06 August, 2009

Discussion with the Apostle about the formation of the Church and Sola Scriptura

(The Apostle) What teaches you that Jesus formed the Catholic church. There is no mention of it in scripture.

Really, the whole book of Acts chronicles the formation of the Church from Pentecost through the first few decades. The Bible says that Jesus founded the Church with Himself as the cornerstone and the disciples as the twelve foundation stones. Are you catching on to the construction vernacular here? Jesus changed the name of Simon to Petros (Rock) and said upon this Petros (Rock) I will build my Church. We see this happen from Pentecost onward in the book of Acts.

Jesus meant for there to be a visible Church built on the teaching that He had given to the disciples and we see by the ordination of Mathias to replace Judas and the taking of disciples by the twelve and ordaining these disciples as bishops, priests and deacons before sending them to preach the Gospel. Around the beginning of the 2nd century there were disciples of the original twelve in the Bishoprics originally founded by the apostles. One of those was St. Ignatius who was the disciple of two of the twelve. He was the disciple of both St. Peter and of St. John and was the third bishop of Antioch, St. Peter having been the first. It is believed that his ordination was by St. Peter. He was trained at the same time and by the same disciples as St. Polycarp.

In his epistle to the Trallians on his way to Rome to be martyred by being eaten by beasts he said the following in chapter 3:

"In like manner, let all reverence the deacons as an appointment of Jesus Christ, and the bishop as Jesus Christ, who is the Son of the Father, and the presbyters as the sanhedrim of God, and assembly of the apostles. Apart from these, there is no Church."

In his epistle to the Smyreans He described the Catholic Church thusly:

"Where the bishop is present, there let the congregation gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic church."

When these epistles were written there was no New Testament and all the teaching was from the Bishops, Presbytors and Deacons of the Church

These letters were written in the year 107 AD

(The Apostle) We could debate all the points that separate Catholic and Protestant and you would find a way to justify everything you believe and deny everything I believe.

(Cristoiglesia) There is some truth in what you say but it is not just justifying but exposing the truth that the Bible and the teaching of the Church is in perfect harmony just as Jesus said it would be. After all, the Bible does say that His Church is the “pillar and foundation of the Truth” so one should not be surprised when the Bible is true. Nowhere in the Bible does it prophesy that there will come a time when those in protest of Christ’s Church would be in possession of the fullness of truth and replace the Church that Jesus founded. Instead Jesus taught the opposite that we can depend on the teaching of His Church through the authority He gave it and the guidance to all truth through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Jesus prayed His last prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane that we all be one in His Church just as He and the Father are one. That is His will and Protestants ignore His will when it comes to unity.

Your beliefs as a Protestant are the doctrines and heresies of men, why would I not deny them?

(The Apostle) Sola Scriptura... are you saying the bible isnt enough? Sounds like it to me.

(Cristoiglesia) Sola Scriptura is a heresy that has spawned over 30,000 separate sects each calling themselves Christian and having their own version of heresy and truth. Sola Scriptura causes confusion and contention within the Corpus Christi and is a doctrine from hell. Each individual person believes himself to be his own theologian. Martin Luther was aware of the error of Sola Scriptura and in his last days even doubted his salvation over what his doctrine had caused. He knew that by introducing this heresy he had been the tool of Satan. The fruit of this doctrine is more than 30,000 exponentially increasing divisions and wounds in the Corpus Christi.

The Bible itself says that it does NOT contain all of the teaching of Jesus but that is all the teaching was written down all the books in the world could not contain all He taught. What part of His teaching do you believe is not important? The fullness of His teaching is in His Church which was given the teaching authority directly from Christ to be taught through the bishops in apostolic succession. Jesus never said to write Scriptures but the Church took upon themselves to write down the remembrances of the disciples but in doing so they did not write a catechism but only those things that would supplement the teaching of the Church and what would only be taught in the community of the Church where the teaching authority lies. The Protestants usurp that authority of the Church and replace that authority given by Christ to a book that contains inspired truth but lacks the fullness of that truth which is within the Church.

(The Apostle) Sounds just like the Mormons who say they have another Testament of Jesus Christ. How are they wrong? Who are you to say that their other book is wrong unless you believe in Sola Scriptura?

(Cristoiglesia) The Mormons are wrong because they try to usurp the authority of the Church and not much differently than the Protestants. They say that they are the restored Church and that the Church that Jesus originally founded fell into apostasy and 1800 years later that Jesus restored it under the leadership of Joseph Smith. The huge problem they have in supporting this is that according to Scriptures the Church that Jesus founded will never fall into apostasy and will endure for all times. So, they are calling Jesus at least an incompetent in founding the Church or at worst a liar. So it is a question of authority that Jesus gave only to the one Church He founded which is the Catholic Church. There is no other.

(The Apostle) Any addition or subtraction from the bible is heresy. Not the other way around...

(Cristoiglesia) I assume you are referring to St. John who said at the end of His prophetic visions and prophesy that no one should add or take away from His prophesy. He was not referring to the Canon of Scriptures but only his book as the Bible was not yet assembled and would not be for another three centuries. But, that being already said; I do believe that one who picks and chooses what Scriptures they trust in the Bible is in danger of great error and especially for Protestants who have removed the Deuterocanonicals from their Bibles.

(The Apostle) This debate is becoming fruitless. I know most everything you believe. I know already before you answer how you are going to justify yourself.. If you wish to continue, thats fine with me. But I really dont see the point. Im not going to move you from your stance nor are you going to move me from mine.

(Cristoiglesia) Contending for the faith is never fruitless as others besides ourselves may be enlightened. You obviously do not know what I and other Catholic Christians believe otherwise you would be guilty of intentionally bearing false witness against us. So from that standpoint you have much to learn. I would not be so certain about one of us moving from our stances as I became a Catholic arguing against the Church as have so many converts. I never wanted to be Catholic and neither did many others who were formerly Protestant ministers such as Scott Hahn who is now one of the foremost Catholic theologians in the Church. Many of us are academics who have studied the issues and have the training to discern the truth in our relentless search coming from our Berean spirits. We are compelled to share what we have learned.

(The Apostle) I hope that you can complete all the sacraments and earn your way to heaven.

(Cristoiglesia) What are you talking about? Who taught you falsely that Catholic Christians are taught that we must complete any Sacraments? See there you go, if you knew anything about Catholic soteriological teaching you would know that Catholics Christians are taught that we are saved by grace through faith, which is in the Catechism by the way and not by any works. Such a belief would be the condemned heresy of Pelagianism which was condemned by the Church at the Council of Carthage early in the fifth century. However, the Church does not teach “faith alone” which is condemned in the Scriptures by St. James but is an ongoing heresy of some of the Protestants. Faith without works is dead according to St. James the disciple of our Lord. God Bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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