May Convert...but...A few questions first (Part 4) Ancient texts - Not just the Bible alone?


#1

Okay, here’s my deal. I want to convert to Catholicism, because I’m tired of attending Protestant churches week after week to only experience 3/4 of the sermon is music. I barely learn anything and it appears to be consistent. It is as though at this point no one goes to learn, rather to listen and have a great social hour. I gave up on my youth group, considering it only lead to who was dating who and why young Johnny broke up with young Susie.

Therefore, I would prefer to leave somewhere truly feeling as though I had just worshipped. It probably shouldn’t, but the visual appeal of the building of a typical Catholic church also fuels desire to convert. When I went to one for a funeral once, I literally felt as though I entered the house of God. The formality, tradition, sincerity, and ancient practices really got me interested in Catholicism.

Alright, now that you understand why I’m interested, I have a few problems.

  1. Ancient texts - Not just the Bible alone? The word of God simply isn’t good enough?

Please understand that I’m not challenging you. I want these issues clarified. I want them to work. To be a part of the original church, the very church that Jesus himself commanded to be built is very comforting. I want to be a member of the church that can trace back to the very first followers of Jesus Christ. That is just so amazing to me. Just sit and think about it. All of you are already members of the very first church dating back 2,000 years ago. Please clear these issues up so I can be too.

Would I be accepted?


#2

I’m really glad you asked! I just happen to know of a GREAT Bible study on this very topic and here is the FREE MP3 download link and here are the notes that John Martignoni of the Bible Christian Society uses.

I hope this helps you out.

I also have a blog article on this that may help as well.


#3

If God revealed himself to men (12 men) through his incarnate Word, and the truth of that deposited faith must be maintained until He comes again; wouldn’t he provide that it should be held in integrity until then? How would he insure that integrity? The Church gaurds the deposit of faith. We can observe that Protestantism leads to schism and division. Rome provides the authority and the voice that gathers Christians together.


#4

This is the “key” issue. I will answer your questions both about Sola-Scriptura and the authority of the Pope in this same thread, as both issues go hand in hand. Once this issue is resolved, all other issues that you’ve asked will fall right into place. Thus, you will see the Authority of the Church as holding the same weight as Protestants see as the “Authority of Scripture.” I’ll likely have to separate this into multiple replies, because this is long, but it is worth the read.

Sola-Scriptura is the heretical belief that the Bible alone is the sole authority of the Christian faith. The Protestant doctrine of Sola-Scriptura, ironically, can not be backed up with Scripture. Thus, the doctrine violates itself. Those who adhere to the doctrine of Sola-Scriptura are deceived into believing that the Bible is their sole source of authority, when in reality, their source of authority is their own comprehension skills which can easily be tainted by pride, prejudice, and the false teachings of others. Sola-Scriptura is neither a doctrine rooted in Sacred Tradition, nor a doctrine declared by the Early Church. The doctrine isn’t even rooted in a false understanding of Scripture. It entered Christianity in the Reformation, as a way of protesting the authority of the Catholic Church, authority that was given directly by Jesus Christ, in Matthew 16:18-19, as I will explain. Thus, the doctrine of Sola-Scriptura is a doctrine of open rebellion against authority established by God. It takes God off of the throne, and puts one’s own comprehension skills and prejudices onto it. If the Bible was crystal clear, self-explanatory, and the true source of “Sola-Scriptura” authority, then all churches that claim “Sola-Scriptura” would all believe the same things. Obviously, one needs to look no further than the facts that there are thousands of different “Sola-Scriptura” Protestant denominations to see that the Bible is far from self-explanatory. Actually, the Scriptures debunk any notion that they are all crystal clear and self explanatory, in 2 Peter 3:16.

Some people believe that their personal heretical interpretations of Scripture are guided by the Holy Spirit. Part of John 16:13, says “When He comes, however, being the Spirit of truth, He will guide you to all truth.” The Holy Spirit doesn’t contradict Himself, however, so conflicting interpretations of Scripture can not all be guided by the Holy Spirit, and therefore can not all be true, as truth doesn’t contradict truth. So, that promise was not given to “all believers,” as many Protestants want to claim, but only to the Church that Jesus established, which is the Catholic Church. The only interpretations of doctrines that are worthy of credence, therefore, are the ones by the Church that Jesus gave the authority to, because they are the only ones that are guaranteed to be guided by The Holy Spirit. Again, the giving of that authority is shown in Matthew 16:18-19. The Catholic Church doesn’t invent new doctrines, but can back up Her beliefs, showing consistency throughout the ages, going back to the Early Church, and Apostles.

