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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
(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.
(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.Continue reading
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).Continue reading
(4) As a proof for sola Scriptura or “Bible-only” Christianity, the Protestant Church of Christ refers to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which reads:
All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
I know. You have been waiting for this! Your community thinks this is the silver bullet, the cleanup hitter, the biblical proof of all proofs! You interpret the passage as, “The Bible is all Scripture, and the Bible alone contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness.” You do not allow the “Bible only” to communicate what the passage means, you interpret it with an agenda that seeks out passages that might support your wish, and you then present your interpretation as what the Bible communicates. And as your most often-used proof for sola Scriptura or “Bible-only” Christianity, I will give it more attention than your others, but you now know what I ask of you: a reasonable approach to the passage and its context. Therefore, let us begin by addressing the full passage beginning from verse 14 through verse 17.Continue reading
(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.Continue reading
(2) As a proof for “Bible-only” Christianity, the Protestant Church of Christ refers to New Testament passages that include any negative portrayal of “tradition” in order to suggest an “either/or” (Scripture/Tradition) dichotomy of authority.
The Protestant Church of Christ perceives Catholic Sacred Tradition as an unbiblical rival to Sacred Scripture. Therefore, you (its members) begin not with openness to any established tradition, but rather, a scriptural quest for proof that traditions (foreign to your own) are suspicious invention of fallen men.Continue reading
(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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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:Continue reading
#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:Continue reading
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.Continue reading
(3) The Protestant Church of Christ argues that Jesus is the rock and foundation of the Church, and therefore, nobody or nothing else can be rock and foundation.
The argument quickly falls apart because it conflicts with your group’s argument that the rock Jesus was referring to in Matthew 16:18 is St. Peter’s “confession of faith”, or the “confession of faith” of any individual, as shown in objection #1; and it conflicts with your group’s argument that the rock is Jesus Himself (see objection #2). In other words, your objections to the Catholic Church of Christ, as it is built on rock, have thus far invalidated themselves because they contradict your other objections.Continue reading
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.Continue reading