Monday, February 19, 2007

Reformation Reversed

According to the London Times, the Roman Catholic church will soon have more members in Britain than the Church of England. Anglican priests who left for Rome when women were allowed to be ordained, immigration from Catholic countries, and the current controversy over gay priests and bishops, have combined to make Catholicism the dominant Christian religion in England for the first time since bloody Mary ruled from 1553-1558.

The phenomenon of "crossing the Tiber" is not new. John Henry Newman in the 19th century led scores of men into the Church of Rome. It is, however, disturbing to those who cherish the doctrines of grace, and who disagree with Rome over the issues of justification by faith, the worship of Mary, and transubstantiation. Rome becomes an attractive haven for those who are tired to battling liberals in mainline denominations. The cost of such a haven is the surrender of Protestant doctrine, which thousands of martyrs died to defend.

There is a lesson to be learned in all of this. The Roman church has refused to compromise with modernism or liberalism, and offers certainty and continuity to its members. Mainline denominations offer only social justice and watered-down theology, a thin gruel for spiritually hungry people. If we wish to retain our members, and grow in numbers and spiritual maturity, we must, like Rome, stand strong against the forces of accommodation and liberalism. Otherwise our sheep will be stolen by Rome, by cults, and by unbelief, and the Reformation will have been in vain.


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