22 December, 2009

Jehovah Witness "Angelo" discussing the authority and justification for his sect

(Angelo) Ok, my friend. I guess you've got me there. I can't present the same kind of solid authority that you can that gave us the right to form a church. After all, you were given imprimatur for your church by a Roman Caesar centuries ago, weren't you? Constantine? No sir, I guess I can't beat that kind of status and prestige, held by the most powerful man in the world. Why, you still hold mass his now extinct Roman language, don't you?

(Cristoiglesia) I appreciate your honesty about not having any authority as a Church or as teachers. It is always difficult to get a Jehovah Witness to admit this fact. Certainly no one can duplicate the Church in authority and in the veracity of teaching. Please consider with whom you are having a discussion. I do not appreciate or give credence to fanciful revisionist history that you put up as a smokescreen.

The fact is that the Roman Emperor Constantine only proclaimed through the Edict of Milan that all religions in the empire had the freedom to worship. He stopped the persecution of Catholic Christians and had little real influence over the Church. We went from being an underground persecuted Church to being able to worship freely.

The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus and the disciples. Jesus using construction vernacular said that His Church is built on Himself as the cornerstone and the disciples as the 12 foundation stones. He spoke of a house built on sand as being temporary but if a house is built upon rock it is built to endure as He describes the Church and promises humanity that it would endure until He comes again at the Parousia.

All authority was given to the apostles from Christ and at least some of that special authority is recorded in Scripture and is certainly attested to by the ante Nicene fathers.

There is no doubt that the apostles knew that their ministry would survive their death as it was needed to be a permanent living presence until the Parousia.

(Mat 28:20 DRB) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Knowing their responsibility in preserving the teaching of Christ they ordained successors giving them the gift of the Spirit with Episcopal consecration:

(Act 1:8 DRB) But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth.

(Act 2:4 DRB) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost: and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.

(Joh 20:22 DRB) When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.

(Joh 20:23 DRB) Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

(1Ti 4:14 DRB) Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood.

(2Ti 1:6 DRB) For which cause I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands.

(2Ti 1:7 DRB) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power and of love and of sobriety.

There is no doubt that “Apostolic Succession” is a historical fact. Scriptures, as well show clearly that Christ chose these apostles and commissioned them to establish and continue his work with his authority and they ordained successors. It is Apostolic Succession that is the link connecting the Church to Christ. It is the authority from Christ of the Episcopacy that brings so many knowledgeable people to return to the Catholic faith as I am a witness.

We see those who were ordained in apostolic succession fulfilling their ministry:

(Act 20:28 DRB) Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the Church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood.

(1Th 1:1 DRB) Paul and Sylvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians: in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.

(1Th 1:2 DRB) Grace be to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for you all: making a remembrance of you in our prayers without ceasing,

(1Th 1:3 DRB) Being mindful of the work of your faith and labour and charity: and of the enduring of the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ before God and our Father.

(1Th 1:4 DRB) Knowing, brethren, beloved of God, your election:

(1Th 1:5 DRB) For our gospel hath not been unto you in word only, but in power also: and in the Holy Ghost and in much fulness, as you know what manner of men we have been among you for your sakes.

(1Th 1:6 DRB) And you became followers of us and of the Lord: receiving the word in much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

(1Th 1:7 DRB) So that you were made a pattern to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia.

1Th 1:8 DRB) For from you was spread abroad the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and in Achaia but also in every place: your faith which is towards God, is gone forth, so that we need not to speak any thing.

(1Th 1:9 DRB) For they themselves relate of us, what manner of entering in we had unto you: and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.

(1Th 1:10 DRB) And to wait for his Son from heaven (whom he raised up from the dead), Jesus, who hath delivered us from the wrath to come.

(2Ti 1:6 DRB) For which cause I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands.

(Tit 1:5 DRB) For this cause I left thee in Crete: that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting and shouldest ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee:

(Tit 1:6 DRB) If any be without crime, the husband of one wife. having faithful children, not accused of riot or unruly.

(Tit 1:7 DRB) For a bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God: not proud, not subject to anger, nor given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre:

(Tit 1:8 DRB) But given to hospitality, gentle, sober, just, holy, continent:

(Tit 1:9 DRB) Embracing that faithful word which is according to doctrine, that he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine and to convince the gainsayers.

(1Ti 4:14 DRB) Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood.

(2Ti 1:6 DRB) For which cause I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands.

St. Paul goes on to instruct St. Timothy as to who is a qualified candidate for ordination:

(1Ti 3:1 DRB) A faithful saying: If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth good work.

