The Gospel of Desire

| categories: xanga | View Comments

The Gospel of Desire

In the April 23, 2005 World Magazine, Edward Veith said, among other things:
In one area, the late pope was not traditional at all. By emphasizing that good works are the fruit of God's grace, he had many Lutherans and evangelicals thinking that Catholics now agree with them on justification by faith. But the pope applied this principle to other religions, as well. If Muslims and Hindus demonstrate good works, that must be a sign of God's grace. Now, Catholics are teaching that not just other Christians but believers in other religions can be saved, even apart from conscious faith in Jesus Christ. This ecumenical theology tallies well with relativism, making Catholicism palatable to our new polytheistic culture.
That is not an accurate description of this Catholic teaching. George MacDonald does a better job in The Princess and Curdie:
"All men, if they do not take care, go downhill to the animal's country; many men are actually, all their lives, going to be beasts. People knew it once, but it is long since they forgot it."

"I am not surprised to hear it, ma'am, when I think of some of our miners."

"Ah! But you must beware, Curdie, how you say of this man or that man that he is travelling beastward. There are not nearly so many going that way as at first sight you might think. When you met your father on the hill tonight, you stood and spoke together on the same spot; and although one of you was going up and the other coming down, at a little distance no one could have told which was bound in the one direction and which in the other. Just so two people may be at the same spot in manners and behaviour, and yet one may be getting better and the other worse, which is just the greatest of all differences that could possible exist between them."

The liberal idea is that all roads lead to heaven. Protestant teaching is that Christ is the only road that leads to heaven. Catholic teaching is even more restrictive: the Holy Catholic Church, the Body of Christ, is the only road that leads to heaven[1,3]. Vatican II says that God is faithful, and will not suffer any to be lost who set foot on that road in faith. A one sentence summary is, "Be true to the light that you have, and God will give you more light."[2]

The Catholic idea is that a sincere Protestant who is faithful to the truth of Scripture, will eventually come to embrace the full truth of the Catholic Church as he seeks after God. Many Protestants do come to that point in this life, but the new clarification concerns those who do not become visible members of the Catholic Church before they die. Prior to Vatican II, it was assumed that these poor Protestants were condemned to Hellfire. The clarification is that those Protestants, and others, who have begun the journey to Catholic faith, can be saved[4].

In the early church, many believers were martyred before they could be baptized. There was concern as to whether these souls were lost, since Christ commanded us to "believe and be baptized". The decision of the elders was that these martyrs had a "baptism of blood". Their sincere desire to obey the Lord in baptism counted as baptism in the face of their death. Hence, the "Gospel of Desire". Those who are seeking after God, and obey the light they receive, will be given more light, and on are their way to becoming Catholic - even if death intervenes.

This is indeed different from a typical Protestant formula, but Protestants such as George MacDonald C.S. Lewis had a view closer to the Catholics (the young Calormene in The Last Battle, The Great Divorce). The important point is that the Catholic teaching is the opposite of the Liberal idea that "all roads lead to heaven": there is but one Way and one Church that leads to Heaven. Be sure you are on that Way.

[1] Dominus Iesus, On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of JesusChrist and the Church
[2] Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 818, 819
[3] ibid, para. 846
[4] ibid, para. 847
Posted 1/31/2006 at 11:15 PM


Yeah, cool melody and chords! (I don't know much about music theory, but I really like how it sounds!)


Posted 2/10/2006 at 8:50 PM by catheirne
I like the showers of blessings one the best. They are all very impressive. The piano playing is really good too (yours sounded very clean of mistakes, which I respect ALOT being a piano player myself:) If you do more, please update me!
Posted 4/19/2006 at 10:49 PM by pikljooce
The "have a litta talka with my Jesus" is a recording of Elvis Presley messing around with his friends at church, before his Rock & Roll empire. I believe my Dad recorded them while courting my Mom in Missouri.
Posted 8/1/2006 at 5:47 PM by CustomDesigned
? it won't let me access it!-wierd-?
Posted 4/22/2006 at 11:28 AM by pikljooce
I heard it! It was so funny----I thought it was great. it doesn't sound like you though! it's weird! I like it...very swingy... clap clap "have a litta talka with my jesus" :)
where'd you get the guitar? are you playing?
Posted 4/23/2006 at 1:41 AM by pikljooce
Well mr. Gathman, you certainly ARE a crazy updater... *laugh
Posted 7/31/2006 at 8:50 PM by pikljooce
Oh dear... I suppose we're all doomed then.  Unless we die first.
Posted 10/17/2006 at 5:28 PM by classicalfreak13
that's hilarious!
Posted 8/3/2006 at 12:14 AM by pikljooce
i found the pics online...just google images.
Posted 8/11/2006 at 3:32 PM by pikljooce

Thursday January 19, 2006

Can Christians Learn from non-Christians?


Can any Good Come from Harry Potter?

Harry Potter is "pagan" in the sense of classical mythology, but with mythic elements taken from more than just the Greek and Roman cultures.

The debate throughout Church history was not over whether Christians should dabble in the occult (that is clearly forbidden), but whether Christians should read non-christian (i.e. pagan) literature (which might contain occult references since some pagans do practice it). To this day, there are Christian circles where only literature written by Christians is considered acceptable reading. (And Christians like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R.Tolkein don't count because their stories have witches and wizards.) Forgive me if I address any in such circles that might be reading. This will be painfully obvious to some, and perhaps disturbing for others.

