Protestant Ministers


#1

There are so many protestants who devote their lives to God by becoming ministers (reverends) in their respective denominations - they study for years in seminaries and achieve degrees in Divinity - after studying all that history and related subjects, why don’t they immediately come home to the Catholic Church upon completing their education? Do they deny the truth or are they not taught the truth? :confused:


#2

I suspect the answer is different for each. I cannot judge a specific individual, but I always suspect that MONEY has a big part to due with it. In one of two ways:

  1. This would be the worst way: A pastor starts a Church first and foremost for money reasons.

  2. A pastor starts a Church with good intentions but after finding out that the Catholic Church is true is still tempted to fight against it for fear of losing his/her only source of income and throwing away years of study.

There are many other reasons why pastors don’t come home… this is just one that always comes to my mind…


#3

Thanks for your reply.:slight_smile: I have considered those two reasons and I am sure in many cases, unfortunately, they are true. But I wonder if there is also a “vicious circle” - assuming most mis-conceptions about the Catholic faith come from protestant pulpits - whereby people are mis-lead by what they hear from their protestant pulpits, use that information to make the decision to become ministers themselves, (with good intentions) and attend seminaries where they are further lead down the garden path? Shouldn’t these institutions be held accountable for the accuracy of what they teach? Or at the very least, the accuracy of what they teach about the Catholic faith? Does any of this make any sense or am I rambling?:o


#4

Jas. 2_24: As a former Evangelical, I would think that the vast majority of Protestant pastors are not in it for the money…some may make a lot, but many do not (depending on the region and denomination, etc). They are so sure that their way of looking at Scripture is correct.
You are taught in seminar (and in church in general) to look at theology and Scripture from within a certain framework…you start with a few basic premises, one of which is ‘sola scriptura’.

Contrary to what some seem to think here, not all Protestant churches are constantly preaching against the Catholic Church in sermons…in fact, as an Evangelical, I don’t think I ever heard any mention of the Catholic Church once in any sermon ever. I remeber talking with a former pastor of mine relatively early in my journey home to Rome (which isn’t quite complete yet, I haven’t been confirmed yet) telling me that he knew very little about Catholicism. Another former pastor of mine (Baptist) made reference to St. Augustine (in a postive light) in a sermon, and he is apparently a big fan of the ancient Celtic Church. Yet another pastor (Christian and Missionary Alliance wast he denomination) once quoted from St. Francis Xavier (though this wasn’t in a sermon, per se).


#5

If I’m looking for money, I’d be looling for it in some other profession.


#6

These people are mostly cradle protestants and they have had a lifetime of role models for them to follow. They enter into protestant colleges and they learn to preach protestant doctrine. All of the arguments that you have heard contrary to the RCC are taught to these students in these schools. Some, like Jimmy Akin, Carl Keating and Scott Hahn, have had a change of heart and have become Roman Catholic after serious discernment. When I was making my decision to become RC, the book “Surprised by the Truth” by Patrick Madrid (highly recommended) was a big help to me. This book describes the conversions of many clergy from other faiths, many whom are now connected to this very website. The Coming Home Network on EWTN talks about this very subject, protestant preachers who become Catholic. I find it very interesting why these people convert and these stories really helped to push me off the fence.
I hope this helps,
Peace…


#7

This has to do with what they are taught in seminary school. My fiancee attends a Baptist college and seminary school and we always discuss what she learns there. The thing is that they leave out anything that would be beneficial to the Catholic argument.

One example would be when my fiancee had a class this last semester and studied St. Augustine…or just plain 'ol Augustine as they say it. They read his “Confessions,” but left out the last three chapters where he talks about scripture. And they didn’t just not read the last three chapters, but the college actually had a special print of the book made for them that EXCLUDED the final three chapters! They totally made St. Augustine look protestant! They never studied his other writings that affirm Catholic beliefs such as Marian doctrines and the canon of scripture.

They ONLY study the PARTS of early Christian writings that confirm their beliefs.

Not only this, but they misrepresent Catholic theology also. One thing that comes to mind is the four “solas” they learned about. Sola scriptura was supposed to counter the Catholic belief that tradition and the Pope are MORE authoritive than the Bible. Sola fide was in response to the Catholic belief that we are saved by our good works. Sola gratia was in response to the Catholic belief that we can earn salvation. And sola Christos is in response to the Catholic belief that salvation comes through Sacraments.

Simply put, they don’t study the whole of Christianity…only the parts that affirm their preconcieved beliefs.


#8

For “twf” and “funkyhorn”

If you tie together the two most recent responses from “twf” and “funkyhorn”, it pretty much summarizes my question.

While most protestants may just study their own faith without a focus on criticism of the Catholic faith, I wonder how many of them realize how much information they are NOT getting?


