Archive for the ‘Fr. Louis Bouyer’ Category

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The One Church and the Divided People of God — Fr. Louis Bouyer

December 20, 2012
The Byzantine development of the richly decorated east wall as “liturgical east” as illustrated by the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna.

The Byzantine development of the richly decorated east wall as “liturgical east” as illustrated by the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna.

Father Louis Bouyer (1913-2004) was one of the most respected theologians of the 20th century. Born in France, Bouyer was a Lutheran minister who converted to Catholicism. He was a member of the Oratorians in France, he authored many major theological works, and his ideas contributed greatly to the Second Vatican Council. His other works include The Word, Church and Sacrament in Protestantism and Catholicism and Newman: An Intellectual & Spiritual Biography of John Henry Newman. A post [reading selection] on PayingAttentiontotheSky from the latter work is here. Note that part 2 follows the part1post.

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We have not yet come to the most serious stigma in the body of Christ the sin of its members, including (perhaps above all) the sin of her visible leaders. Accordingly, we want to speak about the present division of the People of God.

It is important to differentiate carefully between “schisms” and “heresies”, inevitable accompaniments of the development of the Church, which essentially are not sins of Church members, who remain with her, but of unfaithful members who separate themselves from her and from the majority of divisions that afflict the People of God at present. These divisions are the result of sins, and persistent sins, of supposedly faithful members, and particularly of responsible leaders in the Church.

This is why all attempts at Catholic ecumenism, however well intentioned, that are meted to proposing radical change in the Church’s attitude toward schisms and heresies are irreconcilable with Catholic tradition, starting with the New Testament, and especially St. Paul and St. John. It must be said that ecumenists put aside the question and, despite generous plans, misconstrue the positive value of Protestantism, to say nothing of Eastern Orthodoxy. The Orthodox are not in general schismatics, nor are the Protestants agile heretics, like Valentinus or Arius. To ignore this, while working (our purpose also) to make rapprochement easier, is not to see the real question. We are sorry to point out such an error, even with an author so open to Protestantism as H. Kung. Cf. The Church, 42ff.]

Certainly, the distinction is not always easy to make in practice. It can even be supposed that no or scarcely any schisms or heresies could have developed without the presumed or actual existence of culpable inadequacies in faithful (or supposedly faithful) Christians, and especially in their leaders. For example, deeper Christian reflection in the early Church might have prevented, or at least considerably limited, the Gnostic and, later, the Arian crises.

Yet these crises lasted for one or two generations because churchmen did not more forcefully reassert the truths misunderstood by the Gnostics and the Arians, although they were able to understand the gravity of the problems the latter had posed and poorly resolved, and to give them satisfactory solutions. The misunderstandings were soon clarified, and all that remained of these ancient heresies was their errors, and all men of good faith rapidly abandoned them, so that they were extinguished “automatically”.

Nothing like this followed the schism between the Church of the East and the Church of the West, nor even the proliferation of undeniable heresies in which, later, the Protestant movement became involved, dividing itself against itself as well as from the Church. Of course, the problems in these latter cases were not so simple as the problems in the former; but are we right in thinking that, in such a situation, the initial faults must have been widely shared on both sides for there to have been no conciliation, after so many centuries? In the Church herself, did the faithful and their pastors not know how, or not want, to correct their faults?

This suspicion becomes a certainty when we observe that those who separated from us, and remain separated, have produced results of undeniable holiness. They are quite capable of positive missionary endeavor. In fact, they continue to develop essential elements of the Catholic tradition which today, with Catholics themselves, have only a dwarfish existence or a barely visible survival. In such cases, it is clear that comparison of the schismatic or the heretic with a detached branch of the trunk condemned to swift death if its connection with the stock is not quickly restored (as verified in the schisms and heresies of antiquity, and in others since), has no or hardly any application. It must be acknowledged that even the possibility of such a situation poses a problem that menaces the faith.

Could it be possible, then, that the Church that Christ establishes unity, as his own body, in which his Spirit lives and to which he assured survival until his return, might be fallen from this unity? But this unity is so constitutive that to say that the Church has ceased to be one, to be the one Church of Jesus Christ, would come down to saying there is no longer any Church in the New Testament sense and that Jesus’ work in history has therefore failed. If this were the case, not only would there no longer be a Christian Church, a Catholic Church that is worthy of name; we would have to say that there never will be any. For if the Church founded by Christ fails, if her very existence ceases, no one other than Jesus Christ, returning into our history before his time (which seems unthinkable), could resurrect her.

Consequently, we must believe that, despite all contestations, the Church still subsists, is still one and unique. That she could subsist in a series of social bodies, independent and different from one another, and even in endemic conflict, is absolutely contrary to the vision of the New Testament and the ancient Church. The contrary idea, that, whatever her vicissitudes, there is not and will never be but one Church of Jesus Christ, is therefore essential (and rightly so) to Catholic tradition. It is no less essential to Orthodox tradition. Neither, without denying themselves, could abandon it.

Orthodox and Catholics
It is precisely here that the first major difficulty arises — the first and perhaps the greatest scandal for the faith. On first sight, there are two Churches: the Catholic Church, whose distinctive sign is communion with the successor of Peter, and the Orthodox Church, which no longer has (or seems to have) this communion. But each claims for itself, in equally exclusive fashion, this identification with the una, sancta, catholica, which both confess in the same Credo.

It would seem that one or the other might be right, but not both at the same time. After so many centuries, their apparent incapacity to reconcile themselves may suggest that one or the other is in error and that the una, sancta, catholica has simply disappeared from earth.

This is the greatest scandal given by members of the Church, by men of the Church”, charged with the highest responsibilities, so that it becomes very difficult for the faith itself not to see this scandal of the Church, her preeminent scandal: the Church teaching her unity as the greatest gift of God but, in fact, seeming to be divided (against God’s will).

There seems to be only one answer: the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, though dreadfully tempted by the spirit of division, remain one Church, in fact and by right, despite contrary appearances. This is verified by the most thorough historical investigation of this problem, however painful it may be. In fact, neither the conflict and reciprocal excommunications of the patriarch Michael Cerularius and Cardinal Humbert, nor the scandalous Crusade, redirected toward Constantinople, and its consequences, nor even the fruitless attempts at reconciliation at Lyon and Florence, which merely embittered the oppositions, suspended all communion between the Church of the East and the Church of the West.

