Protestant/Other Christians

Evangelicals with Statues?

by Steve Ray on November 16, 2017

A while ago I took off running through a commercial area behind the hotel where I was staying while doing a parish mission. I discovered a nice jogging trail through the woods so I swung onto the trail and headed through the trees. Soon I came into the open to see a beautiful lake. A sign caught my eye. It had an arrow pointing to “Baptismal Pool.” I kept running.

Sure enough a little distance ahead there was an elaborate structure with seats, railings and a ramp down into the lake. It was obviously designed for full immersion baptisms (see pictures).

I was puzzled. Why a baptismal pool in a commercial park? I looked carefully at the large building to the right which appeared to be a large office building – but surprise! it was a large mega-church with a sign “Fellowship Church.”

I looked back at the baptismal pool and remembered my upbringing in modest Baptist churches. They didn’t have lakes with elaborate ramps down to the ducks and white egrets sharing the water. We had huge bathtubs behind the pulpit where people were immersed after church services – all wearing white robes and holding their noses.

But what does baptism do for these good meaning folks? According to their theology baptism does nothing – it’s not even necessary. Jesus commanded it so they do it but nothing happens. It was just an external act we did to show the world (even if it was in the privacy of our little church) that we had believed on Jesus. I know because I was raised this way and later passed on the Baptist tradition myself.

Of course evangelicals condemn Catholics as unbiblical for teaching that obeying Christ in baptism actually does something – bringing about new birth (John 3:5), washing away sins (first words Paul heard from Ananias when he hit the dust, Acts 22:16), and incorporating us into the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:1-5).

Funny that they make such a costly structure to do something that doesn’t do anything. According to most of them – baptism is unnecessary for salvation and is merely optional since we are “saved by faith alone and not by sacraments.”

Funny that Baptists are called Baptists even though they consider baptism as unnecessary! Originally, after splitting from Martin Luther who believed baptism did something, even with infants, Baptists were originally called “Anabaptists”. “Ana” means again. Since they rejected their infant baptism as Catholics they decided they all had to be baptized again – thus “Anabaptists.” it was actually a way of demonstrating their protest against the Catholic Church (thus the title Protestant). Later they dropped the prefix “ana.”

I continued running around the next curve and stopped again. There in front of my eyes was was a big outdoor statue. I took a double-take, blinked and looked again. Yup, it was a statue! A statue of Jesus ascending to heaven!

Wait a minute? Aren’t Catholics accused of being idolaters because of statues? What is a statue doing in the garden of an

Evangelical mega-church? It brought to mind the inconsistency of Protestants, remembering my Baptist mom’s little statue of Mary and Jesus on our table at Christmas, part of the nativity scene.

If I was staying over the weekend I’d have visited this “church” just as an observer out of curiosity. I’d follow the arrow to “worship space.” I’m not sure whether I’d buy a cappuccino or an espresso to enjoy while watching the worship show entertainment. I would not want to be the only one with an empty cup holder in my theatre-style seat.

After shaking my head and wiping the sweat from my brow I ran back to the hotel to pack and fly back home after giving a Catholic Parish Mission. I prayed a quick prayer along the way – while huffing and puffing – and thanked Our Lord for His Catholic Church and for opening the eyes of one more unworthy servant.

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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 in North America and lived a sheltered, comfortable life, and God was—although you would never say it, or consciously think it—there to do your bidding. You want a new pair of shoes? Ask God. Scared of an impending summer storm that could possibly turn into a tornado? Pray to God. Promise Him that, if this storm passes, and you and your family remain unscathed, you will try harder to be a “good person,” get to know Him more intimately, and go to church more often.

Well, those shoes you wanted? You got them. That storm you were afraid of, that could have destroyed your house and taken your family? It passed. Out of thankfulness, you kiss the gold cross around your neck. You go to church on holy days. And you even listen to your grandmother tell you about how Jesus has changed her life, and she couldn’t do life without Him, without His word. It sounds so foreign. If you were around other family members—much less friends—while she would bear witness to Jesus, you just . . . smiled . . . nervously, and tried not to be embarrassed. When I was a child, I reasoned as a child.

