Any One Else Noticed Protestants Calling Themselves 'catholic'?

Hey all,

Before I open here I will share something with you. I am in attendance at a men’s substance use recovery ‘retreat’ of sorts, it is ‘faith based’. Every Sunday we go to different churches, but they are always of Protestant denomination (Baptist, etc).

Well today at a ‘Calvalry Baptist Church’ it opened up with the usual koom-bah-yah, along with some open prayer for various infirmities and illnesses.

Then came the sermon…

The tract revolved around how all Christians who believe in the full truth of the Gospel are part of the ‘one.holy.catholic.apostolic.church’. This is how Jesus intended it. Then how no one is more holy than others, catholic is merely universal for the invisible/visible ‘church’, all Christians are inheritors of ‘apostolic tradition’.

As all of this was being said I was trying to pray and rub the Crucifix on my Rosary that I keep around my neck (but underneath my shirt).

Then the rub…"…but apostolic isn’t about Popes or succession or bishops…" At this point my spirit started to get very angry and on the way out I would not shake the pastor’s hand.

I guess my question is; is my anger misplaced? Should I just love them for the bit’s of true Christendom that they do adhere to and ignore heresy?

I only have two more days left before I start RCIA. Please pray for me and the guidance that Fr. Alfredo will bring to me. I cannot wait to be in the bosom of the Church.

In Christ,

James

Calling oneself Catholic is quite common amongst the Episcopalians. They also claim to be right on the edge of union with Rome…all the while having female Clergy!!!:eek:

Well i think getting angry is a natural response when you here the truth being twisted but i feel as scripture states, Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. (Ephesians 4:26) I guess find a constructive way to deal with the anger and don’t let anger be the answer rather find a way to allow love to answer.

God Bless.
WordHeavy

We Lutherans are also known as Evangelical Catholics. I wear that title with pride(but not too much pride.:D) As for why a baptist would want to identify as a catholic, That is a new one for me.

The term “catholic” comes from the Greek “katholicos.” The word means “universal” or “all inclusive.”

It was in response to the Gnostic challenge that the Church began to use the term “catholic.” In the early years of the Church, the Gnostics presented a gospel based on the belief that divine revelation was superior in written form over any other, and that God or the Divine gave special knowledge (in Greek “gnosis”) to a select few that allowed these to properly interpret the inspired writ.

Salvation was thus limited to being gifted with this “gnosis” or knowledge, and only a small group of “select” could make claim to it. They introduced a form of appeal to reason by using written revelation as “evidence” or “proof texts” to support their concepts. Only evidence could prove religious belief, in their minds, and the only real evidence for religion was written religious texts. For a person to be saved they had to be either one of these select few with the special gnosis or they had to subject themselves to learning from them, as Marcion of Sinope taught.

The Church declared all Gnostic belief as heresy. Salvation, the Church taught in response, was not limited but “all inclusive” or “universal” (in Greek “katholicos”). And the Christian Church was ever since linked with the word “catholic” from that time on.

When the Protestant Reformation occurred it was hoped by the first Reformers that the Roman Catholic Church would correct any practices or doctrines these reformers felt was necessary. When this didn’t happen, the Reformers “protested”–thus the word “Protestant” in reference to them. However, this did not mean they gave up the concept that salvation was open to everyone just because they protested the way Rome responded to their call to reform. They too still opposed the Gnostic challenge (which has never gone away). They too were “catholic” in their belief.

Therefore most mainstream Christian denominations still adhere to the Apostles Creed, even citing or quoting it on Sundays, saying the familiar line: “I believe in…the Holy Catholic Church.”

Note they are not saying they believe in the Roman Catholic Church. They claim to be of the same faith, they just protest the exercise of the Bishop of Rome in one form or another. Except for a few, Protestants don’t formally claim to be anti-Roman Catholic or even anti-Pope. They are merely “Protestants,” not anti-papists. They still hold that the gospel is catholic, universal, open to all, and that knowledge of salvation is not limited to a few who can decipher secret codes in written texts, regardless if those texts be inspired or not.

The common belief among evangelicals is that all who are in Christ’s Church are in One Church. So I wouldn’t necessarily be in a different Church than Catholics, rather I am Catholic as Catholic means, “Universal.” Almost all Protestant Churches are encouraged to recite the creed and include the word “Catholic.”

I’m not going to debate what’s right and what’s wrong, this is just how it is. I wouldn’t get upset, rather look at it as a form of unity.

