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Church still attracting converts: CHN at record levels
The Wanderer ^ | 10/10/02 | Paul Likoudis

Posted on 11/18/2002 8:34:02 AM PST by pseudo-justin

Church Is Still Attracting Converts

By PAUL LIKOUDIS

A personal note: The phone rang the other day and the gentleman on the other end identified himself as Jim Anderson from the Coming Home Network. He said he had a message from an old high school friend. Who might that be, I asked, and he gave the name: Dion Berlowitz.

Anderson told me the Coming Home Network, with which I was not familiar, helped Protestants come into the Church, and that Dion was on his way in.

I hadn’t heard from Dion in more than a decade, even though we were best friends at Williamsville South High School, outside Buffalo, sharing several interests, including cartooning and comic books. Raised Jewish, Dion became a born-again Christian in his junior year of high school as his parents’ marriage broke up, and spent hours, days, weeks, and months trying to convert me into a Bible-believing Christian.

In 1971, Dion went on to the University of Buffalo to study literature and I went on to Eisenhower College to study history, and our paths never crossed again until a call out of the blue came from him around 1990, when he told me he was a Presbyterian. We have had no further contact since, though I suspect and hope that will change.

In this initial conversation, Anderson told me that so far, this year, the Coming Home Network has helped 94 Protestant ministers of various denominations, along with many other Protestants, come into the Church. Some, like Dion, are on their way in. This is the largest annual crop since the CHNetwork was founded nine years ago.

Here, in a year in which the Catholic Church in the United States and around the world has been wracked by scandals, we do have good news indeed.

+ + +

What would prompt a Protestant, especially a minister with a wife and family, to leave his tradition and often his livelihood to come into the Catholic Church, especially when there are so many broken-hearted Catholics embarrassed by the past ten months of sordid revelations involving clerical sexual abuse, bishops’ resignations, episcopal cover-ups and pay-outs? Not to mention the ongoing abuse of authority by bishops to hammer the lay faithful who object to dissidents and heretics speaking in parishes and education conferences.

"For Protestants," says Jim Anderson, "the scandals are a non-issue. Among the hundreds of people I have talked to who are thinking of coming into the Church, the scandals just aren’t an issue. Of all the people who have contacted me, only three or four have mentioned them, and that was only at my prompting.

"To a man, these men are intellectually convinced that the Church is a divine institution established by Christ, and bishops are only human — and, besides, they say, ‘These things are going on in our own denominations — only in our denomination they are not being addressed.’

"They see this as the Holy Spirit cleaning house. The judgment of the Lord begins with the family of God. They view the present scandals as a terrible tragedy; they want justice like everybody else. But as far as the truth of the Catholic faith is concerned, it is a non-issue. It’s sin; it needs to be addressed. And that’s it.

"These men," he continued, "are educated people. Most have master of divinity degrees and doctorates. They are aware of the problems, but once their hearts are converted and they see the Church as Jesus Christ’s, they know Christ will keep His promise. They have experienced troubles in their own denominations, but they know that when they are in the Church, God will prevail."

On average — based on the first ten months of this year — Anderson hears from a Protestant minister every three days who has made the decision to become Catholic.

Most, he says, are drawn to the Church for two reasons. Either they have come to understand the dead end to which the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura leads, and they want to settle, in their own minds, the issue of authority in the Church; or they have been led to the Church by its doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and they want to receive Jesus.

What many Protestants are coming to understand, even at a time when many Catholics and non-Catholics lament the apparent breakdown of authority in the Church, Anderson explained, is that the Church’s authority "is set by God."

"Those who take their faith and Scripture and God seriously," he said, "see the Catholic Church as being the answer to the chaos of the Protestant condition: Sola scriptura is a dead end, is unhistorical and unworkable. They understand this and so they have a crisis of faith and they enter the Catholic Church. And this is occurring across the Protestant spectrum. A lot of people contacting the Coming Home Network are ‘higher church’ Episcopalians or Lutherans, but we do get calls also from ‘low-end’ Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and Assembly of God ministers.

"To speak, as some Catholics do, about a ‘crisis of authority’ in the Church doesn’t make a lot of sense," Anderson said. "There is a ‘crisis of obedience to authority,’ but that has always been the case, just as there has always been a ‘crisis of obedience to the authority of God’ on the part of many men and women. The authority is there, and it is working; it is just not obeyed."

The Coming Home Support Network

The Coming Home Network was founded in 1993 out of the experiences of several Protestant clergy and their spouses. Upon leaving their pastorates to enter the Catholic Church, these clergy and their families discovered they were not alone. To help others come into the Church — and to deal with some of the tremendous personal and professional obstacles they faced — they began the organization as a support network.

Catholics, Anderson suggested, should understand some of the challenges these ministers face once they have made the intellectual decision to "cross over" to Rome.

"They go through tremendous struggles. They think, ‘I’m losing my friends, my family, my community, my church, and people think I’m crazy and I’m apostatizing from Christianity.’ Often the most serious conflict is with spouses, who not only have to deal with the change of religion, but have practical problems as well, such as, ‘What about me and the children?’ ‘How are we going to survive?’ ‘What will our friends think?’ ‘Have I been following the wrong religion all my life?’

"Most of these people have M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees, and so they are not employable in the world. It’s a difficult decision for these men to give up their work, their careers, and their livelihoods. Nevertheless, 94 this year have entered, or are on their way into, the Church."

One former minister, Anderson recalled, gave up his role as a prominent, prestigious minister for his community to work as a greeter at WalMart. For him, the blessing of being able to receive the Eucharist more than compensated for what he had to give up.

Anderson is well-prepared for his work helping Protestants come into the Church. Reared as a Methodist, the 47-year-old Anderson became a Lutheran at 19. As a history major specializing in medieval Europe at Ohio University in Athens, he knew he was on his way into the Church.

Three years after graduating, he entered evangelical Ashland Seminary in 1980, interested in pursuing studies in ecumenical dialog. In his freshman year, he made the decision to join the Catholic Church, and on July 25, 1981, the Feast of St. James, he was confirmed. His wife, Lynn, who entered the Church in 1983, now teaches in a Catholic school.

Contrary to popular stereotypes, he said, the biggest roadblocks would-be converts confront are not such "hot-button" issues as contraception, papal infallibility, or women’s rights, but the Church’s doctrines concerning Mary.

But another obstacle, he said, is "liturgical craziness."

Many Protestants, he said, "are scandalized by the liturgical craziness. They try to get around it by seeking out a Byzantine rite, or seeking out orthodox parishes. And usually, if they come into the Church, having been good Protestants, they have church-hopped enough to have found a parish where they don’t have to deal with abuses."

But, he added, many look beyond the abuses, because "they are attracted to Christ in the liturgy. For a lot of the converts, there are many who have intellectually convinced themselves already that they must join the Church before they ever attended Mass. And when they finally start going to Mass, often there is a culture shock, especially if they come from a small, intimate, loving Baptist church, and go into a parish of 2,000 people who aren’t particularly friendly. So there is this bit of culture shock — and that doesn’t include the shock of liturgy."

Asked to name the leading intellectual sources Protestants are reading to find their way into the Church, Anderson named familiar names.

"The intellectual sources are, certainly, Cardinal Newman, G.K. Chesterton, Bishop Fulton Sheen, Scott Hahn, and Catholic Answers.

"But most often, it is the fathers of the Church. When Protestant ministers encounter the fathers, they realize they were lied to and betrayed, because they were taught the Protestant Reformation cleansed Christianity of the barnacles on the Barque of Peter and the Reformers recovered ancient Christianity. Then they go back and read the apostolic fathers, especially Ignatius of Antioch who is preaching the Real Presence, the authority of bishops, and all these many Catholic things, and the conclusion is the words of Jesus, who says: ‘I will be with you always.’

"Either Jesus kept His promise, or the Church went to Hell in a hand basket after the death of St. John.

"When they start studying the early Church fathers, they are blown out of the water."

Solid Apologetics

The Coming Home Network’s executive director is former Presbyterian minister Marcus Grodi, who, captured the feeling and beliefs of many fellow Protestants who came into the Church in his book, Journeys Home (Queenship Publishing 1997).

"[T]he biggest thing that opened my heart to the truth of the Catholic faith was not all the apologetic arguments that convinced me of the trustworthiness of Catholic truth, but the realization that the Catholic Church, with all of her saints and sinners, was exactly what Christ had promised.

"The majority of complaints against the Catholic Church over the centuries have been aimed at the decisions and actions of bad Popes, or immoral clergy, or ignorant laity, or corrupt Catholic nobility, and the correct answer to this is, ‘But, of course! The Church is made up of wheat and tares, from the bottom to the top, sinners in need of grace! This is no reason to leave and form a new church, for any church made up of human beings is made up of sinners.’

"All true conversions to the Catholic faith from any other starting point carry with them complications, primarily because this conversion must be rooted in and thereby an extension of one’s conversion and surrender to Christ. If becoming a Catholic does not involve this, I don’t believe it is a true conversion. It might be a change of convenience or even possibly for some sort of personal gain or aggrandizement.

"But only when one recognizes or painfully discovers that to be fully a follower of Jesus Christ, and thereby have the full potential of growing in union with Him, one must also be in union with the Church He established in and through His Apostles, can one be truly converted.

"These conversions by definition must involve some extent of leaving behind and rejecting part of what a person once held very dear. Some things can be joyfully brought along, others can be cautiously tolerated, but yet there are ideas, practices, and sometimes even relationships which must be severed.

"It of course never means that we cease to love those we may need to leave behind, or who choose to turn their backs on us. In fact, we are called all the more to shower our now confused or indignant friends and family with the all-forgiving, all-accepting love of Christ. However, we must not let the emotional trajectories of our loving glances turn our attention off of the fullness of truth found only in union with the Catholic Church."

