What Version of Christianity Is True

General discussions about Christianity including salvation, heaven and hell, Christian history and so on.
vdiaz212
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What Version of Christianity Is True

#1

Post by vdiaz212 » Thu Oct 13, 2005 11:42 pm

Hello All,

I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. My mother attends mass probably every day. As a kid, I never thought much about church. In fact, I hated going. As I got older (I'm 26), I began to research Christianity. I began to read the Bible and read studies on certain parts of the Bible. I also listen to preachers on the radio and read a lot of articles on the web. I then realized something and that was that there are many different Christian believes and many different types of Christian churches. Some believe that Christ is not God others do, others that hell doesn't exist, some do, some believe God predestined those whom are saved, others that we are saved on a daily basis, some believe Christ is really Michael the Arch Angel, others that Michael is only an angel, some believe that God created the heavens and the earth in 6 literal days, others believe in a much longer creation time, some believe in praying to saints and the virgin Mary, others believe that that is idol worship... I can go on...

I've had JWs come to my house and speak with me, I've read and watch preachers via tv, internet and radio, I've spoken with a Catholic priest; each of which claimed that salvation was through their ministry/church alone. However, each taught contradicting each other and the frustrating thing was that they all justified their doctrines using the Bible (except the Catholic priest). I'm looking for the plain truth. I want to know what the Bible teaches. I want to know what Bible to read (currently have KJV, NIV). I want to know what church to go to (if any). I don't go to church because I fear I may start believing a false doctrine. Christ warned against false Christ's and false teachers “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christ's, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; in so much that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” There are many warnings in the Bible… The parable of the Wheat and Tares, the white horse of revelation (4 horse men (I read a study that suggests this white horse is false religion)), and many other places that I don't even know about. This is the point that I'm struggling with. This point is so clear in the Bible. Was I deceived as a Roman Catholic? Was that JW lying to me unknowingly? Those articles I've read and Bible classes I heard over the radio and internet and TV, where they all false? I know that in order to verify that something is true, you would have to compare scriptures with scriptures and make sure that everything is cohesive. But how do I do that? How do I scan the Bible to verify that what I'm studying is true?

If you are not sure of what I mean, or to see exactly what I'm refering to, read this thread:
http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... 4594#14594

Both points of free will and no free will can be proven by the Bible. Understanding that the Bible is true and that it is the Word of God and that God is not the author of confusion, one must be true and the other false... Unless this goes beyond human comprehension of logic to some level we just can't grasp (just a thought). But that wouldn't work either becuase we can then place the blame on God for following some false doctrine...

Thanks...

Vic :?:

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Re: What Version of Christianity Is True

#2

Post by Byblos » Fri Oct 14, 2005 6:50 am

Hello VDiaz, and welcome to the board.

I will try to address your doubts indirectly, not by answering your questions but rather by ignoring altogether the differences among the Christian denominations, as they truly make no difference.

The central point you must keep in mind is that any branch of christianity that teaches the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and the holy trinity, IS the true christian faith (irrespective of the denomination). If you believe that (and I sincerely hope you still do) it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever what church you go to, what prayer methods you use, or what Bible version you read.

Yes, there are many differences and disagreements among the christian-based faiths and so what? Pick the one that makes you feel the most comfortable practicing and stick to it. If you're not comfortable with Catholicism, do not practice it (I am Catholic by the way and am very happy being so). From my perspective, it really is irrelevant when earth was created. Neither idea contradicts or changes in any way what I believe. For the time being and until you are firmly back in Christianity, I would stick to Bible studies and not delve into any pseudo-scientific debates, whether it be OE, YE, ToE, IC or any other nonsense acronym.

If you have any specific questions you do not want to post publicly, you can always PM one of the moderators or myself at any time.

Hope this helps in any way and hope you stick around.

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#3

Post by August » Fri Oct 14, 2005 7:20 am

Hi,

I second what Byblos said. Jesus taught that in the house of His Father are many mansions, and while denominations differ on some things, the core beliefs of Christianity remains untouched and unscathed. The key is to find a church where you feel at home spiritually, that sticks to the true core message of Christianity.

I will also take it a step further, and pose to you that while we are discussing differences between denominations here, no two people believe exactly the same. Your mental picture of God is different to every other human. We may agree on the teachings, sources, messages etc, but ultimately your convictions, actions and core beliefs are influenced by many things unique to you. We are wonderfully and individually made, and choose to serve and glorify God in many diverse ways, and God knows that. He convicts and loves each person in the way that He made us, and we serve the purpose to Him that only an individual can. Yes, the church serves His purpose, but the church is made up of individuals, who use talents and skills to benefit God, and for us as Christians it does not stop there, it continues in everything we do in life. By necessity of our uniqueness created by God, each of us have a unique personal relationship with God. Start from there, nurture that, and you will quickly see the true community of Christ.

