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Sola Scriptura and the Proliferation of Protestant Denominations
TeamPyro ^ | Phil Johnson

Posted on 01/23/2008 12:25:36 PM PST by Gamecock

In a videotape titled "The Pope: The Holy Father," Catholic apologist Scott Hahn claims the proliferation of Protestant denominations proves the Reformers' principle of sola Scriptura is a huge mistake:

Do you suppose that Jesus would say, "Well, once I give the Church this infallible scripture, there really is no need anymore for infallible interpretations of scripture. The Church can hold together just with the infallible Bible." Oh, really? In just 500 years, there are literally thousands and thousands of denominations that are becoming ever more numerous continuously because they only go with the Bible. It points to the fact that we need an infallible interpretation of this infallible book, don't we[?]

A tract titled "Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth" (published by Catholic Answers) makes a similar charge:

The "Bible alone" theory simply does not work in practice. Historical experience disproves it. Each year we see additional splintering among "Bible-believing" religions. Today there are tens of thousands of competing denominations, each insisting its interpretation of the Bible is the correct one. The resulting divisions have caused untold confusion among millions of sincere but misled Christians. Just open up the Yellow Pages of your telephone book and see how many different denominations are listed, each claiming to go by the "Bible alone," but no two of them agreeing on exactly what the Bible means.

That is a favorite argument of Catholic apologists. They are convinced that the unity Christ prayed for in John 17:21 is an organizational solidarity that is incompatible with both denominationalism and independency. As far as the Roman Catholic Church is concerned, the only way true Christian unity will be fully and finally achieved is when "separated brethren"—non-Catholic Christians—reunite with Rome under the authority of the Pope.

Keith Fournier, Catholic author and Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice, sums up the typical Roman Catholic perspective:

Throughout Christian history, what was once intended to be an all-inclusive (catholic) body of disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ has been fractured over and over. These fractures threaten to sever us from our common historical and doctrinal roots. I do not believe that such divisions were ever part of the Lord's intention, no matter how sincere or important the issues that undergirded the breaking of unity. [Keith A. Fournier, A House United? (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1994), 37.]

Fournier says he is "not advocating a false non-denominationalism or superficial irenicism that denies distinctives of doctrine or practice." [Ibid.] But he is suggesting that doctrinal differences, "no matter how . . . important," should not cause organizational divisions. Moreover, fewer than five pages earlier, he had berated those who "fight over theology." [Ibid., 25.] And (ironically) just a few pages before that, he had expressed outrage at John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, and Jim McCarthy for saying they believe Roman Catholicism's rejection of justification by faith alone is "doctrinal error" [Ibid., 21-22.]

Notice carefully, then, what Fournier is saying: He claims he wants unity without "superficial irenicism," and yet he objects when anyone contends for sound doctrine or (worse still) labels Roman Catholic doctrine "error." It seems the "unity" Fournier envisions is merely the same kind of unity the Roman Catholic Church has sought for hundreds of years: a unity where all who profess to be Christians yield implicit obedience to Papal authority, and where even individual conscience is ultimately subject to the Roman Catholic Church.

Although Fournier politely declines to state who he believes is to blame for fracturing the organizational unity of Christianity, [Ibid., 29.] it is quite clear he would not be predisposed to blame a Church whose spiritual authority he regards as infallible. And since the Catholic Church herself officially regards Protestantism as ipso facto schismatic, Fournier's own position is not difficult to deduce. Although Fournier manages to sound sympathetic and amiable toward evangelicals, it is clear he believes that as long as they remain outside the Church of Rome, they are guilty of sins that thwart the unity Christ prayed for.

Of course, every cult and every denomination that claims to be the One True Church ultimately takes a similar approach to "unity." Jehovah's Witnesses believe they represent the only legitimate church and that all others who claim to be Christians are schismatics. They believe the unity of the visible church was shattered by the Nicene Council.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Orthodox Church claims the Church of Rome was being schismatic when Rome asserted papal supremacy. To this day, Orthodox Christians insist that Eastern Orthodoxy, not Roman Catholicism, is the Church Christ founded—and that would make Roman Catholicism schismatic in the same sense Rome accuses Protestants of being schismatic. One typical Orthodox Web site says, "The Orthodox Church is the Christian Church. The Orthodox Church is not a sect or a denomination. We are the family of Christian communities established by the Apostles and disciples Jesus sent out to proclaim the Good News to the world, and by their successors through the ages."

