Apologetics Sermon Illustration #81: Objections that Churches do not even recognize other churches and question of how many countries are there

Here is a clever analogy.

The Domain for Truth



Point: What do you say when people say that Christianity can’t be true because churches cannot even agree what churches are legitimate and what churches are churches and what’s a church in the first place?  I do not think there’s much weight as it might seem initially.

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20 thoughts on “Apologetics Sermon Illustration #81: Objections that Churches do not even recognize other churches and question of how many countries are there

  1. This analogy only works if you play fast and loose with terms. What unbelievers say or mean is going to be something akin to “Christians have 1000s of denominations that can’t agree with each other. Therefore, Christianity can’t be the one true religion.” However, they do agree on the one essential gospel. If they don’t, they are by definition not Christian. I don’t know how you would make the same analogy with countries. They just do not compare well.

    1. Just broaden the analogy a bit. There are many forms of religious belief, not just Christianity. There are many forms government. Only Christianity points us to the one true God. Only a few forms of government exist that protect our God-given rights.

      No analogy is perfect. We don’t use analogies with the expectation of perfection. We just get as much out them as we can.

      A religion is an ideology. A political system is a type of ideology. So, churches and governments have much in common.

      1. It’s always my goal when doing apologetica to understand what the opposing argument is. Not just what the person is saying, but what they mean. I couldn’t make this analogy work on that level, so I discarded it. The thing is, even if the opposition can’t parse why an analogy is false, they can usually recognize that it is.

        1. Has it occurred to you that every analogy is false? The point is that the fact we human beings cannot agree about which churches or which governments are legitimate does not by itself prove anything except the fact we are sinners.

          1. I read this post because I spend much of my time listening to or reading apologetics. There is such a thing as a false analogy in apologetics. But I have no stake in this. If people find it actually addresses a real objection to Christianity, they should use it.

  2. Weak argument comparing the many “churches” to countries. This is the classic logical fallacy of comparing apples to squirrels. Read Saint John where he wrote of the absolute necessity for unity in Christ.

    There was only one Church for 1500 years, until an egotistical, mentally deranged man named Martin Luther granted himself divine authority to not only redefine Christianity, but also the Word of God, the Bible. Luther’s “Protestants” learn to hate the Catholic pope before they learned the Gospel.

    After Martin Luther, any Tom, Dick or Harry could redefine Christianity to his or her own liking and create his or her own religion (now called Christian denominations). That is why defilers like adulterer and communist Martin Luther King and his protégé, poverty pimp Al Sharpton appointed themselves ministers of their own pagan “Christian” religions.

    1. Silence of Mind

      I guess that is an appropriate Roman Catholic response.

      Was there only one church for 1500 years. Well, using your own definition you should realize that is not true. The first large schism predates Martin Luther by hundreds of years. The formal date for the split is 1054, but as a practical matter it goes back much further.

      So, for it is worth, what do I think? The Bible says Jesus Christ is the head of the church. Given that, I think what I think doesn’t much matter. In debates like this all we can do is to try to do what we think Jesus wants us to do.

      There is one Catholic, Universal Christian Church. Jesus Christ decides who is in it. Has Jesus decided that the Roman Catholic Church is His church? Only the Roman Catholic Church? Even Catholics don’t believe that.

      Our unity must be in Christ. Because the organizations we create and the leaders we choose are so imperfect, we have no choice — if we would be HIs followers — to look to Christ. We can be loyal to a particular denomination or congregation, but only so long as that denomination or congregation looks to Jesus Christ.

      1. Citizen, There is no schism in the Catholic Church. As Saint Pope John Paul II said, “The East and Western churches are like two lungs in the same body of Christ.

        I could go to Russia and make Confession and take Holy Communion, the same as I do here in my local parish church.

        Your argument is the usual Protestant propaganda: division, heresy and ignorance of holy scripture (which demands unity).

        1. One other thought. King Henry VIII separated the Church of England from the Catholic Church with the clergy intact. However, the beliefs of the Church of England have departed considerably from those of the Catholic Church. Which is correct? How do you know?

          1. Citizen, We know because Martin Luther and King Henry VIII granted themselves the divine right to create their own religion. Anyone thinking rationally knows that to be an absurdity. Only God can create the true religion, which he did, founded upon Peter, the rock. That is in scripture. Neither Martin Luther nor King Henry VIII are in holy scripture.

          2. Silence of Mind

            So, one schism from the one true church is okay, but another isn’t, and that’s your best explanation? The Orthodox Patriarchs were not trying to create their own religion? What makes them special?

            How do you define what it means to create one’s own religion?

            You may wish to consider the fact that most Protestants believe that the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church, led by the Pope, had created their own religion. Protestants argued for a return to the teachings of 1st Century church, what the apostles taught. Don’t agree? Well, Luther said that God would hold him accountable to the nagging of his own conscience, not someone else’s. And that’s the problem.

            Because we have disagreements over doctrine, all Christians will not join the same organization. We have disagreements that are serious enough that our consciences won’t let us.

            Our disagreements occur because we are sinners. We are all sinners. No one’s theology is perfect. You say Roman Catholic theology is perfect? Well, you have the right to believe that. You have the right to follow the dictates of your own conscience, the right that Martin Luther demanded for himself.

            How will Jesus Christ judge the matter? Well, His death on the cross covered our sins. So, I think we will be forgiven, but we still have to join with other Christians in worship and to spread the Gospel. The church we join won’t be perfect, but it should be the best we know how to find.

          3. And Protestants say the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church contort the Bible and the Gospel of Christ. Moreover, the Pope claims infallibility when he does so.

            I just say Jesus will judge the matter, and I try to get along with those who uphold certain fundamental truths as brothers and sisters in Christ. When Christians hold so much in common, we don’t need to be fighting with each other.

          4. Citizen, Please attend a Roman Catholic Mass. You will see that it is biblical from beginning to end. The notion that the Roman Catholic Church contorts the Bible is nothing but Protestant myth.

          5. Silence of Mind

            I am not speaking from either animosity or ignorance. I was raised as a Catholic. Some of my grandchildren attend a Catholic school.

            I don’t accept the leadership of the Pope, and I don’t except the Roman Catholic’s Church’s assertion that only the Roman Catholic Church has the authority to determine Christian doctrine. I don’t think it wise to put so much trust in men, not even the Pope or the rest of the priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

          6. Silence Of Mind

            Where did I admit that?

            Does the Bible demand unity? Yes, but is that the same thing as joining the Roman Catholic Church? I think you think it is.

            When the apostles tried to pick someone to replace Judas Iscariot, they chose Matthias, but our Lord chose Saul who became Paul. Which was the twelfth apostle?

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