First Baptist Church’s Pastor Stewart Fraser’s comments in the March 15 Journal article “Local Catholics excited, Protestants mixed on news of Pope Francis” made me ashamed as a Protestant Christian.
In my decades of study of the Protestant and Catholic theology and church history, and as a nationally and internationally published Christian writer (Christianity Today, Focus on the Family, etc.), and as a former student in the Biola University Christian Apologetics (the rational and intellectual defense of the faith) Master Degree Program, I found that there is a profound ignorance and bigotry in many Protestant circles regarding what Catholics actually believe.
First, the Pope’s “infallibility” primarily means he is the final word on interpretation of Catholic doctrine. Fraser’s judgment that Catholicism is “a religion...sending people in the wrong direction” confuses me, as both Catholics and Baptists believe the same essential Christian doctrines of the Nicean Creed.
His comment that “the Catholic Church as a whole is a big mess” is also confusing considering 1.2 billion Catholics around the world have exactly the same mass each Sunday, but we squabbling Protestants have shattered into 27,000 (yes 27,000) different denominations over doctrinal disputes.
If he is indeed “somebody who takes the Bible at face value” he might re-read what Jesus said about “let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
William Nesbitt, M.D., Meadow Vista