Not Called to Communion: “The Church”-1

I want to take a minute here and talk about my hopes to continue to look at “Called to Communion.”

After Ratzinger outlines his rules for “the base memory of the church” as his standard to judge both what the text says and what is “historically and objectively accurate” – as opposed to “a patient and humble listening to the text,” Ratzinger begins to discuss “the witness of the New Testament regarding the origin and essence of the Church.”

It should be clear to anyone who has participated in recent Protestant/Catholic discussions, that the topic of “the church” (or “the Church”) — and how you define it — is fairly central to the discussion. As I’ve written in the past, Turretin has commented (as have others) that, while Protestants argue that “the church” is defined by “the faith,” that is, the content of what is to be believed, as taught in Scripture, the Roman Church claims that it, itself, has the authority to define what “the faith” is.

Ratzinger claims to take an “exegetical” view (although I’ve already shown that exegesis is to be subjected to some as yet undefined “memory of the church”) — he focuses on such topics as “the local Church and the universal Church,” and he makes the case that both an early catholicism and a primacy of Rome are present in the text. My intention is to argue, again, exegetically, that neither of these is the case.

Initially, I had just wanted to begin with Ratzinger’s analysis of “the primacy of Peter and the succession of bishops of Rome,” which I think is extremely weak. And I had thought to sidestep, for a time, his analysis of “church”. But I think it is important enough, and confusing enough, that I want to spend some time on it. After that, then, I’ll continue my look at his argment for “primacy” and “succession” in the New Testament.

At any rate, I’m taking my time on this for two reasons, first, because work and family considerations are keeping me (happily) occupied and second, because I want to do a good job with this.

So I want to thank those of you who continue to stop by, and to as you to continue to be patient.

Published by John Bugay

"We are His workmanship," His poiema, His "poetry." If you've ever studied poetry, or struggled to write a poem, you understand the care God takes to "work all things together for good" in our lives. For this reason, and many others, I believe in the Sovereignty of God. I have seen His hand working in my life, and I submit myself to His merciful will, with all my being.

5 replies on “Not Called to Communion: “The Church”-1”

  1. John, I’m reading some Abraham Kuyper right now… and enjoying it. He gave a series of lectures at Yale, I think, in about 1898. That’s what I’m reading. What a man he was… But on to my point- which is really just some uninvited feedback… I continue to visit your website, not to understand more about what you don’t believe, but to understand more about what you do believe. I understand that you reject Catholicism. So I wish you’d spend more time talking about who you are rather than who you aren’t. Because that’s what I’m missing in all of this. The title of this series of posts is “Not Called…” Well, then, to what are you called? thanks. herbert.


  2. Herbert, I’m a fairly typical Reformed believer. Member of a PCA church, I’ve audited a lot of online classes through both Covenant Seminary’s “Worldwide Classroom,” and also RTS on iTunes. From Covenant, I’ve done both Church History courses, Calvin’s Institutes, New Testament Interpretation (Gary Chapman was outstanding). Through RTS, I’ve really enjoyed both Church History courses from Frank James. John Frame on apologetics, and also history of philosophy. I’m kind of in the middle of Paul’s Letters (Knox Chamblin) and Systematic Theology (Douglas Kelly).

    I have very strong affinities with Scott Clarks’s “Recovering the Reformed Confession” (though I’m not quite all the way there), as well as WCS’s whole program. I love the daylights out of Steve Hays ( I think he’s one of the smartest and most generous Christian apologists out there.


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