Friday, September 21, 2007

Catholic Soul trapped in a Baptist Body

In our Doctrine class today we were introduced to a Baptist author with an orthodox Catholic theology. His name is David Pawson and the book we looked at today is called Once Saved, Always Saved? It basically says that this particular piece of fundamentalist Protestant theology was invented by Luther and has absolutely no Scriptural basis whatsoever.

Apparently he is despised by the members of his own Ecclesial Community and has been banned from Protestant Theology Conferences but is regularly invited to speak at Catholic ones.

I'd love to meet him and ask why he hasn't come home yet!


Doctrine said...

'Home' is a relative concept. Do remember that not all people think like you - I'm sure you don't want to cause anymore offense do you?

gemoftheocean said...

Give him time. I expect he has to work through the "bible alone" issues and/or the "works/faith" issue.

Read Scott Hahn's conversion story - quite inspiring. These fellow, being a Baptist, has a little further to go.


MikeeUSA said...

I made a new cartoon on feminism at .What do you think?

Auricularius said...

I'm not sure that Pawson is quite as Catholic as you imply. He may insist on the need to persevere in faith, but I think he still basically believes in an extrinsic theology of justification. He also believes that you don't receive the Holy Spirit until you have been "Baptised in the Spirit" (i.e. not at Baptism) and have given evidence of this by the display charismatic gifts, such as tongues and prophecy. This seems to me to make him more of a conservative evangelical than a crypto-catholic. But all credit to him for knocking on the head the daft idea of the non-defectability of the elect!

Nic said...

Yes this is pretty basic stuff for theology students - I'm surprised you have not covered it before. I can only assume your doctrine curriculum is built around the catholic doctrine with only cursory glances at other perspectives.

Do you know that some people believe there is only one God, one Holy Spirit working within us and the same love in our hearts even if we are not catholic! - outrageous.

Orthfully Catholic said...

We at Orthfully Catholic agree with people like Scott Hahn who named the book Karen refers to 'Rome Sweet Home' because the Catholic Church is home and while it may be relative to Catholics only those who refuse to come home will be offended by the phrase. We do not like to offend by our own stupidity and readily apologise if we do but offence taken by the truth shows a need for growth.

Mrs.C said...

Speaking as someone raised in an Evangelical home and now attending a Catholic church (still haven't made the leap, but working on it), I have to say that these things can take time. The more thought put into examining the theological positions of both sides, the longer the process takes, but the more sure the outcome. After all, it does no good for someone to hastily "swim the TIber" only to have second thoughts and swim back.

Auricularius said...

I don't agree that "home is a relative concept". Perhaps the reason why some find the reference to “coming home” (i.e. to Catholicism) offensive is that they are unhappy with the idea of absolute truth in religion. But, like it or not, it is a basic tenet of the Catholic Faith, and those who bridle at it are religious liberals, whether or not they recognise the fact, or would describe themselves or such.

The word “liberal” tends to be rather controverted these days, particularly in relation to liturgical matters. So let me explain precisely what I mean. It is, in Cardinal Newman’s words, the belief that “… there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another”. As Newman also notes, it “… is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy.”
Newman’s words here come from the speech he made in 1878 when accepting the Cardinal’s hat (read it all at

Earlier, in an appendix to the second edition of the Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1865), he expands on the significance of the distinction. “Whenever men are able to act at all, there is the chance of extreme and intemperate action; and therefore, when there is exercise of mind, there is the chance of wayward or mistaken exercise. Liberty of thought is in itself a good; but it gives an opening to false liberty. Now by Liberalism I mean false liberty of thought, or the exercise of thought upon matters, in which, from the constitution of the human mind, thought cannot be brought to any successful issue, and therefore is out of place. Among such matters are first principles of whatever kind; and of these the most sacred and momentous are especially to be reckoned the truths of Revelation. Liberalism then is the mistake of subjecting to human judgment those revealed doctrines which are in their nature beyond and independent of it, and of claiming to determine on intrinsic grounds the truth and value of propositions which rest for their reception simply on the external authority of the Divine Word.” (Read the whole appendix at

Its as fundamental as that. It goes to the very heart of what we mean by “Revelation”, and it is important to get clarity here before we can even begin to discuss the specifics of what Pawson does, or does not believe. As someone who “came home” to the Catholic Church 27 years ago, OC’s statement makes perfect sense to me and isn’t in the least bit offensive.

Anonymous said...

I think you will find that to the premodernist, truth is found in revelation. To the modernist, truth can be found in reason and science. To the postmodernist truth is not found (indeed it is not capable of being found), it is created. Absolute truth is a fable. It is possible for me to create my own truth, and for cultures and subcultures to create their truth, but it is not possible to find universal truth that is applicable to all people. Such truth does not exist and should not be sought. Those who claim to possess absolute truth only do so in order to assert power over others. As Kruger explains, “Postmodernity, in contrast to modernity, rejects any notion of objective truth and insists that the only absolute in the universe is that there are no absolutes. Tolerance is the supreme virtue and exclusivity the supreme vice. Truth is not grounded in reality or in any sort of authoritative “text”, but is simply constructed by the mind of the individual [or socially constructed]".