6/23/2007

My Catholic Tract

Thank You…

Thank you so much for your concern for my soul. I deeply appreciate it, however with all due respect and all charity, the fact is that in spite of your misunderstanding, we Catholics are Christians, and part of the same Christianity that the early Apostles practiced. Our faith is the same one that began with Our Lord Jesus Christ and has endured for 2,000 years.

We Catholics believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God; that God is a Trinity that consists of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that we are saved by a personal relationship with the risen Lord Jesus Christ. We are “born again” and we do our best to live out that relationship by producing fruit worthy of repentance. None of us are perfect; we’re still all too human , but we confess our sins to God in obedience to the scriptures and make a moment-by-moment effort to be the best Christians that we can.

There are differences between us…They are the result of a division that occurred about 500 years ago called the Reformation. Prior to that we were all Catholics, a name which is Greek for universal and was used for all Christian churches and can be verified by the letter of Ignatius, the Bishop of the church of Antioch that he wrote to the church at Smyrna in about 107 AD. (Remember Antioch, the church in Acts 11:26 where we were first called Christians to begin with?) This name stuck in order to differentiate between the church of Christ and other heretical groups such as the Gnostics.

The difference between us is simple and fundamental. The core of the differences are the Protestant doctrines called “Sola Scriptura” (meaning Scripture Alone) and “Sola Fide” (Faith Alone). The first has to do with the verifiable fact that the early Christians relied on verbal tradition until the 4th century when the Council of Carthage settled the matter of the canon of the Bible with the 73 books that consist of the 46 books of the Alexandrian text of the Old Testament (also known as the Septuagint,) which was in Greek (not Hebrew) and the 27 books of the New Testament. As a result, the Apostles encouraged the early church to hold fast to the traditions that had been taught to them either by word or letter. Keep in mind that the last verse of Saint John’s Gospel says that not all that Jesus said and did is written down and that the entire world could not contain all the books if they were. Sacred Tradition helps us properly interpret the Word of God. It is not the “traditions of men” that Jesus condemned, since it in no way sets aside the laws of God, but along with the Bible confirms what they mean and helps to guide us into right doctrine.

2nd Thessalonians 2 :14 “Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.

2nd Thessalonians 3 :6 “And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they have received of us.

The other is the doctrine that we are saved by “faith alone” and that our works have no merit before God. The fact is that a breakaway priest named Martin Luther developed both doctrines on his own authority, ignoring the fact that no one in the 1500 years of Christian history had believed any such things. In fact Luther had the audacity to add the word "alone" to Romans 3:28 in his German translation of the Bible so that it said that we are saved by faith alone, knowing full well that the Greek text does not say that at all. In fact, the only place where the words “faith” and “alone” are used together is in James 2:24 where it says, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” He also removed 7 books from the canon of the Old Testament and 4 from the New, including Jude, 2nd Peter, James, and Revelation. Most of the confusion between Catholics and other Christian churches is “trickle-down effect” of these doctrines.

This is just a brief overview, but rest assured that if you are willing to do some research into authentic Catholic writings like the Catechism of the Catholic Church you will find that there are very good reasons for what we believe and practice. You can also check out authentic Catholic teachings online at Catholic.com and Vatican.va (The official Vatican Website!). For the truth about the Catholic faith, ask us, we have nothing that we want to hide. We do not attempt to proselytize people though we will readily dialog with anyone and try to answer any questions they may have concerning Catholicism. Our focus is on insuring that everyone hears the Gospel. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit.

The harvest is indeed plentiful, so let’s be about Our Father’s business.

1 comment:

Dr. Zhivago said...

Amen, brother!

And also, it is profitable to ask what the pillar and foundation of truth is. For it says in Scripture that the Church is such (1 Tim. 3:15) and no where does it ever mention that the bible is the foundation of truth. It is the Church that teaches us to understand the bible for we cannot do it on our own, as it says in Acts 8:30-31 and Hebrews 5:12.

Not to put down our seperated brethren, but these truths are something worth meditating over.