To Pope or Not to Pope?

bHero

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In order:
Yes, yes, yes, yes.

I see I did a poor and possibly offensive job in explaining my thoughts. You're committed to Jesus, and that is great. I have nothing against non-denoms. What I find offensive is the philosophy behind being non-denom. If a man has several wives because he has not found one who checks each of his boxes, he is a polygamist, but a man who takes a little from here and a little from there spiritually is upheld as totally valid. This is one knock against my fellow millennials, that they are "spiritual, but not religious." They are "nones" - they don't take any particular religion because they take the parts they like of each - the ethics of Christ, the zen-ness of Budda, etc. I read not long ago, I think from Fr. Barron, that a big reason for this there is a fear of rejection or of being wrong. Commitment comes with risk, but everywhere else in life commitment is a key component of success. Why wouldn't this be the case in matters of religion as well?

I also notice that you didn't answer what non-denominationalists believe.

But we're getting off topic here. Let's get back to parsing out Catholicism.
I didn't want to detract focus from my first point, but my church has a statement of faith. They are affiliated with the southern baptist convention for purposes of networking, hiring and all that other required legal stuff.

I think you're struggling with understanding that my church being non-denominational doesn't mean I am polyamorous in my faith or that I am uncommitted to the church. I'm not sure where you've gotten such an extreme viewpoint on this subject. My church and my faith is only derived from the bible. That's it, nothing else.

It has nothing to do with a fear of rejection, or being wrong, or wanting to dabble. It doesn't indicate a weakness of conviction or inability to decide.
 

HornsWin

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@HornsWin - you're getting adversarial in the debate, and that's fine, but I don't see you the same as I would an atheist on these topics. In some ways I hold you to a higher standard of decorum, so I'm not going to play semantics to win points.

With that, you'll have to be patient as I respond to some of your points. And to reiterate, I believe a lot of catholics are saved, I just am not a fan of the modern church.

Now, first on the books, without getting too much in the weeds, the Church has changed the bible numerous times throughout the ages. A few examples:

Irenaeus, Tertullian, Athenagoras, and Clement of Alexandria all considered the Book of Enoch Scripture and preached it as such.

The Epistle of Barnabus was actually in the Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Claromontanus and Codex Hierosolymitanus, and it also considered the book of Enoch Scripture.

Yet, both books have been removed from the Catholic Bible.

This is not to mention the rest of the apocrypha, which most was removed by 1885.

I get leaving out the pseudepigrapha, but for centuries the church has slowly been removing many things from the Bible.

I think the protestants have 66 books, the Catholics have 73 and the Ethiopians still have 80 or 81.

None of these have all the books in the earliest collections.

And we haven't even scratched the surface of stuff being added. 1 James 5:7-8 is a very famous example of something being added.

This is another rabbit hole.
Not getting adversarial. Just wanted to make sure I didn't offend one of the posters here I find myself almost entirely sympatico with.

Irenaeus, Tertullian, Athenagoras, and Clement were all 1st and 2nd century, before the Church convened to determine which books were, in fact authoritative.

But this is a good opportunity to point something out regarding the validity of tradition:
  • Iranaeus studied under Polycarp, who studied under St. John the Evangelist.
You will find this is the case for many ante-Nicean fathers, that they are just 1-2 teachers removed from Christ himself. Now, we take the Pythagorean Theorem today as unchanged from the time Pythagoras came up with it. It has been passed down across an untold number of math teachers since then, but we don't question it. We don't suggest that somewhere along the line someone changed it. Why not? Yet, Protestants seem to think that someone or many someones decided to completely pervert the teachings of their master, who got them from their master, all the way back to Christ. Granted, some did. They were found to be heretics and were accordingly excommunicated. But still, the Protestant idea is that their teachings are not valid. Why? That seems more like a projection of one's own mistrust than an argument based on reason.

That is another rabbit hole, though, as you say, though I must point out the irony of using a passage from the Book of James, since that is one book Luther wanted to see removed.
 
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HornsWin

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My church and my faith is only derived from the bible. That's it, nothing else.
I get that, but see, that is the problem. It's derived from the bible, but based on what? On your interpretation? Or your pastors? Or some other source? From the earliest time, even in the Book of Acts, we see scripture tell us that an authoritative teacher is needed, and in scripture the authoritative teacher was always someone who has been in the direct presence of Christ. The teaching of scripture requires a certain brand of spiritual authority that only the Church can offer. The oldest and most directly linked-to-Christ tradition is that of the Catholic Church, and therefore offers the most orthodox understanding of the scriptures. Anything that gets away from the teachings of the Church gets away from the truth because it is now based on an individual's interpretation of the scriptures, rather than that of the Church, founded on Christ.
 

HornsWin

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Definitely a wording thing on my part. It is not an issue of amount of awe, it is an issue of % of awe to % of interacting/viewing God as Abba. Evangelicals as a group have the balance screwed up in the opposite direction.
I can, for posterity's sake, agree with this. I would say this is more clearly reflected in the Catholic devotion to the sacraments and the Evangelical devotion to scripture.
 

bHero

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Not getting adversarial. Just wanted to make sure I didn't offend one of the posters here I find myself almost entirely sympatico with.

Irenaeus, Tertullian, Athenagoras, and Clement were all 1st and 2nd century, before the Church convened to determine which books were, in fact authoritative.

But this is a good opportunity to point something out regarding the validity of tradition:
  • Iranaeus studied under Polycarp, who studied under St. John the Evangelist.
You will find this is the case for many ante-Nicean fathers, that they are just 1-2 teachers removed from Christ himself. Now, we take the Pythagorean Theorem today as unchanged from the time Pythagoras came up with it. It has been passed down across an untold number of math teachers since then, but we don't question it. We don't suggest that somewhere along the line someone changed it. Why not? Yet, Protestants seem to think that someone or many someones decided to completely pervert the teachings of their master, who got them from their master, all the way back to Christ. Granted, some did. They were found to be heretics and were accordingly excommunicated. But still, the Protestant idea is that their teachings are not valid. Why? That seems more like a projection of one's own mistrust than an argument based on reason.

