Who has the correct path to Christianity?
There are many denominations within the Christian community, and the majority of them originated from breaking away from a parent belief. One minister told me that if the congregation disagreed with the minister, or the particular rules of the parish they simply had a meeting of the deacons and made a decision to break away. In doing this they either added on to the original name i.e. First Presbyterian of Smithton to Second Presbyterian of South Avenue. That process has occurred many times over with far too many protestant sects.
Changing the name and hiring a new minister not only gave them a new start, it also reorganized the basic premise of the bible interpretation. A digression such as this was a number of Catholics making decisions to do the same after the last priest scandal with pedifiles. Fortunately since Rome would have the final say on such a move, their thoughts of radical change came to an end.
One of the leading controversies was the Protestant Reformation led by Luther. Until that change within the Roman Church there were questions but not as radical as this. Some of Luther’s questions may have had credence, but history has shown once a movement takes hold the solidity of the original movement is now in jeopardy of holding all factions together.
Some of the pronouncements from Jesus didn’t name denominations. They did however hand on what the ultimate goal should be. “Wait for the “the promise of the Father, that which you have heard me speak. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized
With the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1: 4a - 5). He continued, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1: 7-8).
A mandate was established and the ball was now in the hands of the apostles and with Peter being handed the keys of the kingdom Apostolic Succession was born. Here of course is the first of many obstacles that keep disgruntled Christians aloof from Roman Catholicism and find ways to put us down.
We see many erroneous excuses of non-catholics to either stay away from following the beliefs of Roman Catholicism or imitate some of what our beliefs are which is almost heretical in their nature. One is the communion service a lot of evangels are using but without the adherence of the Real Presence of Christ. From a previous article I mentioned a relative attends one of these churches and when she asked the minister about the real presence his remark was if you want to believe that go ahead. Some TV ministers lean on their communion service and allude to the fact this is just a memorial. They dare not promote the real presence since Apostolic Succession is a Roman Catholic dogma that originated in the first century.
Most main-line denominations do believe and teach the Incarnation. However, there are some serious questions as to how a number of other denominations look at this.
One TV evangelist said the blood of Christ is not human since Mary, the Mother of God, was still born with original sin. Does he need a lesson in simple biology? A baby within the womb of its mother must be nourished through the umbilical cord. Jesus was always 100 % divine and 100% human. From the moment of the Incarnation through the crucifixion on the cross. We are told that both natures were always present in every moment of Jesus’ ministry. “The church thus confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man. He is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother.” CCC 469.
Speaking of the Blessed Mother of God. It doesn’t take much thought to believe God would just choose any girl to become the mother of His Beloved Son Jesus Christ. If God could create the universe and man out of nothing why would he not erase the scourge of sin from the very vessel he was calling to be a model of total perfection? Of course, I am biased since she was the first person to suggest for me to ask for wisdom at a Miraculous Medal event when I was a very laxed Catholic. This wisdom is real and everlasting. “I was with God in the beginning.” “For the spirit of the Lord fills the world, is all-embracing, and knows what man says.” (Wis 1: 7).
“The sixth ecumenical council, Constantinople III in 681, the Church confessed that Christ possesses two wills and two natural operations, divine and human. They are not opposed to each other, but cooperate in such a way that the Word made flesh willed humanity in obedience to his Father all that he had decided divinely with the Father all that he had decided divinely with the Father and the Holy Spirit for our salvation. Christ’s human will does not resist or oppose but rather submits to his divine and almighty will.” CCC 475.
The question “Who has the correct path to Christianity” must be seen in the tradition as well as the theological premise of 2,000 + years which direction one desires to follow. A denomination that varied very little or one or more groups that do not really know where they belong.
Choose a reflection that has a cover with very little direction or one that guides us via a path drawn by the presence of the Holy Trinity.
Ralph B. Hathaway