As promised, I want to address two of Beth’s comments on my Dialogue with a Catholic post and my Can Christian Women Not Debate post.
For brevity I am just going to post some excerpts that I wanted to respond to - you can see the full comments in the comments sections of those posts:
“I am perplexed why you put Catholics in the same boat as Mormons.”
That’s a fair statement. I wouldn’t place Catholics and Mormons in the same boat overall, but they do share a few extra-biblical similarities (see this chart) and they would both disagree with sola scriptura. The extra-biblical teachings are where I have a problem.
“Why do you focus on your doctrinal differences with Catholics and not differences you have with other Christian denominations?”
Because I grew up Catholic and most of my family is still Catholic, so I am just sticking with what I know and what I encounter in my everyday life. There are some Protestant denominations I would never join, but usually the core biblical doctrines are in place (at least on paper) so the differences are minor.
“Can we agree that you and I both embrace the Nicene Creed as the core of our Christian faith? or do you not accept this?”
Well, this one made me think. I do agree with the Nicene Creed but I certainly would not call it the core of my faith. The core of my faith is God’s Word (The Bible) and God’s Word alone. I guess I am not a big fan of creeds, even though they are a nice summary of the basic belief system. However, although we may agree on the Nicene creed, we do not agree on the Bible alone as our authority and that is where we diverge.
“I find too often with Christians of your perspective who have already decided that a Catholic can not be a Christian that there is not much listening going on.”
I am trying to listen and to be perfectly honest, our interactions do give me hope that salvation can occur through the Catholic church (remember, I have family there). And I don’t want to say that a Catholic can’t be a Christian, I just find it hard to understand how a saved person could remain in the Catholic church. Being a Christian is being a follower of Jesus, but the sacraments, the Pope, the priests, exaltation of Mary, praying to saints, “the one true church” idea– they all get in the way of a sole reliance on Jesus. I don’t agree that tradition is on par with God’s Word and I think the tradition is distracting from the core message of the Gospel.
“And in fact many of you feel that any Christian who recognizes the presence of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church has sold out to something false.”
There seems to be a trend in some religious circles to accept everyone in a liberal sort of mindset. I think that is a cultural problem nowadays and I don’t agree with it.
“I also think at times we do need to set aside our doctrinal differences and try to "just get along", not because they are not important but because we fail to take a moment to recognize the presence of God in one another on our quest to filter out those who hold onto false doctrines.”
I agree, we should all try to get along. But I don’t think we can squelch the truth in such a process. If someone is holding to a false gospel, then what they have is not the presence of God, but something else. There is only one God, with one set of characteristics and one set of expectations of his children. I believe that the only way that we come to know the one true God is by the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Anything extra is distracting at a minimum, and damning at a maximum.
Along the way someone else commented that we shouldn’t judge other people’s salvation status. I disagree with that and was glad to read this article recently. Here's a quote from the post by Mark Dever:
"Sometimes I get the feeling that people think there's something wrong with questioning the reality of a profession of faith. It's legalistic, or judging, or holier than thou. Or something.
But if evangelists want to see lost sinners saved, and if evangelists know that we sinners can deceive ourselves, then it's not surprising that we want to try to make sure (with all appropriate qualifications about our limitedness) that conversions professed are conversions possessed."
I have a story to go along with that idea, but I’ll share that another time. I’m hoping to tackle my views on sola scriptura and some of the objections made by a Mormon commenter next.
Thanks again to Beth for all of her insightful comments!
"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our Lord stands forever. Isaiah 40:8
Christian Women Blogging
Articles for Christian Women
- A Sign for My Friend?
- Sola Scriptura Prelude
- Circumstances Converge, Part 2
- Circumstances Converge, Part 1
- Is it from God?
- How to Increase Comment Counts
- Still on the Horizon...
- What I'm thinking about Today
- Response to Comments - Catholicism
- Christian Women Bloggers
- Extra-Biblical Teaching
- Where Acknowledging Ends and Disowning Begins
- Blogger Stinks, Take a Number
- Finding Christ
- I Changed My Template...
- Can Christian Women Not Debate?
- The True or False Test - What is the Key?
- Dialogue with a Catholic, Part 2
- ▼ July (18)