09 Oct 2017

Assurance and Development, Part III

In my last essay, I argued that intellectual stability is dependent on unity, both according to the demands of logic and the declarations of Saint Paul. Furthermore, I concluded that mere unity is not enough; we must have unity to something, else we paper over our divides to create a hollow accord. Unity to a pre-existent set of ideas or an institution is necessary for intellectual stability. I have yet to establish which of these

Christian McGuire 0
14 Sep 2017

Assurance and Development, Part II

The road to doctrinal certainty, as I outlined in a previous essay, is fraught with false shortcuts. There are a million wrong ways to achieve peace of mind about one’s religion; nevertheless, only stability will satisfy our spiritual longings. If these inward groanings are satiable, then there must be a right way to pursue them. The trouble with each of the aforementioned approaches to certainty lies in a presupposition that was mostly foreign to Christian

Christian McGuire 1
14 Aug 2017

Piper and Love

Dr. John Piper’s ministry (desiringgod.org) recently re-published a sermon entitled “The God Who Commands Our Emotions,” which defends Dr. Piper’s theology of moral psychology. Having previously critiqued Dr. Piper’s beliefs on this site, I thought it would be appropriate to engage with the argumentative development found in this sermon. I will note what Dr. Piper contributes to the conversation in the sermon, and afterwards provide my initial reactions. Affections Are Emotive Dr. Piper’s teaching raises

Christian McGuire 1
17 Jul 2017

Assurance and Development, Part I

The basic doctrines that distinguish Christianity from all other religions have, at their root, assumptions that also differentiate Catholicism from all other forms of Christianity. I have spent some time illustrating this phenomenon in the case of several dogmas—the Incarnation, the authority of Christ, the exclusive claim to grace, and the baptismal nature of the Gospel. However, if you are just joining me now, don’t be daunted. Each essay is independent in its argument, since

Christian McGuire 0
30 Jun 2017

Pushing Back on Piper’s Doctrine of Love

Despite our considerable theological differences, I respect John Piper. Years before Catholicism was anything but a strange, half-pagan concept in my mind, I attended his church in Minneapolis. I was catechized and baptized there, and learned many truths from his preaching that I have never found a substantial reason to doubt, despite subjecting them to much greater scrutiny in later years. Even now, I find much to admire in his life and teaching. However, an

Christian McGuire 1
19 Jun 2017

Catholicism’s Uniquely Baptismal Theology

The basic doctrines that distinguish Christianity from all other religions have, at their root, assumptions that also differentiate Catholicism from all other forms of Christianity. I have spent some time illustrating this phenomenon in the case of several dogmas—the Incarnation, the authority of Christ, and the exclusive claim to grace. However, if you are just joining me now, don’t be daunted. Each essay is independent in its argument, since each one examines a different facet

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22 May 2017

The Only Name, Part III: The Case of Cornelius

This is the fifth essay is a series focusing on the distinctives of Catholicism. I have attempted to demonstrate in the previous essays that two broadly Christian theologies, the Incarnation and the Messianic Prerogative, are distinctly Catholic in origin and nature. I have also begun outlining the parallelisms between the Christian doctrine of exclusivity and the details of the Catholic theology of exclusivity. In my third essay, I outlined Catholicism’s unique claim to salvific exclusivity.

Christian McGuire 0
24 Apr 2017

The Only Name, Part II

Since my last post, I have been approached with several questions by TJ Humphrey, another author at this site. Two in particular have forced me to reconsider some details of my original argument. Therefore, rather than proceeding to biblical exegesis, I will shortly attempt to crystallize the theological positions I took one month ago in this publication. Each question will be dealt with in turn.   What is the Roman Catholic definition of “the Church”?

Christian McGuire 2
27 Mar 2017

The Only Name, Part I

This is the third essay is a series focusing on the distinctives of Catholicism. I have attempted to demonstrate in the previous essay that two broadly Christian theologies, the Incarnation and the Messianic Prerogative, are distinctly Catholic in origin and nature.   Throughout most of history, religion has rarely laid claim to an exclusive knowledge of truth or an exclusive path to salvation. Pagan polytheists aggressively adopted the gods and myths of foreigners. The more

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27 Feb 2017

The Messianic Prerogative

This essay is the second in a series entitled “Catholicism: What You’d Expect.” The previous essay can be found here. In the first post, I lay out an argument that Christian distinctives find their fulfillment uniquely within the Catholic paradigm. I also argue that the first Christian distinctive, its incarnational theology and practice, is an ultimately Catholic attribute. This essay concerns the second distinctive which I listed: the authoritative nature of Christian theology. In all

