Saturday, September 16, 2006

Questions about Protestant beliefs

I HAVE A FRIEND WHO HAS ALMOST THOUGHT ABOUT JOINING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. BUT SHE THINKS PURGATORY "IS NOT IN THE BIBLE" THEREFORE MADE UP BY CATHOLICS. WELL, IT IS NOT IN HER BIBLE BECAUSE SHE IS READING A PROTESTANT BIBLE OF COURSE. mEANWHILE THIS IS BRICK WALL FOR OUR CONVERSATION BECAUSE SHE CAN'T FIND IN THE BIBLE!... ANY IDEAS ON WHAT TO SAY TO HER?” If you refer her to the biblical references I provided in my post on August 29 as well as the ones that Ty Roach added, she should find some of them, at least. She is right, though, the word “purgatory” is not in the Bible. Neither is “salvation by Scripture alone” (a main credo of Protestantism). Ask her where it says in the Bible to “only believe what is in the Bible”?

My problem is when I talk with my Protestant friends, they said that Mary had other children beside Jesus, according to Mat. 13:55-57. Please explain.” One blogger answered this well:
“Matthew 13:55-57: the primary language of Jesus' time was ARAMAIC. Aramaic was a very simplistic languange in which one word like "brothers" could mean cousins, aunts, grandmas and so on. In the Greek translation of the bible, the aramaic word for "extended family" became brothers. If we go back to what Jesus' to the fact that Jesus spoke in Aramaic, the aramaic term in this situation simply meant extended family”. I agree with this answer, and the Church interprets "brother" primarily to mean "cousin" from this passage in Matthew. As far as I know, this translation was not questioned for the first 1500 years of Christianity. It was not until the Protestant Reformation that this passage and so many others from Sacred Scripture were either seriously questioned or changed altogether by those who formulated new theologies in "protest" to the Church.

“What I don't understand is that if the protestant credo of 'once saved, always saved' is true, would that mean that after one is 'saved' one could theoretically convert to Islam or Hinduism or something really radical like Catholicism and still be saved?” I don’t understand it either! Yes, you are right, that would be the logical conclusion. Also, the “saved” person could theoretically do whatever he wanted – break commandments, ignore the poor, reject the Gospel entirely – he still is saved. I exaggerate to make the point that “once saved, always saved” denies free will and all of Christ’s teachings about actions required to get to Heaven – e.g., taking care of the poor in Mt 25. “Once saved, always saved” is another example of faith with no reason.

Protestants seem to say the Christians are saved at a moment in time - like when they say a certain prayer proclaiming CHrist as their Lord and Savior. A lot of them think, once saved, always saved. My understanding is that Catholics believe we are only saved because of Christ's death on the Christ and that we are in a constant state of conversion if we are following the faith. So we are not ‘earning’ it, but we know that we can lose salvation by mortal sins(out of a state of grace). Is this right?” We are saved by the Grace of Christ, yes. But, our participation is necessary. In other words, I have to freely choose to receive Christ and His Sanctifying Grace (mainly through the sacraments He has instituted). I truly am free to choose to accept Christ or reject Him. To choose Heaven or Hell. A choice for Heaven is the person’s free will and the Grace of God. A choice for Hell is the person’s free will only. What that means is that every good choice I make is God and me; I can only take credit for being open to His Grace. Every bad choice is all me; I have freely chosen to reject God and His Grace.

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