Well, as a good Southern Baptist, I guess I’ll add my two cents, especially as a member of the most historic bible-beating denomination in existence.
Do I hate Catholics?
No, not at all, many of them are my Christian brothers and I’m quite fond of them. That said, I am honestly scared to death for them.
Before about eh, 2 or 3 months ago, I really didn’t give Roman Catholicism much attention, I just knew they were another denomination, with maybe a few weird ideas, but that all changed when I found out we don’t even share the same bible.
We had endless discussions on whether or not they should be included in scripture, and I’ll save my arguments for another thread, but anyway, it got me curious, so I started researching the Church.
I started with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, per my friend’s advice. In it, there were many things that I didn’t agree with, that I felt I could provide a strong biblical defense of a counter-position, but nothing that indicated this was some kind of cult (which I still believe it is not a cult), just denominational differences. So then I went about trying to find out what it was that Catholics had to do to get into heaven, after all, everything else in theology are just fun head games, but salvation is the most important thing to figure out. Now, I’ll post below so far as I’ve found out what constitutes salvation so I can be responded to. set straight, whatever.
- Get baptized, preferably as an Infant (Sacrament of Baptism)
- Get confirmed, I think around age 13’ish (Sacrament of Confirmation)
- Try to live a good life, avoid sin, but if you commit a sin knowingly (mortal sin) as opposed to on accident (venial sin), you have lost your salvation, and now must go confess to a preist to get it back, along with some kind of penance (Sacrament of Penance)
- To atone for your venial sin, you must participate in the Masses (Sacrament of the Eucharist)
- When you die, you still don’t get to go to Heaven, you must go through purgatory and be cleansed of your remaining sinful ways before you enter heaven
- Heaven exists forever, there is no resurrection (Symbolic Amillennialism)
Something here struck me. First of all, is this not the most self-absorbed religion I’ve ever heard of? one sacrament after another to secure one’s own salvation, sounds like a lot of work, and here’s the big catch. The church is the central player in it all, you confess to the church, you are baptized by the church, etc. etc. etc. It seems to me that not only is Protestant Eternal Security much more biblically accurate (once again, another time), but provides far more freedom to go and serve God in the hardest places of the world, far from any church parish, because your personal salvation is taken care of, you get to go serve in freedom.
So what about this scares me about rank-and-file Catholics? Simply, it is entirely possible to go through every sacrament the church has to offer, and completely miss the most important thing that saves you, a genuine faith that brings repentance, and a repentance of Love, not Duty. In this way, through ignorance, I fear the Catholic church is condemning millions, if not billions to suffer for a lack of understanding the basics
So what about this scares me about my Catholic Friends? They spend so much time in the church doing sacrament after sacrament, stagnating in their faith, and without the time they need to really go out there and SERVE, and build the kingdom of God. You know, actually doing what Christ commands?
So once again, do I hate Catholics? No, not at all. Do I hate the Catholic Church? Well, honestly, in reading through the Catechism, the decrees of Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II, I was enraged at how the Catholic church was conducting itself, and yes, for a time I did hate the Catholic Church, but now that I’ve had time to calm down, that hatred has turned to deep disappointment and concern for my Catholic brothers.
Hopefully I speak for all protestants who research the Catholic Faith when I say, I wish to be proven wrong, and see that the Catholic church is indeed biblically accurate, and all the Catholics I know, both those I would describe as Christians and Otherwise I will see in Heaven, but at the same time I will vigorously defend the tenets of the Faith as I understand them with the end of making more Catholics born-again, washed in the blood of Christ Believers.
p.s. While the problem with the Catholic church may be empty ritual, I will admit the problem with Protestants is the false notion of “Fire Insurance”