General Christian Discussions

Church traditions – coolj



Posts: 354
From: ny
Registered: 07-11-2004
Why do we need all these traditions? I'm not just talking about Catholic or Orthodox, but protestant traditions as well. It seems like the more of these each church has the more divided we become as Christians.

Here's a farfetch thought: What if we just put these asided and believed just based on what the Bible tells us?

Why do we need to add so many traditions? Isn't this partly what got the pharisees in trouble?

If we only believe that Jesus is our savior, follow what Jesus told us in the Bible and what the apostles preached, would we be any less Christian? What do we gain by adding traditions? It seems to only divide.

I know there are some hard verses in the bible to understand, but should we base a tradition, whole denomination or church off of an interpretation , or worse question each others salvation based on a single verse?

Thankfully the most important instructions for us as Christians in the Bible seem the most clear and are repeated many times, even by Jesus himself.

What if we had to start from scratch, and the only thing we had was the Bible to guide us in our understanding of what the church is. All rules, orders, and traditions were lost. What would this church look like? Would it look close to any single church or donomination we have today?

I don't know, but to me it would seem to be a very simple church where people came together to listen to someone teach us from the Bible, pray with and for one another, worship, praise and pray to God, give thanksgiving for what God has done in our lives and rejoice that we are all part of the same church and offer the message of Christ's salvation to anyone who might not know about it. We would also share our knowlege of those in need (christian or not), so we could help, so that others will see christ's love in us.

Beyond this what else to de need to be Christians? Why do we make it so hard?



Posts: 3450
From: SV, CA, USA
Registered: 01-29-2002
however, the thing that seperates us usually is what we believe the Bible to say.

Soterion Studios



Posts: 523
From: IA
Registered: 09-19-2004
Because we are human, and we like to make things difficult. Remember, we are all sinners, so it is natural to have some separations, not that they are necessary or right.

The learned man knows that he is ignorant - Victor Hugo



Posts: 330
From: Eau Claire, WI USA
Registered: 10-25-2004
the problem coolj, is that its impossible not to have tradition. Even if your suggestion were implemented exactly as you asked.. within a short period of time, it, itself, would become a tradition.

Whats more, every tradition that exists today, I guarentee you, started out with a similar conceptual basis to what you have just proposed.

Humans require knowledge to be passed down from generation to generation, this require teachers. Teachers will teach studetns what the teacher believes.. in turn those students will become teachers and teach what their teacher taught them... and boom, you have a tradition.

-- All that is gold does not glitter,
Deep roots are not touched by the frost,
The old that is strong does not wither,
Not all those who wander are lost.



Posts: 11
From: Northern Ireland
Registered: 05-31-2004
Hey there all. I've just been reading over all the entries about the topic of are catholics Christian? I want to start off by telling you that I was raised in the catholic church for most of my life. I was an alter boy for a while and attended different catholic schools. I became a born again Christian when I was 17 and am now 28. I'm a Christian not a prodestant or catholic. Now that I've told you who I am, I'll go onto the point at hand.

The rc church is not a Christian church. There are many reasons why this is true. There is a book that is published by the rc church called pillar of fire, pillar of truth that explains the doctrinal beliefs that are held and taught by priests.

The first issue I will start on is the stand point of the Bible. The Bible is God's Word, it is truth, absolute truth (2 Timothy 3:15-17). The rc church does not hold this notion to be true. They believe that the Bible is God's Word but that it is not the whole authority on Christianity. They would teach that the words and beliefs of the 'church fathers' are as much as an authority if not more than the Bible. Now a lot of the stuff these men believed and taught were way out there. Tertullian believed that you couldn't have all your sins forgiven while on this earth, like murder or adultery to name a few. Now Jesus forgave ppl who were caught in the act of adultery (John 8:3-12). Justin Martyr believed that many of the greek philosophers that taught about an after life were Christians. Now this isn't true either. I just mentioned them to give you a taste of the people who set up a lot of the rc churches doctrines.

