Protestant/Other Christians

Are Evangelical Churches Growing?

by Steve Ray on January 23, 2016

Lenny Alt (lennyalt1@att.net) shared the following:

MICHAEL CONTI SAYS in the FACEBOOK group “Roman Catholicism is Apostate”:  “I remember the first time after I got out of prison and went to a Calvary Chapel in North-East Philly, the Pastor was telling us that over 50% of the congregation were ex-Catholics…and this Calvary Chapel had over 12,000 members.”  

LENNY ALT SAYS: Now it appears that numbers of people attending Evangelical churches are going down at the rate of one  million a year.  For many years I have heard Evangelicals say they USED TO BE CATHOLICS and they would boast at how many ex-Catholics were  in their congregations.  Now it appears there is a change.  In fact a close friend of mind refers to herself as a “USED TO BE PROTESTANT.”  82% of Evangelical churches are not growing but, in fact, are declining.  I asked Michael Conti if his church was still growing last year and I was told his church was declining – but numbers don’t mean everything. Evidently there will be more ex-Evangelicals in the world.  

(Many of those dropping out of Evangelical churches are discovering the Catholic Church – ancient, yet forever young!)

- See more at: Evangelicals Dropping Out | Defenders of the Catholic Faith | Hosted by Stephen K. Ray

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Response to an Ex-Catholic, now Baptist

by Steve Ray on January 3, 2016

A while ago I received an e-mail from a Southern Baptist and decided to take a few minutes to respond. Thought others might be edified by it so I have posted it here without using his name. His e-mail is contained in regular text and my response is in CAPITAL LETTERS.

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HELLO FRIEND:

I WILL ANSWER BRIEFLY SINCE I GET OVER 100 EMAILS A DAY AND SOME ARE NOT ALWAYS HONEST — TRYING TO SET ME UP FOR AN ARGUMENT — BUG HOPEFULLY NOT YOUR E-MAIL. SO, I WILL TRUST YOU THAT YOUR ADMITTED INTEREST IS GENUINE AND I WILL ANSWER VERY BRIEFLY.

Dear Mr. Ray, I listened to a CD of yours,

WHICH ONE? I HAVE ABOUT 30.

but could not determine all of what you believe or find your Doctrinal Statement on the web. What we believe is pretty important (I know you agree). Do you have a Doctrinal Statement besides the Nicene Creed?

Click here to buy a copy :-)

APOSTOLIC, NICENE, AND ATHANASIAN CREEDS. I USED TO SAY I HAD “NO CREED BUT THE BIBLE ALONE,” BUT EVEN PROTESTANTS CANNOT ACTUALLY DO THAT. THEY HAVE TO HAVE AN “EXTRA-BIBLICAL STATEMENT” TO ADD TO THE “BIBLE ALONE” TO EXPLAIN WHAT THEY BELIEVE BECAUSE THE BIBLE DOESN’T SEEM TO BE ADEQUATE. BUT FOR ME NOW — FOR THE WHOLE SHABANG — MY STATEMENT OF FAITH IS CONTAINED IN “THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.”

Having been to 12 years of Catholic School, a faithful altar boy, a good catholic, and an x-president of the local CYO, I am not altogether unfamiliar with Catholicism (at least the Catholicism of the 1950s, 60s and 70s).

IF YOU WERE EDUCATED DURING THAT TIME FRAME, I HATE TO DISAPPOINT YOU BUT YOU ARE PROBABLY VERY UNFAMILIAR WITH CATHOLICISM. THAT WAS A VERY BAD PERIOD OF THE CHURCH — JUST LIKE IT WAS VERY BAD FOR US BAPTISTS RAISED DURING THAT TIME PERIOD.

I “got saved”, as Baptist like to say, at age 24 by reading the Bible (unheard of in my Catholic Church at that time).

MY GUESS, BASED ON GOOD EXPERIENCE, IS THAT YOU DIDN’T GET SAVED BY READING THE BIBLE ALONE BUT BY ACCEPTING A NEW AND NOVEL BAPTIST-ISH TRADITION AS COACHED BY SOME WELL-MEANING FUNDAMENTALIST — BASED ON THE BIBLE ALONE TRADITION WHICH IS VERY NEW ON THE RELIGIOUS SCENE AND NOT FOUND IN HISTORIC CHRISTIANITY.

So, from the Catholic perspective, since I have not attended Mass in 35 years, am I doomed to hell for un-confessed mortal sins? Or, is it possible that I may be saved outside of the Catholic Church? If so, how is that possible from a Catholic perspective?

THIS IS A VERY PREGNANT QUESTION. FIRST, ONLY GOD CAN READ THE HEART AND KNOW IF ONE IS “SAVED” OR NOT. SECOND, IT DEPENDS ON HOW KNOWLEDGEABLE OR IGNORANT ONE IS OF THE TRUTH DUE TO NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN. THIRD, IT DEPENDS ON IF ONE ACTUALLY HAS MORTAL SINS WHICH ARE ONLY MORTAL IF THE THREE QUALIFICATIONS FOR A MORTAL SIN HAVE BEEN MET.

FOURTH, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHES THAT ONE CAN BE OUTSIDE THE VISIBLE BOUNDS OF THE VISIBLE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND STILL BE SAVED, INCLUDING OTHER RELIGIONS OR NON-RELIGIONS (CCC 1260). IF YOU THINK THIS QUESTION YOU ASK IS UNANSWERED BY THE CHURCH, IT SHOWS YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND CATHOLICISM, SINCE THAT WAS CAREFULLY EXPOUNDED AT VATICAN II WHICH WAS AN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL OF THE CHURCH. AND

FIFTH, I BELIEVE THAT MANY CATHOLICS WITHIN THE CHURCH WILL GO TO HELL FOR NOT OBEYING THE GOSPEL, NOT JUST THOSE OUTSIDE WHO HAVE REJECTED THE CHURCH EVEN THOUGH THEY KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING.

I am heavily involved with cold call (door to door) evangelism in my community – not from a Baptist viewpoint, but simply from a general concern for the lost.

I WAS VERY INVOLVED WITH DOOR TO DOOR EVANGELISM TOO, BUT I ALWAYS ADMITTED I HAD A BAPTIST-TYPE TRADITION. WHY DO YOU WANT TO SHY AWAY FROM WHAT YOU REALLY ARE AND TEACH – A BAPTIST. I’VE NOTICED MANY BAPTIST CHURCHES ARE CHANGING THEIR NAMES TO REMOVE THE WORD “BAPTIST.” WHY RUN FROM YOUR HERITAGE AND WHAT YOU REALLY ARE?

I often talk with Catholics of all sorts. I always tell them and others that I don’t care where they go to church, as long as they have a heavenly home when they die. It would be nice to know what a leading Catholic author would say to me if he came to my Southern Baptist door evangelizing, and heard my story. When you ask someone if they are going to heaven when they die – as I am sure you know – you get a whole lot of interesting information in the response.

I USED TO QUOTE 1 John 5:13 UNTIL I REALIZED IT HAD TAKEN COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTEXT BY MY BAPTIST TRADITION. I HAVE WRITTEN EXTENSIVELY ON THAT VERSE IN MY BOOK “CROSSING THE TIBER.” DO YOU HAVE THAT BOOK?

I DARE SAY YOU WILL ALSO GET A LOT OF INTERESTING ANSWERS IF YOU ASK BAPTISTS THAT QUESTION — OR METHODISTS, OR ASSEMBLIES OF GOD, OR PENTECOSTALS, OR LUTHERANS, OR JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES.

ALL IT PROVES IS THAT TOO MANY PEOPLE IN ALL THEIR VARIOUS TRADITIONS ARE POORLY CATECHIZED AND SADLY IGNORANT OF SCRIPTURE AND THE HISTORIC TEACHING OF THE CHURCH.

BY THE WAY, BAPTISTS DON’T “KNOW” IF THEY ARE GOING TO HEAVEN FOR SURE. THAT IS WHY SCRIPTURE CALLS IT “HOPE” AND WE KNOW THAT ONLY THOSE WHO PERSEVERE TO THE END WILL BE SAVED (Matt 10:22).

EVEN BAPTISTS BELIEVE THAT IF ONE FAILS TO DISPLAY THE APPROPRIATE WORKS TOWARD THE END IT PROBABLY MEANS THAT “IT NEVER TOOK.” SO, EVEN A BAPTIST IS NOT SURE UNTIL THE END AND THE NECESSARY WORKS CONTINUE TO BE DONE.

My beliefs, if you knocked on my door – I just happen to attend a Southern Baptist church right now (it is kind of like a mission field for me) – about salvation are simple. One is justified by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior – born again if you will.

Jesus demonstrates "born again" by water and Spirit

I WOULD BE CURIOUS TO KNOW HOW YOU WOULD EXPLAIN HOW ONE BECOMES “BORN AGAIN.” WHEN SOMEONE ASKS ME THAT I RESPOND BY SAYING, “YES, I AM BORN AGAIN, BUT I AM BORN AGAIN THE BIBLE WAY.” THIS OF COURSE IS BY “WATER AND SPIRIT” — WATER BAPTISM (Jn 3:3-5)

THE GOSPEL IS SIMPLE, THE THEN AGAIN IT IS NOT SIMPLE. FUNDAMENTALISTS TEND TO TALK ABOUT SALVATION WITH CONVENIENT “SOUND BITES” AND IN A TRUNCATED MANNER WHICH YOU WILL FIND NO WHERE IN THE EARLY YEARS OF THE CHURCH.

WHEN I USED TO TELL PEOPLE THEY WERE SAVED BY ONE THING: “BELIEVING IN CHRIST” — NOT BY ANYTHING WE CAN DO — WELL, I FORGOT THAT ‘BELIEVE” IS A VERB AND IS SOMETHING I MUST DO.

SO WE DO HAVE TO DO SOMETHING. WE DO HAVE TO “BELIEVE” AND “CONFESS WITH OUR MOUTH” (Rom 10:9-10) WHICH ONLY PROVES WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING, SOME WORKS — WE HAVE TO “BELIEVE,” REPENT, CONFESS, EXERCISE FAITH, PRAY THE “SINNER’S PRAYER,” SURRENDER OUR LIVES — ALL THINGS WE MUST DO — WORK. (CF. John 6:28-29).

However, if there are no works following shortly thereafter, that one was not really saved (or justified). There must be works! However, those works are not a part of “justification”, but a part of the “sanctification” process. Works are a “sure-enough” sign of justification.

Confused Luther

WE AGREE IN PART THAT WORKS MUST ACCOMPANY INITIAL JUSTIFICATION. HOWEVER, THE REST OF WHAT YOU SAY IS INTERESTING BECAUSE SCRIPTURE SEEMS TO DISAGREE, WHICH IS WHY MARTIN LUTHER GOT HIS KNICKERS IN A KNOT).

TOO MANY PARROT MAN-MADE BAPTIST TRADITION AND TRITE SOUND BITES — CERTAINLY NOT SCRIPTURE IN ITS HISTORICAL AND CONTEXTUAL CONTEXT. I USED TO DO THAT TOO. BUT THE REALITY IS — JAMES IS PRETTY CLEAR EVEN IN THE NIV:

James 2:21: WAS NOT OUR ANCESTOR ABRAHAM CONSIDERED RIGHTEOUS [JUSTIFIED] FOR WHAT HE DID [WORKS] WHEN HE OFFERED HIS SON ISAAC ON THE ALTAR?

James 2:24-26 YOU SEE THAT A PERSON IS JUSTIFIED BY WHAT HE DOES [GREEK: WORKS] AND NOT BY FAITH ALONE.
IN THE SAME WAY, WAS NOT EVEN RAHAB THE PROSTITUTE CONSIDERED RIGHTEOUS [JUSTIFIED] FOR WHAT SHE DID [WORKS] WHEN SHE GAVE LODGING TO THE SPIES AND SENT THEM OFF IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION?

I USED TO TRY TO TWIST JAMES AROUND LIKE A RUBBER NOSE TO KEEP IF FROM SAYING WHAT IT SAID. BUT THE FACT IS IT SAYS WHAT IT SAYS.

NOW WE AS CATHOLICS, AND YOU AS PROTESTANTS, DON’T BELIEVE WE GAIN INITIAL JUSTIFICATION THROUGH ANYTHING WE DO. NO ONE WILL STAND BEFORE GOD AND SAY, “YOU OWE ME.” HOWEVER, THAT DOES NOT DISMISS THAT FACT THAT ONCE INITIAL JUSTIFICATION HAS TAKEN APPLIED FREELY AND GRATUITOUSLY BY GOD.

HOWEVER, WE ARE THEN REQUIRED TO COOPERATE WITH THE GRACE OF GOD IN OUR JUSTIFICATION AND SANCTIFICATION. IN THE END REVELATION DOES NOT SAY WE ARE COVERED WITH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST, BUT WITH THE RIGHTEOUS OF THE SAINTS! REV. 19:8.

FROM MY BOOK “CROSSING THE TIBER”:

How does one receive salvation, justification, new birth and eternal life?

By believing in Christ (Jn 3:16; Acts 16:31)?
By repentance (Acts 2:38; 2 Pet 3:9)? [SOMETHING WE DO]
By baptism (Jn 3:5; 1 Pet 3:21; Titus 3:5)? [SOMETHING WE DO]
By the work of the Spirit (Jn 3:5; 2 Cor 3:6)?
By declaring with our mouths (Luke 12:8; Rom 10:9)? [A WORK]
By coming to a knowledge of the Truth (1 Tim 2:4; Heb 10:26)? [OUR ACHIEVEMENT]
By works (Rom 2:6, 7; James 2:24)?
By grace (Acts 15:11; Eph 2:8)?
By perseverance (Matt 10:22; Mk 13:13; Col 1:22-23)?
By his blood (Rom 5:9; Heb 9:22)?
By His righteousness (Rom 5:17; 2 Pet 1:1)?
By His cross (Eph 2:16; Col 2:14)?

I know the Catholic party line about faith and works from listening to your CD. My question above is outside of the typical party line and can most likely only be appreciated by someone with your background. Your response might help me deal with some of the less faithful Catholics (in greater proportion than any other group) that I come across from time to time.

I WOULD LOVE TO ASSIST YOU IF TIME ALLOWS. I HOPE MY RESPONSE IS HELPFUL TO ASSIST YOU IN UNDERSTANDING CATHOLICS. I MIGHT SUGGEST YOU GET MY BOOK “CROSSING THE TIBER” AND READ THE “CATECHISM” WHICH IS A MARVELOUS GIFT TO THE CHURCH. IT IS USED BY MANY PROTESTANT PASTORS IN PREPARING THEIR SERMONS :-)

DON’T EXPECT ALL CATHOLICS TO ALWAYS UNDERSTAND AND BE ABLE TO EXPLAIN THEIR FAITH, ANY MORE THAN I EXPECT TO FIND BAPTISTS WHO CAN EVEN COME CLOSE TO EXPLAINING THEIR BELIEFS. IT IS NOT THE COMPETENCE OR INCOMPETENCE OF THE PERSON THAT MATTERS BUT THE ACTUAL TRUTH ITSELF. I RESPECT YOU FOR SEEKING FOR IT.

GOD BLESS AND STAY LOVING AND SERVING OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

STEVE RAY

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Las Vegas, Nev., Dec 10, 2015 / 03:19 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Las Vegas Catholics are disturbed after self-described Muslim-turned-Christian protestors disrupted Masses at several churches in the metropolitan area within the past few weeks.

In at least three incidents, the group “Koosha Las Vegas” have walked in to churches in the middle of Mass, shouting at Catholics to repent and later posting videos of the protests to their YouTube page. According to their videos, the group consists of street preachers and self-proclaimed “soldiers” for Jesus.  

One video shows at least four men wearing bold “Trust Jesus” t-shirts walking up the aisle during a Mass, handing out pamphlets and telling the congregation that as Catholics they have “sinned against (God) and broken all of his laws.”

The man behind the camera then shouts “Guys repent! And turn to Jesus Christ! Pope is a Satan! Mary statue is a Satan!”

Another video shows the same camera man shouting: “Stop worshiping to the idols! Idols not going to save you! You need Jesus Christ! You need the father, the son, and the holy spirit,” at Catholics during Mass at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church on Dec. 5. 

While the group’s YouTube videos show that members have engaged in street preaching in and around the Las Vegas strip for at least a year, they have only recently begun entering churches and disrupting Masses.

Last week, the group protested outside of Bishop Gorman Catholic School in Las Vegas. In that video, a man can be heard telling passerby students, “If you look at the catechism of the Catholic Church and you look at scripture, you know why god hates this religious system.”

The Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas confirmed to a local news station that there have been “multiple disturbances at several of their properties.”  

The group’s emphasis of their Muslim background in their videos concerns Catholics in the area in light of the recent terror attacks, and several Catholics told local ABC affiliate KTNV Channel 13 News that they find the aggressive protests so unsettling that they fear for their lives.

Metro area police told Channel 13 that the incidents do not appear to be connected to any terrorist threats. So far, no arrests have been made since no crimes have technically been committed by the group, according to police.

Randy Sutton, crime and safety expert with Channel 13, said he is not sure he agrees with police that a crime has not been committed. 

The group could be violating a state statute, NRS 201.270, which classifies the disturbance of a religious meeting as a misdemeanor.

The statute reads: “Every person who shall willfully disturb, interrupt or disquiet any assemblage or congregation of people met for religious worship: 1. By noisy, rude or indecent behavior, profane discourse, either within the place where such meeting is held, or so near it as to disturb the order and solemnity of the meeting… shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

“This is really unusual behavior. This isn’t something that happens all the time. So the fact that it even happened, would be enough to cause alarm and legitimately so,” Sutton said.

The Diocese of Las Vegas is working with police to educate their clergy about the incidents.

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The Bible out of Context: “Saved by Faith Alone”?

