Finding the true church

It does, and you’ve come to the right place to learn more about it.

I’d like to give you something to think about…something that may help you to see WHY the Catholic Church is the one, true Church founded by Jesus Christ. What I am about to show you is, I feel, I black and white answer that cannot be refuted or questioned. You may feel differently after you have read my argument, but let’s give it a shot, okay? :thumbsup:

I want to argue that the Pope is the successor of Peter and that he holds a perpetual office, that of the Royal Steward, in the kingdom of God. Here’s my argument:

Peter – The Royal Steward

Here are two questions that need to be answered:

1. Is Jesus a king?
2. Did He re-establish the office of the Royal Steward?

You probably said “Yes” quickly to the first question, but you may have hesitated or even answered “No” to the second. Let’s take a look at what scripture and history tell us about the office of the Royal Steward.

In ancient times, a king might choose a second in command (known as the royal steward or prime minister) who literally wore a large key as a symbol of his office and who spoke with the authority of the king. The prophet Isaiah confirms this:

Isaiah 22:20-22
"In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”

In the passage above, God is speaking to Shebnah, an unfaithful steward serving King Hezekiah. God is telling Shebnah that he is about to be replaced by Eliakim, and this confirms the existence of the office, the key worn as a symbol of the office, and the continuation of the office in perpetuity – despite the change of office holder. In other words, the office of the royal steward continued even when the man who held the office died or was replaced by someone else. God Himself passes the key from one steward to the next.

In the New Testament, we learn that Jesus inherits the throne of his father, David.

Luke 1:31–33
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.

We also read the following:

Matthew 16:13-19
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.

The passage quoted above from Matthew tells us that Jesus named Peter as His royal steward and gave him the “keys to the kingdom of heaven" as the symbol of his authority to speak in His name. Since Jesus is an eternal king, the office of royal steward in His kingdom will never end. Peter died as a martyr as Jesus foretold, but the successors of Peter have taken his place in the perpetual office that Jesus established in His royal court.

In addition to the reference to a key or keys, note the following parallels:

"What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” (Is. 22:22)
"Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16:19)

Jesus specifically referenced the passage from Isaiah when He appointed Peter to the office of Royal Steward granting him the authority to speak universally in His name. To do so faithfully, Peter could not teach error. God’s protection of His own flock by preventing the formal teaching of error in His name is referred to as “infallibility”.

**Therefore, if Jesus, our eternal king, established Peter as His first Royal Steward in a perpetual office, then don’t Peter’s successors, the Bishops of Rome, continue to serve in that office today? **

Agreed. But the Oriental Orthodox split of in the fifth century. The EO don’t consider the OO to be the one, true Church anymore than the RC consider the EO to be the true Church. So, while both the OO and EO have historical ties to the apostolic church, neither of them have the Pope who sits upon the chair of Peter upon whom Jesus promised to build ONE church.

The Church Fathers contradict each other, or various church teachings, often enough to be seriously problematic. RC, EO & Protestant sources all can quote the Fathers that back their various beliefs.

Confession in the EO and RCC is a frequent necessity and a requirement for Church membership. But it wasn’t that way in the early church.

The Immaculate conception is a dogma now. But St Thomas Aquinas doubted it was true.

The ECF’s have not always been in unanimous agreement. For this reason, the Church listens to ALL of her children and infallibly chooses the correct path to follow from among the many options presented by them. If Aquinas doubted the Immaculate Conception, then he was in error, but it would be good to examine this closely; here is what Aquinas said (Summa Theologiae III:27:4):

“I answer that, God so prepares and endows those, whom He chooses for some particular office, that they are rendered capable of fulfilling it, according to 2 Cor. 3:6Open in Logos Bible Software (if available): ‘(Who) hath made us fit ministers of the New Testament.’ Now the Blessed Virgin was chosen by God to be His Mother. Therefore there can be no doubt that God, by His grace, made her worthy of that office, according to the words spoken to her by the angel (Lk. 1:30Open in Logos Bible Software (if available),31Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)): ‘Thou hast found grace with God: behold thou shalt conceive,’ etc. But she would not have been worthy to be the Mother of God, if she had ever sinned. First, because the honor of the parents reflects on the child, according to Prov. 17:6Open in Logos Bible Software (if available): ‘The glory of children are their fathers’: and consequently, on the other hand, the Mother’s shame would have reflected on her Son. Secondly, because of the singular affinity between her and Christ, who took flesh from her: and it is written (2 Cor. 6:15Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)): ‘What concord hath Christ with Belial?’ Thirdly, because of the singular manner in which the Son of God, who is the ‘Divine Wisdom’ (1 Cor. 1:24Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)) dwelt in her, not only in her soul but in her womb. And it is written (Wis. 1:4Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)): ‘Wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins.’

