Friday, April 26, 2013

Answering a non-Catholic objection


Non-Catholic “Roger” states:
You have never proven through Scripture that the RCC has anything to do with the Church that Jesus started. All that you have given is
one assumption based upon other assumptions - that lead you to a
false conclusion.

I reply:
Other than the fact that the Catholic Church has believed in the True Presence of Christ throughout the centuries without break to today. And we have a written record of such a belief from the first generation beyond the apostles(Ignatius of Antioch, 107 AD). So, at least, the belief in the True Presence has been in existence in the same church for nearly 2000 years. Can your belief in a symbolic presence only (if that is what you truly believe) be proven the same way?

But beyond that. To prove through Scripture that the Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus started, all one needs to do is look at the Nicean Creed..."I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church". The Church Christ founded is apostolic. It has its roots in the teachings of the apostles for Jesus said to His apostles "He who receives you receives Me, and he who rejects you, rejects Me and the One who sent Me." (Matt 10:1,40). Jesus freely gives His authority to the apostles in order for them to effectively convert the world.

But first let's start with Matt 28:18-20:

18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Three things to look at here in these verses. Firts, Jesus commands to make disciples of ALL nations. Jesus knew that this task was never going to be done by these 12 apostles alone. Others had to take their place once they died. Second, Jesus says that He will be with THEM to the very end of the age. How is that possible since the apostles all died before the end of the first century? That because Jesus was speaking to the twelve as the representatives of His Church. Third, Jesus sends them off with what kind of authority? With the authority of Jesus Himself. This is also confirmed in the Gospel of John, chapter 20, verse 21 which says "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."

The apostles have divinely appointed authority. And this authority is transferred to others as successors through the laying on of hands. The first thing Peter does after Jesus ascends into heaven is implement apostolic succession. Matthias is ordained with full apostolic authority (Acts 1:15-16). The authority of Judas' office (his 'bishopric') is respected notwithstanding his egregious sin. The necessity to have apostolic succession in order for the Church to survive was understood by all. God never said, "I'll give you leaders with authority for about 400 years, but after the Bible is compiled, you are all on your own."

The apostles authority was to be given to successors since Jesus' command of teaching (with authority) to all nations was a command unfeasible for those twelve alone. They had to share this authority to others to fulfill Jesus' command. They gave this authority to others through the laying on of hands (Acts 6:6, 1 Tim 4:14, 2 Tim 1:1-6). And this is to go on through multiple generations as shown in 2 Tim 2:2. This verse shows God's intention is to transfer authority to successors. It goes beyond the death of the apostles.

“22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers, to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.   (Acts 15:22-27)

Preachers of the Word must be sent by the bishops in union with the Church. We must trace this authority to the apostles. Who sent you Roger? My bishop was sent by a previous bishop who was sent by a previous one all the way back in history to one of the twelve apostles themselves. Can you claim the same of your teachers of the Word?

God Bless
Nathan

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