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5 Accusations Every Catholic Should Hear (At Least Once)!

 

Generally, when we deliver good news, we receive a positive response. Hearing something good usually makes people happy. Since the message of Jesus Christ is referred to as the “Good News”, it’s logical that sharing that message will result in the same joyful reaction…NOT! Those of us who try to share Christ’s message know all too well that we are often met with anger and resistance.

In reality, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The words of Jesus in the Bible are very clear:

“You will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (Matthew 10:22)

“If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of His household” (Matthew 10:25)

“But take heed to yourselves; for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony to them.” (Mark13:9)

When it comes to evangelization, rejection is nothing new. The prophets, Saints and even Jesus all experienced their fair share of rejection. The important lesson for us is to remember that just because someone doesn’t want to hear the truth doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t deliver it. When commissioning the Apostles, Jesus instructed them to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe ALL that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) The Church extends this mission to all baptized Catholics and, like the Apostles, we are called to share the FULL truth, not just the “fun stuff” with those around us.

As you might imagine, I’ve heard my share of insults and accusations. Over the years, I have noticed a pattern and here is a list of the 5 most common charges that I’ve heard. If you share your faith regularly, there’s a good chance you’ll be hearing some of these as well. To help you prepare, I’ve come up responses that will help you to counter the attack:

1. Judge Not And You Will Not Be Judged (Luke 6:37) – Although it’s used frequently, this one doesn’t stand up to the logic test. Think about it for a minute – if you’re telling me that we shouldn’t make moral judgments on someone’s behavior, how can you accuse me of being judgmental? Aren’t you judging me? Obviously, this isn’t what Jesus meant when He made this statement. Looking at His words in context gives us a clearer picture of the true meaning. Just prior to this statement, the Lord stressed the need for us to be merciful to others, as the Father is merciful to us (Luke 6:32-36). If pointing out someone’s sinful behavior in order to save them from potential damnation isn’t merciful, I don’t know what is! He then tells a parable about the “blind leading the blind” and cautions against attempting to remove the speck from our brother’s eye before removing the plank from our own (Luke 6:39-42). In other words, don’t try to point out your brother’s minor faults before correcting your own major defects. Note that Jesus doesn’t say “do not correct your brother”, but says instead “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:42)

2. Let He Who Is Without Sin Cast The First Stone (John 8:7) – A rough translation of this accusation (according to those who use it) is “if you’re a sinner too, you can’t comment on my behavior”. Is Jesus telling us that we can never point out someone’s wrongdoing as long as we have sins? Not at all! In fact he recommends “if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.” (Matthew 18:15). Given that, what does Jesus mean when he talks about casting the first stone? Once again, let’s look at the facts. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus, not for a legitimate reason, but rather to “test Him that they might have some charge to bring against Him”. (John 8:6) By looking at St. John’s words, we see that these individuals weren’t looking for justice, but rather for a way to trap Jesus! By responding with the familiar line “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7), Christ stopped them in their tracks and highlighted their hypocritical behavior. Finally, proving it really is acceptable to lovingly urge someone to stay out of trouble, the Lord’s parting words to the woman were “do not sin again”. (John 8:11)

3. What Right Do You Have To Tell Me That? – Usually paired with “you’re not a priest” or “I’m Catholic too and I don’t see anything wrong with it”, this statement focuses on the messenger and not the message. People don’t like to be told that their behavior is sinful, especially when they’re having a lot of fun. Catholics REALLY hate this because for many years they’ve gotten used to leaving their faith in Church and don’t expect to be challenged by one of their peers. It’s not as bad when it comes from a priest or deacon, because “it’s their job to say things like that”. In reality, every baptized Catholic is called to share in the prophetic ministry of Christ. This requires us to preach a message of repentance at times. Two of the spiritual works of mercy are “admonish the sinner” and “instruct the ignorant”. Note that there is no disclaimer stating that these works of mercy are only to be exercised by priests and religious. If we see someone (especially a close friend or family member) doing something seriously wrong, it is our duty to charitably let them know. If they were unaware that it’s wrong, then we are “instructing the ignorant”. If they are aware, then we are “admonishing the sinner”. If we don’t say anything, we could be held accountable. In any of these cases, we just might be saving a soul!

4. Don’t Try To Force Your Beliefs On Me! – Taken at face value, the Church would agree with this statement. The Vatican II document Dignitatus Humanae states that “It is one of the major tenets of Catholic doctrine that man’s response to God in faith must be free: no one therefore is to be forced to embrace the Christian faith against his own will.” The problem with this accusation, however, is that it usually doesn’t mean that one is being forced to believe in something against their will. It really means “I don’t want to hear what the Church has to say”. While we certainly shouldn’t “force” our beliefs on others, we shouldn’t remain silent either. In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul is very clear about the need for evangelization:

But how are men to call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14)

For too long, Catholics have been apathetic about evangelization. We have gotten used to not venturing out of our comfort zones. If we believe (as we should) that the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of truth, then we should be anxious to share the truth with others.

5. The Catholic Church Is Corrupt – Unlike the previous four accusations (which are personal attacks), this one shifts the focus to the Church and uses a broad brush approach to discredit any and all of her teachings. Although easy to refute, this accusation needs to be treated with much sensitivity. Generally this charge refers to the clergy abuse scandal which has shaken the faith of many Catholics. Pointing out the small number of priests involved doesn’t usually diffuse the argument, as the very idea of coverups and disgraceful behavior by men of God and those in authority is repulsive. The key to responding to this accusation can actually be found in the Bible. The first thing to remember is that the Church was founded by Christ and will not be “going away” (Matthew 16:18). Secondly, Jesus chose twelve Apostles as the leaders of His Church. Our bishops are the successors of these Apostles. Two of the twelve betrayed the Lord (Peter and Judas) and all but one (John) deserted Him at the crucifixion. Since He was God, Jesus knew in advance what these men would do and He chose them anyway. As a result, we can see an example of less then desirable behavior among the earliest priests and leaders of the Church. The Church on earth is made up of sinners, but that doesn’t take away the fact that she was founded by Our Lord as the vehicle necessary for our salvation. Never discount the Lord’s ability to “write straight with crooked lines”.

If you’ve been accused of any these things – Congratulations! You’re probably doing a good job of spreading the Gospel. If you haven’t heard them, keep spreading the “Good News” and you will. Although we’re called to be charitable, we’re also called to help advance God’s Kingdom by sharing the truth. Don’t become frustrated when people attack you for doing so. Just be patient, keep planting seeds and let God take it from there!

What do you think? Did I miss any accusations? Which ones have you heard and how did you respond? Let me know!

“If you’re not a thorn in somebody’s side, you’re not doing Christianity right.” (Mother Angelica)

Don’t Be Afraid To “Cross The Line” For Jesus!

 

“There was a preacher once who was saying to the congregation, ‘It is wrong to steal horses.’ The congregation answered, ‘Amen,amen.’ ‘It is wrong to steal cows.’ ‘Amen, Amen!’ Then he said, ‘It is wrong to steal chickens.’ And someone shouted back, ‘Now he is meddling.’ Up until that point, conscience was not touched.” (Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen)

I recently wrote a blog post about the need for Catholics to take action against some of President Obama’s policies, mainly his health care plan and the HHS mandate. My analysis was clear and to the point – there are provisions in this plan that oppose Catholic teaching and, following the lead of our bishops, we must speak out and take action. While I expected some opposition (mainly from non-Catholics), I wasn’t prepared for what I received…FROM CATHOLICS!

Here’s a sample…

For the first time, a health care plan addresses the lack of health coverage for 60 million Americans who had been up to now left to die on the side of the road until the Good Samaritan bill was passed.

OK, not bad…some editorializing, but still respectful. Things start to go downhill with the next response…

I don’t think that our religion should have anything to do with politics. That is what is so great about our religion, it is the one true church but we aren’t taught to force our religion on people. If we did we would be looked at just as the Protestant church is. The Supreme Court ruling does go against some of the church’s teachings, but it is also for many of the teachings. Let’s not forget that 6 of the justices are Catholic.

A little more direct, but not really nasty. Then I got this one…

Certainly, everyone is entitled to their opinion but I find it improper for Gary Zimak to have the gall to think he speaks for all Catholics. This man is not a Bishop, Priest, or even a Brother for the Church. From where does his authority spring forth? I am wary of any person who speaks or writes in the name of God and doesn’t use Scripture…Yes…abortion is wrong. Yes…its even murder. However, Barack Obama is not a supporter of abortion! Some people do support it and use it as an after-the-fact form of birth control. That is murder. But then others, like Obama simply say that government will not regulate it by making it against the law.

This gentlemen finishes his comments with…

The conservative right (which I would never call religious) are the ones who DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE POOR as Jesus did. They love money, not God or their fellow man. Zimak derided the recent Supreme Court decision. Why? He is a rich white man! He doesn’t care about how the needy are finally getting health care reform that will help the poor and middle class! I am disgusted by those who would use Catholicism to further their own personal agenda. Those are the people Jesus called “Vipers!”

