Ecclesiastical Upgrade

Kathy Schiffer summarizes the most recent batch of reflections by evangelical converts to Rome. Here are the main reasons:

The contributors to Evangelical Exodus were influenced by diverse factors, notably the biblical canon, Christian orthodoxy, and the two concerns most frequently cited by Protestants: sola scriptura (all truth can be found in the Scriptures) and sola fide (man is saved by faith alone). Doug also named Beauty as one of the factors which led him and his fellow seminarians to a new appreciation for the Catholic Church. “In Protestantism,” Doug said, “there’s a tendency to dismiss any reason other than the intellectual. But as human beings, we’re both physical and spiritual creatures. In the Catholic Church, he found, intellect and reason are respected; but the Catholic Church is also more beautiful and more historical. There is an attractive package which draws the spirit, combining art and music and beauty, a long history, and tradition, with solid intellectual arguments.”

When Martin Luther broke with the church, he feared for his soul. He worried about his sins. He needed an alien righteousness to cover his transgressions which haunted him everywhere he went.

Why do Protestants who go to Rome never seem to sense the spiritual angst that motivated Luther? They’ve gone to a church that teaches if you die in mortal sin you risk going to hell. They now are in a communion where mortal and venial sins are numerous and the prospects of purgatory are real. But these “converted” folks seem to operate with the assumption that they were already “saved” as a Protestant but now have found a better version of Christianity, like going from Windows 8 to Windows 10, from Bill Hybels to John Paul II.

Give Protestants credit. We worry about salvation. We learned that worry from the church in Rome. Where did that worry go on the other side of the Tiber? It seemed to get lost in the efforts to preserve Christendom, the papal states, the West, and to win the culture wars.

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11 thoughts on “Ecclesiastical Upgrade

  1. “There is an attractive package which draws the spirit, combining art and music and beauty, a long history, and tradition, with solid intellectual arguments.”

    If by “solid intellectual arguments” she means the Jesuitical casuistry employed by Catholic Brahmins who think they sound wicked smart by ditching the Ol’ Timey Bible in favor of Aristotle, Kant, Plato, and Locke, then yes. Can’t really imagine anyone at Liberty University or Bob Jones University using Natural Law Philosophy when the Bible would do. This is the path that leads to Young Earth Creationism.

    The infatuation that Socially Conscious Evangelicals and Urban YRRs have with Pope Francis has more to do with Catholic Social Teaching than with Catholicism. They know is that worshipping Mary and Joseph is just icky (not as bad as Creationism, of course) but they’re ok with “Who am I to judge?”

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  2. Intellectual rigor and beauty…. in modern Catholicism? I wish I saw it there, but I simply don’t, from word games of Chris Schonborn to the unfortunate modern sanctuaries and lectionaries. It’s much like the situation with the old Sheed & Ward catalog versus the new. Yes, there did seem to be something there. And no, there long does. At least not enough to get all testimonial about. It’s no fun pointing that out, but the nonsense spouted by new converts necessitates some matter-of-fact truth-telling.

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  3. D.G. Hart:
    Why do Protestants who go to Rome never seem to sense the spiritual angst that motivated Luther? >>>>

    I know the Protestant narrative about Luther. It is largely fiction. He never overcame his spiritual angst. You know that, though.

    joe m>>>>
    It’s no fun pointing that out, but the nonsense spouted by new converts necessitates some matter-of-fact truth-telling.>>>>

    You know, I was never Reformed, but I studied the WCF and listened to a lot of Reformed teaching. R.C. Sproul, IMO, is the best for laymen. Dr. Barnhouse and Dr. Boice of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals are both great, especially for laymen who want to understand Reformed theology.

    The guys here are not big Jonathan Edwards fans as far as I can tell. I think because he was a Puritan. He is pretty fantastic for understanding Christianity from a Calvinistic point of view.

    However, what is missing from all of them is the sacramental, priestly aspect of Christianity. That is missing or has been watered down. Anglicans try to keep that, but it is not the same.

    A few months ago we visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland. The morning prayers, sung by a children’s choir, was lovely. However, there was something definitely missing. It is not the same as a Catholic Cathedral or even parish. Oh, at one time it was a Catholic Cathedral, but now it is Church of Ireland.

    Then I went to confession and attended Mass at a Catholic church. What a difference!

    What is definitely missing from Reformed Christianity is all the warm, fun stuff that is found in Catholicism. The pilgrimages. The holy doors. The holy water. The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The Eucharistic adoration. The confession, where one comes away with a renewed sense of God’s forgiveness and empowerment to resist sin in the future.

    Mary. The Blessed Virgin Mary. The Rosary. The saints who are alive and who take an active part in our sanctification. The blessed icons. You know. All that “stuff” that Protestants call idolatrous.

    Brother Hart doesn’t get that part. He is stuck on Luther’s angst, as though his experience were every Catholic’s experience.

    He doesn’t want to factor in all that really draws a person home to the Catholic Church. Catholicism – and the EO – is a sacramental religion.

