Visible Unity of the Church

by Steve Ray on June 10, 2008

 In response to Teresa Tomeo's show today about the Visible Unity of the Church, here are a few verses we referred to:

1) “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to THE church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." (Matthew 18:17) 

2) "but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15)

3) "There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;" (Ephesians 4:4)

4) "I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me." (John 17:23)

5) "Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment." (1 Corinthians 1:10)

6) "Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn." (John 21:11)  Here the net represents the Church pulled unto the shore of eternity by Peter at the end of time. He brings the net filled with fish to Jesus. The net is not torn (Greek word for schism).

St. Irenaeus (ad 120-200):   "As I have already observed, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points of doctrine just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. 
For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same.  For the churches in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, not do those in Spain, not those in Gaul, not those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions [Palestine] of the world."

John Martignoni wrote to me with this episode I've seen over and over again:
"I'll never forget the time I showed a co-worker (PCA) the verse from John 20 about Jesus giving the disciples the authority to forgive or retain sins.  Her jaw dropped open.  She said, "I've read John 20 times and I've never seen that verse."  Then she noticed that I had a "Catholic Study Bible," and she got this big smile on her face and said, "Oh…wait a minute…this is a Catholic Bible.  Let me go get my King James." 
             A minute later she walked back into my office as she was flipping through her KJV and when she came to John 20, she froze and literally could not speak for several seconds…she just stared at me.  At which point I took her on a Catholic tour of the Bible for the next couple of hours.  She never came into my office and told me where the Catholic Church had "gotten it wrong" again…which she had done several times previous to that encounter."

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