God bless.

August
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#4

Post by vdiaz212 » Fri Oct 14, 2005 8:34 am

Thanks for your reply. I see your point, but the Bible teaches in so many ways about false religions and warns against them. What do you do with the following verses:

“Matthew 7:21 Not everyone that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.”

“Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be accursed!”

What do you do with parables like the Wheat and the Tares? Christ explains that it's impossible to separate the two before the appointed time because they so closely resemble each other. Where do you find these groups of people? My guess is in the Church.

“Colossians 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

We are told in the Bible that to love God is to keep his commandments; one of which specifically states “Exodus 20:4 Thou shall not make unto the any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above or on the earth beneath… Thou shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them…” I was taught to stand in front of a statue of Mary or the saints or an angel and pray. It was very common to see people kneel in front of these statues and look at them as they prayed. If this is allowed in a church, correct me if I'm wrong, then this church is breaking a specific commandment from God and therefore does not love God. I'm referring to the Roman Catholic Church which has millions of followers. Is it possible that these millions (including my family) are being deceived? Byblos, this is not a comment directly to you. When I sat down to ask the Catholic priest all the questions I had regarding a Roman Catholic's believe, everything he said came out of his mouth and not the Bible. He clearly stated that the Bible cannot go without the church and the church without the Bible.

"neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." (Mark 7:8)

"and why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?" (Matthew 15:3)

"thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that." (Mark 7:13)

I'm not trying to attack the Catholic Church. I'm just showing you why I don't trust its teachings. I know you didn't say to specifically go to a Catholic Church. There are many other churches with false doctrines and teachings. I'm just using this specific one as an example.

I believe there is only one church out there (not necessarily consisting of a building and an extremely large group of people) that teach the same thing Christ and the apostles taught and nothing else.

Thank You

Vic

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#5

Post by Byblos » Fri Oct 14, 2005 9:33 am

vdiaz212 wrote:Thanks for your reply. I see your point, but the Bible teaches in so many ways about false religions and warns against them. What do you do with the following verses:

'Matthew 7:21 Not everyone that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.'

'Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be accursed!'

What do you do with parables like the Wheat and the Tares? Christ explains that it's impossible to separate the two before the appointed time because they so closely resemble each other. Where do you find these groups of people? My guess is in the Church.

'Colossians 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.'


Those are great quotes and are meant to make us beware of false teachings that send us apart from the trinity. No Christian denomination does that (couple of exceptions but those are not really Christian since they do not believe Jesus is the son of God). While some of the practices are contreversial (to other denominations) all of them are centered around the trinity (read on).

vdiaz212 wrote:We are told in the Bible that to love God is to keep his commandments; one of which specifically states 'Exodus 20:4 Thou shall not make unto the any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above or on the earth beneath… Thou shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them…' I was taught to stand in front of a statue of Mary or the saints or an angel and pray. It was very common to see people kneel in front of these statues and look at them as they prayed. If this is allowed in a church, correct me if I'm wrong, then this church is breaking a specific commandment from God and therefore does not love God. I'm referring to the Roman Catholic Church which has millions of followers. Is it possible that these millions (including my family) are being deceived? Byblos, this is not a comment directly to you.


My friend, you need not worry about how I will take it. You are stating what you're going through and that is good enough for me. On to the subject at hand, there are so many misconceptions regarding the Catholic faith that sometimes even priests have difficulties explaining it. We have discussed this topic many times in detail but I will try to give you the gist of it. We do not 'pray to' Mary or to the saints or neal before them in an act of worship. We ask Mary and the saints to intercede on our behalf with God and Jesus. You might say well, why not pray directly to Jesus? And the answer is of course we can. Nothing stops us from doing so. But asking Mary for help amounts to the same as asking any other Christian brother or sister to pray for us. The argument against such practice has always been that there is no scripture to support the communication with the dead. In fact, quite the opposite, there's ample scripture that forbids such practices as necromancy. While all of that is accurate, Catholics do not believe in any way, shape or form that Mary and the saints are dead. They are very much alive in Christ and, therefore, the practice creates no biblical contradiction. I hope this clear it up a little.

vdiaz212 wrote:When I sat down to ask the Catholic priest all the questions I had regarding a Roman Catholic's believe, everything he said came out of his mouth and not the Bible. He clearly stated that the Bible cannot go without the church and the church without the Bible.


