Mac and Mike discuss some of their views. Mac comes at things from the Roman Catholic perspective and Mike from the non-denominational (hereinafter ND) perspective.

A few notes:

  • Mac and I may differ and at times Mac may seem heated. However, we have been and always will remain brothers and friends. Good people differ.
  • If God can forgive our sins He can certainly forgive our mistakes and stupidity.
  • There are many things that I agree and disagree with concerning the various denominations including Catholic and Protestant. I believe we will stand before God as individuals as Paul states in Romans 14, not denominations.
  • On the subject of Peter in Matthew 16:13-20, the Roman Catholic view is this is Jesus setting Peter up as the first Pope. The ND view is the rock upon which Jesus will build his church is the revelation & confession of who Jesus is or Jesus Himself, not the man Peter. Of course, you decide. Here is a link to a fuller treatment of the question. It can be easily taken in all those various ways. It is a matter of belief. Some may see it as Peter being the rock and still argue against the idea that it started a perpetual line of replacements for Peter who became known as Popes.
  • The Council of Nicaea was called by Emperor Constantine who sought to use Christianity as a means of uniting a fragmenting Roman Empire. Constantine’s integration of the imperial government with the Church began with the First Council of Nicaea. We did not have time to go into this in detail.
  • It is agreed, as Mac mentioned, that the Roman Catholic Church was an outcropping of The Great Schism of 1054 AD.
  • The Roman Catholic Church leans on Tradition rather than Scripture alone. ND’s will never understand Roman Catholicism without understanding this first. ND’s accept Scripture as their source material for all legitimate beliefs as Christians. Other writings and traditions are taken into account but they are always compared with what God clearly says versus the traditions of men. This is based on Jesus in Mark 7:8-13.
  • Where did the Bible (New Testament) come from? This was asked by Mac around 12 minutes into the video. I said the books/letters were written by various authors like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James, Paul and Jude. Mac insists it was created in 382 by a Catholic Pope. This will require much more explanation than a short note allows. See below:

The subject of the canonization of New Testament scripture is a lengthy one. I will try to keep my point brief. You should study it on your own if you are so inclined. Years ago I had a college course on this subject and it only scratched the surface. The course covered the criteria used to determine what books were accepted and what books were not. Here is a reference link for a synopsis. Frankly, I have forgotten more than I can remember.

If you are Roman Catholic you accept that Peter was the first Pope and there is a continual line of which Pope Damasus I of Rome aka Damasus of Rome was one. He was the bishop of Rome from October 366 to his death. He supposedly presided over the Council of Rome of 382 which determined the canon or official list of sacred scripture. If you are Anglican this is all called into question. Here is a link to an interesting list of Canonized books throughout the centuries from 94 AD to 1546.

Since this issue will not be resolved here let’s take a look at it from another angle. The fact is we have a New Testament. Some books have been put in the category of Apocryphal writings. Some have been questioned. However, the fact is the Christian church flourished for hundreds of years before anyone claimed there was an officially sanctioned canon. Most people were not literate. The faith was rather simple and I argue should still be today.

So, we have a certain set of ancient writings. While some things might be in dispute most are not. If the Roman Catholic Church claims to have put it together then they should follow what it says, right? I say the same to my non-denominational and Protestant brothers. Should we rely on what the apostles and early church leaders like Paul told us or should we rely on some group of men to tell us what it means? That has been the argument throughout much of church history.

I think we should put aside our minor differences. Yes, it is fine to discuss and even debate the various points of view. However, it should never be a reason for hatred or division. This hatred and division is a very ugly part of our Christian history. While it is necessary to distinguish between what is and is not acceptable behavior it is not necessary to harm another person over the opposing point of view. As I have stated, if God can forgive our sins He can forgive our mistakes and our stupidity. I will forgive your mistakes and stupidity if you will forgive mine. That concludes my thoughts on this segment of Sundays with Mac and Mike.