I didn’t think it would have such an effect on me, but attending a protestant service with my family after having accepted the Catholic Church is such a depressing prospect. I see all of those people worshiping and yearning for God and my heart cries over how there is only suppose to be one Church, both mystical and visible, in which all believers are nestled under Jesus’ wing.

I would refrain from entertaining angry thoughts towards the preacher. This isn’t the 1500s, and the preacher isn’t Henry VIII. Few protestants alive today are in a state of formal heresy, as it is understood by the Magisterium. They are more accurately understood as open mission territory, or as the ancient Samaritans that worshiped the Judaic God. Pray the same prayer that Jesus gave, which is for his disciples to be one. Not becoming one via false ecumenism and compromising on truth, but truly becoming one.

As long as they don’t present themselves to the Priest at Mass for communion as if they are a part of our Church (when they aren’t), then I don’t care if they call themselves “catholic”.

They can call themselves “roast beef” for that matter. Wouldn’t make it so.:shrug:

Maybe if they do that enough, they will truly become Catholic and in full communion with the Church through RCIA.

Thinking about it after reading your post and forming this reply, it sounds like the person you heard is on the verge of conversion to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and in communion with Rome.

I find that optimistic. :slight_smile:

Praying that our separated brethren find their way Home. :gopray:

The ancient, Early Christian way to determine the proper use of the word Catholic is still valid.

You stop somebody on the street and ask them, “Where’s the Catholic church?”

They probably won’t point you to the Baptists or the Episcopalians…

OTOH, even back then, some schismatics like the Donatists did call themselves Catholics pretty persistently, and today you see certain groups like the Old Catholics and newer schismatic groups doing this too.So it’s not a perfect test.

I’m pretty surprised to hear that, myself. I suppose I could envision an Anglican calling him/herself “Catholic”, but a Baptist, or other Evangelical?

I’ve never heard that, not once. In fact, it was the Baptists I made friends with in high school who immediately started trying to teach me about accepting Jesus as my savior once I told them I was Catholic (and I’ve never used the adjective “Roman” when expressing my religion).

Not that I can speak for how Protestants use the word Catholic amongst themselves, it’s just news to me.:shrug:

Good point. Another reason I’ve always understood Protestants to hold a very clear and separate meaning of the word “Catholic”.

Well, one ought to know the history behind the word “Catholic.” It seems over the centuries the RCC has claimed the title for themselves but the Orthodox have always been Catholic as well. Lutherans consider themselves Evangelical Catholic, and the term, “Catholic” continued on and still exits (outside Rome).

Basically, we say that we’re Catholic, and there’s also the Roman Catholics. The idea among Evangelicals is that we’re not separated from all others who have accepted Christ.

Actually, Donatists thought they were “more” Catholic than their fellow Catholics…

Perhaps I was hasty in my earlier post.

Thinking about this some more, when any term becomes misused or overused, then there are a few outcomes that logically follow; the term becomes meaningless, or the people using the term tire of it and begin to use some other “new” trendy term, or the people using it begin to examine the actual meaning and are converted (or utterly reject) into the idea that they formerly scorned.

People that identify themselves as “Catholic” (including the faithful, Mass-attending Catholics) will either progress toward a more perfect Catholicism and a fully formed conscience in obedience to our Church and God, or they will eventually stop calling themselves Catholic and fully embrace their heterodoxy or schism.

It seems to be only a function of time. Christ draws us closer to Him, we either follow Him, or we follow our own path that leads away from Him. I pray that we will all join together in the unity of faith and in full communion.

Let those that err (all of us) put aside their issues and seek that which brings us into One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. :gopray2:

I was aware that Protestants protest the authority of Rome, but I was not aware that Catholic was put in to use in response to gnostic heresy. So thanks for shedding some light on that.

After reading some of these replies, I suppose I should lighten up my spirit a little. On the other hand, I can’t help but get irked when the preacher said “Apostolic succession has nothing to do with bishops or popes…”

Anyways, thanks everyone.

They have Christ. We should be happy about that. It doesn’t mean all of their beliefs are going to be correct. Simply being angry won’t solve anything. A discussion of the issue is more helpful. This is why we are asked to learn why the Church professes what it does on these issues (and also why other interpretations are believed) - that knowledge enables us to have an informed discussion. Of course people are not always open to changing their mind. At that point the best we can do is pray for God to open their heart.

And I am Marie of Romania.

Sorry, that wasn’t very charitable.