That is another rabbit hole, though, as you say, though I must point out the irony of using a passage from the Book of James, since that is one book Luther wanted to see removed.
My point is that those guys are leaders of the early church and used a book that others laters decided to removed. It was more to establish the fluidity of the situation wrt which books were in or out.

We trust the Pythagorean theorem because we can prove it works today via proof, and most protestants don't mistrust the writings of the saints, they were just raised up protestant. 99 out of 100 can't even name a saint (aside from the obvious 3-4). They'd don't know any better.

And I'm not saying that I don't trust the teachings of the saints. In fact I do trust many of them. Far more that I trust Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" or some other pop culture Christian psychology. I just don't, I can't, take them all as holy writ. One of my favorite quotes of all time is a bad translation of St. Iraneaus. "The Glory of God is man fully alive." The correct translation of "Gloria enim Dei vivens homo, vita autem hominis visio Dei" is "For the glory of God is the living man, and the life of man is the vision of God," but I like both translations. Iraneaus was a man on fire.

I accidentally put in James, the verse was actually from John (the one that was added for the trinity). And I agree that Calvin and Luther were over-reacting on the writings of James. A central theme of the protestants was salvation by works and redress of grievances so I understand why they avoided it, but James is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Essentially he is telling believers that you may say you are saved, but your fruits better show it. I'd love to see the exegesis taught at Joel Olsteen's church. I'm pretty sure we'd see people run screaming from the building and they'd burn couches in the parking lot.

I've studied the ancient manuscripts heavily. Here's what I can say with authority.
1) They are the most accurately maintained books in all of antiquity. Moreso that the epics of gilgamesh, the zorastrian stuff, Homer's Illiad and Oddessy, the history of Alexander, The Antiquities of the Jews, The Annals of Rome, all of the writings of Josephus and Tacitus & Julius Africanus. We have thousands of more copies that are older and more consistent than any of these documents. In fact, not only that, but almost all of the the actual dating of the original writing of the documents of the New Testament date within a generation of the death of the Christ, and the writings of several books date within 10 years of his death. Nothing comes close. In fact most are written hundreds of years after the fact.
2) The New Testament books did not derive their authority from the church, in the fact the opposite was true here as well, the books them selves were authoritative before the bible was assembled. That's what the Bible is (I'm sure you already know). The clarification I prefer is: The bible is not an authoritative collection of books, it's a collection of authoritative books. The church said "these are the most authoritative books we have, staple them together."
3) Since it's inception, the books of the bible has changed dramatically. Are there books that maybe warrant inclusion? Sure. Should any that are in the minimal version (the 66) be excluded? No. That's a key point. Even through the same stuff may not be in all bibles, what is shared in all of them is not only harmonious, but it's all that is needed for salvation and living a holy life. In fact, I argue that all one needs is 3 books: 1 Gospel, The Book of Acts, The Book of Revelation. Everything after that is gravy.
 
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HornsWin

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My point is that those guys are leaders of the early church and used a book that others laters decided to removed. It was more to establish the fluidity of the situation wrt which books were in or out.

We trust the Pythagorean theorem because we can prove it works today via proof, and most protestants don't mistrust the writings of the saints, they were just raised up protestant.

And I'm not saying that I don't trust the teachings of the saints. In fact I do trust many of them. Far more that I trust Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" or some other pop culture Christian psychology. I just don't, I can't, take them all as holy writ. One of my favorite quotes of all time is a bad translation of St. Iraneaus. "The Glory of God is man fully alive." The correct translation of "Gloria enim Dei vivens homo, vita autem hominis visio Dei" is "For the glory of God is the living man, and the life of man is the vision of God," but I like both translations. Iraneaus was a man on fire.

I accidentally put in James, the verse was actually from John (the one that was added for the trinity). And I agree that Calvin and Luther were over-reacting on the writings of James. A central theme of the protestants was salvation by works and redress of grievances so I understand why they avoided it, but James is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Essentially he is telling believers that you may say you are saved, but your fruits better show it. I'd love to see the exegesis taught at Joel Olsteen's church. I'm pretty sure we'd see people run screaming from the building and they'd burn couches in the parking lot.

I've studied the ancient manuscripts heavily. Here's what I can say with authority.
1) They are the most accurately maintained books in all of antiquity. Moreso that the epics of gilgamesh, the zorastrian stuff, Homer's Illiad and Oddessy, the history of Alexander, The Antiquities of Rome, all of the writings of Josephus and Tacitus & Julius Africanus. We have thousands of more copies that are older and more consistent than any of these documents. In fact, not only that, but almost all of the the actual dating of the original writing of the documents of the New Testament date within a generation of the death of the Christ, and the writings of several books date within 10 years of his death. Nothing comes close.
2) The New Testament books did not derive their authority from the church, in the fact the opposite was true here as well, the books them selves were accurate before the bible was assembled. That's what the Bible is (I'm sure you already know). The clarification I prefer is: The bible is not an authoritative collection of books, it's a collection of authoritative books.
3) Since it's inception, the books of the bible has changed dramatically. Are there books that maybe warrant inclusion? Sure. Should any that are in the minimal version (the 66) be excluded? No. That's a key point. Even through the same stuff may not be in all bibles, what is shared in all of them is not only harmonious, but it's all that is needed for salvation and living a holy life. In fact, I argue that all one needs is 3 books 1 Gospel, The Book of Acts, The Book of Revelation. Everything after that is gravy.
Aint' this fun? I'm about to go out - See, Duke? I do have fun! - but I look forward to kicking out some words about this tomorrow.

