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The Barren Harvest of Protestantism
http://jcrao.freeshell.org/BarrenHarvest ^ | 1984 | Dr John Rao

Posted on 02/23/2010 9:25:41 AM PST by stfassisi

The best outline for demonstrating this thesis is provided by the words of my previous sentence themselves: “Protestantism”, “seed”, and “barren harvest”. An examination of each of these in turn will reveal the true horror of last year’s ecumenical agape. Hopefully, this article will be helpful in teaching Catholics that truly progressive men interested in the real benefit of mankind must forever band together to reject Protestantism and the barren seed that it sows.

It is essential to begin by insisting that I am not anathematizing Protestants as individuals. Men are always difficult quantities with whom to deal. Even Luther, with his vulgarity, obscenity, and pompous boasting, cannot be judged by us, or personally be charged with the developments that I will be cataloguing below. Historians cannot, ultimately, uncover the fullness of human motivation. Men are wont to lie, and, also, to misconstrue their own desires. Human beings are frequently irrational, and, hence, do not apply to their own lives the principles and corollaries of their most beloved theses. The original Protestants operated in a world formed by centuries of Catholic experience, and the power of custom, habit, and pure inertia is very strong, indeed. Like Litvinov, the Jewish Soviet Foreign Minister of the 1930’s, who crossed himself while boarding airplanes “because he was a Russian”, Luther himself contradicted the consequences of his own notions because he was in many ways still a Catholic. Jeremy Bentham is said to have blunted suggestions that utilitarian, democratic rule might give birth to atrocities with the comment: “Englishmen do not act that way”. Luther would have attributed my little shop of Protestant horrors to a vivid papist imagination. “Christians”, he might have said, “simply do not act that way”. He did not see the historical outcome of his concepts’ application, and, hence, could not imagine them (until his last, disgruntled apocalyptic days, that is to say. But this is another story, to be tackled in a future article).

Finally, let us remember that practically no one in our unhappy age knows anything at all. Catholics have generally not got the faintest clue as to the meaning of Catholicism; Protestants are no different. Present-day Protestants are as much unwilling victims of Luther’s ideas as we Catholics are. They cannot be attacked for supporting what they do not even understand. If ecumenism has been devised to appeal to the good faith of believing Protestants, to guide them lovingly back to the True Church, without rancor and accusation, then ecumenism is a good thing. When Christians are confused, then Rome must be loving and kind.

It is equally essential to point out that one must anathematize Protestantism. Protestantism as an idea stands on its own, unable to be manipulated arbitrarily, incapable of divided feelings and sentimental behavior. Protestantism as an idea is either friendly to Catholicism or not. It is not. It was bad in 1517 and it is worse today. When one meditates upon the foundations of Catholicism, he irons out the kinks and the seemingly dangerous aspects of its machinery. When one meditates upon the foundations of Protestantism, its inner logic makes it destroy Christianity and desolate the world. Ecumenism for the purpose of reconciling Protestantism with the Church is ecumenism with the demon. When Christians are obstinate, then Rome must be firm and authoritative.

What, exactly, is the “seed” of Protestantism? It is not the specific practices and preoccupations of given sects, most of which are either by-products of the basic seed of unimportant eccentricities. Rather, the crucial seed of Protestantism is the doctrine of total depravity. Luther’s conviction that human beings are completely corrupted and incapable of pleasing God after Original Sin is the centerpiece of his entire theological edifice. It is only because of his insistence that men can never be purified, either in this world or the next, that the concept of justification by faith alone becomes necessary. If men cannot please God, through good works, the sacraments, and sanctifying grace, then their only hope lies in complete abandonment to His will. It is only due to the total depravity doctrine that Scripture becomes the sole possible teacher of Christians. After all, the Church could be shown to have definitively opposed this doctrine throughout her history, while the Bible, freed from Rome’s interpretation, might (with a bit of irrational force) be construed to support Lutheran concepts.

Anyone interested in the seed doctrine of Protestantism finds that Luther is ultimately not the man to explain it. Luther, in the final analysis, was a radical with many conservative kinks to him. He had, intellectually at leas, a split personality, and does not appear to have been terribly logical. One has the clear impression that he stumbled onto only a few of the consequences of his thought, and these gradually and almost against his will. He seems to have accepted rather than embraced them, if such a distinction can be made. Moreover, his early dependence upon political support for survival quickly limited the development and prestige of Lutheran, or, as it is officially called, Evangelical Christianity.

The real sculptor of the total depravity doctrine is Jean Calvin, founder of Reformed Christianity. Frenchman, lawyer, writer, and zealot, Calvin squeezed from the concept almost everything that a man could eek from it while still believing in Christ. Calvin also saw the dangers of the Lutheran political situation, and determined that Reformed Christianity would, if anything, subject the state to religious controls. His prestige thus rose among independent-minded men, and Reformed Christianity became the form of Protestantism that penetrated Europe. Litvinov, when told in Depression New York that snow plows had been abandoned in favor of shovels in order to provide more men with work, asked why spoons were not used to insure total employment. Protestants, in a sense, asked the same thing. Why ought they to take the Lutheran hors d’oeuvre when they could have the Calvinist entrée? He who would know the doctrine of total depravity must look to Calvin.

The most important thing to realize about the Protestant seed is that it yields a barren harvest. Protestants thought that the concept of the Creation as a mirror of God robbed the Divinity of His uniqueness and majesty. So did the idea that men were the wounded lords of Creation who, with God’s help, might someday be washed as white as snow. The doctrine of total depravity, which humbled the whole of Creation, and men along with it, did so for the purpose of emphasizing the glory of God. It succeeded in accomplishing the opposite. It began by insisting upon a view of the universe so dreary as to make men flee from the harsh God who allowed it as though He were the demon. Instead of magnifying the glory of God, it ended in His rejection. Secondly, the doctrine of total depravity causes those who are formed by it, yet flee from it, to leap back into a rule-less Creation. There exists no way to navigate a course through the Protestant Creation, no path avoiding the bad and leading to the good. All is wicked. True, there are those who take the opportunity to flee from the Protestant God to embrace a universe which they wish to be as perfect as they once thought it to be depraved. Nevertheless, the tendency of secularized Protestantism is to leave men rule-less and ultimately in despair. Ignaz von Döllinger, the nineteenth century German Church historian who later broke with Rome, irritated many followers of the Reform by demonstrating how the doctrines of contemporary Protestant preachers ran totally contrary to the immediate desires of Luther and Calvin. One could go further. The Reformation is in and of itself a principle of contradiction. It destroys man and it destroys God.

This theme may be developed with reference to a body-spirit analogy. Creation, for the sake of my argument, may, somewhat inaccurately be referred to as the “body” of existence, and God as its “spirit”. The doctrine of total depravity has sought to humiliate the body, or Creation, for the glorification of the spirit, or God. It has done this in a four-fold fashion. The results of its efforts has been the abandonment of the spirit, the body’s declaration of independence from God, and Creation’s collapse into rulelessness. It is essential to examine each aspect of this four-fold humiliation in turn.

One might note, to begin with, that the doctrine of total depravity killed the “rhythm” of the body. Christ asked men to use their eyes and their ears to see and to hear. Catholicism did this, and realized that the human body followed certain rhythms. One of these rhythms was that of fasting and feasting. Most civilizations have recognized that men need to fast and to feast in order to answer a two-sided aspect of their character. Needless to say, man’s animal nature does tend to pull him towards a desire to sit down to an eternal banquet, but, when he does so, he pays a psychic price that even natural human wisdom has abundantly catalogued. Pagans understood the value of self-sacrifice. Christ demonstrated that renunciation, built upon His abandonment to the Cross, was the pathway to heaven. Catholicism has, therefore, noted in the fast not merely a kind of biological necessity, but an instrument predisposing man to be receptive to, accept, and merit sanctifying grace. Lent, and other periods of fast and abstinence, are naturally good for man, and supernaturally still more beneficial.

At the same time, however, life with God is not a fast. It is a heavenly banquet. Christians ought to recognize the joy and glory of living in the presence of the Divine Majesty. The feast day, marked at its mid-point by food and drink, song, dance, and general merriment, is necessary as a most-fit means of emphasizing man’s future reward. A feast answers man’s longing for joyous abandonment, and prefigures the abundant love of God for His children. Carnival may be a somewhat raucous beginning to the Lenten season. The Easter merriment, however, is a perfectly suitable conclusion.

Protestantism’s seed doctrine of total depravity attacked this rhythm. It could not see that anything in the human character might give direction to the Christian seeking God. Calvinist Protestantism emphasized the need for a king of permanent fast, not as a means of preparation for sanctifying grace, but because feasting made men believe that the world could provide some pathway to or foretaste of joy. A life of permanent fasting is not, however, a human life. Its dreariness caused men to flee from the Protestant God in horror. When they did, they discovered themselves in a universe which was thought by their ancestors to be depraved, and, thus, had been left ruleless. Imitating Luther himself, who tended towards gluttony, they were logically led to the table d’hôte. They behaved in its presence like performers in La grande bouffe. They had no measure for their indulgence. They engaged in a permanent feast. But the permanent feast obscures man’s understanding even of his natural need to fast. It does so at least until such time as the misery of endless consumption ruins all his happiness. One can ignore the legitimate promptings of the body only at the risk of enormous discontent.

A second way in which the total depravity doctrine works to kill the body, or Creation, is by striking at what may loosely be called its “fuel”. This “fuel” comes in two forms, that of thought and that of love.

Catholicism understood that human reason, like every other aspect of man’s character, was good, though flawed and limited. It could not help but encourage the work of philosophers and theologians, even while recognizing that they would often err. One could compensate for such error, it argued, by submission to the guidance of the Church on matters of faith and morals.

Protestantism, in the total depravity doctrine, disdained reason along with the rest of Creation. It was frightened by the endless wrangling over philosophical issues that seemed to accompany admission of the value of the human mind, and felt it to be dangerous to a secure faith. It gradually recognized that a preoccupation with dogmatic theology was also harmful, in that it underlined the innumerable disagreements over specifics entertained by the legion of Protestant denominations. Protestantism, therefore, degenerated into a mindless form of Christianity. At best, it exhausted itself in pious practices, moralizing, and social work, as though one could long remain in agreement even about their proper character without the active involvement and adhesion of the human mind. At worst, it became an insane religion, whose liturgy encompassed bodily writhings and senseless howling. In either case, the men of thought were shown that they had nothing, really, to tell it.

Those who did think were left with several choices before them. They could pursue their work calmly without reference to religion, being Christians with their left hand and intellectuals with their right. They could themselves reduce thinking to purely utilitarian limits, as though philosophy or theology were primarily practical, in a materialistic sense. Or they could, like those horrified by the permanent fast, flee in horror from the Protestant God. Those that did lose their faith found that they were left with no means whatsoever of rising above the “practical” realm. Faith gone, their reason could not help them. The world of thought for which they abandoned their God was God-forsaken. Again, it was so depraved that it had had no rules given to it. Rules would have meant that reason was itself salvageable. Left on their own, secularized Protestants were like children with too many toys on Christmas morning. They were allowed to play carelessly with their minds. Nothing—not balance, not harmony, nor Aristotelian logic—could really bind them. The intelligent man’s adhesion to Protestantism tended to cause him either to assume that his thought should return some kind of cash benefit, or to visit the way station of pride on the road to complete irrationality and true despair.

The doctrine of total depravity also destroyed the fuel of love. It taught, first of all, that man was forever unlovable. Hence, man’s love could never touch God, who arbitrarily chose who would live with Him forever. God’s Law, according to this doctrine, must be obeyed simply because it was God’s Law. It was not carried out because obeying it could ever please God in and of itself, and thus lead man to salvation, even with Christ’s sacrifice as its backdrop. Moreover, human love was ultimately reducible by it to a purely material phenomenon, which could never take the form of a sacrament. Even the least radical form of true Protestantism understood that marriage could not be anything other than a contract.

Catholic-dominated nations tend to presume that law and love must correspond. Even though such societies may, at times, appear to be burdened down by a superabundance of laws, these proscriptions are disobeyed en masse when the law-love equation is not present. Protestant-influenced nations, in contrast, develop an odd form of legalism that often will not bend to the needs of human beings and to human love. Even though such societies may, at times, appear to be less regulated by law, their reaction to regulations can be rigid and exceptionless.

