Yesterday I wrote about how the resolution of questions of faith are an absolute necessity since these questions directly impact the salvation and damnation of souls.
The Church as Authority
Scripture has both prophesied an authoritative Church and has spoken of its consummation.
And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not pass over it, and fools shall not err therein.
This “Holy Way” finds its fulfillment in the apostolic church.
But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets, having a hope in God which these themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.
St. Luke, in his writings of Paul’s defense to Felix, draws a strong link to the Holy Way that Isaiah spoke of and the new “sect” of Jews (and Gentiles) who follow Jesus. Scripture here, implies that they are one in the same. Isaiah said that this Holy Way would not err from within. Perhaps one might think that this isn’t enough proof; it is just one silly verse from the Old Testament and two from the New. If only this were it.
Twice within the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus Christ gives to men the authority to bind and loose:
I will give you [Peter] the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
St. Matthew 16:19
Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
St. Matthew 18:18
What does this mean, “whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven”? How can mortal men do such a thing? How can what a man decides on earth change what is true in the eternal dwelling of God? Of course this is not what Jesus is saying. The only logical explanation is that through the Holy Spirit, what is bound in heaven, will be bound be them on earth. So the things that they bind are not changed in heaven, but that they all the things they bind are already so bound in heaven. So when the Church binds us to believe in the Real Presence, it is not they they have the power to alter what God has taught us, but rather that this has already been declared by the Holy Trinity and is therefore being passed on to us.
If this isn’t enough to convince you, take a look at St. Paul’s words to St. Timothy:
If I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.
1 Timothy 3:15
The household of God, his family is the Church. And the Church is the pillar and bulwark of truth. To know and defend truth is the job of the Church. The Church must have authority to teach truth and to bind its members to that truth.
This obviously begs the question for those who thirst for Jesus, who thirst for truth, what is the Church and where can I find her?