To the end of the eighteenth century, limited incidents of inter-communion between the two Churches are innumerable. Not only (as a general rule) were all baptized and communicating members of one received in the other on the same basis, without abjuration, but priests and even bishops passed from one to the other or, more exactly, occasionally “moved through” both without encountering major difficulties. However violent and acrimonious the polemics, they were only disputes of particularly spirited schools, and not necessarily more spirited than those that occasionally arose among Easterners or Westerners themselves, without in break in communion as the result.

The policy among the great sees of Christendom, despite spasmodic outbursts of violent reproaches (though not one of them seemed to justify a schism), was to ignore one another absolutely in mutual embarrassment, rather than to condemn one another absolutely. In fact, at least per conniventiam, Rome — like Constantinople and Moscow — did not concern itself with preventing communion, which remained the rule where there was untroubled opportunity to meet and cooperate.

Not until the beginning of the nineteenth century did Latin missionaries, moved by unfortunate zeal, take it into their heads to apply to Orientals the canons decreed by Trent against Protestants, and, through a regrettable but understandable twist, that Orientals (particularly Greeks in permanent conflict with Latins in the islands of the Peloponnesus or elsewhere) did the same.

On both sides, then, people developed outrageous practices, such as repetition of baptism or ordination, in certain cases of contact. Also on both sides, theologians for the first time treated not only bishops or theologians of the other side as schismatics, but the totality of the two blocs, accusing each other of heresies with a systematization unknown until then (except in brief and local flushes of intolerance).

To all of these procedures and to those responsible for them, we must apply Christ’s prayer: “Father, forgive them, for they know not they do!” If their sly maneuvers made any sense, it could only be rejection of the Church they defended, as well as the one they attacked, as schismatic or heretical. For all these wretched polemics suppose, on both sides, a confusion of tradition, whether Catholic or Orthodox, with an artificial partisanship that, for this very reason, is adulterated, which is precisely the process whereby people normally go from schism into formal heresy. The primary question, then, is: How did we arrive at a situation as deplorable as it is absurd? Obviously, once this question has been answer complementary question can be broached: How are we to get out of it?

What is primarily responsible for preventing the East from returning to full and lasting communion with the Christian West is this hypertrophy and, consequently, this deformation of authority we have analyzed. However, what obliges us to acknowledge that responsibilities for the division are shared on both sides is the undeniable fact that Church authority in the West involved itself in a near-fatal evolution from a healthy and originally necessary reaction against encroachments of the supposedly Christian empire on the Church, of the secular authority on the ecclesiastical authority, to which, on the whole, the East became too easily resigned.

On the other hand, it is only right to acknowledge that if the endeavors of ancient popes, such as St. Leo and St. Gregory the Great, to regain or defend the independence of the Church, were in principle unassailable and, in fact, were never assailed in the East, bishops of the East, such as St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom, were never less clear or less courageous for the same cause. Consequently, in this conflict the de facto failings (in the opposing sense) of both East and West were never improperly canonized. At the time when the first conflicts threatened, the Byzantine doctrine of the Epanagogē was firmly articulated (as we have seen) with the doctrine uttered by Pope Gelasius. Even long after the apparently consummated division, the episcopate of the East, even when subjugated by basileus or tsar, never made a dogma of this situation — any more than Boniface VIII dared do with the more than doubtful vision that the famous bull, Unam Sanctam, proposed for relations between the two authorities. For a stronger reason, the Christian West, in its totality, was far from making such a view its own.

It is true, however, that alienation of the apostolic authority in the East, in contrast with its cancerous development in the West, permitted the liturgical function, more than the function of the magisterium (threatened, along with authority itself, with being taken over by the secular power), an autonomous development which was not entirely beneficial. Orthodoxy became, or aspired to become, “heaven on earth” — above all, if not exclusively, in liturgical and sacramental celebration.

Without doubt, this celebration retained substantial richness, and even had lasting and fecund developments, which had scarcely any equivalents in the West, where, as we have seen, the-aggrandizement of authority tended to reduce worship to a court ceremonial. Tending to develop more and more outside real life (monastic life apart), the liturgy in the East, instead of remaining in this sacramental world (which should be intermediary between the eschatological world of the risen Christ and the concrete universe of our daily life), would, always be tempted to become a world in itself — a dream world enclosed within itself — wishing to substitute itself for the real world but without the power to do so; indeed, concealing its reality, which has remained in great part pagan. Undoubtedly, as their best modern thinkers are the first to acknowledge, this was the major sin of the Orthodox as the major sin of Catholics of the West was their clerical imperialism.

Thus a twofold orbit was accentuated in the life of the Church and determined, over the course of centuries, a de facto separation, tending more and more to opposition in principle between Christian realities should be conjoined in unity.

Confusing the papal function with its exercise or its more or less excessive theoretical justifications, the East, unlike the West, never developed its whole significance, implied in the deeds and texts of the New Testament and the early Church. What is worse, the East tends, if not to reduce its import unduly, to forget the attestations of its own past. Reciprocally, the West neglected and more and more misunderstood the irreplaceable value of the traditions it received from the Fathers and the Church of the East; and in believing it could build itself independently of this heritage, it unconsciously risked cutting itself off from its roots.

Thus, on both sides, undue identification of the truth as Catholic Orthodox became dangerously confused with a merely partial form of its expression and with cultural nationalism: Orthodoxy and Byzantinism Catholicism and Latinism (or, later, Romanism).

Today, the first remedy to this situation, now that sufficient historical awareness of these errors (which are above all, moral faults) has been assumed or is in process of being assumed on both sides, is escape from religious nationalism and the unilateralism it crystallized. Finally, it would be necessary to deny the obvious negation of “catholicity”, of sobornost; (to use a term the modern Orthodox have developed, often fortuitously). Beginning with this, rediscovery and reestablishment of full unity would become possible on both sides, or rather in common.

Recuperation of doctrinal harmony in the apostolic ministry between its function of pastoral authority and its liturgical function, would come about in common renewal of its magisterium. However, renewal of two inseparable units of the Church, finally coming together, could happen open only in symphony with a common rebirth of living witness to the truth of love by the entire (now fraternal) life of all Christians, Orthodox and Catholic.

Then, the unity of the Church Catholic and Orthodox — which we believe has never ceased, though many clouds have obscured. it — would reappear. Reappearing, she would immediately flourish and fructify in the special manifestation of charity and holiness that the modern world expects from the Church of Christ, which she will never bring it so long as this basic reunion is not effected.