Some people will try to claim that Revelation 22:18-19 supports Sola-Scriptura, but those verses apply only to the Book of Revelation, and do not indicate authority, but merely show the completeness of the Book of Revelation. If they applied to the entire Bible, then the canonization of the New Testament would have violated those very verses, since the New Testament contains more than merely Revelation, and the New Testament canon of Scripture was declared after the Book of Revelation had been written.

to be continued…


#5

Some people will claim that 2 Timothy 3:16 supports Sola-Scriptura, but that never declares Scripture to be the sole source of Christian authority. It says that Scripture is inspired and useful, which it is. That letter, however, had to make sense to Timothy at the time he received it. At that time, the New Testament had neither been fully written nor canonized, so the “Scripture” St. Paul referred to was the Old Testament that included the seven Deuterocanonical books of the Septuagint, also known as the Alexandrian canon, books that modern Protestants refer to as the “apocrypha,” a term meaning “uninspired,” or “of man.” You may have heard a vicious lie and slander that claims that the Catholic Church added those seven books at the Council of Trent. The Council of Trent merely reaffirmed what had already been the Canon of Scripture, which when included with the New Testament had already been affirmed at the councils of Hippo and Carthage in 393 and 397 AD respectively. The truth is that Protestants removed them, because those books didn’t fit in with their personal interpretation of the rest of Scripture. While Martin Luther included them, but as lesser importance, and the original King James Bible included them, it was not until the early 1800s, that they were officially dropped from the Protestant canon. Incidentally, Martin Luther also wanted to remove the book of James, among other New Testament books. Essentially, he started with an exaggerated objection to some indulgences abuses, that were occurring without papal authority, and ended by wanting to reinvent Christianity to suit his own personal interpretation of isolated Scriptures within the Bible, even if that meant removing other parts of the Bible. Thus, he was essentially admitting that certain parts of the Bible conflicted with his new theology. Yet, he would rather condemn those parts of the Bible, than reexamine his own new heretical theology.

Even if the doctrine of Sola-Scriptura could be supported using Scripture alone(which it can’t), then that would still be circular reasoning. You wouldn’t accept some strange, “holy” book of a cult to be the sole rule of religious faith, just because that book claimed that it is. You would need an authoritative source outside of that book to validate it. The problem is, as soon as you find that source, the mere use of that outside source would conflict with the doctrine that all you need is the “holy” book alone. Thus, it creates a catch-22 paradox, which shows that the doctrine of Sola-Scriptura is a logical fallacy.

If you grew up in an Evangelical Protestant church, you’ve probably had the doctrine of Sola-Scriptura drilled into you from the time you were very young. You may have even heard pastors say something along the lines of, “If someone says that we need more than just the Bible, that’s a sign of a cult.” Ironically, that statement and statements like it can not be supported by the Bible, and furthermore contradict the Bible, as I pointed out, so any pastor who would make such a statement is leveling that judgment against himself, since his very statement is outside the Bible.

Some people may try to support the doctrine of Sola Scriptura under the logic that, “If we can’t trust the Bible to be the ultimate source of truth, what can we trust?” Well, the Bible actually answers that question. In 1 Timothy 3:15, notice that the Church of the living God is referred to as “the pillar and bulwark of truth,” despite the fact that many modern Christians would violate the Bible by giving that title to the Bible, instead. At that time, there was one Universal Catholic Church, so that is the Church that St. Paul was talking about.

to be continued…


#6

So, if the Bible is not the sole authority of Christianity, how exactly do we establish the authority of the Church? At the time Jesus ascended into Heaven, the New Testament had neither been written nor canonized, so it certainly couldn’t have been the authority. So, both the Old Testament and oral tradition had to carry Christianity along, all under the inspiration of The Holy Spirit. This made the early Church. Who was in charge? In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus builds his Church on St. Peter, giving him the “keys” which signify authority (see Isaiah 22:22 for another example of keys signifying authority.) Also, the power to bind and loose has been given to St. Peter. In Matthew 20:27, Jesus says, “Whoever wants to rank first among you must serve the needs of all.” St. Peter was then the one who was asked to, “Feed my lambs,” “Tend my sheep,” and “Feed my sheep.”(John 21:15-17.)

