Monday, April 25, 2005

Dr. James Dobson and "Anti-Catholicism"

I love James Dobson, and all the tremendous good he has accomplished. Let's get that straight first. I've listened to the man off and on for some 23 years now. But like so many Protestants, even a good (I would also say, great) man like this is quite confused and ambiguous, if not contradictory, when it comes to Catholicism. Hence, we learn, in an article entitled, Dobson can't decide whether anti-Catholic bigotry is OK, on the Media Matters for America website, of this exchange on the Fox News' talk show Hannity & Colmes:

[ALAN] COLMES: You are participating in an event this Sunday, "Justice Sunday." And among those there will be Dr. Alan [sic] Mohler of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who said a few years ago, "As an evangelical, I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is a false church. It teaches a false gospel. And the Pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office."

Are you concerned about the anti-Catholicism of some of the people you are participating with to fight the filibuster?

[....]

DOBSON: Well, first of all, he [Mohler] did not make a vehement anti-Catholic statement. He's a Southern Baptist, for Pete's sake.

You expect a Southern Baptist to say that he does not honor the pope in the same way the Catholics do. It's a different theology. Is that not right? That's not an attack on the Catholic Church.

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Where to begin? No, we don't expect Southern Baptists to be Catholics in their ecclesiology. That's a no-brainer and nothing to argue about. Nor do we dispute that Catholicism teaches a "different theology" (in some respects, but none amounting to a denial of Christianity). But as to whether the statement cited is an "attack on the Catholic Church," it certainly is!!! How could it not be? And how could it not be seen as anti-Catholic? Mohler said that the Catholic Church was a "false church" that teaches a "false gospel." If a group does not teach the gospel it is not a Christian group, period. End of discussion. We don't even need to analyze what is meant by a "false Church" (though if we look at the rhetoric of Luther and Calvin, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to deduce what they mean by it). But somehow Dobson doesn't see this as a manifestation of anti-Catholicism. Amazing . . .

Dobson might clarify and re-state what he was trying to express. Let's hope . . .

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