Friday, March 15, 2013

Dear Gary Bauer, What's Really Uncharitable Is Dismissing People's Convictions As If They Don't Matter.

This article by Gary Bauer is dead wrong when it argues that Roman Catholics and evangelicals agree on the most essential issues. Here's the very center of where his error:
Doctrinal differences remain, of course, but the Catholic-evangelical alliance has reshaped American politics. In many cases, Catholics have provided the intellectual framework and vocabulary to discuss Christianity's vital role in our democracy, while Protestants have contributed fervor and youth. 
We do not agree on every issue. But on the essential ones -- those both faiths consider "non-negotiables" -- Catholics and evangelicals are allied. 
We both champion the idea -- the truth -- that there are reliable standards of right and wrong to which all institutions, including government, must adhere. We stand together in proclaiming that all human life has equal dignity and worth. And we stand together in defending the traditional and time-honored conception of marriage as a union of one man and one woman.
Of course he's right that objective truth and moral issues matter a great deal in the public square, and he's right to be grateful for the contribution of both groups in those issues. But he could not be more profoundly mistaken when he suggests that they're more important than doctrinal issues—unresolved disagreement (at least at the level of official RCC teaching) over the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ *alone*.

Level-headed disagreement simply isn't disrespectful or uncharitable, as Bauer argues that it is. Serious evangelicals and Roman Catholics perceive that ideas and convictions matter. I actually respect and appreciate my Roman Catholics friends who recognize that fact far more than I respect Gary Bauer. And I respect them by taking their views seriously, not by dismissing them flippantly.

Not surprisingly, Carl Trueman addresses the same issues much more helpfully.

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