Tuesday, June 22, 2010
What about the tares in Catholicism?
The following is a reply to a guy that wants to convert but the nominalism he sees in Catholic parishes worries him. Particularly in how the children are being raised. I post my reply here because my wife and I homeschool 4 daughters and I have this same concern, perhaps someone else can give advise in the comments to the both of us? As far as the lack of faith you mentioned, don't worry about that. If you are convinced of the Catholic church is the one, true church, I doubt anything will stop you from coming to her! If you are not convinced, give it more time and study. But know you will never have epistemic certainty, and will have to make a judgement call eventually based on evidence from all your faculties. Your concern for your family must enter in to every decision. But if this is the MAIN thing holding you back, then I would suggest you work through it soon. Once I was convinced of the truth of Catholicism (4 months ago!), I came to understand that it would become a mortal sin for me to remain outside of the church! So ironically, the closer I came to the church, the more desperate my situation. If you are not fully convinced, then that does not apply to you. Just like the anathemas at Trent are only for Catholics. I'm glad to help if I can. Boy did you ask the right question to me! For me this was THE first "side issue" I was worried about. It is a "side issue" for me because I was not including it into the greater issue of "is sola scriptura workable?" and the next question: "is it possible the Catholic church is true?" After those questions were answered for me, the next was this issue of nominalism and faithless Catholics. Will we be going to a place that is filled with tares!? Who will my children marry!? This is the biggest issue for my wife actually! She is not very theologically interested and just wants a solid church with solid people like our PCA church was. We have 4 daughters and are really committed homeschoolers. My wife had been using a bunch of Veritas Press homeschool curriculum which is Reformed when it comes to history and Bible, and she had everything planned out! I felt so bad to have to make her change all of that. Also our PCA church was VERY conservative. As in not a single kid in public school, and the majority of families homeschoolers! Seriously committed believers every one. So I will give you the bad news and then the good news. BAD NEWS: You (we) are unlikely to find the kind of parish that could compare to a single PCA church in terms of percentage of super conservative, committed believers. But here is my theory why. The PCA as a denomination is a "parish". By that I mean, the PCA is a conservative splinter of a huge, unfaithful group of Reformed churches. It is tiny! It is a very exclusive group that has segregated itself from the rest of Reformed Christianity, let alone the rest of Evangelicalism. So of course the pews are filled with wheat and not tares! How convenient. That makes our job as fathers easier, right? In a way it does, but this is not realistic. We cannot just make the church. We need to go to it. It is our job to raise our children, and to do it in an incubator where every person in the pew must be an uber conservative just like us is not healthy for us I think. It becomes more of a cafeteria that way. There is a comment you should read on CTC, it is more about superstitions, but the drift of it speaks towards what I am getting at here: that our local churches can be a "here comes everybody" place, while we can still remain conservatives. The third paragraph is great: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/03/doug-wilsons-authority-and-apostolic-succession/#comment-7322 GOOD NEWS: The Catholic church is HUGE! As homeschoolers my family will have perhaps few or no homeschoolers in our home parish, but I have already looked into it and in my area there are LOTS of Catholic homeschoolers in our area. Way MORE than the amount of Reformed ones. As far as your concern about children in general in Catholic churches being trained properly, I really think we need to be fair in comparing. The PCA needs to first join up with the PCUSA, then we can compare. We both know what that would look like. Same amount of tares on both sides. And no matter where you go, you will have to be the one to train your children (I know you know this) and that is hard in any environment. This is why I think homeschooling should be almost considered required for christians in our society. I would have no trouble with the Catholic church forbidding government school attendance, (at least for young children). If we want the next generation to keep the faith and spread the faith, they need intensive training. That intensive training should be so overpowering that a teen with a lip ring in the pew in front of you will want to be like YOUR kid. We can no longer be content in our bunkers and incubators, lets start breathing on these dry bones that surround us and the Lord will make an army! Come on brother, these Catholics are wainting for us conservatives to join up and renew them! Peace, David Meyer