Which is the True Church, and Which ones are not?

Pontius Pilate asked the question "What is truth?" in John 18:38.
That is an interesting question, but how many know the answer? What does Holy Scripture say?
Truth is a person and that person is Jesus Christ.
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me'." John 14:6

Elucidation: Since truth is a person, then whatever that person has said must be true.
Therefore, everything Jesus Christ said must be true, simply because He said it.

Here are some Moral questions for Sola Scriptura believers to answer from the Bible alone.

1. Where in Scripture is the verse which gives us moral guidance on cloning of human persons?
2. Which Scriptural verses provide moral guidance for the question of invitro fertilization?
3. Which Scriptural verses provide moral guidance for bioethics?
4. Which Scriptural verses provide moral guidance for the use of human body parts?

The answer to all of the above questions is that Holy Scripture is silent for each and every one of them. Consequently, we have to look elsewhere for the answers. Now suppose everyone on earth was a Sola Scriptura believer? Since we would all be bound to that clearly unworkable doctrine (as I will show), we could not look elsewhere for spiritual guidance for those pressing questions, could we? Those questions and hundreds more under the same circumstances would go unanswered. If that is the case, then how long would civilization last? The answer is not for very long. Fortunately, most of us are not Sola Scriptura believers, and so there is a way to receive Spiritual guidance for those important questions which cry out for resolution.
That way, surprisingly, is spelled out in detail in Holy Scripture itself in the book of Acts.
In Acts chapter 15, such a moral question did arise, the resolution of which could not be found in Scripture itself. Verses 1-5 of Acts 15 present the question, "should Gentiles be circumcised as the Jews were"? Verses 6-29 explain in detail exactly how it was resolved, by calling a Council (6) of all of the Apostles, and having a debate with one lead spokesman, Peter, at the helm (7). The final decision made in conjunction with the Holy Spirit (28), was not to burden Gentiles with having to be circumcised.
How much help was Sola Scriptura in the resolution of this issue? None at all! There is no mention in that chapter that Scripture was even consulted. There is the possibility that the members of that first council did consult Scripture but found that it was silent on that issue.
The moral question which was not resolved by Holy Scripture was resolved by calling the first Council of the Church, and settling it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is exactly the way which Scripture says the system will work for future issues, and the Word is from Truth Himself:
"I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come."
John 16:12-13
Please take note of the future tone of those verses. What things does Jesus have to say that his disciples cannot bear now? If they could bear them, then they would be recorded in Scripture, isn't that true? Now then, Jesus also said:
"Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."
John 7:39
And He said:
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you."
John 16:7
So Jesus must leave first, before the Spirit is given, and in leaving, he had not left instruction for us in Scripture, for all that we are to know.
That truth is clearly seen in John 20:30 and John 21:25.

Scripture clearly has said that everything is not in the Bible, but what is not therin will be revealed by the Holy Spirit over time.
Is that the theme of Sola Scriptura? It is not. Obviously it is to the contrary.

How many similar moral questions or situations as those listed above would you guess have arisen in the 2000 year history of the Church which Jesus Christ founded? I have listed five moral questions so far in this document, and all have arrived on the scene in recent years.
Consequently, over the centuries there had to have been hundreds more.
In truth, I have clearly shown that Sola Scriptura simply is not workable in order to resolve non-Biblical moral questions which are bound to arise from time to time. Holy Scripture is exactly what it says it is in 2Timothy 3:16, 'All Scripture is useful for teaching'. It is a teaching tool, but it does not say it is the only teaching tool. That is why Scripture is sorely lacking for new issues which arise outside of its scope, and one of the main reasons why Jesus Christ founded an authoritative teaching Church.
Since Holy Scripture is not the only teaching tool, then His Church picks up where Scripture left off. I have already discussed the first Church Council, so let us now expand upon that topic.

"Where there is no governor, the people shall fall: but there is safety where there is much counsel." Proverbs 11:14

Let us examine a few examples of questions of Faith which have also cried out for answers, and which are not formally defined by Holy Scripture:

1. What is the nature of Jesus Christ? The Council of Chalcedon in 451 defined Jesus Christ as being one person, with two natures, one Divine nature and one human nature.
2. Who defined the Holy Trinity? The Council of Nicaea in 325.
3. Who defined The Holy Spirit as consubstantial with the Father and the Son?
The Council of Constantinople I, in 381.
4. Who condemned predestination as not Biblical? The Council of Mainz did in 848.
5. Who defined the Hypostatic Union? The Councils of Ephesus in 431, and Chalcedon in 451.
6. Where in Scripture is listed the canons of both the Old and New Testaments? If you cannot find such a list from Scripture, then how do you know that the book which you use is the Bible? Scripture is silent on which books, out of hundreds available at the time, were canonical and which were not. There is no list of inspired books in the Bible.
It was the Councils of Rome in 382, Hippo in 393, and Carthage in 397, which decided which books were canonical in both the Old and New Testaments.

So there you have it, just a few examples of questions of faith which required authoritive answers of truth and in each case Holy Scripture was silent. However, the Holy Spirit, in every case, was not silent.
Deja vu Acts 15:1-26.

Over the centuries, time and again, the concept of Sola Scriptura has failed to provide answers to extremely important and fundamental questions.

Here is additional Scripture given to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ, as to how the system will work for future issues:
"These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."
John 14:25-26

"Designs are brought to nothing where there is no counsel: but where there are many counsellors, they are established." Proverbs 15:22

"Because war is managed by due ordering: and there shall be safety where there are many counsels." Proverbs 24:6

By now you must realize that you cannot answer any of the above questions from Scripture alone. Since this is true, then how do these questions become resolved? Is Scripture the highest authority, or is the highest authority on earth something else? How can authority reside in a book? Who is there to interpret it infallibly? Can each person interpret it simply by using his or her own individual personal opinion? What if the government of the United States were run by hundreds of millions of individual personal opinions? How long would it last? Would anything ever be accomplished?

It would be a very strange thing indeed for GOD to have given us an inerrant book without first giving us an infallible interpreter for it.
Who has the authority to decide the one true meaning of Holy Scripture?

Here are some questions for everyone to answer.
1. If you lived in the year 1200, to what Church would you go to satisfy the command of Jesus Christ in Matthew 18:18? Where would you go if you lived in the years 1400, 800, or 500?
2. Why cannot any authentic historical documentation be found describing the meaning of Sola Scriptura before the Protestant revolt in the early 16th century?

So, the answer to "Which is the true Church and which ones are not", should be obvious from the evidence which I have presented here. Using our powers of reasoning, and by a careful examination of the evidence, we can come to several conclusions:
1. It is the only Church which has the authority given to it by GOD*, to make infallible decisions to settle pressing issues which arise from time to time, such as the moral questions I have presented in this writing, not one of which can be settled by Scripture alone.
*Matthew 18:15-18, Luke 22:31-32, John 20:21-23, John 21:15-17, Romans 13:1-2, Hebrews 13:17
2. It is the only Church which is guided by the Holy Spirit as promised in John 16:13.
3. It is the same Church which called the first Council, the Council of Jerusalem in 50 A.D., and settled the question of circumcision for Gentiles as described in Acts 15.
4. It is the same Church which called the several Councils listed above and settled those pressing questions of faith.
5. It is the same Church which called such monumental Councils as Trent in 1545, Vatican I in 1870, and Vatican II, in 1963. These are but a small sampling of many others.
6. It is the only Church which is traceable from that first Council of Jerusalem to this very day.
7. It is the only Church which one could go to in order to satisfy the command of Jesus Christ in Matthew 18:18 in the years of 1400, 800, and 500.
8. It cannot be a Sola Scriptura believing church, since nothing would ever be resolved by that process in any of the issues I have presented in this writing regarding faith and morals.

We can determine which Church it is by either coming in through the front door and finding which Church fits all of the requirements listed, or we can come in through the back door by using a process of elimination of those churches which do not meet the criteria, and see which Church is the only Church left standing.

Written by Bob Stanley, September 29, 2002
Updated June 17, 2004

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Oh! I almost forgot.
By a careful examination of the facts,
which Church
IS the true Church that alone satisfies all of the conditions listed above?

It Is The Catholic Church!

Which churches do not satisfy any of the conditions listed above,
and therefore could not possibly be the true Church?

Any And All Of The Rest Of Them!
Psalms 127:1