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The Conversion Of John Henry Newman Part II – Fr. Louis Bouyer

June 1, 2012

Louis Bouyer was a priest of the Oratory, a convert to Catholicism from Lutheranism, which he had served as a minister, an eminent liturgiologist and historian of spirituality, an influential scholar of Newman (whose studies of Newman helped to pave the way for Newman’s eventual beatification), and, perhaps most importantly of all, one of the greatest Catholic theologians of the twentieth century.
Dr. Keith Lemna, Visiting Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Saint Meinrad School of Theology

I would be deeply remiss if I did not point out that the author of this piece, Fr. Louis Bouyer,  is a giant of 20th century Catholic Theology and most of all a scholar of liturgy and spirituality. His book Newman: His Life and Spirituality  (from which this post was created) was recently reissued by Ignatius Press.

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How could Newman attach such importance to a conversion which he himself describes as doctrinal in its nature, if the very doctrine by which he was converted was soon, despite the terms in which he had just alluded to it, to fade, and at last totally to disappear, from his mind? The answer to this question is implicitly conveyed in the very page of the Apologia which gave rise to it. In order, however, to make this clear, we must interpret the words of the Apologia in the light of a passage contained in the Memoir. We have now once again to hark back to an earlier period — as far back, in fact, as 1826.

In the matter in question, that is conversion, my own feelings were not violent, but a returning to, a renewing of, principles, under the power of the Holy Spirit, which I had already felt, and in a measure acted on when young.

If we carefully bear that statement in mind, the passage from the Apologia which we shall now quote will need no explanation.

I received it [the doctrine of final perseverance] at once, and believed that the inward conversion of which I was conscious (and of which I am still more certain than that I have hands and feet) would last into the next life, and that I was elected to eternal glory. I have no consciousness that this belief had any tendency whatever to lead me to be careless about pleasing God. I retained it till the age of twenty-one, when it gradually faded away; but I believe it had some influence on my opinions, in the direction of those childish imaginations which I have already mentioned, viz, in isolating me from the objects which surrounded me, in confirming me in my mistrust of the reality of material phenomena, and making me rest in the thought of two and two only absolute and luminously self-evident beings, myself and my Creator; — for while I considered myself predestined to salvation, my mind did not dwell upon others, as fancying them simply passed over, nor predestined to eternal death. I only thought of the mercy to myself.

We have already adverted, in the course of our narrative, to an idea very strange in a small child — the idea, namely, that he thought he might be an angel and all this world a deception, his fellow-angels by a playful device concealing themselves from him and deceiving him with the semblance of a material world. That passage readily recurs to our mind when Newman himself tells us that in the spring of 1816, reading a book by Isaac Watts which spoke of Saints unrecognized by the world, he took it to be an allusion to that early notion of his, as if Watts was speaking of angels living in the world, but disguised.

The first of the two passages we have quoted seems to furnish the clue to the second, and to explain its apparent contradictions. If the 1816 conversion, all-important though it was, was but a return to beliefs which he had already held as a child, if, rather, it was a revival, a renewal of them, we may well understand how it was that Romaine’s doctrine took such a hold on him and affected him for so long, destined though it was gradually to fade and finally to disappear from his mind.

The truth is, as he clearly indicates, that Romaine’s doctrine merely acted as a catalytic, reviving in the mind of the adolescent a conviction, an idea prematurely implanted in the mind of the child. The sense of God’s immediate and sovereign presence had been obliterated by the consciousness of his own growing intellectual powers. But now, behold! into a mind rendered mysteriously receptive by the solicitations of divine grace, there comes, to resuscitate that conviction, a wholly different doctrine operating in a manner that none but Newman could perceive. It would not only reawaken; it would transform, what, in the child, was merely a passive impression, into a reasoned belief that was destined to remain an enduring factor in the life of the man.

How can this be explained? The truth is that, in some degree, we read into a book what we bring to it ourselves. This is especially the case with young people of exceptional endowments. The books they read, particularly the things that fire their liveliest enthusiasm, are as often as not misunderstood by them. But these misinterpretations bear rich fruit. These young people have within them riches which, to begin with, they are unable to realize, to take account of; but a sentence, even a single word, will often avail to bring them to light.

Thus it comes about that they think they have found something in a book which, later on, when they have had more experience of real life, they will, to their grievous disappointment, be quite unable to rediscover in it. The truth is that what they thought they had found in the book was something which they themselves had brought to it. The book and what it set forth was the steel which struck the spark from the flint; but the spark was theirs, and theirs alone.

So, no doubt, it was with Newman, and the call to a conversion conceived as the intuitive consciousness of an indefectible election was interpreted by him in his own way. Giving definite shape to a conception of the Universe hitherto vaguely floating in the subconscious imagination of the child, it suddenly projected it into the consciousness of the adult, now arrived at maturity.

The young man’s intellectual powers were displaying themselves in all their sovereign pride, notwithstanding the importance he ascribed to virtue. Disquieted, it may be, by the obscurity which overhung the destiny of man, he was soon to be still more deeply moved by the truly Christian witness of his master, which he found strangely in harmony with the memories of his far-off childhood.

Those memories needed but the touch of some external stimulus to bring them once more to the surface and to be interpreted in the light of his now maturer understanding. The young man, in the fullness of his intellectual pride and self-sufficiency, now becomes aware of something, of some power, which he had dimly guessed at, even when he turned away from it — Something, Someone, stronger and more wise than he, Someone who subdued him to His will, even in the proudest hour of his intellectual self-reliance. To that other Power, the mind, be it never so proudly confident, must needs defer. The very clearness with which he recognizes this is a token that he has already surrendered.

Interpreted thus, and we see no other way of doing equal justice to all the various views of it that he has given us, it is, to begin with, quite clear that his was no conversion after the Evangelical pattern. His association with an Evangelical of the milder type, his reading of Evangelical books may have been the means of bringing his conversion about, but, in its nature, it never really belonged to what was its occasion rather than its cause.