Also, I'm 3 Mosaics in. IPAs are an acquired taste. I guess I've at least technically acquired it. Let those good times roll.
 
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bHero

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I get that, but see, that is the problem. It's derived from the bible, but based on what? On your interpretation? Or your pastors? Or some other source? From the earliest time, even in the Book of Acts, we see scripture tell us that an authoritative teacher is needed, and in scripture the authoritative teacher was always someone who has been in the direct presence of Christ. The teaching of scripture requires a certain brand of spiritual authority that only the Church can offer. The oldest and most directly linked-to-Christ tradition is that of the Catholic Church, and therefore offers the most orthodox understanding of the scriptures. Anything that gets away from the teachings of the Church gets away from the truth because it is now based on an individual's interpretation of the scriptures, rather than that of the Church, founded on Christ.
My church is led by a man who is subject to several elders (some from other churches), who themselves are subject to elders of other churches. This isn't a church that's going to play fast and loose with doctrine.

I have some serious reservations about the Catholic Church's hold to the orthodoxy. Jesus taught us that the old church aren't always right. He ignored the Sanhedrin and rejected their teachers because they were corrupt. In fact only 1 Pharissee and zero Sadducees were apostles. This isn't to say that the same holds true of the Church, but having a long tradition, like the Sanhedrin, does not mean a guarantee of orthodoxy. In fact, the catholic church has changed immensely since just the start of the 1950's. Vatican 2 dumped a ton of tradition, which some traditional Catholics call heresy. And of course, Sedevacantism rose from as a results and this branch of Catholicism nullifies all popes after Vatican 2 and calls the seat vacant. All of this is meant to say that I think it appears the Catholic Church lost control a while back and has been on a crash course for universalism for awhile. I do believe in the earliest teachings and traditions of the church. But I'm not a fan of where it stands today. That's why I'm focused on the early church.
 

HornsWin

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My church is led by a man who is subject to several elders (some from other churches), who themselves are subject to elders of other churches. This isn't a church that's going to play fast and loose with doctrine.

I have some serious reservations about the Catholic Church's hold to the orthodoxy. Jesus taught us that the old church aren't always right. He ignored the Sanhedrin and rejected their teachers because they were corrupt. In fact only 1 Pharissee and zero Sadducees were apostles. This isn't to say that the same holds true of the Church, but having a long tradition, like the Sanhedrin, does not mean a guarantee of orthodoxy. In fact, the catholic church has changed immensely since just the start of the 1950's. Vatican 2 dumped a ton of tradition, which some traditional Catholics call heresy. And of course, Sedevacantism rose from as a results and this branch of Catholicism nullifies all popes after Vatican 2 and calls the seat vacant. All of this is meant to say that I think it appears the Catholic Church lost control a while back and has been on a crash course for universalism for awhile. I do believe in the earliest teachings and traditions of the church. But I'm not a fan of where it stands today. That's why I'm focused on the early church.
Some fair points here.

To the first point, your church is led by a man answerable to elders who are answerable to elders, but where does that chain of authority end? Catholicism, i.e., the Church, started with Christ.

To your second, longer point, it's important to make a distinction. Jesus stood against the men who taught the law, not the law itself. By his own words, he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. The problem was not what these men taught, but how they lived, enforced, and improperly upheld (or misunderstood) what they taught.

Vatican 2 was, by and large, a disaster of epic proportions. I don't think I would go so far as to call it heresy, but I would walk right up to that line. Francis is legitimate, he just isn't very good.

At what point, in your opinion, did the ancient Church go wrong?
 
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HornsWin

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I just don't, I can't, take them all as holy writ.
There is a difference between holy writ and authoritative.

I'm also going to have to push back on your claim that "the writings of several books date within 10 years of his death." Back this up because I have not seen any scholarship to back this up. James is universally agreed to be the earliest written NT book sometime between 45-50 (12-17 years post Ascension), which, again, is not among Protestants favorite NT books generally speaking. The earliest Gospel, which you and I agree are the cornerstone for knowing Christ, is Mark, written between 50-60. How, then, did men and women come to know Christ prior to this? It could only have been through teaching.

Further, even while the Bible was compiled in the 400s, it wasn't widely available until around the time of Luther thanks to the printing press, meaning that even after the Bible was settled, men and women still were reliant on its being taught, rather than having it readily available. In other words, for the first 1500 years of the Church, men and women's salvation relied upon teaching of the scriptures, not the scriptures alone. Sola scriptura is not found anywhere in the bible, making it an extra-biblical teaching, which also makes it a contradiction. Clearly, tradition (e.g., teaching) plays a critical role in one's salvation.
  • Like the eunuch asks in the book of Acts. Philip asked if he understood what he, the eunuch, was reading, and the eunuch responds, "How can I, unless someone guides me?"
  • Or 2 Peter 1.20-21: "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke through God as they were carried by the Holy Spirit."
Scripture itself is tradition, since prior to its compilation into the Bible, it was passed around with assumed authority, but not official authority. For about 400 years these various letters and gospel accounts were passed around and taught from because, traditionally, that is what the earlier teachers taught from. Further, before being written, these were all oral traditions, calling further into question how scripture alone can be legitimate if for at least a decade after the Ascension, there was no scripture aside from the scrolls of the Torah, the Books of Law, etc. After all, when NT scripture refers to scripture, it isn't refering to itself, unless you want to argue that each of the NT authors knew that their letters would one day be compiled into a collection of books from which the Church would teach. But again, there is no scriptural backing for that, so such an argument would be extra-biblical and thus, anti-sola scriptura.
 
