"Jesus died on the cross for us to have a relationship with Him, not a religion with Him"

How do I/we as Catholics respond to this statement if at all “Jesus died on the cross for us to have a relationship with Him, not a religion with Him.” My Mom heard this on Christian TV this morning and thought she would “share” it with me tonight. It rubs me the wrong way like it’s taking a shot at the Catholic faith.,I haven’t replied to her email yet. I love my mother but we don’t agree all the time on all aspects of our faith. She’s a very “Born Again” Evangelical if you know what I mean. She likes to share her faith with me often and when it goes against the Catholic faith I try to respond in a loving manner, but at times it gets hard… Please pray for me. But back to the topic at hand, how do I respond or should I just let it go? Just some background about Mom. Born Catholic, raised Catholic, married my Dad (Luthern turned Catholic), raised 5 kids as Catholics. Divorced, became “Evangelical” in the 70s (the first time) because she wasn’t “being fed” and left Catholic Church. Became Catholic again to receive an annulment to get married a second time to a Catholic gentleman in the Catholic church. Her and husband then left the Catholic faith again to become Evangelicals once again? I’m the youngest sibling and the only remaining Catholic in my family and so defending the faith is very challenging with her, especially since she was Catholic and is now so Evangelical. I really need some advice and help dealing with my Mom. Thanks.

My religion is my relationship with Jesus. I would ask folks that say that how they explain 1st Timothy chapter 3 verse 16, 1st Timothy chapter 2 verse 10, and James chapter 1 verses 26 and 27

Jesus came to establish His church on earth that we all might together grow more like Him and through the grace of the Holy Spirit come to ever more fully engage in loving relation with each other and God, our Father. We commune in partaking of the Eucharist, His body and blood when we come together in the mass. The Church provides us with its teachings in the form of holy scripture and their interpretation, guided by the Holy Spirit. We pray for each other and ask that others pray for us; this includes our Holy Mother and all the angels and saints, who are closer to God than we ourselves. This is by no means a solitary one-to-one relationship.
I don’t know what the televangelist was talking about. You’d need the context, but I’m sure he’s telling his viewers that he has the answers.
You are likely doing so already, but it would help to pray for her and for yourself.
In this Advent season, we tend to be more aware that we are waiting for Jesus to come. We can become impatient with one another when He seems so far away.
It may help to tell her how you are finding yourself closer to Jesus through the church and that she need not worry, if she is concerned about your relationship with God. You can ask her to pray for you, if she wants to help in this regard.

“Jesus died on the cross for us to have a relationship with Him, not a religion with Him”

Is that in the Bible?

You can’t get more personal that eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood.
‘Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have life within you.’

May she return to the Church, on fire for love of Christ and the sacraments that He gave us!

I wish I had thought of that. lol

Please don’t let Jesus come between you and your Mom! She is on a journey and so are you. How great it is that you guys can be on a journey together. But she will always be your Mom. So give her the benefit of the doubt.

I think she has a great point. Jesus and the Trinity do in fact say that they want you to live according to their ways so that they can come build a home in your soul. That is one of the most precious phrases from the bible.

No Catholic or Protestant can claim that for their own as it comes from Jesus directly.

There is no need to read anything anti-Catholic into that. You may be being too sensitive.

You can always let her know that the Catholic faith is all inclusive of everything from her Evangelical faith. Really it is the Protestants that exclude certain things.

And some folks come to be closer to Jesus through their religion. It’s just a matter of doing things to try and keep Jesus close. There are different ways that folks do that. We need to allow people to have their own way. Jesus is big enough.



It’s probably the Franciscan in me, but I would say that the incarnation would have happened whether man sinned or not, so Jesus did not die on the cross for us to have a personal relationship with him.

He came to earth so that we could have a personal relationship with God.

The Catholic religion is the only way to have a real relationship with Our Lord Jesus Christ. All people who are not in the Catholic Church are not related to Jesus Christ, except potentially, e.g. Protestants are potentially in a relationship with Jesus Christ, but not actually.

This is so because the Holy Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, as St. Paul teaches, the Communion of Saints. If you are outside this Communion then, as the Fathers teach, you are not in the Body of Christ. If you do not receive the Body & Blood of Our Lord at Mass, then you cannot have life in you, just as Christ says:

Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.

The Gospel according to St. John, Chapter 6, Verse 54

Jesus Christ said to his Apostles:

He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.

The Gospel according to St. Luke, Chapter 10, Verse 16

The Pope and the bishops united to him are the descendents of the apostles. If you do not hear the Pope and the bishops united to him, then you do not hear Christ. If you despise the Pope and the bishops united to him by refusing to be in union with said Pope & bishops, then you despise Jesus Christ.

Exactly what I was thinking. It doesn’t get more personal that being washed clean in His Blood in Holy Confession and then literally consuming His Flesh (which a miracle has confirmed is literally His Sacred Heart - the Heart of God) and His Blood.

Protestants talk about having a personal relationship with Jesus but don’t ever talk to His Mother. I used to be a Protestant and I would always say Jesus was my best friend, but I wouldn’t ever talk to His Mother. How can He be my best friend if I don’t ever talk to His closest family?

Email, really? Don’t people talk anymore?

I would not respond to emails. Faith is an important thing to talk about, but talk is the operative word. It deserves a medium in which you can exchange ideas. Email is not it.

I would tell her gently that the idea is a modern sound-bite that is non-scriptural.

Jesus, the Bible tells us, established a religion with Peter as its earthly leader, and granted her the powers to forgive sin in His name and to celebrate the Mass. The Church He established is literally the Mystical Body of Christ, and to reject it is to reject Jesus.

The great Catholic author R.A. Lafferty said that to reject the Church as “organized religion” is like saying you love everything about animals, you just hate their organs, and their bones, and their skin, and their fur.

The Church literally is the Mystical Body of Christ, and He clearly included it in our plan for Salvation.

To deny that religion, and the community of believers with whom we also have a relationship, is a trendy desire to forsake “organized religion” for a more comfortable stance where one uses the Bible as a child’s “Make Your Own Adventure” book rather than the revealed Word of God.

Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,* and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.*

Hmmm…sounds religious to me. :thumbsup:

I went down the same road with my Mom (and all 7 of my siblings :frowning: ) Since it was back in the 70’s, I was not that good of a Catholic myself then. I’m sorry to say I let many of those opportunities for dialog slip away because I didn’t have any answers either (at least not very helpful ones.) I’m the oldest sibling though. My mom died over 20 yrs. ago, but all of my siblings followed her into Evangelical non-denominationalism. Their children are already grown up, none baptized, and few adhering to their Evangelical upbringing.

It’s a very sad situation. If I had it to do over again, I would do what you are already doing. Being kind and loving, but armed with all of the easy arguments against their simplistic understanding. CAF, and many books they recommend would be VERY helpful to you. Learn all you can about why they are on the very fringes of Christianity (if they are even Christian.) Learn about the Biblical foundation of the Catholic Church, and how they are being led (unknowingly) by the false traditions of men. :frowning:

That is a good point I would ask them if they know that the Bible mentions presbyters, bishops and, deacons. I would then proceed to show them those exact verses

So True!

Beautiful suggestions!

That’s good and snarky. And if it was any other than my mother, I might use that, but I won’t

I’ve often used this line before with her.

Thanks for the loving advice. Nothing will ever come between us!

Good Point!

Very true!

You’re 100% correct! We talk on the phone all the time, but I won’t respond via email on this one

Thanks AZ Mike and all of you!

As I prayed more about it this morning, I have a couple of thoughts I will share with you. When Evangelicals say “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus” or something similar to what my Mom heard on TV, I can’t help but think that indeed the answer should be a resounding Yes! Of course we do, or should. But having a relationship with our Lord and having religion are not mutually exclusive. Let’s ask our Evangelical friends, “How” do you love the Lord? “How” do you build that relationship? And then “how” do we, as Catholics develop and nurture that relationship? The CCC often talks about the Covenant relationship with God and I think it gets to heart of our differences. It boils down to how do we practice our faith, which nurtures that relationship with HIM on personal level and as a community of believers, the body of Christ, the Church HE established on Earth? We do it through our Sacramental living. We do it through prayer. We do it by following His Commandments. We love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul, and with all our strength and we love our neighbor as ourselves. Our Lord called us to have a relationship with Him long before dying on the cross and he calls us to and even deeper relationship with Him today. Our relationship with Jesus is on a level that those outside the Catholic faithful have always had a difficult time understanding. It’s much much more than simply accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. I pray for unity with them and ask you to pray for me and my mother! Thanks and God Bless YOU!

“If you love Me, keep my commands.” - Jesus

“He who hears you (the Apostles), hears Me” - Jesus

“Do this (the Mass) in memory of Me” - Jesus

“…baptize in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” - Jesus

we catholics do not have a religion with Jesus. we are members of His Church. in this light, we can substitute the word flock for the word Church. we might do this to better explore the metaphor of the Good Shepherd.

the RCC is not a religion. it is a Church. that is, an institution established by Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls. religions are not typically identified as institutions.

Christianity might be called a religion, I guess; but Christianity is not the same as the RCC.

earlier someone mentioned that being a member of the RCC does not preclude a person from having a personal relationship with Jesus. that is a good explanation for your mother. you might also mention to her the fact that being a member of the RCC enables a person to have the maximum support possible in having and growing a relationship with Jesus.

the maximum support concept can be backed up by mentioning the sacraments that Jesus designed to give us grace. it is grace that grows our personal relationship with Jesus.

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