On Baptists and Rosary Beads

Rosary and scapular - rosary beads and Scapula...

Rosary and scapular – rosary beads and Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. March 2009 photo by John Stephen Dwyer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perched quite uncomfortably on a pew, diligently scrutinizing the crowd in anticipation of witnessing my first “I heart Mary” t-shirt, and contemplating my exit strategy should things get a little too wierd for my tastes, my wife and I prepared to honor our fallen friend… our Catholic friend.

Memories of all of those Baptist Sunday School classroom conversations corrupted my mind with details of how these people worship with the boogie-man, or something like that. If you’re of a like-minded denomination as me, you know exactly what I speak of here. “Those people worship Mary… they have some very strange beliefs about the Lord’s Supper… they offer forgiveness for sins (at a premium of course)… they claim to have equal authority with the Word!”

A warning here… it’s not like I’m going to speak with much intelligence because… well, think about it: I’ve been inside the walls of a Catholic Church once in my entire life… last night.

What I can share with you is that it was nothing as I have imagined all of these years. From my limited experience, I saw a group of believers not only honoring our fallen friend, but also reverently bringing praise and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.

I suppose I’ll not be trading my Baptist hymnal for rosary beads any time soon, but still I can’t help but wonder “why so much division?” Are we divided over gospel defining issues… or just preferences and traditions? I might add here that our Catholic brethren have a different view of us than we often have of them. They advise that because generations have been influenced by Protestant doctrine, one such as myself having been born and raised with denominational influences, salvation is available through non-catholic yet authentic gospel proclaiming bodies.

By the way, the Catholic Church has long since denounced indulgences, and I saw no Marian t-shirts. Still, if we’re prone to frown upon their recognition and honoring of Mary, we maybe should take a glance at Luther’s teaching on the Mother of God… might find a little surprise there.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures… 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 ESV

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About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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37 Responses to On Baptists and Rosary Beads

  1. mtsweat says:

    Wow as Chrystal says is right! Rather than a whole bunch of responses trying to project the same message, I ask for your patience and compassion to hear my response to everything above. First, let me say, I thank God for people of conviction. I am reminded of a day when Arius sought to demote the divinity of Jesus to a lesser state. He had pretty good odds going in his favor as some friends of Constantine were on his side. Athanasius, a man of great conviction stood his ground and we received what became known as the Nicene Creed.

    We must love the truth! Still, we must love people more than our arguments over truth. Our goal is to win people, not arguments. We can never let truth be bent, but we must be willing to be a people of grace who are willing to pray to our God that He opens eyes and hearts to the knowledge of His truth. We must realize that it is only by grace that we have the ability to know truth, and never use God’s Word as a means of (as my good friend states) a tool of exclusion.

    Lord, let those who you have raised up with strong convictions remain so, but give them the ability to discern and to love with a heart like Jesus.

    Thanks to everyone for all of your great comments and sometimes extreme enthusiasm on the topic. May our God grant us unity in His Son. Blessings, good friends.

    • I haven’t seen Mike attacked here. All I’ve seen is some try to correct the misguided notions that we should not judge doctrine.

      Only in the United States are individuals accused of attacking others when they express the truth of God’s word. We are to speak the truth, in love, but that don’t mean that we are not to still speak the truth.

      I had no objection of Mike going to a funeral of someone who belonged to Catholicism, yet don’t try to make Catholicism orthodox just because of that. I’ll tell you what, If someone can show me one scripture whereby Christ made the Pope his ultimate authority on earth, then I will recant.

      What we have in America is a dumbing down of the church community for the sake of unity. Yet Christ did not cone to unify, but rather cause division. If one holds to his word, then there will not be unity among true saints and occultic systems.

  2. Chrystal says:

    Wow. I have to say I’m a little taken back by what appears to be attacks here to your post and your admission of what CC said: “You were relating an incident that caused you to consider some prejudices you may have been harboring.” I am not a confrontational person at all BUT my dander is little up. I would ask that none of you people come to my blog. I don’t wish to be told that I’m not really a Christian because I have struggles that I freely confess.

    • mtsweat says:

      It can get heated here sometimes… I have a tendency to push buttons once in a while. Thanks for swinging through and sharing good friend. Blessings!

