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Jan 21, 2018

Coexist: Protestants and Catholics

Coexist: Protestants and Catholics

Passage: Matthew 16:13-18

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: Coexist Sermon Series

Category: Faith

Keywords: catholics, coexist, protestants

In this sermon, Pastor Chris discusses the similarities and differences between the Protestant and Catholic churches.


A teacher of the Law came up and tried to trap Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “What do the Scriptures say? How do you interpret them?” The man answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ ” “You are right,” Jesus replied; “do this and you will live.”
— Luke 10:25-28 (Good News Bible)

I grew up Catholic. In fact, I've been a Catholic for most of my life—with all of my family members still practicing Catholics. I've had the opportunity to meet other former Catholics at Arcola and compare notes with them. A lot of nostalgic memories emerge: images of stained glass and holy water; the smell of frankincense and lighting of candles; and, of course, sitting, kneeling, and standing. Former Catholics also reflect upon prayer rituals like the familiar call and response: "Praise the Lord, for he is good." "His mercy endures forever."

However, peel back the rote ritual wrappers and a Methodist finds familiar messages. In fact, the Message. The golden rule. The Trinity. “Love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind." The imagery and sense of a holy place forged these beliefs deep into the minds of many young Catholics. The stained glass, candles, holy water and frankincense serve as reminders that we are in the presence of "the Creator of Heaven and Earth, of all that is, seen and unseen."   

It was during a baptism at Arcola when I first got exposed to the lower case 'c’. As in the Nicene Creed: ", holy, catholic and apostolic Church." The asterisks in my hymnal reminded me that in this sense "catholic" means "universal”. True enough. The word "catholic" is derived from the Greek katholikos meaning "general" or "universal" or "according to the whole". 

Interestingly, it's been at Arcola where I've learned a broader appreciation of the importance of fellowship, understanding our diverse spiritual gifts, and how—as the body of Christ—we are called to carry out the Great Commission, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.   

One, holy, catholic and apostolic church.   


Gracious Father, Creator and Savior, thank You for calling us to You, for giving us the opportunity to approach You, to consider Your sacrifice on our behalf. Let Your people be unified in love of You and love of our neighbors, sharing Your light with the world around us. In Your precious Son Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. 

Written by Rich Krygiel. Rich leads one of our men's ministry groups at Arcola Church. He is a devoted husband and father.