February 26, 2020

Honest Thoughts On The Catholic Discussion: Is This The Best We Can Do?

denominationNOTE: Commenters should read the commenting rules in FAQ 10, especially those who plan to write me a long appeal to become a Catholic.

COMMENTS CLOSED

No one reading, writing or commenting on the posts in this interview has ever been as angry as yours truly over the claims of the Roman Catholic Church. In ’07 and ’08, I was torn apart by this question.

Being unable to commune with my wife or Catholic friends, knowing my ordination to the Gospel ministry is considered invalid and having my community denied even the dignity of being “church” instead of the tedious nomenclature of “ecclesial community” galls me as much today as it has any time in the past two years.

I can’t speak for others, but few Protestants have invested the time in seeking to understand Catholicism and seeing its version of Christianity from a sympathetic position as I have as I worked through my wife’s move to the RCC.

I have taken the case for Catholicism’s claims as honestly and openly as possible, whether from Thomas Howard, Louis Bouyer, Scott Hahn, Lawrence Feingold or dozens of real life and online friends. I’ve been greatly enriched by my Catholic reading and where it has taken me.

I appreciate the worship, reverence, holiness, sacrifice, devotion and prayerfulness I see in Catholic Christians. In the category of Jesus shaped spirituality, there is much to affirm about the Catholic way of being Christian.

On many days, I have probably wanted the case for Catholicism to be persuasive more than most any Protestant you know. My life and home would be much different were I able to say “this is true.”

But ultimately, I am unconvinced. Ultimately, I am no closer than ever and less impressed with the answers on issues like the development of doctrine or the perpetual virginity of Mary. As much as I sense the sincerity and respectful openness in Bryan’s explanation of his passion for unity in the Catholic Church, it is not the goal of my journey to come into union with the RCC as I understand it.

The reasons may seem entirely pedestrian; not significantly different than most other evangelicals, though hopefully stated with less ignorance, animus and arrogance than some.

What continues to haunt me, however, is not the resolution of my own differences with Catholicism. I’m quite satisfied that, minus some devastating alteration in my own view of faith, God and the church, I’ll be a Protestant on the bus with the “Happy Enough” Protestants till the end of my ride.

Liturgy? Yes, and more of it. Catholicism without the dogmatic claims of Rome? I applaud. The Great Tradition and the common story we share up till 1517, and to a large extent, beyond? Yes, enthusiastically.

My problem remains that when I have once again worked through the claims and chosen my Protestant and evangelical “ecclesial community,” invalid ordination, paltry sacraments and all, I am still in a growing evangelical wilderness.

We’ve passed Reformation day, and what have we done? Come 500 years and we need a Reformation as much as Rome ever did.

We are a movement of strutting preachers. When Bryan Cross says he grew tired of “man-talk” and “men-talking,” my stomach goes nauseous with familiarity. A friend asked me today what was “with you and this liturgy.” My answer: men talking, on and on and on. Truly. If nothing else describes us, it is that: a movement of talking, talking, talking; preachers talking about whatever they have decided I need to hear. Some better, most worse, some painful, some edifying, but in the main, unimpressive and tediously mundane.

We traded the errors of Rome for what we have now. I can be glad we do not believe in the assumption of Mary or in indulgences, but from there, I’m left sad that I can go weeks without hearing the Gospel, but never a day without moralism, culture war idolatry and consumer church.

Rejoicing that we have abandoned the errors of infallibility seems embarrassing when evangelicals have infallible popes by the dozen.

Gospel-centrism is harnessed to gender, worship style, theories of the atonement, arguments over personalities, definitions and even Bible translations. I recommended Liberty University to one of my most conservative students. A relative told her it was “corrupt.” This is evangelicalism. You cannot be so orthodox that some other evangelical won’t find you worthless and apostate.

Can we do any better with this reformation heritage of ours? Is this the best we can do? The endless cacophony of division? The constant tyranny of celebrity spirituality? The Jesus-less culture war that is meant to show us a kingdom without a cross presided over by the disciples of a savior deeply concerned about elections and referendums.

Is this the best we can do? Contemporary evangelicalism’s hour of praise music? Extreme youth ministries? Addiction to the Prosperity cancer? Or the new fad of criticizing the critics. Let’s all say the church is fine, doing fine, just fine, oh fine, she’s fine…….

Where has all this being right in comparisons Catholics gotten us? In my own “most evangelistic” of denominations the chances of hearing the Gospel on a Sunday morning in half of our churches is a crap shoot.

While I watch Catholics have serious worship and serious spiritual formation in scripture and the virtues of deep spirituality, I’ll keep asking: is this the best we can do?

Right answers only go so far. With us, it seems that after 500 years, we don’t know where we are going. The ship feels listless, but the ever-talking crew assures us that all is well.

Comments

  1. Interesting. I’ve read this plea from more than one author and on more than one occasion. ISTM that the answer is not that we need “more” of something, but rather less of what we have. Most evangelicals are content to talk to themselves, sometimes to one another. Rarely do we talk to non-evangelicals and almost never to the non-Christian.

    I think this is why so many go on short term mission trips – they are trying to connect their faith with something real. Rarely are they trying to connect something real (their lives and where they are living right now) to their faith.

    I think we are so focused on the quest to DO something that few consider the need to BE something. Who among us really seeks to embody Jesus in the daily routine in which we find ourselves? Who looks for depth and spiritual meaning in the common tasks we engage every day?

    I think we are looking for a medicine that will cure the itch and until we do, we keep applying band aids, when it is the band aids that cause the itch.

  2. There are many RCC accoutrements that could be a basis for Biblical stumblingblocks, however there remains one mountain that is insurmountable – the sufficiency of Christ’s blood. With grace being parsed out through the sacraments; with good works being part of the redemptive equation; and with purgatory placing the sufferings of man as a post mortum, redemptive escort, rendering the sufferings of Christ as necessitating assistance, the foundational doctrines are irreperably flawed.

    Having said that I enjoy Scott Hahn and the recent book by Benedict.

  3. Andy Rowell, at Out of Ur, deals with evangelical divide between “Free Churches” and “Liturgical Churches”, which helps explain some of the issues (problems) that have developed within Evangelicalism.

    He writes:
    “The strength of the Catalyst Conference is also the strength of the Free Church tradition—the willingness to experiment with ways of reaching people—the unchurched and the poor—with the goodness of the gospel. Paul writes, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Cor 9:23). Scratch the surface of a Christian who is an “innovator” or “leader” and you have underneath a person with a passion to reach people with the good news.What liturgical church clergy can learn from the Catalyst Conference is to impress on their people that they are missionaries for Christ—“communicators”—the biblical word is “witnesses.”

    He goes on:
    “The weakness of Catalyst is also the weakness of the Free Church tradition. Authenticity, vulnerability, spontaneity, and extemporaneous communication characterized the Catalyst speakers….This is symptomatic of the free church tradition. Some contemporary worship songs, church plants, and megachurches are spectacularly effective. Others spectacularly self-destruct. Untethered to a hierarchy or narrow role of guarding the tradition, there is extreme pressure on the leader….They emphasized the need for systems of support and accountability. A frequent comment from the stage was “Remember that it is all about Jesus.”

    He concludes:
    “What is fascinating is that these admonitions are central for liturgical church clergy. Because it is good to have colleagues and not to have the responsibility to make it all up as one goes along, liturgical clergy participate in a larger denominational structure. Because there is peace and health that comes from rooting the pastoral task in the finished work of Christ, they celebrate the Lord’s Supper weekly….Catalyst leaders need not be “free” (that is, “lost”) from the insights of the rich liturgical church tradition on pastoral spiritual, physical and social health. The Catalyst Conference can catalyze liturgical church clergy and free church leaders to learn from each other rather than dismiss each other.”

  4. I am currently driving 45 minutes to attend a conservative Anglo-Catholic parish. I am also very attracted to Eastern Orthodoxy, and the closet EO churches are 50 minutes and 1 hour and 10 minutes. There is a Roman Catholic parish 15 minutes away in the county seat. Being Roman Catholic would be so much easier in this respect. I have attended masses at the RC parish and have been told that they have a good priest. I honestly really wish I could be Catholic. However, I too simply cannot wrap my mind around certain doctrines. When I read some things by G.K. Chesteron or Henri Nouwen, I find myself going, “Yes, yes, yes!” and feeling my heart warmed, but then squaring that with certain doctrines that the RC church still holds just makes my head hurt. In some ways, I feel like the RC church contains the same problems I have with conservative Calvinists, only amplified– the angry God who needs to torture someone and demands blood sacrifice for appeasement as a primary motif in what the Christian religion is about. Only in Roman Catholicism, it seems you have to just keep on appeasing him over and over again– and he’s so angry in fact, that even after the sacrifice of Jesus, we still need intercessory prayers of the saints, indulgences (which do seem to be making a comeback), and masses for the dead– and even after that, it’s still sort of up in the air. Roman Catholics, please do not take this as an attack, but simply the impressions of a young confused post-Evangelical layman. I have far more sympathy for you than I do for most low church Protestant denominations. However, it is this law court paradigm with the angry judge that I find pushing me East and towards certain, rather Greek influenced, strands of high church Anglicanism. I do not deny that view of the atonement is a Biblical theme, but the way it is so often expressed makes it easy for my to be terrified by God, but hard to love him.

    • I thought your objections were a little uncharacteristic until I realized the thread to the common perception amongst Protestants that we do these things strictly because we aren’t good enough to talk to God directly. All Catholics do talk to God directly. Hell, the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist would literally be horrifying if we didn’t believe Jesus loves us more than he hates our sins. (Any Christian anywhere understands that God hates our sins BECAUSE he loves us.) There IS an element in intercession that maintains those closer to God are “heard” by him in greater proportion, something that’s very apparent in the Old Testament that Catholics still believe to be in effect and I suppose that Protestants believe was rent obscure by Christ’s redemption of humankind, that this dynamic was meant only to anticipate and prophecy the person of Christ. But there’s also a belief in our tradition that the very greatest of sinners sincerely seeking conversion gets the most attentive audience of all. Most of these dynamics are more based on a belief of the immediacy of being drawn into Christ’s family. They are understood to be involvement in the whole life of Christ in about the same way you’d make friends with your newlywed wife’s friends.

      Sounds like at the end of the day Purgatory is going to give you the most trouble as you continue your discernment process. It’s a place where sins are forgiven, but all the garbage in a person’s soul has to be burned away. Makes sense, right? (I know it doesn’t.) Catholics understand 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 to describe an event that’s posthumous (this is suggested in 3:13, but is by no means perfectly clear, and probably why Protestants reject our doctrine), where one “is saved,” but suffers “loss through fire.”

      Anyway, the best thing to do would be to borrow or if you’re really serious buy a Catechism of the Catholic Church and get Catholicism straight from the horse’s mouth. The good thing is you don’t have to second guess whether or not you’re getting a good representation of the Church’s self-understanding when you read it, because it is pretty much by definition what the Catholic Church is; you only have to judge if what is portrayed seems reasonable to believe in.

  5. Michael,

    I would like to say thank you for inviting me to this interview, for your excellent questions, and for opening your site to this fascinating discussion. Thanks also to your readers for their gracious comments and objections. The comments have been interesting and charitable. I wish I could respond to more of them, but time doesn’t allow at present. I hope your readers keep in mind that my answers were just scratching the surface, sketching out the present theological terrain, so to speak. It would be far too premature to give up ecumenical hope, or reach any kind of definitive conclusion on these matters, based only on an interview. I hope the Catholic-Protestant differences we have noted here will provoke us all to charitably and patiently pursue the underlying reasons for those differences, as part of the growing desire of Protestants and Catholics to understand each other more accurately, and pursue together in love the unity we know Christ wants all His followers to enjoy. Perhaps we can all agree that given what Jesus says in John 17, we who love Jesus must never rest content being divided from others who love Jesus. Surely that passion for unity among Christians belongs to a Jesus-shaped spirituality, and that petition belongs in our daily prayers. We cannot overestimate the efficacy of the gospel to the world when those who proclaim it are dwelling together in unity. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.” (Psalm 133:1)

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

    • Bryan, thanks for giving of your time, talents, and passions to the IMONK community. Thanks for seeing past some of our rampant border patrolling, and working for the unity Christ bled for.

      May HE give us the desire of HIS heart
      Greg R

  6. “We traded the errors of Rome for what we have now. I can be glad we do not believe in the assumption of Mary or in indulgences, but from there, I’m left sad that I can go weeks without hearing the Gospel, but never a day without moralism, culture war idolatry and consumer church.”

    Yes.

    “Rejoicing that we have abandoned the errors of infallibility seems embarrassing when evangelicals have infallible popes by the dozen.”

    YES.

    “Is this the best we can do? Contemporary evangelicalism’s hour of praise music? Extreme youth ministries? Addiction to the Prosperity cancer? Or the new fad of criticizing the critics.”

    Unfortunately, yes.

    This is not to be glib, but merely to illustrate that you’ve answered your own question. As long as institutionalized religion in America is more concerned with marketing, profit, and politics than it is with compassion, redemption, and revelation, this IS the best we can do.

    • Ty: like your post, but I’ll nitpick (my habit instead of cigarettes):

      there’s always the opportunity to be a small , perhaps VERY small, force of resistance. Maybe like the cleaning lady at the circus, doing things differently, quietly, unofficially, the way that we can best fathom that Jesus would do them. And for HIS glory alone. I think there are ways of swimming against the tide: this blog is a great example, at least for me it is.

      I’m believing that in the smallest of places, in the smallest of ways, GOD can, and will, show up.

      Greg R

      • Greg

        Honestly, I think what you speak to (the small force of resistance) is the saving grace of Christianity in contemporary American culture. It can come from individuals who no longer align with a specific church, or it can come from those working with a church who break from the malaise iMonk speaks to, but the pessimist in me says it won’t be coming FROM “church” as an institution.

        At the very least, I guess I’m saying I hope you’re right. And I agree – blogs like this encourage that sort of hope.

        • thanks for the reply; yes, the beauty of it seems to be that one does not have to be rabidly ANTI-institution, or not involved in one. I think, largely, that these affiliations will play some role, but as our culture becomes more hostile to the real gospel (at least most of it), the church affiliations just don’t matter as much (geeez, this is soounding so apocalyptic……sorry….I’m not usually so end-timey, believe me). Whether or not these ‘pockets’ will be individuals, local congregations, denoms, or larger might be contingent on leadership of the right kind (hadn’t reallly thot it out that far….)

          at any rate: think St. Francis….the Moravians…..Hudson Taylor…..GOD empowers radical obdience, and seems to fly right over group name tag, at least that’s what I’d maintain.

          praying that we both stay encouraged , as the walls burnt with fire are rebuilt gloriously
          Greg R

  7. I know that I’m probably echoing with lots and lots of people, but thank you for this post. My heart is screaming along with yours for a fulfilling, genuine, and humble church to be a part of and can never seem to find it anywhere.

    Lately I’ve been feeling disgusted with my own church, which up until this year has been a raw, scrappy little ‘start-up’ with a lot of heart. It’s changed with the campaign to buy a building for the church, which will be complete at year’s end. It feels, more and more, like my church is hurrying off down the road that has been beaten hard by every mega-church and image-crazed church on the market. It feels like a business. It feels like prosperity. It makes me uneasy. It makes me more uneasy when the pastor’s messages are 30 minutes long and the scripture is quoted for 5 of these, and the rest seems to be dithering and sports analogies and a powerpoint presentation. It makes me uneasy that our bible studies don’t seem to require the use of a bible, just some popular ‘christian self-help’ book, which seem to be read more than the bible itself these days.

    I read the Catholicism series here as openly as I could, and honestly wanted to see what that side of the coin had to offer as opposed to what I’ve already experienced. Unfortunately, it did not present much to me besides what I felt as a spirit of superiority within that group, and the main answer to reconciliation between the RCC and reformed churches was to, in a nutshell, ‘see that you’re wrong and come back to the RCC.’ I actually went to work yesterday morning pretty upset about it.

    Anyhow, I was moved by this post today to read, so wonderfully articulated by iMonk, many of the exact same feelings that I felt about not only the RCC, but being alienated by the evangelical church culture in the US.

    Thanks again for being a voice in the wilderness. You really get me thinking, and help me to not feel alone in wanting something better.

  8. I guess the best a Catholic can offer is that, even though we disagree, we understand and that the Church will always be here for you should you ever be ready for us.

  9. When I read “ecclesiastical communities” in the interview I managed to cringe and laugh at the same time. I understood the words but all I saw was a rock hitting a hornets’ nest.

    I think Ben nailed it when he hinted that (my words, not quite his) there are entirely different economies of concepts and subtleties in what I’ve taken to calling “definitional emphasis” between Catholicism and Protestantism. Sometimes I really believe there’s no disagreement. The whole faith and works thing, the relationship between grace and salvation… so help me God, if there’s a difference between the Catholic and the Protestant here, it’s too subtle for me to see. I know what I just said, and you can call me an idiot, but I’d like to think I’m not.

    From a Catholic point of view, our differences lie strictly in our understanding of the institutional Catholic church. All our other disagreements converge at this issue. And our definition of “church” is that there be an unsevered string connecting it directly to our understanding of Matthew 16: 18-19. This is how we’ve always defined it! It’s how we always will define it! What do you guys want from us!?!

    I know it sounds juvenile, but I just want to say, “We were here first.” We have a way of understanding things that’s nothing if not consistent and that’s been rejected by a great many Christian, the vast majority of the time not at all without some good reasoning, but they in fact rejected US. Or if anyone prefers it I fully support what Dan says above: “The Catholics never did get fixed, which is why we never went back to them.” And so help us God we never will “fix” it. You can dismiss it as arrogance as though I feel I have any personal control over what I perceive to be reality, but it all boils down to an understanding of the nature of the institutional church. I think maybe partly Catholics just have a very austere and (overly?) linear/logical approach to communication.

    But any time it looks like Catholicism has changed an essential dogma… that’s an illusion.

    All this points to something I think is very important: A necessarily different approach the Protestant should be aware of as far as the potentialities of Protestant-Protestant ecumenism and Protestant-Catholic ecumenism. I think there are two steps to ecumenism. The first is clarifying one’s own understanding of things, and figuring out all the things one’s own side has put unjustly and fairly, and developing a full understanding of the economy and workings of the other side’s position. Step one is concerned strictly with fair and charitable and humble dialogue. Step two is working towards a convergence. If this is to be done with any justice, it presupposes compromise on both sides. Catholics generally fail to see this, but any time we speak of “union” we mean “union with the Catholic Church.” Period. The guilt for that one lies almost entirely on Catholics. Protestant-Catholic ecumenism needs to realize that it sadly has to limit itself to Step One, for all practical purposes. I respect Cross very much for more or less pointing to these difficulties in a frank and honest manner.

    But even in the discussion here, it’s like every little BELIEF that’s in Catholicism that isn’t in Protestantism cripples our relationship with Christ. A commenter hinted that our belief in Purgatory means that we need Jesus less. Mmmmkay. And Mary’s perpetual virginity… Protestants shouldn’t lose sleep over that one. The theological ramifications there are minimal if you’re a Protestant critiquing Catholicism, as opposed to maybe Mary’s sinlessness– a completely separate issue– which is another matter entirely. The evangelical enthusiasm for putting Catholicism under the microscope and telling us what we believe can’t be considered altogether healthy or normal. Defending against evangelical critiques is easy for this Catholic: I always ask my friends to define what the Catholic Church says about whatever their issue is, and then correct the distortion and state our real position. Rinse, repeat; and it takes a lot of rinsing and repeating before my evangelical friends learn to maybe research things more carefully before sharing (parroting) an opinion. Neutrality is not an option; everything we do isn’t merely esoteric or unnecessary but flat-out poisonous. It is as though Catholicism must be proven to be ridiculous in order to simply be wrong, which is nonsense. I’ll be pleased as pie if we can actualize Step One Ecumenism, frankly. I think even in that project we have our work cut out for us. Concern over union feels a bit like wanting dessert before finishing the steak and potatoes.

    Our definition of “Christian” is of course really subtle, as any Christian’s definition will be. But it typically entails baptism. And in Catholicism any baptized Christian can perform a baptism. I once joked with a Methodist layperson friend of mine that the Catholic church believes he can validly baptize someone while the Methodist church does not. What I’m trying to say is that the Catholic church does take the unity of the Christian family seriously, in its own different way.

    Sorry so long. A lot has been bugging me throughout the whole Cross interview. But at the time most of what I wanted to say would have gotten me straight-up banned.

    • But any time it looks like Catholicism has changed an essential dogma… that’s an illusion.

      I think your Eastern Orthodox brethren might disagree with you there. 🙂

      • 🙂

        All I can say is that the dynamics of our dogmatics as currently self-understood and articulated are so subtle as far as their rigidity / pliability that hardly any Catholic understands it, and I certainly won’t hold it against a non-Catholic. *ducking in anticipation of “priestcraft” tomatoes*

    • But any time it looks like Catholicism has changed an essential dogma… that’s an illusion.

      You now have absolutely no way of distinguishing truth from error, and words mean what the magisterium says they mean, everyone else be damned.

      I can’t fleee fast enough and far enough from this kind of thing.

      • We study our religion critically the same way any good Protestant studies scripture.

        But I totally understand. Maybe if I’m saying anything, it’s what you’ve just said. This is possibly the essential difference between the Catholic and Protestant mind.

      • Scroll down to the Seventh Day Adventist post.

        Assuming you’re not of that denomination, how do I discern which one of you is speaking truth and which one is speaking error? You both claim Scripture as your final authority.

        To me, as I read this series, this is perhaps the most compelling rationale for Catholicism — that you can believe just about anything as a Protestant as long as you can assemble a scriptural argument for it. There is no authority; it is every man and his Bible for himself.

        And with no final authority other than personal interpretation, what we end up with is personal truth, which cannot help but be relative.

        For example, we could solve the energy crisis if we could harness the heat and light generated by arguments over free will vs. predestination.

      • On the contrary, we have very sophisticated methods of distinguishing truth and error, and have doctrines like papal infallibility to curb the power of prelates (yes, papal infallibility was largely pushed to limit Popes originally. Ain’t it ironic?).

  10. ‘How I hate these follies of not believing in the Eucharist, etc.! If the Gospel be true, if Jesus Christ be God, what difficulty is there?’
    – Blaise Pascal: Pensees 224

    When I was in college, it seemed like all I ever did was discuss or think about this question with my catholic friends (ok, perhaps I’m exaggerating). I personally came to the opinion that the discussion was best left more subdued. Honest intellectual pursuit is a good, certainly, but open hostility and anger between friends, especially friends who served the same master, really just falls into the enemy’s territory.

    I love the reverence of the catholic church, and I love the freedom and doctrine of the prodistant ones. So I now go to a liturgical pres, and tried to split the middle. I’m very much in agreement with you, imonk.

