In my many travels down the virtual world of Christian Apologetics, I met up with a very unique fellow. Roberty Bob.
This is a guy who has been arguing beside me against all Protestants in every debate where we happened to find each other. Together, I felt, as though we were defending Catholic Doctrine, hammer and tong! But once, I referred to him and I as, “we, Catholics.” And he cryptically responded, “I’m not Catholic.” Which threw me for a loop. But I assumed he must be an Anglo-Catholic or Episcopal or something.
But, as I was reviewing some of my arguments on the net, as I frequently do, I found the following:
1 I confess Christ as my Savior and my Lord. 2 I acknowledge my sin, and trust in Christ’s atoning blood. 3 I believe, in line with Paul, that I am justified by faith, and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I believe, in line with James, that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone; the works give evidence of a faith that is true and living. 5 I believe that I have been saved by grace; salvation is the gift of God, not a wage or payment owed to me by God for what I have done for him. 6 I believe, in line with John, that Christ calls me to love him and obey his commandments; keeping his commandments shows that the love for him is real and that I am abiding in the true vine. 7 I believe that baptism is the union sacrament by which the Christian believer [or child of professing believer(s)] is received as a member of the church, the body of Christ. I do not believe that the water by itself regenerates as Jesus says “water and Spirit.” However, I hold that there is more going on in baptism than the baptized person giving his testimony or showing a word picture of the new birth. Our triune God is the prime actor in baptism — naming and receiving this one as his own and clothing him with Christ. Baptism is fundamental, and therefore necessary, in some sense. Nailing down what that means poses quite a challenge. 8 I am not a member of the Roman Catholic Church. 9 I am a member of a Protestant Church. Born / baptized into a Protestant Church — baptist during childhood and youth — returned to Protestant Church in young adulthood and have remained there.
And I am stunned.
But I admire, RB and his capacity to understand Catholic Doctrine and to defend it. I’ve not met any Protestant anywhere, in twenty plus years of interfaith debate, who understood and defended Catholic Doctrine as well as he does. In fact, he does so better than many practicing Catholics. It has been a pleasure and a blessing to know him.