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March 13, 2007

Comments

Karen

Love it, Jimmy. As a Catholic, sadly I feel defensive too much of the time, and that brings a person down. But I also have a couple of truth-seeking-loving, respectful Protestant buddies, and it's such a pleasure to talk to people like this--the respect is certainly mutual.

God bless Mr. Carter, our brother in Christ.

Some Day

I posted on his website right now...

I told him that St. Thomas Aquaintas said that a person when he admires and loves something superior then himself, he is baptized.

And how many graces will he recieve with this start...When many of "our own" speak nothing but poison of the Mystical Body of Christ!

Jordan Potter

"though he doesn't feel able to cross the Tiber"

Well, not yet anyway. :-D

But I was once where he was, so he might someday find himself where I am now. He'd better watch out, because as Chesterton said, appreciating and being fair to the Church is one of the first steps towards converting to Catholicism.

Tim J.

Well, I really do appreciate those faithful evangelicals who have such zeal for that Truth which they possess, even if they have not discovered the big picture, yet, in my view.

In a time during which so many so-called Catholics (cultural Catholics) have all but abandoned even the most foundational tenets of the faith, it's good to see certain aspects of it preserved at full strength here and there in Protestantism, even if the wholeness of the faith is lacking there.

Many of them share with us the strong desire to submit one's entire life to the will of God, through Christ, rather than changing the faith to suit one's own will. This is what I see that ties us together most... a desire for complete submission to the headship of Christ, a love for Christ AS HE IS, and a longing to know him more.

JoAnna

A very nice post by Joe.

Still, it's sad that there's still come Catholic-bashing going on in his comments box. I invited the naysayers over to the Catholic Answers forums; we'll see what happens. ;)

Esperanto Christopher

One of his readers responded:

"Perhaps we can persuade Jimmy Akin to write a catholic appreciation of Protestants."

There are at least two features of the protest churches that I think Catholics can appreciate. One is their focus on Scripture, which a more active approach to the Word. The second is music. Twentieth-century African-American Gospel music in particular. Much of modern praise music, while hardly appropriate for Mass, does merit a degree of appreciation.

Lino

Esperanto Christopher, I cannot agree with either of your points.

1. "One is their focus on Scripture, which a more active approach to the Word."

A Catholic, even if he attends only Sunday Mass, knows that he is exposed to even MORE of Scripture than a protestant who attends Sunday service. If a Catholic also attends weekday Mass and/or prays the Liturgy of the Hours, his/her exposure to Scripture is VASTLY greater.

Moreover, you are falling for the protestant fallacy of equating "Scripture" and "the Word." In reality, "the Word" consists of both Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and the protestant has little or nothing of the latter, while the Catholic has it all.

2. "The second is music. Twentieth-century African-American Gospel music in particular."

Lord, spare us! I dislike the sound of almost all of "gospel music," and the portion of it that I like is not appropriate to be used at Mass. Even the bland or insipid hymns that we too often hear now are more appropriate at Mass than gospel music. The latter is often intended to entertain, to move people to unpermitted activities (swaying, clapping, etc.), and to provoke high emotions and vocal outbursts -- so improper for people who are mystically in the Upper Room and on Mt. Calvary for the representation of the sacrifice of Calvary.

Sailorette/Foxfier

Well, how about....

1) Memorization of Bible quotes-- many protestants do have large swaths memorized. I figure that's a good thing, although the way some utterly twist the meanings can be kinda annoying. (I can't call my dad "father" for example, because "you shall call no man Father".)

2) I'm not much of a fan of Gospel music myself, but outside of Church it can be used to teach the stories to folks too young to get much out of reading them, and I am quite fond of the modern christian rock-- the ones I've heard identify their church are almost always protestant. (Gotta be careful with some of the radio stations, though-- I really can't give my money in support of the assertion that the Bible is the only way to know God.)

Ken Crawford

I'm sure it'll get shot down by people like Lino, but I too made a stab at pointing out what I think Catholics should be thankful for in Evangelicals:

http://thecrawfordfamily.net/blog/?p=364

(too long to post within the comments here)

Brent Robbins

I can sum up one excellent reason to be appreciative of Protestants: STRYPER!!!!

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

I've found that some Evangelicals are more faithful to Catholic moral teaching than some Catholic priests and catechists are.

Tim J.

Bingo, Father.

G

Father Stephanos, You're absolutely correct except on the most crucial point, which the whole division thing boils down to: The Authority given by Jesus to Peter. Yes, absolutely, many Protestants (and atheists etc) are much more conscientious about Catholic moral teaching than Catholics are (which is damning with faint praise, BTW) but as long as each person can pick & choose what they want to believe, there won't be the unity Jesus prayed for.

Jeb Protestant

It's my understanding that the SBC resolution concerning abortion in the 70s was drafted by a liberal commitee of the SBC.

