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Featured Catholic vs. Protestant Christianity

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by HRDJ, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. HRDJ

    HRDJ New Member

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    HI - I am not posting this to start any kind of fight. I am just really really curious and confused.
    Currently, I am attending a presbyterian church and have many bible conservative friends. I am pretty new to Christianity and when I ask about these, my friends tend to just brush it off as "because the pastor said..." or "Catholic is idolism..." kind of skewed judgement and opinions. So if you could please, just share what you think about my questions.... I have never studied or learned Catholic faith (if it is any different from Christianity I learned from my church), so please forgive my ignorance.

    1. Catholics believe in Jesus as their savior and he is the son of the God. So Catholics do go to heaven as well, right? (My friend said in the Catholic faith, it said they have to do good things to be in Heaven, so they can't go to Heaven because Catholics don't believe in Jesus solely to go to heaven. Honestly, I didn't get what she meant.)


    2. If i missed my church's sermon on Sunday morning, can I go to a Catholic mass? (I know going to a sermon is not 100% necessary action to take, but I like to have something in my weekend to keep my spirit up for the upcoming week.) As a non-Catholic, but Christian, can I attend the mass?

    3. During the Catholic mass, when they give out the bread and wine part (I am sorry, I don't know what it is called...My church doesn't do it a lot..may be on Christmas only.). am I allowed to join because I was baptized as a Christian? Or is it solely for Catholic?

    4. My church said I don't need to pray to my angel or saints or anyone except Jesus. Then what is the purpose of angels and saints? Even if the saints are not 'real' in protestant faith, isn't angel something the God said we all have? Should we just...ignore them?

    5. What is the role of Mary in Catholic church? I know Catholics don't' worship her, but honor her because she was the mother of Jesus. Then why not honor Joseph, the father of Jesus, in the same respect? Why is the virgin birth so important? Isn't Nazareth's revival more amazing miracle? (Again, I am new to the faith, this question is out from my ignorance. Not trying ot compare miracles or anything like that)

    6. Does Catholic really teach that non-believers who do good things also go to heaven?

    7. I don't see a lot of Catholic evangelism movement as much as Protestant churches do. Is there reason for it or Catholics do have those movements but it is just not well known?



    Thank you so much if you are answering any of the questions above. I am just really curious and confused.

    Thank you
     
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  2. Korean-American Christian

    Korean-American Christian raised Presbyterian. member of the Nazarene Church

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    All people who have a relationship with Jesus as their Savior and Lord will spend eternity with God our Father

    0 Christ is GOD.jpg 0A Jesus.jpg 0A One way One truth One Savior Jesus Christ.jpg Saved by Grace.jpg
     
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  3. PloverWing

    PloverWing Episcopalian

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    Welcome to CF, and welcome to the Christian faith!

    Catholics are Christians. The Catholic Church is one of the most ancient branches of Christianity. Yes, Catholics believe in Jesus as their savior and that Jesus is the son of God. Yes, they have saving faith in Jesus Christ.

    Protestants and Catholics agree that we are saved through the work of Christ, that we would never be able to do enough on our own to earn God's favor. We also agree that it is important to do what is right and follow God's will, as best as we can. Catholics tend to emphasize our responsibility to follow Jesus' teachings, and Protestants tend to emphasize the role of grace, but it is a difference of emphasis, rather than a true disagreement. (And Protestants often misunderstand Catholics on this point.)

    Yes, you may go to a Catholic mass.

    The bread and wine part is called "communion" or "the Eucharist". The Catholic Church believes that only Catholics should receive communion in a Catholic mass. Thus, in a Catholic service, you should not go forward to receive the bread and wine, out of respect for their beliefs; remain in your seat during this part of the service.

    Angels and saints are our fellow-creatures, joining with us in the worship of God. Some Christians don't think much about angels or saints at all. Some Christians reflect on them from time to time as examples of what an extraordinary Christian life might look like. Some Christians ask for the prayers or protection of angels and/or saints as part of their regular prayer life. As long as you remember that angels and saints aren't gods -- they're beings created by God, like us -- I'd say you can include them in your practice of prayer and meditation, or not, as best fits you.

    The Incarnation is an important idea in Christianity: the idea that God took human form in the person of Jesus. Mary is extra-special in Catholic thought because it was in her body that the Incarnation took place. Other saints, like Joseph, don't share that unique role.

    The fate of non-believers is a much-debated question, among both Catholics and Protestants. You'll hear lots of different views if you talk to different Christians. One possibility is that a person who loves the Good, and tries to do what is good their whole life long, might be seen by God as saying "yes" to God, even if that person doesn't understand that God exists or that God was incarnate in Jesus. I think that's what Pope Francis believes, if I understand him correctly. But Catholics and other Christians vary widely in their answers to this question.

