The Catholic Church considers Herself to be the one (and only) Church established by Jesus Christ (Pope Benedict recently reiterated this position here). The Catholic Church claims to teach the fulness of truth - all other Christian communities (including those which are sacerdotally and sacramentally valid, such as the Greek Orthodox) are lacking in some substantive manner.
Basically, the Catholic Church says it has the Truth.
Does any other Christian denomination even (officially) attempt to make such a claim?
Most of them do, yes. Though some believe Christ’s Church is every church combined.
The fact is, only the Catholic Church’s claim is supported by history, the Church Fathers, and Scripture. No other church is, though some believe so. Many make strange and idiotic claims. For example, they say “catholic church” doesn’t mean Catholic Church in ancient Greek because it lacks the proper capitilizations, when in fact ancient Greek did not have capitilizations. Others say their churchs’ names are in the ancient writings, but when questioned about this, they either don’t show the proof, say all the writings together prove the claim, or claim the four marks as an alternative name for the church. Still others only accept some Church Fathers and reject others, and make stupid excuses, such as a lack of orthodoxy or a lack of authority or a lack of authenticity and historicity. I consider it a ploy of control and of ignorance.
I mean officially. No protestant denomination that I am aware of says this. The Baptists do not say, “The Baptist Church is the One True Church established by Jesus Christ, and possesses the fullness of Truth.” Nor do the Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, etc, etc.
I said “Christian.” LDS is not Christian (per the definition of the term as understood by the Catholic Church). But, at any rate, I would be interested in an actual citation of an authoratative source.
Does “OC” mean the “Orthodox Church?” (presumably the Greek, not the Russian or scores of others who include the term in their name). Actually, the Greek Orthodox Church specifically denies that it is the One True Church (and is the only Christian body that I know of that does so), so that one doesn’t fly*.
Which Calvinists? Presbyterians? (no). Methodists? (no). Episcopalians? (no). Which Calvinists? Which “fundamentalist protestants” (whatever that means)? Can you cite a *specific *denomination (with a website) that *officially *teaches that it is the One True Church established by Jesus Christ, and has the fullness of Truth?
** The Greek Orthodox maintain that sacerdotal unity requires the collective consent of the Bishops, and was thus lost after the Great Schism of 1054 AD. The Catholic Church maintains that sacerdotal unity rests with the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops united to him. So, under the Greek perspective, the “One True Church” effectively ceased to exist in 1054 (though could be restored through reunion). But I don’t want this thread to get hijacked into some East-West discussion, unless someone can point to an official teaching of the Greek Orthodox that it is the “One True Church established by Jesus Christ and possesses the fullness of Truth” I want to keep the discussion on-topic - feel free to open other threads to discuss other matters.
I have only heard this claim from the Catholic Church. I think that many have a problem with this doctrine because Jesus taught that we were supposed to be humble and many see the doctrine of infallibility and being the One True Church as the antithesis of humility. I know that many Catholics will apologize that this is not so, but I’m not saying it is the case I’m simply saying that many Christians view it as the case.
Well, this is nothing new. The Apostles got into a lot of trouble with the Jews and pagans when they proclaimed that the Gospel was divinely-revealed Truth.
People always resent being told they are wrong. Especially when they are. But the Catholic Church was entrusted (and commanded) by Our Lord to boldly proclaim the Truth, and that She does. Some people don’t like it. That’s to be expected - not much has changed.
No, NONE of them do! That’s the point! They don’t say it, because they CANNOT say it. Can you give me an example (ie, an URL at any denomination’s official website) of just ONE Christian denomination that actually and officially claims that it is the “One True Church” established by Jesus Christ, and it has the “fullness of Truth?”
In all sincerity I do not know of any Christian denomination which teaches this. Actually, I know of several denominations that teach the exact opposite of this. I, honestly, see Catholics do this quite a bit. I see Catholics say, Protestants believe … when it is not something all Protestants believe but Catholics are imposing their “unified” belief system onto something that does not have this. Catholics project their view point on to Protestants constantly (and Protestants do it to Catholics too – ex. Marian dogma = worship [not true]) and the minute this happens all communications and all hopes at ecumenism break down.