“We must therefore confess simply that the Blessed Virgin committed no actual sin, neither mortal nor venial; so that what is written is fulfilled: ‘Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee,’ etc. “

Thus, you should never tolerate the charge that Aquinas endorsed the idea that Mary was sinful.

Papal infallibility wasn’t a required belief for any Catholic before 1870, but it is today. Thomas More was a papal minimalist who never believed that the churches authority rested in any individual. John Fisher never committed himself to the teaching. Why are they saints and someone holding their views today is not considered a good Catholic?

Catholics are obligated to believe what the Church has taught definitively at the time. We are not judged badly for not believing something that is defined after our deaths.

The modern doctrine of Sola Scriptura wasn’t found in the early Church, but it has changed since the Reformation.

How could the early Church practice sola scriptura before all of the books of the NT were written? Or canonized? (It couldn’t.) And where does scripture itself teach the doctrine of sola scriptura? (It doesn’t.) So, if the early Church could not and did not practice sola scriptura and scripture itself does not enjoin us to do so, why should we pay any attention whatsoever to this heretical Protestant novelty?


Is the rock the church is founded on Peter, Peter’s confession, or Christ. There are strong arguments for each interpretation.

Not really. Protestant scholars readily admit that Peter - the man, not the confession - is the rock. Here is one of dozens of examples taken from a modern author whom many Protestants should know:

Donald A. Carson (Baptist)

“On the basis of the distinction between ‘petros’ . . . and ‘petra’ . . . , many have attempted to avoid identifying Peter as the rock on which Jesus builds his church. Peter is a mere ‘stone,’ it is alleged; but Jesus himself is the ‘rock’ . . . Others adopt some other distinction . . . Yet if it were not for Protestant reactions against extremes of Roman Catholic interpretation, it is doubtful whether many would have taken ‘rock’ to be anything or anyone other than Peter . . . 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 . . . Had Matthew wanted to say no more than that Peter was a stone in contrast with Jesus the Rock, the more common word would have been ‘lithos’ (‘stone’ of almost any size). Then there would have been no pun - and that is just the point! . . . In this passage Jesus is the builder of the church and it would be a strange mixture of metaphors that also sees him within the same clauses as its foundation . . .” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984], vol. 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Matthew: D.A. Carson), 368)

“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)

Continuation of post 14 – using some basic facts found in the first three genuine chapters of Genesis as a road to the Catholic Church.

Common sense facts. These are tools which can be used to find the True Church.

  1. God as Creator exists.
  2. God as Creator interacts personally with each individual human.
  3. Every individual human has the inherent capacity to interact with God as Creator.
    All three true facts flow from Genesis 1:
    “Then God said: Let us make* human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
    God’s love for humans is the reason that we have a rational spiritual soul in the image of God. This soul is not a decoration. Our spiritual soul makes it possible for us to interact with our Creator God, especially when we are obedient to the Ten Commandments. Adam being the first real fully-complete human was immediately in interaction with God because, having a material anatomy, Adam was hungry.
    Genesis 2: 15-17
    The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.
    The LORD God gave the man this order: You are free to eat from any of the trees of the Garden*(“”)
    except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die.
    The flip side to the above verses is that Adam’s obedience would give him eternal life with the Creator of the Garden. This is not the time to debate this and that about both Adam and God’s actions which ultimately affected Adam’s descendants. We need to go directly to Genesis 3: 15.
    Genesis 3: 15
    I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
    They will strike at your head,
    while you strike at their heel.
    The Catholic Church interprets Genesis 3: 15 in paragraph 410, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition.
    **CCC 410 **After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall. This passage in Genesis is called the *Protoevangelium *(“first gospel”): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers.
    Jesus, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, will repair the shattered original relationship between the Divine Creator and His human creatures. It is Jesus Christ Who founded the Catholic Church as the means to restore the original relationship between Adam and our Creator. (Sacrament of Baptism) When humans, like Adam, reject their relationship with God, the Catholic Church has the Sacrament of Confession and Reconciliation to bring the sinner back into the original relationship (State of Sanctifying Grace) with the Divine Creator.

