Monday, June 29, 2015

Will The Protestant House of Cards Come Tumbling Down?

Martin Luther burns the Papal bull in the square of Wittenberg in the year 1520.
Oil Painting on Canvas by Karl Aspelin 1857-1922

By now we should all know what happened last week on June 26, 2015, a date that will live in infamy. Five Supreme Court justices violated their oath of office and invented a 'right' out of thin air, overturning constitutional amendments in various states, which were voted on by the people with overwhelming majorities, imposing upon every state and all Americans, same-sex 'marriage' as the law of the land. The implications of this are staggering.

The minority opinions written by the dissenting justices were no less historic. They heralded the end of American democracy and the rise of persecution for Christians who oppose this judicial fiat. The news media and Internet are filled with commentary on this decision, so I will not go into it in detail here. I will say only this. This third branch of government, headed by the United States Supreme Court, has historically been the most tyrannical branch of government in the failed American political system. It was this branch of government that gave us Dred Scott; a horribly bad decision that contributed greatly to the first fall of the American Republic in what is commonly called the Civil War. It was this branch of government that also gave us Engel v. Vitale, and Abington School District v. Schempp, which made prayer and reading the Bible in public schools illegal. It was this branch of government that gave us Roe v. Wade, which usurped state laws and constitutions, making the wholesale slaughter of unborn babies a 'protected legal right'. Fifty-seven million dead babies later, the Supreme Court of the United States gives us this.

In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court proved once again that there are no limits to the tyranny of moral relativism it can impose on the American people. In regards to the failed American political system I will say only this. King George III in all of his imperial majesty could have never imagined a tyranny like this. What Americans have created by their own hands is a thousand times worse than any tyranny England ever dished out on the original thirteen colonies. Our state constitutions have just been nullified. Our state laws have just been obliterated. The Supreme Court of the United States has just demonstrated, yet once again, that it will erase any law, overturn any vote, nullify any democratic process, and thwart the will of any people that five of their nine justices don't particularly like. King George III was a gentle and kind ruler compared to this. That however, is not what this essay is about. I will leave the failed American political system to my fellow countrymen. If they wish to try to save it with another constitutional convention (Convention of States), than let them rise up and do it. I will support them. If they wish to let it crumble into the ash heap of history's failed ideas, that too is their choice. I will not stop them. For this essay, however, I have something much more significant to address.

As a former Evangelical Protestant, I can attest that there are certain Protestant individuals who will never cave in to the homosexualist agenda. I can think of my parents and sisters as examples of this. They will never cave in. I have many Evangelical friends who will never cave in either. My question is; where will they go however, when there are no Evangelical churches left to support them in this? For now, most of them are safe, but not for much longer.
(Reuters) -- Evangelicals are starting to change their minds about gay marriage. In recent months, three large evangelical churches — EastLakeCommunity Church in Seattle, Washington, GracePointe Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and City Church in San Francisco, California — have announced that they no longer believe all same-sex relationships are sinful. Leading evangelical ethicist David Gushee changed his position on the issue in a landmark speech last fall, and celebrated pastor Campolo did the same in a statement on his website earlier this month. 
This new pro-gay movement among evangelicals is still a minority, and staunch conservatives have been pushing back. But bit by bit, the number of American evangelicals who support marriage equality continues to rise... read more
You see, Protestantism (for the most part) has had it pretty good for the last five-hundred years since its birth in the sixteenth century. Granted it had a few bouts with the Catholic Church in those early years, but even then, it was supported by a number of governments in Northern Europe. In the English colonies of America, Protestantism enjoyed the support of the state. By the time the United States was founded, Protestantism enjoyed primacy among all religions in North America. The freedoms Protestants have enjoyed under the American political system have allowed for them a great deal of luxury. Schism into multiple sects has always been the primary way Protestants dealt with differences over doctrine and practise. In America, such schisms were so easily accomplished, without state intervention, that literally thousands of denominations and sects have arisen on the North American continent. In all of this however, Protestantism has never encountered a real and serious heresy. Oh sure, there have been little heresies that have arisen here and there, but Protestants mainly deal with this through schism. Some groups have even broken away from Protestantism entirely, but still nothing in the way of real and serious heresy -- until now. When I say real and serious heresy, I'm talking about a cultural heresy that is backed by the full weight and authority of the state, resulting in forms of persecution (mild to severe) of those who do not comply. The United States of America, through the third branch of its failed government (the Supreme Court) has created the legal precedence necessary for such a serious heresy to result in the persecution of those who refuse to comply. The heresy is same-sex 'marriage' and those who refuse to go along with the lie will soon find themselves at the mercy of the state. The heresy has become a popular one in society too, so Christians, who refuse to comply with it, will find no sympathy from the general public. As a result, some Evangelical churches are beginning to cave in. We've seen this among mainline Protestant churches for a long time. They caved into the homosexualist agenda long ago, before there was any public pressure to do so. Many Catholics assumed, perhaps falsely, that no matter what, the Evangelicals will stand with us against the homosexualist agenda. It now appears that we were wrong. The Evangelical mega-churches are falling very quickly now, and I suspect we may see this increase at an exponential rate as persecution ramps up in the months and years ahead.

