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Truths of the Catholic Church series

A question of Orthodoxy, not piety

Am I living and believing what Jesus was actually teaching?

In reality, this question becomes one of who do I trust to help me learn the truth, who will be my ‘Teaching Authority’.

1. There are those who read Scripture and accept that the Holy Spirit will lead each person to a true and accurate personal interpretation without any human assistance. The Holy Spirit is their only ‘Teaching Authority’. Christianity is not a private venture. It is meant to be learned and shared with others.

2. There are those who read Scripture and who will listen to any quack that comes along, including fortune-tellers, mediums, and others. This is their ‘Teaching Authority’.

3. There are those who read Scripture and look to individuals such as their pastor, TV Evangelist or Theologians, authors of books, Internet forums and so on for an interpretation. These sources become the ‘Teaching Authority’ for that individual.

4. There are those who read Scripture and then turn to their Church, as a whole – not just a local pastor, as for guidance in understanding. For example, the Catholic Church and the ‘Magisterium’ which is a Latin word for ‘Teaching Authority’.

The challenge we all face is how do we separate out the human opinions of our Teaching Authorities from truth or who do we trust to show us the truth in order to choose the best and most accurate Teaching Authority.

I can only give you a response from my own personal belief in regard to this question.

First, as a foundation, I defined what truth actually is. I believe truth is not created and as such, it is from the essence of God and is never changing, ever. I believe that Jesus is truth, not only his words and actions, but his total being is truth, his divinity being the word of God, his humanity being in union with God. I believe that there is absolutely no deviation in what and who Jesus is and Scripture. Scripture is the printed Word of God and Jesus is the Word of God, made flesh. Scripture and Jesus are one with God.

I reject any teaching authority which proclaims, among other things that:

• Jesus as anything other than God.

• The ‘primary’ purpose of Jesus becoming man, as anything other than mans unity with God and the eternal salvation of our souls.         

• Belief in Jesus will guarantee us monetary wealth or material goods.

• Does not focus first on the worship of God and second, the love of our neighbor.

Next, I look for the ‘organic unity’ of the teachings of this authority. Are there any obvious inconsistencies in their teachings today, in comparison to their teachings over the years? Do they completely change or modify what they teach, over time. I believe a teaching authority can expand on a teaching or a thought, but it cannot outright change its beliefs, that action demonstrates that the Teaching Authority does not recognize, understand or teach truth, but instead opinions. Opinions change, truth does not.

In their teachings, is there truth building upon and joining with truth – an ‘organic development’. Can the teachings of an authority hold up under scrutiny – true academic-style in-depth examination and not just simple off-the-cuff opinions?

Use this as a starting point and build upon it. As a result of this type of examination, I chose the Catholic Church. Within the Catholic Church, there are those who teach their opinions. I reject those people and listen to what the Magisterium of the Catholic Church teaches.

You have to make your own decision.


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