CHEAP AND YUMMY BROWNIE RECIPE!
6 TBSP cocoa, 1/4 C butter, 1 C sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/3 C flour, 2 eggs, Cook 350 - 25 mins.

4/12/10

THE WHOLE RELIGION THING

Here is Catholic/Protestant Post Number Five! 
:o)

I'm sorry it's taken so long to get this written.  Life is hopping over here at our home.  Things...they are a changin'. 

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As most of you know by now, I am a Bible Belt Protestant who has been trying to understand "the other" Christians for well over a year now.

I began these posts in an attempt to figure out my good friend's religious beliefs because I was intrigued and frankly, didn't understand how anyone could actually be Catholic if they have read the same Bible that I read.

Well, God has a sense of humor, now doesn't He.  He decided to show me just how little I actually know about Catholicism. My "knowledge" consisted of half truths, complete misunderstandings and total falsehoods. 

God surrounded me and my family with wonderful friends who are faithful, practicing Catholics.  They have learned a lot about what Protestants believe....and why.  And, I have learned a lot about what Catholics believe....and why. There has been a beautiful, mutual respect that is felt deeply. I am so happy about that.

And guess what!  NONE of my Catholic friends have ever paid a Priest off so they could have their sins forgiven.  wellll...who knew! LOL

Of course I jest, but the sad truth is that some Protestants believe this kind of thing when the reality is that practicing Catholics are focused on Jesus and have a very sincere desire to do His will.  THAT is something I did not know.  I "thought" they worshiped Mary.  I "thought" they had to talk to her to get to Jesus and.... I have to say ... I was amazed to find out that Catholics actually PRAY to JESUS for forgiveness!  Gasp...

Imagine my surprise when I found out that not one of my Catholics friends live like the devil during the week and then go to Church on Sunday just to check in with their Priest so they can go out and live a life of sin again for the next 6 days.  Sadly...I held that view for a time too.

Yes, I was Pharisee material my friends...with a Capital "P."  I had a funky idea of what Catholics believe, I thought I had it all figured out and God had a very interesting way of changing my view of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Thank you Jesus.

Not only have I found that Catholicism is based on the Bible, I found that much of what I believe as a Bible Belt Protestant is also actually taught in Catholicism...but "worded" differently.  My understanding has grown, my Faith has grown and friendships have deepened through these interesting conversations.  


To my Protestant and Catholic Friends: If you feel led to say something, please read the other 4....longgggg posts before inquiring about certain things regarding either religion because I've touched on and answered many common concerns and questions about both religions. I'm hoping I don't have to "re-visit" old topics so I can concentrate on new concerns and/or excitement.  I LOVE to look for the answer to direct questions.  All respectful comments and questions are enjoyed and we have nothing to lose by asking!  Bring them on. :o)  This is how all of these posts have come into being.  (See the numbered questions below from a Catholic about Protestants.  The misconceptions are actually mutual.) :o)

If there were ever a time to jump in with concerns or blessings...now is the time. 


Click for...

 POST NUMBER 1: EVANGELICAL ME AND MY CATHOLIC FRIENDS

 POST NUMBER 2: THE WHOLE CONFESSING TO A PRIEST THING

POST #3: WHAT DO CATHOLICS BELIEVE?

POST #4: DO CATHOLICS PRAY TO DEAD SAINTS?

POST #5: THE WHOLE RELIGION THING

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My husband has always hinted to me that he wants to be Catholic, but I've always assumed that he was joking.  How I could have interpreted the words, "If I have to pick a religion Shelly, it would be Catholic" as a joke, I do not know.  Maybe my Protestant born and bred genetics find that statement amusing but the reality is...he was NOT joking.  He just knew that I could not go there...at that time.

He's been patient.  He's been precious. But, now...he will no longer attend a Protestant church because HE is led to his roots.  So, it has come down to this...After 20 years of marriage, my husband wants to go back to the particular Christian Religion he was born into.  He has told me recently that he's not Protestant...so, there you have it. Ack! Those are words I understand...clearly.

I've told my husband that I will have more questions than the Priest may want to answer during our "Catholic Classes", but the information I've learned over the past year has really been an eye opener for me.  I am so blessed to have so many Protestant and Catholic, Jesus Worshiping, friends who love and hold us up in prayer no matter what our religious choice.  I am so blessed by all of you!

