Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Anabaptist Theology hits a new low

So, from what you have gathered, I came from the Churches of Christ denomination, which gets it's theology mainly from Anabaptist development. Thomas and Alexander Campbell along with Barton W. Stone derived their doctrines from Baptist and Presbyterian theologies, but I'd say that if you compare the old Anabaptist movement, you can see the most similarities. That being said, I received this email from someone who obviously didn't know I'm not in the CoC anymore. It demonstrated the low point to which this theology is beginning to devolve, although if you were familiar with what they teach, I can almost understand how he could logically come to these conclusions if you based their teachings on authority and scripture as truth. His email will be in red:

"church of Christ MOST IMPORTANT

If you don't share this (or if you hinder people from knowing it) with any Christian possible, then you are like a person in the first century who saw Jesus do a miracle, and then kept it to themselves. That is the root of Greed.

People have every right to make up their own minds regarding Truth.
To withhold Biblical information from people is exactly the same as the Pharisees wanting to kill Jesus.

To keep information from people is to deny God's plan for this world, that each and every individual study, learn, and choose what " they " determine as being the Truth.

Please do your best to not copy the Pharisees. Thanks so much.


So, of course I wanted to be removed from his list, less he think that I was really into his gibberish. I emailed him, telling him that I was Catholic and that his theology was bizarre. He responded within 5 minutes, with a copied and paste "attack" on the Catholic Church asking for answers. Below will be his questions in red and my quick answers (all this transpired within 10 minutes). Also, I realize that my answers were largely incomplete but I wanted to get the point across to him that some Catholics actually do know what they believe and that he has a very strange and lack of understanding of Catholic teaching and history.

any idea;

1. Why the catholic denomination fabricates 'priests' when the Bible
declares that 'Each' Christian is a Saint and a Priest before God.

Yes, we believe that all Christians are "priests" and "saints". You have a misunderstanding of terminology.

2. Why the catholic denomination says that Mary is a mediator, when God declares that only Jesus is the ONE mediator between man and God.

If I ask you to pray for me, you are a mediator between me and God. That is our English language. We both realize that the role of Christ is different than that, just like Catholics realize the role of Mary is different.

3. Why the catholic denomination believes in the apocrypha when God had the Bible compiled long before the apocrypha was added.

You obviously don't have an understanding of the development of the Canon. The Catholic Church chose the books you chose as the "sola scriptura" at the end of the 3rd century. You can't tell me why you think Philemon should be in the Bible and Maccabees should not. You simply submit to Martin Luther's decision on the Canon.

4. Why the catholic denomination believes Peter was the first pope when
Peter was a married man.

Again, you misunderstand Catholic teaching. We also know Peter was married. Many Catholic priests are also married. That is a disciplinary issue, not a matter of faith and morals.

5. Why the catholic denomination believes that Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit when God declares that apart from Jesus, ALL are sinners.

This question is confusing and the preface to the question does not match the actual question you are asking.

6. Why the catholic denomination believes that the unleavened bread and fruit of the vine become the physical body and blood of Jesus when
they remain physical bread and physical grape juice.

You could read up about transubstantiation if you aren't afraid of what the early church actually believed. Also, try reading John 6.

7. Why the catholic denomination believes in purgatory when there is NO
such thing.

So you answered your own question here? Why don't you prove to me it doesn't exist?

8. Why the catholic denomination sold indulgences to shorten a person's
stay in purgatory when purgatory does not exist, and this teaching is a total SCAM.

Refer to Question 7.

9. Why the catholic denomination forbade people to marry and eat certain meats when God declares that these types of rules would be taught by 'DEMONS'.

I'm afraid we don't forbid anyone to marry or eat certain meats. Please read up on our teaching before you keep accusing us of teaching things we do not. Also, if you copied and pasted this, you should think of a better response.

He never responded to this, which makes me either hopeful that he's reading up on real Church teaching in order to combat me (more than one person has converted from this journey), but more likely he either "turned me over to Satan" or is going to read some more Lorraine Boettner for information. This demonstrates to me the absolute epitomy of where private interpretation of the Bible and "sola scriptura" leads us though.

UPDATE: Sadly, I don't think he did any of the above. Here's the next round of comments. He ignored about half of my questions and didn't really respond to anything said here:

In response to all Christians being saints and priests:
Wow, . . . what catholic church are you with ?

THE Church. Did you even try to research what you are saying? If you mind taking a look at our official teaching (the Catechism of the Catholic Church) you will understand. #1546: "Christ, high priest and unique mediator has made of the Church "a kingdom, priests for his God and Father." The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ's mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, the faithful are "consecrated to be a holy priesthood".