This break in the chain of logical sequence escaped the notice of hasty or superficial observers. The docility displayed by the boy Newman in adopting the characteristic mode of speech and thought of those to whom his conversion was due, may to some extent account for the error, an error which was his own to begin with, the rest merely following suit. But with him, and in spite of Bremond, an error it was, and as such it must be recognized [C£ Bremond, The Mystery of Newman, passim]

And in truth, much as he owed to the evangelical teaching, so it was, he never had been a genuine evangelical. The evangelical teaching, considered as a system and in what was peculiar to itself, had from the first failed to find a response in his own religious experience, as afterwards in his parochial. He had indeed been converted by it to a spiritual life, and so far his experience bore witness to its truth; but he had not been converted in that special way which it laid down as imperative, but so plainly against rule, as to make it very doubtful in the eyes of normal evangelicals whether he had really been converted at all.
Autobiographical Memoir, III, in Autobiographical Writings, Shoed & Ward, 1956

To put it briefly, what is principally notable about the conversion which thus robs him of his independence, is the independence which it nevertheless betrays. Just as it points, not so much to a change, as to a releasing, a rising to the surface, of something hidden in the profoundest recesses of his being, so too it shrinks instinctively from adopting all such fixed and definite forms as may suggest themselves or be suggested to him.

As a boy of fifteen most certainly would, he expresses his ideas and his feelings in the sort of terms he hears used by the people about him, at the same time adapting them to suit what he has in his own mind. As soon as experience shows him how inadequate they are, there will be nothing to prevent his dropping them. So far from that weakening his impression of what he has experienced, it will strengthen it. Let us now enquire more closely into the nature of that spiritual experience. What was it that was so personal about it, so peculiar to himself? And what rendered it so indifferent to the strongest influences brought to bear on it, even to those which were, or seemed to have been, its exciting cause?

But here a twofold snare awaits us. Either we may pass over the condensed and pregnant passage in the Apologia without fully penetrating to the precious metal within, or we may be tempted, as Newman himself may have been, to read into the experience of the boy all the things that entered into the maturer reflections of the man. This latter would be the lesser evil. There is no doubt that the extract in question, revealing as it does Newman’s striking originality, also exemplifies the continuity of personality, its normal concomitant.

Borrowing again from Wordsworth, he seems to have been an outstanding example of those of whom it is said, “The Child is father of the Man.” It is this independence, this pronounced individualism, which, before everything else, we must stress, and, if possible, define. Of all his various characteristics, is it not this that first demands our attention? It and it alone explains the mystery of his acceptance, so complete, so spontaneous, of Romaine’s Calvinism, an acceptance which was, in fact, much rather an unconscious annexation. Moreover, we have here our first opportunity of examining Newman’s undoubted individualism. If, taking it at its source, we succeed in avoiding any misapprehension of the goal at which it aimed, we may hope to avoid distorting it when, later on, we find it enriched but possibly subtilized [vocab: To render subtle] by experience.

In the story, or rather the balance-sheet, presented by the Apologia, one phrase stands out beyond all others: “Making me rest in the thought of two and two only absolute and luminously self-evident beings, myself and my Creator.”

“Myself and my Creator” — that theme, what elaborate variations Bremond composed on it! Variations that have found a responsive echo in the hearts of all who are unable to resist the spell of the enchanter. Alas! giving play to his gift for improvisation, Bremond began with the effect the words had on him, not, as he should have done, if he wanted to interpret them correctly, with the circumstances in which Newman came to utter them. If we now go back and take the only road permitted to the historian, we may find the enchanter vanished, and only a conjurer in his place. Still, the real Newman may even yet be disentangled from those verbal arabesques which were at least as well calculated to bury as to adorn him.

We do not hesitate to stress this point. The whole Mystery of Newman idea, which led Bremond to make of him a figure so engaging and so unreal, depends entirely on the interpretation put on those words. What he called in Newman “the Poet”, “the Voluntary Recluse”, and some others, less flatteringly, “the Misfit”, “the Incurable Egoist”, all arises from that interpretation. Were there any grounds for the idea, or did Bremond simply invent them?

The enquiry to which we propose to address ourselves will go some way towards elucidating that crucial question. The state of mind in which this fifteen-year-old youth found himself at the beginning of summer in the year 1816 shows us that this apparent emphasis on “Myself” and the implied disregard of others, far from being centered in his religious experience had, in fact, no connection with it. On the contrary, it was the outcome, gradually set free, of all that was purely natural and, in the last analysis, a-religious in his personality. That there was in Newman a strong notion of self, of independence, of self-reliance cannot be denied; but to confuse this basic characteristic with his religious experience is to condemn oneself a priori, to a misunderstanding of the latter.

This consciousness of self, more astonishing, when we come to think of it, in the child than in the adolescent, has, no doubt, something disquieting about it, but let us not call it irreligious or immoral. It comes under the category of the “natural” in the strict sense of the word. It is, perhaps, that which constitutes the peculiar genius of Newman, if genius be an exceptional concentration, a more than ordinarily intense glow, in something that is no more than a natural attribute, or faculty, of the human mind. But that there is in it, from the religious, the Christian, point of view, an element of danger, of temptation, particularly in the case of one such as Newman, there is no denying.

Let us remind ourselves of Goethe, who resembles him so closely in this respect. Was it not the firm resolve of his daimon to assert its independence and not to capitulate or bow to anyone or anything that at last drew him away from religion which, round about the year 1770, was attracting him so powerfully?

With Newman, things took a different course. What he found was that, when this independent spirit, this innate self-reliance of his, was brought into the presence of Another, of God, it meant nothing more nor less than the negation of meaning. How, then, did it come about that this “self”, so adamant in its nature, was suddenly projected into the “self” of that Other and became wholly obedient to Him? That no doubt is the crux, the mysterious element in this conversion. Still some gleams of light are thrown on it in what Newman tells us and always held.

Let us now picture to ourselves this boy of fifteen, strong in the possession of an intelligence that enables him to expose fallacies, to detect sophistries and faulty reasoning, all those specious arguments by which ordinary folk are impressed, but which lack the hall-mark of indubitable truth. It does not appear that he was now, or that he ever had been, in any danger of falling into scepticism. An instinctive conviction, but a conviction confirmed by his intelligence, put the claims of morality beyond all question. If for a time he thought he could dispense with God, it never entered his head that he could disregard the Good, or the True.

Now whence came this moral sense? Evidently it was the fruit of his training, of the way he had been brought up, and especially of that Biblical instruction which taught him to connect truth and goodness by connecting both with God, with God to whose Word he listened. But now his intellect took hold, as part of its own belongings, of this union of truth and goodness. This union was now one with his affirmation of self. It was at this time that he fell in with a man, and heard words and read books, in which this twofold union in God reappears. Its effect was to make him recognize that what belonged to his consciousness, belonged in the first place to God; to put it plainly, it was the presence of God within himself and this he realizes even when, though not denying Him, he turns away from Him.

