Antithesis Magazine

September/October 1990 - Volume I, Number 5

ANTITHESIS (Back to Main Page)
September/October 1990 – Volume I, Number 5

“No one relying on his own judgment shall… presume to interpret the Holy Scriptures contrary to that sense which the holy mother Church, to whom it belongs to judge of their true sense and interpretation, has held and holds…. Those who act contrary to this shall be…punished in accordance with the penalties prescribed by law.”
The Council of Trent 1546

“The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the scripture.”
Westminster Confession of Faith 1647




  • Douglas M. Jones III

Senior Editors

  • L. Anthony Curto
  • David G. Hagopian
  • Timothy J. Harris
  • Ellery C. Stowell
  • Greg L. Bahnsen

Three Kinds of Illiteracy by Ronald Nash
The restoration of functional, cultural, and moral literacy requires exposing the ideologies which have promulgated relativism and moral backruptcy.

NATO’s Disappearing Mission by Doug Bandow
With the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, NATO alliance officials are deparately dreaming up new tasks for the hundreds of thousands of U.S. troups stationed in Europe.

Cross-Ex: An Operation Rescue Director attacks David Hagopian and his two-part critique of O.R.

The Concept and Importance of Canonicity by Greg Bahnsen

The Issue of Sola Scriptura by Doug Jones and Gerry Matatics (debate)
Jones: Scripture Teaches That the Word of God is the Supreme Norm
Matatics: The Word of God is the Supreme Norm, but According to Scripture Itself, God’s Word is Not Entirely Contained Within Scripture Alone
Jones Responds
Matatics Responds
Jones’ Closing Statement


Romeward Bound: Evaluating Why Protestants Convert to Catholicism by David Hagopian
Ex-Protestants offer numerous reasons for their shift to Rome, but the arguments are far from cogent.
With: Why I Left Protestantism for Catholocism by Jeff Tucker (Former evangelical, Jeff Tucker, states his own reasons for converting to being Papist.)

New Confusions for Old: Rome and Justification by Roger Wagner
Recent defenders of Rome’s doctrine of justification are making the same mistaken accusations today as did their predecessors in the sixteenth century.

Enduring Anathamas of the Roman Catholic Euchrist by Douglas Jones
Understanding the framework of the Roman Eucharist and the reasons given in its support helps to remind us why we should reject it.



Why Reflect on Roman Catholocism?
Antithesis doesn’t usually devote a large segment of any issue to one particular topic. We generally attempt to address diverse areas of life in each issue. So why focus on Roman Catholicism?

One reason is the somewhat bizarre trend (at least to Protestants) of numerous evangelicals converting to Roman Catholicism. The trend is by no means new, though it does appear to have accelerated in the latter half of the 1980’s. The reasons given for these conversions are worthy of reflection in and of themselves, since they serve to challenge and remind evangelicals about their most treasured theological priorities.

A second reason for focusing on Roman Catholicism is the dearth of recent interaction between orthodox Protestants and Roman Catholics. Though we have not attempted to provide definitive work in any of the essays in this issue, we do hope to be one starting point to encourage further discussion.

We are very cognizant of and grateful for the fact that in our current era evangelicals and Roman Catholics often gladly end up on the same side of numerous social issues. Though we hope this cooperation continues to grow, we ought not ignore the great theological chasm that remains fixed between us. The chasm cannot be ignored, for the theological commitments go right to the hearts of our faiths. As the articles in this issue hopefully demonstrate, evangelicals and Roman Catholics continue to worship at diametrically opposed altars. Evangelicals and Roman Catholics are committed to antithetical authorities, practice antithetical rites, and, in fact, bow before antithetical Christs. For each others’ sake, neither side ought to remain silent.

Though many Catholic friends have directly and indirectly aided us in this issue, I would especially like to thank Karl Keating and his colleagues at Catholic Answers. I have yet to find a more amiable, gracious, and humorous group of gentlemen with whom I share so many strong disagreements.

Finally, though a large portion of this issue focuses on Roman Catholicism, the two opening essays, respectively by Ronald Nash and Doug Bandow, are not part of that discussion. Life goes on, and we found these two essays particularly timely and relevant to our situation. Regular readers will also notice that we have temporarily taken leave of several recurring features, namely, extended editorials (we have only one), Tony Curto’s continuing series on Scottish Presbyterianism, and our collection of “Novelty, Nonsense, and Non-Sequiturs.” We will return to each of these in our next issue.



Where Judgment Must Began
The modern American gospel of abject tolerance, sad to say, has writhed its way into most Protestant churches, resulting in scandalous lives which shame the name of Christ. While many in the Protestant camp rightly challenge the doctrinal deficiencies of the Roman Catholic church, at least the Roman Catholic church has recently demonstrated its desire for Christian principle by harnessing wayward members, particularly by putting out from its midst those who practice or advocate abortion.

To name just a few examples, the Roman Catholic church has, in recent years, excommunicated a director of Planned Parenthood in Providence, Rhode Island, as well as an abortuary director and abortion-performing obstetrician in Corpus Christi, Texas. And just a while ago, Cardinal O’Connor, the Archbishop of New York, warned Roman Catholic politicians that they will be excommunicated if they continue to support “abortion rights.” O’Connor quite clearly had politicians such as Mario “I-am-personally-pro-life-but-publicly-pro-choice” Cuomo in mind when he issued his stern warning.

Predictably, pro-death Catholics (oxymoron?) have decried the Catholic church’s ultimatums which, quite frankly, haven’t left them too much room to backpedal. Having found themselves against one wall, they have appealed to yet another wall, the wall of separation between church and state. Such appeals to the separation of church and state, however, are misleading, since Scripture itself teaches that the keys (the church) and the sword (the state) belong to two distinct and separate institutions.

Most pro-death pundits, however, mean something completely different when they speak of the separation of church and state: the separation of God from politics. Implicit in this pro-death drivel is the assumption that politics is a religiously neutral something. Contrary to this naive myth of neutrality, politics is ultimately and inescapably religious. Since Christ is Lord of all, His Lordship, by definition, is total. The Lordship of Christ knows no sacred-secular distinction. Hence, the Catholic Church is well within its rights to challenge those within its fold to choose this day whom they will serve, and by doing so, it in no way commingles the institutions of church and state.

Even more distressing than this separation rhetoric is the way some Protestant churches conveniently ignore Scripture’s explicit commands to discipline those who continue to sin in an unabated and unrepentant fashion. It’s as if such churches take scissors to Biblical passages which offend their modern American sense of libertine tolerance.

Isn’t it time that Protestant churches learn that it is God who dictates what He will and will not tolerate? Isn’t it time that Protestant churches shed the easy-believism that has wreaked havoc in the church and defamed the name of Christ? Isn’t it time that Protestant churches improve on the Catholic cue and begin to discipline those in their midst who refuse to repent of sins like abortion?

It’s time for Protestant churches to realize that judgment must begin in the household of God.



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