Catholic or Orthodox

Catholic or Orthodox

I am curious as to which version of Christianity is more correct, and the arguments for and against each branch or sect of Christianity.

Don’t expect a forum to convince you. You have two thousand years of history to read before you can even come to a conclusion.

I have spent some time reading Orthodox material, and I am inclined to believe that the Orthodox is truth. I am just curious to see what are the arguments against the Orthodox are.

There is no disunity in the Kingdom of God. Together we form one body, and we cannot be separated! Impossible! Come Holy Spirit.


Which Orthodox do you consider truth? It is my understanding there are multiple communions within Orthodox.


Both are correct in terms of Christian Apostolic Tradition. The differences between them are very minor. All Christians should pray for a resumption of communion between the Coptic, Orthodox, and Catholic Churches.

Is that all?

In all seriousness, this is not something which has a simple answer. I have found the arguments here are not so much against Orthodoxy as they are in support of Catholicism. There are some very beautiful and appealing things about Orthodoxy just as there is about Catholicism. You must study apologetic and historical material for both and decide which you believe makes the most compelling argument. It usually boils down to only a couple of, or one, issues. Also, remember there are more similarities than differences.

I was under the impression that the differences within the Orthodox communions were lingual, rather than theological. Also, there wasn’t (an official anyhow) split between the Western Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches until the 11th century. Catholics and Orthodox share a large number of saints as well.

I do not know much about the Orthodox and I’m sure there are those that can shed light for the OP but I do have an Orthodox friend who sais he cannot commune at just any Orthodox church :shrug:. This alone tells me there is more to Orthodox than just “one” Orthodox communion and therefore the OP just comparing Orthodox to Catholic is a bit confusing to me.


As a Catholic, obviously I believe that the Catholic Church is the fullness of Christian faith and that the Orthodox faith, while correct on many (perhaps most) points, is wrong on some very important things. (I also don’t think of Catholicism as a sect among many either, but that may be a different discussion.)

It’s an in depth question, but the shortest version of my reason is that Christ built the Church on Peter, the rock. I know there are debates about primacy vs supremacy, etc etc, but all of those seem somewhat secondary - if the Church was built on Peter, and if Christ followed His own teachings about choosing good foundations, then where Peter is, there is the Church. It does not make sense to me to say that the fullness of the faith is cut off from the rock on which the Church was built, and so whatever we may think about what that rock is or should be doing, the Church is that which is built upon it.

It depends.

The group of churches that we generally know as Orthodox, like the Russian, Greek, Bulgarian, Romanian, etc of Eastern Europe - those are national autocephalous churches, but nevertheless in communion with one another (from what I understand). However, there are some Oriental Orthodox groups, like the Coptic Orthodox Church that are not in communion with the ones I just mentioned because of differences dating back to the Council of Chalcedon. They are not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, either.

There is an awful lot of bickering though between Orthodox groups. It seems to me that the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate in Moscow are always in dispute over authority.

Jesus promised to build his Church upon Peter, the Rock, and the successors of Peter, the popes, have led the Catholic Church for 2,000 years. The Catholic Church is the true Church, and Orthodoxy, Protestantism and Pentecostalism are splinter groups of varying sizes.

Some argue about the whether Peter, personally, was the rock referred to in Matthew 16. He was. Here’s why:

"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19)

Peter’s understanding that Jesus was the Son of God did not come from working it out on his own; God the Father infused this revelation into Peter’s mind thus imprinting His seal of approval upon the humble fisherman. In turn, Jesus recognized that Simon had already been anointed by His Father in this way, and He declared, “Blessed are you” because the Father had already blessed Simon with knowledge of the Son. Speaking in His native tongue, Aramaic, Jesus gave Simon a new name, “Kepha”, the Aramaic word that means “rock”. Jesus declared, “You are kepha, and on this kepha I will build my church.”

