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Christianity needs to die.

There it is…after all these years, I finally gathered the courage to say what needs to be said. Christianity needs to die so that the Church of Jesus Christ can thrive. Let me explain.

The Bible says in Ephesians 4:4-6,

There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

I met two elderly ladies today at a cafe. In our day, it is rare to see a pastor/priest wear a clerical collar. I think they might be part of a special undercover priest program I never heard of in Seminary! Anyway…

At first they were so nice to me! They treated me with adulation, as if I was the Pope himself. But when I told them that I served Jesus at a Lutheran parish, their jaws dropped, and their pleasant Halloween masks fell to the ground. Where were the nice, little old Catholic ladies that I so quickly became fond of?

I asked: “Why do you seem so disappointed? Don’t we have the same Lord?”

“Um, yeah…but, but, but…” The younger of the two stuttered as she tried to be as polite as she possibly could towards a Lutheran Pastor. “Yeah, but you guys left THE Church and you don’t believe in the Rosary.”

Like a flash of lightening, my heart began to pound profusely like a Cuban conga played by the Miami Sound Machine. Flames of fire came out of my eyes and consumed them! (Just kidding) Actually, in spite of my red ears (they always turn red when I get that angry), I remained as calm as I could as the rhythm of my heart kept getting stronger.

As I showed them my white, pearly teeth, I said: “But the Bible says that all of us who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ!” (Galatians 3:27)

“Yeah,” the feisty one said, “but you ain’t Catholic. You people left us and you don’t believe in the Pope.” By this time, my white pearly teeth, could no longer shine through my tight lips, that now pressed against each other like if sucking on a lime.

“Dear sister in Christ,” I said, “when does a person become a Christian.” She turned to the other lady and said: “He’s a Lutheran!”

“Ma’am,” again I asked, “when does a person become a Christian?” She reluctantly answered: “In Holy Baptism.”

“Excellent!” I responded. “Now let me ask you… what does the word ‘Christian’ mean?”
“It means ‘follower of Christ.’” And then she added, “But you don’t believe in the Rosary and Martin Luther was a heretic.”

At that moment flames did come out of my eyes… but the two ladies had a fire-resistant shield made out of stupid.

“Sisters,” I calmly said, “Would you agree that not every person who is baptized is a Christian? A follower of Christ, like you just said?” They both stared at me like the deer I ran over 5 years ago while driving to church on a snowy night.

“Um, I guess not.” The feisty one said, while the other sipped on a cup of something, which by then was probably warmer than the frigidity of their treatment towards their Lutheran brother in Christ.

“Well then…” I said with my pearly whites shining again… “I am a Christian because I obey my Lord Jesus.” “But you ain’t Catholic!” This time it was the quiet one who spoke out.

“Well actually, since the word ‘catholic’ means ‘universal’, and I am part of the body of Christ through Baptism, I would have to say: Yes! I am ‘catholic’, just not Roman Catholic.”

“Well,” the feisty one said in a patronizing manner, “but you’re not under the Pope” Considering all the sexual abuse scandals, I’m not sure that’s a good thing to aspire to.

I took a deep breath and responded: “But the Bible says that we have ONE LORD. That means that we, the followers of Christ have ONE KING- ONE Commander in Chief. In fact, the Bible says that those who have been baptized have been immersed into Christ by the Spirit of God and that we are all part of Christ’s body!” (1 Corinthians 12:13; 27)

“Well, you have your opinions and I have my own.” I had her pinned to the ground and she was trying to slip away.

“No!” This time I raised my voice. “Which part of your body is more important, your left foot or your right hand? Aren’t they both equally important to you? Aren’t they both part of you? So then, how can you live with the superiority complex of being better than those damn Lutherans because you’re Roman Catholic.” I admit… the Lutheran in me peeked out for a moment.

“But you’re outside of THE Church!” the feisty one yelled. Thank you Virgin Mary and all Angels that the Cafe was empty!

“Madam,” I said in a low voice, “The Church of Jesus Christ- the assembly of Christians that follow him, already have administrative unity under the headship of Christ.” Lowering my voice worked for about 10 seconds. “Our place in the body of Christ does not depend on our earthly, administrative unity. It rests solely on the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”

“No!” she yelled again. “You ain’t a Catholic, dammit!”

This was close to being a case of throwing the pearls to the swine. (Matthew 7:6) Most people who call themselves “Christians” are more interested in their denominational “team spirit” than in fulfilling the desire of Jesus on the night he was betrayed. While crying drops of blood, Jesus prayed that those who believed might be one, as he and the Father are one.

I understand the vehement attitude from Roman Catholics towards Lutherans. A perfect example of this type of familial hatred can be amply found in the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. Here’s what her autobiography says in chapter 32.9:

It was that vision that filled me with the very great distress which I feel at the sight of so many lost souls, especially of the Lutherans- for they were once members of the Church by baptism…for certainly I believe that, to save even one from those overwhelming torments (hell), I would most willingly endure many deaths.

Perhaps St. Teresa should’ve interpreted her “visions” through the lens of that Scripture which reads in Galatians 2:8-9:

For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through FAITH, and this not from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God- not by WORKS, so that no one can boast.

God is love, (1 John 4:8) and because he loves us, he has placed the spirit of his Son, Jesus Christ, in our hearts. (Galatians 4:6) And because we are his, NOTHING is able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus OUR LORD. (Romans 8:35-38)

Christianity (as we know it today), needs to die. Jesus said that a house divided cannot stand. Death is the eventual result of our divisions, unless we decide to love one another as Christ loved us.

Why can’t we accept the fact that human beings will always have different points of view? Why can’t Christians agree on the essentials of the Creeds and seek to fulfill the commandment of Christ who said: “Love one another as I have loved you?” (John 13:34)

Fine…maybe I’m going to hell because I’m not a ROMAN Catholic. But I hope that a God who is LOVE transcends our petty arguments. One day the Vatican will burn to the ground and be forgotten forever (2 Peter 3:10), but the WORD of God endures forever. (1 Peter 1:24)

By the way… I am a Lutheran, not because I believe in a flawed man called Dr. Martin Luther, but because with Martin Luther, we believe that in an ocean of unreliable Popes, Councils, “Saints” and Rosaries… the Word of God NEVER fails.

And if the Bible says that God loves me- I believe it.

And better yet… I believe that God loves those two, ignorant Catholic ladies. And yes, I love them too, although next time I see them, I’ll make sure to buy a cold drink…

Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV-
“…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”