Most of my Christian friends would agree with me when I say that the Bible is God’s Word. They would also agree when I say that Jesus is Lord and Savior, and that his promises are true. I would like to consider the connection between some of the promises of Jesus and the origin of the Bible.
There is a misconception among many Christians that the Church springs forth from the Bible. However, if we use the Bible as a guide for starting a new church, we are doing things backwards. The historical reality is that the Bible came from the Church, not vice versa. The Church was started by Christ and thrived for 400 years before the Bible was even assembled.
Consider the promise of Christ, “I will build my Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.” Jesus promised us one Church that would never fail. It makes no sense, then, to conclude that the Church started by Jesus somehow “failed” and needed to be “rebooted” or started over at some point. Jesus also promised to be with his Church “until the end of the age.” In other words, Jesus doesn’t “leave” his Church, cast it aside and start a “new church.” The Holy Spirit sticks with the original Church until the very end of the world.
Most Christians would agree that the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of Scripture. There were a lot of writings from the time of the early Church, but not all of them were inspired. Not all of them belonged in the Bible. Not all of them made it into the New Testament. Who decided which writings made the cut? Whoever it was, they must have been guided by the Holy Spirit, right? It was the Catholic Church that decided which writings were inspired and which writings did not belong in the New Testament. This is not a matter of opinion, it is simply history. The Bible was assembled by the Catholic Church nearly 400 years after Christ.
Would Jesus start his Church, have members of his Church write inspired Scripture, guide his Church in assembling the Bible, and then “leave” his Church to start a “new” Church? No, because Jesus does not break his promises. The Catholic Church today is the same Church started by Jesus 2000 years ago.
Catholics are Christians. The word “catholic” simply means “universal.” The Catholic Church is the universal Christian Church. In other words, it’s for everyone everywhere, including you and me. It is wrong to assume that a Catholic is something different than a Christian, or that Catholics are not “saved” according to the Bible. The Catholic Church wrote the New Testament Scriptures and assembled the Scriptures. The Church has studied, preached and taught the Scriptures for 2000 years. Make no mistake, the Catholic Church knows all about salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ! Read the Catholic Catechism!
Incidentally, those who claim that the Catholic Church is “The whore of Babylon” from the book of Revelation, or that the pope is the antichrist, are using the same New Testament produced and authorized by the Catholic Church! And for those who claim that the Emperor Constantine “started” the Catholic Church, notice that the New Testament was assembled and approved by the Church (A.D. 382 at the synod of Rome) after Constantine converted to and legalized Christianity in the early 300s. Those who say, “Constantine started the Catholic Church!” are using the same New Testament produced and approved by what they consider to be a “false religion!”
I submit that most Christians are simply not aware of the historical and spiritual origin of their Bibles. It took me nearly 40 years to learn it and I was raised Catholic! The fact is, if you accept the God-given authority of the Bible, you are also accepting the God-given authority of the Catholic Church, whether you realize it or not. Jesus did not give authority to his Church only to strip it away at some later date. The Catholic Church is the original Christian Church. It is only the protection of the Holy Spirit that has prevented the Catholic Church from self-destructing for 2000 years. No mere human institution holds up under such pressures. All other churches have been started by someone other than Jesus Christ.
If we love Jesus and the Bible, it only makes sense to love the Church from which the Bible flows. It is inconsistent to accept Christ, accept the Bible but knowingly reject the Catholic Church. All three of them go together. They are intimately linked and cannot be separated from each other. Jesus is God’s Living Word made flesh among us. The Bible is God’s written Word. The Catholic Church is God’s authoritative Body of Christ that preaches and teaches God’s Word.
It is important to prayerfully consider the following questions: If the Holy Spirit guided the Catholic Church to be right about the New Testament, what else is the Catholic Church right about? What is your authority?