[quote=nasdravie]I can understand needing the Church as the spiritual authority of our faith via the guidance of the bible, sacred Tradition, and the magesterium. I understand the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit, is the Pillar and Foundation of Truth, and the gates of Hell will never prevail against it. It is this authority which aids in my understand of the one, true, Catholic Faith.
However, if I was to argue from another perspective, I would say that there wasn’t ONE church prior to Christ’s birth. I would say that there wasn’t a need for a spiritual authority prior to Christ’s birth, so there isn’t a need for a spiritual authority now (ie: the idea that all believers, regardless of denomination, makes up Christ’s invisible Church),
Please help me to understand how mankind was able to follow our Lord without spiritual authority prior to Christ’s establishment of His Church on earth.
Further we see the priests, scribes and pharisees exercising authority in trials, not only leading to Jesus’ crucifixion, but also Paul. They tried to have Paul put on trial, only his status as a Roman citizen saved him from their execution.
To follow that up Paul urges Christians to not use the normal legal system for disputes.
1 Cor 6:3
Do you not know that we will judge angels? Then why not everyday matters?
He urges them to not let problems between brothers be decided by unbelievers. That is authority, the Church should decide disputes, not the civil authorities.
The ultimate exercising of authority was explained by Jesus Himself.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Now the Jews of the time believed only God could forgive sins.
"Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?"
Jesus responded that He did indeed have **authority **on Earth to forgive sins, and commanded the paralytic to arise and walk.