If It's Not Gluten, It's Not Jesus

Ritual religions such as Roman Catholicism often create bizarre situations not encountered by Bible believers. One such was recently in the news when an 8-year-old's first "Holy Communion" was declared invalid because she received a wafer without the mandated ingredient of wheat.

Haley Waldman suffers from a rare digestive disorder in which consuming even a small amount of wheat gluten will damage her digestive tract. Her mother pressed the diocese of Trenton, New Jersey, for an exception, to use a wafer made of rice, instead.

Bishop John M Smith replied, "This is not an issue to be determined at the diocesan or parish level, but has already been decided...by Vatican authority." A compromise of a low-gluten wafer was offered, but was rejected by the mother as too dangerous to the health of the child. Haley's mother has appealed to the pope for a change in the doctrine, but precedent is not on her side.

In 2001, the family of a 5-year-old in Massachusetts left Catholicism after being denied permission to use a rice wafer. Another regulation of the communion ritual demands that the grape wine be fermented and contain at least a small amount of alcohol. Catholics struggling with addiction to alcohol have been refused their request to substitute grape juice.

Like the Pharisees in the Bible, ritual trumps compassion. When Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, they attacked Him for violating their ritual restrictions of working on the Sabbath.

Basically, there are only two types of religion: ritual and relationship. Jesus said, "I have called you friends." Christianity is the only religion that provides a personal Savior and continued fellowship with the Creator of the universe. All other religions rely on some form of ritual to hold their people, usually in some degree of legalistic bondage. Jesus said that the Pharisees of His day had made the Word of God of none effect with their tradition.

The sad story of Haley is just another example of a huge false church trampling on the feelings of an innocent child. Can the pope escape the condemnation of Mark 9:42: "Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea."

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