Also, I find the ecumenicalism of the catholic church one of the least attractive things. I want to get as far away as possible from the WCC, the NCC, Spong, Rowan Williams, et al. Who wants "unity" with these people?

Puzzled

Scriptural primacy means precisely that we -mayn't- pick and choose what we believe, G. But that is a discussion for another time and place. I'd be pleased if Joe Carter has actually become an evangelical rather than just a Willow Creek-rite practitioner of neo-orthodoxy.

Jon

Fr. S comment reminds me of a quote from Chesterton (the Apostle of Common Sense), "The best argument against Christianity is Christians."

Jack

Lino, there is a big difference between just being "exposed to Scripture" and the Evangelical focus on Scripture.

A Catholic may "hear" more words per month than an Evangelical, but what percentage of the parish comprehends what they are hearing?

The gift of the Evangelical world is that they take the time to put their Scripture readings in complete context, connecting the modern audience to the original readers, fully expositing on the author's (and Author's) intent, and applying the lessons to our real lives.

If you know of a priest who gives regular homilies like that, I'd love his number...

Tim J.

"A Catholic may "hear" more words per month than an Evangelical, but what percentage of the parish comprehends what they are hearing?"

Are you serious?

"The gift of the Evangelical world is that they take the time to put their Scripture readings in complete context"

Not in my experience as an evangelical. There was far more a tendency to break scripture into tiny, isolated bits and then haer those expounded on according to the pastor's idiosynchrasies.

"connecting the modern audience to the original readers, fully expositing on the author's (and Author's) intent, and applying the lessons to our real lives."

Our priests do that every Sunday.

Tim J.

"Our priests do that every Sunday."

Sorry, that should have been "every day".

Some Day

Or should do.

I still don't get what moral lesson Britney Spears can teach us, or how it relates to the readings, which were not about prostitutes.

Well, that is the priests of today.
We got to pray for a them.

The predelict sons of the Church are the ones who deal Her the most wounds.
If it were not for the common faithful, the Church would have a very dead appearance.

Oremos pro illos!

Esau

Yet, you can have people pick up the Bible, read the same verse and you'll have as many varied interpretations of the same passage as you do the people reading it!


Jack said:
The gift of the Evangelical world is that they take the time to put their Scripture readings in complete context, connecting the modern audience to the original readers, fully expositing on the author's (and Author's) intent


This isn't necessarily true when you consider the complete context being the time and place of the passages in Scripture, the original intention of the human authors, as well as the continuity and unity of Scripture (in its whole -- in its totality) as it relates to Oral Tradition (the Living Tradition) as passed down through the Ages and the Written Word.


Matthew 16:18
18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.


The Church carries in her Tradition the Living memorial of God's Word.

Thus, the Bible is read in the light of Sacred Tradition -- that Oral Teaching that came from Jesus, through the Apostles, to their Successors, through the Bishops, down to us.

Also, remember where it came from in the first place.

Martin Luther, in his commentary on St. John, in Ch 16, he says this:

“We are obliged to yield many things to the Papists (there, he means Catholics); that they possess the Word of God which we received from them. Otherwise, we should have known nothing at all about it.”


If you look at Scripture, there is a lively awareness of the Faith being passed down in a variety of means – sometimes in written form and sometimes not in written form. The original preaching of the Apostles was oral and Jesus’ teaching was oral (he didn’t write any books of Scripture) and so they lived in a largely oral culture back then and, as a result, there was a much heavier dependence on the spoken word and other elements of Tradition like liturgical action that were not written down.

That Tradition - ‘That which is handed on’ – was something that was handed onto us from Jesus and the Apostles – part of it was handed on in written form but part of it went beyond writing, which is one of the reasons that there are some questions that Scripture doesn’t seem to answer clearly.

Like, for example, the question whether or not you should baptize babies. If whether you baptize by immersion or not.

We know people are supposed to be baptized but we don’t have the details of how it was supposed to work: whether you did it for babies as well, whether you could do it by pouring.

The reason for that is pretty clear:

Scripture doesn’t answer those questions because it expects for you to be like the Early Christians, reading about the Church but looking to the practice of the Church to answer those questions for you.


That's why the Church is said in 1 Timothy 3:15 to be the Pillar and Ground of the Truth:

1 Tim 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.


AND

Paul actually says:

2 Thess 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle.

Even 1 Cor 11 which uses the same Greek word "Paradosis": "I commend you brothers for holding fast to the Traditions" as well as in 2 Thess 3:6 says the same thing.

So, we're called to hold fast to Tradition as well as the Written Word.

Esau

To be fair, this from Jack I might agree with:
applying the lessons to our real lives


Unfortunately, this from Tim J. is just as true:

There was far more a tendency to break scripture into tiny, isolated bits and then haer those expounded on according to the pastor's idiosynchrasies.


Joel Olsteen had one episode where he actually justified not giving money to the poor if they didn't attend his church.

In this one episode, he was saying that he was ready to give $20 to this one homeless man, but since he refused to go to his church, he refused also to give the money to him.

He found one verse from the Old Testamtent to justify his actions.

Yet, there are many verses in the Scripture that speaks of the importance of giving to the poor:


Luke 18:22
22 Which when Jesus had heard, he said to him: Yet one thing is wanting to thee. Sell all whatever thou hast and give to the poor: and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.

Matthew 25:37-41
37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry and fed thee: thirsty and gave thee drink?
38 Or when did we see thee a stranger and took thee in? Or naked and covered thee?
39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison and came to thee?
40 And the king answering shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.

James 2:14-18
14 ¶ What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him?
15 And if a brother or sister be naked and want daily food:
16 And one of you say to them: Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit?

17 So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself.
18 But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works. Shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith.

A.Williams

The gift of the Evangelical world is that they take the time to put their Scripture readings in complete context, connecting the modern audience to the original readers, fully expositing on the author's (and Author's) intent, and applying the lessons to our real lives.

If you know of a priest who gives regular homilies like that, I'd love his number...

Here's his recent address on the web
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_exh_20070222_sacramentum-caritatis_en.html

His name is Pope Benedict XVI.

Read what you find on this page, above,and I think you might be enlightened!...that is..if you really have a taste for the wisdom, love and glories of Christ!

Joe Sallas

Louis Boyer gives a Catholic Appreciation of Protestantism in his book.

Mary Kay

:) in agreement with A. Williams' post. But of course, the pope isn't the only priest who does so.

Tim J.

Two words:

Father Corapi.

For my money, he beats any other preacher - Protestant or Catholic - hands down.

LarryD

"Two words:

Father Corapi.

For my money, he beats any other preacher - Protestant or Catholic - hands down."

You can add Father (John) Hardon and Mother Angelica to that list. Which makes it six words.

Barbara

Eight words:

Fr. Bill Casey
http://www.fathersofmercy.com/our_apostolates/missionaries/casey

No, make that ten words: Fr. Mitch Pacwa

Dr. Eric

Twelve words: Fr. Phillip Scott.

You may have seen him on EWTN. He moved to Peru and works in the slums with the super destitute. They (his new order) sleep in sleeping bags, bathe with a bucket of water, have adoration 3 hours per day, and the rest of the time they work in the slums.

"Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary, use words." :-)

He is a fine speaker as well!

DJ

People: you're up to 15 words, not 12.

The gift of the Evangelical world is that they take the time to put their Scripture readings in complete context, connecting the modern audience to the original readers, fully expositing on the author's (and Author's) intent, and applying the lessons to our real lives.

In my experience, Protestants DON'T put Scripture in its complete context. It's usually ripped out of context a verse, and sometimes two, at a time.

Though I do heartily agree with the rest of the sentence in regards to Protestants tending to try and make Scripture pertinent in our lives.

Sailorette/Foxfier

It must be the season....
http://evangelicalsanonymous.blogspot.com/2007/03/protest-ant-attitudes.html

A.Williams

One difference between a Catholic and a Fundementalist/Protestant, is that the Catholic is often content to 'live' the biblical text, wherein the teachings of Christ becomes an integral part of his very being and life, such that, after careful catequisis. the physical text of a Bible can even become an unnecessary or even redundant. In this way, a well taught Catholic can indeed attend Mass(especially daily Mass) and recieve all the spiritual sustenance he needs in life.

The fundementalist, on the other hand, NEEDS his Bible. Lacking true Sacraments for spiritual life and grace, his Christian life revolves around the written word. Without this physical Bible text close at hand, a fundementalist is pretty much 'spiritually naked'!

The problem we find with this second form of spirituality, which lacks the spiritual power of the Sacraments, is that Jesus never taught His disciples to live, teach or act this way! If a physical Scripture or Gospel was SO important, He would have written it Himself, and had all of His disciples copying it and bringing autobiographical scrolls to all the towns and cities of the world for evangelization. And wouldn't this be a much more authentic account than the 'second hand' versions of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John??

However, Jesus chose a different way...He choose to send the Holy Spirit. He chose to dwell in the hearts of His faithful in living 'reality', and especially through the Sacrament of His flesh and blood, and not only in the written Gospel.

Moreover, A fundementalist always needs to prove his theological arguments with the Bible at hand. A knowlegable Catholic who 'LIVES' the Bible(a person like St. Francis of Assisi, for instance) has the Holy Scriptures inscribed on his heart and soul, and also has the Holy Spirit to enlighten and guide him through, actual and divine, Wisdom.

