As we navigate the ups and downs in this wretched world, sometimes it becomes necessary to take a new direction. But change is a hard pill to swallow for some of us. So, many of us who are short-sighted and the narrow-minded put up barriers and resist every notion of change.
Then, one day a spiritual awakening happened, and suddenly you morphed into a completely different person. And for the first time you realised that you were wrong all along. It now becomes clear that the path you had chosen leads to a dead-end street.
Still, you have to decide whether to stay stuck in your old ways or reset and embark on a new direction. Thankfully, like apostle Paul, some of us choose to explore a new direction.
Today one of the most famous religious institutions–the Catholic Church, finds itself between a rock and a hard place. The head of the Church wants to take the institution in a new direction, but members of the ruling bodies vehemently oppose. Still yet, this hardened opposition is not base on Biblical principles. If anything, it is base on Church traditions sprinkled with some moral principles.
Therefore, it is not blasphemous to say the Catholic Church got stuck in tradition, in the same way, the Pharisees was when Jesus called them whitewashed sepulchres. For it appears that majority of its members both in the ruling bodies and the pews are more concerned about public opinion than winning souls for the Kingdom of God.
When Jesus was on earth, He ran into similar opposition. Luke 5:30-32 documents one of His encounters with the religious class. The Bible says Levi put on a great feast for Jesus, and there was a great company of tax collectors and sinners among them.”But the scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
31 And Jesus answering said unto them, they that are well needed, not a physician; but they that are sick.
32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
I am thinking! 🙂 It is so good to see you back, though. God Bless, SR
Go ahead and think my friend. I had to do a lot of thinking before I could write the post. But if you go over Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman it might help you to come to a reasonable decision. I am sure you are aware that the Samaritan belonged to a certain social class that the Church had out-lauded and segregated. But after Jesus witness to her she was changed forever and went away rejoicing. She became an instant witness for the Kingdom of God. “Come see a man who tell me everything I did”.
Great post, Noel, and I agree 100% with it. The Catholic church as well as some protestant churches need to get back to what Scripture tells us the church should look like. Hugs, N 🙂 ❤
You are exactly right Natalie. Some of our Christian brothers and sister seem to forget that we do not have the power to change people. It is the Word of God that convicts the heart and change the individual. Therefore, our job is to preach the gospel to all people and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
Thank you so much for your honest input. God bless.
Okay, I have thought it out, and when I have time, will come back. I am not on the fence on it but…. there are things I agree with on both sides. So will be back. Hope you are having a great week! God Bless, SR
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Take as much time as you like, SR. No worries.
I forgot to ask you something. What “traditions” are you specifically speaking of here. I would kind of like to know that before I reply. Thanks and God Bless, SR
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The tradition I referenced are man made rules, SR. Every Church has them.
Okay, here I am. A “reasonable decision!” Come on Noel, when I need one of those I come to you! 🙂 Puh-Lease!!!!!
All kidding aside, I am going to go with what the Church is deciding on the “Annulment Process.” Of course this is also based in Scripture, and I will do a post on it explaining how, after holidays, so you will understand it better.
I have to agree it does need to be changed in some aspects. Done away with, no. We take The Eucharist to heart, and for a Catholic not to be able to receive Jesus because of a divorce, to me would be devastating. However, there has to be some guidelines because of the teachings of Christ on the matter.
I do agree it needs to be a shorter process, and for those who are going through a divorce through no fault of their own, I do not believe they should be denied The Eucharist. Things such as adultery, abuse, one is molesting their children, etc….
As far as “Catholic Traditions,” yes we do have some. Yet, in the Bible we see it taught that we are to “hang onto these traditions.” So what do we do with these Scriptures? These are the traditions which the Apostles taught, handed down from Christ, which were handed to the Church, (most by word of mouth) and are going to this day.
I am not saying this to be smug, and I think you know that, but no other Church has these traditions, as they were given to one. That is where the Protestant and Catholic views begin differ. Make no mistake though, there was a Church in the NT, and it was not only the people. (I can give Scripture backing that up if you want me to, providing you give me the time to look them up.)
Not every “tradition” is “man made,” and we have to be careful not to confuse the two. Which “traditions” were actually given to us by Christ and taught by the Apostles, and which one’s were not? To find that out, one has to go back a very long way almost 2000 years. It takes a lot of reading and studying. I hope I am spelling this correctly, but may I suggest you begin with the Didaches. These writings were given to us by the early Church Father’s, and are the earliest Christian writings. ( When you read it, look at the dates and who they studied under.) They came before the Bible. In them you will see why Catholic’s do what we do. St. Ignatius of Antioch is an early Church Father, who I love reading what he wrote. A lot of what we do came from him also, as he was a disciple of John.
Also, some FYI here, when Catholics were holding Mass in Rome, the Emperor had them spied on. They held Mass underground. When the spy report came back to the Emperor this is what was said. “They worship their God, and drink His blood, and eat His flesh.” So that right there shows even back to the Roman Empire, Mass was being celebrated as it is today, in the “tradition” of The Eucharist. Of course we see this also in the NT, and it was instituted by Christ Himself, at the Last Supper.
Now is the Annulment Process long? Yes, too long for me. What many people fail to realize it is also a process of forgiveness. Being that we believe Christ is present in The Eucharist, that He is there with us, and that God and Jesus both condemned divorce, the Church had no choice but to institute this process. They instituted it based on what God, Jesus, and Paul said about divorce, so it is Scripture based. Paul furthered the teachings of Christ on divorce. There is a big difference between a “lawful” marriage and an “unlawful” marriage. Example: A son marrying his mother, is an “unlawful” marriage. Same sex marriage is an “unlawful marriage.” A marriage between a woman and man, both being believers is a “lawful marriage.” Jesus and Paul instituted standards for the two. The early Church Father’s knew this. There are different rules for a lawful marriage, verses, an unlawful marriage, according to Scripture.
