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Scripture Defiled

In 01 Essential Background on 2012/03/04 at 9:11 AM

St. Paul,  as recorded in Acts 20:29-30, warns believers to be on guard against “fierce wolves who will invade” and admonishes that “even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them.”  There have been problems in each age, but the Catholic Church has always taught what Christ taught.  Jesus Christ commanded His apostles to “go teach whatsoever I have commanded you.”

The Early Church Fathers, following the Apostles, did just that: When heresies arose, they countered them with the Truth.  Councils were called to deal with them definitively.  Essentially, all the problems were the result of misinterpretations of Scripture. The most damaging was Luther’s introduction of “personal interpretation of the Bible” which led to more misinterpretations.  Luther  discarded  those books of the Canon of the Bible that he did not agree with because they did not support his interpretation.

The so-called Protestant Reformation did not give the world a new and better version of Christianity; it gave the world a new, fractured religion. Devolving into 30,000 denominations (over 1,000 Baptists groups alone), the Protestant Reformation  simply does not bear the hallmark of Christian when guided by the Holy Spirit: unity.  For Christ Himself said that his followers would be known by their love for one another, the unity.  Every denomination has split into divisions and factions to the point that their founders would not even recognize them.

Many who have left the Catholic Church tell themselves that Protestant denominations are simply alternatives to the Church. Unfortunately, Protestantism has led to a serial fracturing of Christian groups whose beliefs are founded upon personal interpretations of Scripture.  Every denomination has split into divisions and factions to the point that their founders, like Luther and Calvin, would hardly recognize them now.  Out of all the Protestant denominations, the Catholic Church is the only Church that holds all of the Sacraments established by Christ and is the Church founded by Christ Himself, whether you believe it or not, whether you accept it or not, or whether you like it or not.

If you look at the 2000 year history of the Catholic Church, only divine protection and guidance can explain why it is still around with the original teaching Christ gave it. Of all the religious founders in history: Mohammed, Buddha, Luther, Mormonism’s Joseph Smith and others, only Jesus Christ claimed to be divine.  He proved it by fulfilling the over 600 prophecies in the Old Testament and the miracles he performed while on earth. Jesus Christ set up a Church to last to the end of time and promised to be with it to the end of time. He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. He did not say, however, that it would be problem free as we have seen; on the contrary, He warned us to beware of false teachers.

Hilare Belloc in his book, THE GREAT HERESIES, demonstrates how “The spiritual basis of Protestantism went to pieces through the breakdown of the Bible as a supreme authority. ” This breakdown was the result of that very spirit of skeptical inquiry  upon which Protestantism had always been based. It had begun by saying: “I deny the authority of the Church; every man must examine the credibility of every doctrine for himself.” In modern times, the Protestant culture has morphed from having revered, and in some cases, worshipped the very text of the Bible as the immutable written Word of God to doubting almost everything the Bible contains. We can say that all the seeds sown by the Protestant movement are now in full bloom: Rationalism, Modernism, Secularism, Relativism and New Age and list goes on. The ultimate victim has been Truth.

So what began with the idea of subjective evaluation and personal judgment, rather than objective and realistic evaluation and judgment, has resulted in a relativistic and fragmented practice of religion and, in turn, a society which holds that there is no objective truth, simply opinion, momentary experience and evolving truth.

Today, as Protestant theologians study the Fathers of the Early Church, they are awakening to the truth of Blessed John Henry Newman’s conclusion: “You cannot study the Fathers and remain a Protestant.”  The Apostolic Fathers died for the Truth of Christ and His Church, the Doctors of the Church defended the Truth of Christ and His Church, the Popes preserved the Truth of Christ and His Church and the Founders of Religious Orders enabled the Truth of Christ and His Church to be spread throughout the world.

As believers in Jesus Christ, we, too, are commissioned to be confessors of the Faith upholding the Truth of Christ and His Church with fortitude and confidence, without compromising belief and conforming to anything that opposes the Faith.  The question one must wrestle with today, particularly amidst such widespread fragmentation of the Christian Faith is: “What Church is, in fact, Christ’s Church?”  Through the writings of the Church Fathers, the work of the Holy Spirit and communion with the Word of God, one will likely come face-to-face with the same crossroad decision as Blessed John Henry Newman.   “You cannot study the Fathers and remain a Protestant.”

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