Thursday, August 30, 2007

Is There Salvation Outside the Catholic Church?

This is a reply to Joe on my previous post. I wanted to start a new thread since it is a different topic.

This is the official teaching of the Church which you have quoted. Thanks for posting it - it's very relevant and authoritative. I agree fully with the quote you gave. Anyone who knows the truths of the Catholic Church and rejects them does not receive salvation. There is no salvation outside the Church. In the same way, there is no salvation outside of Christ (which I know you will agree with) - but a tribesman who is brought up completely ignorant of Christ may be saved by special grace in the same way that those outside the visible Catholic Church may be saved due to their "invincible Ignorance" of the truth.

From Lumen Gentium:

"This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved."
And later:
"The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter. (14*) For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. (15*) They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ. They also recognize and accept other sacraments within their own Churches or ecclesiastical communities. Many of them rejoice in the episcopate, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God.(16*) They also share with us in prayer and other spiritual benefits. Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood. In all of Christ's disciples the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end. (17*) Mother Church never ceases to pray, hope and work that this may come about. She exhorts her children to purification and renewal so that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the earth."
And there are some other more powerful and pertinent writings on this subject from Cardinal Ratzinger but I can't seem to locate them at the moment. The short answer is - if you knowingly reject the truths of Christ & His Church (which are inseparable) you are going to hell. If you are ignorant of the full truth - you may be saved though without the sacraments you are at a disadvantage.

Keep in mind that my entire family (except my fiancee and step son) are Protestant - many of who are devout Christians (including my grandmother - the most devout follower of Christ I know) so don't think for a second that I'm saying Protestants are going to hell. I would say the ones in my family have been brought up in a tradition that has kept them comfortably ignorant of the Catholic Church (this is not an insult - I love my family dearly).

I wish they would all come to full communion with the Church and naively I hope they one day will. But I know many of them have strong dedication to Christ and although incomplete - since their faith is practiced in sincerity to the best of their knowledge and ability - with ignorance of Christ's Church - they may escape damnation as I pray to God for the same mercy for myself.

Just don't expect me to latch on to hyper-ecumenism and start saying we're all going to heaven - because some of us aren't. (I'm talking very broadly here not by any means pointing to any individual or even group).

"Narrow is the gate and few are those who find it".

"He cannot have God as Father who has not Church as mother".

27 comments:

Joe said...

Ok. But, I don't know that the writers of the statement from the Council of Florence are rolling over in their graves with the statement from Vatican II that allowed an "ignorance clause."

Now, I have some concern about this belief with regards not to those who are ignorant but with regards to the very first Christians.

What you are saying is not as simple as simple repentence and faith in the gospel of the Son of God, but rather there is something else here: Repent, believe the gospel, and join a church that is in communion with Peter who alone holds the keys.

The problem is the Apostle Paul, the one who did one of the most important things for the future of western Christianity by rebuking Peter to his face.

Why is Paul a problem? It's a problem because according to his own testimony in Galatians, he was preaching the gospel among gentiles and starting churches A FULL THREE YEARS before he even conceded to visiting Jerusalem to meet Peter.

Understand the implications? Paul was preaching the gospel he had been given, NOT FROM MAN, but from Jesus, and he did not even personally know the first Pope, Peter. He had not been given "holy orders" from Peter. I don't even know that Peter had been to Rome as of yet. If so, then there was not even a "Roman Catholic Church" initially.

" But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and having called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the nations, immediately I did not confer with flesh and blood;
Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those apostles before me, but I went into Arabia and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days. "

So, during those initial 3 years of Paul's ministry, the gospel requirement had nothing to do with "holy orders" from the Roman See, or communion with the Bishop of Rome.

Paul's gospel was simply Christ and Him crucified. A dead body dangling from a cross who had expired for the cause of sinners. Repent and believe.

Could Paul, in view of the pronouncements of the RC Church have said the following...

" And I went up by revelation. And I put before them the gospel which I proclaim in the nations, but privately to those seeming to be pillars, lest I run, or I ran, into vanity...But from those who seemed to be something (what kind they were then does not matter to me; God does not accept the face of man), for those seeming important conferred nothing to me.
Gal 2:7 But on the contrary, seeing that I have been entrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision, as Peter to the circumcision;
Gal 2:8 for He working in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision also worked in me to the nations.
Gal 2:9 and knowing the grace given to me, James, and Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, gave right hands of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we go to the nations, but they to the circumcision."

Paul is absolutely saying that he owed nothing to Peter in terms of his apostleship and, what's more, there is no mention of Peter as pillar alone but "James, Cephas and John who seemed to be pillars."

Could Paul have written...

"For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal?...According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and...For all things are yours, whether it is Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas"

By believing that submission to the chair of Peter and communion with the Roman See is a requirement to be saved, you have just run up against CLEARLY written testimony from Holy Scripture that the gospel in the first 3 years of Paul's ministry made no mention of that requirement, and he made it clear that no OTHER gospel than the one he was given "not from men but from Christ" should be accepted, even if it were preached by an angel.

