SHARING THE GOSPEL WITH
MY CATHOLIC FRIEND.
Before we begin, I need to give you some similarities between our backgrounds. I was raised within an Orthodox Jewish family and I assume you were raised in a Traditional Roman Catholic family. Each of us have loved ones who modeled a deep faith in our respective religious systems. These were and are people we trust and respect. We owe our spiritual moorings to them.
Our spiritual leaders both in Synagogue and Church, my Rabbi and your Priest respectively; gave us small portions of Scripture in their sermons. These Scriptures were generally used to support official interpretations, opinions of learned men and the traditions of the Synagogue and Church throughout time.
When we were able, we both began studying our belief systems within the context of the faiths we were raised in. Judaism provided the Torah (5 books of Moses), the Writings and the Prophets, plus 30 volumes of Rabbinical commentary over 1000’s of years. Catholicism provided the Old Testament along with the Deuterocanonical books, plus 1000’s of years of Church traditions. Both faiths are steeped heavily in pomp, ceremony and liturgy.
And in both faith systems the Word of God is filtered to the masses, (that also means you and I), through man’s (Rabbis, Councils, Pope, Priests etc.) traditions. These traditions, representing fallible mankind, are held above the authority of God’s Word. This is backwards. We need to view fallible man’s traditions through the telescope of Gods unchanging, inerrant Word. God’s word is the only truth and authority in our lives. Yes, traditions that rest solidly on the rock foundation of the Bible are to be followed and accepted, but nothing else. God’s word is the filter or telescope to judge truth. Man looks through the wrong end of the telescope to justify himself before God and his fellow man.
John, the latter is why it would be easy for a Jew who has become a believer in Christ to cross over to a similar faith system of religion like Catholicism and worship the Messiah PLUS. That word plus is my biggest problem with the Roman Catholic faith.
God’s word stands on its own throughout time as The Source of Revealed Truth. Again, the traditions of fallible men are never to be received with the same or higher status as the Word of God. Dreams, visions, prophecies and learned men’s opinions must line up with the Word of God and never contradict it. Our faith and practice must be guided on it. Our ideas and thoughts must conform to it. Our explanations must always faithfully expound it. We must not read anything into it, but only faithfully draw out what is there.
John, this is the basis of our future written communications. As you can see I hold God’s Word as the only authority over us. Traditions whether from Judaism
(the Talmud-Rabbinic Commentary) or Catholicism (Papal decrees, Church Traditions) I find wrong and misleading. I feel you are following a religious system that openly contradicts the Bible in many areas.
I was given this gift of faith in Christ by God’s Grace through the Holy Spirit and even though I cling to Jesus’ feet at the foot of His Cross, I know He upholds me with His Mighty hand. It is Christ alone who holds my attention!
You once told me how excited you were to go to Rome and see the Cathedrals, to see the Pope, to walk were Paul and Peter the great fisherman walked. Well my brother I also have a dream…to go to Israel and Jerusalem…to see where Yeshua walked…. That is the difference between us…. You are Jesus PLUS and I am Jesus ALONE.
My Biblical World View is filtered through God’s word only as recorded in the Old Testament given to Israel and the New Testament Canon of the Church. Not the recorded traditions of men; whether rabbis, or popes and priests. Scripture Alone is GOD BREATHED and is the only truth!
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