Long Response Part 2: Vicar of Christ, Some Dogmas and Infallibility

Finally, let us remember that part of lozeerose’s thesis can be pushed right back on him. If there is only one God (in this case the Holy Spirit), then can there be various, differing (sometimes drastically) interpretations of Magisterial declarations? Also, if you are inspired by the Holy Spirit and I as well, then how is your interpretation of Magisterial declarations valid and mine not?

Rhology mentions interpretations of Magisterial documents but wrongly understands their role, despite proving my point on the problems of considering personal interpretation as authoritative. All Magisterial documents merit obedience (Matthew 23:2) but not all are defined as infallible. Infallible proclamations are the final interpretive word on any one issue. The Church, speaking on behalf of her Bridegroom and under the protection of and are thus open to some interpretation and even debate.

With concern to Sacred Scripture and the interpretation thereof (especially dogmatic truths), if there is only One Spirit of Truth, then how can there be differing interpretations of Scripture that are all valid? There cannot be, correct? There must be one valid interpretation. Nevertheless, how are we, as fallible humans to know this One Truth? Jesus has the answer.

Jesus, in fulfillment of the prophets and the Law (Matthew 5:18), gave His authority to teach, establish rules, forgive sins, etc. (Matthew 18:17-18, 28:18-20; John 20:23 Luke 10:16; 1 Corinthians 11:23-24; Romans 1:5) to the Church in order that she may be “the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid” (Matthew (RSV) 5:14). At as the earthly, visible head He placed a sinful man who would be His steward. This man was given the new name Cephas, which according to Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary states is, “a Syriac surname given by Christ to Simon (John 1:42), meaning ‘rock.’ The Greeks translated it by Petros, and the Latins by Petrus.” When God changes a man’s name, it is to lift them up and give them a more prominent role in Salvation History.

Does he answer the question? Let’s take a look.


(Sidenote – this discussion originally branched off of a discussion on the topic of the permissibility of divorce, so I’ll be skipping over those parts. For a biblically-sound and actually quite enlightening discussion of the biblical teaching on divorce, listen to John MacArthur‘s sermon series on the topic as he weaves it together with church discipline. RCs would do well, also, to listen to it so they could learn what the words “church discipline” mean.)


If you were to examine these verses, removing your own prejudices (difficult for any person) and place them in context, you will note that Scripture does not (cannot) contradict Church teachings.


1) I have examined them many times.

Good.

2) They do not, when EXEgeted, lead the unbiased reader to place his entire faith and spiritual heritage in a church to be founded sometime in the authors’ future, in a city thousands of miles away, under a man who usurps the Holy Spirit’s rightful title of “Vicar of Christ” who contrary to all biblical indications is the sole exception to the biblical “only God is infallible” rule, who tells us to worship dead people, and who adds works (which we can’t perform) and legalistic extra dogmas (like the Assumption of Mary) to the Gospel. If you want to EISEgete that stuff in there, of course, nobody can stop you, but let’s not act like it’s derived from the text.

On the matter of authority and papal/Church infallibility, it is interesting to note that a similar role was prefigured in Moses whose symbol, like the bishops, is a shepherd’s crook and whose task, like the Pope, was to speak the Truths that God revealed to/through him. With Moses, as is still the case with the Pope and the Magisterium, God remained the True and ultimate authority even though He chose to speak through through Moses. This did not change in the New Testament but was instead perfected by Christ and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

The title of “Vicar of Christ” rightly belongs to the office of the Papacy who acts as the visible head of the Church on earth and is based, in part, on the three fold affirmation of the Peter’s role as shepherd as found in John 21:15-17. Christ, who remains the true head of the Church, is no longer visible in the same manner as a human person on earth and in anticipation of His Ascension delegated His authority primarily to Peter to whom He solely gave “the keys to the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 16:19) and secondarily to the Apostles to whom He also gave the authority to bind and loose as a whole (Matthew 18:18). This is directly paralleled with the Old Testament prophesy found in Isaiah 22:22 which states, “And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open” (cf Revelation 3:7). We know from context that the verses in Isaiah and Revelation refer to the authority of Christ as the primary holder of the key to the house of David but He chose to confer this authority on Peter as stated in Matthew in 16:19.

Historically speaking, the use of keys as a symbol are always a reference to authority and in the context found in Matthew 16, handing “the keys to the kingdom of heaven” over to Peter shows the transfer of that authority. Like any king or homeowner, transferring the keys to the kingdom (whether heaven or home) does not diminish the true authority of the originator but rather establishes the recipient as the steward or authorized representative of the owner. The steward acts in place of and on behalf of the king or owner making decisions that would remain binding during and after their stewardship.

Knowing that man suffers from concupiscence and death is in his nature, Jesus reminds the Apostles that He would with them, “to the close of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Thus Jesus remains the True Head of the Church and with sending the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church “into all truth” (John 16:13), He ensures that Fullness of Truth will be infallibly proclaimed until His return.

On the matter of worshiping “dead people” let me simply state that, in the context according to Rhology, we do not worship (which simply means “to give worth to something,” i.e., the Brits refer to their magistrates as “your worship” just like we refer to ours as “your honor.”) dead people. We pay honor and respect to persons who remain alive in Christ and actually glorifies God by giving full recognition of the works He alone has done through the saints. We distinguish the reverence or honor paid to the saints from the adoration paid to God alone: dulia (veneration) and latria (adoration), respectably.

In venerating them, we follow their example and ask for their intercession much like I would ask any physically living person the same – even Rhology. That is not worshiping is it?

In fact, by their physical death the saints, who die in Christ Jesus ( Romans 8:38), are more alive than any of us on earth because, “he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him” (Luke 20:38). As I stated, the dogma of the communion of saints is not adoration – far from it and, like every other dogma, is rooted in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition and not contradictory to either – especially Scripture. Concerning the dogmas that Rhology mentions:

  • Communion of Saints: Jos 5:14; Dan 8:17; Tob 12:12, 16; Ps 148; Wis 3:1-6; 2Macc 15:7-16; Zech 1:12; Mk 9:4, 12:25-27; Mt 18:10, 22:30; Lk 9:31, 16:19-30; Rom 8:35-39, 15:30, 12:5, 10; Eph 1:22-23, 4:4, 5:21-32, 6:18-19; Col 1:18, 24, 3:15; 1Cor 12:12-27, 13:12; 1Thess 1:5-8, 5:11, 25; 2Thess 1:11, 3:1; 1Tim 2:1-7; Gal 6:2, 10; Col 4:3; Heb 12:1, 13:7; Jas 5:16; 1Jn 4:20-21; Rev 5:8, 6:9-11, 20:4
  • Efficacy of works: Mt 7:21, 19:16-17; Jn 14:21; Rom 2:2-8; Gal 5:4-6; Eph 2:8-10; Phil 2:12-13; Jam 2:14-24
  • The Assumption: Gn 5:24; 2Kg 2:11; Ps 132:8; Mt 27:52; Heb 11:5; Rev 11:19-21

3) Notice the voice of fideistic devotion to Rome. Rome is automatically and by default above examination and judgment by the Scripture, b/c lozeerose assumes that Rome’s teaching cannot contradict Scr.

It was Jesus who delegated His authority to the Church. He told those early bishops, known as the Apostles, “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16). I make no assumption. It is fact. The Church is prevented from teaching error on matters of faith and morals. Can the same be said of any Protestant congregation, let alone individual?

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