Rebutting a Catholic apologist, #5: “All Are One in Christ”

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.

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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:

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:

Got Questions: What is the biblical pattern of church leadership?
https://www.gotquestions.org/church-leadership.html

Next up: The Anointing Teaches Us

60 thoughts on “Rebutting a Catholic apologist, #5: “All Are One in Christ”

  1. Tom, I have to say that I really enjoy your Friday series of debunking false teachers like Broussard.

    Did he mention Titus 1:5-8 as well? I think this verse is also key to understanding the Biblical NT offices.

    5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

    The word “presbyter” literally means “elder” and the word “episkopos” means “overseer”

    These are referring to one and the same office, the three tier structure emerged as a custom as Jerome notes:

    Jerome (347-420): For when the apostle clearly teaches that presbyters are the same as bishops, must not a mere server of tables and of widows be insane to set himself up arrogantly over men through whose prayers the body and blood of Christ are produced? Do you ask for proof of what I say? Listen to this passage: “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi with the bishops and deacons.” Do you wish for another instance? In the Acts of the Apostles Paul thus speaks to the priests of a single church: “Take heed unto yourselves and to all the flock, in the which the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops, to feed the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” And lest any should in a spirit of contention argue that there must then have been more bishops than one in a single church, there is the following passage which clearly proves a bishop and a presbyter to be the same. NPNF2: Vol. VI, The Letters of St. Jerome, Letter 146 – To Evangelus, §1.

    Jerome (347-420): Of the names presbyter and bishop the first denotes age, the second rank. In writing both to Titus and to Timothy the apostle speaks of the ordination of bishops and of deacons, but says not a word of the ordination of presbyters; for the fact is that the word bishops includes presbyters also. Again when a man is promoted it is from a lower place to a higher. Either then a presbyter should be ordained a deacon, from the lesser office, that is, to the more important, to prove that a presbyter is inferior to a deacon; or if on the other hand it is the deacon that is ordained presbyter, this latter should recognize that, although he may be less highly paid than a deacon, he is superior to him in virtue of his priesthood. In fact as if to tell us that the traditions handed down by the apostles were taken by them from the old testament, bishops, presbyters and deacons occupy in the church the same positions as those which were occupied by Aaron, his sons, and the Levites in the temple. NPNF2: Vol. VI, The Letters of St. Jerome, Letter 146 – To Evangelus, §2.

    Jerome (347-420): In both epistles [i.e., 1 Timothy & Titus] commandment is given that only monogamists should, be chosen for the clerical office whether as bishops or as presbyters. Indeed with the ancients these names were synonymous, one alluding to the office, the other to the age of the clergy. NPNF2: Vol. VI, The Letters of St. Jerome, Letter 69 – To Oceanus, §3.

    Jerome (347-420): And I do not say this because I have anything to blame in the mission itself, except certain partialities which beget suspicion, but because you ought rather to clear yourself in the actual presence of your questioners. You begin with the words, “You have sent a most devoted servant of God, the presbyter Isidore, a man of influence no less from the dignity of his very gait and dress than from that of his divine understanding, to heal those whose souls are grievously sick; would that they had any sense of their illness! A man of God sends a man of God.” No difference is made between a priest and a bishop (presbyterum et episcopum); the same dignity belongs to the sender and the sent; this is lame enough; the ship, as the saying goes; is wrecked in harbor. NPNF2: Vol. VI, To Pammachius Against John of Jerusalem, §37. See Contra Joannem Hierosolymitanum, §37, PL 23:390.

    Jerome (347-420): Therefore, as we have shown, among the ancients presbyters were the same as bishops; but by degrees, that the plants of dissension might be rooted up, all responsibility was transferred to one person.
    Therefore, as the presbyters know that it is by the custom of the Church that they are to be subject to him who is placed over them so let the bishops know that they are above presbyters rather by custom than by Divine appointment, and ought to rule the Church in common, following the example of Moses, who, when he alone had power to preside over the people Israel, chose seventy, with the assistance of whom he might judge the people. We see therefore what kind of presbyter or bishop should be ordained. John Harrison, Whose Are the Fathers? (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1867), p.488. See also Karl Von Hase, Handbook to the Controversy with Rome, trans. A. W. Streane, Vol. 1, 2nd ed. rev. (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1909), p. 164. Cf. also
    Thomas P. Scheck, trans., St. Jerome’s Commentaries on Galatians, Titus, and Philemon (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010), p. 290.

