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Church History

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Catholics and Baptist Get Togther

A Paper Submitted to Dr. Martin Klauber

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for
CHHI 525-D02

Liberty Theological Seminary

William Maitre

Lynchburg, Virginia

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Table of Contents









How did the meeting between the Southern Baptist and Catholics come to pass? What was the driving force that facilitated a meeting of the minds after centuries apart?
The Catholic Church and Protestants have not had the greatest of relationships. In fact since the reformation, Protestants were not even considered brothers within the realm of the Catholic Church. Within the pages of Vatican II one can find a decree to not refer to them as brothers. However something new has occurred and this is what this paper will aim to delve into. While not attempting to be an exhaustive work regarding the meeting of the minds. It would seem that Baptist and Catholics have started talks across denominational lines. This paper will focus on why this meeting took place and what can other denominations gleam from these talks.
CATHOLIC CHURCH “Over the past three decades a true revolution has occurred in the Catholicism in respect to the authority and use of scripture.” According to Donahue the Bible was believed to have held an extremely high position within the Catholic Church, he believes that the period between the Council of Trent leading up to the Vatican II represented a deviation from that school of thought. To be a candidate for the Priest hood one needed two to three years of courses in scripture, with those courses having an emphasis on dogmatic theology of the Catholic Church and a thorough knowledge of apologetics. During the aforementioned time frame the words of the Bible didn’t play a central role within the church as it once did. In fact according to the Divino Afflante Spiritu which was published under Pius XII the “private reading of the Bible was not encouraged.” This was the Catholic Church of the past, as we look into contemporary Catholicism we see a deviation from that school of thought. The first noticeable change came in the presentation of the word. The liturgy as it were was presented to the masses in their local vernacular. Next is the Bible itself, it has found its place back front and center in every celebration and or sacrament. Regarding the Priest hood there is now an emphasis in exegetical and biblical seminary training. It is now the hope of the church that even lay people would want to read and study the Bible at home. It was Pope Leo XIII who spearheaded this contemporary revolution. He wanted a return to the “richness” of the Bible and encouraged the Priest hood to rededicate themselves into the studying the ancient languages to gain a better perspective upon the very scriptures they were using. The Catholic Church has been known to be reactionary in most of its undertakings. It would seem that the catalyst for the deviation from ancient thought was a result of the Modernist crisis put forth by the Roman Integralists. This time frame also produced the historical-critical method used by the church whether interpreting the Bible or looking at established traditions. One can point to the opening address made by Pope John XXIII as planting the seeds to what would much later enable the Protestants and Catholics to sit together and have a conversation. In his address to the council John XXIII expresses his regret for the disunity that has been established by those who practiced the Christian faith, he then asked for a prayer for unification. The answer came in the form conciliar response, which stated: “Catholicism is linked with those who being baptized are honored with the name of Christian. Who honor sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and action, and who show true religious zeal.” Within the Vatican II meetings it was presented by bishop Florit the documentation contained within the Constitutior on Revelation in which a kind on unity had been established. This document touched on various divisive issues between the Catholic Church and Protestantism. This area was worked by both conservative and progressive bishops at the council. As a result there seemed to be a growing unity between the two, however the main point off disagreement comes with relation of scripture and the traditions contained therein as it relates to the official teaching or magisterium of the Church. This should be understood as an order of succession, in which the Pope and its bishops is in the line of succession from Peter and the other Apostles. In reference to the magisterium the Catholic Church states: This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully by divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit; it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed (art. 10)
This statement is important because it promotes an impasse for the Protestants. This impasse is the Catholic Church simultaneously acting both as a servant to the word of God while also being the one that interprets it. This is the area of friction and has been around for numerous years. The eventual question then becomes according to Donahue, when does scripture call on the church to adopt a perspective different from traditional teaching, that is, how is the teaching office both servant and guardian of the word?
BAPTIST CHURCH To begin this section on the background of the Baptist tradition this author finds it appropriate to begin with this statement. The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. We recognize that the author of the Scriptures is the voice of Jesus, and this is directly related with the principle of the Lordship of Christ. We understand that God progressively revealed himself to humankind; in other words, God let humanity know his character, nature, plans and purposes in a growing way which climaxed with the Incarnation.
This is why we understand that the New Testament is historically interpreted based on the Old Testament, but the Old Testament is theologically interpreted based on the New Testament. With that being said, it would seem that as soon as the first Baptist came together they broke up. The Baptist were form by two men John Smyth and Thomas Helwys in Amsterdam. The initial split occurred when John Smyth one of the original founders did not agree on the authority to baptize theology. Instead of compromising he left the community altogether and joined up with the Mennonites. He joined that group due to his personal belief that they “maintained a truer more authentically New Testament baptismal tradition.” He also managed to take some of the original members of that community with him as well. The history of Baptist has had divisions all throughout. There are theological differences that has spawn many different versions of the Baptist faith. Interdenominational groups such as free will, independent, conservatives, and landmark to name a few of the different Baptist sects out there. However what every Baptist at that time believed was that a profession of faith was required for anyone that would venture to claim membership within Christ Church. This however was not the end, John Smyth with his group came with a schism of their own, and in that schism he aim to bridge the Anabaptist and Baptist ideas together. He did accomplish this and it reads as follows: The magistrate is not by virtue of his office to meddle with religion, or matters of conscience, to force or compel men to this or that form of religion, or doctrine: but to leave Christian religion free, to every man’s conscience, and to handle only civil transgressions (Rom. xii), injuries and wrongs of man against man, in murder, adultery, theft, etc., for Christ only is the king, and lawgiver of the church and conscience
Therefore from the beginning there was a sense of a local church approach to the Baptist faith. If one can reference the previous sub heading it was mentioned that within the Catholic Church the magistrate was both servant and interpreter. This is where the main division lies. So this concept of the believer’s church goes across all flavors of Baptist. It is one of the main things that binds them all. Things brings us to the issue that is facing both Baptist and Catholics. No longer are the numbers gaining, they are dwindling as a new group has identified themselves. This groups is called the “nones” they are individuals that do not hold allegiance to any denomination. They do not claim any religious affiliations at all and their numbers are growing. While this author is not a big fan of Landmarkist J.R. Graves, he did bring about a great point that we should take notice off. He said: The comparatively little interest taken by the world, and even by professed Christians in Church History, is truly astonishing. . . . And in what profound ignorance of the history of Christianity is the world today! That non-professing men should take so little interest in Church History is indeed strange, that Christians should be indifferent to it is unaccountably so.
The indifference issue is what has caused the rise of religious pluralism to permeate so much within American society. There was once a belief that the evangelical hold that the various denominations had was indefinite, it is now known not to be the case.
THEY DECIDED TO MEET In 1999 during the joint meeting there was a statement made by both Catholic and Protestants alike. This is where this section will start. The statement read as follows: By grace alone, in faith in Christ saving work and not because of any merit on our part, we are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works.
This statement would fuel the hopes that emerged from the 2012 synod of Bishops. This council was convened to look into the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith. While there has been the division regarding the ministration of the scriptures, talks are now being conducted more often to see if there can be a form of unity with the word of God as its foundation, and hopefully this would become the catalyst for conversation. There is also an ethical foundation that can be used as a springboard for further conversations. There is an increase in the denial of secularism, relativism and more importantly radical pluralism that is threatening both Catholics and Protestants alike. Pluralism especially is threatening both sects and as such talks are underway in reaction to a movement that seem to have crept up on both Catholics and Protestants. Though the 2012 synod did stress three themes, the centrality of the Bible, Jesus Christ and his saving Grace, and finally the importance of religious freedom. According to Roman Catholic theologian John Donahue and Baptist Theologian William Hendricks both stated that the role of scripture within the life of the Church would be key to a Catholic-Baptist convergence. According to Harmon both of these theologians agree that the affirmation of scriptures and trustworthiness by both sects do have a tendency that is leaning towards relativizing of biblical authority in other Christian groups. They also noted that the mediation of the canon is still a matter of divergence. Something that may also be bridging the gap is the addition of certain Catholic practices involving worship. Some of the elements that are making its way into Baptist worship are “observance of the full Christian years; adoption of a common lectionary for the reading and proclamation of scripture; movement towards more frequent services of word and table”
Even in the European nations there seem to be a sense of needed unity amongst Catholics and Protestants. In the country of Bulgaria for example, one of the Orthodox theologians stated this is response to how can Protestants bridge the gap with those that practice Orthodoxy: If Protestants are led by their sincere desire for good relationships with the Orthodox they could do the following things: they could go to an Orthodox church on Sunday or any other holiday, thus trying to learn the sense of the church, not as an architectural piece of art, but as a place for meeting God; they could read the Orthodox catechism, it is not long and gives the main information which can be very useful; it is a wonderful thing to visit some of the monasteries and try to understand their deep sense and atmosphere, especially on the day when many Christians gather there; they could try to understand the meaning of Orthodox fasting. Evangelicals need to understand that the tradition is the living connection between the different generations of Bulgarians. If the Orthodox priest is not conformed to the requirements of the Bible, they can always find sincere Christians with deep faith among the lay people in the Orthodox Church.
In response to this statement Zareva quoted a lay Orthodox person who said: I am impressed by the discipline of the Baptists. I see them go to
Church regularly, even on Wednesdays, always bringing their Bibles. I would like to be so disciplined regarding churchgoing. But I go only when I can, or when I am having problems. Baptists always have answers for my questions; when I want to know something from the Bible, they find a verse to explain it. I am very impressed by their love too. They always have guests and visitors, even from abroad. Sometimes they see them for the first time, but they start behaving like they have known each other’s for years. I like the idea of going to my Baptist neighbor and asking her to pray for my problem. She never says 'no'. She is always responsive and this is a big relief for me, to know that someone cares for me and takes my problems seriously.
These are two of the differing view points on what can be done to further bridge the gap. This author finds it interesting that even in the European nations there is a need for Catholic and Protestants to talk amongst themselves and see if there can be a chance for future unity.
RELIGIOUS PLURALISM There started a change in the religious landscape of the United States. It has been said that since the Puritans settled here there was always a sense of pluralism here in America, however that pluralism was very restrictive. This allowed the Protestant denominations as well as the Catholic Church to flourish. Howeve,r the change started following World War II with the late 50s and into the 60s seeing an increase in the numbers of immigrants that entered the United States. The increased numbers brought with them a number of Muslims, Buddhist, and Hindus. Also coming to the United States were other non-Christian religions. Infact the law which earlier favored immigrants from Europe and severely restricted Chinese, Japanese, and other Asians, as well as Africans and Latin Americans, was revised, and the patterns of immigration into this country—and concurrently the religious configuration—began to change dramatically. According to Neely the United States has irreversibly become a multi-religious society. There are now estimated 1500 mosques in the United States with the numbers of Muslim educational systems increasing as well. On the other hand the Buddhist have their own established centers as well. Neely points out that many of these devotees were not faithful, practicing Hindus, Buddhist, or Muslims until they arrived in the United States. Neely also makes it clear that most Christians are ignorant of what is happening around them. They seem to be unaware of the signs of change. This indifference is allowing the pluralism to flourish relatively unchecked with our churches.
The aim of this paper was to shed light on the meetings that had taken place between those within the Baptist faith and those within the Catholic faith. What has been discussed thus far is some background of both sects and where they stand for in relation to the most divisive issue. While the issue of the ministration may not be bridged anytime soon, what has come to pass is many meeting and talks. With a foundation set within the scriptures and an ethical platform to spring board from there is a definite chance of unity in the future. It is said that the word of God will always prevail, for these two groups to eventually come together for the long haul the word of God needs to be from and center. It is this authors opinion that talks should also be started across denominational lines with the other manl line Protestants religions for pluralism is a threat to all evangelicals. It does not take into consideration high church liturgical or nondenominational lines. There population is increasing and those who do not identify with any religious groups at all is increasing in numbers as well. The time has come to keep these talks going, this paper has put forth a number of examples of those who state that some common ground has been established. Building upon this foundation is needed and a better understanding of these religions especially with the laity is warranted as well. Evangelicals need get acquainted with these new religious viewpoints that has permeated American Society. They are talking to Christians and some are joining their ranks as they make their claims. This is the time to present a unified front in the hopes of reestablishing the grasp that evangelical Christianity once had.

