Honest questions from a seeking protestant


#1

Forgive the length of this thread in advance, I am quite a curious person :slight_smile:

I am a Protestant but have always been interested in the true differences between Catholicism and Protestantism and have been investigating it of late. I began with the true belief that both Catholics and Protestants are brothers in Christ, and maintain that belief now, despite exhortations to the contrary by some in each community. That said, I do have a few questions!

  1. Regarding prayer – I have been told by someone that Catholics can’t pray themselves and need the intercession of a priest. Nothing I have read on Catholicism seems to substantiate this idea, and I have basically dismissed it. Is this idea some vestige of medieval times, or basically made up?

  2. Regarding praying to the Saints and/or Mary – what is the reasoning with this? Is this just Tradition? Many Protestants are of the belief that people in heaven can’t hear prayers. So, many Protestants suggest the Saints should be revered for their worthy lives and advancement of the faith, but not prayed to. That said, even assuming arguendo that Saints can hear prayers, why pray to them when you can pray directly to God? The bible tells us Jesus longs to have a personal relationship with us – he wants to hear from us – and he loves each and every one of us dearly - so why not go directly to him instead of praying to the Saints?

  3. Regarding purgatory – what is the idea behind this? On first glance this seems an eminently rational concept, however, further investigation makes it seem somewhat problemsome. None of us humans are particularly worthy of being in God’s presence – it is through Jesus’ sacrifice alone that we receive salvation. Yet does the idea of purgatory not suggest that that sacrifice was somehow incomplete? If Jesus did indeed pay the price for our sins for us, is not the only question whether you belong to him? For if you do, it seems that your debt is paid in full by his sacrifice – but if you don’t, it seems no amount of penance can save you. Thus I see clearly heaven and hell, but not purgatory. I am sure the Church has some teaching which makes it apparent how purgatory fits in to this scheme, I am curious to know what it is!

  4. The same question in 3 also goes for doing penance after confession. If this is considered merely something to make you “think twice” about committing the same sins over and over it makes perfect sense. On the other hand, it seems that if it is argued it is required for salvation it again suggests that Jesus’ sacrifice was insufficient. What is the Church’s teaching in this regard?

  5. Speaking of confession, is it not enough to repent to God? I suppose this would be allowed by the Church in some circumstances (ie, a pure act of contrition when confession was completely unavailable) – so is the idea more that the sacrament of Confession is the preferred normative way of confessing because it “keeps you honest” and keeps the beast of rationalization at bay?

  6. Could you simply point me to the scriptural references that support true presence in the Eucharist?

  7. Regarding papal infallibility – my understanding is that it does not suggest the pope is, as a man, infallible, but rather that the Lord will not allow any serious error to be introduced into the official teachings of the Church. Is this understanding correct?

  8. How does the Church see Protestants? I get the feeling sometimes there is a “public” and “private” viewpoint. The former being the speeches of the Pope and official line from Rome, basically suggesting we are all brothers and Christ and are merely “separated brethren.” The latter however seems to come from many individual Catholics who at best seem to have a deep seated dislike for Protestantism and doubt the statements above and at worst actually doubt the possibility that Protestants can receive salvation.

  9. Regarding Scripture - My understanding is it is seen as the ultimate authority, but not the only authority. It is the “guiding force” but other sources of Church teachings are also valid. Is this understanding on the right track?

  10. Regarding Church teachings – if a Catholic genuinely believes in their heart of hearts that “X” is not a sin, but the Church teaches it is, what is the person to do? They can’t convince themselves X is a sin no matter how hard they try. Should the person simply decide to avoid X and trust the Church? Is this an acceptable resolution – to trust the teaching though your own mind may remain unconvinced?

  11. Almost done! Can you recommend a book that is sort of “Catholicism in a nutshell?”

Thanks so much for the taking the time to answer this lengthy list of questions!

God Bless!


#2

#1. I pray 3 or 4 times a day. I pry to the Lord Jesus Christ, to God The Father and to the Holy Ghost.