Two stories may be useful in illustrating my point here. Alice von Hildebrand once told me of traveling on a bus in Italy with her husband. There was a sign in the front of the bus prohibiting smoking. An Italian gentleman sat next to her enjoying a cigar. When Dietrich von Hildebrand pointed to the sign, the man simply shrugged and announced that he paid his taxes. When told, however, that Mrs. Von Hildebrand was physically troubled by smoke, he quickly extinguished his cigar, announcing that that, after all, was a different story.

The second vignette comes from German literature, from a tale entitled Hans und Heinz Kirch. This is set in a northern German town of the nineteenth century. Heinz and his father Hans quarrel on the eve of the young man’s departure on an extended merchant sea voyage. Hans refuses to pay the postage due on his son’s first, long-delayed letter home. The disbelieving postman is accosted by Heinz’s sweetheart, whom everyone knows. She begs to pay for the letter, read it, and return it. The postman sighs, and says that even the postmaster (even the postmaster!!) cannot allow this. The girl, sadly but submissively, files away without further scene. Like the Prussians whom I met who were resigned to leaving train windows shut in 95 degree heat because the regulations insisted upon it, the bending of the law to love is understood by her not to be a truly viable possibility.

The loving man soon joined the thinking man and the man who appreciated the rhythm of his body in fleeing in horror from the God responsible for this sort of outlook. When he did so, however, he found himself in the ruleless universe left by the total depravity doctrine. Love lay outside the divine scope of things, and love had no rules when God was abandoned. Hence, men could logically behave in the manner justified by a Protestant friend of mine after he discovered women. This man had been literally disgusted by the most innocent displays of adolescent flirtation in his early youth. When women became a reality to him, however, things changed drastically. I asked him if he intended to marry. He looked at me as though I were a lunatic, and explained that the only thing that interested him was sex. This, of course, was nothing unusual. His views became interesting when I began to question him about his outlook towards sexual morality as a whole. He said that there was none. “Sex”, he claimed, “ought to be left in the gutter where it belongs”. Those who insist that there is no means of purification in life always tend either toward revulsion to love or ruleless indulgence in lovemaking. Once more, there is no real method of forging a pathway away from the bad and towards the good. Life must be all one or the other.

A third consequence of the doctrine of total depravity involves the stripping away of the body’s adornment. Human beings are constructed in such a way as to pull them down into the mud or raise them up to the heavens if they “dress down” or “dress up”. When beauty surrounds them, they assert the glory of God and the magnificence of their own destiny. When cheapness, tawdriness, and vulgarity surround them, they adjust their understanding of the meaning of existence accordingly.

Catholicism recognizes that the outward forms of Creation are meant to shout sursum corda and raise man’s heart to God. It understands that it can somehow find the best in food, drink, dress, music, art, and architecture to lift man out of the drabness of a day-to-day reality that might otherwise exaggeratedly depress him. This it does in manifold forms. It finds whatever is good in the simple as well as in the grand, the small as well as in the massive, the subdued as well as the explosive, and raises the heart to God in different ways. Counter Reformation, Baroque civilization, guided by the Jesuits and directed by their devotion to the greater glory of God, lay particular stress on the grandeur to be found in the Creation. It did this to answer the Protestant disdain for the universe. Hence, it filled everything from dress to architecture with vibrancy, color, gold, and majestic beauty. Who could not think of the glory of God and of the possibility of Heaven when in a Baroque Church in the Baroque sections of Rome?

Total depravity denied the possibility of this sursum corda. Again, nothing on the wicked earth was seen to be capable of leading men to God. Many Protestants, acting on this principle, tried to steal from men all the finery in food, drink, dress, art, and other realms that sought to embellish Creation. They stripped the environment of everything that could raise the mind to God. The result was not to glorify God by depriving the world of all that could compete with Him, but to cause His abandonment by depriving the world of all that reflected His beauty.

Some men influenced by the doctrine of total depravity understood that they were being swindled. Nevertheless, when they set about trying to redress their grievances, they did so in an unfortunate manner. A friend tells the story of a boy whose teacher takes him for an outing into town. When the boy questions the teacher about an innocent, attractive young girl that he sees, he is told that she, and everything that she represents, is “the devil”. The boys at school ask him of his trip to town when he returns. He explains that the nicest thing that he saw therein was “the devil”. Thus, if he is attracted to her, he must abandon God for the demon.

A similar fate awaited the unhappy victim of the total depravity doctrine. He saw a Creation left to be enjoyed by the servants of the demon. He understood the world of beauty to be their domain. Therefore, when attracted to the cultivation of beauty, he noted no choice but that of joining their ranks. Once he began to adorn the body of existence, he felt that he was inevitably working against God. He had become God-forsaken, and was no longer bound by any rules. All sense of proportion, propriety, objective value, and reason in general were tossed out of the window. The doctrine of total depravity either leaves the body in a vulgar state due to barrenness, or in a vulgar state due to lack of all classicity and because of atomistic insanity. Man loses in either way. He is dragged down to wallow in the mud.

The fourth and final fashion in which the doctrine of total depravity played havoc with the body was by attacking its structure as such. Catholicism taught men that they were part of a community, the Mystical Body of Christ, guided by the Savior through the Church authorities, and made capable of aiding one another in their path to God. Community and authority were shown to be absolutely essential to man’s happiness and end. This Mystical Body was seen to be alive, death in Christ only strengthening a member’s ability to act efficaciously within it. Its Cult of the Saints encouraged daily contact with the Immortals, and ensured a constant recognition of the existence of the supernatural. The world beyond was made a palpable reality in the world here and now. All legitimate communities and authorities were told that they, too, in their own fashion, could aid in the perfection of their individual members. They gave flesh to their goals and the virtues required to achieve them in the same palpable way that the Church gave flesh to the Christian message and the Christian way of life.

The immediate effect of the Protestant teaching was to reveal to men their existence as individual atoms, as slaves of an arbitrary God, as creatures incapable of helping one another to reach Heaven. Christianity thus became a purely personal phenomenon. Communities and authorities like the Church and its Bishops were, after all, no less depraved than man was himself. They could not temper an evil which they helped to encourage. “Atomistic” Christianity became a bookish religion, a phenomenon that lost its vibrancy on the date that the last scriptural passage was written. Protestant Christianity, reduced to this lifeless state, ceased to be a sociological force of great importance. Human beings need to see things in flesh and blood, and if they cannot observe a visible Church, with visible prefigurations of an invisible world, then Christianity is not taken seriously by them. Protestantism could not be seen, and it duly sunk to secondary importance in the western religious scheme of things.

Alas! Secularized Protestants, wounded by the doctrine of total depravity, found themselves applying the same atomistic principles that had been used to destroy the Church to all authorities and communities around them. If the Church were pretentious in its claims to aid and perfect the individual, so were the guilds, the universities, cities, states, nations, and families. All such bodies had to be subjected to individual whim, or even destroyed, in order that the person might face existence alone, as he was meant to do. Since men cannot face existence alone, however, and since they positively require communities and authorities to embody morality and human ends, the results of this general dismantling of the western communal structure has been utterly horrendous. Principles of economic justice, cooperation, learning, neighborliness, patriotism, and parental respect have disappeared along with the institutions that gave them flesh. Men without bodies are not men. Human society without communal bodies is not human society. Atomized, secularized Protestant society is, indeed, the abomination of desolation.

Unfortunately, one need not look too far to discover some of the possible consequences of the doctrine of total depravity. The United States is a major example of a country subject to its influence. Our nation is the only crucial western nation that has not gone through an orthodox Christian stage in its development. Protestantism was its religious guide, and Calvinistic Puritanism particularly powerful in its formation. Hence, many aspects of American life reflect the four-fold killing of the body, flight from a harsh God, and plunging into a ruleless Creation that I have noted above.

Demonstrations of this truth can be found all around us. The United States has witnessed the impressive effort to enforce a permanent form of public fasting in the shape of Blue Laws, Prohibition, and similar phenomena. Revulsion by such actions helped to cause a mass exodus from God among Puritan-influenced men and in the Puritan-influenced system of higher education in our country. Rejection of permanent fasting has left us not with a balanced, Catholic view, but with a glorification of permanent consumption, of permanent feasting. A visit to a shopping mall or to urban areas of popular entertainment lead one to the conclusion that we are living a Mardi Gras with no Lent to follow. When this happens, there can be no real enjoyment, because the body’s true rhythm is still ignored. The false gaiety of much contemporary American life is symbolized by the drink once served to a friend of mine. It was not a wine, whose taste might please both God and man. Rather, it was a country stump juice, tasteless, colorless, and odorless, one sip of which sent him flying to the moon. From total abstinence, we have proceeded to total indulgence, without knowing even a minor interval of innocent pleasure.

Similarly, Protestant disdain for true thought has been instrumental in making our country one of the most “practical-minded” on the globe. Serious speculation is often dismissed here as entertaining at best, and insane at worst. Serious issues are frequently addressed by formulae as shallow and simple as advertising slogans. In contrast, practical matters, like dealing in real estate, are transformed into sciences rewarded by degrees. This has had three consequences for thinking men. Some have become Catholics and rediscovered the spiritual life. Many have fled the country to seek comfort elsewhere. Most have adopted the ruleless atomistic thought of secularized Protestantism, felt guilty as a result, and justified their philosophizing with reference to deep and exotic psychic needs.

Love has also suffered its tortures in our land. It is not at all difficult to understand why pornography and perversity are now respectable features of American life. How could a secularized Puritan culture rediscover the sacramental quality of something which it had so long shunned as depraved? Once God’s Law disappeared as a restraint, this civilization had nothing left to hold it back. Ironically, one can now buy any debased form of literature in New York City twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year, while a bottle of wine cannot be sold in stores on Sundays. The pleasure which is always bad is always permitted. The pleasure which can always be used in a proper fashion is not.

And what of the adornment of the body? The United States has constantly had a tradition of denigrating the elaborate as effeminate, and has divinized a drab conformism in dress, music, architecture, art, food and drink. Interestingly enough, as a French visitor once pointed out to me, the only time that many Americans do dress up is when they go to work, as though this were the only sacred liturgy of a practical, consuming population. Again, when the harshness of life developed from such a view became intolerable to those who detested the commonplace, the reaction was as bad as the disease. Functionalism was replaced by the ruleless behavior of psychotic atoms. The adoration of formica and plastic gave way to the adulation of formless sculptures, traditionless trends and atonal music.

Finally, where has there not been a clamor in the United States against substantive authority and community? Where have we not seen demands for a democratization of all institutions, and an abolition of their powers of coercion, both physical and moral? The glory of the atomistic individual is sung by our most important poets, justified by our most famous philosophers, and made inevitable by our obsession with economic growth. We have been punished by an inhuman way of life in our arid suburban shopping malls, on our freeways to nowhere, and in the trendy, childless, apartment houses of our cities.

Catholicism can be said to view the universe as an Unfinished Symphony. It calls an orchestra together under the vaulted hall of the heavens, and explains to the musicians that a composer has given them parts of a magnificent piece that he has prepared, in order to test their ability to play it. It notes that the entire symphony will be given to them only after successful performance of the first movement. The musicians work hard, though some do fall by the wayside. They begin to polish their instruments, put on their finest clothing, and walk with confidence and quiet pride as they realize the quality of the music with which they are dealing. They await the day that they will be given the rest of the piece with humility and with joy. They know that they can finish the Unfinished Symphony.

Protestantism never permits this completion of the symphony. It never permits its completion because it never permits its beginning. The musicians who arrive to audition for it are told that there has been a dreadful misunderstanding. They are assured that the music of the spheres can never be played by men. A disappointment overtakes them, they file out of the hall, and the heavens fall silent forever.


TOPICS: Catholic; Evangelical Christian; Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: antiamericanism; catholic; drjohnrao; leftist; sanctifyinggrace; totaldepravity
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To: P-Marlowe; SnakeDoctor

“How is this thread not the functional equivalent of Jack Chick tract?”

If it were, would that mean you could be held responsible for all of Chick’s worst excesses? Would that give others the right to insist, over your protests, that you believe this and that because they read it in Chick?

I never heard of this Rao guy, and I don’t think it’s proper for Catholics to be held responsible for his writings.

SnakeDoctor complained that, “Protestantism is characterized as “mindless” and “at best pious moralizing without the active involvement of the human mind”; “at worst an insane religion of bodily writing and senseless howling”. He constructs straw men (such as joyless Protestantism, “complete depravity”, “permanent fast”, etc.)”

About that I have two things to say.

