My favorite response:
“If our differences matter so little, just become Catholic”
Oh what’s that? Oh you can’t because theological differences matter? That’s what I thought.
My favorite response:
“If our differences matter so little, just become Catholic”
Oh what’s that? Oh you can’t because theological differences matter? That’s what I thought.
What did the Christians do in the hundreds of years when there was no Bible?
Ultimately, one’s denomination does matter, because truth is not relative. If two different denominations believe two opposite things, either one of them is wrong or both of them are wrong, but both cannot be right in the same way. For example, Baptists believe that baptizing infants does nothing, while Catholics believe that baptizing infants removes original sin. Both cannot be right.
Because truth is not relative and because different denominations disagree wih each other, there must be a denomination that is closer to the fullness of the truth than the others.
One thing I’ve never understood is the saying that “we agree on the basics and the rest doesn’t matter”. First, we can’t even agree on what the basics are to begin with. Second, whoare we to say what does and doesn’t matter? Third, Jesus didn’t ask for partial unity (as if such a thing exists). He asked for unity.
Gospels were being copied very early on, very soon after they were written, and passed around the Middle Eastern World. Its amazing how fast they were spreading. But then we Christians can thank the Romans for their roads.
Yet, there was no printing press, no Canon. If every Bible were confiscated, we would still be able to practice our Faith.
People just copied the individual Gospels and letters of the Apostles and took them everywhere. We have evidence of this in the history of the Early Church, and in the rubbish heaps of the people of the time.
Those Gospels, the last written at the close and or turn of the 100AD, demonstrate the miracle of the Early Church in its spreading, especially in the face of the persecution of the Jewish Christian movement , as it was then, and in those gentiles who converted.
The oral tradition was powerful too. It was a time everyone who knew about Jesus, was discussing exactly what the whole series of events meant. Who and what and why was Jesus. This took several Centuries to unravel. Was Jesus truly human, a God, Son Of a God, a Spirit, a prophet, did He really suffer crucifixion death and resurrection in human form. Your typical market day chat of the first few centuries for early jewish and gentile converts.
Sure. But there was serious questions as to what letters, gospels, and books went into what we have now as the bible. Some people wanted Clement and didn’t want Peter. Some people were touchy about Revalation. There was no canonical bible with a set list of books till the 4th century. It got narrowed down more and more, but it wasn’t set up as official until the Church canonized it.
The non denominational view, as was presented here, makes zero sense to me. As a Catholic I go to Eucharistic adoration. I offer the adoration reserved for God alone to the consecrated Host; because I believe, as Jesus told us, that it is Jesus. To a Baptist or a Pentecostalist this may well be idolatry, and a grave sin.
I had my children baptized as infants. To a Salvation Army person or an Anabaptist this might be considered invalid.
I believe that I can sin mortally and thus remove myself from the state of sanctifying grace, after I have had it. A baptist may say this is folly.
How on earth are any of these ‘mere differences’ that Jesus wouldn’t care about. Especially the Eucharist???
What are you referring to in my post about individual Gospels being copied as booklets, and prayer books, and travelling around the Mediterranean with their owners and writers?
Oral tradition was big, everyone was discussing just who Jesus was, and what it all meant
This was early Christianity, pre Nicea, and it was a time of great persecution.
I can honestly say that I have never heard a Protestant say this. I have heard Protestants say, rightfully, the denomination does not impact salvation (assuming it is actually a Christian denomination). However, doctrine matters. It impacts how the gospel is proclaimed. It defines whether you believe that Jesus death and resurrection saves, or whether my actions save. It impacts whether I believe I can live a licentious lifestyle as an antinomian, or whether I believe that God saved me for a purpose so my life should reflect that. It impacts whether I believe the sacraments are efficacious to deliver God’s grace to sinners, or whether they are merely an outward display of obedience. It is why I am not Baptist or Methodist, or Roman Catholic for that matter.
So to answer your question, there is no refutation necessary. Its a straw man.
Yes. I may have misunderstood. My point was just that while the elements of the NT were out there, they hadn’t been officially canonized yet.
Speaking from an American Evangelical perspective… What denomination someone belongs to matters, but not as much as knowing Jesus and being known by Jesus. When it comes time for judgement we are not going to be judged based on if we are Baptist, Methodist, Assembly of God or whatever. You can be the best Baptist ever and still not know Jesus.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Just acknowledging Jesus as Lord will not gain us entry into the kingdom of heaven. Doing mighty works in the name of the Lord will not get us into heaven. Those who know Jesus and as a result seek to do His will are those who will be welcomed in the the Kingdom of Heaven. I believe that there are those in every Christian denomination who know Jesus and seek His Kingdom and His righteousness.
But denomination does matter in the fact that some denominations are more gospel centered than others. Some have become more like social clubs and focus very little on God’s Kingdom and righteousness. Some have become advocates of social and political change and focus very little on God’s Kingdom and righteousness. Are there true Christians who seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in those denominations, probably, are they the norm. Probably not.
Let me start by saying that I enjoyed your post and agree with the majority of what you said.
Like this for instance…
However, when I read this statement with this one…
This got me thinking. If it doesn’t matter, then how can we be certain that we truly “know Jesus” and how can we be certain we are “seeking to do His will”?
I am sure you would agree that many different denominations have differences in what they believe is God’s Will. So how can you know you are doing His will if your denomination might not be teaching the fullness of His will?
From my interpretation it sure seemed like Jesus’ will was for there to be ONE Church not multiple denominations. (Matthew 16)
St. Paul tells us that it is God’s will that their be one Faith and one Baptism. (Ephesians 4) He also tells us that we all agree and there be no division (1 Corinthians 1)
The list of verses goes on and on about the prescriptions that seem to be Jesus’ will for us. Not all of us agree that these are the will of God. So without a “denomination” left in charge to help us define the “Will of God” how do we know that we are doing His Will and not our own?
Other than that all in all it was a great post.
How do you know you are in love? How do you know you want to marry someone? How do you know who your best friend is? When you have a relationship with someone you know it.
But from a Biblical perspective 1 John 4 tells us how we can know we know Jesus.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.
I know that I abide in Christ and Christ abides in me because He has given me His Spirit, because I confess that Jesus is the son of God, and God has changed my affections toward Him and toward the world to one of Love instead of selfishness and fear and anger. That is not to say that I"m always unselfish, or never fearful, or never angry. But the desire of my heart is to have the Holy Spirit produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in every aspect of my life. That is how I know I know Jesus and am seeking after His Kingdom and Righteousness.
This is exactly my point. These are all feelings. Feelings can be right and feelings can be wrong. I am sure you would agree that for every person who “knows” they are in love that maybe 50% of them are right. It’s pretty evident from the divorce rate in this country that those who know they want to marry someone else are wrong.
That’s my point if you are leaving it up to your own feelings how can you be certain that you are right?
Yes I agree, but this also brings us right back to does denomination matter. This Bible verse is the basis of “Abiding” in Jesus. However what about this verse directly from the mouth of Jesus…
John 6:56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
Can we simple confess Jesus is the Son of God and say yep now I know I abide in Jesus, I can feel it…
Do we have to do the Will of Jesus and eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood in order to “Abide” in Him.
Some denominations say 1 John 4 is the Will of Jesus others say it’s Both John 6:56 and 1 John 4 are the Will of Jesus.
Not saying you don’t abide in Jesus. Just trying to point out how do we know for certain what is Jesus Will?
Well it is clear that the Spirit has to abide in the person in question. To me, that is the true marker of a Christian. Does the Holy Spirit abide in them? It goes beyond feelings and understandings. It is Christ himself living within us by the power of the Holy Spirit. The only person that can answer that question is me for myself and you for yourself. We know our hearts, we know our faith, and we know if we have been filled with the Spirit. Others can’t answer that question for us. However, people from many different denominations profess Christ and live lives of faith that give evidence of being “in Christ and Christ in them”. Are you willing to dismiss all of them (us) from abiding in Christ based on John 6:56?
Or just maybe when Jesus was addressing the grumbling of the Apostles and said " It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." He was clarifying that he was speaking of spiritual things and not fleshly/physical things.
I would say the evidence of millions of people living a life full of faithfulness and charity as a result of encountering and receiving Jesus as “Lord and Savior” (who according to Catholic dogma do not eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ) indicates that latter is true. I’m not saying that everyone who has ever professed Jesus a “Lord and Savior” are actually “In Christ”. But I would have a hard time saying that those who have worked to spread the Love of Christ to their community, their region, and the world and who seek to display His love through acts of charity and kindness are not “In Christ”.
That didn’t come till later centuries, The middens Of Egypt tell us that individual Gospels and prayer books were common in the time before that. People knew the Gospels as written and copied and little books travelling with their owners.
We know during this time of persecution too, they were being burnt and destroyed along with Christians.
I think this goes right along with the point I’m trying to make. How can you be certain Jesus left it up to you to decide and to know when you are abiding in Him. Why would Jesus leave something that is so vitally important in the hands of every single individual to decide for themselves what it means to abide in Him and when they are abiding in Him.
