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Critique of Protestantism I

Sacerdotus

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This new series of posts on Protestantism I’m sure will upset some Protestants; however, it is not a critique on Protestants but on Protestantism – big difference.  In these posts, I will highlight some points I focused on while studying religion during my transition from atheism to theism.

 

The True Church of Christ

 

All denominations claim to be the “one true” Church of Jesus Christ.  How can we know for sure?  Well, history answers this question.  There is no doubt that the Catholic Church headed by Pope Francis now is the original Christian Church that can be traced to Jesus Christ Himself.  There is no doubt that the apostles themselves were part of this Church.  St. Ignatius of Antioch who was ordained by St. Peter had this to say of the true Church of Christ:  

 

Chapter VIII.-Let Nothing Be Done Without the Bishop. 

See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-smyrnaeans-longer.html

Notice that he does not say “Protestant Church,” “Lutheran Church,” “Pentecostal Church,” “Baptist Church,” “Adventist Church,” “Eastern Orthodox Church;” he says CATHOLIC CHURCH.  St. Ignatius lived in the 1st century.  There were no other Churches around, only the Catholic Church.   

 

Some Protestants claim that they are part of the Catholic Church or that the Catholic Church somehow lost its way or became apostate.  This is just dishonest.  Historians all agree that the Catholic Church that existed in the first century is the same Catholic Church of today headed by Pope Francis.  All academics agree that St. Peter was the first Pope and that there has been an uninterrupted apostolic succession of Popes from AD 33 to now 2013 with Pope Francis.  The list of Popes is confirmed by 11th century scholar Hermann of Reichenau and scholars thereafter.

 

The Church cannot become apostate because Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against her. (Matthew 16:18)  Jesus also promised that the Holy Spirit would guide the Church in truth. (John 14:26)  To say that the Church went haywire in the early centuries is to basically call Christ a liar.  

 

There is no doubt that the original Christian Church is the one headed by the Pope and centered in Rome.  Pope Clement I who is third Pope after St. Peter had this to say:

 

Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobeys the things which have been said by him [Jesus] through us, let them know that they will involve themselves in no small danger. We, however, shall be innocent of this sin and will pray with entreaty and supplication that the Creator of all may keep unharmed the number of his elect (Letter to the Corinthians 58:2, 59:1[A.D. 95]).

 

As Pope and head of the Universal Church, he speaks with authority over the entire Church by stating that one must not disobey what is said by Jesus through “Us” or the Church of Rome.  This shows that the Rome diocese/Church has a specific primal role as head of the entire universal Church.

 

Again, take note that there is no mention of Protestantism or Eastern Orthodox Churches.  At this time, there was only ONE Christian Church and it was the Catholic Church headed by Pope Clement I.  Any claims that Protestants or other non-Catholic Christians make in regards to being the one true Church is completely false.   

 

How Old Is Your Church?

 

  • If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex- monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517.
  • If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.
  • If you are a Presbyterian, your religion was founded by John Knox in Scotland in the year 1560.
  • If you are a Protestant Episcopalian, your religion was an offshoot of the Church of England founded by Samuel Seabury in the American colonies in the 17th century.
  • If you are a Congregationalist, your religion was originated by Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.
  • If you are a Methodist, your religion was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.
  • If you are a Unitarian, Theophilus Lindley founded your church in London in 1774.
  • If you are a Mormon (Latter Day Saints), Joseph Smith started your religion in Palmyra, N.Y., in 1829.
  • If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1605.
  • If you are of the Dutch Reformed church, you recognize Michaelis Jones as founder, because he originated your religion in New York in 1628.
  • If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865.
  • If you are a Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year in which your religion was born and to Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy as its founder.
  • If you belong to one of the religious organizations known as ‘Church of the Nazarene,” “Pentecostal Gospel.” “Holiness Church,” “Pilgrim Holiness Church,” “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” your religion is one of the hundreds of new sects founded by men within the past century.
  • If you are Catholic, you know that your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ the Son of God, and it is still the same Church.  –http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/churb4.htm   
 
All Protestant “churches” have a founder who is not Jesus Christ.  There is no escaping this fact.  To claim that your church is the original Church of Christ is dishonest and quite frankly, a lie.  As former Protestant John Henry Newman said, 
 

“To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.” 
(An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine – part 5)

 

 

Only the Catholic Church has the historical evidence that shows it was founded by Jesus Christ Himself on Peter the Rock.  Any denomination that calls itself Christian but is not united to Rome was founded by a man in America during colonial times or Europe during the Reformation.  These denominations are not the true Church of Christ, but are parodies of it.       

 

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2 Comments

  1. Ben says:

    I have been in a time of searching (that is far from over) to find what is the most authentic version of Christianity. Coming from the direction of Protestantism I have been facing some uncomfortable information, but I’ve been trying to keep an open mind. It seems that your post is being a bit confrontational, which is fine, and probably means that you won’t mind if I point a few things out that may be awkward. Bear in mind that this is just what I have observed, and I claim no great scholarly authority here.

