Skip to comments.Southern Baptist Pastor Leaves Everything for the Eucharist
Posted on 05/01/2008 5:07:35 PM PDT by annalex
I grew up in a strong Christian home. My parents were, and still are, two of the most devout Christians I have ever known. They instilled in me not only the importance of knowing about Christ, but knowing Him personally. When I was 10 years old, I pledged my life to Jesus and was baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. My teen years were filled with opportunities for spiritual growth thanks to the encouragement and example of my parents and youth leaders. When I was seventeen I dedicated myself to full-time Christian service. At that time, I assumed my future ministry would be that of a pastor. Therefore, I felt I needed a four-year degree in Christian studies and graduate studies in ministry. My family was not in a position to send me to a four-year private school, much less an expensive one, but my trust was in God. If He wanted me to be there, I believed, He would provide the means for me to get there. In what I can only describe as a miracle, I was awarded a four year presidential scholarship and found a job as a resident assistant, which payed for all of my expenses.
In college, I experienced a profound conversion of sorts. Having the opportunity to study under some of the brightest minds in the Evangelical world, I discovered a deep love for learning, especially Scripture, History, and Theology. I became so enamored in fact that I quickly gained a reputation for being a know-it-all. Unfortunately, I had earned that reputation with a head full of pride and a heart lacking in charity when it came to dialogue. I should explain at this point that I was discovering that because of the charism of knowledge, study came very easy to me. Things just seemed to be absorbed as if my mind were a dry sponge. There is nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that I was not tempering my newfound knowledge with humility and personal piety. This flaw would prove to be a major factor in my conversion.
I was so wrapped up in ministry preparation, language studies, and reading that I wasn't even looking for a woman. That's probably a good thing, because while I was distracted, God was preparing my wife over in the ladies' dorms. We met the summer of my freshman year while we worked at a youth camp. It was as close to "love at first site" as I can imagine. We took things slow and filled our non-work time with long walks, talks and Bible studies. I knew very quickly that this was the woman God had chosen to be my wife. We would be married less than two years later and begin our lives together.
Life wasn't super easy for us as we were new to married life, new to bills, and new to pretty much everything else. However, God helped us through our first years with few, if any, major problems. We also learned the importance of health insurance after my face was broken during a pickup mud football game. One thing we had been convinced of as a couple was that God was to be in charge of blessing our lives with children. As such, we did not use contraception, choosing instead to practice the billings ovulation method. Oddly enough, we were not the only ones at our Baptist school who felt that way. As I neared my graduation, God blessed us with the news that we were expecting our first child. Now I would be a father as well as a husband. Apparently, there were more lessons for me to learn outside of the classroom. In spite of a tough course load, three part-time jobs, and school related ministry opportunities; I still managed to graduate on time with a BA in Christian Studies and minors in both Greek and History.
Seminary life was exciting. We were gaining the reputation of being a magnet for top scholarship and theological soundness, which was something many Baptist affiliated schools could not claim. Once again, my desire for knowledge had me taking difficult courses and loving every minute. My professors were challenging my heart as well as my mind, and I'm forever grateful. In fact, their example, along with that of my college professors, led me to pursue a future in theological education. I believed that it was in the classroom and lecture hall that I would be most useful to God as a minister. While I was gaining all this knowledge and continually fueled by a desire to become a great teacher, I was also letting my growth in holiness decline. Daily prayer and Bible study became to me opportunities for lesson planning and sermon writing. I was looking at the Bible for its academic properties and neglecting much of my spiritual encounter with God in the Scriptures. Busier than ever, with a new baby, a new job, and with school, I was beginning to substitute activity for piety. But I didn't notice my mistake.
What I did notice was that my denominational "constituents", for the most part, were historically and theologically myopic. I vowed to myself that a major portion of my ministry would be to take Baptists back to the practices and beliefs of the Baptist founders, which, I believed at the time, to be synonymous with the beliefs and practices of the early Christians. In order to prove this, and to prove the historicity and rightness of Baptist theology and polity, I decided to study the earliest Christian writing I could find in addition to the Bible, namely the Church Fathers.
I had first met the Fathers in college as translation work in advanced Greek classes. Translation of extrabiblical Greek texts honed our skills and eliminated our "crutch" of cheating on translations for which we had memorized the English scripture verses. I first met Saint Polycarp and was so intrigued by him that I wanted to read more. In seminary, I would read the writings of St. Polycarp, St. Clement, St. Ignatius, St. Irenaeus, and St. Justin Martyr. My studies of the Fathers would reveal to me a sacramental Faith, a tangible Faith, a structured Faith, a faith that I was having trouble reconciling to my present denominational affiliation. But my patristic studies would have to wait because shortly after the birth of our 2nd child, I had found a pastoral ministry opportunity to be an associate pastor of youth and education near my hometown.
