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.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Evangelical Protestant Churches Are "Alzheimer's Churches?"

I read a recent article about a conference that Evangelical churches are hosting to study the ways of the ancient church to help them to be re-vitalized. The conference is predicated on the notion that non-liturgical churches are more subject to secularization because they have no connection to their "historic core." At this two-day conference they will "explore how communion, the creeds, common prayer and other ancient practices can revitalize the modern evangelical church." The conference leader, Rev. Ed Gungor, notes the loss of evangelical's roots to the ancient church and its practices and creeds. The church "has not only forgotten its past but its identity as well", referring to it as an "Alzheimer's Church." He feels that this has led to a secularization of the Church and evangelicals have become "better Americans than Christians." He also speaks about the lack of unity among evangelicals and believes that a return to the ancient practices would "supercede" the political, economic and cultural differences that separate evangelicals.
    I believe that these Christian pastors are on to something big here. In a quest for unity and less secularization (more piety perhaps?) they want to pursue how the early Christians practiced their faith. Will they discover that the normative worship service of the early church was not a bible study and hymn sing, but a "breaking of the bread and the prayers" and receiving the actual body and blood of Christ?

"The Praxis Conference is an event designed to explore, collaborate, and discover how using the ancient practices of the historical church such as communion, creeds, and common prayer can actually manifest encounters with the Holy Spirit and resurrection in our local church communities."  (cf conference website)

A few years ago, the Emergent Movement was a similar attempt to recreate the early Church worship by a return to burning incense, icons, liturgy and return to the concept of sacraments. Some of the emergents actually became Orthodox and Catholic in their search. As hopeful as this sounds, just reading the creeds, participating in liturgy and placing a higher prority on the Lord's Table will not guarantee unity and purity of doctrine and less secularization, but it is a start.

Evangelicals who desire unity and purity of doctrine need to come into full union with the ancient church Christ built upon Peter and his successors. Only then will the fullness of the faith be experienced through the amazing grace that is poured out in the sacraments validly celebrated in a church in communion with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic one.

As we approach the Feast of Pentecost, the birth of the Church, let us pray for this conference and in particular for Reverend Gungor, that the Holy Spirit will show them the path to the fullness of faith.  An interesting aside, Catholic musician and worship leader, Matt Maher, will be speaking on Eucharistic Liturgy.


Blogger Christian LeBlanc said...

I saw the Praxis page too. Seems like every few years this sort of momentum starts up, only to dissipate once people realize that to get deep into Tradition is to sidle up to Catholicism.

June 04, 2014 5:00 PM  
Blogger De Maria said...

What do you think about that Mr. Leblanc?

After all, the foundation of the Bible is the Teaching of Jesus Christ. And the Teaching of Jesus Christ is the Tradition of the Catholic Church.

You see, Jesus Christ didn't write anything down. He established a Church and commanded His Church to Teach what he commanded. In other words, He passed down Tradition.

So, sidling up to Catholicism seems to exactly what the Doctor ordered for all Christians.

July 13, 2014 7:57 PM  
Blogger De Maria said...

I wasn't aware of this movement. Yes, although I'm late, I will pray that this seed takes root throughout Evangelical Protestantism.

July 13, 2014 8:00 PM  

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