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Table Conversations:Visible Church



What is the Church?  Is it the invisible body of believers here on earth, as Protestants claim? Or did Jesus Christ begin an authoritative, teaching, visible Church?  Catholics believe that He did and that the Catholic Church is that Church.  This is what Scripture has to say about it.

Jesus uses the word “church” two times in the Scriptures.  In Matthew 16:18, Jesus says, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…”.  He then gave Peter the keys to his kingdom of heaven and the power to bind and loose.  Then in Matthew 18:17, Jesus says, “If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.  If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.” Since the beginning, there has been the Church to settle disputes and teach authoritatively.  We see this in Acts 15 where we read about the Council of Jerusalem.  And in 1 Timothy 3, St. Paul clearly describes the hierarchical structure of positions in the Church. 

Since the beginning of the ages, the Catholic Church has been there to refute heresies, determine the canon of the New Testament and unerringly guard and teach the deposit of truth handed down to the Apostles by our Lord Jesus Christ. 

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