Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth? (Pt-2)
We'll finish the examining the declaration that the church makes about it being "The Pillar of Fire, the Pillar of Truth" this month. In its proclamation, the article said that "If we wish to locate the Church founded by Jesus, we need to locate the one that has the four chief marks or qualities of his Church. The Church we seek must be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic." Last month we looked at the one, holy and catholic portions of the article. This month we'll check its claim to be Apostolic.
The Church Is Apostolic (Eph. 2:19–20, CCC 857–865) The Church Jesus founded is apostolic because he appointed the apostles to be the first leaders of the Church, and their successors were to be its future leaders. The apostles were the first bishops, and, since the first century, there has been an unbroken line of Catholic bishops faithfully handing on what the apostles taught the first Christians in Scripture and oral Tradition (2 Tim. 2:2).
Biblical Answer - Apostolic successors surely would teach what the first Christians knew, but as Paul warned everyone about, "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock." (Acts 20:29) And in 2 Timothy 3:1,5 we find, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.....Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." If on the other hand, concerning the Church which claims itself to be Christ's Church, it would make sense that the following beliefs could be found in Scriptures. However the only belief mentioned here that is Scriptural is the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The rest of the article makes the "Claim" that these practices were just as Jesus taught the disciples, but none of them do without Scripture twisting.
These beliefs include the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, A - the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, B - the sacrificial nature of the Mass, C - the forgiveness of sins through a priest, D - baptismal regeneration, E - the existence of purgatory, Mary’s special role, and much more —even G- the doctrine of apostolic succession itself.
Biblical Answer - A - As explained in my article #3 - "Take this Body," the focus wasn't to be on the communion part, but rather what Jesus did the next day at Calvary. B - The "mass" is not found in the Bible, and it is not a sacrifice that helps anybody. The attention should be on what Christ did at Calvary nearly 2000 years ago. The Bible clearly teaches that, "we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all," (Hebrews 10:10) and that "by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (Hebrews 10:14) C - For a detailed look at the ability for a priest to forgive sins, see my article #5 - The "Scheme's of Satan." We look at John 20:23 and the claim that this is where Jesus supposedly empowered the apostles to forgive sins, whereas in reality only God can remove sins. D - A closer look can be seen in my article #33 - "Are you Born Again?" Baptism saves no one, but is a matter of identifying a believer with Jesus Christ publicly. E - The Bible says differently, that Jesus did the purifying at Calvary's cross for whosoever believes in Him. See my article #26 - "Purgatory." F - I found nothing in the Bible that said Mary was being given a special role outside of being selected to be the Mother of Jesus. Furthermore, the Bible teaches us not to pray to or for the dead. See my article #7 - "What about Mary?" to know what the Bible tells us about Mary's role. G - Apostolic succession isn't very practical as history shows that most of these practices and other "traditions" mentioned here were never practiced by the Apostles in the beginning, but were added as the years went by as I mentioned in last months article.
Early Christian writings prove the first Christians were thoroughly Catholic in belief and practice and looked to the successors of the apostles as their leaders. What these first Christians believed is still believed by the Catholic Church. No other Church can make that claim.
Biblical Answer - Despite the numerous times that we are told this, by simply comparing these types of claims, with the word of God, anyone can see the difference for themselves. God's word as given to us in the Bible is still the same since it was first written. Jesus tells us that we should search the Scriptures. He also gives us many examples in which He simply used His written words to set aside anyone that wasn't right. He even told the Pharisees that they erred because they didn't know Scriptures (Matthew 22:29.) When we check out any of these claims for ourselves, we can see that the first Christians didn't believe as the Catholic Church teaches today.
We at Gospel Light Ministries encourages you to be a good Berean, check us out, and to learn for yourself what God's Word actually does say. It is not a misinterpretation on your part to seek the truth, but rather as John's gospel tells us, "The said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31,32) Jesus told us in Hebrews 4:16, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." And He also told us to search the Scriptures for they are about Him, in John 5:39. If you do, you'd know be certain about the truth. So go ahead, boldly begin searching Scriptures for yourself and start learning about the truth today, just as Peter tells us, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." (1 Peter 2:2)