My carpenter, who is some sort of part time pastor though he doesn’t have his own church, in talking with my husband yesterday had said something about us attending the Catholic church most mornings and how it had helped him so much. My husband then asked where he went and said something nice about his church regarding the evangelical church music. Rather than saying something nice in turn about the Catholic church, he started saying he had some real problems with the Catholic church’s claim position on being an apostolic church and then said there were 12 apostles and to believe that the Pope.,…" He didn’t get to finish as I walked in on the conversation and interrupted it. My husband told me later he was glad I walked in because the carpenter was getting ready to go off on the Catholic church and its Popes.
I believe the Catholic church is Jesus’ church - the true church and for him to argue against an apostolic church is like arguing with Jesus himself. But what are the best arguments in favor of that? I would like to have a ready come back for him if this happens again.
I went away from the Catholic Church for over 10 years, during which I experimented with different kinds of churchs, even a cult.
I had a problem with the Pope and other things. Now, I’ve come to believe DEVOUTLY in the entire Church, ALL of it!
There are a ton of scriptural quotes that tell us that Jesus spoke to Peter, and Peter alone, about shepherding his Church. Christ renamed him and called him Peter, “The Rock” on which Christ intended to build his Church.
Christ said he had all authority in heaven and earth. In turn, he gave Peter the “keys to the kingdom” saying what Peter held bound on earth would be bound in heaven, what he loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven!
Peter was always the apostle listed first. When the apostles had a question, in Jesus’ absence, what Peter said, went. Jesus asked Peter, and him alone, to shepherd his sheep. He told Peter to strengthen his brothers.
Now, what the apostles had seemed to be sort of like what we, today, would call an “office”. When Judas committed suicide, he was replaced. When Peter was martyred, he was likewise, replaced.
The apostles had special authority, given to nobody else, as well. Christ breathed on them and told them to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, that sins they forgave would be forgiven! He gave the apostles, the power to forgive sin!
Now, in the same way Judas was replaced, and others succeeded him, this happened with all the apostles, and they had DIVINE authority to act, unlike many other man-made churches today which crop up, establish their own man-made leaders, alter the Bible and interpret scripture however they like.
I will attach one link on some of the typical stumbling blocks, apologetics.
You can also delve into the fact that Scripture itself attests to the office of bishop (episcopoi in the original Biblical Greek text from which we derive the word episcopate).
You can also point out how the ordained priesthood in Catholicism (which includes the episcopate) is a fulfillment of the Levitical priesthood which had its lineage and “succession” through the tribe of Levi. Rather than physical succession, the Church’s clergy is passed on via spiritual succession.
Regarding Peter’s office specifically, there is an abundance of Catholic apologetics on the matter. I might just recommend doing a web search for “Catholic Apologetics Papacy.” If your colleague delves into sins of Popes, you can admit that Popes have acted sinfully in the past, but fortunately our faith isn’t founded on the sins of its members. Nor do we believe Popes to be without sin, and thus they can indeed fall. It is only regarding their specific teaching on faith or morals as mentioned in previous post on infallibility that we take them without error.
Where do the arguments against the authority of the Pope come from? (Or, for that matter, the Bishops?) It does not come from the Bible–the place of Peter at the head of the Twelve, and the Twelve as the authorities of the early communion, plus the bishops as the successors to the Twelve is all clear. A little later, in the Apostolic Fathers and other early sources, the Bishop of Rome as successor to Peter is likewise clear on historic grounds. Nobody else makes such claims. We even see the beginning of the Apostolic Succession in the Twelve sending Barnabas out to Antioch, who in turn goes and gets Paul to help. So, where is the disagreement?
Usually the only source is the other community, that insists on the Scripture alone as the source of authority. In that case, any human person with authority is a threat to the primacy of Scripture, and indeed to only Scripture as the source of truth.
Then we might ask where does that community get the authority to make such a claim? The Scriptures themselves do not support it. History does not support it, not back before 500 or 600 years ago. In fact, we can trace it back to human persons who devised this claim to reject the authority that had been generally accepted for the first 1400 or so years of the Church, as even the Bible shows.
So, in rejecting the Apostolic authority of the Bishops and Pope, they accept a much later human authority in place of the authority granted and promised by Jesus.
The early Church - the Church founded by Christ as promised in Matthew 16:18 - was that which was originally known as “the Way” (cf. Acts 24:14). Later, those individuals who followed Christ began to be called “Christians” beginning at Antioch (cf. Acts 11:26). As early as 107 A.D., those same individuals referred to themselves collectively as the “Catholic Church”. In a letter to the Church of Smyrna, Ignatius of Antioch wrote, “You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery (priest) as you would the Apostles. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, A.D. 107, [8,1])
Notice that Ignatius does not introduce the term “Catholic Church”; instead he uses it in a manner suggesting that the name was already in use and familiar to his audience. This further suggests that the name, Catholic Church, had to have been coined much earlier in order to have achieved wide circulation by the time of this writing. In other words, the Christian assembly was calling itself the Catholic Church during the lifetime of the last Apostle, John, who died near the end of the first century. John, the beloved disciple, may have thought of himself as a member of the Catholic Church!
The Catholic Church began with Peter and the Apostles and continued without interruption or cessation through their disciples (Ignatius, Irenaeus, Polycarp, Clement, Justin Martyr, etc.) down to the present day. As a side note, it appears that the believers in Antioch may have coined both terms still in use today: “Christian” and “Catholic Church” – terms they used to describe the one body of believers in Christ.
Protestant Scholar on the use of the Proper Name "Catholic"
One Protestant author who is honest about this history is the renowned Church historian, J. N. D. Kelly. Kelly dates the usage of the name “Catholic” after the death of the Apostle John, but he acknowledges that the original Church founded by Jesus called itself the “Catholic Church”.
