22 July, 2011

Continuing discussion with Ernest S about apostolic authority and the Church

(ErnestS) “Still you give no Scripture to show you are not bound by the Apostles’ word

The line stops with the Apostles and all are sealed up to their authority. That is what < We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error > means

What you write is only your word and it contradicts the Apostle.

That is why I need God’s word. Without that the RCC is of the spirit of error and must be witnessed against as corrupt and deceitful and opposed to Christ.”

(Cristoiglesia) Actually I did provide Scripture by our previous email which is contained below. 1 Joh 4:6 is speaking of the authority of the Church. In the first century we know what the definition or understanding of what Church means to the primitive Catholic Christians. St. Ignatius in his Epistle to the Smyrnaeans in the first century of the Church defined the Church as those who gathered around the bishop saying “where the bishop is there is the Church”. Now St. Ignatius along with St. Polycarp had unique qualifications among the direct successors of the disciples. They were both disciples of two of the twelve disciples of our Lord, St. John and St. Peter. St. Ignatius was third in line as the successor of St. Peter of his bishopric of Antioch. St. Ignatius was ordained and consecrated by St. John and St. Peter as their successor. Surely St. Ignatius teaching had the confidence of St. Peter as well as St. John when they chose him as a disciple and successor. So as is clearly apparent, is that the Church is inseparable from the teaching and authority of the apostles. The same authority remains today in the successors of the apostles in an unbroken line for 2000 years. Where the bishop is there is the Church defines the first century understanding of the Church from the direct successor of two of the disciples of our Lord.

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.

What I wrote contradicts your misunderstanding of the teaching of the apostles. The apostles and their successors are the Church and have been for 2000 years.

The onus is still on you to prove where the Church is the “spirit of error” and “corrupt and deceitful and opposed to Christ”.

(ErnestS) “The church of God is built on the Apostles No mention of any successors there at all. Not at all. The foundation is Christ, His Prophets and Apostles. Nothing else. The foundation stopped with the Apostles. Upon them the building commenced. As on, and from, the day of Pentecost. About three thousand souls. Look it up if you cannot remember.”

(Cristoiglesia) One cannot deny that the foundation of all Christianity through His Church is based on Christ’s words to St. Peter before the disciples. There is no doubt from the construction vernacular that Jesus was instructing them to build a Church with them as the foundation stones and Himself as the cornerstone. He built no other Church as no other was needed because the One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic, Church derives its perfection from Him through His promises. He prayed that we all be one within this Church. He said this Church would endure until the Parousia. He said of this Church that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. He said that He would be with this Church until the end of time. The Scriptures confirms these promises saying that this Church is the “pillar and ground of the truth”. He did not plan for the Church to be without leadership after the apostles died but provided that they choose successors to replace them in the enduring Church. This is confirmed it the book of Acts and the Scriptures previously provided. Certainly Christ could be seen as being incompetent in building His Church if the foundation He laid was not intended to be built upon by successors and only have authority for one generation. This would not be a competent plan for an enduring Church and such a foundation with nothing built upon it would have been nothing more than incompetent folly. We know that in order to fulfill the prophesy of Isaiah (Isa 22) St. Peter was appointed as the prime minister of the Church. This was to be an enduring office that Christ ordained in order to fulfill the Scriptures that required successors. You can easily prove your point in view of all the evidence to the contrary that authority ceased with the death of the apostles by simply providing a Scripture reference that supports your contention. Note that at Pentecost they all came to faith by gathering around the bishops. Where the bishop is, there is the Church. It is still the same to this day.

(ErnestS) “While you are there you will see they were all Jews. Not a Roman Catholic in sight! Ha-ha. The RCs didn’t come until some three hundred years later. I know, I know you think Adam and Eve were R Cs but the Bible and history show otherwise. You listen too much to the absurd lies of the RCC.”

(Cristoiglesia) I have already explained to you that “Roman Catholic” was a pejorative term given to those faithful and obedient to Christ’s Church by the Protestant rebels against the Church in the sixteenth century. Previously the Church was known only as the Catholic Church but we have embraced the name “Roman Catholic” because it reminds us of the persecution we endured for our faith in Rome and the martyrdom of the disciples of our Lord and their successors like St. Ignatius that I mentioned earlier. As I mentioned to you earlier in a previous response the first century Church contained Jews who became one with Christ under the New Covenant and were baptized and born again into the faith at Pentecost. They were perfected Jews and Gentiles but upon their Baptism and faith in Jesus they became Christians and indeed Catholic Christians as no others calling themselves Christian existed. As a side note….the followers and faithful of Jesus were first called Christian at St. Peters bishopric at Antioch and first called Catholic there as well. So at Pentecost they were all Catholic Christians. This is 300 years prior to your understanding of the beginning of the Church which cannot be supported by Scripture, history or patristic evidence. Such a beginning of the Church is only found in the imagination of the ignorant of Scripture, history and the teaching of the fathers of the Church. It is prideful fanciful revisionist history that convicts you of error.

(Ernest S) “In any event there can be no successors to the Apostles because then the foundation would not be laid and none could be built until that foundation was completed. No building can be built without a foundation, that would be absurd, don’t you agree? You wouldn’t think to put the roof up first, would you? Ha! Ahaa-ha! Silly isn’t it?”

(Cristoiglesia) The foundation was completed by Christ with himself as the cornerstone and the 12 disciples as the 12 foundation stones that the Church was built upon through apostolic succession with St. Peter given the keys to the Church and being appointed as the first prime minister of the enduring office ordained by Christ to fulfill the Scriptures as I have previously pointed out. As you see from Scriptures the foundation was completed by Christ and He was not incompetent as you suppose by your false statements.

(Ernest S) “You see? It is stacking up against you. It will get heavier and heavier the more you go on. Now you have another Scripture that slays the RCC and the foolish, absurd things you say. Roof up first! Ha! Nice one! Some scholarship!!! Aha-haa-ha!”

(Cristoiglesia) Excuse me, it is you that made the absurd supposition of putting a roof before the foundation and not I nor Christ. Christ built the foundation with Himself as the cornerstone and the disciples as the foundation stones just as the Bible says. It was complete and prepared for an enduring Church that so far has lasted for 2000 years as testimony to Christ’s promise to the world of an enduring Church until the Parousia.

(Ernest) “None of the so called church fathers have any authority whatsoever, You would be in a pretty pickle if they did because they disagreed! ---Ouch! You see where this is going? With your great learning and scholarship and that?”

(Cristoiglesia) I see where it is going very clearly. You are continuing to dig yourself a deeper hole of error.
The fact is that the Church fathers had the same authority as the apostles as the successors of the permanent office of the apostles. It is an enduring office for an enduring Church. It is true that some disagreed individually but not corporeally as their disagreements were handled in the ecumenical Councils by the whole Church. If you read about the Council of Jerusalem we find it being convened to settle the dispute over the Gentile converts and a consensus was arrived at by the Church corporeally to settle the disagreements. The Church teaches infallibly corporeally and not individually except in the rare instance of the Pope speaking ex cathedra.

(ErnestS) “How wise of God to seal up the authority with His Apostles. He did not and does not need scholarship. We have it all in the Bible. How wise and thoughtful He is! And how utterly foolish and sinful are men… with their scholarship.”

(Cristoiglesia) There is absolutely no evidence that God did what you claim from any source. I can certainly see why Satan would deceive men to reject sound biblical hermeneutics as you do and that is because it is easier to deceive the ignorant. The Bible clearly states that it is not to be interpreted privately but instead teaches that it is to be understood in the community of the Church under the teaching authority given by Christ to the Church. Individuals have absolutely no authority to interpret Scriptures from Christ or any other source but Christ’s Church.

2 Peter 1:20-21 (King James Version)

20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

So clearly, rejecting scholarship is what is foolish as it leads to false teaching, practice and doctrines as the more than 30,000 Protestant sects testify with their diverse heresies and departure from the authority of the apostles. Such an approach Is in direct opposition to God’s will that we be one in His Church as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Protestant teaching is not of God but comes from a different source which is a spirit of contention and division within the Body of Christ.

(Ernest S) “Cain was the first person not to see God and how quickly he departed from the truth. So God has sealed us all up to those who have seen God. What a very long way we have now come, since you and the RCC do not even hear Him.”

(Cristoiglesia) As I have clearly illustrated from Scripture and history the Church remains with the leadership of the apostles through their successors. You are impotent to show any verse of Scripture that apostolic authority ceased with the physical death of the apostles. You could not even muster a reasonable explanation of why this is even possible. The Church and His faithful indeed hear Him and follow Him in spirit and truth. We do not fall for the doctrines of men but simply obey the authority that He left on earth, His Church, as it has been for 2000 years and will be until He comes again. His lambs know His voice.

(Ernest S) “Do you need more time to search for a Scripture to excuse you from the Apostles’ word? Since you have had nearly 1,700 years and still not come up with one, it surely does not look likely you are going to be able? But you can have some But you can have some more time if you like.

Meanwhile the witness of God against the wicked antichristian RCC filled to overflowing with the spirit of error, goes on.”

(Cristoiglesia) The Church has endured for 2000 years following the only authority that Christ provided which is His Church founded on the foundation of the apostles and He as the cornerstone. That authority endures today as the Church endures today and will for all times. It is you that reject that authority whether out of ignorance, pride, hatred or bigotry it does not matter but what matters is that it is you that does not recognize His authority despite the scriptural teaching that supports the Church as having divine authority through apostolic succession. You have been given the scriptural evidence that Christ’s authority still exists in His Church. It is up to you to continue to reject the God given authority and be obedient to His Church or reject it to your own peril.

God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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