Friday, October 26, 2007

Who decides who's really Christian?

It's always interesting to see where the currents of controversy carry the comments on this blog. After my last post, the debate entered the choppy waters of who can be called "Christian."

Some expressed the opinion that Catholics, or most Catholics, don't qualify.

My two cents: A Christian is someone who claims to follow Christ. Not someone who professes doctrinal purity. Not a paragon of perfection. Not a member of a particular denomination or a supporter of the right causes.

Of course Catholics are Christian! Their denomination predates the Reformation, you know, so how could only Protestants be Christian? This sort of you're-not-one-of-us hair-splitting drives me crazy -- and drives away those who might otherwise be attracted to what the Church has to offer.

Not all those who claim to follow Christ do so wholeheartedly. Very few come close to his example of compassionate inclusivity and loving concern. So yes, there are bad Christians, failed Christians, broken Christians, incomplete Christians, immature Christians, self-righteous Christians, greedy Christians, hateful Christians -- Christians who do not deserve to wear the name of Christ. There are far worse ways to smear that name than holding unorthodox beliefs.

But they are Christians nevertheless. All of them who claim to be. And the only one who has the right to say otherwise is Jesus Christ.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

One of the defining tenets of Christianity - in my opinion - is the belief that Jesus was the son of God, who died for our sins. Period. Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, whatever. All of them hold to that same belief. That IS the core belief of Christianity. If you do not believe in that, then you are not Christian.

Over the years, I have researched many religions, and their core beliefs. Some of them can be summed up in a statement or two. For example, Buddhism requires a commitment to the Eight-Fold Path and the Four Noble Truths. (Among other things, but I'm simplifying here.) If you do not believe in X-Y-Z as outlined by that particular religion, then you are not considered to be a follower of that religion.

Different people, within the same religion, can certainly have varying beliefs about other things. That's what makes life interesting. That's what stretches our minds and helps us learn. Is there one "right" way? Maybe, maybe not. None of us are perfect, and as imperfect beings, we must show tolerance and love for our fellow man.

Blessings,
Danae

Anonymous said...

I saw a decent quote from Abigail Van Buren that I thought applied to Jane's second to last paragraph: “A church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”

Anyways, I think using strict lines of orthodoxy to create an "us and them" situation is just weird. I don't understand why sometimes folks are so eager to stake out their claim to some sort of perfect practice.

Anonymous said...

To follow on the previous thought.

It may be for the same reason people are nationalistic, or follow certain ball teams, or boxers, even stocks.

It is a we are better than them part of the psyche.

I went to a Baptist church a few years ago and he was reading from the Methodist (in which I was raised) hymnal. He read part of one of the congregational response pieces in order to tell his congregation how bad Methodists are compared to Baptists.

What was most interesting is that if he had read the whole reading, the point he made was covered, but he intentionally left that out.

Obviously not seeking the truth, he was telling he audience they are better than those others.

WM

Anonymous said...

Top 10 religions according to http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

# Christianity: 2.1 billion
# Islam: 1.5 billion
# Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
# Hinduism: 900 million
# Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
# Buddhism: 376 million
# primal-indigenous: 300 million
# African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
# Sikhism: 23 million
# Juche: 19 million

For statistical purposes: Groups which self-identify as part of Christianity include (but are not limited to): African Independent Churches (AICs), the Aglipayan Church, Amish, Anglicans, Armenian Apostolic, Assemblies of God; Baptists, Calvary Chapel, Catholics, Christadelphians, Christian Science, the Community of Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("Mormons"), Coptic Christians, Eastern Orthodox churches, Ethiopian Orthodox, Evangelicals, Iglesia ni Cristo, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Local Church, Lutherans, Methodists, Monophysites, Nestorians, the New Apostolic Church, Pentecostals, Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterians, the Salvation Army, Seventh-Day Adventists, Shakers, Stone-Campbell churches (Disciples of Christ; Churches of Christ; the "Christian Church and Churches of Christ"; the International Church of Christ); Uniate churches, United Church of Christ/Congregationalists, the Unity Church, Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Vineyard churches and others. These groups exhibit varying degrees of similarity, cooporation, communion, etc. with other groups. None are known to consider all other Chrisian sub-groups to be equally valid. David Barrett, an Evangelical Christian who is the compiler of religion statistics for the Encyclopedia Britannica and the World Christian Encyclopedia, includes all of the groups listed above in the worldwide statistics for Christianity.

Sincerely,
Iztok

The_Weaver said...

I think it is based entirely on what you mean by "Christian" and perhaps what Jesus was realy trying to say to everyone. To many people of the religion itself, this may sound dense, but bear with me for a mo.

Jesus, and I have read the four Gospels, never said one had to ultimately believe in any one religion. However, the writers of the texts did. Jesus espoused love, charity, nonviolence, equality, and was a wee bit of a, dare I say, anarchist (Take a look at how he handled those priests and the event in the temple).

He did say things like, "I am the way..." and "No one gets to the Father except by way of me." I think he was talking more about "his ways," rather than than *him* specifically. So I don't think, from his view that "being saved" was crucial. He didn't even like being exaulted. He was humble and virtuous. He told his disciples that they could do, anyone could do, everything he could if they had faith.

However, not being Christian in the religious, saved, going to church, and not having read the Bible in a while, this is just objective theory.

This is a personal story. I was in high school on the way back to our school from a foreign language competition. I had a book on Witchcraft (Neo Pagan) on my lap when this guy who was recently saved jerked it off my lap and began making a huge fuss. So we went back and forth (In high school I didn't have much common sense). Finally he asked me if I'd ever been baptized, and when I responded that I had, he informed me that I was "saved" and had no worries (Not that I thought that way before). I don't know, you tell me, as my dad feels this way too.

Gamecock said...

Who decides who is a Christian? God

Who is a Christian?

A follower of Christ

And given that we don't have a "soul meter" the only ways we have of determining who is a Christian, this side of eternity, is by the declaration of the purported believer/follower.

John 3:16 is instructive, and by that criteria, ANY man can believeth on him, no matter what church one attends or even if one does not attend.

Hence, while I may challenge the accuracy of the confessions of certain churches as being true to the teachings of Christ and the Bible, I accept the decalration of morman Mitt Romney, e.g. who proclaims that Jesus Christ is his personal savior.

I agree with Jane 100%.

Rob said...

Hi Jane!

My name is Rob Singleton and I am the pastor of Southbrook Church in Weddington, NC. I wrote a post on my blog about this very subject. For what it's worth, here is the link to that post, http://www.robsingleton.net/2007/10/10/if-85
-of-this-country-were-really-christians-part-i/

For what its worth, my conclusions were similar, however, I do believe that a true Christ Follower shows some very recognizable fruit (albeit different amounts for different people) and do believe that scriptures like, John 14:6 make it difficult to imagine God sending His Son to suffer and die if many other roads work just as well.

Anyway, if you get the chance, check it out.

Thanks for your words!

Rob

Anonymous said...

Catholics dont even follow their own teachings or the Bible...they acknowledge and worship statues, and dead people.

Anyone can call themself a Christian...whether they're saved or not is another story.

a lot of ppl believe...once saved ALWAYS saved. great...if i get saved..then i can sin whenever i want because i'm always going to go to heaven.

keep on believing that...and we'll see how far you get

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

there are two thoughts, one is that salvation is by faith alone and another that faith alone is not enough. Reading the Bible I say the later is correct as book is bit contradicting itself there. I know DJ will be saying I don't read it in "context" but same can be said of his reading.

"For we must all appear before the jugment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10

"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" James 2:14

"Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 2:17

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works." Revelation 20:12-13

"Was not Abraham our father justified by works? You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rabab the harlot also justified by works? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." James 2:21-25

"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works." Matthew 16:27

It is interesting however how Jesus addresses Peter (first Pope?!?): "But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." Matthew 16:23

And in the same book a failed prophecy: "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." Matthew 16:28

Anyone can point out a person who is still alive and kicking and walking this earth that was standing there when Jesus was talking? If not, did Jesus tell a life?

Sincerely,
Iztok

Kati said...

Iztok,

your comment about how wouldn't we know if someone from the time Jesus was on earth was still walking around. Is not what Jesus said. If you continue reading the next verses are the fulfillment of what Jesus said.

Six days later, three of them saw that glory. Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light. Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him [Matthew 17:1-3]




Also about what makes someone a Christian.

A Christian is a Christ follower.
Religion is not important or needed to have a PERSONAL relationship with Jesus Christ.

Ultimately God will decide who is truly a Christian.

but from what I've studied from His word, and from my own personal experiences with God.

I believe you can tell a Christian by their fruits.

It will be someone who will stand up and profess the name of God as the ONE and ONLY way to heaven.
Someone who is peculiar and is set apart from the ways of this world.


My relationship with Christ is the absolute best thing in the entire world. I would give anything to grow closer to God.
No I am not perfect. Nor am I striving to be. I am, however doing my absolute best to follow what God has planned for me.

Anonymous said...

Kati, so you are saying that Matthew 17:1-3 is fulfillment of "till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." in Matthew 16?

So you are saying that Son of man already came to his kingdom?

Sincerely,
Iztok

D.J. said...

Wow, this one went crazy over the weekend!

I can certainly understand people getting riled up over this one. These issues have caused controversy since the day (490 years ago Wednesday) Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg. To cut through a lot of the confusion, I think it will be helpful to clarify the question.

Is Catholicism generally considered a "Christian religion?" Yes, that goes without question. It should come as no suprise that encyclopedias lump Catholics in with Christianity.

Obviously, there are similarities between Catholic doctrine and Reformed Protestant doctrine. Both believe in the Triune God, the deity of Christ, his virgin birth, death and bodily resurrection. Both believe that human sin has totally separated us from God. We largely agree on who God is and what our problem is. However, we greatly disagree on the solution.

How does one find forgiveness of sin and peace with God? That is without question the most vitally important question in the Christian faith. Protestant Christianity says that the only way of salvation is by God's grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. No good works are required of us to be right with God. Scripture teaches that good works are a natural outworking (and thus a good indicator) of saving faith. Catholicism teaches that one is saved through faith and works - that one must receive the sacraments (for Christ's salvation was not once for all, but is repeated through the eucharist) and perform certain actions to ensure a right standing with God. These are two completely different understandings of what salvation means.

Thus, I am genuinely concerned for those in the Catholic church who are taught that God requires something of them to receive his grace, because this is contrary to what Scripture teaches, which is that "it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no man can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9). 490 years ago, Martin Luther sought to steer the Catholic church (his church) away from their tradition-founded error and back to the Biblical truth on salvation. It pained him to find that the power structure in Rome was so entrenched through centuries of tradition and power that it could not be reformed. Thus, Luther reluctantly broke away from the church, realizing that the issues that divided them on salvation were so great that the Roman church was distorting the gospel of Christ. This was not (and is not) an inconsequential squibble, but a disagreement over the very nature of how one becomes adopted as a child of God.

"And the only one who has the right to say otherwise is Jesus Christ."

Jane, the trouble is that I believe he has said otherwise through Scripture. I pray that those in the Catholic church would read the Scriptures for themselves, like Luther did, and be drawn by the Spirit of God to trust fully in Christ's finished work on the cross for peace with God, and not trust their own goodness.

You say that anyone who claims to be a Christian is one. Just because one claims to be something does not make them so. I can claim to be from Mars, but that does not make me a "confused Martian." It makes me a sadly mistaken person in great need of someone to compassionatly explain to me the truth.

Sola Gratia
Sola Fide
Solus Christus
Sola Scriptura
and as always...

Soli Deo Gloria

D.J. said...

Iztok,

Yes, the son of man already has come into his kingdom - a kingdom that, in his own words, "is not of this world." I answered this criticism (as well as several of the verses you raise again here) two posts ago. See Philippians 2:4-10, Acts 2:29-33, and Acts 28:30-31.

Soli Deo Gloria

D.J. said...

BTW, Jane, I really believe that the underlying issue here is the authority and inerrancy of the Bible. I think that if we took a straw poll, those who say Catholic/Protestant is an inconsequential differency would deny the ultimate authority and inerrancy of the Bible, while those who see great problems with the Catholic church do so because of their view in the absolute authority of Scripture over the Christian life. Just a thought, but one that I would wager holds true.

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

Catholics do not 'worship' statues. They worship God only. True, they venerate and refevere saints, and use pictures and statues sometimes as aids in their devotion, but they don't 'worship' statutes any more than by pledging to the Flag we are 'worshiping' the bit of cotton.

Please learn your facts before you start spouting off.

Anonymous said...

really...i dont bow down before the American flag.....i have seen many catholics bow down before a statues of the saints. Either way God will not partake His glory with any of the saints. Praying to the saints, bowing down to them, etc is heresy, and the bible clearly states this. A lot of catholics have little statues of their 'saints' in their homes...light a candle in front of it....pray in front of it....WOW..and you dont consider this idol worship?

Anonymous said...

^ You might not bow down to the flag, but I bet you stand up and take your hat off and put your hand on your heart and recite a pledge (like a prayer?) to it on regular occasions. That kind of veneration is very similar to the Catholic attitude toward saints; nobody is claiming that they're God (I challenge you to find one single Catholic who believes otherwise), but they are shown high respect.