Church ministry was great because it helped force me back into the devotional practices I had been only weakly observing. Aided by the forceful words of men like John Piper, Charles Spurgeon, and CS Lewis, I was challenged to adopt the principle of "incarnational" living. I wanted the truth to be so ingrained in me that it permeated every portion of my life. This proved to be my final undoing, but at the time, it was spurring me to make changes in my life. Still, I held some things back from God, including my role as a father. I was so busy studying and doing ministry work that I wasn't making time for the kids or my wife, so busy that I didn't even notice my neglect.
In my studies, I continued to read the pre-Nicene Fathers of the Church. The spiritual might I saw in these men showed me that I was lacking something in my life, but I couldn't place it. What I was realizing, however, was that their Church and mine looked totally different. They had an authority structure, bishops, priests, and deacons. They had a liturgy that was rich in beauty and meaning. They had sacraments, most especially the Eucharist. It was the Eucharist that intrigued me most. The more I read, the more I became convinced that Christ was not speaking figuratively in John 6 at Capernaum or in the Upper Room. I was convinced of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, something we as Baptists did not have, but that I wanted.
What I saw in my future was a life as a Catholic, but that couldn't happen yet. I still had way too much ministry to accomplish. I decided to shelve the "Catholic thing" so I could concentrate on finishing my work there. I figured that after five or six years I could step down quietly and pursue my Catholic studies then. I had no desire to cause a scandal. In fact, to make sure no "papist" teaching came out in my ministry; I made a point to provide my senior pastor with copies of all my lessons and sermons before I taught them. It was important enough for me to finish my ministry agenda before pursuing anything else. In fact, I told no one about my desire to know more about the Catholic Church. I studied on my own time, alone, to see if the ancient Church and the modern Catholic Church were one and the same.
My search was very lonely. There was no one I could talk to because if word got out that I was even considering the claims of the Church, I could easily have lost my job, putting my family in jeopardy. I wasn't willing to risk that, even though I was becoming more and more convinced of the Catholic Faith. After a while, I found myself going to Eucharistic Adoration at the Catholic Hospital during my hospital visitation rounds. I set up appointments to talk with priests "under cover of darkness" because I had questions. But I still had no one to share with. I was alone and, quite frankly, terrified of what the future might hold.
I stumbled upon the Coming Home Network almost by accident and was encouraged to find that there were other ministers like me who were asking questions. I found two friends with whom I felt comfortable sharing my struggles. One was a Baptist pastor, like myself. The other was a recent convert from an Evangelical Free background. They became my prayer partners and my sounding boards. When I finally got the nerve to call CHN, I was encouraged by Jim Anderson, who not only talked with me, but also provided books and study materials to aid me in my search. I thank God for the Coming Home Network. I didn't feel quite so alone anymore.
Things continued smoothly, just as I had planned, until we had to travel to California for a wedding. The wedding was beautiful and San Francisco was amazing, but something was not right with me. God was pressing His thumb upon my heart and I noticed it. The whole time we were there, I found myself in constant debate with Him over the state of my spiritual life. The night before we were scheduled to leave, God had His final say with me in what I can only describe as an emotional confrontation. He revealed to my heart, in no uncertain terms, that I was shipwrecking my life. He clearly showed me that my heart was not with my wife or with my children, but with myself and my activities. I was a shallow and selfish man who blamed his ministry for not having enough time to read to or play with his own kids or spend time conversing with his wife. I was living my dream as a teacher, but I was failing to practice the very truths I taught. I was living a lie and I had no excuses.
I wept all night before finally asking God, "What am I supposed to do now?"
"You're going to have to resign."
"But I don't want to resign."
"If you don't step down on your own, I'll remove you myself."
"What am I supposed to do for a living? How will I support my family?"
That was all I remember before crying myself to sleep. It was a deep cathartic cry because my hard heart was finally seeing the message God had been trying to get through my thick skull for almost eight years. He was trying to help me get my life together, not just my personal life and my family, but my eternal life and the eternal lives of my wife and kids. I had to obey. Yet as scared as I was, I had a calm peace that kept reminding me to trust God. I didn't say a word to anybody about this or my decision until I was in the car with my wife, driving from the Memphis airport to our home across the state. We were able to have a seven hour discussion of all God had been showing me. I asked for her forgiveness and for my kids forgiveness, and I made a commitment to earn their trust and win their hearts.
