29 December 2009

A Few Gems from Ratzinger on Liturgy

that I happen to think are bang on right:

"The freedom with which we are concerned in the Christian feast - the feast of the Eucharist - is not the freedom to devise new texts but the liberation of the world and ourselves from death. Only this can make us free, enabling us to accept truth and to love one another in truth." Benedict XVI (Feast of Faith, p. 65)

"The community does not become a community by mutual interaction. It receives its being as a gift from an already existing completeness, totality, and in return it gives itself back to this totality. We cannot go into detail here, but this is why the liturgy cannot be "made." This is why it has to be simply received as a given reality and continually revitalized.... In this sense liturgy *always* imposed an obligatory form on the individual congregation and individual celebrant. It is a guarantee, testifying to the fact that something greater is taking place here than can be brought about by any individual community or group of people. It expresses the gift of joy, the gift of participation in the cosmic drama of Christ's resurrection, by which the liturgy stands or falls." (p. 66, 67)

"It is also worth observing here that the 'creativity' involved in manufactured liturgies has a very restricted scope. It is poor indeed compared with the wealth of the received liturgy in its hundreds and thousands of years of history. Unfortunately, the originators of homemade liturgies are slower to become aware of this than the participants..." (p. 67,68)

And from *Spirit of the Liturgy*:

"Only respect for the liturgy's fundamental unspontaneity and pre-existing identity can give us what we hope for: the feast in which the great reality comes to us that we ourselves do not manufacture but receive as a gift." p. 168

106 comments:

Rev Rydecki said...

I appreciate much of what you share on your blog, Fr. Weedon, but this one gives me great pause.

The demons were "bang on right" when they confessed that Jesus was the Son of God, too. But Jesus shut them up because he didn't want that kind of publicity.

Do you really want to be quoting Antichrist as the author of "gems"?

Paul said...

Somehow I don't think that the Antichrist would confess joy in the celebration of the Resurrection of the very one he opposses.

William Weedon said...

Rev. Rydecki,

It was BEFORE he assumed the fearful office of Bishop of Rome that he wrote the words I quote. I remember still when he was elected pope being in utter shock and joy that my favorite Roman liturgiologist could possibly be elevated to be Bishop of Rome. The only pope in history to have read and sought to understand Luther...

Gregory L. Jackson said...

What happened to "When in doubt, quote Luther"? That could be changed to "Quote Chemnitz." The Antichrist should be quoted to show how dangerous he is, not to glory in how much he has to teach us.

William Weedon said...

Dear Pastor Jackson,

There is no doubt that when in doubt one should listen to the Blessed Reformer - his wisdom is remarkable and guides us to this day. Was there anything in what I cited from the Pope that you think Luther himself would have found objectionable?

Mason said...

Great stuff... I am reading Kieran Flanagan, "Sociology and Liturgy" and he has some gems from Cardinal Ratzinger as well. Thanks-
+Mason

Past Elder said...

The words are just words. In fact, they invalidate the rites Raztinger imposed then and imposes now on the Roman Church.

There is nothing received about a liturgy that dates from 1970.

There is everything homemade about a liturgy that dates from 1970.

The antiquity of many of its bits and pieces is what disguises this. Liturgy is a whole, not bits and pieces. Those who construct homemade liturgy from buts and pieces of the past are no different than those who construct them from contemporary elements.

In that way it is precisely an individual community which has brought about the liturgy Ratzinger represents, precisely a group of people who crafted it, then imposed it, and now even churches of the Reformation follow its disastrous lead.

Utter duplicity from the Whore of Babylon. As usual, and as always.

Rev Rydecki said...

Fr. Weedon,

I doubt very much that the Cardinal's theology changed when he transitioned to the office of Antichrist.

If he sought to understand Luther, he has apparently failed, for the office he holds still repudiates the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ, and condemns those who hold to Luther's teaching.

If Christ returns today (¡que así sea!), then your favorite liturgiologist will be destroyed with the breath of the Lord Jesus' mouth and destroyed by the splendor of his coming (2 Thess. 2:8, NIV). I fail to see how one finds joy in that.

I love the liturgy, too, but the best Antichrist can do is ape the true liturgy of the gospel that he anathematizes.

Paul,

As for "confessing joy in the celebration of the Resurrection," yes, he effectively masquerades as an angel of light. No doubt.

William Weedon said...

I'd just suggest reading the works. After that a discussion of them might be profitable?

Scott Larkins said...

Reason 392 why it's often embarrassing to be associated with Lutheranism. A task which I increasingly find difficult.

Boaz said...

Dangerous territory!

I wonder if Pope Benedict considers Luther to have been a manufacturer of homemade liturgies or wrongly concerned with the freedom to devise new texts.

Actually, we know the answer. I wonder how Lutherans can agree with the Pope that liturgy cannot be made but is received as obligatory(!) on the congregation (from whom?).

I don't see how catholic or orthodox arguments in favor of liturgy can.ever be helpful. Their reasons for using historic liturgy have nothing to do with ours. The tradition of their corporate body is normative, ie, their human tradition binds their consciences. Lutherans accept historic liturgy only insofar, and because, it teaches scrptural truths about Christ's saving work for us. Christian freedom is so important because it preserves this distinction: it prevents us from relying on tradition or corporate agreement to justify pharisaical chains to bind consciencesand give false hope of salvation.

The Lutheran case for liturgy can't compromise true Christian freedom. It can't use the false version of freedom peddled by catholic magisterialists or by church growth purpose drivers. Both willingly redefine freedom as obedience to some non-scriptural principle as pb16 does here. Lutherans can't do that.they must acknowledge freedom, and make a positive case for what the liturgy teaches and for the joys of connecting ourselves willingly to past and present Christians.

William Weedon said...

Boaz, might I ask if you are James W.? You seem to share the same fears in any case.

Actually, I don't think it's dangerous territory at all. To recognize the liturgy as fundamentally a "given" is to recognize that the Word and the Sacrament come to us as GIFT - originating in God Himself - and is precisely not something we manufacture, but a reality in which we are graciously embraced and enlivened into fellowship with the Blessed Trinity.

Scott Larkins said...

"...Luther to have been a manufacturer of homemade liturgies or wrongly concerned with the freedom to devise new texts."