#9

Not only this, but they misrepresent Catholic theology also. One thing that comes to mind is the four “solas” they learned about. Sola scriptura was supposed to counter the Catholic belief that tradition and the Pope are MORE authoritive than the Bible. Sola fide was in response to the Catholic belief that we are saved by our good works. Sola gratia was in response to the Catholic belief that we can earn salvation. And sola Christos is in response to the Catholic belief that salvation comes through Sacraments.

funky horn,

I think you are a little off the mark in your statement above. The Catholic Church does not teach that we can save ourselves by works, although apparently some Catholics as well as most Protestants believe that. Sola gratia and sola Christos are also very Catholic in that we go to the sacraments to encounter Christ and obtain grace from Him. That is why the Church teaches in the Catechism that “the sacraments are necessary for salvation”, because there we meet Christ and receive grace from Him. It is grace that enables us to work in Christ, but the initial grace of justification itself is a gift that can not be earned by works.

I strongly recommend reading the documenst of the Council of Trent on Justification at the following link.

ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/TRENT6.HTM

Emmaus


#10

Yes we are saved by grace alone…just not faith alone. Even in the Evangelical view, humans are required to do something to be saved. They believe that humans must believe/repent and accept Christ…which is an act of the will, and in a sense, a work. Really, if you are to say that there is nothing you can do to receive salvation, then all humans should be saved be default—and if you agree that we must do something to be saved, then the grounds are already laid to accept that works are necessary for salvation. Grace is a free gift given to us, and this grace allows us to have genuine faith…and genuine faith leads to works. Works by themselves do nothing…but works that flow from faith which flow from grace (the natural product of such) are our way of co-operating with God in our path of salvation, freely and actively receiving His salvation throughout our lives.


#11

I notice that a lot of Protestant ministers have a doctrine degree in theology. When a priest finishes seminary what would his equivalance be to a doctrine degree be? God Bless George :rolleyes:


#12

[quote=JackPaul] Some, like Jimmy Akin, Carl Keating and Scott Hahn, have had a change of heart and have become Roman Catholic after serious discernment.
[/quote]

Uh, Karl Keating is a cradle Catholic.


#13

[quote=Emmaus]funky horn,

I think you are a little off the mark in your statement above. The Catholic Church does not teach that we can save ourselves by works, although apparently some Catholics as well as most Protestants believe that. Sola gratia and sola Christos are also very Catholic…
[/quote]

Emmaus…

I wasn’t saying that Catholics (or myself for that matter) believe that we are saved by our works or anything else that was mentioned in my remarks about the four solas. I was simply pointing out the absurdity of these claims because these are the misconceptions about the RCC that the people at this particular school believe. I am well aware that the RCC affirms sola gratia, sola Christos, and sola fide (conditional upon definition)…but thank you for your input anyhow :wink: . Its good to know that there are people who are willing to let me know (in a pleasant way) when I may have made a mistake.


#14

George M: As I understand it, priests have a Masters of Divinity degree, but some go even beyond this and have a doctorate. Though it should be noted that there are Protestant pastors with masters and doctorates out there as well…but I do not know how many denominations require a masters-level degree for ordination. (It’s possible that the “MDiv” requirement varies in different regions, I don’t know…but I’m pretty sure that all priests in North America, and perhaps around the world, have at least a MDiv).


#15

People who invest the time money and effort to attend a Protestant seminary are almost always totally convinced from the jump in the truth of that religion, or else they wouldn’t have matriculated in the first place.

Few rabbinical students, also highly learned, emerge from those schools as priests or ayatollahs for that matter.

Neither fact astounds me.


#16

Of interest, relating to Protestant ministers, is chnetwork.org.

This is a website developed for the express purpose of helping Protestant ministers come home to the Catholic Church. They have been very successful, averaging about 300 clergy conversions a year. They simply make themselves available to answer questions or mentor Protestant ministers who are interested in finding out what the CC teaches. They also provide financial help. This is a huge problem for ministers who have spent their whole lives preparing for the Protestant ministry and find themselves out of a job because they no longer believe what they are preaching and must start over again from scratch.

The site is the brainchild of Marcus Grodi, a former Presbyterian minister, who realized the need when he went through his own conversion to the Catholic Church. He has a program on EWTN called “Journey’s Home” which showcases converts.

Scott Hahn is on the board of directors.

CHN also provides help for lay people, but their man focus is aiding Protestant clergy, whatever their need may be.

I saw this thread and decided to “resurrect” it in order to let you know about CHN (Coming Home Network), in the event that any of you are not aware of it.

They have some terrific conversion stories at that site. At the home page, click on “Converts.” My favorite is Brian W. Harrison, “Logic and the Foundations of Protestantism.” James White’s sister’s story is there (Patty Bonds). My story is there :stuck_out_tongue: (Jay Damien) if anyone wants to read it. :wave:

Thanks for “listening.”


