We all know about the Christians who are Catholic haters. They are the ones who despise the Catholic Church, claiming that it's not the true faith, "there's no Pope in the Bible" and that Catholics are all going to be "left behind" in the rapture and thus end up going to hell.
Hmm. Well, this is for any who might be sado-masochists and thus read my blog, ha ha ha, but mostly this is a case study, especially for my much loved younger readers (hi there!) Here is how to handle this situation using both faith and reasoning. The faith part assumes that you are a Christian who believes in Jesus Christ as Messiah, Savior and Son of God. Assuming that, let's go to work with using reasoning.
One of these Christians who has genuine faith in Jesus Christ but who hates Catholics has been transported back in time, exactly to the time and place of Jesus Christ.
He or she looks around, and there is Jesus himself, in the process of selecting the Apostles. The Apostles include Simon, whom Jesus renames Peter (the Rock), who Catholics consider the first pope. The Apostles also include Judas Iscariot, the one who will betray Jesus.
What does our Catholic hating Christian do, he or she who knows how the future turns out. As tempted as he or she is to run up to Jesus and tell him not to select or trust Judas, he or she, through their genuine faith, realizes that Judas (or someone) will inevitably betray Jesus since that is God's will and his greater plan. So he or she puts a sock in their pie hole about telling Jesus not to select Judas.
But oh my goodness, there is the big fat tempting target Peter.
So let's assume that our Catholic hating but genuinely loving of Jesus runs up to Jesus and throws him or her self at Jesus and implores him "Do not select Peter as an Apostle! Don't you know what will happen? They will establish a false church around him, called the Roman Catholic Church! At it's peak it will have one billion members! They will all go to hell!"
[Bonus question. Do you think he or she will actually blush a bit at "telling Jesus what is going to happen in the future?"]
So here are the questions, using reasoning.
Question 1. If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and you were suddenly, with no explanation, time traveled back to precisely when Jesus selects Peter and/or later when Peter is given by Christ "the keys," would you beg or admonish Jesus not to select Peter? Why?
Question 2. If you do not go quite that far as to actually beg Jesus not to select Peter, would you "warn" Jesus about what "will happen in the future?" Why? (I mean, would you reckon Jesus does not know? What would that say about him being the Son of God? I mean, that he would need you to tell him what will happen.)
Question 3. Suppose that you DO tell Jesus either 1 or 2. Which of Jesus' replies would you prefer? I assume that you would prefer the reply that strengthens your faith, because what other objective would you have?
A. "Thanks for telling me. You are right; I am not going to select Peter after all."
B. "No kidding.... really? That's what is going to happen in the future? A billion Catholics? You were right to tell me, because that's not what I want at all!"
C. "Well, if I change things now that will change the scriptures, of course, and you'll return to your time and find it all different and messed up. So here's what I will do. I'll let things go as you know they did, but .... (hey, what exactly is your name again?).... I'll have Paul write in an epistle that in the year 2000 all Catholics should now listen to you and what you say, and abandon the Church and follow you!" You return to your own time and find that sure enough, Paul wrote to Timothy, "By the way in the year 2000 all Catholic Church members should abandon their faith and listen to Joe Schmo instead, and he will tell them how to be saved."
D. "Yes, you are right. God and I know that billions of people will make a really bad mistake based on what I said to Peter, and all of them will go to hell. Depressing, isn't it?" (That ought to make you really want to worship Jesus).
E. Jesus sits you down and fills you in on the "secret plan" that God "has," and you leave all self glorified knowing that YOU know something that even the Apostles do not know. You laugh up your sleeve at how awesome a secret you have and oh well, God has his reasons for letting over a billion people make the "wrong" choice and while thinking they are following Jesus, they are probably going to end up in hell cause God has a "secret plan" *chortle.*
Young people, which of these answers, if any of them, would make you love Jesus more and trust God more? None I would reckon, but hey, that's just me saying.
If you have faith you MUST ALSO HAVE BRAINS AND REASONING BASED on FAITH and TRUST.
Either Jesus is here to save and not to destroy, or he is not. Would Jesus chuckle to himself at over a billion people thinking they are following him, but they are all going to hell instead? Would God let so many Christian people "misunderstand?" What kind of Jesus, Son of God, or God the Father would THAT be? Not the Jesus or the God that I know and love.
And wow, if Jesus needs Joe Schmo to go back in time and clue him in, that would sure make a lot of people nervous. Did Jesus really launch the New Covenant without having a clue what would happen? He knew what Saul (who became Paul) was up to. Why would he not know that Joe Schmo two thousand years later could have told Jesus that he needs to tighten up his decision making and his scripture wording, since over a billion people will "misunderstand" and thus miss out in the rapture and go to hell? Yikes.
When someone has this type of blind disregard for fellow Christians, you have to give him or her the benefit of the doubt, which they are not giving in their turn, and allow belief that their faith is genuine. OK, so you believe in Jesus and God. So..... why do you not trust them to know better than you? You need to help such people use some reasoning along with their faith, using dialogue such as what I provided. Otherwise you just quote scriptures in kind of a rote kabuki theater fashion at each other. Put them there in that place of time and ask them, "What would you say to Jesus? And what reply could Jesus make that would satisfy you?"
Enlightening, no? ;-)