HOW OLD IS YOUR CHURCH?
IF YOU ARE a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517. He used the pretext of an actual abuse of indulgences [corrected by the Pope] so he could justify his lust and other passions----he later "married" a nun and was known to curse in the most horrible language. He believed he could not stop sinning so he wanted justification by faith alone, not good works, one of which is amendment of life.
IF YOU belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to re-marry. Ironically. until recently that church did not permit the King to reign if he divorced and remarried. But we know that Christ said that he came to strengthen the law, and that the only reason he did not punish divorce in the time of the Israelites was because they were so stiff-necked and hardened-----meaning it would have been to no avail. For those who point to Catholic annulments: divorce and annulments are two different things, the first breaks an actual marriage, the second finds that a prior serious impediment prevented the Sacrament from taking effect, such as a confirmed homosexual who attempts a marriage thinking he "will be cured" or for some other reason and does not inform his intended spouse as to his disorder. This is but one example.
IF YOU ARE a Presbyterian, your religion was founded by John Knox in Scotland in the year 1560.
IF YOU ARE an Episcopalian, your religion was an offshoot of the Church of England founded by Samuel Seabury in the American colonies in the 17th century.
IF YOU ARE a Congregationalist, your religion was originated by Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.
IF YOU ARE a Methodist, your religion was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.
IF YOU ARE an Unitarian, Theophilus Lindley founded your church in London in 1774.
IF YOU ARE a Mormon [Latter Day Saints], Joseph Smith started your religion in Palmyra, N.Y., in 1829.
IF YOU ARE a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1605.
IF YOU ARE of the Dutch Reformed church, you recognize Michaelis Jones as founder, because he originated your religion in New York in 1628.
IF YOU worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with Willam Booth in London in 1865.
IF YOU ARE a Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year in which your religion was born and to Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy as its founder.
IF YOU belong to the Seventh-Day Adventists your cult was founded in 1831 by William Miller who broke in turn from the Baptists.
IF YOU belong to one of the religious organizations known as "Church of the Nazarene," "Pentecostal Gospel," "Holiness Church," "Pilgrim Holiness Church," "Jehovah's Witnesses," your religion is one of the hundreds of new ones founded by men within the past fifty years.
IF YOU ARE Roman Catholic, you know that your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ the Son of God, and it is still the same Church, with the Bishops and the Pontiff, having a direct line from the Apostles.
When Our Lord commissioned the Apostles just before His Ascension into Heaven, He commanded them: "Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is Baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned." (Mark 16:15-16).
In our era we daily witness a contradiction and many of us moreover are willing to live it as if it was not staring us in the face: Many people in the West have some kind of reverence for Jesus Christ, respect Him more than anyone else Who ever lived, honor Him in fact, in many cases, as God-made-man. And yet most people do not know Him; they do not know the many vital, absolutely necessary things He taught; they do not know what He expects them to believe or what He expects them to do. Or they think that they do, but these commandments or precepts conveniently correspond with cultural norms or worldly goals. Consider for a moment some of Jesus Christ's amazing, urgent statements:
"Without Me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5). "I am the way, and the truth, and the life." (John 14:6). "No man cometh to the Father, but by Me." (John 14:6). "I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10). "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you." (John 6:54).
These paramount declarations by Our Lord are provided here for you to read because many people do not know them; or if they have heard them or read them, they have forgotten their import; or further, if they are familiar with them, they deny their meaning by giving them a wrong interpretation. Our Lord was good and gentle, "meek and humble of heart" (Matt. 11 :29), but He also said some very strong things relative to our salvation, and these words we should know well and heed.
