Why I am not Catholic - Revisited


#1

Part I

Catholicism could review the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) confessional documents and say "We agree with your confessions. You are welcome to consider yourselves Catholic ‘as-is’. No strings attached.

Catholicism doesn’t do that, of course. I can only assume it is because it has in fact reviewed the LCMS confessional documents and said instead "We have reviewed your confessions and concluded that you cannot consider yourselves Catholic because of Theological matter “A”, Theological matter “B”, Theological matter “C”, etc.

It is perfectly within Catholicism’s right not to associate with those it does not agree with. I have no dispute with that.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
Romans 14:1

If Theological matters A, B, & C are all indisputable matters than Catholicism also has every right to pass judgment on the beliefs of the LCMS and declare them outside of Christ’s Church.

If, however, Theological matters A, B, & C are instead “disputable matters” then there Catholicism has no right at all to pass judgment on the beliefs of the LCMS, much less take it upon itself to declare the LCMS outside of Christ’s Church.

It is my belief that Theological matters A, B, & C are “disputable”. I regard Catholicism’s judgment of those matters to be a 500 year old unreconciled injustice.


#2

Part II

I fully admit that defining “disputable matters” is problematic. Recognizing “disputable matters” appears to be a highly subjective process. What is “disputable” in one Christian’s beliefs might be “indisputable” in another’s. As Christians we should be on guard against subjectivism in any form.

Having said that, Paul did set apart some matters as “disputable”. Furthermore, Paul counted on the Romans to be able to tell what matters are “disputable”. Because of this, I am confident that a) Some matters are disputable, and b) those matters are recognizable as disputable.

I think there are two extremes when tackling this problem. One extreme would be to define a “disputable matter” as any matter that anyone claiming to be Christian has a dispute with. This is the wrong approach because it rules out any matter can be indisputable.

The second extreme would be for one party in a dispute to say “This matter is not disputable because I say it is not disputable”. This should be obviously nonsense. If one party said that the other party would then sheepishly reply, “…but I dispute the matter.” I said this should be obviously nonsense, but it is the position of Catholicism.

Between those two extremes there should be a way to determine “disputable matters”. In a straight-forward case a “disputable matter” would be a matter where one party in a dispute says to the other party “I believe this, but I see how you could believe that, and since we are not discussing a well-known fundamental Christian truth, it is OK for us to dispute that fact.”

A disputable matter would be a matter that cannot be reasonably determined definitively using the tools God gave us for determining the truth.

I give for example, the assumption of Mary. I believe this to be a “disputable matter”. I don’t think that matter can be determined definitively using the tools God gave us for determining the truth. I believe it to be an injustice that Catholicism judges my faith on this disputable matter.


#3

I give for example, the assumption of Mary. I believe this to be a “disputable matter”. I don’t think that matter can be determined definitively using the tools God gave us for determining the truth. I believe it to be an injustice that Catholicism judges my faith on this disputable matter.

But, you deny that the tools the Catholic Church uses are valid ones, so really, the onus is still on you to explain to us why this belief isn’t correct and ought to be disputed, using the tools the Catholic Church claims for itself.

Also, there are many disputable things that the Catholic Church has never made a statement on. It has gone out of its way to declare its doctrine and dogmas, which cannot be disputed, as well as telling us why it declared them. You simply want to dispute what the Church has called indisputable according to your Lutheran church’s standards, which are too narrow to come to the correct conclusions.

In your system of determining such things you limit yourselves like a scientist trying to discover the secrets of the heavens by limiting himself to Galileo’s first telescope instead of using all the equipment available to us today. You’re stuck in the 16th century, trying to shoehorn all of God’s mysteries into Luther’s ideas.

The Catholic Church on the other hand was given all the tools it needs by Christ himself. They include things that Luther threw out, which is why you’ll never be able to come to the same conclusions as the Catholic Church, not because the Catholic Church is wrong.


#4

Could you please name all of the matters you consider to be indisputable?


#5

[quote=RobNY]Could you please name all of the matters you consider to be indisputable?
[/quote]

And right after that, please document the source of your authority to question the Church which Christ Jesus founded and left in the Holy Spirit-guided care of the Apostles’ successors.

– Mark L. Chance.


#6

[quote=RobNY]Could you please name all of the matters you consider to be indisputable?
[/quote]

  1. The Pope
    2)Confession
    3)Mary and the Dogmas surronding her
    4)Purgatory
    5)the Deutrocanonical books

These are things that I thought of off the top of my head and trust me, give me enough time I can think of quite a few more indisputeable things.

hence there is a problem about being buddy buddy with Lutherans and not fighting because we do have diffreneces that are not “diputeable” and hence should be left in the air but, corrected.


#7

[quote=Montie Claunch]1) The Pope
2)Confession
3)Mary and the Dogmas surronding her
4)Purgatory
5)the Deutrocanonical books
[/quote]

Like I said, if all of those things really are indisputable than Catholicism has every right to judge my faith.

I really think it would be difficult to demonstrate that all the Marian Dogmas (for example) are indisputable however. But if you honestly and reasonably can’t say to me “I see why you don’t believe them” then you should consider Catholicism completely justified.


