The Rub with Protestant Theology: Why I teach what I teach

El Greco, Christ (1585)

El Greco, Christ (1585)

I’ve been mulling for the past hour or two, thinking of my new Christian friend and how she might take that last post, and I feel I should make a quick follow-up.

Why do I gripe so much about Protestant theology? Is it because I think it’s all wrong and that believing it means one is automatically damned? Not at all. Is it because I have some innate drive to prove myself “right” and prove everyone else “wrong”? I do fear there’s sometimes a trace of that, and it’s pride: Lord, have mercy. But no, there are two main reasons.

First, I see these doctrines — especially sola fide (justification by faith alone) and sola scriptura (by Scripture alone) — as the main obstacles standing between the reunion of all Christians; the main matters dividing us. I guess there’s not really any hope of my making an irrefutable case that will convince everybody and singlehandedly bring about reconciliation, but I hope that maybe I can convince one or two, who might go and spread the message.

Saints Peter and Paul, by El Greco

Saints Peter and Paul (between 1605 and 1608), by El Greco.

Second, and even more important: Though I don’t believe that all Protestant theology is irredeemably wrong — I affirm, with the Catholic Church, that many Protestant communities retain elements of Christ’s truth and sanctification — I do believe that some Protestant doctrines are very wrong, and even dangerous.

If you believe in Jesus Christ and all that Christians have traditionally believed, and strive to live your life for Him, then I don’t think there’s any major problem. I think, through the grace of God, He works salvation in the lives of Protestants, as long as they do the things Christians are supposed to do, as the Bible teaches: repent of their sins and turn to God, confess Christ is Lord, and live their lives according to the Gospel.


But there are some teachings that have the potential to lead people into serious error. What is meant to convey love and hope can be turned to weapons of the enemy. They can give false assurance that one is “saved” and has eternal security of that salvation, no matter how they live their lives or what sins they commit — when the Bible teaches repeatedly that those who continue in sinful lifestyles are not children of God (1 John 3:6, Galatians 5:21, Romans 2:8, etc.). God is just and faithful to always forgive our sins if we repent of them and ask forgiveness (1 John 1:9) — but if we keep on living that way, we are throwing away the grace that God has freely given (1 John 3:8–9).

Likewise, the teaching that man is “totally depraved” and “hopelessly sinful” — the false idea that no one can pursue righteousness — can easily lead to apathy and complacency in sin, or despair that one can’t ever be better. “God knows I’m a sinner, and he forgives me; there’s no way I can be righteous, so I guess this is okay” — that’s the trap I fell into for so long. We are called to pursue lives of holiness (1 Peter 1:14–16, Hebrews 12:14, Ephesians 4:17-24).

And that’s why I teach what I teach: to guide others to the truth, and to spare them from the many mistakes I’ve made, and that I see so many others making, that have the potential to lead them to destruction. And I want to always teach in love. I know I’m not always good at getting that across.

One in Christ, but not a Visible Unity: A Thought on Christian Love and Reunification

Hans Memling, Christ Giving His Blessing (1481)

Christ Giving His Blessing (1481), by Hans Memling. (

In talking to a dear friend the other night, who is a new Christian, I realized that sometimes my complaints about Protestants and Protestant theology can be taken in the wrong spirit. (Sometimes I fear they’re made in the wrong spirit.)

My friend was confused and worried that in my lashing out against “Protestants,” I was speaking to her. Let me first say this: I believe that all people who call on the name of Jesus, who believe He is the Son of God, who believe He died for our sins are was raised from the dead that we might be, too — all people who affirm the core and fundamental truths of the Christian faith, as stated in the three ecumenical creeds of the Church (the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed) — can rightfully call themselves Christians and can be saved. All we Christians of particular doctrines have many disagreements about finer points of theology, even about who is saved and how one is saved, but we agree on this: Christ is our Savior, and we are saved solely by God’s grace. We have all been baptized into the one Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12‒13) — in a real sense, we are all One in Him.

