3 Reasons Why Catholics and Protestants Interpret Scripture Differently
While Protestants are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Catholic professor Matthew Levering is asking a basic-level question:
Was the Reformation a mistake?
In his similarly titled book, Levering makes it clear he believes “they were right in seeking reform” (31). Yet he does “consider that the Reformers made some doctrinal mistakes” (15), and addresses nine of them. Over the past few weeks we’ve engaged a few of his arguments here and here.
Concluding the book, Kevin Vanhoozer offers a “Mere Protestant Response.” He evaluates Levering’s theological method in establishing Catholic doctrine as biblical, showing why Protestants and Catholics interpret Scripture differently.
Here are three important differences highlighted by Vanhoozer.
1) The Locus of Authority
The main interpretive difference between Protestants and…
Luther Was Critical of Monasticism: A Catholic Theologian Weighs In — An Excerpt from Was the Reformation a Mistake?
Jesus proclaims that voluntary poverty and chaste celibacy will be the vocation of some of his followers, but not all of them. Jesus also makes clear the centrality of obedience. It makes sense, then, that the church should possess ways of living a distinctive religious life of radical poverty, chaste celibacy, and obedience—so long as the motivation for religious life is love and faith-filled desire to imitate Christ.
Martin Luther rightfully voiced his disapproval of the financial corruption, focus on works, and sexual incontinence in monasteries during his lifetime. In today’s excerpt from Was the Reformation a Mistake? Matthew Levering–though he would agree on the corruption–addresses some of the reasoning behind the formation of monasteries as a legitimate biblical communities.
Numerous monasteries continue to…
Biblical Grounds for the Catholic Doctrine of Merit?
Next week Protestants will celebrate the quincentennial anniversary of the Reformation and the rallying cry that emerged from it: Justification by grace through faith alone.
Yet, is there room for merit in God’s economy of salvation? Luther said “No way!” Levering says, “Not so fast!”
In his new book Was the Reformation a Mistake? Catholic theologian Matthew Levering offers some biblical grounds for the Catholic doctrine of merit as it relates to justification. He also clarifies what Catholic doctrine actually teaches:
The Catholic Church recognizes that no one can ever merit the utterly free gift of justification, and the Catholic Church also affirms that believers’ final perseverance unto eternal life is God’s free gift, to which the appropriate response will be gratitude to God…
Was the Reformation a Mistake? An Excerpt by Catholic Theologian Matthew Levering
I hold that the Reformers made mistakes, but that they chose to be reformers was not a mistake.
In 1517, the Church was in need of a spiritual and theological reform. In today’s excerpt from Was the Reformation a Mistake? Why Catholic Doctrine Is Not Unbiblical, Matthew Levering provides the backdrop to the Reformation and reasons why the Reformers were not wrong to challenge the Church in Rome.
Before proceeding, let me make some additional observations about whether the Reformation was a “mistake,” as my book’s title asks in light of the five-hundredth anniversary. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’s preaching of the kingdom of heaven includes his sobering parable of the wheat and the weeds.…
Why Catholic Doctrine Is Not Unbiblical
A provocative question on the eve of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. And an appropriate one given lingering divisions between Protestants and Catholics in orthodoxy and orthopraxy.
It’s a question Catholic professor Matthew Levering asks in his new book, Was the Reformation a Mistake? Spoiler alert: He doesn’t think it was.
He is “deeply grateful” for the Reformers’ emphasis on a number of doctrinal positions and believes “they were right in seeking reform” (31). Yet he does insist they “made some doctrinal mistakes” (15), which he addresses in his book:
I focus on nine issues raised by Luther at the outset of the Reformation that continue to divide Catholics and Protestants. These nine issues are the following: Scripture, Mary, the…
Locating Atonement in Dogmatic Theology with Aquinas and von Balthasar
The doctrine of atonement has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years. In this modern Quest for the Historic Atonement, some have called on the church to embrace a community of atonement theories; others have questioned whether God killing Jesus on the cross is “cosmic child abuse.”
A new edited volume by Oliver Crisp and Fred Sanders, Locating Atonement, transcends these discussions about typology and combinations. Taking the conversation in a fresh, innovative direction, it asks:
How does the redemptive work of Christ relate to other load-bearing structures in dogmatic theology? (14)
The trajectory of this book is synthetic, in that it examines the relationship between this doctrine and other spheres of dogmatic theology. Two of the twelve essays engaging this question exemplify…