Once Christ’s Church, Always Christ’s Church (OCCACC)

During my years spent in “once-saved-always-saved” churches, there was something lurking below the surface of the doctrine that I could not quite put my finger on.  This morning it hit me.  Although it is not intentional, there is a double standard.  I certainly don’t mean to accuse anyone of malice or ill intent.  It is simply a double standard that folks overlook.  Most people that hold to “once-saved-always-saved” (OSAS) genuinely believe the doctrine and are well-intentioned in spreading it. They want to go to Heaven and take as many people with them as they can.  That’s not a bad thing.  They mean well.  They sincerely love Jesus.

When King David committed adultery and murder, he was not “dethroned.”  He remained King, not because of his good behavior, but because he was God’s anointed.  When Moses was disobedient, he was punished but not “removed from office.”  He remained the leader of Israel until he died because he was chosen by God to be the leader.  When the Pharisees became hypocrites and made the Word of God of no effect Jesus did not say, “You have been bad, so you no longer have any authority.”  Instead, Jesus told the people, “Do what the Pharisees tell you because they sit on the seat of Moses.  Just don’t be hypocrites like they are.”  Peter said the “wrong thing” prompting Jesus to refer to him as “Satan.”  Then Peter denied Jesus three times during his trial.  Despite this bad behavior Peter was still chosen by God to infallibly write letters that would become part of the inerrant, God-breathed, Holy Bible.

Regarding their own salvation, OSAS folks will say, “It doesn’t matter what I do, I can’t lose my salvation because nothing can separate me from the love of God.  I am sealed unto the day of redemption.  I am justified (meaning, it is “just as if” I had never sinned).  Once God decides to save me it’s a done deal.  I may lose rewards in Heaven for bad behavior, but I’ll never lose my salvation.  God has the power to preserve my soul!”

However, that same, steadfast, preservative power of God is never seen as applied to the Catholic Church.  To the OSAS folks (and Protestantism in general), the Catholic Church cannot be the one true Church established by Jesus Christ due to “bad behavior.”  Whether it is the Crusades, the Inquisition, the selling of indulgences, the Galileo ordeal or the more recent priest abuse scandals, people insist that such behavior disqualifies Catholicism from being Christ’s Church.  In other words, God can keep King David and even individual Christians intact, but not his own Church.  The Church had to be scrapped and “started over” because it just wasn’t working out.  So, the Old Covenant was replaced by the New Covenant Church, and the New Covenant Church was replaced by the “New” New Covenant Church in the 1500s.  God’s grace and the Holy Spirit just couldn’t handle the behavior of Catholics.

Nevertheless, OSAS Christians (and Protestantism in general) accept the Catholic Church’s formation of the New Testament canon.  The New Testament, as compiled and authorized by the Catholic Church, is accepted as the God-breathed, inspired, inerrant Word of God.  But, because of the bad behavior of some Catholics, the Catholic Church was “dethroned” as God’s anointed and replaced by lots of different “churches” with various doctrines and practices.  The office of the papacy, which once oversaw and authorized the compilation of Holy Scripture, no longer has authority.  This is the double standard.  It seems that the Holy Spirit and God’s grace are able to work with everybody’s bad behavior except for the Catholic Church.

The Holy Spirit-led Catholic Church allegedly gave us the New Testament and then suddenly turned into “The Whore of Babylon” at worst, or an “outdated, out of touch denomination” at best.  Personally, I believe God is more powerful and more gracious than that.  He is powerful enough to establish a Church with offices of leadership, and then preserve that Church until the end of time, just as he preserves the Scriptures compiled by that Church.

We need not apply the words of Christ, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” only to individual Christians.  Those words also apply to the Church Jesus established, the Catholic Church.  Jesus has not left the Church, but many of us have.  Some of us have met Christ’s Church, but we have not met Christ.  Some of us have met Christ, but we have not genuinely met his Church.  Many people have only been introduced to a caricature of the Church propagated by anti-Catholic teachings, poor catechesis or simple misunderstandings.

Christ and his Church go together.  We are incomplete with one but not the other.  Where there are human beings there will always be sin.  Nevertheless, “Once-Christ’s-Church-always-Christ’s-Church” holds true because of Jesus, not because of us.

16 thoughts on “Once Christ’s Church, Always Christ’s Church (OCCACC)

  1. spookchristian

    The reason that Christians do not accept Catholic / catholicism as being a christian is because of Catholic dogmas, and practices, which are not found in scripture.

    Of course the behavior of the Vatican, etc. Is also part of the reason,..
    The catholic so called church has consistently perverted the gospel of Jesus Christ, and murdered those that have refused to accept the Catholic belief system.
    The catholic religious system is an abomination, and the whore of Babylon.!!!

