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My Catholic Roots Struggle

Discussion in 'Spiritual Formation & Disciplines' started by Zachm531, Jan 23, 2020.

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  1. Zachm531

    Zachm531 Member

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    Hello everyone,
    So i’ve been struggling with this alot recently and was hoping to get some opinions and outsider advice. I was saved in December 2018 and ever since I have had a passion for apologetics. Im in a Bible college now because I want to keep learning and eventually be used by God in whatever way He sees fit. So heres my problem:

    As a guy who went from catholic to athiest to saved over the course of 21 years. I feel this real strong pull to return to catholicism, partly because my first 10 years of life or so were spent in catholic church and partly because whether we like it or not, the first 1500-1600 years of Christianity was the Catholic church. BUT, i just cant accept some of the stuff that they believe. The eucharist for example, I can see scripturally how this could be used as just symbolic, and i could see a case for Jesus presence in/around the eucharist but i can not see anything about the eucharist actually transforming into Jesus body.
    Also, the icons and the praying to them(or praying to them to ask them to intercede) just seems like straight up idolatry and regardless, have nothing to do with christianity.
    Martin Luther did a great job of pointing out the corruption of the 16th century RCC. And i know that the council of Trent addressed some of these issues. But still their beliefs on faith+sacraments, the ones previously mentioned and a few others just bother me. But I still cant help but feel this pull to belong to the true catholic church, whatever that may be. I currently attend a moderate baptist church.
    (Also I wasnt sure what thread to put this under so if someone thinks there is a better place for this feel free to move it or let me know, thanks)
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
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  2. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

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    Every church is different. Especially catholic groups.
     
  3. Phoebe Ann

    Phoebe Ann From Mormonism to Christ Supporter

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    I completerly undertand your dilemma. Some people always believe what they were raised to believe. My father was an atheist, my mother didn't go to church and didn't read her Bible. She touched the cover sometimes as if it were a talisman. When I questioned her she said Jesus was only a man and the devil doesn't exist.

    I was taught to pray in German when I was four or five by a Lutheran German woman. My father was stationed in Germany. I said the prayer so many times that I still remember it. Growing up I prayed it without knowing what the words meant. I took German in high school and found out the meaning. I wanted to go to church but had no transportation. I took instruction in the Catholic church, but a visit to the Vatican helped me change my mind. My friend from childhood who always kept in touch wrote to me and said she had become a Mormon. I wanted to know more about Mormonism. The missionaries contacted me and I was baptized by them approximately three weeks later. When my husband and I left many years later we didn't know which denomination to attend. The first one we attended folded after we'd attended for a few months. Some that we tried were too liberal, some too legalistic. I don't fit in with other Christians because most grew up in one town and were raised in one denomination. My parents divorced when I was in third grade and my mother moved and caused us to change schools every year.

    My faith in Christ and the Trinity are very strong. I am the only one of my mother's six children who became a Christian.

    Smiley Shrug 1.png
     
  4. Michie

    Michie Human rights begin in the womb. Supporter

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    The Catholic forum might be a good place to discuss your struggles.

    One Bread, One Body - Catholic
     
  5. Of the Kingdom

    Of the Kingdom Active Member

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    I noticed the small c "catholic" in that statement. The large C "Catholic" church of course claims to be the "catholic" (universal) church, as do the large O "Orthodox" churches. I believe (and your baptist church probably agrees with me) that there is a universal church, composed of all who truly believe and trust Jesus, regardless of whether they are Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant.

    I would suggest you investigate Orthodox churches, since they have the same claim to longevity as the Catholics, and less of the doctrinal issues you bring up. For example, they avoid statues and their attitude toward icons seems to discourage idolatry more.

    We are called to be separated from the world, and that includes not seeking the most comfortable answer. The Holy Spirit should be guiding you, so that your conscience will find your place of service acceptable. I wish you the best as you seek Christian maturity.
     
