Mark Galli Converts to Catholicism and Evangelicals Better Pay Attention. Liturgical Churches Are Gaining in Popularity

Tapestry of Blazing Starbirth /Hubble

“The Church is a house with a hundred gates; and no two men enter at exactly the same angle.: GK Chesterton


This is a long post. I don’t want Mark Galli claiming that I’m violating the Commandments in this post. 🙄

Last year, Wade Burleson and I wrote about James MacDonald gifting Ed Stetzer his vintage Volkswagon.  Ed Stetzer Confirms That James MacDonald Gave Him a Car and Pastor Mohan Zachariah Confirms MacDonald Gave Him a Motorcycle, Both Paid for With Church Money (mine) and Boys and Their Toys: Understanding the Southern Baptist Convention’s Celebrity Leadership Politics (Wade) I took a chance on a tip that ended up paying out. This tip would lead to the exposure of the many expensive gifts that MacDonald gifted friends on the church dime. 

To make matters worse, Ed Stetzer allowed James MacDonald to write an Op-Ed in Christianity Today on why he should sue the bloggers of the Elephant Debt and Julie Roys (who, at the time, hadn’t written anything but MacDonald *knew* she was going to do so.) Whadda guy!!!

On both of our posts, Galli wrote a comment that we were in *violation of the Commandments.* I assume he meant *bearing false witness* but since he didn’t clarify, who knows? But it would appear that Galli did not believe that it was against the commandments or journalistic ethics for Edf Stetzer, the editorial head of CT blogs, to let his BFF, MacDonald, write such a post when he would not let the other side respond. Wade was having none of it. Wade Burleson and Mark Galli Disagree About James MacDonald’s Abusive Op-Ed Post and the Harvest Bible Chapel Lawsuit Website Goes Live

Galli contacted me privately and said he would like to speak to me *off the record.*  I refused. If he had a good reason for letting such a sham op-ed occur, he could tell me and I would tell you. Shortly after this, Galli wrote a CT editorial that went viral.Trump Should Be Removed from Office I was frustrated that politics now invaded Christianity Today but, if the editorial abord was ok with it, so be it.

At that point, I knew something was up. He insulted Wade and me for pointing out the obvious in the Stetzer situation (Stetzer did pay back the church, BTW. I still don’t think he should have taken it in the first place.) and did not seem to care if a number of evangelicals disagreed with him. That would be dangerous for anyone seeking long term longevity in his position. He suddenly resigned, claiming he was retiring. But, I knew something was about to unfold. It was all too apparent.

Mark Gall converts to Catholicism and evangelicals need to pay attention.

As one who has left standard evangelicalism by becoming a Lutheran, I have some empathy for his path. I had heard he was a Presbyterian  (even trained as a pastor) who became an Episcopal and then an Anglican when I had one some research after my Stetzer/Galli dustup. Several sources claim he even had a fling with the Orthodox church but no one reported which branch. Tp me, Galli appears to be wandering in the post-evangelical wilderness. (Thank you, Internet Monk)  He claims that he has now come home. I’ll wait and see if that is the case.

His good buddy, Stetzer, whom he defended to the hilt over the VW incident wrote for CT (even though he doesn’t really work there according to Galli 😇) Evangelicals Becoming Catholics: Former CT Editor Mark Galli Subtitled: “Why do evangelicals convert to Catholicism and how should we respond?

After 20 years in the Anglican Church, he believes moving to Catholicism is not a rejection of evangelicalism but taking his “Anglicanism deeper and thicker.”

Religion News Service’s Yonat Shimron wrote a more extensive background in Mark Galli, former Christianity Today editor and Trump critic, to be confirmed a Catholic

  • A contrarian who can be at turns gruff and tender, Galli is not embracing liberalism. Politically he remains an independent and considers himself a Burkean conservative — one who believes in honoring tradition and in slow and cautious change.
  • The first inkling came in 1994 when he served as editor of a magazine called Christian History and wrote a cover story on St. Francis of Assisi, whom he admired for his message of simplicity, poverty and submission to church authority even when he knew the church was not always right.
  • Two years ago when Galli expressed an interest in attending the course of study for Catholic converts called Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, his teacher John Ellison, himself a convert, knew Galli’s mind was made up.
  • Some converts are drawn to the beauty of Catholic ritual. Others to the church’s rich intellectual tradition or the centrality of the Eucharist, the bread and wine used for Communion, which Catholics believe becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
  • (He had) a certain weariness with the constant theological polemics and splinters in the evangelical world.
  • “One thing I like about both Orthodoxy and Catholicism is that you have to do these things, whether you like it or not, whether you’re in the mood or not, sometimes whether you believe or not. You just have to plow ahead. I want that. If it’s left up to me, I am one lazy son-of-a-bitch.

The National Catholic Reporter covered Yonat Shimron’s informative and exhaustive post in Mark Galli, former Christianity Today editor and Trump critic, to be confirmed a Catholic

Galli will be confirmed in the RCC this coming Sunday. I wish I could watch the service. I find myself in agreement with Galli regarding the Book of Common Prayer which I often use to post prayers for EChurch@Wartburg.

  • While still a pastor, Galli discovered the Book of Common Prayer, the devotional used in the Anglican Communion, and began using it in his morning prayers instead of formulating his own unscripted version.”I was tired of the trite phrases I used all the time,” he said. “The Book of Common Prayer had these magnificent prayers of praise and confession and thanksgiving, and I thought, ‘That’s what I want to say!”’
  • For the past two years, Galli has been attending the daily 6:30 a.m. Mass at St. Michael Catholic Church, a large parish with about 3,000 families about two miles from his home. He goes to confession twice monthly. Lately, he has been volunteering to welcome people to the confession room, and sanitize chairs and door handles in between sessions.
  • There is also a long and storied tradition of Protestants converting to Catholicism. They include Elizabeth Ann Seton and John Henry Newman, now saints. There’s Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker movement, who is being considered for sainthood. Then there’s the English essayist G.K. Chesterton and the English actor Alec Guinness and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

I have to admit that I am in agreement with Francis Beckwith who said in Shimron’s article:

Francis Beckwith, a philosophy professor at Baylor University who was president of the Evangelical Theological Society before becoming a Catholic, said conversion can’t be easily rationalized. “We’re not simply rational beings; we’re also emotional and spiritual beings,” Beckwith said.

Religion Unplugged wrote Why The Evangelical Editor Who Called For Trump’s Removal Became Catholic.

In this article, it appears that the author is attempting to tie Galli’s pending conversion to his endorsement for impeaching Donald Trump. I have a hard time buying this since I know Catholics who are pro-Trump and anti-Trump.

  • When Christianity Today editor in chief Mark Galli published a December 2019 editorial calling for the impeachment and removal of President Donald J. Trump from office, the evangelical magazine’s leader was “mentally converting” to the Roman Catholic faith, a move Galli will make official on Sunday, Sept. 13.
  • The RNS report said, “Galli made his decision to join the Catholic Church the very week a Pennsylvania grand jury issued a report showing at least 1,000 cases of abuse by 300 predator priests spanning seven decades.” That grand jury report was released in August 2018, some 17 months before Galli’s CT editorial.
  • Reporter Shimron also asserted Galli’s instructor for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, John Ellison, “knew Galli’s mind was made up” to join the Catholic Church when in 2018 the veteran editor first “expressed an interest” in attending the RCIA classes. In an email to this reporter, Galli wrote, “Yes her timeline is correct” as expressed by Shimron in the Ellison quote.
  • Galli said he has remained evangelical until his confirmation this week and going forward, he would consider himself an “evangelical Catholic” and he retains “the deepest respect for the evangelical movement.” Galli also said he was candid with his employers about his pending conversion.
  • “Mark’s journey toward Rome had nothing to do with his critique of the Trump administration,” Dalrymple wrote. “The former did not motivate the latter; the latter is not undermined by the former. Mark was an influential voice within American evangelicalism at the time he wrote the Trump editorial, and he will likely remain influential because he writes powerfully on themes that matter to all Christians, evangelical or otherwise.”

Dr. Todd Warner of Word on Fire wrote WHY MARK GALLI, FORMER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF “CHRISTIANITY TODAY,” DECIDED TO BECOME CATHOLIC

Dr. Warner interviewed Galli for this article. Word On Fire Institue is a Catholic organization which you can read about here.

  • Among the many key turning points, one occurred when I was editing an issue of a magazine called Christian History, and the subject of the issue was Francis of Assisi. Naturally, his life of heroic self-denial and absolute infatuation with Jesus deeply impressed me. At the same time, in the evenings, I was reading John Paul II’s encyclical The Splendor of Truth. I can’t remember why I decided to read it, other than my general interest in theological currents of the day.
  • So I dabbled in Christian mysticism for a while, then Eastern Orthodoxy, and then a theology of radical grace as expressed in certain Lutheran writers and the theologian Karl Barth.
  • Certainly the tradition of Catholic mysticism is most impressive, especially as seen in St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, among many others.
  • And the importance of the Church tradition and being organically tied to the early Apostles—that’s not just in Eastern Orthodoxy but also Roman Catholicism.
  • And despite the feelings of many Protestants that Roman Catholicism is a version of works righteousness, I discovered that Roman Catholics believe in a grace that is even more radical than the radical Lutherans profess.
  • So these so-called detours were actually preparing me to enter into the fullness that is the Roman Catholic Church.
  • The Catholic Church is the Church of both Graham Greene’s “whiskey priest” (in The Power and the Glory), who despite his many moral weaknesses is still used by God, and Father Damien, the saint who ministered to lepers at the cost of his life
  • In a world in turmoil and confusion, when people don’t know their left hand from the right, when they’re swimming in a sea of relativism and despair, the Catholic Church can be a solid rock upon which one can build a sure foundation for life.

Galli appears to fudge the answer to this question.

Are there any aspects of Catholic teaching, or the Catholic Church in general, that still give you pause or make you uncomfortable? If so, how do you view these in light of your coming into full communion with the Church?

…. There’s a learning curve as I try to understand the depth, breadth, and beauty of all that Catholicism teaches

He seems to play with the word conservatism in this statement.

But just when the Church seemed more set in her ways than ever—the epitome of conservatism in the modern world—along comes Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council.

Of course, he’s going to write a book about the process. This one might be worth the read. Many aren’t.

Julie Roys posted: Former Christianity Today Editor Mark Galli to be Confirmed a Catholic

This is a reboot of Yonat Shimron’s piece in RNS. Roys offered a differing perspective to Galli’s Trump dustup.

It went viral, earning a rebuke from Trump on Twitter, and bringing Galli — who retired from the magazine in January — a tsunami of publicity. Some of his fellow evangelicals praised the editorial as courageous, given their movement’s overwhelming support for the president.

Trump’s evangelical supporters labeled it misguided and out of touch. (The Roys Report criticized it because Galli applied a double-standard: lambasting Trump for his moral failings, yet protecting and promoting key evangelical leaders guilty of equally egregious sins.)

Thoughts, concerns, and questions:

The problem of predatory priests appeared to be glossed over.

Shimron reported:

Galli conceded that some Catholic doctrines still sit uncomfortably with him.

Then there’s the ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal. Galli made his decision to join the Catholic Church the very week a Pennsylvania grand jury issued a report showing at least 1,000 cases of abuse by 300 predator priests spanning seven decades.

“The church is deeply in need of reform,” he conceded. “I’m not joining this holy institution that has it all right. I want to be one with these Christians who I think represent the true church in some sense.”

Galli wrote several pieces on abuse in the evangelical world during his time at CT. Here is one. We Need an Independent Investigation of Sovereign Grace Ministries. I have a feeling he might deal with this issue after he gets settled in the practice of his newfound faith practice. I wonder how it will be received by the Vatican. The Catholic church has been particularly stubborn in its response to the widespread serious sexual abuse of children in the RCC. Some believe that it goes as high as the Vatican. Little progress since Vatican’s sexual abuse summit, say activist Wait…doesn’t that sound like my opinion on the useless nature of the SBC/Caring Well/Credentialing attempt?

Boz Tchivdijian was quoted in the Washington Post.

While comparing evangelicals to Catholics on abuse response, “I think we are worse,” he said at the Religion Newswriters Association conference, saying too many evangelicals had “sacrificed the souls” of young victims.

“Protestants can be very arrogant when pointing to Catholics,” said Tchividjian, a grandson of evangelist Billy Graham and executive director of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE), which has investigated sex abuse allegations.

Earlier this summer, GRACE spearheaded an online petition decrying the “silence” and “inattention” of evangelical leaders to sexual abuse in their churches.

I believe that Catholics are Christians

Frankly, I am sick and tired of smug evangelicals judging the salvation of Catholics. It is God, and God alone, who will judge the salvation of all of us. I think people need to spend more time worrying about standing before God and seeing what He thought of how we conducted our lives. I am grateful that it is grace, and grace alone, which determines my salvation. I will delete all comments which judge the salvation of Catholics.

Purgatory

I have issues regarding Purgatory. It is my understanding that the believer stays in purgatory until his/her sins are paid for. But didn’t Jesus already take acre of that? If Purgatory is indeed real, I have a feeling I would be spending some significant time there.

Ex cathedra

When the Pope speaks ex-cathedra, doesn’t it usually mean that it is a perfect pronouncement which means it is true?  Didn’t Pope Pius XII assert that the assumption of Mary was true Catholic teaching? How does he know? I struggle with the Catholic understanding of how the Bible and tradition stand on equal footing.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption of Mary official dogma of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church teaches that the Virgin Mary “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

Radical grace

Galli asserts that radical grace is taught in the Catholic tradition and that it is even more radical than what some Lutherans teach on the matter. I would like to learn more about this assertion. I guess I’ll have to wait for the book.

I discovered that Roman Catholics believe in a grace that is even more radical than the radical Lutherans profess.

Has Galli actually settled in the Catholic church?

Several of the articles said that Galli’s wife remains an Anglican. I wonder if this will impact his faith walk? Galli has wandered in and out of the panoply of evangelicalism as have many of us. I have found a home in my Lutheran church after spending the most time in nondenominational churches and a few years in a Reformed Baptist church which was a miserable experience. I get how comforting it is that the theology is settled and that the pastors are not dreaming up things like *the lack of flowers means there are demons present.*

I love the liturgy, the confession, the communion, the reading of Scripture, and a great sermon that lasts about 15 minutes. We get in and out in 1 hour. However, the Reformation is a big deal and Galli is, in essence, leaving that behind. I don’t believe I could do that.

I am a bit suspect that Galli might one day move along from this current iteration of his faith. But maybe I’m wrong. I only wish him well.

A final observation: Galli is right about the mess in evangelicalism and I predict that many people will move to the liturgical based churches.

Missio Alliance (I highly recommend this group) wrote: 8 Reasons the Next Generation Craves Ancient Liturgy

Yet while a growing number of young adults are leaving the church, there are other trends as well. Many young believers, from different backgrounds and traditions, are staying in the church while embracing a liturgical expression of the faith. And while it is most noticeable among young adults, this trend is true of people of various ages and backgrounds as well, believers who are seeking to recover ancient practices of the Christian faith.

Read that article. It’s worth the time. In two days, I will meet with some students who will undergo a two-year confirmation course. I love to tell them what a great gift their parents are giving them. In two years, they will take communion for the first time. As I watch them do so, I know they fully understand what they are doing. I wish that my own kids had such a well thought out course. If your church is liturgically based, watch what happens over the next few years. Just like me, others are fleeing the same old, same old to a better same old, very old.

PS: Mark, the Catholic church is full of wonderful music from Gregorian chant to modern. You seem to be glad that it is missing from your 25 minute service. For example, Matt Maher is a great Catholic artist who has performed for the Pope.  I also play lots of music by the St Louis Jesuits. Don’t miss how God’s beauty is expressed in music. I leave you with two songs. One by Maher and one by the Jesuits,

 


Comments

Mark Galli Converts to Catholicism and Evangelicals Better Pay Attention. Liturgical Churches Are Gaining in Popularity — 203 Comments

  1. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Which seldom seemed to occur. Repetition of essentially the same thing week after week.

    <>

    As if one thoughts are bad? I see it more a way of putting your critical reasoning to sleep, It is the word that causes one to “center” on Jesus rather than the “drama” being played out by the practitioners of priestcraft in front of you.

    But than again, I left the church of Rome as soon as I could. I am likely as far in the opposite direction as one can go.

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  2. I couldn’t be Catholic for one reason and one reason alone, and that is the continued inability of the church leadership to come to grips with the rampant child sexual abuse that took place in the church (and may still be, in some places). I just can’t. I don’t care how right an organization may claim to be in its doctrine/dogma, if the least of these is being sexually abused and the organization is covering it up, that righteousness does not mean a hill of beans.

    (My bad attitude isn’t helped by the fact that I refreshed my memory earlier this afternoon on a previous Catholic bishop of Phoenix, who was involved in a hit and run which left a man dead. The bishop was convicted of the felony of leaving the scene of a crime. I read a contemporary news article and it described how happy Bishop O’Brien’s family and friends were that he only got four years probation and 1,000 hours of community service, while the family of Jim Reed, O’Brien’s victim, were devastated. It was just tasteless. Oh, and O’Brien covered up child sexual abuse in the Phoenix diocese.)

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  3. I’m in a rather liturgical church, and we get a fair number of people from mega-Evangelical churches that are wearing out — the culture wars, the megachurch pastor crises, Worship songs with a 9-month lifespan, gimmicky sermons, etc… People want to have something to pass along to their children that’s more than their pastor’s latest book tied to the sermon series. FWIW we’re talking about our 3rd church plant in 10 years due to growth, but I know it may not be the same for every church but there’s certainly a thirst out there.

    My biggest concern for Galli isn’t that he’s becoming Catholic (I’m with Dee on this one) but that he’ll realize that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side. At some point the Unity talk and the novelty of the liturgical garb fade out — and you realize the Unity can be strained at best while you’re stuck defending indulgences 500 years later.

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  4. I kinda disagree about evangelicals flooding the Catholic church. There will always be some attrition. However, my evangelical church has a lot of former Catholics and they are passionate about Christ, knowing his word, ( They are thankful the Bible is being taught) and not just going through the rituals or liturgies which can be said of anyone in any church if they are not spiritually engaged.

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  5. Well, not to get too far down into the weeds of Anglicanism, but…

    Galli’s flavor of Anglicanism was Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), a denom borne of schism in 2009. ACNA is not part of the Worldwide Anglican Communion (famous for Queen Elizabeth, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Vicar of Dibley). Some Episcopal parishes in the US broke away from the Episcopal Church over changes such as the ordination of women, blessing of same-sex unions, and gay clergy.

    They were not content to leave their Episcopal congregations, but rather preferred to try seizing their incumbent Episcopal parishes and locking the Episcopalians outside. They had very mixed results in the civil courts. There were a lot of ugly charges that Episcopalians are not Christians, are going to Hell, etc., etc., etc.

    And now ACNA is fighting about the ordination of women. They are ordained in some dioceses but not others. ACNA is also sparring with another newish Anglican bunch, Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).

    Those who can’t keep ACNA and CANA straight in their heads will be forgiven.

    I’m sure ACNA parishes are lovely, but it’s interesting that Galli chose a denom that had recently and loudly broken away. And now he’s going to the one of the oldest traditions.

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  6. Years ago a good friend and co-worker told me that he and his wife were planning to join the Catholic Church. At that time we all attended an Evangelical free church. I was raised with fairly negative views of the catholic church and my friend and I had many a discussion. During this time I found the Coming Home program on a catholic TV network. Each week they interviewed a protestant leader, missionary, Pastor, etc., that had converted to Catholicism. For these folks converting also meant losing their employment, so a major decision. I found it extremely interesting and discovered that many of my assumptions about Catholic teachings were incorrect.

    Years later when my daughter told me she was converting to Catholicism I told her she owed my friends a large pizza because she escaped me pitching a fit. I did ask her why and one of her answers was that she had read the catechism and agreed with it.

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  7. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes:
    I couldn’t be Catholic for one reason and one reason alone, and that is the continued inability of the church leadership to come to grips with the rampant child sexual abuse that took place in the church (and may still be, in some places). I just can’t. I don’t care how right an organization may claim to be in its doctrine/dogma, if the least of these is being sexually abused and the organization is covering it up, that righteousness does not mean a hill of beans.

    (My bad attitude isn’t helped by the fact that I refreshed my memory earlier this afternoon on a previous Catholic bishop of Phoenix, who was involved in a hit and run which left a man dead. The bishop was convicted of the felony of leaving the scene of a crime. I read a contemporary news article and it described how happy Bishop O’Brien’s family and friends were that he only got four years probation and 1,000 hours of community service, while the family of Jim Reed, O’Brien’s victim, were devastated. It was just tasteless. Oh, and O’Brien covered up child sexual abuse in the Phoenix diocese.)

    I feel the same way (although there is also SO MUCH abuse enabling taking place on the Protestant Evangelical side too, which is why I’m a done when it comes to church.) I also could never become a Catholic because I am convinced that Catholicism preaches a false gospel, that we’re saved by faith plus works, not to mention the whole thing with purgatory. I thought Jesus paid for ALL our sins at the cross???? Was His sacrificial death on humanity’s behalf really so weak, insufficient, and ineffective that people have to go to purgatory when they die to finish paying for their sins?? Come on, now. No, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by anything we do, lest anyone should boast (I’m just paraphrasing, not going for exact quotes.) Anyway, whoever sees this comment, God bless you and have a wonderful day or night, whatever time it is when you see this, lol. 🙂

    expreacherman.com

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  8. I’m a member of a parish which was affiliated with the Episcopal Church when I joined some years back, then left TEC 14 years ago and initially affiliated with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). The church re-affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) following its formation in 2009. I should note that ACNA’s first archbishop, Robert Duncan, was a strong supporter of women’s ordination. He was also bishop of Pittsburgh while serving as archbishop; that diocese’s Canon to the Ordinary was a female priest.

    It is true that some ACNA dioceses and parishes, mostly those which are Anglo-Catholic, don’t support women’s ordination. However, one of my congregation’s clergy is female and our bishop’s wife is also an ordained priest.

    Yes, TEC’s consecration in 2003 of a non-celibate gay bishop, who had previously left his wife and children, was one of the influencing factors for some dioceses and parishes which left TEC and eventually moved to ACNA. In the end, though, the authority of Scripture was the deciding factor for most churches.

    For what it’s worth, I would describe my parish as Reformed-leaning evangelical.

    My apologies for writing such a long post, but I wanted to clear up some issues in a previous post.