    The patristics scholar JND Kellys confirms this:
    J. N. D. Kelly: Particularly interesting is his view that in the apostolic age the terms ‘bishop’ and ‘presbyter’ were synonymous, each church being governed by a committee of coequal presbyters. The emergence of the episcopate proper, he argues (much to the embarrassment of Catholics down the centuries), was due, not to any ordinance of the Lord, but to ecclesiastical custom, with the object of excluding divisions. J. N. D. Kelly, Jerome: His Life, Writings, and Controversies(Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2000), p. 147.

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      1. Jerome provides great insight on this.

        Toward the end of the first quote from Jerome, he quotes Acts 20:28, “…..in which the Holy Spirit had made you overseers (episkopos)…..”. The context can be found in Acts 20:17 where Paul addresses the “elders (presbyter)” of the Church of Ephesus. So the role of the elders were to “oversee” the church, and an elder/overseer is one and the same.

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  2. In fact, Jerome makes a sharp distinction between the Apostles and everyone else:

    Jerome (347-420): ‘In his record of the peoples the Lord shall tell’: in the sacred writings, in His Scripture that is read to all peoples in order that all may know. Thus the apostles have written; thus the Lord Himself has spoken, not merely for a few, but that all might know and understand. Plato wrote books, but he did not write for all people but only for a few, for there are not many more than two or three men who know him. But the princes of the Church and the princes of Christ did not write only for the few, but for everyone without exception. ‘And princes’: the apostles and evangelists. ‘Of those who have been born in her.’ Note ‘who have been’ and not ‘who are.’ That is to make sure that, with the exception of the apostles, whatever else is said afterwards should be removed and not, later on, hold the force of authority. No matter how holy anyone may be after the time of the apostles, no matter how eloquent, he does not have authority, for ‘in his record of the peoples and princes the Lord shall tell of those who have been born in her.’ FC, Vol. 48, The Homilies of St. Jerome: Vol. 1, On the Psalms, Homily 18 (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1964), pp. 142-143.

    Jerome: 7. He charges me with having translated Origen into Latin. In this I do not stand alone for the confessor Hilary has done the same, and we are both at one in this that while we have rendered all that is useful, we have cut away all that was harmful. Let him read our versions for himself, if he knows how (and as he constantly converses and daily associates with Italians, I think he cannot be ignorant of Latin); or else, if he cannot quite take it in, let him use his interpreters and then he will come to know that I deserve nothing but praise for the work on which he grounds a charge against me. For, while I have always allowed to Origen his great merit as an interpreter and critic of the scriptures, I have invariably denied the truth of his doctrines. Is it I then that let him loose upon the crowd? Is it I that act sponsor to other preachers like him? No, for I know that a difference must be made between the apostles and all other preachers. The former always speak the truth; but the latter being men sometimes go astray. It would be a strange defence of Origen surely to admit his faults and then to excuse them by saying that other men have been guilty of similar ones! As if, when you cannot venture to defend a man openly, you may hope to shield him by imputing his mistake to a number of others! As for the six thousand volumes of Origen of which he speaks, it is impossible that any one should have read books which have never been written: and I for my part find it easier to suppose that this falsehood is due to the man who professes to have heard it rather than to him who is said to have told it. Jerome, NPNF2 Vol 6., Letter 82:7, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Grand Rapids, MI, Pg 422-423

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  3. The Catholic Encyclopedia and the Jesuit scholar Francis Sullivan admit that the Romans hierarchy was a post NT development :