I still had to resign. There were no flashing signs or helpful books to guide me into the unknown. However, I did find strength from my friends at the Coming Home Network. I also found a job. God was reminding me again to trust Him. The resignation itself wasn't that hard, because I had the confidence that I was being obedient. I was determined to be the man God wanted me to be and not to occupy a leadership position until I demonstrated true leadership and not mere academic acumen.
To shorten this story a bit, after resigning and relocating for my new job, I was able to meet with a priest for instruction and formation as a Catholic. I knew that the answer to my spiritual hunger was the Eucharist. On Christmas Eve 2002, my wife and I were received into the Catholic Church. Since then, I have been growing, sometimes by small steps, but sometimes by great leaps. Most precious to me are the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation. God has heaped His grace on me and I can see a change in my heart. He has brought balance into my life. He has saved my marriage. He has reconciled me to my children. He has also, a little at a time, allowed me to resume ministry, this time as a lay catechist and evangelist. I still have my struggles, as we all do, but now I have something I did not have before, hope. I have hope for the future and strength for today through the Eucharist. God continues to teach me to trust in Him and to depend on Him. Through the Sacraments, I continue to grow in my faith, hope, and charity.
Believe it or not, folks, that was the short version. God probably has reserved a crown for you in Heaven just for persevering through my tale. I'm happy to discuss my journey with you, and I'd love the opportunity to pray for you as you search. I'll leave this post with a closing comment.
People have asked me, "Was it worth it?"
Last edited on Fri Jun 8th, 2007 10:32 am by Polycarp
“I understand that you might be mixing up OT and NT.”
There’s no mix up. The principle of Jesus’ reliance on scripture is on almost every page of the Gospels. Jesus was sola Scriptura with the Scriptures of his day.
“Jesus referred to the OT (including the Deuterocanonicals)”
Jesus directly quotes the OT 121 times in the Gospels. He never directly quotes the Deuterocanonicals. Not once.
“The NT wasnt put together for 300 years after His ascension.”
The books were “around” for most of that period, and authoritative the entire time. They just weren’t assembled.
This has no bearing on Jesus use of sola Scriptura.
The scripture tells us that Jesus was the Word, and the Word is God, Jesus is the Son of God.
How do you separate the spoken words of Christ from the Scripture?
Each statement that Jesus made was in direct accordance with what God the Father has said.
“How do you separate the spoken words of Christ from the Scripture?”
I do not think it is necessary to do so. Jesus is the embodiment of the Scriptures.
Did Jesus say thing which are not recorded? Doubtlessly. But listen to John...
“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
The things that Jesus said which are recorded, were recorded specifically so that the reader may believe and have eternal life.
Everything we need to know to be saved and live eternally with God is in the Scriptures.
Simple isn’t it?
Read the book.
I marvel at the miracle of the Scriptures. I believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, and in God’s ability to protect his Word through time.
It brings me comfort to know that I can read the words of Jesus today, many those same words that he used when speaking to those closest to him.
I envy them because they knew him personally in human form. That must have been one of the greatest blessings of all.
***Jesus was sola Scriptura with the Scriptures of his day.***
***Jesus directly quotes the OT 121 times in the Gospels. He never directly quotes the Deuterocanonicals. Not once.***
Hmmm. Let’s go to http://www.scripturecatholic.com/deuterocanon.html and look at the NT references and the Church Fathers:
Matt. 2:16 - Herod’s decree of slaying innocent children was prophesied in Wis. 11:7 - slaying the holy innocents.
Matt. 6:19-20 - Jesus’ statement about laying up for yourselves treasure in heaven follows Sirach 29:11 - lay up your treasure.
Matt.. 7:12 - Jesus’ golden rule “do unto others” is the converse of Tobit 4:15 - what you hate, do not do to others.
Matt. 7:16,20 - Jesus’ statement “you will know them by their fruits” follows Sirach 27:6 - the fruit discloses the cultivation.
Matt. 9:36 - the people were “like sheep without a shepherd” is same as Judith 11:19 - sheep without a shepherd.
Matt. 11:25 - Jesus’ description “Lord of heaven and earth” is the same as Tobit 7:18 - Lord of heaven and earth.
Matt. 12:42 - Jesus refers to the wisdom of Solomon which was recorded and made part of the deuterocanonical books.
Matt. 16:18 - Jesus’ reference to the “power of death” and “gates of Hades” references Wisdom 16:13.
Matt. 22:25; Mark 12:20; Luke 20:29 - Gospel writers refer to the canonicity of Tobit 3:8 and 7:11 regarding the seven brothers.