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  9. I respect Mark Galli’s decision but I can’t see myself joining the Roman Catholic Church. I’ve got too many theological disagreements with them, plus their handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal is a disgrace. I live in metropolitan Washington, DC, where the now-defrocked Theodore McCarrick served as archbishop for a number of years. That archdiocese is still dealing with the fallout not only from McCarrick but his successor, Donald Wuerl, who came under fire several years ago for his handling of sex abuse allegations in a previous assignment.

    While I have disagreements with Catholic doctrine on a number of topics, my bookshelves contain works by several Catholic authors including Francis MacNutt, Brennan Manning and Henri Nouwen.

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  10. singleman: It is true that some ACNA dioceses and parishes, mostly those which are Anglo-Catholic, don’t support women’s ordination. However, one of my congregation’s clergy is female and our bishop’s wife is also an ordained priest.

    I know someone who was an ACNA deaconess. At the end of 2018, she resigned her position. OK, it was odd but she had a lot going on in her life at the time. Around Easter 2019 she dropped a bombshell–she had been baptized a Mormon between New Year’s and Easter. Her husband and children did not follow her. Last I heard, she had spoken at a Mormon apologetics seminar. (Seriously, nearly 18 months later, I am *still* gobsmacked.)

    Not everyone is swimming the Tiber. Some are boating across the Great Salt Lake.

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  11. “…left the Reformation behind…”

    Notionally, but not completely, true. The Catholic church got the message and reformed many things, which appear particularly in the music of French antiphonaries of the Counterreformation, contemporaneously with Calvin’s Genevan Psalter. (disclosure: I’m a musician and hymnologist.) Some of the great hymns of today’s liturgical churches – e.g., Christ the fair glory, Lo he comes with clouds descending – came from these antiphonaries, hymns sung not by the cloistered religious, but by parish choirs. In today’s missals, Mark Galli will be singing A Mighty Fortress and Amazing Grace. (On topic: Though you can buy rosaries and a framed Prayer of St Francis, you cannot buy an indulgence.)

    I now return control of your conversation back to you.

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  12. Theology aside, I think I’m just really fed up with institutionalism, which I believe was a main reason the abuse continued in the RCC. But I also believe that about the SBC (despite churches supposedly being autonomous). Most churches end up seeking to preserve the institution and it’s bastions over all. It’s why I’m afraid of joining another church.

    At least now in the secular world, it’s a lot easier to sue a company for allowing and perpetuating abuse. It seems to me that it’s still really hard to accomplish that with a church.

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  13. I left the Catholic Church when the Spirit led me to study the Book of Colossians. The four “warning” verses confronted me with the danger of hiding Jesus behind mediators, replacing Jesus with church authority, adding to Jesus Church traditions, and taking away from Jesus His completed work and glory. The final obstacle I overcame was when I answered the question “where is Jesus?” I concluded that He was in heaven (Col. 3:1) and not continually returning to earth as bread and wine.

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  14. Dale:
    The final obstacle I overcame was when I answered the question “where is Jesus?” I concluded that He was in heaven (Col. 3:1) and not continually returning to earth as bread and wine.

    Dale, this is especially interesting to me because of my family’s experience. Our son was raised Baptist (as his father, brother & I still are) but as a college student became interested in the Catholic church. Reading the Scriptures and the Catechism, he came to believe that Christ was indeed present in the Eucharist, and his conclusion was “I need to be where Jesus is.”
    He not only joined the Catholic church, but spent 6 years in seminary and is now a priest. It’s been an educational journey for all of us, but I have never doubted his salvation or his sincere desire to serve Jesus and follow His call.

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  15. emr: he came to believe that Christ was indeed present in the Eucharist

    As far as I can tell, this was the universal belief among all Christians everywhere until Zwingli argued against it during the reformation. Luther vigorously opposed Zwingli. If Zwingli was correct it is pretty shocking that all of Christianity was wrong for 1500 years, and the vast majority continue to be wrong after 2000 years.

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  16. singleman: Yes, TEC’s consecration in 2003 of a non-celibate gay bishop, who had previously left his wife and children, was one of the influencing factors for some dioceses and parishes which left TEC and eventually moved to ACNA. In the end, though, the authority of Scripture was the deciding factor for most churches.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Will you please say more about the authority of Scripture in this context? Are you referring to the Anglican way of “Scripture, tradition, and reason,” or to something else?

    The sexual orientation of Bishop Gene Robinson made headlines. However, there was also great alarm about other dioceses trying to take away local control from the Diocese of New Hampshire to choose their own bishop.

    Gene Robinson disclosed his fears about his sexual orientation to his then-girlfriend before they married in the 1970s. They wed and had two children. The marriage did end, but it was not a case of abandonment. The couple divorced a year before Gene Robinson met his later partner.

    Churches need renewal and reform. Unfortunately, the disputes that lead to change can cause a huge amount of pain. It would be better if groups could stay together and reconcile. We might all learn something, and the church might actually grow.

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  17. Ken F (aka Tweed): As far as I can tell, this was the universal belief among all Christians everywhere until Zwingli argued against it during the reformation. Luther vigorously opposed Zwingli. If Zwingli was correct it is pretty shocking that all of Christianity was wrong for 1500 years, and the vast majority continue to be wrong after 2000 years.

    We have to be really, really careful about attributing beliefs such as the Real Presence to the early church. Based on my readings of church history and the early church fathers, the Real Presence was simply not an issue–and that’s because they were duking it out pretty ferociously over Christology.

    Not a scholar, but I don’t think there was a well-developed theology of the Real Presence in the Western Church until the medieval period. I still remember being startled by a legend Barbara Tuchman recounted in her book “A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century” which was that a consecrated host got lost outside and ants built a tiny cathedral over it to protect it. I had a really hard “wait, what?” moment which I still remember very well over 40 years later.

    If I was inclined to believe in something regarding the Eucharist, I’d go with the “in, with and under” formula. I find transubstantiation to be difficult to believe in. Wait, I can’t believe it.

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  18. Jackie Newton: not just going through the rituals or liturgies which can be said of anyone in any church if they are not spiritually engaged.

    What if I were to tell you that I enjoy the Lutheran liturgy and that it is no repetitive? Many people find great beauty in the well written liturgical prayers, experssions, etc. Pick up a copy of the Book of Common Prayer and see what made Galli think differently.

    I also knew many converts in my nondenominational churches.

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  19. Max: Never go to a church where you sense Jesus is not there.

    While I agree with you, there’s a problem. Many of us grow up with strongly ingrained prejudices against churches other than our own. So there can be some confirmation bias: “I always heard that place was Not Of God. This morning’s service just proves it!”

    This is so very hard. We all deserve a sense of God’s presence. There is strength in variety, in my view.

    But people often don’t go toward something. Instead, they set up litmus tests: If you do X, you have to leave! Or, if you do X, I’m leaving!

    Long ago I was upset with someone at church (can’t remember why… that’s telling, eh?). The pastor gently challenged me: “We can’t ask them to leave. What should we do instead?”

    This, to me, has become the question that leads to reconciliation.

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  20. Jean: Years later when my daughter told me she was converting to Catholicism I told her she owed my friends a large pizza because she escaped me pitching a fit. I did ask her why and one of her answers was that she had read the catechism and agreed with it.

    Great comment. I am surprised by the large number of evangelicals who have never opened up the catechism or read stories of conversions. They accept the standard evangbelical *explanation* without investigating it for themselves. Anyone who claims to be a *Berean* should be one and do some reading.

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  21. Micaiah: He couldn’t find a church where he actually agreed with the doctrines?

    That’s not what he said. he said he still struggles with some doctrines. I bet that most evnagleicals have struggled with some doctrines of ourv chosen churches. For example, I am an Old Earth creationsit. Many of the church I attended hid the fat that they were young Earth creationist.

    Al least he is honest.

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  22. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    Great story! When I lived in New Mexico, the LDS church had a huge outreach to the Navajo. One day, early in my job with the Tribe, I was bouncing across the high desert, looking for a sheep herder who had some medical issues. Suddenly, I saw to young men in white shirts and ties walking in a place where there was no shelter, ect. They were Mormon missionaries! I asked where they were going and threw them in the back of my tribal pick up. I knocked miles off their day. I would hope that any mother would pickup my kids who ere hoofing, all dressed up, through the desrt. That day began my study of Mormonism. I had lots to learn!!

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  23. Friend: We all deserve a sense of God’s presence. There is strength in variety, in my view.

    Agreed. One body, but many members; a diversity of spiritual gifts. “When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation” can happen in any church where a people are gathered under the banner of Christ and led by the Holy Spirit (regardless of the label on the sign out front). In my 70+ years as a Christian, I’ve experienced that in a variety of places – not many times, but enough to know that genuine Church is possible.

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  24. dee: They were Mormon missionaries! I asked where they were going and threw them in the back of my tribal pick up.

    Ha! That would not fly today, at least not where I live. I used to invite Mormon missionaries inside to get out of the weather and chat. These were lovely visits. After a few years, missionaries began to refuse. I asked why, and they said they could only come into my house if my husband was at home.

    As we all know, husbands prevent scandalous behavior, which is otherwise guaranteed to occur. [eyeroll]

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  25. dee: So did Galli for most of his life. Why do you think he changed his mind?

    https://religionnews.com/2020/09/10/mark-galli-former-christianity-today-editor-and-trump-critic-to-be-confirmed-a-catholic/

    He said it himself: “ I will not do anything unless someone comes along and says, ‘You need to do this. This is really important.” This is after he talked about basically having to do something “sometimes whether you believe it or not”.

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  26. d4v1d: ) Some of the great hymns of today’s liturgical churches – e.g., Christ the fair glory, Lo he comes with clouds descending – came from these antiphonaries, hymns sung not by the cloistered religious, but by parish choirs. In today’s missals, Mark Galli will be singing A Mighty Fortress and Amazing Grace. (On topic: Though you can buy rosaries and a framed Prayer of St Francis, you cannot buy an indulgence.)

    Thank you!! Your comment was quite helpful. This article goes over some of the changes in the Catholic church towards Luther.

    “A year ago, visiting the Lutheran church in Rome, Pope Francis opened the door slightly. He suggested to a Lutheran woman married to a Catholic man that perhaps, if her conscience permitted, she could receive communion in her husband’s church.” https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/10/28/499587801/pope-francis-reaches-out-to-honor-the-man-who-splintered-christianity

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  27. U

    dee: I have had Christians say the same thing to me when I became a Lutheran. Have you ever listened to the prayers, the liturgy, etc. ? It is not the repirtitio of the same thing whatsoever.

    I agree. And for me the congregational prayers and liturgy make me feel we are worshiping as a body. For most of my life I attended churches were the pastor and the praise team were the stars and the rest of us were the audience. The service certainly could be educational, uplifting and entertaining, but not worshiping as a body.

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  28. dee:
    singleman,

    You read good stuff. I am a fan of Henri Nouwen.

    I read Nouwen’s book, “The Return of the Prodigal Son,” during Lent some years back. It was quite challenging. I also recently re-read Manning’s best-known book, “The Ragamuffin Gospel.” That book helped me get back into church almost 20 years ago after being out of church for several years following my involvement in a cult-like “Jewish roots” congregation.

    The ACNA is experiencing some growing pains. While I like the liturgy, I’m debating whether I will stick with them over the long-term.

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  29. Jean,

    Evangelicalism/fundamentalism is a mix of Christianity, and “American” Independence/self centeredness…

    this has become very apparent during these COVID days…. no one can tell me to wear that D#$$ mask… I am an AMERICAN and I have my “rights” to be self-centered! And not give a D@$$ about the rest of you!

