227 thoughts on “Confusion About What A “Christian” Is”

      1. That happened to me last week. I thought I was about to have my first FIRST and by the time the darn page loaded I came in fourth! It’s partly due to this snail of a computer though. 👿

  1. To quote a previous comment on SFL:

    “I am not a Christian, because they were first called Christians at Antioch and my denomination existed before there was a church at Antioch. Come on, haven’t you read the trail of blood?”

        1. I’m down with that. I actually have an SFL circle but it only has Darrell in it right now. Actually, I know glenn as well but in real life. Guess I should add him too.

        1. G+ would be Google+, the trendy new answer to Facebook.

    1. I have looked at the “Trail of Blood.” If Baptists come from that lineage and it is the theology of Baptists, then the Baptists need anathemas pronounced upon them for being heretics. However, they don’t research the groups that are put in the trail of blood.

    1. Ack!

      When I posted this the first time, I got an error message. So I cleaned up the punctuation and posted it again.

      Sorry for the double post. 😳

  2. He’s baaaaaaaack . . . I was just coming over here to see if there’d been any Darrell sightings. Or white pianos.

    My husband’s family is kind of into the whole “let’s read up on how Cathoics are wrong without actually learning what they believe from one” thing, too.

  3. I had to figure out how to explain to our German exchange student why my wife’s aunt said that a catholic person wasn’t a christian. It goes without saying that this aunt is pretty fundy. We were at dinner when she said it, and our student looked at me, and said, “but catholics ARE christians.” I just said, “I know, you and I can discuss it on the way home.”

  4. You’re home!!!!! We missed you dad, I mean Darrell. You leave us alone for just a couple of days and all h-e-double hockey sticks breaks out.

    Welcome back. Hope your short time away allowed you to take care of whatever it was that needed to be taken care of.

    1. I just want you to know, Darrel, that I had nothing to do with the dent in the car. I didn’t go anywhere near it. And those aren’t my beer cans in the recycling bin. They’re not my friends’ beer cans either, because it’s not like I’d have a big party with drinking here while you were gone. I think some random person in the neighborhood put the beer cans in our recycling because his was full. So, how was your trip?

    2. I wasn’t actually traveling anywhere. I was just busy with some other stuff.

      I’m still pretty busy but hopefully I’ll be able to start posting again…

  5. You see, Catholics aren’t Christians because they don’t do everything the same way I do. Nobody’s really Christian except me and thee. And I’m not so sure about thee.

  6. Darrell’s back so soon? I’d have taken the rest of the week off! :mrgreen:

    This is just classic IFB Facebook, they’re all right and everyone else is wrong…even if you smack them in the face with the physical, hard, facts. 🙄

    1. This is so true. I can tell stories about using there own provided information to show that they were wrong and it didn’t even matter.

  7. I wish I knew what I know now about the Catholic church back when I got indoctrinated into fundyland. The IFB takes advantage that the majority of new coverts they get used to be Catholic (I don’t have exact stats but have I have read that from multiple sources). It is easy to make fun of guys dressed in a dress, having to whisper in church, worshipping a statue etc. when those people who came out of the Catholic church probably haven’t been in church in years. That was my case anyway.

    Over the years I think the Catholic church has done a poor job of relating to its members exactly what it beliefs are and how to counter the attacks from IFBs and other Protestants.

    It’s amazing what you can learn from reading a bunch of books. 😀

  8. I’m still baffled by the commenter who referenced 1 Peter 4:15: “True believers in Jesus Christ don’t murder others, and if they do, then they suffer for it.” Ummm, that’s totally NOT what that verse is saying. Argh. I hate it when people completely, totally, and illogically misconstrue the clear meaning of a Bible verse. How can anyone hope to have any sort of logical conversation with anyone who reads that verse and comes to that conclusion from it? Do you have an emoticon for someone screaming and pulling out their hair?

  9. I remember quite a while back getting into a discussion about buying things from workmates for fundraisers. My buddy asked me why I hadn’t bought from another guy. My answer, “I don’t know who he is raising money for. It might be Catholics or something.” I was in my early 30’s, had been learning to think on my own, but still fairly fundy in too many ways.

    Happily, my friend was kind and patient. All I could answer at the end of the discussion was, “Wow. I’m sorry for being so ignorant. I honestly had been taught that you guys didn’t believe in salvation and repentance through Christ’s death burial and resurrection.” He had a testimony of salvation that was more biblical than a lot of IFBers I have known.

    Now, 20ish years later, I have found fellowship with Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and more. And even a few Baptists.

    Are all Catholics true Christians? No. Nor are all of any other denomination or group. I have often wondered how many people might come to Christ if we followed John 13:34&35

    1. Are all Catholics Christians? Sure, in that they were baptized in the name of the Trinity.

      Are all Christians saved? I have no reason to believe that all Christians are saved. But that kind of judgement call is far above my pay grade.

  10. I guess I still have that mindset of ‘Catholics =/= Christians’. I just can’t look past purgatory, Pope is infallible, Mary as co-mediatrix, veneration of saints, prayer to the priest, nuns, etc.

    1. There is false or extra-biblical doctrine in a lot of Catholic theology. But so is there false doctrine in the “do-as-I-say” mentality and other teachings in a lot of fundy churches. I have met a number of Catholics who stay in the Church for various reasons, even though they know the Bible teachings on eternity, will not pray to Mary or saints, and even disagree with many Papal beliefs.

      Not all Catholics (or any other system) are the same.

      I think it is like Independent Baptists. The ones doing things right aren’t fun to poke fun at or berate.

    2. same here. i guess it was just so indoctrinated into me that i fail to see that a lot of catholics do have a true faith in Christ and a relationship with God. I remember awhile back my catholic friend’s grandpa telling me he was praying for my dad when he was in the hospital, and me thinking “Don’t know what good that’ll do”. I mean the Bible says believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. all that other stuff just is starting to seem more and more unimportant to me. I had to realize i can’t see anyone’s heart and i don’t know what they believe. Only God can. So when i hear that someone is catholic, i don’t immediately assume ‘unsaved’. that’s not my place. just how i see it

      1. I thought the same thing when a Mormon friend said she’d pray for me. I didn’t say anything but there was a part of me thinking, God won’t hear your prayer, you’re not saved. Then I felt bad, since I’m sure a Mormon or Catholic or anything else with an honest heart God will hear. 🙂

        1. My best friend is Catholic… so when I really need help, I tell her to pray to her Catholic God while I pray to my Protestant God… I always tell her that I can use all the help I can get! Growing up, who knew they might actually be the same Person! 🙂

        2. I need all the prayers I can get.
          If the other person prays to a god who turns out not to exist, it still can’t hurt, and who knows? It might help.

    3. If you can find a Catholic who actually knows what he/she believes, and is able to communicate it to you, you would see that they aren’t as far away from us in their beliefs as we might have thought. The Catholic Church has had her decades, but it’s no further off of the truth than things I’ve heard in Baptist churches, and non-denom Baptistic churches where the pastor, not the Pope is infallible. At least the Pope is only infallible when he’s speaking ex cathedra 😀

  11. This is just sad. It is sad to see people so ignorant about their very own religion.

    But I think the saddest part of all is the ending. “If we just stick to faith in true gospel…and God’s word…” Thing is this person isn’t. He/she may think they are, but they aren’t. And if I were to stick to the word of God suddenly that would become “philosophy.” It is either you agree with me totally or not at all (scorch the earth), but it is wrapped up in an arrogant pseudo-biblical bow. Sad and sickening all at the same time.

    1. If you look at actual, official Catholic doctrine, most of it isn’t as far from the doctrines of most Protestant churches as many people on both sides of the fence often suppose.

    1. That is exactly what I was thinking. “Let’s just ignore thousands of years of history and spout off only what we think.”
      That is what gets me about some Christians in general. They want to ignore the past. Yeah, a lot of it is bad, unpleasant to read stuff, but, like it or not, it happened.

  12. Nothing confusing about that, ask any IFBer. A couple of months ago, my dad said they were’nt christians, I told him they are, “y’all worship the same Jesus”. I came out of the “closet” as I was coming out, I told all my family how I was “testing” the fundamentals of the faith and my conclussions. My dad declared that I was lost, I am going to hell. This coming from a man who had a pill popping jezzy living with him (fornication) smoking crack and attempted suicide after she over dosed on pills, wisky drinkin fundamental saved by grace fool. Sorry for the vent. I am disgusted. For some reason those IFB rules just don’t seem to apply to some people.

    1. Oh right, like he can criticize a Catholic who is trying to live by their faith when he isn’t living by his. Sorry but he sounds like a hypocrite to me. Pull that beam out of your eye brother before you judge someone else. 🙄

      1. Don’t feel bad, he told me I was lost and going to hell. After the third time, I told him, “you can’t say that because I can tell you the same thing”. He never said it to me again. Can you believe, this is the same man who will pass out chick tracks on a college campus?

      1. lol. I have nothing against gays, I love them, not the sin…shees, I sound like a fundy. I actually have more tolorance for gays than I use to, though I still get grossed out at the though of 2 of the same sex, ack. 😯

        1. Then don’t think about what they do in the bedroom!
          Actually the thought of 2 of the same sex isn’t as gross as the thought of 2 extremely ugly people no matter what sex they are! 😉

        2. Frankly, *most* people are people I wouldn’t want to imagine making out together, let alone in flagrante.

          I mean, I’d never shop in Wal-Mart again if I thought about such things.

          So clearly that’s not a useful standard to go by.

          To the extent I’m uncomfortable with gay or trans people, I consider that something I have to work on in myself, not a justification to restrict their rights or treat them differently from how I’d want to be treated.

        3. In general, watching other people make out/have sex/whatever is unappealing. It just makes me jealous of them.

        4. “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin” is a great Fundie line but does it work in the Real World? In the case of Homsexuality, it is the “sin” of Homosexuality, or being Gay, whatever you want to call it, that defines that person in the eyes of the Fundamentalist. In fact to regard a gay man as anything other than an abominations seems to be a sin too. So is there *really* a dividing line between the “Sinner” and the “Sin” and how clear is it?

  13. My parents are completely in the “Catholics aren’t Christian” camp. My dad being raised Catholic (albeit rather casually so) just added fuel to the “Catholics are bad” fire. I am quite happy to no longer be in that camp.