A major issue is to do do with the method of salvation. According to the rc church there are three or four places that ppl go to after they die. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory or limbo. Purgatory is a sort of prison time where you work off your sins before going to heaven. In the bible there are only two of these places mentioned, Heaven and Hell(Luke 16:19-31 & many others). The way you are taught as a catholic is that you can never be sure of where you are going but doing 'good deeds' and fulfilling the sacriments will get you higher up the ladder in purgatory, and the prayers of your family and friends on earth will get your sins cleansed faster. The Bible teaches very differently than this. God teaches that none of us will ever be 'good enough' for heaven and that we are saved by His grace, by faith in Jesus alone for our salvation (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12-15; John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9)

Another point is about the communion service wafer being literally the flesh and the wine being literally the blood of Jesus. This ordinary wafer and wine become the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ after the priest prays a certain prayer. The priest is 'redoing' the sacrifice. The Bible tells us that the sacrifice of Jesus was done once for everyone and will never be done again (Hebrews 10:10-12).

Another point is that of confessing your sins to a priest and they forgive them and give you a penance because of them. This idea is brought about from taking a verse out of context about the apostles remitting sins and the standpoint of two men that lived in the 3rd century roman empire, Cyprian of Carthage and the then bishop of Rome. At the time there was a persecution of Christians in the empire, and many people denied being Christians, bought fake documents saying they sacrificed to the roman idols, went into hiding and some stayed true. After the persecution ended many of those who fled or denied the Lord wanted to join the church again. There were many who said yes and many who said no. The one who said no was the bishop of rome and the one who said yes was Cyprian. Now Cyprian's way of dealing with the issue was with the idea of penance, a period of time where people could prove they were sincere by doing lots of 'good works'. Hence the idea of saying prayers so many times to make atonement for your sins.

Holding Mary and other people in such a place of worship, glory and honour. The RC church teaches that Mary remained a virgin for her whole life. This is plainly not true (Matthew 12:47). The Lord Jesus had half brothers & sisters. One of His brothers was James. Also, they teach that ppl should hold her as blessed and holy. This is also not biblical (Luke 11:27, 28). The rc church also teaches ppl to pray to the archangel michael. The praying to or worshipping of them is not biblical (Revelation 22:8-9). People are told that its good to pray to other ppl apart from God. A priest once told me that we ask friends on earth to pray for us, so we can do the same for our 'friends' in heaven. The Bible says other wise.

There are times throughout the year when certain days are holy and as a catholic you are told not to eat meat, apart from fish. This is totally unbiblical aswell. God told us that all meats are good and none are to be abstained from for religious matters (1 Timothy 4:2-4). These verses also bring in the idea of priests not marrying.

A couple of recap points. Is the catholic church a Christian church? No, alot of its teachings and history are not biblically true. Can a catholic person become a Christian? Yes they can, anyone can by putting their faith in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation. Are any of us worthy of salvation and God's love? No, not one.

There are quite a few more issues that are either not biblically based or are heretical to the Bible. If anyone wants to go into more depth on them, feel free to e-mail me.


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Posts: 330
From: Eau Claire, WI USA
Registered: 10-25-2004
There are a number of things in the preceding post that I'd like to comment on.

One of the great failings of the Roman Catholic church is that many of its members are totaly nominal.. they don't invest themselves at all in "their faith" and for many of them they really have no idea what their own church teaches.

Virtually every person I've ever met who has left the catholic church was only nominaly catholic to begin with. There are even whole orders and priests in the Catholic church that really aren't christians because they don't have personal faith, and they either don't know or don't believe what their own church teaches. This is particularly true of many american branch offs from the RC.

I don't mean to be at all offensive or insulting to the previous poster, because I'm sure he means well. However, there are several common misconceptions in his post about Roman Catholicism.

First on the authority of the church and scripture. The previous poster said that the catholic church believes the bible to be the word of God but they don't hold it to be the sole authority, they recognize the authority of the church itself as equal with scripture. This is true.. it isn't however, as anti-christian as John presents it.

I say this because there are actually numerous verses in scripture that support the authority of apostles and bishops to teach and interpet scripture. I agree that the catholic position has gone too far in this instance, but so has the typical protestant doctrine, "sola scriptura". So if you deny the catholic church as unchristian on this issue (rather than simply in error or mistaken) then you must also deny the majority of "protestant" churches as unchristian because they err just as much, its just to the opposite side of the issue. The catholic is one extreme, the protestant is the other.. neither extreme is particularly better than the other.. the truth is in the middle.

