Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yes Mr Cameron, Catholics Are Christians

Over the weekend I saw the movie, Fireproof, and was pleasantly surprised. The movie had some very funny moments and the suspense scenes were very exciting, plus it had a positive message. There was no anti Catholic content and it was a movie that could be viewed with your children in the room.

But, although I would not hesitate to suggest the movie to my Catholic friends, I do have a very sad caveat. Apparently Mr. Cameron, like some evangelicals, do not consider Catholics Christian.

These are Cameron's own words detailing his evangelizing of a young Catholic:

In my younger days as a Christian, I probably would have felt the need to debate issues of Catholicism, such as the Apocrypha, praying to saints, Mary's perpetual virginity, the infallibility of the Pope, etc. before I even got to the subject of the gospel (which is the power of God to salvation). But I know from experience that focusing on sideline issues eats up precious time and can waste an important opportunity. Instead, I remembered what Tiger had taught me in the airport - "Sometimes, to accomplish more you have to see less." Like Jesus did so many times when he spoke with unbelievers, I blocked out the distracting arguments, and focused upon two things only. My goal was to help this young man (1.) see his sin clearly and thoroughly (which allows him to understand his personal need of a Savior) and (2.) see God's amazing love demonstrated towards him on the Cross. By ignoring the distractions of religious traditions and fixing my sights upon communicating the pure message of the gospel to this man, we were able to accomplish much, much more

Because of the popularity of Fireproof among many Christians, especially evangelicals, expect to see Kirk Cameron's methods of evangelizing to Catholics to become more prevalent. If you haven't seen his TBN show, The Way of the Master, his tactics involve some manipulation.

The Christian walks up to a nonChristian(that apparently includes Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans and Anglicans) and pretends to engage them in honest inquiry. Of course, this is a lie. The questioner actually has a set way that they hope that the conversation goes.

Normally, the "nonChristian" target is asked if they think that they are good. Most people, caught off guard, will respond with an affirmative. After all, who is going to go through their faults and doubts with a complete stranger. The questioner then proceeds through the ten commandments to prove how the target is not actually a good person. If for example, the "nonChristian" admits that they have occasionally told a white lie, the questioner then immediately explains that this makes the person a liar. The hoped for goal would be that the person will admit that they are a hopeless sinner and need Christ.

I am not against witnessing. As Christians we are commanded to reach out to nonChristians, but even if this was not directed at my fellow Catholics, I would find such deceptive tactics troubling. If what we believe is true then we can have honest, straight forward dialogue with people. There is no need to trick people into becoming Christians.

Further though, I am offended and saddened that some evangelicals insist on viewing Catholics and certain other denominations as not being Christian. It drives me nuts that some nonCatholics believe that anyone who does not interpret the Bible in the manner that they do is not a "Bible believing Christian." One of the surprises that I received when first attending a mass was how much scripture is incorporated in the service. Catholics have three Bible readings each mass. This is not simply a few, out of context verses, but a reading from the Old Testament, from the New Testament and the Gospels. We also recite a Psalm. So, yes, a Roman Catholic Church is a Bible Believing Church. If anything we have MORE Bible then our Evangelical brothers and sisters.

As far as acknowledging our Mr. Cameron have you not listened to popular culture's opinion of our Catholic faith? Most nonChristians consider Catholics a little to focused on our sins. (I don't) It is ironic that a Catholic, who has probably recited the Penitential rite asking for God's mercy and forgiveness at every mass and who undergoes an examination of conscious before each confession, would not know that they need Christ's mercy and forgiveness. Did the Catholic youth in the article never attend a mass?

Mr Cameron's attempts to evangelize Catholics away from the Church is why some of us are wary when Evangelicals wish to fellowship with us. This is sad. As Christians we need to stand together and be united. Instead, I have to wonder why the sweet Baptist lady invited me hear a service with her. Is it because she enjoys my company and respects that I am a Christian or is she performing some sort of stealth witnessing. Yes, I have been the uncomfortable victim of such tactics.

I find it somewhat amusing that Mr. Cameron has given up attacking the issues of Catholicism that he disagrees with. Perhaps this is because there are very logical and Biblical reasons why Catholics believe as they do. Hopefully, sites such as mine will continue to give the 'whys' behind our faith. Because he can't attack our beliefs directly, he has to rely on deceptive methods.

If I sound mad, well I am. It angers me that I do not play God and judge other Christians salvation, even though I disagree with their interpretations of the Bible. Yet the same courtesy is not extended by SOME Evangelicals to their Catholic brethren. Worse yet, I do admire that Cameron is trying to live his religious faith honestly in Hollywood so, it saddens me even more that he is blatantly against our beautiful faith.

I would suggest that any Catholic who reads this blog begin a prayer chain for Mr. Cameron. It isn't impossible that Grace could soften his heart toward our Church.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why Do Catholics Genuflect?

If you are a Protestant who has ever attended a Catholic Church then you have probably noticed the parishioners executed a strange sort of bow. Before entering the pew, your Catholic friend probably dropped to his/her right knee while crossing themselves. I promise you, this is not done with the intent of tripping the poor, unsuspecting Protestant visitor so that we can silently laugh. LOL

The practice appears to have started during the Middle Ages when it was common to genuflect to people in positions of power. Gradually the practice entered the Church where it has remained as a form of devotion and respect to Christ

When most Protestants say that God is present in their church they normally are speaking about the presence of Holy Spirit. Because I believe my nonCatholic friends when they tell me that they are Christian, I don't doubt that they experience grace in their lives and churches.

But when Catholics-and some Lutherans and Methodists- say that God is present in our Church we mean that Christ, through the Eucharist, is actually physically present in our mass. Under the guise of bread and wine, we get the opportunity to literally touch our Lord. When we bend our knee, we are expressing our reverence. Being in the physical presence of Jesus Christ is an honor. Genuflection is an act of humility. Catholics take seriously the verse that states that 'Every knee shall bow."

I should add that most most of my experiences with nonCatholic Churches have been with evangelicals. So, if your particular Protestant Church has practices that are similar to Catholics, I apologize for being overly general in my description of Protestant practices.