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[quote:285rg0w3]As a PresboCatholitalian, I have to answer Victor’s question as this — it IS just one entity. Just happens to be divided into different camps.[/quote:285rg0w3]
Elka, what exactly did you mean by “different camps”? Do you mean Baptist, Episcopalian, etc. Is this what you mean?
If you do, I don’t consider any seperation that results in the formation of new confessional bodies to be “within” the Church. Such a seperation is always a break “from” the Church.
It is true that schisms cannot be prevented by no denomination. We all have that problem. As the reformers soon found out that rebellion begets rebellion. Although the reasons for why people seperate from Catholicism are crucially different from that of Protestantism. As apologists Gary Hoge puts it,
[i:285rg0w3]It’s true that each of the thousands of confessional Protestant bodies has doctrinal unity, but they only maintain that unity until a doctrinal disagreement arises within that confessional body. Because there exists no mechanism within Protestantism for resolving such disagreements in a binding way, the end result is usually schism and the formation of a new confessional body alongside the original. I see this as a fundamental flaw within Protestant ecclesiology, because, in the case of a doctrinal dispute, one side or the other must be in error, obviously. Therefore, the schism results in the erroneous doctrine becoming institutionalized within one or the other of the confessional bodies, depending upon which one was wrong.[/i:285rg0w3]
In Catholicism there exist a mechanism to resolve doctrinal disputes. Most catholics know what the Church teaches on a particular issue and if they don’t they know where to go. That way, even the simplest Christian, no matter how uneducated he may be, can know what to believe, and what not to believe. The problem with most catholics that seperate from the Church is that they flat out don’t agree and refuse to submitt. In Protestantism what people call the “essentials” may differ from church to church and there is nothing to truly bind them.
[quote:285rg0w3]If it was lesser — infant baptism, say — they would pretty much remain the same, with the exception that the Episcopalians would privately wonder why you haven’t changed churches since you’ve obviously become a fundamentalist.[/quote:285rg0w3]
This is an example of what I mean by the “essentials”. What makes baptism lesser?
Let me know your thoughts.