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Pope urges churches to learn from evangelicals
Monsters and Critics ^ | Sept 23, 2011

Posted on 09/23/2011 8:52:52 AM PDT by Alex Murphy

Erfurt, Germany - Pope Benedict XVI urged mainstream Christian denominations Friday to learn from hard-working evangelical churches which are more successful in their missionary work.

'Faced with a new form of Christianity, which is spreading with overpowering missionary dynamism, sometimes in frightening ways, the mainstream Christian denominations often seem at a loss,' Benedict said during a meeting in Erfurt, Germany with Lutheran leaders.

'This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability,' he said according to speech notes distributed by the Vatican. The meeting was held behind closed doors.

'This worldwide phenomenon poses a question to us all: what is this new form of Christianity saying to us, for better and for worse?'

The pope was referring to fundamentalist Protestant and pentecostalist groups which not only proselytize in non-Christian regions of the world, but have also converted hundreds of thousands of former Catholics in Asia and Africa.


TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism; Evangelical Christian; Ministry/Outreach
KEYWORDS: evangelicals; pope; romancatholic
Pope Benedict XVI urged mainstream Christian denominations Friday to learn from hard-working evangelical churches which are more successful in their missionary work....The pope was referring to fundamentalist Protestant and pentecostalist groups which not only proselytize in non-Christian regions of the world, but have also converted hundreds of thousands of former Catholics in Asia and Africa.

See comments by the Pope on the related thread Converts vs. 'Cradle Catholics', wherein he compares Catholic and (former) Evangelical efforts:

Do converts to the faith make better evangelists than "cradle Catholics"? Pope Benedict XVI seems to think so. Christians since childhood should "ask forgiveness," the pope told a group of his former theological students recently, "because we bring so little of the light of [Christ's] face to others, and emanate so feebly the certainty that he is, he is present and he is the great and complete reality that we are all awaiting."

1 posted on 09/23/2011 8:52:57 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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To: Alex Murphy

This is a nice response to the “swimming the Tiber” posts we often see.


2 posted on 09/23/2011 8:59:04 AM PDT by fishtank (The denial of original sin is the root of liberalism.)
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To: Alex Murphy

Probably not a good idea to mimic evangelicals at this point. They’re quickly degenerating into either a social gospel, Rick Warren, or prosperity gospel, Joel Osteen. All apostasy. If you want some mentors, look to the house churches in China, IMHO.


3 posted on 09/23/2011 9:04:02 AM PDT by demshateGod (The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.)
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To: Alex Murphy
Maybe it's because Evangelicals teach the Biblical evangelion, that dikaiōsis is a forensic word.
4 posted on 09/23/2011 9:04:38 AM PDT by Thane_Banquo
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To: Alex Murphy

Well, I’m not Pentecostal, and I’m not fundamentalist, but I am evangelical. The Pope can keep his snide comments to himself.


5 posted on 09/23/2011 9:05:05 AM PDT by chesley (Eat what you want, and die like a man. Never trust anyone who hasn't been punched in the face)
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To: Alex Murphy

Personally, I urge Roman Catholics and Protestants of any kind to not worry about each other.

The theological differences are slight and largely stylistic in the scale of things.

Focus on muslims and non-Christians.


6 posted on 09/23/2011 9:05:13 AM PDT by TheThirdRuffian (Nothing to see here. Move along.)
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To: Alex Murphy
"'This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability,' he said according to speech notes distributed by the Vatican."

Read that, "few institutional chains, much concern about truth and even more about reasonable interpretive techniques, with reliance upon God's Spirit rather than our man-centered superstitious cult." No wonder the Vatican is distributing notes...to double as tissues.

7 posted on 09/23/2011 9:07:13 AM PDT by Dutchboy88
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To: demshateGod

I don’t think the Pope was talking about mimicking them. He was referring to their “fervor” and “zeal” while at the same time asking how such a hollow and false form of Christianity spreads just like Mormonism before the advent of the Haggards, Schullers, Tammy Bakers; Osteens, and Grahams,


8 posted on 09/23/2011 9:08:10 AM PDT by Steelfish (ui)
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To: Alex Murphy

“This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability”

Kind of sounds like the first century church.


