Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Monday, September 07, 2009

"A Rudderless Church"

Dr. Robert Benne, religion professor, theologian and member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's recent synod that voted to approve of homosexual unions had this to say in response to the vote. (See full commentary in Christianity Today.)

"What was truly chilling about the assembly's debates was that the revisionists seemed to quote Jesus and the Bible as knowledgeably and persuasively as the orthodox. Passages reinforcing their respective agendas were selected and then brilliantly woven into their arguments. Both sides seemed to have the Bible on their side. The revisionists "contextualized" and relativized the relevant texts. The orthodox claimed a plain sense reading of Scripture. The Lutheran confessions were utilized effectively by both sides. There was no authoritative interpretation conveyed by any agent or agency in the church. The church was, and is, rudderless.

Sola Scriptura, a Lutheran principle adopted by evangelicals, did not seem to be sufficient in such circumstances. An authoritative tradition of interpretation of the Bible seemed to be essential. More was needed than the Bible alone. Protestants seem to lack such an authoritative tradition, so they fight and split. In this situation, the option of swimming the Tiber seems all the more tempting."

This is the argument that we Catholics have been making for sometime now. (about 400 years) The Church was given to us by God to be that agency that provides an authoritative interpretation of holy scripture.
The Church is God's gift to His people to be the pillar and foundation of Truth, not an individual's interpretation of the Bible. "More was needed than the Bible alone." The word Church was used multiple times (111, to be exact) in the New Testament meaning Jesus and the apostles seemed to talk a lot about it. However, He never told us he would give us the Bible to lead us in all truth. Wouldn't it have ended this discussion if he had? But I digress.

There should be only sadness at this wholesale loss of orthodoxy that is being seen in modern protestantism. We should grieve for the souls that will be lost due to the errant moral teachings that result from it. At the same time, though, we will pray that God can take situations like these to rescue more people without a rudder in a sea of moral relativism and bring them into the safety provided by the Barque of Peter, the Catholic Church. Personally, I will pray for Dr. Robert Benne that the may be led home to the Catholic Church. Methinks he may not be too far off at this point.


Blogger Owen said...

The local church we were a part of before prior to converting (i.e. my final gig as a protestant pastor) has been under new leadership for about three years and, and?, that's right, they are crashing and of course someone there has come up with a great idea - we can do church ourselves - so yet another "house church just like back in the N.T." has begun. Call it whatever, it's another split, another painful fissure in the body of Christ. It's sad that it's so normal but when everyone is their own magesterium anything and everything goes.

September 07, 2009 7:13 PM  
Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

Never let a Protestant crisis go to waste, eh Russ?

Just wondering if you ever see anything positive in a group of Protestant Christian believers ("separated brethren") standing firm for the Word of God against the tide of modernism and moral relativism sweeping the world and the churches today.

September 08, 2009 11:33 AM  
Blogger TJ said...


The purpose and goal of my blog is to hopefully bring others into full communion with the Church Christ established.
Someone like yourself who has no intention of pursuing Catholicism might be put off by my blog. But I write the blog for those "on the fence", those questioning, those who find the solas of the reformation unsatisfactory.

If a crisis in a non-Catholic ecclesial community reaffirms the Catholic view that sola scriptura is inadequate, than I will post about it in the hopes of reaching someone who, like myself, maybe willing to look into Catholicism.

I value your friendship and appreciate your recent visits to my blog and requesting to be my friend on facebook, but my mission in social networking, blog, facebook etc is evangelization and the edification of the Catholic community.
Personally, I find that I have more peace and contentment when I avoid blogs, etc, that are in direct disagreement to my beliefs. I would not be offended and would understand, if you chose the same tact.
Your brother in Christ,

September 08, 2009 9:40 PM  
Blogger George Weis said...

Wow. This stuff is so sad. It goes on and on and on. It seems like the splintering has been picking up speed of recent. The walls seem to be cracking.


September 08, 2009 9:55 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

George-it is very sad.
In 1930, the Anglican council of Lambeth voted to allow contraception in "hard cases." Before 1930, all Christian religions believed that contraception was inherently sinful. (Luther and Calvin both said the same thing BTW)
In just 70 years, the moral slide went from allowing contraception to abortion to divorce to pre-marital sex to same sex unions. The Catholic Church has never wavered in its stance on such issues. It cannot.
To me that's a powerful testimony regarding the value of the teaching authority (magisterium of the Church), especially when some issues are not clearly delineated in Scripture(Stem cell research, IVF, etc)

September 08, 2009 10:38 PM  
Blogger George Weis said...

Not only sad, but scary!!! This article sent me into a tailspin. I started to feel a little insane.


September 08, 2009 11:34 PM  
Blogger Pilgrimsarbour said...

I had only hoped you could see the Spirit of Christ at work when people of "ecclesial communities" stand up for the Word of God, especially on issues in which both our communions agree.

I'm not sure why I had hoped this. But now I must accept that it was never real to begin with. None of it.

Be well.

September 08, 2009 11:50 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Hey Tim:
Does this mean your not gonna buy my new album? :0

September 09, 2009 7:11 AM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

If these (us bloggers today) were silent, the very stones would cry out!

"If a crisis in a non-Catholic ecclesial community reaffirms the Catholic view that sola scriptura is inadequate, than I will post about it in the hopes of reaching someone who, like myself, maybe willing to look into Catholicism."

What needs to be said needs to be said. Well said, TJ.

September 11, 2009 8:18 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks Susie

Apparently Christianity Today also felt it needed to be said or they would not have published it.
I didn't intend this post to point out sin/"eeeevil" in a Protestant denomination. That would be detraction, (which occurs on a regular basis on the anti-Catholic blogs)
The post is all about showing that a prominent Lutheran theologian and professor has questioned the very bedrock principle that led to the formation of his denomination. He observes that the practical application of Sola Scriptura has failed to steer his denomination in the correct moral direction when push came to shove.(or vote)
The Catholic Church is guided by a magisterium that is not capable of taking a vote regarding issues of faith or morals, and personally, that is a strong comfort for us in these times of moral ambiguity. Like Chesterton said, "Give me a Church that changes the culture, not chnges with the culture."

September 11, 2009 6:34 PM  
Blogger TJ said...

What is a Magisterium?

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living, teaching office of the Church alone. It authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

86 "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication, and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith."

87 Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: "He who hears you, hears me," (Lk 10:16) the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.

September 13, 2009 12:28 PM  

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