Well he(Luther) certainly did. And that is an undeniable and sad fact.

William Weedon said...

Actually, Scott, it is far more complex than that. Take the German "Creed" - "We All Believe." Luther used a pre-existing tune and simply expanded its paraphrase. What Luther did not manufacture was the manner of God's approach to man in Word and in Sacrament; hence, Liturgy in its proper and broader sense.

Boaz said...

Scott, would it be less embarrassing to associate with folks who have damned to hell for hundreds of years anybody who teaches that salvation is only by Gods grace through faith in Christ?

That is antichrist.

William Weedon said...

Careful, Boaz. Rome has never condemned that salvation is by grace and grace alone. They only freak when the sola is attached to the "fide" - which is what undercuts the whole system for them. Sola fide is the key in talking to Rome; not sola gratia.

Scott Larkins said...

Complicated indeed, but yet simple. He gutted Holy Mass. By what authority did he do this?

William Weedon said...

To believe that, Scott, you have to believe that the Preface, Sanctus, Our Father, Verba, Pax, Agnus etc. are not the "guts." I don't believe that. The Verba ARE the guts of the mass itself. They are its living principle and heart.

Paul said...

We had best be careful before too readily identifying anyone as guilty of masquerading as an angel of light. I have yet to read anything of Ratzinger that would lead me to believe he is a fan of the Novus Ordo.

Scott Larkins said...

I'm currently reading Jesus of Nazareth by the Antichrist. One of the best works I've ever read concerning our Lord.

Scott Larkins said...

Boaz,

Sadly it would be less embarrassing.

Scott Larkins said...

So tell us Boaz. Is it faith in "Faith Alone" or faith is Christ that saves? If it's faith in "Faith Alone"(imputation)then I'm afraid you'll find heaven void of anyone who's misfortune it was live before Luther's theological novum was taught.

Mason said...

This discussion reminds me of St. Augustine's response to the Donatists. Here is my paraphrase: The catholic church thunders throughout the entire earth while the Donatist frogs croak in their lonely marsh, 'We are the true church. We are the true church.'
Kyrie Eleison.
+Mason

Scott Larkins said...

St. Augustine. Servant of Antichrist. Advocate of infused righteousness. Lutherans shouldn't give a rip about what Augustine had to say. Follow your father and be "Done with Augustine"

And just what Church do you think he was referring to? Seriously.

Boaz said...

Sorry to my Catholic friends for my shorthand! Through faith alone and by grace alone. There are so many anathemas for me to keep track of!

And Scott, if associating with those who would damn Christ and all the apostles to hell for their teaching doesn't embarass you, then I will pray for you along with pb16!

And nope, I'm not a James,I'm just a professional layman who enjoys Lutheran theology more than his other obligations. Is James the worship concord guy? If so, I would say that I've agreed with most of what he writes on the site, though I haven't read his book.

Scott Larkins said...

Catholic friends?

Scott Larkins said...

"And Scott, if associating with those who would damn Christ and all the apostles to hell for their teaching doesn't embarass you, then I will pray for you along with pb16!"

You see folks. Can this be taken seriously buy any thoughtful student of theology or church history?

Answer........No.

Boaz said...

Scott, do you think the church of Augustine is the same as the church that excommunicated Luther?

And I don't think attempting to detemine which corporate body is the "true" church is a Christian concern. There are roman congregations that do a better job preaching the Word and administering sacraments than some lcms churches. We should be concerned about preaching and sacraments.

And yes scott, I have many catholic friends, and I would
hate to misrepresent their doctrine. I often credit them and my time at Catholic university for helping me see the beauty and truth of Lutheranism.

Kaleb said...

"I would rather drink blood alone with the papists than wine alone with the Zwinglians."

-- Martin Luther

Scott Larkins said...

"And I don't think attempting to determine which corporate body is the "true" church is a Christian concern."

I rest my case.


"Scott, do you think the church of Augustine is the same as the church that excommunicated Luther?"

Yep.

Boaz,

Do you think it's the Missouri-Synod?

lol

Scott Larkins said...

This is quickly becoming uncharitable. Mea culpa.

God bless Boaz.

I'm done for the evening. Going to watch "Up" with the kids.

Boaz said...

Scott, I think a church is defined by its teachings. The augustinian church did not teach what the roman church teaches in trent. Its a different church.

Go ahead and mock the lcms if you like, but despite its problems, it teaches what Christ and the apostles taught and provides faithful care and assurance to Christs sheep. Defining that as the true church, the lcms can trace its history to Christ, the apostles, and the great church fathers.

And look, I don't think most catholics believe what trent literally teaches, which is abhorent to the Gospel. those that do believe trent and look to their good works for salvation will inevitably fall into pharisaical moralism or despair.

Sorry for any uncharitability, none is intended!

Night!

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the Lutheran principle of "sola Scriptura"? I don't find in Scripture where we find it proclaimed that the bishop of Rome is THE Antichrist.

Why did this name calling by the early reformers become dogma in the Lutheran Church?

Jeff,
St Paul,MN

Scott Larkins said...

Movie break. Can't resist....must comment....head going to explode...


"...the lcms can trace its history to Christ, the apostles, and the great church fathers."

What can I say?

Perry county, Missouri?

William Weedon said...

Goodness. This has taken off in an unintended way for citing a few comments from Ratzinger's fine works.

Scott, the LCMS traces her history to the blessed Apostles who bore their infallible witness to the Incarnate Word. As Lutheran Christians we hold that no one and nothing may trump that witness in shaping and establishing the Church's teaching.

Please don't use my blog to attack my Synod. You can kindly point out our weaknesses, ask questions to invite rethinking where you deem it is needed, but it is not appropriate to come here and mock the jurisdiction in which I serve and of which (last time you told me) you are yourself a member.

Scott Larkins said...

Ouch.

"come here and mock the jurisdiction in which I serve"

Does the Synod not trace it's beginnings to Perry County, Missouri?

Do you honestly believe Augustine would claim the Missouri Synod as his Church?

Your jurisdiction?
As I understand it St.Paul, Hamel is your jurisdiction. Your Parish I would never mock. Not sure C.F.W would like the jurisdiction talk.