A Scriptural case of exercising the power to bind and loose comes in Acts 15, over the issue of circumcision. Notice that St. Paul and St. Barnabas had to return to Jerusalem to meet with the council over the issue. Notice who in the council was the one to make the authoritative declaration.(verses 7-11) At the same time, St. Peter first convened with the council. St. Peter is regarded as the first Pope. Some people may attack this belief, on the grounds that the term, “Pope,” was not yet in existence, but even though the terminology wasn’t there, the concept was there from the beginning. Thus, St. Peter, the Pope, convened with the council, and spoke authoritatively, which was binding on the entire Church, all under the ultimate submission to God. The Catholic Church operates in the same way, to this day. Notice also, that once St. Peter made his declaration, no one questioned it, but instead, “the whole assembly fell silent,” (part of verse 12) for they knew that St. Peter had the authority to bind and loose, authority that was given directly from Christ. If St. Peter had to rely strictly on the Old Testament to declare that circumcision was no longer necessary, then he would have arrived at the opposite conclusion. (See Genesis 17:9-14.) He certainly didn’t transcend time, open the New Testament and say, “According to Acts 15:7-11, I’m supposed to declare that circumcision is no longer necessary.” I talk about St. Peter transcending time jokingly, but to believe that Christ established a Sola-Scriptura Church would inevitably bring us to that conclusion. Thus to belong to a Sola-Scriptura Church would be to openly acknowledge that one does not belong to the Church that Christ established.

The idea that the Bible contains all that a Christian needs would insinuate that Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude all sat around a table together and said, “Let’s all co-write a book and call it, ‘Everything you will ever need to know about Christianity.” That is so off the mark from history. Although one may believe that The Holy Spirit inspired each of them to make sure that combined, they would include every aspect of Christianity, there is no Scriptural support for such an assertion, yet there is Scriptural support to the contrary. John mentions the incompleteness of his own Gospel in John 20:30-31, and the inevitable ultimate incompleteness of Scripture in John 21:24-25. I am NOT suggesting that there was more or less that The Holy Spirit willed to be included in Scripture. The Catholic Bible canon contains all that The Holy Spirit willed to be included as Sacred Scripture. It does NOT, however, include all that The Holy Spirit wills us to know about Christianity. If you disagree with me on that, you can’t support your disagreement with Scripture alone, and thereby are affirming my point that Sola-Scriptura is a logical fallacy.

to be continued…


#7

So, what is the New Testament? What was its original purpose? The official canonization of the New Testament was when the Catholic Church combined a definitive collection of what scrolls were acceptable to be read as part of the Liturgy of the Word. The Liturgy of the Word still takes place at every Catholic Mass, today, but has been eliminated in some, but not all, of the self-styled protestant churches. The Scripture was written for the liturgy, not for personal private interpretation. When the Catholic Church, guided by The Holy Spirit, was deciding which specific books would appear in the New Testament, they based their decision on which books correlated with the oral TRADITION, and canonized the New Testament as we know it, today, because those books all coincided with the oral TRADITION of the Church. In other words, the Scriptures had to answer to the Catholic Church, not the other way around. We do see a correlation, however, that the Church liturgy helped determine the canon, while the canon helped determine the liturgy. The Catholic Church would go on to divide these books into chapter and verse.

Nowhere, however, was this New Testament intended to contain all the elements of Christianity necessary for the fullest Earthly understanding of God, capable by the human mind. The Bible was never intended to be a blueprint of “Everything you will ever need to know about Christianity.” It was never even meant to be the definitive grouping of “the most important elements of Christianity.” It merely was a grouping of the earliest (A.D.) available written texts that were consistent with what had already been understood as the fullness of Christianity, even though, even when combined together, they would not contain every last detail of the fullness of Christianity.

Since public revelation was to be closed after the death of the last Apostle, John, no books that were dated after his death were admitted into what would become the Canon of Scripture that we know, today, even though there are many early Church writings that are consistent with the Truth. The Catholic Church did NOT write and canonize a book so that it could usurp Her divinely granted and protected authority over Christianity to individual people’s own personal interpretation of these canonized Scriptures. The doctrine of Sola-Scriptura, however, elevates individual interpretation of Scripture to Papal status, suggesting that all “believers” can declare themselves to be their own personal popes. Essentially, Sola-Scriptura takes the Church right out of Christianity, and replaces it with one element of the Church, however, without the divine protection that is granted over that element, (Matthew 16:18, John 16:13) when it remains within the Church.

