Friday, July 06, 2007

Catholic Priest on the Churches of Christ

Someone posted this audio clip (sounds like it might be part of a debate, it's about 20 minutes long) on my board of a priest talking about the CoC, and I found it very interesting! And on a side note, is it just me or does a priest with an Irish accent just make you feel thoroughly Catholic?

18 comments:

Cheryl said...

It's almost as if priests are just *supposed to* have an Irish accent.

It's just so right, somehow.

And for that matter, it also underscores the universality of the Church.

Stephanie said...

'Tis true, lass! ;-)

jdavidb said...

Count me as one example within the Church of Christ who believes in a literal, personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But I don't see it as an issue to divide over.

jdavidb said...

And we strongly disagree with his statement that the Bible is silent about whether or not infants are born innocent or in sin. And I would've thought Catholics would've disagreed as well....

jdavidb said...

And he gives a strawman argument about the use of a tuning fork. I personally wouldn't think it would take too much preparation to delve into that issue and find out what members of the Church of Christ think about that, and respond to what's actually believed rather than thinking he's offered some original refutation. At the very least he could find out what we say about it and accuse us of hairsplitting or rationalization or something. :)

Stephanie said...

You are kidding about the tuning fork, aren't you? I know of CoC members who have been divided over that very issue! (Ok, perhaps not a tuning fork, but a pitch pipe...I'm dead serious.)

I'm glad you're fortunate enough to have avoided such silly divisions, but it's not so everywhere. :-/

jdavidb said...

BTW, your post can be easily misunderstood to be claiming that the site the clip is posted on, churchesofchrist.com, is yours. I had a moment of confusion there as I visited, expecting to find a site critical of the Church of Christ, and didn't.

jdavidb said...

No, in fact I'm not kidding. While I do know members of the Church of Christ who have felt that a tuning fork (or pitchpipe; same difference) is wrong, it's because they were miseducated on the issue. The teaching is that offering instrumental music as worship is wrong. Sounding the pitch isn't part of the offered worship any more than announcing the hymn number or the preacher clearing his throat before the sermon.

Sure we've got some folks who are miseducated on the issue, but I think you're the one who always says we shouldn't judge the Catholic church by the teachings of its mis-catechized members. :) I would thank this priest to do the same. As I said, I really don't think it would've taken much work on his part to find out what reason Churches of Christ offer for this apparent 'contradiction' and address it. Instead he comes across as mocking, or offering a strawman. I don't think he intends to be mocking, but I do think he's guilty of not preparing fully on that point.

For those churches where there is someone who has a problem with a pitchpipe, the problem is easily resolved with the three chapters of the New Testament that deal with differences of opinion. If someone present has a problem, pitch it out.

Lately I don't use a pitchpipe, but the reason is because my toddler has been playing with it a lot, and it has been lost. :)

Stephanie said...

Ah! They're only miseducated, good to know...can you show me in the catechism or canon law of the CoC where it allows for pitchpipes so that I'm prepared to show them clearly myself if need be? ;-)

See...in Catholic Church, what is and isn't Catholic teaching (and therefore who is or isn't miseducated on an issue) is easily distinguishible because our teachings are very clearly written out. In the CoC, it's basically every man for himself with the Bible, so who's to say you're not the uneducated one?

I mean no disrespect, honestly, but this is why I have a problem with sola scriptura in general, because although you'll have plenty of people agreeing and saying one thing, you'll have others disagreeing and saying another, and the Bible doesn't always address every little issue that arises, so it's up to fallible men to figure it out. I think the priest was wisely pointing out how this setup easily lends itself to the ridiculous, small issues become salvation issues and mountains are made out of mole-hills. That's not to say that ALL CoC memebers do this, but any former (and many current) CoC members can vouch for the fact that splits concerning little details were no rare occurrance in the CoC.

In other words, I think the priest was making a point about what happens when we're all our own pope rather than really making a point about the CoC 'teaching' on pitchpipes. The point is, the question actually is considered and even argued about in the CoC, is it not? And unless there is a CoC catechism that lays down the CoC belief authoritatively, objectively each side of the argument is equally authoritative on its own, and besides deciding which argument you think is best, there's no way to tell who to trust. That alone is enough to prove the point, I believe, he was trying to make.

Perhaps he wasn't as prepared as you would have liked, but you have to admit, it is rather hard to pin down "the CoC belief" about things, as often the only response received is a vague, "We believe what the bible says," or if not, you'll get 5 different "biblical" answers from 3 different CoCers. ;-) In comparison, people looking for what the Catholic Church teaches have it extremely easy!

Sorry about the confusion with the link, I actually didn't visit the page myself, I just listened to the clip!

jdavidb said...

Ah! They're only miseducated, good to know...can you show me in the catechism or canon law of the CoC where it allows for pitchpipes so that I'm prepared to show them clearly myself if need be? ;-)

All it takes is logic and a desire to search the Scriptures. And as I mentioned above, in the case where someone's reasoning is a little off or they aren't fully understanding something, we have three entire chapters of the New Testament on how to handle differences of opinions.


See...in Catholic Church, what is and isn't Catholic teaching (and therefore who is or isn't miseducated on an issue) is easily distinguishible because our teachings are very clearly written out. In the CoC, it's basically every man for himself with the Bible, so who's to say you're not the uneducated one?


