Prodigal's Isle

[LEFT]Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this discussion board,
Aboard this tiny ship.

The mate was a mighty sailin’ man,
The Skipper brave and sure,
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour.
A three hour tour. sound of thunder: crack! ]

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed.
If not for the courage of the fearless crew,
The Protestant would be lost.
The Protestant would be lost.

The ship’s aground on the shore of this
Uncharted desert isle
With Prodigal, the Skipper too,
The Millionaire and his wife,
A movie star, ( and the rest ) the Professor and Mary Ann,
( All ) Here on Prodigal’s Isle!

:smiley:

It seems i’ve become a castaway. Making frequent voyages here, i’ve all but shipwrecked my faith. My Protestant friends tell me i’m as stupid as Gilligan on that old TV show. I suppose that some here would say sinking a ship of false faith is a good thing.

I don’t want to bore anyone with the details, so i’ll get to the point: I’ve come to the conclusion that one reason i got on board the good ship Protestant was that i was doubting the authority of the Catholic Church. Most of the people i met on the same voyage were of the same opinion. Several of you here have caused me to doubt my doubt, which has left me stranded on this deserted island Faithlessness.

I’d like to be rescued, but the only way i can see to get off this God-forsaken place is to decide, once and for all, whether the Catholic Church is an authority i can trust to get me home safely. That’s my goal. The method i’d like to take is to avoid heated debate, have a little fun, and take my time to really think through what each of you have to say.

So, please convince me: Tell me why i should trust the authority of the Catholic Church.

:slight_smile:

[/LEFT]

“But when He comes, the Spirit of truth, He will guide you to all truth” (John 16:13)

I’ve never seen you as stupid by any means. If you need to talk to someone at any time, you know you can reach me here. :slight_smile:

As for the authority of the Church…do you see anyone else around with the history and scholarship as well as the Biblical knowledge to compare? I sure don’t my friend.

Hi Soc,
Sorry to hear the you’re in such distress. I’d like you to ponder a few things.
All authority has its source in God. God has shared this authority with people (refer to Jesus’ exchange with Pilate).
When Jesus established His Church, did He share any unique authority with the apostles? Did He provide for the handing on of this authority?
May you find peace.

I’d like to be rescued, but the only way i can see to get off this God-forsaken place is to decide, once and for all, whether the Catholic Church is an authority i can trust to get me home safely. That’s my goal.

If I were you, and I understand I’m not, I would ask myself how did I (if I lived then) ‘get saved’ in 1400; in 1300 AD; in 1200 AD; in 1100 AD; in 1000 AD; in 900 AD; in 800 AD; in 700 AD; in 600 AD; in 500 AD; in 400 AD; in 300 AD; in 200 AD; in 100 AD.
If people were ‘saved’ by ‘The Church’ through all that time then ‘The Church’ is the place to be.
If people were not ‘saved’ by ‘The Church’ through all that time then protestantism is equally hopeless, as protestantism derives from ‘The Church’. And if people were saved by ‘The Church’ before protestantism then who needs protestantism, really?

I would never say this, and the catholic church would never say this seeing at it believes that Prostestant churches have elements of the truth in them, to a greater or lesser degree. Above all, do not let your faith in Christ be shaken.

I don’t want to bore anyone with the details, so i’ll get to the point: I’ve come to the conclusion that one reason i got on board the good ship Protestant was that i was doubting the authority of the Catholic Church. Most of the people i met on the same voyage were of the same opinion. Several of you here have caused me to doubt my doubt, which has left me stranded on this deserted island Faithlessness.

One must distinguish between faith in Christ and faith in his church. If the apostles are any representation of how the church functions as the body of Christ, then Christ himself allows for disputes, arguments, factions, etc… and often such disputes and factions lead to greater clarity on doctrinal issues for future generations. The problem is, truth in its fullness is as illusive, and inefable as God in his fulness.

I’d like to be rescued, but the only way i can see to get off this God-forsaken place is to decide, once and for all, whether the Catholic Church is an authority i can trust to get me home safely. That’s my goal. The method i’d like to take is to avoid heated debate, have a little fun, and take my time to really think through what each of you have to say.

So, please convince me: Tell me why i should trust the authority of the Catholic Church.

:slight_smile:

In my opinion, no human authority structure is perfect. All are beset with sin, in some form or another, including the church.

But I think that the church as a visible instution with a visible structure has usefulness, and that the book of Acts and many other books in the Bible show how the Holy Spirit often uses this visible church to effect overall changes to a body of people, for example Acts 15. We also see how the leaders of this visible church often fall short of its teachings, but this too can be seen as something the Holy Spirit deals with in his own way (e.g. by sending Paul to correct Peter).

In the history of the Catholic Church, this pattern has been seen again and again. Even as early as St. Ireneaus correcting Pope Victor, or St. Catherin of Siena, calling the Popes at Avignon to return to Rome. There are even less controversial historical figures that helped to reform the institution church, like Francis of Assisi. Thomas Aquinas helped to reformed the church on an intellectual basis. Then we have the second vatican council for our own age, which has substantially reformed the church.

But what remains is an institution that is unified, at least in a structural sense. I have a fervent faith, and hope that this church is being guided by the Holy Spirit, more so than great intellectuals, theologians, or even Popes.

The Protestants make no such claims for unity. They claim the bible alone as their one source of infallible inspiration, even though they have multiple different ways of interpreting it. But the early church did not have the New Testament to guide them, but only the Apostles, and the Holy Spirit. It is by the Holy Spirit that the Scriptures were formed, through the help of the Apostles, and succeeding generations. It it through the Holy Spirit that the church selected what books would be contained in the cannon of Scripture. It is through the Holy Spirit that the doctrines of the Catholic Church were developed from the initial deposit of faith given to us byt he Apostles.

So if I had to distill all of this into a few points, they would be as follows.

Given this
1-Jesus appointed twelve men to lead his church.
2-Converts could seek out these men for guidance and authoritative decisions regarding the faith.

Then
3-Jesus does the same for us today in the successors to the authority of the Apostles. These are the bishops in union with the successors of Peter.

with the following caveat
4-Our leaders are not perfect. They can fail to live up to the rule of faith. When this happens, God raises up men and women to reform our leaders, and reform the church in general. These men and women act in a prophetic role for the church and are sent by the Holy Spirit, or in some way are especially close to God.

*My issue with Protestantism is the they have broken away from this patterns by raising up new visible churches and communions. Thus they can no longer benefit from the wisdom and mistakes of our ancestors, nor can they see the powerful actions on God in history to intervene in the life of the Church. *

which means, ultimatly
5-God alone rules the church through the power of the Holy Spirit. God alone is the master of history, who predestined all the thoughts and actions we would ever do, and who alone can judge us.

God bless,
Ut

Perhaps that’s why i’m drawn to keep asking questions, Justa.

:slight_smile:

Thank you, Michael, for saying so. I don’t want to give the wrong impression. Unwise, confused, or deceived is what they say i am by considering Catholicism as the true Church. I’d be interested in hearing what history, scholarship, or Biblical knowledge Catholics have that others do not.

:slight_smile:

Hey, David:

I suppose my distress is like my arthritis. I’ve learned to tolerate it. But any lasting relief would be welcome!

:smiley:

Please explain what you mean when you ask, “Did He provide for the handing on of this authority?” I’m not sure i understand the question.

:shrug:

Do you think the church has changed any since the first century, Thing?

Thank you, Ut. Good advice, that!

:thumbsup:

My trust in Christ shaken? No. My trust in my own understanding of what Christ wants for me shaken? Yes, i believe so.

Yes, but i’m not looking for all truth; just enough to know which truth is true.

Yes, i agree.

I cannot argue that the Vatican 2 was not a good thing. It eventually resulted in this discussion forum, i think! Yet, you do bring up a point that troubles me: If something requires reformation, then it requires some correction to right some wrong, doesn’t it?

:shrug:

Nope.

The Church Christ established is a functional body;

In the Scriptures you will find the Mass we recognise described. The people gathered on the first day of the week, Sunday, for the breaking of the bread. Before that part of the Mass there was prayers. If anyone ate the Eucharist unworthily, while in mortal sin, they brought judgement upon themselves. Confession before holy communion was therefore practiced when necessary.

Baptism;
People were baptised, a man and his entire household could be baptised, with water and the Holy Spirit, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Confirmation;
Acts 8:14-17 - the people of Samaria were baptized in Christ, but did not receive the fullness of the Spirit until they were confirmed by the elders. Confirmation is a sacrament that Jesus Christ instituted within His Catholic Church to further strengthen those who have reached adulthood.

Confession;
the Apostles were taught to confess their sins one to another, as priests and bishops they also had the authority to forgive confessed sins; those whose sins you forgive…those whose sins you retain.

