To the editor:

When I was in college studying for the priesthood, one of my professors, a Catholic priest, said that the Catholic faith is the only true version of Christianity, and that all other "Christians" are not really Christian because they have a faulty understanding of Christ. Because I was close friends with many non-Catholic Christians at the time, I was very upset by this remark, so I asked the priest: "Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that these non-Catholic Christians just have a different version of Christianity rather than to say that they are not Christian?" He looked me in the eye, paused, and simply said "no."

I studied with many Catholic priests when I was in college, and no other priest took such a hardline approach to Christianity as the one I mention above, and I haven't even heard anyone take such a narrow view of faith, until I read Donald Main's May 18 letter to the editor about the "educated Christians" who know that there are errors in the Bible.

I have been living in Morris for 12 years now, and I have come to know many well educated Christians in the town. People I meet in the coffee shop, guys with whom I play basketball, and neighbors who like to chat are just some educated Christians I admire, and respect. Many of these Christians have deep faith, but they also respect science, so when science exposes an error in the Bible, this does not lead them to reject God, the Bible, or Christianity. It means that they have to deepen and complicate their faith. This stands in stark contrast to the way Pastor Main describes these Christians. Here is how he describes them: "They discard any biblical teaching that challenges their human reason or the comfort zone of their sinful natures."

The reality for educated Christians is much different. Take, for instance, the conflicting stories about Judas. In Matthew 26, Judas feels guilty for having betrayed Jesus, so he goes to the chief priests, throws the thirty pieces of silver he received for betraying Jesus into the Temple, and then commits suicide. But the story in Acts 1 is very different. Judas buys a field with the thirty pieces of silver, and while in the field, he has an accident and dies. Educated Christians know that these two stories contradict each other. But that does not lead them to reject their faith. Nor do they mindlessly accept the contradictory stories. They labor over the contradictions, and they make the best choice they can about how to interpret the story. And sometimes that means rejecting one of the stories as untrue.

Their approach to faith is legitimate. People who question the Bible can still be good Christians, and no one has a monopoly on the Christian faith. There are Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, and many others. Just because somebody doesn't agree with your version of faith, it does not follow that they are not Christian.


Michael Lackey


To read Donald Main's letter, click this link: