Return to Homepage "A Biblical Case for the Catholic Faith"
Please email me with your questions, objections or comments.
How do Non-Catholics/Protestants fit into the "Body of Christ?"
The Church has always maintained that: if one rejects Christ's Church by choice, and in full knowledge that this is the Church Christ started and empowered with the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, one is therefore outside of the Body of Christ. Yet because of Vatican II, the Catholic Church came to recognize Protestants and Anglicans as an integral part of the Body of Christ, although in "varying degrees" of communion with one another and with the Catholic Church.
1. What is the Body of Christ and
2. How many Churches does God have?
1. What is the Body of Christ?
Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. Colossians 1:24
BTW, such phrases as "the Body of Believers" are outside of Holy Writ. They still have meaning, but they are unbiblical.
2. How many Churches does God Have?
Christ has one Church that teaches one Faith as the Holy Scriptures attest to.
"There is One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God." (Eph 4:5-6) But what of those Christians who do not embrace the whole of the Catholic (Universal) Faith? Are they part of the Body of Christ? Yes. Are they part of Christ's Church? Yes. They are part of Christ's Church in that there is only one true Church of Christ, not 2 and not 20,000. One.
How is this possible then that Protestants are part of the "Catholic" Church?
Again: although Protestants are in "varying degrees" of communion with one another they are likewise in varying degrees of communion with the Catholic Church. Catholics do not believe that Protestants who are baptized, who lead a good life, love God and their neighbor, and are blamelessly ignorant of the just claims of the Catholic Religion to be the one true Religion (which is called being in good faith), are excluded from Heaven, provided they believe that there is one God in three Divine Persons; *that God will duly reward the good and punish the wicked; that Jesus Christ is the Son of God made man, who redeemed us, and in whom we must trust for our salvation; and provided they thoroughly repent of having ever, by their sins, offended God.
Catholics hold that Protestants who have these dispositions, and who have no suspicion of their religion being false, and no means to discover, or fail in their honest endeavors to discover, the true Religion, and who are so disposed in their heart that they would at any cost embrace the Roman Catholic Religion if they knew it to be the true one, are Catholics in spirit and in some sense within the Catholic Church, without themselves knowing it. She holds that these Christians belong to, and are united to the "soul," as it is called, of the Catholic Church, although they are not united to the visible body of the Church by external communion with her, and by the outward profession of her faith.
Very different is the case of a person who, having the opportunity, neglects to learn from genuine trustworthy sources what the Catholic Religion is and really teaches, fearing, that were he to become convinced of the truth of the Catholic Faith, he would be compelled by his conscience to forsake his own religion, and bear the worldly inconveniences attached to this step. This very fear shows a want of good faith, and that he is not in that insurmountable ignorance which could excuse him in the sight of God, not that he is one of those of whom it is said in Psalm xxxv. 4, "He would not understand that he might do well." Fairness, no less than common sense, teaches that a man should study and examine the teaching of the Catholic Church from Catholic sources before condemning her. Surely no man ought to reject Catholic doctrine if he has not made himself well acquainted with them. Nor is is fair to form a judgment from misrepresentations made by ill-informed, interested, or prejudiced persons; one should rather, by the study of authorized Catholic works, judge of the truth with that calm and unprejudiced mind which the all-important subject of Religion deserves. Thus having heard both sides, you will be in a state to pass a right judgment and not in danger of being misled by prejudice.
Our Saviour gave no hope of salvation to the Samaritan woman unless she entered the one true Church of the time, saying to her who was destitute of a sure guide: "You adore that which you know not; we adore that which we know; for SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS". (St John iv. 22.) So likewise there is no salvation for any one who, having by God's grace come to the knowledge of the truth, obstinately refuses to join the true Church of God. There was no safety out of the Ark of Noah during the deluge, and no one can be saved who is in no sense within the true Church, prefigured by the Ark. According to St. Cyprian: "No one can have God for his Father who has not the Church for his Mother. If any one could escape the deluge out of the Ark of Noah, he who is out of the Church may also escape." (Book on the Unity of the Church.) It is hard to understand how a Protestant can daily say in the Apostles' Creed, as many happily do still say, "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church," without at least a thought arising in his mind, that perhaps after all the Church which alone is truly Catholic or universal, both in name and in fact, has more claim on his love and obedience than his own denomination, which really is not Catholic. Catholic Belief: A Short and Simple Exposition of Catholic Doctrine, Chapter XLIV.
(NY: Benzinger Brothers, 1884).
In summary, all Christians in good faith, (as opposed to those who are not through a conscience act of their own) are part of the Christ's Body and His Church, again, in varying degrees of communion with her and each other. Invincible ignorance of the True Faith can save the soul of those outside of full communion with His Body, His Church. But a willful neglect of what one might find, or worse still, a conscience denial of what one does find, is to turn one's back on the One Faith of Jesus Christ and subject one's self to eternal torment, for this is blasphemy against the Spirit of God, the unforgivable sin. (See: Mark 3:22-30, Matthew 12:22-32).
For scripture says:
Hebrews 10: 26 For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries.28 A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses.29 How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay."
And again, "The Lord will judge his people."
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. See also: "Salvation Outside the Church" http://www.catholic.com/library/Salvation_Outside_the_Church.asp
"And I say that thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it, I give you the keys to kingdom of Heaven, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven and what ever you loosen on earth will be loosened in Heaven." Matt 16:16-19.Regardless of who one believes the "Rock" is or what the "keys" mean, Christ started his Church on this day. In the first century there was but one Church with one set of beliefs. Yes, the Bible speaks of many Christian Churches through out the known world, (Church in Corinth, Church in Rome, Church in Thessalonia, etc.), but they all professed the same faith and the same Universal creed. In fact the Apostle's Creed states:
"…we believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the dead and life ever lasting." Have you ever read the Apostles Creed? Click here: "The Apostle's Creed"Have you ever read the Nicene Creed? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicene_Creed The Nicene Creed which in the 4th century formally defined the doctrine of the Trinity also speaks of the "Communion of Saints" and the Holy Catholic Church. Is your parish at odds with your earliest Christian Creeds and therefore at odds with historic Christianity itself? Did Christ's Gospel change since Apostolic Christianity? Does not the Holy Bible say that: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings." Hebrews 13:8-9 How then can Christ's Gospel change if Christ himself does not change? In fact there was but one Christian Faith for the first 1000+ years of Christianity, and that Faith was the Universal Faith. (Catholic in Greek means Universal). Since the NT Bible consisted of rare scrolls and were not all combined into one book until the 4th century, if you wanted to be a Christian in the early Church, you professed belief in the "The Apostle's Creed." In the first century if you could not embrace this creed, you were outside the Church. The early Christians were Creedal Christians. They all had the same faith. They did not embrace 1000s & 1000s of contradictory doctrines/Statements of Faith as modern Christian churches do today. They believed the Catholic Faith, the same Faith the Catholic Church embraces today (the Universal Faith. In Greek Catholic means Universal). If you don't believe any of these Christian truths, do as the Bible commands us and:
"Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil." 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
The first written record of Christ's Church being called "Catholic" was the year 110 AD. This means it no doubt was called Catholic orally before 110AD. St. Ignatius of Antioch, student of the Apostle John and Bishop of Antioch wrote:
"Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).
" Click here for more early Christians use of the title: Catholic Church."
The Greek word for "Universal" is Catholic. The Universal/Catholic Church had and still has but one Faith. One Catechism for the worlds 1 Billion Catholics. Truly a Universal Church and the ONLY Christian Church present in the first 1000+ years of Christianity. Yet many modern Christian pastors teach that the Church and the first pope was created in the 4th century. Below is a link to the Britannia encyclopedia listing the popes from St. Peter in 33AD to Pope Benedict XVI. This is from a secular Encyclopedia. The same encyclopedia that will describe the Holocaust of the Jewish people in W.W.II. and the "Lunar Landing," two other facts of history the ignorant like to deny.
Find out who authored your particular Christian theology and in what century at:
"Click here: The Origins and Authors of the Modern Christian theologies." If this article was of interest to you, please visit the following link for 14 questions for the earnest believer:
" Click here: 14 SOBERING QUESTIONS FOR THE ERNEST BELIEVER: Discover the verses most likely not underlined in your Bible and often overlooked in non-Catholic churches and seminaries"
Please email me with your questions, objections or comments.
Intro to the Catholic Faith for Evangelicals http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/index2.htm
Catholic Answers: "Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth" A compendium of basic Catholic beliefs and the Biblicism behind these beliefs. http://www.catholic.com/library/pillar.asp
FAQ about the Catholic Faith from Columbia University
1. "BIBLE ONLY" CHRISTIAN or "BIBLE BELIEVING" CHRISTIAN?
50 Practices and Doctrines not found in the Holy Bible. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/unbiblical.html
2. JUST THE TRUTH: 2 Dozen Logic and Historical Facts Refuting the Apostolicity and Biblicism of the Modern Christian Belief Systems "Test Everything." 1 Thess 5:21 http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/justfacts.html
3. The "PROMISES OF JESUS CHRIST" to His Holy Church (as recorded in Holy Writ) http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/promises.html
4. The Historical Origins & Authors of the Modern Christian Theologies. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/dates.html
5. Seven Reasons Christians Go To Church, Which One Is Yours? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/7stages.html
6. Three Questions Your Pastor Won't Answer.
7. "The 7 Stages of Christian Spiritual Development" What stage are you? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/7stages.html
8. An Exercise in Logic, Two Logic Proofs from History 101 demonstrating how the modern Christian theologies did not even exist in the first millennium, making it impossible for Christ and His Apostles to have taught to His early Church.
9. Is Sola Scriptura or the "Bible Only" idea even Biblical? Where does the Bible teach the "SOLA" or the "ONLY" in Sola Scriptura? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/ss.html
10. Modern Christians often ask: "WHAT ELSE IS THERE? What else has Christ's infallible authority besides the Holy Bible?" Featuring the verses not underlined in most Bibles nor taught in modern Christian seminaries or churches. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/whatelse.html
11. FAITH ALONE (SOLA FIDE): It is a Catholic Position. Have you been taught that Catholics "work their way to Heaven?" http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/faithalone.html
12. "Who is the Bride of Christ?" How do non-Catholics fit into the Body of Christ? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/bride.html
13. Did the BEREANS "Search the Scriptures" and therefore follow the BIBLE ONLY idea?
Or did the THESSALONIANS, who also "Searched the Scriptures? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/bereans.html
14. The 3rd Unanswered Challenge for the Non-Catholic Theologies:
Is the Catholic Faith Apostolic? Name just one Catholic doctrine that isn't. Name one doctrine the early Church believed,,,, that the Catholic Faith today *no longer does*. Why can't the modern Christian theologies make the same bold claim? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/3challenge.html
15. Biblically, did the "Official Teachings or Doctrines of the Catholic Faith" become corrupt or Apostate as your Pastor might teach? Are there verses in the Holy Scriptures that forbid the "Gates of Hell" from overcoming His Church? What does the Holy Bible really say about: "The Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth" 1 Tim :15? http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/gatesofhell.html
16. Is Praying to Saints Biblical? Is the "HAIL MARY" Prayer Biblical? Read the verses not underlined in your pastors Bible nor taught in his church. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/saints.html
17. How Modern Christian are compelled to use and embrace an unbiblical and anti-biblical definition and concept of a Christian Church. http://www.angelfire.com/home/protestantchallenges/onchurch.html
Return to Homepage "A Biblical Case for the Catholic Faith"