Matt. 24:15 - the “desolating sacrilege” Jesus refers to is also taken from 1 Macc. 1:54 and 2 Macc. 8:17.
Matt. 24:16 - let those “flee to the mountains” is taken from 1 Macc. 2:28.
Matt. 27:43 - if He is God’s Son, let God deliver him from His adversaries follows Wisdom 2:18.
Mark 4:5,16-17 - Jesus’ description of seeds falling on rocky ground and having no root follows Sirach 40:15.
Mark 9:48 - description of hell where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched references Judith 16:17.
Luke 1:42 - Elizabeth’s declaration of Mary’s blessedness above all women follows Uzziah’s declaration in Judith 13:18.
Luke 1:52 - Mary’s magnificat addressing the mighty falling from their thrones and replaced by lowly follows Sirach 10:14.
Luke 2:29 - Simeon’s declaration that he is ready to die after seeing the Child Jesus follows Tobit 11:9.
Luke 13:29 - the Lord’s description of men coming from east and west to rejoice in God follows Baruch 4:37.
Luke 21:24 - Jesus’ usage of “fall by the edge of the sword” follows Sirach 28:18.
Luke 24:4 and Acts 1:10 - Luke’s description of the two men in dazzling apparel reminds us of 2 Macc. 3:26.
John 1:3 - all things were made through Him, the Word, follows Wisdom 9:1.
John 3:13 - who has ascended into heaven but He who descended from heaven references Baruch 3:29.
John 4:48; Acts 5:12; 15:12; 2 Cor. 12:12 - Jesus’, Luke’s and Paul’s usage of “signs and wonders” follows Wisdom 8:8.
John 5:18 - Jesus claiming that God is His Father follows Wisdom 2:16.
John 6:35-59 - Jesus’ Eucharistic discourse is foreshadowed in Sirach 24:21.
John 10:22 - the identification of the feast of the dedication is taken from 1 Macc. 4:59.
John 10:36 Jesus accepts the inspiration of Maccabees as He analogizes the Hanukkah consecration to His own consecration to the Father in 1 Macc. 4:36.
John 15:6 - branches that don’t bear fruit and are cut down follows Wis. 4:5 where branches are broken off.
The site has the references in the Epistles and the Church Fathers following.
***The books were around for most of that period, and authoritative the entire time. They just werent assembled.***
What do you mean “around”? There weren’t copy machines or electronic data records. Handwritten letters and not many of them since 98% of the early Christians were illiterate, poor and persecuted.
There were many other “books” around as well such as the Gnostic Gospel of Judas, the Acts of Peter etc. It took the Church to finally sit down and assemble the Bible.
Jesus taught that the authority of His teachings resided in the Church and not in writings of any kind.
What a beautiful post!
It really is envy of the disciples.
When I feel lost and need God, I pray to Jesus and say, “I so wish you could come to me as you did when you had your ministry on earth. It would be so helpful to have you personally guide me, looking into my eyes, patting my hand and hear you say, “I came to see you, to offer you my love and encouragement.”
I KNOW God does love me and is there for me.
But, I still wish that I could have been one of those to see Him with my own eyes.
We will one day....isn’t that exciting to think about????
Patience is the hard part my FRiend. In the meantime we can encourage others to find that same anticipation.
Seeing Him will be the highest point of my life, I am certain. What a way to end a good life on earth, don’t you think?
It will be nice to see you there, too. :)
Allusions, "foreshadowing", vague references - but not one direct quote! Not one instance of Jesus saying, "But what saith the Scriptures..." and quoting a Deuterocanonical book.
Many of the references you listed are also related to passages in the OT.
Take your first one for example...
"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel. Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.
After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him. And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, Out of Egypt I called my son.
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: A voice was heard in Ramah,weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children;she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.
But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead. And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: He shall be called a Nazarene. "
Do you see that? You strain to find a reference to "Scripture" in the supposed Wis. 11:7 sitation, but the writer, Matthew, has surrounded you with real quotes of real Scripture. The fact that the Wis. 11:7 is not cited as scripture when so many others are should be a real eye-opener to someone holding your position. Matthew went to great length to identify Scriptural support, why did he fail to reference Wis. 11:7???
"What do you mean around? There werent copy machines or electronic data records. Handwritten letters and not many of them since 98% of the early Christians were illiterate, poor and persecuted."
What I mean is that the written record of Jesus words existed very early in the Church. All of the Gospels were completed before 100AD and very likely before 70AD. All of Paul's writings circulated in the church during that same early period. You make it sound like the church was wandering, Scriptureless, for 300 years. That's just not the case.
