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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Bible Does Always Win

Dear Sister Mary Martha-

I couldn't figure out where to post a question, and so I'm posting one in a comment.

But first, let me add that I love your blog! I was raised Catholic, and I'm so happy there's something like this, now that I'm in college with so many different flavors of Christianity on campus.

Which brings me to my next question. I'm being pursued, for lack of a better word, by members of a nation-wide Christian collegiate group called Chi Alpha. Pentecostal-based, it holds that "the Bible always wins." In other words, if it is not specifically word-for-word in the Bible somewhere, it isn't true, never was and never will be.

Don't we also believe that? If so, that rules out a lot. My friends don't believe in infant baptism, Transfiguration, Mary as venerated by Catholics, or the saints.

And what about Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and speaking in tongues? A large majority of my friends speak in prayer languages, ones that they don't understand, but God does.

And the sacraments! Oh, my goodness! Where, I'm constantly asked, is the Biblical reference for Anointing of the Sick and Holy Orders? And papal infallibility, while we're at it?

I may have taken religion classes in Catholic school my entire life, but even that is not enough to render me a walking "Catholic for Dummies."

Thanks again for your blog. I've already used your dinner-making analogy to explain why we heretics pray "to" saints.

Did I say something about dinner and the saints?  I don't recall....worse..I probably said it last week.
Your questions involves  a lot of Church Doctrine and Dogma.  I'll try to give you a quick tutorial, but before I do, there is this thing called the "internet" on which you can find things like "The Catechism of the Catholic Church" and you can type in a topic and find out exactly what the Church says about a lot of things.  Just so you know.

Here we go!

First of all, we do believe things that you can't find verbatim in the Bible, but everything we believe is derived from the Bible.  For example, there is no mention of Purgatory in the Bible, but in Maccabees (a book that your friends tossed out of their Bible because of this passage) there is an admonishment to "Pray for the dead".  There is no need to pray for anyone who is in Heaven or Hell.  So who are these dead people for which we are asked to pray?  Where are they?  The Catholic Church teaches that that passage must refer to where these people are.  I can't think of another explanation, can you?  They don't have to think about it because they booted that whole book right out of their Bible.  (Which is astonishing, when you think about it?  These are the people are so very interested in the importance of the words God wrote in His book. So interested that they just threw some away!)

The Immaculate Conception falls into this category, too, as does Papal Infallibility.

On we go.

Did you mean to say "Transubstantiation" instead of "Transfiguration"?  The Transfiguration is in the New Testament.  Transubstantiation is when the Host turns into the Body of Christ.  Google that up!

It always makes me sad that the separated Brethren dismiss Mary.  I can't imagine if you had a chance to actually meet the Mother of Jesus, Jesus, who you claim to love so much, that you would just ignore her and not pay her any honor.  God certainly honored her, but that's not good enough for you?  Holy Toledo!  That is just rude.

Next!  Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  This one is tricky. We do believe in that! But they mean something different by that phrase than we do...I think.  We believe the the whole Church was baptized in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  We baptize babies and they receive the Holy Spirit, but then the Sacrament of Confirmation brings more gifts from the Holy Spirit when the child is old enough to pledge himself to the Church himself and become a "soldier of Christ".

There are Catholic Pentecostals who speak in tongues, but the Church as a whole has frankly never been particularly comfortable with it.  I think it's because it can be such a slippery slope if you're babbling in some unintelligible ravings.  Possessed people do that, too.

On the home stretch!

Here are the Biblical references to Holy Orders: Acts 20:28; Lk 22:19; Jn 20:22; Acts 6:6; Acts 13:3; Acts 14:22; 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6; Tit 1:5

And here are the references to Anointing of the Sick: Mk 6:12-13; Jm 5:14

I do hope this helps and bless you for hanging around with these people and trying to know what you're talking about!  Come back anytime and we'll keep up the good work together! 

Meanwhile here's a great example of how to use this internet thing. I just did a Google search for "Biblical reference to papal infallibility". I even spelled infallibility wrong in the search! I believe I typed infallibiblity (which is probably just about what your friends think of it).  And here you have a wonderful, clear, concise explanation that will clear up a lot.

But do come back anytime.  Sometimes, it's much more fun to chat than to Google. 


elfin said...

I cannot believe I forgot to look up the saint of the day AGAIN...how embarrassing.
I want to say this blog is so great! I am so glad that we found this. My husband, my children, and myself read this blog every week. We find your advice to be educational, thought provoking, and just funny sometimes! My teenage sons laughed so at one of these, something about how you frightened a little kid in a fabric store. You are a blessing. Thank you so much!

Claudia said...

People tend to criticize things of which they afraid . There are a lot of people who throw away information of things that they do not believe or agree.

People who speak in tongues may be possessed, mentally ill or just babel because it is expected of them.

Some people are just plain NUTZ. I often wonder if they know how crazy they sound. This applies to many subjects,not just religion.

Maggie said...

Check out http://www.scripturecatholic.com/ as a fabulous resource. It has Scriptural passages (as well as writings from early Church Fathers) to back up pretty much anything a sola scriptura Protestant could think of.

Unknown said...

You rock!

Loyal SMM Reader said...

Here's one I always wondered about: Some, as you call them, separated brethren have ornate churches that resemble ours but some are simply bare and sparse with just a plain, unadorned cross...why? Is it part of their teaching and beliefs, or do they just prefer it that way? Also, where, besides google, do you find other churches beliefs, or catechism, if they call it that? Does everyone have one? Thanks, Sister. Love your blog and your etsy shop is great!

denise said...

When I encounter an In-the-bible, Exactly-as-written Evangelical, I ask them, "What about the different Resurrection accounts?"

Did the women see an angel? Did they talk to the Risen Christ?
Did they run to the Disciples and tell them the Body was missing?

Each Apostle emphasized different aspects, may have forgotten or misremembered a detail or two. The important message is there. "He is Risen!"

It's fun.

Anonymous said...

I think the best question of all is: Where in the bible does it say that the bible has all the answers?

elfin said...

Hi Sister Mary Martha,

My younger sister committed suicide four years ago. Is there a saint that I could ask for prayers for her soul? I have asked, but I keep getting different answers.

Anonymous said...

I have to ask: what is your favorite chapter of the Bible, Sister? Your profile says it is your favorite book, but do you have a favorite part, or do you love the whole thing?

The Lady Dragon said...

The real question to ask the Bible Only Bunch is "what did the early Church do for the years before the Bible (New Testament) was even written? Do you really think that Jesus handed out leather bound red letter editions of the King James Version to his disciples as He ascended into heaven?

Anonymous said...

Have you read the writings of the Early Church Fathers, especially the ones from the frist and second century?