Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

A Prophecy for the Church in America [Ecumenical]
Standing on my head ^ | February 17, 2012 | Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Posted on 02/18/2012 1:08:39 PM PST by NYer

A prophet is not necessarily someone who has a supernatural vision of the future. He may simply be a person who can see certain trends in the present, understand the underlying issues and therefore attempt to predict how things may go in the future.

Here are some trends I see in the American Church and how I see the future developing. The first thing is the disintegration of denominationalism. It used to be that the different Protestant groups were distinct in their theology and their style of worship. There were boundaries. You pretty much knew what to expect in a Southern Baptist Church, a Methodist Church, Lutheran, Presbyterian or Episcopal. There were clear distinctions theologically and culturally and historically.

The boundaries are disappearing fast. In all Protestant churches there is a kind of post-modern pick and mix attitude. The old distinctive markers are falling and a new experimental attitude is taking place. So a relative of mine, a young Baptist minister, enthusiastically claims to "read all those guys" meaning that he avidly reads Anglican, Catholic, Baptist, Independent and classical Lutheran and Methodist theologians. He and his generation are also open to all sorts of worship styles. Their attitude is shared by the younger generation of Evangelicals in all denominations. People are no longer Methodist or Presbyterian or Baptist for life and for clear theological reasons. Instead they gravitate to a church that suits them and their lifestyle. Utilitarianism and market forces reign supreme.

The two trends within the Protestant churches seem to be toward free "mega church" type worship which conforms to the trends in society or a reaction against that to move toward "liturgy". So a neighbor who goes to a conservative Presbyterian church likes to tell me how "liturgical" they are. They observe Advent and Lent and Ash Wednesday. They light candles on the "altar" when they "celebrate communion" and every once in a while they have "Choral Evensong." Another friend tells me he goes to a Baptist Church that is "very liturgical."

I predict that the disintegration of denominationalism will continue and that trends within the Catholic Church will converge with what is happening within Protestantism to produce some very interesting and new configurations.

As the "cultural Catholics" who were leaders in the seventies and eighties continue to die off, their children will be less likely to practice the Catholic faith. As it becomes increasingly odd to be a "faithful Catholic" in our society--even leading to persecution and isolation, the Catholics without any backbone will simply stop being Catholics. If they did not have enough faith and courage to send their children to Catholic school and take the teachings of the church seriously, then if hardship comes, they will melt away.

At the same time the Catholics who remain will have the fervor and dedication of the faithful Protestants who have been moving in a liturgical direction. These Protestants are looking not only for liturgy, but for the historic church--the apostolic church. They will be increasingly attracted to the Catholic faith and as they Catholic church population shifts in a more committed direction they will feel more at home there.

This is where the new Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter may play a very crucial role. As an increasing number of Protestants explore the liturgical and historical church they will be looking for a church that is faithful to the Scriptures, faithful to the historic liturgy, faithful to the magisterium and ready to show forth a committed, radical kind of Catholicism fully committed to the new Evangelization.

The short version: two vibrant forms of Christianity will emerge in the United States--a free flowing, relevant and 'cool' kind of personalistic Pentecostalism and a renewed and revitalized and young Catholicism. The others will fade away.

But I may be wrong. I'm not really a prophet...



TOPICS: Catholic; Evangelical Christian; Mainline Protestant; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: baptist; episcopal; lutheran; methodist

1 posted on 02/18/2012 1:08:44 PM PST by NYer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...

What better place to pose this question than in the Religion Forum of FreeRepublic where nearly every christian denomination is represented. Have at it!


2 posted on 02/18/2012 1:10:23 PM PST by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

If America is like Sodom (or worse) this place may be turning to salt..
No doubt about Sodomites running the streets like gangs..

If America has become a democracy... this would be normal..
Cause democracy was, is and will continue to be MOB Rule by mobsters..
Many kinds of Sodomite mobs.. are available..

Actually America is worse than Sodom from what I can see..
Babys regularly murdered(put down) like dogs and cats at a humane shelter..

It seems many have more compassion for the dogs and cats..
God only knows the extent of the depravity of our current President..
Negrodamus may be the prophet of Doom.. and a harbinger of WORSE THINGS to come..