  6. Phoebe Ann

    Phoebe Ann From Mormonism to Christ Supporter

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    Churches don't save. JESUS does!
     
  7. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Focus on the Eucharist. See what the Fathers thought about it. Then dig in to the Scriptures on it. Find a book called 'Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist' by Brant Pitre.

    All you need to do to come back, when you are finally ready, is to go to confession. It might be a very long confession depending on your history.

    The good thing is that your recent experience as a Christian is at least a partial asset. There are lots of people who never caught the faith as Catholics, then catch it as some form of Protestant, and then come back to be the on fire Catholics they could have been all along. It's all good.
     
  8. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    At least touching upon the idea of the Sacraments. There is a common misnomer among many Protestants today that "sacraments" = "works done by us in order to win salvation points from God". This isn't the historic understanding in Christianity.

    Rather, the historic view, and the one still subscribed to by Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, and others is that the Sacraments are points of contact between God and the world through which God acts. God is the One who acts in the Sacraments, and thus they are God's works, not our works.

    Lutherans refer to the Sacraments as "Means of Grace", that is, because here God comes down and makes contact with the world in order to graciously work upon us. It is true that the Sacraments are works, but they aren't our works, but God's works. Our works can't save, but God's works absolutely can and do save--after all, the Incarnation, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is God's work, and it saves us. What Christ did actually accomplishes our salvation.

    And so God has called His Church to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments, because Word and Sacrament is the Means which God has chosen to be the vehicle through which what Christ has done comes to us. We have faith because God gives us faith, it's a gift (Ephesians 2:8) and God gives us faith by His word (Romans 10:17). In the same way that the preaching of the Gospel actually does something, because the Gospel is the very power of God to save (Romans 1:16) it's alive (Hebrews 4:12), and accomplishes precisely what God has set it forth to do (Isaiah 55:11) so are the Sacraments truly efficacious, because it is the same word of God. After all (as example), Christ sanctified us by the washing of water by the word (Ephesians 5:26), we have the promise of God that all who are baptized have been clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27) and joined to Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-10, Colossians 2:12). So it's not the power of human activity at any point in any of this--but rather God's word and promise, living and active, accomplishing what He has set it to do--namely to bring us faith, and so He will do what He said He would do. It is by His grace alone, on account of what Christ did alone, which ours now through faith alone. For faith alone clings to the word, faith alone believes and trusts in Christ; and that faith is not from us, it is from outside of ourselves, from God, as a pure gift which He gives us. Thus God is alone the One accomplishing this work for us. We're just the helpless sinful beggars benefiting from this kindness.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
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  9. Aussie Pete

    Aussie Pete Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Try some logic. What good will Roman Catholicism do you? What part of Roman Catholicism is superior to any other denomination? The Roman church is worldly. It has its own state, its own army, its own government and awards the Pope the status that only Lord Jesus can rightly claim. Lord Jesus said that His Kingdom is not of this world. I've met born again Catholics and I have great respect for them. Not so much for the parade of paedophiles and the hierarchy that protected them. Roman Catholicism sets itself up as the true church. It's not the one I was adopted into, which is the Body of Christ.
     
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  10. Lost4words

    Lost4words In reality, an old dog! Supporter

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    Best thing to do is study Catholicism. Look into it deeply. Read some writings by Scott Hahn and Steve Ray. 2 well known and highly regarded theologians who were dead against Catholicism until they delved deep into the Bible and Catholic history.

    God bless you
     
  11. ajcarey

    ajcarey Active Member

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    I'm also a former Roman Catholic and I can understand the pull you feel. You are right to not be able to accept those doctrines you mentioned along with several other doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church- they are simply contrary to the Bible and we know it. So the true catholic (the word catholic means universal) church could not be the Roman Catholic Church. It was not the only church for the first 1500-1600 years of Christianity either; there were many dissenters throughout the ages, some were heretics in other ways and some were faithful people who were intent on following the Word of God unconditionally. We know little about them because the Roman Catholics persecuted them, burned their writings (mostly), and wrote the history since they were the ones with the money and the power.

    The fact is there was a catholic church in the 1st century made up of churches founded by the Apostles of Christ. We have the doctrines, practices, and the examples these churches followed recorded for us- in the book now known as the Bible. Study it, become thoroughly familiar with it, test everything by it, follow it as faithfully as you can, and change accordingly as God gives you more light and understanding in it. Evaluate all churches by it and join one that has an attitude and spirit of submission to its words. This can be difficult and complicated; but he that fears God in truth can navigate through the maze of confusion and yet arrive at accurately understanding and representing the faith of the Apostles to a very high degree, at the very least building on the foundation they were founded on and operating by the same principles of understanding and interpreting God's Word that they operated by.

    There was much error that infiltrated even the churches founded by the Apostles after the Apostles died; even while the Apostle Paul was alive he said (in Acts ch 20) that knew that grievous wolves would infiltrate the churches and mislead them. This happened to some extent in the first century; and in the Scriptures we have the Apostles faithfully dealing with problems and questions related to this. But after the 1st century there was a steady, gradual decline among the great mass of the Christian churches in general which culminated in the great compromise and succumbing to Constantine and his blatant attempt at heathenizing Christianity in the 4th century. Any faithful church thereafter was counted as heretical by the mainstream of unfaithful compromisers who called themselves the Catholic Church, though such a church would have remained a part of the true catholic church in God's eyes, while the main body which called themselves Catholic were surely not catholic in reality by this time.

    We ought to strive to understand then and make the adjustments we'd need to make to be part of such a faithful church today. THAT is the pull you should act on. It will be hard work and require steadfast perseverance to take the road of conforming accurately to Scripture. However just going back to the Roman Catholic Church and accepting its compromise and adaptations of Paganism will not bring you there. That could do no more than stall or hinder you altogether in that.
     
  12. Lost4words

    Lost4words In reality, an old dog! Supporter

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    You obviously dont know Catholicism and like others who dismiss it are clouded by untruths.
     
  13. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The best church to attend is one that teaches the full Gospel. I'm not recommending any particular denomination. Here is what I mean by full Gospel:

    Full Gospel - Wikipedia
     
  14. paul1149

    paul1149 that your faith might rest in the power of God Supporter

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    I also share a strong pull towards unity in the body of Christ. It is, after all, His last wish while on Earth, as expressed in His high priestly prayer at John 17.

    I was raised RC, left it and God, and came back to God through the Bible. When my first church failed I looked for something more permanent and I seriously investigated the RCC again. Ultimately I realized that though God works through it, there is far too much in doctrine and practice that I don't agree with for me to join in good conscience.

    My feeling is that Christianity's roots, while intertwined with the RCC, do not depend on it. The Bible would have been the Bible without the RCC. The Gospel would have gone forth, just as it does now through non-RC believers.

    I have a strong sense of universalism, small U, in that whenever possible I try to look to the primary truths that bind us together rather than at our differences, and I try to look at the individual rather than the group. It's sad that those bearing the name of Christ are so fragmented, and even at each other's throats sometimes. I do what I can to help unite the Body, but ultimately it is God who will sort it out.

    My advice is to be a Berean (Acts 17), and to go with God and follow peace and good conscience (James 3).

