Sunday, June 12, 2016

If I'm Calvinist, is God Hobbes? The You're Not the Pope of Me Doctrinal Kerfuffle

I'm the Pope of you!
If you had the misfortune to read If I'm Calvinist, is God Hobbes? Part 1 of this scholarly exegesis, no - that's not right - this Rabelasian road trip, yes, much better - you no doubt will have noted several inconsistencies, non sequiturs, logical conundrums and downright falsehoods. Good for you, if they're still alive, your Sunday School teachers will be so proud. Me? Couldn't care less. What concerns me is that I didn't fully explain why the Pope was so ticked at Calvin and his cranky co-conspirators. Yes, the Calvinists made a big deal of God's unapproachable, towering sovereignty but that wasn't primarily what frosted the Pope's beer mug. It was the insistence of Calvinists (and Lutherans, Zwingliites, Arians, Anglicans etc.) that the Pope had no authority from God to rule the church or compel the obedience of any Christian.

No. I'm the Pope of you!
'The "You're not the boss of me" doctrine was a direct assault on the power, perquisites and privileges of what by the 14th century had become the best gig in religion. It was such a good gig that different kings set up their own Popes to get in on all the fun. And you can understand why being a major league Roman Prelate was in such demand: you got to hang out in the south of France or Italy, A list celebrities kissed your pinkie ring, you presided over a religion that used excellent wine as it's primary sacrament, and you lived in a time where the practical definition of 'celibacy' was "sorry honey, you know I can't marry you but I'll pray that it's a boy". Sort of an all expense paid version of Porkys in man dresses. And not something to be given up just because some punk has spent too much time reading his Bible.

No! I'm the Pope of both of you!
And then there was the whole Antichrist thing.  I mean telling the guy that cashes Jesus' checks here on earth that he actually doesn't have signing authority for those accounts is liable to put the calmest Cote d'Azur popeboy in a state of heightened agitation. So yes, differences about the sovereignty of God, the nature of Salvation and the questionable fashion sense of wearing really tall hats all fed into the Pope's hostility .  But at the end of the day what they were really fighting over was custody of the Papal expense account.

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