Is Confession in Scripture?

March 28, 2014 | 55 comments

The Lord declares in Isaiah 43:25:

I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

Psalm 103:2-3 adds:

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases…

Many will use these verses against the idea of confession to a priest. God forgiving sins, they will claim, precludes the possibility of there being a priest who forgives sins. Further, Hebrews 3:1 and 7:22-27 tell us Jesus is, “the… high priest of our confession” and that there are not “many priests,” but one in the New Testament—Jesus Christ. Moreover, if Jesus is the “one mediator between God and men” (I Tim. 2:5), how can Catholics reasonably claim priests act in the role of mediator in the Sacrament of Confession?

BEGINNING WITH THE OLD

The Catholic Church acknowledges what Scripture unequivocally declares: it is God who forgives our sins. But that is not the end of the story. Leviticus 19:20-22 is equally unequivocal:

If a man lies carnally with a woman… they shall not be put to death… But he shall bring a guilt offering for himself to the Lord… And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the Lord for his sin which he has committed; and the sin which he has committed shall be forgiven him.

Apparently, a priest being used as God’s instrument of forgiveness did not somehow take away from the fact that it was God who did the forgiving. God was the first cause of the forgiveness; the priest was the secondary, or instrumental cause. Thus, God being the forgiver of sins in Isaiah 43:25 and Psalm 103:3 in no way eliminates the possibility of there being a ministerial priesthood established by God to communicate his forgiveness.

OUT WITH THE OLD

Many Protestants will concede the point of priests acting as mediators of forgiveness in the Old Testament. “However,” they will claim, “The people of God had priests in the Old Testament. Jesus is our only priest in the New Testament.” The question is: could it be that “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13) did something similar to that which he did, as God, in the Old Testament? Could he have established a priesthood to mediate his forgiveness in the New Testament?

IN WITH THE NEW

Just as God empowered his priests to be instruments of forgiveness in the Old Testament, the God/man Jesus Christ delegated authority to his New Testament ministers to act as mediators of reconciliation as well. Jesus made this remarkably clear in John 20:21-23:

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Having been raised from the dead, our Lord was here commissioning his apostles to carry on with his work just before he was to ascend to heaven. “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” What did the Father send Jesus to do? All Christians agree he sent Christ to be the one true mediator between God and men. As such, Christ was to infallibly proclaim the Gospel (cf. Luke 4:16-21), reign supreme as King of kings and Lord of lords (cf. Rev. 19:16); and especially, he was to redeem the world through the forgiveness of sins (cf. I Peter 2:21-25, Mark 2:5-10).

The New Testament makes very clear that Christ sent the apostles and their successors to carry on this same mission. To proclaim the gospel with the authority of Christ (cf. Matthew 28:18-20), to govern the Church in His stead (cf. Luke 22:29-30), and to sanctify her through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist (cf. John 6:54, I Cor. 11:24-29) and for our purpose here, Confession.

John 20:22-23 is nothing more than Jesus emphasizing one essential aspect of the priestly ministry of the apostles: To Forgive men’s sins in the person of Christ— “Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, whose sins you retain are retained.” Moreover, auricular confession is strongly implied here. The only way the apostles could either forgive or retain sins is by first hearing those sins confessed, and then making a judgment whether or not the penitent should be absolved.

TO FORGIVE OR TO PROCLAIM?

Many Protestants and various quasi-Christian sects claim John 20:23 must be viewed as Christ simply repeating “the great commission” of Matthew 28:19 and Luke 24:47 using different words that mean the same thing:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

… and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations…

Commenting on John 20:23 in his book, Romanism—The Relentless Roman Catholic Assault on the Gospel of Jesus Christ! (White Horse Publications, Huntsville Alabama, 1995), p. 100, Protestant Apologist Robert Zins writes:

It is apparent that the commission to evangelize is tightly woven into the commission to proclaim forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus Christ.

Mr. Zin's claim is that John 20:23 is not saying the apostles would forgive sins; rather, that they would merely proclaim the forgiveness of sins. The only problem with this theory is it runs head-on into the text of John 20. “If you forgive the sins of any… if you retain the sins of any.” The text cannot say it any clearer: this is more than a mere proclamation of the forgiveness of sins—this “commission” of the Lord communicates the power to actually forgive the sins themselves.

FREQUENT CONFESSION

The next question for many upon seeing the plain words of St. John is, “Why don’t we hear any more about Confession to a priest in the rest of the New Testament?” The fact is: we don’t need to. How many times does God have to tell us something before we’ll believe it? He only gave us the proper form for baptism once (Matt. 28:19), and yet all Christians accept this teaching.

But be that as it may, there are multiple texts that deal with Confession and the forgiveness of sins through the New Covenant minister. I will cite just a few of them:

II Cor. 2:10:

And to whom you have pardoned anything, I also.  For, what I have pardoned, if I have pardoned anything, for your sakes have I done it in the person of Christ (DRV).

Many may respond to this text by quoting modern Bible translations, e.g., the RSVCE:

What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ (emphasis added).

St. Paul, it is argued, is simply forgiving someone in the way any layperson can forgive someone for wrongs committed against him. The Greek word—prosopon—can be translated either way. And I should note here that good Catholics will argue this point as well. This is an understandable and valid objection. However, I do not concur with it for four reasons:

1. Not only the Douay-Rheims, but the King James Version of the Bible—which no one would accuse of being a Catholic translation—translates prosopon as “person.”

2. The early Christians, who spoke and wrote in Koine Greek, at the Councils of Ephesus (AD 431) and Chalcedon (AD 451), used prosopon to refer to the “person” of Jesus Christ.

3. Even if one translates the text as St. Paul pardoning “in the presence of Christ,” the context still seems to indicate that he forgave the sins of others. And notice: St. Paul specifically said he was not forgiving anyone for offenses committed against him (see II Cor. 2:5). Any Christian can and must do this. He said he did the forgiving “for [the Corinthian’s] sakes” and “in the person (or presence) of Christ.” The context seems to indicate he is forgiving sins that do not involve him personally.

4. Just three chapters later, St. Paul gives us the reason why he could forgive the sins of others: “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:18). Some will argue that "the ministry of reconciliation" of verse 18 is identical to "the message of reconciliation" in verse 19. In other words, St. Paul is simply referring to a declarative power here. I don't agree. I argue St. Paul uses distinct terms precisely because he is referring to more than just “the message of reconciliation,” but the same ministry of reconciliation that was Christ’s. Christ did more than just preach a message; he also forgave sins.

James 5:14-17:

Is any one among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain… and… it did not rain…

When it comes to one “suffering;” St. James says, “Let him pray.” “Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise.” But when it comes to sickness and personal sins, he tells his readers they must go to the “elders”—not just anyone—in order to receive this “anointing” and the forgiveness of sins.