      • Chrystal says:

        I don’t usually respond that quickly off the cuff. I’m usually much more “in control” which makes me giggle at little at that since that’s what I keep writing about. I responded with a spark of anger & judgment…which is exactly what I was accusing others of doing. Sorry about that. 🙂

  3. creditaction says:

    Vibrant and informative conversation, thank you to all the contributions. I wonder, what are people going to do with the new knowledge that has been shared here? Are people more concerned for the salvation of our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters and inclined to proclaim the full counsel of God, salvation being a monogistic effort of God.

  4. My dear brother,

    I think you’re exactly right. We’ve been taught to be afraid of each other. And the simple fact is, it’s not other believers we should be afraid of at all. In fact, I’m not sure we should be afraid at all.

    God’s blessings on you and your house,

    Br. James

  5. Wesley says:

    Reformedontheweb pretty much said it all.

    Here is a very simple introduction to the matter that summarizes much of what Reformedontheweb pointed out:

    http://carm.org/roman-catholicism

    Though, I’m really surprised you would call such blatant anti-Christs “believers”.

  6. I believe there are sincere believers within the Roman Catholic Church, and I believe there have been a few ‘surface’ changes. For instance, as one about to become a nun in a few months time, I was severely reprimanded for reading a Bible in 1958 – but it is now read by ‘ordinary’ people, and encouraged. Non-Catholics are no longer considered pagans and can now marry a Catholic at the main altar.

    However, salvation is still by works. Christ is still offered as a sacrifice at every mass. Mary is still the Mother of God and has influence over God, as do other ‘saints’ – hence prayers to them. The Bible is not the supreme authority. Forgiveness is not complete – there is still a price to be paid before one can enter heaven . . . . .

    As I said, one cannot doubt the sincerity and devotion of some Catholics, and I expect to meet some in heaven, but I cannot say that Catholicism preaches the Gospel. They do not adhere to the total authority and inerrancy of the Word of God or to the finished work of Christ and the total efficacy of His blood.

  7. You know, we’re not going to have one church in Christendom, until Christ himself is at the head of it but, do we really have to snipe at each other, a short history lesson ensues, because I’ve been trying to make sense of my church. A note, I’m neither clergy nor historian, but I know those who are both and I can read. The first recorded Marian written intercession request that we have is from about 250AD, yes pre Augustine of Hippo.

    At Chalcedon in 451 the first schism happened when the Copts and other middle eastern churches split off. The result:We lost the Holy Land, Spain, and Africa, stopping Islam at Tours, in France except for remnants who have survived under Islam for more than a millenium. We did reconquer Spain in 1492.

    In 1054, in the Great Schism, the Orthodox churches spit off over the filloque and other matters mostly having to do with the nature of the Godhead.The result: the fall of the Eastern Empire and nearly Vienna.

    Then we had the Reformation and Counter-reformation which fixed most of what we complained about, but by the time the religious wars were over it was too late too reconcile. It remains to be seen what the final tally will be, but we are losing Europe, it will be Moslem by the 22d century if trends continue- that leaves us and and southern Africa.

    We can argue doctrine for another 500 years like we just have. We can let the secular humanists and militant Islam take over our churches, which is why I started studying, or we can ally ourselves. The Eucharist is a good example, Catholics and Anglicans believe in transubstantiation, I believe that God is “in and under” the Eucharist, and you believe what you believe.

    BUT:

    We ALL believe in the Christ and Him crucified. And that is why the humanists and the muslims hate us, and will try to destroy us. They do not care about our doctrine an and dogma, they want us dead. If we don’t work together they will succeed. In my earlier comments here I gave you a link, I urge you to read the articles at that link. Right now, the Catholics are leading the battle, because they are the most threatened a well as best organized and because if the enemy can destroy them-the rest f us are easily conquered. The Schwerpunkt, the military calls it. Nobody is asking you to convert to anything else, call it an alliance for defense of the faith. Even as Martin Luther endorsed the Holy Roman Empire’s campaign to save Vienna.

    And if you haven’t heard, Islam is crucifying (literally) our Coptic Brothers and Sisters in Africa right now.

    An incidental tidbit, the Koran specifies exactly the same beliefs for Theotokis, if you will, as the Roman Catholic Church, and Martin Luther also believed in the Assumption, and perpetual virginity.

  8. cc says:

    Dear Friend,
    Your humble and loving telling of an experience has generated much, shall I say, enthusiastic comment. It was prominently and obviously noted in the very first reading of your post that you openly and readily stated that you were not writing from a base of scholarly investigation You were relating an incident that caused you to consider some prejudices you may have been harboring. The comments that your post has generated have been telling. I have heard of a group referred to as “young, angry and reformed”. I wonder if I now know what that means. It seems odd that anyone would reply to a writer’s blog, on his own blog, to tell him he shouldn’t write the blog. I am thankful you wrote. I am thankful for each reply. It has revealed much. But maybe not what all of the writers thought it would.

