Follow jesus not people

I posted a quote from bishop Robert Barron talking about how the media sees the catholic church as a political thing and not a sacred institution. My brother who is Baptist decided to say this

“The true problem is that religion shouldn’t be an institution in the first place. Jesus did not found an institution. People did. And we were not taught by Jesus to follow people, but to follow him”

Please if anyone can help show that the church is an institution (of course it much nor than that), and Jesus did tell us to follow his apostles.

*He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me." (Luke 10:16)

We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:6)*


Jesus said, “On this rock I shall build my church.” – Matthew 16:18

Jesus absolutely founded an ‘institution’. He even explicitly says it!

And we were not taught by Jesus to follow people, but to follow him"

“Jesus said to Simon Peter, … ‘Tend my sheep.’ … And when he had said this, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’” – John 21:15, 16, 19

If Peter is ‘tending’ (actually, the word Jesus used was the command Ποίμαινε – “shepherd them!”), then the sheep are following Peter. Otherwise, how could he shepherd a flock that wasn’t following? In other words, if Jesus didn’t mean that we should follow the apostles, why would he tell them to lead us?

Moreover, your brother is getting the quote wrong. John 21:19 doesn’t say “[Jesus] said to them, ‘Follow me’”, but rather, “[Jesus] said to him, ‘Follow me’”! That is, Jesus tells Peter to follow Him: Peter follows Jesus, and the flock follows Peter. Peter’s leadership – as the visible shepherd – leads Christ’s flock (that is, the Church) to Christ.

Any other conclusion is un-Scriptural. :shrug:

If Christ did not intend for us to be guided by a church, why did He state that we should go to the church to settle disputes? And at that same time, indicate to His disciples He was granting them authority on earth that would be binding in heaven?

Matthew, 18 15-18
“If your brother* sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. 16* i If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17j If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.* If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. 18* k Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Additionally, He did address the difference between the authority of a church as an institution as apart from/separate from the morality of the church’s representatives:

Matthew 23, 1-4
“Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, 2* saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. 3Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. 4b They tie up heavy burdens* [hard to carry] and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.”

Jesus urges the people to abide by the teaching, despite the fact the representatives of the church were not following it themselves. Similarly, I would agree we do not follow people, we follow Jesus by abiding by the guidance of the Church which He assured us would be guided in all truth, given authority on earth— knowing that on earth it will always consist of flawed humanity, including its leadership.

Perhaps you and your brother are having a war over words.

When he says “institution”, in the context of what you quoted—I read that and think he has a specific issue with something. Its not that he does not believe in Jesus or Christianity. There is a lot of information pouring out right now because of the Pope’s visit and there will be lots of questions about different Christian faiths. There was a question posted earlier today asking if people worshipped the Pope (and some incredibly wonderful answers were posted). Perhaps this is at the basis of what is bothering your brother?
Matthew 16:18
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” He said His church.

My mother is southern Baptist. I can tell you that your brother is well aware of the Apostles. This sounds like a misunderstanding quite frankly. Would it be possible to just talk to your brother and say—I don’t understand what you mean. Did you mean you don’t believe in church? Since I’m catholic and you’re Baptist, is this about the Pope? I think if you just talk to him, you’ll find what the exact issue is. And if it is about–do catholics worship the pope— then please find that very question that was posted earlier today. I dare not paraphrase the answers that were posted, they are worth reading verbatim.

He has gone on to say this

“Yes and Jesus never founded the Catholic church. By “church” he meant “believers”. Not the structured heirarchy of Popes, Bishops and Priests that you have today. The whole reason he came here was so that we didn’t have to go to anyone else to talk to the father. We could have a personal relationship with him without having to first go to an ordained priest. This is the new covenant”

How can I address his statement that the point of Jesus coming was to make it so we don’t need a priest. And the idea that the gospel message is just that we have a personal relationship

No… Jesus never founded the Baptist Church and its Reformation brethren. Big difference. :wink:

By “church” he meant “believers”.

Now he’s descended into the realm of ‘interpretation of Scripture’. What says that his interpretation is correct or that the interpretation of the Church is wrong? He doesn’t want to go down that route, since he cannot win the argument of “who interprets Scripture correctly”…

The whole reason he came here was so that we didn’t have to go to anyone else to talk to the father.

Again: highly interpretative. Jesus’ grant of authority to forgive sins makes no sense under that interpretation – nor does the Institution Narrative. However, if you really want to stop him in his tracks, there’s a clear means to disprove his assertion: “there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” – 1 Tim 2:5. If we “don’t have to go to anyone else”, then 1 Tim 2:5 is mistaken, and therefore, Scripture is mistaken. Does he really want to suggest that Scripture is in error? :nope:

We could have a personal relationship with him without having to first go to an ordained priest. This is the new covenant"

Jesus Himself instituted Baptism, the Eucharist and Sacramental Reconciliation. If He did not, then why did He create these means of receiving grace through an sacerdotal intermediary? His assertions just don’t hold up…

Went back and looked at what I wrote, and figured it might not be clear enough. What I meant to write is, "If He did not mean for us to go through an ordained priest, then why did He create these means of receiving grace through a sacerdotal intermediary?

He seems to mistakenly believe that you couldn’t talk to God, or pray to Him, prior to Jesus coming. I’d ask him why he believes that. I’d ask him what evidence there is for that. Man could talk to God before Jesus came. In fact in the beginning any man could offer sacrifice to God. Obviously Cain and Able, Melchizedek, Noah, Abraham etc did. The Jews did until the Golden Calf incident. The exact details don’t come to mind but it was at this time that a specific tribe was chosen to be the priests for the Jews.

