Why Does the Catholic Church Use Language that Misleads Protestants?



Phillip: I just wish the Fathers at the Council of Trent did not use such misleading language. It all is very misleading to Protestant eyes.

BFHU: My husband has the same complaint but Catholic language was chosen and used for centuries before the Protestants came along. The vocabulary and language used by our theologians is very precise in meaning and very beautifully expressed. And the Church should not change the words used for people who are hell-bent to criticize the Catholic Church for anything and everything they can find.

It is actually a very curious thing that even after 500 years Protestants still accuse us of worshiping Mary even though we have been telling them for 500 years that we do not worship Mary. The same can be said for most other areas of disagreement. Why? Why is that?

For some reason they really don’t care what we say about our beliefs; They believe that they are able to determine that the Catholic Church is at fault no matter what the Church says or how the Church tries to explain the misunderstanding. Really it is a subtle kind of arrogance that they are totally unaware of in themselves. They would be appalled at the thought of being arrogant. I know they do not want to be or mean to be arrogant. But Protestantism, by its very nature breeds arrogance and is constitutionally incapable of breeding true, deep humility. This is b/c each one is encouraged and taught that they alone, all on their own, with no help from anyone else can know exactly what scriptures, written 2000 years ago, in a very different culture, mean b/c the Holy Spirit will lead them. And despite the abundant evidence that this theory has been disproven by all the factions and denominations and diametrically opposed “leadings of the Holy Spirit”, they will still insist in their heart of hearts that THEY ARE LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Humility doesn’t have a chance. And the weird thing is they truly DO want to be holy and humble. But this foundation of Scripture-Alone-Interpreted By-Me-Alone is sand upon which sturdy humility cannot and will not be built.

Sola Scriptura Impossible for 400 Years


Charles: The Holy spirit gave us the Bible and the NT gospels and letters which
had been used for 300 years by christians before the official canon
was adopted. Christians already knew the accepted NT scriptures.

BFHU: What you say is correct. But there is more….The Christians were also familiar and accepted other writings for use in liturgy that were not later canonized. But no one is trying to convince anyone that no one knew or read any of the writings that were canonized 400 years later. The point is that people who believe in sola scriptura and Luther himself, possessed the whole Bible. It seems to make a lot of sense to believe that one should use ONLY the Bible to derive doctrine for Christian belief.

But most people never realize that there are many problems with this idea. For instance:

1. This cannot have been a divine principle because the Bible as we now know it was not known for 400 years after the birth of Christ.

2. Most Churches for years did not possess a complete set of the writings that centuries later became what we know today at the Bible.

3. For the first 400 years of Christianity or so churches read excellent writings in their liturgies that were later NOT canonized.

4. Scripture must be interpreted. To decide which of several differing interpretations is authentic one MUST go outside of the Bible and determine what has always and everywhere been believed. But b/c Protestants do not understand that they do not have infallible interpretation, they split and split and split into various sects based on differing interpretations.

5. Sola Scriptura is not found in scripture and is therefore self-refuting.

6. Jesus never told the disciples to write the New Testament.

7. The Bible is not a book of systematic theology therefore it is VERY difficult to derive doctrine from it alone.

8. Protestants, without realizing it, automatically adopted a lot of Catholic doctrine and Tradition (and rejected others) . They did not really sit down with the Bible Alone and make up their religions. That is why most Protestants believe in the Trinity and yet this doctrine is not clearly explicated in scripture alone and the word never appears in Scripture. This doctrine was clarified at Catholic Church councils. Primarily the Nicean council.

Who Has the Historical Scriptural Interpretations? Catholic Church or Protestants?


 

ARNE: 
Your opinion on how the compilation of the canon came about seems rather simple to me, as if it is the merit of the RCC in itself. But even if this be true, what gives them the, even slightest, right to claim that their understanding of this writings is the only correct one! It is downright false that the Catholic church( at least in the meaning RCC) wrote this books( you say: ” the very people who wrote it and approved it ” ) They were written early/mid 1.st century before the RCC even existed! So to claim that the RCC for that reason has any exclusive right to their understanding, is not acceptable.

