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May 18, 2011


Thank you STR for promoting Ratio Christi. It is an honor to be mentioned on your blog. Ratio Christi is bringing together faith and reason in order to establish the intellectual voice of Christ in the University.

Rick Schenker
President, Ratio Christi

How does Ratio Christi deal with denominationalism? Or is pluralism within Christianity reasonable and true, but false outside it?

I'm not sure Pluralism is a Real Thing.

I know what you mean about Denominations and etc, and I know why we look at such things, but perhaps a view from this slightly different approach will offer something:

There are those who are "In Christ". There are those who are not. It is clear, very clear, that we, not Christ, but us, lack the all seeing eye required to know "who is in" and "who is out".

Many we think are "in" will be found to be "out". Many who we think are "out" will be found to be "in".

God only knows.
We do not know.

If we feel that we do know, and can make "that call" for each and every person we ever meet, then I am speechless and have nothing more to write to such a reader.

Membership in Christ matters. Membership in no other entity matters.

We never go to Church. We are Church. The Church gathers together to Love on Love as Love loves on them. You cannot point to anything made with hands and say, "There is the real church".

We are a City not made with hands.

There is no such thing as Pluralism, as there are only those who are within Love Himself, within Christ, and those who are without. There is no other "group".

And, we have already established that we are not qualified to make "the call" as to who is, or is not, "in". The white hot blazing Passion of a man who leads millions to Christ may be "out" for all we know. So much for his “membership in a group”. And the reverse holds true as well: the foulest member of the I-Hate-God club may carry within his soul his tightly clenched fist wrapped, with blood on his hands, squarely around that Cross. So much for his “lack of a membership in a group”. We just do not have the qualifications to make that Final Call on every person who walks the face of the earth. We do not know. He knows, and we know Him.

In our make believe world down here there is pluralism. A million and one varieties of, well, everything. But in God’s Throne Room of the Really Real there are only Two Realities. There are those who are born of Love Himself, and are becoming more like Him, and there are those who are outside of that eternal pattern of Love's 'Other and not Self', and who are therefore within that horrible Alone of the Isolated-Self which cries forever I, I , and only I.

There is no such thing as Pluralism, as we think of it, in the Really Real of Heaven’s Throne Room. We must interact with all men everywhere with THIS awareness acutely, relentlessly, in the forefront of our mind.

I pray Ratio Christi does so. The Intellectual Adroitness and Finesse this kind of organization can bring to the University setting will be of an immense help in today’s world.

And, juxtaposed along side of this very important work, there is that reminder that if we go forward void of the Love of Love Himself then the work cannot bring, ultimately, Life.


If truth is one, it can be known. I think what you’re saying is that we can’t judge people’s salvation because what’s in their heart is invisible and known only to God. I agree. But that doesn’t address denominationalism, it simply implies ‘church’ is invisible and makes it synonymous.

If truth is one (which it is), and the church claims to preach the truth, then rationally, there would be only one church. I’m arguing about the issue of truth and oneness, not salvation.

I read the ‘RC’ statement of faith, and it implicitly rejects my Church (THE RC!) :), so I’m asking which denomination is the correct one that, presumably all the members of ‘Ratio Christi’ attend?

If not, if I was non-Catholic and reasonable, then I would have to ask why all the division?, or which member of Ratio Christi is the most rational, and then I'll attend the same denomination or congregation as him (or her) :)

My Church is the one true Church, so I don’t have to do any gymnastics to justify the incoherence of division which undermines non-Catholic claims to truth.

However, I must state, that when Catholics make this comment, non-Catholics project their view onto us. That is, as they believe we are a ‘false church’, so they assume we think they are false churches, too. We do not. Non-Catholics merely lack the fullness of the truth. Which is how we accept non-Catholics and even non-Christians as having the possibility of salvation, but do not become pluralistic in the process.
(The document, Dominus Iesus, explains this more fully.)

In essence, the non-Catholic viewpoint is synchronic, and as such, results in what has now been admitted: that all non-Catholic Christianity, from the Revolt of 1517 is emergent and progressive, despite Kevin de Young and Jim Packer's recent attempts to stem the tide like King Canute.

