Protestant and Catholic views on church history

Hello, it’s been a long time.

Recently I had the opportunity to talk to my friend in Arizona, who is a Polish-American Protestant that will be a long-term missionary to convert Poles to Protestantism.

Much of what he said sounded very close to what Catholics say, but with a few words changed. So I had some questions:

  1. Contrary to what Catholics believe, wasn’t the Bible not officially canonized until after the Reformation?

  2. So therefore did Catholics add books, instead of Protestants subtracting books from the Bible?

  3. Since the words “Catholic” and “pope” do not appear in the Bible, could it be true that the early church resembled the Protestant church instead? That there were always remnants of Protestantism that were suppressed by the Catholic church? After all, Protestant churches also cite the book of Acts to figure out how to go about their meetings and worship.

  4. Since the Catholic church was not formally formed until about AD 300, couldn’t it be true that their teachings have been corrupted over ~270 years’ time? After all, things could get lost or misinterpreted over time, when you consider that Islam came about around AD 500.

  5. Didn’t the Catholic church bar accessibility to the Bible by forbidding translations to other languages, even going as far as to execute Wycliffe (after whom Wycliffe Bible Translators is named)? What’s up with that?

Just a tip. We are supposed to have only one topic per thread. In my view you have 9 topics under the guise of one (church history). You are therefore likely to get many people just answering one of your questions and the whole thing could end up very confused for you.
I would recommend a thread for each of your 9 questions. That way you can can get responses and debate one topic at a time.

The cat is out of the bag, but since you’re right that it could be confusing, I’ve moved 5-7 and 9 to somewhere else.

This is not contrary to any belief - this is accurate. The Canon of Scripture was not dogmatically defined until the Council of Trent.

Previously (at the local synods of Hippo and Carthage, in the late 4th and early 5th Century) the Canon was given authoritative assent, and this was sufficient for many centuries. Then Luther came along (an Augustinian priest and Old Testament scholar) who tossed out a number of Old Testament (and a few New Testament books). The Church responded by formally and dogmatically defining the Canon which had been in continuous use in Christianity since the Fifth Century.

  1. So therefore did Catholics add books, instead of Protestants subtracting books from the Bible?

ibid

  1. Since the words “Catholic” and “pope” do not appear in the Bible, could it be true that the early church resembled the Protestant church instead?

The word “Catholic” is from the Greek “katholis” which means “universal” - for all people, in all places, in all times. The Bible does not use this particular description (although it was used quite early by the Church Fathers). But it surely would not include protestants, because protestantism was not invented until the Sixteenth Century.

The word “pope” is from the Greek/Italian "papa, meaning “father.” This word occurs often in the New Testament as a term applied to a spiritual father (one who begets us in Jesus Christ).

  1. Since the Catholic church was not formally formed until about AD 300, couldn’t it be true that their teachings have been corrupted over ~270 years’ time?

The Catholic Church was formally formed at Pentecost, in (approx) the year 33 AD. It was not a legal religion in the Roman Empire, but it persisted nonetheless (in the face of several deadly persecutions). It became legal in the Roman Empire with the Edict of Milan, in 313 AD. This marks only the legality of the Church in the Empire in which it was founded - it does not mark the “formal formation” of the Catholic Church.

  1. Could it be true that Catholics overemphasize rote rituals (and don’t even really know why they do them!) instead of developing a personal relationship with God?

It is surely true in some instances. But these would be Catholics who are not well formed in their faith. Unfortunately, the modern Catholic Church has many members who are insufficiently instructed in the Catholic Faith, and the Church bears some degree of responsibility for this fault. But any Catholic who is well-formed in the Catholic Faith will NOT exhibit this behavior. The fault is with insufficient instruction - not in the Faith itself.

  1. All the time that Catholic priests spend preaching to “Come to St. Mary,” couldn’t they better spend their time saying “Come to Jesus”?

FWIW, I have attended many Catholic parishes (including my own Dominican parish), and I have never heard a priest preach this (it would be refreshing). But I would say there is no difference. If I say “come to the Republican party” and the Republican party says, “come to Mitt Romney” (gaa) then it is really the same thing.

  1. Why even bother with asking saints to pray for you, when you can just go to Jesus directly?

Because we can do BOTH. The Bible tells us that the prayers of the righteous accomplish much. Thus, I pray myself, but I also ask others to pray for me (preferably people who I think are righteous). I am of the opinion that I can never have TOO MANY people praying for me, especially if my intention is very important.

  1. Didn’t the Catholic church bar accessibility to the Bible by forbidding translations to other languages, even going as far as to execute Wycliffe (after whom Wycliffe Bible Translators is named)? What’s up with that?

The Church prohibited (and still prohibits) unauthorized translations of the Word of God to be published under Catholic auspices. Wycliffe was a Catholic (the protestant faith had not yet been invented). During Wycliffe’s lifetime, every Christian was Catholic (including the Orthodox, who are also Catholic). There were no protestants.

The Catholic Church has always preserved the authentic Word of God, and has always (and still does) officially approve any effort to translate the official text into other languages. These days there are non-Catholics who routinely publish “bibles” which are not faithful - the Church has no dominion over those translations because they are not Catholic. But, during Wycliffe’s day, there WERE no non-Catholic Christians.

  1. Isn’t the Protestant church doing a good thing by having a much more evangelical and missions-oriented mindset than the Catholic church? Aren’t Protestants doing good by evangelizing to a spiritually dead Europe and reviving Latin America, while Catholics are resting on their laurels?

Yeah, that is probably valid criticism. Protestants are evangelizing with errors, while Catholics stand on the sidelines.

Good point:thumbsup::thumbsup:

As a Catholic with Polish ancestry I can tell you that’s a real shame. I hope he fails miserably because the Catholic faith of most devout Poles is a very very beautiful thing. Having produced truly great believers such as Pope John Paul the Great, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and St. Mary Faustina Kowalska

  1. Contrary to what Catholics believe, wasn’t the Bible not officially canonized until after the Reformation?

This is untrue since the canon of scripture was set in the mid to late 4th century by Catholic councils and this is well documented. This particular load of propaganda is failing to recognize that the church only defines doctrines and dogma as needed (i.e. when attacked) as in the case of the reformers. It was only then that the Council of Trent formally defended and defined teh canon as it had been for the previous centuries.

  1. So therefore did Catholics add books, instead of Protestants subtracting books from the Bible?

Not at all. the earliest lists of biblical canon contain all 73 books and especially by 397 when it was finally canonized. Links for help…

[LIST]
*]5 Myths about 7 Books
*]COUNTING THE CANON (This Rock: June 1998)
*]The Council That Wasn’t (This Rock: September 2004)
*]Books of the Bible, part 2
[/LIST]

  1. Since the words “Catholic” and “pope” do not appear in the Bible, could it be true that the early church resembled the Protestant church instead?

Ths is utter hogwash. The word Pope may not be be found in scripture, but the word it is derived from “father” certainly is.

Moreover, other words are not found in scripture yet are implied by it and universally accepted as a Christian doctrine, such as the Trinity, so his argument is very badly flawed there as well.

As for “Catholic” he needs to go check his Greek NT in Acts 9:31 η μεν ουν εκκλησια καθ ολης της ιουδαιας και γαλιλαιας και σαμαρειας ειχεν ειρηνην οικοδομουμενη και πορευομενη τω φοβω του κυριου και τη παρακλησει του αγιου πνευματος επληθυνετο

That is ekklesia kath olos, which literally says Catholic Church, so it actually IS in the Bible.

  1. Since the Catholic church was not formally formed until about AD 300, couldn’t it be true that their teachings have been corrupted over ~270 years’ time? After all, things could get lost or misinterpreted over time, when you consider that Islam came about around AD 500.

Someone needs a history lesson pretty badly. Read this What Was Authentic Early Christian Worship Really Like? and then tell me where you see any n-C services? You won’t…and that was written in the mid 2nd century because the author was martyred for his Catholic faith in 165.

Oh…and Islam didn’t come along until the 800s…

  1. Didn’t the Catholic church bar accessibility to the Bible by forbidding translations to other languages, even going as far as to execute Wycliffe (after whom Wycliffe Bible Translators is named)? What’s up with that?

You need a new and correct source.
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Where We Got the Bible
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