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The Nature of Evangelicalism--a difficulty

As everybody and his uncle in the blogosphere seems to have now heard, Prof. Frank Beckwith, my colleague at Right Reason, has returned to the Roman Catholic Church and has consequently resigned his position as president of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Though I am not Roman Catholic, I have the greatest respect for Frank and wish him all the best in service to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we both worship and follow. This has to be an intensely difficult time for him, complicated by the whole ETS presidency issue, and I have not the slightest desire to add in any way to that pressure. This post, then, though occasioned by Frank's recent decisions, is intended to be a discussion of a conundrum that faces some evangelical organizations today.

On the one hand, I cannot help thinking that it would be a good thing if an organization like the ETS were open to Catholic membership. Apparently the sola fide aspect of its statement of faith was (said one of the organization's founders) intentionally written to exclude Catholics. I cannot but think that is a shame. Similarly, I would like to see a school like Biola University be willing to accept--and promote, and tenure--Eastern Orthodox professors. You could in that sense call me "ecumenical," though I dislike the term because of the ways in which it's been used. If I had my druthers I'd write up for Christian organizations and institutions a statement of faith that was rockin' and "in your face" on issues like the historical resurrection, the deity of Jesus Christ, and even the evils of postmodernism and cultural issues like abortion, but that deliberately included conservative Baptists, Catholics, and Orthodox who agreed on those issues that are to my mind more basic than those on which we disagree. In a flippant moment I have even come up with a humorous name for such an organization: Conservative Evangelical and Catholic Theological Society, with an acronym pronounced "sects."

But matters are not quite that simple. Consider, for example, the following quotation from the new president-elect of Biola, linked from the post on Biola:

"Evangelicals are not defined by a political party, by their views on when life begins or by their justification for the war in Iraq," says Barry H. Corey, academic dean and a professor of church history at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary outside Boston. "Evangelicals are Democrats, Republicans and independents; they are conservatives, liberals and moderates; Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians; members of churches large and small."

As I pointed out in the comments thread, this is not entirely good news for Biola. While it may resolve, and in a good direction, the problem of Biola's treatment of its Eastern Orthodox professors, let's face the question: Is this guy a liberal? Is he, as this quotation seems to indicate, positioning himself as positively welcoming pro-aborts into the evangelical camp? What direction is he going to take Biola?

The problem is this: Once you start loosening up the screws of an institution or organization, it's not always easy to make sure that you loosen only the ones you want to loosen. Ironically, while some Catholics imply that evangelicals have a serious problem with being disconnected from tradition, evangelical Protestants do have a theological and even a cultural tradition, and a long and important one, though one that (unfortunately) often has anti-Catholic propositions woven into its very warp and woof. Yet that very tradition has, I think we should not only admit but positively affirm, been an important part of the strength of Christianity in the United States during the past century. The evangelicals and fundamentalists have kept the flame of Christian orthodoxy burning when many a mainstream denomination not only let it die but poured water on it. And how easy is it going to be to retain the good aspects of that tradition--the emphasis on creedal orthodoxy and objective theological truth, the excellent record of raising children and young people to love and follow Jesus Christ as adults, even much wonderful music--while asking evangelicals to "lighten up" on sola scriptura and sola fide and send their kids to Christian college to be taught by Roman Catholics?

So the question is this: Is it sociologically possible to loosen up evangelical organizations and institutions (like colleges) so that they admit professors and members who hold to the Sacraments--e.g., Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Lutherans--without inadvertently weakening their resistance to what conservatives in all these camps would condemn as theological heresy and cultural liberalism? Is it worth trying? And what is the best approach to doing so?

Comments (20)

As a Catholic, even though as admitted here there is a strain of anti-Catholicism which runs through Evangelicalism, I feel much closer to evangelicals than to even liberal Catholics let alone what are termed mainstream Protestants. Why? Because Evangelicals --as well as Catholics-believe in Revelation and the power of God. Our reference point is what God has said through Jesus and the Holy Spirit--not Supreme Court decisions, not polls of brainwashed Americans, not the high-flown theories of ego-driven scholars
not the editorial pages of the NY Times.

