Category: Let’s Talk About “Sects”

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Let's Talk About "Sects"

Catholic: on the end times 

In 2005, The Simpsons aired an episode entitled “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star” featuring  Bart and Homer exploring Catholicism. A worried Marge envisions herself in Protestant heaven at a calm croquet game, whereas Catholic heaven (on a neighbouring cloud) includes mariachi dancing, an Italian banquet with wine, an Irish brawl next to a pot of gold, and Bart and Homer at a piñata party, which morphs into an enormous Riverdance-style performance. “I’d like to speak with Jesus!”  Marge muttered, but The Almighty was laughing on the Catholic cloud, thrown into the air by Bart and Homer.

 

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Premillenial Dispensationalist: on end times / estchatology 

Disclaimer: I am not a dispensationalist. I don’t think Biblical apocalyptic texts are to be read as literal predictions of literal future events.

 

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Dispensationalism, the common eschatological view found in more conservative strands of Evangelicalism, suggests that God has an established plan for the history of the world and heaven, which unfolds through the Bible, into the life of the church, and into the end times. History has been divided by God into specific defined periods in which God administers and unfolds his plan in particular ways, distinct from the other periods (dispensations). Dispensationalism takes Biblical texts to their literal end, interpreting them as direct revelation from God concerning the end times. Based on Revelation 20, Jesus will establish a literal reign on Earth, centred in Jerusalem. This theocratic reign will last 1,000 years, according to Scripture, and Satan will be held in imprisonment for this duration. After these 1,000 years, the time of tribulation, Satan is released to deceived the nations (Rev 20.7-8). The reign of the Messiah over all nations, however, is not a concept only found in apocalyptic texts. The psalms and the prophets also consistently speak of the Jewish Messiah as an eschatological king. In fact, if a purely literal interpretation of Scripture is applied, premillennial dispensationalism is the only real option. It seems in this view that even early apostles such as Paul had in mind a very literal theocratic reign of Jesus over the new kingdom of God. If this interpretation is to be followed, Jesus’ depiction of the rapture ought also to be taken quite literally.
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Catholic: on the importance of the Church 

The Church is the means Christ established by which to grant salvation to the world. Jesus no longer walks on the Earth, but He guides His Church and gives her the authority to teach on His behalf (“He who hears you hears me,” Luke 10:16), to forgive sins (John 20:23), to preserve and interpret the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:20), and so much more. “The Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of truth” (1. Tim 3:15.) is a beautiful and necessary gift given to us by Christ. Furthermore, the Church is Christ’s body (Colossians 1:24). How then can we love Christ, the head, without loving His Body, the Church?

 

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Pentecostal: on miracles 

I’ve come to expect a smirk, a choke, or even a muffled giggle when a conversation at TWU leads to admitting that I was raised in the Spirit-pentecostalfilled Pentecostal tradition. Entirely forgivable, as miracles do play a central role in Pentecostalism, and the idea of the active presence of the Holy Spirit typically makes outsiders amused or uneasy. However, the Pentecostal understanding of miracles is intensely personalit is a reflection of your relation to God. For this reason, it is complex, varied, and commonly misunderstood. With this emphasis on relationship, miracles are not entirely viewed as literal instances such as when someone can walk after a lifetime of wheelchair confinement.

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Let's Talk About "Sects"

Universalist: on miracles 

While miracles are often conceived as grandiose spiritual revelations or manifestations like a healing, or coincidental happenings, Universalists view miracles in more postmodern terms: miracles are objects of the subjective human experience which transcends religion and culture. Hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling, and seeing are in-and-of themselves miracles. Because Universalists believe that we can experience and learn about the divine through all cultures, religions, and fields of science, the experience and determination of a miracle is very subjective. What may be a miracle to me may not be a miracle to you, and vice versa. A miracle is that which inspires awe. In coming in contact with the divine, the mystery and wonder are transcendent, but they are contextualized via the human experience.

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Catholic: on miracles 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (a synthesis of the essential and fundamental contents of Catholic doctrine, as regards both faith and morals) provides the following definition for miracle: “a sign or wonder, such as a healing or control of nature, which can only be attributed to divine power.” Catholics understand miracles to be God’s direct intervention in the world, a manifestation of the supernatural realities which make up the core of the Christian faith.  catholic_icon

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Let's Talk About "Sects"

Catholic: on Mariology 

Devotion to Mary is a large part of the Catholic faith, yet it’s something a lot of Catholics struggle with. It seems idolatrous to give so much honour to someone outside of the Trinity. While it is possible for Marian devotion to turn into idolatry if one is not practicing it in the proper way, true devotion to Mary always leads us to Christ (see Catechism of the Catholic Church 487). Catholics are not devoted to Mary as an idol or as a God but as a woman who played an unequivocally important role in salvation history, and as a role model in humility, grace, and obedience. The veneration we give Mary is nothing in comparison to the honour and glory we give God, but we venerate her because of her relationship with Christ. Even the angel of the Lord greeted her saying “Hail Mary, full of grace!” When we revere Mary, we do so because we of our reverence for Jesus Christ.