The Protestant Church of Christ often objects to the Catholic Church’s use of vestments (robes), and believes that its use of vestments are an indication that it is a body that Christians should “beware of.”
This particular objection is superficial, but it is popular, and often presented within the context of Jesus’ words, Call no man your father on earth; so I will quickly address it. Fundamentalist elders and preachers do not wear “robes” during their services. And from a Fundamentalist’s perspective, Catholic priests do in fact wear robes. And when a verse such as Mark 12:38 is read, which reads, Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, the anti-Catholic bias within the Fundamentalist’s mind draws a quick conclusion: We do not wear robes, we are right, they wear robes, the Bible says to beware of people who wear robes, so therefore, they are wrong.
The outer “robe” that Catholic priests normally wear during Mass is the chasuble, which is a kind of Roman overcoat that was popular in the early centuries. In other words, it was a suit—a garment that was simply the fashion of its day. The Catholic Church is old and the Protestant sects are young, and it makes sense that an old Church would still resemble its youth in some way, even as a young sect might think that its older brother does not know how to dress.
But what does the passage mean? Jesus was illustrating how people who are bloated with spiritual pride parade themselves, how they put on their finest clothes to impress their audiences and draw attention to themselves. Catholic priests do not “dress to the nines”, nor do they try to draw attention to themselves by donning the vestments. In fact, one result of a priest’s attire is a diminished emphasis on the man, and a greater emphasis on the office; the world does not recognize a well-dressed person, but rather, it recognizes that the man is a priest; or as St. John the Baptist might have worded it, He[Jesus]must increase, but I must decrease(John 3:30).
The lesson and application of such warnings do not indict the Catholic Church and her anonymous servants, but rather, serve as warnings against preachers who provide ample fodder for the world to stereotype segments of the religious world: men who wear righteousness on their sleeve, socialite silk suit-wearing preachers, GQ-worthy fashionista “health and wealth” advocates, spiritual snobs, and the like. The Catholic Church’s vestments are holdovers of an era that viewed them as normal, not extravagant, attire; the world changed around the Church. Fundamentalist traditions, young and with no memories, have no anchor to that era, and they tend to judge what they do not understand.
• "Your website is a troll." "You son of Satan."
-Scott J. Shifferd, Dean Road Church of Christ
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-Johnny Robertson, founder of Church of Christ WDTBS Television Show
• "You are not a model of ethicality."
-Neal Pollard, Bear Valley Church of Christ; instructor at Bear Valley Bible Institute
• "Patrick Vandapool you will pay for your crimes against God." "You and your Church are condemned, better accept the Gospel and leave your Church before you die in your sins. you are an alien sinner!" "Your brainwashed." "Your site is a propaganda site." Your not a true Christian." "Your a fool... . I never called you a fool."
-John Riddle; "well tranned priest of the Lord's Church"
• "Are you an unmarried man under 25? Your writing style and wisdom match such a profile."
-Steve Rudd, Hamilton Church of Christ; founder of CofC propaganda website bible.ca
• "You have to be the most immature person that I've ever "met" in WordPress, and that includes the atheists, by which in overwhelming numbers show more common courtesy and respect that you. Are you 10 years old? ...if that's what your readers enjoy then it says as much about them as it does you."
-Eugene Adkins, Keltonburg Church of Christ