OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 25, 2014, 05:34:08 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Cat and Dog Theology  (Read 23346 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Nyssa The Hobbit
Used to be OrthodoxFairyQueen
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian as of 1/10/09
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox
Posts: 396



WWW
« on: January 18, 2009, 10:09:42 PM »

I'd like to read what others think about this. I don't recall if I've mentioned this here before, but one of the things that drove hubby and me out of an Evangelical Free church several years ago was this new "Cat and Dog Theology." "Cats" are me-centered and "dogs" are God-centered. Apparently it's become quite popular in Protestant churches, but the theology appears very Calvinist:

http://unveilinglory.com/index.php?o...id=31&Itemid=1

http://www.zimbio.com/Maximizing+our...t+Dog+Theology

http://www.unveilinglory.com/dmdocs/notes.pdf

Many of the things they say are true: The Church is full of a lot of materialism, man-centered worship, lack of passion for the things we're supposed to be passionate about, God as a cosmic slot machine, expectation of a life of ease and plenty. But where it falls apart for us is the teaching about God. Some examples:

--It's a "cat" thing to focus on the suffering of people who go to Hell. Rather, we're to do the "dog" thing and focus on the praise God won't get from the people who are in Hell.

From a Cat and Dog sermon titled "It's All About Him":
Quote
In 1 Chronicles 21 Satan prompted King David to count his fighting men. The Lord wasn't pleased for He wanted the glory for giving military victories. But David swelled with pride, in himself, his country, and his men and took the glory of God. So it was the Lord, not Satan, who sent a plague and killed 70,000 of David's chosen men, military leaders and believers from the nation Israel. Let's listen in on the conversation these men might have had with God. Men: Lord, why did you bring us all home at once? We weren't even fighting a war.
Lord: David sinned.
Men: What? David sinned and we were all punished for his sin?
Lord: I don't see bringing you home into my presence as punishment but that's what I did. [Note from me: This was Old Testament--when everyone went to Hades.]

Men: Oh Lord, we're sorry. You're wonderful. but why didn't you take him home?
Lord: Because I had a greater plan for his life.
Men: What about our lives?
Lord: I had a plan for your lives as well.
Men: Well, what was it?
Lord: To die when David sinned, and to serve to bring about his repentance.
Men: But Lord, that just doesn't seem fair.
Lord: Well, I have never run My kingdom based on fairness, I run it for my glory.

God uses all nations, both good and bad, for His purposes. When God wanted to take the gospel message past Jerusalem He persecuted his people in that city to spread them throughout the Roman Empire. When He wanted to extend the gospel message past the Empire He sacked Rome with barbaric tribes from the north that scattered Christians from Ireland to China. What does that say for America? Can you think for a more historically accurate, God-honoring way to take the gospel to the Muslim world than to scatter the church, perhaps even the American church? After all, it's not about America. It's All About Him.
...

Let's ask some questions: Did God love the first nine generations [of Israelites living as slaves in Egypt] as well as the tenth one He freed? (Absolutely)
Did God have a plan for their lives? (Definitely)
What was God's plan for their lives? (To be born a slave, to live as a slave, and to die a slave.)
Why?
Because God used their captivity to teach future generations to be kind to people from other countries. Because It's All About Him....

Would you be willing to be a slave for the glory of God? What if God wants to sell you into slavery so He can position you for His glory, like Joseph? ...Suppose it is God's will that you be stoned to death like Stephen? ...As a woman would you be willing to live in southern Sudan, to be raped, mutilated, homeless and hungry if your being on the front lines of spiritual war brought great glory to God?

Other things we heard as our pastor preached Cat and Dog Theology:

--Every single thing God does is primarily driven by a passion for his own glory (which was defined as reputation). This includes the Cross.

--Even if God did not have all these wonderful attributes--love, compassion, caring, blessing us, etc.--we should still glorify him because he is God.

--Even if we didn't sin, Christ still would have died on the Cross because it was for God's glory.

--If I recall correctly: It's "catlike" to wish your loved one to recover from a terminal illness; God has a plan you may be wanting to thwart.

I remember seeing a couple of years ago an argument between John Piper (Calvinist author) and an Orthodox writer about the Indonesian tsunamis. Piper said it was for God's glory; the Orthodox writer took offense at this. I don't know if this argument is still posted on the Web; I don't remember where it was.

Week after week after week, the pastor made God sound more self-centered and less like a loving Father; my husband felt like just a tool being used for God's purposes, not someone God cared about as a person. After all, if God wanted to kill you for His own glory, who were you to complain that wasn't fair?

And yet the pastor seemed to wonder why we didn't consider this a wonderful theology that made us more in love with God. We watched in disbelief as other members of the church embraced it and began teaching it to others. Even now, members from that church--which is now gone--propagate this doctrine, and Cat and Dog Theology has become quite popular in the American Church.

My opinion is, this "theology" is the product of modern American Protestantism mixed with Calvinism, not the theology of the ancient Church. To summarize, God created us for communion. The Calvinists say we're saved from Hell for God's glory; I've seen how this ultimately leads to the doctrine of double predestination. Cat and Dog Theology said we are supposed to hunger for God's glory; from what I understand, in Orthodoxy, we are to hunger for God Himself. As we come together as a congregation to worship God, and sing praises and glory to Him (since this is a good and worthy thing to do), our worship culminates in the Eucharist. Our hunger and thirst for God is satisfied as we take His body and blood into our bodies in an intimate union which has even been compared to a man and his wife becoming one. Out of this pours our honor, glory and praise to God, and we desire to become more and more like Him and help others to do the same. So just because we do not focus on glory above everything else, hardly means that we are "cats." But so much of what I have heard and read from Reformed sources makes it sound like we are robbing God of His glory if we do not focus on His glory above all else.

The Latin church taught that the Incarnation happened because man sinned. The Greek Fathers wrote that it would have happened even if man had not sinned, but their reasoning was, God wanted intimate union with man. This is not what my pastor said!

Also, Cat and Dog Theology says "everyday life was designed to be one big worship service" and goes on to ask, What does God get when you hug a child, see a sunset, listen to music, eat a chocolate covered strawberry, etc. etc. However, this is not what worship is all about. Such experiences can show us God exists, and it is good to remember all of it is possible because of God's goodness. But worship "reflects the fullness of Truth," "strives to make holy," and all "flows from the one, essential act of worship and thanksgiving, the 'common union' with the Trinity and with God's people into which the 'community' enters through the reception of Holy 'Communion'. ...'Enjoyment' is not a goal in worship" (Orthodox Worship vs. Contemporary Worship). http://www.oca.org/QA.asp?ID=190

Another deficiency, which is a common problem, is that I read so much in the Cat and Dog writings and other Protestant writings about God, which makes God sound like one Person who is God-centered (John Piper writes that God is God-centered). In Orthodoxy, God is more commonly referred to as the Trinity and "Father, Son and Holy Spirit." Yes, Protestants are usually Trinitarian, but in common speech, oftentimes Christ and the Spirit seem more like subordinates, while the Father is God. One thing that is very important to note, which some proponents of Cat and Dog theology may be fully aware of but can be missed in the pews, is that the Persons are equal to each other and each are God; instead of seeking what's best for Himself, each member of the Trinity loves the other two completely and seeks to glorify them. This is demonstrated by the Trinity icon, in which the three members of the Trinity sit around a table in perfect love and communion, their heads bent toward each other. Looked at in this way, God is not self-seeking or self-loving, but loves and seeks what is best for the other, just as we are to do.

Cat and Dog Theology focuses our attention on God's glory (as in, reputation); Orthodox theology focuses our attention on God Himself. Cat and Dog Theology says that Christ died on the cross for our sins so that we might point to God and glorify Him; Orthodox theology focuses on the love of God in reconciling us to Him, showing us how to live, and bringing the suffering souls out of Hades so they could commune with Him forever. Cat and Dog Theology focuses on God's reputation (glory); Orthodox theology longs for the wondrously beautiful manifestation of God's energies (glory).

Cat and Dog Theology makes life's unfairness sound like it was deliberately caused directly by God; Orthodox theology realizes that the Devil is our enemy and the source of all evil, that we ourselves cause our own troubles (such as Hell, which we cause ourselves by rejecting the love of God). Cat and Dog Theology focuses on the lack of praise of God in Hell; Orthodox theology focuses on the suffering people will endure because they have rejected the love of God and cannot get away from it. Cat and Dog Theology would probably call Orthodox theology "me-centered cat thinking" because of its focus on our becoming like Christ and acquiring the Holy Spirit.

DH and I both saw this "theology" as offensive slander against God. The image of the Loving Father was diminished, replaced by a deity that did not seem to care about fairness, justice or mercy, so long as he was glorified. Some people are born to be killed for the glory of God??? Basically, this deity causes death and suffering so he can be glorified.
Logged

Author of "Tojet" (fantasy) and "The Lighthouse" (Gothic), info available at my website URL.
EofK
Mrs. Y
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 3,976


lolcat addict


« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2009, 02:45:16 PM »

Hmmm... seems like an affront to cats as well.  I know several cats who are selfless creatures occasionally.  When it best suits their purposes.  Wink

Seriously, though, this is not the first time that I've heard the idea that God is focused solely on His glory, even to the point of the cross.  The chaplain at my Baptist alma mater explained that God was entitled to be "selfish" and "self-glorifying" because, well, He's God.  The reason we take offense reflexively is not because God's self-glorification is wrong but because we're used to being told not to glorify ourselves.  This is something that has always rubbed me the wrong way; this line of thinking makes the Father seem petty and childish.  I have not heard such a view in Orthodoxy in my very limited experience.  For those more experienced in the faith, is this idea of God present in Orthodoxy?
Logged

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 31,473


EXTERMINATE!


« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2009, 03:11:58 PM »

Not to call C. S. Lewis an Orthodox authority on this, but I do see a lot of wisdom in his words.  I remember hearing a friend quote a rather lengthy passage from one of Lewis's writings on this subject, which I hope I can faithfully summarize in this post.  I think Lewis said that God doesn't need or even want our glory merely because He's a supreme egotist and petty narcissist.  It really matters not to God personally whether we praise Him or not, since He is totally self-sufficient.  But, though He doesn't need us to glorify Him, He created us for this end, and only by giving praise, glory, and worship to God can we humans be truly fulfilled as human persons.  God won't punish us as will some petty tyrant for failing to give Him glory; He will allow us, however, to suffer the natural consequences of our failure to fulfill our created nature, a nature that He created to draw life from Him and not from within ourselves.
Logged
EofK
Mrs. Y
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 3,976


lolcat addict


« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2009, 03:14:25 PM »

^That makes sense.  Lewis was indeed a wise man, if not Orthodox.  Smiley
Logged

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams
BrotherAidan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,568

OC.net


« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2009, 11:50:36 PM »

Orthodox Fairy Queen
Yes, this dog and cat stuff does have the distinct scent of Calvinism. If the perpetrators of this theology are not clear cut Calvinists, a Calvinst definitely left his mark on them - or perhaps he just dirtied their litter box Wink

But, seriously, I heard alot of similar stuff as a Calvinist. Some of these teachers just set themselves up as tough guys and brow beat their congregations with this stuff. And people respond to it! I guess some people just like abuse.

It is sad. The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, What is man's chief end? It answers Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.
These people seem to have left out the last clause. Also consider, enjoying God seems pretty selfish, eh?

When we became Orthodox we renounced the Calvinist heresy, so you did the right thing. Don't let it trouble you any longer,
Logged
Fr. David
The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA, Diocese of the South
Posts: 2,828



WWW
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2009, 01:40:02 PM »

^ Right.  Piper's article, "Biblical Texts to Show God's Zeal for His Own Glory" can be found here.  A quasi-calvinist friend of mine (who used to post here, actually) linked to this article on his blog, and I found it to be standard fare for a Calvinist turning God into a, well, self-centered so-and-so.  Had my friend taken a second to link to a second article in Piper's series, he might have sensed a different (and, imo, more welcome) caveat present:

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles/ByDate/2007/2509_How_Is_Gods_Passion_for_His_Own_Glory_Not_Selfishness/

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles/ByDate/2007/2508_How_Has_God_Made_Much_of_Us/

Namely, if I may summarize, it makes the point that God's self-magnification is not egomania because God is, in fact, great and greatly to be praised.  He is the Good One Whom we need, so it behooves us always to keep this in mind.  Yet the goal of His doing this is the salvation of sinners -- God "making much of us" through theosis, we would say -- and so God is ultimately the One glorified (as it should be), yet He is marvelous in His saints!  I think many Cat/Dog people latch onto the first article and say, "Just praise God, just go with whatever He gives you, don't ask questions, it's not about you, you're a worm and He's the All-Good One, so shut up and, as I said, just praise God because He's the important One here, not you."

Rather, while we do understand that God allows us to suffer and even silently shares in our suffering on the Cross, and while very often an answer is not given in this life as to why we suffer (the notable exception being people like Job), we understand that God's ultimate glorification will not be His continual highlighting of how great He is as opposed to How horrible we are, but rather His continual raising up of His creation to share in everything that He is, in spite of our treacherousness.  It is His mercy and compassion -- not His chest-thumping, mountain-melting power -- that will ultimately lead to all nations confessing Him as Lord.
Logged

Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
BrotherAidan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,568

OC.net


« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2009, 12:00:32 AM »

This  almost narcissism in God in this kind of theology is certainly at odds with the humility of the Incarnation or with the self-emptying of Philippians chapter 2.
Logged
SolEX01
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Holy Metropolis of New Jersey
Posts: 10,985


WWW
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2009, 01:40:32 AM »

New Skete Monastery has been training dogs for over 3 decades.  Their cat training vocation isn't online, yet.   Shocked  Roll Eyes
Logged
ytterbiumanalyst
Professor Emeritus, CSA
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 8,790



« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2009, 09:10:26 AM »

Wow, their god is incredibly egotistical. Killing his son merely for his own glory? Phew--not the god I'd want to worship.

