Skip to comments.
To My "Bible Only" Christian Brothers and Sisters, From A Catholic Convert [a humble vanity]
Posted on 03/11/2012 4:27:55 PM PDT by Heart-Rest
Like you, I too used to be a "Bible Only" Christian, who would have said, "I only accept it and believe it if it's in the Bible!" With great regret and contrition, I also have to admit that I too was once very anti-Catholic, like many of you are right now, (and, coincidentally, like the unceasingly prevaricating President B.O. is, the lying foulmouth pervert Bill Maher is, the New York Times is, Muslims are, Communists are, atheists are, the main-stream-media in general is, anti-Catholic phony Catholics like Pelosi/Sebelius/Biden/Kerry/Kennedys/etc. are, democrats (in general) are, and many others ALSO are right now, unfortunately). Then, somewhere along the way, I ran into some very difficult questions that I had to honestly confront in my search for the "Truth". (Anything less than the full Truth is basically not worth much in this search for the Truth, the most important search we will ever do in this life.)
For some time, I explored a number of Christian denominations before I found the "fullness of Truth" and the Catholic Church which Jesus Himself built. Eventually, I came to see that the Truth was a lot different than I had been perceiving it, and if I really wanted to be honest, I had to change to conform myself to that Truth, rather than trying to change that Truth to conform it to me and my own prior personal pet beliefs.
In a spirit of Christian love and sharing, I urge you too to begin ask yourself some of these same questions regarding some of the issues that are often discussed and argued here in this forum, and to honestly reexamine these beliefs for yourselves. I want to just put these questions and issues to you honestly and bluntly, in the exact same way I always preferred to face them myself. No matter what you currently believe, please just go wherever the Truth leads you. It is, after all, our souls and eternity that is at stake, and finding the real Truth is far better than merely trying to win an argument. Please remember that even one small, simple, and seemingly insignificant wrong turn can end up getting a person hopelessly lost. It is my hope that, at the very least, we all will achieve a little better understanding of some of these issues we often dispute here and in other public forums.
Issue 1 - Bible only? Where in the Bible does it specifically say that someone was instructed or inspired by God to write the "Gospel of Matthew"? (Please give me the actual Bible book, chapter, and verse where it explicitly says that.) And where in the Bible does it specifically say that the "Gospel of Matthew" was to be included in the Holy Scriptures, as part of the Bible? I also ask you to apply those same exact two questions to the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Luke, the Gospel of John, the Pauline Epistles, the other New Testament Epistles, etc.
If such specific statements cannot be found in the Bible (which truthfully, they cannot), then you have to be depending on sources outside the Bible to proclaim all those specific authors and writings (such as the Gospel of Matthew) to be inspired by God, and specifying that they should be included in the Sacred Scriptures, the Holy Bible. So, obviously, you are not really Bible-only Christians. You are relying on Tradition, whether you accept that the Tradition came from several Catholic Church Councils under the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit, or you somehow believe it was some other source that decided it, also from outside the Bible. In either case, it would have to be based on some source not contained within the Bible itself -- some kind of non-Biblical "Tradition". That is the simple, honest truth.
You also have to take the word of those same human beings in those Catholic Church Councils that such writings as the Gospel of James (the Protoevangelium of James), the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Barnabas, the Epistle of Barnabas, etc., should NOT be included in the Holy Scriptures (the Bible).
Another question you should ask yourself is, where in the Bible (Book, Chapter, and Verse please) does it tell you that you are to rely only on the Bible for your rule of faith? (Once again, if you can't find that in the Bible -- which you can't -- you would have to be relying on some other non-Biblical source to tell you that that was what you were supposed to do.) These are not new questions, of course, but they do have to be addressed directly by anyone who is seriously seeking the real and complete truth, and who do not want to be deceived by the great deceiver.
Another point to keep in mind concerning the Bible and the Church explicitly promised and built by Jesus Christ, is the fact that he established his Church long before the Bible was completed. As can be seen in the Bible itself, the Church was already in existence (and being severely persecuted) before the New Testament was even completely written. Saul, who later wrote most of the "books" of the New Testament after changing his name to Paul (the Apostle), was persecuting the Church long before he even began to write his "Epistles". (See Acts 7:58 through Acts 8:3, and Acts 9:1-5.)
This episode describing the beginning of the conversion of Saul / Paul from the Book of Acts, also is a very clear illustration of how Jesus Christ identifies his very Self with his Church, long before the Bible was complete. After Saul got knocked down by a light from heaven, Jesus said to him, "Saul, why are you persecuting me?" (He did not say, "Why are you persecuting my Church", but, rather, "Why are you persecuting ME?") (See Acts 9:3-5.) If his Church is that important to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who actually identifies Himself with his Church, please explain to me why his Church should not be important to all of us as well. (And, again, please remember that Jesus was saying this to Saul long before the Bible was even completely written.)
Issue 2 - Rejecting the Catholic Church because of the Priestly scandals. Over time, many posters here have expressed their unwillingness to even consider the Catholic Church because of the horrible Priestly scandals and coverups. However, please think about this for just a minute. It has been estimated that less than 2% of Catholic Priests were actually implicated in this kind of behavior, mostly back in the 1980's and before, and an even smaller number (and percentage) of Catholic Bishops were ever implicated in any kind of so called "coverup" of those kinds of Priestly misconduct. There is absolutely no excuse for ANY sexual abuse, and perpetrators should be properly punished and removed from any possibility of doing such evil acts ever again, and all proper legal measures to deal with the perpetrators should be undertaken, respected, and obeyed.
However, the Catholic Church itself should not be rejected (as some obviously do here) because of what a small percentage of errant Priests and Bishops have done. Please remember that Our Lord chose twelve special Apostles to travel around with him, and later to carry on His work. While child abuse is horrible and completely wrong, one of those twelve Apostles did something even worse than what those Priests did -- he conspired and helped to effect the murder of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Using that same logic of those who reject the Catholic Church because of what a tiny minority of their Priests have done in the past, one would have to reject the whole group of thirteen (Our Lord and His twelve Apostles), because of what that minority of them (Judas Iscariot) did. (He represented an even higher percentage -- over 7% -- of that group of thirteen, Our Lord and His twelve Apostles.) To be truly and honestly consistent, one would have to reject Our Lord and all His Apostles because of what one person out of that group of thirteen did (7% of them), if one decides it is necessary to reject the Church because of what less than 2% of their Priests did.
Also, I've noticed that when some Catholic posters have pointed out from the available statistics that the numbers and percentages of abusers for other clergy in the Protestant world and in the Jewish world, as well as non-clergy (such as public-school teachers and such, and even the general public), are all just as bad or worse than the numbers and percentages for Catholic Priests, some anti-Catholic posters have attacked those Catholic posters, accusing them of trying to excuse or justify the horrible behavior exhibited by those few Catholic Priests. That is patently erroneous and false. The Catholic posters there are not trying to excuse or justify the horrible behavior exhibited by those few Priests. Rather, they are just attempting to do the exact same thing Jesus did when he wrote in the sand, as they tell Protestants and the others that whichever "group/church" that is without sin should cast the first stone at the Catholic Church. (That kind of deliberate mischaracterization and misrepresentation done by certain anti-Catholic posters regarding what Catholic posters are ostensibly "saying" and "meaning" and "intending" with their numerical comparison posts is clearly another obvious example of blatant falsehood. Like all falsehoods, it comes from Satan - "the father of all lies". Please don't do that. Keep it honest.)
We are all sinners -- Catholics, Protestants, and everyone else (even the people Jesus himself associated with in 1st Century Palestine, including the ones who needed the Great Physician the most).
Issue 3 - The Biblical Basis for the Catholic teaching concerning the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. Many Scriptural passages affirm the Catholic teaching about the Holy Eucharist, including "John 6", "1 Corinthians 11", and many others. To get a good overview for the Scriptural basis for this teaching about the Eucharist of the Catholic Church (and the Orthodox Church), I would recommend a good small book to start (a quick, fascinating, and delightful read), "This Is My Body - An Evangelical Discovers the Real Presence", by Mark P. Shea. (For a bit more in-depth analysis of this teaching, you might want to also read "Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper", by Brant Pitre, and "With Us Today: On the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist", by John A. Hardon, and "The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth", by Scott Hahn.)
However, I also want to address one specific argument that I've seen pop up in FR discussions here a number of times, relating to how food enters one end of our bodies, and comes out the other end as waste, and that reference is then used to try to somehow denigrate the Catholic teaching about the Holy Eucharist. For people who view the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (which, of course, was instituted by Jesus Christ Himself) in such a horribly disgusting and blasphemous and sacrilegious way, I'd like to earnestly implore them to please carefully consider the following thoughts.
When you sit down at your table to eat a regular meal (say dinner), I would guess that many of you first bow your heads and give thanks for the food which you are about to eat, and then ask God to bless that food. After you do that, do you believe there is anything different about the food you just asked God to bless, or is it just exactly the same as it was before you asked God to bless it? If you believe that your food which you just asked God to bless for you is somehow different from the way it was before you asked for that blessing from God, exactly how is it different? Can you see the difference? Can you taste the difference? Can you feel the difference? Can you smell the difference? Can you hear the difference? If your food is truly somehow different after God has blessed it, and you can't perceive it by any of your five senses, then it is obviously different in some way which is not detectable or observable by normal human perception. (You would have to just take that on faith, not relying on your limited human perception.)
Then, you proceed to eat that food. In that food, your body receives vitamins, minerals, protein, and various other nutrients, which will begin (and later continue) to provide or enhance your energy, healing and health maintenance, strength, growth, well-being, and, in general, serve to help enhance and extend your very life. These helpful properties are extracted from your food long before it continues it journey down through the body and is excreted at the "other end". (It is certainly hoped that no one here seriously considers that what they take in their mouth as food is the same exact thing that eventually comes out the other end of their bodies as waste matter.)
In an analogous way to our regular food and meals, Jesus stressed that his body and blood were to serve a special Sacramental function of putting his holy life into each of us, uniting with us in a most intimate way, and even when he said it the first time (see John 6), many people scoffed at him and did not believe him, and argued with him about it, then stopped listening to him, and finally just stalked off and left him. Can you imagine what it would have been like to have been one of those disciples who turned and walked away from Jesus just because of that one specific teaching of his which is recounted in "John 6"? The Bible says that teaching was too hard for them to take. nbsp; For those former disciples who became deserters, it was just too hard to understand, too hard to believe, too hard to accept, too hard to follow, so they turned and just walked away from Jesus Christ. Like many other people even today, those disciples just did not believe Jesus and his unusual teaching about this, and they made that very clear to everyone, then turned around and just walked away from Our Lord. The Scriptures do not say what happened to them after that, but have you ever thought about whatever happened to those deserters after they walked away from Jesus and abandoned him like that, just because of that one new and unusual teaching Jesus made about eating his body and drinking his blood, which they just could not bring themselves to believe or accept with faith?
Eventually, Jesus was surrounded by other angry mobs who ganged up on him when they disagreed with his teachings (such as this one) and they mocked him, argued with him, scorned him, made fun of him, called him names, insulted him with their most devastating put-downs, sarcastic barbs, condescendingly snide remarks, etc., and generally derided him and his teachings. In their own minds, they knew so much more than he did about everything. It is easy today to picture those scoffers walking around patting themselves and each other on the back for some clever insult or put-down towards him, with their haughty, prideful, arrogant, sneering snoots held high up in the air. Their aim was to win arguments and score debating points against him, not to humbly learn and embrace the holy truths he was teaching. They eventually conspired to murder Jesus because of his unusual teachings, and (with other co-conspirators) carried that murder out on Calvary.
Later, that same kind of belligerent and obnoxious treatment was also aimed at the members of the Catholic Church built by Jesus, even to the point of inflicting physical martyrdom on many of them. Sadly, that Catholic teaching which came straight from Jesus Christ, continues to this very day to be the target of that same kind of disbelief and verbal attack from many modern detractors as well. Like many people back then who heard Jesus teach this truth, some people today also do not believe what Our Lord Jesus Christ so plainly said. They seem to have no problem believing that it was possible for God to choose with his sovereign will and power to enter this world in the form of a simple human baby, but for some reason seem to think it is quite impossible for God to choose with his sovereign will and power to enter the world in the form of simple bread and wine, like Jesus so clearly and forcefully claimed. While His Church is still often horrendously attacked for retaining that beautiful teaching which Jesus gave them directly, he also assured all his faithful followers (then and now) that they would actually be blessed when other people reviled them and said all manner of evil against them falsely for his sake, because he obviously knew others would do just that.
One last point on this issue - the Catholic Church, as guided infallibly by the Holy Spirit, teaches that the Real Presence in that Sacramental form remains inside a person only until the so-called "accidents" of the Blessed Sacrament (the term used to describe the ways the "Body and Blood of Christ" appear to our physical human senses) begin to change form inside our body (about 15 minutes for most people). However, the "life" that Jesus Christ promised to those who partake of this sacred "food" worthily, remains within those worthy partakers, and they continue to receive the graces and blessings that God promised they would from a worthy reception of this Holy Sacrament.
Issue 4 - The Catholic Church teaches the worship of Mary. No, it does not. It is a complete misperception and misunderstanding. When you see people kneeling before a statue or picture of Mary (or some other saint) and praying, they are using the statue or picture to visualize Mary, as they ask her to pray together with them to God. They do NOT see her as some kind of goddess or deity. You have a total misconception about exactly what they are doing when you see them kneeling there. No matter what it may look like to other people who might see you, if you kneel down and pray with a Bible open in front of you, are you worshiping the Bible? If you kneel before a sick loved one's bed, are you worshiping that loved one? Are you worshiping the bed? If you kneel to pray in your church, are you worshiping the people or the pews in front of you? Are you worshiping your Pastor in the front of your church? If a person on a plane or bus saw that the person next to them was reading a porno book or magazine, then they saw someone else across the aisle reading a book that looked very similar, they might assume that other person was reading porno too, even if that other person was really reading a Bible. It might appear the same, but that is a total misperception -- it is completely different.
