Evangelical, Protestant, Catholic...?


#1

Some back-history before my question:

I’m from Texas, and my parents have always been firm Christians. I was born to a Presbyterian church, and attended a Baptist church when I was in 3rd grade. I went there up until my junior year, when I decided that the people and the doctrine just weren’t working for me. I was drifting from God too, so the church didn’t appeal to me again until recently(soph. in college). I’m ready to be back, b/c I need God in my life, and b/c I want to be able to give my long-time boyfriend (soon to be husband) a nudge in the Godly direction. I’ve been to an Episcopal private school, and a Baptist middle school, and (thank God) a public high school.

I’ve never been able to have someone tell me, without major bias, how Protestants differ from Catholics. Why does everyone seem to hate Baptists? I thought most of the people I knew at church were fine, although I eventually quit telling people I was Baptist b/c I couldn’t stand the apparent malice that went along with that label. You’d think my parents could tell me these things, but I get the feeling they aren’t telling me everything.

I believe that the only way to Heaven is through the belief that Jesus died for your sins on the cross, and that you cannot make it to Heaven based on good works. I don’t believe in Purgatory. I believe that same-sex marriages are a desecration of the sacred act that God intended it to be, and that while we cannot stop these people from joining the church, they should in no way be in a position to give advice or lead the church. I also believe that women should not be in positions of power or advice within the church (i.e. ministers, pastors, etc.)

I’m a bit confused as to what all of those beliefs add up to, religion wise. I’ve read through the forums and I’m impressed by many of y’all’s depth of knowledge.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


#2

Here’s a good start. Salvation

And Purgatory


#3

[quote=evadne]Some back-history before my question:

I’m from Texas, and my parents have always been firm Christians. I was born to a Presbyterian church, and attended a Baptist church when I was in 3rd grade. I went there up until my junior year, when I decided that the people and the doctrine just weren’t working for me. I was drifting from God too, so the church didn’t appeal to me again until recently(soph. in college). I’m ready to be back, b/c I need God in my life, and b/c I want to be able to give my long-time boyfriend (soon to be husband) a nudge in the Godly direction. I’ve been to an Episcopal private school, and a Baptist middle school, and (thank God) a public high school.

I’ve never been able to have someone tell me, without major bias, how Protestants differ from Catholics. Why does everyone seem to hate Baptists? I thought most of the people I knew at church were fine, although I eventually quit telling people I was Baptist b/c I couldn’t stand the apparent malice that went along with that label. You’d think my parents could tell me these things, but I get the feeling they aren’t telling me everything.

I believe that the only way to Heaven is through the belief that Jesus died for your sins on the cross, and that you cannot make it to Heaven based on good works. I don’t believe in Purgatory. I believe that same-sex marriages are a desecration of the sacred act that God intended it to be, and that while we cannot stop these people from joining the church, they should in no way be in a position to give advice or lead the church. I also believe that women should not be in positions of power or advice within the church (i.e. ministers, pastors, etc.)

I’m a bit confused as to what all of those beliefs add up to, religion wise. I’ve read through the forums and I’m impressed by many of y’all’s depth of knowledge.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
[/quote]

I highly recommend Scott Hahn’s book called “Rome Sweet Home” which explains the differences in religion that you speak of. It’s put together well by Scott Hahn and his wife who were struggling with the same issues. It’s also available as an audio book and can easily be read to you as you drive which I find really great.

Hope this helps!
BH


#4

The major differences between Protestants and Catholics is in two things, salvation and authority.

Salvation - It is a very hard thing (in my opinion) to concisely illustrate the differences in the two viewpoints on salvation. Suffice to say that most Protestants claim that Catholics think you need to do good works to be justified, and that this is unbiblical. This is not entirely true, and you’ll find that the differences in justification are not as great as most Protestants believe them to be. In my opinion the biggest difference in the two viewpoints is when you are justified, as opposed to how you are justified.