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jamesrh

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I get that, but see, that is the problem. It's derived from the bible, but based on what? On your interpretation? Or your pastors? Or some other source? From the earliest time, even in the Book of Acts, we see scripture tell us that an authoritative teacher is needed, and in scripture the authoritative teacher was always someone who has been in the direct presence of Christ. The teaching of scripture requires a certain brand of spiritual authority that only the Church can offer. The oldest and most directly linked-to-Christ tradition is that of the Catholic Church, and therefore offers the most orthodox understanding of the scriptures. Anything that gets away from the teachings of the Church gets away from the truth because it is now based on an individual's interpretation of the scriptures, rather than that of the Church, founded on Christ.
Of course the Eastern Orthodox church offers the same with respect to an unbroken line back to the teachings of Christ.
 

HornsWin

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Of course the Eastern Orthodox church offers the same with respect to an unbroken line back to the teachings of Christ.
True-ish, but that is a bit messy with the schism and all. Still, the Church does recognize E.O. as being in full communion.
 

jamesrh

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True-ish, but that is a bit messy with the schism and all. Still, the Church does recognize E.O. as being in full communion.
I recognize that the RCC doesn't recognize the EO as being in full communion because they refuse to recognize the primacy of the pope. However, there is nothing in early church history and nothing in the bible to support the concept of the pope. If you want to know where I believe the RCC went of the rails it is at the schism. I believe the move to force the everyone to bow to the Bishop of Rome was not spiritually motivated, but was the first in a long line of secularly motivated power grabs. The core doctrines of the church were all cemented very early. The doctrines surrounding the pope have been in continual revision. Papal infallibility for instance doesn't start to really appear by implication until the middle ages and isn't codified until 1870.
 

HornsWin

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However, there is nothing in early church history and nothing in the bible to support the concept of the pope.
"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Mt. 16. 17-19.

If the Bible is to be taken as true, then how can you deny that Jesus is giving Peter a heavier responsibility than he gives to anyone else? And what else might Jesus have meant when he said: "on this rock, I will build my church"? Not churches, but church, singular. Is he speaking to anyone else when he says he is giving the keys to the kingdom of heaven? Or, does he offer those keys to anyone else?

"When Jesus speaks of the 'keys of the kingdom', he is referring to an important OT passage, Isaiah 22.20-22, where Hezekiah, the royal heir to David's throne and King of Israel in Isaiah's day, replaced his old Prime Minister, Shebna, with a new one named Eliakim. everyone could tell which one of the royal cabinet members was the new PM since he was given the 'keys of the kingdom.' By entrusting to Peter the 'keys of the kingdom', Jesus established the office of Prime Minister, so to speak, for administering the Church as his Kingdom on earth. The 'keys' are a symbol, then, of Peter's office and primacy to be handed on to his successor; thus it has been handed down through the ages."

That passage comes from Scott Hahn, one of the most respected Catholic apologists of our day. Can you offer a rebuttal?
The doctrines surrounding the pope have been in continual revision.
Can you provide a few examples? Regarding Papal Infallibility, that actually appears in the Gospel passage given above. But then, that is also an idea that is greatly misunderstood.
 

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"And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Mt. 16. 17-19.

If the Bible is to be taken as true, then how can you deny that Jesus is giving Peter a heavier responsibility than he gives to anyone else? And what else might Jesus have meant when he said: "on this rock, I will build my church"? Not churches, but church, singular. Is he speaking to anyone else when he says he is giving the keys to the kingdom of heaven? Or, does he offer those keys to anyone else?

"When Jesus speaks of the 'keys of the kingdom', he is referring to an important OT passage, Isaiah 22.20-22, where Hezekiah, the royal heir to David's throne and King of Israel in Isaiah's day, replaced his old Prime Minister, Shebna, with a new one named Eliakim. everyone could tell which one of the royal cabinet members was the new PM since he was given the 'keys of the kingdom.' By entrusting to Peter the 'keys of the kingdom', Jesus established the office of Prime Minister, so to speak, for administering the Church as his Kingdom on earth. The 'keys' are a symbol, then, of Peter's office and primacy to be handed on to his successor; thus it has been handed down through the ages."

That passage comes from Scott Hahn, one of the most respected Catholic apologists of our day. Can you offer a rebuttal?

Can you provide a few examples? Regarding Papal Infallibility, that actually appears in the Gospel passage given above. But then, that is also an idea that is greatly misunderstood.
In the Mathew passage, 2 different words are used Peter (Petros) and rock (petra). They are of course derivatives, but distinct. Why? Because one refers to Peter the person and the other refers to his confession. Christ will build his Church on the foundation of Himself as "the Messiah, the Son of the living God." This is born out throughout the NT. This is also born out by the fact that Christ also says to all the other disciples "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Mt. 18:18 Giving them the same authority granted Peter. Furthermore, Peter himself never acted as a PM or supreme authority. He was definitely a primary leader among the disciples. The primary leader initially. But as the Church grew he did not take any kind of singular mantle of authority for himself, and in fact was not even 1st among equals, but rather one of a number of eminent leaders of the Church.

Also I do understand Papal Infallibility. That it only applies in very special circumstances when the Pope is speaking for God on matters of doctrine ex cathedra. Doesn't change the fact that this is one of the many aspects of the office that have developed over centuries.
 

HornsWin

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In the Mathew passage, 2 different words are used Peter (Petros) and rock (petra). They are of course derivatives, but distinct. Why? Because one refers to Peter the person and the other refers to his confession. Christ will build his Church on the foundation of Himself as "the Messiah, the Son of the living God." This is born out throughout the NT. This is also born out by the fact that Christ also says to all the other disciples "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Mt. 18:18 Giving them the same authority granted Peter. Furthermore, Peter himself never acted as a PM or supreme authority. He was definitely a primary leader among the disciples. The primary leader initially. But as the Church grew he did not take any kind of singular mantle of authority for himself, and in fact was not even 1st among equals, but rather one of a number of eminent leaders of the Church.

