A tiring swimmer reflects on the Flood -- and the Ark.

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 16, 2004

The unfailingly articulate Anglican at Pontifications has some lucid observations on the future of Protestant Christianity:

I believe that classical Reformation Protestantism is doomed -- doomed because it is structurally incapable of saying No to secularism, heresy, and unbelief, except by recourse to schism and the formation of new denominations. I would expect the mainline denominations to continue in some form or another -- probably as small communities of neo-gnosticism and political activism. I also expect Protestant fundamentalism to continue to thrive. Whatever else it offers, fundamentalism does offer clarity. Evangelicalism, on the other hand, is an open question. It really does not know which way it wants to jump -- whether off the fundamentalist cliff or the experiential-pietist cliff. In some ways American evangelicals sound a bit like the biblical theology movement of fifty years ago, only with praise bands in their sanctuaries.

The future of catholic Christianity thus lies … where else but with the two traditions that are truly catholic -- Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Both traditions deny the formal sufficiency of the Bible. Both reject the sola scriptura of Protestantism. Both insist that the Scriptures are to be interpreted through the living Tradition of the Church. And for this reason, both communions have the structural capacity to say No to modernity and to maintain, by the grace of God, the core doctrines of Christianity.

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  • Posted by: - May. 18, 2004 10:07 AM ET USA

    Thanks to Plick's 4:11 PM post I now understand.But why waste words deploring Catholics? Better simply to praise the Prots for our American freedoms ... for leading us to the wonders of self-fulfillment... the joys of spiritual growth through pot...the festivity of recreational sex...the creation of alternative families...for expanding tolerance to embrace perversity and giving the State's blessing to it. Not to mention enshrining the right to kill the unborn and infants in the Constitution.

  • Posted by: - May. 18, 2004 12:59 AM ET USA

    If our Anglican friend really believes what he writes, I wonder what keeps him from a swim 'cross the Tiber?

  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 17, 2004 4:11 PM ET USA

    Interesting point of view,Louis,but I think we take too much credit for ourselves(conveniently)and give little or none to the protestants,whom we tried enthusiasticaly to extrerminate,both physically and ideologically.It is because of the protestants and their doctrine of the individual that we have our present American freedoms.In my humble opinion the popes did not surrender their abusive perrogatives willingly,but were largely compelled,and that by the persistent endurance of the protestants

  • Posted by: - May. 17, 2004 3:55 PM ET USA

    If you can't find what you need at your parish, start something. All it takes is an idea and a little dedication. This is how everything from Perpetual Adoration to Birthright got started. Or call the pastor of the poorest parish in town and ask how you can help. There are plenty of lay missionary opportunities, too. Here at Clear Creek, we are often beneficiaries of organized work parties that do everything from cross-fencing to tree-trimming.

  • Posted by: - May. 17, 2004 3:28 PM ET USA

    Plick -- This is not Protestant-bashing. It is irony -- now that traditional Protestants find themselves in much the same position as faithful Catholics who reeled under assaults from Luther, Henry VIII, Calvin, etc. It is ironic that the anecdotal author should attribute the downfall of protestantism to principles which may not be compromised, while elastic doctrinal interpretation marked its beginning.

  • Posted by: - May. 17, 2004 3:26 PM ET USA

    Thank you. It is a grace to know they are there in the Catholic Church. I'll keep looking.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - May. 17, 2004 12:04 PM ET USA

    Karen: such folks exist in abundance in the Catholic Church at the grassroots as prayer groups, Bible study groups, outreach groups, etc. The future of the Church has always been found among Catholics who believe in more than the minimum in the practice of the faith.

  • Posted by: - May. 17, 2004 10:08 AM ET USA

    I'd love to reply to John J. Plick -- if I could understand his rant. As for Karen's list and her question: They're all around us. Except for the philosophers and theologians. It's a stretch to call many of them Catholic.

  • Posted by: - May. 16, 2004 10:11 PM ET USA

    I attended a picnic this for college grads & friends. Educators for low-income or autistic children, counselors for trouble familiies, philosophers & theologians, electrical & chemical engineers, stay-at-home moms, summer missionaries even to such places as Pakistan, weekly Bible study & prayer. Commited to service because they first of all are committed to Jesus and his gospel. All are protestants some my nieces & nephew. I've long to find this in the Catholic Church. Where are they?

  • Posted by: - May. 16, 2004 2:46 PM ET USA

    Well said ... as long as the protestantizers in the Catholic Church can be put to flight.

  • Posted by: - May. 16, 2004 2:10 PM ET USA

    I wonder how many in the Curia agree with him. How many in the College of Cardinals? How many American bishops? The again, saying "no" just isn't done any more ... unless the requests come from Old Church types.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 16, 2004 1:21 PM ET USA

    I guess this must be"Beat on protestants day"a favorite Catholic sport which I deplore.Seems to me it reflects the perennial insecurity of committed catholics when faced with a "rebel organization" which has defied our authoritarian scorn over the past 500 years.Unfortunately,we fail to realize the conceptual orgins of a movement which was birthed in basically the same circumstances of our OWN prevailing disgust for magesterial abuses.The Holy Spirit IS with the individual..JPII not withstanding