For more information about the Coming Home Network, go to its web site, www.chnetwork.org, or call 740-450-1175.


TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: catholiclist
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1 posted on 11/18/2002 8:34:02 AM PST by pseudo-justin
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To: pseudo-justin; Polycarp; Desdemona; cebadams; Gophack; Campion; Salvation
On average — based on the first ten months of this year — Anderson hears from a Protestant minister every three days who has made the decision to become Catholic.

wow

One former minister, Anderson recalled, gave up his role as a prominent, prestigious minister for his community to work as a greeter at WalMart. For him, the blessing of being able to receive the Eucharist more than compensated for what he had to give up.

wow. now there is someone who believes in the Real Presence.

2 posted on 11/18/2002 8:42:51 AM PST by pseudo-justin
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To: pseudo-justin
And when they finally start going to Mass, often there is a culture shock, especially if they come from a small, intimate, loving Baptist church, and go into a parish of 2,000 people who aren’t particularly friendly. So there is this bit of culture shock — and that doesn’t include the shock of liturgy."

I've heard this somewhere before....

People forget that Catholicism has an accompanying culture. The "coldness" does put some people off, but they forget that the church is so big that comuter stares aren't uncommon. Mass at the Cathedral yesterday was like that. it didn't bother me, but I grew up with it. The Eucharistic prayer, OTOH, did bother me. Way too banal.
3 posted on 11/18/2002 8:51:58 AM PST by Desdemona
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To: pseudo-justin
So, the article mentions that the most typical "stumbling block" for Protestants exploring Catholicism is the doctrine on Mary, but then does nothing to explain why the Protestants are wrong about Mary.

The article does, however, go out of its way to raise counter-arguments to the scandals in the Catholic Church, which have already been stated to be NOT A PROBLEM for Protestants (heck, we have enough scandals of our own).

I have yet to hear a satisfactory explanation for the veneration and elevation of Mary in the Catholic faith. I'm not flaming or bashing--simply stating an opinion. Maybe when someone gives me a Biblically-sound reason to attempt to communicate with Mary or win her favor, I'll give the Catholic Church a second look. But until then, I will remain faithful to the Word and nothing else.
4 posted on 11/18/2002 9:26:20 AM PST by LibertyGirl77
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To: pseudo-justin
Great article. I listen to the Journey Home program with Marcus Gordi on Catholic radio. Sometimes, I wish I was a convert (I'm a cradle Catholic), because some of these stories are so wonderful and uplifting, even when they are filled with pain and loss at one's livlihood. Many of these conversion stories helped me to delve deeper into my faith, because as a cradle Catholic who was a C-E-O Catholic for many years, I needed to relearn and learn more about what I know, what I believe, and what I never knew.

God bless all converts, for they are often scorned in their search for the Truth.

5 posted on 11/18/2002 9:38:55 AM PST by Gophack
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To: LibertyGirl77
Here are a few observations I've made about differences between Protestantism and Catholicism.

Protestantism is the strictly Bible-related concept of Christianity vs the understanding of Christianity based on Scripture and Tradition (meaning the reading and interpretation of the Church as Christ's own institution) in Catholicism. The latter allows for a greater adaptation to historical and personal situations and needs.

A concept of God which stresses his role as judge (Protestantism) vs a more compassionate God (Catholicism). The latter allows for a more generous place for Mary.


6 posted on 11/18/2002 9:49:05 AM PST by Codie
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To: LibertyGirl77
I'm not flaming or bashing--simply stating an opinion. Maybe when someone gives me a Biblically-sound reason to attempt to communicate with Mary or win her favor, I'll give the Catholic Church a second look. But until then, I will remain faithful to the Word and nothing else.

First off, you are always welcome. Everyone is.

Second, while the church is based around the bible, a lot of tradition is not. Except for the tradition and teaching that the bible should not be used as a sole guide and alone. That is actually in the bible. So, to demand biblical support is not the way we do things. The bible was not compiled for that purpose.

Third, Mary, yes, is put on a pedestal and venerated. She is held as the highest example of trust in God. She, like others who have come before us on earth, is with God. We believe in everlasting life. That life on earth is only part of living. We ask the Blessed Mother to pray for us. Just as we do saints, people who have gone before. They are with God.

I know that doesn't explain it, but without the belief in everlasting life there would be no veneration of the Blessed Mother and the saints. That's just part of the faith.
7 posted on 11/18/2002 9:49:45 AM PST by Desdemona
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To: pseudo-justin
<> Good post. I subscribe to The Wanderer and I was happy to read this in that paper and happeir you posted it. It bears noting that those converts seldom, if ever, revile their upbringing or their former communions when they decide to convert.

Conversely, it is rare when one doesn't hear hatred from an exCatholic when one hears them ranting about their former communion.