Blessings,
Joe

Joe said...

Just for affect, to see how it's a struggle to believe that the words from the council of Florence are "without error" as well as Vatican II, I juxtaposed text from both, which is joined together with the elipses and the word "But."...

"The Holy Roman Church…firmly believes, professes and preaches that ‘no one remaining outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans’, but also Jews, heretics or schismatics, can be-come partakers of eternal life; but they will go to the ‘eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’ (Mt. 25:41), unless before the end of their life they are received into it [the Catho-lic Church]. For union with the body of the Church is of so great importance that the sacra-ments of the Church are helpful to salvation only for those remaining in it…and no one can be saved, no matter how much alms he has given, even if he sheds his blood for the name of Christ, unless he remains in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church,...[BUT]...We can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood."


Though I have zilcho respect for the teachings of Gerry Matatics, I have to see that he is only being consistent when I believes Vatican II was a phony one.


Blessings,
Joe

Joe said...

Notice also from the statement from the Council of Florence that there would seem to be no room at all for "an ignorance clause." It says that pagans are lost. Careful language is used regarding "not only pagans" but in contrast Jews, heretics and schismatics. Pagans by nature would be ignorant, wheras Jews, heretics and schismatics would not since they all have in common had exposure to the truth of Roman Catholicism yet willfully rejected it.

There is no wiggle room here for Vatican II.

Blessings,
Joe

TheGodFearinFiddler said...

Joe - Paul didn't invent Christianity. He was one of (the least by his own words) the apostles. He did a lot of great work for the kingdom.

He rebuked St. Peter - The Church knows about this incident. She included it in the Bible thats the only reason you know about it. So you should thank the Church.

I posted recently on St. Irenaeus and other bishops rebuking Pope St. Victor on a different issue. It's not news and you're not bringing up any point that anyone isn't aware of. You keep coming back to it. But Paul didn't challenge Peter's doctrine, in fact he affirmed it! He rightly rebuked Peter for not following it.

It was still Peter not Paul who walked with Christ. It was Peter on whom Christ Himself said He would build His Church and it was of Peter whom Christ said "Feed my sheep" and "I give you the keys to the kingdom". To a 21st century American Protestant, those verses don't mean much - but to a first century Jew they did.

You toss out a lot of Scripture - I'm not going to get into a debate on sacred Scripture with you (or anyone). You follow the young tradition of Calvin & Luther. I follow the ancient tradition of the Catholic Church. We disagree. We'll have to leave it at that. It's not just me you disagree with, but the first 1000 years of Christianity, almost all of the first 1500 and the majority of all Christians ever born. Here are some of the early fathers who framed the faith which you borrowed from and now criticize:

Ignatius of Antioch


"Be not deceived, my brethren: If anyone follows a maker of schism [i.e., is a schismatic], he does not inherit the kingdom of God; if anyone walks in strange doctrine [i.e., is a heretic], he has no part in the passion [of Christ]. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of his blood; one altar, as there is one bishop, with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons" (Letter to the Philadelphians 3:3–4:1 [A.D. 110]).



Justin Martyr


"We have been taught that Christ is the first-begotten of God, and we have declared him to be the Logos of which all mankind partakes [John 1:9]. Those, therefore, who lived according to reason [Greek, logos] were really Christians, even though they were thought to be atheists, such as, among the Greeks, Socrates, Heraclitus, and others like them. . . . Those who lived before Christ but did not live according to reason [logos] were wicked men, and enemies of Christ, and murderers of those who did live according to reason [logos], whereas those who lived then or who live now according to reason [logos] are Christians. Such as these can be confident and unafraid" (First Apology 46 [A.D. 151]).



Irenaeus


"In the Church God has placed apostles, prophets, teachers, and every other working of the Spirit, of whom none of those are sharers who do not conform to the Church, but who defraud themselves of life by an evil mind and even worse way of acting. Where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church and all grace" (Against Heresies 3:24:1 [A.D. 189]).

"[The spiritual man] shall also judge those who give rise to schisms, who are destitute of the love of God, and who look to their own special advantage rather than to the unity of the Church; and who for trifling reasons, or any kind of reason which occurs to them, cut in pieces and divide the great and glorious body of Christ, and so far as in them lies, destroy it—men who prate of peace while they give rise to war, and do in truth strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel. For they can bring about no ‘reformation’ of enough importance to compensate for the evil arising from their schism. . . . True knowledge is that which consists in the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place [i.e., the Catholic Church]" (ibid., 4:33:7–8).



Clement of Alexandria


"Before the coming of the Lord, philosophy was necessary for justification to the Greeks; now it is useful for piety . . . for it brought the Greeks to Christ as the law did the Hebrews" (Miscellanies 1:5 [A.D. 208]).