Well, we're all commanded to look and see if what we're being told is right, are we not? Sometimes it's easy: the argument that contradicts Scripture or is composed of fallacies is the wrong one. Obviously it's not always that easy, but again, we have commands on how to handle differences of opinion for some reason.

I mean no disrespect, honestly, but this is why I have a problem with sola scriptura in general, because although you'll have plenty of people agreeing and saying one thing, you'll have others disagreeing and saying another, and the Bible doesn't always address every little issue that arises, so it's up to fallible men to figure it out. I think the priest was wisely pointing out how this setup easily lends itself to the ridiculous, small issues become salvation issues and mountains are made out of mole-hills. That's not to say that ALL CoC memebers do this, but any former (and many current) CoC members can vouch for the fact that splits concerning little details were no rare occurrance in the CoC.

As opposed to the Catholic Church, where you have the split with the Orthodox and both claim to be the Catholic Church. And then there's the Societies of Piuses Ten and Five. And the Old Catholic Church. The split with the Orthodox was over two words, which the Orthodox agreed with but didn't want to say in their creed.

The point is, the question actually is considered and even argued about in the CoC, is it not?

I'm sure it is, somewhere. Just as the Catholic Church also considered and argued about the issue of instrumental worship long ago.

And unless there is a CoC catechism that lays down the CoC belief authoritatively, objectively each side of the argument is equally authoritative on its own,

Well, no, the one that has flawed reasoning behind it is objectively wrong and not authoritative.

and besides deciding which argument you think is best, there's no way to tell who to trust.

It's not a matter of picking somebody to trust. It's a matter of looking to see if what somebody is saying matches up with what the Scripture says. We can trust God. We can trust the Holy Spirit and His guidance. Why are we supposed to pick somebody and "trust" them? (i.e., accept everything they say?)

In comparison, people looking for what the Catholic Church teaches have it extremely easy!

Unless you back up and consider the question of which church claiming to be the Catholic Church is the Catholic Church. I mean, it could be these guys.

Erik said...

That someone was me! Anyways, the debate in entirety can be heard here:

http://www.churchesofchrist.com/CathloicDebate.htm

Stephanie said...

Jdavidb, I know you're already aware of my feelings about the argument that if we just look hard enough we'll surely find the right answer. As I've stated before, I don't believe Christ set up the Church so that each of us has to start from scratch, I believe He gave us an authority, yes, to trust - the Church, which is the "pillar and ground of truth." That doesn't mean I turn off my brain and follow, but it does mean I have a place to turn when in doubt to know where the buck stops, so to speak.

But, I'm perfectly willing to agree to disagree :-)

jdavidb said...

the argument that if we just look hard enough we'll surely find the right answer.

But that's not what I said.

Stephanie said...

Ok...just so I'm clear, from what I understand, you're essentially saying, "We know there is a right answer, and we know that we should be able to discern it. The way we do that is to search the scriptures and compare notes, and make sure our understanding is consistent with scripture, etc." This, to me, assumes that the answer MUST be able to be ascertained in this way.

Is there something there that I misrepresented or misunderstood?

jdavidb said...

The misunderstanding is in this sentence:

We know there is a right answer, and we know that we should be able to discern it.

I don't believe we can always discern the right answer, nor do I believe that we need to.

Stephanie said...

Ok then, thanks for the clarification...the way I grew up, that wasn't the case. To suggest that you couldn't absolutely get everything you needed, and correctly, from the bible would have sent my Dad into fits. ;-)

Now, I, personally, DO believe we can find the right answers (and I do believe God meant for us to have them), but I just disagree that the bible alone was meant to give them to us.

But, if you don't think we need to be able to have the right answer in the first place, then that's a totally different discussion, and admittedly one I'm not used to having with CoCers, as that's usually one of the points we agree on! :-)

jdavidb said...

I do think we can get everything we need. I don't think we can get right answers to 100% of the questions we ask, though, because we ask more than we need.

I think sometimes we come to an issue where we can only speak in terms of probabilities, not certainties, and I think sometimes that scares the living daylights out of people in all churches. :)

Stephanie said...

OoooooK I see where the confusion is now...you see, I've been assuming, when I say "we know there is a right answer, and we know we should be able to discern it" that we're talking about necessary things, things that we do, in fact, NEED to know. Not, what we Catholics call "disciplines" (what kind of music we use, whether priests are married or celibate, whether ladies cover their heads or not, etc) which we believe can change, to which there may not be a "right" answer, just one that is best for the time and place. I was thinking of necessary doctrine and dogma.

The problem is, when I was growing up, many CoC members seemed to have a problem discerning between these things, so that disciplinary issues were seen as matters of salvation, hence the commonly perceived attitude of legalism and unnecessary strictness on, what to most people, were small issues. Now, I do believe a lot of current CoC members are getting away from that extremism, and saying they think something might be best this way or that, but it's not necessarily a salvation issue.

So! I'll rephrase what I meant with this better understanding of what you meant.

"When it comes to matters of salvation, things that we NEED to know, we know there is a right answer, and we know that we should be able to discern it. The way we do that is to search the scriptures and compare notes, and make sure our understanding is consistent with scripture, etc." This, to me, assumes that the answer for those things necessary for salvation MUST be able to be ascertained in this way.