Elevation Church Cult of the Decade. Southern Baptists do it again.
Catholicism is the Truth
.For over 2,000 years only One Church has remained one in unity and doctrine, founded by Christ,and the only Church which can claim to be one of Apostolic sucession, the only one which can say it put together what is today called The Holy Bible and that the Holy Spirit guides the Pope in matters ecclesiastical thus making it the only Church which can claim to be infallible in doctrinal matters. The CATHOLIC CHURCH. First some quotes from (www.catholic.com)'s answers page proving the infallibility of the Catholic Church in matters ecclesiastical:""Look, the fact is, the only reason you and I have the New Testament canon is because of the trustworthy teaching authority of the Catholic Church. As Augustine put it, ‘I would not believe in the Gospels were it not for the authority of the Catholic Church’ (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 5:6). Any Christian accepting the authority of the New Testament does so, whether or not he admits it, because he has implicit trust that the Catholic Church made the right decision in determining the canon.
"The fact is that the Holy Spirit guided the Catholic Church over time to recognize and determine the canon of the New and Old Testaments in the year 382 at the synod of Rome, under Pope Damasus I. This decision was ratified again at the councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397 and 419). You, my friend, accept exactly the same books of the New Testament that Pope Damasus decreed were canonical, and no others.
"Furthermore, the reason you accept the books you do is that they were in the Bible someone gave you when you first became a Christian. You accept them because they were handed on to you. This means you accept the canon of the New Testament that you do because of tradition, because tradition is simply what is handed on to us from those who were in the faith before us. So your knowledge of the exact books that belong in the Bible, such as Philemon and 3 John, rests on tradition rather than on Scripture itself!"
Some quotes from geocities: " WHICH CHURCH BEST REFLECTS THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS? WHICH CHURCH TEACHES CHRISTIAN TRUTH?
This is a question that has caused much heart-searching, and endless conflict between the supporters of various Christian denominations. Today virtually every church body lays claim to being the "True Church" in that IT teaches the purest and most Godly Christian message.
However once there was only One Church - the Church founded by Jesus Christ on Peter and the Apostles. This was the Universal Church.
Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
John 20:22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
The original Church was one worldwide body with one heavenly head - Christ, and with a single earthly leadership - consisting of Peter, the Apostles, and their successors. This seemed to be supported by Holy Scripture, in which Jesus had made several specific promises about the Church:
The Church was one body, headed by Himself. He would be with His Church until the end of time. The Church would preserved from error by the Holy Spirit It's earthly Head was St Peter.
In addition, in most of their Epistles, St Paul and the other Apostles had emphasised the need for obedience to the authority of the Apostolic elders and bishops of the Church, and the doctrines that they taught. By their very nature as TRUTH, Church doctrines could not change. The very nature of revealed truth meant that doctrines were unchanging in their essentials. Any new doctrine which contradicted what had always been taught by the Church, therefore had to be false.
How did the Church get so Divided?
This dates from the Reformation itself, when the leaders of the new movement, people like Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Knox and Cranmer, decided that what the Catholic Church taught about the Christian Gospel was wrong. At first the Reformers expected the whole Church to be won over by their new doctrines. But once they realised this wasn't going to happen, they faced a major problem.
According to the Bible and Tradition, they must submit to the authority of the Church. If not, they became sinners, and rebels against Christ's Church, like the false teachers condemned in Scripture. Scripture also says;
Matthew 18.17: "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax-collector."
What Did The Reformers Do?
FIRSTLY they declared that the Bible had more Authority than the Church, and that anything the Church did that wasn't specifically in the Bible, must be wrong. By placing their interpretation of Scripture above all the Traditional Apostolic teaching of the Church, they claimed the right to change any Church doctrines they disliked, or thought contradicted Scripture.
However this was still not enough for the Reformers' position to prevail, since the Church could come back with their own interpretation of scripture, which, due to the authority that the Church had been given by Jesus, had to be accepted.
This logic drove the Reformers into their SECOND big leap. They declared that the Church itself had gone Apostate. It had fallen away from Christ, become evil, and was no longer the True Church which Christ and the Apostles had founded. They were therefore freed of their duty to obey it, and could legitimately preach their own doctrines.
