[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qibg-m2vUno]EWTN Live – Protestant Theology – Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. with David Anders – 06-23-2010
EWTN | June 24, 2010 | 56 minutes
I got an email from Dave Anders’ wife, Jill, giving me the link to this TV interview of one of my best friends ever. Dave and Jill are really great people!
Dave, Jill and I became good friends while Dave and I were attending seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I’ve said to them more than once that I wish we could have lived across the street from each other since, instead of being thousands of miles away. My guess is that if we had stayed in close fellowship we’d probably be on the same page now, theologically. But even if this never happens, I know we’ll always be close friends, even if our conflicting faiths try to keep us apart.
Dave is a history buff, going on to get his Ph.D.. He has a lightning quick, nearly photographic memory and can digest a huge amount of material. Whereas, my memory is probably just average, and I’m slow and methodical, covering much less territory, but with a fine-tooth comb. I chew on stuff, thinking it through, making sure. And history was my minor, not my major. Dave and I come to conclusions much differently.
Having been geographically apart for so many years, I’m only now seeing the reasoning he used to come to his decision to leave evangelicalism and become a Catholic. It’s interesting that we’ve both seen the contradictions in evangelical thought, but we used different tools and methods to end up on these way different pages.
I absolutely know that Dave has a pure heart, and he won’t be offended by this critique. But I’m going to challenge him too. We still have time to work this out. I think at the very least, when he sees ONE happen (Jesus’ heart-cry for us in John 17 — what this site is largely about) outside of the Catholic church, he’ll know, just as Jesus said in John 17: “Then the world will know.”
Much of the world sees the serious problems in today’s evangelicalism (which both Dave and I observed), but it’s also obvious to the world that the Catholic church leaders have a severely reverse-Christian reputation, because… You know. At least the Catholics aren’t pushing pro-reverse-Christian wars like the protestants are.
But it’s also clear that the scriptures I present in my header at the top of this site aren’t being realized in either of these religions, currently. To me, if we’re not doing the greatest two commandments then we don’t have real Christianity, the true church — “by their fruits you will know them.” But apparently, for Dave, the true church always exists as the Catholic church, whether there is good fruit or not.
I believe that real Christianity happened for a time in the early church. Like in Acts, when they were all in one accord and the presence of God was so strong that those outside were literally afraid. And there was great respect for the church. “Then the world will know” already happened then, but it was soon falling apart, even in what we read in Jesus’ letters to the churches in Revelation.
Like Dave, I’ve found the early church fathers’ writings to be interesting, but I think we’re looking for different things. In my studies, I’ve been looking for evidence of where God was actively showing up, where there was the presence of God, not just mere mental ascent. Paul said: “don’t be drunk with wine but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” In one of these interviews, Dave talks about not feeling anything and that’s okay. But I believe we’re supposed to be filled with the Spirit, and that this will be a tangible thing.
So unlike Dave, I’m not impressed with Augustine, or the so many church fathers who I think really didn’t really understand and experience real Christianity the way it is supposed to be. Dave thinks Augustine is significant, while I think he didn’t get it. While we both agree that Luther and Calvin didn’t get it. Neither understood Paul.
I still believe in restoration theology: that the church did at one time have it together, and has at times since, while Dave now believes that basically, “the church” never really lost it, because of apostolic succession. “The Church” has always been the church.
We both agree that sola scriptura (the Bible alone) is not a biblical concept; though, I don’t believe that our traditions can be correct if they disagree with the Bible. I believe the Bible can be totally trusted.
Apparently(Dave, correct me if I’m wrong), Dave now believes the Catholic leaders decide what true doctrine is — that tradition is king.
I don’t believe in apostolic succession, or in Popes, or in “Fathers,” or in the continuation of the priesthood into the new covenant. The veil has been rent. Jesus is our only priest. Now we go directly to Him.
As does David, I discount sola scriptura (scripture only), but not because I elevate tradition. Rather, I believe that God gives the people the ability to determine what is right, because He’s given us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. John said in 1 John 2:26, 27:
These things I have written to you concerning those who would lead you astray. As for you, the anointing which you received from him remains in you, and you don’t need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, you will remain in him.
I’m very surprised that Dave is saying hardly anything about the Holy Spirit. But for the Bible writers, the Holy Spirit is a huge factor — God, Himself giving us the ability to understand all things without someone dressed in a robe telling us what to do.
