I frequently hear Catholics and different Protestant groups quibble about who is more holier than the other. Certainly some Protestant groups (i.e. so called mainline Protestants such as Episcopalians, and other liberal older denominations) have veered so far off track they’ve now began to redefine sin. However, the bickering usually goes on between Evangelical Protestants, Baptists, conservative older denominations (such as Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc.), and Catholics.
The contest revolves around holiness. Catholics usually charge Protestants with straying from a focus on avoiding sin, while conservative Protestant groups (who are arguably just as if not more holy than Catholics) counter with similar charges. However, it seems to me if this is the basis for who has the better church … then wouldn’t Muslims, Mormons, or JW’s win the day? Perhaps the Amish might be the real McCoy (while Catholics and regular conservative protestants are sliding into the abyss).
Or is it pharisaic to base our validity on such shaky & “humanistic” grounds?
You raise a good question, answer it well in your final statement, but fall trap to being holier than thou in your claim that “mainline Protestant’s. . . .have veered so far off the track…” That is you claim of holier than my friend.
But you last sentence is correct. It is pharisaic. Jesus made it quite clear that it was the boasters among his own people who were out of line. Wanting to be seen as most pious and most observant, siting in the front, wearing their phylateries, etc etc. Their holiness was only in boasting of being the best, the first, and the most pious, it had little to do with their heart.
No faith has any right to declare itself better than another. One has every right to determine that one faith is better for them, nothing more. To do the former is to step into God’s territory.
Catholicism and ONLY Catholicism, as the Church that Jesus started, has the fullness of truth. Does that make the Catholics “better” than everyone else? Not really, but it does make the Catholic Church the only source of sanctifying grace and that is the source of holiness. The holier you are, the closer to God you are.
Its not about finding really really holy people so much as finding the ‘Church’ Christ said He would build…its important because *that *Church was guaranteed to last from His day until the end of time. It *alone *had the guarantee that the gates of hades would not prevail against it … etc…
So I think you missed the point. God established ‘a Church’ not ‘churches’ nor contradictory churches.
You may be in His church, but like Judas etc, you are not automatically ‘Holy’ just by being in the Church building.
Since God established only *one *Church we therefore only know of *one *way to heaven; namely, through His *one *Church.
Bearing in mind that Christs Church members were not holier-than-thou-art when Christ was alive, one betrayed Him etc.
Finally, the ‘true’ Church cannot be established by any man, a man can only establish which is the true Church.
Do I really have to explain that I and other Non RC’s are well aware of what your church tells you to believe? We don’t agree, so if we are going to talk about being holier than thou, I suspect that those who claim their church is by definition, are exactly what the OP had in mind.
Thats not the point. Christ, God, said He would build His Church. The Church is a real Thing. The RC Church has not made this up. It is in your bible also.
The Church is like the electricty grid you plug into, for energy to work, theres only one God, one religion, one church, one truth - one electricity, not 2 contradictory electricitys…
The OP was talking about holier-than-thou-art people, individuals, in the ‘churches’.
We are talking about ‘a Church’ as a Super-Natural entity established by Christ. It is His Church which He gave His protection to.
I never understood why anyone would argue about holiness. There are two common definitions for it: 1) reserved for God, and 2)spiritually whole and sound. We are all, as Christians, equally reserved for God. For instance, it sounds stupid to say this table was more reserved for me than that one unless that table was never reserved. In that case, to claim greater holiness than another sounds like saying… their baptism isn’t any good.:eek: The second use sounds just as silly unless you’re claiming to be deserving of heaven right now. I understand some people feel that way, but Catholics shouldn’t be arguing that sort of thing… with a living person. Is it pharisaic? Probably. It is, however, very sad when one considers “wounds to unity” in the context of One Church. With Christians bickering with each other, it is a wonder anyone in their right senses would believe anything they say? Then again, I never claimed to be in my right senses.
Absolutely.And it’s not a question of being more personally holy.It’s a matter of obedience to Christ and His Catholic Church not to some Eclaisial body started by a disgruntled King or apostate priest.
Actually, this is a pretty good answer, though I think many protestants are quite aware of their own lack of holiness and continued need to grow in grace (sanctification). Perhaps if we were all to recognize what is lacking in ourselves and at the same time see the Holy Spirit in each other, Christian love, and charity would grow, and maybe even promote unity.
It’s a perfect exhibition of what Paul meant by self-righteousness, by “a righteousness of my own”:
[/LIST]It’s as self-righteous for one group as for any other, no matter what the name, or the works, or history, or any other thing: it is a complete denial of the gracious character of the Gospel, for anyone, of any group, to boast of his or her or its righteousness or holiness. For a very simple reason: Catholic self-righteousness, Protestant self-righteousness, any & every self-righteousness, are nothing but piles of vomit & filth in comparison with the Righteousness of Christ. In comparison with that, every Christian is a pervert & a Satanist, Reformed, Lutheran, Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox, the lot.
Protestants ought to know that. If they were all ten thousand times more virtuous than all the Saints together, their hearts would still be stinking & infected sepulchres, full to overflowing with filth, after justification as well as before. So there is not an atom of an excuse for them to glory in anything that they have done. So all this bashing of Christian by Christian is carnal & earthly-minded to the core.
As for churches being better than others - without Christ, they are no better than whore-houses, & their “holiness” is no better than of consecrated prostitutes. The Gospel is absolutely radical - it ruins every single security, including that of the believing Christian; & that is what Luther seems to have understood, & what Evangelicals in every age need to remember. If people trust in anything but Christ, they are idolaters, no matter how reformed or Protestant they may seem.
This radical Gospel condemns all men on earth as unrighteous - there is absolutely nothing in any one of us to distinguish any of us from anyone else: there is is no difference between a paedophile RC priest, & a self-denying Protestant missionary: both are condemned, along with every one else. The only distinguishing is done by God - not by men. God has shut up all men in unrighteousness - so that He may have mercy on them. How can God be gracious to the damnable Catholic, the damnable Evangelical, the damnable non-Christian, or the damnable atheist, unless all grace is His alone to give ? But as it is in His gift alone, there is no place for any boasting in one’s self-righteousness whatever.