A vaccination against Roman Catholicism

 

I’ve noticed several changes in my thinking over the past year, having officially left my Baptist roots and become a moderately high-church Presbyterian. One of the most notable is a growing aversion to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theology, particularly with regards to justification, the atonement, and worship.

When my family moved away my senior year in college, I was forced to come to some more substantial beliefs. My first major flirtation was with Roman Catholicism. I attended worship there and was impressed by the earnestness and reverence with which they worshiped. Earlier in my life I appreciated charismatic theology and their appreciation for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. All of that to say I’ve studied several branches of Christendom, in addition to the different Baptist denominations. But as I moved closer to liturgical worship, I joined what is the most simple form of worship I’d ever been a part of: the Primitive Baptists (PB’s). It was an odd union in some senses, but they were the only Calvinistic Baptists in our county. I began preaching in the church early on, but continued learning from the same authors I had been learning from before (most of whom were Reformed, a few of whom were Baptists).

I came with an appreciation of liturgy (1). I didn’t know how different I was from Primitive Baptists, and I didn’t fully understand the sectarian nature of Primitive Baptists, i.e. closed communion and landmarkism. I thought that since each church was independent, each church could do it’s own thing. To a large extent we did, for a Primitive Baptist church, but I still struggled. I am not intending to complain about the Primitive Baptists. Those I knew best were godly, Bible-saturated, and wholesome people. But they were also true to their beliefs and I differed with those beliefs in the areas of closed-communion, rebaptism for all outsiders, and liturgical structure.

During the time I was the co-pastor of a PB church, I was forced to acknowledge that I was different than most of the congregation in liturgical beliefs. Those differences became too big to ignore when my beliefs on covenant theology and paedobaptism became concrete. There were many other issues in the church that led to my resignation and my difference in belief was not the most important one. However, after my family and I joined Trinity Presbyterian in Birmingham, something else came into focus. (more…)

Heresy by non-association

If Roman Catholicism is wrong (and it is), and if Roman Catholics believe in the Trinity (which they do), should Protestants be Unitarians?  The answer is “no” but why?

The point of this statement is not to support Rome but to shake us out of our “Anything I suspect to be associated with Roman Catholicism is wicked” mindset.  We need to further develop scriptural reasons for our beliefs and practices and leave off the guilt-by-association fallacy.

You Take Orders from Who?

Recently I’ve been thinking about Roman Catholic claim of papal infallibility.  Credenda Agenda had a great article on Lord Acton’s response to Vatican I, where that doctrine became official.  The fact is the teaching is less than two-hudred years old.  I suspect that if the Roman Church changed that teaching, many conservative Anglicans would reunite with them.  Be that as it may, I struggle to see how a group would take orders from a human leader as if it were Scripture.  But eventually they’ll let it go; it may just take a few hundred more years.