Closet Catholics

Something for discussion: I don't want this to sound over-the-top, but I'm becoming more and more convinced that many of my evangelical preacher friends are closet Catholic priests. Not theologically, but certainly functionally.

If you remember, one of the hallmarks of the Catholic church was that only priests were allowed to read and interpret the Bible. The assumption was that they were closer to God and had a more special gift, so only they could be trusted to interpret the Bible correctly. Peons in the pew couldn't be trusted to study and apply God's Word in their lives, so a priest would interpret and apply God's Word for the peons, and then tell them how to behave.

In a lot of evangelical churches today, preaching takes a similar bent. The pastor spends the week interpreting Scripture to figure out how the people are supposed to behave, and then gives a message that is virtually a motivational speech on how the Scripture should be applied based on the priest's... ahem... pastor's interpretation.

Their messages are not non-Biblical, but the distinct feeling that philosophy can portray is that the authority comes from the pastor's study and creativity. He's just a middle man between the Scripture and the congregation. That sounds awfully Catholic to me.

So, for you pastors who read, here's a question: When people walk out of your church and into their life, do they make decisions based on what you said on Sunday, or what the Bible said? There's a strong difference between the two - the difference between giving a man fish, and giving a man a rod and reel.