#17

Hmmmmmm I think they’ve done something like this before…like all those Bibles with the missing books! :wink:

SV


#18

The funny thing is, in low church denominations, the “ministers” are the equivalent of Catholic Deacons. Deacons are considered “minsters of the Word and Table.” Their primary responsibilities are to proclaim the Gospel and to assist the celebrant in administering the Holy Eucharist. They are authorized to do baptisms and weddings, and assist with many of the charitable works in the parish and diocese. Sorta sounds like a baptist preacher, doesn’t it.

In regards to your question, non-catholics rely heavily on what Catholics refer to as Tradition (vs traditions). Someone else developed their flavor of theology, usually in active opposition to Catholic theology, and that is what they are taught. There are few “self made” pastors, minister, reverends, etc… Billy Graham is one, as is Kenneth Hagin, Charles Russell, Joseph Smith, and Ellen White. From my understanding, BIlly Graham never went to seminary, he is self taught in the KJV. The others all had some form of theological training, then reinvented it to suit their own concept of the gospel.


#19

Hi Little Mary,

You have already gotten many good answers. But I would like to add from a Protestant perspective. To be fair many Evangelicals have lousy seminaries. But many classical protestants like Presbyterians and Lutherans have excellent seminaries and, if I may be so bold, generally speaking the Ministers they produce have a far better knowledge of scripture and Biblical languages than many Catholic Priests. That is not an attack it is just pointing out the different focuses. Priests are concerned with the Mass as a whole and are trained accordingly. Protestants are more concerned with the study of scripture and are trained accordingly. When one studies Church history and the Fathers there is such a variety of thought on many issues that it is not so cut and dry. Certainly the early church looked more catholic in many respects. But there are many fathers that looked more protesatnt in some respects. While St. Augustine was very catholic in certain areas. Lutherans and Presbyterians (Calvinists) would be more in agreement with him that most modern catholics regarding predestination and free will. So there is much to consider. But I generally agree that an honest overall look at church history does lend more over all evidence for Catholic claims than it does for run-of-the-mill Evangelical claims.

As for your actual question ;): Protestants Pastors, like Catholic priests for the most part become Pastors because they believe their confession to be accurate and are concerned for souls and want to feed the sheep. We all have our preconceptions and if someone grew up a devout protestant or had a bad overall experience with the Catholic Church (like I did) then it seems reasonable that they would want to serve God and the church as best they understand how. And many do a wonderful job.

Blessings,

Mel


#20

[quote=Melchior]Hi Little Mary,

You have already gotten many good answers. But I would like to add from a Protestant perspective. To be fair many Evangelicals have lousy seminaries. But many classical protestants like Presbyterians and Lutherans have excellent seminaries and, if I may be so bold, generally speaking the Ministers they produce have a far better knowledge of scripture and Biblical languages than many Catholic Priests. That is not an attack it is just pointing out the different focuses. Priests are concerned with the Mass as a whole and are trained accordingly. Protestants are more concerned with the study of scripture and are trained accordingly. When one studies Church history and the Fathers there is such a variety of thought on many issues that it is not so cut and dry. Certainly the early church looked more catholic in many respects. But there are many fathers that looked more protesatnt in some respects. While St. Augustine was very catholic in certain areas. Lutherans and Presbyterians (Calvinists) would be more in agreement with him that most modern catholics regarding predestination and free will. So there is much to consider. But I generally agree that an honest overall look at church history does lend more over all evidence for Catholic claims than it does for run-of-the-mill Evangelical claims.

As for your actual question ;): Protestants Pastors, like Catholic priests for the most part become Pastors because they believe their confession to be accurate and are concerned for souls and want to feed the sheep. We all have our preconceptions and if someone grew up a devout protestant or had a bad overall experience with the Catholic Church (like I did) then it seems reasonable that they would want to serve God and the church as best they understand how. And many do a wonderful job.

Blessings,

Mel
[/quote]

Hello Mel. Thank you for your perspective. I completely understand your final paragraph, where you state that many pastors become pastors because they are concerned for souls and want to feed the sheep. I believe that most of these men are sincere and God bless them for that. And I am sure they are good at what they do.

I have a couple questions about your first paragraph, however. You stated that when a Catholic priests studies in seminary, his focus is mainly on the Mass. I don’t know how familiar you are with a Catholic Mass but the entire celebration is scripture based. Did you know that if you attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day for one year you will have covered pretty much the entire bible? And if you attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day for three years, you will have literally read the entire bible. Where did you learn that in general, pastors come out of seminary more knowledgable about scripture than a priest? I’d be interested to read up on that.

Finally, you might be interested in an earlier post by funkyhorn on May 28th. (scroll up!). While it may be true that protestant seminaries are studying, say, St. Augustine, it seems that they are only including information that supports their protestant beliefs, and omitting other, more “catholic” information.

Thanks again, and God bless you,
Little Mary


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