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.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Protestant's Are Primitivists?

I just read an interesting article by Mark Galli in Christianity Today. He is writing about the attraction that Protestants have for the Dead Sea scrolls and tries to explain that Protestants want to "get as close to the breath of God as possible." He states that Protestants are "primitivists" and give "great authority to the first or earliest of the kind or in existence."

"There are many reasons, of course, for our stubborn fascination with originals, especially when it comes to Scripture. But one is less a reason than an assumption, a basic hermeneutic by which we operate. Protestants are fundamentally primitivists—meaning we give great authority to the "primitive," that is, to things that are "the first or earliest of the kind or in existence." The Reformation is a primivitist movement, an attempt to correct what we considered to be later additions and corruptions of the faith. "

I beg to differ. If indeed Protestants are fundamentally primitivists, why then do they not study the ancient writings and doctrines of the primitive Church, AKA the Catholic Church? Would Mark and those of his brand of Protestantism want to learn not just about the ancient scripture manuscripts of the Old Testament, but the writings and theology of those Christians who were direct successors of the apostles? Wouldn't the writings of primitives such as Justin Martyr and Ignatius be worth taking a look at, especially for those who want to "give authority to the earliest in existence." Shouldn't the reformers in an attempt to "correct the corruptions" of the Catholic Church in the 16th century  have returned to the primitive doctrines of the early Church? No, instead, they created new doctrines and called them "original."  

I was always told in my evangelical churches that the way we worshiped was the way the primitive Christians did. Bible study, hymns, preaching etc.  Then I read the writings of the primitive Church Fathers such as Justin Martyr, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, Irenaeus etc. It turns out that the "primitive church" worship was centered around a thing now known as the mass. These early Christians believed and wrote extensively that the Lord’s table was actually partaking in the true body and blood of Christ, not just a memorial meal. The belief in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist has been a part of Christian theology since the time of the apostles. It wasn't until the 16th century that the reformers decided that Jesus was speaking symbolically only when he said: “Take and eat, this is my body.” When I discovered this truth, I had to make my way back to the “primitive church.” In the Eucharist, celebrated daily in Catholic Churches throughout the world, one cannot get any closer to the breath of God than eating his real body and drinking his real blood. If Christians of good will want to be as close to the breath of God as possible, they will find that breath in the Catholic Church. 

"Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox in regard to the grace of God which has come to us. They have no regard for charity, none for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, none for the man in prison, the hungry or the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead."

St. Ignatius "Letter to the Smyrnaeans", paragraph 6. circa 80-110 A.D.


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