Did Augustine Deny that the Catholic Church Gave Us the Scriptures?

A Reformed blogger, TurretinFan, rejects the authority of the early Ecumenical Councils, and suggests that every dispute needs to be resolved through Scripture, which is allegedly independent of the Catholic Church, the property of all.  He cites to this passage from St. Augustine for support, which he suggests shows that Augustine “sounded exactly like a Sola Scriptura Christian.”  It’s from Augustine’s discourse against the Arian heretic Maximus:

Holy Trinity icon (Moscow, Russia) (19th c.)

The Father and the Son are, then, of one and the same substance. This is the meaning of that “homoousios” that was confirmed against the Arian heretics in the Council of Nicaea by the Catholic fathers with the authority of the truth and the truth of authority. Afterward, in the Council of Ariminum it was understood less than it should have been because of the novelty of the word, even though the ancient faith had given rise to it. There the impiety of the heretics under the heretical Emperor Constantius tried to weaken its force, when many were deceived by the fraudulence of a few. But not long after that, the freedom of the Catholic faith prevailed, and after the meaning of the word was understood as it should be, that “homoousios” was defended far and wide by the soundness of the Catholic faith. After all, what does “homoousios” mean but “of one and the same substance”? What does “homoousios” mean, I ask, but the Father and I are one (Jn 10:30)? 

I should not, however, introduce the Council of Nicaea to prejudice the case in my favor, nor should you introduce the Council of Ariminum that way. I am not bound by the authority of Ariminum, and you are not bound by that of Nicaea. By the authority of the scriptures that are not the property of anyone, but the common witnesses for both of us, let position do battle with position, case with case, reason with reason.

So what is (and isn’t) Augustine saying here?

I. Using Common Authority to Settle Theological Disputes

Council of Nicea icon (18th c.)

If you ran into a Christian who accepted the Gospel of Matthew, but rejected the Gospel of Luke, and rejected the Virgin Birth, would you prove the Virgin Birth using Matthew 1-2, or Luke 1-2?  Obviously, Matthew 1-2.  And why?  Because both sides accept it. Does that mean you think Matthew is a higher authority than Luke?  Of course not.

So Augustine’s point isn’t that Scripture alone should be used to settle disputes.  Far from it.  In fact, he begins the passage by explicitly acknowledging that the Council of Nicea has binding authority.  But Augustine realizes that it makes more sense to argue from Scripture (which Maximus accepts) than from the Council of Nicea (which Maximus rejects).  Compare this to Jesus using the Pharasaic canon to argue against the Pharisees, or the Sadducean canon to argue against the Sadducees.  Or compare this to Catholics using Scriptural arguments (rather than relying upon Ineffabilis Deus) to defend the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary from Protestant attacks.  Or compare this to Christian apologists like William Lane Craig debating atheists while building his case from science (which both Christians and atheists recognize as authority) rather than relying primarily upon Scripture (which atheists don’t believe in).

No reasonable person would deduce from these examples that Christ denied the fullness of the Biblical canon, or that Catholics reject the authority of the papacy, or that Craig rejects the authority of Scripture.  Rather, they’re just doing what Augustine is doing here.  Namely, each of these examples involves a person using what both sides agree upon to prove a particular point.  In this way, they prevent a debate on one thing (in Augustine’s case, the Trinity) from devolving into a series of side-debates over the papacy, or conciliar authority, or the canon of Scripture.

II. You Can’t Reject the Catholic Church Without Undermining Scripture

If you want clear proof that TurretinFan is perverting Augustine’s teachings, look at how Augustine argued against the Manicheans.  The Manicheans, like Protestants today, tried to prove their false doctrines from Scripture.  Augustine pointed out that since we only have Scripture because of the Catholic Church, this is absurd: either accept the Church and Scripture, or reject them both:

St. Augustine of Hippo

Perhaps you will read the gospel to me, and will attempt to find there a testimony to Manichæus. But should you meet with a person not yet believing the gospel, how would you reply to him were he to say, I do not believe? For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. So when those on whose authority I have consented to believe in the gospel tell me not to believe in Manichæus, how can I but consent? Take your choice. If you say, Believe the Catholics: their advice to me is to put no faith in you; so that, believing them, I am precluded from believing you—If you say, Do not believe the Catholics: you cannot fairly use the gospel in bringing me to faith in Manichæus; for it was at the command of the Catholics that I believed the gospel;— Again, if you say, You were right in believing the Catholics when they praised the gospel, but wrong in believing their vituperation of Manichæus: do you think me such a fool as to believe or not to believe as you like or dislike, without any reason? 

It is therefore fairer and safer by far for me, having in one instance put faith in the Catholics, not to go over to you, till, instead of bidding me believe, you make me understand something in the clearest and most open manner. To convince me, then, you must put aside the gospel. If you keep to the gospel, I will keep to those who commanded me to believe the gospel; and, in obedience to them, I will not believe you at all. But if haply you should succeed in finding in the gospel an incontrovertible testimony to the apostleship of Manichæus, you will weaken my regard for the authority of the Catholics who bid me not to believe you; and the effect of that will be, that I shall no longer be able to believe the gospel either, for it was through the Catholics that I got my faith in it; and so, whatever you bring from the gospel will no longer have any weight with me.  

So let’s apply Augustine’s point to Protestantism.  The Bible comes to us solely through the Catholic Church.  If Protestants succeed in proving that we Catholics are wrong about the truth of Christianity, that doesn’t just disprove the authority of the Church, but the authority of Scripture.  So you can’t use the Bible to “prove” Protestantism, since why would we accept the Bible, absent the Church?

To put it differently, it isn’t particularly coherent for Protestants to try to argue for Protestantism using the Bible (which comes to them solely through the Catholic Church).  But if they’re going to acknowledge the authority of the Bible, nothing prevent us, as Catholics, from pointing out that the Bible supports Catholicism, rather than Protestantism.

III. What is the Catholic Church?

One final point.  In both the passage I just quoted, and in the passage TurretinFan quoted against the Catholic Church above, Augustine repeatedly describes the true faith as that held by the Catholic Church.  In the quote TurretinFan provides, Augustine appeals to the Council of Nicaea, governed  “by the Catholic fathers with the authority of the truth and the truth of authority.”  He rejoices that the freedom of the Catholic faith” prevailed, and he appeals to the soundness of the Catholic faith.”  So instead of disproving Catholicism, Augustine repeatedly affirms Catholicism, even in the passage TurretinFan cites.  

Protestants typically assume that “the Catholic Church” must have meant something different back then — that it meant something like “all Christians.”  It didn’t.  
Today is the feast day of St. Optatus of Milevis, a contemporary of St. Augustine.  Both men were North African bishops who fought hard against the Donatist heresy.  In fact, we know Augustine held Optatus in high esteem, not only from their correspondence with one another, but because Augustine listed his as one of the three great living converts of the Church:
Pope St. Siricus

And what else have many good and faithful men among our brethren done? Do we not see with what a quantity of gold and silver and garments Cyprian, that most persuasive teacher and most blessed martyr, was loaded when he came out of Egypt? How much Lactantius brought with him? And Victorious, and Optatus, and Hilary, not to speak of living men!

In Book II of Optatus’ Against the Donatists, he asks, “Which and where is the Catholic Church?” One of the critical marks Optatus points to is the papacy:

You cannot then deny that you do know that upon Peter first in the City of Rome was bestowed the Episcopal Cathedra, on which sat Peter, the Head of all the Apostles (for which reason he was called Cephas), that, in this one Cathedra, unity should be preserved by all, lest the other Apostles might claim—-each for himself—-separate Cathedras, so that he who should set up a second Cathedra against the unique Cathedra would already be a schismatic and a sinner.  Well then, on the one Cathedra, which is the first of the Endowments, Peter was the first to sit.

Optatus then lists all of the popes from Pope St. Peter down to the pope then-living, Pope St. Siricius.  Augustine agrees with Optatus.  Here’s his explanation for believing in the Catholic Church, from the same epistle against the Manicheans that I quoted earlier:
The Living Successor of the Apostle Peter

For in the Catholic Church, not to speak of the purest wisdom, to the knowledge of which a few spiritual men attain in this life, so as to know it, in the scantiest measure, indeed, because they are but men, still without any uncertainty (since the rest of the multitude derive their entire security not from acuteness of intellect, but from simplicity of faith,)— not to speak of this wisdom, which you do not believe to be in the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. 

The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. 

And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house. 

Now, which Church does that sound like? Which Church today is globally accepted by a variety of peoples and nations, governed by the successor of St. Peter, and commonly called the Catholic Church?

So no, Augustine wasn’t some sort of sola Scriptura Christian who would have been a Protestant if he were alive today.  He painstakingly spelled out why he was a Catholic, and it’s either ignorant, dishonest, or delusional to pervert his writings to suggest otherwise.

35 Comments

  1. I totally agree with your defense of St. Augustine’s views. It’s more than a stretch to say he “would have been a Protestant.” It’s lazy thinking or dishonest argument.

    But to be clear, are you saying there is no way to understand the central message of the Gospel without accepting all tenets of Catholicism? This leads me to an obvious question that I’ve been meaning to ask for a while; Can there be salvation outside of the Catholic Church? (I don’t mean “can there by faith that is OPPOSED to the Catholic Church which also results in salvation,” but rather “can there be a true ‘Catholic’ faith in someone who has never been exposed to the ‘institution’ of Catholic worship?”)

    1. Matt W.,

      I think that you’re confusing three separate things:

      1) Can the canon of Scripture exist independent of the Church? The answer here appears to be “no.” That was certainly St. Augustine’s conclusion, and I’ve yet to see a good reason to reject it.