My husband has assured me that he has questions of his own.  Who knows what we will learn or where we will end up, but one thing is for sure...Our family will worship JESUS together...As Always...wherever He leads us.

I have had a few friends who have pulled away from us in the past few months.  I sense that they are uncomfortable with our choice, though they haven't outright mentioned it.  It may be that they "think" we may try to convert them to Catholicism?  I don't know...but I'm just a Jesus Christian.  If people worship in a different "kind" of church than I do...I don't feel the need to "convert" anyone to anything.  Goodness knows, I've attended just about every kind of Protestant church there is to be had! LOL  In my lifetime, I've attended everything from the Nazarene Church to the quiet First Church of God to the loud, running the isles, talking in tongues Church of God.


They all leads us to Jesus so, to me...It's all Good! :o)




There's that revelation...some are more shocked than others I'm sure. :o) 

Now on to the most recent questions posed to me.  To read the other posts in order...click the links above. :o)


I'm going to number the questions that have been presented to me since Post Number 4 and then give the answer just to keep this as simple as possible.

Here we go!

Question 1 "Why are you using Wikipedia...I talked with a friend of mine and she just shook her head that you used Wikipedia as a source for information." 


Answer I sometimes use Wikipedia as a "jumping board" to find cited books, articles and history where I can THEN GO to find sources.  It helps me find resources to back up any answer so I can be sure to have facts to support the conclusions.  I don't believe Wikipedia on face value.


Question 2: from a Catholic in blog comments: "I don't understand why Protestants believe that you can confess Jesus as Savior once and you cannot go to hell after that, regardless of what you do."

ANSWERWe don't believe that.

That is a HUGE misconception some Catholics have about Protestants. Aren't you glad we don't believe that! :o)

There is a sect of the Baptist Church that believe this, however MOST Protestants do NOT believe this AT ALL. We are constantly praying and asking Jesus to forgive our sins. We pray all the time. We are told to be in a constant state of prayer and faith believing. We are also told to pick up our cross daily....meaning....choose daily to live our lives for Christ. Basically, we believe He saves us when we pray to Him for forgiveness...sort of like the day Catholics take their first communion and have their first confession...that would be the "day" we would say we were "saved" HOWEVER, we KNOW that we have to always ask for forgiveness and TRY to live the best that we can to do the work Jesus has planned for our lives. We DON'T believe we can go and commit crimes, willfully sin and forget God's plan for us and still get to Heaven just because we prayed one time. That's crazy talk to us.

Question 3: from a Catholic in blog comments: "In the case of believing the "Bible alone", what do Protestants think people did for the first 1500 years of Christianity without a Bible?"

ANSWER: There are a few "schools of thought" on this subject.

A. Some protestants never even consider this. Some of us have a huge gap in our historical knowledge.  We assume that the churches formed after Jesus resurrection were configured "like ours" and worshiped like we do today because that is how we worship.  We just never even "think" to go look up how the Apostles and people worshiped in the years after Christ's death because we "think" we already know.  We "assume" we are doing what they did.

B. SOME protestants believe that the Catholic church "hid" the Bible for those years and God protected the "real" church as a "remnant" that practiced His teachings in private and later became the Baptist Church.  Some even try to trace their lineage to the apostles through the Waldenses. Many of the older Waldensian histories speak of them as a body of Christians, hiding in the Alps from the days of the original apostles, or at least from the time of Claude, archbishop of Turin. But the eminent French historian Jean-Pierre Poly has shown that from 883 until 972 (nearly a full century) that Saracen pirates fully controlled southeastern France and the Alpine passes. All inhabitants of the areas later known as the Waldensian Valleys were swept off. There simply could not have been a continuous group there.

C. Other Protestant acknowledge that we were obviously taught the Bible from the Catholic Church.  Many of us have studied history and know that the Catholic Church translated the Bible, Put the books in order, Chose the books of the Bible and was the only source where the Bible was even accessible for over 1500 years after Christ's resurrection.  We acknowledge that nobody owned a Bible of their own until they could be copied by a printer...so obviously The Catholic Church was THE Church for those many, many, years.  However, we also believe that after Martin Luther "righted the wrongs" that were occurring in parts of the Catholic Church at the time, well....we believe that the Catholic Church ceased to be the Universal Church left behind by Christ.  We believe that somehow, during that time, the Eucharist ceased to be as important and that now "anyone who believes in Christ will go to Heaven" even though the Bible does say that "NOT everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

I know it sounds funky.  That's just how it is.  The Protestant Reformation took place.  It is what it is.  Some people believe that the Wolves in Sheep's Clothing in the Catholic Church tainted the Church as a whole and others do not.  It's that simple.  Those who don't think the Church was tainted hold to the truth that no Dogma was created during that dark historical time and believe that the Catholic Church is still the same Church that gave us our Bible.  Those who think the Church WAS tainted forever, believe that we can be any kind of Protestant we want and get to Heaven. It's that simple. It's just something that has to be accepted at face value, because it's that simple.

Question 3: from a Catholic in blog comments: "Why are you (protestants) so scared of Mary? Because you're scared of sounding Catholic, who you think "worship" Mary?"

ANSWER:  We (Protestants) are very concerned that people begin to take their eyes off of having a Relationship with Christ when we begin honoring the vessel that carried Him.

Basically, Protestants understand that she was His earthly mother, but we wouldn't dream of talking to her because we don't "talk" to anyone other than Jesus. We believe that giving Mary honor in our daily lives or asking Her to talk with Jesus for us is actually hindering OUR relationship with Christ. We believe this because the time we spend talking with Mary could be time we build our relationship with Jesus. We actually think we would be offending Jesus by asking Her to go to Him for us because He's the one who died for us, so we believe His love for us FAR supersedes any love She could have for us.

All of that said....though we think she was wonderful....we would never think that she can hear us down here anyway. We are not brought up to believe that people in Heaven can hear us at all. We believe we will see each other in Heaven again, but we are all worshiping together....without actually "being" together until we meet again in Heaven.

Cutting to the chase: We don't put anyone between us and Christ because we are to have a full, committed relationship with HIM. Anyone who would come between that relationship is a hindrance to our time with Christ.

HOWEVER....
The Bible says that the prayers of the Righteous avails much...(James 5:16)....and after reading about the Great Cloud of Witnesses (Hebrews Chapters 11 and 12) and the portion of Revelation where our prayers are being given to Jesus...(Rev. 5:6-9 and Rev. 8:3-4) I am inclined to believe that Saints can indeed hear us and present our prayers to Jesus.  I have come to understand that Saints in Heaven could help us reach the Throne of God as PRAYING people of God, just like our friends here on earth who pray for us when we need prayer.  Prayer requests are okay. In THAT relationship, I understand talking with Mary....HOWEVER...There are many Catholics who actually ask Saints to "do" Supernatural things...like find them a house, keep them safe...etc. That is not what the Catholic Church teaches...if I'm reading the Catechism correctly. When we take our eyes off of Christ and begin asking other Saints to "DO" things for us, rather than "ASK" things for us...we have then replaced our Jesus with His creations which is not something I'm willing to do. 


Question #4: "But Catholics believe that unbaptized babies go to something called Limbo and will never see the face of God."

Answer: One thing I've learned about Catholicism is that there are many people in the Catholic Church.  Where there are people, there will be vast differences in how people "interpret" their religion's teachings.  If you know one Catholic, you know one thought.  If you know two...you know two stances.  Until you read what the church actually teaches for yourself...you will not KNOW that these stances "could" be beliefs that those specific families hold as truths that may indeed go directly against Actual Catholic Teachings.

Here's a snippet about "Limbo"

Since at least the time of Augustine, theologians, considering baptism to be necessary for the salvation of those to whom it can be administered, have debated the fate of unbaptized innocents, and the theory of the Limbo of Infants is one of the hypotheses that have been formulated as a proposed solution. Some who hold this theory regard the Limbo of Infants as a state of maximum natural happiness, others as one of "mildest punishment"....This theory, in any of its forms, has never been dogmatically defined by the Church... (source)

To Sum Up:  Limbo has never been Dogma in the Catholic Church. 

For those who are Protestant: we can liken this thought to the Faith Healing debate.  Some Christians believe we can pray for healing and get it no matter what.  Others believe we can pray for healing and God may choose to take us home to Heaven to heal us perfectly.  Either way....we're still Christians...nobody knows "who, how, why" some are healed and others are not but we can all agree that God holds the final answer.  When we get there...we will know.  This is a matter of debate, faith and interpretation among people of a certain faith...this is NOT taught as Dogma for the entire Catholic church and Faith Healing is NOT taught as Dogma in every Protestant religion. 


Question 5:  from a Catholic in blog comments: "What do Protestants make of Jesus on the cross saying, "here is your mother", and "here is your son"? Why even mention it in the Bible if it is insignificant?"


ANSWER: Protestants believe that Jesus was making sure she was going to be taken care of after He left earth. Nothing more, nothing less.  It's that simple.


Why was it significant?  Because it may answer the age old question..."Did Mary Remain a Virgin after Jesus' Birth?" 

I have to wonder why Jesus would ask someone.... who is NOT His "brother".... to take care of Mary....IF...she had other children.  (as most Protestants happen to believe)  I was always taught that Mary had other children...and I believed it because I didn't know that "brother and sister" could mean Aunt, Uncle, Cousin etc...in those days. So IF she had other children...Why appoint someone else to care for her other than one of her natural born sons... a natural brother of Christ?  That would be a huge offense to Jesus' natural family IF he had other siblings.  (There's another pickle my Protestant mind has to navigate.)

Question 6: This was a statement from my family member. "Communion is "like" the last supper.  It "represents" Christ and is to remind us of Him.  It's not actually Him, Sacramentally."


ANSWER:  I understand this position.  I respect that stance and certainly don't expect that everyone is going to beleive the way I do on any given subject.  I will explain how my mind processes this information but please don't assume that I think everyone has to agree with me...

My personal answer to this is that I often wondered how we could damn ourselves to Hell by drinking grape juice.  When I was a child watching people take communion at our little First Church of God in Ohio it looked like everyone was so uncomfortable with doing it.  It seemed like everyone was trying to "get into" the act but it never did quite "feel" right to me. 

When I started studying history I found a lot of information about how Communion (the Eucharist) was celebrated.  I now realize that I would like to be a part of the Original Design.  And...in my mind...there is nothing new under Heaven, God does NOT change, so what Jesus put forth as an example should be kept true to it's origins.  Thus...keep the form it had when Christians were risking their lives in the Catacombs to take the Eucharist. I don't want to do it "like" they used to.  I want to do IT...take THE Eucharist....the one He Passed Down and People Died to take while trying to keep IT in HIS true form. Back then...The Eucharist WAS church.

Here's a snippet of information from History just after Jesus' Resurrection. In one of the first Christian texts, St. Justin the Martyr narrates how the Eucharist was celebrated during the ancient times. 

"And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, And the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. (San Justino)  Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying “Amen”; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.  And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined.  For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.  For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, "This do in remembrance of Me, (Lk 22:19) this is My body;" and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, "This is My blood;" and gave it to them alone.  And we afterward continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Spirit. 
(St. Justin the Martyr, Letter to Antoninus Pius, Emperor, 155 AD)

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Well that sums up the questions from the past few weeks. It's hard to put this stuff "out there" because now you are reading it.  But in the end, this blog is for my children.  This is the path your dad and I took in April of 2010.  These posts basically detail what we did and why.  Always remember that no matter what you believe...Respect other people's point of view and most of all LOVE PEOPLE!  That is the gospel summed up.  If you do that...everything else will fall into place.  

When I've gone the way of the Dodo bird, please remember that your dad and I love you kids.  Always hold to that and Jesus and you'll never be alone. :o)


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UPDATE: POST NUMBER 1: EVANGELICAL ME AND MY CATHOLIC FRIENDS

UPDATE: POST NUMBER 2: THE WHOLE CONFESSING TO A PRIEST THING

UPDATE: POST #3: WHAT DO CATHOLICS BELIEVE?

UPDATE: POST #4: DO CATHOLICS PRAY TO DEAD SAINTS?

UPDATE: POST #5: THE WHOLE RELIGION THING

2 comments:

Bethany said...

I found your blog while looking for ideas for organizing my house and chores. I've found this series of posts to be fascinating, and food for thought.

Like you, I've grown up in a protestant faith (I'm one of "those baptists" who believe in "Once saved, always saved.")

The difference is that I'm far from the Bible Belt... my area is heavily catholic and my church is one of the only ones like it in my area. So I have had many of the same preconceptions you've mentioned... worshipping Mary, praying to the saints, etc.

Anyway, thanks again for the thoughtful posts. They represent an entirely different view of the Catholic faith, one that I hadn't considered before.

The Mom with Brownies said...

Hi Bethany,

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and for commenting. As you may have noticed, the process of understanding "them" took some time and really turned my world on it's ear.

I hope all is well in your world and God blesses you through your days on this earth. It's always wonderful to hear from a sister in Christ. :o)