A baptist deacon looking for feedback


#1

My friend is a deacon in the baptist church. At his Bible study, a former Roman Catholic woman began criticizing the Catholic Church. My friend sent her a letter and asked me to post it here. He’s looking for constructive criticism. Here is the letter:

How are you Lisa?

I want to preface the below thought that if you feel in any way offended I want to know. I was on a thought and a roll, and I hope that you will take this with the love and sharing in dialogue and Christian fellowship that it is intended. (you know I love you).

I was thinking a lot about what we discussed the other day and I really think that we (meaning us all) need to be careful in taking a position that could be termed as moral relativism. If you read the teachings of Jesus they are hard teachings, Matthew Chapter 5-7, but would one dare say they are not true? Mankind has such an instinct for rationalization, (remember the fall, remember all the rationalizations that Adam and Eve gave to God)? We tend to rationalize what we do, especially if we know it to be not right.

I feel we protestants sometimes can fall into this class and need to be wary of moral relativism. You see the very nature of protestantism is a protest against our own Church. (catholic, meaning universal church). You see a protest can turn negative especially if the protest continues past the original intent and left unchecked to the devices of rationalization. The original intent of the protest of Luther in 1514 was against the selling of indulgences. Sinful men were using the name of the Church and our Lord for gain and profit.This was the original intent of Luther’s thesis; to rebuke and reform these sinful practices. Protestants continued to drive a wedge between the original intent of the thesis. They rationalized this break from the church. Over time, hardened hearts continued to drive this schism deeper and deeper until we are today left with many divisions of Christianity, some closer and some farther away from the original Church (Catholic) that Christ built on the rock of Peter.

So when you turn a bad experience that you had from your previous Christian experience, into a broad stroke term of an “unrighteous Church”, I may argue that it was not the Church, but Satan at work through men in the Church.You are probably asking yourself, “wow you sound like you want to be a
Catholic”! Well, keep in mind that by my birth I was born into the brethren church. The way my family worshipped was something ingrained in me from the cradle.The difference between baby baptism vs believers baptism, bread and cup as symbols vs true body and blood in the Eucharist, intercessory prayer vs a direct line to God, to me are all Graces that I neither claim to know the ***exact ***ramification or righteousness in my worship, nor do I claim that the Catholic church is not right. I do know that Christ says in the book of John that “my body is real food and my blood is real drink”. Does this take away from the spiritual symbolism that a protestant envisions of Christ’s body broken for us or Blood poured out for our sins, and does our belief diminish the belief of a Catholic in regard to transubstantiation? Maybe we (believers) are all Catholics. ( the thought of this claim might make our Catholic brothers uneasy).

THROUGH GOD NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
So before we throw the baby out with the bath water and judge anything, maybe we should not jump to conclusions about any dogma, because the truth is in the heart of the believer through Jesus Christ our Lord, and that truth is not relative or morally relative, because truth is truth. It always was and always will be. Jesus says I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.Note that all of the Pope’s beliefs may not be ones that we want to believe in today, (ie: contraception, women’s role in the church, no gay marriage), in our morally relativistic world, but who are we to judge that they are not true and right? Can we say so with the authority of God? We as humans can and may disagree, but we cannot say they are not true with God’s authority. This is the conundrum.


#2

Blessed are the peacemakers. Your friend sounds like a good christian. Whenever I meet new people that are of a different denomination I always try first to focus on what we have in common. We all need to remain focused on the cross. I wonder what the reaction to the letter will be. Please keep us informed.


#3

Wow, I think your baptist deacon friend needs to come back to the Church!

I think it is a very well written letter, and he makes some very good points, many of which lead me to believe he might be on his way home to the Catholic Church! (And which may provide some very good conversation for the two of you!)

Truth is truth, as he said, and cannot ever be compromised, including the issues he brought up (contraception, gay marriage, women clergy).

In a way, he is right about all baptized being catholic, in the universal sense. Since Jesus intended only one church, and there is only one baptism (which the Catholic Church recognizes when one converts), all those baptized have made their first entrance into the Catholic Church whether they know it, understand it, or believe it!


#4

Hi Mickey,

I think your friend is also a friend of God. No doubt he was responding to a statement that “the pope wants to tell us how to lead our lives” or some such. His response is basically that there are moral norms that come from God, and that it is His will that we should abide by them. The inference is that, if the Pope reflects God’s will, then he is right in “telling us what to do”.

One might think that his thinking brings him close to the Catholic Church, but God’s grace does not work from mere knowledge or even personal conviction. I know of a peson who knows more about Catholic docrine than I do and who defends it vigorously but he has not yet made the step. Perhaps he never will – and perhaps that is God’s will for him.

Verbum


#5

Hi Mickey,

your Baptist friend has done well with his letter.

MaggieOH


#6

your Baptist friend is very, very close. Whenever a Christian begins to ask what was the teaching of Jesus about unity among member of His Church, and sincerely looks for the answer, he is not far away from the truth. We will pray for him. Whatever you do, don’t let him get near the rosary or he will be saying “RCIA” so fast it will make your head spin.


#7

I have to say that given the sorts of things I’ve personally been hearing from non-Catholics recently, that letter is incredibly refreshing. The man from whom I take my login name said, “I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” In other words, true wisdom lies in knowing what it is you do not know. I think your Baptist friend is a very wise man and we should all (especially me) learn a lesson in humility from that letter.


#8

VERY good letter!


#9

[quote=]I feel we protestants sometimes can fall into this class and need to be wary of moral relativism. You see the very nature of protestantism is a protest against our own Church. (catholic, meaning universal church).
[/quote]

You see a protest can turn negative especially if the protest continues past the original intent and left unchecked to the devices of rationalization. The original intent of the protest of Luther in 1514 was against the selling of indulgences. Over time, hardened hearts continued to drive this schism deeper and deeper until we are today left with many divisions of Christianity, some closer and some farther away from the original Church (Catholic) that Christ built on the rock of Peter.

I may argue that it was not the Church, but Satan at work through men in the Church.

The difference between baby baptism vs believers baptism, bread and cup as symbols vs true body and blood in the Eucharist, intercessory prayer vs a direct line to God, to me are all Graces that I neither claim to know the ***exact ***ramification or righteousness in my worship, nor do I claim that the Catholic church is not right. I do know that Christ says in the book of John that “my body is real food and my blood is real drink”. Does this take away from the spiritual symbolism that a protestant envisions of Christ’s body broken for us or Blood poured out for our sins, and does our belief diminish the belief of a Catholic in regard to transubstantiation? Maybe we (believers) are all Catholics. ( the thought of this claim might make our Catholic brothers uneasy).

THROUGH GOD NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE

Pope’s beliefs may not be ones that we want to believe in today, (ie: contraception, women’s role in the church, no gay marriage), in our morally relativistic world, but who are we to judge that they are not true and right? Can we say so with the authority of God? We as humans can and may disagree, but we cannot say they are not true with God’s authority. This is the conundrum.

WOW. How refreshing.http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon14.gif This man has strengthened my own faith.

I will pray for his return.

Many blessings,
Shannon


#10

A very well written and obviously thoughtful letter. I wish more Protestant and Catholic people could think of one another with such understanding and love. We have our differences to be sure, but we share much more in common than some on both sides would like to admit. Peace to you brother and please convey to your deacon that his letter hits home in the heart of this Catholic.


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