Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"Who the Hell Cares About Protestantism?"

I love auto-display trackback urls. I really do. For instance, my trackback notification led me here. Alvin Kimel from Pontifications related the dialogue that recently occurred between Steve and I and Antonio da Rosa on the matter of assurance. But that isn’t what this post is about. Perry Robinson just happened to stop by that post and offer his two cents. This is what he has to say:

I am so incredibly tired of Protestant/Catholic debates. Who cares about Protestantism? Of those Protestant denominations who actually have some idea what the Reformation was about (what they think it was about) and still believe in it, they are tiny. Last I heard the OPC for example split yet again, from a vast multitude of 22,000 worldwide to 20,000. The believing reformation bodies are miniscule. The vast hordes of evangelicals, pentacostals, baptists and other assorted monstantists and manicheans are rapidly mutating into some other religion, either by pure quackadoxy or some new “movement” to “challenge” Christians yet again. The liberal denominations will probably be extinct by the end of this next century and they are pretty much just empty shells at this point. They are just as fad driven, moralistic and vaporous as their conservative counterparts.

So I say, who the hell cares about Protestantism? Why should we care about it? Sure, its loud and pervasive, but it is but a wiff of cloud. Bump it and it breaks. Golly gee, can’t Protestants talk about something OTHER than their usual-justification-the only thing worth reading in the Bible is Romans and Galatians-the evil pope-everything material is evil-have the successful life now-Jesus is coming back in 5 minutes…err…10….15…-ten easy steps to moral improvement in this book with a flashy cover-God the Cosmic Healing Bellhop-you had better divide Law & Gospel MY way-why hollywood is STILL the enemy-the evil pope…again.

Gosh, who cares? I don’t.

Consider the context of this comment. Alvin Kimel had just documented my discussion with Antonio da Rosa. In other words, a rational, civil, and exegetical discussion concerning matters of orthodoxy had been cited in the immediate context of this post. So what is Robinson talking about? Certainly nothing relevant to the matter at hand! Why does Robinson spam the comments section in such a manner? Has he nothing better to do in his spare time?

In any case, it almost goes without saying that Robinson’s comment is excessive, emotional, and irrational. It also completely contradicts his position. Perry Robinson, for those who do not know, is an Episcopal convert to Eastern Orthodoxy. How did that happen? Unless Robinson is willing to admit that this decision had no rational basis, then he obviously made this choice based upon his conclusions concerning the issues at hand. In other words, he studied the issues of Protestantism. He obviously believes that these issues and differences matter, or else he would not have made such a decision. So, if anything, he is not someone who doesn’t “care” (though he makes that ridiculously dishonest claim in his comment).

Is this really what it is has come to? Have we fallen this far from the passions of our fathers? Do we no longer have the ability to think and communicate rationally, in a manner that has a desire to present and defend truth? Comments coming from someone like Robinson do not give us much hope. One of the other comments on that post by “Mike J” is simply hilariously true: “Perry, the image I have of you when I read such posts is that of a skilled surgeon deftly wielding his scalpel to make a precise incision… and then making the final motion with all the subtlety of a 10 pound mallet!” Tis the situation exactly.

I would like to invite Perry Robinson to come and discuss the “issues” with me. Don’t simply spam other people’s comment sections with excessive, straw-man-filled rhetoric. Let’s be civil, shall we! I certainly care, and I know you do too.

Evan May

1 comment:

  1. God cares about Protestants, and to care about Protestants requires attention to, and respect for, their religion. Evan is right that this is about civility, and the courtesy of caring about our neighbours.

    I am reminded of an image of God beautifully represented in the traditional icon of hospitality, the Trinitarian symbol of the table of communion. The inner life of the Trinity is inseparable from hospitality.

    Hospitality is an act of civility, and an invitation to share in charity.

    I am coincidentally reading G.K. Chesterton's biography of St. Francis of Assisi in which he claims that a good measure of Francis' appeal to humanity was his Christ-like and genuine care for each person he encountered.

    He says, "He honoured all men; that is, he not only loved but respected them all. What gave him his extraordinary personal power was this; that from the Pope to the beggar, from the sultan of Syria in his pavilion to the ragged robbers crawling out of the wood, there was never a man who looked into those brown burning eyes without being certain that Francis Bernardone was really interested in him; in his own innter individual life from the cradle to the grave; that he himself was being valued and taken seriously..."

    Never-ending argument about the differences between Catholic and Protestant conceptions of the Faith are tiring, and may not be for everyone. But uncivil inhospitality is not the holy response.