Saturday, March 17, 2007

Pinch Me. I'm Protestant.

I've lived in a part of the country with a large Catholic population for a few years now, which has forced me to rethink St. Patrick's Day. As my font color suggests, I have an agenda here. In Ireland, green has come to represent nationalism (aka Catholicism), while orange has come to represent unionists (aka Protestants). Thus, the Irish flag has green on one side, orange on the other with a white bar in the middle, symbolizing the hope for peace between the two groups. Now, read this well, my new thoughts on St. Patty's Day have nothing to do with politics in Northern Ireland. I don't support the Protestant group over the Catholic group. I think they both are in the wrong. But in America, St. Patty's is all about Irish pride, which up here means Catholic pride. I'm not Catholic and just so no one gets the wrong impression, I proudly wear orange on this fine day!

The Puritans (predominantly Scottish Presbyterians) referred to Catholicism as "antichrist." A little harsh? I don't think so. In the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (a modified version of the Westminster Confession), the Puritans wrote that the Pope "exalts himself in the church against the Christ and above all that is called God." It's true! In Catholicism, the Pope is worshiped, he is infallible, & he is the head of the church. Yet, Colossians 1:18 says, "Christ is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent." It seems to me that you've got two folks (Pope vs. Christ) competing for the same position (head of church). In that race I'm Pro-Christ and Anti-Pope; Catholics are Pro-Pope and Anti-Christ!

Also, Catholic priests "sacrifice" Christ each time the mass is taken. They believe that once the bread and wine are consecrated, they become the literal body and blood of Christ. Thus, they re-sacrifice him every time they meet. This is why Catholic churches have altars and altar boys. You sacrifice things on altars. Protestant churches do not have altars, which is why I don't like the term "altar-call." Hebrews 10:11-12 says, "And every priest [speaking of Jewish priests, but can apply to Catholics] stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God." His sacrifice is once, for all. Re-sacrificing Christ is saying that His death of the cross was insufficient! It's anti-Christ.

One last thing I'd like to point out on this St. Patty's Day soapbox is that the Pope claims the power to absolve sins, meaning he can grant forgiveness. Think back to Mark 2:1-12, where Jesus heals the paralyzed man that was brought down through the roof. Before Jesus heals him, He says, "My son, your sins are forgiven." Then the religious leaders start thinking, "Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Ah... the scribes were on to something here. They were right in that only God can forgive sins. What they were totally blind to was the fact that God was standing in front of them! So Jesus heals the man so that the scribes "may know that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins." Only Jesus Christ has the power to forgive sins. Again, we see a battle between the Pope & Christ, making him and his religion anti-Christ.
I'm not Irish. I'm not Catholic. I'm Scots-Irish. I'm Protestant. So go ahead, pinch me.


Double O Balloon said...
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Double O Balloon said...

I personally love St. Patty's Day. Drunks love balloons and tip really well.