Origen


"[T]here was never a time when God did not want men to be just; he was always concerned about that. Indeed, he always provided beings endowed with reason with occasions for practicing virtue and doing what is right. In every generation the wisdom of God descended into those souls which he found holy and made them to be prophets and friends of God" (Against Celsus 4:7 [A.D. 248]).

"If someone from this people wants to be saved, let him come into this house so that he may be able to attain his salvation. . . . Let no one, then, be persuaded otherwise, nor let anyone deceive himself: Outside of this house, that is, outside of the Church, no one is saved; for, if anyone should go out of it, he is guilty of his own death" (Homilies on Joshua 3:5 [A.D. 250]).



Cyprian of Carthage


"Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress [a schismatic church] is separated from the promises of the Church, nor will he that forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is an alien, a worldling, and an enemy. He cannot have God for his Father who has not the Church for his mother" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 6, 1st ed. [A.D. 251]).

"Let them not think that the way of life or salvation exists for them, if they have refused to obey the bishops and priests, since the Lord says in the book of Deuteronomy: ‘And any man who has the insolence to refuse to listen to the priest or judge, whoever he may be in those days, that man shall die’ [Deut. 17:12]. And then, indeed, they were killed with the sword . . . but now the proud and insolent are killed with the sword of the Spirit, when they are cast out from the Church. For they cannot live outside, since there is only one house of God, and there can be no salvation for anyone except in the Church" (Letters 61[4]:4 [A.D. 253]).

"When we say, ‘Do you believe in eternal life and the remission of sins through the holy Church?’ we mean that remission of sins is not granted except in the Church" (ibid., 69[70]:2 [A.D. 253]).

"Peter himself, showing and vindicating the unity, has commanded and warned us that we cannot be saved except by the one only baptism of the one Church. He says, ‘In the ark of Noah a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. Similarly, baptism will in like manner save you" [1 Peter 3:20-21]. In how short and spiritual a summary has he set forth the sacrament of unity! In that baptism of the world in which its ancient wickedness was washed away, he who was not in the ark of Noah could not be saved by water. Likewise, neither can he be saved by baptism who has not been baptized in the Church which is established in the unity of the Lord according to the sacrament of the one ark" (ibid., 73[71]:11).

"[O]utside the Church there is no Holy Spirit, sound faith moreover cannot exist, not alone among heretics, but even among those who are established in schism" (Treatise on Rebaptism 10 [A.D. 256]).



Lactantius


"It is, therefore, the Catholic Church alone which retains true worship. This is the fountain of truth; this, the domicile of faith; this, the temple of God. Whoever does not enter there or whoever does not go out from there, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. . . . Because, however, all the various groups of heretics are confident that they are the Christians and think that theirs is the Catholic Church, let it be known that this is the true Church, in which there is confession and penance and which takes a health-promoting care of the sins and wounds to which the weak flesh is subject" (Divine Institutes 4:30:11–13 [A.D. 307]).



Jerome


"Heretics bring sentence upon themselves since they by their own choice withdraw from the Church, a withdrawal which, since they are aware of it, constitutes damnation. Between heresy and schism there is this difference: that heresy involves perverse doctrine, while schism separates one from the Church on account of disagreement with the bishop. Nevertheless, there is no schism which does not trump up a heresy to justify its departure from the Church" (Commentary on Titus 3:10–11 [A.D. 386]).



Augustine


"We believe also in the holy Church, that is, the Catholic Church. For heretics violate the faith itself by a false opinion about God; schismatics, however, withdraw from fraternal love by hostile separations, although they believe the same things we do. Consequently, neither heretics nor schismatics belong to the Catholic Church; not heretics, because the Church loves God; and not schismatics, because the Church loves neighbor" (Faith and the Creed 10:21 [A.D. 393]).

"[J]ust as baptism is of no profit to the man who renounces the world in words and not in deeds, so it is of no profit to him who is baptized in heresy or schism; but each of them, when he amends his ways, begins to receive profit from that which before was not profitable, but was yet already in him" (On Baptism, Against the Donatists 4:4[6] [A.D. 400]).

"I do not hesitate to put the Catholic catechumen, burning with divine love, before a baptized heretic. Even within the Catholic Church herself we put the good catechumen ahead of the wicked baptized person . . . For Cornelius, even before his baptism, was filled up with the Holy Spirit [Acts 10:44–48], while Simon [Magus], even after his baptism, was puffed up with an unclean spirit [Acts 8:13–19]" (ibid., 4:21[28]).

"The apostle Paul said, ‘As for a man that is a heretic, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him’ [Titus 3:10]. But those who maintain their own opinion, however false and perverted, without obstinate ill will, especially those who have not originated the error of bold presumption, but have received it from parents who had been led astray and had lapsed . . . those who seek the truth with careful industry and are ready to be corrected when they have found it, are not to be rated among heretics" (Letters 43:1 [A.D. 412]).

"Whoever is separated from this Catholic Church, by this single sin of being separated from the unity of Christ, no matter how estimable a life he may imagine he is living, shall not have life, but the wrath of God rests upon him" (ibid., 141:5).



Fulgentius of Ruspe


"Anyone who receives the sacrament of baptism, whether in the Catholic Church or in a heretical or schismatic one, receives the whole sacrament; but salvation, which is the strength of the sacrament, he will not have, if he has had the sacrament outside the Catholic Church [and remains in deliberate schism]. He must therefore return to the Church, not so that he might receive again the sacrament of baptism, which no one dare repeat in any baptized person, but so that he may receive eternal life in Catholic society, for the obtaining of which no one is suited who, even with the sacrament of baptism, remains estranged from the Catholic Church" (The Rule of Faith 43 [A.D. 524]).

This comes from Catholic Answer's Salvation Outside of Rome which contains both a nihil obstat and an impimatur.

Now that we've gotten over the issue of Paul, if you still disagree and think this encounter disproves Catholicism - fine by me. Just please quit bringing it up.

TheGodFearinFiddler said...

Joe - the issue of contradiction is a much more reasonable objection to Catholicism than the point on Paul. It's one I wrestled with during my conversion. Here is my post on that exact subject.

Joe said...

So, can you offer some comments on the nature of the requirements of the gospel Paul preached for those first 3 years before "holy orders" from Peter?

Can you comment on the fact that Peter at that time was "seated" in Jerusalem, therefore there really was no "chair of Peter" and "Roman See" that could be added to the gospel as requirements?

Can you comment on the fact that quoting early fathers regarding the "catholic" church is meaningless unless you first define what "catholic" meant to them and also support from the earliest fathers the contention that Catholic = "Roman Catholic".

Why do you want to deal with teachers in the church some 200 or 300 years after the church was established and the faith "was once delivered" (Jude) but you seem a little less robust in going back to the times of the apostles themselves?

Blessings,
Joe

Thos said...

Joe,

Fellow Protestant here. Your first comment here was lengthy, but only at the end did you tie it to GFF's Post. He wrote about a seeming contradiction in teaching of a Church that hangs its hat on never have contradicted or changed. Instead of writing about that, you wrote about Paul teaching without having first received Peter's commission. 1) This has no relevance to today's Catholic claims; Paul was commissioned in a miraculous encounter with Christ, so would not need to receive the delegated commissioning authority that Catholic's claim Christ gave to Peter (and the other Apostles for the respective Sees?). 2) That Paul got to Peter and the others to receive their assent to his teaching cuts strongly against the point you're trying to make. Paul could not hop on Jet Blue to get their commissioning - he was, so to speak "on a mission from God."

I hope this helps the discussion!

GFF,

Question: was Florence an "infallible" ecumenical counsel? I honestly don't know, and wonder if the Catholic Church has to argue strictly within the confines of its language, or can amend it. Thanks!

Joe said...

thos,

your points...

1.) Please don't dance around the nature of the three years Paul was preaching the gospel before even meeting Peter. The gospel Paul preached during these 3 years had NO REQUIREMENT of being submitted to Rome, Peter, etc. Paul had not even met Peter.

The gospel cannot change as the nature of the Church changes. It is "the faith ONCE delivered to the saints." (Jude)

Were those saved under Paul and the churches established during those 3 years in line with the requirements assumed in the Council of Florence and Vatican II? (Let alone the Council of Trent. But we won't got there.)

2.) But he expressly says in Galatians that he didn't "need" their assent, that the gospel he received and preached prior to the assent did not change AFTER meeting with the PILLARS (not pillar) of James, Cephas and John.

In fact, from the Scriptures I quoted, as well as the fact that Paul rebuked Peter (can the lesser rebuke the greater?), we see equality among the apostles in terms of authority. One cannot argue a greater authority for Peter. There are the three pillars of James, Peter and John whom Paul met with.


Blessings,
Joe

Joseph said...

Joe,

The Twelve were called by Our Lord, Jesus Christ. During His ministry, he chose St. Peter as the head of the Apostles. Judas fell to avarice, betrayed God, then hung himself from a tree. At the behest of St. Peter, in fulfillment of the Sacred Scripture, the Apostles sought out a worthy replacement and selected him by lot. That was St. Matthias. The Twelve are still th Twelve. St. Matthias had been one of the disciples who had witnessed Christ's ministry, His Resurrection, and believed in Him as the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. That was the condition that St. Peter set on the replacement for Judas and St. Matthias met that condition. They were directly "sent" by Our Lord to preach the Gospel and baptize in the name of the Blessed Trinity.

After those events, St. Paul was encountered by Christ Himself! He was sent by Jesus Christ Who appeared to him. That is why he bears the name of Apostle. He was sent directly by Jesus Christ. However, he was not one of the original Twelve. There is no doubt that his preaching amongst the Gentiles and Jews was of divine influence before he journeyed to Jerusalem. Certainly Christ retained His own power to appear to St. Paul, and commission him personally like that of the other Apostles. This doesn't mean that St. Paul would not later submit to the authority of the Church. You also seem to forget that St. Paul journeyed to Jerusalem so that he could, in fact, be accepted by the Apostles. If he thought he was autonomous, there would have been no need for him to do this. Not only that St. Barnabas was his sponsor! It was precisely his prophesying before he went to Jerusalem that gained him acceptance. Still he needed St. Barnabas to sponsor him because the Apostles had reservations about his past.