El Greco, St. Paul and St. Peter

St. Paul and St. Peter (c. 1595), by El Greco. (

That said, I have come to the conviction that the Roman Catholic Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that Christ founded (Matthew 16:18) — a visible Church, that the world can see and identify. I do believe that those many Christians — in particular meaning Protestants — who are outside that visible Church are at a disadvantage, lacking some essential doctrines and especially the integrity guaranteed by apostolic succession and the means of grace in the Sacraments — but I affirm, with the Church, that Protestant churches carry elements of Christ’s Truth and His sanctification and can bear souls to Him for salvation (Second Vatican Council, 1964, Unitatis redintegratio 3.2).

I believe it’s gravely wrong that we have created such division in Christ’s Church, His Spotless Bride. I pray every day that God will reunite the Church; that He will help us find reconciliation with each other and heal our ancient wounds and gashes. I pray that through my blog I might lead others toward that reconciliation, or toward the convictions I myself have reached about the Catholic Church.

But even more important than that — infinitely more important than that — I pray and long that people may find Christ and know Him, by whatever avenue they find Him. If you find truth in my blog, I hope and pray above all that it’s the truth and the love of Christ. Finding His love and His grace is more precious than any fine point of doctrine: for as the Pharisees, I can be knowledgeable and orthodox and right about doctrine and practice, and yet entirely miss the point: it’s love. I could memorize the Catechism backward and forward; attend Mass every day of the year; fast and do penance to the point of utter mortification — and yet if I didn’t have love, I would have nothing and be nothing (1 Corinthians 13).

The Vatican over the Tiber

So if you find a place where you can meet Jesus, where His love lives and is lived, where you are loved and nurtured and find faith and grace and healing — stay there: especially if you are a baby Christian. If you find I am speaking the truth about history and doctrine and practice — if you come to believe with me that the Catholic Church is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic one — don’t feel, unless the Holy Spirit compels you, that you’re expected to immediately jump the ship you’re on and swim the Tiber. I’d much rather you stay in the loving and nurturing and edifying place God has brought you than make this arduous quest before you’re ready. I would much rather plant confederates all throughout the Body of Christ, who are convinced of the truth of the Church and the necessity of reconciliation and reunification, who might influence others from the inside to lay aside old prejudices, who might urge the Church, from where they are, toward reunion, than have anybody break ties with their Christian brothers and sisters and strike out alone.

I pray that we might all one day break bread together again. But until then, love God, love your neighbor, and strive to be transformed by that love.

The Audacity of Pope: Everything I’ve ever tried to say about Church Authority


When I get busy and enfrazzled, I get behind on my blog-reading. So forgive me for reposting an entry that’s now a month and a half old. But Called to Communion, ever one of my favorite blogs, has offered a brilliant piece by Neal Judisch, a Catholic convert from the Reformed tradition, that says everything I’ve ever tried to say about church authoritytoward sola scriptura, toward the Magisterium, most of all toward the epistemological trap that Protestants fall into regarding scriptural interpretation — only in a clearer, more robust, more comprehensive way than I ever could; every argument, tied neatly and powerfully together. And most important and thought-provoking of all — Judisch demonstrates how the Catholic Church’s position, seeming from the outside to place so much authority in the hands of men, is actually the far more humble and self-effacing position than sola scriptura, which places ultimate authority in one’s own individual interpretation and conscience.

Similar remarks apply, as we’ve also seen, to the question of “Tradition” and “Magisterium.” The idea of an authoritative tradition and ecclesial teaching organ had sounded uncomfortable to my Protestant ears, since it sounded as though Catholics didn’t think the Bible was enough, that the words of mere men had to be added so as to round off and complete what was apparently lacking in the very Word of God. Here again, I thought, the Catholics were detracting from Scripture and its Author by putting mere men on some sort of par with them, and the human element was being unduly exalted once more.

Yet from a Catholic perspective this gets things upside down. For the Protestant alternative is to say that since Scripture alone is infallible, that means the Church cannot claim such authority when it comes to Scriptural interpretation. At the same time, we know we cannot simply leave this task to each individual Christian, for neither the individual Christian nor the tradition to which he belongs can claim to possess some sort of authority that he refuses to attribute to the Church. So, we are left with the question of how we can know, how we can decide with confidence, which of the endlessly diverse and contradictory Christian traditions has things right – hardly a trivial matter, if it might mean heresy on the one hand or fidelity to the Faith on the other.