No not sure why you think this? I even made sure to state…
I’m not seeing how verse 63 is evidence that Jesus didn’t mean what he said in verse 56. It sure seems Jesus was speaking of His literal flesh all through out John 6 are you saying He is clarifying to the Apostles that He wasn’t speaking of His literal flesh being given for the world?
Which brings us right back to the only point I am making here. Some denominations say only 1 John because John 6 doesn’t mean what it say, others say both 1 John and John 6.
John 6 came right from the mouth of Jesus I would sure think something coming directly from His mouth would be His will.
Would you say it is possible for millions of people to appear to be doing the will of the father externally and not really be doing the will internally? The people that come to mind are those street preachers who corner you and belittle you or the ones that stand in front of Churches claiming everyone inside is going to Hell. I’m pretty sure if you asked them they would say they are doing the will of God.
Once again I am not claiming Jesus does not abide in you or anyone else, how can I. All I am getting at is who has the authority to define what is the Will of God that we must abide in for Jesus to Abide in us?
Some say Baptism is within the will of God some say it isn’t. Some say confession is some say it isn’t. Some say loving neighbor is some say it is but not really necessary so if you get around to it great.
Once again not claiming you don’t abide in Jesus, just asking for evidence of His will and how we know this is His will and not just our private interpretation of what we want His will to be?
Because faith is a personal thing. We each have our own path to faith and our own experiences of faith. The church (people of God) can lead us to faith and help us grow in faith, but it can’t give us faith. That is between each of us and our God. We each must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Each of us must decide for ourselves what we believe and how to live out that belief.
The reason I said that is because if John 6:53-58 means what the Catholic church teaches it means then everyone else who calls on the Name of the Lord and seeks His Kingdom and righteousness doesn’t abide in Christ and are doomed.
We don’t have valid priest to give us the literal body and blood of Christ. Instead we understand the Lord’s Supper to be a celebration, thanksgiving, and remembrance of what Christ has done for us and a physical act that represents a spiritual reality, that we are completely dependent on Christ (the Bread of Life) for our sustenance and life.
Intellectual honesty would cause Catholics to tell non-Catholics Christians that they aren’t “In Christ” because they don’t take the Eucharist from a valid Priest and because they don’'t believe in transubstantiation. If I were Catholic and believed in transubstantiation that could only be given by a Catholic priest then that is what I would believe and what I would tell non-Catholics. Either physically eating the body and blood of the Lord is required to be saved or it is not. There isn’t much room for a gray area.
Jesus established his Church.
Only the Catholics and Orthodox can make the claim to this( one but separated by schism).
Protestantism started with Hus and Wycliffe in the 14th and 15th century but didn’t really take off until the 16th century.
So denominationalism wasn’t even a thing until the 16th century. The problem with Protestantism is this, it promotes everyone interpreting scripture themselves. You can have a Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist talking on the same street about the same reading and saying “thus sayist the Lord” yet they are really interpreting themselves. And what happens when someone in the congregation goes and studies it and says to the pastor, no you are wrong, I’ve been here longer you leave; or just go make their own new church. The humanism in Protestantism is directly why secularism is rampant, and slowly has been going that way since the 16th century. It’s heresy really, the Church doesn’t use that language much anymore but in all reality Protestantism was created by heretics, just like the early heresies of the Church. Unfortunately because of the political climate and the printing press, and some purely reasonable issues the Church doesn’t deny such as abuse at the time and the western papal schism of 1378-1417 hurt the view of the papacy. However it wasn’t a reformation. How does going from essentially one Church to thousands constitute a reformation? The Protestants made this indifference to Church a thing.
Not one of Luther’s teachings about sola scriptura or sola fide was ever heard of until he came up with it 1500 years after Christ. And the guy suffered from serious scrupulocity; like to the point he probably would have needed counseling. Protestants view him as this hero but he really isn’t. He wasn’t wrong about everything and even the Church acknowledged that at the Diet, but about 20 of his teachings were heretical and he was calling the pope the antichrist and such. Unfortunately his heresy spread into even further heresy to the point many of these denominations of today resemble nothing of Catholicism. Ironically Anglicanism which was in schism until Archbishop Cranmer who secretly held Lutheran beliefs brought it into heresy in the 1570s. But that and Lutheranism in itself are probably the two denominations that have any resemblance whatsoever of the Church. The Anabaptists and these new restoration groups are just a result of the protestant revolution.