This was a huge step. Luther, Calvin and their allies had to argue that the Christian Church had somehow been taken over by the devil, and that all the people of Christendom had been deceived for over a thousand years by false doctrines.
They set-to this task with enthusiasm, proclaiming that the Pope was the Antichrist, and that the true Christian Church lay with the Reformers and their teachings, not with the "Church of Rome".
But is this Biblical?
Not at all.
According to the New Testament view of the Church, the Christian Church was promised not only visible unity, but also that it would be protected from teaching falsehood. The Holy Spirit would guide the Church in truth, and keep it out of the hands of the enemies of God.
John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.
1Ti 3:15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.
Jesus's promise of Matthew 16:18 was very clear "the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." False doctrines, doctrines of the devil, would never overcome or dominate the One Church that Jesus founded on Peter and the Apostles. The whole basis of the Reformers' charge that the Church was teaching false doctrine, therefore flew in the face of Jesus's most explicit promise to the Church. If the Reformers were right, and the Church had begun to teach false doctrine, the promises of Jesus had been broken!
So what Had Happened to the One Church, Founded by Jesus and the Apostles?
This was the first big question the new Protestant Churches faced. Local rulers like Henry the Eighth of England, the Scandinavian Kings and the North German Princes, eagerly grasped the opportunity offered the Reformation to seize the property of the Old Church. Some of this property was returned to the Reformers to enable them to found new National denominations. The Reformation leaders accepted this stripping of the property of the Church as the price they must pay to the secular rulers for the Authority to teach their new doctrines.
But the Bible stressed time after time that there was only ONE Church, that must not be divided. Yet in the Protestant lands there were soon dozens of different churches all teaching their own particular doctrines. This was clearly not scriptural. How could this represent the True Church?
Jesus also said I have given them the glory that you gave me that they may be one as we are one I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17: 22-23)
If Jesus WANTED thousands of different Churches all with different doctrines and Bible interpretations, why did He say otherwise?
To counter this concern, Protestant theologians came up with another new idea: There was still One True Church, but that Church was invisible. No-one knew who was in it but God, because it consisted of all true (protestant) believers across the world. In any real form, the One Church of Christ did not exist, but symbolically it was still out there somewhere.
However this conflicts both with the scripture above, and with the evident concern of the Apostles in their letters that the Church should teach One clear doctrine, spurn false teachers and have one leadership, confirmed by the Apostles themselves.
So Which is Really The True Church?
Everyone agrees that the True Church was the Church founded by Jesus and the Apostles. It received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Apostles founded Christian Communities throughout the Roman world, and particularly in Rome, where both Peter and Paul settled and were martyred.
According to Catholics and the Orthodox Churches, this Church grew and developed, through the Roman martyrs, the Church Fathers and Ancient Councils, to become the Catholic (or Orthodox) Church of today, always holding to the same the doctrines handed down from the Apostles by word of mouth and in writing.
According to some Protestants, the early Church Apostatised at some point, usually declared to be around 300 - 400 AD, and from then on followed false doctrines, ceasing to be the true Church. In the 1500s Protestant Reformers rediscovered the original doctrines taught by the Apostles and revived the True Church as protestantism.
BUT FOR THE PROTESTANT VIEW TO BE RIGHT, TWO MAJOR QUESTIONS HAVE TO BE ANSWERED.
1. WHEN DID THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TURN FALSE?
If you ask a fundamentalist Protestant this, you will be hard-pressed to receive a precise answer. If pushed, most will say that this happened some time around 300 AD, when Christianity became a legalised religion in the Roman Empire.
Protestant fundamentalists have a whole list of doctrines which they claim are false, and which they claim suddenly entered the Church at this time: These include, good works needed for salvation, devotion to the Virgin Mary, tradition given equal weight with scripture, and the Papacy. Other beliefs that they claim entered the Church later, include specific Marian doctrines, Purgatory and Transubstantiation. See highlighted links for details of these issues.
Catholics would state that all the above doctrines were part of the original teaching of the Church, and point to the historical record, and the writings of the early Church fathers to prove:
1. That none of these doctrines was new in 300 AD. And that all were accepted and taught by the Church from the earliest times.
2. That there is no proof whatsoever of any major changes in Church doctrine in 300 AD or at any other time, and
3. That the major Protestant doctrines, such as Faith Alone for Salvation, Scripture Alone for Doctrine, or a disbelief in the real presence of Jesus's body and blood in communion, were not taught in the early church, nor by any church at any time before 1520 AD.
2. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TRUE CHURCH BETWEEN 300 AD AND 1520 AD - DID IT DISAPPEAR?
This second question is the one Protestants find hardest to answer, and they try to evade it whenever possible. If Protestantism is true Christianity, where was the True Church for the one thousand two hundred years between 300 AD and 1500 AD?
A) Did God just let the True Church and its teachings die?
Some Protestants would argue this. For although churches split away from the Catholic Church before 1520, these fell into two groups.
1. Churches like the Orthodox, Coptic and Armenian Churches, which split from Catholicism largely for political reasons. There are small doctrinal differences with Catholicism, but otherwise all hold very similar doctrines. They believe in Apostolic Succession, Faith and Works for Salvation, the equal validity of both Scripture AND Tradition, the veneration of Mary and the Saints, and prayer for the dead. None of them share protestant distinctive doctrines.
2. Blatantly heretical groups such as the Gnostics and Cathars, who believed that matter was evil; Arians and Nestorians who challenged the Divinity or manhood of Christ; Anti-Trinitarians, and holders of similarly non-Christian opinions.
Neither of these groups held to the key Protestant teachings. Therefore, if Protestantism is the teaching of the True Church, the True Church clearly did not exist between biblical times and 1520 AD.
A lot of protestants blithely accept this. But this raises one very major problem. If Catholicism is false religion, and Protestantism is the true faith that leads to Salvation, and Protestantism was not taught until 1520 then everyone who lived before 1520 COULD NOT HAVE BEEN SAVED.
Did no-one who lived in that period go to heaven? Scripture seems clearly to deny this:
Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, even to the end of the age."
So again, for this Protestant argument to be true, Jesus's promise must have been false, for the world was abandoned to the "errors" of Catholicism for the greater part of 1500 years!
Therefore if Jesus's promise has been kept, THE TRUE CHURCH CANNOT BE PROTESTANT, since Protestantism has NOT been taught from the Crucifixion to the "end of the Age". Only Catholicism has.
B) Then did the Protestant Church exist as a "Remnant" for 1500 years?
This is the fall-back position of some Protestant fundamentalists. They argue that there has always been a "hidden remnant" of Christians, holding to "true" Protestant doctrines, who survived from Apostolic times until the Reformation, largely in secret, and persecuted by the official church.
However the problem is, that there is absolutely no reputable academic evidence for this.
Attempts have been made by various apologists and fantasists to construct a "Baptist succession" from the time of Christ to the present. This generally requires trying to link pre-1500 heretical movements into some sort of chain, claiming that these were the hidden Protestants. The groups most favoured are the Albigensians, the Waldenses and the Lollards.
However none of these groups existed before the 12th century, and, even more devastatingly for this argument, none of them shared the key Protestant teaching of Salvation by Faith Alone. The Albigensians were in fact Gnostics, who believed matter was evil, and that there were two gods, one good, one evil!
Protestantism cannot have come to us by these means. Nor did Luther and Calvin claim to have received their teachings from such groups.
Were the pre-1500 Protestants perhaps so savagely persecuted that all trace of them has been lost?
Again, this argument has no merit. Could 1500 years of Protestantism have left absolutely no trace? We know of, and have solid written evidence of, the beliefs of even tiny heretical groups from the first century to the present. These include:
Gnostics - Who believed matter was evil
Montanists - Who forbade marriage and anything worldly
Marcionites - Who rejected the Gospels as false
Monarchianists - Who denied the reality of the Trinity
Arians, - Who said Jesus was not fully God but a creation.
Pelagians - Who denied Original Sin and the need for Salvation
Donatists - Who refused to readmit Apostate Christians
Collyridians - Who sacrificed to Mary
Nestorians - Who said Christ had two personhoods.
Apollinarians - Who said Jesus was not truly human.
And many, many more. But of any group holding Protestant beliefs we have no trace whatsoever.
What Must we Conclude?
As far as I can see, there is one chain of conclusions:
1. Jesus founded One Church, and said that it should remain One. He did not want a divided and constantly splitting Church.
2. Jesus promised that the Church would be preserved in truth by the Holy Spirit and that He would remain with it until the "end of the age."
3. The Church Jesus founded was led by Apostles, who passed their Authority on to Bishops.
4. The earliest writings of the Church confirm that it took a Catholic view of Authority, the Sacraments, Church Order, Real Presence in Communion, Regenerative Baptism, Prayer for the Dead, the significance of Mary, the means of Salvation, and other doctrines.
5. There is no evidence of ANY group of Christians holding to the main Protestant teachings before 1520. Protestant teachings are therefore New to Christianity, even though they claim to be derived from Scripture.
6. New teachings, beyond those held by the Church are condemned in scripture.
7. The Protestant justification for the truth of their belief demands that Jesus's promises that He would remain with His Church forever, and that the Holy Spirit would guide it in truth, were false, since according to them, God abandoned the Church to error before 1520. This is not consistent with God's promises.
8. Since Protestant teachings have not been preached through all ages, as demanded by Scripture, Protestant teachings must, on this count alone, be false.
9. Only one Church was founded on the Apostles, remains in communion with the See of Peter, maintains Apostolic Succession, and has fulfilled the warrant of Scripture by preaching the SAME DOCTRINE to ALL GENERATIONS, for 2,000 years from Pentecost to the Present. The CATHOLIC CHURCH." Some quotes from (www.protestanterrors.com) : "To those who believe that faith alone (Sola Fide) justifies our salvation: Nowhere in the bible does it state faith "alone" justifies, and this new doctrine was not heard of before the 16th century. Why did the Protestant reformers propose it and what authority gave it to them? Consider the verse, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in. Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me." Matthew 25:34-36. Are these not examples of good works? Why would Our Lord give them so much emphasis if only faith was of importance? Consider the verses, "And behold one came and said to him: Good master, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting? Who said to him: Why asketh thou me concerning good? One is good, God. But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He said to him: Which? And Jesus said: Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith to him: All these I have kept from my youth, what is yet wanting to me? Jesus saith to him: If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come follow me." Matt 19:16-21. Are the above verses not filled with good works? How much more proof from Scripture do we need to show that Our Lord commanded us to do good works for our salvation? Consider the verse, "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every man according to his works." Matthew 16:27. Again here we have more proof that good works are required of us. Consider the verse, "And every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor." 1 Corinthians 3:8. Again this clearly does NOT refer to faith alone, but to labor, which is works. Consider the verse, "And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." 1 Corinthians 13:2 (St Paul). What is charity other than helping the needy? Charity is clearly considered among good works. And in the same Chapter we also see the verse, "And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity." (1 Corinthians 13:13). This clearly puts charity BEFORE faith, so to say "faith alone" is all that is required of us is clearly contrary to Scripture. Consider the verse, "Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only?" James 2:24. How much more plain can it be said that faith alone is not enough for our salvation? Consider the verse, "What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him?" James 2:14. And we see several verses later that the answer to this question is NO. Consider the verse, "So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself." James 2:17. No explanation is needed for this verse! Consider the verse, "But some man will say: Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works; and I will shew thee, by works, my faith." James 2:18. Another extremely obvious verse that proves our point on the subject. Consider the verses, "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, offering up Isaac his son upon the altar? James 2:20-21. No explanation is needed for these verses. Consider the verse, "For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead." James 2:26. How can the Protestant reformers claim faith is sufficient when we read a verse like this with such obvious meaning? And finally consider the verse, "Wherefore, brethren, labor the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election." 2 Peter 1:10 In summary, justification by faith alone has overwhelming opposition in Scripture. Some Protestants have been known to reference other verses from Scripture in an attempt to show that works are NOT required for our salvation. However if one looks at verses that appear to speak negatively about works, they are clearly referring to works that glorify men and not God. Here we agree; works done to please men do not help with attaining our salvation."(see www.protestanterrors.com) and also (www.catholic.com) and (www.geocities.com) plus google "Catholic Treasure Chest" for more info.God Bless...