Found difficult and left untried

100 comments
G. K. Chesterton - apostle of common sense

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried” – G. K. Chesterton

Another classically awesome Chesterton quote.

There is a sense that Christianity is only old hat. It’s been around for so long and so many people, cultures, and even civilizations have tried it. Yet, despite such endlessly common efforts, they seemed to have still fallen short. They didn’t produce the missing link, the holy grail, or that secret to life that makes sense of this mysterious existence. Christianity is just a worn out pair of shoes, used when useful and in the end “found wanting.” That’s the common perception anyway. But it’s wrong.

The truth is that the Christian life has largely “been found difficult and left untried.” And because of that we’ve never actually experienced the fullness of the Christian ideal.

There are some who have actually overcome the difficulties, given it a fair try and did not find it wanting at all. They’re called Saints. So before we go writing off Christianity as more of the same old hat, consider looking to the Saints and trying on a hat that you perhaps have never fully tried.

100 comments Add comment

Michelle Leslie August 3, 2009 at 12:20 pm

This a brief but straight to the point blog!
Great job! Love the quote:-)

Bill Mackey August 3, 2009 at 1:09 pm

I am currently reading Chesterton’s Biography of Saint Thomas Aquinas (again) Chesterton’s gift was to cut to the chase (or in some instances the quick) and passing on a matter-of-fact confidence to all of us who believe. I think there used to be a show on EWTN about Chesterton called “The Apostle of Common Sense”, that just about sums up Chesterton’s work. As always, Mr. Warner, your thought provoking blog has me thankful to be Catholic. Peace.

Dean Soto August 3, 2009 at 1:20 pm

With many young Catholics starting to embrace new ways of evangelizing, I am hoping that Christianity will begin to excite people the way it did in the past. With groups like Grassroots films that make gorgeous, believable, and exciting testaments to the Church and the growth of Catholic media in general, I think that a new dawn in Catholicism is not that far off.

Great quote, very inspiring. Chesterton usually is!

Matthew Warner August 6, 2009 at 6:28 am

Totally agree man! It is only a matter of time before this media revolution gets a hold of the fullness of the pure, beautiful Truth. It’s the ultimate subject matter. Will be amazing to watch it unfold and participate.

Mac March 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm

“With many young Catholics starting to embrace new ways of evangelizing …”

The Church of Jesus Christ doesn’t need “new ways” of spreading the gospel (I am not referring to media: radio, TV, internet). The church grew rapidly by the methods used by the apostles and their disciples. You can read about them in the New Testament. Man’s innovations are largely why there are many religious organizations styling themselves “Christian.”

The plain and simple gospel was all that was needed at that first Pentecost following Jesus’ ascension for 3,000 to become Christians that first day. NONE of the New Testament had been written (though the drafts of one or more Gospels may have already been written). The writings of Peter, James, Paul, John and perhaps others (Hebrews?) were decades in the future.
This first crop of Christians had none of those writings. The letters, written gospels and the Revelation were written mainly to edify the church and to deal with rising heresies. No one needs any of them simply to become a Christian. It’s all in the Old Testament and as recorded in Acts 2.

Matthew Warner March 16, 2012 at 11:44 pm

You are correct that the early Christians had no such writings. They had no new testament scriptures yet. But the New Testament was a sacrament before it was a book. The early Christians identified themselves and came together around the Eucharist – the Mass. This is all clearly documented in the writings of the Early Christians. And when you read scripture in such a context, it is very evident in scripture as well.

Some further reading you might enjoy:

The Eucharistic Theology of the Early Church Fathers

Covenant, Kingdom and the Family of God

The Sacrifice of the Mass

david severy November 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm

What the earliest church had which we need in the west today are signs and wonders following.
Acts 2:43
And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
How sad that some have replaced the office for many apostles with one “vicar.”

Glynn August 3, 2009 at 5:29 pm

I love Chesterton. I backed into him via the Father Brown mysteries, and then discovered his introductions to Dickens, Orthodoxy, St. Thomas Aquinas, The Flying Inn, Chaucer, his Autobiography and so on. Even us non-Catholics can appreciate his faith, his wit and his intelligence. And his compassion.

Chris Weidenhamer August 4, 2009 at 9:57 pm

That was an awesome quote. I rather like this hat, if I may say so. :-)

Matthew Warner August 6, 2009 at 6:33 am

I love this hat, too! And one of the things I love about it is continually finding that this hat I’ve chosen needs pulling down a bit further.

Every time I think I’ve got it on straight and looking nice, I find that I need to wrap my head in it even deeper. Every time I think I’ve “tried” it…I find that there is so much more to try. So much more to give of myself to God that I hadn’t seen before. I expect and look forward to that happening over and over again over the course of my life. It’s the great journey and the road to sainthood.

Jesse D. Bryant August 25, 2009 at 7:55 pm

I find this quote both relevant and profound in a rather simplistic way––but have also just finished a two year debate with a Catholic friend of mine that left me very wanting. After two years he could give me no Biblical references for his faith, or even in defense of his faith. And it is not just him, it is many of my Catholic family members and friends. Most simply won’t talk about it. The list of unbiblical practices as well as the history of the Catholic church also leaves me with many questions, and wanting––well, more. More relevance, more answers, more consistency. I by no means am intending to be rude or disrespectful, but true Biblical Christianity and Catholicism do not appear to be the same thing. Few have sincerely tried the Christian faith, while many have tried religion and been left wanton. Most religions have some value to them––moral codes or ethical guidlines by which to live––but without a personal relationship with the principle giver––we are destined to be left yearning for more. Are we not? My allegiance is to no church, or religious hierarchy, nor is it in any religious rituals. My allegiance belongs only to the God of the Bible, and have found much peace there. Bottom line is, I don’t understand my Catholic friends.

How does a Catholic know for sure that Heaven will be his home when this life ends?

As a Bible believing Christian, I place my faith in what the Bible says, verses like: Titus 3:5, Isaiah 64:6, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:36…

Boniface Muggli February 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm

“How does a Catholic know for sure that Heaven will be his home when this life ends?”

Short answer: we don’t know for sure. Even St. Paul did not know for sure: see 1 Cor 4:3-4, or Phil 2:12. However, by living in the Body of Christ, by conforming our will to Christ’s, we have an assurance of salvation–based on our trust in God’s fidelity to his promise. And that promise is not given, generally, to individual persons, but to the community, especially in the great teaching and prayer at the Last Supper, John 14-17.

Even look at a text like Matt 16:13-19: He asks the disciples as a whole the question “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answers, and he gives Peter the office of being the rock and foundation of the Church–and the power to forgive sins, later granted to all the disciples in 18:18.

I am not nearly as brave as the strict Bible-based Christians. I do not have sufficient trust in my own judgment in every regard to commit my salvation to my own understanding and insight, to be able to judge for myself where I am in error and what weaknesses I cannot see to repair, or even to be able to interpret every part of the Bible without error. Instead, I trust the Holy Spirit to guide me–through the Church. I trust the companions Christ has chosen for me–the holy men and women throughout history that have been identified as exemplary models of holiness, who are still in the Church (The Apostles’ Creed line about “The communion of saints” that we believe in.), as well as those still awaiting death in this life. I trust Jesus, who promised and prayed, “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me,” and other such things (John 17, esp. 17: 20-24), and earlier, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. . . . The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name–he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you.” (John 14: 18, 26)

Jesse D. Bryant March 18, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Boniface,

Neither of the references you provided, 1 Cor 4:3-4, or Phil 2:12, have anything to do with the idea of uncertainty. The first speaks of the judgment (see chapter 3 for greater context). In fact the previous chapter ends with this statement, “And ye are Christ’s; and Christ [is] God’s.” Sounds kind of certain to me… In the second, the word *work* carries with it the idea of completion, fulfillment, or active obedience, and not the idea working to earn ones salvation. That being said, you go on to say, “However, by living in the Body of Christ (believers are the body), by conforming our will to Christ’s (we are conformed *by* Christ–no by our own will–(see Galatians 5:22-25, Romans 8:7), we have an assurance of salvation–based on our trust in God’s fidelity to his promise.” Now we do have an *assurance* of salvation? I thought you just said we didn’t have any *assurance*? Can we trust Christ’s promise or not? Yes? That sure sounds like assurance to me! If there is no assurance, what then do we do with verses like I John 5:13 (that ye may know that ye have eternal life) , II Cor. 13:5 (examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith), and Romans 8:1 (no condemnation)?

What does the Matthew reference have to do with this topic?…

“I am not nearly as brave as the strict Bible-based Christians.” Interesting that you call them ‘Bible-based Christians’… shouldn’t we all be Bible-based?

