23 July, 2012

Discussion with a Protestant named Terry justifying his denial of Christ’s own Church.

Part I

(Cristoiglesia) The real convincing proof is that the Church teaches this and the Bible says that the Church is incapable of teaching error.

(Terry) “Where does the Bible teach this? Of course the Church is capable of teaching error.”

(Cristoiglesia) The Bible teaches that the “gates of hell” will never prevail against the Church. Therefore, believing that it can teach error is an indication that Jesus lied about His Church if it ever did teach error. The Church, in fact, never has taught error. Do you not see that your conclusion must be an error if the veracity of Christ is to be supported?

(Terry) “As long as ANY organization is made up of sinful men, error can be taught.”

(Cristoiglesia) I think that you and I can agree that the Church is made up of sinful men. But the Church cannot ere when speaking of the voice of the Magisterium which is protected from error by the Holy Spirit. There is one voice and one truth from Christ’s Church that can never ere.

(Terry) “Such as the Pope believing in some aspects of evolution which are contrary to the Bible!”

(Cristoiglesia) I do not know exactly what the Pope believes about evolution except what he has said publicly which is that evolution does not contradict the teaching of the Church or the Bible. There can be no disagreement with scientific fact and the teaching of God. When science proclaims, as fact, that man evolved from some primordial soup and not by God’s divine plan then science is in error. There cannot be a contradiction between science and God’s teaching as God is the author of both. You need to read in context what the Pope said about evolution theory. We know that not everything in evolution theory is false such as genetic mutations according to the allele frequency. That does not indicate that God did not do the creating.

(Terry) “Such as the CC killing people for Heresy.”

(Cristoiglesia) The Church does not nor has it ever killed people for heresy. However, individuals within the Church have and have even participated with the secular governments who did so. The Church has however used its authority given by Christ on rare occasions to condemn heretics such as the Arians to hell for all eternity under the order of anathema and the authority to bind on earth what is bound in heaven. But the Church out of charity for these heretical sinners allowed them until their death to repent of their mortal sin.

(Terry) “Such as declaring that Mary is the Queen of Heaven. “

(Cristoiglesia) According to first century practice the mother of the King is always referred to as the “Queen”. The Church continues that tradition of the first century Church.

(Terry) “Such as prohibiting priests from being married when the Scripture (1 Corin 7:8)says that it would be best it they stayed single so that they can stay focused on the job at hand, but if they burn with lusts, it is better that they get married. If priests were allowed to get married, that would stop a LOT of the problems present in the priesthood, except for the priests that are homosexual and they should be kicked out of the priesthood anyway, unless they were able to be asexual and not engage in sexual activity.

(Cristoiglesia) The Church does not now nor has it ever prohibited anyone from marriage.

Are you aware that most paedophiles are married men and that even among clergy that it is much more common among those members who have not made a vow to God of celibacy than among those who have? So the statistics show that celibacy is a deterrent and not a cause of this human depravity. The Church does have a zero tolerance for homosexuality and priests that violate their vows in this way are removed from ministry. The Church makes every effort possible to stop these people from becoming priests to begin with as the discernment period is both long and monitored by the Church. Asexual and homosexual are two very different things. The first is accepted and the latter is not.

(Terry) “It seems that the CC saying that they can do this or do that or that this is permissible or that isn't permissible is the same as Mohammed saying that Islam is the True religion and that Allah is a real god, or Joseph Smith saying that it is permissible to have multiple wives or that Jesus is coming back to a plot of land outside Independence, Missouri.”

(Cristoiglesia) You are ignoring one important fact in your conclusion and that is that it was Jesus personally that founded the Catholic Church.  It was He that said that this Church He founded would endure for all times free from any apostasy. He said that the Holy Spirit would protect the Church from all error. The Bible calls this one Church the “pillar and foundation to the truth”. The Church does not say that but instead is testimony to the teaching of Jesus and the Bible (NT) which is written about the Church and its relationship with Christ in the first century by the Church itself. Either you accept all the teaching of the Bible or you accept none of it. Jesus did not ordain the Islamist’s or the Mormon’s to be His Church but instead He built the Church on the firm foundation of Himself as the cornerstone and high priest, St. Peter as the first holder of the enduring holy office of prime minister that Christ ordained. The apostles are the foundation stones which are built upon by their successors.  

The one Church founded by Christ, the Catholic Church, is not a faith that came into existence 600 years later founded by Mohammad or 1900 years later founded by Joseph Smith as did Islam and Mormonism respectively.  

(Terry) “It is a dangerous thing for people to assume that they have all of this power, when they have NO direct order from God or Scripture to base that on.”

(Cristoiglesia) Jesus is God and it is He who gave the Church its authority. It does not come from any man. This is recorded in Scriptures and the testimony of the Church since Pentecost. Jesus founded only one Church that endures to this day and forever as the Catholic Church.

This is evidenced in passages such as: "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church and the powers of hell will not prevail against it...to you I give the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven."

 (Matthew 16:17-19); "Do you love me, Peter... Feed my sheep." (John 21:15-17); and "I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith may not fail. You in turn must confirm your brethren." (Luke 22:31-32)

 The Church received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost for no other purpose but to protect the Church from error.

(Terry) God's Church, (all believers) ARE based upon the confession that Peter made that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and is God Himself. 

(Cristoiglesia) There is no contextual evidence to support you contention which is based on prejudice alone. Jesus was instead fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah that the Messiah would appoint a prime minister of His Church. This is one of the prophecies so that we can know who is the true Messiah so if Jesus did not do this then he has no prophetic credentials in this respect to be the true Messiah prophesied as the Messiah will fulfill all prophesies but you are claiming that this one prophecy Jesus did not fulfill. The ridiculous contention that Jesus was only recognizing St. Peters belief is ridiculous both contextually and by the language used. For what purpose would this recording of Jesus.’ words serve otherwise. Surely the writer was recording Jesus fulfilling prophecy and not making an idle comment with no purpose. Instead He was recording the fulfillment of prophecy as well as ordaining the enduring office of  prime minister of the Church. 

(Terry) That doesn't make him Catholic, that makes him the first to profess the foundation of God's Church or his Remnant here on earth. That takes up Catholic, Baptists, Methodist, Pentecostals, the whole group that believe that Jesus is the Messiah and choose to follow Him, NOT just the Catholic denomination.

(Cristoiglesia) First of all the Catholic Church is not a denomination. Denominations are founded by man in protest of Christ’s Church and not in accordance with God’s will. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus personally. Our Orthodox brothers rightfully coined this statement, “We know where the Church is but not where the Church is not”. The Church founded by Jesus is the Church founded on Christ as the cornerstone and the high priest, St. Peter and his successors as the prime minister and the rock, and the disciples as the 12 foundation stones built upon by apostolic succession. St. Ignatius the disciple of St. Peter and St. John defined the Church in the first century in his letter to the Smyrnaeans thusly, where the bishop is there is the Church. The members of the Church are the invisible Church.

(Terry) “The Church can STILL make errors with erroneous teachings by straying away from the Scripture. THAT is why we should base EVERYTHING on the Scripture and not on Tradition or believing that someone or something other than God and the Scripture are infallible.”

(Cristoiglesia) I agree that the Church would be in error by straying from biblical teaching. However in the 2000 year history of the Church this has never even happened once. Sola Scriptura is a heresy of Protestantism that assumes without any evidence that the Bible produced and written by the Catholic Church usurped the authority for teaching given to the Church. The Bible tells us of your error when St. Paul taught to the Church to hold fast to the Sacred Traditions given to the Church by both oral and written means. The Bible represents the written Sacred Traditions of the Church. The teaching of the Magisterium of the Church represents the oral means of teaching. The Bible is only infallible because the Church by its authority from Christ says that it is infallible.God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph
Part 2

(Terry) “You asked, "Why would they not be able to hear our prayers. If God can hear our prayers in heaven why would one think that the saints cannot?" To which I respond, Where is the Scripture to indicate that they CAN. “

(Cristoiglesia) 1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

 Rev 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints.

 Rev 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

Rev 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

(Terry)“We can what if and speculate all day long, but if we do have have Scripture to stand on or to base things on, we are batting at the wind and in danger of adding to the Scripture.”

(Cristoiglesia)Well of course the Scriptures are only the written Word of God. The Bible tells us that it is not the fullness of Christ’s teaching but instead it is the Church that contains the fullness of God’s Word. It is not adding to God’s Word when we recognize what it says without prejudice.

Where does the Bible say that we are to base our doctrines solely on Scriptures or that Scriptures are the summation of our faith? You are aware I pray that Sola Scriptura is an unbiblical doctrine of some Protestants.   The Bible is not a Catechism of Christian beliefs nor is it meant to be in the presence of Christ’s Church. The Church is the “pillar and foundation of the truth” and not the Bible which is the product of the Church. Remember it was Catholic Christians  that wrote the New Testament about the Catholic Church and its relationship with Christ  and the Catholic Church that canonized the Christian Canon of the Bible.