    You know, I do find it interesting that fundies use the “great cloud of witnesses” reference to try and guilt trip people into behaving properly, but claim that Catholics asking Christians who’ve moved into eternity to pray for them is praying to dead people. It’s an interesting collision, I think. I thought of that when I was watching the KJV Moments video, but never got a chance to post while the comment thread was still alive. haha.

    1. That’s an excellent point, Renee, and one of the things I was surprised to discover when I began to make a study of Catholic doctrine was not only how much of it had been misrepresented to me, but how much of that misrepresentation was due to simple semantics. For example, Catholics don’t pray *to* Mary, the saints, or anyone else; Catholics believe that they’re already with God and available to us, and they ask for their prayers the way anyone would ask the prayers of a living friend or family member. And I remember hearing a great deal about Catholics calling Mary “Mother of God” and how saying such a thing was wrong because God could not possibly have a mother; but the reason for the title “Theotokos”, or “God-Bearer”, is to affirm Christ’s divinity, and that He is, in fact, fully divine as well as fully human. I don’t know many professing Christians who would quarrel with that.

      There’s an excellent book published some years ago that clears up a lot of misunderstandings of this nature; it’s called “Catholicism and Fundamentalism” by Karl Keating. It’s certainly not going to convince anyone of anything if they are rigid in their prejudices, but it presents the Catholic perspective in an honest and engaging way for people who genuinely have questions about what Catholics actually believe.

      1. (I hope it was clear that when I said Catholics don’t pray to Mary, the saints, or anyone else, I meant other than the Persons of the Holy Trinity. I really ought to proof better before I hit submit, lest I misrepresent Catholics worse than they already have been…)

        1. I might have to find some time for that book. I still have to weed through some misconceptions that I carry around unwittingly. haha.

          The point about “Mother of God” goes right along with the saints gone before issue. Don’t fundamentalists spend time confirming that Christ is 100% God as He is 100% man? And Mary is His mother. Without her, there’s no incarnation. So much quibbling just to make another group look like a bunch of evil heretics. 🙄 Then again, why should that be a surprise when they do it to each other?

  14. This guy’s not confused at all. He knows he’s right and you’re wrong, and no dictionary meaning of the word “catholic,” no historical counterexample, no doctorate is going to convince him to re-examine what he’s read into the Bible and called “the gospel.”

  15. Most wars are religious in nature. It kind of turned me off on the idea of religion in general. I won’t even argue that stuff with people. There’s no point- no one ever wins those arguments.

    1. Eh, I would dispute that first statement. Most wars are about control of resources and territory (ie tools of power). Religion is simply the simplest, most passion inducing motivator to get the masses on your side/control public opinion.

      1. I side with ReneeD here. All wars are economic in nature. Principles like religion, patriotism, or (in recent years) human rights/democracy/humanitarian reasons are just a cosmetic overlay.

    2. With all due respect, Emily, this simply isn’t true. Now, it is true that one’s historical method will determine one’s conclusions on these kinds of matters, but we have almost 7,000 years of written war history and almost none of what is written can be described as “religious in nature” in any meaningful way. Did Senacherib seek the blessing of his gods before conquering the known world? Yes. Did he throw huge parties in the temple after winning? Yes. Were his conquests “religious in nature”? No. There was neither religious precedence nor provocation for his actions. He was just a man with power doing what men with power do. And so on through history. Most historians who adopt a critical realist methodology agree on this (I recommend John Keegan and Victor Davis Hanson for starters; also, try Thucydides for an ancient perspective).

      1. He was just a man with power doing what men with power do. And so on through history. Most historians who adopt a critical realist methodology agree on this (I recommend John Keegan and Victor Davis Hanson for starters; also, try Thucydides for an ancient perspective).

        What he said.

        It’s ignorant to assign one cause to “most wars,” whether religion (a popular atheist argument) or control of resources (Marxism). Wars are fought for as many reasons as there have been wars. Actual study of military history (Keegan and Hanson being excellent starting places; I’d recommend Barbara Tuchman as well) will quickly disabuse you of simple, all-encompassing explanations.

    1. Elfdream, what does it mean to be a christian? IFB believes a christian is saved by grace, nothing of their own doing will merit eternal life. They can live anyway they want no matter who they hurt and still be saved. Do you believe that? Jesus death was sufficiant all you must do is believe on him, and you can’t lose your salvation no matter what you do, that’s if you are really saved to begin with of course.

      1. Hate to steal elf’s thunder, but I’m online right now and she isn’t.

        “what does it mean to be a christian?”

        To be baptized with the Trinitarian formula.

        “…Do you believe that?”

        Your question has two parts. Catholicism believes in Sola Gracia, we are saved by grace alone.

        But can I live however I want and hurt whoever? There are sins that are incompatible with being “saved”. Scripture says that fornicators and murderers will not be in heaven. Scripture provides a list of “anathema” sins. I do believe that some sins may bar my entrance into heaven, not as a reliance on the law, but of being incompatible with Christ. “Shall I continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!”

        “…you can’t lose your salvation…”

        I grew up hearing that over and over. Sadly, yes, you can lose your salvation. Scripture is quite convincing on this point.

        1. To be baptized with the trinitarian formula, do I believe that? No, and never did as a fundy either. IFB does not believe that baptism has anything to do with salvation, just an act of obedience.

          I don’t believe the trinity either. I left christianity altogether and have no interest in religion. I am now working on deprograming all the IFB cult teachings out of my head.

        2. I meant as a basic identifier of Christianity, baptism is historically thought of being the entrance into Christianity, membership into the Church, etc. IFB believes this, Catholics believe this, Orthodox believe this.

          Deprogramming is not fun. But why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

        3. Baptism was historically believed to be the entrance into heaven?? I didn’t know that. IFB don’t believe that. As I was examining what I was raised to believe, my beliefs changed to the things you stated, ie, lose your salvation, certain sins that prevented salvation or evidence of lack of salvation. But, I didn’t stop with just examing IFB doctrine, I examined far more than that. For those who claim to believe every inspired word, all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. How do those lying IFB hypocrites reconcile that verse? It’s as if “for by grace are ye saved…and nothing else matters.

        4. Here’s where I quote you – “Baptism was historically believed to be the entrance into heaven?? I didn’t know that. IFB don’t believe that.”

          I think you are confusing being “Christian” with “being saved”. They aren’t the same thing. One is baptized upon entering the faith, OR not previously being baptized and coming into the Church.

          Historically speaking, through the Catholic and Orthodox churches, baptism was seen as the imparting and receiving of salvific grace. Even through the reformation of Luther and Calvin, this wasn’t changed. We see the relatively new view of baptism being merely symbolic and/or an act of obedience with the Puritan and Anabaptist movements.

          Here’s where I quote you again: “…But, I didn’t stop with just examing IFB doctrine, I examined far more than that. For those who claim to believe every inspired word, all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. How do those lying IFB hypocrites reconcile that verse? It’s as if “for by grace are ye saved…and nothing else matters.”

          Perhaps they do not think they are lying.

          I’ve struggled with Christian doctrine on hell and damnation, myself. Given my current convictions and state of sin, I’d be lying myself if I didn’t see the dichotomy in my own life. I cannot be concerned with the hypocrisy of others. I’m still trying to work on me, or rather, let Christ work through me. It’s this attitude that has improved my disposition towards neighbor, fundies, and other assorted “separated brethren”.

        5. I don’t know of any Christian group that believes Baptism (alone) gets you into heaven, but it is the traditional initiation into the community of believers.

  16. I really wish god would tear off the blindfolds Fundies have stitched to their eyes. For when they are able to see themselves as the rest of the world sees them, they will realize what vile cretins they are!

    1. You mean were. Once they take off the blindfolds and start thinking reality and useing common sense, they become unfundy and hard to be a vile cretins after that.

    2. I have a fundy friend named Sue. Is that you, Sue? 😆

      Actually, from what I’ve seen, her church is what’s referred to as “fundy lite” and rather decent. Women aren’t even REQUIRED to wear skirts! (It’s just strongly recommended.)

      1. I don’t know a beth :/ My ex-church were what you would categorize as a “nice” church. They never told you outright that pants weren’t allowed. They simply made you feel like an outcast if you wore them.

  17. How did the New Testament come to be as we know it today?

    Oh yeah! It’s those heathen Catholics who got together in some Councils and determined those 27 books.

    Uh-oh…. 😯

    1. And I had to find that out all by myself…do you think some fundy preacher could have shared that tidbit of information?? I would say rather relavant considering how IFB claims catholics are lost and not christians. lol.

    2. And how about the Fundamentals of the faith, so ingrained in IFB. Suppose they could have mentioned these fundamentals came directly from the Nicene creed that fundys avoid like it don’t exist? Ever heard a fundy preacher claim that IFB were anabaptist whose heritage goes all the way back to John the Baptist. IFB is not protestant, they existed long before catholics, hahaha. I can’t believe I used to believe this smuck.

  18. Fundies are like embarrassing cousins…stupid and very laughable. While their relatives (the Cathoics) wince at the fact of having to share the same name “Christian”…

  19. My brain hurts just reading that exchange.

    I’ve had many, many debates with Fundamentalists on this point, reminding them that for most of its history, Christianity was predominantly either Roman Catholicism or the Eastern Orthodox Church (of course there were the Coptics, and a few other sects, but the vast majority of Christendom was confined to Europe, and the two big churches, until the 1500’s). I also remind them that many of the doctrines they insist upon were first formulated by Catholics. The most creative counterargument consisted of insisting that there was a sort of spiritual ‘fifth column’ of honest-to-goodness Fundamentalists within the Catholic Church the whole time. The rest just called me a liar.

    1. The most creative counterargument consisted of insisting that there was a sort of spiritual ‘fifth column’ of honest-to-goodness Fundamentalists within the Catholic Church the whole time.

      That’s the lunatic “Trail of Blood” idea, a conspiracy theory on par with anything Dan Brown or UFO enthusiasts have come up with. There’s actually more hope for the people who just called you a liar than for those who buy into the Trail of Blood.

  20. It looks likely that this person got information from his large supply of Chick Tracts, more so than Foxe.

    The Victorian editions that retool Foxe are much more propogandistic than the original 17th c. editions. And, nobody ever talks about the fact that Foxe was AGAINST Elizabeth burning the Jesuits. And Calvin not being a Christian? Sheesh!

      1. Actually, Calvin was in favor of Servetus’ death, even though he argued for decapitation over burning. I will admit that he struggled with supporting the decision, but Calvin (along with Melancthon and Luther) viewed Servetus as a heretic, and sadly supported his death.
        (You can check out Bruce Gordon’s latest scholarly biography of Calvin for a great discussion of this.)

