Who is the true Church?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
Hello all and God Bless!
I just wanted to inform everyone on some scriptures that may clear up who is true church!
I may have wriiten some of thes statement in previous chats, but was to hard to read because it was not spaced out nicely. My main concern is to know truth. It is very hard to trust just anybody to teach us truth. That's why God gave us His written Word so we can lean to the Bible as our authority. If not then why should we listen to the Bible. As a catholic in my younger days I never once looked into the Bible because I was putting all my trust into the church and Priests. Finally as I got older and began to get cureous I started to read the Bible. It was like a slap in the face. Why was there some many statement that contradicted what I was taught in Church?
Anything I claim today I will only use scriptures to back anything up because it is the WORD of God!!! The Bible in its entirety is my only authority because every single word is God breath. We can find all our answers in the Bible. God tells us to compare scripture with scripture to find truth.
If we are studying a specific topic in the Bible, our conclusion must be tested with everything in the Bible. If our conclusion contradicts with something in the Bible, then our conclusion is wrong. Every verse that aplies to our topic must harmonize. The Old Testament history was recorded to tell us something about future prophecy. There is so much parallelism throughout the whole Bible. And every scripture from Old Testament to New Testament, God has hidden a spiritual truth the tells us something about our Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation program.
The Bible is diffucult to uderstand because it is written in Parables. Christ only spoke in parables because He only reveals truth to the Elect only(the true believers), whomever they may be. We know a parable is an earthly story with an heavenly meaning. Yes the historical accounts recorded in the Bible are real occurances and also historical parables which reveals a heavenly message which only the Holy Spirit can reveal to us. We must hummbly approach God's word asking for wisdom. And God Gives us understanding if and only if He has regenerated our souls (spiritual Life).
All I would like to say is we need to be very careful when we read scriptures and get personal opinions. We must be like detectives. I will show you the scriptures from God's Word and you must ask yourself what does the Bible tell us.
I noticed that all of us use the word Church in our discussions. We should be careful what we are really trying to tell people. The Bible actually distinguishes two different churches and we also should be specific in our discussions. The first church is a spiritual church built up of all the true believers, which God tells us they are the elect also called the Bride of Christ. This church is pure and perfect in God's eyes because they were redeemed by the Blood of Christ. In a sense this church is Christ Himself, the Temple which He is the cornerstone.
The second church is the physical churches and congregations in the New Testament era. These churches are suppose to be a representation of the true eternal spiritual Church of Christ. Let's go further into the scriptures to prove this
In I Corinthians 3:16, we read: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? The context of this verse begins in verse 9, where we read: For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. The foundation of the temple is indicated in verse 11: For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
The building blocks that are built into this temple are indicated in verse 12: Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; It should be immediately apparent that the true believers are typified by gold, silver, and precious stones. They are the lively (living) stones who are built up into a spiritual house
I Peter 2:5" and ye yourselves, as living stones, are built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore, also, it is contained in the Writing: ‘Lo, I lay in Zion a chief corner-stone, choice, precious, and he who is believing on him may not be put to shame;’ 7 to you, then, who are believing is the preciousness; and to the unbelieving, a stone that the builders disapproved of, this one did become for the head of a corner,8 and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence—who are stumbling at the word, being unbelieving, —to which also they were set;)".
On the other hand, the wood, hay, and stubble must relate to the church members who are still unsaved. Fire does not destroy gold or silver, but fire will utterly destroy wood, hay, and stubble.
Thus, the Bible is teaching that the spiritual temple is a spiritual house representing the churches and congregations, but within those churches there are people who are truly saved (gold, silver, and precious stones), and those who are not saved (wood, hay, and stubble).
The churches that have existed throughout the season of the church age are also typified as spiritual Israel. In Galatians 6:16, we read of believers that they are the Israel of God. In Revelation 7, God speaks of 144,000 of all the tribes of Israel who were sealed (Revelation 7:4). The Bible then names 12,000 from each of 12 tribes of Israel, but the tribe of Daniel is not named. One tribe had to remain unnamed because in actuality, there were 13 tribes. There were 12 sons of Jacob who became the heads of tribes, but Joseph was given the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, who were the sons of Joseph. Therefore, the total number of tribes was 13.
Therefore, when Revelation 7:4 speaks of 144,000 of all the tribes of Israel, it is immediately apparent that the 12 tribes named are actually the complete fullness of the Israel of God, which includes all the churches of the church age. The numbers 12,000 and 144,000 symbolically represent the complete fullness of all those who would become saved in the early Pentecostal rain season of the New Testament church era.
It might be noted that the 144,000 are presented in Revelation 14 as those who have their Father's name written on their foreheads (Revelation 14:1), they were redeemed from the earth (Revelation 14:3), and they are the firstfruits (Revelation 14:4). These same 12 tribes are spoken of in James 1:1: James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. These 12 tribes are also called firstfruits in James 1:18: Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
The book of James particularly focuses upon those in the churches during the church age season. We have learned thus far that the members of the churches and congregations throughout the church age are typified as a spiritual temple and by a spiritual Israel consisting of 12 tribes. The reason that the book of James speaks of "firstfruits" is that this book is particularly focused upon those within the congregation during the church age. Also, we read the accusation of those in the churches as "adulterers and adulteresses" (James 4:4). The unsaved in the churches are still in spiritual fornication against the law of God (Romans 7:1-3). So, God provides the book of James as a warning particularly to those in the churches.
With this in mind, we can see why James 1:18 was written the way it was. We also know the members of churches and congregations were typified by Jerusalem and Judea. In Revelation 21:2 we read: "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." This verse is speaking of the whole body of believers, throughout eternity future we are called the new Jerusalem.
In Galatians 4:25-26, the Bible speaks of a present Jerusalem: "For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now IS, and is in BONDAGE with her children. But Jerusalem which IS ABOVE is free, which is the mother of us all." The context shows that the Jerusalem which now is consists of individuals who are still in spiritual bondage. That is, they have not become saved even though God calls them a Jerusalem. But these verses also speak of a Jerusalem above.
This Jerusalem can only relate to those who have become saved. We read in Ephesians 2:4-6: But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: In principle, the true believers are seated in the heavenlies with Christ even though we live on this earth serving as ambassadors of Christ. Thus, the body of believers on earth is made up of Jerusalem above (those who are saved), and Jerusalem which now is (those who think they are saved but are still in bondage to sin). These individuals make up the churches and congregations.
Therefore, the churches are spiritually called Jerusalem. Thus, we see a parallel as God speaks of the churches as a temple and as Jerusalem. In the temple those who were saved were called gold, silver, and precious stones. They are called the Jerusalem above. However, also in the temple there are those who are called wood, hay, and stubble. They are called the Jerusalem which now is. The churches are also called Judea because Jerusalem was the capital of Judea.
We read in Luke 21:20-21: "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto." These verses link Jerusalem and Judea together. We read in the Biblical account of the spiritual condition of these congregations that already the church in Ephesus had lost its first love. To love God is to keep His commandments (John 14:21, 24). Thus, they were already beginning to teach doctrines that were not based faithfully upon the Bible.
So God tells them if they don't repent, He will remove their candlestick. If their candlestick is removed, it means there is no light of the true Gospel coming from that church. They will have become a dead church. Fact is, the church of Sardis had already become a dead church even though some true believers were still a part of it (Revelation 3:1). God was almost ready to vomit the church of Laodicea out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). The church of Thyatira was troubled by a spiritually adulterous woman God called Jezebel (Revelation 2:20). The church at Pergamos had allowed a wicked group called the Nicolaitans to operate in the church. Indeed, these have been the kinds of problems that have existed in the churches throughout the church age. At times, it would become so bad that the churches were entirely removed.
The seven churches of Revelation, for example, finally ceased to exist. However, because the churches were God's method of evangelizing the world, new churches would be established even as some churches ceased to function. God in His mercy and patience continued to use churches as His means to get the Gospel into the world. The Bible discloses the fact that following the season of the early Pentecostal rain (the church age), which has brought in the harvest of the firstfruits, there would be a time of a spiritual famine of hearing the Word of God. This would also be a time of judgment on the churches.
Symbolically, God speaks of the churches of the church age as the temple, as Israel, as Jerusalem, and as Judah. Unless we understand this, a number of passages that help us to understand the times and the seasons will remain obscure. Therefore, before we continue this study, we will look at the verses that set forth this symbolism.
The Bible clearly identifies the true believers as Jews in the spiritual sense. That is the reason why, in turn, He identifies them with a temple, Israel, Jerusalem, and Judea. All of these entities originally were identified only with the Jews. In Romans 2:28-29, God declares: "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."
I pray that all of you look at all of these verses prayfully and ask God for wisdom. All I wanted to do was to show you through scripture that we have to be carefull when we say the "the church is the pillar and ground of truth". This is another discussion , if anyone is interested, I could show you through scriptures alone, where we goofed up. Brothers and sisters we should put our trust in the scriptures because they are God's words and the pillar and ground of truth! Peace!!!!
-- Paolo (email@example.com), April 12, 2003
In one breath you say we have to look only to the scriptures, and place our trust in what they tell us. Then in the next breath you say we have to be careful about claiming that "the church is the pillar and ground of truth", even though this is exactly what the scriptures clearly tell us. Why would I have to be careful about accepting the Word of God? Seems to me a person should be very careful indeed about denying the Church's role as the pillar and foundation of truth, because denying that is denying the Word of God. Your last statement, that the scriptures are the pillar and ground of truth, is a direct contradiction of scripture itself (1 Tim 3:15), and therefore by your own definition, cannot be true.
-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), April 12, 2003.
The Bible in its entirety is my only authority because every single word is God breath.
1)Prove from the Bible that the Bible is the only rule of faith (sola scriptura).
I say it can't be done. The bible never says this anywhere.
2)How do you know which books belong in the Bible in the first place?
I know because the holy Catholic Church chose them during the beginning centuries of her existance. Never mind that a few books were removed by Luther a millenium later.
3)Prove to me both that you have the authority to interpret the Bible for me and that your interpretations will always be accurate.
-- Mike H. (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 12, 2003.
Reading the Bible and searching out the Truths it contains is exactly why I became Catholic two years ago.
The Scriptures are proclaimed by the Catholic Church every single day of the year. If it wasn't for the Catholic Church infallibly compiling the canon of the Bible and protecting them throughout the centuries we wouldn't have one to read.
I love the Body of Christ which is the Church. Paulo, you and I are members of that same body. I recognize the Church as being physical and spiritual. I recognize the Church as being here on earth and in Heaven. I recognize Christ as Head of his Church and I recognize the Pope as being leader of the faithful here on earth. I recognize all those who have died in the grace of God as being Saints in Heaven. I reocgnize those on earth, such as yourself, fighting the good fight as pilgrims in the journey. The Church, on Earth and in Heaven, is the Body of Christ. Just as a body has physical and spiritual realities, The Church, The Body of Christ has a physical and spiritual realities as well.
May your studies bring you to the realities of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Appostolic Church...
May you come Home to the Catholic Church.
-- Michael (Pickandpen@aol.com), April 12, 2003.
BUT WHY WOULDN'T YOU TEST ANYBODY'S TEACHINGS EVEN THE CHURCH'S WITH THE SCRIPTURES? UNLESS DEEP IN YOUR HEART YOU DON'T BELIEVE EVERY WORD IN THE BIBLE CAME FROM GOD. AND WHY DO YOU BOAST ABOUT THE CHURCH PUTTING THE BIBLE TOGETHER? IT WAS GOD'S WILL!!! I AM GRATEFULL THAT THE CHURCH DID A GREAT SERVICE TO THE PEOPLE BY PROVIDING US WITH THE GOSPEL. THEY DIDN'T WRITE THE BIBLE. I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU ARE SO SCARED TO LISTEN TO THE BIBLE? I AM NOT SAYING TO LISTEN TO ME. I GAVE YOU SOME SERIOUS VERSES THAT DEAL ABOUT THE CHURCH. THESES ARE NOT MY WORDS.
God used the church to preserve the Word. Hundreds of years ago there wasn't to many copies of the Bible for everybody to read for themselves, until the evention of the printing press, whenever that came out. Plus many people were not that educated, so we depended on the churches to teach us. That was an awesome thing. Now with technology anybody can own a Bible or listen to it with audios in the privacy of thier homes.
I am terrified to give my opinions, because if I am wrong that is the same as murdering someone. I fear GOD big time. There is so much I could write, I have been researching many different doctrine being taught and I don't just make a claim unless all the scriptures harmonize.
We have to test every thing especially the translations. Hey all the scriptures I gave you contradicts to "the church is the pillar and ground of truth" Why would God destroy any physical church because of unfaithfullness. Are all of you saying man is smarter than God? Everybody is just arguing with God, not me. Forget about my claims, listent to the verses I gave you. Those are God's words not mine. Romans 3:4"God forbid : yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."