Romaine speaks to him of predestination, of conversion, which implies the recognition that God is concerned with each one of us, and that from His purposes regarding us there is no escape. Little matters the system of which that is a part. What took hold of Newman and continued to hold him was the revelation that God was there, within him, in those very gifts (for they were His gifts, personal gifts, inseparable from the Giver), in those gifts which were his strength and support. It was as a ray of light amid the shadowy region from which his mind was emerging.

If it be true, as he was now beginning to feel that it was, that all complete consciousness of self is moral consciousness, he realized that moral consciousness is the consciousness, the awareness, of Someone, of God.

Let us ponder that well. Of that, even as a child, he had caught glimpses. Let us recall again the passage recently quoted, the passage about the child who suddenly became aware of religious truths on which he had been living without knowing it. Once more, as he himself bears witness, his conversion did not proceed from anything newly discovered. It was rather a rediscovery of something he had already known, something he thought he had left behind him, but which now, in the light of his maturer understanding, appeared as something fully, because freely and independently, thought out and established.

Thus the words “Myself and my Creator” imply no more than the recognition that the soul only escapes from what is harmful to it, from what has been vainly endeavouring to enslave it, by discovering that it belongs wholly to God, and that it is truly itself only in the light of God’s presence, God being its master, and the soul His, and His alone.

If this be a true account of what happened, if we may say of this unforgettable experience of this fifteen-year-old boy in a phrase which an old Oxford scholar applied to him some years later, in allusion to his love of solitude, Nun quam minus solus quam cum solus [never less alone than when alone], we shall see that Newman in no way claimed to have been vouchsafed any sort of incommunicable intuition of God.

On the contrary, the God who revealed Himself to him in solitude was the God defined by dogma in a course of teaching now for the first time fully understood, clearly recognized, the God of Holy Writ. With that Word he had been long familiar, though he had never been able to fathom its full meaning till he became aware of himself in the light of it. Thus it was not a mere discovery or rediscovery of God that he bore in remembrance. He tells us that God Took possession of him in this direct and intimate manner, personal in the fullest sense implied by the words “Myself and my Creator”, bringing him thus to realize and embrace defined dogma.

For it is as person to person that God reveals Himself.

It is as a person that God reveals Himself, it is in deeds in which He takes part, deeds which are destined to bring about a renewal of our own lives. It is as a duologue which enlightens us concerning our own existence by revealing on whom that existence depends. To discover God as the soul’s Creator is, then, for Newman to recognize that that revelation is visible to us in His Son, who is at the very heart of the Bible. It amounts to accepting, not as abstract ideas but as vital truths, the doctrine of the Incarnation and the Redemption, themselves dominated by the revelation of the Trinity. For it is thus that God becomes Someone for us, Someone to whom we belong, Someone who has given all, even His Son, to save us from our own disobedience.

As for the other concomitant of his conversion, the objective counterpart, without which the subjective considerations which have hitherto been engaging us would make the whole narrative seem like a dialogue with one of the speakers left out, there were the works of Thomas Scott. These provided him with something more lasting than the idea he got from Romaine. “To Scott,” he says, “humanly speaking, I almost owe my soul.”

Referring to his book, Force of Truth, which captivated him straight away, Newman enlarges better than we could do on all that he owed to this autobiography. It implanted in him the ineradicable conviction that fidelity to the living truth must naturally result in the acceptance of Christianity in all its gradually unfolding plenitude. Scott, in fact, tells us how, beginning as an unbeliever, he came to realize that without disobeying God and disregarding the dictates of conscience, he could not avoid traditional Christianity, the Church (which for him meant the Church of England), or belief in the Trinity.

Was it not all like a preliminary sketch, or adumbration, of that Odyssey, or perhaps we should call it that spiritual Æneid, that was to be Newman’s own story, when his guide and help were those prophetic words uttered by him during the illness that struck him down in Sicily, words to which before long we shall again recur — “I have not sinned against the light.”

On that same page of the Apologia, a page whose wealth of significance it is hardly possible to exhaust, Newman confesses that what attracted him in Scott and in his account of his eventual acceptance of a progressively integrating Christianity was what he calls his “bold unworldliness, and vigorous independence of mind”. It is curious to note how the dearest aspirations of the adolescent, and those the most spontaneous, found their echo in this book, as he interpreted it. Scott became his hero. Such a spiritual adventure fascinated him as offering an example of that virile independence of mind at which he himself aimed — that, and a standard of moral rectitude which was destined to remain with him all his days.

What exactly is it that he means by “this bold unworldliness”? It is precisely that intellectual freedom, on which his young mind had set such store, transferred to the ethical plane. It is the conviction, at once instinctive and reasoned, that the only way of maintaining complete spiritual and intellectual independence in this unintelligible and deceptive world lies in uncompromising fidelity to the voice of conscience.

How all things meet together and link up here! — the free and independent quest for truth, unhesitating obedience to the voice of conscience, acceptance of the teaching of Christianity. This helps us to understand his joy at finding himself in accord with the essential elements in Scott’s religion, as one by one he unfolded them.

They appeared to him, as to Scott himself, to be the pure and simple expression of the process which was destined to bring him also to the same religious goal: “Holiness rather than peace”, and “Growth the only evidence of life”.

In the sequence to which we referred just now — that is to say, the intellectual conscience, the moral conscience, and the recognition of God’s sovereignty over the ego — we have, in embryo, the whole of Newman’s apologetic. And now, in those two closely connected motifs of unworldliness and the search for perfect truth, as set forth under the twofold device, “Holiness rather than peace”, “Growth the only evidence of life”, we have something still better — we have, if not the whole, then at all events the kernel, of his spiritual being.

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The Conversion Of John Henry Newman Part I – Fr. Louis Bouyer

May 31, 2012

John Henry Newman, at age 23 when he preached his first sermon in Over Worton Church on 23 June 1824.