Donahue, John R. "Scripture : a Roman Catholic perspective." Review & Expositor 79, no. 2 (March 1, 1982): 231-244. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)
George, Timothy. "Catholics and Baptists together: the recent synod of bishops sounded notes Protestants can sing." Christianity Today 57, no. 1 (January 1, 2013): 73. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)
Grant, Colin. "The threat and prospect in religious pluralism." Ecumenical Review 41, no. 1 (January 1, 1989): 50-63. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)
Harmon, Steven R. "Scripture in the life of the Baptist churches: openings for a differentiated Catholic-Baptist consensus on sacred scripture." Pro Ecclesia 18, no. 2 (March 1, 2009): 187-215. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013).
Leonard, Bill J. "Conviction and contradiction: reassessing theological formation in Baptist identity." Baptist History And Heritage 47, no. 2 (June 1, 2012): 6-25. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)
Neely, Alan. "Religious Pluralism : Threat or Opportunity for Mission?." Currents In Theology And Mission 25, no. 2 (April 1, 1998): 102-115. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)
Nichols, Gregory. "Ivan Kargel and the emergence of Baptists in the Bulgarian Orthodox context." Baptistic Theologies 2, no. 1 (March 1, 2010): 97-107. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed July 14, 2013
O'Connell, Maureen H. "Towards a Baptist (and Roman Catholic) catholicity." Pro Ecclesia 18, no. 4 (September 1, 2009): 381-385. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)
Purves, Jim. "Presence and proclamation: what might Baptists and Orthodox learn from each other in the pusuit of Christian mission?." Baptistic Theologies 2, no. 1 (March 1, 2010): 125-139. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)
Zareva, Petya. "Orthodox and Baptists: learning from each other's spiritual tradition." Baptistic Theologies 2, no. 1 (March 1, 2010): 108-124. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)

