Skip to comments.12 Claims Every Catholic Should Be Able to Answer; Claim #4
Posted on 01/10/2015 2:03:35 PM PST by NYer
Freedom of speech is a great thing. Unfortunately, it comes at an unavoidable price: When citizens are free to say what they want, theyll sometimes use that freedom to say some pretty silly things. And thats the case with the 12 claims were about to cover.
Some of them are made over and over, others are rare. Either way, while the proponents of these errors are free to promote them, we as Catholics have a duty to respond.
4. "I don't need to go to Church. As long as I'm a good person, that's all that really matters."
This argument is used often, and is pretty disingenuous. When someone says he's a "good person," what he really means is that he's "not a bad person" bad people being those who murder, rape, and steal. Most people don't have to extend a lot of effort to avoid these sins, and that's the idea: We want to do the least amount of work necessary just to get us by. Not very Christ-like, is it?
But that mentality aside, there's a much more important reason why Catholics go to Church other than just as an exercise in going the extra mile. Mass is the cornerstone of our faith life because of what lies at its heart: the Eucharist. It's the source of all life for Catholics, who believe that bread and wine become the real body and blood of Christ. It's not just a symbol of God, but God made physically present to us in a way we don't experience through prayer alone.
Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:53-54). We're honoring Jesus' command and trusting in that promise every time we go to Mass.
What's more, the Eucharist along with all the other Sacraments is only available to those in the Church. As members of the Church, Christ's visible body here on earth, our lives are intimately tied up with the lives of others in that Church. Our personal relationship with God is vital, but we also have a responsibility to live as faithful members of Christ's body. Just being a "good person" isn't enough.
John 6:30 begins a colloquy that took place in the synagogue at Capernaum. The Jews asked Jesus what sign he could perform so that they might believe in him. As a challenge, they noted that "our ancestors ate manna in the desert." Could Jesus top that? He told them the real bread from heaven comes from the Father. "Give us this bread always," they said. Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." At this point the Jews understood him to be speaking metaphorically.
Again and Again
Jesus first repeated what he said, then summarized: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (John 6:5152).
His listeners were stupefied because now they understood Jesus literallyand correctly. He again repeated his words, but with even greater emphasis, and introduced the statement about drinking his blood: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" (John 6:5356).
Notice that Jesus made no attempt to soften what he said, no attempt to correct "misunderstandings," for there were none. Our Lords listeners understood him perfectly well. They no longer thought he was speaking metaphorically. If they had, if they mistook what he said, why no correction?
On other occasions when there was confusion, Christ explained just what he meant (cf. Matt. 16:512). Here, where any misunderstanding would be fatal, there was no effort by Jesus to correct. Instead, he repeated himself for greater emphasis.
In John 6:60 we read: "Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" These were his disciples, people used to his remarkable ways. He warned them not to think carnally, but spiritually: "It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (John 6:63; cf. 1 Cor. 2:1214).
But he knew some did not believe. (It is here, in the rejection of the Eucharist, that Judas fell away; look at John 6:64.) "After this, many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him" (John 6:66).
This is the only record we have of any of Christs followers forsaking him for purely doctrinal reasons. If it had all been a misunderstanding, if they erred in taking a metaphor in a literal sense, why didnt he call them back and straighten things out? Both the Jews, who were suspicious of him, and his disciples, who had accepted everything up to this point, would have remained with him had he said he was speaking only symbolically.
But he did not correct these protesters. Twelve times he said he was the bread that came down from heaven; four times he said they would have "to eat my flesh and drink my blood." John 6 was an extended promise of what would be instituted at the Last Supperand it was a promise that could not be more explicit. Or so it would seem to a Catholic. But what do Fundamentalists say?
They say that in John 6 Jesus was not talking about physical food and drink, but about spiritual food and drink. They quote John 6:35: "Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst." They claim that coming to him is bread, having faith in him is drink. Thus, eating his flesh and blood merely means believing in Christ.
But there is a problem with that interpretation. As Fr. John A. OBrien explains, "The phrase to eat the flesh and drink the blood, when used figuratively among the Jews, as among the Arabs of today, meant to inflict upon a person some serious injury, especially by calumny or by false accusation. To interpret the phrase figuratively then would be to make our Lord promise life everlasting to the culprit for slandering and hating him, which would reduce the whole passage to utter nonsense" (OBrien, The Faith of Millions, 215). For an example of this use, see Micah 3:3.
