Does the Catholic Church contain the fullness of Truth?

33 comments

catholic-answersI just wanted to remind everyone of a great resource about the Catholic Church.  Every Catholic should have this handy and I invite all non-Catholics to read it. It’s a great short write-up by Catholic Answers called “Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth.”

It only takes a few minutes to read and it gives a clear, summarized perspective on why the Catholic Church contains the fullness of Christian Truth. It covers the Catholics Church’s unbroken history, the four marks of the true Church, the sacraments, the purpose of life, and more.  It’s not in depth at all.  But it at least scratches the surface in order to reveal a very solid foundation.

If you’re a Catholic, you should know this stuff.  I try and read it a few times a year just as a good refresher.

I also keep a few of these (you can get the article in a booklet too) by my front door for those times when the door-to-door evangelizers come a-knockin!  Such visitors are often surprised that the information they’ve been told about the Catholic Church in their training is totally inaccurate (what a shock!).

And if you’re not Catholic, this write-up will go a long way in helping you understand why Catholics believe the way they do.   I guarantee you’ll learn something (and probably a lot) you didn’t know.

You can read it all here.  Enjoy!

PS – the website has an awesome forum as well – for those that like a discussion.

33 comments Add comment

Colin H. March 23, 2009 at 9:16 pm

I have read this article before. If is well worth your time. I could probably use a refresher on it as well.

Cindy March 24, 2009 at 7:19 am

“Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth” is a wonderful little book that I had forgotten about. I am giving it to my protestant husband who has been asking an awful lot of questions about our church lately. We’ll continue to pray for his conversion. Thanks, Matthew.

Seán March 24, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Yes it does. Praying for the Holy Father daily to give him courage against all those who wish to see him falter (and there are many)

Take care
Seán

Kevin N. March 24, 2009 at 1:39 pm

I advise everyone who is catholic or is looking to be of catholic faith should look at this website and research what is in your heart what is truth and what is of false doctrine. I’m sorry to have barged in like this but I feel it in my heart to tell you that you also have other catholic priest and nuns witnessing against the catholic order. Read for yourselves their eye witness accounts, and pray that you’ll come with a holy and open mind to what they are testifying. God bless.

http://www.whateverycatholicshouldknow.com/

Matthew Warner March 24, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Kevin, thanks for your input. In the spirit of open discussion I am allowing your comments and link you provided.

However, I’m not sure how responsible it is to do so knowing that the site you provided is full of outright misinformation and lies.

It took me literally one click to find something that was a total and complete distortion of what the Church teaches. It’s one thing to make an honest mistake about what the Church teaches. But to build a malicious, anti-catholic site such as the one you linked to that has obviously decided to print lies about what the Church teaches is downright sinful. And they will answer to God one day for it.

I will give you the chance to remove it if you would like? You are now also responsible for spreading such misinformation and you will answer for it also.

If you have a valid point that is an honest disagreement about the Catholic Faith…please make it. But what you are doing is very, very wrong.

I ask you to seriously reconsider the gravity of what you do when you intentionally lead others astray by directing them to very irresponsible sites like this one.

ALL: Just a reminder to always check your sources when reading stuff online. This site (posted above by Kevin) is a perfect example of the misinformation and lies that are out there. I’m not saying that at all because I disagree with what the site says, honest disagreement is fine. But when they intentionally lie to make their point – that’s dangerous and gravely sinful.

Kevin N. March 24, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Are you a priest Matthew and/or did you have any experience of being a priest.

And if not… what makes you so sure they’re not telling the truth since a lot
of them were in the priesthood for over twenty years and have experienced
such things. If they are wrong in what they are saying then the truth will come
out one way or another.

Thats all I have to say about it.

Matthew Warner March 24, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Kevin, it’s not a matter of interpretation, opinion or whether or not I’m a priest. It’s matter of blatant facts vs misinformation.

Here is a snippet from the first paragraph of the very first page I clicked to:

…during the Mass, the priest actually changes, by his own power, the wafer and wine presented on the altar…

This is blatantly false. The Church does not anywhere teach, nor has it ever, that it happens by the power of the priest. That’s the FIRST THING I READ. At further glancing through the site it is easy to see that the site you provided is FULL of such things. It’s all lies and a waste of time.

The entire site is riddled with efforts to dispute things that the Catholic church does not even teach. All the while it presents it as “the real story” on what the Church teaches. Give me a break. It would be entirely laughable if it wasn’t such a serious matter to lie to people intentionally about matters like this.

Do you endorse and support what this website you provided says?

It always makes me giggle a bit when somebody says that since some priest or nun decided to leave the Catholic Church well then THEY must know what they’re talking about. Why don’t we try lookin at the facts ourselves.

