"The Word" is the "final authority" many Christians will say. I did too. For years I believed that. But something happened about 5.5 years ago that first made my jaw hit the floor and then, profoundly changed and transformed my way of thinking/believing. You see, for so many in the 'evangelical/fundamentalist' sects, the "bible" is their only authority. OK. But that really poses a big problem, a real dichotomy. So I ask, "Who then interprets?" They are quick to boldly proclaim "The Holy Spirit!" Ok. Again, that's a big problem. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is not a "multi-personality entity. He isn't "Sybil." So, another question needs to be asked, "Why so many private interpretations?" And, "Why doesn't it matter to most that there are so many 'churches' teaching so many different doctrines?" The mental and spiritual gymnastics needed to avoid the obvious is absolutely baffling when one stops to really THINK about it, isn't it?
I read something recently that provoked some pondering on my part. A woman wrote a blog post and the two words that LEAPED off the monitor at me were only written twice in the entire post. It wasn't about doing this, but another subject altogether. She was writing about how she'd met a 'new friend' but what jumped out at me, was that they had "changed churches..." again. They are now in their 3rd church in the 13 years that I've known them. That's actually a good record for that many years. We were in 3 also, over a 26 year period. He [Jesus] built ONE CHURCH, and it's not the one in the theater at the Mall, that started 5 years ago with a man/woman and their 'own private interpretation' of the bible. It is the Catholic Church down the street, where He is in the Tabernacle...waiting...for you.
One Bread. One Body. One Heart. One Mind. ONE CHURCH.
Is to find yourself at the 'threshold' of the Catholic Church. What are you going to do? Enter or turn away? You have to decide, because to "go deep in history is to cease to be Protestant." - John Henry Newman
And to cease to be an "Independent" Evangelical/Fundamentalist/Pentecostal/Agnostic/Atheist, and whatever else you are, too.
Jesus and His Church are one, and are joined in the most deeply profoundly spiritual/physical way. Jesus had a Body on earth. His Body of believers also has a "Body" to be in Communion with and to be guided by into all Truth. That "Body" that Physical Presence on Earth, globally, is the Catholic Church. She is the Pillar and Foundation of all Truth. The 'Bible" is not. The Bible wouldn't be here without first the Church, in her wisdom and w/ Sacred Tradtion, to 'put the books together' and give us the Bible.
Believe it or not.
Truth is truth and is not subjective to our own whims or what 'we make it to be.'
Truth is a PERSON. Truth built His Church that has stood for over 2000 years. He's NEVER left her to 'go off the rails.' It might be time for you to love Jesus enough to ask Him what and where His Church is, and come back Home, where you should be. The red flickering flame near the Tabernacle is always there, letting you know He's there, too, and waiting for you to just come Home. You might have left the Church to 'find Jesus' elswhere and now you're wandering in a sea of doubt, or you might have never been Catholic but have believed lies about the Catholic Church and faith for years, turning from her in disgust.
Whatever your past has been doesn't matter. Make your present NEW and your future secure by coming Home and remaining in His grace, INSIDE the "Bark of Peter" because the storm that is coming will toss you more than ever. Jesus built a Church for us to be safe in, not for us to change her, but for her to change us! Come Home Soon! The clouds are gathering and the rumbling of thunder is growing louder, the skies darker, and sin abounds, but even more, His grace abounds! Don't let another day go by as you wobble on the fence of the "I'm Ok, You're Ok Corral." Either the Catholic Church is what it claims to be, or it is not. But if she is the TRUE Church, as she claims, then where you are is not. Period. Now, where do you want to be?
Dr. David Anders discusses (here) his search for Truth, and his finding of Him, and HIS CHURCH.
Here is another interview you can watch. Well, you can't really watch "him" but you can hear him talking to Marcus Grodi.
A woman wrote these two analogies in a comment and I thought they were great and had to 'borrow' one of them. Judy's analogies: "Can a well produce polluted water and pure water? Can a bad root produce a good crop?"
I guess I can use the 'well' analogy as the Church (the most Pure Well if you will) that Jesus built, on Peter and declared He would "Never leave or forsake." But strange as it seems, she is then thought to have gone miserably 'off the rails!' Huh?? I believed it too, for many years. The Church Jesus HIMSELF built, founded is believed by so many in Protestantism/Evangelicalism, etc. to have 'gone off the rails" and became "corrupted" by men and their 'traditions' and 'rituals.' Forgive me, but that is in all truth, ludicrous, folly and purely absurd!
Well-meaning as they are, they hold to that misguided notion so fiercely, thinking that this Church went "off the rails" and became 'corrupt' but they don't see it in their OWN 'churchlings' (like saplings, they "plant" churches you know) Believing such a thing, one really would have to think -- the Church founded by Jesus Himself -- was in fact "left" by Jesus, and wasn't led by the Holy Spirit any longer, but went 'down the tubes!!' Pray tell, how on earth can that be the case and believed so fiercely? Then after some 2000 years, "Mr. So & So" or "Ms. So & So" w/ his/her "Message Bible" can NOW have it [the message] so crystal clear and so pure as the driven snow and maintain the notion that they're now just like the "Early Church" was??