Some will object and point out that verse 16 says to confess our sins “to one another” and pray “for one another.” Is not James just encouraging us to confess our sins to a close friend so we can help one another to overcome our faults?

The context seems to disagree with this interpretation for two main reasons:

1. St. James had just told us to go to the presbyter in verse 14 for healing and the forgiveness of sins. Then, verse 16 begins with the word therefore—a conjunction that would seem to connect verse 16 back to verses 14 and 15. The context seems to point to the “elder” as the one to whom we confess our sins.

2. Ephesians 5:21 employs this same phrase. “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” But the context limits the meaning of “to one another” specifically to a man and wife—not just anyone. Similarly, the context of James 5 would seem to limit the confession of faults “to one another” to the specific relationship between “anyone” and the “elder” or “priest” (Gr.—presbuteros).

ONE PRIEST OR MANY?

A major obstacle to Confession for many Protestants (me included when I was Protestant) is that it presupposes a priesthood. As I said above, Jesus is referred to in Scripture as “the apostle and high priest of our confession.” The former priests were many in number, as Hebrews 7:23 says, now we have one priest—Jesus Christ. The question is: how does the idea of priests and confession fit in here? Is there one priest or are there many?

I Peter 2:5-9 gives us some insight:

… and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ… But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people…

If Jesus is the one and only priest in the New Testament in a strict sense, then we have a contradiction in Sacred Scripture. This, of course, is absurd.  I Peter plainly teaches all believers to be members of a holy priesthood. Priest/believers do not take away from Christ’s unique priesthood, rather, as members of his body they establish it on earth.

FULL AND ACTIVE PARTICIPATIO

If one understands the very Catholic and very biblical notion of participatio, these problematic texts and others become relatively easy to understand. Yes, Jesus Christ is the “one mediator between God and men” just as I Tim. 2:5 says. The Bible is clear. Yet, Christians are also called to be mediators in Christ. When we intercede for one another or share the Gospel with someone, we act as mediators of God’s love and grace in the one true mediator, Christ Jesus, via the gift of participatio in Christ, the sole mediator between God and men (see I Timothy 2:1-7, I Timothy 4:16, Romans 10:9-14). All Christians, in some sense, can say with St.   Paul, “…it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…” (Gal. 2:20)

PRIESTS AMONG PRIESTS

If all Christians are priests, then why do Catholics claim a ministerial priesthood essentially distinct from the universal priesthood? The answer is: God willed to call out a special priesthood among the universal priesthood to minister to his people. This concept is literally as old as Moses.

When St. Peter taught us about the universal priesthood of all believers, he specifically referred to Exodus 19:6 where God alluded to ancient Israel as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” St. Peter reminds us that there was a universal priesthood among the Old Testament people of God just as in the New Testament. But this did not preclude the existence of a ministerial priesthood within that universal priesthood (see Exodus 19:22, Exodus 28, and Numbers 3:1-12).

In an analogous way, we have a universal “Royal Priesthood” in the New Testament, but we also have an ordained clergy who have priestly authority given to them by Christ to carry out his ministry of reconciliation as we have seen.

TRULY AWESOME AUTHORITY

A final couple of texts we will consider are Matt. 16:19 and 18:18. Specifically, we’ll examine the words of Christ to Peter and the apostles: “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” As CCC 553 says, Christ here communicated not only authority “to pronounce doctrinal judgments, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church,” but also “the authority to absolve sins” to the apostles.

These words are unsettling, even disturbing, to many. And understandably so. How could God give such authority to men? And yet he does. Jesus Christ, who alone has the power to open and shut heaven to men, clearly communicated this authority to the apostles and their successors. This is what the forgiveness of sins is all about: to reconcile men and women with their heavenly Father. CCC 1445 puts it succinctly:

The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his. Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God.

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Tim Staples is Director of Apologetics and Evangelization here at Catholic Answers, but he was not always Catholic. Tim was raised a Southern Baptist. Although he fell away from the faith of his childhood, Tim came back to faith in Christ during his late teen years through the witness of Christian...

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In Catholic Answers To Common Objections you and your non-Catholic friends will be staggered by the mountain of scriptural evidence Tim Staples has compiled to prove the truth of even the most controversial Catholic teachings.

Comments by Catholic.com Members

#1  Joseph Gabriel - georgetown, Texas

Thank you! I now need to remember all this.

March 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm PST
#2  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

There's no better time to start than now, Joseph!

March 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm PST
#3  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

I would imagine THAT your Churches are full each week FOR Confession. That would mean if YOU have NOT confessed YOU CAN'T receive the HOST each Sunday ????

March 29, 2014 at 9:48 am PST
#4  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Greg,
If you have committed a mortal sin and you have not gone to Confession, then you cannot receive communion.

March 29, 2014 at 5:23 pm PST
#5  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

Tim I thought a venial sin is sin? That means if the HOST is HOLY as Catholics say, then IF you have a venial sin your taking something HOLY into YOUR sinful body RIGHT ?????? I know we went to confession every Friday in the Catholic School so we could receive communion on Sunday's. THAT WAS FOR ALL SINS !!!!!!!! THAT WAS IN the 1963 I WAS told BY a Catholic THAT THE CHURCH never changes ?????

March 30, 2014 at 2:49 pm PST
#6  Michael Bascon - San Diego, California

Greg H.

Venial sin is sin and we confess that during mass in the beginning at the penitential rite where we all say I confess to almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters......

March 30, 2014 at 2:58 pm PST
#7  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Greg, perhaps the confesions every Friday for school kids was to help develop good habits that would be bentiful for spiritual growth. Confession is a grace from God not a curse. As with any grace from God a person must accept it as a free gift, an act of love, and not grudgingly. Why would anyone not want to go to confession? I might also add that many veniel sins can turn into deadly sins if not dealt with.

March 31, 2014 at 3:31 am PST
#8  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

Michael and Christopher We went every Friday TO confess ALL OUR SINS. I am thankful for God's grace through Jesus death on the Cross which is THE ONLY way WE are Saved !!!! James 5:16 SAYS Therefore confess your Sins TO each other AND pray for each other so that you may be HEALED. This means GO to the one you have a offended ASK Forgiveness then tell God your Sins. JUST saying some words THAT the WHOLE Church SAYS has to be 1) Confess each sin from the Heart spell out WHAT you did. 2) Ask God for Forgiveness To Turn away AND protect YOU FROM THAT Sin. 3) FIND verses IN the Bible THAT YOU CAN memorize with THE help of The Holy Spirit so YOU don't keep sinning. Let's give you a example lets say a MALE or Female is dealing with Lust, Paul in the Book OF Ephesians WHO is speaking ONLY TO believers IN these verses TO help with THIS SIN. The Verse is Ephesians 5:3 BUT among YOU there must NOT BE Even A HINT Of Sexual immortality, OR any Kind of impurity, or Of Greed, Because This is Improper For God's HOLY People. When I studied those Verses I noticed THAT GOD put Greed IN THERE WHY???? Because when someone is sinning with Lust THEY are Self Centered ( Greedy) They are ONLY Thinking OF Themselves instead OF how THEY are Hurting God AND Others !!!!!! When WE SIN it's NOT JUST saying words THAT'S TO Easy GOD Wants Change FROM the Heart,mind,strength,are VERY Soul. I Confess MY Sins every day 1Peter 1:15-16 BUT just as He WHO called you IS HOLY, So BE HOLY IN ALL You Do; For it is written: Be HOLY, Because I AM HOLY. WE need TO strive FOR Holiness every day every minute OF The Day remember others are watching !!!!!!!