If you want to truly learn what the Church teaches, then i suggest doing so from a source that at least has the integrity to tell the truth about it and debate it honestly.

Matthew Warner March 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm

As a side note, the entire site you provided starts with a premise that is entirely unsupported as well regarding the Bible and their interpretation of it.

Their entire goal is to point out how their fallible interpretation of a Catholic book (the Bible) doesn’t jive with their misinterpretation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (along with their lies about what the Church teaches).

It makes no sense.

See this post here for more: http://www.fallibleblogma.com/index.php/2009/03/04/why-do-catholics-believe-in-things-not-in-the-bible/

DHunt March 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm

30,000 Protestant Denominations?

Who is the author of division and chaos?

“If one thing is clear, it’s that there is one, single, visible Church that Jesus founded. This multitude of competing, conflicting denominations is no sign of God’s work; therefore, it must be the work of the Evil One. Somewhere in the midst of these 30,000 denominations, there is one true church, and the rest are in sin and rebellion.”

“Peter said that no prophecy of the Scripture is for private interpretation. This is why you have 30,000 different Protestant denominations that all believe differently from one another. This alone should give you a clue that Protestantism is not the true Church of Jesus Christ.”

“Christian” churches have splintered, and splintered, and splintered, now into the tens of thousands.

P.S.
Thanks Matt for a great blog.I really enjoy it!

Reese March 24, 2009 at 4:47 pm

In response to Kevin N:

One of the greatest things about the Catholic Church is that it is so easy to find what faithful Catholics believe. The Catechism of the Catholic Church lays this out beautifully and it can be found at http://www.nccbuscc.org/catechism/

I was a convert from 24 years of evengelical, Bible-believing protestantism and I read through the website that you listed earlier, I used to believe some of those things. But then I realized my beliefs about what was true and what was untrue were contingent one primary thing…The Bible, or rather how I interpreted it. I gauged what truth was by what I read in the Bible. Then I realized the Bible itself doesn’t claim this type of authority, as a matter of fact, it says in 1 Timothy 3:15 “you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” The Church is the pillar of foundation of truth…so the question follows, what Church?

Well, you know by my response that I believe I found it, but let me leave you with this, in response to nuns and priests leaving the Catholic Church…just because there are people that leave, it doesn’t make the Church or what she teaches untrue…look at John 6:51, “…many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.” Many disciples left Jesus, the source of all truth and life!!! I bet those disciples tried to convince others to leave just as they did…

thanks

Matthew Warner March 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Beautifully put, Reese. You said it much better than me!

Reese March 24, 2009 at 5:54 pm

CORRECTION: In my previous response I accidently put John 6:51, but I meant John 6:66…but I would suggest reading the entire chapter while you’re at it, it is incredibly powerful ;)

Cade_One April 3, 2009 at 1:14 pm

I’d be interested to hear what Kevin’s response is to the many protestant pastors who are leaving their protestant faith traditions and becoming Catholic. He seems to be stuck on this “you also have other catholic priests and nuns witnessing against the catholic order.” Based on his logic, Kevin would have to accept that any pastor, who is of his protestant denomination, that becomes Catholic Christian proves his faith tradition wrong. But, Kevin won’t adhere to his own reasoning.

Kevin N. April 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I’m from a non-denominational church that goes by what the early first century church did and what the Bible says is to worship in Spirit and Truth.
We don’t try to defend the word of God because we shouldn’t have to.

Our leadership goes as far as Teacher, Elders (Bishops), Administrator, and Pastor. Pastor has no authority in the direction of the church, Elders and congregation do. Pastor gives the message only. There are no idols, statues, saints, market place, pulpit, elder chairs, oils, smell, communion tables or any other traditional things in the building. We are about four thousand members that meet in four worship services and we have over four hundred small study groups every week that meet in the homes that average ten to eighteen people per group.
I can’t speak for every church in our area but the people show how hungry they are wanting to hear the word like it was the first time hearing it. We’re the fastest growing in our area because of it. It’s not anything to boast, NO, don’t get me wrong. The largest numbers coming in are Catholics and please I don’t mean anything negative by that, it’s because we’re located in a large Catholic community area. They’re loving and great people but ignorant in the word. I would ask them how is it that you don’t know these things written in the Bible?
Most answers were, they discouraged us from reading the word because we would misinterpret it and only they can know the real truth in them. So sad.

Cade_One April 4, 2009 at 9:49 am

Kevin,

I used to attend one of these non-Denominational (denominational) churches when I was in College. I was a member of this Church for about four years. I met a lot of good Christian friends while there. It is not my intention to bash the non-Denominational churches, in fact, they do a great job of bringing non-Christians to Christ.

You say that you do not have “idols, statues, saints, market place, pulpit, elder chairs, oils, smell, communion tables or any other traditional things in the building.” You may not have these things in the traditional sense, but instead you have idols in the form of musicians, your pulpit is a podium that may rise out of the stage, your smells are coffee beans brewing as folks enter, your communion tables are replaced with donuts, and you market better than Starbucks (you might even have a Starbucks in your church).

Some of the things that attracted me to the non-Denominational Church was the rock-praise, big screens, skits, and coffee and donuts, which were all very appealing to my materialistic lifestyle. But I soon found the message to be watered down. And every time I would invite some friends, the sermon was about tithing. As my faith matured, so did my lack of desire for worldly things. The Lord led me to a deeper faith with Him.

I refer to these churches as passer-through churches. People come for a while and then move onto or back to other more mainstream faith traditions.

Cade_One April 4, 2009 at 10:13 am

“I’m from a non-denominational church that goes by what the early first century church did and what the Bible says is to worship in Spirit and Truth. We don’t try to defend the word of God because we shouldn’t have to.”

What do you mean by this? Can you give examples of how your church is like the early first century church? What is your definition of worshiping in the Spirit and Truth?

Oh and Kevin, it seems that you have a misunderstanding that Catholic Christians worship idols and statues, which proves that you know little about what Catholics really believe. What are your thoughts about our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters? Do you think that they too worship what we refer to as icons?

Kevin N. April 7, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Let’s look at the first paragraph from your response.

“I used to attend one of these non-Denominational (denominational) churches when I was in College. I was a member of this Church for about four years. I met a lot of good Christian friends while there. It is not my intention to bash the non-Denominational churches, in fact, they do a great job of bringing non-Christians to Christ”

“they do a great job of bringing non-Christians to Christ”

Is it my understanding that you are referring to the unsaved or people that have left a church and are now wanting to know more of Christ and being nurtured by members of that church. And once they have come to the awareness of their sins and need of a Savior they want to start a new life with Christ and are baptized (immersed) into Christ.
If that person continues to follow the ways of Christ, to be Christ-like, and is actively pursuing spiritual disciplines to mature in their faith (prayer, Bible Study, service, giving etc.) I would agree that they are as you put it, doing a great job of bringing non-Christians to Christ.

Kevin N. April 7, 2009 at 1:12 pm

By the way, as a young person in your college year could you honestly tell me if you were looking to follow in Christ’s footsteps or were you just looking for a neat place to hangout because they had cool kids like you and the music was great? I know when I first went to a Christian church (non-denominational) I was very skeptical because of my up-bringing as a Catholic, (well at least I thought I was when I was still participating in the sacraments) but had no personal grasp of the scriptures-just your basic Catechism from childhood thru Jr. High. But when I joined a Bible class and learned the scriptures it was like a whole knew learning experience for me. Why didn’t my Catholic church/school teach me the meaning of scriptures when I was going thru each grade level? What an eye opener that was (and still is) for me.

After proofing and reproofing and prayer with the teacher, I finally came to the conviction of the sin in my life and what I had to do to walk with Jesus. That was over 30 years ago. I continue to search the Word with humility and realize my understanding of God grows as I walk with Him, but I keep my eyes on Jesus and He hasn’t failed me yet. If it would change somehow by different leadership in the word then I have a choice to confront them with it and reproof it thru scripture and if they won’t change then I would have to pray about it to see if it really contradicts with scripture or is it an old traditional way in me that won’t change.

Kevin N. April 7, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Jesus hates tradition in the church. It gets in the way of his purpose in winning people to Christ.

“You say that you do not have “idols, statues, saints, market place, pulpit, elder chairs, oils, smell, communion tables or any other traditional things in the building.” You may not have these things in the traditional sense, but instead you have idols in the form of musicians, your pulpit is a podium that may rise out of the stage, your smells are coffee beans brewing as folks enter, your communion tables are replaced with donuts, and you market better than Starbucks (you might even have a Starbucks in your church)”.

I like that, it sounded so poetic when you wrote that. You are so absolutely right that fast growing churches often have music and coffee brewing smells in their churches. [Oh by the way I wasn’t able to see that video link, I’ll go back and check again later because the link was disconnected at the time.]