Authority - Catholics believe that there is a three-legged stool of authority with one leg being Scripture, another Sacred Tradition and the third the Magisterium (the pope). Protestants reject most tradition (it seems to me that they pick and choose which tradition to keep, for example they choose to keep the canon of the New Testament of the bible and for some unknown reason they take the Jews Old Testament of the bible) and they also reject the Magisterium and claim that the Bible is the most authoritative thing. This would be a good system except that history has shown how bad it actually is. Even from the time of the Reformation, rejecting the authority of the Church has resulted in countless interpretations of the Bible; some of them bizarre. Some people claim that there are 20 000 Protestant denominations today. I don’t really care how many there are, but even if there are 20 that is too many. The Protestant formula does not work. Indeed, if you are so opposed to same-sex marriages and female ministers then I suggest you join the Catholic Church. That is the only way to guarantee that your Church will continue to oppose these things.

Also realise that those people who are condemning Baptists are in the wrong. It is wrong to persecute somebody, no matter what their beliefs are. Catholics believe that other Christian denominations contain parts of the Truth, but to come to the fullness of Truth they must come home to Rome. Therefore some other denominations (and indeed other religions) do actually have some good in them, they’re only lacking the full Truth.

Purgatory is an interesting example as in my opinion it seems to be a huge tick in the favour of Catholics and Orthodox Churches. Both of these Churches have believed in purgatory since Christ was on the Earth, and I think that Orthodox Jews believe in purgatory as well? I’m not so sure about this. But I am sure that there are some Jews that pray for their dead for (I think it is) 11 months after they have died. There is some good evidence in what Protestants call the Apocrypha (what Catholics call the Deuterocanonicals) for purgatory and I have a theory that one of the reasons that the Reformers removed the Deuterocanonicals from the Bible was due to the reference to purgatory, since purgatory doesn’t really seem to square with Protestants theories on justification.

To conclude I will make the claim that the Catholic Church has been around since the time of Christ. The Protestant Churches have only been around since the Reformation, and many of them contain practices that can easily be shown to be false by studying the history of the Church. Jesus desired unity in his followers and the only way to obtain this unity is for the Reformers to come back home to the Catholic Church. Now if you are thinking that Protestants may be correct, I will set you a homwork question :slight_smile:

How can you know which books belong in the Bible, without Sacred Tradition? Be sure to include reasons why the book of Mormon (for example) should not be included, as well as why other books of New Testament times (such as the Didache). Also give reasons as to why books such as the book of Philemon should be included in the New Testament. Information on this is plentiful on the internet, but make sure to research a large number of sources - both Catholic and Protestant alike - to obtain an answer. Have fun :slight_smile:

God bless.


#5

[quote=evadne]. Why does everyone seem to hate Baptists? I thought most of the people I knew at church were fine, although I eventually quit telling people I was Baptist b/c I couldn’t stand the apparent malice that went along with that label. You’d think my parents could tell me these things, but I get the feeling they aren’t telling me everything.

[/quote]

I’ll let you read the tracts Church Militant linked. They’re good, but please feel free to ask questions if something in particular isn’t clear.

Just so you know, many people of differing backgrounds do not hate Baptists. I think they’re almost entirely very nice folks, but of course we all have our failings. I think what you’re alluding to is perhaps the general perception that any denomination of Baptist is a “fundamentalist”, and a fundamentalist is an “extremist” or is somehow bigoted. While some may fall under that category, it certainly does not apply to a majority of Baptists, as you well know.

Hope to see you around often! :wave:


#6

Thank you for your responses! I’m going to be attending a Mass with two of my friends this next week, and check it out for myself.

As far as same-sex marriages and female ministers, I know that many Protestant denom. have accepted either one or both of these concepts, and I am right in believing (hopefully?) that the Catholic church will never accept such atrocities into its midst.

I’m a bit apprehensive about attending Mass, but I think it mainly stems from the weird feeling one gets when they’re going against their family beliefs.

Thank you all again!