Hi Marie! :stuck_out_tongue:

As I understand it, the origin of the word “Catholic” is traced back to Antioch. Saying that the Roman Catholics claimed the term for themselves suggests that we adopted it from someone else. Who?:confused: Yes, the Orthodox have always used the term, and thus the full title “Orthodox Catholic”. But I’ve never heard a Baptist say “I’m a Baptist Catholic”, or “I’m a Presbyterian Catholic”, etc; it’s just been “I’m a Baptist”, “I’m a Presbyterian”, “I’m a Pentecostal”, “I’m a Methodist”. . . . .Similarly, I’ve never seen a sign in front of a Baptist Church referring to it as a “Catholic” church.

As mentioned, if someone asks you where the closest *Catholic *Church is, they wouldn’t be directed to a Protestant or Baptist one.

This seems to suggest (at least to me), that there is clearly an understood distinction being made.

That’s interesting to know. May I ask, is this a rather recent adoption of the term? Which church do you belong to? Incidentally, I was just reading some of the letters of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to the Danbury Baptists (I’m working on composing a thread regarding separation of church and state), and I never saw the term “Catholic” conflated with the group. In fact, whenever the word “Catholic” came up during the Revolutionary years, it was always referring to “those Papists!”:smiley:

Surely you understand how it’s confusing, being that there’s quite a variance of interpretation among Evangelicals.

Well Roman Catholics have never been the only ones to call themselves Catholic.

Yes, your anger seems very odd to me. What do you expect? Did you think that Protestants said “yes, there is such a thing as the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ, but we don’t belong to it”? What you encountered, apparently for the first time, was simply a coherent Protestant ecclesiology. It’s true that most Protestants don’t go around thinking “we are part of the Catholic Church,” but that’s because most Protestants, like most people in general, don’t think very carefully about their faith and its implications.

Also note that the Catholic Church agrees that Protestants are part of the one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church–but Catholics regard Protestants as imperfectly joined to the Church, whereas most convinced Protestants would hold that they are as fully joined to the Church as anyone. (It is possible to hold that we are imperfectly joined to the Church but that in a broken world the best thing to do is to remain where we are. That is what I have believed for years–or rather, I’ve been convinced that as an Anglican I was only imperfectly joined to the Church, but I have been less sure that I was therefore either obligated or entitled to act unilaterally with regard to the specific imperfection that consisted of not being in communion with Rome.)

Edwin

Not exactly. Rather, the claim would be (in its strongest form) that you are only part of the whole Church but claim to be the whole. (Anti-Catholic Protestants might claim that you are no longer truly part of the Church at all, and the most intelligent and historically rooted version of that claim would locate the apostasy at Trent, preceded by a long period of “obscuring of the Gospel” in the later Middle Ages.)

There are tough questions that Protestants who make this claim need to answer. Precisely which divisions among those who claim the name of Christ count as divisions within the true Church, and which are genuinely divisions away from it? What of the witness of Cyprian and others that schismatics have cut themselves off from the Church? And so on.

But Catholics need to understand the claim in the first place in order to pose the right questions.

:confused: Yes, the Orthodox have always used the term, and thus the full title “Orthodox Catholic”. But I’ve never heard a Baptist say “I’m a Baptist Catholic”, or “I’m a Presbyterian Catholic”, etc; it’s just been “I’m a Baptist”, “I’m a Presbyterian”, “I’m a Pentecostal”, “I’m a Methodist”. . . . .Similarly, I’ve never seen a sign in front of a Baptist Church referring to it as a “Catholic” church.

Protestants did for centuries use the term “Catholic” of themselves, and they called Catholics “Papists” or “Romanists.” Those terms are now considered rude. So don’t abuse the courtesy of Protestants by basing an ecclesiological claim on it. You can’t in one breath (as many folks do on these forums) insist that even “Roman Catholic” is rude and then in the next breath make Augustine’s argument (which wasn’t Augustine’s finest moment in the first place and is even less applicable today) about asking the nearest stranger the way to the Catholic Church.

That’s interesting to know. May I ask, is this a rather recent adoption of the term? Which church do you belong to? Incidentally, I was just reading some of the letters of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to the Danbury Baptists (I’m working on composing a thread regarding separation of church and state), and I never saw the term “Catholic” conflated with the group. In fact, whenever the word “Catholic” came up during the Revolutionary years, it was always referring to “those Papists!”:smiley:

The Enlightenment did change things for many Protestants, indeed. But the older practice was to claim the label “Catholic.” And this was revived in the 19th century.

Edwin

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