      What this means is that it’s the Catholic Church who produced the Bible. This occurred in four different ways: in the creation of each individual Book (that is, the authors were Catholics), in the reception of each individual Book (that is, the audiences were Catholics), in the preservation of each individual Book (that is, the subsequent generations of receiving Christians were Catholics), and in the determination of the full canon of Scripture (that is, the Church deliberately set out to separate those Books which were canonical from those which were not, and it is on this basis that we have the Bible, rather than simply a collection of various Books of dubious canonicity). Cutting yourself off from the Catholic branch while trying to sit on the limb that is the Bible is just folly. Luther recognized this almost immediately: if the Catholic Church isn’t capable of settling disputes authoritatively, who is to say Her canon (or any canon) of Scripture is correct?

      Modern Protestant laypeople tend to be too ignorant or misinformed of where the Bible actually comes from to arrive at this crisis, but several conservative Protestant theologians have acknowledged it openly (e.g., R.C. Sproul’s declaration that the Protestant canon of Scripture is only a “fallible collection of infallible Books”… an admission which undermines any binding authority of the Bible upon Christians).

      So, given the close relationship between the Catholic Church and the Scriptures, there doesn’t seem to be any non-arbitrary way that a Protestant can hold to a belief in the inspiration of the 66 Books of the Protestant Bible, and no other. If you can find such a way, I’d love to hear it, because I’ve spent countless hours looking.

      2) Can you understand the central message of the Gospel without accepting all tenets of Catholicism? Yes, certainly! And many Protestants do. “The central message of the Gospel” isn’t the same as “the canon of Scripture,” so even with a defective canon, they’re still able to glean many (even most) of the core truths related to Jesus Christ — the Eucharist being a notable exception, sadly.

      It may well be that they’ve arrived at this truth through a series of irrational turns – choosing to accept the authority of the Bible without a coherent reason to accept the Protestant Bible, for example. But God can draw straight with crooked lines.

      3) Can Protestants be saved? Yes, certainly! Plenty of folks throughout history, even to the present, have been misinformed (sometimes quite badly) on details, or even core truths, of the Gospel. But however salvation is understood, it’s not a theology quiz, so we entrust their souls to the mercy of God. There’s a world of difference between someone who knowingly rejects Catholicism and someone who never understood (or heard anything positive about) Catholicism in the first place.

  2. The scriptures all were written in the first century. The church was then the work of the Holy Ghost from Pentecost and the scriptures are also the work of the Holy Ghost. They were written by men of the body of Messiah to the members of the body of Messiah. No doubt they were written to the church at a time when the church was still predominantly Jewish. John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. (the words of Yeshua [Jesus] the Jewish Messiah.)

    The problem with the Catholic church has been it’s hostility towards Jews, and towards the learning of the scriptures. For 1200 years it did not ALLOW TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE INTO NATIVE LANGUAGE AND FORBADE THE READING AND STUDY OF SCRIPTURES BY LAY PERSONS WITHOUT THE GUIDANCE OF THEIR OWN CLERICS.

    The result is much discussion on everything but the texts and their meaning and on doctrines of the RCC unsupported by scriptures, and the general lack of interest in Bible study by catholics. I was in a meeting once of a ecumenical community of around 300 people where a show of hands was asked for by those who were interested in Bible study. Less than ten hands went up. The group was mostly Catholic.

    1. Dave,

      Others are in the process of showing how a lot of your historical assertions are based on bad (or at least incomplete) history, so I’ll turn my attention to your opening claim. You start out by saying: “The scriptures all were written in the first century. The church was then the work of the Holy Ghost from Pentecost and the scriptures are also the work of the Holy Ghost.”

      When did that stop being true? That is, when did the Holy Ghost stop being Sovereign over the Church? Things to bear in mind:

      1. It was for the Church that Christ went to the Cross (Ephesians 5:25-27), in order “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
      2. Christ left the Church as “the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
      3. The promise that Christ Himself will build His Church, and the promise that “the gates of Hell shall not overcome” the Church in Matthew 16:18.
      4. The promise that Christ will be with Apostolic Church “always, until the end of the age” in Matthew 28:20.
      5. The promise that the “Spirit of Truth,” the Holy Spirit, will be with the Church “forever” (John 14:16-17).
      6. The promise that the Holy Spirit will teach the Church “all things” and “remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:25-26).
      7. The promise that the Holy Spirit will lead the Church into “all truth” (John 16:13).
      The commandment to bind and loosen given to Peter individually (Matthew 16:19) and to the Church collectively (Matthew 18:18-19).
      8. The commandment to obey the Church authorities (Hebrews 13:17-18), including bad ones (Matthew 23:2-3).

      How can you say that the Church, the Body of Christ, was inspired and even the work of the Holy Ghost, and that it’s now evil and corrupt? I think we would agree that to say this of the first century Church would be blasphemous against the Holy Ghost. So how is it not blasphemous to say of the five century Church, or the ninth century Church, or the twenty-first century Church, etc.?

      I.X.,

      Joe

  3. “The problem with the Catholic church has been it’s hostility towards Jews, and towards the learning of the scriptures. For 1200 years it did not ALLOW TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE INTO NATIVE LANGUAGE AND FORBADE THE READING AND STUDY OF SCRIPTURES BY LAY PERSONS WITHOUT THE GUIDANCE OF THEIR OWN CLERICS. “

    First, the laity was largely illiterate. Second, it was generally unschooled and ignorant. As the Reformation revealed, private reading of Scripture is dangerous. Scripture is primarily meant to be read communally. It is primarily liturgical. “Me and my Bible” is not orthodox, historical, traditional Christianity. True Christianity is focused around the altar, around the Eucharist.

    “The result is much discussion on everything but the texts and their meaning and on doctrines of the RCC unsupported by scriptures”

    Scripture is not an exhaustive accounting of the Christian faith. This idea is a bizarre Protestant novelty no more than four hundred years old.

    The entire premise of Protestantism is ridiculous. To be a Protestant, you must believe that fifteen centuries’ worth of Christians, from England to India, from Russia to Ethiopia, erred concerning the most fundamental aspects of the faith. How can this be, when Jesus promised the Spirit of Truth? If Catholicism is wrong, then Christianity is not true.

    1. “This idea is a bizarre Protestant novelty no more than four hundred years old.”

      I’m a Catholic convert from Protestantism. Before converting, I struggled with the ridiculousness that is sola scriptura. Your statement above made me laugh because it took me so long to finally realize this! Thank you for your frank assessment.

  4. ‘ALLOW TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE INTO NATIVE LANGUAGE AND FORBADE THE READING AND STUDY OF SCRIPTURES BY LAY PERSONS WITHOUT THE GUIDANCE OF THEIR OWN CLERICS. ‘

    A myth. I have personally looked at hundreds of medieval Bibles written in English, German, French, etc. Since many of these were made at a time when anyone who could read, could read Latin, the evidence is clear that these were partially intended to be read to and to aid the illiterate laity.

    The medieval Church was of course very concerned about preaching Christ’s message and providing proper pastoral care, and so worried about bad and inaccurate translations, as well of the use of vernacular bibles in promoting false doctrines. Good thing too.

    David

  5. Anyone else find it funny that a “sola scriptura” Christian is appealing to the non-scriptural authority of St. Augustine to argue that every dispute must be resolved through scripture alone?

  6. For 1200 years it did not ALLOW TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE INTO NATIVE LANGUAGE AND FORBADE THE READING AND STUDY OF SCRIPTURES BY LAY PERSONS WITHOUT THE GUIDANCE OF THEIR OWN CLERICS.

    First, 1200 years? So after around the year 800, the Church didn’t allow other translations? That’s baloney.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_translations_in_the_Middle_Ages#Early_medieval_vernacular_translations

    It wasn’t until the Protestants came on the scene that the Church clamped down on different translations of the Bible. Before Gutenberg with his printing press, there was very little danger with these heretical translations. One Bible written over a period of weeks by hand vs. hundreds of Bibles printed over a period of weeks.

    Many of those translations were downright awful, and served the personal sinful ends of the translator(s) rather than the Church — Jehovah’s Witnesses, I’m lookin’ at you.

    Reading and studying of the scriptures by lay persons without the guidance of their clerics (The Church) is also a very bad, and outright dangerous idea. The Church, with its Theologians, Deacons, Priests, Bishops, Cardinals, and Popes (In that order, for the most part.), serves a very good purpose:

    All of that is to make sure that 20-something year old laymen don’t go around telling gullible farmers that they can read Egyptian Hieroglyphs and end up getting the bleepin’ genders wrong the “Book of Abraham” calling Maat and Isis (females, with Obvious female features) both princes of the Pharaoh, proving that he made the whole thing up…

  7. Joe with all the respect, to all the Post I have commented on you have never been able to prove me wrong by using the Bible, I am still waiting for you to quote me all the Bible Verses where it allows an image of Jesus bleeding with a Crown on his head ….. You quote what is convenience to your doctrine but overlook what is written on the Bible. There’s only one Book and one Book we follow… Catechism is not fully based on the Bible. I am also waiting for you to answer the reason why some Priest are not allowed to get married according to your Church when we all know is not Biblical.

    God Bless !!!

    Proud to be a Protestant !!

    1. P. Alex,

      Your first point, “Joe with all the respect, to all the Post I have commented on you have never been able to prove me wrong by using the Bible,” is a faulty premise.

      What do you mean by “the Bible,” and more importantly, where does it come from?  Read Section II of this post.  You can’t just assume that the Church is trustworthy enough to bring us the Bible, while simultaneously trying to use the Bible to prove that the Church is untrustworthy.  It’s one or the other.  Either we can trust the Bible (because we can trust the Church), or we can’t trust the Bible (because we can’t trust the Church).

      But let’s get to the substance of your argument.  In the comments of an earlier post, you suggested that God forbids religious images.  I disproved that here, showing that God orders religious images to be made throughout the Old Testament in places like Exodus 25:18-22, Exodus 26:1, Numbers 21:8-9, 1 Kings 6:29-36, etc.

      You then claimed that this was different, since God ordered those religious images.  That’s special pleading.  But in any case, it proves my point: if religious images are evil, then God can’t order them. 

      Your argument has gone from “images are evil” to “religious images are evil” to “religious images are evil, unless God explicitly orders them.”  But where are you getting any of this?  You seem to be making it up as you go along.  The only Scriptural support you have is against idolatry, not imagery, or religious imagery, or religious imagery that isn’t explicitly ordered by God.

      I would add that Christ Himself is called the Image of the Invisible God in Colossians 1:15. If St. Paul believed as you did, this would be akin to him calling Jesus an idol. But clearly, he did not, since he meant “image” as a good thing.

      Now, you’re saying: “I am still waiting for you to quote me all the Bible Verses where it allows an image of Jesus bleeding with a Crown on his head.”  This is an absurdly specific request, and again begins from a ridiculous premise – that each and every image must be explicitly ordered or allowed by the Bible.  But in any case, I’ll indulge you.  St. Paul says in Galatians 3:1, “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.”  Now, the Galatians were not present at the actual Crucifixion of Christ, so the portrayal that St. Paul is talking seems to be artistic.  That is, this is an apparent reference to early Crucifixion art.  And since we know that in His Passion, Christ was crowned with a Crown of Thorns (Matthew 27:29) and bled (John 19:34), an accurate depiction of the Crucifixion would include these things.  So yeah, I’d say that this is fairly-specific Scriptural support.

      But now let’s address some more of your premises:


      (1) Is there Scriptural support for your claim that every doctrine must be proven or disproved from Scripture alone?


      (2) Can you provide explicit Scriptural support for each and every practice you engage in as a Protestant (sinner’s prayer, Wednesday night prayer services, choosing a denomination based upon your doctrinal beliefs, etc.).   Or are you laying a burden on Catholics that you can’t lift yourself (Mt. 23:1-4)?

      (3) Is there any passage anywhere in Scripture that says that all images (or all religious images, or all religious images, excluding those ordered by God) are idols?

      I don’t think the problem is that I’m not answering your argument.  I think that the problem is that you’re shifting your argument, and that you’re using a ridiculously-high standard for what we Catholics have to prove.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    2. Well,

      Let’s see, I will addressed each point:

      1st You typed this: “Augustine pointed out that since we only have Scripture because of the Catholic Church, this is absurd: either accept the Church and Scripture, or reject them both”

      To begin with, to any Protestant “in my case a Non Denominational” whenever you based your Blogs based on a man/sinner/St Augustine to us is not Trust Worthy because it’s not written in the only book we follow “The Bible/Books/Papyrus”. Therefore it has no credibility and it gets even worse knowing you guys have sculpted images of him in your Trust Worthy Church ….

      I can already picture an image of you in the Churches for being a Saint and a good writer, your post/blog will worth GOLD within the Church and you will be Worshiped or “Venerated which is the way used by you guys to cover this up”.

      Your Saint said: “either accept the Church and Scripture, or reject them both”

      Well we accept the Church of Jesus, not the Church of Men,when it comes to bringing to scriptures to the World I will give you half of Credit, why? because it seems that the ‘TRUST WORTHY CHURCH” has forgotten that we’re all here Thanks to the Jews, like protestant say “the oldest book of the Bible is the Old testament” you guys clearly ignore this. You take the credit for bringing the Bible then also take the Credit for Pursuing and trying to kill the Jews and Muslims and if you would like to dive into History I am more than open to talk about it, I guess the “Trust Worthy Church” forgot to read Genesis 12:2 before killing the Jews right?

      So this is pointless, the Church is corrupted and pay close attention to this, The Catholic and Protestant Church are corrupted, because Men aren’t perfect or else explain to me why in the Book of revelation we see all the different Churches ? in other words ” Your Church is not the Church of Philadelphia. If you have noticed, I am capable of saying that we make mistakes as well, think that you guys have never been able to do or say, or else your doctrine would not be different than the one you speak about .

      2nd Let’s see about Galatians 3:1. as far as I know he never said placed images of Jesus within the Church, or did he? I don’t believe so, but to make this clear let’s go to the Greek because for what I’ve observed you use it only when it’s convenience to your argument.

      Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly PORTRAYED as crucified. ENGLISH
      Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly PRESENTED OR SET FORTH as crucified. SPANISH AND ITALIAN BIBLE AND MANY MORE.

