Bahnsen on D’Souza and Catholic Protestants November 27, 2010

This is my opportunity to introduce my friend David Bahnsen to Blue Kennel readers. I myself happened to be under the impression that before D”Souza relocated to NYC he was in fact attending an evangelical megachurch in San Diego. But be that as it may. Yes, the Protestants mostly abandoned the Protestant “world and life view” for what I have called Great Commission Utilitarianism, the belief that the occupations of ordinary life mainly exist to support the so-called Great Commission, whether narrowly or holistically conceived. And Catholics, especially Jose Maria Escriva”, the founder of Opus Dei, have moved in the other direction. (May I take this opportunity to plug the forthcoming film There Be Dragons, about a fictitious character who is a boyhood friend of Escriva” but ends up as a Franco supporter though his attitude is more Randian.) Catholics would sometimes argue that it is their view of transubstantiation that leads them to a Protestant-like world and life view, even more than the Protestants; if the elements really, really become the body and blood of Christ, then Christ obviously cares about material reality and is “in the universe business,” as Bahnsen and I would put it. And in a previous post I admitted that my difficulties with transubstantiation, and the original Protestant difficulty with transubstantiation, were not with transubstantiation itself, but with the priestly class that was apparently needed to mediate grace. If the elements truly become the body and blood of the Lord under the appearance of bread and wine in response to the faith of the believer, not the presence of a properly ordained member of a priestly class supposedly mediating grace, I would really not have a lot of trouble with transubstantiation! Anyhow, the fact is that with some noble exceptions Catholics have been doing better work than Protestants on “Protestant ” world and life view issues in the last few years. The proper response of Protestants to this should not be complaining, but repentance.

Related: “Roman Catholics the Heirs of the Reformation?” by David L. Bahnsen

One Comments
Aaron Kheriaty 11/28/2010

Jennifer’s Response:
I loved your shout out to St. Josemaria and thought your comment about
the Eucharist and God being “in the universe business” was incredibly
perceptive.  You may enjoy this homily by St. Josemaria, called
“Passionately Loving the World,” that speaks of this same theme.  I’m
attaching the link.

http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/conversations-chapter-8.htm

Regarding what you said below….

If the elements truly become the body and blood of the Lord under  

the appearance of bread and wine in response to the faith of the  

believer, not the presence of a properly ordained member of a  

priestly class supposedly mediating grace, i would really not have a  

lot of trouble with transubstantiation!

I seem to think the exact opposite.  If God is truly omnipotent, and
all powerful, than His ability to work miracles should be independent
of my belief in their validity.  In other words, God’s power is not in
any way controlled by my faith or lack thereof.  Either God truly
becomes present, by His own desire to be fully united to us, or He
doesn’t.

If half a congregation believes that the bread and wine truly become
the body and blood of our Lord, but the other half does not believe,
than God’s power to act shouldn’t be diminished by human weakness, or
lack of faith.  Either He has chosen to be transubstantiated through
the humble hands of the priest, independent of the congregations
faith, or he hasn’t.

If I follow what you said, it suggests that we can somehow control
God’s power to perform miracles, which seems incongruous with the fact
that we are his creation, and therefore, infinitely less powerful than
He.

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