Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Suppers that Separate

Calvin criticized monasticism for many failures, but one of his charges could be leveled squarely at that very un-monastic, world-affirming movement known as American evangelicalism.

The facts themselves tell us that all those who enter into the monastic community break with the church.

That's a surprising charge to make against monks, who would seem to be dedicated to the church catholic. What evidence does he bring forward to substantiate his accusation?

Do they not separate themselves from the lawful society of believers, in adopting a peculiar ministry and a private administration of the sacraments? If this is not to break the communion of the church, what is? (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 4, Chapter 13.14)

Irony of ironies, the most committed Roman Catholics were not catholic, according to Calvin. But how many among us today even understand his criticism?

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