    Catholic Encyclopedia: The Divine institution of the threefold hierarchy cannot of course be derived from our texts ; in fact it cannot in any way be proved directly from the New Testament; it is Catholic dogma by virtue of dogmatic tradition, i. e. in a later period of ecclesiastical history the general belief in the Divine institution of the episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate can be verified and thence be followed on through the later centuries. But this dogmatic truth cannot be traced back to Christ himself by analysis of strictly historical testimony. The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 7, Gregory – Infallibility, New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1910, Pg 334

    Francis A. Sullivan S.J. : The question whether the episcopate is of divine institution continues to divide the churches, even though Christian scholars from both sides agree that one does not find the threefold structure of ministry, with a bishop in each local church assisted by presbyters and deacons, in the New Testament. They agree, rather, that the historic episcopate was the result of a development in the post—New Testament period, from the local leader- ship of a college of presbyters, who were sometimes also called bishops (episkopoi), to the leadership of a single bishop. They also agree that this development took place earlier in the churches of Syria and western Asia Minor, than it did in those of Philippi, Corinth and Rome. Scholars differ on details, such as how soon the church of Rome was led by a single bishop, but hardly any doubt that the church of Rome was still led by a group of presbyters for at least a part of the second century. From Apostles to Bishops: The Development of the Episcopacy in the Early Church, Paulist Press, 2001, Pg vii-viii

    Francis A. Sullivan S.J.: The first problem has to do with the notion that Christ ordained the apostles as bishops. On the one hand, it is no doubt true that the mandate Christ gave to the apostles included the threefold office of teaching, ruling and sanctifying, which Vatican Il described as conferred by episcopal consecration (LG 21). However, the correctness of describing the apostles themselves as “bishops” is another question. A “bishop” is a residential pastor who prcsidcs in a stable manner over the church in a city and its environs. The apostles were missionaries and founders of churches; there is no evidence, nor is it at all likely, that any one of them ever took up permanent residence in a particular church as its bishop.

    A second question also arises; Did the apostles ordain a bishop for each of the churches they founded? The New Testament contains good evidence that the churches founded by St. Paul had local leaders, to whom the apostle urged the community to be submissive. In the salutation of his letter to the Philippians Paul made special mention of the episkopoi and diakonoi: terms that literally mean “overseers and servants” but in Christian usage came to mean “bishops and deacons.” During his final journey to Jerusalem, Paul gave a farewell address to the leaders of the church of Ephesus, whom Luke calls “presbyters,” but whom he has Paul describe as having been appointed episkopoi by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:17-35). So there is good evidence that during the period of the New Testament, Christian churches had local leaders, some of whom, at least, were called “bishops.”

    However, it remains unclear whether these “bishops” of whom Paul speaks were actually appointed or ordained by him. Secondly, there is no evidence that St. Paul or any other apostle ever appointed one of these local leaders as the chief pastor of the whole church in a particular city. Rather, the evidence suggests that up to the end of the New Testament period , leadership and other ministry were provided in each local church by a group of “elders” or “overseers,” with no one person in charge except when the apostle or one of his coworkers was actually present. The New Testament offers no support for a theory of apostolic succession that supposes the apostles appointed or ordained a bishop for each of the churches they founded.

    Nor do we find support for such a theory in the earliest Christian writings that we have from the post—New Testament period. According to the Didache, a Christian community that lacked the leadership of a prophet should choose worthy men and appoint them as bishops and deacons. It contains no suggestion that they would derive their authority in any way from a founding apostle. The Ietter of the Romans to the Corinthians, known as I Clement, which dates to about the year 96, provides good evidence that about thirty years after the death of St. Paul the church of Corinth was being led by a group of presbyters, with no indication of the presence of a bishop with authority over the whole local church. However, I Clement does afflrm that the founding apostles had appointed the first generation of local church leaders and had laid down the rule that when those men died, others should be appointed to succeed them. This letter, then, does attest to the principle of apostolic succession in ministry, but it gives no support to the idea that the apostles had appointed a bishop for each church they founded. For I Clement, the principle of apostolic succession was realized in the college of duly appointed presbyters. Most scholars are of the opinion that the church of Rome would most probably have also been led at that time by a group of presbyters. A Roman document of the early second century known as Shepherd of Hermas supports this opinion.

