Saturday, September 29, 2007

Why I am a Christian Now...

even though I was raised Catholic. And Why I don't Identify Myself as a Catholic now.

iMonk (Michael Spencer) was upset about a post by Catholic apologist Carl Olson. Spencer is very clear about his position on the [Roman] Catholic Church (RCC):

"I’ll never convert to the RCC for any reason I can currently anticipate, and I’ll always consider believers in Jesus who are part of the RCC to be my brothers and sisters in Christ."

I think that sums up my own position pretty well. I think a lot of people get confused between "the church" a.k.a. the "bride of Christ", buildings, and organizations. Jesus established His church, and "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

Did Jesus found an organization (He certainly didn't build any buildings)? Or does He gather a group people who belong to Him?

This is a common problem for people who think "our denomination is the only true church". Olson himself, in the comments says:
"If Jesus established a single Church—assuming that He has a monogamous relationship with His Bride (cf., Eph. 5), what was that Church?"

That church is the elect of God. Written in the Book of Life before the foundation of the earth. The wheat among the tares. Scattered around the world in many denominations and many buildings. Baptized by the Holy Spirit into His Body.

Olson's points are worth coming back to and reviewing in detail.


TheDen said...


Sorry, it's been a long time. I've been busy but I find this post interesting.

"Scattered around the world in many denominations and many buildings. "

I guess I'd have to disagree with you on this. Jesus established one Church. That Church is the Catholic Church. From Scripture, you can see it's organization. From the early Church Father's, you can see the consistency that's present today.

nedbrek said...

What would you say are the strongest indicators that the Catholic Church is the church spoken of by Christ? I will do in-depth research on those topics, and make specific posts for them.

Some I can think of:
- the primacy of Peter
- apostolic succession
- interpretation of Scripture


TheDen said...

I guess I would look into these:

1. The Sacraments (Baptism, the Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Extreme Unction)
a. How were they derived?
b. When were they derived?
c. Is there Scriptural evidence?
2. The Apostolic Tradition
a. What is it?
b. How was it handed down from generation to generation?
c. What is the Scriptural evidence?
d. Did it ever end?
3. The early Church Fathers
a. What did they believe?
b. How is it similar to what Protestants believe?
c. How is it similar to what Catholics believe?
4. The Magisterium
a. What is it?
b. Is there evidence in Scripture?

nedbrek said...

Ok, thanks!

Would you agree that the Catholic Church "went off the rails" theologically, at least pre-Reformation (Inquisition, selling of indulgences, abusing political power)? [Although, they aren't necessarily now.]

Thanks again.

TheDen said...

No, I wouldn’t agree with that. Theologically, the Church teaches the same things as it has in the beginning and throughout every century (which is well documented).

What I would agree to is that there were people who were corrupt within the Church and they did abuse their power (with Inquisition or dealing with political power, etc.)

Your logic would be similar to saying that the Constitution and the Federal System of Government was invalid during the Watergate scandal. Well, no. The system was still a good system but one individual or perhaps one group abused power for personal gain. We don't throw out the Constitution when the President abuses his power.

The organization of the Catholic Church is made up of weak men. Together though, it is a system that is guided by the Holy Spirit and is infallible. It is the Mystical Body of Christ from which all other Christian religions have sprung from. Sounds hard to believe…I know.

Think about this, though. The Catholic Church—I’m talking about the organizational system…not necessarily the religion--is older than any company, any organization, and any government in the entire world. It survived the Roman Empire, the plagues, scandals, attacks from within and attacks from outside. It survived Martyrdoms, poor leadership (i.e. bad popes), schisms, and the Reformation.

Why is that? What makes the Catholic Church survive where other organizations fail? Especially with so many factors that are against it.

Why? Because it holds and protects the Truth. The Apostolic Truth handed down from generation to generation. As long as that is held intact (which it has) the Holy Spirit will guide her…even with bad Popes and selling of indulgences and making bad deals with bad kings. That’s what attracts me to Catholicism. That’s why I’m Catholic and even with all of the scandals going on within the American Catholic Church, I still see that Truth and cling to it.

If you want to do research, find out what that Truth is that the Church protects. Note that the Church does not change stands on issues such as Birth Control, abortion, premarital sex, Capital Punishment, gay marriage, homosexuality (and never will). Why? Because the essence of these items violates the Apostolic Truth given to them from the Apostles by Jesus Christ.