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A Comparison of the Faiths Men Live By.<P>The Catholic-Protestant Differences
http://www.religion-online.org/cgi-bin/relsearchd.dll/showchapter?chapter_id=1563 ^ | 5/5/02 | Louis Cassels

Posted on 05/05/2002 6:26:06 AM PDT by RnMomof7

What’s the Difference? A Comparison of the Faiths Men Live By by Louis Cassels

Louis Cassels was for many years the religion editor of United Press International. His column "Religion in America" appeared in over four hundred newspapers during the mid-nineteenth century.

What’s the Difference was published in 1965 by Doubleday & Company, Inc. This book was prepared for Religion Online by Harry W. and Grace C. Adams.

Chapter 3: The Catholic-Protestant Differences

During the past few years, peace seems to have broken out in the cold war among Christians. In spite of a dramatic improvement in relations, however, there is still a widespread tendency for Protestants to think of Roman Catholicism as an entirely different religion. And many Catholics speak of Protestantism as though it were as alien to their own faith as Shintoisrn.

There are differences between Catholics and Protestants — real, stubborn, important differences that do not result from mere misunderstandings or semantic confusion. But ecumenical theologians who are wrestling with those differences have been impressed with another fact which deserves prior emphasis. They have discovered, in the words of Father Hans Kung, that "what unites Catholics and Protestants as Christians is incomparably more vast than what separates them."

The great bond between Catholics and Protestants, which no amount of disagreement can sever, is that both acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. They also share the basic theological affirmations of Christianity that are spelled out in the New Testament and the ancient creeds. These affirmations were outlined in the preceding chapter. They include belief in the Incarnation, the Atonement, and the Resurrection.1

Catholics and Protestants have other doctrines that are derived from, or related to, their common faith in Jesus Christ. For example, both acknowledge the continuing presence of the Holy Spirit in the Christian community. Both look upon the Bible as a divinely inspired book through whose pages the authentic Word of God can be heard afresh by every generation. Both believe in the forgiveness of sins, the efficacy of baptism, the power of prayer, and the promise of everlasting life to those who place their trust in Christ. The list might be extended indefinitely, but the longer it got, the greater would become the necessity of using vague, general language. When we begin to get specific, we find that Catholics and Protestants often mean different things even when they use the same words.

Grace and Faith — Different Meanings

Take, for instance, the word grace, which is sometimes called the most important single word in the Christian vocabulary. Catholics think of grace as a supernatural power which God dispenses, primarily through the Church and its sacraments, to purify the souls of naturally sinful human beings, and render them capable of holiness. Father John Walsh, S.J., has succinctly expressed the crucial importance that Catholics attach to grace thus understood. "If a man dies with it in his soul, he is infallibly saved," says Father Walsh. "If he lacks it, he is infallibly lost."

When Protestants speak of grace, they usually have an entirely different concept in mind. In the words of the noted Lutheran theologian Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan, grace is "not something in man which wins God’s good will, but something in God which makes man pleasing to Him." To put it differently, Protestants think of grace as an attribute of God rather than a gift from God. It is a shorthand term signifying God’s determination to love, forgive, and save His human children, however little they deserve it.

Another key word in the Christian lexicon which has sharply different meanings for Catholics and Protestants is faith. In Catholic usage, faith means giving full and unreserved assent to doctrines that have been defined by the Church as divinely revealed truth. It is almost, if not quite, a synonym for belief. But to Protestants, faith is, in Martin Luther’s phrase, a "reckless confidence" in the goodness of God. It is more a matter of placing your trust in God than of believing certain propositions about God.

Much more than semantics is involved here. It would be no exaggeration to say that the whole Protestant Reformation grew out of the differing definitions of grace and faith outlined above.

Luther and other Protestant reformers believed that medieval Catholicism had degraded grace by treating it as a sort of magical commodity on which the Church enjoyed a monopoly of distribution. Through control over the "channels of grace" — that is, the rites and sacraments of the Church — a corrupt and often immoral hierarchy could blackmail the rest of the human race, from kings to peasants, by saying, in effect: "If you don’t do as I say, I’ll cut off your supply of grace and you’ll be eternally damned."

To Luther, a devout Augustinian friar who wanted to reform rather than split the Church, this crass merchandising of salvation was directly contrary to the plain teaching of the New Testament. He cited the words of St. Paul to show that salvation is a free gift which a gracious God bestows on men through Jesus Christ, without their doing anything to merit or deserve it. "Justification by grace through faith alone" became the slogan of the Reformation, and it has remained the cardinal principle of Protestant theology until this day.

During the Counter Reformation of the sixteenth century, the Catholic Church eliminated many of the gross abuses, such as the sale of indulgences, that had laid the Church open to the charge of "peddling" salvation. It also took steps to repudiate any suggestion that a man can earn his passage to heaven by pious deeds. Since the Council of Trent (1545 to 1563), it has been official Catholic teaching that sinful human beings are justified in the eyes of God — that is, saved — by faith plus good works. "For Catholics, quite as much as for Protestants, the whole Christian life rests on faith," says Albert Cardinal Meyer, Catholic Archbishop of Chicago. "Without faith, the ‘works,’ or actions, of Christian living would be without Christian value. Faith, however, itself cannot be the source of man’s salvation unless it is a living faith, that is a faith which flowers in hope and love, and hence in the works of a Christian life of service to God and neighbor."

Few if any Protestants would take exception to that statement. In fact, it recalls Luther’s remark that "good works do not make a man good, but a good man doeth good works."

If Protestants and Catholics are moving somewhat closer together on justification, they are still as far apart as ever on the other great bone of contention that figured in the Reformation split. This is the question of authority.

The Authority of the Bishops

The Catholic view of authority is clear and forthright. It goes like this: Before concluding his ministry on earth, Jesus established the Church to preserve his teachings and carry on his work among men. He gave the Apostles full

power over the Church, and within the "college" of Apostles, he vested supreme authority in St. Peter. To make sure that his message could never be lost or distorted, Christ sent the Holy Spirit to protect the Church from error. This protection is so effective that the Church’s formal pronouncements on essential matters of faith and morals are considered infallible; hence they must be accepted as tantamount to the very words of God.

Catholics also believe that duly consecrated bishops in every generation are "successors" to the original Apostles, and inherit all their powers. Particularly they assert that St. Peter’s supreme authority has passed down to his successors as Bishop of Rome, or Pope. (The term "pope" is simply an anglicization of the Italian Il Papa, an affectionate synonym for "Father," which the Romans traditionally use in speaking of their bishop.)

