One of the great benefits of owning a publishing company is that there are always a number of smart people who will answer my e-mails. Thus, when I saw the brouhaha about Michael Patton’s post calling ‘Roman Catholic scholarship’ an oxymoron, I remembered immediately that I have just contracted Dr. Robert LaRochelle to write a book on—guess what?—dialog between Catholics and Protestants. (The book is Crossing the Street, to be released in May, 2012).
So I asked Bob if he’d write a response, and he graciously agreed. This morning, I published that response over at Energion.net. I’m linking it from here for two reasons. First, Energion.net is a site I’m developing, and I have more traffic here on my personal blog. Second, I want to call attention to one paragraph in particular, which relates to dialog in general.
One of the things I tell my authors is that Energion Publications is not interested in homogenized material. We want material that is in conversation with other viewpoints, but still expresses a strong and robust viewpoint of its own. Bob said it well:
So, in summary, as one whose movement into Protestantism and practice of my faith has been deeply enriched and enhanced by bold and exciting Catholic scholarship, I find Mr. Patton’s argument unconvincing. I do admire, however, his strong advocacy of the importance of theology within the Christian community of faith. It is my firm belief that true ecumenical dialogue between Protestants and Catholics really suffers when theological ‘indifferentism’ is seen as the norm. The idea that ‘it makes no difference’ and that all belief systems are ‘really the same’ is both inaccurate and does no justice to the cause of deeper understanding and shared contribution to both Christ’s church and to God’s world.
‘Indifferentism’! What an excellent name for a not-so-good thing!