Authority...who has it?

"I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.... I believe in the holy catholic Church." So says the Creed.

The point is, however, - sorry to again belabour the capitals and non - the universal Church is, in fact, catholic and not Catholic per se. I am a part of that universal, as is any Christian believer who has claimed the sacrifice of Christ as efficient and sufficient for him or her. I have scads of friends who go by the denominational designation of Catholic, others Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Anglican, even the odd Baptist. Some of these friends, maybe all of them, are Christians. Some are, quite possibly, just Catholics, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, and so forth.

You wear a label, you wear a label, no problem: just be aware that it is a label. You will not be required to produce it at heaven's gate. In fact avoid playing that card altogether once you get to that point.
One could argue into next week as to whom or what Christ was referring to in his affirmation in Matthew 16:18. Was the rock Peter, his disciple; was it Jesus himself - it might have been interesting to see his body language during this dialogue; - was it the confession Peter had just made, one undeniable foundation of all Christian truth? As a matter of fact, it may well have been this weak and fickle human being whom God, at Pentecost, would infuse with supernatural grace for ministry.

However, to wander from this possible interpretation of Scripture to the appointment of Peter as the first pope, turning the catholic (universal) and apostolic Church into the supposedly all-powerful and all-encompassing Roman Catholic Church of the ninth or tenth centuries, outside of which there is no salvation, that will require fast talking and a feat of prestidigitation that has not yet been found to satisfy or convince most non-Catholics. Whoever or whatever the rock may be, the Church is not that church (alone).

That the Roman Catholic Church is rich is undeniable. That her faithful members have done much good in the world with that wealth is remarkable and praiseworthy. Every cup of cold water given in His name will not escape His notice. But no denominational name can ever possess or provide an exclusive right of passage through the valley of the shadow and into the presence of God. There was a cross for that... and only a cross.

Mac Wigfield

Comment published in May 26, 2010 Edition

Last week, a Letter to the Editor "Authority...who has it?" from
Mac Wigfield
made a fuss over uppercase "Church" and lowercase
"church". Basically, the author disagrees with the Catholic Church's
claim to be the only Church founded by Jesus Christ (who is true Man and
true God).

I only have two comments. First comment: Just as you can't play a
hockey game in a phone booth, I can't solve this problem in a tiny
newspaper article. My preferred approach is through a respectful and
constructive e-mail debate, posted on the Internet for all to see. If
you're interested, just google my name. (Newspapers normally censor the
name of my personal web site.)

Second comment: If you want to play games with uppercase and
lowercase, don't forget it goes both ways. Your opinion might not be
Opinion. If you claim that: "no denominational name can ever possess or
provide an exclusive right of passage through the valley of the shadow
and into the presence of God", that is just your lowercase opinion.
Moreover, it is a demonstrably false opinion. Indeed, if Almighty and
All-Knowing God decides that He will have One and only One Church, then
He can do it.

Did God really found One and Only One Church, and if so, is that
Church the Roman Catholic Church? See my first comment. But don't try to
handcuff God's power with lowercase opinions.

Stefan Jetchick