I am interested in having friendly dialogue with those who are Roman Catholics and understand why they believe Roman Catholicism to be the true Christian faith. I am open to dialogue and debate as long as there is no name-calling, swearing, cheap debate tactics, straw-man arguments, or snarky comments. Keep in mind I don’t know how much time I will actually have to do these kinds of things considering that I am going to be starting my fall semester of seminary in August. I hope that we can all learn from each other and disagree graciously and respectfully.
I’ll try to keep this brief and limited to when I was looking into Catholicism, not ways that I came closer to Catholicism while a Presbyterian (compared to my mostly Pentecostal and Baptist background). Also bear in mind, I’m coming from a Protestant background, so that’s what I’ll focus on.
First, there’s the issue of the canon. We rely on it to know what Scripture is, but nothing in Scripture declares what that canon is. (I’ll ignore the circular reasoning argument, since it did little for me when I was searching.) This leaves us with a dilemma. We could say that God, through extra-Scriptural means, gave us the canon, but then we no longer hold to sola scriptura. Alternatively, we could take the R.C. Sproul of approach of a “fallible collection of infallible books”, but then we’re left with relying on a Scripture we access through a fallible source (i.e. the Bible), which seems like a foundation of sand.
Second, and further down sola scriptura, there’s the issue that it isn’t itself Scriptural. The doctrine at its most basic is that Scripture is alone God’s revelation of His teaching to us. Nowhere is this taught in that very Scripture. Scripture teaches that it is infallible, but Catholics accept that. Scripture teaches us that it is sufficient, but that’s not a reason to believe that it is alone infallible, as St. Vincent of Lerins pointed out in Commonitory 2:5. Basically, it is self-defeating doctrine.
Third, there’s the matter of justification. We have numerous examples in Scripture where works like baptism (1 Peter 3:21), partaking the Eucharist (John 6:54-56), and works of charity (Matthew 25:31-46) play a role in justification. Of course, James 2:24 explicitly states that works play a role. While God’s grace is free, there’s clearly some work of cooperation on our part to accept it, something God Himself empowers us to do. While Romans and Galatians do criticize works, it’s clear from their context that Paul was dealing with the Judaizers, who you can read more about in Acts 14-15. This is very clear in Galatians 5:6, where Paul makes a very clear separation between circumcision (again, Judaizers) and charity.
Finally (for this post, certainly not all), there was the general call among many early Church fathers to unite with the Bishop of Rome. Sure, there were political reasons to keep Rome as a the center or favor it over other churches Peter established, but it’s no secret that that bishop is of the line of Peter and was given a primacy in the early Church.
Again, those are just a few things that pulled me away from Protestantism and into Catholicism. There are a lot more, but I think I’m already approaching the character limit.
There are two kinds of faith: natural faith, and supernatural faith.
Natural faith is acquired by human persons through the use of human senses and human reason - by being “persuaded”, by some reason or reasons.
Supernatural faith is not acquired, it is infused - given to the human person by God, along with holy (and supernatural) grace.
The kind of faith that is salvific - that leads to salvation - is not acquired, it is not “of man”;
The kind of faith that is salvific is supernatural, infused faith, a gift from God. This is what St. Paul referred to when he wrote:
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—
Eph 2:9 not because of works, lest any man should boast.
The faith you want to have is not what you would have by being “persuaded”, but by being enlightened - illuminated within by God Himself - faith that comes alive inside like a man born blind, who suddenly, by the touch of Jesus, is able to see!
That kind of faith can come, that kind of supernatural in-sight can come, by His grace, through “hearing” God speak, in His Word:
Rom 10:17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.
Pray and listen, listen and pray. All who truly seek, will find.
Blessings to you.
I have asked a number of people who accepted sola scriptura and thus believe that every word of the Bible is literal truth why they believe every word of the Bible as truth until the Bible says something which they do not believe. Christ dismissed a number of the “laws” of the OT; even some which were referred to as “abominations”. How they justify their belief with Christ’s actions is beyond me.
Jesus left Peter in charge of the entire Christian flock, and his authority was handed down to his successors, the popes. Jesus wanted us to be in one church. That one church which was started by St. Peter is still here today, the Catholic Church. It is the Holy Mother Church. Every other church is an offshoot. It is important to be connected to the successor of Peter. Where Peter is, that is where you will find the valid sacraments that Jesus left us with.
But but ? What can I write then? I’m lost for words.
To be honest, my reasons are less rational and more gut instinct. I was raised Catholic by two exceptional human beings who were Catholic. My parents. Such a climate of love and acceptance did they create in our home as a child, that now I see I was privileged to experience God’s love through them.
I am accustomed to the Mass and Catholic culture. it feels like home. Visiting a Protestant service feels kind of alien to be honest. I don’t feel I belong there. Catholicism with all its faults,warts and all, is where I need to be. For the rest of my life.
Welcome! But, I must ask: why is it even up for debate? Fax is fax.
Look into the history.
100% of Protestant and non-denominational communities can be traced back at most 500 years before the trail stops dead at the Catholic Church. No bible based Church can be the original, as Christ did not found His Church on any writing at all. He sent Apostles. For a fact, there was no bible as we know it for almost 400 years! The European split was 1100 years after that.
So, what is it that we are intended to debate?
Recalling here that Christ can neither deceive nor be deceived - if He is the Savior. He gave divine promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church.
If you disagree with Christ, fine. But there is nothing to debate.
You’d be a useful ally to have on some of the Protestant forums I’ve posted on. When you get a whole chorus of them against you, their “truth” sounds more convincing than our “truth.”
Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman. Anglican intellectual. Delved into Church history and came to the inescapable conclusion that:
“To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”
Sadly, those who have separated must grasp at straws to justify their separation. We see all manner of linguistic torture and pretzel logic employed by those who seek self-validation.
It is, of course, nonsense, but we have a duty to pray for them. I can nuance things, but there are times when the blunt object must be employed to remind bible Christians of reality.
I agree with Wiley.
It is hypocritical to call oneself sola scriptura when you pick and choose which parts of scripture you agree with and avoid the rest.
Peter’s receiving “keys” from Jesus and the OT reference to Isaiah 22 has got to be convincing to a Sola Scriptura. On contrary, to overlook it as something that is insignificant means that the person does not put much faith in scripture.
And there are other reasons that I won’t get into.
I changed my mind.
Jesus had apostles. He did not stand on a stump and proclaim everything to the world. He taught his apostles. Generally speaking, according to scripture, he did not pull aside non-apostles and teach them and tell them to go out and teach others. Rather, he entrusted that to his apostles.
When you read the Bible, for instance about confession of sins, Jesus is not directing that comment to everyone in the world, rather, he was directing it to apostles at that time 2000 years ago.
I’m a former Baptist. I’ll give you the short hand. If you want to know more you can always ask me here or via the message system.
Authority: My number one reason was authority. I was always bothered by the fact that several Baptist ministers asked to explain the means of any given verse might give you several different interpretations and say they were all inspired by the Holy Spirit. Someone has to be correct. I believe the Catholic Church is correct.
The Apostles, Early Christians and Church Fathers: This relates to authority. I figured if I was going to determine who was right, I’d do best to go back to the earliest Christians. What I found was something very Catholic/orthodox. The deeper I went, the more obvious it became: mass, Eucharist, confession, priesthood, Mary, intercession of the saints, it was all there. There was little to no resemblance with my Baptist upbringing.
Tradition: there was a vibrant Christian community praising God and keeping their traditions without benefit of a definite canon to reference. Bible alone faith is an innovation. Tradition transformed a faith I would describe as two dimensional into one that is 3D with surround sound.
Those are the major things. There are some other important things I love like Catholic moral theology, and the diversity of Catholic spirituality.
sorry not wishing to derail, but do you mean that Christ dismissed homosexuality as an abomination?
In my case, I similarly became troubled by how laid back Protestants tended to be about major issues. The whole idea that there are “primary” doctrines that must be agreed on and “secondary” doctrines that we can disagree on became really difficult to accept when so many of those “secondary” doctrines were really important (especially around the sacraments and nature of salvation), and even on the primary issues of the Five Solas and nature of God they couldn’t agree. It just seemed like God had done a terrible job keeping His Church following all truth, as He promised (John 16:13).
Now I get that even we have doctrines that allow for disagreement, such as predestination. But even at that, we have far greater agreement on what must be believed, and where we may disagree tends to come down to something far beyond human comprehension. For instance, we can’t really understand predestination since the predestinating comes from a timeless Being, yet we are bound by time and unable to fully comprehend what being outside time is like. At the same time, though, we understand that what God revealed about Himself is completely incompatible with double predestination, which some Protestants embrace.
The Didache was quite shocking the first time I read it. Unlike a lot of the New Testament epistles, it sort of skips the deep, underlying doctrine and just goes for the practical. In doing so, it tears away at the notion that the early church was really “simple” compared to our modern one.
He may very well have, but it was part of those million books that could have been written. Christ did condemn it through Saint Paul, so let there be no mistake.
Said Didache is an Apostolic era catechism, basically. Notice that there is not a single mention, zip, zero, nada, of any scripture - Old Testament or New! That is so shocking to bible alone types that they simply (casually) dismiss the thing as “unbiblical” - which is nonsensical.
But just try to convince them of that!
It’s Biblical, it’s the ONE TRUE Church established by Jesus Christ Himself that has been around for over 2000 years, has Sacred Scripture-Sacred Tradition-Magisterium, has the Sacraments established by Jesus, the Priesthood established by Jesus, The Eucharist who IS JESUS Body Blood Soul Divinity, The Mass, Our Blessed Mother as our Mother given to us by Jesus on the cross, the Saints,
I believe Jesus when he said he would never leave us alone. That he had Peter head the church. The reason I can believe this is the Bible written down, translated by the religious men and women in the Catholic Church for more than a thousand years before most the population could even read. I believe that history is important. It was important in decided which books be included in the Bible. The formation of the Creed. I think the printing press was wonderful because it led to a literate population. However I believe it brought with it a game of post office and a bit of confusion. If we all spoke the languages of the origin bible, which were more than one and already an impossibility, it might be something the regular person with no knowledge of scholars over thousands of years could get right in their own. I think it makes sense that we be in an out of a state of grace as we sin we turn away from God and need to return to him. I like hearing you are absolved of your sins, go away and sin no more. It’s the sacraments. I need more than a prosperity or end times message and good music.
I believe that Jesus opened the gates of heaven so than man can enter. I believe God will let into heaven whomever He likes. I do not believe the Protestant is less sincere than the Catholic. Our differences are either we are doing too much or unnecessary things or we are not doing enough things religiously. Not that we disbelieve Jesus came, died, rose and will come again having opened the gates of heaven so we can be with God. I think God is scratching his head at one Christian trying to get another Christian to be their kind of Christian. I appreciate your asking Catholics and not just reading what others think Catholics think in the matter.
I would disagree. Yes He taught the apostles in greater depth than the people, but He was always preaching to the crowds. While it may be true that the “Sermon on the Mount” was not a historical event, the writer recalled all of the Beatitudes from other times Christ preached to the crowds. And yes, He did have non-apostles and teach them. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were two of them and there may have been others as well.