Now if, "the church is the pillar and ground of truth", contradicts with all the verses I gave you, let's see where we went wrong. The first verse we shoul examine is I Timothy 3:15, which declares: "15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God - the pillar and ground of the truth."
Is the church the pillar and ground of the truth? Or is God the pillar and ground of truth? If the church is the pillar and ground of truth, how can it be that one church holds the doctrine that Jesus died for everyone while another church teaches that Christ died only for the elect. How can one church teach baptism by immersion and another teaches baptism by sprinkling.
Differences between church beliefs are concerned with a host of doctrines. So how can the church be the foundation of truth. Only God can be that foundation. The Bible says it very plainly in I Corinthians 3:11:"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." How can you argue with this question? Are you going to deny that God is "the pillar and ground of truth"? If say God is the pillar and ground of truth then all the verses I mentioned now do not contradict.
Under no circumstance can the church be the pillar and ground of truth. It is true that the believers during the church age are living stones in the temple (the churches). They will even be called a pillar in the eternal temple (Revelation 3:12), but they can never be the foundation of truth. Only Christ who is God can be the pillar and foundation of truth. This wrong understanding of I Timothy 3:15 has set a great many churches up to neatly come out from being under the authority of the Bible. They have become the authority that rules over the Bible.
The corporate external church can never be the pillar and ground of truth. The foundation upon which truth is built is Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 3:11 declares:"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. "Find me one verse that say the Catholic church is the true church? The church will teach you this through their doctrine. Now if the Catholic Bible is the only Bible that shows this, which I doubt, then man added to the Words of God's prophecy. Brothers and sisters I am not attacking you, I am making you realize something. Don't let God harden your hearts.
The pillar and ground of truth can not modify the word "church." These words must modify the word "God." The church of "God the pillar and ground of truth." Christ is the Word, He is the truth. His name is True. How could it be that faulty sinful men meeting in some solemn ecclesiastical meeting can be the foundation of truth?
But this audacious conclusion has served the churches so that many began to believe that their confessions, their particular church doctrines, are sacrosanct. Thus, as they preach they feel secure in their faithfulness to God as long as they faithfully declare what their church doctrines and confessions teach. I am afraid that it is this kind of thinking that has fostered an intense lack of fear of God. After all, as long as we carefully follow the doctrines our church holds recognizing that the church is the pillar and ground of truth, then we know we are being faithful to all that God would have us believe. Unfortunately, this attitude must sadly be considered to be dreadful arrogance and pride. No wonder God's wrath has come against the churches. We could even wonder, "Why did God take so long to bring judgment on the churches."
Isn't it interesting the way God has designed this verse. Remember, God is the author of the Bible. Holy men of old spoke as the Holy Spirit moved them. God could have easily phrased this verse so that there would be no question at all concerning who or what is the pillar and ground of the truth. But the way it is written allows either possibility. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth or God is the pillar and ground of the truth.
We must remember that God has constantly set up testing programs. Adam and Eve were tested in the Garden of Eden. Abram was tested when he was told to sacrifice his son Isaac. Israel was tested when Moses remained on Mount Sinai for 40 days. Jesus was tested for 40 days immediately after He was baptized. Indeed, testing is an important aspect of God's dealing with mankind.
By this verse, the churches are being tested. Which conclusion will they adopt? If God is the pillar and ground of the truth, then the churches must remain very humble, looking only to the Bible as the authority. If the church is to be understood as the pillar and ground of truth, then immediately, the church has been given vast spiritual authority.
A similar test is introduced in the Bible by a verse in I Peter 5. In this chapter, God gives instruction to the overseers of the congregation. He instructs them that they are to feed the flock, that is, they are to carefully teach the congregation the truths of the Bible. God further instructs in I Peter 5, verse 3:"Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock."
Another verse that we should look at is in Ephesians 2:20, 21:" And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:"
The apostles and prophets cannot be the foundation of the holy temple. The foundation of the apostles and prophets is the Word of God, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone. As a matter of fact, Jesus is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us. Thus, Christ is the foundation even as we learned from I Corinthians 3:11. We could paraphrase this verse to read, "And are built upon the Word of God which is the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone." It is true that we read in Revelation 21:14 about the holy city, new Jerusalem having "twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb," but we must understand that the foundations represent Christ. Throughout eternity future in the new heaven and new earth, the fullness of the believers represented by the twelve apostles are His body. They are forever intimately identified with Him.
This verse, too, is designed by God to be a test for the church. Unfortunately, a great many pastors, priests and Bible teachers have failed the test. Those who search their own hearts and know they are saved can know they are a part of the bride of Christ, the eternal invisible church over which the gates of hell cannot prevail because Christ has paid for all of their sins.
On the other hand, we can know that the corporate external church known as congregations and denominations have no assurance that they are safe from the wrath of God.
Since the true believers (the Elect) within a congregation cannot come under God's wrath, this warning was particularly leveled against the external body, which consists of all the churches and congregations that exist today. Even as the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 were judged and were completely removed, so any and every congregation can come under the judgment of God. Because there does not exist at any time in history a perfect church, it is a testimony to the patience and mercy of God that congregations and denominations continue to flourish throughout the New Testament era. In spite of their flaws and defects, God has used the churches during the last more than 1950 years to bring the Gospel to the world. These churches from many different denominations have been the vehicle, the instrument by which the Gospel of salvation has gone into virtually every country of the world.
Under no circumstance may the church believe that those who follow the rules of the church and become members are definitely those who were elected to salvation. Only God can know who the elect are. We must consider, for example, the Old Testament nation of Israel which was the church (Acts 7:38) until the season of the New Testament church. We read of them in Hebrews 3:17-19:"But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief."
Again in Romans 9:31, 32, God makes reference to them:"But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; "
Indeed, these verses should tell us that a church can be used of God to further His kingdom and yet have very few true believers within it. We also have the information on the church of Sardis (Revelation 3:6). It had already become a dead church (verse 1) although it still had a few names (verse 4) of true believers.
As we have looked more carefully at these first three verses we have found no indication that the pastor and church rulers have great spiritual authority. Nor do we find that the church doctrines are necessarily to be trusted as true and trustworthy. The elders are overseers who care for the church. They rule over the church to make sure the preached Gospel is as accurate as possible. They are to be sure that everything is done decently and in good order. They must make sure that the elders and deacons meet the qualification set forth in I Timothy 3. But the only authority that saves people is God Himself. God is the only one who knows who the elect are. God is the only one who decides when He will apply His Word to life of the individual He plans to save. The elders can welcome that person into the church membership.
If anybody finds any scriptures to indicate God is not the Pillar and ground of truth, please I want to know. If anybody don't believe the Bible is the true word of God then perhaps we could throw it out and let the Churches rule over our minds. Because all these verses I presented will mean nothing to us. I could prove that the Bible in its entirety is the complete full Word Of God to the very letter, But that's another topic. But if the Holy Spirit doesn't guide us, we will never understand!!
May God give us wisdom Peace....
-- Paolo (email@example.com), April 12, 2003.
You ask: "Differences between church beliefs are concerned with a host of doctrines. So how can the church be the foundation of truth."
You are confusing the manmade concept of "churches" with the Biblical concept of THE CHURCH. The reason that the thousands of fragmented "churches" spawned by your tradition conflict with one another is that they are FALSE CHURCHES, founded by men without God's authorization or approval. Of course they conflict! Why wouldn't they? Manmade doctrines are very likely to conflict with other manmade doctrines. It is only TRUE doctrine that cannot conflict with itself, which is why there are NO conflicting denominations within the Holy Catholic Church. THE CHURCH, as described in scripture, means the ONE Church Jesus Christ founded for all men, with ONE set of beliefs, NO conflicting teachings, and NO denominations. THAT Church alone is the pillar and foundation of truth. Scripture says nothing about Protestant churches, except for a warning that they will be coming at some time in the future, and a command to avoid them.
You also confuse the idea of "Foundation of the truth" with "source of the truth". The Church is not the source of the truth. God is. The truth is the whole structure, assembled by God and given to the Church. The Pillars and foundation support the structure, maintaining its original form and strength. That is the function of the Church, and that is why the Word of God says straight out that the CHURCH is the foundation and pillar of the truth. Your tradition has vividly demonstrated what happens when you pull the foundation out from under the truth - it collapses; and the rubble that remains after the collapse is called denominationalism.
-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), April 12, 2003.
Try being more brief and keep to a point or a few points per post. Your two posts were both small pamphlets. No one wins by volume alone.
Paul you are being a gracious host.
-- Mike H. (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 12, 2003.
Please I am seeking a brother or sister who puts their trust in the Bible as truth, to give me a response to my point. So far no one gave me any answers from the scriptures. If someone could find in the Bible that the Catholic Church is the true church, then I will disappear.
-- Paolo (email@example.com), April 13, 2003.
Paul you didn't answer this question." Is the church the pillar and ground of the truth? Or is God the pillar and ground of truth?
The pillar and ground of truth can not modify the word "church." These words must modify the word "God." The church of "God the pillar and ground of truth." Christ is the Word, He is the truth. His name is True. How could it be that faulty sinful men meeting in some solemn ecclesiastical meeting can be the foundation of truth?
-- Paolo (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 13, 2003.
You are stretching this passage beyond the breaking point, attempting to force it to conform to your preconceived notions of what you want the truth to be. The passage (1 Tim 3:15), from the King James Bible, reads "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth". The meaning is completely obvious. Paul uses three different phrases here, which are all totally synonymous, and all descriptions of the Church. He says that "the house of God" = "the church of the living God" = "the pillar and ground of the truth". To try to make the third phrase pertain only to the last word of the second phrase is simply untenable, and throws the entire passage out of context.
As you rightly stated, Christ is the Word, He is the truth. Therefore how fitting it is that the very Church HE founded should be the support of His teaching - the foundation of His truth!
You ask: "How could it be that faulty sinful men meeting in some solemn ecclesiastical meeting can be the foundation of truth?" By the power of the Holy Spirit, which Christ promised to His Church and to no-one else - that's how! The same Holy Spirit who allowed those same faulty, sinful men to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out evil spirits, and forgive the sins of their brethren in the name of Christ. Do you doubt that God's power and grace are sufficient to enable sinful men to be the support and foundation of His truth, if that is His will? He created the universe from nothing by an act of that same divine will. Can it therefore be difficult for Him to arrange his Church as He wishes it to be, endowing it with any and all charisms He wishes it to have? If he didn't think that was possible, he would not have told those same faulty, sinful men "whatsoever you bind on earth is bound in heaven", and "he who hears you hears Me".
Finally, please open your eyes! The Bible CANNOT be the foundation of truth, or those who use it would all find that truth, and thereby exist in UNITY of belief. Just the opposite is true! You can't simply ignore this blatant reality! Those who look only to the Bible do NOT have the truth, or their beliefs and teachings would not conflict and contradict at every turn! Those who look to the true Biblical foundation of truth - the Church of the living God - for truth have UNITY of teaching throughout the world, and across 20 centuries. By their fruits shall ye know them!
-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), April 13, 2003.
Paolo - May I ask please if you are from an area in South America? I ask for there is a great movement of Catholicds to leave the Church and go to Fundamentalist Movements.
We have been given a book to read - which by the way I do every morning - in which to learn and follow a path shown to us throughout history.
As a Christian I attempt to understand and follow the path offered to myself and others who like yourself care to take the time and efforts needed to come to know and love God The Father through Jesus Christ His only begotten Son.
Hang in for we are all struggling with what we feel is truth.
-- jean bouchard (email@example.com), April 13, 2003.
You asked for scripture to prove the Catholic Church. Here's some good one's (I hope this isn't too long):
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Matt 16:16-19
I will thrust you from your office, and you will be cast down from your station. In that day I will call my servant Eli'akim the son of Hilki'ah, and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your girdle on him, and will commit your authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father's house. Isaiah 22:19-23
Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. Matt 23:1-3
The first quote establishes the Catholic Church, who is given a person, Peter, occupying an authoritative office, that remains for all time, indicated by the keys, with the power to bind and loose the flock on matters of faith and morals.
The second quote is the Old Testament understanding of the keys. They always represented dynastic succession to the Jews. With total power to "open or shut" echoing Jesus' words to "bind or loose" his subjects. The office remains throughout time, if it becomes vacant another must be chosen to fill it.
The third quote is Jesus' own doctrine or unique description of a doctrine about the "seat of Moses". The Jews had never explicitly used the term "seat of Moses" before Christ did here. Thus it continues by Christ's own command, that authoritative "seat" which we all must obey because God back's up and protects the teaching which flows from that seat.
Finally, in spite of all the criticisms Jesus gave the Pharisee's he still commands the Jews to do as the leader of Pharisee's said. This is because they sat on the seat of Moses. This is true today for the Catholic Church and our pope who's office can historically be traced through a line of popes back to St. Peter. Regardless of how the authority of the the Catholic Church, or any pope, personally behaves, we MUST obey him. At Christ's imperative, we MUST obey the pope. "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me." Luke 10:16
-- Mike H. (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 13, 2003.
God Bless I appreciate your effort to search the scriptures to seek truth. I am always willing to listen. This response may get lengthy but I would like to diligently explain with some scriptures. Take the time to read this and listen to what the verses tell you because those are God's words. I hope you are aware that when we come up with an idea, we need to test that conclusion with the rest of the Bible. God tells us to compare scripture with scripture. When we do find absolute truth, then our conclusion will harmonize with any verse which deals with that topic. And as we continue to read the Bible, the Holy Spirit contiues to reveal more scriptures that continues to support our answer. Only the Holy Spirit could guide us to truth.
You gave me a few verses in which you claim, they say the Catholic Church is the true church. Even though I didn't see any words that even looked or sounded like "Catholic Church", let's look at them to see what the Bible tells us.
Mathew:16:16" and Simon Peter answering said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’17 And Jesus answering said to him, ‘Happy art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, because flesh and blood did not reveal it to thee, but my Father who is in the heavens.18 ‘And I also say to thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my assembly, and gates of Hades shall not prevail against it; 19 and I will give to thee the keys of the reign of the heavens, and whatever thou mayest bind upon the earth shall be having been bound in the heavens, and whatever thou mayest loose upon the earth shall be having been loosed in the heavens.’ "
We must read very carefully, Peter is simply saying that Christ is the Son of the living God. Jesus says,"upon this rock", but what Rock is He talking about? Not Peter. HE is talkung about the Rock who is Christ. we read in ICorinthians:3:11 "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." How do we even dare steal God's glory. We are filthy sinners, it was Christ who went to the cross, not Peter! God is always testing us. God worded the Bible with incredible wisdom.
The church is built on the Lord Jesus Christ, not Peter. Christ is the foundation of the church. because we as true believers are custodians of the keys, the Bible. But who opens and shuts these gigantic spiritual doors. We read in Revelations 3:7:" And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;" This verse clearly teaches that it is Christ who opens and shuts. Significantly, God wrote Matthew 16:19 very carefully. Unfortunately, something of this care was lost when the Greek words were translated into English. The verse should read: "... whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall having been bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall having been loosed in heaven." By use of the past perfect tense, God is assuring us that the prior action was God's action. He has elected and saved a person because the church which was made custodian of the keys, the Bible, has faithfully declared the Gospel.
There are many pastors, priests and teachers who take comfort in these words of Matthew 16:19 as well as the words of Matthew 18:18, which reads: "Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. " They wrongly believe that when the pastor and elders or deacons conclude and tell an individual they had become saved, it is guaranteed that the person has indeed become saved. They fail to realize that the verb tenses in this verse, as was true with the verbs in Matthew 16:19, which describe salvation, are in the past perfect tense. "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall having been bound in heaven," and "Whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall having been loosed in heaven." The action of saving is God's action. The external church functions as God's servant to send out the Gospel.
Now we know we can't just isolate a couple of verses without looking at them in the Light of the rest of the Bible. Let's see what God is trying to say. Do the gates of hell identify with Satan? It is true that Satan is to spend eternity in hell, but does he control who is to go through the gates into hell? This must be obvious. Only God is the judge of the earth. Only God is in charge of who is to go through the gates into hell. The sad fact is that the gates of hell will prevail against all who remain unsaved. Hell will make its claim on every unsaved person because the wages of sin must be paid.
But there are those whom hell cannot have. They are those who have become saved. The gates of hell cannot prevail against them. They have become eternal members of the invisible body of believers who are the eternal church of God. The corporate external church can have a few of these members of the eternal church (like the church of Sardis) or it can have a sizable percentage of such members. Only God knows who the true believers are in any congregation.
This verse cannot be teaching that the local churches will continue as the house of God all the way to the end of the world. Even as the seven churches of Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 came to an end, so can any or all churches come to an end. True, they will still physically be here all the way to the end, just as synagogues which were a part of an earlier season of God's program of the Gospel, are still here. But as we approach the end neither the synagogues nor the churches have any part in God's Gospel program. It must be clearly understood that on this earth there are two churches. The one which is called Jerusalem above (Galatians 4:26), consists of those who truly have been saved. The persons who are a part of this church may be only a small part of the members of a local congregation or the Catholic church. The gates of hell cannot prevail against these individuals (the invisible church which are God's Elect).
There also exists the Jerusalem which is now (Galatians 4:25). They are all the members of the local congregations and catholic church who are not saved. The gates of hell will prevail against them.
In Matthew 16:18 God gave His wonderful promise, "I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." As we have seen, in the minds of many people, the church against which the gates of hell cannot prevail is considered to be the corporate external church known by such names as the First Methodist Church, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Second Reformed Church, or the Catholic church. But these churches and denominations have no guarantee of length of time of existence. For example, in Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 God speaks of seven churches that were in existence at the time the Bible was being finished. Yet a few hundred years later, all of these churches had disappeared. Indeed, afterwards for many hundreds of years there was no Christian witness of any kind in the cities wherein these churches had been located. Thus, we can be certain that the church Christ has in view in Matthew 16 is not the corporate external church which consists of local congregations that can be found throughout the world.
What church is it then that Jesus had in view when He said, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." As we have seen, the solution is that there is an eternal church which is made up of all those individuals who personally have become saved. They were given eternal life because Jesus as their Savior had paid for each and every one of their sins. Therefore, forever more they had become safe and secure, Matthew 16 very definitely has this spiritual church in view. It can never come under the wrath of God which is the essence of hell. The gates of hell can never make a claim upon those who are truly saved.
There is a corporate external church which consists of all the churches and congregations as they are found on the face of the earth. There is also an eternal invisible church that is made up of all the true believers who during the church age were normally found scattered in the corporate external churches. But when Christ says, "I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," He is not speaking of the corporate external churches. The same holds true when He speaks of the church as the bride of the Lamb. Only the eternal invisible church is the bride of Christ.
When He speaks of the church as His body, He can be speaking only of the eternal invisible church. When He speaks of the church in Ephesians 3:10 as the evidence of the manifold wisdom of God, it can only be the eternal invisible church. When He declares in Colossians 1:18 that He is the head of the church, again, it can only be the eternal invisible church.
Unfortunately, in a great many churches, no distinction is made between the corporate external church that consists, on the one hand, of various local congregations, and on the other hand, the eternal invisible church. Fact is, in many churches, it is assumed that those who have made profession of faith, who have been baptized in water, who have become members of the church, and who regularly eat the Lord's Supper, are truly saved. Therefore, the idea exists that the whole congregation is saved.
Bro, I don't care if I am proved wrong. I am delighted if you present scriptures that contradict this conclusion because the last thing I want is to tell people the wrong information. If you read this entire response, you must ask, does the scriptures teach you something different? If so, that's when you can't let your pride get in the way. Are we going to listen to God's Words or doctrine that are contrary to the Bible. May God give you wisdom. Peace!!!!
-- Paolo (email@example.com), April 14, 2003.
In 1972 Fr. Feeney was supposedly "reconciled" to the Church. If Fr. Feeney truly needed to be reconciled, he would have had to recant his position. Yet, he was never asked to do that. Anyone who is truly excommunicated for heresy must withdraw what they once held and proclaim belief in orthodoxy. But Fr. Feeney was never asked to take back or repent from his teaching on "Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation."
Actually, Fr. Feeney was asked to profess one of the three Creeds of the Church. So he said the Athanasian Creed. This venerable creed begins and ends with these solemn words:
Whoever wishes to be saved needs above all else to hold the Catholic Faith; unless each one preserves this whole and entire, he will without a doubt perish in eternity. … This is the Catholic Faith; unless everyone believes this faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.
Fr. Leonard Feeney was not excommunicated for teaching that outside the Catholic Church and without submission to the Roman Pontiff no one can be saved. He couldn't be, because the Church herself has dogmatically defined this.
-- who (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 14, 2003.
Give that man a cigar!
-- Emerald (email@example.com), April 14, 2003.
How politically uncorrect of me. It could be a woman... give that man or woman a cigar!
Ever Ancient, Ever New.
-- Emerald (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 14, 2003.
I must commend you. I can assertain the zeal of you faith only in part through the length of your exegesis. The knowledge of scripture and of your doctrines are impressive. Is this from you own searching or is it passed down to you from another faith tradition, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Anglican, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Church of Christ...
I will pray for you and the unity of all believers that Christ himself prayed for on the night of his betrayal, "May they all be one "(John 17:20-23). Christ prayed for One, Holy, Universal Church and it was to be passed down to us through his apostles. This unity is a unity of peoples and faith. It is a unity of belief and doctrine. It is a unity of the one Body of Christ. It is a unity of the Church. Remember, the prayers of a rightous man avail much! (James 5:16; Proverbs 15:8, 29) Those who resist this unity are betraying Christ!
I must warn you of seeking controversy and disputes...
1 Tim. 6:4 - Paul warns about those who seek controversy and disputes about words. There must be a universal authority to appeal to who can trace its authority back to Christ.
2 Tim. 2:14 - do not dispute about words which only ruins the hearers. Over 2,000 years of doctrinal unity is a sign of Christ's Church.
2 Tim. 4:3 - this is a warning on following our own desires and not the teachings of God. It is not a cafeteria where we pick and choose. We must humble ourselves and accept all of Christ's teachings which He gives us through His Church.
(Scriptual excerpts from www.scripturecatholic.com)
How do you know the True Church or the true believer...only your heart moved by the spirit will know.
There is a Hymn we sing, you might know it as well, "They will know we are Christians by our Love, by our Love"
May the love of Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.
-- Michael (Pickandpen@aol.com), April 14, 2003.
Are we going to listen to God's Words or doctrine that are contrary to the Bible.
That goes back to my first statement. The bible does not say that it is the only rule of faith. And rightly so. It does not make much logical sense that an all powerful God who makes us in his likeness and image would prefer place all his hopes for mankind solely in a single book (book of many books), the bible. God's greatest creation is the human being who also has an eternal soul. The bible has no soul. God's hope for us is for us to hope in him and in each other, first and foremost. The bible is a helpful tool, an aid only. The real power flows through his greatest creation, humans, and he uses them as the first authority, not a book he wrote, even though that book has power to convert. Without humans has no usefulness. Putting the bible ahead of people in importance is like the Pharisees who put the gold ahead of the temple in importance.
"Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? " The gold is like the bible, but the temple which makes the gold sacred is the holy Catholic Church of human souls that God nurtures. Often Paul wrote that idea himself. Something like, "I look forward to meeting face to face that our joy may be complete" The holy human interaction is superior to the written words they deliver. You won't see your bible in heaven, only souls.
-- Mike H. (email@example.com), April 14, 2003.
Sorry about the couple of awkward sentences on that last post, I was using a crippled computer to type on. It was difficult to use.
Further, here are scripture quotes which discuss the importance of both human tradition and scripture. Scripture is not superior to Tradition (human oral doctrine), and this we know from ... scripture!
Scripture and Tradition
"But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" (John 21:25).
"I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you" (1 Cor. 11:2).
"Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us" (2 Tim. 1:13-14).
"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter." (2 Thess. 2:15).
"You, then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:1-2).
"First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God" (2 Peter 1:20-21).
"Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink, but I hope to come to see you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete" (2 John 12).
-- Mike H. (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 14, 2003.
Hello and God Bless
I would like to say, if I didn't Love the LORD with all my heart and If I didn't have this intense desire to do the will of God, I would of given up responding. I just want to say that I am a no body. I am not even smart. Every thing I have written came from the BIBLE, which is the full completed, infallible, awesome, supernatural and infinite wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ! Why do you think these scriptures I have given you, flow so sweet. The Holy Spirit guides me into truth and understanding. I take not one bit of credit.
I feel like the prophet Jeremiah, when God commanded His servent to warn Isreal(a type of todays churches) that if they didn't shape up, God's wrath will fall on them. By the way if anybody has a chance to read it, It is like reading today's newspaper.
Too many thaughts are going through my mind right now but I am mostly feeling sad. I get the impression that some of you feel the Bible isn't trustworthy at all. Even though it is God's law Book to humanity! I also see that when two people have two different authorities, there is no way in the world, to come to truth. If this is the case we shouldn't even look at the Bible because the church has all the answers. I am not even upset with any of you who does whorship the church. Only if our church leaders and teachers inside the churches truely feared God.
