what is the difference between catholic and christian?

Tammy - posted on 04/24/2009 ( 43 moms have responded )

143

35

14

I have been a christian my whole life my sisiter recently became catholic i realy dont understand the difference totaly.I havent study the catholic religion before but i was wondering what do christians beleive about being catholic..thankyou God Bless

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Julie - posted on 04/27/2009

75

36

5



Quoting Bethany:

Just for the record, Catholics do believe in Grace and do believe that one is "saved" as you say. However, Catholics believe that "doing good works" is a part of being saved. Simply claiming that you are saved is not enough if you cannot bring the Light of Christ to the world and share it in meaningful ways. In other we"do good works" NOT because we think that's how we will be saved, but precisely because we ARE saved.

As well, Catholics do not pray to Mary. We ask Mary to pray for us, much in the same way you might ask you're deceased grandmother to help you or speak to God on your behalf. The same goes with the Saints. We do not pray to them, though the terminology may sound that way at times, we ask for their intercession-meaning we are asking them (those who have gone before us having lived holy pious lives in the eyes of God) to pray to God themselves on our behalf. We do have a special devotion to Mary because, if she was reverent and pious enough for God to have chosen her to be the mother of His Holy Son, then she must have pretty important to God. Therefore we honor and cherish, what God honors and cherishes.





Bethany,



Thank you for your clear explanation of the differences between Catholicism and Christianity.



I would like to know your response to what I believe specifically regarding praying to Mary or the Saints that have gone on before us.



The Bible specifically tells us in Deuteronomy 18:11 not to contact the dead. There are however, numerous verses that tell us that Jesus is seated at the right-hand of God, interceding for us (Romans 8:34). 



In Romans 8:26-27 the Bible tells us that "In the same way, the (Holy) Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the (Holy) Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the (Holy) Spirit, because the (Holy) Spirit intercedes for the saints (those of us that have given their hearts and lives to Jesus) in accordance with God's will."



I am not aware of any verse in the Bible that tells us to ask "the 'saints' or 'those that have gone on before us'" to intercede for us here on earth.  Is there a verse that guides us in that direction? 



Hebrews 4:14-16  "Therefore, since we have a great high priest, who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.



I love these verses because as a child of God, I have been given permission to go straight to the "Throne of Grace" with everything that I am.  There no longer needs to be the earthly priest to be that go between.  At any place or time during my day, all I have to do is cry out to my Heavenly Father and He makes time for me.  That is what is so different between having a Personal relationship with God and being "religious". 



In Hebrews 7:25 the Bible tells us "Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them." 



In that same chapter it talks about "high priests".  Before Jesus came to earth, God created a "priestly system" to mediate between the people of Israel and God.  Jesus became the"priest forever" because of God's power that raised Him from the dead as the eternal victory over death.  As a result of that victory over death and as God's children, we no longer have to make atonement for our sins through a priest or through the act of sacrificing because that is what Jesus did for us on the cross. 



Also, those that have pass on before us are not "omnipresent......present everywhere", nor "omniscient....knowing everything".  Only God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have those qualities.  Therefore, since God has give us instruction not to talk to the dead and the dead are neither omnipresent nor omniscient, how can they intercede for us while we are still here on earth?  They can't.



I believe even the term Christian has so many different meanings, like you belong to a specific church or denomination.  Though I do belong to a Bible believing church it is not the church that I put my faith in.  My faith is in Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  I am thankful that once I have confessed Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and that I recognize that I am sinful and am in need of a Savior and I give my life over completely to Him, that is all that is required of me.  Or as stated in the Bible, Salvation is a free gift.  A gift, don't have to do one thing to receive a gift.  Praise God for that. 



However, when the Bible talks about "works", it is not the "works" that get you into heaven.  You don't HAVE to do any works if you don't want to.  Once you are saved, you are saved.  God is not an "Indian giver" (sorry if that term is not politically correct). 



I do believe that if you have truly given your life over to Him, there is nothing that will stop you from sharing the good news that you have found "through Him".  Just like when you find a good chocolate cake recipe you don't keep it to yourself - you make it for parties that you have or go to, you share the recipe with family and friends.  The same goes for your relationship with the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe.  How can you keep that to yourself?  You can't.  So by sharing Him with others through word or deed i.e. serving at your church, helping those that are not as blessed as you are, helping the sick, the elderly, the poor.  That is how you are a "light" in this dark world. 



I believe that sometimes, or maybe most of the time, God shakes His head in disgust with us because we tend to make having a relationship with Him so difficult, when He designed  it to be so easy.  Why is it the easy things we make more complicated than He intended it to be?  That question, my friends needs to go in my son's "Jesus Notebook"  that he created when he learned to write.  It is where he jots down all his deep questions that only Jesus will be able to answer.



Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on the subject.



Have a great day.



 



 

Tawny - posted on 06/02/2009

476

0

36

Hi I haven't had a chance to read everyones posts.I was raised and still attend the church of christ and I am a christian. There are alot of different churches out there that have different beliefs.We have 5 steps to be saved~ Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess and be baptized.When being baptised we are emersed in water, and get baptised when we are old enough and can follow the 5 steps to be saved. Christmas and Easter are just another day, we do not believe that Christmas is Jesus's birthday or when Easter was his death. In the bible it does not say certain dates and when Jesus was born there is a reference to it being in the spring time. We believe that every Sunday when we meet together and take the lords supper is where we celebrate Jesus's life, death and burial. We do not have musical instruments we sing from the heart, in the bible it states that we sing with the melody of our hearts. We have a preacher who preaches and have Elders and deacons who take care of any problems and needs. When we sin we go forward at the end of the preaching and we ask for forgiveness and then they pray for us.

What I know of Catholics (I have a really good friend who is catholic and she has told me many things) is that when they baptise they sprinkle on the head and they baptise babies. Where I attend children are innocent and they don't know what sin is and do not understand what being baptised means. Christmas and Easter is a big deal where they have Mass and some catholics only go to church on these days, they believe Jesus was born on Christmas and Easter is when he died. They have musical instruments along with singing hymns. They have the pope who is over all of the catholic churches and they have Priest and Nuns who run the church. When a catholic sins they go into the confessional and tell there sins to a priest and the priest tells them to say hail marys. They also believe in idols and in the bible we are not to worship idols it is a sin we are supposed to worship God not a statue.



This is just what I know the difference between the church I attend to what I know of the Catholics I know there are more differences but it is hard to name them. But every church out there is different and you are going to here different beliefs.

Cheryl - posted on 06/02/2009

7

21

0

christianity is a personal relationship with CHRIST, that is why he died on the cross.







Catholics are more consumed with man made traditions set in place by man and there church. anything that takes the focus off of CHRIST can interfear with the relationship he wants you to have with him.







Catholics, preists, and sisters put more faith in themselves and their religion then they do CHRIST. you are not going to learn the bible at a catholic church, it is not a bible teaching religion, there is so much red tape and do's and don't that you don't learn the word of GOD. Christ died for the church that does not mean worship the church or the religion, we should worship CHRIST. catholics are usually not acountable to GOD, they are more accountable to the catholic religion, wich at the end of the day does not have a lot of conviction. just guilt. you never know someone't heart so the prayer is that they have recieved CHRIST as the savor and they worshop him, and put their trust in him, and not the man preist they call father. to me that is rediculios there is only one father and it is not the priest in the robe....

