First off, I want to thank all who participated in the “Does the Bible say that missing the Mass is a mortal sin?” thread.
One of the things which was brought up by one of the Protestants in that thread is this idea that St. Constantine started the Catholic Church. But, is that true? Why do Protestants make this claim?
The short answer, “I don’t know.” The claim is patently false and can be proven directly from the New Testament. And, although the Bible was not put together until after St. Constantine’s death, yet the New Testament was already written although not compiled.
And while the name, “Catholic Church” is not written in those pages, yet, the Catholic Church is therein described. And if the Catholic Church is described in the New Testament, then it must be the Church established by Jesus Christ. AND, lest we forget, what we don’t find is any of the Protestant denominations there mentioned. Nor any of their doctrines. Without further ado, let’s see what Scripture says.
First, Jesus Christ appointed a Pastor as head of the entire Church:
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
I see only a few Churches with such a Pastor. Further, Jesus Christ said that the Pastor over His Church would be infallible:
Matthew 16:17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
The list of Churches accept this teaching gets smaller. Certainly, all Protestant denominations can now be eliminated.
Jesus Christ not only said that the Pastor was infallible but Scripture describes the Church as infallible:
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
The list remains the same, but now I can certainly eliminate all Protestant denominations.
Back to Matt 16:18, Scripture says that Jesus Christ established one Church. History shows that all the Churches sprang from the Church which is frequently described as the Mother Church. The Catholic Church.
So, even using just a few verses we can eliminate the Protestants. None of their denominations even come close to being in Scripture. But we can continue to find Catholic indicators throughout the Bible:
The Church which is infallible (1 Tim 3:15; Eph 3:10).
The Church which is united (Eph 4:5).
The doctrines of the Catholic Church which are distinctive from other churches:
Purgatory (1 Cor 3:15).
Eucharist (1 Cor 11:23-27).
Communion of Saints (Rom 12:12-20).
The Mass and the necessity to attend (Heb 10:25-31).
The Sacrament of Confession (Heb 13:17).
The Sacrament of Holy Orders (1 Tim 4:14).
The Sacrament of Baptism (Titus 3:5).
Justification and salvation by faith and works (Rom 2:1-13).
And we find that the Protestant doctrinal pillars all contradict Scripture. For instance:
Sola Scriptura contradicts 2 Thess 2:152 Thessalonians 2:15
King James Version (KJV)
15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
Sola Fide contradicts James 2:24
King James Version (KJV)
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
OSAS contradicts Heb 6:4-6
King James Version (KJV)
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Salvation by grace alone contradicts:
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Every Protestant doctrine which contradicts the Catholic Church also contradicts the Word of God in the Bible.
So, the fact that Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church is recorded in the New Testament. And Protestants nor their doctrines are anywhere to be found in those venerable pages.
Catholic doctrine says:
…we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that
precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification. (Trent VI, Chapter VIII)
Therefore, it is true, that we are saved by faith and works, but only in a manner of speaking.
Our faith does not save, we don’t save ourselves.
Our works do not save, we don’t save ourselves.
God saves those who demonstrate their faith in works of love. God grants eternal life to those who keep His Commandments.
Romans 2:13 For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Do you see the difference between being saved by works? And those who persevere in good works being saved by God?
Here’s an easy way to understand it. Let’s say that a man lives all his life doing that which he thinks are good deeds. Then he dies. Does he automatically go to heaven? No. He must first be judged by God. Claims of good deeds or of good faith, amount to nothing until God judges them meritorious and declares that this person will enter heaven.
Is that in the Bible? Yes. It is in Matthew 7 where Jesus says:
Matt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
These people thought they had done the will of God. But they were surprised to find out that they were doing their own will and not God’s. I fear this is what is going to happen to all those Protestants who are out there declaring themselves saved and teaching others to follow their example.
So, is it wrong to say we are saved by works?
No. I don’t believe it is. That is how Scripture says we are saved. Let’s look at the Epistle of St. James, 2:24.
James 2:24Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only?
By works a man is justified. To be justified means to become a friend of God. Thus, to be saved. But St. James, an Apostle of Jesus Christ and inspired by the Holy Spirit, understood that this meant that God would judge a man’s works at the Last Day. He understood that we could not simply proclaim ourselves saved based upon a personal judgement of our deeds or of our purported faith.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. And again:
James 5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
Folks, we have one Judge. And you are not He. Do not claim for yourself salvation, thus making yourself a god. It is the sin of presumption to declare yourself saved. Scripture says:
1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. 2 Here now it is required among the dispensers, that a man be found faithful. 3 But to me it is a very small thing to be judged by you, or by man’s day; but neither do I judge my own self. 4 For I am not conscious to myself of any thing, yet am I not hereby justified; but he that judgeth me, is the Lord.
All that to say that, yes, we are saved by works, but only in a manner of speaking. It is more correct to say that God saves those who have done His will in this life. Because they have done good in His eyes.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all be manifested before the judgement seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according as he hath done, whether it be good or evil.
You say that praying to the Saints is supported in Scripture. Please produce all the Scriptures from Christ and the Apostles that support this assertion.
Let’s start with this one:
King James Version (KJV)24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Granted, it is the prayer of a dead person to another. But it illustrates several truths which are the basis of Apostolic teaching of prayer to the Saints:
1st. Those who have died physically remain alive spiritually.
2nd. They are aware of themselves and of the things occurring on earth. In their exchange, Father Abraham and Dives (i.e. the Rich Man) show that they are cognizant of things that are happening on earth.
3rd. The authority of the Saints is recognized.
a. Dives calls Abraham “father”. And assumes that Abraham has the authority to send Lazarus here and there.
b. Abraham, on his part, does not say, “wait, let me consult with God.” He makes decisions readily. And behaves with authority.
4th. Abraham and Lazarus are pictured together. They have a personal relationship because Lazarus is resting on Abraham’s bosom.
5th. Here is the difficult part. Dives, who is not a Saint, but a resident of a place which is not remotely associated with heaven, is INTERCEDING for his brothers. ???!!! If, a person in the after life, who is not a Saint, is interceding for his brothers in this life, WHY CAN’T THE SAINTS WHO HAVE DIED IN CHRIST?
Matthew 10:40-42King James Version (KJV)40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
In the name of a prophet, a righteous man, or a disciple? What? Aren’t we only supposed to pray in the name of Christ? Not according to Jesus. Anyone whom He sent in His name is acceptable to Him.
Hebrews 12:22-24King James Version (KJV)22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
If we are in the Church, we are already walking with the Saints in heaven. Why can’t we turn to them, then and ask for their intercession?
There are many others, but it takes spiritual discernment to understand them.