    But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” -2Tim 2:19​
     
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  15. Brian Mcnamee

    Brian Mcnamee Well-Known Member

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    in the Catholic forum you will only get Catholic apologetics. In Bible college you need to be diligent and search the scriptures yourself to see if these things are so. In protestant circles there are a great many mutually exclusive ideas and the scriptures warn of false teachers and doctrines proliferating in the end times. I have been a Christian over 30 years and find that reading in prayer and always with an eye on how to apply it to your own life 1st then with others while holding the scriptures as God's word without error is a good context to grow in your walk, understanding, doctrine and influence. often I would read over many passages and correlate them with other passages that seem on the same subject and reach conclusions based on this study. then I would read what others have come up with too. I found that those who believe the word is from God; the history is true and the prophecies to come will be fulfilled have come to much the same conclusions I did . The key is what lens are you going to look at the Bible through. We are warned not to be led into every wind of doctrine. So be diligent a worker approved rightly dividing the word of truth. God is smart and emphasizes the most important issues and they will have much more stated about them and this will keep you from the rabbit trail of obscure discourse becoming the major points. God has given you His spirit to lead you in the way and what a joy it is to be in the word. As you go forward the Lord will lead your path and open and close doors in your life. so keep going forward and God bless you.
     
  16. Zachm531

    Zachm531 Member

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    Thats exactly my struggle mate
     
  17. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Hi, Zach. Your questions are thought-provoking, that's for sure. However, thousands--probably millions--of other people have travelled the same, or almost same, road that you have. Perhaps that is encouraging right at the beginning.

    A few comments come to my mind:

    1. The church of the first 1500 years of its history might be called the history of the Catholic Church BUT not exclusively. I know that the Roman Catholic Church pushes the idea that the field was its and its alone during that era, but this is clearly not factual. Of course, the argument is made easier if a church/denomination simply stipulates that anyone not part of their own organization is a phony church, not just a different church, and so it doesn't count. ;)

    There either were a hundred different denominations in the first several centuries or else there were none at all --depending on how one wants to count. But the idea that there was one, period, and then all the rats started jumping ship, well, that's fiction.

    2. If we were to think on the idea of the Catholic Church being the only one--and did accept that the notion is true, if we did that despite what I've said here...it STILL didn't remain the same through all that period anyway.

    Half of the most cherished beliefs and even more of the practices we associate with the RCC evolved or were created somewhere along the way! Transubstantiation, which you referred to, is a good example. You also mentioned Martin Luther whose reforms were, to a large extent, to return the 16th century church back to the standards of the Apostolic Church and clean out the innovations and corrupt practices that had crept in over the centuries. You don't have to agree with Luther's conclusions about every doctrine in order to appreciate this fact about Luther and the Medieval Church he tried to reform.

    3. If you can appreciate the foregoing points, then it seems to me that you are in the position to evaluate the Catholic Church without the weight of "one true church" propaganda holding you back.

    So this would mean to carefully study the issues and the history and see which of the RCC's beliefs and practices are not immutable. Then check into which other church bodies come the closest to the Catholic Church in the ways you think important, but with the corrections you also think are called for. You have already speculated on some of this, but I would recommend a more complete inquiry.

    One thing is for certain--if the various denominations were to be lined up, side by side, it would look like a spectrum with each gradually fading into the next. It would not be "chose one of the following; they're all different but all interesting." There is a place for you, but it may require more study before deciding--even if you wind up going back to the Catholic Church.
     
  18. HTacianas

    HTacianas Well-Known Member

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    You should return to your Catholic Church. To help you along your way:

    1Co 11:29 - For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

    1Co 10:16 - The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
     
  19. dzheremi

    dzheremi Coptic Orthodox non-Egyptian

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    Former Roman Catholic, checking in. :) I obviously made a different decision than most of you, but I do not feel the pull to go back to the RCC. I left it due to insurmountable differences with regard to the very basic approach to the Christian life. That said, I would never fault someone in your position or make light of their struggle in any way, OP. Perhaps you could attend your local RCC -- just attend -- and talk about this stuff with a priest? "Ask your priest" is kind of the generic answer for all questions that are too specific to one individual's circumstances to be answered by internet strangers, but I think it applies here.

    Lord have mercy. May He show you the path forward.
     
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  20. Aussie Pete

    Aussie Pete Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It may be an emotional tie. Ask the Lord to cut it. Ask Him to open your eyes as to the truth. You may be oppressed by a religious demon. That's not uncommon for people with your background. Break Satan's hold over your life. It's a bit like an ex smoker missing cigarettes. Giving into the feeling is not the answer.
     
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