Thursday, July 2, 2009

The fruits of the Spirit Of Protestant Rebellion

Protestants will tell you that Martin Luther was a Holy Man- doing the work of God when he came up with the five Solas and removed books from the Bible. But they also say you can judge a doctrine by the fruits that come from that doctrine.

I charge that the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City is an example of the fruits of the doctrines of "Bible Only" and "the priesthood of all believers" in spades. Not so much a united denomination as a collection of Protestant Biblical Family Traditions, their Bibles don't have the deuterocanonicals in them. They have no set theology, yet they are extremely conservative and strict. They have no minister since their founder died in 1969, they have no bishops or priests to keep them away from heresy. They are, in short, the dream of Martin Luther and John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli- a priesthood of all believers, no hierarchical control whatsoever. They are in short, a fine test of the Five Solas, for they are alone in their beliefs.

Let us first start with the orthodox Catholic Christian view on "Faith Healing":
Sirach 38:1-15 is the defining scripture on the topic
Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you,
and God it was who established his profession.
From God the doctor has his wisdom,
and the king provides for his sustenance.
His knowledge makes the doctor distinguished,
and gives him access to those in authority.
God makes the earth yield healing herbs
which the prudent man will not neglect;
was not the water sweetened by a twig
that men might learn his power?
He endows men with the knowledge
to glory in his mighty works,
through which the doctor eases pain
and the druggist prepares his medicines;
thus God's creative work continues without cease
in its efficacy on the surface of the earth.

My son, when you are ill, delay not,
but pray to God who will heal you:
flee wickedness; let your hands be just,
cleanse your heart of every sin;
offer your sweet-smelling oblation and petition,
a rich offering according to your means.
Then give the doctor his place
lest he leave; for you need him too.
There are times that give him an advantage,
and he too beseeches God
that his diagnosis may be correct
and his treatment bring about a cure.
He who is a sinner toward his Maker
will be defiant toward the doctor.

So what is the fruit of the spirit of these Five Solas in this matter? It isn't utopia. It certainly isn't what I'd call Holy. It is instead defiance against medical practitioners. As Carl and Raylene Worthington Testified and the Oregonian reported:

Carl and Raylene Worthington told detectives that they never considered calling a doctor, even as their 15-month-old daughter deteriorated and died.

"I don't believe in them," Carl Worthington said of doctors. "I believe in faith healing."

Raylene Worthington said that her religious beliefs do not encompass medical care and that she would not have done anything different for her - daughter, who died at home of pneumonia, a blood infection and other complications.

And if that wasn't enough- we're treated to a graphic description of the last few hours of little Ava Worthington's life:

Ava came down with what appeared to be a cold or the flu on a Tuesday. By Saturday, her breathing became labored and the family turned to its traditional faith-healing rituals, praying, fasting, anointing the body with oil, administering diluted wine and laying on of hands.

By Sunday, Carl Worthington said he thought there was "a possibility" his daughter was so sick she could die. Then, after a final session of laying on of hands at about 5 p.m., "she perked up," he said. She grabbed her bottle and "took some food."

"She was peaceful; she was rested," Worthington said.

Two hours later Ava was dead.

The interviewers, Detectives Michelle Finn and James Rhodes of the Clackamas County Sheriff Office's child-abuse unit, asked pointed questions, and Carl Worthington provided details about his, his family's and his church's beliefs and practices.

He said no one in his immediate family has ever been to a doctor or used prescription or over-the-counter medicine. "It's not something we believe in."

The detectives also asked about the growth on Ava's neck, which swelled during the last days of her life. Prosecutors allege the lump -- a benign cystic hygroma -- impeded her breathing.

The soft lump became more noticeable two months before Ava died and started to get "tight" the day before her death, according to the Worthingtons.

Brent Worthington said he had ultimate responsibility for Ava's care. "I'm the head of the house; it falls to me. The wife follows the husband."

He said he confers with his wife but did not consult with anyone else about treating Ava's illness. Raylene Worthington did not dispute the decision to rely on spiritual healing, he said.

Asked if she would have taken Ava to a doctor if she knew her child was dying, Raylene Worthington said, "I don't know."

Carl Worthington said that forgoing medical treatment is probably difficult for outsiders to understand. For him, medical treatment "is not a question. It's not even thought."

THIS is the spirit that Protestants must take a hard look at. This is the spirit of rebellion- against Christ, against the Catholic Church, against Life itself. "He who is a sinner toward his Maker will be defiant toward the doctor." wrote Jesus son of Sirach a hundred years before Christ. I charge that in Protestant rebellion, such people have become blasphemous of the Holy Spirit, for as Carl Worthington said- for him medical treatment is not a question, it's not even a thought.

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