#2. We DO NOT PRAY TO SAINTS OR THE VIRGIN MARY. We ask them to pray to the Father for us. Dont you Protestants allow someone else to pray for you? Samething.
#3. Purgatory. It is written that nothing unclean can enter heaven. See 1st John 1:9. God will forgive your sind IF YOU CONFESS YOUR SINS. So lets say you die and your sins have been forgiven. You have had Jesus to pay for your sins when he was Crusified. BUT you are still dirty and cant enter heaven. Why are you still dirty? You sined because you had the appitite or propensity to sin - you liked it - right? So you need to have the appitite for sin removed. That happens in Purgatory. Then after you and your propensity to sin are wiped clean you can enter heaven.
The Protestant idea that you go straight to heaven when you die IS WRONG. How pompous and prideful can they be? They think they have no sins or appitite for sin. Oh, my goodness. Be thankful for Purgatory.
#5 Confession - See Matt 16:18 & 19. Peter and his successors had the gift to let loose on earth & it would be loosed in heaven. A Priest doesn’t gorgive sins! God is working THROUGH the Priest. God forgives.
#6 I am not a Sola Scriptura Protestant. I am not bound by the King James VERSION of our Bible.
#8…The answer is YES.


#3

Hi jahutch,

  1. Someone was pulling your leg. I’ve never even heard that claim before.

  2. catholic.com/library/mary_saints.asp
    Intercessory Prayer of Saints
    Rom 15:30 - join me by your prayers to God on my behalf
    Col 4:3, 1Thess 5:25 - pray for us
    2Thess 1:11 - we always pray for you
    2Thess 3:1 - finally, brothers, pray for us
    Eph 6:18-19 - making supplication for all the saints & for me
    Tob 12:12 - angel presents Tobit & Sarah’s prayer to God
    Ps 148 - David calls upon angels
    Zech 1:12 - angel intercedes for Jerusalem
    Mk 12:25, Mt 22:30 - men in heaven are as the angels
    Rev 5:8 - those in heaven offer prayers of the holy ones to God
    *Saints dead, prayer is necromancy (Dt 18:10-11)
    Mk 12:26-27 - he is God of the living, not of the dead
    Mk 9:4 - Jesus seen conversing with Elijah & Moses
    Lk 9:31 - Elijah & Moses aware of earthly events
    Rev 6:9-11 - martyrs under altar want earthly vindication
    Heb 12:1 - we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses
    Lk 16:19-30 - departed rich man intercedes for brothers
    Rev 20:4 - saw the souls of those who had been beheaded
    Wis 3:1-6 - the souls of the just are in the hand of God
    2Macc 15:7-16 - the departed Onias & Jeremiah pray for the Jews
    Jas 5:16 prayers of righteous man
    1 Cor. 13:12 - I shall understand fully
    1 John 4: 20-21 - whoever loves God must love his brother
    1 Cor 12:21 - parts of Christ’s Body cannot say to other parts, “I do not need you”.
    *1Tim 2:5 - “One mediator between God and man”
    1Tim 2:1-7 - offer prayers, petitions for all men
    source: http://www.geocities.com/thecatholicconvert/biblecheatsheet.html

  3. Purgatory
    Mt 5:48 - be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect
    Heb 12:14 - strive for that holiness without which cannot see God
    Jam 3:2 - we all fall short in many respects
    Rev 21:27 - nothing unclean shall enter heaven
    1Jn 5:16-17 - degrees of sins distinguished
    Jam 1:14-15 - when sin reaches maturity gives birth to death
    2Sam 12:13-14 - David, though forgiven, still punished for his sin
    Mt 5:26 - you will not be released until paid last penny
    Mt 12:32 - sin against Holy Spirit unforgiven in this age or next
    Mt 12:36 - account for every idle word on judgment day
    2Macc 12:44-46 - atoned for dead to free them from sin
    1Cor 3:15 - suffer loss, but saved as through fire
    1Pet 3:18-20; 4:6 - Jesus preached to spirits in prison
    2Tim 1:16-18 - Paul prays for dead friend Onesiphorus
    1Cor 15:29-30 - Paul mentions people baptizing for the dead
    source: ibid

On suffering and God’s invitation for us to join in his suffering: scripturecatholic.com/my_top_ten.html#IX
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  1. see above link on suffering

cont’d (5000 character limit)…

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#4

Hutch - I don’t know that I can satisfactorily answer all of your questions, but I will share my thought on them.

