Church

I have heard numerous discussions between different Protestants that attend different churches, usually in my case Baptist, Pentacostal, and Non-denominational. As a Catholic, I know there are differences even between them when it comes to doctrinal beliefs. However, I like to listen to gain their perspective. I typically hear things like, “We all serve the same God”, “God doesn’t care where you go to church as long as you go”, and “It doesn’t matter where one goes to church as long as you follow Jesus”. Just asking for thoughts from other Catholics on how they respond when confronted with this. ???

Well, if they’re sola scriptura, I’d ask where the bolded parts can be found in the Bible.

Unfortunately, many of those denominations don’t include the Catholic Church in those discussions.:shrug:


The Catholic CHurch is ther TRUE CHURCH because it was founded by Christ.

JESUS I TRUST IN YOU

jr

There is no easy answer to this for there are grave complications stemming from how they define “Church” and “following Jesus” and how they interpret the Bible.

If they say, “It doesn’t matter where one goes to church as long as you follow Jesus”, Ask them then if it is OK to be Mormon or JW. These people profess to following Jesus as well.

There response will likely be that these are not correct because they are not Trinitarian, or because they define Jesus differently etc…

So - you respond, Aha - so it does matter, not just that you “follow Jesus” but that you follow Him in a certain way (that being the way that they believe).

don’t know if this will help you much but it might give an opening to discuss different forms of “following Christ” and such and what the Bible actually says.

Peace
James

There is only one God-made Church – the ekklesia – founded by Jesus Christ in A.D. 33 in Jerusalem. It soon came to be identified as the Catholic Church. Others call themselves “churches” but the designation is purloined. They are not part of the original ekklesia of the first century. Rather, they were founded by mere men in or after the 16th century. Many were founded in the 19th and 20th centuries right here in the U.S. of A. All others are, at best, ecclesial communities; i.e. man-made, church-like entities.

The Church wrote the New Testament and formed the Bible. The 27 ‘books’ of the NT are the Catholic Church’s own writings.

Jim Dandy
Ex-Southern Baptist, ex-agnostic, ex-atheist, ecstatic to be Catholic!

Depends on the circumstances and the setting, but I have a quiver of several responses:

[LIST]
*]If you follow Jesus long enough, you’ll end up in his body, the Catholic Church.
*]I hope you all work out your differences, because a house divided cannot stand.
*]It’s tough basing your religion on the Bible alone. We have the same problem with the US Constitution. Good thing the Founding Fathers planned for a Supreme Court to rule definitively on its interpretation, not that I necessarily agree with every decision. Did Jesus set up a Supreme Court for his Church?
*]It’s nice you can all agree on the fundamentals, but do you really want to be settling on the lowest common denominator?
*]Speaking of the fundamentals, after 500 years have you all settled yet on what those fundamentals are?
*]And speaking of the Bible, have you all settled on including the Epistle of James or excluding it? Because I personally have a hard time reconciling it with Romans and Galatians.
*]Does your denomination feel we’ve made the reforms Dr Luther called for? Because if you think we have, why not get back together?
*]How’s the openly-gay bishop thing working for you?
[/LIST]

The heart of the matter is a misunderstanding of ecclesiology (the nature of the Church). It is fairly common among non-Catholics to view Christianity as a genus, with the various denominations acting as species of that genus. Unfortunately, many non-Catholics think the early Church is amorphous and unknowable. From this amorphous Church sprang all of the denominations. All that matters, according to many, is that the ‘essentials’ are there. The so-called ‘non-essentials’ are subject to denominational choice.

The Catholic Church, however, was founded by Jesus Christ in 33 A.D. The Church was founded before any of the New Testament books were written, and centuries before the canon of the New Testament was established in the 4th century. There has always been a single Church since Christ. All other denominations participate in the Catholic Church in an imperfect way, and with an admixture of error. Some have a fuller participation in the true Church than others. For instance, the Orthodox maintained Apostolic succession and therefore have valid sacraments. The Church of England (Anglicans) did not maintain Apostolic succession, and their priestly orders and sacraments are invalid. Luther kept two sacraments (in his head that is), namely the Eucharist and Baptism. Luther believed in the Real Presence, but in a way fundamentally different than Catholics. Later reformers rejected the the Real Presence altogether (Zwingli). Still later reformers rejected baptism as it was understood for 1500 years (Anabaptists). For this reason, the early reformers often called their competing reformers heretics. This deconstuction of the True Church has continued through the centuries.

Now most non-Catholics only accept the New Testament of the Catholic Church and have rejected most everything else. But we still find thousands of competing sects that believe the Bible is the only thing necessary for salvation. All of these sects claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit! But truth cannot contradict truth. This is what happens when the Bible is divorced from the Church founded by Christ.

So what you need to see are the tens of thousands of non-Catholic sects participating in the Catholic Church in varying and imperfect ways, and with lesser and greater admixtures of error.

In response to:

Unfortunately, many of those denominations don’t include the Catholic Church in those discussions.

I am a new Catholic. After 58 years in the Lutheran Church, I can truly say that I have found the peace I always wanted to feel when I walk into Church.

I have already experienced the “distaste” and “negativity” from friends and family about my decision to join the Catholic Church. A good friend of mine actually said to me, “I know you didn’t become Catholic because you’re a Christian…At least I thought you were”!!! I assured her that I’m STILL a Christian and part of the oldest Christian Church in the world! She still doesn’t really “get it”.

As a new Catholic, I don’t have all the comebacks and answers for all the questions and remarks I’ve heard…What I DO know is that I have found a peace in the Catholic Church I hadn’t known for quite some time. I didn’t know if I would be accepted, or looked down on because I spent my entire life in the Lutheran Church and wanted to become Catholic at my age…I just knew I wanted more of this.

No one in the church ever slammed the Lutherans, the Pentacostals, etc. Instead, the Church praised the different denominations for the teachings, baptisms, etc. On the other hand, I agree with the statement made about other churches NOT talking about the Catholic Churches…They don’t…period…at least not in a positive way!
I was channel surfing the other morning and saw Creflo Dollar, a pentacostal preacher I used to watch. I stayed on the channel for a moment because he was saying “The Catholics want you to believe that there’s some place called purgatory…they put all this stuff in your head about getting cleansed before you go to Heaven and that’s just not true! When you’re dead you’re dead and you either go to Heaven or hell…no in-between”! A few years ago, I would have believed him…NOW I’m offended at remarks like that! Funny what a difference a couple of years can make, huh? Anyhow, I turned him off, got to another channel and the man was saying “Stay away from those Catholics…they’ll get you straight to hell”…I finally decided I’d better just turn the TV off and went to sleep!

Really didn’t mean to go here and there with this, but here’s what I know. I tried all the other churches (staying away from the Catholic Church because no one I knew had very nice things to say about it), never really felt that good about Sunday mornings…stayed away from church all together for many years…started going to my Catholic Church and am now closer to God, believe more, have peace of mind, feel better about almost everything, my Priest is not gay, he doesn’t drink and smoke and use foul language (as many Protestant pastors do), Loves His Church and everyone in it and IS A HOLY man and I am a peaceful, proud, Catholic and for the first time in my life, I know where I’ll be when I die. I’m still a work in progress, but I love my Catholic Church and what could be more Holy than actually participating in the Holy Sacrament of The Eucharist, being THAT close to our Lord, Jesus Christ!?

In response to:

“Unfortunately, many of those denominations don’t include the Catholic Church in those discussions.”

I am a new Catholic. After 58 years in the Lutheran Church, I can truly say that I have found the peace I always wanted to feel when I walk into Church.

I have already experienced the “distaste” and “negativity” from friends and family about my decision to join the Catholic Church. A good friend of mine actually said to me, “I know you didn’t become Catholic because you’re a Christian…At least I thought you were”!!! I assured her that I’m STILL a Christian and part of the oldest Christian Church in the world! She still doesn’t really “get it”.

As a new Catholic, I don’t have all the comebacks and answers for all the questions and remarks I’ve heard…What I DO know is that I have found a peace in the Catholic Church I hadn’t known for quite some time. I didn’t know if I would be accepted, or looked down on because I spent my entire life in the Lutheran Church and wanted to become Catholic at my age…I just knew I wanted more of this.

No one in the church ever slammed the Lutherans, the Pentacostals, etc. Instead, the Church praised the different denominations for the teachings, baptisms, etc. On the other hand, I agree with the statement made about other churches NOT talking about the Catholic Churches…They don’t…period…at least not in a positive way!
I was channel surfing the other morning and saw Creflo Dollar, a pentacostal preacher I used to watch. I stayed on the channel for a moment because he was saying “The Catholics want you to believe that there’s some place called purgatory…they put all this stuff in your head about getting cleansed before you go to Heaven and that’s just not true! When you’re dead you’re dead and you either go to Heaven or hell…no in-between”! A few years ago, I would have believed him…NOW I’m offended at remarks like that! Funny what a difference a couple of years can make, huh? Anyhow, I turned him off, got to another channel and the man was saying “Stay away from those Catholics…they’ll get you straight to hell”…I finally decided I’d better just turn the TV off and went to sleep!

Really didn’t mean to go here and there with this, but here’s what I know. I tried all the other churches (staying away from the Catholic Church because no one I knew had very nice things to say about it), never really felt that good about Sunday mornings…stayed away from church all together for many years…started going to my Catholic Church and am now closer to God, believe more, have peace of mind, feel better about almost everything, my Priest is not gay, he doesn’t drink and smoke and use foul language (as many Protestant pastors do), Loves His Church and everyone in it and IS A HOLY man and I am a peaceful, proud, Catholic and for the first time in my life, I know where I’ll be when I die. I’m still a work in progress, but I love my Catholic Church and what could be more Holy than actually participating in the Holy Sacrament of The Eucharist, being THAT close to our Lord, Jesus Christ!?

SS301
New Member

Welcome home. :thumbsup:

I converted at 61 after years of not going to any church. Ain’t it great? :smiley:

  1. Excellent point

  2. :smiley: Also a very good point.

“How do you respond?” As for me, I would simply agree with them!

When they say “It doesn’t matter…” the context, as I see it, is Eternal Salvation. Well, isn’t it true that if a person accepts Christ they can be saved? The Catholic Church is a subject that has to do with the unity of all Christians. Yes, it is true that several Church Fathers have said that Salvation is not possible outside of this Catholic unity, but there has also been official teachings that say that both Sacraments and Salvation can exist outside of the Church, so how then can such a teaching be considered “infallible”?

Now if when they said “It doesn’t matter…” the context actually had to do with the unity of the Church, then you would have a bone to pick with them about that. If that is actually the case then I would go through John chapter 17 where Christ prayed that we may all be one and have a discussion with them to find out why the unity of all Christians is not important to them.

If I were to guess, I would guess that they do feel that the unity of the Church is important, but for some reason they could not bring themselves to allow Rome to become the source for that unity because of some issue they have with Catholicism. - Now, whether it is because of some issue on their part, or if it is just you feeling compelled to witness to them because, in spite of what I have said, you you just can’t help but believe that they cannot be saved unless they become Catholic; either way you don’t stand much of a chance of effecting a “conversion” of them unless you can convince them than you really do accept them NOW as they are, otherwise they will never open up to you to consider what you have to say. If you can’t truly accept them as they are I would advise that you just pray for them.

Consider what the spiritual interpretation of this verse might be: “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.” (Matthew 5:25)

we don’t let other humans answer those questions, we ask Jesus himself, who founded one Church and most definitely, especially in the kingdom parables, indicates he intends all his followers to be in union with His Church.

That type of mentality is really unscriptural. God is a personal being and therefore has a particular way in which He likes to be worshiped: any Christian contesting this has not read Leviticus. It is a good thing for God to be particular in His worship because this allows us to grow in our relationship with Him. If we worship how we want to worship God and not how God wants to be worshiped then we are just worshiping ourselves and holding our wants above His.

God Bless

m

“The Raw Numerical Truth about the Episcopal Church: One third of all 6825 Episcopal churches face inevitable closure”, by David W. Virtue
virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=14783

From the article:

The consecration of the openly homosexual Bishop of New Hampshire, V. Gene Robinson, has proven to be the single greatest cause of conflict in The Episcopal Church. That action has resulted in rapidly declining and permanently lost members and financial decline with little hope of recovery. The metaphor most often used in the report was that “we failed to acknowledge the elephant in the room," referring to what many view as the momentous decision by the 74th General Convention (2003) to consent to Robinson’s consecration.

Thank you all for your replies. It just seemed that the discussions I hear between protestants of different faiths always in my limited experience evolves into “it doesn’t matter which church you go to”. It is as though they are telling themselves/each other that they agree on the so called “essentials”, and its okay to not agree on all of the “non essentials”. I fully realize as a Catholic that what a Protestant considers essential/non essential is very subjective and thus subject to their own interpretations.

