My dilemma

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Croyant, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. Croyant

    Croyant
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    I'm a man in his early thirties. I come from a part of the world that has been secularized very aggressively and where traditionally everyone is a Catholic. We have some baptist and pentecoastal churches, but they are marginal and tend to be picked by people who acquire different convictions, not by people who frequent them since their childhood because their parents brought them there. They are seen almost as sects, little different for instance than Jehovah's Witnesses.

    I have always believed, though I stopped going to church when my mother stopped bringing me to it more than 20 years ago. I went to a catholic private high school, but once I left high school I stopped having access to a Christian environment.

    I didn't go to a catholic church, because I didn't felt at ease there. However I recently realized that the Bible commands us not to forsake the fellowship with others in a church, so I realized I must change that attitude. Also in this very secular society I feel very isolated, I see no one who shares my belief. I am rather dismayed at all this modernism and decadent behavior which is not in tune with me.

    I ended up wondering if I would feel more at ease in an evangelical church. I went to see the pastor of a Baptist church who welcomed me in. We had a discussion about the faith, and of course about salvation through faith alone, which is the most important tenet of protestant denominations and which I had slowly started to lean toward in the last few years. So we got along well and I agreed with most of what he said to me.

    When it came to the requirement for adult baptism however that is where I started to feel very bad. I shared these feelings with him, and he gave me a book to read explaining why it is justified. I found myself agreeing with much of what was written in the book.

    However I still feel really bad and traitorous with establishing links and frequenting a protestant church. I don't know what to do with this, I feel like an outsider and like someone who doesn't belong.
     
  2. annsni

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    I would recommend that you keep praying and seeking God. Being faithful to God is not needing you to be faithful to a particular church group that you didn't even really grow up with! I was baptized a Catholic as a baby and I was later baptized as a believer in a believing church because that is what God calls us to do in His Word. My children were baptized young but they were believers and understood what their baptism was about.

    We usually have a class for those who want to be baptized so that they understand a little more about what the Bible teaches. I wonder if your church has that available to you.
     
  3. Croyant

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    I don't understand, I thought Baptists viewed the Catholic church as an heretical church to flee away from? According to this is would be wrong to remain in the Catholic church and not frequent a protestant church as we are required to frequent a church.

    As for such a course my pastor told me about it, he could schedule it for me in the future, but considering he already expanded a good deal on this subject and had me read a very thorough book on the subject of anabaptism, I doubt I would learn anything new.

    At least I hope that God will not hold my awkwardness against me, as I am sincere in my desire to obey and please Him.

    It is difficult for me to pray, I am not used to it. I think I need others to show me the image of God in themselves so I can envision a loving God for the worship.
     
  4. annsni

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    Use Scripture to get your view of God. That is vital. Prayer is really just speaking your heart to God. There is no "right" formula or anything.

    As for the Catholic church, I think some of the teachings of the church are heretical but they also do have the gospel in there as well so it's possible to have the truth there although it's mixed with some error. But also depending on the Catholic church, there are some that are less "Catholic" and more evangelical and I know numerous people who have been truly saved in these churches.

    Do you read your Bible? Do you know how to study it? Might it be helpful to have a beginner Bible study for you to begin with? I can recommend a good study that is on Amazon if you'd like to work through a book to get you started.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1596380934/?tag=baptis04-20
     
  5. Croyant

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    Yes I am reading through the Bible these days, I am up to Judges now. I have not picked a study bible in order to try to get an unslanted view.

    I still think the company of other believers is important so that these don't remain abstract spiritual concepts and it becomes more part of your life.
     
  6. PreachTony

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    The company of other believers is a great thing. We should not forsake assembling ourselves together.

    As for Catholicism, they do have the gospel, as they have the Bible. Their teachings, though, can really lead someone astray. The notion of transubstantiation, the belief in the necessity of sacraments, these things are not biblical. Biblical salvation is in Christ alone. Grace through Faith.
     
  7. Croyant

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    At what point is the Catholic "led astray" and in need for further salvation? For doing what? This seems pretty unclear to me.
     
  8. PreachTony

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    There is no need for "further salvation." The issue is that salvation is not imparted through sacraments. It is the free gift of God. It comes by faith alone in Christ alone. Not of works. If partaking in sacraments is required for salvation then you have a works-based salvation, and that is not Biblical.

    My experience with Catholics, Croyant, is that most of them think the baptism they received as a child is sufficient unto salvation, so long as they hold to the various sacraments passed down to them. The few times I've been able to discuss theological matters with them, they give me odd looks when I reference "being saved." I would ask if they were saved, and without fail they would answer "well, I was baptized..."

    Transubstantiation, the belief that the bread and wine of Communion actually become the physical body and blood of Christ, is tantamount to re-sacrificing Christ. That is not Biblical. Christ was offered up once for all men. That one time was sufficient unto the saving of the world, if they would believe. There are a plethora of reasons to reject transubstantiation as Catholicism offers it. Any one of these arguments is sound. When taken together, and faced with scripture, it reveals no truth in the idea that the bread and wine in actuality become the body and blood. If the RCC wants to call you anathema for that, then so be it. I'd rather follow the Bible than the RCC.

    These folks I spoke with would tell me about going to Confession. Now, I'm a believer in confession in the James 5:16 sense of the word. But there is no man of this Earth that can give me absolution. That is Christ. When Christ died on the cross, the veil of the Temple was rent, meaning the Holy of Holies was opened up to the outside world. Why? I believe it is because we now have access directly to God, without needing a priestly system like the Jews had. We have an advocate with the Father. We don't need the old sacrifices and the sprinkling of blood on the mercyseat. Paul wrote that we can now with boldness approach the Throne of Grace.

    Does that make sense?
     
    #8 PreachTony, Mar 5, 2015
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  9. Walter

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    Well, brother, I wasn't going to get involved in this thread but there is so much bad information being posted that I just can't help myself. For just one example, transubstantiation (and actually, I think you meant to say The Eucharist) is not re-sacrificing Christ. But, whereas I usually don't post links or webpages from Catholic apologetics sites, I think this former Protestant explains it fairly well:

    http://www.catholic.com/video/do-catholics-re-sacrifice-christ
     
    #9 Walter, Mar 5, 2015
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  10. Gerhard Ebersoehn

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    Let the dead bury their own dead.
     
  11. PreachTony

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    So it's not a "re-sacrifice," but rather a re-presentation of the same sacrifice? This guy even says that Pope Paul VI stated that it was the glorified Christ offering Himself from Heaven in the form of the Eucharist. Hebrews 9:28a rather explicitly says "So Christ was once offered." If He was offered once and He is the supreme sacrifice, then why must He be offered again and again and again? Whether earthly or glorified, Christ was offered once. There is no need to offer Him again as a sacrifice.

    Personally, Walter, I think transubstantiation is a case of the Catholic church taking the words of Christ way too literally. He often spoke in analogies and parables. Not everything He said was meant literally, but often carried a weight of spirituality that must be accounted for.
     
  12. Zenas

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    PreachTony, you are discussing the sacraments as if free grace and the sacraments are mutually exclusive. They are not. The sacraments are simply modalities of receiving grace. They are not works, as Saint Paul discusses "works". Usually when he does this he is referring to works of the law. The other times he is talking about good deeds like James discusses so extensively. Let's face it, we all must do something to receive God's grace. Otherwise everyone in the world would be saved. Even if it's just believing, that is doing something. And let's not forget that part about confessing with your mouth.

    So, with that in mind, here is a run down of Biblical support for the sacraments that were given to us by Christ.

    1. Baptism. “Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’” John 3:5. See also 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 22:16; Titus 3:5; Acts 2:38. The visible sign is the act of baptism with water “in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

    2. Confirmation. “Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:17. The visible sign is laying on of hands.

    3. Holy Eucharist. “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:54. “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?” 1 Corinthians 10:16. The visible signs are bread and wine. Five writers of the New Testament talked about the body and blood of Christ as presented in the Last Supper and not a one of them added a parenthetical to the effect that Jesus was speaking metaphorically.

    4. Reconciliation. “And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.’” John 20:22-23. See also 2 Corinthians 2:10; Matthew 9:8. The visible sign is the statement of absolution by the confessor.

    5. Holy Matrimony. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Mark 10:7-9. The visible sign is the exchange of the marriage vows.

    6. Holy Orders (ordination). “Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.” 1 Timothy 4:14. See also 2 Timothy 1:6; Acts 6:6. The visible sign is the laying on of hands.

    7. Anointing of the Sick. “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.” James 5:14-15. The visible signs are praying and anointing.

    The sacraments don't confer grace. The Holy Spirit confers grace through the sacraments, somewhat analogous to the way a hose carries water, and faith is the sine qua non of them all.
     
  13. Walter

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    While a Baptist I thought so too. However, it always bothered me that St. Paul seemed to consider the elements of bread & wine to be the body & blood of Christ-"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" I Cor 10:16. It seems to take a lot of spin to make this mean other than the obvious. Indeed, Christ did speak metaphorically as in 'I am the door, or I am the vine, you are the branches', but this is not in the language of a metaphor.

    As I began to study not only the Catholic position, but the Lutheran, Orthodox and Anglican positions on the meaning of communion. Even Presbyterians seemed to understand a type of 'Real Presence' at the Lord's Supper. I started to question what I was taught. As I continued to study I became aware that the one place where Jesus used the word 'covenant' was when He instituted 'The Lord's Supper'. Yet, we only observed communion four times a year.
    I began to study the Gospel of John and became aware that the Gospel was chock full of sacramental imagery. I was raised to believe that liturgy and sacraments were to be rejected and certainly not to be studied. These things I was programmed not to be open to. But going through Hebrews I noticed the writer made me see that liturgy and sacraments were an essential part of God's family life. Then in John six, I came to realize that Jesus could not have been talking metaphorically when He taught us to eat His flesh and drink His blood. The Jews in His audience would not have been outraged and scandalized by a mere symbol. Besides, if the Jews had merely misunderstood Jesus to be speaking literally and He meant His words to be taken figuratively, why would he not simply clarify them? But He never did! Nor did any other Christian for over a thousand years. There is much, much more that convinced me that Holy Communion was much more than something we did a few times a year as a memorial only, but I wanted to give you some of the early reasons I began to question what I had always been taught.
     
    #13 Walter, Mar 5, 2015
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  14. annsni

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  15. Zenas

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    "Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a representation of the blood of Christ? Does not the bread which we break represent the body of Christ?"

    Does that look unfamiliar to you? Well, yes it does because that is not what Saint Paul said, even though you with he had. However, if he wanted to clarify the matter that would have been the perfect opportunity.

    Indeed, nowhere in the New Testament does it say the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ. There seems to have been no question about its meaning whatsoever. However, the very earliest of the early church fathers made it clear that these elements were indeed the body and blood of Christ. Ignatius of Antioch, who was taught by no less than Saint John the Apostle, makes it very clear that we are talking about the literal body and blood of Christ.
     
  16. Rebel

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    On what basis do you claim that when Jesus said "I am the door" and "I am the vine" that He was speaking metaphorically but that in the Lord's Supper He was not? I contend that there is no basis for such a claim. I also contend that the language used, modes of expression, are the same.

    I'll have more to say on this, hopefully tomorrow.
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    Catholics have, in an effort to be more apologetic, discovered a way to re-word their doctrines in order to make them more palatable. It is much like liberal double speak. Arguing or debating with it is to debate with double speak rather than the actual issues.
     
    #17 Revmitchell, Mar 5, 2015
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  18. Walter

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    Well, for one, in John 6:30, the Jews had asked Jesus for a sign so that they might believe in Him. They wanted to challenge Him by talking about those who had gone before them eating manna in the desert. They wanted Him to do better than that. He told them the 'true manna' came from His Father. They then asked for the bread always. He said: 'I am the bread of life, he who comes to Me will never hunger and he who believes in Me will never thirst'. At this point the Jews thought that he was talking metaphorically. He then repeated Himself and then summarized: 'I am the living bread which came down from Heaven; if anyone eats of this bread he will live forever; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’" John 6:51–52. Ok, no problem until this point, right? Now the Jews were beside themselves! Why? Because they understood that He was talking literally. What did He do next? Correct them? No! He said it again with greater emphasis. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" John 6:53–56.
    We have example of other times when there was confusion that Jesus cleared it up. Christ explained just what he meant, Matt. 16:5–12, the Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees He clears things up when there was confustion. However, here, where any misunderstanding might actually be fatal, there was no effort by Jesus set things straight, is there? Instead, He repeated himself for greater emphasis. This is the only place where Jesus followers fell away because of doctrinal reasons. If Jesus had meant this all to be understood metaphorically why didn't He say: "Hey, wait! Come back! I didn't mean it literally!'.
    Count 'em, twelve times he said he was the bread that came down from heaven; and then four times he said they would have "to eat my flesh and drink my blood." I don't think He could have been more explicit.
    The difference in Jesus using a metaphor like 'I am the door" and John 15:1 "I am the vine"? "I am the door" and "I am the vine" make sense as metaphors because Christ is like a door—we go to heaven through him—and he is also like a vine—we get our spiritual sap through him. But Jesus takes John 6:35 far beyond symbolism by saying, "For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed" John 6:55.
    And, Rebel, I know that the vast majority of board members here at the BB don't give a hoot what the Early Church practiced and believed. They dismiss most of them as raving heretics, but the historical record is clear and you have shown that you value how the Early Church understood the Faith. The Early Church never thought of the Lord's Supper as being nothing but a nice memorial service that was done because it was a command. Forty years after the reference of Zenas to Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr wrote: "Not as common bread or common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, . . . is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" First Apology 66:1–20.
    Can you show us a historical record of a simple symbolic view of The Eucharist? Where is the historical record of those who objected to universal belief that Christ was truly present in the bread & wine of the Lord's Supper? I'd be very interested if one exists. There certainly are plenty of heretical writings that survived, so the idea that the 'evil Catholics' destroyed the writings of 'the True Believers' doesn't hold water.
     
  19. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Before I say anything about churches, have you had a genuine born again experience to point to?
     
  20. Doubting Thomas

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    Good post all around :thumbs:

    A way I found helpful back when I was wrestling with this issue when I held to the Zwinglian view of the "ordinances" was to compare the three passages (ie BREAD, DOOR, VINE) side by side--both what they said and what they didn't say. If I get more time later today, I'll outline a comparison/contrast between the three passages, and then share my thought process about how this comparison helped lead me away from Zwinglian memorialism and towards belief in the 'Real Presence' of the Body and Blood in the Eucharist. But for now I'll point out that Walter's comments about the unique statements in John 6 express basically the same conclusions I had come to when comparing this passage with the statements found in John 10 and John 15.
     

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