Paul and RC:

"Non-Catholics merely lack the fullness of the truth. Which is how we accept non-Catholics and even non-Christians as having the possibility of salvation, but do not become pluralistic in the process."

I think this is a perfectly valid stance for ANY "group" out there. Naturally, we all view our particular body of teachings to be "somewhat closer to the truth" than another's body of work. CS Lewis said there is Truth, and there are various descriptions of such, and some are "closer to it" than another's and that each is not necessarily "wholly false", but simply "closer to" or perhaps "farther from" the actual Truth.

RC needs to weigh in here; but, IF RC feels (I doubt they do) that "being a member of the Catholic Church" means, or is equal to, "one is void membership in Christ" (I am not a Catholic by the way) then this would border on claiming to have the all seeing eye necessary to look at ANY human being in this world and make "that call" of saved or not saved (as per my discussion above).

I don't know if RC's "false church" stance EQUATES to "if one is a catholic then one is not a member of Christ".

That would be error.

(Only RC can qualify this. But my guess is that they do NOT "equate" the two statements. But I can't speak for them.)

There are Catholics who are, and are not, members of Christ.

There are members of RC who are, and are not, members of Christ.

There are Protestants who are, and are not, members of Christ.

There are members of the I-Hate-God club (see my post above) who are, and who are not, members of Christ.

In the Really Real of God's Throne Room there are only two "groups". Not hundreds. And we ought to talk to and with one another along HIS definiton of this.

In the Really Real of HIS vocabulary, there are those who are born of Love Himself, and are becoming more like Him, and there are those who are outside of that eternal pattern of Love's "Other and not Self", and who are therefore within the Alone of the Isolated-Self which cries I, I, and only I.

There are no other groups in GOD'S Throne Room. How can there be more than two in OUR dialogue with one another?

I talk this way:

"I'm sorry, but I don't know what you mean by 'protestant' or 'catholic' or 'atheist' or 'hindu' or 'muslim' and on and on. There is Christ, Love Himself, and there is the Pure-Self, the I, I, and only I within the Isolated-Self of the Alone. There are no other groups. And this is why I say Pluralism is not a Real-Thing.

In God’s Throne Room of the Really Real there are only Two Realities. There are no other "groups" in GOD'S language: it follows then that if there ARE more than two in OUR language we clearly have moved AWAY from HIS vocabulary and definition of this.


I can't tell you how THANKFUL I am for such an organization as yours. Our University setting is in great need of such an effort.

In the University setting, you will, naturally, be asked tough questions.

I think silence here, on this question, would be a missed opportunity to "practice" what you will certainly face on campus. "Silence" is not really an Apologetic. BOTH Christian and Non-Christian will ask "stuff" of you etc, and all we can do is love all, and, with a felt-concern for the wellfare of all, offer outward towards Other what He Himself has poured into us.

Hi again, LHRM

Thanks for engaging with this.
However, my comments are based on something deeper.

I know what you're saying, as you're giving the standard non-Catholic line - that of the approximation to truth. But I really don't want to be in something that's merely an approximation.

It's one of the main reasons why I became Catholic, because scripture read, without my non-Catholic glasses on, was far more in line with Catholic Ecclesiology, apart from not being able to make sense of all the weird pastors, doctrines, and churches that were 'emerging' in the early 80s, where everyone seemed to be starting their own if they didn't like their pastor.

The Catholic Church IS the truth. Period. You might not like that, but that's because you relinquished truth 5 centuries ago.

What you're arguing is what we call 'Ecclesial Relativism'.

This article's by an ex-Evangelical theologian:
"Consumerism and Ecclesial Relativism".

It's a term that's been introduced by a growing number of Evangelical theologians who are embracing Catholicism.

But I'd like the other side of the debate which has, so far, been met only with more relativistic comments and ridicule by non-Catholics rather than anything cogent.

What gives Kevin de Young any more authority than Brian McLaren? The numbers who agree? The number of bible quotes in their defence? How rational they are? And, if so, what are the criteria of 'right-reason' in this domain so we can tell which is authoritative?

So, if Ratio Christi can show why Ecclesial Relativism is wrong or doesn't apply, I'd be glad to hear about it!

But I'm not holding my breath...

