Sunday, June 26, 2016

Dear Protestant: Where did you get your New Testament?




Greek Manuscript New Testament


At least a couple of times every week, Protestants use New Testament verses to show me where the Catholic Church is wrong about something. I always make them take the necessary step back by asking the following:

"Where did you get your New Testament?"

When they answers that it came from God (as indeed it did), I say, "Yes, but what was the mechanism God used to bring it to you today? How did it come to you, historically and in real time, since it did not drop out of Heaven into your hands, leather-bound?"

Nine times out of ten, they have no answer because they have never considered the question.

The quick answer:

The Catholic Church officially determined and set the canon of of the New Testament approximately 400 years after Christianity began. The canon was declared by the body of Catholic bishops at the Council of Carthage (397 A.D.) and confirmed by Pope Boniface (419 A.D.).  

This is historical fact.

Let me flesh out a few more of the details, which very few Christians (Protestant or Catholic) know.

After Christ's ascension into Heaven, and after the Holy Spirit descended upon the first Christians at Pentecost, the Church thrived and grew exponentially for years before even one line of the New Testament was written. Let that sink in: Baptisms, catechesis, communal worship, conversions of thousands of sinners, Apostles and their companions traveling to other lands and risking imprisonment, torture, and death to evangelize the world with zeal -- all went on for over a decade before the New Testament was even begun, much less completed.

Without having written a word, the Church was teaching, preaching, growing, and flourishing for many years.

Eventually, a very few Apostles and their disciples starting writing down some of the Church's oral Tradition: The Gospels, which recorded the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and also the Epistles (letters) of St. Paul and others, which gave encouragement and instruction to local churches being established throughout the world. The young Church cherished those gospels and letters, and began to incorporate them into her liturgies and masses.

More and more written accounts and testimonies materialized as the Church grew, but contrary to today's popular belief, it was not obvious to the early Christians which of these writings were truly God-inspired.

As brutal persecution of the Church continued in those first centuries, clarity about Christian writings became important. After all, Christians were being martyred routinely, and it was necessary to know which books were worth dying for.

Three categories of writings existed at that time:

1. Those writings that were universally acknowledged/accepted
2. Those writings that were disputed or controverted
3. Those writings that were known to be spurious or false

The first group included divinely-inspired books that we have in our Bible today, such as the four Gospels, the Epistles of St. Paul, and the Acts of the Apostles.

The second group included books that were simultaneously accepted in some Christian regions, rejected in others, and disputed in others. Some of these were indeed divinely-inspired, such the Epistles of James and Jude, one of Peter's, two of John's, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Book of Revelation, even as many Christians did not believe they were. Some were books that never made it into the final canon of the New Testament, but which several Christian communities considered inspired (and even used for catechizing and in the liturgy), such as the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas, Apostolic Constitutions, the Epistle of St. Clement, St. Paul's Epistle to the Laodiceans, etc.

The third group consisted of the fakes floating around, spurious works which were never acknowledged or claimed by the Church, such as about 50 false gospels including the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of James, a couple dozen "Acts" (Acts of Pilate, Acts of Paul and Thecla, etc.), and some epistles and apocalypses.

Under the promised guidance of the Holy Spirit and after a long series of historical events, a gathering of Catholic bishops went through the process of authoritatively and infallibly setting the books of the Christian canon, using the following criteria: a) The book in question must have been written in apostolic times by an Apostle or one close to an Apostle, and b) The book in question had to be doctrinally sound, completely conforming to Catholic Church teaching.

Several books met those criteria, and so it happened that some four centuries and 20 generations after Christ's Resurrection, the Magisterium of the Catholic Church authoritatively set the canon of the New Testament, ending all confusion and doubt among the faithful.

Rome had spoken, and the canon was closed.


Which leaves us with some takeaways:


-- If the Catholic Church (bishops and pope) had the authority from God to set the New Testament canon, then she cannot be the corrupt and un-Christian "Whore of Babylon" as is claimed by many Protestants.

-- If one accepts the canon of the New Testament, one must also accept the authority of the entity who gave it to us, i.e., the Catholic Church.

-- If one rejects the authority of the Catholic Church, one should and must also reject the canon of the New Testament that came to us through the authority of the Catholic Church. (It makes sense that Martin Luther, the rebel behind the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s, wanted to throw out several of the New Testament books that he despised.)

-- The New Testament cannot be "personally interpreted" by each individual Christian, because it was never meant to be taken outside of the Church from which it came.

-- The New Testament cannot and does not contradict Catholic doctrine, as it was Catholic doctrine that was used as a criterion for its authenticity and authority.

-- The New Testament was discerned and canonized by men who had divine authority to do so -- men who believed explicitly in the Mass, the Eucharist, the ministerial priesthood, Confession, Purgatory, veneration of Mary, infant baptism and infused grace, justification by faith and works, the Communion of Saints, etc., etc.

-- The Bible came from the Church. In other words, the Bible is Church-based, not the other way around. If you get this paradigm wrong, you get some messed-up theology.

-- If a Protestant uses Scripture to attack the Catholic Church, it's like ripping off a man's arm to beat him with it. Using a Catholic Book to beat up the Catholic Church makes no sense.

-- If you believe that your eternal salvation is based entirely on a Book, isn't it important to know where the Book came from and who was given authority to proclaim it? Who meticulously copied, preserved, protected, and guarded it with their lives, and who ultimately vouched for the fact that it is indeed the written Word of God?


There is so much more to discuss, and I would love to do so in the comments. Meanwhile, one of the best books on the subject, which I devoured when I came back to the Church, is Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church, by Henry G. Graham.





**Note: I did not include the Old Testament canon in this post, because I wanted to work with something that both Protestants and Catholics agree on, namely, the 27 books of the New Testament.





62 comments:

  1. An excellent synopsis - thanks Leila.

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    1. This is where the cognitive dissonance of Protestantism begins. If we can get this single point across, real evangelization to Catholicism can finally begin.

      P.S. I use the REPLY feature because ADD YOUR COMMENT button only remains for a flash, then disappears.

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  2. Thank you both! And I'm sorry about that ddoggall! Blogger is so glitchy. :(

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  3. Thank you for writing this in such a clear and concise manner and for the reading recommendation. It's such an intricate and complex subject. Most people don't want you to tell them this -- they want simple explanations.

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  4. This is a wonderful synopsis and I wish I could share it. But there's something that always bugs me. I'm a convert--became Catholic at age 50, 12 years ago. I grew up Presbyterian and married a Lutheran--and never, ever did we call ourselves "Protestants." When Catholics do this, however correctly, it diminishes your evangelical outreach. I do realize you deal with some extreme people of the "Whore of Babylon" variety. But I do wish Catholic apologists wouldn't come charging out with "Protestants--let me ask you this." It's a manner of approach. Do you want to win souls, or be right? This is something that's been bugging me and keeps me away from apologetics these days. I don't mean to come off critically--just something to ponder. Thank you for letting me comment!

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  5. I was Lutheran for 22 years, and I never objected to being referred to as a Protestant. But humor me -- what would you prefer to be called? "Non-Catholic Christian"?

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  6. Dachsiemama, I hear what you're saying and I know that there is a segment of Protestants who do not wish the label. But then, I know many more who are quite proud of it and have no issue with it whatsoever. It's hard to address everyone all at once, as there are so many different Prorestant groups and beliefs, so it's the easiest word I can use.

    I look forward to your thoughts on JoAnna's question.

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    1. I am also interested in Dachsiemama's thoughts on JoAnna's question. For me, if one calls themselves a Christian and they are not Catholic than they are Protestant. If I know they are Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc. than I ask them to explain their Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc. beliefs to me. Otherwise I have to put all of the 35,000 plus different Protestant churches into the Protestant category.

      Richard

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    2. Thank you Leila for this post. It is something I often wonder about and when possible ask Protestants "Why do you accept the Bible that was given to you from the Catholic Church as the word of God and hate the Catholic Church?" I am also confused by those that say if it is not in the Bible I do not accept it; thus, referring to things they say are man made by the Catholic Church. A couple of examples:

      1) John 6 - When Jesus said "This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for life of the world is My flesh. Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life within you. He who eats My flesh and drinks y blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." John 6: 50-55 Many of His disciples started leaving Him. Our Lord did not say "Wait, I was talking figuratively not literally." No, He let them go because He was talking literally! To my knowledge, all Protestants don't believe in Transubstantiation.

