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500 Years of Protestantism: The Failure of Protestant Emotionalism

A

s we move beyond the five hundred year anniversary of the Protestant reformulation on October 31, 2017, I have been looking back and examining the new things that Protestantism brought. In the previous installment of this series (The Cycle of Insanity) I took a look at the cyclical and symptomatic evolution of ‘The Praxis Conference’ and its goal to reclaim the historical church’s priority on liturgy, art, and sacred space into the modern-day evangelical context. The issues that The Praxis Conference is attempting to resolve have been instigated by the perpetual question posed to Protestantism; that is, ‘What is missing from our space?’ Yet, the more profound question, at least for the purpose of this installment, is, ‘What has pretended to replace what has been missing from their space?’

The Purpose of Sacred Liturgy

The liturgy was established and ordained by God so that man could communally and publicly offer Him worthy thanksgiving and sacrifice for their atonement. Look no further than the religious duties assigned to priests and Levites in the book of Leviticus to discover the particular beauty and necessity that God and man found in the rites and rituals of Jewish liturgy. We know that the necessity of liturgy did not pass away in the new covenant, because YHWH decreed in Exodus 11:14 that the liturgy of the Passover meal would be perpetual (i.e. neverending), and in Matthew 5:17 Christ Jesus affirmed that He came not to abolish, but to fulfill the law and the prophets.

In the New Covenant, it is through the sacred liturgy that Christ uniquely encounters and ministers to His people; most uniquely through the Sacraments of the Church, but also through the recitation of the breviary. For their part, the people meet the Christ who has come to them through the vehicle of the liturgy to offer Him due worship and thanksgiving, and to obtain blessings, sanctification, and graces. Liturgy is an activity of love for the mind, body, and soul. It is far removed beyond what can be experienced or perceived by just one part of the self. The liturgy not only duly requires the fullness of man to participate, but it necessitates that he encounters the divine while in the community of gathered who are being made holy.

In the Absence of Sacred Liturgy

With the early novelties in the Protestant reformation, such as the Lutherans, Anglicans/Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Methodism there was and there remains to be a priority on liturgy; more or less. Yet, the reason why this priority could be sustained throughout the movement is because Protestantism, by its very nature, is indifferent to objective truth. It was the first-born child of [quote]”While their hope was to simplify our encounter with Christ Jesus, all they ended up doing was dumbing down and emotionalizing the faith.”[/quote]the Epoch of Doctornialized Relativism, and, as such, it has been overly prone to be more concerned with private emotions, private doctrine/subjective truth, private entertainment, and private encounters with the divine, than it has with communal and public liturgy.

Outside of liturgy, faith becomes a private experience that is satisfied only by ones arousal of emotions. It becomes suspect to everything that is base and nearly paltry to what lies beyond the senses. On one spectrum, Protestantism practices a liturgy that is harmfully disconnected from the fullness of the sacred liturgy that Christ Jesus established through His Apostles, found only in the Catholic Church, and on the other spectrum, with all of these emerging novelties, such as I highlighted in ‘The Culmination of it All . . .‘, it has become so far removed from the sacred liturgy that religion has become nothing more than what the individual person believes at the moment.

Although Catholicism practices the sacred liturgy, we too find that Catholics who fail to immerse their whole self into the liturgy end up getting nothing out of it. Such individuals either end up going through life as a lukewarm Catholic or end up leaving the truth faith in search of something to satisfy the senses. Yet, at least Catholicism offers the means through which the fullness Christ Jesus is offered to His people. In contrast, because Protestantism offers either a neutered liturgy or none at all it has spiritually harmed countless people by making them slaves to their senses and emotions.

Conclusion

In absence of the sacred liturgy of the Sacrifice of the Mass, all the Protestant has is a church service to go to once a week. In absence of the perpetual Passover meal that YHWH commanded, Protestantism has attempted to fill that void with music, entertaining preaching, dancing, and visual displays that are all geared towards appealing to base senses and emotions. In the absence of presenting the visible savior as the Holy Eucharist, Protestantism has filled that space with a visible preacher, on whose personality and ability befalls the success or failure of the church. In absence of the Holy Eucharist, the preacher’s sermon has become the summit of the church service. In absence of ritual that informs us when to stand, kneel, sing, pray, and respond in decency and in order as a united community, Protestants have resorted to individuals deciding for themselves when to do these things. In absence of the spiritual climax and promise of salvation that reception of the Holy Eucharist offers, some Protestants have privatized the Holy Spirit’s gift of speaking and tongues and have taught that those who don’t receive it, aren’t saved. Others have made a doctrine out of promising wealth and material things for all who have enough faith. Others ‘handle’ poisonous snakes, jump and dance around, and/or faint after being ‘slayed in the spirit’.

