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Was Peter Appointed by Christ to be the Head of the Church?

3524506166_129c91cc2a_zAnglican scholar Edward Denny, in the second chapter of his book Papalism A Treaty on the Claims of the Papacy as set forth in the Encyclical Satis Cognitum by Pope Leo XIII (1912), sets out answer the question “Was St. Peter Appointed by Christ to be the ‘Head of the Church?’” when Jesus said:

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

The First Vatican Council closed in 1870. The doctrine of Papal Infallibility was still in the air. Could a reunion take place between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church? If a reunion could happen with the Church of England it was possible to spread beyond. Finally the question was answered with the Satis Cognitum, reunion was through absolute submission to the claims of Papalism as expressed in the Satis Cognitum.

What was the Satis Cognitum? In June 1896 the statement from the Roman Catholic Church stated that Christ was “obliged” to designate a “vice-regent on earth”. If Christ was obligated to appoint someone to be in charge of the Church who was it? The answer according to the Satis Cognitum is Peter. The claim the Roman Catholic Church is making and stating in the Satis Cognitum is that when Jesus appointed Peter as head of the Church, he also asserted that the authority would continue to his successors. Bottomline: If Jesus appointed Peter as the head of the Church. He appointed that authority to continue to the next bishop of Rome. If the bishop of Rome is Peter’s successor The Pope is the successor of Peter. If the Pope is the successor of Peter we should be under the Pope.  (more…)

The Quest for the Historical Church: A Protestant Assessment

Below is a guest post by Brandon Addison for the Roman Catholic website Called to Communion. Brandon is a graduate of Westminster Seminary California. (2012, M.Div.) He is currently licensed in the Pacific Presbytery (PCA) where he preaches occasionally. I spoke with Brandon after he wrote this post and posted this with his permission.//

Bryan Cross has graciously asked me to write down my thoughts, as a Protestant, on the idea that Jesus founded the Roman Catholic Church (Hereafter RCC). From the outset I want to express sincere appreciation and the hope that Protestants and Catholics will come to better mutual understanding, which may lead to greater unity and proclamation of the Gospel. One of the things that I appreciated most about Evangelii Gaudium is Francis’s emphasis on the mission of the Church. As important as the theology and dogma associated with the Gospel message is, that theology and dogma serve the purpose of bringing the Good News to people who need it most. Even if we disagree about the content of the Gospel message and how it is to be promulgated, I believe that this commitment to the Gospel allows for a charitable spirit as we discuss our differences.

To that end, I would actually make a request because ecumenical dialogue cannot take place without a commitment to prayer. I would ask that readers of this article would invest time into praying for clarity, understanding, and humility. As I prepared this article, I began the process the way that you would approach any topic of this nature—with rigorous reading, writing, and analysis. All of these are vital to fruitful ecumenical dialogue, but I’ve found that these things are not enough to break my heart of pride and hubris. True ecumenical discussions can only take place when we realize that reason alone is not sufficient for us to grasp knowledge of Divine things. We require the grace of God to break down the pride in our hearts and to see things that our stubborn hearts refuse to see. I would simply ask that those who read and or comment to take a moment to reflect and pray for a spirit of humility and understanding. (more…)

Why C.S. Lewis Was Not Roman Catholic

lewisIn (The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II, pp. 645-647)

Lewis was asked: “I would not dare ask you to write to me what you consider to be the arguments which throw the decision to the Anglican and against the Roman Catholic Church. But I do dare ask you if you would do me the great favor or recommending the books which, in your opinion, present these arguments most persuasively” (H. Lyman Stebbins, ‘The boldness of a Stranger’,  Laywitness, 19 (November 1998), p.7). Lewis responded with the present letter. In the end Stebbins was received into the Catholic Church on 28 May 1946.

To H. Lyman Stebbins (BOD): (more…)

Roman Catholic Garb

captain-america-best-worst-costumesRecently there was a short discussion with Jason Stellman (PCA minister turned  Roman Catholic in 2011.) While discussing the issue of Reformed Ministers of Word and Sacrament wearing a Genevan gown Mr. Stellman stated:

But here’s where the disconnect comes in for me: What makes Catholic priestly garb make sense is not just that it’s distinct clothing for a distinct job (since that would apply to working at Chili’s), but that the person wearing the vestment does so because he believes he has been empowered sacramentally (through holy orders) to actually do something that cannot be done by a layman. But for the Reformed, even though they believe that a layperson shouldn’t serve communion since he is not allowed to, the result of it can still be the same. So if a church either springs up from nowhere and uses vestments (FV), or allows communion to be served by non-ordained people (Calvary), the Reformed have no *principled* reason to object.

When I read this two things came to mind. First, the priestly garb in Stellman’s mind is a distinct clothing for a distinct job. For the Reformed position the reasoning behind the Genevan gown is the same. It is a distinct clothing for a distinct job.

Second, the underlying premise is a problem for Mr. Stellman that can easily be seen. Because for Stellman, the Roman Priest has another reason (perhaps primary) for wearing his garb. The person has been “empowered sacramentally” to do something. The priest isn’t wearing his garb to hide the man, as Reformed ministers often say. But the priest wears the his clerical vestments because of the man. It is a sign depicting his “sacramental empowerment”. To put it in contemporary terms, he is dressed in his super hero costume because much like a super hero, he is different from everyone not by his office but because of his powers. (more…)

Dr. Robert Godfrey on The Inventions of Rome part 2

Dr. Robert Godfrey on The Inventions of Rome part 1

Not Mary but the Word of God

Here a woman tries to give “adoration” to Mary. The Response of Jesus is our response. Don’t adore her, adore God. We see how Jesus interjects this attempt to give glory and honor to someone other than God. Jesus says rather than Mary being blessed; blessed are those who hear God’s word and do it.

Luke 11:27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” Luke 11:28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”