Also I do understand Papal Infallibility. That it only applies in very special circumstances when the Pope is speaking for God on matters of doctrine ex cathedra. Doesn't change the fact that this is one of the many aspects of the office that have developed over centuries.
You bring up an interesting point. Christ does use the bind/loose statement again, but he doesn't say that to his disciples. He says it to his Apostles. That is an important distinction. Jesus had hundreds of disciples, but he only had 12 Apostles, denoting that those 12 were in some very special way set apart. It was those same Apostles, excluding Judas, who were present for the tongues of fire at Pentecost. Again, not his disciples, but his Apostles. Clearly there is something very unique about these men that is not extended to all of Christ's followers.

But again, he only gives the keys of the kingdom to one man, Peter, the first pope. He does not make that same offer to anyone else. And what about the Gospel of John 21.15-19:
"When they had finished eating breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Feed my lambs.' He said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Tend my sheep.' He said to him a third time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, 'Do you love me?' and he said to him, 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep. Truly, truly I say to you, when you were young you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go."

The responsibility to tend his sheep and to tend his lambs is not given to anyone else but Peter. Aspects of leadership are indeed given to the other Apostles (not the disciples), but this very specific and unique charge is given to Peter alone. It really, really seems like Jesus had a very specific role for Peter that was not meant for even his other Apostles. Wouldn't you agree?
 
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jamesrh

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You bring up an interesting point. Christ does use the bind/loose statement again, but he doesn't say that to his disciples. He says it to his Apostles. That is an important distinction. Jesus had hundreds of disciples, but he only had 12 Apostles, denoting that those 12 were in some very special way set apart. It was those same Apostles, excluding Judas, who were present for the tongues of fire at Pentecost. Again, not his disciples, but his Apostles. Clearly there is something very unique about these men that is not extended to all of Christ's followers.

But again, he only gives the keys of the kingdom to one man, Peter, the first pope. He does not make that same offer to anyone else. And what about the Gospel of John 21.15-19:
"When they had finished eating breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Feed my lambs.' He said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' He said to him, 'Tend my sheep.' He said to him a third time, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, 'Do you love me?' and he said to him, 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep. Truly, truly I say to you, when you were young you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go."

It really, really seems like Jesus had a very specific role for Peter that was not meant for even his other Apostles. Wouldn't you agree?
Yes, of course I used disciples as that is the terminology used in most translations of the passages, but you are correct regarding who he was talking to. I do not deny that Jesus recognized the leadership of Peter. He was as I said the natural leader and spokesman of the 12. He was essential as the spokesman during the foundation of the Church. But if you look at things holistically both in terms of scripture and how things played out in terms of relationships in the early church there is no case for Peter taking the role of Pope. He didn't do it. There is no evidence he even acted as Bishop of Rome.

One could easily see the John passage as restoring Peter to his place of basic leadership among the Apostles after his failure in denial. And the 3 questions and answers corresponding and redeeming each of the 3 denials. Thus preparing him for the role he did play in the foundation of the Church. That of initial spokesman and elder statesman.
 
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HornsWin

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Yes, of course I used disciples as that is the terminology used in most translations of the passages, but you are correct regarding who he was talking to. I do not deny that Jesus recognized the leadership of Peter. He was as I said the natural leader and spokesman of the 12. He was essential as the spokesman during the foundation of the Church. But if you look at things holistically both in terms of scripture and how things played out in terms of relationships in the early church there is no case for Peter taking the role of Pope. He didn't do it. There is no evidence he even acted as Bishop of Rome.

One could easily see the John passage as restoring Peter to his place of basic leadership among the Apostles after his failure in denial. And the 3 questions and answers corresponding and redeeming each of the 3 denials.
There is no biblical evidence, true. At least, no hard evidence. There is, however, historical evidence. Sts. Iranaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Jerome all write quite clearly that the Church in Rome was founded by Peter and Paul, and that following Peter's martyrdom, Linus (also mentioned in scripture) was appointed to replace Peter as the Bishop of Rome. No one was chosen to replace Paul, but Peter was deemed important enough to replace. Keep in mind, this is not coming from their spiritual writings, but from their historical accounts.

Let's say for a minute that you're right. The pope is not a legitimate spiritual authority and that Protestantism is the true faith as it was always meant. Where in scripture do you see Jesus calling for his mystical body to be fractured, independent of one another, left to the individual, and answerable to him alone? Or, how can you square such an atomized, chaotic system with the God who brings order to chaos? Jesus, when he prays his high priestly prayer, prays for his body to be unified. The word "Catholic" even means "universal", as in the one, unified Church. Protestantism, to the contrary, is just that - based on protesting. Protesting what, though? Unification? Surely not, but that is exactly what is happening. Catholics long for the day when our Protestant brothers and sisters will come back into full communion, but Protestants seem determined to move further and further away from the reunification.
 

Halas

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Yeah, let's talk about that for a moment. Isn't non-denominational just a way to hedge one's bets? That sounds snide, but I mean it truly. Even when I attended non-denom churches I never liked being non-denom? Why not commit to something for sure? If you can't find something you agree enough with or believe enough in, then doesn't that indicate something?
I’m non-denominational. I guess I’m confused as to what I should commit to other than Jesus. Why should I commit to the Nazarene and Baptist idea of not dancing or the Catholic idea of praying through saints. I don’t find any consequence in commiting to those and how they affect my personal relationship with Jesus.
 