    First of all, it seems quite incredible for you to claim that “There is no doubt that the Catholic Church headed by Pope Francis now is the original Christian Church that can be traced to Jesus Christ Himself.” Many people have doubts about that. If it was obvious truth, then there would be many more Catholics out there. I have no doubt that Pope Francis is a great guy, but his authority over the entire faith of Christianity is obviously disputable.

    In my recent studies of Christianity, the ones who continuously jump out at me as the bearers of authenticity are the Eastern Orthodox. They are the ones who typically so enjoy the “how old is your church” routine. Except you left out the part that they like to quote about how the Roman Catholics can trace their church back to 1054, when Rome left the main Church in the Great Schism by declaring their guy to be in charge (the Pope), and those in the east (the original Church?) refrained from recognizing this claim. I’m not here to defend Eastern Orthodoxy, I’m only here to point out this somewhat amusing detail regarding the claim of authenticity.

    Obviously protestants are attempting to hearken back to the original teachings of the Bible, bypassing various traditions and potential human errors. The question is whether or not they are effectively accomplishing this. The sheer number of denominations raises doubts for sure. Really all Bible-believing Christians believe they are part of the “Church” that traces itself back to Christ, and this is no crime. I have begun researching Ignatius and I respect his writings and the writings of the other early Church Fathers. Translations of words such as “bishop” can be flexible as I understand it. In reading the early Church Fathers (aside from the Bible), I can see how it would be difficult to remain Protestant, but those guys are not divinely inspired, either… so mud can be flung in either direction.

    I could talk about this stuff all day just based largely on my own ponderings and research on the subject. Believe me the debate has been raging in my own mind. Just know that if it was all as cut and dry as you claim, then Roman Catholicism would be more obviously the answer than it is… so it is difficult to take your post too seriously. I have a lot of respect for Catholicism, as well as Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. They all have great points to make. Being too rough on the others may only display a certain amount of insecurity. The important thing at the end of the day is that we are following Christ, and obeying His commands.

    By the way, although the Catholics have reason to dislike the Anglicans and it’s easy to blame that split on Henry VIII, the history is frankly not that simplistic.

    Again, I’m not here to defend anything… I just want to point a few things out that seem quite obvious to me.

    -Ben

    • Sacerdotus says:

      Hello Ben, thanks for your comment.

      I see how you may interpret my post as confrontational. When I wrote it, I was putting myself back in time to when I was an atheist and was studying religions. One of the questions I had was, “Why are there so many Christian Churches claiming to be the right one?” In order to find the answer to this question, I had to inquire and do research. The research is extensive and my post is just a summary of it.

      There is nothing incredible about the fact that the Catholic Church headed by Pope Francis is the One True Church of Christ. This can be proven with ease. People who have doubts do so because they filter out historical facts. All Popes can be traced to St. Peter the first Pope and apostle who Jesus put in charge of the Church.

      The Eastern Orthodox Church usually does not make the claims that you mention. Perhaps those who are fundamentalist do, but not the official representatives. They acknowledge the Catholic Church as having a special role in Christianity as the “first Church.” No historian will ever state that the Catholic Church separated from the Orthodox Church. Moreover, no history book would claim this. Some of the Eastern rites broke with Rome due to political reasons, power struggles and doctrinal problems with the filioque mention in the Creed. The Pope of Rome has always been in charge of Christianity since its infancy. The Bishop of Rome (Pope) resolved conflicts and was sought for advice by other bishops. Some of the Eastern rites have returned to Rome and are called “uniate” churches. They accept the authority of the Papacy, but still use their rites. Other Orthodox leaders still meet with the Vatican to discuss returning to Rome. In the future, most likely, the Eastern Orthodox still separated from Rome will reunite with Rome. It is interesting to note that Constantinople was invaded by Muslims and the Orthodox Church lost a lot of power and property. Rome has been attack several times and the Pope and Catholic Church still remain unharmed and the Catholic Church continues to grow. I think this is a witness to which Church is guarded by Christ who promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her.

      Protestants will also make claims regarding their origins, but again, history will not do them any favors. No protestant church can be traced to Jesus Christ and His apostles. While it may not be a crime to believe one’s church traces back to Christ, it is dishonest and ignorant to hold such belief. Little by little, Christendom is coming back together. Many protestants are returning home to Rome as well as Orthodox Christians. As I mentioned before, Orthodox patriarchs constantly work with Rome to find a way to restore unity.

      You have to be careful when using the term “Roman Catholic.” This is not the name of the Church. The Church is simply, the “Catholic Church.” When using Roman, that refers to the diocese of Rome or is used to distinguish it as the Latin rite. Calling the Catholic Church “Roman Catholic” originates from protestant reformers who sought to label the Catholic Church as another denomination among others. Remember, the Catholic Church has other rites, not just “Roman.” By calling the Church “Roman Catholic,” you are excluding all those other rites.

      If we are to follow Christ, we must be obey His command to be One. (John 17:21) Christ’s body is the Church and He can only have ONE body. It is important that we seek unity among all believers in Christ. We must pray for unity.

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