow reconciliable? (If so, how?)


5. It doesn’t matter / no one can understand Catholic theology, except people who agree with me / some similar cop-out


6. Your views are not contrary to those of Aquinas.

That last option seems utterly implausible.

Option 5 is self defeating.

Option 4 doesn’t seem possible, but I’m open to attempted explanations.

Option 3 is my thought as to the best guess – with the Vatican II era being the place where the tide shifted in favor of people who think it is a species of necromancy to venerate the “relics of saints.”

Option 2 is presumably the answer that traditional Catholics, especially sedavacantists, would give.

Option 1 would take a great deal of gumption, but perhaps someone will try to make that claim.

NOTE: Although I enunciate very quickly the objection to veneration of alleged relics, this is not the post for that debate. This post is questioning whether modern Roman Catholicism (and/or Dave Armstrong) defines Christianity the way that Aquinas did.


%d bloggers like this: