In the last two talks, I demonstrated from Scripture and other early historical writings that the Catholic Church is the only Church Jesus Christ both created and gave his preeminent authority. I also showed that this Church’s leadership rests in Rome and has done so since the martyrdoms of Saints Peter and Paul. In this talk, I want to cover some common protestant objections.
A protestant might respond to my assertions by saying the Church was founded in Jerusalem, not Rome. Though the Church was indeed founded in Jerusalem, this rebuttal ignores the fact that Jerusalem, and all of Israel at that time, was a territory of the Roman Empire. It was and is Roman!
Inevitably, faced with this fact some Protestants will respond with their usual axiom, “The true church is not a physical, hierarchical church but is a spiritual church comprised of all those who have faith in Christ.”
Though there is some truth to this statement in that people outside of the Catholic Church can be saved by grace and an unintentional lack of knowledge, also known as invincible ignorance, intentionally rejecting the Church Christ physically founded on Peter and the other Apostles jeopardizes their salvation. Why?
First, their argument implies that Jesus established a spiritual church commissioned to teach contradictions and, therefore, lies; one designed to perpetually fracture and confuse. Regrettably, this belief turns Jesus into the father of lies and division rather than the Truth of God. Moreover, it suggests that the Holy Spirit has multiple personality disorder and guides varying churches to teach contradictory doctrines. Consequently, Jesus’ promise that the Holy Spirit “will guide you into to all truth” (John 16:13), becomes meaningless.
Second, their axiom means that every time a new “Christian” church is founded by some random person, Christ is marrying a new bride and committing polygamy, or divorcing his old bride, remarrying, and committing adultery. As it is, however, Christ has one bride (see Ephesians 5:21-33), the Holy Catholic Church, whose chief steward is St. Peter’s successor, the Pope.
Finally, if we accept their axiom, Protestants must admit that Catholics have the same claim to salvation they have. Catholics believe in and love God the Son, Jesus Christ, who assumed a human nature 2000 years ago, was crucified for our sins, died, resurrected, and ascended into heaven where he sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. These are truths Catholics profess every Sunday when we recite the Nicene Creed and truths that we lovingly live every day.
Still, others would respond to this argument by saying the Bible is their sole rule of faith (aka Sola Scriptura) and they do not need a church. This argument, however, cannot be found in Scripture and is, therefore, unbiblical. The Bible nowhere states, implicitly or explicitly, that it is the sole rule of faith or that all Christian teachings are found within its pages. Therefore, this argument is completely untenable and self-refuting.
Additionally, using the Bible as the sole rule of faith has resulted in innumerable contradictory doctrines throughout Protestantism. Protestant churches, as hard as they try, cannot justify their own existence. They disagree with the Catholic Church and with each other while simultaneously claiming that they have the infallible truth.
For example, Protestant churches teach at least three sets of contradictions on baptism, and they all use the Bible to support their positions: 1) Baptism washes away sin/baptism does not wash away sin; 2) true baptism requires a full-body immersion/it does not require full immersion; 3) only those who have reached the age of reason can be legitimately baptized/baptism can occur at any age.
Additionally, five teachings on Communion/The Lord’s Supper exist in Protestantism: 1) The bread and wine at Communion become Jesus’ body and blood (transubstantiation); 2) the bread and wine at Communion are both bread and wine and Jesus’ body and blood (consubstantiation); 3) Jesus is spiritually present in a special way but the bread and wine/grape juice remain intact; 4) Communion is completely symbolic of the Last Supper and has no sacramental value; 5) Communion is either bread and wine/grape juice or Jesus is somehow present, whichever the member believes.
Unfortunately, these teachings are just a fraction of the contradictions taught in Protestantism.
So, we can see that objections to the Catholic Church’s Christ-given originality and authority hold no water. By the way, St. Paul wrote about the problem of factious people in the early Church in Acts 20:29-30. He warned, “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things to draw the disciples after them.”
In Titus 3:10-11, St. Paul instructs Titus on how to handle these factious men: “As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful, he is self-condemned.”
Remember, the earliest Protestant forefathers were Catholics who were sent out of the Church because of their factious teachings. They rejected the Church’s authority and desired to make themselves the sole arbiters on matters of faith and morality. Essentially, they wanted to be their own and everyone else’s popes.