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What Shakes My Faith December 16, 2006

Posted by betweennaps in Christianity.
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I recently came across a college friend’s blog (whom I no longer keep in touch with), and I learned that he converted to Catholicism.  In college, I didn’t know him well, but we were in the same fellowship and we attended the same church.  I have a deep respect for him both in terms of his character and his critical thinking skills.

When people I know convert to another religion other than Christianity (as I know it), I often think that it’s because they don’t really understand the Christian doctrine.  But this guy knew the faith.  He understood Christianity theology better than I ever have.  His wife (who also converted) went on a full time missions trip after college.  It makes me wonder if there’s something I could be missing.

I think that my faith should be strong enough to stand up to challenges – that’s how I know I’m believing in the right thing.  Thus said, I’ve decided to read Rome Sweet Home by Kimberly and Scott Hahn over Christmas break.  The couple that wrote the book were both fairly hard-core protestants before converting to Catholicism, so I think that perspective will be helpful.

Am I seriously thinking about converting to Catholicism?  Not yet.  But I think it will be interesting to re-examine it after having grown up in the Catholic church, and then converting out.  Without having done any research into the merits of Catholicism, my main beef with it is that it’s very impersonal and maybe as a result of that, I see very little in the way of the “fruit of the Spirit” in the Catholics that I know.  (Not that there aren’t screwed up Christians, but as a whole.)

What I do believe: I (along with the rest of humanity) am a sinner, and I deserve to go to hell.  Jesus Christ is the son of God, who came to earth to die for my sins.  There’s nothing that I alone can do to reconcile myself to God.  I believe that I am saved through faith alone, but that faith without works means that my faith is dead.  I believe in the trinity and that only through Christ Jesus can men get to heaven. 

I don’t really know how God wants me to manifest my faith, although this is no excuse to be complacent and do nothing.  “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall finid; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” –Matthew 7:7.  Amen.

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Comments»

1. diana - December 16, 2006

I have often debated myself about catholicism and which type of Christianity to follow. But in the end it comes down to the same answer, “leave everything else and just follow me”. Following Jesus is the first thing and he didn’t label anybody. Church is church, brothers are brothers, the bride is the bride and we all love the King. Who decides whether one type of Christianity is “more right” than another? It is Christ who matters first.

🙂
I realise this is a surface-view on Christianity and some people find it important to find a church they can learn and grow best in, for that I would just say go to a church that exalts Christ above all things, that brings you to Christ broken and joyful, in love and in awe.

God bless you 🙂
Diana

2. daproffessor - December 16, 2006

this is one of the problems with religion…Christianity is often viewed as merely a religion…and if that is all there is to it then it really doesn’t matter does it…but there is more to the story and religion is usually formed around the preferences of men…one man thinks women shouldn’t wear pants or think and forms a church built around what He thinks is righteous and Holy…that is why Jesus never endorsed any religion…but simply tells us to pick our crosses and follow Him…

What I do believe: I (along with the rest of humanity) am a sinner, and I deserve to go to hell. you are right…where people begin to disagree is on the remedy for their sinfulness…and there is only one and that is Jesus Christ…I think that within many Christian Denominations are people who are commited to a relationship with God through Jesus Christ…it’s time that we begin to make the distinction between relationship with God…and religious affiliation…because relationship with God through Jesus Christ equates to Christianity…but church affiliation doesn’t always equate to being a Christian….as the old cliche says…”going to church no more makes you a Christian…just as going into a barn doesn’t make you a horse;)

3. diana - December 16, 2006

very well worded, you’re so right. 🙂 I love that “old cliche” I hadn’t heard it before but I might remember to quote it now 🙂

4. betweennaps - December 16, 2006

Thanks for your comments, guys. It’s nice to know someone’s reading what I write! =)

I definitely agree that God wants us first and foremost to love Him. I also believe that “the Church” in the Bible refers to the body of believers and not any particular denomination.

I’ll have to give this more thought and prayer, but I guess one thing that makes me wary of the “as long as I love God” attitude is that I’ve met many people who call themselves Christians who think that there’s no point in going to church at all. They think that their personal relationship with God should be just that – personal. I think that when people aren’t connected to any sort of body of believers, this leads to all sorts of bad doctrine and lack of accountability. Of course I’m streching your comments totally out of context, but I guess my question would be, where do you draw the line?

I have one other thought floating around in my head. Say for example, the Catholic church is the one true church that Jesus started (as they say). In that case, if I were God, I’d want my followers in the Catholic church. If I want to love and obey God to the best of my abilities, wouldn’t I want to join that church?

5. diana - December 17, 2006

one thing that makes me wary of the “as long as I love God” attitude is that I’ve met many people who call themselves Christians who think that there’s no point in going to church at all.

That would be me. I don’t go to church at all. I come from a conservative hindu family and I am very open about my faith to them, they know I am christian and they know nothing can shake my love for Jesus. But it is a very delicate social issue where I come from, and there is actually logically more advantage in not going to church on sundays. I love my family and I want them to be saved, making them hate Jesus for “compelling me to go to church” would totally not help my cause. I keep in touch with christians in other ways, I love our family and I use my blog to communicate a lot with christians. Catholics, protestants, whatever- the point is always Jesus. Now I KNOW that God did not set up the Catholic church as his only church, some of their doctrine is not something that my mind can reconcile with the Bible much. But these are the things I stand on:

Jesus: I have (already) made everything known to you…
[implied: no continued revelation happens through the catholic church]
Jesus: Hold on to what you have till I return…
[read it in context in Revelation, first few chapters somewhere- its great]
Paul: There should be no divisions in the church, all belong to Christ
[this was when people started saying “I belong to this one and that one” and Paul said WE ALL BELONG TO CHRIST, PERIOD”]

And finally,
Jesus: God is spirit, therefore seekers must worship him in spirit and in truth.

That means… it doesnt matter what church you go to. You can go to the best church and be most distant from God, (ref Judas Iscariot) or you can be away from the church and still be loved and healed and saved by Jesus (ref syrophonecian woman, Samaritan woman, woman caught in adultery, Matthew the tax collector, Zacchaeus the tax collector, etc)

I think church is great, being in touch with believers is AWESOME. It’s a huge blessing. But we are no longer under any LAW. All we do comes from love. Jesus was all about love. I don’t believe that Jesus would DIE on a CROSS for us, become sin for us and then drive out those who dont come to him as catholics. What makes a catholic different? What makes the “true church of God”? How do you “test the spirits”? Is it by historical record or by Biblical prophecy? Would you trust scientific logic and reason (historic record and explanation) or the scriptures that simplify everything to the single point of LOVE?

🙂
God bless you and I hope you are joyful with whatever you choose, just live for God’s glory as you believe is right already, and He will work everything out for you.
Love,
Diana

PS- want to clarify again that fellowship is a GREAT blessing and I seek it as much as possible, but if there is a situation where my pursuit of fellowship would show less love than my sacrificing it, I would prefer to sacrifice fellowship for the sake of the love that Jesus shows me on the cross. 🙂

6. Sola Scriptura and Other Points of Confusion. « Between Naps - February 6, 2007

[…] treading on dangerous ground.  Unfortunately, I don’t know which.  After I finished reading Rome Sweet Home, instead of deciding that Catholicism is definitely stupid, I want to know […]

7. michael - February 6, 2007

concerning, “what shakes my faith.” I resonate with the spirit of a Protestant who can tell you, “this is what i believe,” but seriously considers what other paradigms have to say. The beautiful thing is that, as I’m sure you are quite aware, we find in Patristic Christianity a model of Christian thought and practice which doesn’t really fit with either Roman Catholicism or Protestantism, but which can be appealed to by both to support thier interpretations of Chrisitanity. How much have you read the early church fathers? (emphasis on early?) They have helped me answer some of the questions you adress. They have also helped me see beyond normal Protestant ways of thinking without leading me to convert to Catholicism, by virtue of the fact that the Chrisitanity they describe transcends both. I throw that out for whatever it’s worth. God bless seekers like yourself.


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