Christian McGuire 2
30 Jan 2017

Catholicism: What You’d Expect

From the perspective of the Catholic Church, ‘Christianity’ and ‘Catholicism’ are only distinct concepts due to the unfortunate appearance of heretical and schismatic sects, some of which have split off from the original Church while remaining close enough to Church doctrine to be considered broadly ‘Christian’. These groups, in the words of Jerome, ‘tear the robe of Christ’ by keeping some elements of divine doctrine while rejecting others. In their hands, the seamless weave of

Christian McGuire 3
16 Jan 2017

Repite, por favor

I recently mentioned an article I had seen in First Things to a Baptist friend of mine as we were driving around the Greater LA Area. The article points out that societies without a deep appreciation for ritual often find themselves on a never-ending quest for sincerity. This observation corresponded with the experiences of both my friend and myself; our common evangelical upbringing was steeped in a desire for “realness”—undoubtedly a good-hearted phenomenon, but a

Christian McGuire 2
21 Nov 2016

Justification in Catholicism, Part III

This is the third and final post in my series on Catholicism and Justification. The first two parts can be found here and here. Elsewhere in Paul’s letters, we find a similar commitment to a Catholic view of justification. One such example is found in his phrase, “neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything” (Galatians 5:6, 6:15, 1 Corinthians 7:9). I will look at all incidents of this phrase in Paul’s writing. It is, of

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24 Oct 2016

Justification in Catholicism, Part II: Romans 4

In my last post, I promised my readers that I would post a follow-up argument from the Scriptures on behalf of the “Catholic interpretation of ‘justification by faith:’ i.e., continual, infused righteousness, sacramentally transmitted, on the basis of faith that is ongoing and uninterrupted by mortal sin.” After I began an outline for that argument, I quickly realized I could not do it justice in a single post. Therefore, I have narrowed my argument in

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10 Oct 2016

Justification in Catholicism, Part I

It may come as a surprise to some that, Luther’s attempt to add the word “alone” into Romans 3:28 notwithstanding, the words “alone” or “only” are never paired with “faith” in all of the Sacred Text except when the phrase is condemned in James. As a Protestant, this was the first fact to give me pause about my theology of salvation. If the phrase “faith alone” was really, as so many Reformers claimed, the best

Christian McGuire 2
26 Sep 2016

What Can Statistics Teach Us About Tradition?

It seems that the headnote over my last piece was more judicious than I realized at the time. Several responses—one from Ben Winter and another from Jacob Prahlow (both of whom are authors on this site)—have taken exception to one part or another of my article, with generous asides that they might have interpreted my article incorrectly. In my opinion, this is precisely what happened; I utterly agree with the theological assertions made by both of

Christian McGuire 3
29 Aug 2016

On the Misuse of Sacred Scripture

Note: This article was originally published on my personal blog. Since then, several individuals (most of whom are Catholic) have kindly mentioned to me that this essay seems rather combative and extreme at points. However, I am unable to identify much that I can genuinely recant or replace, and thus have preserved most of the text in its original form. Nevertheless, my respect for the aforementioned individuals compels me to offer my sincere apologies to anyone who may share

Christian McGuire 3
16 Aug 2016

Ask Conciliar Post: “Marian Miracles and Co-Redemption”

Question: Do all Marian and stigmata miracles produce Catholic dogma? A lot of these miracles are listed as “private revelations,” but it is hardly private when Marian Shrines are attracting millions. My concern is about the idea of Mary as a co-redeemer. Are all these miracles valid, and does this retract from Christ as Redeemer? The first part to your question is whether all Marian miracles, stigmata, and so on produce Catholic doctrine. The short

Christian McGuire 1
01 Aug 2016

And the greatest of these is… Faith?

Invariably, soteriological discussions will surface the concept of “true faith”—generally sooner rather than later. Why does James say that we are justified by works and not by faith alone, even though Paul writes that we are justified by faith? Because James wasn’t talking about “true faith.” Why do some people fall away after professing faith in Christ? Theirs was not “true faith.” But what does this term really mean? This question plagued me as a

Christian McGuire 5
18 Jul 2016

Racial Reconciliation: Sundays, from 4pm until the Line Ends.

Since moving to the DC area, I have been going to mass at a Church that is at least half Hispanic. Many parishioners don’t speak English as a primary language, if at all. Since I don’t attend services in Español—despite two semesters of Spanish, I am about as ignorant of the language as is humanly possible—I wouldn’t normally notice this fact. After all, I am nothing if not unobservant. But confessionals can make it hard

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