HornsWin

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I’m non-denominational. I guess I’m confused as to what I should commit to other than Jesus. Why should I commit to the Nazarene and Baptist idea of not dancing or the Catholic idea of praying through saints. I don’t find any consequence in commiting to those and how they affect my personal relationship with Jesus.
Let's turn this around. If it's enough to commit to Jesus, then why did Luther nail his theses to the door? None of his complaints, to my knowledge, charged that the Church no longer believed in Christ. And yet, the Protestant thing is founded on the belief that there is more to being a Christian than just believing in Jesus. If there weren't, then we'd all still call ourselves Catholic.
 

Halas

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Let's turn this around. If it's enough to commit to Jesus, then why did Luther nail his theses to the door? None of his complaints, to my knowledge, charged that the Church no longer believed in Christ. And yet, the Protestant thing is founded on the belief that there is more to being a Christian than just believing in Jesus. If there weren't, then we'd all still call ourselves Catholic.
I’m not arguing against the church. The church serves an important role. I’m arguing against the idea that you need to commit to a denomination and that one has it right over the other. I think the beauty of many denominations, or being non-denominational, is that it serves the many ways Jesus can be worshipped. My wife was raised catholic and left the Catholic Church in her teens because she didn’t believe she could have the personal relationship with Jesus that she wanted. You clearly are very happy with your faith in the Catholic Church since you constantly defend it. I believe the church I attend should be unapologetically biblical and sometimes that hurts peoples feelings. Next to that I think the church should serve as the hands and feet of Jesus. That’s my barometer. Not whether it is Baptist, Methodist or whatever.
 

HornsWin

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I’m not arguing against the church. The church serves an important role. I’m arguing against the idea that you need to commit to a denomination and that one has it right over the other. I think the beauty of many denominations, or being non-denominational, is that it serves the many ways Jesus can be worshipped. My wife was raised catholic and left the Catholic Church in her teens because she didn’t believe she could have the personal relationship with Jesus that she wanted. You clearly are very happy with your faith in the Catholic Church since you constantly defend it. I believe the church I attend should be unapologetically biblical and sometimes that hurts peoples feelings. Next to that I think the church should serve as the hands and feet of Jesus. That’s my barometer. Not whether it is Baptist, Methodist or whatever.
Fair enough. I think the best way I can voice my disagreement with denominationalism is that it allows for a religious freedom that was never intended within the Christian faith. Let's not forget, Christianity is a monarchy. Christ is King, and heaven and earth are together his kingdoms. In a monarchy, all subjects of the kingdom are subject to the unified, uniform rule of the monarch. Protestantism is far too democratic and, in my own humble opinion, too responsive to the whims and trends of the modern world. The Reformation came about at a time of so much political and philosophical upheaval, and the argument can be made that Protestantism is only the religious component of all those changes.
 

Halas

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Fair enough. I think the best way I can voice my disagreement with denominationalism is that it allows for a religious freedom that was never intended within the Christian faith. Let's not forget, Christianity is a monarchy. Christ is King, and heaven and earth are together his kingdoms. In a monarchy, all subjects of the kingdom are subject to the unified, uniform rule of the monarch. Protestantism is far too democratic and, in my own humble opinion, too responsive to the whims and trends of the modern world. The Reformation came about at a time of so much political and philosophical upheaval, and the argument can be made that Protestantism is only the religious component of all those changes.
For as much as the Catholic Church has gone through recently the irony of your statement is surely lost on you.

As to your monarchy statement, Christ is king. Everyone else is merely a subject of his kingdom. The pope may be important in the Catholic Church but in the eyes of Christ we’re both sinners who need a savior.
 

HornsWin

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For as much as the Catholic Church has gone through recently the irony of your statement is surely lost on you.

As to your monarchy statement, Christ is king. Everyone else is merely a subject of his kingdom. The pope may be important in the Catholic Church but in the eyes of Christ we’re both sinners who need a savior.
Oh, no. I'm well aware of the irony there. The difference is that the Catholic Church at least has it in their infrastructure to resist modernism, while Protestantism, again it can be argued, is the religion of modernism.
 

Halas

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Oh, no. I'm well aware of the irony there. The difference is that the Catholic Church at least has it in their infrastructure to resist modernism, while Protestantism, again it can be argued, is the religion of modernism.
You’ve listened to your Pope in modern issues, yes?

I don’t disagree that modernists have come in and perverted the scripture and made it about how you feel and a religion of convenience rather than conviction but the Pope gives you very little room to use this as a point in your favor.
 
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HornsWin

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You’ve listened to your Pope in modern issues, yes?

I don’t disagree that modernists have come in and perverted the scripture and made it about how you feel and a religion of convenience rather than conviction but the Pope gives you very little room to use this as a point in your favor.
Again, I'm aware. I've made it clear before that I do not like what this pope is doing. However, the Church has survived bad popes before, and it has recovered from them when it has returned to its roots. The Church is bigger than the pope.
 
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Shane3

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Because we refer to ourselves as Catholics? Couldn't the same be said of Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, or in bHero case, "Reformed Evangelical Pentecostal Protestant Baptist with Catholic sympathies"?
What religion are you? The answers are typically Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and so on. Except some of the Catholics don’t say they’re Christian as their default. It’s like asking a bunch of Americans their nationality and they all say they’re Americans except for one group who claims to be Germans. I pick on the Germans for this because that’s my nationality many generations back. I realize it’s not super important in the big picture but it seems to me that true followers of Christ would always say they’re Christians first. Then we can talk about which church name.
 

Halas

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Again, I'm aware. I've made it clear before that I do not like what this pope is doing. However, the Church has survived bad popes before, and it has recovered from them when it has returned to its roots. The Church is bigger than the pope.
Except you just argued about his importance in the monarchy. You’re arguing different things. Your supporting arguments could easily be used in favor of Protestantism.
 

HornsWin

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Except you just argued about his importance in the monarchy. You’re arguing different things. Your supporting arguments could easily be used in favor of Protestantism.
You misunderstood me. In that comment, I never once mentioned the pope. But my larger point is true, the Pope is God's Prime Minister on Earth. It started with Peter and it has carried on through to Francis. Some have been great, others have been awful. The Church has lasted regardless.

When I say the Church is bigger than the pope, it is no different from saying that America is bigger than the president, or that England is bigger than the queen. The Church doesn't exist for the pope, but the pope for the Church, and both for Christ.
 

Halas

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You misunderstood me. In that comment, I never once mentioned the pope. But my larger point is true, the Pope is God's Prime Minister on Earth. It started with Peter and it has carried on through to Francis. Some have been great, others have been awful. The Church has lasted regardless.

When I say the Church is bigger than the pope, it is no different from saying that America is bigger than the president, or that England is bigger than the queen. The Church doesn't exist for the pope, but the pope for the Church, and both for Christ.
Then explain how Protestantism is different. Why would Protestantism be better with an imperfect leader chosen by imperfect people? How would that further the overall mission of people accepting Christ as their savior? The only thing you said earlier was that the Protestant Church is too democratic. Governance of it, sure. We’ve seen, though, what happens when you treat your church like a monarchy with the Catholic Church many times over.

To be clear, I am not saying the Catholic Church is worse than Protestantism. I am arguing your point of Protestantism or non-denominationalism being too democratic.
 
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HornsWin

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Then explain how Protestantism is different. Why would Protestantism be better with an imperfect leader chosen by imperfect people? How would that further the overall mission of people accepting Christ as their savior? The only thing you said earlier was that the Protestant Church is too democratic. Governance of it, sure. We’ve seen, though, what happens when you treat your church like a monarchy with the Catholic Church many times over.

To be clear, I am not saying the Catholic Church is worse than Protestantism. I am arguing your point of Protestantism or non-denominationalism being too democratic.
With the pope there is a continuity of authority, sometimes stronger than others, but no legitimate pope has ever been a heretic (not even Francis... yet). So with that, there is an unbroken line of teaching that can trace itself all the way back to the feet of Christ himself. No, not a single pope, even the sainted popes, have been perfect. All have been sinners. But even the pope exists within a very rigid structure. The structure of the Church is unchanged since the time that the NT was written. We see it getting formed back then in the later epistles. The pope cannot change doctrine or structure. He can only uphold it and clarify it.

Protestantism would not be better, though, even if it had a single leader. Not because the man would also be imperfect, but because if Protestantism had a single figure at its head, it would still be in a tradition that forcefully separated itself from the line of priestly decent. There is no sacramental worldview in Protestantism. A man (or woman) can become a leader of a congregation by taking the right courses in undergrad. There is no call for spiritual authority, and even less a call for divine inheritance or impartation.

Because Protestantism puts such an emphasis on the individual, it has become a religion for the individual. Being so flexible, it allows outside influence to change. Protestantism is a collection of individuals, but we know from the Holy Spirit, through St. Paul, that all the mystical body is one, and what affects one member affects all. The Church was never meant to be divided, and yet this individuality is the greatest point of Protestant pride.
 
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Halas

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With the pope there is a continuity of authority, sometimes stronger than others, but no legitimate pope has ever been a heretic (not even Francis... yet). So with that, there is an unbroken line of teaching that can trace itself all the way back to the feet of Christ himself. No, not a single pope, even the sainted popes, have been perfect. All have been sinners. But even the pope exists within a very rigid structure. The structure of the Church is unchanged since the time that the NT was written. We see it getting formed back then in the later epistles. The pope cannot change doctrine or structure. He can only uphold it and clarify it.

Protestantism would not be better, though, even if it had a single leader. Not because the man would also be imperfect, but because if Protestantism had a single figure at its head, it would still be in a tradition that forcefully separated itself from the line of priestly decent. There is no sacramental worldview in Protestantism. A man (or woman) can become a leader of a congregation by taking the right courses in undergrad. There is no call for spiritual authority, and even less a call for divine inheritance or impartation.

Because Protestantism puts such an emphasis on the individual, it has become a religion for the individual. Being so flexible, it allows outside influence to change. Protestantism is a collection of individuals, but we know from the Holy Spirit, through St. Paul, that all the mystical body is one, and what affects one member affects all. The Church was never meant to be divided, and yet this individuality is the greatest point of Protestant pride.
I’m sorry, but you put far too much faith in a man. I put my faith in Christ. There’s really nothing more to discuss. We just see this way differently with you giving far too much deference and credit to the pope and flossing over some very ugly history that undermines your argument.
 

HornsWin

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I’m sorry, but you put far too much faith in a man. I put my faith in Christ. There’s really nothing more to discuss. We just see this way differently with you giving far too much deference and credit to the pope and flossing over some very ugly history that undermines your argument.
No, I don't, and it isn't about putting faith in a man, but about putting faith in the Godman and the Church he started. Christ appointed Peter to lead his flock. He gave him and the other Apostles the keys to the kingdom of heaven. The Apostles appointed bishops, deacons, etc. The structure is all there in the New Testament, which Protestants believe is the sole rule of faith (which is itself an extra-biblical doctrine - a point no one has seemed keen to fight against). The Bible is, of course, authoritative, but that means that what is in it is authoritative. But if that is the case, then the Church being built in its pages - the early Catholic (universal) Church, is the true, authoritative Church. Luther broke off from this Church and took many with him, preaching that despite the teachings of the Church, God actually wants every man to determine all truth for himself (a forerunner of moral relativism).

There are tens of thousands of denominations within Protestantism, but they can't all be right. Each denomination only exists because it protested with another. This means that some Protestant denominations are plainly wrong and therefore heretical. How can we determine this, though, if there is no constant understanding of the faith? Would God, who loves his children and wants everyone to be saved, really leave such profound decisions and judgments up the individual conscience - the same one that is capable of such sin and error? Would it make more sense for God to have established some sort of authoritative, single understanding of the faith by which all claims can and should be tested? Where is that in Protestantism? Yes, test everything against the scriptures, but test against whose interpretation? How is that even remotely sound, spiritually? That sounds like a God unconcerned with what happens to his chosen creation.
 

rope4747

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No, I don't, and it isn't about putting faith in a man, but about putting faith in the Godman and the Church he started. Christ appointed Peter to lead his flock. He gave him and the other Apostles the keys to the kingdom of heaven. The Apostles appointed bishops, deacons, etc. The structure is all there in the New Testament, which Protestants believe is the sole rule of faith (which is itself an extra-biblical doctrine - a point no one has seemed keen to fight against). The Bible is, of course, authoritative, but that means that what is in it is authoritative. But if that is the case, then the Church being built in its pages - the early Catholic (universal) Church, is the true, authoritative Church. Luther broke off from this Church and took many with him, preaching that despite the teachings of the Church, God actually wants every man to determine all truth for himself (a forerunner of moral relativism).

There are tens of thousands of denominations within Protestantism, but they can't all be right. Each denomination only exists because it protested with another. This means that some Protestant denominations are plainly wrong and therefore heretical. How can we determine this, though, if there is no constant understanding of the faith? Would God, who loves his children and wants everyone to be saved, really leave such profound decisions and judgments up the individual conscience - the same one that is capable of such sin and error? Would it make more sense for God to have established some sort of authoritative, single understanding of the faith by which all claims can and should be tested? Where is that in Protestantism? Yes, test everything against the scriptures, but test against whose interpretation? How is that even remotely sound, spiritually? That sounds like a God unconcerned with what happens to his chosen creation.
http://www.ncregister.com/blog/scottericalt/we-need-to-stop-saying-that-there-are-33000-protestant-denominations
 

Halas

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No, I don't, and it isn't about putting faith in a man, but about putting faith in the Godman and the Church he started. Christ appointed Peter to lead his flock. He gave him and the other Apostles the keys to the kingdom of heaven. The Apostles appointed bishops, deacons, etc. The structure is all there in the New Testament, which Protestants believe is the sole rule of faith (which is itself an extra-biblical doctrine - a point no one has seemed keen to fight against). The Bible is, of course, authoritative, but that means that what is in it is authoritative. But if that is the case, then the Church being built in its pages - the early Catholic (universal) Church, is the true, authoritative Church. Luther broke off from this Church and took many with him, preaching that despite the teachings of the Church, God actually wants every man to determine all truth for himself (a forerunner of moral relativism).

There are tens of thousands of denominations within Protestantism, but they can't all be right. Each denomination only exists because it protested with another. This means that some Protestant denominations are plainly wrong and therefore heretical. How can we determine this, though, if there is no constant understanding of the faith? Would God, who loves his children and wants everyone to be saved, really leave such profound decisions and judgments up the individual conscience - the same one that is capable of such sin and error? Would it make more sense for God to have established some sort of authoritative, single understanding of the faith by which all claims can and should be tested? Where is that in Protestantism? Yes, test everything against the scriptures, but test against whose interpretation? How is that even remotely sound, spiritually? That sounds like a God unconcerned with what happens to his chosen creation.
You’re now becoming outwardly insulting. You support a power structure which ultimately charged people to reach the faith. The printing press was the worst thing that happened to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has thought more of the Catholic Church and it’s power structure than protecting and outting those who would hurt children. The idea that people can reach Christ without an intercessary is a direct threat to the idea of the Catholic Church and it’s conpletey biblical to reach Christ without the help of another imperfect person.

I’m going to bow out of this conversation. I tried to be respectful. I don’t feel you had the same tact.
 
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Shane3

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Fair enough. I think the best way I can voice my disagreement with denominationalism is that it allows for a religious freedom that was never intended within the Christian faith.









Let's not forget, Christianity is a monarchy. Christ is King, and heaven and earth are together his kingdoms. In a monarchy, all subjects of the kingdom are subject to the unified, uniform rule of the monarch. Protestantism is far too democratic and, in my own humble opinion, too responsive to the whims and trends of the modern world. The Reformation came about at a time of so much political and philosophical upheaval, and the argument can be made that Protestantism is only the religious component of all those changes.
Christianity is true freedom.

John 8:32

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
 

HornsWin

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You’re now becoming outwardly insulting. You support a power structure which ultimately charged people to reach the faith. The printing press was the worst thing that happened to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has thought more of the Catholic Church and it’s power structure than protecting and outting those who would hurt children. The idea that people can reach Christ without an intercessary is a direct threat to the idea of the Catholic Church and it’s conpletey biblical to reach Christ without the help of another imperfect person.

I’m going to bow out of this conversation. I tried to be respectful. I don’t feel you had the same tact.
Dude, come on. You know I'm not trying to insult you or anyone else. If I am insulting you, then it's because you disagree, so what do you disagree with? Let me have it. Point out the flaws in my criticisms.
Christianity is true freedom.

John 8:32

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Yep, and for hundreds of years that truth was taught, not read.
 

Shane3

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Yep, and for hundreds of years that truth was taught, not read.
Not sure what point you’re trying to make here. I took your previous comment to mean you’re opposed to religious freedom.
 

Horns1960

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I thought non-denominational meant I believe in God but I don’t like to go to church. Did that change?
 

HornsWin

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Not sure what point you’re trying to make here. I took your previous comment to mean you’re opposed to religious freedom.
Ah, no. Religious freedom is fine. Freedom within our particular religion, though, has gone beyond what was ever intended, and this is a point of pride for some, which makes no sense at all.