You might think that people kneeling before a statue or icon of Mary are worshiping her or the statue, because it looks similar to the way people in other religions might kneel and pray to idols, but Catholics truly are not. They use a statue or icon of Mary to focus their thoughts on her as they ask her to pray to God for them and with them. The use of the statue or picture would be somewhat similar to a spouse who, when out of town for a business trip, might take a photo of his wife out of his wallet to look at when he calls her, to bring better focus to his mind. He does not in any way mistake the photo for his actual wife, and he doesn't worship either the picture or his wife (in a "God" sense of the word).
Some posters here have claimed that Catholics worship Mary because they use so many different wonderful titles for her, or write some kind of flowerly and poetic love book to her. I guess that means that if Grandpa calls Grandma a bunch of special names, like "sweetie-pie", and "honey-buns", and "sugar-baby", and "plum-pudding", and "flower-blossom", (etc.), or if he writes a long and syrupy love poem to her, he is somehow truly worshiping her as an actual deity, right? (Not really. We should always want to stick to the real truth in anything even remotely involving our search for God. Do not read into things anything that isn't really there, as you would just be misleading yourself.)
As a good Jewish boy, Jesus surely would have fully honored his Mother as the Ten Commandments teach, and there should be no doubt that he would want all of us to honor his Mother too, and that he would strongly approve the fact that (as the Scriptures say) all generations would call her "blessed". She played a vitally important role (given her by God) for ALL of us, of ALL generations, whether we are personally able to recognize that or not.
Humans can only see what you are doing from the outside, but God sees the heart. God knows that I am not worshiping Mary when I am kneeling and praying there, and I know that I am not worshiping Mary, but other people may not know what I am doing. So, now I am plainly telling you -- the assertion that I am worhiping Mary is a complete falsehood, and all falsehoods originate from the father of lies, Satan. The Catholic Church does not teach the worship of Mary, no matter how many times and ways anyone might say that it does. You may be quite sincere in your belief about what you think I am doing, based on what you think you see and perceive, and you may not be deliberately lying about it, but it is (objectively speaking) a falsehood anyway, and all falsehoods come ultimately from Satan, whether someone sincerely believes them or not. Once you learn that truth, make sure you are then aware that from then on, you are morally required to also speak the truth about it yourself, not continue to assert a falsehood (from the father of all lies) regarding it.
Issue 5 - The Catholic Church teaches the worship of statues, icons, and paintings. No, they do not. Please see Issue 4 above (regarding Mary), as the same truths apply to both issues.
Issue 6 - The Catholic Church advocates and employs meaningless repetitious prayers. No, it does not. Catholics pray both non-formal, extemporaneous, spontaneous prayers, and certain formal, pre-defined prayers (such as the "Our Father", or the "Psalms"). Like many Protestants, many Catholics often "pray constantly, without ceasing, from the heart" with conversational prayers with God, but in addition to praying like that, they also utilize a huge treasure trove of prayers that others have composed and used before them in turning their face toward God. Some detractors point specifically to the "Rosary", calling it vain and repetitious prayer. That is simply false. The Rosary uses a combination of Scriptural prayer repetitions to calm a person down and relax them, while at the same time using a series of specific meditations on various events in the life of Jesus, which together then facilitate a deep form of contemplative prayer. The praying of the Rosary is quite often coupled with a special intention or purpose or "prayer request" or petition to God, such as a petition for the end of abortion. It is certainly not "vain repetition" -- that is a falsehood (from the father of all lies).
Catholics advocate and make use of silent prayers, vocal prayers, individual and group prayers, formal and informal prayers, the prayer of the Mass, the "Divine Office / Liturgy of the Hours" prayers, "Lectio Divina", Rosaries, the "Chaplet of Divine Mercy", other Chaplets, Novenas, the "Stations of the Cross" prayers, musical prayers, chanting prayers, meditation, contemplative prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, and many other forms and types of prayers. They use many rich and rewarding methods to approach and communicate with God.
Issue 7 - The Catholic Church does not place any or much emphasis at all on the Bible. While we could all certainly benefit from a lot more time spent with the written Word of God, I think it is pretty ludicrous to claim that Catholics ignore the Bible. A typical daily or Sunday Catholic Mass includes numerous Bible readings from the Gospels, the Psalms, and other Old Testament and New Testament books in the Bible. In addition to that, the liturgical prayers are literally saturated with Biblical references. Please attend some Catholic Masses, or see Dr. Edward Sri's book, " A Biblical Walk Through The Mass". Also, check out this magazine called "Magnificat", available at this link: Link for Magnificat Magazine It contains the Bible readings for the month for every single daily and Sunday Mass, in addition to the liturgical prayers simply filled with Biblical references. I can honestly say that I hear a lot more of the Bible during a typical Mass (daily or Sunday) than I ever did in any other kind of church service I ever attended in the many Protestant denominations I've been to.