      Read the next post please I had too many characters =>

    3. It continues here =>

      WORD PORTRAYED was original written as:

      Original Word Word Origin
      prografo from (4253) and (1125)
      Transliterated Word TDNT Entry
      Prographo 1:770,128
      Phonetic Spelling Parts of Speech
      prog-raf’-o Verb
      Definition

      1. to write before (of time)
      1. of old set forth or designated before hand (in the scriptures of the OT)
      2. to depict or portray openly
      1. to write before the eyes of all who can read
      2. to depict, portray, paint, before the eyes

      OK, now let’s say He is meaning to say PORTRAYED, then can you explain to me why is he asking them the following question on the next verse

      “2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by HEARING with faith?”

      Well my Brother in Christ , St Paul is not basing his context on something visual but something that was Explained, something they HEARD, Faith takes you to the very moment when OUR SAVIOR WAS CRUCIFIED,it still makes my tears fall down when I see Jesus on that Cross because the spirit takes me there not an image….remember they were using their EARS ” BY HEARING WITH FAITH”

      3rd to answer your final 3 points:

      Well like a mentioned before I am a Non Denomination Christian, why? because Bible never speaks about a denomination, including yours, even tho you guys don’t want to see it like that. Prayer Services are Biblical, 9th Hour of the day they will attend it ” by the way we should have even more, THEY ARE AWESOME”.

      Sinner’s prayer are unique and powerful and of course they’re not a vane repetition like the Creed/Credo, they are based on Romans 10:9 and they Sinner does it from the bottom of their heart, which makes it not a VANE REPETITION.

      To close I would like to know why you RE-OVERLOOKED my comment about the Priests not being able married?

      God Bless you Greatly !!!!!

    4. P. Alex,

      I missed your earlier question/argument about “why some Priest are not allowed to get married according to your Church when we all know is not Biblical.” The question has nothing to do with the topic at hand: you seem to be throwing everything at the wall to see what’ll stick against Catholicism. This won’t. As it is, I continually find myself answering that question on this blog (for example, here and here and here), and it’s just not a very good argument.

      Now, you’re not actually spelling out an argument – you’re simply that asserting that it’s not Biblical, and then assuming that every Christian practice has to be rooted in Scripture. I directly questioned this assumption earlier, asking “Is there Scriptural support for your claim that every doctrine must be proven or disproved from Scripture alone?” You said you would address that question at the bottom of your last comment, but as far as I can tell, didn’t do so.

      To the extent that I can guess what your argument would be, it would be (a) ripping 1 Timothy 4:3 out of context, and (b) assuming that Paul’s warning against the Gnostics’ “forbidding to marry” must mean that Christians have to occupy the polar other end of the spectrum… that is, that we must permit marriage for everyone. One of the many problems with this assumption is that nobody actually believes it, in practice.

      That is, if a married man should spy another young lady he’d like to marry (taking her as a second wife), Protestants are quite content to forbid that marriage [in contrast to Luther’s approach to Phillip of Hesse, in which he okayed the polygamous union]. You’re also, presumably, fine with prohibiting a man from marrying an unwilling bride. You’re almost certainly fine with completely prohibiting infants and very young children from marrying. Does that mean that Protestants are teaching the “doctrines of devils” here?

      You might say that these situations aren’t analogous. In the case of a married man, while he’s forbidden from marrying anyone else, he’s already married. But even here, if you understood the Catholic view of the priesthood, and the manner in which the priest is spiritually united with the Church in a participation of Christ’s union with the Church (see Ephesians 5), you’d see that the priest is, in a spiritual sense, very much a married man. And as St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 7, it’s better to that men be celibate in these cases.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S.  If at all possible, I’d prefer we not get distracted on a dozen unrelated points.  If you don’t want to address the post at hand, fine, but let’s at least choose a single topic or two and stick to them.

    5. P. Alex,

      Let’s get back to your other points.

      A:You argue that St. Augustine, and in fact everyone outside the Bible, is untrustworthy and “has no credibility” to you and other “Non-Denominational” Protestants.

      A few responses: first, this proves my point. If you actually read the post, you’ll see that it was in response to a Protestant trying to pretend that Augustine was a sort of early sola Scriptura Protestant. As you seem to concede, he clearly was not – he was very much a Catholic. As you admit, he’s ‘our’ Saint.

      Second, you’re proving Augustine’s own point. The argument’s pretty simple. If you reject every Christian after the Apostolic age as untrustworthy and carrying no credibility, there is literally no reason to trust the Gospel, since it’s these men who handed it on to you.

      St. Augustine told his opponents that if they could prove, from Scripture, that the Catholics were lying, then: “I will believe neither them nor you: not them, for they lied to me about you; nor you, for you quote to me that Scripture which I had believed on the authority of those liars. But far be it that I should not believe the gospel; for believing it, I find no way of believing you too.”

      Same thing applies here. It’s only through the early Christians that we have the New Testament canon, or know the name Jesus Christ, or know of the Holy Spirit, or know that the New Testament canon is inspired. If these early Christians are untrustworthy, than you’ve built your entire faith on a foundation of sand.

      B:Next, you say that “we accept the Church of Jesus, not the Church of Men.” I have no idea what this means. Jesus Christ founded a visible Church. We see this visible Church in the Acts of the Apostle, and throughout history. In fact, history is very clear on this. See my comment to Dave, above, since it applies to you as well.  I don’t see any way that you can accept that the visible Church at the time of the Apostles was guided by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and then reject that same Church later on in history. Yet that’s exactly what you appear to be doing. You want to reject this visible Church, in order to create a new set of churches as part of a denomination you call both “Protestant” and “non-denominational.”

      C: As for “all the different churches” in Revelation, there’s one church per city, forming a single universal Church, which is described in Ephesians 5 as the singular Bride of Christ (unless you think Paul is describing Christ as a polygamist).

      This “one church per area” model is still practiced by Catholics – we divide geographic territories up into dioceses and parishes to have a single church serving a population area. You, on the other hand, actually wreck this Biblical model, by creating an ever-growing number of “churches” competing against one another for the same people. Show me where that is ever praised in the Bible!

      (continued)

    6. D: You claim that “portrayed” doesn’t mean “portrayed,” but means “heard.” Only problem is, your own Greek definition doesn’t include “heard” as even one of the possible options, and if you use a lexicon, you’ll see the word never means “heard” anywhere in Scripture.

      And then you argue that, on the basis of hearing this, you can form a mental image! You’re straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel here. It’s idolatry to have any depiction of Jesus’ Crucifixion, but a mental image in which you envision the Crucifixion is good? Let me ask you once again: what are you basing all of these Pharisaic distinctions off of?

      E: Despite saying you were going to, you didn’t actually answer any of the three questions I asked at the end of the comment you were responding to. You just tried to provide Scriptural support for the Sinner’s Prayer, instead. Could you re-read the questions, and answer them, please?

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. Sorry it’s such a long response! I tried to at least organize it, to make it easier to respond to. God bless!

    7. Joe,

      Regarding this statement – “This “one church per area” model is still practiced by Catholics – we divide geographic territories up into dioceses and parishes to have a single church serving a population area. You, on the other hand, actually wreck this Biblical model, by creating an ever-growing number of “churches” competing against one another for the same people. Show me where that is ever praised in the Bible!”

      I’ve wondered about this since Baptists and other Evangelicals follow the congregational model. While each church is separate, they still all claim to be part of the universal church of believers. So if First Baptist is across the street from First Covenant Church, would they truly see themselves competing against each other since they could say both congregations are part of the “invisible universal church”? I’ve never understood how a congregational model fosters unity.

  8. Awesome, Joe. Your point hit at the heart of the matter. Protestants like TurretinFan live in a make-believe world where St. Augustine and St. Ambrose and all the great Fathers of the church were “Bible” Christians, which is laughable at best. I know this because I once believed this myself.

    Part of what led me to Catholicism, though, was asking the question, “If St. Augustine or St. Paul were alive today, where would they go to Church? A Baptist Church? A presbyterian church?”

    I began asking this question because the more I immersed myself in the early church Fathers, the more I began to realize that the Christianity they knew was completely different from the Reformed/Baptist/Bible church I thought was the best and most godly. Everything was different, including the way they talked about God (Where was all the talk about sovereignty and predestination? It was there, but not nearly in the volume heard at my local Presbyterian church, where it seemed God’s only attribute was his sovereignty).

    After studying their writings, I came to conclude that the early Fathers would NOT have gone to a church that was Baptist or Reformed. At the very least they would have gone to a liturgical church—and this conclusion led me to Anglicanism. Even further study lead me to conclude that the early Fathers were Catholic and would undoubtedly go to a Catholic church—which eventually led me to Catholicism.

    Anyway, the point is, I began to realize that to make the early church anything but Catholic, you must cherry pick quotes, distort arguments, and creatively interpret texts. The early church was not even close to protestant or reformed. And it was this realization that led me to forsake protestantism once and for all and come home to Holy Mother Church. I’m digress, but keep up the great work!

    1. This is what Vatican II said:

      “This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd,and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as “the pillar and mainstay of the truth”. This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity.” – Lumen Gentium

    2. I had a feeling that Vatican II would touch upon this idea. The word “catholic” is almost a homonym because it often comes to be a shorthand name for the Roman Catholic Church and still truly means universal or a large group. We often try to distinguish this difference by articulating “catholic” with a lower case or an upper case letter. The quote that you provide uses both, which leaves ambiguity. It is clear that the author is stating that all of the elements of the Body of Christ are found in the Roman Catholic Church, but he does not go so far as to cut off other church bodies. I am still left with my original question, but let me rephrase it. Are other church bodies, even Protestant, part of the Body of Christ? I would jokingly say that the Lutheran church, which I am a part of, is a sphincter in the Body of Christ. The RCC already has a claim to the Sacred Heart, so I might start to claim the Sacred Sphincter of Christ.

    3. >> “It is clear that the author is stating that all of the elements of the Body of Christ are found in the Roman Catholic Church, but he does not go so far as to cut off other church bodies.”

      All Christians are part of the Body of Christ. Protestant institutions themselves though, I would suggest is another matter.

      >> “I would jokingly say that the Lutheran church, which I am a part of, is a sphincter in the Body of Christ”

      If Paul can say he longs for the Philippians with the “bowels” (“Splagchnon”) of Christ, I think that it might be legitimate 😉

  9. Roman catholic church (RCC) can not lay claim that all elements of Christ’s body, The Church are found inside it. Why? Because the Head of the Body of the Christ, the Church, is Christ Himself, not the Pontifex Maximus – the Pope. RCC does not have any elements of Christ’s Body within it’s religious community – that’s what can really RCC be described as “religious community” and NOT the Church.
    Nicea affirms Dogma of “procession of Holy Spirit from the Father through the Son”, and NOT “and the Son” (Filioque) !! Plus numerous other false and heretic teachings on Truths of Faith the RCC has introduced since the Filioque, non worse then infallibility of the pope!!! With preyers, that the people which have been led astray with poison of “Doctrines of demons”, as apostle Paul refers to heresies, return to One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, I ask all of you to forgive me, NOT for speaking the Truth but if by any word that I have written herein I have caused feelings that are the product of the evil one…

    1. That was incoherent, wrong, angry and provided zero examples of any false teaching and comes no where close to refuting the article above. The Catholic Church is the True Church of Jesus Christ and your post sounds like the rantings of an uneducated, petulant child.

  10. Catholicism is nothing more than paganism woven into bible based lies. the very book you are falsely claiming authority over condemns the practices of this religion. i don’t doubt that many are sincerely convinced of the accuracy of this abominable perversion of the words of the Most High but there is only damnation whether sincere or not. catholicism changed the sabbath in honor of the sun god according to a quote from the catholic encyclopedia. catholicism inserted such pagan practices as christmas and easter and teaches trinity as well as praying to mary as though she has not passed away the same as others before her. the bible supports none of these things and even condemns them. the writings we call the bible today predate the catholic church and peter would not recognize or approve of it’s practices. he was not the first pope as you claim. there was no time when peter taught a prayer to mary. there was no time when he wore a rosary. at no point did he teach to reject the laws of the torah only to replace the offering of animals for sin with the covering of the sacrifice of the messiah. he never ate unclean foods and walked. AS THE MESSIAH DID, IN THE LAWS STATUTES AND COMMANDMENTS OF THE FATHER. this was not to change for the true followers as it says in revelations and several places in the scriptures. the new covenant, as explained in hebrews chpt 8, is still upholding the same laws and is with the whole house of israel. the word was given to israel NOT any roman pagan to change as they chose. the enemies of the chosen have tried to hijack the truth for their own but as it clearly states in psalms 147:19&20, it was given only to the real sons of israel and only the real sons of israel have a true understanding of it. i suggest you look into the real source of christmas, easter, and sunday worship and see for yourself that they are proof of the real source of catholicism. look at the practices and try to find them in the bible. is there any room for paganism in the life of a true servant of the true and living? most of you probably already stopped reading this and even those that have read this far will not look into any of this without bias but for those that do, i hope you leave this house of whoredoms and get as far from it as possible. remembering that the number of those misled will be many as the word says. there is only a minority who will find and prove faithful to the true word of YHWH. how big is christianity? it’s worldwide and teaches just as the satanic church. “do as thou wilt” as though the law is not applicable. worship however you want just come to pay tithes and commune with wickedness. the Most High is not in any denomination of modern christianity. not the creator spoken of in scripture. there is no time to be offended by truth but, if you are, this isn’t for you anyway.

    1. Revelation 14:12King James Version (KJV)

      12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

      Matthew 19:17King James Version (KJV)

      17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

      1 John 3:4King James Version (KJV)

      4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

      Matthew 5:17-20King James Version (KJV)

      17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

      18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

      19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

      Psalm 147:19-20King James Version (KJV)

      19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.

      20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.

      Isaiah 29:13King James Version (KJV)

      13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

      Hebrews 8:8-13King James Version (KJV)

      8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

      9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

      10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

      Jeremiah 10King James Version (KJV)

      10 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

      2 Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

      3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

      4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

      5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

      6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O Lord; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.
      (look up saturnalia and yule and winter solstice pagan practices)

      leave catholicism and modern christianity before it’s too late. stop pushing the lies and traditions of men as though it’s biblical or historically connected to anyone who walked with the messiah who the world has been fooled into calling jesus.

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