    This has been one of core arguments against RC from a political view the Pope, a “foreign” leader, should have no “control” on Americans

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  30. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    i think we have a puritan heritage to thank for a general closure to the senses. if not a distrust, fear and phobia of them — especially when spiritualized. (senses are the slippery slope leading to satan’s door)

    since we are not intellect-only on legs, i consider this a very impractical loss that should be rediscovered.

    our senses are as God-given as the ability to diagram sentences and calculate algebra.

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  31. A friend who ~25 years ago migrated from nominal-ish Catholicism to Evangelicalism to neo-Reformed-ism moved back to RCC several years ago, at about the time that I was making my preliminary moves toward the “post-Evangelical wilderness” (which is not a “wilderness” in the sense of “empty desert”; there’s actually a great deal going on there. The one thing that is almost entirely absent, thankfully, is “group-think”).

    My friend is a careful thinker (one of the attractions of Reformed-ism for him was the apparent “tightness” of Reformed systematic theology) and in conversation with me about his migration, he pointed out something that I think is very sound — different strands of the varied traditions within the heritage of the christian movement have different strengths. He migrated back to RCC because of “ecclesiology”. RCC is ancient and stable, compared with the youth and mutability of what emerged from the Protestant Reformation. It has, in his opinion, a stronger claim to be “what Jesus founded” than do the protestant movements.

    Protestants of more theologically conservative stripe are dismayed by those who “swim the Tiber”, reckoning that they are betraying a proper allegiance to a sound theology of justification. My friend noticed this — he reckoned that “theology of justification” is a strong point of the foundations of the Protestant movement, and those who are more concerned about that than about “being inside the thing that Jesus founded” will recoil from RCC and prefer one of the Protestant movements.

    He’s a bit of a hybrid, since he sees the foundation of Luther’s and Calvin’s vision of justification in the thinking of Augustine, who is one of the “doctors [i.e., teachers] of the Church”. He calls himself an “Augustinian Catholic”.

    —-

    From my little exposure in visiting Lutheran, Episcopal and RCC churches, I think that the older and more liturgical traditions do a better job of inspiring a sense of awe in the partipicants (perhaps that’s their version of “dopamine manipulation”. Arguably, there was a good bit of that in the Temple worship of Old Israel, so they can adduce some biblical warrant for their practices).

    ——-

    I don’t really think that Galli is “wandering the post-evangelical wilderness”. He appears to still be mentally captured by the Evangelical (and shared by RCC) vision of “what one is saved from”, i.e. post-mortem punishments. From my vantage point, the similarity of Evangelicalism and RCC-ism at this point is much more fundamental than the detail differences over “how one is saved”. Evangelicalism is, in this respect, firmly rooted in the early Western Catholic church. The thing that triggered my own migration into the “post-evangelical wilderness” was questioning the shared assumption of Ev and RCC concerning “what one is saved from”. Galli does not seem to have done anything like that.

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  32. dee: They were Mormon missionaries! I asked where they were going and threw them in the back of my tribal pick up. I knocked miles off their day. I would hope that any mother would pickup my kids who ere hoofing, all dressed up, through the desrt. That day began my study of Mormonism. I had lots to learn!!

    According to MacArthur and other rabid fundagelicals, you’re gonna’ go to hell for enabling ‘the doctrines of devils’.

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  33. Such interesting stuff. Like many others who ‘outgrew’ evangelicalism after it proved inadequate in several ways when my Mum died, I landed in a liturgical church about 2 years ago now – an Anglican church.

    It’s a bit Dibley in the best possible sense, & the liturgy helps my poor battered brain & heart remember that God is a good God, rather than me forever swinging off on my own dark tangent, it is a patient & gentle corrective. I feel connected to something much bigger & older, & better – God is the God who loves mankind & will redeem all creation for His Glory. It has confidence born of age to allow its adherents not to have to be in lockstep except for the creeds, & to recognise that God’s work in the heart can take decades. It has lots of broken creaking people who are a loving family.

    If I ever take a step on I suspect it would be to Orthodoxy, not Catholicism, despite (actually because of) growing up Catholic. I know & love Catholics, my Mum was one, & her Priest was a fantastic man. I’ll be interested to read Galli’s book – the bit of Twitter I got to see was not pleased he became Catholic.

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  34. All, beware of the range of subtle but crucial false dichotomies. For example never forget there is still a true evangelical / Bapt. / method. / Congreg. / pentecost. / C of E low & high, faith somewhere. Setting purgatory in stone as ultimate stumbling block in 1555 smacks of literalism on all sides. There has been a crucial fallacy around identity in Rome’s “eucharist”, predating Aquinas the diplomatic fixer.

    Orthodoxy in Protestantism deepens a description of “salvation” or “assurance”. The difference in whatever camp, is whether fresh works (fruits) are Holy Spirit fuelled and whether we are building up our fellows and our country with our prayers and with Wade’s Psalms.

    Scripture doesn’t only state one kind of fire. Kindly and discerning spiritual directors are few. My family enquired but weren’t offered induction, because of WW I slaughter. Generally, true ones among Bapt. / Congreg. / Method. / evangelicals / pentecost. / C of E low and high / etc, exercised as ordered living as anyone.

    Clericalism is worsening. As Newman pointed out “infallibility” is near meaningless and this pits us all against the new fangled enforcement. There is no longer communion or subsidiarity (as some people I know are aware, and this isn’t going to go away) rendering (I sense) sacraments (except baptism) sacrilegious for the foreseeable (Dr Paisley was surely only a few years premature in his opinion).

    Galli is their ready-trained mouthpiece so they will “sort of” try to ensure his eyes aren’t opened. The biggest effect around 1960-69 coincided with replacing prior doctrine with Teilhardism: like Scofieldism a variant on Manifest Destiny and based on Hume-Hegel-Spencer-Heidegger. In England (& not Ireland) an excellent new liturgy was brought in and then suppressed which is now denied (sleight of hand).

    One needs to study the timelines of specific prelates appointed as elbow joggers (done throughout history of course). Rome is now a monolith not a joint commonality of living stones; rigid wishy washiness like other prominent brands. Decent priests and bishops get a rough ride from their “own side” which suits plausible deniability – the unwitting good face. Evaluate the quality of channels among sodalities to other elements. God made you an individual for your and others’ survival.

    Background knowledge takes huge effort. Quit with package dealing. Go cafeteria. Look after the realities and quit with vaunting the overt proceedings. I believe in both spiritual power AND the methodical realism of Gilson (this may also be in Quine, Peirce et al?) Lethal factions afflicting all denominations fall over each other with their “my god is meaner than your god”.

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  35. There is an old saying by a Catholic, whose name I can’t think of right now, to the effect of, “The Catholic church contains everything that is true… and a whole lot else, besides!” I think the same can definitely be said about the evangelical church.

    That said… remember the song, “Looking for love in all the wrong places”? Galli seems to be searching for something as he bounces from one tradition to another, but can he articulate what he is searching for, and can it be found in an organization or a tradition or a building?

    Romans 10:8-9
    “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” — that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    I think Mr. Galli will find the same kinds of people and similar issues regardless of which church tradition he goes with. True faith happens within one’s own heart and is between the believer and God, and its evidence is in a changed heart- an honest heart, a kind heart. It doesn’t come from the outside in, but rather from the inside out. That being said, if he finds the Catholic church to be a more comfortable fit for his own worship, great.

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  36. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: We have to be really, really careful about attributing beliefs such as the Real Presence to the early church. Based on my readings of church history and the early church fathers, the Real Presence was simply not an issue–and that’s because they were duking it out pretty ferociously over Christology.

    Not a scholar, but I don’t think there was a well-developed theology of the Real Presence in the Western Church until the medieval period.

    Do you know of any sources before Zwingli that deny the eucharist is the true flesh and blood of Jesus? I have not found any. It appears that the reason this was not an issue was precisely because it was universally believed. All the sources I have found are unequivocally clear that the elements somehow become the real flesh and blood of Christ. I was hoping to find evidence that this was not so.

    I agree with you on the creation of the theory of transubstantion as an explanation for how it happens. But that it happens appears never to have been in doubt until the reformation. The East did not adopt this theory. Their view appears to be closer to the view of Luther.

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  37. Judas Maccabeus: I just don’t get the appeal of “Smells and Bells.”

    I can say that it appeals more, the older I get. Something about realizing the failings of so many of the pastors and leaders I’ve sat under, some outright frauds, and all of the dirt that was swept under the rug… the idea of everyone just setting their minds on timeless things beyond the words of the leader-man has some appeal. I find I can meet that need for serenity outside of church, though, and feel safer doing so.

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  38. SiteSeer,

    And therein lies the rub….. using these “timeless prays and creeds” takes power away from these preacher boys…. as I further reflect on the previous post on MacArthur, and video link of his latest Sunday with MacArthur getting a big ovation and him ready, and blowing off COVID restriction, it really hits me that “worship service” is all about MacArthur…

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  39. singleman: The ACNA is experiencing some growing pains. While I like the liturgy, I’m debating whether I will stick with them over the long-term.

    I truly hope you find a peaceful experience, whether you stay with ACNA or go elsewhere.

    As a teen, I endured a church schism that still hurts. This is why I am wary of ultimatums and black-and-white thinking in churches.

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  40. Jeffrey Chalmers: And therein lies the rub….. using these “timeless prays and creeds” takes power away from these preacher boys….

    It links into a historical trace and tradition longer and larger than “these preacher boys”. That’s one thing the RCC and EO have in their favor — a LONG solid historical trace. (The Lutherans and Anglicans began as breakaway offshoots of the RCC and retained a modified liturgy that maintains the traceback.)

    In their liturgies, you are the latest participant in two thousand years of Christianity — way longer than even a dynasty of preacher-boys like the Falwells or the BobJoneses. With the same liturgy being celebrated in the same way over a much wider area than just the four walls of your One True Church. Never mind the one-upmanship games of Megachurch or Gigachurch, this is a TERAChurch in comparison.

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  41. Ken F (aka Tweed): Do you know of any sources before Zwingli that deny the eucharist is the true flesh and blood of Jesus? I have not found any. It appears that the reason this was not an issue was precisely because it was universally believed.

    But is there evidence that it was actually believed before the Reformation? The lack of evidence for denial is not proof that it is, in fact, what they believed.

    Almost confusing myself here 😉

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  42. Bridget: But is there evidence that it was actually believed before the Reformation? The lack of evidence for denial is not proof that it is, in fact, what they believed.

    I have not been able to find anyone before Zwingli who denied the bread and wine become (to some extent) the real flesh and blood of Jesus. It’s always written about as something that everyone knows. This does not mean that no early Christians would have agreed with Zwingli, but if they did agree they did not write about it in anything that survived. There does not appear to be any kind of doubt about this at all in any of the early writings. One would think this would have gotten at least a little traction early on if Zwingli’s view was correct.

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  43. dee:
    DavidP,

    Everyone should read your comment. Thank you for letting me know about your church. If I promise to keep your identitysecret, would you email me the name of the church?

    Thanks, it’s ACNA but I’ll leave details to PMs.