Moreover, this is the type of Christianity Jesus taught us to follow! Why else would He admonish us:


" And when they shall lead you and deliver you up, be not thoughtful beforehand what you shall speak; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye. For it is not you that speak, but the Holy Ghost. Mark 13

Note that nowhere here is mentioned a Bible, a scroll, or any other external source!

This, I think would be horrifying for a fundementalist to conceive, because without his Bible he is basically without his ultimate defense.

And this is why, when Pastors want to talk with me about my Catholicism, I resist the temptation to bring a Bible with me. Even though these same Pastors will immediately consider me an utter 'pagan,scriptural ignoramous,catholic'..when they see that I don't even have the wisdom to bring a Bible to fight them with...I am content to accept their arrogant misconceptions and interiorly set myself to trust the Lord in His above saying: "..For it is not you that speak, but the Holy Ghost."

So this is an example of how a knowledgeable, practicing Catholic, can LIVE the Bible and not just study it!

Esau

Actually, A. Williams, you need to bring the bible when discussing such matters with Protestants in order to refer to a common place that both you and s/he respect and trust.


Not all are the arrogant type that you describe here.

For example, there were folks in my Protestant bible study some years back who were actually willing to listen to what I had to say about the Catholic Faith.

Admittedly, they may cringe a little and show signs of resistance to your message, but, all in all, there will be those who might actually open themselves up to what you have to say.

A majority of the folks I encountered are just not so well informed about the Catholic Faith, especially in terms of actual Church History and many times, that, for the most part, might be the very reason why they act as they do.

Plus, the bible is an awesome place to begin!

A.Williams

Esau,
It is only ONE way to evangelize with the Bible. If the fundementalists don't have the Bible in their hearts, and can't remember the context of Jesus' teachings, after many readings of the scriptures, then this PROVES that they are greatly lacking! I think it would be good to only argue from the memory that the Holy Spirit inspires. And wasn't this the way that Jesus Himself argued. He didn't carry a scroll around with him in his missionary tours.

Anyway, it is essential for a Christian, whether Catholic or evangelical, to have a great love of Christ in his heart, and from this love can be brought out the words and stories that are applicable in debate. If the other party can't remember anything without a Bible, it proves that they really didn't love the scriptural stories to begin with, but are just trying to use them as a reference to force their spiritless point of view. In this context we can remember that "The letter Kills, but the Spirit gives life"!

However, I do agree that there are different ways to evangelize. I just hate it when the fundementalists can't remember the context of very famous biblical stories by heart. They seem to frequently want to kill the overall intended message of Jesus, with a 'misreading' of the context...kind of like what Jesus says...'straining out knats' but 'swallowing camels'!

Esau

It is only ONE way to evangelize with the Bible. If the fundementalists don't have the Bible in their hearts, and can't remember the context of Jesus' teachings, after many readings of the scriptures, then this PROVES that they are greatly lacking! I think it would be good to only argue from the memory that the Holy Spirit inspires. And wasn't this the way that Jesus Himself argued. He didn't carry a scroll around with him in his missionary tours.

Good point.


They seem to frequently want to kill the overall intended message of Jesus, with a 'misreading' of the context...

'Misreadings' are what we need to clarify, unfortunately.

Puzzled

I thought that this was about appreciation, and not polemics.

A.Williams

I thought this was about "what an Evangelical appreciates about Catholics"...not necessarily what Catholics appreciate about Evangelicals.

But, if we want to talk about that.. I can say that I am sometimes impressed with their fervor and zeal for Jesus. I can't but help feeling good when some of my evangelical friends can't stop talking about the Lord..."Praise Jesus! Praise the Lord!"...it's infectious and can only inspire more love.

Sometimes I think.."how can they NOT love Jesus if they keep praising Him for every little thing during our conversations!" Sometimes in the course of only 15 minutes they might say "praise Jesus" as many as 10 times. Sometimes it's also humorous, and even embarrassing, if anyone else is around or listening--but one thing is for sure...THEY AIN'T EMBARRASSED! And this boldness to express their love is somewhat admirable. By the way, can there actually be EXCESSIVE love of Jesus? I don't think so, but to others it might appear somewhat strange, and a little 'over doing' it!

Tim J.

Another thing I appreciate about Evangelicals is their concern for saving lost souls. I would say there is more overt emphasis on spreading the Gospel in Evangelical circles, though it seems to have given way somewhat to the Prosperity Gospel.

I think Catholics, in general, have pulled back from talking about their faith with their neighbors, co-workers, etc... out of a kind of defensive reaction to anti-Christianity in general and anti-Catholicism in particular. People who hate Christians hate Catholics the most.

We ought to turn this trend on its head, right now. That's one reason I am glad to see the Ash Wednesday witness (ashes on the forehead) leading to more openness in that regard.

Different Day

I will never accept Protestants!

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