As a baseball fan, unfortunately, I am seeing total reformation of the game that I love. Those in high power and authority including the commission and the head of the player’s union are making significant and drastic changes that are making the game I grew up on a bit unrecognizable whether it’s the offensive or defense aspect of the game and this is similar to the modern Christian church.
First of all, the church building is just a building and a physical structure as does not account for the church itself: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). Therefore, because we are the church, we must take more of a leadership role and when something is wrong, we must make it right.
Second, because we are Christians and have direct connection with what we are to do as God gave us His word, we are not to just make things right but we are to see that God’s children and the world are aware of what’s going on: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). Of those that hear God’s word but do not act on it, we are given a straightforward and clear answer: ”Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).
Third, we are to make our traditions and beliefs based on God’s word. We know that God tells us to be doers of the word rather than just hearers but also, God’s word is everlasting and that we are to build out foundation upon His word. In other words, just because we hear something does not make it true nor are we to rest our beliefs on what man says: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). We must remember that if we are living by tradition, God’s word is the ultimate tradition as it has always been: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
Many Christians consider the Catholic Church to be a Christian Church and if this is true, there are many examples of man tradition triumphing what God teaches. Take, for example, the idea of priests not being able to marry. There is nowhere in scripture that teaches this concept and while there are examples of Godly people who never married including Paul, nothing in scripture teaches that a person of God cannot marry. The idea of clerical celibacy, according to the Catholic Church is not so much a doctrine but rather, a discipline and a priest who is married did so before they were ordained.
There is a lot of speculation and talk that this concept may be revisited and while this has been talked about in the past, it seems to be gaining a bit of steam. Regardless, while the idea is not a bad doctrine or discipline to have, it certainly is not Biblical. Proverbs 18:22 reads “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD” so we know that God knew the benefits of having a good wife and had no intentions of limiting the institution of marriage to a certain few.
There are many Christian churches and institutions as well as the Catholic Church that teaches salvation is not by grace alone. The Catholic Church teaches that salvation cannot be assured to anyone but for those who put faith into God’s word and what Christ did at the cross, we know this is not true: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13).
Conducting research for this piece, I wanted to find what Catholics truly teach about this. Personally, I do not want to be like those who cast assertions unto people without any real knowledge. You see this too often in our country, particularly on Capitol Hill, where hearsay is more important than actual facts and what I found was not much different what I had expected as the same pattern within many Christian Churches is repeated within the Catholic Church. That is, misinterpreting scripture and not understanding context.
For example, an article from Catholic Answers explains the salvation is not guaranteed and that the salvation that is spoke of in John 10:27-29 is a proclamation of every Christian’s moral assurance of salvation, not the guarantee of absolute salvation. When I read this, not only was I confused but I had to ask myself where this came from. It is one of those things right out of left field. The author, Patrick Madrid, goes on to explain that we can forfeit our salvation and be torn from the Savior’s hands despite the claim by Christ otherwise: “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
Whether you are Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, and so forth, the individual must keep in mind that God knows the heart of the individual which is why we are told not to judge another on where they will spend eternity. None of us know where the other is going to spend eternity as there will be many surprises. We see this with the thief on the cross as he was guilty of sin and theft and I am sure was a lifelong criminal but despite this, because of the man’s humility in the last matter and asked for forgiveness, he is with Christ in heaven. Christ says so but this serves as a reminder that it’s not about one’s actions more than it is about the heart as bad people do pretend to be the best of people so we can be deceived greatly and Christ tells us this: ”And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5).
As mentioned in the beginning, all the rule and game changes are starting to take away from the game of baseball. There is only so much that can be done to make the game better before you take baseball out of baseball and the same is true with the modern church: taking Christ out of God’s word is not Christianity. Just because someone says that they are of the Christian faith does not mean that they truly are. Christ says we know them by their fruit (Matthew 7:16) and we know this to be true and we are also told not to change around God’s word: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2).