Question on the differences in the Christian denominations

 – No funny craps until my mood lifted after hearing about SCB’s condition. Please keep her in all your prayers. I read from Jomel’s blog that SCB shed a tear and is no longer on ventilator. Good news, albeit a solemn one. –

Curiousgal and another gal are puzzled by some different views they heard about the Roman Catholic Church and the other Christian denominations. I promised to dig out my RCIA notes on the church history.

Well, gals, I had read and re-read all the notes and the more I read, the harder it is for me to explain to you. In a short explaination. Jesus was born as a man, He died in AD30. On the 3rd day, He rose again. And He ascended into Heaven. (white light, zoom up 🙂 )
He said to Peter as stated in the Bible, Matthew Chapter 16, verse 18.

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades  will not overcome it.

Footnotes:

1. Matthew 16:18 Peter means rock.

So, basically,  Catholic is very deep in tradition as these are handed down from the first Pope until the current one, Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger. (sorry hor, I dunno number what is XVI) Catholic priests are sworn to celibacy, i.e. no marriage, no sexual relationship. As Catholics, we have ‘stricter rules’, i.e. no birth control, no abortion, no divorce, no pre-marital sex, no artificial insemination (IVF), no same-sex sexual relationships for e.g. Our faith should pull us through but of course, no one is a saint.
Through the history, Peter and other disciples went out to spread Christianity. Somehow, along the way, not everyone followed the exact teachings. There were lots of bloodsheds, wars and etc.

Let me quote verbatim from my notes:

1517 AD – With the Protestant reformation, the Catholic Church was confronted with a schism (split) of immense proportions whose influence has continued to the present day.

I do not really wish to dwell on all the differences but these are all the contributing factors.

Other interesting notes:

King Henry the VIII – Anglicanism
The reformation in England began as a result of Rome’s refusal to nullify the Marriage of Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne. As a result Henry provoked a separation which he succeded in having himself declared head of the Church of England. Persecution of Catholics followed, with many of the faithful suffering Martyrdom.

Methodists
The founder of the Methodist Church was John Wesley. He was ordained as an Anglican priest.

Baptists
John Smyth was the founder of the English Baptist Church.
Baptists are Protestant Christians who share in the same basic beliefs of most Protestants.

Then, when it moved to America, it was more or less modernised. There are FGA, Assembly of God, 7th Day Adventist etc. Let us also not forget that some are not related to Christianity at all and some are cults. For e.g. did you hear about the Church of Scientology which Tom Cruise belongs? The one where Katie Holmes is not allowed to talk during giving birth? Well, I checked their website and there is no God, only practices.
Personally, I think   Christians are best not  to debate the differences to non-believers or seekers because all we aim for is to spread the Good News. That Jesus is Lord.
I sat through (almost) 36 lessons in my Rites of the Christian Initiation (Adult) and I must say that I still do not know everything I should know about Catholicsm. But I know that my faith in God will carry me through.

Well, I know it’s only between us and God, but does going to certain church really matter or make any difference? (curiousgal posted in my comment box)

Well, Curiousgal, I think it is pre-destined where we are going to end up. I could have ended up being with the Full Gospel Assembly if their phone was manned on the day I called. 🙂 But no one answered my call when I was thumbing through the Yellow Pages. So happened that the next church I phoned told me that they do have lessons (RCIA) starting the next month and I therefore, joined.

The key is to be comfortable where you are. Some churches are very charismatic as in a lot of singing, dancing, hugging and expressions of love. Some have their assembly on the podium to share and talk. Some, like our Catholic church is more sombre, whereby we do things according to strict steps-by-steps. The same one adopted by all the Catholic churches all over the world. Our main ‘order’ comes from Rome. If you look at the photos, you will see that the priest in my church wears the same colour code as the other priests around the world. Gold, red, purple or green, according to the season.

However, there is something to take note of. We cannot butcher Christ’s teachings to suit our modern lifestyles. There are churches just for homosexuals. For them, they are right. For us Catholics, we may not agree.

Ecumenism is also one of the topic we reflected in our RCIA.

This term “Ecumenism” refers to the dialogue between Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Churches with the goal of seeking Christian Unity

Catholic means Universal. And as Catholics we aim for unity and we are given reminders and notes to understand other religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Sikhsm and also Buddha’s teachings.

The next batch of RCIA will start somewhere May or June. How about making the first step to join and see if the Catholic church is for you? There is no obligations, no one impose anything on you. You can go and ponteng all you want. It is between God and you. The first lesson is a very simple question of ‘The Meaning of Life’. You will be comfortable in most churches because there will be others seekers just like you. Curious cats who want to know more about God. The RCIA is run by facilitators (people just like me and you) who merely guide you without any obligations. Our course facilitators do not haunt you or pester you.
In fact, a few of my RCIA course mates dropped out at the very last day before our baptism. It is really a calling from God. Either you are meant to follow Christ or your time is not ready yet. If you are interested, just find out from the nearest Catholic church when they have the next RCIA and register your name. If you are not sure which one is a Catholic church, just holler and I am sure someone from KL will be able to help you.

Hahaha, thanks for getting me to read back my RCIA notes. In fact, I had them in a CD! My reflections from week to week. I can write a book with that because at that time, penuh bersemangat!

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