I am now witnessing this even in conservative Greene County Missouri, as small pockets of Evangelicals are starting to come out in favour of same-sex marriage. Granted, there will always be individual Evangelicals who will never sign on to this, just as there have always been individual mainline Protestants who have refused to cave in. In years past, we saw how these individual mainline Protestants were able to hang together, by breaking with their mainline Protestant denominations, and starting their own offshoots. The Anglican Church in North America serves as one excellent example of this. By breaking with The Episcopal Church of the United States, and the Anglican Church of Canada, individual Anglicans were able to resist the homosexualist agenda, break with their former denominations (schism), and regroup under a new denomination of their own making. This has worked well for them, for now, but I should point out here that Anglicans are a little different than Evangelicals. Anglicans are steeped in liturgical tradition and heritage. It is something that binds them together naturally and organically. This gives them an extra layer of something they hold in common, allowing them to easily unify not just around doctrine, but around tradition as well. For the most part, Evangelicals just don't have this.

Evangelicalism is built primarily around doctrine alone. Its traditions are fluid and relatively new. In many ways, its worship services are often indistinguishable from a Christian music concert, which one can see in any auditorium. When the government comes to take Evangelical church buildings away unless they comply, and it will, what will they do? This will be the first time Protestantism has ever faced any real persecution in North America. Indeed, aside from its bouts with Catholicism it had early on in Europe, this is the first time Protestantism has had to face any kind of real persecution -- ever! Many of these Evangelical mega-churches will cave in. Many Evangelicals will be forced to go underground, and worship as small groups in their homes. What will happen to Evangelicalism then? Without one mega-church pastor to hold them together doctrinally, and without any kind of liturgy or sacraments to bind them together traditionally, what will become of Evangelicalism? Can we expect them to deviate even further on doctrinal issues? Will each small-group become a denomination unto itself? Will Evangelicalism just devolve into some kind of Christianised Individualism? I really don't know the answer to these questions.

What I do know is this. Catholic Christianity will survive this, because we have survived many persecutions before, far worse than this one. We've endured the wrath of Pagan Rome, the Arians, the Muslim Jihadists, Protestant kings and queens, the Communists, the Nazis and now this. They may reduce our numbers. They may cause many apostasies. (Lord knows there are many Catholics more than willing to go, and have already left in heart.) They may take our properties. They may even put us into prison. We, however, have seen all this before. We will outlive them. We will bury their failed system like we buried the once great Roman Empire. Catholic Christianity will not only survive, but it will once again be victorious. Just as it always has throughout history. The Rock of Saint Peter is littered with the hulls of many vessels that have shipwrecked on it. Each had its own captain; Caesar, Arius, Mohammed, Napoleon, Stalin, Hitler, etc. They're all gone now, but the Catholic Church still remains, the Rock of Saint Peter stands tall.

My own decision to leave Protestantism and become Catholic was based on what all of Protestantism is about to undergo. My primary reason for becoming Catholic was over the issue of authority. As I studied to become an Evangelical pastor, it occurred to me that Protestantism has no real authority structure other than what Protestants create by their own hands. They cannot agree with each other, so they literally have hundreds of various authority structures. This should be as no surprise to us. For Protestantism itself was founded in the sixteenth century on a 'personal interpretation of Scripture' (Sola Scriptura) that allowed them to reject the historically established authority of the pope and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. This in turn led to many reinterpretations over the centuries, resulting in literally thousands of Protestant denominations, affiliations and individual sects. Without any real absolute authority to firmly established doctrine and interpretation of Scripture, what will become of Protestantism in the face of real heresy and real persecution for not following that heresy? Only history will be able to answer that question. For now, however, we are beginning to see the Evangelical mega-churches fall like dominoes. How it ends nobody knows. One thing is certain though. We shall all find out within our lifetimes -- in the very near future.

------------------------------------------------
Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'CatholicInTheOzarks.com -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'

BOOKS BY THIS BLOGGER...
A Catholic Guide
to the Last Days
Catholicism for
Protestants


8 comments:

Micky said...

Great piece! Very alarming and insightful. Going to start following this blog

Barona said...

An interesting article, but the heresy is naturalism or liberalism; various sins (endorsed by the State) are only the effects of the cause of liberalism. It was inevitable that America would fall, founded as she was on error. It was a magnificent run, but the defect in the "engineering" has finally caused the "motor" to break. truth be told, America died in 1973.

Joe Smith said...

An illuminating and precise commentary on the current debate. KUDOS to the author. I, too, will be following his blog. Well done!

3myopnion7 said...

Great article. When you said, "My own decision to leave Protestantism and become Catholic was based on what all of Protestantism is about to undergo," I was hoping you would follow with, "the reason I remain Catholic is because of John 6:53. Jesus said, unless you eat My Body and drink My Blood you have no life in you. This is the Eucharist, the bread of Life, and it also the strongest bond between Catholics."

Teresa Payne said...

Very good & insightful article!

jim.carroll said...

Good piece. I've posted a link to it on a Protestant end-times forum where I'm the token Catholic, and I'm waiting for the flames to start.

ek said...

Just re-read your prophetic article titled "Love and Marriage" written on February 12, 2014.

Todd said...

great post - as a former Evangelical myself, I have had the same thoughts and fears about the future of Protestantism in the wake of this cultural and legal shift - however, I didn't think things would stir so fast among Evangelicals, Tony Campolo is a big wake-up call, this is all going to unravel very fast - those Christians not behind the strong walls of the Catholic Church are going to be decimated in the coming years and decades. Very sad, but God will bring good out of it, and perhaps greater unity among devoted Christians as the end draws near.

http://catholicsojourner.blogspot.com