When people try to use the Book of Acts, or any other parts of the Bible as a blueprint for how their church should be, they are doing so without divine protection against heresy, protection that is only found in the Church that Jesus founded in Matthew 16:18-19. Furthermore, the Acts 2 Church did not have Acts 2 to guide them, so to try to recreate that Church would first require the elimination of the New Testament.

to be continued…


#8

History records no, “invisible church,” and if one thinks they can find it in Scripture, those Scriptures must also be invisible. The Church that Jesus established was told that the gates of Hell shall not prevail over it. (Matthew 16:18) Jesus also said that a divided Kingdom can not stand. (Matthew 12:25, Mark 3:24, Luke 11:17.) Protestantism is divided thousands of ways. You may believe they are united in Christ, but that isn’t even true. Some believe in a Jesus who died so that those who “accept” Him need not ever worry about Hell, since no matter what they do, they can’t go there. Others believe in a Jesus who died so that their sins may be forgiven, and that they can repent, and will avoid Hell, if and only if they continue to abide in His grace until they die. So, the “invisible church” is divided. A divided Kingdom can not stand. The Church that Jesus established, however, can not be defeated by the gates of Hell. Therefore, we can safely conclude that the Church that Jesus established was visible and united. History tells us that this was and is the Roman Catholic Church.

It would be quite illogical to suggest that any words of Scripture do not mean what the Church has always taught that they meant. If they conflicted with Church teachings, they wouldn’t have been canonized. It is true that certain individual protestants may have a better understanding of certain individual passages of Scripture than certain individual Catholics do. Nevertheless, protestants (or individual Catholics for that matter) have no right or authority to declare that the Catholic Church is wrong over how She has always interpreted ANY given part of Scripture, just because that person feels as if God revealed some new interpretation to them. That would be like if I told a songwriter, author, or poet that I understand what the words of his or her song, book, or poem truly mean, while he or she has it all wrong. This is not to say that God doesn’t speak to us personally through the Bible. He most certainly does, and can reveal various truths to different people through the same words of Scripture, truths that show us His love for us, our need to love others, and truths that convict us of personal sin in our lives. At the same time, however, when it comes to official doctrinal declarations, individual people have no authority to declare them, and no authority to try to twist the true meaning of the words of the Bible around to condemn the BELIEFS and DOCTRINES of the very Church that God gave the authority to write, canonize, and interpret the Scriptures to, the Catholic Church.

to be continued…


#9

Many evangelical protestant pastors may make the false claim that the Catholic Church places traditions of man ahead of the Word of God. Well, first of all, the idea that the “Word of God” is limited to the Bible would be erroneous, as would using the term, “Word of God” synonymously and interchangeably with “Bible.” The phrase, “word of God,” or, “Word of God,” appears in the Bible in various places, but in NONE of those places can it ever be replaced by the word, “Bible,” without changing the intended meaning of the text. One of the reasons Protestants fall into error is that when they see “word of God,” in the Bible, the erroneously translate “word of God,” as meaning Bible.

2 Thessalonians 2:15, as well as any honest look at history clearly shows that the entirety of the faith is NOT contained in the written letter. Granted, everything in Scripture is PART of the word of God, but the entirety of Christianity is found within the Catholic Church. Modern Protestants will agree with Catholics that it would be wrong for a person or church to pick and choose which parts of the Bible they will use, and disregard the rest. Sola-Scriptura, however, is following in the example of men who decided to pick and choose which part of Christianity they wanted to use, (66 books of the Bible) and disregarded the rest (the Church, and 7+ books of the Bible.) Even the part they have chosen, however, no longer has the divine protection from heresy (Matthew 16:18, John 16:13) over it, in terms of how it is interpreted or applied. So, when the Catholic Church places Apostolic Traditions alongside the Bible, She is NOT violating Matthew 15:3, or Mark 7:9, but instead staying consistent with the entirety of God’s Commandments. Can we say that about Protestantism? Sola-Scriptura is a tradition of man. The Bible and history show that Jesus established an authoritative Church. If you reject that Church, and instead follow the man-made tradition of Sola-Scriptura, then you are guilty of placing the traditions of men who had no divine authority, ahead of the Word of God, including the Bible, which shows that Jesus established an authoritative Church. Therefore, to deny the oral traditions and believe Sola-Scriptura instead, is actually to deny 2 Thessalonians 2:15, and follow the traditions of man (Sola-Scriptura, an invention of heretics, made popular by Martin Luther.)

Those who follow Sola-Scriptura are deceived into believing that they are following infallible divine authority, when in reality, they are just following fallible human interpretation of a divinely inspired Book, that can only be infallibly interpreted by the authority in the Church that Christ established. How ironic that the very thing so many evangelical protestant pastors try to falsely accuse the Catholic Church of doing by keeping Traditions is in fact the very thing that the evangelical protestant pastors are doing by denying the Catholic Traditions.

If you belong to an evangelical denomination, you’ve probably been taught to test everything to see if it correlates with Scripture. If you or your pastor had the authority to interpret Scripture on your own to declare doctrines, that would be fine, but you don’t, so all you really are testing things to is your own understanding of Scripture, which can easily be tainted by opinions and false teachings, which Scripture may seem to support, if your church twists and distorts it just right.

to be continued…


#10

The Bible alone sounds like an ok idea in theory, but have you noticed how well it works out in real life? There are at least 5 or 6 churches within a couple minutes drive of my house that would all claim to be based on the Bible, but all teach slightly different things. So who is right?

That is where Sacred Tradition helps us. We know that God promised to be with the Church and we trust that he is guiding the Church, so we listen to that. I’ve also heard tradition referred to as the democracy of the dead. We don’t believe that death is the end, that people don’t count any more once they are dead. We allow the people who came before us to speak through tradition.

Another interesting way of putting it that they told us in my RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) class was if you found my diary, you would be able to learn quite a bit about me, but you wouldn’t really have a complete picture of who I am. The Bible is similar, it was written in a certain time and place for a certain reason and while it gives us a very good picture of who God is, it doesn’t fill in all the little details. Tradition fills in more of those details.


#11

It is ironic. So many people are so afraid to submit to the authority of the Pope, out of fear that he’ll teach heresy and lead them astray, even though Jesus Christ, Himself gave the authority to Peter and his successors. Yet, some Joe Shmoe off the streets named John Darby, a man with absolutely no divine authority to declare doctrines whatsoever, was able to lead thousands upon thousands of Christians astray with his false pre-tribulational rapture tradition of man. It was Martin Luther’s “Sola-Scriptura” tradition of man that paved the way for false teachers like John Darby. Martin Luther had no divine authority to teach what he did, yet thousands upon thousands of Christians are willing to reject 1,500 YEARS of solid, consistent, divinely authorized Church teachings, just to follow the personal interpretations that this one man had of the Bible. On top of that, he realized that his own interpretation of the salvation message conflicted with James, yet never thought to rethink his view of salvation, but would rather denounce James. In essence, to believe the doctrine of Sola-Scriptura, is to believe that one man in the 1500s was more inspired by God, than all Christians combined for the previous 1500 years, including the ones who wrote the New Testament.

Yet, you can research clearly that, despite some scandal in terms of what they practiced, there have been absolutely no cases of doctrinally declared heresy in the entire 2,000 year history of the Papacy. Why? God protects His Church. It needs to be understood that when the Pope speaks from the Chair of Peter on matters of faith and morals that are binding on the entire Church, he is protected by The Holy Spirit from teaching error. That same divine protection from heresy, however, does not extend to those who chose to separate from His Church, or who were born into separated churches. Jesus established a VISIBLE Church that is given all the protections found in Scripture, such as in Matthew 16:18. No such protection, however, is guaranteed to man-made self-styled churches that were founded in open rebellion to the ONLY Church that was established by Christ, Himself.

It goes beyond “twisting,” Scripture to claim that such promises are for the “invisible church,” since Scripture itself mentions no such thing as an “invisible church.” Many protestants believe that the “true church,” is made up of all who believe in Christ, regardless of denomination or whether Catholic or Protestant. It is a historical fact, however, that while the Bible only shows Jesus Christ establishing ONE Church, history attests that all other denominations were founded by people. Catholics are people who remain in the one and only Church that Jesus established, while Protestants are people who have rejected Christ’s established Church, yet have chosen to retain Christ. While through Baptism in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Protestants have a unity, though an imperfect one, with the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, they still, in the strictest sense of the word can not regard themselves as members of the “true church,” nor do they have the authority to redefine what it means to be in the “true church,” in such a manner that they can include themselves. This, however does NOT exclude them from the eternal salvation which comes through Christ, provided that they were born into a protestant denomination and did not knowingly chose open rebellion to the Truth that the Holy Spirit revealed to them.