A lot of complex issues raised here (almost all of which I'm not going to deal with). I don't see an answer to your last question unless we know what an Evangelical Theological Society considers its reason for being. Is it ecumenical, in that it admits the possibility of error in its own theology, and would like to find out what it can learn from Orthodox and Catholics that might be incorporated into its own tradition? Or is it to shore up it founding principles to defend itself against the trend of Protestant liberalism and the corruptions of Catholicism? If the latter, it seems to me Catholics by definition would have to be excluded from it. If your Conservative Evangelical and Catholic Theological Society were ever to happen, what would be its purpose? Converting the other side? Catholics have enough problems with the Orthodox without having to deal with Prots as well. Or would it be to war together against common cultural abominations, like abortion? I don't think they need some kind of Society to accomplish that. Just get together and do it.

My problem with ecumenism has always been that, unless your country were invaded by Muhammed or Charlemagne and its inhabitants forced to convert, such conversions as Dr. Beckwith's usually occur on an individual basis. I don't see that ecumenism has accelerated the pace. Gatherings of theological eminences of various traditions strike me as politeness parties, in which we learn not to be too strident about our differences. (This has not filtered down to some in the combox at Right Reason.)

I think Deacon John's emphasis on Revelation is a good starting point, if we have to have one, but again Catholics and Protestants have a slightly (or perhaps hugely) different notion of what it means. Don't Evangelicals, of the sort Beckwith associates with, and Baptists recite the Nicene Creed? That puts them more in touch with Tradition and the Fathers of the Church than some would like to admit.

That statement, btw, of Biola's new pres-elect is very off-putting, as when he says Evangelicals are not defined by, among other things, "when life begins." I conjecture that when the Holy Ghost conceived Christ in Mary's womb, the human life of He who was like us in all things save sin indeed began. That ought to be a minimal requirement for anyone who calls himself orthodox. But then I'm militant on the issue.

Well. That was all over the place. Anyway, God bless Mr. Beckwith.

Here's the purpose of the ETS as they state it:

"To foster conservative Biblical scholarship by providing a medium for the oral exchange and written expression of thought and research in the general field of the theological disciplines as centered in the Scriptures."

So basically it's a scholarly organization. They have a journal and publish articles of conservative biblical and theological scholarship. They have conferences where theology and biblical scholarship papers are presented. Like that. They have a parallel philosophical association.

It seems to me that there's a real place for an organization like that, given the sorry state of much theological and biblical scholarship! But what I'd like to see is the emphasis on "conservative" rather than on "not Catholic." There's no reason why a faithful Catholic couldn't contribute to that purpose as stated above.

As for colleges, it's pretty straightforward what sort of purpose a Christian college would have: Something like a Christ-centered, high-quality, Christian liberal arts education. And, again, one can well imagine conservative Catholics and evangelicals working very well together in such an endeavor. Catholic colleges usually are quite willing to hire Protestants, but it often doesn't go the other way, and it seems to me that there would be an argument that it should...

_If_--and this is a big "if"--_if_ that didn't just mean that all the true conservatives (who also happened to be anti-Catholic, perhaps) up and left the evangelical college or organization and that the remaining folks were wussy on basic theological and moral issues. Then the heart is gone from the institution or organization and it cannot carry out its original purpose at all.

That's the dilemma: Do you leave, or even strive to keep, a fundamentalist or conservative evangelical organization in its pristine state, true to its own original nature, even if that includes the deliberate exclusion of Catholics and Orthodox, or do you try to reform it _just in such-and-such a way_ at the risk of destroying it altogether?

Well, if it meant the true conservatives would up and walk out, I say leave it the way it is. They can still talk to Caths and Orthos in another forum. I just hope that conservative Evangelicalism = anti-Catholicism is a mindset suffering gradual diminution.

"Catholic colleges usually are quite willing to hire Protestants..." They're also willing to hire atheists and harbor heretics. But I think you're right, that Protestant colleges could let in Catholics if they were more discriminating than the major Catholic universities have been. It cannot be for the purpose of demonstrating how open-minded they are.

Lord willing, the churches will be reunited, with the insights of the various denominations being incorporated back into the Universal Church. Nothing is impossible with God.

At my Evangelical (PCA) church, we recite the Nicene Creed occasionally; though we generally favor the Apostles'. But as Bill says, both evidence a connection to the Tradition that is often elided (or even almost falsified) in the lingering forms and tropes of anti-Catholicism.

