I put the following comment on an article at Conciliar Post, a very interesting interfaith, multi-author blog. My comment is not fully thought out, but I did not fix it because it is meant to prompt discussion&mmdash;at Conciliar Post and now here. Here’s what I wrote:
“A friend was lamenting the lack of interfaith (i.e., Catholic-Orthodox-Protestant) discussion on Conciliar Post of late, so I will comment for the sake of giving this post a boost and perhaps provoking a little conversation.
“I was raised Catholic, but I quit at age 12 or 13 because it didn’t work. By that, I mean I found no power to serve God in it. I found no relationship with God in it. Confirmation was my final disappointment. I had set my hope on it to provide the power to make me a soldier of God, as promised by the pamphlet I was given. It didn’t happen and I gave up. My mother tried to rescue me by giving me Protestant material, which I devoured. I laid on my back night after night for a month, hoping to expose my heart to God better in that position, and I asked Jesus to come into my heart. When that didn’t work, I gave up on Christianity and got involved in mystical eastern religion, now generally called New Age.
“At 21, God hunted me down. If I told the story, it would not seem nearly as miraculous to you as it seemed to me. I realized Jesus really was the Son of God, and the first time I admitted it, I was transformed. The whole world changed, and I have gotten up every morning wanting to serve Jesus with all my heart for 34 years straight, something over 12,500 days in a row.
That happened in a Protestant church, but it didn’t take long to get fed up with Protestant dissension and their preference for tradition over Scripture. It’s humorous because they love tradition as much as Roman Catholics, but at least the Catholics admit and defend their position! Protestants pretend that the Bible is their sole rule of faith and practice, but it takes very little time in their midst to find that this is almost never true.
“So here I am. I completely agree with your post on justification from a Catholic perspective. Most Protestants can’t because Luther and Calvin’s teaching is more important to them than Scripture. They cling tightly to eternal security despite the fact that the entire book of Hebrews was written to refute it!
“Yet I can’t be Roman Catholic because the papal claim to “full, supreme, and universal authority over the church” (Lumen Gentium, 1964, ch. 3, sec. 22) is outrageous, and I could never stop attacking it (book coming in the next few months). The removal of the third of the ten commandments testifies to the Roman Church’s guilty conscience over its use of images. (It is not just the Protestants, but the Orthodox as well who would charge the RCC with changing the ten commandments.)
“Perhaps I have brought up too much, but I am not alone. There are many who, like me, do not want to be called a Protestant, but can find no home in Catholicism of Orthodoxy, either, because of questionable (or objectionable) doctrines that are required of their members. This calls for a discussion of the definition of ‘church.'”
Lumen Gentium. “Dogmatic Constitution of the Church.” Solemnly Propagated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964. Ch. 3. Sec. 22. Retrieved 5 November, 2016 from http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html. This wording is repeated in the Catholic Catechism. par. 882.