This is not an attack on Roman Catholics. Baptists have had a reputation for being anti-Catholic but that is not where I’m coming from. I have friends and family who are Roman Catholic and never automatically assume a Catholic lacks a vibrant faith in Jesus.
However, I have seen a trend of Evangelicals converting to Roman Catholicism. I understand there is a draw to a Christian tradition with such a rich history. But at the same time, there are reasons why I will not make that move.
I need to make it clear that this is not why anyone else should not be Roman Catholic but only why I am not Roman Catholic.
- I do not see the church in Rome as having a special role. Even when Latin Christianity began to rise, it was more in North Africa than Rome. From the beginning, Rome did not have a unique authority.
- The special role Rome does have is based on Peter’s position in the church there. See my post, Was Peter the First Pope? The bottom line is that I do not see Peter’s presence at Rome as giving that church or the bishop of that church any special authority.
- Having studied church history and the very mixed history of the popes, I see no reason to submit to them. Some popes deserve great respect, others were not only non-Christian, but were downright evil. I especially have problems with the doctrine of infallibility.
- I have no problem with Mary. She deserves great respect. But I see no reason to believe in the immaculate conception or the assumption of Mary. She was a godly woman who was chose for an important role but she is not someone to be prayed to.
There are other things I disagree with, such as transubstantiation, celibacy of priests and the number of sacraments, but these are the main reasons why I am not Roman Catholic.
To be honest, if I desired to move to a tradition that goes back to the beginning, I would more likely consider Eastern Orthodoxy. But I am content as a Protestant Christian with Baptist traditions. There are plenty of Catholics that I respect but I am not likely to join their ranks anytime soon.