Questions? Comments?

To be continued.

Here are some of my random thoughts. Chew the fish and spit out the bones.

For some reason, I am not sure you need better arguments.

I doubt God has been silent. Please note that I am not saying you are being untruthful. I suspect you have not been able to respond to the grace He has given. I am speaking from personal experience here, so please forgive me if I am inappropriately juxtaposing my own experience onto you.

Sometimes unrepented sin can block us from responding to God’s grace and moving forward in a positive way. Do you have any reason to suspect this may be the case? Please note, again, that I am not saying you’re an unrepentant sinner.

Sometimes past experiences of betrayal can make it very hard for us to trust the Holy Spirit, make it hard for us to respond to His grace and to trust Him. Might this apply?

I’m just tossing ideas out there, since my gut is telling me that you don’t need better arguments. You’ve done a lot of reading and have carefully considered different viewpoints, which is good. So it seems that something else is blocking you.

I am not a priest and am not a catechist. Just a convert who has struggled in a similar way.

God bless you as you try to understand how to move forward.

Continuation of post 14 and post 19

These words of Jesus at the Last Supper are key to the differences between Christian Faiths. “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” John 14: 18

It is only in the Catholic Church where Jesus comes to us as a real Person. We look at the mess in the world and in ourselves as a result of the first three devastating chapters of Genesis. It is difficult to lift our eyes up to heaven. Still, we hear the amazing promise of Jesus “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”

It is only in the Catholic Church where Jesus Christ is truly present in the Sacred Hosts which were consecrated during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Sacred Hosts are reserved 24/7 in the tabernacle.

When you want to feel close to Jesus, come sit in a pew during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The terrible rejection of God in the first three remembered chapters of Genesis is recalled, during Sunday Mass, in Eucharistic Prayer IV. (Note: There are four different Eucharistic Prayers, so I cannot guarantee the presence of Prayer IV.)
From the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Eucharistic Prayer IV, Magnificat publication

“You formed man in your own image
and entrusted the whole world to his care,
so that in serving you alone, the Creator,
he might have dominion over all creatures.
And when through disobedience he had lost your friendship,
you did not abandon him to the domain of death.
For you came in mercy to the aid of all,
so that those who seek might find you.”

The Real Presence of Jesus is not a beautiful symbol according to chapter 6, Gospel of John. The reality of events in the first three historical chapters of Genesis and the reality of the words of our loving Savior, chapter 6, Gospel of John, are found in the Catholic Church. In the Catholic Church, the fully divine Founder, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, gives us Seven Sacraments so that in the midst of evil, we have the strength to resist Satan’s lies in Genesis 3: 4-5. Still, God continually looks for us in Genesis 3:9.
Genesis 3: 4-5. and Genesis 3: 9

But the snake said to the woman: “You certainly will not die!
God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know* good and evil.”

The LORD God then called to the man and asked him: Where are you?

Catholicism calls all of us.
Where are you?
Come to the Catholic Church. Receive the graces from Jesus hanging bloody on His chosen cross. Hold on to His Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist in your true home.

Thank you for reading posts 14, 19, & 21

Questions? Comments?

Thank you for all your posts. I am in the process of reading them more thoroughly right now, but I did want to comment on this particular statement.

Respectfully, that isn’t true. The Orthodox and conservative Lutherans also believe/teach the True Presence. Although you could argue against the Lutherans having valid consecrations, you can’t against the Orthodox. Even the RCC says they have validly ordained priests and valid sacraments. Priests are allowed by the RCC to give communion to any Orthodox who asks and is properly disposed, and Catholics are allowed by the RCC to receive sacraments from an EO priest. Of course no EO priest would not allow that, except in cases where death is imminent.