3 posted on 02/18/2012 1:20:36 PM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer; MaryLou1; glock rocks; JPG; Graewoulf; VinceASA; Monkey Face; RIghtwardHo; pieces of time; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.


4 posted on 02/18/2012 1:26:13 PM PST by narses
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

I also see big changes coming. Young people especially are not satisfied to accept questionable beliefs and practices, are tired of the false prophecies of millennialists:

http://worldviewchristianchurch.wordpress.com/


5 posted on 02/18/2012 1:28:59 PM PST by grumpa
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

I also see big changes coming. Young people especially are not satisfied to accept questionable beliefs and practices, and are tired of the false prophecies of millennialists:

http://worldviewchristianchurch.wordpress.com/


6 posted on 02/18/2012 1:31:58 PM PST by grumpa
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

The extension of the political concepts of freedom and individualism runs against religious beliefs that God makes the rules.


7 posted on 02/18/2012 1:34:59 PM PST by ex-snook ("above all things, truth beareth away the victory")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hosepipe
If America is like Sodom (or worse) this place may be turning to salt.

No doubt about Sodomites running the streets like gangs.

Martin Luther said couples using birth control are guilty of marital sodomy.

Sins That Cry to Heaven

...It's hard to find a time in history when so many of the sins that cry to heaven as identified by the catechetical tradition outlined in the the Catechism of the Catholic Church have been so amplified. These sins are as follows: the blood of Abel, which represents the murder of the innocent; the sin of the Sodomites, which represents the perversion of human, sexual love; the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt, which represents those held in human bondage; the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan; and the injustice to the wage earner.

What proves disheartening is that so many of these sins have been declared as normal by a culture that has distanced itself from God. For example, if one were to count the number of people living in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington, one would still be about four million people shy of the number of American citizens murdered by abortion since Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal in all fifty states. Fifty million souls is the best estimation of that number, and that will likely accelerate when President Elect Obama signs into law the Freedom of Choice Act, which effectively removes nearly all restrictions at the state level on this civil act of murder.

The sin of the Sodomites comes into focus with the proliferation of not only laws that legitimize disordered sexual behavior but also in the media that attempts to normalize its practice. Where once gay couples were featured in prime time shows as way to show the program's sophistication and also to simply titillate the audience, now one can hardly find a program that does not introduce the gay theme into the plot. Even home improvement shows that feature couples trying to fix up a house have their token gay couple fixing up a bungalow.

There are more human beings in slavery, today, than at any other time in human history. That fact doesn't make the nightly news because it happens in places far removed from Western culture to people in the third world. Were slavery happening in Nebraska versus India, a loud hue and cry would ring out across the land. God sees this injustice even if the West ignores it.

Yet the West does embrace another form of slavery. One of the many factors that has led to the economic downturn has been the culture's enslavement to materialism. The line between want and need has all but disappeared. If one wants it then one must need it and even be entitled to it. This is a form of human bondage that keeps one away from the authentic freedom found in the Gospel.


8 posted on 02/18/2012 1:38:58 PM PST by Brian Kopp DPM
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: NYer

This man did not claim to be a prophet, but he read the Scriptures and foretold according to what it prophecies,

“Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed by its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political, or literary.”
Daniel Webster

“If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be; If God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy, If the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will; If the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end.”

“If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”
Daniel Webster http://www.cancertutor.com/Quotes/Quotes_Presidents.html

And relevant stats show an overall general decline in faith, http://peacebyjesus.witnesstoday.org/RevealingStatistics.html


9 posted on 02/18/2012 1:59:33 PM PST by daniel1212 (Trust in the Lord Jesus to save you as a damned+morally destitute sinner ,+ be forgiven+live)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: NYer

There are and always have been two kinds of churches. Ones where the Holy Spirit resides and those where He does not.


10 posted on 02/18/2012 2:55:56 PM PST by DManA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Well?.....I am curious.

The Episcopal Churches, (whose priests and entire congregations), that have joined the Catholic Church, do these congregations adopt the Mary rituals ( rosary etc.) and praying to the saints that is so much a part of the Roman tradition? What about the belief in purgatory and praying for the dead or the practice of indulgences?


