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4.29.2007    |    Do the Limbo Rock
"How low can you go?" is the refrain, in Chubby Checker's Limbo Rock. Back-wrenching rituals aside, the Catholic concept of limbo has come on some hard times. A wholly man-made creation, the Roman church has nonetheless denied comfort and burial in consecrated ground to countless generations of unbaptized infants who die without the benefits of a Catholic baptism.

What is truly vile about this practice? It that placed tradition, wholly man-made, not mentioned in Scripture, as what the laity could expect from their church. And it did so in the worst kind of top-down, hierarchical fashion. Cardinals, bishops, and priests in charge. The rest of you unwashed, just pray, pay, and obey.

It looks as if the Catholic Church has now seen, to a limited extent, the error of establishing limbo. Looks like Benedict XVI is going to allow the concept of limbo to recede into limbo. From a Washington Post article:
The Vatican commission stressed that there is no mention of limbo in the Bible and that it was never a part of church dogma. Nor, by the way, is the commission's own advisory opinion. But there is little doubt that Pope Benedict XVI agrees with its conclusion. In a 1985 book-length interview, "The Ratzinger Report," then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said limbo was "never a defined truth of faith," and "personally . . . I would abandon it, since it was only a theological hypothesis."
Indeed. "Only a theological hypothesis." As is, of course, the notion that baptism qua baptism has saving power. Without the baptism of a believer enabled by the Holy Spirit, baptism is just a bath. Or sprinkle; method isn't important. God knows what's in the believer's heart.

But then, I'm a Baptist, and you know how confused we can be...



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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.