Do We Need A Visible Church To Tell Us What To Believe
Oh . . . this is way too long. Sorry.
And, I apologize to jRoberts and to any for the ellipses . . . but they were here before I read jR’s post disliking them . . . and I’m not sure I can stop.
Brothers in the LORD . . . please continue to make that effort to be Charitable in the Peace of CHRIST toward me and toward those who don’t necessarily say what you want to hear the way you want to hear it . . .
I would like to make an observation about a situation which seems very strangely odd to a Faithful and Believing Catholic Sacramental Believer in CHRIST, such as I . . . something which might not ordinarily come to the awareness of the typical Bible-only Believer in CHRIST who might never think of these observations on their own due to the fact that their own observations would just not come from the perspective from which a Sacramental Catholic would see this.
I can say right now that the majority of you folks at this site won’t agree with this observation or analysis of mine . . . and knowing this in advance . . . maybe you all can ‘decide’ to be nice anyway. I’m merely trying to get us to think outside of our normal box of acceptability . . . for the sake of understanding.
An Evangelical friend of mine said:
An Evangelical friend of mine and friend of the LORD’s said to me the other day . . . “I’m not going to allow someone else to tell me what to Believe” . . . I think he referring to the Pope . . . this being a common attitude amongst many Christians in the distant past and even now-a-days . . . be they Protestant or Catholic or whatever. I suggest that my friend does not quite know what he is saying . . . though he be a very good man in my eyes.
It should be understandable to us that . . . if the right person is doing the telling . . . than being ‘told’ is the very best way to learn anything and especially being the very best way to learn what GOD has chosen to Reveal to mankind in the Person of CHRIST . . . revealing this Truth WHO is JESUS through the Church which HE sent into the whole world under the guidance of the HOLY SPIRIT to Teach all things whatsoever CHRIST has commanded . . . Baptizing those who thusly Believe in HIM and Believe in HIS Teachings . . . Baptizing them in the Name of the FATHER and of the SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT.
Now I know and understand that protestants have only one universal view upon which they all agree . . . the only thing universally and specifically accepted by all Protestants about this view being that it is a specifically non-Catholic view. For many Protestants in the past, this view has translated as being a specifically anti-Catholic view . . . as to how this proclamation of GOD’s Revelation to man in CHRIST is to be made to the whole world . . . this view being very similar to my friends stated view above. There-in lies the rub . . . the rub being the big difference of the Catholic/Protestant view as to ‘how’ things Christian are to be done . . . and what is the source of our Authority to do so.
Call me naive . . . but I do not believe this difference will be able to continue much longer . . . as a house divided cannot stand.
The situation to which I am going to refer below has got to be perplexing to all of you . . . as it is to me.
However, if you or I have noticed this same perplexing observation which I am going to mention below . . . it is likely that we have not put ourselves in the place of the culprit . . . seeing only the ‘other guy’ as being in that position of being ‘in the wrong’ . . . and we at best being only tolerant of his errant position which is different from ours . . . for the sake of kindness in following the example of the LORD.
In all these discussions . . . about . . . the meanings of this Scripture or that Scripture . . . we need to remind ourselves that we are bound in unity to an all-out effort of trying to describe and understand the meaning of CHRIST and the meaning of the Mysteries of Faith concerning HIS Incarnation, especially those Mysteries concerning . . . HIS Mystical Body the Church . . .
If there is such a thing as absolute Incarnate Truth . . . as all Believing Christians should proclaim . . . as is found in the Incarnate GOD/Man JESUS the CHRIST . . . then we are bound to willingly acknowledge and accept by Faith this Incarnation of Truth . . . JESUS . . . acknowledging that there is the reality of absolute Truth in the Flesh . . . and that HE in leaving this earth . . . did not leave us as orphans to wander and/or wonder about HIS Truth all the days of our lives on this earth.
No! There is no wondering about the Truth . . . JESUS . . . because . . . JESUS established and left a Church of followers to proclaim HIM to the ends of the earth and to the end of time. Scripture is very clear on this matter. JESUS, WHO had all Power and Authority in Heaven and on earth, left the very same Power and Authority to HIS Church . . . as per Scripture . . . being very clear as to this. She would have all the marks and attributes of HIS own Incarnate Self. She would claim to have the absolute Incarnate Truth in Her Teachings. She would possess all the Truth which HE had Taught while on this earth . . . meditating upon these Truths in Her Immaculate Heart. She would claim to have these attributes. She would exercise these attributes in all Charity toward all men in Her Sacramental Life and through Her mission of evangelization of the whole world . . . if not always exercising these attributes in the individual Charity or lack of Charity exhibited by Her individual members . . . a fact of this Life in this passing world with which we all can empathize.
If Truth is manifest in the Flesh of CHRIST . . . as the Scripture and the Church claim . . . this is a Truth to which we in our own flesh . . . of our own Free-will . . . are required to submit in Obedience . . . not only because of the undeniable Power this Truth has over us as our Creator in WHOM we Live and move and have our being . . . which Power HE does have over us and which Obedience we do owe to HIM in this regard . . . but . . . even more because of the undeniable demands of Holiness which this Truth in Love exhibits over us through GOD’s Sacrifice of Truth in Love in behalf of our Salvation . . . which Sacrifice demands from us the submission of our Free-wills and the submission of our bodies and of our Souls to HIM WHO Loves us and WHO Created us out of Love and for Love and through Love in JESUS the CHRIST.
In Eternity there is only one Truth and that is GOD’s Truth. Many may not believe this . . . but . . . our individual Truth only last for our life-time . . . and this mainly only in our imaginations . . . lasting only so long as this finite life which we possess until moment of our first death.
We are allowed to imagine our own truth for a short period of time on this earth . . . until that moment when we come face to Face with HE WHO is Truth . . . coming face to Face at our judgement-day meeting with JESUS, WHO is Truth Incarnate, Crucified, Risen and Glorified in the Flesh of man. It is JESUS WHO is the Truth . . . in SPIRIT and in Truth . . . the Truth Incarnate. JESUS was sent by the FATHER . . . HE agreeing to become a Man and die for our sins . . . so that we may Know the Truth and so the Truth in Love could set us free from our sins and self-deceptions and allow us to possess the Gift of Everlasting Life in GOD the FATHER’s Kingdom for all eternity in happiness . . . not as souls only . . . but as Glorified Body and Soul Humans . . . not Glorified now in this Life . . . but . . . Glorified then and forever in the Life to come.
With JESUS . . . what you see is What you get. There are of course unseen aspects of the Truth which are veiled or hidden within the Sacred Humanity of CHRIST . . . these being beyond our comprehension. But shouldn’t we at least concentrate on what we can Incarnately ‘see’ and Believe and do?
It at least appears to be outwardly obvious to all viewers other than ourselves . . . that those of us who are ‘inside one of the many Christian communities of Believers in CHRIST’ . . . that we ‘Christians’ have not yet arrived in ‘universal’ agreement . . . in any visible external or even invisible internal manifestation of unity of the Mystical Body of CHRIST . . . we appearing to those outside our communities at least as not appearing unified in matters of Faith and Morals and practice respective to the totality of Christian believers.
Of course, you and I may not agree with this assessment . . . you in your community . . . and I in my Catholic Church . . . each Believing in the unity found in our own place of residence and with our differing perceptions and Beliefs as to what ‘unity’ is . . . we Catholics Believing Truth to be both visibly and invisibly manifest in a Sacramental Church with Her Hierarchical Authority . . . and you in your Faith Believing in more of a Spiritually manifest invisible unity of fellowship amongst your community of Believers . . . perhaps. If this is what you Believe . . . then . . . your Faith is already included in ours.
The most ‘obvious’ visible and outward aspect of these discussions . . . is that . . . amongst all of our varied ‘Spirit Guided’ words and opinions on these matters . . . it seems apparent that there is ‘no visibly-manifest outward authoritative agreement’ . . . as in there being no ‘certain’ or ‘infallible’ visible outward agreement . . . on almost any detail of scripture . . . each claiming their own ‘certainty’ . . . or ‘certain’ of the ‘lack of certainty’ there-of . . . while referring to the self-same words from Scripture to claim this ‘certainty’ or ‘lack of certainty’ . . . but no one agreeing in toto with any other Believer in CHRIST as to all the meanings and ramifications derived from those words of Scripture.
All we really appear to outwardly ‘know’ with certainty in consensus is that ‘ I disagree with you ‘ . . . we each saying to ourselves . . . ‘ I am certain that I am guided by the HOLY SPIRIT ‘ and ‘I am sure of my own sincerity’ . . . but ‘I am not sure of your sincerity’.
With all of these confusing Scripturally-based ‘certainties’ or ‘lack of certainties’ . . . we could easily say with Pilate . . . “What is Truth?” . . . while Pilate was staring at Incarnate Truth in the Face. It sometimes appears . . . to the outsider . . . that there is more which Christians are ‘not certain’ about than they ‘are certain’ about.
At best . . . this situation lends itself to our seemingly Charitably agreeing with one another . . . agreeing that we are each . . . us and they . . . that we are at least sincerely ‘searching’ for the Truth . . . in this we all presuming that Truth can be found and/or discerned and that some of us at least perhaps having found that Truth and some having not yet found that Truth . . . but with all together not yet having collectively arrived at that ‘universal’ agreement as to the precise Truth of CHRIST and CHRIST’s Teachings . . .
Perhaps we all do or do not still Believe that such a collective agreement on the Truth can be arrived at . . . though understanding that Truth is indivisible . . . cannot be divided . . . but believing that we will arrive at this undivided unity perhaps at sometime in the future . . . it appearing certain that this collective agreement having not as yet been reached . . . outside of each of our respective communities.
Then again there are those who believe in that ‘unseen’ and ‘invisible’ unity which none of us can visibly ‘see’ but which we know must be there . . . though rejecting any totality of ‘visible’ outward structural unity to accompany this ‘invisible’ interior unity . . . Believing this outward structural ‘unity’ simply does not exist in any visibly manifest Church to which we are willing to submit to or acquiesce . . . especially rejecting such an idea . . . if someone would even try to claim that outward manifestation of ‘unity’ to be the Catholic Church.
I suggest that if you pay close attention to the reasons and manner of which the Catholic Church is rejected it might be enlightening as to the manner and reasons for which CHRIST was rejected by both civil and religious Authorities.
As I have indicated . . . this condition of Faith and this thinking concerning Faith is foreign to a Believing Catholic . . . both in specific and in general detail . . . as we Catholics . . . by the nature of our Sacramental Belief of Faith . . . Believe what we are ‘told’ by our Mother the Church in Her Teachings of Faith concerning the LORD and HIS Truth . . . Believing in even the finest detail . . . after which having been grounded in our Faith given to us by our Mother the Church . . . we then begin to make it our own by meditating on what we have received in Prayer . . . and we may then speculate as to the deeper meanings of things Scriptural or of Faith . . . without disagreeing with all that we have been ‘Taught’ . . . and without going astray . . . except that we then reject it.
We have absolute certainty in our Faith and the Substance there-of in a wedding of Word and SPIRIT. . . at least that is our claim. This is a ‘Blessing’ . . . we not being ‘orphans’ . . . we have in our Life a Church and Faith in CHRIST which we would en-Trust our Life, our Fortune and our Soul into Her and HIS Divine hands.
This predicament of obvious ‘lack’ of ‘unity’ of ‘discernment’ while all of us reading the Truth from the same Words of Scripture . . . and the ongoing obvious ‘uncertainty’ concerning the . . . ‘transmission of Truth’ . . . has to be understood as being 180 degrees off target from JESUS’ Teaching . . . HIS teaching ‘as One WHO has Authority’ . . . JESUS being absolutely ‘certain’ in every Word which proceeded from HIS mouth.
Privately, JESUS told the Apostles the ‘meanings’ of what HE had Taught the crowd. JESUS also telling the Apostles that HE would send the HOLY SPIRIT to ‘remind’ them of all that HE had told them.
John 16:12 “I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you. 14 He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you. 15 All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine. Therefore I said, that he shall receive of mine, and shew it to you.”
John 14:16 “And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. 17 The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you.”
In the Catholic Church, these ‘private understandings’ of the meaning of what CHRIST Taught and did and said are referred to as the “Traditions” of the Faith by the Catholic Church . . . the actual ‘Word-of-Mouth’ Teachings of CHRIST which go along with the Scriptures ‘clarifying’ their ‘meaning’ and our ‘understanding’ of the Scriptures. These . . . “Traditions” . . . ergo . . . Doctrinal . . . and sometimes formally Defined as Dogmas . . . Teachings of Faith . . . can never contradict Scripture or be contradicted by Scripture . . . kind of like the checks and balances of our Constitution which used to work until ‘activist’ judges started re-interpreting the laws to suit their own private beliefs or understandings.
We are talking about the TRUTH INCARNATE here . . . many of us unknowingly . . . seeming to imply that . . . Truth has no certainty apart from our individual ability to ‘see’ and ‘know’ and ‘understand’ the Truth as we are personally guided by the HOLY SPIRIT to be able to ‘see’ and ‘know’ and ‘understand’. . . not receiving submissively from the Church . . . not ‘hearing’ the Church . . . with the attitude of an Obedient child who Loves his parents . . . but rather . . . with the seeming attitude of an orphaned or disobedient or angry child which seems to say that . . .
Nobody can 'tell' ME WHAT TO BELIEVE ! . . . this seeming to be what most of us are unknowingly saying here. Yeah! We can figure it all out for ourselves very well thank you. You can't convince me of anything . . . unless that is what I come to on my own . . . this not reflecting the proper attitude of an Obedient child. Why can we see the good of Obeying our parents . . . but hold out against this same submissiveness toward our Mother the Church who only has our good at Heart?
Ok . . . I know and understand that we cannot be a good Protestant and look at such an Authoritative Church as the Catholic Church in this light of She being our strict . . . but ultimately our Loving . . . Parent. I . . . and all Faithful Catholics Believe . . . that she demands from us and commands of us in the Name of CHRIST . . . Sacrificial Love . . . and for our good.
Ok. Many of us have good points . . . very good points . . . but still . . . most of us do not accept any authority other than our own interpretation of the data that crosses our path. We cannot be ‘TOLD’ by another. Catholics on the other hand can be “Told” by anyone who is in authority over them . . . told and commanded . . . in all things except sin . . . and the Church is very clear as to what is a sin . . . Her Teachings binding the highest and the lowest in the Kingdom. Believe me . . . these Teachings of CHRIST and HIS Church are not a heavy burden . . . but rather set one Free to be what he is meant to be . . . a child of GOD. The more Catholic you are . . . the more Free you are. I am not joking here.
It is like this . . . we are never so Free as when we pay close and Obedient attention to a good Mom and Dad’s instructions which are meant for your good . . . if we listen and Obey.
Just from a Catholic eye-view . . . from the outside looking in . . . at this truly wonderful site . . . with its' great Hope . . . and reading these . . . these endless . . . discussions as to the meanings of everything Scriptural . . . a point keeps ringing and ringing in this Catholic mind . . . as it is a point of order about this site . . . a point which . . . to my Catholic mind . . . should not have any place and does not have a solid place in the Church of Authority of which I am an Obedient member . . . that being . . .
The apparently endless . . . 'lack' . . . of certain agreement . . . as to the meaning of any one word or another of Scripture or any one phrase or another of Scripture . . . among those who have as their foundation . . . Sacred Scripture . . . these claiming to be guided individually by the HOLY SPIRIT . . . and these having no universally accepted understanding in their individual personal understandings of the HOLY SPIRIT’s Guidance . . . all while claiming to Believe in the Truth Incarnate . . . JESUS . . . but yet implicitly denying the certainty of HIS Teaching and of HIS Voice by their implicitly denying any visible manifestation of a ONE and only ONE visible and Incarnational CHURCH which CHRIST sent into the whole world with absolute Authority to Teach and Baptize in HIS Holy Name.
I know you can’t agree with this analysis and that you see things differently. But I wanted to express the perplexity a Catholic Faithful Believer sees when he looks from the inside of his Catholic Faith out . . . or . . . when he looks from the outside of the Protestant Faith back in. it is very perplexing.
What a set-up for a fall this condition may be. Some really smart guy may one day come along . . . overcoming all of our visible and invisible disagreements . . . the only way of which he will be able to accomplish this amongst those who have already rejected the visible manifestation of a visible and invisible Sacramental Church . . . as is claimed and is manifest in Catholic Church and Faith . . . is if he claims to be GOD HIMSELF. I know many of you Protestants may not fall for such a scenario . . . but many poorly taught Catholics and Protestants may fall for it . . . as well as many of the untaught may fall for it.