Reformation Day Thoughts of Lutherans-Turned-Catholics

THE WASHINGTON TIMES, Oct. 31 — Almost 500 years after Martin Luther posted his “95 Theses” to the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, there seems to be a steady stream of Lutherans entering the Catholic Church he criticized.

The Washington daily, in an article on Reformation Day, the 484th anniversary of Luther's defiant act, said that many Lutherans seek even closer unity with the Church than that offered by the 1998 agreement on justification signed by the Holy See and the World Lutheran Federation.

Father Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things and a former Lutheran pastor, said that most Lutherans who convert do so after trying to find the Church which is “in continuity with the apostolic community of the New Testament.” The article also quotes several individuals profiled in a recent book by Register features correspondent Tim Drake, There We Stood, Here We Stand.

Jim Anderson, who runs the Coming Home Network for Protestant pastors wishing to become Catholic, says that people are seeking a Church with authority that can be traced back to Christ. Others quoted in the article said they left the Lutheran Church because of its pro-abortion position.

Muslim Clerics Report Quadrupling of Conversions

THE ECONOMIST, Oct. 27 — Muslim religious leaders in the United States have reported that conversions to Islam have quadrupled since Sept. 11.

The surprising fact was reported by the British weekly magazine, which sees a calm, steady response to terrorism among Americans. Citizens generally are not reacting with hysteria to continuing threats, the magazine said, though they are taking precautions.

They also are showing a greater interest in the religion of the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Rather than railing against Islam, they are trying to understand it, buying books on the religion and signing up for courses in Arabic.

SEC Suing Churches to Recover Investors’ Funds

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS, Oct. 25 — Federal officials are suing churches in the Southwest to recover some of the more than $46 million they say was stolen from investors in a fraudulent program, the daily newspaper reported.

The money came from more than 300 investors in Texas, California and Arizona, who were promised their money would grow 24% to 48% annually. Benjamin Cook, of Arizona, was arrested in a Las Vegas casino in 1999 and has been ordered by a judge to repay investors $36.7 million. A partner of his, Ellsworth McLaws, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was ordered to repay $10.3 million.

The money was used to buy luxury cars, gold coins, expensive jewelry, large homes and other real estate. Some was funneled to associates of the Colombo crime family of New York, the FBI alleges in court records.

In the late 1990s, promoters for Cook also made large contributions to churches in an effort to impress potential investors in the congregations. One church, First Baptist of Richardson, Texas, is fighting efforts to recover over $64,000 that it received from a promoter for Cook.