And such sums up the conflict over authority that brought me to Catholicism in the first place.

Read the rest: The Audacity of Pope

This article, as CtC always is, is meaty, lengthy, and will stretch your theological muscles — but I encourage everyone to read it, as I encourage anyone of a Reformed background to examine CtC and consider its arguments. I pray every day for the reunion of Christ’s Church, and CtC is the most powerful voice of Christian unity I know.

Embarking on the Year of Faith: An Ecumenical Step

My dear friend Jessica has highlighted in warmth and charity a remarkable but largely overlooked moment here at the beginning of our Year of Faith: Jessica’s own archbishop, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, addressed the Catholic Synod of Bishops in Rome yesterday, offering meaningful words on the contemplation of Christ and its essential connection with sharing Christ with others. As the bishops and Catholics worldwide discuss the New Evangelization and our call to share the Gospel in today’s world, his words were especially timely.

Archbishop Rowan Williams

Archbishop Rowan Williams.

But even more than what Archbishop Williams said, I am gladdened by the ecumenical step this represents — both that Pope Benedict invited Archbishop Williams to speak, that Williams agreed, and that the Catholic bishops received him graciously. To my knowledge, this is the first time the leader of a major Protestant sect has ever addressed an assembled synod of Catholic bishops. This may seem to some a small step, but considering the five hundred years of history that have passed between us, the bloodshed and fear and anger and many martyrs for both causes — this, to me, marks a huge step forward.

The Anglican Communion, especially some branches of it like Jessica’s, may be closer in thought and feeling to Rome than any other division of our separated brethren — in fact, some branches are already breaking off to return to us. Archbishop Williams’ address to our bishops is but one step — but the road to reunion must be walked a step at a time. It is my deepest and sincerest hope that we can continue to take steps such as this.

Saints Peter and Paul: Apostles to the Protestants?

Saints Peter and Paul, by El Greco

Saints Peter and Paul (between 1605 and 1608), by El Greco.

Today is the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, two saints who almost need no introduction: they are the most prominent men, besides Jesus, in the New Testament — Peter, the foremost of the Apostles, on whom Christ said he would found His Church; and Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, radically converted on the road to Damascus, and from then on a tireless preacher and writer for Christ. Together, the two became pillars of the Church of Rome, and watered it with the blood of their martyrdoms. Peter especially, hailed by the Roman Catholic Church as the first bishop of Rome, has come to be, for Catholics, a symbol of the authority of the Church. Paul, on the other hand, became a central figure of the Protestant Reformation: his writings on grace and faith and works, against the Judaizers, formed the basis of Martin Luther‘s theological interpretations. A number of Catholics I’ve talked to have seemed to distance themselves from Paul because of this, strangely. To me, though, Peter and Paul are the essential apostles who can bridge both the Catholic and Protestant traditions, and even offer hope of the reunion of all Christians.

There was a reflection in Magnificat last night, for the Vigil of Peter and Paul, that gave me a start and inspired this entry for today.

By celebrating the memory of these two great saints together, we remember how valiantly — and humanly — they struggled to bring together into one Church under one Gospel those who were divided by the differing heritage and belief of Jew and Gentile.

Up until the last two words, my mind was somewhere else — on our division today. I was nearly expecting to read of the “differing heritage and belief of Catholic and Protestant.”

St. Paul is my patron saint. As I journeyed to the Church, I pondered who I should choose; but when I prayed about it, I realized that there could be no other choice but Paul. For Paul was choosing me. There is no doubt in my mind at all that Paul has been looking out for me all these years since my youth. Most Protestants turn to Paul for his theology and intellect, but through all my troubles growing up, I turned to Paul for encouragement and comfort.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

When I reached Rome the first time and stood at Paul’s tomb, it was his words of encouragement that came flooding back to me, that brought me to knees and urged me to come face to face with God. And as I approached Rome again, toward the Church, I believe that Paul was praying for me, and welcoming me home.

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 1:10-13 ESV)

And I truly believe that just as the Protestant Reformers’ interpretations of Paul remain at the heart of our division, a deeper reflection on both Peter and Paul — what they believed, what they wrote, what they stood for, and what they died for — can help heal our breach. “I appeal to you, brothers,” Paul wrote, “by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” “Is Christ divided?,” he asks us (1 Corinthians 1). Tragically, we ourselves have divided the Body of Christ on earth, and have perpetuated that division for 500 years in the case of the Protestants; for 1,000 in the case of the Orthodox. And we ourselves are to blame for every day that we allow it to continue. Christ wants to return for a whole and spotless Bride. I believe we owe it our Lord, to His Church, and to His Apostles to urgently seek understanding and reconciliation as we near the end of this age.

Pope Benedict XVI: A Father of Reconciliation

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI, a voice of reconciliation.

I presently have about four posts half-written; so forgive me if I begin another and for a moment indulge my inner fanboy and let loose a cheer for our pope.

As I’ve been writing, there has been a longstanding conflict between Traditionalist Catholics and the Mother Church over the reforms of Vatican II, with the Traditionalist Society of St. Pius X having been out of communion with Rome since 1988. Pope Benedict has been in close, but tense, talks with the SSPX since the beginning of his pontificate. In 2009 he lifted the excommunications of the surviving SSPX bishops. Now, it is rumored and widely believed that reconciliation between the SSPX and the Vatican is at hand.

I think Pope Benedict is brilliant. As much as Pope John Paul II was a voice of reconciliation and healing through love and comfort and welcome — through sheer goodness — Pope Benedict XVI is a voice of reconciliation, healing, and reconstruction through intellect, reasoning, and enlightened leadership. Since the beginning of his papacy, he has sought to return a sharp edge to Catholic doctrine and theology — not the bloody axe many expected from him as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — the formal successor to the Inquisition — but the finely honed, elegant sword of precise argument that has made the Catholic Church historically great. He has sought to clarify the points of doctrinal contention stemming from Vatican II, to re-declare the truth of Catholic orthodoxy, and to trumpet the continuity of our tradition rather than the rupture some, like the SSPX, have seen.

David G. Bonagura, Jr. gives a splendid analysis of the SSPX reconciliation in this column: what it means and what it doesn’t mean. As I have been witnessing, Pope Benedict is not rolling back Vatican II, but through everything he does, affirming the continuity of the Council Fathers with Tradition. What the pope is rejecting is the “spirit of Vatican II” through which modernists and liberals have tried to break with the Church’s foundations. Rather than “attacking nuns,” as many in the liberal American media have portrayed the Vatican’s investigation of the LCWR, Benedict is reaching out to both the SSPX, drifting to the right, and the LCWR, drifting to the left, in an aim to restore both to full communion. The restored SSPX, so ardent in promoting the traditions of the Church, will only add to the movement within the Church that is already gaining momentum: the revitalization and reinvigoration of liturgy and tradition and evangelization.

So much in this piece makes me want to cheer, or passionately underline with my blue pen. But this part sums up my joy:

. . . The reconciliation speaks volumes about the nature of Benedict’s pontificate and the character of Benedict the man. . . . Benedict, despite the many contrary voices in the Curia, is personally making reconciliation a reality, at his speed and on his terms.

We have already seen the beginnings of reconciliation with Protestant sects under this pope, and an ever-growing wave in the past quarter-century of individual Protestants returning home to Rome. It is my daily prayer that under Pope Benedict’s leadership, we will see this tide of reconciliation mount higher and higher, toward the reunification of all Christians.

Why Protestants Should Care

St. Gregory the Great

St. Gregory the Great, a Christian of the sixth century.

So, I finally revealed my blog to my Facebook and Twitter friends. And a good many of them have followed me. Being a little more public has brought about a good bit of self-scrutiny: Am I relevant? Why should anybody want to read my blog? Why should Protestants, in particular, want to read my blog?

Well, let me say up front that my aim is not to convert anybody. If my own journey in any way inspires anyone else to look into the Catholic Church for themselves, I would be gratified and humbled; but I don’t really expect that to happen.

