This is my first post on here, so don’t make too much fun of my ignorance. I have been raised a Protestant (more specifically, a fundamentalist). Independently I read and study much theology, and I have been thinking more and more about the Catholic-Protestant difference, and in almost every area I have found what the Catholic Church teaches is true. However, I have a few questions, which over the next few weeks I will post one by one to get your thoughts about them.
Anyway, on the first question.
In Galatians 1:6-9, Paul says:
“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”
Now, it seems to me (and many commentators) that Paul is saying here that they are to judge the truth of what a messenger says using the gospel that they had first received from him. I’m wondering if this has any implications for the church’s authority. Would that mean we are to judge the truth of the Church by the gospel? That the gospel is our guide, not the church? (When I say gospel, I don’t mean that sola scriptura is our guide, but instead the basic gospel that is witnessed to in the Sciptures and through other Christians is our guide) What is the Catholic teaching on these verses? I have read Karl Keating’s “Catholicism and Fundamentalism” and his “Answers to 52 common misconceptions…” (or whatever that title is). I have also read David Courier’s (?) book “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic” and I own a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but I have yet to read the section on Church Authority. So, I have a very basic understanding of the teaching of Church Authority.
Just to avoid discussion on issues surrounding this topic that I am already aware of, let me just say this: it seems to me that in one way this does not constitute a problem for the CC’s teaching. For, if I understand the teaching on Church Authority, God through his Holy Spirit will keep the CC from teaching error. So, my objection doesn’t apply in this sense, because we can judge the message by the Church, and the Church by the message, for they will be teaching the same thing if the doctrine of the Church is true. (So, in a way, I am refuting my own question because it seems to be begging the question).
However, I am mainly wondering if the CC would have a problem with the saying “judge the messenger by the message”. Would they say the CC is apart of the message? And/or would they say that this saying is true and is what Paul means in the passage mentioned above, however Paul is not excluding that in certain cases, depending on who the messenger is, one can “judge the message by the messenger”? Either of these solutions would be satisfactory to me (an any other that I haven’t thought of that doesn’t go against the clear meaning of the text). The only problem I would have is if the CC had a problem with the saying “jusdge the messenger by the message”. If this is the case, then I will definitely need someone to help me through this problem.