All these groups regard the church primarily as a visible, earthly organization. Therefore they cannot conceive of a true spiritual unity that might exist across denominational lines. They regard all other denominations as schismatic rifts in the church's organizational unity. And if organizational unity were what Christ was praying for, then the very existence of denominations would indeed be a sin and a shame. That's why the Orthodox Web site insists, "The Orthodox Church is not a sect or a denomination."

Furthermore, if their understanding of the principle of unity is correct, then whichever organization can legitimately claim to be the church founded by Christ and the apostles is the One True Church, and all others are guilty of schism—regardless of any other doctrinal or biblical considerations.

That is precisely why many Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have focused their rhetoric on "unity." Both sincerely believe if they can establish the claim that they, and no one else, are the One True Church instituted by Christ, then all other Protestant complaints about doctrine, church polity, and ecclesiastical abuses become moot. If they can successfully sell their notion that the "unity" of John 17:21 is primarily an organizational unity, they should in effect be able to convince members of denominational and independent churches to reunite with the Mother Church regardless of whether she is right or wrong on other matters.

The plea for unity may at first may sound magnanimous and charitable to Protestant ears (especially coming from a Church with a long history of enforcing her will by Inquisition). But when the overture is being made by someone who claims to represent the One True Church, the call for "unity" turns out to be nothing but a kinder, gentler way of demanding submission to the Mother Church's doctrine and ecclesiastical authority.

Nonetheless, in recent years many gullible Protestants have been drawn into either Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy by the claim that one or the other represents the only church Christ founded. Having bought the notion that the unity Christ prayed for starts with organizational unity, these unsuspecting proselytes naturally conclude that whichever church has the most convincing pedigree must be the only church capable of achieving the unity Christ sought, and so they join up. Many recent converts from evangelicalism will testify that the proliferation and fragmentation of so many Protestant denominations is what first convinced them that Protestant principles must be wrong.

In a series of posts over the next couple of weeks, I want to examine the topics of like-mindedness, disagreement, and divisiveness; the culpability of popes, feuding bishops, and differing denominations when it comes to causing schism; and the kind of unity Christ prayed for.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Evangelical Christian; Mainline Protestant; Theology
KEYWORDS: 5solas; protestants
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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1 posted on 01/23/2008 12:25:37 PM PST by Gamecock
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To: drstevej; OrthodoxPresbyterian; CCWoody; Wrigley; Gamecock; Jean Chauvin; jboot; AZhardliner; ...

2 posted on 01/23/2008 12:27:32 PM PST by Gamecock (Aaron had what every mega-church pastor craves: a huge crowd that gave freely and lively worship.)
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To: Gamecock

“Do you suppose that Jesus would say, “Well, once I give the Church this infallible scripture, there really is no need anymore for infallible interpretations of scripture.”

Well, if you believe that a mortal man is capable of interpreting it for many, then yes, that is what you believe.

Sola Scriptura is based on the living presence of Christ in every person. That’s the part that was left out of this apologists argument.


3 posted on 01/23/2008 12:33:52 PM PST by Deut28 (Cursed be he who perverts the justice)
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1. Scott Hahn is correct.
(He spent the majority of his young christian life trying to disprove the very church he now clings to, and correctly, i might add)

2. The Orthodox churches throughout the early days of the church CONSTANTLY REFERRED TO THE POPE to settle issues and abided by them, even if the deny that today.


4 posted on 01/23/2008 12:35:48 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: raygunfan

LOL

And... who gives the infallible interpretation of the Pope’s infallible interpretation?


5 posted on 01/23/2008 12:36:38 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: Deut28

YOU:

Sola Scriptura is based on the living presence of Christ in every person. That’s the part that was left out of this apologists argument.

ME: so how do five hundred and counting, denominations by fallible men, show an sort of ‘living presence of Christ’ if they cant agree on the essentials of the faith?

Yet you criticize, unjustly, the Pope, who was ordained by Christ himself through Peter to be INFALLIBLE in church teaching (and only in certain situations)guided by the Holy Spirit, down to today.


