Debating with protestants who just won't listen


Well, we read it differently, don’t we, tgG? And all the Christians from the first century to the Reformation understood it differently also. One would think that God could have found SOMEONE who could hear God? Why did God allow the Church to misunderstand HIm for 1500 years? It seems like He did not keep his promise to lead the Church into 'all Truth".

Clearly those in the Reformed Tradition must reject Apostolic succession. If it were to be allowed to exist, then it would cause incurable problems for many new doctrines created at the time of the Reformation.

Yes, Apostles are eyewitnesses. They passed their authority on to Bishops, most of whom were not present at the events of Jesus’ life.

No, they were not considered Apostles. Their ordination can be traced back to the Apostles.

Scripture refers to the Apostolic succession as a “bishopric”, so your argument is with Holy Spirit’s choice of words.

Yes, an overseeing elder, but one that has been ordained by an Apostle, or is in the Apostolic succession.

The passage in Acts that Peter quotes refers to the office as a Bishopric. Obviously the Apostles were scattered around the known world, and did not remain in one geographical area, as Bishops do today. They had the care and feeding of the whole Church. Bishops ordained by them were assigned to certain geographical areas. This practice has continued to today.

Again, tgG, what Catholics see reflected in scripture Reformed Christians cannot see. This is a result of the installation of a punctum caecum, which accompanies Reformed theology.


Peter and Paul by working in Rome, built the Church in Rome. Peter and Paul having been martyred in Rome under Nero, like so many other martyrs as well, makes their resting place in Rome a sacred. Not to mention, Peter’s successor to Peter’s office, are the chief bishop in succession to Peter, in Rome. Pope Francis is the 266th successor to Peter in Rome.


Differently than what? … We have a divine and flawless record in the writings of the gospels, and, with Peter, Paul, and the record of the first Church found in the book of ACTS. These are the flawless records delivered by flawed men who were in the power of the Holy Spirit.


Yes, of course, but both of them arrived there after a Christian community was already thriving. That is why, when Paul wrote to them before he came, he said. “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world” Rom 1:8.

In Ch. 15 one is left with the impression that Rome may already have had an Apostolic visit:

"20 thus making it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on another man’s foundation, 21 but as it is written,

  “They shall see who have never been told of him, 
  and they shall understand who have never heard of him.” 

22 This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you."

We don’t have an exact date when Peter arrived in Rome, but some have suggested that this is allusion to Peter already being there.


Why did God allow the Jews to be captive over 400 years in Egypt before finally raising up Moses? Why did He allow the Pharisees to keep the nation of Israel blind for so many years?.. With God, one day is as a thousand years. He works in segments of generations over time.

But to your second point: is not God even now leading His Church into all the truth? Why do you speak of it as an unfinished matter without hope of being finished?

Remember Paul’s instruction to the Church of Ephesus. “And he Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelist, and some pastors and teachers, v12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, v13 till we ALL come to the UNITY of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eph. 4:11-13

These foundational people were commissioned to preach the Apostles doctrine. We are still in the age of grace and the Church is still growing into that knowledge. The earliest years were the most dangerous, especially after the Apostles died off. Their letters needed to be exposed and expounded on, but instead they became just another book on one’s shelf.


Perhaps. None of us can really know his heart. But it does not appear, from the content of the posts, and he ever willfully and knowingly embraced the Catholic faith. If he was baptized as an infant, then there was a presumption he would be catechized, learn the faith, and embrace it. But this does not appear to have occurred. It is not like he has an obstinate doubt about something previously believed.

When the catechism speaks of “post baptismal” there is an assumption that one embraced the faith. Infants are incorporated into the Church based upon their parents profession of faith. Children above the age of reason and adults make a fully informed and willful profession of faith before baptism, so if they later reject it there is a presumption they knew what they left. I don’t think this is the case with tgG.

As for obstinate doubt he has apparently been steeped in an anti-Catholic culture for 35 years, and one cannot expect the accumulated layers of anti-Catholic theology, doctrine, and sentiment to just suddenly evaporate.

But I do agree with you, the power of baptism is at work, and draws all kinds of characters here to CAF.