“As regards ‘Catholic,’ its original meaning was ‘universal’ or ‘general’ … As applied to the Church, its primary significance was to underline its universality as opposed to the local character of the individual congregations. Very quickly, however, in the latter half of the second century at latest, we find it conveying the suggestion that the Catholic is the true Church as distinct from heretical congregations. . . . What these early Fathers were envisaging was almost always the empirical, visible society; they had little or no inkling of the distinction which was later to become important between a visible and an invisible Church” (J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, 5th ed. [San Francisco: Harper, 1978], 190f).
“Catholic Church” in the Bible
Despite the historical evidence, many people argue that the Catholic Church is not the Church founded by Jesus Christ beginning with Peter and the Apostles. One argument often made is that the phrase “Catholic Church” does not appear within the pages of Scripture. Aside from the fact that this argument is weak since the words “trinity” and “Bible” are not contained in Holy Writ either, is it really true that the Catholic Church is not named in the Bible? Well, take a look at the following verse from the Acts of the Apostles, and decide for yourself:
Acts 9:31 (Greek)
ἡ μεν ουν εκκλησια καθ᾽ ὁλης της ιουδαιας και γαλιλαιας και σαμαρειας ειχεν ειρηνην οικοδομουμενη και πορευομενη τω φοβω του κυριου, και τη παρακλησει του ἁγιου πνευματος επληθυνοντο.
Act 9:31 (Transliteration)
aye men oon ekklaysiaye kath olays tays ioodayeas kaye galilayeas kaye samarayas aycon ayraynayn oikodomoomenaye kaye poryoomenaye tow fobow too kurioo kaye tay paraklaysay too agioo pnyoomatos eplaythunonto (russ.org/gtb/luke.html#a9)
Acts 9:31 (English)
So the Church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it was multiplied.
From this text, we can see the Greek word “kath olays” which is rendered “Catholic” in modern English and the word “ekklaysiaye” which becomes “ecclesia” in English and is commonly translated as “church”.
εκκλησια καθ᾽ ὁλης = ekklaysiaye kath olays = “the church throughout all” = Catholic Church.
There are three aspects to the mission of Jesus Christ. **
1. To teach, -truth
see Mark 1:38 which depicts His role as the Prophet;
2. To rule, - way
see Revelation 17:14depicting Him as the King of Kings;
3. To Sanctify, - life
see Hebrews 5-10 especially 7:21- 8:6 depicting His role as the High Priest. **
**Just as Christ was sent by the Father, He sends the Twelve Apostles. He entrusts and empowers them with this three fold mission of His.
**Luke 22:29-32 ****
“ … and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.’ ” RSV **
“I will not leave you orphans”
**The Bible is infallible in what it’s authors intended to teach. It does not teach error. However, the question remains on how to interpret it. This has led to over 32,000 different Protestant denominations who all contradict each other on what it means and yet each of those denominations claims to be following the Bible and the Bible alone. And the position that no one can infallible interpret the Bible leaves it as a book that serves no certain and definite purpose. ** Therefore, we can see that an orphan is someone who cannot hear an audible voice from his father giving a clear and infallible interpretation of the words that his father has previously spoken or written.
**… And it is the Holy Spirit working through the Holy Father, the vicar of Christ, that overcomes any personal sins that Pope might have to give us an infallible guidance of what we should do to get to heaven.
Cf. Acts 9:4-5. The term “Pope” comes from the term “papa” which means father. His authority over us is as a father over his spiritual children.
“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
The Church that Christ built See Matthew 16:18 below] is the pillar and foundation of truth which God works through to guide us in how to follow Jesus Christ and what it means to have faith in Him.**
**Peter points out in Acts how after Judas died, they needed to appoint a successor to his bishopric, or office.
“ … His office let another take.” **
“This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you …”
**This authority was passed on through the laying on of hands. **
**1 Timothy 4:11-16
“Command and teach these things. Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Till I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you. Practice these duties, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” **
**The need for an authoritative teaching Church, as opposed to each person using his own interpretation, is demonstrated by the following. **
**2 Timothy 4:1-4
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.” **
**Titus 1:5, 9
“This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you…9 he must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it.” **
“Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
Some Christians will try to say Catholics aren’t Christian, when in fact, we are the original Christians, there from the beginning.
Further, we adhere, faithfully, to the traditions and rules set down by Christ and the Apostles. Now, some say it’s okay for these others, sometimes 1,500 years afterwards, to think they know better, take the Catholic Bible (only to change it) and distort all this.
We, Catholics, have followed the traditions passed down, and did like the early Christians.
With the popes, our popes are our earthly leaders, by divine inspiration. Now, other people say they will not follow these leaders, that they will, instead, get their own, which they have done. Sometimes, not through election or anything, somebody will just declare himself leader of the Church, like Henry VIII, for example, but reject the pope!
Christ said that God has sent out his prophets and other representatives. When we reject his representatives, he said it would be the same as rejecting Christ. When we reject Christ, we reject who sent him, God the Father.
Therefore, it’s critical we obey the Church leaders.
Now, people like Henry VIII, because he couldn’t get annulment, got to head his own Church. He did so as a man, without any divine authority, whatsoever!
God told us there would be people who would try to lead us away from the true Church, and some tell us it’s okay to interpret scripture however we please. Okay, last time I checked, there were something like…35,000? different forms of Christianity!
Each kept splitting off from the original, Catholicism, to follow its man-made leaders…Luther, Calvin, Armstrong, and others.
At least in Catholicism, we began with Peter, then his descendants We started under Jesus Christ’s authority. By whose authority are all these others acting?