Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Sister, I was hoping you could help me find a saint or two I can pray to for my Lutheran friends that believe that it's not important to have faith in Jesus, you'll end up in Heaven no matter what you believe in. I didn't realize that this is what they believe until today and it made me so sad. So I want to pray for them even more, and I could use some good friends to pray with :)
Well, I think I can help you with more than a patron saint here. Either you misunderstood your Lutheran friends about what they believe, or your Lutheran friends are very, very confused about their own faith.
So for you, and your separated brethren buddies, I'll go out on a limb here and try to explain what Lutherans believe. Good luck to all of us. (You realize that, as Catholics, we don't believe in luck.)
Martin Luther was mad at the Catholic clergy back in the 16th century. He was not wrong. He personally witnessed a lot of debauchery. His anger was personal on two levels: one, he was a Catholic priest himself, so all of that bad behavior reflected on him (ring a bell?), and two, he witnessed said debauchery on a trip to the Vatican. He had been dreaming of this trip his whole life, couldn't wait to go, was so, so excited to finally get there in an era where travel was not easy breezy lemon squeezy and then, BLAM, trip ruined. Like if you went to Kuai and the second you got there all your bags were stolen by the first person you met and no one there gave a fig about your troubles. You wouldn't be recommending Kuai to anyone.
On top of that, there was the indulgences issue. That's the straw that broke the Luther's back.
So basically, Martin Luther decided that since the representatives of Jesus on earth we not to be trusted, it should be every man for himself. There should be no person standing between you and the Word of God and everyone should just interpret the Bible for himself.
I have to stop here and say, that was a really, really stupid idea, because you and I are just not qualified to go digging around in the Bible on our own.
But Martin Luther did not throw out 1500 years of Catholic teaching when he posted his grievances on the church door. He believed that you need to believe in Jesus for Salvation. Even if you go digging around in the Bible on your own, you're not going to get around this fact of faith.
So on count one, you, or your friends are confused. Belief in Jesus is job one for every Christian. That's what it means to be Christian....hence the name CHRISTian.
Even though Lutherans are called Lutherans, it only means they believe in the teachings of Martin Luther who began a Christian sect named after him. Lutherans are still Christians. They are wrong about a lot of things, but they are Christians.
Martin parted company with the Catholic Church in his belief that if you believed in Jesus you would automatically do everything Jesus said to do, which would mean behaving as a Christian at all times. So he preached that belief was all you needed, that good works were not important.
Sort of. Because truly, he believed that the good works were a given once you believe in Jesus.
The world in which we live proves otherwise.
So I have this to say to your friends (I'm quoting myself from previous posts here):
"I go about my merry life 'believing in Jesus" and walking by all the homeless people judging them as winos and stepping over them to get into Target to buy a new set of coffee mugs with chihuahuas on them and go home to watch "The Bachelor" and I'm still going straight to heaven? What a good deal!!!!!"
Meanwhile I have a recommendation for you. Not a patron saint, but the Green Scapular, which is a prayer just for this very problem.
Stealth Catholicism. My favorite kind.