Tag Archives: Catholic

COC #66: A Foundational Protestant Assumption in Regards to Marriage

Many Fundamentalists enjoy two of Christianity’s seven sacraments of grace: Baptism and Matrimony. Those who are baptized are part of the Christian Church, though not in full communion with her; and Catholicism affectionately recognizes their status as brothers and sisters in Christ. Their Marriages are real, too; legitimate priests are not needed to officiate their unions because it is the groom and bride who officiate the Sacrament, but a valid Marriage is performed before a minister. 

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COC #65: Attack: “Annulment Is Divorce”

There is one last popular attack that Rudd, to his credit, did not repeat in his essay: Fundamentalism’s allegation that “annulment is divorce.” I suspect Rudd knows his own sect is actually quite diverse on issues of divorce, and any accusation towards the Catholic Church brings attention to his own sect’s quiet acceptance of divorce and multiple “marriages”. However, there are many voices within his sect that indicatively represent the common Fundamentalist charge.

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COC #64: Attack: “Catholic Scandal Proves Catholicism False”

Most of this book has been about principles and theology; its subjects require some reasoned attention to determine the merits of the Protestant Church of Christ’s attacks on Catholic theology. The subject of scandal, however, is not theological; nor does it require a persuasive, gentle tone to convince people of good will that the Catholic Church is not the end-times monster; facts influence reasonable people. And so I will address people I more understand: those who accept objective facts and integrate those facts into their religion. And the acceptance of such facts are what separates Protestants from anti-Catholics; non-Catholic Christians from bigots.

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COC #60: Attack: “Pope Doesn’t Understand Purpose of Marriage”

Like Restorationism, Fundamentalism is a relatively modern Protestant movement, and it was developed within a larger Americanized construct of what Marriage ought to be. That is, Marriage and its more-Americanized (thus, more-secularized) purposes were woven into American Fundamentalism’s newly-formed fabric. 

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COC #56: COC Objection to Baptism for Infants: “No Original Sin”

(2) The Protestant Church of Christ objects to a concept of original sin.

The Protestant Church of Christ uses Ezekiel 18:20 as a proof-text, which reads: The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father. Ezekiel was not arguing against the idea of original sin; he was addressing sin in accordance to the Law—it was a legal point. So when balanced with the full corpus of Scripture, the historical (= Catholic) understanding is most reasonable, and your group’s theology is based on one verse that is forced to be incongruous with the remainder of Scripture.

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COC #53: More Irresponsible Arguments Against Valid Baptisms

Before I close this chapter, I think it is important to address a few of the Protestant Church of Christ’s arguments that provide constructive reinforcement for people who have erroneously accepted any of the four false premises as true. My intent is not to show who is right and who is not Catholic; what I wish to show is how your group creates a circular pattern of thinking between your false premises and your conclusions, and, of course, to illustrate how the Catholic Church of Christ remains unscathed by such arguments. 

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COC #52: False Premise #4 Regarding Baptism

False Premise #4: The Christian Church has always believed that immersion is the only acceptable mode for Baptism.

The Protestant Church of Christ’s fourth false premise is a common Protestant trait, which is to label any nonconforming example from history as “not true Christianity,” or not pertaining to the invisible “true Church” that exists within a community’s assumed ancient presence. The strategy always allows for a “true” form of Christianity to elusively exist somewhere within the shadows of history—a form that always adheres to any modern whim. So, for those of you who have considered my review of the last three false premises, and are entertaining the possibility, no matter how slight, that the Catholic Church has a more perfect grasp on the subjects of Baptism and Scripture, then the following should solidify your inkling. 

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COC #51: COC False Premise #3 Regarding Baptism

False Premise #3: Every Baptism in the Bible is by full immersion.

The New Testament does not describe a single example of a proper mode for Baptism. The New Testament, however, does refer to instructions about baptisms (Hebrews 6:2), but no instructions of any kind are found in the New Testament—such instructions are part of the Sacred Tradition of the Church, and you should ask yourself, “Where are the instructions if they are not in the Bible, and who guards them?” But the Protestant sects have divorced themselves from the Sacred Tradition; have chosen to engage in private interpretation of the historical Church’s Scriptures. But even if the modern rules of heresy were reasonable, a “Bible-only” Christian should notice that the Bible only supports the Catholic Church of Christ’s teachings, because the very word baptizo spans a spectrum of meaning that includes the Catholic Church’s spectrum of modal acceptance, as I illustrated by exposing false premise #2.

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COC #49: COC False Premise #1 Regarding Baptism

False Premise #1: The secular Greek use of the word baptizo is intended to indicate a specific mode for a religious rite. 

True, the Greek word baptizo is the word from which the English word “baptism” is derived, but your group is incorrect when it teaches that the Greek word’s use is intended to communicate a specific mode for a Christian rite. It is a poor assumption to believe that an older word provides the conclusive illuminating exposition of a newer concept.  

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COC #47: COC Objection #3: “Beware of Robes”

(3) The Protestant Church of Christ often objects to the Catholic Church’s use of vestments (robes), and believes that its use of vestments is an indication that it is a body that Christians should “beware of.”

This particular objection is more superficial, but it is popular, and often presented within the context of Matthew 23:9, so I will quickly address it.

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COC #46: COC Objection #2: “Pope Is Not Holy Father”

(2) The Protestant Church of Christ objects to the address of “Holy Father” for a pope.

As already proved, it is perfectly biblical for Christians to call their priests “father”. However, the address “holy” is a word the Protestant Church of Christ reserves for God alone, but is its reservation biblically substantiated?

We know Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man (Mark 6:20). The prophet Zechariah’s prophecy referred to holy prophets (Luke 1:70), and St. Luke’s narrative also referred to holy prophets (Acts 3:21). Did St. Peter mistakenly call the writers of Scripture the holy men of God (2 Peter 1:21 Douay-Rheims)? Was St. Peter not referring to men when he wrote about a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5 Revised Standard Version)? Was Sarah notone of the holy women who hoped in God (3:5)? And did St. Peter not encourage the Church to remember the predictions of the holy prophets (2 Peter 3:2)? (All emphases added.)

Clearly, the “Bible alone” does not reserve the address “holy” for God alone, but rather, suggests that there are indeed holy men and women. And therefore, since “father” is a biblical address for priests, the two words, added together, form an address that does not violate the Scriptures.

COC #45: COC Objection #1: “Call No Man Father”

(1) The Protestant Church of Christ objects to the Catholic Church’s practice of calling her priests “fathers”.  

The Protestant Church of Christ bases its objection not on the full corpus of Scripture, but on a single, isolated verse: And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven (Matthew 23:9). As with every objection I have addressed in this book thus far, I will illustrate how context and reason should diffuse your group’s objection and also redirect its judgment towards itself.  

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COC #44: The Church of Christ Understands Spiritual Fatherhood

Non-Catholic Christians,

Non-Catholic Christianity is like a shattered mirror; it reflects something that precedes it, but it might not reflect parts of the object at all. The image that is seen in the mirror is similar to the object, and those similarities are good, but it is not the full image of the object, and it certainly is not the actual object itself.  

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COC #43: Perfecting of the Saints

As already presented, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is a favored passage that proponents of “Bible-only” Christianity present as proof-text support for their Rule of Faith; and as such, the passage becomes instrumental for establishing the vehicle for attaining “spiritual completeness” (Pollard’s indicative assertion; see previous two posts). This concept of “spiritual completeness” is the perfecting that your groups strive for (or claim to have already obtained, depending on ecclesial sub-sect or individual belief).

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COC #40: COC “Proof” for Sola Scriptura: Acts 17:11

(3) As a proof for “Bible-only” Christianity, the Protestant Church of Christ presents the Bereans from Acts 17:11 as an example of proper Christians who ranked Sacred Scripture over the Church’s oral teachings. The passage is presented as a proof-text, which reads:  

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true (Acts 17:11 NIV).

The Protestant Church of Christ refers to its own commentary about Acts 17:11, not the actual text, to argue for “Bible-only” Christianity. The commentary is that the Bereans were noble because they examined the Scriptures, and therefore, somehow, presumably, they must have been “Bible-only” Christians. Your group understands this verse as a lesson that teaches how Christians should always weigh teachings against Scripture, and if any teaching is not validated by one’s private interpretation of the Bible then that teaching is false, thereby establishing a higher rank of authority for Scripture than the Apostles’ teachings (and of course, places one’s private interpretation of the Scriptures over the Scriptures themselves). But that is not what the passage reveals, and it becomes clear when we back up and examine its context. 

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COC #38: “Proof” for Sola Scriptura: 1 Corinthians 4:6

(1) The Protestant Church of Christ argues that St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians supports sola Scriptura or “Bible-only” Christianity. The utilized passage reads:

I have applied all this to myself and Apol’los for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another (1 Corinthians 4:6).

It is not this verse that the Protestant Church of Christ actually refers to as a proof, but only a few words within this verse: . . . not to go beyond what is written . . . , and then it re-presents the proof-fragment as a full teaching: “Do not go beyond what is written in the Bible.” There are several problems with your proof. First, nearly all New Testament references to what is written refer to the Old Testament Scriptures (just as it is in this particular case). If St. Paul meant that no Christian is to go beyond what is written in a true “Bible-only” fashion, then this very letter that St. Paul was writing should not be considered as Scripture, yet you quote it as such.    

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COC #37: COC Proof-Text Arguments for Sola Scriptura

As a Catholic Christian, I am aware that the Christian Church pre-dates the Bible, that the Apostles preached the gospel prior to any New Testament autograph, and that Jesus perpetuated His message into all generations by establishing a primitive institutional body for which to carry His lantern; but members of the Protestant Church of Christ, I have found, have largely never thought about such facts. The Church and her Sacred Tradition is the message of God, is the word of God; and her Scriptures are the word of God as well. Both are message. Both are authoritative. Both are the word of God.

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COC #36: COC Perspicuity Proof: 2 Timothy 3:16 with 1 Timothy 5:18

• 2 Timothy 3:16 with 1 Timothy 5:18 read:

All scripture is inspired by God . . . , [and] . . . for the scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

The Protestant Church of Christ combines these two passages, and presents them as meaning, “The Protestant Old Testament and the now-formed New Testament are all Scripture, and therefore, all that should be in the Bible is what we have in our own Bibles.” This meaning is, of course, circular (the Bible establishes the Bible), but it also implies St. Paul somehow knew that some (not all) of his own letters would become Scripture, and that he knew all of the other writings that are now in the New Testament—even writings that had not yet been written—would become Scripture. And since St. Paul, here, is quoting from both the Old Testament and what would become part of the New Testament, your apologists conclude that the nascent Church would resemble modern “Bible-only” communities.

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COC #32: COC Arguments for Perspicuity of Scripture

When pressed on matters of Bible origins and the Protestant Church of Christ’s only purported available source of revelation (the “Bible only”), your group must avoid the history of the canon’s formation; your group’s self-perceived legitimacy would be at risk if the Catholic Church were shown to be intrinsically connected with the Bible’s development. Your group is a “Bible-only” group, and your group insists it is the nascent Church, so your group must (or should, rather) insist the nascent Church was a “Bible-only” Church. As such, your group does not approach the Bible as Christians normally approach it (within Liturgy); it approaches the Bible with the assumption that the “Bible only” is the only source of religious truth, and therefore, the Bible must in some way establish for itself that the Bible is the full, complete, unspoiled, and self-authenticating written word of God.

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COC #31: On Rule of Faith

Catholics admit that Jesus established an authoritative Church, that the Church wrote and compiled the New Testament writings, that she added them to the Old Testament, and then called the entire library of Sacred Scripture the Bible. Catholics admit that the word of God is not only present in the Sacred Scriptures, but is also present in that same Sacred Tradition—oral teachings and authoritative leadership—He established. The subject of this admittance is what is called the Christian Rule of Faith. 

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COC #30: The Church of Christ Is Guided by the Word of God

Non-Catholic Christians,

The Protestant Church of Christ holds in its collective mind a conviction that the Catholic Church either intentionally violates Scripture or is oblivious to it. She does not and is not. Any Catholic dogmatic—not individualistic—violation your group perceives is rooted in its own poor understanding of the Scriptures and Christianity. So, as you read this chapter, please continue to ask yourself the kind of question I have raised several times throughout this book: Why do you believe your interpretation of the Bible is more credible than the Catholic Church’s interpretation of the Bible?  

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COC #29: Concluding Remarks Regarding Apostasy and Restoration

Is the Church not the household of God (1 Timothy 3:15)—the house Christ built? Is Christ not more powerful than Satan (cf. 1 John 4:4)? No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods (Mark 3:27), but Satan plundered your theoretical strong man’s house! The Catholic Church’s Strong Man guards His household. It is true that Satan can conquer individual Christians who choose to indulge in mortal sin, and who apostasize themselves from His household (cf. Romans 11:22, Galatians 5:4, 1 John 5:16-17); but Jesus promised the visible, identifiable, and authoritative Church He would not leave her as an orphan (cf. John 16:16-18), but would be with her until the end of the world (Matthew 20:28 King James Version). 

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COC #28: More Irresponsible “Proofs” for Catholicism’s Apostasy

The Scriptures do teach that many people will fall away, but they never indicate that there would be a Great or near-Great Apostasy. Many of your preferred proof-texts in fact teach that “many (not all, not most) will fall away”, which is exactly what the Catholic Church of Christ has consistently taught. Before my concluding remarks, I will quickly address the secondary passages your group uses to support its interpretation of the primary passages I have already reviewed.

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COC #23: Response to Anticipated Objections Regarding Leaders’ Powers

Your ministers argue against the Catholic Church’s powers of binding and loosing by teaching that the local congregation contains some form of power (“marking”, banishing, excommunicating; any term that is used to dispel a member from fellowship). Your group’s primary scriptural support is derived from Matthew 18:15-18, which reads:

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COC #21: Argument #3: “Acts 6 Disproves Hierarchy”

#3: Representative of how the Protestant Church of Christ utilizes Scripture to argue for its positions, Wharton referred to a Bible passage to prove strict local church autonomy without supplying its actual corresponding text (more examples forthcoming). He wrote, “The local church selected her own ministers (Acts 6:1-6).” Wharton’s practice is common; Protestant Church of Christ ministers posit a preference/theory, allude to a passage from the Bible, and the act of referencing (not quoting) a passage somehow provides ample credibility for the preference; or the citation is intended to imply that the text reads as such, when really, it does not. If a writer summarizes her belief of what a Bible passage means, then the reference should include “cf.” (confer/compare); it is less than forthright to provide a citation to Scripture when it is not Scripture that is quoted. The passage at hand, which is a product of the hierarchy, of course, supports its creator, and not a model that in fact teaches, “The local church selected her own ministers.” The passage, not Protestant commentary, reads:

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COC #16: The Church of Christ Is Apostolic

Jesus did not build His Church so that it would last a single generation. He promised He would be with her until the end of time; with you always (Matthew 28:20), so that he who receives you [the Apostles] receives me (Matthew 10:40; cf. Luke 10:16; John 13:20). Legitimate clergy via maintenance of the hierarchy through apostolic succession is the manner in which Jesus intended to perpetuate His Church, which you must admit to on some level; for without Catholic apostolic succession, the world would not have the Bible as you know it today. Additionally, the worldwide Church would not have doctrine, for it is not the Bible that declares doctrine but a living Church. Even the popular Protestant proof-text which is used as a catch-all basket for Protestantism’s particular premises regarding the supremacy of Scripture—All scripture is God-breathed . . . (2 Timothy 3:16 New International Version)—is included in the Bible because, and only because, of Catholic apostolic succession. Succession’s fruit is the visible body that, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, determined which writings would become Christian Scripture—Scripture that, along with the books of the Old Testament, would become useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness

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COC #15: Keys Are Forgiveness

As shown, Christ Jesus is our Messianic King, and He is at the top of the Church’s hierarchy. The King chose St. Peter as Royal Steward. The other Apostles, including St. Paul, were subordinate to St. Peter, yet held authority within the Church (cf. Matthew 18:17-20). This primitive hierarchy is reflected in the Scriptures, and as a reflection, it represents what was already present: the hierarchical structure that in fact created the Bible, which is the product your community parses to argue against the hierarchy.

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COC #14: What Are The Keys?

The most powerful position under the king was that of the royal steward—the prime minister. King Solomon instituted the office in 1 Kings 4:6 when he appointed Ahi’shar (Ahi’shar was in charge of the palace), and Isaiah provides a more thorough description of the office. Now that you have re-read Matthew 16:19, please read what Jesus was referencing, and what Jesus’ audience would have recognized as the structural paradigm of the new kingdom—of the true Church of Christ:

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COC #12: The Church of Christ Is Hierarchical

The Protestant Church of Christ also calls itself the Churches (or “churches”; lowercase “c”) of Christ. The names grant the group flexibility. “Church” (singular) communicates unity, and “Churches” (plural) communicates the autonomous nature of each local congregation. It makes sense; the Catholic Church has used the same names for centuries, but the Catholic Church’s use of the words does not indicate autonomy, but rather, unity even amongst its individual assemblies.

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COC #11: Matthew 16’s Passage Structure

If the Protestant Church of Christ would mind what it advertises as a principle—to “speak where the Bible speaks, and to be silent where the Bible is silent”—then your community would be built on St. Peter. The Catholic Church’s paradigm is precisely what the text communicates, as it only can, because the text is a product of the Catholic Church of Christ (the Church pre-dates the Bible). Structure, proximity, grammar, and intent, connect its three parts; and St. Matthew’s passage communicates an intent that is clearly supported by St. John’s Gospel. Jesus said, You [Peter] shall be called Cephas (John 1:42). Jesus did not say, “Your confession shall be called cephas (rock).” Nor did He say, “Any person’s confession of faith shall be called cephas (rock).” And therefore, St. Matthew’s passage ceases to be cryptic in any respect, and best understood when read in its fullness. St. Peter’s “confession of faith” provides a three-part context. It begins with Jesus’ response to St. Peter’s words, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

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COC #10: Objection #4: “Greek Supports Protestant Paradigm”

As heirs of the Protestant model, your group expects Christians to disregard the logic and structure of the passage, and instead, become distracted and preoccupied with a language that Jesus was not speaking: Greek. I referred to this distraction earlier in this chapter, and prefer to give it the near-footnote’s amount of attention that its red herring nature deserves, but for thoroughness and worthwhile comparative value I must illustrate how your group’s exegesis of Matthew 16:18 and its understanding of “rock” has little to do with the text, but agenda. The Greek does not harm the Catholic Church of Christ; it proves without a doubt the Church is built on St. Peter.   

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COC #7: Objection #1: “Rock Is Confession”

Your members ordinarily first object to the Catholic Church of Christ’s self-understanding of what Jesus’ spoken words mean by arguing from the written words of a different language as written by that same Catholic Church—by divorcing the text from its creator or insisting that Jesus would build His Church on a subject He never once called rock; but apparently attempted to confuse future Greek interpreters by calling St. Peter rock, and then proclaiming to build His church upon that very subject. The language offers no wriggle room for Protestants to argue against the historical interpretation (and therefore, practice) of what could possibly be the simplest passage in all of the New Testament to understand: I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. And therefore, your communities, like much of the remainder of Protestantism, jettisons the clear pro-Catholic implication of the single verse and focuses attention on other verses that, presumably, present obstacles for the Catholic Church of Christ’s position.

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COC #6: The Church of Christ Is Built on Rock

Non-Catholic Christians,

Did Jesus try to confuse people when He used a word rich with paternal authority when He named Simon Bar-Jona “Rock”? For Abraham, too, was called a “rock”:  

Hearken to me, you who pursue deliverance, you who seek the LORD; look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were digged. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you (Isaiah 51:1-2).  

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COC #3: Church Beginnings, Concluding Remarks

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.

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COC #1: Introduction: Churches of Christ

I have had hundreds of conversations with Restorationists who insist they are not Protestant. True, they are not Protestant (proper); their communities were created after the sixteenth century, but they are certainly Protestant (as an adjective). They were born out of Protestantism, they adopted the Protestant-developed canon of Scripture, and they absorbed Protestant-developed beliefs. For clarity and not disparagement, throughout this book I will refer to the Catholic Church by one of her ancient names: The Church of Christ, and I will refer to Restorationist groups that have assumed her ancient name for themselves as the Protestant Church(es) of Christ.

This book is written in letter form. In style, I am addressing members of the Protestant Church of Christ, but this book is also ideal for Catholic Christians who are targeted for conversion. I had to decide which protests—which differences—to address, so I chose subjects that are, in my experience, more often brought up by Restorationists when they attack Catholicism: subjects I believe are intrinsic to the most important principles non-Catholic Christians rarely consider. Therefore, unfortunately, there are many additional subjects I cannot include in a single manageably-sized book. I simply cannot write about every particular attack; subjects like the Eucharist, our veneration of Mary, canon formation, purgatory, prayers, and on and on. Perhaps I will add a volume in the future. This is a start. It should be sufficient to encourage any theologically-curious member of the Protestant Church of Christ to realize that the real Church of Christ is Catholic. And more importantly, this book provides Catholics with Stone-Campbell Restorationists’ best and most indicative attacks; and shows how Catholic Christianity is always more reasonable, more biblical, more Christian, more plausibly true.