Holy Orders;
(the Catholic priesthood), was given to the Apostles at the last supper; he took the bread blessed it and said - this is My flesh - DO THIS…

Anointing of the Sick;
“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed
sins, he will be forgiven.”

Holy Water; etc.
Is a reminder to us of our baptism, the term is found in Num 5:17 And he shall take holy water in an earthen vessel…

I understand that for most of protestantism all or most of these things have been rejected; for The Church, though, they have not changed since the beginning.

But my question still remains; if you were saved in the Catholic Church in 800 AD why will it not save you now?
Do Christs words not have any meaning to us; '…and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hades will not prevail against it.'
His Church, which He had just established in 33AD, would never die.
But are we to think, now, that it did die. God, Christ, is a liar, a powerless liar? He cannot preserve that which He promised to preserve?

Some people might say that the Church is now somewhere else, and Catholics are all now going to hell, that Christ has left His Church; but not only would that mean believing that Christ broke His promise, it wold mean believing that He truly did abandon us *totally *as He has not told you where you can now find Him, His new address - so to speak.
I am reminded now of His words - Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him… therefore they shall say to you: Behold he is in the desert, go ye not out:
So are we going to follow Tom or Pat out of Christs Church or are we going to trust Christ when He said His Church would not die and that He would remain with it until the end of time.

That is helpful. Thanks.

:thumbsup:

The thoughtful Protestants i know would say Catholics who believe the true gospel, rather than the gospel the Catholic Church teaches, are heaven bound. They would gently rebuke anyone who claimed that all Catholics are hell bent.

Good question, that!

:thumbsup:

I’m reminded of the words:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

(James 1:17)

It seems to me that what God did in the past, He is capable of doing to this day. So, i find this example:

The Israelites had moved about in the desert forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land that he had solemnly promised their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed. Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.

(Joshua 5)

Now Gilgal sounds like the Hebrew for roll, and abandoning the unfaithful, yet preserving the faithful is indeed how God rolls in the Old Testament.

“But what about these words of yours, God?” i’ve asked.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

(Deuteronomy 31:6)

“Did you not forsake those who died in the desert?”

His answer, i think: “I was speaking to those who would not forsake me.”

So, the thing is Thing this:

If God did not break His promise by forsaking some of the Jewish people who forsook Him, then how could God break His promise by letting the gates of hell prevail over some Catholics who forsook Him?

:shrug:

This is the Protestant answer. Please tell me how i should respond to those who tell me this.

Thats good then. Welcome to the club. :slight_smile:

Yes, but i’m not looking for all truth; just enough to know which truth is true.

:slight_smile:

I cannot argue that the Vatican 2 was not a good thing. It eventually resulted in this discussion forum, i think! Yet, you do bring up a point that troubles me: If something requires reformation, then it requires some correction to right some wrong, doesn’t it?

:shrug:

Yes. I agree. I think the Catholic claim is that the moral trajectory of the church is not always perfect, but the doctrinal growth is always in the right direction through the power of the Holy Spirit. Not that the Holy Spirit doesn’t allow a few bumps along the road. :slight_smile:

Can you give a few examples of things that you would like to talk about regarding the history of the Catholic Church?

God bless,
Ut

http://blog.al.com/jkennedy/2008/09/pothole.jpg

Yes. So the question i have to answer is whether the errors of the Catholic Church were merely potholes, or more severely sinkholes!

:smiley:

Or, perhaps a more accurate analogy is going off road and into the desert for 40 years.

Luther preached against the practice of indulgences. The teaching of a different gospel than the one Christ taught is a stronger reason given for the Protestant Reformation.

So, the thing is Thing this:

If God did not break His promise by forsaking some of the Jewish people who forsook Him, then how could God break His promise by letting the gates of hell prevail over some Catholics who forsook Him?

This is the Protestant answer. Please tell me how i should respond to those who tell me this.


I’ll post Jesus’ own words now;

18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The promise was made to an ‘it’, the ‘it’ is His Church. The promise was made to His Church. Therefore people stay with ‘it’, His Church, and do not follow ‘people’ who want to leave ‘it’, His Church.
Safety is within ‘it’, His Church - the ‘it’ to which His promise was directed.

A few points:
I assume that you agree that Jesus has legitimate authority.
I assume that you agree that Jesus shared this authority with His apostles.

In the replacement of Judas, and in appointing of bishops, we see a means to hand on this authority.

The point is that we must trust someone or some thing in accepting something worthy of belief.

Would you believe the teachings of the apostles in 40AD?

If so, why would you not believe their legitimate successors in 2009?

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