As a Catholic evangelist, I often write and say things that are met with resistance. As long as I stick to generalities (“God loves us”, “We can all be a little nicer”, “Prayer is effective”, etc.), then everyone is happy and nobody gets offended. However, the minute I start to challenge people’s beliefs or practices, the negative comments begin to flow. A few years ago, I wrote an article, “Ten Facts Most Catholics Don’t Know (But Should)”. For the most part, it was very well received. However, when one diocesan newspaper picked it up, the readers went crazy! My assertions on the all male priesthood, the Bible being compiled by the Catholic Church and all salvation taking place through the Church were met with the following comments…

“I wonder if Mr. Zimak realizes who his audience is. Some American Catholics are critical thinkers.”

“It is with dismay that I read the article by Gary Zimak in the guest commentary. He purports to be the founder of Following The Truth ministries. I am doubly troubled that you him as an authority of sorts. May I please know the authority by which this lay apostolate says he speaks for the Roman Catholic Church regarding women priests? What in fact are his credentials for representing the Vatican in any way?”

“We were rather startled by the guest commentary by Gary Zimak in the July 30th issue. We think that Mr. Zimak is a questionable source at best…As for No Salvation Outside of the Church, perhaps someone should explain the teachings of Vatican II to Mr. Zimak. He seems to have stopped his belief in Catholic teachings at the Council of Trent.”

“Then there was Gary Zimak’s statement that “Women will never be priests”. (Gary, didn’t your mother tell you ‘never say never?)”

“I wondered what you had in mind when selecting the piece for publication. It provided no new insights, but instead the same old worn out points that are often made by some finger-shaking, pre-Vatican II conservative ‘traditional’ Roman Catholics…Certainly, the piece did not contain any new, enlightened points of view that would pique the interest of forward looking, contemporary Christians searching for new understanding.”

And my personal favorite…

“Today I read ‘Ten Facts Most Catholics Don’t Know’ with the smirking picture of the author…”

Our Catholic Church teaches that we MUST evangelize. This requires us to charitably share the truth with others. Depending on just how much of the truth we share, however, we’re eventually going to be met with resistance. It happened to the prophets, it happened to the Apostles and it happened to Jesus. Our Lord warns of this with His chilling words:

“Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53)

As Catholics, we must be willing to speak the truth, even if it makes someone angry. We live in a world that is filled with darkness. Many people do not want to learn the truth because it is in direct conflict with a sinful and selfish lifestyle. While the world may not WANT to hear the truth, the world NEEDS to hear the truth and it is our responsibility to proclaim it. A close friend (and excellent writer), Shane Kapler, wrote an excellent article in which he discusses the “Caricature Jesus”. In Shane’s words…

We prefer an imaginary Jesus, who forgives our failings but makes no demands. The imaginary Jesus never gets upset – unless it’s at religious bullies, and they’ve got it coming, don’t they? He came to relieve suffering (because pain, not separation from God, is the ultimate evil) and to teach us that if we’ll just be “tolerant” enough of everyone else’s opinion (translation = truth does not exist in fact; truth is what we individually believe it to be), peace will finally come.

Unfortunately, despite some people wanting to believe otherwise, the teachings of Jesus Christ as presented through His Church are very concrete and real. They cannot, and should not, be watered down or ignored simply to avoid conflict. As Catholics we have the duty to speak the truth, even if it means “crossing the line”. Jesus warned us of the hatred that we’d experience, but He also promised a great reward…

You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

Attention, Catholics…Quit Complaining And DO SOMETHING!

 

As Catholics, we’re very good at complaining. We complain about our priests, bishops and deacons being too lax or too strict. We complain about the teachings of the Church being too hard to follow. We complain when we’re asked to contribute to the support of the Church. We also complain about President Obama and his administration’s anti-Catholic policies.

I have to admit that yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court upholding President Obama’s Affordable Health Care plan was painful. However, nothing that this administration does should come as a surprise. President Obama is a supporter of abortion, same sex “marriage” and his HHS mandate makes clear what he thinks about freedom of religion. What boggles my mind is how any Catholic can be surprised by anything this administration does. What’s even more mind-boggling is how any Catholic (and there were many) voted for him, knowing of his support for abortion alone!

