Sola Scriptura vs Supposed CC Authority


#1

Ok, I now see that SS seems to take more faith without substance than I ever realized. I never realized all the things I had to dismiss in order to come to believe it:
I acknowledged that the ECF writings - even pre-canon - were suspiciously Catholic. The Bible is a record (inspired) of Apostolic Tradition. Catholic teaching hasn’t changed much aside from the evolution of its doctrines.

In thinking about the Bible-Only, I came up with these questions, that from a non-C point of view, I am left w/out answers:
1)How can a church that shows signs of falling into the errors of Catholicism be the avenue through which God would inspire the Bible to be compiled?
2) Regarding those small groups of faithful that were outside the CC all those years:
What did they do pre-Catholic-canon?
3) Did they rely on oral transmission of Apostolic Tradition?
4) Did they never record it?
5) If they did, where was their Bible?
6) Where was their voice when the CC compiled a canon?
7) Did they speak out about the mis-compilation?
8)Or did they compile their own in answer to the mass errors of the CC in effort to keep the future church in all truth?
9) IOW - where is the record of their efforts to keep their church from falling into error?
10) Did the Catholic canon just coincidentally jive with their own?
11) Why did they ever accept the Catholic Canon?
12) Biblically, can you prove that Apostolic Tradition ended with the written works of the Bible?

I believed that the Bible came to be b/c it was God’s will. Period. Nevermind that a church that at that time already had seeds of many Catholic beliefs decided its canon. I’d maintain that it was God that decided its canon and could have used anyone at all to do it. But this is an admission that the HS worked through the CC, and WHY would God use an apostate-church to handle the compilation of His Revelation to us? Why not, then, accept the Pof GP or the NWT? So what if the churches they came from were in error, right? :cool: Ok, more questions:
***Why, in 1500 years of the CC introducing heretical doctrines, were Scripture-reading clergy not protesting? There should have been MASSIVE protestations to the introduction of these doctrines that were unbiblical. Why was there 1500 years of unanimous approval if it wasn’t already commonly-held doctrine? ***Those quiet little flocks carring on the truth outside the CC - where was their light? Why weren’t they going out unto all the earth to proclaim the REAL gospel?
I could admittedly accept that:
History looked Catholic.The saints were holy. There are innumerable miracles in the CC. The ECFs give testimony to their Catholicity. Even my own, past, Catholic spiritual experiences were positive ones. Yet I insisted that they were all wrong because I saw “contradictions” to ALL OF THEM in the Bible. None of them was legit as long as the Bible said something different. IOW - I have to prefer my own understanding of Scripture over many, absolutely valid and logical evidences of the authenticity of the CC. What makes more sense? That history, fruit, miracles and even personal experience are all wrong or that my understanding of Scripture is flawed? :hmmm: I will hold my breath while you think about it.
The miracles part has always somewhat stumped me, and I know we aren’t supposed to base our faith on such things (which I certainly dont) but it left a very big problem in my mind:
If the miracles aren’t from God, and there are other, apostate churches in the world, then why does the Catholic Church seemingly have the most miracles attributed to it? Because it is the MOST demonicly-influenced? :eek: Then why, also, such good fruit? (Assisi, Mother Theresa, etc.) It has to be either or. It cannot be both Godly and at the same time Demonic.
Also, if I will deny the miracles, then I could easily have been one who denied Christ as He walked the earth and performed miracles. If I am willing to accept the divine origins of Jesus and His ministry through the apostles on part b/c of miracles, then why would I dismiss current-day miracles as a testimony of the divine origins of His church?

In the end, from a ss outlook, I am left with too many “what ifs” regarding history, miracles, etc… The ss mindset betrays all logic. I’d have to believe I can dismiss the obvious b/c “the Bible says” when in fact in order to even be able to claim “the Bible says” I cannot dismiss the obvious…

That was my circular reasoning and the flaw with it.
Dawn shines on marblehead (once again:o)

Please pray I maintain this understanding so I can get on with my faith!:thumbsup: Every few months I’ve run to confession after getting some little light on things, knowing I had “enough” faith to come back, and w/in days or weeks I’d leave again. Need prayers for perseverance!

Thanks! And Bless Your Efforts!


#2

There are no errors in the Catholic Church. Sola Scriptura was not practiced in the ECF, nor does the Bible itself teaches Sola Scriptura. The only error is the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. The Church held on Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Magisterial Authority, whom interprets both Sacred Scripture, and Sacred Tradition.


#3

I should add, btw, if I am missing something in my line of reasoning, please let me know. If I can strengthen this mini-conviction it would be beneficial. Also, feel free to show me where (if) I am in error - from either side; Catholic or sola scriptura. Otherwise, I’ll just continue to browse through the other threads that treat on this. It would be helpful, however, to discuss the conclusions I’ve arrived at. This post wasn’t intended to be a proclamation that i’m all done thinking ;).


#4

You should ask a question one at a time, and us Catholics time to answer them accordingly.


#5

Ok, I don’t really have any specific questions. I just wanted to throw out there my conclusions after pondering the ss vs church authority issue and see if anyone can comment, from either side (Catholic or ss), on it. IOW - is there anything more I should add to my conclusions? Or would someone with ss-mindset like to answer some of the many questions I’ve already layed out? I feel pretty persuaded that there has to be ongoing, successive, church authority in order to even be able to claim the Bible has ANY authority.

Thanks


#6

ISTM that your entire argument is based primarily on one unsupported presupposition:

How do you know that? What’s your criteria for knowing that? Muslims and Mormons say the exact same thing, except that the Bible didn’t “fall from the sky” prewritten as they claim for their holy books.


#7

Ok, you must be misunderstanding my post, and perhaps that is b/c I didn’t clarify it well enough.

I am coming OUT OF a ss-mindset. I was stating what I HAD believed when I held that mindset. That is why I said if we believe it could have come about ANY way b/c God wanted it, we could just as easily accept the Pearl of Great Price or New World Testament. We would have no basis for rejecting them.

Hope that clarifies…


#8

If you truly accepted scripture as the only rule of faith, I (as a protestant) can see where you had trouble. You forgot about the working of the holy spirit, which was designed to guide us into all truth.

I acknowledged that the ECF writings - even pre-canon - were suspiciously Catholic. The Bible is a record (inspired) of Apostolic Tradition. Catholic teaching hasn’t changed much aside from the evolution of its doctrines.

“Evolution of its doctrines” is a lot of change. I think, overall, you’re trying to find one church, alive and well today, that most closely matches the apostolic church. If that is your goal, I doubt you’ll ever be satisfied, because many, many groups have fallen into heresy. Instead, I think you should be looking to most closely align your faith with the apostolic church, regardless of what others in the congregation you belong to teach or believe.

You’re never going to be in perfect agreement, even within the RCC. While that in itself is a bit unsettling, realize that God has provided the holy spirit so that we won’t be totally alone.

In thinking about the Bible-Only, I came up with these questions, that from a non-C point of view, I am left w/out answers:

I’ll try to respond as I see things.

1)How can a church that shows signs of falling into the errors of Catholicism be the avenue through which God would inspire the Bible to be compiled?

First, realize that no church (that is, congregation), even in the days of the apostles, was without some error. Paul wrote a dozen letters (probably more that we don’t have) to various churches/leaders, and corrects many heresies in each. People are imperfect. Only God is perfect, and only him should you expect to be the standard you can compare to.

Why then, would God use corrupt human beings to bring about his divine truth? Honestly, I don’t know. He certainly could have made a Bible appear, fully compiled, just as he could have remained on earth instead of ascending back into heaven. He chose not to do these things.

What I can say is that God has a history of using corrupt people to spread his word. For instance, Moses was greatly used by God, despite being a sinful human being. He never claimed (or was told by God to have) infallibility, or any such thing. The Jewish people fell from the truth numerous times. So, how can we accept the Old Testament scriptures preserved by them? It’s simple – God works supernaturally to accomplish his will. He has a history of not making persons or groups infallible, but rather working and accomplishing great things despite our failings. Read scripture and I believe you’ll see this to be the case.

Finally, I’ll note that the “Catholic Church” was not fully corrupt by the fourth century. I believe that corruption is still increasing into the current day. You can’t trust a man-made organization to lead you. Trust God himself. He won’t fail you…if you’re truly listening, and he will fill the void you have inside.

  1. Regarding those small groups of faithful that were outside the CC all those years:
    What did they do pre-Catholic-canon?
  2. Did they rely on oral transmission of Apostolic Tradition?
  3. Did they never record it?
  4. If they did, where was their Bible?

There are references from at least one author showing that the Pauline epistles circulated amongst the churches as early as the end of the first century.

By the end of the second century, we have attestations from a couple of figures who indicate only four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) to have been used in the churches, and which also indicated Paul’s epistles to be on-par with Hebrew scriptures.

Continued…


#9

We also have the Muratorian Fragment, which is believed to be from the end of the second century, which contains a pretty complete list of books. The contents (translated) of that fragment I have included (with certain portions omitted for brevity).

…at which nevertheless he was present, and so he placed [them in his narrative]. The third book of the Gospel is that according to Luke. Luke, the well-known physician, after the ascension of Christ, when Paul had taken with him as one zealous for the law, composed it in his own name, according to [the general] belief. Yet he himself had not seen the Lord in the flesh; and therefore, as he was able to ascertain events, so indeed he begins to tell the story from the birth of John. The fourth of the Gospels is that of John, [one] of the disciples. To his fellow disciples and bishops, who had been urging him [to write], he said, ‘Fast with me from today to three days, and what will be revealed to each one let us tell it to one another.’ In the same night it was revealed to Andrew, [one] of the apostles, that John should write down all things in his own name while all of them should review it…

What marvel is it then, if John so consistently mentions these particular points also in his Epistles…

Moreover, the acts of all the apostles were written in one book. For ‘most excellent Theophilus’ Luke compiled the individual events that took place in his presence — as he plainly shows by omitting the martyrdom of Peter as well as the departure of Paul from the city [of Rome] when he journeyed to Spain. As for the Epistles of Paul, they themselves make clear to those desiring to understand, which ones [they are], from what place, or for what reason they were sent…To the Corinthians first, to the Ephesians second, to the Philippians third, to the Colossians fourth, to the Galatians fifth, to the Thessalonians sixth, to the Romans seventh. It is true that he writes once more to the Corinthians and to the Thessalonians for the sake of admonition…out of affection and love one to Philemon, one to Titus, and two to Timothy; and these are held sacred in the esteem of the church catholic for the regulation of ecclesiastical discipline. There is current also [an epistle] to the Laodiceans, [and] another to the Alexandrians, [both] forged in Paul’s name to [further] the heresy of Marcion, and several others which cannot be received into the catholic church — for it is not fitting that gall be mixed with honey. Moreover, the epistle of Jude and two of the above-mentioned (or, bearing the name of) John are counted (or, used) in the catholic [church]; and [the book of] Wisdom, written by the friends of Solomon in his honour. We receive only the apocalypses of John and Peter, though some of us are not willing that the latter be read in church. But Hermas wrote the Shepherd very recently, in our times, in the city of Rome, while bishop Pius, his brother, was occupying the [episcopal] chair of the church of the city of Rome. And therefore it ought indeed to be read; but it cannot be read publicly to the people in church either among the Prophets, whose number is complete, or among the Apostles, for it is after [their] time…
So, the general picture I gather is that the church in general accepted the following…

*Four Gospels – Luke, John, a gospel whose author was present at the events (I presume Matthew), and one other which is lost due to damage of the fragment, but probably Mark. Other sources indicate this combination to have validity.

Acts of the Apostles

Paul’s Letters:

  • Romans
  • I Corinthians
  • II Corinthians
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • I Thessalonians
  • II Thessalonians
  • I Timothy
  • II Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon

I John
II John
Jude
Revelation (of John)*

We’re only missing Hebrews (which was disputed because of questions of authorship, I believe), James, Peter’s two letters, and John’s third letter (again on dispute of authorship).

The early, pre-canon church, indeed had most of the scriptures available for their use.

  1. Where was their voice when the CC compiled a canon?
  2. Did they speak out about the mis-compilation?
    8)Or did they compile their own in answer to the mass errors of the CC in effort to keep the future church in all truth?

I don’t believe even the councils in question were acting as a legislative body such as they would today. Instead, they were doing their best to guide the faithful, unaware of some of the heresy they had already begun to fall into.

Continued…


#10
  1. Did the Catholic canon just coincidentally jive with their own?
  2. Why did they ever accept the Catholic Canon?

That’s easy – the church hadn’t separated an extreme amount in those days. Sure, there were some changes, but they all still had a lot in common. It was only three centuries after Christ’s death, and a bit less than that since the apostles left.

  1. Biblically, can you prove that Apostolic Tradition ended with the written works of the Bible?

It depends on what you believe about Apostolic Succession, and what Apostolic Tradition is. I’d need to hear more from you before composing an answer.

***Why, in 1500 years of the CC introducing heretical doctrines, were Scripture-reading clergy not protesting? There should have been MASSIVE protestations to the introduction of these doctrines that were unbiblical. Why was there 1500 years of unanimous approval if it wasn’t already commonly-held doctrine?

At times, there were. There are several fairly large schisms in church history.

But the problem with gradual change is that it doesn’t seem so bad, especially when you’re indoctrinated into it from birth. It’s easy to just accept what you’ve been taught.

Additionally, though I don’t have a source to back this up at the moment, I understand that in later centuries, church gatherings became more of a ceremonial event. In my opinion, it’s patterned after Mithraistic sun worship (which became illegal in the Roman empire less than a century after Christianity was legalized), especially including the Mass – in pagan tradition, a sun-shaped wafer is raised to the sun, and a blessing said over it. It is then ingested, with the followers believing that the wafer was a part of the sun. There was nothing (no sermons/homilies) involved but the ritual. My reading has indicated that there was a period of centuries during which homilies in most churches happened perhaps once per quarter.

Just bear in mind that most who are within Roman Catholicism are not, and never will, look at it openly and objectively. It’s really hard to change what you were taught as a child (believe me, I know).

***Those quiet little flocks carring on the truth outside the CC - where was their light? Why weren’t they going out unto all the earth to proclaim the REAL gospel?

Consider that in the early days of church history, there was no papacy, no infallibility of the pope, no confession, no indulgences, etc. These things only came along later. There are also many who protested against the heretical teachings now embraced by the RCC. Tertullian and Origen were among them.

In the end, I think the question has to come down to – what is truth? Can you really accept the Roman Catholic teachings of today, despite that they don’t seem to match scripture or history? I would suggest that you pray diligently on this matter. I’ll be doing the same.

History looked Catholic.The saints were holy.

There are indeed many people who have been exceptionally set apart to God in their lives. I choose not to “canonize” them, but rather accept what scripture says – that we are all saints. These include people like Peter, Paul, and other early church figures. I consider the devotion they held to God, and try to emulate the same. I do not exalt them as idols, however.

There are innumerable miracles in the CC.

Such as?

Continued…


#11

The ECFs give testimony to their Catholicity.

I think you need to understand where to draw the line between Catholic and Roman Catholic. Prior to the Great Schism of 1054, the Eastern Orthodox would have (and still do) called themselves Catholic. Other groups do the same. It’s like the term Orthodox. Catholic simply speaks of the universal church in their day, not the church that will call itself Catholic in the future.

Even my own, past, Catholic spiritual experiences were positive ones.

Many of my Baptist spiritual experiences were positive. I truly believe God worked in my life on many occasions. That doesn’t mean that the Baptist church is without error. In fact, I see many such errors in it now which I did not see before. Yet God still chose to work in me. That further confirms to me that the church isn’t a religious organization, but simply a universal (catholic) grouping of all those who truly believe in and follow him.

Yet I insisted that they were all wrong because I saw “contradictions” to ALL OF THEM in the Bible. None of them was legit as long as the Bible said something different.

It is indeed possible that your experiences were more based on adrenaline and the like. It’s even possible that Satan would try to use such experiences to try to keep you from the truth. Pray to God for the ability to discern the difference between that, and God’s work.

Moreover, study the scriptures intently. Read and understand as much as you can. When you begin to have an understanding of God’s will, and actually act on it, it provides a peace I can’t describe.

IOW - I have to prefer my own understanding of Scripture over many, absolutely valid and logical evidences of the authenticity of the CC. What makes more sense? That history, fruit, miracles and even personal experience are all wrong or that my understanding of Scripture is flawed?

While your interpretation of scripture could be flawed, it’s also possible that your interpretation of history is flawed. What you’re being taught will almost always be tainted by the source you use. I suggest either reading the texts in question for yourself, or at least reading both sides of the story (Roman Catholic and non-Roman Catholic).