The Catholic church doesn't hold that each individual church father was totaly correct, rather the catholic teaching is that the Holy Spirit works within the church to protect it from error, thus whatever doctrine triumphs in the church must be correct because the Holy Spirit protects the church from error. This does not mean that the church can not have error, even wide spread error.. it just means that error will always eventually be corrected (in the catholic view point).

Tertullian for example is actually held to be heterodox by the catholic church (in otherwords he was not in agreement with the teaching of the church) and in his later life he was excommunicated as a heretic because of some of his teachings.

Justin Martyr, on the other hand, was for the most part a very good writer and teacher. He came from a background of training in greek philosophy thus he found many parallels between the platonic school of philosophy and christianity. He believed that God had allowed Platonic philosophy to see some of the truth as a for-runner of the gospel to the greeks and romans. Frankly I agree with him. Not everything from platonic or neo-platonic philosophy is true, but there is a great deal of truth in it, a shocking amount considering that these people lived hundreds of years before the gospel.

I don't entirely agree with the doctrine of purgatory, but neither is the general protestant image entirely correct in my view. As for the doctrine of limbo, it was invented by the catholic church in the middle ages and has been abandoned by the church. The catholic church no longer holds the doctrine of limbo.
Purgatory is misunderstood by protestants however. The idea of purgatory is actually taken from the bible where Paul says that Jesus is the only foundation, whoever builds on that foundation will be saved, but what we build will be tested by fire and some will come through the fire with reward, but some will come through with nothing, because what they built in this life was not eternal.
From this idea the catholic church developed the idea that when we die we are tested in fire in purgatory and those whose works are pure pass on immediately or very shortly to reward, those whose works are not pure do not pass on until the impure works that they have built in this life are burned up.

I don't agree with this interpetation of the verse, but its also not correct to say that the catholic view has you working your way into heaven. Purgatory isn't about earning, its about testing what you've already built.

On the point of the communion service being a recreation of Jesus crucifixion.. this is a common misinterpetation of catholic doctrine. Catholic doctrine holds that the crucifixion of Christ was an eternal sacrifice, once for all times.. so his sacrifice saved people even at the beginning time (adam and eve) thousands of years before he was sacrificed on the cross.. because his sacrifice is eternal, it saves all who have faith at all times.
The catholic view of the communion service is built off of that view. They do not believe that they are re-sacrificing Christ.. actually what they believe is that they are stepping outside of time and being united into the eternal sacrifice of Christ.. you could view it that the priest is taking everyone back in time to the cross, but it would be more accurate to say that eternity is intruding into time, and Christs timeless eternal sacrifice comes into the present for the people at the service. Its a complex doctrine and hard to understand, which is why it is so commonly misconstrued.

Confession of sin is actually quite biblical, as is the ability of apostles to forgive sins. The private confession was implemented out of practicality. originaly confession of sins was public before the entire congregation. When congregations became to large this became impossible so the priest sat in to represent the entire congregation.

Many people believe that the catholic church says confession is required for salvation. However, catholic dogma states that anyone who truly repents of a sin is forgiven and will receive salvation regardless of confession. Confession is an extra benefit for the believers. It is something which in many ways is more for our conscience than for our eternal forgiveness. According to the bible Jesus gave to the apostles the power to remit sins, thus if we confess and have our sins remitted it is for the clearing of conscience, and for assurance.

I think the catholic church takes the honoring of saints, especially Mary too far. However, there is some truth to their understanding of the communion of the saints which has been rejected or forgotten by most protestants.

The catholic church has plenty of problems, in practice and in doctrine. But the simple truth is that the vast majority of non-catholic churches are just as far off in the opposite direction. If your going to say the catholic church is not christian then you'd better recongize the same thing about the rest of the churches as well or its just hypocrisy.

Better would be if we realized that churches have problems, even serious problems, but that doesn't mean they are not christian. It means they need restoration to the purity of the faith. Look at the churches in revelation, almost everyone of them has serious serious problems, yet almost all of them are considered by Jesus to be real christian churches.

-- All that is gold does not glitter,
Deep roots are not touched by the frost,
The old that is strong does not wither,
Not all those who wander are lost.