  1. Regarding prayer – I have been told by someone that Catholics can’t pray themselves and need the intercession of a priest.
    Answer: You are right - this is simply not true. Catholics, like all Christians, should ‘pray without ceasing!’

  2. Regarding praying to the Saints and/or Mary – what is the reasoning with this? As for Mary, God chose her as the vessel (Arc of the New Covenant) through whom His saving act would come to us; is it not then appropriate that we return to Him through her?
    Prayer to saints is similar to going to a ‘friend of the boss’ for a recommendation. As Jesus told the pharisees, God is the God of the living, not of the dead.

  3. Regarding purgatory – what is the idea behind this? Jesus said ‘you must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ Heaven is the home of perfection, and nothing imperfect can enter. Purgatory is the ‘cleansing room’ of the soul.

  4. The same question in 3 also goes for doing penance after confession.

  5. Speaking of confession, is it not enough to repent to God? The answer is similar for both, I think. Confession, as a sacrament of the church, bestows God’s grace on the participant. Grace assists us in our efforts toward Christian perfection. Prayer after confession also merits grace and serves as an atonement for sin, similar to Purgatory.

  6. Could you simply point me to the scriptural references that support true presence in the Eucharist? The best are found in John’s Gospel, I believe in Chapter 6. For me, the best goes something like this: After he told the crowds that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood, many people left His company. He asked the Apostles if they would leave Him too. If He were speaking metaphorically, would He have let people leave?

  7. Regarding papal infallibility – my understanding is that it does not suggest the pope is, as a man, infallible, but rather that the Lord will not allow any serious error to be introduced into the official teachings of the Church. Is this understanding correct? Your understanding is exactly right: The pope is infallible only in matters of faith and morals AND only when teaching 'Ex Cathedra" (From the Chair of Peter).

  8. How does the Church see Protestants? I get the feeling sometimes there is a “public” and “private” viewpoint. The document “Dominus Jesus” makes clear the Churches teaching in this regard, and your understanding is correct. While the document supports Catholicism as the ‘fullness of truth’ it also supports other Christians as members of the body of Christ.

  9. Regarding Scripture - My understanding is it is seen as the ultimate authority, but not the only authority. It is the “guiding force” but other sources of Church teachings are also valid. Is this understanding on the right track? Correct again; the Church accepts Scripture as the main source of truth, but not alone. Tradition also plays a role; Paul’s letter to Timothy urges him to believe everything he was taught (the New Testament did not yet exist)!

  10. Regarding Church teachings – if a Catholic genuinely believes in their heart of hearts that “X” is not a sin, but the Church teaches it is, what is the person to do? They can’t convince themselves X is a sin no matter how hard they try. Should the person simply decide to avoid X and trust the Church? Is this an acceptable resolution – to trust the teaching though your own mind may remain unconvinced? You are well advised here to listen to Church teaching

  11. Almost done! Can you recommend a book that is sort of “Catholicism in a nutshell?” Check out the Catholic Answers Web Site for this one (www.catholic.com).

I hope this helps, and I hope you keep searching!
God Bless you also!

Chuck


#5

Hello friend the Cathechism of the Catholic Church is what you need to read.That will give you alot of information,in fact it will lay down our beliefs in a nut shell;) I am a former protestant,God Bless you in searching for answers:)


#6
  1. We DO confess to God, thru his ministers in confession, just like he asks us to do. It does help avoid rationalization and moral relativism.