Ron_Obvious
“We all serve the same God”, “God doesn’t care where you go to church as long as you go”, and “It doesn’t matter where one goes to church as long as you follow Jesus”. Just asking for thoughts from other Catholics on how they respond when confronted with this. ???

You might suggest that if they believe in following Jesus, it is vital to follow Him in His Church:

All four promises to Peter alone:
“You are Peter and on this rock I will build My Church.” (Mt 16:18)
“The gates of hell will not prevail against it.”(Mt 16:18)
I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven.” ( Mt 16:19)
“Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” (Mt 16:19)

Sole authority:
“Strengthen your brethren.” (Lk 22:32)
“Feed My sheep.”(Jn 21:17).

To whom else did Jesus give that supreme authority? Who told us what books form the Sacred Scriptures as the Word of God and carefully copied them for 1500 years so they would be available?

The term Catholic was first used by St Ignatius of Antioch in his letter to the Smyrneans, A.D. 107, “Where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” It is from the Greek katholike meaning “general” or “universal”. Within 90 years it meant also “orthodox” or faithful to the teachings of Christ. (The Catholic Catechism, Fr John A Hardon, S.J., Doubleday, 1975, p 217).

Christ gave us His Church with His authority, and His Church gave us the Bible – you wouldn’t have any Bible unless Christ’s Church had defined which books and no others are the Word of God. That’s why Protestants miss out on many vital truths – 7 sacraments, and an impossibility of having the whole truth.

The Bible itself is not complete:
“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (Jn 21:25).

St. Paul has counseled you as to whom to avoid: “Preach the word. Be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, entreat, rebuke with all patience and teaching. For there will come a time when far from being content with sound teaching, people are avid for the latest novelty and collect themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes.” (2 Tim 4:3).

Why? Because the Church is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15).

“That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive.” (Eph 4:14).

St John counsels you: “We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.” (1 Jn 4:6 ).

This Bible Christian Society newsletter makes some good points. In summary:

Consider 1 Cor 11:18-19: “*In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.”

*So, there were divisions among the Corinthian congregation. And, these divisions were such that they helped to reveal who had God’s approval. Which means, on the flip side, that there were those among the Corinthian congregation who did not have God’s approval.

Believers in an “invisible church of true believers” tend to also be believers in the notion that there are “essential” and “non-essential” doctrines and as long as we agree on the “essentials,” then we can have union with one another and we’re all saved. Problem is, who gets to decide what is an essential and what is a non-essential doctrine? And, since doctrines come from the Word of God, which part of the Word of God does one actually dare to call “non-essential?”

The notion that that we can be in union with those we have doctrinal disagreements with…that there can be true unity among those with doctrinal differences…those with different versions of what is and is not truth… is a false notion. 1 Cor 11:18-19 shows that divisions among Christians - the Corinthians being written to by Paul were all members of the Church… they were all Christians - cannot simply be ignored by using a contrived theological system which divides doctrines into essential vs. non-essential. Differences among Christians are serious matters that lead to some being approved by God and some not being approved by God.

Did the Apostles teach different doctrines to different people? The answer, of course, is “No.” The Apostles all taught the same doctrines…ALL the same doctrines. After all, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit was to guide them into all truth. If they are guided into all truth, then they cannot help but teach identical doctrines…they cannot help but teach the same truths…to all the different peoples they came across. Again, from 1 Cor 11:18-19, it is obvious that there were those among the Corinthians who believed different doctrines. Who taught them these different doctrines, the Apostles? I don’t think so.

Well, if the Apostles didn’t teach different doctrines, then why is it okay for the pastors of today’s thousands upon thousands of Protestant denominations to teach different doctrines one from another? And, if it wasn’t okay for the Corinthians to hold to different beliefs…beliefs that caused division within the Christian congregation…then why is it okay today for Protestants to hold to different beliefs…beliefs that cause division within Christianity?

Ask where they draw the line. Do they include JWs, who claim to “reason from scripture”, using their parlance? Or do they include Muslims or Jews who also believe in God? Or Hindus or Native Americans, who believe in a Superior Being of one sort or another- a Being we owe our allegiance and obedience to?

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