A few days ago I began reading a book (on my Amazon Kindle) by Thomas Merton called The Life of the Vows. Merton was a Roman Catholic monk of the Cistercian Order, and I began reading this out of curiosity about what monasticism is like in modern Catholicism (Merton lived 1915 – 1968).
In reading the book, I’ve found that 29% through it (according to Kindle’s reckoning) I began to notice many parallels in stupid attitudes between Calvinism and modern Catholic monkery. Por ejemplo:
“The monk, having renounced his own will, having given up the running of his own life and the free use of his body and even of his soul in some matters, unites himself to the monastic community and is placed in a permanent state of victimhood.” (Kindle location 3814, the italics are Merton’s own.)
To see how this fits Calvinism, just replace “monk” with “elect” and “monastic community” with “local church”, as follows:
“The elect, having renounced his own will, having given up the running of his own life and the free use of his body and even of his soul in some matters, unites himself to the local church and is placed in a permanent state of victimhood.”
Let’s look at another quote:
“Hence the vow of obedience is not a vow to obey God. It is a vow to God that we will keep our promise of obedience to our superior and to our religious rule.” (Kindle location 3822, italics are Merton’s own)
Now, if you just change “superior” to “pastor” and “religious rule” to “membership covenant” you have Calvinism.
“Hence the vow of obedience is not a vow to obey God. It is a vow to God that we will keep our promise of obedience to our pastor and to our membership covenant.”
Let’s look at another one:
“The professed renounces the free disposition of his own actions, his body, his property, and gives the Order the right to use him for its work, etc., within the limit of the Rule.” (Location 3829, italics are Merton’s)
The only difference between this and Calvinism is that they have no “Rule” to limit their abuse of the one who enters their Order. The same selling of oneself into slavery, however, is demanded by them.
Now let’s see the clincher:
“(a) a professed cannot take legal action against the superior for ‘violation of the contract’–sue him for damanges (of course an abuse can be reported to Rome, but this is not a ‘lawsuit’)…” (Kindle location 3844)
There’s Sovereign Grace Ministries right there. You can’t sue the pastor, nor do they want you informing the cops if he abuses anyone. All you can do is report the abuse to Rome….er…I mean, the pastor himself.
So there you have it! Calvinism, indeed all of institutional Protestantism, is just a somewhat secularized version of Catholic monasticism!
Edit: I probably should have said in the title, “Protestantism is a secularized version of the worst aspects of Catholic monasticism…the proof”, and in the sentence above, “Calvinism, indeed all of institutional Protestantism, is just a somewhat secularized version of the worst aspects of Catholic monasticism!” Its the more cult-like aspects of Catholic monasticism that Protestantism has retained and transferred from the Abbot to the Pastor, from the monastery to the local church.
(Please forgive the fact that in the quotations I use the Kindle location, as actual page numbers aren’t available for this title on Kindle.)