[ 1 ]. Donahue, John R. 1982. "Scripture : a Roman Catholic perspective." Review & Expositor 79, no. 2: 231-244. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)
[ 2 ]. Ibid.,
[ 3 ]. Ibid., 232
[ 4 ]. Ibid., 237
[ 5 ]. Leonard, Bill J. 2012. "Conviction and contradiction: reassessing theological formation in Baptist identity." Baptist History And Heritage 47, no. 2: 6-25. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)
[ 6 ]. Ibid., 8
[ 7 ]. Ibid., 11
[ 8 ]. Ibid., 24
[ 9 ]. George, Timothy. 2013. "Catholics and Baptists together: the recent synod of bishops sounded notes Protestants can sing." Christianity Today 57, no. 1: 73. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)
[ 10 ]. Harmon, Steven R. 2009. "Scripture in the life of the Baptist churches: openings for a differentiated Catholic-Baptist consensus on sacred scripture." Pro Ecclesia 18, no. 2: 187-215. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)
[ 11 ]. Zareva, Petya. 2010. "Orthodox and Baptists: learning from each other's spiritual tradition." Baptistic Theologies 2, no. 1: 108-124. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)
[ 12 ]. Neely, Alan. 1998. "Religious Pluralism : Threat or Opportunity for Mission?." Currents In Theology And Mission 25, no. 2: 102-115. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed August 18, 2013)…...

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...biblical Church Discipline 1 Mark Dever Mark Dever is pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Cambridge Universit y, Cambridge, England, he is the author of Nine Marks of a Healthy Church and a recent book on Richard Sibbes. He is a contributing editor to The Founders Journal. Emily Sullivan Oakey was born, educated, and then taught in Albany, New York. As with many other women of the mid-nineteenth century, she spent a good bit of time writing down her thoughts—sometimes as part of a journal, other times as part of articles, very often in poetry. She published many of her articles and poems in daily newspapers and in magazines. As a young woman of twenty-one, perhaps inspired by Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, she wrote a poem about sowing and harvesting. Some twenty-five years later, in 1875, the poem was set to music by Philip Bliss and appeared in print for the first time under the title “What Shall the Harvest Be?”2 The little group of Christians who formed what would become Capitol Hill Baptist Church selected that very song as the first song to be sung in their meetings together, in February of 1878: Sowing the seed by the daylight fair, Sowing the seed by the noonday glare, Sowing the seed by the fading light, Sowing the seed in the solemn night. O, what shall the harvest be? O, what shall the harvest be? Very appropriate words to ring off the bare walls and bare floorboards of the building they......

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...sure what the black church means to me altogether. I partially understand what the purpose of the church is in terms of going and receiving ‘the word’, paying my tithes, and worshipping the lord. I just begin to question the entire concept of what I believe we go to church for as I wonder about the good people I know that don’t go to church. Does that make them any more susceptible to go to hell than the people who do go to church to go to heaven? I don’t believe that is specifically the case seeing as how our God is such a compassionate God. I can remember being younger and telling myself that when I got older I would only come to church to pay my tithes and I would leave. I don’t feel the same now that I look back on that but I kind of feel the same way today as a 22 year old. The main reason for me feeling this way was because I always hated how long and boring the songs were in church. After being forced to get up after a late Saturday night, and stand up for what nearly felt like an hour of standing so many times; I had a fixed schedule for church for the rest of my life set in my head. Just looking back on these thoughts and how I used to feel about the church is what leaves me in question about how I feel about the church today because of all the questions that are posed from that train of thinking. Is it right or wrong, and is there even a right or wrong in that scenario? What harm is done from a person only coming to church to pay his or her......

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...“Church Goers” Being raised in the South, I, along with almost everyone else in my community was brought up to go to church every Sunday. The church that my family and I attended wasn’t a really big church but we had a pretty big congregation. During Sunday morning church services I remember how after shaking the preacher’s hand I would proceed down the aisle and see all the different types of church goers getting settled into the different rows of pews. At the time I didn’t really think much about this weekly ritual but as I got older and had an opportunity to visit several other churches I soon realized that the particular seating arrangement that I had witnessed at my church was something that happened in every church I visited. When I would enter these other churches I would observe the first group of church goers and I quickly began to refer to them as the back row or quiet people. Most of these people seemed to want to be able to slip in and out of the service without being seen or drawing to much attention to themselves. I also noticed that a lot of these back row people were always late getting to Sunday morning service. These back row people were also usually the ones that didn’t sing any hymns or give tides very often. These back row people also rarely attended service on Sundays and never attended any other church functions. They also seldom volunteered to help out with the church in any way during the numerous activities that were held at the church. I also......

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