(The Beloved Apostle Paul) “First, the roman church is NOT God's church.”
(Cristoiglesia) First of all the Catholic Church is not the “roman church” but instead it is the universal Church of Christ. It is the only Church founded by Jesus and the disciples. Jesus used construction vernacular saying the He is the cornerstone of the Church and the High Priest. The Bible tells us that it is built on the 12 foundation stones of the disciples laid by Christ with Him choosing these men and training them to lead his Church in perpetuity through apostolic succession. He chose Simon and renamed Him the Rock (Petros in Greek or Peter in English) to be the prime minister of the Church fulfilling the prophesy of Isaiah. This is the Church that exists today as the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church who maintains this leadership and fit the definition of the visible Church given by St. Ignatius in his letters to the Trallians and the Smyrnaeans in the year 107 AD. Jesus said that His Church would endure for all times and the Catholic Church is that church that has endured now for 2000 years. No other Church can make this claim. Without exception all biblical, historical and patristic evidence point to the fact that the Church is the Church spoken of in the New Testament of the Holy Scriptures.
(The Beloved Apostle Paul) “The only church today is the Body of Christ.”
(Cristoiglesia) I guess that can be determine how one defines the “Body of Christ”. A very strong argument can be made that the Protestant sects are outside of the Body of Christ. Even the Bible contributes to this argument saying the following about the Protestant rebellion against the Church in a most prophetic way. This is what the Bible says about those who depart from the doctrines of the Church.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (King James Version)
3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
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.
(The Beloved Apostle Paul) “Your church draws on JEWISH scripture, as does any other church that professes Christ. I have no hatred for your church, I simply know false doctrine when I hear it.”
(Cristoiglesia) Yes we do draw on the Jewish Scriptures and it is the Church through the authority given to the Church by Christ that we have canonized those Scriptures as part of the Christian Bible. I also agree that all Christian sects should use those same Scriptures as does Christ’s Church. It is very good for one claiming to be Christian not to have hatred for Christ’s Church. It is enough of a sin to place oneself outside of that community in direct opposition to Jesus who prayed to the Father that we all be one in unity of faith and practice without having hatred for the Holy institution Christ Himself founded.
I am not so sure that you do know what false doctrine is being outside of the authority of teaching of Christ’s own Church. I think what you are describing is what St. Paul said in His letter to Timothy about not being able to endure sound doctrine.
(The Beloved Apostle Paul) “The ONLY source of information we have about all things concerning God is the Holy Scriptures of the JEWS.” That goes for you, as well as for me.
(Cristoiglesia) Well no, Christians have the New Testament as well. We also have the teaching of Jesus passed down through apostolic tradition in the writings of the Church fathers and the leadership of the Church by the Holy Spirit which prohibits doctrinal error. The Bible itself teaches the following:
John 21:25 (King James Version)
25And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
(The Beloved Apostle Paul) “You SHOW me where the BIBLE tells us to pray to MARY! You SHOW me where the BIBLE tells us to pray to SAINTS!”
(Cristoiglesia) Where so many Protestants in their doctrinal ignorance ere is in assuming that praying is always associated with worship. Actually the word pray means simply to ask and in the case of the blessed mother of God and other saints whether in the Church militant, suffering or triumphant this is all we are doing when we ask them to pray for us. We are petitioning them to be prayer partners. It is no different than me asking you to pray for me or me for you.
First of all it is disingenuous to state that the practice of praying for each other has no biblical foundation, we are instructed in Scripture to have a prayer life for others as it is part of God’s commandment to love one another.
(2Co 5:8 DRB) But we are confident and have a good will to be absent rather from the body and to be present with the Lord.
The Catholic Church does not teach that it is absolutely necessary for one to ask for the intercession of saints for salvation. The Church does teach that prayer to God is necessary for salvation for all believers. For a Catholic it would be wrong to ignore the liturgical worship offered to God at feast days for the saints and the prayers asking for their intercession.
The Communion of Saints is a dogma of the ancient Church and is recorded in the apostles Creed. It simply states that the faithful because of their relationship with Christ are alive even after the death of their flesh and worship with us. To us the Church is made up of the Church militant who represents all those believers living out their hope in the flesh.
(Phi 2:12 DRB) Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but much more now in my absence) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.
(Phi 2:13 DRB) For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.
It consists of the Church Suffering who are those who are temporarily in need of further purgation from sin so that they may enjoy the presence of God.
(2Ma 12:46 DRB) It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.
Lastly, the Communion of the Saints consists of those who have won the race:
(Phi 3:14 DRB) I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Jesus.
