Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Everybody Submits to a Magisterium

Some more thoughts on the Magisterium.
I wanted to explain a bit more how we all have a “teaching authority” in our lives even if we don’t realize it. Using my own example may be the best way to illustrate the point I am trying to make.. For many years of my life away from the Church, we attended an independent charismatic community of christians. The music there was professionally performed, lively and heartfelt and there was a very strong sense of community and commitment among the members. Usually after about 45 minutes of singing, there would be a 45-50 minute sermon. The pastor was an excellent communicator and prepared diligently for his sermons. He loved Jesus very much and did not take his responsibilities lightly. He gave insightful and usually very thoughtful and nuanced ways of looking at a concept from scripture such as “faith.” His method of presenting gave me clarity and understanding to a passage of scripture he was preaching on that I had never seen. But if the truth be told, I accepted what he said as Truth and never questioned the source and inspiration for his teaching. I knew that it was from the Bible, but in reality it was his interpretation of the Bible. In theological discussions which occurred during the course of the week, folks would often “quote” from Pastor or say “But didn’t Pastor Eddie say…..” Week after week, month after month and year after year, I accepted the interpretation of Scripture from my pastor and eventually owned it for myself.
Now, when a Catholic says they subscribe to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church called the Magisterium, the non-catholic says, “I get my teaching from the Word of God and need no authority to tell me how to interpret God’s Word.” Yet in every Independent Bible-Only Church every Sunday, the faithful accept the "Teaching Magisterium" of “Pastor Jim” or “Pastor Mike” or in my case “Pastor Eddie.”
So I don’t think it is unreasonable for all of us (Catholics and non-Catholics) to admit we have our own magisterium, whose authority we follow. Catholics believe theirs is the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) and the bishops in union with him.


Anonymous Rob V. said...

I would agree with that. Without any authority in our lives we have no way of knowing if any new-found insight we "discover" on our own in our personal devotions is actually Biblically sound. The knowledge they (the authority) have gained and still gain also comes about from the same system of authority (at least it should).

September 18, 2006 10:35 AM  
Blogger phatcatholic said...

Great post. You are indeed correct. If protestants don't make the pastor their pope, then they make themselves the pope, determining via their own interpretation of the Bible what is right and true. Of course, we can't help but interpret the Bible for ourselves. This is afterall how many people come to know that Catholicism is true. The difference is the interpretation. We have come to see that it is folly to remain the arbiter of orthodoxy, and that Jesus Christ has instead invested the Magisterium with this reponsibility.

Good work, and thank you for your post at the PD group about my blog. Feel free to provide a link to it at your blog.

Pax Christi,

September 18, 2006 12:22 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thank you guys above for your comments! One of the joys I have experienced since returning to the Catholic Church is the freedom I gain from submitting to the authority of church that can trace its authority literally to the day Jesus handed the keys to Peter. Yes there have been some bad popes, less than 10 in 2000 years, but the Truth has remained
intact and unchanged and preserved "infallible" by this authority Christ gave to the Church. A proof of this for me:
consider the heresies floating around in the early centuries of the church regarding Christ's Divinity. Despite the many errors and cults, this Church through the power of the Holy Spirit annuciated the Nicene Creed which basically made the concept of the Three in One God, dogma, and undisputable thereafter. And this was before the NT was officially recognized/canonized and available for public consumption! Wow, that's authority! There are still some to this day who use the Bible alone to disprove the Trinity, so the teaching authority of the Church is a great gift from Christ to us.

September 18, 2006 3:13 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

This quick video displays the beauty of this authority. I can't watch it without bawling, what's the matter with me?

September 18, 2006 3:20 PM  

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