Thoughtful Pastor: Lord's Prayer and wading pool theology

March 7th, 2016

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: Why is the Catholic Lord’s Prayer different from the Protestant Lord’s Prayer?

What Protestants call the Lord’s Prayer and Catholics call the Our Father is found in both Matthew 6 and Luke 11.

The way most Protestants say the prayer goes like this:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses (debts/sins), as we forgive those who trespass against us (our debtors/those who sin against us) and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Catholic Our Father does not include, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever.” This phrase, a doxology or words of praise about God, appeared early in Christian writings and was probably often added to the end of prayers recited in various communities.

Christy Thomas

The original King James Version, completed in 1611, does include that doxology in Matthew, but not in Luke. It is indeed found in some Greek manuscripts. However, modern scholarly translations of Matthew, using the most ancient manuscripts possible and many of which were not available at the time of the original KJV, leave off the doxology.

So, the Catholic Our Father is more faithful to the text. The Protestant Lords Prayeris more faithful to the tradition.

By the way, the prayer itself would have not been anything new to the world of Jesus. It is my understanding that is comes from the Kadish, with a version found in the Talmud, the many volumed compendium of Jewish learning. Jesus would certainly have been familiar at the very least with much of the oral tradition that eventually made up the written work.

Dear Thoughtful Pastor: My husband and I grew up in as churchgoing people. We moved to Texas three years ago with our four teen-aged children. Every single attempt at becoming a part of a youth group has failed. Our kids get glanced at, completely ignored by the room full of cliques, and when they ask the hard questions that show they actually use their brains and want to figure out their faith and this world, the teachers are dumbfounded and don’t know what to say to them. What is going on here?

Impenetrable cliques are as much a part of teenage life as pimples and social anxiety. Where youth groups are concerned, this is the problem of poor leadership.

But the real issue, in my opinion, is the general shallowness of teaching given to our youth in church. It is as though we are determined to keep our kids in the wading pool of theology rather than giving them the tools to dive into the deep end.

Young adults leave the church in droves. Could it be because we have not taught the “deep-end” skills necessary to integrate faith, life, love and work?

By keeping our children and youth in the shallow end of theological debates, where all is black and white and easily answered, we leave them unequipped to deal with a world saturated with multiple shades of gray, uncertainties, a multiplicity of morally ambiguous choices and seemingly unsolvable problems.

They have no preparation for complex decision-making. They fear the deep end and often miss God’s call for full Christian living that integrates all of life.

Try asking children to differentiate between Santa Claus and Jesus. I believe that we feed our children a Santa Claus god and then are shocked when, at some point after learning that the Santa Claus story taught as truth is really just a big charade put on by parents, they also turn away from Jesus.

Those whose faith teaching has kept them in the wading pool often learn to proof-text themselves through life. Proof-texting means taking some small portion of the Bible (or political stance or statement) completely out of context, linking it with other small portions, and then creating a chain of statements that, taken only at face value, appear to support really awful things. Arguments for slavery, racism, genocide and seeing women as slightly subhuman and without basic rights have all sprung from the proof-texting mindset.

Proof-texting pastors helped create the environment that ultimately led to the Civil War and the splitting of many church bodies. The Southern Baptist Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, which commissioned Southern Methodist University, and other “southern” bodies were formed by those groups which proclaimed that the Holy Scriptures supported and even mandated the enslavement of certain people groups.

We’ve got to learn to swim in the deep end of theology, and teach the next generation to do the same. If we do not, I shudder at the consequences.

Email questions to A version of this column appeared in the Friday March 4, 2016 print and online editions of The Denton Record Chronicle. Christy blogs at

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