14 September, 2009

A discussion with Randy about his attacks on the Church

(Randy) Dear Joseph, I have not given false witness. I stand by what I said. Every detail I gave was fact and not meant to be funny. Neither am I immature.

(Cristoiglesia) Here is what you said that I took issue with- “It was God who lead those who compiled it and it was God who preserved his word. It was the Catholics that tried to keep if from the hands of laity. It is the Catholic Church that does not follow the book with all their hearts and it is the Catholic Church that follows more rituals that have little to no basis in the Word.”

Yes, it was God who inspired the Catholic authors of the Bible but it was Christ’s Church that preserved it and canonized the Christian Bible at the three African Synods in Carthage and Hippo in the late fourth and early fifth centuries. Of course, we never tried to keep it from the laity. Why would we? If that was our intentions we would never have canonized it in the first place. After all, the Church had done fine for almost four hundred years without a Canon. The truth is that the reason it was canonized is to be used in the Church for teaching and to supplement the entirety of God’s Word. As St. Paul said:

2Th 2:15 (2:14) Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle.

St. Paul is teaching the importance of both the written and the oral Word in teaching. The Church did preserve the written Word as well as the oral teaching provided by apostolic succession.

You make the spurious claim that Christ’s Church, which is stated in the Bible as the “pillar and foundation of the truth”, does not follow the Bible with our hearts as if you can see into our hearts and judge us. Certainly your claim is without citation and is unsupported. You then claim that we follow rituals without basis in the Bible yet again this claim is without citation or support for this claim. Why do you make such claims without supporting evidence? Could it be that you have none or that your evidence will not hold up to scrutiny? If you cannot support your accusations we must assume that they are false lacking any evidence to the contrary and it suggests that false witness was the intent of the statements.

(Randy) I do not care if the Decalogue (whatever that is) believe I have sinned, because they are not God and it is to God alone I must answer.

(Cristoiglesia) The Decalogue is the law of God given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. They are contained in the Bible in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. You are in error that these are not God’s law and all will answer whether they recognize these laws or not at judgment.

(Randy) God alone should receive credit, glory and honor for preserving his Holy word and not an institution.

(Cristoiglesia) I would not think of giving the glory anywhere else but to God but the method of preservation was through the Church and the enduring leadership He established through apostolic succession for the enduring Church.

(Randy) The Catholics that were God's instrument, and they were not alone, should consider themselves nothing but servants doing what was asked.

(Cristoiglesia) When the Bible was written and Canonized there were no other Christians but yes we were being obedient to the call of the Spirit in what we did.

(Randy) The Catholics cannot claim to be the true Church because the Church is the body of believers.

(Cristoiglesia) When speaking of the invisible Church you are correct but Jesus and the disciples established a visible Church as well called the Catholic Church. This from elsewhere in the blog will help you to understand the Church:

"The invisible Church are those who have faith in our Lord but one cannot discern who are a part of His invisible Church. However, Jesus and the disciples founded a visible Church and we see the formation of that Church in the book of Acts. This Church is the Catholic Church and is the self-same Church that Jesus prayed that we would all be one within. Otherwise as professed Christians and not being obedient to His Church would place us outside of His will, blessings, promises and grace; if not fully but in great measure. Those outside of His will would be those that some describe as "playing" at Christianity and not following Jesus.

There are some outside of the visible Church which some call a "remnant" that are not be on the path to the narrow gate but may be saved by God's mercy. These are those who seek God but are deceived into being outside of His visible Church by no fault of their own. While not a part of the visible Church they can be considered a part of the invisible Church. So, Jesus and the disciples formed a visible Church as we see after Pentecost recorded in the book of Acts and it could be said that there are those known only to God who are a part of that visible Church against their will or knowledge that will be received in Glory to be a part of the Church Triumphant. But, as one can see in Scripture this is not the ordinary way to be saved through His Church but as an extraordinary example of His mercy.

The gates of hell will never prevail against His visible Church because of the protection of the Church by the Holy Spirit given at Pentecost. The Church is other worldly and heavenly in its nature and is endowed with its holiness and veracity from its founder Jesus. Jesus gave His promises to His visible Church so that the world could see the testimony of His Church as the pillar and ground of the truth and a shining city on a hill (Mat 5:14) It is the will of God that all should be saved by and through His Church as it is the Church that was commissioned to spread the Gospel throughout the world both corporeally and individually. The Church is a refuge and the Ark from the sins and temptations of the world. It is heaven on earth where Christ dwells in the Tabernacles and is worshipped. So if the visible Church ceased to exist it would make Jesus a liar and a pretender as the Messiah and Savior of the world because all of His promises would be proven false.

Unity requires that there be a knowledge and physical manifestation of that unity. That is the Catholic Church which is the visible Church. The invisible Church does not represent unity because it is known only to God which may be unified in faith but not in purpose.

The purpose of the Church is its testimony in spreading the "good news" to the world. That requires a visible unity. The world will never know if those who are in the invisible Church are preserved but the visible Church will always be the witness to the world that it remains after empires and governments have fallen, political ideologies have been born and died and false and counterfeit religions have come and gone. It is a testimony that Jesus is God of the Trinity and that His will be done on earth as well as in heaven regardless of the snares of Satan and His lies against humanity."

(Randy) Furthermore, the Church was much different in it's creation and the Catholic church bare no resemblance to the original Church. It does bare a shameful resemblance to the Pharisee and Sadducee leaders.

(Cristoiglesia) Really? Have you ever read the book of Acts? This book describes the Church in its formation and the Church has continued with exactly the same teaching and forms of practices unchanged for 2000 years. It has absolutely no resemblance to the abuses of the Pharisee and Sadducee leadership of the first century as you claim, again with out citation.

(Randy) It has done great good and great harm in the name of the Lord and has caused many to stumble and become twice the sons of hell.

(Cristoiglesia) I believe that you may be referring to the following verse in your unsupported accusation:

Mat 23:15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you go round about the sea and the land to make one proselyte. And when he is made, you make him the child of hell twofold more than yourselves.

This is what two Doctors of the Church said of your accusation:

“Because whilst a Gentile he sinned without a perfect knowledge of the evil, and was not then a two-fold child of hell; but after his conversion, seeing the vices of his masters, and perceiving that they acted in direct opposition to the doctrines they taught, he returns to the vomit, and renders himself a prevaricator, by adoring the idols he formerly left, and sells his soul doubly to the devil.” (St. Chrysostom)

“They that teach that it is sufficient to have faith only, do make such Christians as blindly follow them, as these Jews did their proselytes, children of hell far more than before.” (St. Augustine, lib. de fide et oper. chap. xxvi.)

How does your definition differ from theirs? Obviously the Church does not teach according to the Biblical admonishment of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

(Randy) It is also a white washed tomb full of dead men's bones.

(Cristoiglesia) I believe you are referring to the following verse from the same chapter of Matthew:

Mat 23:27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you are like to whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear to men beautiful but within are full of dead men's bones and of all filthiness.

Again your accusation is empty of specifics and must be considered false as a result. The Church is not filled with hypocrisy or filthiness but instead contains the fullness of truth and practice.

(Randy) When the Catholic Church asks for forgiveness and lives for God I will consider them more than I do now. But, until then I will do my best to pull people from it so as to spare them from the truth.

Remember as God pulled the priesthood from Eli, and the path from the Jews, he has done the same to the Catholic Church. They do not have the exclusive right to God and never did. Neither Greek nor Jew...hint hint.
write again if you will I do not mind. Take care Be well. Randy

(Cristoiglesia) What is it for which you think that the Church should seek forgiveness? Surely it is not for having an absence of the fullness of truth or not being in God’s will. You say that you will do your best to pull Christ’s faithful from His Church. Do you know that Jesus prophesied about people and groups like you who threaten His Church. This is what He said:

Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Act 20:29 I know that after my departure ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
But Jesus told us to be wise against your assaults against us as it says here:

Mat 10:16 Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.

Jesus built an enduring Church based on a solid foundation of Himself as the cornerstone and the disciples as the foundation stones:

Eph 2:20 Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone:

He did not build a Church on a foundation of sand as you suggest. Jesus was neither an incompetent for not fulfilling His promise of an enduring Church nor a liar for the Church endures even today as the Catholic Church with the same enduring leadership of the disciples through apostolic succession. The priesthood remains as testimony to Christ’s veracity. Everyone has the same opportunity to come to Him in obedience through His Church. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest and crucifixion the following prayer:

Joh 17:11 And now I am not in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name whom thou hast given me: that they may be one, as we also are.

As you see from the preceding verse Jesus prayed for unity in His Church and not for schism and confusion. To be in God’s will is to be in His Church. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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