For Protestants who have been around awhile...


#1

Has this forum changed your views about Catholicism?
I recall this question being asked before but it seemed more Catholics joined in.
My experience:
I came into this thinking we were, to way oversimplify it, on the same team. After time, when you get to the heart of the matter, Catholicism does not teach that at all. I studied early Christian writings like I never have before and it has caused me to look at scriptures in a whole new light. I am not convinced that Catholicism teaches the faith as taught in the Bible. I know I have been way to…liberal for some people’s taste(Hi Fredricks) but I am starting to finally see you really cannot be on the fence about the Catholic and Protestant split. If Catholicism is from
God like Randy says, what are we from? And vice-versa of course. The sides are drawn, I do not see how I can escape it anymore. My family, if i am to stay married and not traumatize my kids, will stay Methodist but maybe I could attend another church at night I suppose. Fundamentalism seems so odd to me but the only choice I can honestly see outside of that is a lifeless liberal belief system which suggests it is all “myth with a meaning”. Protestant reactions sought please!:slight_smile:


#2

Hi Brian,

I have enjoyed reading your posts BTW:D I have been on these forums for almost a year now. I thought the same way you did when I came here. As time went on I too have learned and studied more church history and the ECF. I am grateful to the catholics here for helping me learn more:thumbsup:

However, sadly I also believe there are so many issues that seperate us that I am disappointed. I really truly thought we had more in common.:frowning:

As it turns out I know more about catholocism now then all my catholic friends.:eek: Which is sad. Considering I was never raised catholic.

What these forums have done for me is strengthened my own faith, made me stronger in bible apologetics(had no experience before) and I have met several people that I just love talking with.:thumbsup: God put me here for a reason. Some might say to convert. I myself feel it was a learning experience in patience, kindness ,tolerance, respect and most importantly I have studied the Scripture like I have never done before.:dancing: I think God may be preparing me for something else in my life. Which actually scares me a little.:o

Thanks for asking:thumbsup:


#3

Prior to find this thread, I spent a lot of time on CARM and the Jack Chick stuff, after a year of using this website and observing the questions and answers on this forum, I converted to the Catholic Church!


#4

OK, let me see if I have this staight:

Being on this board has convinced you that Catholicism and Protestantism are so incompatible that if Catholicism is false (which you’re convinced it is) then either fundamentalism or liberalism must be true?

I don’t think I follow the logic that has led to this remarkable conclusion, which no doubt is my fault for not following the threads. I do understand why hanging out on this board would lead one to *feel *that way. But I don’t think your conclusion is rational. I think that being around people who press the claims of Catholicism dogmatically makes you feel as if only extremes can be true. I’ve felt the same way.

But I don’t see any *evidence *to back up what you are saying. Why exactly is fundamentalism superior to where you are at present?

I’ve faced the same choice. I’m not happy with Episcopalianism right now, but I can assure you that even in this denomination (one of the more liberal out there) there is a great deal going on that is not “a lifeless liberal belief system.” Fundamentalism just isn’t an option, not because it’s odd but because it plainly isn’t true. And isn’t truth what matters?

And I differ stronly with your claim that Catholicism teaches that we aren’t all “on the same team.” That is exactly what Vatican II taught, as I understand it. I’d like to see your sources for claiming otherwise. (I don’t of course mean that the differences are unimportant–but the Catholic Church teaches clearly that Protestantism is not something diametrically opposed to Catholicism but rather a form of Christianity that contains much truth and goodness but lacks the fullness found in Catholicism.)

It seems to me that you have worked yourself up into believing things that simply aren’t true, and I’d like to have the chance to persuade you that they aren’t.

Edwin


#5

Just posting to mark the thread. I’ll delete this post but the thread will still be “marked”:slight_smile:


#6

#7

thank you for your response and good luck!!:smiley:


#8

Practically everything that is distinctive to fundamentalism. Of course we need to define “fundamentalism.” If you are talking about the “paleo-fundamentalism” of people like J. Gresham Machen (the “Five Fundamentals,” etc.), then it’s somewhat of a different matter though I still have many disagreements. But if you’re talking about what is usually identified as fundamentalism today, then here would be a short list:
[/quote]


#9

The fundamentalist approach to Scripture, for starters; it ignores historical context and literary genre, making Scripture something close to an idol on the one hand and evading its plain message on the other; it cannot possibly explain the formation of the canon (as Catholic apologists never tire of pointing out), and of the reasons it gives for believing Scripture in the first place, the only one that does not obviously collapse at a first glance is the boldly presuppositionalist one–the 66-book canon simply is the starting point, period. I don’t find that believable.