Former Protestants tend to be angels and former Catholics tend to be gargoyles.<>

8 posted on 11/18/2002 9:55:12 AM PST by Catholicguy
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To: LibertyGirl77
You brought up an excellent point in the article that they didn't talk about how these converts got over the stumbling block of Mary. I know Scott Hahn has a new book out on Mary because that was a big stumbling block for him. I went to the Coming Home website, and maybe you'll be interested in some of the converts stories about how they came to understand Mary's unique role in salvation history, and also how some Catholic beliefs about Mary you may have learned as a Protestant are exaggerated or completely false.

Here's the link to the main page on Mary at the CHNetwork: Before you object

This link goes directly to a conversion story and how this couple had a major problem with Mary, and how they resolved it and became closer to Jesus through His mother. Our Journey Home

I wish you blessings on your search for the Truth, but Mary is likely not your only stumbling block. You say, "But until then, I will remain faithful to the Word and nothing else." Catholics ARE faithful to the Word of God. We don't take anything manmade and elevate it above Scripture. But we believe that because Jesus Christ left His church on earth, the Catholic Church, that where there is disagreement on what something means, the Church is the authority by which the disagreement is resolved.

God bless.

9 posted on 11/18/2002 9:59:50 AM PST by Gophack
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To: pseudo-justin; *Catholic_list; .45MAN; AKA Elena; al_c; american colleen; Angelus Errare; ...
"Most of these people have M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees, and so they are not employable in the world. It’s a difficult decision for these men to give up their work, their careers, and their livelihoods. Nevertheless, 94 this year have entered, or are on their way into, the Church."

One former minister, Anderson recalled, gave up his role as a prominent, prestigious minister for his community to work as a greeter at WalMart. For him, the blessing of being able to receive the Eucharist more than compensated for what he had to give up.

Pinging (as usual, if you would like to be added to or removed from my Catholic ping list, just send me a FReepmail.)

10 posted on 11/18/2002 10:15:04 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: LibertyGirl77
I respect your legitimate desire to see that the Church's teachings about Mary do not contradict Scripture. I also respect your desire to see the continuity between the Church's teaching on Mary and what the Scriptures say about Mary. To see both of these issues laid out in detail, I urge you to read Catholic for a Reason II: Scripture and the Mystery of the Mother of God by Leon Suprenant Jr. (Editor), Beth Hart (Illustrator). It is available through amazon.com

In this volume, you will find the SCRIPTURAL reasons that many of these converts discovered for paying honor to the Mother of God. Actually, all these converts did was discover for themselves the scriptural basis that had already been seen by millions of Catholic theologians, theologians with a tendency to do things like srutinize the Scriptures very carefully. It never ceases to amaze me that some Protestants think that the Church just up and defines something without Scripture being an essential part of the process by which teachings are clarified and defined. It is precisely because Catholics of all sorts -- Benedictines in their lectio divina, Cistercians in their cells, Trappists in their monasteries, Dominicans in their studies, Jesuits in their houses, laity in their private reading (and yes,in literate regions, the laity read the Scriptures)--were reading and reflecting upon Scripture incessantly for hundreds or thousands of years (a Benedictine reads or hears Scripture no less than 9 times a day), that the Church is confident that her views about Mary just are the Scriptural message about Mary. For all these people, who read the Scriptures aright, hand these teachings on and the hierachy that defines the teachings is handing the definition to the very people who are incessantly reflecting upon Scripture. It is just that Catholics read the Scriptures with the mind of the Church rather than,under the influence of a hermeneutic of suspicion, using Scripture as a stick to beat up on the Church. The picture that some Protestants have is that Scripture really has no role to play in the Catholic Church's formulation of dogmas, when the truth is that the words of Scripture are thouroughly embedded in the same minds that put forward the teachings, and these are minds that do not like contradiction any more than any other human being.

As soon as it is admitted that Catholics respect Scripture as the inspired word of God, and that we have been reading Scripture for a long time, and that the Church strives not to contradict Scriptures (since they are the word of God) but to receive Scripture's message with all docility, then the question becomes not why Catholics have all the "unbiblical" doctrines, but why Protestants do not see all the teachings in Scripture that the Catholics do. I am not saying any of this as an attack on you, just as a request to check the image you have of how the Church arrives at her dogmatic teachings. She arrives at them by reading Scripture--as led by the Spirit through the power of traditio.

The basic difficulty for all Protestants comes in seeing that Mary in no way detracts from the glory of Christ, but rather she MANIFESTS THE GLORY OF CHRIST. "My soul magnifies the Lord..." Lk 1:46

Assume for the sake of argument that the Catholic dogmas concerning Mary are true (only do not assume any straw man versions of the dogmas). How much greater is the work of Christ? What does her character say about Christ? What does she manifest concerning Christ's wisdom, love and power? What knowledge of Christ are we afforded by contemplating her grace-given being? "hail, full of grace..." Lk 1:28

11 posted on 11/18/2002 10:22:46 AM PST by pseudo-justin
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To: pseudo-justin
"For Protestants," says Jim Anderson, "the scandals are a non-issue. Among the hundreds of people I have talked to who are thinking of coming into the Church, the scandals just aren’t an issue. Of all the people who have contacted me, only three or four have mentioned them, and that was only at my prompting.