Don't forget that you and those like you are being mocked by your own synod.

If you want to discuss mocking a Church. Let's talk about the insults hurled at the Catholic Church, her faithful, and the Bishop of Rome from this blog.

Shall we?

William Weedon said...

Scott,

Part of the Synod traces to Perry County, and that part traces directly to Saxony, which is where the Reformation began, and that part traces itself back to the mission work of St. Boniface among the Germans, etc.

As to what St. Augustine would claim as his church today, that's really an impossible question to answer, isn't it?

St. Paul's is my parish; the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod is that part of the Church Catholic which is my jurisdiction.

Mockery is never appropriate, Scott. No matter which "side" one is arguing for. It's just damaging and it does not "build up" those who listen.

What are the insults that I have hurled at the Bishop of Rome or the churches attached to him? I have expressed my disagreements with his teaching, certainly. I hold that as long as he maintains the last words of the Bull Unam Sanctam of Boniface VIII, the spirit of antichrist reigns through his office which has placed itself in the place of Christ. Yet this thread began with me quoting the current pontiff favorably, did it not?, from the days when he was a Cardinal. There is much of value in this particular pope's writings and I maintain that, even as I maintain that it is downright antichristian to promulgate as doctrine this nonesense: "Furthermore we declare, state and define that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of all human beings that they submit to the Roman Pontiff."

Scott Larkins said...

I think we have a misunderstanding. I was not suggesting in any way that you were insulting the Catholic Church. MANY of the posts on your blog have. From my review of this thread YOU were the target. You must admit that there is and always has been, and will be a strain in the synod that believes if Rome does it, or the Pope says it must be EVIL. That's what I'm on about. It's just absolutely ignorant from a historical and exegetical standpoint.

As far as Lutheran church bodies go the LC-MS is top-notch. Will it stay that way? Doubt it.

Sorry for any offense.

God bless.

Scott Larkins said...

Unam Sanctam

Context, Context, Context?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unam_sanctam

Scott Larkins said...

One last observation.

Is the term "LCMS Inc." mocking your jurisdiction? If it is your better chastise Pr.Wilken and Issues Etc.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I've got a novel idea. Why don't we discuss the content of the Ratzinger quotes?

Pr. Tom Fast

William Weedon said...

Now THERE'S an idea! You think???

Scott Larkins said...

"Good grief!?!" Charlie Brown 1964.

Father,

You had to know that anytime a Lutheran Pastor says anything favorable about the Antichr....Bishop of Rome. Sparks will fly.

Sad.

If I've been an rear end I'm sorry, but I do have a point.

Scott Larkins said...

I have a point. Can't spell.

Sad.

Past Elder said...

Complicated indeed, but yet simple.

The Roman church gutted the Holy Mass of its meaning by fattening it with accretions. By what authority did it do this?

By the analogies it made with its status as the state church of the Roman Empire.

Thanks be to God that LCMS for one thing does not claim to be the "true church" as an institution, and for another that it does descend into the abyss of the Tiber claiming that it is the true church because the true church which is itself says it is.

Been there, done that. But didn't know I was there or doing that when I was and did.

Thank God for Vatican II, in which the Roman Church, having long forsaken the faith of Christ, forsook even Roman Catholicism, or I never would have seen that.

BXVI no fan of the novus ordo? Flaming Judas Jubilee, what was he just telecast doing on Christmas Eve all over the world? On condition of accepting the validity of what does celebration of Rome's version of the historic liturgy depend?

The Babylonian Captivity of at least the Roman part of the church is not only far from over, it is worse than ever. But thanks be to God the iron grip of the Whore of Babylon is now broken.

Pastor Peters said...

Those of you who read Scripture know that God can speak through whom He chooses and the truth is still the truth... when that truth comes from a voice we feel uncomfortable with, it is not the problem of the truth but of us... I say it is a good thing when those with whom we might disagree mightily also say things we agree with mightily... It is a wonderful moment and not one we should be harping against. . .

Rev Rydecki said...

I don't get this at all. Either you know the pope to be a wolf in sheep's clothing or you don't. If you do, then why do you want to exalt him by talking about his splendid sheepskin coat? Careful. God's people might just think he's not so scary after all.

If you don't know him to be a wolf, then Luther must speak:

This teaching shows forcefully that the Pope is the very Antichrist , who has exalted himself above, and opposed himself against Christ because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power, which, nevertheless, is nothing, and is neither ordained nor commanded by God…

This all proceeds from the fact that the Pope has wished to be called the supreme head of the Christian Church by divine right. Accordingly he had to make himself equal and superior to Christ, and had to cause himself to be proclaimed the head and then the lord of the Church, and finally of the whole world, and simply God on earth, until he has dared to issue commands even to the angels in heaven.

And when we distinguish the Pope’s teaching from, or measure and hold it against, Holy Scripture, it appears plainly that the Pope’s teaching, where it is best, … teaches of ceremonies concerning churches, garments, food, persons and similar puerile, theatrical and comical things without measure, but in all these things nothing at all of Christ, faith, and the commandments of God.

Lastly, it is nothing else than the devil himself, because above and against God he urges and disseminates his papal falsehoods concerning masses, purgatory, the monastic life, one’s own works and fictitious divine worship (for this is the very Papacy), and condemns, murders and tortures all Christians who do not exalt and honor these abominations of the Pope above all things.

Therefore, just as little as we can worship the devil himself as Lord and God, we can endure his apostle, the Pope, or Antichrist, in his rule as head or lord. For to lie and to kill, and to destroy body and soul eternally, that is wherein his papal government really consists, as I have very clearly shown in many books. (Smalcald Articles, Part II, Art. IV, par. 10-14)


But let’s set all that aside for a moment and talk about all the splendid truth God wants to teach us through the devil’s apostle? Really?

Scott Larkins said...

Rydecki is a WELS pastor.

That explains a lot.

Hey. Know what else? The evil boy scouts are in league with the Pope to take over the world. Know how they're going to do it? Enticing Christians to...............PLAY CARDS!

This has gone from sad to down right entertaining.

Anonymous said...

You know you've had a bad day as a Lutheran when the Pope has far better things to say about Liturgy than do the leaders of Lutheranism. I hate it when that happens. But it happens.

I'm still waiting for the Leadership of the LCMS or WELS to write with such insight about matters Liturgical as these quotes demonstrate. Should they do so, I'm quite certain Pr. Weedon will quote them all over the place. But right now, what you hear coming from Lutheran quarters is the sound of crickets chirping. Let's not allow that sound to deafen us to what people in other quarters have to say.

So what is it about the content of these quotes that is upsetting or untrue? And what do you find edifying?

Tom Fast

Past Elder said...

When my mom was a kid, some other kids broke into their RC parish basement, sure they would find the cache of guns Catholics kept waiting for the word from the Pope to rise up.

A girl I dated some years ago now once told me that her Lutheran grandmother told her as a kid not to walk too close to a Catholic church because the priest might come out and snatch her away.

Ignorance runs with the truth in all directions. A truth which is abused in this way remains, however, true.

As to the content of the quotes themselves, that is not my point. Rather, that they come from one whose actions are entirely different, having been part of the largest construction of "homemade" liturgy in recent times, enforced it as the will of of a community over what had been received, and allowed the Roman version of the historic liturgy only on condition of acknowledging validity to the "homemade" liturgy.

So, again, utter duplicity from the Whore of Babylon, as usual, and as always. The nice words of one side of the duplicity do not change this in the least.

William Weedon said...

I think, Terry, that whether one considers the Vatican II reforms to be a severe disfigurement of the received tradition or in fact a replacement of it, is the key to the differences between us on this point. Sasse was aghast at what had happened and suggested that it looked as if St. Zwingli had presided over the reform; but he didn't, that I am aware of, question that it was a reform of the received mass rather than a replacement to it. Dr. Nagel's immortal words in the intro to LW speak of each generation making the tradition of the divine service their own and so enriching the astonishing tradition to which we are heirs. It can be argued that Lutherans and Roman Catholics sought to do that in Vatican II (and its aftermath for Lutherans). Whether it was well done is another question entirely and I suspect you and I would be on the same page on that question largely.

Daniel, in *Feast of Faith* Ratzinger has an outstanding section on the Toda sacrifice which he opines there opens away beyond the impasse of the Catholic and Lutheran parting of the ways on the question. He sees understanding the toda sacrifice as key to "preserving Luther's essential insights." That is, of the once-for-all-ness of our Lord's sacrifice which is therefore unrepeatable and complete in itself and to all time. Again, I'll say it: it's worth engaging.

Regarding the person of the pope in general to all the comments raised about this, I'd ask a single question: where in Sacred Scripture do you find an exemption for keeping the 8th commandment in regards to him? Where does God permit you to exempt him from your duty in regards to your neighbor to "defend, speak well of, and explain his actions in the kindest way"? At least when I was at seminary, we were taught a distinction between the person, Joseph Ratzinger, and the office he holds, and that it was the office we acknowledged to be in the thralldom of the spirit of antichrist.

Rev Rydecki said...

I wasn't planning on intruding any further into your discussion, but since you asked, I'll just add this:

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:15-16)

Do you really think you can defend the pope as innocent of the offenses of his office? If he would immediately see to it that the demonic doctrines of the papacy were rescinded and repented of, I would praise the pope. But he hasn't. He presides over the massacre of souls. His fruits make him well-known.

“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people” (Romans 16:17-18).

No, Scripture does not teach us to defend and speak well of those who have shown themselves to be false teachers. This is what I learned in seminary, from Father Martin:

So you see that it is directly forbidden to speak any evil of our neighbor. However, the civil government, preachers, father, and mother are not forbidden to speak out. This is based on the understanding that this commandment does not allow evil to go unpunished.

All this has been said about secret sins. But where the sin is quite public, so that the judge and everybody know about it, you can without any sin shun the offender and let him go his own way, because he has brought himself into disgrace. You may also publicly testify about him. For when a matter is public in the daylight, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying. It is like when we now rebuke the pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world. Where the sin is public, the rebuke also must be public, that everyone may learn to guard against it. (Large Catechism, 8th Commandment, par. 274 and 284).

William Weedon said...

Also from the Lutheran Symbols and from the pen of Dr. Luther:

"The pope is only the bishop of Rome and pastor of the Church at Rome and of those who have attached themselves to him voluntarily or through some human agency (such as a political ruler). Christians are not under him as a lord. *They are with him as brethren, colleagues, and companions, as the ancient councils and age of Cyprian show." SA II. IV.1

Rev Rydecki said...

If you want to point to the Smalcald Articles to teach us to treat the pope like any brother in Christ, you'll have to keep quoting it out of context. Paragraph 1 tells it like it's supposed to be, and surely like it used to be before the spirit of Antichrist truly took hold of the office.

Paragraphs 2 and 3 tell it like it actually is:

Today, though, none of the bishops dare to address the pope as “brother” as was done in the time of Cyprian. Even kings or emperors have to call him “most gracious lord.” We will not, cannot, and must not approve this arrogance with a good conscience. Whoever wants to, can do it without us.

It follows that all the pope has done and undertaken from such false, mischievous, blasphemous, and arrogant power are devilish affairs and transactions. (With the exception of what relates to the secular government, where God often allows much good to be done for a people, even through a tyrant and scoundrel.) The pope does this all for the ruin of the entire holy Christian Church (so far as it is in his power) and for the destruction of the chief article about the redemption made through Jesus Christ.

William Weedon said...

No, it's not out of context. It's the presupposition for what follows. It is because he is our brother and companion via Baptism and not our Lord and Master that the pretensions of the papal office are so deadly dangerous. But there is still a distinction to be made between the baptized brother and the dreadful office he holds (which is not exactly the same as the office of bishop of Rome, an office, as we've seen, our Confessions gladly concede his is - would that he were content to be that!). But I suspect we'll not come to agreement on this. I'd remind you of Krauth's wise words: "The mightiest weapon which the Reformation employed against Rome was, not Rome's errors, but Rome's truths."

Rev Rydecki said...

Fr. Weedon,

You've been very respectful, and I appreciate that. I'll leave this alone. None of my comments should be construed as a simplistic, "If the Catholics do it, it's bad" stance. Nor have my comments been directed against the Catholic laity.

All of this was only meant as a caution of speaking too highly of one who is, as I said, literally presiding over the massacre of souls. I've witnessed his handiwork and sat at the funeral homes of his faithful who have died in utter despair, having been turned away from Christ to the demon that masquerades as his blessed mother, not realizing until too late that it was all a lie. It's too graphic for me to bear.

So let him speak good things about the liturgy out of one side of his mouth while he curses the saving doctrine of Christ out of the other. It's the essence of popery to speak truth mixed with lies. He draws the unsuspecting in with the truth, and kills them with the lies.

Besides, if the gospel is the heart of the liturgy, as I believe it is, then for all his fine words, the pope still doesn't grasp the liturgy, for he fails to grasp the gospel.

You yourself have spoken far more edifying truth about the liturgy than he. More Weedon. Less Ratzinger. Bitte.

Anonymous said...

Pr. Weedon wrote: "I'd remind you of Krauth's wise words: "The mightiest weapon which the Reformation employed against Rome was, not Rome's errors, but Rome's truths."

This also serves to remind us that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood." Eph 6:12 This is why we are to demonize no human being. When our brothers and sisters err, they are victims of other powers, first and foremost. As we fail to recognize this and treat them as the enemy, we may find ourselves in deeper error than they.

So we do well to heed Paul's admonition: "watch yourself." Gal 6:1

Tom Fast

William Weedon said...

Amen, Thomas. Very well said (as usual for you).

Boaz said...

Having dabbled in catholocism, I think the freedom pb16 is talking about is the freedom to follow the magisterium, and the reception of the liturgy is not from earlier generations, but from the church's vicar on earth who shapes it.

These are ideas that have to be vehemently rejected. God gave us what we need in scripture. In one sense, pb16 is right that we don't have freedom to monkey with the eucharist. But the why is important. For us, its because Christ and the apostles instructed us in how to administer and receive the sacrament. For rome, its because the pope hasn't authorized freedom in the eucharist. But if he said use wheat thins and hi-c juice boxes while wearing a monkey suit, roman doctrine gives no basis to object.

So the pope can argue for liturgy like he does, as ceremonial freedom in rome is contingent.

Lutherans can't use arguments that subject consciences to human tradition. It is absolutely not lutheran. Lutherans subject consciences to love and unity with neighbor.but that includes not judging or despising each other where unity can't be achieved willingly.

Finally, I just don't understand some of this. What does it mean to for a community to receive its completeness as a gift from a totality and why is that an argument that liturgy can't be made? And doesn't current catholic division on liturgy, politics, charismatic worship, and a whole host of issues show there is no visible completeness in the church? I can interpret what he says a lot of ways, and when that happens, I just ignore it as incoherent or bad trqnslation.

Jon Townsend said...

I think there is some great hope that Ratzinger has intellectual and theological tendencies that lend themselves to a restoration of an orthodox more Christ centered view of humanity and its relation to God within the Roman Church. His "blessed inconsistancies" seem greater than his recent predecessors.
However, I see who I thought could be the Pope who might return Rome to a more Christ alone direction slipping into some of the errors of his office - ie - the interest in politics over doctrine.
EG - His visit to Turkey, his statements on economics, etc.
It is confusing.
It is really difficult to have an antichrist who is an incredible scholar and lover of the liturgy.
For me it is particularly difficult to have "ein bayrischer Antichrist".
In end times terms, what always brings me some puzzlement is the way the papacy approaches islam. This I also see as a mark of the antichrist. The lack of emnity between those who deny Christ's divinity and those who are to witness to the incarnation is strange and spooky.
I hold out great hope that the Ratzinger who spoke at Regensburg will take off his tiara and just be the Bishop of Rome. This is my prayer, anyway.
Jon

Scott Larkins said...

So Rydecki?

Is John Paul II in hell? Is B16 going to burn? Which bishop of Rome was the first antichrist? Was it Clement? Leo? Gregory?

Please give us your opinion of the Orthodox Churches. Are they hell bound as well? Afraid they haven't accepted Luther's gospel.

Just curious.

William Weedon said...

Scott,

This is what confuses me. You speak of "Luther's" gospel. I know of no such thing. I only know of the saving Gospel of Sacred Scripture - a saving Gospel to which Luther was a most faithful witness. Are you a Lutheran, Scott? Somedays it seems you are; somedays it seems you're not.

William Weedon said...

P.S. "Luther's" Gospel in a nutshell:

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true Man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death and the devil not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and innocent suffering and death that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.

And the non-Scriptural, non-patristic part of this????

Fr. Timothy D. May said...

We like to say the Spirit blows when and where He wills but that the Anti-Christ, since the Reformation, is "only" (a good Lutheran word) located eternally in the papacy. What do we do when the papacy is true to Scripture and protestantism is not? Does not the Anti-Christ move around like the devil prowling around seeking whom he may devour. I do not buy the idea that the papacy is the Anti-Christ when we teach at the same time that polity is adiaphora. We judge false teaching and praise true teaching when and where it is, even among our supposed enemies.

Scott Larkins said...

It was not until the 1500’s that “justification” became strictly a change in a man’s status before God, and NOT a change in a man’s nature. It was not until the 1500’s that “justification” became strictly a “legal declaration” and NOT a process. This alteration in the doctrine of justification was “a genuine theological novum” (Alister E. McGrath, Iustitia Dei, pages 184, 186-187). In regard to this change, there were no “forerunners of the Reformation” (ibid., 185). As McGrath sums it up: It was thus in the Reformation that “a fundamental discontinuity was introduced into the western theological tradition where none had ever existed, or ever been contemplated, before” (ibid., 184, 186).

William Weedon said...

I am familiar with McGrath's argument, but I believe him to be in error. Consider only St. Augustine's famous words:

"In this life we aren't cleansed from sin by our own good deeds or our own power, but by God's compassion and forgiveness. For God, in His goodness, has given us any holiness we might have. While in the flesh, we might tend to attribute too much to ourselves if we don't live under God's pardon until the end." St. Augustine, City of God 10.22

Notice the forensic nature of that final statement. We must live "under pardon" until the end.

William Weedon said...

P.S. The change in "status" effects a change in nature; it is not the change in nature that effects a change in status.

William Weedon said...

And you didn't answer my question?

William Weedon said...

To explicate a bit further that "status" talk, I'd say it this way:

God doesn't love you BECAUSE you change; His love CHANGES you. That's the central concern of the Reformation. Thus, with the woman caught in adultery it was not: "Go and sin no more and then I will not condemn you." It was rather, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

Scott Larkins said...

Don't see how I could possibly remain a Lutheran. It would be dishonest for me to do so.

William Weedon said...

If you honestly believe that the Reformation was wrong about justification, you are right. I, however, am not convinced that you quite convinced. I think that's why you have wavered a bit. But I am utterly convinced that God does not love Scott because he gets his act together and starts to love; God loves Scott in Jesus Christ fully and without measure, and that is why Scott is freed to begin the healing (which, of course, remains partial in this life).

Scott Larkins said...

It's the solas. You don't find the solas in the Fathers. Not in the way the reformers talked. That's what McGrath is on about.

William Weedon said...

Again, McGrath is in error. You most certainly DO find the solas in the Fathers. All the solas. You want me to send you my collection of citations? But citations must also be read in context, and that goes for the way the Reformers talked too.

What does sola Scriptura mean? Do you really think it means anything other than St. Thomas Aquinas said: "Nevertheless, sacred doctrine makes use of these authorities as extrinsic and probable arguments; but properly uses the authority of the canonical Scriptures as an incontrovertible proof, and the authority of the doctors of the Church as one that may properly be used, yet merely as probable. For our faith rests upon the revelation made to the apostles and prophets who wrote the canonical books, and not on the revelations (if any such there are) made to other doctors. Hence Augustine says (Epis. ad Hieron. xix, 1): "Only those books of Scripture which are called canonical have I learned to hold in such honor as to believe their authors have not erred in any way in writing them. But other authors I so read as not to deem everything in their works to be true, merely on account of their having so thought and written, whatever may have been their holiness and learning."--St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologia, Part 1, Question 1, Article 8

Scott Larkins said...

I'm afraid McGrath's assessment quite is correct. It's a hard pill to swallow for many. Truth is many times very unnerving.

William Weedon said...

Oden certainly didn't agree with McGrath. Have you had the joy of his "A Justification Reader"? Most illuminating.

William Weedon said...

Truth is almost always unnerving. But deal with the truth in these words:

“Regarding the things I say, I should supply even the proofs, so I will not seem to rely on my own opinions, but rather, prove them with Scripture, so that the matter will remain certain and steadfast.” St. John Chrysostom (Homily 8 On Repentance and the Church, p. 118, vol. 96 TFOTC)

"Let the inspired Scriptures then be our umpire, and the vote of truth will be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words." St. Gregory of Nyssa (On the Holy Trinity, NPNF, p. 327).

"We are not entitled to such license, I mean that of affirming what we please; we make the Holy Scriptures the rule and the measure of every tenet; we necessarily fix our eyes upon that, and approve that alone which may be made to harmonize with the intention of those writings." St. Gregory of Nyssa (On the Soul and the Resurrection NPNF II, V:439)

“What is the mark of a faithful soul? To be in these dispositions of full acceptance on the authority of the words of Scripture, not venturing to reject anything nor making additions. For, if ‘all that is not of faith is sin’ as the Apostle says, and ‘faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,’ everything outside Holy Scripture, not being of faith, is sin.” Basil the Great (The Morals, p. 204, vol 9 TFOTC).

“For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell you these things, give not absolute credence, unless you receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.” St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures, IV:17, in NPNF, Volume VII, p. 23.)

There comes a heathen and says, "I wish to become a Christian, but I know not whom to join: there is much fighting and faction among you, much confusion: which doctrine am I to choose?" How shall we answer him? "Each of you" (says he) "asserts, 'I speak the truth.'"  No  doubt: this is in our favor. For if we told you to be persuaded by arguments, you might well be perplexed: but if we bid you believe the Scriptures, and these are simple and true, the decision is easy for you. If any agree with the Scriptures, he is the Christian; if any fight against them, he is far from this rule.  -- St. John Chrysostom, (Homily 33 in Acts of the Apostles [NPNF1,11:210-11; PG 60.243-44])

"It is impossible either to say or fully to understand anything about God beyond what has been divinely proclaimed to us, whether told or revealed, by the sacred declarations of the Old and New Testaments." St. John of Damascus, On the Orthodox Faith, Book I, Chapter 2

Let us therefore give in and yield our assent to the authority of Holy Scripture, which knows not how either to be deceived or to deceive. St. Augustine, On Merit and the Forgiveness of sins, Bk 1, Ch 33

For no one will show us such a reading as this in the holy and Divine Scriptures; and in no wise is that to be received as truth which is not told in the Divinely-inspired Scriptures. -- St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John 8:44

William Weedon said...

And on faith alone...


"Similarly we also, who by His will have been called in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, or our own wisdom or understanding or godliness, nor by such deeds as we have done in holiness of heart, but by that faith through which Almighty God has justified all men since the beginning of time. Glory be to Him, forever and ever, Amen." - St. Clement of Rome (Letter to the Corinthians, par. 32)

"Indeed, this is the perfect and complete glorification of God, when one does not exult in his own righteousness, but recognizing oneself as lacking true righteousness to be justified by faith alone in Christ." - St. Basil the Great (Homily on Humility, PG 31.532; TFoTC vol. 9, p. 479)

"They said that he who adhered to faith alone was cursed; but he, Paul, shows that he who adhered to faith alone is blessed." - St. John Chrysostom (Homily on Galatians 3)

“But he calls it their 'own righteousness,' either because the Law was no longer of force, or because it was one of trouble and toil. But this he calls God's righteousness, that from faith, because it comes entirely from the grace from above, and because men are justified in this case, not by labors, but by the gift of God.” – St. John Chrysostom (Homily 17 on Romans 10:3)

“Here he shows God's power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting, and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only.” Homily 7 on Romans – St. John Chrysostom

"For you believe the faith; why then do you add other things, as if faith were not sufficient to justify? You make yourselves captive, and you subject yourself to the law." - St. John Chrysostom (Epistle to Titus, Homily 3, PG 62.651)

“'To declare His righteousness.' What is declaring of righteousness? Like the declaring of His riches, not only for Him to be rich Himself, but also to make others rich, or of life, not only that He is Himself living, but also that He makes the dead to live; and of His power, not only that He is Himself powerful, but also that He makes the feeble powerful. So also is the declaring of His righteousness not only that He is Himself righteous, but that He doth also make them that are filled with the putrefying sores (katasapentaj) of sin suddenly righteous. And it is to explain this, viz. what is "declaring," that he has added, "That He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Doubt not then: for it is not of works, but of faith: and shun not the righteousness of God, for it is a blessing in two ways; because it is easy, and also open to all men. And be not abashed and shamefaced. For if He Himself openly declareth (endeiknutai) Himself to do so, and He, so to say, findeth a delight and a pride therein, how comest thou to be dejected and to hide thy face at what thy Master glorieth in?” - St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans 3

William Weedon said...

