"Scripture preserves Gods truth from drift into all kinds of foolish pagan practices."
Absolutely true. That's why the preservation, collection, translation, publication, interpretation and proclamation of Scripture has always been the vital concern the Church. It's been one of the Church's principle tasks over the past 20 centuries. That's why any of us is able to have a Bible in his hands to this very day. Phenomenal, isn't it?
"It prevents what happens when Scripture is discounted and any leader can make up new traditions - even ones that didn't exist during the first one hundred years of Church history - and you end up with a situation where anything becomes tradition that invalidates the Word of God for the sake of traditions."
Absolutely true once again. This preoccupation we have with Scripture HAS prevented erroneous teachers from making up new traditions which invalidate the Word of God.
If you look at the 21 Ecumenical Councils, for instance, beginning with the Council of Jerusalem as reported in Acts, you will see that these Councils protected the Church by striking down erroneous traditions. Note that many of these heresies were being promoted by dissenting clergy and had hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic followers. But the Church had to battle these wolves-in-shepherds'-clothing and reinforce the unchanged Faith as handed down to us by the Apostles.
Extend this Chart all the way down to the 20th century: the Church has always had to face and combat the roar of dissenting voices, the "Spirit of the Age," the exceedingly popular heresies.
As evidence consider the state of protestant theology in the US at present (or Europe for that matter ). If you look at raw numbers well over 60% now teach either abortion or same sex marriage are perfectly ok and its growing rapidly.
Exactly. They have their own conferences every couple of years or every decade or so, not to refute the heresies, but to adopt them. (Who knows what the Episcopalians will come up with next??)
"As evidence consider the state of the Roman Church worldwide, where regardless of what the church teaches, a huge number of members use birth control, get abortions and are perfectly ok with same sex marriage."
This is where you need to take another look, because this is not evidence for your claim, but counter-evidence. Namely, here you're dealing with a Church which still has its pure doctrine -- FOR the truths of Scripture, AGAINT birth control, AGAINST abortions, AGAINST the deconstruction of sex, gender and marriage --- and still has to fight the usual opponents, i.e. dissenting clergy and their millions of enthusiastic supporters.
Today the heresies center, not on the nature of God, but on the nature of Man. The dispute isn't about whether Christ had a human nature, but whether "human nature" even exists.
Find another Church which hasn't given in, hasn't changed its doctrines to accommodate serial polygamy (divorce/remarriage), onanism (contracepted sex), sodomy (perverted sex acts, whether by homosexuals or heterosexuals), infanticide (abortion, even in the so-called "hard cases"). Find me another Church with clear-cut doctrines against human embryo experimentation and manipulation; against alternative reproductive technologies; against euthanasia and the intentional programming of death.
And I still like you too ;oD
OK, first, I’m glad we are friends, though disagreeing on some things, but agreeing on many, many things. :-)
“Namely, here you’re dealing with a Church which still has its pure doctrine — FOR the truths of Scripture, AGAINT birth control, AGAINST abortions, AGAINST the deconstruction of sex, gender and marriage -— and still has to fight the usual opponents, i.e. dissenting clergy and their millions of enthusiastic supporters.”
I will only respond in this way...
What good is it to pretend that most members actually believe and are Christians, when they WIDELY reject the teaching of the church in practice? .
What results is truth mixed with heresy and pagan practice that becomes a buffet. You can argue that the Church is teaching many truths, but if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it fall - or rather, the fall of the tree is ignored not only by the whole world, but by the very membership it claims - what difference does it make?
To whit (always wanted to say that)...
In my local area, I attend a local church that has grown from about 5,000 members who show up every weekend to worship God, and serve others all week to more than 13,000 members who do the same. That membership number includes 5 churches planted during the past 7 years. Most of these people began life far from God, failed, were invited by a friend to come, were welcomed and accepted, attended, came to a point where they entrusted themselves to Christ for salvation, decided to follow him and want to honor him with their lives. In other words, these are not just people who showed up here from other churches. These are tattooed, worldly people, much like those Christ came to heal, and like those mentioned in the Bible, see their failure and deep need and WANT HIM.
I write none of that to say big is better, etc. Just to contrast with what follows...
My neighbors, nice couple we do things socially with and enjoy, who are sincere Roman Catholics, and I believe are true believers, go to a local church that has a “membership roll” of about 2600 - the vast majority of who never show up at church (about 300 show up) - let alone weekly, but are counted as members. Again, nothing wrong with the number, but with the impact in members lives. As this local RC church shrinks, I have to ask, does it have a pulse? If it is not growing, is it really alive with His new life? I simply do not know the answers. I am raising questions only.
Now, for the Round Robin Quick Round:
“Find another Church which hasn’t given in, hasn’t changed its doctrines to accommodate serial polygamy (divorce/remarriage)”
I find “annulment for so many reasons after exchanging vows to be identical in practical terms to divorce/remarriage. Say what you will about what the Church believes, I don’t find it in the lives of the majority of the membership. Heck, you can find lots of RCs around the world shacking up after divorce. So, yea, teaching is great, but if it doesn’t lead people to abandon their own worthiness by works, entrust themselves to His Gospel of Grace alone, and live a changed life, you are talking about abortion of the truth.
Some I would accept, some I would reject. Bigger conversation.
“sodomy (perverted sex acts, whether by homosexuals or heterosexuals),”
Again, culturally, it appears RC members have largely come to accept this - at least in surveys. Mainline Protestant churches (that are shrinking and merging to share expenses), seem to accept it. Evangelicals that are true to His Word do not. Admittedly, you can probably find some members of every church that accept cultural norms. To the degree that members do not know His Word and accept it as the Word of God, is the degree to which they believe whatever feels good.
“infanticide -abortion, even in the so-called “hard cases”
“Find me another Church with clear-cut doctrines against human embryo experimentation and manipulation; against alternative reproductive technologies; against euthanasia and the intentional programming of death.”
Sure. BUT, show me a membership that actually lives out that teaching. Teaching is great. If it doesn’t make disciples who have learned “to obey all I commanded you”, may I ask what difference it is making? THAT was the Great and Final Commission Christ commanded. The Church must preserve the truth, but it isn’t to be a time capsule. It is to make disciples.
Now, please realize I am not JUST saying this about the Roman Church. I would say the identical things about ANY Church, if they are true but you are asking specifically about the Roman Church.
As an add on here at the end, I have to note that I disagree with some of your explanations. I find plenty of examples of Catholic practice that adopted/adapted pagan practice and made it into accepted tradition. Let’s set that aside.
So... there’s your well, my friend.