Jesus endured the desert for forty days. I’ve had to endure 40 days of radiation treatments. But the comparison goes beyond the number of days. I also had to face a good number of challenges to my religious beliefs. You see, my price for getting driven home was having to endure anti-Catholic recordings. My former Catholic driver felt it was her responsibility to evangelize. Every recording ended up being another “Sola Scriptura” argument why some Catholic doctrine was false. Most were testimonies from poorly catechized former Catholics unfamiliar with scripture.
I know my driver’s heart was in the right place. She felt it was her duty to prove how wrong I was for being Catholic. But bottom line, I have two basic problems with solely scripturally based religions and and their problems with Catholic teachings.
The first has to do with “authority.” It starts with the simple question. Who gave Henry VIII, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Joseph Smith and Charles Taze Russell the authority to start their own religions anyway? Fact of the matter is, they were all self appointed. When they had challenges with the Catholic religion they each decided to create their own. But not one can trace his origin to a direct line of apostolic succession.
When Catholics bring up the classic Matthew 16 verses that testify to Jesus building his Church upon Peter and his successors, they claim the “rock” Jesus was talking about could never be Peter. Translation from Greek was not clear here, they argue. If Peter was called Cephas, why is the word “petros” used? Problem is, Jesus never spoke Greek. He spoke Aramaic.
Even if Jesus was talking about building His Church “upon the faith of Peter,” what about the verse that refers to Peter receiving the “keys to the kingdom” or that one that goes “whatever you shall bind on earth are bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven .” Sounds like a granting of power to me. That line about hell not prevailing against it describes a pretty good insurance promise.
My second problem has to do with using the Bible as the sole basis of authority.
When my non-Catholic brothers and sisters use the Bible to argue against Catholicism, they forget (or fail to mention) that it was the Catholic Church that gave us the Bible in the first place. It was the Catholic Church that decided what scriptural writings belonged in the Old and New Testament.
To substantiate their doctrinal differences many non-Catholic denominations edited out books from the Catholic edition. Joseph Smith added his own book. Jehovah Witnesses changed verses to prove their own teachings.
Question is: what gave them the authority to do so? Which brings me back to my first problem: authority.
I have another question.
Why would the Church that authorized Scripture teach things that had no basis on it?
Well catechized Catholics can cite the scriptural foundation for Catholic teachings.
It’s there for the sacraments. It’s there for doctrines like transubstantiation. It’s there for practices like priestly celibacy.
Ask yourself, if you have a challenge with scriptural interpretation, who would you rather trust
the people who authorized the scripture in the first place, who claim appointment from Christ,
or would your the people who appointed themselves?
When my salvations's at stake I know how I'm going to answer.
Good CEOs always have a succession plan.
Should we think anything less of Jesus Christ?
To repeat His words (not mine): "Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church and the ..."