1. Some guy named Rao said that, not I, nor anyone here.

2. There are protestants here who habitually, frequently post things about Catholicism that are just as bad, and often worse. I am quite frankly amazed at their expressed blindness to their own conduct, when they are so quick to react strongly when those same insults are leveled at them.


301 posted on 02/25/2010 11:07:40 PM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: annalex
I love FR because it’s home for any conservative American.

Right!

302 posted on 02/26/2010 4:26:21 AM PST by Frumanchu (God's justice does not demand second chances)
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To: annalex
Where is the inaccuracy of Rao’s grasp of the doctrine?

And what's with this anti-semitic aspect to what Cardinal Vlk calls Lefebvrism?

Why do you support John Rao, who apparently writes not just anti-American but anti-semitic material? And then goes to the Czech Republic to spread anti-Americanism there?

303 posted on 02/26/2010 5:20:55 AM PST by Poe White Trash (Wake up!)
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To: dsc; P-Marlowe; SnakeDoctor
Here is the entire paragraph:

Protestantism, in the total depravity doctrine, disdained reason along with the rest of Creation. It was frightened by the endless wrangling over philosophical issues that seemed to accompany admission of the value of the human mind, and felt it to be dangerous to a secure faith. It gradually recognized that a preoccupation with dogmatic theology was also harmful, in that it underlined the innumerable disagreements over specifics entertained by the legion of Protestant denominations. Protestantism, therefore, degenerated into a mindless form of Christianity. At best, it exhausted itself in pious practices, moralizing, and social work, as though one could long remain in agreement even about their proper character without the active involvement and adhesion of the human mind. At worst, it became an insane religion, whose liturgy encompassed bodily writhings and senseless howling. In either case, the men of thought were shown that they had nothing, really, to tell it.

Total depravity of man is the first T in the TULIP, an influential system of Protestant thought. Why is it a "straw man"?

The inability of Protestantism to come to a single denominator on theology is fact of life. That is very visible on the value, or lack thereof, that it places on good work. Ther spectrum is from Salvation Army, a Protestant Church that became a charity, to full-TULIP calvinism only capable of gazing at its own glory-predestined navel. A rational mind -- rational it is, if it starts with the false, but axiomatic for a Protestant premise of Bible Alone, asks, what does the Scripture really say? -- and ends up with another denomination, all his own. A practical mind instead calls for philosphical relativism ("they are all correct" or "you can't be the only true religion"). Either case, the end result is mindlessness. Agree or disagree, this is meat for thought.

And, what is Protestant liturgy?

Jack Chick, on the other hand, has cartoons about the pope and the mafia. I don't think the comparison can be made.

304 posted on 02/26/2010 5:41:43 AM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Poe White Trash

Do you have a comment on the article?


305 posted on 02/26/2010 5:42:33 AM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
Do you have a comment on the article?

Do you have any responses to the many questions I've posed on this thread about the AUTHOR of the article -- John Rao? The author of the article who was identified by a Cardinal of the Church of Rome as an anti-semite and a spewer of anti-American canards, the author whose body of work is so counter to the philosophy of Free Republic that the AUTHOR's material is now banned from the site?

Still waiting for a response to any of the questions I've posed to you.

306 posted on 02/26/2010 5:55:28 AM PST by Poe White Trash (Wake up!)
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To: dsc

>> 1. Some guy named Rao said that, not I, nor anyone here.

I only attributed the comments to those that commended the article as worthwhile, or said the points were “interesting” or had merit. If that isn’t you, then no worries.

>> 2. There are protestants here who habitually, frequently post things about Catholicism that are just as bad, and often worse. I am quite frankly amazed at their expressed blindness to their own conduct, when they are so quick to react strongly when those same insults are leveled at them.

One cannot simultaneously object to having the aforementioned rant applied to all Catholics — and then attribute the posts of one Protestant to all Protestants. Either the insults are warranted, or they are not. Don’t disclaim any responsibility for the content of the post, (point 1), and then make excuses for why the content is warranted (point 2).

SnakeDoc


307 posted on 02/26/2010 6:44:33 AM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: annalex

>> Either case, the end result is mindlessness. Agree or disagree, this is meat for thought.

I am disintrested in having a theological conversation with a person that finds my faith “mindless” — or anyone, for that matter, who would level such an accusation at a fellow Christ-follower.

Thanks anyway, chief.

SnakeDoc


308 posted on 02/26/2010 6:53:24 AM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: annalex

I will, however, add the following ...

Protestantism is united insofar as it is a rejection of some of the tenets of Catholicism. But, Protestantism is not a single faith — it is a group of Christian denominations which is united in its rejection of certain portions of Catholic doctrine.

As a Baptist, I regard both Catholicism and Calvinism (for example) as denominations of Christianity to which I do not ascribe because of theological disagreements. My faith, however, has commonalities with both Catholicism and Calvinism. I have more in common with Calvinists in that both denominations have rejected specific Catholic doctrines — but commonalities exist between all Christian denominations.

Protestantism is, fundamentally, about defining a core Christian faith according to the Scripture. As such, the only united Protestant faith that you’re likely to encounter is with regard to two defining characteristics ...

(1) the essentials of Christianity — i.e. those tenets of Christianity which are undeniable (creation, original sin, flood, virgin birth, miracles, crucifixion, bodily resurrection, second coming, etc.)

(2) rejection of Catholic heirarchy, traditions, and rituals and Canon law as extra-scriptural.

Debates between Catholics and Protestants on the second point will rage until Kingdom Come. However, there should be little debate among Christians on the first point(s) — and there is little cause to smear fellow-Believers as “mindless” simply because of disagreement on the second point.

The article is a smear campaign against fellow Christians, and it is unconscionable. To what purpose? Why label fellow Christ-followers as mindless and incapable of joy? Why smear a fundamentally Christian theology that has brough millions-upon-millions to belief in Christ as “fruitless”? Would Christ Himself approve? Could there possibly be an ulterior motive to seek to discredit and dehumanize an entire branch of Christianity?

I’ve lost a LOT of respect for several individual Catholics on this board that I previously regarded as allies in Christ.

SnakeDoc


309 posted on 02/26/2010 7:34:29 AM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: Jim Robinson; RnMomof7
We are not an arm of the Vatican. Not even a finger or toe.

Very good sir, and thank you for your response. I had suspected as much, but some of our separated brethren appear to believe otherwise.

310 posted on 02/26/2010 10:18:36 AM PST by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: stfassisi
Why Only Catholicism Can Make Protestantism Work: Bouyer on Reformation
311 posted on 02/26/2010 12:42:38 PM PST by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: SnakeDoctor

“One cannot simultaneously object to having the aforementioned rant applied to all Catholics — and then attribute the posts of one Protestant to all Protestants.”

When I wrote, “There are protestants here who,” I explicitly and clearly refrained from attributing the posts of one protestant to all protestants.

It seems very clear to me that I spoke of “those protestants here who,” and *not* all protestants. I am puzzled that you seem to have thought otherwise.


312 posted on 02/26/2010 2:31:40 PM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: SnakeDoctor

“I am disintrested in having a theological conversation with a person that finds my faith “mindless””

Do you have anything to say about the individual protestants here who have called Catholicism “mindless?”


313 posted on 02/26/2010 2:37:36 PM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: Poe White Trash

When you have a comment on the subject matter of the article, make it.


314 posted on 02/26/2010 5:17:40 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: SnakeDoctor

That “commonality” is simply the remnant of Catholic faith that all Protestants have. The moment a Protestant steps outside of that remnant, he has a faith of his own. That is exactly like you describe, and it is pathetic. Christ warned against those who scatter the flock (Mt 12:30, Luke 11:23, John 10:12, John 17 entire chapter). Yet this is exactly what you guys do.

The cultural and social outcomes of Protestantism are now evident, as this great nation is about to lose its Christian identity altogether. Since Protestantism is the dominant religion here, or at least it has been, it is a fair topic to examine why.

I fully understand that it is an unpleasant read, but this is a discussion forum and so far the only discussion was how best to pull the article.

Freepers should be able to do better.


315 posted on 02/26/2010 5:34:20 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
Christ warned against those who scatter the flock (Mt 12:30, Luke 11:23, John 10:12, John 17 entire chapter). Yet this is exactly what you guys do.

What would you call sending papal armies against people who opposed the sale of indulgences, if not scattering the flock? Your own church is reaping a bitter harvest, due to past corruption.

If you have no idea of what I'm referencing, I'd suggest a little study of the Waldenses. The headquarters of their world ministry is here in North Carolina.

Conservative stimates of just how many pacifist Waldensians were killed, run into the tens of thousands. As far as an authoritative source, I'd suggest beginning with Giorgio Tourn.

316 posted on 02/26/2010 5:49:15 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: RegulatorCountry

It is true that Protestantism is a product of the Western Church, so we as Western Catholics bear the responsibility for that. It is not just that when our Church is slandered daily we feel the need to respond and maybe point to a log or two in the accuser’s eye. It is also that ultimately, it is the Western Church that has the responsibility for restoring the unity.

The sale of indulgences was stopped almost as soon as it started. There was corruption in the Church and probably still is, as in any influential organization. None of that justifies the shipwreck of faith that the so-called reformers engineered under the pretext of fighting the indulgences.


317 posted on 02/26/2010 5:56:34 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: ConservativeDude
» one might say, rather, that since America was planted on soil that had never been corrupted by Catholicism, it became the greatest experiment in freedom the world has ever known. Protestantism, America and Liberty are inseparable.

Amen, Bro!

...And beautifully stated, too.

318 posted on 02/26/2010 6:00:06 PM PST by TonyRo76 (American by birth. Patriot by choice. Christian by grace.)
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To: annalex

>> Christ warned against those who scatter the flock (Mt 12:30, Luke 11:23, John 10:12, John 17 entire chapter). Yet this is exactly what you guys do.

Your protest rings hollow. Your arrogant disdain for, and intentional alienation of, Protestant followers of Christ does far more to scatter the flock than I ever could. I previously considered you and I united as members of the body of Christ.

>> The moment a Protestant steps outside of that remnant, he has a faith of his own. That is exactly like you describe, and it is pathetic. [...] I fully understand that it is an unpleasant read, but this is a discussion forum and so far the only discussion was how best to pull the article.

That is as it should be.

Like I said, I am disinterested in having a theological discussion with someone that regards my faith as “pathetic”.

I have lost respect for you — with whom I recall previously having reasonable theological discussions — and anyone that agrees with you. I have little more regard for you and your “theology” than I do your run-of-the-mill Christian-hating atheist.

This conversation is over.

SnakeDoc


319 posted on 02/26/2010 6:23:06 PM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: dsc

>> Do you have anything to say about the individual protestants here who have called Catholicism “mindless?”

No. It has become clear from this article, and the ensuing discussions, that we are indeed separate faiths. Defend your own religion.

SnakeDoc


320 posted on 02/26/2010 6:26:10 PM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: dsc

>> When I wrote, “There are protestants here who,” I explicitly and clearly refrained from attributing the posts of one protestant to all protestants.

You cited the “there are Protestants who” line as a defense of a baseless Catholic diatribe against all Protestants. The fact that you regard this ridiculous attack on Protestant theology as justifiable due to those comments is the functional equivalent of blaming all Protestants.

Pardon me if I fail to see your distinction.

SnakeDoc


321 posted on 02/26/2010 6:30:48 PM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: SnakeDoctor

At this point, Protestantism is already scattered beyond repair. To pretend that it is just fine and a matter of personal interpretation of scripture does nothing to bring the Protestants back, and they need to be back.

Again, I regret that it is an unpleasant discovery for you.


322 posted on 02/26/2010 6:36:26 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

You need not regret anything. As I said, I have no more regard for your smear campaign than I do for that of a run-of-the-mill Christian-hating athiest. As such, your rants have not engendered any “discovery”, unpleasant or otherwise.

SnakeDoc


323 posted on 02/26/2010 6:42:21 PM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: SnakeDoctor

A “smear” would be saying something that cannot be substantiated. Everything I said I also substantiated.


324 posted on 02/26/2010 6:45:37 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
I've already made my statement about the article per se: it's a pedestrian polemic that is heavy on anti-Protestant horn-tooting and light on facts and analysis.

If you ever screw up enough courage to provide answers to ANY of the many questions I've posed about the anti-American and anti-Conservative positions of John Rao, please post them.

Right now, I'm reading an essay from the Catalyst, a journal published by William Donohue's Catholic League. It's about a book review written by E. Michael Jones, who took part in the panel discussion after John Rao's 2006 speech in the Czech Republic. Just like Cardinal Vlk, they think that Jones is an anti-semite. They also argue he can't get his theology right. Interesting.

Playing fast and loose with theology

325 posted on 02/26/2010 6:57:23 PM PST by Poe White Trash (Wake up!)
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To: annalex

As I’ve clearly stated, I do not regard you, your religion, or your smear campaign highly enough to bother arguing over your ‘substantiation’.

Your assertions are a nonstarter, and reveal less about me and my faith than they do about you and yours. Move along.

SnakeDoc


326 posted on 02/26/2010 6:58:31 PM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: RegulatorCountry

If you haven’t seen it already, take a look at Gabriel Audisio’s _The Waldensian Dissent: Persecution and Survival c.1170-c.1570_.


327 posted on 02/26/2010 7:01:47 PM PST by Poe White Trash (Wake up!)
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To: SnakeDoctor
As I’ve clearly stated, I do not regard you, your religion, or your smear campaign highly enough to bother arguing over your ‘substantiation’.

Well, good for you. When you've finished giving direction to God on His revelation to the world, and where He has gone wrong, and how to correct it, what will you do next?

328 posted on 02/26/2010 7:12:59 PM PST by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: MarkBsnr

God gives direction to me, not the reverse. He may not be as visible as the Pope, but we have a rapport.

SnakeDoc


329 posted on 02/26/2010 7:15:58 PM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: Poe White Trash

Thanks, but I picked it up at the gift shop of the Waldensian Heritage Museum, in Valdese, NC a while back.

http://www.visitvaldese.com

http://www.waldensian.org/mailinglist.php


330 posted on 02/26/2010 7:18:44 PM PST by RegulatorCountry
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To: SnakeDoctor
God gives direction to me

Fascinating.

He may not be as visible as the Pope, but we have a rapport.

If you don't mind me asking, what form does that rapport take? How does God communicate with you?

331 posted on 02/26/2010 7:20:17 PM PST by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: RegulatorCountry

Cool kittens! Thanks for the links!


332 posted on 02/26/2010 7:23:59 PM PST by Poe White Trash (Wake up!)
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To: MarkBsnr

The same way He communicates with your pope (in theory) ... through Word and deed. I’m sure the pope will explain it to you someday.

SnakeDoc


333 posted on 02/26/2010 7:24:51 PM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: SnakeDoctor
The same way He communicates with your pope (in theory)

I suppose that I am ignorant of that, being of a lesser level than others. Could you possibly illuminate we lesser beings of your revelation directly from God?

I’m sure the pope will explain it to you someday.

Possibly, but I am asking you to explain your revelation to me now.

334 posted on 02/26/2010 7:30:45 PM PST by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: MarkBsnr

>> I suppose that I am ignorant of that, being of a lesser level than others.

That’s a shame. It must be rough being that disconnected from your God and His Son. Rest assured, He’s looking for you ... so keep looking for Him.

>> Possibly, but I am asking you to explain your revelation to me now.

A personal relationship with God cannot be explained. It must be experienced to be understood. The Baptist faith may be able to help, if you ever get the inclination.

SnakeDoc


335 posted on 02/26/2010 7:35:32 PM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: SnakeDoctor
>> I suppose that I am ignorant of that, being of a lesser level than others.

That’s a shame. It must be rough being that disconnected from your God and His Son. Rest assured, He’s looking for you ... so keep looking for Him.

How do things look in the front row?

Luke 18: 9 He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. 10 "Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity--greedy, dishonest, adulterous--or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.' 13 But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.' 14 I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

I admit that you are so great.

A personal relationship with God cannot be explained. It must be experienced to be understood.

Gnosticism too? You have displayed much unChristian and now Gnostic beliefs. Anything more?

The Baptist faith may be able to help, if you ever get the inclination.

Which Baptist faith?

336 posted on 02/26/2010 7:42:48 PM PST by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: Poe White Trash

I do not make a secret of any of my views, but I will not sidetrack the thread to discuss them here.

Neither are thoughts of Dr. Rao on other subject relevant here, and, further, he is among banned sources.


337 posted on 02/26/2010 7:45:46 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: MarkBsnr

>> How do things look in the front row?

I’ll let you know when I get there.

I am not great, and my relationship with Christ is not unique ... and neither is your pope’s. He reveals Himself through His Word, and through His very real presence in my life.

A personal relationship with Christ is common among Baptists that have accepted Him — and is quite common in the 50K+ member Baptist church I attend. I cannot speak to whether it is common among other Protestant denominations, but I suspect it is.

It is both telling and regretful that Catholics do not seem to comprehend such a relationship.

SnakeDoc


338 posted on 02/26/2010 7:51:06 PM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: SnakeDoctor
>> How do things look in the front row?

I’ll let you know when I get there.

Sounds like you think that you are already there vis a vis your claimed personal revelation from God.

I am not great, and my relationship with Christ is not unique

You have not explained what it is.

He reveals Himself through His Word, and through His very real presence in my life.

What is the process of the revelation?

A personal relationship with Christ is common among Baptists that have accepted Him

I am interested in the form and the process that you claim results in the personal relationship. You have claimed that God reveals things to you. How, specifically?

It is both telling and regretful that Catholics do not seem to comprehend such a relationship.

Without being too smug, please illuminate those of us who are not blessed with this level of revelation from God.

339 posted on 02/26/2010 7:56:41 PM PST by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: annalex
I do not make a secret of any of my views...

Hic Rhodus, hic saltus!

340 posted on 02/26/2010 8:07:52 PM PST by Poe White Trash (Wake up!)
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To: MarkBsnr

>> Sounds like you think that you are already there vis a vis your claimed personal revelation from God

I am a born again follower of Christ, and thus have a relationship with Him. To the extent that you believe that qualifies as a “front row seat”, then maybe so. However, a personal relationship with God is not a result of personal perfection or achievement. Salvation is available to all by Grace alone.

>> I am interested in the form and the process that you claim results in the personal relationship. You have claimed that God reveals things to you. How, specifically?

Through prayer, scriptural study, and His presence in my life. I think I’ve been as clear as I can. How do you believe God reveals Himself to the Vatican? How did they get a front row seat that remains unavailable to rank-and-file Catholics? The relationship that you believe the Pope has with God is available to each and every person on this earth. That is the best explanation I can offer.