When one is considering entering the Catholic Church, the rose colored glasses effect is in full flower, and I can understand how it may appear to Anderson that the scandals are a non-issue.

However, once these protestants become Catholics and have to deal with the root causes of the scandals, I do not think they will consider them to be such a non-issue.

As a new Catholic, the scandals are having a devastating effect on me. While the sexual abuse of children is horrendous, I find the behavior of the Bishops in dealing with the scandals and what seems to be their innate arrogance to be equally horrendous.

I have more respect now for Jim and Tammy Bakker than I have for most of the Catholic Bishops and that is not good for my life as a Catholic. Yet, facts are facts and many of the Bishops are beneath contempt. Many of these new protestants will find themselves facing the same delimma as the harsh light of reality burns through the rose colored glasses effect.

They will find themselves questioning how the Church that claims to be the Church instituted by Christ could have such abysmal leadership. One would think that Christ would protect his own if they truly are his own.

12 posted on 11/18/2002 10:44:42 AM PST by Rum Tum Tugger
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To: LibertyGirl77
I like you all and I am a protestant minister. But there is no PROOF of catholicism's various doctrines of Mary. There are arguments for them, but they are hardly conclusive. The arguments against are just as (or more) valid.

They really are a matter of opinion.

I also oppose oppulence.
13 posted on 11/18/2002 10:52:57 AM PST by xzins
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To: Rum Tum Tugger
Just remember that when we say the Creed, first we say "I believe in the Holy Spirit" and then we say "I believe in the holy catholic Church". We believe in the Church because we believe in the Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is not behind this whole thing, then I am packing up and leaving the Church, this is a waste of time. Also, perhaps God wants to purify you of thinking that your faith is in the humans who lead the Church. We do not believe in the hierarchy because these men are good, we believe despite the fact that they clearly are not. Our faith is not in the men we see, but the Spirit we do not see.

They will find themselves questioning how the Church that claims to be the Church instituted by Christ could have such abysmal leadership. One would think that Christ would protect his own if they truly are his own. The atheists argue exactly the same way against the very existence of God. Just look at all the suffering children around the world... IF they are all creatures of God, why doesn't He care? The same answer applies here. God's providence is at work. Read St. Augustine's City of God book XVIII, especially the later chapters, where Augustine describes how Satan raises up heretics and wretches in the Church to destroy the faith of the Church, yet God uses the same heretics and wretches to build up virtue in the saints. All things work for the good of those who love Him... if we respond with confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit. The signs of the Spirit's action are everywhere. We only see the effects of the Spirit. The Saints toughed it out alot more than we have. St. John of the Cross was imprisoned by his own religious order for over a year. It was in prison that he went throught he dark night of the soul, and then the Carmelites were truly renewed.

By the way, where in Scripture does it ever say that when the going gets tough, one should just leave the Church. I see prescriptions to rebuke, exhort, even excommunicate, but it nowhere says "just leave..." That is an unbiblical practice the Prots have going for themselves.

14 posted on 11/18/2002 11:09:41 AM PST by pseudo-justin
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To: Rum Tum Tugger
I have more respect now for Jim and Tammy Bakker than I have for most of the Catholic Bishops and that is not good for my life as a Catholic. Yet, facts are facts and many of the Bishops are beneath contempt.

THe Bakkers?

Tugger, you're in the same boat a lot of cradle RC's are. This is just as painful for us. The church has been through worse. We'll weather it. You can't let it effect your faith. Faith is in God, His Son and the Holy Spirit and the church they founded, not the bishops. Bishops are fallible.
15 posted on 11/18/2002 11:10:04 AM PST by Desdemona
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To: xzins
I also oppose oppulence.

Who lives in oppulence?

16 posted on 11/18/2002 11:16:08 AM PST by Codie
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To: Codie
The appearance of oppulence is the same as oppulence.
17 posted on 11/18/2002 11:19:24 AM PST by xzins
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To: xzins
The appearance of oppulence is the same as oppulence.

What appears oppulent?
18 posted on 11/18/2002 11:20:12 AM PST by Desdemona
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To: xzins
Ok.Sell all the Vatican's "oppulence". Feed the needful of the world for a month.Then what?
19 posted on 11/18/2002 11:28:56 AM PST by Codie
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To: xzins
there is no PROOF

Whether there is proof or not depends a great deal upon STANDARDS of proof. I think that Catholics and Protestants do not have shared standards of proof, they do not share standards as to what counts as a scriptural proof. Even Protestants have various and diverging standards as to what counts as "proving" something from Scripture. But this raises many more problems for the "sola scriptura" people than it does for Catholics. And what counts as a "conclusive" argument? Usually, by "conclusive" people mean: it is impossible for it to be the case that A if evidence E is proposed" But that is an extremely high standard to apply. Is that what you mean?