I'm afraid the "Paul rebuked Peter" argument doesn't prove that Peter was the Apostle selected as the Prince of the Apostles.

The Church is described in the Apocalypse of St. John (Revelation) Chapter 21:9-27

"And there came one of the seven angels, who had the vials full of the seven last plagues, and spoke with me, saying: Come, and I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he took me up in spirit to a great and high mountain: and he shewed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God, and the light thereof was like to a precious stone, as to the jasper stone, even as crystal. And it had a wall great and high, having twelve gates, and in the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. On the east, three gates: and on the north, three gates: and on the south, three gates: and on the west, three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them, the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that spoke with me, had a measure of a reed of gold, to measure the city and the gates thereof, and the wall. And the city lieth in a foursquare, and the length thereof is as great as the breadth: and he measured the city with the golden reed for twelve thousand furlongs, and the length and the height and the breadth thereof are equal. And he measured the wall thereof an hundred and forty-four cubits, the measure of a man, which is of an angel. And the building of the wall thereof was of jasper stone: but the city itself pure gold, like to clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper: the second, sapphire: the third, a chalcedony: the fourth, an emerald: The fifth, sardonyx: the sixth, sardius: the seventh, chrysolite: the eighth, beryl: the ninth, a topaz: the tenth, a chrysoprasus: the eleventh, a jacinth: the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, one to each: and every several gate was of one several pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein. For the Lord God Almighty is the temple thereof, and the Lamb. And the city hath no need of the sun, nor of the moon, to shine in it. For the glory of God hath enlightened it, and the Lamb is the lamp thereof. And the nations shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates thereof shall not be shut by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. There shall not enter into it any thing defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb."

The pillars of the Church are the original Twelve. That doesn't mean that St. Paul isn't deserving of the title of Apostle, it just illustrates where the pillars of authority are held for the entire Church. St. Paul wouldn't argue with St. Peter or St. John over whether or not he deserves to be one of the pillars of the Church.

Joseph said...

Joe,

Humbly, you don't seem to be grasping anything we are saying. GFF has told you multiple times that a lesser can rebuke a greater if the greater is in the wrong. This doesn't mean that the lesser suddenly usurps the power of the greater. Being the Pope doesn't mean that one cannot make mistakes or that one becomes sinless. If St. Peter made an error in judgment that St. Paul corrected him on, it doesn't mean that St. Peter was not the Prince of the Apostles.

A practical example would be me rebuking my boss for doing something unethical to some of his other employees. Does that make me the new boss?

Obviously, that is a secular example, so don't dwell on it too hard.

I hope you understand this so we can move on to other topics.

Joe said...

Joseph,

Paul said in no uncertain terms he didn't need approval from "those who seemed to be pillars."

He had a gospel and an ordination from Christ directly.

He went to Jerusalem to submit his gospel to the other apostles for the sake of unity.

Show me one place in Scripture that spells out the evolution of Peter into a Pope that one must submit to in order to be saved.

Blessings,
Joe

Joseph said...

Joe,

You are turning St. Paul into a rebel. Don't you realize what your Scripture analysis is doing? The Church is the pillar of Truth, the Church was described in Apocalypse with the foundations of the Twelve Apostles, Jesus Christ gave St. Peter the keys of the Kingdom and told him that upon him the Church would be built, Jesus Christ gave St. Peter and the Apostles the power to make doctrine (bind and loose), forgive sins, ordain priests, confer the Sacraments, He gave them His Flesh and Blood in the Eucharist, He breathed the Holy Spirit on them in the upper Room so that they could understand the Holy Scriptures, He commissioned St. Peter to his office when He directed him to "Feed His sheep", St. Peter initiated the order to find a replacement for Judas, it was St. Peter who was given the vision that "all things were clean" and that Gentiles could be welcomed into the Church, St. Peter was the one to make the binding declaration in the Council of Jerusalem (that St. James the Lesser [the one that most Protestants mistakingly claim was Jesus' blood brother, not realizing that a claim such as that diminishes Christ's True Divinity] affirmed)...

All of this is in the entire body of the New Testament. Affirmed by all of the Apostles (and their disciples St. Mark and St. Luke), even St. Paul.

I beg you to see what you are doing. You are turning St. Paul into an outcast, a lone rebel, who never needed those other guys in the first place. That is not who he was. You are twisting his words for your own gratification!

Christ commissioned him to preach. Tim, Thos, and I all told you that. St. Paul was an Apostle because he was "sent" by Christ Himself. But, that didn't abrogate his need to go to Jerusalem. Why would he need St. Barnabas to sponsor him if he "didn't need those guys"? Why would he even allow St. Barnabas to sponsor him. If what you are quoting from Scripture is to be taken in the sense that you are interpreting as, then St. Paul was too darn good for those so-called pillars of the Church.

Please stop misquoting the Scripture in such a horrid fashion. St. Peter was crucified upside down where St. Peter's square is today, according to tradition. There is a same tradition that St. Paul was tortured and beheaded not far from the same place on the same day (though it may have been the following year). They died together, and you are turning them against one another as envious power-hungry enemies. Why?

Joe said...

Joseph,

Before I answer your points, I want to ask you to answer the questions regarding the nature of the gospel Paul preached for those first three years before meeting Peter or any of the other disciples. Do you think he was building churches and telling them that in order to be saved they had to submit to the authority of Peter above all other apostles in order to be saved? I asked some rather pointed questions about this and they are getting lost in the shuffle.

The only priesthood still active according to the NT is the "royal priesthood", that of Melchizedek, which applies to every believer,according to the the very words of Peter himself in quoting the OT and applying it to the church.

The Roman Catholic Church has a priesthood that is not conferred on all, so it seems not to be what Christ or Peter had in mind.

Now, you use the passage in Matthew to prove that Peter somehow was Pope over all the other apostles, and also that for perpituity.

As you all so highly regard the church fathers, you should know that only 16 out of 84 of the early church fathers believed that this passage in question taught that Peter was the rock as opposed to his confession of Christ (which is what all the apostles made, and that unto death.) 16 out of 84...19%! That's a mystery, if indeed this was what the apostles taught from the beginning. How can this be, if this was the original teaching of the apostles?

My intention is never to pit Paul against Peter. It seems to be the practice in most 'Galatians error' perspectives that justice is not done to Paul. I try to correct that.

(For instance, "Messianic Jews" downgrade Paul because they felt he taught that we no longer had to follow Torah. Liberal Christians today don't like Paul's antiquated views on womanly submission, anti-homosexuality, no women leaders in church, etc., so they write great books on how Paul was "the second founder of Christianity" who remade Jesus into something He was not. And, apparantly, like some Roman Catholics who don't like his authority claims and "Reformation Theology.")

I feel I need to quote Paul again. This does not sound like a man who felt he and his converts had to submit to Peter and get "holy orders" in order to have a valid ministry and church.

"And, brothers, I make known to you the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not according to man. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it except by a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you heard my manner of life when I was in Judaism, that I persecuted the church of God with surpassing zeal, and ravaged it. And I progressed in Judaism beyond many contemporaries in my race, being much more a zealot of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and having called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the nations, immediately I did not confer with flesh and blood; Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those apostles before me, but I went into Arabia and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days. But I saw no other of the apostles, except James the Lord's brother. And what I write to you, behold, before God, I do not lie. Then I went into the regions of Syria and of Cilicia, and was unknown by face to the churches of Judea in Christ. But only they were hearing that he who then persecuted us, now preaches the faith which he once ravaged. And they glorified God in me.
(Gal 1:11-24)Then through fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation. And I put before them the gospel which I proclaim in the nations, but privately to those seeming to be pillars, lest I run, or I ran, into vanity. (But not even Titus, the one with me, a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.) But because of those false brothers stealing in, who stole in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus; they desiring to enslave us; to whom not even for an hour did we yield in subjection, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But from those who seemed to be something (what kind they were then does not matter to me; God does not accept the face of man), for those seeming important conferred nothing to me. But on the contrary, seeing that I have been entrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision, as Peter to the circumcision; for He working in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision also worked in me to the nations. and knowing the grace given to me, James, and Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, gave right hands of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we go to the nations, but they to the circumcision. Only they asked that we remember the poor, which very thing I was eager to do. But when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was to be blamed.
(Gal 2:1-11)"

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Thank you, gents...

...for this very interesting discussion. As it is, it relates directly to a question I had raised previously: Are Trent and Vatican II in conflict over the status of non-(Roman) Catholics?

I don't think the argument which pits Peter and Paul against each other, as if they were somehow vying for preeminence, is a good one.

If I think I have something to add to the discussion at some point, I may. As it stands, I am content to sit back, read and consider the thoughtful comments being posted here.

Blessings,

Pilgrimsarbour

Joseph said...

Joe,

You are taking St. Paul out of context. I can't continue watching you trample on Sacred Scripture any longer.

Joe said...

If Peter himself was "the Rock" upon which the church would be built (ignoring Paul's assertion that the foundation is :apostles and prophets" plural...(Ephesians 2:20) “Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets...and against which the gates of hell would not prevail, why then was Peter caving in to the hypocrisy of the Judaizers, and were it not for Paul to come along and rebuke him to his face and correct him the church would have continued the course of error?

Peter did not stand up to "the gates of hell" in the form of teachers perverting the gospel. Paul did.

