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 13, 2009

An "Apostolic Encounter of the Wrong Kind"

Yesterday I was packing my car getting ready to leave for a gig. A man drenched from the pouring rain was walking up our driveway carrying a bag filled with leaflets and handed me one and said: "We are starting a new church and would you like to come?"
I really wanted to chat with him but I was already late for the show and quickly said, "We are Catholic and belong to the Church Jesus started." I know it may sound snide and triumphalistic to some, but that was not my intention at all. In just a few seconds of time to answer, I wanted to give him something to think about as he continued on his way through my neighborhood. (which is mostly Catholic due to our proximity to St. Joseph's)

On his way out the driveway he mumbled: "We're apostolic ya know." Perhaps he actually understood my point and tried to counter it by stating that they too were from the Church Jesus started. The only problem is that they are not! A person who calls himself a pastor 400 years separated in time from the apostles teaching as passed down through apostolic succession decided to rent a classroom from a local private private school and start a new church, calling it apostolic.

Here are a few thoughts about apostolicity from the Church whose roots are found in the apostles:(cf The Catechism)

77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left behind bishops as their successors. They gave them "their position of teaching authority." Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time.

84 The apostles entrusted the "Sacred deposit" of the faith (the depositum fidei, 1 Tim 6:20, 2 Tim 1:12-14), contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. "By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practicing, and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful."

So, I hope and pray this gentleman will eventually see that his "new church" is not apostolic simply by calling itself so. You need to be able to trace your teachings to the ones handed down from the apostles. That's how the early Church detected false teachers and heresy. They would inquire who their bishop was and who ordained him etc. If they could not "track back" to the "gang of 12" then they were to be avoided. If the line of succession is broken, the folks after that break cannot and should not call themselves apostolic. This is not triumphalism, separatism or nanny nanny foo-fooism, but just illustrating a process that has continued unbroken for almost 2000 years.

St Augustine said:

[T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church’s] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15–17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house(or rented classroom)" (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 4:5 [A.D. 397]).


Blogger George Weis said...

Yep, you sure did sound nanny nanny foo fooish there :D

Haha! What an encounter you had.

On another note, what a strong text from Augustine. I am thinking alot about the last big issue to me, and that is the Petrine ministry. I am really curious to hear the results of the meeting between East and West this fall which will be discussing the role of the Pope.


September 13, 2009 3:48 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

George I think the acceptance of the Petrine ministry is basically the final but most important aspect of the process. Once I realized/believed/accepted that Christ intended a vicar to go beyond himself and beyond Peter even throughout time and the authority associated with it, the other doctrines that were difficult fr me became less so.
I like to say: The Church said it, I believe it that settles it :)
The early Church fathers btw, said that before me.
God bless

September 13, 2009 4:31 PM  
Blogger George Weis said...

Thanks Russ! Much love to you on this fine evening. The weather was beautiful today... I hope you enjoyed it brother :)


September 13, 2009 8:53 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

It was a great day George. We went for a long walk.
Thanks for understanding my rant here. I know it's a bit prickly to non-Catholics(not -yet Catholics ;)
God be with you guys!

September 13, 2009 9:42 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey Pinyan said...

As I learned from the Great Adventure Bible Timeline study, the "apostolic" way to found a church is detailed in Acts 8:

[5] Philip [a deacon chosen and ordained by the Apostles - that is, by the Church] went down to a city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ. [6] And the multitudes with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs which he did. [7] For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice; and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. [8] So there was much joy in that city.

[9] But there was a man named Simon who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the nation of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. [10] They all gave heed to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is that power of God which is called Great." [11] And they gave heed to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. [12] But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. [13] Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.

[14] Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, [15] who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; [16] for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. [17] Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

September 13, 2009 10:30 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey Pinyan said...

I should have included this commentary on Acts 8:

Basically, the Church sends missionaries to an area to preach the Gospel and to baptize. Then, the Church sends leaders (apostles = bishops) to confirm the new people in their faith and to establish a church community with its own elders, etc.

The only one called apart from the Church was Saul/Paul, and even he went to Jerusalem to visit the Apostles.

September 14, 2009 7:14 AM  
Blogger kkollwitz said...

Consider it progress that 20 years ago, this pastor likely wouldn't've given a fig about being "apostolic."

September 15, 2009 8:47 PM  
Blogger Joyful Catholics said...

I like to say: The Church said it, I believe it that settles it :)
-- DAT'S GREAT TJ! I like that too! Must remember for future use!

September 21, 2009 2:18 PM  

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