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.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fruit of the Reformation: Liberalism in Religion

“Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another. . . . [it holds that] Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy.”  Blessed John Henry Newman 1879. (Convert to the Catholic faith from Anglicanism)

The reformation gave every individual the right to make "it" (the bible) say whatever struck their fancy. Evidence for this is found in the fact that the Lord's Supper was always considered the actual body and blood of Christ from the Last Supper onwards, yet the reformers said that this long held truth was not Truth. How can a 1500 year old belief suddenly be discovered to be wrong? If you believe this then you accept that the Church was mistaken right out of the gate, which bodes poorly for the belief that Christ would give us his Holy Spirit to lead us into all Truth.

Baptism had always been held as regenerative and the normative means of being born again. The reformers said this is not Truth and rejected 1500 years of believed and practiced faith.

A sacerdotal priesthood had always been held as the means by which the sacraments are given through the Church. The reformers said this is not Truth and there are no need for priests or sacraments rejecting 1500 years of believed and practiced faith.

The effect of the reformation was to give men the permission to decide for themselves, outside of any authority other than the voice in their head, what is truth.  The fruits of this are evident in the exponentially expanding number of new churches and the daily dismantling of the faith and morals held by the ancients.

  Hold firmly that our faith is identical with that of the ancients. Deny this, and you dissolve the unity of the Church.    St. Thomas Aquinas ..(13th Century)

N.B.  I don't write this post to "stick a thumb in the eye" of my Protestant brethren. I do it in the hopes of causing some reflection as to the disastrous consequences of the reformation that are often overlooked.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post.

When I talk to Protestant fundamentalists (who think they are "conservative"), I often refer to them as "liberal theologians" (it's like a cold splash in the face) and they always object. They don't realize that they need to REcalibrate their scales... then they would realize that even the most "conservative" Protestant theology (which means nothing) is Liberal theology.

...hope n change theology = liberal theology.


May 23, 2012 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

Thanks for sharing Russ[--words spoken in Charity and Truth will bear fruit!

May 23, 2012 11:48 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

thanks guys! I still wonder why I as a Protestant thought it was "ok" to ignore 1500 years of Christianity where there was "one Lord, one faith, one baptism", to exchange it for, 200 views of the Eucharist, at least 4 views of baptism and countless protestant sects- All based on individual interpretation of the word of God. The only thing that will prevail is the Church that Jesus started, the pillar and foundation of truth, not personal interpretation of the Word of God, that will lead to further splintering and fragmentation and loss of faith and morals. The events of history since 1517 bear this out.

May 24, 2012 8:35 AM  
Blogger Magister Christianus said...

Russ, I have been sitting here for several moments, pondering how to respond. I think at this point in history, several things are operative among Protestants. First, a great many would not even claim the name "Protestant," wanting there to be no adjective to modify what they see as their desired principal identity, which is Christian.

Second, there is widespread, nearly universal belief that the Christianity practiced in one's own church is the Christianity from the time of Christ. One often hears, especially in Evangelical circles, of being an "Acts 2" church. Of course, the Acts 2 folks did not have a praise band and high-tech worship, but the essence of faith and practice were the same, or so it absolutely believed.

Third, if it were pointed out that the core beliefs, and some/many of the common Protestant practices were not held continuously from Acts 2 until today, while still shaking their heads in disbelief, I can hear my Protestant brethren sputtering, "B-b-but if it's not as we thought, then what is it?" It would never cross anyone's mind that the answer could be Roman Catholicism, and were such an answer proposed, it would be met with the objections of the core Protestant belief, e.g. the priesthood of all believers vs. clergy, sufficiency of faith along vs. efficacy of practices such as baptism, Jesus' anti-Pharisaical positions vs. the papacy.

While the Protestant movement must always be of shorter duration than the whole of Christianity, let's face it. It has been 500 years. In this country alone, generations have grown up with these beliefs reinforced by wide family relations and broad networks of friends and churches. An Evangelical believing as I have described can go coast to coast and easily find those who believe as he does. It is rather like the movie The Matrix. It is extremely difficult to look at a place where one has enjoyed really good noodles and fully understand that one has never eaten there before because neither the restaurant nor the noodles are real.

May 24, 2012 8:09 PM  
Blogger Russ Rentler, M.D. said...

Magister, thanks for your perspective, it means so much to have a reformed Christian willing to thoughtfully consider the point of my posts.
I like the Matrix metaphor!

May 24, 2012 8:55 PM  

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