Skip to comments.A Church of One
Posted on 02/09/2013 2:28:44 PM PST by NYer
Have you ever come across one of those Protestant sectarians who, finding heretics on all sides, has reduced authentic Christianity to just himself? Everyone else has it wrongcertainly the historic churches but just as certainly the denominations he used to be part of. One by one he became disenchanted with them, serially leaving one church for an even smaller church, until at length it was just himself and another fellow, whom he discovered to be as foul a heretic as he had ever met.
That left our sectarian alone but confident that he had settled in the true religionconfident, but not at peace, because now he saw that the whole world was wrong. He was frustrated that no one saw the truth as he saw it. No one saw the truth at all. "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10). He didnt find himself in Thomas Hobbes' "war of all against all" but in a war of "one against all," and he was the one.
It made for a lonely life: the crushing burden, knowing that he alone was the carrier of full truth; the sorrow, seeing that no one would follow his lead; the compromises, having to compartmentalize his faith to get by even minimally in society; the sidelong glances that came from one-time friends, the cruel jests from neighborhood children, the incapacity of his own children to see him as he saw himself.
Such is the ultimate Protestant sectarian, the man who has ridden his logic to its limitwhere he may be startled to bump into a Catholic analogue, such as Gerry Matatics.
A convert to the Catholic faith from a strict form of Presbyterianism, Matatics went through several subsequent "conversions": from conservative Catholic to Traditionalist, then to sedevacantist, and now, apparently, to a church of one.
He has a website that, on its main page, has four articles. One has been there, unchanged, since 2009 and two more since 2006. Only one slot has changed with any regularity. It is the slot in which he hawks upcoming audio recordings. His latest offering, posted on January 31, is a series of 25 talks under the rubric "Riding the Train of Truth All the Way to the End of the Line." He says that the series "enables you to make the case that the authentic alternative to Vatican II Catholicism is NOT the unauthorized, illicit, anarchic, and sacrilegious scene at the chapels served by the illicitly ordained (i.e., in the post-Vatican II era) 'traditionalist' priests and bishops, whether of the SSPX, SSPV, CMRI, or independent variety."
(In case these acronyms are unfamiliar to you: SSPX is the Society of St. Pius X, the Lefebvrist group; SSPV is the Society of St. Pius V, a sedevacantist offshoot of the SSPX; CMRI is the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, a sedevacantist group started by illicitly-ordained bishop Robert McKenna.)
Matatics used to attend SSPX chapels, but he became disaffected when he concluded that the SSPX wasn't forthright in condemning the vernacular Mass as invalid. He traced the invalidity to the now-supplanted translation of pro multis as "for many." That, he thought, made the Mass invalid and those who approved of it, or even tolerated it, heretics. He became a full-blown sedevacantist but soon discovered that each sedevacantist group was wrong too:
"The lack of the necessary mission and jurisdiction (and in some cases, even the lack of validity) characteristic of these pseudo-traditionalist sects (all of which ironically trample upon tradition in the very name of tradition!)and the dire spiritual consequences of this lackare fully explained [in his new talks] from Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, from the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, from magisterial teaching, and from canon law."
Like the Protestant sectarian who became his own church, Matatics did his homework. He investigated the ever-smaller groups he joined or was tempted to join, until he found that none of them would suffice. He holds no grudge against people who still belong to them:
"I don't question either the intelligence, the sincerity, or the spirituality of those who attend such chapels; I attended them myself, for years, before I researched this matter more carefully. I am quite sure that, for the most part, those who attend such chapels do so precisely because they want to be 'law-abiding, faithful Catholics during the current crisis.' Nevertheless, I believe that, objectively speaking, they ought not to be attending them, and that once they are shown the relevant information, those who are of good willnot without an anguished struggle, I'm surewill realize they can no longer do so."
They ought not to attend these chapels, just as he does not attend them. They should follow his example and his line of reasoning: There no longer is any chapel worthy to attend. There no longer is a valid episcopacy. There no longer are valid priests. This means there no longer is a Mass. All one can do is to honor one's Sunday obligation as he does, by staying home and reciting the rosary and other prayers with one's family. What else is possible in a world where everyone else is wrong? What else is possible when no one else sees the light?