If we are going to communicate with one another on anything beyond a superficial level we must, all of us, seek to understand rather than to be understood.
Maybe. But only the Catholic Church’s claim is backed up with loads and loads of evidence from
A. The writings of the Church Fathers
B. Only the CC can trace its roots to Jesus & the Apostles
So you want the exact words and not the sense? What is the point of that?
No, I did not mean the Greek Orthodox, I meant the Orthodox, (but not the OOC). It is not useful at all to look at the “Greek Orthodox” Church as separate from the rest of Orthodoxy. Their political structure is not the same as Catholicism’s, you have to understand it in that sense.
There are a lot of Calvinists out there. But their understanding of what constitutes the Church is different. But it has a kind of specificity that others can lack that could be interpreted as talking about the “One, True” Church.
As far as fundamentalist Protestants, many are non-denominational. A lot of those little churches claim that they are the true Christians and all outside their denomination will not be saved. That seems pretty one true to me.
But it seems to me you are not really interested in answers about how different groups understand this question - you want to assume the Catholic position to prove that it must be right.
Assuming that however is going to make you a poor apologist. To really convince anyone, you actually need to understand what they really believe. That can only be done by suspending your own way of looking at it, and taking on, if only as a mental exercise, the understanding of the other. You have to understand it’s fundamental assumptions, and it’s system of thought. Then you can begin to usefully and accurately compare it to Catholicism. If you want to understand what other groups say about this, you have to understand how they understand the question.
All you are doing now is making criticisms that don’t make sense in the context of the system you are discussing.
You’re not going to find such an official statement by any organization other than the Catholic Church, because no protestant organization teaches that there even IS a one, true church, except maybe in the sense that it exists everywhere that the Word of God is rightly preached and/or the sacraments of baptism and holy communion are duly administered (depending on the denomination).
And that’s the point. Everyone who is claiming it’s implied in the teachings is reading the teachings with a Catholic bias. This is no different than when Protestants read Marian dogma or saintly dogma with a Protestant bias. If you really want to understand what someone else believes you have to leave your bias at the door and read what they write with an open mind. That doesn’t mean you have to accept it as true, but you do have to accept is as their belief.
You want me to outline the basic beliefs of Calvinism, find examples of what the Orthodox think the Church is, explain their political structure, and what constitutes Orthodoxy, and find you examples of small non-denominational fundamentalists who claim non-members of that group cannot be saved?
This is an apologetics forum. If you’re going to make claims on this forum, I want you to back those claims up with fact. Otherwise I see no reason to take those claims seriously. I’m certain you can find links to places that do these things and then post those links – there is no need to type it all out yourself.
I kind of assumed if people wanted more information on one of my thoughts, that they would ask. Many people have met people from “if you are not one of us you are going to Hell” groups - I’m not going to try to find a specific one. I know a lady who was raised in such a group in the Bible Belt - but I have no clue what her group was called.
A basic tenant of Calvinism is the idea of the elect. The elect are those who constitute the Church. Now, some Calvinists see this group as invisible - it is known to God who will constitute the elect, but not to men - so they would not say their was a visible institutional manifestation of the one true church.
THere have been Calvinist groups that seemed to think their Church was in fact composed of the elect. This seems particularly true of some of the earlier groups - but I will say now that I am no expert on Calvinism - perhaps someone else might have more information. In any case, a group such as that would think they were the true Church, but might also think there were other true churches if they were doctrinally correct - so belief would be key to unity.
Orthodoxy - can at times be hard to pin down, since we have to look at what Orthodoxy as a whole says and not one branch of it. But the overall feeling is that the Church is the Orthodox Church, and sacraments etc do not exist outside of it. (What the relation of other Christians and non-Christians is to God is really not addressed.) Grace comes through the Church, the Church is defined by Orthodoxy, truth and unity are thus one, and constituted through belief and doctrine. The Greek Church seems quite outside what most Orthodox have allowed, both now and especially in the past, in seeing themselves as in a schismatic relationship to the Western Church.
Here is a good link to the OCAs question and answer site, which is pretty middle-of-the-road on such issues. The particular question deals with how they see themselves in relation to Catholicism but there are a ton of topics covered in the section, including what defines Orthodoxy.