Here’s the thing about Church Membership. We went through membership class at our last 2 Protestant churches. The only reason we left the first church was due to a move, but… just for a bit of context, one membership class was a lovely dinner over at the pastor’s house (who we still care about very much and admire as an example of living out one’s faith in all areas), and the other membership class was a few weeks for an hour (also led by very sincere people) to help us understand a statement of faith that was relatively short- could be read through in a couple of minutes.
Ok. That’s the context.
The Catholics have THIS:
Here’s another major difference between Catholics and Protestants… if it isn’t explicitly laid out in the Bible (though Protestants disagree on a lot of what is supposedly explicitly laid out in the Bible), we don’t typically touch it. Some call it “Christian Liberty.” On issues nonessential to salvation, there are some truths that God has allowed us to interpret for ourselves while we are here. That has made so much sense to me for so many years. But now, I’m thinking… there is actually a truth about all these issue we allow Christian liberty for… like either Jesus is actually present in the Eucharist or he isn’t, it’s not like the truth behind any of these things are actually ambivalent. So is the Protestant church’s stance that God has chosen to keep those things secret? Then the Catholic church’s stance would be that God has revealed the details of the Christian theology that aren’t explicitly laid out in the Bible through the Holy Spirit to the Church. And that the Holy Spirit has helped the Church have correct interpretation of those things that are in the Bible as well.
I just keep getting drawn back to the unity of theology in the Catholic church. I just don’t think I agree anymore that God intended Christianity to have so many divisions. That isn’t unity, that isn’t a united Body. In some ways it’s amazing that with all the theology they have sorted through, that the Catholic faith has stayed united at such a large scale. It seems even unlikely- were it not for the Holy Spirit… perhaps.
And, finally, I think that the unity the Catholic church experiences here might be more similar to the complete union we will have with our Savior in heaven one day. It’s better to be together than to be on our own.
I like that the membership process takes a long time. I felt like the process at our current church was too quick and simple, and casual even. We dove about a centimeter deep into theology. Church isn’t about being a cool place to hang out. The theology is important. I’m thankful to have the time and an abundance of resources to help me along the way.