More Disobedience, and Self Justification
Over at Father Tim Moyle's blog, Where the Rubber Hits the Road, Father Tim and I have been engaged in our usual dialogue (from our perspective) with a fallen away Catholic - born again Christian named Wayne (Small Town Guy) about salvation. I say dialogue from our perspective, because as a dialogue it is pretty one sided. We have STG hammering at us about what he and many others view as the perfidy of the Roman Catholic Church, trying to tell us what scripture says that proves the Holy Mother Church's errors. We, in turn, though I tend to get my dander up periodically, respond to him as though he were asking questions, rather than leveling accusations.
Our friend is a bible believing Christian - sola scriptura, and sola fide are his watchwords. So, tradition - out, though everything he throws at us is old news, and therefor is tradition among fundamentalist Christians. I guess that tradition is in, if you don't call it tradition, but out if you use the "T" word.
At one time, I urged him to treat Father Tim with respect and call him by his name in the Church, ie. Father Tim. He, of course came back with the old line "Call no man father," which he chooses to take very literally. I wonder if he learned any things at the knee of the man who contributed the sperm to his mother's (I think we can call his mother - mother) egg, thereby making him a man, though probably not the "father" to the children he sired. Maybe he lets them call him Dad.
Frankly, the commentary back and forth is tiring and circuitous. If it were truly a dialogue, there would be give and take, back and forth, respect for one another's thoughts, beliefs and even positions on matters. Father Tim has displayed great patience, me not so much.
But, recently, I had a breakthrough in my own thinking which resulted in the following comment to some of our friend's attempts to prove his case:
The Catholic Church did not invent dogmas on faith. The dogmas that exist are the continuation of the Church that Christ created in the beginning. It is an irrelevant point that that Church came to be known as the Roman Catholic Church. It is the same Church from the beginning until today, and tomorrow as well.
It cannot be REFORMED. It can be and should be admonished for the sins of leaders who were on the wrong path, but you cannot REFORM the Church that Christ created, by His own words.
The sacraments were created by Christ, not by man, and are part of the whole deposit of faith that He gave to the Church. The apostles taught and lived the sacraments. Though the form might vary somewhat from the beginning, the substance has never changed, and never can or will. We mere mortals cannot change one jot or tittle of what Jesus did for us, or instructed us to do. It is not our Church, but His Church.
Surprisingly, he did not address this directly, but carried on hammering away.
I have pondered this statement, as I have many made by Father Tim. The statements from our friend Wayne have caused me to dig deeper into my own faith, always a useful exercise.
But, let us step back to the fundamental area of disagreement. Over 500 years ago, Father Martin Luther, a Catholic priest set his sails up against the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, and in his own wisdom, declared that the Church was in error. In point of fact, there were errors going on, and there were many leaders of the Church that were engaged in political power struggles, rather than in the business of winning souls for Christ.
The main difference between Jesus Christ and Martin Luther is that Jesus was obedient to the Father even unto death. He taught us to pray for our leaders, to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to obey those in authority over us. Sure, it was easy for Him. He was God, and He was obeying God. Easy, I guess, if you consider that His obedience led to a most excruciating death on the Cross. He could have easily said to the Father; "No. I think we can do it another way." He did not.
Human leaders in all cases, Pope, boss, senior co-worker, business owner, school board trustee, are sinners all. All fall short of what God has in store for them and us. The Popes of Martin Luther's day were sinners, maybe worse sinners than some, though all sin is offensive to God.
Martin Luther disobeyed authority that was given by God to the leaders of His Church. He gave birth to the reformation movement by his disobedience, and yet many hail him as a hero. Does that seem odd to anyone out there? It sure does to me.
So, the reformation movement was basically founded on a lie, and it grew. Pretty soon, man's pride overtook the sin of disobedience, and the evolution of the reformation movement has resulted in 30,000, yes thirty thousand different denominations. When folks disagree with the principles and practices of a particular denomination, they start another one, about 60 a year or so, when you do the math.
I am not one to cast stones when it comes to disobedience. I have been very disobedient in my life time, nothing I can think of in the last 30 seconds or so, but the day's still young.
When I am disobedient to authority, OK call it what it is. When I sin, people notice, and are hurt by it.
We are called to "Be holy for I am holy." That's God speaking to us, telling us what He expects us to BE. We are made in His image and likeness, so what else would He ask of us.
In the non-Catholic Christian world are millions of faith filled believing souls, seeking to do the right thing day in and day out.
But, how many on either side of the Christian equation are seeking to be holy because our God is holy. No, it is far easier to point a finger at our brother and say, he does not get it. He is not saved. He is going to hell. That is far easier than to pray, fast, love.
Yesterday, I was at Costco, and I saw one of the new 3D TVs there. The picture is awesome, and very much more real than our 2D TVs. God is very much 3D. We are at best 2D in our comprehension of him, and then our picture is very, very tiny. When we try to limit God's revelation to the bible, we are trying to make Him 2D. When we try to limit him to our feeble understanding of scripture, and teaching, we again try to make him 2D.
We are all His body here on earth, none of us more loved than another, and yet we try to brow beat each other into doing it OUR WAY, proclaiming that it is His Way.
You are free to share your beliefs with me, and I will attempt to treat them respectfully. You are free to ask me about my beliefs or listen to me share them with you.
But, do you (whoever you are) really think that you have such a unique line on God that you know all there is to know about His plan for my life?