Apologetics for the Masses #364 - 4 Words That Changed the World

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Pastor Chip Thornton's Anti-Catholic Newspaper Article



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Hey folks,

     2 things:

     1) Check out the most recent YouTube post in my series: Questions Protestants Can't Answer:

Questions Protestants Can't Answer - #27

     2) I am going to print something here this week, and then start taking it apart, piece-by-piece, next week.  It is an article that appeared a few years ago in a newspaper called The Daily Home, that serves Talladega and St. Clair counties here in Alabama.  Someone sent it to me a couple of years ago, and I've been meaning to respond to it, just never got around to it...until now.  The article was written by one Pastor Chipley (aka Chip) Thornton of the 1st Baptist Church of Springville, which is a town to the northeast of Birmingham. 

     What I'm going to do, is print the article here, in its entirety, and give you a week to think about how you would respond to what this guy has to say about the Catholic Church.  Can you pick out the factual errors, theological errors, logical errors, and so on?  You might have to do a little research, specifically on William Tyndale.  You might have to do a little research on Catholic teaching (which he obviously did not do before writing this article). 

     One of the things I want to accomplish by doing this, is to show you how secular venues - such as this newspaper - are only too happy to print anti-Catholic pap.  I have often heard from priests, and even bishops, that anti-Catholicism "used to be" widespread, but isn't that much any more.  Well, that just ain't so, folks...it just ain't so.  It's out there, and it is everywhere.

     Anyway, you've got a week to think about it, and then I'll probably take a couple of weeks to do my "analysis" of it. Hope you enjoy. 



4 Words That Changed the World

by Pastor Chip Thornton, First Baptist Church in Springville

(Article from The Daily Home newspaper, Aug 7, 2015)


     In the early 1500s, God brought forth an Englishman to shake the world for His glory.  His name was William Tyndale. God raised him up to translate the New Testament from the original Greek into English, so that common people could read God’s Word.

     Four words Tyndale translated changed the world.

     1) ekklesia — Tyndale translated the word as congregation rather than church. The Roman Catholic Church had — for centuries — held that ekklesia referred to the church as a hierarchical institution that exalted the priesthood (and the Pope), and reduced common people to a lesser status in the Kingdom of God.

     Tyndale’s term, congregation, rightly conveyed the original meaning: that all persons in God’s Kingdom are equal.  That one word crumbled the wall that had been built between the priesthood and the common people.

     2) presbyter — Tyndale translated the word as elder rather than priest. The Roman Catholic Church frowned at this word. It preferred priest in order to uphold the authority of the priesthood over common people. Tyndale rendered it elder, which meant a leader of a congregation (who typically was older).  Tyndale knew that priest is a different word in Greek (hiereus). This was another Scriptural blow to Catholic tradition, which gave priests (and the Pope) non-Scriptural authority.

     3) metanoia — Tyndale translated the word as repent rather than do penance.  The Roman Catholic Church winced at this word as well, since repent means: a change of mind resulting in a change of heart.  Do penance refers to punishments imposed by a priest after confession (sometimes including donations to the church treasury).  In this word, Tyndale issued another decisive blow to both (1) the authority of the priests, and (2), the (all important) church treasury.

    4) agape — Tyndale translated the word as love rather than charity. The Roman Catholic Church recoiled at this rendering.  Charity has a particular meaning of “doing good works.” Love has a meaning of self-sacrifice without expecting anything in return.  Tyndale rightly recognized that we speak of our love for God, not our charity for God. But something deeper is going on here: Tyndale recognized that — wrapped up in the original meaning of this word — was a vast theological difference: the difference between salvation by faith alone in Christ alone (Protestantism) and salvation by our own works (Catholicism).

     A man named Thomas More — hired by the Roman Catholic Church — wrote vigorously against these four words.  Nevertheless, common people were able to read the Bible in their own language, and they acted. A movement swept through England that was already sweeping through Europe: the Protestant Reformation.  This reformation spawned denominations we know today as Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Lutherans and many others who are having an enormous impact on societies all over the world.  

     Tyndale, sadly, was strangled to death and burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic authorities for his translation.  He lost his life over four words ... but those four words changed the world.


Closing Comments

I hope all of you have a great week!



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Apologetics for the Masses