Saturday, May 07, 2005

Interlude II

Before this story is all said and done it is going to seem like I'm flighty and I never want to settle anywhere. That's only partially true. I will admit to not staying at some churches as long as I should have, but I did so out of noble purposes. I wanted to do what was biblical. I operated under the assumption that the goal of a Christian should be to live their life according to what the Bible taught. If someone said they were the biblical church I felt like they deserved a hearing. How else am I supposed to know if something is right? Frequently people tell me that I should just settle on something, stop the confusion and the church hopping, and just plant some roots SOMEWHERE. And my response is always the same- if you haven’t put your beliefs to the test, if you don’t look at what other Christians believe but just blow them off, then quit pretending that you want to be biblical. You don’t. Because in truth, most Christians don’t want to be biblical, they want to be comfortable. They want to settle somewhere because they met their spouse there, or their family has been a member there for eternity, or they like the music, or the pastor makes them laugh. It doesn’t really matter what they believe.

I’m a reader, and I like to frequent bookstores. Sometime in 1988 I was perusing the offerings at the local Catholic bookstore, and I picked up a book that would have a profound effect on the next step in the journey. It was titled Catholicism and Fundamentalism by Karl Keating, and it was a biblical defense of Catholicism. I read this and thought, oh my God, this all makes sense. People are constantly telling me that Catholicism is not biblical, but geez louise, it’s all right here- communion, Mary, the pope, the saints… hey people, you wanted Bible to back up the Catholic church’s “outlandish, idolatrous” beliefs… right here, buddy! I also discovered a speaker named Scott Hahn who was putting up the same kind of defense. I “accidentally” found his appearance on a Catholic cable show while flipping the channels one night. The station was offering a free tape of his conversion story, so I sent for it. This tape and Karl Keating’s book made perfect sense, but they also were disturbing to some extent. If the Catholic church was biblical, then…well…then I needed to be a part of it. I wasn’t sure that I was ready to go down that road, so I didn’t. Yet.


Blogger Jen said...

Heh. In search of the biblical church.

I recently gave up on trying to find it in the Protestant sector. After all, if you just have to read the Bible and be reasonably intelligent, we ought to be coming to the same conclusions. And yet... and yet, 2500 Protestant denominations later, we pretend that we are being led by the Holy Spirit. Reason is a great thing, but if you are missing a piece of information, your conclusions are missing the mark.

For example, while in search of true Biblical understanding, I was in a Kay Arthur Bible study group. The topic was Revelation. She had created the scenario - based on just the Word of God - that in the last days, after the rapture, only the Jews would be able to get saved. Honestly, I can't remember the hoops one had to jump through to get to her conclusion, but it was mainly derived from the idea that when Jesus was talking about "my brothers" He was talking about the Jews. After all, if we're going to take the Bible literally, we can't go around slapping our own interpretations on it.

Well, after going through this extensive study, I mentioned the idea to a Jehovah Witness (of all people, grrr...) and she pointed out to me that Jesus Himself said, "Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?" And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, "Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother."

I think that was the beginning of my realization that I was being a dumb bunny for thinking that my little brain (or another bunny's slightly larger brain) would be able to lay out the mysteries of God on the table if I just worked at it good and earnestly.

10:48 PM  

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