Yesterday my wife and I were at the playground with our four children, my two sisters, and their children. While we were there I had an interesting conversation with my oldest sister. She has left the Catholic Church, and she has been attending a local Baptist church. She actually attends a Bible study class there. I began to question Jennifer (my oldest sister) as to why she left the Catholic Church. Her response was that she doesn’t agree with everything It teaches.
During the course of our discussion I pointed out to Jennifer that the Church was founded by Jesus, hence, it must be protected from error. After all, didn’t Jesus say the “gates of hell” will not prevail against the Church? This argument seemed completely unconvincing to my sister. She simply said, ” All I know is that I am following Jesus better now than I have ever done before.”
There is a serious problem with this vein of thought. Such insinuates that it doesn’t matter what we believe as long as we live moral lives. Yet, what we believe will inevitably have a direct effect on our concept of morality. Besides, we need to remember what Jesus said to Pontius Pilate in the Gospel According to John.
Pilate asked Jesus what His purpose was. Jesus said, “I came to bear witness to the truth.”
Do you remember what Pilate responded? He asked, “What is truth?”
This is somewhat the attitude taken by my sister, Jennifer. While she never implied the lack of the existence of truth (as Pilate did), she did possess an attitude of indifference towards the possibility that she may hold some erroneous beliefs. This is a wrong attitude for a Christian to have. If Christ came to “bear witness to the truth”, shouldn’t we sell that truth out? And when we find it, shouldn’t we believe it and attempt to live it with all our heart?
Jennifer may take issue with the Catholic Church’s claims to teaching the truth, but she should be willing to hear what the Church has to say. She may have done research into what the Church teaches, but does she really believe she’s done enough? St. Thomas Aquinas is perhaps the greatest theologian of all time. He spent nearly his entire life studying theology, and he even admitted that he had much left to learn at the time of his death at about 49 years old! Whatever research Jennifer has done, it isn’t enough. It’s never enough.
In addition, I would reiterate that it is the job of every Christian to seek and follow the truth. To guide us to truth is why Jesus came. It is why He sent us the Holy Spirit! No Christian can afford to take an indifferent stance toward believing what is true, and avoiding error. It truly is a matter of life and death. To choose to believe, or to have an indifferent attitude toward believing truth, is to choose death. To choose the truth is to choose the one who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
Peace in Christ,
David J. Pollard
American Catholic Solidarity