Then there’s the historical issue we’ve already discussed. Fundamentalism is forced either to ignore history or to make up fantasies about it that are obviously in conflict with the evidence.

Then there’s the fundamentalist view of salvation, in which everything depends on a one-time mental and volitional act which is in our free will and yet is allegedly the antithesis of salvation by works. Those who perform this act of “trusting in Christ” are saved no matter what they do afterwards (though it is to be presumed that they will try to lead holy lives), and those who can’t point to the moment when they performed this act (even if they show the fruit of the Spirit, even if they live humbly before God, not boasting or vaunting their own righteousness) are damned. It’s salvation by formula–perhaps the most immoral doctrine ever put forward under the guise of Christianity. (Selling indulgences was an innocent game by comparison.)

And then there’s dispensationalist eschatology, with it’s bizarre “dividing of the Word of God,” its compartmentalizing of God’s saving grace as if God dealt with us according to arbitrary rules that could be changed from one dispensation to the next, and (in extreme forms) its outright denial of the relevance of large portions of Scripture.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. You may not mean all these things by “fundamentalism.” You have been rather vague in your terminology, so I may be wide from the mark. You may simply be considering embracing a stricter and more dogmatic form of Protestantism than you have experienced hitherto. And since I don’t know what your local Methodist church is like, I don’t know what this might mean. If you have experienced the more liberal wing of Methodism, then I may be taking alarm unnecessarily–a move in a more “fundamentalist” direction might be a good thing. But if, on the other extreme, you go to a church like the one my parents attend, with a pastor who is about as conservative as you could be in the UMC (and who in fact struggles with the question of whether he can remain in the UMC), then a move toward “fundamentalism” would be (IMHO) disastrous. Also, there are of course many forms of the Wesleyan tradition that are more conservative than the UMC–the only ones that I’d see as analogous to true fundamentalists are the “conservative holiness” churches, which probably aren’t even on your radar screen (and even they are better off in terms of soteriology than the Baptist groups). If you’re thinking of joining the Wesleyans or some similar group, then God bless you. If you’re thinking of joining what I’d consider true fundamentalism, then God help you!

From your language I got the impression that you were considering getting as far away from both Catholicism and liberalism as possible, and I may have exaggerated what this would mean. I have spent a lot of time around really extreme fundamentalists, so I may have jumped to conclusions!

Vatican II was, and you know more than I do, infallible, or was it from a Catholic view. It, Vatican II, seems quite a bit more tolerant than some of the thing i have read on the traditonal forum.

Exactly, so why are you taking those guys seriously? Vatican II is an Ecumenical Council. They are just a bunch of cranks sounding off on the Internet. They don’t speak for Catholicism any more than the liberal Catholics who trumpet the “Spirit of Vatican II” and ignore its actual texts (though the latter are far more common in the real world than the traditionalists).

Again, I’m sorry if I’m overreacting. When you see someone go in what you think is the wrong direction, you tend to freak out. I appreciate your courtesy in responding!

In Christ,

Edwin


#10

I feel like I should give you my insurance card and let you charge me for counseling.
Thank you for your detailed reply as always. Perhaps I need a break to clear my head. To clarify, I do not have an exact defintion of what fundamentalism FOR ME would be. While I agree that a move in a more theologically orthodox church could make a difference perhaps in my mindset, I am starting to wonder about your option 3. For better or worse, especially as it relates to John
chapter 6, Marian dogmas, and the Papacy, I have become more dogmatic in my thoughts than I would have thought possible one year ago! BUT I have certainly done a little dabbling in biblical scholarship, enough to make me quite leary of literalism and that particular mindset, it does seem plausible it did go into apostasy. But which group to join??? I know enough about various denominations to know that I face serious obstacles as you stated so well. How could I adopt a radically different mindset? The minute they start talking about 2nd Peter…I would think, you mean the fellow who wrote it after Jude???
On the other hand, I have lived a long time in option 2 and perhaps my thoughts are based upon dealing with and accepting the presuppositions of Catholic fundamentalists.
thank you
Brian


#11

I am not sure if I qualify, but I shall opine anyway.

  1. I start with the presupposition that Evangelicals share a great deal with Catholics, so whatever I learn from Catholic Answers, I have to remember that on most issues, Evangelicals and Catholics are united. We can dabble in issues of the Papacy, Marian dogma, the communion, etc. and agree to disagree, but these are rather few issues compared to the vast number of issues of agreement.

  2. As I have read and occasionally entered into debates on Catholic Answers, I have been challenged to read scripture and the ECFs more. In some ways I have changed my mind. I will now admit that I think the early church was not like our modern evangelical churches in some respects. For example, I think the Real Presence (although not Transubstantiation) was generally accepted in the first century. Likewise, early Christians eschewed politics and the military, unlike many modern Evangelicals.

  3. I have also solidified my views on certain issues. I now think that many Marian dogma, particularly the Assumption and the sinlessness of Mary, are based on post Constantine traditions that have little or no relationship with Scripture and the Early Chruch Fathers. I think the methodology that the RC church uses to arrive on doctrines and dogma based on tradition is often selective, arbitrary and capricious. I think Roman Catholics are wrong on these issues and Catholic Answers has helped me to understand this better. There is truth in the Roman Catholic church, much of it, but also some important errors.

  4. Perhaps my most important lesson is that I think the Roman Catholic brand of Christianity is really unattractive in some respects. For example, the RC view of justification, that a RC can lose her justification if she doesn’t accept the entire teachings of the Magisterium, is not only not biblical but in practice unattractive. Disagree on birth control? Lose your justification. This is not a question of truth but rather palatability. I find Roman Catholic theology often very unpalatable.

  5. I think there is a post modern alternative to your dilemma. That is, based on the evidence we have, I think God is true and the Scriptures are true but that man’s understanding of both are limited, since to understand these perfectly we would need to be God. The RC church contains truth but a lot of error. So do the Protestant churches. God knows this but he looks at our hearts. If we put our faith sincerely in Him, accept his Son as our saviour and seek His way, he will forgive our doctrinal errors. The RC church would obviously never accept such an alternative, which is why being a RC, at least in Europe, is increasingly unpopular.

.


#12

Probably…this forum and reading other stuff about Catholicism on the internet.

I have changed from a standard evangelical “Catholics can be Christian, but given the many things that they believe that are wrong, it is less likely” to something like “in the final analysis we are probably all roughly equal (and equally flawed).”

And if we are equally flawed, then all of us (Protestant and Catholic) being flawed humans that we are, are prone towards trying to remove the speck in our brothers but being totally blind to the log in our own.

Actually I think this forum tends to misrepresent Catholicism in a vein which I would take negatively. I could go into more detail on how I think this is true…


#13

Since I left my previous Church about a year and a half ago, I’ve spent a lot of time learning about the Catholic Church through these forums and other sources. I also spent some time attending a Catholic Church although I am not currently doing so. From what I’ve seen and experienced, I agree with the belief stated often in these forums that many Protestants do not have an accurate understanding of the Catholic Church. I also think that the reverse is true. I think that now I have a much better understanding of the Catholic Church although I would be a fool to think that I “get it all”.

What has been the result of my better understanding? Frankly, confusion.

In some areas I have seen my beliefs become more Catholic, especially in areas where previously I had been a fence sitter (Real Presence, woman’s ordination, some aspects of the Communion of Saints). In other areas, I find that what I now know about the Catholic Church’s teachings is more radically different from Protestant teachings than I had previously thought and, so, this has posed serious problems for me (especially Marian doctrines, some others). At some time I may simply cross the Tiber and submit to these teachings whether I believe them or not. Or maybe I won’t. I will say that I am growing much weary about being in limbo and so is the rest of my family.


#14

Has this forum changed your views about Catholicism?

I would venture to say that my views of Catholicism had changed before I ventured onto this forum.

There was a time in my life when I would not have even considered entering a Catholic church or engaging in theological discussions with Catholics. My early attitudes toward Catholicism were largely influenced by the pastor who confirmed me and who was anti-Catholic in a big way.

My faith journey has led me to appreciate the Catholic heritage of the Lutheran church. I am committed to whatever I can do to increase dialogue and understanding between our churches, including participating in the discussions on this forum to increase my knowledge of the Catholic church and to help Catholics understand Lutheranism better.