The late Pope John Paul II was also beloved by many Evangelicals, had won from them the deepest respect and affection. This is no small thing.

And I can vouch that Paul speaks from the heart.

This by way of update (though everyone may have seen it already): Frank has now resigned his ETS _membership_ as well as the presidency. I gather he foresaw--with reason--an attempt to have him kicked out of the organization. He wants the conversation over whether ETS will allow Catholic members to take place in a less heated atmosphere than that of an attempted ouster of a specific member. Also, I'm sure, he just doesn't want to hang around to be hounded in that fashion. In an interesting twist on the matter, it appears (from the comments thread, no less!) that his wife, Frankie, wants him to stay in the ETS and fight.

And what all this shows for the present thread is this: There is a lot to be said for these organizations' allowing Catholic and Orthodox members. What happens is that they word their statements of faith in a way that some intend to exclude anyone from such traditional, sacramental denominations. But then other members and sometimes officers of the organization either don't know this--because it isn't said _explicitly_--or don't enforce it. So, at Biola, Eastern Orthodox faculty were hired, put in important positions (John Mark Reynolds was for years head of the prestigious Torrey Honors program), and _then_ there's a brouhaha when somebody says they weren't supposed to do that. Or somebody, in this case Frank, converts or reconverts to Catholicism, creating a "test case," since the statements of faith don't say in so many words "No Roman Catholics Allowed," "No Greek Orthodox Allowed." And then, people get hurt and an organization or institution loses valuable members. If we were talking about catching liberals trying to sneak in liberals, I'd be sympathetic to the witch-hunters. But in these cases I really believe the groups in question are harming themselves by kicking people out or (in the case of Biola) bringing them in and then limiting their options for promotion. That, of course, reflects _my_ view on how problematic it should be (i.e. _not_) for Christian institutions to have such members.

So the whole thing is just terribly complicated. One solution might be for such groups to "grandfather" anyone who came in before their institutional definition explicitly excluded particular denominations. Then, if this is what they wanted to do, they could more explicitly exclude Catholics or Orthodox from then on. I think part of the trouble is that theologians have this inclination to feel, even if they don't say, "I don't want to come out and write 'No Catholics' into my school's or society's bylaws. Instead, I want to state the overarching Deep Theological Truth that is supposed to exclude Catholics as a consequence. Then we look intellectual and principled to the world rather than narrow and bigoted."

Dr. McGrew raised the question, 'is it sociologically possible to loosen up evangelical organizations and institutions [like colleges] so they admit professors and members who hold to the sacraments--e.g., Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Lutherans, without inadvertantly weakening their resistance to what conservatives in all these camps would condemn as Theological heresy and cultural liberalism?'

I don't think it is how one views the sacraments that is the issue. Anglicans like Archbishop Peter Jensen, Archbishop Peter Jaspar Akinola, Revd. J. I Packer, and Revd. Peter Toon are all widely respected in the Evangelical world.

With Lutherans I see no obstacle. J. A. O. Preuss, Paul Little and John Warwick Montgomery immediately come to mind as men widely respected in Evangelical circles.

Indeed, evangelicalism is properly defined by its adherence to Dr. Martin Luthers five solas.
Sola Scriptura is the only one the Evangelical Theological Society insists on. Prof. Roger Nicole thought this was adequate and necessary to exclude Roman Catholics.

The problem, evangelicals like myself, have with the Church of Rome is that we believe she departed from orthodoxy in her official pronouncements of the Council of Trent and Vatican I. Sola Scriptura is key in as much as the Bible, is for Evangelicals, the infallible Word of God the final authority in matters of faith and practice. Evangelicals believe that in a formal sence the Church of Rome has become apostate.

If we wished to create a broader body that included conservative Roman Catholics and Evangelicals then maybe we should stipulate that the all participants must subscribe to the Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds. If we wished to include Eastern Orthodox brethren then the Apostles, Nicene, and Chalcedon creed.

I wd. imagine, though, that it's a matter of how the evangelical body in question views the notion of the sacraments. Some, for example, automatically believe that any sacramental theology is contrary to sola fide. This is especially pressed when we are thinking of groups that hold to any form of baptismal regeneration, especially for infants, as I know many high Anglicans do and certainly Eastern Orthodox do. Lutheran? There I'm ignorant, though I'm confident that Mr. Yeutter will know what Lutheran theology is on infant baptism. Anyway, at Biola the argument was made that the EO faculty couldn't be signing the statement of faith in good faith as it included sola fide and those faculty members believed in baptismal regeneration for infants.