    There have been Catholic missionaries for many, many centuries, and there are still Catholic missionaries today. I suspect they're just not doing a lot of work in the area where you live. Also, sometimes the Protestants are louder. :)
     
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  4. Arcangl86

    Arcangl86 Newbie

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    I'm going to try to answer these questions as much as I can, but I'm not a practicing Catholic anymore, so keep that in mind.
    1. Catholics believe in Jesus as their savior and he is the son of the God. So Catholics do go to heaven as well, right? (My friend said in the Catholic faith, it said they have to do good things to be in Heaven, so they can't go to Heaven because Catholics don't believe in Jesus solely to go to heaven. Honestly, I didn't get what she meant.)
    [/quote]
    I do believe that anybody who believes in salvation through Jesus Christ will be granted such. However many Protestants believe that a belief in salvation by faith alone is itself needed for salvation. I don't agree with that for reasons I can expand later.
    I'll answer these together. Many more conservative Protestants wouldn't approve of you going to a Catholic Mass, because Catholic doctrine is so different. Also the sermon isn't considered the central point of the service like it is in many reformed churches. As far as the Catholics are concerned, any person can attend a Mass, but only Catholics in a state of grace are allowed to receive communion.
    This I think is from a misunderstanding of the Catholic doctrine of the intercession of the saints. Essentially, when Catholics are praying to the saints, what they are doing is asking for the saints to also pray to God for them. They aren't actually appealing to the saints for anything more then you would a fellow church member.
    Mary is considered to be the mother of the church. Joseph is respected, but not to the same level as Mary, that much is true. However it's not correct to say that Mary is honored because she was the mother of Jesus. She is honored because she is the person who bore and gave birth to Jesus. Without her saying yes, the Incarnation wouldn't have happened. Thus she is seen as being one of the people most instrumental in the salvation of the world.
    Eh, yes and no. My understanding is that the teaching is that good works can only be accomplished by the grace of God, so the Catholic Church sees it as a possibility that salvation can be granted to those who are not professing members of the Church.
    Evangelism looks different to Catholics. Instead of going to the street corner and preaching, Catholic evangelism is either more focused on simply having as many Masses as possible and trying to get people to come to them, or social service work. They believe that showing Christianity in practice is the most effective way to preach the Gospel.
     
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  5. Korean-American Christian

    Korean-American Christian raised Presbyterian. member of the Nazarene Church

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    I respectfully disagree....only individuals who have a relationship with Jesus Christ will spend eternity with God

    0 Christ is GOD.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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  6. PloverWing

    PloverWing Episcopalian

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    As I said, Christians vary widely in their answers to this question.
     
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  7. Korean-American Christian

    Korean-American Christian raised Presbyterian. member of the Nazarene Church

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    I respectfully disagree....there are many, many "good people" (moral people) who do good deeds.

    An individual can spend his or her entire lifetime doing good deeds (helping the poor, caring for orphans, etc)....however, if that individual does not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, the only true God....all is for nought

    Saved by Grace.jpg 0A One way One truth One Savior Jesus Christ.jpg 0 Christ is GOD.jpg
     
  8. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    This is going to be made immensely difficult by the simple fact that there is no such thing as "Protestant Christianity". The term "Protestant" is a pretty loose umbrella term that encompasses just about everything that came out of the Reformation and since--from Lutherans to Presbyterians to Mennonites to Methodists to Baptists to Quakers to Adventists to Pentecostals to Non-Denominationals. And, trouble is, that compare Lutheranism to the Baptist tradition and we see they are quite different, in fact there is a far bigger difference between Lutheran teaching and Baptist teaching then there is between Lutheran teaching and Roman Catholic teaching.

    It's better to instead think of there being Protestantisms, rather than a single Protestantism. Because "Protestant" ends up mostly being a kind of catch-all label.

    Roman Catholicism teaches that salvation is by God's grace which we have on Christ's account which through the Holy Spirit in us we cooperate with in order to love God, do good works, and live in faith. That is, salvation in Roman Catholic teaching comes from God working in us and we cooperating with His grace by the power of the Holy Spirit to live a life of faith and good works. This differs from many/most Protestant schools of thought,

    Lutheran and Reformed theology (Presbyterianism is Reformed) holds that salvation is a monergistic work of God (meaning God acts alone) rather than a synergistic work (God and human beings cooperating together); and that salvation is by God's grace which we have on Christ's account which the Holy Spirit works in us as faith through which we are justified, and thus we are saved by grace alone through faith alone.

