Evangelicals with Statues?

by Steve Ray on November 16, 2017

A while ago I took off running through a commercial area behind the hotel where I was staying while doing a parish mission. I discovered a nice jogging trail through the woods so I swung onto the trail and headed through the trees. Soon I came into the open to see a beautiful lake. A sign caught my eye. It had an arrow pointing to “Baptismal Pool.” I kept running.

Sure enough a little distance ahead there was an elaborate structure with seats, railings and a ramp down into the lake. It was obviously designed for full immersion baptisms (see pictures).

I was puzzled. Why a baptismal pool in a commercial park? I looked carefully at the large building to the right which appeared to be a large office building – but surprise! it was a large mega-church with a sign “Fellowship Church.”

I looked back at the baptismal pool and remembered my upbringing in modest Baptist churches. They didn’t have lakes with elaborate ramps down to the ducks and white egrets sharing the water. We had huge bathtubs behind the pulpit where people were immersed after church services – all wearing white robes and holding their noses.

But what does baptism do for these good meaning folks? According to their theology baptism does nothing – it’s not even necessary. Jesus commanded it so they do it but nothing happens. It was just an external act we did to show the world (even if it was in the privacy of our little church) that we had believed on Jesus. I know because I was raised this way and later passed on the Baptist tradition myself.

Of course evangelicals condemn Catholics as unbiblical for teaching that obeying Christ in baptism actually does something – bringing about new birth (John 3:5), washing away sins (first words Paul heard from Ananias when he hit the dust, Acts 22:16), and incorporating us into the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:1-5).

Funny that they make such a costly structure to do something that doesn’t do anything. According to most of them – baptism is unnecessary for salvation and is merely optional since we are “saved by faith alone and not by sacraments.”

Funny that Baptists are called Baptists even though they consider baptism as unnecessary! Originally, after splitting from Martin Luther who believed baptism did something, even with infants, Baptists were originally called “Anabaptists”. “Ana” means again. Since they rejected their infant baptism as Catholics they decided they all had to be baptized again – thus “Anabaptists.” it was actually a way of demonstrating their protest against the Catholic Church (thus the title Protestant). Later they dropped the prefix “ana.”

I continued running around the next curve and stopped again. There in front of my eyes was was a big outdoor statue. I took a double-take, blinked and looked again. Yup, it was a statue! A statue of Jesus ascending to heaven!

Wait a minute? Aren’t Catholics accused of being idolaters because of statues? What is a statue doing in the garden of an

Evangelical mega-church? It brought to mind the inconsistency of Protestants, remembering my Baptist mom’s little statue of Mary and Jesus on our table at Christmas, part of the nativity scene.

If I was staying over the weekend I’d have visited this “church” just as an observer out of curiosity. I’d follow the arrow to “worship space.” I’m not sure whether I’d buy a cappuccino or an espresso to enjoy while watching the worship show entertainment. I would not want to be the only one with an empty cup holder in my theatre-style seat.

After shaking my head and wiping the sweat from my brow I ran back to the hotel to pack and fly back home after giving a Catholic Parish Mission. I prayed a quick prayer along the way – while huffing and puffing – and thanked Our Lord for His Catholic Church and for opening the eyes of one more unworthy servant.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa March 9, 2011 at 6:25 PM

Wow that’s pretty interesting. You are correct it just goes to show how all the splits in Protestanism show that they all pick and choose on what to believe is okay or not.

Jim March 10, 2011 at 5:16 AM


Jake Frost March 10, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Thanks for the history — I never knew what “Ana” meant in the name “Anabaptists”. Very interesting.

John March 14, 2011 at 8:48 AM

We all have a bit of inconsistency and hypocrisy in us. We all measure ourselves against others. It somehow makes us feel “right” for believing what we do. Yes, it is odd that the Baptist church views baptism the way it does and that these mega-churches call what they do “worship”. But, it is also odd that the church that calls itself “Catholic” advocates prayer to people other than “the Lord” (as you called Him) and that it predominately portrays the risen Savior dead on a cross.

Honesty in assess our own institutions hypocrisy and inconsistencies might get us further with the Lord Jesus Christ than criticizing others.

Kathy March 15, 2011 at 2:00 AM

I think we should have warned you about Fellowship Church before leaving you on your own out there in the wilderness! They have a huge following and are really drawing in youth for their big shows. It’s hard to pull them back sometimes from those big production churches. I just keep praying!

Julie March 16, 2011 at 8:46 AM

John, Hello to you. I hope that you will keep visiting the site and find answers to your misconceptions. I am sorry. There is a great deal of misinformation about the Catholic Church out there. God bless you.

tom godlewski March 20, 2011 at 8:02 PM

Regarding John’s comments at 8:48 on march 14th
Catholics pray to people: Wanting to be kind to John but also speaking truth, he forgets the words from Scripture \…My ways are above your ways….\ ( telling us our understanding does not match His until our faith increses. BUT we certainly ought to understand, that if one is granted the reward of heaven than they enjoy the presence of God, right? And if we fully understand the teaching of Scripture that we are all brothers and sisters and those living in His grace are united regardless of in heaven or on earth we still are brothers and sisters–family. And why not speak to family? We call family by phone in NY if we live in Calif. In the after life, in spirit we do not need phones nor cell phones. After His second coming when we are graced with a new body we still will not need cell phones or any other device. Just think those in heaven now have already been able to gaze upon His beauity. Might they have a little advantage you think? Just a little :)
And for Him dead (still) on a cross: Sorry but short on understand again John. Do you recall such words as, \…in the fullness of time..\? God created \time\ like everything else. God lives outside of time. For God everything is always present. Thus the Him dying on the corss and His rising are always present to God. Hard to get our arms around all of that I know but that is reality. Not different than when He taught that we needed to eat His Body and His Blood if we wanted life. Back then it was too hard for some to grasp and accept as well and the Scripture says \…. 3000 \BELIEVERS\ LEFT HIM….\ BECAUSE OF THAT HARD TEACHING. Which reminds us not to condemn or Jewish brothers for those who have not accepted Christ yet. Remember Jesus words about the women caught in adultry? \…..who is going to cast the first stone…:

Vlad November 16, 2017 at 7:14 AM

These guys are not the only evangelicals who have statues near worship places. Seventh Day Adventist Church (one of the biggest worldwide evangelical movement) has some statues in front of their hospital in Loma Linda, CA. http://www.victorissa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/come-unto-n9.jpg

Sandi November 26, 2017 at 11:44 AM

Wow, Vlad — and what a beautiful seen those statues depict! Bravo to those Seventh Day Adventists who realize that statues are there merely to “remind us,” and we don’t worship the statues themselves.

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