How Can Non-Catholics (Protestants, etc...) Claim to teach truth:

This is an intentional flip side question asked by one of our n-C members who can’t understand how the Catholic Church supposedly “corrupt” leaders can teach infallible doctrine.

My question is how can any non-Catholic even attempt to open their mouth on this issue since their own clergy are statistically every bit as full of human frailties as our own, and worse still…How can any rational person be expected to believe that what Protestant/n-C churches teach is true when they reject the historic writings of the ECF and of all those from the 1500 years prior to “the reformation”

How can anyone believe that they guys on TV or in n-C pulpits are correct in their doctrines when they don’t even agree among themselves!

Oh they talk about “core doctrines” but the fact is that if ya get right down to it…it’s ALL core, since people’s souls hang in the balance.

If their gospel is so powerful and true, then why do they feel the need to even mention anyone else’s teachings from their pulpits. (Catholic priests almost never do! We teach what WE believe). Yet there are a great many churches where the sermon is not about the good news, but about how some other church is wrong as opposed to what that particular church supposedly believes. (I know this from sitting in those services myself).

As for those who don’t like being told that they don’t understand, or don’t really know what they are talking about when they talk about “what you Catholics believe”, the fact is that it’s the truth. I was a cradle Catholic for 17 years and because I never paid much attention, I didn’t know and understand what the church really taught, which led me to fall away for twice that long before I got caught up in an anti-Catholic attack that I KNEW was wrong and when I spoke up I was put down for it. That got me looking into the truth and it was because of my objective search for the truth that I discovered that the Catholic Church does indeed teach the fullness of truth of Christianity and that I had been misled and decieved.

I came home, but from now on I measure every word that I hear from n-Cs against the Word of God and the historic teachings of the early church. So far I have found very little n-C teaching that lines up with the early church and furthermore, a great many of the so-called “reformed” churches don’t even agree with the original reformer’s teachings…Here’s two cases in point:
My thanks to San Juan Catholic Seminars for publishing this in their Beginning Apologetics # 5 booklet.

The three “pillars of the reformation”, Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli, all believed that Mary was the mother of God.

Mother of God

Martin Luther: “In this work whereby she was made the Mother of God, so many and such good things were given her that no one can grasp them… Not only was Mary the mother of Him who is born [in Bethlehem], but of Him who, before the world, was eternally born of the Father, from a Mother in time and at the same time man and God.” (The Works of Luther, English translation by Pelikan, Concordia, St. Louis, Vol. 7, page 572)

John Calvin: “It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of His Son, granted her the highest honor…Elizabeth calls Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary was at the same time the eternal God.” (Calvini Opera, Corpus reformatorum, Braunschweig-Berlin, 1863-1900, Vol. 45, page 348 and 335.)

Ulrich Zwingli: “It was given to her what belongs to no creature, that in the flesh she should bring forth the Son of God.” ( Zwingli Opera, Corpus reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, in Evang. Luc., Op. Comp., Vol.
6, I, page 639.)

part 2:

The Perpetual Virginity of Mary:

Martin Luther: “ It is an article of faith that Mary is Mother of the Lord and still a virgin… Christ, we believe, came forth from a womb left perfectly intact.” ( Works of Luther, Vol. 11, pages 319-320; Vol. 6, page 510.)

John Calvin: “ There have been certain folk who have wished to suggest from this passage [Matthew 1:25] that the Virgin Mary had other children than the Son of God, and that Joseph had then dwelt with her later; but what folly this is! For the gospel writer did not wish to record what happened afterwards; he simply wished to make clear Joseph’s obedience and to show that Joseph had been well and truly assured that it was God who had sent His angel to Mary. He had therefore never dwelt with her nor had he shared her company… And beside this Our Lord Jesus Christ is called the first-born. This is not because there was a second or a third, but because the gospel writer is paying regard to the precedence. Scripture speaks thus of naming the first-born whether or no there was any question of the second.” (Sermon on Matthew 1:22-25. Published in 1562.)

Ulrich Zwingli: “I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel, as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin.” ( Zwingli Opera, Vol. 1, page 424.)

It’s simple really, take out the fallible human part (the authority and traditions of men), and stick to God’s Word alone and “the spirit of truth will guide you into all truth!” (John 16:13)

[quote=E.E.N.S.]It’s simple really, take out the fallible human part (the authority and traditions of men), and stick to God’s Word alone and “the spirit of truth will guide you into all truth!” (John 16:13)
[/quote]

OOOOHHHH …is that how this is supposed to work? Kinda blows the absolute truth bit out the window doesn’t it?

[quote=Church Militant]OOOOHHHH …is that how this is supposed to work? Kinda blows the absolute truth bit out the window doesn’t it?

[/quote]

Absolute truth is God’s Word, and the way we know His Word is to read the Bible! :wink:

[quote=E.E.N.S.]Absolute truth is God’s Word, and the way we know His Word is to read the Bible! :wink:
[/quote]

You’re joking, right?

Phil

I totally agree with ChurchMilitant.

Jesus Christ is the Truth, and His Holy Spirit guides the RCC to the true meaning of the Word, who is also Jesus Christ. The unity of the RCC is evidence of the Holy Spirit.

In contrast, how can 30,000 Protestant churches claim to know the Truth, Jesus Christ? They can’t. The Holy Spirit does not and would not divide churches, and also would not leave Christ’s commandments up to one’s personal interpretation.

For example, how can Protestants claim only 1 or 2 sacraments, when Christ (and the ECF) clearly defined 7 sacraments? Protestants might have some pieces of Truth, enough for salvation, but the full Truth is only found in the RCC.

[quote=Philthy]You’re joking, right?

Phil
[/quote]

Come on now, how long have I been posting on this forum now?! :wink:

(Of course I’m joking.)

[quote=E.E.N.S.]Come on now, how long have I been posting on this forum now?! :wink:

[size=1](Of course I’m joking.)
[/quote]

Now ya notice just how hard it is to convey sarcasm & humor in writing. :rotfl:
[/size]

Mother of God

Martin Luther: “In this work whereby she was made the Mother of God, so many and such good things were given her that no one can grasp them… Not only was Mary the mother of Him who is born [in Bethlehem], but of Him who, before the world, was eternally born of the Father, from a Mother in time and at the same time man and God.” (The Works of Luther, English translation by Pelikan, Concordia, St. Louis, Vol. 7, page 572)

John Calvin: “It cannot be denied that God in choosing and destining Mary to be the Mother of His Son, granted her the highest honor…Elizabeth calls Mary Mother of the Lord, because the unity of the person in the two natures of Christ was such that she could have said that the mortal man engendered in the womb of Mary was at the same time the eternal God.” (Calvini Opera, Corpus reformatorum, Braunschweig-Berlin, 1863-1900, Vol. 45, page 348 and 335.)

Ulrich Zwingli: “It was given to her what belongs to no creature, that in the flesh she should bring forth the Son of God.” ( Zwingli Opera, Corpus reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, in Evang. Luc., Op. Comp., Vol.
6, I, page 639.)Isn’t this one of those prime gripes that we hear all the time? I don’t get it! Don’t these people even read their own history?

Is it just my imagination or do non-Catholics sort of seem to reinvent the wheel without need?

[quote=E.E.N.S.]Come on now, how long have I been posting on this forum now?! :wink:

(Of course I’m joking.)
[/quote]

E.E.N.S.:

Please continue playing devil’s advocate. These are exactly the statements that are made by n-Cs when talking with them…

I was going to enjoy the mock dialog between you and hardhitting Church Militant and learn from it. I figured CM understood what you we’re doing.

Well, I haven’t used this argument. But the reason Protestants use it (I won’t speak for the Orthodox) is that we have trouble uncoupling doctrine from morality the way you do. We know our leaders are sinners; we also know they are fallible. Our problem is with the idea that you can have an ungodly person who is also the bearer of divine authority. I don’t think this is a knock-down objection to Catholicism–there are good ways of responding to it. But it’s a valid point to raise given just how much weight Catholics put on the authority of the Magisterium. Protestants do not have to deal with this because (as a whole) we don’t claim that kind of authority for our leaders. (And of course you can point to nondenominational churches where the pastor is far more of a tyrant than the most aggressive Pope ever was, minus the aid of the secular arm. Hence I said “as a whole.”)

[quote=Church Militant]How can any rational person be expected to believe that what Protestant/n-C churches teach is true when they reject the historic writings of the ECF and of all those from the 1500 years prior to “the reformation”
[/quote]

But again, as a whole, we don’t. If you are addressing only those fundamentalists who do this, say so. But you say all Protestants, and even all non-Catholics. So I respond. I certainly don’t do this, and neither of the churches I attend (Episcopalian and UMC) do it. We don’t regard the Fathers as infallible–but neither do you.

[quote=Church Militant]How can anyone believe that they guys on TV or in n-C pulpits are correct in their doctrines when they don’t even agree among themselves!
[/quote]

Why is this even a serious argument? With whom are you arguing? Why do you think there is some kind of “non-Catholic” ideology as a whole for which people are arguing? A Muslim might just as well say, “How can anyone believe in Christianity when you can’t agree among yourselves.” I consider myself far closer to Catholicism than to fundamentalist Baptists, or members of the UCC, or for that matter to some people in my own denomination. Precisely because we don’t agree among ourselves, we aren’t trying to present a united front (at least I’m not; some evangelicals do, but the only united front I’m interested in is one that includes both you guys and the Orthodox).

[quote=Church Militant]Oh they talk about “core doctrines” but the fact is that if ya get right down to it…it’s ALL core, since people’s souls hang in the balance.
[/quote]

And this is one of the basic places where I think Protestants are right. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is qualitatively different from the doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. The second doctrine is highly derivative of the former, and it is far more peripheral. I have no problem granting that the Assumption is possible; I have immense trouble accepting it as a “core” dogma of the Christian Faith.

The problem with much Protestant talk about core doctrines is that they attempt to exclude Catholics and Orthodox. So for instance they’ll put an exclusively Protestant understanding of justification in the list of core doctrines–which is ridiculous. We will never unite meaningfully without including the See of Rome–and probably we will never reach unity with the See of Rome (at least on a large scale) until you guys and the Orthodox manage to get together. That’s the no. 1 ecumenical imperative for all Christians, even though we Protestants can’t do much more than cheer from the sidelines.

Edwin

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