Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Dreher: "The Problem of Uncertain Trumpets"

Rod Dreher, "The Problem of Uncertain Trumpets" (August 12, 2016):
Maybe you heard that our Catholic vice president, Joe Biden, recent recipient of the Laetare Medal from Notre Dame, presided over the wedding of two of his male staffers recently ...

Not a peep was heard from the Catholic bishops about this [UPDATE: Three peeps were heard, and three cheers for these bishops. — RD] — and this got Protestant theologian Carl Trueman to thinking. Excerpt:
... I have made it clear before that I believe Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option seems to build on the most realistic premise: that we must despair of national politics delivering anything for us and refocus on the local. This, as Dreher has pointed out again and again, will require withdrawal from certain spheres.

But I suggest that it will mean more than simple withdrawal. It will also require the drawing of certain lines and thereby the exclusion of certain people from church circles. We cannot bring clarity to the identity and testimony of the church unless we draw some pretty clear boundaries about who belongs and which beliefs and behaviors are legitimate....
As Carl says, if the most prominent Catholic elected official in the country can voluntarily preside in a secular capacity over a same-sex wedding, and not get disciplined by the Catholic hierarchy, something has gone very wrong. It’s not that the Church — Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, whatever — has to weigh in on every single issue. But come on, this is the Vice President of the United States. Carl is right: a church that will stand for anything stands for nothing.

The Protestant Trueman goes on to say:
As of this moment, the leadership of all of our churches in the U.S. leaves much to be desired. Mainline Protestant denominations sold out to the world two generations ago. Evangelicalism is full of vibrant enthusiasm but lacks any intellectual depth or consistency when it comes to social teaching. Confessional Protestants are such a small minority that we are barely noticeable. Key to the religious future of the United States is the Roman Catholic hierarchy. It alone has the status and the potential cohesion to make a difference. All of our hopes depend upon the Roman Catholic Church taking a clear and bold stand.

Yet therein lies the problem.

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