I’m meeting with an Evangelical hospise chaplain on Friday to discuss his “Bible Study for Catholics”, which I discovered at his site. I’m prepared to discuss any and all issues on his study (check it out at www.4seekers.com under “Letter to my Catholic Friends”). However, here’s the response I’m sending to one part of a recent e-mail to me. Let me know what you’d add to this, particularly the part about the burning of Protestant translators at the stake. Or did I handle it okay? I feel confident that I can call him to task on most of the study, but this is one issue where people like to cry revisionists history, so I want to have a solid and firm response for him when we meet:
Here’s the paragraph and my response:
Even the English Bible you enjoy cost many a Protestant
their lives. The Catholic Church fought and fought to keep the masses from reading the Word of God. Translators such as Tyndale, Wycliffe, Huss, etc. paid dearly for their work at translating the Bible (burned at stake, beheaded, etc.).
This is where I’d like to focus my attention, too. I’m teaching a weekly class right now showing where every Catholic doctrine can be found right in the pages of Scripture, so I believe that it very directly teaches Catholicism. I think, though, that this will circle back to a discussion over Scripture alone or Scripture + Tradition, so this is where we’ll probably have to start. We can talk about “keeping the masses from reading the Word of God”. Keep in mind, though, that even at that time period, almost the entire text of the Bible was read outloud at Mass in the course of a year (now it is on a three-year cycle), so that’s a pretty shabby way of keeping it hidden. Regarding the persecuted Protestants as well as the reference to the Inquisitions in your study, one of the things I’d like to look at are the views of many reformers (including Luther, Zwingli, Bullinger, and Calvin first and foremost), who ALSO favored capital punishment for heresy, as well as other sins, including pregnancy out of wedlock, adultery, dishonoring parents, blasphemy, etc. Was this a strictly Catholic quality, or a fact that heresy was punishable by the civil laws of the land (which were not separated from church at that time)? We can then move into examining mostly Protestant behavior during the witch trials of the same period, peasant uprisings and civil wars following Luther’s exit from the church, keeping in mind the many priests who were murdered and the church’s which were burned by the out-of-control rioters. I don’t think this makes Protestants bad people; it does show, as Christ predicted, that there would be sinners (grevious wolves, Judas’s) within his church (the point, here, is not that the Protestants are the grevious wolves, etc, but that anyone, even authority, who acts in the name of God to do evil is). I have more thoughts, but I’ll bring them to the discussion.