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The Nature of the Church and Authority

by Michael, Edward, and Andrew

Seek Apologetics

on 12 March 2013

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Transcript of The Nature of the Church and Authority

The Nature of the Church The Sacraments of the Church "I Love Jesus, But Hate Religion" What is a Sacrament? The Nature of the Church and Authority "What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion?" "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill." -Matthew 5:17 "If religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?" Excess hatred or excess passion? "Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor?" "Tells single moms God doesn’t love them if they’ve ever been divorced" Can you think of a single Christian denomination that says that God can stop loving you? Because the problem with religion is that it never gets to the core,
It’s just behavior modification, like a long list of chores." Faith and Works "Spend my whole life putting on this façade of neatness,
But now that I know Jesus, I boast in my weakness." Faith Alone Faith+Works “Human nature is like a dung heap covered by snow.” -Martin Luther Change from the inside out
Use of sacraments "If grace is water, then the church should be an ocean,
cuz it’s not a museum for good people, it’s a hospital for the broken" "See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." -James 2:24 Can you think of anything that makes the Catholic Church like a hospital for the broken?
What are our sources of grace? God looked down on me and said, “I want that man!”
Which is why Jesus hated religion, and for it he called them fools." What is he trying to do here? Now let me clarify, I love the church, I love the bible, and I believe in sin,
But my question is, if Jesus were here today, would your church let Him in? The Bible is a product of a religion. A religion called the Catholicism. "Now back to the topic, one thing I think is vital to mention,
How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums,
One is the work of God one is a man made invention,
One is the cure and one is the infection." Was Jesus a religious man?