That is because the RCC believes not only in the Bible and the New Testament, it also believes in Traditions. Not man-made traditions, but the Traditions that are the oral teachings of the disciples. The fact that he did not quote the Bible in and of itself is not an issue. It's hard to judge his answers, however, not knowing the substance (I don't want to pry as these discussions are 'privileged'). There is a possibility though that he was not equipped to answer your tough questions.
vdiaz212 wrote:'neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.' (Mark 7:8)


In whose eyes? If it's in the eyes of a Catholic, no such neglect is taking place. It is highly subjective.
vdiaz212 wrote:'and why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?' (Matthew 15:3)

'thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.' (Mark 7:13)


Again, no practice is invalidating the word of God. All of them can be explained either scripturally or lack thereof (lack of scripture that actually forbids the practice).
vdiaz212 wrote:I'm not trying to attack the Catholic Church. I'm just showing you why I don't trust its teachings. I know you didn't say to specifically go to a Catholic Church. There are many other churches with false doctrines and teachings. I'm just using this specific one as an example.

I believe there is only one church out there (not necessarily consisting of a building and an extremely large group of people) that teach the same thing Christ and the apostles taught and nothing else.


I did not take it as an attack, quite the contrary. You are asking legitimate questions anyone who follows a particular faith ought to ask.

I know you do not trust the teachings of the Catholic church and that is certainly your prerogative. What I was trying to tell you is that you should not use that as an excuse to denounce your faith in Christ altogether. If you question your practices, change them. You do not need to belong to a particular denomination. There are plenty of non-denominational churches around. I suggest you look them up.

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#6

Post by Veronica » Fri Oct 14, 2005 9:50 am

vdiaz212 wrote:We are told in the Bible that to love God is to keep his commandments; one of which specifically states “Exodus 20:4 Thou shall not make unto the any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above or on the earth beneath… Thou shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them…” I was taught to stand in front of a statue of Mary or the saints or an angel and pray. It was very common to see people kneel in front of these statues and look at them as they prayed. If this is allowed in a church, correct me if I'm wrong, then this church is breaking a specific commandment from God and therefore does not love God. I'm referring to the Roman Catholic Church which has millions of followers. Is it possible that these millions (including my family) are being deceived?
"IN Exodus 20:3-6 God forbids making graven images for the purpose of idolatry but does not forbid the making of graven images per se. Elsewhere he commands that statues and other graven images be carved for religious purposes. The Catholic Church permits statues because they remind us of unseen things, but it condemns the idolatry of statue worship.

"[The Lord said] make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end. . ." (Ex. 25:18-19).

"You shall make the tabernacle with . . . cherubim skillfully worked" (Ex. 26:1).

"The Lord said to Moses, `Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.' So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole" (Num. 21:8-9).

"He made two cherubim of olivewood, each ten cubits high. . . . He put the cherubim in the innermost part of the Temple . . . And he overlaid the cherubim with gold. He carved all the walls of the Temple round about with carved figures of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers" (1 Kgs. 6:23, 27-29).

"[The brazen sea] stood upon [statues of] twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east" (1 Kgs. 7:25).

"And on the surfaces of its stays and on its panels, he carved cherubim, lions, and palm trees, according to the space of each, with wreaths round about" (1 Kgs. 7:36)."
(http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1994/9401vbv.asp)

vdiaz212 wrote:"neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." (Mark 7:Cool

"and why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?" (Matthew 15:3)

"thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that." (Mark 7:13)
"I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the Traditions even as I have delivered them to you" (1 Cor. 11:2).

"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the Traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15)

"Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the Tradition that you received from us" (2 Thess. 3:6).

There is a difference between the traditions of men and Apostlic tradition.

"The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus' teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. The first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #83)


Blessings and Prayers,
Veronica

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#7

Post by vdiaz212 » Fri Oct 14, 2005 10:32 am

My intentions are not to attack any churches and their teachings. My concern is simply finding a place where I can learn about Christs teachings. Nothing more... Nothing less. (not trying to sound upset or anything) =) Byblos, I'll take your advice and look into a non-denominational church and start from there. I thank you and every one else who posted to address my concerns.

Regards,

Vic

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#8

Post by Byblos » Fri Oct 14, 2005 11:38 am

vdiaz212 wrote:My intentions are not to attack any churches and their teachings. My concern is simply finding a place where I can learn about Christs teachings. Nothing more... Nothing less. (not trying to sound upset or anything) =) Byblos, I'll take your advice and look into a non-denominational church and start from there. I thank you and every one else who posted to address my concerns.

Regards,

Vic

Your intentions are not in question. Good luck to you and please keep us posted.

