Saturday, June 2, 2012


Did Jesus leave authority with his disciples, or did he want his church to flounder in the wind , and go in any direction it pleased? Is there a need for a hierarchy? I was listening to an old broadcast from Allistair Begg today, Allistair Begg is a preacher on XM radio's Christian station. He quoted a commentator on the state of modern Christianity. She said "The mainstream of American Protestantism is in danger of losing all of its biblical foundations. It is now possible in this country, to carry on the expected work of a Protestant congregation with no reference to the bible whatsoever. The worship services of the church can be divorced from biblical models and become the celebration of the congregations life together. Art forms and aesthetic experiences can be used as substitutes for communion with God. The preachers opinions and ethical views can be made replacements for the words of biblical texts. But the amazing thing is that no one in the pews even knows".
As I heard this, I couldn't help wonder if this problem comes up in Protestant circles. If every church is saying that the bible alone is the source of authority, how is it that there are 33,000 denominations getting something different from the bible. Yesterday I posted an article of a pastor losing his church because he took a stand supporting gay marriage. I've read of other churches that support abortion. These are two issues that the bible is clear about, but when ordinary men start a church they immediately claim that they alone have the authority to interpret scripture. I hear all the time that the Holy Spirit is our guide to interpreting scripture, but if that's true all churches would believe the same thing. Either the people are misinterpreting it , or the Holy Spirit can't make up it's mind. The bible tells us that Jesus would send his spirit to guide us in all truth, but who exactly did he give that to?

But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.
-John 16:13 (NABRE)

Where is the truth promised? Either Jesus lied to the 12 , or there is a place where truth can be found. I don't believe any Christian would call Jesus a liar, so let's look at the evidence. First off let's see what happens when we try to read scripture without the apostles.

2 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 2He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
-Acts 8:30-31 (NABRE)

Obviously reading scripture proved to be too difficult for a layman to understand. But the apostles are no longer with us either, so did Jesus leave a way for us to know which interpretation to accept?

Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
-Matthew 16:17-19 (NABRE)

Many people don't realize that Jesus was quoting an old testament reference here.

1I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder;what he opens, no one will shut, what he shuts, no one will open. 1I will fix him as a peg in a firm place, a seat of honor for his ancestral house; 1On him shall hang all the glory of his ancestral house:descendants and offspring, all the little dishes, from bowls to jugs.
-Isaiah 22:20-24 (NABRE)

The keys given to Peter were the keys to the kingdom of David. If we read the opening to Matthews gospel we see him giving the lineage of David up to Jesus. Jesus then hands those keys to Peter. Many argue that Peter was not the first pope. I think the scriptures reveal more than we realize.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” [Jesus] said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”
-John 21:15-19 (NABRE)

Here Jesus is clearly singling Peter out to lead his flock. After the ascension , Peter is the first to speak.

1During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said,
-Acts 1:15 (NABRE)

1For it is written in the Book of Psalms:‘Let his encampment become desolate, and may no one dwell in it.’And:‘May another take his office.’ 1Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.”
-Acts 1:20-22 (NABRE)

Here not only is Peter the first to speak, but as the first pope , he establishes the act of succession. If the office of judas had succession , wouldn't Peters' also? Notice also that Peter is first to preach a sermon, and baptize a gentile. Many argue that when Paul came and corrected Peter for not eating with the Gentiles it proves he wasn't the pope.

The apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter. 1 After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to them, “My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.
-Acts 15:6-7 (NABRE)

What we have here is the first church council. We know from Paul's letters that he was the one to correct Peter. But even though Paul had corrected him, it was Peter who stood up and made the decree. But even if Peter was the first pope, what kind of authority does his office hold?

1 [Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 1 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. 1 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
-John 20:21-23 (NABRE)

As the father has sent me , so I send you. How did the father send Jesus ?

Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
-Matthew 28:18 (NABRE)

So Jesus leaves them with the power to bind and loose things in heaven and earth. That means Jesus is telling them that he will change heaven according to what they bind on earth. This has to mean that the Holy Spirit wouldn't allow them to bind anything false.
This is the basic catholic argument for papal authority, it goes much deeper, but I don't have the time. Protestants get angry if they hear the term papal infallibility. Papal infallibility does not mean that the pope is sinless, or any different from any other human. What it does mean is that the Holy Spirit prevents him from teaching false doctrine from the chair of Peter. If you look at all of the changes we see in Christian churches today, you also will notice how little the catholic church has changed. I know there are many things that seem mysterious to outsiders, but the deposit of faith that Christ left on earth is the same.
Thank you for reading.


  1. There are other things in the bible jesus is clear on, but I am not here to pass judgement. I have seen that enough with my child.
    I try to live my life everyday for Christ not for men. When we stand before our Lord on judgement day, and we all will, one on one with Jesus, he will ask us to give an account of our life and talents that he gave us , not what we poured into the building. We get so caught up in doctrine and being right. It hurts alot of people and they walk away from the church and from christ. The churches are hurting because we can't get along. We fight over pity things.
    Paul says in Philippians 1:15-19

    15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

    Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.[a]

    1. Joyce, I apologize if I come off as focusing on doctrine. That was not my intent. When I started my journey, part of it was figuring out which church to attend. While searching I saw the differences in each Christian faith. It caused me to look into why Catholics believe and practice certain things. I realized most people have a preconceived notion of what the church teaches , so I only wanted to demystify those misconceptions. There are many things the catholic church can learn from Protestants. One thing i see in Protestants that I don't see in Catholics is the emphasis on scripture , and the need to have Jesus as your personal lord and savior. I believe God wants his family to be united, not in conflict. We all have the same father, and if we are all part of the body how can the hand not agree with the feet. When I write about particular issues, my goal is not to alienate anyone, but as Christians we need to stand up for our faith. We are to love everyone , even the worst sinners, but that doesn't mean we should love the sin itself. All of us have a cross to bear, mine is my arrogance. I'm still a baby Christian , and have a lot to learn. I appreciate that you didn't just give up reading my blog, and helped me see how I came off. Your feedback is always something I look forward to. Thank you for reading

  2. Thanks for e-mailing me back. . I respect that you are defending your faith and love that about you. I am married to a Protestant and my roots are Catholic.

    It has been hard for some of my extended family..I have step on some toes.. but I have grown. I see both sides and i respect both sides now. I have things in my church I don't agree, and their are things in the Catholic church I don't agree with also.

    I would not give up on your blog. God brought us together for a reason. I just have seen so much in my young journey and it hurts me deeper, because others blame God when they get hurt in the church and walk away from Him. You are searching Him out, may you find Him and find Him with your whole heart. He will guide you to the right or the left and fill your days with joy. Don't let your feelings get in the way of what you believe. Jesus is your Lord, the rest will work out! When we over complicate things we lose our joy!

    Blessings always,