  11. The days following the reformation day should be made up of us/ we/ ourselves counting whether there has been progress in following God’s word with greater clarity. That was the gist of Martin Luther’s actions. He wanted to make it clear to the Catholic church that they were departing from the instructions found in God’s word.
    There was a bit of wisdom spoken lately by a member of the U.N. that: “The world will know peace when the power of love exceeds the love of power” .
    That is one of the reasons that the Catholic church arose. It was that they were near and had a taste of the power of the Roman government of the time. And they could see the wealth that Rome acquired.
    Money and political influence are attractive to us earthly sinners, and they seduce some to create a church whose followers sometimes worship the leaders.
    The Catholic church administration is guilty of that. We, as Christians should never worship money or another human being on this earth because it is all so vulnerable to corruption.

    I , as a Christian, would never attack anyone who sincerely worships God. But I, as a Christian, I am
    obligated to show a brother or sister if I can see them departing from the word of God provided by the King James bible. I believe that the Seventh Day Adventists teach the complete scriptures.
    And the majority of Protestant Christians don’t know they are following a Catholic installed tradition when they worship on Sundays, where there is no foundation in scripture.
    Whether you want to admit it or not, the Christ who lived was Jewish and He attended synagogue. He did not destroy the Law, which was the commandments. Matt. 5:18

    In order for Christians to unite truly, there has to be a consistent doctrine taught, which uses the scriptures only to teach. And the points of disagreement have to be resolved for all parties.
    Need I remind the Christian community that Islam is coming. United we stand, divided we fall..

    • WTF??????? (as in, “Where’s THIS From”?????)

    • FWIW, no where in Scripture does the command to have communal worship on the 7th day exist. The biblical commands regarding the Sabbath are to rest on it, not attend a worship service. The Jewish tradition of attending synagogue on the Sabbath arose in the intertestamental time and was instituted not by the Scriptures, patriarchs, prophets, or Moses, but by the man-made rules of the Jewish religious leaders. Jesus’ attendance of synagogue service on Sabbath doesn’t make it a biblical command any more than him celebrating Hanukkah (Jn 10:22ff) or wearing sandals makes it biblical commands to do so.

      All that to say is that communal worship on a given day is beyond the scope of the Scriptures. It’s all man’s tradition. But in the New Testament worldview, we have the freedom to worship on Sunday or on the Sabbath (or on any other day). The NT does not give us a specific system of worship (beyond commanding us to “not forsake the assembling’) but rather gives us the example of it including partaking in the Lord’s supper, “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,” and listening to someone explain the Scriptures and/or the Apostles’ teachings. Examples in Acts also show that the habit of Christians meeting on the First Day was already being established in the Apostolic period (see Acts 20:7ff).

      And KJV-only? C’mon… where in Scriptures does it ever imply that a single English translation would be the only inspired/authoratative version? Talk about “traditions of men…”

      So, yeah, we should maybe do our homework in the bible, Church History, etc. before resorting to hearsay, propoganda, and other irresponsible methods of lack-of-research.

  12. Yes, Protestants can do much better. It’s called “Lutheranism.” Heck, even the Presbyterians have done better.

  13. Luis González says

    I grew up as Catholic in Spain. Now I live in Rome. In my opinion, Protestants who lives in non-catholic countries have an unreal (idealized) image of Catholic Church.
    Claims and reality are light years away.
    Maybe for disenchanted evangelicals like many of you this is incredible, but in many ways I have a deep envy of your biblical culture. In catholic countries, the Bible is not part of religious culture (most catholics aren’t able to find the book of Jeremiah in theirs Bibles). The Bible, in popular mentality, is not for common people, Bible is for priest or for scholars. In practice, saints are minors deities (often specialized deities, S. Antonio for lost things), the statues of the saints have magical powers (for many people without theological formation). In Italy Catholic Church have a strong political power, many people sees protestants as sectarian and dangerous people (in catholic countries, for many people protestant and Jehovah Wittness is almost the same thing)…
    Perhaps living in a Catholic country would be an interesting experience for many evangelicals. They could learn to appreciate more their christian background.

    I apologize for my English.