November 19, 2015

When reading the Bible devoid of its historical and textual context, there is no context except the context which any person might supply for it. or put otherwise, A text without a context is a pretext. I always get frustrated when self-proclaimed Bible students or teachers start pontificating about the meaning of the Bible and [...]

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Baptists at the Council of Nicea?

November 12, 2015

Nicea, August 24, A.D. 325, 7:41 p.m.    “That was powerful preaching, Brother Athanasius. Powerful! Amen! I want to invite any of you folks in the back to approach the altar here and receive the Lord into your hearts. Just come on up. We’ve got brothers and sisters up here who can lead you through [...]

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Sola Scriptura and the Canon of Scripture

November 3, 2015

Sola Scriptura and the Canon When non-Catholics are asked to provide biblical support or their belief that the Bible Alone is the sole rule of faith for the believer, they usually cite 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which states that “all scripture is God-breathed and is useful”. However, they somehow miss the fact that the two verses [...]

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Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople rebukes Moscow, underlines importance of ties with Rome

September 5, 2015

  Catholic World News – September 04, 2015Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople underlined the importance of ecumenical ties with Rome, and criticized the resistance of the Russian Orthodox Church, in an August 29 address.  The Ecumenical Patriarch—recognized as the “first among equals” of the world’s Orthodox leaders—stressed the primary importance of ecumenical affairs, and reiterated [...]

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Salvation by Faith Alone?

July 30, 2015

Since the days of Martin Luther it has been popular to reduce salvation to a sound bite. Salvation is not by works but by “faith alone.” However, the Bible seems to have another idea. In my book CROSSING THE TIBER I mention a few passages from Scripture to give a more biblical perspective. Here is [...]

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Differences Between Catholic and Protestant Approaches to the Bible

July 23, 2015

“Bible Christians” (a misnomer, since Catholics are the real and original Bible Christians), based on their recently devised “Reformation” principle of sola Scriptura, study the Bible with the following premises: 1. There is no binding authority but the Bible alone; 2. There is no official binding interpretation or interpreter; each person ultimately is their own [...]

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The Protestant and his Three Huts

June 1, 2015

The Protestant’s Three Huts A Protestant was stranded all alone on an island. He begins sending smoke signals, hoping that somebody will find him. Ten years pass, and a boat is sailing by. The captain notices the smoke signals, and decides to pull into the island. When he docks, he sees three huts. The Protestant [...]

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Mega-church Mania: One Mom’s Observations (she’s a good writer) and Observations from the Early Church

May 29, 2015

Mr. Ray, My eldest daughter invited me to my grandson’s ‘dedication’ at her new place of worship.  Worship? Sorry. Her new place of…..well, the giant Olympic-sized structure that, after being directed in by police/traffic officers, upon entering, reminded me of a mall.  Oh and by the way, I didn’t witness any worship. My 1st thoughts were…”Wow! [...]

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Cartoon on Protestantism and the Bible

May 21, 2015

When I look back on my experience I find this cartoon has a ring of truth. There were many verses of the Bible that I either didn’t realize existed (though that may seem strange) or that we just ignored. We virtually cut them out of the Bible in the sense that we ignored or reasoned [...]

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White Supremacy, Black Power, to Islam, then the Road to Damascus: My Journey into the Fullness of the Christian Faith

May 9, 2015

Follow Dustin through the phases of his life including Islam until he finally discovered the Catholic Church. Maybe you’re like me (aside from being born with Cerebral Palsy and defying doctors’ pronouncements, by the grace of God, that I would be confined to a wheelchair and relegated to a vegetative state). Maybe you grew up [...]

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Carl Olsen’s Excellent Article on the Confusion of Michael Coren

May 2, 2015

Carl has known and worked with Coren a long time. I think he hits the nail right on the head.  I don’t know Coren other than meeting him a few times and being an interview on his show.  If I did know him I would simply ask, “Anglican? Really? Henry the 8th and all that? [...]

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SUNDAY IS COMING! A New Kind of Church!

April 17, 2015

Aren’t we all tired of old liturgies from the first centuries? Shouldn’t we update our church services? The time has come to compete with Hollywood and the new generation! Announcing!  Here is the NEW model of church — for the new generation who’s tired of the same old, same old, same old…. This Sunday, join [...]

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New Convert Holds His Ground with a Street Preacher

April 15, 2015

I was so delighted to receive this e-mail that I had to share it with everyone! Hi Steve, Just had to share this…I was visiting San Antonio this weekend and as I walked around the riverwalk section of town, a gentleman approached me with a gospel tract. When he asked, “Are you sure you are [...]

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