One Right Answer


#1

People,

Forgive me for whining. You may view this is as a cry of frustration, a cry for the truth, the cry of a big fat whiny baby. Whatever.

We talk and compare and contrast about the differences between Catholic and Protestant. We talk and compare and contrast about the differences among the trillion zillion Protestant denominations.
But in all this, I think it’s clear that Catholics and MOST Protestants do base their doctrines/beliefs from the Bible. Most Christians don’t pull what they believe out of thin air. The arguments come down to who is misinterpreting.

Someone has to be right. I was pretty annoyed today and prayed, and asked God, “Why? Why did you not just spell everything out for us? Why did you not just tell us what you want? With so much misinterpration how can we held accountable for some of this stuff?” Of course I don’t *really *blame God for this…but I was venting. But God does not seem to be the kind of guy who says “well yeah whatever works.” Is He not a God of absolutes? Guys, there has to be ONE RIGHT ANSWER to most of our differences doesn’t there?

So as a product of my reading all these Catholic things, my brain pleasantly replied, paraphrasing something I"d read a week or two ago, “God did not abandon you to fumble and make all kinds of mistakes. His Church is there to interpret correctly”

I realize that I’m not the first person to be an agony about these things, and I surely won’t be the last. But misinterpreting things like whether or not music should be played in church services differs quite a bit from misinterpreting things like salvation and faith and such.

Protestants - which denom is right? Do we really have to just pick something we like and hope to God the doctrine is halfway sound and that God will have mercy on our errors?
Catholics - are YOU right?


#2

So as a product of my reading all these Catholic things, my brain pleasantly replied, paraphrasing something I"d read a week or two ago, “God did not abandon you to fumble and make all kinds of mistakes. His Church is there to interpret correctly”

Curious–LISTEN to this voice. It is Grace that has let you hear it, but you must decide to listen.

There IS one RIGHT answer–but He is infinite and all we can do is move as close to Him as possible. Our whole life is a journey toward that infinite Truth and Love. I know that I believe I have found the right path in the Catholic Church. I will pray for you that you may find peace along the way.


#3

[quote=Curious]People,
Protestants - which denom is right? Do we really have to just pick something we like and hope to God the doctrine is halfway sound and that God will have mercy on our errors?
Catholics - are YOU right?
[/quote]

1,500 years ago you would not have to ask this question. 500 years ago you still would not have to ask this question. Someone said, “If it’s true, it’s not new. If it’s new, it’s not true.”

Shalom(peace)


#4

Curious–LISTEN to this voice. It is Grace that has let you hear it, but you must decide to listen

I cannot tell from whom this voice came…from all my reading or…something else.

I am not saying that we can know everything there is to know about God and all His stuff in a thousand lifetimes. But I do believe that we can know what WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO and at least the BASICS about what WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE here.
If so many verses can really be interpreted that many ways - well, what’s a girl to do?

Either Martin Luther was a hero who helped people see the truth and rescued them from the Catholic Church, or he was a misguided, self-serving person who caused one of the biggest schisms ever.

Well I’ll find an answer sometime I guess. Only God knows if it’ll be right. But I WOULD be interested in to hear Protestants reply to this and if this thought has ever bothered any of you. Heck, I’d like to hear Catholics repond to. Talk to me. Tell me a story.


#5

[quote=Curious]People,

Forgive me for whining. You may view this is as a cry of frustration, a cry for the truth, the cry of a big fat whiny baby. Whatever.

We talk and compare and contrast about the differences between Catholic and Protestant. We talk and compare and contrast about the differences among the trillion zillion Protestant denominations.
But in all this, I think it’s clear that Catholics and MOST Protestants do base their doctrines/beliefs from the Bible. Most Christians don’t pull what they believe out of thin air. The arguments come down to who is misinterpreting.

