Sunday, December 26, 2010

Is JOY the greatest gift of Christmas?

I saw Cardinal Donald Wuerl of New York City on television this morning.   The interviewer asked him about the message of Christmas and Wuerl said it's the time when we "bring out the best in each other in our pluralistic society"...."the message we transmit is love and joy".   He mentioned how we must 'share the Gospel'..............um, but he never did.

While many religious leaders will share the main tenets of their individual faiths when asked, some cannot bring themselves to mention salvation, the true message of the Christian Gospel.   How much more impact that would have had...an honest answer to the truth of Christianity, the number one tenet so much more life-altering and important than joy and love.   Joy and love are wonderful, of course, please don't comment about how I must not appreciate those things, that's just silly and we all know that! :-)   What hit me is a reticence to share the Truth of Jesus Christ. (surely a Cardinal must think it's the Truth?!)

Nobody has to believe in Him, nobody's holding a gun to anybody's head to change their religion, we all understand that..........but when a man so high in the cloth, so to speak, is asked about his faith, I'd think it's his right and privilege to share his Truth, something that could have made a real difference in a listener's life, maybe two listeners!?   All faiths talk of joy and love, only one talks about Salvation through the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  This is more 'religious' a post than I usually do, but this morning's situation really got me thinking:  Could telling the real TRUTH bring more people to Him or are we so afraid to actually suggest Christ is THE way that we'd rather couch it in sweeter, less convicting, more palatable, watered-down language?

Anybody want to share some thoughts on this?  Thanks.
z

95 comments:

Linda said...

We were just talking about something like this in Sunday School this morning. We wonder how many of us would be willing to stand for our Savior if it meant giving up our lives, or our children's lives if we did so. How PC are we? How much would we say if an extreme religious person was challenging us? I would hope we'd all be willing to stand!

Law and Order Teacher said...

Z,
I read up on the Cardinal and was impressed with most of his writings. He is a conservative Catholic and adheres to the social teachings of the Church. He has signed the Manhattan Declaration, a good thing, and he stood at the forefront of the controversy over the DC ordinance demanding full benefits for same sex couples.

The Cardinal made it known that he supported the teachings of the Church and this ordinance would severely affect the deliverance of Catholic charity services if the Church is forced to allow adoption by same sex couples. His hand was forced by the ordinance and the Church stopped its adoption services in DC.

I don't know about his appearance on TV, but it would seem he's proponent of conservative Catholic values. I would so far, be a supporter of him. I'll continue to read about him.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas.

Ducky's here said...

L&A, the Boston archdiocese only stopped same sex adoptions recently. As a result, a number of tough placements have gone unplaced.

Hardly a moral leadership one can be happy with. In keeping with my Christian existentialism meme, it is always necessary to question doctrine. It must be respectful but it is necessary to question or else ones faith and humanity are dead.

Life is doubt, and faith without doubt is nothing but death.
--- Miguel de Unamuno

Law and Order Teacher said...

Ducky,
I respect your point of view, but I'm a very mainstream kind of Catholic as my upbringing has made me. As Bill O'Reilly says I'm a simple man.

In my simple man logic, when government involves itself in social engineering it inevitably results in horrendously bad policy. Charity is what it is and government should allow charities to function as they have for the whole of this country's history. Allow me study your existentialist view of things. I don't as a rule pop off about things.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

He's from the Western World. Perhaps he's frightened to "offend" those who may not even exist to offend.

Western religions live in cowering fear, with a few rare exceptions. In fear of? You make that guess.

BZ

Anonymous said...

Say what you will about Jerry Falwell, but every time I saw him interviewed he unabashedly shared the Gospel. I always appreciated that about him, even if we didn't always agree.

Z said...

Linda, I just can't see how ANY man of the cloth can let PC get the best of him and his faith. I agree with you. I also hope you had a marvelous Christmas.

Law & Order, you know well that I have a respect for Catholicism and so this surprised me. As you say, this Cardinal probably makes excellent decisions otherwise; I guess I feel that a pulpit so big as to have millions of television watchers there listening was a tough time to back down on the single most important tenet of Christianity...or maybe some don't think that. I also heard a Methodist at a mtg once say "the message of Christianity was love.." Wow.

Ducky, you 'question doctrine' like Christ gives eternal life?
Who brought up being unthinkingly dogmatic? Do you REALLY think people like me don't question or doubt? wow. THanks for the credit but... I could only wish. Of course, we'd not need FAITH had we no doubt.

BZ..I think you hit the nail on the head there. xx

Anonymous, you're right; we may not always agree but that guy slings the gospel as it's written!

Law and Order Teacher said...

Z,
Please don't read into what I wrote. As I said, I like most of what he wrote. Let's move on from there. Catholic clerics have a disturbing tendency to try to play to the field. I don't like that, but I understand it.

For the most part Catholics have been a voice of unwavering Christian teaching. But there is a strain of Catholic clerics who are overcome by the social justice philosophy. That would account for the Cardinal's lack of clarity.

Some of them are unwilling step out on their own and evangelize so to speak. They hold their wetted finger to the wind and speak to that. Remember, the Catholic Church is Pope-centered. The Cardinals are promoted by the Pope.

Brooke said...