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      I understand your position, spook, and I once held it myself. The real, bottom line is the issue of authority. For example, where does the Bible indicate that everything a Christian believes must be found explicitly in the Bible? The Bible makes no such claim for itself. “All scripture is inspired and profitable…” but “profitable” is not the same as “sufficient.” It’s like saying that water is “profitable” to keep me alive, but it is not “sufficient” if I never eat food, too. We certainly need scripture, but we also need the authoritative interpretation of scripture. The Bible points believers to an authoritative Church for settling disputes. Protestantism has no central, authoritative interpretor of Scripture. There is unity in truth. One Lord, one faith, one baptism.

      Why would you read a book like “A Woman Rides the Beast” and take it as authoritative truth? From where does the author obtain his authority to interpret scripture for you? How did such authors become your “popes?” You got your doctrine from somewhere. Who is to say that your doctrines are the correct interpretations of scripture and not simply “doctrines of men” that have perverted the Gospel? Why should I believe you over the Methodists or the Presbyterians or the Church of Christ or the Wesleyans or the Nazarenes or the Pentecostals, etc? Where is the authority? If you say, “Scripture is the authority” you still haven’t told me why “you” have the authority to tell me what scripture means.

      Reply
      1. spookchristian

        scripture is perfectly clear on the means and authorship of salvation.
        Jesus is the word of God, as well as being
        god,…

        2 TIM 3:16
        All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

        And yes I have read a woman rides the beast, by Dave Hunt, but I did not get my understanding of what roman catholicism is really about, from that book.

        An in depth study of Revelation 17, and the use of an encyclopedia, is all that is really necessary, and a dictionary also is useful.

        Facy is the dictionary I have, which is a secular, ie non-christian dictionary, gives the definition of babylonian as a roman catholic/ papist etc.
        It is relatively easy to understand scripture, if you believe it, but of course I admit, that I do not understand everything that is written in Gods word, ie the bible,…

        My central authority for Gods word, comes from the Holy Spirit, and Gods word, and the words of Jesus Christ, in that he says his words will never pass away, and they are the bread on which every christian must be fed.

        IL am not in need of any so called pope…Mathew 23:9
        the so called pope has no authority over any christians at all, and from what I have red of what he has said, and other so called popes etc, it is best to ignore such false and erroneous teachings, which are of the Devil.

        Hopefully I have made myself politely clear etc,,,??
        I hope you will reconsider the value of remaining with such an apostate organisation, that seeks only to keep followers in bondage to their religious system??

      2. Thomas Post author

        Thank you for your politeness. I think we agree that Jesus is God and that he is The Word of God made flesh. That’s good.

        We also agree that the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, and the words of Jesus Christ are to be followed by Christians.

        As far as Matt 23:9 is concerned, don’t you ever call your earthly dad “father?” That verse, like many others, can be taken to mean things it was not intended to mean.

        When you say, “It’s relatively easy to understand scripture if you believe it,” why does Peter say in 2Peter 3:16 that there are things “hard to be understood” and therefore people wrest scriptures to their own destruction? Sounds like he doesn’t believe scripture is so easy to understand, especially Paul’s letters.

        All churches, including the Catholic Church, claim to be led by the Holy Spirit. They can’t all be right. Respectfully, you still have not established why I should accept your version over all the others.

      3. spookchristian

        I would never call my earthly father, by that name,
        especially now.

        yes, there are things that are hard to be understood, but not impossible, if you pray and ask The Lord for the answer..I’m never going to know everything.

        yes, of course people, being human sinners, wrest the scriptures to their own destruction..but those people are led of another spirit
        satan is expert at introducing heresies…

        My version of what exactly..?? 😀
        The doctrines of salvation, are clearly given in the bible,,,
        my version over all the others???,,,my version as you describe it, is consistent with biblical teaching, ie from the Bible,

        over ‘ what others ‘ ??

        do you refer to other religious groups like

        islam.. they deny that Jesus died on the cross,

        JW’s they deny the Deity of Jesus Christ,

        catholicism, they worship mary,idolatry,indulgences, purgatory,papacy, etc.

        Buddhists, deny the resurrection/ believe in re-incarnation

        Mormons, add to the bible their own book, as do catholics with their catechism

        hebrew roots, trying to bring people back under the law…legalism..

        there are a few others..100’s of false religions,,

        May I respectfully suggest that you get yourself a King James Bible, and study for yourself.?? 😀

      4. Thomas Post author

        “Your version” meaning “Your version of what the Bible teaches.” You’re telling me what the Bible means, but you still haven’t established why I should believe “you.” Why is your interpretation of Matt 23:9 “better” or “more correct” than the Catholic interpretation of the verse? And who told you that only the King James Bible is authentic? Scripture didn’t tell you that.

        Catholics do not worship Mary, we honor her (hyperdulia) and the saints (dulia). We worship God alone (latria). Only God is worthy of worship.

        Statues are just reminders of the heros of the Faith. We do not worship them. Doing so would be idolatry.

        Catholics do not worship the papacy. The pope is simply our pastor. We worship Christ who appointed the pope to be the pastor of the Church.

        Catholics do not worship indulgences (not sure it’s even possible to do that if we wanted to).

        Catholics do not worship purgatory. We simply believe that God makes us completely perfect prior to entering Heaven. Most Christians believe that, also. Catholics just call it Purgatory.

        My friend, you have a lot of misconceptions about Catholicism. I don’t blame you because I once had them myself. May I respectfully suggest that you cease criticizing that which you do not understand? Study what Catholicism “actually” teaches. Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It’s free online. Go to http://www.catholic.com/ You are very unlikely to learn the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church from critics and secular sources.

      5. spookchristian

        I don’t agree with what you are saying to m at all.

        I will Not be needing to read the catechism, it is not scripture.

        I have to tell you that you are seriously deceived concerning the catholic so called church.

        If you do not believe the scriptures you will not believe what i am saying to you,

        I suggest that you do a search on my blog eetc,,

      6. Thomas Post author

        But you read the dictionary and the encyclopedia for information, and they are not scripture.
        I do believe the scriptures. That’s why I returned to Catholicism. The Church is “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1Tim 3:15)
        The question is, “Why should I believe YOU?” My hunch is that a search on your blog will not have an answer since you keep avoiding the question.

      7. spookchristian

        I’m only quoting scripture,

        you obviously do`not believe the scriptures, or would not be following the dogmas of rome, and the blasphemous rubbish that the catholic so called church teaches.

        so therefore why should i believe you, that you believe the scriptures.??
        I believe the scriptures, and my faith is in Jesus Christ, not in the pope etc..

        so why should I believe YOU..

        believe Jesus, is all would say to you, but then you already believe that you do,…but you are lying, and do not know the truth, because if you knew the truth, you would not lie about the idolatry of catholicism..

        you even twist my words, saying that i implied you worship purgatory..which obviously does not make sense,,,but you do believe in purgatory, and that word does not even exist in scriptures, which is essentially the point that i was making
        I think that this conversation is over, as you are not making sense to me

        why do you believe the so called pope, or the catechism above the bible??

      8. Thomas Post author

        Wasn’t trying to twist your words. You said, “catholicism, they worship mary,idolatry,indulgences, purgatory,papacy, etc.” Made it sound like we worship all those things. Sorry to be confusing. I should have been more concise.

        Anyway, I believe the pope and the Catholic Catechism because of apostolic succession. The Catholic Church is the only Church that can historically trace its leadership back through the centuries directly to the Apostles and Christ. That is where the authority comes from. Long before the New Testament was even written, Christians followed the Apostles and their successors. The New Testament scriptures are actually part of Catholic Tradition. That is where they came from. God used his authoritative Church to write the New Testament, to decide which letters were authentically inspired and then to compile the letters into the New Testament canon.

        I do NOT believe the pope and the catechism ABOVE the Bible. I believe them together as one. I believe they are all part of the Church’s Sacred Tradition. It is not one over the other. They go together. I believe that the Magisterium (the pope and the bishops in union with each other) are the successors of the apostles, and that they were given the power of “binding and loosing” directly by Christ. They therefore have the authority to interpret the meaning of scripture. No other church has this apostolic succession. All other churches were started by a man other than Christ (Luther, Calvin, Wesley, King Henry VIII, etc.) and do not have apostolic succession.

        You should believe me only insofar as what I say aligns with Catholic Church teaching. The Church has the authority, not me.

      9. Thomas Post author

        Spook, I appreciate all the links, but there is something you must understand. I spent years studying all this stuff by reading Fundamentalist publications, listening to tapes, watching videos, going to church and Sunday school, etc. I already know this information. You, however, have not studied my side. Rather than get your information about Catholicism directly from reputable Catholic sources, you choose to get it from places outside of Catholicism. I have been in your world, but you refuse to enter mine. It won’t kill you to read the Catholic Catechism. Why do you expect me to read your links if you refuse to read the Catholic Catechism? Since you like to read and self-educate, you also might try a book by Karl Keating called “Catholicism and Fundamentalism.” Very enlightening.

      10. spookchristian

        I understand what you are saying,

        I will think and pray about reading the catechism, but cannot honestly see myself bothering,

        😀

      11. Thomas Post author

        Fair enough. Prayer is good. Hey, if nothing else, knowing what the other side really teaches can make you an even better apologist. Nothing to loose except the time it takes to read it. Thanks, spook.

        Peace.

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