    I'd say that if your friend really believed in salvation by grace alone through faith alone on Christ's account alone, then your friend shouldn't doubt or question the salvation of Roman Catholics because if salvation by grace alone through faith and Catholics have faith in Christ then they are saved. By suggesting that Roman Catholics aren't saved because they have some wrong beliefs is to deny salvation by grace alone through faith and to say that we are saved by what we do, think, say, or believe--in this case, by believing the right things, which is salvation by works.

    Yes, you can attend and visit. But you won't be allowed to receive the Lord's Supper. In Catholicism one must be a Catholic in good standing to receive Communion. But no one is going to prohibit you from visiting and seeing what a Catholic Mass looks like first hand.

    See above. There are different terms for this: Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper, The Lord's Table, and the Holy Eucharist.

    Generally, Protestants don't see it as being beneficial to ask the angels and saints to pray for us; but it depends on what kind of Protestant you talk to as to why. For example, in Lutheranism we say that since we cannot know for certain that the saints and angels can hear us that it is perhaps preferable to not ask for their prayers (they might be able to, but we can't know because it's not revealed to us one way or the other); however by the same token we do believe that the saints and angels DO pray for us nonetheless. So even though we don't ask them to pray, we believe they in fact do pray for us anyway. Other Protestant traditions will probably argue that since the Bible is silent on all these things one shouldn't believe them at all (again, it depends on who ask).

    St. Joseph is honored (by Catholics and other Christians alike), but the reason why the Blessed Virgin Mary is so honored (not just by Catholics mind you, but also Lutherans, Anglicans, and Orthodox as well) is because she is the mother of Christ, she bore God in the flesh in her womb for nine months and then gave birth to God in the flesh. Thus we honor her in the way in which Scripture confesses, calling her blessed among women (Luke 1:42) and the highly favored of God (Luke 1:28); we call her Theotokos ("God-bearer") and mother of God because Jesus Christ, her Child, is true and very God. She is the blessed virgin mother of God, blessed among women, her womb as sacred as the ark of the covenant and the Holy of Holies itself for it housed God Almighty Himself.

    No. Though generally Catholics recognize that people will be judged on the basis of what they know and the good they sought to do based on what knowledge of the truth was available to them; and thus if one never knew Christ through no fault of their own, that will be taken into account at Judgment.

    Catholics do evangelism. But evangelism doesn't necessarily look the same way among more traditional churches as it does among modern Evangelical types of churches. Evangelism is chiefly about preaching the good news of Jesus, not trying to ruthlessly convert people to Christianity or beat them over the head with a club.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
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  9. Korean-American Christian

    Korean-American Christian raised Presbyterian. member of the Nazarene Church

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    I agree....salvation through Jesus Christ requires more than mere intellectual assent

    Salvation through Jesus Christ requires more than mere "head knowledge"

    All individuals who have a relationship with Jesus Christ will spend eternity with God our Father
     
  10. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Catholics do believe in Jesus as the Son of God, but it's correct that they do not think that Faith in him is sufficient for us to be saved but, rather, that Faith AND the performance of good deeds is required.

    Sure. There's no reason you cannot attend a Catholic Mass.

    Solely for Catholics.

    They are real, all right. You are just not supposed to pray to them rather than to Jesus or the Father.

    There are a lot of questions there, but Catholics do more than honor Mary. They have attributed many powers and qualities to her that don't have a Biblical basis. As for why not to honor Joseph in a similar way, that's a good question.

    Until recently, the answer would have been "no," but several recent popes have said that "good" pagans might be covered by the blood of Christ even if they've never heard of him. The idea now has widespread acceptance among Catholic laypersons.

    They have them, but it's probably correct to say that they are less active than the Protestant movements.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
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  11. Korean-American Christian

    Korean-American Christian raised Presbyterian. member of the Nazarene Church

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    Only individuals who have a relationship with Jesus Christ will spend eternity with God

    0A One way One truth One Savior Jesus Christ.jpg 0 Christ is GOD.jpg
     
  12. Korean-American Christian

    Korean-American Christian raised Presbyterian. member of the Nazarene Church

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    In Matthew 9:12-13 Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

    Jesus spoke these words to the religious crowd—to the “good” people of His day. These folks were at “church” every time the door opened. You could set your watch by their prayer times. They tithed not only their money, but even their table spices. We’re talking outwardly good people!

    Jesus taught that good people don’t go to heaven because their pride keeps them from admitting their need for a Savior.

    The only ones who go to heaven are those who see their sinfulness before a holy God and cry out to Him for mercy.
     
