Indifference in denominations

Just a thought. A had a discussion with a non-catholic christian and her argument was it doesnt matter much what denomination you are as long as you have personal relationship with God. It was also pointed out that even Jesus did not mind the differing beliefs by pharisees, samaritans, or saducees when He was preaching. What’s the best argument on this? Thank you

That is in my opinion the hardest of things to overcome. I’d think it easier to help convert a person who strongly believes his denomination is the right one.

I don’t know how best to address this. Others might have good ideas.

You can always start out by asking what makes him believe this. It is good to get a person to lay out his beliefs so you can address specifics.

You might mention Jesus says to the Apostles he who hears you hears me. Jesus clearly intends for a particular group to be responsible for establishing His Church. What would be the basis for believing that ceased to be the case?

The other thing you could do is point out that the early Church was an authoritative organization. It didn’t just have Apostles but bishops, priests and deacons appointed by the Apostles. The key being they were appointed and as it says in Holy Scripture they had hands laid on them. Thus it wasn’t that a man could unilaterally declare himself to be a representative of the Church. He had to be chosen. Paul in his Epistles, I forget where exactly, addresses this.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." John 3:5

Just as an example, you could ask her if she believes that Jesus doesn’t care if we baptize or not.

Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy,[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14

Does she believe that the wide gate doesn’t really lead to destruction, but is instead just as “right” as the narrow gate?

One that I think may be particular useful is Matthew 7:1:
“Judge not, that you be not judged."

Is this merely a suggestion? Ask her if she believes that it’s actually OK for us to judge people, “so long as we have a personal relationship with God”.

The major problem with her thinking is that it teaches you can have a healthy relationship with someone even if you wrong them 50, 60 or 70% of the time, or do the opposite of what they want you to do.

What is meant having a personal relationship with God? One could ask which God for that matter.
What proof does this person have that Jesus did not mind. It seems to me Jesus spoke rather harshly of the pharisees and saducees. As for the samaritans Jesus told them they did not know the God they worship.

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If it doesn’t matter, why have different denominations? How can one group say you need to be baptized to be saved and another says you don’t and both be right?

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These are disparate ideas, so I’ve separated them. The above idea, is very close to Catholic Teaching, in my opinion.

The Catholic Church Teaches that one who keeps the Commandments is the person who loves God. Therefore, this is the one with the personal relationship with God.

2052 “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” To the young man who asked this question, Jesus answers first by invoking the necessity to recognize God as the “One there is who is good,” as the supreme Good and the source of all good. Then Jesus tells him: “If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” And he cites for his questioner the precepts that concern love of neighbor: “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.” Finally Jesus sums up these commandments positively: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."1

2053 To this first reply Jesus adds a second: "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."2 This reply does not do away with the first: following Jesus Christ involves keeping the Commandments. The Law has not been abolished,3 but rather man is invited to rediscover it in the person of his Master who is its perfect fulfillment. In the three synoptic Gospels, Jesus’ call to the rich young man to follow him, in the obedience of a disciple and in the observance of the Commandments, is joined to the call to poverty and chastity.4 The evangelical counsels are inseparable from the Commandments.

Of course, your non-Catholic friend won’t like that, because it involves faith AND WORKS.

It was also pointed out that even Jesus did not mind the differing beliefs by pharisees, samaritans, or saducees when He was preaching. What’s the best argument on this? Thank you

Then why did He keep correcting them. He told the Pharisees that they were hypocrites who preached what they did not practice. He told the Saduccees that they didn’t understand the Scriptures. And He told the Samaritans that the salvation is from the Jews.

In the Gospels, you rarely see Him agreeing with any of them. And His final command to the Apostles is to go out and make disciples of the world. Teaching them everything He commanded. The very first people they tried to convert were the Jews. Pharisees, Saduccees and Samaritans.

So, that doesn’t sound right.

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Thank you for your responses. I didnt realize those verses did rebuke the samaritans and the others on their beliefs. Really helped a lot. =)

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