The year 1816 was one of bitter trial for the Newman family. One after effect of the economic and financial upheaval which followed the termination of the Napoleonic wars was to compel the Banking House of Messrs Ramsbottom, Newman & Co. to stop payment. Many years later, Newman, hearing his friend Bowden alluding somewhat tactlessly to what he called the Bank’s failure, reproved him rather sharply, pointing out that there had been no question of “failure”. The Bank did suspend payment; that, he agreed, was true enough, but only for a time. Eventually, all the creditors were paid in full. That gives us some idea of the moral trials the Newmans had to bear, not to mention the material anxieties which beset them all through that spring. The letters exchanged between Mrs. Newman and her sister-in-law Elizabeth afford eloquent testimony of the tribulations she had to endure.

Certainly, the creditors were quickly paid off, and the family, so far as money-matters were concerned, was soon on its feet again. At this juncture, however, Mr. Newman took it into his head to give up banking and become a brewer. That meant yet another change of houses, and so, from the lanes of Norwood, off they go to Alton, so as to be near the brewing works of which the paterfamilias was now to take over the management. One result of all this unsettlement was that the Newmans found it convenient to leave their son at his boarding-school all through those summer holidays. The void of that solitary vacation was to be filled by his conversion. How that came about he himself has described in the autobiographical memoir of which Anne Mozley availed herself in preparing his letters for publication. The passage runs thus:

On my conversion how the wisdom and goodness of God is discerned. I was going from school half a year sooner than I did. My staying arose from the 8th March. Thereby I was left at school by myself, my friends gone away. [Letters, vol. I, p.17 Anne Mozley has cancelled what follows.] That is, it was a time of reflection, and when the influences of Mr. Mayers would have room to act upon me. Also I was terrified at the heavy hand of God which came down upon me.

That last rather cryptic phrase is apparently the only piece of evidence there is to support a conjecture advanced by Maisie Ward. In her view, the words imply that Newman had been prepared for his conversion by the mental distress which the family misfortunes had caused him, and that, it must be confessed, seems to be the most plausible interpretation to put upon them, though there is nothing to corroborate it. At all events, what he himself considered most expressly providential about the whole affair was that it had resulted in his being left by himself at Ealing in close contact with Mr. Mayers, thus bringing him under an influence which, if things had taken a different turn, he would never have experienced.

The Reverend Walter Mayers, of Pembroke College, Oxford, was a master at the school. So far, all that had happened between him and his pupil was that the latter had collided rather sharply with the master’s Evangelical brand of Christianity in various discussions they had had together, discussions which were enlivened for the pupil by his somewhat mischievous satisfaction in putting a “poser”, when he could, to a master more pious than brilliant. Thoroughly to understand how, in the course of those lonely weeks, the clergyman came to be the means of bringing about so radical a change in the boy’s mind, we must go back and look a little more closely into Newman’s early religious training and endeavor to find out exactly where his own unaided reflections had brought him by the time with which we are dealing.

We have said that Mr. Mayers was an Evangelical, and it has sometimes been assumed that the Newmans belonged to the same party. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A few years later they became acquainted with a Miss Giberne, a young woman who at that time was a typical Evangelical. Throughout her life, and it was a long one, she was to remain a true friend of the future Cardinal. However, the sort of impression we get from her first encounter with the Newmans gives it vivid idea of the gulf there was between them and herself. This musical, literary, and, from her point of view, worldly family had nothing in common with her own ideals, notwithstanding the immediate liking she had taken to John, Francis, and their sisters.

What exactly are we to understand by the term `Evangelical”? To answer that question, we must try to get some sort of general idea of the Anglican Church as it was in the early part of the last century. From the seventeenth century onwards, it had been exposed to two divergent tendencies: the one, High Church; the other, Low Church. The High Church party set great store by Tradition — that is to say, by the Catholic, and by what, in those days, may have been still more important, the Royalist element which the term connotes. The others — the Low Church party — were all for the stark, uncompromising Protestantism of the Puritans and the Presbyterians, yet not going to the length of actually parting company with the Establishment.

When the Deists were at the height of their power, it looked as if both parties were going to fuse together into a sort of religion which was hardly more than a vague philanthropy, but which still adhered to those conservative ideas of which the Church of England seemed to be the natural stronghold. Athwart this atmosphere of stagnation and inertia the voices of Wesley and Whitefield rang like a trumpet-call to arouse the people from their slumber. Had it not been for them, all definite belief, all religion in the strict sense of the word, might well have disappeared from England, and with it the State Church itself. Perhaps the most conspicuous characteristic of Wesleyanism in its early days was the overwhelming conviction that Christianity implied a new life — hence the transcendent importance attached by the Methodists, as they came to be called, to “conversion”. But conversion, new life, might be taken to mean merely such a moral reform as a man might bring about by his own efforts.

What is distinctive about Wesleyanism is that it is concerned with an experience, a religious experience and one clearly recognizable from the nature of its onset. At a first glance, Methodism would appear to be a return to the Christianity of the Gospel as contrasted, not merely with rationalism but with the humanistic and philanthropical ideas then prevailing. Looked at from another angle, it reveals a close affinity with the sentimentalism that was so marked and so general a feature of the late eighteenth century. Still, it cannot be denied that in one way or another it links up with a Christian tradition dating back far earlier than the Reformation, with the love of the religious folk of the Middle Ages for the person of Jesus Christ.

Viewed against a Moravian background, compared with the German Pietists and certain manifestations of primitive Lutheranism, Wesley’s religion will be seen to have had more in common with Saint Bernard or with Saint Francis of Assisi than with the Scottish Calvinists or the English Puritans, for it is from a direct encounter of the soul with Jesus, with the Christ of the Gospels, that conversion is looked for. It was not a matter of a mere moral reform, which a man might claim to have brought about by his own efforts, but a gift bestowed by God. It is from Jesus, from Jesus acknowledged to be in the fullest sense the Son of God, the Savior of the world, that the gift is to proceed.

It cannot therefore be denied that, notwithstanding its intrinsic intellectual insufficiencies, there is a core of sound doctrine at the heart of Methodism. But this cannot be dissociated from a particular kind of spiritual experience characteristic of the period. It is in the contemplation of Jesus as loving us and as shedding His blood for us that the Wesleyan gives himself to Him, and it is during an intense and passionate outpouring of the emotions that he attains to what he calls faith, by which he means the certain conviction that the blood of Jesus was shed for him, that it has cleansed him from his sins and made him a new man.

It was partly by force of circumstance, partly from their indifference to everything save this spiritual experience, far rather than from any definite separatist resolve, that the Wesleyans, after Wesley, and in spite of his desires, eventually cut themselves off from the Established Church. This, however, they did not do without leaving their own indelible mark upon it. The Evangelical party within the Church were a lasting witness to the effect Wesley had had upon it, and Wesley’s influence still endures, albeit modified in various ways to bring it into closer harmony with the more traditional, less emotional, elements in Anglicanism.