In a real (though probably not deliberate) sense, this (Christian stuff only) is a denial of essential doctrine. Before the Fall, Genesis tells us that "God looked on everything He had made, and saw that it was very good." Man was created in the image of God. As Calvin puts it, after the Fall, "the image of God is effaced but not erased." So, to claim that man can permanently overcome the evil inclinations of our hearts by natural means is an error, and as foolish as claiming that we can overcome entropy. (Perpetual motion machines, anyone?) But to say that the unconverted (non-christian) is incapable of any good at all is equally an error, and just as foolish.

The idea is as impractical as it is doctrinally unsound. "Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." We can look and listen and make judgements, but only God knows the true state of a persons heart. How are you going to know whether the author of a book is truly converted (started by God on the process of overcoming spiritual entropy/death)? Furthermore, sanctification (the process of reversing spiritual entropy with the supernatural help of God's Spirit) is a long process. How long after a person is converted must you wait before their works are safe to read? Surely, when a new convert makes mistakes, you give them grace (cut them some slack), "for love covers a multitude of sins". The Apostle Paul calls for the same grace to the unconverted. We are not to associate with or even eat with a man who claims to be Christian but is immoral. However, the same does not apply to the unconverted (I Cor 5).

And why stop at reading? Must all products you consume be produced only by Christians? Is an unsaved pagan incapable of making a good sandwich? The Apostle Paul said, "All things are permissible, but not all things are helpful." If the sandwich looks yummy, but the kitchen looks like it would likely flunk a Health inspection, you should probably pass on the sandwich. If you have diabetes, you should pass on the candy. If certain literature is making your walk with God more difficult, you should avoid it. But that doesn't mean that others might not benefit from it.

Posted 1/19/2006 at 6:32 PM

pagans homeschool, athiests drive cars, satanists go to the grocery store - i really like your pov- refreshing to see some balance out here.
Posted 1/19/2006 at 7:20 PM by Mommy

About your comment: I read the long one...and the short one...and found the long one more enlightening! I had a good friend who was a philosophy major in college and he was always talking about the fact that postmodernism is not the anti-Christ that some people seem to think it is. I like your explanation of how just because we don't always hear correctly doesn't mean we can't communicate. Its the whole "now we see as in a mirror darkly, but then we will see face to face" (that may not be an exact quote, but its from I Cor. 13) thing.

I think what I was meaning about two different kinds of truth was really that there are two different definitions of "true". One being the everlasting Truth by which we mean that we can be completely sure of it. The other being the "true/false" kind of true meaning really "correct" rather than "true". It really is what you said about the source from whom we get our information. Real truth comes from God. Correct information comes from text books (sometimes!). But in the end, I guess, when we call something correct that isn't True we end up just making an approximation. "Well, I don't know if its absolutely true, but its the best I can do."

Well, I think I'm starting to babble, but thanks for your comment! :)

Posted 1/20/2006 at 12:12 AM by catheirne
Hey Eric, I responded to your comment on my sisters journal, hope I wasn't to harsh. Further, your interpretation of Calvin above is simply wrong. He is emphatically of the opinion that no one can do any good apart from Christ working in them. Yes he believes in 'vestages' of the image of God left in people, but these only lead to evil, in the same way that in his writing the sense of the divine does not lead to knowledge of God, but rather leads to idolatry. He says in the introduction to his commentary on Genesis that 'there is nothing, apart from Christ, in which we are not necessarily deceived'. Lewis on the other hand disagrees with Calvin on precisely these points. But then again Lewis, as he himself frequently admits, is not a theologian, but a classicist.
Posted 1/31/2006 at 9:18 PM by Jamescrocker
Sorry about the misnaming Stuart, everything else I said I still stand behind though.
Posted 2/1/2006 at 12:47 AM by Jamescrocker
ps. I just read this entry. I like the way you make it seem so clear and obvious. Good explanation! 
Posted 1/20/2006 at 12:14 AM by catheirne
I am not particulary impressed by Calvin. But he had to admit the image of God to avoid outright heresy - hence the quote. I'll side with Jesus, Paul, Aquinas, and Lewis. I am not advocating the Pelagian heresy - that if only you fan those vestiges of good hard enough you might be able to save yourself. Nevertheless, those vestiges of good are still just that - and objectively so. Filthy rags they may be - but made of real cloth that was originally created for beautiful garments.

Calvinism emphasizes a persons final destination. But you need to realize that we live in time. Everyone around you is moving toward that final destination. The all important thing is what direction you are moving in - not where you are at right now. Appearances can be deceiving. That respected church elder may have inherited good morals - but if he is not "one of the elect", he is decaying slowly and inexorably toward the demonic. Sometimes this comes to light in our world. That pagan may have inherited a total lack of morals - but his desire for good (itself a gift of Grace to the elect) is leading him (or the Hound of Heaven is chasing him) slowly and inexorably toward faith in Christ. See my Xanga article on the "Gospel of Desire". The biography of Samuel Morris is an excellent modern example of "be true to the light you have, and He will give more light". Conversely, for "a hearer of the Word, and not a doer", "even what he has will be taken away and given to another".

The bottom line is that a theory about "true good can only come from true Christians" is completely useless - if only because you can't know absolutely who is a true Christian until judgement day.
Posted 2/19/2006 at 9:51 PM by CustomDesigned

blog comments powered by Disqus