Peace,
Pastor Gary


#15

Pastor Gary

Youi are very welcome here. Thank you for coming here to listen and share with us. Thank you for your contributions you have made so that we may all grow in wisdom.

Long may you continue to come here

Peace

Sixtus


#16

I am Catholic but would like to say thanks to you all for coming. It helps both ways.


#17

I came here after a two year relationship with a catholic girl, which ended with us separating because of religious differences.

This had pushed me deep into catholic teaching and protestant teachings, so I came with a background already. A vast majority of what I encountered, I had already been through, so I saw the usual answers and gave the usual counter-arguments, and recieved counters to those arguments, and etc, etc.

I’ve realized that you can get lost in all of it. Marina Dogma, biblical canon, communion, all of it can be overwhelming. I agree with the OP in that, once you study it, you have to realize that you cannot ride the fence on this issue. The RCC says that it is the only way to heaven, salvation cannot be found outside the Church. It also has declared that salvation can be outside the Church…/shrug. Again, something that can be overwhelming.

Someone above said that he may “cross the tiber” and accept certain Chuch teachings whether he believes them or not, I strongly suggest against that. What I’ve come to realize is that we have to look at the most basic elements of our faith. As someone above said, God looks at our hearts, not our church. It isn’t an organization, a baptism, or a confirmation that saves you, it is your fatih in Christ. So, you must toil over the scriptures, and find out what true salvation is, and see whether or not the Catholic Church supports this. If they do, join them, if they do not, stay away.

Good thread so far.


#18

Then what is the point of the authority of the disciples. Church is not a building, a church organization is not just a name - but a church or organization which consists of people who together build the Kingdom of God. How could we build it if everyone says I don’t need an organization? or I don’t need you…just me and God. A body has parts and none of the parts say I don’t need you.

If it is not for the organization who came all the way to Asia from West, then I would not have known Christ today. God works through His People.

Baptism is a must! it says in the Bible. We have faith in God, and we say we love Him. Loving Him is not about just saying but doing it.

Through grace of God, we are saved.


#19

I echo these thoughts. Unlike most Roman Catholics, I would encourage anyone to choose that church where she will most likely “love the Lord with all her heart, soul and might”, and that may not be my denomination. I have even encouraged an Evangelical to become RC; I cannot imagine many RC posters on Catholic Answers encouraging a RC to become Evangelical, because that would, according to RC doctrine, put his salvation in grave danger.

I would advise that anybody considering becoming RC to consider if they are really willing to accept the teaching authority of the Church. Because, unlike most Protestant Churches, there are not some parts of the Magisterium that a RC can choose not to accept (for example, their teaching on birth control). To do so, according to RC doctrine, it to essentially reject faith in Christ and lose one’e justification (i.e. salvation in Evangelical parlance). Hence, becoming a “cafeteria Catholic” would be very uncomfortable indeed.

However, if you can accept the whole Magisterium and will fall in love with Jesus more in the RC church than in another, I would say “have a go, mate”.


#20

I am a protestant:

It has always been my understanding from my own studies of scripture that God reveals himself to everybody – in one way or another. Who is to know the ways of the Lord?

While the Catholic church may be the true Church that Christ established, it is also true that often one’s circumstances, such as where they are born and raised, who their family is, etc. would prevent them from being or becoming Catholic – but this isn’t to say that God still won’t reveal himself to them somehow.

Has anyone seen the movie “Amistad”? It was made about 10 years ago and has, I think, one of the best gospel presentations in all of mainstream Hollywood movies. The slaves on trial happen to come across a Bible that has illustrations of the Last Supper, the crucifxion, and resurrection. They don’t understand the words, they don’t speak the language, but somehow God reveals himself to them through these illustrations.

Now, let’s say for the sake of arguement this was real. They have no exposure to the Catholic church, they’re going back to Africa, but they can still become Christian and still can have salvation and go to heaven because they found The Way (Jesus) through the only means they would have been able to. They didn’t need a specific missionary or person to evangelize them and bring them into the “Church,” because God chose to make himself known to them in another way.

I think this kind of situation is certainly possible in any of the other major “world” religions and in remote corners of the globe where missionaries and churches don’t venture. Jesus said that his gospel would be known to the ends of the earth and the four corners of the world – I believe that this means everywhere. And God can choose the way he reveals The Way, the Truth, and the Life to those remote corners. Somehow he will, and who are we to say that it must be through the Catholic church?


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