Did St. Josaphat Die in Vain?

 

Józef Simmler, Martyrdom of Jozafat Kuncewicz in Vitebsk in 1623 (1861)
Józef Simmler, Martyrdom of Jozafat Kuncewicz in Vitebsk in 1623 (1861)

392 years ago today, Saint Josaphat, an Eastern Catholic bishop in Ukraine, was dragged out of his rectory and murdered by the Eastern Orthodox townspeople that he was trying to lead back into union with the Roman Catholic Church. The Church does not hesitate, in her prayers, to say that he poured out his blood like Christ. He died for the principle that it matters whether we Christians are Catholics. My question for you today is did he die in vain?

After all, I frequently hear that it doesn’t matter whether or not someone is Catholic, as long as they’re Christian. They’ve got better music down the block, or you like the preaching better. Catholicism becomes just one denomination, just one option. Or perhaps we’ll go further and say that the Church itself doesn’t matter: all that matters is having a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” That personal relationship is obviously vital, but Cardinal Dolan has pointed out the folly of trying to have the Good Shepherd without the flock, trying to have the King of Kings without His Kingdom, trying to have the Head without the Body of Christ. So to answer my initial question, I ask you to consider four more questions:

The first question: Did Jesus intend to inaugurate the Kingdom of God on earth? Yes.

The very first words out of Jesus’ mouth in St. Mark’s Gospel are “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk. 1:15). And we hear that again in today’s Gospel, when Jesus says that, although it has not yet arrived fully, the Kingdom of God is among us.

The second question: Did Jesus establish this Kingdom in His Church? Yes.

In the famous passage of Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus says to Peter, “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Note, He doesn’t say He’s giving the keys to the Kingdom to everyone, to all believers. Instead, Christ explicitly gives the keys to the Kingdom to St. Peter, the head of the Church, using the singular “you.”

The third question: Did Christ set an earthly leader over His Church? Yes.

We’ve already heard this, in the Matthew 16 passage I just mentioned. But we see it in other places as well. We see it in Luke 22, at the Last Supper, when Jesus entrusts the care of the laity to the Apostles, and then entrusts the care of the Apostles to St. Peter, telling him, “strengthen your brethren.” We see it in John 21, in which Jesus tells Peter, and Peter alone, to tend His lambs and to feed His sheep. And we see it throughout the Book of Acts, in which Peter speaks on behalf of the entire Church.

The final question: Did Christ entrust this Church with authority and with the fullness of truth? Yes and yes.

At the Last Supper, Jesus makes two important promises. First, He promises that the Holy Spirit, who He calls the Spirit of Truth, “will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). And a little later one, He says that “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). So the Church has the fullness of faith, not because of human intelligence, but because of the protection of the Holy Spirit. Second, Christ promises that the Spirit of Truth will be with the Church “forever” (John 14:16).

 

So where do we stand? Do we think the Church is dispensable? That it no longer has the protection of the Holy Spirit, or no longer has the fullness of truth? That Christ’s Church no longer has an earthly head? In short, do we think that St. Josaphat died in vain?

26 Comments

  1. Four points 🙂

    “The second question: Did Jesus establish this Kingdom in His Church? Yes.”

    Where in the Bible says it is Rome, that Peter went there…or how about the church fathers that applied Matthew 16:18-19 to the Bishoprics of other locales?

    “The third question: Did Christ set an earthly leader over His Church? Yes.”

    I’d bend with this. However, where in the Bible does it say Peter has successors vested with his authority?

    “The final question: Did Christ entrust this Church with authority and with the fullness of truth? Yes and yes.”

    “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:26).

    The Holy Spirit does not give the “successors” of anyone new revelation or authority. The Holy Spirit teaches “you” (i.e. specifically the Apostles) “all things” specifically the “remembrance [of] all that I said to you.”

    The Holy Spirit does not vest a body of men who weren’t there to remember anything Jesus had said, to authoritatively interpret doctrines and come up with new ones (i.e. satisfaction view of atonement–not Biblical, nor traditional.)

    The Scripture is the only thing that we have today that actually comes from the Apostles in which Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would bring in remembrance all that He taught. Ironically, the Scripture also describes itself as “God breathed” and can “equip the man of God for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17). I am unaware of any body of men or their writings that meets this standard.