The miracles part has always somewhat stumped me, and I know we aren’t supposed to base our faith on such things (which I certainly dont) but it left a very big problem in my mind:
If the miracles aren’t from God, and there are other, apostate churches in the world, then why does the Catholic Church seemingly have the most miracles attributed to it?

I’ve had minor miracles happen in my own life – I’ve done things, and had circumstances happen in ways that just aren’t humanly possible. Does that suddenly validate the Baptist church I was in at the time? No! I believe God was honoring my desire to follow his will. The miraculous events perhaps shouldn’t be seen as being attributable to a particular denomination.

And yes, there’s always the possibility that there’s some demonic influence going on. We know that in the end times, there will be deceivers who will show “signs and wonders”.

Also, if I will deny the miracles, then I could easily have been one who denied Christ as He walked the earth and performed miracles. If I am willing to accept the divine origins of Jesus and His ministry through the apostles on part b/c of miracles, then why would I dismiss current-day miracles as a testimony of the divine origins of His church?

You’ll find miraculous events in most denominations. Some claim God spoke to them directly. Others have been medically shown to be miraculously cured from terminal cancers.

Just continually keep in prayer that God will guide you where he wants you to go. Do not abandon your studies of scripture. If you accept the RCC, then you have to accept that those scriptures are the divinely inspired word of God, and therefore are of immense value to everyone.


#12

Here are some quotes from the Early Church Fathers on this subject - don’t see Sola Scriptura here:

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies (C. 180 A.D.):
“If there should be a dispute over some kind of question, ought we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches in which the Apostles were familiar, and draw from them what is clear and certain in regard to that question? What if the Apostles had not in fact left writings to us? Would it not be necessary to follow the order of tradition, which was handed down to those to whom they entrusted the Churches?”

Tertullian, Demurrer Against the Heretics (200 A.D.):“Wherever it shall be clear that the truth of the Christian discipline and faith are present, there also will be found the truth of the Scriptures and of their explanation, and of all the Christian traditions.”

Origen, Fundamental Doctrines (C. 220 A.D.):
“Although there are many who believe that they themselves hold to the teachings of Christ, there are yet some among them who think differently from their predecessors. The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession from the Apostles, and remains in the Churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as the truth which is in no way at variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition.”

St. Basil the Great, The Holy Spirit (375 A.D.):“Of the dogmas and kerygmas preserved in the Church, some we possess from written teaching and others we receive from the tradition of the Apostles, handed on to us in mystery. In respect to piety both are of the same force. No one will contradict any of these, no one, at any rate, who is even moderately versed in matters ecclesiastical. Indeed, were we to try to reject unwritten customs as having no great authority, we would unwittingly injure the Gospel in its vitals.”

St. Epiphanius, Against all Heresies (377 A.D.):
“It is not necessary that all the divine words have an allegorical meaning. Consideration and perception is needed in order to know the meaning of the argument of each. It is needful also to make use of Tradition; for not everything can be gotten from Sacred Scripture. The Holy Apostles handed down some things in the Scriptures, other things in Tradition.”

St. John Chrysostom, Homily on 2 Thessalonians (C. 400 A.D.):
"‘Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word or by our letter.’ From this it is clear that they did not hand down everything by letter, but there was much also that was not written. Like that which was written, the unwritten too is worthy of belief. So let us regard the tradition of the Church also as worthy of belief. Is it a tradition? Seek no further."

St. Augustine of Hippo, Letter to Januarius (C. 400 A.D.):
“But in regard to those observances which we carefully attend and which the whole world keeps, and which derive not from Scripture but from Tradition, we are given to understand that they are recommended and ordained to be kept, either by the Apostles themselves or by plenary councils, the authority of which is quite vital in the Church.”

best of Luck,

Stillkickin


#13

Hi, PC - Thank you for offering so much of your insight. I’ve got a busy schedule ahead tonight and tomorrow, but I’ll try to respond to a few things that have been on my mind since reading your post:

If you truly accepted scripture as the only rule of faith, I (as a protestant) can see where you had trouble. You forgot about the working of the holy spirit, which was designed to guide us into all truth.

Well, I didn’t forget about the HS’s work - I think the HS works through the church as well as through the individual. I think it was b/c of the HS’s work that we even have the Bible, and if the HS worked through the church to do such a monumental thing, who am I to say the HS is not continuing to use that church? I can’t find any scriptural indication that it ceased to do so.

I think, overall, you’re trying to find one church, alive and well today, that most closely matches the apostolic church. If that is your goal, I doubt you’ll ever be satisfied, because many, many groups have fallen into heresy. Instead, I think you should be looking to most closely align your faith with the apostolic church, regardless of what others in the congregation you belong to teach or believe.

That is what I was concluding after having studied with Mennonites the past few years and seeing problems with some of their practices. But the problem with that is that I believe we are supposed to worship with one another (not alone) and I can’t compromise some of my beliefs as I sit in church being preached to. I know in my mind I am going to wonder where his authority to preach came from b/c if I believe the HS led me to my interpretation of scripture, and I know the church I am going to doesn’t adhere to the same interpretation, I am going to have to compromise something by being a part of that church. How, when you believe your interpretation to have come from the HS, can you listen to contradictory interpretations from a leader of a church? (Isn’t this dilemma how new denominations are born ;)) I totally believed the Mennonites (and like churches) had authority b/c it didn’t seem coincidental that their and my interpretations were just about exact. I believed Christianity was preserved totally apart from the apostate CC - having left the CC as heretical doctrines were being introduced.

You’re never going to be in perfect agreement, even within the RCC. While that in itself is a bit unsettling, realize that God has provided the holy spirit so that we won’t be totally alone.

That is hard for me to accept b/c there was a time when I was in perfect agreement and its hard for me to settle for anything less. If the gates of hell didn’t prevail against the church, and we are to turn to the church to decide matters of disagreement, I have to conclude that there is one church that has the fulness of truth and the authority to make final decisions. As for being totally alone - there were many times, aside from forums such as these - where I did indeed feel totally alone even in the CC, for most Catholics I have known have not even known their faith and not accepted the authority of the church and choose to pick and choose what beliefs and practices they would agree with and which to discard. I have always felt quite alone in my Catholicity - even amongst Catholics. I am quite okay with that, as long as I know the church I am being fed from is in harmony with that HS.

Wow, I didn’t realize how long this would take me. I’m going to have to stop here and go through the rest of your posts some other time. I will just add off the top of my head something that came to mind as I remembered your posts:

Perhaps, when Luther and Calvin (and others) saw error w/in the church they should have stayed where they were and tried to change it from the inside. I suggest this in answer to your suggestion to stay with a church I don’t totally agree with. It kinda confirms my desire to go back to the CC ;). Also, it is obvious to me that denominations that were born as a result from a break with the CC have not had continuity of doctrine or practices in their 500 years of evolution.

Ok, I know that wasn’t much in answer to you, but maybe it helped you to see a little more of what my thoughts have been. I will get back to you. And thanks for taking the time to answer so thoroughly. It helps to see someone else’s viewpoint. I will continue to think on it.

Bless You and Everyone Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


#14
  1. Biblically, can you prove that Apostolic Tradition ended with the written works of the Bible?

It depends on what you believe about Apostolic Succession, and what Apostolic Tradition is. I’d need to hear more from you before composing an answer.

What I mean is, the Apostles were promised to be guided into all truth. The Bible is an account of that truth. Can it be shown, biblically, that Jesus was speaking only for the Apostles and not for those who would come after them? That there would be no promise of being led by Christ into all truth by their successors? If there is not, and there was no such promise, then how can we be sure the Bible is an infallible compilation of God’s Word?

***Why, in 1500 years of the CC introducing heretical doctrines, were Scripture-reading clergy not protesting? There should have been MASSIVE protestations to the introduction of these doctrines that were unbiblical. Why was there 1500 years of unanimous approval if it wasn’t already commonly-held doctrine?

At times, there were. There are several fairly large schisms in church history.

But can you honestly look at any of those schisms and see them as upholding Biblical truth as the pillars of truth the Bible calls the church? IOW - do you see them as totally in sync with Bible doctrine? I do not. How can the church Christ established be the pillar of truth if the only way in which they uphold the truth is by professing to trust the Bible as their only authority, but then their interpretation of the Bible is inconsistent? The promise of being led into all truth has to have carried on to the successors of the Apostles for there to be any guarantee that the Bible is an infallible compilation of infallible and inspired books.

But the problem with gradual change is that it doesn’t seem so bad, especially when you’re indoctrinated into it from birth. It’s easy to just accept what you’ve been taught.

I have often thought this, but I that would mean that there were no faithful people for 1500 years. There were heretics leaving the CC (who were not even faithful to Scripture) and the CC was also in heresy. Where, then, was the truth being upheld? Where was the pillar? That is why I have believed there HAD to have been faithful people outside the CC living quietly - but if they were upholding the truth, they had to have had something (like Scripture) to guide them - and if they did, that leads to the problem of the canon of Scripture again, b/c I doubt their scriptures would have perfectly matched the compilation the CC arrived at - and furthermore, there would have been remnants of their Scriptures and teachings being preserved throughout time to ensure faithful adherance to them by future generations.

I understand that in later centuries, church gatherings became more of a ceremonial event. …patterned after Mithraistic sun worship… especially including the Mass – in pagan tradition, a sun-shaped wafer is raised to the sun, and a blessing said over it. It is then ingested…

Perhaps in later centuries church gatherings became more ceremonial due to the cessation of persecution. Now that Christians could worship w/out fear they tried to give God His due honor through more elaborate ceremony. I mean, if God can reveal his glory through the beauty of creation, how is it wrong to glorify God through the beauty of high ceremony? In Revelations we see those in heaven worshipping God in a similar way to the ceremony of the CC. As for the supposed pagan origins of the wafer etc… we can find many things in daily life even which either mimic pagan things or clearly have pagan origins (like our calendar). I don’t believe in guilt by association. Jesus was lifted up on the cross for us. Should Christians abstain from lifting up Jesus (wafer) b/c the same was done to a wafer in Mithraistic worship? Are we also to be scrupulous about lighting candles in our homes b/c we know candles are used in Satanic worhip?

most who are within Roman Catholicism are not, and never will, look at it openly and objectively. It’s really hard to change what you were taught as a child

I wasn’t faithfully raised Catholic. I am a “cradle Catholic” but my parents hardly took us to mass and the church teaching in the 70s was very washed-down. I fell away from the Catholic faith in my teens and didn’t come back until a conversion in my mid-twenties. But I’ve been heavily indoctrinated over the past 9 or so years since that conversion. I would have no affection for Catholicism whatsoever if I didn’t have a logical reason to believe its claims to be authentic. I’ve been happy in the Mennonite church and would be content to simply remain there if it weren’t for what seems to me to be flawed reasoning in ss.
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#15

Consider that in the early days of church history, there was no papacy, no infallibility of the pope, no confession, no indulgences, etc.

This is not an exhaustive list, but:
On the Papacy:

Cyprian of Carthage
"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. . . . If someone [today] does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; first edition A.D. 251]).
“Cornelius was made bishop by the decision of God and of his Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the applause of the people then present, by the college of venerable priests and good men, at a time when no one had been made [bishop] before him—when the place of [Pope] Fabian, which is the place of Peter, the dignity of the sacerdotal chair, was vacant. Since it has been occupied both at the will of God and with the ratified consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to become bishop must do so outside. For he cannot have ecclesiastical rank who does not hold to the unity of the Church” (Letters 55:[52]):8 A.D. 253]). “With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and blasphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source” (ibid., 59:14).

On Confession:
Tertullian
"[Regarding confession, some] flee from this work as being an exposure of themselves, or they put it off from day to day. I presume they are more mindful of modesty than of salvation, like those who contract a disease in the more shameful parts of the body and shun making themselves known to the physicians; and thus they perish along with their own bashfulness" (Repentance 10:1 A.D. 203]).

On Infant Baptism:
Hippolytus
"Baptize first the children, and if they can speak for themselves let them do so. Otherwise, let their parents or other relatives speak for them" (*The Apostolic Tradition *21:16 A.D. 215]).

Origen
"Every soul that is born into flesh is soiled by the filth of wickedness and sin. . . . In the Church, baptism is given for the remission of sins, and, according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants. If there were nothing in infants which required the remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous" (*Homilies on Leviticus *8:3 A.D. 248]).

“The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. The apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of the divine sacraments, knew there are in everyone innate strains of [original] sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit” (*Commentaries on Romans *5:9 **A.D. 248]). **

I could go on and on. It has always been very clear to me that the early church held Catholic beliefs. These are very few examples. The early church - post-Apostolic - was already far off the rails… or was it?

There are also many who protested against the heretical teachings now embraced by the RCC. Tertullian and Origen were among them.

I beg to differ. See above. We cannot use Turtullian and Origen to substantiate anything about the early church b/c they clearly believe some supposedly heretical, Catholic teachings. Turtullian also left the church for Montanism - so, even from a Catholic viewpoint, he cannot be an infallible rule of measure. IMO, we need to either discard their beliefs as a reliable example of the church being faithful or not, or we need to believe that the HS was guiding the church to maintain the truth despite the sometimes heretical beliefs of the people w/in it. There needs to be a rule of measure we can use to determine which of their beliefs were right and which were wrong. The question is: what is the rule of measure to use to determine the orthodoxy of a teaching/belief? And can I truly say it is the Bible when it is clear that there already were “heretical” beliefs amongst those w/in the church that would compile it and proclaim it inspired?
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#16

There are innumerable miracles in the CC.

Such as?

Hosts turning into flesh: Sienna, Italy 1730 - Amsterdam, Holland, 1345 - Lanciano, Italy, 8th cent - Blanot, France, 1331 - (even modern-day ones, but these are a few of the most popular in history). Apparitions and prophesies: Fatima. Lourdes. La Salette (to name a few). Tricks of the Devil? Perhaps. But then look at the humble and devout godly lives of the individuals involved. The Devil does not produce such consistent works of virtue.

I think you need to understand where to draw the line between Catholic and Roman Catholic. Prior to the Great Schism of 1054, the Eastern Orthodox would have (and still do) called themselves Catholic. Other groups do the same. It’s like the term Orthodox. Catholic simply speaks of the universal church in their day, not the church that will call itself Catholic in the future.

I see many of the same, supposedly heretical teachings of the RCC embraced by other Catholic churches.

Many of my Baptist spiritual experiences were positive. I truly believe God worked in my life on many occasions. That doesn’t mean that the Baptist church is without error. In fact, I see many such errors in it now which I did not see before. Yet God still chose to work in me. That further confirms to me that the church isn’t a religious organization, but simply a universal (catholic) grouping of all those who truly believe in and follow him.

I agree God works outside the “fullness of truth” (whatever we believe that to be) but having experience Catholic devotion vs non-Catholic devotion there is a world of difference. I have never experienced God as a non-C the way I have as a C. I have had to chalk it up to emotionalism or delusions, but then I read books like “Fire Within” and see my experience clearly described. It’s hard to ignore.

It’s even possible that Satan would try to use such experiences to try to keep you from the truth.

I agree, but the fruit of the experience was an incredible drive to live the most virtuous life I ever have. I’ve never been the same. My faith has been significantly weakened.

When you begin to have an understanding of God’s will, and actually act on it, it provides a peace I can’t describe.

I can say the same, but one faithfulness contradicted the other. I had that peace “knowing” I was doing God’s will as a Catholic, and likewise had that peace “knowing” I was doing God’s will by leaving the church and obeying the Bible. One has to be false peace. Peace is based on belief. If I have enough faith in something I will have peace about it whether or not it is based on truth.

While your interpretation of scripture could be flawed, it’s also possible that your interpretation of history is flawed. What you’re being taught will almost always be tainted by the source you use. I suggest either reading the texts in question for yourself, or at least reading both sides of the story (Roman Catholic and non-Roman Catholic).

I have - many times. My evalution isn’t flawless though, so my evaluations may have come up with error. But then again, so are everyone else’s evalutions imperfect. Yet another reason to believe I ought to humble myself and accept that there is a way to get answers - outside of the Bible. Hopefully, it isn’t entirely up to me to try to measure the unlimited amount of chaos in the religious world. Some things I can arrive at on my own, but other things are not so easy to decipher.
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#17

Just continually keep in prayer that God will guide you where he wants you to go. Do not abandon your studies of scripture. If you accept the RCC, then you have to accept that those scriptures are the divinely inspired word of God, and therefore are of immense value to everyone.

Thanks, PC - will do. I appreciate your thorough response, and my replies aren’t meant as an argument, but rather, as some insight into why I’m seeing as I do. From what you have said here, it seems we do not look at things the same way even from a non-C p.o.v., but it is interesting to try to see it from another’s p.o.v. and may even prove beneficial.

Peace


#18

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