BFHU: There is no “merit” of the Catholic Church due for the canon. The point is that the Catholic Church and the teachings of the Catholic Church have existed from the beginning. We know that it was called the CATHOLIC Church in the early 2nd century.

110 A.D. St. Ignatius: …even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

The authors of the New Testament were taught by Jesus Christ Himself or one of His apostles. So very unlikely for error to have crept in already. So, we have:

John 6:53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.

and…

I Cor 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

Then 1500 -2012 years later, we have Protestants insisting that this was all symbolic and did not mean a literal eating and drinking of the Lord’s body and blood but eating and drinking the Scriptures. And Protestant pastors make a good case for this by emphasizing certain verses in John 6 and reinterpreting and translating I Cor 11. Thus they reject the idea the communion is anything but a symbolic ordinance. The problem is that if one scratches the surface of this argument it bleeds to death.

First of all Martin Luther believed in the real presence of Jesus’ body and blood in the Eucharist. And Lutherans do to this day but their doctrine is a bit different than the Catholic transubstantiation. Still they do not believe it is mere symbolism.

Who, but the devil, has granted such license of wresting the words of the holy Scripture? Who ever read in the Scriptures, that my body is the same as the sign of my body? or, that is is the same as it signifies? What language in the world ever spoke so? It is only then the devil, that imposes upon us by these fanatical men. Not one of the Fathers of the Church, though so numerous, ever spoke as the Sacramentarians: not one of them ever said, It is only bread and wine; or, the body and blood of Christ is not there present.

Surely, it is not credible, nor possible, since they often speak, and repeat their sentiments, that they should never (if they thought so) not so much as once, say, or let slip these words: It is bread only; or the body of Christ is not there, especially it being of great importance, that men should not be deceived. Certainly, in so many Fathers, and in so many writings, the negative might at least be found in one of them, had they thought the body and blood of Christ were not really present: but they are all of them unanimous.” —Luther’s Collected Works, Wittenburg Edition, no. 7 p, 391

Secondly, we have very early preserved writings that attest to the fact that the earliest Christians believed that the Eucharist was the literal Body and Blood of Jesus.

The writings of the early Church Fathers tell us what these first century Christians believed about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. In 110 A.D. St. Ignatius of Antioch, who was taught the Christian faith by the apostle John, wrote about the heretics of his day:

“They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ. Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness raised up again.” Letter to the Smyrneans 6,2

150 AD–St Justin Martyr wrote to the Emperor of Rome around :

“We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true…For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the Flesh and the Blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66,20 )

180 ADSt. Irenaeus, was the bishop of Lyons, France and a student of St. Polycarp who sat at the feet of the Apostle John. St. Irenaeus wrote around :

“He (Jesus) has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be His own Blood, from which He causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, He has established as His own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies.” (Against Heresies, 5,2,2 )

350 AD St Cyril of Jerusalem, in a teaching to those coming into the Church wrote in :

Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the Body and Blood of Christ.” (Catechetical Lectures:(Mystagogic 4) 22,6 )

Thus we see that the Christian Church, at the very beginning of its history taught and believed that the bread and wine of communion was transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ in fulfillment of Jesus’ discourse on the Bread From Heaven in John 6 and the plain sense of His words at the institution of Communion at the Last Supper. “This is My Body” This is My Blood”

This is the same Church that Jesus founded on Peter and the Apostles.

This is the same church that Jesus promised the Gates of Hell would never overcome.

This is the same Church that chose the books of the Bible out of all the other books floating around the ancient world, at the end of the fourth century.

This is the same Church that was called Catholic at least as early as 110 AD.

This is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Ancient, but ever young.

So, Arne, the new testament documents were written in the first century AD. We have documentary historical evidence that what Catholics believe about the Eucharist was believed at the dawn of Christianity and is still believed to this day. It is reasonable to determine that these beliefs have always been and it was the Protestants who later came along and rejected these beliefs and reinterpreted scripture to fit their paradigm,

If you think that the Protestant understanding of the Eucharist (And this could be done for all the Catholic doctrines more or less) is correct 2,012 years after the birth of our Lord but the Catholic understanding just has to be wrong despite what scripture clearly says and what the earliest Christians believed then there is nothing more to be said.

Protestant Interpretation


Kerrin, you say these quotes below show the early apostolic Gospel. However, you pick and choose verses that support your Protestant Gospel and ignore those that don’t fit or attempt to explain them away. The Catholic Faith makes sense of all Scripture and is the oldest interpretation.

Kerrin: Only through Christ (Acts 4:12)

Bread From Heaven: Of course! Who else could it be through?

Kerrin: A gift of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Bread From Heaven: Absolutely agree!

Kerrin:By Faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Bread From Heaven: You have used the same verse. Here it is let’s see if it says anything about Salvation being from faith ALONE.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

I do not see where it actually says that salvation is by faith ALONE. In fact, the Scripture NEVER says this. The only time in Scripture when the words faith and alone are together in one sentence is when it says “NOT by faith alone

James 2:24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

The Faith Alone doctrine was invented by Martin Luther and became a Tradition of Men for the Protestants. But it is very clearly rejected by Scripture if one reads James 2 <–Click Link to read it.

Kerrin: Attained by Christ (Romans 5:9)

Bread From Heaven: Agree!

Kerrin:At the moment a sinner believes the gospel (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Bread From Heaven: Let’s take a look at this verse.

Eph 1:13 So it is with you. When you heard the true teaching—the Good News about your salvation—you believed in Christ. And in Christ, God put his special mark of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit that he had promised.14 That Holy Spirit is the guarantee that we will receive what God promised for his people until God gives full freedom to those who are his—to bring praise to God’s glory.

I want to address this because this is a very common practice of Protestants. This verse certainly does support the claim that salvation begins the moment we believe. And along with Eph. 2:8-9 it seems to support the Protestant Tradition of Salvation by Faith alone. However, as we saw above James very clearly says that salvation is NOT BY FAITH ALONE. And the reason for this is that:

James 2:19… even the demons also believe, and shudder.

So salvation cannot be by belief or faith alone or else the demons would be saved. As James says:

James 2:17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself…20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless…as a result of the works, faith was perfected;? 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. … 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Kerrin: Secured by God (John 10:27-30)

Bread From Heaven: Let’s take a look at this verse.

John 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand

Is this verse true? Of course. Is Kerrin’s interpretation true? NO. He is ignoring other verses regarding the obtaining of Eternal Life.
The necessity of Baptism.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

I Peter 3:21 baptism now saves you

The necessity of the Eucharist.

John 6:53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.

Kerrin: Sins are expiated by Christ’s blood (Romans 3:25)

Bread From Heaven: This is true but ignores
The necessity of confession

John 20:21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

Kerrin:Salvation glorifies God alone (Ephesians 1)

Bread From Heaven: Agree that the plan of salvation brings glory to God. But, just need to point out that Ephesians does not say anything about glorifying God alone. This is an interpretation; presumably to denounce the honor we give to Mary and the Saints. What Protestants do not recognize is that this honor also glorifies God because Mary and the Saints depended upon God’s grace to enable them to live such holy lives.

Kerrin: The work of salvation is finished John 19:30Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Bread From Heaven: Jesus’ work is finished but we too have a part we MUST do. Some of what we must do has been noted in the verses I quoted above. Baptism, Holy Communion, Confession of sin, good works etc.

I could quote hundreds of verses of warning for us not to fall away and lose our salvation but I have to go to mass in a few minutes, so here are a few verses.

Matthew 13:20 this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.

Hebrews 3:12
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

2 Peter 3:17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,

Hebrew 6:4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance,

Hebrews 10:26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins…36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

Our salvation is not a done deal at the moment we believe. That is only the beginning. We must endure to the end and “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” Phil 2:12

Protestants also contend that they KNOW they are saved and ask Catholics if they are SURE they will go to Heaven. Presumption is a sin against HOPE. Hope is a virtue and Catholics have a firm HOPE of final salvation. However, we do not trust ourselves knowing that we are capable of “sin unto death”. I John 5:17
St. Paul had hope. And he was not guilty of the sin of presumption.

I Corinthians 9:24 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.