Friday , December 15 2017
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A 500-Year Protest Event

Summary:
(Like a 500-year flood event? Work with me people.) At my church they are starting a Bible study on Luther. The news hook is that 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 Theses, which started the Protestant Reformation. Having been raised Catholic but now being a Protestant, let me say that I think a lot of people on both sides are way too smug in their critiques of each other. (This isn’t really a reflection on Christians; I think it’s true of people. I notice the same pattern in politics and economics.) For this post, let me just reiterate the single biggest difference in my personal experience, going through the two traditions. Every time I say this kind of stuff, people in the comments bite my head off and say I don’t know the first thing

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(Like a 500-year flood event? Work with me people.)

At my church they are starting a Bible study on Luther. The news hook is that 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 Theses, which started the Protestant Reformation.

Having been raised Catholic but now being a Protestant, let me say that I think a lot of people on both sides are way too smug in their critiques of each other. (This isn’t really a reflection on Christians; I think it’s true of people. I notice the same pattern in politics and economics.)

For this post, let me just reiterate the single biggest difference in my personal experience, going through the two traditions. Every time I say this kind of stuff, people in the comments bite my head off and say I don’t know the first thing about Catholicism. OK fine, but I went to Catholic schools from kindergarten through senior year in high school (and was valedictorian in both schools), and I received the sacraments through Confirmation. And also, in conversations with other devout Catholics (who went to church every week) I heard similar viewpoints.

So here’s the difference: Before I encountered serious Protestants, I hadn’t seen someone use the Bible to argue a theological point. In particular, to argue about the source of your salvation. I thought that was ultimately something that was up to God, and you’d find out when you died if you made the cut.

In contrast, Protestant pastors every week will preach from the Bible–with people in the congregation pulling out a Bible to read along–and build a case for why it is faith in Christ alone that justifies you and washes away your sins. (Here are some standard passages, but FYI I think this guy’s handling of James is not great and I can totally get why a Catholic would think it was weak.) Even when they are going through books from the Old Testament, they will often wrap up by interpreting the events through lens of Jesus’ ministry and end by inviting people in the audience who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior to do so.

Here’s another difference, that is more “cultural” rather than doctrinal. When someone brought me to a Protestant service and introduced me to her acquaintances, this older woman shook my hand and asked, “Do you love the Lord?” I can’t remember what I said, but I remember at the time thinking that I didn’t even really understand what she meant by such a question.

Well, now I totally get it, and yes I love Jesus. (To be 100% clear, of COURSE I am not saying, “Catholics don’t love Jesus.” I really hope that’s not how this post is coming off in tone.) In fact, I think you could do a lot worse in life than if you lived it by often reflecting to yourself and others on how much you love Jesus. Just like, if you fall in love with someone romantically and it makes everything about your life better–not just “What will I do on the holidays?” but also sticking to your diet, dealing with your awful boss, or coping with a sick parent–all the more so, if you are in love with Jesus it transforms your life.

But I would never have discovered this perspective had I not started going to Protestant services.

Robert Murphy

Robert Patrick Murphy (born 23 May 1976) is an American economist, consultant and author. He is an economist with the Institute for Energy Research (IER) specializing in climate change and a research fellow with the Independent Institute, He was a senior fellow in business and economic studies at the Pacific Research Institute, and he is an associated scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. In addition to economic subjects, Murphy writes about, and has presented an online video class in, anarcho-capitalism on the Mises Institute website. Murphy also has written in support of Intelligent Design theory and expressed skepticism of biological evolution.

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