Maybe you’re like me. Maybe, when you entered college or university, a couple things happened: One, you were old enough to drink and go to bars with your buddies. Awesome. Two, the things you were taught about, well, everything, growing up—the things you took for granted about religion, history, life itself—began to be challenged. It was at this stage that I began to notice something: I was raised a “Christian.” North America was a “Christian” civilization.

How was it, that I, a Christian in a Christian county (Canada), could go to bars, even strip clubs, with a cross around my neck, with the aim of getting smashed, talking crudely about women, all while having no qualms about bragging that I had been saved. I was heaven-bound because Jesus died for me. I believed that. And that . . . was enough. (Or was it?) …

To listen to his story click here. To read the rest of his story, click here.

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This article was published by Nick Page in Premier Christianity Magazine in October 2017. He is trying to help Protestants understand that there were problems created by the Protestant movement. He explains five big loses: 1) Loss of unity, 2) Loss of monasteries, 3) Loss of silence, 4) Loss of “doing things”, and 5) Loss of color and beauty. I think this is must reading for Catholics and Protestants.

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And now for the bad news: what we lost because of the Reformation

Sorry to intrude on the Reformation celebrations, but Nick Page has some not-so-great-news to share.

It’s the anniversary! Woohoo! Five hundred years since Luther published his ninety-five theses and lit the touchpaper to launch the Protestant Reformation. There are books and TV programmes and celebratory articles. There will be cards and parties and bunting!

There will be cakes in the shape of Zwingli (with a low-fat, sugar-free, extra-roughage version in the shape of Calvin). Even Playmobil have joined the party and released a figure of Luther (over 34,000 of them were sold in three days, making it the fastest selling figure in the company’s history).

The anniversary of the Reformation is clearly a cause for celebration. But it’s worth remembering that for all its undoubted benefits, the Reformation wasn’t good news for everyone. Its heroes were not entirely without flaws, nor its villains entirely without merit.

Sometimes this comes as a shock to people. Many biographies of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli et al simply repeat the myths (such as Luther throwing ink at the devil, or even, dare I say it, the famous story about Luther nailing the theses to the Wittenberg door). The darker sides of these characters are carefully Photoshopped. Luther was famously abusive to his enemies and was responsible for some vile anti

Semitic writings. Zwingli had his theological opponents drowned in the river. Leaving aside his role in the arrest and execution of the Unitarian Michael Servetus, Calvin was so unpopular within Geneva that people tried to empty their chamber pots on him as he walked beneath their windows.

All three of these Premier League reformers – and many others in the lower divisions – had a propensity to banish anyone who spoke out against them. Now, I know all the arguments: they were not alone in this behaviour, it was the culture of the time, the Catholics were just as bad, etc, but if we want to truly remember the Reformation then the best way is not merely to get all excited about the theology, but also to be honest about the dodgy goings-on. Here are five key ideas which were lost from the Church.

We lost unity

 

The Reformation destroyed the idea of a single, unified Church. True, this was already a bit of an illusion, given that the Western and Eastern churches had undergone the ‘Great Schism’ in 1054. And there had been that unfortunate business when there were two Popes. Then three

Popes for a bit. But, nevertheless, in Western Europe there was the idea of one catholic or ‘whole’ Church to which everyone could claim some sort of allegiance. But the Reformation shattered any semblance of unity. And it didn’t just split Western Christendom into ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestant’, but into ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestants’ – the latter encompassing many different flavors of evangelical and reformed belief.

The Reformation began an endless, fractal splintering of the Church. Because, as anyone who has ever tried to do the splits can tell you, once you start it’s very difficult to stop, and if there’s one thing we know about theology, it’s that other people always get it wrong. Even among the reformers themselves there was disunity. Luther and Zwingli hated each other….

For the rest of the “five things we lost”, click HERE.

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Eternal Security: Is Baptist Pastor Charles Stanley Right?

September 29, 2017

ETERNAL SECURITY (Once Saved-Always Saved): Analyzing a Sermon by Baptist Pastor, Charles Stanley By Steve Ray Hello Protestant Friend: Even though I have watched his show off and on over the months, I had no intention of watching Charles Stanley on television last night. It was just that I was tired after getting home and […]

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Germany 7: Protestants Argue in Marburg Castle, a Birthday Party and more

September 13, 2017

Today we visited Marburg which is a quaint and historic town with the beautiful Bavarian looking houses and buildings. No one wanted to leave. Up on the mountain was the castle of Marburg where Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli and a large group Protestants gathered to try and hammer out the “Protestant theology.” I explain more in […]

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Vatican to Release Stamp Honoring Martin Luther

September 9, 2017

(Reposting this from earlier this year — now that we are in Germany following this schismatic and arguing with him along the way)January 18, 2017 (Catholic World News) The Vatican will issue a stamp to honor Martin Luther this year, marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The Vatican regularly issues stamps to mark […]

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Arrival in Germany for the 500th Anniversary of Protestant Devolution

September 7, 2017

Our group all arrived today in good order in Berlin for the start of our Germany tour. We are going to follow the footsteps of Martin Luther and the Protestant Deformation. I know that it’s called the Protestant “Reformation” but as a convert to the Catholic Church I realize now that it was not a […]

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Luther’s Departing Comments on the Result of his Revolt

September 7, 2017

A quote from Luther toward the end of his life, after he had surveyed the results of his revolt: “Since we have commenced to preach our doctrine,” he said in one of his sermons, “the world has grown daily worse, more impious, and more shameless. Men are now beset by legions of devils, and while […]

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

July 4, 2017

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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Should Catholics Attend Non-denominational or Ecumenical Bible Studies?

May 18, 2017

Every day, Catholics are invited by coworkers, neighbors, and even family members to “ecumenical” Bible studies. Should they go? Certainly all of us would benefit from more study of Scripture, but as someone who has been a part of a number of Protestant Bible studies—I’ve even taught them—I discourage Catholics from attending them because of […]

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JOHN MacARTHUR: MANDATED BY GOD

May 14, 2017

I posted this letter by Karl Keating of Catholic Answers about 10 years ago but it’s worth reading again.… JOHN MacARTHUR NEEDS TO TALK WITH ROSALIND MOSS Before she became a Catholic, staff apologist Rosalind Moss used to be a member of John MacArthur’s congregation, Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. He runs a […]

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Yes, Christians Do Have an Assurance—but Not an Absolute Assurance—of Salvation

May 14, 2017

By Dave Armstrong: Many Protestants understand being “saved” as a one-moment-in-time act of repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s “personal Lord and savior” (a phrase that nowhere appears in the Bible, by the way), a life-changing transformation of “lost” sinner who becomes a “saved” child of God. They believe this to be an […]

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Steve’s Interview of Luther & the Reformation with Al Kresta

May 12, 2017

This was a fun and informative interview as an introduction to this 500th Anniversary of the Luther’s actions which started the Protestant Reformation (or Deformation, depending on how you look at it). Click this LINK, then click on the + sign for Hour One and move the slider to 8:20 where the interview begins. It […]

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(Link Fixed) The Other Catholics: A Short Guide to the Eastern Catholic Churches

May 5, 2017

Since we are in Jerusalem, where many of the Eastern Catholic Churches converge, I decided to share this excellent article. I found it very helpful. Many think the name of “our church” is the “Roman Catholic Church” — but that is only the name of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. The “Catholic Church” […]

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Was Abraham Save by Faith Alone?

March 28, 2017

Today I am flying to Franciscan University of Steubenville to be the guest for Franciscan University Presents, the one-hour TV show produced by the University for EWTN. Mike Hernon hosts the program which is a round-table discussion with a guest and panelists from their Theology Department, Dr. Scott Hahn and Dr. Regis Martin.  Our topic will be Abraham, […]

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Trail of Blood: Do Baptists Have a Claim to the Original Church?

March 23, 2017

What is the history of Baptists? Can they trace their roots back to the 1st century? Many ”fundamentalist” Baptists believe they can. Are they correct? There is a booklet that is very popular among this fundamentalist crowd. It is entitled “The Trail of Blood”. The booklet claims that Catholics persecuted the true Christians — the Baptists — leaving […]

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