Luke 11:35 – Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness!
I’m inclined to think that there are many Catholics out there that consider themselves Christians; men and women that think they love God and are not ashamed to tell you so. I personally know of such a Catholic. He prays daily, sometimes numerous times a day; he goes to mass religiously, and knows more about the bible than most of my protestant or evangelical friends. He reads the works of the esteemed men within the arena of his faith; men like Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine. He even manages to occasionally agree with some of the “protestant” propositions I’ve deduced from various passages of scripture, that is, until he realizes that his church has a different take on that particular conclusion then he simply retracts his affirmation and betrays his initial reasoning by trying to understand why he was wrong to agree with me in the first place. Lastly, he is steadfast in his devotion to the Roman Catholic church, meaning, no matter what problem you may point out to him regarding contradictions, lies or misunderstandings that his church has taught and committed, he seems able to live with these issues without any displeasure or uncertainty about his church’s doctrines or worldview. His most common line of defense is something like “We’ve had this conversation before so you are not going to convince me…etc”; so much for contending for the faith!
Anyway, what is apparent to me is that these devout Catholics do not understand Christ’s admonition in Luke 11:35. No matter how certain or confident you are about your worldview, shouldn’t we follow the bible’s advice that we:
- Test everything (against scripture) and abandon that which isn’t good (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
- Work (hard to rightly understand the propositions in scripture) so that we make our election sure (2 Peter 1:10)
- Study the scriptures so that you can learn how to rightly divide (understand and utilize) the bible (2 Timothy 2:15)
- Do not embrace or ignore false and evil doctrines but rather expose them (Ephesians 5:11)
- Demolish any argument that exalts itself above that which is found in scripture (2 Corinthians 10:5)
In Luke 11:35 Christ says that you may think that your faith is light when in reality it is really darkness. In Matthews 7:21-23, Christ says that these people call out to Him saying Lord haven’t we done [insert works here (i.e. church prescribed works)] but Christ’s response is: I never knew you (to be saved)! Thus, Christ says that there are people that flaunt his name but do not follow his teachings in scripture; these folks are not authentic Christians.
So, how would you know whether or not you fall in to this category of people who thought that they were saved but really weren’t? A church cannot perform this sanity check for us. The only light that we have available to us in this completely dark world is the bible. The Roman Catholic Church (nor any other church for that matter), the Pope, our parents, “Church fathers”, Augustine, Mary or Thomas Aquinas are not lights; they are merely sinners that are or were in need of the same salvation that we seek. They are fallible humans just like you and I. Mary’s close and personal relationship with Christ was of no use to her in terms of salvation, Christ said that those who hear His words and believe are His relatives, not those that were genetically closer to Him (Matthew 12:47-50, Luke 11:28).
Christ holds everyone accountable to know him; there is no such doctrine as Implicit Faith (i.e. believing in the Church which in turn believes in Christ on your behalf) anywhere in scripture. This warning is not to Catholics only, but to all people that call themselves Christians and yet embrace doctrines that are antithetical to scripture. I urge everyone who identifies themselves as Christians to make sure that the light which is in them is in fact light and not darkness! It would be a huge shame for these folks that call on the name of Christ to end up missing the Kingdom of Heaven; but, that is exactly what awaits them.