Monday, May 07, 2007

Josh... still at it

Josh S. is a Lutheran (LCMS) seminarian at the synod's seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana who's been in the blogosphere for a number of years. Last year he closed down the group blog that he'd started (after closing his own personal blog previously), owing to his time in the seminary. That, however, hasn't stopped his need to blog... I just discovered that he's continuing to post at The Boar's Head Tavern, under a pseudonym.

Josh's online personality is a bit of an ornery cuss. He seems to mildly enjoy flamethrowing and the results that it brings... at his own blogs, he's gone after anyone and everyone from any Christian tradition, focusing his ire in particular on Calvinism and Catholicism at various times. Like a number of Christians I know, he seems to identify himself by what he isn't (Catholic or Calvinist), more so than by what he is. Or to be a bit more precise, his explanations of what he is (or what he believes) are generally in the context of what he is not (or what he does not believe). In Josh's case, I have no idea why that is... any ideas I could offer would only be speculative, no matter their accuracy.

Josh has always been fairly well read, and that's obviously still the case in seminary. But as they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And despite the reading he's done, he evidently still doesn't get Catholicism (not that that's uncommon, btw... I suppose if he did get it, he'd convert). Unfortunately, he's still prone to occasionally saying completely ridiculous things. For instance, he has this funny little post on what converts to Catholicism ignore. Written in the context of Dr. Francis Beckwith's recent return to the Catholic Church of his youth (he became an evangelical when he was young, and had some standing... he just resigned as President of the Evangelical Theological Society), Josh apparently thinks that no one could possibly convert to Catholicism if they really knew these things (many of which are fairly accurate, but some of which are off-base; for instance, the second item on his list).

Conversions & reversions are mysterious things, but it's pretty bold to claim that someone of Dr. Beckwith's intellectual rigor & honesty would ignore the warts on the Church. More likely, he's well aware of them, but realizes that in the end, they don't obscure the reality of what the Church is: the community of disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, founded and structured by Him, communicating (in many ways) the salvation won by Him.

6 comments:

DimBulb said...

I'm pretty sure that should be spelled "Boor's Head Tavern."

Chris Burgwald said...

:-)

HokiePundit said...

Weird...I was just reading that the other day and that got me thinking about other blogs I'd gotten out of touch with, including this one...

The Fearsome Pirate said...

Well, I used to be a Calvinist, and in my early blogging days, simply being the only Lutheran on the block (there were no Lutheran blogs when I started) invited lots of attacks from the Reformed. I have since quit interacting so heavily with Calvinists.

At some point, I picked up my own pet Professional Catholic Apologist. I think that explains in part why I talk about Catholicism a lot more. I've also been reading Examination of the Council of Trent piece-by-piece. When I'm done, perhaps I'll move on to someone else. However, Catholicism is a much more interesting denomination than pretty much anything else out there.

As for Beckwith, I personally think that looking at any papal dogmas whatsoever as "warts" is theologically naive. That's not what absolute, immediate, universal jurisdiction is about. And as Bill Cork has pointed out, Beckwith didn't really understand what the Reformation doctrine of justification was about, mistakenly identifying it with the decision theology of evangelicalism. With that in mind, I somehow doubt he fully comprehends the magnitude of papal claims and what that implies for doctrine and life.

Chris Burgwald said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Josh... btw, I hope things go well for you as you begin ME (incidentally, I was an engineering major before switching to theology, but that's another story).

I think you've indicated that you've read Trent before, at least in parts. I think it'd be interesting if you re-read it, not with the eye of a prosecutor, but with the eye of s fellow Christian who wants to understand precisely what those nutty Catholics think. I don't expect that you'll be without objection after such a reading, but I do think it's a more fruitful approach; I found it to be such with regard to the BoC and various Lutheran theologians I've read.

I think Bill makes some good observations that are worthwhile. From another perspective, I'd be curious about any further comments you have on Koons' conversion, given that he was LCMS, and is pretty clearly more familiar with the Lutheran doctrine of justification than Beckwith perhaps is.

Chris Burgwald said...

I should also note, Josh, that I think it's pretty common for Catholic apologists (especially amateurs) to come after Lutherans and Lutheranism as if it were identical with Protestant Fundamentalism or Evangelicalism... I found out the hard way that they are most definitely *not* synonymous many years ago when I initiated a conversation with a friend who's dad was an LCMS pastor (Rob Fish), and who in turn when to Fort Wayne himself (Rob Fish, Jr). Definitely an eye-opening experience.