Now, while we all should get a lot more familiar with the teachings contained in the Holy Scriptures, we also have to be careful how we look at other people and their own knowledge of the Bible. The Pharisees and other Jewish religious leaders during the New Testament times looked down with immense boastful pride, sneering superiority, and arrogant haughtiness at all those who did not know the Scriptures quite as well as them (in the areas of technical knowledge, "chapter and verse" (so to speak), and the "letter of the law"). Of course, Jesus verbally shot them down again and again and again, as, in spite of their great and extensive knowledge of the Scriptures, they still did not really understand them in the correct way, and Our Lord was quick to correct them over and over and over again. The teachings of the Bible entail so much more than a mere technical familiarity with them (and a knowledge of their numerical chapter and verse references) would indicate by themselves.
Some Catholics do not learn that "chapter and verse" of various Church teachings as well as they probably should, but they are exposed to so much more of the Scriptures in the course of their various liturgical services than people in many other denominations receive in their services. (If you don't believe this, check it out for yourself by attending Mass a few times.) (And, of course, just like all the various newer vernacular language translations, such as "English", the "chapter and verse" designations we use today were NOT a part of the original Bible whatsoever, but were added to the books of the Bible many centuries after they were written and transcribed.)
The "Catechism of the Catholic Church" also is just "loaded to the brim" with numerous Scripture references throughout, tying in the various teachings of the Catholic Church with their Biblical connections and roots in a deep and profound way, and giving the Biblical texts referenced.
This is just scratching the surface. Please look into this just a little bit deeper, and you will very soon discover that the claim that the Catholic Church does not place any emphasis on the Bible is clearly just another falsehood.
Issue 8 - Instead of building large, beautiful, ornate Cathedrals and Churches, Catholics should use that money for the poor. That eerily echoes the spurious argument used by Judas Iscariot, where he said that the woman who poured expensive perfume on Jesus should have used that money for the poor instead, but Jesus immediately rebuked him, and said the woman did exactly the right thing. (See Matthew 26:6-11)
Catholics do try in all ways they humanly can to build the most beautiful Cathedrals, Basilicas, Churches, Chapels, and other structures, in order to do their very best to bring the greatest glory to God that they possibly can, and to provide the most magnificent facilities they conceivably can for the worship of God, and for honoring the special Real Presence of Our Lord.
The Catholic Church also happens to be the largest charitable organization in the world, in her extensive, world-wide, loving support of the sick and the poor and the needy. (It is not an "either/or" kind of situation, but a "both/and" balance.)
Issue 9 - Do Catholics teach and believe that they can save themselves, or that salvation comes from God alone? The Catholic Church teaches that salvation comes from God alone.
Catechism of the Catholic Church - Paragraph 169 - Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother: "We believe the Church as the mother of our new birth, and not in the Church as if she were the author of our salvation. Because she is our mother, she is also our teacher in the faith. Catholics do NOT believe they can save themselves, by works, or by any other means. However, God, in his holy, sovereign will, has required that something be done on our own part, using our human free will, in order to be able to accept that salvation he offers. God does not save us against our own free will which he gave us. When he tosses us the lifeline of salvation from his ship of life, he wills that we have to do our part from within our own free will, by accepting that salvation he offers, and grabbing and holding on to that lifeline. (We also do not believe in "once-saved, always saved", as that is neither Biblical, nor does it make any sense.)
Catholics look at salvation as an offering to us from God based on the saving blood in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary. He wills that we accept this using our own free will, and this magnificent gift from God is like a beautiful diamond with many other facets to it as well. For example, God might make use of a humble instruments such as fellow human creatures who share the Gospel with us, and he makes use of the Holy Sacraments he gave us to give us his Grace, and he uses the Holy Church he built and gave us, and he uses the Bible, and his commandments, and doing good things for the least of our brothers, and many other things as well, to help us get to the point where we freely accept the free gift he offers us, and then go on to actually demonstrate our acceptance of his gift in a truthful way by the way we live our lives. Remember, Jesus once even used lowly, humble mud as an instrument to heal a blind man. He could have just willed it, or snapped his fingers, or done whatever else he wanted to to effect that healing miracle, but he chose on that occasion to use a humble instrument to effect his holy will, and he still does that regularly today in many ways.
Protestants have all kinds of beliefs about salvation, and some of them are completely contradictory. For example, some Protestants believe in that "once saved, always saved" doctrine, and some don't. (They can't both be right.) Some Protestants believe that some souls are predestined to be saved or lost, and some Protestants do not believe that, while other Protestants believe that God uses a way that we humans simply do not understand that allows us to use our free will to accept his offer of salvation or not accept it, even though God knows in advance what we are going to end up choosing.