March 31, 2014 at 7:36 am PST
#9  leonard kessinger - Phoenix, Arizona

Tim! Thank you so much for all your blog posts! They help me out a lot. You and Steve Ray are my faborite apologists since I deal with my father (a southern Baptist) and brother (who is trying to follow in my dads tradition) and boy are they stubborn. Will you ever be doing a talk in Phoenix? I wish I could get them to hear you speak!

March 31, 2014 at 10:05 am PST
#10  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

leonard why are you trying to change your Dad and STOP your brother IN THE Baptist Church ???

March 31, 2014 at 12:49 pm PST
#11  Heydon Ueckert - stanton, Nebraska

Leonard the coversion of your family is in my prayers. I know how you feel, I pray for my family to convert also. Maybe some day they will all come Home.

March 31, 2014 at 2:12 pm PST
#12  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

I THINK it's so sad THAT IF someone is in a Church THAT is Christ Centered, THAT leads them TO HEAVEN and the Bible's clear ON THAT. In The Book of Hebrews 7:23-28 NOW there have been many OF those priests, since death prevented them FROM continuing in office; But Because Jesus Lives Forever, He has a permanent Priest-hood. Therefore He is able TO SAVE Completely those Who come TO GOD Through HIM, Because He always Lives TO Intercede FOR them. Such a High Priest meets OUR need--One Who is HOLY, blameless,Pure SET apart FROM Sinners, Exalted above THE Heavens. Unlike the other high priests, He does NOT need TO offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins OF the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered HIMSELF. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the LAW appointed the SON WHO has been made Perfect Forever. We don't need anyone But Jesus TO Approach Our Heavenly Father since THE Curtain WAS Torn. Luke 23:45 For the sun stopped shining AND the curtain of the Temple WAS Torn in Two. This is VERY important it does NOT talk about a Church THAT SAVES YOU AT All !!!!!!!!!!

March 31, 2014 at 3:05 pm PST
#13  Eric Vanderburg - Yukon, Oklahoma

Greg, why do you feel the need to write every other word in all caps? Honestly, it's distracting and a bit rude (unintentionally I'm sure). You see, writing in all caps is generally recognized to be the equivalent of screaming. I don't know about you, but I tend to avoid conversations where an individual feels screaming is an appropriate form of communication. Please, trust we're able to read and digest your comments here without the unnecessary capitalization.

Also, if Leonard feels his father and brother are doctrinally in error, it is his duty and right to converse with them in a gentle, yet honest manner. This is a point you shouldn't take issue with since you make that same effort here on a regular basis. I get the feeling you feel this is justified in your case because you "KNOW YOU'RE RIGHT". Let's be honest, you don't come here because you admire the Catholic Church, and believe she teaches the fullness of truth. You are critical of essentially every article I've seen you post on. So, I'd say your goal is to encourage doubt in Catholic teaching regarding doctrine, scripture, and tradition. Which is fine. Discussion on these matters is a good thing. That being said, don't chastise Leonard for caring enough about his family enough to bring them to the fullness if truth offered by Christ and the Church he founded.

March 31, 2014 at 4:50 pm PST
#14  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Leonard,
Go to our home page and click on "speakers." There you can find my schedule and where I will be speaking. I've been to Phoenix many times in the past, and I am sure I will be there, God willing, in the future as well!

March 31, 2014 at 5:46 pm PST
#15  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

Eric I am sorry please forgive me I will try harder to avoid caps !!! I not trying to get anyone to leave the Catholic Church. I am trying to get everyone to not just except traditions no matter how old they are, and to make sure they line up with God's word. The last thing when the Catholic Church says they are the only Church of truth that Leads to Christ that doesn't line up with God's word At all !!!!!!! That also means that you Limit a God who can use any Church that draws people to him based on God's word. There are many parts of this world where missionaries have gone in to preach the good news of Jesus just like his disciples. The Church I go to we go into the Brazil amazon to tribes of people who deal witch doctors. They have never heard of Jesus at all until our teams come in there hearing God's Word for the first time. When I talk to those that go there from my Church it changes there walk with God forever !!!!! Let me ask anyone is that God or something else ?????

March 31, 2014 at 7:54 pm PST
#16  Eric Vanderburg - Yukon, Oklahoma

"The last thing when the Catholic Church says they are the only Church of truth that Leads to Christ that doesn't line up with God's word At all !!!!!!!"

The Catholic Church claims to have the fullness of truth. Which, once again you shouldn't have a problem with since you do that yourself when it pertains to doctrine and interpretation of scripture.

"That also means that you Limit a God who can use any Church that draws people to him based on God's word."

That's funny, because I'd say you're the one limiting God. Apparently, Christ is incapable of founding 1 Church, that is guided by the Holy Spirit, and that can speak authoritavely on doctrine/scriptural interpretation.

"The Church I go to we go into the Brazil amazon to tribes of people who deal witch doctors. They have never heard of Jesus at all until our teams come in there hearing God's Word for the first time. When I talk to those that go there from my Church it changes there walk with God forever !!!!!"

I don't see how any of this is relevant to the topic at hand, but I think it's an admirable thing you're doing down there. I think it would be even more so if you were to offer them the fullness of truth that the Catholic Church offers.

"Let me ask anyone is that God or something else ?????"

Honestly, I won't venture a guess. Based off your previous comments on the sacrament of Baptism, I'm fairly certain there are some essential Truths lacking in your evangelization.

Also, what would you say if a Jehovah's Witness were to ask that last question?

March 31, 2014 at 8:27 pm PST
#17  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Greg, have you ever considered that the things you say do not line up with God's Word? What makes your interpretation of Scripture better than that of a Catholic other than your opinion?

March 31, 2014 at 8:31 pm PST
#18  leonard kessinger - Phoenix, Arizona

Thanks Heydon for your prayers! Mr. Greg It's because I feel it's important for all to be part of the Church that Jesus started. If you look at it from all angles (historical, scriptural etc.) the only church that has everything covered and correct is the Catholic Church. Some day I would like to go to Mass with my whole family. No longer separated. It's very much like Christianity itself. Our family is broken and we need to bring you guys home. Thanks Eric for sticking out for me.

