According to the scriptures, Christ states that, “Even if you believe only upon His name, thou shalt be saved.” (note, there is no mention of ‘water baptism’)
Why do different Christian churches argue so much, as to who is right or wrong, or which denomination is ‘more righteous’? Do any of us have the ability to ‘judge perfectly’, per the ‘eyes of God’?
There are differences in personally-accepted church doctrines and scriptural interpretations. As individuals, we do not necessarily follow, or even believe in, all doctrines and scriptural interpretations, even within our own ‘selected’ faiths & churches. This is also true of all of our analyses and decision making processes, carried out in our personal and business lives. We are all different, but still have to fill our basic carnal survival needs. Why should this not be the case, when we attempt to believe in, and follow, the Bible, and do God’s Work.
The major danger, that I see, is adding to or deleting from, God’s Word. If your works are according to the Word, and you have not changed God’s Word, in order to perform these works, then you are a ‘true Christian’. It does not matter which Christian church that you belong to, as long as the works of that church, are per the Word of God, that was witnessed by Christ & The Holy Ghost. The danger lies in ‘adding to/deleting from’ that which has been witnessed.
If a person is a true Christian, then their faith is ‘Christianity’. It is NOT Protestant/Catholic/etc. It means that they are a follower of Christ’s teachings. Is this not what it is ‘all about’?
Here is the problem:
If you chose to look at scripture through the lens of, ‘What I want to prove right now’, then you are free to cherry pick a verse and say, ‘See, no water baptism here, so I don’t need it’. Ok fine. No water baptism. But then when you look at John 3:4-6, Jesus specifically says that you must be born of water and the spirit.
But, if you look at scripture as a whole you will see that somethings are mentioned in some places and not in others. Take this example:
I am alive because I breath.
Is that statement true? Yes.
Is it complete? No.
I need food and water to live too. But if I only look at that statement through the narrow view of the point I want to make, then it looks like breathing is all I need.
So how do you settle this? How do you address the problem of saying that you don’t need water baptism? Well, scripture says that we take it to the Church. So, that makes me believe that there is a Church out there that has the authority to say this means this, that means that. So if there is a Church out there that fits that bill, well, I would say that it is important to know about it and be part of it.
Is it possible to be saved without being Catholic? Yes. Is is more difficult? Yes. Are missing out on some of the Graces that God has for you? Yes. Being Catholic is the best way to make sure that you are doing what Jesus wants you to do. If you pray and read and listen, then the Spirit will show you the way.
If we take history into account, Christ founded one Church headed by Peter, as primacy bishop, and the remaining Apostles, as the then college of Bishops. During St. Paul’s ministries on earth as a disciple of Christ (he died between 63 and 64 AD), the term Christians first came into use in Antioch to define a distinction between the Jews and this new developing group. By the second century, the term Catholic was widely used (which means universal as in the universal collection of Christians under the Apostles and their successors).
While there were heresies during the early church years, these were dealt with through the Magisterium (the successors of the Apostles who are Bishops with the Bishop of Rome being Peter’s successor as the bishop of bishops) and reassertion of Sacred Tradition (the oral teachings of the Apostles). Around this time, several New Testament books were being formally written down. At first, they were in the form of scrolls containing letters and documents. The precursors of the New Testament books came into being as codices which were essentially leather bound stacks of letters. Then several different canons of the New Testament were used by the end of the second century. The most accepted of which came at the Council of Carthage in 397. This became what we now know as the Bible. Since this was not an ecumenical council (one presided by the Pope with formal approval), the issue was not formally defined till the ecumenical Council of Trent in 1545-1563.
Since Christianity was founded by Christ with the Apostles as the leadership during the first century as one community, it would seem fitting that the community of Christ continues to by one community. In addition, Catholicism is both this early church form and the continued church form to this day, it is where the fullness of Christ’s community subsists. The early church being “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). Since the early days, the Catholic Church has recognized the Magisterium with the bishops and particularly with the primacy of the successors of Peter as the office of the Apostle See (the Papacy), the fullness of Christianity continues to need this foundation if it wishes to persist as the church Christ founded. In addition, since the Apostles teaches their flock what Christ teaches in letters as well as in oral tradition, Sacred Tradition is also indispensable to life the faithful Christian life. As John relies, many teachings are not limited to text: “There are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25). Lastly, the writers and compilers of the original Bible were these very same Christians that lived under the title Catholics. Thus, a true Christian faith cannot disown, distort, or reword the original truths given in the Bible through these servants of Christ.