Furthermore, I urge you to read some of the philosophers of science, such as Polanyi and Kuhn, who have made compelling arguments that in the sciences the capacity to follow proof or to grasp evidence is a function of having apprenticed oneself to an expert in a tradition of enquiry in which certain perceptual skills, habits of investigation, patterns of thought, vocabulary, and fundamental presuppositions are cultivated and imbibed. This is why non-experts in the sciences cannot follow the proofs the experts propose to each other. The same holds in scripture studies. Only those who are willing to apprentice themselves to an expert practitoner in a tradition of scriptural exegesis have the capacity to follow the proofs that are drawn up. The insight into the proofs is a good internal to the practices of the tradition of enquiry. These converts see the Church's proofs because they are converting, that is, they are abandoning a whole set of perceptual skills, habits of investigation, patterns of thought, vocabulary, and fundamental presuppositions, and they abandon it in favor of a catholic way of approaching the text, and they do so as motivated by deep and systemic failures in the Protestant approach to Scripture.

One of those failures is the naivete involved in the Protestant tradition. The Protestant tradition is one which requires its practitoner to hold "tradition is a bad thing, it interferes with thought, get back to the purity of the text without the mediation of human tradition" and then the practitioners of Protestant exegesis have gone on to develop a whole human tradition of exegesis, a tradition in which Protestant seminarians and theology students are apprenticed into for many years, and a tradition in which certain patterns of thought, perceptual skills, habits of investigation, etc, are cultivated and imbibed... It is all really rather self-contradictory it seems to me. Everyone has a tradition, just by virtue of being human. God knows this, so he set up a tradition for us, and by the ways of reading the texts internal to the sacred tradition of the Catholic Church, the proofs of the Marian dogmas are quite compelling indeed. What is lacking is not proof, but the capacity for following proof. Only tradition is a force for cultivating such a capacity.

St. Augustine discovered the same thing. In the Confessions he relates how he had for many years difficulites in dealing with Scripture. It seemed to him self-contradictory, obscure, and rather dry in comparison with Cicero. Only when he met Ambrose, and sat at the knee of Ambrose for some years, did he learn the right way of approaching Scriputre so as not to handle it in an intellectually clumsy way.

20 posted on 11/18/2002 11:41:04 AM PST by pseudo-justin
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To: pseudo-justin; Desdemona
Thanks. I needed that.
21 posted on 11/18/2002 11:49:11 AM PST by Rum Tum Tugger
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To: Rum Tum Tugger
No problem.

Believe me. It hurts.

Do you say the Rosary? The Sorrowful mysteries have been very helpful as well as the Passion stories.
22 posted on 11/18/2002 11:53:43 AM PST by Desdemona
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To: Rum Tum Tugger
Take heart,you have great power!!!There is nothing more formidable to catechists,lecturers,and chancery officials visiting parishes with their "dog and pony show" than a convert clutching a Catechism raising his/her hand to speak.

God places us here at this time because He wants us here for His purposes. I think all the converts are,with the "communion of saints",who have gone before us,the army who will save the Church.

That is not to say that we orthodox,cradle Catholics have not a great part to play but you can be much more effective waking up the "sleeping" Catholics in the pews.

You see the "sleepers" have been brainwashed to believe most if not all cradle Catholics are either afraid of change or too stupid to recognize the need for change,so we are often marginalized and ignored in classes and lectures. But you "converts",God is really putting you in a wonderful position to proclaim His Word and teachings. Go,Rum Tum,get 'em!!!And,I will pray for you and your family.

I I read you saw "Late Night Catechism" and enjoyed it. It does reflect the Catholic culture,and we have always been able to laugh at out human failings and accept that others have them also.But in times past we recognized there was a big difference in out shortcomings that only served to affect us as well as sins for which we were truly sorry and confessed from "sins" which affect God and others and disrupt God's ordering of the universe.Those latter sins if not confessed and reconciled create sadness and suffering, here and hereafter. Those lines have become very blurred in America.

23 posted on 11/18/2002 12:08:41 PM PST by saradippity
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To: pseudo-justin
Wow,you have said some great things,true and well.Thankyou,where have you been during most of this scandal?Anyway,glad you are here now!!
24 posted on 11/18/2002 12:17:43 PM PST by saradippity
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To: Desdemona
Ohhh....puhleeese!
25 posted on 11/18/2002 12:25:42 PM PST by xzins
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To: Codie
Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupt and where thieves break through and steal....

Then what?

But rather lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt and where thieves do not break through and steal.

For where your treasure is....there will your heart be also.

26 posted on 11/18/2002 12:27:57 PM PST by xzins
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To: xzins
No, I want to know what you think is oppulent or appears oppulent. Seriously.
27 posted on 11/18/2002 12:28:25 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: pseudo-justin
Well, your standards might or might not mean something. I, however, am talking about ME.