(Terry) “Also, God is far, far higher than we are, God sees all, hears all, and has the ability to be everywhere, including the Past, Present, AND the Future, He is all powerful, He can even be 3 beings in One, Man, living on earth OR in Heaven do NOT have that ability I assume, or it seems that that would just about make us equal with God which we are far from.”

(Cristoiglesia) Agreed, except do you now understand why I reject that the Church Triumphant cannot hear our prayers since they are a part of the great cloud of witnesses around us. There is no reason in light of the biblical teaching that behooves one to think that they cannot hear us.

(Terry) “Once again, there is No Scripture that backs up your position Or probably mine either.”

(Cristoiglesia) I think that it would be more factual for you to say that there is not sufficient biblical proof to convince you that we should pray for each other or in particular that the Church Triumphant should pray for us. I believe not only because there is biblical evidence but also that this is the only logical conclusion that can be reached in light of the evidence in the Bible that is available. The real convincing proof is that the Church teaches this and the Bible says that the Church is incapable of teaching error.

(Terry) “Although there are some things that one can reasonably accept such as the Rapture and the Trinity, these concepts are pretty well configured throughout the Word, but then there are those, such as the ones that we are discussing that really don't pass the test as far as sufficient evidence. “

(Cristoiglesia) Well I disagree with the “rapture” but not the Trinity.

(Terry) “To you these concept are etched in stone because they are dogmatic foundations of the Catholic "tradition", but depending solely on Scripture, they are found lacking, or at very least, as an outsider that has not been molded into Catholic Tradition, I have NEVER seen nor have I ever found these concepts ANYWHERE in the Bible. Thanks, and once again, I am enjoying this!”

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, the fullness of God’s truth is not always found explicitly in the Bible. Only the Church teaches the fullness of truth. I was an outsider for most of my life. I was 50 years old before becoming Catholic. I was a cradle Christian, Moravian before becoming a priest. It is the Bible that brought me to the Catholic Church. As Cardinal Newman said, to be deep in Scriptures is to become Catholic. Reformed Christians as you are even more vulnerable and one of the greatest theologians in the Church in America is from the reformed tradition. His name is Scott Hahn who is the chair of theology at the Franciscan University. He and I came to the Church in the same way by being anti-Catholics who tried desperately to prove the Church wrong and in every incidence found the Church to be exactly correct. This is certainly not what we expected. We found that everything the Church teaches is perfectly aligned with the Bible without any contradiction whatsoever. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

Part lll

(Terry) “Even when following Scripture, there are times when they are misinterpreted, such as should we duck them under the water or should we sprinkle them on the head, IS there Jesus only or is there a Trinity, Should the Church kill heretics or should we love our enemies, Is Jesus the Messiah or should we keep looking and waiting for the Messiah, Should we eat fish on Friday or is it open to stop doing that, should we keep the Saturday Sabbath or is it okay to change it to Sunday. Once Saved or can we lose our Salvation? See what I am saying? all of these can't be correct, and if you get one wrong, then there is more room for error.”

(Cristoiglesia) I could not agree with you more and you have accidentally illustrated why I and so many academicians within Protestantism have come from Protestant Christianity to Catholic Christianity. For the Bible to be infallible there must be an infallible teacher. That teacher is the Holy Spirit that was given to and established the Catholic Church at Pentecost.

John 16:13 King James Version (KJV)

13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

With changing circumstances it would seem reasonable that there be someone or some authority that can apply the apostolic teaching to the change of circumstances lest there be chaotic frustration instead of the application of truth. Take for example the doctrines; these doctrines may be studied with an almost equal danger of error as truth if there is no infallible teacher. An infallible authority would not restrict an enlightened development of truth for those who are seeking the question of what Christ meant in His teaching. Without it there is great possibility and indeed a certainty of error because there is not a word of Christ’s teaching that has not been subject to diverse interpretations. Many of these interpretations are compelling either by their scholarship or their application but are in contradiction of one another. Consequently the following question is illustrated by these facts; how are we to know the truth as these words surly are not enough for the truth to be known? Therefore it is necessary to have an infallible teacher to separate the diversity of opinions into the truth of Christ’s teaching. There must be revelation to satisfy the seeking soul instead of a growing set of diverse opinions and confusion. So, there must be an infallible teacher with the authority from Christ and of Christ as were the disciples for the truth to be known. The question is to those following Sola Scripture is whether the truth is essential or does it remain forever elusive depending on individual interpretation?

I believe the Scriptures demonstrate just how essential Jesus believed the truth to be. Before His death He gave certain men the authority to teach. He sent out the 72 disciples to teach with His authority. He said to them as well as the original 12, “He that hears you, hears me” which illustrates a transfer of the teaching by oral means to the Church across time to ensure the truth to all generations. It is through the oral teaching that the truth is found by the authority of Christ for truth. That truth is contained within the leadership of the Church and is today the Magisterium which is made up of the successors of those original disciples continuing the chrism given to them by Christ.

(Terry) “I believe that God will ALWAYS have a Remnant and that when we err, He will pull us back to His Truth. I believe that this was the case when God used Martin Luther when He showed Him that Salvation was based on Grace alone and not by works.”

(Cristoiglesia) It is interesting that you would use this argument when the Bible clearly states that “faith alone” is an empty faith devoid of a personal response to the Spirit of God. Faith alone is obviously not the faith necessary for God’s salvific grace.

 James 2:24 King James Version (KJV)

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Jesus does not use anyone to cause division in His Church. Such division is instead surely the work of Satan and not Christ. It suggests also that Jesus was at best an incompetent and at worst a liar when He said that the “gates of hell will not prevail against the Church”. Such a supposition indeed is impossible to accept if one is to believe in Jesus and His veracity when He taught.

(Terry) Even though the CC wanted to kill him for heresy, we no longer have Catholics crawling up steps flogging themselves and the CC is no longer killing people for heresy. So the Church IS capable of gross error, but God has a way of pulling us back in line on occasion.

(Cristoiglesia) No the Church is not capable of error in faith, practice or morals. You are confusing individual Catholic sinners for the Church. The Church is the spotless bride of Christ and cannot ere. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

Part lV

(Terry) The CC has killed MANY people for heresy, and I know that that wasn't the teachings of Jesus or the Scripture, I also know that the CC played a great role in bringing about the Dark Ages. 

(Cristoiglesia)First of all the Catholic Church does not have a policy of killing heretics. Instead we teach that heretics should be allowed throughout their life to repent of their errors and come by the grace of God to His Church. That is not to detract from the fact that there were those who murdered others for heresy thinking that such is the will of God. The Church did not endorse such departures of mercy and charity. 

Actually the Church brought the world out of the “Dark Ages” and into a time of enlightenment and learning. Those of the Church were some of the greatest scientists of all times and the Church during that time was the only source of education and learning. The Church has educated more people throughout history than any other entity and at one time was the sole source of higher education. The Church remains to this day as an example of scholarship. Actually, most historians of the period would say that the label of “Dark Ages” signifies more a time of slowness of communication rather than learning. 

(Terry)  Yes, you are right, when man gets into error, God has a way to correct them and in this case, He used Martin Luther as a catalyst to correct some of the errors and turn the Church back to HIS teachings and not man made traditions. 

(Cristoiglesia) Your conclusions are ridiculous and without merit. They are, in fact, non-biblical in nature and wishful . 

You are ignoring the fact that the Church is said to be in the Bible to be the “pillar and foundation of the truth”. The Bible also states that it is to be understood in the community of the Church and that it is not for private interpretation resulting in one falling into great error. So, obviously, truth should be measured by the teaching of the Church. So, according to Scriptures if what Martin Luther taught was different than the teaching of the Church then it must have been he who was in error and not the Church. The Church made every effort to bring him back to heterodoxy and encouraged him to obedience and the orthodoxy of the teaching of the Church. There are no man-made traditions in the Catholic Church but instead the Church is guided by Sacred Traditions that St. Paul taught to hold fast to whether by oral or written means. It is ironic that you would attack Christ’s Church in this way since Protestant sects go against the Biblical teaching. The acts of Martin Luther were prophesied and have been a part of those who have fallen into apostasy for the 20 centuries of the Church. The Bible says that those that fall away do so because they can no longer endure the sound doctrine of the Church that the Bible and Jesus promise. There is no biblical support for someone like Luther to come and divide the Church but quite the contrary. We know that such division is not from God but from the pride of man who prefer the false teachers that satisfy their itching ears instead of telling the truth of Christ and his Church.  Later in life Luther lamented that what he had done may very well have cost him his salvation when he said that as a result of the movement he started every man thinks of himself as a theologian. The spreading of error was already exponentially increasing as well as division. Jesus prayed to the Father that we all be one as He and the Father are one. Surely this is His will and not the division and confusion of Protestantism. 

