Might Some Protestants Reject Catholicism Because They Feel It Is Too 'Easy'?

Coming from a Protestant background (non-denominational/Evangelical, then Restorationist [Independent Christian Church], then Anglican/Episcopal), I sometimes think that some Protestants reject Catholicism because they might feel it is too ‘easy’.

After all, one hears certain Protestants talk about “making Christ the Lord of your life”, “giving one’s all for Christ”, etc. and that this is a requirement for ALL Believers. For the extreme examples, look at groups like the Mennonites or the Church of Christ.

As a Catholic, it seems that Salvation, at its heart is about following fairly simple rules (not saying always easy rules, I continually struggle with a pornography addiction and a bad case of Scruples), such as going to Mass every week, avoid mortal sin and, if you commit mortal sin, go to Confession.

The verses that some Protestants might apply to all Believers (i.e. the Beatitudes, the Rich Young Ruler, etc.) are viewed through a double-standard (I don’t mean this in a negative way); basically, there is the standard of obeying certain precepts that all Catholics must keep (i.e. obey the Ten Commandments, attend Mass weekly, etc.) and then there is the standard of perfection (i.e. following the evangelical counsels such as those tough passages in the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ words).

Thus, one could live a very ‘normal’ and worldly life (i.e. wealthy, popular, etc.), just staying out of mortal sin and going to Mass weekly, and still be in Heaven according to the Catholic Church; whereas, in some Protestant sects, that just wouldn’t cut it (in others, of course, all you have to do is have some vague notion of belief and you’re in).

Now, of course, Catholics could respond that one who does the barest minimum and pretty much just barely stays on the venial side of the venial-mortal sin divide might have quite a bit of time to spend in Purgatory, but they would get into Heaven…eventually.

It seems there is a certain dichotomy among some Protestant complaints against Catholicism:

  1. The OSAS/Sola Fide types attack the Church for adding too much to the requirements for Salvation.

  2. The Lordship Salvation (i.e. make Jesus the Lord of your life)/Holiness/‘Faith is a Relationship’ types attack the Church for making Salvation simply a matter of “following the rules” (and going to Confession if you seriously mess up).

Any comments from either Protestants or Catholic? Am I misunderstanding the Catholic concept of Salvation?

It is kind of a strange op because usually Catholics say that the reason protestants don’t convert, or Catholics convert to something else, is the “rules” for being a good Catholic are too tough.
As to your point 1), I always cringe when I see OSAS mixed with sola fide. I think Luther would, too. Justification Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is always connected to sanctification - love, charity, and living a godly life to the best of our ability, seeking the means of grace. And Sola Fide by no means denies the possibility of loosing grace and salvation.

Jon

I did not mean to incorrectly paint an incorrect picture of OSAS or Sola Fide, but I am sure you can agree it is hard to address ‘Protestantism’. After all, some Protestants are OSAS, but they believe Faith+something (i.e. Baptism, public affirmation, etc.) is needed to enter into permanent Salvations. Some are Sola Fide, but not OSAS (as you just described). Others are neither OSAS nor Sola Fide (or you get into different definitions of what faith really is).

In terms of the rules being tough:

I think the rules that probably really give people a tough time are:

A) No contraception of any kind (the only exception is sometimes birth control pills are prescribed for other reasons, usually hormonal issues); in fairness, as one who has a strong desire for the Priesthood, this issue does not really affect me. Also, prior to the Anglican allowing of some contraceptives in the 19th century, this rule was pretty universal among all Christians.

B) Weekly Mass is a must (there are some exceptions, but they are just that: EXCEPTIONS)

C) Confession to a Priest is required for mortal sin–for me, my problem on this issue is the opposite of the standard. I am told I go too much (I would probably go every day if the Priests allowed me)

D) No divorcing (although annulments are possible under certain circumstance); again, this rule really does not affect me since I feel a desire for the Priesthood.

But still, compare this to some very fundamentalist groups (i.e. no dancing, no alcohol, no movies/TV/video games, etc.).

Here are my opinionated comments fully based on peronsal anecdotal experience. :smiley:

It seems to me that many protestants, and Catholics who go to protestantism, is that being a protestant is so much “easier.” By that I mean that all they have to do is make one statement and then they’re “free” to do as they please because, well, they were saved. So what difference does anything else make?

Being a Catholic is challenging. IMO, we’re being held to a higher standard of living. And by that I mean we’re called to being holy people. I have never heard of a protestant say that being Catholic was “easy.” I’ve always heard them say it was “too hard” and how can it be “from” Jesus when you have the possibility of losing your salvation? Another thing I’ve heard, “It’s really creepy that you eat your god.”

I dunno any one reason why any one person decides to be protestant, other than those who were born and grew up in that religion. Really, it could be any number of reasons. I know one woman who was born and raised Catholic, even confirmed! and she “converted” to this “christian” church. She was excited about her “baptism” and all that. I asked her why she likes this particular church so much. “They pay attention to me.” Well, there you go.

So anyway. IMO, it seems easier for protestants to attain salvation. I always figured this is probably the main reason they don’t convert to Catholicism. Other than the fact that they’re being erroneously taught that the Catholic Church is being run by Satan.

I agree. My not being Catholic has nothing to do with whether it is easy or hard. I have the problem with the priesthood not being for all God’s Holy children. This is a contridition to what Peter told us in I Peter chapter 2 when we are called to be living stones(Rocks). Further in I Peter 2:9-10 he says we are a Royal nation, a Kingdom of priest in the order of Melchizedek, were Jesus Christ is High Priest.Don’t really want to get into Melchizedek on this post, it’s already on another thread.I must stay true to my beliefs unless God shows me different.:wink:

GK Chesterton used to remark on phenomenon like this. He said something to the effect of being glad to hear that critics of the Church complain that she is

  1. too strict / too easy
  2. too rich / too focused on the plight of the poor
  3. too material / too ethereal
  4. too involved in politics / not enough involved in politics…

You get the idea. His point was that truth takes flak from all sides. If all your flak is coming from one side… be worried.

=nsper7;5221884]I did not mean to incorrectly paint an incorrect picture of OSAS or Sola Fide, but I am sure you can agree it is hard to address ‘Protestantism’. After all, some Protestants are OSAS, but they believe Faith+something (i.e. Baptism, public affirmation, etc.) is needed to enter into permanent Salvations. Some are Sola Fide, but not OSAS (as you just described). Others are neither OSAS nor Sola Fide (or you get into different definitions of what faith really is).

Yes, ok. I was just musing about the 2 put together.

In terms of the rules being tough:

I think the rules that probably really give people a tough time are:

A) No contraception of any kind (the only exception is sometimes birth control pills are prescribed for other reasons, usually hormonal issues); in fairness, as one who has a strong desire for the Priesthood, this issue does not really affect me. Also, prior to the Anglican allowing of some contraceptives in the 19th century, this rule was pretty universal among all Christians.

B) Weekly Mass is a must (there are some exceptions, but they are just that: EXCEPTIONS)

C) Confession to a Priest is required for mortal sin–for me, my problem on this issue is the opposite of the standard. I am told I go too much (I would probably go every day if the Priests allowed me)

D) No divorcing (although annulments are possible under certain circumstance); again, this rule really does not affect me since I feel a desire for the Priesthood.

But still, compare this to some very fundamentalist groups (i.e. no dancing, no alcohol, no movies/TV/video games, etc

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. And your point about those fundamentalist groups is a good one.
Thinking about the priesthood? God’s blessings on your desire to serve Him and His sheep.

Jon

I echo the sentiment…not being Catholic has nothing to do with “it’s too difficult”…I simply have not found it’s beliefs and history to be compelling enough to accept it tenets and belief system.

I, too, have not chosen my faith communion based on ease or difficulty. I think, though, we disagree on the need and importance of the ordained priesthood, which is in addition to, not opposition to, the priesthood of all believers.

Jon

In my opinion it is more difficult to be a “faithful” Catholic. Where protestants on the whole, from my experience feel that they are saved no matter what they do, Catholics are much more conscience of their sins and how it separates them from God.

I was brought up in a liturgical church and there was no emphasis on sin.

Many protestants don’t even feel the need to go to church and worship. They tell me they can worship at home. That Christ died for all their sins and that means all future sins, without them really repenting of them, as they are covered.

