Friday, June 23, 2006

Wow, lots of visitors

Thank you for the wealth of response from my posting yesterday (and T.O.'s posting at her own site). I appreciate the insight that many provided in the comments section. I was afraid that things would get heated, but thankfully things were calm. Although, I feel that the debate has now moved to the similarities or differences between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican/Episcopalian Church.

My concerns are the differences between the less conventional, yet still mainstream, Protestant churches, like the Baptists, Pentecostals and so forth. I am also quite interested in the Biblically "conservative" churches, of which the two denominations I mentioned are a part. I'm not sure that I would include the United Church, or even recent movements within the Anglican Church as part of that group.

I think that this "conservative" group, which is not without its own problems (which I might talk about in another post), would have a lot of trouble with the Roman Catholic Church, not only because of theological differences (as was mentioned in yesterday's post) but also because of the role played by, not only a hierarchical system, but Tradition (with a big 'T').

Interestingly, the Pentecostal Church has some tradition, but because of its relative newness (100 years this year as a defined church, marking its beginning with the revivals at the Asuza Street Mission in California), we don't like to call it that. Nevertheless, they (we?) accept the Bible, although its construction happened a long time ago (before the Reformation). I guess you have to have a standard somewhere, and perhaps these Protestants feel that the assembly of the Bible was early enough to be "unscathed" by the "big-T" Tradition that ultimately caused the Reformation.

Maybe that's what they think. Again, my history might be suspect. Feel free to comment and correct me. Just don't be mean.

One more thing: recently, I have decided to be more involved in the Mass that I attend each week by kneeling during the consecration, something which I didn't do previously. In one community I was attending, we would stand during consecration due to the lack of kneelers, and I had no trouble with standing. Kneeling, I somehow have (or had) trouble with. So I would just sit. Now I've decided to kneel. I feel that perhaps I can kneel as a sign, not necessarily as an acknowledgement of the priest's actions, but rather out of worship and respect for Christ and his sacrifice. I take that time, while the priest speaks and recites Jesus' words, to pray and thank God for sending his Son, and for the shed blood of Christ which is my salvation.

So, in a sense, I am being open to the presence of Christ.


Anonymous said...

Catholics also don't kneel b/c of the priest's actions - I kneel and think about Christ's sacrifice!

I actually converted to Catholicism after studying Early Church History (eg. St Justin Martyr, St Ignatius of Antioch), the history of the Mass, and apologetics of Scott Hahn (The Lamb's Supper)

Anonymous said...

Nicholas Greco said...

I guess I didn't make myself clear. When I said "because of the priest's actions," I was really meaning, all that is encompassed during that part of the Mass. As a Protestant Christian, I don't hold to the belief that the bread and wine become the physical presence of Christ. So, that's what I meant. I didn't kneel previously because I felt that, if I did, I would be kneeling "to" a the physical presence of Christ. My thinking might not have been correct, but that's why I didn't do it.

Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

"if I did, I would be kneeling "to" a the physical presence of Christ."

..given you beliefs, don;t you think you'd be kneeling to something that is NOT the physical presence??

Regardless, I think you'll find looking into early Church history interesting

Nicholas Greco said...

Right. So now I'm kneeling.

I just felt that, by kneeling during that part of the service, I was somehow participating in something I couldn't fully participate in.

It certainly is not the case that there are no evangelical Christians among Catholics!! Thanks for the links. I'll look at them.

Maury said...

Nicholas, just be careful not to get too caught-up in the minutiae.

One of the things I love about my ministry past is remembering the experiences I had when we had an auditorium of Baptists, Catholics, Pentecostals, Church of Christ, etc., youth — and they were all worshipping God.

The foundation of "Christianity" SHOULD be, and was INTENDED to be, a personal relationship with God through Jesus, His Son.

If we have asked Jesus into our life, we are "saved" and forever reconciled to God via the acceptance of Jesus' atoning sacrifice. That salvation is the reason for our worship, and that salvation is what should give us the impetus to know God more and to become more like Jesus — that is what a personal relationship with Him is.

Point being, kneel if you feel led to and if that helps you draw closer to God. Raise your hands in praise if that draws you closer to God. Sing songs to Him if that draws you closer to Him.

But most of all, love Him as best you can as best you know how and understand. Don't look for rituals or traditions to draw you closer to Him — seek Him with your soul, your heart, through prayer, and through the reading of His Word.

FWIW, I was born and reared Southern Baptist, and I've remained a Southern Baptist by choice. There a lot of negative stigmas attached to our denomination, but the denomination isn't what matters — what matters is whether or not the individuals of ANY denomination/faith are Christ Followers, saved by Grace, and living daily to become more like Jesus.

Nicholas Greco said...

Thanks Maury. Good comment.

Anonymous said...

yes, a personal relationship with Jesus is most important..

but in our pursuit of TRUTH, we must look for the denomination that is closest to the truth (ie. the true "bulwark of truth")

For me, in studying early Church history, I find the Catholic faith as the closest to the bulwark of truth.

Nicholas Greco said...

While I don't want to push this discussion too much, I think that we also have to be aware that the Roman Catholic Church has not been static in its development throughout Church History.

Anonymous, I would be interested in some books that you might have looked at in your research.

I am not fully convinced that Catholicism as a whole is the closest to TRUTH just because of its view of the Eucharist.

Anonymous said...

For stuff specifically on early Church beliefs on the Eucharist and how they are the same as present-day Catholicism, please refer to website above on Presence.

here is one book:

Also, stuff my Mark Shea (his articles or book on Authority) are good..

My prayers go out to you!!

Anonymous said...

Mike Aquilina is also very good.I think he has a blog etc.

Also some good books