How to Prove that the Church was started By Jesus?

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Tyler_Smedley

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I need help proving to my protesent friend that the Church that was refered to in the bible was the Catholic Church and not just all the belivers in christ.
 
It would appear that you want to help your friend understand that Jesus established a visible Church.

If that is the case, then I would refer you to the following online resources:
  1. Go here for what the Catechism has to say about the Church being one, holy, catholic, and apostolic (yeah, its not concise, but who ever said that our beliefs needed to be?)
  2. Go here for a list and brief explanation of scriptural references to the visibility and unity of the Church
I do think that it is important to remember, however, that the dichotomy that you set up in your original post (‘the Church that was refered to in the bible was the Catholic Church and not just all the belivers in christ’) isn’t true in all circumstances, strictly speaking.

All who are validly baptized are joined to the Church which Christ established, even if many of them are joined imperfectly.
 
You need to lay some ground rules for what constitutes “proof” before it goes anywhere. While it is important to start with Scripture, since that will likely what he takes as authority, don’t get stuck in a Sola Scriptura rut because it will turn into a battle of the proof-texts. Always center the discussion on authority and always examine where the Scripture came from. Using Scripture, Early Church Fathers, historical (perhaps even archeological) evidence, build up a plausible case for the CC being the true Church. If he starts to complain, ask him to build a more plausible case using all the above. That is, it is not enough for him to shoot down your ideas–he must provide a better alternative. Since it is likely mostly Sola Scriptura, simply demonstrate its incoherence and go from there.

Scott
 
Tyler Smedley:
I need help proving to my protesent friend that the Church that was refered to in the bible was the Catholic Church and not just all the belivers in christ.
If your friend is honest and serious in raising this question then he has to be open to much more than just scripture. We all know that Jesus started one church. Matthew 16:18 doesn’t use the word churches . If there is one church then we must be able to do a historical analysis to determine which church that is.

I agree with the previous post that mentioned the early church fathers. Your friend needs to compare catholic teaching (eg. the Eucharist) along side scripture, and along side the early church fathers beginning with Ignatius of Antioch’s letter to the church at Smyrna to see that they are all consistent. Catholic teaching on baptism, confession and the other areas can be verified in this way as well.

The church Jesus founded would have a consistent history of belief all the way back to the apostles. Obviously, only the catholic church meets the criteria.

Moreover, we can trace our church history through the line of popes going all the way back to Peter. All other christian denominations are late to the scene and cannot trace their history further back than the reformation.

If your friend is willing to study these things in terms of the church fathers he is probably half way home. The church fathers and scripture verify that which is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.
 
He can also read Pope St Clements letter to the wayward Corinthians written in 96AD.Clement takes it for granted that he as Bishop of Rome, will be obeyed.

Chapter 42-44 deal with the orderly arrangement of bishops, priests and deacons - this 60 some years after Jesus died.

newadvent.org/fathers/1010.htm
 
I really like Keating’s explenation about this very topic: Whats Your Authority
Although, I have found that when you give a Protestant so thorough an answer, they tend to stare at you blankly for a few seconds, you would think they had never talked to a Catholic who “knows what hes talking about”. I suppose I shouldn’t enjoy blowing people’s minds open, but it does leave some more room for God to work on them then 😃
 
Go to Heb 11-12 and ask yourself: are the only valid believers the ones who affirmed Christ and a Pope (as the apologists here would advocate the first generation of Christians did with Christ and Peter), or is the faith something which has never changed from the time of Abel and which we can share in confidence without deciding to hold some particular man infallible?

If the faith that Abel had is the same faith (according to the writer of Hebrews) that the first-generation Christians had, Christ did not “start” the church: Christ did something else to draw a people unto Himself which is the same thing He has does since man fell.

If Able’s faith is not the same faith as Paul’s faith – that is, if he attained righteousness by something other than faith in God’s promise for a savior – then you can start making a case for Christ “starting” the church with Peter. Your theology of the church has got to include the theological facts of the book fo Hebrews, not overlook them.
 
centurion << then you can start making a case for Christ “starting” the church with Peter. Your theology of the church has got to include the theological facts of the book fo Hebrews, not overlook them. >>

I don’t think there’s much disagreement here if you accept the idea that the Church is the new Israel. So yeah, in a sense the Church was there (somewhat hidden) in the Old Testament, and the New Testament Church is the fulfillment of the old.

The Dispensationalists are those who make the clear distinction between Israel and the Church, and say God’s plan of salvation changed from old to new Testaments. Catholics and many Protestants don’t do that.

So Catholics it seems would include the Old Testaments saints and fathers mentioned in Hebrews 11-12 as part of the Church…we don’t overlook those chapters. They are mentioned in our Mass as well (the patriarchs and prophets, etc).

And yeah, Jesus did say “You are Peter (Rock), and upon this rock I will build my Church.” We don’t have to attempt to “make a case for it”, its right there in plain English (all right, in plain Greek and/or Aramaic :D). Peter was the foundation stone of the Church according to Jesus (and most Protestants would agree, if you check their commentaries on Matthew).