And on grace alone...


“After speaking of the wages of sin, in the case of blessings, he has not kept to the same order: for he does not say, the wages of your good deeds, but the gift of God: to show, that it was not of themselves that they were freed, nor was it a due they received, neither yet a return, nor a recompense of labors, but by grace all these things came about. And so there was superiority for this cause also, in that He did not free them only, or change their condition for the better, but that He did it without any labor or trouble upon their part: and that He not only freed them, but also gave them more than before, and that through His Son.” - St. John Chrysostom (Epistle to the Romans, Homily 12, Rom 6:23)

“And if any were to cast in prison a person who owed ten mites, and not the man himself only, but wife and children and servants for his sake; and another were to come and not to pay down the ten mites only, but to give also ten thousand talents of gold, and to lead the prisoner into the king’s courts, and to the throne of the highest power, and were to make him partaker of the highest honour and every kind of magnificence, the creditor would not be able to remember the ten mites; so hath our case been. For Christ hath paid down far more than we owe, yea as much more as the illimitable ocean is than a little drop.” - St. John Chrysostom, Epistle to the Romans, Homily X, Rom 5:17

“Is it possible, Scripture says, for one to repent and be saved? It is absolutely and most certainly the case. What, though, if I have wasted my life in sins and then repent: will I be saved? Yes, indeed! What source indicates this? The philanthropy of your Master. Can I take courage from your repentance? Could it be that your repentance has the power to wipe clean so many evils? If it were only up to repentance, then assuredly be afraid. However, since repentance is mixed together with the philanthropy of God, take courage. For God’s philanthropy is immeasurable, nor can any word provide the measure of his goodness. Your wickedness is measurable, but the medicine is immeasurable. Your wickedness, whatever it may be, is human wickedness; but God’s philanthropy is ineffable. Have courage because it surpasses your wickedness. Just think of one spark that fell into the sea; could it stand or be seen? What one spark is in comparison to the sea, so wickedness is before the philanthropy of God; not even this much, but much more so. For the sea, even though it is vast, has limits; but God’s philanthropy is unlimited.” – St. John Chrysostom, Homily 8 On Repentance and the Church FOTC: vol 96, p. 112,113

“Well done, O Christ, O Wisdom and Power and Word of God, and God almighty! What should we resourceless people give Thee in return for all things? For all things are Thine and Thou askest nothing of us but that we be saved. Even this Thou hast given us, and by Thy ineffable goodness Thou art grateful to those who accept it. Thanks be to Thee who hast given being and grace of well-being and who by Thy ineffable condescension hast brought back to this state those who fell from it!” - St. John of Damascus, On the Orthodox Faith, Book 4, Chapter 4

Scott Larkins said...

Oden is a methodist. I've made it a practice NOT to read anything be a Methodist;)

William Weedon said...

Oden is also a top notch Patristics scholar - which McGrath is not.

Scott Larkins said...

Agreed.

Scott Larkins said...

Agreed that Oden is a top notch Patristics scholar. Don't share your view on McGrath. I'd say he could hold his own on patristics.

Anonymous said...

Re: the Alister E. McGrath book in question, my husband (Ph.D. in systematic theology), a friend of his (Ph.D., in historical theology) and I were just discussing it, weirdly enough (it happened to be on one of our bookshelves). Neither finds it convincing from a historical or theological perspective and my husband believes McGrath got Luther quite wrong and his grasp of the scholarship is poor. I would read more widely. If one is going to abandon Reformation teachings based on a single monography, McGrath's is almost certainly not the one to use.
Bethany Kilcrease

William Weedon said...

Thank you, Bethany, for that. If Jack (and Christopher?) and you think so, that only confirms my own take on what I've read from him.

Scott Larkins said...

Yep. Alister is a fool.

I give up. This thread is hopeless.

William Weedon said...

Scott,

No one said McGrath was a fool. We said we disagreed with his assessment of Luther and of certain aspects of Church history. Big difference, no?

Scott Larkins said...

Yes.

What of Jaroslav Pelikan? I've read him extensively. Just finished Credo.
Not a work friendly to the "restoration"

William Weedon said...

Scott,

Depends on when he was writing. Early Pelikan was QUITE friendly to the restoration. I highly recommend his *Riddle of Roman Catholicism* - an outstanding read.

I'm trying to tread carefully here because I'm not your pastor, just a friend over the internet. But might I respectfully suggest that instead of reading more and more from others, it would be more profitable to read the Scriptures and to pray. I'm obviously not against reading and reading widely, but the answers you are looking for are found nowhere else so clearly and profoundly expressed than in God's own Holy Word. Do you have a Treasury? A great way to immerse one's self in the Scriptures. Pax!

Scott Larkins said...

Have a Treasury. Thanks for the advice.

Past Elder said...

Holy crap, so Jesus brings a Gospel he commits not to learned men but fishermen, and we need learned men to sort it out?

(Relax, I have an earned doctorate.)

christl242 said...

Depends on when he was writing. Early Pelikan was QUITE friendly to the restoration. I highly recommend his *Riddle of Roman Catholicism* - an outstanding read.

Arrghhh! The very book I found in a great used book store that eventually led me to Rome (only to find out that the RC that was described in "Riddle" was not the RC I found!!)

Still, you are right, Pastor Weedon, "Riddle of Roman Catholicism" is an excellent read. Pelikan rightly was awarded honors for writing it although it dealt mainly with the preconciliar church. Even Catholics commended him for his objective and sober views about the RC.

Personally, I like Papa Benedict for two reasons: he likes cats (sorry, Lucy!) and good German sausage! As Bishops of Rome go, the RC could do much worse.


Christine

christl242 said...

But might I respectfully suggest that instead of reading more and more from others, it would be more profitable to read the Scriptures and to pray. I'm obviously not against reading and reading widely, but the answers you are looking for are found nowhere else so clearly and profoundly expressed than in God's own Holy Word.

Pastor Weedon, I couldn't agree with you more. It's been a joy over the past year as a Lutheran to become reacquainted with the fountain of living water that only the Word of God can provide.

Christine

Anonymous said...

Goodness - McGrath is far from a fool; I'm fond of him myself. But no one is omnicompetent in scholarship.
And, wow, Pastor Weedon that's a little creepy. Jack is obvious, but how on earth did you know the Reformed theologian Chris Dorn?!? A modern-day prophet?
Bethany Kilcrease

William Weedon said...

LOL. I guessed the wrong Chris. I wondered if it might be Chris Brown.

Past Elder said...

Hey I like Benedict personally too, not to mention sausages! My only real problem with him is he has the German academic air of some of my professors and I keep expecting him to assign me a paper due next Monday, or, when he gets that little twinkle in his eye, like the incomparable Godfrey Diekmann OSSB pull out a ton of stuff for me to read!

And you know, he took the name partly to honour Pope Benedict XV, who sought peace throughout WWI, and partly to honour St Benedict, founder of the grand and glorious, great and uproarious Benedictines (which isn't technically an order and he didn't found it per se, but that's another story).

Anonymous said...

Pastor Weedon,

Oh yes, Chris Brown would make much more sense and has the same degree as Chris Dorn. Sadly, since leaving Boston we've not seen Chris Brown, but are hoping to catch up when we are in town for a conference (hopefully, he'll be chairing our panel).
Jack and I both enjoy your blog and a blessed Christmastide to you!
Bethany

Past Elder said...

Hey Bethany, ever hit the LCMS parish in the Back Bay (can't remember the name of it now)?

Scott Larkins said...

Just wanted to say sorry to anyone I may have offended. A great example of how not to deal with our differences. Especially Rev. Rydecki. I was out of line.

Have a blessed new year.

Anonymous said...

Past Elder,

Yes, it's called First Lutheran Church of Boston and I was a member for seven years when I lived in Beantown. All things considered, it's a very fine church and I was very sad to leave.

Bethany

Rev Rydecki said...

Thank you, Scott. No hard feelings.

I pray that your new year is blessed. Maybe we'll run into each other again sometime on the web.

Peace be with you,
Rev. Rydecki

Past Elder said...

Wow, Bethany. Years ago before I ever thought I'd be Lutheran, I respected LCMS for their stand but thought Lutherans are just people trying to be Catholic without being Catholic and since I was already Catholic and the Church went to hell in a bloody handbasket at Vatican II a wannabe just wasn't an option. But still, I'd walk past that church often and think how LCMS was about the only church with a shred of integrity left and say "Those would be my guys, if I had guys".

Used to listen to the Lutheran Hour in the car too and think Why can't we be like that?

Couldn't tell catholic from Catholic. And by the last time I was there, I was WELS and I wasn't supposed to say grace with my LCMS in-laws let alone go to one of their churches!

But they witnessed to me for years even though I never walked in the door!

Fr. Timothy D. May said...

Moving beyond what some non-Catholics hold on the office of the papacy, and returning to the quotes themselves, they are indeed "gems."

Anyone interested in the study of liturgy and Eucharistic theology, Lutherans included, should be familiar with the writings of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI. There are many reasons to do so but here are just a few: 1) He understands and teaches the Eucharist as gift. 2) He is well-versed in Scripture, the Fathers and Christian history and draws from that rich well in his writings. 3) He is a patient teacher and quite readable. 4) He is encouraging of both the historic liturgy and of orthodox Christianity.

The number of the posts on this comment clearly shows that there is controversy among us. Is this surprising? For the few who can look beyond the controversy you will find from him great theological writing from a tradition not our own where orthodox Christianity is upheld using both pre- and post-Reformation sources.

In short, his writings may not be for "the many" among us, as it seems it is for theology in general, while, for the patient few, there is much to be gained.

Scott Larkins said...

Still Lutheran. Seems impossible for me to abandon the Great Exchange.

Oh bloody 'ell.

Daniel Gorman said...

Fr. Timothy D. May opines, "Anyone interested in the study of liturgy and Eucharistic theology, Lutherans included, should be familiar with the writings of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI. There are many reasons to do so but here are just a few: 1) He understands and teaches the Eucharist as gift. . ."

Does he understand and teach the Eucharist as a gift of God or as a gift offered up to God? The Roman liturgy would suggest the latter (e.g., "we ask you to accept and bless these gifts we offer you in sacrifice. ." EP 1).

christl242 said...

As recent popes go, Benedict has many admirable qualities. But the Bavarian Catholicism he grew up in, as did my father, is decidedly Roman in the "Sacrifice of the Mass" and everything connected therewith, his knowledge of Scripture, Patristics and the nuances of Confessional Lutheranism notwithstanding.

This Pope is just as much a captive of the winds of Vatican II as the others since the Council. There has been a distinct disconnect with "historical" Catholicism and the errors that remain are still divisive between Rome and Wittenberg.

I can't "look beyond the controversy" after having spent ten years in the Church of Rome. I saw it firsthand.

Christine

William Tighe said...

Well, coming to this thread this late i'll content myself with saying that Oden's continuing support for, and McGrath's zeal for, WO makes me suspicious of their views more generally.

And then, too, there's McGrath's popular book, *Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution* (2008), which, if a papist may be allowed to opine so, is as truly a work of schwaermerei as any I have read. His view amounts to a kind of liberal bibliolatry, that the real truth of Protestantism is that every individual believer has the right and the duty to interpret (not just, read) the Bible for himself or herself. I like McGrath's *The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation,* but his more popular writings show him to be more liberal and more revisionist, in an "Evangelical" mode, perhaps, than casual scholarly readers might realize.