I also fear that some evangelicals might view sola fide as incompatible with the doctrine that falling away is possible. My understanding is that Lutherans hold to the possibility of falling away. I can't recall what the 39 Articles say on the subject, but I know many of the Anglican collects seem to assume the possibility of apostasy (and to pray that we would not fall into it but rather "would come to thy heavenly kingdom," etc). This doesn't bother _me_, as I think Scripture certainly leaves that option open. But I imagine some of my evangelical brethren might argue that sola fide entails eternal security.

I'm not seeing sola fide in the ETS "doctrinal basis". It looks more like sola scriptura to me.

The stated but undefended premise in the article above is that it would be a good thing for groups like the ETS to be open to Catholics. If the purpose of the group were only some "conservative" social cause (e.g. opposition to abortion), then that would make sense, for then the purpose of the group would not extend to those ecclesial goals about which Evangelicals and Catholics differ. But if the specific purpose of the group includes opposition to Catholicism, then it seems to me that the group's being open to Catholics would not be good relative to the specific telos of the group (even if it would be good all things considered, and/or good relative to Catholics). This is especially so if the Catholics were admitted to the group on an equal basis with the other members of the group.

The purpose of a group is not necessarily exhausted by the content of its purpose statement. Its doctrinal statement may also contain additional qualifications and clarifications of the purpose of the group. It seems to me that the purpose of the inclusion of the Trinitarian statement in the ETS "doctrinal statement" is to provide the genus (i.e. Trinitarian Christian), and the purpose of the sola scriptura statement is to provide the species (i.e. Evangelical). It also seems to me that the sola scriptura statement was intended to exclude Catholics (among others) because Catholics hold both that tradition is a "co-ordinate source and rule of faith" and that "the decrees of popes and councils [are] the only legitimate and infallible interpreter of the Bible" [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12495a.htm" rel="nofollow">Catholic Encylopedia

], even if the ETS's sola scriptura statement is worded so poorly that it fails to do that. The doctrinal statement's implicit exclusion of Catholics informs our understanding of the specific purpose of the ETS as that of advancing theological scholarship within a community of persons committed to sola scriptura, and thus committed to the non-existence of any infallible tradition and any infallible Magisterium.

Therefore it seems to me that it would not be good, relative to the specific telos of the ETS, for the ETS to be open to Catholics, since Catholics reject sola scriptura (even if Catholics can without casuistry subscribe to the poorly worded line of the ETS doctrinal statement). Similarly, if the specific telos of any group is at least implicitly opposed to Catholicism, then for the same reason, it would not be good relative to the specific telos of that group for that group to be open to Catholics. In fact, any group whose specific telos is essentially Protestant will be essentially opposed to Catholicism. This is why Corey's statement makes no sense *if* sola scriptura is part of the essence of Evangelicalism, for then there can be no such thing as Evangelical Catholics or Evangelical Orthodox. But if sola scriptura is not essential to Evangelicalism, then what exactly is Evangelicalism? Even the first line of the National Association of Evangelicals' "Statement of Faith" is a form of sola scriptura.

I am not going to begin to try to sort out the essence of Evangelicalism (if there is one). My point is that if we are going to evaluate whether admitting Catholics to a group is good relative to the specific telos of that group, we have to know whether opposition to Catholicism is intrinsic to the specific telos of that group. And in cases involving self-described Evangelical groups we may have to determine what exactly is meant by 'Evangelical' in order to determine whether there is any opposition to Catholicism at least implicit in the specific telos of the group in question.

Hey, Bryan!

First, welcome to WWWtW! It's good to see a familiar "face," and I hope you don't mind my mentioning it. (I think this is the Bryan I think it is. :-))

Second, I would be the last person to argue that the ETS statement of faith is just opaque as far as the intention of excluding Catholics. I think you word what you say here quite well. Some who are indignant on Frank's behalf might well imply that we have just _no_ idea that the statement was intended to exclude Catholics unless we look into some sort of mysterious unknown private intentions of the authors. But I agree with you that it's an obvious reference to "sola scriptura," and that historically it's quite well known that sola scriptura has been used to differentiate Catholics from Protestants. I agree as well with your assessment that Frank's intent at first to stay on as a member was itself honest rather than Jesuitical, because the specific wording of the statement is sloppy and thus--while implicitly Protestant--admits without straining of a Catholic interpretation. So nobody is being dishonest, but in the end it's understandable that they should feel he should have known they were trying to be a Protestant organization.

I think, though, that it's worth asking whether the telos of encouraging conservative biblical and theological scholarship within an evangelical Protestant context is as valuable as the goal of encouraging such scholarship within a more broadly Christian context. I myself would like to see an organization that did the latter, while not just being open to any nonsense. In fact, I'd rather a theological organization excluded open theists (!) and postmodernists (!) and included Catholics. They'd publish, in my opinion, better theology that way!

But even if we grant that there might be good reasons for having a distinctively evangelical Protestant theological society, when we come to talk about a college, I think it's even clearer that a Christian college that draws from a pool of applicants that includes Catholic and Orthodox as well as evangelical Protestant is going to be able to do a better job educationally than one that restricts itself only to the last group. Let's face it: In so many of the disciplines of the academy today the market is saturated with nutballs. While in one sense (the purely economic one) it is a buyer's market, in another sense it can be very hard for a school to find good people in areas like history and (God help us!) English. This is because so many graduat programs are turning out PhD's messed up with every manner of "-ism." It's just, in my opinion, asking for an academically weak faculty or worse--a faculty consisting of people with major problems in areas of methodology--to restrict your pool of applicants only to evangelical Protestants.

So I would definitely argue that a Christian school that wants to be a good liberal arts institution, and still more if they want to offer graduate classes, should not take as its telos "offering an excellent education within an entirely evangelical Protestant context."

There are other arguments that could be made for that thesis as well.

Finally, to clarify: You're quite right that the ETS statement doesn't include sola fide. I brought that up because a) Tom Yeutter was talking about the concern with the "five solas," and b) a number of people criticizing Frank's move have brought up the "five solas." I had gotten the feeling that there are those who would like to define some institutions with all five solas, including sola fide, as well as with sola scriptura. Oh, and c) sola fide was apparently at issue in the Biola controversy. I took Tom to be implying (though I may have been overreading him) that an institution that defined itself by the five solas would have no problem with hiring or having as members Lutherans and Anglicans, but if you use sola fide under some interpretations, that's not obvious.

The ETS in only insisting on a kind of watered down sola scriptura as a doctrinal basis tolerated guys that believed in errant inerrancy, and the open view, but not Roman Catholics. That doesn't at first glance seem right.

Roman Catholics are problematic for the evangelical community in a way that Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans and Lutherans are not. The Church of Rome at Trent officially denied sola scriptura. That meant from an evangelical perspective Rome official became apostate.

Lutherans and Anglicans have been welcome to teach at prestigious evangelical schools. Dr. John Warwick Montgomery, a Lutheran, was visiting proffesor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for a number of years. Prof. Philip Edgecombe Hughes, an Anglican, was visiting proffesor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for many year. Both quite openly held positions contrary to the statement of faith of the institutions in which they served.

The schools that they served tolerated them because they thought the scholarship they brought to the table out wieghed their error. A Roman Catholic could not be tolerated because he his not just in minor error but starts from an apostate position, by denying sola scriptura.

How could we benefit from each other without compromising basic principles? Maybe we need to locate our education institutions in proximity to each other so that students can benefit from the exchange of ideas with those from other traditions. Maybe societies like the ETS need to join with Roman Catholics in seminars that would be mutually beneficial.

It's interesting that Montgomery and Hughes held positions contrary to their schools' statements of faith. Most schools require that you sign the statements to be employed. I'm not so much interested in whether a Lutheran or Anglican would be tolerated despite dissenting from a statement of faith--I suppose a school might just decide to make an exception--as in whether a statement of faith that included sola fide would usually be _intended_ (if someone signed it) to exclude those who held to (say) baptismal regeneration.

