Some Answers to my Catholic Friends
by the Webservant
- My answer is that the Bible was printed in the 15th century, but the Bible was there long before that. The Word of God, contained in the Bible, was there from the beginning of time: "in the beginning was the Word...- John 1:1". The WORD, whether written, spoken, or in the 'hearts of man', as in Romans 2:15, was there long before the Catholic Church [CC] was instituted. Besides, before the 15th Century, the CC was not present everywhere in the world, thus, not available to everyone. The Catholic Church was present in Europe and middle East, but was not EVERYWHERE, as in China, or Indonesia, or even in the Americas, for that matter.
- It is bogus to say that "Protestants" (the big bag where non-Catholic Christians are all placed into) believe that people need to have a Bible to be Saved". That is NOT what most non-Catholic Christians believe. Much before the first printing of the Bible there were many non-Catholic Christians, who accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Many of them described in the book of Acts of the New Testament. Basically, people do not need a Bible to be saved - they need the Bible to grow in faith. The Bible was taught, by word of mouth, much before the 15th Century and the CC was NOT the exclusive instrument to that. The 'private interpretation' the scriptures warned us against, could also be the 'private interpretation' given by the CC's priests and scholars and, God forbid, the Pope. History shows Popes were fallible men, and not always famous for their integrity and righteousness.
The CC definition of Church is also questionable. Who is to tell that the seven churches spoken of in the Book of Revelation, (chapters 2 and 3) were Catholic? Obviously they could not be, since they were in the first century, and the CC hierarchic structure came into effect much later.
"I believe," says the Catholic, "because the Church teaches me so. I believe the Church because God has commanded me to believe her." Jesus said: "Tell the Church. And if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican." (Mat 18:17)" [this is a direct quote from an online Catholic publication]. The question is, why would one assume Jesus was talking about the CC, run by the Pope with its seat in Rome? Even if one considers that when Jesus told Peter "upon this rock I will build my church", he was actually talking about Peter, rather than Himself, still one must question why Peter, if he was the rock whereupon the church was founded, had to be the founder of the CC and not any other church? In fact, the CC did not appear until much later in history, thus I am to believe that the Church, as mentioned by Jesus in that verse, is really not a denomination, or an organization, nor a building, but the body of believers, ("They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy" - Mat 8:13 -). The Word (of God), not an organization, defines the foundation of the Church.
- The Catholic publication I read was quick to point out that those who do not take communion go to hell. It says: "With Faith alone, Protestants are dead, spiritually dead. To have the life of Christ in you, you must eat His flesh and drink His blood.", this 'hellbound' doctrine is based on three verses in the book of John: namely John 6:54 - "Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you." [and also 52 and 55]. Well, first of all this is problematic: if communion can only be administered by ordained priests and ordained priests are not everywhere, then, there are many people going to hell for lack of priests. This was my problem, as a young Catholic, when I was in the army, in a war zone. According to CC's doctrine, without confession and communion, any of those young soldiers that died in the war, went to hell. I never believed that to be possible and thank God the Bible does not say such thing. Communion, like baptism, are physical representations of spiritual realities. You take communion as a manifestation of your faith in Christ, and it does not have to be administed by a Catholic priest. Non-catholic Christians also celebrate communion. But it is not mandatory, and that is why the Book of Acts in the New Testament talks about Salvation without mentioning communion. The verses concerning 'eat the flesh and drink the blood' have to be read in context. If one reads the whole chapter, it will be much more clear that communion can only be a celebration, as Jesus explains in Luke 22:19: - 'And taking bread, he gave thanks, and broke; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me'. ['in remembrance of me'
, in the KJV] Not discerning the spiritual meaning of Jesus' words can be dangerous, even deadly: as Paul says in II Corinthians 3:6 - 'Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.'
Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John also provides something very important, in Verse 63: "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life". This is the key to understand the symbolism of the 'flesh and blood'. Of course, since in CC theology the Church is above the Word, whatever private interpretation is made by their hierarchy, has to be accepted, even if it is wrong, and it is wrong because it is not Biblical (Scriptural).
- "Salvation is not guaranteed", the CC says. Salvation IS guaranteed, the Bible says. [Bible verses HERE]. If you are a Catholic and you believe Jesus died for your sins and you have accepted Him as your Savior, you have God's guarantee, and even the fact you may believe several non-scriptural doctrines won't change that.
I have read the defense of some Catholics against the supreme authority of the Bible in matters of faith. Their line of thought goes something like this: The Bible was printed in the 15th Century and until then people did not have Bibles, so, how could the Bible be the source of all spiritual authority to all people if it was not available to all people? They make the point that the Church, not the Bible, is the definer of truth, because the Church was there from the beginning, that is, from Jesus's time, and available to everyone, while the Bible was not. That would be a good point if it could be proven true.
To become a Christian you have to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. Read about it HERE
Do I need to join a denomination [church]? Read about it HERE
How about Baptism? Read about it HERE
How about Baptism in the Book of Acts? Read about it HERE
What would you do? Read HERE
Faith vs. works [rituals, ceremonies]- which one? Read HERE