Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rowing to Romanism Evangelical and Reformed Clergy Defections

One of the more disturbing trends that is occurring in contemporary American Christianity, both Evangelical (however you define it)and reformed, is the phenomenon of Protestants, particularly ministers, converting, (or reverting) to the Roman institution. Even remembering the fact that far more Catholics are converting to Protestantism than Vice-Versa, It is still disturbing to see those regarded as brethren making this decision and it behooves us to examine the reasons why. At first it would seem counter-intuitive. The Current state of the Roman system especially in America with its submission to Theological liberalism and the explosion of pedophilia among its priest one wonders why this is the case.

One factor of course, has been the co-belligerence between the Protestant and Roman worlds, especially in the Pro-Life movement. Many protestants have been schooled in what was once called by a professor whose name escapes me the "what I saw through the Convent keyhole" approach to dealing with Romanism. When they meet Papists who don't seem to fit the Jack Chick / Alberto Rivera mold they are shaken in their certainties.

Also, Many parts of the evangelical world are preaching a doctrine of Salvation that is little different from Rome. I remember in my youth reading tracts by a group called "present truth". This was an Australian group which I later learned was a group of 7th day Adventist trying to reform the group in the direction of historic Protestantism. It use to refer to what it called the "Neo-Trio" of the New Rome,{Post Vat. 2}, the Neo Evangelicals, and Neo Pentecostals, (the New Charismatic movement beginning in the 60s). They emphasized that all these groups taught a synergistic infused righteousness as opposed to the Imputed righteousness of historic Protestantism. This creates a situation where difference between Rome and much of Protestantism shrinks considerably. (for their perspective see )

This would explain why Evangelicals and Charismatics are drawn to Rome. How do you explain why this is the case with reformed Christians. As pointed out earlier, Many of these like Sungenis, are Reverts. When the music in his Game of Theological musical chairs stopped playing he was sitting in a Catholic seat. (having previously worked for the Cultist Harold Camping.) Others, like Scott Hahn never seemed to have strong commitment to protestant Theology. See "The Lost Soul of Scott Hahn".

I believe there is another reason. There is a phenomenon stemming from  the popular cultures hatred of Protestant Conservative Christianity. To strongly hold to Protestant teaching is to, in the wider cultures eyes, is to condemn oneself to being regarded as an ignorant fundamentalist. Sadly I Believe elements in the Reformed world itself does much to perpetuate this. I constantly run across examples of Protestant fawning over Rome Cultural and Theological icons. How many times on reformed websites or podcast that devote a lot of space to social or cultural issues do you hear references to G. K. Chesterton, Tolkien, Flannery O'Connor, and Richard Neuhaus?

An example, I was at one time I was a frequent listener to Mars Hill Audio, (admittedly the primary reason was because I could borrow them from a friend for free, Scottish blood vincit
Omnia!) One of the things that concerned me deeply was that they seemed to think that the only intellectuals were Catholics. For aProtestant concern they seemed to have a rather fawning relationship with Rome. Now I have read and enjoyed Tolkien and Chesterton, (and
given his alternative was late 19th early 20th century Anglicanism his decision might be understandable. I have Read O'Connor, who frankly strikes me as being the typical southern writer found acceptable by northern publishers, (willing to portray the south in a matter acceptable to Yankee prejudices while being pleasingly liberal on subjects like race.) and have read Neuhaus articles' in "First Things". The constant beating of the drum on behalf of these people is a factor in these Conversions.

Ministers, I believe are perfect objects for this. Presbyterian and Reformed Clergy are University training. While this is a blessing it can also be a trap.  Those of us who are educated want to be seen as educated. We tire of the popular cultures portrayal as blinkered fundamentalism. I think this is why so many in the Clergy are drawn to compromises on subjects like evolution and inerrancy. So many are so scared of being called "fundamentalists", they will forsake essential doctrines or even embrace Rome to be taken seriously. This is a hopeless quest. The Dominant culture hates Rome only slightly less than us. When it is positive to Rome it is positive to those parts of Romanism that Kowtow to it.
Like our God, the god of liberalism is a jealous God. Only total submission is acceptable.

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