As for the structure of the Church you will find in the original Greek the words for deacon, priest, and bishop. Sometimes the later are translated as elder and overseer. But if you look at the Greek it is always the same word. These are offices. You can’t have offices without an institution.

If you read the letters to Timothy and Titus you’ll see St. Paul writing to men with authority in the Church. Protestants tend to read these as if they are addressed to anyone. But context is important. I know in Timothy you can read that Paul speaks of the authority Timothy has by virtue of the laying on of hands, ordination. He tells Timothy to appoint, ordain, new men. So the authority Timothy received from Paul will be passed on. Not everyone has this authority.

Shaolen, I believe I understand now. Thank you for the additional post.

You said your brother said “We could have a personal relationship with him without having to first go to an ordained priest”

When you reworded this, you said “How can I address his statement that the point of Jesus coming was to make it so we don’t need a priest”

Look back at the 2 statements. You assumed his comment was that people don’t need priests. Its not. His statement was that we can have a relationship with Him without going thru someone. That is true. Any person on this earth can start a conversation with Him. Anyone. Any religion and any atheist. To me, everything starts with that first conversation. We also have priests we can talk to, who can provide help and guidance, etc. I hope you understand that, by no means, am I trying to belittle anyone in the clergy. But to me, if you don’t ever have a one on one talk with Him, well, I think that would be sad. There is a beautiful prayer that has–Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from You no secrets are hid. He already knows everything, so having an open and honest conversation with Him is a wonderful thing and I believe it is a starting point in a walk in faith.

Since he is Baptist, of course he wouldn’t understand the structure (Pope, Bishop, Priest). Since you are catholic, you wouldn’t understand the structure of his faith.

You interpreted him to say “And the idea that the gospel message is just that we have a personal relationship”. With all due respect, I really don’t see where he is saying that. Perhaps you took offense at what he said because it felt like an attack on your beliefs. For that, I am truly sorry. Its hard sometimes when we feel our faith is being attacked. He may have felt his faith was attacked by what you posted. Faith is a deeply personal thing. When one person feels their faith is being attacked, he fights back and may say things about the other person’s faith. Then the second person feels attacked and jumps back at the first.

Perhaps you and your brother can rejoice in the common aspects you have. You both believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; you both believe Jesus came, was crucified, died on the cross, and was resurrected. You both believe Jesus is the son of God. There are thousands of things you have in common. Perhaps, sometimes, we can step back and let the Holy Spirit work.

Just my thoughts. I pray that both you and your brother feel His love and rejoice in the Lord our God.

You can bury him in scripture that plainly says that there is more to that “relationship”.
Here’s one place that you can start and the second link will pretty much go straight to the point. How Is A Catholic Saved?

Who REALLY Preaches “A Different Gospel”?

Be sure to show him Matthew 25:31-46 which gives the context of the statement he has quoted you.

Also, his definition of church is Biblically wrong else why would Jesus say to take an errant brother before the church to settle an issue and then why did they actually convene a council in Jerusalem in Acts 15? His arguments are really pretty weak…

Exactly what I was going to say. Also is the brother under the impression that the Jews of the OT felt they could not directly talk to the Father?

He’s right, of course, in that it is about a personal relationship with Christ! Of course, where he’s missing the point is that it isn’t only about a personal relationship with Christ. He’s right in that someone can be a member of the Church (but a lukewarm one) and Jesus could say “I never knew you.” On the other hand, if one refuses to become part of the body of Christ, how could Jesus say “I know you”…?

This is done through prayer and fellowship. Not with any particular church ot institution will we get into the kingdom of heaven."

Umm… what in the world is fellowship other than being part of the Church Christ founded?!?!?

Thanks church militant and Duane. Yeah id does seem like he thinks that. I think he might be thinking about the holy of holys and how only the high priest could go in. My guess is he thinks the temple veil ripping meant we don’t need priests anymore

Shaolen, one last question, if you don’t mind. What is your goal with your brother? Is it to say—I’m right, your wrong. Is it to try and make him feel “stupid” and see you are “smart”? Is this a pattern that you two go through often? Are you trying to force him to leave his beliefs and join yours?

What is your goal with this back and forth with your brother?

Something that kind of goes along these lines, that Ive always found kind of odd, especially in the modern world…There are many churches all over the US, in every state, many different denominations, but from what Ive seen in the places Ive lived, for the most part the ‘state’ whether its the city, state or county the churches are in, usually the state/Govt and the churches get along pretty well. I think this is especially true with catholic churches.

Shouldnt these 2 entities actually not get along to well? I mean, in my city the city goes out its way for the church in many different ways, looking back thru history, it was normal for Govts and churches to be at each others throats over a wide variety of issues, seems like they are a little too ‘chummy’. dont know if that is a good thing or not?

Sorry for late response. I appreciate your concern and would assure you its not for something so meaningless as to make anyone look stupid. Nor is it to “force” someone to leave their beliefs. I want to show my brother the truth. I want him to know what he is rejecting and that the catholic faith is true and is the fullness of what God has set for him. Things like this argument he makes is one of many ideas he has that is preventing him from seeing the truth of Catholicism. I want to clear the brush. Not only for my brother but this is growing among many people who are dear to me. So I think its important to know how to deal with it

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