>> [...] please illuminate those of us who are not blessed with this level of revelation from God.

I am apparently and unfortunately unqualified to offer such illumination — there are multitudes of Baptist pastors that are much more eloquent than I on such subjects.

Ultimately, illumnation will come only from God Himself. Pastors and faithful followers can only point you in the right direction.

SnakeDoc


341 posted on 02/26/2010 8:08:37 PM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: SnakeDoctor
I am a born again follower of Christ, and thus have a relationship with Him. To the extent that you believe that qualifies as a “front row seat”, then maybe so.

What you claim and what is true may be considerably divergent. I do not believe that you have a front row seat; I do believe that you believe you have one.

Through prayer, scriptural study, and His presence in my life. I think I’ve been as clear as I can.

You are still circumspect. What do you claim is His presence in your life and how does He communicate with you?

The relationship that you believe the Pope has with God is available to each and every person on this earth. That is the best explanation I can offer.

It's a lousy one. For one thing, you have not explained any of your claims. For another thing, you have no idea of what I believe that the Pope's relationship with God is.

Ultimately, illumnation will come only from God Himself. Pastors and faithful followers can only point you in the right direction.

More Gnosticism. That was condemned by the Church in the first Century and rightly so. I must thank you though, for being forthright in that admission.

342 posted on 02/27/2010 6:23:48 AM PST by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: MarkBsnr

I have explained myself to the best of my ability. If you are truly curious, which I sincerely doubt, I would urge you to seek out people more qualified than I. Some suggestions —

- Dr. Edwin Young is the pastor of Second Baptist Church in Houston, the Bible-based Christian mega-church I attend.
- John MacArthur is a renown evangelical theologian.
- Mark Driscoll is a pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle (I think). Driscoll is a Calvinist pastor, and has his errant moments, but speaks to a unique audience (20-30 y.o. males) that is often overlooked by the church.

You may not agree with me, or these pastors and theologians, but at least you’ll come away with a better understanding than you have at the moment.

I am unfamiliar with gnosticism.

SnakeDoc


343 posted on 02/27/2010 8:22:28 AM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: SnakeDoctor
I have explained myself to the best of my ability. If you are truly curious, which I sincerely doubt, I would urge you to seek out people more qualified than I.

Other people are better qualified than you to explain what your faith is? I thought that that was a major beef of the Reformation - that Luther's every milkmaid could then become her own Pope and discard the teachings of any church. But at any rate, if you cannot explain your faith, then one wonders just how strong it is, or even how close it is to Christianity.

You may not agree with me, or these pastors and theologians, but at least you’ll come away with a better understanding than you have at the moment.

These three pastors all have a sufficiently divergent theology that I do not have any greater understanding of your faith than I did several posts ago.

I am unfamiliar with gnosticism.

Perhaps you don't know the name, but your posts certainly are full of the practices.

344 posted on 02/27/2010 8:45:12 AM PST by MarkBsnr ( I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: MarkBsnr

>> Other people are better qualified than you to explain what your faith is?

My failure to explain is less attributable to my lack of understanding than to my inability to get it across to you. This may very well be due to your overarching aim to ignore, belittle and discredit Baptists and/or Protestants generally, rather than engage in honest inquiry. I was being gracious in continuing take the blame for your lack of understanding.

>> I thought that that was a major beef of the Reformation - that Luther’s every milkmaid could then become her own Pope and discard the teachings of any church.

We discarded the teachings of the Catholic church as the contrivances of men, not the Word of God. They are. We hold fast to the divinely-inspired teachings of Scripture, not the words and edicts of corrupt men.

>> These three pastors all have a sufficiently divergent theology that I do not have any greater understanding of your faith than I did several posts ago.

These pastors disagree on some peripheral points, but their theology is not significantly divergent. Again, your aim is clearly to belittle Protestant Christianity. I see little purpose in continuing this conversation.

>> But at any rate, if you cannot explain your faith, then one wonders just how strong it is, or even how close it is to Christianity.

Luckily for me, I need not prove myself to you.

SnakeDoc


345 posted on 02/27/2010 9:12:31 AM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: SnakeDoctor
your overarching aim to

Attributing motives to another Freeper is a form of "making it personal."

Discuss the issues all you want, but do not make it personal.

346 posted on 02/27/2010 9:17:27 AM PST by Religion Moderator
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To: Religion Moderator

Due to the nature of the article, it was always personal. The conversation is over anyway. My apologies.

SnakeDoc


347 posted on 02/27/2010 9:25:54 AM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: MarkBsnr; SnakeDoctor

“I am interested in the form and the process that you claim results in the personal relationship. You have claimed that God reveals things to you. How, specifically?”

1 - By scripture. “11Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” - 1 Cor 10

The examples in the Old Testament and New were meant to teach us and guide us. No, God doesn’t normally direct one in what shirt to buy, but he does give a huge amount of guidance on a variety of areas. I just left the Baptist Church I’ve been part of for 4 years, because I didn’t want to be unequally yoked with Calvinists whose ideas about God & evangelism and missions is so different from my own.

Before I ever went on a date, I knew any girl I would get serious about would have to be a Christian, for the same reason.

2 - The Holy Spirit. Sorry dude, but I can’t give you detailed instructions on listening to the Holy Spirit. I dated my wife for 3 weeks prior to proposing...a bit different, and I don’t really recommend doing so, but I was convinced our marriage was God’s leading - and I still believe it 23 years later. I’m not saying God normally acts via that, but it happens.

If you haven’t heard his voice, I suggest repenting and asking God to open your eyes & ears and to fill you with the Holy Spirit.

3 - Discipline. Just like I use discipline and reward to communicate with horses and dogs, God uses them to communicate his will to us. He actually treats many unbelievers in like manner, but most are too blind to know it.


348 posted on 02/27/2010 9:41:59 AM PST by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: Mr Rogers

Well stated. A better explanation than I could muster, though I seriously doubt it’ll get through. Good luck and Godspeed.

SnakeDoc


349 posted on 02/27/2010 9:45:48 AM PST by SnakeDoctor (Do you know if the hotel is pager friendly? [...] I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.)
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To: stfassisi
"There is nothing malicious about exposing Calvinism."

To paraphrase Harry Truman; You're not giving them hell, your are just telling the truth and it feels like hell.

350 posted on 02/27/2010 10:18:39 AM PST by Natural Law
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