Confession
Mt 9:2-8 Son of Man has authority to forgive sins
Jn 20:23 - whose sins you forgive/retain are forgiven/retained
Jn 20:22 - breathed on them, “receive Holy Spirit” [recall Gn 2:7]
2Cor 5:17-20 - given us the ministry of reconciliation
Jam 5:13-15 - confess your sins to one another
Mt 18:18 - whatever you bind & loose on earth, so it is in heaven
catholic.com/library/Confession.asp

  1. [size=3][size=1]Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist
    Jn 6:35-71 - Eucharist promised
    Mt 26:26ff (Mk 14:22ff., Lk 22:17ff.) - Eucharist instituted
    1Cor 10:16 - Eucharist = participation in Christ’s body & blood
    1 Cor 11:23-29 - receiving unworthily his body & blood
    Ex 12:8, 46 - Paschal lamb had to be eaten
    Jn 1:29 - Jesus called "Lamb of God"
    1 Cor 5:7 - Jesus called "paschal lamb who has been sacrificed
    Jn 4:31-34; Mt 16;5-12 - Jesus talking symbolically about food
    1Cor 2:14-3:4 - explains what “the flesh” means in Jn 6:63
    Ps 14:4; Is 9:18-20; Is 49:26; Mic 3:3; 2Sm 23:15-17; Rv 17:6, 16 -
    to symbolically eat & drink one’s body & blood = assault[/size]
    http://www.catholic.com/library/Christ_in_the_Eucharist.asp[/size]

  2. This link should clarify terms:
    catholic.com/library/Papal_Infallibility.asp

  3. While some may get frustrated with Protestant attacks, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to pray for those who persecute us. God wills the salvation of all, but if you know that the Catholic Church is his church, you cannot refuse it and be saved because you’d be refusing Christ.
    Link:
    catholic.com/library/Salvation_Outside_the_Church.asp

  4. geocities.com/thecatholicconvert/solascriptura21.html

  5. If a Catholic comes to believe the Church is in error in some essential, officially defined doctrine, it is a mortal sin against conscience, a sin of hypocrisy, for him to remain in the Church and call himself a Catholic, but only a venial sin against knowledge for him to leave the Church in honest but partly culpable error.

If he doesn’t see how something is a sin, but recognizes the Church’s authority, then he has a difficulty, not a doubt, and he must take pains to inform his conscience, yet avoid the sin while he is investigating.

  1. There are several. Catholicism for Dummies, Catholicism & Fundamentalism by Karl Keating, and of course, The Catechism of the Catholic Chruch, as a reference book.

In the future, I’d recommend asking one question per thread so as to get a more responses and a more in-depth reply. Hope to hear from you again!:wave:


#7

This is a reply to Exporter:

Thanks for the reply! I get the feeling from the tone of your post you thought that my questions were meant to be argumentative or persuasive - thats not the case at all, I am just genuinely curious about these issues :).

Now that I’ve cleared that up - a few comments/follow ups:

I’m still having trouble with #2. I thank you for fixing my misuse of “pray” since thats not what’s going on. I suppose the proper term is “request for intecession.” Nonetheless, if you feel people in heaven can’t hear you (unless, maybe, God chooses to “relay the message,” perhaps to a loved one), this still is problemsome. I guess Protestants and Catholics just disagree on this subject?

With #3, I don’t know any Protestant who would suggest they have no appetite for sin. I know I certainly do, as do most of my buddies. Purgatory is a separate issue from that - and your explanation was helpful.

With #5 I did not mean to imply the Priest forgave - I know it is always God. I was merely asking about the “official role” of the sacrament.

With #6 - are you saying you don’t know any scriptural references? I asked because I had heard mentioned on other posts scriptural references in regard to True Presence and I was curious as to what they were.

With #8 - What are you saying “YES” to - that there are indeed separate “public” and “private” viewpoints? Or did you mean to say yes to question 7?