Wow! I can't believe Tim Staples actually replied to me. This is cool! Thanks Tim for pointing me to that. I'll definitely check it out. I hope you can come sooner rather than later. Oh and if you do come to Holy Cross Catholic Church in Mesa ;). God bless you all.

March 31, 2014 at 9:45 pm PST
#19  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Leonard, you will be in my prayers also and I will put you on our prayer list at the weekly meetings some friends and I attend to discuss our Catholic faith. There is no doubt Jesus intended us to be as one in our beliefs and as one in our worship. Many times in my life I have witnessed family and friends being torn apart by faith instead of being united in faith. It even effected the person I love most, my wife. Her mother was Baptist and her father was Catholic, both were lapse in their faiths but the grandparents argued over what my wife should be. The result was that she would be neither, therefore to keep the peace she grew up without a faith and never attending church of any kind. When we married I was an Easter and Christmas Catholic, you can imagine how lost and uncomfortable she was when we went to Mass. It was this way for over 12 years, then boom, we both got converted on the same night!!! To make a long story short I never missed Mass again and my wife is now Catholic. Our faith IS our life now. If the Holy Spirit can do that for us as lost as we were, then He can certainly do it for you and your family!!! God bless and keep the faith!!

April 1, 2014 at 5:45 am PST
#20  leonard kessinger - Phoenix, Arizona

Hey thank you so much Christopher! I appreciate that greatly. Maybe one day ill have that unity you now enjoy ;)

April 1, 2014 at 6:30 am PST
#21  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

Eric thanks for your thoughts in 1Timothy 3:15 where it says: If am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the Church of the living God, the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth. This was written some time around 63 A.D. to 70 A.D. this was written to those in authority in the Church. The heading in my Catholic Bible says qualifications of Various Ministries. In those days they were married even Peter himself was married if you read all of chapter 3 you can see that. IN Romans 15:5-7 It talks of Unity of believers: May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The next verse is very important !!!!! verse 7 Accept one another, then just as Christ accepted you in order to bring praise to God. Those Who believe in the Bible as God ordain it the Truth God's HOLY word we all should have unity with our fellow believers ???? This is not battle or a fight Jesus wants Unity among fellow believers this not a Church, but working together to draw those who are unsaved to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ Only !!!!!! There are Churches out there that distort the Truth of God's Word like Jehovah witnesses and Others, but to say the Catholic Church is the only Church of truth means God word is not truth ????? Question has the Church told the truth in All areas from the time of the disciples to the year 2014 think about that in the times we live in ?????? It's about Truth.

April 1, 2014 at 9:32 am PST
#22  Eric Vanderburg - Yukon, Oklahoma

Greg, we're not going to get anywhere this way. We need to hammer some serious issues before we continue. Before Christ ascended into Heaven, did he hand the Apostles the Bible and say, "Here's everything you need to know, now see ya later"?

Ridiculous question I know. Now, have you heard of the Gospel of the Hebrews, the Gospel of the Ebionites, the Gospel of Hesychius, and so on and so on? Why weren't these books included in the canon? Perhaps there was some group of Christians, specifically Christians claiming to have apostolic authority, that poured through all the various gospels, letters, etc. and discerned those that should be included in the canon and those that were apocryphal.

Let's take a closer look at this group of Christians (who referred to themselves as Catholic) claiming to have apostolic authority. If you were to compare the hierarchy of this group (Church) to that of your church and mine, whose is it more likely to resemble? Be honest here Greg. I think you take it for granted that the Bible we both love was a product of the Catholic Church, her Tradition, and her cooperation with the Holy Spirit.

Also, if you don't think Tradition played a big role in the canonical discernment, you're insane. From my point of view, when you attack Church Tradition, it's the same as attacking Holy Scripture.

April 1, 2014 at 10:43 am PST
#23  Eric Vanderburg - Yukon, Oklahoma

"This is not battle or a fight Jesus wants Unity among fellow believers this not a Church, but working together to draw those who are unsaved to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ Only !!!!!!"

I agree with you Greg, but if you're unable to see that your approach to authority and scripture leads to utter chaos, I don't know what to tell you. If you interpret scripture your way, and I interpret scripture my way, and he does it his way, and she her way, and every single one of us gets it different, where's that lead us? There has to be authority, not an oppressive authority, but a protective one. That's what the Church is.

Dude, the things you've said about the sacrament of Baptism were so wrong, I don't even know where to begin. Let's not pretend we can have total unity when we are at odds on an issue as important as Baptism.

"There are Churches out there that distort the Truth of God's Word like Jehovah witnesses and Others, but to say the Catholic Church is the only Church of truth means God word is not truth ?????"

Whoa whoa whoa, slow down there buddy. Who are you to claim that Jehovah's witnesses distort Truth? They're following the same scheme you are, just reached a different conclusion. I don't know if you ever conversed with a Witness, but they no scripture backwards and forwards. They'd say you're distorting the truth. You know one of the first thing's the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses did on his journey away from orthodox Christianity? He abandoned Tradition. Now what did you say you were trying to get us to do here? Not accept every Tradition of the Church right? If it's that simple, why shouldn't I just abandon all the Traditions?

April 1, 2014 at 11:08 am PST
#24  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

I was thinking about some of your comments of your family's. My family of 4 brother's and 2 sister's, MY older brother and I are not in the Catholic Church. We were all raised in the Catholic Church we all went to Catholic schools for all 12 years. When get together as a family there's never fighting about the different Churches in fact I go to a Bible Church and my older brother to assemblies of God Church. When it comes time for prayer with most of the family in the Catholic Church they don't push there prayers on us, in fact there are many times they ask my brother or I to do the prayer and they have never forced us to pray and traditional Catholic prayers at all. Why do I bring this up because there is peace and Unity In our family. We Love each other and we don't get into fights about our Churches, the best thing anyone can do is pray. I just want to tell you one of my employees who listen to my Christian radio programs it was not on the Catholic Church, but strait from the Bible became a Priest. He has his own Catholic Church and he Loves Jesus just much as I do.

April 1, 2014 at 11:38 am PST
#25  Eric Vanderburg - Yukon, Oklahoma

"Why do I bring this up because there is peace and Unity In our family. We Love each other and we don't get into fights about our Churches, the best thing anyone can do is pray. I just want to tell you one of my employees who listen to my Christian radio programs it was not on the Catholic Church, but strait from the Bible became a Priest. He has his own Catholic Church and he Loves Jesus just much as I do."

That's great Greg. Most of my friends are protestant. They respected my decision to become Catholic, and we still have fruitful exchanges. We agree on numerous issues, but you better believe if they distort or attack a truth taught by the Church, I don't bite my tongue. I respectfully point out where I believe they've erred. They do the same to me. It's part of the dialogue. It's a good thing!