But the first reason I would give why Protestants should read my blog is that the Roman Catholic Church is Christian, too. There’s such a tendency — particularly in the evangelical branches of the faith, as I can attest — to marginalize and ignore the modern Catholic Church as something foreign, irrelevant, and obsolete, at best — at worst as something corrupt, unbiblical, and anti-Christian. Growing up evangelical, I simply never heard about the Catholic Church. Reading even the most scholarly and thoughtful evangelical books, I never saw the Catholic Church mentioned. When I did hear it mentioned, it was usually in shades of otherness and mistrust — as a “dead religion” bound up in “empty tradition” and “works’ righteousness.” The primary thing I want to convey about my newfound faith is that this stereotype is completely false. By my witness and by my words, I hope to vividly proclaim the life and love of the Catholic faith. And, as Protestants, I hope you will welcome this message and embrace Catholics as brothers and sisters in the faith.

Not only is the Catholic Church Christian, but it is an essential part of the Christian heritage of all Protestants. The Christian faith didn’t suddenly emerge out of nothing in 1517. Whatever you may believe personally about the Catholic Church, you must acknowledge that the Roman Catholic Church received and nourished and protected the Christian faith, and its Bible, through nearly 1,500 years of history, at last bearing it into the hands of the Protestant Reformers in the sixteenth century. What happened over the course of those prior centuries? Growing up, I had little idea, and I suppose many other Protestants do not either. There is a tendency among many Protestants to reject the Catholic past, when in fact it is the Christian past. Did the faith die, or shrivel up, or disappear, over those ages? Did the Catholic Church cease to be Christian? One only need look as far as just a few of the shining examples of faith we have in the saints, to assure oneself that it did not: St. Gregory the Great (c. 540–604), St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153), St. Francis of Assisi (1182–1226), St. Ignatius Loyola (1491–1556), St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873–1897). These and many other Christians of the past can inspire and enrich your faith.

Through understanding the Christian past — where your faith has come from, how it came to you, and the people of the past who have lived and shared it — you can better understand the faith and how to live it today. Through appreciating the Catholic Church as the Mother Church of your own, rather than rejecting it as something lost and devoid, you can gain assurance of the integrity, security, and timelessness of the Christian Gospel over all the ages of history. You may even find something of value to your own faith that has been lost through all the turmoil of the Reformation and its aftermath. As an historian, a friend, and an evangelical, I hope to be able to share the history of the Church in an accessible and interesting way.

Finally, I hope you will read my blog because we are all Christians together. We all share the love of God and the Gospel of Christ. And we owe it to our Lord not to abandon His Church to the division and disunity to which our ancestors have driven it. It is the burden of each and every one of us to strive for understanding across the chasms we have made — because Christ is undivided; it is we who have brought brokenness to the earthly Church, and we who perpetuate it every day that all Christians cannot break bread together. It is my hope that through striving to understand our differences and disagreements in these pages, I will help all see that we are not that far apart, and maybe even help us to draw closer together — closer to reunification. I truly believe that it is possible, and that it is more important now than ever before that we stand together as the Body of Christ.

The Onus of Reunification

One of the biggest questions in my Catholic journey has been this: How does God view the Catholic and Orthodox and Protestant churches, and their schism with one another? God desires unity in His Church. St. Paul writes to us, “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV). The very fact of our disunity attests to our sinfulness: We have all fallen short. We have all failed to preserve the unity of His Church. We all share part in the blame — even those of us alive today, we who perpetuate the division and fail to ardently seek reunification.

I’ve come to believe, in my journey, that the Catholic Church holds the treasury of apostolic faith, the fullness of truth having been passed down; that it is the One (unus, single, undivided) Holy and Apostolic Church founded by Christ and the Apostles. Studying the history of the Church, I have come to see that the traditions of the Church are not accretions or inventions as I once thought, but have persisted through the great men of faith of the Middle Ages, through the great Church Fathers, all the way since the beginning, the faith of the Apostles. I believe that the Catholic Church represents an unbroken continuity of belief and tradition, from the Apostles to the present day.

Unbroken, that is, except for those who have broken away.* Being raised a Protestant, I always admired and celebrated the great Protestant Reformers. I still do — they were courageous men passionate about God and willing to stand up for what they believed. I cannot, even as a Catholic, paint the Reformers or the Reformation black. The Catholic Church certainly needed to be reformed in many ways — and in fighting back against that reform, she must share a part of the blame for the schism that ensued. I now consider that schism one of the most heart-wrenching and tragic events in all of history — the rending of Christ’s Holy Church, his Spotless Bride.