What the Annulment Process does is offer forgiveness to those in a “lawful marriage” and welcomes them back into the Church. For instance: Someone commits adultery. One cannot do this and go and receive The Eucharist, as this is a mortal sin. Yes, Jesus is forgiving and yes He loves us, but Jesus never condoned sin. There are 10 we are commanded not to do. He told the Apostles, “Whose sins you forgive will be forgiven in heaven, and whose sins you retain will be retained in heaven.” So we see right here, there is a forgiveness process in heaven, based on the forgiveness of those who started His Church. Also we must forgive so our own sins can be forgiven. So to just say, “All we have to do is confess our sins, and all is forgiven,” is leaving out some other Scriptures, isn’t it? So what do we do with those, Noel? Ignore them, of course not. The early Church Father’s knew they could not be ignored, hence an Annulment Process had to be birthed.
Like I said though, I do believe it needs to be shortened, and when they find out that one is being abused, cheated on, or they have no choice but to get out because of their children being harmed, they should be allowed from that moment on to receive The Eucharist. I hope this makes sense, I tried to write it as best as I could, with not having the space to tell everything. Will try and do better on post. Have a great weekend and God Bless, SR
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Well worth the wait, SR! Thanks a lot for your honest response. I truly agreed with much of what you wrote. however, I have one very important question. If Christ came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, why some Churches block certain categories of sinners to enter? This behavior is similar to what Jesus found among Pharisees at the beginning of His ministry. Here is what He had to say about that: “13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in, (Matthew 23:13). I think the Church should be open to anyone. David was one of the remarkable men of the OT, yet he failed miserably but God forgave him and restore him. If David were alive today with those same circumstances, the Church would block him.
God Bless you, Noel. If we all had your heart, God could almost rest every single day! 🙂 I am going to piece it together for you Noel, but first I want to give you a few Scriptures, and ask you two questions, to think about. I will tie it all in, and of course you know me from there it is between you and the Holy Spirit.
Scriptures: In Malachi 2:16 God said, “I hate divorce.” Then in Matthew 5:31 Jesus says: “But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Now God hates divorce, and Jesus it seems just contradicted God. Of course He did not, so I had to dig.) Now we go to Mark 10 and Jesus it seems just contradicted what He said in Matthew. “What therefore God has joined together let no man put asunder.” “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” Then Paul comes along and gives us a whole bunch more about two believing spouses, should stay with one another, but if one does not believe we are to let them go. All these Scriptures Noel left me scratching my head. God hates divorce, Jesus said you can do it for unchastity and then He said we can’t. Then of course my dear friend Paul who to me always throws another cup of flour into the mix, gave us a whole new set of guidelines and teachings. Dig I did, and then I understood the annulment process.
Also what Jesus said regarding the Pharisees, always played in the back of my mind. But Noel Jesus said something else about the Pharisees, “Do what they say and not what they do.” He never took their teaching authority away from them did He?
Now in Matthew 5:23 we see this: “So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” So we cannot just go to the altar and present our gifts to God just because He is such a loving and forgiving God, especially when we have un-confessed mortal sin on us. We have to take care of these matters first.
Now go to Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained a brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the Church, and if he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” So we see here, those in authority over the Church pretty much had the last say so. A Gentile and tax collector were two things Israel despised Noel. Per Christ, this is how these people were to be treated. No they were not welcomed anymore in the Synagogue. No Gentile or tax collector was getting in there.
Now Noel, Jesus took a whip and ran the tax collectors out of “His Father’s House.” He told them, “They were making it a den of thieves.” So now we have to piece it all together, don’t we?
I will when I come back.
My questions for you to ponder: You, your wife, and children go to Church. There is one who worships Satan in your Church. Every single time you turn your head, he grabs one of your children, and tells them. “God is evil. Do not worship God, but worship the one who will give you every thing you want. His name is Satan, he loves you, and will make you rich and powerful.”
Are you going to open your Church to him Noel, and welcome him in? I know you better, you are going to protect those children God gave to you and protect their souls, at all cost. You as a father, are going to do your best to drive all evil away from your children, be it in the Church or the world. So we have to be careful when we use the words like “all” and “everyone.” Even Jesus knew this and this why boundaries and guidelines were set.
Another question I want to ask you. Do we love people into hell, Noel? Do we have guidelines as Christians, as to how far we are to accept the actions of others, before consequences have to come forth? I am not saying we have to be mean and cruel, but there are times we have to distance ourselves from others for the sake of our own souls. Jesus gave us the ways and means to do this. It does not mean we do not love and pray for them.
Now to clarify. When I said the annulment process welcomes those back into the Church I should have said it better. It means they are in full communion with the Church able to receive The Eucharist. They can always go to the Church, the Sacrament of the Eucharist for some time is denied to them though.
When I come back I am going to piece it all together for you. God Bless, SR
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SR, you are talking gospel. So, I cannot disagree with your premise. However, I would be remiss if I did not say we cannot hold sinners to the same standard as we hold Christians. We have to bring them in the sheep- fold as they are. Peter was Jesus right hand but it took him a long time to conform to Jesus’ teaching. The underline point I am trying to make is this: Church rules are not for sinners, they are for Christians. The Church grows when it convinces sinners to turn to Christ.