11 posted on 02/18/2012 3:17:55 PM PST by wintertime (Reforming a government K-12 school is like reforming an abortion center.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer

Is it possible to be a Roman Catholic and ignore the Mary rituals, Mary prayer, prayer to the saints, indulgences, and purgatory?


12 posted on 02/18/2012 3:20:11 PM PST by wintertime (Reforming a government K-12 school is like reforming an abortion center.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wintertime
Is it possible to be a Roman Catholic and ignore the Mary rituals, Mary prayer, prayer to the saints, indulgences, and purgatory?

The best way to answer your question is to post our profession of faith - the Nicene Creed, that dates back to 325 AD.

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us men and our salvation He came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Virgin Mary , and became man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures: He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, He is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

13 posted on 02/18/2012 3:40:19 PM PST by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: DManA
There are and always have been two kinds of churches. Ones where the Holy Spirit resides and those where He does not.

And who decides in which one the Holy Spirit resides?

14 posted on 02/18/2012 3:41:35 PM PST by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: NYer
This is the same creed that my church professes but we aren't Roman Catholic.

If the Roman Catholic Church held to the beliefs in the creed without all the other practices ( which seem to be to be syncretic practices) perhaps our congregation would join with the Romans, too.

15 posted on 02/18/2012 3:49:11 PM PST by wintertime (Reforming a government K-12 school is like reforming an abortion center.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: NYer
There is one other problem that I have with the Roman Catholic Church. ( Please,...I am trying to be very respectful, and perhaps you can clarify these concerns for me.)

There are periods in the history of the Roman Catholic Church where the leadership has been very corrupt. It occurs today, on occasion, as well. I don't see where there is any mechanism for the laity to remove these corrupt bishops, cardinals, or popes.

Yet,.. if the member leaves the Catholic Church ( and the corruption under which they suffer) they are guilty of a mortal sin and in danger of eternal condemnation. The only possible solution is to raise up righteous sons and then ( maybe) in two or three generation there would be reform but the member likely won't live long enough to see it. This type of threat ( separation from the “true” church and the “true” sacraments) seems to be almost cult-like mind control.

NY....I am trying to be respectful here. These really are questions that I have about the Catholic Church that I have never been able to resolve.

16 posted on 02/18/2012 3:59:57 PM PST by wintertime (Reforming a government K-12 school is like reforming an abortion center.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: NYer
Finally....Nothing would please me more than to see every Catholic in this nation fully practice their religion. My heart would melt to see every Catholic child in a truly Catholic educational environment being raised up to be righteous Catholics. Imagine how much stronger our nation would be.

Sadly....I believe few Catholic children are receiving a truly Catholic education. My daughter taught math in a K-12 Catholic school in Texas. Every one of the teachers and the principal voted for Obama ( a man who voted three times to allow babies who survived abortion to die in the hopital’s utility sink.) My daughter's math class was the **only** class **not** to watch Obama’s inauguration oath.

17 posted on 02/18/2012 4:04:53 PM PST by wintertime (Reforming a government K-12 school is like reforming an abortion center.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: wintertime

Your never going to purify the Church, however, what we believe about the purity of the Catholic Church is that doctrinally the Church led by the Holy Spirit will not teach error. Its doctrines are sound and truthful. Which doesnt exactly prevent a priest from telling you bunk. But that bunk will disagree with the ‘teachings of the Church’, its doctrine!

If you can find another church like this, then you have a winner.


18 posted on 02/18/2012 4:54:37 PM PST by RBStealth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: NYer
The Catholic church has a lot of “revitalizing” to do before this could happen.

Right now they are dealing with their little problem of having advocated for humanist state, controlled collective “health care” and it's centralized anti-life agenda and machinery. They still have not figured Marxism is the opposite of social justice and Christianity. Even after hundreds of millions of collectivist State murders, the Catholic church still does not see that Christian action is for Christians among Christians and spread out from there.

The rest is true in the Protestant analysis. The megachurch, “we believe nothing in particular” and “we are all prophets now” is undoing Christianity from that end of things. The communist thieves are alive and well in the Catholic church. The shysters are doing their thing in the Protestant “community.”

