I’m having lunch with my Baptist previous pastor tomorrow sharing my Catholic faith, he asked for a list of scriptures that led me. This should be interesting but I highly doubt he is aware that every heresy is “scriptural”. What can I do? Should I just plain tell him the Bible is a Catholic book, inspired by God to his church? That there is only one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church established by Christ on the rock of Peter? That the Catholic Church is Christ’s mystical body? I need help.
I’m sorry that this is too late for your lunch with your previous pastor. But a Scripture that should certainly start a good discussion is the last verse of the Gospel of St. John:
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written (John 21:25).
Sooo….Jesus did, and I’m sure said, many other things as well. Where are these things? Protestant Christianity accounts for the written Word of God in Scripture, but makes no allowance for Apostolic Tradition.
Apostolic Tradition is the oral transmission of the Gospel, before any of the New Testament scripture was written. It is the preaching of the Apostles, their examples, their stories, the worship and liturgy they presided over, and the many, many sacred customs which the Apostles passed on in the local churches or dioceses which they founded.
The origin of Christianity as a religion, and the foundation, and setting up of the structures of the Church, proceeded along many lines throughout the entire Mediterranean and beyond. And only part of God’s Word or Divine Revelation is captured in writing and preserved in the New Testament for us today.
And yet Protestant Christians often ask, “Where is that in the Bible? Find it in the Bible! Prove it in the Bible…” It’s as if they have never read John 21:25 and don’t have a clue that even the Bible says Jesus did “MANY other things.” Logically, it stands to reason that the Bible does not contain every single doctrine and story of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Once you establish the problem of this restriction of God’s Word to the written Scripture alone, you must then account for Tradition. Who gathers these stories, teachings, and customs that are outside of the Bible and presents them in doctrinal form to the Church? Who is the referee or who arbitrates this collection of oral, Apostolic teaching which is Sacred Tradition. Who presides over the Church Councils and makes the decisions, empowered by the Holy Ghost?
Well, we Catholics would say that the Tradition of the Apostles is by the Lord’s command best transmitted and authoritatively interpreted by their Successors, the Pope and the Bishops. Otherwise, neither Scripture nor Sacred Tradition has a body to vouch for it, to transmit it in unified and coherent form. Instead of Magisterium and Apostolic authority present in the Petrine ministry and the episcopal college, you have a multitude of pastors and communities each floundering to come to a cohesive body of doctrine—Protestantism.
God bless and take care! Fr. Angel