I just wanted to share a brief encounter I had at a local bookstore cafe yesterday. I was sitting at a table, sipping my hot chocolate, listening to my I-Pod, while doing some prep work for the STB comprehensive exam that I will be taking in April. (BTW: David at Better Bibles Blog has an interesting post about today's generation and Bible publishing, which corresponds to my need to do multiple things at once.) Anyways, on my table were my new ESV w/ Apocrypha, Raymond Brown's Introduction to the New Testament, HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, my notebook, and a Catholic devotional book. Needless to say, a younger couple (maybe 5 years younger) came up to me on their way out to ask what I was reading. I told them that the Brown book was a good NT introduction. They then asked what I was studying for, which I told them was a graduate degree at a local seminary. Then they asked which denomination, at which I told them Catholic. At that point, they recommended, almost immediately, that I get some books by Wayne Grudem and John Piper. I told them that I was indeed familiar with their works, but had not read anything by them. At that point, they smiled, wished me a good day, and left.
So as they were leaving, I wondered why they decided to immediately recommend those authors. Did they just assume that since I was using an ESV that I would be well read in the works of Grudem and Piper? Or perhaps were they trying to steer me towards a more reformed theology? I am really not sure. In my line of work, I have had multiple encounters with other Christians, mostly Baptists it seems, who have tried to challenge me on Catholic theology. While I don’t personally set out to challenge other Christians on their beliefs, it has always struck me at how oftentimes I am looked on as not even being Christian, simply because I am Catholic. Now I am not suggesting that the couple I met yesterday had those thoughts, but some of those whom I have encountered certainly have acted and said as much.
For me, I am always ready to talk about my Catholic faith with those who are interested in listening. It’s not like I am ashamed to be Catholic or that I think there are some problems with Catholic theology. I don’t. I am a proud JPII Catholic and can defend my faith with the best of them. However, what is odd to me is that when I am sharing my experiences as a Catholic with a Protestant, it never occurs to me to regard them as anything else but a fellow Christian. Again, let me point out that I have some wonderful friendships with Protestants who don’t think this way, but I have run into a few, more and more recently, who have regarded me as being equal to a Roman pagan of the 1st century. Oftentimes in these situations, I feel as though I am being talked down to, as if I were a fourth grader.
I bring up this personal story in order to put this in context with the ESV. Is there a connection with those who primarily use the ESV and anti-Catholicism? I don't know to be honest, but it certainly makes me think about whether or not to use the ESV.