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Re: Blasphemy and Accusatory Snide Remarks! Dog

Posted by Dena on December 16, 2003, at 10:46:12

In reply to Re: Blasphemy and Accusatory Snide Remarks! Tovah, posted by Dog on December 16, 2003, at 8:53:15

Dear Dog -

I appreciate your perspective, & I understand it. I once shared your perspective, because it was what I had been taught.

I was taught by my previous spiritual mentors that the Catholic & Orthodox churches were full of empty, ritualistic, religious practices, & that they weren't "true believers", with few exceptions. I was taught that the Church was dead & cold from the time the Apostles died until the Reformation, with few exceptions. I believed all of this, because I'd been taught by people I trusted. I believed it in the way a small child believes whatever their parents tell them, without questioning it. But, if a child believes as an adult, just because their parents said so, without exploring why they believe, they will never make it their own beliefs. In the same way, if a person believes what they've been told without exploring why, they're just parroting what they've been told.

Bottom Line: All people who recognize Jesus to be the Messiah, who believe Him to be their Savior & Lord, are Christians. They may describe it in different terms, they may have experienced different types of conversions, but they now belong to the same Body, the same Church, regardless of which church they attend. I am in that Body, Dog. And because you say you are, I believe you are, too. Only God knows the hearts of men - only God knows who truly belongs to Him (which is why we are not to judge). But we're in the same family, Dog, & it is to our shame if we argue against each other from a position of pride.

As in all families, when a disagreement arises, both sides need to be heard fully in order to get a true perspective. So it is within the Church family. As a Protestant, I was taught only one side of church history, only one perspective. I accepted it as truth, because others had said so, & had written so. I read numerous books, listened to numerous teachers, but they were all of the same persuasion, Protestant, so I had a very limited one-sided perspective. Proverbs is clear that a person who listens to & believes only one side of a disagreement is a fool (not my word, but the word of Solomon).

Through a process of God-led steps, I came to understand that I'd been taught only part of the truth. I came to realize that I had to get information from the "other side" (Catholic & Orthodox), from their perspective, in order to get a clearer understanding. I had to let go of many lie-based biases that I'd believed for so long. I had to repent for my pride, my blindness & my presumptions. I had to repent for the hatred I'd held against other members of the very Body of Christ! Once I'd repented, it was as if scales fell from my eyes, & I saw things my pride had hidden from me before. It was as if I had to learn a new language in order to understand what was being taught & practiced in the Catholic & Orthodox churches; without understanding the "language", I had believed things wrongly - they'd been misinterpreted.

I had to go back to the earliest writings of the Church, written by the Apostles & those whom they discipled (this was before the Bible had been canonized, but believe me, Jesus established a Church that was able to stand true, even without written scriptures - He had taught them the Traditions that were intended to uphold Truth -- Traditions which were intended to be revered along with the written scriptures). I couldn't avoid the question: If Protestantism was the whole truth, why were there so many thousands of divisions within Protestantism - with so many of them showing hatred toward the others?

What I learned initially blew me away - it took me out of the carefully-guarded comfort zone that I'd been in in the Protestant churches. I began to understand the importance of Tradition & of spiritual authority - things I'd been taught to disdain. I'd been taught a sort of "revisionist history" of the Church. The true history is so much more rich, deep, mysterious & powerful.

There is truth in the Protestant Church (but not the whole truth) - there is much good there for the whole Body (but not all of the good) - even the Catholic Church recognizes it & encourages it's members to learn from the Protestant emphasis on evangelism, fellowship, knowing Jesus personally, & personal Bible study. In fact, the Catholic Church refers to the Protestants as "separated bretheren" - recognizing them as part of the same family. I've personally heard & read from many Protestants who describe Catholics as "heretics, cultists" & worse -- as well as describing the Catholic Church as the "whore of Babylon" & "the antichrist". Quite a stark contrast of grace versus pride.

I encourage you to go outside of your comfort zone & study some writings about the Catholic Church (& the Orthodox Church) written from the Catholic & Orthodox perspective, rather than limiting yourself only to the Protestant sources. There's really nothing to be afraid of - there's nothing contagious. I especially recommend reading some of Scott Hahn's books (he converted from Protestantism to Catholocism, his web site: http://www.mindspring.com/~darcyj/files/drhahn.html), as well as Peter Gilquist's books (he converted from Protestantism to Orthodoxy. More about Orthodoxy: http://www.orthodoxnet.com/orthodoxy/discover.html). Both of these men were raised Protestant, so you could relate to their understanding & their "language", yet perhaps come to see what they've learned in their journies.

Again, there's nothing to be afraid of. These men love Jesus with their whole hearts. These men are part of your family - you should hear what they have to say.

It troubles me greatly that we, you & I, who are part of the same Body of Christ, should be perceived by the world to be at odds with each other, & even resorting to anger, accusations & name calling. How will they "know we are Christians by our love", if we cannot show each other love? I am deeply ashamed of my own prejudices against members of His Body, of my judgements against the things I do not understand, of my sense of "being better" than others. I desire more humility, more mercy, more grace, more love toward all who call on the name of Jesus.

The Church is supposed to be salt & light in this world. We're supposed to be making a difference in this world. We're supposed to reflect Him.

How do you think the world sees us? Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us!

Shalom,
In His Love,
Your sister,
Dena


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poster:Dena thread:289364
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/faith/20030908/msgs/290506.html