Deanna - posted on 05/29/2009

3

9

0

WOW! I bet you weren't expecting all that! I didn't even read it all. I wasn't raised anything. I am a Christian (non-denomination) and I agree with Julie, but we are all Christians. We all believe that Jesus came as the son of God and He died for our sins, rose again and is now in heaven with God and that we have received the gift of salvation and it doesn't matter if we are Catholic or Pentecostal, what matters is that we believe and we accept Him as our saviour. The rest is religious debate and just doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. One thing that applies to all of us is this:



"Jesus answered, "The most imoortant command is this: 'Listen, people of Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' The second command is this: 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.' There are no commands more important than these." Mark 12:29 NCV.



In light of that, would God want us to debate our beliefs or just accept each other's right to believe what we choose so long as we choose HIM? We are not to say who is right or wrong. He loves us all and forgives us all and died for us all and we have all come to know Him and believe and accept Him. What we should put our focus on is spreading His word to the unsaved with LOVE, not our own belief system. I love you all! IN HIS LOVE! Your sister in CHrist!

Sara - posted on 04/27/2009

15

15

1

Well, I was raised Catholic and now claim myself to be "non-denominational" or "gospel fed"....on a different aspect as not one so technical..the biggest difference I've seen over the years is that I have never been to a Catholic church that is spirit fed. I have heard of some catholic churches filled with the holy spirit, but never have witnessed for myself. Being in a church that's filled with the spirit of God, I could never imagine a church that doesn't "practice" or teach or invite the Spirit of God into their service. Honestly I believe that any church you go to has potential for problems, simply because we are being led by a "human" and "all" humans sin and all humans take things into their own interpretation. I do believe that we all need to be in Gods word constantly if we want to know who He really is...after all that's what we're here for; to learn who our Lord and Savior is and tell everyone else we know! I think that if you open the Bible and ask God to be there with you to give you understanding and wisdom, then you can trust what your reading and how your interpreting it...He will correct you if your own "mind" comes to much into play! Religion is so overrated...God Himself is who is important and He is the one that we need to be searching out, not worrying about whose right and whose wrong! Seek God and you will find your answers and the Truth!

This conversation has been closed to further comments

43 Comments

View replies by

Heather - posted on 06/01/2009

4,634

42

1135

Quoting Christine:

Heather Hart. Thank you for pointing out my typo. You need not take note. I think you knew well what I meant. I was busy when I wrote that. Was taking a break.

Mary was a sinner just like the rest of us. Scripture clearly says Jesus was the only one without sin.


Christine, I was not trying to point out a typo, I thought that was really what you meant, so if you did mean something different then I don't know what it was.... I thought, and still think that it is an interesting concept. We are covered by Grace through our Faith, therefore Grace by faith. Please don't take offence as I was genuinly impressed by what you wrote.

Christine - posted on 06/01/2009

15

24

0

Heather Hart. Thank you for pointing out my typo. You need not take note. I think you knew well what I meant. I was busy when I wrote that. Was taking a break.

Mary was a sinner just like the rest of us. Scripture clearly says Jesus was the only one without sin.

Amanda - posted on 05/30/2009

309

2

18

Quoting Bethany:

Amanda,
I"m sorry you disagree with me. But as I've stated several passages from the Bible over the course of previous conversations that indeed promote the Catholic Church "practicing the Bible" as written, I'd be interested to hear how you interpret those various passages.

Not to mention if the Bible is the only true source and path to Christ then what did the early Christians do, before the Gospels were written? Especially considering that the Bible in its current state was not compiled until the 4th century AD, by the Catholic Church.



I don't know what these various passages are that you are refering to. The Bible is the ONLY truth about God and Jesus. The Old Testament was around before the New Testament, which I know you already know that.. so I don't get what you are trying to say or imply.



 



God put in the heart of every man the knowledge of HIM so that they would be without excuse.



The Catholic Bible is a denominational Bible that only applies to Catholics. The really writings are in Greek and Hebrew, and I'm not positive if there were written in Aramaic,  being that that was the language that Jesus did speak.



I'm not a Bible scholar, nor do I claim to be, and I believe the WORD OF GOD over the philosophies and opinions of man. I will stick to what GOD /JESUS said.



 

Amanda - posted on 05/30/2009

309

2

18

Quoting Bethany:

Amanda,
I"m sorry you disagree with me. But as I've stated several passages from the Bible over the course of previous conversations that indeed promote the Catholic Church "practicing the Bible" as written, I'd be interested to hear how you interpret those various passages.

Not to mention if the Bible is the only true source and path to Christ then what did the early Christians do, before the Gospels were written? Especially considering that the Bible in its current state was not compiled until the 4th century AD, by the Catholic Church.



I don't know what these various passages are that you are refering to. The Bible is the ONLY truth about God and Jesus. The Old Testament was around before the New Testament, which I know you already know that.. so I don't get what you are trying to say or imply.



 



God put in the heart of every man the knowledge of HIM so that they would be without excuse.



The Catholic Bible is a denominational Bible that only applies to Catholics. The really writings are in Greek and Hebrew, and I'm not positive if there were written in Aramaic,  being that that was the language that Jesus did speak.



I'm not a Bible scholar, nor do I claim to be, and I believe the WORD OF GOD over the philosophies and opinions of man. I will stick to what GOD /JESUS said.



 

Amanda - posted on 05/30/2009

309

2

18

Quoting Bethany:

but Jesus and Mary were/are the ONLY people who existed without sin;


Um I don't know where you have gotten your information or Bible but Mary was a sinner just like the rest of us and she was not perfect. Jesus, and ONLY Jesus is the only one that NEVER sinned. All other have sinned including those that have not come before Jesus' 2nd return.



 



This lie that Mary was never a sinner is a myth made up by the biggest liar of them all, Satan. It's my duty as a Christian to speak the truth and I'm sure this will offend but I MUST speak the truth about Jesus.

Bethany - posted on 05/29/2009

11

8

0

Amanda,
I"m sorry you disagree with me. But as I've stated several passages from the Bible over the course of previous conversations that indeed promote the Catholic Church "practicing the Bible" as written, I'd be interested to hear how you interpret those various passages.

Not to mention if the Bible is the only true source and path to Christ then what did the early Christians do, before the Gospels were written? Especially considering that the Bible in its current state was not compiled until the 4th century AD, by the Catholic Church.

Bethany - posted on 05/29/2009

11

8

0

I am assuming the remark from Christine emphasizing the word only in regards to heaven and hell is in reference to the Catholic's belief in purgatory. Purgatory is not a magical place people go. The belief in purgatory extends from the belief that yes while Jesus did die for people's sins (and YES, his sacrifice WAS enough) it does not mean that simply believing in Christ and accepting him as our Lord and Savior means when we die we are free from sin (Jesus dying for our sins does not mean we are sinless for the rest of our lives once we accept him, we can try to be, but Jesus and Mary were/are the ONLY people who existed without sin; we can and do sin even after accepting the gift of salvation); we are not free from sin when we die but in order to be in heaven we must be rid of all of our sins. For some people that takes more time than others. Therefore we need a way to purge ourselves of our sinfulness before coming into God's eternal presence in Heaven.

And I don't mean to be antagonistic. But I have to admit I'm offended by the remark, especially when the follow up is "then you aren't a Christian at all."

Again, I have to say if anyone has any specific questions regarding the Catholic faith, that have not been adequately answered above, please ask me, send me a private message, or anything.

Heather - posted on 05/29/2009

4,634

42

1135

Christine,

You amaze me. Grace by faith is something I had not heard of before, but I will remember it. Thank you once again for your post.