Catholics believe that Christ's one-time sacrifice is made present ("re-PRESENTED") in an unbloody, Sacramental way in each and every Catholic Mass, NOT REPEATED, and that God supplies his grace from that gift to different people at different times. We believe God is outside time. (Most Protestants believe something similar, whether they realize it or not, as they do fully comprehend that they were not actually around PERSONALLY when Christ was crucified, so the saving grace from his sacrifice way back then has to be applied to us who are alive today in some supernatural way TODAY, as observed from OUR limited, human, time-based life perspective.)
Unfortunately, some Protestants blast Catholics for saying we do have a part given to us by God that we have to do ourselves in order to accept the gift of salvation he has offered us, and for our belief in a continual conversion process, where we have to reaffirm and re-establish that acceptance throughout our lifetimes, growing in holiness, based on the way God wills that it be done. However, Protestants also believe that we humans have to do something on our part to accept that gift of salvation, whether it be to say a prayer to Jesus telling him of our belief and faith in him, and acceptance for the forgiveness his sacrifice on Calvary made available, or something else. Some Protestants then believe no matter what you do after that, you will be saved (even if you turn around after that prayer and go out and rob a bank and all the people in it, rape a bunch of women, commit mass murder, then die). Many other Protestants most certainly do not believe in that kind of "once saved, always saved" teaching. There is a wide spectrum of differing beliefs in the Protestant world concerning these crucial salvation questions with mutually exclusive answers.
Catholics believe that only God saves us, we cannot save ourselves, but God wills that we cooperate throughout our lifetimes with that saving grace he offers, not to spurn his priceless gift, or throw it away, but to eagerly accept it, cherish it, and try our best (with God's grace and relying completely on his help and his compassionate mercy) to hold on to that precious gift for the rest of our lives here on Earth, and that from our human side, we should, as the Apostle Paul said, "work out our salvation with fear and trembling" - Phillipians 2:12.
Our Lord points out something extra involved in salvation in this text: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 7:21.
Issue 10 - The Biblical meaning of "Church", as used in Matthew 16:18, 1 Timothy 3:15, etc. Some people who have disagreed with the Catholic Church in the past have insisted that the Greek term looking roughly like "ekklesia" has been repeatedly mistranslated, and in "the Bible according to them", should have been translated only as the word "assembly", nothing else. These folks should be made aware that, like virtually all words in all language-to-language dictionaries, high-quality Biblical Greek-English dictionaries have several different meanings listed for nearly every single word entry in the dictionary. There is almost never a perfect, exclusive, clean, word-for-word translation capability between ANY two languages, as any reputable translator will tell you. That Greek word that roughly looks like "ekklesia" using the English alphabet is no exception. In numerous Biblical Greek-English dictionaries (including Strong's for the King James Version of the Bible - #1577), one possible English word given for ekklesia is "Church" , another is "Synagogue", another is "assembly", and there are several others given as well.
It is obviously very telling and significant that the translators who translated that Greek word for both Matthew 16:18 and 1 Timothy 3:15 for the vast majority of the Bible translations in current use in the English speaking world (in both the Catholic sphere and the Protestant sphere), translate that word to "church", deeming that to be the most exact word to use to appropriately reflect the precise meaning it would hold in our modern English language today. To argue against that, one has to say that the Holy Spirit allowed all those Bible translators to get that "church" word wrong and only gives the "correct" translation to those individual readers/self-translators, who then try to use their own personal translation of that word to argue against the Church that Jesus Christ founded.
The list of translations that use the English word "church" include the "Revised Standard Version", the "King James Version", the "New International Version", the "American Standard Version", the "Douay-Rheims Version", the "English Standard Version", the "New American Standard Version", the "New International Reader's Version", the "New King James Version", the "Today's New International Version", and many other English translations.
Like the Catholic Church, most mainstream Protestant Churches today also accept that widespread "church" translation of that Greek word "ekklesia" in those Bible verses.
Some people have brought up that the word "church" is a more modern word derived from another language that was not around when the Greek books of the New Testament were written. My guess is that a careful analysis of the matter will show that most of our modern English language was not around back then in its current form, and if we were to somehow be able to talk to those ancient people in our modern English language, no one in the whole ancient world would be able to understand what we were saying. But, aside from that, the point they were making was completely irrelevant anyway.
Imagine (for example) that we discovered the long lost "Canadowizzy" tribe in the wilds of Canada somewhere. Our missionaries then decided to make a new translation of the Bible for them in their native "Canadowizzy" language. Then, imagine further that the translators discover there is no word in that tribe's language for "fig tree". They find out the tribe calls trees "zeemies", and after showing them a real fig tree, and they eat the fruit of that fig tree, etc., the tribe decides they want to call fig trees "zug-zeemies", so they create that new term for this thing they had been totally unaware of before this.