Interesting, though, that they would prove their theology with stereotypes of domesticated animals.
Logged

"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens
Nyssa The Hobbit
Used to be OrthodoxFairyQueen
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian as of 1/10/09
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox
Posts: 396



WWW
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2009, 05:29:29 PM »

At least the way our pastor portrayed it, made God sound very egotistical.  Hubby wrote him a letter about it, about how God is supposed to be the Loving Father.  The pastor got this crazy idea that Hubby was attacking HIM; Hubby felt ostracized after that.  The pastor was polite, but Hubby just didn't "feel" welcome anymore.  After the youth group fell apart (the church was dying) and I no longer had a ministry, we left.

Cat & Dog Theology really is why I'm here now instead of still an Evangelical.  I wanted to find a church which wouldn't make a sudden change of theology and/or worship after a pastor went on "sabbatical" and read some books.  Tongue  Hubby grew up Lutheran, and went back there.
Logged

Author of "Tojet" (fantasy) and "The Lighthouse" (Gothic), info available at my website URL.
BrotherAidan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,568

OC.net


« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2009, 12:23:51 AM »

At least the way our pastor portrayed it, made God sound very egotistical.  Hubby wrote him a letter about it, about how God is supposed to be the Loving Father.  The pastor got this crazy idea that Hubby was attacking HIM; Hubby felt ostracized after that.  The pastor was polite, but Hubby just didn't "feel" welcome anymore.  After the youth group fell apart (the church was dying) and I no longer had a ministry, we left.

Cat & Dog Theology really is why I'm here now instead of still an Evangelical.  I wanted to find a church which wouldn't make a sudden change of theology and/or worship after a pastor went on "sabbatical" and read some books.  Tongue  Hubby grew up Lutheran, and went back there.

Any escape from that kind of evangelicalism is worth it. That you found Orthodoxy makes you most blessed. I hope your husband has found a safe refuge in the Lutheran Church.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2009, 12:25:51 AM by BrotherAidan » Logged
Nyssa The Hobbit
Used to be OrthodoxFairyQueen
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian as of 1/10/09
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox
Posts: 396



WWW
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2009, 09:11:45 PM »

He's a pessimist who worries that it'll come into the Lutheran church, too.  But for the moment, he's happy being home in the denomination he grew up in.  Smiley

I'm still in contact with the old youth group leader, so I know that he's really gotten into this whole "simple/organic/house/missional etc. church" thing.  I just discovered that the church itself has now changed its DBA to "ESC" instead of "EFCA" (Evangelical Free Church of America).  I had no clue what "ESC" meant, so I went searching on the Web.  Since the youth pastor and pastor have remained in contact and still work together through another ministry, it makes a lot of sense to assume that "ESC" means that church has turned into an "emerging simple church."

It's funny and sad to think that when we left, we felt like the heretics of the group; now, the leaders of the church are going into a movement which has its heart in the right place, but is a breeding ground for all sorts of heresy.

Websites I found linked on my old youth pastor's website:
http://www.cmaresources.org/
http://www.shapevine.com/
« Last Edit: January 27, 2009, 09:21:02 PM by OrthodoxFairyQueen » Logged

Author of "Tojet" (fantasy) and "The Lighthouse" (Gothic), info available at my website URL.
BrotherAidan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,568

OC.net


« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2009, 11:57:35 PM »

I have read some of that Emergent Church stuff and I start screaming at the page, "read the Fathers of the Church! Read the Fathers of the Church!"

They ask so many correct questions. Then they go off wandering on a search for answers that were there in the first several centuries of the Church.

Emergents are Orthodox waiting to discover the Church if they are not bound by what CAtholic theologians call invicible ignorance (so blinded by cultural upbringing or millieu that it is impossible for them to consider Holy Tradition and the Church).
 
Alot of them really want to reach the culture for the Lord and throw off cultural strictures of the past. Unfortunately for them, they end up embracing cultural strictures of the present. Also they are extremely deficient in their ecclessiology (meaning they have none).

Of course some of them in Emergent movement are trapped in the "next new thing" (or worse, just wanting to be hip).
Logged
Nyssa The Hobbit
Used to be OrthodoxFairyQueen
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian as of 1/10/09
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox
Posts: 396



WWW
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2009, 07:01:57 PM »

I have similar thoughts whenever I read their articles.  Just today I read one that said the Lord's Supper was about a meal--then it went off into a tangent about Christian fellowship around a dinner.  It totally missed that Christ Himself is the mystical food of that meal, not sloppy joes or Grandma's chocolate cake.  Tongue

Logged

Author of "Tojet" (fantasy) and "The Lighthouse" (Gothic), info available at my website URL.
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.079 seconds with 41 queries.