One God, One Faith, One Baptism and One Church. It all sounds familiar, but the last bit was what lead me to my initial path to conversion from Fundamentalist Baptist to Roman Catholic. Yes, there were theological components that had to be hashed out over the period of 5+ years (while I worked on my MA in Theology at a Catholic College), but the driving force that took me on that path to begin with was my dismay at the vast number of Churches that call themselves, “Christian,” “New Testament,” and “Apostolic.”
Could they all be correct in their doctrine? The answer, of course, is no, and not from a simply authoritative standpoint (the weakest argument in some cases) but because it fails the Law of Non-Contradiction. Below is an excerpt from my book Will the Real Church Please Stand! published by En Route Books and Media and available on-line via Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. I wrote the book because I was asked to do so, and the blessings since have been enormous as many readers have said they thought they would learn about Fundamental Baptists, but also learned about their own Catholic faith!
From Chapter 13 – Final Thoughts
"Since the 16th century, a time of both political and religious upheaval, the Catholic Church has strived to remain faithful to her now 2,000-year-old apostolic roots. Her leaders understand the grave importance of the unity of the faith enshrined in the one, holy, and apostolic Church of the Nicene Creed. The Reformation, which produced the greatest schism within the Body of Christ since the East/West schism of 1054 A.D., has continued to inspire division and even normalize the concept. It is most unfortunate that for over 500 years Christianity has been disheveled, fraught with bickering, and confusing to both Christians and those in need of salvation.
Although I am personally saddened by the historical schisms that have resulted in a state of Christian disunity, that does not mean that either party, Protestant or Catholic, is exclusively to blame. As a student of Church history, and attempting to be as objective as humanly possible, I believe that early Reformers, who we must remember were Roman Catholic (Luther had been a Monk) had the best of intentions in trying to internally correct what they considered to be error, right or wrong, and that the Catholic Church was slow to respond. At the same time, however, I can see that those intentions opened a pandora’s box of ambiguity, dissent, and ultimately division from the historic Body of Christ.
What should have, and could have, been reformed from within the Church became a very public disagreement on everything from Church structure to Scriptural interpretation. And the growing pool of first, then second-generation Reformers only served to fracture the Church further as Christ was now being offered a Bride with multiple bodies. There is but one Head and one Body and as such, someone had to be right and someone had to be wrong and above all, schism was not the answer.
One of my favorite authors is G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936) and in his book Heretics, he frequently states that so-and-so believes this or that, “but he is wrong.” I enjoy Chesterton’s frankness, yet I also understand that no one likes to admit when they are wrong; because to admit that, is to dent one’s pride. But pride should never accompany belief.
Pride asserts the supremacy of self, and is perhaps the most unacceptable behavior for a follower of Christ. Yet you may ask me “What if I say that I am humbly convinced that infant baptism is error?” My Chestertonian reply would be “You are still wrong.” A personal conviction or opinion, whether grounded in humility or pride, or sanctioned by many or few, is invalid when contrary to historic Catholic Church teaching. At this point an astute reader will respond, “Well, Chesterton was a Catholic,” but that bears no weight in this argument, for though Chesterton pointed out that no two opposing answers can be simultaneously true, his is not a Catholic thought. Chesterton was merely reiterating a construct of logic--the Law of Non-contradiction. And this law is pretty straightforward. If I say my dog is a Shih Tsu and in my next breath state that she is not a Shih Tsu, I have contradicted myself; only one statement can be valid if it is to be realistic. And to be realistic is to understand that there is certain truth because God is reality.
Because God is reality, or what the Evangelical theologian and philosopher Francis Schaeffer referred to as “true truth,” God cannot be the author of confusion for his truths are absolute. Therefore, if one church states, “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration,” and another church says “Baptism is not a sacrament of regeneration,” one of them is incorrect, and this is exactly the state of contradiction in which Christianity exists today.
After my initial return to Christianity, and my subsequent search for a church, I was deeply troubled by the many conflicting doctrines. Even before I read Chesterton, or was reminded of the law of non-contradiction from my college days, I knew that contrary beliefs had no place in the Church. Through diligent prayer and by studying the Scriptures and Early Church History, I was able to see that the Catholic Church is the legitimate continuation of the New Testament Church and appreciate that nothing about the development of Catholic teaching is haphazard."
As a Catechist of High Schoolers, I can say that understanding our Catholic Faith is Number One, but in order to obtain a firm grasp on Apologetics it is vital to understand what others believe as well. What would this world be like today if all the Christians that split after the Reformation returned to the One Church? Imagine it. The power of unity on a Global basis would be just as Christ wants it to be.