or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Religious Studies › Is The Catholic Church the church that Jesus Founded? Is it the only path to salvation?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Is The Catholic Church the church that Jesus Founded? Is it the only path to salvation? - Page 2

post #21 of 41
Quote:
The Catholic Church can trace it's roots and history back to Peter the Apostle.
The Protestant response to this is that this is a) not true, or at least not meaningful, in the sense that Catholics claim, and b) not indicative that Christ therefore founded that church.

According to the law of identity, a thing is defined by its attributes. The written teachings of Christ and the apostles (ie. the New Testament, which all conservative Christians, Protestant or Catholic, would at least agree would not contradict their oral teachings) do not contain many doctrines which are today defining attributes of Catholicism, such as Mary-related doctrines, doctrines about the Pope and priesthood, etc. Indeed, I believe that the New Testament directly contradicts much Catholic teaching, and that Peter and co. would have been considered heretics by modern Catholics and vice versa. Catholics would obviously disagree with me there, but IIRC they do hold to the "development of doctrine" belief, which is an admission that "Catholics" like Peter did not believe many of the same doctrines, either at all or to the same extent, that Catholics today believe.

Given that, "Jesus founded the Catholic Church" must at most be read as "Jesus founded a Church which was markedly different in doctrine and practice from the Catholic Church today, but which turned into it over time". Referring to Jesus, Peter or any of the early Christians as "Catholic" is therefore misleading without that caveat.

Then you have to ask what is meant by "the early church developed into the Catholic Church". After all, I could equally claim that the early church turned into the Reformed Baptist church - it did, in the sense that there were always believers who believed a variety of things, some of which at some periods of history corresponded with what later became popularly known as the Reformed Baptist faith. In that sense, I suppose there's continuity of sorts. (But Reformed Baptists don't tend to care when a doctrine was developed/formalized/popularized, if it is clear it was originally taught in Scripture - being twisted or lost for 1000 years doesn't make a teaching any less true or less "founded by Christ".)

Similarly, the Early Fathers believed all sorts of things, more or less heretical, some of which are very modern-Catholic in flavour and some of which are downright Protestant - and many of which contradict each other, the Early Fathers being by no means a unified front. Picking out certain doctrines and certain quotes from certain members of the early church and labelling them "Catholic", with the rest discarded as heretics, can provide the illusion of continuity and unification which history does not support. It's revisionist and selective.

Ultimately much of the division between Protestantism and Catholicism comes down to authority and truth. Protestants believe that, say, the early Church was authoritative in the matter of ratifying the canon inasmuch as it was true; Catholics believe that we can know the canon is correct because the early Church had authority. Protestants believe that the doctrine of, say, sola gratia is authoritative because it is true, as determined from Scripture; Catholics believe that the doctrine of, say, the the immaculate conception is true because it is taught by the Church, which is authoritative. So a lot of dialogue between Protestants and Catholics ends up missing the mark: saying, sans Church authority, "The Bible says X" to a Catholic is an unconvincing to him as saying to a Protestant "The Catholic Church teaches X" is unconvincing to him. Different presuppositions.

So I'd suggest the really important question to ask yourself, if wavering between Protestantism and Catholicism, is "which presuppositions do I believe, and why?" Do you believe that the Bible can be understood by people like you, or that it requires a Magesterium to interpret it; and why? Do you believe that Jesus gave infallible teaching authority to members of a specific denomination, or not; and why? Do you believe the teachings of the Church today are in accord with Scripture or not; and why? Do you believe the Pope has authority/sits in the seat of Peter, or not; and why?
post #22 of 41
Smokering.. You rock. I love how you picked it all apart and put it all back together again in a way that makes perfect sense.

post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by genifer View Post
Im really sorry mamabadger but when you say 'we' are you talking about the Catholic/Orthodox/Coptic denominations or Protestant denoms? And when you say that, does that include the 'other' as being part of the same invisible/mystic church, or are they considered heretics?? I can see what you mean tho, bc it says that Christ is the head... and my head IS part of my body so... it follows on, lol. And if you are talking about the Catholic/etc church, I totally have always seen that particular church as an organisation/institution. But thats just me, lol. THE biggest religious 'institution' out there. But then again, I dont know a whole lot about the Orthodox/coptic church. WHAT a variety within christianity tho, lol.