    I will say that contrary to what I’m reading I’ve yet to hear a single person in my church question the faith of Episcopals (when asked about the issue our priest kept listing off Episcopal priests in the state he meets with) and instead of splitting up people are opening dialogue with numerous older Anglican groups as well as many of the Lutheran denominations (LCMS, NALC, LCMC) so there’s more ability to work together even if there’s still separation. Splits usually have more than one side to the story.

    And still I’ve give my caveat: The grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side and I am more than happy if people are blooming where they are planted. I’m content in my church but I’m not pretending there’s no issues.

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  44. DavidP: Splits usually have more than one side to the story.

    Yes. And when a congregation splits, each part has fewer voices in the conversation, fewer ideas, fewer life experiences, fewer challenges to their ideas.

    Sometimes a split is needed (say, over abuse or embezzlement that part of the group refuses to recognize). More often, people allow challenges or changes to turn into toxic conflict. A split is a pyrrhic victory, in my humble view. But the old church can recover, and the new one can turn into something lovely, with time and goodwill.

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  45. Ken F (aka Tweed): Do you know of any sources before Zwingli that deny the eucharist is the true flesh and blood of Jesus? I have not found any. It appears that the reason this was not an issue was precisely because it was universally believed. All the sources I have found are unequivocally clear that the elements somehow become the real flesh and blood of Christ. I was hoping to find evidence that this was not so.

    I agree with you on the creation of the theory of transubstantion as an explanation for how it happens. But that it happens appears never to have been in doubt until the reformation. The East did not adopt this theory. Their view appears to be closer to the view of Luther.

    From what I’ve read, discussions about the Eucharist really didn’t arise until after the Christological controversies were (more or less) settled. I know the discussions about the Eucharist started in the early medieval period, and really ramped up with Scholasticism, but I don’t believe there were *questions* about the Real Presence until the Reformation itself. I am not a scholar on this, but I have to wonder if some of the Reformers weren’t somehow influenced by Renaissance scientific and philosophical ideas. (Zwingli wasn’t the first Reformer to disavow the Real Presence, apparently an Andreas Karlstadt did so in 1524, and he *really* peeved Martin Luther for a number of reasons.)

    I see this questioning of the Real Presence as similar to doubting the validity of other aspects of the Catholic faith at the time, such as veneration of Mary, indulgences and the Latin Mass, scriptures in the vernacular, priestly celibacy, religious orders, etc. It has to be pointed out that some Protestants went really, really far in this questioning once the door was opened to “hey maybe mass should be in the vernacular” or “hey what’s the purpose of saying the Rosary” or…you get what I’m saying. I’m thinking the Real Presence got caught up in that wholesale reconsideration.

    But, to circle back around, based on my reading of the ante-Nicene church fathers, they didn’t discuss the Real Presence. It doesn’t seem to have been a part of their mental space, nor questioning it as a thing didn’t happen until the Reformation.

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  46. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: But, to circle back around, based on my reading of the ante-Nicene church fathers, they didn’t discuss the Real Presence. It doesn’t seem to have been a part of their mental space, nor questioning it as a thing didn’t happen until the Reformation.

    I don’t know if I understand what you mean. The ante-Nicene writers did indeed describe the elements as the real flesh and blood of Jesus. They did not seem to question this, nor did they remain silent about it. I suspect they did not write more about it because it was an uncontested belief. None of them denied it. This site appears to have a good summary of what the ante-Nicene fathers wrote about it:
    http://www.earlychristiancommentary.com/early-christian-dictionary/eucharist/

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  47. Ken F (aka Tweed): I have not been able to find anyone before Zwingli who denied the bread and wine become (to some extent) the real flesh and blood of Jesus. It’s always written about as something that everyone knows.

    But who were the writers that stated the Presence was in the Bread and Wine in the early church? Was it written about earlier as if it was simply believed?

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  48. Bridget: But who were the writers that stated the Presence was in the Bread and Wine in the early church?

    The link I posted a few minutes ago is a good source. I have not found any later writers that wrote otherwise. If it was not universally believed by Christians for the first 1500 years it does not appear any of their opposing thoughts made it into the historical record.

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  49. To be honest, liturgical or not it appears that different christianities pour adherents from one bucket to the next. The problem is with each pouring a little bit of water splashes out. It adds up over time.

    There’s plenty of high strangeness in the Catholic Church. Folks we knew belonged to a group called ‘hand maids of the lord’. They went to a gathering at a local arena to pray at a statue of Mary (our lady of something or other) . According to the pamphlet when people didn’t pray to this statue before, 9/11 happened. The family we knew had a mini me of this thing as well, they’d gather round it and pray in the basement. As creepy as the talking in tongues at the Pentecostal church.

    Thank goodness I was raised an Anglican! The queen and her brood are the head of that outfit. Just good, old fashioned sex, money and power….and bad teeth…

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  50. Ken F (aka Tweed): This site appears to have a good summary of what the ante-Nicene fathers wrote about it:
    http://www.earlychristiancommentary.com/early-christian-dictionary/eucharist/

    Wonderful content, thank you. But it talks about unity as well as flour. I’m not convinced that (all of) these writers believed they were literally consuming Jesus’ body and blood, or that the Communion elements turned into Jesus inside them.

    Rather, I think these writers are saying that the body of Christ is one, as if we all shared the same veins and arteries. Every passage on the site is mystical.

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  51. dee,

    Dee,

    Can’t believe you feel a need to defend Galli based on parsing a supposed difference in meaning in what he said and not agreeing with certain doctrines. Another report said he also dodged directly answering whether or not he agrees with various Catholic doctrines. Let him answer directly yes or no whether or not he agrees with Mary being born sinless (Does she need a savior? Is she a co-redeemer?), her assumption into heaven, praying to (apparently omnipresent) dead people who can then help us, purgatory, that the pope is sometimes infallible when he speaks, transubstantiation, etc., etc.. These and other extra-biblical, even anti-biblical, doctrines have been propagated over many centuries by the official Catholic church, and have lots of practical implications for everyday faith, not to mention all the gross superstition and frank worship of “saints” that is tolerated by the Catholic church around the world.

    I don’t know how many churches put young earth creationism in their doctrinal statement, but then I don’t run in these fundamentalist circles. If they did I wouldn’t join such a church, as I’d see it as majoring on the wrong thing, which would also likely be reflected in other aspects of the church.

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  52. Micaiah: whether or not he agrees with Mary being born sinless (Does she need a savior? Is she a co-redeemer?), her assumption into heaven, praying to (apparently omnipresent) dead people who can then help us, purgatory, that the pope is sometimes infallible when he speaks, transubstantiation, etc., etc.. These and other extra-biblical, even anti-biblical, doctrines have been propagated over many centuries by the official Catholic church, and have lots of practical implications for everyday faith, not to mention all the gross superstition and frank worship of “saints”

    I don’t know your experience of Catholic beliefs, but this is bog standard bias.

    My (non-Catholic) tradition believes that Mary is theotokos, bearer of God—in other words, God’s mother because she bore Jesus. There’s a certain unassailable logic there.

    A lot of traditions believe in the communion of saints or something similar. This might take the form of, say, me asking my departed grandma to join me in praying about something. Is this harmful?

    Some people pray for parking spots. That might be superstition, but what’s the harm?

    Over time, denominations come up with teachings and cultural practices. Many are intriguing, comforting, and no better or worse than anybody else’s.

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  53. Friend,

    Don’t know what you mean by “bog standard bias.” You don’t refute any of the specific facts I’m saying, and only give a few non-relevant generalizations.

    Of course Mary was the bearer of God, but was she born sinless, i.e. the immaculate conception?

    Is the pope ever infallible when he speaks?

    Only God and His word are infallible. Do you disagree with this? Does Galli?

    Can you explain the biblical or other Christian basis of why you think your dead grandma can hear your thoughts (or do you need to pray out loud so she can hear you)? Can she hear mine? Is she omnipresent, or can she only be in one location hearing people at one time?

    Yes, I would say being deluded that praying to dead people and expecting their help is not efficacious is very harmful, bypassing our one True Mediator and robbing Him of the glory, power, and authority that is due only to Him.

    I’m not an expert on Catholic doctrine, but I also understand there are various ways salvation by grace alone is still officially muddied, as it has been historically in horrendous ways by the Catholic church, and that even indulgences are still on the official Catholic books. Other experts on Catholic doctrine could address this better than me. Please let me know if you are aware if and when indulgences were officially and completely repudiated in official Catholic doctrine.

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  54. Micaiah: Other experts on Catholic doctrine could address this better than me.

    This is a very insightful statement. It could be that you don’t know enough.

    I have yet to find a type of Christianity that does not have one fatal flaw or another. And I suspect that has more to do with me than with any particular denomination. I heard a phrase about Eastern Orthodoxy that could be applicable to other types of Christianity: “It cannot be understopd from the outside, and cannot be explained from the inside.”

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  55. Micaiah: Yes, I would say being deluded that praying to dead people and expecting their help is not efficacious is very harmful, bypassing our one True Mediator and robbing Him of the glory, power, and authority that is due only to Him.

    Let’s take a look at the Apostles’ Creed, one of the oldest texts, even if you personally do not recite it:

    …I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic Church,
    the communion of the saints…

    Beyond that, you are confirming my initial concerns by daring to say that my private prayers are “robbing” Jesus. You are coming close to assigning supernatural power to me. I don’t have the power to damage Jesus—whether or not I am “deluded.”

    You’re also failing to understand the difference between praying to dead people and praying with those who have died in the faith. At worst, my prayer is fanciful and ineffective. But I have taken a moment to remember my grandmother in prayer. Perhaps I’m a little stronger for recalling that she persisted through many hardships. Somehow I think Jesus can understand that.

    Some Christians eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Some celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar.

    Nobody has every detail right.

    The farther we go down into condemning details of others’ practices, the more we sow division.

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  56. Muff Potter,

    Don’t be fooled by the Mormon social community, I personally know several Mormons who left their church and as long as you adhere to the straight and narrow your in but deviate slightly outside the norm and your out. The Mormons I work with are nice people, sometimes the nicest around but conformity to the prophet is expected. There is a tremendous expectation on performance and service to the church. Sorta of like the Amish, I thought they were really neat and interesting and had their community together but then you read some books by people who have left the community and you find out that there is rigidity, legalism and a fair amount of abuse ( sexual and domestic) that occurs and is often covered up by the Amish community to outsiders. Not saying there aren’t t many good people following their beliefs but a lot of what appears is not a true depiction of what is shown to the outside world.

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  57. Chuck: Don’t be fooled by the Mormon social community, I personally know several Mormons who left their church and as long as you adhere to the straight and narrow your in but deviate slightly outside the norm and your out.

    How does that differ from a lot of Born-Again Bible-Believing True Churches?

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  58. Muff Potter,

    When Jesus does something it is metaphor, parable, analogy AND is “meant to be” reality as well. I’ve no idea what the Fathers meant but it’s interesting some of you think they weren’t just being reifying / nominalistic.

    By Aquinas’ time sight had been lost of Jesus’ body and blood being the nurturing of our individual brothers’ and sisters’ growth (in the fruitfulness of their gifts). This is also an additional meaning of “covering” (James) – their crown not our own. Jesus will ask us how we traded. Is He going to show us our stunted and singed peers? His is the only reliable pyramid scheme and the only one Christians don’t want. St Paul wished others would have more ample salvation than himself. Holy Trinity models room for the other other namely the adopted widows and orphans.

