Thursday, October 12, 2006
Ecclesia Catholica Semper Reformanda
"Speaking as one of those who is regularly thus carpet-bombed, what I find frustrating is the refusal of the traditionalists to do three things: first, to differentiate the quite separate types of New Perspective; second, to engage in the actual exegetical debates upon which the whole thing turns, instead of simply repeating a Lutheran or similar line as though that settled matters; and third, to recognise that some of us at least are brothers in Christ who have come to the positions we hold not because of some liberal, modernist or relativist agenda but as a result of prayerful and humble study of the text which is and remains our sole authority. Of course, prayer and humility before the text do not guarantee exegetical success. We all remain deeply flawed at all levels. But that is precisely my point. If I am simul iustus et peccator, the church, not least the church as the scripture-reading community, must be ecclesia catholica semper reformanda. Like Calvin, we must claim the right to stand critically within a tradition. To deny either of these would be to take a large step towards precisely the kind of triumphalism against which the Reformers themselves would severely warn us. But if we are siblings in Christ there are, I think, appropriate ways of addressing one another and of speaking about one another, and I regret that these have not always characterized the debate."
- N.T Wright, New Perspectives on Paul, 10th Edinburgh Dogmatics Conference: 25–28 August 2003.
Quote above is applied typologically to my situation.
When i talk to my friends from the Reformed tradition, they stare at me as if i'm a liberal. When i talk to my Catholic friends, they assume outrightly that i belonged to the heretical tradition thus have no right idea of what theology/any-other-matters-pertaining-to-faith is about. Does the third option ever cross their minds? "that some of us at least are brothers in Christ who have come to the positions we hold not because of some liberal, modernist or relativist agenda but as a result of prayerful and humble study of the text which is and remains our sole authority."