Given this history, I believe Christ has founded a single unified church (this is what catholic means) that continues it existence in the faithful laity learning under the apostolic successions of popes and bishops throughout the age and living in harmony with the Sacred Traditions and Sacred Scriptures. Does this not call all Christians to dissolve their pride, their personal traditions, and embrace the fullness of the faith?
The spirit has shown me the way. When you are born, you are born of water. When Christ was speared by the Roman soldier, water and blood flowed from His wound (The same that is referred to in 1 John 5:8).
In regards to ‘cherry picking’, are you telling me that Christ has lied to me, when He states that all I have to do to become saved, is to believe on His name? Did the Holy Ghost not witness the truth that Christ spoke? Is Christ not ‘The Word in The Flesh’? Is the Word of God a lie? Is Christ a lie?
Do not teach me things that ‘Catholics believe’. I rely on ‘every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’.
Here are some additional information. The first three are recordings from a three part audio series form Dr. Scott Hahn, a former Presbyterian minister and theologian. Easy to listen to. The next two are articles from Catholic Answers. Following this is ETWN, a Catholic Radio where you can listen to archieved as well as live feeds. Below that is another useful resource from Dr. Hahn, the St. Paul’s Bible Theology website including articles and podcasts. Then finally, the audio recordings from previous Journey Home episodes. These are wonderful stories of individuals who decided being Catholic is right for them. Please especially take time to listen to one of these that relates to your particular beliefs. There are atheists, reformed calvins, methodists, most any religion or sect I have heard of.
Two interesting articles from Catholic Answers. catholic.com/library/Apostolic_Tradition.asp
Quotes from the Early Church Fathers in references is Tradition and how we as members of this Body of Christ need to take into our hearts and minds to learn, to reason, and to come out anew in faith.
However, the bible includes more than this one verse. That’s why you need The Church. To teach with authority what is (and what is not) required.
[quote=Thorwald]Why do different Christian churches argue so much, as to who is right or wrong, or which denomination is ‘more righteous’? Do any of us have the ability to ‘judge perfectly’, per the ‘eyes of God’?
The Church does not argue. People argue for or against the church communities with whom they identify themselves. None of us has the eyes to judge perfectly. But if you believe that Christ founded a Church, you should be looking for that one, and be satisfied with nothing less.
[quote=Thorwald]There are differences in personally-accepted church doctrines and scriptural interpretations. As individuals, we do not necessarily follow, or even believe in, all doctrines and scriptural interpretations, even within our own ‘selected’ faiths & churches.
True. But you should not be looking for a Church based upon what it’s people accept or reject. You should be looking for the Church that has consistently with the same authority that was wielded by the apostles.
[quote=Thorwald]This is also true of all of our analyses and decision making processes, carried out in our personal and business lives. We are all different, but still have to fill our basic carnal survival needs. Why should this not be the case, when we attempt to believe in, and follow, the Bible, and do God’s Work.
It is true that in our personal and business lives there is truth and there is falsity. We can choose to be true or false without eternal consequences in these realms. However, in the realm of the Holy our decisions to seek truth or to seek accommodation have more eternal consequences. So, I’m not sure I buy your argument that because people compromise in non-religious realms that means it’s okay to compromise a true belief for whatever reason one may have.
[quote=Thorwald]The major danger, that I see, is adding to or deleting from, God’s Word. If your works are according to the Word, and you have not changed God’s Word, in order to perform these works, then you are a ‘true Christian’. It does not matter which Christian church that you belong to, as long as the works of that church, are per the Word of God, that was witnessed by Christ & The Holy Ghost. The danger lies in ‘adding to/deleting from’ that which has been witnessed.
Curious. You started your post with a notation that Christ did not make “water baptism” a necessity for salvation, and yet many Christian denominations do, as do Catholics. So, is your point that the Catholic Church as “added” to God’s word? Or are you saying that if we’re all doing our best to try to follow God’s word to the best of our understanding that we’re all going to be judged by our sincerity and earnestness? Because that’s not what the bible says either… right?
[quote=Thorwald]If a person is a true Christian, then their faith is ‘Christianity’. It is NOT Protestant/Catholic/etc. It means that they are a follower of Christ’s teachings. Is this not what it is ‘all about’?
“Catholic” is a term used to describe one’s “Christianity.” It is not used in place of the term. The same can be said of the term “Protestant.” It has only been a fairly recent phenomenon that “Christians” (from the Protestant tradition) have come to usurp the term “Christian” for their own brand of “non-denominationalism” rejecting the term Protestant altogether.
I agree that Christianity should be one. There should be one universal Christian Church that teaches the fullness of all that was revealed by Christ and His Apostles. I believe that Church exists as the Catholic Church.
P.S. - I believe that the short answer to your question is “no.” No one has to be a member of The One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church to be saved. But it helps.
I know what you believe (proof above), but the Catholic Church has added all kinds of ‘things’ to God’s Word, that were not witnessed by Christ or The Holy Ghost. Since Jesus Christ is ‘The Word in The Flesh’, I think I will follow His teachings, rather than ‘The Catholic Church’s’. I am commanded by scripture, to use the scripture to verify what I am being taught. I will continue to do so.
All of what you said is true (except for the Catholics believe part but that was an opinion anyways). Now notice Christ also says “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name? Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘Inever knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’” (Matthew 7: 21-23)
What is “the will of my Father in heaven”? Will those that believe “all I have to do to become saved is to believe on His name?” who commit wrongs get into heaven. If I believe in Christ but kill another get into heaven? If I believe in Christ and not listen to his teachings get into heaven? If you believe in me, you will follow my commandments is what He taught us right? Then isn’t part of believing not just in thought but also in action? What are these commandments he speaks of?
Please quote me where you find that Scripture to tell you to follow Scripture only? Also what are these “inventions” many speak of? Would it be possible that others misunderstands that Catholic Church added these “things”? Do you yourself add things when you say Scripture is all you should listen to?
We all know what Catholics believe, as they fearlessly CHANGE the Word of God, in order to back up their practices. I will stick to being a Christian…a follower of Christ…as He has directed me in His Word.
This is the second time you said we “change” the Word of God. What are these changes? I bet you can name hundreds of them and most of them will be historically incorrect, while the rest will be contextually incorrect, and so on. Please name some of the most serious ones to you.
(1) Where did your bible come from? (2) Where in the Bible does it say that doctrine is limited to the Bible alone? and (3) Do you think the Word of God is a collection of books, or a Person?
(1) My bible was gathered together and preserved by the Church that was founded by Jesus Christ. It was handed on through the centuries by pious men and women who faithfully adhered to all that was taught to them, whether in writing or by word of mouth. And because of that faithfullness we have the sacred scriptures that reveal God’s sacred plan of salvation.
(2) Nowhere in my bible does it say that Only Scripture is acceptable for doctrine. My bible says that the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth.
(3) My bible says that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word was given to us to direct us into all truth. That Word gave us a Church, which cherished and kept the bible as we know it today. When THAT Church - given by God to keep the faith - speaks with authority on matters of faith and morals we, as followers of the Word, should heed what it says.
Jesus Christ always glorified His Father (our Father). Never once, has He directed us to put ‘Mary’ on any sort of ‘spiritual pedistal’. This is a Catholic creation. She is not the mother of God (The Lord God Almighty and His Son, The Lord of Hosts). She is the mother of Christ (The Lamb…The Son of Man). God was before all creation. There was no mother of God. It is true that The Lord of Hosts is both Lord & Christ, but Mary is the mother of Christ only. Christ did not give Mary any ‘special spiritual powers’ per the scriptures.
Show me in the scriptures, where I need ‘beads’ to carry out my faith. Show me the scriptures that authorize/demand me to baptize babies and dead people. These are again Catholic creations. Christ has not witnessed any of this, nor has The Holy Ghost.
The list goes on. Every time that anyone questions these and other practices of the Catholic Church, they are told, that “Peter told me to do it.” I doubt very much that he did so.
I’ll address the Mary part. There is no denying that Mary did not “beget” God. Only God is uncreated. Mary is Created. “Mother of God” is a title given to Mary because she is the mother to Christ. She gave and carried his body in her womb. Then she raised him and loved him and cared for him till his death. She was his mother. We, as Catholics, cannot say “Mother of Christ” because it was be a heresy (one that was dealt with between the 3rd and 5th century already). The term Mother of God is not new in this modern time. The reason we cannot say Mother of Christ is because Christ is one being. He has a body and a soul. His soul has a Divine nature and a human nature. The Divine Nature is described in John 1:1 " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" This Word is Jesus Christ. As a faithful Catholic we cannot separate his Divine nature from his human nature. His mother, is our mother. His mother, Mary, did not create God or give God his existence. But she bear God himself. I do not know my Greek, but I’m sure someone can explain the original Greek word for Mother of God.
Technically I do not think anyone needs to use “beads” as you call them to get into heaven. This is a devotion. One is free to practice it or not. However, these words for the “Hail Mary” are taken directly from the Scripture. You can read about it here: catholic.com/library/Rosary.asp
And lastly, yes the OT documents are copied from OT writers. These Jews were waiting for the Messiah. Since Catholicism is the Church founded by Christ who is the fulfillment the Old Testament, these Jews in a sense are connected directly to us. They are catholic in the sense of being part of the continuity of Christ’s Church. God exists through time, and so does his Church. The NT documents are taken from teachings and letters from the disciples, who are part of this early church. They are the ones as I explained above became now know as Catholics.
If you are wondering this, then why do you even criticize the Catholic Church? You do not have the ability to ‘judge perfectly,’ and therefore your opinions about the truth or falsehood of Catholic teaching could very well be false.
The major danger, that I see, is adding to or deleting from, God’s Word.
And if a doctrine is false, whether it comes from the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, any Protestant Church, or any other body, then this is a danger and a problem, yes. If the belief in papal infallibity is false, this is a problem. If the belief in *sola scriptura *is false, this is a problem. If the belief in the divinity of Christ is false, this is a problem.
If your works are according to the Word, and you have not changed God’s Word, in order to perform these works, then you are a ‘true Christian’.
If by God’s word, you mean the Bible, then the Catholic Church has not changed it. I would be more worried about the Protestant Churches that rejected seven of the books and no longer use them.
If Mary is the mother of Christ, and Christ is God, then Mary can properly be referred to as the Mother of God. To deny Mary the title is to deny that Christ is fully God. If you do not believe that Christ is God, then any Catholic deviations from Christian orthodoxy (if they exist) would be minor when compared with your denial of Christ’s divinity.
Show me in the scriptures, where I need ‘beads’ to carry out my faith.
Many people find beads to be useful in their prayers, particularly when praying the rosary. These beads are not required, and many people do not use them or even pray the rosary at all. It is a custom, and even contemporary Protestant churches have their fair share of customs.
Show me the scriptures that authorize/demand me to baptize babies
Baptizing babies is a long-standing practice of traditional Christianity. 1 Corinthians 1:16 refers to Paul baptizing the household of Stephanas. Did he baptize the babies of the household? Scripture does not say either way. However, to simply *assume *he did not is to interpret the passage based on your own doctrinal prejudices. If Scripture is not clear on the matter, then I think even a believer in sola scriptura should attach some value to the interpretation and practice of those who lived at the time the Scripture was written. Where does Scripture forbid the baptizing of babies?
and dead people.
This is a new one to me. I am curious to learn more about this.
You are correct. However, someone had to safeguard these words, someone had to determine what was true and what was false, someone had to decide on an official canon. Not everything attributed to a disciple, apostle or Christ Himself is in the accepted canon of Scripture. Rightly or wrongly, someone decided what to put in the Bible and what to leave out. When you put your complete trust in the Bible, you are also putting a great deal of trust in the people who decided what the Bible would be. It’s something to think about.