Saying that, I still see Christ as The Head but at the same time distinctly seperate in that the church didnt die for us. However, now that I say that... I can see how we DO die to our selves everyday.... for the sake of the gospel.... like Christ did... but I still see it kind of like 'us' and 'Him'.

There are different ways of using the word heretic, some can be looser than others. When it is being applied to an idea, it is fairly clear, if the idea differs from the doctrine the Church says is true, then the idea is heretical.

However, the person who held the idea might not be a heretic. For example, some of the ideas of the very early theologian Origen were later declared heretical. He was dead by that time, and so was given no blame, since there was no way he could have anticipated the later understanding.

As well, although the Orthodox Church considers the Catholic Church to be heretical, or the Catholics consider that Martin Luther was a heretic, members of those groups aren't all considered to be heretics. In the context of an individual, usually they are only considered a heretic if they were a member of the Church and broke away. A person brought up a Lutheran isn't a heretic in that sense, though one might say that the person holds heretical views.
post #24 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
According to the law of identity, a thing is defined by its attributes.
That's a sticky proposition, though as I understand it, it isn't what the law of identity says. What do you mean by it's attributes? And are the attributes what make the thing what it is? (That seems quite clearly false.)
Would you say then, that we have no access to the substance of things, for example the substance of the Divine?
post #25 of 41
Ok, sloppily worded. I'm referring to this type of formulation: "Whatever is true in one form of words, is true in every other form of words, which conveys the same meaning". The average joe, hearing the words "Catholic Church", thinks of the institution defined by certain attributes - adherence to particular creeds, submission to the authority of the Pope, veneration of Mary and other saints, a certain hierarchical structure with priests, bishops etc. Clearly this is not the same as the early church; so one has to be very careful about using the term "Catholic" to apply to a group with very little resemblance to, and even opposing, the attributes of the Catholic Church today. I know some use the term "proto-Catholic", but even that's rather a loaded phrase, just as if I referred to the early church as "proto-Reformed" (which, theologically, I believe I'd have some basis for doing).
post #26 of 41
:

mamabadger is saying it far better than I ever could so I would just let her continue.
post #27 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Ok, sloppily worded. I'm referring to this type of formulation: "Whatever is true in one form of words, is true in every other form of words, which conveys the same meaning". The average joe, hearing the words "Catholic Church", thinks of the institution defined by certain attributes - adherence to particular creeds, submission to the authority of the Pope, veneration of Mary and other saints, a certain hierarchical structure with priests, bishops etc. Clearly this is not the same as the early church; so one has to be very careful about using the term "Catholic" to apply to a group with very little resemblance to, and even opposing, the attributes of the Catholic Church today. I know some use the term "proto-Catholic", but even that's rather a loaded phrase, just as if I referred to the early church as "proto-Reformed" (which, theologically, I believe I'd have some basis for doing).
I think that the theology of what the church is should not depend on what the average joe says. The question is what does God say it is.
post #28 of 41
I'm a former Catholic (although not anti-Catholic), had 12 years of Catholic school and my family was (still is very devout). Here's what I learned about salvation as it relates to the Church:

The Catholic Church is not the only way to salvation. There is Truth found in other churches/denominations, but the Catholic Church is the only church in which you can find the fullness of Truth (the whole truth).

(I don't personally believe this, but this is what I was taught growing up)
post #29 of 41
Quote:
I think that the theology of what the church is should not depend on what the average joe says. The question is what does God say it is.
...Yes, but how does that interact with my OP in this thread?
post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
...Yes, but how does that interact with my OP in this thread?
In order to assess what the Church is, or what it is supposed to be, it is simply not as simple as "Does it look the same as it did in the 1st century." What is the essence of the Church? What did the church, perhaps, believe itself to be in the 1st century. What has it claimed to be since then? What does scripture say?

Whether each individual doctrine or practice present at the beginning exists now is not an essential element, in that I know of no church, Protestant or otherwise that does not have a theory of doctrinal development.
post #31 of 41
That's what I was getting at. It's not a matter of "hey, they changed the design of the robes"; it has to do with its identity, what it considers core elements (the anathemas and dogmas are a good clue to this), the Biblical data on the nature and function of the church and, of course, the presuppositional aspect.

Doctrinal development is certainly present in every denomination, and isn't a problem per se; but it needs to be clearly recognised as such with an honest assessment of previous believers' beliefs, not co-opting or twisting their beliefs to anachronistically fit the mould or making them more Catholic (or Reformed Baptist, or Lutheran, or whatever) than they were. And where early believers believed things that were clearly at odds with modern Catholicism, and where Tradition is considered sacred, those differences of belief need to be clearly dealt with and not brushed aside as heresy. I'm not saying all Catholic scholars make this mistake, but I've come across it in a number of Catholic works (and by talking to Catholics, including my FIL): an emphasis on unity and continuity which is simply not supported by the historical data.
post #32 of 41
post #33 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
I think you would do well to read widely on these topics, from both the Catholic and the non-Catholic perspective, because the answers are going to vary hugely. Only you are going to be able to decide the answers to your questions based on the scholarly evidence.
PM me if you want some good Catholic teaching resources that debunk the questions in your OP.


Quote:
Originally Posted by genifer View Post
... it is so simple. Its not thru the church that anyone is saved. Its only thru Christ.
:


Quote:
Originally Posted by shanniesue2 View Post
The Catholic Church is not the only way to salvation. There is Truth found in other churches/denominations, but the Catholic Church is the only church in which you can find the fullness of Truth (the whole truth).
And the above is the Church's current official position.
post #34 of 41
salvation is not attained by belonging to a certain type of church, but through a relationship with the living God through Christ Jesus. It's not about what church is right or stems back to peter or even Jesus. The point is Jesus is alive today and you can have a relationship with him here and now.
post #35 of 41
unfortunatly a lot of churches are preaching a false Jesus. thats why belonging to a church with sound doctrine and right worship is important. I believe Christ is is big enough to save all for any reason on any path but having a relationship with HIM means knowing the real Him and that is a lot easier in the right church. The Bible warns against false teachers and those who are wise in their own eyes.
post #36 of 41
my point is that you don't get saved by attending a specific church. Belonging to the right church won't bring you salvation. Relationship with God will.
post #37 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by lyno View Post
my point is that you don't get saved by attending a specific church. Belonging to the right church won't bring you salvation. Relationship with God will.
I can understand this belief, but it all depends on what you or your denomination believe the Church to be. For some, saying "It is not the Church which saves you, it is Jesus Christ" is kind of like saying, "You are not saved by Salvation, you are saved by Jesus." Some of us believe the Church is Christ's way of maintaining a relationship with us, and part of the means of salvation, or at least the most direct means.
post #38 of 41
think of the church as a map. a map will help you get where you are going. you want the true map though. the one that won't fail you. just because you set off without a map or with a faulty map you still might make it. just because you have a good easy clear map you still might get lost. but how much better to have a good and true and accurate easy to follow map.

The True Church has a good easy to follow map. Some churches have maps with odd wonky directions but they will likely get you there. some church have maps that will lead you completely in the wrong direction and be more of an obsticle. some people choose to skip church and forgo the map altogether. its your choice and God can get you where he wants you regardless of the directions you choose. but the only True Map is found with the True Church (which I believe is the Orthodox Church....not the Roman Catholic church.....)
post #39 of 41
Great discussion!

Smokering- Catholics believe that the institution of the priesthood IS in Bible in the Gospels. In fact, the Church has biblical references for Her Marian beliefs and the Papacy as well.

Just thought I would throw that in.
post #40 of 41
I'm aware of that, although I obviously disagree with the interpretations (otherwise, well, I'd be Catholic!). In order to examine the legitimacy of those interpretations the OP would need to be aware of when and why those interpretations were formulated and according to what presuppositions: just as she would for any other interpretations (ie. Protestant or Orthodox ones). Catholic and Protestant interpretations of Scripture come from very different presuppositions, as Catholics take Tradition as axiomatic: which colours the resulting theologies to a tremendous degree.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Religious Studies
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Religious Studies › Is The Catholic Church the church that Jesus Founded? Is it the only path to salvation?