The Second Vatican Council spent six weeks in the fall of 1963 discussing the Catholic doctrine of authority, with particular reference to the relationship between the other bishops and the Pope. In a historic vote, on October 30, 1963, the Council Fathers asserted by an overwhelming majority their conviction that the whole "college" of bishops has a right — not by sufferance but by the mandate of Christ — to share with the Pope in the exercise of supreme authority in the Church. This is the famous doctrine of collegiality that caused Council conservatives to protest bitterly that the whole concept of papal supremacy was being undermined.

Actually, the Council majority was simply trying to restore the Church’s classic view of authority, and correct an excessive emphasis on papal prerogatives which has characterized Catholic theology during the past four hundred years. As the late Father Gustave Weigel perceptively observed at the time of the 1963 vote, what the Council said, in effect, was that "the government of the Church is an oligarchy, not an absolute monarchy."

In asserting the doctrine of collegiality, the Council Fathers took pains to reiterate that the Pope remains supreme, and can do on his own authority anything that he could do in union with his fellow bishops. This specifically includes the promulgation of "infallible" dogmas.

The Catholic concept of authority has the great advantage of providing a clear-cut answer to the question When Christians disagree about be teaching of Christ or the will of God, who has the last word? This is a question that Protestantism has never settled.

But Protestants find many other grounds for rejecting an authoritarian hierarchy headed by an infallible Pope.

Many Protestants balk at the primary Catholic claim that Jesus conceived of his Church as a single, highly organized, centrally governed institution. They say that the New Testament nowhere speaks of such a church, but only of different local churches, united in an informal bond of Christian fellowship.

"Upon This Rock . . ."

Sooner or later, the argument always comes around to certain words addressed by Jesus to St. Peter after the latter made his famous confession of faith: "Thou art the Christ. . ." According to the sixteenth chapter of St. Matthew’s gospel, Jesus responded:

"I say . . . unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Catholic scholars point out that the name Peter means "rock" in the Aramaic language which Jesus and his disciples spoke. Thus, they say, it is obvious that Jesus was speaking of Peter as the rock upon which he would build the church.

Some Protestant scholars contend that the "rock" to which Jesus referred was not Peter himself, but his confession of faith in Jesus as the Saving One sent from God. This, they say, is the real foundation stone of the Church.

Other Protestants acknowledge that the Catholic reading of the text is the more plausible one. They go further and agree that Peter became, in actual fact, the principal leader of the early Christian community. But — and it is a formidable but indeed — they see no warrant in Scripture or the early history of the Church for exaggerating Peter’s primacy of honor to the point of calling him "Prince" of the Apostles. On the contrary, they say, the Book of Acts and other New Testament evidence clearly indicate that Peter was regarded in his own lifetime merely as "first among equals" in the apostolic band.

Finally, they say, even if Peter did go to Rome and become its first bishop,2 there is not sufficient reason for assuming that his special authority passed down, as a divinely guaranteed inheritance, to every subsequent Bishop of Rome. Supposing for the sake of argument that Apostolic authority did "descend" to the successors of the Apostles and that Peter had a special authority, would it not be more logical to say that Peter’s authority passed to his successor as Bishop of Jerusalem — which was unquestionably the real center of the Christian world in his day — rather than to the man who followed him as Bishop of Rome, a job which he may have held late in his life, but which is not mentioned in the New Testament account of his career?

Aside from the whole question of "Petrine succession," many Protestants boggle at the idea of attributing infallibility to any human being or institution. They say that Catholicism comes close to idolatry (which is defined theologically as the worship of anything short of God) when it equates the voice of the Church with the voice of God. The Bible clearly teaches that God chooses to speak to men through ordinary, human (and hence fallible) channels. Even in the supreme act of revelation — the Incarnation — God accepted the limitations of human fallibility: Jesus was a real man, not a theophany. No Protestant would question that the guidance of the Holy Spirit is always available — and always right. But every Protestant would add that the Holy Spirit is not always heard and heeded in the Church — not even by popes.3

Finally, Protestants object strenuously to some of the conclusions that Catholics have drawn directly from their doctrine of authority.

The conclusion that most irritates Protestants and most seriously bedevils all moves toward Christian unity is that there can be only one true Church. (The idea of two or more infallible, divinely instituted organizations competing with one another for the world’s attention is patently absurd.) And that "one true Church" must, of course, be the one headed by the successor to St. Peter. This doctrine has been soft-pedaled considerably since the late Pope John XXIII set the Catholic Church on an ecumenical course. Protestants are no longer called "heretics"; they are "separated brethren."

The Second Vatican Council in its declaration on ecumenism went so far as to acknowledge that Protestants are in some sense related to the true Church through Christian baptism. But it quickly added that no one can be a full member of the true Church, and assured of access to all the means of grace, unless he is obedient to the authority of Rome.

Can the Church Err?

Another conclusion that Catholics have drawn from their doctrine of authority — in the past, at least — is that the Church can never fall into error sufficiently to need a real housecleaning. As one scholar has put it, Catholics can admit the need for reforms in the Church, but they consider it almost blasphemous te speak of a basic reform of the Church.

The Reverend Dr. Robert McAfee Brown, professor of religion at Stanford University, suggests in his excellent book The Spirit of Protestantism that "this is perhaps the ultimate issue dividing Protestantism and Roman Catholicism." He says that Protestantism, born in a great attempt at reformation of medieval Catholicism, has always taken very seriously the biblical injunction that judgment must "begin with the household of God."

"Protestantism affirms that the Church must be shaken, judged, purged and remade," says Dr. Brown. "It cannot be renewed once. Its life must be a life of constant renewal, for it is ‘a church of sinners,’ a church that is constantly failing to fulfill its high calling. The attitude that must characterize the Church is the attitude of repentance."

Most Protestants can pronounce a hearty amen to that sentiment. Most Catholics would be as horrified by it as they would be by an allegation that Jesus sometimes did wicked things. The reverence that a Catholic has for his Church is very similar to his reverence for Christ. A Protestant, on the other hand, instinctively regards all ecclesiastical institutions with suspicion if not scorn. His allegiance is directly and personally to Christ.

The Authority of Scripture

But how does the Protestant know what Christ is like, what he has taught, commanded, and promised? What is the Protestant’s authority for holding any particular belief?