    The letters of Ignatius of Antioch, generally dated to about 115, are the first Christian documents that witness to the presence of a bishop who is clearly distinct from the presbyterate and is pastor of the whole church of a city. However, this testimony is certain only for the church of Antioch and for several churches of western Asia Minor in the vicinity of Ephesus. A letter that Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, wrote to the Philippians a few years later indicates that the church of Philippi at that time was still being led by a group of presbyters. More importantly, nothing in the letters of Ignatius suggests that he saw his episcopal authority as derived from the mandate Christ gave to the apostles. While the role and authority of the bishop comprised a major theme in his letters, he never invoked the principle of apostolic succession to explain or justify it.

    There exists a broad consensus among scholars, including most Catholic ones, that such churches as those of Alexandria, Philippi, Corinth and Rome most probably continued to be led for some time by a college of presbyters, and that only during the course of the second Century did the threefold structure become generally the rule, with a bishop, assisted by presbyters, presiding over each local church. From Apostles to Bishops: The Development of the Episcopacy in the Early Church, Paulist Press, 2001, Pg 14-15

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  4. Even then, Bishops in the early church were elected and confirmed by popular vote of the people:

    Didache: My child, remember night and day him who speaks the word of God to you, and honor him as you do the Lord. For wherever the lordly rule is uttered, there is the Lord….Whosoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turns and teaches another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not. But if he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord….Appoint, therefore, for yourselves, bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, and truthful and proved; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers. (The Didache, 4, 11, 15)

    1 Clem 44:2 For this cause therefore, having received complete foreknowledge, they appointed the aforesaid persons, and afterwards they provided a continuance, that if these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed to their ministration. Those therefore who were appointed by them, or afterward by other men of repute with the consent of the whole Church, and have ministered unblamably to the
    flock of Christ in lowliness of mind, peacefully and with all modesty, and for long time have borne a good report with all these men we consider to be unjustly thrust out from their ministration.

    Canons of the Church of Alexandria: Canon Second. Of bishops. A bishop should be elected by all the people, and he should be unimpeachable, as it is written of him in the apostle; in the week in which he is ordained, the whole people should also say, We desire him; and there should be silence in the whole hall, and they should all pray in his behalf, and say, O God, stablish him whom Thou hast prepared for us, etc. ANF Vol 5, Canons of the Church of Alexandria, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Grand Rapids, MI, Pg 655

    Cyprian: 8. I come now, dearest brother, to the character of Cornelius our colleague, that with us you may more justly know Cornelius, not from the lies of malignants and detractors, but from the judgment of the Lord God, who made him a bishop, and from the testimony of his fellow-bishops, the whole number of whom has agreed with an absolute unanimity throughout the whole world. For,—a thing which with laudable announcement commends our dearest Cornelius to God and Christ, and to His Church, and also to all his fellowpriests,— he was not one who on a sudden attained to the episcopate; but, promoted through all the ecclesiastical offices, and having often deserved well of the Lord in divine administrations, he ascended by all the grades of religious service to the lofty summit of the Priesthood. Then, moreover, he did not either ask for the episcopate itself, nor did he wish it; nor, as others do when the swelling of their arrogance and pride inflates them, did he seize upon it;2460 but quiet otherwise, and meek and such as those are accustomed to be who are chosen of God to this office, having regard to the modesty of his virgin continency, and the humility of his inborn and guarded veneration, he did not, as some do, use force to be made a bishop, but he himself suffered compulsion, so as to be forced to receive the episcopal office. And he was made bishop by very many of our colleagues who were then present in the city of Rome, who sent to us letters concerning his ordination, honourable and laudatory, and remarkable for their testimony in announcement of him. Moreover, Cornelius was made bishop by the judgment of God and of His Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the suffrage of the people who were then present, and by the assembly of ancient priests and good men, when no one had been made so before him, when the place of Fabian, that is, when the place of Peter2461 and the degree of the sacerdotal throne was vacant; which being occupied by the will of God, and established by the consent of all of us, whosoever now wishes to become a bishop, must needs be made from without; and he cannot have the ordination of the Church who does not hold the unity of the Church. Whoever he may be, although greatly boasting about himself, and claiming very much for himself, he is profane, he is an alien, he is without. And as after the first there cannot be a second, whosoever is made after one who ought to be alone, is not second to him, but is in fact none at all. ANF Vol 5, Cyprian, Epistle 51, To Antonianus About Cornelius and Novatian, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Grand Rapids, MI, Pg 801