Someone has to be right. I was pretty annoyed today and prayed, and asked God, “Why? Why did you not just spell everything out for us? Why did you not just tell us what you want? With so much misinterpration how can we held accountable for some of this stuff?” Of course I don’t *really *blame God for this…but I was venting. But God does not seem to be the kind of guy who says “well yeah whatever works.” Is He not a God of absolutes? Guys, there has to be ONE RIGHT ANSWER to most of our differences doesn’t there?

So as a product of my reading all these Catholic things, my brain pleasantly replied, paraphrasing something I"d read a week or two ago, “God did not abandon you to fumble and make all kinds of mistakes. His Church is there to interpret correctly”

I realize that I’m not the first person to be an agony about these things, and I surely won’t be the last. But misinterpreting things like whether or not music should be played in church services differs quite a bit from misinterpreting things like salvation and faith and such.

Protestants - which denom is right? Do we really have to just pick something we like and hope to God the doctrine is halfway sound and that God will have mercy on our errors?
Catholics - are YOU right?
[/quote]

Curious hello:) Look where you are;) Who called you to look into Catholicism?What do you hear in your heart.Go to the nearest Catholic Church and sit in quiet for a few moments and ask God to guide you to the truth.God Bless


#6

I have often wondered about the very same things you are saying. Growing up, (in Methodist church) I thought it really should be simpler than this, and that surely God doesn’t like the “One body of Christ” - His Church, to be so divided. It only confused matters that most Christian churches do base their beliefs on one central doctrine, and furthermore that they all seemed to be blessed by God in many ways.

I am currently in RCIA after much, much, MUCH study of the Bible, historical readings, books by Protestants and Catholics and everything in between. I still have that nagging question as to whether it really matters which denomination I belong to. Everytime I feel that, I hear the still, small voice in my head saying, “Follow Me.”

But does that mean necessarily to the Catholic Church? Since I am on that road, I take it to mean I should keep going in faith. But many of my friends are blessed Christians in various non-Catholic denominations. In my experience, I believe that in many churches can be found true worship of Christ, but in the Catholic Church I see the focus staying on Christ more than in other churches. The Mass is totally Christ-centered, and in protestant churches I tend to see great worship time, and then a long sermon about God, but focused more on us and what He can do for us.

These are just my musings. I am glad I am not the only one with those thoughts. I think it is difficult for cradle-Catholics to imagine anyone would feel this way. It’s like asking someone why they are right-handed. When they believe it with such conviction, it is hard to explain because they can’t imagine that anyone wouldn’t see it as clearly as they do.

With Love,
Ann


#7

Curious,

I agree, it is very confusing and I’ve had that “Why didn’t you make yourself more clear, God??” conversation as well. I’ve been involved in a variety of Prot. denoms looking for the right “fit.” I was a JW for several years, got saved and went to the Church of Christ (very nice people by the way but too legalistic (no music), became Southern Baptist, moved to the north and became Non Denom, Mega Church Evangelical, got bored with the “show” and switched to Lutheran. Three years ago God began very lovingly calling me home to the Catholic Church. WOW did I kick & scream and look for every excuse NOT to go. Now that I’m almost there (will be recieved - is that the right word??) this Easter into the Church. Gotta tell ya Curious, what a relief. No longer will I have to figure out what God meant at every passage in scripture. I’m not that smart (don’t know a lick of Greek or Hebrew) and it was very stressful when it was all left up to me. Oh sure, I always had a Pastor I could go to but his opinion was just that - his opinion. I could line up 40 Pastors that diagreed with him and probably each other. That’s the trouble with only using the Bible - it’s all up to personal interpretation. That’s why I think God gave us a Chruch - someone to give the final say so. You asked if there was One Right Answer. I think so. I think that answer is found in the original Church Jesus left for us. It was that way for some 1,500 give or take years and I think that same Church is still the one that has the final say so. All other Christian Churches are knock offs. Not that a knock off is necessarily a bad thing, but why go to the knock off when you can go to the real deal? Curious, I hear your frustration - I used to be just like you - full of questions, not knowing where to go - and I can tell you that I have PEACE like you wouldn’t believe. The Catholic Church is the real deal. It’s the One Right Answer. Pray about it… God will show you the way. But then YOU have to be willing to follow.
God Bless you !


#8

Curious,
"'Ave I gotta story for ya. Lemme tell you…" :smiley:

Speaking as one who has trod that painful path upon which you travel in search of that truth… and the rest I think you know, my friend.

All this controversy is just part of life. Somebody’s always gonna disagree with us about something. It’s just “human, all too human” to swipe a line from Nietzche. Also the devil doesn’t want the church to be effective so he gets all in the way every way that he can.

Pontius Pilate asked Jesus at his trial, “What is truth?”…how many of us do the same? All I can tell you is that I have found it after much searching and reading.

Who’s right?..You know my answer for that one don’t ya?
Pax vobiscum,


#9

We all believe the same basic things. I think that it is true that we all go about believing them and carrying out our beliefs differently, but, I think, for the most part, all of the important things are shared among Christianity as a whole. We’re all right that Jesus gave his life so that we could live and be saved and (hopefully) see Him one day in Heaven. We’re all right that Jesus is Lord; that He is the Son of God; the Messiah; and that no one gets to Heaven without knowing Him. Or am I wrong?

God Bless,
SFAgal


#10

Go to the nearest Catholic Church and sit in quiet for a few moments and ask God to guide you to the truth.God Bless

I’ve sort of done that. I wasn’t by myself. The Ash Wednesay mass was so good. Maybe I’ll go when it’s empty.

It only confused matters that most Christian churches do base their beliefs on one central doctrine, and furthermore that they all seemed to be blessed by God in many ways.

Yes…yes…exactly. It is very confusing that God is/seems to be moving among them, blessing them. Is it in spite of them? Is His seal of approval on them? Who gets His seal of approval? Why does God bless people that don’t have it right? His mercy?

Non Denom, Mega Church Evangelical, got bored with the “show”

Exactly

not that smart (don’t know a lick of Greek or Hebrew) and it was very stressful when it was all left up to me. Oh sure, I always had a Pastor I could go to but his opinion was just that - his opinion

Exactly

Knowing in my head that I’m not alone in this is one thing but hearing them from you is another. I do need your guys stories, etc. It helps.


#11

[quote=Curious]Either Martin Luther was a hero who helped people see the truth and rescued them from the Catholic Church, or he was a misguided, self-serving person who caused one of the biggest schisms ever.
[/quote]

I vote for the latter. :frowning:

You WILL find the answer eventually – we all will. It’s called the General Judgment of Mankind, and you can read one Dominican theologian’s account of it here:

The Last Day and the General Judgment

(I also posted links to several related articles on another thread.)

[quote=Curious]But I WOULD be interested in to hear Protestants reply to this and if this thought has ever bothered any of you. Heck, I’d like to hear Catholics repond to. Talk to me. Tell me a story.
[/quote]

That’s a good thing to be open to, since this is a Catholic forum. :thumbsup:

Well, He didn’t spell out everything for us. You affirm the Mystery of the Holy Trinity, don’t you? That isn’t spelled out explicitly in the Bible. Jesus knew that we would need help, and that’s why He created a Church – His Church. That means – THE Church. Do you believe that Jesus created a Church? Do you believe that He created one Church, or more than one church?

Interestingly, the word “church” (Scottish Presbyterians – is that redundant? – like to use the word “kirk,” which seems related to the German word “Kirche”) from an ancient Greek word meaning “lord”:

[Middle English chirche, from Old English cirice, ultimately from Medieval Greek krikon, from Late Greek kriakon (dma), the Lord’s (house), neuter of Greek kriakos, of the lord, from krios, lord. See keu- in Indo-European Roots.]

dictionary.reference.com/search?q=church

Dominican theologian Father Paul Raftery says that “the sacraments are extensions of the incarnation.”

How many houses on Earth does God have? Yes, there are many local church buildings, but how many universal Churches? How many Arks of the Covenant were there in the Old Testament?