        1. Because states were theocratic at that time. Servetus’ heresy was also a capital offense. Different times. Different circumstances. It’s easy to blame Calvin’s followers in Geneva hundreds of years later- like we’re so much better.

  21. I don’t really think it should be a debate. If your belief system teaches that salvation is by works then the belief system is not Christian. In our postmodern age everyone is so worried about offending other religions. The Bible teaches absolute truth and truth by definition is exclusive. I don’t wish to offend any Catholics but a half-truth will not get you to heaven.

    1. “…If your belief system teaches that salvation is by works then the belief system is not Christian…”

      Which is not what the Catholic church teaches.

      1. Really! I would love to hear how they don’t teach salvation by works. So according to you, Catholicism teaches that salvation is exclusively by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection plus nothing and minus nothing.

        1. As a matter of fact, that is what the Catholic Church teaches.

          I’m not saying there aren’t some Catholics who believe otherwise, but I suspect there are also some Baptists (or name your denomination) who believe otherwise.

        2. Yeah David, your preacher fails to tell you the whole story. Your church has convinced you to steriotype other religions, particularly Catholics, stay away from them, they are the devil, yadda yadda yadda. They do this, so that you will avoid any meaningful conversation that just might learn you something. Instead, they have trained you to be in attack mode so to offend those people, so they will avoid the likes of you. Open your eyes to the whole truth, the half truth will not set you free, in fact will keep you in bondage. I was just as much mentally ingrained to the lies you are fed until I started looking at the whole picture, the history of the church, the canonization of the bible, the Judaic and pagan religions prior to christianity. Research pagan religions, it’s not what IFB would have you think it is, you would be surprised.

        3. Thank you monipenny for your polite answer. I believe it really comes down to the issue of whether the Word of God is your authority or tradition. I have not borrowed what a particular church has taught me but I believe what is clearly taught in the Holy Scriptures. I was born in Spain and have dealt with Roman Catholics all of my life. What do you believe regarding salvation? Is salvation by grace or by works?

        4. Quoting David V:
          The only problem with what you are saying is that Christ died once and for all. According to Catholicism Christ is literally sacrificed for our sins once again during mass. That is heresy. No Scripture can support that teaching. The Old Testament sacrifices were fulfilled in Christ. By denying transubstantiation I am anathema according to Roman Catholic teaching. It’s interesting how Scripture doesn’t tie the Lord’s Supper with salvation. It could be because it has nothing to do with salvation.

          My response:
          What you are saying is foreign to me. So I looked it up in the Catechism to see if there was something you knew and I didn’t.

          Methinks you might be confusing one of many terms for the Eucharist: Holy Sacrifice. Here is how the term is defined in the Catechism:

          1330…( )…The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church’s offering. The terms holy sacrifice of the Mass, “sacrifice of praise,” spiritual sacrifice, pure and holy sacrifice are also used,150 since it completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.

          Just to reiterate, the Catholic Church recognizes in the Eucharist the One Sacrifice, not a protracted, ongoing sacrifice.

          You may have a problem with how some cultural Catholics understand the Eucharist. But the Catholic Church’s actual teachings are different than what you are presenting.

          ……….

          By denying transubstantiantion, yes, you are anathema with the Church. It doesn’t mean you are necessarily anathema to Christianity, or anathema to God. It merely means you are not in communion with the Catholic Church.

          As for not having anything to do with salvation, I’d be interested in your take on John 6, particularly verse 53 and again in 57. Though you may disagree with Catholicism, you could be at least charitable enough to acknowledge that the Catholic Church understands and interpret John 6 to be a literal discourse on the Lord’s Supper.

          Quoting David V:

          Obviously faith in Christ for salvation has nothing to do with my merits or righteousness. I am simply agreeing with God about Salvation. Performing works for righteousness before God is a totally different story. I live in a Catholic country. I deal with Catholics all of the time. Catholics are trusting in their good works for salvation. You know that without the sacraments there is no salvation according to them and even if you follow all of the sacraments perfectly and offer your life in service for God and give all of your money to the poor you will never know for sure if you are on your way to heaven. The Bible says that we can know that we have eternal life. Also, why would you accept the sacraments when they contradict Scripture? What is your authority? I don’t see anywhere in Scripture that obeying the sacraments has anything to do with accepting the the sacrifice of Christ. As a matter of fact I don’t find the Sacraments as the Catholics understand them in the Scriptures.

          I no more trust in my good works for salvation than you trust in your works, David. But for the purposes of discussion, it would be a great help to me to understand your definition of “works”. In my faith, I too agree with God that I am in need of Christ, totally reliant on His grace. The difference between you and me in this regard is that I am humble enough to acknowledge that God may choose to condemn me, regardless of what I believe. I trust his promises, and I recognize his sovereignty, too. I was saved, I am being saved, I hope to be saved.

          How do “sacraments” contradict Scripture. What particular sacraments do you have a problem with? Are we not called to repent? Are we not called to be baptized? Is marriage not to be entered into soberly, with love, and seen as a real and tangible parallel to God’s covenantal relationship with believers in Christ? Did Jesus not institute the Lord’s Supper for Christian believers, and did not Paul warn against taking this Supper unworthily upon pain of God’s wrath? Are we not called to discipleship and to be educated in the faith? Are we not to anoint the sick? Weren’t the disciples breathed upon, and sent out to the world to proclaim the Gospel?

          Also, your suggestion that all the 7 Sacraments save us is laughable, in that, at most, I have already received 5 (or 4…we were married in a Protestant church and I am unclear if this counts as sacramental, and I haven’t been sick to the point of needing anointing, and I do not have a religious vocation) and only plan on receiving 5 or 6 of them. Do you understand the sanctifying rather than salvific purposes of the sacraments? On this, you seem confused. Maybe you are learning from poorly catechized Catholics, which happens when the predominant culture is Catholic, but with far fewer actually practicing or learn-ed.

          Quoting David V.:
          If you have truly placed your faith in Christ for your salvation, why do you need the works offered by the Catholic Church? He is all we need. Christ is all sufficient. I do not believe it matters that you went to a Baptist Church. The Baptist Church doesn’t save anyone as neither does the Catholic church. Only Jesus saves.

          My response:
          Yes, only Jesus saves, and we are total agreement this matter. The main difference between you and I on this matter is that I believe Scripture in regards to what Christ says about the Church. “Upon this rock I will compile my Scriptures”? No. “Upon this rock I will build my Church”. The Church is the foundation of truth, David. This is Scriptural.

          Quoting David V.
          I am saved from the condemnation of sin. I am progressively saved from the power of sin. I will be fully saved from the presence of sin in Heaven. I do however have full assurance (no doubt) that I am sealed unto the day of redemption. Please read Ephesians 1:13, 14.

          As you, my faith and hope is eternal life in the presence of God. Thank you for sharing Ephesians 1. The Holy Spirit is the first installment of our inheritance “towards redemption”. I really can’t see how this flies in the face of what the Catholic Church teaches, however. Can you see how this would bolster my convictions?

        5. Myotch,

          I am glad you posted that, your response in this clears up a lot of misunderstandings for the IFB and other protestants who are wrong about your faith, not that they will get it or believe you, but I do as an exfundy. David has been, as I have been lied to by IFB preachers, Jack Chick and the like who portray your beliefs wrongly to us. This, I believe is done to fuel protestants and IFB lay-peoples fight for dominance, the I am right and you are wrong mentality. It’s a real shame, IFB needs to be exposed for their lies they have pertpetrated against Chatholics beliefs. If you say that you believe in faith by grace alone, then I believe you, end of story, IFBers are conditioned to not believe you, don’t waste your breath rather the skin on your fingers with them. They wont get it until they willingly decide to stop judging you based on what they have been told.

        6. Monipenny,

          I don’t think I’m wasting my breath, or either his or my time. This is good discourse. David has been very respectful, even through his feeling that he is right.

          I am not one of the cultural Catholics he comes across in his missions work. I am a mature, adult convert who actually had to study and rely on God’s revealing grace and my own abilities of logic to come to the conviction that I have. And in a respectful study of what Catholics believe, through Catholic sources, I had to shed many of the wrong assertions I once believed of the Catholic Church, many of the funda-gelical stereotypes of Catholic belief (both founded and unfounded), to become an informed Catholic.

          I would hate to see David, in the real world, come face to face with an informed Catholic. I want to encourage David to pick up a current Catechism of the Catholic Church, just to get a good read on what Catholic belief *should be* as he seems ill-informed at the moment (yes, what he knows about Catholicism is rooted in reality – an anecdotal reality with a lot of stereotypes, but reality nonetheless).

          I engage Catholics, sometimes, who are poorly catechized, or not living up to the standards of the faith. I even encourage them to pray without a prayerbook 🙂 My confessions to the priest are concluded with a spontaneous prayer of contrition, not unlike the many prayers I prayed at Baptist Bible camps or altar calls.

          David, if you are reading this, I would love to have a one-one-one talk with you, so we don’t have to rely on the limited capabilities and public nature of this blog. My email is mitch@minidoss.com, or you can PM me in the forum.

        7. Monipenny, I wish you would stop treating me like a mindless person. I don’t accept what people tell me like a robot. I have come to my conclusions based on my personal study of the Word of God. Your problem is that you want to dismiss everything that fundamental baptists believe. I really blame IFB churches for your behavior. In most cases people are not discipled and trained in IFB churches. Sure they teach you how to dress, how to talk and to not wear pants and to not go to the movies but they don’t teach you to think on your own. That is not my case. I have been reading the Bible on my own since I was a little child. I have a long way to go but I am constantly reading books to help me as well. My authority however is the Word of God. I’m in love with the Bible. Monipenny, I have asked you several questions that you have failed to answer. I have attempted to answer all of your questions. Myotch, has been answering all of my questions. As soon as I can I will answer his last comment. I disagree with him for the most part but at least we agree to disagree and there is mutual respect (at least I hope so). I would encourage you to begin to study the scholarship on the dating for the New Testament books. Most of your beliefs are based on the fact that you believe that the New Testament was written very late. A good book to read for starters would be “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. Monipenny, I have not been brainwashed; I simply know what I believe and why, something that is sadly missing in many IFB churches. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Don’t let yourself be brainwashed by anyone. Know what you believe and make sure that you are right because eternity is in the balance.