I rather not even give any personal opinions and I am sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings. If anybody does love the Bible and knows it is God speaking to them, then slowly and carefully read these scriptures. I rather let the Word of God speak to us. All I want is for all of you to test your teachings. I am giving you scriptures (God's words) that contradict everything you throw at me. We aren't fighting with each other. I just want you to stop and think for a moment. Why would God use this kind of language if the church was the pillar and ground of truth?
First, we read in I Peter 4:17-18:"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? "
Daniel 11:31, where we read: "And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. "
In Daniel 11:31 the Bible is prophesying concerning a time when the sanctuary of strength would be polluted, and the daily would be taken away, replaced by the abomination of desolation. We know that the sanctuary of strength must be where God is worshiped. It is here that the daily sacrifices and the daily candlesticks are being utilized in service to God. The only place that can be in view is the temple. But according to this verse at some future date the worship of God would be replaced by the abomination of desolation.
Matthew 24:15 instructs us that this dreadful event must identify with the Great Tribulation that comes just before the end of the world. We will also learn that Daniel 12 will give further proof that this is at the end of the world. Moreover, Satan will be reigning in the churches. He is the very essence of desolation.
There is also a second reference in the Book of Daniel that speaks of the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. In Daniel 12:11 we read:"And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days"
Just as God will examine all of the unsaved of the whole world on the last day, as we read in Revelation 20:11-15 and in other passages, God is insisting in I Peter 4:17 that His judgment begins in His own house, in His churches and congregations. Now, just as in the final judgment on the last day when God will show no mercy, we will see that there is no mercy in God’s judgment upon the church. This is truly a dreadful situation; it is a situation of such magnitude that God speaks about it in many parts of the Bible. For example, God speaks about this same judgment in
Jeremiah25:16-26:"For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. Then took I the cup at the LORD’S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me: To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day; Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people; And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod, Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea, Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners, And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert, And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes, And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them. "
If we examine this language carefully, we see that it must be talking about Judgment Day. Notice how God emphasizes judgment upon all of the nations of the world. He lists many known nations at that time and then transitions to speaking about all of the nations that are upon the face of the earth. This can only be the final judgment, Judgment Day at the last day. Notice also where this judgment begins. It begins at Jerusalem and Judah. This parallels I Peter 4:17. Also, look at
verses 28 and 29:"And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink. For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts."
God is insisting that He is not a respecter of persons. His judgment upon the unsaved in the churches is not less severe than those outside. We see the exact parallel between Jeremiah 25 and I Peter 4:17-18. Judgment begins first with the corporate body, the people of God, the churches and congregations, then it transitions to the whole world. No one will be able to complain that God is unfair because He began with His own people.
Revelation 2:2, 3 declares:"I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted."
Revelation 2:4 informs us that there was love for God in the early church: Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. In Revelation 2:9, 19 and in Revelation 3:8, 10 are additional statements indicating the faithfulness of the early church.
Revelation 2:9: I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
WHAT DO WE DO WITH THESE VERSES? FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO BELIEVE THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD, WE MUST LISTEN TO WHAT HE HAS TO SAY. IF GOD KNEW THERE WOULD BE ONE TRUE CHURCH, HE WOULD OF TOLD US. AND I AM NOT SPEAKING ABOUT THE TRUE BELIEVERS(the Elect) WHO ARE THE INVISIBLE SPIRITUAL CHURCH, WHICH IS SCATTERED ALL OVER THE WORLD. THIS CHURCH, WHICH IS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST, THE GATES OF HELL CAN'T PREVAIL.
HERE IS MORE!!!!! WHY WOULD GOD COMPLAIN ABOUT THE LEADERS OF THE CHURCHES? SHOULD WE THROW THESE VERSES OUT? PLEASE READ THEM CAREFULLY. WE SHOULDN'T BE AFRAID OF THE TRUTH. THE WORD IS A DOUBLE EDGED SWORD, IT CUTS, EITHER IT WILL KILL YOU, OR SAVE YOU!
Jeremiah 2:8" The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit."
Jerem: 10:21"For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. "
Jer 12:10:Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. "
Jer 22:22"The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness."
Jer 23:1"Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. "
Jer 23:2"Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. "
Hebrews 13:8:"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
-- Paolo (email@example.com), April 14, 2003.
You wrote to us:
"Now if 'the church is the pillar and ground of truth,' [that] contradicts ... all the verses I gave you, [so] let's see where [you] went wrong. The first verse we should examine is I Timothy 3:15, which declares: 'But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God - the pillar and ground of the truth.' Is the church the pillar and ground of the truth? Or is God the pillar and ground of truth?"
In a later message, you added, "The pillar and ground of truth cannot modify the word 'church.' These words must modify the word 'God.'"
Paolo, in your opening message on this thread, you said that the Bible was the pillar and ground of the truth. Later, you decided to argue that God is the pillar and ground of the truth. You were wrong both times.
An examination of the Greek written by St. Paul shows that, as Catholics here have explained to you, it is the CHURCH that is the pillar and ground of the truth. Please look at the following (the Greek and your translation):
"... estin ekklEsia Theou zOntos, stulos kai edraiOma tEs alEtheias."
"... is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
[stulos = pillar, column, prop, support]
[edraiOma = stay, prop, support, ground]
Notice that the Greek words that are in italics are genitive ("of the living God"), while the words that are in bold type are nominative. Thus "stulos" and "edraiOma" are "appositives" of "ekklEsia" -- all being nominative. This proves, beyond any doubt, that the words "pillar and and ground" refer to Church, not to "the living God."
Paolo, everything that Paul and Mike H, and Michael (pickandpen) have told you here is correct. [Mike H was even right to tell you not to write such long messages!]
You wrote: "The Holy Spirit guides me into truth and understanding. I take not one bit of credit." Actually, Paolo, the Holy Spirit is trying to lead you into the truth by bringing you to this forum, exposing you to what we are telling you -- i.e., the fullness of the truth. It is heartbreaking that an Italian gentleman like you could have slipped into errors, falling from the Catholic Church of your ancestors. You are now believing only part of the truth, with some truths missing and some error mixed in.
May the Lord lead you to (or back to) the true Church, the one Jesus founded, the Catholic Church.
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 16, 2003.
I have a few questions, I gave you so many verses that contradict this particular verse. So you are telling me that I can pick any verse I want and come up with a conclusion?
Think about what you are telling the world. You telling me that, man, filthy sinners has more truth than GOD?
This means that a church made up of sin tainted minds has 100% truth and can't never be wrong! Romans 3:4, "let God be true, but every man a liar."
I don't know brother, either you have no fear of GOD or you testing God big time.
I am not telling everyone I have all the answers but do you really think God wrote the Bible in a way so anybody could understand it? NO. The new testament was written in the Greek language. We can take a sentence in the Greek and be able to read it so it could be understood more than one way. So when we translate it in the English language we have to be careful because a comma can change the meaning of a sentence. That's why the Bible tells us to compare spiritual things with spiritual or rightly dividing the word of truth.
Now if we come up with a conclusion, we have to test that conclusion in the light of the whole Bible. If the Holy spirit gave us truth, He will continue to suppoert the conclusion over and over. Then we'll see how everything harmonizes.
I am not trying to be stubborn, all I want is for everyone to put their trust in the Bible. If we read all the end time verses, we'll see that there will be a time when the churches will become apostate and God uses satin to rule in the churches. And with false prophets and lying signs and wonders. These false prophets come with false doctrine. If we do not put all of our authority on God's WORD the Bible, the pillar and ground of truth, we will never know if we are being decieved.
If you research Old testament Isreal very carefully, you will see a perfect parallel portrait of the New testament Churches and congregations. God destroyed the whole tribe of Isreal and Judea because they continued to worship false gods. So will the Churches be destroyed (spiritually) by God Himself. I am not affliated with any Church or Denomination because I see all of the Churches Falling away.
We are in the last phase before Christ's return. Judgement has begun and will transition into judgement day. And God's judgement begins at the Churches. Why do you think God exposed all the dirt with the Priests. God wants his faithful servants to flee out of the churches because the Holy Spirit left the Churches. If you read this far, please be patient, check out the next series of verses to support this. You will see how everything fits like a jigsaw puzzle.
In the passage of Luke 8:11,12: There we read:
"Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved."
From these verses we learn that the prime method that Satan uses to assault Christ is to stop the growth of the kingdom of God. If we read the first three verses of Revelations 20, they are teaching that at the time of the cross, Satan was put under the wrath of God (the bottomless pit which is a synonym for hell). This was also the time that he was cast out of heaven. During the Old Testament, Satin and the fallen Angels had access into heaven as we read in the first chapter of Job. But Revelation 12 records his expulsion from heaven. There we read that he was defeated by the blood of the Lamb. We read in
Revelation 12:9 and 11: "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. . . . And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
We can also see this truth of satin being bound in this verse, in Mark 3:27" No man can * enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house."
Here too gives us clues on what happened at the cross: IIPeter :2:4 " For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;"
Jude:1:6 " And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."
Returning to Revelation 20:1-3, we read that Satan was cast into the bottomless pit (hell) so that he could no longer deceive the nations. During the time Jesus preached the Gospel, very few people became saved. At the same time Satan was very active. Is there a connection between few people being saved and a very active Satan. But something wonderful happened seven weeks after Christ went to the cross. On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached one sermon and about 3,000 individuals became saved. In one day, 3,000 came out from under the tyranny and deception of Satan. Satan had been bound so that he could not deceive the nations any longer. And ever since, throughout the church age, all over the world people have been coming into the kingdom of God.
Thus, we can be sure that the binding of Satan had to have happened at the time of the cross.
If we read Revelation 20:2 "And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season." Before we leave Revelation 20 we must ask the question: How can it be that at the time of the cross, Satan was bound and cast into hell and then later on, he is set free. Is he set free to rule in the churches? Fact is, we read in Revelation 9:1-3:
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them WAS GIVEN POWER, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
In this passage, the star who came from heaven to open the bottomless pit can only be Christ. We read in Revelation 1:18:
"I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."
Furthermore, we read in Revelation 13:3 concerning Satan as he was typified by a dragon with seven heads and ten horns:
"And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast."
In this next verse tells us what happens after this great tribulations where Satan got judged and sent to eternal punishment.
We read in Revelation 20:10-12"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. "
The beast and the false prophets are pictures of Satan as he ruled in the churches during the Great Tribulation.
Thus, while on the one hand, Satan remains in hell (that is, remains under the eternal wrath of God), in another sense, he is temporarily loosed from hell because God still has some work for him before the world comes to an end. That work is to rule in the churches during the Great Tribulation. He is allowed to rule there as a judgment of God upon these churches.
May God give us wisdom!!!!
-- Paolo (email@example.com), April 17, 2003.
In fact, the so-called "traditionalist" movement is nothing more than the past of the Holy Catholic Church, which a handful of uncertain and untrusting Catholics cannot surrender in order to move forward with the Church of God as she continues her inevitable march towards greater holiness and sanctity. There are indeed "substantial answers for real Catholics who have had their parishes taken from them and gradually destroyed by changes which their gut feelings have told them simply can't be right". But clinging blindly to the past is not the answer. Such a perversion of Church teaching and rejection of divine authority is potentially as destructive as the modernist perversions which brought about the destruction of those very parishes. Between the extremes of heretical modernism and schismatic "traditionalism" however, is the actual and true Holy Catholic Church, which Christ remains with until the end of time; which the powers of evil cannot dominate; and which alone holds the power of defining binding truth and the keys to the Kingdom. If your seven years' personal research and personal meditation resulted in conclusions contrary to the teaching of God's Holy Church, then you have wasted seven precious years. What you found through such an essentially Protestant approach is, not surprisingly, a deviation from truth, for those are precisely the individualistic methods Protestants use in their futile attempts to define truth. Catholics on the other hand find truth precisely where Jesus placed it - in His Holy Catholic Church, the pillar and foundation of truth. Today. Not yesterday.
-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), May 06, 2003.
I have nothing else to say, but I will leave behind some of God's Words...
2 Timothy : 4:1"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 4:3 For 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; 4:4 And they shall turn away * their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. "
Acts:28:"26 saying, 'Go to this people and say: "Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; 27 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them."
These came from from God and not me....Peace
-- Paolo (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 06, 2003.
What Do We Mean by Sola Scriptura?
There are two main issues that divide Protestant Catholics from Roman Catholics. Both groups claim to be catholic, that is, part of the apostolic, universal church of Jesus Christ. Roman Catholics believe we Protestants departed from that church in the sixteenth century. Protestant Catholics believe they departed earlier.
The theme of this opening chapter is one of the issues that still divides us: the source of religious truth for the people of God. (The other main issue, that of how a man is made right with God, has been dealt with in the book Justification by Faith ALONE!, published by Soli Deo Gloria in 1995.) As Protestants we maintain that the Scripture alone is our authority. Our Roman opponents maintain that the Scripture by itself is insufficient as the authority of the people of God, and that tradition and the teaching authority of the church must be added to the Scripture.
This is a solemn topic. This is no time for games. We must be searching for the truth. God has declared that whoever adds to or takes away from His Word is subject to His curse. The Roman church has declared that we Protestants are accursed (“anathematized”) for taking away the Word of God as found in tradition. We Protestants have declared that the Roman church is a false church for adding human traditions to the Word of God. Despite sincere debates by fine apologists over the course of nearly 500 years, the differences remain basically as they were in the sixteenth century. I will not say much new here, but we must continue to pursue the truth.
In spite of the difficulty of this undertaking, I am eager to join that historic train of Protestant apologists to defend the doctrine that the Scripture alone is our ultimate religious authority. I believe that it can be shown that this position is the clear position of Scripture itself. And I hope that, by the grace of God, those committed to the Roman doctrine of tradition will come to see the tragic error of denigrating the sufficiency and perspicuity of God’s own inspired Word.
Let me begin with certain clarifications so as not to be misunderstood. I am not arguing that all truth is to be found in the Bible, or that the Bible is the only form in which the truth of God has come to His people. I am not arguing that every verse in the Bible is equally clear to every reader. Nor am I arguing that the church—both the people of God and the ministerial office—is not of great value and help in understanding the Scripture. As William Whitaker stated in his noble work: “For we also say that the church is the interpreter of Scripture, and that the gift of interpretation resides only in the church: but we deny that it pertains to particular persons, or is tied to any particular see or succession of men.”1
The Protestant position, and my position, is that all things necessary for salvation and concerning faith and life are taught in the Bible clearly enough for the ordinary believer to find it there and understand.
The position I am defending certainly is what is taught in the Bible itself. For example, Deuteronomy 31:9 states: “Moses wrote down this law. . . .” Moses instructed the people by writing down the law and then ordering that it be read to them “so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law,” Deuteronomy 31:9, 12.
Moses declared to all Israel: “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you, they are your life,” Deuteronomy 32:46, 47.
Notice the clear elements in these passages:
1. The Word of which Moses spoke was written.
2. The people can and must listen to it and learn it.
3. In this Word they can find life.
The people do not need any additional institution to interpret the Word. The priests, prophets, and scribes of Israel certainly function to help the people ministerially. But the Word alone was sufficient for salvation. The prophets, who were indeed inspired, came very much in the spirit of Micah who said, “He has shown you, O man, what is good,” Micah 6:8. The function of the prophets and priests was not to add to or even clarify the law; rather, they applied it to the people who were sinfully indifferent.
If this principle of the sufficiency and clarity of the Word is true in the Old Testament, we can assume that it is all the more true in the New. The New Testament gloriously fulfills what the Old Testament promises. But we do not have to assume it; rather, the New Testament makes clear that the character of Scripture is to be sufficient and clear. One example of that is found in 2 Timothy 3, 4. Here Paul writes to his younger brother in the faith, Timothy. He writes that Timothy—who was instructed in the faith by his mother and grandmother— has also learned all about Paul’s teaching (3:10). Timothy has been mightily helped by all sorts of oral teaching, some of it apostolic. Yet Paul writes these words to Timothy:
And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them; and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 3:12; 4:5)
You see, Paul reminds Timothy that the Scriptures are able to make him wise unto salvation in Christ Jesus (3:15). He teaches that the Scriptures are useful for teaching, reproof (rebuking), correcting, and training in righteousness (3:16). Because the Scriptures have this character, they thoroughly equip the man of God for every good work (3:17). So Paul tells Timothy that he must preach this Word, even though the time is coming when people will not want to hear it, but rather will want teachers to suit their fancy, who will instruct them in myths rather than the truth of the Word (4:1-4).
The force and clarity of the Apostle’s teaching here are striking. In spite of the rich oral teaching Timothy had, he is to preach the Scriptures because those Scriptures give him clearly all that he needs for wisdom and preparation to instruct the people of God in faith and all good works. The Scripture makes him wise for salvation, and equips him with everything he needs for doing every good work required of the preacher of God. The sufficiency and clarity of the Word are taught in this one section of Scripture over and over again. John Chrysostom paraphrased the meaning of Paul’s words to Timothy this way: “You have Scripture for a master instead of me; from there you can learn whatever you would know.”2
I have listened to several taped debates on this topic. Often Protestant apologists have cited 2 Timothy 3 against Roman opponents. The usual response of Catholic apologists is to repeatedly assert that 2 Timothy 3 does not teach sufficiency. Sometimes they will refer to James 1:4, Matthew 19:21, or Colossians 1:28 and 4:12 as parallel texts, claiming that the word “complete” in 2 Timothy 3:17 does not mean sufficient. But such passages are not parallel; a completely different Greek word is used. Where 2 Timothy 3:17 uses exartizo, which has to do with being fitted for a task, these other passages use the Greek word teleios, which has reference to maturity or having reached a desired end.
Repeated assertions do not prove a point; that is only a propaganda technique. Our opponents need to answer in a responsible, thorough way.
The confidence that Paul had in the Scriptures, and which he taught Timothy, was clearly understood by the great church father, Augustine. In his treatise to prepare leaders of the church in an understanding of the Bible (0n Christian Doctrine), Augustine wrote: “Among those things which are said openly in Scripture are to be found all those teachings which involve faith, the mores of living, and that hope and charity which we have discussed.”3
We should not be surprised that the Apostle Paul, the Old Testament, and the greatest teacher of the ancient church held to the sufficiency and perspicuity of Scripture. It is the position that Jesus took in one of the most important moments of his life. At the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus faced the focused temptation of the devil in the wilderness. He faced the temptation as the Son of God, but also as the second Adam and the true Israel. And how did He face that temptation? He did not appeal to the oral tradition of Israel; He did not appeal to the authority of the rabbis or Sanhedrin; He did not even appeal to His own divinity or the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Our Savior, in the face of temptation, turned again and again and again to the Scriptures. “It is written,” He said.
The Scriptures made Him wise; they equipped Him for every good work. They were clear, as He implied that even the evil one knew. When the devil quoted the Scripture, Jesus did not turn to some other authority. Rather Jesus said, “It is also written.”
When the evil one or his representatives misuse the Bible, or imply that it is unclear, Jesus teaches us that we must look more deeply into the written Word, not away from it.
Roman apologists will attempt to convince us that these texts of Scripture do not mean what they clearly say. Let me anticipate some of their arguments and prepare you for some of the ways they tend to respond.
1. The Word of God. First, they will try to say that the phrase “the Word of God” can mean more than just the Bible. I have already granted that. The question before us is whether today anything other than the Scriptures is necessary to know the truth of God for salvation. The Scripture texts I have cited show that nothing else is needed. Our opponents need to show not that Paul referred to his preaching as well as his writing as the Word of God—I grant that; they need to show that Paul taught that the oral teaching of the apostles would be needed to supplement the Scriptures for the Church through the ages. They cannot show that because Paul did not teach that, and the Scriptures as a whole do not teach that!
2. Tradition. Our Roman opponents, while making much of tradition, will never really define tradition or tell you what its content is. Tradition is a word that can be used in a variety of ways. It can refer to a certain school of understanding the Scriptures, such as the Lutheran tradition. It can refer to traditions—supposedly from the apostles—that are not in the Bible. It can refer to developing traditions in the history of the church that are clearly not ancient in origin. Usually, in the ancient fathers of the church, the word “tradition” refers to the standard interpretation of the Bible among them. And we Protestants value such traditions.
But what do Roman apologists mean when they assert the authority of tradition? Historically, they have not agreed among themselves about the nature and content of tradition. For example, one has said that tradition does not add anything to Scripture. But almost all Roman apologists, for over three hundred years after the Council of Trent, argued that tradition does add to the Scriptures. Some Roman apologists believe that all binding tradition was taught by the apostles, while others believe that tradition evolves and develops through the centuries of the church so that there are traditions necessary for salvation that were never known to the apostles. It is impossible to know what the real Roman position is on this matter.
The Second Vatican Council expressed itself with deliberate ambiguity: “This tradition which comes from the apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. . . . For as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her.”4 What does that mean? It certainly does not give us any clear understanding of the character or content of tradition.
Rome usually tries to clarify its position by saying that its authority is Scripture, tradition, and church together. Vatican II declared: “It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, sacred Scriptures and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God's most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.”5
In fact, however, if you listen carefully, you will notice that the real authority for Rome is neither Scripture nor tradition, but the church. What is the Scripture, and what does it teach? Only the church can tell you. What is tradition, and what does it teach? Only the church can tell you. As the Roman theologian John Eck said, “The Scriptures are not authentic, except by the authority of the church.”6 As Pope Pius IX said at the time of the First Vatican Council in 1870, “I am tradition.”7 The overwhelming arrogance of such a statement is staggering. But it confirms our claim that, for Rome, the only real authority is the church: sola ecclesia.
Now Protestantism arose in the sixteenth century in reaction to such claims and teachings of the Roman church. In the Middle Ages, most within the church had believed that the Bible and the tradition of the church taught the same, or at least complementary, doctrines. But as Luther and others studied the Bible with a greater care and depth than the church had done in centuries, they began to discover that tradition actually contradicted the Bible. They discovered that, for example:
(1) The Bible teaches that the office of bishop and presbyter are the same office (Titus 1:5-7), but tradition says they are different offices.
(2) The Bible teaches that all have sinned except Jesus (Romans 3:10- 12, Hebrews 4:15), but tradition says that Mary was sinless.
(3) The Bible teaches that Christ offered His sacrifice once for all (Hebrews 7:27, 9:28, 10:10), but tradition says that the priest sacrifices Christ on the altar at mass.
(4) The Bible says that we are not to bow down to statues (Exodus 20:4, 5), but tradition says that we should bow down to statues.
(5) The Bible says that all Christians are saints and priests (Ephesians 1:1; 1 Peter 2:9), but tradition says that saints and priests are special castes within the Christian community.
(6) The Bible says that Jesus is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), but tradition says Mary is co-mediator with Christ.
(7) The Bible says that all Christians should know that they have eternal life (1 John 5:13), but tradition says that all Christians cannot and should not know that they have eternal life.
The Reformers saw that the words of Jesus to the Pharisees applied equally to their day: “You nullify the Word of God for the sake of your tradition” (Matthew 15:6).
The Reformers also discovered that tradition contradicted tradition. For example, the tradition of the Roman church teaches that the pope is the head of the church, a bishop over all bishops. But Gregory the Great, pope and saint at the end of the ancient church period, said that such a teaching came from the spirit of Antichrist (“I confidently affirm that whosoever calls himself sacerdos universalis, or desires to be so called by others is in his pride a forerunner of Antichrist”)8
More directly related to our discussion is the evident tension in tradition about the value of reading the Bible. The Index of Forbidden Books of Pope Pius IV in 1559 said:
Since experience teaches that, if the reading of the Holy Bible in the vernacular is permitted generally without discrimination, more damage than advantage will result because of the boldness of men, the judgment of the bishops and inquisitors is to serve as guide in this regard. Bishops and inquisitors may, in accord with the counsel of the local priest and confessor, allow Catholic translations of the Bible to be read by those of whom they realize that such reading will not lead to the detriment but to the increase of faith and piety. The permission is to be given in writing. Whoever reads or has such a translation in his possession without this permission cannot be absolved from his sins until he has turned in these Bibles.9
In marked contrast, Vatican II stated: “Easy access to sacred Scripture should be provided for all the Christian faithful. . . Since the word of God should be available at all times, the Church with maternal concern sees to it that suitable and correct translations are made into different languages, especially from the original texts of the sacred books.”10 Does tradition believe that the Bible is dangerous or helpful? The Bible did prove dangerous in the sixteenth century; most who read it carefully became Protestants!
Such discoveries about tradition led the Reformers back to the Bible. There they learned that the Scriptures must stand as judge of all teaching. The Scripture teaches that it is the revelation of God, and is therefore true in all that it teaches. But nowhere does the Scripture say that the church is true in all it says. Rather, although the church as a whole will be preserved in the faith, wolves will arise in the church (Acts 20:29, 30), and even the man of lawlessness will sit at the heart of the church teaching lies (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
3. This brings us to our third concern, the church and the canon. Our Roman opponents will use the word “ church” repeatedly. Those of us who are Protestants will normally be inclined to interpret their use of the word “church” as referring to the body of the faithful. But that is not the way they characteristically use the word. When they refer to the authority of the church, they mean the infallible teaching authority of councils and popes. That view of the church they take from the Middle Ages and in a romantic way read back into the ancient church period. So notice very carefully how they use the word “church.” And remember that neither the Scriptures, nor the great majority of the fathers of the ancient church period, understand the authority of the church in the way they do.
Let me offer as an illustration two examples from the work of Augustine, often quoted against the Protestant position on the question of the authority of the church. At one point in his debate with the Pelagians, a bishop of Rome sided with Augustine, and Augustine declared, “Rome has spoken, the matter is settled.” Later, however, another pope opposed Augustine on this subject, and Augustine responded by saying, “Christ has spoken, the matter is settled.” Augustine did not bow to the authority of the bishop of Rome, but turned to the word of Christ to evaluate the teaching of Rome.
Another statement of Augustine’s, often cited by Roman apologists, reads: “I would not have believed had not the authority of the catholic church moved me.” That seems very strong and clear. But in another place Augustine wrote: “I would never have understood Plotinus had not the authority of my neo-Platonic teachers moved me.” This parallel shows that Augustine is not talking about some absolute, infallible authority in the church, but rather about the ministerial work of the church and about teachers who help students understand.
Let us look at the church further by raising a related issue: the canon of Scripture. Romanists will try to make much of the issue of the canon. They will tell you that the Bible alone cannot be our authority because the Bible does not tell us what books are in the Bible. They will argue that the church must tell us what books are in the Bible. When they say the church tells us, they mean popes and councils must tell us. This implies that we did not have a Bible until Pope Damasus offered a list of the canon in 382, or, perhaps, until 1546 when the Council of Trent became the first “ecumenical”council to define the canon. But of course the people of God had the Bible before 1546 and before 382.
In the first place, the church always had Scripture. The apostolic preaching and writing of the first century repeatedly verified its teaching by quoting from the Old Testament. The quotations from, and allusions to, the Old Testament abound in the New Testament. The New Testament does not reject the Old, but fulfills it (Romans 1:2; Luke 16:29; Ephesians 2:19, 20). The church always had a canonical foundation in the Old Testament.
In the second place, we can see that the apostles sensed that the new covenant inaugurated by our Lord Jesus would have a new or augmented canon. Canon and covenant are interrelated and interdependent in the Bible (see Meredith G. Kline, The Structure of Biblical Authority). Peter testifies to this emerging canon when he includes the letters of Paul as part of the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16).
In the third place, we must see that the canon of Scripture is, in a real sense, established by the Scripture itself, because the canonical books are self-authenticating. As God’s revelation, they are recognized by the people of God as God’s own Word. As Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me. They . . . will listen to My voice” (John 10:14-16). In the deepest sense we cannot judge the Word, but the Word judges us. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The self-authenticating character of the canon is demonstrated by the remarkable unanimity reached by the people of God on the canon.
In the fourth place, we must see that historically the canon was formed not by popes and councils; these actions simply recognized the emerging consensus of the people of God as they recognized the authentic Scriptures. Indeed, whatever criteria were used by popes and councils to recognize the canon (authorship, style, content, witness of the Spirit, etc.), these same criteria were available to the people of God as a whole.
We can see this basic understanding of the formation of the canon stated in The New Catholic Encyclopedia which states: “The canon, already implicitly present in the apostolic age, gradually became explicit through a number of providential factors forming and fixing it.”11
We can also see this basic approach to the canon reflected in the words of Augustine, writing in his important treatise entitled On Christian Doctrine. This treatise was written between 396 and 427— after the supposedly authoritative decision of Pope Damasus on the canon, and after a council held in Hippo had discussed the canon. Augustine wrote:
In the matter of canonical Scriptures he should follow the authority of the greater number of catholic Churches, among which are those which have deserved to have apostolic seats and receive epistles. He will observe this rule concerning canonical Scriptures, that he will prefer those accepted by all catholic Churches to those which some do not accept; among those which are not accepted by all, he should prefer those which are accepted by the largest number of important Churches to those held by a few minor Churches of less authority. If he discovers that some are maintained by the larger number of Churches, others by the Churches of weightiest authority, although this condition is not likely, he should hold them to be of equal value.12
This statement shows that Augustine did not look to popes or councils for the solution of the question of the canon. He recognized the variety among churches, and the appropriateness of a plurality of churches. He urged all students of Scripture to examine the question and to look for the emerging consensus among the people of God. Like Augustine, we do not disparage the value of the witness of the people of God to the canon. We value the ministry of the church in this as in all things. But we deny that the church in its offices or councils authoritatively establishes the Scripture on the basis of some knowledge or power not available to Christians generally. The character of the canonical books draws the people of God to them.
4. Unity. Notice how Catholics use the word “unity.” They will suggest that we Protestants disprove our claim of the clarity of the Scripture by our failure to agree about the meaning of the Scripture. We recognize that Protestants are divided into various denominations. But all Protestants who are heirs of the Reformation are united in understanding the gospel and in respecting one another as brothers in Christ. We have all found the same gospel clearly in the Bible.
When we discuss unity and authority, let us be certain that we are making fair and accurate comparisons. Our Roman opponents will want to compare Roman theory with Protestant practices. That is not fair. We must compare theory with theory or practice with practice. In practice, neither group has the agreement we should have. Remember that while Rome is united organizationally, it is just as divided theologically as is Protestantism broadly understood. The institution of an infallible pope has not created theological unity in the Roman church. Rather, Roman theologians are constantly disagreeing with each other as to what the popes have taught, and as to whether those teachings are in fact proclaimed ex cathedra, and are therefore infallible. The modern state of the Roman church really has shown that the institution of the papacy has not made clear the necessary content of Christian truth. I suspect that every honest member of the Roman church will have to acknowledge that.
As early as the seventeenth century the Reformed theologian Francis Turretin noted the serious theological divisions in the Roman church and asked why the pope did not settle these disputes if his office was so effective.13 Such theological problems are certainly much greater today than in Turretin’s day and the question remains unanswered as to why the pope is so ineffective.13
We should not be surprised that there are divisions in the church. Christ and His apostles predicted that there would be. The Apostle Paul told us that such divisions are useful. He wrote: “No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval” (1 Corinthians 11:19). Differences should humble us and drive us back to the Scriptures to test all claims to truth. If we do not accept the Scriptures as our standard and judge, there is indeed no hope for unity.
The church must have a standard by which to judge all claims to truth. The church must have a standard of truth by which to reform and purify itself when divisions arise. The church cannot claim that it is that standard and defend that claim by appealing to itself. Such circular reasoning is not only unconvincing; it is self- defeating. Rome’s argument boils down to this: we must believe Rome because Rome says so.
The Bible tells us that the Word of God is the light that enables us to walk in the ways of God. Listen to Psalm 119:99, 100, 105, 130: “I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on Thy statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey Thy precepts. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path. The unfolding of Thy words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”
Roman opponents usually object to an appeal to Psalm 119 on the grounds that it speaks of the Word of God, not of the Bible, and therefore could include in its praise tradition as well as Scripture. But their argument is irrelevant to our use of Psalm 119, because we are using it to prove the clarity, not the sufficiency of Scripture! The Psalmist is saying here that the light of the Word shines so brightly and clearly that if I meditate on it and obey it, I am wiser than any teacher or elder. The simple can understand it. The Word is like a strong flashlight in a dark forest. It enables me to walk on the path without tripping.
We must listen to the Scriptures so that we will act as God’s Word teaches us to act. Consider the story of Paul in Berea, Acts 17:10- 12. Paul preached there in the synagogue and many Jews responded to his preaching with eagerness. We are told that after they listened to Paul each day they examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true. How did Paul react? Did he say that the Scriptures were not clear, and that only he as an apostle or the rabbis or the Sanhedrin could tell them what the Scriptures really meant? Or did he say that they should not expect to find the truth in the Scriptures because they were incomplete and needed to be supplemented by tradition? Or did he say that they were insulting his apostolic authority, and that they should simply submit to him as the infallible interpreter of the Bible? Or did Paul say that they should defer to Peter as the only one who could interpret the Bible? No! He did not say any of these things. The practice of the Bereans is praised in the Bible. They are called noble because they evaluated everything on the basis of the written Word of God.
If we would be faithful children of God, if we would be noble, we must proceed as the Bereans did. We must follow the example of Moses and Paul and our Lord Jesus. Do not rest your confidence on the wisdom of men who claim infallibility. Stand rather with the Apostle Paul who wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:6, "Do not go beyond what is written."
-- Ray (email@example.com), June 05, 2003.
I love to read the scriptures. I also love the Holy Catholic Church. There is no possibility of a clash between the two. It's not possible.
But the Holy Bible is susceptible to intemperate and even stupid private interpretations. Anyone who denies that is dreaming. There's only one fool-poof way to learn from the Bible. That's the Church founded by Christ on His apostles and the Rock, Peter.
With her no error can ever be taught to the faithful; about God, or about the spiritual life, or about morality.
But with a Bible alone, many odd beliefs spring up amidst seemingly devout people. We know of Americans who pick up rattlesnakes in their teeth! They think it's a biblical tenet they're proving, something or saintly!!!
David Koresh had a commune of crazy wives and other fanatical ''Christians'', with many children also held prisoners in Waco, Texas. Being indoctrinated in his ''Bible classes''; and the bottom line; everyone was brainwashed. All were made subject to a lunatic who called himself Jesus Christ.
He read the Bible to these poor people; with zany interpretations all pointing to himself as the Son of God! From a KJV Bible!
Jim Jones did the same thing. His followers were ''Bible Christians''. He ended up giving them all poisoned Kool-Aid to drink; a mass suicide of hundreds of adults and children! HOW?
He convinced everybody with words from the Bible! Reverend jim Jones, a fanatical protestant. The Bible is open to great misinterpretations by the most SILLY, the most evil fanatics.
No one knows what some beast is teaching others from the Holy Bible at this very moment.
Where is the only TRUE, trustworthy interpretation of scripture to be found; by ALL Christians? In the Holy Catholic Church. Nowhere but there!
-- eugene c. chavez (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 05, 2003.
This is a post of Paolo's; a large segment, out of which I underscore some beautiful things indeed.
Paolo: ''I would like to say, if I didn't Love the LORD with all my heart and If I didn't have this intense desire to do the will of God, Very lovely! I would of given up responding. I just want to say that I am nobody. I am not even smart. Every thing I have written came from the BIBLE, which is the full completed, infallible, awesome, supernatural and infinite wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Paolo goes on to say: ''Why do you think these scriptures I have given you, flow so sweet. The Holy Spirit guides me into truth and understanding. I take not one bit of credit.''
------------But, Sir. There's no credit for the Holy Spirit to be worried about, since you didn't manage to see any truth. This sentence, ''The Holy Spirit guides me into truth and understanding.'' couldn't be more wrong. It's a self-congratulating one; making your poor interpretations a work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, Paolo.
The Catholic catechism teaches us, ''God can neither deceive nor be deceived.'' And you are deceived in many key interpretations here. He was not behind you, I'm sorry.
But you came to the right place. If you wish to stay, you'll learn the truth. I believe the Holy Spirit is bringing you here. You have been granted His light to guide you HERE.
Into the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church. Welcome!
-- eugene c. chavez (email@example.com), June 05, 2003.
Your post acknowledges that Sola Scriptura denies any relevance of Tradition -- of the kind that, ironically, is quite clearly described in (unless you personally chose to ignore it):
2 Thessolonians 2:14 "Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold to the traditions which you have learned, whether by word or by our espistle"
OR in 2 Timothy 2:2: "And the things which thou hast heard of me from by many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men who shall be fit to teach others also".
and, even without Scriptural references, Tradition de facto exists. it predates the New Testament - it must do by definition as it will have begun as soon a Jesus began preaching - and much of what we have today is handed to us through Scripture and/or through Tradition. eg Real Presence is manifest in Scripture; but our Mass today also reflects the traditions that were practiced by the earliest Christians.
indeed the production of the New Testament can be seen as Tradition in action. nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus order the production of a book; He commanded that the Apostles should proselytise, and oral proselytisation proved very successful: a book might have been of somewhat limited value the time given illiteracy levels. Indeed, the Reformation is compelling evidence that Scripture at that point in time would have been counter-productive.
note also, the Gospels of Saints Mark and Luke were not contemporary accounts, but would have relied on a bridge of eyewitnesses between the time of Jesus and their writing (St Luke 1:2 confirms this). Tradition in action, Ray.
Tradition also post-dates the Scriptures. as those historically closest to Jesus' time began better and more fully to understand the meaning of Jesus' time on earth or, indeed, the Scriptures themselves.
Overall, your post (your own work?!?!?!) is laced with circularity and plain old protestant spin. eg the use of St Paul’s warning in Acts 20:29,30: your post neglects to mention that the “great hero”, the heretic Luther, would be an obvious candidate as a “wolf” in the Church. remember, he was a Catholic before he was turfed out on his ear, having blown a huge hole in the unity of our Church: “And of your own selves shall arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them”. Fits like a glove, wouldn’t you say.
