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.

4/3/11

RELIGION: PERCEPTION/PERSPECTIVE

Reminder:  This blog is printed into hard cover books for my children.  I talk about personal beliefs, religion, parenting and memories so my kids will have these words to read after I'm dead and gone.  This blog is a family legacy made for my children. It is what it is.

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Kids, by now, it is well known that our family is "converting" to the Catholic religion.  I put the word 'converting' in quotes because I don't feel like we're doing anything more astounding than if we were switching from Baptist to Methodist. Know that your dad and mom are all about unity between all Christians. If people are serving Christ, they are your brother and sister in Christ, regardless of the name on their church door.  It's just not all that different unless their church is asking them to worship someone other than Christ Jesus. Now, with all that said, "converting" we are, and it's been quite the interesting social adventure, to say the least.   

During this "conversion" there have been times when some of our friends and well meaning acquaintances have asked questions that literally cause me to chuckle.  I chuckle because I used to ask the same questions while trying to evangelize to Catholics. I don't get upset, and neither should you.  These people love us and are coming from a sincere place in their hearts...sometimes even when they are forceful and seem angry.  I often feel a sense of calm knowing from where the inquiry comes.  Their questions and statements are valid, so it's important for you to know WHY we are Catholic. 

I've decided to highlight one of the more forceful points of view so you know what you will undoubtedly deal with in the future, if you haven't already.  We can't stop the barrage that some of the "meaner" people wage, but we can surely defend against it, if they become irate.  Usually that is not the case.  Usually people are sweet and truly want to know what we are thinking, but sometimes the following is what you will get. 

The following happens to deal with one of my pet peeves, if you will.  It deals with misconceptions and downright ignorance that some "theologians" preach about Catholic teachings.  In order to cut to the chase, I've decided to highlight a statement made by a very, misguided man named John F. McArthur Jr.  

"Mr." McArthur Jr. is a well known Evangelical Pastor...quite wealthy if I'm not mistaken...who spouts, in offensive ways, about the Catholic religion. It is my hope to show the extreme ignorance that some popular, paid "theologians" spew, so my children, you will know fact from fiction.  Yes, even "popular" preachers can dispense hatred toward our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  I want to highlight this example here so that, hopefully, you will not be like sheep following MAN but instead, sheep following CHRIST JESUS. 

It didn't take me long to pick a passage to highlight from "Mr." McArthur's rants.  He's so full of crap...I'm sorry but he is...that I could have highlighted his page blindfolded and found errors in his "understanding" of the Catholic Doctrine.  His speech is dangerous because it causes division between Christians. He causes friction and is NOT a peacekeeper. 

Yes. He's full of crap.

Side Note:   This man is condemning an entire Christian Religion. In contrast, Catholics won't even say that they THEMSELVES are "saved" because they humbly leave that to be said by Christ Himself on judgment day.  Most Catholics will humbly say that they "have hope in their salvation" in order to be reverent in front of God.  Though they know they are saved..."because hope does not disappoint" Romans 5:5... they still will not announce their salvation before Jesus does.  If they won't say they are saved, you can imagine how difficult it would be for a practicing Catholic to tell someone that they are going to Hell. You'll be hard pressed to find one. 

The following passage is a snippet from one of his "Sermons."  I encourage my Catholic friends to read it with a bottle of Mylanta by your side.  The misrepresentations and outright lies will cause indigestion.
 
"There's a lot that could be said about Roman Catholic theology. We could expose its errors, which are numerous; we could talk about its sources of revelation or divine truth that are outside the pages of scripture, or we could talk about the (1) corruption of the mass. We could talk about the idea that (2) Mary is the co-redemptrix which, of course, is really a blasphemous concept. We could talk about the idea that God is a tough guy, and (3) if anybody wants grace out of God, it's only Jesus who could get it from Him; (4) but you can't expect to go to Jesus because He's pretty tough himself, so (5) you need to go to Mary, because nobody can resist his mother. And so she'll talk to Him and he'll talk to the father, and Mary will get you what you need, or (6) some saint. We could talk a lot about those things; concepts of (7) purgatory, concepts of the (8) sinlessness of Mary, (9) the virgin birth of Mary, a lot of things about Catholic theology that we could speak about; most notably their erroneous (10) doctrine of justification, which cuts people off from the kingdom of God...."