(The image is from the newspaper in Matatics's hometown of Scranton, PA, and shows him receiving a free cholesterol check at an outdoor health fair in 2011.)
Misguided and sad, ping!
“sides, has reduced authentic Christianity to just himself? “
Or even worse, reducing the Body of Christ to just one church/denomination...
I think Mad Mo’ was one of those.
The story is told of a Navy ship that came upon a solitary castaway on a deserted island—he had been there twenty years or more. The rescuers were amazed at how the castaway had single-handedly transformed the island, including building several impressive structures. “What is that over there?” asked a rescuer. “Why, that’s the church I built for myself,” said the castaway. “And what is that other building over there?” “Why, that’s my other church,” said the castaway. “I got mad at what was going on at the first church and had to leave.”
My foray into “evangelical” “denominations” has humorously proven the old adage that it takes two baptists to start a church and three to break it apart. If the reform movement was driven over a “literal” translation of the Bible, how come there are so many flavors?
more protestant bashing.
ROFL! Thank you; that made my day.
Some of them were certainly serious men ~ and a lot of them were simply churches with one member, and him not all that reliable.
That aspect of Christianity disappeared after the islamic conquest of North Africa.
That's most of a thousand years before Protestantism came along.
Here's where I remind everyone that all the early Protestants had been either Orthodox or Roman Catholic Christians. This stuff didn't just appear out of the mists. Neither did those early hermits.
We should remember, there are the patron saints of animal topics, the patron saints of actors, of airline stewardress, of ammunition workers, of bell makers, of box makers, of boot blacks (not prayed too to much these days I suspect). There are the patron saints of bladder diseases, of blisters, of bowel disorders, of dandruff, of fainting. There are the patron saints of catepillars (not the tractors), dog bites, insect bites, patron saints of bees and, of course, bee keepers (one must have equal time).
It is understandable why our Catholic friends would laugh at a "church of one". They simply must love a party. After all, one can tell who prays to the saint of dandruff by whether they have telltale white flakes on their coats.
To be fair, do not some Roman Catholics do the same?
They are of this rite, or that rite, or, most commonly, are Cafeteria Catholics or CINOs. They become of Father this-and-so or This Holy Order of Nuns. Many official nuns and priests and monks actively oppose official church doctrines - and they aren’t excuseable as “just members.”
I don’t think the charge of sectarianism lies at the feet of Protestants alone. The Roman Catholics are NOT all marching to the same beat.
You might say, well, then they are not true Roman Catholics. I can see that. But then I’d say, all those “Protestants” who deny basic gospel truths are not true Protestants, either. That knife cuts both ways.
The RC polemic really is an attempt to negate the validity of any Scriptural challenge to her, as she is akin but more extreme than what it condemns, being the outworking of a premise that it alone is assuredly infallible, that according to her interpretation only her interpretation is correct in any conflict, but which is not the basis for the establishment of truth and the church, whih actually began in dissent from those who likewise presumed of themselves morr than what it written.
Meanwhile, most of what constitutes Rome have their own version of Catholicism, and whom Rome counts, treats and buries as members.
Great point. Thanks.
The article displays a gross a misunderstanding of what the body of Christ is as any I have read.
Neither the author nor the virtual sectarian he portrays, understand the Scriptural definition of the body of Christ.
The guy is just one of thousands, he just shows up a little more.
And therein lies the problem for the RC.
There were two views throughout history. The Eastern Orthodox from the beginning looked upon the scriptures (while divine and inspired), to be a living document to be carefully and methodolically changed and altered by the bishops as living circumstances changed. Thus, some of Paul's teachings were not edged in stone but were flexible as the church grew. Teaching could be modified with the approval of bishops but this isn't to be done lightly. While I don't share this view, there is some rational behind it.
This was not true for the western church. The early church fathers (Augustine, Jerome, etc) recognized the infallibility and inerrancy of the scriptures, and purposely set it apart from Church writings and doctrine. They held a high view of scripture unlike church doctrine that could become corrupted. Scripture could not be wrong. Church views could be. Thus, Church doctrine could and should be changed to conform with scripture when discovered to be wrong.
This worked for quite a while until the Roman Catholic Church started getting challenges to it's doctrine and authority. But at no time was this greater than in the Middle Ages when it tried to set up a king and kingdom on earth, and wanting to tax countries to pay tribute to it and the building of the Vatican. The rebellion of Luther and others was really just a final flash point that had been brewing for over four centuries.
The Council of Trent decided to take the Eastern Orthodox approach in saying that the Church was the authority-not the scriptures. Of course this creates problems for the RCC in that this was never historic position of the western church nor does it make sense with the writings and positions of the early fathers. The RCC no longer truly believes like the fathers in the setting apart of the scriptures. And you'll see this on this board today. While Catholics will tout the scriptures, they'll rely upon the Church positions (usually going no farther back than Anselm). When asked if they believe scripture to be more divinely inspired than church writings, one can hear the sound of crickets in the background.
Unlike the Orthodox who always believed they could change and make modifications to writings and teachings to keep up with the times, Catholics tout that they go back to the very early writings-something that they really ignored. Today it is no wonder that Catholics believe like the Orthodox (we won't even discuss Pelagius' views).
And that is why Roman Catholics don't like to be challenged scripturally. They really no longer recognized the infallibility and inerrancy of the scriptures. It is whatever Rome tells them to believe.
Maybe; but it is DEFINITELY the RCC favorite strawman to build upon!
Or historically; either!
From one Successor of Peter, to every-man-his-own-pope. There are as many infallible and varied interpretations of Scripture here as there are non-Catholics.
Got a source for that?
So what was your foray; you just drive by a bunch of different Evangelical churches???
If you really would have checked them out you'd have found that there are not so many different flavors...Just a few, really...What there are is a lot of different names...
I would also like a source for this. It is NOT true of the Orthodox.
Even the hermits in the early days of monasticism came together as part of the church on Sunday.
No Christian or church can claim assured formulaic infallibility, which is what Rome has done, having infallibly declared she is and will be perpetually infallible whenever she speaks in accordance with her infallibly defined (scope and subject-based) formula, which renders her declaration that she is infallible, to be infallible, as well as all else she accordingly declares.
And yet within the parameters of which RCs have great liberty to adopt varied interpretations of Scripture in seeking to support Rome and her traditions, and we have seen many such extrapolations here.
Moreover, while private interpretation is condemned (erroneously invoking 2 Pt. 1:20 as teaching that) due to the fallibility of human reasoning, this is what RC converts must use in deciding to submit to Rome as infallible, and must continue to rely on it in discerning what level a magisterial teaching falls under, and thus what level of submission is required, and to some degree the meaning of such teachings.
Nor did the church begin upon the premise of an office of perpetual assured infallibility as per Rome, but souls came to believe in the light of Scriptural substantiation, in word and in power, (2Cor. 4:2; 6:4-10) and assurance that one has eternal life is provided thereby. (1Jn. 5:13)
While a reasonable man can concur with the advantage of a supreme court to adjudicate issues, to present Rome as being like the apostles is a grievous presumption.
The kingdom is indeed divided, part of that being necessary, but it is what it is, and yet God has worked to rescue multitudes of souls from Rome and institutionalized Protestantism through the historic evangelical gospel of grace, and thus expanded the kingdom of God, even though it is those Rome attacks, not her institutionalized Protestants.
The Orthodox Church does not endorse the view that the teachings of Christ have changed from time to time; rather that Christianity has remained unaltered from the moment that the Lord delivered the Faith to the Apostles (Matt. 28: 18-20). She affirms that "the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) is now what it was in the beginning. Orthodox of the twentieth century believe precisely what was believed by Orthodox of the first, the fifth, the tenth, the fifteenth centuries.
To be sure, Orthodoxy recognizes external changes (e.g., vestments of clergy, monastic habits, new feasts, canons of ecumenical and regional councils, etc.), but nothing has been added or subtracted from her Faith. The external changes have a single purpose: To express that Faith under new circumstances. For example, the Bible and divine Services were translated from Hebrew and Greek into the language of new lands; or new religious customs arose to express the ethnic sensibilities of the converted peoples, etc.; nevertheless, their has always been "one faith, one Lord, one baptism" (Eph. 4: 4).
The fundamental witness to the Christian Tradition is the holy Scriptures; and the supreme expositors of the Scriptures are the divinely inspired Fathers of the Church, whether the Greek Fathers or Latin Fathers, Syriac Fathers or Slavic Fathers. Their place in the Orthodox religion cannot be challenged. Their authority cannot be superseded, altered or ignored.
On the other hand, Roman Catholicism, unable to show a continuity of faith and in order to justify new doctrine, erected in the last century, a theory of "doctrinal development."
Following the philosophical spirit of the time (and the lead of Cardinal Henry Newman), Roman Catholic theologians began to define and teach the idea that Christ only gave us an "original deposit" of faith, a "seed," which grew and matured through the centuries. The Holy Spirit, they said, amplified the Christian Faith as the Church moved into new circumstances and acquired other needs.
Consequently, Roman Catholicism, pictures its theology as growing in stages, to higher and more clearly defined levels of knowledge. The teachings of the Fathers, as important as they are, belong to a stage or level below the theology of the Latin Middle Ages (Scholasticism), and that theology lower than the new ideas which have come after it, such as Vatican II.
I would disagree with the Father when he states this has been within the last century. Doctrinal development for the Roman Catholics began in the 6th century and expanded. The schism of 1000AD between the Catholics and the Orthodox proves this must be so-otherwise there would have been no schism. But the Father's writing is consistent with the point that I was trying to make.
The question then is why am I not an Orthodox. The answer to that is I believe are Orthodox friends have the wrong doctrinal foundation. The true doctrinal foundation was in the west with Augustine and the early western church fathers-not with Pelagius and Cassian; something they would (and have) disagree with me on. To them Augustine is only a minor father while Cassian is much more revered. Hence the Orthodox do not shy away from "free will" or salvation by works.
While I might disagree with our Orthodox friends at least they are consistent. Far more then Catholics and some Protestants.
Please see above....
I do not find anything there which backs the charge you laid on the Orthodox about changing Scripture.
The infallible church's results:
Pope John XII (955964), who gave land to a mistress, murdered several people, and was killed by a man who caught him in bed with his wife.
Pope Benedict IX (10321044, 1045, 10471048), who "sold" the Papacy
Is Peter the 'rock'?
As you can see, Simon was already known as 'Peter'
BEFORE the following verses came along.....
NIV 1 Corinthians 10:4
and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
NIV Luke 6:48
He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
NIV Romans 9:33
As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
NIV 1 Peter 2:4-8
4. As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him--
5. you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6. For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
7. Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, "
8. and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall." They stumble because they disobey the message--which is also what they were destined for.
But, since there WAS no NT at the time Christ spoke to Peter, just what DID Peter and the rest of the Disciples know about ROCKS???
NIV Genesis 49:24-25
24. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25. because of your father's God, who helps you, because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb.
NIV Numbers 20:8
"Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink."
NIV Deuteronomy 32:4
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
NIV Deuteronomy 32:15
Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; filled with food, he became heavy and sleek. He abandoned the God who made him and rejected the Rock his Savior.
NIV Deuteronomy 32:18
You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.
NIV Deuteronomy 32:30-31
30. How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the LORD had given them up?
31. For their rock is not like our Rock, as even our enemies concede.
NIV 1 Samuel 2:2
"There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
NIV 2 Samuel 22:2-3
2. He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
3. my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior-- from violent men you save me.
NIV 2 Samuel 22:32
For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
NIV 2 Samuel 22:47
"The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior!
NIV 2 Samuel 23:3-4
3. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: `When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God,
4. he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.'
NIV Psalms 18:2
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
NIV Psalms 18:31
For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?
NIV Psalms 18:46
The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!
NIV Psalms 19:14
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
NIV Psalms 28:1
To you I call, O LORD my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.
NIV Psalms 31:2-3
2. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
3. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
NIV Psalms 42:9
I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?"
NIV Psalms 62:2
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
NIV Psalms 62:6
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
NIV Psalms 62:7
My salvation and my honor depend on God ; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
NIV Psalms 71:3
Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
NIV Psalms 78:35
They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.
NIV Psalms 89:26
He will call out to me, `You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.'
NIV Psalms 92:14-15
14. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
15. proclaiming, "The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him."
NIV Psalms 95:1
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
NIV Psalms 144:1
Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.
NIV Isaiah 17:10
You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress.
NIV Isaiah 26:4
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
NIV Isaiah 30:29
And you will sing as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice as when people go up with flutes to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.
NIV Isaiah 44:8
Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one."
NIV Habakkuk 1:12
O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O LORD, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish.
And now you know the Biblical position!
Did I say the Orthodox "changed" scripture? I believe I said (or certainly met to say) the Orthodox have been very consistent in their view of scripture. They changed things that they felt were related to Church matters in promoting the gospel. Please note:
Thanks for posting this.
A few comments:
1. This source proves the exact opposite of your original claim. We do NOT believe in changing the scriptures nor the faith to meet contemporary needs. Did I misunderstand your original claim?
2. We do NOT support Pelagius. The idea that one can come to God on their own apart from the work of the Spirit is heresy.
3. We do NOT teach salvation by works. We do teach that works are necessary for the working of salvation in us because salvation is understood as the transformation (by Grace) of the soul rather than an imputed state. Good works are NOT! meritorious. It’s all by grace.
4. It is true that we do not consider Augustine a saint. We refer to him as blessed Augustine. We do however believe that a *consensus* of fathers is necessary to define the faith, not following one man.
We might be talking pass each other. Did you noticed the post above yours? (#33 I believe)
2. We do NOT support Pelagius.
True the Orthodox do not support Pelagius. They do support John Cassian who was a student of Pelagius. Please note this from Orthodox Wiki:
It should be noted, as you mentioned in #4, John Cassian is considered a saint in the Orthodox Church while Augustine is not. For good reason.
We do NOT teach salvation by works. We do teach that works are necessary for the working of salvation in us because salvation is understood as the transformation (by Grace) of the soul rather than an imputed state.
I think that is a fair and appreciated clarification. But if works are necessary for salvation, then isn't one saved by their works?
Really good work Elsie. May I borrow it, as I need to?
But if works are necessary for salvation, then isn't one saved by their works?
Not in the sense that St. Paul is talking about in Romans.
Rom 4:4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
Rom 4:5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,
Here St. Paul contrasts works and faith for salvation. The central point here and in the surrounding context is meriting or earning salvation -- expecting salvation as *payment* for the works. We do not believe that our works are earning salvation. Rather the work of God's grace in our hearts produces the righteousness in our that *is* salvation from sin.
Another way to talk about it is that Evangelical theology separates justification from sanctification and considers salvation to *be* justification, seen as a point event involving a judicial declaration but not necessarily a transformation. Orthodox thought has never separated the two. Salvation is justification plus sanctification as a continuous process because salvation involves not only being rescued from guilt but from sin itself.
MAny men DIED to let the world receive those words!
Let's cut to the chase!
Jesus answered, The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.
1 John 3:21-24
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps Gods commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
“”Really good work Elsie. May I borrow it, as I need to?””
I wouldn’t put much faith in NIV or even KJV translations for that matter.
They are not the Word of God properly translated in many cases.
Even other protestants realize this as shown in this thread
Before you use what Elsie posted you should do some serious research, otherwise you will be caught looking like a fool
Much of modern theology comes from the NIV-it’s a mess of error
Here is a good start for you courtesy of University of Pennsylvania
I gave you the wrong link from UPENN.
Here is the correct one