  9. lambskinny says:

    Michael,
    I regularly attend Lauds and Mass at Mepkin Abbey with the brothers (Trappist Monks) and I’ve found a reverence and love of God there that has often surpassed (in appearance anyway and sometimes quite overtly) that of many churches I’ve attended _ and I’ve attended a lot of different types of churches.
    God is love.
    I didn’t read the comments of others, so I’m not responding to anything but what you wrote.
    Why we are divided? Because we refuse to accept that Christians are Christians if they believe that Jesus is LORD and SAVIOR. So much of what we fight over is unnecessary to our salvation.
    Love dear friend and brother, Carley

  10. What made you feel you were among bretheren, Mike? A funeral service, where the teaching of Christ isn’t revealed isn’t enough to know whether you were among bretheren. Actually in the Mass only 5% of the whole ritual is scripture.

    Also God does not call usto judge anything by our feelings. We are to weigh all things with the word of God.

    Finally any Catholic theologian will tell you that there is no such thing as imputed righteousness. In other words when God ‘counted’ Abraham righteous in Romans 4, Rome states that Abraham was inherently righteous. They declare that God cannot call someone righteous who isnt really righteous. He would actually have to be righteous for God to call him righteous. Rome denies the doctrine of imputed righteousness. The.doctrine of imputed righteousness teaches that God credits or imputes to us Christ righteousness.

    I hope and pray that God’s word will be your guide. Our feelings will deceive us. By your standards all Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are bretheren to.

    The only reasob you have scripture in your hand, in your own language, is because Protestants have risked their lives to translate it into other languages, other than Latin. Rome did not want the word of God in the peoples hands. If you think they have changed their positions 500 years later, then you haven’t read their own statements.

    A few years ago some Catholics and Protestants came together in a document called ‘Evangelicals and Catholics together’ or ECT. Both sides affirmed that they havent changed positions, but only came together to help in social reforms. J. I. Packer is one of the signers of the document. All you have to do is google it.

    Finally Paul gives specific instructions to have no fellowship with ibdividuals who cause division among the believers Romans 16:17 and to reject those who are heretics. All Catholics are commanded to acknowledge the Pope as the highest authority on earth.

  11. creditaction says:

    Whether it has 10 members or a billion members a cult is a cult. Sempa Virgo (perpetual virgin, no consummation of her marriage to Joseph), imposed celibacy, infant baptism so if the child dies it can escape hell, 7 extra books added to the cannon of God’s Holy Scripture and men, and confessing sins through priests and dead saints. There are christians in the Roman church, as there are some in the protestant church, but I fear RC doctrine is a hinderance to the full counsel of God. I love our Roman Catholic friends and I do that by calling them to repentance and faith in the Saviour under the authority of Bible not the authority of Rome.

  12. mtsweat says:

    Once again, I admittedly have little to no knowledge of Catholic doctrine. However, reading the “DECREE ON ECUMENISMUNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO (http://www.ewtn.com/library/councils/v2ecum.htm)” seems to lean in the direction of acceptance of others by the Catholic Church. As I think you’re aware, I too am a student and follower of Reformed Theology, but I fear we often become guilty of loving our theology as an end in itself. Our ministry must be to the people Jesus came and died for, and the last time I checked, I have no list to work from, so must build relationships with all God gives opportunity. An excellent work that revealed my cynicism toward other’s takes on doctrine is “Killing Calvinism” by Greg Dutcher… good read.

    My primary point in this post is to simply state that I fellowshipped among those who profess to know Christ, and although I have been taught many things about this group, at the end of the evening I felt as though I had been among the people of God. Nothing more… nothing less. Thanks for the words good friend. Blessings

    • My friend loving my theology above people is not the case. We must love Christ above all else and from your stance here I fear that you would rather have an ecumenical move that leaves him out. I suggest that you do study more on the Reformation and particularly what Rome teaches. Grace.and works do not mix. Either we are saved by grace without our own effort or we are saved by grace and works. All religions in the world teach that we are saved by our own effort or works. The gospel proclaims that it is by grace alone.

