Protestant/Other Christians

What is “Organized Religion”?

by Steve Ray on October 11, 2019

Hey Steve: while I was on a business trip I had a good conversation with my friends, one who is agnostic and the other an Evangelical.  Both of them agreed they didn’t believe in “organized religion”.  From your Protestant background is there a specific meaning to that term or is it just another way to describe the Catholic Church.  I thought Jesus was very organized having 12 apostles and when they replaced Judas and the first council etc…. Those are things in my mind that describe an organized way of a belief system.  Or am I off on this.  Reply when it’s convenient.

centralbaptistchurch2Hello Friend: “Organized religion” has nothing to do with being organized. Used in a negative manner, it refers to a government, denomination, or authority that has become institutionalized and that subsequently attempts to intrude into your life — ruling over you.

“Organized religion” is something (an institution or government) that steps in, takes authority and expects something of the person — something that interrupts or circumvents the simple, personal relationship they supposedly have with Jesus. The Evangelical often thinks of Christianity as a purely vertical relationship — me and Jesus. They forget that Jesus said, “I will build my Church!”

Because the evangelical often rejects an institutional, hierarchical “Church” or any “man-made” authority over them — outside the Bible Alone —  “organized religion” is seen as a man-made institution that arrogates authority for itself — trying to take the place of Jesus. The gospel was once “pure, simple, Bible-only, and non-institutional. “Organized religion” is seen as the opposite of, or even opposed to, an “authentic, personal relationship with Jesus.

Unhappily, this cliché about organized religion is unbiblical and unworkable. Jesus said he would build his Church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matt 16:18). He also said if there are problems between Christians they should “take it to the Church” as the final step, as in taking it to the Supreme Court. In order to have this kind of authority a church would have to be “organized,” be all over the whole earth and have authority over all Christians. If not, it makes a farse of Jesus’ words.

St. Paul also set up “organized religion” when he established churches across the Roman Empire with bishops, priests and deacons. This can clearly be seen in the writings of the very first Christians — one Church, organized from Rome and unified throughout the world. Sounds like the organized religion known as the Catholic Church to me.

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Nathaniel has Converted 5 Catholics out of the Church

by Steve Ray on September 19, 2019

Nathaniel wrote: 

Thanks for the 6-tips which I see is taken from your baptist upbringing. I will use it to win Catholics to Christ and out from the RC Church. It will add to the list of 5 Catholics I’ve already successfully evangelized them out of the RC Church. Keep the tips coming :)

I responded:

My wife Janet and I after our reception into the Church with our sponsors Al and Sally Kresta (also converts)

Nathaniel: You’ve got a long way to go my friend if you view this as a race – I’ve helped over 4,000 Protestants discover the fullness of faith in the Catholic Church.

And if you consider the statistics you come up short again. The number of converts to the Catholic Church that revert back is about 1%; whereas, the number of people who leave Catholicism for a Baptist-type tradition, about 50% will eventually return to the Catholic Church.

And while the traffic continues back and forth between Catholicism and Fundamentalism, some observers have suggested that whereas a two decades ago more Catholics were leaving to become Fundamentalists, it has now reversed and there are more Fundamentalists becoming Catholics than the other way around.

Another thing you may have missed: there are no notable Catholics becoming Protestants but there are many notable Protestants becoming Catholics (e.g., Dr. Francis Beckwith, former president of the Evangelical Theological Society).

This is confirmed by Protestant writer Kim Riddlebarger, “While evangelicalism is growing numerically, apparently there are not as many notable Roman Catholics becoming evangelicals as vice-versa” (Roman Catholicism, ed. John Armstrong [Chicago: Moody Press, 1994], 240).

In other words, the converts to the Catholic Church (and there are untold thousands, just watch Marcus Grodi’s The Journey Home on EWTN) are among the best and brightest that Evangelicalism has to offer, whereas those you are converting out of the Catholic Church tend to be the most biblically illiterate and uneducated.

You’re on the wrong and losing side my friend. I would encourage you to read more carefully, study Scripture more deeply, pray more seriously, take your head out of the sand and join the throng of joyful converts into the Catholic Church. You can read more about this Nathaniel here and thanks for writing.

For hundreds of conversion stories from many different religions and denominations to the Catholic Church, click here.

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“Bible Christians”
(a misnomer, since Catholics are the real and original Bible Christians), based on their recently devised “Reformation” principle of sola Scriptura, study the Bible with the following premises:

1. There is no binding authority but the Bible alone;
2. There is no official binding interpretation or interpreter; each person ultimately is their own pope;
3. The Bible is perspicuous (i.e., easy to understand) and it can be interpreted and understood by anyone.
4. An individual can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves.

Catholics have a different set of premises that direct their study of the Bible.

1. The authority of the Apostles and the Church preceded the Bible and the Sacred Tradition of the Church is an equally infallible authority (2 Thes 2:15; CCC 80-83). The Bible is part of the Apostolic Tradition.
2. The authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the prerogative of the Catholic Church (1 Tim 3:15; Mt 18:17; CCC 85-88).
3. The Bible is not always easy to understand (2 Pet 3:15-16) and needs to understood within its historical and contextual framework and interpreted within the community to which it belongs.
4. Individuals can/should read the Bible and interpret the Bible for themselves—but within the framework of the Church’s authoritative teaching and not based on their own “private interpretation” (2 Pet 1:20-21).

