4). What really separates Roman Catholics from Protestant Christianity? Aren’t we
First let’s examine what Protestants and Catholics have in common. Both Roman Catholics and Protestants acknowledge
the exclusive centrality of Jesus Christ in our salvation and in the Scriptures. There is no debating that our salvation is
found in the atoning work of Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.
Both Roman Catholics and Protestants acknowledge the Trinitarian Godhead – God the Father, God the Son, God
the Holy Spirit (compound unity). When we see that much theological material in just two statements, we must admit that there is a lot of common ground.
The protestant Reformation of the Christian Church was not the first split of the Church, and it will not be the last.
In 1054 the Eastern Orthodox Church split from the Roman Catholic Church (in the West) over ultimate authority when the Bishop
of Constantinople and the Bishop of Rome excommunicated each other within a week’s time.
The Protestant Reformation actually began with John Wycliffe an English theologian and Jan Hus a Polish Catholic priest
in the early 1300s. It is officially attributed to Martin Luther and the posting of his Thesis 95 in 1517 o the Church doors
at Wittenberg, Germany. The arguments and eventual split was not handled well by either side. Historical research has made
evident that both potential protestants and those of the Roman Catholic faith acted in very un Christ-like ways, making false
accusations to the point of blood shed. This is why many Protestant Christians refuse to celebrate on “Reformation Sunday”.
Most theologians and Church leaders agree that the primary doctrinal dispute among many peripheral issues is rooted
in authoritative doctrine of “Apostolic Succession” This stands in obvious contrast to the Protestant position
commonly referred to as the “Priesthood of All Believers”.
Roman Catholics rely heavily on their interpretation of Matthew 16:15-20 He said to them,
"But who do you say that I am ?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and
blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is
in heaven. "I also say to you that
you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church ; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."
Roman Catholics interpret Peter as the “rock” that Jesus builds His church on. Protestants interpret the
proclamation Peter mad when he said “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” As the “rock” Jesus builds His church on. When these interpretations are debated in the light of authority
in the Church there is a vast difference of opinion and practical application.
The same authority issue comes up by varying interpretations of John
20:21-23 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when
He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. "If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins
of any, they have
been retained." This passage
is interpreted by Roman Catholics as Jesus giving His apostles (only) exclusive privilege to forgive sins, thus establishing
a priesthood of future descendants and the sacrament of confession utilized within the Roman Catholic Church.
On the other side, Protestants believe that every Christian is a priest of God on a personal level.
They utilize the following passages of Scripture to support their position; I
Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that
you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light ; and Revelation
1:6 He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father -to Him be the glory and
the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
also promoted the doctrine of “sola scripture” which he said meant that everything we believe in doctrinally
is and should be derived from Scripture alone. The Roman Catholic Church says that the traditional teachings of the preceding
Church leaders (Popes and Bishops, and Cardinals) are equal to Scripture, because they are supported by Scripture. The Vatican
houses what they refer to as the Majesterium, a teaching foundation for the world wide Roman Catholic Church.
doctrine of “sola scriptura” has basically become an inactive threat as far as doctrinal positionship in the Protestant
Christian Church. There are so many thousands of denominations in the Protestant community, each having their own preferential
doctrinal interpretations of Scripture. Thus they have made their own micro-majesteriums and keep their adherents by how they
interpret Scripture rather than exclusively utilizing Scripture alone for doctrine.
5). I have always been puzzled by the parable of the rich
man going on a trip and entrusting his money to his three servants. Please explain it.
Jesus taught the parable of the rich man who went on a trip and entrusted certain amounts of his wealth to be managed
by who he thought were his most trusted servants. Matthew 25:14-30 "For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. "To one he gave five talents, to another , two, and to another , one, each according to his own ability ; and he went on his journey. "Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. "In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. "But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money. "Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. "The
one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me.
See, I have gained five more talents.' "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will
put you in charge of many things ; enter into the joy of your master.' "Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, 'Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.' "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things ; enter into the joy of your master.' "And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. 'And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.' "But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 'Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 'Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.' "For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance ; but from the one who
does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. "Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness ; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The primary question most people have about this parable centers around the statement made by the master to the third
slave who did nothing with the wealth entrusted him. The statement 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not
sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 'Then
you ought to have
put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.
The word “knew” is probably better interpreted as the word “thought” or
“perceived” because it is often used in other passages to define the cognitive issues of understanding or relating
to people or situations. This is reinforced by the phrase “ Then you ought to have….” Implying the
returning master was saying “if you really thought I was that kind of person, you should have….”
The second common question commonly asked about this parable discerns the other statement made
by the returning master; "For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does
not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. This is a middle Eastern cultural mentality that still exists today. We “Westerners”
want everything to be equal, and we want everyone to have good self-esteem. Remember, the original texts of the Bible were
not written tin North America to people with a Western cultural mindset.
parable is actually more about relationships than it is about utilizing what God has given you in a multiplying way. God does
give us abilities and talents that He wants us to use properly and to the benefit of His Kingdom. But the real issue is that
of being properly related to “the master” and understanding what He truly desires of us. If we have a functionally
good relationship with God and we can understand who He really is and that He loves us and has a very good plan for our lives,
we will do what he has desired of us, and our gifts and talents will be properly used and multiplied in His Kingdom.
6. If there is a loving God, why is there a blood sacrifice needed? (for
forgiveness of sins)
This all began back at the beginning in Genesis 3:21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. This verse appears
just after God “discovers” that Adam and Eve have sinned by eating of the forbidden fruit. It states that He took
the skins of an animal and clothed them to hide their nakedness (personal shame). Where did God get the animal skins? An animal
had to die. The animal’s blood was shed so that Adam and Eve’s sin could be covered.
This story was obviously passed down to their children, Cain and Abel because of the account we read in the next chapter
of Genesis 4:3-5 So
it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.
brought a blood sacrifice (firstlings of his flock) to the Lord and Cain did not.
We clearly see the pattern that God has established for them to operate in. As we read on through Exodus and Leviticus we
find that same required pattern instituted in the establishment of the wilderness Tabernacle and the Law being given to Moses
on Mt. Sinai. This theme continues throughout the Old Testament and even at Solomon’s Temple being dedicated in Jerusalem.
real and final act of blood sacrifice is found in the crucifixion of Our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ. We find four accounts of this in the New Testament – Matthew 26 & 27, Mark 14 & 15,
Luke 22 & 23, John 18 & 19. Jesus Christ became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins by the shedding of His blood.
This paid the price for all the sins of humanity. It was a price that God had decreed from Genesis 3:21 and now was fulfilled
by a perfect “Man” (Jesus Christ) being offered up for all of us.
We find this evidenced in Scripture in Hebrews 4:14 & 15 “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the
heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses,
but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
on in the book of Hebrews we find a very clear and obvious definition for God’s requirement of a blood sacrifice. Hebrews
9:22 And according to the Law, one may almost say,
all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of
blood there is no forgiveness.
the Word of God tells us of the power of salvation given to us by Jesus Christ on the cross in Revelation 12:11
"And they overcame him because of the blood
of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even
when faced with death.
Ultimately, God has mandated that salvation from our sins can only obtained through a blood sacrifice. He has so lovingly
provided it for us through His only Son Jesus Christ. Either we accept His plan for our salvation, or we don’t.
II Peter 1:20
know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is
a matter of one's own interpretation.
one individual has a right to interpret Scriptures to say what they want them to say.
must allow Scriptures to speak truth uniformly