For Evangelicals, conversion did not necessarily involve any of those violent paroxysms of emotion to be seen at the usual revivalist meetings. Emotion there was, but by conversion was generally signified the gradually growing conviction, the belief taking ever deeper and deeper root, that one hall been saved by Jesus Christ. Such had been the experience of Thomas Scott, with whose writings Newman was now shortly to become acquainted, and of whom he declared many years later that he almost owed him his soul. Such, too, was conversion as understood by Mr. Mayers, who was now to initiate his pupil into his own particular school of religious belief. Nothing, however, was more remote from the ideas in which Newman had been reared than this sentimental religiosity, even in the modified and milder form in which he was now to encounter it. How his family looked on the Christian religion he has described in a few words in the Apologia:

I was brought up from a child to take great delight in reading the Bible; but I had no formed religious convictions till I was fifteen. Of course I had a perfect knowledge of my Catechism.

If we want to get a clear idea of what was in Newman’s mind when he penned that brief resume, it is perhaps conveyed at least implicitly, in the following passage, which we take from the Grammar of Assent:

“Bible Religion” is both the recognized title and the best description of English religion. It consists not in rites or creeds, but mainly in having the Bible read in Church, in the family, and in private. Now I am far indeed from undervaluing that mere knowledge of Scripture which is imparted to the population thus promiscuously. At least in England, it has to a certain point made up for great and grievous losses in its Christianity. The reiteration again and again, in fixed course in the public service, of the words of inspired teachers under both covenants, and that in grave majestic English, has in matter of fact been to our people a vast benefit. It has attuned their minds to religious thoughts; it has given them a high moral standard; it has served them in associating religion with compositions which, even humanly considered, are among the most sublime and beautiful ever written; especially, it has impressed upon them the series of Divine Providences in behalf of man from his creation to his end, and, above all, the words, deeds, and sacred sufferings of Him in whom all the Providences of God centre.
Grammar of Assent, Bk. 56-57.

There we have without doubt the basis of Newman’s religion: a high moral standard, a standard hallowed by the idea of Providence — that is to say, as Newman understood the word, by the presence of God, the all-seeing Witness and sovereign Actor in every circumstance of our daily lives. But as that is drawn wholly from the Bible, the reading of the Bible lends it an atmosphere of light and color of a very special character, and what exactly that was we must endeavor to understand.

It is difficult for anyone who has never experienced it to form even a remote idea of what a religious training, founded wholly and solely on a study of the Bible, really is. For a thoughtful and imaginative child it results in a kind of supernatural humanism quite unique in its character. The world, human history, the life of mankind are bathed in a light that nothing henceforth avails to dim or extinguish. The presence of God, everywhere active, all-powerful, reigns over all things, animate and inanimate. Then there are those countless figures of Patriarchs, Prophets, Kings and Apostles, Saints and Sinners, or rather of sinners called to repentance, of Saints conscious of their sin, who, for such as are familiar with them, seem more real than the folk we meet every day.

Let us make no mistake about it; we have here the underlying stratum of Newman’s spiritual nature, the lasting soil from which its fairest blossoms, its choicest fruits were to spring.

However all this may be the case with Protestant children in general, Newman adds two important particulars regarding himself. It was not any sort of Bible in which he was taught as a child to take delight. His Bible was King James’s Bible, the celebrated Authorized Version, the outstanding landmark of English prose. He dwells on the grave majesty of its language, thus accounting for the incomparable and sacred charm which the Bible, merely as literature, never ceased to have for him from his childhood onwards. No doubt the Bible is the Word of God, and is always so, no matter into what tongue it is rendered.

Nevertheless, those golden periods were well calculated to make him see in them the confirmation of the Bible’s sacred character — hence for him, as for many another, the fusion of Christianity with that Biblical humanism of which the Latin countries have scarce a notion, but which is so natural and so real an experience for the Anglo-Saxon and Germanic peoples. Finally, Newman gives us this additional indication of what Bible-reading is for an Anglican; it is not confined to a few passages selected in the light of individual fancy, nor does it range haphazard over the whole of the sacred text without scheme or plan. Thanks to the Prayer-Book lectionary it is Scripture in its entirety gradually unfolded in harmony with the rhythm of the Christian year. From the Cradle to the Cross, from the Cross to the Celestial Abode, the scene unfolded itself to the child John Henry like a pageant of unforgettable splendor.

If, over and above this general view of the matter, we would learn something of the more particular manner in which Newman was affected by his experience, we may profitably take note of what Anne Mozley has to tell us in an essay of no little insight and delicacy. In all probability it was not without guidance from Newman himself that she went gleaning among his sermons for the passages to which she refers, passages every one of which is unmistakably the record of some personal experience of his own. It is not always easy to determine how far Newman’s sermons are to be regarded as the autobiography, or, shall we call it, the diary, of their author. Here, however, is a passage that can scarcely leave us in doubt:

At first children do not know that they are responsible beings; but by degrees they not only feel that they are, but reflect on the great truth, and on what it implies. Some persons recollect a time as children when it fell on them to reflect what they were, whence they came, whither they tended, why they lived, what was required of them. The thought fell upon them long after they had heard and spoken of God; but at length they began to realize what they had heard, and they began to muse about themselves.
Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. VI, no. 8 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997),

Concerning this first discovery of the Divine Word, of the appeal it makes, is it not the child we hear speaking, though the words are the words of the man?

Let us consider this consciousness of self, which begins with a sense of being dependent on God, the sudden outcome of the patient pleading of God’s words, in which the child’s soul had bathed before its awakening. To the significant passage just quoted, Anne Mozley added another, and, in the whole of Newman, there is hardly one which we should be more inclined to describe as Proustian. It is of peculiar interest to us at this juncture because it shows us the belief which Newman was not only to retain, but steadily to develop, the belief in the spiritual treasure inherent in those childish experiences. From the mere contact with the Bible, the dawning soul, touched all unawares by grace, is enriched with a treasure which, as long as life shall last, it will never lose or exhaust. One’s thoughts revert, not only to Proust, as we ponder these things, but to Wordsworth and his Ode on Intimations of Immortality drawn from Recollections of Early Childhood. But with Newman the whole is set in a different key. For him, the invisible world is not substituted for the visible, but added to it, and hopes, hitherto vague and undefined, are now steadily focused on the expectation of the Divine Vision.

