Pastor John Piper on „Why Evangelicals Go Catholic?” (and Pastor Marius Cruceru on „Why Evangelicals go Orthodox?”)

I liked the answer Pastor John Piper gave to a someone asking why evangelicals go catholic, irenic and friendly. He lists four reasons for going Rome, yet he also has even more objections to going that way, in spite of all the shortcomings he agrees that evangelicals have.

  1. Many people of those who return to Rome are hungry for seriousness and are tired of the slapstick worship services that are normative in many evangelical churches.
  2. Many are hungry for roots, a sense of history that they don’t feel in the new church plant down the street that seems to mainly want to hide its connetedness to any tradition.
  3. Many are hungry for intellectual and artistic richness that worship services in jeans and movie clips and bouncing beach balls and the shrines of the drum set just don’t satisfy.
  4. Many are hungry for authority and clarity and stability and sometimes it is just easier to let the church tell you what to believe and to be unburdened by the need to work it all out.

Romanian Pastor Marius Cruceru has also identified some possible reasons for going East (slightly edited):

  • Superficialitatea unor jalnice spectacole carismatice,
  • friendeţea arătata lui Dumnezeu,
  • simplificarea vulgară a dogmaticii,
  • desprinderea de tradiţia dogmatică a secolelor trecute,
  • înlăturarea autorităţii mentorilor (avva) şi a formelor de ucenicie prin discipline spirituale

They are both partially right. But I believe Pastor Cruceru has a much more penetrating insight. It comes down to the most fundamental reality: the Holy Trinity and our public and private worship of The Triune God: „Protestanţii sînt în primejdia de a cădea în isusism, părăsind creştinismul trinitar tradiţional.” (see more here). This observation should be squared by each and every baptist and evangelical church in Romania. If the public services and the private prayer is constantly disproportionately „isusistă„, sunday after sunday, month after month, year after year (the blog post is 5 years old), then a genuine and true evaluation is needed by those that want to live in the truth. Because the truth is personal, and is tri-une-personal.

I see a great danger in all the evangelism effort to convert cultural and even practicing orthodox, from a fully fledged and robust trinitarianism, more formal and sober, and less emotional and didactic, but still robust trinitarianism to a jesusism that is not historically orthodox christian; this is the immense problem I see in Evangelical Protestantism.

Our theology is our public and private worship. Until our living theology is proved by practice, not books, that it is trinitarian and chalcedonian, we should be very weary of bringing converts. Better leave an less- or non- practicing orthodox the chance to return to his home during his life than to strip him/her of the possibility to be in his public and private worship a robust trinitarian and chalcedonian. Not in his intellect only, but in his/her gestures and bodily acts. Because God (the Son) has been made manifest in flesh, in body, and in body He resurrected and in body he ascended to heaven, and in body He will return, and we will see Him.