Dear Pastor Andy, for a long time I was a protestant, but as I came closer to God, I realized that there must be a better, deeper faith in Him. A few years ago I became Catholic, but all my protestant friends and family disproved. What I want to know is what justifications are there for people such as Luther, King Henry, Calvin, etc. for leaving the Catholic Church?
Your family and friends may be upset because they see Catholic as a step backwards, since the Catholic Church often bases their system on not reading the Bible, icons, and outer deeds. There are also several theological differences, as well as the way each are practices. Also, my personal definition of a quasi-Christian religion (or a pseudo-Christian religion) is one that practices what they believe the Bible is saying, yet are incorrect in this, and when shown the Truth and correct understanding from the Bible, reject it and continue in their incorrect ways. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church is one of the many religions that fits in with this definition.
Knowing the history of the church, as well as that of Martin Luther will help you understand this, also. For Luther never intended to leave the Catholic Church, nor did he intend to begin a denomination, church, or even a movement, but he saw many incorrect practices, even crimes being committed within the Catholic Church under the leadership of that current Pope, and knew he had to do something. So he posted his arguments (95 Thesis) on the church door, which at that time was the community’s bulletin board. His hopes were for these crimes and blasphemous practices to stop, thus causing the Church to repent and become holy again. But instead, they arrested him and put him on trial as a heretic. In fact, if it wasn’t for his friends in high places, he would’ve been killed (as were all the others who noticed the church’s crimes and incorrect practices and spoke out). But yes, he did open the door wide enough for people like Calvin, Edwards, and others to pass through.
Now, as I mentioned, I do have my own disagreements with the theology and practices with the Catholic Church, however I also know some Catholics who do know Jesus very well. So regardless, if this is where the Lord really has sent you, then that’s where you need to be. And if such is the case, then I think once your family and friends see this, they’ll lay off and support you, also.
King Henry is a completely different situation, though, for his reason for leaving the Catholic Church was for personal, sinful reasons. He’s sort of like those many denominations out there today that don’t want to agree with the Bible and God’s standards on His people, and so splits away to start up something with his preferred beliefs, yet keeping everything similar on the outside (I believe that’s the definition for “Quasi-“). But then again, it’s not just something that he decided to do one day – it was a long time coming from among his predecessors. If interested in learning more about how the Catholic Church got to the point of Luther’s rebuke, I’m currently reading a book by Justo L. Gonzalez called, “Story of Christianity: Volume 1” (the blue one).
For more information on Luther’s arguments, check out his 95 Thesis
To better understand the background of Luther’s 95 Thesis, check out this site.