In viewing material from members of the clergy of the RCC, a critical issue caught my attention. It came from several sources, particularly Fr. Chad Ripperger whose videos on exorcism in particular I have been following. The issue is an apparent doctrinal position that one cannot be saved outside of the RCC.
I am not a member of the RCC although such is under consideration. Moreover, none of my family, current or passed on, have to my knowledge been members. This means that they, and I, are damned by RCC accounts.
I consider that I have Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit all within me and have had such before I became engrossed in RCC theology. I know because when I turn inward, they are present in the following way. If I have touched a hot stove and you have not, we can discuss the experience extensively but you cannot know what they experience actually is until you touch the stove as I have. If God and Christ are within me, how cannot I be saved?
According to one video, a number of saints, popes and prominent theologians all agreed on the principle of salvation alone for RCC members. The argument for such was not given but probably rests with Matthew 16:18:
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.Matthew 16:18-19, KJV.
Since “Peter” or “petra” in Greek means “a large mass of rock”, it sounds like Peter is the basis for the Christian church, especially considering the power given to him. One of the problems that comes from reading scripture is that you need the entire context of a passage for a full understanding. So let’s look at the preceding verses.
15 He saith unto them [his disciples], But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.Matthew 16:15-17, KJV.
In this larger context we might then say that it is Peter’s faith that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God that is the rock upon which the church is based. This is non-denominational. Matthew 18:20 extends the union with Christ two any two or more persons gathered in his name. Further, the power given to Peter was extended to all his disciples in Matthew 18:19, removing the idea that Peter has a special dispensation.
18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.Matthew 18:18-20, KJV.
This supports the general sense that I had in reading the New Testament that Christ’s church is the body of all believers.
I came to this understanding through much prayer and meditation because the implication is that this particular RCC doctrine of salvation exclusivity is wrong. After all, it goes against the teaching of many RCC luminaries. It however, came with a great peace and thankfulness. From this I, nor anyone else should conclude that any of the RCC luminaries are not to be revered or listened to. As I said, I have not read their arguments. But one might conclude that the RCC is fallible. Indeed, I want to address the fallibility of human organization separately.
Articles in This Series
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