    Does not Jesus hope for subsequent Holy Spirit filled “works”? Do some parents bring up their own children out of sentimentality or does something from beyond not enable them? The Billy Graham – Ravi Z. – Mark Galli stance risks moralising and contriving of social standing.

    This is Montanus, Marcion and Tertullian territory. This is “mental reservation” in identity, individuation and quasi-indexicality (why we got turned into identikits). Aquinas was a diplomatic fixer. He was “on mission” when he passed away. Ockham and more so Hume, claimed to react the other way while entrenching the same effect by not dealing with the issues (knowing nothing about them).

    Fundamentalism (literalist materialism) is far older than Aquinas though. Christians have got so used to fantasising that Jesus was fantasising.

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  59. Bridget,

    In defence of his position regarding the Eucharist Zwingli cites both Augustine and Tertullia, so it is not accurate to say his view is a novel one. The following lengthy quote comes from The Latin Works of Huldrych Zwingli, Volume 3, The Eucharist.

    “Now I will cite those of the ancients who, as we shall see clearly from their own words, did not understand that there was in this sacrament or this symbolical bread any bodily flesh or indeed any flesh whatever (for what is the use of calling flesh spiritual, when that would be the same thing as calling fire watery or iron wooden?). Next I will cite those who are silent about the flesh, evidently because they hold the same view as myself, but are by no means silent as to the object for which the Supper was instituted. Thus it will be established that the use of the Eucharist among them was far different from the tradition the Roman Pontiffs have given us. Tertullian in his first book against Marcion* says, “Nor did He, God namely, disdain the bread by which He represents His own body.” See how plainly he says that the body of Christ is represented by the bread, not that Christ’s body is represented by any visible bread whatsoever, but by the symbolical bread which was used in proclaiming the Lord’s death. Hence also I have called it symbolical, because it is at once both sign and seal.
    Augustine, though speaking differently in different passages on this subject, yet seems in two places to express clearly what he understands by “body.” The first† makes for the view of Tertullian. It is in the introduction to the third Psalm, where he speaks of Christ and Judas thus: “And in the New Testament narrative itself our Lord’s patient endurance is so great and so marvellous that He bore so long with him, namely Judas, as if he were good, though He knew his thoughts when He admitted him to the feast at which He committed and delivered to His disciples the figure of His body and blood.” How clear this is which Augustine says here! He tells us that Christ bequeathed to His disciples a figure of His body and blood. But in what way did He bequeath to them a figure? By bequeathing, of course, the use of this symbolical bread, by which the Lord’s death was represented and figured in a commemorative act by a sensible sign and observance. Or, as manna in the Old Testament foretold and prefigured Christ as the bread to come of the soul, so this bread should call to mind the body of Christ that was slain and His blood that was shed for us.
    The same writer in Tractate 27* on John manifestly rejects bodily flesh. First he says: “And He set forth, the manner of the gift He was bestowing upon them, the way in which He was giving them His flesh to eat, saying [Jn. 6:25]: ‘He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him.’ The sign that one has eaten and drunk is, namely, this: if one abides in Him and is His abode, if one dwells and is dwelt in, if one clings and is not abandoned. This, therefore, He has taught and in mystic language has reminded us of, that we may be in His body, in His members under Himself as head, eating His body and not giving up unity with Him.”

    There was also Berengarius of Tours, an 11th century French theologian who disputed the notion of the “real presence” – lest anyone think the Reformers brought in a novel idea.

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  60. Headless Unicorn Guy: How does that differ from a lot of Born-Again Bible-Believing True Churches?

    That comes down to individual families. Nearly every religion will kick out anyone who doesn’t toe the line or at least pay lip service and not rock the boat. The enforcers of this are the family members. This is the toxic side of institutional religion – you can get fired from your job but when you get fired from your faith, it’s those that ostensibly love you that do the firing.

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  61. Sadly, this episode will be used by triumphalists and advocates on all sides to ex post justify their churches. One friend, an ardent ultra-conservative Catholic, immediately sent the link noting Galli’s move to me, a stalwart LCMS Lutheran. His unstated but very clear message was “See, we’re proven correct yet again! You need to do the same”. Others on the Evangelical side will note Galli’s anti-Trump editorial apostasy and assert that he deserved to depart into his confused wilderness, never again to mislead the readers of CT with his purported heresies. The only reason this is being discussed is the high position Galli occupied within CT and the Evangelical world.
    Not mentioned are the countless moves of Christians of all stripes to and from various churches. In our family, one daughter in law is a member of that huge tribe of angry ex-Catholics, perhaps the second largest church in the country, and another is Jewish but open to and active in Christian worship. In our LCMS parish, we have members who have come from Catholic, Jewish, Evangelical, Mormon and other backgrounds. The numbers nationally still show significant out-migration from the Catholics and slight in-migration to the Evangelicals with Mainline stabilizing and Orthodox showing growth, albeit from small numbers. It appears that Dee is correct and that there is a small but growing trend toward liturgical churches as we have heard anecdotally from Evangelicals. Given the entrepreneurship within that tradition, I expect to see a new megachurch formed with an organ, choir, and Bach cantatas bracketing their services as a way to appeal to liturgical seekers. Their market research is the best out there.

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  62. Jack: Nearly every religion will kick out anyone who doesn’t toe the line or at least pay lip service and not rock the boat. The enforcers of this are the family members. This is the toxic side of institutional religion – you can get fired from your job but when you get fired from your faith, it’s those that ostensibly love you that do the firing.

    If (general) you work for (general) your family, those that (ostensibly) love (general) you might be the people firing (general) you from (general) your job. And if (general) your family works for the church, getting fired might be like receiving a double whammy.

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  63. Lowlandseer: In defence of his position regarding the Eucharist Zwingli cites both Augustine and Tertullia, so it is not accurate to say his view is a novel one. The following lengthy quote comes from The Latin Works of Huldrych Zwingli, Volume 3, The Eucharist.

    This reminds me of when I read the book “Jesus: Prophet of Islam.” It attempted to prove that Jesus was only human and not divine by quoting from early church fathers. It was pretty convincing except for the fact that all the quotes were taken out of context. Zwingli appeared to do the same thing here, where he cherry-picked a few quotes and ignored all that they wrote that show they believed the opposite.

    Berengarius of Tours appears to have rejected transubstantion, but not the real presence. His view appears to have been very close to Luther’s, which was the view that Zwingli so strongly opposed.

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  64. Lowlandseer: Zwingli

    It looks to me like there are basically four views of what happens to the elements in the eucharist:
    1. They become the real flesh and blood of Jesus and are no longer bread and wine.
    2) They become the real flesh and blood of Jesus while remaining real bread and wine – along the lines of Jesus having both a human and a divine nature.
    3. They take on the real presence of Jesus without becoming his actual flesh and blood.
    4. Nothing happens to them. They only symbolically represent the flesh and blood of Jesus.

    I have not found anyone who argued for the 4th view before Zwingli. This does not mean no one had that position before him, but if anyone did have that position I am unaware.

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  65. Stephanos,

    “Given the entrepreneurship within that tradition, I expect to see a new megachurch formed with an organ, choir, and Bach cantatas bracketing their services as a way to appeal to liturgical seekers.“

    Already saw the seeds of that years ago (Ivy League Theology grad alighting on an SBC church, namechecking Reformed theologians and bringing read-along material — which I don’t recall citing sources — to the Sunday evening service) coinciding with the senior pastors going on church history trips focused on the British Isles in what arguably had markings of an attempt to claim a history and heritage.

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  66. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Ken, If you read The Remains of Thomas Hooker, particularly volume 3, (although volume 2 sets out the argument) you will see that there are a number of Church Fathers who reject what is known as transubstantiation. And you find similar in the Tracts and Treatises of Jean de Wycliffe, not forgetting Calvin’s Tracts relating to the Reformation, Volume 2. From my own reading, the RC doctrine of transubstantiation is the “recent arrival” on the scene, not the Reformers’ view. Also it is clear from all the sources I’ve mentioned that your number 4 has been argued by Church Fathers, Schoolmen and Proto-Reformers long before Zwingli came on the scene. Best wishes.

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  67. Lowlandseer: you will see that there are a number of Church Fathers who reject what is known as transubstantiation

    Depending on how one interprets transubstantiation, I completely agree. The teaching that the elements are no longer bread and wine is apparently unique to the west and rejected by the east. Also, rejecting transubstantiation is not the same thing as rejecting the real presence, nor is it necessarily rejecting the 2nd of the four views I listed above.

    Can you give me some links or references to church fathers who specifically taught Zwingli’s view rather than just denying transubstantion? I don’t disagree that his view could have been earlier, but I would like to see it for myself.

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  68. All I can add to this conversation is that we find free grace most freely taught in Lutheranism, and with one aberrant exception have found none of the manipulation and business management techniques taught instead of the gospel that have attached themselves to evangelicalism in sum, and SBC in particular in our area (s).

    Not all Lutheran synods are the same, and within one synod local churches can vary tremendously. But I will take the beauty, the peace, the grace, any day of the week and twice on Sunday (metaphorically speaking lol) over EVER going back to the evangelical fold.

    I am one happy church basement lady. I’ve had to pray and study through some things, happy to learn they were not truly Lutheran teachings but misunderstandings on both my part and one teacher’s part, but my heart.is.home. in Lutheranism.

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  69. Ken F (aka Tweed): It looks to me like there are basically four views of what happens to the elements in the eucharist:
    1. They become the real flesh and blood of Jesus and are no longer bread and wine.
    2) They become the real flesh and blood of Jesus while remaining real bread and wine – along the lines of Jesus having both a human and a divine nature.
    3. They take on the real presence of Jesus without becoming his actual flesh and blood.
    4. Nothing happens to them. They only symbolically represent the flesh and blood of Jesus.

    I have not found anyone who argued for the 4th view before Zwingli. This does not mean no one had that position before him, but if anyone did have that position I am unaware.

    My LCMS pastor said that Lutherans believe 2 and Roman Catholics believe 1, while most other protestants believe 4. I asked him what the Eastern Orthodox believe and he said the same as Roman Catholics (1). That didn’t sound right to me. Can you tell me where the Eastern Orthodox fall on this spectrum? I think you said earlier that EO is closer to the Lutheran understanding of communion. What are the differences? Also, I’m not sure who believes 3.

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  70. Muff Potter: Actually, I think it’s kinda’ kool, even though I’m not a Catholic.
    Just like the lighting of Shabbat candles in the opening scenes of Schindler’s List is full of mystery and wonder.
    I can appreciate and savor the cool stuff of both religions without converting

    Ah, Muff…ever the open-minded one. I mean that in a good way.

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  71. Darlene,

    Muff Potter:
    “Actually, I think it’s kinda’ kool, even though I’m not a Catholic.
    Just like the lighting of Shabbat candles in the opening scenes of Schindler’s List is full of mystery and wonder.
    I can appreciate and savor the cool stuff of both religions without converting”

    Darlene: “Ah, Muff…ever the open-minded one. I mean that in a good way.”
    +++++++++++++++

    actually,……in my view (and in the survey’s i’ve done of other belief systems), there is a lot to glean from lots of them (most?)

    things having to do with humility, gratitude, thankfulness, peacefulness, kindness, charity, generosity to all (not just towards their own kind)… and the disciplines involved with these things.

    by observation and direct experience, it blows me away how christian culture scores very low in all of these things (at least compared to other religions).

    you’d’ think Jesus’ namesake religion would outshine them all.

    it’s not the case.

    we have everything to gain in being open-minded (and much to lose in being close-minded).

    it would serve christians well to learn to shed strains of paranoia about such things.

    there is much that is not incompatible with “the gospel” (in it’s unvarnished form, minus all the baroque architecture that too many people have embroidered it with over and over again. mixing metaphors all the way, here).