I also believe that true leaders will teach the people how to be led by the Holy Spirit. True leaders will teach the people how to abide in Christ to the degree that we will hear His voice and follow Him.
To me, the Bible and the Holy Spirit should be the emphasis. To Catholics, apparently the church leaders’ doctrines are the emphasis. To evangelicals, what pastors and K-LOVE says seems to be the emphasis; though, some claim sola scriptura. But they clearly have a canon within the Canon, emphasizing their favorite texts while totally ignoring those that disagree with their once-saved, always saved (or “it’s hard to lose one’s salvation) doctrines.
Paul said “follow me as I follow Christ.” Catholic leaders just say “follow us, regardless.” And Dave said he struggled with the bad popes, but then decided that God’s plan was carried out through even them. Huh? Dave? I wonder how many billions of people are in hell because of the Catholic church right now, based upon what the Bible really says about who goes to heaven. People are blindly trusting in biblically disqualified leaders instead of making sure they are abiding in Christ, themselves. This deception is huge!
And for those who have read my writings, you know that I don’t think the evangelicals are doing much better. Many are doing even worse in their once-saved-always-saved (or similar) deception.
Dave considers the sacraments to be much more important than I do. And he believes that the bread and wine in the Eucharist/communion isn’t just representational. I’m open to the idea that the sacraments should mean more than they do to evangelicals. And I don’t know what to think regarding “the real presence” and the other theories about the bread and the wine being Christ’s body and blood or not. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will lead us into what is fully true regarding this, but I still think this is minor when compared to these other things.
I don’t see evidence for baptizing infants in the Bible or in the Didache (an early church fathers’ writing that I think is significant). The person getting baptized believing is mentioned in both cases. I don’t think converts should put it off though, like I did for a few years.
I was surprised to hear that Dave no longer believes in a born-again conversion when one is old enough to commit. Apparently, he believes that Catholic baptism + nothing = salvation. This is close to what the Lutherans still teach; though, it would be a Lutheran baptism. This is a huge deception — very dangerous, especially when there are so many clear texts that say what is required to go to heaven that don’t mention baptism at all.
The Bible teaches personal responsibility, now that we have the Holy Spirit inside of us. The Catholic Church teaches putting full trust in the priests and sacraments. I don’t see it. This is yuck to the max! The Devil must like and support this just as he pushes and enjoys once saved, always saved.
“By their fruits you will know them” indicates that the Catholic Church and the evangelicals aren’t yet fully enough them. What the Bible says the church is supposed to be isn’t happening in either camp. The Devil wants us to sit on our laurels and act like we’ve arrived, when we clearly haven’t.
When ONE happens, “then the world will know.”
Let us be ONE!!!
An earlier interview from: EWTN…
|20.||Program Name:||Former Presbyterian|
|Series Name:||The Journey Home|
|Host:||Marcus Grodi with Dr. David Anders|
|Description:||Dr. Anders shares with us his experience as a Presbyterian seminarian studying the Church Fathers especially Augustine and what happened to Faith Alone, the Bible Alone among others, on his Journey Home.|
David wrote How John Calvin Made me a Catholic, in which he says this in a comment:
I concluded – on the basis of hard, cold, unemotional exegesis – that Luther profoundly misread Paul. From this, I reexamined ecclesiology, and ultimately authority, and concluded that the Catholics had the better arguments.
I have given a broader account of my conversion here:
I have also given an interview that goes into more of the doctrinal basis for my conversion.
It is available online [the Marcus Grodi with Dr. David Anders interview posted above – editor]:
Also, in response to my historical claims about Calvin and Bolsec.
I deliberately left out most of the footnoting I would have included in an academic article.
If you would like more documentation, please examine my dissertation.
It is available at: http://disexpress.umi.com/dxweb#search
Prophets from the ranks of shepherds: John Calvin and the challenge of popular religion (1532–1555)
by Anders, Albert David Ph.D., The University of Iowa, 2002, 712 pages.
My Ph.D.-genius-friend, John Calvin expert: “In all my reading of Calvin, I don’t recall him ever apologizing for a mistake or admitting an error.” | According to Paul, can John Calvin be in heaven?
All of my The Catholic Deception posts
Who-Goes-To-Heaven Scriptures — Narrow is the Way