I have seen many incorrect statements about Catholics on this blog already, almost all of which come from people who obviously have not taken the time to research Catholic practice in detail. Some corrections:

1) Catholics believe that you get to heaven because of good works. False. Catholics believe that good works are part of the covenant with God, but do not believe that salvation hinges on actions. Salvation can only come from God's freely granting us grace. Catholics understand this.

2) Catholics do NOT believe that you can "purchase" salvation with money, actions, rituals, or any other method of "making" God let you into heaven. That is just absurd.

3) Catholics do NOT worhsip Mary, saints, the Pope, or anyone other than God. Because Catholics believe that the souls of the "dead" are actively alive in heaven, it follows that a "dead" person can petition God on your behalf (just as you might pray for your sister to get well, or your neighbor to resolve a dispute). Therefore a Catholic might ask Mary to pray on their behalf to Christ; if you pay CLOSE attention to Catholic prayers ("Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death") you will see that they are always phrased as a request for the dead to petition God on our behalf. This is not a form of worship, any more than you are "worshipping" your pastor by having him pray for you.

4) Catholics do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. False. I challenge anyone to find an official Catholic teaching that the Bible is simply wrong and we can make up whatever we please to correct it. You might as well not bother looking; the Catholic Church has never taught this.

There are others but this post is getting too long. I'm not claiming that the Catholic Church is perfect, or any better than the next faith, but please do not insult us by posting incorrect statements and assuming that you know more about our faith than we do!

D.J. said...

Anon (10/29/07, 12:33 PM),

Concerning your points...

"1) Catholics believe that you get to heaven because of good works. False. Catholics believe that good works are part of the covenant with God, but do not believe that salvation hinges on actions. Salvation can only come from God's freely granting us grace. Catholics understand this."

I quote from the catechism of the Catholic Church, item 1129, "The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation." As you said, Catholics believe that works are part of the covenant of God, while Scripture teaches salvation by faith alone, apart from works (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:27-28, Galatians 3:11). Works are simply the natural result of faith, to say that any work is "necessary for salvation" is to contradict Scripture.

"2) Catholics do NOT believe that you can "purchase" salvation with money, actions, rituals, or any other method of "making" God let you into heaven. That is just absurd."

You may not beleive that now, but it most certainly was taught by the (supposedly infallible) church many years ago. In fact, the purchasing of indulgences for salvation (to fund the contruction of the St. Peter's Basillica) was one of the biggest factors that lead to Martin Luther writing his 95 Theses in 1517.

"3) Catholics do NOT worhsip Mary, saints, the Pope, or anyone other than God. Because Catholics believe that the souls of the "dead" are actively alive in heaven, it follows that a "dead" person can petition God on your behalf (just as you might pray for your sister to get well, or your neighbor to resolve a dispute). Therefore a Catholic might ask Mary to pray on their behalf to Christ; if you pay CLOSE attention to Catholic prayers ("Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death") you will see that they are always phrased as a request for the dead to petition God on our behalf. This is not a form of worship, any more than you are "worshipping" your pastor by having him pray for you."

To this, I would answer with the simple, crystal clear declaration of 1 Timothy 2:5-6, "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time." The Catholic doctrine of Mary as "co-mediatrix" is in clear and stark opposition to the text of Scripture. I would challenge you to find one instance of prayer to a saint in all of Scripture.

"4) Catholics do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. False. I challenge anyone to find an official Catholic teaching that the Bible is simply wrong and we can make up whatever we please to correct it. You might as well not bother looking; the Catholic Church has never taught this."

You may say you believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, but the reality is that Catholic doctrine holds to many ideas (some of which I've already detailed) that are not only not in the Bible, they are directly contradictory to the clear teaching of Scripture. The Catholic church has elevated the tradition and authority of the church above Scripture.

The statements that you object to actually quite accurately reflect the teaching of the Catholic church.

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting topic. Considering even various Christian sects can't agree on how to properly interpret their holy writ, how can an outsider even consider any one interpretation being the right one?

If adherents themselves can't make up their mind how do you expect us to believe either one of you?

Sincerely,
Iztokolv

The Heresy Hunter said...

I can claim to follow Mohammed, but if I think he's a Chinese philosopher who lived in the 20th century, I'm not a follower of Mohammed. There ARE guidelines to follow.

D.J. said...

Iztok,

"If adherents themselves can't make up their mind how do you expect us to believe either one of you?"

By God working in your heart (the only way anyone, myself included, comes to faith).

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

Iztokolv makes a decent point regarding the numerous disagreements detailed here.

Personally, I kind of doubt that God cares who has the best legal minds available to them to twist and turn every word to support their own particular doctrine. The forest is definitely getting obscured by the trees.

God wants us to love and be good to one another - not split hairs, judge each other, and snidely imply who's going to hell.

Anonymous said...

As you said, Catholics believe that works are part of the covenant of God, while Scripture teaches salvation by faith alone, apart from works (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:27-28, Galatians 3:11). Works are simply the natural result of faith, to say that any work is "necessary for salvation" is to contradict Scripture.

I will restate what I said before: Catholics agree with other denominations that salvation comes freely from God. You will not find any Catholic dogma which indicates that God gives grace through anything other than His own divine ordinance. Catholics believe that grace comes to us through ritual, but this is not in conflict with the overarching belief that God freely gives salvation. I realize that this is a nuanced belief and I do not expect you to understand it at face value, but to say that Catholics put material conditions on salvation is false.

You may not beleive that now, but it most certainly was taught by the (supposedly infallible) church many years ago.

Irrelevant. We can come up with examples of abuse from any denomination, in any time period.

I would challenge you to find one instance of prayer to a saint in all of Scripture.

Also irrelevant. Neither are many contemporary practices found in scripture; this does not make them heretical.

You may say you believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, but the reality is that Catholic doctrine holds to many ideas (some of which I've already detailed) that are not only not in the Bible, they are directly contradictory to the clear teaching of Scripture. The Catholic church has elevated the tradition and authority of the church above Scripture.

This is absolutely false. The official dogma of the Catholic Church clearly states that the Bible is inerrant. I notice that you did not take me up on the challenge of finding a scrap of Catholic teaching which indicates otherwise.

It's very clear that you have spent a great deal of time researching why Catholic teachings are wrong, yet very little time attempting to understand what they actually mean. The arguments you are using demonstrate a face-value understanding of Catholic dogma, with very little true grasp of what the various beliefs and practices are supposed to mean. And while I couldn't care less whether you personally understand Catholicism, I find it grossly offensive that you are coming into a public place and making false claims about it, and then proceeding to tell Catholics that they don't even understand their own religion.

I know one thing: that kind of behavior is not sanctioned by Scripture.

D.J. said...

