When I hear from time to time of some young evangelical Presbyterian going into Roman Catholicism, I ask myself, “Why bother? You’re already in a church pretty much like what the Reformers rejected.”
In the Medieval church, the congregation did little but watch while the priest and choir did everything. It’s not much different in conservative Presbyterianism. There is little for the congregation to do but sing some hymns. That’s why the Reformers wrote liturgies.
In the Medieval church, the psalms were absent from the song of the congregation. That’s why the Reformers were psalm-fanatics. Neither real psalms nor metrical psalms are much in evidence in conservative Presbyterianism today. The Trinity Hymnal certainly does not contain near all the psalms. Look at the bulletin of any conservative Presbyterian church and see if there is even one psalm sung.
In the Medieval church, people were served only one half of the Lord’s Supper. Wine was never served to them. Wine is pretty much never served in conservative Presbyterianism either. In this, modern Presbyterianism is identical with Rome. (And don’t tell me grape juice is wine. If it is, then use wine. Woops! The moment you say that, you find out that grape juice is most definitely not wine!) “Grape juice” communion is for all intents and purposes identical with Roman Catholic communion.
Medieval Rome also served wafers as bread, and people only came to communion once a year. Modern conservative Presbyterians are served crackers, not bread, and usually only a few times a year.
Rome had no interest in the Bible. The touchstone of truth was tradition, as understood by the Romanists of Luther’s Day. Luther, Bucer, Calvin and the other Reformers showed over and over that in fact Augustine and the Fathers did not teach the Roman doctrines, and that they (the Reformers) were in line with the true tradition. It made no difference. The same is identically true today. “Federal Vision” people have shown repeatedly that their teaching is right in line with the Reformation, and have been answered over and over with citations from Confessions and Catechisms wrenched from context and fitted with new meanings. Not once has any “study committee” dealt with the Bible in dealing with the “Federal Vision.”
The Papists at the time of the Reformation pulled various power games to suppress the Reformers. At that time, this included murder. Today, the conservative Presbyterians resort to internet slander, creating “investigatory commissions” that contain no one sympathetic to any other views, and holding secret meetings. Most interestingly, in the Presbyterian Church in America there is the SJC (Standing Judicial Commission) which has total and absolute power in the PCA. This Star Judicial Chamber has exercised its power to threaten to dissolve the Louisiana Presbytery if it did not fail to condemn the teachings of one of its members — after the Presbytery itself had twice exonerated him. There is no recourse in the PCA against this Star Chamber, and evidently the PCA is too full of milquetoasts for anyone to stand up against them. So it seems.
So, if a young conservative Presbyterian leaves the idolatries of the PCA and goes into the Papal church, he’s not making much of a change. And it’s not a big surprise when people do so.