How to Convince a Catholic that Catholicism is Wrong
or How to Destroy the Catholic Church
by Teresa Beem
But, dueling with Bible interpretations won’t work with a Catholic who understands their faith because Catholics work on a separate system than other believers. We have differing world views, ecclesiology, soteriology and epistemology--we are "ologies" away from other Christians.
When people desire to show a Catholic the errors of Catholicism they will inevitably choose a doctrine such as purgatory or the perpetual virginity of Mary and insist that it is unbiblical. They might point out a Bible text that seems to disagree with the doctrine. To the person’s surprise, the Catholic might give their church’s interpretation, which will then be disputed as twisting the scripture or taking it out of context.
This proselytizing technique of showing a Catholic where he is wrong using certain scripture is based on the assumption that Catholics do not know nor understand scripture. The myth is that Catholics ignore or even reject God’s Word and the only real challenge is to simply show them what it says in the Bible. (After all, the mean ol' church tries to keep it away from them, right? So it is just a matter of ignorance.)
For any profitable discussion, it is important to recognize that Catholics don’t believe the Bible is self-interpreting, nor do they believe individual Christians have God’s authority to interpret scripture where it disagrees with what Christ taught His Apostles. Catholics believe Christ gave them an authoritative Church to guide Christians in understanding the meaning of Christ’s words.
If you want to convince a devout and studied Catholic that his faith is wrong, you will have to do it one of two ways:
1) Dismantle and deconstruct history.
2) Dismantle and deconstruct scripture.
The Protestant would have to lay together a convincing historical set of proofs that would disconnect the Catholic/Orthodox Church from St. Peter and his successors. He or she would have to show that the Roman Catholic Church of today is verifiably unrelated to the physical organized church of the first three centuries and, in reality, began at a later date.
The Protestant would have to come up with a momentous piece of information that no other Reformer or Protestant or scholar to date has brought forth. It would again, have to be irrefutable evidence (such as authentic documents) that the Catholic Church of today is organizationally unrelated to the early church fathers, the early synods, councils and creeds.
If Christ didn't start the Catholic Church, it is destroyed.
Catholicism admits that there is a connection between Christ’s Apostles, their successors and the Catholic Church. The argument is that yes, Christ started the Catholic Church but that at a later date His authority was removed. God withdrew the Holy Spirit from the church because of their corruption of doctrines such as purgatory, papal primacy, the sacrifice of the mass, baptismal regeneration, communion of the saints and the real presence in the Eucharist.
This is a common tactic. However, usually those people who bring up such doctrines do not realize that they were taught by the church as early as the first and second centuries of Christianity. That would place the corruption of the church almost immediately after Christ’s death.
Consider the implications of a church teaching false or evil doctrines so early after its birth. If God abandoned His church within the first couple of centuries, that would effectively destroy the Bible itself.
For, if a 4th and 5th century council of corrupted Catholics were the ones weeding through all the gospels and letters deciding which ones would be in the New Testament and which were not, then we cannot guarantee that they listened to the Holy Spirit in their decision. For there were many false gospels and epistles at the time claiming to have been written by the Apostles. (Some of the churches at the time believed they were and taught out of them).
And to add to this, if the first and second centuries were already corrupted, then the traditions of who wrote the books we include in the New Testament are questionable. Because the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as well as the other letters had to be authenticated by tracing back through the earlier century traditions. There were certainly many false letters circulating that had St. Paul or St. Peter’s names on it. Therefore the first through third century church fathers, bishops and leaders who preserved and copied these authentic letters and who passed down the traditions had to be trusted for they recorded which of the gospels were written by the Apostles.
In order to teach and believe we have an inerrant, infallible Word of God, we are placed in the position of trusting that these church leaders and their writings were protected by the Holy Spirit from corruption. If not, the Bible itself is untrustworthy.
To reiterate, if the early tradition is corrupted, we can’t trust the early church teachings and the gospels could be myth.
If the early councils were corrupted, we can’t trust the Bible and the gospel could be myth.
We would also have to question the doctrine of the Trinity and the full Divinity of Christ with his nature and will, for it was in these councils that these doctrines were decided.
If the church became corrupted within the first few centuries, Catholicism falls. But so does Christianity and the Word of God.
It is really that simple.
If a person were to successfully destroy history and the scriptures, a Catholic could then become Jewish or Moslem and still be a monotheist. But one thing they could never become is Protestant. For if we cannot trust the early tradition that gave us scripture, then we certainly cannot trust a group of people who came along sixteen hundred years later and decided they understood better what Christ's words meant in scripture. For scripture itself would then not be trustworthy.
That is my advice to those who wish to prove the Catholic faith untrue: destroy history and/or destroy scripture.