If that is so, then they disobeyed the word of God. Paul wrote the Ephesian Church saying, “God gave some to be apostles, (this office was not part of the original 12) but functioned exactly in the same way, yet they were not eye-witnesses to the resurrection, they were people “SENT” into various regions of the world, Secondly, God has given prophets, evangelist, pastors (shepherds) and teachers.”

This was God’s blue-print of a five-fold arsenal of leadership to cover the earth and bring the Church into unity as stated in Eph. 4.

Unfortunately, I think the early Church did not have Paul’s perspective on Church government and only centuries later do we see these offices taken seriously in certain segments of the Christian Church.


They were not considered apostles, yet when it comes to infallibility they were considered equal to Apostles. Who decided this? and on what bases?


yes I am aware of the Acts passage, but it is not uncommon to use the function of the position by one who is actually in another position. For example: We know that in Peter’s writings, he addressed his audience as “An apostle of Jesus Christ to the pilgrims…” 1st. Pet. 1:1 but in the body of his letter he states, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ…” 1st. Pet. 5:1 We know that Peter was standing in the office of Apostle, (from the Greek meaning, one who is sent) yet he referred himself as an “elder.” It wasn’t that he was ONLY an elder. He functioned as one, but his ministry had a broader scope than that. He was one of 12 hand-picked Apostles, and an eye-witness to the resurrection. This was the highest office found in the Church.

Elders, Bishops, and Deacons were not mentioned in Paul’s list of ministry Gifts found in Eph. (4:8)

These Gifts were given by God to equip the sanctified ones for the work of the ministry till we all come to the unity of the faith. Paul did not teach that Elders, Bishops or Deacons were to function in the same authority as the five-fold ministry Gifts.

But the early Church had not yet adopted this understanding, and perhaps the Churches had not yet perceived these Gifts. This is why we find the word Elder, seeming to function as a Pastor in the book of Acts. A Bishop was one who oversaw segments of larger but local Churches. They too functioned in the office of Pastor.


They did not lose their faith. In all that time, they retained their identity. By faith they slew the lambs for the Passover, by faith they painted the lintels of their doors. By faith they took up the bones of Abraham and went forth singing.

Persecution actually functions to purify the faith, not weaken it.

Actually, they did not. The Pharisees were not the only religious group, and in truth, the Sadducees may have been just as destructive. But the faith still flourished, and those whose hearts were ready received the fullness of Truth when He came to them. Unbelieving persons cannot prevent the believing from following the Spirit.

Ok, but you did not answer my question. Jesus said He would Guide His Church into all Truth, and reveal to her all that she needed to know. Why did He fail in His promise?

I am not sure what you mean by this. You seem to be suggesting that the Apostolic writings were not preserved, protected and promulgated? Only a person who had not read the Early Fathers could suggest that the NT books sat on a shelf. Be careful, though. Persons who become deep in history…

No, tgG. The office of Bishop is not in any way “disobedient to the Word of God.” Bishops may embody several of these gifts. Some are excellent administrators, some are excellent teachers, some are prophets. All of them are shepherds of the flock. They carry the Apostolic commission to feed and care for the sheep.

Ok, tgG… I am glad you have yourself a blueprint there. Where do you fit into this arsenal of leadership?


I can see how you might think this, since you seem to be so disconnected from the early history of your spiritual family. It is like saying “my great grandparents didn’t really have a good idea of how to raise a family” without ever having learned anything about them.

It is clear that you do not understand the gift of infallibility, tgG. Infallibility is a negative gift, which means it prevents the Church from falling into error. It does not mean that members of the church don’t make mistakes.

So, you are saying that the Holy Spirit did not really MEAN it was a Bishopric, that it was something else? You say “it is not uncommon” for the Holy Spirit to refer use one word to refer to something entirely different? Do you have any other examples of this?

It seems that you are able to apply this principle when it suits you, but when I say that a Bishop might be a pastor, teacher, or prophet that is “against the Word of God”. Interesting double standard there!

OIC. Perhaps you would like to lay out an authority chart?

This is mighty generous of you to say, tgG.


I must disagree with your point here and here’s why. The Pharisees were the most rebuked by Jesus, calling them of their father the devil in John 8. I agree the Sadducees were just as bad, but between these two groups, the nation of Israel was way off course.

As I’ve mentioned even recently on this site, the Pharisees were charged with shutting up the kingdom of God against the people. Meaning that even though they held the key of kingdom knowledge, they chose to use that knowledge to posture and leverage themselves into places of spiritual authority God had not given them. In other words, they were spiritually abusive. See Matt. 23 for these points.

My point is this: abusive leadership is more than capable of hindering God’s people from entering God’s way of doing things.
This is why God rose up John the Baptist who held repentance meetings out in places where typically the Jews would not gather. In other words he was steering God’s sheep into a new and divine sheep pen, and the Pharisees took notice and became jealous of all that John was doing.

But if it wasn’t for John, (who rolled out the red carpet for the ultimate exposer of false and manipulative religion) Jesus, wouldn’t have arrived with such an effectiveness to overturn the false doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

He ran circles around their bondage and abusive system. He preached a total freedom over sin, something inconceivable to the Pharisees.


This is only true is one disregards what God has said about His Word.

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isa. 55:11

From your point of view, I think this has to be true. Otherwise, you could not maintain your separation from the Apostolic Church.

“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Eph. 1

The Church is the fullness of Him.

"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. " 1 Tm 3:15

The Church is the pillar and ground of the Truth. Sola Scripturists will have us believe that the Church was no longer a pillar and ground once part of that Truth was committed to writing, but it seems clear that humanity continues to need a pillar and ground of the Truth even today.

Actually, you compare it to your perception of what is in Scripture. The perception is different because you have received that “other gospel” from the Reformers.

No Sacred Tradition can be “added”. the once for all divine deposit of Truth was closed at the death of the last Apostle. Scripture is clear that only a small portion of the Kerygma is contained in the books. Since the CC received the faith from the Apostles, we have no need to extract it from the pages of the book.


Readers who have received the faith from the Apostles understand what is written differently than the children of the Reformers who have received another Gospel.

We read through the lens of Sacred Tradition, you read thru the Reformation lens.

Certainly the Pharisees were off course, but the reason that Jesus rebuked them so much is because they were closest to what God intended for Israel. this is also why He instructed the faithful to “do as they tell you”. To those whom much is given, much will be required.

The Essenes embodied more of what Christ taught than the other two put together. Some have suggested that Jesus lived as an Essene prior to His public ministry.

I think you are contradicting yourself here, tgG. God did give them this authority. They sat on the Seat of Moses. But I do agree with you, they abused their knowledge and power to posture and leverage themselves. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

One has to have power in order to abuse it. God allowed them to be on the Seat of Moses.

Certainly it is a hindrance, but the Holy Spirit is more powerful than any abuse of power. This is why the Church can be infallible despite corrupt officials.

Which begs the question you did not answer. Where was a John the Baptist prophet for 1500 years? How is it that God could not find a single faithful, on fire Christian in all that time? If you think there were really no holy men and women that could have been used by God to redirect the Church from errors, you don’t know your family history very well at all.


No. That is not the way it works. And above all, a lay person most assuredly cannot make that assessment of another – neither regarding internal forum nor external forum.


I cannot begin to imagine that the Diocese of San Diego, to which Catholic Answers is subject, would in any way endorse a concept of Martin Luther that is contrary to the position articulated by Pope Saint John Paul II who acclaimed Martin Luther as “Witness of the Gospel”.

Why is it allowed to denigrate those with whom we are in ecumenical dialogue for over 50 years?


There are a lot of things I miss about the old forum. The lack of forum rules is one of them. Everyone used to be required to respect one another’s faith. The charity here has plummeted seriously.


In a way I see that ecumenical dialogue with the Lutheran Church requires a Pope of German origin, though a Pope of Polish origin is close enough to understand the intricate German culture. That particular ecumenism seemed to have been at the heart of those two respectively, but today, I believe the Holy Spirit may be pressing/putting that particular ecumenism aside for a moment at least and focusing on something else.

Holy Spirit guide the Catholic Church as your patience with us endures, Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us and lead us, Father lead us.


I don’t understand your comment to my post.

How does this one statement, which you have taken out of context of the discussion we were having, show that I am unfairly criticizing Lutherans?


This is just a bunch of mumbo jumbo.

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