I have a friend who tells me the Catholic Churchisn’t Biblically based because they make up ritualsand beliefs as time goes on. How do I answerthem?Saint Paul MinistriesSaint Paul Ministrieswww.saintpaulministries.netwww.saintpaulministries.net
• The first I would ask themif their church hasn’tchanged over time.• If they are honest withyou they will admit it has.• The changes may befound in hymns that havebeen modernized,developments in certainministries, vestments orthe decisions not to usethem at all.• Let’s look at a couple ofverifiable historical facts.• The Catholic Churchbegan in the upper room at• The word “Catholic” wasfirst used to describe theChristian Church,believers in Jesus Christ,in 106 AD by St. Ignatiusof Antioch.• The Protestant Churchesdidn’t come on theChristian scene untilsixteenth century whenfollowers of the CatholicMonk, Martin Luther,established the evangelicalchurches of Germany andScandinavia.
• Problems arise in allchurches and need amethod of problemresolution.• Since Catholicism isBiblically based let’s openour Bibles to the Acts ofthe Apostles nowcommonly known as Acts,Chapter 15.• We discover this firstChurch Council took placein Jerusalem.• The reason for the councilwas that many Gentileswanted to join the church.• Legalistic Jews, Mosaic Lawfollowers, converted to Catholicismand were called Judaizers.• This group demanded that allconverts follow the works of theMosaic law one of which was tobecome circumcised.• When a problem arises in a church,the military, politics, your office orshop who ever is in charge of thoseplaces must resolve the problem bymaking a decision.• The decision by the people incharge becomes the new standardor procedure.
• The authority for the early churchwas given to St. Peter by Jesus inboth John 21 and if you understandthe original language Aramaicidiom Matthew 16.• Where then had Paul gone for ananswers to questions, Jerusalemand the elders (Acts 9)?• Who then was the authority for thechurch in charged of makingdecisions, St. Peter and theapostles, now called Pope andBishops (Acts 15)?• Who was it who had alreadyverified Paul’s teaching as correct,St. Peter and the elders (Acts 9) ?
• How did the council work?• Act 15:6 The apostles andthe elders were gatheredtogether to consider thismatter.• 7 And after there had beenmuch debate, Peter rose andsaid . . .• Notice the Apostles, nowknown as bishops, the eldersnow known as priest,together with Peter theleader, the pope, made thedecision that circumcisionwas not necessary tobecome a Christian.• Further, once Peter,speaking about faith andmorals had finished, allaccepted his decision asthe authoritative and finalthe resolution to theproblem.
• As you can see a decisionwas made to change froman old practice to a newpractice?• It is also worth pointingout to your friend thatonly Bible, the CatholicChristian Bible, existeduncontested for 1500years and contained 73books.• The only changes thatwere made to CatholicBible were by theProtestant reformer MartinLuther.• When he beganProtestantism he onlyaccepted 39 of the OldTestament books.• Seven books had beenremoved by JewishPharisees at their councilof Jamnia in 90 AD.• They were removed by thePharisees because theywere upset with the newChristians were using theirtranslation of the HebrewOld Testament tosubstantiate Christianbeliefs.
• Going back to the originalstatement, “the CatholicChurch isn’t Biblicallybased,” is inaccurate.• In reality, the CatholicChurch is more Biblicallybased than other forms ofChristianity because thecanon, list of acceptedBiblical books, precedes allother Christian Bibles.• The second part of yourfriends statement, “theymake up rituals and beliefsas time goes on,” is alsoinaccurate.
• To say just because aritual isn’t specificallyoutlined in the passages ofthe Bible over looks theteachings of St. Paul.• “15 So then, brethren,stand firm and hold to thetraditions which you weretaught by us, either byword of mouth or by letter(2 Thessalonians 2:15).• Christianity didn’t startwith a “StandardOperating ProcedureManual,” not every thingwas committed to writing.• St. Paul goes on to say, “Icommend you becauseyou remember me ineverything and maintainthe traditions even as Ihave delivered them toyou.” (1 Corinthians 11:2–3)• Again 2 Thessalonians 3:6“Now we command you,brethren, in the name ofour Lord Jesus Christ, thatyou keep away from anybrother who is living inidleness and not in accordwith the tradition that youreceived from us.
• As you can see not alltraditions, rituals, or eventhe Christian Bible existedwhen St. Paul wrote thesewords.• Our traditions and ritualsexisted since the earliestof times and some wereeven adopted by the newerChristian or Protestantreligions.
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