Although Jesus spoke Aramaic, the New Testament was written in Greek, and “Kepha” would have been translated into the Greek words for “rock” which are “petra” or “petros”. “Petra” is the feminine form of the masculine word, “petros”, and obviously, “petros” is the more suitable form for a man’s name. From “petros” we derive the English name, “Peter”. For us modern readers then, Jesus’ pronouncement reads, “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church”, but we must never lose sight of the fact that in the original language used by Jesus, Simon is clearly identified as the rock upon which the Church would be built by Jesus. Jesus announced His intention to establish His Church (singular – not “churches” plural) and His choice of Peter as its leader.

I always delight in the ease by which we are pit against each other. So little has this poster provided, why not ignore him?

Here is just one of the 25 Protestant Scholars I could quote on Peter, the Rock:

D.A. Carson (Protestant Evangelical) –

"Although it is true that petros and petra can mean ‘stone’ and ‘rock’ respectively in earlier Greek, the distinction is largely confined to poetry. Moreover, the underlying Aramaic is in this case unquestionable; and most probably kepha was used in both clauses (‘you are kepha’ and ‘on this kepha’), since the word was used both for a name and for a ‘rock.’ The Peshitta (written in Syriac, a language cognate with Aramaic) makes no distinction between the words in the two clauses.

The Greek makes the distinction between petros and petra simply because it is trying to preserve the pun, and in Greek the feminine petra could not very well serve as a masculine name." (Carson, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary [Zondervan, 1984], volume 8, page 368, as cited in Butler/Dahlgren/Hess, page 17-18)

“The word Peter petros, meaning ‘rock,’ (Gk 4377) is masculine, and in Jesus’ follow-up statement he uses the feminine word petra (Gk 4376). On the basis of this change, many have attempted to avoid identifying Peter as the rock on which Jesus builds his church yet if it were not for Protestant reactions against extremes of Roman Catholic interpretations, it is doubtful whether many would have taken ‘rock’ to be anything or anyone other than Peter.” (Carson, Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary [Zondervan, 1994], volume 2, page 78, as cited in Butler/Dahlgren/Hess, page 18)


We can argue about what those “extremes” might be and whether they really ARE extreme, but one thing that is no longer worth arguing over is whether Peter really is the Rock.

That argument is over, and once it is conceded that Peter is the Rock, Orthodoxy can no longer claim to be the true Church.

Your understanding is incorrect.

There are multiple communions which call themselves Orthodox, in much the same way that there are multiple communions which call themselves Catholic.

Given the Orthodox vs. Catholic angle of the question, I would believe the OP is talking about Eastern Orthodox. Had the OP been talking about the Oriental Orthodox (the other large communion calling itself Orthodox) it is likely the question would have specified that since they are much smaller.

Your friend is either from a breakaway group, such as the Old Calendarists, who are quite analogous to Sedevacantists, Or Oriental Orthodox, an apostolic group which also uses the term “Orthodox” as a self identifier. This confuses a lot of Western Christians who seem to think only one group should be able to use the term for whatever reason. Though the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches both like to emphasize that they are “Orthodox”, the Oriental Orthodox are equally not in Communion with Rome. With the joint Roman Catholic-Eastern Orthodox Churches having not communed with them since the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

If the conversation took place a long time ago there are additional possibilities, but these are most likely. Either way Catholicism has its own similar groups, and as the old saying goes, it is best not to throw bricks in glass houses.

How do the Orthodox understand the change from plural to singular in the following?:

Luke 22:31 "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, { The Greek word for you ( twice in this verse ) is plural; in verse 32, all four instances are singular } that he might sift you like wheat,

32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. "

Did Peter get a stronger prayer from Jesus about not being “sifted”? Does this have any relevance to what the old Church’s are like today?

You are right. It looks like I jumped to two conclusions. I hope the OP clears it up for us.

Given the Orthodox vs. Catholic angle of the question, I would believe the OP is talking about Eastern Orthodox. Had the OP been talking about the Oriental Orthodox (the other large communion calling itself Orthodox) it is likely the question would have specified that since they are much smaller.

Could be. :shrug:

Could another option be that my friend is truly Orthodox but does not know better? I hope the next time I see him I can clear up my understanding.


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