This is part two on the subject. [part one here]
So I thought I’d throw out an update here on my search for a church. I am kind of calling a halt for the moment on the Orthodox Church. I really love it to be honest. Its really beautiful, ancient, and mysterious. There is a lot of good reasons I believe one would be drawn to the Orthodox Church.
For the time being I am pressing into the RCIA program with the Catholic Church, as well as meeting weekly with a local priest at our FSSP (Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter) parish. I was lucky enough to have an FSSP parish near by so I have been attending Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. It is actually quite beautiful. It is quite different from the Novus Ordo Mass’ I have attended. Until my inquiry into the Catholic Church I was actually unaware that there are two quite different ways of observing Mass and other Sacraments.
It has been a really eye opening experience to actually take the time and give Roman Catholicism the old college try. Years ago I came to the conclusion that all denominations have their faults so I began to open myself to the possibility that the Catholic Church was not pure evil. In other words I was very much a protestant. I was raised in the Baptist church and spent years with other bible scholars who in general continued to encourage a pretty firm disdain for Catholicism. Studying the bible Chronologically, inductively, and contextually really began to cause me to appreciate a wide range of scholarly contributions to the field of biblical studies. This led me to take up opposing views many times to the reformed theological tradition. I also recently read things about Martin Luther and from Martin Luther that are really causing me to rethink any sort of theological loyalty to his positions. I have almost always been opposed to the work of Calvin. Over the years my biblical studies, and many of my own conclusions have led me to like minded theologians who affirm or stretch my own understanding of doctrines. Typically these have been Catholic theologians, doctors of the church, and even the non Catholics sound like Catholics and are often referred to as Neo-Catholic, or Neo-orthodox.
So I feel at home in the RCIA course. Much of the content is stuff I’ve already wrestled with and spent time studying. Some things are new and challenging. So I ask lots of questions. Own of my primary concerns was the Pope, his authority, and the churches actual dogma on infallibility. I was very surprised to learn that its not as black and white as it was always presented by non Catholics though I guess I should not be surprised. Infallibility does not apply to every word that comes from the mouth or is written on a piece of paper. I wont go into detail now but that was interesting to learn. I know the scripture used and the development of the role of the Pope and it is not offensive or so problematic to me as to completely write it off so it is something that again I am willing to continue taking the plunge into Catholic Tradition. Observing the lives, and the writings of the Popes is eye opening as well to see that they were almost always completely upstanding men of faith who’s teaching and lives were consistent with Catholic doctrine. Other wise there are a few “forgettable” Popes, and their are officially anti-popes. Time will tell in which of those two categories Pope Francis falls into. His statements and actions regarding moral and social issues of our time as well as his masonic attitude towards the equal footing of all world religions are so troubling to the faithful.
Yet even with Francis (the globalist chaplain), and resent scandals surrounding the Catholic Church I feel more and more drawn. There is also the matter of all of this decay and the internal and external attack on the church that is drawing me to ask God what he would have me do. I believe that the power of the Catholic church to oppose darkness in all its forms is greater then any other institutional or non institutional church. I think that the most vibrant churches having the greatest impact on the world and against the opposing forces of Satan is both Structured, and authentic. Authentic means marked by the Holy Spirit and motivated, real, humble, active, creative, honest. Really authentic is so so key but equal to that I honestly believe is the structure, the tradition, the teachings, the guidelines, the discipleship, the devotion, and all the planning that comes with structure. I believe structure is so so necessary because it shows a belief that what is being done is not a flash in the pan, its not generational, its not emotional, or purely experiential. But you build a building, a place to worship, a place to fill, a place to be reminded, a place to confess, to worship, a place to train, a place to organize, to give out roles and responsibilities, to honor and celebrate, the work God has done and will always continue to do through his eternal church. We structure and build because what we do is eternal. The catholic church embodies that. It is a truly formidable force for the establishment of the Kingdom of God. The rule of God, the reign of Christ, and primacy of the family of God.
That said, its easy to be disappointed. The church needs to be reclaimed for the Glory of the One True God. For the establishment of his reign on earth. The church has been weakened by the many inward and outward attacks. I feel so inspired by the long history of the Catholic Church, its saints, its fathers, its resolute positions on moral and societal evils. It is worth saving, in fact I see in the Catholic Church the opportunity to take your place in sacred history. Without the Catholic Church I do believe we will see the end of days.
I am continuing then to join the Catholic Church God willing. All of the things I believe the church should be are already tied up in Catholic Tradition. I am eager to be used as a Catholic for the advancement of the kingdom of God.
Conversion. That is where I think the church is weak right now. Mostly the western church I should say. Because it is in many ways a very hateful way of thinking. The idea that sinful pagans need to hear the gospel, to repent, to turn to the wisdom of God and the church. To convert there minds, and hearts, to be followers of Christ and submit themselves body and soul to the will of God. There is a lot of confusion added to the issue when well meaning christian leaders speak of their hope that all people will be in heaven, and to avoid discussions about judgement and hell or even Satan and evil. They confuse further by talking about other religions as ways to heaven or ways towards enlightenment among which Christianity is only another way. At best they may say it is the preferred or special way. But nevertheless conversion is needed, repentance, confession, baptism and receiving the transformative life of Christ in you. This is the only way to be saved, the only way to be unified with the eternal God. Francis speaks a lot about how we must dialogue with people of faith, and good will. That out of these conversations will emerge something new. Something better. Some form of salvation I guess. This is actual heretical. Unless your speaking of conversations and dialogues that lead to conversion. Conversions are needed. I hope to be a part of seeing this work of conversion make a come back in the west. Because the structure is there, the beautiful buildings, and seminaries are there, We just need to fill them.