      2) If Protestants believe that the Bible is the only word of God to follow, then how do they explain John 6:25? John writes, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written, I suppose that even the world itself would not be able to contain all the books that would be written."

      Another thing to consider is, all the Saints come from the Catholic Church and the Protestants accept and love them, as they should do, thanks to God.

      I like what Venerated Bishop Fulton Sheen said, "There are only 100 people that hate the Catholic Church, but there are a million people who hate what they believe the Catholic Church to be." For those that start to study the Catholic Church, as for example, Scott Hahn did, they then come home to the one true church of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

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  7. JoAnna-I hear you--no problem with being a Protestant, and especially for Lutherans, Martin Luther was a hero--closest thing they have to a saint. In all honesty, I do believe his intention was initially to reform the Church; it's hard to get inside the mindset of 16th century people. As the Catechism says, sin on both sides. We just called ourselves Presbyterians. Or Lutherans. Or Christians. We just saw Catholics also as Christians. A different view of the universal Church. But I grew up in the 50s and 60s where there were no evangelical churches. There were Baptists, and I knew they thought differently, but virtually all American Christians were mainline church or Catholics. I admit I didn't know any more about Catholics than what I saw on TV, which was favorable at the time. So--Christians. We are all Christians. I do agree some people out there are still stuck in the 16th century (some Catholics too). I'll never forget how surprised I was hearing that some Baptists don't think Catholics are Christians. Just the way they were erroneously taught. I've found individual Baptists quite kind and, like all of us, seeking His will. Hope this helps. And thank you Leila. It's hard to find a balance. I'd still maintain that a title saying "Protestants" in direct address is deliberately provocative. Just think about it in the quiet of your heart. Again, the article is very, very good.

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  8. I would also say--maybe not deliberately--wrong word--perhaps defensively provocative--for understandable reasons. Some of these people can be way over the top. One guy I read in some comment somewhere was arguing not only for sola fide, but taking it to the extreme of we're not bound by the Ten Commandments! That did make me realize the wisdom of the Great Tradition, from the Magisterium. Scripture could be read that way, although I don't know any Christians who do--because they were influenced by what was handed down from the undivided Church.

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  9. Sorry for being so wordy! I should have thought and combined things but I'm in kind of a hurry. My husband, who grew up Lutheran and is now PCUSA Presbyterian, commented that he never thought of himself as a "Protestant." Truly, maybe in Ireland they do, but here, that's just not how non-Catholic mainline Christians roll.

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  10. I'm just kind of tired of all the apologetic talking points. I've heard them all and they get passed around--same thoughts--35,000 denominations, etc.--and maybe they do help some people, but I don't think polemics really converts people. And if it does, it adds to the hostility in the Body of Christ. Richard's comments, for instance, come at me in a debating sort of form. I'm Catholic, I'm not debating anything; I don't need to be convinced. I think everyone needs to just put down their swords and pray for unity.

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  11. And we didn't fight the Catholic Church (talking about my 50 years as a --yes--Protestant of one form or another). Your points are well taken, but honestly, I agree with Jesus that these things (in John 6) can only be discerned through the Spirit, not through human understanding. We read it honestly not seeing the literalness. That may be hard for cradle Catholics to believe, but it's true, and throwing arguments at people doesn't show a willingness to just discuss. I guess, coming from an academic environment, I enjoy considering ideas, but I hate conflict. When I was being brought into the Church by the Holy Spirit, for instance, I almost stopped my journey when Tim Staples took that sarcastic approach in some of his apologetic tapes. It caused me to cry--all my relatives were Lutheran--some of them pastors, doctors, nurses--way back. This is my family *heritage.* Marcellino d'ambrosino did much better when he mentioned on EWTN that Luther had rediscovered a Catholic doctrine that had been neglected in Romans--basically saying there was truth in what Luther said. There's been a joint declaration between Lutherans and Catholics too, that I need to re-read. I'm just commenting--not interested in debate. I'm weary of all the firing across the bow at fellow Christians. Really tired of it.

