Ask Your Preacher
Is it possible to be a Catholic… but not too much? Are there certain "degrees" of being religious? What do you think of the phrases "I'm a Catholic in my own way" or "I'm a Catholic, but I don't exaggerate"?
You can be a deeply devoted, strict Catholic or a mild Catholic… but we recommend neither. Catholicism places the pope as the head of the church; Christianity places Christ as the head of the church (Eph 5:23). All Catholic practices exist because the papal hierarchy believes them to be right; sometimes those beliefs agree with the Bible, but many times they don’t. Catholicism tells priests to not marry, and it forbids certain foods – practices specifically condemned by Paul as false teaching (1 Tim 4:1-3). Catholics are taught to call their religious leaders ‘Father’, but the Bible says that is wrong (Matt 23:9). Catholic practices like infant baptism (and the teaching that children are born sinful), Vatican councils, cardinal vs. venial sins, etc. have no foundation in the Bible. We derive our authority from the Bible, and that is where faith starts (Rom 10:17).
You want to be a Christian – someone who gets all of their practices and beliefs from the Bible and nowhere else. Sticking to the Bible is the only way you can have confidence in your salvation. After all, salvation is from God – we don’t get to decide which way we want to be saved. If you would like help finding a congregation in your area that uses only the Bible as their guide, we would be happy to help you find one. Simply e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a Catholic school, is it moral to withhold a teacher's security of tenure even if the teacher had continuously and satisfactorily served that school for more than a decade?
Dear A Teacher,
We aren’t in the habit of giving advice to schools run by the Catholic church because the Catholic church doesn’t use the Bible anyway. We give Bible answers here at AYP, and the Catholic church doesn’t use the Bible as their standard. We recommend you read our article “Catholics Or Christians?”.
Is it true that somewhere in the Bible it says all Christians who believe in God should lent and give something up for thirty days? If it is true, please tell me where.
Ready To Sacrifice
Dear Ready To Sacrifice,
The Bible never says that Christians must keep Lent. Lent is a religious holiday kept by some denominations (such as Catholic and Greek Orthodox), but it doesn’t have Bible authority behind it. Lent is a holiday where people commit to deny themselves of something for forty days, and they loosely tie it to Jesus’ fasting for forty days in the wilderness (Mk 1:13). The Bible never commands Lent, and there is no need to keep it.
Modern science once taught that the Earth was flat, and the church backed that teaching. What does the Bible actually say about that?
Throwing A Curveball
Dear Throwing A Curveball,
It was the Catholic church (not the Lord’s church) that supposedly backed the “flat earth” dogma. Without getting into too much history, let’s just say that even that isn’t completely accurate. The Catholic church argued with Galileo over whether or not the Earth was the center of the universe, but pretty much everyone agreed at that point that the Earth was round. The idea that religious people are ineptly backward when it comes science is a myth propagated by those who would have people believe that only atheists can be logical and scientific.
However, back to your question. The Bible refers to the “circle of the Earth” in Isa 40:22. The word used for ‘circle’ is the same Hebrew word for a sphere. Though the Bible is a book about spiritual things, when it touches on science it is always accurate.
In your response to a question about calling clergy “father”, you once again led the reader to accept your personal, fallible interpretation of Scripture. Unless you are claiming your interpretations are infallible? Why not give your reader a more complete picture of what Scripture has to say on this subject? Why not point out that Jesus Himself used the term “father” in a spiritual sense? Unless you are saying that the rich man was Abraham’s physical (biological) son (Lk 16:24-25)?
Why does Paul refer to christians in Corinth as his children? Are they all his biological children (1 Cor 4:14-15)?
What about the apostle John? Are they all his biological children (1 Jn 2:1)? What about the Old Testament? Joseph tells his brothers, “So it was not you who sent me here, but God, and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt” in Genesis 45:8. Job has a similar statement, “I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know” (Job 29:16).
I think you guys know better than that. I think you know Jesus, John, and even Paul all used the term “father” in a spiritual sense. Again, I find it interesting that you leave these verses out in order to “hit a home run” against a faith system you disagree with. The Catholic Church is not, nor ever has been “wrong” concerning this issue. How could they be? If every christian is meant to search the Scriptures and determine doctrine based on the Scriptures, why are your interpretations correct and my interpretations incorrect? I see the term “father” used in a spiritual sense all throughout the Bible. Thus, if I am interpreting Scripture the same as you are, who are you to tell me I am wrong? You even admit in a previous response to a question ("Trust No Man"): “We aren’t infallible here at AYP; we are just men.” You might want to consider your previous statements before going and making an “infallible” proclamation concerning the practices of others.
Dear Swiss Guard,
Oh, Swiss Guard, how we have missed you and your anonymous rants. It is too bad that you never provide your e-mail address, so we could personally search the Scriptures together… it seems like all you want is to use our website to publicly voice your frustrations – but we digress.
First off, we have dealt with the way that Peter, Jesus, and John used the term ‘father’ – feel free to read the post from January 13th, 2011 entitled “Parental Paradox” for an explanation of all those verses that you say we leave out. We’ve handled this concern before. We don’t avoid verses – we just keep them in context… unlike the Catholic church.
As far as Lk 16:24-25, the rich man was a Jew, and he would have considered Abraham his biological ancestor – just like all the Jews did (Jhn 8:39). And Job 29:16 is literally saying that Job treated the poor like they were his children.
Now lastly, let’s deal with the idea of interpretation. The Bible tells us that it isn’t a matter of private interpretation (2 Pet 1:20). What you think and what we think doesn’t matter at all – what matters is what God said. That is why we always give lots of verses to back up our answers, so readers can check the Scriptures for themselves. People are fallible, but the Bible never changes and we encourage people to double-check for themselves. But that doesn’t mean that we can each believe whatever we want and all be okay – if that were the case, there would be no such thing as right and wrong at all! Instead, God’s Word is right though every man be found a liar (Rom 3:4). Just like a roadmap or an instruction manual – it says what it says... not what you want it to say.
In the end, Catholicism is a false religion because it isn’t built upon the Bible. Any religion that doesn’t use the Bible as its standard of measure is false (Gal 1:8). The Catholic church tells people that they can’t eat certain foods, and it tells their priests that they can’t marry – which is wrong (1 Tim 4:3). The Catholic church teaches that the Pope is directly in contact with God and that people should follow him… once again, wrong. Christ is our direct connection to God (Heb 1:1-4), and the Bible is what we should follow (2 Tim 3:16-17). Everything about the Catholic church’s organization is in direct opposition to the Scriptures. The question isn’t how old a church is; the question is whether or not Christ is its head (Eph 5:23). There is only one pattern for the church (Eph 4:4-6), and the Catholic church is not it. But, don’t take our word for it – take His.