Christine - posted on 05/29/2009

15

24

0

If you compromise the identity of Jesus (born of a virgin, son of God, 2nd part of the Holy Trinity, was crucified to die for our sins, rose from the dead the 3rd day, will come again at the end), If you compromise what saves your soul, (grace by faith only as we are not capable of meriting our own salvation.. which is why Jesus died for us in the first place ). And if you compromise that there is ONLY heaven and hell... no other magical place to go to where you can pray people out of... that's like saying Jesus's sacrifice wasn't enough) then you aren't a christian at all. Plenty of religious invented their version of Jesus and call him "Jesus". It doesn't make them Christian.

[deleted account]

Quoting Julie:






Quoting Bethany:

Just for the record, Catholics do believe in Grace and do believe that one is "saved" as you say. However, Catholics believe that "doing good works" is a part of being saved. Simply claiming that you are saved is not enough if you cannot bring the Light of Christ to the world and share it in meaningful ways. In other we"do good works" NOT because we think that's how we will be saved, but precisely because we ARE saved.

As well, Catholics do not pray to Mary. We ask Mary to pray for us, much in the same way you might ask you're deceased grandmother to help you or speak to God on your behalf. The same goes with the Saints. We do not pray to them, though the terminology may sound that way at times, we ask for their intercession-meaning we are asking them (those who have gone before us having lived holy pious lives in the eyes of God) to pray to God themselves on our behalf. We do have a special devotion to Mary because, if she was reverent and pious enough for God to have chosen her to be the mother of His Holy Son, then she must have pretty important to God. Therefore we honor and cherish, what God honors and cherishes.









Bethany,






Thank you for your clear explanation of the differences between Catholicism and Christianity.






I would like to know your response to what I believe specifically regarding praying to Mary or the Saints that have gone on before us.






The Bible specifically tells us in Deuteronomy 18:11 not to contact the dead. There are however, numerous verses that tell us that Jesus is seated at the right-hand of God, interceding for us (Romans 8:34). 






In Romans 8:26-27 the Bible tells us that "In the same way, the (Holy) Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the (Holy) Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the (Holy) Spirit, because the (Holy) Spirit intercedes for the saints (those of us that have given their hearts and lives to Jesus) in accordance with God's will."






I am not aware of any verse in the Bible that tells us to ask "the 'saints' or 'those that have gone on before us'" to intercede for us here on earth.  Is there a verse that guides us in that direction? 






Hebrews 4:14-16  "Therefore, since we have a great high priest, who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.






I love these verses because as a child of God, I have been given permission to go straight to the "Throne of Grace" with everything that I am.  There no longer needs to be the earthly priest to be that go between.  At any place or time during my day, all I have to do is cry out to my Heavenly Father and He makes time for me.  That is what is so different between having a Personal relationship with God and being "religious". 






In Hebrews 7:25 the Bible tells us "Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them." 






In that same chapter it talks about "high priests".  Before Jesus came to earth, God created a "priestly system" to mediate between the people of Israel and God.  Jesus became the"priest forever" because of God's power that raised Him from the dead as the eternal victory over death.  As a result of that victory over death and as God's children, we no longer have to make atonement for our sins through a priest or through the act of sacrificing because that is what Jesus did for us on the cross. 






Also, those that have pass on before us are not "omnipresent......present everywhere", nor "omniscient....knowing everything".  Only God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have those qualities.  Therefore, since God has give us instruction not to talk to the dead and the dead are neither omnipresent nor omniscient, how can they intercede for us while we are still here on earth?  They can't.






I believe even the term Christian has so many different meanings, like you belong to a specific church or denomination.  Though I do belong to a Bible believing church it is not the church that I put my faith in.  My faith is in Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  I am thankful that once I have confessed Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and that I recognize that I am sinful and am in need of a Savior and I give my life over completely to Him, that is all that is required of me.  Or as stated in the Bible, Salvation is a free gift.  A gift, don't have to do one thing to receive a gift.  Praise God for that. 






However, when the Bible talks about "works", it is not the "works" that get you into heaven.  You don't HAVE to do any works if you don't want to.  Once you are saved, you are saved.  God is not an "Indian giver" (sorry if that term is not politically correct). 






I do believe that if you have truly given your life over to Him, there is nothing that will stop you from sharing the good news that you have found "through Him".  Just like when you find a good chocolate cake recipe you don't keep it to yourself - you make it for parties that you have or go to, you share the recipe with family and friends.  The same goes for your relationship with the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe.  How can you keep that to yourself?  You can't.  So by sharing Him with others through word or deed i.e. serving at your church, helping those that are not as blessed as you are, helping the sick, the elderly, the poor.  That is how you are a "light" in this dark world. 






I believe that sometimes, or maybe most of the time, God shakes His head in disgust with us because we tend to make having a relationship with Him so difficult, when He designed  it to be so easy.  Why is it the easy things we make more complicated than He intended it to be?  That question, my friends needs to go in my son's "Jesus Notebook"  that he created when he learned to write.  It is where he jots down all his deep questions that only Jesus will be able to answer.






Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on the subject.






Have a great day.






 



 



Julie, I couldn't  agree with you more. People make it more difficult than it has to be. Salvation is a free gift, no works are needed. Of course you are to lead a life like Christ would, but doing good works alone will not get u to heaven.  I pray to one person, GOD, there is no need to for a thousand scripted prayers to everyone else. I pray from the heart, my own personal style for my personal realationship with Christ.





 

Charlotte - posted on 05/27/2009

222

26

37

Quoting Amanda:

The only true inspired Word of God is the Bible written in the original languages of Hebrew and Greek.



I totally agree with you!



Of course, translations are helpful for those of us who can't read Hebrew and Greek.

Amanda - posted on 05/27/2009

309

2

18

The only true inspired Word of God is the Bible written in the original languages of Hebrew and Greek.

Charlotte - posted on 05/27/2009

222

26

37

I seem to be jumping into the middle of a very long and complex conversation here, but I felt I needed to weigh in with my own thoughs.



I was raised Protestant, but my parents made it clear that Catholics were in fact Christians, that Catholicisim was simply another denomination of Christianity like Pentecostal, Baptist, Anglican, or Eastern Orthodox. I was always confused by the question I kept getting at school: "Are you a Christain or a Catholic?" I always thought that question was very rude to Catholics.



Of course during my teen and young adult years, I met a lot of Christians who were about as equally ignornat when it came to Catholicism. They would say stuff like "You can't be a Catholic and actally be a Christian; it's impossible" or "Well, we know all Catholics are going to go to hell when they die."



In university we studdied the history of Protestantism and Catholisim and as much as I totally agree with the reasons for the Protestant Reformation, I have to say I didn't much like some of those historical Protestants either. Like the Calvanist idea that all poor people are going to hell because God doens't want them in Heaven (that's why they are poor; God isn't blessing them with wealth). And that one weirdo that took over England and outlawed Christmas and dancing.



So anyway, as much as I am Protestant, I find I genearlly come into these sort of arguements on the Catholic's side. I have had several friends who are Catholic. I fully expect so see them in Heaven one day. Catholicism isn't the only denomination with some "odd" beliefs; I used to attend a church that actaully said in its statement of faith that the KJV (1611) was the only truly inspired Word of God. Unbelieveable.

Amanda - posted on 05/27/2009

309

2

18

Also Mary was just another woman like any of us except she found favor with God for her to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Mary's egg did not conceive Jesus. Not one drop of her blood was mixed with His. She did sin and she also had more children. The Catholics like to put Mary on a pedastal which is not right. Statues of her and the saints are considered idolarty when you are worshipping or praying to them as well.

Amanda - posted on 05/27/2009

309

2

18

There is no reason whatsoever for Mary or any of the "saints" to be an intercessor for anyone's prayers. Jesus is the only one you should pray to. Catholics believe in a lot ritualistic ideals. There are so many differences in all denominations of Chrisitianity and most of it doesn't even pretain to the Bible. If you stick to the Bible and nothing outside of it then there shouldn't be a problem understanding the differences. There is nowhere in the Bible that says you have to Baptise a baby for it to be saved either. Salvation is a personal decision made by one self at a time of understanding the Lord and what salvation really means. There is also nowhere in the Bible about Purgatory either, that is made up doctrine as well as the Pope being Jesus incarnate.



The only truth is in the Bible and that is where you will find the answers. Do some research and you will see all the differences in not just Catholic religion but other denominations as well. Like I said, if it doesn't practice the Bible and only the Bible than it's really not Chrisitianity. You can have other books to read that talks about religion and God,but they are not the Word of God only the HOLY BIBLE speaks the truth.

Bethany - posted on 05/16/2009

11

8

0

I am very much enjoying this too. I have some friends who have fallen away, not only from the Catholic Church but from religion in general and our discussions are non-existent. Seeing as how my husband is also Catholic, we don't usually discuss differences in belief, though I do ask him a lot of questions, given that he is 1: a "cradle Catholic" (I converted in 1999) and 2: he has studied Theology in depth (I only have a minor in Theology).

And as for you apology- there is no need, I don't think you offended anyone- though I will accept it. As for me, I understood what you meant, I simply wanted to clarify for anyone who may be reading the various posts. There are so many different Christian denominations, and while I do not know your specific religion, there are many who identify simply as Christian, or rather non-denominational Christian Churches. I was actually just reading a book last night which stated that there are reportedly over 27,000 Protestant denominations in the world, I am assuming that there are basing that figure on counting every single non-denominational church as a different denomination. So it is not uncommon to hear Christian vs. Catholic as ooposed to Protestant vs. Catholic.

I am fascinated at your interpretation of "The Workers in the Vineyard". I don't know if it's ever occurred to me to read as a time line of life. And I can definitely see where you are coming from with that interpretation. Though I admit I am confused when you say that the landowner called the workers to receive payment before the day was done. The passage being "When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.'" (Mat. 20:8) Since we are talking about the Jewish people here, in Jewish Tradition the day ends at sundown, so evening would definitely be the end of the day.

Aside from that, I also find it very interesting that the sin of Pride is what you find most important in that reading. And I think that when you look at the staggered workers as the young coming to Christ versus the old coming to Christ (workers in the morning versus workers coming for the last hour) the sin of Pride is evident. Those who have been living in Christ for so long versus those who have recently come to Christ and Christ chooses them to work through; it does offer a lesson in humility.

I think, as Catholics, we view this parable not all that differently, though we see the workers who have come to the landowner in the last hour as those on earth who have to come Christ in their last hour, (forgive the pun) and while it does not change the reward for those of us who have sought and come to Christ earlier "in the day", it does acknowledge that those who need longer to reconcile themselves with the teachings of Christ, but who do in fact come to Christ, are equally as important. The sin of Envy is expressed by the workers who feel cheated but who in reality have gotten exactly what they were supposed to. "'Take was is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as i wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?' Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Mat 20:14-16) For Christ it does not matter when you come to him, but that you do come to him, for He is a generous God. And those who struggle to find their way to Christ and yet still make it. They are not to be envied but to be praised as the first.

Anyway, I hope that brings to light how Catholics tend to view that passage. And I did find very it interesting how you view that passage, it definitely reveals a difference in Theology. I am so thrilled to be able to have these conversations. My husband gets a big kick out of me, because I've just been so excited to be able to discuss.

Pace e bene. (Peace and all good things)

Tam - posted on 05/16/2009

776

24

103

Yes, it is a denominational/theological difference. :) And yes, we all believe in God, we believe that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary and died on the cross, rose again in three days and is coming back. :)

Linda - posted on 05/16/2009

29

5

0

Well...They believe in God...Christ as our Savior and The Holy Spirit...I think that makes them Christian. I think it is more of a Denominational thing...right?

Tam - posted on 05/15/2009

776

24

103

I wanted to clarify something really quick, so there won't be a misunderstanding...EEK.

I reread what I wrote and realized that it could be implied that I think you don't believe Christ is the head of the Church. That was not what I meant. I simply meant that we do have teachers and pastors who have been blessed by God with those gifts, like your popes and bishops, priests. I meant that I don't believe they are the absolute authority of faith on earth. They are vessels of Christ, just as you and I have our gifts, they have theirs, and while their positions in the body do deserve our respect, submission and humility (as your boss would), they do not "run the company" nor are they "proxy" for Christ. Do you see what I'm trying to say? Does it make sense?

Basically, the way I understand it, we all believe Christ is the head of the church, we just believe differently when it comes to our earthly shepherds.

Tam - posted on 05/15/2009

776

24

103

Hi Bethany! I hope you had a wonderful Friday. :) I was thinking about you just a few moments ago when I mentioned our discussion in another circle. The question was asked about judgemental church and I used our discussion as an example of how when people are genuinely interested in the other and respectful and it's done in love, you can learn a lot and really spread the love! So, thank you for sharing your faith with me as I share mine with you. ((Hugs))

And again, I cannot apologize enough for my mistake. I do hope you have forgiven my hurried oversight. It was not intentional and if I made offense to anyone, please accept my apology. In fact, I should take it even further and say "I" as there are different denominations that may not believe as I do.

It's just refreshing to be able to talk to you like this. Too often people's judgement and bias gets in the way and there is no open, true communication, it can turn into a war of words. This has been quite the opposite and appreciate the respect each of us has for the other. And you're right, it's always good to put what you truly believe into words because it makes your own faith grow stronger.

Anyway, back to chat some more. :) I love chatting about this with you. As mentioned, my husband's family is Catholic so any understanding I can gain to them is always welcomed. :)

Okay, I reread the parable about the workers since it's been a bit. It has been interesting to me to see if from your perspective. To me this passage talks about several things. First off, I see this as no matter when you accept Christ, your reward (salvation) will be granted, no matter if you are young (early workers) or old (late-day workers). I also see that these workers were called before the end of the day, not when it came time to get paid. I think that might be where we differ on theology. I believe we need to accept Christ while we are in this life (workday) rather than at judgement (payment time). I also see this as a matter of pride and the indignation it can cause. The early workers were upset because they worked a full day for what they agreed to, whereas the later workers did the same (though they were told "what is fair", it just happened to be the same). I think sometimes we, as the body, tend to think it's unfair when God moves in someone else's life--especially if they are new to the Kingdom--when we've been trying to work hard for HIm for a long time. That pride can really interfere with your feelings and service to God. One reason I think this is about the pride is because immediately after, the other ten disciples get their pride worked up when Mother Zebedee asks for her sons to sit on either side of Christ in heaven. Jesus then begins to talk about "rulers of the Gentiles" (the landlord) and how they lord it over the people (the workers) as they please, basically. And he gently instructs the ten that to be the most in the Kingdom you have to be the least. Verse 28 says, "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to served and give his life as a ransom for many." I think this was a lesson for the Church body to lay down their pride and life a life of service with a loving heart.

And I see what you mean about the Old Laws. Thank you. I was confused and thought you also meant the Ten Commandments. I know what you mean now and yes, I do believe the same. The laws of man are the laws that were destroyed, not the laws of God.

We believe also that Mary and saints are in Heaven (believing that they lived for God). :) I do think I see where you're coming from too, though again see it differently. I know the elders have the vials and offer them up to Jesus (which as are the prayers of the saints), I have always been taught and believe that the prayers of saints mentioned in this passage are the prayers of those saints on still on earth, those suffering through tribulation. I think our definition of saints is the difference here.

Thank you for explaining the Catholic Tradition. It will be helpful to me when I go to mass with them for various functions for my nieces and nephews. I had known that Catholics believe St. Peter was essentially the first pope (sorry if I said that wrong) because Christ told him that he was the rock He would build His church on. I guess it's just hard for me to fully understand it, just as it might be difficult for you to fully understand why I believe that instead of being the authority over the church (and the other apostles, future apostles, etc.) he was the rock the church was built on by simply by taking a leadership role in establishing the early church, yet not the supreme authority over the church. To my personal belief, only Christ (as head of the body) has that privilege and responsibility.

Again, I really appreciate you and your patience as we talk about this. :) It is very interesting to me and to you, as well, I hope. :)

Bethany - posted on 05/15/2009

11

8

0

Thanks for the encouragement Elizabeth. I am trying my best.

And thank you for your prayers of blessing the other day, Tam, and I hope the laundry has gotten done. :) Please know I was praying for all of you today while driving home from work. Pace e bene!

I thought I would try to respond to Tam's fourth paragraph of her second to last post since I said I would do it a couple of days ago, and as you mom's well know, God sometimes has other plans.

"I understand that the Catholics believe that the Pope, Bishops, Priests, etc. are God's representatives in this world. And I think (based on the above) that this where Christians have trouble understanding why Catholics go to their priest for absolution. We are to confess our sins for one another, but to Christians, forgiveness comes only from God, not a man, not even a man ordained of God. We do believe that some are called to be preachers, teachers, apostles, etc. But as Christians we do not ask them for forgiveness."

Probably not intentionally, though I think very telling of the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism, is your phrase "a man ordained of God". For Catholic's, priests are not simply people who are especially talented in preaching or have a special desire to proclaim God's Word and teach God's people. Priests are men who are specifically called by Christ, Himself, to follow in Peter's footsteps as the "rock" on which the Catholic Church was built. (Incidentally, this was probably my point in bringing up the Peter passage). That being said, Catholics believe that sin, while first and foremost is an offense against God, is also a break in communion with the church and the community of believers, and therefore there is both the need to repent and ask forgiveness of God, and at the same time reconcile oneself back to the church and the community. As to why we believe that priests have the power to absolve sins. Well I look first to John 20:21-23:

"Again Jesus said, 'Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.' And with that He breathed on them and said 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.'"
Since Catholic's believe that the Pope is the successor of Simon Peter, the apostle, on whom the Church is built, and the bishops are the successors of the apostles as a whole and through the bishops, priests are men called by Christ, ordained by God, through the Holy Spirit, therefore they inherit this ability to forgive sins.
Mat 16:18-19 "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades [Hell] will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven"


Another good passage to reflect the belief in the sacrament is 2Cor, 5:18-20-

"All this is from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God Himself were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God."

I hope this helps in further explanation of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation and explains why we believe turn to priests for confession.

If there are any more questions. Please don't hesitate to ask. I've been very much enjoying the conversation. And as I said before I'd much rather people ask questions, even the small ones, rather than no knowing.

"Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope" 1Peter 3:15

[deleted account]

PS. Quite a few responders have mentioned "different types of Catholics" there are different rites that have different devotions and practices but BELIEFS AE THE SAME. The Doctrine does not change.

[deleted account]

Well Said Bethany, I had a long similar reply written out and then I read yours and figured, why repeat!! God Bless!

Christelle - posted on 05/14/2009

102

3

15

Thanks for a most interesting conversation. My (Protestant) sister married a non-active Irish Catholic and this will be helpful in understanding his church and background.

Rebekah - posted on 05/14/2009

1,441

19

174

You'll end up with a wide variety of answers here for there are many types of catholics and there are different types of religions in the Christian culture - each of us views this differently. My suggestion is research into it and see the differences for yourself and base your opinion off that. But I do suggest that if you do some research, pray that God gives you discernment and will guide you through this.

Tam - posted on 05/14/2009

776

24

103

Bethany, I'm in a hurry now and will come back later, but wanted to say, first off thanks for responding and no, I most certainly did not mean any offense. I was brain-locked yesterday trying to post before the storms came in and should have said Protestant, not Christian. Just couldn't think of it under duress, lol. Said a prayer of blessing for you today! Be back later. ((hugs))

Bethany - posted on 05/13/2009

11

8

0

Tam-
Thank you for your prayers, know that I am praying for you as well. And you are right; we could go back and forth, asking and answering questions. It is important to ask questions and to understand, even if you do not believe what the other is saying is true. The old cliche of "ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hate" has its roots in truth. I enjoy learning about other people. And it makes me a stronger person, especially a stronger person of faith when I can learn about another's beliefs and be required to explain my own.

With that in mind I will try my best to answer and clarify some of your questions/confusions.
First of all:

"As far as the faith with/without works debate, I see what you're saying. To me the Bible says that we are justified through grace, not works. There are many verses in the Bible that point to this. I think it's the issue of works without grace/faith/being saved that gets confusing. If a person does not believe in Christ, yet performs good works his entire life, will he enter Heaven? (I'm speaking of people who have heard of and reject Christ here.) Again, here I have to refer you to John 14:6. But if you are saved by grace alone, you will follow Christ and do as He commands. If you don't, then you are dead (Faith without works is dead, James 2:14) True faith will be followed by action, by following Christ's commandments. In other words, works. We are given Spiritual Fruits for a reason. You can grow and grow, learning all you can, but until you put that Faith and Godly wisdom into action you will not produce Spiritual Fruit. It's kind of like when our children want to please us and do what they can for us, perform service for us out of love and respect in an effort to please us. The same is us with our Heavenly Father. Works, to me, is an outgrowth of a true walk with God, a true testimony to the faith we profess. Works is obedience to God. Works do not get us into Heaven, but they are the outcome of the grace granted to us which does get us to Heaven."

You are correct. There is often a misunderstanding or rather a misinterpretation (usually based on past incorrect of assumptions of Catholic Church Doctrine) that Catholic's believe that you can be saved solely by doing good works and not actually accepting God's salvation. This is incorrect. The Catholic Church does not believe nor does it teach this. Rather it teaches exactly what you said, "true faith will be followed by action, by following Christ's commandments." Now where, I think, the misinterpretation occurs, is that Catholic's believe that at the moment of judgement everyone will be asked to profess their belief in Jesus Christ and accept Christ as their savior. So, while you're question of a person who does not believe in Christ, yet performs good works his entire life, will he enter heaven? The answer is no, until he does turn to Christ and accept him as Lord and Savior. Which could happen at any time, even at the last judgment (remember the parable of the workers in the field, all getting the same amount of pay even though some only worked for an hour and the others worked all day long).

Now as far as my comment on Christ freeing us from the old laws. I did not say he freed us from following the commandments, rather he simplified the 10 commandments into 2 and mentioned that all the rest can be summed up into those two commandments.
The laws he freed us from are the Jewish laws. Keep in mind as a Christian do you consider yourself unclean for the week of menstruation and the entire week afterwards? (Lev15:19-30) Or do you refrain from clipping your hair at your temples or does the man in your life (if he has a beard) not trim the edges of his beard?(Lev:20:27) And somewhere in there though the specific verse escapes me, there is a specific way to get rid of mold and mildew according to Jewish Law. Now I making light of some of the more obscure laws in the bible, ones most people including the Jewish, probably haven't followed for centuries. But these are the laws to which I was referring.

In regards to asking Mary and the Saints to pray for us. One thing that is necessary to understand is that Catholic's believe that Mary and the Saints are indeed in Heaven, in the presence of the Heavenly Father. Now my husband (a Catholic Theologian) did find reference to a Scriptural passage regarding this topic. As Scripture indicates, those in heaven are aware of the prayers of those on earth. This can be seen, for example, in Revelation 5:8, where John depicts the saints in heaven offering our prayers to God under the form of "golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." But if the saints in heaven are offering our prayers to God, then they must be aware of our prayers. They are aware of our petitions and present them to God by interceding for us.

But aside from looking at Bible passages, Catholic's look to something more. We are rooted in the Word of God, but we also rooted in the "T"radition of the Church. That is to say, Simon Peter; Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee; John his brother; Philip; Bartholomew; Thomas; Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus; Labbaeus, who was surnamed Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananite; and Matthias (in place of Judas), these apostles began and set into motion the very beginnings of the Catholic Church; we are simply carrying on what they, themselves, kept up after Christ's resurrection . From our perspective they are going to know better than we ever could what Jesus wanted to do, after all Christ chose them to be his apostles and to follow his Word and tend his flock.

I will address your reference to the sacrament of reconciliation (which is what your 4th paragraph really discusses) tomorrow seeing as how my husband is begging to use the computer.

I hope I have helped, in some way, clarify a little more about the Catholic faith.
And by the way. I don't think you meant any offense by this, but just to let everyone know--Catholics are Christians, we're a specific denomination of Christianity.

Tam - posted on 05/13/2009

776

24

103

Bethany,

Thanks for your answers. I'm still unsure about a few things and I have had some exposure to the Catholic Church and beliefs (my husband's family is Catholic and so he was raised Catholic).

I am confused when you talk about Deuteronomy and how Jesus came to abolish the old law of the Jews. Matthew 5:17-22 tells us that Christ am to fulfill the law, not destroy it. That until Heaven and Earth pass away, nothing shall change in the law. He went on to not only confirmed the Law, but raised the bar even higher telling us that our righteousness should exceed that of the scribes and the pharisees or we cannot enter Heaven. He not only quoted the law, but raised the bar again by telling us that to look on another in lust was akin to committing adultery, to call your brother a fool was akin to murder. Though I am not Jewish, I am saved and a Christian and follow the teaching of Christ, so I should follow His laws, be they Jewish or not.

The difference in law for Christians is that we believe we no longer need a priest or saints as intercessor because Christ became our intercession when He died for our sins. The veil in the temple was rent in half, opening the doorway to God for all nations, all peoples. This was before Christianity or Catholocism, etc. It is for everyone. Jesus told us, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

I understand that the Catholics believe that the Pope, Bishops, Priests, etc. are God's representatives in this world. And I think (based on the above) that this where Christians have trouble understanding why Catholics go to their priest for absolution. We are to confess our sins for one another, but to Christians, forgiveness comes only from God, not a man, not even a man ordained of God. We do believe that some are called to be preachers, teachers, apostles, etc. But as Christians we do not ask them for forgiveness. I know the section about St. Peter you mention, and I'm not sure if you know, but in the original text, the word for love used there the first two times Christ asks Peter if he loves him is agape (greek). Agape is the all-consuming love, to be able to lay down his life as Christ did for us. The third time Christ asks he uses "philia" which is to love your brother, but in more philanthropic means. He then goes on to tell him that his love will grow from philia to agape until the end of his life when he what he does not want right then (to die for Christ) will be forthcoming and Peter will welcome it for God's glory. Remember, Peter had just denied Christ recently, three times. I think it was no accident Christ asked him three times if he loved Him. Anyway, I see that Christ told Peter to "feed my sheep" but it's hard for me to see how that means he can absolve my sins for Christ. Feeding his sheep means caring for and teaching but is different than dispensation of grace. ??

As far as asking Mary or the saints to pray for us, I think a lot of Christians cannot understand because to us, it's not Biblical. We have many examples of asking those on earth, alive in flesh to pray for us, not as intercessors between us and God, but as an added bulwark in times of need. But I cannot recall one Biblical example of a deceased person, in Heaven, going to the Father on our behalf. Christ is the only intercessor for us in Heaven and He arose on the third day. We are taught that there is one God and one intercessor between us and God (being Jesus, I Timothy 2:5). The Bible gives one instance of a dead saint coming back to speak, of being asked for guidance since God stopped talking to Saul. Saul tried to use a medium to contact Samuel and Samuel was none-too-pleased with being disturbed. And we are told that the medium was afraid for her life in doing it.

We also believe that God does not answer prayer based on who is giving the prayer, but rather the state of the person praying and whether or not they do so according to His will (I John 5-14-15).

As far as the faith with/without works debate, I see what you're saying. To me the Bible says that we are justified through grace, not works. There are many verses in the Bible that point to this. I think it's the issue of works without grace/faith/being saved that gets confusing. If a person does not believe in Christ, yet performs good works his entire life, will he enter Heaven? (I'm speaking of people who have heard of and reject Christ here.) Again, here I have to refer you to John 14:6. But if you are saved by grace alone, you will follow Christ and do as He commands. If you don't, then you are dead (Faith without works is dead, James 2:14) True faith will be followed by action, by following Christ's commandments. In other words, works. We are given Spiritual Fruits for a reason. You can grow and grow, learning all you can, but until you put that Faith and Godly wisdom into action you will not produce Spiritual Fruit. It's kind of like when our children want to please us and do what they can for us, perform service for us out of love and respect in an effort to please us. The same is us with our Heavenly Father. Works, to me, is an outgrowth of a true walk with God, a true testimony to the faith we profess. Works is obedience to God. Works do not get us into Heaven, but they are the outcome of the grace granted to us which does get us to Heaven.

I guess we could go back and forth, asking and answering each other over and over. LOL. But know this, I will pray for you and ask the same. What is most important that we love God and seek after Him by study of His word and living a Godly life. In the end, I hope we stand before God in Judgement and He finds our hearts so immersed in Him that He is pleased with the spiritual harvest of our lives here on earth. He is the only one who matters, the Almighty King and I pray that we both never lose sight of that no matter, and that we continually seek after His commands and His love.

Julie - posted on 05/13/2009

75

36

5

Hi Bethany,

Thanks again for taking the time to share your Catholic beliefs with us. I do have more questions for you, but I will need to have a clearer mind to ask them and right now I have much laundry to get through, so be looking for more questions to come your way.



Have a great one.

Bethany - posted on 04/27/2009

11

8

0

Quoting Julie:






Quoting Bethany:

Just for the record, Catholics do believe in Grace and do believe that one is "saved" as you say. However, Catholics believe that "doing good works" is a part of being saved. Simply claiming that you are saved is not enough if you cannot bring the Light of Christ to the world and share it in meaningful ways. In other we"do good works" NOT because we think that's how we will be saved, but precisely because we ARE saved.

As well, Catholics do not pray to Mary. We ask Mary to pray for us, much in the same way you might ask you're deceased grandmother to help you or speak to God on your behalf. The same goes with the Saints. We do not pray to them, though the terminology may sound that way at times, we ask for their intercession-meaning we are asking them (those who have gone before us having lived holy pious lives in the eyes of God) to pray to God themselves on our behalf. We do have a special devotion to Mary because, if she was reverent and pious enough for God to have chosen her to be the mother of His Holy Son, then she must have pretty important to God. Therefore we honor and cherish, what God honors and cherishes.









Bethany,






Thank you for your clear explanation of the differences between Catholicism and Christianity.






I would like to know your response to what I believe specifically regarding praying to Mary or the Saints that have gone on before us.






The Bible specifically tells us in Deuteronomy 18:11 not to contact the dead. There are however, numerous verses that tell us that Jesus is seated at the right-hand of God, interceding for us (Romans 8:34). 






In Romans 8:26-27 the Bible tells us that "In the same way, the (Holy) Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the (Holy) Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the (Holy) Spirit, because the (Holy) Spirit intercedes for the saints (those of us that have given their hearts and lives to Jesus) in accordance with God's will."






I am not aware of any verse in the Bible that tells us to ask "the 'saints' or 'those that have gone on before us'" to intercede for us here on earth.  Is there a verse that guides us in that direction? 






Hebrews 4:14-16  "Therefore, since we have a great high priest, who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.






I love these verses because as a child of God, I have been given permission to go straight to the "Throne of Grace" with everything that I am.  There no longer needs to be the earthly priest to be that go between.  At any place or time during my day, all I have to do is cry out to my Heavenly Father and He makes time for me.  That is what is so different between having a Personal relationship with God and being "religious". 






In Hebrews 7:25 the Bible tells us "Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them." 






In that same chapter it talks about "high priests".  Before Jesus came to earth, God created a "priestly system" to mediate between the people of Israel and God.  Jesus became the"priest forever" because of God's power that raised Him from the dead as the eternal victory over death.  As a result of that victory over death and as God's children, we no longer have to make atonement for our sins through a priest or through the act of sacrificing because that is what Jesus did for us on the cross. 






Also, those that have pass on before us are not "omnipresent......present everywhere", nor "omniscient....knowing everything".  Only God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have those qualities.  Therefore, since God has give us instruction not to talk to the dead and the dead are neither omnipresent nor omniscient, how can they intercede for us while we are still here on earth?  They can't.






I believe even the term Christian has so many different meanings, like you belong to a specific church or denomination.  Though I do belong to a Bible believing church it is not the church that I put my faith in.  My faith is in Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  I am thankful that once I have confessed Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and that I recognize that I am sinful and am in need of a Savior and I give my life over completely to Him, that is all that is required of me.  Or as stated in the Bible, Salvation is a free gift.  A gift, don't have to do one thing to receive a gift.  Praise God for that. 






However, when the Bible talks about "works", it is not the "works" that get you into heaven.  You don't HAVE to do any works if you don't want to.  Once you are saved, you are saved.  God is not an "Indian giver" (sorry if that term is not politically correct). 






I do believe that if you have truly given your life over to Him, there is nothing that will stop you from sharing the good news that you have found "through Him".  Just like when you find a good chocolate cake recipe you don't keep it to yourself - you make it for parties that you have or go to, you share the recipe with family and friends.  The same goes for your relationship with the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe.  How can you keep that to yourself?  You can't.  So by sharing Him with others through word or deed i.e. serving at your church, helping those that are not as blessed as you are, helping the sick, the elderly, the poor.  That is how you are a "light" in this dark world. 






I believe that sometimes, or maybe most of the time, God shakes His head in disgust with us because we tend to make having a relationship with Him so difficult, when He designed  it to be so easy.  Why is it the easy things we make more complicated than He intended it to be?  That question, my friends needs to go in my son's "Jesus Notebook"  that he created when he learned to write.  It is where he jots down all his deep questions that only Jesus will be able to answer.






Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on the subject.






Have a great day.






 






 





Thank you, Julie, for your honest approach and your questions.  I will do my best to answer them.  You make several points and ask  several questions, so I will take them one and a time.



 



As far as your quote from Deuteronomy, you have to remember, as important as the initial laws of the Old Testament are, these are the Jewish laws, the very same laws that Jesus Christ as Messiah came to free us of.   Remember Jesus Christ over came death and abolished death, showing us the path to salvation (I'll get into this later).   Now that being said, asking Mary and the Saints to pray for us, we believe is not really any different than asking our next door neighbor to pray for us in times of need.  For God, remember, being omniscient and omnipresent means not only does he know and see our ancestors, but also our descendants at this very moment. I mean God is shining, in eternity, on perhaps your great-grandfather as well as your great -grandson, right this minute.  That interconnectedness between generations previous and generations yet to come allows us to believe that those who came before us, who were especially close to God and Christ in life, are equally as close to God and Jesus in eternity.  Therefore, we believe that the more people you can get praying for you, when you need it, the better off you are.  If you can get someone who is already in the presence of God, then, well, it can't hurt.



As far as Bible verses that may point us in that direction.  Well, there is only one really that would come close, if for no other reason than Jesus and his disciples weren't Christian, or at least they didnt' considered themselves Christian.  Jesus was Jewish; according to Jewish tradition there will be a messiah who will be sent by God to come and free the Jewish people from their laws.  The early "Christians" are the Jewish people who believe that Jesus Christ was that Messiah, luckily for the rest of us, Jesus Christ came to free EVERYONE from the ultimate burden, death.  (Incidentally, the original Muslims are the Jewish people who believed that Muhammad was the Messiah. But that's a whole other issue).   However if you're looking for the closest one to kind of illustrate a similar Idea it would be Matthew17:1-5 .



 



...we no longer have to make atonement for our sins through a priest or through the act of sacrificing because that is what Jesus did for us on the cross.



I am thankful that once I have confessed Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and that I recognize that I am sinful and am in need of a Savior and I give my life over completely to Him, that is all that is required of me.  Or as stated in the Bible, Salvation is a free gift.  A gift, don't have to do one thing to receive a gift.  Praise God for that. 



However, when the Bible talks about "works", it is not the "works" that get you into heaven.  You don't HAVE to do any works if you don't want to.  Once you are saved, you are saved.  God is not an "Indian giver" (sorry if that term is not politically correct).






I felt the need to pull this out of your text because it is so important and an important difference between Catholics and Protestants.



Now I can answer this very simply with one Bible passage, one that is important enough I will quote.  Matthew 16:24-28- (Also, Lk 9:23-27)



Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes tocome after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  Forwhoever wishes to save his life will lose, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  What profit would there be fore one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for hi life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay everyone according to his conduct.  Amen, I sy to you, there are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Sonf of Man coming in his kingdom."(NAB)



However, it's never that simple. You spoke of the difference between a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and being a religious person.  Well, let me ask you this, when was the last time you had a relationship, a relationship where you gave yourself completely over to the other person, and where that other person never, ever asked anything of you?     Yes it is true that Christ's suffering and sacrifice opened the path to salvation, for anyone and everyone, who is willing to acknowledge it.  And believing that Christ is your Lord and Saviour is all it takes. However, believing it and simply saying out loud, "Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.  You are my savior."  are not that same thing.  Believing it means that you have to listen carefully, to what God and Christ are asking of you as a person.  Are They asking you to pray more, or be more charitable with your time or your abilities or even financially?  Are they calling you to a form of ministry, or perhaps a particular job?  You said yourself, "giving myself completely over to Him is all that is required of me.  Well, yes; but, I have to disagree with you, Christ does ask something of us not just as believer but as human beings:   "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandement greater than these."(Mk12:30-31)  Love is a verb, not just an adjective describing a feeling.  To love someone means to be willing to lay down one's life for someone, either literally in the case of martyrs or figuratively in the case of personal sacrfices, such as skipping the movies to go serve meals at the homeless shelter.   Christ's death and the promise of salvation negate these commandments, rather they brought them to the forefront, being the basis (or what ought to be the basis) of every Christian religion.   Therefore, loving God means that yes, you will have to make sacrfices, and you will have to do good deeds, not because it will get you into heaven, but because by accepting the gift of salvation, your love of God and Christ as savior requires it of you.



Does that make sense? I hope so.  I know I can be longwinded, but I like to make sure the people understand. 



If you or anyone else has questions and you would like my help, please ask. :)



 



 



 

Bethany - posted on 04/26/2009

11

8

0

Just for the record, Catholics do believe in Grace and do believe that one is "saved" as you say. However, Catholics believe that "doing good works" is a part of being saved. Simply claiming that you are saved is not enough if you cannot bring the Light of Christ to the world and share it in meaningful ways. In other we"do good works" NOT because we think that's how we will be saved, but precisely because we ARE saved.

As well, Catholics do not pray to Mary. We ask Mary to pray for us, much in the same way you might ask you're deceased grandmother to help you or speak to God on your behalf. The same goes with the Saints. We do not pray to them, though the terminology may sound that way at times, we ask for their intercession-meaning we are asking them (those who have gone before us having lived holy pious lives in the eyes of God) to pray to God themselves on our behalf. We do have a special devotion to Mary because, if she was reverent and pious enough for God to have chosen her to be the mother of His Holy Son, then she must have pretty important to God. Therefore we honor and cherish, what God honors and cherishes.

We do have many rituals, beautiful rituals, that can be traced back, in the bible, to the disciples and Christ himself. The Catholic Church has maintained these rituals, or sacraments for the last nearly 2000 years.

There are three big differences between Catholicism (which is a Christian religion) and Protestantism (both denominational and non-denominational) The biggest as someone mentioned before is the concept of Consubstantiation vs. Transubstantiation. Consubstantiation (a Protestant belief) is the belief that the bread and wine of the Eucharist is a symbol of Christ's actions on the night of the Last Supper. Transubstantiation (Catholic) is the belief that the bread and wine, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are transformed, not in appearance, taste, or molecular level, but on a divine spiritual level into the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

The second big difference is that Catholics believe that both the Holy Scriptures and Tradition are the pathways to God. Many people get confused by this because they think of (t)raditions as simply things that are done over and over again, until they become routine and they can be easily changed. And that's true small "t", (t)raditions can be. But we are referring to capitial "T" (T)raditions, meaning that we believe that the actions and rituals, the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Marriage, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders, were in fact instated by Christ and were carried on by the disciples into the Church. And we believe that this believe is "backed up" by Sacred Scripture. We also believe that there have been many intelligent, pious, Christians over the last 2000 years who have provided us with wonderful insights into the Sacred Scriptures. We do not believe that God provides us, individually, with the means necessary to understand and live out the Holy Scriptures. In a way we believe that God wants us to work together, even with people who have lived and passed on.

The third big difference between Catholics and Protestants regards the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Catholics believe that Christ himself, in the laying on of hands and sending forth his disciples out into the world to continue his ministry, instituted a Priesthood and Episcopacy (Bishops) to be, in fact, a type of minister of Christ. Someone who is called, by Christ himself, to function as Christ and bring forth Christ to the people. As in Matthew 28:18-20 "Then Jesus approached and said to them, 'All Power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make discipples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.'" (NAB)

As well as Luke 24:44-53. (Coincidentally, this is the exact Gospel reading we heard today at Mass)
This is why we have the Pope, who we believe is a successor of the Disciple Simon Peter, or to us Saint Peter, who we believe Christ interred special commands (John 21:15-19), and the Priesthood.

I hope this helps, and if you have any other questions about Catholicism, please ask :)

Julia - posted on 04/25/2009

159

4

37

Of what I know is that they worship and pray to Mary as Jesus' mother. And in my view Jesus says 'You shall have no other gods before me.' ' You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God......

Kim - posted on 04/24/2009

2

3

0

The difference is in the communion, Catholics believe that the the bread and wine become the body and the blood of Jesus Christ. No we are not expecting it to change in appearance or taste. The difference between the Catholic bible and others is in the books contained in the old testament, the new testament is the same.

Gillian - posted on 04/24/2009

58

0

2

Quoting Heather:

I have never really done any research either, I did attend a Christmas Eve service at a Catholic church once when I was little. It was a lot of stand up, sit down, kneel. I was very little and unsaved at the time, and I don't mean to offend anyone, but I thought it was great exercise. From what I know of their beliefs the only real difference that I see is that they pay more attention to Mary, the Saints, the Pope, and Eucharsit? But again, I haven't done any real research, and I could be way off. They believe (from what I understand) that Mary was a virgin her entire life, and that when you receive communion that as soon as the bread and wine is consumed by you that it turns into the actual body and blood of Christ, and is not just symbolic. Many people think it is just another denomination of Christianity. Just like the differences between Methodist and Presbyterian. Again, just what I have heard or read, I don't really know many facts about this. Hopefully someone else will have more fact based details for you.



I was brought up in the Catholic church but am now a practisingAnglican. The main differences between a Roman Catholic and a Protestant is that the doctrine of faith through grace is not as important. Roman Catholics beleive that good works are also needed. the Eucharist is also different as it is believed that through the miracle of transsubstantiation the bread and wine actually turn into the body and blood af Christ. the mother Jesus , Mary is also worshiped and it belived that she remained a virgin all her life. Roman Catholics also pray to the dead saints and to MAry . after death we go t a place called purgatory where we stay untill we have worked off our sin or untill someone has said enough prayers for us then we go to heaven.



I dont mean to be pedantic but we are all catholics the word just means universal..but that particular denomination is Roman Catholic...sorry just one of my pet hobby horses! dont mean to insult anyone!

Heather - posted on 04/24/2009

4,634

42

1135

I have never really done any research either, I did attend a Christmas Eve service at a Catholic church once when I was little. It was a lot of stand up, sit down, kneel. I was very little and unsaved at the time, and I don't mean to offend anyone, but I thought it was great exercise. From what I know of their beliefs the only real difference that I see is that they pay more attention to Mary, the Saints, the Pope, and Eucharsit? But again, I haven't done any real research, and I could be way off. They believe (from what I understand) that Mary was a virgin her entire life, and that when you receive communion that as soon as the bread and wine is consumed by you that it turns into the actual body and blood of Christ, and is not just symbolic. Many people think it is just another denomination of Christianity. Just like the differences between Methodist and Presbyterian. Again, just what I have heard or read, I don't really know many facts about this. Hopefully someone else will have more fact based details for you.

Carolee - posted on 04/24/2009

504

98

128

Depends on the Catholic :} Just like there are many different christian beliefs and defiantly different interpretation of scripture among christians. History tells us that Catholicism is a works based religion. The Protestant movement was a movement with the message "We are saved by Grace and Not by Works". There are many wonderful grace filled catholics . There are many reasons why people convert. Some people are searching for the Supernatural . Some people who convert are intrigued by the rituals and mystical ancient ways of the catholic church. Love on her and Shine your big bright light .l

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms