In discussion with your friends…You are free to concede that God “dictated” Scripture.
So now you are free to ask…“What did God Dictate?”
What does Scripture say about the type of Church that Christ founded?
In the “God dictated” Scripture we find that:
*]The Church is the pillar and bulwark of Truth (1 Tim 3:15)
*]The Church has authority to bind and loose - whatever (Mt 16:17-19) (Mt 18:15-18)
*]That we are instructed to take issues to the Church and to listen to the Church (Mt 18:15-18)
*]The Church settles arguments between distant church communities in a wonderful example of the instructions given in Mt 18…(Acts 15)
*]The Church is the vehicle by which God reveals His Wisdom to the world. (Eph 3:8-12)
*]Christ and the Apostles repeatedly exhort the faithful to unity…to be of one mind
20 "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 1:10
I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.
2 Cor 13:11
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,
1 Pet 3:8
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
All of these calls to unity - in the “God Dictated” Scriptures - along with the instructions in the Gospel of Matthew and the example in Acts, as well as Paul’s presenting his teachings to Peter and others to assure they are correct, the Church being the Pillar etc…All point clearly to a close doctrinal unity within a visible and authoritative Church.
Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura) adherents can offer nothing scriptural in support of the (evangelical?) protestant view of “church” and “authority” that comes anywhere close to this preponderance of evidence for the RC/EO “Model” of Church authority.
I say this with confidence because I have repeatedly asked protestant apologists to counter this evidence with “equally clear and compelling” evidence for what I call the “Protestant model” of locally independent church communities based on SS.
They just simply cannot do it…
My experience has been that at this point the person I am talking with will bring up various problems with the Papacy…that in Acts it is James who speaks the decision etc…bad popes through the centuries…the concept of papal infallibility . etc…
At this point I will agree with them that there is certainly room for interpretation on certain specific matters of structure.
However - I will point out to them that what is being discussed is not what the Catholic Church has or has not done…but rather what does Scripture say???
It is they who have put forth that Scripture is Dictated by God and therefore correct in all of it’s particulars. All you are doing is pointing out what you see Scripture saying…in multiple places…by multiple authors (or secretaries;)). So the question for them to answer is how can they accept such broad and contradictory beliefs among their fellow SS adherents when the Holy Spirit, through Scripture, says the opposite??
See what they say…