In absence of being able to offer anything beyond what can appeal to the senses, Protestantism has become disconnected from true worship of God and of mystery. Altogether, it has created a situation where millions of followers of Christ now have an expectation to be entertained at Church. It has created a gathering of people who neither know how or are interested in immersing their whole self into an encounter with God. While their hope was to simplify our encounter with Christ Jesus, all they ended up doing was dumbing down and emotionalizing the faith.

=================================================
SERIES ON THE ‘500 YEARS OF PROTESTANTISM’:

  1. The 38 Most Ridiculous Things Martin Luther Ever Wrote
  2. Luther and Calvin Destroy Marriage
  3. The Cycle of Insanity
  4. The Failure of Protestant Emotionalism
  5. The Ferguson Riots

=================================================

Summary
500 Years of Protestantism: The Failure of Protestant Emotionalism
Article Name
500 Years of Protestantism: The Failure of Protestant Emotionalism
Description
This installment examines how Protestantism neutered or complete lack of a liturgy has spiritually harmed countless Christians; making them slaves to emotions.
Author
Publisher Name
Saint Dominic's Media
Publisher Logo
  • Stephen Dalton

    The Snake handling picture in this article bring to mind something I read some time ago. In this book on snake handling churches, the author said these churches which started in the early 1910’s, had a membership that was starting to go up in the world, socially and economically. But they were afraid of want laid ahead of them. They needed assurance that they would have the faith and power to cope with it. Well, this one fellow read Mark 16:17-18 and said, this was it. Considering the number of deaths from snakebites and drinking ‘salvation cocktails’ (poison), it’s sad these poor people didn’t understand what the Eucharist was all about.

  • Deacon Sal Lancieri

    We seemed to have done a great job of dumbing down our own Liturgy, especially with the way the faith has been taught to young people before the Sacrament of Confirmation takes place in the last forty five years. I am a Roman Catholic Deacon for over ten years now and this year is my first year at teaching religious education. I have fourth graders and they know absolutely nothing about their faith even as to making their First Holy Communion. This whole idea of activity centers games and puzzles as to what the sadly Saddler Program has is in stark contrast as to what and how I was taught the faith in the 1950-60’s. These children cant even sit still. Why is it after I left Catholic School and went to public school finishing my religious education there for one hour a week after school we were all able to sit still. Better yet we were scared to move. The experiment of fitting our teaching of the faith to fit how the public schools teach courses has become a miserable failure. Deacon Sal Lancieri

    • JTLiuzza

      “We seemed to have done a great job of dumbing down our own Liturgy”

      You are speaking of the novus ordo liturgy which certainly is protestantized. May it be thrown on the ash heap of ecclesial history very soon.

      • guest

        Sorry you have that opinion of the English liturgy. I just love it!!! Always done reverently where I am. It brought me into a relationship with Jesus I never knew in the old Latin rite. Since the close of Vatican II I have always hoped that the TLM be thrown on the ash heap of church history.

    • It’s true. We have Catholics who are so ignorant of the faith that they are essentially Protestants.

  • AugustineThomas

    Great article. One cannot fully obey God outside of the Church he founded and commanded unity within.

  • guest

    Yes, the liturgy is important. However, we must take care that we don’t fall in love with the ritual, instead of the Lord. The purpose of orthodoxy is not to have orthodoxy. Its purpose is to bring people into a relationship with Our Lord. Unfortunately, many Catholics have found it necessary to go elsewhere to experience this summit of all love relationships.

    • This is true. The danger of ritual is that it can become a routine rather than an active engagement. Just because we respond and kneel and stand when the ritual demands, it doesn’t mean that we are actually engaged in in the encounter that the ritual is demanding.

  • homesower

    I am coming to this conversation late.

    I am a protestant, currently in an independent church, who is actively considering catholicism.

    I agree that Protestants lack the rituals and sacraments and that this is a bad thing. I am somewhat confused and disturbed by the paltry amount of preaching within the Catholic services I have attended. An eight minute homily doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of education on the Word of God. I understand that Protestants emphasize preaching because that is all they really have, but it seems to me that Catholics should emphasize it more.

    I read about some of the great saints preaching and converting thousands, and I have to conclude that they didn’t do it in the context of a normal mass the way it is celebrated today. Not that every Priest can or should be a great preacher, but it doesn’t even seem to be the case that this is desired. What happened to the great preaching orders? Am I just too inexperienced to have encountered it or am correct to say that preaching is not valued within the Catholic church?