Carl Trueman of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals blogs on this topic at:
http://www.reformation21.org/Upcoming_Issues/Professor_Beckwith/330/
Trueman concludes by saying he let his own membership in the ETS lapse a couple of years ago, "and joined the North American Patristic Society. My reason: there are so many post modern, open theist types in ETS (who can, I think, sign the doctrinal statement with integrity, so minimally orthodox and inadequate as a Christian statement is it) that I decided it was bizarre to remain a member of a group with many of whose members I had less in common than I do with good confessionally Catholic friends. I resolved instead to use my money to learn more about the early church fathers from which later Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant developed. Frankly the NAPS is a better value for the money: and, believe it or not, patristic reading reading has persuaded me to stick with Geneva, rather than head to Rome."

Lydia, yep it's me. (Writing style gave me away!) I agree with your reply. The specific telos of a school may differ from the specific telos of a group like the ETS.

Thomas, as for Trueman's article, I wrote a response to that here.

Hey, Bryan. Nope, I was devious: I saw you comment on Frank's thread, clicked, found your blog, and then when you showed up here clicked and found the same blog. You gave your last name on Right Reason. Sorry your comment was delayed so long. The automated anti-spam settings probably caught it because there is a link in it, and I just today ran across it languishing with the Mercedes Benz advertisements. :-)

I think you are on to something about the "baptism of desire" in your post. I was just saying to someone recently that there's a surprising amount of extensional overlap between Catholics and Baptists on who is saved, especially given the recent interpretation of "outside of the church there is no salvation" as permitting Protestants to be going to heaven. And Baptists usually believe _all_ babies go to heaven, so they certainly believe that baptized ones go there, even if they think the parents shouldn't have baptized them.

What you say about Trueman and the Protestant view of assurance echoes my question as to whether most people who emphasize sola fide mean by that to subscribe to OSAS. The answer, I think, is that certainly not all of them do, but some of them do.

I, too, found Trueman's last paragraph about open theism to be striking. To me all of this just goes to show that statements of faith are going to have to grow bells, whistles, and add-ons in response to the heresy-of-the-decade. I see no way around it.

Frank Beckwith a Roman Catholic? Next you will say that the son of Francis Shaffer turned Eastern Orthodox! Oh wait a minute, he did. Some evangelicals are finding that the five solas are like eating seeds, when the whole watermelon is before you. There is so much more to Christanity than is offered in most evangelical denominations.

There is an organization that encompasses all the traditions of Christanity without going liberal. To look it up, google Mere Christanity. Yes that is the title of a C.S. Lewis book and his writings seem to be the reason for this groups existance. It would be a good starting point for many to help breakdown some of the left over middle ages tension between the churches and open up a dialouge we must enter into if the witness for Christ is to continue in any kind of strength.

And if I maybe so Bold as to answer the question that is posed by the website name. What is wrong with the world? The body of Christ follows Calvin, Zwingli, Luther (insert name here) instead of Christ. We of course will always be in a sinful world but it would be a much better place if the Body followed the head instead of some weak parts that dare to form God in the image of Erasmus.

Frank Schaffer is in the Orthodox camp more on the liberal side in theology. I agree that evangelicals don't have a sense of church history since church history isn't emphasis. Take Rick Warren's church. Rick warren should have known that Tarsus was in modern Turkey not Syria. Most evangelicals and some Catholics don't care about the church in the latter Roman empire or the medieval period since its not apart of their current lives. Probably the Orthodox have a better sense of history since they have historical figures as St's such as Constantine the Great, Theodosius the Great, and Justinian the Great and so forth. Lord int he Roman Empire means something very different from being a CEO of a company, but many evangelicals try to over modernized the new testment which was written in the time of the Roman Empire.

Lydia,

The fault between Catholics and Protestants goes back 500 years. It was irreconcilable then, to the extent that Rome put a hit out on Luther. What many Protestants don't seem to realize in this age of mushy sentimental tolerance, neither side has moved one inch. Take one simple irreconcilable difference: Rome says the cross/attonement/propitiation of the blood of Christ is necessary for salvation but not sufficient; Luther, Calvin, et al of the Reformation said no, the blood is sufficient, and anything added to it is in reality a detraction from that sufficiency. This is an issue of what is the gospel. This is non-negotiable, regardless of the fact that Rome and Protestants have many tangential beliefs in common.

Interesting. Lydia is right in saying that there is more than just one "interpretation" to Sola Fide. The same is true with Sola Scripture. But as far as forming a separate society for these things? Well, only time will tell.

ICXC NIKA

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