I thank God that the rock-solid foundation was ALL the prophets and apostles and their confession of Christ who alone is "the rock."

Blessings,
Joe

Joe said...

Pilgrim,

You said...

"I don't think the argument which pits Peter and Paul against each other, as if they were somehow vying for preeminence, is a good one."

Kindly understand that that is not my intention at all, but rather Joseph's accusation. I believe that Peter and Paul had equal authority, albeit in different spheres (one to the Jews, one to the Gentiles).

Again it is not my belief at all that any one apostle has more authority than another.

I made mention of Paul rebuking Peter merely provide a corrective for the false transformation of Peter into a Pope that all other apostles and believers must submit to as one having higher authority than anyone else.

Blessings,
Joe

Joe said...

Did Jesus preach the primacy of one disciple over another? God forbid.

The mother of James and John came to Jesus asking to give her sons pre-eminence.

Predictably, the "other ten" (which obviously includes Peter) got angry.

"But Jesus called them and said, You know that the rulers of the nations exercise dominion over them, and they who are great exercise authority over them. However, it shall not be so among you. But whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be chief among you, let him be your servant;
(Mat 20:25-27)"

How can it be maintained that the chair of Peter is higher than all others and that all must be subservient to him.

This is not what Jesus taught.

And, did Jesus give the keys to Peter alone or to the Apostles as a whole?

If He had given them only to Peter, an incident that appears in the chapter just prior to this one, everyone would've know who "the greatest" was. The mother of James and John would not have dared asked for her sons to be exalted above the others, for she would've known Peter was "the holy father", the very Vicar of Christ, who alone holds the keys.


Blessings,
Joe

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Thanks for the clarification, Joe.

japhy said...

And yet, Paul went to Jerusalem to see Peter specifically after his first three years of preaching (cf. Gal 1:18), and he went again fourteen years later to lay before them "the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, lest somehow I should be running or had run in vain" (Gal 2:1-2).

Why would Paul meet with Peter -- as well as Peter, James, and John -- twice, the second time expressly to ensure he had not been running in vain? He admits they were men of repute (cf. Gal 2:9) although he also says they "added nothing" to him (Gal 2:6).

I think it's important to recognize that the gospel Paul was preaching to the Gentiles and that being preached to the Jews was identical (because the Apostles had nothing to add to Paul's gospel). Thus, there was no question of whose interpretation of the gospel was being told. There was a sense of continuity in the Church. There was not differing opinion!

Nowadays, that is not the case: thus the importance of being in the Church with the original gospel that has not been altered. (Of course, you'd probably say the Catholic Church has changed the gospel. I disagree.)

Joe said...

Japhy,

It's most logical that Paul would go see Peter at some point and build a relationship with "the pillars."

Paul was an enigmatic "13th", was once a great persecutor of the church, with a commission from God every bit as prominant as Peter's. Peter was charged to go to the Jews, and he to the gentiles.

No one is denying that there was some leadership in the church. Elders, deacons, the apostles had the highest authority, and Peter James and John were known as "pillars."

James seemed to be the central authority in Jerusalem according to Acts 15.

Admitting this though does not then logically lead to the full blown doctrine of apostolic succession, the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, that Peter somehow had the keys and the other apostles didn't, that submission to the Pope is necessary unto salvation.

There is little to no support for this in the first century or two of the church, and there is absolutely no support in the scriptures.

As I said before, only 19% of early church fathers interpreted Matthew 18 to be saying Peter was the Rock. They conclude, like the Orthodox and Protestants today, that it was Peter's faith, the same faith IN ALL THE APOSTLES - which is why it is said in Ephesians that the "foundation" is made up not of Peter alone but of all "prophets and apostles" with Jesus HIMSELF as the CHEIF CORNERSTONE.


Blessings,
Joe

TheGodFearinFiddler said...

Joe - I'm getting a serious case of apologetic fatigue with your posts. Seriously, they're so full of half-truths and misinterpretations of scripture along with arbitrary inventions (19% of Church fathers interpreted this verse to mean Peter's faith? Did you really expect anyone to buy that?) So I'm just going to send you to some Catholic apologetic sites - I am not an apologist by any means - I like to engage in some casual apologetics from time to time but I simply don't have time or the patience to keep re-addressing tired issues that have been settled a long time ago.

It's not that you believe anything any differently than other Protestants in regards to why Rome is wrong - you're just more sloppy about how you present it leaving it too easy to defeat. Even Thos, another Protestant pointed out the incoherency of your post. Try www.catholic.com or Dave Armstrong's Cor ad Cor Loquitor (which is on my side bar) for some in depth apologetics. You will find all of your arguments decisively answered there.

Ok Thos > re: the inerrancy of the council of Florence - excellent question. I don't know the answer. I am looking into it. In the mean time, does anyone else know?

Also, further clarification may be necessary for 'infallibility'. This isn't 'God breathed' the words are human - though perhaps imperfect in phrasing and what not, they do not contain any doctrinal error (when I say this I am guessing, I'm not sure the specific details of Catholic doctrine on the phrasing etc... and to what level the statement is 'perfect'. As I understand it, the infallibility means simply that the Church is incapable of teaching doctrinal error in any official capacity).

I have to again bring us back to the point I made to Joe (which he didn't respond to that I saw) that all Christians would dogmatically say that there is no way to God except through Christ. This statement is infallible, and as it's worded in Scripture is God Breathed. Yet, in a very easy way we may say it can be apparently contradicted>

We all say Abraham, Moses, Elijah etc... are all in Heaven yet did not "accept" Christ. The objection is - "well they weren't able". It is the same with the ignorant tribesman and the ignorant Christian outside of the Church - if they are truly invincibly ignorant and thereby unable to submit to the Church's authority, then the possibility of their salvation exists as long as they cooperate with God's grace (which does work in them as well).

This doesn't change or contradict the teaching "there is no salvation outside the Church" anymore than "Abraham is in heaven" or "someone completely unaware of Christ may possibly be saved" contradicts "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me".

This also has something to do with baptism. We all know that according to Scripture and unanimous early Christian testimony, baptism is necessary for salvation. Yet the penitent thief went to heaven according to Scripture without being baptized. This does not contradict the teaching that baptism is necessary.

It is akin to the statement - "You have to go to work to earn money". By saying "No I have sick days so sometimes I can stay home and still earn money", you haven't contradicted the truth stated in proposition one - you've merely offered an exception. We speak using the rule - not the exception.

Scripture also does this "train your child up in the way of the Lord and when he is old he will not depart from it" (paraphrase from Proverbs) yet we all know well intentioned Christians who have raised their children right and in their old age the children DIDN'T follow the Lord. Have we contradicted Scripture? By no means!

Re: The Infallibility of The Council of Florence - I will get back to you on that one if I can find it.

Joe said...

fiddler,

Good enough. I'm not the greatest apologist either (as my alleged "incoherency" may show) nor do I like apologetics. I much more enjoy pure devotion to Jesus.

However, I challenged you on some things not to convert you or anyone away from Catholicism, but to challenge the "un-generosity" of the catholicism in not just Roman Catholicism but also all those little fundamentalist sects that think no one can be saved unless they join their church.

I think the Roman Catholic church has been filled with some great saints, and the church would be greater if it could have the humility that it has erred at times and that it needs to correct some things.

It has not (that's why great catholics like Luther had to bail) and probably never will, and my fear and dread is that this obstinancy and arrogance and refusal to admit it has erred will bring it to a terrible end.

Blessings,
Joe

TheGodFearinFiddler said...

Joe - I give everyone the benefit of the doubt (or try to anyhow) and I assume you have nothing but good intentions.

But one thing I think you don't understand about the Catholic Church is that it is inherent in our doctrine that we don't err on doctrinal issues. We believe that Sacred Tradition is infallible. This doesn't mean that members of the Church (even popes) haven't done lots of bad things in history. Peter was rebuked for evil behavior, Pope Leo X was rebuked by Martin Luther for bad behavior.

But the bottom line is > a bad officer doesn't disprove the office.

What I'm saying about the Catholic Church is > we CANT say that we've taught doctrinal error. And we don't deny anything now that we ever taught. We still affirm it. Even though some groups disagree with us, that's fine but we're not changing our doctrine based on the whims of some who have broken away from us. We simply can't. We don't have authority to change the doctrines which were handed to us from the apostles.

George Weis said...

Hmmm. What about me Tim? I research the ideas, and I'm still not convinced. Not even History convinces me that the authority of the church of Rome was always so weighty. If that was the case, why wasn't Romans addressed to Peter... or at least saying anything about him? I do think that yes, the RCC has its roots way way back, but that doesn't mean it is THE church. It seems to be a very narrow view and not a narrow road. If that was the case, that statement wouldn't have fit in the middle ages as most of europe was RCC. So what's the deal man? Also, talk to me about the screwy Avignon Papal mess? Who was the real vicar then?

Love ya man!

-george-

Tim A. Troutman said...

George, I haven't gotten as far as Avignon in my studies yet although I have read some rather anti-Catholic history from one Bruce Shelley on the subject.

I don't know what to say about that issue as of yet other than false-popes don't disprove the papacy any more than false-messiahs disprove Christ. There are multiple people claiming to be pope as we speak (one in particular that I know of is the "pope" of the Arian "Catholic" "Church" - yes they're still around and have their own pope). There is only one pope - currently his name is Benedict XVI whatever confusion there may have been in years past.

George Weis said...

I am just reading through history in general. I haven't read any "anti-catholic material" on it really. But the thing is, it was a switch around, because Avignon was where the popes were coming from at the time... then it switched back? Just a pretty weird thing. I wish I had you around in person for some lengthy discussion. I would love to see what convinced you man. I am willing to be wrong... I really am, but I just don't see it lining up yet!

Take it easy brother!

-george-