Sunday, February 18, 2007

No Thanks, We're Catholic

During my early days as a Christian, I was often engaged with my church in door-to-door activities, whether the goal was evangelism or invitations to special Easter or Christmas programs where the gospel would be preached. We listened to many different responses from those who opened their doors. The most common response - although not at all the majority of responses - was this one: "No thanks, we're Catholic," and the door was closed.

Being good Protestants, we believed Catholics were hard-hearted toward the "true" gospel, believed in salvation by works, and were so mired in their religion of tradition and saint worship that they were as lost as lost could be. We took the closing of the door after their four word reply as yet another rejection of the gospel in their hard-heartedness. If these people could only get a glimpse of Judgment Day.

Over the years, I've greatly softened my view of the spiritual condition of those outside the Reformed, Protestant, Calvinistic tradition. I still hold to many of the distinctives - as a matter of doctrine - but no longer view salvation as being dependent on an intellectual, gnostic type of affirmation of these distinctives. I've come across many believers from other traditions who I think love the Lord just as much as I think that I do, and am now ashamed at my anathematizing of them.

Maybe those four words were just their efficient way of politely saying, "Oh, brother, here come those nutty evangelicals again."


  1. Steve,
    Good stuff.

    I'll bet you remember the old Chick Tracts. One of them asked this question on the cover, "Are Catholics Christians?"

    I like you used to say, NO.

    Then after working in Churches for a while and seeing how all that works from the inside out and haveing developed some deep personal relationships with catholics who I know were as saved as you or I are I came to the conclusion, that the question on the chick tract should be answered:

    Are Cathoics Christians?
    A: Some are.
    Are Assembly of God People Christians (My denomination at the time)
    A: Some are.

    Are all calvinists Christian or Reform Church folks.
    A: Some are.

    I think we will be shocked by who is on the Glassy sea beside us and who is not.

    Although, if I read my bible correctly we won't know if anyone's missing despite that great old quartet song, "I searched all of Heaven for YOU". Great song, bad theology.

    Come to think of it we won't be surprised either. Just grateful we are there.

    But that's another sermon.

  2. Hey Steve, thanks for stopping by my blog. I too have come to the realization that there are many that I would expect to see in heaven fro all churches and they aren't always the ones that are in leadership roles. In fact there are many like me who are going to be there (I sure hope) that don't belong to any denomination.

  3. I weary of folks' deciding who is in and who is out as if that were their job. God decides whom He will rescue, and I don't have any say in it. I don't even want a say in it. I am coming to the realization that the theology in a person's head matters a whole lot less than how they act toward their neighbors. Sometimes the theology has an impact on this, but mostly not.