Archive for the ‘Inclusivism’ Category

Cirlot on Grace in and Outside the Church

September 24, 2008

The Anglican bishop Cirlot wrote a book on whether or not apostolic succesion is true (incidentally, its title is Apostolic Succession: Is It True?  Practical name for his book, eh?).  One of the objections he had to deal with to the Catholic position was that there seems to be a lot of Christians outside of of the visible Church.  The Catholic view (not Roman–just universally held by Christians across the centuries; this is the view shared by Anglicans, Orthodox, and Roman Catholics) is that the Church is an organization with visible criteria of membership, instituted directly by Christ with a heirarchical structure that has sacramental grace.  The Church is a polis, a city or nation of sorts–not an earthly one, surely, but a true polis none the less.

Cirlot mentions the arguments of the archbishop of Cantebury William Temple for the conclusion that Protestants are fully the Church in just as unqualified a way as the Catholics (which here designates Anglicans, Orthodox, and Romans).  The main argument is from the superabundance of grace that we see outside the Church.  The moral and spiritual character of Protestants is not excellent across the board; there are some bad apples.  But there are so many good Protestants that it makes the Catholic view of the Church improbable.  How could a Catholic possibly deny that a good Protestant is in the Church? 

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Inclusivism (5): The Gentiles in Romans 2:12-16

February 28, 2008

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.”

Apparently the Gentiles have the law written on their hearts, can follow the law by nature (would you call such a nature totally depraved?), and their conflicting thoughts may EXCUSE them on the day when God judges the hearts of men by Jesus Christ. Hmmmm…