I have a group of friends who are non-denominational Christians. The other day one said, “We are spiritual, not religious.” My reply was, “As a Catholic, I am both” to which he answered, “You wouldn’t be if you read the Books of Malachi!” implying that it states that religion is “bad.” Now I went and read all 4 books and nowhere do I see a condemnation of religion as a whole, just mention of the Jews at the time that were not behaving the way they were “supposed to.” But what does that have to do with the Catholic religion? What can my response be to things they say like the Bible and Jesus do not support organized religion? These Christians have a knack for making Catholics feel like idiots…
You can tell them that there wouldn’t be a Book of Malachi in the Bible if not for the Catholic Church infallibly declaring it part of the canon of scripture. If they deny that ask them who determined what books were to be in the Bible. Ask them from whom do they receive their authority to interpret the Bible? Tell them that the Bible itself states that the pillar and foundation of truth is the Church - 1 Timothy 3:15; that Jesus founded a Church, not a spirituality - Matthew 16:18; The Bible is replete with references to Church offices - presbyter, priest, deacon, bishop, etc. You should also search the forum and catholic.com for other apologetic resources to use. Jimmyakin.com is another great source.
I wouldn’t tolerate my friends talking to me like I’m an idiot.
If you want to continue the conversation, you might tell them that you now have read the “books of Malachi” (is that different from the book of Malachi in the Old Testament? ) and that it changed nothing for you in terms of your commitment to your Catholic faith. Then ask if there something specific they would like to comment on.
It strikes me as somewhat condescending for someone to adopt the attitude of “Oh, you say that now, but if you read this book, you wouldn’t think that way – you would agree with us who are ever-so enlightened.” I wouldn’t be inclined to let them steer the conversation nor jump through their hoops by reading whatever books they deem to be crucial. But maybe that’s just me. :shrug:
My error Joe…yes, I meant Book of Malachi in Old Testament.
They fall in the trap “I love Jesus but hate religion”. It’s pie in the sky baloney and it misinterprets the times in the NT where Jesus opening challenged the Pharisees. If one claims to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then they belong to a religion and that is called Christian. I think I would take that angle to this sort of thinking. If they read Acts at all, clearly Jesus set up an authority structure to guide and lead His followers which today we know as the Catholic Church. You shouldn’t let them make you feel like an idiot because they are the idiots in following this illogical theology which lead to no where fast.
Remind your friends that Satan is very “spiritual”, too.
Then I am even more confused as to how they would think that speaks against organized religion.
Of course, the clever answer is “I don’t believe in organized religion; I’m Catholic.”
A more complete answer is that we do not base things off of one book of the Bible out of context. We look at the whole content and unity of all the books together. The Old Testament is all about what God is doing with the Jewish people. and God has plenty to say about exactly how that looks (from the construction materials and dimensions of the Temple to the manner that sacrifices are offered). And Jesus chose a core group of followers and entrusted them with authority. And we see how that plays out in the Acts of the Apostles. Again, there is a clear structure.
I would ask your friends what passage in Malachi they believe discounts all of that. They need to be specific, otherwise, it’s impossible to engage in conversation about it.
Oh my yes, entirely spirit and no one could ever accuse
Satan of religiosity
Yes robwar! That is EXACTLY what they say. The issue is that they are much better at rambling off Bible verses to “support” what they are saying than I am. I really believe that they must have some kind of sales pitch courses at these Christian congregations :rolleyes: Funny thing is that when I go to my Bible to see what they are talking about, I find that they usually only ramble off a portion of a verse… and coincidentally it is the part that makes them look right!
It’s funny how they pick and choose what they want to believe from the Old Testament…they will say that Jesus came to do away with those old Jewish rules of structure…that he “hated” religion and that is why their cross shows a risen Jesus - because he has risen from that old Jewish structure (that he was against) in order to have a one on one relationship with them without any “rules”!
BTW…thank you all for your very insightful responses!
The non-denominational Christians in the original post know nothing about the Prophet Malachi or what he wrote.
Malachi prophesied to both the people and corrupt priests of Judea and Israel not long after God had done them the favor of returning them from exile. The people and priests had promised to follow God’s law but a generation or two after being returned from exile they had already started marrying foreigners, questioning God’s justice and offering inferior animals for sacrifice.
If Malachi condemns any aspect of religion then it is a corrupt priesthood he condemns, not religion as a whole or even the priesthood itself. He even exhorts the corrupt priests to return to correct religious practices and make “Pure offerings.”
For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 1:11)
God even commanded them to rebuild the Temple in order to make offerings. Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the history of Israel, who the prophets were and their message would understand that nowhere in the Old Testament is religion condemned but only corrupt religion.
The OP’s non-denominational friends don’t have a clue what they are talking about.
They also have to ignore the parts in the Gospel where Jesus said he came not to abolish the law (Matthew 5:17) and where he told his followers to do all that the Pharisees told them to do – just not to follow their example (Matthew 23:3).
Jesus went to every feast and festival of the Jews.
***Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, **(Luke 2:41-43)
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. (John 5:1)*
Paul made offerings in the Temple.
Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself with them and went into the temple, to give notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for every one of them. (Acts 21:26)
Paul made the vow of a Nazarite.
After this Paul stayed many days longer, and then took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aq’uila. At Cen’chre-ae he cut his hair, for he had a vow. (Acts 18:18)