    Looking for guidance. Yours in Christ,

    Joffre

    • Hey Joffre

      Of course the easy response by Catholics is as you say. The Eucharist is the source and summit of of Christian life. We actually believe that we are saved by it and have been obliged, ever since it was first instituted by God with the Jews before the final plague, to always receive it. Therefore, it would be a distraction from the Eucharist if the summit of the Mass became the preaching, or if the preacher, because of his charismatic preaching, became the center of attention – rather than Christ Jesus.

      Nevertheless, there is PLENTY of room in the Catholic Church for practical life application of the readings at Mass. I notice that many good priests intentionally avoid Protestant style preaching simply because they don’t want to take away from the source and summit of the Mass. They are fully capable and eloquent speakers – as you’ll notice outside of the Mass, but they humbling avoid that in the Mass setting. You’ll also notice some priests who will give long homilies and remind you of a protestant preacher, but I have found those priests to show a great lack of concern for the true dignity and holiness of the Mass.

      So, to answer your question, I would say that preaching is valued, but there is a concern for it not to be elevated at the Mass. As Protestants avoid Mary and other things to avoid looking Catholic, we too avoid a few things to avoid looking Protestant, and there are merits and silliness to that.

      It seems like the great preachers in the history of the Church were dealing with heresies, but from what I’ve experienced, especially with the Dominicans, there is a higher quality to their homilies versus diocesan priests.

      I know how difficult the idea of conversion may be in the light of possibly losing something that you sense to be important in your ongoing Christian growth. I have a dear friend who would become a Catholic if only the Mass were as ‘entertaining’ as Protestant Church. Again the charismatic and life application preaching and music . . . The sacrifice seems great!

      To this I would say two things.

      1. The good news is that God didn’t call you to be entertained or wonderfully preached to. Rather, He called you to be faithful. For this reason alone you are obliged to respond to the truth that has been revealed to you about His Church established for you.

      2. How great of a profit is there to lose a few things and gain many things?

      I’ve been where you are. It’s all worked out. You might have to compensate for what you are missing in other ways (e.g. reading good books), but you’ll be fine. Also check out some of the homilists at http://www.mycatholictube.com.

      • homesower

        A follow-up. I was confirmed into the Catholic Church this Easter vigil. It has created tensions at home, but they are getting better. I still go to my old church after mass, to sit with my wife.

        One of the things that started me on this journey was my old church’s twisting of language. They’d deride “religion” saying it got in the way of relationship. When you start changing the meaning of language to fit your message you sneak into dishonesty at such a fundamental level that truth itself loses its meaning. In the Catholic church I found a place where words still mean something and will continue to hold that meaning.
        I’m no lover of ritual, but it would appear that Christianity has always had ritual and if I want to fit into the communion of saints, I’d better do what they do.
        Meanwhile the protestants will continue to jettison whatever they don’t like about traditional Christianity because they lack an understanding of the communion of saints. If the old saints have gone bye-bye never to return then we can live for the present age, but if they are looking on and participating with us then we need to think historically and with an eye on eternity.

        • WOW! Welcome home Joffre!!! I enjoyed that your spark was the relativism of language. Words do mean something.

    • Researching Church History

      Please research church history and visit an Orthodox Church. You will find the scripture teaching and all the original rituals and sacraments. The Orthodox are prior to the 1054 Great Schism when the “Roman Catholics” broke off.

  • Michael S Clifford

    The other day I was told by Fr. Nix that we have to accept Protestants as Christians (Catholic Catechism 818). In other words, SOME Protestants are Christians (846).

  • Michael S Clifford

    The only real Christians are Traditionalist “Roman” Catholics (St. Matthew 16:18-19; 18:17-18; St. Luke 10:16; Acts of the Apostles 11:26; Bp. St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans 8:2 in 107)!

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500 Years of Protestantism: The Failure of Protestant Emotionalism

A

s we move beyond the five hundred year anniversary of the Protestant reformulation on October 31, 2017, I have been looking back and examining the new things that Protestantism brought. In the previous installment of this series (The Cycle of Insanity) I took a look at the cyclical and symptomatic evolution of ‘The Praxis Conference’ and its goal to reclaim the historical church’s priority on liturgy, art, and sacred space into the modern-day evangelical context. The issues that The Praxis Conference is attempting to resolve have been instigated by the perpetual question posed to Protestantism; that is, ‘What is missing from our space?’ Yet, the more profound question, at least for the purpose of this installment, is, ‘What has pretended to replace what has been missing from their space?’

The Purpose of Sacred Liturgy

The liturgy was established and ordained by God so that man could communally and publicly offer Him worthy thanksgiving and sacrifice for their atonement. Look no further than the religious duties assigned to priests and Levites in the book of Leviticus to discover the particular beauty and necessity that God and man found in the rites and rituals of Jewish liturgy. We know that the necessity of liturgy did not pass away in the new covenant, because YHWH decreed in Exodus 11:14 that the liturgy of the Passover meal would be perpetual (i.e. neverending), and in Matthew 5:17 Christ Jesus affirmed that He came not to abolish, but to fulfill the law and the prophets.

