Monday, August 25, 2008

Baptist Roman Catholic?

Peter Smith of the courier-journal out of Louisville gives us an interesting story morning Married, ex-Baptist minister to become Catholic priest. Sad, but interesting story about former baptist pastor David Harris converting to Catholicism. So why the question "Roman Catholic Baptist?" Smith's story begins.
David Harris never considered his conversion to Catholicism six years ago to be a rejection of the Baptist faith that nourished him from childhood in Eastern Kentucky.

How does a man with an M. Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary come to this conclusion? I understand that there are areas in our seminaries that need improvement, but I didn't think that theological education touching on what Rome teaches vs. what Southern Baptists' teach was one such area. Nor did it seem that Rome was so unclear on the issue since calling us "separated brethren" sure tells us something is amiss from their position.

What is interesting is that he will be a married Roman Catholic priest. Since the Vatican will be giving Harris approval on this I doubt much, if any, opposition will be seen. Another interesting observation from a Catholic spiritual director is the very argument I've heard used as a reason why priests should be allowed to marry is practical experience.
"He understands what it's like to be married, to have children, to have that life, besides being a very spiritual person"

Harris is own pope?

Protestants get charged with being their own pope as basis for their spiritual, theological and biblical interpretive decisions. You can see one of many examples in Steve Hays' post Self-popery where he answers the charge. So what of Harris? On whose authority did he submit to Rome? Not only on his own authority, but it seems that it was his experience that drew him.
Harris said he was captivated by its vision of a deep contemplative prayer life and began reading more of Catholic spirituality, including works by 20th-century Kentucky author-monk Thomas Merton.

So not only do we have another warning to heed here about contemplative prayer, but this also shows that Harris was relying on self in making this decision. Some may argue that's a bit reductionistic, however, existentialism does reduce to self reliance.

The Lord's Supper

I have no idea what Harris' own thoughts are on the Lord's Supper, but the reporter in the story states.
Baptists believe the Lord's Supper is strictly a symbol, while Catholics see it as in essence the body and blood of Jesus.

While that statement is not necessarily inaccurate it doesn't say enough to its readers. Just take a look at some examples from the 1689 London Baptist Confession on the Lord's Supper.
...spiritual nourishment and growth in Christ, and to strengthen the ties that bind them to all the duties they owe to Him. The Lord's supper is also a bond and pledge of the fellowship which believers have with Christ and with one another. ...a spiritual offering up of all possible praise to God for the once-for-all work of Calvary. ...receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and receive all the benefits accruing from His death. This they do really and indeed, not as if feeding upon the actual flesh and blood of a person's body, but inwardly and by faith.

Now the Roman Catholic position of transubstantiation says that the bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Christ.
That the consequence of Transubstantiation, as a conversion of the total substance, is the transition of the entire substance of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, is the express doctrine of the Church (Council of Trent, Sess. XIII, can. ii). -Catholic Encyclopedia.

There is just a greater difference than let on in the article.

On Rome's Authority

Moving from existentialism to Rome's teaching Harris apparently understood enough.
"I've come to understand enough of it that I began to believe and trust in the ... teaching arm of the church"

I wonder what "enough" is? I certainly wonder this in light of the beginning statement of not having to reject his baptist roots to become Catholic. This again comes back to Harris himself in deciding and accepting what he sees as correct. And if you accept "enough" does the rest just automatically follow? I believe that if one just accepts Rome's authority that this just may be the method of accepting all of her teachings. I wonder if Harris would fall along the same lines as Beckwith as seen in some of James White's questions.

I'm Okay You're Okay

Apparently his family is supportive of his move to Rome.
His wife and sons remain Baptist, but support him...

Why? How? How does one's spouse make such a drastic religious move like this alone? Who will now be the spiritual head of the home? Maybe his former baptist church should initiate church discipline.
"I'm real happy for him," said his brother, Mike, of Louisa. "My brother has always had a fantastic heart for people."

David Harris said his mother had the most difficulty with his conversion.

"At this point she's real supportive."

I wonder what brought Harris' mother from a position of difficulty to support. I would hope she'd change her mind. Pretending that Protestants and Roman Catholics are united doesn't make it so no matter how nice it sounds and feels. The differences are drastic hence the current and continued divide. Another example of why theology matters.

For what it's worth...

Mark

21 comments:

Rhology said...

Maybe...church should exercise ch discipline

Ain't no "maybe" about it.

Dozie said...

The reported story is, in my estimation, not an entirely happy story for the Catholic Church. A man who has been Baptist all his life would have no cultural foundation to function properly in such a role, and to ordain such a man who is also married is actually reducing the priesthood to a deep low level - it is like throwing the Kings food to the dog. It is a dangerous thing to do. But, the man will be a priest once ordained.

Rhology said...

Dozie,

Who precisely are you to question the actions of the Church Christ founded?

Dozie said...

"Who precisely are you to question the actions of the Church Christ founded?"

I very well knew that someone in your camp would come up with your kind of response. In any case, my point was that certain protestants from certain camps should not present themselves to ordained, and should not be accepted, to the Catholic priesthood. I would say this to the Bishop who admitted the man in question, while recognizing that I am not an authority on the matter.

Rhology said...

Not only are you not an authority on the matter, you are just a layman. Yet you have not only questioned the Church that Christ founded, you have called one of her actions wrong. I want to know on what authority you can do so.
How is this not exactly what you accuse Protestants of? Looks like a blueprint for anarchy.

Dozie said...

Mr. rhology, you don't seem to get tired of asking the same tired questions over and over. When will you get a handle on Catholic priciples?


"Yet you have not only questioned the Church that Christ founded,..."

I am glad that you have finally come to accept that the Catholic Church is that one Church that Christ founded.

"...you have called one of her actions wrong".

This is purely an abuse of reasoning. If you can show where I said that the man, if ordained, would not be a Catholic priest, then you can say that I "called one of her actions wrong".

"I want to know on what authority you can do so."

Not applicable, see above.

"How is this not exactly what you accuse Protestants of? Looks like a blueprint for anarchy."

But, Dozie was quick to point our his willingness to submit to Church authority and to acknowledge the true position of the man if ordained.

I find it interesting that over and over again, you are willing to accept the abject stupor in which Protestantism finds itself; your only quest now is to force Catholics to accept that their situation is as hopelessly depraved as the Protestant case. No, the situations are not similar.

Rhology said...

Dozie said:
not an entirely happy story for the Catholic Church

to ordain such a man who is also married is actually reducing the priesthood to a deep low level - it is like throwing the Kings food to the dog. It is a dangerous thing to do.

I would say this (certain protestants from certain camps should not present themselves to ordained, and should not be accepted, to the Catholic priesthood) to the Bishop who admitted the man in question


So, you're not saying the Church was wrong to do this. You're just saying... what? Maybe you can help clarify your double-tongued statements here. We're not ALL stupid, you know.

EA said...

A man who has been Baptist all his life would have no cultural foundation to function properly...

So now, effective priestly functioning is constrained by cultural norms or some other assimilation process beyond ordination?

Dozie said...

"So now, effective priestly functioning is constrained by cultural norms or some other assimilation process beyond ordination?"

Yes, there is something called Catholic culture. You don't want a goofy priest at the alter. Training for the priesthood used to be a 12-14 year project, even for catholics.

EA said...

Yes, there is something called Catholic culture. You don't want a goofy priest at the alter. Training for the priesthood used to be a 12-14 year project, even for catholics.

I'm well aware of Catholic culture, it took me many years to escape from it.

Training for the priesthood typically consists of 8 years of post-high school training. In the US this is usually accomplished by a 4 year undergraduate program and 3-4 years of seminary training followed by a 6 month assignment as a deacon prior to ordination.