This is what happens when you ditch the Magisterium. (In fact, I was thinking about this very thing earlier this evening on my walk.) Protestants cling to sola scriptura, despite the facts that (a) there is no scriptural evidence for it (which makes it self-refuting), and (b) there is clear scriptural evidence AGAINST it. “I will determine for myself what the Bible means.” Yes, and so do millions of other people. And see what happens? Confusion, disagreement. Souls are misled, even lost. Did Jesus want it this way? No.

So what is the justification for ditching the Magisterium – the teaching authority of the Church? Let’s compare, the Magisterium, on the one hand, with one single Protestant pastor, on the other. They disagree on a particular doctrine. Now why should I suppose that the lone Protestant pastor’s “interpretation” is more likely to be correct than that of the Magisterium?

Well, what IS the Magisterium? The teaching authority and tradition of the church. This includes the bishops, the early Church Fathers, and the Doctors of the Church. The Magisterium has been at work for almost two thousand years. During that time, many, many fine minds – including some of the finest the world has even seen – have been studying Scripture, and reasoning out its meaning. Innumerably many minds and souls, guided by the Holy Spirit, interpreting the whole of Scripture, so that all doctrines are developed with an eye to Scripture as a whole.

No one mere man, no matter how gifted, could reasonably hope to match this.

And they’ve been doing this work in the One Church that Our Lord gave to us – the most precious of our earthly possessions.


#12

Here’s a story from a convert/revert. As a baptized Catholic but not raised in the Church, I see myself as more of a convert than a revert. When I first obeyed God’s voice and recognized Him for who He was, it was to my knees in a Nazarene Church. Because of in fighting in the church, I moved to an Assembly of God and then an Evangelical.

When many heard I was a infant baptized Catholic, most would then say things like, oh good thing you are not there, they worship Mary, worship statues, etc. All the things here I heard. A few asked me questions, but I truly did not know the answer.

One day, I saw a Catechism of the CC on sale for $4.95, any more and it would have been out of my price range. (Incidently, I have never seen one for that low of a price again.)

Everytime someone asked me a question or told me what Catholics believed, I looked it up. Each time someone told me something that would make Catholic not Christian, I found that it was not what Catholic are supposed to believe.

Eventually, I found myself sitting in the Evangelical Church with tears streaming down my face because I just realized I couldn’t take communion. The people I was with did not believe in the Real Presence of Christ.

Only after this did I then discover the wonderful Biblicalness of the Catholic Church. One day, after again being told I was making a mistake by my fundamental brothers and sisters in Christ, I asked God to help me and guide me. Help me to know I was going in the right direction. He gave me the verse 2 Thesselonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. I cried out to God. Is it that simple. Which is the only Church that claims to have an oral tradition? Only One. Which Church proudly proclaims that fact? Only One. It was then that I finally found peace with the road God had set me on.

After then I was so excited to find things like the Sacrament of Reconcilliation (Confession) John 20:21-23. It doesn’t say go and teach forgiveness but go and forgive. There truly was no end to my joy when I realized I did not have to give up “finding it in the Bible” to be a Catholic Christian. I just had to place it together hand and hand with the oral tradition that was eventually written down on how to properly interpret the Scripture in which I had first found how much Christ loved me.

To realize I did not have to figure it out on my own. To realize that Christ had truly left a living breathing Church to lead and guide me.

That’s a part of my story. May God give you the same peace I was given. It is not an easy road to travel, but with the peace that passes all understanding, it is the only road I will ever choose.

Your sister in Christ,
Maria


#13

Wow every time I am about to despair and think myself hopeless I find more hope on this site. I too and wrestling with God, myself and posibly and angel if needed to find that one right answer.

I was raised in the LDS faith and still believe in its tenants but I am very confused. My husband has recieved a call from God to leave the LDS church. This is difficult for me because I recieved a testimony from God that this is what he wants my husband to do at this time and that I needed to love and support his search for the truth. This is very confusing for me because I can’t understand why God would call him away unless the truth was elsewhere.