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  13. Korean-American Christian

    Korean-American Christian raised Presbyterian. member of the Nazarene Church

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    The Bible teaches that no one is “good enough” to go to heaven. Although we can always find someone who is “worse” than we are, we have all sinned against God. As God views us, “there is none righteous, no not one. . . for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10,23). That means we must be saved from our sins through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15; Romans 3:24-26).

    0A One way One truth One Savior Jesus Christ.jpg 0 Christ is GOD.jpg
     
  14. Korean-American Christian

    Korean-American Christian raised Presbyterian. member of the Nazarene Church

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    When we compare our lives to God’s holy standards, all our good works—our morality, religion, charity, pleasing personality—fall far short of His absolute righteousness. The truth is: “There is none righteous, no, not one…” (Romans 3:10). We stand condemned by a holy God who must judge our sin. We are sinners in need of a Savior.

    It is impossible then for anyone to be good enough for Heaven. That is why the Son of God came to earth.

    On the Cross of Calvary Jesus opened the way for sinners to stand before a righteous God.

    The Lord Jesus took the punishment for our sins so that we could be declared righteous before God.

    Do “good” people go to Heaven? NO!!!

    However....through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, sinners like you and me can be sure of Heaven as our final destination.
     
  15. Goatee

    Goatee Jesus, please forgive me, a sinner.

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    My advice is to go to a good Catholic site and read up on Catholic teachings etc as you will always get mixed answers here that in some case might not be correct.

    God loves us all my friend.

    God bless you
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
  16. Korean-American Christian

    Korean-American Christian raised Presbyterian. member of the Nazarene Church

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    God DOES love ALL people...
     
  17. Goatee

    Goatee Jesus, please forgive me, a sinner.

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    Exactly. That's what I said
     
  18. HRDJ

    HRDJ New Member

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    Thank you for your passionate comment. What if a catholic believes in Jesus as his/her savior and also believes in doing good? Will this person also go to the Heaven because he/she believes in Jesus?

    Thank you. If you could, can you recommend a good Catholic site? I would like to read up more on Catholic's view on certain things.
     
  19. Goatee

    Goatee Jesus, please forgive me, a sinner.

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    Home | Catholic Answers

    Click on 'Topics' for some great information on all things Catholic. Other headings give great information.

    God bless you
     
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  20. amariselle

    amariselle Jesus Never Fails

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    To better understand official Catholic doctrine on salvation, you need to research the 7 Sacraments as well as the role/mediation of Mary, indulgences and purgatory.



    Yes, you are permitted to attend a Catholic Mass. It may also be helpful for you to do so if you would like to experience first hand what it is like. Do not forget to always take everything you see, hear or experience to Scripture (no matter where you are).

    Catholics believe in what is called "transubstantiation", that the bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Jesus while still retaining the appearance of bread and wine. This belief comes from a literal reading of Jesus' words, "this is my body, this is my blood." This part of the Mass is called the Eucharist.

    You cannot participate in the Eucharist (which is one of the Sacraments in the Catholic Church) unless you are a Catholic.


    Your church is 100% correct.

    Catholics do pray to Mary and the Saints. This practice is highly controversial, and perhaps not even all Catholics are comfortable with it. I encourage you to do some research here as well. Look up official doctrine and prayers.

    In official Catholic Doctrine/Tradition, Mary is seen as "Queen of Heaven", "Mediatrix/Dispenser of all Graces" etc. It is taught that she is the one who dispenses the graces needed for salvation, that she is a mediator between us and Christ. You should also research Catholic teaching in regard to Mary's "Immaculate Conception" and "Assumption" to Heaven. You could also research the various "Marian apparitions" that have appeared over the centuries, what they said, the shrines built in their honour etc. (Carefully test all things, as the Bible tells us to do).

    As for Joseph, he is also a "Saint" in the Catholic Church, and prayers are said to him as well. He is not "venerated" as Mary is, however.


    Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis (not sure about Benedict) have said that people who are good enough and haven't heard about Jesus can possibly still be saved. They have also said that Muslims worship the same God as Christians. This has, obviously, led to much confusion.

    I'm not too familiar with whether or not there is widespread "Catholic evangelism", but I do know that there is a growing "ecumenical movement" that is seeking to unite all "Protestant" and Evangelical churches with the Catholic Church. You should do some careful research into that as well.

    Here are a couple links for you:

    La Santa Sede (Official Vatican Website)
    Catechism of the Catholic Church

    I hope you do careful research, it's always important, and take everything to God in prayer, and "test" it with Scripture.

    God bless!
     
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