I cannot be bothered going through the post in detail – especially as Eugene's first post of June, 5 quite simply rips the hearts and guts out of it in very short space – but there some specific bits of protestant spin that are just so laughable that I feel obliged to comment.
The post deliberately re-defines the concept of Christian Unity as to be satisfied by some degree of mutual respect. it is simply staggering that you can denigrate the requirements of unity in this way. how can there be any meaningful unity if some protestants are pro-Life and others are not? isn't death is anathema to life? i can give other examples of where, amongst the 30,000 or so different protestant denominations, fundamental differences exist.
You might also wish to consider the shenanigins between the International Council of Christian Churches, the World Council of Churches, the World Congress of Fundamentalists, the latter being in the habit of calling other protestant denominations "apostates". this is Pythonesque, Ray, so just who do you think you are kidding!!! the enduring feature of protestantism is its ability to fracture.
With respect, Ray, the "treatise" you have posted has all the theological value of a large steaming pile of horse manure. The only true statement occurs at the start where it is stated that “this is a solemn topic”. Everything else is made up of lies or half-truths. And we know that protestant propaganda that has no respect for its victim, just as the devil has no respect for any human being.
i strongly suggest that you spend time working through, and thinking about, Eugene’s post before you waste any more time twisting the Scriptures trying to prove your own point.
-- Ian (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 06, 2003.
Your post couldn't be more Christian and compassionate. It's a worthy debunking of this madness afflicting the countless exponents of junk scripture.
I use the term with nothing but the deepest reverence for the true Word of God. These self-confident ''evangelists'' who come here from time to time, presuming to teach Catholics, have no claim to biblical wisdom. It's hard to even get them to agree Our Lord was raised in Nazareth.
So you did Ray a spiritual favor, warning him of the futility of his belief. I returned to send an addendum to my June 5 posting.
I neglected to add in there; About the many ''Bible Christians'' who trust in their ability to discern all truth from the scriptures. Only because some minister has advised them to graze like sheep on Bible chapter and verse, most of them think they have the help of the Holy Spirit. Ask any one of them, the minister or the 10 year-old boy; he'll say the Holy Spirit gives him all the truth. Just reading it!
Well, David Koresh told his band he was under the wing of the Holy Spirit. That gave him authority. Jim Jones was ''Spirit filled''; and make no mistake, he emphasised his great gifts of the Holy Spirit to all his flock. Did any so-called Bible Christian ever worry the Holy Spirit might be absent, while he mulled over the Old and New Testaments? Heck, No! It's always understood!
-- eugene c. chavez (email@example.com), June 06, 2003.
May God give us brevity!
-- Skoobouy (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 06, 2003.
Eugene and Ian,
You are to be commended for your effort.
However, "Ray" did not deserve to benefit from your hard word of refutation. You see, he is a plagiarist. He would have us believe that he actually wrote that anti-Catholic treatise. In reality, like a bunch of other trash he has been sprinking on forum threads -- thus breaking the rules -- he copied-and-pasted an entire essay (except for the end-notes) without giving credit to the author.
The misguided Calvinist writer of the essay is Dr. Robert Godfrey, who lives in California but was "trained" at Gordon-Conwell Seminary in the East? Name sound familiar? That's were Dr. Scott Hahn and other excellent converts to Catholicism were taught. I believe that I have some tapes in which Hahn (or another Catholic) drubs Godfrey in a debate. Let's pray for Ray's and Godfrey's conversions.
God bless you.
-- J. F. Gecik (email@example.com), June 08, 2003.
I have read with interest your postings. I was a Protestant for 20 years and then 2 years ago the Lord led me QUITE obviously and supernaturally into the Church. He did so through scripture, through study of Church history and numerous other "coincidences" I won't go into right now.
I loved hearing you say that you are searching ONLY for truth. Praise God! Most people don't want the truth if it will rattle their cage.
Here are some things I found by reading the writings of the early church leaders which proved to me that the Catholic church is INDEED the Church Christ founded. (There are volumes of writings available on line. I will post a link for your benefit).
1) The early church leaders (fathers of the church) held to such beliefs as purgatory, veneration of the saints, Mary, the Eucharist. (I could provide zillions of quotes on these subjects)
2) They also held Peter to be the "head dude" if you will. Apostolic succesion is recorded by several church historians, i.e., the passing of the baton from one bishop to another. The bishops were appointed, not voted in, like Protestants, and leads right into - - you guessed it -- the Catholic Church.
3) You cannot find anywhere in church writings that the great leaders of the church such as Augustine, Jerome, Thomas Aquinas (men whom even Protestants revere) ever thought the church was apostate, or had fallen away from the church, on account of what we believe to be "Catholic" doctrines, but rather UPHELD these beliefs.
I'm out of time. I've got company! I'll write back later with some interesting links
-- Gail (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 08, 2003.
Hi again, Paolo:
Here are a few quotes from the early church leaders indicating (I think beyond a shadow of a doubt) the cohesiveness of the universal church, i.e., the Catholic Church. I only selected a few. There were many many more. There are literally volumes. Sorry for posting so many here but I was afraid you wouldn't follow the link. Here's the link to the whole enchilada! http://www.cin.org/users/jgallegos
Pay particular attention to St. Augustine's quote below. It is devasting to the Protestant notion that the early church "looked like them."
"For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: 'Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it !' The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: -- Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Iginus, Anicetus, Pius, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephirinus, Calixtus, Urbanus, Pontianus, Antherus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Xystus, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, Gaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiades, Sylvester, Marcus, Julius, Liberius, Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present Bishop Anastasius. In this order of succession no Donatist bishop is found. But, reversing the natural course of things, the Donatists sent to Rome from Africa an ordained bishop, who, putting himself at the head of a few Africans in the great metropolis, gave some notoriety to the name of "mountain men," or Cutzupits, by which they were known." Augustine,To Generosus,Epistle 53:2(A.D. 400),in NPNF1,I:298
"And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus saith the Scripture a certain place, 'I will appoint their bishops s in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.'... Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry...For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties." Clement,Epistle to Corinthians,42,44(A.D. 98),in ANF,I:16,17
"For what is the bishop but one who beyond all others possesses all power and authority, so far as it is possible for a man to possess it, who according to his ability has been made an imitator of the Christ Of God? And what is the presbytery but a sacred assembly, the counsellors and assessors of the bishop? And what are the deacons but imitators of the angelic powers, fulfilling a pure and blameless ministry unto him, as ... Anencletus and Clement to Peter?" Ignatius,To the Trallians,7(A.D. 110),in ANF,I:69
"Hegesippus in the five books of Memoirs which have come down to us has left a most complete record of his own views. In them he states that on a journey to Rome he met a great many bishops, and that he received the same doctrine from all. It is fitting to hear what he says after making some remarks about the epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. His words are as follows: 'And the church of Corinth continued in the true faith until Primus was bishop in Corinth. I conversed with them on my way to Rome, and abode with the Corinthians many days, during which we were mutually refreshed in the true doctrine. And when I had come to Rome I remained a there until Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. And Anicetus was succeeded by Soter, and he by Eleutherus. In every succession, and in every city that is held which is preached by the law and the prophets and the Lord.' " Hegesippus,Memoirs,fragment in Eusebius Ecclesiatical History,4:22 (A.D. 180),in NPNF2,I:198-199
"True knowledge is [that which consists in] the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place, and has come even unto us, being guarded and preserved without any forging of Scriptures, by a very complete system of doctrine, and neither receiving addition nor [suffering] curtailment [in the truths which she believes]; and [it consists in] reading [the word of God] without falsification, and a lawful and diligent exposition in harmony with the Scriptures, both without danger and without blasphemy; and [above all, it consists in] the pre-eminent gift of love, which is more precious than knowledge, more glorious than prophecy, and which excels all the other gifts [of God]." Irenaeus,Against Heresies,4:33:8(A.D. 180),in ANF,I:508
"And that you may still be more confident, that repenting thus truly there remains for you a sure hope of salvation, listen to a tale? which is not a tale but a narrative, handed down and committed to the custody of memory, about the Apostle John. For when, on the tyrant's death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit." Clement of Alexandria,Who is the rich man that shall be save?,42(A.D. 210),in ANF,II:603
"We are not to credit these men, nor go out from the first and the ecclesiastical tradition; nor to believe otherwise than as the churches of God have by succession transmitted to us." Origen,Commentary on Matthew (post A.D. 244),in FOC,407
"Our Lord, whose precepts and admonitions we ought to observe, describing the honour of a bishop and the order of His Church, speaks in the Gospel, and says to Peter: 'I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' Thence, through the changes of times and successions, the ordering of bishops and the plan of the Church flow onwards; so that the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers." Cyprian,To the Lapsed,1(A.D. 250),in ANF,V:305
"Therefore the power of remitting sins was given to the apostles, and to the churches which they, sent by Christ, established, and to the bishops who succeeded to them by vicarious ordination." Firmilian,To Cyprian,Epistle 75:16(A.D. 256),in ANF,V:394
"It is my purpose to write an account of the successions of the holy apostles, as well as of the times which have elapsed from the days of our Saviour to our own; and to relate the many important events which are said to have occurred in the history of the Church; and to mention those who have governed and presided over the Church in the most prominent parishes, and those who in each generation have proclaimed the divine word either orally or in writing... When Nero was in the eighth year of his reign, Annianus succeeded Mark the evangelist in the administration of the parish of Alexandria... Linus ... was Peter's successor in the episcopate of the church there ... Clement also, who was appointed third bishop of the church at Rome." Eusebius,Ecclesiastical History,1:1,2:24,(A.D. 325),in NPNF2,I:81 "We must strive therefore in common to keep the faith which has come down to us to-day, through the Apostolic Succession. " Pope Celestine[regn A.D. 422-432],To the Council of Ephesus,Epistle 18 (A.D. 431),in NPNF2,XIV:220
"Examples there are without number: but to be brief, we will take one, and that, in preference to others, from the Apostolic See, so that it may be clearer than day to every one with how great energy, with how great zeal, with how great earnestness, the blessed successors of the blessed apostles have constantly defended the integrity of the religion which they have once received." Vincent of Lerins,Commonitories,6:15(A.D. 434),in NPNF2,XI:135
THE CHURCH -- QUOTES REGARDING THE CHURCH AND EVEN NAMING THE CHURCH AS THE "CATHOLIC CHURCH."
"For the blessed apostle Paul himself,following the rule of his predecessor John, writes only by name to seven Churches in the following order--to the Corinthians afirst...there is a second to the Corinthians and to the Thessalonians, yet one Church is recognized as being spread over the entire world...Howbeit to Philemon one, to Titus one, and to Timothy two were put in writing...to be in honour however with the Catholic Church for the ordering of ecclesiastical discipline...one to the Laodicenes, another to the Alexandrians, both forged in Paul's name to suit the heresy of Marcion, and several others, which cannot be received into the Catholic Church; for it is not fitting that gall be mixed with honey. The Epistle of Jude no doubt, and the couple bearing the name of John, are accepted by the Catholic Church...But of Arsinous,called also Valentinus,or of Militiades we receive nothing at all." The fragment of Muratori (A.D. 177),in NE,124
" In his[ie. Origen] first book on Matthew's Gospel, maintaining the Canon of the Church, he testifies that he knows only four Gospels, writing as follows: Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language. The second is by Mark, who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a son, saying, 'The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, saluteth you, and so doth Marcus, my son.' And the third by Luke, the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts. Last of all that by John." Origen,Commentary on Matthew,fragment in Eusebius Church History,6:25,3(A.D. 244),in NPNF2,I:273
"The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means, and according to their usage--I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew-- whilst that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter's whose interpreter Mark was. For even Luke's form of the Gospel men unsually ascribe to Paul." Tertullian,Against Marcion,4:5(A.D. 212),in ANF,III:350
"Learn also diligently, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testaments, and what those of the New." Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechetical Lectures,4:33(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:26
"I beseech you to bear patiently, if I also write, by way of remembrance, of matters with which you are acquainted, influenced by the need and advantage of the Church. In proceeding to make mention of these things [ie. the canon] ,I shall adopt, to comment my undertaking, the pattern of Luke...to reduce into order for themselves the books termed apocryphal, and to mix them up with the divinely inspired Scripture, concerning which we have been fully persuaded, as they who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, delivered to the fathers; it seemed good to me also, having been urged thereto by true brethren, and having learned from the beginning, to set before you the books included in the Canon...." Athanasius,Festal Letters,39 (A.D. 397),in NPNF2,IV:551-552
"Likewise it has been said: Now indeed we must treat of the divine Scriptures, what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she ought to shun.The order of the Old Testament begins here: Genesis one book, Exodus one book, Leviticus one book, Numbers one book, Deuteronomy one book, Josue Nave one book, Judges one book, Ruth one book, Kings four books, Paraleipomenon two books, Psalms one book, Solomon three books, Proverbs one book, Ecclesiastes one book, Canticle of Canticles one book, likewise Wisdom one book, Ecclesiasticus one book. Likewise the order of the Prophets. Isaias one book, Jeremias one book,with Ginoth, that is, with his lamentations, Ezechiel one book,Daniel one book, Osee one book, Micheas one book, Joel one book, Abdias one book, Jonas one book, Nahum one book, Habacuc one book, Sophonias one book, Aggeus one book, Zacharias one book, Malachias one book. Likewise the order of the histories. Job one book, Tobias one book, Esdras two books, Esther one book, Judith one book, Machabees two books. Likewise the order of the writings of the New and eternal Testament, which only the holy and Catholic Church supports. Of the Gospels, according to Matthew one book, according to Mark one book, according to Luke one book, according to John one book. The Epistles of Paul [the apostle] in number fourteen. To the Romans one, to the Corinthians two, to the Ephesians one, to the Thessalonians two, to the Galatians one, to the Phillipians one, to the Colossians one, to Timothy two, to Titus one, to Philemon one, to the Hebrews one. Likewise the Apocalypse of John, one book. And the Acts of the Apostles one book. Likewise the canonical epistles in number seven. Of Peter the Apostle two epistles, of James the Apostle one epistle, of John the Apostle one epistle, of another John, the presbyter, two epistles, of Jude the Zealut, the Apostle one epistle." Pope Damasus(regn A.D. 366-384),Decree of,Council of Rome,The Canon of Scripture(A.D. 382),in DEN,33
"Besides the canonical Scriptures, nothing shall be read, in the church under the title of divine writings.'. The canonical books are:- --Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, the four books of Kings, the two books of Paraleipomena (Chronicles), Job, the Psalms of David, the five books of Solomon, the twelve books of the (Minor) Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobias, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees. The books of the New Testament are:---the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles of S. Paul, one Epistle of S. Paul to the Hebrews, two Epistles of S. Peter, three Epistles of S. John, the Epistle of S. James, the Epistle of S. Jude, the Revelation of S. John. Concerning the confirmation of this canon, the transmarine Church shall be consulted." Council of Hippo, Canon 36 (A.D. 393), in HCC,2:400
"[It has been decided] that nothing except the Canonical Scriptures should be read in the church under the name of the Divine Scriptures. But the Canonical Scriptures are:Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Josue, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paraleipomenon two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon, twelve books of the Prophets, Isaias, Jeremias, Daniel, Ezechiel, Tobias, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees. Moreover, of the New Testament: Four books of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles one book, thirteen epistles of Paul the Apostle, one of the same to the Hebrews, two of Peter, three of John, one of James, one of Jude, the Apocalypse of John." Council of Carthage III,Canon 47(A.D. 397),in DEN,39-40
"The authority of our books [Scriptures], which is confirmed by agreement of so many nations, supported by a succession of apostles, bishops, and councils, is against you." Augustine,Reply to Faustus the Manichean,13:5 (c.A.D. 400),in NPNF1,IV:201
"If any one shall say, or shall believe, that other Scriptures, besides those which the Catholic church has received, are to be esteemed of authority, or to be venerated, let him be anathema." Council of Toledo,Canon 12 (A.D. 400),in FOC,1:445
"A brief addition shows what books really are received in the canon. These are the desiderata of which you wished to be informed verbally: of Moses five books, that is, of Genesis, of Exodus, of Leviticus, of Numbers, of Deuteronomy, and Josue, of Judges one book, of Kings four books, also Ruth, of the Prophets sixteen books, of Solomon five books, the Psalms. Likewise of the histories, Job one book, of Tobias one book, Esther one, Judith one, of the Machabees two, of Esdras two, Paralipomenon two books. Likewise of the New Testament: of the Gospels four books, of Paul the Apostle fourteen epistles, of John three, epistles of Peter two, an epistle of Jude, an epistle of James, the Acts of the Apostles, the Apocalypse of John." Pope Innocent(regn A.D. 401-417),Epistle to Exsuperius Bishop of Toulose,6:7,13(A.D. 405),in DEN,42
"Item, that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in the church under the name of divine Scripture. But the Canonical Scriptures are as follows: Genesis....The Revelation of John...for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in the church." Council of Carthage,African Code, Canon 24 (A.D. 419),in NPNF2,XIV:453-454
"The book of the Apocalypse which John the wise wrote, and which has been honoured by the approval of the fathers." Cyril of Alexandria,Worship and Adoration in Spirit and in Truth,5 (A.D. 425),in FOC,I:445
"Now, in regard to the canonical Scriptures, he must follow the judgment of the greater number of catholic churches; and among these, of course, a high place must be given to such as have been thought worthy to be the seat of an apostle and to receive epistles. Accordingly, among the canonical Scriptures he will judge according to the following standard: to prefer those that are received by all the catholic churches to those which some do not receive. Among those, again, which are not received by all, he will prefer such as have the sanction of the greater number and those of greater authority, to such as are held by the smaller number and those of less authority. If, however, he shall find that some books are held by the greater number of churches, and others by the churches of greater authority (though this is not a very likely thing to happen), I think that in such a case the authority on the two sides is to be looked upon as equal.Now the whole canon of Scripture on which we say this judgment is to be exercised, is contained in the following books:--Five books of Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; one book of Joshua the son of Nun; one of Judges; one short book called Ruth, which seems rather to belong to the beginning of Kings; next, four books of Kings, and two of Chronicles --these last not following one another, but running parallel, so to speak, and going over the same ground. The books now mentioned are history, which contains a connected narrative of the times, and follows the order of the events. There are other books which seem to follow no regular order, and are connected neither with the order of the preceding books nor with one another, such as Job, and Tobias, and Esther, and Judith, and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Ezra, which last look more like a sequel to the continuous regular history which terminates with the books of Kings and Chronicles. Next are the Prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David; and three books of Solomon, viz., Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes. For two books, one called Wisdom and the other Ecclesiasticus, are ascribed to Solomon from a certain resemblance of style, but the most likely opinion is that they were written by Jesus the son of Sirach. Still they are to be reckoned among the prophetical books, since they have attained recognition as being authoritative. The remainder are the books which are strictly called the Prophets: twelve separate books of the prophets which are connected with one another, and having never been disjoined, are reckoned as one book; the names of these prophets are as follows:-- Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; then there are the four greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel. The authority of the Old Testament is contained within the limits of these forty-four books. That of the New Testament, again, is contained within the following:--Four books of the Gospel, according to Matthew, according to Mark, according to Luke, according to John; fourteen epistles of the Apostle Paul--one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Colossians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews: two of Peter; three of John; one of Jude; and one of James; one book of the Acts of the Apostles; and one of the Revelation of John." Augustine,On Christian Doctrine,2:8,12(A.D. 426),in NPNF1,II:538-539
Be careful, Paolo, who you get your history lessons from. Read the writings for yourself and PLEASE do not rely on Protestant historians for the "truth." They won't tell you.
Here's another great link where you can find VOLUMES AND VOLUMES AND VOLUMES of church writings on line, not just selected quotes. http://www.ccel.org/fathers2 Click on "Church Fathers." It is categorized by centuries so that you can start at the beginning and work your way through the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. generations of Christianity. What an exciting adventure to read the writings of our ancestors!! What a treasure!
I am really SORRY for this long long post. I know everyone hates it, but I can see from your posts that you really do just want to know the truth. I was a Protestant for 20 years. When I began to read the writings of our ancestors it was like the proverbial rug was ripped out from under me. I couldn't sleep. I had to study, study, study. I quit working for 8 months so I could devote myself completely to the study of the early church. What I found was that the early church was completely, unequivocally, doctrinally and apostolically CATHOLIC!
-- Gail (email@example.com), June 08, 2003.
try "simply electric".
thank you for this information. it is of immense value. i, for one, will be studying it hard.
may God bless you.
-- Ian (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 12, 2003.
Paolo gave us this typical ''Bible Only'' rhetoric:
''IF GOD KNEW THERE WOULD BE ONE TRUE CHURCH, HE WOULD OF TOLD US. AND I AM NOT SPEAKING ABOUT THE TRUE BELIEVERS (the Elect) WHO ARE THE INVISIBLE SPIRITUAL CHURCH, WHICH IS SCATTERED ALL OVER THE WORLD. THIS CHURCH, WHICH IS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST, THE GATES OF HELL CAN'T PREVAIL.''
Today's news from Europe:
Hundreds of parishioners in the Danish village of Taarbaek have come to the defence of their pastor after he was suspended for not believing in the Christian God and have demanded his reinstatement.''
The ''Bible only idiots of this parish (not Catholics) demand their ''pastor'' back. He denies God, and they all read ther Bibles! He'll have a steady job among such lunatics; and all of them think they have guidance directly from the Holy Spirit!
Earth to Paolo & friends: this is ''Bible'' wisdom?
-- eugene c. chavez (email@example.com), June 12, 2003.
Hey Ian, I AM SO HAPPY you enjoyed that lengthy post. I forgot all about this thread till you and Eugene brought it back up to the top. Be sure and check out the link in the first paragraph -- IT IS AWESOME!
-- Gail (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 13, 2003.
"IF GOD KNEW THERE WOULD BE ONE TRUE CHURCH, HE WOULD OF TOLD US"
Yes, I believe He would have told us. I believe He did ...
"Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in ONE SPIRIT, with ONE MIND STRIVING TOGETHER for the faith of the gospel" (Philippians 1:27)
"ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism" (Ephesians 4:5)
"The congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul" (Acts 4:32)
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in ONE BODY" (Colossians 3:15)
"For just as we have many members in ONE BODY and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are ONE BODY in Christ" (Romans 12:4)
"For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are ONE BODY" (1 Corinthians 12:12)
"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into ONE BODY" (1 Corinthians 12:13)
"now there are many members, but one body" (1 Corinthians 12:20)
"There is ONE BODY and one Spirit" (Ephesians 4:4)
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in ONE BODY" (Colossians 3:15)
"that they may be ONE even as We are; that they may all be ONE; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be ONE in Us" (John 17:21)
"But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1:8)
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires" (2 Tim 4:3)
"make my joy complete by being of the SAME MIND, maintaining the same love, UNITED in spirit, intent on ONE purpose" (Phil 2:2)
"For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not UNITED by faith in those who heard" (Heb 4:2)
-- Paul (PaulCyp@cox.net), June 13, 2003.
And don't forget St. Paul's stern warning against divisions:
For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not mere men? 1 Corinthians 3:4
-- Gail (email@example.com), June 14, 2003.
"Paolo" says: For example, in Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 God speaks of seven churches that were in existence at the time the Bible was being finished. Yet a few hundred years later, all of these churches had disappeared. Indeed, afterwards for many hundreds of years there was no Christian witness of any kind in the cities wherein these churches had been located.
This seems to be untrue. These churches (mostly in modern Turkey) have a long history of survival from apostolic times (though some of the towns declined or were destroyed by the Turks more than a millenium later). Here are the Catholic Encyclopedia articles on Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea.
-- Stephen (StephenLynn999@msn.com), June 28, 2003.
Paolo's historical source may have been nonsense such as this site.
-- Stephen (StephenLynn999@msn.com), June 28, 2003.
"The bishopric [of Thyatira] was suffragan to Sardis as late as the tenth century; ... it is not known when it disappeared." [Catholic Encyclopedia]
Congrats, Stephen, on a fine piece of research. It seems that "Paolo" needs a fresh education.
-- J. F. Gecik (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 28, 2003.
To Gail, Paul, and any other that has successfully defended our wonderful and everlasting Catholic faith: Amen!!!!!! Go apologists!
I am a 19 yr old developing apologist that is studying piano at the University of MN, and I am immersed in Protestant (especially Calvinistic) false doctrine. I know what it is like intimately to experience headache doctrine and interpretation. I was shaken by the Protestant version of the Doctrine of Election, which helped spawn an intense passion for Truth in the Church. I have to defend my faith every day from attacks. But it is a wonderful feeling, and I feel so blessed to be a part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church!
I could add more evidence from early Church History, but Gail and others defended and upheld the Truth. So, instead of that, I just wanted to praise your knowldege and zeal! I need more of you guys here at school. Thanks for your help and explanations
-- Andrew Staupe (email@example.com), April 17, 2004.
oh, and btw:
What happened to Paolo? I guess the truth "made him disappear"
-- Andrew Staupe (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 17, 2004.
or maybe he got banned.
-- jacob (email@example.com), April 19, 2004.
Or bored... either way, he hasnt been here for a year.
-- ZAROVE (ZAROFF3@juno.com), April 19, 2004.
Wow, thanks Andrew!! I needed that word of encouragement.
And may the Lord bless you in every conceivable manner. I am blessed to read your post, and to see how zealous are the young in the Church. We need you!
-- Gail (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 19, 2004.