Thank you for your post. I was glad to read it and you make some good points and I will think/pray about it.

Mankind’s sinful nature and lifetimes of baggage certainly make life much more difficult spiritually.

The simple reply is that not every word of every Church Father, theologian, philosopher, and great saints automatically becomes a Catholic Doctrine.

Major Ecumenical Catholic Church Councils are necessary for declaring a specific Catholic Doctrine. There can be an exception. There can be years of preparation as all writings, homilies, etc., are studied under the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

Paragraphs 66 & 67, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, address the issue of doctrine development.

**CCC 66 **“The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.

**CCC 67 **in small print

Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.

Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations”.

Meaning of small print.

**CCC 20 **The use of small print in certain passages indicates observations of an historical or apologetic nature, or supplementary doctrinal explanations.

CCC 21 The quotations, also in small print, from patristic, liturgical, magisterial or hagiographical sources, are intended to enrich the doctrinal presentations. These texts have often been chosen with a view to direct catechetical use.

The human person is worthy of profound respect.

The four marks of the Church which Christ founded are that it must be:

  1. One - as our Lord fervently prayed, and for which unity the Apostles worked.
  2. Holy - set apart from the world, at odds with the world, as our Lord stated in John 15
  3. Catholic/Universal - existing to the ends of the earth in unified form.
  4. Apostolic - Our Lord sent Apostles forth to teach, not writings to be misinterpreted.

Seek this, deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Christ within the Church/Ekklesia/Assembly which He founded for the salvation of the world. Submission to the Church Christ founded is an act of the human will.

So, are you saying that we know that the OO and EO aren’t the true churches is because they don’t have the Pope and we do?

Also, are you saying we know the truth because the CC listens to it all and the Pope speaks infallibly when he needs to?

The mostly likely path to finding the church is through the church fathers. The generation of bishops after the apostles of Christ wrote letters and they are not hard to find. Also look into who they were and when they lived.

Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus of Rome. If one reads them and is searching for the honest truth, the Catholic Church is clearly seen from the first century onward.

I can understand what you are going through. Remember, what Christ said about seeking, and be patient :smiley:

I don’t think Eastern beliefs contradict Latin beliefs, but that they approach the same truths in different ways. I see them as one Church separated largely due to historical situations, ecclesiastical politics, and theological misunderstandings.

The Church Fathers contradict each other, or various church teachings, often enough to be seriously problematic. RC, EO & Protestant sources all can quote the Fathers that back their various beliefs.

I don’t think these conflicts are as common as you imply.

Furthermore, the problem with Catholic/Protestant discussions in general is that Catholics tend to believe everything the Protestant believes, but also more that the Protestant denies. For example, if a Church Father writes about the symbolism of the Eucharist, the Protestant sees this as proof that the early Church taught their beliefs. The problem is that Catholics also believe that the Eucharist is symbolic of multiple things as well as the true flesh and blood of our Lord. Its really telling when you encounter the same Father in another work, or even the same work, proclaiming the real presence.

John Henry Newman converted in part due to his studies into Patristics, maybe you should look to what he has to say.

The Fathers are not infallible in word; we, or at least I, see the Fathers as passing on the principles of Christian thought, the Christian way of interpreting, and the overall spirit of the Christian life. What they write is important and insightful, but their approach and spirit and holiness is far more insightful.

The saints in general stand as images of holiness, and the Fathers in particular as icons of holiness of thought and approaches to Christian thinking. It’s less about what they thought but the virtues and approaches of how they they thought it.

Confession in the EO and RCC is a frequent necessity and a requirement for Church membership. But it wasn’t that way in the early church.

In the early Church, people would often confess publicly in front of the congregation, if I recall correctly.

The Immaculate conception is a dogma now. But St Thomas Aquinas doubted it was true.

St. Thomas didn’t doubt the immaculateness of Mary, but, due to Aristotle’s understanding of conception, doubted that Mary had a rational soul at conception at all. And remember what I said above, the holiness of their conclusions are not as important as the holiness of their minds.