    Heaven and earth don’t just kind of wave at one another in passing. They actually meet and transform the bread and the wine, Christ’s body broken for us and His blood shed for the remission of sin. He is really real and really present in the elements. We really eat His body and we really drink His blood. He gives us in the Eucharist His body, soul, blood, and divinity.

    That kind of talk freaks our Protestant brethren out. They have trouble conceiving of a faith that includes things like dragons, talking animals, amazing miracles, angelic emissaries, a living cloud of witnesses who are still involved in our struggle here below and can really be called on for help.

    We are actually changed by the sacraments if we receive them with faith.

    There is nothing like that in Protestantism, but all the great saints and doctors of the Church – EO and Catholic – speak of the Eucharist and all that Catholic “stuff” in the same way. It is Protestants who have changed. They gutted Christianity.

    I can’t explain why Luther had the angst he had. Maybe it was his personality. I trust that he found grace. I doubt that he meant to divide the Church. It can’t all be laid on him, either.

    However, his leaving the Church – or being forced out, rather – has little or no bearing on my Catholic faith at this time, or that of anyone. I pray he is now in Heaven enjoying the Beatific Vision. I hope he has finally found peace.

    O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have the most need of your mercy.

    Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.
    Have mercy on me, a sinner.

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  4. Mermaid, so you don’t have any angst that you may die in mortal sin? Where do you get that kind of perseverance of the saints from?

    But when you say, “You know, I was never Reformed,” comes through loud and clear.

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  5. D. G. Hart says:
    July 14, 2016 at 12:22 pm
    Mermaid, so you don’t have any angst that you may die in mortal sin? Where do you get that kind of perseverance of the saints from?

    But when you say, “You know, I was never Reformed,” comes through loud and clear.>>>>>

    I know plenty about Reformed faith and practice. I know enough to know that they guys here are not the best representatives of same. Now a guy like Challies really knows what he is talking about when it comes to Reformed theology.

    He thinks he knows Catholic theology, but not so much. For that someone like Brian Cross is a good bet.

    Angst? More like fear and trembling. Don’t you? If you don’t, you should.

    Philippians 2:12New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

    Shining as Lights in the World
    12 Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

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  6. mrswebfoot says: … all the warm, fun stuff that is found in Catholicism. The pilgrimages. The holy doors. The holy water. The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The Eucharistic adoration. The confession. Mary. The Blessed Virgin Mary. The Rosary. The saints who are alive and who take an active part in our sanctification. The blessed icons.

    Jesus: 1 John 5:21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

    mrswebfoot says: … Heaven and earth don’t just kind of wave at one another in passing.

    That’s for sure, mrs w
    Jesus: John 14:16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

    MrsW: Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

    you’re always leaving out the most glorious part ,mrsw: …
    v13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

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  7. Ali, so you would eliminate fear and trembling from your faith? Not a good idea, really. Any of the Reformed men here will tell you that.

    I don’t really think you would eliminate it. Just teasing you a little. Please don’t take offense.

    Please don’t assume I leave out v. 13 any more than you leave out v. 12.

    BTW, if you want to really understand Catholicism better you might want to listen to the video reflections from the USCCB website. You can Google it. I can assure you that we as Catholics believe the whole Bible to be the inspired, infallible Word of God in all its parts.

    No, I do not expect you to ever want to be Catholic yourself. Most of the videos are good. Some are excellent. Some are meh. They are all short. You can do the daily readings as well. Then you will have better arguments to use against us! Just kidding. Better understanding is never a bad idea.

    If you want to understand Brother Hart’s kind of Reformed faith, there is a great book you can get on Amazon for not too much $. It is called The Westminster Confession of Faith: For Study Classes 2nd ed. Edition
    by G I Williamson (Author). Pastor Williamson is OPC.

    The OPC website has a number of well done articles on different topics as well.

    Then there are the teachers I mentioned in my earlier comment.

    I commend you for your desire to learn. I commend you for your knowledge of Scripture. Keep it up, Sister Ali.

    Love to you

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  8. Did the converts know that Purgatory is their likely fate, heaven exceptional?

    In the coming days, we members of the Church Militant will turn our thoughts to the members of the Church Suffering in Purgatory; rightfully so, because we have a duty to pray for these poor souls.

    But in thinking about these souls, many of us are convinced—many of us even desperately hope—that Purgatory is our penultimate destiny on the way to Heaven.

    We often see Purgatory as an inevitable and, frankly, welcome pit stop on the road to salvation; as a place for those who, though they lived pretty good lives and died in the state of grace, nevertheless failed to stick the spiritual landing. With Heaven in our certain grasp, even a prolonged stint in Purgatory seems to be almost too much to hope for.

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  9. D. G. Hart says: Did the converts know that Purgatory is their likely fate, heaven exceptional?

    why oh why, do you remind us that millions, a billion maybe, hear this teaching.

    ok. this one, being from Seton Magazine- Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources – a good prompt to pray, pleading for homeschool children, who are alive on the earth now– to have ears to know false teaching when they hear it, by the power of His Spirit. Amen.

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