Consider now some of His most compelling truths in the larger context: "I am the vine; you the branches: he that abides in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you. In this is My Father glorified; that you bring forth very much fruit, and become My disciples. As the Father hath loved Me, I also have loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love; as I also have kept My Father's commandments, and do abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled. This is My commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you . . . [In other words, as He loves us-----not by telling us what we want to hear, to affirm us in error, but through the Truth.] You are My friends if you do the things that I command you [remember the bible says that there were other things He taught to the Apostles that are not written therein] . . . If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated both Me and my Father." (John 15:5-14, 24). In other words, if we remain in Christ, we will be fruitful in spiritual matters. But if we cut ourselves off from Christ, we wither and die and are lost eternally. Ultimately, to abide in Christ is to enter and remain in His Church:
In another place, Our Lord has said: "I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from Heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die. I am the living bread which came down from Heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give, is My flesh, for the life of the world . . . Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood [in Holy Communion, actually, not symbolically], you shall not have life in you. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed: and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in me and I in him. [If the Apostles took Him literally, and they did as we all know, but you insist that He had meant it only symbolically, you are blaspheming because you are in essence saying that All-knowing Christ left His Church in the hands of such incompetents they did not understand about Holy Communion, so important to Christ He that preached on it, yet leaving them deliberately in error until the fifteenth century. This is also silly, illogical as well as blasphemous. In essence the branches that have left the vine are telling us that for fifteen hundred years God chose to leave His followers in the dark and only until more recent times did man know about salvation as defined by the sects and cults, all having a different idea, otherwise no need to break away and found another "Church".
"As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth Me, the same shall also live by Me. This is the bread that came down from Heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread shall live forever." (John 6:48-59).
What Our Lord refers to here is the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, or Holy Communion, though for reasons of His Own, He did not make this immediately clear to those who heard Him and rejected what He taught, that is, as Scripture records, but the Apostles also had Tradition and the time they spent alone with Him for three years. Note that elsewhere Scripture itself testifies that all that Christ did with and for the Apostles and taught them is not contained in the gospel.
But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written. (John 21:25)
This is important to know for two reasons:
First, those who claim that the Bible alone is the source of doctrine have the burden to prove why, and how it was that since the Bible's canon or approved list of infallible books were not ascertained until the fourth century, that the early Christians, after the death of the Apostles had any source.
Second, it becomes obvious that oral Tradition played the primary role. In the Old Testament there are a number of passages that speak of the prophets preaching by word, not from a previous scripture passage. God tells the Israelites that it is by hearing, etc. Thus we know that having a text to read is not the only means.
Because the Apostles had faith Christ rewarded them with the fullness of truth before He ascended to Heaven. We should notice especially the repetition and reiteration Jesus uses, so there is no doubt He means what He says, as was the cultural norm of the Jews. Anything repeated, especially three times, was very significant. So the Apostles understood the importance of the Eucharist immediately, gaining the ability to preach and explain it later, which was passed on by Sacred Tradition. The Sanhedrin did grasp what Christ meant, all too well, on many matters, without benefit of the New Testament, and feared their loss of power over the people they held in bondage with hundreds of petty tyrannical rules.
After these words on the Eucharist even some of His disciples ceased to walk with Him, but He did not deter them from leaving. He obviously, therefore, meant literally what He said! Because if He was speaking metaphorically, He would have had to say, "wait a minute, men you misunderstand Me." He did not do this, so those with no faith walked away.
To Nicodemus, "a ruler of the Jews" who "came to Jesus by night," "Jesus answered and said to him: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God . . ." (John 3:3). Nicodemus was perplexed and asked: "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born again?" To this Jesus answered: "Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit [i.e., receive the Sacrament of Baptism], he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:4-5). In other words, without receiving the Sacrament of Baptism a person cannot be saved.
Again, Our Lord has said: "As Moses lifted up the [brazen] serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man [Jesus] be lifted up [crucified]: That whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish; but may have life everlasting. For God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not His Son [Jesus] into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by Him. He that believeth in Him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. For everyone that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God." (John 3:14-21). In other words, Jesus is saying that faith in Him and in His teaching is necessary for salvation. And His teaching includes His Church as we know by his words to Saint Peter when He gave him the Keys. And as a proof that what He says is true, He worked many miracles. Also, His very words are a "testimony to the truth," (John 18:37), "the light . . . come into the world," for those who are of the truth to acknowledge, to believe and to follow. If people do not accept His teaching, it is because they are not of the truth, are living in sin, and prefer to continue in the darkness of error. Part of this teaching is the one sheepfold, the one shepherd, the Keys of the Kingdom . . . The linen of Truth is a whole, remove even the smallest part and the hole is big enough to spread far enough to tatter the fabric.
Again: "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him: If you continue in My word [do what I say; obey my commandments], you shall be My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32). Notice the context of these famous words: If first you are good, then you will start to know the truth, which will then set you free. In other words, we must first believe what He says to be true, live by His teachings and amend sinful behavior, and then we will really see the truth and we shall be free from the bondage of error.
At another time He declared: "Amen, amen I say to you: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep . . . and the sheep hear His voice: and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when He hath let out His own sheep, He goeth before them: and the sheep follow Him, because they know His voice. But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers. Amen, amen I say to you, I am the door of the sheep . . . I am the door. By Me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures. The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill and destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for His sheep . . . I am the good shepherd; and I know Mine, and Mine know Me. As the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father: and I lay down My life for My sheep. And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also must I bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd." (John 10:1-5,7,9-11, 14-16). Here again is another analogy or comparison, this time of Himself to the door of a sheepfold or enclosed pasture, which represents Heaven. Through Jesus Christ only shall we enter Heaven, for He is the "door" through which all must pass to get there. His "sheep," or followers, know this. "And other sheep" [men of good-will] He has who are not members of His "fold" or Church, whom He intends to bring in, that there may be one fold (one Church) and one shepherd (Christ).
Again: "Pilate therefore said to Him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Everyone that is of the truth, heareth My voice." (John 18:37). In other words, if we have heard Our Lord's message and do not follow Him as His disciples, we are not "of the truth," not living correctly. To follow Him we must be in His sheepfold, and not remain in another sheepfold.
"He that receiveth you [His disciples], receiveth Me; and he that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me." (Matt. 10:40). "He that heareth you [His disciples], heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent Me." (Luke 10:16). "Amen, amen I say unto you, that he who heareth My word, and believeth Him that sent Me, hath life everlasting; and cometh not into judgment, but is passed from death to life." (John 5:24). Jesus uses His followers [Apostles, Popes, bishops, priests -----the official teachers of the Church-----but also lay people, and even books] to spread His word. If we do not hear them, we do not hear Him, or His heavenly Father, Who sent Him to us; it will be the same for us at the time of Judgment as if we heard Jesus personally and had rejected His teaching.
"Not everyone that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven: but he that doth the will of My Father Who is in Heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven. Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and cast out devils in Thy name, and done many miracles in Thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity." (Matt. 7:21- 23). In other words, we have to believe what He requires us to believe and do everything that He wants us to do, not just call ourselves Christians.
"Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered and said; Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona [son of John]: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father Who is in Heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter [Peter means Rock]; and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven." (Matt. 16:15-19). It is obvious from these words that Jesus intended to found a Church, to make Peter (and by implication his successors) its visible head, and that the powers of Hell would never be able to overthrow it. Therefore, we should look for that Church which goes back in history to St. Peter. It has to be nearly 2,000 years old! Plus, it has to have suffered persecution and still be suffering persecution from the powers of Hell.
It has men who have fallen under the sway of modernism and no longer preach and teach as He taught, but they do so in an ordinary manner, no Catholic is bound by them to believe this nonsense under pain of sin as we are bound to believe the Bible, the Apostles and the formal and extraordinary pronouncements of the Holy See, which are infallible. About the Bible, it is infallible in of itself, but each printed Bible is only good as the translation and the intent of the publisher. Most editions today are tainted with modernism or the addition of heresy and deletion of key passages rendering it politically correct and sterile.
"Everyone therefore that heareth these My words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house [his spiritual life, his soul] upon a rock, and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock. And everyone that heareth these my words and doth them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house [his spiritual life] upon the sand, and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof." (Matt. 7:24-27). If we believe Jesus' words and do as He says, we are building our spiritual life on a rock-solid foundation. If we do not, we are building our spiritual house, as it were, on shifting sand. It will not stand the scrutiny of Almighty God on Judgment Day. Further, the implication is that we should build upon the "rock," the same Rock (St. Peter) as that on which Christ built His Church.
To repeat the first quotation cited at the beginning, when Our Lord commissioned the Apostles just before His Ascension into Heaven, He commanded them: "Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is Baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned." (Mark 16:15-16). In other words, He gave the Apostles the Gospel ("good news"), which is none other than the "Faith of God" spoken of by St. Paul (Romans 3:3), which was delivered by Jesus Christ, the God-man, to be His testimony to the truth (cf. John 18:37), and to be the one faith that was to bring all mankind into a single fold (John 10: 16) -----one people of God-----a single Church founded on St. Peter as its first head, that is to last till the End of Time, in which His followers can "eat His flesh and drink His blood." (Cf. John 6:31-59). Those who believe this "Faith of God," are Baptized into Christ's Church, and do what Our Lord teaches, will be saved eternally, and those who do not will be lost eternally. (Cf. Mark 16:15-16).
But again herein is the contradiction mentioned at the start: Jesus was quite clear about the fact that one's eternal salvation requires belief in His teaching -----in "the faith of Our Lord Jesus Christ" (James 2:1)-----in being Baptized into and in adhering to that faith. The faith He was referring to is not anyone of a number of faiths that we are "free" to follow, all leading more or less in the same direction toward God-----but one Faith-----as St. Paul says: "I, therefore, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, with all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity, careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace: One body and one Spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all." (Ephesians 4: 1-6). It is obvious from this passage of Sacred Scripture that there is only one true Church, only one true Faith, only one religion, only one People of God, only one Mystical Body of Christ.
People today are given to referring to the "Christian Church". But there is a wide divergence of belief in that so-called all-inclusive "Christian Church" spoken of by Evangelicals. Yet, from Scripture we can see quite clearly that our faith should be one, the same from person to person, all mankind adhering to the same common set of beliefs, as given to us by Jesus Christ, and by Our Lord's Own command, we should all be officially Baptized into this faith (cf. Mark 16:15-16), Baptized into His Church, which will last till the End of Time. Yet a clash of religious belief continues to exist.
When examined critically from a number of viewpoints, only the Roman Catholic Faith meets the criteria of being the one, true Faith referred to by St. Paul. Only the Roman Catholic Church is historically founded by Christ on St. Peter and the other Apostles; only the Roman Catholic Church has a holy doctrine, from its holy Heavenly Founder, and produces holy people in every age; only the Roman Catholic Church teaches the "entire" faith of Christ (katholicos in Greek, from which we get the word "Catholic" or universal), and teaches it universally throughout the world and throughout all time; only the Roman Catholic Church is one in its teaching, one in its practice, one in its government, one in its people, and one in its head -----the Pope in Rome. Only the Roman Catholic Church makes complete common-sense-----when viewed by those with goodwill or open to the truth.
God puts restrictions on our love, "If you love me, obey My word." He also said, in Luke:
51 Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no, but separation.
52 For there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided: three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against his father,
the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother, the
mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
and in Matthew:
33 But he that shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father Who is in Heaven.
34 Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.
35 For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man's enemies shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of e; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me.
The following most excellent PRAYERS are recommended to the frequent repetition of persons of all denominations and sects whatsoever. who, in sincerity of heart, wish to arrive at the knowledge of the ONE, ONLY, TRUE AND SAVING FAITH, "without which it is impossible to please God" and consequently obtain eternal happiness.
I. O Lord, I humbly beseech Thee to teach me Thy true religion, that leads to everlasting happiness, through Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
II. O Lord, I humbly beseech Thee to guide me to that form of religion which is most pleasing to Thee for me to follow upon earth, in order to fulfill Thy will here, and obtain everlasting happiness hereafter, in the name of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen.
III. Almighty and eternal God, Father of mercies, Saviour of mankind, I humbly entreat Thee, by Thy sovereign goodness, to enlighten my mind and touch my heart, that by true faith, hope and charity, I may live and die in the true religion of Jesus Christ. I am sure, that as there is but one true God, so there can be but one faith, one religion, one way of salvation, and that every other which is opposite to this, can only lead to endless misery. It is this faith, O my God! which I earnestly desire to embrace, in order to save my soul. I protest, therefore, before Thy Divine attributes, that I will follow that religion which thou shalt show me to be true; and that I will abandon, at whatever cost, that in which I shall discover error and falsehood: I do not deserve, it is true, this favour, on account of my sins, for which I have a profound sorrow, because they offend a God so good, so great, so holy, arid worthy of my love; but what I do not deserve, I hope to obtain from Thine infinite mercy, and I conjure Thee to grant, through the merits of the precious blood which was shed for us poor sinners, by Thy only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
DIRECTORIES ONLINE ------------------------------ THE ONE TRUE CHURCH ------------------------------- E-MAIL