Kevin N. April 7, 2009 at 1:13 pm

As long a man lives and breathes there will be a tendency to idol worship. Be it a statue, be it a praise band, be it coffee or bingo. Thankfully, Jesus shows us over and over again that He looks at the heart. Just as there are those who use contemporary or seeker style worship to either claim their own glory, or to worship the package, it is idol worship. But I know where I’m at, there are a staff of people who could be making a lot more money doing something else and instead they pour themselves out to see people fall in love with Jesus. If it means brewing some coffee to relax someone who has never set foot in a church before, we’ll brew it. If it means explaining the tears they cry because they have never experienced God in a personal way before (even though they have always gone to church, be it Catholic or otherwise…) we’ll keep explaining. If it means serving donuts so that rushing families can have a few extra minutes to get the kids to church, well we’ll keep the donuts coming.

Kevin N. April 7, 2009 at 1:13 pm

We have rows of recovering addicts in the front of our services. We have grandsons baptizing their grandmothers. We have people learning to express their hearts in prayer, their words, their heart, for the first time in their adult life because all they’ve ever believed is that they were incapable of constructing a prayer on their own without a memorized version written for them. We have teens and college age people begging their friends to come with them, and that was something I would have never been excited about when I was their age. We have no pulpit at all, and our pastors are about as transparent as they can get. None of them puff themselves up or pretend to have all the answers. In fact, they consistently tell us to search the Word on our own. To look and see what truth is. Never, that we can never understand it on our own.

Kevin N. April 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Keep in mind, we don’t view our building as some sacred holy ground. “We” are the living sanctuary where God indwells. Our reverence for Him is expressed in worshipping Him only and by loving the people He puts in our path. I would have to agree with you if the musicians are out for their own glory and not for the glory of Christ or if people in the congregation were uplifting them instead of God thru the music. Sure! I understand that. But that could happen to an old man from any congregation that only comes to hear granny play them pipes the way she does! My point is that we don’t hold these things as sacred and holy and must be part of worship. We don’t! And if people do then they’re sadly mistaken. You won’t be seeing on the history channel people being trampled over by a coffee bean being carried off on a high platform going to worship or you must bury St. Coffee Bean in front of your yard in order to sell your house quickly or you won’t see St. Coffee Bean necklaces around your neck to help you pray in repetition along with St. Coffee Bean, you won’t see a St. Coffee Bean on your dash board to help you thru safe passage, oh wait! that may not be such a bad idea after all because it could keep you awake. Hee! Hee! I hope you get my point. None of these things can help you.

Kevin N. April 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Man is man and he is going to challenge us and continue to make dreadful mistakes all thru the ages just like they did after the last Apostle died and later after a few centuries the first church when it had it’s problems of old Jewish ways creeping back into the church which caused others to break away long before the name Catholic was introduced.

When I talk of worshiping in the Spirit and Truth I’m simply quoting Jesus when he met the Samaritan woman at the well. There are profound messages in that parable that I hope you’ll have an open mind to.

Old ways of how the Pharisees were practicing of the Law and how they went about preserving it. (Adding to the Law that hindered their own people from salvation). And old ways of how the Samaritans were worshiping on their mountain in their own temple that they built for their own because they were denied or look down at when entering Jerusalem’ temple to worship.

Kevin N. April 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Jesus said: Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth; (DIRECT CONTACT) for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

No more worshiping in temples or buildings of stature made of Man that claim if you do not practice or is not apart of our holy church and receive this type of worship (MASS), then you’re not part of The Christ Church and cannot participate in the communion with us. (meaning we’re outsiders of Christ) Sounds very familiar to the old Pharisees view don’t you think. No more sacrificing lambs or confessing to the priest for the atonement of their sins, No more authority ruling over one another or other churches. No keeping with traditions of old for the sake from changing to the new way of worshiping God.

Kevin N. April 7, 2009 at 1:15 pm

We are his church, are bodies is his temple, his presence is not in a temple or building made of Man but in us. When Christ died for us he died once and for all on the cross. (Never to worship in a manner to keep repeating his death) The temple curtain that separated Man from God is now removed. We now have direct SPIRITUAL contact to God without any mediator to go thru. For he alone knows of our sins, and we can rejoice in him to remove them when we are in Christ.

The unifying factor that designated early local churches was the Gospel. These local churches believed and taught the Gospel of God’s grace. That Gospel was for them “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” Faith alone, consistent with the Scriptures, was the means by which the believers entered into the salvation purchased by the perfect life and sacrifice of Christ Jesus.

Kevin N. April 7, 2009 at 1:15 pm

We have identified the true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ by two marks—they hold to the sole authority of Scriptures and to the true Gospel. We have briefly documented the true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ as it existed in various countries before the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Down through the centuries, these believers were scattered from Jerusalem to the Piedmont valley of Italy, to France, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, England, and throughout all of Europe. We have documented various peoples honoring the true faith, and bearing the Scriptural truth.

Kevin N. April 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm

I did not intend to write so much but I had hope I could explain tenderly in such a way why I believe now the way I believe and it is my hope no one got offended in some of lousy remarks I made. Please forgive me for those, I’m only human. It is my hope that all people who want to come to Christ will seek him because he is so deserving of our following and we all put away our childish ways and love one another, pray for one another, that ALL will come together someday and rejoice in his victory over evil and death. Long live Jesus Christ, long live his people who continuing to serve him and serve others.

If we ALL learn to serve others and not of ourselves, like what Jesus said after he washed the disciples feet, Now that I your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, so servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Let’s serve and not take away what is right for others in seeking him.

Kevin

Matthew Warner April 7, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Kevin – Why is it that serving donuts is ok IF it helps somebody find Christ, but learning from a saint, or using beads, or looking at a picture/statue NOT ok when it does the same thing – helps us to Christ? You have an obvious huge double standard.

Also, i can’t begin to go into it here, but you obviously aren’t actually educated about what Catholics teach and practice. Many of the things you reference make this very apparent. I invite you to actually learn what the Catholic Church is really about one day if you get the chance.

Finally, your comments are riddled with your own fallible, misinterpretations or your own traditions (which according to you Jesus hates).

For instance, you adhere to the man made tradition of salvation by “faith alone”. Nowhere is that in scripture or to be found in the teachings of the early church.

You also adhere to the man-made tradition of “sola scriptura”. This also is not found in the Bible and was most definitely not practiced by the early Christians (as they had no bible).

And then you say things like “Faith alone, consistent with the Scriptures, was the means by which the believers entered into salvation”. Find me one place in scripture or even ANY writing by an early Christian leader that taught this. You can’t. Yet you claim to be speaking for this early Church.

If you actually read what the early Church did and looked like, you will find it looks much more like the Catholic Church than your current denomination.

Matthew Warner April 7, 2009 at 5:13 pm

Kevin, here is a review I did on a great book that actually looked at the Early Christian Church – if you’re interested. http://www.fallibleblogma.com/index.php/2009/01/09/the-fathers-by-pope-benedict-xvi/

Also everyone – let’s try to keep comments to the given space and refrain from too many multiple comments in a row. The reason we have a character limit is to force people to keep answers to the point and concise and then let others respond. It makes for a much better discussion that way and is more practical for blog comment discussions.

Thanks and God bless! Thank you all for your thoughts. Please keep it up!

Kevin N. April 8, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Either you believe the written word or you’ll believe what MEN (Tradition) tell you about the written word. Catholics will tell you, “I believe the Bible is 100% true and I believe that Catholic Tradition is 100% true.” I’ve got news for you, two contradictory documents cannot both be 100% true. It is logically impossible.

God will not accept your worship based on a lie.

This will be my last post hopefully because I know I will never get my point
across here, but you’ve been gracious and I thank you.
God Bless!

Matthew Warner April 8, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Thanks for the news, Kevin. But I can assure you 100% that nothing the Catholic Church teaches is contrary to the Bible. Any perceived contradiction is due to a misinterpretation of one or the other.

I do thank you for your thoughts! You’re welcome back any time. God bless you too.

Lynda Olsen June 22, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Kevin,
If you believe in and profess the Truth of The Holy Trinity, then you are subscribing to the Tradition of the Catholic Church. This is but one example in which you borrow from the rich Tradition of the Catholic Faith that was and continues to be instituted by Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of The Holy Trinity (the understanding we pass along today in most Christian denominations) is a development of the Tradition of the Catholic Faith. As Matthew says, the early Church had no Bible in circulation – the passing on of the deposit of our faith was done orally in large part until Wycliffe’s hand-written manuscript in the 14th century and then the invention and proliferation of the Western European printing press in the 15th century. So, we are looking at a development of the Bible or Canon as we have it today of some 1400 years with many Church councils in-between. To understand this development, look to these Councils: Council of Nicaea (325), Ephesus (431), Trent (1545-1563), and many others… just from these, though, you can see important developments of Christian understanding that we all carry with us and intend to pass along to those who will live after us for the sake of God’s Kingdom. I also suspect you’ve been hurt and yes, there are many many, countless sins of Catholics, myself included, but there are so many beautiful, devout and holy Catholics too. We are all in this together. Christ’s Blessing to you and yours.
Lynda
Lynda

Kevin N. June 23, 2009 at 7:28 am

Lynda, Thank you for your comments. May God continue blessing you.
I’m surrounded by good and gracious people of the Catholic faith. Family and friends that have been around me my whole life. They love me as I love them so much because I love Christ. Amen to what you said.

Kevin

Previous post:

Next post: