When I opened my Logos program yesterday, I was greeted by a message from the machine: “Logos has launched an initiative to increase our Catholic resources,” and they have done so by hiring a guy, Andrew Jones, who was trained (of course) in medieval history. Jones’ task will be running a Catholic Resources division, and his goal is to bring more RCC books the Logos community.
Let me say a two things about this straight away: I am moderately disappointed in how Logos is doing this, but am slightly happy that they are doing it. Allow me to explain my tension.
I am one of those fundamentalist Christians that believes that the biblical gospel is incompatible with anything that smells like Roman Catholicism. Recently when MacArthur preached on why he thinks it is likely that the antichrist will be a Middle Eastern leader, I was skeptical. Sure his reasoning was sound, but I have already landed; the antichrist will be a Pope, and as dispensational as I am, I don’t have room for two.
To those oversensitive types who think that is harsh, all I have to say is: they started it. I believe that you are saved by faith alone, in Christ alone, and the RCC says anyone who believes that is anathema. If they retract their anathema from me, then I will stop laughing when someone says “Catholics are Christians just like the rest of us…”
Look: the RCC is a chameleon. In the Philippines they venerate an ancient rain goddess. In México they worship an Aztecan image named the Virgin of Guadalupe, and if you tell me they simply honor her and not worship her, I will tell you that you have never been to México City. It is simply natural that in the United States, the RCC takes pains to morph itself into something that looks like American evangelicalism.
And in many instances, they are succeeding. Some American evangelicals honestly believe that there is not much of a difference between the RCC and the gospel Jesus preached. And when you take that mindset and combine it with Dan Brown level scholarship, you get people who think that the first 1500 years of church history is the history of the RCC. It is difficult to imagine a more intentional kind of ignorance.
That is why I am ok with Logos launching their RCC wing. The Catholic Church is crazy. There have been popes that were atheists, Cardinals that mocked the Bible, and rampant immorality for most of RCC history. Popes contradict popes, and many popes contradict themselves. Their doctrine and history is far removed from the truth of the gospel, and it makes the enlightened American who claims all roads lead to Jesus seem like an illiterate.
As always, books fight ignorance. Reading about the RCC is like reading about an immoral train-wreck, but with more citations. I hope that Andrew collates all of the Official Papal Decrees throughout the ages, and organizes them by topic. I hope he gives us a list of the saints and their miracles, as well as a list of Popes and their children. I demand a commentary on Bel the Dragon. If he can provide us the minutes to the meeting where Mary was declared a perpetual virgin, I would buy the package. If he throws in the works of GK Chesterton…well, even better.
But as I said earlier, I am disappointed in how Logos is launching this. I understand they are a bookstore, and not a church. Their job is to make money, not to adhere to a doctrinal statement. So I wish they would have launched this simply as a new division of Logos. Instead, my Logos start-up page greets me with a shout-out to the Second Vatican Council’s claim that the meaning of Scripture is found in history and tradition. Which, if you believe, is actually a strong argument against buying the RCC “scholars” package.
If Logos would have done this in the same manner that Barnes and Noble shelves books, then there would not be much of an uproar. However, Logos is not Barnes and Noble. If you are familiar with Logos, you know that they are a forum-driven community. Like the car company Saturn of yesteryear, Logos does not have customers—they have enthusiasts. Most (95% we are told) of their customers are not RCC, so you have to wonder how wise it was to drop Andrew’s smiling picture on everyone’s home-screen like a Christmas card. They don’t do that when they hire a new IT guy.
The fact of the matter is that this (along with the comments in their forums) reveals that there are some inside Logos who have drank the RCC holy water, and honestly think that there is not a big difference between Catholicism and Christianity. You would expect that kind of confusion among the untaught (or the deliberately ambiguous), but to find it espoused by those who man the book store is a little stunning. I only hope they read what Andrew drums up for them, and see the difference.
On a final note…you have to love that the qualification to put together the RCC collection is a degree in medieval history. The reformation has not slowed these people down one bit.