The Reformers’ answer was "sola scriptura": the Bible is the sole and sufficient authority for all Christian doctrine. "Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor maybe proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith." So says the sixth of the famed Thirty-nine Articles of Religion that comprised the Reformation charter of the Church of England.

There is a widespread and entirely erroneous idea among Protestants that Catholics attach very little importance to the Bible, and indeed seldom read it. Actually, Catholic theology accords a very high and prominent place to Scripture. There are, however, two important differences between Catholic and Protestant attitudes toward the Bible. Whereas Protestants insist on the Bible as the sole source of doctrine, Catholics believe that traditions which have been handed down in the Church for centuries may also be considered vehicles of divine revelation. They point out that the Bible itself was the fruit of oral traditions that were circulated in the Church for many years before they were written down, and that the New Testament expressly says that there were "other things" that Jesus said and did which were not included in the Gospel accounts.

Who Interprets Scripture?

The second and even more profound difference is that Catholics arc required as a basic point of obedience to accept any particular passage of Scripture in the sense in which it has been interpreted by the "infallible" teaching authority of the Church. Protestants have no such authoritative guide to the interpretation of scriptural passages which may be obscure or confusing. The Reformers dodged the whole question by insisting that the Bible "interprets itself" — that is, what is obscure in one passage may be clarified by a diligent search of other portions of Scripture. In practice, this turned out to mean that every man was his own ultimate authority on the Bible. If he wished to read it a certain way, no one had any power to contradict him, even though every scholar in Christendom might disagree with his exegesis. This is the so-called "principle of private interpretation" and it has had a very far-reaching impact on the development of Protestantism.

On one hand, it has served as the final guarantee of freedom of conscience among Protestants. From it has grown the Protestant emphasis on the right — and inescapable responsibility — of each human being to think through his own beliefs, and to make his own decision for (or against) Christ.

On the other hand, it has led to the fragmentation of Protestantism into more than two hundred denominations and sects. Ever since the Reformation, Protestant churches have been splitting apart, often with much bitterness on both sides, because of disagreements over interpretation of the Bible. And sometimes they have been very picayune disagreements indeed. Although the ecumenical movement in recent years has succeeded in patching up some long-standing divisions in the Protestant family, there are still, as we shall see in the next chapter, vast and strongly held differences, most of which are directly related to divergent interpretations of Scripture. It is not hard to see why Catholics refer to the Protestant principle of private interpretation as a charter for "theological anarchy."

The Adoration of Mary

How the Catholic Church has used tradition as a source of teachings which cannot be found in Scripture is illustrated by the cult of the Virgin Mary — the aspect of Catholicism which many Protestants find most repugnant.

The New Testament says relatively little about Mary. But what it does say is tremendously important. As the mother of Jesus, she was the human vehicle of the miracle of the Incarnation. And Scripture records that she undertook this awesome role in a spirit of humble obedience — "be it unto me even as thou hast said." As her son was growing up, Mary was sometimes baffled by his conduct: St. Luke’s gospel tells a touching story — almost certainly one of Mary’s own reminiscences — of an occasion when the twelve-year-old Jesus disappeared during the family’s annual Passover visit to Jerusalem, and was found later in the Temple, holding scholarly discourse with the teachers and wise men, who were "astonished at his understanding." The Gospels record that Mary remained devoted to her son, following him after he set forth on his itinerant ministry and trying to look after his physical needs, which he was apt to neglect. She stood at the foot of his cross when he was crucified, and every parent must wonder in his heart who suffered the most terrible agony, Jesus or his mother.

This biblical account of Mary’s role in the saving events centered around the life of Christ is sufficient to establish her right to the one honor which she had foreseen: "all generations shall call me blessed."

But the Catholic Church has not thought it right to stop there. On the basis of tradition, rather than Scripture, it has asserted that Mary herself was "immaculate" (sinless) from the moment of her conception in her mother’s womb; and that upon her death she did not suffer corruption of the flesh but was "assumed" body and soul into heaven. And it has not made these added beliefs about Mary a matter of choice: they have been proclaimed as infallible dogmas, which every Catholic must believe in order to be saved.

The Church has also bestowed a host of new titles and honors on Mary: "Mother of God," "Queen of Heaven," "Mediatrix of all Graces." It has encouraged the faithful to pray to Mary, and has stimulated the growth of "Marian devotions" to the point where in some areas they have become the center of Catholic worship. Catholic theologians insist that the Church does not permit "worship" of Mary, but only accords her "the highest veneration." They also say that Mary does not answer prayers in her own right, but "intercedes" with her son to obtain help for the faithful who pray to her. But it is at least open to question whether these distinctions are understood by all the Catholics who light candles at the foot of Mary’s statue and participate in novenas to "our Lady."

A New Catholic Viewpoint

For a time, Catholic theology seemed to be moving headlong toward proclaiming Mary "Co-redemptrix" with Christ. This title, already widely used among Catholic bishops with no rebuke from the Vatican’s Holy Office, makes Protestant blood run cold. It vividly demonstrates the basic Protestant objection to Catholic Mariology, namely, its tendency to obscure the distinctive role of Christ as the "only mediator between God and man."

Protestant fears were eased, if not removed, when the Second Vatican Council decided, by the paper-thin margin of 30 votes out of more than 2000 to forego a special schema, or Council declaration, on Mary, and to give her instead a chapter in the schema on the Church.

The importance of this widely misunderstood decision is that it was a triumph for a relatively new viewpoint toward Mary which has been gaining strength in progressive Catholic circles. According to this viewpoint, which has been most influentially expounded by Pope Paul VI, Mary is to be thought of as "the model, the image, the ideal figure of the Church." In her humble, self-effacing obedience and complete trust, she is the prototype of what all members of the Church should be like. And in her willing cooperation with the work of redemption which God accomplished in Christ, she exemplifies the Church’s mission on earth.

Protestant theologians find this new viewpoint on Mary infinitely more attractive than some of the other Mariological doctrines that have found credence in the Catholic Church.

If Protestants feel that Catholics give Mary too much honor, Catholics feel, with at least equal emotion, that Protestants give her far too little. Mary is seldom mentioned in the average Protestant church except at Christmas time.

A growing number of Protestant scholars acknowledge the justice of this indictment, and are urging Protestants to give Mary the reverence that is clearly — and biblically — her due.

"Not as a semi-divine being, but as an outstanding member of the communion of saints, she is blessed among women," says Jaroslav Pelikan. "When Protestants begin to say this out loud in their teaching and worship . . they will be better prepared to speak a word of fraternal warning to their Roman Catholic brethren."

Saints, Purgatory, and Merit

There are other Catholic doctrines for which Protestants can find no warrant in Scripture. Catholics pray to a multitude of officially designated saints, in addition to Mary, in the belief that saints have the power to intercede in heaven on behalf of those who seek their help. Catholics also believe that each human soul is judged at the time of death, and, depending upon the presence or absence of "sanctifying grace," is consigned directly to heaven (the saints), irrevocably to hell (the damned), or temporarily to purgatory (the in-between fellow who is neither good enough to go straight to heaven, nor bad enough to be eternally condemned). In purgatory, according to Catholic theology, souls undergo "temporal punishment" to cleanse them of sin and prepare them for the perfect holiness of heaven. Christians on earth ("the Church Militant") can invoke the assistance of the saints in heaven ("the Church Triumphant") in procuring the release of souls from purgatory. In effect, the accounts of the souls in purgatory are balanced by placing to their credit some of the virtues which the saints have on deposit in heaven’s "treasury of merits."

The whole idea of a "treasury of merits" is vaguely but distinctly offensive to many Protestants. It seems excessively legalistic, and leaves the impression that God’s saving love is poured forth, not in gracious abundance, but according to a nicely calculated, almost mechanical formula. As for purgatory and the veneration of saints, the abiding verdict of Protestantism is expressed in the Thirty-nine Articles: both doctrines are "vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God."

Two Sacraments or Seven?

Although this catalogue of basic differences between Catholics and Protestants is already woefully long, we cannot terminate it without some reference to divergent views of the sacraments. By sacrament, both Catholics and Protestants mean an outward sign, or action, instituted by Christ as a channel through which divine help, or grace, is imparted.

Protestants recognize two sacraments: (1) Baptism, through which a human spirit is cleansed of "original sin" (understood as man’s natural predilection to be self-centered, willful and disobedient to God) and endowed with a new kind of life; and (2) Holy Communion (also known as the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper), by which the baptized Christian is sustained and strengthened, and through which he is drawn into a closer fellowship with God and his fellow man.

Catholics recognize five other sacraments: confirmation, penance, extreme unction, holy orders, and matrimony. Their counterparts can be found in many Reformation churches: the principal point at issue is whether they are distinctively Christian sacraments on a par with baptism and the Eucharist.

Baptism

It may strike the reader as remarkable, after so much stress on differences, to learn that Catholics and Protestants have very similar ideas about baptism. Both affirm that it is primarily God’s action, not man’s. Some Protestants insist on the necessity for a response in faith by the person being baptized; they therefore practice only adult or "believer’s baptism." But the vast majority of Protestants agree with the Catholic Church that infants can and should be baptized, because the efficacy of the action is altogether independent of the attitude of the recipient, or the credentials of the one who performs it. (The Catholic Church recognizes the validity of a baptism performed by a Protestant, or even one performed by an atheist, provided water is used and the name of the Trinity is properly invoked according to the biblical prescription.)

The Lord’s Supper

When we come to the Eucharist, we find Catholics and Protestants agreeing that it was instituted by Jesus at his last supper with his disciples. According to the oldest existing account of the event, that found in St. Paul’s first letter to the Church at Corinth, Jesus "took bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, This is my body which is broken for you: do this in remembrance of me." After supper, "in like manner, he took the cup, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: do this as often as you shall drink it, in remembrance of me."

Some Protestants hold that Christians merely perform a "memorial" rite when they celebrate the Lord’s Supper. But this is a distinctly minority view in the Christian family. Most Protestants believe that the Eucharist is a "representation" of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, and that Christ is "really present" in a mystical and incorporeal sense — every time it is celebrated.

Catholics go much further. To them the sacrifice of the Mass is a "renewal," or repetition, of the sacrifice on Calvary. The consecrated bread and wine do not merely symbolize the body and blood of Christ: they are the body and blood of Christ, in a literal sense. They retain the external appearance of bread and wine, but their true substance has been transformed on the altar (hence the term "transubstantiation," which is applied to this Catholic doctrine).

Protestants contend that the Catholic doctrine vitiates the "once-and-for-allness" of Christ’s redemptive act, and that the emphasis on Christ’s being literally and corporeally present on the altar tends to degrade a holy mystery into some kind of magic. They are particularly repelled by tile cult of "tabernacle worship" that has grown up around the Catholic practice of "reserving" some of the consecrated bread on the altar, to be adored by the faithful as a visible presence of God.

Conversely, Catholics feel that Protestants have rationalized all the mystery out of the Eucharist. They point out that Jesus did not say, "This represents my body . . .

he said, "This is my body."

No meeting of minds seems likely on this point in the foreseeable future. But in other aspects of their caporate worship, Catholics and Protestants are unmistakably moving closer together.

The Changing Forms of Worship

The Liturgical Constitution adopted by the Second Vatican Council permits most of the Mass, and all of the sacraments to be conducted in the language of the people rather than in Latin. It also calls for more emphasis on what Protestants call "the ministry of the Word," with a sermon now made a required part of every Sunday Mass. These and other reforms in Roman Catholic liturgy are aimed at making the laity active participants rather than passive spectators in worship.

Meanwhile, far-reaching changes are taking place in the worship of Protestant churches. Even in Baptist and Methodist churches, traditionally known for their informality, there is a marked trend toward vestments for the minister, robes for the choir, processionals to the chancel, formal rather than extemporaneous prayers. Most significant of all, the Lord’s Supper is being celebrated more frequently, and as a full service in its own right rather than being tacked on to the regular preaching service once in a great while as a sort of afterthought.

"We have by no means exhausted the list of Catholic-Protestant differences. Nothing has been said, for example, about "the priesthood of all believers" which the Reformers made such a fuss about and which all modern Protestants cherish, even though not one in ten has the least notion what it’s all about. Nor have we gone into such things as confessing to a priest, or divorce, or birth control. But perhaps we have covered enough of the really basic differences to give you an idea why no one who is working for Christian reunion expects to see it accomplished day after tomorrow. "At this point, it seems humanly impossible to resolve the profound differences which separate Protestants and Catholics," says the Reverend Dr. William J. Wolf, an Episcopal Church observer at the Vatican Council. "But we have our Lord’s personal assurance that ‘with God, all things are possible.’ If we can learn to live together as brothers in a spirit of love rather than mutual antagonism, if we work patiently at trying to understand one another, and if we give the other fellow credit for being just as sincere and devoted to Christ as we claim to be — God in His own good time will show us the road to unity."

 

NOTES:

1. Those basic Christian beliefs also are shared by the third great branch of Christendom, the Eastern Orthodox communion, whose history and distinctive characteristics are reviewed in Chapter IX.

2. The Bible does not mention a visit by Peter to Rome, and some Protestants doubt that he ever got there. But recent archaeological explorations under the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica have persuaded many objective observers that Peter was buried in Rome, at the site of the church which now bears his name, after dying a martyr’s death in the reign of Emperor Nero.

3. In fairness to Catholic teaching, it should be pointed out that popes are presumed to be infallible only when they solemnly define issues of faith and morals for the guidance of the whole Church. Catholics readily acknowledge that popes can be wrong about such things as politics and the weather.

 


15


TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: theology
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For Interfaith Discussion
1 posted on 05/05/2002 6:26:06 AM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: Claud; dadwags ;SoothingDave;al_c;Notwithstanding...
Sunday discussion Bump
2 posted on 05/05/2002 6:26:51 AM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
"The conclusion that most irritates Protestants and most seriously bedevils all moves toward Christian unity is that there can be only one true Church."

I have no problem with the fact that there is "only one true Church." In fact, I believe it is quite biblical. The Bride of Christ is the Church and she has no walls, no geographic boundaries, no denominational name, and no headquarters (save the throne of God in the heavenlies).

I am in the Body and I know others who are. They can be found in the RC church, in the various Baptist denominations, PCUSA, UMC, non-denominational, and so on and so on. Among the wheat in those places are also the tares. He knows which is which, and He sees The Church as one. In other words, there is no "waiting for unity" - He sees the universal Body of Christ in unity of Spirit already. Why? Because those in the Body already have the same Spirit indwelling. It isn't necessary that we all gather in the same building at the same time!

3 posted on 05/05/2002 6:37:48 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: RnMomof7; Sinkspur
"Catholics think of grace as a supernatural power which God dispenses, primarily through the Church and its sacraments, to purify the souls of naturally sinful human beings, and render them capable of holiness."

"Protestants think of grace as an attribute of God rather than a gift from God."
4 posted on 05/05/2002 6:58:06 AM PDT by Domestic Church
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To: anniegetyourgun
Among the wheat in those places are also the tares. He knows which is which, and He sees The Church as one.

Good choice of words:)

Becky

5 posted on 05/05/2002 7:02:20 AM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: RnMomof7
I thought the definition of the words "grace and faith" that the author gives on both sides said alot, and seems to be IMO right on.

Becky

6 posted on 05/05/2002 7:04:13 AM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: Domestic Church
As a Protestant, I always thought of grace as undeserved favor from God.
7 posted on 05/05/2002 7:26:07 AM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
The definitions here are inadequate as the Bible says that God's grace falls on the wicked and the righteous. Those who will die lost still receive a measure God's grace. Unmerited favor is the best understanding of the word grace. It accounts for both salvific grace and general grace upon the lost and wicked.
8 posted on 05/05/2002 10:20:48 AM PDT by DittoJed2
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To: anniegetyourgun
I have no problem with the fact that there is "only one true Church." In fact, I believe it is quite biblical. The Bride of Christ is the Church and she has no walls, no geographic boundaries, no denominational name, and no headquarters (save the throne of God in the heavenlies).

Amen sister there is only one true invisible church..the Bride of Christ.

Now there are lots of "churches" visible to man...You and I belong to the same church :>)

9 posted on 05/05/2002 10:25:39 AM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
Actually I thought I had thought of that:>) I always say "there is some Wheat among them there tare"...seems like someone published it before me *grin*
10 posted on 05/05/2002 10:28:38 AM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: Domestic Church
"Protestants think of grace as an attribute of God rather than a gift from God."

====

Wrong, try again.

11 posted on 05/05/2002 10:39:14 AM PDT by drstevej
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To: DittoJed2; anniegetyourgun;drstevej
I too believe it is "God's unmerited favor" . I do not know where the author got this .Perhaps Dr.Steve has an explaination.

I do think we see grace through different eyes than Catholics. We truely see it as unmerited..that grace is given by God and never in response to a work..

ditto I agree there are two types of Grace . salvific grace and general grace The atonment has offered a grace benefit to all mankind the saved and the unsaved..

12 posted on 05/05/2002 10:42:25 AM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: drstevej
The quote is from the article...please correct it if it is wrong.
13 posted on 05/05/2002 10:54:36 AM PDT by Domestic Church
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To: RnMomof7
"Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help
that God gives us to respond to His call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.(Catechism of the Catholic Church #1996.)
14 posted on 05/05/2002 11:06:28 AM PDT by Domestic Church
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To: Domestic Church
Protestants consider grace both an attribute and a gift of God.
15 posted on 05/05/2002 11:09:46 AM PDT by drstevej
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To: RnMomof7
While I will assume that Cassels and the Adams' had good intentions, there are several points about Catholicism that they get incorrect. I will focus on a few which they did a poor job of explaining.

The second and even more profound difference is that Catholics arc required as a basic point of obedience to accept any particular passage of Scripture in the sense in which it has been interpreted by the "infallible" teaching authority of the Church.

2 Peter 3:15-17 "And account the longsuffering of our Lord, salvation; as also our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you: As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, brethren, knowing these things before, take heed, lest being led aside by the error of the unwise, you fall from your own steadfastness."

On the basis of tradition, rather than Scripture, it has asserted that Mary herself was "immaculate" (sinless) from the moment of her conception in her mother’s womb;

Luke 1:28 "And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."

Every sin diminishes grace, thus Mary could not be "full of grace" were she ever touched by sin. Paul's "all" in Romans 3:23 is by no means absolute. Obvious exceptions are Jesus, Adam and Eve prior to the fall and children below the age of reason. Catholics believe that Mary is another exception. In addition, while bad human tradition is condemned in Scripture, Apostolic Tradition is praised in 1 Corinthians 11:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:14 and 2 Thessalonians 3:6. Mary's sinlessness was also a belief held by many Church Fathers: St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus, St. Ephraim, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine to mention a few.

The Church has also bestowed a host of new titles and honors on Mary: "Mother of God,"

Luke 1:43 "And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"

The following are just some of the views held by three Protestants with regard to the Blessed Virgin Mary:

Luther: "It is an article of faith that Mary is the Mother of the Lord and still a virgin... Christ, we believe, came forth from a womb left perfectly intact." Works of Luther, Vol. 11, pages 319-320; Vol. 6, page 510.

Calvin: "There have been certain folk who have wished to suggest from this passage [Matthew 1:25] that the Virgin Mary had other children than the Son of God, and that Joseph had dwelt with her later; but what folly this is! For the gospel writer did not wish to record what happened afterwards; he simply wished to make clear Joseph's obedience and to show that Joseph had been well and truly assured that it was God who had sent His angel to Mary. He had never dwelt with her nor had he shared her company... And besides this Our Lord Jesus Christ is called the first-born. This is not because there was a second or a third, but because the gospel writer is paying regard to the precedence. Scripture speaks thus of naming the first-born whether or no there was any question of the second." Sermon on Matthew 1:22-25, published in 1562.

Zwingli: "I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel, as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin." Zwingli Opera, Vol. 1, page 424.

and that upon her death she did not suffer corruption of the flesh but was "assumed" body and soul into heaven.

Enoch, Hebrews 11:5, and Elijah, 2 Kings 2:11, were both bodily assumed into heaven without dying. It's not too hard to believe that Christ would not have done the same for His Mother. Incidentally, Scripture makes no mention of the deaths of the Apostles[with the exception of Judas], Joseph or Mary, so the Sola Scriptura argument would have to be that they must all still be alive here on earth. The Assumption was explicitly taught by the Church Fathers as well.

For a time, Catholic theology seemed to be moving headlong toward proclaiming Mary "Co-redemptrix" with Christ. This title, already widely used among Catholic bishops with no rebuke from the Vatican’s Holy Office, makes Protestant blood run cold. It vividly demonstrates the basic Protestant objection to Catholic Mariology, namely, its tendency to obscure the distinctive role of Christ as the "only mediator between God and man."

Co-redemptrix is Latin, not English and means the woman with the redeemer. The prefix co comes from the Latin cum which means with, not equal to. The Blessed Virgin Mary is not considered by the Roman Catholic Church to be an equal of Christ. The term applies to Marys' exceptional cooperation with and subordination to Jesus Christ, her Son in the redemption of the human family. Also, this does not mean that Mary did not require a redeemer. Marys' redemption was proactive, a more perfect or preservative redemption, while our redemption is as a result of our sins or a reactive or resultant redemption.

Saints, Purgatory, and Merit
There are other Catholic doctrines for which Protestants can find no warrant in Scripture.

Again the authors do a poor job explaining that the existence of Purgatory; a word which is not found in Scripture along with Trinity, Incarnation or Bible, was a belief that was held by the Church prior to it's rejection by the Protestants. He makes no mention of sheol and hades, which are not hell, or gehenna, which is hell; the rejection of the Alexandrian Canon, or the Scriptural basis for Purgatory as found in Luke 12:59, Matthew 5:26, 12:31-32, 18:32-34; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, Revelation 21:27, 2 Machabees 12:42-46.

16 posted on 05/05/2002 11:09:51 AM PDT by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: drstevej
God's grace in justification is full and final. We are declared righteous positionally.

God's grace in sanctification is meted out over time (not sacramentally but in response to a walk of faith and obedience). We are made righteous practically.

RC theology mixes and confounds these two.

17 posted on 05/05/2002 11:16:51 AM PDT by drstevej
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
Enoch, Hebrews 11:5, and Elijah, 2 Kings 2:11, were both bodily assumed into heaven without dying. It's not too hard to believe that Christ would not have done the same for His Mother. Incidentally, Scripture makes no mention of the deaths of the Apostles[with the exception of Judas], Joseph or Mary, so the Sola Scriptura argument would have to be that they must all still be alive here on earth.

===

Sentence #1 - True

Sentence #2 - So theology is based on what you think Jesus should do? Did he check with you first? Your assumption does not prove her assumption.

Sentence #3 - This is a silly argument... You have no clue as to what sola scriptura means if you really mean this sentence.

18 posted on 05/05/2002 11:24:33 AM PDT by drstevej
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To: RnMomof7
as long as we all believe in John 3:16 and in God's Promise, then we'll be OK...all other things are just toppings
19 posted on 05/05/2002 11:26:38 AM PDT by InvisibleChurch
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
Again the authors do a poor job explaining that the existence of Purgatory; a word which is not found in Scripture along with Trinity, Incarnation or Bible, was a belief that was held by the Church prior to it's rejection by the Protestants. He makes no mention of sheol and hades, which are not hell, or gehenna, which is hell; the rejection of the Alexandrian Canon, or the Scriptural basis for Purgatory as found in Luke 12:59, Matthew 5:26, 12:31-32, 18:32-34; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, Revelation 21:27, 2 Machabees 12:42-46.

Luk 12:59 I tell thee, thou shalt not depart thence, till thou hast paid the very last mite.

The price paid in full by Jesus Christ on the cross...

Mat 5:26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out.

thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. ...The price paid on the cross "it is finished"

Mat 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy [against] the [Holy] Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the [world] to come.

Says nothing about purgatory...nothing at all It speaks to God's judgement and hell.

Mat 18:31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

This is a parable about forgiveness...not purgatory...it is a companion IMHO to the scripture that the measure we uses to measure otyhers is the measure used to measure us...and "forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those vthat trespass against us..

1Cr 3:13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

Peter himself expalined this
1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Truth is Smedley there is no purgatory in the bible..no where :>))

20 posted on 05/05/2002 11:33:31 AM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
"Truth is Smedley there is no purgatory in the bible..no where"

===

Might look on a map of Colorado....

21 posted on 05/05/2002 11:39:17 AM PDT by drstevej
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To: drstevej
Enoch, Hebrews 11:5, and Elijah, 2 Kings 2:11, were both bodily assumed into heaven without dying. It's not too hard to believe that Christ would not have done the same for His Mother. Incidentally, Scripture makes no mention of the deaths of the Apostles[with the exception of Judas], Joseph or Mary, so the Sola Scriptura argument would have to be that they must all still be alive here on earth.

There is one difference here Steve. Scripture tells us about Enoch and Elijah...it tells us nothing of Mary..the last we hear of her I believe is when she received the Holy Spirit with the disciples.

Is it not also true that Enoch, and Elijah wil be two of the three witnesses..and will need their bodies?:>)

22 posted on 05/05/2002 11:41:29 AM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: drstevej
I heard that was hell:>))) (just kidding folks)
23 posted on 05/05/2002 11:42:14 AM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
Smedley something just occurred to me..I have asked before how Catholics can believe Mary hears all the prayers said at the same time as she is not omnipresent as God is .It just ocurred to me she definately can not be omnipresent if you are correct about her being still bound in an earthly body....
24 posted on 05/05/2002 11:45:57 AM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
Scripture also tells us that many things occurred which were not recorded.
25 posted on 05/05/2002 11:46:06 AM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: goldenstategirl
Are we to speculate what they were then? Isn't it best to limit to what is in the Bible?
26 posted on 05/05/2002 12:16:55 PM PDT by Wrigley
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To: goldenstategirl
Scripture also tells us that many things occurred which were not recorded.

Yes that is true..but God recorded what He wanted us to know in His word ..and then he sealed it for eternity

27 posted on 05/05/2002 12:24:24 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: anniegetyourgun
It isn't necessary that we all gather in the same building at the same time!

Nope, nothing is necesary save an assertion that the Church is a numinous, amorphic and etheral somthing-or-other in which some, but who knows how many, ar members and some aren't and even those nameless members need not believe in the same Doctrines or receive the same Sacraments and not submit to any authority than, ultimately, themsleves.

I think I got it....

28 posted on 05/05/2002 12:35:12 PM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: Catholicguy
I think I got it....

===

Nope, you need to buy a vowel. The precise number and names are known to God.

29 posted on 05/05/2002 12:45:06 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: Catholicguy
Bit of a jump from what was written. My reading of annie's post doesn't come close to saying that.
30 posted on 05/05/2002 12:45:23 PM PDT by Wrigley
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To: Domestic Church
"Protestants think of grace as an attribute of God rather than a gift from God."
Not THIS Protestant!
NIV Ephesians 2:8-9
8. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
9. not by works, so that no one can boast.
31 posted on 05/05/2002 1:02:16 PM PDT by Elsie
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To: RnMomof7
The Scorpion King?.......

I think NOT!


NIV Matthew 16:13-18
 13.  When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
 14.  They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
 15.  "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
 16.  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ,  the Son of the living God."
 17.  Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
 18.  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades  will not overcome it.

NIV 1 Corinthians 10:4
 4.  and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
 
NIV Luke 6:48
 48.  He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
 
NIV Romans 9:33
 33.  As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
 
 
 
NIV 1 Peter 2:4-8
 4.  As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him--
 5.  you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
 6.  For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
 7.  Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, "
 8.  and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message--which is also what they were destined for.


But, since there WAS no NT at the time Christ spoke to Peter, just what DID Peter know about ROCKS???

 

NIV Genesis 49:24-25
24.  But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
 25.  because of your father's God, who helps you, because of the Almighty,  who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb.
 
NIV Numbers 20:8
 8.  "Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink."
 
NIV Deuteronomy 32:4
 4.  He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
 
NIV Deuteronomy 32:15
 15.  Jeshurun  grew fat and kicked; filled with food, he became heavy and sleek. He abandoned the God who made him and rejected the Rock his Savior.
 
NIV Deuteronomy 32:18
 18.  You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.
 
NIV Deuteronomy 32:30-31
 30.  How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the LORD had given them up?
 31.  For their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede.
 
NIV 1 Samuel 2:2
 2.  "There is no one holy  like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
 
NIV 2 Samuel 22:2-3
 2.  He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
 3.  my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn  of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior-- from violent men you save me.
 
NIV 2 Samuel 22:32
 32.  For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
 
NIV 2 Samuel 22:47
 47.  "The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!
 
NIV 2 Samuel 23:3-4
 3.  The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: `When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God,
 4.  he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.'
 
NIV Psalms 18:2
 2.  The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn  of my salvation, my stronghold.
 
NIV Psalms 18:31
 31.  For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
 
NIV Psalms 18:46
 46.  The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!
 
NIV Psalms 19:14
 14.  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
 
NIV Psalms 28:1
 
 1.  To you I call, O LORD my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.
 
NIV Psalms 31:2-3
 2.  Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
 3.  Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
 
NIV Psalms 42:9
 9.  I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?"
 
NIV Psalms 62:2
 2.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
 
NIV Psalms 62:6
 6.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
 
NIV Psalms 62:7
 7.  My salvation and my honor depend on God ; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
 
NIV Psalms 71:3
 3.  Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
 
NIV Psalms 78:35
 35.  They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.
 
NIV Psalms 89:26
 26.  He will call out to me, `You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.'
 
NIV Psalms 92:14-15
 14.  They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
 15.  proclaiming, "The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him."
 
NIV Psalms 95:1
 1.  Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
 
NIV Psalms 144:1
 1.  Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.
 
NIV Isaiah 17:10
 10.  You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress.
 
NIV Isaiah 26:4
 4.  Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
 
NIV Isaiah 30:29
29.  And you will sing as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice as when people go up with flutes to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.
 
NIV Isaiah 44:8
 8.  Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one." 
 
NIV Habakkuk 1:12
 12.  O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O LORD, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish.
.....No other rock.............
 
And now you know the Protestant position!

(And not just SOME scholars, either!)
32 posted on 05/05/2002 1:06:36 PM PDT by Elsie
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To: Elsie
Do I smell something cookin'?
33 posted on 05/05/2002 1:09:22 PM PDT by Wrigley
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To: Elsie
Like your style, Elsie.
34 posted on 05/05/2002 1:10:19 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: Elsie
Like your style, Elsie.
35 posted on 05/05/2002 1:10:20 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: Elsie
Sooner or later, the argument always comes around to certain words addressed by Jesus to St. Peter after the latter made his famous confession of faith: "Thou art the Christ. . ." According to the sixteenth chapter of St. Matthew's gospel, Jesus responded:

"I say . . . unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Catholic scholars point out that the name Peter means "rock" in the Aramaic language which Jesus and his disciples spoke. Thus, they say, it is obvious that Jesus was speaking of Peter as the rock upon which he would build the church.

Some Protestant scholars contend that the "rock" to which Jesus referred was not Peter himself, but his confession of faith in Jesus as the Saving One sent from God. This, they say, is the real foundation stone of the Church.

Other Protestants acknowledge that the Catholic reading of the text is the more plausible one. They go further and agree that Peter became, in actual fact, the principal leader of the early Christian community. But (and it is a formidable but indeed) they see no warrant in Scripture or the early history of the Church for exaggerating Peter's primacy of honor to the point of calling him "Prince" of the Apostles. On the contrary, they say, the Book of Acts and other New Testament evidence clearly indicate that Peter was regarded in his own lifetime merely as "first among equals" in the apostolic band.


(Makes it a bit easier to try shore up the RC position on Peter when ya leave out the verses leading up to #18, don't it!)

Some... Other... ???  Just what PERCENTAGE of total believers are we talking about here?????

36 posted on 05/05/2002 1:18:41 PM PDT by Elsie
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To: drstevej; Wrigley
I just like to let the WORD speak for itself........
37 posted on 05/05/2002 1:20:29 PM PDT by Elsie
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To: RnMomof7
It did mention believer's baptism, but I think he shortchanged us Baptists on the discussion of the "sacraments". We don't have any. We have a non-sacramental understanding of baptism and the Lord's Supper. They're not conduits for God's grace, which comes to us directly, they're simply ordinances established by Jesus as the ceremonies distinct to Christians (unlike, say, marriage, which is more or less universal).
38 posted on 05/05/2002 1:42:24 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: SMEDLEYBUTLER
Every sin diminishes grace, thus Mary could not be "full of grace" were she ever touched by sin.

The problem is your assumption that "every sin dominishes grace", which you take to the text rather than from it. Ephesians 2:8 we are saved by grace through faith. Saved from what? Sin, the very thing you say blocks grace. God's grace is more powerful than any sin. It was in Paul's case and it is in mine.

39 posted on 05/05/2002 1:50:45 PM PDT by A.J.Armitage
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To: Catholicguy;anniegetyourgun
Nope, nothing is necesary save an assertion that the Church is a numinous, amorphic and etheral somthing-or-other in which some, but who knows how many, ar members and some aren't and even those nameless members need not believe in the same Doctrines or receive the same Sacraments and not submit to any authority than, ultimately, themsleves.

You assume the "church is a visible body"

The Church is the "called out" and no mattter where you plant your dupa on Sunday if Jesus is not your Lord and Savior you are not part of the invisible church....:>)))

ppssssss and thats the one that counts

40 posted on 05/05/2002 2:02:49 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: Elsie
Me too!

1Pe 2:4 To whom coming, [as unto] a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, [and] precious,

5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

7 Unto you therefore which believe [he is] precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light

==========================================================

Christ and His word are indeed a stumbling stone, and that is as it should be

Thanks Elsie

41 posted on 05/05/2002 2:12:13 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: A.J.Armitage
It did mention believer's baptism, but I think he shortchanged us Baptists on the discussion of the "sacraments". We don't have any. We have a non-sacramental understanding of baptism and the Lord's Supper. They're not conduits for God's grace, which comes to us directly, they're simply ordinances established by Jesus as the ceremonies distinct to Christians (unlike, say, marriage, which is more or less universal).

Like you I see them as ordinances that are an obedience to the word of God ...but that are not a source of grace..

42 posted on 05/05/2002 2:14:35 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: A.J.Armitage
It did mention believer's baptism, but I think he shortchanged us Baptists on the discussion of the "sacraments". We don't have any. We have a non-sacramental understanding of baptism and the Lord's Supper. They're not conduits for God's grace, which comes to us directly, they're simply ordinances established by Jesus as the ceremonies distinct to Christians (unlike, say, marriage, which is more or less universal).

And you, also, I take it, are part of the numinous, amorphic, etheral "church," along with annie and RNMom and hundreds of millions of others even though you disagree about Doctrine and Sacraments and other unnecessary things because you have the Holy Spirit and, I guess, the Spirit is one of division within unity and indifference and disagreement about Doctrine?

I think I got it

43 posted on 05/05/2002 2:17:38 PM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: A.J.Armitage
Amen AJ...Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

===========================================================

If it were not so I would still be lost and stumbling...

44 posted on 05/05/2002 2:19:09 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: Wrigley
I think it's best to follow what's in the Bible, and that includes the exhortation that everything that occurred was not recorded. In light of those instructions we need to remain open.
45 posted on 05/05/2002 2:26:15 PM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: Wrigley
"Are we to speculate what they were then? Isn't it best to limit to what is in the Bible?"

The early Church was functioning as Church before the Bible was written and put together as we know it...there were Apostolic Traditions passed on from one generation to another before the various parts of what we now call the New Testament were brought together. Those who held onto those Traditions certainly would not have wanted to set aside that which was Holy and Sacred to them at the same time they rejoiced over the Word being gathered together.
46 posted on 05/05/2002 2:31:09 PM PDT by Domestic Church
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To: drstevej, Xzins, corin stormhands, Revelation 911, winstonchurchill, Rnmomof7
Protestants think of grace as an attribute of God rather than a gift from God. It is a shorthand term signifying God’s determination to love, forgive, and save His human children, however little they deserve it.

Protestants consider grace both an attribute and a gift of God.

Would not it better described as the working of the attribute of Love?

I do not see it linked to God's Omnipotence!

47 posted on 05/05/2002 2:31:30 PM PDT by fortheDeclaration
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To: fortheDeclaration
God's attributes are interrelated. Certainly grace is related to love, but it is not unrelated to omnipotence or ommniscience or omnipresence, etc.
48 posted on 05/05/2002 2:35:50 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: goldenstategirl;Wrigley
I think it's best to follow what's in the Bible, and that includes the exhortation that everything that occurred was not recorded. In light of those instructions we need to remain open.

No man can attend to what is written...best we consentrate on the INSPIRED things that were written by the Holy Spirit

2Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

The entire character will and commands of God are recorded under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit..He chose exactly what He wanted written for eternity...All the works of man are fallible!

49 posted on 05/05/2002 2:37:56 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: drstevej, Xzins, winstonchurchill, Revelation 911, corin stormhands, Rnmomof7
God's attributes are interrelated. Certainly grace is related to love, but it is not unrelated to omnipotence or ommniscience or omnipresence, etc.

Aw, come on, What is the primary relationship? We now that all the attributes have to function on harmony but there are direct relationships between functions and attributes. Creation may be seen as an aspect of love,(being motivated by it) but it was directly related to the attribute of Omnipotence.

Calvinism make grace an attribute related to power, not love (Sovereign Grace )

50 posted on 05/05/2002 2:42:36 PM PDT by fortheDeclaration
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