9 posted on 09/23/2011 9:18:29 AM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: Dutchboy88; Alex Murphy
Looks like those Vati-CAN'T t-shirts are getting to the pope. I would imagine we will soon hear of the newly released "Chant Your Way to Prosperity" Vatican cd.
10 posted on 09/23/2011 9:21:50 AM PDT by smvoice (The Cross was NOT God's Plan B.)
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To: Alex Murphy
'This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability,' he said according to speech notes distributed by the Vatican. The meeting was held behind closed doors.

As the product of a fundamentalist Protestant and an Irish Catholic marriage, I am at a loss to know how to respond to this.

Evidently his Holiness was referring to those Protestant sects which both proselytize intensively in the Third World and are either fundamentalist or Pentecostal:

The pope was referring to fundamentalist Protestant and pentecostalist groups which not only proselytize in non-Christian regions of the world, but have also converted hundreds of thousands of former Catholics in Asia and Africa.

I think that most Protestants recognize a distinction between fundamentalist and Pentecostal and I assume that the Vatican does as well. But these descriptive terms embraced a multitude of sects some of which might fit the description in part or in whole but many, perhaps most, do not.

I am at a loss because the very idea of most Protestants sects is not to build "institutional depth" but, quite the contrary, to break through the institutional barriers between man and God. To the degree that every man is a priest, I suppose one at the peak of the Roman Catholic. would regard the collective faithful of a Protestant faith to be of "little stability." The Protestants might rejoin that is not stability but solvation which they seek and one of the reasons they "protest" against the Catholic Church is because in their eyes its very stability poses a barrier to that goal.

The rationality and "dogmatic" content (I assume this is some sort of problem in translation) of Protestant faith is an observation wide of the mark if one is mindful of Martin Luther's injunction: "Sola Scriptura."

It is not my purpose here to refight the thirty years war, God knows that was a terrible experience for Western civilization and lead to a kind of modus vivendi in which Lutheranism and Catholicism could co-exist. It was one of the most brutal, bloody, and prolonged wars in our history. It was only through exhaustion that an accommodation could be reached. I hope that does not presage our experience with radical Islam.

But it should tell us why the American Bill of Rights starts off with the First Amendment which is a direct product of that European experience.

His Holiness is quite right to defend his faith. I share much of his concerns even though I have chosen the Protestant path. However, his words are impolitic and he should measure them more carefully in the future.


11 posted on 09/23/2011 9:21:58 AM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: Alex Murphy

How many have been driven away the Catholic church by the ongoing sex abuse scandal? And the the repeated attempts to cover it up?

Let the Pope remove his millstone and he’ll be better able to speak.


12 posted on 09/23/2011 9:48:25 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Alex Murphy

‘This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability,’

That’s Protestantism in general really.


13 posted on 09/23/2011 9:55:25 AM PDT by vladimir998
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To: nathanbedford
You realize that the Pope made his remarks to Lutherans, right? He was not talking about Protestantism in general. He was discussing the subject of Pentecostals and he was contrasting their methods and success with those of "mainstream Christian denominations", to quote the article. This presumably includes not only Catholics but also Lutherans (to whom he was speaking), Anglicans, Episcopals and perhaps others such as Methodists and Presbyterians.

This was not a "Catholics vs Protestants" speech although some apparently would like to spin it as such.

14 posted on 09/23/2011 10:08:55 AM PDT by marshmallow (.)
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To: count-your-change
Let the Pope remove his millstone and he’ll be better able to speak.

As if there were really a way for him to do that to the satisfaction of his critics! He's done more to fix the problem than anyone else living, but it's still thrown at him no matter what he says, or whom he says it to.

15 posted on 09/23/2011 10:50:02 AM PDT by Campion ("Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies when they become fashions." -- GKC)
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To: Alex Murphy
form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability

. . . kinda like the apostles in the beginning, huh?

16 posted on 09/23/2011 1:09:28 PM PDT by RatRipper (I'll ride a turtle to work every day before I buy anything from Government Motors.)
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To: marshmallow
No, I had not realized that he was speaking to Protestants about other Protestants. That would seem to temper his remarks somewhat but I do not think it wholly cures them of insensitivity (I cannot believe I just used that word!).

Does it matter that it is not a Roman Catholic leader commenting on Protestantism but a Roman Catholic leader with established Protestant church leaders commenting on the fundamentalist and Pentecostal churches?

