What happens when a Reformed Protestant sees an argument for Roman Catholic prayers to the dead? Or Roman Catholic suffering in Purgatory to make up for sins to merit Heaven? Or Eastern Orthodox arguments for icons? Or the rite of chrismation?
Pretty much, mocking ridicule, not just because the conclusion is wrong but because the argument itself is so stupid.
I’m not going to comment on the propriety of Protestant reactions to this stuff. I’m just going to make a plea for impartiality. When we read such gems as,
Though Christ did not offer or tender the blessings of grace to any, much less to them in general; but as a preacher of the Gospel, published the truths of it to all; and as the Mediator of the new covenant, dispensed blessings of it to those who were (not should be) given him by the Father.
shouldn’t we acknowledge that no “Romanist” superstition ever did worse violence to Scripture? Honestly. This really is on the level of news stories about Mary’s profile appearing in some lady’s scrambled eggs.
It is corrupt stupidity that people would, in the name of a “truth” they pretend to understand, go through the Scriptures with an editing pen of special pleading, and line after line get rid of the Word of God.
Jesus exhorted people time and again to repent and believe in Him, to take up their cross and follow him, through the Apostles to be reconciled to God. It would be insulting to any rationale person’s intelligence to go through all the times in which people in general are offered salvation in accord with the Gospel declaration that Jesus is Lord.
This demon needs to be exorcised from the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition once and for all. It makes us look like morons and makes Arminianism look plausible. The fact that this crap continues to come up in a tradition that prides itself on intellectual rigor makes us the laughingstock of Christendom. At least people who go to laughing revivals don’t boast in their systematic thinking.
PS. Full disclosure: I’m talking about an error that, in one form, I once embraced and spread. And I’m certainly open to the option that it is rarely helpful to use mockery in any of these views. I’m sure that there are occasions when it is best to give every view “its day in court.” What I don’t like to see is a protected sub-culture that is allowed to continue because no one calls a spade a spade. That is the point of this entry, and my plan is for it to be unique in its tone–though I’m not apologizing for it.