Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Cafeteria Catholicism

inthenewsIn the first 1,000 years of Christianity, only monks and priests knew how to read and write. Every one else was illiterate and ignorant and was totally dependent on the monks and priests for information on and explanation of the world around them.

The opening of universities in Europe starting in the 12th century, the invention of movable-type printing in Germany in the 15th, the spread of universal education starting in the 19th… democratized to some extent the portals of knowledge.

But it was not until the invention of the computer and the Internet in the 20th-21st centuries that access to information became truly universal and affordable to almost everyone.

One can tap any subject matter into the search engines of Yahoo or Google and be deluged with access to literally thousands of articles on that subject. It is no longer necessary to buy and own hundreds of books, or to seek access to voluminous encyclopedias in often inaccessible or incomplete public libraries.

All one needs is a computer wired to the Internet. One does not even have to own a computer. For as little as P100, one can buy a computer card and enjoy 20 hours of access to the Internet in an Internet café or at a friend’s computer.

In the face of such an avalanche of information, the idea of a One True Faith, once propagated and defended by the handful of literate members in the medieval fiefdom, is becoming tenuous, to say the least.

Hundreds of millions in the Christian world own, or have access to, computers, and many of them are using this access to selectively choose those “articles of faith” that they are comfortable with, intellectually, emotionally and psychologically…

…So instead of One True Faith, what we will likely have would be tens of millions of True Personal Faiths, each one somewhat different from, yet just as valid as, every other. This is the ancient heresy of Indifferentism. But who is going to say that this is not an enrichment of people’s spiritual lives?

Antonio C. Abaya
Manila Standard Today, Online


In the opinion piece above, Abaya refers to the practice of individuals picking and choosing whatever aspect of faith (in this case, Catholicism) that appeals to them,and rejecting the rest. This is a common practice (and not only among Catholics).

Where Abaya errs is in thinking that it is the ready access to information which leads to this establishment of individual “Personal Faiths.” It is not access to truth that leads to such individualism, it is the attitude that the individual has toward that truth. When the Bereans gained access to truth, they “searched the scriptures daily” to determine its validity as they applied to their individual lives (cf. Acts 17:11). Josiah and the people of Israel, when they became aware of truth, repented, and began to serve God (cf. 2 Chronicles 34).

Truth is absolute, and a knowledge of truth, impacting a humble, submissive spirit, will lead to unity and conformity in practice. No man has the right to accept what he likes, and reject what he doesn’t like. We are talking about the will of God! It is not our place to question it, we must obey it! There actually is One True Faith!