    Cyprian: 5. For which reason you must diligently observe and keep the practice delivered from divine tradition and apostolic observance, which is also maintained among us, and almost throughout all the provinces;2769 that for the proper celebration of ordinations all the neighbouring bishops of the same province should assemble with that people for which a prelate is ordained. And the bishop should be chosen in the presence of the people, who have most fully known the life of each one, and have looked into the doings of each one as respects his habitual conduct. And this also, we see, was done by you in the ordination of our colleague Sabinus; so that, by the suffrage of the whole brotherhood,2770 and by the sentence of the bishops who had assembled in their presence, and who had written letters to you concerning him, the episcopate was conferred upon him, and hands were imposed on him in the place of Basilides. Neither can it rescind an ordination rightly perfected, that Basilides, after the detection of his crimes, and the baring of his conscience even by his own confession, went to Rome and deceived Stephen our colleague, placed at a distance, and ignorant of what had been done, and of the truth, to canvass that he might be replaced unjustly in the episcopate from which he had been righteously deposed.2771 The result of this is, that the sins of Basilides are not so much abolished as enhanced, inasmuch as to his former sins he has also added the crime of deceit and circumvention. For he is not so much to be blamed who has been through heedlessness surprised by fraud, as he is to be execrated who has fraudulently taken him by surprise. But if Basilides could deceive men, he cannot deceive God, since it is written, “God is not mocked.”2772 But neither can deceit advantage Martialis, in such a way as that he who also is involved in great crimes should hold his bishopric, since the apostle also warns, and says, “A bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God.”2773 ANF Vol 5, Cyprian, Epistle 67, To the Clergy and People Abiding in Spain, Concerning Basilides and Martial, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Grand Rapids, MI, Pg 883-884

    Apostolic Constitutions: IV. Wherefore we, the twelve apostles of the Lord, who are now together, give you in charge those divine constitutions concerning every ecclesiastical form, there being present with us Paul the chosen vessel, our fellow-apostle, and James the bishop, and the rest of the presbyters, and the seven deacons. In the first place, therefore, I Peter say, that a bishop to be ordained is to be, as we have already, all of us, appointed, unblameable in all things, a select person, chosen by the whole people, who, when he is named and approved, let the people assemble, with the presbytery and bishops that are present, on the Lord’s day, and let them give their consent. And let the principal of the bishops ask the presbytery and people whether this be the person whom they desire for their ruler. And if they give their consent, let him ask further whether he has a good testimony from all men as to his worthiness for so great and glorious an authority; whether all things relating to his piety towards God be right; whether justice towards men has been observed by him; whether the affairs of his family have been well ordered by him; whether he has been unblameable in the course of his life. And if all the assembly together do according to truth, and not according to prejudice, witness that he is such a one, let them the third time, as before God the Judge, and Christ, the Holy Ghost being also present, as well as all the holy and ministering spirits, ask again whether he be truly worthy of this ministry, that so in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. Matthew 18:16 And if they agree the third time that he is worthy, let them all be demanded their vote; and when they all give it willingly, let them be heard. And silence being made, let one of the principal bishops, together with two others, stand near to the altar, the rest of the bishops and presbyters praying silently, and the deacons holding the divine Gospels open upon the head of him that is to be ordained, and say to God thus :— Apostolic Constitutions, Book VIII, Section 2, IV Concerning Ordinations.

