Full Text for American Religious Scene- Volume 10 - Roman Catholic teachings about church and ministry (Video)

No. 10. >> I sense we are coming to the end of our discussion about Roman Catholicism. And before we finish, I want to ask why Roman Catholic teachings about church and ministry are so disturbing to Lutherans. At least that's my sense here in Cleveland. >>DR. THOMAS E. MANTEUFEL: David, Roman Catholicism says that the Christian church is a body of people who profess faith in Christ and are governed by the bishops and the Pope. The government of bishops is part of Christ's will for the church and must be included in the definition of the church. Lutherans disagree with this. We say that the church is the body of all who believe in Christ as their Savior. And is found wherever there are Christians, no matter what form of church government they use. Some Lutherans do have a system of bishops. And others don't use bishops. But all Lutherans agree that the Word of God does not require government by bishops in the church. And that it is something that developed historically for convenience in administration and the like. It is not necessary for salvation or for the existence of the church to have bishops who govern the church. The formation of congregations is something that is divinely instituted. And that is necessary. And the office of the ministry is divinely instituted and is necessary for the church. But bishops are not. When a religious organization claims to be identical with the true church that was founded by Christ as the Orthodox do and as the Roman Catholics do, that always raises disturbing questions for those who are not members of that particular organization. That is to say if these claims are right, then are these people really saved? Do they have true ministers? Do they have true and valid sacraments? If they are not in the church, then can they be comforted by the promises that are given to the church? For example, in Ephesians 2:19 and following where Paul says to the people in Ephesus: You are fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone in whom all the building fitly framed together grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are built together for a dwelling place of God through the Spirit. Again, Ephesians 5:25: Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word. And then there are Jesus' words in Matthew 16:18: Upon this rock I will build my church. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Listen to these wonderful promises that are made here. That is the promise of being part of the temple of the Lord and of being a dwelling place for God and of being sanctified and cleansed by the Lord. And of standing upon the rock of the church. And having security against the gates of hell. Are those that do not belong to the church then deprived of the comfort of all of these promises? But these are unnecessary questions. And unnecessary disturbances. Because they come out of a false and unbiblical claim about the church.