#8

[quote=mlchance]And right after that, please document the source of your authority to question the Church which Christ Jesus founded and left in the Holy Spirit-guided care of the Apostles’ successors.

– Mark L. Chance.
[/quote]

The only authority I claim is the Romans 14:1 authority not to have my faith judged on disputable matters.


#9

What protestants don’t seem to understand is that there are those whom God has granted the authority to argue doctrine, and those he has not. It is not solely a matter of coming to some sort of consensus on doctrine; it is a matter of being in the physical Church or not being in it. If you are in it, then live according to your state in life. Maybe God will call you to hold a Council, or maybe He won’t. Christianity is definately not a faith of doctrinal free enterprise. It is a faith of Apostolic Authority: “whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you lose on earth shall be losed in heaven” - this from a sovereign Lord who predestined all things! If you were a peasant gentile Christian convert living in Turkey in the year 180, you wouldn’t be arguing with other peasant gentiles about the doctrine of the Trinity or on how many wives to have. You probably were not capabable of reading any language, let alone Greek or Hebrew. After being converted by preaching and the Holy Spirit, you would have learned about the details of Christian living from Apostolic Authority. This Authority would have told you a Christian man has one wife (unless you were already married to more) and there is one God in three persons. This would have jived with the faith that the Holy Spirit wrote on your heart and you would have been at peace. That is the faith. The New Testament Scriptures are a beautiful fruit of that faith.

In Christ,

Sean.


#10

[quote=Montie Claunch]1) The Pope

[/quote]

The position of Pope as head of the Church of Christ is a tradition that has existed nearly from the beginning of christianity. Here are quotes from some of the earliest christian writers…

Pope Clement I

“Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved; and especially that abominable and unholy sedition, alien and foreign to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-willed persons have inflamed to such madness that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be loved by all men, has been greatly defamed. . . . Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us *, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger. . . . You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy” (*Letter to the Corinthians *1, 58–59, 63 [A.D. 80]).

Ignatius of Antioch

“Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father” (*Letter to the Romans *1:1 [A.D. 110]).

“You [the church at Rome] have envied no one, but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force” (ibid., 3:1).

Irenaeus

“But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition” (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]).

Cyprian of Carthage

“The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]). … On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was *, but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (*The Unity of the Catholic Church **4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

“Cyprian to [Pope] Cornelius, his brother. Greeting. . . . We decided to send and are sending a letter to you from all throughout the province [where I am] so that all our colleagues might give their decided approval and support to you and to your communion, that is, to both the unity and the charity of the Catholic Church” (*Letters *48:1, 3 [A.D. 253]).

“Cyprian to Antonian, his brother. Greeting … You wrote … that I should forward a copy of the same letter to our colleague [Pope] Cornelius, so that, laying aside all anxiety, he might at once know that you held communion with him, that is, with the Catholic Church” (ibid., 55[52]:1).

“With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and blasphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source” (ibid., 59:14).*


#11

[quote=Angainor]Part I

Catholicism could review the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) confessional documents and say "We agree with your confessions. You are welcome to consider yourselves Catholic ‘as-is’. No strings attached.

Catholicism doesn’t do that, of course. I can only assume it is because it has in fact reviewed the LCMS confessional documents and said instead "We have reviewed your confessions and concluded that you cannot consider yourselves Catholic because of Theological matter “A”, Theological matter “B”, Theological matter “C”, etc.

It is perfectly within Catholicism’s right not to associate with those it does not agree with. I have no dispute with that.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
Romans 14:1

If Theological matters A, B, & C are all indisputable matters than Catholicism also has every right to pass judgment on the beliefs of the LCMS and declare them outside of Christ’s Church.

If, however, Theological matters A, B, & C are instead “disputable matters” then there Catholicism has no right at all to pass judgment on the beliefs of the LCMS, much less take it upon itself to declare the LCMS outside of Christ’s Church.

It is my belief that Theological matters A, B, & C are “disputable”. I regard Catholicism’s judgment of those matters to be a 500 year old unreconciled injustice.
[/quote]

So let’s get started! What do you consider disputable? What are A, B & C in your mind?

Your brother in Christ, http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon10.gif
Subrosa


#12

I want to read the early church fathers


#13

[quote=Angainor]The only authority I claim is the Romans 14:1 authority not to have my faith judged on disputable matters.
[/quote]

There’s a circular argument.

– Mark L. Chance.


#14

[quote=Anonymous_1]I want to read the early church fathers
[/quote]

Here catholic.com/library/fathers_know_best.asp There is a book out right now that is just an organized by subject rendering of what the Early Church Fathers said about various things. I can not remeber the title right now (I’ll post back when I remeber, I just wanted you to know it was out there)


#15

you can also try ccel.org/fathers2/ for more church fathers


#16

(mlchance) …please document the source of your authority to question the Church which Christ Jesus founded and left in the Holy Spirit-guided care of the Apostles’ successors.

(Angainor) The only authority I claim is the Romans 14:1 authority not to have my faith judged on disputable matters.

(jmt) Greetings :slight_smile: mcchance gives reference to “the Church which Christ founded and left in the Holy Spirit-guided care of the Aposltle’s successors”. Angainor, does this statement give you pause?

You claim Romans 14:1 as your authority for taking the Catholic Church to task over what it declares “disputable” vrs “indisputable”…but on what authority do you have it that the book of Romans may be appealed to in such a matter? In other words, on what authority do you have it that the Book of Romans is “the inspired Word of God” and thus “canonical and authoratative”? mcchance points us to the Catholic answer. What do you rest your assurance on?

Now, if the Catholic Church is indeed that visible society which Jesus Christ established in the world to make disciples and to “teach in His Name” - such that the Apostle Paul refers to this “household” as the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1Tim 3:15) - then (and please don’t take offense) who are you or I to contradict the dogmatic affirmations of “Christ’s Church”?

Consider the recorded words of our Lord (Matthew 18:15-18) as He instructs His believers on how to correct a “sinning brother”. (We don’t even have to consider the passage as “God Inspired”. We just have to accept the passage as being historically reliable.) If you accept the fact that to teach “heresy” is a “sin”, then who, according to the explicit directions from Jesus, has the “final say” as to what is or is not “a sin”? Is it not “the Church”? Then if the Church makes a declaration that to teach contrary to “theological matters A,B, or C” is to commit the sin of heresy - what are we as believers in Jesus Christ “bound” to do?

Does this make sense?

The problem rests - as I see it - in identifying that “visible society” which is in fact “the Church which Christ Jesus founded and left in the Holy Spirit-guided care of the Apostles’ successors” as opposed to those “visible societies” which are simply “man-instituted church wannabes” where men - however sincere - are simply “playing” at being “church”.

Keep the Faith
jmt


#17

[quote=Subrosa]So let’s get started! What do you consider disputable? What are A, B & C in your mind?

Your brother in Christ, http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon10.gif
Subrosa
[/quote]

Like I said, A, B, & C are those Theological matters in the Lutheran confessions Catholicism has judged to exclude Lutherans from Christ’s Church.

I don’t think there are any Theological matters in Lutheran confessions that would exclude Lutherans from Christ’s Church, so I probably wouldn’t be a good person to ask. A better source than me for A, B, & C would be Catholicism itself. I’m not sure if Catholicism has ever compiled a list of unworthy Theological matters in the Lutheran confessions.


#18

[quote=John Taylor]then (and please don’t take offense) who are you or I to contradict the dogmatic affirmations of “Christ’s Church”?
[/quote]

No offense taken.

Who am I to contradict the dogmatic affirmations of Catholicism? I am one party in a dispute. The other party is Catholicism itself.
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
Romans 14:1
There are certian matters that Catholicism has passed judgement on. If those matters are “disputable” than Catholicism’s judgement of those matters is unjust.

For one party in a dispute to say “this matter is indisputable because I say it is indisputable” is… well let’s just say that is not a very convincing argument. There needs to be something more, some way the matter can be reasonably shown to be indisputable using the tools God gave us for discovery of His Truth.


#19

You are taking Romans too literally. The “disputable” matters that Paul was referring to had to do with people of the time letting go of the old mosaic law concerning dietary practices and the continued observance of specific days and festivals. Paul was trying to get people to stop passing judgement on their brothers and sisters for still retaining some of these customs.

What someone ate or specific day someone held as holy had no bearing on whether they were faithful Christians or not but rather the desposition of their heart in the matter. So, to use this verse in condemantion of the Church’s stance on “indisputable” matters is not warranted - find another verse better suited to your arguement. This one doesn’t hold.

Fasting and holy days of obligation are disciplines not doctrine and can be changed or altered according to the norms of society. Doctrines are truths that have been divinely revealed to us by God and cannot ever be changed. Disciplines have no direct bearing on one’s salvation although they can aid us on our journey. Paul was not talking in terms of doctrine but in terms of disciplines - they are two different things.

You are judging the Catholic Church as to how she holds her “separated bretheren” just like the people Paul was trying to teach. They were judging their brothers on the things that mattered little in terms of their brothers salvation while risking their own! The “indisputable matters”, the theological ones, are the ones that are divinely revealed truths and cannot ever be changed no matter how much we would like to.

Using this verse in Romans on dietary and holy days doesn’t hold up when talking about divinely revealed truth.


#20

Angainor,
If you are Lutheran your whole religion is based on disputing the many teachings of the Catholic Church. Not just the assumption of mary and I think you erroneously interperet the verse to make it imply that there is no way to settle the matter.That is an unlikely view I think God wanted us to have a means of determining the truth of something having to do with the faith even if we can’t rationally prove or explain why it is true other than the authority of the Pope. Reason has it’s limits when it comes to matters of faith.
he gave us the papacy. The power of the papacy to settle matters is what you have a problem withm, not the assumption which makes sense considering the founder of your faith. If you accept that the pope has the authority to teach infallibly then all the other things will fall into place, then you can be accepted into the Catholic Church.


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