These basic differences place the Catholic and Protestant worlds apart even though they are opening the pages of the same book and accepting it as an authoritative revelation from God. The Catholic position is biblical, and has been espoused from the first days of the Church. The Protestant position is unbiblical (assumed from their newly devised tradition) and is of recent origin. The Catholic is in full continuity with historical Christianity; Protestants are in discontinuity.

For the best Catholic Bible software, visit www.Verbum.com/SteveRay

My article “Bible Study: Playground or Minefield? Why We Need the Church”

My article: “How to Start a Parish Bible Study”

“Questions for ‘Bible Christians'”

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Should Catholics Attend Non-denominational or Ecumenical Bible Studies?

August 26, 2019

Every day, Catholics are invited by coworkers, neighbors, and even family members to “ecumenical” Bible studies. Should they go? Certainly all of us would benefit from more study of Scripture, but as someone who has been a part of a number of Protestant Bible studies—I’ve even taught them—I discourage Catholics from attending them because of […]

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Was Abraham Saved by Faith Alone? Are the Protestants Right?

August 25, 2019

Today (Monday) I will be on the radio with Gary Michuta at 1 PM at https://virginmostpowerfulradio.org/. Hope you can listen in. Our topic will be Abraham, Father of Faith & Works. I am looking forward to this live show. In honor of this event today I am posting this article on Abraham, a critique I made of […]

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Bias in Bible Translations

August 22, 2019

Translating Holy Scripture is a necessary process by which the sacred text is provided in various languages, usually rendered from the original languages. Not all translations are created equal. Some result from one scholar’s work, others the work of a committee of scholars. Some are literal while others tend toward paraphrase. Translation resembles a sliding […]

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Protestant Acknowledges “Five Things We Lost because of the Reformation” – one of the best I’ve read on it

August 7, 2019

This article was published by Nick Page in Premier Christianity Magazine in October 2017. He is trying to help Protestants understand that there were problems created by the Protestant movement. He explains five big loses: 1) Loss of unity, 2) Loss of monasteries, 3) Loss of silence, 4) Loss of “doing things”, and 5) Loss […]

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Baptist at the door, “Are you born again?” Prepare yourself to answer them!

February 21, 2019

Grilled salmon sizzled on his plate as Andy and his family sat down for dinner. No sooner had they crossed themselves to bless the food than the doorbell rang. Andrew dragged himself to answer the door while his family began eating. Two smiling faces peered in the door. “Good evening, we hope we’re not interrupting […]

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Cross vs. Crucifix

February 11, 2019

(A letter Steve wrote to an Evangelical friend asking for an explanation of the Crucifix) Dear Protestant Friend: You display a bare cross in your homes; we display the cross and the crucifix. What is the difference and why? The cross is an upright post with a crossbeam in the shape of a “T”. A […]

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Baptist in a Protestant Bookstore – Interesting Conversation

February 7, 2019

Dear Jerry: I am writing a short letter to thank you for approaching me in the bookstore yesterday to talk, and to make a few comments on our earlier discussion. As always it was fun talking with you Jerry. I always look forward to such times; they are a high point in my week. I […]

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Christmas – when even Protestants put up Statues!

December 20, 2018

Christmas is that magical time of year when Protestants don’t have a problem with statues of Jesus, Mary, Saints and Angels! Isn’t that lovely (and inconsistent)?

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“Ancient Baptists” and Other Myths

November 27, 2018

“Ancient Baptists” and Other Myths Fr. Hugh Barbour, O.Praem. Nicea, August 24, A.D. 325, 7:41 p.m. “That was powerful preaching, Brother Athanasius. Powerful! Amen! I want to invite any of you folks in the back to approach the altar here and receive the Lord into your hearts. Just come on up. We’ve got brothers and […]

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Trail of Blood: Do Baptists Have a Claim to the Original Church?

November 26, 2018

What is the history of Baptists? Can they trace their roots back to the 1st century? Many ”fundamentalist” Baptists believe they can. Are they correct? There is a booklet that is very popular among this fundamentalist crowd. It is entitled “The Trail of Blood”. The booklet claims that Catholics persecuted the true Christians — the Baptists — leaving […]

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The Bible out of Context: “Saved by Faith Alone”?

November 13, 2018

When reading the Bible devoid of its historical and textual context, there is no context except the context which any person might supply for it. or put otherwise, A text without a context is a pretext. I always get frustrated when self-proclaimed Bible students or teachers start pontificating about the meaning of the Bible and […]

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White Supremacy, Black Power, to Islam, then the Road to Damascus: My Journey into the Fullness of the Christian Faith

October 31, 2018

Follow Dustin through the phases of his life including Islam until he finally discovered the Catholic Church. Maybe you’re like me (aside from being born with Cerebral Palsy and defying doctors’ pronouncements, by the grace of God, that I would be confined to a wheelchair and relegated to a vegetative state). Maybe you grew up […]

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Willow Creek Protestant Megachurch Paid $3.25M in Lawsuits Over Sex Abuse of Disabled Boys

August 16, 2018

If you don’t like this post, or think I’m pointing fingers, then read below under the line of asterisks ******* By Stoyan Zaimov Aug 16, 2018 | 8:01 AM “Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois reportedly paid $3.5 million in lawsuits over the sex abuse of two developmentally disabled boys. The evangelical megachurch, which recently […]

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