I'm a fair-minded guy, imho, and I'm not convinced that those arguments are any better than those on the other side. And they are not proof. (Locked and shut case.) As far as being an apprentice...I said I was a pastor. I've been at this a number of years. I wouldn't call me an apprentice. Now, answer me this: would you rather have a written Constitution of the United States of America? Or would you rather have a Congress that had not written document but could govern merely by majority rule? Or a president who could govern by consensus of counselors?

28 posted on 11/18/2002 12:33:07 PM PST by xzins
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To: Desdemona
The Los Angeles Cathedral is a place to start. But I've traveled a lot in Germany, Austria, and Poland. The era they built those buildings in was impoverished in terms of the average man.

Those buildings are indication that someone had entirely too much money.

Have you ever seen the gold/jewelry room at the Koln (Cologne) Cathedral?

Some about gold robes that gives me the willies, too.
29 posted on 11/18/2002 12:35:59 PM PST by xzins
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To: Desdemona
No, I want to know what you think is oppulent or appears oppulent. Seriously.

The Pope and his domicle.

30 posted on 11/18/2002 12:41:36 PM PST by Codie
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To: xzins
"...would you rather have a written Constitution of the United States of America? Or would you rather have a Congress that had not written document but could govern merely by majority rule? Or a president who could govern by consensus of counselors?..."

Depends, now doesn't it? If I were still a fetus, I would rather be governed by a majority in Congress. My chances of making it out alive would be better. Only the Constitution demands abortion; anytime, anywhere, for whatever reason.

31 posted on 11/18/2002 12:43:07 PM PST by AlguyA
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To: xzins
'Some about gold robes that gives me the willies,"

Would you also get the willies were you to see a woman pour expensive oils on Jesus' feet?

32 posted on 11/18/2002 12:44:58 PM PST by AlguyA
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To: xzins
The Los Angeles Cathedral is a place to start.

It's hideous, not oppulent. Every Catholic here will tell you that. And Mahoney needs to go.

Perhaps if you thought of it in another way - when many of the big Cathedrals were built, they kept people (artists, craftsmen, etc.) employed. Many of them were built with love of God in mind. And when we go to church, to the Cathedral, we are rich. We are wealthy. The church is us. This is ours, but belongs to God.

The beloved Cathedral Basilica in my archdiocese houses the largest collection of Byzantine Mosaics in the world. It's stunning. It took 61 years and countless man hours for two men to finish the work. The last few, the son of the pair did so while dying of lung cancer. Can you imagine climbing up the scaffolding every day, body wracked with pain and weak from chemotherapy without doing the work for the love of God?

When it comes to GOd, there is no skimping. Only the best for Him. Only the incorruptible (the purpose behind the gold Tabernacles and lining of Challaces and Patens) for the Body of Christ.

Someone else could tell you more about the gold vestments than I can. They are reserved only for special occasions, though. Normally they are green (ordinary time) or they wear the cream which is sort of a stanardized uniform. And yes, they are expensive.
33 posted on 11/18/2002 12:51:37 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: Codie
The Pope and his domicle.

It's not that oppulent.
34 posted on 11/18/2002 12:52:52 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: Gophack
Catholics ARE faithful to the Word of God. We don't take anything manmade and elevate it above Scripture. But we believe that because Jesus Christ left His church on earth, the Catholic Church, that where there is disagreement on what something means, the Church is the authority by which the disagreement is resolved.

Such clear and beautiful writing. All I can add is my Amen.

35 posted on 11/18/2002 12:59:17 PM PST by Siobhan
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To: pseudo-justin; PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain; Woodkirk; Mark17; TrueBeliever9; ...
"Those who take their faith and Scripture and God seriously," he said, "see the Catholic Church as being the answer to the chaos of the Protestant condition: Sola scriptura is a dead end, is unhistorical and unworkable. They understand this and so they have a crisis of faith and they enter the Catholic Church. And this is occurring across the Protestant spectrum. A lot of people contacting the Coming Home Network are ‘higher church’ Episcopalians or Lutherans, but we do get calls also from ‘low-end’ Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and Assembly of God ministers.

2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Mat 22:14 For many are called, but few [are] chosen.

Jhn 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

36 posted on 11/18/2002 1:04:39 PM PST by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
And why do you post these sound-bites that all sides claim to defend their stance?

Depending on the perspective all sides can use them.

Put back in context, they prove the author's point.
37 posted on 11/18/2002 1:08:34 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: xzins
Those buildings are indication that someone had entirely too much money.

There was a time when the largest and most magnificent buildings in the world were in fact Cathedrals. These were places built for the worship and glory of God. Nowadays the largest and most magnificent buildings are for banks, insurance companies, hotels, etc. These places are built for the worship and glory of the almighty dollar. Go figure.

38 posted on 11/18/2002 1:08:52 PM PST by pegleg
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To: LibertyGirl77
LibertyGirl77wrote: Maybe when someone gives me a Biblically-sound reason to attempt to communicate with Mary or win her favor, I'll give the Catholic Church a second look.

Dear Liberty, I wish to first thank you and commend you for your gentle and reasonable approach to disputation on this subject. Your very Christian approach is quite refreshing.