Here, in 2010, in their independent little sect,they 'have it down??!!" It's sad and laughable at the same time! And if they don't 'have it down' completely, no prob. they just move on to another little group, or even feel confident enough in their "OWN" interpretation and start another little "churchette" where they can gather with 'like-minded' ones, until they have to split again to go to or form another group that's even 'more pure' than the one they apparently had to leave, due to a "falling out" among some, and/or theological disputes and disagreements. THAT IS PURITY? That is the "pure remnant" of the faithful??? Give me a break!!
A little "house church," or a huge "mega church" doesn't much matter, it's still only a 'church' started by a SINNER(S) and his or her bible!!! PURE??? Hardly!!! Pastor Murdoch, Pastor Les, Pastor Rob, Pastor Gene (all the pastors we sat under over 26 years) were only MERE men! Sinners, w/ only their opinions and their own interpretations of scriptures to preach! Not that they were 'bad men' not at all, but they weren't as PURE as CHRIST either!
Why, it just BOGGLES my mind to ponder that now! Sorry to rant, but it really is stunning to me -- all of the arguments against the Church Jesus established, seem so valid in these peoples' eyes, while they proclaim to "love" the "Word of God" so much, yet harbor such disgust and hatred for the Catholic Church, even some despising viciously the Church that gave them that "Word of God they love to quote!!" It all rather makes my brain spin dizzily and my heart hurt and ache severely. I feel worthy to type all of this, because having 'been there, done that' as an "evangelimentalist" for so many years.
Yes, I pray for our 'separated' brothers and sisters to come Home to Rome Sweet Home. That is not arrogance, but a deep longing and desire put in my heart BY the Holy Spirit, who Jesus gave HIS CHURCH to "guide us, members of His Body, into ALL TRUTH!" The word 'separated' isn't spoken as a derogatory or condescending term, either. It is simply true. They even separate from themselves from their evangelical "brothers and sisters" all the time w/out so much as a blink, and yet continue to be "ok" with all of the factions and divisions. How? By "ignoring" them and leaving them! How is that true Christian 'Agape' at all?? How does that even resemble the doctrine given by Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior? It doesn't! Not one whit!! It's just mind boggling and heart-wrenching! God gave us brains. We really do need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and "use" them...and think PAST 1500. The CHURCH is ever ANCIENT ever NEW. She's NEVER been 'off one rail' let alone both and She never will be! Jesus would NEVER let that happen!
But what do I hear? Silence. I hear crickets chirping when I ask questions. I mostly get ignored when I bring up the subject of our return to the CC and ask sincere, honest questions of some of my evangelical friends these days. These friends that I used to share on a spiritual level would choose now to simply "not go there." Ok. But how can one who loves to think and ponder, like a couple of my friends in the past love to do, "NOT" think and ponder the deepest truths that lead to the Church Jesus founded on Peter and w/ documented, proven apostolic succession???? :o If you ask the Father for a loaf of bread is He going to give you a serpent? No! He'll give you JESUS, the BREAD OF LIFE! The Eucharist!! Mass!
What is Mass? Heaven ON and COME to earth! Every hour of every day!! Jesus giving us HIMSELF, feeding us His Flesh 'for the Life of the world! Giving Himself to us so intimately at Holy Communion. True food and True drink given though his CHOSEN priest to the 'faithful remnant' of HIS CHURCH every single day! Not as a 'symbol' either! The FULLNESS of TRUTH in the Eucharist is shared at only ONE CHURCH, the Catholic Church. His Holy Spirit is in other churches, of course, trying to WOO they HEARTS of those 'faithful to His Voice' back Home. Jesus is present IN the Eucharist because He IS the Eucharist! He give Himself in that special Communion in only ONE PLACE, the Church that has stood for over 2000 years, not Pastor Joe Blow's who's 'here today, gone tomorrow!'
Oh well. Jesus was ignored, too. All is well. God be praised.
As John Lennon sang, "I hope someday you'll join us, and we will all be as One." Kind of like Jesus prayed in John 17, isn't it? Of course, Jesus meant a HOLY, PURE unity of God's children, in ONE CHURCH, not the "Brotherhood of man" in the Communist sense, but you get the idea.
Though these fundamentalists have sincere intentions their "claims" are based on sloppy interpretation of the Bible. Consider these claims to be lies exploited by the diabolical. Quick responses: 1.Baptism. Adult baptisms are shown b/c examples in Acts involve new converts before the 1st generation of children born to Christian families. Baptism ... See Morereplaces circumcision. See Colossians 2:11-12. 2. The Pope. Is Pastor for the worldwide Church. He speaks on matters of faith and morals. This should not conflict with being a good Citizen. 3. Sacrament of Penance. Catholics have an advantage to make a good confession to Christ through the priest who is bibilcally an ambassador of Christ 2 Cor 5:20. Protestants generally are lacking in repentance and confession because they don't celebrate this sacrament (I was Protestant last year!). 4. The Eucharist. They deny Lords own words in Matt 26:26. Just memorize this verse. Jesus commanded us to remember Him by believing in the Eucharist. 5. Burning of heretics in the 15th century. Reformed protestants were guilty of doing like wise to Baptists back then. Both sides are guilty of violence. 6. Connecting the Blessed Mother to paganism. This is a complete invention w/o historical proof. In fact, historical proof shows Christians have always honored Mary since early Christianity. Anybody can invent stories.
Homilies for the most part are not long. Most are a few minutes, maybe up to 10-25, but most of them are about 1-2-5 minutes. I've remember more from a one minute homily than by long winded preachers. Nothing against 'wordy' preachers, but ... but 'too many words' "spoil the stew."
A few tasty ingredients are good, but too many ingredients, no matter how great the ingredients are individually, such diverse flavors can make a stew taste horrible to any palate. Too many words every week can be hard to digest. The Eucharist, however, is JESUS, the ONE AND ONLY "Ingredient" needed, our Daily Bread! One can never get too much of ... See MoreHim! Even MINUS a homily, as in "no homily at all," there's always the Bread of LIFE, given to us by His priest, who in 'persona Christi' gives us True Food and True Drink. His Body and His Blood.
"If you eat My Flesh and drink My Blood you will have LIFE within you!" Words to LIVE BY, spoken by Jesus Himself, not a mere man in a fine Italian suit ... with or w/out a nice head of hair, white teeth and a big, big bible!
Brothers and sisters: We who know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. For through the law I died to the law, that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.
Where above are the words, "faith alone?" It is by "grace we are all saved." We do not "nullify" that it is "grace" ... as St. Therese said, "Everything is grace!" Yet, when we are 'saved' at our baptism, we will, by our choices, for the *good,* live 'out' our life of 'faith in Christ' by 'doing good deeds.' Faith is 'worked out' and our 'salvation is 'worked' out for others to see and come to know Jesus and the Father's love. We know, we get it, that we can't be saved by 'works of the law' alone, but it doesn't at all say, "faith alone' either!
This is why a Church, w/ a magesterium is needed...for left to our own devices and our own interpretations, we can 'fall away' so easily. This is the Church Jesus gave us, His Church...the Catholic Church, based in Rome over the bones of Saint Peter, the first Pope. And how blessed we are to have been 'graced' to see, hear, believe, repent, convert and now 'live life to the full' where the Fullness of Jesus IS! In the RCC! Thank you Lord for building YOUR Church on the rock of Peter. Thank You for giving us a faithful authority on matters of faith and morals to guide us, teach us, and keep us safe in the bark of Peter, the "Ship" where You are...at rest, even in the storm, for You are PEACE and You are with us and where we are always "safest" (only) if we never leave Your Church, Your Bride.
For to 'go our own way,' though it may be a 'rockin' song' by Fleetwood Mac, is NO WAY to live the Christian life!! How many Protestants, and all those who don't even think of themselves as that, but actually *pride* themselves on being 'non-denomers' and "independents" need to 'take this to heart!! We all do, for but by the "Grace of God go I!"
"If you love Me, YOU WILL KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS," says the Lord. But yet, so many seem to dwell completely on "loving' Jesus, while dissing the second part completely! His commandments ARE important! That's why we have the Church He built and not "churches" independent of the SOURCE and SUMMIT of the Faith, the Eucharist!! Of course we're Not to "ONLY" follow rules, and *pride* ourselves on keeping 'laws' but we're to LOVE JESUS enough to "obey" them! For to "obey" is better than sacrifice!
Jesus puts a lot of emphasis on the word "obey" for a reason, yet so many now put the emphasis on 'love' ah yes... la la la la love, like Barney& Friends. singing 'Kumbaya' and holding hands, and back-slapping, hand clapping in Mass or elsewhere does not make one Christian! No way! It's "both, and" in the RCC, as well it needs to be! For 'all we like sheep have gone astray ... everyone 'turning' to 'his own way.' That is NOT good to do ... and come to think of it, it's really not that great a song either.
I returned to the "First Pre-denominational Church of Christ," (as my husband brilliantly 'dubbed' it) aka: the Catholic Church in Dec. 2004, after my husband told me he wanted to go back to the "faith of his youth." The decision to swim across the Tiber has cost dearly, but has been worth it all! AND we are new grandparents of twin boys this summer, 2010!