An offended Catholic sounds off - 06/01/2003
I came across your website while trying to find research on Hinduism for my college Religions course. I am a practicing Roman Catholic and am offended not only by the fact that my faith has been discredited, but also some of the oldest religions in the world!! The Catholic Bible does have more books than the Protestant Bible, but that is because when the different Protestant sects broke off they discarded the books that were not relevant to their changing Christian beliefs. Therefore making the "Catholic Bible" the Bible that Protestants built their faith upon (minus the books that they threw out). Please do not forget that the CENTRAL Protestant beliefs are in place because they were once part of the Catholic Church (are your ancestors, therefore, "cult" members?). I have neither lost sight of Jesus, nor my faith in Him (as you sighted in one of your posted responses to an ex-Catholic as being one of the things Catholics tend to do). Protestants are apt to take the Bible literally without any second thoughts that It was compiled 2000 years ago and translated hundreds of times by man. While the books in the Bible were divinely inspired, were the translators as well?? Protestants warn of idolatry all the while idolizing the Bible. Jesus lived a short life of COMPASSION and LOVE for EVERYONE. He taught that one should not judge his neighbor. Living in the Bible Belt, I've dealt with my fair share of name-calling from Protestant members simply because i'm Catholic. They wear their "What Would Jesus Do" bracelets while slinging insults at those that have a different faith. Is it not the same to post a website praising Jesus and all of His teachings, but then judge and label other religions as "cults"? I think if you tried studying other religions with an open mind (instead of immediately conjuring up debates of why they are "cults") you would find that many of them were founded with the same love and compassion that Christianity was.
I do not wish to receive a reply from you on this. I realize that you're probably chomping at the bit to rebut everything I've just said b/c that is what you're practiced at doing. So if you can't resist, then by all means, send a reply so that you feel justified. My purpose was not to offend you, only show you that placing judgement on people and religions of any kind is not only presumptuous (you have not LIVED these religions, and no amount of studying them will give you the real experience of them), but seemily not a very Christian thing to do.
CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:
Hi Kathy. Thanks for writing Contender Ministries. I know you did not want a reply, but when you write to us you're likely to get one.
I take it your religions course does not teach much history. The Protestants have rejected inclusion of the Apocrypha for the same reason that the Jewish scribes did and for the same reason that St. Jerome initially objected to their inclusion. The numerous historical and chronological errors within the apocrypha indicate that they are not divinely inspired books, and therefore not scripture. God is not the author of error. The Apocrypha was canonized by the Roman Cathlic Church in large part because it supported some of the unique Roman Catholic doctrines, where the Bible accepted by the Jews and Protestants does not. My faith is not based on Roman Catholicism. Rather, it is based on the untainted teachings of Jesus and the disciples of the first century church. Much of what is current Roman Catholic doctrine came about centuries after that! Both Protestantism and Catholicism share a common base, but Catholicism allowed pagan practices to enter into Catholic orthodoxy.
We do not "idolize" the Bible. The Bible has no supernatural powers. It was, however, divinely inspired and supernaturally protected throughout the centuries. You suggest that perhaps the books were divinely inspired, but were screwed up in translation. At least, that is a possibility in your eyes. Yet God promised that His Word would stand. You think God would give us His Word, and allow human beings to botch it up? That seems to me to be laughably improbable. Jesus Christ - God incarnate - said in Matthew 24:35, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." He did not end that with a caveat of, "unless some bumbling scribe mistranslates everything someday." The Word of God is not supernatural, yet it has been supernaturally sustained by the Almighty Creater and Sustainer of the universe. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has confirmed that the scriptures have been kept miraculously compliant with the ancient texts and autographs (original writings). For more information on this, I encourage you to read "Is My Bible the Inspired Word of God" by Edward W. Goodrick. The "Evidence That Demands A Verdict" books by Josh McDowell are excellent as well.
I'm sorry that you've been persecuted for your beliefs. I have as well. Jesus did teach love and compassion for everyone. He also taught us to not judge others. He taught more than that though. He told us that He will stand in divine judgement of all of us someday. What will He judge? Our works? How much we tithe or how pious we act? Perhaps how tolerant we are of others? No, what he will judge is how many people listened to his words in John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me." [emphasis added]. He will judge people who heeded His word in John 3:17-18, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." [emphasis added]. Jesus also said in Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Jesus also warned us to be on guard against false prophets who would try to deceive us (Matthew 7:15, 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22). Your philosophy of tolerance and inclusion seems to be that all religions have equal moral footing and should not be criticized. Jesus' philosophy of tolerance was different. He loved all people, and taught us to do the same. Yet He also taught that there is right and there is wrong, and the only path to salvation is through Him. He taught us that we are to share His gospel with the world (Matthew 28:18-20). You say that it is "not a very Christian thing to do" when we judge other religions. In light of the scriptures, I must disagree. It is a VERY Christian thing to judge false religions that give decent people a false hope. It is a Christian thing to show people that Jesus is THE way, and the gate is narrow, and this is how you find it! It would be decidedly UN-Christian and UN-loving to allow someone to ride the broad road to destruction, simply because we don't want to risk offending someone.
I hope this has answered your questions and concerns. Once again, thank you for sharing with us. May the Lord bless you and illuminate His Word to you in your studies.
Ben and Jennifer Rast