Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Small Group Study Coming Up ~ The History of the Catholic Church

In preparation for my small group's upcoming study of the history and beliefs of the Roman Catholic church.....I've been reading this book called "My life on the Rock" by some dude from Minnesota. It's ironic, because the guy got saved in 1977 and bought his first bible at Northwestern bookstore in Edina, MN. A wee bit close to home.
His conversion seems authentic as I read the book.....but since a catholic co-worker of mine gave it to me, I know that this guy returns to the catholic church. I was like "what the??" I have to read this. :) Since, truly, I agree with Johnny Mac in that the catholic church is the greatest mission field in the wonderment at why someone who is truly converted and knows the word, would ever go back to the catholic church unless they were to go back with a vision of outreach......I had to hear his story.
I couldn't put it down last night. So far it's pretty earthy, and as he speaks in detail about the conversations he had after his conversion, with his catholic parents, it struck me with force, being pretty much identical to my parents reaction to the news that I had been saved.
"Oh, it's just a phase" and "well, it's better than her falling into doing drugs" and then their wondering if I was involved in the occult.
Oiy Vey.....Oh, yes, because the fruit of the occult makes a person stops cursing and indulging in immorality and drunkeness, then it gets really nuts - they start loving people sacrificially...... and they have this weird joy and peace and love for God.....sure, sure......I am a lunatic.
(hope you can feel my sarcasm)

I have to admit though, I was sort of hard hearted toward the catholic church upon my conversion. I was ''confirmed'' catholic - but it confirmed nothing. I was in an immoral relationship with my boyfriend at the time for crying out loud and had no idea what sin was nor that I needed to be saved FROM God BY God. The catholic church that I grew up in never told me what sin was - there was this light air about everything, and I was given the feeling that God judges on a curve, so that as long as I wasn't as bad as a murderer, God would be "all forgiving"

In the midst of feeling deceived by the church I was raised in, unfortunately, I treated my dad (a devout catholic) with disrespect and was very condescending, a great sin that the Lord has only given me grace to overcome in the last 2 years. Oh, how I hate the way I've dishonored Christ in my conversations with my dad. I love my dad so much. I regret the sin of how my heart was so haughty, as if I was saved because of anything that I might arrogate to myself....just gross..........yikes.
Yet, I still cannot, and never will say that the catholic church's doctrine is "okay".
The guy that wrote this book I'm reading had been disrespectful in a very similar way to his parents, but he seems to regret all that he said to his parents. Where I only regret the way my heart was and the tone/attitude in which I spoke the truth. As I read, I kept thinking "did this guy NOT see the part where Christ said that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword ?" Families are divided over His name.....truth, has a tendencey to divide....and I believe that we are to be at peace with the division, even if our families disown us for the sake of Christ.....hard as it may be. I thought a few times that my dad was going to cut me off......I'm pretty much ''daddy's little girl" and he's not crazy about the fact that I do not look on his religion as valid. Soon after I was saved, my little brother Jesse was saved. Then 5 years later.....(one year ago) our older brother Joseph, whose heart was hard as a rock, was broken in half by God under Pastor Piper's preaching. Joe repented, weeping in the back of the church, and is continuing to trust Christ alone as his righteousness. (with many trials)

Think Disciple brings this thought home in their song "By God"

Oh God, without You I can do nothing
By God, I can do all things
It should’ve been my hands
It should’ve been my cross
It should’ve been my nails
That pierced Your skin
So I deny myself
And I take up my cross
To follow you....Oh, yeah!

It’s not about me
For by grace, I was saved By God
And I am, not mine,
I was bought with a price, By God
And I will, live by, Every word from His mouth, By God
He won’t, back down
Push and you get pushed back, By God


At 8/22/2006 5:53 PM, Blogger Frank Martens said...

It's amusing to see you like Rap and hard christian rock. I would never have pictured or even guessed.

At 8/23/2006 8:10 AM, Blogger Jen2 said...

Haha....well, only cross movement and disciple "technically."
They are the only two groups under the Christian label that I've found to not be vague about Christ, nor ashamed of the Gospel.
In their music is their passion for the ministry of the truth, unlike so many "Christian" bands....
Christ is their focus and it's obvious. Their doctrine is should check them out brethren!!

Laters ~

At 8/23/2006 10:57 AM, Blogger Frank Martens said...

Is it possible to get a hold of this book elsewhere? Or must it be purchased in Mpls?

I have a friend down here who I think would benefit from reading this.

At 8/23/2006 11:17 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

I can ardently vouch for Cross Movement as being "off the hook" sweet!! Disciple is awesome too, though I have had slightly less listening time with them - but I know they're solid.

In speaking of rap, Frank, have you ever heard of iPiper? (Is that right, Jen?)

And Jen - cool post. I haven't heard of that book it new? Wow - I'm excited about this study, aren't you? I'm really looking forward to having knowledge under my belt of where Catholics are coming from and be able to reach out and evangelize to them. How cool??

At 8/23/2006 6:19 PM, Blogger Jen2 said...

Hey friends ~
I'm not sure how much this book would help anyone.....(the book is about a catholic boy who got saved as a teenager, and then attended pentecostal and charisamatic churches, then finally went back to the catholic church)
You can probably get a copy online somewhere if that still sounds like it would somehow be helpful.......or look perhaps at a catholic bookstore. My copy is only borrowed. :( otherwise, I'd send it to you.....gladly.

In my trusting the Sovereignty of God - I believe that this guy really was led by God, as he said he was, to go back to the catholic faith under no pretense. Think about it....if one of US, with our deep convictions that the catholic doctrine is dangerous and off base (to say the least) went to attend the catholic church as a means to outreach, they would throw us out the second we contradicted the priests. BUT THIS DUDE has an "in".....I really believe he is a brother - no joke....he loves Jesus with all his might - and yet he is given over to these traditions. Again, I was like "what the?"
But with his true heart for God in the mix, many catholics might be brought to forsake their works- based religion and that high road that so many take to hell.
I actually know of 2 families that were saved at catholic churches under the preaching of God fearing priests. Now, obviously, this is not the norm....but I praise the Lord that he honors the needle of truth in a haystack of bad theology!!

Your friend who is full of thoughts, and chipotle,


At 8/23/2006 11:10 PM, Blogger Frank Martens said...

Was he given into the traditions in the sense that he thinks they save and gets him closer to God? Or in the sense so that he can "to the jew become a jew", etc...?

Yen... no haven't heard of iPiper... please, more info is good! :)

At 8/24/2006 7:39 AM, Blogger Jen2 said...

Well, I doubt that he thinks that the traditions save him based on how he speaks of Christ. I believe though that he treasures and focuses on the 'sacraments' and traditions a bit much....especially in his belief that the wine and bread become the body and blood.
The whole 'honoring mary deal' is my issue at the moment, it still makes my heart get all upset.
He says that there is a parallel in how God dwelled in the ark of the covenant, and then was brought forth in mary's womb (another type of ark) in the new covenant. I'm doing a bit of looking into the scriptures. So far, I noticed that when someone stood up and said "blessed is the womb that bore you and the breast that nursed you" Jesus deliberately removes the focus FROM her - his reply in the text is very blunt:
Luke 11:28 "But he said, "Blessed RATHER are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

I'm still studying this whole claim....we'll see how it pans out.


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