THE TRUTH

  In a court of law a witness swears to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We are exceedingly fortunate that the Catholic Church teaches us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The Church teaches that there is one God, and that God is personal. Some groups like Buddhists donít believe in a personal god. They think some nebulous force called karma controls our destiny and that there is no way to understand it. Some people, like Hindus and other pagans believe that there is a pantheon of gods. All these gods are different and are in control of different aspects of reality. We know the truth that there is one God, three divine persons, in one divine Being.

  Some people believe that Jesus existed, but donít know the whole truth about him. Moslems think he was just a prophet. Jehovah Witnesses think he was just an angel, a created being that God adopted. Mormons believe he is only Lord of this planet, and that anyone (any man that is) can become the same in divinity as He is. We know the whole truth. We know that Jesus is truly God, and truly man, possessing two natures, Divine and human uniquely combined in the hypostatic union. "In Christ the fullness of deity resides in bodily form". (COL 2:9)

  Other Christian churches only have part of the truth. They believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and as such it should be the final word on faith. This is only half of the truth. The Bible is the inspired word of God, but the Bible tells us "..stand firm in and hold on to these truths which we taught you both in our preaching and in our letter." (2THES 2:15) The Gospel was handed down by word of mouth long before it was written down. Many of the oral traditions were written very early but not put in the Bible. These same Christians who emphasize the Bible donít understand that "For all scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth...". (2TIM 3:16) All scripture, not 3/4 or 9/8 or 95%. Certain "reformers" in the 16th century didnít believe this so they tore out parts of the Bible that didnít support their theories. Thatís why to this day the Catholic Bible has 46 books of the Old Testament and the Protestant only has 39.

  These Christians also have only half the truth on salvation as well. They say we are justified by faith alone. Faith in Jesus is absolutely necessary, but so is action. Scripture clearly says "So you see that a man is put right with God by what he does and not by faith alone".(JAS 2:24) We must cooperate with Godís grace, and attempt to carry out Godís will. (CCC 1993) We must "Try to be at peace with all men, and try to live a holy life for no one will see the Lord without it." (HEB 12:14) St. Augustine knew this when he wrote "God who created thee without thee, will not justify thee without thee". Jesus clearly informed everyone that even those who knew Him but failed to put their faith into action would receive everlasting punishment. (MAT 25:31-46)

  They also have only half the truth on the doctrine of being "born again". They say that one must be born again to achieve salvation and once you are then you are saved and thatís that, you can never lose it. It is true one must be born again. This is done through the sacrament of baptism. ďThis water was a figure pointing to baptism which now saves you...Baptism saves you through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." (1PETER 3:21) "Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith". (CCC 1992) But the whole truth is we can lose our salvation if we fall into mortal sin. "...But there is sin which leads to death". (1John 5:16) Even some members of the early church fell away. (2 Peter 2:20-22) Paul guided the early Christians by giving them lists of serious sins and warning them "...I warn you as I have warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!" (GAL 6:21)

  Some Christians, and even some who call themselves Catholic, donít have the whole truth on the authority of the Pope. They donít seem mind if their own pastor speaks definitively about matters of faith and morals based on their own learning. The air waves are filled with preachers with their own version of the truth. But when it comes to the successor of Peter, for some reason they donít want to listen. The whole truth is that Jesus left us a shepherd, saying to Peter "...Tend my sheep..." (JOHN 21:16) and also to Peter He said "...you are ĎRock,í and on this rock I will build my church...". (MAT 16:18) When the residents of Jerusalem saw what miracles the apostles were working after Pentecost, "They asked Peter and the other apostles , ĎWhat are we to do, brothers?í It was Peter who answered: ĎYou must reform and be baptized."(ACTS 3:37-38) Peter spoke for all the apostles on matters of faith, not just then but on many occasions. His successor speaks for the successors to the other apostles to this day.

  In a court of law a witness swears to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. In the final court at the last judgment we will be judged by the truth. It is vital that we recognize now that the official teaching of the Catholic Church is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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Published by The Minnesota St. Thomas More Chapter of Catholics United for the Faith, November 1998.