      Rome teaches that when God declared Abraham just in Romans 4, then it was because he.really was righteous. This is against Protestant doctrine, which is biblical doctrine. In other words, Rome teaches that God cannot call an individual righteous, unless they are inherently righteous or righteous within themselves. The Bible declares that there is none righteous. Protestant doctrine declares what the Bible states that Abraham was counted righteous. The word ‘counted’ means to credit or impute. God imputes Christ righteousness to us. If you will sit down with a.Catholic who knows the theology of Rome, then you will find out that they reject the doctrine of imputation. They will declare that a man is only declared righteous, by God, when he actually becomes righteous in and.of himself. The Bible rejects this. We are only righteous because God credits Christ righteousness to us. I have written sone articles on this and on one of those articles I debated a.Catholic theologian. He affirmed Rome taught what I said they do.

      According to your belief, right now, we should also accept Mormons. They also confess Christ. But just because someone confesses Christ does not mean that they have the right Christ. Paul warned the Corinthians that some might come preaching another Jesus 2 Cor. 11:1—–

      Thou hast not studied enough to write on this subject. According to your view we can accept anyone as preaching the truth, as long as their funeral services move us. You have tried to make Rome orthodox by listening to a funeral service. Lord help us.

  13. What has divided the Catholics and Protestants for years had nothing directly to do with Mariology and other such like nonsense. What has divided us has been the heart and soul teaching of what makes an individual just before God. In other words is our salvation wrought in us by God and us working together or is it by grace alone? In other words, does sinful dead in sin men have the ability, when presented with the gospel, to reach out and accept Christ or does God have to supernaturally regenerate the sinner before he is able to accept Christ.

    The Catholic church has never repudiated indulgences and had never cease to say that Protestantism is apostasy. One only has to read Vatican II and the most recent Catholic catechism.
    Rome also has never ceased to proclaim that scripture and tradition are equal in authority.

    True Protestants, not Arminian and semi-Pelagian in their doctrines have never ceased to stand on these concepts: sola fide, its by faith alone and not by faith plus works (which if one will study congrous and condign merit which is taught by the Catholuc church, then they will see that they teach that what Christ merited on our behalf is not enough, one must also merit their own merit) Solus Christos or Christ alone, Sola Gratis, Grace alone, Sola Scriptura, scripture alone, and Soli Deo Gloria or to God alone be the glory.

    The scriptures are plain that one cannot come to God unless a supernatural work of regeneration has taken place in the heart of the sinner. This is wrought by God alone. Jesus said no one could come to him unless thos happens John 6:44 and that unless one is born again, then he can’t see nor enter the kingdom John 3:3,5.

    Finally Rome does not preach the gospel. The gospel declares that we were dead in sin Ephesians 2:1 Blind, ignorant, and alienated from God Ephesians 4:18 and men were so depraved that none could do a righteous act before God because none sought him Romans 3:10-12. Therefore the gospel himself, Jesus Christ, walked, died, was buried, and rose again in our place in order to do for us what we could not do. God then applies what Christ has done, to those of whom he has elected, by the Holy Spirit.

    What I have given is just a basic overview and is just to show that the Reformation was over more than just Mariology. It went to yhe heart of the question: what justifies a man before God? We are not saved as Rome teaches by looking on a cracker and a cup of wine that supposedly transforms into the actual body and blood of Jesus. Rome teaches that if you do not partake of their Mass then you are not saved.

    We declare their mass to be an abomination. Christ was once offered for sins Hebrews 9:28 and does not need to be offered afresh everyday.

    I challenge all the commentors to study the doctrines of what caused the Reformation, ibstead of relying on hearsay.

    • Veracious_1 says:

      Thank you, I was beginning to think nobody has understanding on this post. Catholosism is demonic. Praying to Mary, a sinner (in Luke we see this is true), the dead, etc. It is idol worship, not Jesus worship. Jesus does not mix with other Gods. You can not bring redemption to sin or atonment of any sort through the Rosary. The Rosary is demonic. It is heresey.

  14. cc says:

    Thank you for the poignant post. My Catholic heritage has added many, many rich blessings to my faith walk. Not everyone knows of my Catholic background, and I have endured way too many cringe worthy moments in Baptist circles. It has caused me to look into my own heart and deal with the pre-conceived bias I find. (Interesting side note….in typing this, I realize that I have yet to hear any Baptist-bashing in the Catholic circles I still move in. The comments I have heard were all delivered thoughtfully and kindly. Hmmm….)