Their immortal souls are in heaven in God’s presence:
(Rev 5:8 DRB) And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
The universal stream connecting all of God’s creation is His love, which we take on in our baptism into our journey towards sanctification. This is not an emotional but a desire placed in us by the Spirit of God that endures as a desire for those other than ourselves and this love extends even to our enemies. This is truly a love that comes only from God and is a foreign concept and nonsense to those who have not received God’s salvific grace. This desire within our souls does not end with the death of our flesh but continues into eternity where the saints through their intercession in prayer encourage us in our race and assist us to endure unto our union with God.
I think that some people of faith, who do not understand the Communion of Saints, somehow believe that asking saints to pray for us is detracting from our love or our trust in God. In truth it is impossible, if we truly love as God commands and has given us the grace to understand, not to pray to those whom we love and in turn we expect them to return that same love to us by praying for us and presenting our prayers to God.
(The Beloved Apostle Paul) “You SHOW me where the Word of God speaks of purgatory, sir.”
(Cristoiglesia) That is very easy in that the doctrine of Purgatory is one of the most biblically supported of all Christian doctrines. If there is not a process of purgation then heaven will be an empty place and the Scriptures regarding soteriology cannot be reconciled with each other. Either a sinful soul may enter heaven or it can not. The Catholic position is that it cannot but must be pure and sanctified by Christ.
There is a common Protestant misunderstanding of purgatory. At least one protestant minister, John Wesley, spoke of perfectionism in this life, possible but rare. He is one of the few to proclaim that one can be sanctified in this life and he left the Moravian Church over this issue after a rebuke by Count Zinzendorf for this teaching.
People in purgatory are already justified by receiving the supernatural eternal life into our souls through Baptism making us a part of the Body of Christ. Those in purgatory have accepted Christ by faith and have not rejected Him by unrepentant mortal sin. It is a place where one is purified by fire (Mal 3:2). Imagine the joy of being in purgatory and knowing that you are there because you have passed judgment and are assured of being in the presence of God in heaven. Purgatory is not an eternal destination, there are only two, heaven or hell.
We should not think of purgatory as some kind of legal punishment for past sins as it would be under the old law. Those in purgatory are already new creatures changed by Christ’s grace, they are the adopted children and part of God’s family in purgatory one receives final discipline and cleansing preparing one for the perfection of heaven. Catholics believe that sanctification is a process and is not completed when one comes to belief. So purgatory is not a suggestion that Christ’s atonement is insufficient but that we have not yet completed our sanctification through the grace of Christ.
Cleansing or sanctification is a gradual process and we must endure to the end to be saved.
(Mat 10:22 DRB) And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.
(Mat 24:13 DRB) But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.
(Mar 13:13 DRB) And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake. But he that shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved.
Catholic soteriology recognizes that for some of us the process was not completed at death or that we died with unrepentant sin.
(Heb 9:27 DRB) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment:
The judgment is our eternal destiny and for those whose name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life, heaven is assured. But we know that one must be free of sin to be in God’s presence.
(1Ti 6:14 DRB) That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,
It may be that one is not prepared to be in our Lord’s presence as we may still be with spiritual shortcomings or temporal effects of forgiven sins on our soul making it necessary for some form of purification to enter heaven in God’s presence. Since this is a process of purgation it is called purgatory and it is in keeping with prophecy of the prophet Habakkuk who said that only that which is holy may enter heaven.
(Hab 1:13 DRB) Thy eyes are too pure to behold evil, and thou canst not look on iniquity. Why lookest thou upon them that do unjust things, and holdest thy peace when the wicked devoureth the man that is more just than himself?
St. Paul also taught of a process of purgation which may involve suffering on the soul of Christians and in his first letter to the Corinthian Church he describes the process of purgation after death.
(1Co 3:10 DRB) According to the grace of God that is given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation: and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
(1Co 3:11 DRB) For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus.
(1Co 3:12 DRB) Now, if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble:
(1Co 3:13 DRB) Every man's work shall be manifest. For the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire. And the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is.
(1Co 3:14 DRB) If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
(1Co 3:15 DRB) If any mans work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.
St. Paul speaks metaphorically that the results of sin that remain on one’s soul is like “wood, hay and straw” and are burned away in the process of final purification to be received in the presence of the Lord. St. Paul also speaks of one’s works as “gold, silver and precious stones” which are refined and retained.
This passage reminds me of what Christ said in the following indicating that some sins may be forgiven after death.
(Mat 12:32 DRB) And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world, nor in the world to come.
Purgatory is also related to the parable of the unforgiving servant which is as follows…
(Mat 18:32 DRB) Then his lord called him: and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me:
(Mat 18:33 DRB) Shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee?