    God bless,
    Craig

    1. Where in the Bible says it is Rome, that Peter went there?

      1 Peter 5:13, in which Peter writes from “Babylon,” the early Christian term for Rome. Some Evangelicals today claim that he literally meant Babylon, but this theory is ridiculous. There was no early Christian community in Babylon yet, and the universal witness of the early Christians is that Peter was in Rome and that this is what he means by “Babylon.” Ignatius of Antioch, writing to the Romans c. 107 A.D., mentions that Peter and Paul had commanded them.

      More to the point, there doesn’t have to be a Biblical proof-text for every step in Apostolic succession. We don’t need a verse saying that after John Paul II came Benedict XVI and then Francis, etc. That’s getting the burden of proof backwards.

      In this post, I’ve tried to briefly show that (1) Jesus Christ came announcing the Kingdom of God (and that this is critical for the Gospel); (2) that He gives the Keys to the Kingdom to the visible Church that He creates; (3) that He entrusts leadership of this visible Church to one man; and (4) that He promised to send the Holy Spirit to preserve this Church in the fullness of truth forever.

      If I prove those things, that’s at least a prima facie case for the Catholic Church. If you want to say that Christ created this structure but wanted to get rid of it within a single generation, you’re free to make that argument, but it needs some sort of evidence. It would be bizarre to admit that Christ established the Church like a monarchy, and then assume that He intended it to devolve into a democracy (or anarchy).

      I call this the “Protestantism until proven otherwise” approach to evidence. It’s the idea that if the evidence is absent or inconclusive, this means that the Protestant position must be right, even if all of the available evidence points in the opposite direction. It operates more as an assumption than a conscious position, but it’s worth identifying and combatting.

      After all, if Christ wanted a Church run by a team of equals, why didn’t He set up the Church (or anything prefiguring the Church in the Old Testament) that way? If Christ didn’t want a priesthood, why set up a structure that seems to fulfill the OT priesthood structure, and which convinced all of the early Christians that there was a priesthood in the early Church?

      It’s just not a reasonable burden to say, “you didn’t prove this post-Apostolic event from sola Scriptura” and assume that this means that Catholicism is false or Protestantism is tenable. Scripture shows the Church being set up and sent off in a certain direction. Later history shows the Church continuing in that direction. If you want to argue that the Church instead was meant to go a different direction, that burden falls on you.

      1. I’m typing on my phone so I am limited on what I can say. I am taking issue with you teaching what are ultimately extra-biblical teachings as if they were biblical. It is misleading. It is important to teach that “this is tradition in light of that tradition we understand this verse as so…” Hence, to tale a verse out of Matthew and say it is a bygone conclusion that Peter and his successors were entrusted with leading Christianity forever based squarely on tue biblical evidence is misleading ay best.

        1. Craig
          I don’t follow this reasoning. There are verses teaching that Peter was entrusted with the keys of the kingdom. The power to bind and loose. The Holy Spirit is breathed into the apostles and they are given the power to forgive sins. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will guide them into all truth. We see apostolic succession when Matthias is ordained in acts. We see St Paul instructing St Timothy on succession and the bishopric. We know the gates of hell will not prevail against His church. We know St Paul commands us to hold fast to the traditions whether by word or letter. And more and more. And your response is that we shouldn’t use those verses in the bible to teach what the verses teach? That Christ established an ordered church? We all know what the pillar and foundation of truth is….

          You say you are unaware of any body of men that meet the “God breathed” and equip man for every good work criteria. That body is the Catholic Church. It’s the same body that determined the actual composition of the bible that you have so much confidence in hundreds of years after the original apostles had died. And ironically everything that gives you confidence in the bible was done to the apostles. They are God breathed, they have the Holy Spirit guiding them into all truth. Scripture is not the only thing we have today from the apostles. Where did Matthias’ ordination come from? The apostles. What about the bishops St Paul talks to Timothy about? That succession continued.

          Furthermore you say that the Holy Spirit doesn’t give men the power to come up with their own doctrines. Especially men that weren’t there. Amen….

          Good hearing your input as always!

          God bless you and yours.

      2. “… (3) that He entrusts leadership of this visible Church to one man…”

        It is here that I take issue with your post, and I don’t think this conclusion follows from what you have presented.

        We both agree that Peter is the Prince of the Apostles and that this makes him their leader in some sense, but it does not necessarily follow that the hierarchy of the church is required to resemble this initial apostolic model for all time.

        Two things to consider:

        1. If the Church began with one leader but slowly transitioned to a collegial model, this in itself would not undermine the Church or its authority. In order to demonstrate otherwise it is necessary not only to demonstrate that the Church began with a single head, but is bound to always have a single head.

        2. Certain fathers saw all bishops as successors of Peter, and thus according to this view the Chair of Peter would be an office occupied by the bishop in each respective diocese, not merely by the Bishop of Rome.

        1. Isaac,

          Thanks for jumping in! You write:

          We both agree that Peter is the Prince of the Apostles and that this makes him their leader in some sense, but it does not necessarily follow that the hierarchy of the church is required to resemble this initial apostolic model for all time.

          Briefly, I’d point you to my responses to Craig. If you’re going to say that the Apostolic model of Christ can change and in fact did change, it seems that the burden of proof is on you, just as it would be on you to prove that anything else taught or established by Christ or the Apostles is now nullified.

          I would also point out that the early Christians (e.g., 1 Clement 42 and the writings of Ignatius) clearly believe that the basic structure of the Church was divinely instituted in a way that reflected a divine reality and which wasn’t in their power to change. So a theory that they “slowly transitioned” from a leader model to a collegial model (and then, apparently back to a leader model) is both unfounded in the historical data and contrary to the witness of the earliest Christians.

          Would you be okay with me taking this question as a prompt for a fuller treatment in a blog post?

          In Christ,

          Joe

          1. “Briefly, I’d point you to my responses to Craig. If you’re going to say that the Apostolic model of Christ can change and in fact did change, it seems that the burden of proof is on you, just as it would be on you to prove that anything else taught or established by Christ or the Apostles is now nullified.”

            Right. My goal was not to make a positive claim, but merely to offer a critique of the argument you presented.

            I will say, though, that a church without a universal head would only be a deviation from the original, apostolic church if it is clearly established that Peter was the universal head of the Church and that Christ intended for Peter to have a single successor.

            I think it is quite the stretch to claim that Ignatius and the author of 1 Clement held the modern Roman Catholic view of Papal universality, or that 1 Clement 42 is representative of what the Church universal held as doctrine during the late 1st-eary 2nd century CE.

            If you haven’t read it already, W. Moriarty’s “1 Clement’s View of Ministerial Appointments in the Early Church” does a superb job of demonstrating how exatly the author of the letter saw his own authority. Here is the abstract:

            “The document known as the First Epistle of Clement, probably written towards the end of the first century, provides some of the scant available documentary evidence about the early development of the Christian ministry. It contains an outline history of the passing down of authority, but the relevant part of the Greek text has ambiguities which have led various scholars to propose five broadly different views, or interpretations, of Clement’s intended meaning. These were examined in relation to Clement’s purpose, an approach which relied primarily on evidence internal to the epistle, and had not been considered in detail before. Only one of the five views was found to make Clement’s argument reasonably consistent with his aims, and this view also made his lack of clarity understandable. Thus Clement’s intended message in the ambiguous section was that the first local church leaders were appointed by the apostles, and when some of these local leaders died, replacement appointments were made by people who had been given the authority to do so from outside the local church.”

            http://www.researchgate.net/publication/261977072_1_Clement's_View_of_Ministerial_Appointments_in_the_Early_Church [accessed Nov 13, 2015].

            Feel free to use this subject matter as a prompt for a future blog post.

    2. how about the church fathers that applied Matthew 16:18-19 to the Bishoprics of other locales?

      St. John Chrysostom, the greatest Father of the East, explained: “But if it be asked, How then did James assume the see of Jerusalem? I answer, that our Lord enthroned Peter, not as Bishop of this see, but as Doctor of the whole world.”

      The whole “Pentarchy” of juridical authority is rooted in papal authority: Jerusalem, Antioch, and Rome are the Sees that Peter led and preached in; Antioch was founded by Peter’s disciple Mark; and Constantinople eventually gets introduced by emphasizing its connection to Rome. So it’s not wrong to see all of the Apostolic Sees as tied to the one Apostolic See. But it’s significant that in all of the writings of the early Church Fathers, there’s only a single Church known as the Apostolic See.