6 posted on 01/23/2008 12:38:58 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: BibChr

The pope, when speaking ex cathedra is guided by the Holy spirit, he doesnt need to have that interpreted, unless you doubt the Holy Spirit.


7 posted on 01/23/2008 12:39:43 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: Gamecock

A thread which will re-fight the battles of the 16th century. I’ve got a sock drawer to organize.


8 posted on 01/23/2008 12:43:47 PM PST by Stentor
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To: Gamecock

Truly Evangelical denominations do not differ in substance, but only in form.

They have the liberty in Christ to do this.

Oh, they may quibble a lot, but they all share these.

1. The born-again experience
2. Baptism of believers
3. The Lord’s table
4. The fellowship of the saints
5. The propagation of the gospel

I know more than a few Catholics that I would consider brethren in Christ, to the horror of some of my Baptist and Anabaptist friends.

And I fear there are more than a few Baptists and Anabaptists who have not really been born-again.

We know one another by the love we have for one another and the love we have for Jesus.

Read Ephesians 4 and put your denominational pride away.

“But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.”
Titus 3:9


9 posted on 01/23/2008 12:43:54 PM PST by Westbrook
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To: raygunfan

Christ never ordained Peter to be infallible. That was a misintrepretation. The reason for Christ’s coming was that having appointed Men lead the faithful had failed throughout the entire OT. Christ the Messiah is the Rock.

“Through Christ all things are possible.” <— Many Christians believe this.

“From Christ, through the Pope, all things are possible.” <— Catholic version.

Do you think it’s possible for a person, working with Christ, to accurately interpret the Word? Obviously you do, and so does the Catechism.


10 posted on 01/23/2008 12:44:44 PM PST by Deut28 (Cursed be he who perverts the justice)
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To: raygunfan

Where does it say that the Holy Spirit only resides in one man?


11 posted on 01/23/2008 12:45:32 PM PST by Deut28 (Cursed be he who perverts the justice)
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To: Deut28
Sola Scriptura is based on the living presence of Christ in every person.

That's what Scripture teaches. That’s the part that was left out of this apologists Catholic's argument.

2 Corinthians 1:22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Ephesians 3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

John 14:17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?

Ephesians 3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

______________________________________________

It goes on and on, but I suspect that tradition teaches otherwise.

12 posted on 01/23/2008 12:49:51 PM PST by Gamecock (Aaron had what every mega-church pastor craves: a huge crowd that gave freely and lively worship.)
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To: Gamecock
Gamecock, Please add me to your GRPL list.

Thank you,

In Christ...Alone!

13 posted on 01/23/2008 12:51:18 PM PST by WileyPink ("...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6b)
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To: WileyPink; nobdysfool

wiley,

I do not manage the GRPL. If you are interested please contact Nobdysfool. The criteria for membership is as follows:

Anyone desiring further information on the GRPL or desiring inclusion on the GRPL ping list or removal from the ping list should send a PM to me (nobdysfool), as I currently maintain the list. Persons desiring inclusion on the GRPL should indicate their agreement with the doctrine of monergistic regeneration (the doctrines of grace). Due to some recent events, requests for membership will be reviewed and may involve some private correspondence before inclusion to the list. It is our intention to maintain the integrity of the list, and to not use it for the purpose of divisive or vain and pointless arguments. Our primary goal is to Glorify God, and to present His Truth in power and integrity.


14 posted on 01/23/2008 12:58:31 PM PST by Gamecock (Aaron had what every mega-church pastor craves: a huge crowd that gave freely and lively worship.)
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To: Gamecock

Tradition has value, but has proven to run afoul of the Word. Why some folks place tradition above Word, I’ll never know.

There is no truth that isn’t fully reconciled to the Word.


15 posted on 01/23/2008 1:00:04 PM PST by Deut28 (Cursed be he who perverts the justice)
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To: Gamecock

Wilco, Thanks!


16 posted on 01/23/2008 1:03:15 PM PST by WileyPink ("...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6b)
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To: raygunfan

Oh, that’s so funny.

So the Pope is capable of speaking in an infallibly perspiquous way...

...but...

...God isn’t!


17 posted on 01/23/2008 1:13:30 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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Oops: p-e-r-s-p-i-c-u-o-u-s.

Sorry.


18 posted on 01/23/2008 1:13:58 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: Gamecock

Christ said he is the true vine and that I am a branch on that vine. If I am joined this way with Christ with his Spirit directly nourishing me with God’s truth, why would I need a guy in a funny hat to interpet scripture for me?


19 posted on 01/23/2008 1:19:02 PM PST by joebuck
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To: BibChr

“So the Pope is capable of speaking in an infallibly perspicuous way...”

My wife does, so I don’t see why the Pope can’t. In fact, it’s kind of like maternal succession; infallibility passes from mother to wife which causes her to become a mother and passes it on to another wife etc.


20 posted on 01/23/2008 1:47:27 PM PST by blue-duncan
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To: Stentor

An excellent post.


21 posted on 01/23/2008 2:11:10 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: BibChr

Something tells me that you do not in your house need an infallible interpreter to exercise your authority. You no doubt try to clarify issues as much as possible for your children (I’m assuming you have children), and if doubts arise about what you meant, you settle those as they come up: I meant this and not this.

Likewise the Church. Peter rules, and if a question arises about that ruling, Peter rules again. And again. And again. The authority is always there, always in the same place, and always capable of providing firm and sure guidance.

Only if the authority in a house goes away, does it become a question of people scrambling to interpret what that authority meant. And I think that is exactly the situation we see in the Reformed churches.


22 posted on 01/23/2008 2:42:52 PM PST by Claud
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To: Gamecock; All
"Nonetheless, in recent years many gullible Protestants have been drawn into either Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy by the claim that one or the other represents the only church Christ founded. Having bought the notion that the unity Christ prayed for starts with organizational unity, these unsuspecting proselytes naturally conclude that whichever church has the most convincing pedigree must be the only church capable of achieving the unity Christ sought, and so they join up. Many recent converts from evangelicalism will testify that the proliferation and fragmentation of so many Protestant denominations is what first convinced them that Protestant principles must be wrong."

AS A SAINT,THE LORD LED FROM ROME I WOULD DISAGREE THAT TRADITIONAL EVANGELICALS MOVED FOR THIS REASON. ARMINIAN TYPES ARE PRONE TO CROSS THE TIBER.

TOPLADY SAID IT BEST: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/RHNarmin.htm

5 SOLAS!

23 posted on 01/23/2008 2:47:45 PM PST by alpha-8-25-02 ("SAVED BY GRACE AND GRACE ALONE")
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To: Claud

***Only if the authority in a house goes away, does it become a question of people scrambling to interpret what that authority meant. And I think that is exactly the situation we see in the Reformed churches.***

Over on another thread a Calvinist gentleman was waxing lyrical about the distinct advantage of the Reformation in that it granted democracy to the theology of the individual.

I didn’t know that God was democratic. I stand corrected.


24 posted on 01/23/2008 3:26:48 PM PST by MarkBsnr (I would not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so.)
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To: Gamecock
That is precisely why many Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have focused their rhetoric on "unity." Both sincerely believe if they can establish the claim that they, and no one else, are the One True Church instituted by Christ, then all other Protestant complaints about doctrine, church polity, and ecclesiastical abuses become moot. If they can successfully sell their notion that the "unity" of John 17:21 is primarily an organizational unity, they should in effect be able to convince members of denominational and independent churches to reunite with the Mother Church regardless of whether she is right or wrong on other matters.

Ah...the winds of ecumenicalism. Actually I think this is more than the Catholics trying to bring people under their roof, although that is without a doubt their hope. I think a lot of Christians have bought into this "doctrine doesn't matter" syndrome. Protestants can't understand what's the problem with Catholic theology. Orthodox don't see anything too bad about the Catholics. Catholics think the Muslims are worshiping the same God. And everyone believes that God is blessing the Jews-well almost all Christians.

There is much truth in this author's statement. We're heading to a universal church built on organization and not on doctrine.

25 posted on 01/23/2008 4:00:52 PM PST by HarleyD
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To: Claud
Likewise the Church. Peter rules, and if a question arises about that ruling, Peter rules again. And again. And again. The authority is always there, always in the same place, and always capable of providing firm and sure guidance.

Peter doesn't rule my church, Christ does. And His (Christ's) authority is always there.) Peter's is in fact in the same place, Peter is DEAD and therefore can not provide any guidance, or anything else for that matter.

In Christ...Alone!

26 posted on 01/23/2008 4:03:50 PM PST by WileyPink ("...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6b)
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To: Claud

But The RC argument is that an individual is — contrary to the testimony of the Word of God itself — incapable of understanding the Word of God. He needs the Magisterium.

But can he understand the Magisterium?

It’s very simple, though I could draw it out if there’d be a point to it.

If the Magisterium can speak so as to be understood by a common person, then it succeeds where God failed.

There really is no honest way around that.


27 posted on 01/23/2008 4:32:02 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: blue-duncan

““So the Pope is capable of speaking in an infallibly perspicuous way...”

My wife does, so I don’t see why the Pope can’t. In fact, it’s kind of like maternal succession; infallibility passes from mother to wife which causes her to become a mother and passes it on to another wife etc.”

I’ve had the exact same experience with She Who Must Be Obeyed, bd!


28 posted on 01/23/2008 5:18:33 PM PST by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: raygunfan

>2. The Orthodox churches throughout the early days of the church CONSTANTLY REFERRED TO THE POPE to settle issues and abided by them, even if the deny that today.

Actually when the whole church was teaching Arianism, even the infallible Pope, Athenasius stood against this infallible magisterium with truth on his side. And Athenasius got excommunicated and exiled for his troubles.

For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another” [Ante-Nicene Fathers, 5:565, “The Seventh Council of Carthage Under Cyprian”]

Would an anathema be considered tyrannical terror?

Council of Chalcedon Canon 28:
“FOLLOWING in all things the decisions of the holy Fathers, and acknowledging the canon, which has been just read, of the One Hundred and Fifty Bishops beloved-of-God (who assembled in the imperial city of Constantinople, which is New Rome, in the time of the Emperor Theodosius of happy memory), we also do enact and decree the same things concerning the privileges of the most holy Church of Constantinople, which is New Rome. For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the royal city. And the One Hundred and Fifty most religious Bishops, actuated by the same consideration, gave equal privileges (isa presbeia) to the most holy throne of New Rome, justly judging that the city which is honoured with the Sovereignty and the Senate, and enjoys equal privileges with the old imperial Rome, should in ecclesiastical matters also be magnified as she is, and rank next after her; so that, in the Pontic, the Asian, and the Thracian dioceses, the metropolitans only and such bishops also of the Dioceses aforesaid as are among the barbarians, should be ordained by the aforesaid most holy throne of the most holy Church of Constantinople; every metropolitan of the aforesaid dioceses, together with the bishops of his province, ordaining his own provincial bishops, as has been declared by the divine canons; but that, as has been above said, the metropolitans of the aforesaid Dioceses should be ordained by the archbishop of Constantinople, after the proper elections have been held according to custom and have been reported to him. “

“For the Fathers rightly granted privileges to the throne of old Rome, because it was the royal city.”

So privileges given to Rome were POLITICALLY and TRADITIONALLY motivated, not due to any spiritual superiority.

Jerome: “Wherever a bishop may be whether at Rome or at Eugubium, at Constantinople or at Rhegium, at Alexandria or at Thanis, he is of the same worth...for all of them are the successors of the apostles.”

This is where Jerome is showing deference to Rome???

Gregory I:”Now I confidently say that whosoever calls himself or desires to be called Universal Priest, is in his elation the precursor of Antichrist, because he proudly puts himself above all others” and compares the man who chooses the title “universal bishop” to Satan. [Gregory I of Rome, Book V, Epistle 18, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, 12:166]

Yeah, sounds like the early church all bowed to the Pope as the premere CATHOLIC or (universal) priest. What was that about the ANTICHRIST? Was this an infallible teaching by Pope Gregory I? Or was that just his view as a private theologian?


29 posted on 01/23/2008 5:36:37 PM PST by Ottofire (For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God)
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To: Gamecock
That is a favorite argument of Catholic apologists. They are convinced that the unity Christ prayed for in John 17:21 is an organizational solidarity that is incompatible with both denominationalism and independency. As far as the Roman Catholic Church is concerned, the only way true Christian unity will be fully and finally achieved is when "separated brethren"—non-Catholic Christians—reunite with Rome under the authority of the Pope.

Jesus' idea of christian unity ...
Luke 9:49 John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us."

50 But Jesus said to him, "Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you."

30 posted on 01/23/2008 6:26:14 PM PST by Quester
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To: Deut28

YOU:

Christ never ordained Peter to be infallible. That was a misintrepretation. The reason for Christ’s coming was that having appointed Men lead the faithful had failed throughout the entire OT. Christ the Messiah is the Rock.

“Through Christ all things are possible.” <— Many Christians believe this.

“From Christ, through the Pope, all things are possible.” <— Catholic version.

Do you think it’s possible for a person, working with Christ, to accurately interpret the Word? Obviously you do, and so does the Catechism.

ME: where do you get:

“From Christ, through the Pope, all things are possible.” <— Catholic version.

That is nowhere in the church’s teaching....


31 posted on 01/23/2008 6:30:15 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: Deut28

YOU:

Christ never ordained Peter to be infallible. That was a misintrepretation. The reason for Christ’s coming was that having appointed Men lead the faithful had failed throughout the entire OT. Christ the Messiah is the Rock.

ME: no one has ever taught that peter was ordained to be infallible..again, you are reading into the what you believe, in error, about what His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic church truly teaches.


32 posted on 01/23/2008 6:31:52 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: Deut28

YOU:

Tradition has value, but has proven to run afoul of the Word. Why some folks place tradition above Word, I’ll never know.

There is no truth that isn’t fully reconciled to the Word.

ME: your either willfully twisting catholic teaching, or, and i hope this is the truth, you are woefully misinformed of catholic teaching.

the church teaches the word and tradition as equal, as the word was given the to apostles by Christ, as were the sacred traditions from ‘day 1’, as any perusal of the earliest christian historical writings show.


33 posted on 01/23/2008 6:34:26 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: Gamecock
Having bought the notion that the unity Christ prayed for starts with organizational unity, these unsuspecting proselytes naturally conclude that whichever church has the most convincing pedigree must be the only church capable of achieving the unity Christ sought, and so they join up.

It seems to me that the early Christian churches were united in their belief in The Gospel and faith in Jesus Christ. However, the leaders of the churches were selected by the congregation, usually from the congregation. The centralized hierarchy only emerged later.

Interesting post and topic.

34 posted on 01/23/2008 6:35:32 PM PST by wmfights (Believe - THE GOSPEL - and be saved)
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To: Claud

YOU:

Something tells me that you do not in your house need an infallible interpreter to exercise your authority. You no doubt try to clarify issues as much as possible for your children (I’m assuming you have children), and if doubts arise about what you meant, you settle those as they come up: I meant this and not this.

Likewise the Church. Peter rules, and if a question arises about that ruling, Peter rules again. And again. And again. The authority is always there, always in the same place, and always capable of providing firm and sure guidance.

Only if the authority in a house goes away, does it become a question of people scrambling to interpret what that authority meant. And I think that is exactly the situation we see in the Reformed churches.

ME: right on claud.


35 posted on 01/23/2008 6:35:47 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: Westbrook
2. Baptism of believers

So you build a wall between the Reformed folks and the modern evangelicals? And where do you put the Bible Church preacher I ran across s few years ago who was otherwise a straight premil dispensationalist, but who otherwise believed in infant baptism?

36 posted on 01/23/2008 6:37:13 PM PST by PAR35
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To: Ottofire

congrats for cherry picking a few phrases...do you want me to play that game too?


37 posted on 01/23/2008 6:38:30 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: wmfights

YOU:
Having bought the notion that the unity Christ prayed for starts with organizational unity, these unsuspecting proselytes naturally conclude that whichever church has the most convincing pedigree must be the only church capable of achieving the unity Christ sought, and so they join up.
It seems to me that the early Christian churches were united in their belief in The Gospel and faith in Jesus Christ. However, the leaders of the churches were selected by the congregation, usually from the congregation. The centralized hierarchy only emerged later.

Interesting post and topic.

ME: that is simply not true, the sucessors to the orginal apostles were the bishops APPOINTED BY THE APOSTLES THEMSELVes...AND SO ON DOWN THE LINE. The church hieararchy was there from the beginning.


38 posted on 01/23/2008 6:40:27 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: raygunfan
...the sucessors to the orginal apostles were the bishops APPOINTED BY THE APOSTLES THEMSELVes...AND SO ON DOWN THE LINE. The church hieararchy was there from the beginning.

I think if you reread Acts, especially the Jerusalem Council you might revise your thinking. Also, you might note that the Apostles were missionaries and did not dictate who would lead which church. The centralized hierarchy that attempted to control all of Christianity only emerged later.

39 posted on 01/23/2008 6:49:52 PM PST by wmfights (Believe - THE GOSPEL - and be saved)
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To: Ottofire

I love your quote of Jerome, but you neglect the good stuff, here, try this on for size, and see Jerome and his deference to the Pope:

Jerome

“I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails” (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).

THEN YOU QUOTED FROM THE COUNCIL OF CHALCEON, BUT, AGAIN, YOU LEAVE OUT THE FOLLOWING:

“Bishop Paschasinus, guardian of the Apostolic See, stood in the midst [of the Council Fathers] and said, ‘We received directions at the hands of the most blessed and apostolic bishop of the Roman city [Pope Leo I], who is the head of all the churches, which directions say that Dioscorus is not to be allowed to sit in the [present] assembly, but that if he should attempt to take his seat, he is to be cast out. This instruction we must carry out” (Acts of the Council, session 1 [A.D. 451]).

“After the reading of the foregoing epistle [The Tome of Leo], the most reverend bishops cried out: ‘This is the faith of the fathers! This is the faith of the apostles! So we all believe! Thus the orthodox believe! Anathema to him who does not thus believe! Peter has spoken thus through Leo!’” (ibid., session 2).

“The church here is split into three parts, each eager to seize me for its own. . . . Meanwhile I keep crying, ‘He that is joined to the chair of Peter is accepted by me!’ . . . Therefore, I implore your blessedness [Pope Damasus I] . . . tell me by letter with whom it is that I should communicate in Syria” (ibid., 16:2).

SEE, THE DIFFERENCE????

SHALL I GO ON?


40 posted on 01/23/2008 6:50:28 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: BibChr; Claud

BibChr: “If the Magisterium can speak so as to be understood by a common person, then it succeeds where God failed.”

I had never really considered this aspect of the RC priesthood. It is a very poignant statement that is hard to refute. It proves that even in the RC church that believers must have the spirit of God working in them to truly grasp God’s truth...


41 posted on 01/23/2008 7:01:17 PM PST by visually_augmented (I was blind, but now I see)
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To: wmfights
"I think if you reread Acts, especially the Jerusalem Council you might revise your thinking. Also, you might note that the Apostles were missionaries and did not dictate who would lead which church. The centralized hierarchy that attempted to control all of Christianity only emerged later."

Having just finished studying Acts in my Catholic Bible Study class, I can only say----BALONEY. The hierarchical church WAS there from the beginning, with Bishops, Priests, and Deacons initially appointed by the Apostles, then later by the succeeding Bishops--and in EVERY case, ordained into the Apostolic Succession. Even Paul himself was so ordained.

It is true that, in many cases, the CANDIDATES to be bishops and priests were chosen by the congregations, but those candidates had to be approved by the predecessor bishops. If the bishops said "no", then the congregations simply had to suggest other candidates.

42 posted on 01/23/2008 7:05:31 PM PST by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: visually_augmented

realize what christ said to John’s gospel, with Jesus—addressing himself specifically to Peter:

he tells Peter to “feed my lambs,” “tend my sheep,” and “feed my sheep.”

The phrasing, “Tending” and “feeding” are metaphors for governing and teaching, a clear indication that Christ intended Peter to govern and teach his “sheep,” i.e., the whole Church. Peter, and through him his successors,

that is why the magisterium, the successors to the apostles, are the ones who teach the laiety....the people, as THAT IS WHAT CHRIST INSTRUCTED.


43 posted on 01/23/2008 7:10:34 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: wmfights

Again, that is simply not true, the council of jerusalem shows peter in charge from the beginning....for example:

Acts 15:7, during the first Church Council, the Council of Jerusalem...
And after a long debate, Peter got up and said to them,
“Brethren, you know that in early days GOD made choice among us, that through MY mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe.”

and if you try to show that James (Acts 15:13-21), held the primacy simply because he was the Bishop of Jerusalem.... Well, he may have been the Bishop of Jerusalem during this Council, but Peter was the Bishop of the whole world. See Acts 1:8, where Jerusalem was only one of many Church locations to be founded by the Apostles. The books of Acts, Revelation, and a few others, record more than 30 additional locations for the Church other than Jerusalem.
Jerusalem would certainly not even have been considered by the Apostles to be the seat of Christianity, as they had been forewarned by Jesus Himself that the city would soon be totally destroyed. This prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when Roman legions did indeed destroy it.
See Matthew 24 beginning with verse 15.


44 posted on 01/23/2008 7:18:35 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: raygunfan

>congrats for cherry picking a few phrases...do you want me to play that game too?

You were the one that made the statement that EVERYONE bowed in deference to the Throne of Peter. I just pointed out that many of the writings of those that are said to be showing deference contradict your statement. Or did someone mistranslate these writings?

Why not explain the phrases that these learned and holy men wrote. Supposedly they support and uphold your faith traditions, yet they say otherwise.

Even a Pope. Again, is this an infallible teaching by that Pope, or just something to be swept under the rug since it contradicts later teachings? Erg, that would mean that one of the Popes were NOT infallible and that is simply not acceptable. So they must be found to have a harmony. So, show the harmony of the infallible Popes. It should be a simple matter, no?


45 posted on 01/23/2008 7:23:43 PM PST by Ottofire (For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God)
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To: Ottofire

no, i said in regards to orthodox churches in the east, when they had issues, they appealed to the pope in rome.

you merely cherry picked pieces from some church fathers and councils, i responded with two of the same sources showing Jeromes allegence to the pope as well as the council supporting the papacy as the true leader of the church.


46 posted on 01/23/2008 7:34:34 PM PST by raygunfan
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To: raygunfan

raygunfan: “that is why the magisterium, the successors to the apostles, are the ones who teach the laiety....the people, as THAT IS WHAT CHRIST INSTRUCTED.”

I have no problem with the title teacher - obviously we all can gain knowledge from others who have greater experience and training. The bigger issue is when the Magisterium trumps or twists scripture - the Word of God.

When Christ died, he tore the veil away from the temple. His spirit now dwells in the hearts of his people, not just within the heart of the Magisterium. We will never fully understand the mind of God and on earth no man or woman can claim exclusive access to God.


47 posted on 01/23/2008 7:44:10 PM PST by visually_augmented (I was blind, but now I see)
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To: raygunfan

>no, i said in regards to orthodox churches in the east, when they had issues, they appealed to the pope in rome.

>you merely cherry picked pieces from some church fathers and councils, i responded with two of the same sources showing Jeromes allegence to the pope as well as the council supporting the papacy as the true leader of the church.

Please show me where the phrases are out of context and how it is really in support of your contention, or let the phrase stand as a show that the ones you say support your claim are really just self contradictory hacks. Or perhaps the statements mean what they say and Rome is the one cherry picking for its claim of authority.


48 posted on 01/23/2008 8:11:24 PM PST by Ottofire (For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God)
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To: PAR35

I build no walls.

I’m every bit as home with Dutch Reformed as I am with Russian Baptist and German Mennonite and Finnish Apostolic Lutherans and Brazilian House churchers and Irish Catholics and Fundamental Independent Baptists.

Read Ephesians 4.

The thief on the cross next to Jesus wasn’t baptized, but Jesus told him, “Today thou wilt be in Paradise with me.”

Baptism is an outer sign of an inner condition.

Born-again is born-again, regardless of the doctrinal minutiae.

There are people who consider me as being destined for Hell.

Doesn’t bother me.

The only person I can know for sure is saved is me, anyway.

Doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks.

My relationship with God is personal.

And I know what it’s like to be shunned. Believe me.

My only response to that kind of treatment is Ephesians 4.


49 posted on 01/23/2008 9:46:03 PM PST by Westbrook
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To: Gamecock

The dispute between Orthodox and Roman Catholics is an argument within the family over who is the legitimate head of the household. The Protestants have all moved into leaky tents in the yard or even across the street.


50 posted on 01/23/2008 9:58:00 PM PST by arthurus (Better to fight them OVER THERE thOnly if McCain will promise todan to have to fight them OVER HERE!)
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