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Is Catholicism the true Church?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/18/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 535 times Debate No: 91482
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
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Is Catholicism the true church?
I believe it is, for several reasons. Starting with Apostolic Succession; Jesus handed the keys to heaven to Peter in Matthew 16:19, saying, "I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. This is referring to an important Old Testament passage in Isaiah 22, where Hezekiah replaced his old Prime Minister, Shebna, with a new one named Eliakim. Everyone could tell which of the Royal Cabinet members was the Prime Minister because he held the 'keys to the kingdom.' By entrusting the keys of the kingdom to Peter in the book of Matthew, Jesus established the office of Prime Minister for administering the Church as his kingdom on earth. Peter took this mission as the first pope, and the popes have carried all the way down to Pope Francis today.
Reason #2 (And I'll try to keep it shorter)
"A house divided against itself cannot stand."
There are thousands of Protestant denominations today, and one Catholic church. God does not appreciate division. Catholics also translated the Bible into what it is today, accepted by all Christians. If Christians accept our interpretation of the Bible, why not accept the other teachings of the Church?
Reason #3:
Sola Scriptura is unbiblical and it is the foundation of the Protestant faith. We can delve deeper into this if you wish.

Rome sweet home by Scott Hahn
The Bible


A.1 Reply to #1.1 - The Pope is a True Apostle, Through Apostolic Succession: Mormons have appointed Apostles - who are subject to the "Head Prophet" - a contradiction to the "order" specified by Paul in 1 Cor. 12:28. Similarly, the Catholic church "votes" in the next "Pope / Father", or Apostle, (

Contrary to every Scriptural portrayal of what "Apostles Are" - the Catholic Church confines this office to only one individual - and that appointment through a very human, business-like process.

Although the first Apostles acknowledged fundamental qualifications for apostleship - (that the Catholic Church rejects today) - they understood they were not sufficient to entail Apostleship. And so, they refrained from their intellectualism, acknowledging God's own role - even deferring to "Spin the Bottle" to choose Judas' replacement, (Acts 1:26).

Even if Apostolic succession was maintained through the ages, in the Eastern and Western Schisms - and through the Pornocracy, (Saeculum Obscurum) - Laying on of Hands - to confer the title of "Pope" is insufficient to establish God's own appointment of the individual - which was evident through quanitifable "anointing", (miracles).

As a result, the institution has become nearly indistinguishable from "Rabbinic / Pharasaic Judaism" - which is primarily what Jesus spoke against.

A.2. Reply to #1.2 - Keys of the Kingdom, and Authority: It is conceded that Keys of the Kingdom is metaphorical for authority. And also, In Matthew 16:19, Jesus was speaking to Peter specifically, (the Greek is second person singular: σοι).

But - In Matthew 18:18, just a few passages later - the construction changes from second person singular - to second person plural, (P17;μQ50;ν) - and had nothing to do with apostolic authority:

Matthew 18:18 - Truly I say to you, whatever you [all] bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you [all] loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

To argue that the authority to "Bind and Loose in Heaven and Earth" is exclusive to Apostles - is contradicted by the text.

And if that authority is not exclusive - then the authority to "Protest" and condemn the Catholic church for false doctrine, by becoming "Protestant" - is also not exclusive.

A.3. Reply to #2.1. - "God does not appreciate Division": Absolutely, Scripture condemns "Schisms", (cults) - which are divisive - because of their following, and glorification, of particular people, "I of Peter, I of Paul". Any Schism - or sect that is characterized this way - is obviously disregarding this precept, (from 1 Cor. 1:12, 11:18, etc).

A.4. Reply to #2.2 - "The Catholic Translation is accepted by all Christians": First, this is a hasty generalization. Second - Since when, that claim must be substantiated.

A.3. Repply to #2.3 - "If Christians accept our interpretation of Scripture, why not other teachings?" Because - Jesus explicitly taught to reject the traditions and doctrines of men, (which are used to supersede Scripture), but rather that Christians should defer to Scripture:

Mark 7:9 - He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition."

