By Tom Quiner
What is the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism?
Who is your authority on interpreting the Bible?
For the record, I’ve been both. I was born and raised Protestant and converted to Catholicism half a lifetime ago. I respect both traditions, but believe the Catholic Church offers the fullness of the Truth.
My post yesterday titled “Christian Fundamentalists vs. Catholics” generated the responses I expected, and they were good ones.
One response proposes that once you are saved, you are always saved. The Quiner’s Diner reader quotes scripture, 1 Jn 5:11-13:
“These things I have written to you who believe in the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”
On the other hand, another scripture, Hebrews 3:14, says something a little different:
“For we have become partakers of Christ, IF we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm UNTIL THE END.” [emphasis mine].
This suggests that we still have free will to reject Christ, after once accepting Him.
How do you square these two competing scripture passages? It makes me think of Billy Graham’s good friend and original preaching partner, Charles Templeton. He walked away from the faith, becoming an atheist. Is he saved, after spending the last half of his life denying Christ?
Another Quiner’s Diner reader weighed in with this view:
“There is one Body of Christ on earth. It is composed of ALL believers, whether Catholic, Orthodox, any of the numerous Protestant denominations, messianic Jews, or anyone not even affiliated with a religious body, who know Jesus. To claim that any one of these bodies has an exclusive option on the truth is to be sadly mistaken.” [Emphasis mine.]
But if there is no arbiter of Truth, there is no truth. Protestantism was built on protest. There is no central authority. As a result, there are 40,000 flavors of Protestantism, with wide-ranging dissent on wide-ranging theological questions.
Christians disagree on a wide range issues, such as authority, justification, sacramentalism, Mary, the saints, purgatory, intercessions, to name but a few.
Who is right?
Scripture sometimes seems to contradict itself. To understand the inerrant Truth found in the Bible, it is vital to have an infallible teaching authority led by the Holy Spirit.
That authority is only found in the Catholic Church.
That is why I am a Catholic.