While we may feel frustrated and defeated, complaining and belittling Obama and his Catholic “partners in crime” (Pelosi, Biden, Sebelius, John Roberts) isn’t really going to do any good. Complaining about your priests, deacons and bishops not speaking out is also not very productive. Rather than simply complaining, let’s look at some PRODUCTIVE steps that every Catholic could and should do:

1. Vote like a Catholic! – Anyone who tries to tell you that faith and politics don’t mix is flat out wrong. If we are not voting based on our Catholic principles, then we are NOT living our Catholic Faith. And that is a BIG problem. Our vote should be an expression of our Faith. Casting the other issues aside for a moment, any Catholic who votes for a candidate who supports the legal MURDER of the unborn could be putting their salvation in serious jeopardy. While I have no right to judge anyone’s motivation, I would not want to appear before the Lord (upon my death) and attempt to justify why I voted for a candidate who supports abortion!

2. Pray – While we do not know how or why prayer works, we know that it does. Turning to the Bible, we see that Our Lord prayed on many occasions. In his letters, St. Paul frequently urged his readers to pray and often did so himself. Prayer is effective! We should pray every day for an end to abortion and for God’s Will to be done on earth. Yes, the world is a dark place…yes, there is much evil taking place every day, but we can’t just sit back and complain. We have to pray!

3. Learn the Teachings of the Church – As Catholics, one of our biggest weaknesses is not knowing the teachings of the Church. Far too many Catholics simply go through the motions and don’t understand their faith. How can we live out our Catholic Faith when we don’t understand it? Furthermore, how can we share the teachings of the Church with others if we’re in the dark? I guarantee that, if you approach it with an open mind, studying why the Church teaches as she does will reveal something shocking…the Church is always right!

4. Speak Out! – When our co-workers speak of the beauty of same sex “marriage” or the “right to choose” to murder the unborn, we shouldn’t remain silent. In addition to knowing why the Church teaches as she does, we MUST defend her teachings. I refuse to believe that most abortion supporters know what the practice involves. One would have to be cold and barbaric to condone the cold blooded murder of a child. As knowledgeable Catholics, it is up to us to share the truth with others. Sure, we have to be charitable, but we need to let people know the truth. There are many abortion and same sex “marriage” supporters in the world who would change their position if they knew exactly what they were supporting. We need to be a light in the darkness and proclaim the “Good News” to the world!

5. Get Involved – There are many ways for us to get involved in combating these threats to our beliefs. Praying outside of abortion clinics, volunteering at crisis pregnancy centers, contributing to pro-life charities, circulating petitions in defense of the family are all productive ways to combat the evil in the world. Instead of simply griping about “the world being crazy”, it’s time to get involved!

Above all, remember to stay positive (in spite of what you may be feeling). The Lord knows what He’s doing. While we may not understand why evil exists, we do know that God permits it to happen. One of the reasons is due to the gift of free will. God will never force anyone to follow His Will. Rather, He allows us to choose good or to choose evil. As evidenced by the crucifixion, God can always bring good out of evil. Therefore, don’t become discouraged, keep fighting the good fight, stop complaining and…

DO SOMETHING!

Empty Churches – Where Should We Draw The Line?

 

“Religion is popular only when it ceases to be truly religious. Religion by its very nature is unpopular – certainly unpopular with the ego.” (Archbishop Fulton J Sheen)

Recently, an interesting article was brought to my attention. Appearing in The Morning Call (Allentown, PA), the point was raised that organized religion was on the decline throughout the area. More and more, organized religion is coming under attack, as evidenced by the recent YouTube video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”. While the idea of individuals creating their own personal version of Jesus’ teachings is nothing new, this philosophy is now creeping into organized religion. Evidence of this can be seen in a comment made by Rev. Tony Sundermeier, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Allentown (in the above article):

“We create a space for different ways for people to engage with God. I still think people are spiritual and religious. It’s just not orthodox Christianity they’re looking for.”

Reaching Out or Dumbing Down?
In an attempt to reach out and bring people back to church, some Christian churches are bending over backward to give the people what they want, rather than what they need. If the teachings of Jesus are too challenging, let’s change them so that they are more appealing. Strong evidence of this can be seen in the churches that proclaim the “health and wealth gospel”. Sometimes referred to as prosperity theology, the message is that faithful believers will be rewarded with financial wealth. While this can be an attractive message, it is certainly not the message lived and proclaimed by Jesus Christ. Additionally, some churches water down their teaching to make it more “user friendly” and appealing. In other words, let’s make going to church fun. If we take away the negativity and challenging doctrine, then people will come back in droves. Sadly, I’ve even seen this in some Catholic parishes and it is a big mistake. Christians deserve the truth and not a watered down message that “feels good”. For, although it might feel good now, a diluted set of religious doctrine isn’t going to help us get to Heaven! The question that must be asked is, although it may attract more people to church (and even this is debatable), what good does it do to remove the difficult, but necessary, aspects of Christianity?

What Does The Bible Say?
While I don’t claim to have all the answers, I do know that the Bible provides some valuable clues about truth. In his letter to Timothy, Saint Paul states that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tm 2:4). That statement implies that absolute truth exists, God wants us to know that truth, and learning and obeying it will allow us to get to Heaven. Given that statement, it’s easy to see why distorting that truth could be problematic. While I understand why this is being done, what is the point of getting people in your church if you’re not going to give them the teaching that they need to one day achieve salvation?

There is no doubt that the truth will cause division, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be spoken. What does Jesus have to say about the truth?

“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Lk 12:51-53)

Furthermore, the words of Jesus as He commissioned the Apostles affirms the importance of always preaching the whole truth:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Mt 28:19-20)

Note that Jesus didn’t say to share only His pleasant and less challenging teachings…He said to teach ALL that He commanded. This includes unpopular and difficult teachings, even if they’re met with resistance. Jesus encountered this difficulty first hand when He taught about the necessity of the Eucharist for salvation. In His Bread of Life discourse (Jn 6: 22-71), when He proclaimed that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life within you” (Jn 6:53), many of His disciples said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (Jn 6:60). Instead of backing down or modifying this crucial teaching, Jesus let many of His disciples walk away from Him. (Jn 6:66). Why? Because He couldn’t compromise the truth!

A Catholic Response
As Catholics, we are blessed to have the fullness of truth and, under no circumstances, can we change the truth in order to make it more palatable. Although we should become creative and try to meet people “where they are”, the “Good News” can’t be changed. For, in doing so, we’d be hurting people rather than helping them. Although it’s a challenge, we need to educate people about Church teachings. As many of us cynics have discovered, the teachings of the Church really do make sense once they are prayerfully explored with an open mind. That’s the great thing about truth…it’s TRUE!

Isn’t This The Clergy’s Job?
As lay Catholics, what can we do to combat declining Mass attendance? Isn’t this the job of the priests and deacons? In actuality, we should all be concerned about this matter. If you think about it for a minute, it’s not easy for the clergy to reach out to those who no longer attend Mass. Furthermore, the Church teaches that evangelization is the responsibility of ALL baptized Catholics. In his apostolic letter, Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith), Pope Benedict XVI observed:

The renewal of the Church is also achieved through the witness offered by the lives of believers: by their very existence in the world, Christians are called to radiate the word of truth that the Lord Jesus has left us.

In order to share the truth with others, the first thing we should do is learn, understand AND LIVE the teachings of the Catholic Church. Then, as charitably as possible, we should share these teachings with others. Our Church is blessed to have the fullness of truth and it would be wrong to keep this treasure to ourselves. With whom should we share? Everyone around us – our family, friends, coworkers and any others who we encounter in our daily lives.

Using The Internet
Do you spend a lot of time on the Internet? Why not use it for sharing the faith? One of the great things about the Internet and social media is the ability to reach those who no longer go to Church. Here are some simple and concrete steps that we can all take to share the truth with others:

Share good Catholic articles with others via email.

Post inspirational quotes on Facebook or Twitter.

“Like” solid Catholic fan pages, groups or posts on Facebook.

Create your own Catholic website, podcast, Facebook group or Twitter account.

Whether we do it on the Internet or face to face, we must never stop proclaiming the true teaching of the Catholic Church. In the end, that truth is what is going to save souls. Sometimes people will get offended and “walk away”, but that shouldn’t deter us from delivering the “Good News” IN FULL. It happened to the prophets, it happened to the Saints and it happened to Jesus…and that’s some good company!

“No one is truly poor but except the one who lacks the truth.” (St. Ephraem the Syrian)

Letting The Holy Spirit Guide You To The Truth

But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming (Jn 16:13).

Now that we’ve established that God wants us to know the truth and that the Church is the guardian of that truth, we need to look at some important words from Jesus.  In John’s Gospel, the Lord tells us that the Holy Spirit will guide us to the truth.  Initially a comforting statement, further reflection makes us wonder how this is possible.  What if you and I both ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and end up with different versions of the truth?  In reality, this is a common problem which occurs in many Christian churches.  The idea of personal infallible interpretation of the Bible (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) falls apart the minute any 2 Christians disagree about a doctrinal matter!  If the Holy Spirit is guiding us to ALL truth, then no two believers could ever come up with conflicting beliefs.  There must be something else to Our Lord’s promise…

If the Church is the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tm 3:15) and the Holy Spirit will “guide us to all truth” (Jn 16:13), then doesn’t it follow that the guidance of the Holy Spirit must lie with the Church and not with individuals?  As we continue our search for the one, true Church, we need to find a Church which claims to teach authoritatively under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

Tomorrow: A look at Church authority (Matthew 18:15-18)

How Do We Find The Truth?

But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tm 3:15).

Yesterday, we looked at the Biblical passage stating that God wants everyone to be saved and to know the truth.  Now, let’s look at how we go about finding the truth.  As Christians, we know that Jesus is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”, but how does that fact help us to live our lives in accordance with His Will?  We need a set of guidelines to help us make moral decisions, based on His truth.

Fortunately for us, the Bible gives us the answer.  While many Christians believe that the Bible is the ultimate resource for determining the truth, the Bible actually tells us otherwise!  In his letter to Timothy, St. Paul reveals that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of truth” (see verse at beginning).  While that provides us with some useful guidance, it begs the question, “Which church?”  After all, there are thousands of Christian churches that put forth conflicting teachings.  By definition, you can’t have multiple, conflicting “truths”.  What now?

In order to determine which Church will lead us to the truth, we need to investigate further.  Tomorrow, we’ll let the words of Jesus point us in the right direction!

Tomorrow: (John 16:13)

Knowing God’s Truth

This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth (1 Tm 2:3-4)

As we begin our journey in search of the one, true Church, let’s take a look at some comforting news.  God wants EVERYONE to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.  Before you say, “tell me something I don’t know!”, let’s take a minute to unpack the wealth of revelation in Saint Paul’s “simple” statement.

God wants us to be saved – This is GREAT news!  Although it may seem a little obvious, it’s something that should make us very happy.  Additionally, if God wants us to be saved then He will make it possible for us to achieve our salvation.  While this can only be done through the merits of Jesus Christ, we still need to do our part by pursuing and obeying the “truth”.

There is ONE truth –  Since the truth represents reality, it is impossible to have multiple, conflicting truths.  St. Paul’s statement to Timothy affirms that there exists a single truth. 

God wants us to KNOW the truth – If God wants us to know the truth than there must be a way for us to do so.  An unattainable truth is not something that the Lord would dangle before us.  However, while it is comforting to realize that knowledge of the truth is attainable, how is it achieved?

The Need To Evangelize – Easily missed in St. Paul’s statement is the fact that God wants EVERYONE to be saved, not just Christians.  Uh-oh, that means that once we figure out the truth, we have to share it with others!  That statement puts an end to the “one religion is as good as another” and  the “I can’t impose my personal beliefs on others” line of thinking, but it’s a duty that must be taken seriously.  Once we find the truth that will lead to our salvation, why would we want to keep it to ourselves?

Now that we’ve learned that there is a truth and that God wants us to understand it, where do we go from here?

Tomorrow: 1 Timothy 3:15

What Is Truth (And How Can We Find It)?

I don’t normally make it a habit to quote Pontius Pilate, but his cynical quote really fits this topic.  “What is truth?” is a question that every Christian should ask himself, as its pursuit should be our main mission in life.  In the dictionary, truth is defined as “conformity with fact or reality”.  When it comes to faith, the Modern Catholic Dictionary (Fr. John Hardon, 1999, Eternal Life Press), defines revealed truth as “disclosure by God of Himself and His Will to the human race”.  While that answers the question of “what is truth?”, it still doesn’t tell how to discover the truth.

I recently wrote an article for Catholic Lane entitled, “A Biblical Roadmap To The One, True Church“, in which I presented 10 Scripture passages which take us from Point “A” (There is ONE absolute truth) to Point “B” (the Catholic Church contains the fullness of that truth).  Over the next several days, I’ll be discussing each of these passages in detail.

If you’re Catholic, you should be familiar with these passages as they provide a strong validation for our beliefs.  If you’re not Catholic, I recommend that you use them as a standard by which to measure your own church.  As I state in the article, it is my belief that only the Catholic Church fits all of these Biblical requirements.

I hope you’ll join me as we search for the truth in order that we can echo the words of David, “Teach me, LORD, your way that I may walk in your truth (Ps 86:11)!

Tomorrow:  1 Timothy 2:3-4