#7

[quote=evadne]As far as same-sex marriages and female ministers, I know that many Protestant denom. have accepted either one or both of these concepts, and I am right in believing (hopefully?) that the Catholic church will never accept such atrocities into its midst.
[/quote]

You are absolutely right in believing the Church will never accept these. Never ever ever ever!


#8

How about a very personal relationship with Jesus you find in the Catholic church. You cannot get any closer to Him and have a relationship with Him than receiving Him in the Eucharist.


#9

Kay Cee,

That is one of my favorite quotes from G.K Chesterton, it sums up the freedom so simply of being Catholic and not having to reinvent interpretations every generation.

Back to the thread…

And to stress the same-sex \ female minister positions that some denominations have accepted there is absolutely no worry about that in the Catholic Church.

As an example of this, look up the Catholic Church position on contraception. Even though it is an unpopular position you will see how the Catholic Church remained true to it’s teaching. I believe this was the position of most every denomination up until about 1930.

God Bless
Scylla


#10

Well, first, welcome to the forums Evadne! Hope you enjoy your time here.

Not everyone hates Baptists. I was born and raised a Baptist, my parents still are Baptist as well as several friends. Most are good folks and they have a lovely hymnal. :smiley: Sadly, I’ve also seen some not-so-good Baptists who tend to be very Anti-Catholic. But all in all, I still love the Baptists. They are Separated Brethern after all. :slight_smile:

I can understand being apprehensive about attending Mass for the first time. It can be intimidating if you’re not used to Liturgical worship. If and when you go, go with either a friend who is Catholic or ask the priest to introduce you to someone who can help you out.


#11

[quote=Cairisti]I can understand being apprehensive about attending Mass for the first time. It can be intimidating if you’re not used to Liturgical worship. If and when you go, go with either a friend who is Catholic or ask the priest to introduce you to someone who can help you out.
[/quote]

Very good advice! I just recently returned to the Catholic Church earlier this year after 20 years away and I was very fortunate during the first few weeks that a good childhood friend attends there. On the days when he was helping out with the offering (he is KoC) he introduced me to another gentleman who was very helpful to us in understanding what was going on at any point.

Since then my wife has chosen to come to mass with my children and me. She was raised Baptist and I had spent some years at Baptist church when my mother started taking us there. It was kind of difficult to describe to my wife how things were different other than to say “it’s different, but not weird different” lol. Like her, you may feel a little lost or overwhelmed during mass because you don’t exactly understand what’s going on, but you should not feel uncomfortable at all or embarrased at any point. When they offer the sign of peace just turn to those around you, shake hands and say “peace be with you” to each other. When they start going up for Communion just remain in your seat, don’t worry though, no one will be staring at you wondering why :slight_smile: If you wish to show politeness, lower the kneeler for those coming back to your pew.

I remember the first thing my wife said after attending her first mass was something like “That was quick! Shouldn’t it have been a few hours longer?” :smiley: She also has quickly felt much more comfortable during mass and finds it to be a much more solem and spiritual worship than what she was used to.

Now, this is a little bit of stereotyping here but having spent a good number of years at Baptist churches I know why many people are a bit “anti-Baptist” … mostly because most (not all) Baptists tend to be very “anti-non-Baptist” lol. But if/when you attend a mass at Catholic Church you don’t need to worry, no one will treat you badly or act anti-Baptist at all. Anyone you talk to will be glad you came to mass and express hope to see you again. If the parish you go to has an after-mass social, you might consider stopping in for some juice and donuts and getting to know a few people. If you speak to the Priest i’m sure he’d be glad to help you out with any questions you have and will be likely to have materials available for you to take and read if you wish.


#12

[quote=evadne]Thank you for your responses! I’m going to be attending a Mass with two of my friends this next week, and check it out for myself.
[/quote]

Was just thinking about this thread today and wondered if you did attend Mass this last weekend evadne? If so, what were your impressions and is there any questions you came away with that anyone here might be able to help you with? :slight_smile:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.