ONE OR MANY
Most non-Catholic Christians will agree that Jesus did start one Church, but out of the other side of their mouth they will insist that the Church that Jesus started is ‘us – a community separated persons’. Often is heard the phrase ‘We are the Church’. I actually don’t know where that clever little mantra came from because I never read it in the Bible. Moreover the ideology is non-sequitur – one does not follow the other. Just because we agree on some fundamentals of the faith – that common ground does not make us One Church. Similarly, even though my siblings and I share the same parents and that blood connection makes us family, it does not make us one in Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father of all (Eph. 4:5-6. Rev. 7:9-10) as the Apostles commanded. This is why the Catholic Church considers those who have been Baptized (born again) in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit members of Her Body – either fully or partially united.
Nonetheless, 500 hundred years ago men began engaging in an avalanche of demonic behavior by starting competing churches that offered alternative and confusing truths. They lied about the Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ by saying that denominations comported with the love of God. Therefore, let’s take a moment just to highlight some of the reasons why Protestant denominations are clearly not of God.
VISIBLE OR INVISIBLE
In part one of this series I presented evidence from sacred Scripture and writings of those who actually knew the Apostles that the Church that Jesus Christ started through His Apostles, by the latter half of the 1st Century, began calling itself the Catholic Church and looked to the Church of Rome as the head of the community of Catholic Churches.
Essentially what the Protestant belief has to offer us is something quite unscriptural and cheap. Their belief that being ‘born again’ makes us one Church is not only not found anywhere in the Bible, but it literally spits in the face of what Jesus actually promised us. He promised us ONE Church – not 33,000 different and competing denominations. He told us that He was starting one Church that the gates of Hell (division, schism, hate) would never prevail against (Matthew 16:13-20). Before He died he prayed that we would be ‘One’ as He and the Father are ‘One’ (John 17). He gave His Church a mission to go out and baptize, teach, forgive sins, and heal (Matthew 28:19-20; John 20:21-22), and such a mission is undermined with infighting and competing factions, such as we find in the protesting community of churches.
1. The Holy Spirit is ‘One’ and He is the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13). Therefore, those who are truly in the Spirit of God will be like the Spirit and also be ‘One’ people and teach the same truth. From this we know that the Protestant church is not born of the Holy Spirit because it is not ‘One’ like the Holy Spirit is ‘One’; that is, the protesting church bears no resemblance to the one face of God. In contrast the Catholic Church has always been one and will remain so, even in the face of forces that have been trying to divide and conquer Her for nearly two millennia.
Moreover, because truth is not relative, but knowable, we know that the Protestant church is not born of the Holy Spirit because it seems to fail to know the truth, and for this reason it continues to split and divide into more and more denominations – now numbered to be over 33,000 and splitting at a rate of 1 every 5 days. That the protesting church actually votes on truth and doesn’t seem to know it is another sign that it is not born of the Spirit of Truth. Yes, it actually votes on things like whether abortion should be permitted, should divorce and re-marriage be allowed, should it ordain practicing homosexuals as clergy. These and a host of other things they actually vote on by majority every year at their conferences. In contrast, the Catholic Church has been teaching same thing on faith and morals for the past two thousand years. It is true that at Her ecumenical councils She expounds more fully on what she has always believed, but from it She never deviates, because the truth is the truth is the truth and it is always knowable.
2. The Body of Christ is ‘One’ not 33,000. Even when Jesus was scourged on the pillar and stabbed on the Cross, not one bone of His Body was broken. This is why the Church made in His image, His Bride, is ‘One’ like Him. The only Church on the face of this earth that has been here since the time of Christ is the Catholic Church and that Church has never been broken – not because of the imperfect men and women in Her, but only because that the grace found in promise of Jesus that the gates of Hell will never prevail against Her protects her day and night.
Jesus said, I have “came not to abolish, but to fulfill the law and the prophets” (Matthew 5:17) . Therefore everything we find in the Old Covenant, we must also find in the New Covenant in its fulfilled sense; otherwise Jesus is a liar. In the instant case, in the Old Covenant there was One Visible Temple, ordained Priesthood that forgive sins in the name of YHWH, Sacrifices, Liturgy, and Feast. And only place today we were can find One Visible Church, ordained Priesthood that forgives sins in the name of Jesus, Sacrifices, Liturgy and Feast is all together in the Catholic Church.
Being that it is clear that the Church that Jesus started through His Apostles, now subsist in the community Catholic Churches that are in harmony with the Church of Peter and Paul in Rome, and that community of Churches has always been visible for nearly 2,000 years, it then follows that there is no reason to believe a new doctrine that linearly teaches that our unity is merely invisible. On the contrary, the Church is everything like the Kingdom of God which it serves that Jesus also compared to a number of visible objects (a sheepfold, flock, sheep, field, olive grove, vineyard, dwelling place, stone, temple, bride, mother and family).
As a rule of thumb, Protestant Christians lean heavily on Mark 9:38-41 to defend their divisiveness, where Jesus admonished His disciples for telling others who were casting out demons in his name to stop, “For whoever is not against us is for us”. Well, let us take that verse into context with Matthew 12:30, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters”. It is clear here that Jesus was not authorizing Christian denominations and various innovative teachings. Rather, He was encouraging His disciples to be inclusive – not exclusive, and the early Catholic Church got it perfectly right with St. Paul, Apollos, and many others, by taking them in and teaching them the right way, rather than saying, ‘You are not one of us, so therefore you cannot teach’.
“Catholics believe that theirs is the one true Church of Jesus Christ, firstly, because theirs is the only Christian Church that goes back in history to the time of Christ; secondly, because theirs is the only Christian Church which possesses the invincible unity, the intrinsic holiness, the continual universality and the indisputable apostolicity which Christ said would distinguish His true Church; and thirdly, because the Apostles and primitive Church Fathers, who certainly were members of Christ’s true Church, all professed membership in this same Catholic Church (see Apostles’ Creed and the Primitive Christian letters). Wrote Ignatius of Antioch, illustrious Church Father of the first century: “Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be; even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church.” Our Lord said: “There shall be one fold and one shepherd”, yet it is well known that the various Christian denominations cannot agree on what Christ actually taught. Since Christ roundly condemned interdenominationalism (“And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Mark 3:25). Catholics cannot believe that He would ever sanction it in His Church.” (Whitcomb, Paul. The Catholic Church has the Answer, Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1986. pg. 8)