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Subject – The Christian Church – First Schism – Difference between Catholics and Protestants – Aim For Reconciled Diversity– Part 2
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Sunday, 13th of January 2019
Blog link: https://www.otakada.org/category/blog/
Matthew 16:15-20 Living Bible (TLB)
15 Then he asked them, “Who do you think I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “The Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 “God has blessed you, Simon, son of Jonah,” Jesus said, “for my Father in heaven has personally revealed this to you—this is not from any human source. 18 You are Peter, a stone; and upon this rock I will build my church; and all the powers of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; whatever doors you lock on earth shall be locked in heaven; and whatever doors you open on earth shall be open in heaven!”
20 Then he warned the disciples against telling others that he was the Messiah.
Matthew 15:1-14 Living Bible(TLB)
1 Some Pharisees and other Jewish leaders now arrived from Jerusalem to interview Jesus.
2 “Why do your disciples disobey the ancient Jewish traditions?” they demanded. “For they ignore our ritual of ceremonial handwashing before they eat.” 3 He replied, “And why do your traditions violate the direct commandments of God? 4 For instance, God’s law is ‘Honor your father and mother; anyone who reviles his parents must die.’ 5-6 But you say, ‘Even if your parents are in need, you may give their support money to the church[a] instead.’ And so, by your man-made rule, you nullify the direct command of God to honor and care for your parents. 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, 8 ‘These people say they honor me, but their hearts are far away. 9 Their worship is worthless, for they teach their man-made laws instead of those from God.’[b]”
10 Then Jesus called to the crowds and said, “Listen to what I say and try to understand: 11 You aren’t made unholy by eating nonkosher food! It is what you say and think that makes you unclean.”[c]
12 Then the disciples came and told him, “You offended the Pharisees by that remark.”
13-14 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my Father shall be rooted up, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and both will fall into a ditch.”
Dear brethren, welcome to the second part of our series on The Christian church following the introduction last week of our objective for the year 2019. In the part two of the write-up, we are looking at the first breakup or schism that occurred and what led up to it. We will highlight eight (8) major differences that divide the Catholics and the protestants. Our prayer and aim is for the brethren to come to a state of reconciled diversity in our drive to carry out the mandate Jesus Christ died to give us all and has mandated us as His followers to go and do likewise.
The main differences between Catholics and Protestants
Both Catholics and Protestants worship the same God, but the principles of faith are different. Five hundred years after the Reformation, there are still painful divisions between Protestants and Catholics.
In Germany, the country of the Reformation, a deep animosity divided Catholic and Protestant Christians up until a few decades ago. This division had deepened over the centuries through religious conflicts and wars.
It all started when Reformation took place, 500 years ago, as Martin Luther (1483-1546) tried to reform the Catholic Church. His attempt to do so instead led to a schism in the church.
On October 31, 1517, the publication of his Ninety-Five Theses, which outlined different abusive practices of the church, is considered the founding event that led to this division in Germany and the creation of the Evangelical Church.
Here are the eight main differences:
- Understanding of the Bible
Catholicism and Protestantism have distinct views on the meaning and the authority of the Bible. For Protestant Christians, Luther made clear that the Bible is the “Sola Skriptura,” God’s only book, in which He provided His revelations to the people and which allows them to enter in communion with Him.
Catholics, on the other hand, do not base their beliefs on the Bible alone. Along with the Holy Scripture, they are additionally bound by the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church.
- Understanding the church
Catholics and Protestants have a different view on the nature of the church. The word “catholic” means “all-embracing,” and the Catholic Church sees itself as the only true church worldwide, under the leadership of the pope.
In contrast, the Protestant Churches which have emerged from Reformation, also called “Evangelical,” which means “according to the Gospel,” do not make up one united Church. There are rather several tens of thousands of different denominations around the world. Officially, all of these many churches are considered equal.
- The pope
Protestants are not open at all to papal primacy. According to the Evangelical view, this dogma contradicts statements in the Bible.
Catholics see in the pope the successor of the Apostle Peter, the first head of their Church, who was appointed by Jesus. The papal office is justified by an allegedly unbroken chain of consecrations, ranging from the first century to the present.
- Understanding of the office
This continuous chain, known as the apostolic succession, is overall significant for different spiritual offices in the Catholic Church. With the Sacrament of Holy Orders, bishops, priests and deacons receive a lifelong seal of God giving them sacramental authority over Catholic laypeople. This consecration can only be given to men.
Protestants do not consecrate specific persons into office, but rather accept the principle that priesthood can be transferred to every believer – even to women.
- Eucharist or Lord’s Supper
The Catholics’ views on the spiritual office are reflected in the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, a rite commemorating the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples before his crucifixion. Once consecrated by a priest in the name of Jesus, bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. Non-Catholics may not participate in Communion.
In the Protest Church, every baptized person is invited to share and is allowed to lead the Lord’s Supper. This approach is not accepted by Catholics.
Additionally, Eucharist has a different meaning for Catholics and Protestants. The bread, known as the Host, embodies Jesus and can therefore be prayed to. For Protestants, the ritual only serves to commemorate Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Picture of the holy communion
In the Roman Catholic Church, there are seven solemn rites, called sacraments: baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, matrimony, penance, holy orders and extreme unction. The church believes these sacraments were instituted by Jesus and that they confer God’s grace.
Most Protestant churches only practice two of these sacraments: baptism and the Eucharist (called Lord’s Supper). They are perceived as symbolic rituals through which God delivers the Gospel. They are accepted through faith.
- Marian dogmas and the worship of Saints
The Roman Catholic Church reveres Mary, the mother of Jesus, as “Queen of Heaven.” However, there are few biblical references to support the Catholic Marian dogmas – which include the Immaculate Conception, her perpetual virginity and her Assumption into heaven. This is why they are rejected by Protestants.
The Catholic Church also practices the veneration of saints. Dead models of faith, recognized as “saint” by the church through canonization, can be prayed to for help in maintaining faith in God. There are over 4,000 saints. Their remains are considered holy relics which are venerated.
This veneration is also categorically by the Protestant Church as unbiblical. According to Reformation views, every person may and should pray directly to God.
All main world religions integrate in some way the concept of celibacy, the vow of abstaining from marriage and sexual relations, and the Catholic and Protestant churches are no exception. In the Catholic Church, celibacy is obligatory for priests. It is seen as a symbol of the undivided succession of Christ.
The Protestant Church rejects this obligation for priests. Martin Luther already demanded its abolition as early as 1520. He made a decisive personal contribution to this end in 1525: The former monk married the former nun Katharina von Bora. Initially unsure of whether he should marry, Luther finally determined that “his marriage would please his father, rile the pope, cause the angels to laugh, and the devils to weep.”
I will refer the readers to take a critical look at Matthew 15:1-14 and several other scriptures including Galatians 1:14. Our coordinates as Gods children should be drawn from the Holy Scriptures and not by human tradition. May the Lord grant wisdom and the grace for us all to see ourselves as one before God and Jesus Christ whom He sent to deliver mankind. Everything else should be secondary to this sole objective and understanding.
Dear Lord God, we present Your body of believers around the world before You today, Lord, speak to us all in ascents loud and clear, help us to let go of institution, tradition and vein imagination and help us to focus on You the author and finisher of our faith and Jesus Christ whom You sent to deliver mankind. We tear down these invisible and man-made walls that divide us. Help us to be reconciled to You and to one another despite our diversity in Jesus name I have prayed (Amen)
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