Anon (10/29/07, 2:26 PM),

Yes, how we treat one another is of the utmost importance, but so is our understanding of God, since that understanding will drive our actions. Truth matters. We're talking about the most foundational question of the Christian faith - how does one find peace with God? Disagreeing over that is hardly "splitting hairs).

BTW, could I kindly request other posters to identify themselves somehow, whether through a profile name or a simple signature like Iztok's? No slam against all the anons, but its quickly becoming very difficult to keep track of who's saying what.

Soli Deo Gloria

D.J. said...

Anon (10/29/07, 3:01 PM),

Sorry to grossly offend, but I don't think I'm misrepresenting what the Catholic church teaches.

On the matter of faith, the Catholic church teaches that we are saved by grace through faith and ritual, Scripture teaches we are saved through faith alone. Faith plus nothing else. The Catholic view is nuanced, but I do understand it, and it is very different than the Scriptural teaching of "faith alone" (per the passages I cited earlier).

"Irrelevant. We can come up with examples of abuse from any denomination, in any time period."

Yes, we can, but the differnce is that the Catholic church teaches that the church is infallible "in her definitions of faith and morals." Such abuses should not come from an infallible church.

"Also irrelevant. Neither are many contemporary practices found in scripture; this does not make them heretical."

Yet, as I said, not only is the practice of praying to Mary and the saints as mediators not in Scripture, it is directly contradictory to Scripture. To say that Mary as co-mediatrix is not mentioned in Scripture is one thing, but when it is in fact direcly contradicted, that's another.

Once again, I don't doubt that the official dogma of the Catholic church teaches that the Scriptures are inerrant. Yet Catholic doctrine repeatedly contradicts Scripture. If you deny this, then how do you deal with 1 Timothy 2:5-6 in light of the Catholic doctrine of Mary as co-mediatrix? If I am truly making false claims (and I am very confident I am not), then tell me how that doctrine is not contradictory to that passage of Scripture.

Please don't take this as a vitriolic attack, I'm simply trying to point out the inconsistencies between Catholic teaching and the teaching of Scripture.

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

Iztok sounds like a person who knew God but hasnt had his/her life going the way he/she wants.

Iztok read this carefully ...... Catholics DONT READ THE BIBLE. read it again....breathe in and out when you read it.

THEY DONT READ THE BIBLE....If they did..they wouldnt be doing HALF of the stuff they do.

stop acting ignorant by continue to assume that catholics are christians when I'm sure you know the difference. You're not here to discuss anything but to prove YOUR point when you know that there's a truth.

Catholics STILL believe that they need to pay the church with gifts, tithe, offerings, etc to go to heaven. Go to South America....every catholic church is like that. Even the catholics there know about this. Here in the US nobody likes to read...and would rather pay then participate by reading the bible.

For the other poster....I dont pledge to the flag.....
Pledging to the flag is a vow...it's not PRAYING. It's not worshipping. When you get on your "knees" and start ACKNOWLEDGING that you need the help of someone..then you're in another boat. Stop acting like you dont know the difference...at least acknowledge that the 'catholic church' has massacred many thousands of people....most ppl consider that the pope will be the next antichrist. what else is new

Belger143 said...

Personaly I wouldn't take ANYTHING that "Soli Deo Gloria" states as Fact, or even Half Fact! The person is simly here to make fun of anyone that does not agree 100% with thier "Preaching".
I am so glad that Iztok is here to counter this "Soli Deo Gloria"
He is the ONLY one that makes reading ANY of this, worth while!
Belger143

D.J. said...

Belger143,

Let me assure you that my intention is not to make fun of anyone. I sincerely hope that is apparent to all here. As for your concerns with the factuality of my statements, if you can bring any examples of factual errors to my attention I would be more than happy to listen, and if necessary, apologize.

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

(This is bit off the topic rant so feel free to skip it.)

Anonymous (October 29, 2007 6:19 PM),

Iztok is a he. It is an old Slavic name.

No I never knew God or any other deity as there is nothing to really know. If one or more exist is highly unlikely as our universe resembles no evidence of it. Our evidence looks just like we would expect if there was no designer. I will use an example of a human eye that is so often cited by creationists as being designed. Show me any (competent) designer that would design an eye the way human eye is designed? Cell nerve endings obstructing light hitting the light sensitive part of the cell? Appendix is another one. Not to mention that holy writ tells us we were created to have dominion over all others yet it is obvious that microorganisms have dominion over us (only science helped us a bit recently).

I never "found God" but to go from there to "life not going the way I want"? What gave you this idea? Let me tell you something about me. I was born atheist little over 3 decades ago and been exposed to many religions and sects in the process (Christian one: Catholic, obviously as I was born in the country bordering Italy, Baptist, Methodist, non-denominational, Eastern Orthodox, LDS..., Islam - my family hosts exchange students and I was very involved being local coordinator for these kids - , Jewish - company I work for is Israeli and I've been to Bethlehem and Jerusalem). My wife is Christian and so are all the kids that call me dad (step, foster etc.). Funny thing to observe when my wife fell on hard times with her health and I was (still am) the only one who can work and support our family and people were praising God for her having such a great husband that takes care of her. Apparently God has a sense of humor to send an atheist to support his flock :) My oldest kid (foster for now, at age 16 she is resisting adoption but I would adopt her in a heart beat) had a hard life, being rejected by a Christian family by a pastor non the less found her home in this family. She doesn't really understand why I don't believe in God. Funny thing is that this past Sunday I took her to see her biological grandmother and she couldn't tell me enough times how she prayed to God that her grand daughter would get a good family and that she is thankful to God to have me to take care of her.

I don't believe because there is no evidence for it. My mind is not wired to accept things on faith. It requires explanation and facts. That is why I accept science, not because I believe in science, I don't, but because you don't have to believe and have faith in it, the supporting evidence and explanations are there.

When will I believe in almighty God? When I see a true miracle, like an amputee growing his/her limb back (I can't believe all powerful God would hate amputees and not grow their limbs back, do you?).

Why I do think science is valid on the other hand? Just look at evolution (in scientific term this is a fact), we can observe it (viruses and bacteria mutating, varieties of domestic animals etc.) and some very smart people came up with a viable scientific theory to explain it (evolution theory with natural selection). What does the theory say? It explains us the mechanisms of change and selection, it also tells us what would be required to falsify it. The later is the difference between science and religion. In science we don't deal with absolutes, we don't pretend we know what it is inherently unknowable. We don't take things for granted (i.e. Bible claims there was 40 years of wondering in the Sinai desert, yet no evidence was ever found to support it despite huge efforts by Israeli archaeologists). We don't try to explain complex things with more complex things (humans - complex beings - being created by God - even more complex - would require explanation of creation of God - don't tell me that "God always existed" as with the same argument we could say anything else always existed).

Why all this long thread? Because it looks like humans are the ones who created gods not the other way around. For me this is obvious from all the bickering on whose holy writ is superior to other, whose translation of the Bible is the right one, whose explanation of the Bible is correct etc... to me if God was really all that powerful he wouldn't write some riddled book that could have so many different explanations, there would also be no issues on how many books there are in a Bible (is it 5, 66, 72 etc...). If Bible is divinely inspired, there is no room for misinterpretation, all translations should say the exact same thing no matter the language they are translated to/from. It would also contain some prophecies that would show some true foresight (something that wouldn't be conceivable by men few thousand years ago, like Internet for example). Now that would be something! The ten commandments (I disagree that the list most people consider is the right one but for the sake of arguments I will keep to the "standard" this time) would have something useful, something better then "graven images" line. Do you really think that one is important one? I think "eat less fatty food" is more important then that, don't you? "graven images" sounds very petty considering the obesity epidemic our nation is facing.

Yes I know it was off the topic, sorry :)


Sincerely,
Iztok

Anonymous said...

For what is worth I don't think DJ is here to make fun of others. I think he is sincere in his beliefs but I disagree on his interpretations as for my taste he is too apologetic in his interpretations of the Bible. I don't think one can pick and choose the way he does (and probably 99% of the Christians) but it is easy for me to say as I am looking at this from an outside perspective and have no need to defend the scripture at all (he does have the need as his belief lives and dies with it).

But I do like to read what he has to say but he doesn't bring anything new that wasn't heard before (read in the context then pull something from another book to show, yet he doesn't allow others to do the same).

Anyhow overall a good debate for something that has no backing in facts surrounding us here and now.

Sincerely,
Iztok

Anonymous said...

DJ - If you really wanted answers to the questions you're asking, you wouldn't be on an internet forum asking them. You know that these issues have been debated for nearly 2 millenia, and I assume from the fact that you've obviously researched the subject that you know where to find the many, many, many volumes of debate that have occurred in the Catholic Church. So if you sincerely want to know why Catholics believe what they do, I suggest you find a better source of information than this place.

However, I suspect that you DON'T really want to understand that information because you have already made up your mind what you believe and you will not be convinced otherwise by anyone. In that respect, I see your participation here as nothing but that of a Pharisee -- here to demand that others follow the strict definition of "truth" that you have set down, and prepared with chapter and verse to rail against those who would approach things from a different point of view.

But what you have NOT done is show that "Catholics are not Christian", which was the central point that you set out to discuss. Regardless whether you agree with the specifics of Catholic doctrine, the fact of the matter is that the central object of Catholic worship is the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That makes Catholics Christians, whether you are prepared to accept that fact or not. I find it rather un-Christlike to barge into a room full of people (which is essentially what an internet forum is) and start making declarations about whose faith is "right" and "wrong".

Anonymous said...

Catholics are wannabe Christians.....they need to get their act together. It's funny how they massacred HUNDREDS of thousands of people.....then they think it was all over. They were fighting HARMLESS people...because they didnt want to turn to catholicism. This is why Christians dont associate themselves with catholics. Everyone thought it was the 'Christians' but if you read history....the catholics were killing harmless women/children.

Almost everything they do is contrary to the bible. Bishops need to be man of ONE WIFE....but it seems the catholic priests would rather be with the little boys. Face the FACTS. They believe in MARY mother of god....when Jesus SPECIFICALLY said I am the way. After the catholics murdered the muslims....they want after the jews in the spanish inquisition.

A lot of ppl say that catholics started the world war....and I WOULD BELIEVE IT with the history they have of massacring hundreds of thousands of ppl.

D.J. said...

Anon (10/30/07, 10:55 AM),

I must say, your last comment was neither charitable or productive. Bringing the Catholic sex abuse scandal up does no good, we all would condemn those actions. To say that Catholics are responsible for a World War is baseless and inflammatory. Lets keep focused on the gospel and not turn this into an ugly discussion.

Soli Deo Gloria

D.J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D.J. said...

Anon (10/30/07, 10:55 AM),

Yes, I'm well aware of what the Catholic Church has to say about the issues I've raised. I've researched the subject, I've seen the debate. That is not the focus of the questions I'm asking.

The topic of this discussion is "are Catholics Christian?" My argument has been that while Catholics claim to follow Christ, many of their practices (including their foundational understanding of how one is saved) are in direct contradiction to Scripture. Your claim has been that Catholics belive in the inerrancy of the Bible and my claims are false. So, I have given you specific examples of discrepancies between Catholic teaching and Scripture (Mary as co-mediatrix compared to 1 Timothy 2:5-6, Salvation by grace through faith and ritual compared to Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:27-28, and Galatians 3:11). You have not even addressed these specific questions. If my claims are false, Pharasaical, and un-Christlike, then tell me why. Why am I wrong in saying that the Catholic doctrine of Mary as co-mediatrix contradicts 1 Timothy 2:5-6?

You are making serious accusations about the nature of my Christian character. Those accusations are rather baseless if the claims I'm making are true. I'm simply asking you to show me the respect of interacting with my critiques before you label me a Pharisee.

BTW, I'm not "demanding" anyone follow anything. I'm simply attempting to point out truth from Scripture - what everyone does from there is between them and God. Yet I must proclaim truth. My God and my conscience demand it.

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

Bringing up 1 scandal will be wrong....but you have HUNDREDS of scandals that is ONGOING then it is worthy to be brought up.

One thing i learned is if the head isnt right...the body will not act accordingly.

It's funny how every week...a new person comes forward about the abuse from priests.

If it was all lies....then I will have no basis...but it's the truth. You cant sugarcoat anything in life. Otherwise you're being a hypocrite. FACE THE FACTS.

Mooms said...

Dj said:

The topic of this discussion is "are Catholics Christian?" My argument has been that while Catholics claim to follow Christ, many of their practices (including their foundational understanding of how one is saved) are in direct contradiction to Scripture.

Frankly, what you DON'T know about Catholicism would fill a library.

On Biblical inerrancy: Of course Catholics understand that the Bible is "errant." They wrote it. Or, rather, compiled it from stacks of competing "scriptures."

What we read now as "Inerrant Scripture" was brought together centuries after they were written, and consisted then of copies of copies of copies of copies, many of them containing very significant differences.

The Catholic Church holds that the bible is the font of spiritual and moral truth, not historical or scientific fact. It holds further that our human understanding of that truth can be mistaken. For instance, the bible clearly says that it is OK to own other people as slaves, and to kill disobedient children.

Jane is right: It is a mistake to read people out of the Christian religion because they don't happen to follow each jot and tittle of your own belief.

The Buddhists have it right: There are many paths to enlightenment.

Danbo020759 said...