It would be easier for me if I could just believe he was being led away by satan but I know that is not the case. So I am in darkness not understanding God’s plan.

My husband has explained that joining the LDS faith helped him come to the point where he could see the truths that the Catholics teach more clearly so that he was being prepared to take the steps that he is now taking.

My problem is that I am terribly confused. I know that as a couple in the LDS church we were not progressing as God would want us too. Is his leaving the church as punishment for our failure to progress as he desired? Do we need this conflict of beliefs to keep both of us growing? Is my husband being strengthened and will then return or is he paving the way for me to follow? I have no answers even after weeks of prayer, fasting, scripture study and more prayer. I know the Lord will not tire of my strugle so I have hope.

The hardest part is the pain of not being sure of your own personal path to God. Above all I want my life to be in tune with his desires for me. I have very little faith in my abilities to understand his ways. I pray constantly for the ability to recognise an answer when it comes. I am just trying to keep my own flawed human nature from getting in the way of what God is trying to tell me. The waiting must be part of my process so I am trying to be patient. Please keep me in your prayers.


#14

Well, what IS the Magisterium? The teaching authority and tradition of the church. This includes the bishops, the early Church Fathers, and the Doctors of the Church. The Magisterium has been at work for almost two thousand years. During that time, many, many fine minds – including some of the finest the world has even seen – have been studying Scripture, and reasoning out its meaning. Innumerably many minds and souls, guided by the Holy Spirit, interpreting the whole of Scripture, so that all doctrines are developed with an eye to Scripture as a whole.

No one mere man, no matter how gifted, could reasonably hope to match this.

That sounds much like what I was reading a week or two ago.

One thing I’ve noticed is that it seems that Protestants believe that many things Jesus told the apostles apply to all believers. I’ve always believed that too.

Examples: the binding and losing, the holy spirit leading them into all truth, and that the “whosever sins you forgive will be forgiven” magically mean something else entirely.

When looking at those verses being spoken to for the apostles and to give them the authority they need to lead believers, Catholic belief makes much more sense.
But Protestant belief (at least the teaching I’ve heard) is that everyone is included those statements, that God isn’t a respecter of persons, and that if Peter can bind and loose than so can everyone else.

But I digress


#15

Curious, beloved. Go before Jesus in the blessed Sacrament. Calm your heart for a moment. Pray this prayer:

Lord, if this is your Church, I need to be in it, not out of it. Do what ever you must. If it is you, bid me come to you on the water.


#16

[quote=Curious] I think it’s clear that Catholics and MOST Protestants do base their doctrines/beliefs from the Bible. Most Christians don’t pull what they believe out of thin air. The arguments come down to who is misinterpreting.
[/quote]

Whoa, Nellie. If you begin with a false premise, you will end with a false conclusion.

All Protestant churches are based on the same incomplete 66-book Bible of Martin Luther. But –

The Catholic Church is not based on the Bible. It’s the other way around. The New Testament is based on the living, functioning, teaching Catholic Church who wrote it. ** The NT is a mirror reflection of what the Church was teaching at the time it was written down. **The NT cannot be rightly understood except within the context of the living Faith of the historical Church. It was written in the heart of the Church and must be read in the heart of the Church. Then you will not only know what it says, but you will know what it means.

When Chopin played the piano sonatas he had written, he wasn’t interpreting the notes and musical notations – he was playing them the way he himself intended them to be played. Other musicians have to interpret Chopin’s music – but he was the author and he **knew **how he meant it to be played. He knew what he meant by what he wrote.

When Einstein read his theory of relativity, he wasn’t interpreting – he knew what he meant by what he wrote. Other scientists had to interpret Einstein; Einstein didn’t have to interpret himself.

The Catholic Church didn’t read the New Testament and then decide what to teach. She learned her doctrines from the lips of the Apostles. Some of what the Apostles taught the Church got written down and later became the New Testament. Some of the Apostle’s teachings were preserved in other ways – through the writings of the Church Fathers and through the Church’s liturgy, for example. The Deposit of Faith is known to us through two sources: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Apostolic Tradition. They are both God’s revelation to man.

