"[Alfred the Great's] unique importance in the history of English letters comes from his conviction that a life without knowledge or reflection was unworthy of respect..."
Sir Frank Stenton
I understand where you are coming from and don't necessarily disagree, but perhaps Leithart is suggesting that Calvin was wrong. The Church was in need of reform, but she was still the Church because the four marks of the Church Catholic were still in existence; Scripture, Faith (creeds), Sacraments, and the historic Episcopate(I know that sounds too Anglican). This may not have been visible to Calvin, but it doesn't mean it didn't exist. And as we know, most of Protestantism today, not least those who have followed and/or stretched Calvin, is missing at least one of the four marks.Thanks for writing such interesting articles. Keep up the good work.
If Leithart is implicitly suggesting that Calvin is wrong, then he should dispense with the attempt to portray his own ecclesiology as more authentic to the vision of the reformers. For remember, he believes his reformed catholicity is holding down the fort for true Protestantism.
Hi Robin,This is not a big deal, but I want to point out that Leithart's article is not a blog post but an article in FT's On the Square column.Bret Saunders
Read the attached article and the links with interest. Of course, the "divide" is not merely between Calvinist protestants - vs Orthodox vs Roman catholics...some of us Protestants (as Robin and some would know) do not fit tightly into the snug Calvinist Protestant mode.Am a lifelong Protestant who does not adhere rigidly to calvinism.My experience in two Calvinist churches I formerly attended is mostly positive, but I think the high ethnic solidity and abundant self confidence of the mostly Dutch-americans who attend most Reformed churches is reflected in their theology. The world and all reality is solidly nailed down.In such Calvinist churches...One learned the Heidelberg Catechism when young, the TULIP points...and it's all settled.(I got a look of horror when I dared respectfully question a minute point of the Calvinist "TULIP" doctrine. That was my last question in that church. Kept my mouth shut (as in essence we agreed on the "basics" of Christian faith). Served. But did not ask questions again...in that place.) I'm probably more in the general baptist/free church tradition.I see Protestantism (in its best form) like the New Testament Bereans. They did not simply accept the New Testament teachings by the leaders (no blind followers of authority) but they got COMMENDED for checking all the teachings against Scripture (just the Old Testament in their day). And they were commended. So I suspect it wasn't just one Lone Wolf doing "nuda scriptura" but a core of people weighing the new teachings together. Sola Scriptura...but yes we do not disregard the fine leaders of the past (i.e. church fathers, etc.) Scripture should "trump" church tradition, church fathers if both are clearly and definitely at loggerheads.Yet one should be rightly dividing the Truth in community with other believers...again not as a Lone Wolf. (yes, sometimes some protestants have fallen into this trap.)To me, the Berean Practice is the heart of what a wise Christ-follower should do. One from ANY denomination.
Thanks for clarifying that Bret. I have corrected my post accordingly.
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