Sorry, You’re Not Allowed to Do That

I am going to be blunt.

You are not the arbiter of Christian doctrine. You don’t get to decide the tenets of Christianity. You don’t have permission to reverse or negate Christian teaching. You don’t have the authority to define Christianity. Neither do I.

If you are a Catholic, you don’t get to pick and choose which parts of the moral law and the Creed are valid. If you are a Protestant, you don’t get to personally interpret the Bible and tell us what you are sure Christ meant. If you are a secularist, you don’t get to remake Jesus in your own image, i.e., a New Agey, non-threatening guru who fits neatly into your own worldview.

Trust me, it’s nothing personal. You just simply don’t have that option. You didn’t establish Christianity, and you have no permission to reinvent it.

You see, Christianity is a revealed religion. It was given. It is handed down. It is not open to anyone’s personal interpretation, whether one’s name is Arius, Nestorius, Luther, Kennedy, Pelosi, Chittister, or Miller.

You can choose to accept the whole of Christianity and her teachings, or you are free to reject them. You are even free to start your own religion, teaching whatever you’d prefer. But you do not have the right to speak in the name of Christ’s Church and define authentic Christian belief for yourself or others. You do not have that right, because you do not have that authority. 

joanofarc1Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle (St. John) and the entire Deposit of Faith has been handed down intact by the only men to whom Christ delegated His authority: The Apostles and their successors, also known as the pope and the body of bishops. This teaching authority (Magisterium) is not you, and it’s definitely not me.

The Magisterium, guided by the Holy Spirit, protects the Deposit of Faith from any deviation, addition, subtraction, reversal, contradiction, distortion, or destruction offered by those who wish Church teaching to be something it is not.

So, as earnest as you are, as sincere as you are, as studious as you are, as kind as you are, even as holy as you are, you are not allowed in any way to alter, bypass, morph, undermine, negate, or redefine Christian teaching on faith or morals and still insist that it’s Christian.

You may receive the Faith, you may accept the Faith, and you may hand down the Faith pure and entire, but you may not be its arbiter.

Sorry, you’re just plain not allowed to do that.


Leila Miller is a wife and mother of eight children who has a penchant for writing and a passion for teaching the Catholic Faith in simple ways. This summa cum laude Boston College graduate also loves to debate atheists, advocate for special needs orphans, and attempt the matchmaking of young Catholic singles (not necessarily in that order). All of the above is accomplished on her three blogs: Little Catholic Bubble, Orphan Report, and the invite-only Catholic Moms Matchmaking.

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