Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Just Being a Jerk

4 Lent
John Keble

That's right, I'll admit it.

When I found this, I felt like someone had given me a present.

Maybe I've been working too hard.

Canton (OH) Baptist Church has an online exhibit of their Christian Hall of Fame. If you care to check out the background, I'll let you click on it. (Note that it won't work in Firefox. It will in IE, and I don't know about Netscape or Safari.) They are (apparently) a run-of-the-mill fundamentalist, independent Baptist church. The paintings are nice, but I especially love the little biographies.

I will now proceed to make fun of them. If that's not your cup of tea, you might go read something more productive. I thought about actually debunking these claims, but they're so very silly that I'd look ridiculous if I did anything but laugh at them.

Ignatius of Antioch:
"He was the first man to use the term 'catholic,' but he never used it in any letter as referring to anything more than the body of born-again believers who were in Christ by the Holy Spirit."
Somehow, I don't see Ignatius using that kind of language. Or anybody else until sometime in the last couple centuries.
"At no time does he suggest that such a term applies to anything Roman or connected with Rome, nor does he ever connect it with anyone who thinks that water baptism is a part of salvation."
Oooo, snap. That's a point, but do you think they read the letter in which he addresses the Roman church as "the Church which is sanctified and enlightened by the will of God, who formed all things that are according to the faith and love of Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour; the Church which presides in the place of the region of the Romans, and which is worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of the highest happiness, worthy of praise, worthy of credit, worthy of being deemed holy, and which presides over love"? Compared to the other letters, it sounds like they were his favorites, at any rate.

I should note that in none of his extant letters does Ignatius say what he does think baptism is.

Polycarp of Smyrna:
"Polycarp was born in Smyrna and later became Bishop there. He was a disciple of the Apostle John and also a friend of Ignatius. He was a very dedicated student of the Pauline Epistles and the Gospel of John."
So far, so good.
"He had very little to say about sacraments or ritual."
Well, we have one letter from Polycarp. It essentially reiterates Paul's ethical teachings. So in fairness, Polycarp just had very little to say.
"He maintained that each church was independent of any outside human authority."
What the hell? When? Where? Maybe they have a letter that I don't. Besides all that, the Church's authority wasn't a human authority, kitten, you just have to go back and read Ignatius to know that "where the Bishop is, there is the Catholic Church..."
"He never referred to the ministers as priests..."
Oh, yes he did. How about: "Polycarp, and the presbyters with him, to the Church of God sojourning at Philippi:" from the introduction,
"...let the presbyters be compassionate and merciful to all, bringing back those that wander, visiting all the sick, and not neglecting the widow, the orphan, or the poor, but always 'providing for that which is becoming in the sight of God and man;' abstaining from all wrath, respect of persons, and unjust judgment; keeping far off from all covetousness, not quickly crediting [an evil report] against any one, not severe in judgment, as knowing that we are all under a debt of sin."
Okay, maybe except for when he talked about priests, he didn't refer to ministers as priests. Oh, and he only mentions "ministers" once, and he called them deacons.
"...and and he never taught that water baptism had anything to do with salvation."
Like I said: one letter.

Tertullian of Carthage:
"Tertullian was born of heathen parents in Carthage, Africa. He studied law and lived an exceedingly sinful life until he recieved the Lord Jesus at the age of thirty. He became an intense, hard-hitting defender of the fundamentals of the Christian faith against the traditions of Romanism."
That's just precious. Okay, so this might be just a little bit anachronistic. Maybe just a little? Speaking of which, this one is my favorite, because he's wearing an Anglican clerical collar, for some reason, which is a bit of kit that finds its origin in around the 19th century.

"He joined the Montanists, a group of pre-millenial, Bible believing Christians"

The Bible (not that they had one!) isn't the only thing they believed! HA!
"and spent the rest of his life writing and preaching primitive Christianity as opposed to Romanism with its ecclesiastical traditions and ceremonies contrary to the scriptures."
Oh, the pain, the pain! Hahahaha

Ooo, I think I just peed a little.

And yes, it gets better...

Patrick of Ireland:
"Patrick was born in Scotland. His father was a Roman Centurion and also a deacon in a local New Testament church. Patrick was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave, but he escaped."
He was probably kidnapped by Papists.
"After his conversion to Christ, he studied on the mainland in Gaul and then returned to the heathen tribes in Ireland as a missionary. He began scores of churches and baptized (immersed) thousands of converts."
Wait, sorry, how did he baptize them?
"He is largely responsible for the large number of Bible-believing Christians in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England."
Okay, now that's just silly. First, I'm not sure how many "bible-believing Christians" there are in those places, and second, I'm not sure if Patrick would want credit for them...
"Patrick, his father and his grandfather were proud of the fact that they were not controlled by the Roman church, and that they were responsible only to God."
Hell, what were they, Anglicans?
"Patrick was later canonized by the Roman church as a political move to control the Irish churches. He was thereafter known as Saint Patrick."
Those bastards! I wondered why they did that! Could that explain why +John Henry Newman is continuing down the canonization process?

I think it's safe to say that if Church history teaches anything, it's that you've got to watch out for the Papists.

Benedict XVI and Cardinal O'Malley, from you know who


Anonymous said...

So when will we be reading about your reception into the Roman Church Kyle? ;)


#Debi said...

Perhaps in his hagiography--you know, in a couple of years...

Anonymous said...

Kyle this is so classic. Folks post stuff like that and never think anyone will call them out on it.

Expax said...

Kyle. Do it some more. Do it some more. I want to hear your thoughts on other people in the list too. Do it some more. You have made my morning.

So when are you going to join the Roman Catholic church? *wink*

Expax said...

Have you noticed it is exclusively white caucasion male, with the last half almost exclusvely from America or Brittian? And was there only one Christian between the years 500 - 1000 that did anything? Ha!

Oh and did anyone noticed he cared not to mention the Black Dwarf or the Cappaodocians!

Carlos said...

Very amusing post, it's sad what a poor understanding of history and theology can do to people. Great blog btw!

Sam Charles Norton said...

That was hilarious. Very good.

Stephen Lawson said...

sure, you are a jerk.

but they are stupid.

I would rather be a jerk than stupid.

I also like how they have about 10 times the amount of biographies from 1900 til now than every other era.

no mystics were significant, no popes either. hmm...

Kyle said...

Does it count if I write my own hagiography? Do I have any volunteers for that?

Oh, and the reason I didn't bother commenting on other people in the list is because despite my work in Church History, I have never heard of 90% of them. Funny, that. And yes, Ben, from what I can tell, Fanny Crosby is the only woman on the list, and the rest are indeed white males, including the Africans. Never saw that one coming.

Seeker, welcome to my little "chapel."

Thanks for the comments, everybody, I'm glad you enjoyed my mockery of... well, this mockery. :0)

Tim said...

I love this post. Love it.

owenswain said...

On The OX Files a week or so ago there was a post about The D-Enigma machine in which phrases can be de-coded. I have one for the machine inspired by the silly Baptist Hall of Embarrassingly Wrong Information:

Original Coded Message:
"The Church Expands"

Same message after decoding by the D-Enigma machine:
"Names of leaders and groups of believers who split off yet again from previous splits thus creating their own particular church that claims to be just like the original New Testament church based on their particular interpretation of the Bible lite {the one missing books}."


"More bloody fragmentation."


Anonymous said...

I'll write your hagiography for you Kyle. After all, I'm "all up ins" about the saints ya know.

How much does the job pay?

Expax said...

What can be his miracle? Kyle casting the Spirit of stupidity out of people? If Kyle was a miracle worker what would his miracles be....

Kyle said...

A, wouldn't writing about me be it's own reward, essentially?

Owen, the D-Enigma machine gag is brilliant. Cheers. And yes, it seems these... baptists... do dream of a church that was never united, in Christ or otherwise.

Ben, I will give you the last exorcism you'll ever need.

I can't believe that the LibraryThing person has noticed me. Does my hair look alright? ;0) Thanks for reading!

Expax said...

You promise Kyle? I mean that will finally make me like the Catechumen process in the early church. Oh boy. Two weeks left to go before I can join the church. Better hurry. Oh boy.

Kyle said...

Ah, yes. That's what I meant. Have you read Flannery O'Connor's The Violent Bear It Away?

Caelius said...

I just read the Columba article. They omit the part where he starts a war in support of copyright piracy. Oh, and the book he so desperately wanted. It was from Rome.

Anonymous said...

You wafer God eating Mariolater you.

One of Freedom said...

That was great, thanks I needed a good chuckle.