Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Beware Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

A common Protestant Interpretation:

Scripture is full of warnings about false leaders and the fact that we should beware of them.
Acts (20:30) says that "Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth..." And Jesus said to "beware of wolves in sheep's clothing." That means the most dangerous people will be those who rise up within the church and are not dealt with.

For this reason, we (major paraphrase here . . . ) have to be careful about which pastor to follow, and which church we make our church home. We have to be lead by the Holy Spirit. (feel free to visit the post, My Holy Spirit or Yours? concerning this sentence!)

H/T to PSCSG for this Catholic Response -- First she is attentive to the "we":

WE?....excuse me but just WHERE does it say that individual believers are to execute judgment
on on Our Lord's Church?

If you examine the writings of the early church fathers and the history of the early church, you can see the context of the warnings of those "wolves in sheep's clothing"...it is those who teach without the authority of the Church. Or those who continued to preach heresy after they were disciplined by their local bishops. The mere presence of the writings of the ECF's is stark testimony to the fact that the early church was indeed highly organized and the bishops held the teaching authority. They [the early bishops] wrote letters to churches in far flung places as if they expected that they had authority over these congregations and guess what? They DID! It is for the bishops to determine who are the wolves in sheep's clothing and NOT for the lay people. In fact, it was the bishops who continually had to remind the faithful that they were to remain faithful to the teachings of the bishops and NOT make their own judgments about the many heretics running around.

Protestant Quoted Interpretation continued:
We must continue to rely on discernment from the Holy Spirit and the Bible

PSCSG's Catholic Response:
which of course begs for the question.....What did they do BEFORE the Bible was written? And who was it that decided what was and was not Sacred Scripture? And how is it that so many people who accept without question the judgment of the men who were so full of the Holy Spirit that they were able to discern what was and was not supposed to be in canon...then reject what those men believed it to be say. They men who set the canon of Sacred Scripture were NOT sola scriptura. They were not sola fide. They believed in purgatory. They believed in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Back to my question? The canon of the NT was set at the councils of Carthage and Hippo in 393 and 397. (And before you say that everyone agreed on the canon anyway....no they didn't. They reason for calling those councils was precisely because there was disagreement.)
  • How on EARTH did those poor Christians most of whom didn't have a copy of a single book of the NT and even if they did couldn't read it....live a Christian life?
  • How do illiterate Christians....and that would be that majority of Christians throughout history.....use the Holy Spirit and the Bible?
  • And if they were supposed to use the Bible and not the living authority of the Jesus founded by Jesus Christ....why is it, that writing the Bible and then setting a canon wasn't an early Church priority.


Micki said...

WOW - This says sooo much. What a need for prayer to discern.
I also love the photo you used...may I ask where it came from? I've never seen it and it really is an example of "a picture is worth a thousand words." Thanks.

Alexandra said...

All I can say is I am glad I don't have to be my own theologian and reinvent the wheel! Over two thousand years of the greatest spiritual minds hacking out Jesus' message is enough for me. Why would it not be enough for others? I'm always puzzled by this, and it also makes me think of arrogance and pride.

In this country, because of our history there is the sense that Christianity began with the protestant faith. Being a cradle Catholic raised mostly in Catholic Latin America it strikes me as weird. Weird because there is historical amnesia.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin