I was not involved in the other thread and have only glanced at all that you have posted above…Too hard for me to try to sort it out. Sorry…
Authority IS the central issue in these matters and so, of all the things to discuss, it is core.
I am no scholar of any sort and yet in my journey I have found that, the more I look into the matter the more I see Scripture pointing to an authoritative Church. So even if one is looking at Scripture as their prime source for teaching, Scripture itself will lead one to “Church” as authority.
Let me note here just quickly that in all that follows I am not making a case specifically for the “RC” model but rather simply looking as Scripture and what Scripture points to…
First, let’s look at the term “Church”. The Greek “Ekklesia” = a community called out for council etc. This term is used exactly twice in the Gospels. Both times in Matthew, and both times it is connected with the granting of authority to “Bind and Loose”…“whatever”. (Mt 16:17-19 and Mt 18:15-18). Pretty broad authority wouldn’t you agree?
Of these two references, both made by the Lord Himself, I find the one in Mt 18:15-18 to be the most striking for it provides a pretty clear, if brief, set of instructions for dealing with problems within the Ekklesia - the Church.
The great thing about bringing things to “the Church” for consideration is that, assuming that the group is prayerful, sincere and truly seeking God’s truth, error is much less likely. The Holy spirit works among the group through sincere discussion and debate to arrive at the Truth in Love. The individual may well be guided by the Holy Spirit, but without the greater “Church” to check his conclusions against, error is more likely. (I know this from personal experience:blush:)
But what is even more striking is that the Holy Spirit saw to it that Scripture contained an example of these instructions in action…Not verbatim but the principles are clearly visible in Acts 15. First a few in Antioch are involved, then more until it is found that not even St Paul himself can resolve the matter. So - it is taken to Jerusalem and laid before the leadership of the Church, the Apostles and Elders of the Church.
Once they had spoken that ended the matter, not just in Jerusalem, not just in Antioch, but in all the Church in whatever city…
These two passages when combined, fit so well together demonstrating the idea of unity and ekklesial authority that I cannot see how any protestant can miss it. Of course many wish to say that Mt 18 refer to the local community and not to a “universal” hierarchy… yet Scripture does not support this. While the passages above DO point to universal unity and authority, there is no passage that I am aware of that points to local independence.
If that were the case, then why did Antioch simple evolve into a "Gentile Christian Church and a “Hebrew Christian Church” After all, isn’t that what we have today with the many different denominations in each and every city?
The simple logic AND Mt 18 work together to dissolve the “local independent” view.
A man begins teaching in his local church something controversial. Mt 18 kicks in and the debate begins. Eventually the matter is brought before the “Church”, or representatives thereof and a decision reached.
Meanwhile down the street, in another local church, this same thing happens on the same subject and that community reaches a different conclusion. Since each community is independent, each can teach - based on (their understanding of) Scripture - opposing conclusions.
Now consider this problem in light of the models of Church governance that have developed in the Christian era. The Protestant model cannot resolve this matter because they reject the idea of a universal church authority. The Catholic and Orthodox - (the much older churches) BOTH use a councilior model that is very much like what we see in Scripture.
In addition to the passages above, there are numerous mentions in Scripture of being one in mind, in spirit, in praise. Jesus asked that we be One as he and the Father are One…Is there any room for serious difference in that???
Scripture is inerrant. Scripture is authoritative, and Scripture points to the Authoritative Church.