    …and that’s what i think about that. I know many will disagree with me.

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  72. Darlene,

    Thank you, Darlene.

    These decisions are hard. Does anyone have a duty to join or not join? Does anyone have a duty to leave? In an abusive church, good people foot the bill and lend their pristine reputations to the institution. Maybe they are trying to clean it up from the inside, or to rise above it all, or wait it out. Maybe they’re in denial, or unable to see their own victimization.

    I do think people should leave a church if it is abusing them or their loved ones, especially children. Beyond that, all of us want freedom of religion, and decisions need to be left to the individual.

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  73. Patrick: Can you tell me where the Eastern Orthodox fall on this spectrum? I think you said earlier that EO is closer to the Lutheran understanding of communion. What are the differences? Also, I’m not sure who believes 3.

    EO believe 2. I had been led to umderstand that Luther believed 3, but I cannot speak for all Lutherans. I’ve heard that view called consubstantiation, which I believe is the Anglican view. The difference between 2 and 3 is whether one believes the elements become the actual body and blood or only contain their presence. It looks to me like most Christians throughout history believed 2 or 3, with the language of early Christian writers appearing to support 2.

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  74. Because Jesus respects the identity of what He has created, He doesn’t obliterate it, even though he is bigger than it. Therefore what He does (variously with or without consecration) can get interpreted as 2, 3 or 4. While in God qualities converge that have different values in the rest of us (what they called “more perfect than which”), it seems to me that to pacify a faction the diplomat Aquinas implicated God in their overreach into our lives even though so doing contradicted much of the rest of his thinking.

    Hence his elsewhere claimed realism as to personal individuality within classes can’t stick, leading to Hume and Edwards. And before the medievals there had been Tertullian who demeaned things of God’s world, reinforced by Constantius II, Theodosius and Justinian.

    Church authorities who don’t have an attitude of communion towards their outlying members concretely, blaspheme because Jesus “has come in the flesh” in these. That is “discerning the body”. Personally, to save confusing others’ consciences (in case some sentimentally thought it interchangeable) I sit out of such a ceremony in all denominations these days.

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  75. Ken F (aka Tweed): the Anglican view

    My understanding is that Anglicans accept a range of viewpoints, and don’t insist on One True Idea. Few would believe in transubstantiation, and few would believe in a memorial reenactment.

    But Communion is not just ingredients.

    What does Communion mean? What does it mean to the individual, to the congregation, to all of Christendom?

    It has to mean more than “I believe it’s wheat” or “I believe it literally turns into Christ’s flesh.”

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  76. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Hello again Ken. If you can get hold of Volume 7 of the Works of William Perkins – possibly at the online Post Reformation Digital Library (free) – you can read “The Problem of Forged Catholicism”. In the section devoted to ‘Transubstantiation or Real Presence’, Perkins references the views of the Church Fathers (and others) on this subject and where to find them. Regards.

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  77. Friend: What does Communion mean? What does it mean to the individual, to the congregation, to all of Christendom?

    It has to mean more than “I believe it’s wheat” or “I believe it literally turns into Christ’s flesh.”

    For me it’s simply this:

    “Do this in remembrance of me…”

    Insofar as to whether or not it (bread and wine) must have a literal meaning does not concern me. I can respect both views, even though I don’t require absolute linear certainty either way.

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  78. Brian,

    Interesting, thanks. A lot of churches have been on the brink of closing for years, and covid will probably bring about their demise.

    I read instead of listening. Barna, which gathered the data, is not always a reliable source. The site is pointedly emphasizing the demise of mainline Protestant churches, with not a hint of regret. There is no mention at all of churches, including Catholic ones, battling with local governments over masks and social distancing.

    An exotic cause of demise among mainlines: “Let’s also say that evangelism is not a high priority in these pulpits, for reasons linked to doctrinal stands linked to salvation, heaven and hell (think ‘universalism’).” I read that as: Christians should scare their neighbors into church attendance.

    The site has other content that comes out against the mainlines, and alleges anti Catholic bias in media. There’s even some content about Episcopalians not having enough babies. I grew up hearing the other side of this (about Catholics trying to outbreed Protestants), so it’s interesting to see this message dressed up on a website. 🙂

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  79. Judas Maccabeus:
    Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Which seldom seemed to occur.Repetition of essentially the same thing week after week.

    <>

    As if one thoughts are bad?I see it more a way of putting your critical reasoning to sleep, It is the word that causes one to “center” on Jesus rather than the “drama” being played out by the practitioners of priestcraft in front of you.

    But than again, I left the church of Rome as soon as I could.I am likely as far in the opposite direction as one can go.

    That’s what I understand the Protestant position to be. That the Word keeps us centered on Jesus Christ rather than the pomp and circumstance.

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  80. On indulgences, from a Catholic priest, who also refers to Pope Francis, at: https://www.nwcatholic.org/spirituality/ask-father/catholic-church-belief-in-indulgences.html

    “As we’ll see, indulgences are still very much a part of our Catholic faith.”
    “So, what exactly is an indulgence? In the words of the Manual of Indulgences, an indulgence is “a remission before God of temporal punishment for sins, whose guilt is forgiven, which a properly disposed member of the Christian faith obtains under certain and clearly defined conditions through the intervention of the Church.””
    “An indulgence, quite simply, is either a partial or a plenary (complete) remission of these temporal consequences of sin, which the church grants from her treasury of graces. This is great news!”
    “To gain a plenary indulgence during this Holy Year of Mercy, the following is necessary: Have an interior disposition of detachment from all sin, go to confession, receive holy Communion, pray for the Holy Father’s intentions and make a pilgrimage to a basilica or another designated place, such as a cathedral.”

    Although Galli has dodged directly answering questions about his agreement with Catholic doctrine, it would be informative to know if he really believes the Catholic church can grant him some time off in purgatory from its treasury of graces if he does a few things as above here on earth, as well as his thoughts on other non-biblical and anti-biblical Catholic doctrines mentioned above.

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  81. Andrew: That’s what I understand the Protestant position to be. That the Word keeps us centered on Jesus Christ rather than the pomp and circumstance.

    Until the Word becomes The Party Line to be recited without activating any neuron above the brainstem.
    Like the Koran in the mouths of the Taliban.

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  82. Friend: It is possible to have both Word and mystery. Nice we have choices.

    Here’s a link to the Internet Monk archives circa 2007:
    https://internetmonk.com/archive/riffs-53107-dan-edelen-and-evangelicalisms-loss-of-glory
    The subject is the “MAO Inhibitors” — lack of “Mystery, Awe, and Otherness” in Evangelicalism, leaving only the dryness of passive lectures which have to be spiced up with fog machines and kickin’ bands. There was also an accompanying podcast, but that is no longer online.

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  83. Headless Unicorn Guy: leaving only the dryness of passive lectures which have to be spiced up with fog machines and kickin’ bands.

    The traditions who oppose smells and bells end up replacing them with a different form of smells and bells. It seems like the issue is not whether or not they are included in worship, but rather what kinds of smells and bells are included.

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  84. Friend: You weren’t alone. I looked too. If it’s old, there really should be a public domain version out there.

    I don’t really care what Perkins wrote about it, but I would like to see the sources he cites. I am still interested in knowing if Zwingli’s view is anchored in early church history.

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  85. Ken F (aka Tweed): The traditions who oppose smells and bells end up replacing them with a different form of smells and bells.

    The Bible is full of emotion and sensory images. Jesus’ language overflows with mystery. I suspect that all of us would find worship in Bible times to have been mysterious indeed.

    Worship via fog machine and lecture comes out of night clubs and board rooms. The content owes much to in-house counsel, and to plan old fear. It makes me think of youth group, where we all ran around the basketball court until we were tired enough to sit on the floor and watch a movie about h0micidal Satanists.

    Hint: the next week we were also reluctant to sit down, and they never figured out why.

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  86. Friend: The Bible is full of emotion and sensory images. Jesus’ language overflows with mystery. I suspect that all of us would find worship in Bible times to have been mysterious indeed.

    There is a good argument that non-sensory church is rooted in Platonic dualism because of its denial of goodness in sensory experience. It also downplays the importance of the incarnation. Embracing sensory worship acknowledges the goodness of creation and the importance of both body and soul.

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  87. Ken F (aka Tweed): Embracing sensory worship acknowledges the goodness of creation and the importance of both body and soul.

    Yes, and it also admits the possibility that somebody in church is grieving, ill, angry, joyous, etc. The Book of Psalms has every emotion, although many Psalms about despair, fear, etc., have happy endings.

    Effective worship draws on the ancient and the eternal, instead of either squelching emotions or channeling them through the trappings of popular trends.

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  88. Muff Potter,

    Here is my bad attitude coming through:
    Priestly vestments – skinny jeans, untucked shirt, expensive sneakers
    Liturgical prayers – “Lord, we jus’ wanna ask…”
    Smell of incense – smell of coffee
    Smoke of incense – smoke of fog machine
    Candles – special effect lighting
    Icons – large screen displays of the pastor
    Hymns – 7-11 songs
    Pipe organs – electric guitars
    Bells – drums
    Prayer or confession – sermon of condemnation
    Eucharist elements – grape juice and crackers
    Same old predicatble liturgy every week – same old predictable contempervent service every week

    I am sure I missed a few.

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  89. Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Hi Ken
    I’m sorry you can’t access any free resources. I did pay for the Works of William Perkins. Reformation Heritage Books released volume 1 a few years ago and planned to release one volume each year so I factored the cost to not what I planned to spend on books each year. By that reckoning I calculated that it would be 2023 before the set was completed. Unfortunately they published more than one a year. I think they released 2 in 2019 and the last 2 in 2020.
    Volume 7 deals entirely with the RCC and I’d put it to one side to read at a later date. Recent comments here caused me to read it. I found it very enlightening. I think the canard to be addressed is the assertion the their doctrine was more or less unchanged from apostolic times until the Reformation. But the Reformers engaged with the Fathers as well and they made reference to their writings that discredited the rc view and supported the reformed position. In fact some argue that the roc position is the new kid on the block. I agree with the Reformed views, having read through an awful lot of the Church Fathers over many years. Over forty years ago I was lucky to spend a little time with the Greek Orthodox communion. I enjoyed some of their writings, and disagreed with some moe. To be happy nest I don’t keep up to date with them now, apart from an occasion nail foray.

    Even back then I thought they argued more for the sake of argument than for the good of the Church. So I don’t give them much thought. I continue to wish you well in your search and labours, however.

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  90. Muff Potter: They’ve said that those who adhere to the ancient liturgical traditions have a ‘religion’, whereas they offer a ‘relationship’ with Jesus.

    I both both and sold that line. As I get older my thinking is becoming less binary – hopefully for the better. People who make that claim still go through all kinds of motions that end up becoming traditions, so in the end they do exactly what they oppose. The difference is one set is based on lessons learned from the past and the other is much more ad hoc.

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  91. Lowlandseer: I think the canard to be addressed is the assertion the their doctrine was more or less unchanged from apostolic times until the Reformation. But the Reformers engaged with the Fathers as well and they made reference to their writings that discredited the rc view and supported the reformed position.

    It’s pretty amazing how so many diametrically opposed groups claim to be following original apostolic teaching. I think EO has the best claim, but even they will admit that it took a few centuries to work out the bugs and that they made changes to get to where they are now.

    It is unfortunate that the reformers did not have more dialogue with the East. Had they done that the reformation could have taken a somewhat different trajectory. Calvin seemed to have been among those who read the most from the early fathers, but he rejected them. At least he was honest when he stated they were all confused and wrong. I have seen too many arguments made by moderns who attempt to prove that the early church fathers believed one thing or another when in fact it appears pretty clear they did not. The worst example I found was in the book “Pierced for Our Transgressions.” I would have more respect for the authors if they would have insisted that the early church was wrong. At least it would have been honest.

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  92. Muff Potter:
    Ken F (aka Tweed),

    Wanna’ hear some grand irony from the big guns of Calvary Chapel?
    They’ve said that those who adhere to the ancient liturgical traditions have a ‘religion’, whereas they offer a ‘relationship’ with Jesus.

    “You have a (sneer) ‘Religion’.
    I Have a (smiiiile) RELATIONSHIP!”

    Been on the receiving end of that one too many times to count.

    But then, Calvary Chapel DEFINES Real True Christian(TM) in our area. When you hear “Nondenominational” or “Biblical”, it’s a Calvary Chapel clone with the labels painted over and a new Founding Apostle instead of Papa Chuck.

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  93. Quite a few younger people -my son among them-ran from what they have perceived as shallow Evangelicanism to the Eastern Orthodox Church. I know at least what my son craved was reverence and a seriousness to the faith, along with the historical/intellectual aspect. I stay a serious Charismatic myself but I understand and even agree with his reasoning. I mean, I truly do not understand the purpose of a smoke machine at a worship service. As to smells and bells, ancient ritual appeals to him. His journey with God is his own and he is a serious Christian and altho I do have some major disagreements with some aspects of Orthodoxy I am certain that God sees my son’s heart. He lives out his faith, his family is united in it (I have the world’s best daughter in law) they raise their children well, and take parenthood seriously. My question is-why aren’t the rest of us learning from this? Churches thinking being young and hip with skinny jeans draws people-well from the young people I have spoken with that could not be further from the truth.

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  94. bunny: Quite a few younger people -my son among them-ran from what they have perceived as shallow Evangelicanism to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

    I am stuck in between. My relationship with EO is like an electron to a proton: too attracted to let it go but too repulsed to connect. It’s a long story.

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  95. Headless Unicorn Guy: Icons – large screen displays of the pastor

    Big Brother’s Face, ten meters tall on all Telescreens.

    Keep in mind the various TWW comments on over-the-top mega-church services, fog-machines, “smells and bells”, etc..

    The way the Headless Unicorn Guy combined phrases in his comment could be re-written: IMAX theatre with Sensurround. 🙂

    …..or maybe (general) you “needed to be there” (following the sequence of thoughts in my mind (and in my research)) to understand why I found the the way the Headless Unicorn Guy</em) combined phrases humorous….

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  96. With the Holy Spirit’s help (please, Lord!), I think I can help out with the Purgatory question. ❤️

    From what I can tell from the Catechism, Purgatory has two interrelated aspects: restitution and purification.

    Yes, Jesus paid it all. He completely forgives our sins and wipes away our guilt when we sincerely repent and turn to Him. It is pure, sheer, amazing grace.

    But our sins have consequences and repercussions. We have hurt people. We have caused damage. That doesn’t simply disappear when we are forgiven. We must make restitution somehow. Zacchaeus is a good example. He was completely forgiven through Christ’s grace. His immediate response? To repay those he had defrauded. This he “bore fruits befitting repentance.” If he hadn’t made restitution, then he would have exemplified the “cheap grace” syndrome Bonhoeffer wrote about.

    The example I always think of is the kid who throws a rock through the neighbor’s window. Then the kid feels remorseful and apologizes. The neighbor graciously forgives him. But guess what? The neighbor still has a broken window. The *totally forgiven* kid must still pay to replace the broken window.

    We have many “broken windows” in our lives that we have not paid for. We have sincerely repented. We have been completely forgiven and restored to a state of Grace. But we haven’t replaced the broken window. We haven’t made restitution.

    In Purgatory we can make the restitution we failed to make in this life.

    The Catholic Church calls this restitution “temporal punishment.” It is not like “eternal punishment” (hell). The souls in Purgatory are saved. They know they are saved. They are being purified, and that process is painful, but they have a joy we can only imagine, because they know they are saved.

    That ties in with the second aspect of Purgatory: purification.

    Let’s face it: We Christians need a lot of purification, especially in the LOVE department. We judge
    We gossip. We resent. We fail to fully forgive. We do not try to really understand other people. We do not love our neighbors as ourselves.

    Well, Purgatory is the School of Love. There we can be purified of all the last remaining vestiges of our selfishness, our quick temper, our pride, our self-will, our hard-heartedness. We can complete the process of sanctification that began on earth. (Purely via Grace, of course! It’s not something we do ourselves.)

    Scripture says “nothing unclean can enter Heaven,” which is why we must be progressively purified. If the purification process remains incomplete at our death, then God graciously completes it after death. He is the “refining fire,” conforming us to His image.

    In a sense, Purgatory is the “anteroom of Heaven.” Or perhaps I should say the mud room! “Nothing unclean can enter Heaven,” so, before we can enter, we have to take off our dirty, muddy clothes and boots in the mud room.

    I hope some of that makes sense.

    Ironically enough, Anglican C.S. Lewis does a really good job of explaining Purgatory. As he says, it really just makes sense. Don’t we want to wear our best and cleanest garments for the Wedding Feast?

    I know Luther said we are dunghills covered with snow. But so much in the Bible (especially the NT) contradicts that. We are called to holiness. That’s the theme of the Sermon on the Mount and of so much of Christ’s Teaching. Of course we can’t attain that holiness on our own. It’s all grace! Even our cooperation with grace comes from grace. Nonetheless we must still cooperate. And grow in grace until we reach the fullness of grace in Heaven.

    Sorry for long-windedness. It’s a big topic!

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  97. Just to toss in some history for the mix:

    John Wesley was heavily influenced by EO. And while I have not time to look it up and find it, I did receive a book about purgatory for Christmas last year, believe through Amazon. It was purgatory for those in the reformed branch of protestantism.

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  98. Catholic Gate-Crasher,

    Thank you for taking the time to outline how the RCC views the need for purgatory. The problem between the Catholics and Protestants is this. Protestants view the Bible alone as the definer of the faith or, as one pastor put it so well, it is the *rules of the game.* It is my understanding that Catholics view the Bible+Church Tradition as the *rules of the game.*

    Secondly, there is a disagreement about the Bible. It is my understanding that Catholics view the Apocrypha as part of the Scriptures. It is my understanding that purgatory was taken from one of the Apocrypha. Even then, it is a minor verse and I always hesitate to make a huge statement on the faith based on a small passage.

    I find it difficult that Jesus in no way spoke to the existence of purgatory but spoke often and loudly on the existence of heaven and hell. The fact he told people to make resitution, something that is embodied in the laws of the US, does not mean that translates into the existence of purgatory.

    In the end, it is a church tradition that holds up the doctrine of purgatory. CS Lewis (whom I adore) was a man like the rest of us, who struggled with the idea of grace-a grace the forgives everything. Like him, I get why it *makes sense* but not everything that *makes sense* means there is an afterlife application.

    In the end, I agree with Luther. There is no way that I can make restitution for all of my sins-some of which I am not aware. Even those are forgiven.

    However, we will see when we finally see. If purgatory is real, I’ll be there for a very long time.

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  99. dee: Protestants view the Bible alone as the definer of the faith or, as one pastor put it so well, it is the *rules of the game.* It is my understanding that Catholics view the Bible+Church Tradition as the *rules of the game.*

    This brings us the chicken and egg question of whether the church defined the bible or whether the bible defined the church. There was no NT at all for the first few decades, and it took a few centuries before all churches everywhere agreed on the canon of the NT. So there is good historical evidence that the church defined the bible and faith before the bible defined the church and faith. There is also the passage by Paul calling the church (not scripture) the pillar and support of truth. I also recently learned that early church fathers said many important apostoloc teachings were not written down (and therefore not in the bible) because they were too important/sacred to be written down. All this makes it difficult to argue for the position that the Bible alone defines our faith. Church tradition cannot contradict scripture, but it might also contain value that is not contained in scripture.

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  100. dee: Secondly, there is a disagreement about the Bible. It is my understanding that Catholics view the Apocrypha as part of the Scriptures.

    This is another fuzzy area because it is my understanding that there was no standard version of the OT in the first century. Early Protestant bibles contained the apocrypha, but it migrated to the back and eventually of of their OT. I find it interesting that there is no disagreement between Protestants and RC/EO over the NT canon.

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  101. It is paradoxical to talk of time in purgatory or heaven as similar to time we know, Jesus Paul and John mention fire, and they mention (as does James) helping our brother gain his crown / bear fruit for the test. Who is the man who didn’t trade his talent? All areas are left grey in parlance so as not to trap us into becoming pharisees / fundagelicals / YRRs who despite their lumberjack shirts (left artfully hanging out) and supremacist ersatz quiffs were just as nasty as Assyrians.

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  102. Catholic Gate-Crasher,

    Purgatory does resolve a dilemma:
    You have two men. One is a Christian from way back, living the Gospel and fruit of the spirit. The other is a “reprobate” who lived like the Devil until a deathbed or near-deathbed conversion. They are both Saved(TM), but the second has a helluva lot more baggage and unfinished business. “Under the Blood” and both going directly to Paradise (like the Christian(TM) in a Chick Tract J-Day scene) seems unjust; the second did a lot more damage, left a trail of destruction until his Altar Call words.

    Purgatory resolves this dilemma in that the second has to take care of his unfinished business before he can enter “Onward and Upward”. And he has a lot more baggage to resolve than the first, so it’s going to take “longer”. (Regarding “longer” or “shorter”, remember that regardless of Chronos vs Kairos and the concept of Timeless Eternity, humans seem to only be able to perceive/experience “Linear Time”.)

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  103. dee: Protestants view the Bible alone as the definer of the faith or, as one pastor put it so well, it is the *rules of the game.* It is my understanding that Catholics view the Bible+Church Tradition as the *rules of the game.*

    The Protestant view easily slips into Bible-as-Party-Line. Don’t bother your sinful head with thinking, just Recite and Obey, Word by Word, Letter by Letter, Jot by Tittle. WHo needs Christ when you have The BIBLE?

    I used to have this mental image of Christians who if they ever met Christ face-to-face in full Majesty, they would turn their backs on Him to use his Shekinah as a reading lamp for their Bible Study.

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  104. Headless Unicorn Guy: Purgatory

    While I don’t agree with the RC view of purgatory, I have to admit that it is not without any biblical support. 1 Cor 3:13 says all our works will be tested by fire. It does not give details on what exactly that will look like or how long it will last. But it appears that all humans, Christian or otherwise, will go through this. It could mean that the RC view might be correct. In any case, it looks like it means there is good reason to get our lives and relationships in order before we go through that fire.

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  105. This is an interesting article posted on TGC this morning, not so much for the content but for the fact that they felt the need to address this. Do they have evidence this is something they should worry about? It seems like silence would be their best option, unless this is a big problem.
    https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/evangelicals-not-become-catholic/

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