I’m sure that this article will rustle the feather of most denominations in Christendom. So be it, but it needs to be said. And listen close. Not one denomination has the wholeness of the faith. Even the Catholic Church, which has most of it, lacks a few things that are shown as parts of the faith in Scripture. And if Christians are to be taken seriously, we must remember to quit fighting amongst ourselves.
To show this point, I watched a documentary on Jerusalem decades ago. Part of it stuck with me and shows the fractures within the Christian community. The churches in various parts of the Holy Land are watched over by Catholics and Orthodox (generally). At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Orthodox Patriarch and the Catholic Bishop got into a heated shouting match. At one point, the Patriarch yelled ‘to hell with your god’. Which I though even then was outrageous. Most Christians (depending on the teachings and doctrine of those saying they are Christians) worship the same God through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. So, I’m going to try and shed some light on my introduction.
If you read my last article, I identified myself as Evangelically Catholic. And I went on to explain why. So to understand this article, and my reason for what is in it from my perspective, one needs to go read that one. So, let your torches be lit, grab your pitchforks and stones. Because this article will do only one of two things. It will either make you cry out for my stoning or it will make you want to investigate the fullness of the Christian faith.
Here is a small history for those that say the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches are wrong because of traditions. Many Protestant denominations still read the Apostolic Fathers and the Church fathers that wrote prior to the Luther event. And if you read them, they will uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church. That being said, I am Catholic because of the Scriptural teachings of the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. And it must be taken as such, because our Savior Jesus the Christ said so. In John 6:53-59 Jesus spoke these words (and for Scripture alone people, here it is) “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.”
I have written on other aspects of faith in the Roman Catholic Church, and will continue to do so. But for me, the Eucharist is the main point of this part of my faith. To truly sit at the Lord’s meal as He intended. There are a couple other denominations that believe the same way, maybe not in the same liturgical manner, but the real presence.
But other denominations have areas of faith as prescribed in the Gospels that Catholics don’t have. The Orthodox run their churches like the Apostles did. A Bishop (Patriarch) over each group. These all believe Orthodoxy but Have a head of each church (Antioch, Damascus, Russia, Greece, Ukraine, etc). The Holy See (Pope) is the Bishop of Rome. But he also holds a higher position as the leader of faith given to his predecessors all the way back to Simon Peter. He was the lead Apostle. Since the Apostles handed down their authority, so to speak on those that came after, like all pastors do when they retire or pass on (Lester Sumerall to Rod Parsley, Billy Graham to Franklin Graham, etc). This right of succession actually goes back to the ancient Israelites when authority of the Temple and Synagogues would be passed to one person to lead the people in faith.
Now, comes the groups that have their birthing out of the reformation. There are a few denominations that have very little changes from Rome. The groups I will mention have specific parts of Apostolic belief that Roman Catholics seem not to. And here, I will not debate nor discuss the areas that I find scriptural issue with but instead point out the parts of their belief that I agree with.
For Evangelicals this is an easy one. I have seen the power of the laying on hands and prayers for the sick, casting out demons, and believe in the ability for edification through angelic tongues (although most don’t follow the rules set forth for their presence). Evangelicals have the wondrous part of faith commonly known as sighs following. These are scriptural. (John 16:14-20) “Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.”
The Seventh Day Adventists (SDA of which I was prior to being confirmed into the Catholic Church) understands the need for Christians to also believe in the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. They follow the dietary laws, celebrate Shabbat, etc. John also spoke of these things on the Isle of Patmos. (Revelation 14:12) “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”
The reason I bring up this part of SDA doctrine is because most Christians forget that Jesus and the Apostles were Jewish. They followed tradition, the faith, and when Jesus talked, taught, and preached, it was through the founding of the faith of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). He didn’t condemn his faith as a Jew. He called to account those that taught and ruled through the letter of the law and forgot the spirit of the law. You have to remember, He celebrated the feasts (most of his most pronounced moments in the Gospels was around the time of a feast).
This also a reason I started to study the Jewish faith of my Savior. Because He and his followers were Jewish. And if you truly study the Gospels and Revelation in light of the Jewish Scriptures (the Old Testament or Tanach) you would see that only the laws of sacrifice were ended by His coming. The ceremonial ended but the rest stayed. This is evident when you look at the construction and placement of Commandments and laws. The Commandments were in the Ark while the laws were attached out side of the Ark. But I’ll write about that at a later date.
Every denomination of Christendom forget 2 statements of Christ when they try to prove that they are the only “true” Christians. And I will end this article with those statements.
John 10:16 “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”
Luke 9:49-50 “ Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us. But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”