When you feel obligated to confess your sins to a priest it makes you much more aware of how you have hurt our Savior. For me even a couple past sins that have been forgiven I still have sorrow for them.

The Catholic Churches’ rules make me have more of a personal relationship with the Lord than I did as a protestant.

I feel much more peace when I have attended Mass. It has nothing to do with an obligation to attend, it is a peace from actually being with Christ in His True Presence. I feel sadness that protestants don’t have this connection.

I was speaking with a friend who goes to a mega church (the church has split and the church that split is spliting again). We were talking about after death and although she doesn’ believe in Purgatory, when I brought up the fact that the good thief was told by Jesus that he would be with him in Paradise that day and I said that Jesus did not ascend to Heaven for 40 days so where is Paradise and what is it for, she had no answer, but she seemed to agree that maybe it is a place where you are refined by fire.

Before this conversatiion we had never spoken of these verses. I hope it gives her some thought as to what it means that to enter Heaven you must be perfect. She knows she is not perfect. Of course no one is perfect even us Catholics, I am sure that some think they are just as some protestants do.

All churches have their own rules and expectations, even though they might not use that term, they still must abide by their denomintions doctrines.

Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

Bernadette

I think that’s a very insightful post!

Chesterton makes a similar point regarding Christianity in general in his book Orthodoxy.

He used the case of hearing the description of a man you have never seen. Someone tells you he is very tall, another that he is short. You hear that he is fat from one, then from another that he is skinny. From one you hear that he is dark, and from another that he is fair, etc.

Chesterton points out that your first impression would be that this must be a very odd looking man.

Upon further consideration, he decides that it is more likely that we are hearing descriptions from people who are themselves odd in some way, and the man in question is probably proportioned about just right!

I hope I did Chesterton justice with that truncated description!

It’s strange how everyone thinks their religion is harder.

Personally, I have taken the easy way out. I like to get drunk and dance (in that order) and have found the Catholic Church to be very accomodating. Being a Baptist would be way harder.

And I have a Baptist friend who thinks confessing sins to God is way harder than confessing to a Priest.

I had the same thought, as you can see in my post above.

I didn’t see your post until later.

All my best posts are from Chesterton!

I don’t know if my problem is with an ordained priesthood, after all my wife and I were married in the Lutheran Church she grew up in.My problem with the Catholic Church is the laity is not in the priesthood of Melchizedek and thats not what Peter said in I Peter 2:9-10. At least this is what I was told by a Catholic on another thread. You said the magic word,“The Priesthood of believers”.:shrug:

=BernadetteM;5222226]In my opinion it is more difficult to be a “faithful” Catholic. Where protestants on the whole, from my experience feel that they are saved no matter what they do, Catholics are much more conscience of their sins and how it separates them from God.

I was brought up in a liturgical church and there was no emphasis on sin.

This may be true, and I am no expert on other faith communions, but my understanding is that OSAS has a rather small following comparatively. I’d be curious which liturgical church you were raised in.

Many protestants don’t even feel the need to go to church and worship. They tell me they can worship at home. That Christ died for all their sins and that means all future sins, without them really repenting of them, as they are covered.

They are wrong. :blush:

When you feel obligated to confess your sins to a priest it makes you much more aware of how you have hurt our Savior. For me even a couple past sins that have been forgiven I still have sorrow for them.

The Catholic Churches’ rules make me have more of a personal relationship with the Lord than I did as a protestant.

I feel much more peace when I have attended Mass. It has nothing to do with an obligation to attend, it is a peace from actually being with Christ in His True Presence.

Couldn’t agree more.

Jon

It sounds very much like you are thinking here of a portion of ORTHODOXY (chap. 7, “The Paradoxes of Christianity”), written while he was still technically an Anglican. If so, it is Christianity he is speaking of, not the Church. Still, your point holds.

GKC

And, having now read some preceding posts, this seems to be fairly well noted by now.

Oops.

GKC

Bernadette, I really like your post. It’s so gentle. I can see how Jesus works in you and how peace comes from you. :slight_smile:

Thank you so much. If I am gentle it is because of our Lord. I really don’t feel like I am very worthy compared to so many other wonderful Christians.

Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary

Bernadette

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.