Catholicism has always had a “bad wrap” among the Protestant circles of conversation. I understand their disposition given some alarming history of the church, but there must be a line drawn. I know several professing Catholics that are as, if not more so, Biblically literate than some of my professing Protestant friends. We must be hesitant to overgeneralize people of other denominations. I know I have been guilty of this on several occasions, and am speaking of personal conviction in regards to this area. We think all Presbyterians are hyper-calvinist, all Southern Baptists are hyper-arminainst, all methodist’s are alcoholic female preachers, etc. We have to stop this nonsense!
The enemy uses many things to cause dissension within the body of Christ, and stereotyping denominations is one of them. First off, we tend to focus on the negative things that segregate denominations. The trailing thought applied to the word association of any denomination is always their outlying theological stances. For example, when I hear the word “Catholic”, I think of their errors in view of Mary the mother of Jesus, heightened positioning of the saints and Pope, etc. This is a defect in thinking. Many of these people are my brothers and sisters in Christ, I ought to love them as such. Secondly, the issues I allot to Catholicism are only the same issues I deal with in different vessels. I fall into the trap of idolizing pastors, church leaders, and notable christian authors so often! Is this not the same error in the Catholic’s glorified view of the Pope or the saints? I see just as many “cultural Catholics” as I do “cultural Protestants”. I have no grounds to overgeneralize and judge Catholicism, because Protestantism faces the same failures only in a different light.
We all have our screw ups. It is just how religion “organizations” work; you have sinful men describing and following a holy God. But the unity of Christ can not suffer from our elevation of those things which separate us. I am not striving to belittle sin amongst the brethren, but I am referencing matters of different interpretation and execution. The beauty of the body of Christ is that it a balanced group of imbalanced people. The potency of our testimony to the world as disciples of Christ is continent upon our love for one another.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Let us not fixate ourselves on the things that divide as a body of believers, but celebrate what unifies us: the grace of God; and do this by expressing utter love for each other. This is not an easy task, and it is one I know I have to work on, but if executed, it will make all the difference.