As many readers know, I watch EWTN every now and again to see what’s happening in the RC. One of the shows that I think is very well done is “The Journey Home” with Marcus Grodi. It’s interesting, the interviews are well done, the set is pleasant, and I’m always curious as to what the guest is going to say influenced them into joining the Roman church (RC).
That’s the premise of the show, BTW; converts to the RC faith share their stories of conversion most episodes. Their conversions are often from protestant Christianity, though they do come from other backgrounds. Marcus, himself, is a convert, and he shares his story every now and again.
I recorded the episode where Marcus shares what he considers to be 10 Bible verses that influenced him to rethink the RC when he was a protestant…when I hear things like that, my ears perk up and I like to dig into the verses to see what’s up; as obviously, I’m a protestant (though as a reminder, I do believe I’ve got brothers and sisters in Christ in the RC). In this series I plan to look into the verses Marcus brings up, and go through them one by one.
I’m doing this for several reasons; first, it is always a good and helpful thing to dig into scripture whatever the reason or subject. Secondly, I’m interested to see if those verses really lend themselves to a RC perspective.
So, let’s start with his first verse reference: Proverbs 3:5-6. I will add a bit more for context:
Proverbs 3: 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. 9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. 11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
This one is an odd choice to me, because the meaning is pretty clear. Don’t lean on your own knowledge, but on God; that’s the first lesson. Also, in every way, in all ways always acknowledge who or what? Him. If you do these things, He will direct your path.
So, does this verse line up more with a general RC understanding or with a general protestant understanding? I have to go with protestant. Why?
First, Marcus tried to make this a case to lean on the church’s understanding, because different protestant denominations teach different things, even on one verse. But that is not what the verse clearly says. We are to rely on God. Has God given us a fundamental means to rely on Him for understanding? Absolutely; the Holy Spirit (along with scripture, of course).
Is there context for my idea in the whole of scripture? Yes. Here is one example: 1 John 2: 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
I include verse 28 to show that he was talking to the whole group, not just one person. The Holy Spirit is God Himself within us, and He is promised to teach each of us; as individuals even.
Why then the different teachings even within the RC (for one small example; the rivalry between the Dominicans and the Jesuits)? Because there is a lot of “stuff” that gets in the way for us; bias, stubbornness, lack of attention, lack of comprehension, lack of searching scripture, lack of prayer, etc… There are indeed some people more gifted at interpreting the Holy Spirit’s leading, but it isn’t a necessary thing to have another human teach us (as Holy Spirit indwelt believers) the basic idea of the gospel and how we should live, when our faith and our brains are in the right place.
The next part of the Proverbs verse is definitely supported more by a protestant understanding, IMO; in all ways acknowledge Him. The RC teaches, by practice, that we should acknowledge other humans, like Mary, for certain things; for one clear example, Pope John Paul II acknowledged Mary for saving his life/protecting him during an assassination attempt; even going so far as to put the bullet in the crown of a statue of her at Fatima.
Proverbs is clear here; trust in God (not another human or even the True Church, which is all true believers RC or protestant) with all your heart trust in Him, don’t lean on human understanding, but on Him, and in ALL our ways acknowledge Him, then He will direct our paths; each of our paths as individuals.
Marcus sees this verse as opening the door to the RC as the one true church, with one “true” vicar of Christ who is still human but leads everyone in the church. I don’t see it supporting that idea at all; instead it is underlining the need for each of us to attune to God, not just organizationally, but individually. I also see it underlining the fact that worship belongs to God and God alone, not just as worship, but as acknowledgment.
Readers can judge (with the help of the Spirit) whether or not this first verse mentioned lends itself to a RC or protestant understanding. Will continue on with the verses in the next blog posts.