      I’d bend with this. However, where in the Bible does it say Peter has successors vested with his authority?

      This seems like more of “Protestant unless proven otherwise” methodology, but the short answer is Acts 1:15-26 (the replacement of Judas with Matthias), 2 Timothy 2:1-2 (Paul instructs Timothy to entrust his ministry to successors); Titus 1:5 (Paul tells Titus to appoint presbyters), etc. All of the New Testament evidence points to the fact that leadership in the visible Church, although originating in the Apostles, is to continue through their successors.

      This same fact is confirmed by the earliest extrabiblical data, including things like 1 Clement, in which the Roman Pontiff intervenes in the internal affairs of the Corinthian church (at their request!) while the Apostle John is still alive.

      And again: if this wasn’t the structure Christ wanted, why did He create it?

      1. How about Cyprians reading of that same verse?

        second, clement spoke of himself as a we and said Corinth had a plurality of elders leading it. Ignatius in his epistle to Rome fails to mention a single leader of the church. So I agree the apostles intended to appoint a plurality of leaders, just as God intended for a levitical priesthood in Israelite times. However, the idea that the new testament church was to institutionally remain the same is out of step with not only the Israelite experience where God replaced His priests but also the new testament where Paul warned the ephesians that from their own number will come problem children. So, just as the true Israel had to fight for the church among the nominal Israelites, it seems to me the model that the church would likewise encounter this problem.

        1. second, clement spoke of himself as a we and said Corinth had a plurality of elders leading it.

          No, he didn’t.

          “Ignatius in his epistle to Rome fails to mention a single leader of the church. “

          This is a bad argument from silence that I’ve addressed elsewhere. Ignatius mentions the mono-episcopacy twice in his letters to the Romans, as well as in every one of his letters to the churches of Asia.

          So, just as the true Israel had to fight for the church among the nominal Israelites, it seems to me the model that the church would likewise encounter this problem.

          Can you clarify your meaning here? I think we might agree, so long as I’mu understanding you properly to mean that: (i) there is some degree of flexibility with which the Church can respond to the various needs of the time and place, and (ii) there are unorthodox challenges to the Apostolic structure of the Church, and that this structure must be defended.

          I.X.,

          Joe

    3. The Holy Spirit does not give the “successors” of anyone new revelation or authority. The Holy Spirit teaches “you” (i.e. specifically the Apostles) “all things” specifically the “remembrance [of] all that I said to you.”

      The Holy Spirit does not vest a body of men who weren’t there to remember anything Jesus had said, to authoritatively interpret doctrines and come up with new ones (i.e. satisfaction view of atonement–not Biblical, nor traditional.)

      You’re making three claims: that the successors of Peter can’t (1) remember anything Jesus said not otherwise recorded; (2) authoritatively interpret doctrines; or (3) invent new doctrines. [I’m ignoring the substitutionary atonement claim, because it’s wrong but complicated in a way likely to just be distracting.]. Of these, (1) and (3) are obviously true, and the Church has repeatedly emphasized as much (see, e.g., Dei Verbum 10).

      But (2) is false. What would be the point of sending the Spirit of Truth forever if He stopped being able to resolve conflicts after one generation?

      Again, why create the sort of Church Christ creates and then have it become a radically different Protestant Church one generation later? And if He was going to do that, why didn’t He tell anyone or give us a single clue that this would happen?

      The Scripture is the only thing that we have today that actually comes from the Apostles in which Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would bring in remembrance all that He taught. Ironically, the Scripture also describes itself as “God breathed” and can “equip the man of God for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17). I am unaware of any body of men or their writings that meets this standard.

      The Scriptures aren’t, though: we also have the Church. In fact, it was the leadership of this Church which wrote the New Testament, generally to other members of the Church. In fact, we’re promised that we’ll never be in a situation in which “the Scripture is the only thing that we have today that actually comes from the Apostles.”

      Here again: why would Jesus establish 12 Apostles if He really just Evangelists? Remember that at least 6 of the 12 never write a word of Scripture, and that about half of the New Testament Books are written by people (like Paul, Mark, and Luke) who weren’t Apostles. The chief contribution of the Apostles is the establishment, in a concrete form, of the Church created by Christ. The chief contribution of the Evangelists (be they Apostles or otherwise) is Scripture.