If so, then we have a religious man curing people... Is religion the work of God or man? "And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." -Matthew 16:18-19 "Because religion says do, Jesus says done" "If you love me, keep my commandments"
-John 14:15 "Because when Jesus cried 'It is finished', I believe He meant it." What is the difference between being redeemed and being saved? First, let us look at what the Catechism
711- “The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here on earth his holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and charity, as a visible organization through which he communicates truth and grace to all men.” (Lumen Gentium) The Church is at the same time:
-a “society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical body of Chirst;
-the visible society and the spiritual community;
-the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches.” When discussing what the Church is and is not
with a non-Catholic start with common ground
like the Nicene Creed. This is a statement is a summation of the many shared points of faith. Quickly, everyone should know that if someone should refute the Creeds as un-Biblical every line can be found in the Bible. Also, the councils that gave us the Creeds also gave us the Bible. For our purposes, the main section we should examine is the final statements of faith. -I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins,
I look forward to the resurrection of the body, and the life of the world to come. Amen. Let’s break this down. First, in order for a church to be considered the true Church of Christ it must have these four marks: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Let’s examine some of the Biblical basis for these marks so we can explain why it is so important to possess them. Our first mark, or characteristic,
is One. 1 Corinthians 1:10- “I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” Paul is trying to end dissension that had arisen in the Church at Corinth. There, people were fracturing into factions around different missionaries and preachers, including Paul, Apollos, and Cephas. It is clear from the rest of this epistle that separation and faction is against the nature of the Church. It is scandal. Romans 16: 17-18- “I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded.”
-Those who separate themselves from this one church teach contrary doctrines. You might think of Phil 3:19 “Their god is their stomach” 1 Corinthians 12: 27-31- “Now you are the body of Christ and individual members of it. And God has appointed in the Church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. All apostles? All prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all posses gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts.” Just to close out:
-John 17: 20-21- “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
-Philippians 2: 2- “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” Apologetic note: Whenever you show these or other Bible verses you may be challenged on the “semantics” of the Catholic Church’s interpretation of the verses. Logic should help you explain why a particular verse supports your answer, but more importantly showing MANY examples all pointing to the same end is much harder to refute. Non-Catholics can take issue with a single verse but Catholic teachings are not based on just ONE verse. “This same is the holy Church, the one Church, the true Church, the catholic Church, fighting against all heresies: fight, it can; be fought down, it cannot. As for heresies, they all went out of it, like unprofitable branches pruned from the vine; but itself abides in its root, in its Vine, in its charity.” –St. Augustine “This unity we out to hold firmly and defend, especially we bishops who watch over the Church, that we may prove that also the episcopate itself is one and undivided…..The episcopate is one, the parts of which are held together by individual bishops. The Church is one which with increasing fecundity extends far and wide into the multitude, just as the rays of the sun are many but the light is one, and the branches of the tree are many but the strength is founded in its tenacious root…. Take away a ray of light from the body of the sun, its unity does not take on any division of its light, break a branch from a tree, the branch thus broken will not be able to bud. (Goes on) –St. Cyprian On the Unity of the Catholic Church Apologetic note: If you are wondering why I am focusing so much on unity, here is why. In our culture we have become accustomed to division amongst Christians. It is a very sad fact that we accept as normal or even as how it should be. John 17: “I pray… that they may all be one… so that the world may believe that you have sent me” Disunity amongst Christians is a scandal. Disunity contradicts the cross: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself” (John 12:32) Our second mark is holy. What does "holy" mean? Ephesians 5: 25-27- “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might present the Church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Acts 9:4-5- And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” and he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting;” What do we see here? God is telling Saul that he is persecuting Himself. But, how is it this possible to persecute God? This could only be so if there was some sort of visible institution of people that God called His own. These people, scattered geographically, would have to be joined together somehow (Mystical Body of Christ) for why else would God identify with all of them. If God is the Church then the Church must holy for God would not dwell in an unholy place. "...and that well-grounded system which tends to man's salvation, namely, our faith; which, having been received from the Church, we do now preserve, and which always, by the Spirit of God...renew its youth. For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God, there is the Church, and every kind of grace."
St. Irenaeus- Against Heresies (circa 175 AD) Our third mark is catholic. Acts 2: 5-11- Coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This is a gathering of international Jews in Jerusalem. The geography that is described follows a circular pattern going from east, north west, and then south. Biblical scholars means that the whole world is represented in Jerusalem foreshadowing the international accepts by Gentiles all over the world. Catholic in Greek means universal. Matthew 5: 14-15- “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” We can see that clearly the Church will be clearly visible to all, both inside and outside the Church. The context here is Jesus’s discussion with his disciples. This includes a discussing their good works. However, in this verse he discusses a city set on a hill. This refers to Jerusalem on Mt. Zion which is a visible sign of the eternal city that awaits the saints in heaven. (Gal 4:26, Heb 12:22)
-Rev 21: 2- "And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as bride adorned for her husband." Our last mark is apostolic. This mark can be difficult to understand and is often the mark that brings out the most questions and objections. So, let's examine some of the basic questions associated with this mark of the Church. Basic questions:
Did Jesus Christ envision leadership or choose leaders for his Church?
-Yes. He hand picked twelve apostles that were set apart from the rest of his disciples.
Did he intend to commission them to lead the Church after His Ascension? Yes.
-John 21: 15-19- Jesus telling Peter to feed His sheep.
-Matthew 28: 20- “…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”- The commissioning of the Apostles to spread the Gospel.
-Mark 16:14-18- The commissioning of the Apostles to preach the Gospels. Did Jesus intend for this leadership role to last beyond the Apostles? Yes
-Acts 1: 15-26- Election of Mattias.
-In order to be considered eligible the man had to have been with Jesus throughout His entire ministry. There must have been knowledge and experiences that could only be imparted by being with Jesus during those times. Paul is the unique exception that proves the rule, but he did see the risen and glorified Christ.
-Lots- How the Levitical high priest was chosen. Not a game of chance but a way of discerning God’s will. This reconstitutes the twelve but Mattias never reenters the narrative.
-Once the apostles, including Paul, begin to be martyred the process of replacing a fallen apostles is never repeated. James, the first to die, is not replaced. Apostle does not become an institution of the Church. Finally, what did Jesus intend once the Apostles had all passed? Who would lead? Was there a need for leadership?
