I am a college Sophmore and while enjoying lunch today outside a student from another school on spring break approached me with a survey. It was a survey about God, his nature, man’s nature, what it takes to get to heaven etc. As we were conversing things were rather pleasant and “Ethan” was trying to explain how a perfect God cannot exist with evil men. I did not agree that the nature of man is evil. He and his church believe that men are evil and that the only way to heaven is to be born again. He wanted to know how we get to heaven since we are evil. I replied that Jesus says that unless you are born of water and spirit you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. I also believe I will go to heaven if I follow the commandments Jesus gave us, as well as the 10 commandments. We talked for 20 minutes and then went our separate ways. When I got to class some students were talking about a Bible study the same group from another school was holding tonight and how they were going. Should I go to this to raise points to defend our faith?? I don’t want them to lead more Catholics away from the Church.
We need to specifically follow Christs teachings, not specifically the 10 commandments unless they fall under Christ’s teachings.
The Law and Faith in Christ
1 Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. 2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 Have you experienced[a] so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?
5 I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law?** Of course not!** It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.
6 In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”** 7 The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.
8 What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.”[c] 9 So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.
10** But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.”**[d] 11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”[e] 12 This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.”[f]
13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”[g] 14 Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised[h] Holy Spirit through faith.
The Law and God’s Promise
15 Dear brothers and sisters,* here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case. 16 God gave the promises to Abraham and his child.[j] And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,[k]” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ. 17 This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses*. God would be breaking his promise. 18 For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.
19 Why, then, was the law given?** It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised.** God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. 20 Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement. But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to Abraham.
21 Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises?[l] Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. 22 But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.
God’s Children through Faith
23 Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.
24 Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. 25 And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.
26 For you are all children[m] of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.[n] 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile,[o] slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children[p] of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
There are way more than 10 commandments, here is a quote from a Jewish website: “According to Jewish tradition, G-d gave the Jewish people 613 mitzvot (commandments). All 613 of those mitzvot are equally sacred, equally binding and equally the word of G-d. All of these mitzvot are treated as equally important, because human beings, with our limited understanding of the universe, have no way of knowing which mitzvot are more important in the eyes of the Creator”
Jesus and Paul said we only need to follow two commandments, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and might and love your neighbor as yourself. That covers all sin from being committed.
So don’t worry about following the 10 commandments, follow Jesus’s two commandments and you will cover all 600+ Jewish commandments plus thousands more.**
sounds like you met a calvinist who was working with Campus Crusade short term mission.
is this above the survey you reffered to?
You seem to be implying that some of the 10 Commandments fail to fall under Christ’s teachings.
If so, please explain which Commandments fall short.
Also, how do the Catholic examinations of conscience compare and contrast to the what the Assembly of God Church teaches about sinful acts?
If you feel the group is open to learning what the Catholic Church has said about these topics for 2,000 years, and you’re comfortable explaining our teachings, you should go and enjoy the friendships.
I’m a sponsor for RCIA and this year we have 15 converts coming into the Church.
Most people (even we Catholics) are ignorant of the meaning of the Sacraments and what the Reformation’s impact was on theology in our generation.
You may unfortuneately also find a prejudice against the Catholic Church that people of protestant denominations can’t articulate - however they do “feel”.
I agree with you to a certain extent, however I believe it is important that we understand that Christ did not do away with the Ten Commandments, but rather taught us how to keep all of them by “Lov[ing] the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and might and love your neighbor as yourself.”
The 613 mitzvot (commandments) were not God’s law, but rather the laws of Moses. We are no longer subject to cleansing ceremonies, or not eating with sinners, etc., which burdened the Jewish people. Jesus acknowledged that Moses allowed divorce and then immediately forbid it. He acknowledged “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” and then said “But I say unto you love your enemies, do good to those who harm you…”
In short, Jesus summed up everything with love. On that, we do agree.
I would ask him if he has ever known someone “born again” that has stopped sinning for the rest of their life. If he does then he is a liar, or delusional. I would also ask him that if God cannot exist with evil men then what was Jesus doing eating with sinners? Or does he believe that Jesus was not God? There is a tendency among those “born again” Christians to place people into one of two camps; you are either “saved” or you are a “sinner”. I think that is where this person is probably coming from and he has bought into a fallacy. Conversion is a daily process. As Paul said, we must run the race and persevere to the end. You may want to remind him of that. As Paul also said, we must work out our salvation “with fear and trembling”. It’s the old “once saved always saved” myth that he is trying to promote here.
Don’t go. You’re going to get swamped with half-truths and attacks if you say anything supporting a Catholic point of view, and they won’t be open to anything else. That’s not an effective venue for you. The discussion you had one-on-one with that one student was much better.
Rather than going to someone else’s study, you’d be better off starting your own with a couple other knowledgeable Catholics, and open it up to all comers.
I could not agree more. It is a completely different dynamic than one on one; the group mentality. It becomes a fruitless exercise in a hurry. They will be ready with memorized and prepared quotes and will give you one liners that cannot be adequately addressed without going into detail and depth requiring time that is not available in that setting.
These folks are sincere in their faith and with most of what they have to say you will not disagree. It is the subtle errors that are dangerous.
CCC on “human nature”:
The Catechism says that man is “inclined toward evil” not that we are evil. There is a difference there.
It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called “concupiscence”.
sin and human nature inclined to evil, 404-05, 407, 419, 978, 1250, 1426, 1707
404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam “as one body of one man”.293 By this “unity of the human race” all men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as all are implicated in Christ’s justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.294 It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed” - a state and not an act.
405 Although it is proper to each individual,295 original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called “concupiscence”. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.
406 The Church’s teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine’s reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God’s grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam’s fault to bad example. The first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. The Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the second Council of Orange (529)296 and at the Council of Trent (1546).297
407 The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man’s situation and activity in the world. By our first parents’ sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. Original sin entails “captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil”.298 Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action299 and morals.
408 The consequences of original sin and of all men’s personal sins put the world as a whole in the sinful condition aptly described in St. John’s expression, “the sin of the world”.300 This expression can also refer to the negative influence exerted on people by communal situations and social structures that are the fruit of men’s sins.301
409 This dramatic situation of "the whole world [which] is in the power of the evil one"302 makes man’s life a battle:
The whole of man’s history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.303
I would point out to him that Jesus built a Church to teach all men the Truth of God and that you are looking for that Church. Ask him if knows where this Church is.
Sounds like you’ve met a Gnostic. This is not new at all the church has been struggling with the gnostic heresy since the time of Paul. God is perfect and men and the natural world are evil…it’s basically a rehashing of that debate.
We are actually studying the early gnostics in our bible study on Timothy. It’s a really interesting heresy. I recommend that you look up a couple of the early church fathers and their writings on the subject.