So, in doing the tranlation, the translators use that brand new word, "zug-zeemy" (the tribe's singular form of the word) when translating the story of the fig tree.
Even though that is a brand new word, that is exactly the only word you should use for the translation for that "Canadowizzy" language, as that is the most exact, precise meaning of the word for "fig tree" used in their language right now. The age of a word in the language that the Bible has been translated into has absolutely nothing to do with it. You simply want to use the most exact, precise, correct word in ANY new translation, that gives the truest, most accurate meaning to the word as it was intended in the other language you are translating from.
Of course, unlike "Synagogues" and "Assemblies", the "Church" itself was a brand new concept in New Testament times. Please remember that Jesus himself said he was going to build it upon a rock. What he was talking about actually did not exist before he built it. It was a brand new concept.
TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: billmaher; catholic; rome; rushlimbaugh; sandrafluke
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 201-220, 221-240, 241-260 ... 621-626 next last
I should note that someone around here took a poll a couple of years ago. Turns out that Catholics are by far the largest religion of FREEPERS. Very close to 40% or more if memory serves.
I know that liberal boards are 30 or 40% Catholic as well, but the difference is that a high amount of FREEPERS are PRACTICING Catholics, not CINO’s.
You’ll find that you make little progress on theological matters in on FR, in spite of most of the lurkers being supportive. I’ve pretty much given up on it. On the other hand, you never know who might be swayed and not post anything.
Laura Ingram is a convert as well. Newt well you know the story. I tend to discount converts who converted because of a spouse. My spouse and I both converted at the same time because of our love of the truth.
Glen Beck is a former Catholic became Mormon because of his wife. Doing it for love instead of theological purity is I am sure is equally valid.
Anyway, my prayers go out to you and welcome home!
posted on 03/11/2012 11:34:12 PM PDT
("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
To: Heart-Rest; Alamo-Girl
Where in the Bible does it specifically say that someone was instructed or inspired by God to write the "Gospel of Matthew"?
Issue #1 - The answer is found in the Great Commission and at the end of John both 20th and 21st chapters and even in the prophets. I will post answers to your other issues in separate posts. Thanks for writing.
The Apostles were uniquely sent, and while the commission is perceived as a general admonition to Christians to spread the gospel, it was uniquely given to them as a mission. They performed that mission. WRITING the gospel down for greater outreach across time and distance is really no different than the Apostles personally telling it.
- Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
- John 20:30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
- John 21: 24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. 25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
And, of course, there is the prophetic word of Isaiah 55 that testifies to this time after that of the suffering servant of Isaiah 53.
1 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. 4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples. 5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor." 6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. 9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed."
posted on 03/12/2012 2:20:43 AM PDT
(Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It! Pray Continued Victory for our Troops Still in Afghan!)
To: Natural Law
Why not both? Isn’t God one Who provides daily bread - literally in the case of the Exodus?
posted on 03/12/2012 2:59:06 AM PDT
(I write books, serve my country, love my wife and daughter, and believe in the Resurrection.)
And your point is what? That particular scripture is about the resurrection and marriage. Tell me where is the scriptural foundation for praying to saints ( a “saint”, by the way, is defined in scripture as a believer in Christ, no a papal designation required).
posted on 03/12/2012 3:38:43 AM PDT
posted on 03/12/2012 4:20:13 AM PDT
("If History teaches us anything it's that history rarely teaches us anything")
To: Country Gal
And where in the Bible does it specifically say that the ...the Pauline Ep9istles [were} to be included in the Holy Scriptures, as part of the Bible?
In 2 Peter, the Apostle Peter calls Paul's letter scripture. Boy, that was easy. If it was this easy to refute the first paragraph of this screed then there's no reason to read the rest.
He used to believe the Bible, as the revealed Word of God, without any additional manmade writings and traditions, that we are warned about throughout the Bible.
NOBODY on earth uses the Bible without "additional manmade writings and traditions". Absolutely nobody.
Don't believe me? Look carefully at the Church of Christ (Campbellite) movement. You will not find a sect more devoted to the idea that the Bible ALONE is the SOLE rule of faith. They *invented* slogans like "Where the Bible is silent, we are silent" and "No creed but Scripture".
Now look at how many factions and spin-offs there are from the CofC. "Institutional" versus "non-institutional". "Instrumental" versus "non-instrumental". And the spinoff denominations, like the "Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)" and others.
It isn't because any of them are using different Bibles. All of them read the same Bible, but they don't agree on what it means. *By definition*, all of those disagreements are manmade "traditions" that they are adding on to the text, even though they *explicitly* set out NOT to do that.
You can't get away from "tradition". "Tradition" is born every time a church leader opens the Bible and decides what it means. And if you're a "church of one" -- a completely un-Biblical place to be, but I digress -- that doesn't fix the problem. It just makes you into a "church leader".