“I trust the Holy Spirit to guide me–through the Church.” So in other words, you trust the Church, that you believe is guided by the Holy Spirit and does in fact interpret every verse without error? And how does one know this? Because they say so? Does the Advocate not come to all believers? Or does he just come to the important people that make up the hierarchy of the Church? By the way, if you look up *church* in the Strong’s Concordance, it tells us that the church (assembly, actually) is any gathering of *believers* – the believers are the church. We as believers are the body (I Cor. 12:27), the body is made up of true believers. Now, if the Catholic interpretation of Church (with a capital C) is correct, please define for me just what this Church IS–the buildings, the hierarchy, the practices–what exactly IS it?

When we are told that if we believe on him that we have eternal life, is that not assurance? (John 3:36) If he goes to prepare a place for them, do they not know? (John 14:2) Why are we told to examine ourselves if we can’t know? (II Cor. 13:5) If we are saved through faith, and we have faith, is there yet no certainty? (Eph. 2:8-9) If to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, do we still cross our fingers? (II Cor. 5:8) Do we trust the men whom the Church teaches are hand-picked by God, or do we trust and search the scriptures ourselves? (John 5:39, II Tim. 2:15, Acts 17:11) When Christ tells us that he is the way, the truth and the life; is he not showing us the way, giving us the truth and promising us life? (John 14:6)

Lastly, when the Catholic reads the scriptures that use terms like, save, saved, redeemed, or that promise eternal life, what does that mean to the Catholic? When the Catholic refers to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, what do they mean? Saved from what?

When you say that you have no assurance, does that mean that you may end up in hell eternity, despite doing your best?

Boniface Muggli March 19, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I have no certainty as to salvation, but I do have an assurance from God that accepting God, and the way God designated–following Christ–is the best way to salvation. And the most visible, the most complete way to follow Christ is to remain in the community he gave us, the new People of God, the Body of Christ, the Church.

The Church is the people, the believers. But is is more than just a collection of people. It is an organized community, under leaders designated by Jesus himself, and continued to be led by those chosen by the Spirit. It is a community centered on God, and God is the one who gave it the assurance of guidance by the Holy Spirit.

My assurance of salvation is not dependent, in the final regard, of what I do–although it is up to me to continue to accept it, or reject God’s offer. In the final regard, it depends on God’s work of salvation, an offer I trust because God made it, and God is faithful to his promises.

Boniface Muggli February 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Reading your last few paragraphs, I’d say,

“When we are told that if we believe on him that we have eternal life, is that not assurance? (John 3:36) If he goes to prepare a place for them, do they not know? (John 14:2)” Yes, we do know that the saints will be in heaven, with eternal life. What we do not know of certainty is whether we are saved, because our story is not yet ended, and we have not yet been judged. That is God’s gift to us. If we die in a state of grace, having turned from sin to God, we will be taken into heaven. (see Ezekiel 33:10-20)

“Why are we told to examine ourselves if we can’t know? (II Cor. 13:5) If we are saved through faith, and we have faith, is there yet no certainty? (Eph. 2:8-9)” We are saved through faith–but faith is more than just believing. James’ letter often speaks of how faith must result in changes, visible works, or it is dead (Jas. 2:14-26) Hence we need to examine ourselves, to be sure that we are still living in faith, still being faithful to God.

“If to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, do we still cross our fingers? (II Cor. 5:8)” No–but while we are present in this earthly life, we do “work out our salvation in fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). We do not rest on our laurels, but continue to grow deeper into the Gospel.

“Do we trust the men whom the Church teaches are hand-picked by God, or do we trust and search the scriptures ourselves? (John 5:39, II Tim. 2:15, Acts 17:11)” If the scriptures alone sufficed, there would be one clear way to God through them. Instead we see thousands, 20,000 or so at the moment, of denominations all claiming the one way to God through the Bible. Those chosen by God to lead us help preserve unity and guide us to how to read the Bible without going astray–it is often difficult to interpret, as St. Peter even said about St. Paul’s letters. (2 Pet 3:16)

“When Christ tells us that he is the way, the truth and the life; is he not showing us the way, giving us the truth and promising us life? (John 14:6)” He is, but how do we know Christ? It is not the Bible vs. the Church, but through both. When we say the Bible alone suffices, we turn away from the very community that Jesus founded (rather than the Bible he wrote, since he did not write one word of what we have–it all came through his disciples and through the Church) and thus deny ourselves much of what he gave us.

“Lastly, when the Catholic reads the scriptures that use terms like, save, saved, redeemed, or that promise eternal life, what does that mean to the Catholic? When the Catholic refers to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, what do they mean? Saved from what?” These terms refer to being saved from sin, from eternal death (Hell) and suffering. Eternal life is life in God, in Heaven, the Beatific Vision with all the saints and angels.

“When you say that you have no assurance, does that mean that you may end up in hell eternity, despite doing your best?” No, If we do our best, we will die in grace–and will be saved. The problem comes when we do not do our best, when we chose to sin. And that remains a possibility–again, see Ezekiel in ch. 33: the righteous man who turns to sin will die; the sinner who turns to righteousness will live.

Rhonda May 3, 2011 at 4:07 pm

The Bible came from the Catholic Church through oral Tradition. The Church is the body of Christ. Until Luther broke away from the Church all Christian’s were Catholic. Since 1500′s almost 40,000 different Protestant ‘churches’ have been formed. When the congregation can not agree with what the Bible says they split up and start another church. Jesus never told anyone to write down what he said. He told his Disciple’s to go out and spread his word after giving them the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive will be forgiven them. Jesus made his Disciples priests. They had no bible until their oral tradition were wrote down in the New Testament. Jesus is the fulfillment of the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament. There are numerous excellent sites that teach what Catholicism really teaches. Micheal Voris, @ realcatholictv.com is excellent, along with EWTN, The Journey Home, Deep in Scripture. Please read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. That is the best place to learn what that Catholic Church really teaches. God Bless you on your journey.

Noelle September 26, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I am sorry, as a Messianic Jew, no all Christians were NOT Catholic. Most were JEWS- as Jesus was. He was born a Jew and died a Jew and He surpassess all religious dogma. Jesus did not make His disciples priests, nor was he one Himself. He was reffered to as Rabbe or Rabbi or Teacher BUT NEVER EVER “priest”. Yikes, no wonder why there are so few “completed Jews”. I’d cry if this was how I was witnessed to.

Matthew Warner March 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Of course most of the first Christians were Jews. Not all of them, though. Some were gentiles. Either way, those who followed Christ and his teachings are “Christians”. And when we say that the first Christians were Catholic, we mean that they believed and taught and practiced as the Catholic Church does. And if we read scripture and the writings of the early Christians, this is just what we see.

Additionally, the word “Catholic” was actually used very, very early as well if we want to get specific. But that is largely a matter of semantics, not substance.

And Jesus clearly acted as a priest and scripture confirms it. And it is clear that Jesus asked others to carry on priestly duties. Read more on that here if you’re interested.

David Severy February 8, 2013 at 4:22 am

There is enough doctrine in the New testament to guide any believer. Reading the book of Acts we can see that the Lord saved the people by the Holy Spirit’s baptism and their faith. John’s baptism almost always preceded or followed that.

One does is NOT saved by being born once. One is saved by being born AGAIN. This is the truth and the doctrine most “churches” ignore. Why? Because being saved is an act of God, not an act of the pastor, priest, evangelist or pope. It is not guaranteed by church membership. Judas Iscariot was with Jesus for 3 and 1/2 years and he was never born again!

Jeremiah 9:23-24
King James Version (KJV)
23 Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.
Jeremiah 9:23-24
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
23 Thus saith the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, and let not the strong man glory in his strength, and let not the rich man glory in his riches:
24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, for I am the Lord that exercise mercy, and judgment, and justice in the earth: for these things please me, saith the Lord.

Boniface Muggli February 13, 2013 at 11:28 am

Of course salvation is not guaranteed by church membership. Not all the baptized are, or will be, saints. Some who are not baptized have become saints.

However, the clearest and best way to salvation is through the means that God gave us: primarily the Church, with its sacraments (including Baptism, the original form of being born from above/again, as described in John 3) and the Bible.

There is plenty of doctrine in the New Testament; the problem is identifying and interpreting it properly. The tens of thousands of denominations that profess “Scripture alone” and all differ in their doctrines is one clue to the problem.

David Severy February 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Have you not read John 14:6 and John Ch. 10?

Boniface Muggli February 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I have read them. John 10 and 14:6 say that the only way to the Father is through Jesus. But does that mean that we can only encounter Jesus directly, perhaps as St. Paul did outside of Damascus? I suspect that you have a false dichotomy: Through Jesus, or through the Church. But Romans 10:13-15 reminds us that, to be saved, there must be people sent to bring the word. And that points to the Church. Similarly, your comments suggest we encounter Jesus either through the Bible or through the Church. Why not through both? As Catholics, our liturgies and prayers are steeped in the Scriptures.

David Severy February 16, 2013 at 3:05 pm

“But does that mean that we can only encounter Jesus directly, perhaps as St. Paul did outside of Damascus?”

Those in the upper room had a visit from the Holy Spirit, has he visited you in your congregation? Lately?

“Salvation is of the Jews.” John4:22 Jesus said that, yet the Jews from whom Jesus sprang by the Holy Ghost had to receive their salvation from Them.

No point in trying to persuade you that the church is not the author and/or the finisher of your (Muggli’s?) faith. What church was Paul attending when God knocked him down and saved him?

Get away from the clerics, get alone with God and listen to him by word, bible study and Holy Spirit inspired intuition and inspiration. See if God agrees with Roman Catholic doctrine, don’t rely on the words of mere men.

Boniface Muggli February 22, 2013 at 11:30 am

David Severy, yes, the Spirit does visit our congregation regularly. Not always in flashy ways, but “when two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst.”

The Church is not the author and finisher of my faith. Jesus is. However, part of that faith is what Jesus gave us–not the Bible, but his word and teaching, entrusted to the community of disciples. His promise of the Spirit, to guide and preserve that community in all truth.

Paul may not have been in a church when he got his wake-up call, but notice what followed: he received the Holy Spirit and was baptized by Ananias into the Church, then he remained among the disciples in Damascus until they had to send him away for his safety, and when he got to Jerusalem he looked up the disciples there, but they refused to accept him until Barnabas intervened and brought him to the apostles. So, yes–salvation comes through God, but the human response is to join the community of the faithful, the Church, for what it brings us.

As for Bible Reading, our tradition of Lectio Divina, daily meditating on the Scriptures, has only been going on for some 1500 years in our monastic order. I’ve been practicing it for 30 years now. And yes, I have some minor problems with Church doctrine, but I find that in the big questions our doctrines are consistent with the Bible. And it’s good to submit to the teaching authority of the Church–I trust God’s judgment, and the Church as well, over my own.

David Severy February 8, 2013 at 5:03 am

Dear Noelle, Jesus is a priest, He is our High Priest, and is so now and forever! Please read the book of Hebrews in the New Covenant scriptures carefully. And Peter tells us that by faith God makes all believers priests (cohanim) here on earth!

1 Peter 2:9
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
9 But you are a chosen people, the King’s cohanim, a holy nation, a people for God to possess! Why? In order for you to declare the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

As for being Catholic, God never wrote the word in His book. God wrote about being born again. Jesus also uttered these cogent, pregnant words to gentiles while speaking to the samaritan woman at Jacob’s well:

John 4:22
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
22 You people don’t know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews.

Roman Catholics ought to hear that, but I fear many never will.

My prayer is for Yeshua and Ruach Ha Kodesh to continue to bless and teach you and provide you much time for study! Amen AMEN !!!! Please pray for me too, for that same thing! I too often do not take advantage of the time God gives. Shalom!

Hebrews 2
King James Version (KJV)
2 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;

3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.

6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him?

7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:

8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Boniface Muggli February 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm

We do believe that Jesus is High Priest–that’s why the priest “takes the place of Jesus” at liturgies, because it is through Jesus’ priesthood that it takes place. And, yes, every baptized person is a priest in Christ–we speak of the “priesthood of the baptized”. The baptized are priests to sanctify the world, while the ordained bishops and presbyters are priests primarily to sanctify the faithful.

Mac March 16, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Rhonda: “The Bible came from the Catholic Church through oral Tradition.”

Absolutely untrue. The Bible preceded the Roman Church by thousands of years. If you are referring to the New Testament only, the NT was completed several hundred years before the founding of the Catholic Church.

“Until Luther broke away from the Church all Christian’s were Catholic.”

Hardly. Luther and Calvin, both Roman Catholics, founded the two major paths of Protestantism. The history of the church of Jesus Christ goes back almost 1,500 years before Luther (1517). The Roman Church had been hunting and killing Christians for nearly a thousand years before Luther was born. The book “The Pilgrim Church,” by E.H. Broadbent (not a Plymouth Brethren though the recent edition is published by the PB publishing house) details many New Testament churches (local fellowships and groups of fellowships) going back to the first century. Certainly there were errant and outright heretics among them; the Roman Church has been fighting heresy against its teachings since its founding.

“They had no bible until their oral tradition were wrote down in the New Testament.”

As I pointed out above, this is untrue. We do not know when the Gospels and Acts were first written. All that is known is roughly when the copies that are known were written.

As far as going to sources cited, the only authoritative statements of Roman Catholic doctrines are the Vatican Catechism (New Catechism of the Catholic Church) and papal decrees. All the rest are just some persons’ opinions. I have brought up Trent, other decrees of councils, popes and the New Catechism to counter teachings that Catholic priests and lay teachers were presenting. They were either stunned (because they were merely parroting what they had been taught by an older heretical priest, himself probably misinformed) or hostile. Even the New Catechism in Latin is not claimed to be infallible.
Contending for the faith once delivered to the saints against a Catholic educated in Catholicism is like wrestling a greased pig. Have to dump a bucket of sand on ‘im first.

Matthew Warner March 16, 2012 at 11:59 pm

There is no evidence to the claim that the Catholic Church was founded hundreds of years after Christ and the New Testament. This is absurd if you read the accounts of the early Christians who said Mass, believed in apostolic succession, prayed to saints, believed in all 7 sacraments, etc. They were Catholic…the same Catholic Church we have today. The Pope (and bishops) can be literally and directly traced back St. Peter (and the apostles) in a succeeding line of authority. These are historic facts most non-Catholic Christians do not like to acknowledge or do a bad job explaining away.

Boniface Muggli March 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I’m with you. The early Church had reached consensus on many of its beliefs by the 100s, and they are the same beliefs we still hold, things like the Real presence, the Apostolic Succession, Jesus as the Christ having died a true death for the forgiveness of sins, and so on. SOme were later disputed, such as the 4th century debate over the nature(s) of Christ with the Arians, Nestorians, and such. But even then the debated again and again referred back to what was believed in earlier generations.

It may be true that we don’t have “authoritative” or “definitive” statements of those early centuries, apart from council decrees and papal letters, but there is a general consensus of the shape of the faith, especially when you consider what was accepted or rejected in following generations.

It sounds like Mac is defining the start of the Roman Church with the Reformation, while we see the continuity of the whole history before that.

Mac March 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Matthew wrote: “… accounts of the early Christians who said Mass, believed in apostolic succession, prayed to saints, believed in all 7 sacraments, etc.”
References? URLS by any chance? Are they in the links you gave?

Matthew Warner March 20, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Yes, many of the links I’ve shared in various places have plenty of direct quotes and also references.

Additionally, some of my favorite books on the topic if you’re interested in more:

Mass of the Early Christians
The Fathers Know Best

David Severy February 8, 2013 at 4:30 am

The bigger problem is what has happened to the “church” since Rome and the Eastern church split. Now we have denominations instead of De Nom of Jesus. We have war amongst religionists over doctrine and authority instead of faith in God. We argue over the material constitution of the “eucharist” and forget why we have the Lord’s Supper. It is we who should take up OUR OWN crosses, fot Jesus has taken up His and will not take it up again on our behalf.

When Catholics are willing to be taught the word of God by born again believers they will learn many things.

Boniface Muggli February 13, 2013 at 11:35 am

We know why we have the Lord’s Supper: to nourish us as persons and members of the Body of Christ, so that we can receive the Body and Blood and become what we receive. We do trust in the Name of Jesus, as well as the Trinity: every sacrament begins and is accomplished “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Every Eucharistic Prayer mentions “Our Lord Jesus Christ” by name.

David Severy February 13, 2013 at 12:18 pm

So John 1.12 but do you BELIEVE in, on, by and through the Name you utter in the mass?

Boniface Muggli February 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Yes. How else do we know of God, know of how we are to live, or act in grace, than through Jesus? Again, you seem to require a cutting away of all but Jesus, and perhaps the Bible–but we allow other paths and persons to lead us to Jesus. If they fail to point to Jesus, then they are sinful–but if they do lead us to Christ, they have done what was needed.

David Severy February 13, 2013 at 2:16 pm

If God in Christ with the Holy Spirit saved you and you are born again in, by and through them you would now it, you would know Them and that you have everlasting life in God’s Eternal Kingdom.

1 John 5:13
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Romans (star Ch.10:7) (star Ch.’s 9-11) was written to real Roman christians several hundred years before Constantine joined the state to the church. Any who believe God has made gentile believers to replace His own Jewish church will miss entirely a huge part of His Word. Five sixths of the Bible concern and involve Israel and the Jewish people! Romans was written to address the alienation taking place between the Jewish and gentile believers in Rome circa 60 AD !!!

Romans 10: 7 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Ephesians 2! Rear it! BELIEVE it! Do we think WE TODAY can summarily dismiss the posterity of Abraham Isaac and Jacob? Of Moses and Joshua? Of Samuel and David, Isaiah Daniel and Zechariah? Of Mary and Joseph? Of James, John and Paul? And yes of Peter? ALL the faithful Jews who before the advent of Jesus were God’s chosen people?

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

READ the Holy Book of God in Christ! Or will you be found with those Jews to of whom it was written:

Amos 8:10-12
10 And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.
11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:
12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.

Mac March 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm

The church is the aggregate of those who bear allegiance to Jesus Christ. Only in the sense that the church is the body of Christ are we to bear allegiance to the church, both to the church universal (worldwide) and the local meeting of fellow believers who have obeyed the gospel.

Every Catholic that I have had an opportunity to discuss assurance of salvation with has had some rejoinder of the sort: “How do I know whether I might with my last breath curse God?” This idea unavoidably makes salvation dependent on continuing righteousness. If one stumbles, and before Jesus can “pick him up,” he dies, HELL! This is not grace. It is WORKS religion. The only works by which we are saved are the works of Jesus Christ.

Scripture is plain: “… there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus …” — Holy Spirit via Paul, I Timothy 2:5

“Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved.” — Acts 4:12

“My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just” — 1 John 2:1

“There is but “one Mediator;” and but one is necessary. Prayer offered to the ‘saints,’ or to the ‘Virgin,’ (all fallible humans like ourselves, except now they are dead) is idolatry, and at the same time removes the one great Mediator from the office which he alone holds, of making intercession with God.” — Barnes

There is no other kind of Christian but the Bible believing. The Bible’s teachings are our sole guide to Christ.

Matthew Warner March 16, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Mac – You are quite good at beating up straw men. Check these posts for some further discussion on “faith and works”.

And the Bible never once teaches that the “Bible’s teachings are our sole guide to Christ.”

It also never says that praying to others or asking others to pray for you is idolatry. That is a very limited understanding of what prayer is. That – along with a number of your other comments regarding works, etc. – also detrimentally over-simplify the mystery that is the “Body of Christ” and misses what St. Paul means when he over and over and over again talks about us being “In Christ.” Check out a great book on this subject by Dr. Taylor Marshall called the Catholic Perspective on Paul.

Mac March 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Matthew, I do not see any reason to mention names. Most of my personal contacts and discussions of these matters with Catholics was 20 years ago when I was active in opposing child-sacrifice. We used “jail” names for the most part and I did not learn most of their names. Likely you wouldn’t know any of them anyway. Example: “Jacob” = Dale (don’t recall last name).
The only one I maintain frequent contact with just got out of federal jail today. He was in for interfering with the federal government’s established religion’s (“Molechism” or “Choiceism”) child-sacrifice priests.

Mac March 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Matthew, I could cite myriads of things the Bible DOESN’T say.

“And the Bible never once teaches that the “Bible’s teachings are our sole guide to Christ.”

It never says that there is any other guide to Christ but the teachings of the Bible. The human heart is unreliable. The apostles and those they laid hands on were granted power to perform miracles to convince people that they were speaking for God. when the scriptures (NT) were finished that ministry was over.

“It also never says that praying to others … is idolatry.”

It never says that we are to pray to anyone but the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Sure, we can ask others to do things or to not do things but that is not what is usually meant by “pray.” The term “pray” or “prayer” is usually reserved for speaking to God.

“… or asking others to pray for you is idolatry.”

We have at least one example of one person asking another to pray for him: Simon. Here the early versions of the bible in English say “pray” as that was the common speech then. I think in England still the courts are addressed “prayer” (motion or petition) meaning asking the judge to do something. But I am in America and we don’t usually use “pray” for anything but requests to God.

The gospel is too simple for many. “It just CAN’T be THAT simple.”
Read Acts 2. The rest of the NT had not been written. Acts itself was not written down for many years (we may presume that Luke and others made notes, but it could all have been directly by inspiration of the Spirit, just as Moses had no way to know what happened before Adam was created but by direct inspiration). The people hearing Peter and the other apostles at Jerusalem, only 10 (?) days after His ascension, were told all they needed to be saved, become Christians, be added to the church. The gospels and the rest of the NT are for the edification of the body, to encourage, to give a glimpse of the times to come, and to combat heresies. Perhaps some can think of other purposes?

Matthew Warner March 20, 2012 at 11:46 pm

You say, “It never says that there is any other guide to Christ but the teachings of the Bible.”

That’s not true. Scripture repeatedly points us to the Church. It says that the “Church” is the pillar and bulwark (foundation) of Truth. And of course, the Church is the bride of Christ, the Body of Christ, etc.

Jesus gave us a Church – not a bible. And the authority of that Church (given to the apostles) did not die with those apostles. Even in scripture we see that they replaced apostles and a look at history and the early Church we see that they continued to do so ever since…all the way to today.

Here is some more various, semi-related reading on the Church and the Bible that some may find interesting.

Also, your understanding of prayer is very limited and you admit that it can be understood in different ways. You choose to interpret it the way you want in order to win an argument, but not in order to better understand where the Church is coming from in these teachings.

Further, things like praying for the dead was a common practice of the Jews prior to Jesus and it is indeed recorded in Maccabees (although I recognize protestants have taken that out of their bible – although funny enough the original KJV had it in there. But this is an entirely different discussion).

Which brings me to my final point – these comments are getting way off topic from the subject of the original post. I appreciate the interest and desire to discuss, but I think it’s important to do it in the right time and place. There are lots of other places on the web, including many of my other posts on this blog, to discuss many of these issues in more depth, etc. But that’s why I often try not to go into too many tangents on a particular post within the comment section, and would rather point you to another discussion or another resource that explains it more sufficiently.

Thanks and God bless.

David Severy February 8, 2013 at 4:42 am

Jesus gave us a church not a bible?

Who did He give the church to? The church is the people who follow Him. If you are following Jesus, Father God has given you to Him, to Jesus, and Jesus will lead you home to His Father.

I suppose you think God gave the pope people to follow him and his clergy.

Too many Catholics are some of the most Biblically ignorant religionists in Christendom. If they are not born again of the Spirit, water and blood, they will remain so.

2 Timothy 3:16
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)
16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

That applies at least to the Old Testament, so wrote Paul the Apostle. If it is not true, then we have only the hearsay of sinners to guide us.

May God mercifully break the Roman deceptions off your heart soul and mind Matthew Warner, I ask Father for Jesus Name sake and Glory Amen AMEN.

Boniface Muggli February 13, 2013 at 11:50 am

He gave the Church to Jesus: John 17 prays for those the Father gave the Son–including those who will come to believe through the word of the disciples.

I’d say not the we were given to the Pope and bishops and priests; rather the Pope, bishops and priests were given to the Church to guide it in the Holy Spirit. We see this in such places as John 20, or Matthew 28, where the Eleven are given authority and the promise that Jesus (or the Holy Spirit) will be with them–even to the end of the age.

We do not deny that “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching . . .”; rather we say that it is not only Scripture where truth and inspiration may be found. Scripture is a large part of the Inspired Tradition, but not the whole of it. “Trinity” is nowhere found in Scriptures. “Once Saved, Always Saved” is non-Scriptural; indeed many texts indicate the opposite–that we need to be vigilant about salvation and not lose it. But what is needed is not to make an idol of the Scriptures, but to come to the living and risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

David Severy February 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Jesus said “I will build MY church.” I take that to mean He will edify those who believe in Him into one Spiritual house. But Rome is not ever mention as His dwelling. Zion is! Paul wrote a letter to the BELIEVERS in Rome, but he himself was born again and saved on the road to Damascus. It was in Jerusalem and from the upper room that the Holy Spirit birthed the Jewish “sect” that we so often call the church.

Nevertheless it is God in Christ who saves us and grafts us gentiles into His faithful Jewish chruch birthed circa 32 AD.

John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

Let all Italians be born again, Lord Jesus, hear my prayer, and also all Roman Catholics! Amen AMEN !!!

Boniface Muggli February 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm

John 4 (vs. 21-23) also says: “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth.* We worship in the Spirit through Jesus Christ–not just in Jerusalem, or Rome. I have never been outside of North America, yet I am a member of the Body of Christ, and part of the spiritual house and temple that Jesus built on the foundation of the Apostles.

Mac March 20, 2012 at 9:36 pm

These are not “straw men.” They are real live people with whom I was acquainted 20 years ago except for the one I mentioned who was just released from prison today. He is the one who said, “How do I know whether I might with my last breath curse God?” when I discussed the Christian’s security of salvation with him.
———————————————————————-
Straw man – 2. An argument or opponent set up so as to be easily refuted or defeated. — American Heritage
———————————————————————-
1: a weak or imaginary opposition (as an argument or adversary) set up only to be easily confuted
2: a person set up to serve as a cover for a usually questionable transaction — Merriam-Webster
———————————————————————-
A fallacy in which an opponent’s argument is overstated or misrepresented in order to be attacked or refuted. — grammar.about.com
———————————————————————-
The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.