    Gregory of Nazianzus (329/330-389): Thus, and for these reasons, by the vote of the whole people, not in the evil fashion which has since prevailed, nor by means of bloodshed and oppression, but in an apostolic and spiritual manner, he is led up to the throne of Saint Mark, to succeed him in piety, no less than in office; in the latter indeed at a great distance from him, in the former, which is the genuine right of succession, following him closely. For unity in doctrine deserves unity in office; and a rival teacher sets up a rival throne; the one is a successor in reality, the other but in name. For it is not the intruder, but he whose rights are intruded upon, who is the successor, not the lawbreaker, but the lawfully appointed, not the man of contrary opinions, but the man of the same faith; if this is not what we mean by successor, he succeeds in the same sense as disease to health, darkness to light, storm to calm, and frenzy to sound sense. NPNF2: Vol. VII, Oration XXI – On the Great Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, §8.

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  5. According to Tertullian, the early church regarded churches as apostolic as long as they preached the apostolic doctrine and faith. It didn’t matter as to their origins.

    Tertullian (c. 160-c. 220): Let the heretics contrive something of the same kind. For after their blasphemy, what is there that is unlawful for them (to attempt)? But should they even effect the contrivance, they will not advance a step. For their very doctrine, after comparison with that of the apostles, will declare, by its own diversity and contrariety, that it had for its author neither an apostle nor an apostolic man;because, as the apostles would never have taught things which were self-contradictory, so the apostolic men would not have inculcated teaching different from the apostles, unless they who received their instruction from the apostles went and preached in a contrary manner. To this test, therefore will they be submitted for proof by those churches, who, although they derive not their founder from apostles or apostolic men (as being of much later date, for they are in fact being founded daily), yet, since they agree in the same faith, they are accounted as not less apostolic because they are akin in doctrine. Then let all the heresies, when challenged to these two tests by our apostolic church, offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic. But in truth they neither are so, nor are they able to prove themselves to be what they are not. Nor are they admitted to peaceful relations and communion by such churches as are in any way connected with apostles, inasmuch as they are in no sense themselves apostolic because of their diversity as to the mysteries of the faith. ANF: Vol. III, The Prescription Against Heretics, Chapter 32, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Grand Rapids, MI, Pg 538-539

    Ambrose said that any church which had abandoned the apostolic preaching and faith should be shunned and avoided. Gullible ecumenical evangelicals should read this!

    Ambrose: So the faith of the church must be sought first and foremost. If Christ is to dwell in a house, it undoubtedly must be chosen. But lest an unbelieving people or a heretical teacher deface its home, the church is commanded that the fellowship of heretics be avoided and the synagogue shunned. The dust is to be shaken off your feet lest when the dryness of barren unbelief crumbles the sole of your mind it is stained as if by a dry and sandy soil. A preacher of the gospel must take on himself the bodily weaknesses of a faithful people, so to speak. He must lift up and remove from his own soles worthless actions as if they were dust. For it is written: ‘Who is weak, and I am not weak?’ Any church which rejects faith and does not possess the foundations of apostolic preaching is to be abandoned lest it be able to stain others with unbelief. The apostle also clearly affirmed this by saying ‘Reject a man that is a heretic after the first admonition.’ (Ambrose, cited in Arthur A. Just Jr., ed., Ancient Christian Commentary On Scripture: New Testament III: Luke [Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2003], p. 149)

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    1. Thanks for the good references. Conservative Catholics these days would also readily agree that just because a man is elected pope doesn’t mean he’s orthodox.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, sister! It’s strange, I enjoy rising to the challenge this Friday series presents while simultaneously dreading, er, I mean, not enthusiastically welcoming, that’s better, the work involved. But the Lord helps me along. It’s strange that there’s still Catholic apologists out there eager to debate Protestants when their pope has said even “good” atheists can merit Heaven.