In the New Covenant, it is through the sacred liturgy that Christ uniquely encounters and ministers to His people; most uniquely through the Sacraments of the Church, but also through the recitation of the breviary. For their part, the people meet the Christ who has come to them through the vehicle of the liturgy to offer Him due worship and thanksgiving, and to obtain blessings, sanctification, and graces. Liturgy is an activity of love for the mind, body, and soul. It is far removed beyond what can be experienced or perceived by just one part of the self. The liturgy not only duly requires the fullness of man to participate, but it necessitates that he encounters the divine while in the community of gathered who are being made holy.

In the Absence of Sacred Liturgy

With the early novelties in the Protestant reformation, such as the Lutherans, Anglicans/Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Methodism there was and there remains to be a priority on liturgy; more or less. Yet, the reason why this priority could be sustained throughout the movement is because Protestantism, by its very nature, is indifferent to objective truth. It was the first-born child of [quote]”While their hope was to simplify our encounter with Christ Jesus, all they ended up doing was dumbing down and emotionalizing the faith.”[/quote]the Epoch of Doctornialized Relativism, and, as such, it has been overly prone to be more concerned with private emotions, private doctrine/subjective truth, private entertainment, and private encounters with the divine, than it has with communal and public liturgy.

Outside of liturgy, faith becomes a private experience that is satisfied only by ones arousal of emotions. It becomes suspect to everything that is base and nearly paltry to what lies beyond the senses. On one spectrum, Protestantism practices a liturgy that is harmfully disconnected from the fullness of the sacred liturgy that Christ Jesus established through His Apostles, found only in the Catholic Church, and on the other spectrum, with all of these emerging novelties, such as I highlighted in ‘The Culmination of it All . . .‘, it has become so far removed from the sacred liturgy that religion has become nothing more than what the individual person believes at the moment.

Although Catholicism practices the sacred liturgy, we too find that Catholics who fail to immerse their whole self into the liturgy end up getting nothing out of it. Such individuals either end up going through life as a lukewarm Catholic or end up leaving the truth faith in search of something to satisfy the senses. Yet, at least Catholicism offers the means through which the fullness Christ Jesus is offered to His people. In contrast, because Protestantism offers either a neutered liturgy or none at all it has spiritually harmed countless people by making them slaves to their senses and emotions.

Conclusion

In absence of the sacred liturgy of the Sacrifice of the Mass, all the Protestant has is a church service to go to once a week. In absence of the perpetual Passover meal that YHWH commanded, Protestantism has attempted to fill that void with music, entertaining preaching, dancing, and visual displays that are all geared towards appealing to base senses and emotions. In the absence of presenting the visible savior as the Holy Eucharist, Protestantism has filled that space with a visible preacher, on whose personality and ability befalls the success or failure of the church. In absence of the Holy Eucharist, the preacher’s sermon has become the summit of the church service. In absence of ritual that informs us when to stand, kneel, sing, pray, and respond in decency and in order as a united community, Protestants have resorted to individuals deciding for themselves when to do these things. In absence of the spiritual climax and promise of salvation that reception of the Holy Eucharist offers, some Protestants have privatized the Holy Spirit’s gift of speaking and tongues and have taught that those who don’t receive it, aren’t saved. Others have made a doctrine out of promising wealth and material things for all who have enough faith. Others ‘handle’ poisonous snakes, jump and dance around, and/or faint after being ‘slayed in the spirit’.

In absence of being able to offer anything beyond what can appeal to the senses, Protestantism has become disconnected from true worship of God and of mystery. Altogether, it has created a situation where millions of followers of Christ now have an expectation to be entertained at Church. It has created a gathering of people who neither know how or are interested in immersing their whole self into an encounter with God. While their hope was to simplify our encounter with Christ Jesus, all they ended up doing was dumbing down and emotionalizing the faith.

=================================================
SERIES ON THE ‘500 YEARS OF PROTESTANTISM’:

  1. The 38 Most Ridiculous Things Martin Luther Ever Wrote
  2. Luther and Calvin Destroy Marriage
  3. The Cycle of Insanity
  4. The Failure of Protestant Emotionalism
  5. The Ferguson Riots

=================================================

Summary
500 Years of Protestantism: The Failure of Protestant Emotionalism
Article Name
500 Years of Protestantism: The Failure of Protestant Emotionalism
Description
This installment examines how Protestantism neutered or complete lack of a liturgy has spiritually harmed countless Christians; making them slaves to emotions.
Author
Publisher Name
Saint Dominic's Media
Publisher Logo