How Counterfeit Churches Devalue Christianity-Part II appeared first on Catholic Stand. To read Part I, please click here.
Scripture and history unambiguously hold that Christ established the Roman Catholic Church. By Roman Catholic, I mean the original Church headed by the Bishop of Rome (later known as the Pope), beginning with St. Peter, with apostolic succession, and still in existence to this day. Local churches in Jerusalem, Rome, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Galatia, etc., were one church in communion with the church in Rome.
In the earliest days, this Church was not referred to as “Roman” Catholic because no other existed. However, after the Great Schism in A.D. 1054, and especially after the Protestant Revolution began in 1517, the term Roman Catholic became increasingly common.
One might respond by saying the Church was founded in Jerusalem, not Rome. Though the Church was 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 Roman!
Another important point to remember is that the New Testament was written by early members of the Catholic Church and the canon of Scripture (the official list of biblical books) was decided by the Catholic Church.
Conversely, Protestant churches took the Bible out of its native church, illicitly removed seven books, and have rendered erroneous interpretations ever since. Now, by demonstrating that the Catholic Church is the original Church containing Christ’s preeminent authority, we can prove that all other churches are counterfeit.
All counterfeit churches have a few things in common. They reject and usurp the Catholic Church’s Christ-given authority. They exist is in a state of division due to contradictory teachings. They are not the Church that wrote, preserved, and passed down the Bible, and they are not the Church founded by Jesus Christ. They are not promised guidance by the Holy Spirit and, therefore, interpret Scripture based on their own opinions, which has resulted in their perpetually divisive existence.
Therefore, their brands of Christianity water down and devalue truth in exchange for self-appropriated authority, an authority that was not given to them by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. These churches’ leaders expect you to listen to them and reject the Church Christ founded. Consequently, counterfeit churches devalue infallible truths by mixing false, contradictory doctrines into the salvation enterprise, thereby propagating division and confusion.
By the way, St. Paul wrote about this very problem 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 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.
Inevitably, faced with these facts some Protestants will respond with their usual axiom, “The true church is not a physical church but is a spiritual church comprised of 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 due to 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, this 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, this adage means that every time a new “Christian” church is founded by some random person, Christ would be 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 this 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 we try to 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. In fact, it proves the exact opposite.
For instance, when certain Protestant churches feebly attempt to bolster their Sola Scriptura argument by rendering erroneous interpretations of certain passages, they prove that the Bible needs an interpretational authority outside of itself.
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. How do these churches not see their contradictions? How do they not recognize their perpetually divisive state? How do they not understand their counterfeit nature?
Please conduct internet searches and/or ask Protestant preachers for logically coherent rebuttals to my assertions. I guarantee you with 100% certainty that there are no such arguments. Some try to blame divisions on sin. I completely agree, which is why Jesus, knowing human nature perfectly, established one Church with the mission to teach and preach. I would like to challenge the reader to seriously consider the person from whom lies and division ultimately proceed and to honestly ponder Jesus’ solution.
A Call to Our Separated Brothers and Sisters
At this point, I should mention something most of us take for granted: God brings good out of evil situations. Although the Protestant forefathers separated from Christ’s Church and the divisions continue, God has been able to raise up holy people from this chasm of chaos, contradiction, and confusion. Many Protestant Christians truly adore God (Father, Son, And Holy Spirit) and try to do his will with faith, hope, and love.
Therefore, Catholics must not do anything to discourage, disrupt, or destroy the love these folks have for God. Rather, because of our Christ-given mandate to evangelize and everyone’s Christ-given mandate to be one as he and the Heavenly Father are one, we must edify them with the full truth that God has given his Church, which includes historical, biblical, and theological truths.
Additionally, we must not berate Protestants for not being Catholic or we will create a sense of hostility in them. This hostility could ultimately drive them away from the Catholic Church rather than toward her. Conversely, if we lovingly explain Catholic teachings, even though this can sometimes be difficult, and pray for our Protestant brothers and sisters, we can plant a seed. If they open themselves to God’s watering, that seed will flourish.
To all our Protestant brothers and sisters, you are always invited to come home to the Catholic Church. Simply ask the Holy Spirit for his help and guidance and, when you are ready, contact your local Catholic parish.
I should briefly note that the Eastern Orthodox Churches have Apostolic origin and are, thus, authentic. However, when they separated from the Roman Church by rejecting papal authority during the Great Schism 1000 years ago, they separated themselves from Christ’s preeminent authority.
Nevertheless, the Catholic Church shares apostolic succession, the Sacraments, and a host of teachings with the Orthodox Churches. Therefore, we pray for reunification with our Eastern brothers and sisters. If you are Eastern Orthodox, there are many Eastern Catholic churches in communion with Rome that will welcome you with arms wide open.
“We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God….” (St. Paul).