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.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Gilligan's Island and The Bible

Imagine the ship you are on is starting to sink and the captain's steward tells you that you can only take a very limited amount of stuff with you on the lifeboat. Wait! This was supposed to be a three hour tour, a three stinking hour tour! In the distance they spot a small deserted isle. If you were stuck on this desert island and had to take only a small handful of the individual books of the Bible with you, which would you take? What if you had to burn certain books of the Bible to send up a distress signal or use as kindling to be thrown in the fire, but save the most important ones? God forbid! Which would you save? Which are most important?

Can the fullness of the Gospel be understood by just reading a few books of the New Testament? Should the Gospel be truly distilled down to reading only a small portion of Scripture? Can we really understand and obtain all that is necessary from a few books of the Bible? Can we know truly what the Gospel is from such an abridged source? If Gilligan had to come up with a correct soteriology (theology of salvation) as well as a correct christology (theology of who Christ is), could he have done with just a few books of the Bible and no tradition whatsover?

Catholics believe that the fullness of the Gospel is found in the entire Bible (including all the deuterocanonicals ) along with Sacred Tradition (no, not the "traditions of men" that were soundly spoken against in Scripture by our Lord and Paul) Together, the Scriptures with Sacred Tradition make up the deposit of faith given by God to the Church. Catholics believe one can't operate correctly without the other. Sacred Tradition and Scripture "work" together inseparably to provide the fullness of truth we so often blog about.

Catholics believe you need both for correct belief and practice of faith. Without one or the other, we don't believe we can have the fullness of the faith. Now can you imagine what happens when you remove not only Sacred Tradition , but several books of the Bible as well? (not just the deuterocanonicals). As a Catholic we believe this could lead to only a partial, not full understanding of the Truth. But, according to Dr. Luther, Gilligan would have been able to derive all he needed from about 7 books of the New Testament. In my opinion, I suspect even the Professor could have gotten it wrong with that limited selection. A three hour tour, a three hour tour....

"In a word, St. John’s Gospel and his first epistle, St. Paul’s epistles, especially Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians, and St. Peter’s first epistle are the books that show you Christ and teach you all that is necessary and salvatory for you to know, even if you were never to see or hear any other book or doctrine. "

Luther’s Works, Vol. 35, page 362.

"In a word, you need all of Scripture to compare to Scripture just as you need the Old Testament to see the Truth in the New Testament. One is not complete without the other. Finally, you need the Sacred Tradition of the Church to fully illuminate the Gospel of our salvation as found interwoven throughout all of Scripture."

Anonymous Blogger Vol.12 p.30


Blogger japhy said...

Yeah. Ignore the letters to the Church in Corinth. Ignore the other three tellings of Gospel that record the more down-to-earth (no pun intended!) teachings of Jesus -- the parables, I mean. Ignore the Acts of the Apostles, so as to be free from the history of the Church. Ignore the letter from James (because you're Luther).

Ignore the whole Old Testament (and excise the parts of the New Testament that quote it?) because "the old has passed away, behold, the new has come"... oh, sorry, that's not included in your expurgated Bible... that's in 2 Corinthians 5:17.

It's like asking for a one-sided coin. Mobius doesn't live here.

August 09, 2007 10:48 PM  
Blogger tara said...

Ignoring any part of the fullness of truth goes against common sense--it goes agains history--it goes against Jesus--who He Himself said He would leave us with an authority to guard His Church!

The only reason to ignore--is because you don't want to acknowledge a part of truth you may find uncomfortable--tough--truth is truth--we conform ourself to Jesus--Jesus does not conform Himself to us.

August 09, 2007 11:17 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

"Ignoring any part of the fullness of truth goes against common sense-"

Yes, and the truth is most of us never would intentionally do that. Unless of course forced to by being stuck on a desert island! Those who have grown up never knowing about Sacred tradition(modern day Protestants) don't intentionally jettison the books and the parts they are uncomfortable with. They have their own tradition as well, though it may be under the radar so to speak.

I thought that Luther quote revealed the whole problem here. So my post is really pointing at Dr. Luther, who should have known better! He had decided what the Gospel was and how salvation should be accomplished by an entirely new and novel approach to the reading of sacred scripture, outside of Sacred Tradition.

But to make it "work"
he said these are really the only books of the Bible you need to have that give you all there is to know about the gospel.
His quote revealed that perhaps he was not unlike all of us when we read the Bible. We only take the bits and portions that support our preconceived theology and skip over the parts that don't. He was just more honest about it and said, "just read these books and you'll be alright."
The Catholic Church says, this is the whole Bible, every bit and portion is good and you need all of it interpreted in concert with Sacred Tradition to not get stranded!

I liked your statement, "we conform ourselves to Jesus and He does not conform to us." Analogously, that is what I had to say in my conversion process, I am conforming to Jesus in this Church and not trying to get the church to conform to me. Submission for me is hard, but once I believed it was true, there was no where else to go. So even those portions of the Bible I was secretly ignoring now became hard to avoid. Confession, the Eucharist, etc etc.

August 10, 2007 8:49 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Japhy, "Mobius doesn't live here anymore"
That should be a bumper sticker!

August 10, 2007 8:51 AM  
Blogger tara said...

tiber jumper:
Submission is very hard--too hard for Luther--who wanted others to conform to his thoughts. One of my friends at church--her husband who is not Catholic--goes to church with her every Sunday--even when she is ill--he still attends. When you ask him why he's not Catholic--basically it boils down to he cannot submit to Jesus.

One of the statements he made was that he could not understand why it was a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday--how could he submit to a church that made this mandatory??? When he said this, I was dumfounded and thought, how absurd!

Another parishoner has come with his wife for 40 years--he has no intention of becoming Catholic. How can you listen to the truths of Jesus for 40 years and not submit yourself to His Will?

My opinion of them, well, is not very nice--they are not of the body of Christ, but are like a wart on the bottom of the body of Christ--they are there now, here on Earth, but when Jesus comes, like a wart they will be cut off--as they are NOT part of the body.

Submission is hard, but your submitting to Him--the creator of the universe!

August 10, 2007 6:49 PM  
Blogger omniscientthefirst said...

In the interest of time, I'm going to copy and paste my comment from Susie's blog which somewhat pertains this topic:

"AMEN!!! Back when I was doing all my theorizing, I wanted to find something that fit what I wanted. I wanted a church or denomination that agreed with each and every thing I believed and felt good to ME. Unfortunately, I must have believed that I had the authority to decide what ultimate truth was. I was clearly smarter than Christ and the doctrines of the Church He established. There was too much ME and not enough CHRIST in it all... which is why I'm thankful I discovered that true authority is found in those Christ left it to and all those who have come after them in valid succession.

With the whole 'sola scriptura' belief, how can it be that if Christ intended the Bible to be the ONLY authority, that there are so many different interpretations of it? If Christ wants us all to be ONE (John 17:22-23)it would appear to me that if He wanted the Bible to be the SOLE authority, the Holy Spirit would assure that ALL followers of Christ would come to the same interpretation of it. I leave it to everyone to survey the immense variety of interpretations that people have come up with. Funny how it's when the whole 'sola scriptura' belief came about with the Reformation that all the splintering and denominations came about. It's when we leave it to ourselves to interpret stuff however we want that heresy begins, and thousands of denominations pop up, ruining Christ's hope that we all be ONE.

That's not to say that I don't believe people of other denominations can't be good Christians, they've just strayed too far from the truth.

And now, allow me to step off my theological soapbox........!"

Same goes with choosing which books of the Bible we want to use. Who gave us the authority to do so?!

In case you haven't seen it, tomorrow night at 11 watch the Journey Home encore... Gary Michuta talking about the deuterocanonical books.

"Jesus Christ did not intend for eternal truth to be determined by a democratic vote." - Fr. Corapi

August 10, 2007 11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ich denke, daß Luther Felsen und du nicht wissen, über was du sprichst!

August 11, 2007 7:31 PM  
Blogger tara said...

German annon:
Check the history.

August 11, 2007 8:05 PM  
Anonymous theo said...

tara wrote in part:
"...when Jesus comes, like a wart they will be cut off--as they are NOT part of the body."

Dear Tara:
It's with genuine fear of God who will judge my eternal fate that I humbly suggest we would be wise to ask our Lord to help us resist the temptation to predict how Jesus will judge others. It's only by His mercy and grace that I have any hope of remaining myself. He is the vine and we the branches, grafted on by His design and favor.

A bruised reed he shall not break. A smoldering wick he shall not put out. Those folks who attend Mass yet themselves don't even understand why they do it might nevertheless be amassing treasures in Heaven that I as one who claims to know, have failed to store. For I claim to be enlightened and yet I still yeild to temptations and seek my own way.

I remain your servant and brother in Christ,

August 14, 2007 10:05 AM  
Blogger tara said...

You are correct--God in His infinite mercy will judge those--even those who refuse to accept baptism here on earth.

No one knows the circumstances of why they refuse to be baptized. Maybe some psychological disturbance. They might have accepted Him and been baptized in their hearts--not in the Church's or Tara's eyes.

God, and God only, knows their hearts, and God's ways are not Tara's ways. I stand corrected.

August 15, 2007 10:43 PM  

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