        8. Myotch, I accept your invitation. I will answer your last comment with a personal e-mail. Right now my time is a little limited as I am preparing to preach a mission’s conference. But I seriously think that it is important to share what we believe in a respectful way. Of course at some point we will probably simply have to agree to disagree but we should learn a lot along the way. Thank you for having been respectful in your rebuttals. Take care. By the way, my e-mail is david@thatallmayknow.net

          You can also visit my website at http://www.thatallmayknow.net

          Take care.

    2. Please give me examples from Roman Catholic teachings that they believe in salvation by grace through faith plus nothing and minus nothing. For instance, do Catholics believe that the 7 sacraments are necessary for salvation? Do you have to be a good person to be saved? If they believe that than they are adding works to grace. Grace is not something we work for. If it is than it ceases to be grace.

        1. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I couldn’t muster the energy to waste my time on someone who obviously already has ALL the answers to EVERYTHING. I wonder if he even knows what the 7 sacraments are.

        2. By that you mean the apocryphal books. Scripture does not contradict itself. If the apocryphal books belonged in the canon they would not contradict the rest of Scripture. Also, I assume that you are a Catholic and I usually am very careful to not attack the Catholic Church when speaking with Catholics because I believe if we preach the truth than it will convert people through the power of the Holy Spirit. I wrote the things that I wrote because I assumed that the people that wrote on this forum were Christians that believe in salvation by grace through faith alone. I do not wish to offend. But the differences that separate Catholicism from mainline Christianity are very important and fundamental. If the Catholics are right than I am most certainly going to Hell, If what I believe is true than the same would be true for all non-believers. I believe that it is important that we get it right. Don’t you agree?

        3. “…Catholicism from mainline Christianity…”

          David – remember that Catholicism was mainline Christianity for about 1500 years.

        4. Scorpio, once again, why are you so against anyone believing in absolute truth. Is there anything that you believe is absolutely true? If that’s the case then not believing what you consider to be absolutely true would make the other person wrong in your eyes. That would make you a know-it-all according to your definition. If you don’t believe in absolute truth than that’s a different issue all together. It’s amazing that you criticize IFB’s for their closed-mindedness but you do the same thing with those that teach and believe things that differ from your beliefs. Do you see the hypocrisy? By the way, I do know the 7 sacraments. I did not grow up in the Bible belt. I was born in Spain and I have lived in Catholic countries all of my life. My father was a devout Catholic and so were all of my relatives before them. I know first-hand what Catholicism teaches.

        5. @David, I almost hate to intrude on such a lovely virtual fistfight, but I think I have to say a few words in Scorpio’s defense since you obviously aren’t going to listen to anything he says. I do not believe Scorpio is against absolute truth. What he (and most people on this blog, I think) are against is people holding one particular interpretation or possibility up as absolute truth. Both sides are using Scripture to back their beliefs. Both sides believe they are right. How do we know one side is right and the other is wrong? It’s up to our personal, fallible judgement. It’s like the Calvinists and Arminians. Both sides have Scripture. Both sides believe that they’re right. I’m leery of anyone who states dogmatically that he, a fallible human, is absolutely and utterly right about something and leaves no room for difference.

          Contrary to what you believe, Mr. Valasquez, you are not the only person who has studied the issue (if you’ve even studied it). Just as many theologians and Biblical experts have sided against you as have sided with you. Your position is not nearly so secure as you might think.

        6. Tchaiko summed it up nicely.

          Not only I am not against truth, it has been my pursuit of truth that has led me to be wary of anyone who claims absolute truth.

        7. Tchaiko, thank you for your kind response. I honestly don’t want to argue for the sake of arguing because it is pointless. I now have a better understanding of what you guys believe. I greatly respect your desire to discover truth and I am glad that you believe that truth actually exists. I do understand there are many issues that Christianity has argued about and haven’t come to any real agreement. A good example of that is Calvinists vs. Arminians as you stated. But even in these differing beliefs salvation still remains the same: by grace through faith. Just so that you can understand where I am coming from I start with the premise that the Bible is God’s Word. In other words, that it is inspired by God. Based on that premise I believe that if God has inspired His word then that means that He would have had to communicate it in a way that we could understand it. My whole problem is that my eternal destination is at stake if I don’t get it right. I mean, If Catholics are in the truth then I am wrong. If I am right then Catholics are wrong because we are talking about two completely different ways to get to God. I am stubborn about the fact that Catholics do indeed teach a work system of salvation because that is a historical fact. I will no longer argue my point unless you want me too. I do have one last question for you however, and please answer honestly. Is there anything in Scripture that we can all agree on? Or to put it in another way, is there any doctrine of Scripture that you consider absolutely true? Thank you once again for your respect and courteous words.

      1. If for him salvation is by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross then why is he offering the Eucharist? Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was offered once for all (1 Peter 3:18). Jesus exclaimed on the cross, tetelestai (It is finished). The work on the cross is a completed work. Many cults and religions use the terminology of Scripture but are interpreting it in the light of their false teachings. If Christ asks me about my works when I get to heaven I will be in trouble. I have tried to obey God’s commandments all of my life, I got married a virgin, I have given my life to serve him on the mission field but even through all of these works for Christ, I am still a sinner. In my righteousness I cannot stand before God. Only in the righteousness of Christ the spotless Lamb of God will I stand before the throne of God above. God will not ask me what I have done but rather what Christ has done. I would ask the priest, If salvation is not of works then why the sacraments? I would love to hear his answer. Getting the gospel right is the difference between Heaven and Hell. Please make sure you get it right. I am not trying to preach at you but where you will spend eternity is of the utmost importance.

        1. “…then why is he offering the Eucharist?” The same reason you offer communion. It’s the same thing, but different name.

          Good video. As an ex-fundy, I would have had a hard time trusting that priest because fundies are ademate that Catholics add works to salvation. Now after all these years, I don’t have a problem one with the way a Catholic worships or their traditions. It was great to learn that they were the first christian group, not IFB.

          Now I would like to know when and who started the IFB movement.

        2. Monipenny, you really have no idea what Catholicism teaches. The Eucharist has nothing to do with what the Bible teaches. It is a historical fact that Roman Catholicism teaches works salvation. It’s amazing how Catholicism loves to pretend that they teach salvation by grace through faith alone. Did you even hear what the Priest said at the end of the video? “We are in heaven because of the death of Christ but then Christ will ask us what did you do.” That’s works salvation. Who has done anything right in God’s eyes? We are all sinners. If we present our righteousness before God it is as filthy rags. The Bible says that no one is good in God’s eyes. I don’t know anybody that is good enough to get to heaven through works. Do you? Please think about the beliefs that you are committing your eternal soul to. It sounds to me like your are extremely confused. Forget about what IFB’s believe, what does the Bible say? And by the Bible I mean all 66 books of the Bible. Without the Bible you have no authority. You will wander aimlessly trying to guess what the truth is. Jesus said, and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Stop obsessing about the Fundys and study the evidence about Christianity. I’m not asking you to believe in belief itself but study historical evidence and learn what many others have learned.

        3. [quote]If for him salvation is by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross then why is he offering the Eucharist? Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was offered once for all (1 Peter 3:18).[/quote]

          To understand the Eucharist is to understand the Old Testament notion of the sacrifice, meant to be consumed. It is to understand that the Eucharist was a celebratory meal of the sacrifice. It is to understand what Jesus meant in regards to the Old Testament sacrificial when he instituted the Lords Supper, and what he meant when he explained it in John 6, foreshadowing his own death as a sacrifice.

          [quote]I would ask the priest, If salvation is not of works then why the sacraments? I would love to hear his answer. [/quote]

          There’s answers for you. I have trouble understanding the idea of sacraments as my “work”, as much as you would likely have trouble explaining how praying a sinner’s prayer or otherwise accepting Christ as personal savior is not work.

          Obviously, Christianity is not Universalism. So we must “do” “something” to be saved. My “work” in accepting the sacraments does not hinge on my work, but allows God to work on me, through me, and is an acceptance of the work of Christ.

          [quote]Getting the gospel right is the difference between Heaven and Hell. Please make sure you get it right. I am not trying to preach at you but where you will spend eternity is of the utmost importance.[/quote]

          I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at the Atlanta Baptist Temple in the early seventies. I was baptized shortly afterward. I have a constant reliance on Christ in my life, a need for Christ.

          I have been saved. I am being saved. I hope to be saved.

          Are you called for continual conversion?

        4. David, do you live the whole 66 books of the bible? If you believe it as you claim then you must live it also, otherwise you don’t believe it. Don’t accuse people of other religios practices of something you think they believe wrong or practice wrong because they don’t do it by the book. NEITHER DO YOU, I know you don’t. Why don’t you have the passover meal every year? Do you observe all the feast? No, because you decide what parts of the bible applies to you. I am not confused, I was brainwashed to believe exactly as you believe, now I just know better. David, I almost guarantee that you don’t even live by all 10 commandments. To the Jews, you fail on commandment number 1 because you worship a trinity God, not their God who is one, not three. You don’t agree with all 66 books, because some of those books are in the OT and you don’t practice what you claim to accept. Of course you would argue with them and tell them how confused and wrong they are. Just remember, you took their God and their religion and changed it to something completely different called the NT. Don’t respond to me anymore unless you can answer all my questions that you so conveniantly dodged.

        5. Monipenny, I haven’t dodged any of your questions. If I failed to answer something I did it without realizing. My very point was that I am a sinner before God and of course I don’t follow all of God’s commandments, anyone that claims that they obey God in everything is lying. That’s why I need Grace. I don’t have any problem with the old Testament but the purpose of the Law was to lead us to Christ. The sacrifices were a picture of the perfect sacrifice that the Lamb of God would offer once and for all on the cross of calvary. The answer to why I don’t follow the law is because the Bible says that I am not bound by the law. Of course if you don’t believe that the New Testament is the word of God then you will think I’m crazy. I do however believe that the New Testament is God’s Word and that the answer to you question is very clear in the New Testament. I explained very clearly in earlier comments that the epistles of Paul had to have been written shortly after the resurrection of Christ and you haven’t answered me yet. The testimony of his epistles is that many of the early Christians were Jews. What caused them to leave Judaism and turn to Christ? About the Trinity, the Bible teaches that there is one God, not three. It is God in three persons. There is so much Scripture that supports the teaching of the trinity, but since you don’t like the New Testament then you won’t agree with some of the verses. I have answered all of your questions. I still want to hear your answers to mine.

        6. (Quote)To understand the Eucharist is to understand the Old Testament notion of the sacrifice, meant to be consumed. It is to understand that the Eucharist was a celebratory meal of the sacrifice. It is to understand what Jesus meant in regards to the Old Testament sacrificial when he instituted the Lords Supper, and what he meant when he explained it in John 6, foreshadowing his own death as a sacrifice. (Quote)

          The only problem with what you are saying is that Christ died once and for all. According to Catholicism Christ is literally sacrificed for our sins once again during mass. That is heresy. No Scripture can support that teaching. The Old Testament sacrifices were fulfilled in Christ. By denying transubstantiation I am anathema according to Roman Catholic teaching. It’s interesting how Scripture doesn’t tie the Lord’s Supper with salvation. It could be because it has nothing to do with salvation.

          (Quote) There’s answers for you. I have trouble understanding the idea of sacraments as my “work”, as much as you would likely have trouble explaining how praying a sinner’s prayer or otherwise accepting Christ as personal savior is not work.
          Obviously, Christianity is not Universalism. So we must “do” “something” to be saved. My “work” in accepting the sacraments does not hinge on my work, but allows God to work on me, through me, and is an acceptance of the work of Christ. (Quote)

          Obviously faith in Christ for salvation has nothing to do with my merits or righteousness. I am simply agreeing with God about Salvation. Performing works for righteousness before God is a totally different story. I live in a Catholic country. I deal with Catholics all of the time. Catholics are trusting in their good works for salvation. You know that without the sacraments there is no salvation according to them and even if you follow all of the sacraments perfectly and offer your life in service for God and give all of your money to the poor you will never know for sure if you are on your way to heaven. The Bible says that we can know that we have eternal life. Also, why would you accept the sacraments when they contradict Scripture? What is your authority? I don’t see anywhere in Scripture that obeying the sacraments has anything to do with accepting the the sacrifice of Christ. As a matter of fact I don’t find the Sacraments as the Catholics understand them in the Scriptures.

          (Quote) I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at the Atlanta Baptist Temple in the early seventies. I was baptized shortly afterward. I have a constant reliance on Christ in my life, a need for Christ.
          I have been saved. I am being saved. I hope to be saved.
          Are you called for continual conversion? (Quote)

          If you have truly placed your faith in Christ for your salvation, why do you need the works offered by the Catholic Church? He is all we need. Christ is all sufficient. I do not believe it matters that you went to a Baptist Church. The Baptist Church doesn’t save anyone as neither does the Catholic church. Only Jesus saves.

          I am saved from the condemnation of sin. I am progressively saved from the power of sin. I will be fully saved from the presence of sin in Heaven. I do however have full assurance (no doubt) that I am sealed unto the day of redemption. Please read Ephesians 1:13, 14.

  22. Sorry I had to leave. If you REALLY want to talk about Catholicism I suggest you come over to the forums where I hang out. 😉

    I used to be a fundy btw so please don’t ‘preach’ at me. I will however answer questions.

  23. Oh, golly, and me without popcorn. I love it when Christians start back-biting each other with “they’re saved” or “they’re not true Christians”. My opinion is: you don’t know. You have no clue what another’s path is, or what’s in their heart. You could be throwing stones at Catholics while sitting right beside some crazy abuser in an IFB church, and never know it. And seriously, this is just my opinion and my path, but it’s a liberating thing when you honestly admit that You Don’t Know.

    1. It has nothing to do with back-biting amongst Christians. I agree that Christians argue amongst each other over non-essential issues but getting the gospel right is something that is certainly worth fighting for. If a Religion teaches that salvation is by works (and Catholicism does indeed teach that) than it is not Christian. What we need is boldness to share the gospel with those that do not understand. I see much confusion about Roman Catholicism in the United States especially. The teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are sending many to Hell.

        1. Stony, Jesus said in John 5:24, that we can know that we have eternal life. I don’t know where I’m going after I die because I simply believe in belief. I know because Jesus said that I could know if I believed on Him for salvation. I have never spoken with a Catholic that knew that he was saved and yet Jesus said that we could know. That’s all I need. My father was saved when he was 28. He was a devout Catholic but he had no idea where he would spend eternity. No one would give him an answer either. I am glad my father is saved and that he taught me through Scripture how I could be saved. You can know for sure too. You must repent and place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and Him alone for your salvation.

        2. My father was raised in a Catholic home and attended parochial school K-12. The impression he had was that at the end of his life all his deeds would be evaluated and if his good deeds outweighed his bad, he would escape hell. Then he heard a message on the Philippian jailer. Acts 16:31 spoke to his heart: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou SHALT be saved.” He trusted Christ as his Savior that night.

        3. I am currently a missionary in Spain. I deal with so many people that have no idea about salvation. If Catholicism is true then I need to pack my bags and move to the U.S. Many Catholics ask the same question that the Philippian jailer did but they don’t get the right answer from their Priests. The answer would be, follow the sacraments and even then you will never know for sure. I cannot imagine living with that amount of uncertainty. I will never understand everything about God but I do know that He sent His Son to die for my sins and that I can know that I have eternal life through Him.

        4. My dad left the Catholic church immediately because he felt that Catholic theology that he’d learned his entire life was not compatible with Scripture. His dad threatened to go to the little Baptist church and shoot the preacher! My dad’s parents refused to attend my parents’ wedding and had nothing to do with them until I was born. It’s not only IFBers who know how to shun!

  24. This post reminded me of one of my favorite jokes!

    A young man died and went to Heaven. He had only recently become a Christian, but had no particular affiliation, so St. Peter showed him around the mansion. In one room were people sitting in quiet prayer. These were the Quakers. Down the hall were people shouting in every language. These were the Pentecostals. On and on they went until Peter held his finger to his lips. “We have to be very quiet going by this room”, he said. “These are the Independent Baptists, and they think they’re the only ones up here.”
    😀

  25. I can remember in my Assemblies of God Sunday School (middle school age, I think) we spent a few weeks studying “cults” which consisted of Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists–pretty much anyone who wasn’t mainline Protestant. I can remember being appalled back then, because my parents (who sang in a gospel group) had Catholic friends with whom they’d sing all the time! We’d go to the spaghetti suppers at the Catholic church and everyone would gather around and sing all kinds of songs in one big happy ecumenical jamboree. I’m SO thankful I had the kind of parents who didn’t buy into all the propaganda!

    1. I once gave a talk on world religions to a youth group. One of the young people asked, “What is the definition of a cult?”
      I thought about different definitions I’d read, but none of them consistently distinguished cults from non-cult religions, so I formulated my own definition on the spot:
      “A cult is a religious movement that the person who is speaking does not approve of.”

      1. So basically there is no such thing as truth. It’s all a matter of opinion. It’s amazing how postmodernism is alive and well. Truth by definition is exclusive. John 14:6, Acts 4:12. There is only one way to Heaven and that is through the person of Jesus Christ. If we add or take away from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross then we are not truly born-again. I started reading these posts because I found them humorous but I also see some major doctrinal issues with many of the people that write on this forum. Let’s stick to the Bible.

        1. “…Let’s stick to the Bible.”

          What you really mean it “Let’s stick to my interpretation of the Bible”

        2. Scorpio, I guess that means that no one can understand the truth. We just have to guess what God is trying to say. That is a pretty hopeless way to live. I believe God has communicated his Word in a way that we can understand it. If not than we are all just guessing. I don’t want to guess where I am going after I die, I want to know and the Bible says that I can know.

        3. What Scorpio said. You’re operating from an a priori assumption that your Calvino-Protestant definition of Christianity is the correct and binding one when it simply has not been for the majority of Christian history. And the fact is that Catholics can back their beliefs up from the Scriptures. Check out this site: http://socrates58.blogspot.com/

          And here’s something G.K. Chesterton had to say about the issue:

          It [the Church, re. Darwinian evolution] does not, in the conventional phrase, believe what the Bible says, for the simple reason that the Bible does not say anything. You cannot put a book in the witness-box and ask it what it really means. The Fundamentalist controversy itself destroys Fundamentalism. The Bible by itself cannot be a basis of agreement when it is a cause of disagreement.

          If both sides can produce Scripture to support their positions (regardless of how well they do it), there must be some outside authority that governs interpretation. Protestantism has only the individual believer, his priesthood, and the Holy Spirit in whatever numinous form that takes for the individual. Roman Catholics (and the Orthodox Churches) have an organized church that has been adjudicating theological dispute for 2,000 years and antedates the New Testament’s very existence. If one side has a tendency to run roughshod over absolute truth and make man the measure, it’s not Catholicism.

        4. Jordan, thank you for your response. I personally start with the premise that the Bible is God’s Word. I believe that if God inspired the words of Scripture then he meant for us to understand them. I understand that there are parts of Scripture that are difficult to understand. The apostle Peter mentions that in 2 Peter 3:16 where he also equates Paul’s writings with the rest of Scripture. I am not a Bible scholar nor do I claim to know everything (no one can know everything) but I do believe that if God did indeed inspire His word then the essential and important parts could be clearly understood. I think that God would have made it very clear as to how we get to heaven. Catholicism teaches that I need to have faith plus works in order to get to heaven. I personally haven’t done any of the works that they require for salvation. If they are in the truth then I am in trouble. Do you see what I mean? I think that the differences between Catholicism and what I believe are very essential and fundamental. Did God really make it so confusing for us? Yes, Catholics present verses that counter what I believe but does that mean that what I believe is false? Just because someone can give a counter-argument doesn’t mean that the argument is false. Jehovah’s Witnesses give counter-arguments but I don’t think you would consider that they are being faithful to the Scriptures. I really don’t wish to argue for the sake of arguing. I’m sure you have read all of the Scriptures that speak of salvation by grace through faith and so I am not going to be able to show you anything new. Thank you however for being polite in your response. I will ask you a question to finish. Do you believe that there is any doctrine in Scripture that is absolutely true?

        5. Hey, I like Dave Armstrong. Not just only in a “he’s on my side” kind of way. I talk to him on the ‘puters once or twice a year – kind, patient, knowledgable.

          The Apologetics “wars” get personal and nasty all the time, and I’ve read some pretty outrageous stuff coming from the blogs and websites of his opponents. It’s not all bad, though, and sometimes there comes through a real and sincere respect from all sides.

          Instead of going ad hominem on the man, why not read what he has to say in the manner he wants to present it. You may come to the conclusion he’s wrong, but the man is sincere in his beliefs. You may realize that he is working from a different paradigm than what you adhere to, and that’s fine, too.

          You don’t have to buy all the hype from “your” guys. Marketing IS manipulation. Don’t be manipulated.

  26. Once again, the issue is not whether there are “good people” in different religions, the issue is, what is the truth? If Catholicism teaches that salvation is by works than it is not Biblical Christianity. Jesus said, “and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!” What is the truth? That is the question.

    1. David, I have stayed away from posting on this thread as I don’t necessarily see it as being fruitful in any direction. The reason I’m addressing it now is to hopefully inject a little bit of reason and calm.

      First off, not everyone here holds to the Protestant belief of salvation. In fact not everyone here holds to a belief in God. One of the things that I’ve enjoyed about this blog is the fact that, most of the time, everyone is welcomed by all regardless of their viewpoints.

      With that said, the issue is not necessarily “truth”, but rather the definition of the word Christian. What is happening is that you are defining Christian as one who is a redeemed follower of Jesus Christ. Others here are using the term to describe someone who holds to the orthodox positions of the Christian faith. When we use the later version, Catholics are Christian. As are Baptists, Lutherans, Greek Orthodox, etc. The reason they can be called Christian and can use the same term is that they all hold to and confirm their beliefs in the first two councils, Nicaea and Constantinople. It is their common belief the Trinity that allows them to be called Christian. It is also this same reasoning why Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot be called Christian, even though many have tried in the past few years.

      In closing, the point of truth that you are trying to hold to, and to which in many if not all parts I agree with, does not change the fact that there can and will be Catholics, Baptists, Presbyterians, Orthodox, etc who will take their place as redeemed believers. Just as there will be many of those same religions who profess they are Christian who will not be. Instead of trying to hammer others about their beliefs in how they attain salvation or their lack in salvation at all, please come along side those who are on the journey out of fundamentalism and help them on their journey. Even if you’re not traveling on the same road. Grace and peace.

      1. Thank you Erik for you respectful response. I have been impressed by the attitude of those that have answered my comments. I now understand that the people that write on this forum represent various beliefs. I had wrongfully assumed that everyone here was an Evangelical Christian. I want to say that I don’t consider myself a scholar, nor do I speak Greek or Hebrew and I do not consider that I know everything. I simply believe that the Bible is the Word of God. “That all Scripture is given by Inspiration of God…” (2 Timothy 3:16) I understand that in that instance Paul was referring to the Old Testament Scriptures. Later on however, Paul equates Luke with the Old Testament Scriptures and Peter does the same with Paul’s writings. (1 Tim. 5:18, 2 Peter 3:16). If the Bible is God’s Word then, did God intend for us to understand His plan and purpose for mankind? Why would he bother to inspire His Scriptures if we weren’t supposed to understand them? Now I know that there are Scriptures that are difficult to understand, but wouldn’t God have made the way to heaven clear to us if His Word is indeed inspired? That is all I have been trying to say this whole time. I don’t want to argue for the sake of arguing. I know I’m not going to convince any of you guys because I am sure that you have read all of the verses and know all of the arguments better than I do even. I just think that the differences (Catholic Vs. Evangelical Christian) are so fundamental that they are the difference between Heaven and Hell. Is there anything in Scripture that we can point to and say, “Thus saith the Lord?” Is there any part of the Scriptures that is absolutely true? I am curious to know your response. I will cease to be a pain and will let you guys express yourselves without my interference 🙂 I won’t write again unless you guys want to continue the friendly discussion.

        1. “I have been impressed by the attitude of those who has answered my comments”

          I am going to guess that you are just as surprised as you are impressed. As a fundy, you (they) are preparred to argue your beliefs and expect “non-believers” to argue back. Problem is, here you are conversing with, I am going to guess most ex-fundies. As ex-fundies know what you believe, know the standard arguements and once on the other side, we see those like you as duped as we used to be. So we know there is no point in argueing with a fundy because no one could have convinced us otherwise either. It takes each of us through our own personal experiences and willingness to examine the things we were conditioned to believe. Those who have given to serious studies of the bible useing logic and common sense usually abandon IFB if they are honest with themselves and get over the fears that has inhibited them for years.

        2. Monipenny, you must really think I’m a robot or something like that. You do realize that not just Independent Baptist’s believe in Salvation by grace through faith. I have read the Bible through many times in my lifetime. I even have whole books of the Bible memorized. I’m not trying to brag but I do want you to realize that I have committed my life to studying the truths of God’s Word. I am not a mindless fundy robot 🙂 I also read all sorts of books by many different authors. Do fundamentalists even write books? I think I have read one book written by an IFB in my lifetime. I have put a lot of thought into what I believe. I want to know that I have eternal life, not just guess. As a matter of fact a whole book of the Bible was written on the subject (1 John).

        3. David, sorry I wasn’t able to reply last evening. My son had a very important high school football game last night. (Winners! 28-14 and state playoff bound!)

          First off, I’m glad you’re here so don’t think that you are not wanted to participate.

          To address your question I’m going to lay my cards out on the table just so you know where I’m coming from. Most of this won’t be news for many of the long time regulars as all of our personal theology eventually trickles out. Off the top of my head I can name via their handles on the blog, Calvinists, Arminians (not Armenian, though there is at least one of those here as well), apostates, non-denominational evangelicals, agnostics, Catholics, and at least one very funny Orthodox. Eventually, most of us show a little bit of who we are and what we believe in our comments. Me, I’m not particularly fond of labels, but for the purpose of my reply I’ll label myself as a conservative Evangelical with strong Calvinistic leanings. But I like to say that I have a gentle Calvinism 😉 My point in laying this out is that I don’t disagree with what you are saying and neither do many others. However, this blog is not about being dogmatic about our beliefs and making everyone who visits here fit into our belief box. That is one of the reasons why we left fundamentalism. Basically you have been asking one question, is the Roman Catholic Church teaching truth? All I’m saying is that most of us don’t want to address that type of question on this blog. Go to the forums if you want to and address it there, but not here. With that said, if you stick around long enough you will know who believes what and where they stand. I’ll not name any names because I don’t want to speak for them, but there are a few regular posters who would agree with what you have said. I believe I can say that with almost 100% certainty based on their beliefs in Reformed theology. However, those same people have stayed out of this discussion because they don’t want this to become that kind of a blog.

          With all of that said, do I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is teaching truth? No, I do not. However, do I believe that God is strong enough to bring a person to Christ in the RCC? Yes, I do and I believe He has and will continue to do so. Your own human nature proves to what I’m about to say. Due to your family upbringing and the fact that your father was converted out of the Catholic church leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth toward Roman Catholicism. Similarly, my father was raised in a Reformed church, knew all the catechisms, said all the creeds, etc, but did not become a true believer in Christ until he was presented the Gospel by a member of an IFB church when he was in his 30’s. To this day my father loathes the Reformed church because he feels that they are simply about tradition and never presented the Gospel to him. I try and tell him that he just didn’t have the ears to hear back then and that actually the Scriptures he learned when he was young did not return void in the end. He doesn’t see it my way. My point is that what people are saved out of often becomes what they in turn reject the most.

          The reality is that most of those who frequent here have been hurt by fundamentalism in some way. If on their journey and their rejection of all things fundamentalism (like your father rejects Catholicism) they find healing in a Catholic church, who am I to necessarily say that’s wrong? Do I agree with their teachings? Hardly, but God was able to raise up many true redeemed believers within the Catholic church for the last 2000 years and I’m not going to start limiting His power now. At the same time I’m not going to attack those who are here that find comfort and healing while worshiping in a church I don’t agree with. Grace and peace.

        4. Erik, I see what you are saying. I now know that the purpose of the blog is more laid back in nature. I personally do not consider myself Reformed or Calvinistic and no I am not a Baptist Brider. I just believe that the Bible is God’s Word. I don’t believe that God is the author of confusion and that he has revealed His word in a way that I can understand. That doesn’t mean I will know everything about God (That’s impossible with our finite minds) but I can know what I need to do to be saved. I believe in salvation by grace because that’s what the Bible teaches. I believe in the Trinity because that’s what the Bible teaches. You said that you aren’t fond of labels, neither am I. It’s as if your only options are Reformed or Catholic. I am a Bible Believer (Not in the Ruckmanite sense, God forbid) and I believe that everything that I need for my faith and practice is found therein. I understand that people don’t want to argue on this blog but I refuse to go through life guessing. Jesus said that if we believe in Him we have eternal life. That means that I can know that I am saved. I will repeat my question, do you believe that there is anything in Scripture that is absolutely true? I really appreciate your comments. Please understand that I am not a mindless fundy robot. I really don’t identify with that crowd. I just want to know my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and I know Him through God’s Word as the Holy Spirit reveals Him to me.

  27. No David, I am not and never was a Catholic. I was a fundy right up until a few months ago. Well, I avoided church for over 10 years knowing something was wrong, but I didn’t just know what it was until I started useing my own brain and researching religion in history and the bible to come to the conclusion I have today. You will stay stuck where you are until you do the same thing. I know as an ex-fundy no one could have convinced me otherwise, as fundies you are conditioned to trust no one outside of IFB teachings. The bible, I am not talking about the “added Catholic books”, I am talking about your KJV, read it, study it, cross examine it with an open mind, not in a devotional way, then, and maybe then you will see the contradictions, distortion and twisted scriptures to justify your doctrines. Reconcile this verse, faith without WORKS is dead. Based on that verse alone, I don’t know one saved IFB person.

    1. Monipenny, I apologize for jumping to conclusions about your beliefs. Do you belong to any denomination now or simply searching? (just curious) I agree whole-heartedly that we need to think and search the Scriptures like the Bereans did. I am not being influenced by anyone right now. I have started a church in Madrid, Spain with a team of missionaries and we are trying as best as we can to stay true to the Scriptures and avoid doing things just because. I’m just afraid that many people leave fundamentalism (many for good reasons) and then absolutely reject everything that they have been taught as false. It’s a pretty normal thing to do. It’s called reacting and it causes us to go to the opposite extreme. When I speak of Catholicism I am speaking from experience. If Catholicism is true then I am wasting my time here in Spain. Also, if Catholicism is true then I am in big trouble. That’s why I believe it’s important to discuss the fundamental differences between Catholicism vs. Evangelical Christianity. About the passage in James. I think it fits very well with the rest of Scripture. Faith and works always go hand in hand. I reject the easy-believism that permeates fundamentalism. If you have truly been saved by grace you will show it in your life by your works. Our works prove that we are indeed Christians. We are saved by grace through faith however, not because of our works. There is too much Scripture that teaches salvation by grace through faith alone to ignore that doctrine. The passage in James must be interpreted in the light of the overwhelming evidence of Scripture that teaches salvation by grace through faith. Scripture does not contradict itself so we must reconcile these passages. I did not wish to offend you in any way, please forgive me if I have. I really pray that you discover the truth.

      1. David, I respect you, I really do. I have a question, what scriptures did the Bereans search? Be specific, I am not refering to a bible version. I am refering to scriptures that they supposedly searched. Keep in mind the time era of the Berean church and Paul and the NT writings. What scriptures did the early followers have?

        To answer your question, I do not belong to any denomination. Last year I attended regularly a Baptist church for about 2 months. Prior to that, I visited occassionally my husbands Baptist church. Other than that, It’s been over 10 years since I have been to an IFB cult group. My beliefs now are my own, not what has been fed to me.

        1. I respect you as well. I am just like you in the sense that I have now come to my beliefs on my own. I was taught many things growing up that I now know are incompatible with Scripture. They were simply traditions. In that sense many churches are the same as Catholics (Which ironically they disagree with, as you know I do as well). The Bereans would have been studying the Old Testament Scriptures. Although it is evident that the early Christians considered the writings of Paul and the other Apostles and Luke as Scripture. Two examples are found in these verses. (1 Tim. 5:18, 2 Peter 3:16).

        2. Historically, there were no NT scriptures circulating when the Bereans are mentioned, the Bereans become part of the NT scriptures, just as Paul, the disciples and other NT figures. Most NT writtings date 130CE or later, the Bereans are long gone by this time. You answered correctly, but if the Bereans studied OT, they would not have been devout christians, they would have converted to the Jewish religion. Keep in mind the Gentiles in that time era worshiped pagan man/gods. That was all too common then. If you weren’t Jew, you were a pagan Gentile. The Romans were the first “christian” religion, you guessed it Catholics.

        3. Well, we know that Paul died in A.D. 64 so his writings had to be before that. Many scholars agree that he wrote his epistles 15 to 20 years after the resurrection of Christ. The book of Acts (in which we find the part about the Bereans) was probably written before A.D. 70 because Luke would probably have mentioned the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 as well as the death of Peter (A.D. 65),Paul (A.D. 64) and James (A.D. 62) if it had been written later. Where do you get the information that the New Testament was written around A.D. 130? The oldest copy of a portion of the New Testament is dated A.D. 130 and it is a portion of the book of John. It was found in Egypt. This means that the original had to have been written years earlier. I don’t know how you arrived at that date. Anyway, this means that it is very likely that parts of the New Testament were in circulation by the time the Bereans came along. I don’t however, believe that the Bereans were reading the New Testament because the apostles quoted from the Old Testament when they preached. I don’t see how the Bereans would have converted to Judaism through reading the Old Testament. Jesus, Peter and Paul used the Old Testament to prove that Jesus is the Saviour. (Luke 24:44-47, Acts 2, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) They would have become believers in Jesus Christ!

        4. You answered your own question. “Where do you get the information that the New Testament was written around A.D. 130? (Your Answer) The oldest copy of a portion of the New Testament is dated A.D. 130”

          I am sorry, I did not mean that most of the writings date around 130CE. I mean that most of it date later than that with it having it’s beginnings around 130 CE. The gospel of Mark is estimated between 90-130ce. Most of the NT writings are dated from the 2nd thru 4th century.

          We can’t assume that Pauls letters, epistles and gospels were circulating during the life time of the characters mentioned in the NT just because the oldest “copy” of a portion of NT was found in Egypt in 130CE, that is a faulty assumption.

          Allow me to offer another “assumption”. I would “assume” the Jesus religion was started in Egypt in the 1st century and made it’s way to Rome, Jerusalem and surrounding areas from 2nd century on. Logically, that is what makes sense in light of this discovery. It’s a known fact that Egypt had worshiped other man-gods, known as mythology and pagan 3 in 1 deities, (we know this to be true based on history and OT too). Why does a Hebrew son of God have a Greek name?

          The Jews made it very clear in their scriptures and their beliefs that their God is one, not three. That is why the universal Catholic religion couldn’t convince them Jews of the new man-god religion, so they killed them and has been killing the Jews ever since the great destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70CE? The Jewish Tanack is irreverantly called by christians OLD Testament. Who came up with those titles, Old and New Testament?

        5. I apologize it took me so long to respond. As you know I live in Spain so I am 7 hours ahead of you guys. The dates that you have given for most of the writing of the New Testament is far off. You do understand the difference between the original manuscripts and copies, right? The Roman historian Tacitus wrote his histories in the first century but the oldest copy of his writings is from 900 A.D. Historians however agree that his writings are indeed from the first century. If the oldest copy of a portion of the book of John was found in Egypt in A.D. 130 then that would mean that the gospel of John would have had to been written in the first century. What’s curious is that most scholars consider John to be gospel that was written last. That would push the writing of the other gospels back even further.

          “We can’t assume that Pauls letters, epistles and gospels were circulating during the life time of the characters mentioned in the NT just because the oldest “copy” of a portion of NT was found in Egypt in 130CE, that is a faulty assumption.”

          How is that a faulty assumption? Using your logic Tacitus wrote his Annals and Histories in 900 A.D because that’s the date of the oldest extant copies of his writings. No historian would affirm that. Tacitus wrote in the first century. I know that not all scholars agree on the dating for the autographs of the gospels but many give very early dates. There is very little argument however about the epistles of Paul.

          What do you do about the epistles of Paul? There is hardly any debate about when he wrote his epistles. If he died in A.D. 64 then common sense would have to tell you that he wrote before his death, probably 15 to 20 years after the resurrection of Christ. If the gospels were written so many years later, how come Paul quotes Luke in 1 Corinthians and in 1 Timothy? Obviously we know from Paul’s writings that Christianity did not start in Egypt. Paul himself was a Jewish convert to Christianity. Please explain why Paul converted to Christianity or according to you, paganism. Something significant must have happened in the life of a devout Jew for him to have converted to Christ, like maybe Christ appearing to Him on the road to Damascus?

        6. You are missing the whole point. The bible was not cannonized until the 4th or 5th century (I forget which), even then all scripture was hand written right up until the 17th century when the first printing press came out and the KJV. So there were not many hand written copies of the NT floating around in the first few centuries, and no one had a complete NT before the 5th century around the same time of the coucils that formulated the fundamentals of the faith found in the Nicene creed, they were Catholic by the way.

          Why are you bothered over Catholic Christians, you refuse to call them a Christian but you firmly hold to their Nicene creed and their canonization of your bible?

        7. Monipenny, once again most scholars (Christian and non-Christian) affirm that the epistles of Paul were written 15 to 20 years after the resurrection of Christ. Please explain how the New Testament was written so late as you state. Also, explain how Paul quotes Luke in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy. You have yet to answer that question. The Bible was not canonized by the Catholics. The earliest Christians believed that the 27 books of the New Testament were the Word of God. Also, regarding manuscripts. We have more extant copies of the New testament then any other books of antiquity. We have earlier copies then any other books of antiquity. I really wonder where you are getting your sources. Also, I do not believe in the Trinity because of what a council decided. I believe in the Trinity because that is what the Bible teaches.

  28. Good discussions:

    Just a few thoughts:

    Linguistics: Since when do we believe ON someone/something instead of believ IN ? I’d love to know…

    Theology: I have always learnt that a Christian is s1 who believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ(hey, the name gives it away 😛 ) and tries to live like he did/inspired by his deeds & words. When did that definition change?

  29. So typical …

    I actually taught a Sunday School class on Lent this past year in my mainline, non-liturgical church … and with my pastor’s full blessing and support.

    We talked about how the traditions came about, cited from a whole lot of Catholic literature, and spent most of the class (a full quarter, mind you) focusing on disciplining our own life to enhance the relationship with God.

    I will very likely practice Lent more intently this coming year and I still want to write up a small book on what I learned and how I think we’ve missed a whole lot by shunning liturgy in general.

    🙄

  30. My grandmother was raised in a Catholic church that highly discouraged Bible reading. She was told she would go insane if she did. She broke with the Catholic church when she met Christ, for understandable reasons. (she was not fundy though) However, today many Catholics are doing Beth Moore studies just like the Protestants. Times have definitely changed. Personal Bible study doesn’t seem to be discouraged like it was.

    1. Yeah, when I was a little girl, my grandmother told us that her priest had forbidden her from visiting our church when she came to see us. Many, many years later, she said that her priest had no problem with her visiting a Baptist church.

  31. Darrell, do you know anything whatsoever about Catholic theology? The Sacrifice of the Mass, the Marian dogmas, the Priesthood, Sola Ecclesia, anything? If you did, then you would know that if Evangelicals are, in fact, Christians, than Roman Catholics are not. If Roman Catholics are Christians, than Evangelicals are not. The differences are fundamental and irreconcilable. You rightfully criticize the IFB for their legalism, but than you ignore Rome’s blatant denial of Salvation by Grace through Faith alone, and Justification by Faith alone. This is hypocrisy! Those who come out of the IFB background have made a right step, but they are in danger of rejecting true doctrine along with falsehood, not being able to distinguish between the two. Anyone who wants to know the truth about Roman Catholicism go here: http://vintage.aomin.org/Roman.html

    I knew what direction this website was heading when I saw a liberal apostate start a thread in the SFL forums complaining about the doctrine of Subsitutionary Atonement. That is a doctrine that you must believe in order to be a Christian, and it is a doctrine which liberals and Rome both deny. Darrell should have deleted that apostate thread, but he didn’t. I now believe that this website will only do more harm than good.

    1. 1. I know quite a bit about Catholic theology but even if I knew only one simple fact it would be enough: they believe in Jesus Christ as the third Person of the Trinity and they baptize people with a Trinitarian Baptism. That makes them Christians. That’s all that “Christian” means. It doesn’t mean saved. It doesn’t mean completely 100% correct on every bit of doctrine.

      2. I don’t censor the forums. If you disagree with something you read there then create an account and vigorously defend your point of view. The Truth is strong enough to stand vigorous debate and close scrutiny. Attempting to merely silence someone instead of engaging them in dialog is one of the marks of a Fundamentalist. And I’m not one anymore…so I don’t do that.

      1. Attending RCIA classes is helping me to understand all this a little more. The Catholics will accept all baptisms done in any Protestant faith that uses the trinitarian formula. They consider all Protestants brothers and sisters in Christ albeit out of communion with the RCC. I believe these facts have been stated before, but I found them to be shocking bombshells in my completely IFB indoctrinated upbringing that inexplicably considered Catholics the opposite of “Christian”. I still owe my Catholic aunt an apology for calling her a “heathen” when I was 13 years old as I believed FundyU had directed me to do.

      2. Darrell, I’m glad that you don’t censor the forum. I do want to know however, how you can be a Christian and not be saved. (Not you personally; I mean in general) Also, who said that believing in the trinity makes you a Christian? I am honestly asking. I had never heard that before. I do want to make one simple observation. Before the believers were called Christians at Antioch they were called disciples. What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Would Catholics be considered, in your opinion, disciples of Jesus Christ?

        1. David, maybe Darrell will address this himself, but this was partially my point in my first response to you. On a world wide level the term Christian generally means someone who holds to the belief in a trinitarian God represented in the three persons of the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. That belief and definition comes from the early church councils of Constantinople and Nicaea. If you go and study both of those councils you will find the basic thrust was to determine what was the, or one of the essentials of being able to call yourself a Christian. Based upon the councils of Nicaea and Constantinople anyone who believes in the Trinity is a Christian. As I stated before, this is also why when people call Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Oneness Pentecostals, Christian, they are mislabeled. None of the previous three groups can use the term Christian correctly as they all deny the Trinity and/or the Deity of Jesus Christ. If you go and study the first two councils it will help you to get a little clearer understanding of this. It may seem like I’m splitting hairs, but I’m not. Worldwide, Christian means something different than your definition. You are trying to define Christian as a redeemed follower of Jesus Christ within the framework of how what you believe the Bible teaches for a person to called a true follower. I’m telling you that the term is much more general than that on a global scale.

        2. Erik, my authority is the Word of God not the decisions of councils. Men may have neatly written out and systematized biblical doctrine but the truth is found in the Word of God. Take away all of the councils and give us an open Bible and we would be able to understand truth. Please answer this question, did God indeed inspire the 66 books of the Bible?

    2. That is a doctrine that you must believe in order to be a Christian

      With all due respect, that is patently false. Unless you are implying that young children who can’t tell the difference between substitutionary atonement and a turnip can’t be saved. I agree with John Stott that substitution is the foundation of everything we believe about salvation, but to say that it is a doctrine that must be believed to be saved is taking it too far.

      1. Also, a cursory review of the lowly Wikipedia also shows it to be patently false. There are at least four versions of the Substitutionary Atonement.

        The most familiar one to us of Protestant heritage is the Penal Substitution Theory which fully flowers in Calvinism. (It is a decidely western church development.)

        If the Penal Substitution Theory is the correct one (which most fundamentalists and evangelicals insist on), then there were no Christians for most of Christian history.

        Additionally, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholics do not incorporate the Substitutionary Atonement into their doctrines of the Cross or the Resurrection.

        And if the Eastern Orthodox are not Christians then no one is.

        On a side note, I am one of the liberal apostates on this blog. The complexities of my liberality and apostacies are too numerous to explain right here.

        Under no circumstances do I sense the blog to be where I am or to be going where I am. Some participants are like-minded. But without a shadow of a doubt, there is a decidely traditional, conservative theological tone to this blog. It just happens to be deeply skeptical that fundamentalism is conservative theologically.

    3. Catholics believe in substitutionary atonement.

      The notion was laid out formulaically by a Doctor of the Church in the 11th Century. When did your church adopt it?

      Satisfaction theory of atonement – from Wikipedia:

      “…the satisfaction theory teaches that Christ suffered as a substitute on behalf of humankind satisfying the demands of God’s honor by his infinite merit. Anselm regarded his satisfaction view of the atonement as a distinct improvement over the older ransom theory of the atonement, which he saw as inadequate. Anselm’s theory was a precursor to the refinements of Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin which introduced the idea of punishment to meet the demands of divine justice.”

  32. A christian is anyone who follows the trinity Christ regardless of dogma or traditions. Being a christian does not mean one is “saved” (except to some fundies). Catholics are christians, they just aren’t saved by IFB’s standards.

    1. Seriously, who is saved by IFB standards?

      I have faith in Christ. My whole faith is in Christ. I also believe that the Catholic Church is where I was led to worship.

      The IFB is such a small, schismatic conclave that hardly recognizes and usually denies the essential Christianity of even their brothers in the faith in different denominations.

      If you don’t worry about what the IFB thinks about you, then why should I worry what they think about me, or my Church? They have enough of a time keeping their own house clean in what should be a joyful expression of the faith.

      Yeah, they proclaim the Good News….but why is their face so red and spittle spraying from their jawing mouths when they do it?

      1. “Seriously, who is saved by IFB standards?” No one, not even themselves, faith without works is dead… but their righteous deeds are filthy rags. Don’t worry about what the IFB thinks, they are delusional.

        I am only saying that the definition of a christian is one who believes in the trinity 3 in 1 God/man. A christian is not defined by it’s worship style, traditions, customs, “adding works” or not or denomintion. That is all made up by the IFB. Everyone knows what a christian IS NOT, and they are those who do NOT accept Jesus as being God, and do not accept the trinity 3 in 1 god/man, ie, JW and Mormans, they are not christians, they do not believe in the godman Jesus and that is what makes them not christian.

        To Fundies christian = saved. That’s all, nothing to worry about. It doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t care what they think. I don’t care what they think, because it doesn’t matter. And I have more respect for people who are sincere in their faith regardless of their beliefs so long as they practice what they believe, that you wont find in fundyland.

  33. With all due respect to those who are willing to concede that Catholics might possibly be Christians so long as they reject such doctrines as Purgatory, veneration of saints, Marian devotion, etc.—Catholics are still Christians when they do believe all those things. The problem is that when people claim Catholics are not Christians, what they’re really saying is that they’re not *Protestants*. That seems obvious, but comparing the two really is a matter of comparing apples and Oranges.

    One of the primary sticking points of the Protestant Reformation was the idea of Sola Scriptura, or the Bible as the sole rule of faith. That’s something that’s become so intrinsic to Protestant (all Protestant, not just Fundamentalist) identity that it’s difficult for many to conceive of the idea that one could be a Christian without accepting that as a basic ground rule. But Catholics believe not only in the Bible as a rule of faith, but also in Tradition. That often gets misunderstood as “traditions of men”, but Catholics—and Eastern Orthodox, as well as Anglicans—claim Apostolic succession, and believe that many of the key doctrines of Catholic/Orthodox faith for which there is little Biblical support were affirmed by the Apostles and passed down through oral tradition in the early centuries of the Church.

    Now, this isn’t some magical belief unsubstantiated by evidence. Patristics, or the writings of the early Church Fathers, provide a great deal of support for the idea that many Catholic/Orthodox beliefs were firmly in place in during the first century. For example, it’s difficult to read Patristics without a clear impression that the doctrine of the Real Presence (that is, that the bread and wine of the Eucharist/Lord’s Supper are not symbolic, but in some mysterious way the actual body and blood of Christ) was absolutely unquestioned during the first few centuries of Christianity. It was simply a given.

    So if you were to say to a Catholic who is well-educated in their faith that what they believe is false because it is not in the Bible, a perfectly legitimate response is for them to shrug and say, “So what?” Because it’s a moot point. Truth in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches comes down to the modern age in two ways, through God’s word in the Bible and through God’s teaching through tradition.

    I can hardly blame anyone outside the Catholic Church for being poorly informed as to the nuances of Catholic doctrine and belief; as someone who was a conservative Protestant (though not specifically a Fundamentalist) through my late teens, I was never exposed to it until I started wondering about the Early Church, and my questioning led me to take a University course in Patristics. I ended up converting to Catholicism as a result of academic inquiry.

    We all bring our own sets of assumptions to the table regarding matters of faith; a strong faith, however, can not only withstand honest questioning, but accept that others might come to different answers honestly through their own quest of faith. (Heh, not very Fundy, I know. But that’s sort of my point…)

    1. Julian – that’s really interesting. Do you have any recommendations for where to look to read more about early fathers’ views on the real presence? My problem with Catholic doctrine on the subject as it *now* stands is that it’s parsed out in an almost wholly Aristotelian way (through Thomism), and I do think that that’s a problem. At the same time, though, I’m not opposed to the idea of real presence itself… I think Luther accepted it. 🙂

  34. You’re right, Lurk; Martin Luther did accept the doctrine of the Real Presence. There’s an anecdote, possibly apocryphal, about him debating the subject with another Protestant theologian (Zwingli, perhaps? I can’t recall; I know they were frequently at odds) and driving his point home by pounding the table and shouting, “This Is My Body!” Sounds like Luther to me…

    As far as reading the Church Fathers on the Real Presence… well, I have to say there’s nothing like reading the original material. When you get into secondary sources, you have to deal with interpretation; and as we all know too well, interpretation can vary widely according to the interpretors’ assumptions. (Of course, the same is true of translation; I’m feeling particularly generous today, though, so I’ll stop short of saying you should be making Latin and Greek flashcards as well!) My recommendation would be that you look for a collection of excerpts from the works of various Church Fathers. A cursory Amazon search of “Patristics” turns up several good possibilities. Just make sure you get a collection with excerpts long enough to allow for the all-important context. Patristics can be challenging reading, with intricate arguments, but it’s rewarding reading as well, whether one ultimately agrees with those arguments or not.

    I can also highly recommend any collection of the sayings of the Desert Fathers (and Mothers, for that matter). The amount of gentleness, humour, humility, and true holiness to be found there is staggering. For anyone who has been wounded by the Word of God used as a weapon (and I count myself amongst that number), the wisdom of those men and women who truly gave up everything in order to be closer to God can be profoundly healing. And if anyone were to tell me that those people were, by virtue of certain beliefs they did or did not hold, Not Truly Christian… well. It would say a great deal more to me about the state of that person’s soul than it would to me about those of the Desert Fathers and Mothers.

    My own, unsolicited belief is that if all this business about Christ isn’t everything to do with love, wholeness, and mercy, to the exclusion of everything else that stands in their way, then I’m better off without it. But then again a lot of people think I’m a bit mad…

    (Note: my first draft of this comment was eaten; if somehow the always-ravenous Internet managed to spew it out of its mouth, would Moderation please delete the incomplete comment? I’d be very grateful.)

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