My prediction - all the churches go dark under the rule of and total power of an amoral humanist State. Home churches will thrive and be persecuted mightily with the approval of the Catholics and Protestants.

19 posted on 02/18/2012 5:25:35 PM PST by SaraJohnson
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYer
A prophet is not necessarily someone who has a supernatural vision of the future. He may simply be a person who can see certain trends in the present, understand the underlying issues and therefore attempt to predict how things may go in the future.

These first two sentences are not Biblical, so the predictions that follow are easily classified as being the product of self, not of God, and can therefore be rejected as being any form of prophetic utterance.

I'll throw out a projection based upon current trends that I in no way claim as prophetic, but that is based upon recent trends: the route to maintaining or expanding the number of adherents in the Catholic Church lies in becoming more like evangelicals. Evangelicals will not be becoming more like Catholics. If there is to be some meeting of the two, Rome has the greater distance to cover.

20 posted on 02/18/2012 5:42:50 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DManA
There are and always have been two kinds of churches. Ones where the Holy Spirit resides and those where He does not.

Father Dwight Longenecker notwithstanding, YOU got it right. The Holy Spirit always has been with the Church, is now and always will be. Where HE is, there is where I want to be.

Where the Holy Spirit isn't, well, those are just Sunday-populated buildings.

21 posted on 02/18/2012 6:30:30 PM PST by cloudmountain
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: RBStealth
Your never going to purify the Church, however, what we believe about the purity of the Catholic Church is that doctrinally the Church led by the Holy Spirit will not teach error. Its doctrines are sound and truthful. Which doesnt exactly prevent a priest from telling you bunk. But that bunk will disagree with the ‘teachings of the Church’, its doctrine!
If you can find another church like this, then you have a winner.

You've got it right.
Jesus KNEW who Judas Iscariot was and what he would do. I think that Judas was part of the template that Jesus showed us. HE chose 12 apostles and ONE was bad. That tells us that we will be finding our men of the cloth flawed sometimes.

Popes don't err when it comes to doctrine and morality. That is the Holy Spirit working. The other stuff? Well, that is humanity working.
My opinion.

22 posted on 02/18/2012 6:36:04 PM PST by cloudmountain
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: cloudmountain
"Popes don't err when it comes to doctrine and morality. That is the Holy Spirit working. The other stuff? Well, that is humanity working."

Amen. No matter what they did as sinners, they did not corrupt God's teachings. David was no bargain either and Peter had his moments. God picked people to spread his message, warts and all.

23 posted on 02/18/2012 7:15:47 PM PST by ex-snook ("above all things, truth beareth away the victory")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: hosepipe

I do believe you will see more folks coming from what used to be missionary countries coming to witness for the Lord in the USA once again. It is as a matter of fact is happening.


24 posted on 02/18/2012 7:29:45 PM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: wintertime

I wish I had more time.

I’m a late-in-life convert to the Catholic Church. I went through RCIA. One can approach the Church through this, without obligating to join the Church. Anyway, there are much better ways to answer your very good questions than in this medium.

I would suggest one thought. It seems some of your questions come under two headings: intercessory prayer and the Communion of Saints. I think it is likely you already believe and understand intercessory prayer; so, it is the Communion of Saints in the Catholic, and creedal, view that could, I believe, answer your objections in a very simple and acceptable way.

thanks for your posts...


25 posted on 02/18/2012 11:34:33 PM PST by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: wintertime
I am truly moved by the sincerity of your post.

There are periods in the history of the Roman Catholic Church where the leadership has been very corrupt. It occurs today, on occasion, as well. I don't see where there is any mechanism for the laity to remove these corrupt bishops, cardinals, or popes.

While it is true that there have been some bad apples amongst the hierarchy, no pope has ever erred on doctrines of faith or morals! The Church is Christ's bride (Ephesians 5:29) and has "no spot, wrinkle or blemish" (Ephesians 5:27). Christ also stated that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church (Matthew 16:18) so how can the Church commit error? Individual clergy may commit sins, even popes commit sins because in the Church there are both "weeds and wheat" (Matthew 13:30).

Yet,.. if the member leaves the Catholic Church ( and the corruption under which they suffer) they are guilty of a mortal sin and in danger of eternal condemnation.

I can appreciate the consternation felt by catholics that reside in dioceses run by some of the more progressive bishops. That has been the situation here for 30+ years. Some leave, others go underground. In the course of my life, I have stepped away from the church several times and justified the decision with similar arguments. But as each liturgical season approached, there would be a tugging at my heart. At one time I even considered leaving the catholic church but a small interior voice would not allow it.

The diocese in which I reside is run by one of the worst (i.e. progressive) bishops in the US. Rather than flee, I recalled the bishop's message to us on the day of our Confirmation: "You are now soldiers of Christ!" Soldiers don't flee, they fight back. Reminded of our Lord's admonition to "seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you", I began with prayer and asked our Lord to guide me to "a holy priest, a reverent liturgy and a community in need of whatever God given gifts I had". Visiting a different parish each week, I continued that prayer. On my list, there were 2 Eastern Catholic Churches. On the day I visited the Maronite Catholic Church, our Lord let me know in no uncertain terms that here was the answer to that prayer. That was 8 years ago and I have been truly blessed by His response.

This type of threat ( separation from the “true” church and the “true” sacraments) seems to be almost cult-like mind control.

Cults lock their doors; the Catholic Church's doors are always open. According to Scripture, Christ wanted us to be one (John 17:22-23). We are all as a Church to be of one mind and to think the same (Philippians 2:2; Romans 15:5). There is only to be one "faith" (Ephesians 4:3-6), not many. For the Church is Christ's Body and Christ only had one Body, not many. Also, since the Church is Christ's Bride (Ephesians 5:29), can Christ be married to more than one wife (essentially a spiritual form of the the sin of polygamy)? No, Christ can only have one wife (i.e., one Church, not many).

Should you feel more comfortable doing so, please feel free to freepmail me about your concerns and I will do my best to respond. We are entering the Season of Lent this week. This is a good time to retreat into daily prayer and ask our Lord for His guidance. Jesus, I trust in you!

26 posted on 02/19/2012 6:31:38 AM PST by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: wintertime

Episcopal Churches that have become Roman Catholic...typically already were Roman Catholic in Mary rituals, praying to the saints, purgatory, praying for the dead, etc.

Within the Anglican (Episcopal) tradition VERY wide latitude was allowed for how Roman a church’s faith and practice could be. Some churches could very well be Lutheran, Presbyterian, (or almost Baptist) in how they worship, and their beliefs. Others are, for all practical purposes Roman Catholic without accepting the authority of the Pope (as with C.L. Lewis’ type Anglicanism, the papacy was always the sticking point).

These almost-Catholic Episcopalians/Anglicans are called “Anglo-Catholic” (and even with them, some just look very Catholic...without Catholic doctrines, while others...really are Catholic). Very Anglo-Catholic congregations in the Episcopal denomination in America are, and have always been a small minority.

Interestingly, in today’s break-away Anglican groups, the more Anglo-Catholic ones are the strongest holding out against female ordination. Their argument though is one based on Tradition (with a capitol “T”) not scripture (a la Catholics).

With these beliefs...the current (apostate) Episcopal Church has also basically pushed them out...


27 posted on 02/20/2012 6:46:24 AM PST by AnalogReigns (because REALITY is never digital...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: AnalogReigns

I was unaware that there was such a wide latitude of religious practice in the Episcopal Church.


28 posted on 02/20/2012 7:24:33 AM PST by wintertime (Reforming a government K-12 school is like reforming an abortion center.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: NYer

So called “non-denominationalism” is in itself a CONTINUATION in the extreme of denominationalism.

Why? Every so-called non-denominational or “Bible” church has its own distinct theology (or set of theologies) which at least the head pastor holds (and each assistant may well have a different theology too). This means the bigger and more “mega” such churches get, the less they cooperate with other churches—as their pastor, his personality, not a tried and tested approach to the Bible....dominates their beliefs.

Most such churches are baptistic in practice, and Zwinglian in assumptions... making them, historically speaking—at the edge of Protestantism (even if pretty well center in American evangelicalism).

Typically they substitute the modern/hyper-individualist SOLO scriptura (individual interpretation only, with NO respect for past Christian belief or traditions) for the classic Protestant/Reformation SOLA scriptura (yes, one letter “a” different) which respected past Christian belief and practice—but just put scripture—as discovered by the Church corporate...as the full and final authority. (yes, that is a seemingly subtle difference, but important).

What this means in practice is that when a mega-church pastor dies/retires or leaves (under a cloud or not) from such an “independent” church, that body finds it nearly impossible to replace him—as the Church’s essential beliefs ARE the founding pastor’s individual beliefs....

Classic Protestant groups however, rally around the Bible as their final authority—but while reading it in respect to generations of devout Christians who came before. Such confessional churches rely on a confession—an agreed upon summary of biblical truths, arranged in a systematic way. This actually builds MORE unity with other churches, as one can be in direct communion with many other churches (a denomination) and not be standing alone (or reliant on a pastor with a charismatic personality), mis-trustful of other churches....as so many so called “non-denominational” (hyper-individualist/divisive) churches are.

I’ve seen it happen more than once. Show me a “non-denominational” church, and I will show you a body with its own unique spin on the Bible, which really doesn’t give respect to either other equally biblically orthodox churches now, or the rich history of 2,000 years of the Church.


29 posted on 02/20/2012 9:50:26 AM PST by AnalogReigns (because REALITY is never digital...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AnalogReigns
What this means in practice is that when a mega-church pastor dies/retires or leaves (under a cloud or not) from such an “independent” church, that body finds it nearly impossible to replace him—as the Church’s essential beliefs ARE the founding pastor’s individual beliefs....

Pretty good description of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.

30 posted on 02/20/2012 9:56:43 AM PST by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: wintertime
I was unaware that there was such a wide latitude of religious practice in the Episcopal Church.

Actually, in the last 20 or 30 years there's been a serious narrowing of acceptable religious practice within The (official) Episcopalian Church (TEC). More and more, if a pastor objects to the official Politically Correct line (female priests & bishops....as well as--much worse--active homosexual priests and bishops....) dictated from the NYC offices of TEC, they will be marginalized or even force to leave. In particular, they have squeezed out traditional conservative/orthodox Christians--either from the evangelical/biblical side (so called "low church) or (and especially) the Anglo-Catholic ("high church") side.

Very few Anglo-Catholic congregations remain Episcopal...

Over the last 20 or 30 years, membership of TEC has reduced by over 30%--and the average age of members today is somewhere over 60. TEC is literally dying.

31 posted on 02/20/2012 10:03:00 AM PST by AnalogReigns (because REALITY is never digital...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: NYer

“A Priest is someone who speaks to God about men, .... A Prophet is someone who speaks to men ... from God,... “


32 posted on 02/20/2012 10:10:43 AM PST by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cvengr
What this means in practice is that when a mega-church pastor dies/retires or leaves (under a cloud or not) from such an “independent” church, that body finds it nearly impossible to replace him—as the Church’s essential beliefs ARE the founding pastor’s individual beliefs....

Pretty good description of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.

Interestingly, in a slow-motion, over the centuries, way....I think you are right.

Whenever the final authority goes to the Bible AND (some charismatic leader or traditional body or you-fill-in-the-blank)there are problems.

My main point was however that the hyper-individualism that non-denominationalism accommodates, and encourages--is more divisive to Christianity than old-fashioned denominationalism.

33 posted on 02/20/2012 10:11:30 AM PST by AnalogReigns (because REALITY is never digital...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: AnalogReigns

FWIW, I also perceive, in substance, the message of the article is occurring.

It troubles me that there has been a push in the recent past to unify Islam with RCC, if not explicitly, then at least by appearance. The recent moves in the Middle East from Africa to Indonesia appear to be an effort to unite Islam from Shia/Sunni differences.

While Catholicism expresses many outstanding doctrines, it also is one of the most visible worldly perceptions of Christianity. This makes it ripe for targeting by the Adversary, to encroach and attempt to counterfeit from within.

IMHO, our first priority is to remain in faith through Christ in all things and let His Will prevail.


34 posted on 02/20/2012 10:18:34 AM PST by Cvengr (Adversity in life and death is inevitable. Thru faith in Christ, stress is optional.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson