Members of the Protestant Church of Christ,
There is a powerful delusion that thrives within your community. The delusion is that your members appeal to the Scriptures as their only source of authority. I will show throughout the remainder of this book how the Catholic Church is not only more biblical than any Protestant/Restorationist group, but that the Catholic Church is the Church of the New Testament; and that the Protestant Church of Christ does not surrender to the “Bible only”, but to its own wisdom. This first chapter illustrates how prolific the delusion is, and provides an example of how the delusion does not lend itself to the discovery of truth, but to the avoidance of Catholicism.
Does the Bible state in any way that the Church began at such-and-such a date? No. Your theology (your insertion of human wisdom into religion), not the Bible, suggests a date. Pentecost is your answer because you have previously defined what “church” is, and then you parsed an occurrence that best fits your theory. So why do you believe your sole authority is the Bible when this single example proves otherwise?
At this point, instead of focusing on the question at hand and as a way to derail discussion, many of your members would argue that your group does not teach that the beginning of the Church began at Pentecost—that I cannot provide “official” documentation for the allegation; but you know as well as I, that its denial to provide an “official” anything, creed, or catechism does not change the fact that your group overwhelmingly teaches as such. So, I ask you again: Why does the Protestant Church of Christ teach that the Church began at Pentecost?
It is okay for you to admit that the Bible is not your sole authority, because that would be an honest statement. Your sole ultimate authority is not the Bible, but yourself. You, personally and as a sect, hold the Bible under your interpretation and expectation of it—you are its master. Otherwise, you would teach that the Bible does not “speak” to the subject, and therefore, you would “be silent where the Bible is silent.”
And that is why my use of Cardinal Ratzinger’s theology (his exegesis of the Scriptures) should not repel you. You, as well as I, allow the theology of human beings to influence scriptural understanding. Where I allow myself to be influenced by people whom I believe are guided by the Spirit of truth (cf. John 16:13) to ensure proper interpretations, you allow yourself to be influenced primarily by your own wisdom, and have decided that private interpretation of the Scriptures is Jesus’ intention.
Regarding the question at hand, your group has concluded that a specific date was the beginning of the Church, even though the Bible does not suggest it. Conversely, the Catholic Church of Christ has concluded that the Bible rightly does not suggest a specific date, and chooses to allow the fullness of Scripture to influence its theology.8 These are facts. So, even if you continue to object to the Catholic Church of Christ’s timeless understanding of its own birth, can you not admit that the Catholic Church of Christ, at least in regards to this single topic, adheres to the Bible more than the Protestant Church of Christ?
Asking questions and thinking critically about answers provided by the Protestant Church of Christ and the Catholic Church of Christ are what ultimately set my course for conversion. What I discovered is that the Protestant Church of Christ is founded on unexamined principles and flawed premises, and it expects the remainder of Christianity (and the world) to accept its claims. I also found that I accepted an illusion—I was wrong to think that the Bible was my sole authority, which is impossible for any person.
I invite you to share a part of the road that I traveled on my way to the Catholic Church of Christ; you have nothing to lose, and you might, for once, learn what Catholics really believe. If you are a Catholic and the Protestant sect is trying to seduce you into their version of Christianity, please continue reading as well. I believe anyone who reads this book, and honestly contemplates the facts and logic I present, can only conclude that the real Church of Christ is Catholic.
8 It is important to reiterate that the Catholic Church considers Pentecost to be the birth of the Church in that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and that it is “the beginning of the Church’s mission” (see, Pope John Paul II; The Council’s Decree Ad Gentes, available at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/alpha/data/aud19890920en.html as of January 12, 2014), and that its birth was preceded by its conception, which was real. The Catholic Church’s view is reflected in its pro-life philosophy: The Catholic Church, like a child, existed before it was born, and its conception is recognized as real. The analogy also applies to most of Protestantism, in that, only until recently, the Protestant sects were overwhelmingly pro-choice. In other words, Catholic theology and philosophy are consistent (Church and human conception equals existence) and Protestantism is not consistent (Church conception does not equal existence; human conception currently equals existence). The Protestant Church of Christ has eluded much of Protestant pro-choice history, but has continued to be influenced by Protestantism in other pro-life/pro-death areas, such as contraception and capital punishment.