Sunday, June 24, 2007

Trusting Feelings

I had a couple visitors Friday evening: two young men, dressed in crisp, white shirts, and neatly tucked ties.

Yes, they were Mormons.

It was raining fairly hard, so I invited them to wait out the storm on my porch while we went round and round about false prophets, Scripture, and Apostolic Succession. Now, I will admit that I'd no candidate to be a Doctor of the Church, but I'm not your average pew-warmer either.

The last discussion, before I dismissed them, was a bit about prayer and feelings. One of the young men told me of the "burning feeling in my heart" he experienced when he prayed about the truth of Mormonism. He suggested that I pray about it too, and I could have that feeling.

I told the young man that I trust neither sensations of Flesh nor it's emotional states to validate the truth of Jesus or His Church. He replied that God speaks to us through our flesh, and I replied that our fallen nature and concupisance do as well. Every murmur of Will needs to be measured against Scripture and Tradition.

When exhorted to pray further about it, I told him that Muslims pray five times daily, and are very devoted to their faith (sometimes explosively), yet I wouldn't trust their devotion as validation of Muhammad's heresy.

So, here's my question: What makes YOU so sure that your church is The Church?


Tiber Jumper said...

Apostolic succession does it for me along with the promise that the gates of hell won't prevail.

As an aside, I had two visitors last Saturday from that little non- trinitarian cult the Witnesses.
They left angry and mumbling under their breath! Unfortunately I got a little hot under the collar and found myself talking over them in a loud voice all my neigbors could hear.
I think when I told them I would pray for them, they got spooked!

Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

So, here's my question: What makes YOU so sure that your church is The Church?

History. Jesus founded a church. He said he would send his spirit to guide that Church into all truth; he told his Apostles that "who hears you, hears me," and said that the "gates of hell would not prevail against" his church.

His Apostles become the first leaders of that church, and recruited successors to carry on their work. Those successors continue today.

One and only one organization on Earth makes any claim to being the church Jesus founded. That's the Catholic Church led by Pope Benedict XVI.

To the best of my ability to determine, the teachings of the Catholic Church are the same as the teachings of the Apostles. And the church, to the best of my ability to discover, has never reversed any of its teachings on faith or morals. Figure the odds.

But ultimately, if I were to be convinced that the Catholic Church does not teach what Jesus wants it to teach, it would undermine not only the Church in my eyes, but Jesus.

To be a Protestant, I'd have to believe that Jesus couldn't found a Church that could keep the truth, but that Martin Luther could.

To be a Mormon, I'd have to believe not only that Jesus failed to found a faithful church in the middle east, he also failed in North America, but that Joseph Smith succeeded.

But to be Catholic, I only have to put my trust in Jesus. He's the one who could conquer death, he could certainly found a church that didn't go off the trackes in a few generations.