Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sometimes The Bible is Hard to Understand

I love the Bible. I spent many hours as a young teen reading, quoting and thinking about the Scriptures. My favorite books were the Psalms because I could relate to David's struggles and his desire to seek after God. Granted, I wasn't running for my life, just trying to get good grades in Calculus and figure out how to treat my girlfriend in a godly way in the 1970's. (and trying to figure out where in the Bible it said I had to cut my hair and stop playing the banjo!) I know the Holy Spirit of God inspired men to write the letters and stories later compiled as the Bible, but honestly, sometimes it's just plain HARD TO UNDERSTAND!
For example:
No disrespect to you St. Paul, but what the heck were you talking about in 1 Corinthians15:29? "Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?" (Gee, I wonder why that verse never showed up in vacation bible school as memory verse of the week?) There are over 7 separate interpretations of this verse by protestant theologians. Does this verse means we should baptize people "in proxy" as the Mormons believe? Without a final authority to help steer their thinking, you could see why they could come up with that heresy based on a "plain" reading of this Scripture. Even St. Peter said some of Paul's writings were "hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction as they do other Scriptures."
(2 Peter 3:16) Other people twist Paul's treatise on faith and the law to "prove" that good works have no value in the process of salvation. (Basically ignoring the Gospels and the Book of James) Folks tend to get in trouble reading the Bible when you exclude or ignore some verses/chapters to "proof text" your own novel theory or doctrine.
So I am in pretty good company when I said some Scriptures are Hard to Understand.

More on this tomorrow, but I just bring this up to support my ever strengthening belief in the Teaching Magisterium (office) of the Catholic Church. They guard the final interpretation of Scripture so even though we are encouraged by the Church to read and pray with Scripture, we won't be allowed to come up with a new and novel interpretation of a verse by our own "private interpretation." No matter how good it feels, or right it seems, or has the "evangelium" on it, the Church does not allow me the option of discerning new and interesting doctrine from my own take on the Bible. As a rebellious teen, I berated my Catholic mom for telling me "You're not supposed to intoypet (yes, she said interpret like that in a New Joisey accent) the Bible yourself Bobby!"
Now I can really understand what she meant and why. Maybe if Luther listened to his Mom, we wouldn't be in this fine kettle of fish that we find ourselves. Oh well, my Mom has the last laugh now. Who would ever thought I would return to the Church that doesn't allow me to "interpet" the Bible.


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