(Mat 18:34 DRB) And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt.
After telling the parable Christ emphasizes His message lest it be misunderstood with this warning……..
(Mat 18:35 DRB) So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.
Christ was warning us of the danger of a hard heart or anger making us unwilling to forgive others. We should acknowledge that these are the signs and example of a defective soul in need of purgation so that he that is imperfect may be in the presence of God and dwell in glory. (See CCC 1030-1032)
(The Beloved Apostle Paul) “Do NOT cite words from the apocryphal books, as they are NOT the word of God. Those books were written during the 400 year silence from heaven between Malachi and the Gospels. Heaven was silent. There were no prophets. God was not speaking to men, and so those books are NOT the word of God.”
(Cristoiglesia) First let me teach you that there is a difference between books called apocrypha and the biblical books of the Old Testament that are properly called the Deuterocanonicals. The apocryphal books are those banned by Pope St. Gelasius in the fifth century and were never a part of the canon approved by the Church. The seven books of the Old Testament or the Septuagint are canonical and they are the Word of God approved by the authority of the Church given by Christ and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
All of the books of the Old Testament were not written by prophets yet the writings are still considered canonical. There has never been a 400 year period when God failed to inspire men.
In first century Jerusalem there were at least four OT Canons in use by different Jewish Groups. There was the Canon of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Ethiopian Jews and the Diaspora/Essene Jews. Jesus and the disciples used the Septuagint which was the Canon of the Diaspora/Essenes. We know this because it is quoted in the New Testament. This Canon continued to be the Canon of Christians until after the Reformation and, in fact until about 200 years ago when the Protestants adopted a condensed version of the Canon eliminating the Deuterocanonicals from their Bibles. Even the AKJ originally contained the complete Christian Canon. It has been said by critics of Christ’s Church that the Deuterocanonicals were never believed to be inspired and just the opposite is true. The decision by Christians as to which books are inspired and useful for teaching was decided at the African Synods in the late fourth and early fifth century. There was never a question about their inspiration.
The OT Canon chosen by the Protestants is actually a Jewish Canon not chosen by the Jews until after the establishment of Christianity as a result of the spread of Christianity to slow the growth of the new group in Jerusalem after the fall of the Temple in 70AD. Until then as I said previously there were many Canons in use. The adoption of the Canon missing the Deuterocanonicals united the Jews against the Christians was decided in the Jewish Council of Jamnia because the Deuterocanonicals referred too strongly to the Messiah fulfilled in Christ.
Some Protestants will claim that only the Jews have the authority to choose Canon but the Church deferred that decision to Christ and the disciples and it is clear through biblical research, that the Septuagint is the Bible used by the first century Church and quoted in the NT Scriptures. The fact that Protestants choose to adopt the Canon that was approved by the same Jews that accused our Lord that resulted in His crucifixion suggests the source of this confusion as from the father of lies who led the Pharisees to accuse Christ and petition for His punishment. It is another way that Satan divides the body of Christ and separates the faithful denying Christ’s prayer that we all be one in Christ through His Church. The Christian Church has always used the Septuagint as Canon and never the truncated version of modernist Protestants.
Some Protestants erroneously believe that Catholics added to the Bible with the Deuterocanonicals but this shows an ignorance of their own history and the history of Christianity as witnessed by Christ’s Church. The facts are that the Protestants removed the Deuterocanonicals and even considered strongly to remove some of the NT books currently in use by Protestants and Catholics. Fr. Martin Luther was in favor of removing the book of James because it conflicted with His heretical man made doctrines of the “Solas”, Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide. The heretic Ulrich Zwingli wanted to remove the Gospel of John because of its teaching of the commandment to Eat Christ’s Body and drink His Blood which contradicted his view of a real absence of Christ instead of a real presence in the Eucharist. Even Fr. Martin Luther could not endorse such a departure from Scriptures and deny that Christ is truly and really present in the Eucharist in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
(The Beloved Apostle Paul) “The FACT, sir, is that your church does NOT preach the Lord Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, which IS exactly what the apostle Paul DID preach, sir.”
(Cristoiglesia) You could not be more inaccurate as the Church has not departed one iota from the teaching of the apostles of our Lord. Christ’s Church is still true to the promise in Scriptures that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of the truth”.
(The Beloved Apostle Paul) “All else aside, you had better hope that you are counting on the perfect and completed work of Christ on the cross for your salvation. Without THAT, you are lost.”
(Cristoiglesia) Jesus did not complete His redemptive work on the cross. What was finished were the Old Covenant and the Passover. We are saved by His grace which continues His redemptive work through His Church. God bless!