I’ve got a friend who left the Catholic Church a few years ago and refuses to give Her a second glance. She was upset about many things, including the architecture of the parish (giant upside-down coffee filter), and the number of abuses that were present. Unfortunately I had a great deal to do with her separation from Rome, as I was not a Catholic at the time and considered the Catholic Church to be the same as any other “denomination”… oops.
So I’ve spent the last year trying to present the truths of the Faith in a way she can understand and make a compelling arguement for her return to communion with the Church. Anyway she’s getting married in a few days to a non-Catholic man (we’re all 19, which is what’s so disturbing)… the issue of his baptism and the baptism of their children came up (because she has not made a formal renunciation of her faith, canonically she is still Catholic and should she ever return to the Church, this could be an issue in her marriage). She then went on to send me a treatise on baptism that she had written that opens with “to understand baptism we must understand Jesus.” The following is a direct quote:
What is the name of the Father? Jesus
John 10:30;ÊI and my Father are one.
What is the name of the Son? Jesus
Mark 1:1;ÊThe beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
What is the name of the Holy Ghost? Jesus
John 14:26;ÊBut the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
It hit me immediately as being Modalism. I had no idea that the heresy was still around. I let her know what Tertullian, Novatian, and Ignatius of Antioch had to say about it and she called them ‘Catholic puppets’ who ignored the scriptures. She then presented a barrage of scripture that supposedly supports her position. Not one verse is presented in a way that someone could adopt the heresy of Modalism if they knew anything about other verses of the Bible. What’s up with this?
I warned her that since her husband was baptized under a Modalist formula that his baptism is not valid and that the baptism of her children would be considered invalid by 99 percent of the Christian world… What in the world can I do for this girl? I tried to explain how logically Modalism doesn’t work and I used the writings of Fathers who came BEFORE and AFTER Sabellius. Gyah. What kind of nuts believe this stuff?! Is it just a Pentecostal thing or are there other sects out there that do?