Monday, October 23, 2006

The Church is Our Mother

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.
- Lenny Bruce

I wonder how many Protestants would agree with that quote. No, to be honest I don’t wonder. I’ll tell you right away that most of them think that this quote has some good meaning to it. They like to separate the idea of ‘religion’ and ‘personal relationship’. How is it that an obscene, perverse comedian with very worldly orientations could say something so antagonistic towards the church and yet be accepted by many so-called Christians?

I became aware of this quote upon hearing it from a Protestant who was passing it along by email as if it were worth something.

He cannot have God for his father, who has not the Church for his mother.
- St. Cyprian

How about that for a quote? You can find this early on in the Catholic catechism. Do people stray from the church, losing this baggage of ‘religion’ to pursue the true personal relationship that God has intended? Let me put it in laymen’s terms: NO. As stated before in my posts on Sola Fide, Scripture never replies to the question of ‘how to be saved’ by saying ‘just believe’ and it certainly never mentions anything about having a ‘personal relationship’ as having anything to do with salvation. The Chuch is there to guide us.

An analogy I like to use is this: The world is like living (as a child) in a stranger’s house. In this house there are many other children and there is but one adult (the wife). The husband is away on a long journey but has left specific instructions in writing. Who interprets the instructions? The children? No, the wife! What if she is wrong? Of what concern is it to the children?! Will the husband condemn the children for the error of his own wife?! Furthermore will the husband return to find that you have disobeyed his wife continually yet consider you guiltless? Such is the situation of the church. We know that the Church is the bride of Christ. When Christ returns, He will enforce by His power what the Church (His bride) has maintained for the 2,000 years since He left. Jesus Himself said this very thing(1).

And it's not that the wife (the Church) is even wrong. Christ (the Husband) has sent His Spirit as a helper to guide the Chuch into truth. Yet even if that weren't the case, the analogy above should show that the Church (and yes.. gasp.. organized religion) is right and the individual is wrong. There is no risk in obedience to the Holy Catholic Church. This individualism we see in Protestantism and with false Catholics (like John Kerry & Rudy Giuliani) is for purely rebelious reasons.


Dave Gudeman said...

As I'm sure you are aware, few protestants would agree that the Church referred to in the new testament is the Roman Catholic Church.

Also, I don't think any protestants teach that a personal relationship with God is a means to salvation. Rather it is the goal of a godly life.

Finally: Acts 16:30 (KJV)And [the jailer] brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

TheGodFearinFiddler said...

You're right (at least I immagine so) that there isn't anything in writing from any denomination that states a personal relationship as being a requirement for salvation. But I garuntee you if you were to ask 100 evangelicals "do you have to have a personal relationship with Christ to be saved?" the answer will be yes. And I have heard it said by a number of Protestants on various occasions.

Thanks for that verse. Its something to think about. But remember, that is one example amoung many others which require action. In every other example that I can think of, when asked the question the answer always contains an action. In fact, most of the time it doesnt even say anything about believing at all.

When they asked Peter he said "Repent and be baptized", when the rich man asked Jesus He said "keep the commandments" and later "sell all your belongings and give to the poor" etc...

Furthermore, directly after this encounter the man & his family are baptized. Perhaps Paul went on to let him know that baptism isnt just a suggestion but a requirement. Not every word is recorded.

And finally, of course believing is a requirement for salvation. Its just not the ONLY requirement which is why the man was baptized.