Christmas is a beautiful story of hope and rebirth for us all, but it must be intrinsically tied to the Easter story to have worth!

Merry Christmas to you, Z!

Anonymous said...

Z, I agree with you. I thought the Cardinal was ambiguous, his statements were rather generic. He could have been speaking for any Christian denomination.

If there is any aspect of communication which I would think has no business being politically correct, it would be a religion's representation.

There are religious tenets which are basic to any religion, and if this Cardinal is in a position to teach what it means to be a Catholic, I didn't learn a thing.

I'm not a Catholic, so I'm not in a position to express any great knowledge about it. But I know a politician when I hear one. Unfortunately, that's what I got out of this interview.

What I got out of it was, this seemed like a nice man who is rising in the heirarchy of the Cathlolic church, and was extremely careful to avoid any controversy.

Pris

Ducky's here said...

I question that we can know the nature of "eternal life", yes, z.

I also think it's important that the most conservative understand theirs is not the only well considered position. Truly, I can't think of anything more dangerous than absolute religious belief.

Ticker said...

Too many so called Christians, leaders included beat around the bush , clinging to peace, joy, justice and hope but never mention the One who brings all this together nor do they dare mention the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for all who will believe and then the rest will come together.
Humanism has crept into too many of the churches today and been accepted by so called Christians as the gospel. Jesus said, If I be lifted up I will draw all men to me. He didn't say that if Hope be lifted up,or Joy lifted up, or Truth be lifted up, He said if I be lifted up.

Furthermore...

1 Corinthians 1:22-24

22For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: (This is what people are doing today)

23But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

24But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (And this is what needs to be preached)

The good Cardinal failed.

Ticker said...

Duck says"Truly, I can't think of anything more dangerous than absolute religious belief."

That's the problem with secular humanism/relativist Duck, no absolutes but yet without absolutes secular humanist/relativism would not exist.

You can't logically argue against the existence of absolute truth. To argue against something is to establish that a truth exists. You cannot argue against absolute truth unless an absolute truth is the basis of your argument. Consider a few of the classic arguments and declarations made by those who seek to argue against the existence of absolute truth…

"There are no absolutes." First of all, the relativist is declaring there are absolutely no absolutes. That is an absolute statement. The statement is logically contradictory. If the statement is true, there is, in fact, an absolute - there are absolutely no absolutes.

Now duck, that would seem to make your statement pointless.

Karen Howes said...

"...it's the time when we "bring out the best in each other in our pluralistic society"...."the message we transmit is love and joy". He mentioned how we must 'share the Gospel'..............um, but he never did."

Precisely, Z. I was just about to have to reach for the vomit bag.

Christian leaders always talk about caring and sharing and warm fuzzy stuff, but they're afraid to mention the "s" word. Well said.

And I hope you're having a beautiful Christmas!

David Wyatt said...

Genuine love & joy come from the Holy Spirit, & He comes into our lives the moment we trust in Jesus Christ alone to save us from sin (Eph.1:12-13; Gal.5:22-23). So, joy is a by-product of that greatest Gift of all, Jesus Himself! (1 Jn.4:17-19)

Ducky's here said...

You can't logically argue against the existence of absolute truth.

------------

I can argue against knowing it and the place for skepticism. To fall into a habit is like ceasing to be.

WomanHonorThyself said...

long time no see..hope you feel better and had an amazing holiday Z! wer'e snowed under big time in NYC!!!

Z said...

L&O...I meant HE surprised me, not your comment. Most CHristian denominations are becoming taken over by Social Justice. It's a very beguiling term, isn't it? And most people don't understand it.

Pris, But he spoke for NO Christian denomination..he didn't mention salvation!

Ducky...whatever :-) really.
I try to picture attending church and trying to think of what the hell I DO BELIEVE that they're saying. That must be a toughie!

Z said...

WHT...sorry I haven't been around... Shingles HURTS and my blog's about the only writing I'm doing the last 3 weeks...not commenting anywhere else and I'm missing it, but my energy's zapped and the pain's pretty bad still intermittently.
GOOD LUCK WITH THE SNOW!!

Z said...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_obama_church

Oh my, oh my......."worshiping in private"..is the White House Brideshead now and there's a chapel there? How often do the Obamas go to Camp David?

Z said...

and, by the way, I really don't care WHAT the Obamas do as far as faith; just be HONEST about it...that's all.

Ticker said...

duck says"I can argue against knowing it and the place for skepticism."

No Duck you can't because to even argue knowing it would require an absolute.

You cannot argue against absolute truth( that includes any part of it unless an absolute truth is the basis of your argument. Even skepticism requires an absolute.

Duck as usual , you have no argument.

Layla said...

Very well written and said Z. Another little mentioned tidbit is that many fail to tell the flock in their church or those that come to listen to them preach is that the word "Gospel" means, "Good news." Are they preaching the good news? Are they really speaking about salvation and that Christianity was not supposed to be a religion, yes, that Jesus did not come to begin a religion, but bring salvation to the Jews first, then the Gentile. So much is missing from the church today Z. We must really do as we shop, really look hard and sample the preaching before we follow, and hopefully not blindly as so many people do. They just runaway with what they hear and do not think about it... God help us all and love you for this posting.

hugs...xo

Layla said...

Very well written and said Z. Another little mentioned tidbit is that many fail to tell the flock in their church or those that come to listen to them preach is that the word "Gospel" means, "Good news." Are they preaching the good news? Are they really speaking about salvation and that Christianity was not supposed to be a religion, yes, that Jesus did not come to begin a religion, but bring salvation to the Jews first, then the Gentile. So much is missing from the church today Z. We must really do as we shop, really look hard and sample the preaching before we follow, and hopefully not blindly as so many people do. They just runaway with what they hear and do not think about it... God help us all and love you for this posting.

hugs...xo

Layla said...

Wow, sorry Z, I am not sure how my comment posted two times....I did hit publish your comment 2 x's because it was not loading.

Confused on the East Coast..lol xo

Anonymous said...

"But he spoke for NO Christian denomination..he didn't mention salvation!"

Z, that's my point. Love and joy could be represented by any Christian denomination. He spoke with no specificity about Catholicism or biblical tenets. That's what I meant about speaking in generic terms.

Pris

beamish said...

With my mix of eclectic and assorted friends, sometimes my "Merry Christmas" (usually offered on Christmas Day) is met with "I'm not Christian" or "I celebrate Yule / winter soltice" or whatever.

My usual reply is something like "Well next time it rolls around, wish me a happy Yule. Merry Christmas anyway."

Anonymous said...

Official Catholic doctrine denies justification by faith. Council of Trent. They anathematized this tenet of the Reformation. They don't believe you can know whether you are saved or not. So in a sense they can't preach the gospel anyway.

beamish said...

Ticker,

I could argue against the existence of "absolute Truth" as long as that term remains undefined and undefineable. I think that's what Ducky's getting at. It's like trying to describe infinity without numbers or music without making a sound.

Z said...

beamish, I think "absolute truth" here is the pink elephant in the room and we all do know exactly what we're talking about, don't you?
Grace through Christ Jesus.

Anonymous: the Catholic church DENIES justification through faith, or just depends also on good deeds?? It DENIES it?

Pris..ya...I guess we're all getting into a Catholic discussion when, really, it's more that any Christian denomination's leader would leave out the Gospel......The guy this morning just happened to be Catholic.
ANyway, I THINK that's my thinking here :-)

beamish said...

beamish, I think "absolute truth" here is the pink elephant in the room and we all do know exactly what we're talking about, don't you?
Grace through Christ Jesus.


There is no pink elephant nor is there a room it is in.

An absolute truth would (or should) have a method of verification. Believing there's a monkey under the bucket is an absolute truth has a method of verification. You can falsify that there's a monkey under the bucket if you lift the bucket and find nothing or anything but a monkey.

"Grace through Christ Jesus" is not a testable claim in the empirical sense.

beamish said...

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1

Does your faith demonstrate the existence of God?

I think we all get kicked in the pants by that.

Layla said...

Hi sweetie. I know you are having a rough time so I am posting my response to you here from my blog so that you do not have to run all over the Internet...lol. Take it easy and be good to yourself. I can't speak for others, but I know yah love me if you visit or not! Not to worry!

I wrote:

"I will pray for you Z. You will recover due to early intervention. Headaches are the worst, like a bad toothache - they just are incredibly awful to endure.
But you are a survivor and remember your true friends do understand. Everyone has their ups and downs, but it is how you communicate in the aftermath and the gratitude to be alive, have our faith placed in Jesus, and know that we are all imperfect and have no right to play, god, judge, and jury. Take all the time and space you need dear one. You most most certainly do need and deserve it. Hugs....xo"


Love yah grrrly friend! :)

Anonymous said...

Denies justification by faith alone, which is the Reformation position. Council of Trend actually declared anathema against the Reformation for this position. If you add good deeds as necessary to salvation that's as good as denying faith alone anyway.

Also Mother Teresa refused to give the gospel to the dying Indians she took such good care of, saying all religions go to the same God. Vatican II in this case. So there's another reason Catholics don't give the gospel.

Z said...

Beamish, we can parse all we want; our faith tells us what absolute truth is. We don't have to believe it, but then we can't profess Christianity. As far as getting kicked in the pants, I do know friends whose faith does demonstrate the existence of God; maybe not every minute of every day, but these friends knock my socks off. And, I think we all have moments of that...and I think the whole idea is to strive for that. We can't blab about our faith unless we at least try to live lives worthy of it. That's my opinion, anyway.....I think it's right! :-)

Anonymous: Catholics say all faiths go to the same God? REALLY? So, Christianity is "one way" to God? Who knew? the Gospel says so differently!

Layla, thanks so much...I really appreciate that xxx

beamish said...

Beamish, we can parse all we want; our faith tells us what absolute truth is.

It's not about parsing. Our faith merely proclaims what we believe is absolute truth. It (alone) does not verify whether we are actually believing in something that is the absolute truth or not. Further, there's no way to objectively or absolutely verify the truth value of an expression of faith. Faith wouldn't be faith if the variables and factors were obvious, defineable, and verifiable.

But yeah, the Vienna Circle pretty much turned philosophy into a semantics game.

Always On Watch said...