    • mtsweat says:

      My apologies for the poignant approach cc. I, and I’m sure others would love to hear of the transition from your heritage into your current faith walk. It’s those cringe worthy moments that I desire to have removed from my own personal approach toward others… even when it seems there is little in common. At the heart of Christianity is Jesus. It is becoming really clear to me that our natural movements will always be toward division, yet Jesus said His Church would be one. It therefore has to be us causing all of this division. I think the apostle Paul made a habit of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt and leaning towards if someone makes a profession of faith in Christ, let the fruit grow and provide evidence of its reality. This is why he could speak to the church at Corinth with words like, “Brother, Sister… you’re wrong (at least 19 times in this one letter, he addressed them as brethren).” Because some of (a lot)their theology was messed up didn’t give him cause to write them off as beyond the pail. In the end unity is much more urgent than we acknowledge. To that same church Paul would label the Corinthian’s sectarianism as sinful. Blessings good friend, and thanks for the useful bit of info.

  15. evanlaar1922 says:

    I have been praying for such a post…much courage there my friend!

    • mtsweat says:

      I’m enthused by positive comments good friend. I must admit, I had no false illusions that suggestions as I make here can be received by many as borderline heretical. It was actually a life moving experience for us to attend our friend’s funeral in an awkward environment. We learned much… and had many preconceptions dissolved. May we seek unity and divide only when the gospel is challenged… Thanks and blessings.

      • I as a Lutheran, like the way one of our Catholic commenters put it:

        “…I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say (although for me as a Catholic the True Presence in the Holy Eucharist is of vital importance, I get your point that we can agree to disagree on this) as our belief as Christians in our one “Triune God” and the life and teachings of Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, is our supreme binding belief. This belief that marks us out as Christians – and all the blessings Christendom has brought us – must unite us in these troublesome times in the face of our common “real enemies”, that as you also say “are at the gates”!”

        The time for the Thirty Years War is long over and the barbarians are at the gates again, it is time to speak with one voice as we continue our separate roads to the foot of the Cross.

  16. You couldn’t possibly be referring to Luther continuing his Marian devotion through his entire life, could you? Surprised this Lutheran when I learned it.

    Strangely a couple of weeks ago a group of us were discussing this for most of the week, we constituted Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and others probably. There was a lot said, in a spirit of fellowship, You would have been very welcome. I did the summary of the discussion, which is here http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/barbarians-at-the-gates-a-summary/

    if your interested. I think all the articles are linked there. Have a great day, my friend.

    • mtsweat says:

      Indeed I do refer to that good friend. I also had my socks knocked off by that and other recent revelations. I did stop by your recommended post, but haven’t followed the links… intend to do so as I’m very enthused by the prospect of unity. Can this whole division thing be undone? Probably not, but we have no excuse for being a part of the division… but should be vessels to seek reconciliation amongst the true brethren. The Bible allows no other options if we are to be true to the commands of our Lord. Thanks for the visit and great link.

      • Sure thing, our conclusion was pretty much that we’re never going to solve all the sacramental (and other) problems to fully heal the schism, nor did we do much with the Orthodox and Copts but we, None of us, se any reason not to work together. Take your time, some of the comment stream are 50-100 comment long. but its very heartening reading. 🙂

  17. Lyn Leahz says:

    Yes, religion was made by man (the word religion comes from the latin word religio, which means, interestingly enough, “To tie or to BIND.” No wonder religion keeps people in bondage to rigidity and man made rules. While there are things we cannot combine nor back down on when it comes to our faith, the most important thing is the belief in the Trinity and that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

    Jesus told the disciples to go out and preach the good news; never did He say, “Go out and pervert the Word of of God and create different variations of My Truth!” While He wants His body united in Him, God detests false doctrine. God bless you! Thanks for the good article!

    I have missed you guys and haven’t seen you around that much lately. Am always happy to read your posts, as they are a blessing! Oh, stop by and see me at my new site, http://promisebook.wordpress.com I think you would really like it! God bless you both! And big hugs and love in Christ Jesus our Lord!

    • mtsweat says:

      Hi Lyn! Yes, a little longer than intended stay away from blogging… mind clearing. Hope to soon be back out there visiting.We have subscribed to your new blog… just haven’t been able to get there or many other places as of yet… soon, very soon Lord willing. Blessings good friend.

      • Lyn Leahz says:

        I know exactly what you mean. This blogging business can, if you allow it, take up much of your time. Sometimes it is probably good to get away and take a break. I try to stay focused and remember that when I’m on here, I’m working for the Lord. God bless you and glad you’re back!

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