facebook

StatCounter

  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad

« Mainline Protestant and Catholic Losses in Membership Compared | Main | Media, Politics & Political Economy »

10/21/2010

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jimbino


It's a whole lot easier for Protestants to switch, because Protestant faiths have no rigorous doctrine that is enforced from above. A Protestant is "justified by faith" and you can't really be excommunicated for aberrant beliefs, although some sects, like Jehovah's Witnesses and Amish practice "disfellowshipping" and shunning.

For example, anybody--Jew, Catholic, Presbyterian or Episcopalian--can regularly attend any service of a Baptist, Methodist or Bible Church and participate fully in any activities without ever being baptized or taking communion. But even the atheist may take communion if he wishes!

You will not be called upon to make any formal confession of faith, though you might not be allowed to become a "member" and certainly not an officer. But you could become a preacher there! I know: When I was in seminary, never in my life having joined any church, I served as Youth Minister in a Congregational Church and Chaplain in a 1000-bed hospital.

The Protestant may follow his conscience and consider himself a good Christian without needing to suffer through any formalities or any rituals. He need not bow his head in prayer, let alone confess, be baptized, take communion, marry, stand up, cross himself, fiddle with a rosary or genuflect.

Not so for the Roman Catholic. My own father was excommunicated from the Roman Church simply for marrying my mother, his second wife after divorce. This couldn't happen in a Protestant church. There is no Pope to tell you it is wrong to remarry after divorce or even have two wives, take birth control, vote Republican, eschew abortion, deny women the right to serve alongside men or condemn homosexuality. The preacher has no more direct line to God than does any believer and what he preaches is no more than his advice and his interpretation of Scripture. You have every right to disagree with him privately and even publicly. That's the whole idea of Martin Luther and Protestantism.

The comments to this entry are closed.