A.4. Reply to #3 - "Sola Scriptura is Unbiblical": Absolutely - way more complicated than you suggest.

As stated above - early Christianity relied on quantifiable evidence, and revelation through intimacy with the "Holy Spirit".

It is conceded that Revelation through Scripture was believed to go hand-in-hand with divine intimacy.

After 200+ years or so, the "Catholic Church", (Tertullian Against Marcion Book 5. 8:7-2) is argued to have repudiated Marcionism - but at the same time discouraged Spiritual Gifts like "Speaking in tongues".

Regardless of Tertullian's or the Catholic Church's responsibility - the Demonstration of Spiritual Gifts all but disappeared from the laity - only to resurface significantly later in Protestant movements.

Because Jesus commanded not to follow such institutions - and because of the systematic discouragement to pursue Divine Revelation - yes - the Protestants had to resort to "Sola Scriptura" - as a matter of Spiritual Survival - not because that is what they desired.

B.1. Argument Against Catholic Authority:

(1.) Because the Catholic Church mandated the interpretation thereof of Scripture is exclusive to them, (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 100, (; (2.) Because the Catholic church declared that the tradition of men is equal in authority to Scripture, (ibid. para. 95,; (3.) Because the Catholic Church claims divine Apostolic Authority - but is not confirmed by God as required by Scripture; (4.) Because the Catholic Church is divisive in its glorification and invocation of certain names, (Peter, Mary, other Popes, etc); (5.) And, because acceptance of Catholic Church dogma discourages, (arguably precludes), revelation through a personal, divine intimacy -

Then - The Protestant Church still has more than sufficient grounds to abstain from submitting to them - though no grounds to separate themselves from them, (Second part is another topic, preferably).

B.2. Example Objection - Testing an Apostle: Apostolic succession is predicated upon ... an Apostle. Christian Scripture teaches that the Church should test those who claim to be apostles:

Revelation 2:2 - ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;

B.3. Quantifiable Evidence: If Paul's own defense of his apostleship was so stringent - how much moreso should it be for those 2000 years afterwards?

Paul's defense of his own Apostleship - he appealed to quantifiable evidences, not tradition - nor hearsay:

1 Cor. 2:3-5 - I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

1 Cor. 9:1-2 - Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2 If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

12 Cor. 12:12 - The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles.

2 Corinthians 13:1 - This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

Further - Jesus commanded the Church NOT to call anyone "Pope/Father", (Matthew 23:9) - and anyone who demands this has clearly not been instructed in the commandments of Jesus - let alone is teaching them. Since they have not met these requirements to be "A Disciple", (from Matthew 28:20) - they cannot possibly be qualifed to be "An Apostle".
Debate Round No. 1


First of all, thank you for accepting my debate, and I am pleased to debate an informed, level-headed person such as yourself.

Starting with your first point:
Yes our Popes are "voted" in, but the Cardinals that vote are heavily under the influence of the Holy Spirit when doing so. Anyway, I don"t get how that is contradictory to Paul"s order in the verse you mentioned.

Referring to your second point, actually all Catholic bishops are included in the Apostolic succession; not just the Pope. To make sure that the apostles" teachings would be passed down after the deaths of the apostles, Paul told Timothy, "What you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). In this passage he refers to the first three generations of apostolic succession"his own generation, Timothy"s generation, and the generation Timothy will teach. The word "apostle" comes from the Greek term apostolos, meaning one who is sent on a mission or a messenger for God. We believe the Pope is both of these, which would make him an apostle.
Let me ask something. Why is it wrong that they spun lots for Matthias? If you look back on that passage just a bit, you can see that the apostles prayed to God to show them the right candidate before casting lots. Like in Luke 24:34, casting lots was just the way they did things back then. Similarly, in Jonah 1:7, God worked through the sailors casting lots.

As for the "Binding and loosing" section:
You are correct with part of the Apostolic authority section. Jesus is in fact talking to Peter solely in the first passage, and talking to all the disciples in the second scenario. The difference is that Jesus is talking only to the disciples, not a crowd, when he bestows upon them the power to bind and loose. This is not just something Jesus hands out to everyone. He gave it exclusively to Peter first, then spread the love by sharing it with the other disciples.

"The Catholic translation is accepted by all Christians"
Sorry about this section I wrote in the opening argument. I will re-word it now. The Bible was first translated by Catholics like St. Jerome and was accepted by all Christians until the reformation in 1517.
"Jesus explicitly taught to reject the traditions and doctrines of men"
This is your quote. This is interesting because Paul says in Corinthians 11:2 to "hold fast to the traditions just as I handed them on to you." As for "deferring to scripture," "The Church is the pillar and foundation of truth." (Tim. 3:15) This doesn"t say the Bible is the pillar. If you turn to 2 Thessalonians 3:6, it even says this: "We instruct you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us."
Other verses include:
2 Thess 2:15 and 1 Cor 11:2

Sola Scriptura:
You gave a big, complicated response to Sola Scriptura, but if you can"t find a Bible verse or more relevant history to support your point, then I really don"t care how the Protestants were "forced" into it.

Argument against Catholic authority:
Wait, where did you see that the Catholic Church discourages personal revelation? The Church has it"s bad apples (there have been some very bad ones), and maybe some people in the Church have discouraged personal revelation, but I can assure you that the Catholic Church has not discouraged in any way personal revelations or gifts of the Spirit that are truly from God.
Assuming you"re an American, the Founding Fathers of this country put together a magnificent document to be authoritative in determining how this country would be governed: the U.S. Constitution. They also established a living, continuing authority to guard and officially interpret the Constitution: The Supreme Court. The Founding Fathers knew that without a living authority the Constitution would lead to endless divisions as everyone acted as his own interpreter. God has more wisdom than the founders of this country. God would never have left a written document to be the only rule of faith without a living authority to guard and officially interpret it.

Call no man "father"
In Matthew 23:1-12, when Jesus tells us to call no man "father," he is using figurative language to emphasize that all legitimate authority and truth ultimately come from God.
In various instances throughout the Bible men are called fathers and teachers. Both Catholics and Protestants alike call earthly men fathers and teachers. Even St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians (4:14-15) says he became our father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel. Other instances where men are referred to as fathers include:
Acts 7:2, Acts 21:40, Romans 4:16-17, Philemon 10, 1 John 2:13-14



I am very thankful for your well-informed response!

Organization: 1. Clarifications; 2. Responses; 3. Re. Jesus' Commands, Tradition and Evidence of Authority;

1. Unaddressed Arguments that Protestantism Rightfully Rejects Catholic Authority:

1.1. From Round 1 / Con / Conclusion: Forms of Christianity that nullifies Jesus' commands - are not authoritative;
1.2. From Round 1 / Con / B.2-3: Scriptural Precedent is that Divine Authority is confirmed through God's own evident "Anointing" of Apostles, Prophets, etc - which is absent from Catholic history;

1.4. Corrections - Protestants DO Actually Believe:

1.4.1. Tradition and Doctrine - are subject to the authority of Scripture;
1.4.2. There is only one faith, one body; And it is God's will that it remain so;
1.4.3. Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and others through the Holy Spirit - are all sources for divine knowledge;
1.4.4. In "Divine Order" in the Church, the Apostles first, then Prophets, etc ...

1.5. Misunderstanding?

You said: "'Jesus explicitly taught to reject the traditions and doctrines of men' This is your quote."

ACTUALLY - What I stated was: "Because - Jesus explicitly taught to reject the traditions and doctrines of men, (which are used to supersede Scripture)".

2.1 Paul's Order:

You said: "Yes our Popes are 'voted' ... Anyway, I don"t get how that is contradictory to Paul"s order in the verse you mentioned."

The "order" indicated by Paul shows that "Apostles" are not at all subject to "votes" - but their authority is directly from God himself.

To "Vote In" a Pope - is to suggest that they are subject to "Popular Vote".

2.2. Cardinals Under the Influence of the Holy Spirit:

Cardinals that vote are heavily under the influence of the Holy Spirit when doing so: Says who? Them? Catholicism suggests that a purely subjective claim - can impart Apostolic Authority. Scripture, (and Some/Many/Most Protestants) - contend that such displays of the Holy Spirit cannot be "Subjective", and must necessarily be objective.

2.3. Cardinals as Bishops:

You said, "The word "apostle" comes from the Greek term apostolos, meaning one who is sent on a mission or a messenger for God. We believe the Pope is both of these, which would make him an apostle."

Your argument began presupposing the authority of the Pope, through Apostolic Succession - which any reasonable person would understand to imply "Great Authority".

Absolutely - The literal word: Apostle, from the Greek "O36;πa2;στολος" - does indeed means "Messenger", literally. But - it is the sense of "Authority" - that is being debated here; we are not debating who is, or isn't a merely "sent as a messenger".

You cannot on one hand say that "Bishops are Apostles by Succession too" ... and somehow exclude "all Christians" - because aren't all Christians "messengers of reconciliation, (2 Corinthians 5:8)", and aren't they commanded to "Go, make disciples", (Matthew 28:19)?

2.4. Casting Lots:

In their action - they disregarded the Wisdom of Men, and also their votes - as insufficient. They recognized that only God had authority to impart Apostolic Authority - that this appointment cannot be "adjudicate" merely through votes.

2.6. The Authority to Bind and Loose "Sin":

You said, "Jesus is in fact talking to Peter solely in the first passage, and talking to all the disciples in the second scenario. The difference is that Jesus is talking only to the disciples, not a crowd, when he bestows upon them the power to bind [impute] and loose [forgive] - [sin]. This is not just something Jesus hands out to everyone."

I suggest that no reasonably minded person could infer that Jesus was speaking to different audiences, back and forth - in this same exact context: A.) That Jesus was talking to all Christians at first, (Resolving Conflict amongs members: v.15-17); B.) Then only to the apostles, (Authority to Bind and Loose: v.18); C.) And then back to talking against to all Christians, (The Authority and Requirement for all Christians to Forgive seventy-times-seven, in v.19-21ff):

NASB, Matthew 18:15 - “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; ... 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you... 17 If he refuses ... tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church ... 18 Truly I say to you, whatever you [all] bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them [u]by My Father who is in heaven.

21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall ... I forgive [my brother]? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “ ... up to seventy times seven.

2.5. Universal Acceptance:

2.6. Living Document Supported by a Living Authority to Guard and Interpret It:

3. Regarding Jesus' Commands, Tradition and Evidence of Authority:

3.1. Restatement of Argument

3.1.1. Scripture Contains Instructions for life, and even regarding Authority in the Church;
3.1.2. Amending or Superseding Scripture, must be done according to Scripture;
3.1.3. Assertions of Divine Authority must Comply with Scriptural Requirements, otherwise invalid;
3.1.4. Self-Declared Authority, and Nullification of Jesus' Commands - together disprove validty;

3.2. Commandments of Jesus, (and through the Apostles):

3.2.1. To be Ministers of Reconciliation;
3.2.2. To Make Disciples, by first learning, and then teaching, the Commandments of Jesus;
3.2.3. Do not hold onto traditions that nullify divine commandment;
3.2.4. Recognize Jesus as High Priest to boldly present petitions to the Father - through Jesus;
3.2.5. With the authority given to you all, forgive each other;
3.2.6. Repent and confess your sins one to another, for the forgiveness of sins;
3.2.7. Call no man father;
3.2.8. Do not create schisms calling yourself after specific people, (i.e., Peter);
3.2.9. Test those who are called Apostles;
3.3.10. Pursue Mercy, not Sacrifice, (punishment); Pursue Spiritual gifts, especially prophecy;
3.3.11. to rely upon the authority of Scripture to determine what truths are so; to be baptised, as an appeal to God to be washed and released from sin;

2.11. Tradition that Nullifies the Commandments of Jesus

It is not that Jesus commanded against tradition, but commanded against Tradition that supercedes divine command:

Mark 7:6-12, (Which quotes Isaiah 29:13bb&ff; Ezekiel, etc): And [Jesus] said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites -

‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. 7 ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ 8 Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” 9 ... “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. ...

Command after command, when a believer asks, "How to obey that commandment" - it is often exchanged with a meaning that can't possibly be enacted, "The commandment not to call anyone father, is merely figurative"!

2.12. Paul's Statement Regarding "Pillar of the Truth" - Can be Interpreted Two Ways, at least:

1 Timothy 3:15, (

These things I am writing so YOU know how it is necessary to conduct yourself in the Household of God:

1. Catholic Doctrine: Which is the Congregation of the Living God - [and is] the Support and Foundation of [The] Truth;
2. The Greek - Without the Definite Articles: Which is the Congregation of the Living God - [and is] a Support and Foundation for Truth;

It IS NOT for the Church to justify its actions through, "Special and Exclusive Knowledge".

But, IT IS for the Church to validate the Truth of God - through their actions:

1 Peter 2:12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Debate Round No. 2


I understand your argument up until the "Universal Acceptance" section. You kind of lost me there...
Sorry this final argument is not very well put together, the time limit made me struggle for edits. Also, for this third round, I will be trying to convince you of the Catholic Church rather than addressing most of your points.

Referring to your 'Authority of binding and loosing' section:
If Jesus was not solely speaking to the disciples, why is it that in John 20:22-23, it has the exact same wording and scenario; only it specifically states that the disciples were in a room, alone, with the door locked?
Finally, all of you have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.(1 Peter 3:8)

God does not want us as a people to be divided. He created one Church for everyone to trust and obey. There are some wonderful aspects of the Catholic Church. The unity in any of the Churches is fabulous. No matter where you go, anywhere in the world, you can go to Mass and it will be a bit different, but with the same core elements. If you are a part of the thousands of Protestant denominations, it might take a while to find a place to attend while traveling, and you might as well just skip church.

Peter is the only one given the charge as pastor to "feed the sheep." (John 21:15-16) We are the hungry sheep. And no matter if we"re Catholic or Protestant, we are being fed by Jesus Christ. For Catholics, it is not only spiritually, but also in the Eucharist at Mass. A priest I know has a quote: "God overflows your cup so you can go fill someone else" cup." That is our mission. "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd." Jesus here is referring to his one, holy, Catholic (universal), and apostolic Church.

In conclusion,
The Catholic Church is the one true church because the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim. 3:15), Jesus established the Church for the official interpretation of his Word, the line of bishops and Popes have continued starting with Peter until today, and because the Catholic Church is the singular Church Jesus was referring to in John 10:16.

This has some info I left out:


elikakohen forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by elikakohen 2 years ago
Hey Pro - I asked for moderator to help fix the bugs that made the argument unreadable. Even if they do get fixed - I am not sure if the rounds could be rolled back, or the timeout reset.

Thanks for the debate! And, sorry that the argument wasn't readable - and extended off screen. :(
Posted by CatholicKid 2 years ago
Hey don't worry about it; I should have made the response time four days instead of three. This is my first debate so I am learning how it works as well.
Posted by elikakohen 2 years ago
CatholicKid - I am very sorry about the last minute post.

I did not have the opportunity, (or space) - to cover each one of your points. I hope this will suffice. Please feel free to ask for clarifications.

Thanks for your patience while I learn how all of this works!
Posted by elikakohen 2 years ago
CatholicKid - Could you point me to some references about: "Bishops in the Catholic Church are Apostles"?

Posted by Just-Call-Me-PK 2 years ago
Please dont apologise, i didnt mean for my comment to come across as abrupt, this was not my intent. I would be happy to debate the topic further if you wanted.
Posted by elikakohen 2 years ago
Just-Call-Me-PK - For the most part, I just copy/pasted from different websites, and tried to include those links.

However - I have no problem at all responding to your own objections too.

But - my argument is that if any one of those points are valid - then it is reasonable to call that authority into question. I tried to limit my objections only to "catastrophic objections".

I do have to apologize - I think this is my ... second (?) formal debate - ever? So - it's a learning process. So, Constructive comments would be very helpful.
Posted by Just-Call-Me-PK 2 years ago
Con, you are way off with many of your translations and context.
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