(Terry) Also do you believe in the Immaculate Conception? 

(Cristoiglesia) Of course as this has been the teaching of the Church for 2000 years. It is the only theological conclusion from the Bible that can be supported without contradiction.

(Terry) If Mary had to be born sinless in order to give birth to a sinless Child, using that logic, her parents would have had to be sinless in order to have a sinless Mary so that she could have a sinless Child, with that, Mary's Grandsparents on each side would have had to be sinless, and so on it goes. All the way back to Adam and Eve. I don't know how the first sinless ones came about, but they obviously had a separate bloodline. See how silly these traditions are? When you think about them, they make no sense and have all sorts of flaws. We are all born with original sin which was caused by our original parents bringing sin and death into the world. We have inherited that sin nature from the original fall from grace. When you think about them, they make no sense and have all sorts of flaws. Why did Mary have to be sinless? She didn't provide the Bloodline. If you remember from your Biology, the Blood comes from the Daddy NOT the Mother. THAT is why Joseph couldn't be Jesus' Daddy, or Jesus would have had a tainted bloodline. God supplied the untainted bloodline, so there was no need for Mary and her ancestors to be Sinless! 

(Cristoiglesia) It is your logic that makes no sense and not the teaching of the Church which does not teach anything like what you presume. I really see no logic in your argument but instead find it nonsense based on the teaching of the Bible and the Church.

 We are all born with original sin which was caused by our original parents bringing sin and death into the world. We have inherited that sin nature from the original fall from grace.

 As was prophesied in the Old Testament a virgin will bear a son called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). That Son is to become the Lamb of God and a replacement for the Paschal Lamb of Passover which is emblematic of Christ as the feast of the New Covenant. This prophecy is important in that it illustrates the necessity of the perfect sacrifice. Not one of a perfection of the flesh as the Paschal Lamb refers but the perfection of the soul which requires a divine nature as no human alone could fulfill the perfection required by the Father but only the God-man in Jesus. Being fully God, He could not dwell and be nurtured in a vessel containing sin nor could the Lamb of God inherit the original sin of our original parents. So, out of necessity and in preparation to the blessed mother’s obedience she was saved by Christ at her conception. The blessed mother was in such a state of grace before conceiving and nurturing the unborn Jesus that she is described as being “full of Grace”. Of course being full of God’s grace leaves no room for sin.  

Now keep in mind that some may argue that Jesus does not qualify as a type of the Paschal Lamb because the Paschal Lamb was required to be without any physical blemish. Certainly the wounds of Jesus, by His scourging, left Him as anything but a physically unblemished sacrifice. It is significant to acknowledge that the Paschal Lamb of the Passover saved one from physical death while Jesus being emblematic saves one from the death of the soul into sin. Therefore, the Lamb of God had the perfection of the soul necessary to atone for sin which causes spiritual death. 

Furthermore, while the obedience of the Israelites at Passover instituted a special kinship of the people as the family of God so too does the new kingdom instituted by Christ’s atoning sacrifice institute a new kinship or Covenant signified by the fact that we are to eat the Lamb in all its Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity just as the Israelites had to eat the Lamb to be saved. Just like them it could not be a symbolic Lamb but its real flesh consumed; so too are we to partake of the reality of the feast provided by our Lord.  

People may argue that it is not possible for Christ to save the blessed mother at her conception as the atoning sacrifice on the Cross has not yet occurred; this same argument by critics of the Eucharist argue similarly. But the fact is that God dwells outside of time where everything is in the eternal present without future or past. In the Scriptures according to St. Johns account of Jesus’ Colloquy at Capernaum in chapter 6 he said, “do this in remembrance of me” as translated into English but this is often a misunderstanding as to what Jesus was really saying because in English “remembrance means to recall a past event which is an approximation of the Greek meaning since there is no corresponding English equivalent. . However, the Koine Greek word used was “anamnesis” which has in its meaning an expectation of a miracle which transcends time and place. So what was truly being conveyed by Jesus’ words recorded by St. John is that the disciples truly ate the sacrificed flesh and drank the spilt Blood of our Lord just as we do today sharing in that one sacrifice presented by our Lord and shared by the entire Church in all its glorious manifestations. Therefore His atoning sacrifice provides for all humanity past, present and future. God bless! 

In Christ
Fr. Joseph


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