Saturday, April 06, 2013

Key to Understanding the Catholic Faith

"There are not 100 people who hate the Catholic Church; But there are millions who hate what they believe the Catholic Church to be."   Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Only by understanding the Catholic Church’s view of authority, as passed to the apostles by Jesus Christ Himself, can one begin to understand the Catholic Church.

I.          The New Testament warns against teachings which are considered counterfeits of Christianity

•2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light. 15 It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.
•2 Peter 2:1-17; extensive passage—first two verses: 1 But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their lascivious doings; by reason of whom the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of.
•2 John 7-11; extensive passage—first two verses: 7 For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that ye lose not the things which we have wrought, but that ye receive a full reward.
•Jude 4-13; extensive passage—first two verses: 4 For there are certain men crept in privily, even they who were of old written of beforehand unto this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 5 Now I desire to put you in remembrance, though ye know all things once for all, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

II.         And shows that leaders trusted by the Church had responsibility to decide what was true doctrine.

•Acts 15:1-2; 1 And certain men came down from Judaea and taught the brethren, saying, Except ye be circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 And when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and questioning with them, the brethren appointed that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

III.        The Catholic Church identifies itself as those who have remained faithful to the apostolic and episcopal leadership and rejected false teachings.

IV.        It therefore maintains that there can be only one true, visible and physical Church, not several.

V.         And to this one Church, originally founded by Jesus on Peter and the Apostles, Jesus gave a mandate to be the authoritative teacher and guardian of the faith.

•2 Timothy 2:2; 2 And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
•Matthew 16:18-19;18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

VI.        The Church claims infallibility in teaching the faith, based on Jesus' scriptural promises to remain with his Church always,

•Matt 28:20 …teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

VII.       And to maintain it in truth through the Holy Spirit.

•John 14:16-17 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you.
•John 14:26  But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.

VIII.      Furthermore, Jesus promised divine protection to the teachings and judgments of the Apostles

•Matthew 18:18 Verily I say unto you, what things soever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what things soever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
•Luke 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that rejecteth you rejecteth me; and he that rejecteth me rejecteth him that sent me.

IX.        Moreover, Jesus set up the Church as the final arbiter between all believers:

•Matthew 18:17 And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican.

X.         In this, it bases its doctrines both on the written apostolic record, The New Testament, and upon the oral traditions passed down from the Apostles to their successors (the bishops) through the continuous witness of the Church.

•1 Corinthians 11:2 2; Now I praise you that ye remember me in all things, and hold fast the traditions, even as I delivered them to you.
•2 Thess 2:15; So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye were taught, whether by word, or by epistle of ours.
•1 Thess 2:13;  13 And for this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when ye received from us the word of the message, even the word of God, ye accepted it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also worketh in you that believe.
•2 Thess 3:6; Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which they received of us.
•2 Timothy 2:2; 2 And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

 Copyright 2007 Eric Alcock

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