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    1. 👋🏼 That buffet lunch sounds good! I wrote next Friday’s installment this morning before the sunrise. It’s always nice to get those done because they do require some research and serious concentration.

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      1. Your ability to stay up late amazes me. Lately I’ve been going to sleep at 10 and waking up at 4-4:30. OMS…old man syndrome. My wife doesn’t usually wake up until 7:30-8:00 so I have 3 hours for writing and reading.

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      1. Yeah good analogy about to finish up my prep to teach couples meeting tonight pray I finish everything! Hope to post the outline tonight before my teaching in about 2 hours!

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  6. I am a Catholic and did notice that you label yourself as an excatholic. Thanks for the heads up. I love Jesus and believe in His true presence in the Eucharist. To me it seems you are arguing over things that are not not nearly of such Importance as Eucharist. The discussion about The Pope’s authority seems a little ways off, too. However, I do admire your thoroughness and scripture references. If you don’t mind my asking (realizing that you may have answered these questions previously) Were you raised in a Catholic family? Did you attend Catholic School? Or, did you join the Catholic Church at a later age and then change your mind? I’m curious because I am part of the RCIA ministry. thank you for reading my comment.

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    1. Hello Susan. Thanks for your comments. I was born into a Catholic family, obviously baptized as an infant, first communion age 7, confirmation age 10, 12 years of Catholic schooling, an altar boy from 5th to 8th grade. I remained a Catholic until I was 27 years old. At that time I was reading a Catholic Bible and the differences between God’s Word and Roman Catholicism were so jarring that I stopped attending mass. Through the witness of God’s Word, and Christians and Christian resources I repented of my sin and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith alone in 1983.

      I am sorry that you are instructing souls according to Roman Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. To Catholics who are curious about the differences between Gospel Christianity and the RCC, I recommend “The Gospel According to Rome” by James G. McCarthy which is readily available at Amazon.

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      1. Hi, Tom, my experience has been a blessing in all areas of my life, and I’m sorry yours was not. The Catholic Church is Bible based, but not solo scriptura, as you know. I have found that the Bible is what is proclaimed and preached in the Catholic Church. I’m not a theologian, though I have studied and prayed the Bible since my early twenties. He nuns in my Catholic School were kind and good teachers who loved God, had a personal relationship with Jesus and followed Him. I have been praying for you and will continue to do so. Your prayers for me for my health and my family are welcome. Have a blessed day!

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      2. Hi Susan. Thank for your comments. Catholicism diverges from Biblical truth with regards to numerous doctrines and relies heavily on its “sacred tradition.” Having freed itself from the standard of Scripture, the RCC hierarchy was able to proclaim any novelty as authoritative “sacred tradition.”

        I was taught by nuns and brothers throughout the 12 years of my Catholic education. While all of them would have claimed to have some kind of “personal relationship” with Jesus, no one can have a saving relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ, when they are attempting to merit their salvation as the Catholic church prescribes. For Roman Catholics who are genuinely interested in the differences between Roman Catholicism and Gospel Christianity I recommend “The Gospel According to Rome” by James G. McCarthy which is readily available at Amazon.

        Know that your church officially teaches that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and even atheists can also merit their salvation according to “the light they’ve been given.” Such an erroneous philosophy is (c)hristianity without Jesus Christ.

        “Whoever believes (i.e. trusts) in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:18

        Susan, I pray that someday you’ll accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. No one can merit their salvation as your church teaches.
        https://www.gty.org/library/Print/Articles/A190

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      3. Jesus Christ is my Savior by faith alone! I believe! I have a personal relationship with Jesus. God’s grace helps me to have some understanding of what He has revealed to us and I am thankful for it. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Mk 16:16. I think perhaps a review of Catholic literature would benefit many people. I always look for the local bishop’s approval, and read the scripture citations, as well as daily scripture reading as part of my prayer life. I appreciate your concerns.

