Today, we continue our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. The Catholic apologist continues his six-part section on church hierarchy and authority with a chapter countering Protestants’ alleged argument that “All Are One in Christ” and that there is not an authoritative hierarchy within the church.
Last week, we examined Broussard’s straw man accusation that Protestants leapfrog over Scripture’s authorization for a visible church. In this chapter, the Catholic apologist replies to Protestant arguments against Roman Catholicism’s ecclesiastical hierarchy. Broussard cites Galatians 3:28 as the Protestant apologia,
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Broussard deflects this argument with several Scripture passages that he alleges support the Roman Catholic hierarchical structure:
- Apostle: Matthew 10:1-4, Matthew 16:18-19
- Bishop: 1 Timothy 3:1-3
- Priest: Acts 14:23
- Deacon: 1 Timothy 3:8-13
Broussard then argues that these offices are conferred sacramentally with the laying on of hands via RC ordination (2 Timothy 1:6).
Similar to the previous chapter, Broussard presents a straw man logical fallacy. Protestants certainly do agree with Scripture that some men are bestowed with gifts of leadership by the Holy Spirit within the local body of believers. Although the specific titles for the leadership offices vary, Gospel churches generally follow the Biblical model of elders and deacons. The office of apostle ended with that unique group of men who were first-hand witnesses to the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ and called by Him to establish His church. Regarding priests, there is no equivalent of the Old Testament priesthood – offering sacrifice for reparation of sins – in the New Testament church. Ministers were called to guide and serve God’s people in the local body, not to subjugate and oppress them as happened with the hierarchy of the RCC.
After Christianity was legalized in 313 A.D. and became the official religion of the Roman Empire in 380 A.D., the bishops of Rome adopted the Caesarian imperial model of hierarchical authority. After Constantine moved the capital of the empire from Rome to Byzantium, the bishop of Rome would eventually become the de facto emperor of the West. Jesus Christ certainly did not have the Roman imperial model, with its focus on wealth and political power, in mind when He appointed the apostles and they in turn appointed elders and deacons within local churches. The documented excesses and corruptions of the authoritarian Roman Catholic clergy throughout history are clear refutations of the RC hierarchical model. In addition to the worldly corruption, the Catholic clergy replaced the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone with a legalistic system of sacraments and merit that was entirely dependent on them.
Important: In this chapter, as in the previous four, Broussard defends the Roman Catholic hierarchical model, with the pope as the infallible head of the church. Once again, Broussard deliberately omits any mention of the current crisis within Catholicism regarding the pope, Jorge “Francis” Bergoglio. Francis, a pragmatic progressive, has introduced several doctrine-bending reforms resulting in many conservative Catholics accusing him of creating “confusion” within the church and some even branding him a heretic. Broussard’s own pope debunks the apologist’s arguments for a divinely-authorized RCC hierarchy.
For more information on Biblical church leadership, see the article below:
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