When you enter this arena and make statements that are contrary to Church teaching, are we supposed to remain silent? I don't think you really expect that. It's also a bit unfair that when we do challenge you, we're suddenly damaging Christian unity. I don't hurl those comments at you. I recognize this exchange for what it is. It's an expression of different opinions that inescapably demonstrate an amount of disunity. I'm starting to get the feeling you think Christian unity means agreeing with you.

April 1, 2014 at 11:54 am PST
#26  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Eric, that is very well said. No matter how much sugar is piled on relationships with family and friends there is no true unity among different faiths.There may be a truce and there may be tounge in cheek but the bottom line is that when real doctrine differences rear their head there will be dispute. A Catholic believes in the Church founded by Christ, while a Protestant believes in himself, a man made tradition that began in the 1500's.

April 1, 2014 at 7:31 pm PST
#27  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

Christopher do you really believe that a Protestant, which is what I am called believe in himself. And it's a man made tradition how do you come to that conclusion ????

April 2, 2014 at 5:46 pm PST
#28  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Greg, it is very easy to come to that conclusion. I do not read Scripture and seperate it from the Church that gave me that Scripture. The Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth, not each individual who reads Scripture. If you do not follow the church that gave us NT Scripture then what can you follow besides yourself? I'm not trying to put anyone down, I'm just stating an obvious fact. I bet if I mention John 6 you wouldn't agree with the first 1500 years of Christianity.

April 2, 2014 at 7:39 pm PST
#29  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

Christopher in the book of Romans it Says for all sin and fall short of God's glory, do you think that means any leader a Pope or Bishop and Priest in 2000 years don't fit into that category??? It means they have not made any mistakes in judgment or any errors in there leadership roles ???

April 2, 2014 at 8:00 pm PST
#30  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Of course they have made mistakes and errors, as individuals, that is why there is a Magisterium. The Pope doesn't go around making binding doctrines of faith as an individual. Perhaps you misunderstand the difference between doctrine and diciplines. And of course they are sinners, each and everyone of them, that's why they all go to confession. Even St. Peter was a sinner, however, when he along with the other Apostles held councils they made the correct binding doctrines of faith, thus the beauty of the Magisterium guided by the Holy Spirit. None of the Appostles practiced sola scriptura, as a matter of fact they warned against private interpretations. Jesus Christ established a church, He didn't pass out Bibles and tell everyone your on your own. He set down how we are to worship Him along with giving this church authority to speak in His name, make binding decisions on earth that would be ratified in heaven, and the ability to forgive or not to forgive sins. I have no doubt that anyone who practices sola scriptura's only move is to try and tear down this church established by Christ in any and every way they can, how else can they justify their individual actions? That is why they claim the entire church went apostate, and/or reject the papacy (and the rest of the Magisterium). When the authority established by Christ is rejected doctrines of faith become a free for all, there is no longer ANY binding doctrines, it ends all Apostolic succession and the church becomes invisible, non existant. This isn't me making this up because I am Catholic, this is what history shows to be true. As soon as sola scriptura arived on the scene, via Martin Luther, Scripture no longer had a difinative meaning and absolute truth, it was reduced to individual interpretations. That doesn't work and is why there are tens of thousands of denominations, many even right next to one another. They implode and divide again soon as there is another squable over authority or interpretation. You can throw all the Scripture verses you want at me, and I'm sure you will, but the facts of history do not lie, just ride down the road or look in the yellow pages and you will see all the fruits of private interpretation. Now about John 6, What is your interpretation?

April 3, 2014 at 1:40 am PST
#31  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

CHRISTOPHER I did read all of chapter 6 as soon as I got to verse 53 I new what you were up to. Jesus said to them, I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the SON of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and,I will raise him up at the day. My question to you is in verse 63 It says the Spirit gives life; The flesh counts ( for) nothing. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life. Who's flesh counts for nothing, is he talking about who's ???? You said that the Pope and other authorities in the Catholic Church are sinners and made mistakes and errors. You said that when they got together the Apostles held council's that made the correct binding doctrines of faith. I would say you would be right in time when the Church was getting started. The problem was over time power and money and authority over came there decisions !!!! Let's give you two to start Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran Church and Father of Protestant Reformation, was publicly rebuking the Catholic Church for its unbiblical teachings. The Catholic Church threatened Martin Luther with excommunication (and Death) if he did not recant. Martin Luther's reply was,unless therefore I am convinced by testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passage I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other, may God help me Amen!!! What's my point if he didn't recant there would be excommunication and ( death) wow really you can't tell me that the Pope or other authorities didn't know that ??? Martin Luther was publicly rebuking the Church of there unbiblical teachings. The second one is one that's not pretty at all in fact it seems to be on going. The one I am Talking about is the Priest sexual cases that's getting world wide attention, one is bad enough and it keeps going. The problem is it's mostly with boys and the worst part are the cover ups of those in authority. I don't even want to say more about it.

April 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm PST
#32  Eric Vanderburg - Yukon, Oklahoma

"The one I am Talking about is the Priest sexual cases that's getting world wide attention, one is bad enough and it keeps going. The problem is it's mostly with boys and the worst part are the cover ups of those in authority. I don't even want to say more about it."

Ahhhhh, there we go. With that, your true colors are shown sir. The sad thing is sexual abuse has been present in protestant denominations, Jewish Synagogues, public schools, etc... This seems to be a serious problem in western society in general. Easier to portray the Church as the only culprit so you can cast stones no doubt. No excuses though. This is a serious problem within the Church. One we continue to battle. Not that you care to acknowledge any of the progress that's been made in this regard.

I really had you pegged for a more honorable man than this Greg. It's a similar tactic made by atheists I've encountered. Honestly I expect it from them.

Now that you've stooped this low though, I consider the gloves off. While I'll still be respectful in any further dialogue between us, I will no longer be gentle.

April 3, 2014 at 4:33 pm PST
#33  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

ERIC I am sorry if that offend you but you keep saying it's the Church of truth, and my Church is not. I know you also said from the earliest days since the Church started and I am thinking your saying to date 2014 they have always been the Church of truth ??? When you say I don't go to a Church of truth do you think I happy about that ??? I just want you to know in 30 years of the Bible Church. The only issue was a Pastor who did not follow the Bible in some of his teaching he was let go. The same Pastor that leads the Church and started it 30 years ago is still there. What about Martin Luther ???

April 3, 2014 at 5:01 pm PST
#34  Eric Vanderburg - Yukon, Oklahoma

No, you're not sorry. That comment was specifically meant to offend. Enough with the passive aggressive nonsense Greg.

"I know you also said from the earliest days since the Church started and I am thinking your saying to date 2014 they have always been the Church of truth ?"

