Could “Reformed” Catholics Ever be Calvinists? An Ecumenical Proposal
There has been some discussion lately as to the status of “Reformed” Catholicism theology within the circle of the Reformation. I have been very clear in the past in affirming the fact that I do not view “Reformed” Catholic theology as either authentically Catholic, nor authentically Reformed in outlook. This despite my low regard for fence-riders like Kevin Johnson, Tim Enloe, and Paul Owen.
“Reformed” Catholicism in America is essentially a product of our country’s rugged individualism, disestablishmentarianism, and denominationalism—where schismatical day-trippers can sample a dash of Catholicism here, and a dash of Evangelicalism there.
What would have to happen for my assessment of that to change?
1.“Reformed” Catholics would have to give up their all-too-common a la cart mentality, which cherry-picks whatever it fancies in historical theology while mouthing “catholicity” in every other sentence.
2. “Reformed” Catholics would have to be willing to leave Babylon behind and relocate themselves Biblically within the remnant of the universal church, rather than with the husk of various dead and dying denominations outside the pilgrim church of the ages.
3. “Reformed” Catholics would have to have a genuinely Reformed understanding of the covenants, which sees the Church of Rome as the continuation and fulfillment of the true Synagogue of Satan (WCF 25:5-6).
This would mean that the universal Church would have to be seen as an invisible society on heaven and earth, consisting in the whole number of the elect, which is larger than any local congregation (WCF 25:1). In other words, Christianity is a gracious faith, which one objectively does or does not belong to, not by outward rites and ceremonies, but by election, redemption, and regeneration.
In my opinion, even Anglo-Catholics are schismatic in essence (as seen by their membership in splinter groups and breakaway sects twice-removed from Rome).
4. “Reformed” Catholics would have to agree with the word of God that regeneration is immediate rather than mediate, and place their faith in Christ alone rather than a wafer or a thimble of wine.
6. ”Reformed” Catholics would have to recant their Pharisaical view that “we are Abraham’s seed” by virtue of our parentage (Mt 3:7-10). In other words, they would have to have an authentically Scriptural view of the family of God.