Critique of THE PROTESTANT'S DILEMMA by Devin Rose

Chapter 4 - The Four Marks of the Church

Page 48: Based upon the promises made by Christ, the four marks of the Church are encapsulated in the fourth-century Nicene Creed: “We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.” The Protestant Reformers found themselves in the awkward position of having to affirm this ancient creed – understood as the measure of Christian ecclesiology – while still maintaining their new conception of the Church. The only way Protestantism can reconcile the two is to assert that the four marks no longer mean what they used to.
Note: The author stresses authority instead of love for the validation of the Roman Catholic Church.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27.
Note: The author continually makes false assumptions.

Pages 48-49: Protestants understand the Church to be “one” only in the sense that the collections of Christians that make up the invisible Church all form one group. Since the Holy Spirit dwells within every Christian, together they form the one group of true believers. In this way, the Church is not unified, visible body but an invisible collection of disconnected parts (though Protestants do look ahead to a future unification of the body upon Christ’s return).
Note: The author does not understand about being unified through love.
Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you? You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. 2 Corinthians 3:1-3.
Note: Are you unified with God and other Christians in love?

Page 49: Regarding the second mark – that the Church is holy – traditional Protestant doctrine states that holiness comes from Christ’s imputing his righteousness to the Christian. Thus the Father legally declares a Christian to be holy on behalf of Christ’s righteousness, but he is not actually made holy. This Protestant understanding of holiness for the individual Christian is then applied to the Church in general: through Christ, the Church is declared holy because his righteousness is imputed to it collectively.
Note: Christians have been made holy before the Father through faith in the Son.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6.
Note: Are you unified with God and other Christians in love?

Page 50: At first blush, it would seem that affirming that the Church is “catholic” would be exceedingly difficult for Protestants. But actually this mark is explained easily under the Protestant paradigm. Since, they say, the root meaning of catholic is “universal,” and since they believe that Christ’s Church is universal in scope – open to every person in the world – they can happily proclaim that they believe the Church is catholic with a lowercase “c.”
Note: The true Church is universal in love and a spirit of gentleness.
Therefore I urge you, imitate me. For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness? 1 Corinthians 4:16-21.
Note: Are you unified with God and other Christians in love?

Page 50: For the fourth mark, many Protestant communities claim to be apostolic in that they teach the same truth that God gave to the apostles in the first century. Because (they say) their community’s interpretation of the Bible is the same as the apostles’, their church is “apostolic.”
Note: Christians are convinced that they cannot be separated from the love of God.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39.
Note: Do you believe the Apostle Paul? (No mention of bishops)

Page 51: Protestantism, with its cacophony of competing voices and communities, cannot claim to profess “one faith,” but the Catholic Church can. Its magisterium is able to declare what is true and what is false, drawing the bounds of orthodox belief. The first few councils of the Church, which formulated this creed, by their very existence demonstrate the working of this teaching authority to decree the one faith of the Church, to which all Christians must adhere (or else be in heresy). The councils convened to address novel teachings that ran counter to the one Faith believed by the Church since apostolic times, and they set out to correct those errors so that the faithful might remain unified in the truth.
Note: The Apostle Paul wants Christians to examine themselves.
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:5-6.
Note: Do you believe the Apostle Paul? (No mention of bishops)

Pages 51-52: Notice that Paul nowhere claims that God only declares the Church to be holy, but rather that Christ really cleanses it, sanctifies it, and presents it without blemish to himself. In Catholic theology, following the biblical pattern, Christ has married his Church, and so truly purifies it. Christ did not give himself up for the Church just so God could declare a legal fiction that it is pure. Instead, his sacrifice of love is powerful enough to truly cleanse it in truth.
Note: True Christians will love God and others while saved by Jesus Christ.
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7.
Note: Do you believe the Apostle John? (No mention of bishops)

Page 52: The third mark, that the Church is catholic, indeed speaks of its universality, but not in the rather superficial way Protestants do. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: The word “catholic” means “universal,” in the sense of “according to the totality” or “in keeping with the whole.” The Church is catholic in a double sense: first, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. “Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.” In her subsists the fullness of Christ’s body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him “the fullness of the means of salvation” which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession. The Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost and will always be so until the day of the Parousia.
Note: The true Church of Jesus Christ will be comprised of Christians who will not lord over others.
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Romans 12:3-5.
Note: Do you believe the Apostle Paul? (No mention of bishops)

Page 53: The fourth mark, apostolicity, indicates that the Church is built on the foundation of the apostles, with Christ as the cornerstone: “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone” (Eph. 2:19-20). (The “household of God” is the Church: see Heb. 3:4-6.) To have a church built upon an apostolic foundation means not merely to be in (presumed) doctrinal agreement or moral unity with the apostles – it means to be sharers in the apostles’ authority. God transmitted that authority from the apostles to their successors, the bishops, through the laying on of hands – and then in turn to their successors (cf. 1 Tim. 4:14). Through this apostolic succession these bishops remain the foundation of the apostolic Church.
Note: The only foundation of the true Church is Jesus Christ.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:9-11.
Note: Do you believe the Apostle Paul? (No mention of bishops)

Page 54: The Protestant idea of apostolicity is a half-truth. It does mean unity of belief with apostolic teaching; however, the way that we know what the apostles taught is not to exercise our personal judgment but to look to their successors, to whom apostolic faith and authority have been given.
Note: Christians are unified in love for each other and God the Father through Jesus Christ.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:12-17.
Note: Do you believe the Apostle Paul? (No mention of bishops)