Such are the feelings with which men often look back on their childhood, when any accident brings it vividly before them. Some relic or token of that early time, some spot, or some book, or a word, or a scent, or a sound, brings them back in memory to the first years of their discipleship, and then they see, what they could not know at the time, that God’s Presence went up with them and gave them rest. Nay, even now perhaps they are unable to discern fully what it was which made that time so bright and glorious. They are full of tender, affectionate thoughts towards those first years, but they do not know why. They think it is those very years which they yearn after, whereas it is the Presence of God which, as they now see, was then over them, which attracts them.
Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. IV, no. 17 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997)

We shall have occasion to return to this experience, so vivid in Newman’s case, of Memory and of the Presence of God through it perceived. For the moment, we would remark that Wordsworth’s sad lines about his passing from childhood to adolescence are equally applicable to Newman:

Heaven lies about us in our infancy,
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
     About the growing boy.

What, then, was it that had happened to this fifteen-year-old lad? The answer is precisely what was to happen or fail to happen again in the young man of ten years later. It was that the growth, the activity of his intellectual powers, had stifled his religious life. It was not that the intellect had seized on any particular argument against religion. It was rather a case of an intellectual attitude, a mental climate, inimical to that immediate sense of God as being Sovereign Lord of All, which afterwards came to be, and thenceforth always remained, an outstanding feature of Newman’s faith.

The youthful mind, confidently relying on its own powers, instinctively shrinks from the idea of any such dependence. The acceptance of a mystery beyond his comprehension, and that he feels, none more clearly, to be the whole of religion, strikes him as something he has grown out of, and left behind him. In the Apologia we read:

When I was fourteen, I read Paine’s Tracts against the Old Testament, and found pleasure in thinking of the objections that were contained in them. Also, I read some of Hume’s Essays; and perhaps that on Miracles. So at least I gave my Father to understand; but perhaps it was a brag. Also I recollect copying out some French verses, perhaps Voltaire’s in denial of the immortality of the soul, and saying to myself something like, “How dreadful, but how plausible.”

Be it noted that this semi-skepticism, which had taken hold of the young lad’s mind, was of a purely intellectual order. Morality was in no way questioned. Quite the reverse, in fact. The proud intellectual self-sufficiency, which thus put God out of the picture, seems to go hand in hand with a corresponding self-reliance on the moral side. The autobiographical memoir records a note of an earlier day which makes that point quite clear:

I recollect, in 1815 I believe, thinking that I should like to be virtuous, but not religious. There was something in the latter idea I did not like. Nor did I see the meaning of loving God. I recollect contending against Mr Mayers in favor of Pope’s “Essay on Man”. What, I contended, can be more free from objection than it? Does it not expressly inculcate “Virtue alone is happiness below”
Letters, vol. I, p. 19.

These entries are of the highest importance, not only as explaining the nature of his conversion, but for the light they throw upon his apologetical writings, from the Oxford University Sermons to the Grammar of Assent. When, sixty years later, Newman received the Red Hat, he summed up his life’s work in a single phrase, when he said he had always fought against Liberalism. What he meant by that term was the claim of man to do without God, to act by himself and for himself, whether it be a matter of comprehending the Universe or ordering his own life.

The “reason” which, in the University Sermons, is contrasted in so definite a manner with “faith”, is reason in which self-reliance amounts to pride, and which refuses, on principle, to rely on any power external to itself. It was reason in this sense of the word, and reason very much alive in the boy John Henry, that led him to turn away from Christ, not indeed in order to live a life of sensual indulgence, but rather to entrench himself in a virtuous independence that refuses to bow to anything or anybody.

How, then, are we to account for its bowing to the very ordinary intellectual gifts of the worthy ecclesiastic over whom, it is only too clear, the dialectical prowess of the child of genius scored some very easy victories. Newman has not explained (how, indeed, could he have explained?) the process by which his ideas, in this particular instance, underwent so complete a change. He does, however, give us to understand that it was not so much by his sermons or exhortations that Mayers influenced him, as by the books he gave him to read during those long weeks of inactivity in the year 1816.

We may take it, then, that Mayers impressed him more by his character than by his discourse, more by what he was than by what he said. Those victories which the pupil, doubtless too brilliant, too adroit for his master, had scored in their arguments, did not delude him. He who put virtue before religion must have recognized in a mind of a humbler order than his own, virtue of a different order from his own. And that probably is what led him to attach to Mayers’ words an importance that his arguments as such would certainly not have earned them. That it was, as well as the necessity of finding something to fill up the time that led the boy to tackle the somewhat austere books that were put into his hands. How these books of Mayers’ affected him, Newman in a few succinct and striking words tells us in the Apologia:

I fell under the influence of a definite Creed, and received into my intellect impressions of dogma, which, through God’s mercy, have never been effaced or obscured.

Those words whet our curiosity still more to learn what books these were that were thus offered to this young, enquiring mind. And now a paradox awaits us. Of the first of them, Newman tells us that the main doctrine contained in it struck him very forcibly and at once commanded his assent. But he adds that he came to discard it later on, and long before his conversion to Catholicism. A few lines farther on he adds that he retained it till he was twenty-one, when it gradually faded away. The book alluded to was by Romaine, one of the few rigid Calvinists that were still numbered in the Evangelical fold. It will not surprise us to learn that the doctrine in question was that of final perseverance, conversion being regarded as a sudden consciousness, on the part of the convert, of his predestined salvation.

If it was a doctrine that converted him, how came Newman, who stressed the doctrinal and dogmatic character of his conversion, to write of it — of his conversion, that is to say — a few lines farther on, “I am still more certain of it than I am of having hands and feet”? Here we have a problem which, up to now, does not appear greatly to have exercised his biographers. Nevertheless, it must be evident that the importance ascribed by Newman to this conversion, definite and permanent as it was, cannot be satisfactorily explained so long as this problem remains unresolved.

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Protected: From Mythopoetic Thinking And The Truth Of Christianity Part III — Keith Lemna

June 30, 2011

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Protected: From Mythopoetic Thinking And The Truth Of Christianity Part II — Keith Lemna

June 29, 2011

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Protected: Mythopoetic Thinking And The Truth Of Christianity Part I — Keith Lemna

June 28, 2011

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