I was reflecting recently on all the technology that my children will grow up with and take for granted. To them, a cell phone is just a part of the world that has always been. When they are older, they may be introduced to some of the historical origins of such items, assuming they pay attention. I thought about the technology I had as a kid and how my parents did without it. I knew such things as records, radios and telephones did not always exist, but I really didn’t care much about where they came from. I knew the story of Alexander Graham Bell, but that was about it. When the older generation reminisced about how things used to be, it was fun to listen to, but it was an alien world to me.
The way kids take technology for granted is similar to how Christians take the Bible for granted. The average Christian in the pew of any church can probably tell you that the Bible is important, or even that it is the inerrant, authoritative, infallible Word of God, because that is what they have been told. The average Christian has little or no sense of where the Bible came from, nor do they care. The Bible is, well, just the Bible. God could have plopped it down from the sky one day for all they know.
What the average Christian does not consider is that, after the resurrection of Jesus, it was nearly 400 years before the Bible was assembled and given an official stamp of approval. There were a lot of documents that Christians had access to, but it took 400 years for someone to decide which documents should be considered the inspired Word of God. The Christians that follow the Bible today, regardless of denomination, apparently believe that whoever decided to put the writings of the New Testament together got it right. That means that whoever assembled the New Testament must have been led by God to choose the writings that they chose. That someone was the Catholic Church. This was one of the reasons I returned to Catholicism.
It made no sense to me to follow the Bible while rejecting the Church that gave us the Bible. I found it particularly ironic that I had once been a part of denominations that considered themselves to be strict, Bible-believing Christians but also regarded the Catholic Church to be “The Whore of Babylon.” Really? God used “The Whore of Babylon” and the “anti-Christ Pope” to assemble the New Testament? When I realized how ignorant of history I had been I was astounded. Yet, I was the prototypical Christian of today. Ask any Christian where the New Testament came from and few will be able to say that the Catholic Church assembled it and made it official.
It made no sense to me that God would establish the Catholic Church, guide that Church with the Holy Spirit to compile the New Testament, and then use that same Bible and Holy Spirit to constantly split his Church into literally thousands of competing and bickering little churches. It also made no sense that those little churches so strongly believe the Bible while rejecting and/or ignoring the Church authority that gave it to them. How is it that The Catholic Church got the Bible right but is all wrong about how it interprets that Bible? Jesus promised to lead his Church into “all truth” not “partial truth.” Jesus never promised to only lead the Church until the Bible was assembled and then put the Bible “up for grabs.” Either the Holy Spirit guides the Catholic Church or he does not. If you believe that the Bible is the infallible, inspired Word of God, then you also believe that the Catholic Church is infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit in matters of faith and morals. You’ve just been taking it for granted, like your telephone and your television.