Person A has position X.
Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).
Person B attacks position Y.
Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed. — nizkor.org
———————————————————————-
3. a fabricated or conveniently weak or innocuous person, object, matter, etc., used as a seeming adversary or argument: — dictionary.com
———————————————————————-
None of the above apply.

Matthew Warner March 20, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Mac – it absolutely applies. You are refuting implied positions of Catholic teaching that do not actually exist. That’s why they are “straw men” argument. You don’t have a very good understanding of what the Catholic Church actually teaches, so when you refute what you mistakenly believe the Church to teach, your points are moot.

For example, when you go on about a “works” religion and how “The only works by which we are saved are the works of Jesus Christ,” you clearly don’t understand what the Church teaches on this matter, what she means by works, what is meant by “saved” etc. So it’s pointless to debate.

This topic is covered more on another post of mine: Clarifying Faith and Works.

Matthew Warner March 16, 2012 at 11:48 pm
Matthew Warner March 16, 2012 at 11:54 pm
Boniface Muggli March 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Where do you know that the Bible is the sole guide to Christ? How do you know what the Bible means?

The fact that some 15,000 or 20,000 different denominations all claim to have the Bible alone as their authority indicates some problem with knowing what it means. Would God leave such confusion for us if it were so essential to knowing Christ? Would there not be a better way?

There is a better way: the way that Christ himself founded, as described in that very Bible: the Church itself. And the Churches that continue in existence from Jesus Christ’s day to ours are not many: the Orthodox communities, some smaller Churches like the Armenians, and the Catholic Church. All the others can point to a person or group that broke away, founding a new community, because they did not trust in God’s ability to keep his people faithful, in the Spirit’s power to guide the people of God.

Boniface Muggli March 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Oh, and regarding the chance of stumbling before death, what do you make of Ezekiel 18:21-32 or 33:10-20? If we can turn from sin back to God and find grace to live, we can also turn away from God to sin and die.

For a Catholic, we distinguish Mortal and venial sin–as Johns did in 1 John 5:16-17 when he spoke of sin that is deadly and sin that is not. A venial (“daily”) sin does not break the relationship with God, or put us outside the grace of God, so that we are wounded, but still heading for God; a mortal sin is one that breaks our relationship with God. It’s a rejection of God and his grace. Hence, I may not know if I will fall into such mortal sin before death, but if I do not keep up my end of that living relationship alive with God, it is possible.

As long as I keep my eyes on God, I’m not worried–but I can’t get too comfortable either.

Matthew Warner August 25, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Jesse,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments and questions! First, let me apologize on behalf of the Catholics you’ve met who did not make sure you found the answers to your questions. Your questions are certainly understandable and I can see how not ever having them answered would lead you to doubt the Catholic Church even more.

Second, let me assure you that absolutely nothing the Catholic Church teaches contradicts the Bible when interpreted properly. I’m sure you disagree with that! But I hope you’ll at least hear the Church out and listen with an open mind to the possibility that such a thing just may be entirely true.

Third, I encourage you to check out some more of the posts on the blog here. We try and tackle a lot of the big issues and a good discussion usually follows in the comments. You may be able to get some of your questions answered that way. Then we can go from there!

To begin, I suggest you check out this post here: Why do Catholics believe in things not in the bible?

I would love to know what you think! God bless!

Mac March 16, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Matthew Warner: “… absolutely nothing the Catholic Church teaches contradicts the Bible when interpreted properly …”

The “when interpreted properly” is of course true of all readings. However, it is also a common dodge. No matter how carefully one points out error the reply is “that’s just YOUR interpretation and it’s not proper.”
I’ve many in-depth discussions with learned Catholics and they were as slippery as Masons, JWs and Mormons. Perhaps they learned from Catholics?

Matthew Warner March 16, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Are you suggesting that there isn’t a proper way to interpret the Bible?

And really, this just highlights the fact that Jesus never established a religion that was to be organized by individual interpretation of a canonized group of writings (the BIble). He established a Church and gave that Church the authority to govern, interpret and teach – guided by the Holy Spirit and by the authority granted to the Apostles and their successors by Jesus Christ. They are the ones who gave us the canon of scripture. And if we interpret it in light of that, with their guidance and in accordance with what was always taught and is consistent with the earliest Christians (including the earliest bishops – i.e. successors to the Apostles), then you get the proper interpretation. Which just so happens to be the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Mac March 16, 2012 at 11:26 pm

The “canonization” of the Bible was merely an acknowledgement of what was already the case, somewhat like a legislature’s codification of the customs and practices of the people (common law).

“Apostles and their successors by Jesus Christ”

I am not aware of there having been any successor apostles. Those upon whom the apostles laid hands and conferred the gift of the Holy Spirit were unable to pass them on to others. When the apostles were all dead, and those who had received the miraculous gifts were all dead, the age of miracles was over.

“Bishop” (overseer) refers to the same office in the local assembly as “elder” (older man), “pastor” (shepherd), “presbyter” (elder). The apostles were the first and the last overseers, elders, shepherds of the entire church. Since the end of the apostles bishops/elders/pastors have authority over only one local assembly of the saints. The local assembly may be the group of brethren who meet in the same place or it may be a broader group that has to meet in separate meeting places such as private houses or secret places, as is common in times of persecution.
Bishops/pastors/elders of assemblies are always mentioned in the plural. Never is there any inference of a local assembly that has but one elder/bishop/pastor (as is common among Protestants).

Scripture is “interpreted” by Scripture. No Scripture is of any private interpretation, be it by a scullery maid or by a high-and-mighty grand poohbah.

Two Catholic priests have assured me that one does not have to be a (true) Christian (but only by outward appearances) to be a pope. One priest (the one who sent me a New Catechism) even said that he believed that almost all popes and most lesser priests are going to hell (if they are not already in it) because they know to do and teach right and do not. This was, I think, their way of dealing with the abominable behavior and false (from the Roman Church’s perspective) teachings of many popes, bishops, pastors and priests.

If it was discovered that an elder of a congregation of the church of Jesus Christ was an impostor, no Christian but only appearing to be so, he would be dismissed quickly. We must not expect perfection of the bishops but they must no less be of the spirit of God.

Matthew Warner March 17, 2012 at 12:02 am

Well if two priests told you then it must be right. Not.

Here’s more info on Apostolic Succession and its practice in the Church from the very beginning.

And a video explanation on “bad popes.”

Jesse D. Bryant March 17, 2012 at 1:38 am

That’s right Matt, don’t refute these challenges with scripture, but use the words of men (early Christians, non-scriptural text) and assign them reading after reading after reading after reading, that talk about the Church and not the scriptures, or even when they do, give the Church’s ‘proper’ and infallible, unchallengeable, private (only the Church gets it right) interpretation of them (that must be accepted on faith). You say that the Bible is not the Christians sole rule of faith, yet the Bible is self-referencing and NEVER refers us to another or higher authority. What did Christ ask the lawyer? “How readest thou?” In other words, “What does IT say.” Not, “What do THEY (the pharisees) say.” You ought to stop reading all of those Catholic books and read and study the scriptures instead.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” –Psalms 119:105

I don’t see your Church, your Catechism, your sacraments or your priests in that verse. Biblically, how can I trust what your Church says? Or what any priest says? Obviously, neither you nor Mac trust them. The Church claims that when a man becomes a priest, he is changed forever, yet the record shows that they are often as errant and carnal as ever. You can keep your pious religiosity, and will cling to my Bible.

Boniface Muggli March 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Jesus entrusted the authority over the Church to the Twelve, and Peter as their head. They in turn chose others, such as Barnabas, who chose Paul. However, as that generation was ending, they chose other successors, the bishops, to guide the Church. And the bishops continue to have that duty. As for trusting the whole process, we rely on the Holy Spirit, as described, for example, in John 16:13-15: the Spirit who will guide us to the whole truth, keep us from going astray.

Of course individual popes, bishops, and priests can sin and be condemned to hell. We are all sinners, hopefully repentant sinners. The amazing thing is that, even given the sinners in charge of the community on Earth, God still keeps us faithful as the People of God.

Mac March 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Matthew, I should have written “standpoint,” not “viewpoint,” as it is my view that it is your standpoint.

Mac March 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Belongs down under Mac March 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Mac March 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Jesse, Catholics/the Catholic Church don’t rely directly on the Bible. While the Catholic Church claims that its foundational doctrine can all be found in the CC’s version of the Bible, each individual Catholic is not granted authority to cite scripture to support Catholic doctrine. It is the ecumenical councils, the Magisterium and the pope that determine the meaning of scripture. (I think I got that all in order)

Matthew Warner March 20, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Individual Catholics can site scripture all they want – and they do. They are encouraged to. The liturgy is FILLED with scripture as is pretty much any thorough representation of any Church teaching.

Mac – check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church to get the real down-low on what the Catholic Church teaches.

Boniface Muggli March 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm

“Scripture is ‘interpreted’ by Scripture. No Scripture is of any private interpretation, be it by a scullery maid or by a high-and-mighty grand poohbah.”

Well, there is a difference here. A Judge or state’s Attorney General may make a private interpretation of the law, and that is not binding, but when they make a public, official judgment, that is binding. It’s the same with bishops (or the Pope): when they act in an official capacity, their words bear greater authority.

It’s one reason we keep track of who is ordained, because it matters if they act (or claim to act) officially. It’s also why we pray for the bishops (including the Pope) and the clergy daily, so that we continually ask God to keep them faithful in their duties.

Boniface Muggli March 17, 2012 at 12:54 pm

However, in interpreting the New Testament, at a minimum, the Catholic Church has an advantage over others: we were the ones whose members were inspired to write the texts, we were the ones who recognized those texts as inspired and gathered them together, we were and are those with the authority given by the Holy Spirit to interpret them authentically, in accord with the tradition of the Church, the Body of Christ, from the days of the Apostles.

Kimi September 12, 2009 at 10:53 pm

That is one of my favorite quotes of all time. I wonder though, whether Christianity is left untried because it is difficult or if it’s just that people lack role models and/or imagination. Or maybe it is that materialism, ego, and preaching obscure the love that is Christianity. It seems to me that most people don’t know what Christianity is.

Fran Kaiser September 15, 2009 at 8:04 am

As a middle-age, Catholic male who is struggling with Church leadership (and its always about leadership) I found that the answers to those of us who long to seek insight on the “wanting side of Catholicism” is so often lost in the diluted, situational and wish-washy Theology that has become the Catholic Church in America. There is almost a sense of fear amongst priests of offending the congregation. I guess they feel that people can’t handle the truth. My Dad always asked, “Was Jesus afraid of offending anyone?” Not likely as he knows, and is, the one Truth.

I’ve actively played the role of diligent steward (time, talent and treaure) and found that he Church has become a competition of personal agenda between laity and the ordained. These agendas are divisive and quite frankly immoral and duplicitous.

I would much prefer that there be a return to traditional, simple values and avoid that which is preached from pulipts and discoursed on in th Philadelphia area: the most ho-hum homiletics that I have ever experienced in the “AMERICAN” catholic Church.

I fear that the “American Catholic Church of Accommodation” has lost its way and made the 10 Commandments mere “suggestions” all in the name of, you guessed it, MONEY. I believe that the Catholic Church is “maintained” in America purely as a funding source for its wider mission. While I recognize that different cultures require different approaches and the importance of missions in this world, do you think the content of sermons in Third World Missions are presented as the same moronic pandering that goes on here in this country, or are they the simple wisdoms and insights that we all need to navigate the complex society in which we live?

Please, give it to us striaght and prune the tree. It will only come back stronger!!!!

Rose October 6, 2009 at 10:39 am

Wisdom. I’ll take it ANYWHERE I can get it. I love Chesterton. Thanks!!

Mac March 16, 2012 at 9:01 pm

“The truth is that the Christian life has largely “been found difficult and left untried.’ And because of that we’ve never actually experienced the fullness of the Christian ideal.”

It’s really because we’ve never actually experienced the fullness of the Christian ideal that the Christian life has largely “been found difficult and left untried.”

Jesse D. Bryant March 17, 2012 at 1:24 am

“Were it not that the Baptists have been grievously tormented and cut off with the knife during the past twelve hundred years, they would swarm in greater numbers than all the reformers.”
–Cardinal Hosius, President of the Council of Trent (1545-1563)

Mac March 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm

If those they called “Baptists” had been around since ca. 345-363, this is almost back to when Constantine I established the Catholic Church as the official (“established”) church (religious institution) of the Roman empire.
Various groups have been called “Baptists,” many of which had no connection with one another beyond a common desire to be “New Testament” Christians only.

Mac March 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Matthew Warner wrote: “… non-Catholic Christians …”
Matthew, I do not believe you are a REAL Catholic or you wouldn’t use such a phrase.
According to the the Bible there is only ONE true church of Jesus Christ. He said, “I will build My church.” The antecedent of the pronoun “My” is “I.” The antecedent of the pronoun “I” is the Speaker, Jesus the King (“Anointed One”). So this statement says “Jesus Christ will build His church,” or in baby talk, “Jesus Christ will build Jesus Christ’s church.”
Everyone who is in Christ is automatically in His Body, the church, His church. If one is not in Christ Jesus that one is not in His church. The converse is true, that if one is not in His church, one is not in Jesus Christ.
This “non-Catholic Christians” and “separated brethren” stuff is unscriptural from your viewpoint if you believe the Roman Catholic Church is the one and only true church of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
You may have some respect for sincerity, just as you may have respect for sincerity of Hindus, Buddhists, Mohammedans, Shintoists, etc., but if you love your fellow man you must stop this “non-Catholic Christians” and “separated brethren” stuff as it puts your stamp of approval on people going to hell.
Scripture says that the servant who sins in ignorance will be beaten with fewer stripes than the wilfully disobedient (who are to be beaten wit many stripes) but justice demands some stripes be applied. Only by the grace of God through His only begotten Son can all the stripes be avoided and a place at the Father’s table be set for one (from the parable of the prodigal son).
I had much more respect for Catholics and the Catholic Church back before I found out about the “non-Catholic Christians” and “separated brethren” stuff. I have respect for the sincerely errant Mohammedans who really believe that they are to obey their Koran and kill the “infidels” than the “moderate” Mohammedans who do not follow their (false) scriptures or even support those who do.
It is not necessary or even scriptural for those who profess Christ to use violence against those who do not believe and obey the gospel, as many Catholics have done in the past. Christ reserves the right to recompense rejection of Himself at the Last Day.

Matthew Warner March 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I never made any determination of who was going to hell.

As for the Catholic Church, she does recognize a special bond with all baptized Christians and that they do indeed share in the Body of Christ – although imperfectly or incompletely. Non-Catholic Christians are in a whole other category than those other religions you mention, so I don’t get the comparison.

Boniface Muggli March 21, 2012 at 10:03 am

Dear Mac:
OK, we agree that there is “only ONE true Church of Christ.” We disagree on what that church consists of and who belongs to it.

We believe that, as the Second Vatican Council said, “This Church [of Christ] constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church. . . .”

Now, that says that the Catholic Church is substantially the Church established by Christ–but the odd word “subsist” is chosen deliberately not to identify totally the Catholic Church with the Church established by Christ. Rather, there may be members of the Body of Christ who are not members of the Catholic Church. They believe in Christ, but perhaps do not accept all that Christ gave us for salvation.

Faith in Christ is not a cafeteria menu, from which we can pick and choose what we want–it is a relationship with Christ, a devotion to all that He taught and showed us, all that he did for us. “Follow me” was what he said, not “decide what you want and follow that.” The problem with non-Catholic Christians is that, as individuals or as groups, they decide what they want and what they cannot accept, such as the authority of the Church, and follow their own way.

Which brings us back to Chesterton’s quote that started this whole discussion: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” We find it too difficult to accept all that Jesus taught us, and so try to make an easier way for ourselves.

Mac March 25, 2012 at 1:43 am

Boniface,
You wrote: “… there may be members of the Body of Christ who are not members of the Catholic Church.”
The Body of Christ and the Church are one and the same. If one is a Christian (s)he is in the Body of Christ and the Church at once. If you believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the true Church built by Jesus Christ, then all who are truly Catholics are Christians and all who are truly Christians are Catholics from your standpoint.
When a believer has conformed with the initiation requirements and comes out of the watery “grave” of baptism (s)he is instantly a Christian and a member of the church of Jesus Christ.
Read Acts 2, particularly vv. 37-41 and 47. All that is required to be saved, become a Christian, be added to the church is therein contained. The Old Testament and whatever they had heard of Jesus, and what Peter and the other apostles told them on that Pentecost following Jesus’ ascension is all they had. And it was enough.

Boniface Muggli March 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Yes, “repent and be baptized”–although many Christians substitute for baptism to “take Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior”. Baptism is baptism into the Body of Christ, the Church–but which church? Does any church still continue to follow the “teachings of the Apostles” in their entirety? Remember that even St. Paul included what he taught by word, not just in writing: “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.” (2 Thess 2:15) Not everything is written, even in the Bible–although the Bible certainly has advantages in keeping our memory of tradition from going too far astray.

In our days, there are a plethora of Christian Churches, and not all are equal. Some are closer to the community that Jesus founded, some have deviated further than others.

We cannot claim that any given Church “is” (in totality) the Church founded by Christ, because that would deny everyone else membership in Christ. However, “this Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, SUBSISTS in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure.” (Lumen Gentium 8, emphasis added) That is, the Catholic Church is the closest to the community founded by Jesus Himself, is substantially the same as that community of the Twelve and the disciples, soon expanded by those added after Pentecost.