To prove the Church of the Bible is the Catholic Church, one book that does it well is Kenneth Whitehead’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic: The Early Church is the Catholic Church

My entire opening statement to Jason Engwer is still valid as well, although I didn’t finish this debate

The Roman Catholic Church is the true Church

Phil P
 
Tyler Smedley:
I need help proving to my protesent friend that the Church that was refered to in the bible was the Catholic Church and not just all the belivers in christ.
Well, when it says in Matthew 18 that one is to go to the Church when there are disputes, which church is it? It can’t be “a group of ordinary believers” since they’re the ones you turn to BEFORE you go to the Church.

Paging Beng: post that great post that involves Matthew 18 and the Church and Baptism 🙂
 
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PhilVaz:
centurion << then you can start making a case for Christ “starting” the church with Peter. Your theology of the church has got to include the theological facts of the book fo Hebrews, not overlook them. >>

I don’t think there’s much disagreement here if you accept the idea that the Church is the new Israel. So yeah, in a sense the Church was there (somewhat hidden) in the Old Testament, and the New Testament Church is the fulfillment of the old.
Oh my. And I have to answer in 5000 characters or less? I’ll have to come back later … 👍

You’re an articulate guy, Phil. Some people say that’s a spiritual gift. :tiphat:
 
Well, I arent as clever or well worded as most that have answered this post but here I go …

Jesus handed the keys to Peter, and built His Church on the Rock. (or something like that 😛 )

But it doesnt say in the Bible, Jesus handed the keys and said to Peter “Here are the keys, upon this rock I build the Catholic Church”

It was just a progression of Jesus to Apostles to Bishops etc, then years or centuries, (I dont know history that well), it became known as the Catholic Church.

It was then the only Christian church (I think) until the splits started, and all the other Christian movements started happening as people got “fed up” with Rome being the leaders , or got “fed up” with following Jesus’ laws such as divorce.

I think thats how I would approach the Protestants claim as to who said it was the Catholic Church mentioned in the Bible.

Then when it starts to get heated you can start quoting all the fancy stuff that others here have quoted

Love Kellie
 
“Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church and the gates of herll shall not prevail against it.”

There is only one Church founded by Jesus Christ. Peter was in charge. As they traveled and converted people they appointed bishops and priests.
Read pope St Clement (4th pope) who wrote in 96AD about the necessity of obeying your bishop, priest and deacon. Or read St Ignatius who first called the church katholicos[catholic] in 97AD.
 
Little bit o’ background:

I was raised a Presbyterian and rejected all religion in college. Later, after feeling “lost in life”, I attended RCIA classes as an inquisitive atheist. I was looking for something more, but was not sure what that “more” was, so, at the suggestion of my cradle-Catholic wife, I went to the classes.

What’s my point?

As someone who went looking for the truth about God, the one statement that the priest made that really stuck with me was that, in the nearly 2000 years of the Catholic Church, she has never once changed her teaching on a matter of faith and morals. That really got my attention, because I had heard about all the changes made by Vatican II, et. al, and thought the statement to be a bold one. Basically, I decided to stick around to give him the opportunity to prove it. He did. I am now a Roman Catholic.

I found it indicative that the Catholic Church was the one true Church of Christ because the deposit of Catholic faith and her moral teachings has remained constant for two millennia. Other Christian denominations have disparate and frequently conflicting teachings on matters faith. Many protestant faith traditions can, and do, change their teachings about that of which Christ Himself taught in His earthly ministry; they change things often by majority vote or the whim of their particular pastor, etc. The point being that this cannot reflect the one true Church that Jesus instituted. Christ taught one faith for one Church, and we fallible, sinful humans have no right to delete, change, amend, or redefine those teachings in any way. There is but one deposit of faith that has remained completely intact since Christ instituted it, and that is the Roman Catholic Church.

That is the perspective that helped me to come home to the Catholic Church.

Also, one other scriptural point of the one true Church, recall in 1 Corinthians 11:18, when Paul tells them he has heard of the divisions among them. To address the divisions among them, he first reminds them of the very reason they came together in the first place; it was for the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist. And then he reminds them from whom the teachings come; from the Lord. He brings them back to the whole reason for the faith. They cannot be divided, because Christ unifies them. (It’s also a really good lead-in to a discussion on the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist with verses 27-29 🙂 )
 
Tyler Smedley:
I need help proving to my protesent friend that the Church that was refered to in the bible was the Catholic Church and not just all the belivers in christ.
While you are trying to prove this to him Pray a lot (I know you are), and then ask him to prove that Jesus did not found this Holy Catholic Church. What I have found is if I continue to question what they have to say they get to the point where they start to use sources outside of the Bible, or they start interperting Bible verses in contridction with one another.

Good luck and I will be praying for you.
 
I think Neumann said it best: “Those who are deep in history cease to be protestant.”
 
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