The person who insists that Catholics are not Christians is a divisionist. He argues for the sake of arguing. He believes that Christianity is something that "belongs" to him and him alone (and to those he decides warrant it). It is a disease of a misinformed, closed and ignorant mind.

Catholics do not pray to statues. We do not kneel down to statues. We kneel in prayer! Period. We do pray to saints (including the Blessed Virgin Mary) that they may add their prayers to ours. We *honor* and *revere* those holy men and women who have gone before yus marked with the sign of faith. We worship God in His Most Holy Trinity. Get over it, Anonymous.

Catholics believe The Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is *not* the *final* authority on the Word of God -- it is one part of the authority. Jesus is "The Word made flesh." The Bible and Sacred Tradition in unison with the authority of The Magisterium (the Pope and the Bishops who interpret Holy Scripture) provide the final authority. God left the keys to the kingdom in the hands of a person (Peter) -- not in a textbook. It is Peter and his successors, with the Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition that *present* the complete Holy Word of God.

Truthfully, I do not believe that non-Catholics have it wrong. I do believe that they do not have the entire story due to the fact that they reject the Sacred Tradition aspect (and the Magisterium) that [provides a *complete* vision into the Holy Word of God.

Catholics believe that Salvation is a gift from God. None of us is worthy of it. So who are you, anonymous, to take it upon yourself to argue who is and who is not saved. The Jew, the Buddhist, the Christian, the atheist -- none of them are worthy. If Salvation is a gift from God, I won't be so haughty as to tell Him to whom he can and cannot give His gift.

Catholics pray for the unification of all God's children. "Anonymous'" time would be well spent in the same activity, rather than preaching his "gospel" of division, hate and hypocrisy.

D.J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D.J. said...

Mooms,

"Of course Catholics understand that the Bible is "errant."

Actually, that's the point I've been trying to make. Catholicism through practice denies Biblical inerrancy. The "anon" I've been conversing with stated that Catholics believe the Bible is infallible.

"They wrote it. Or, rather, compiled it from stacks of competing "scriptures." What we read now as "Inerrant Scripture" was brought together centuries after they were written, and consisted then of copies of copies of copies of copies, many of them containing very significant differences."

The idea that the early councils somehow are responsible for deciding what is and isn't Scripture is very misleading, and an incomplete view of church history. The canon was generally established at the council of Carthage in A.D. 387, but they didn't decide the canonicity of certain books, they simply formally stated and recognized the canonicity that the church had recognized for hundreds of years. In fact, early Christians during the time that the books of the New Testament were written already viewed these writings as Scripture. Evidence? Paul quotes Luke 10:7 as Scripture (setting it alongside a passage from the book of Deuteronomy in authority) in 1 Timothy 5:18. Peter references the writings of Paul as Scriptural in 2 Peter 3:15-16. The books of what we now call the New Testament canon were accepted by the church as Scriptural long before Carthage - in fact, while they were still being written! To say that the Catholics "compiled it from stacks of competing "scriptures"" is to seriously misconstrue what happened at Carthage.

The reliability of the text of the New Testament documents is unparalleled in ancient literature. Currently, there are over 14,000 ancient manuscripts in existence of the NT documents, some dating to as early as AD 130 - within 60 years of the writing of the documents (For comparative purposes, the second most reliable document is Homer's Iliad, with 643 copies in existance - the oldest one dating to over 800 years after the writing of the work). With the available manuscripts, we are able to reconstruct the originals through textual criticism with 99.5% accuracy. Moreover, there is not one inconsistency with any bearing on any significant Christian doctrine. Quite frankly, the dependability of our modern Biblical text is phenomenal. Since you claim there are many "significant differences" between manuscripts, I would challenge you, Mooms, to provide an example of one Greek textual variant with a significant impact on crucial Christian doctrine.

As for your declarations of what the Bible "clearly" teaches, I have already dealt with these issues in earlier discussions, but briefly put, those interpretations ignore proper context - they fail to interpret Scripture in light of other Scripture.

As for "reading people out" of the Christian faith, if you are going to say that there are many paths to enlightenment, you have to go to the Buddhists, because you won't find such teaching in Christian Scripture.

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

wor·ship /ˈwɜrʃɪp/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[wur-ship] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, -shiped, -ship·ing or (especially British) -shipped, -ship·ping.
–noun 1. reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.

I have been to South America many times....If you werent praying to statues then why have the statue of mary or saints right in front of where everyone kneels? why not place it to the side and have reverence for GOD. Why light candles to saints? STOP BEING IGNORANT. I have a lot of friends who are catholic, and they do say that they pray/worship the saints. They agree that it's not in the bible but this is the way they were taught.

Idol worship is wrong. Worshipping ANYTHING besides God is WRONG.

I have seen the catholic bible...and how it says to PRAY TO THE SAINTS.....it was changed.

the real verse says PRAY FOR THE SAINTS. it's obvious that Paul was speaking about the ppl that were alive. It was an abomination to try to pray to those who were dead or to try to speak to anyone who was dead.

Read the story of King Saul and Samuel.

Go read the Bible...and stop listening to me AND MAN. find out the facts of your religion from ACTUALLY READING THE BIBLE....not making up this hocus pocus of what your priest taught you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:14 & d.j., assuming what you say is 100% correct, how does this relate to the question? Would you contend that the differences in interpretation automatically means that Catholics are not Christian? Or would you conclude that they are merely failed Christians?

Personally I don't care one way or the other, I'm just really interested in understanding people's perceptions.

Paul

Anonymous said...

to be a christian you will need to follow Jesus. Christians call this term being 'saved'. Catholics were never saved to being with because they follow their own practices CONTRARY to what Jesus taught.

If Jesus said I AM THE WAY...and you're going to do what YOU WANT...then you're just ignorant by saying that you believe in Him yet you follow everything that ISNT in the bible...and the bible SPECIFICALLY FORBIDS the things you do.

first God states who are christians..then God said you will know them by their fruits. Jesus even said If you love me Obey my commandments. God gave us his Word to determine who are the real followers and who are the wolves in sheep clothing

Mooms said...

DJ writes: “Actually, that's the point I've been trying to make. Catholicism through practice denies Biblical inerrancy. The "anon" I've been conversing with stated that Catholics believe the Bible is infallible.”

Nah. They have the equally silly idea that the Pope is infallible. Or some of them do. Many good Catholics (Garry Wills comes to mind) argue that this fairly recent idea will destroy the church.

DJ writes: “Since you claim there are many "significant differences" between manuscripts, I would challenge you, Mooms, to provide an example of one Greek textual variant with a significant impact on crucial Christian doctrine.”

I could read in the entire text of Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus,” but that would be pointless. I know that many faith based scholars, such as yourself, profoundly disagree with him, but he remains the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

My very favorite thing, though, is the Johannine Comma, the only scriptural support for the idea of the Trinity. It suddenly appeared in texts in the Middle Ages; it is absent from earlier texts.

But I don’t intend to argue along this line any further. If you accept the “inerrancy” of the Bible on faith, no argument will sway you. And if you don’t, well, the evidence is woefully inadequate to convince anyone to accept such a belief.

DJ: “As for your declarations of what the Bible "clearly" teaches, I have already dealt with these issues in earlier discussions, but briefly put, those interpretations ignore proper context - they fail to interpret Scripture in light of other Scripture.”

The interpretation that slavery is fine and dandy was very clear indeed to good Christians for centuries. The Bible is a giant Rorschach; you can find anything in it you want to find. Who knows what beliefs a new “proper context” will make clear in the future?

DJ: “As for "reading people out" of the Christian faith, if you are going to say that there are many paths to enlightenment, you have to go to the Buddhists, because you won't find such teaching in Christian Scripture.”

Ha! Although I am sure you’ve heard this dozens of times, I can’t help myself, it’s just to appropriate here:

There were six men of Hindustan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the elephant,
Thou all of them were blind,
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The first approached the elephant
And happening to fall
Against the broad and sturdy side
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me, but the elephant
Is very like a wall!

[So on through 5 more men and elephant parts]

And so the men of Hindustan
Disputed loud and long
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right
And all of them were wrong.

So oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I wean,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an elephant
Not one of them has seen.

DJ: “As for "reading people out" of the Christian faith, if you are going to say that there are many paths to enlightenment, you have to go to the Buddhists, because you won't find such teaching in Christian Scripture.”

Buddhism does have an awful lot to recommend it, in terms of loving kindness to others. Here is a bit from something my daughter wrote, re her year in Luang Prabang, Laos:

There are Evangelical Christians loose in the village. There is no escape. I had hoped to leave them busy with the daunting task of running the United States of Evangelica, but they are far too crafty to be outmaneuvered by an airplane and an evasive hegira through the sprawl of a vast jungle.

One bright morning over a croissant I was delighted to discover that [President Bush, who was visiting the area] had finally run out of countries [to complain about] and had at last turned on the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos. The writ in question decried the lack of Evangelical Christians in what is the only non-secular communist country in the world. The only problem with this accusation is that they ARE here. In supernumerary plenitude. It’s a regular ecclesiastic orgy, an excrescence of Evangelicals, a froth of the faithful fighting to convert the heathens.

They swarm out of the woodwork come Christmas, bearing freakish plastic trees that spin and shriek tinny pinged carols. Their scheme is simple – buy businesses and force the employees to attend church and listen to preaching and wear elf costumes. Or they’re fired. Sort of the “my God writes a paycheck better than your God” principle.
The only glitch in this system is that Buddhism inculcates the implicit respect for all other major world religions, which are each seen as another valid view of enlightenment. In Malaysia, the Buddhist residents bow in passage before a mosque, Hindu temple, or church (and hypothetically synagogue if they had any), and here the unmitigated expanse of wats are full of paintings and sculptures of Hindu gods hanging out in Nirvana with the Buddha and Bodhisattvas.

So with good humor the Lao have turned the forced Christmas infusion into a new myth, one of a mad dwarf from Finland named Santa, who has long white braids and brings candy to foreigners once a year. They drink, they feast – for the Lao possess an admirable attitude that there are no bad holidays and having another occasion to celebrate is in itself an occasion to celebrate.”

Anonymous said...

My argument has been that while Catholics claim to follow Christ, many of their practices (including their foundational understanding of how one is saved) are in direct contradiction to Scripture.

DJ,

People from two denominations can go back-and-forth all day long about who is "correctly" following Scripture. I understand that you believe that Catholics are heretics, and I'm not going to try and convince you otherwise (it's obviously a futile effort). But if you read your comment above, perhaps you will see why I find your line of thought so profoundly insulting.

To say that Catholics are not properly following Scripture is one thing. But it does not follow that they are not believers in Christ. This is no less arrogant an insulting than a Catholic saying that Baptists are non-Christians because they do not take Communion. While a rude, hard-line Catholic might approach a Baptist with the argument that they cannot be in line with God's will unless they take Communion, even the most arrogant would never, ever suggest that someone is non-Christian simply because their practices are different.

So I am finished arguing with you. You say you want to engage in a dialogue before accepting the label of Pharisee, but you and I both know what that dialogue will be like -- both of us digging out obscure passages to try and disprove each other's argument, bickering over semantics (you are obviously using the word "inerrant" differently than the Catholics here), and belittling each other's faith with the blunt force of book-chapter-verse. If that isn't a Pharisee's standard of conversation, I don't know what is. I'm done with this conversation, because it will lead to nothing but rotten fruit on both our parts.

Anon 10/30/07 10:55

Anonymous said...

The Old testament/New Testaments speaks of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. A lot of ppl call this the 'trinity', but it's incorrect. They're not equal....as the Son didnt know when the 2nd coming will be...and only the Father knew this.

Buddhism...Hindus....whatever the religion....the Word of God states that the Kingdom of God is in POWER not in word. You will always have someone coming up with a new theology or new belief but nobody can put POWER to their beliefs.

My God is ALIVE AND WELL. His name is glorified through many healings/miracles that are peformed today. You can see a man open up a lady's head in the name of Jesus...and pull out a small tumor. This is on YouTube.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to clear one thing up. I go to a Baptist church and we do take Communion. We don't have Communion every Sunday but we do take it several times a year. I just started going to a Baptist church within the last few years . One of the churches I went to when I was younger took it every Sunday so it seemed strange to me when I started attending the church I attend now since we don't take it every Sunday. While I feel that Communion is very special, I don't feel that I have to have it each week in order to have salvation. I don't consider myself a Baptist, I consider myself a Christian. I never imagined myself attending a Baptist church because a couple of the ones that I had visited in the past were very judgemental (the people and the preacher). The one I attend now has been a great experience for my family and has helped me grow spiritually.

Now, who decides who's really a Christian? I believe that Jesus, son of God, died for my sins and was resurrected. I also believe that I am saved by God's grace alone. No amount of good works that I do here on earth will get me to heaven (even though a person who has a personal relationship with God will in turn do good works, will be fruitful). This is what I have read in the Bible and believe it to be the truth. One who believes this way is what I would define as a Christian. However, God is the only one who really determines who is a Christian. We as humans sometimes assume that a person is or is not a Christian by their actions or what church they attend, but our assumptions aren't what count. Ultimately, God is the decision-maker. There are differences in each Christian denomination, some more drastic than others, but I think each person needs to seek out the truth by reading God's word and not necessarily take everything they hear or see at church as 100% fact. I know that their are people at every church that may be more judgemental (I have heard the term "performance-based acceptance," which I think is a great way to put it), but really the only ones who know your "true" heart is yourself and God. That is all that really matters in the end.

The_Weaver said...

Psst, DJ? Try researching the Council of Nicea in the year 200 CE (That would be AD for you types). You'll get into all the Gospels that didn't make the cut into the Bible. It'll mess with your head, man. The really cool thing is that it really happened. However, just be aware that it will definitely assure you that the Bible is errant. (When King James, who, by the way, was a homosexual, had the Bible reprinted during his reign, don't you know he had some fun considering the political opportunities it presented and the fact that he didn't give a wit about religion?)

Personally, whatever you all want to think and dream or not, but when you start spouting things that are blantantly false to try and win people's minds, that's not good. If I'm not mistaken, if you're a Christian, lying is a sin. So to tell us, to want us to believe that Catholics are not Christians, that Catholics worship statues, and all of this other crap that you aren't pulling over on most of us (on me, because remember I've got my BA in Religious Studies from UNCG and would be working on my MA/PhD except have no more money)is to be deliberately lying.

Of course, telling me that you've got a monopoly on the truth is a lie to, but I won't fault you with it, as it's religion. When you get in my face... That's another matter.

Let me just point out a neccessary fact that may or may not (heh)need to be addressed. When I told the story about the kid who said that because I was baptized I was saved, I wasn't saying that I was a Christian. I'm not. I don't want to be. I will never be, so help me Goddess. You can keep your hell and do with it as you will. That wasn't my point; I was simply addressing his views on the topic at hand.

Me, I think you're all crazy an unimaginative, except for Danae (Iztock's pretty groovy), as I have read The Tao Teh Ching and "Wandered on the Way." I am a proud, non Wiccan, Neo Pagan, *raises rebel fist* Priestess, nature loving, tree hugging, animal protecting, practicing Witch.

Peace, love, and music you can dance to, people.

(Holy crow! Some of yous need to listen to some Thievery Corporation [there's no lyrics!!!] and boogey around your house or apartment or your room...)

Mooms said...

Anon writes: “So I am finished arguing with you. You say you want to engage in a dialogue before accepting the label of Pharisee, but you and I both know what that dialogue will be like -- both of us digging out obscure passages to try and disprove each other's argument, bickering over semantics (you are obviously using the word "inerrant" differently than the Catholics here), and belittling each other's faith with the blunt force of book-chapter-verse. If that isn't a Pharisee's standard of conversation, I don't know what is. I'm done with this conversation, because it will lead to nothing but rotten fruit on both our parts.”

So six blind men of Hindustan
disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
exceeding stiff and strong;
Though each was partly in the right,
they all were in the wrong!

D.J. said...

Anon (10/30/07, 6:55 PM),

"To say that Catholics are not properly following Scripture is one thing. But it does not follow that they are not believers in Christ."

It is this statement from which our disagreement stems. How do we know who Christ is apart from Scripture? The point on which we disagree is such a crucial, foundational doctrine of the faith that I believe the official Catholic position, by rejecting plain Scriptural teaching, ultimately rejects Christ. Please note, you still have not interacted with the simple examples I gave you. Say what you want about me, but you must admit that I have never shyed away from people's specific criticisms, dating back to my earlier interaction with FriendlyNeighborhoodAthiest about contradictions in the Bible.

Mooms,

The Johannine comma? That might be a problem if I were a King-James-Onlyist, but our modern translations render 1 John 5:7-8 without those disputed words (see the English Standard Version). To claim that passage is "the only Scriptural support for the idea of the Trinity" is absurd. For just one example, see John 10:22-42. As for the "blind guys and an elephant" story, the analogy breaks down if the elephant says to the men "I'm an elephant, and this is what I am like." I beleive in a God who has revealed himself through Scripture so that we need not grope in darkness, forming God in our own image.

Weaver,

Your facts are simply confused. Nicea was conviened in 325, not 200, and dealt with the Arian heresy, not with the canon. You accuse me of lying, could you please demonstrate an example? As I said previously, historical (and internal) evidence suggests that what we now know as the New Testament was being accepted as Scriptural even as it was being written. Who King James was matters as much to the integrity of the Bible as who Rick James was. We translate Scripture from the original Hebrew and Greek, not from the King James.

By the way, I never said that Catholics worhip statues. That was another poster, who you'll find I disagreed with many of his statements about Catholicism. And per your religion degree - has this discussion really devolved to the point where we're playing degrees (and hypothetical degrees) as trump cards? Let's deal with facts, not who's got what pieces of paper hanging on their wall.

Soli Deo Gloria

The_Weaver said...

DJ, I'm not confused at all. The Council of Nicea most certainly had to do with the formation of the Bible. Aryian was just one of the many people who wanted their doctrine seen as accurate. You forgot about Marcian and the Gnostics to name a two more. You also forgot about Athanasias as well. To paraphrase, It's not that you have to wake up early in the morning to pull the wool over my eyes. It's that you should never go to sleep. Look it up in a text that is non partisan, or in research done by theological departments from say Harvard, Yale, or Duke, instead of schools too afraid to find out that the religion isn't perfect.

Just because the Bible has been "touched" by human hands doens't make your faith any less valid. That's the issue. In fact, searching for the truth via your communication with your god, to me, would be the beautiful part.

D.J. said...

Weaver,

Say what you will about not being confused, but you got the date of Nicea just flat wrong, as well as the name of one of the pricipal players (it's Arius, not Aryian). Marcion had been dead for 150 years when Nicea conviened. Gnostic ideas were refuted by the Nicene creed, but I'm struggling to see what that has to do with the canon. The council at Nicea produced a creed, 20 canons (statements), and a letter. None of them deal with the formation of the Biblical canon, and the English translations of the documents can be read here...

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3801.htm

Sorry I was unable to pull the wool over your eyes (?), but could you please present one documentation from Nicea that says the canon was decided (or even discussed)?

BTW, are you saying that schools like Duke, Harvard, and Yale are unbiased in their scholarship? Could you please give some evidence and reasoning for that claim?

To summarize, on Nicea you got the date wrong, you got the principal players wrong, and you got the subject matter wrong (facts anyone with an encyclopedia can find) and I'm the one pulling the wool over people's eyes?

Give some documentation for your ideas about Nicea and the canon and I'll be more than happy to interact with them.

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

Scripture reveals Jesus Christ. Otherwise we play god by inventing Him in our own sinful minds. We Christians who really believe in Christ must be loyal to Him and not those who reject Him. Jesus told us to tell the gospel of Him, not to bend, contort, or deny the truth to win unbeliever's respect. Jesus is God as revealed in Scripture. Take it or leave it, as Jesus told many.

Nfamous said...

You can be a Christian without believing in Jesus. It's called an atheist Christian or just a very bad Christian.