Statement of Faith

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe that Jesus Christ founded His Holy Church, charged it with ministering His Gospel, invested His Apostles with authority to lead the Church, and appointed Peter as the Church’s pastor and His representative on earth. I believe that by apostolic succession, the bishop of Rome is the successor of Peter, and therefore has primacy over all other bishops. I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the Church that Christ and the Apostles founded, and has inherited the treasury of Apostolic Faith through both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. I believe and affirm all the doctrines and dogmata taught by the Church through her Magisterium: her popes, her bishops in communion with him, and all her ecumenical councils.

I believe that all believers who affirm the fundamental doctrines of our faith as laid out in the three historic ecumenical creeds (the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Athanasian Creed) — who believe in the Holy Trinity, the Virgin Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord, and the need for salvation from our sins — can rightly claim the title of Christian. I believe that many of the churches separated from the Roman Catholic Church through the Protestant Reformation still bear elements of the Truth of Christ as handed down by the Church, and still function as vessels of God’s salvific grace. I believe Protestants can be saved, and many are, in God’s infinite mercy. I nonetheless believe that Protestant churches, in rejecting Sacred Tradition, Apostolic Succession, and especially the Sacraments, have turned from essential pillars of our faith.

I believe that Christ is undivided, and that the division of His Church on earth is deeply wrong and contrary to the Will of God. I believe that all we who have created and perpetuate division in the Church must bear the burden of striving to hear and understand and be reconciled to our Christian brothers and sisters, to work by the grace of the Holy Spirit toward healing the wounds of our schism. I believe the reunification of all branches of the Christian Church is possible, desirable, and necessary as we approach the end of this age. I hope that by this blog and the conversations I have through it, I may in some way contribute to that reconciliation and reunification.

17 thoughts on “Statement of Faith

  1. I am a Christian Catholic who abandoned Christ and the Church for more than 20 years (I was agnostic during those years). In 1991, I became “reborn” in Christ which was a sudden conversion through the power of the Holy Spirit. Having said that, I returned to the Catholic Church because it was “comfortable” for me, and I had limited experience with Protestant faiths, other than attending a 4 year Church of the Brethren college.

    But, in the last couple of years, I have not felt comfortable with my Catholicism. I have been praying for discernment for God to lead me to the Christian denomination that better fits my spiritual needs, most important to lead me according to His will.

    I read and study the Holy Bible everyday since 1991. My Christian beliefs lean more toward fundamental Christianity (sola scriptura) as the ultimate authority on Christianity. I am constantly reminded of what Revelation 22:18 warns—-” I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plaques which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” I totally understand the absolute authority of the Word of God, but it seems to me that the Catholic Church places authority on tradition more so than on scripture. The tradition does not always have a scriptural basis, and many times it is solely based on human decisions which have self-serving motives.

    In reference to the apostolic faith, I understand what Christ said when he appointed Peter as the first Church leader. Mathew 16:18 “… Peter upon this rock I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail over it.” I have no problem with the apostolic leadership as found in scripture. My problem is with the concept of “papal infallibility.”

    No human being is without sin and infallibility implies perfection. Mankind is not perfect and anytime money. authority, power is involved, man is susceptible to sin. I have never found anything in the Bible where Jesus states that the apostolic leaders are “infallible.”
    For that matter, Peter sinned multiple times in the Bible, and I doubt that there has ever been a pope since then who could be called “infallible.” All anyone has to do is read about the popes of the past, the Inquisition etc. to know that infallibility was not mentioned in scripture. This is just one example of where the authority of the Catholic Church is based on “tradition.”

    Presently, I’ve been “church shopping” to find a protestant church which is based on scripture, but still regards the Eucharist as the true body and blood of Christ. The Eucharist is (for me) the most important part of the liturgy, which has 100% scriptural basis. I cannot understand how some protestants regard the Eucharist as “symbolic” when Jesus said in scripture ” this is my body and this is my blood.” He did NOT say that this is “symbolic” of my body or blood.

    This is where I have a problem. Protestants who are fundamentalist Christians, but don’t regard the Eucharist as the true presence of Christ, despite it literally being said in Corinthians 11:23

    I will continue praying for discernment to do God’s will and try to find a church that completes my spiritual needs and beliefs. I don’t want to base my decision on what I (humanly) think is right, rather on what God knows is right.

    • Hi, Dawn. Welcome, and thanks for the comment! I can certainly sympathize with your being uncomfortable with your native tradition — but I’ve come from the opposite direction (after a good bit of “church shopping” of my own). I can say with some certainty that there are no Fundamentalists — at least, no organized Fundamentalist denomination — that believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I have a good Pentecostal-ish friend I grew up with who at least affirms a more important role for the Eucharist than most conservative Protestants do — his church does celebrate the Lord’s Supper weekly — but I don’t think he accepts anything close to a literal, real Presence. You might read this post I made on Evangelical Protestants and the Eucharist. (I think most Protestants who would call themselves “Fundamentalist” would also call themselves “Evangelical.”)

      Lutherans accept a somewhat modified view of the Real Presence and have a liturgical form of worship. You might check out the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, a conservative Lutheran denomination. The Reformed/Calvinists, by and large Presbyterians, accept some form of spiritual presence, I think — I haven’t quite grasped exactly what they believe. The PCA and OPC are two major conservative Presbyterian denominations. None of these people would call themselves “Fundamentalist,” though.

      But since you commented here, I hope you will forgive me for giving my Catholic opinion. 😀 I am sorry you feel uncomfortable in the Catholic Church; but it seems to me you are suffering from some misunderstandings about what the Church actually teaches concerning the doctrines you’re uncomfortable with. Papal “infallibility” does not imply perfection or sinlessness on the part of the pope or anyone else. Pope Francis — as I’m sure you’re aware if you’re paying any attention at all — is the first among all Christians to acknowledge his imperfection and sinfulness. And the Church certainly acknowledges that every other pope in history — beginning with Peter himself! — has sinned and made mistakes and fallen short. So no, that’s not what the Church believes at all.

      What “infallibility” means — and all that it means — is that when the pope and the bishops of Christ’s Church teach the faith of Christ, in matters relating to doctrine and morals, they will not lead the people into error. This is not because of any quality of the pope as a man, not because he is perfect or even necessarily particularly good — heavens knows many popes have not been — but because the Holy Spirit guides the people of God into all truth (John 16:13). “Infallibility” is not a privilege for the pope; quite the contrary. It’s a protection for the Church, from the pope as a flawed and sinful human being. I made a more extended post on this, “The Pope’s Holiness and Infallibility.

      Concerning “sola scriptura” and the Tradition of the Church: again, I think you have some misconceptions. The Catholic Church does not place more authority on Tradition than Scripture. Scripture is the very Word of God. Everything the Church believes from Tradition is rooted in and supported by by Scripture. To return to “infallibility” as an example: the idea that the “Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth” is certainly red-letter Scripture. The idea that the Apostles and their successors the bishops taught with the authority of Christ is also plain in Scripture (more on that).

      “Sola scriptura” — placing authority on the Word of Scripture, apart from the authoritative teaching of the Church — is a novel doctrine, never conceived before the sixteenth century, and a flawed concept, untenable and self-refuting. Jesus gave us our bishops, pastors, and teachers as His servants, to teach us the truth, to guide us and protect us — and yes, the “infallibility” of the Church — which is not merely a human institution, but the very Body of Christ — proceeds logically from that. There is nothing in Scripture about submitting the authority of the Church, “the pillar and bulwark of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15) to one’s own personal interpretation of the Scriptures — which ultimately means being one’s own highest authority. You might read some recent posts I’ve made on the subject: “The Epistemology of Sola Scriptura“ (which examines how “sola scriptura” is not based on Scripture at all, and is therefore self-refuting, and examines the biblical concept of authority), “‘Sola Scriptura’ is in the Bible? Thoughts on the Canon and Interpretation of Scripture” (which examines a Protestant defense of “sola scriptura” and corrects misunderstandings of the Catholic position), and “The Prior Authority of Tradition” (what the Catholic Church actualy believes about “Tradition”; what it is, where it came from, and why it is authoritative).

      Finally, let me point out a niggling fact. You mention Revelation 22:18 and the idea of “adding and taking away from this book”: well, you know, that doesn’t actually refer to the Bible, but only to the Revelation of John. “The Bible” didn’t exist as a combined book until several centuries after John wrote. See this recent thread for more about that.

      God bless you, sister, and the peace of the Lord be with you! Thank you for sharing your journey with me, and whatever you decide, I’m glad to help you in whatever way I can. I will be praying for you, and I would love to stay posted on whatever steps you take.

    • God is not the author of confusion. If you love truth, you should google “scriptures alone” or visit The Scriptures Alone Bible School, which has a free verse-verse biblestudy on Youtube.

      • Welcome back, Dawn. It’s funny, “Scripture alone” never brought me anything but confusion. You do realize, of course, that by listening to somebody else’s “Bible study,” you are not exactly using “Scripture alone,” are you, but somebody else’s interpretation of the Scriptures? What makes this person’s interpretation any better than the Catholic Church’s? May God bless you, and His peace be with you!

  2. Great site.

    I wanted to chime in on Sola Scriptura. The Bible itself guards against using the Bible alone. My favorite verse is John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (NIV)

    There are even more verses that speak of Bible plus tradition. For example: 1Cor 11:2, and 2 Thess 2:15.

    Also,2 Pet 1:20 says, “Above all, you must understand that no prophesy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.” (NIV)

    I hope this helps.

    • Thanks, sister! I presume you are following the conversation I was having yesterday? Unfortunately, many Protestants have their own interpretations of these verses (especially the last one), and even use them in support of “sola scriptura.” Which is exactly my point. If we rely on “Scripture alone,” we can pound it into whatever form and interpretation we wish to have of it.

  3. Yes, Joseph, I’ve been following this discussion. I also looked at the links you provided with your previous posts about this topic. I have to say that as a “Cradle Catholic” I’m continuously impressed with how some of the strongest members of the Church are the Non-Cradle Catholics.

    God Bless!

  4. Joseph, you are truly a brother in Christ, and a powerful instrument of the Lord’s Truth and Mercy. I was led to your page today as I researched the Didache, and I am so thankful to the Holy Spirit for guiding me to you. Your research, your clarity, and your gentleness ALL profess your transformation by grace. I will continue to return here to your site, for I ,like yourself, am only a pilgrim on this earth. Know that you are in my prayers today!

  5. your 1st point is in gross error. Jesus is NOT the only Son of God. IN Luke 3;38 Adam is the Son of God. In John 1:12 But as many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God. Your 1sty point as all new corrupt bible versions translate a contradiction in to God’s words. Jesus Christ is the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD. But seeing this is the Roman Catholic Church who rarely gets it right I am not surprised. And by the way if you read Roman Catholic writings of its leaders when the council of trent said anathema they meant cursed as in damned to Hell. You need to improve your reading of the popes and Roman Catholic literature from its leaders. Jesus Christ said call no man your father on this earth. The context is religious not family. Like I said the Roman Catholic church rarely gets it right when it comes to the Bible and doctrine..

    • Hi, Bob. Thanks for the comment.

      Yes, of course Jesus is “God’s only begotten son.” But you are mistaken if you think that any other Christian, in being adopted as a “son of God,” becomes in any sense the “Son of God” in the way that only Jesus uniquely is. The Nicene Creed makes the distinction between Jesus being “begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father.” Jesus truly is God, having a filial relationship with God the Father from “before all ages.” No other Christian, in being adopted as a “son of God,” assumes this type of relationship, or becomes a Person of the Holy Trinity with God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. No other Christian becomes “fully God and fully man.”

      As to my point above: I did not deny that Jesus is “begotten not made.” You refer to “new corrupt Bible versions.” Actually, a better translation of the Greek word μονογενής [monogenēs], in older translations translated “only-begotten” (cf. John 3:16) is “one and only,” literally “the only one of a kind or class” or “unique”: etymologically, μόνος [monos] (“one, only”) + γένος [genos] (“class, kind”). There is nothing at all contained in this word of the verb “to beget” (γεννάω [gennaō]): this is arguably a mis-translation of the word. But for what it’s worth, there actually are some modern translations that retain the “only-begotten” language for μονογενής: see, for example, the New American Standard Bible, 1995 Revision (NASB95), the New King James Version (NKJV), and the Amplified Bible (AMP), and the Revised Standard Version Second Catholic Edition (RSV2CE). It’s ultimately a matter of preference; but to say that Jesus is “the only Son of God” is perfectly biblical language, and an affirmation, not a denial, of Jesus’s unique relationship with God the Father.

      You are incorrect. “Anathema sit,” in the legal formula employed by the councils of the Church, does not mean “damned to hell.” Please read, if you haven’t already, my article, entitled “‘Let him be Anathema’: Not what many Protestants think it means.”

      And until modern, anti-Catholic, anti-Irish bigotry arose, Protestants had no problem at all with calling even their own clergy “father.” You are misapplying the words of Jesus in a way that was never even considered until the nineteenth century.

      If there is any other point of doctrine or biblical interpretation, you would like to discuss, I would be glad to. Casting wide aspersions such as “the Roman Catholic church rarely gets it right” is not helpful to anyone.

      The grace and peace of the Lord be with you!

  6. wow.. what a great reply to ‘Bob’ and his pointy comments.. that was a terrific tear-done of many false protestant thoughts..
    Luke 3:38..yes, we are filial back to the Father thru Adam AND Eve, but that doesnt equate to ‘God-the Son’…
    Gen 3:15.. Eve’s seduction with the serpent produced an opposing seedline..

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