Fundamentalist writers who comment on John 6 also assert that one can show Christ was speaking only metaphorically by comparing verses like John 10:9 ("I am the door") and John 15:1 ("I am the true vine"). The problem is that there is not a connection to John 6:35, "I am the bread of life." "I am the door" and "I am the vine" make sense as metaphors because Christ is like a doorwe go to heaven through himand he is also like a vinewe get our spiritual sap through him. But Christ takes John 6:35 far beyond symbolism by saying, "For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed" (John 6:55).
He continues: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me" (John 6:57). The Greek word used for "eats" (trogon) is very blunt and has the sense of "chewing" or "gnawing." This is not the language of metaphor.
Their Main Argument
For Fundamentalist writers, the scriptural argument is capped by an appeal to John 6:63: "It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." They say this means that eating real flesh is a waste. But does this make sense?
Are we to understand that Christ had just commanded his disciples to eat his flesh, then said their doing so would be pointless? Is that what "the flesh is of no avail" means? "Eat my flesh, but youll find its a waste of time"is that what he was saying? Hardly.
The fact is that Christs flesh avails much! If it were of no avail, then the Son of God incarnated for no reason, he died for no reason, and he rose from the dead for no reason. Christs flesh profits us more than anyone elses in the world. If it profits us nothing, so that the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ are of no avail, then "your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished" (1 Cor. 15:17b18).
In John 6:63 "flesh profits nothing" refers to mankinds inclination to think using only what their natural human reason would tell them rather than what God would tell them. Thus in John 8:1516 Jesus tells his opponents: "You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me." So natural human judgment, unaided by Gods grace, is unreliable; but Gods judgment is always true.
And were the disciples to understand the line "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life" as nothing but a circumlocution (and a very clumsy one at that) for "symbolic"? No one can come up with such interpretations unless he first holds to the Fundamentalist position and thinks it necessary to find a rationale, no matter how forced, for evading the Catholic interpretation. In John 6:63 "flesh" does not refer to Christs own fleshthe context makes this clearbut to mankinds inclination to think on a natural, human level. "The words I have spoken to you are spirit" does not mean "What I have just said is symbolic." The word "spirit" is never used that way in the Bible. The line means that what Christ has said will be understood only through faith; only by the power of the Spirit and the drawing of the Father (cf. John 6:37, 4445, 65).
Paul Confirms This
Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16). So when we receive Communion, we actually participate in the body and blood of Christ, not just eat symbols of them. Paul also said, "Therefore whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. . . . For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself" (1 Cor. 11:27, 29). "To answer for the body and blood" of someone meant to be guilty of a crime as serious as homicide. How could eating mere bread and wine "unworthily" be so serious? Pauls comment makes sense only if the bread and wine became the real body and blood of Christ.
“Just being a “good person” isn’t enough.”
Romans 3:10 (NIV)”No one is good — not even one”.
So it is not a matter of being good and then going to Church to get some extra benefits of communion. This sounds man-centered. It is as if we should go to Church to be saved. One should go to Church to worship God. One cannot get to heaven through their works but only through faith in Jesus Christ
So does this last portion of the scripture mean that there are no humans in heaven? Raise people up from where, the grave?
**4. “I don’t need to go to Church. As long as I’m a good person, that’s all that really matters.” **
Maybe they don’t have the 1 letter of John in their Bibles.
1 Jn 5:1-9
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God,
and everyone who loves the Father
loves also the one begotten by him.
In this way we know that we love the children of God
when we love God and obey his commandments.
For the love of God is this,
that we keep his commandments.
And his commandments are not burdensome,
for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.
Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is the one who came through water and blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and blood.
The Spirit is the one who testifies,
and the Spirit is truth.
So there are three that testify,
the Spirit, the water, and the blood,
and the three are of one accord.
If we accept human testimony,
the testimony of God is surely greater.
Now the testimony of God is this,
that he has testified on behalf of his Son.
Then why don't Catholics keep His commandments as He did?
And why don’t protestants keep the Commandments as He did?
Why no correction??? Because any half way serious student of the bible knows Jesus wanted them to leave...And the rest of this post is the same hogwash that its always been...
The term [Fundamentalism] was born when conservative Protestants in early-20th-century America committed themselves to defend the five "fundamentals" of their faith -- the inerrancy of the Bible, virgin birth and deity of Jesus, doctrine of atonement, bodily resurrection of Jesus, and His imminent return.
-- from the thread The many forms of fundamentalism
Fundamentalist: A term created during the turn-of-the-20th-century Protestant church splits to define those who held to the fundamentals of Christianitythe inerrancy of the Bible, the virgin birth of Jesus and his literal resurrection from the dead. The term is now considered pejorative. (Wheaton College philosophy professor Alvin Plantinga famously observed, The full meaning of the term can be given by something like stupid sumbitch whose theological opinions are considerably to the right of mine.)
-- from the thread New Kids In The Flock
So do Catholics think that if they keep all His commandments that they’ll enter heaven, or be qualified to enter heaven?
Do you remember what you were taught?
For anyone who actually wants to know the Catholic position regarding Grace and Justification, from the Catechism.
I used to drive by a Catholic Church which posted large banners on their building on a rotating basis. One banner's message read:
This is like what atheists do - they just look for what will support their beliefs. The other day on some liberal site - Salon, Slate, etc. - they had an article about a possible scientific discovery and entitled the piece, “God on the Ropes.” They’re obviously not impartial and are only looking to disprove God.
And the same with so much Catholic belief, which doesn’t seriously get questioned, but instead the effort is put into just supporting what’s believed already.
There is so much sophistry here, in particular straw men, that it would take a long, long time to respond to it all thoroughly. But in brief, I will.
To really understand anything in the Gospels, you have to regain the importance of Judaism to Christianity, which has been largely lost in many quarters, and then take note of how much the Gospels are about what the Jewish leaders and individuals did when the Messiah arrived. Had they truly prepared for Him? Were they truly awaiting Him? And did they really want God’s Messiah, or a savior of their own making?
That is the all-important background to the Gospels, and even more so in places like John 6. Remember how Jesus proclaimed a sin that was unforgiveable when the Pharisees didn’t believe the sign that Jesus had cast a demon out of a deaf-mute, and credited it to the devil? I have read Jesus said what He did because Jewish religious leaders had determined that only the Messiah could do so to a deaf-mute, because they believed it was necessary for the demon of a demon-possessed person to identify itself, and asking the demon’s name wouldn’t work with a deaf-mute. When the Pharisees didn’t believe even then, He either judged them, or warned them of judgment for such unbelief.
Jesus did miracles such as that one, as the Gospels say, first and foremost, so that the people would know He was the Messiah. Those who saw the miracles and yet sought to destroy Him, or who hoped for worldly gain or worldly deliverance from Him (as the crowd did who saw the loaves multiplied but wanted to make Him earthly king), rather than reverencing Him as God and recognizing themselves as sinners before Him, and who also had been prepared by God for the Messiah, but simply didn’t take what they heard seriously, were hardened in sin and unbelief.
So when the crowd in John 6 actually asked for a sign after all the miracles Jesus had done, He judged them, as He did with others at other times. He judged them by causing them to turn away, as He did with the rich young ruler, when He told him to give up all his goods, knowing he wouldn’t.
Then, upon hearing what Jesus said, many of His disciples got offended and left Him. Again, Jesus judged them, because despite all they knew and had seen, that caused them to grumble against Him and reject Him. A believer can understand this when they encounter something that causes them doubt, and which ultimately tests their faith. Do they stay with the Lord, then, or do leave Him because of it? What we should understand is that Jesus knew their hearts, and that’s why He said what He did, knowing they would leave. Jesus knew people as He knew the Samaritan woman’s whole life without ever meeting her before, and with each person, that divine knowledge was the basis for whatever happened between He and them.
As a group, the Twelve heard the same things and responded with faith, though we have no reason to believe they better understood what He said right then. As Peter said, though, they stayed because they knew Jesus had the words of eternal life and that He was the Messiah.
Then consider this from 1 Corinthians 1:
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
“Christ crucified” is the stumblingblock to Jews. The Jews preferred the prophecies of the triumphant Messiah Son of David to those of the suffering Messiah Son of Joseph.
Something else to consider, too, is what is, again, shown to matter most in the Gospel accounts and New Testament - believing on Jesus as the Messiah. And that is the understanding that should be brought to John 6. Yet the Catholic Church seems to focus on something else that really isn’t at issue. I believe we spiritually partake of Jesus’ body and blood in some way we don’t entirely understand, and that born-again Christians believe this too. Among other things, we recognize Jesus to be the sacrificial Passover lamb, which was consumed, and that it’s through this sacrifice that we are given eternal life. But as for His actual physical body, Jesus was physically present both before and after His resurrection, yet He did not give His disciples to eat from His actual body and blood.
Now, one other thing is that while what I believe and write here doesn’t agree with Catholic doctrine and says so, the difference between the two is that I didn’t set out when I began looking at these questions to either disprove or defend the Catholic Church. I’ve come to conclusions over time, but I’ve wanted the Lord to lead me to whatever the truth is. I haven’t agreed or disagreed with Catholic doctrine until after I’ve sufficiently considered what needs to be considered, and I’m always on the cautious side, because I believe it would do no good to me to oppose what God Himself has ordained to be truth.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.