To Change The Church: Interview With Ross Douthat

Jesus Creed | 5/22/2018 | Staff
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By David George Moore.

Dave blogs at and some of his videos can be accessed at

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Ross Douthat writes for The New York Times. He is a Roman Catholic of a decidedly conservative stripe. His latest book is one part history, one part cultural critique, and one part cri de coeur. Douthat’s cry of the heart does not get lost in mere sentimentality. He knows his history and is ready to argue for keeping the deposit of faith passed down from the time of the apostles.

Since I am writing from a “Protestant” vantage point, allow me to offer a definition that is not widely appreciated either by those within the Protestant orbit or those outside of it. It comes from the patristic scholar, D.H. Williams in his Retrieving the Tradition and Renewing Evangelicalism:

Term - Protestant - Connotation - Everyone - Protestants

The term “Protestant” is commonly used with a negative connotation. Everyone knows that Protestants are those who “protest” and dissent from Roman Catholicism. While historic Protestantism did indeed register a series of objections to Roman Catholic dogma and practice, such a definition is nonetheless unfortunate and even imbalanced for the reason that the Reformation was at heart an affirmation, a vigorous protestation of positive principles. A Protestant was, as the primary meaning of the Latin verb protestare indicates, one who seeks “to bear witness,” or “to declare openly.” Historically, Protestants are those who have sought to affirm certain tenets of their faith which bear witness to the apostolic message.

My own Protestant tradition has loads of problems. Douthat’s To Change the Church makes it crystal clear that there is no pristine Christian tradition, even though Douthat’s purpose was not to highlight that reality. All Christians are embedded in communities of faith with doctrinal differences that cause much rancor and heartache.

Moore - Book - Highlights - Roman - Catholic

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