(* I am not abandoning Eastern Orthodoxy, either. I am only leaving it out of this discussion for simplicity’s sake, because the majority of us Christians in the West are Catholic or Protestant, and because I know comparatively little about the Orthodox churches.)

Protestant churches have borne much good fruit. Christ continues to be active in them, in teaching, love, service, and salvation. There have been many great Protestant thinkers and theologians — and I do consider their thought and theology great; they are worthy and useful ways for thinking about God and our life in Him. There have been many good and holy Protestant servants of Christ, who have fed the hungry, clothed the poor, bound up the wounds of the hurting, and won many souls for His kingdom. God, without a doubt, uses, ministers, and saves through Protestant churches.

So God is merciful and forgives us of our sins — even the great sin of breaking His Church into fragments. But is that enough? Is it enough to accept His forgiveness, accept the fact of our division as final and irrevocable — that what’s been done is done, and we can’t go back? That this is the way things are now? That our churches can’t break bread together, and that’s okay? To most Protestants (to me as well, not that long ago), the thought of rejoining with the Catholic Church is unthinkable. To many, it is outright offensive. To them, the Catholic Church had sinned and been corrupted; it needed to be re-created. But even supposing that were true — the fact remains that the Christian Church — the Body of Christ — is fragmented. Are we going to allow this to persist?

There have many efforts over the years at ecumenism. Mostly in recent times, this has consisted of getting some members of the various churches together to share and discuss what they have in common and worship together. I applaud this, and think there needs to be more of it: the more we all talk to each other, the more we’ll realize that we all share the same Christ, and that He doesn’t want us to be divided. Others, however, continue to attack our differences, and decry any ecumenical efforts. How can this be what Christ wants? Can any of these people really sit down with faithful Catholics and continue to believe that Catholics are not Christians? How can anyone believe that our God is so small as to exclude large bodies of believers from His Kingdom because of minor doctrinal differences?

I feel that the onus is on us to seek not just dialogue, but reunification of Christ’s Church. As we ever approach the end of the age, we will need each other — we will need to be One and whole as a faith — more than ever. Recognizing this need for reunion is one of the many reasons for my decision to join the Catholic Church. History has failed to prove to me that the Catholic Church has ever been “wrong” or “corrupt” to the point of justifying a break (everyone sins; but she has never departed from the Truth); and so, if she was not “wrong,” then she must still be “right.” And the onus is on me to do what I can to make reparation for my ancestors' mistakes (this probably applies to my ancestors other mistakes as well). I am just one lonely pilgrim, but in returning to Rome, I am doing what I can. And I am a part of an ever-growing wave. And I believe as this wave gains momentum, it will sweep up more than only individuals. I truly have hope to see whole churches, even whole denominations, return to communion with Rome. I truly have hope to see, in my lifetime, a reunification of all Christians.

Just as the blame for our division is shared among all Christians, I believe that in reunification, some ground must be given by all. I’m not an expert on this — more learned people than I have written whole books on the problem of reunification — but the baseline for communion with Rome would have to be, I think, accepting the authority of the Pope and Magisterium, and belief in the Sacraments. I think the idea of accepting an institutional church authority at all will be most difficult for many Protestants — but I’ve come to see that it’s necessary. From Rome’s position, I think there is plenty of ground to yield regarding practice: just as Rome is embracing many Anglicans and allowing them to preserve their Anglican identity and heritage, and just as the Eastern Catholic Churches are embraced in all their differences, even a “Baptist rite” or a “Presbyterian rite” could be accommodated. I can quite easily imagine the liturgy of a Baptist church that embraced Rome and the Sacraments, while still remaining essentially Baptist.

We are all Christians, after all. We all worship the same Triune God. We all believe the same things about Christ. We all adhere to the same creeds†, whether we proclaim them or not. Regarding the Sacraments, our differences of opinion are more minor than most people recognize. Unity is within reach — if only we are willing to reach out. The onus is on every one of us.

† Obviously, I am excluding those who don’t — Sorry. Y’all come on back now, too.