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#9

Post by Felgar » Fri Oct 14, 2005 3:09 pm

vdiaz212 wrote:My intentions are not to attack any churches and their teachings. My concern is simply finding a place where I can learn about Christs teachings. Nothing more... Nothing less. (not trying to sound upset or anything) =) Byblos, I'll take your advice and look into a non-denominational church and start from there. I thank you and every one else who posted to address my concerns.
I'm glad I found the time to come on today; lately I haven't been able to be here nearly as much as I'd like.

I want to reiterate that Byblos and Veronica are dead-on in my opinion.
Byblos wrote:The central point you must keep in mind is that any branch of christianity that teaches the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and the holy trinity, IS the true christian faith (irrespective of the denomination). If you believe that (and I sincerely hope you still do) it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever what church you go to, what prayer methods you use, or what Bible version you read.
That is absolutely 100% correct.

It's interesting that you bring up my debate with Puritan. I've actually had 2 or 3. At the end of the day though, both he and I are truly seeking the Lord and that's what counts. You don't have to be perfect to be saved - might seem obvious but really there are deeper undertones. Do I think Puritan could live a life closer to God if he were willing to consider that his own decisions and heart actually make a difference? Yes. But do I believe that Puritan's view nullifies his belief that Jesus paid the price of his sin? No. The point is that even very deep divisions are bridged by the message of Jesus, as Byblos has pointed out. Truly, even the Protestant and Catholic churches are bridged by it, and that's the one thing that we can all hang our hat on. Anything that does not come in line on this, is simply not Christian but rather a cult.

Starting with a non-denominational church is a very good idea. They will start at the core because they've intentionally decided to focus on that, which is great really. And when you go there, remember that your faith is all about a relationship between you and God. Keeping that in mind, and in conjunction with Biblical verification, I believe that if we are completely honest about it we could all detect when a teaching is or is not in accordance with God's will. When you come across a church full of people who truly love and serve Jesus, you'll definately know.

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#10

Post by Felgar » Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:08 pm

Split off the discussion which got off-track to draw attention back to the original post and the question of various denominations and whether they are irreconcilable. If anyone has further thoughts about the core of Christianity and/or advice for Vic please post...

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#11

Post by SillyPutty » Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:02 pm

Hmm, looks like Vic may have already gotten a sufficient answer but here's mine......

I think we're all a little right and we're all little wrong. We'll find out when we get there. In the meantime I think we can and should unite our efforts for the common goal of the Great Comission.

Also, God gave us His Holy Spirit for a reason, ask Him to help you discern the truth so that you will not be led astray. God is faithfull and will not let you fall in ignorance. Ask Him and He will show you the truth so you will not have to depend on another to tell you.

Last thing, most of the time you will find people like JV's for example, when they are using Scripture to back up what they are telling you, they are pulling it out of context. You must study the whole counsel of the Word, it will take time, press on brother.

This is a great thread.

SP

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#12

Post by Deborah » Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:55 pm

SillyPutty wrote:I think we're all a little right and we're all little wrong.
I fully agree with you there.

But I worry that the little wrong ruins the little right.
Church tradition tells us that when John, son of Zebadee and brother of James was an old man, his disciples would carry him to church in their arms.
He would simply say, “Little children, love one another”
After a time his disciples wearied at always hearing these same words and asked “Master why do you always say this?
He replied, “it is the Lords command, and if done, it is enough”

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#13

Post by SillyPutty » Wed Nov 02, 2005 4:15 pm

I should have been more clear. I meant as far as issues like "do we baptize babies or adults?" issues like this that sperate us and cause division in the Church are really niether here nor there in regards to our salvation. I'm sure God had in mind a way He intended these things to be persued and we will come to find out which way that was. Until then let it not cause strife. Now other issues like how are we saved? God gave specific answers for that, Christ is the ONLY way!! Period,NO exceptions!! So in cases like that I say No we have no room for interpretation.

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#14

Post by Deborah » Wed Nov 02, 2005 9:32 pm

SillyPutty wrote:Christ is the ONLY way!! Period,NO exceptions!! So in cases like that I say No we have no room for interpretation.
yes, but there are many whom believe that with Christ is the only way, it is talking about the sacrifice Jesus christ made for all mankind.
this is the sacrifice that allows many eyes to be opened, and why some denominations of Christianity believe it is only after the reserection that many and I mean many will find the light.
Church tradition tells us that when John, son of Zebadee and brother of James was an old man, his disciples would carry him to church in their arms.
He would simply say, “Little children, love one another”
After a time his disciples wearied at always hearing these same words and asked “Master why do you always say this?
He replied, “it is the Lords command, and if done, it is enough”

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#15

Post by SillyPutty » Thu Nov 03, 2005 8:20 am

What? Sorry I didn't get that, please elaborate.

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