In response to the Canon of Scripture:
Oh sure, and God had nothing to do with getting rid of " un - inspired " words of man.

Are you implying that Martin Luther was inspired by God to get rid of books that had been used since before Christ? Please elaborate. I think you might have a hard time explaining that comment from your doctrine of "sola scriptura"

In response to the confusing question about Mary:

Nice try. You say Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was therefore sinless, in order for Jesus to be born of a sinless woman (because of your False "original sin" Doctrine)
So what about Mary's mother ? ? ? hee hee

Again, I'm not sure about the clarity of your question. If you are asking that we belive Mary was born like Christ, of a virgin and the Holy Spirit, no we do not. We believe she had two earthly parents. She was preserved from original sin by the death of her son on the Cross, as his sacrifice flows backwards and the grace of God can accomplish anything.

In response to eating his body and drinking his blood:

God denounces " canabalism ". ;0)

Nice cop out.

In response to proving purgatory doesn't exist:

I don't bounce around refuting ever ridiculous Doctrine just to appease those ensnared by satan's games.
I share the truth with people and we then move forward saving other souls.

I think maybe that means you can't?

In response to forbidding marriage and meat:

Ya, because either you changed your Doctrine, or you don't know catholic teachings regarding fish on Fridays or priests having to give up marriage.

the catholic church is so far from a " living personal God " is head twirling.

Look at the pope's hat, then try to tell me that God's not rolling laughing.


I urge you to repent and pursue Truth.

Best wishes,

Actually I do know our Church's teaching about "fish on Fridays". Obviously you do not. And, obviously you don't know anything about priests and marriage, or the historical development of that discipline or it's exceptions. It's very hard to have a serious discussion with someone who doesn't really have anything serious to add. Why don't you try to explain your doctrine a little better without puns and insults, is it because it has such a weak place to stand?

And perhaps his best one (sadly) in reference to Mary as mediator:

Wrong, a Biblical mediator is a lawyer. When I pray for you I am not your lawyer. Jesus is.

Here you have again twisted what I said. I didn't refer to Mary as my lawyer. When you pray for me, you are a mediator between me and God. That's exactly what Mary does as well. Or, if you like
"To recap, then, Jesus Christ is the sole mediator between God and man. No other person in heaven or on earth can take His place. The role of Mary or any other saint is to lead the believer to Christ. This subordinate form of mediation derives its meaning and efficacy from the Lord Himself and is not something the saints possess on their own."


Teófilo de Jesús said...

I learned long ago that any one who asks these questions expect any answers, or wishes to interact seriously with the answer. The constant references to the "roman catholic denomination" is another telltale sign of a person unwilling or unable to sustain a serious conversation.

Let us pray for this guy and others like him. May anger and pride give way to understanding and true tolerance.

Soutenus said...

I am so glad you posted this.
You communicate so clearly and get precisely to the point (better than I, for sure!).
I am especially happy to read the tone of your answers. You conveyed information without any animosity even though insults were hurled at you.

I would like to share this at my blog in the future. Would that be ok?

Also, it would be an excellent "role play" for my students. I think one learns by practice and I want my kids to be ready to defend their faith.

Steve said...

I am a member of the churches of Christ in Australia, and know many Christians in churches of Christ in the US.

I was embarrassed to read the response of my brother to your genuine comments. I cringed more and more and if I could apologise for his tone, I would.

Sadly, many people in churches of Christ have a lack of respect for members of the Roman Catholic church. I guess it may true to say that those who claim to be "Catholic" without practicing any part of Christianity also affect the way the Roman Catholic church is viewed. What I am saying is, just as we should not tar all Roman Catholics with the same brush, my hope and prayer is that you do not follow the same path towards us.

May God grant mercy to us all.
In Him,

~Joseph the Worker said...

Thanks for all the comments so far guys. Soutenus, absolutely you can use it, but you give me too much credit! I've only learned to be this way after I found out the other approach serves no purpose, and learning that you were wrong about a lot of things humbles you greatly!

Steve: Thanks so much for your comment, that means a lot to me. I understand that this gentleman is way off of the standard teachings of all Churches of Christ, although again I understand how one could be led to where he is. And, you are absolutely correct that Roman Catholics do cause these problems ourselves by A) Not living the lives of Christians and B) Not being familiar with what the Church teaches and why. That is why we MUST have open, honest, direct, and gentle dialogue between other Christians in my opinion.

Oso Famoso said...

Wow. You have a lot more patience than myself...I would have taken him behind the theological woodshed and beaten him with the full force of air-tight Catholic doctrine : )

Maybe one day he'll become Catholic..stranger things have happened.