In this three-part talk, I would like to demonstrate from Scripture, historical writings, and common-sense arguments that the Catholic Church is the only Church Jesus Christ founded and endowed with his preeminent authority to continue His works on earth.
Jesus Created One Church With Authority
In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus says,
And I tell you, you are Peter (meaning rock), and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.”
Notice that Jesus says he will build his “church” not “churches. He also says that whatever Peter binds or loosens on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven. This authority was also transmitted to the other apostles, although it was subordinate due to Peter alone having the keys to the kingdom (see Mt 18:18). Jesus, being God the Son, would have known that the Church He founded would bind and lose many things until the Second Coming.
Accordingly, God eternally preapproved everything this Church binds and loosens. Consequently, truth must undergird this power; otherwise, binding and loosing would be built on lies. To say that the Church Jesus founded teaches lies is to say God had no idea what this Church would teach, or God predestined a Church ordered toward teaching lies. One position makes God ignorant, the other makes Him a liar.
Matthew 28:18-20 states,
And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age.
First, “Go, therefore,” means Jesus is giving his apostles his authority. In other words, “Go in my authority.” With Jesus’ authority, they were to teach all nations and baptize “to the close of the age.” The close of the age is not yet here. Therefore, Jesus has not withdrawn his authority from the Church he founded. Scripture nowhere states that Jesus withdrew His authority from His Church.
Second, he instructs his Apostles to make disciples of all nations and to teach others everything he has “commanded” them. You cannot authoritatively teach someone and direct them to obey unless you have authority to do so.
Third, Christ gave his Apostles authority to teach disciples of “all nations.” Since the Apostles would not be able to go to, much less teach all nations during their lifetimes, Christ’s authority extends to those selected to succeed them. If they did not select men to succeed them (cf. Acts 1:26), no one would have the authority to teach.
Think about a man walking into a high school classroom and teaching without first being hired and without permission from the school. What would happen? He would be removed because he never received authority to teach. This would happen in any institution.
Mat 18:15-18 (paraphrase) – If your brother sins against you … take it to the church. If he does not listen even to the church, let him be to you as a gentile and tax collector (i.e., anathema, that is, outside the Church). Gentiles and tax collectors were not allowed to congregate with Jews or participate in their religious gatherings.
1 Timothy 3:15 – I am writing … to you so that … you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar (upholds) and bulwark (defensive wall) of truth.
Luke 10:16 – Speaking to disciples, Jesus says, “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and He who rejects me rejects the One who sent me.”
Jesus Gave This Church Perpetuity
Matthew 28:20 – I am with you always, to the close of the age.
Heb 12:28 – Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe ….
Acts 1:20-26 – The apostles select Matthias to fill Judas’ bishopric (Gk. episkope). (Note: Judas was an apostle, but his office was that of bishop.)
1 Tim 3 – Paul uses the word “episkope” when telling Timothy to select reputable men to fill this office.