(1Ti 3:2 DRB) It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher,

(1Ti 3:3 DRB) Not given to wine, no striker, but modest, not quarrelsome, not covetous, but

(1Ti 3:4 DRB) One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all chastity.

(1Ti 3:5 DRB) But if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?

(1Ti 3:6 DRB) Not a neophyte: lest, being puffed up with pride, he fall into the judgment of the devil.

(1Ti 3:7 DRB) Moreover, he must have a good testimony of them who are without: lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

(1Ti 5:22 DRB) Impose not hands lightly upon any man, neither be partaker of other men's sins. Keep thyself chaste.

We also find in the Scriptures that those in Apostolic Succession had particular and varied duties:

(1Co 12:27 DRB) Now you are the body of Christ and members of member.

(1Co 12:28 DRB) And God indeed hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors: after that miracles: then the graces of healings, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches.

(1Co 12:29 DRB) Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all doctors?

(Eph 4:11 DRB) And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors:

(Eph 4:12 DRB) For the perfecting of the saints, for the word of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

We are further reminded of the foundation of the Church:

(Eph 2:19 DRB) Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners: but you are fellow citizens with the saints and the domestics of God,

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

This is only some of the Scriptures speaking of apostolic succession and the duties, need and authority of the office.

Yes, Latin will always be the language of the Church.

(Angelo) Jehovah's Witnesses, on the other hand, have found favor as a group by our Holy Father in Heaven Himself. I will show you how his son Jesus has now, in these last days, appointed the small remnant of his brothers still alive on earth "over all his belongings." Our authority and mandate comes from the highest theocratic source, and depends not on the blessing of any man.

(Cristoiglesia) Well, as a Christian one cannot have a higher source than Jesus who, contrary to your sect, we recognize as God in the Trinity. When you do share this fantasy with me please accompany the explanation with how you justify your perceived appointment with the fact that if what you say is true then it makes Jesus an egregious liar and a pretender as the Messiah. He said that:

the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church,

the Church will endure for all times

He will be with His Church for all times

Your description suggests that His promises were false and that He has abandoned His Church which has failed to endure and did fall into apostasy which means the gates of hell did prevail against the Church. You may also explain why we should trust Him if he is already a liar according to your private revelation. At best your teaching makes Jesus incompetent.

(Angelo) But I'm not going to give it to you all at once. The first part now, then let's discuss it a bit, and if it goes well, I will send more. Like a fine and complex meal, it must be served and consumed slowly, in courses, to be fully appreciated.

(Cristoiglesia) OK

(Angelo) So here's the first part, coming up: Now let's get to your question about Jehovah's Witnesses being the True Church. Or as you put it, "justify your sect."

I agree with you that we must acknowledge the true church and its foundation in order to live eternally in God's new system.
"Upon this rock I will build my church," Jesus said in Matthew 16:18. But where you and I differ, I think, Joseph, is in exactly what is the "church" and what is the "rock" upon which it is built.

I believe your sect, from snippets of what I remember hearing you say, believes the church is not the people, but something else. What? The building? The organization?

The bible, however, always refers to the church as being people, or actually an assembly of persons. (Philemon 2) You must know, with your knowlege of Greek, that the word "ekklesia" literally means "that which is called out," or a group of persons called out from among others for a particular purpose. (Equivalent of the Hebrew qahal'). Ephesians 1:22, 23 likens this church, or congregation, to a human body, with many members but one head, Christ. Our people are likened to a virgin given in marriage to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2; see also Revelation 21:2, 9, 10.) So you see, it is clean, free from worldly corruption and devoted to Christ, its head.

But just who are the members of this congregation? Can they be just anyone who wishes to join? Is this what you teach?

The answer is No. Read Hebrews 12:23 which explains that this is the "church of the firstborn who are written in the heavens." But now "God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased." (1 Corinthians 12:18)

End of part 1.

(Cristoiglesia) 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.

(Angelo) Regarding the previous question I asked you, you wrote: "Clearly Jesus was ressurected in the same Body He was crucified, albeit glorified." However, you failed to complete the answer. Again, I ask, what kind of body does Jesus have now? Is he still in his original material body? Please give specific scriptural answers. How do you define, "glorified?"

(Cristoiglesia) I will discuss this with you when we complete the current discussion. It is not beneficial to anyone for us to jump around from topic to topic. So far you have done nothing to support your contention that your sect has any authority to teach or is even justified as a Christian Church.

God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

No comments:

Post a Comment