Church Authority And Papal Infallibility
the biggest problems Protestants have with the Roman Catholic Church is the
requirement for obedience. One God, one Son, one Spirit, one Church. Christ did
not create a fragmented Church. That was a creation of man. For almost 1600
years there was only one Church. Not until several members of the Catholic
clergy (Luther, Calvin, etc) began to preach heresies did the Protestant
reformation begin. Below are several scripture passages that define the
authority of the Church. The most important point to understand is that
obedience to the Church IS obedience to God.
if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God,
which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth."
1 Timothy 3:15
particular interest here is that Paul calls the Church the pillar and
foundation of truth. Of course the scripture is important, but it is the Church
that leads us. To resist the Church is to resist truth. When someone sets
themselves up to interpret the scripture outside Church teaching, they are
setting themselves above the Church. The next scripture passage explains the
importance of obedience to the authority, which includes the Church.
every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority
except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Therefore,
whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose
it will bring judgment upon themselves."
passage should be frightening to those who do not submit to the Authority of the
Church. When Christ founded the Church and commissioned its leaders, he granted
them the authority necessary to fulfill its mission. So when we, in an
independent spirit, decide that we can do it without the Church, we are in fact
bringing judgment upon ourselves. One of the greatest gifts of God was freewill.
The only question is how will you use it. This next passage also tells us about
obedience to the Church.
your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to
give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow,
for that would be of no advantage to you."
Jesus approached and said to them, 'All power in heaven and on earth has been
given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them 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, until
the end of the age.' "
commanded the Apostles to go forth and teach, not go forth and distribute Bibles
and let the people figure it out for themselves. Every time I think about the
fundamentalist approach to faith, I think about the widely used phrase "lost
sheep." How frightening it must be to be handed a Bible and expected to
understand it. The odd thing about it is that few fundamentalist are actually
fundamentalist. They expect you to agree with their version of the Bible. So in
essence, you are actually following the "teaching" of a Church founded by man
(Luther, Calvin, Henry VIII) instead of the Church created and commissioned by
that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to
the principalities and authorities in the heavens."
is made know to all through the Church. Its as simple as that.
belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not
belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and
the spirit of deceit."
who does not belong to God does not listen to us? That is a very powerful
statement. This is how we know the spirit of truth and deceit? What does this
say about those who founded the Protestant movement and perpetuates it today? At
what point do we realize the problems with the Protestant movement? No man can
find salvation on his own through the Bible. There is not a "to do" list for
salvation. There is so much more to Faith that what is in the Bible.
you read this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which
was not made known to human beings in other generations as it has now been
revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit"
is no reason to believe that the truth will be revealed to each individual. If
that were the case, would not the same be revealed to all? The Holy Spirit
reveals the truth to the Bishops of the Church, modern day successors to the
we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey this same message by word of
mouth: 'It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any
burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to
idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.'" And so
they were sent on their journey. Upon their arrival in Antioch they called the
assembly together and delivered the letter. "
a good example of the Church interpreting the truth and faith to a community.
The Church did not allow each community to interpret what was right on their
own. The "Jerusalem Council" council above was the first recorded Church
Council. The last was Vatican II. The Church has, and always will, be
tasked to be the voice of truth to mankind placed in context with the current
time and place. Just as the Jerusalem Council dealt with the question of
conversion to Christianity, today's Church deals with questions of genetic
engineering, contraception, and other issues of this time and place. Sometimes
in our arrogance we assume that we are the purveyors of the truth. The spirit of
independence that built this country can sometimes be the very reason for our
downfall in the sense of the Faith. We can be independent in a social sense, but
we must always be dependent in a spiritual sense.
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