I will stop there. 

I would like to note that this is the Second full paragraph of a 17 Page presentation. In this one paragraph I found 10 full out falsehoods and/or inflammatory accusations about Catholic Teachings.  I will try my best to address each of the 10 in quick fashion.  I will link to outside sources for further reading so that this post does not become a book.

1. Corruption Of The Mass:  Some people "think" that Catholics "re-sacrifice" Christ every time they take the Eucharist. (communion)   This could NOT be further from the truth.  When partaking of the Eucharist (Communion) every Saturday (the Sabbath) or Sunday (The Lord’s Day), Catholics believe we are actually transcending time...well, Christ is transcending time to come to us.  Catholics are actually partaking of the last supper in remembrance of Jesus until His return to earth. Catholics are not "re-sacrificing" Him.  They are accepting His one sacrifice and doing it until he comes back, just as Jesus asked us to do. (Luke 22)

To sum up: Catholics believe that Christ saw each and every person on earth when He took the sins of the world onto Him during his crucifixion and that He offers himself to us through communion, sacramentally, to strengthen us...through time...until He comes again. The best way I know to explain this is that Jesus royal blood flows through a Catholics veins both spiritually, through repentance and faith believing AND physically by partaking of the last supper each and every church service. (mass)  They believe Jesus is handing them the “bread/wine” through time. (CCC 1323)


2. Mary Co-Redemptrix:  Catholics want to adore Mary and give her a place of honor in their lives because they are afraid they will offend Jesus if they don't acknowledge His Mother. (Luke 1:42 & Luke 1:48) 

They know that we are to honor our mother and father in Christ so, if Jesus was fully God and He was fully man on this earth also...making him our God AND our brother "in Christ"...we should Honor Our Mother in Christ. She IS Jesus' Mother chosen by God. She conceived him from the Holy Spirit, she was THERE when Jesus was born, she raised Him and she watched Him die. She was at the foot of the cross agonizing. A Catholic can't comprehend NOT honoring her.



The issue for Protestants is  that we don't ever, ever talk to anyone but Jesus. We see any chatter between ourselves and someone in Heaven as worship. Catholics, however, talk with their brothers and sisters in Christ in Heaven all the time. They read Hebrews 11 thru 12:1 and believe that when we die, we can be part of the cloud of witnesses.  Though our bodies died on earth, our spirit is alive and still able to worship Christ and pray for our fellow brothers and sisters.  To Catholics, asking one of the cloud of witnesses to pray for them is no different than asking our friends on earth to pray for us.  Catholics recognize the huge difference between honor and worship. They worship Christ. They honor Mary.

Side Note: Some sects of the world do put Mary in a position of worship, but this is NOT what the Catholic Church teaches. As with any religion, you will find people who go a bit "off-track" from the actual teaching of their religion. There is even a sect of Catholics who want the church to change their teaching so Mary can also forgive sins.  BUT! that is NOT what the church teaches and has been denied by council after council when anyone has tried to bring this to the table. Mary Worship is NOT something that is in the Catholic doctrine....though she is highly looked up to for her unique relationship with Christ.  There are words that are used for Mary that cause Protestants to bulk...
Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.....and there HAVE been some people, and even some leaders of the Catholic Church to call her the Co-Redemptrix...weird name, sounds like some sort of warlock or whatever to me..  In the context that these terms are used, the leaders of the church are meaning that she served as Christ's mother and was there at all of the important times in His life when His work with Salvation was taking place. That is to say that Mary helped HIM do HIS work for our salvation AS HIS MOTHER.  THAT is the "Co" part of their equation.  She is NOT the person who saves sins and her work is not what saves us, but she was THERE...right beside Him... for all of it.  In "that" way they are using those terms. They are using words to honor her role in helping Christ on earth while he completed His task.  They do NOT mean that she can or ever will forgive our sins...but that she helped Jesus fulfill His work so that our sins could be saved by His one sacrifice. 