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      4. Susan, you state that “Jesus Christ is my Savior by faith alone,” but your church’s doctrines that you adhere to and teach others most certainly contradict claim. As a Catholic you MUST merit your salvation. A Catholic who claims that Jesus Christ is their Savior “by faith alone” is not acknowledging that what they really mean is “my salvation is dependent on my faith (in the Catholic sacraments) AND works.”

        Merit is an essential component of the RC salvation system and as an RCIA teacher, you know that full well.

        The RCC’s Council of Trent actually condemned all those who trusted Jesus Christa as their Savior by faith alone:

        CANON IX. If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

        The RCC catechism also states that merit is an essential component of salvation:

        CCC 2010, “…Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life.”

        CCC 2027, “Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods.”

        I am curious why you spend so much energy defending the doctrines of your church when your pope and prelates proclaim that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and even atheists are also able to MERIT salvation if they are “good.”

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      5. I read the paragraphs in my copy of the ccc again. Thank you for the reference. Oftentimes, things taken out of context do not give the full picture, so I would gently urge you to read more of the CCC in that specific Article 2, Grace and Justification, Chapter 3. There is a very user friendly CCC written in less formal language, United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, and it corresponds to the CCC by Part and Chapter without the numbering of paragraphs, although notations are given for referencing back to the official document which was written for theologians, not the person in the pew. It is a beautiful presentation of faith in Jesus Christ.

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      6. Thanks, Susan. I have read the CCC and I’m thoroughly knowledgeable about the RCC’s version of justification and its system of soteriology. The RCC always points to sacramental grace as the enabling agent, but in the end it is merit that is the bottom line to its salvation system. Read “Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine Of Justification” by R.C. Sproul. I am puzzled by any Catholic who contends for their religion these days when your pope and prelates claim that all religionists and even atheists are also able to merit their salvation by “following the light they’ve been given.” That is not Christianity.

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  7. This is a logical fallacy. I could really be missing the point but hierarchy does not matter without character. The author is appealing to Scripture for position but not for character. There are Scriptural character qualifications for these positions. How does Francis allow priests to hold their position when they are knowingly guilty of harming children? Who holds the Vatican accountable for their character and conduct that is stated in Scripture. I know I could be reading this all wrong but it just doesn’t make sense. If Sola Scriptura isn’t vital, how can one appeal to it for hierarchy? Again, sorry if I am getting on your nerves!

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    1. The history of the RCC is a thick catalog of clerical privilege and abuse. No Gospel. No indwelling Holy Spirit.

      RE: If Sola Scriptura isn’t vital…

      You make an excellent point, Mandy! The RCC is ambivalent about Scripture, claiming that it’s authority comes as much from its Magisterium (the pope and his bishops) as the successors of St. Peter and the apostles and from Sacred Traditions as much as from the Bible. Most Catholics would have no interest in Broussard’s arguments from the Bible. They just do what their priests tell them to do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So I mentioned my sister-in-law and both sides of her family are Catholic. My mom, whom I love, while she does not agree with Catholic doctrine, will not say that the RCC is works based and leading people into hell. I am interested in all of this because of my niece (6) and nephew (almost 5). I do not argue with my mom, I just ask her to be informed and not deceived. You are helping me IMMENSELY! Thank you! I hope I am not disrupting you and Corrine’s afternoon!!

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      2. Mandy, I’m happy to help because I know the irreconcilable differences between Gospel Christianity and Roman Catholicism are largely swept under the rug in many quarters, which is very grievous to me as a saved ex-Catholic. I’ll be curious about your reaction to chapters 12-17 when Broussard defends the Catholic “gospel” of works-righteousness. Catholic apologists are not shy about propagating their belief in salvation by merit. Down the road, if you’re ever looking for a solid resource on the differences between Catholicism and Gospel Christianity, I would suggest “The Gospel According to Rome” by James G. McCarthy. It’s the best resource available. But seeing how this Catholic apologist twists Scripture and propagates salvation-by-merit is a good place to start.
        No problem, I’m just hanging out in the backyard patio in the shade doing my best not to over exert myself in this heat.

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