Hi Paul,

I think you are being faithful to scripture, which is important. "On the whole" there is alot I agree with. Again, I'm not a Catholic. But, I will offer that this line is somewhat of a departure from scripture;

"The Catholic Church IS the truth. Period".

I believe that the actual, literal "PERSON" of Christ "HIMSELF" is "The Truth". Or "The Way. Or "The Life".

It is a Person, not a body or collection of specific teachings. This is what the scripture clearly states. "He" is "the" Truth.

But let's take this one more step:

if there are "Non" Catholics who are in fact "members of Christ" (you don't seem to disagree with this) then it is clear that Christ's body DOES include Non-Catholics. However, if "Catholic" equals "Truth" and so by default "non-catholic" means "non-truth" then clearly there can be no Non-Catholics who are "in Christ".

I think there are Catholics who are, and are not, in Christ.

I think there are Non-Catholics who are, and are not, In Christ.

I think there are Protestants who are, and are not, in Christ.

Even a few members of the I-Hate-God club (see my post above) are in Christ.

Clearly it is membeship in Christ, the PERSON, and not membership in the Institution of the C. Churh which "OVER-RIDES" or "OUT-WEIGHS".

I think when we say, "ABC is THEE Truth" we are permitted, ultimately, only one Word to put into the slot of ABC, which is I-Am, which is Word made Flesh, which is Christ the Person.

But if "C. Church" equals Truth, then by default Non C. equals Non-Truth and, by definition, there can be no Non-C. who is in fact a member of Christ.

I suppose one can argue this. But you don't seem to be arguing this. Are you?

When I am told that "ABC is THEEE Truth" I am a bit taken back when the ABC is something other than the Person of God Himself, Love made Flesh.

RC are you there?


I forgot, your comment above of, "I’m arguing about the issue of truth and oneness, not salvation" is appreciated.

I am, however, looking for a full ya or na on the issue of salvation and membership in Christ even as a Non Catholic. I think I need to know your posture here on this point before I can really understand your stance on "The C. Church is theee Truth".

If it is theee truth in the sense that membership is required for salvation then what you are saying is that the Body of Christ is comprised only of those who, once introduced to it, wholly embrace Catholicism.

If there is, however, in your posture, a Body which over-rides even membership in the C. Churh (on the point of salvation) and in fact Non C.'s are members in that higher body (salvation) then what you mean is that the C. Church is "closer to the truth, perhaps even much closer" than other branches, rather than the C. Church is the physical Body of Christ and so anyting not part of it cannot be called Christ's own.

I'm not fully clear on your take on this one point of salvation. Salvation comes by being a member of that One who alone can say, "I am The Truth". But since you say the C. Church is Theee Truth I feel I need to clairfy your take on Salvation here to ferrit out what you mean by theee truth.

RC are you there as per our posts above? did this turn into a convo about denominations (sigh). Anyway, Ratio Christi is pretty great...I just wish certain chapters *cough*ohiostate would get their stuff together online. It's hard to follow them.


It turned into a discussion about denoms because that's all Paul ever wants to talk about.


You continue to assert that you became a RC because you don't like the evangelical relativism, as you call it. You continue to assert that the RC church is The Church that preaches The Truth, that it is not an approximation, that it is wholly, 100% correct.

As always, and hopefully you will answer my questions this time, WHAT REASON DO YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE THE ABOVE ASSERTIONS?

I put the question in bold so it wouldn't confuse you. The Eastern Orthodox Church also claims to be the One True Church. One of you must be wrong. Or both of you could be wrong. How do you know? Even if the RC Church was the ONLY one to make this claim, how do you know it is correct?

Please understand that I am not saying it isn't true or that it is not knowable. However, like everyone else, you should be held accountable to give reasons for your claims/assertions and you have thus far avoided doing so.

Hope you stick around to get to the bottom of this.


Paul, this post is in no way about denominations or the Roman Catholic Church. You're welcome to comment here, but we don't allow people to consistently turn the conversation here towards their own agenda. As this is the second time I've seen this, it seems to be a pattern, so I want to let you know what's expected.

We hope you'll continue to take part in the conversation on this blog, but if this problem continues, we will need to part ways so that the topics we present can be discussed by people.

Since you're already into a conversation on this post, you all can continue it here until you're finished, but this is it, so be sure you say what you need to say.

Thanks for understanding.

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