Papal infallibility wasn’t a required belief for any Catholic before 1870, but it is today. Thomas More was a papal minimalist who never believed that the churches authority rested in any individual. John Fisher never committed himself to the teaching. Why are they saints and someone holding their views today is not considered a good Catholic?

These views were not official, and even saintly intellects can error occasionally. Furthermore, there are truths in their views: for example, the Pope’s authority is simply an extension of the collective of bishops, and their authority is itself an extension of the Church’s, which gets its authority from Christ Himself.

The modern doctrine of Sola Scriptura wasn’t found in the early Church, but it has changed since the Reformation.

What do you mean?

Is the rock the church is founded on Peter, Peter’s confession, or Christ. There are strong arguments for each interpretation.

All three can be correct.

The Rock is Christ and faith in Him (which is what Simon’s confession is about), but St. Peter is very, very closely related to this Rock, so much so that Jesus even changed Simon’s name (and when God changes your name (Abraham, Jacob, etc.), its really important).

Christi pax.

To your points,

Look at history. The Church from the beginning, that Jesus established on Peter, is the Catholic Church, and we see that in writing, by name, properly referenced. It is promised by Jesus to never end, and it has all His promises. Pope Francis is 266th successor to St Peter. #34

all the internal links to that link are operational.

“Orthodox Church” doesn’t appear in writing going back to Jesus. I’ve asked for 13 years on these forums in various ways, for the earliest reference, where “Orthodox Church” appears in writing, properly referenced. No answer yet.

When you open up the links in #34 you’ll see where scripture and Tradition condemns division from the Church. Ergo the Catholic Church. That’s why the Church teaches outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation.

It’s one thing to give all the positive reasons to be Catholic, but if one doesn’t give the consequences for NOT being Catholic, one is not getting the whole truth.

Do you have references, properly referenced?

Do you think infallible teaching only happened after 1870

Due to space limits per post, answers to these last points have to go on another post

Many Protestant converts indicate their previous view of the church fathers, as well as the Bible, reflected proof texts - very selective cherry picking.

One can read the letters of Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, and Irenaeus of Lyon and very clearly see the Catholic Church in the first century. One does not even need summaries to sort through it. Just google them and view for yourself.

Lastly, you will find the RCC has never chosen schism. Others have chosen to leave. The church fathers spoke very strongly against schism.

The Journey Home program, about conversion stories, might be helpful to you. Here are a few related links that I think will be powerful for you;

Dr David Anders- who also has an EWTN radio show Called to Comminion found on YouTube:

Dr Wesley Vincent:

Paul Thigpen on Luther:

Marcus Grodi- The church fathers I never saw (as a Protestant):

Grodi- ten bible verses I never saw:

I was baptised in a catholic church the day after I was born. But being almost born in the church still does not shield me from experiencing the struggles of a convert. All of us come to a few crossroads in life where important decisions are made in regard to our faith.

So what you are having is just the first of many crossroad experiences awaiting you. So to make successful choices at those junctures, prayer or talking with Jesus in your heart is the answer.

Make the time to visit a church/chapel where Jesus is present in the tabernacle. Just sit there and tell him you love him and want to know the truth. If you’ve ever felt the goodness of a spring wind touch your face, then you know already what he will do for you. Just sit in silence as Mary, Martha’s sister, did at the feet of Jesus. She kept him company and Jesus, in so many words, said that that was what he liked.

The Lord takes pity, his heart is merciful, he is patient and endlessly kind. The Lord is gentle to all – he shows his kindness to all his creation. Psalm 144

The entire world was asking the same question in the year 380, when heretics and schismatics were everywhere spreading lies about our Lord Jesus Christ. The eastern Emperor in Constantinople, Theodosius, put an end to the controversy with the Edict of Thessalonica, which told us we could find the true church in the city of Rome:

“It is our desire that all the various nations which are subject to our Clemency and Moderation, should continue to profess that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it has been preserved by faithful tradition, and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness.”

This is just one of many examples in the first millennium where the world acknowledged that the true Christian religion was passed down and preserved flawlessly in Rome. Google “Rome has always been the head of all churches” for more evidence showing that the true church finds the source of its unity in Rome.

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