And I wish to thank all the other Catholic posters who provided such an immense exposition on the Catholic position on Mary, but whether it's Mary, or praying to saints or the celibate priesthood, etc., etc., I ultimately find that Catholics and others will probably have no common agreement until there is a unified understanding of Mt 16:18 "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it."

Please take a look at what more learned Catholics than I have to say about the Peter/Rock issue:
http://www.catholic.com/library/Peter_the_Rock.asp

I believe in the Pope mostly because I am a cradle Catholic. But recently I have had online debates with Protestants on the issue and have been amazed that some very good people have false beliefs about the Catholic Church becase of shoddy scholarship that is believed by too many Protestants.

Since Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life", I ask that you please take a look at this issue and please try to determine where the real truth lies on this cardinal (hinge) matter.
39 posted on 11/18/2002 1:16:54 PM PST by Over50Million
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To: pegleg
Good points.
40 posted on 11/18/2002 1:26:39 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: Desdemona
Do you think selling all the Catholic Church's holdings,will make a difference?
41 posted on 11/18/2002 1:34:11 PM PST by Codie
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To: Codie
Do you think selling all the Catholic Church's holdings,will make a difference?

Short-term...it would offer some relief.

Long-term...throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I prefer long-term approaches. Church property and holdings, IMO, have a limited market value and unlimited use potential by the faithful.

IOW, hold it all until it's stolen or burns to the ground.
42 posted on 11/18/2002 1:38:03 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: Desdemona; xzins
Thank you.That was the message I was attempting to convey to xzins.
43 posted on 11/18/2002 1:48:02 PM PST by Codie
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To: Desdemona
I was listening to Karl Keating on Catholic radio and he said that if every building and piece of art owned by the Catholic Church was sold, it would run the world for two days.
44 posted on 11/18/2002 1:53:02 PM PST by Gophack
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To: Gophack
Exactly. In the meantime, let's enjoy it.
45 posted on 11/18/2002 1:56:53 PM PST by Desdemona
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To: xzins
The Los Angeles Cathedral is a place to start. But I've traveled a lot in Germany, Austria, and Poland. The era they built those buildings in was impoverished in terms of the average man.

Those buildings are indication that someone had entirely too much money.

Catholics believe in the Real Presence, which means that we believe Christ is in the Tabernacles in those Cathedrals.
6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,
7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.
8 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?
9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.
12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
Matthew 26.
68 When they arrived at the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, some of the heads of the families gave freewill offerings toward the rebuilding of the house of God on its site. 69 According to their ability they gave to the treasury for this work 61,000 drachmas [2] of gold, 5,000 minas [3] of silver and 100 priestly garments. 70 The priests, the Levites, the singers, the gatekeepers and the temple servants settled in their own towns, along with some of the other people, and the rest of the Israelites settled in their towns.
Ezra 2
Have you ever seen the gold/jewelry room at the Koln (Cologne) Cathedral?

Some about gold robes that gives me the willies, too.

Exodus 28
1   And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons.
2   And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.
3   And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.
4   And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.
5   And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.
6   And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
7   It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.
8   And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.
9   And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel:
10   Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
11   With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.
12   And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.
13   And thou shalt make ouches of gold;
14   And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches.
15   And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
16   Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
17   And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
18   And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
19   And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
20   And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
21   And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.
22   And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold.
23   And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.
24   And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.
25   And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it.
26   And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward.
27   And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.
28   And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod.
29   And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.
30   And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.
31   And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.
32   And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.
33   And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about:
34   A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
35   And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not.
36   And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
37   And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
38   And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.
39   And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.
40   And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.
41   And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.
42   And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
43   And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

Exodus 28.
A Crown for Joshua
9 The word of the LORD came to me: 10 "Take silver and gold from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon. Go the same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11 Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak. 12 Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD . 13 It is he who will build the temple of the LORD , and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.' 14 The crown will be given to Heldai, [4] Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen [5] son of Zephaniah as a memorial in the temple of the LORD . 15 Those who are far away will come and help to build the temple of the LORD , and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the LORD your God."
Zechariah 6
46 posted on 11/18/2002 2:27:33 PM PST by patent
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To: AlguyA
He WAS Jesus, wasn't he?

47 posted on 11/18/2002 2:39:02 PM PST by xzins
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To: AlguyA
So you actually think abortion appears in the pages of the Constitution? I never read about it there.
48 posted on 11/18/2002 2:45:24 PM PST by xzins
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To: Desdemona
I don't wanna be a spoil sport, it's just this thread was about Protestant pastors going over to the other side, so I though I throw in my $.02 since I are one.

For what it's worth I don't think much of Robert Shuller's fancy building either.
49 posted on 11/18/2002 2:48:29 PM PST by xzins
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To: RnMomof7
Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Sounds like the millennial reign of peace and prosperity with Christ in charge.

50 posted on 11/18/2002 2:50:52 PM PST by xzins
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