Yes, this is what the Church has always maintained. It has also been very quick to point out that the behavior of sinners within the Church has always been a reality. The Church is not defined by the sinners within it though. It is defined by the fact it was founded by Christ.

"When you say I don't go to a Church of truth do you think I happy about that ?"

I should think not, but basically your idea of truth is whatever interpretation you specifically hole on any given set of scripture. I think that's a ridiculous position to hold. With your opinion on authority, you are quite incapable of taking any direction. You're your own authority. Now, I imagine you'll respond with "The Bible and the Holy Spirit are my authority.", but I've got a couple million people I can point to that make that same statement and have reached a completely different conclusion than you. As I've already stated, this fact should worry you and your supposed infallibility

"I just want you to know in 30 years of the Bible Church. The only issue was a Pastor who did not follow the Bible in some of his teaching he was let go."

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that Pastor would disagree with you that he didn't "follow" the Bible lol. In fact, I bet he'd say he was being directed by the Holy Spirit regarding his interpretation.

"What about Martin Luther ???"

Do you want to discuss Martin Luther and how he interpreted scripture Greg? Seriously? I'm betting you're not a Lutheran, but you sure do like invoking the man as some sort of hero. Have you ever read any of Luther's works? Shall I educate you on some of the positions he held?

April 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm PST
#35  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

Eric by the way I forgot to tell you the Church started with the senior Pastor and four couples and the Church on a average weekend services is 5000 People. I have been there almost 21 years we have elders and trustees to hold all of the Pastors and staff accountable to the Bible with God's word. A lot of people have come to Christ over the years !!!!!

April 3, 2014 at 6:10 pm PST
#36  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

Eric I am sorry as I have prayed about this, I being told yes by the Holy Spirit that we have to agree to disagree. The thing that is so sad is to think some how that you or anyone else in the Catholic Church has the only road to Heaven. I know that I have said this before and I say it again there's so many verses in the Bible to show a way to Heaven. The thing is it's very clear even Jesus himself made it clear it's only through HIM. John 14:6 Jesus said I am the (WAY) the (TRUTH) and the (LIFE) Then Eric he says something no can deny with his own words. Jesus says no one comes to the Father except through Me. What does he mean by the (WAY) and the (TRUTH) and the (LIFE). He's saying that he is the truth not a Church !!!!

April 3, 2014 at 6:48 pm PST
#37  Eric Vanderburg - Yukon, Oklahoma

"Eric I am sorry as I have prayed about this, I being told yes by the Holy Spirit that we have to agree to disagree."

I've prayed about it as well. I've been led to the Church by the Holy Spirit. So, is the Holy Spirit leading all the various denominations into different directions?

"The thing that is so sad is to think some how that you or anyone else in the Catholic Church has the only road to Heaven."

Wow, I get that complaint from Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans, and all the rest. I know you absolutely hate the idea of real, sincere, Church unity, but it is what it is.

"I know that I have said this before and I say it again there's so many verses in the Bible to show a way to Heaven."

Nice, I agree of course. I don't just stop there. What came first Greg, the Bible or the Church?

"The thing is it's very clear even Jesus himself made it clear it's only through HIM."

Yeah, he also founded the Church and referred to her as his body. Do you seriously think the Church plays no role in leading souls to Christ?

"Then Eric he says something no can deny with his own words. Jesus says no one comes to the Father except through Me."

Why do you quote these scriptures as if I'm contradicting them? Is this some sort of gag?

"He's saying that he is the truth not a Church !!!!"

Ummmm, does Christ refer to his Church as his body or not Greg? So, I'm guessing Christ's body has some part to play in leading people to the Father. Greg, you are literally attacking the Church at this point, and not just the Catholic Church. The very concept of Church. This mindset is why people have stopped going to Church altogether. They can be their own church at home (or so they think).

April 3, 2014 at 7:26 pm PST
#38  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Greg, are you trying to say the Spirit of Christ is symbolic and that Christ's flesh doesn't profit man? I certainly hope not.

April 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm PST
#39  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Greg, you proved my point exactly. You read it and read it with they eyes of someone looking for a way to not agree with the church. Supose you couldn't read or didn't have a Bible and heard the whole of John 6 read aloud from one of the Apostles or one of the early Bishops. How would you know what to believe? Those are very hard words from Christ and He seemed some what stern and preturbed that there were those who doubted what He was saying. Christ let the non belivers walk away instead of changing His words to make things easier for everyone to believe. This is why the Catholic interpretation is correct, because the Apostles were there when Jesus gave His bread of life discourse. They knew the correct interpretation first hand. The Apostles taught the Bishops and together they preached this doctrine to the congregations. Not ONE Christian church in the entire world ever doubted, debated, or questioned this diffulcult doctrine of Christ's real presence in the Holy Eucharist. You just can't sneak a diffulcult doctrine like that into the entire Christian church and not encounter some kind of resistance if it were not true. It is either idolotry or it is true! Even the first reformers believed it was true, then little by little it got watered down then simply tossed to the side. Greg, I invite you to deeply look into this doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist through the eyes of the Apostles, the early Bishops, many who died for this belief. There is a lot to be said about a truth when all of Christianity was united and one in this belief until self interpretation became a fad. There are so many who talk themselves into not believing it simply because they do not want the Catholic Church to be right. Come back to the Table of our Lord, and celebrate this life giving mystery as your ancestors did for well over a thousand years.

April 4, 2014 at 5:41 am PST
#40  Kraig Tersigni - Madison,

Great Article....

Eric, I must say it's refreshing to see someone who is knowledgeable about the faith and can have a good discussion with adversary, great job!

I personally truly love confession. There's a feeling like no other walking out of the confessional free of the burden of sin. I think if more protestants actually tried it instead of immediately disputing it they would see what they are missing. When a new movie comes out do people immediately give it a bad review without knowing anything about it? So it confuses as to why people automatically judge confession without giving it a try. Greg, how did you feel after confession? Don't you miss the grace of repairing your relationship with God that confessing your sins to a man who is In Persona Christi offers?

It's funny I should come across this article today because I just had the thought this morning about how great it would be to be able to go to confession everyday. So when the Lord calls me home, I would have a better chance of meeting him with a clean soul.

April 4, 2014 at 8:42 am PST
#41  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

CHRISTOPHER as I said we can agree to disagree and I have been trying to change you only the Holy Spirit can do that. I was raised in the Catholic Church I was baptized as a baby. I went to a Catholic school for grade school and High School, I had Religion class every day. I even stayed in the Catholic Church for 8 years after I accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I went to my Bible Church and mass on the same day every Sunday for 8 years. I understand what your talking about with tradition and I understand the authority of the Church. I had a Priest giving a short message and two readings every Sunday for 31 years of my life it was the only thing that was different every Sunday I know all the words to the mass. I was also a alter boy for 3 to 4 years that was before English was in the mass. By the way what do you think people were thinking when they were saying Latin back and forth to the Priest ??? In Matthew chapter 5 The beatitudes in verse 2 and he began to teach then. He started to teach them what was he teaching them God's Word. Matthew chapter 11:-1 After JESUS had finished instructing his disciples, He went on from there to teach and preach in the town of Galilee. I can find more they were teaching and preaching what the good news of Jesus and how to get to Heaven this was before the Catholic Church was started. My question to you or any Catholic is if you have to be a Catholic to be saved then what about those who Accepted Jesus Christ before the Church started ??? IT means they died before the Catholic Church started what about them ??? The reason I brought up the teaching and preaching part was to show you they didn't do a mass they preach the good news only. In 1985 when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior my life changed forever as I said in the above notes I was in the Catholic Church for 8 years. I said before and I will say it again there's only one road to Heaven and that's through Jesus Christ and not through other religions period. I was thinking the other day that I should have stayed in the Catholic Church you have so many different opportunities or roads to Heaven. There's baptism and works there is being a good person and purgatory and I have been told the Host. I was told by a Catholic during the summer when we debated that I have to take communion every Sunday or I can't make it to Heaven. Then I was told indulgences are very important things you do here on earth. These were things I learned in school as well. I remember in 6th grade one day we had school but the public schools were off, and some of my friends came by our Windows making noise. The Nun yelled out at them we were complaining we had school and she said they are going to Hell. The whole class was stunned but what she said, it's because they had friends in the public schools as well. The last thing is I know that when I die I will stand before Jesus Christ and I will hear the words well done good and faithful servant. I know my name is written in the Lambs book of Life and I will be with Jesus FOREVER !!!!!!!!!!! : )

April 4, 2014 at 9:13 am PST
#42  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

You are correct Greg, there was a lot of preaching and teaching by Jesus, so the logical question has to be what was He preaching and teaching, what miracles was
He doing and why? Why would He have founded a church in the first place if it wasn't important, and why would the Apostles have gone out establishing this church and appointing Bishops and Presbyters? There had to be a very important reason if they went to that much trouble and spent all of their time traveling to different nations going church to church establishing, instructing, worshiping and preaching. Why did these early churches have altars in them if the only thing that was important was to hear the word of God? Why wasnt the podium the center of worship? Just maybe the Apostles knew what they were doing and were doing as Jesus commanded and instructed. There are a lot of modern folks who believe there is no need of a church, but the founder, Jesus Christ certainly thought different. If you feel Jesus wasted His time and you do not need His church that is fine, no one can judge your intentions or your soul. I just wanted to invite you back and let you know you are always welcome back. And about that nun, you can't judge the whole church because she was wrong in what she said. The most loving teacher I ever had was a nun.

April 4, 2014 at 11:11 am PST
#43  Usulor Kenneth - Lagos, Lagos

My dear Eric

There are many Protestants and non-christian who have never had the privillege of hearing or knowing what the Catholic teaches as from the horse's mouth . And so they are living in what a pope called 'invincible ignorance'. But you, do you think that you are excusable? Consider your ways!
You said in #31 "I would say you would be right when the church was getting started. The problem was over time power and money and authority overcame there decision". My dear, do you not know that this protestant idea which began from 16th century completely and absolutety nullified the whole of Christian dispensation because it is diametrically opposed to Mathew 16:18 - the word of God? This idea makes our sweet saviour a liar and therefore undivine.8-)
Again you made mention of sinners in the Church in this later times (2014). My dear, what you do not understand is that one the true but sad characteristics of the true Church founded by our sweet saviour is the presence of sinners in it at all times. Read St. Mathew chapter 13. Remember the Church has not erred because of the sexual sins of some priests. It is only that some members of the inerrant Church have sinned. Please note the difference!

April 4, 2014 at 4:43 pm PST
#44  Usulor Kenneth - Lagos, Lagos

Please I am sorry! My comment on #43 goes to Greg Herwaldt and not Eric . That's a mistake

April 4, 2014 at 4:52 pm PST
#45  obayi ifeanyi - Enugu, Enugu

Hi Greg,while you are discussing with Tim and Christopher,i strongly recommend that you read this book: "Faith Of Our Fathers".It's a systematic,concise and plain exposition of the catholic faith written by James Cardinal Gibons.The book is very old and out of print but you can get a free E-copy by googling it.You can also download an audio copy @ libravos.com(hope i got the spelling right)although you will miss the footnote containing biblical refferences in the audio copy.Also read Catechesim Of the Catholic Church,(full version)endorsed by pope John Paul2.I dont know of a more inspiring book than this after the Bible.(These books are few of out of thousands treating topics on catholic faith).If you can be open minded while reading the books mentioned above and willing to follow the holy spirit wherever he leads,then i assure you,you will be inviting us to your re-admission into the Catholic Church this Easter.I will be praying for you.God bless.

April 5, 2014 at 8:27 pm PST
#46  K Berg - hennef, Nordrhein-Westfalen

I want to say thank you to Catholic.com , I was born and raised Lutheran in Toledo, Ohio . I moved to Chicago for business a few years ago and started listening to Catholic Answers and Relevant Radio a Catholic program also called Go ask your Father .My intent was to find all the faults and flaws of the Catholic Church, because I was Lutheran and thought Martin Luther was my hero, I thought he was correct on all fronts , with scripture Communion , , liturgy etc .. Needless to say through listening to Catholic Answers , Tim Staples and Steve Ray really helped me search the scriptures for the full truth . I am so glad the Holy Spirit was leading and drawing me to the fullness of the Christian faith , the Catholic faith . Please keep up the good work !!

April 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm PST
#47  Heydon Ueckert - stanton, Nebraska

Greg: In your rebuttals you like to through in your "extensive" history with the Catholic Church. Not to be rude. But it has been an observation of mine that when reading what you have written about the Church you have very little understanding of what she teaches. You have put a lot of different questions, and comments, that throws a red flag. I'm not sure why you say things about the Church that have no factual evidence for support.
I have noticed that you don't really know the roles of clergy and other religious. You have shown that you don't understand what the liturgy is and why the Church has followed the same structure for 2000 years. I could go on and on. I don't write this as something to be taken offensively. I just want you to know that there is a lot of reference material out there that could help you. You may have been part of the Church for 31 years before leaving, but it is good to know what you are debating against first.
I would say Catholicism and Fundamentalism is a great book.
There have been many people who have went at the Church to prove it wrong, to only become converts in the end. But one thing they did that I'm sure was a huge help was to have open hearts to the truth. Read about Cardinal Henry Newman. His document on development of Christian Doctrine was meant to be a rebuttal to the Catholic Church. In the end he realized the Catholic Church to be the true Church created by Christ. Jesus only created one Church.

April 6, 2014 at 2:07 pm PST
#48  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

Thanks for your insight I and hoping to have real good stuff on Monday or Tuesday make sure you check in !!!!! The Bible Church I go to every weekend the Church averages up to 5000 people. The Church is 45 to 50% of former Catholics, I ask those I meet a few questions when I find out that they went to the Catholic Church. The reason why they left the Catholic Church and what is there relationship with Jesus like now, how has it effected there marriage. How is affecting other relationships kids or coworkers and the most important there walk with God. I can go on there in weekly Bible study, they are serving both here and other countries. They are helping Ministries grow to help the poor and the needy and those inside the Church. The last thing for today God's Word came first that's why there's a Old Testament and New Testament alot of verses in the Old Testament back up the the New Testament Why ??

April 6, 2014 at 4:21 pm PST
#49  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Greg, the Bible church? The Catholic Church is THE Church in the Bible and before the Bible. No other church has been established by the Divine. Man can not dulpicate what Christ has already done. It doesn't matter how many go to the church you attend or how many ex Catholics attend, or their reasons, it is still a man made church. Boasting about numbers has nothing to do with truth for there are millions of Jehovahs and Muslims also. Just wondering, but why are you on Catholic blogs? What are your intentions?

April 6, 2014 at 9:06 pm PST
#50  K Berg - hennef, Nordrhein-Westfalen

Greg , please go to other sites and bicker with Calvinists , Armenians , Free Will vs Election . All these Reformed , Baptist , Lutheran , and non denominations sites they can never agree as one . Except , accepting Jesus as my personal savior , and as a former Lutheran I bickered with on that topic with all my non -denominational friends at the time.
We get your point . Former Catholic , now Willow Creek is the answer to all our flawed theology .
Iron sharpens iron . However it gets annoying to read the same complaints .
So may other sites that Protestants don't agree on ....

April 6, 2014 at 11:13 pm PST
#51  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

I would like to share some things with all of you. The first thing is imagine that you have a major health problem, and you go to see a Doctor in his office building. The Doctor checks you out and fines something wrong and can help you. The building that the Doctor is in did not help you, it was the Doctor that helped you. The Church that you go to is not what saves at all. Here are some Verses of the only one who saves and He name is Jesus : Joel 20:32 whoever calls on the Lord will be saved. Psalm 22:5 They cried out and were saved. Isaiah 25:9 God saves through our Lord. Isaiah 45:22 Turn to me and be saved. 1Timothy 2:3-6 Jesus saves. Ephesians 2:8-9 being saved is a gift of God. Ephesians 2:5 We are saved by Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:18 Saved by the power of God. Romans 10:8-13 BUT was does it say ? The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are Saved. Please read on verses 11-13. Romans 5:9 saved by His blood. Acts 16:30-32 Saved by believing in Jesus. Acts 15:11 Saved by Jesus. Acts 4:12 Jesus Saves. Acts 2:47 Saved by our Lord. Acts 2:21 Call on the name of the Lord and be Saved. John 10:9 Saved through Jesus. Mark 13:13 Jesus saves. These are some of many verses that show both in the Old testament before Christ and the Catholic Church, and The New Testament when Jesus was here and after his Death that He saves ONLY. The Church building or the Catholic Church doesn't save you only Jesus saves. Read Isaiah chapter 52 He would proclaim the great news of a Savior who would come into the world to save us from our sins so we would be with Him forever. If Jesus was asked what was his number one mission to come to this earth He would had said, from Luke 19:9-10 This is Jesus own words: Jesus said to him, Today salvation has come to this house, Because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and Save what was Lost. He came to seek and save the lost that was the most important mission to Jesus over anything. That is why He died on a Cross and rose from the dead only to help and seek the Lost souls of this world. When he set up the Church it was building for those to go to worship Him and to share the good news around the world. In Matthew 16:17-20 Yes Jesus told Peter on this rock I will build my Church and you can read the Verses. In Matthew 26:69-75 Peter disowns Jesus. In Matthew 26:31:35 Jesus predicts Peter's denial in verse 35 Peter says even if I have to die with you, I will never Disown you. And all the other disciples said the same. They saw miracles everyday they were with Him, they even saw Him raised people from the dead. These men all ran and denied Jesus and Peter three times in verse 72 of Matthew 26 Peter says He denied Jesus with a oath: I don't know the Man. What's my point when you have sinners running a Church things aren't always going to go right or be free of mistakes. I believe at first the Church was going well but because God knows the Heart of Men and how power and money and selfcenterness effected the Church. That is why there are other Churches focused on the Bible and are Christ Centered and are able to lead others to the one who saves His name is Jesus Christ Savior of the world. I was asked why am I in this Blog at first I was hoping that the Catholic I debate for two months in the summer was some how wrong. I was hoping that the Priest and Nuns who taught me religion in Grade school and High School were wrong as well. I have learned from all of you that thing's haven't changed their is a bunch ways to Heaven just like I was taught and the Catholic Church is the only way to Heaven. I want all of you to Know this is my last time in the Blog I will look at your responses and I am praying for you. When your at mass or your Good Friday services THINK ABOUT why you are there Why??? Why did Jesus have to DIE ???? Look at the Cross He has His arms wide open for you and your Sins ( He came to seek and save the Lost) !!!!!! God bless you and Happy Easter !!!!!! : )

April 8, 2014 at 11:16 am PST
#52  Stevie Davis - Queen Creek, Arizona

when I read about forgiveness of sin in John I don't look for anything that might be 'implied'. I do 'look' back into their day. They had no NT written to refer to. The Lord breathed the Holy Spirit into the Apostles and empowered them to use the knowledge they learned from Him to go forward and teach others what was sin and what wasn't.

Christ is my Priest. I confess directly to Him.

April 21, 2014 at 4:31 pm PST
#53  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

TIM: PRIESTS among Priests.
Ephesians 4:7-13
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”
(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?
He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Yes We are all Priests of the Covenant of Grace. This passage is about the Gift of grace that Jesus gave GIFTS to Men--"The Five Fold Ministry" to the Church. Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers. The Veil was torn into, making a statement that man did not need a Go-between to access God. We can go directly into the throne room. There is no mention of PREISTS IN the New testament; other than the Priesthood of the believer. Tim - with your background I know you know this.

April 22, 2014 at 12:48 pm PST
#54  paul pineda - bakersfield, California

Tim...thanks for this article. Can you share your insight on the following passage from Job 42:

Job 42:

7 After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.

Question:
Why did God, who spoke directly to Eliphaz, not just forgive him directly? And why did God order him to go through Job?

May 10, 2014 at 9:45 am PST
#55  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

Job was upright ( Righteous ) and Blameless in the sight of God. His 3 Friends were not. They did not speak the truth about God. Job had already spent a lot of time conversing with God. Job was a believer . His Friends were not.

May 13, 2014 at 3:07 pm PST

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