Posts Tagged ‘catholic church’

Offending Judas

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for many fundamentalists is the beautiful but opulent churches that are so commonly associated with the Catholic faith. 20130217-194846.jpgThe common refrain goes along of the lines of “look at all that money they wasted on building a church when they could have put it to use helping the poor.”

“Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people? “Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.” (John 12:3-8 NASB)

Those who would criticize the Catholic church for its supposed vast riches and it’s use of large sums to built huge, ornate churches sound very much like the Apostle Judas, who criticized Jesus for allowing himself to be “pampered” with scented oil. Specifically, Judas lamented the fact that the oil could have been sold and given to the poor. That argument sounds oddly familiar, doesn’t it?

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No discussion of Catholic teachings and practices would be compete without mentioning saints.

20120903-175220.jpgFive hundred years removed from the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, the Saints of the church are the subject of mass confusion, false accusations, and charges of paganism and polytheism against the Catholic faithful.

What Saints Aren’t

Perhaps the best place to start, then, is to talk a little about who the saints aren’t. They are not demons. They are not lesser gods. They are not subjects of worship or adoration. And they most certainly are not unbiblical or unorthodox.

So What is a Saint

So who exactly are these saints, then? The word “saint” is a shortened and transliterated form of “sanctified,” which means “set apart.” In English, as in other languages, we understand this to mean a holy person. In our Christian understanding, anyone who is in Christ is a saint.

Saints are all around us; our family, our friends, the people with whom we worship. If they are truly in Christ, then they are bound for heaven and are therefore a saint in the sense that they are a faithful believer. On this point, almost all Christians agree.

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The great Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman is often quoted as saying “To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.”

20120903-103549.jpgCardinal Newman should know. He began his religious career as a prominent priest in the Church of England. He set out with the purpose of reforming the Anglican Church and returning to it the doctrines, practices and beliefs of the early Christian church. As he studied history and the beliefs of Christians throughout history, he became compelled to enter into full communion with the church of Rome.

He is not alone. Countless bible-believing Christians year after year are faced with the same wonderful truth when they study history. Despite what many fundamentalist churches teach and what so many non-denominational Christians want to believe, the historical evidence is overwhelming that the Catholic church is in fact the very same church that has continued through the ages, from before Jesus’ death on the cross even until today.
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