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. With this chapter, the Catholic apologist completes his six-part section on church hierarchy and authority by countering Protestants’ assertions that they have no need for the Catholic church’s Magisterium to guide them because “The Anointing Teaches Us.”
Catholics claim that their “Magisterium,” the teaching office of their church comprised of the pope and his 5839 bishops, is divinely authorized and divinely guided. Catholic apologist, Broussard, claims that some Protestants cite 1 John 2:27 as a Scriptural confutation of the Magisterium:
“But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”
Broussard then presents several other Bible passages to prove that Jesus and the apostles, including John, certainly intended for teachers to guide the church doctrinally. He suggests that in the context of the entire passage of 1 John 2:18-27, John is using hyperbole in verse 27 to warn against heeding false teachers.
Broussard is once again presenting a straw man logical fallacy by implying Protestants reject any and all teaching authority within the church. Evangelical Protestants are fully aware of such Scripture passages as the following:
“And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers…” – 1 Corinthians 12:28
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:11-12
The Holy Spirit calls individual men to lead and teach in the local church, using God’s Word, the Bible, as their sole authority.
Catholics claim that their allegedly divinely-guided Magisterium is absolutely necessary to preserve and protect doctrinal truth, but history, past and recent, reveals the absolute and undeniable fallaciousness of that claim:
- Throughout the centuries, Catholic popes, in league with their bishops, regularly introduced “Sacred Traditions” into church teachings; traditions which supplanted Biblical truths. Instead of preserving and defending God’s Word, the Magisterium nullified God’s Word. “You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things” – Mark 7:13.
- Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis have all apologized for the policies and practices of previous popes and prelates including such things as the Inquisition, the Crusades, systematic anti-Semitism, forced baptisms, persecution of Protestants, etc. If it’s claimed that the Magisterium guides the church by divine inspiration, then why do the modern popes have to apologize for the edicts of popes and prelates of previous centuries?
- Pope Francis is a pragmatic progressive who has introduced several doctrine-bending reforms since being elected in 2013. Many conservative Catholic leaders have advised their followers to ignore Francis’ novelties while the most audacious among them publicly proclaim the pope to be a heretic. Broussard dishonestly omits any mention of the current crisis within Catholicism regarding the controversial papacy of Francis in this chapter or the previous five concerning authority. It’s blatantly unscrupulous for Broussard to parade an idealized Magisterium before the reader when he is fully aware that Francis has thrown the church into a state of doctrinal “confusion” as conservative Catholics accuse him of doing.
Catholics look with askance at the patchwork quilt of evangelical Protestantism. They ask, how can truth be preserved and defended in such an uncentralized mishmash? Yet, it is precisely in and through the spiritual network of evangelical Protestant local churches, with all of their faults and problems, that the Holy Spirit has done His salvific, Gospel-spreading work, as those churches seek to follow God’s Word as their sole authority.
Next up: Traditions Nullify God’s Word