In one sense, then, you are right: all Christians are members of the Body of Christ. But in another sense, there are many who are members of the Body of Christ, but who have been cut off from the full expression of that community through the schisms and divisions of the Church.

Is there a good analogy? How about this: in any denomination you may pick, there are some members who are fully committed and active, who agree with all that the denomination teaches and holds and strive to live that teaching. And then there are other members who are on the periphery, who may show up a few times a year, or not for several years, who may believe things inconsistent with the official teaching, who don’t bother to live what they claim to believe. All of these are members–but some are “more fully” exemplary members than others. In a similar way, some Christians belong to Churches that more fully reflect the Church that Christ founded than others.

You end “And it was enough.” Perhaps. There were plenty of disputes after that that required more clarification:

equality of ministry to different groups (widows of Hebrew-speakers vs. Greek speakers),

whether or not circumcision is required of Christians, (also from the book of Acts),

whether or not Jesus really died on the Cross (docetism, reflected in the Gospel according to John),

whether the Old Testament is consistent with the Gospel (Marcion),

whether or not Jesus is really and fully divine (Arius),

and so on. To our sorrow, because of human limits and failure, the teaching of Pentecost (unless properly understood and unfolded) is not enough, the Bible (unless guided by authoritative interpretation) is not enough. That is why, we believe, God established the Church and its leaders.

Mac March 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Mac March 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm
Matthew, I should have written “standpoint,” not “viewpoint,” as it is my view that it is your standpoint.
**Posting delay put this in the wrong place up above under Jesse D. Bryant March 17, 2012 at 1:38 am

Rhonda March 21, 2012 at 12:29 am

Check out salvationisfromthejews.com , thejourneyhome.com, deepinscripture.com , and livingthediscerninglife.

The New Testament is the fullfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures. Our Catholic faith is the evolution of the Jewish faith. We must all pray for the Jewish people to come into the Church. Roy Schoeman explains it very well.

Cliff Wells February 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm

“So before we go writing off Christianity as more of the same old hat, consider looking to the Saints and trying on a hat that you perhaps have never fully tried.”

While I’d agree with the Chesterton quote, your closing comment places the onus on the non-believer rather than where it belongs: on the believers who are failing to live as representatives of Christ. It’s a simple rephrasing of the old “don’t knock it til you’ve tried it” fallacy. I can think of myriad things that neither you nor I would want to “try”. Until Christians present themselves as examples worth emulating, there’s no possible motivation for anyone to “try it”, but plenty of motivation not to.

“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (not you personally, but the Christian movement in general). If you want to convert the non-believer, start by converting your own followers.

Matthew Warner February 7, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Cliff – I agree. We need saints. That’s the answer. But also, that’s why I put “fully” tried at the end. This was more aimed at fallen-away Christians who never really knew what they were leaving.

Cliff Wells February 8, 2013 at 12:16 am

Fair enough, I read it differently, but I’ll allow that I read it with preconceptions.

Personally, I’m an atheist, but I always encourage Christians to work harder to follow the example of Christ. Someone’s religious beliefs (or lack of) aren’t as important to me as the hope that we can all find ways to be better people. If being a Christian works for some, then I’m happy to encourage them in that direction.

David Severy February 13, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I do not regret to tell you Cliff that “better” people go to hell just like murderers, drunks and hypocrites.

Believing sinners saved by the gift and grace of God in the Messiah go to heaven. PLEASE put “ian mccormack near death experience part 1″ in your you tube search box and enjoy!

Cliff Wells February 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm

“Near death” experiences are completely uninteresting. I’d put as much faith in them as I would any other sort of “trancendental” experience, such as LSD, seizure, injury, etc. The brain hallucinates many things under ideal conditions, let alone when its undergoing trauma such as that presented in a near death experience (or whatever fancy the brain invents when awakening from such).

David Severy February 13, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Did you look at even the first ten minutes of it, Doctor Cliff?

Cliff Wells February 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm

No, I browsed a few minutes and read the description:

“He explains how he consciously left his physical body and experienced the spiritual realms of hell and then heaven. This was while his physical body was laying dead and pronounced dead for over 10 minutes”

Here’s the first clue: people often think they dream for hours, but in reality it takes place in only a few minutes. There is no way to confirm that his entire experience didn’t take place in the moments before is awakening (but lots of reasons to believe that is the case). In any case, it clearly all took place in his head, since none of the attendants witnessed it. Whether you choose to believe it was spiritual or “merely” the delusion of an oxygen-deprived brain, it supplies zero evidence of an afterlife. Zero. Nil. Nada.

The mind is a mystery, but there’s no particular reason to assign that mystery to external sources. People have taken PCP and “seen God” many times, some of them even believed they were God… should I believe them as well? Or should I simply accept that they had subjected their brain to a trauma that caused their delusions?

Try to understand this: if this convinces you, then you have my blessing. If you want to convince me, you’ll need to actually understand what constitutes *evidence* first.

Cliff Wells February 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Here’s a suggestion: rather than giving me a YouTube video as proof of a Heaven vs Hell afterlife, why don’t you give me some scripture supporting your view?

Oh, the KJV will not be your friend here, as it is well known that various terms for death, grave, etc were universally translated as “Hell”, hence discarding the original meaning of the text. Even the word “hell” derives from “helle” which only means “that which is hidden” and was commonly understood to refer to the grave, rather than eternal torment.

The Lake of Fire is mentioned in the Bible, but only as a destination for Satan and his angels, not human sinners.

Nevertheless, I’m willing to have you provide correctly translated scripture that convinces me the Bible says otherwise.

Even Pope John Paul II and Billy Graham expressed doubts about the existence of “hell” as a place, but perhaps you could send them your YouTube video to convince them otherwise?

David Severy February 14, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Could hell be found in the molten core of the earth?
Could the lake of fire be the sun?
If God is God and creates exnihilo by the authority of His Spoken Word, what is impossible for Him?

I will give scripture supporting my view…. IF you will first write a letter to God, asking or challenging Him to reveal Himself and post it here signed in our name.

David Severy February 13, 2013 at 2:20 pm

If God in Christ has saved you, you are a saint by imputation, so work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who is working in you to restore you to the SAINTLY=HOLY likeness of His Son Jesus.

Ephesians 2!

David Severy February 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried” – G. K. Chesterton

“…left untried…” And where are we to GO to learn what the “Christian ideal” is if not to God and His Holy Bible?

Prayer and Bible study are left untried. Instead we lead men we can know less perfectly than God lead us to and from those huge stone huts we call cathedrals, monasteries, nunneries and ever so inaccurately churches.

Protestants do it too.

David Severy February 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm

typo corrected from comment above, let not lead, corrected here:

Prayer and Bible study are left untried. Instead we let men we can know less perfectly than God lead us to and from those huge stone huts we call cathedrals, monasteries, nunneries and ever so inaccurately churches.

David Severy February 16, 2013 at 3:31 pm

The essential crisis is this: Believers are called to serve, magnify and exalt God, specifically Jesus His Unique and ONLY Begotten Son. God exalted Him and He commands us preach and praise Him, not ourselves.

Proverbs 27:2
Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

Philippians 2
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

1 Peter 5:5-7
5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

But denominations exalt themselves and their own doctrines. One of the commentators here is puzzled why I cannot credit the Roman Catholic church with having anything to do with salvation. Why? Because it is God who saves and God alone!

Romans 1:16
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

The crisis is not that we are weak, we are weak. And our prideful self exaltation of ourselves is the proof of our weakness. The crisis it is that we make ourselves so available to our weaknesses. We ought to simply make ourselves available to Jesus and in His love to each other. I would be impressed that the Catholics were in touch with God if they paid more attention to Him, less to the pope, and more to the Bible, and less to their magisterium. Much more and much less!

The greater crisis is that men are not saved, and the gospel and God are ignored as they laugh to shame Catholic, protestant and non-denominational pedophiles, money lusters, adulterers etc., etc.

TODAY!

2 Timothy 3
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
1 Know also this, that, in the last days, shall come dangerous times.
2 Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked,
3 Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness,
4 Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasures more than of God:

5 Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid.

6 For of these sort are they who creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, who are led away with divers desires:
7 Ever learning, and never attaining to the knowledge of the truth.

Jesus said “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life…”

Do you KNOW the TRUTH? Do you know Jesus?

Jeremiah 9:23-24
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
23 Thus saith the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, and let not the strong man glory in his strength, and let not the rich man glory in his riches:
24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, for I am the Lord that exercise mercy, and judgment, and justice in the earth: for these things please me, saith the Lord.

Let not the Roman Catholic Church glory in herself, and don’t you glory in it either.

Boniface Muggli February 22, 2013 at 11:59 am

“Prayer and Bible study are left untried. Instead we let men we can know less perfectly than God lead us to and from those huge stone huts we call cathedrals, monasteries, nunneries and ever so inaccurately churches.”

