They Couldn't Do It.
What Makes You Think That You Can?
"The Church, instituted by the Lord and confirmed by the
Apostles, is one for all men; but the frantic folly of the diverse impious sects
has cut them off from her. It cannot be denied that this tearing asunder of the
faith has arisen from the defect of poor intelligence, which twists what is read
to conform to its opinion, instead of adjusting its opinion to the meaning of
what is read. However, while individual parties fight among themselves, the
Church stands revealed not only by her own doctrines, but by those also of her
adversaries. And although they are all ranged against her, she confutes the most
wicked error which they all share, by the very fact that she is alone and One.
All the heretics, therefore, come against the Church; but while all the heretics can conquer each other, they can win nothing for themselves. For their victory is the triumph of the Church over all of them. One heresy struggles against that teaching of another, which the faith of the Church has already condemned in the other heresy, for there is nothing which the heretics hold in common, and the result is that they affirm our faith while fighting among themselves."
Saint Hilary of Poitiers...
The Trinity, 7:4, 356 A.D., Jurgens, "The Faith of the Early Fathers", 865
This quote is as true today as it was over 1600 years ago...
"Nothing under the sun is new,
neither is any man able to say:
Behold this is new;
for it has already gone before
in the ages that were before us."
The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus
Christ in the early first century. From the first day of the existence of the
Church, it has been under attack by those seeking to destroy it. The attacks
have been going on for almost 2000 years unabated, and continue to
this very day.
Well, guess what? The Church which Jesus Christ founded is still with us.
But what has happened to the attackers?
1. First it was the Jews who did not accept Christ. They accused him of all sorts of lies and prodded the Romans to crucify Him. They persecuted the fledgling Church right from the start. Read about the actions of Saul and persecution by the Jews in Acts 7 and 8. What did the Jews receive for their actions against the Church? They received almost total destruction.
Jesus Christ said in Matthew 24:2, "...there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." He was talking about the Jewish temple and Jerusalem. His words were fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Romans totally destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish temple. All the Jewish priests were put to death, and that is why you will not find Jewish priests today, only Rabbi's, as it takes a priest to make a priest. The Catholic Church was not destroyed, but Judaism almost was, and it was forever changed.
The Catholic Church continued to grow.
2. Next it was the Romans. They crucified Jesus Christ, and mercilessly persecuted the Christians and tried to kill them all for hundreds of years, and through many pagan Roman Emperors. What did the Romans receive for their persecution? A pagan Roman Emperor, Constantine, was converted to Christianity. (If you can't fight them, then join them). The Roman Empire began a long decline and ended with Romulus in 476, after being almost completely destroyed by invaders from the north.
The Roman Empire never recovered.
The Catholic Church was not destroyed, but those who tried to destroy it, the Roman Empire was.
The Catholic Church continued to prosper.
3. Then came Islam. We all know of the terrible persecutions of the Church in the middle ages. We remember all of those Crusade wars and the defeats of brave Christian knights suffered at the hands of Islam.
Islam is still with us, but so is the Catholic Church, and the Church emerged stronger than ever.
4. Heretics have been attacking the Church from the very beginning, and in every century since. Some come on with much fanfare and then eventually die out. Who remembers the Simonians, the Cerenthians, Basilidians, Valentinians, Marcionites, Ebonites, Montanists, Origenists, Arians, Nestorians, Lollards, Photius, and hundreds of others? They all attacked the Catholic Church, but the Church is still here, and they are all gone. However, some of these heresies continue to crop up and like chameleons who change their colors, they are disguised with new names. Heresies and heretics will always be with us. They are the chaff mixed in with the wheat, and are the ones who will be cut down and thrown into the unquenchable fire, while the wheat will be gathered into the barn and saved, Matthew 3:12.
5. Then came Protestantism. Started by Martin Luther in 1521, it spread over Europe in short order and caused 10 million Catholics to become Protestant. It was a blow to the Catholic Church but only a temporary one, as only a short 10 years later, the Church gained 10 million converts in central America, starting with the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Church continued to grow, but cracks immediately began to show in the heresy of Protestantism. Since they had no central authority, they began to squabble amongst themselves over just what was the truth. Soon they split into various sects, Lutherans, Baptists, Calvinists, Methodists, Anglicans, etc.. The splits are still going on to this day. At the latest count, there are over 40,000* different non-Catholic sects in the world today that call themselves Christian. To make matters worse, the individual sects are further dividing themselves into smaller and smaller pieces. Baptists alone are split into over 20 major pieces and over 80 more minor ones. Presbyterianism is split into over 10 pieces. Lutheranism is split into 18 pieces. Even Mormonism is split into at least four parts. There are literally hundreds of Pentecostal Churches alone, and many more who call themselves non-denominational.
Non-Catholic Christians have never learned that a house divided against itself cannot stand, Matthew 12:25. Also a house built on sand and not on the 'rock', Matthew 16:18, will be washed away, Matthew 7:21-27.
So What did the Protestant reformation do to the Church which Jesus Christ founded? It produced some temporary setbacks, but that is all. The Church continues to grow, and is much larger now than it was when Martin Luther started Protestantism. So what did Protestantism gain? Nothing more than a severe splintering of the Body of Christ. It certainly did not attain its goal of destroying the Catholic Church. In fact Protestantism is in great trouble today and will no doubt go the way of Arius, and Photius and the hundreds of other heretics in the past.
*World Christian Encyclopedia, a Protestant publication.
6. Then along came Adolph Hitler, who vowed to destroy the Catholic Church. Where is he and his 1000 year Reich today? They are gone, but guess what? The Catholic Church is still here today.
7. We cannot forget communism and the damage it did to the Church over 75 years of terror. Eastern Europe behind an iron curtain, the USSR, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, and a score or so of other countries under the yoke of the bear. The Soviet empire collapsed suddenly without a shot being fired. What caused the sudden collapse which surprised almost everyone? It was the Blessed Virgin Mary acting through her Vicar of Christ, Pope John Paul II. The collapse started in Catholic Poland and with the help of our Polish Pope. Granted, communism is still alive in parts of the world, but where is the Soviet Union, the main adversary? And what about the Catholic Church which the communists tried to destroy? It is making a comeback in those religion starved countries.
So now, how do you explain this remarkable survivability of the Church, which Jesus Christ Himself founded, after seemingly overwhelming attacks, from within and from without, and by many diverse forces, some with cunning ingenuity, and for almost 2000 years?
It is very easily explained for anyone who knows and loves Holy Scripture.
It survives because Jesus Christ, Himself said it would,
Matthew 16:18, Matthew 28:20, and John 14:16-17.
Show me another institution that has survived intact for 2000 years, and still to this day does exactly what Jesus Christ commanded? Show me another institution that has withstood the slings and the arrows and the barbs, the heresies and the heretics, the wars and the subversions, that the Catholic Church has endured for so long? Explain to me how and why the Catholic Church has survived for so long?
"If GOD is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31
I do not have to explain it to anyone, for that is the explanation whether anyone chooses to believe it or not.