Thanks for taking the time to respond :slight_smile:


#8

And thanks to all the rest of you for your replies as well - very helpful already :slight_smile:


#9

[quote=jahutch]And thanks to all the rest of you for your replies as well - very helpful already :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Regards to the question #2 as Christians we are part of the Body of Christ when we die that is not negated,especially in heaven because we are cleansed there is no reason why the Lord would not allow them to intercede with prayer the book of Revelations even talks about their intercession of the Saints.#3 It is not a seperate issue because when you die that appetite for sin does not dissapear.#5 Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and said,“Go,forgive mens sins whose sin You forgive are forgiven them those you hold bound are held bound.”


#10

Where is THAT in the Bible? by Partick Madrid Get this book! Get this book! Get this book! :slight_smile:


#11

In response to question # 2, the follow excerpt from an article by Sebastian Fama may be helpful to you:

There seems to be a great deal of confusion among non-Catholics concerning the Church’s teaching on Mary and the saints in heaven. It is alleged that by praying to them we equate them with God. This is false. But why pray to them, when we can pray to God? Don’t the Scriptures tell us that we have but one mediator, and that is “Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5)? To begin with, the role in question is not one of mediation but one of intercession. To pray means to ask, not to worship. Also, we do not pray to the saints instead of God. We pray to God and also ask that the saints pray for and with us. Are we not to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2), and to “pray for one another” (James 5:16)? Were we not “all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13)? Are not the saints in heaven still members of that body?

We know that “the prayer of a righteous person has great power” (James 5:16). Who could be more righteous or pray more fervently than those already perfected and in the Lord’s presence? We know that they care for us, "There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:7). And finally we see that they present our prayers along with their own to Jesus: “The four living creatures and the twenty four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with **golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” **(Revelation 5:8). Also, “And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne. **And the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God” **(Revelation 8:3-4). Note that incense represents our prayers, and that the angels and elders in heaven present our prayers to God.

In Matthew 18:10 we find, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.” What do you suppose that the little ones’ angels would be doing on their behalf before God? Praying for them is the only logical answer.


#12

[quote=jahutch]I guess Protestants and Catholics just disagree on this subject?

[/quote]

Just a comment to help put things in better perspective…

In the case of praying to saints, as in most other Protestant/Catholic disagreements, it is not just that Protestants disagree with Catholics, but that they disagree with the entire rest of the Christian world (Catholics AND Orthodox). There is a Protestant tendency to ignore the ancient witness of 250 million Orthodox. Even where Catholics and Orthodox disagree, I cannot offhand think of any case where the Orthodox agree with the Protestants.


#13

Mickey,

Thanks for the great reply! That really sheds a lot of light on the subject :slight_smile:


#14

[quote=VociMike]Just a comment to help put things in better perspective…

In the case of praying to saints, as in most other Protestant/Catholic disagreements, it is not just that Protestants disagree with Catholics, but that they disagree with the entire rest of the Christian world (Catholics AND Orthodox). There is a Protestant tendency to ignore the ancient witness of 250 million Orthodox. Even where Catholics and Orthodox disagree, I cannot offhand think of any case where the Orthodox agree with the Protestants.
[/quote]

I admit to this tendency - It isn’t concious, I suspect its just cultural, in that Orthodoxy is not on “center stage” in the US in the way Catholicism and Protestantism are. Your point is well taken though.

As for agreement though, I think it is important to remember that we ALL agree on an awful lot!! For example, that Jesus was the son of God, fully God and fully Man, and died on the cross for our sins, and rose again, and that he is the only way to salvation. Its easy when discussing differences to forget how much we all have in common - and I dont think we should! As I say, all brothers/sisters in Christ :).

That said, as for things Protestants and Catholics disagree on, I would agree with you generally the Orthodox are closer to the Catholics - the one exception I can think of off hand is a priesthood where marriage is allowed - though I think for Catholics that is more a matter of discipline than doctrine, so I’m not sure that counts 100% :slight_smile:

Anyway, point well taken, and God Bless!


#15

[quote=jahutch]I admit to this tendency - It isn’t concious, I suspect its just cultural, in that Orthodoxy is not on “center stage” in the US in the way Catholicism and Protestantism are. Your point is well taken though.

As for agreement though, I think it is important to remember that we ALL agree on an awful lot!! For example, that Jesus was the son of God, fully God and fully Man, and died on the cross for our sins, and rose again, and that he is the only way to salvation. Its easy when discussing differences to forget how much we all have in common - and I dont think we should! As I say, all brothers/sisters in Christ :).
[/quote]

Yes, we do indeed agree on quite a bit, and it is too easy to lose sight of that in our “family squabbles”.

That said, as for things Protestants and Catholics disagree on, I would agree with you generally the Orthodox are closer to the Catholics - the one exception I can think of off hand is a priesthood where marriage is allowed - though I think for Catholics that is more a matter of discipline than doctrine, so I’m not sure that counts 100% :slight_smile:

Well, it’s only Latin Rite Catholic priests that can’t marry, and even so there are some Latin Rite married priests (they converted from other denominations such as Lutheran or Anglican). In the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church I believe married priests are the norm. Beyond that, I think the overall view of the ministerial priesthood is much closer between Catholics and Orthodox than between Protestants and Orthodox.

Anyway, point well taken, and God Bless!

Welcome to the forum, and thank you for your non-combative attitude. :thumbsup:


#16

[quote=jahutch]I admit to this tendency - It isn’t concious, I suspect its just cultural, in that Orthodoxy is not on “center stage” in the US in the way Catholicism and Protestantism are. Your point is well taken though.

As for agreement though, I think it is important to remember that we ALL agree on an awful lot!! For example, that Jesus was the son of God, fully God and fully Man, and died on the cross for our sins, and rose again, and that he is the only way to salvation. Its easy when discussing differences to forget how much we all have in common - and I dont think we should! As I say, all brothers/sisters in Christ :).

That said, as for things Protestants and Catholics disagree on, I would agree with you generally the Orthodox are closer to the Catholics - the one exception I can think of off hand is a priesthood where marriage is allowed - though I think for Catholics that is more a matter of discipline than doctrine, so I’m not sure that counts 100% :slight_smile:

Anyway, point well taken, and God Bless!
[/quote]

Exellent point jahutch. When all is said and done, we must focus on those things we have in common --and those are some key beliefs we share. :slight_smile: May I correct you on something though. The Eastern (Byzantine) Catholics, still allow for a married priesthood. I believe that the celibate discipline is unique to the Latin Rite.

God Bless you


#17

jahutch,

The question on confession is one that catholics are frequently asked. Here is my answer.

“Confessing our sins to a priest.”

The reason we do this is because that is the way God set things up. Let me explain.

In the book of Genesis we read all about the fall of Adam and Eve and about Cain killing Able. While God knew exactly what had happened and what sins had been committed, God still asks Adam and Eve [see Gen 3:11-14] what they had done. Again, when Cain kills Able in Gen 4:10, God asks Cain “What have you done?” God wants us to confess and it is therefore necessary for us to do so.

So where does the priest fit in? In Leviticus 5:5-6 we have a solid prefiguring/foreshadowing of confession and this is carried over into the New Covenant. In Lev. 5:5-6 it says, “When a man is guilty in any of these, he shall confess the sin he has committed, and he shall bring his guilt offering to the Lord for the sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.” Note how the penitent must confess and take his sin offering to the priest, and the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin. This requires knowledge of the sin on the part of the priest.

In the New Testament we have a number of verses that refer to the authority to forgive sins. In Matthew 9:6-8, we read “But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he then said to the paralytic --“Rise, take up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men." Notice how scripture says that such authority had been given to men. This is significant and is not merely a coincidence. This is the inspired word of God.

The question of authority and power to forgive sin is given obviously to Jesus and this is further affirmed in Matthew 28:18 where we are told, "And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

So just how is this authority transfered to the apostles and their successors? In John 20:21-23 "Jesus said to them, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” This is an incredible set of verses. They are rich in meaning and power. Notice that Jesus sends the apostles in the same way that the Father sent Him. The Father sent Jesus with all power and authority which included the power to forgive sins. So also Jesus sends the apostles. Jesus breathes on the apostles and says, “receive the Holy Spirit.” There is only one other time in all of scripture where God breathes on man, and that is in Genesis when God breathes life into Adam. This is a significant moment in the upper room and it is at this moment that Jesus says, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven: if you retain the sins of any they are retained.”

Later in the new testament scriptures we find additional verses that speak to confession and reconciliation. The most significant are the following:

2 Corinthians 5: 17-20
Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

James 5:14-15
Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters [priests] of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. (“presbyter” is the root word from which we get the term priest)

James 5:16
Therefore confess you sins to one another….

Matthew 18:18
Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (In Jewish culture and faith the power to bind and loose carries a juridical dimension and has application to the forgiveness of sin)


#18

jahutch,

You’ve got a number of good answers here. Each item you asked about is worth an entire thread, so I’d like to suggest that you go to the Catholic Answers library link and pull some things down.

For a long time I struggled with understanding what Catholics believed, largely because the isolated bits of Catholic doctrine I was looking at didn’t fit into the Protestant framework I was familiar with. It was only when I began a systematic study of Catholicism that it began to make sense; in fact I found it to make so much more sense that Protestantism that I am now a Catholic. The rock that I ran aground on was this: to whom, if anyone, did Jesus give authority to teach binding doctrine in His name, and what did they teach with that authority?

I recommend “Catholicism and Fundamentalism” by Karl Keating. Also, the radio archive on this site has a series of shows entitiled “Tough questions by non-catholics” that you may find interesting.

About praying to the saints in heaven: it’s only a very recent thing that “prayer” became synonymous with “to worship in a manner due only to God”. Historically, to pray to someone was merely to ask them for a favor (“pray pass the black-eyed peas”) and it is in this sense that we pray to Mary and the Saints.

Please ask as many questions as you like. This is a very good forum.

May the grace and peace of our Lord be with you.


#19

jahutch,

This is the answer I usually give to the question of purgatory. This was put together by a Catholic apologist named John Martignoni.

Purgatory

2 Sam 12:13-18
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child that is born to you shall die.” Then Nathan went to his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in and lay all night upon the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground; but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day the child died.
There is punishment for Sin even after the sin has been forgiven

Revelation 21:27
But nothing unclean shall enter it,
Nothing unclean will enter heaven

Matthew 5:48
You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Because nothing unclean will enter heaven

Hebrews 12:22-23
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
There is a way that the souls of just men are made perfect

1 Corinthians 3:13-15
each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
After death every man’s work will be tested by fire and he will suffer loss even though he has been saved.

Matthew 12:32
And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
This implies forgiveness of sin or its punishment after death in the age to come.

Matthew 18:23-35
"Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt.
When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you? 'And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
**Where can you go after death that is like jail until you have paid all your debt? In heaven there is no need forgiveness. In hell there is no forgiveness. **

Revelation 20:12-15
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; and if any one’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
There is judgment after death for what we have done.

cont. on next post


#20

cont. from prior post:

Some verses in scripture simply make no sense in a heaven and hell only theology.
James 5:20
let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
If Jesus did everything that needed to be done for the forgiveness of sins then what can this verse mean? Unless there is punishment for sin even after sin is forgiven as in the case of David and Nathan.
1 Peter 4:8
Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.
Here it is again…something we do that covers a multitude of sins.
Colossians 1:24
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,
Once again, something we do that in someway completes the work of Christ. Even though Christ’s redemptive work is sufficient for forgiveness, there is still punishment for a multitude of sins. Love and suffering cover a multitude of sins.


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