The ex-minister has a Bachelors of Engineering and a Masters of Divinity. He was confirmed in 2002. Given the current priest shortage with many dioceses scrambling to keep older priests in service or bringing them in from overseas, consider yourself lucky to get someone this qualified.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

If I'm not mistaken, the wife of Internet Monk Michael Spencer (who I think is an SBC pastor) is also swimming the Tiber and becoming Roman Catholic.

bkaycee said...

Harris said he was captivated by its vision of a deep contemplative prayer life

Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. ...

18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,

Ben Douglass said...

bkaycee,

You make no effort to demonstrate a connection between what St. Paul condemns and what this gentleman accepts.

Matthew Bellisario said...

I just love it when God leads people into the Church. All the heretic can do is mock him. And we see that here. another soul is brought into the Body of Christ. Glory be to God. It is a good day when we see a soul leave Protestantism! You can keep complaining. In the meantime we will be celebrating!

EA said...

Bellisario said:It is a good day when we see a soul leave Protestantism! You can keep complaining. In the meantime we will be celebrating!

Dozie said:to ordain such a man who is also married is actually reducing the priesthood to a deep low level - it is like throwing the Kings food to the dog.

One RC thinks that this is cause for celebration another that this brings the priesthood to a low level. Feel the unity.

Yup. Good times.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Dozie said:to ordain such a man who is also married is actually reducing the priesthood to a deep low level - it is like throwing the Kings food to the dog.

One RC thinks that this is cause for celebration another that this brings the priesthood to a low level. Feel the unity.

Yup. Good times.


So what? Who cares what Dozie says? The Catholic Church has always had married priests. Get over it. It has no bearing on the priesthood as a whole whatsoever.

Rhology said...

This looks like a blueprint for anarchy. The Romanists here are already tossing each other under the bus, and this is just a blog combox.

I, as a man who am suffering terribly (terribly, I tell you) under the oppressive disunity of my Protestant belief system, am less than impressed by the alternative.

Dozie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dozie said...

"Bellisario said:It is a good day when we see a soul leave Protestantism! You can keep complaining. In the meantime we will be celebrating!".

"One RC thinks that this is cause for celebration another that this brings the priesthood to a low level. Feel the unity."

Of course, it is a good thing when a Protestant abandons his error and returns home to the Catholic Church. It is a thing for thanks-giving. Adn, if you were able to read closely, you would notice that my concern was not about the baptist's entry into the Church; my concern was about him asking to be ordained so soon after entering.

Once again, by mixing apples with oranges, we have a case of either an inability to read at High School level or a deliberate abuse of reasoning.

"The Romanists here are already tossing each other under the bus, and this is just a blog combox."

It is a lie. You have not seen me address Mr. Bellisario prior to this point. You cannot make a protestant out of me - always fighting. This is a small matter and if I wanted to raise a serious objection on the matter, I would not attempt doing so on this blog. I am a Catholic and I submit to authorities above me. Get it?

Finally, I have no fights with Matthew Bellisario, although you would love to see one.

Turretinfan said...

"The Catholic Church has always had married priests."

a) It's awfully hard to find any significant number in the two hundred years from 1600-1800.

b) Of course, before Gregory VII and before the Great Schism, it wasn't all that rare (but was there really a separate sect of Catholicism in those days?).

c) And, of course, if MB is trying to use the term "Catholic Church" to include all Christians going back to the apostles, of course there weren't married _Christian_ priests in the earliest period of the church, since there was no office of priest in the earliest period of the church (just as there is no office of priest in churches that have been Reformed to Scripture).

d) There were, however, married bishops in the earliest period of the church ... something that one finds with extraordinary rarity in either Eastern Orthodoxy or Catholicism today.

-TurretinFan

GeneMBridges said...

How does a man with an M. Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary come to this conclusion?

Because he's a KENTUCKY Baptist. Southern Baptists are not monolithic in their ecclesiology. KY Baptists (and Arkansas) Baptists are well known for Landmarkism. Landmarkism is just high church ecclesiology in Baptist drag. So, honestly, this isn't a big surprise. Very likely, he got caught up in the search for the one true church like other Landmarkers and this fed into his apostasy.