I personally think they should not use the term "co-redemptrix" because it causes great confusion and could be dangerous if some uneducated people come to believe that she is a savior. 

3. If anybody wants grace out of God, it's only Jesus who could get it from Him:  Yes.  Catholics teach that The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God. (CCC 233) Grace comes from Jesus who died for our sins. (CCC 445) Only through Him can we come to the Father. (CCC 434)  He actually got that one right. 

4. But you can't expect to go to Jesus because He's pretty tough himself:  That is absolutely false.  Catholics pray to Jesus all the time.  They pray to him for forgiveness, for healing, for anything at all.  It may interest some people to know that even when a Catholic is in a confessional, they pray to Jesus alone for forgiveness using "the act of Contrition" which is like the sinner's prayer that Protestants use.  

5. Quote: You need to go to Mary, because nobody can resist his mother. And so she'll talk to Him and he'll talk to the father, and Mary will get you what you need... Again, Mary is not worshiped.  She is Jesus' mother, so many people ask her to pray FOR them.  A person can be Catholic and never talk to Mary one time.  There are Catholics who were born Catholic and have never talked to her once. 

 6.  ...or some saint:  Again, cloud of witnesses.  They are thought to still be part of the family of God after they die and so we can ask them to pray FOR us. 

7.  concepts of purgatory:  The history of Purgatory dates back before Jesus was here on earth. Click Here for some History.  Basically Catholics believe that when a person dies, they will have the true knowledge that "God Is a Consuming Fire" (Hebrews 12:29)  It is at that time that the soul will go through Judgment day. Catholics believe that the person/soul will find out where they are going right then.  They either go to Heaven "in the Fire of God's Love", Hell "in the Fire of God's punishment" or "walk through fire"...(Purgatory)...to be purified by the Fire of Gods purgation....before they enter Heaven. Read a LOT more HERE

Purgatory is a completely foreign concept to Protestants. I can safely say that most protestants have never read the writings of the Early Church leaders...(the leaders of the Churches right after Christ's resurrection)…before The King James Version of the Bible was even compiled.  That's true for me anyway. I didn’t even know there were records about how churches were run before the Bible was compiled and what-not.  The idea that it was "common knowledge" that there could be a "walk of fire" has never been presented to most Protestants.  This is why we cannot understand how we would "Need" a "Walk of Fire" if Jesus has saved us and forgiven us from our sins.

Here’s The "Rub": there is often talk among Protestants about what happens if we are about to have a car wreck or if our heart suddenly stops beating and we don't have time to pray for forgiveness....knowing that we all sin every day.   We all "assume" that we are forgiven because of Jesus' Precious Grace....however....we do have this nagging knowledge that "NO" sin will enter into Heaven. (ack!)  This is the place that ties that little psychological dance into a nice bow for me.  I understand the "need" for “a walk of fire” in "that" circumstance....though I still believe Jesus blood covers every sin...but we still pray for forgiveness every day...so...you can see the circle of never-ending thought there.

Side Note: I "think" that the big issue with Purgatory is that many Protestants "think" Catholics are trying to "pray people out of Hell."  We don't think of Purgatory at all so to us, it's hell...not a walk of fire.  We also "think" that Catholics assume they will automatically get to go to either Heaven or Purgatory just because they are Catholic.  We "think" that Catholics believe they are safe from hell right after their infant baptism.   Which, my protestant friends, is NOT the case...And...If a person is going to hell, purgatory is NOT a stop on that trip. So, you know...we can stop thinking that now. ;o)

8.  concepts of the sinlessness of Mary:  This is true.  The Catholic teaching is that Adam and Eve were sent to earth sinless.  When they sinned, they "ruined" everything.   We see in Genesis 3:15 the first mention of Mary.  We can see Mary, the “woman”; the Mother of the Messiah.  At that point GOD put "a condition of enmity" between her and Satan.  God himself placed that condition between her and Satan...because He can do that.  Mary’s victory over Satan would not have been perfect if she had ever been under Satan’s dominion. Consequently she must have entered this world without the stain of original sin, like Adam and Eve, due to God's command and promise to Satan in Genesis. BUT only because GOD allowed it to be so for Jesus sake. 
 
For Example: Just think of the Ark of the Covenant.  People could not even touch it or they would die!
Mary CARRIED Jesus in her womb!  

Mary was not "perfect" in herself, because there was no perfect human on earth...no not one!  She was human BUT God put enmity between her and Satan ALLOWING her to be sinless FOR Jesus sake and Jesus WAS her savior! (Luke 1:46) She was NOT a "perfect human" on her own or by herself. That's impossible.  She also needed Jesus as her savior.  The Catholic Teachings go something like this:  The early Fathers of the church...before the Bible was "made" and before printing presses were invented....passed on Jesus' teachings by mouth.  They said orally that “the knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, The Virgin Mary loosened by her faith” (Lumen Gentium 56).  That teaching was highlighted in Mary being the New Eve sent by God; prophesied by God Himself in Genesis.

9. the virgin birth of Mary: The Catholic Church has no official teaching on whether or not the Virgin Mary had a virgin conception and virgin birth.  I have no idea where he got this. The Catholic Church is a huge, worldwide religion.  He probably found a small sect of the world that teaches this and pounced on it.  If so, shame on him.

 10.  doctrine of justification, which cuts people off from the kingdom of God:

First things First...

Anathema: This word became popular during the Reformation.  During this turbulent time, the Catholic Church found it necessary to let people know exactly their teachings about certain key points of doctrine.  Those people who did not believe in those specific points were "Anathema."  That word means "SET APART FROM."  In this instance, it meant, "not Catholic" or "set apart from our religion."  Some people of that day "thought" that if a person wasn't Catholic, well, then they must be damned to hell.  So "Anathema" also came to mean "damned" to some people.  However, in reality the Church Leaders were not damning people to hell.  They were actually saying; “if you don't believe this, then you are ‘not Catholic.’” 

JUSTIFICATION:   The Catholic Church does not teach "Grace by works."  Here is a snippet about "getting saved" that is written in their teachings...It's from the Council of Trent. 

"...man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His son: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace"CHAPTER VIII. In what manner it is to be understood, that the impious is justified by faith, and gratuitously.

Guess what, Mr. McArthur! 
Catholics are saved by Grace through Faith!  
Wowza!  

They do, however, emphasize KEEPING salvation and NOT turning away from Christ.  In doing so, they encourage Faith, Hope and Charity. They encourage church attendance, taking the Eucharist (communion) and basically LIVING the LIFE of a Christian and having a full prayer life so that we may stay strong in Christ. The teachings warn against "vain confidence" in our own "doing" for our salvation.  We need to be aware of our imperfections and know that we cannot fully know all of God's plans thus we need to be humble and strive daily in our Christianity. Chapter XI: But no one, how much soever justified, ought to think himself exempt from the observance of the commandments;

If being saved by "works" means praying for forgiveness, getting baptized, living for Christ and adhering to His Commandments, attending Church, taking communion and following Christ's teachings...then Yes; Catholics are proudly guilty of such preaching.....And so are most Protestants.  (By the fruit of our work we shall be known.*Matt. 7:17 )

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Perception - Perspective
The Title of Mr. McArthur's sermon sparks interest in the Priest scandal.  The Catholic Church is huge, which makes it a large, easy target to tear down.  With over 44,000 Protestant churches, the scandals that arise in those communities affect only that one building, but because the Catholic Church is so vast, the horrible incidents that occurred have stained the Church.  Thinking adults know that The Church IS it's congregation. The congregation and God's Grace will mend this community.

The leaders who perpetrated those heinous acts are finally coming to light and paying the consequences.  Sadly, their human frailties and sins have charred the whole of the Catholic community.  Mr. McArthur takes advantage of that limp and is trying to kick the church community when it's down. I don't like it and I won't address it further, except to say, Please keep praying for the victims and those in the Catholic Church who will work to strengthen the innocent leaders and the congregant revival.

On the issue of doctrine I think we can all see that both sides of the Isle are guilty of spouting views that encourage, what I call "Cheap Grace."  Some Protestants preach “Grace Alone” while some Catholics preach "Works Alone."  The truth, however, is that most of us believe in Grace backed by the Fruit of our Works. (Matt: 7: 21-28) 


We will never be "good enough" to go to Heaven, but by accepting, loving, and following Christ we will  be able to get there.  By practicing His teachings and striving to fulfill His plan in our lives, we can have hope in our Salvation.  Let Our Souls Rejoice when God announces it on that Joyous day! 

In the end, we all want to hear...."Well done my good and faithful servant."  

We can't hear those words spoken if we don't "DO" something down here. What have we done?   Let us all Pray and find what God wants for our lives because faith without works IS dead (James. 2:24) yet not of our own works are we saved, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2)  Pray to God that we may weave both premises into our lives.


So, let's answer the question.  Why are we Catholic?  
Because the Catholic Church has the fullness of the Eucharist; The communion that Jesus handed down through time...to do until He comes again. We aren't "better than" protestants or "more saved" and we certainly aren't worse or less saved either.  We just get to take the Eucharist. Your mom and dad need that...and so do you. It's as simple as that...and as important as that. 

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More from your mother here...

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 SPIRITS?

UPDATE: POST #5: THE WHOLE RELIGION THING

7 comments:

Stacy said...

I wish that this is something I could have read when I was about 16. It would have changed a few things for me at that time. It's funny....but I believe that all these years of "church hopping" has actually been a long journey of discovering and learning about my Catholic faith. In other words, I understand the mass and my Catholic Christian faith so much better b/c of the exposure to Protestant churches. It is not at all as difficult as I thought it was when I was younger. Your children have a wonderful written word from their mom in defense to the faith. What a blessing you have given to them.

Oesch Family said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I have been catholic since 1998. I grew up with barely any religion in the home and took on the catholic faith as an adult. I enjoy the religion because of the routine or celebation as it might be called. I enjoy partaking in the mass every week and feeling as if I "belong" and am worshiping completely with my fellow parishoners and God. I have much respect for you for reading up as much as you have and learning as much as you have. I think for sure that there are so many misconceptions about Catholicism. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

The Mom with Brownies said...

Thank you. This was one post I wanted to get right. It took me a month to press the publish button. I just hope my kids see our actions and read these words in the future and gain some understanding by blending them. Isn't it such a blessing to be able to share this with our kids?

Nicole said...

Keep reading your Bible and encouraging your children to do the same! The Lord says if you search for Him you will find Him! What glorious promises. Do you pray the rosary?

The Mom with Brownies said...

Hi Nicole,

We read, read, read. :o) We're also a homeschooling family, so they may get more than the average bear in the Bible Reading department. LOL

We don't "pray" the Rosary yet. It would be easy for them to confuse the Rosary words as worship to Mary right now. I want to enforce a few principles about what it is and why the words are used before they say it. You know...make sure they totally understand that it's about Jesus' Life and not worshiping Mary. But, that should be coming soon in our home. :o) Thanks for asking.

Blackie said...

Excellent post! Good refutation and great honesty!

You are dong your kids a great service and the rest of us are just blessed to read what you have written.

stephaniemax said...

I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog! I am also a Catholic convert and I am constantly trying to explain it to my (mostly atheist) family and friends. Thanks for the great explanation! Blessings!