Our churches (as buildings) are large because we want to have room for all who desire to come there and join us in worship to have room to enter. The pagan temples were, in general, small buildings, with room just for God. The Jewish temple was not much different–the courts were large, for Israel, and for the gentiles, to come. But our churches are large so that the peoples can enter in and be in communion with God there.

But the heart of the Church, its real existence, is not the building, but the people, the community. And the community gathers to give honor and praise to God, and to do as Jesus commanded us–”Do this in my memory.”

Yes–God alone saves. But even Paul, after he was knocked to the ground, was sent Ananias to explain what to do next. The Church is the Body of Christ (Eph 2:22-23); as such it has been given a share in Christ’s work among us–Paul has this theme repeatedly in his letters. (Rom 1:5; Phil 1:1; 1 Thess 2:4, 9; 1 Tim 1:12-20; Tit 1:1-4) Indeed, he even speaks of entrusting such ministry or work to Timothy and Titus in the “Pastoral” letters. You seem to make it Christ against the Church, as if they were competing, and allow only the Bible to support Christ; we say, no–it is Jesus Christ, and because of what we remember and learn about Jesus, also the Church and the Bible.

You also seem to have a thing against monasteries–have you ever visited a living monastery? Mostly the monks (or the nuns) go about their lives, when they are not at their primary work of prayer. And people come to visit, not because they are “led” there, but because they find the presence of God as they join in the prayer. Monasteries are strongholds of exactly what you suggest: prayer and reading the Bible.

I don’t see us glorying in the Roman Catholic Church, but in God. We do pray for the Church, and for the shepherds God has given us–but we do not pray to the Church or the Pope and bishops. We don’t even pray to the saints as such (that is, pray as we do to God); we ask their intercession on our behalf with God, and we thank God for their example.

David Severy February 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm

This will be my last, I pray, “offering” on the subject of Catholicism.

When Constantine wedded the state to the church, the medieval age of the church profaned (made common) began, and the era of political intrigue in Rome began. Of this can there be any doubt? Constantine was the emperor of Rome. He was Caesar, the Caesar of the empire! Where are we commanded by God anything but render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s? Yet now the church has had two masters, God and Caesar (MAMMON = CAESAR), and suffered greatly as she must hate one and love the other and so often cannot say which master is her own! The period from the mid 4th century until perhaps Azusa street has been for Europe and the western churches certainly a dark glass made darker by the oppression of the state, the various Crowns of the “Holy Roman Empire, and many evil popes of Rome.”

The Bible and it’s 66 books we all agree are the inspired word of God. We disagree on the Apocrypha. Is there not enough wisdom and knowledge to be taught from those 66 Books? Put all the other books on the shelf and return to God in this Holy Book, this Book which is Holy as no other! Certainly put it above and first above my humble(?) opinions.

But how will we put it first? By reading it and by trusting the Holy Spirit to teach us it’s truth.

And if God makes a teacher out of you, HEAR THIS WORD FROM HIS LIPS:

Matthew 28:18-20
(Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)
18 And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.
19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

I highlight: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:”

You must having observed them been taught them by God the Holy Spirit and now teach others TO OBSERVE the commandments of Christ, not the commandments of Peter, or Paul, or the pope. We are really called ONLY to make disciples who will OBSERVE the word of Christ, not our words. Peter and Paul were not sent to be your father or your popes. God is your Father, your Papa, your Abba, and He gave Jesus (not them) all power over heaven and earth!

The Holy Bible is a book higher than any other book as God is higher than any other sentient spirit and soul.

The issue of Catholicism is her seemingly indefatigable insistence that her pope, magisterium and clerics have authority equal to God and His book! No one will ever equal God, and no one will ever write another book like His Book. If they even come close in this to His Perfection it will be a result of their devotion to Him and His Book and not the word of mere men. And their close perfection will not give them the power to void God’s Word by listening to the doctrines of Demons. John 1:12 gives all the authority to become sons of God, not only those willing to have Rome’s pope! God has given us all we need for life and Godliness. Peter wrote that under divine inSpiration, look it up! If Peter were the “pope” would he not have said so? If it were that important to us to have a pope in Rome would not God have said so PLAINLY?
If you make Peter the Jew your “pope,” why not John the Jew, James the Jew, and Jude the Jew also! If you do make Peter your “pope” why not abide his letters? And the word of all the “popes” John, James, Jude etc. etc..

The best the Catholic church can produce is the fallible writings of men she touts as the “early church fathers.” Peter, Paul, John, and James and others are sent to us as our FATHER’s Apostles, not one was ever sent as the Vicar of Christ. If you examine the word vicar you will understand the absurdity of most of Rome’s claims.

Am I wrong or was it not Simon Magus who was the first pope, and the magic of his sorceries which brought forth the MAGIsterium? We love the Magi who followed the star to Bethlehem, but we have not been taught the truth that Magi are astrologers, star gazers and magicians, as were Jannes and Jambres and all the magi of the many Pharaoh’s courts.

Nothing will be hidden.

Matthew Warner February 22, 2013 at 6:35 pm

David – you have such a skewed and misinformed understanding of Catholicism that it’s far too impractical to even begin addressing every place you are going wrong there. This simply isn’t the format.

Please learn a little more about Catholicism – perhaps from a good Catholic source (and one that can interpret it for you if you are having any trouble). I’d suggest Catholic.com as a good starting place for you. I also have a lot of other posts on here clearing up a lot of these issues.

God bless you, my friend.

David Severy February 22, 2013 at 11:03 pm

As I said that was my last “offering” I have nothing more to add, except the admonition that you go back the the eye witnesses of God the Father’s Son to learn the words He spoke better than the words of mere men of the Catholic or any other tradition. The Holy Spirit lives today. Consult with Him over the Bible, especially the Gospels. Shun the teachings of men, even my words until you KNOW that it is God Himself who has been your teacher and guide. Please do not reply unless you wish the last word… I am happy to yield to your having it.

Boniface Muggli February 27, 2013 at 11:26 am

“The issue of Catholicism is her seemingly indefatigable insistence that her pope, magisterium and clerics have authority equal to God and His book! No one will ever equal God, and no one will ever write another book like His Book. If they even come close in this to His Perfection it will be a result of their devotion to Him and His Book and not the word of mere men.”

We do not claim that the Magisterium has authority equal to God–that is why the Pope is “Vicar of Christ,” that is, the deputy of Christ, and not equal to Christ. However, since the Church was the body, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the Magisterium, that established, through reflection on its faith and the writings available, which texts belong to the Bible, how can the book now supersede the authority given the Church? At its adoption, what the authority of the Church lessened?

The Magisterium does not have the authority to make up new doctrines on its own, nor to go against what we believe–but like the Supreme Court, it is needed to interpret what the foundational documents mean, and to apply them to new situations and questions, precisely so that others may not be led astray by what they believe is the Holy Spirit.

“. . . God has given us all we need for life and Godliness. Peter wrote that under divine inSpiration, look it up! If Peter were the “pope” would he not have said so? If it were that important to us to have a pope in Rome would not God have said so PLAINLY?
If you make Peter the Jew your “pope,” why not John the Jew, James the Jew, and Jude the Jew also! If you do make Peter your “pope” why not abide his letters?”

We do find that Jesus himself established a leader of the Apostles–Peter, as noted in Matthew 16:18-19. It was not necessarily true that that Pope was established in Rome–that came later, after Peter died there. The Epistles of Clement and the Letter of Ignatius to the Romans already point towards the role of that Church in leading and guiding others. But it is Peter who is seen as the key figure, because he was named by Jesus as leader of the Twelve, while John, James and Jude were not.

“If you examine the word vicar you will understand the absurdity of most of Rome’s claims.”

“Vicar” simply means a representative or deputy, one deputed to act as the agent of the true source of authority. We might also say steward or overseer (= episcopus, which was rendered in English as bishop–which is still the fundamental title of the Pope as Bishop of Rome).

“Am I wrong or was it not Simon Magus who was the first pope, and the magic of his sorceries which brought forth the MAGIsterium? We love the Magi who followed the star to Bethlehem, but we have not been taught the truth that Magi are astrologers, star gazers and magicians, as were Jannes and Jambres and all the magi of the many Pharaoh’s courts.”

You are wrong. Simon Magus was not Simon Peter. Magus, as you noted, are astrologers and so on, from Persia. However, Magisterium comes from another word, the Latin “magister” or teacher. The Magisterium is simply the Teaching authority of the Church. Peter and others, such as Clement, abhor (like Paul, for that matter) the “cleverly devised myths” of the magi and astrologers, looking to their own experience as eyewitnesses and as authentic teachers of what Christ gave them. Peter himself said, after all,” Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God,” and “There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who ransomed them, bringing swift destruction on themselves.” (2 Pet 1:20-21; 2:1) How do we know who is a true teacher, and who false? By their desire for what is sinful, by their rejecting what they received and turning to fabrications. And we would include among such new fabrications as “Once saved, always saved” or “Sola Scriptura” among others.

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