"Jesus taught that the authority of His teachings resided in the Church and not in writings of any kind."
Do you think John disobeyed his Lord when he wrote...
"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
The thing that bothers me most about this argument, (which I hear from many Catholics), is that you seem to believe you must diminish the authority of the Scriptures so that you can enhance the authority of the traditions and heirarchy of the RCC. When I see Catholics arguing things like"Jesus never told anybody to write anything", if feel sick to my stomach and sorry for them.
No one motivated by the Spirit of God ever attacks or diminishes the importance of the Scripture. Go and search the Bible and see if what I said isn't true.
One would think that at the time of the cononization...done to fight heresy, that all things necessary to understand the Lord's complete revelations and live according to the way He deems right, would have been contained in the scriptures...else, why canonize at all? No, the rcc uses 'traditions' as the camels nose in the tent to unload all manner of ungodly rules upon humanity. As stated in Matthew Henry's commentaries....
"The Thessalonians are exhorted to stedfastness in their Christian profession, to hold fast the traditions which they had been taught, or the doctrine of the gospel, which had been delivered by the apostle, by word or epistle. As yet the canon of scripture was not complete, and therefore some things were delivered by the apostles in their preaching, under the guidance of the infallible Spirit, which Christians were bound to observe as coming from God; other things were afterwards by them committed to writing, as the apostle had written a former epistle to these Thessalonians; and these epistles were written as the writers were moved by the Holy Ghost. Note, There is no argument hence for regarding oral traditions in our days, now that the canon of scripture is complete, as of equal authority with the sacred writings. Such doctrines and duties as were taught by the inspired apostles we must stedfastly adhere to; but we have no certain evidence of any thing delivered by them more than what we find contained in the holy scriptures."
Not according to a Soveriegn Lord. Nobodys right hand can save themselves (Job). Some free will protestant do think that [their salvation occurs when THEY make a decision]. Their way of thinking tries to rob the Lord of His glory [and allows themselves to take credit for a miraculous event! Only He can redeem depraved individuals and make them pure as snow and therefore] having mercy upon whom I will have mercy [and instead places the final activating event within the power of the created being].
Branching out a bit into your other thoughts regarding the purseverance of the saints and how our salvation IS NOT able to be lost, but is imperishable:
In 1 Peter, Peter describes life after the spiritual rebirth....
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith
It is not the re-birth that takes a life time. That happens in an instant. It is the testing of that faith that lasts a lifetime. We reborn ELECT are not insulted from the ramifications of sin, Inherited or otherwise. However, perseverance of the saints is always in effect. Nothing can pluck My sheep from My hand. AND that salvation, once sealed is forever....
1 Peter 1:23 states, For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
Romans 10:17 states, So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Therefore, faith is a gift of God arriving through the WORD of Christ. Not Catechism. Not tradition. Not some druid-looking priest that slips a wafer into your mouth. By the WORD, through the Power of Christ, according to Him. Period.
Through good humanism (satan LOVES humanism) you do feed and materially help many in third world countries and here at home. Unfortunately, you have veered WAY off the Christian path with imposed rules-of-men and misrepresentation of scriptural truths, all pushed onto these same people whom you materially help.
It appears Catholics do a great job keep people very comfortable on the way to hell.
keep = keeping
Testing and strengthening, yes. So?
"All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever."
And this word is the good news that was preached to you."
- St. Peter, 1 Peter 1:23,ff
Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Scriptural proof that baptism and being born again by hearing the Gospel and believing are not the same thing.
Paul, in 1 Cor. 4 claims to have begotten the Corinthians through the Gospel:
"For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel."
... but a few chapters earlier, Paul specifically said the he baptized only a few people...
"I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect."
Paul clearly sees a distinction here between baptism (which he was not call to do) and preaching the Gospel (by which the Corinthian believers were begotten).
Scriptural proof that people are when people hear and believe the Gospel, the Holy Spirit enters their life:
"O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?"
St. Paul - Ga. 3:1, 2
"In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."
St. Paul - Ephesians 1:13,14
(I apologize for taking a while to get back with you. I hope you have a chance to respond. I look forward to your thoughts.)
Wrong on all counts. And the capping argument about oral tradition is that CHRIST HIMSELF taught from non-written JEWISH oral tradition (which fact IS recorded in Scripture). The tradition that the RCC teaches is what it has ALWAYS taught, and a bit of study of the church fathers will prove that. And of course, you will never see the scriptural foundation for purgatory (Maccabees) in the poor eviscerated excuse for a Bible that you Protestants use, as the relevant books were jerked out and discarded by Martin Luther.