Saturday, September 16, 2006

Questions about Protestant beliefs

I HAVE A FRIEND WHO HAS ALMOST THOUGHT ABOUT JOINING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. BUT SHE THINKS PURGATORY "IS NOT IN THE BIBLE" THEREFORE MADE UP BY CATHOLICS. WELL, IT IS NOT IN HER BIBLE BECAUSE SHE IS READING A PROTESTANT BIBLE OF COURSE. mEANWHILE THIS IS BRICK WALL FOR OUR CONVERSATION BECAUSE SHE CAN'T FIND IN THE BIBLE!... ANY IDEAS ON WHAT TO SAY TO HER?” If you refer her to the biblical references I provided in my post on August 29 as well as the ones that Ty Roach added, she should find some of them, at least. She is right, though, the word “purgatory” is not in the Bible. Neither is “salvation by Scripture alone” (a main credo of Protestantism). Ask her where it says in the Bible to “only believe what is in the Bible”?

My problem is when I talk with my Protestant friends, they said that Mary had other children beside Jesus, according to Mat. 13:55-57. Please explain.” One blogger answered this well:
“Matthew 13:55-57: the primary language of Jesus' time was ARAMAIC. Aramaic was a very simplistic languange in which one word like "brothers" could mean cousins, aunts, grandmas and so on. In the Greek translation of the bible, the aramaic word for "extended family" became brothers. If we go back to what Jesus' to the fact that Jesus spoke in Aramaic, the aramaic term in this situation simply meant extended family”. I agree with this answer, and the Church interprets "brother" primarily to mean "cousin" from this passage in Matthew. As far as I know, this translation was not questioned for the first 1500 years of Christianity. It was not until the Protestant Reformation that this passage and so many others from Sacred Scripture were either seriously questioned or changed altogether by those who formulated new theologies in "protest" to the Church.

“What I don't understand is that if the protestant credo of 'once saved, always saved' is true, would that mean that after one is 'saved' one could theoretically convert to Islam or Hinduism or something really radical like Catholicism and still be saved?” I don’t understand it either! Yes, you are right, that would be the logical conclusion. Also, the “saved” person could theoretically do whatever he wanted – break commandments, ignore the poor, reject the Gospel entirely – he still is saved. I exaggerate to make the point that “once saved, always saved” denies free will and all of Christ’s teachings about actions required to get to Heaven – e.g., taking care of the poor in Mt 25. “Once saved, always saved” is another example of faith with no reason.

Protestants seem to say the Christians are saved at a moment in time - like when they say a certain prayer proclaiming CHrist as their Lord and Savior. A lot of them think, once saved, always saved. My understanding is that Catholics believe we are only saved because of Christ's death on the Christ and that we are in a constant state of conversion if we are following the faith. So we are not ‘earning’ it, but we know that we can lose salvation by mortal sins(out of a state of grace). Is this right?” We are saved by the Grace of Christ, yes. But, our participation is necessary. In other words, I have to freely choose to receive Christ and His Sanctifying Grace (mainly through the sacraments He has instituted). I truly am free to choose to accept Christ or reject Him. To choose Heaven or Hell. A choice for Heaven is the person’s free will and the Grace of God. A choice for Hell is the person’s free will only. What that means is that every good choice I make is God and me; I can only take credit for being open to His Grace. Every bad choice is all me; I have freely chosen to reject God and His Grace.


At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading all that and prior discussions why would one become Protestant? I think it is because of misinformation and lack of information. For many years I have taken my faith for granted because I truly didn't understand it but my discovery of it step by step has been eye opening and exciting!

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Searching For Holiness said...

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At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought I recognized that angel. Now I know where I saw it!

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Searching For Holiness said...

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At 7:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would one become Protestant? Some people only know the faith in which they were raised. Most people trust their parents and grandparents. If you were taught that Catholics worship Mary and statues and/or that once you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you are saved; why would you doubt it? The people who told you are, after all, your parents. Why would they lie?

Some who were raised Catholic do not have an understanding of the faith (sadly even some who taught 2nd grade CCD). They leave for a variety of reasons... disagreement with a priest; divorce; the Protestant church offers more social activities and teen groups; women who want a greater role in the church, etc. Because of their lack of understanding of the faith, they do not realize what they left. The sad thing is they may feel something missing in the Protestant church, but are afraid of coming back (or making the initial journey) to the Catholic church; afraid of how the priest will treat them; and afraid of what their Protestant church friends will think. The friendships, ministries, and trips that are an integral part of their Protestant life will probably be lost and the loss can be extremely painful.

I think the best thing Catholics can do is to live out our faith fully and not be afraid to answer questions of others - in a non-judgmental fashion. It is said that St. Francis told his followers.....preach often, and when you have to, use words.
If your friends and family know that you never miss Mass on Sundays and Holy Days and that Friday evening activities must allow for your time at SAA, they will start to wonder why. They may initially respond in a joking manner with, "well,say a prayer for me". Pray for them. They may eventually ask you what you do at SAA on Friday evenings ( or where ever you go to be in His presence). Tell them, and tell them what it means to you - personally - why it's so important to you to be there. (Don't get preachy about what they should do.) Tell them they are always welcome and invite them to Mass or to Friday evening adoration – as Fr. Greg says - for a few minutes. Tell them to call and talk with Fr. Greg (he doesn't bite!) While you are waiting for them to accept the offer, continue to pray for them and pray for patience in yourself – some may never come, for others it may take years or decades to make the trip.

At 12:01 AM, Anonymous Act of Contrition question said...

Thanks for answering Protestant questions......Another type question all together, The Act Of Contrition. I have noticed that there are several Catholic versions - all quite similar but not completely. One Act of Contrition (this is the one you haved supplied) speaks of deserving God's just punishments.
Is that referring to life on earth or after we die? Or is it referring to penance? Some other AOC's seem to have omitted this part. Thank you, Father Greg.

At 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you. It is indeed very sad that many people don't have a full understanding of their faith especially those who taught 2nd grade CCD. But simultaneously we must applaud those who do come back especially after many years. They have come back to say "I left and have been gone and I made a mistake but now I am back" and will try to reestablish myself to my faith to the best of my ability and that is to live out my faith faithfully and not get swayed by anything or anybody from that goal. We are still green because we left when we were so young but we are back!

At 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome home!


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