-Acts 14:23- “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting, they committed them to the Lord in whom they believed.”
-In the Greek expression for “appointed” it literally means “to stretch forth hands” alluding to the rite of priestly ordination. These elders would provide guidance. These leaders were a part of a hierarchal procedure not a democratic one from the laity. 1 Tim 4:13-14- “Till I come (Paul), attend to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the elders laid their hands upon you.” -Acts 20:28- “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians, to feed the Church of the Lord which he obtained with his own blood."
--These men were chosen not by the will of men but by God.
Eph 2:19-20-"...foundation of the apostles and prophets..." Thus far, we can see that leadership was an intention but what about the office of bishop? Surely Jesus did not intend bishops to lead or have authority in His Church.
-Bishops are Biblical
-1 Tim 3: 1-13 - Qualifications of bishops. They are spiritual fathers who are to discipline and raise their children in the Church. Not just anyone should be a bishop. There are specific characteristics bishops should have.
-Similar found in Titus 1: 7-9- “For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, master of himself, upright, holy, and self-controlled; he must hold firm to the sure world as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it.” Close this section with two verses and two early Church Fathers.
Luke 10:16- “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
John 20: 21-“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.”
“Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” St. Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans (110 AD)
“For the Church, which One and Catholic, is not split or divided, but is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere to one another.” St. Cyprian of Carthage in his Letter to Florentius Pupianus (circa 254 AD) Outward Sign Something seen felt tasted and tangible.
Why do we have to see it?
We wouldn’t know it was there
Sign of receiving Grace
Ex: Suflur in Natural Gas Outward sign instituted by Christ that gives Grace Instituted by Christ Before Christ there were no Sacraments
He gave them to us and in scripture is proof That Gives Grace Sacraments cause what they symbolize but are not just symbolic
Example: Baptism is not just symbolic washing What does a Sacrament Require? They require Valid Form, Matter, Minister, and Intention Valid Form The words and actions of the minister Valid Matter The "stuff" that is used Valid Minister The one who makes the Sacrament happen Intention The minister must intend to perform the Sacrament Sacraments If none of the 4 requirements are met then the Sacrament does not happen
Sacraments are the normal way God mediates his Grace to humanity, but He is not bound by them and can operate outside of them
Ex: John 3:1-5 Have to be baptized to go to heaven, Only baptized go to heaven (metaphorical)
How can this be?
People before Jesus, aborted babies, etc.
Even if the Sacrament does not happen does not mean that God can’t still bestow Grace.
Ex: Luke 23:39-43
A Sacrament either happened or didn't. It is a yes or no thing
The holiness of the minister does not affect it as long as the 4 requirements are met Baptism Form
“I Baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”
Water (duh…)
Anyone in an extraordinary circumstance
Ordinarily is a Bishop, Priest, or Deacon
Consent is needed, if too young parents give ok
Only happens once, if the baptism was questionable, it’s performed again Kinds of Baptism Of Desire The example of the Good Thief at the Cross
The Grace without the Sacrament
Do not know who receives this Of Blood Non Sacramental form
Person receives Grace from death
Only those who believed in Jesus, before they were baptized, died Of Water What we are all used to Effects of Baptism Removes original sin
Removes all personal and actual sin
Incorporates us into the Body of Christ
Indelibly marked
Sanctifying Grace Contradictions Infant Baptisms Infant Baptism should not be performed since the child has no choice! Response Infant Baptisms Parents can make decisions for their children
They do it all the time
Acts 16:15 Lydia accepts the Faith and she and her entire household is baptized
Her choice results in everyone’s baptism
Church Fathers and Early Church Practice
Also Acts 16:33, 1 Corinthians 6, Acts 18:1, Acts 10 Questions? Confirmation Misunderstandings
Not becoming an adult in the Church
Not about saying yes to the baptismal promises
The fulfillment of what was begun in Baptism
Acts 8: 14-17 shows difference between Baptism and Confirmation Confirmation Form
“Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”
Oil of Chrism (Annointing)
Bishop is the ordinary, priests are the extraordinary
The sacrament is one of unity so the Bishop should perform it since he unites a Diocese
Priests can confirm on Easter Vigil Effects of Confirmation Baptismal Grace is deepened
Leaves an indelible mark
Union with the Church is perfected/completed
Sealed with the 7 gifts of the HS
Wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of the lord. The Eucharist All other Sacraments stem from the Eucharist
Is physically Jesus’ Body and Blood
Looks, smells, and tastes like bread
Only possible explanation is a miracle
Defense of literal Body and Blood is in the Sermon on the Mount John 6 and in 1 Corinthians 11 About the Eucharist Fast an hour before receiving the Eucharist
Water and meds are ok
True presence is in the Eucharist until digestion or it is not recognizably bread
Purifying vesicles
If more non Eucharistic substance (water usually) added to Eucharistic substance, then no longer Eucharist Questions? The Eucharist Discussed in a previous class Reconciliation (Confession) God has absolute authority in the forgiveness of Sins
Every sin is an offense to God
God can choose how he wants to delegate this power
God tell us we have to confess to a Priest
John 20: 19-23
Jesus gives confessors two powers
Power to Forgive and Retain
Priest has to listen to our sins to decide which he should use He (God) wants us to hear our sins
Last line of defense in fighting sins
Kind of like guilt
Humbling experience
The root of every sin is pride
Remedy of pride is humility Why do we have to be forgiven through confession? Continued... We are incarnate beings meaning we experience everything through our bodies
Priest’s voice is an assurance of salvation
Priest gives advice and encouragement
Going to confession brings our sin to light and we can see them as they truly are
Sin hurts everyone
It’s not just between you and God
Selfish mindset Defense of Confession "God did not give the apostles this power!" Let's examine John 20:19-23 Defense of Confession Jesus is leaving and makes final provisions for Apostles
He breathes on them
God only breathes twice in the bible
In creation He makes inanimate into living
Human → Priest, but still retain humanity
Breathes because this is God giving himself to the Apostles Defense of Confession John 20:19-23 John 20:19-23 Gives them 2 powers
Power to Forgive and Retain
Priests have to know which one to use
Have to have info on the situation to decide which to use (eg Confession) Apostolic Succession disproves this
Why would Jesus give the power of forgiveness just to a small group of mortal apostles?
It only makes sense to pass this power on
Laying on of Hands Acts 9: 17-19
Replacement of Judas Acts 1: 21-26 "Even if they did receive the power from Jesus, modern Priests would not have it today!" About Confession Form
“I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”
Sorrowful Confession of Sin, Venial and Mortal
Sorrow- acknowledgment that I have done wrong and intention to not sin again
Priest or Bishop The "What If" What if I forget/refuse to confess a mortal sin?
If you forget, all sins are forgiven in confession anyway, but if you remember, then you are obligated to confess it at your next confession.
If you forget a mortal sin then something is really wrong…
If you refuse to confess a mortal sin the Sacrament does not happen and is another mortal sin in itself To Fr. Barron! Questions??? Some objections to keep in mind:
1) The Church isn't visible.
2) Christ don't intend a visible or institutional
3)What makes your Church more truthful? So, the Church is 1)founded by Christ, 2) foundation is the Apostles and prophets, 3) Christ is a part of His Church, His bride, 4) the Church is meant to be holy, whole, and universal, and 5) the bishops and their successors will lead the Church.
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