I suppose much depends on the rest of his remarks to set the context which the article regrettably fails to supply beyond saying that the fundamentalist sects are a phenomenon "for better or worse" (emphasis supplied) who have "converted hundreds of thousands of former Catholics."

In the context as supplied, it is not unreasonable to question the remarks which described these fundamentalist churches as possessing "little... depth... stability....content."

I am willing to accept that the thrust of the pope's remarks have somehow come through distorted but if the fault lies not with His Holiness it must lie with a reporter or editor.


17 posted on 09/23/2011 1:30:40 PM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: vladimir998

‘This is a form of Christianity with institutional quagmire, overly rationalistic and even less Biblical content, and with little ability to control the sexual appetites of it’s leadership’

Now, who does that sound like?


18 posted on 09/23/2011 1:50:30 PM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: PetroniusMaximus

Protestantism again.


19 posted on 09/23/2011 2:03:08 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: PetroniusMaximus
‘This is a form of Christianity with institutional quagmire, overly rationalistic and even less Biblical content, and with little ability to control the sexual appetites of it’s leadership’

Now, who does that sound like?

BWA HAHAHAHA

20 posted on 09/23/2011 2:10:08 PM PDT by Alex Murphy (Posting news feeds, making eyes bleed: he's hated on seven continents)
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To: Alex Murphy

Plus got to remember that the Christian faith is growing in the global south nations. Give credit to the Evangelicals as well as Catholics who are on fire for their faith.


21 posted on 09/23/2011 2:10:45 PM PDT by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: PetroniusMaximus

Which however did soon develop institutions that have enabled the Church to persist for more than 2000 years.and dogmas that have prevented splintering into small sects with little social impact, and a rationality that is the foundation of modern culture.


22 posted on 09/23/2011 2:12:06 PM PDT by RobbyS (Pray with the suffering souls.)
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To: Alex Murphy

Evangelical preachers are well known for loving the members of their congregations, too much. At least in the South where I grew up. That’s why the anabaptists in Germany alarmed the Lutherans as much as the Catholics, because of the kind of antinomianism that disfigured the Church in Corinth. In the South , divorce has always been rampant, because love matches even among Christians tend to flame out, because marriage is just a contract, and a contract is just an agreement to be broken.


23 posted on 09/23/2011 2:20:32 PM PDT by RobbyS (Pray with the suffering souls.)
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To: Alex Murphy
"But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness: God is witness:" 1 Thess. 2:4,5.

The Second Vatican Council stated that the goal of the Church's ecumenical STRATEGY was the UNITY of ALL Christian churches through COMMUNION with the Roman Catholic Church:

"The results will be that, little by little, as the obstacles to perfefct ecclesiastical communion are OVERCOME, all Christians will be gathered, in a COMMON CELEBRATION of THE EUCHARIST, into the UNITY of the ONE AND ONLY CHURCH, which Christ bestowed on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can NEVER LOSE, and we hope that it will continue to INCREASE until the end of time." - Second Vatican Council, "Decree on Ecumenism," no. 4.

24 posted on 09/23/2011 2:25:05 PM PDT by smvoice (The Cross was NOT God's Plan B.)
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To: PetroniusMaximus
“This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability”

Kind of sounds like the first century church.

No kidding!
25 posted on 09/24/2011 7:38:25 AM PDT by bkaycee
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To: smvoice
Kind of odd that the Pope would be against the spread of salvation through Jesus.

People who have been truly regenerated and converted through the preaching of the Gospel tend to want to tell others about what God has done for them. Is that surprising? They have believed and God has saved them through the simplicity of the Gospel of Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone.

The remedy for the shallowness of some of these Babes in Christ is the strong meat of the Word of God that requires hard work, not formal institutions that wear the same clothes.

If Rome and the other main stream protestant churches would teach the True Good news, they would stop hemorrhaging members and start making the tares uncomfortable.

26 posted on 09/24/2011 7:59:39 AM PDT by bkaycee
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To: PetroniusMaximus
little institutional depth

In the Bible we read about deacons, presbyters (whether we translate that "priests" or not) and bishops, and we have St. Peter elevated to some unnamed unique role. The hoyl Father is correct in seeing in institutional flatness a defect of late forms of Protestantisms that we do not see int he Early Church.

little rationality

The New Testament gives us plenty of rational reasoning, just open any doctrinal epistle by st. Paul or St. Peter and read things like "we have not by following artificial fables, made known to you the power, and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ; but we were eyewitnesses of his greatness" (2 Peter 1:16). That Protestant snake-charmers and tongue-babblers are indeed off their rational rocker, please do not accuse the First Church or irrationality.

little stability

The Church Christ built on the faith of Peter was prophesied to prevail against Gates of Hell till the end of the Age. Which she did. That would be building on a rock. In the meanwhile, the late Protestants -- matter of fact, not so late also -- split and split again, and cannot present any coherent doctrine beyond cheap slogans, even to their own flock. How many Presbyterians we have, again? Are Assemblies of God different from Pentecostals in anything of substance? And no one persecutes them. They just cannot hold their puny remnant of authentic Christianity together.

27 posted on 09/24/2011 9:52:49 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
In the meanwhile, the late Protestants -- matter of fact, not so late also -- split and split again, and cannot present any coherent doctrine beyond cheap slogans, even to their own flock. How many Presbyterians we have, again? Are Assemblies of God different from Pentecostals in anything of substance? And no one persecutes them.

When does the Inquisition start?

28 posted on 09/24/2011 11:12:26 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (Posting news feeds, making eyes bleed: he's hated on seven continents)
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To: bkaycee

He’s talking about Protestants. So glad you agree with the Pope!


29 posted on 09/24/2011 11:25:20 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: bkaycee

**Kind of odd that the Pope would be against the spread of salvation through Jesus.**

This is not what he is saying to these Lutherans at all.

Moreover, he is asking all to base their beliefs on Jesus in a deep, stable and holy way. Not in a watered-down Protestant way.


30 posted on 09/24/2011 11:27:09 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
He’s talking about Protestants. So glad you agree with the Pope!
"May it never be"
31 posted on 09/24/2011 12:24:06 PM PDT by bkaycee
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To: PetroniusMaximus
False, the early Church had a deep institutional depth -- right from the Apostolic times in the Bible we read of elders appointed and handing down the good message from one to another

Early Christians also debated (as we read in Acts) with the Platonists etc. of their day with rationality -- Christianity is not irrational, ask any Presbyterian

Early Christianity had the same depth of dogma as we do today -- read the Didache.

And stability -- the Churches were rooted in their cities and communities, so yes, pretty stable and incredibly stable in dogma.

32 posted on 09/24/2011 12:24:17 PM PDT by Cronos (www.forfiter.com)
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To: nathanbedford

Again, note that this is addressed to Germans. Which are the religious groups besides Moslems that are most active in Germany — it’s not Baptists or evangelicals in the American sense, rather it is primarily Jehovah’s Witnesses and to some extent Mormons and Adventists.


33 posted on 09/24/2011 12:25:42 PM PDT by Cronos (www.forfiter.com)
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To: Salvation
Moreover, he is asking all to base their beliefs on Jesus in a deep, stable and holy way. Not in a watered-down Protestant way.
A life changing Gospel that truly regenerates a soul, saving them and making them a Child of God; That is what ignites this "New Christianity" which is nothing but the Apostolic Christianity. The Gospel of Grace alone, through Faith Alone, in Christ alone.

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Shouldn't he be more concerned about the enormous amount of tares that darken a Roman church once or twice a year?

IF the Pope really wants to stop hemorrhaging membership, start preaching a Gospel that saves and provides the True remedy for sin providing a peace satisfies the soul.

34 posted on 09/24/2011 12:36:10 PM PDT by bkaycee
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To: Salvation; bkaycee
Note Salvation -- each non-Catholic group is different. Some of the song-and-dance crowd are watered-down prosperity gospel types.

Others are not watered-down but focus on one point to the exclusivity of the whole of God's Word -- that's incompleteness not water-down

35 posted on 09/24/2011 12:43:49 PM PDT by Cronos (www.forfiter.com)
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To: Cronos

Sorry, I don’t need to believe in purgatory, Papal supremacy, the IC, Ascension or any other Roman distinctive not found in the Apostolic church to find Salvation in Jesus. The Reformers were Right.


36 posted on 09/24/2011 12:55:17 PM PDT by bkaycee
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To: Cronos

Good point.


37 posted on 09/24/2011 1:20:14 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: bkaycee

**I don’t need to believe in purgatory, Papal supremacy, the IC, Ascension or any other Roman distinctive not found in the Apostolic church to find Salvation in Jesus.**

You don’t believe in the Ascension? Good grief, it’s in the Bible!