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  12. dachsiemama, I understand that you are weary of Catholic/Protestant apologetics. Long ago, I used to do that kind of debate exclusively. Today, I am much more interested in fighting the secular culture, so I don't do much of it. I still find it important, however, to touch upon every now and then. Honestly, it's exactly the thing that made me turn around when I was headed out the door of the Catholic Church and into the doors of a "Bible Church". Without Catholic apologetics, I would not be Catholic today. Five of my children would not be here. My husband would still be a secular, unbaptized person.

    I can name many dozens of personal friends who would say the same thing. Protestant/Catholic apologetics is not frivolous, and it is something that can very much convict the soul and light a heart on fire.

    I recognize that it's not for everyone, and if you are weary from it, then please feel free to skip this post and any others dealing with the doctrinal debates between Catholics and Protestants.

    Blessings to you!

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  13. And I just have to add: If providing the little-known history about where the New Testament came from is "firing across the bow at other Christians", then we need to stop educating anyone of our children on the history of the Church, period. But that seems very anti-intellectual, and pretty anti-Christian in my mind. History is a very good thing to learn, especially the history of our Church. It is rich and beautiful, and I do believe it brings unity. As Cardinal John Henry Newman (convert) said, "To be steeped history is to cease to be a Protestant." That is so true. Bring on more history, not less.

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  14. Certainly teaching history isn't "firing across the bow"! I did say your article was wonderful, as you recall. It's the title I believe that is counterproductive, and the tone it inspires. I shared my heart about how this would have affected me coming into the Church. I appreciate that your experience was different. I was a history major and am certainly not "anti-intellectual" or "anti-Christian." I believe you misunderstood me, probably because of this medium not being face to face; i.e., you don't know me personally and vice-versa. My main point was Catholics talking about "Protestantism" as though this is really a thing. We can agree to disagree.

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  15. My "firing across the bow" was actually about the effect such efforts can have (i.e., my experience with Tim's tapes) on the newly emerging convert; it seems like a matter of too much pride in intellect; and the heart is just as fully human. Charity in all things, or else we're clanging gongs and clashing cymbals. But you're right--I should probably take you up on your invitation to go to other blogs.

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  16. Tim Staples is himself a convert (Southern Baptist turned Assemblies of Christ turned Catholic) and I've personally met him; he would be the first to apologize and feel terrible if he came off as sarcastic or was in any way off-putting to someone.

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  17. I think he would Margo. I'm sure he doesn't realize how it sounds, but it did hit me really hard, and not in a good way. I think apologists probably get a touch of burn out from dealing with too many really hostile Protestant Christians of a certain anti-Catholic stripe. I'm sorry if I verged on the hostile myself--have been feeling a little touchy about this. God bless all.

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  18. The irony is, I studied and read my way into the Catholic Church by just such apologetics, including Tim's, despite that particular talk. His arguments were good when I was able to reach a point in my conversion to process them.

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  19. Dachsiemama, I really do hope you stay! I honestly don't know how to make a clean and succinct title, or to address Protestants, other than with the word Protestant. Otherwise it's really inefficient for a blog post. It seems to be the easiest way, and I don't see it offending a lot of people, although I'm sorry that it does offend some. i'm feeling quite sincere there, but I don't see a better option. Hopefully the rest of what's here will make you stick around! :)

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    1. Stupid voice texting. It should say "I'm really quite sincere"

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  20. Thank you Leila. I'm sorry for being so touchy and taking it out on you. May God bless you. :))

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  21. No worries at all! I have been known to be touchy myself, ha ha!

    But here is something fun that I think you and everyone else will enjoy! Your comments prompted curiosity in me, so I put a question out on my Facebook page asking if any Protestants came to the Church through good apologetics, and the answers were really inspiring! If you all can access them through this link, be sure to load all the comments (from the top) and read the responses to individual comments as well. Quite a conversation that I did not expect!

    https://www.facebook.com/leila.h.miller.1/posts/10154263490458695?pnref=story

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  22. Has anyone offered a counter argument to this?

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  23. Seeing that the New Testament books were written in Greek, the Protestants got their New Testament the same place the Catholics got theirs - the Orthodox Church.

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  24. How exactly did that work, Husky Fan in Mass, considering that the Orthodox Church didn't exist until 1054 A.D., and the canon of Scripture was compiled prior to 400 A.D.?

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    1. Perhaps he means Orthodox as opposed to Heterodox? Not the Eastern Orthodox Church specifically? Or perhaps he's meaning that the current Catholics and the Protestants both got their New Testament from the Universal/Orthodox/Catholic church, before that church had leaders who did not adhere to the teachings of the Bible they gave us?
      -- I'm not really sure what he meant, just throwing some possible thoughts out there.

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  25. Michelle, I have heard a couple of things, but quite vague. Usually the answer when pressed is that these bishops basically got lucky (because I guess in retrospect, the 21st Century American Protestant just knows what the canon is (like the Mormon idea of the "burning in the heart" to determine what is from God?). Another phrase that is pretty common is that the New Testament is "a fallible list of infallible books". I still have not figured out how that works, but it apparently takes away the authority of the men who determined the canon.

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    1. Sorry, OCD sufferers, for the lack of closed parentheses!! I hate when I'm in a hurry and don't proof my comments... sigh....

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  26. Husky Fan in Mass, like JoAnna, I am also interested in an expansion of your comment. I don't quite understand. Are you claiming that only the Orthodox spoke/speak/knew/know Greek? I'm very confused by that claim. And were Pope Innocent, Pope Boniface, and St. Augustine also Orthodox, as opposed to Catholic, in your opinion?

    Thanks!

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  27. I think Catholicism, and therefore the Faith, is more at home in the intellect, in reasoning. Emotion comes along, but should not be the bedrock of the Faith. God gave us, of all His creatures, the capacity for reasoning.

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  28. A.D.1054 does not mark the beginning of the Orthodox Church, but rather the separation of the Roman Church from the rest of Orthodox Christendom. Innocent I, Boniface I, and Augustine of Hippo are considered as members of the pre-schism Orthodox Church.
    The Holy Scriptures were produced and preserved by the Orthodox Church. Orthodox believers use the Greek text handed down within the Orthodox Church, which has been proven consistent by 2000 years of liturgical use guided by the Holy Spirit. These manuscripts are known as the Byzantine text-type.
    In addition to the Byzantine text-type, many Western Christian Bible translators have used a number of bogus Greek texts(Codex Sinaiticus, Alexandrian Codex, Codex Ephraemi rescriptus). These older texts were discovered in modern times. Orthodox critics of these texts rightly pointed out that these texts were preserved in relatively good condition because they were set aside and left unused because they were inferior in quality. The last English language translation to not use these inferior texts was the King James Version(1611). Meanwhile the Orthodox Church has consistently used the reliable Byzantine text-type for 2000 years.

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  29. "A.D.1054 does not mark the beginning of the Orthodox Church, but rather the separation of the Roman Church from the rest of Orthodox Christendom."

    In other words, it marks the beginning of the Orthodox Church.

    So basically, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church use the exact same Bible, correct?

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  30. Thanks Leila. I'll check it out. I came to the Church through apologetics as well. But my journey has not been the happy easy one portrayed on Journey Home and so many testimonies. But I'm still here-because of the Eucharist.

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  31. Ddoggall I think both faith and reason in equal measure. But reason-yes. I know at least one person who reverted because of this. It's a great weapon in this secular age.

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  32. Oops-I meant emotion and reason

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  33. But I do wish Catholic apologists wouldn't come charging out with "Protestants--let me ask you this." It's a manner of approach. Do you want to win souls, or be right?

    Yet if it's a matter of apologetics (as you state it is here) then it is a matter of being accurate with facts and asserting those because to apologize (for the faith) means to give a defense of/justification for. A challenge is part of that whole approach, even if it includes some salty logic or a blunt discussion.

    So, objectively speaking, it is okay to "charge at" a point of differing fact or differing opinion because apologetics is all about that. They drive directly at answering: Are the facts driving the logic? Does the logic align with the facts? Am I being accurate in my thoughts or am I just feeling my way around?

    Typically speaking, people know that if they're going the apologetic route, intellectual challenges are going to come. So they really shouldn’t get offended too quickly.

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    1. HI NUBBY!!!!! It's been too long!!!!! :D

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  34. "...even if it includes some salty logic or a blunt discussion"
    Or some salty language and blunt object (if needed of course)
    Welcome back Nicky. We love you and miss you. And frankly, we want you on that wall! We need you on that wall. I will sleep better tonight knowing you are good to go.
    Peace

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    1. If you're reading this its a miracle. We are camping and I had to make tin foil rabbit ears for my phone to work.

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  35. Oh boy! Oh boy!! Nubby AND Chris in the same day on the same post?!?!?!? Tis a miracle indeed!!!!!!!!

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  36. Haha- thx, bro. I owe u a hi-five and a hug. And I hope u brought your air rifle camping. I heard on the news Bigfoot might be wandering your way...

    lol, Margo- Lord knows how this thread might derail now...Poor Leila

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  37. The Orthodox Church was founded by Jesus Christ Himself. The Roman Church over time strayed until the formal break from Orthodoxy in A.D. 1054. Jesus said that you will know them by their fruits. This would be on display in A.D. 1204 with the sacking of the great Christian city of Constantinople by Latin Christians during the Fourth Crusade. The meekness that Christ extolled has been that exhibited by Orthodox Christianity.

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  38. Husky Fan, clearly we Catholics see things very differently. I will go with the saints who look to the See of Peter for the final authority. "Where Peter is, there is the Church". And as St. Augustine (most definitely a Catholic bishop) has said, Rome has spoken, the case is closed. Having said that, I pray that the Great Schism can be mended, as has every modern pope. I hope that the great hostility on the part of many Orthodox brethren can be lessened to get to that point. Some, as my parents' Melkite Church, have long ago come back into the fold of Peter and, God willing, He will bring the rest of the East back in unity as well. It's what we all pray for. Unity.

    Many blessings, my brother.

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  39. Great blog! Keep being the person God wants you to be! From one catholic blogger to another would you mind checking out my blog??

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  40. Hello! Please excuse my ignorance. I was raised protestant, and am now investigating Catholicism. I am sure to use the wrong terms, but hopefully I can get my question across. Is it possible, that while the Catholic Church was inspired by God at a certain point in history to canonize the New Testament, that it doesn't mean that the Church was necessarily correct on issues leading up to that point, and that it doesn't necessarily mean the Church couldn't have gone off the rails after that point. I don't think my thoughts are coming out very clear. I guess what I am wondering is just because the Church was used as the vehicle to clarify truth (the Bible) at one specific moment in time, does that necessarily imply the authority of the Church going forward? Could it not have simply been used as a tool? Hopefully that makes a little bit of sense. I would greatly appreciate any thoughts you have on the topic. I know time is always in short supply. Thank you!

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  41. Hi SeekingClarity! Thanks for the thoughtful questions!

    There are two questions I'd ask myself: First, how would I know which times to trust the Church if it was only inspired on some crucial issues and not others? How would I know it was right on the Canon, but not on the Eucharist or Baptism? Or, perhaps it was right on the Eucharist and Baptism but not on the Canon? You see the dilemma.

    Second, if the Church went off the rails after the point of setting the Canon, then that means when it did set the Canon it was still on the rails, correct? And then you would simply have to investigate, through history and writings (there is plenty) what Christians in the first four centuries believed about all points of doctrine. You'll see that it's not different from today (which is why we Catholics use and love and quote all the centuries of Christian history, without skipping from Biblical times to the 1500s (with a couple very rare and select stops to selectively quote or read St. Augustine, Catholic Bishop, for example).

    I hope that helps and I'd love your thoughts!

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  42. Sorry for the crazy parentheses, whoops! Basically, for that second part, if the Church went off the rails after the Canon of the Bible was set, you'd see a change in doctrine, belief and practice after that time, and in fact that does not occur.

    Also, how confusing would that have been if God made it so that the Church was authoritative to one point (even having his children willingly martyred for that faith and those truths taught by the Church) but then He withdrew the authority of the Church suddenly, four hundred years in? It doesn't make sense.

    The best bet is to read the writings of the Early Fathers, both before and after the Canon of the Bible was set. I recommend the Jergens series, as it's not highly edited like Protestant compilations, and it has an index of doctrines.

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  43. *Jurgens (Only because I googled it right away!)

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  44. Thank you, Michelle!! I must've been thinking of the hand lotion!! ha!

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  45. Thank you so much. And thanks for the recommendation (and clarification, Michelle!) of the Jurgens series. I just ordered it, and am looking forward to reading it. I understand what you are saying about how confusing it would be if the Church only had authority over the Canon. I am still early in my research, and honestly it is overwhelming coming from a background where I know so little about Catholicism and Church history. I am thinking my best place to start is where you recommended and go back and read what the Early Fathers wrote. To try to understand and ascertain the truth by reading debates and articles both trying to prove and trying to refute Catholicism is proving to be difficult. I read one thing and it makes sense and then read something from the other side which basically completely denies the first thing I read. Example, I just read an article which says the Canon was more or less already established, and therefore Protestants don't truly get their NT from the Church. Ack. So, hopefully Jurgens helps. Sorry for rambling. This is a whole new intimidating world! Thanks so much.

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  46. Yes, it can be daunting! For something like this:

    "I just read an article which says the Canon was more or less already established, and therefore Protestants don't truly get their NT from the Church." ... I'd love to see their citations and history on that. Even the idea of "more or less" means that some authority had to come in (again, hundreds of years in) and make the final call. So who was that, why did they have the authority to do so, and how did they determine what was inspired? Lots and lots of questions. If you have not discovered Cardinal John Henry Newman yet (a convert from Anglicanism who gave up his reputation, his friends, his whole life to become Catholic), look him up! His writings are incredible, and he is the one who famously said: To be steeped in history is to cease to be a Protestant.

    It's an exciting journey!!! Daunting, but well worth it! :) Let me know if I can be of any help, and my email is littlecatholicbubble@gmail.com.

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  47. I will look up Cardinal John Henry Newman now. Thanks! Yes, I'm not sure I quite followed the overall logic, I think he is saying 1) that they were using good requirements to canonize the Bible, so the process could be trusted, but not necessarily because of the authority of "the Church". 2) Later he says that the people at those councils did not believe what the current Roman Catholic church teaches, and they weren't actually "Roman Catholic" as we understand it today. And 3) that Protestants of today are the same as the early Christians before the councils, believing certain books to be inspired but not because a council says so. Anyway, here is the page if you are interested. http://www.reformedapologeticsministries.com/2015/04/did-roman-catholicism-give-protestants.html I don't think he cited sources for most of that. Which I think is what I am truly after. I'm so glad there are writings from that time period we can look at. And thanks so much for the encouragement. We have dabbled into the idea of Catholicism before, but I think it is finally time I grow up and figure it out. :)

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  48. SeekingClarity,

    In addition to Leila and her fabulous Bubble blog, I also can't recommend the ministry of Catholic Answers (catholic.com) enough. You can call in 619-387-7200 (9 AM - 4:45 PM Pacific Time) and speak to an apologist or even ask your question on their live radio show (3-5 Pacific) 1-888-318-7884 (Tuesday's and Thursday's are always Open Forum days). Or just browse through their website that covers almost every aspect of the Catholic faith. Plus, two of the apologists, Jimmy Akin & Tim Staples are converts from Protestantism so they know exactly what it's like and can help you throughout your journey. I hope that helps and I'll keep you in my prayers. God bless :)

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  49. Hi Seeking Clarity - this book helped me a lot when I was exploring Catholicism. Good luck on your journey! (if you are interested, my conversion story is here)

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  50. Thanks so much, Margo and JoAnna. I appreciate it very much. Both websites look helpful. And I just ordered the book, thanks!

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