Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Christian reunion

The following quote is (I think) from C.S. Lewis in his book Christian Reunion and Other Essays:
The real reason why I cannot be in communion with you [Roman Catholics] is not my disagreement with this or that Roman doctrine, but that to accept your Church means, not to accept a given body of doctrine, but to accept in advance any doctrine your Church hereafter produces. It is like being asked to agree not only to what a man has said but also to what he is going to say.


  1. Patrick,

    of course that quotation by Lewis is why these verses distinguish and separate followers of Christ and followers of popes:

    Act 26:16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,
    Act 26:17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles--to whom I am sending you
    Act 26:18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

  2. “Christian Reunion”, in Christian Reunion and Other Essays, edited by Walter Hooper, London: Collins, 1990, p. 17-18.

    [citation found at Beggars All site]

  3. Hi Patrick -- Roman Catholics, of course, accept the "infallibility" as a protection that "any doctrine the RCC hereafter produces" will be, well, not heretical, and so they do "accept in advance" what Lewis would not.

    This, of course, shows clearly (as natamllc indicated) what the "object of one's faith" is.

  4. One or another of the various Catholic books on CS Lewis - it's a Class A response [*], and might be Joseph Pearce's although from memory it's more likely to be Christopher Derrick's - discusses this quotation and Lewis' other objections to Catholicism, before dismissing them as "question-begging". The author did not, of course, explain why Lewis was "begging the question" with these statements. Like Newman's "To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant", it is a self-authenticating statement.

    [*] Class A Catholic responses to Lewis claim him as a "deeply Catholic" thinker, one who was just a mouse-whisker (as it were) away from swimming the Tiber before he, unluckily, died relatively young. (There are times when rejecting predestination helps solve some theodicial issues.) Class B Catholic responses, on the other hand, expose Lewis as a bigoted Ulsterman who imbibed hatred of the True Church with his old nurse's milk, and whose "mere" Christianity was a seriously defective heresy. Ironically, Lewis' close friend JRR Tolkien falls into this second category.