In Proverbs 3:5, we are told to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. Sola-Scriptura is a flagrant violation of that teaching. Sola-Scriptura essentially says, “I’m going to undermine the authority that the Lord established, failing to trust in His ability to establish a Church, but instead lean on my own understanding of Scripture, or the understanding of someone else who failed to trust in the Lord, but leaned on his own understanding of Scripture.”

to be continued…


#12

In John 17:20-21, Jesus prays, about the disciples, “I do not pray for them alone. I also pray for those who will believe in me through their word, that all may be one as you, Father, are in me and I in you; I pray that they may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” Jesus wanted unity. Thus, He left a deposit of faith with the Apostles to guard and protect, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, with His Church that would speak authoritatively. Clearly, Jesus did not want the Bible to be the sole authority of faith, because Sola-Scriptura has led to thousands of different Protestant denominations that believe different things, yet claim to all be based on the same source of authority, the Bible. Surely, Jesus did NOT want the whims of people’s personal comprehension skills to be what dictated Christianity. 1 Corinthians 14:32-33 says, “The spirits of the prophets are under their prophets’ control, since God is a God, not of confusion, but of peace.” Granted, in context, this is describing rules of order when Christians assemble. Nevertheless, it still states a personality trait of God. One can make the argument that to support the doctrine of Sola-Scriptura is to deny what 1 Corinthians 14:33 says about GOD, since confusion is a clear result of Sola-Scriptura. Surely, God would not have just tossed us a book and said, “Try figuring it out. If your comprehension skills are bad, you die eternally.” As I mentioned earlier, St. Peter even says that some of what St. Paul writes is difficult to understand, and claims that some distort it. (2 Peter 3:15-16.) Martin Luther and John Darby are just two of the many who have done that. Clearly, Jesus wanted unity, and therefore one authoritative Church, not many who believe different things, and often show hatred towards each other, thus providing ammo for nonbelievers to use against all Christianity.

So, I hope this clears things up for you beyond a shadow of a doubt.


#13

It’s not that the Word of God isn’t good enough. We don’t claim that. It is that the Bible is only part of the teachings. The teachings were all oral at first. Tradition came first. There was no bible. There were a few letters being read, but not everybody had all the same texts. The texts were a supplement to the oral teachings, not a sum total of the oral teachings.

One of the criteria used to decide the canon of the Bible was that the writings had to have nothing in them that contradicted Tradition. Their authenticity was judged against the oral teachings, not the oral teachings against the writings. If they did contradict Tradition, they were not included in the Bible. The Apocalypse of Peter, the Gospels of Thomas and Mary Magdalene were some of these writings being read in the early church but which were rejected by the Church as not inspired because they contained things that contradicted what was taught in Tradition.

Do you read or have you ever read any modern writings on spiritual matters or Christian teaching, or bible studies? Do the people in the Protestant churches you have been attending read this literature? I’ve seen a lot of titles at Christian stores. People read these to deepen their faith, to understand the mysteries more deeply. What they seemingly don’t acknowledge is that the authors of these books do not have any guarantee to authentic teachings, as the Apostles taught. They only have what they themselves have gleaned from reading the Scriptures on their own, with 20th century minds and little or no understanding of the culture, customs, literary forms and figures of speech in use at the time of Christ. One thing Peter does warn us against is that some people twist the meanings of the scriptures to their destruction(ie – they misunderstand what is being taught and it leads them away from God) and that there are some things that are hard to understand, especially in the writings of St. Paul. This is why Catholic spiritual writings have a *Nihil Obstat *and an Imprimatur to let us know that there is nothing contrary to the faith in them so we can read them and not be led astray from the Truth.

The writings of the Early Christian Fathers are a lot closer to the actual events and the living Apostles than anything written today. Polycarp was taught by the Apostle John and Irenaeus by Polycarp. In them, we see the practices and beliefs of the Early Church which have been handed down to us to this day. Straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak, not centuries removed from when Jesus walked the earth. Catholic Worship is still the Liturgy of the Word followed by the Liturgy of the Eucharist, for instance.

More about the Early Church Fathers – who they were and what they wrote.
newadvent.org/cathen/06001a.htm

They also tell us some of the other things that were taught that weren’t ever written down in the Bible. The New Testament does not contain all the teachings. John even tells us this at the end of his Gospel, that if it were all written down, there would be thousands of books and we only have 27. The writings of the Early Church Fathers are valuable to us because they tell us how the Scriptures were interpreted by those who knew Christ and heard Him teach, and those who were taught by those who knew Christ.


closed #14

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