      Finally, I don’t think that it’s “ironic” that Scripture is God-breathed. There were Scriptures at the time of Jesus: most of the modern Bible. If Jesus intended to leave us with just more inspired books, He could have done that. But He doesn’t write a single word of Scripture, and He doesn’t instruct anyone else to do so. Instead, He creates a visible, structured Church, and sends it to go spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth, and promises to be with it until the end of time.

      In Christ,

      Joe

      1. “You’re making three claims: that the successors of Peter can’t (1) remember anything Jesus said not otherwise recorded…”

        Never made that claim. I made the claim that we have nothing recorded outside of Scripture that we have any certainty really comes from the Apostles. That’s a very different claim.

        “(2) authoritatively interpret doctrines;”

        Sure, they can interpret Scriptures. To do so authoritatively? The Scripture does not say that and in fact, the church fathers do not even say that. Augustine explicitly says even councils err. So, this is a somewhat newer invention.

        “(3) invent new doctrines.”

        No, the Apostles cannot invent new doctrines, I’d imagine you’d affirm that.

        “[I’m ignoring the substitutionary atonement claim, because it’s wrong but complicated in a way likely to just be distracting.].”

        Not really. It shows that in reality, Catholicism is like Pentecostalism in the sense that they can come up with new revelation. It is a fact that the satisfaction theory of atonement lacks explict Biblical and traditional support. The Catholic encyclopedia even says so. The teaching authority of the church at present is beyond that of the Scripture and earlier church. It is an unavoidable conclusion given how they treat doctrines such as the satisfaction model (which is not by necessity wrong, but as I said, lacking in explicit Biblical and traditional support.)

        “Of these, (1) and (3) are obviously true…”

        Wait, you affirm number 1, that the Apostles cannot remember anything? I don’t even think Protestants make that claim. I think I am mistaking what you are saying or you misspoke.

        “But (2) is false. What would be the point of sending the Spirit of Truth forever if He stopped being able to resolve conflicts after one generation?”

        You have a presupposition here: that the Spirit not only solves conflicts, but prevents the existence of them and any confusion in between. This was not even true when the New Testament was being written, let alone afterwards. Even when Jesus was around He taught, “Whoever is not against us is for us” (Luke 9:50) in reference to someone who was not in communion explictly with the Apostles but was doing works in Christ’s name. So, I think your presupposition actually contradicts Scripture and it is a misapplication of what Irenaeus taught in Against Heresies Book III.

        “The Scriptures aren’t, though: we also have the Church.”

        Again, the Scripture does not say that everything that comes out of the church is God breathed, and in fact, corrects some of the things men in the church were doing and warns them that they will fall into error. Even Catholic dogma is that not everything a Pope says is God breathed. Augustine said that not everything a council says is God breathed. Only the Scripture makes that claim for itself.

        Would you like to say which statements of the church are God breathed? WOuld you like to include the CCC with that?

        “Remember that at least 6 of the 12 never write a word of Scripture, and that about half of the New Testament Books are written by people (like Paul, Mark, and Luke) who weren’t Apostles.”

        Why in the Book of Revelation, some of the 12 tribes are not represented? Couldn’t tell you.

        “But He doesn’t write a single word of Scripture, and He doesn’t instruct anyone else to do so.”

        But He makes the promise in John 14 that He will bring into remembrance what He taught. This is what we find in the New Testament.

        God bless,
        Craig

        1. Never made that claim. I made the claim that we have nothing recorded outside of Scripture that we have any certainty really comes from the Apostles. That’s a very different claim.

          I was referring to this claim: “The Holy Spirit does not vest a body of men who weren’t there to remember anything Jesus had said, to authoritatively interpret doctrines and come up with new ones (i.e. satisfaction view of atonement–not Biblical, nor traditional.).” That’s where I’m drawing the three points you appear to be making. But if I’m misunderstanding the part I’ve bolded, I apologize.

          Wait, you affirm number 1, that the Apostles cannot remember anything? I don’t even think Protestants make that claim. I think I am mistaking what you are saying or you misspoke.

          No, I’m dealing with the “successors of Peter.” Again, I’m responding to your claim that post-Apostolic sources can’t legitimately “remember” or invent new doctrines. The faith is delivered once for all to the Apostles (Jude 3), even though our understanding of it deepens over time.

          This is also why, contra your assertions here, there’s a principled difference between (a) increasing our understanding of revelation, and (b) receiving new revelation. You seem to implicitly concede this when you acknowledge that something like the Catholic views on atonement can be true even if they don’t have explicit Scriptural or early Traditional support. You wouldn’t, I think, concede this if you thought it was really a matter of post-Apostolic revelation, since I think we both reject that.

          You have a presupposition here: that the Spirit not only solves conflicts, but prevents the existence of them and any confusion in between.

          I don’t make that presupposition, nor do I believe that. The whole reason that we need a Spirit-protected adjudication mechanism is that such conflicts will necessarily arise, as St. Paul says. If the Church is to be One (as Jesus and St. Paul also say) then there needs to be some way of resolving these disputes when they arise in such a way that all involved can trust the outcome.

          But He makes the promise in John 14 that He will bring into remembrance what He taught. This is what we find in the New Testament.

          This argument is circular: you’re starting and concluding that all of revelation is Scripture because Scripture contains all of revelation. But Scripture doesn’t teach this (which would be enough to defeat this argument), and actually seems to teach the opposite. John 21:25, “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

          Besides that, Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church into all truth forever, not “until you finish writing the New Testament.”

          I.X.,

          Joe

          1. -John 21:25, “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written”

            That does not mean these other things were of vital importance that their details needed to be remembered. God has His reasons.

            “Besides that, Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church into all truth forever, not “until you finish writing the New Testament.””

            But the Bible does not say that, Jesus makes the promise to the Apostles that they would remember what He taught them, hence “all truth.” The word “Church” and “forever” is not there.

        2. Speaking of John 14….He did promise the spirit to them forever guiding them in truth.

          John 14:16-17

          16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever,
          17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.

    4. 2 Tim 14-17: “But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, and that from infancy you have known (the) sacred scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

      If Timothy has known the sacred scriptures from birth, obviously Paul was referring to the Old Testament, since the New Testament didn’t yet exist. Furthermore, Paul doesn’t specify the “all” with regard to the canon of the Old Testament. Finally, he says it’s useful only and never says its adequate on its own to make one competent and equipped. The “may” gives the sense that there’s more to it if you really are to be competent and equipped. Lastly, the very letter is an example of Paul giving instruction independent of Old Testament scripture. You can bet that most of the instruction he gave Timothy was verbal and by example.

      1. This argument really doesn’t help you. What you are essentially saying is that the Bible is not equipped to help us do “all good works” by saying, “Well, how can that be true, the New Testament did not exist yet!”

        The New Testament not existing does not abrogate what Paul said! If you want to be really technical, all you need is the Old Testament then…it doesn’t really change anything. All the New Testament does is help us correctly understand what the Old Testament was teaching all along anyway.

        1. All the New Testament does is help us correctly understand what the Old Testament was teaching all along anyway.

          Are you denying that the New Testament contains information not previously found in the Old Testament? Hebrews 1:1-3 denies this, as does a basic understanding of Christianity.

          That’s the problem with this ahistorical misinterpretation of 2 Timothy: it would lead to a “sola Scriptura” that treats the New Testament as irrelevant or, at least, as nothing new.

          1. I don’t think I can reply here as much as I like, I have time commitments closing in plus my wife dropping a few hints not to “argue” so much.

            Perhaps she is right, but let me just say that I think you are misunderstanding the point that Paul is making in Heb 1. It is not about the insufficiency of Old Testament Scripture (as he proves his point FROM Old Testament Scripture), but the insufficiency of the Law and the Priesthood, which the literal meaning of the Old Testament might otherwise have us gravitate towards. As Paul shows, from the Old Testament, the Law and Priesthood are insufficient and the New Covenant was promised. The idea you can take a verse that plainly says the Scripture is sufficient for all good works (2 Tim 3:16-17) and try to spin any other interpretation of what the Canon was Paul had in mind is irrelevant. Whatever Canon Paul had in mind, which my opinion was the whole of it but that’s irrelevant, it’s sufficient. To say that it isn’t is to purposely dispute with Paul in order to say that we need more revelation outside of the Scripture to get the whole story. Clearly, this is not what Paul was saying.

            On a side note, 2 Clem 17, 1 Clem 1, 44, 47, 54, 55, and 57 all address there being multiple presbyters. In 1 Clem 1, he writes that “we” wrote the letter, which reflects a plurality in Rome. I have read Catholic sources that concede this fact, as well as a Catholic commenter on my website. So, no, I am not alone on this.

            I don’t have the time to go through ignatius. Sorry 🙁

            Hopefully I have more time to consider your responses thoroughly.

            GOd bless,
            Craig

          2. Craig,

            I respect your priorities, and your wife sounds like a wise woman. If it helps, feel free to let her know that I (and I suspect many others) appreciate your contributions, even when they’re in the form of argumentation.

            “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

            Joe

          3. I’ll let her know 🙂 Spending all evening worrying about where my sister was and reading antiochene liturgies might not be the funnest thing in the world for her. Which is why I try to make time for day trips and the like, but also worship and devotion. But, 1 Cor 7 does show that in the end of the day, I cannot devote the time to study that a celibates would and I need to come to grips with that. This is why when I hear Catholics hope that “the Pope will get rid of that celibacy thing” it makes me slap my head. There is a point to it you know!

        2. That’s not what I said. I agree Paul said it’s helpful to equip you, but I disagree that he said it’s sufficient…that’s what you’re reading into it. Paul’s reference to scripture in this case is the Old Testament, presumably the Septuagint. At the time his letter is an example of providing guidance beyond the Old Testament scripture and that would have been a supplement to much more extensive instruction by verbal word and deed. Similarly the Bereans would have been looking at the Old Testament only to validate to the extent possible everything new he brought to them verbally regarding Jesus.

  2. I always thought the saying “Iron sharpens Iron” was from the Bible thanks for pointing that out. Great site keep up the good work.

  3. Craig said: “The Scripture is the only thing that we have today that actually comes from the Apostles in which Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would bring in remembrance all that He taught. Ironically, the Scripture also describes itself as “God breathed” and can “equip the man of God for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17). I am unaware of any body of men or their writings that meets this standard.”

    ——

    Craig, who told you that the Scriptures you have now were indeed written by the Apostles? As far as I know, none of the original authors are still alive today to tell you that. And none of their original writings exist. We only have copies of copies. If you believe the Bible is apostolic because the Bible says so then your reasoning is not sound… It is round, as in circular.

    If it weren’t for the Catholic Church, you won’t have even have a single Biblical verse to talk about…

    You might be reading Jewish midrash, or the Gospel of Judas, or the Quran, or the Shapuragan… But not the Bible. What makes a specific religious text Biblical is because the Catholic Church says so. Not even the Jews have that authority. Remember the Church is the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). And the Catholic Church is true because Jesus himself built it. Whatever the Catholic Church binds or looses on earth is bound or loosed in heaven.

    If the Catholic Church were true because the Bible says so, then it would be protestant, not Catholic. It would refute itself. It would no longer be the pillar and ground of truth, just as none of the self-dividing, self-refuting sola scriptura sects resemble a pillar of truth.

    Therefore, it is not true that the Scriptures are the only thing we have that came from the Apostles. The Apostles built the Church as Christ commanded them. They gave us the pillar and ground of truth. That is what they handed over to us. Once the Church was established then, and only then, did the writing of scriptures began. Look up Paul’s epistles. He never wrote until he had planted churches first. The Bible came from the Church, the Church did not come from the Bible.

    Now if you believe the Bible to be inspired of God, it is because God first inspired the Catholic Church. The Bible’s natural habitat is the Catholic Church. For the sake of your soul, please don’t read the Bible outside the mind and inspiration of the Catholic Church. It won’t work…

  4. I came back to Catholicism because the bible does not support the doctrines of justification by faith and the sufficiency of the bible. Faith is an important part, but It is love manifested in works which saves. As to the bible, Christ said he was the Truth. Protestants seem to substitute the bible for Christ as their first principal. The traditions of the Church and the Mass are at least as important as the bible. Well written article!
    God Bless

  5. No, St.Josaphat did not die in vain. He was doing the Lord’s will. Trying to convert heretics. Just like St.Francis De Sales.

    This is because people need to convert to Catholicism in order to be saved. It’s a Catholic Dogma that ALL non-Catholics go to Hell. It would be pointless to preach if there were salvation outside the Church.

    Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, Ex Cathedra: “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives… and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”

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