Saturday, March 31, 2007

What's in a name?

I was driving down the road the other day and had to turn around and get a picture of this sign (click on the picture for a larger image). I had to chuckle when i thought how silly such denominationalism is — and the series of infighting and splits that must have brought this name about.
Think about it! Christians were first called Christians in Antioch in Acts 11:26. Jesus used the word Church in Matthew 16 and 18. From the 1st century, Christian communities were referred to as Catholic — the Catholic Church, as can be seen as early as the writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch. And Catholic it was from then on.
Then in the 16th century, Luther came along and broke with the Catholic Church and decided to ditch the name. His group became known as Lutheran. Then a large group broke away from Luther and his new denomination because they rejected the infant baptism of Catholics and Lutherans. They were called Anabaptists — "ana" meaning again – baptizing again.
This group was obviously spawned from the break with Luther in the 16th century (see my article on Baptist Successionism). They eventually shortened the name from Anabaptists to simply Baptists.
Then someone decided to start their own little church within the Baptist tradition when they began to send missionaries around the world — usually to convert Catholics. Their parent group of Baptists must not have been sending missionaries. It was worthy of a split. They must have set themselves apart and taken the name MISSIONARY Baptist Church.
But what happened then? Maybe the Missionary Baptist Church got old fashioned and stoggy and so there was another split and the Progressives started their own denomination. They happily called themselves the PROGRESSIVE Missionary Baptist Church.
But the Progressives started infighting about something or other and finally a group of elders or deacons rose up and split off again and started a new group down the street named the NEW Progressive Missionary Baptist Church.
Now what? Who knows! Tomorrow they may split again and make the FIRST New Progressive Missionary Baptist Church and the Second. And then it will probably split again into the NEWEST First New Progressive Missionary Baptist Church or the Holy First New Progressive Missionary Baptist Church. And then we will add multiple sects to the already 33,000 Protestant denominations.
Or maybe they will just chuck it all and call themselves the First Baptist Church and start all over again.
And probably, as actually happenings hundreds of times a day, many will leave these sects and return to the REAL First Missionary Church which understands true baptism and is always progressive. I happen to be speaking of the Catholic Church!
Man, am I ever glad that I left that nonsense and became a Catholic. I think the first name of the Church was the best — and the first teaching as well.

Reading this article, by Steve Ray, brought to mind an earlier post of mine on this blog....(somewhere in the archives, I'll find later) regarding all of the "tag lines" of all the churches and various fellowships here in Omaha to be found in the Yellow Pages. I guess it's like the saying goes, "It would be funny, if it wasn't so sad." God hates divorce. Luther 'divorced' from his Catholic faith, from The Church, gained followers and birthed Lutheranism. Now look at the "cancerous multiplication" of denominations since his "Great and Sad Divorce." 33,000 denominations! And Jesus' prayer so fervently prayed, in St. John 17: "...that they may be One, even as You and I are One..."

Nowhere in His prayer does He interject what some Evangelicals & other Protestants might prefer to find, such as: "But Father, IF they aren't ever One, as You and I are One - If they're never of One Mind, One Heart, One Faith, One Baptism, and turn their backs on My Church, to follow doctrines of men, how about this - Let's say that as long as they all agree on the 'essentials,' we call that good enough, huh?"

Yet that's what I hear all the time. Yep, it's even what I firmly believed at one time in the not so distant past. Yet, who'd decide on what the "essentials" are? The Baptists or the Progressive Baptists? Maybe the First Baptists? The Methodists? Or the Evangelical Lutherans? Or the maybe Nazarenes? What about the Bereans?

Yes, "it would be funny, if it wasn't so sad."



onionboy said...

Ever hear the joke about First Church of the Left Foot Washing Church? It is funny. Sadly the sign you've photographed is no joke and yes, it is so sad.

Joyful Catholics said...

Hey OB...thanks for stopping by again. Steve Ray actually took the photo and had it on his I wrote him and told him I 'stole' it and would refer others to his blog. It is sad isn't it? Did you happen to catch The Journey Home Round table last night? Former Baptists now Catholics and Steve was on, too.

Does TRUTH not matter to those that keep church hopping? Or are they truly searching for Truth, but are afraid of where the search may lead them, so they keep "planting" churches and watching them grow in the rocky soil...where so many wither and die...where roots can't thrive due to the "competition" in the soil of so many traditions and doctrines of men?

Yet, the fullness of Truth is probably right down the street from many of these fellowships and "bible churches"...and I pray many find HER...our blessed Holy Mother Church.

Bless you Onionboy.