In the name of love

Someone recently accused me of “hating on Catholics.” Ouch. Is that how I come across? I guess I need to reestablish my motivations and again draw clear distinctions between the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the people who call her their mother.Stop-In-the-Name-of-Love-Alan-James-2003

I have close family members and friends who are Catholic; in fact I used to be one myself. We have mutual love and affection for one another and when with them I enjoy their company. And we don’t discuss the differences in our beliefs. When I am home alone writing about the Catholic Church I don’t feel any differently towards them, but when they read what I write it may seem like it. I don’t really know how that can be helped unless I stop writing about the Church altogether. This post is about why I feel that’s not an option I can take.

I’ve imagined myself making the decision to hereafter call no attention to the Catholic Church and the errors I believe she promotes. My Catholic family and friends would feel more loved and respected and there would be no tension, real or perceived, between us as a result of something I wrote. That would be a good thing, of course. But since I am thoroughly convinced that the Catholic Church seriously misrepresents the gospel by which we are saved, to an even greater degree than those in Galatia on whom the apostle Paul called down an anathema, my complete silence on that when I am presenting myself as a defender of the faith would in effect make me a misrepresenter also. And I can’t do that.

“Sure you could,” I can hear some of you saying. “Isn’t loving your neighbor as yourself the second greatest commandment? And isn’t not offending your family and friends the loving thing to do? So stop…in the name of love.” 🙂

I do love my sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends. They are an amazingly wonderful bunch, and I thank God for each one. But the first and greatest commandment is to love him, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. And to love him is to obey and serve him. If I believe, as I do, that he has called me to serve him by proclaiming and defending spiritual truth, then that’s what I need to do. To fail to speak so as not to offend would be a clear act of disobedience.

So just as any devoted Catholic apologist would tell me my beliefs are not scriptural, with a litany of accusations about how I misrepresent Christ and his word, and warn me that I’m likely headed for Hell unless I “come home” to the the one, true Church…but love me anyway…so I have been, am, and will continue to endeavor to “speak the truth in love.” I will admit, and I think I have before, that I tend to be heavy on the truth and light on the love. God is working in me on that.

I don’t want to be perceived as hating on anybody because that’s not who I am. I do get angry when I hear or read Catholics promoting as truth what I know to be false. But so did Jesus when addressing the religious leaders of his day. But…I know…I’m not Jesus. I’m not better than any Catholic and many of them really show me up when it comes to loving your neighbor.

But truth matters, and spiritual truth matters most of all. So I’m going to continue with my Catholic Questions series because the Catholic Church has such a great influence, particularly with people I love, and I believe she’s leading them and many others astray. In all honesty and with great affection, it’s because of love that I speak the truth.