The interviewer asked him about the message of Christmas and Wuerl said it's the time when we "bring out the best in each other in our pluralistic society"...."the message we transmit is love and joy". He mentioned how we must 'share the Gospel'..............um, but he never did.

The reticence of many Christians to say that Jesus is our propitiation for sins and, as the Son of God, bought our salvation with his blood has been replaced with the cousin of political correctness: religious correctness.

Is it any wonder that church pews see falling numbers?

Always On Watch said...

Duck mentioned Unamuno. That particular Spanish writer was forever experiencing an existential crisis.

From Wiki:

Unamuno summarized his personal creed thus: "My religion is to seek for truth in life and for life in truth, even knowing that I shall not find them while I live."

A Cardinal should be stronger than that in his faith -- particularly in public.

Ducky's here said...

Joy is finishing shoveling after a two footer.

Ducky's here said...

Well AOW, like evangelicals a christian existentialist puts an emphasis on an individual understanding of God.

As for existential crises, well, we all have them.

Always On Watch said...

Duck,
It seems to me that Unamuno had more than his fair share of existential crises.

BTW, back in college, I did study Unamuno in depth. You might be surprised to know that I did enjoy reading his work -- in the original Spanish, of course. IMO, his work doesn't translate well to English.

Z said...

"Ducky's here said...

Joy is finishing shoveling after a two footer"

This says a lot I didn't realize.
God bless you, Ducky.

Z said...

AOW: "A Cardinal should be stronger than that in his faith -- particularly in public."

It's rather like a team captain going out and telling his team he's pretty sure there's no chance of winning but go out and play, anyway....Yes, a Cardinal's job is to have it together in public; no thinking CHristian has no doubts EVER, in my opinion; though I have to admit, having said that, I've met some REALLY smart Christians who don't seem to doubt at all.
But, a good grasp of the gospel, a true understanding that we don't worship a God who's small enough for us to understand is a real help.

RedWood said...

"But there is a strain of Catholic clerics who are overcome by the social justice philosophy."


Ummmmm, would that be like..."I wanna be black like Jerimah? Pflager in Chicago?

Anonymous said...

"Joy is finishing shoveling after a two footer""

So after all the money this administration threw away, it's God who provides shovel ready jobs!
Imagine that!

Shoveling snow should be a nice change for you Ducky, you're usually shoveling something else.

Pris

Craig and Heather said...

What hit me is a reticence to share the Truth of Jesus Christ. (surely a Cardinal must think it's the Truth?!)

Morning, Z. I'm late to the party, and only skimmed the comments this time...

really appreciated Brooke's connection of Christmas with Easter, BTW!

My contribution is the observation that the Truth IS Jesus Christ. He is the centerpiece of all history and His very nature defines what is "good".

Personal experience: You can't effectively introduce an indivudual to someone you don't actually know. The concept of "witnessing" used to scare me to death, until I realized that a believer's entire life is their witness.
Interacting with people who live their faith impacts much deeper than simply listening to those who talk about having "faith". It's what finally got my attention, anyway.

Hope the season has been a blessing for you.

Heather

Craig and Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig and Heather said...

Life is doubt, and faith without doubt is nothing but death.
--- Miguel de Unamuno




Faith placed in anything other than God's promise of redemption through the risen Christ will most definitely create disturbance and that sort of faith needs to be stripped and discarded.



As for existential crises, well, we all have them

Ducky, have you considered that "existentialism" is the state of spiritual instability that is created when one abstracts the Truth into being a "thing" which we can somehow blindly grab hold of rather than a "Someone" who has first deliberately grabbed hold of us?

H

Z said...

Hi, Heather, good to see you ... my Christmas has been very nice tho tinged by my shingles...
I've got a wonderful event tomorrow thrown for me, so please keep the pain and itching in your prayers! I'm feeling well enough to go, thank God, but only just!

As for witnessing...it has to be how OUR LIFE IS CHANGED, doesn't it. Cracks me up when I see someone hold a BIble verse out to a nonbeliever "but it says THIS!" :-) Ya, it does.......but....
I've seen FAR FAR too many lives changed in such beautiful, dramatic, good ways once people come to faith that THAT is what I realize is THE best 'witness'.
"Faith without doubt is nothing but death". WOW

Craig and Heather said...

Oooh. I hear shingles is not fun. :(

Definitely will remember you.

"Faith without doubt is nothing but death". WOW

Questioning where one's faith has been placed--testing of that faith--doubting one's own ability to be "good enough"--rejecting religious systems which ignore Jesus as the only source of Truth....if that's what is meant by "doubt", I might actually agree with the statement. But somehow, I don't think that's what was being said.


Ducky's quote definitely made me sit back and go "Huh". But it's because, at one time, I was intimately acquainted with doubt concerning my own salvation.

And, the torment of being unsure was so distracting there was nothing I wanted more than to get rid of my "doubt". It wasn't evidence of life, it was killing me just a little more every day.

H

Anonymous said...

God IS Jesus Christ.

God and Christ are ONE.

God IS Love.

God IS Truth.

God IS Principle.

God IS Mind.

God IS Soul.

God IS Spirit.

God IS Life.

God and Jesus Christ ARE all these things, therefore all these things are SYNONYMOUS and INSEPARABLE from one another -- just as rays of the sun are inspearable from their source.

So, when Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life," etc. we could just as well translate and better understand that as:

LOVE is the way, the truth and the life

PRINCIPLE is the way the truth and the life

INTELLIGENCE is the way the truth and the life, etc.

So, when a cleric emphasizes the beneficence and joy that comes from Love, there's absolutely nothing missing in his thought and nothing the least "heretical" about it.

By leaving any acknowledgment of the Creator out of their thinking the secularists omit the ONE thing that makes a joyful, grateful, fulfilled, God-centered life possible and that is God, Himself.

Even so, those who ARE truly loving, who love and abide by Truth, who use Intelligence creatively and altruistically, while revering Principle and eschewing expediency ARE worshipping God and loving His only begotten Son in FACT -- whether they realize it or not..

This may in Truth bring one much closer to God than merely giving lip service to Doctrine. Doctrine is like the blueprint to a magnificent building. It takes a lot of honest, dedicated, practical, well-informed WORK to REALIZE the plan -- i.e. make it manifest.

HOW we live our lives has far more significance that what we SAY. And what we say about the way OTHERS live their lives may have no significance whatsoever, especially if we fail to practice what we preach.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

~ FreeThinke

Law and Order Teacher said...

Z,
I enjoyed the comments. I would agree with a lot of them although I disagree that Catholics don't teach the gospels. I listen to them at Mass everytime I go. The Council of Trent stated that the scriptures must be taught in a manner prescribed by the Church.

I know that gives pause to some, but I have no problem with the teachers of the Church teaching their members the scriptures.

The Council of Trent was an exhaustive series of meetings stretching over decades, convened to address many of the practices of the Church brought into the light by the Reformation. The doctrines of the Church were thus established.

Incidentally, the sanctioning of various documents is free, therefore it wasn't a money thing. It was a way of ensuring that the teachings of the Church were uniform and sanctioned.

Great discussion.

Anonymous said...

You may of course side with the Catholic Church against the Reformation but you should be aware that that's what you ARE doing and that you agree with their anathematizing of the doctrines of the Reformation. That makes you a Catholic and an anti-Protestant, siding against the martyrs who died at the hands of the Inquisition. Just so you know. People died for the doctrines that are still anathemetized by the popes.

Anonymous said...

The point is there is NO concordance between Catholic and Protestant possible. We have different gospels.

Craig and Heather said...

Doctrine is like the blueprint to a magnificent building.

Seems that doctrine ought to be of vital importance, then, as building sandcastles in hurricane territory isn't really a good idea.

HOW we live our lives has far more significance that what we SAY.

What we believe in our hearts not only determines both our speech and actions, but provides the motivation as well.

H

Z said...

Heather, doubt to me is taking is doubt, period. Doubting the whole enchilada. When not in doubt, I've never had a moment's feeling I wasn't saved..never. The doubting times are tough, I'm glad they're infrequent.
Funny, Corrie Ten Boom said "God, you'd have a lot more friends if you were nicer to the ones you've got!" I think that's hilarious but there's a seriousness which kicks in and becomes problematic when I see, for example, a very dear friend with a progressive disease who believes 1000% and never recovers, only gets new illnesses piled on her 'normal' one.....etc.
shingles "not fun"? Ya, 'not fun'. I hope you never know how 'not fun' and how long lasting they are.

FreeThinker.. it's all about salvation, THE greatest gift, which comes from His love. Happy New Year to you, too. BY the way, a Cleric's number one responsibility is to preach salvation and how we get it...without saving souls, love is utterly useless..utterly.

L&0, i have many devoted Catholic friends who are hugely knowledgeable about the Bible, particularly since they've been members of the Bible study I belong to...some have been members for over 40 years! Wonderful women who do a lot of charity work, etc.

Anonymous...I can't quite see how you say we have 'different gospels'

beamish said...

God is love
Love is blind
Ray Charles is blind
Ray Charles is God

just kidding ;)

Craig and Heather said...

God is love
Love is blind
Ray Charles is blind
Ray Charles is God

just kidding ;)


Erm.

Where did the idea that "love is blind" come from, anyway?

H

Leticia said...

I have never understood why people shy away from telling the truth about Jesus.

It is fear of rejection but in most cases, it won't get you killed or tortured, just maybe a few choice words from the person you are sharing your faith with, or losing a friendship.

The point is, the Lord was not ashamed of us, died for us and we should trust in Him to give us the right words and if we lose a friend over it, well, so be it. The seed has been planted and that is all we can do. God can do the rest.

I lost a few friends when I became a Christian, but to me that is an acceptable loss compared to eternity with my Savior.

beamish said...

Where did the idea that "love is blind" come from, anyway?

Shakespeare.

JESSICA: Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.
I am glad 'tis night, you do not look on me,
For I am much ashamed of my exchange:
But love is blind and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit;
For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
To see me thus transformed to a boy.
- The Merchant of Venice; Act 2 Scene 6

Anonymous said...

The different gospels have been discussed by so many in the Protestant camp for the last ten years I'm amazed some still don't know about it, and unfortunately I can't seem to remember the right terms to find it online but when I do I'll post it. Yes, justification by faith is NOT the Catholic gospel. You can't add works to faith and still be saved by faith. It's "another gospel" as Paul said. But I'll try to find some big names saying so since I'm nobody.

Anonymous said...

R C Sproul is one who is clear about the different gospels.

Here

And Heather's answer about doctrine/blueprint is priceless. Nailed it.

Anonymous said...

John MacArthur is another who recognizes the two different gospels.

Craig and Heather said...

Thanks Beamish.

Blind love is a poetic concept, isn't it? :)


Blind love can get surprised, though. I think I prefer a love that sees all yet keeps no record of wrongs.

That's the love that watches by the front door for the son who is known to be out wasting his inheritance and which runs down the front walk in order to welcome home with a party the bankrupt, sad, stinky, humiliated young man as he's busy practicing his "do you think I might be able to come back as a hired hand" speech.

You can't do better than a love that says "I see exactly what you are and I want you to be with me anyway" :)

H

Ticker said...

"You can't add works to faith and still be saved by faith. It's "another gospel" as Paul said." (anon said)

By grace are you saved , through faith, not of works, lest any should boast it is the Gift of God.

Faith is an action word. It requires movement, action.
James 2:18
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

One can have faith all day but until it is put into "work" it is of no use. You may have faith that your car will start but until you turn the key(work) it is of no use. Until you place it in gear(work) it will not go even if you have faith that it will take you from point A to point B. You will not go from point A to point B with out the faith that you will get there and the "work" it takes to get you there, in other words, an act of faith.

Paul's quote was this from Galatians Chapter 1: I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.

Z said...

Leticia, I've lost a few friends, too, and I've NEVER witnessed to them...they just didn't apparently like hearing I'd gone to church that Sunday or was teaching music at the church preschool, or had been the organist, etc...then add being a CONSERVATIVE on to the CHRISTIAN thing and they disappeared.
I can understand if someone beats them over the head with either point of view, but I never did. That, I know..
and, sadly..no loss.

Z said...

Anonymous..I've listened to MacArthur on Catholics ( on tape, tho many of my friends attend his church which is 30 min away from me) and felt sick to my stomach...he's hateful about Catholics and it kind of shocked me to tell you the truth.

So, after reading your info (and I thank you for the links) the point boils down to this.... because it's not FAITH ALONE with some Catholics (and I say SOME because BELIEVE ME, I know tons of Catholics who DO believe it's FAITH ALONE), that's a different gospel altogether? That's odd to me.. I know the GOOD WORKS thing can be troubling, as can some other things about the Catholic church when comparing Scripture to it, but maybe it's because I know SO MANY Catholic women who are totally reform and grounded in Scripture, I balk at the distinctions.
And, where the heck does anybody get off singling out Orthodox as NOT FAITH ONLY? I was lucky enough to be born into and raised in the Armenian Orthodox Church(still am, at heart) and am at a Lutheran church now because my husband was German Lutheran. There IS no more reform, SOLO FAITH, church than the church of Martin Luther and I have to tell you that the church service is almost word for word with the Armenian Orthodox church..FAITH ONLY. PERIOD.

Craig and Heather said...

Ticker:

Faith is an action word. It requires movement, action.
James 2:18
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.


If it's genuine faith, it works.

No question.

In Scripture, we can see that those who believed God acted upon this belief in obedience to what He showed them.

H

Z said...

Hi, TIcker...if you've got true Faith, you can't avoid doing good works :-)

Ticker said...

On the two different Gospels. from my study it is my opinion that one says that salvation is by faith and works alone while the other says it is by Grace alone. The scriptures tell us that it is by Grace , through faith(and faith is an action word) so some work must be done. What that work is presents a bone of contention among many denominations. Repentance is such a work it requires a changing of the mind, turning away from the old man as Paul states it and putting on the new Man or the newness of mind.
Are there two Gospels or is it just man's interpretation of them? The scripture is clear IMO, it is Grace, Faith and Repentance- a turning away(action thus a work) so a combination of the three according to the scriptures.
In the end, the Holy Spirit will show you the way and my opinion or the opinion of a thousand preachers won't amount to a hill of beans.
It's been interesting. Good night!

beamish said...

Blind love is a poetic concept, isn't it? :)

Or at least a significant rise in psychoactive chemical adrenal emissions in response to favored stimuli which may circumvent critical thinking and rational response reactions.

;)

Ticker said...

Want to read an interesting article on the subject what is faith or Have Faith in God?

http://1williamsplace.com/HaveFaith1/HaveFaith1.html

I think you will enjoy it. Again just opinion but based on scripture and not speculation IMO. Oh, I didn't write it..

Ticker said...

Or at least a significant rise in psychoactive chemical adrenal emissions in response to favored stimuli which may circumvent critical thinking and rational response reactions.

LOL you sure said a lot there. Consequences are sometimes a bit difficult to handle.

Craig and Heather said...

Or at least a significant rise in psychoactive chemical adrenal emissions in response to favored stimuli which may circumvent critical thinking and rational response reactions.

LOL



Don't apply for a job with Hallmark til after you've taken a course in sappy sentimentality. :P

Law and Order Teacher said...

Z,
I think that you and Ticker hit the nail on the head when you say that Faith is an action word and when you have faith you are moved to do good works. I have never been told that I have to do good works to get to heaven. I have been told throughout 14 years of Catholic school that I have to have faith to get to heaven. BTW, I really don't support the various violent Inquisitions. Really.

beamish said...

Don't apply for a job with Hallmark til after you've taken a course in sappy sentimentality. :P

The eumelanin in your irises
Send endorphins through me like viruses...

Craig and Heather said...

The eumelanin in your irises
Send endorphins through me like viruses...


Not bad...

if the effect you're looking for involves the recipient swooning as a result of oxygen deprivation brought about by laughing so hard.
:D

H

beamish said...

Ah well. Best I stick to sarcasm.

:D

Anonymous said...

I've heard quite a bit of John MacArthur and can't think of any time I thought he was "hateful" about anyone. When he criticizes Catholicism he isn't talking about individual Catholics, he's talking about official doctrine which individual Catholics may or may not even be aware of. Perhaps you heard a talk I've missed?

I think we are in danger of losing the whole meaning of the Reformation. People didn't fight and die over doctrine for no good reason. There are REAL differences between Catholicism and Protestantism that matter for eternity.

This isn't about individuals. There may be Catholics who have the right doctrine although their church doesn't. I can't think that Sproul, MacArthur, Begg and Horton could be misunderstanding this. Or all the Reformers for that matter, who all -- ALL -- pronounced the papacy to be "Antichrist."

beamish said...

I think we are in danger of losing the whole meaning of the Reformation. People didn't fight and die over doctrine for no good reason. There are REAL differences between Catholicism and Protestantism that matter for eternity.

I don't hold such a moderate view.

There are REAL differences between Catholicism and Christianity, not the least of which is Catholicism's worship of 10,000+ intercessory gods in the form of omnipresent and omniscient prayer-answering "saints."

Then there's that time you'll spend in Purgatory getting purified enough to go to Heaven eventually after you die because Christ's grace isn't enough to wash away your sins. Especially if you didn't set candles around that Mary-shaped hairball your cat barfed up.

Comparative theology is fun, but keep in mind Catholicism and Christianity are two very unrelated religions. They're both religions, but that's where the similarity ends. Sorta like comparing crude oil to port wine. They're both liquids, but the commonalities end there.

Linda said...

Beamish, I agree 100% with you. I was raised in the Catholic church, but when I was a teenager, I needed so much more than what the church was teaching. I went, by an invitation from a friend, to a conservative Baptist church, and heard the truth. It took me a long time to accept that all I needed was the grace of Jesus to save me. What a relief to know that HE is the way of salvation.

Those that don't believe have to be miserable. Thank you for explaining the differences so succinctly!

Anonymous said...

That's right, beamish, Catholicism is really just warmed-over paganism. Good you are able to come right out and say so.

Linda's testimony is typical of many Catholics. Thank you for sharing it. I try to be fair and think maybe some Catholics understand the truth in spite of their church, as even R C Sproul says is the case, but it's possible that even those Catholics in Bible study who seem to have the right doctrine may not if their church is continuing to influence them, and it would not be kindness to leave them in their false beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Seems we're getting off the topic, so for a reminder: A Cardinal is not likely to EVER give the gospel because of official Catholic doctrine, even if rank and file Catholics may sometimes do so.

Craig and Heather said...

Linda,

Both of my parents grew up Catholic, but neither are, today. Although they both agree that there are many teachings which are incompatible with evangelical Christian faith, my mom has specifically mentioned the personal relationship with Christ she has now as a primary difference.


Comparative theology is fun, but keep in mind Catholicism and Christianity are two very unrelated religions.

I'd go so far as to say that the Christian faith is not a religious system at all, in spite of the fact that there are so many religious traditions which have surfaced in practice. Some teachings are just plain wrong, and totally unsupported by Scripture...and the more elaborate the religious framework, the more difficult it can be to see that personally knowing Jesus Christ really is what we all need.


H

Scotty said...

Does your faith demonstrate the existence of God?

No, it does not but, the prophetic nature of the Scriptures validates that Jesus was indeed God and that justifies my faith that there IS a God!

Craig and Heather said...

A Cardinal is not likely to EVER give the gospel because of official Catholic doctrine, even if rank and file Catholics may sometimes do so.

Which is what makes this type of discussion such a prickly thing.

An understanding of official Catholic doctrine requires that an honest answer to Z's concern include the reality you and beamish pointed out.

The difficulty lies in lovingly speaking strongly against errant teaching while still allowing God to be the judge of individual souls.

H

Z said...

Anonymous; the tape of MacArthur which I heard stunned me and made me feel he was hateful.
Also, you're probably alluding to me when you say there are Catholics who I've said are 100% FAITH ALONE and that they are still being 'lied to' by their church. If their churches were preaching anything else, they'd be out of there..

My best friend was a Catholic who passed away from cancer six years ago. She had a church in San Francisco with a redeemed cross, no Christ hanging on it (not that I find that offensive, by the way, I sometimes wear crucifixes), her priest instructs them to pray TO Jesus and they learn Scripture......
She also did Stephens Ministry and went to shut-ins and gave them communion......
The Catholic women I know love the rituals of the church but the teachings are far far more reform.
I'm glad I didn't have to straddle that line between Orthodox and Lutheran...I'd have thought I would but it never once came up; all fell right into line and I'm more than happy to discuss this here as first-hand experience.

The difficulty lies in lovingly speaking strongly against errant teaching while still allowing God to be the judge of individual souls.

Heather says "The difficulty lies in lovingly speaking strongly against errant teaching while still allowing God to be the judge of individual souls."

I'm very grateful that most of you have not been hateful toward Catholics here as has happened in the past; we don't get anywhere when that happens...only GOD can judge and, frankly, unless we've been in every individual Catholic church throughout the land, we don't know how much 'errant teaching' of the past is still taught.
I appreciate all of you for participating on a higher level than we've had here in the past. Thank you very muchxxx

Craig and Heather said...

Z,

I can't speak about MacArthur myself, but have encountered several who have sat under his style of teaching and, while I cannot argue against what they have said, there is often a harshness that cannot be ignored. Even when I agree, the tone makes me cringe.



I'd have thought I would but it never once came up; all fell right into line and I'm more than happy to discuss this here as first-hand experience.

I'd love to hear your experience. My understanding of Orthodox Christianity is pretty limited, but it's been interesting to note that there are some of the Orthodox tradition who will say that both Catholic and Protestant branches are apostate...

That's obviously not you, so it would be refreshing to hear from one who has felt at home in both Orthodox and Protestant environments.

Z said...

Heather, I'm not so sure about Orthodoxy and other Portestant faiths...I'm talking strictly LUtheran in my comparison and there almost isn't any, even to the point of communion being the real blood and flesh of Christ, which I don't want to get into here...........

I will mention one thing, however; my lutheran pastor refuses communion to anybody who doesn't believe exactly as he does, saying that we are leading to sin anybody taking communion who doesn't regard it as THE blood and THE flesh which enters the wine and host through the pastor's words........SO, he looks at it as a kindness.
An Armenian Pastor I grew up with now serves communion to those who believe in Christ and only wish Communion......he then talks to them afterwards about "This is MY BODY...THIS IS MY BLOOD" (which is clearly said in Scripture), using it as a learning experience to explain the Orthodox attitude. This way nobody's 'condemned' to having no communion and someone's learning something! I like that way very much.
Because I was raised in the high ritual service of Orthodoxy, I feel at home in the Catholic church, too, I must admit. I grew up with incense (also Scripturally recommended) etc....
Lots to talk about ....but suffice it to say it's too big a topic for here.

I would like to get back to a man of the cloth dropping the ball on the Truth when given an audience of gazillions of watchers.
Rather like the night Larry King had Joel Osteen on and King looked Osteen in the eye and said "Are you saying nobody's gettin' to Heaven who doesn't believe in Jesus?" I think 20 million Christians held their breaths only to hear Osteen's response..
"Well, Larrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy...."
Boy, ask MacArthur that same question and HE tells the truth.
Oh. come to think of it, maybe that's why MacArthur suddenly hadn't appeared on the Larry King show the last few years :-)

Craig and Heather said...
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MK said...

Sounds like the good cardinal is more interested in what the jolly fat man will bring.

beamish said...

I don't have a problem with Catholicism's 10,000+ deities. Worship all you want. I happen to think Hinduism's thousands of deities and other pagan traditions form an aesthetically pleasing and poetic process theology. It's basically behavioral psychology without the hack Freud's cocaine habit at the microphone.

But, I'd have a problem with Hinduism if it claimed to be Christianity. Thus is my problem with polytheistic Catholicism.

The first Catholic "pope," the Pontifex Maximus and "vicar of Jupiter" Julius Caesar, knew what he was doing when he wedded religion to the state.

Christians have been fighting that proto-leftist, actual fascist garbage for over two millenia.

Craig and Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig and Heather said...

I would like to get back to a man of the cloth dropping the ball on the Truth when given an audience of gazillions of watchers.

Well, perhaps what he said reveals what he personally believes to be true?

The only answer I can come up with is from my own perspective that if one does not have assurance of a vibrant relationship with Christ, it's not likely (s)he will be jumping up and down to share with others. But that's only a guess as I'm unable to know for sure where he is, spiritually.

Boy, ask MacArthur that same question and HE tells the truth.

While I'm not a MacArthur groupie, it is known that he is adamant about maintaining a pure Gospel message. The difference between what he would have said set alongside the words of the Cardinal or Joel Osteen offers something to think about.

Christians have been fighting that proto-leftist, actual fascist garbage for over two millenia.

And the fight to preserve the integrity of the Christian faith will continue. Every true believer is engaged on some level.

H

beamish said...

It wasn't until the mid-1990's that the Catholic Church decided heliocentric celestial mechanics should be given equal time with their absurd psuedoscientific view that the universe revolves around the Earth.

No, the Catholic Church didn't repent of being scientifically wrong for the past 2300 years since heliocentrism was first proposed by Egyptian observers or the past 400 or so years since Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo confirmed it.

Now they, in their bloody handed magnanimity, consider actual scientific fact to be worthy of consideration next to their still deeply held false view.

You've got to dig deep into the primitive wilds of remote tribal villages to find scientific ignorance almost as rigidly institutionalized as in the religion of Catholicism.