Critique of THE PROTESTANT'S DILEMMA by Devin Rose

Chapter 1 - Divine Authority

Page 27: We know that Christ established a Church, visible and unified, to which he gave his divine authority. In Matthew’s Gospel we read that “he called to him his twelve apostles and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity” (Matt. 10:1). But according to Protestantism, this authority must have been lost when that visible Church became morally and doctrinally corrupt.
Note: The “church” is a group of people who are called to be apart from non-believers.
The word "church" as rendered in the New Testament comes from the Greek term ekklesia which is formed from two Greek words meaning "an assembly" and "to call out" or "called out ones." The church, therefore, is not a place. It's not the building, it's not the location, and it's not the denomination. We—God's people who are in Christ Jesus—are the church.
Note: The author continually makes false assumptions.

Page 27: The vast majority of Protestants believe that the visible Church did in fact lose God’s authority at some point in time; that Christ revoked it when corruption entered into its teachings. Many fundamentalist Protestants believe that the date when the Church became corrupted and lost God’s divine authorization was the year 313, when Constantine proclaimed the Edict of Milan, which ended the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire and began (they say) the mixture of pagan corruption with the true gospel.
Note: Original sin has always been with all humans including the Apostles.
So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:28-31.

Page 28: The notion that “the church” became corrupt nonetheless does not sit well with Protestants, since they also believe the Bible passages that speak in exalted terms about the Church. Their solution is to separate the historical institution originally known as “the Church” – which fell into corruption – from the true Church of Christ, which continued undefiled. At the time of its corruption, whenever that was, the visible institution became the Roman Catholic Church, while Christ’s true Church became invisible and purely spiritual. Hence, the promises Christ made in the Bible still apply to all “true believers” in the world, who make up this invisible Church: the one that quietly endured through all the apostate centuries until the Reformation unearthed it.
Note: God’s people have always been on the earth being a witness for Jesus Christ.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21.

Page 29: In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples: “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (10:16). Notice the direct line of authority: The Father sends the Son, and the Son sends the apostles with his authority, such that listening to them (and the men whom they in turn authorize) is equivalent to listening to Jesus and the Father.
Note: God directly appoints all Christians directly to an area of influence.
We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. 2 Corinthians 10:13-16.

Page 30: From history, we see the apostles and then their successors, the bishops, exercising this authority in the Church, and the Church thriving under their divinely authorized leadership – even in the midst of horrific persecutions.
Note: Original sin has always been with all humans including the Apostles.
And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question. Acts 15:1-2.
Note: The Church did not thrive under the direction of Peter, James, and John.

Page 30: Paul speaks of this authority in his first letter to his disciple, Timothy: “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders” (1Tim. 4:14). In the next chapter, he enjoins Timothy to “not be hasty in the laying on of hands” to avoid ordaining an unworthy man to lead the church (1 Tim. 5:22). Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, in the late first and early second centuries, testify to the authority given bishops as successors to the apostles.
Note: Jesus Christ sent a common Christian to commission the Apostle Paul.
And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 9:17.

Page 31: Since most Protestants do not give a specific event and date for how and when corruption entered the Church but instead mention a vague span of centuries, it is best to consider the plausibility of the assertion in general. Interestingly, it differs from the theology of the Mormons (Latter-Day Saints) only in the date given, for Mormons believe that the Church lost the authority Christ gave it sometime around A.D. 70 or 100 (either at the death of Peter or of the last apostle). At that time, they assert, the “Great Apostasy” began, which lasted for around 1,700 years before Christ reestablished his authority in the Mormon Church through Joseph Smith.
Note: The work of Christians in the first century A.D. did not go to waste.
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” John 15:16.

Page 32: Even as a Baptist, I rejected the Mormon claim of the Church losing its authority at the death of the apostles, but as I pondered this question, I had to admit that my Protestant beliefs were not so very different. When did I, as a Baptist, think that corruption had entered into the Church’s teachings? The truth was that I had never given it much thought,” I mused vaguely. And, like most Protestants, I thought that the Reformers had more or less corrected the corrupted teachings and set things right again. What did I think had happened to the Church for the thousand years between the corruption and the Reformation? To be honest, I didn’t really think about it – nor do most Protestants.
Note: Original sin has always been with all humans including the Apostles.
Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. Acts 15:36-40.

Page 33: Similarly, the Church is a visible unity that can be seen acting in history, with Christ’s authority, to exclude from the Mystical Body those members who persisted in teaching false doctrines. Vincent of Lerins demonstrated the visibility of the Church when he wrote in the 434: What then will a Catholic Christian do if a small portion of the Church has cut itself off from the communion of the universal faith? What, surely, but prefer the soundness of the whole body to the unsoundness of a pestilent and corrupt member.
Note: According to this false definition, Pope Peter was corrupt member.
Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. Galatians 2:11-13.

Page 33: If the true Church is invisible, it becomes impossible to determine who has authority to excommunicate another. Christ directed the apostles on how and when to excommunicate someone from the Church (see Matt. 18:17), but what does this mean when the Church is invisible and spread out across numerous denominations? A Christian “excommunicated” from one church just goes to another down the street, both a part of the “invisible Church,” rendering these biblical passages meaningless. Being excommunicated from the Church makes sense only if the Church is a visible unity that one can be cut off from.
Note: False believers will be in every gathering of Christians.
For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Acts 20:29-30.

Page 34: If Protestantism is true, then either Christ revoked the authority he had given his Church or the Church changed in its essentials from being a unified, visible, and hierarchically organized body to an invisible and purely spiritual association. There is no scriptural evidence for the former and much against it, and in the latter case it becomes impossible to know to whom God has given the rightful authority to lead the Church. Protestants may like to speak of “the Church,” but in truth all they can point to are individual believers who may or may not meet in some local congregation.
Note: The Church are individuals not a legal corporation based in Rome.
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Romans 16:3-5.