You don’t believe that Peter was given authority as the first Pope? Good grief, it’s in the Bible!

You don’t believe in Purgatory — the word isn’t in the Bible but both Jesus and St. Paul refer to it. Good grief.

I won’t be surprise when you do become a Catholic. (It will happen.)


38 posted on 09/24/2011 1:23:05 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
You don’t believe in the Ascension? Good grief, it’s in the Bible!
Sorry, I meant the assumption of Mary, not in the bible. Ascension of Jesus is.
I won’t be surprise when you do become a Catholic. (It will happen.)
Sorry, been there, done that, 27 years, 12 years parochial school

God was gracious to me a sinner and granted me repentance and Faith in Him for salvation.

39 posted on 09/24/2011 1:46:55 PM PDT by bkaycee
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To: Alex Murphy

The Holy Inquisition is neccessary to clean the Catholic Church from the enemy inside, not to sort out your trash.


40 posted on 09/25/2011 6:25:40 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: bkaycee
Sorry, I meant

"27 years, 12 years parochial school" and still no clue what them big Catholic words words mean.

the assumption of Mary

That's in the Bible too.

[19] And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail.

[1] And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: [2] And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered. [3] And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns: and on his head seven diadems: [4] And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered; that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. [5] And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod: and her son was taken up to God, and to his throne.

[6] And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, that there they should feed her a thousand two hundred sixty days. [7] And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels: [8] And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. [9] And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. [10] And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night.

[11] And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of the testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death.

(Apoc. 11-12)


41 posted on 09/25/2011 6:32:44 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
The Holy Inquisition is neccessary to clean the Catholic Church from the enemy inside, not to sort out your trash.

When anyone who was baptisted at birth (not anyone who actually attends Mass) is counted as a Catholic, the Inquisition starts salivating.

42 posted on 09/25/2011 8:52:47 AM PDT by Alex Murphy (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2703506/posts?page=518#518)
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To: Alex Murphy
Such a person has lapsed, but so long as he is not preaching heresy and proclaiming that heresy to be the Catholic teaching, he is not of interest to the Holy Inquisition. His priest, his Catholic parents, and his Catholic teachers if he had any, however, very well may be:

... thou, O son of man, I have made thee a watchman to the house of Israel: therefore thou shalt hear the word from my mouth, and shalt tell it them from me. When I say to the wicked: O wicked man, thou shalt surely die: if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked man from his way: that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at thy hand. But if thou tell the wicked man, that he may be converted from his ways, and he be not converted from his way: he shall die in his iniquity: but thou hast delivered thy soul.

(Ezechiel 33:7-9)


43 posted on 09/25/2011 11:31:34 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: bkaycee

you mean John Smith or Ellen G White or Charles Taize? The re-reformatters? Those are the ones referred to in this speech as remember this speech was given to Lutherans in Germany where there isn’t that much activity from Baptists/Evangelists leave alone your Calvinist types, the activity is by Jehovah’s Witnesses


44 posted on 09/26/2011 12:19:01 AM PDT by Cronos (www.forfiter.com)
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To: Cronos
you mean John Smith or Ellen G White or Charles Taize? The re-reformatters? Those are the ones referred to in this speech as remember this speech was given to Lutherans in Germany where there isn’t that much activity from Baptists/Evangelists leave alone your Calvinist types, the activity is by Jehovah’s Witnesses
"Erfurt, Germany - Pope Benedict XVI urged mainstream Christian denominations Friday to learn from hard-working evangelical churches which are more successful in their missionary work.

Are you certain the Pope was talking about non reformation, non Christian heretics, in his speech? Your interpretation is entirely 'unique' and quite off the mark.

45 posted on 09/26/2011 8:45:54 AM PDT by bkaycee
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To: bkaycee
Are you certain the Pope was talking about non reformation, non Christian heretics, in his speech?

I'm certain because of the audience of his speech. Who were they? German Lutheran ministers. The German Lutheran church is hardly in the same level of conservatism as the WELS or LCMS churches in the US.

In Germany the most "evangelizing" are the Jehovah's Witnesses, not Baptists, not American-style Evangelicals.

46 posted on 09/27/2011 12:53:14 AM PDT by Cronos (www.forfiter.com)
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