Frank Pastore

It is as though Benedict said – and I wish more churches spoke this way – “This is who we are and what we believe. We’ve been this way for centuries and we’re not about to bend to the latest cultural winds. If you don’t like it, go elsewhere. You must believe what we believe in order to join us. We will not adapt to you, you must adapt to us. The Bible is the Word of God. Salvation is only in Jesus Christ. Divorce is wrong. Homosexuality is sin. Abortion is murder. If you don’t believe these things, you can’t make the team.”

With the Protestant Reformation came many good things, but not among them was the loss of accountability. In the Catholic Church, you get out of line and refuse to get back in, you’re booted out. In Protestantism, you don’t like the way things are going, you just leave and start your own denomination or plant your own church down the street. Anyone with a 501c3 can hang out a shingle and call themselves a church these days. There’s no accountability at all.

There was a time in which vows, oaths, creeds, confessions, covenants, doctrinal statements, and statements of faith actually meant something. They were the core values of the church, denomination, college, or seminary. They were the sine qua non for membership or admission.

Not any more.

I doubt if most people who go to church even know what their statement of faith even says.

I doubt if most Catholics and Protestants even know what the original protest was all about.

Let alone, getting a handle on “Why all the denominations?”

Basic words just don’t mean anything anymore.

Consider “evangelical” and “Christian.” These two words have become so diluted, so misapplied, that they are almost no longer useful, even in combination. They communicate almost nothing. Which is why a whole host of qualifiers are necessary to distinguish proper usage from those who have hijacked the term.

For example, if I said “I’m Catholic,” you could legitimately assume I’m pro-life and against gay marriage.

But, if I just said, “I’m an evangelical Christian,” you don’t know. I could be both gay and pro-choice.

Which is why I would need to say, “I’m a born-again, Bible-believing, pro-life, pro-family, pro-American, pro-capitalism, pro-gun, politically-socially-and fiscally conservative, evangelical Christian.”

It’s sad that the word “Christian” carries far less punch than the word “Catholic.”

Maybe it’s because the standard for admission is so low, basically, “Jesus, help!”? Yes, that may explain why it is so easy for an individual to call themselves a Christian, but that doesn’t explain why pastors, denominational leaders, and college presidents are not held to far higher levels of accountability.

As far as some Protestant Benedicts?

I know a few, their last names are Dobson, Mohler, Swindoll, Stanley, and MacArthur.


Frank Pastore

The Frank Pastore Show is heard in Los Angeles weekday afternoons on 99.5 KKLA and on the web at kkla.com, and is the winner of the 2006 National Religious Broadcasters Talk Show of the Year. Frank is a former major league pitcher with graduate degrees in both philosophy of religion and political philosophy.
 
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