And when that church leader sets his opinions down on paper, you have your "manmade writings".
You can't get away from "tradition" or "manmade writings," no matter how "Bible alone" you try to be. The best you can do is pick the right set of "traditions and manmade writings".
And no, John's warning about "not adding to this book" did not refer to the "Bible," which didn't exist as a single "book" when he wrote those words. They referred to the book of Revelation itself. To believe that it refers to the Bible is ... wait for it ... your very own manmade tradition.
posted on 03/12/2012 5:21:34 AM PDT
("It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins." -- Franklin)
Yes. Along with other verses condemning those who would add to or remove from the clearly inspired books (other posters here address them), Christ had very harsh words for those who adhere to tradition. There is enough inconsistency and evil in the history of the traditions in question (despite scrubbing thereof and getting stories straight) to see that it must be questioned, and questioning thereof can only be in light of scripture itself. Only Sola Scriptura remains.
Yep. Man-made traditions are a gateway to apostasy.
Whatever. You don’t post a thread labeling most of FR as anti Catholica and get labeled yourself as anything less than weird. He also ‘reverted’ from believing the every word of the Bible to becoming a Catholic, insinuating that Catholics don’t believe all of the Bible (which is true)...that’s weird.
So what you are saying is a priest has the power to retain sin? How can a sinner forgive sin in the first place? If you believe in Christ you are saved for eternity.
You don't seem to be able to READ what is written. I SAID, Jesus gave the priests AUTHORITY to forgive sins in His name: John 20:23 Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven....
That wouldn't be in the New Testament if we needed ONLY to believe. Jesus wouldn't have given priests the AUTHORITY to forgive sins in His name if what YOU said were true. I believe John, not you.
Like I've told you more than once, go to Catholic.com for more answers, NOT TO ME. Why do you keep coming back to me when I've asked you not to? catholic.com....NOT ME. Get it? No more communication.
—When you see people kneeling before a statue or picture of Mary (or some other saint) and praying, they are using the statue or picture to visualize Mary, as they ask her to pray together with them to God. —
That also goes completely against scripture and who Jesus is. My intercessor is Jesus. I have a personal relationship with him. It’s one on one. I don’t need Mary in there to muck it up.
posted on 03/12/2012 5:40:51 AM PDT
by cuban leaf
(Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
To: Natural Law
Eat the word John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
Ezek 3:1 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this scroll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. 2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that scroll. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.
Jer 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
Revelation 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
1 Corinthians 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
Eat and drink the word of God.
"Why not both? Isnt God one Who provides daily bread -..."
Of course, everything proceeds from God, but we are commanded to feed one another. God has promised us the bread of life.
posted on 03/12/2012 5:42:38 AM PDT
by Natural Law
(If you love the Catholic Church raise your hands, if not raise your standards.)
The holy Eucharist thing is just silly. Communion is a simple symbol to remind us of what Christ did for us. It is so simple you can’t screw it up unless you try really hard.
It is a reminder of the thing that makes Christianity truly unique - Grace - and what it took to attain it.
And the really great news is that my family can participate in it after every single meal if we so choose: “As often as you do this, do it in remembrance of Me.”
posted on 03/12/2012 5:44:48 AM PDT
by cuban leaf
(Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
The priestly scandals just prove we are all sinners. AG churches have Jim Jones.
posted on 03/12/2012 5:45:35 AM PDT
by cuban leaf
(Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
"Man-made traditions are a gateway to apostasy"
The Catholic Church is not about "man-made" teaditions. The Apostolic Tradition proceeds from the Holy Spirit exactly like the Sacred Scripture.
posted on 03/12/2012 5:47:53 AM PDT
by Natural Law
(If you love the Catholic Church raise your hands, if not raise your standards.)
—That eerily echoes the spurious argument used by Judas Iscariot, where he said that the woman who poured expensive perfume on Jesus should have used that money for the poor instead, but Jesus immediately rebuked him, and said the woman did exactly the right thing. —
Yeah, until you get past the surface. The perfume was for Jesus. The church building is for the members. My wife’s side of the family is VERY Irish Catholic. MY wife was too, until her mid-30’s. Her sister goes to mass every day.
They are very proud of their buildings. They are not quite as bad as the muslims, who think their buildings are “holy”, but close. The mere existence of the buildings doesn’t have much to do with salvation, though.
posted on 03/12/2012 5:48:36 AM PDT
by cuban leaf
(Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
“Church” means “body of believers”. Check out a Greek Lexicon.
posted on 03/12/2012 5:50:04 AM PDT
by cuban leaf
(Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-20 ... 201-220, 221-240, 241-260 ... 621-626 next last
Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual
posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its
management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the
exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson