Jonathan Merritt’s recent article begins and ends with perplexing ideas. The opening paragraph sets the stage for an article that lands in left field.
The only thing I learned about saints growing up Baptist in the American South was that one-day they were going to “come marching in” and I apparently wanted “to be in that number.” More than two decades later, I still don’t know what the heck that means.
Just to play a little with semantics, I have always heard that the saints will “go marching in” not “come marching in.” Okay, on to the meatier stuff.
If Merritt does not “know what the heck” it means to want to be numbered among the saints, then why should he attempt to school the rest of us about saints.
By the time Merritt ends his article, these are some of the words we are left with to understand who is a saint.
- Misfits & Outcasts
- A little crazy
Merritt misses the point that the Bible describes all believers as saints. That is, they are set apart unto God’s holiness. Merritt wants the Protestant community to set apart that definition in favor of one that fits a Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox one. He admits in the comments that he is critiquing the way Baptists and other Protestants use the biblical definition for their theological definition.
Hey, that’s what Baptists and Protestants are supposed to do. There is supposed to be a kinship between the biblical text and our theological beliefs.
Yes, most of us in the Baptist/Protestant camp are more than willing to learn from fellow saints who have gone before us, especially from those who were used by God in mighty ways. But to make a special class of Christian out of some of them because of their eccentricities is not a practice I am interested in observing.