So the Catholic Church did not come out of the Bible; rather, the Bible came out of the Catholic Church. The Church was nearly 400 years old when the Holy Spirit guided her to select the contents and canonize and name the NT, to canonize the Greek Septuagint she inherited from Jesus and the Apostles and name it the OT, and form and name the Bible.

Ave Cor Mariae, Jay


#17

When Chopin played the piano sonatas he had written, he wasn’t interpreting the notes and musical notations – he was playing them the way he himself intended them to be played. Other musicians have to interpret Chopin’s music – but he was the author and he knew how he meant it to be played. He knew what he meant by what he wrote.

Fantastic way to explain this! Few people truly realize the correct order of things when reading the Bible.


#18

The hardest part is the pain of not being sure of your own personal path to God. Above all I want my life to be in tune with his desires for me. I have very little faith in my abilities to understand his ways. I pray constantly for the ability to recognise an answer when it comes. I am just trying to keep my own flawed human nature from getting in the way of what God is trying to tell me. The waiting must be part of my process so I am trying to be patient. Please keep me in your prayers.

I’m so there. I know what you mean.

And K!!!

Thou shalt not give me a hard time. You knew exactly what I meant. Yes I know where you’re coming from but I have a hard enough time articulating as it is. I was just trying to make it simpler. Bad K!! :tsktsk:

Lord, if this is your Church, I need to be in it, not out of it. Do what ever you must. If it is you, bid me come to you on the water.

Yes but then he might answer!! :bigyikes: Just kidding. Well you’re the second person that said to go sit alone in a Catholic Church. I"ll have to sneak away, but I’ll do that. Maybe it will help.


#19

[quote=Curious]That sounds much like what I was reading a week or two ago.
[/quote]

That’s reassuring. :smiley:

So far, so good. (There’s actually a Chinese restaurant on Long Island called “So Far, So Good.” I haven’t eaten there.)

Oh, NOT so good. What scriptural basis is there for that interpretation? Actually, just think about it logically. We’re all sinners. To say that each of us has the power to bind and loose our own sins makes no sense. To me that seems to say that we each have the power to absolve our own sins, or not. But if sin means anything – that is, if sin is an offense against God – we cannot do that.

Can someone else do that for us? Well, perhaps. But by what authority? Remember, the Pharisees were scandalized that Jesus claimed to have the power to forgive sin. “This power belongs only to God alone!” Indeed. If sin is an offense against God, then only God can forgive it. How can another man forgive me my sins? Only if he is given that power by God, through Christ.

Were you given that power, by Christ? I wasn’t.

Actually, no, you don’t digress at all. You’ve touched the heart of the matter.


#20

[quote=SFAgal03]We all believe the same basic things. I think that it is true that we all go about believing them and carrying out our beliefs differently, but, I think, for the most part, all of the important things are shared among Christianity as a whole. We’re all right that Jesus gave his life so that we could live and be saved and (hopefully) see Him one day in Heaven. We’re all right that Jesus is Lord; that He is the Son of God; the Messiah; and that no one gets to Heaven without knowing Him. Or am I wrong?

God Bless,
SFAgal
[/quote]

You’re wrong about all of us [Christians] believing the same basic things. Who decides what is and what is not “basic”? Who decides what is and what is not “important”?

There are thousands of Protestant denominations teaching thousands of conflicting and competing doctrines, and all of them claim to be “true.”

The Catholic Church teaches:
Catechism of the Catholic Church 847: “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.”

Jesus alone is the Savior of the world and everyone who is saved is saved through Him, whether they know it or not. The Catholic Church alone was founded by Christ for the salvation of the world, and everyone who is saved is saved through the Church, whether they know it or not.

But if they don’t know Christ or his Church – through no fault of their own – they may be saved. Emphasis on the “may.”

Peace be to you and to all who post at Catholic Answers.

JMJ Jay


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