Some questions on the necessity of the Church for Christian faith
To elicit debate and discussion.
· Is it necessary for an individual Christian to belong to a congregation of other Christians in order to be truly Christian?
· Is it necessary for any given congregation of Christians to belong to a wider communion of Christian congregations in order to be a truly Christian congregation?
· Can any Christian believer take upon himself the authority to establish or lead a congregation of Christians, preach and teach the Word, administer the Sacraments, and determine true and false doctrine?
· How do I know what the "clear word of Scripture about salvation in Christ Jesus" is?
· How do I know what the "deposit of faith" / "apostolic faith" is?
· How do I know what is an "addition" to the deposit of faith and what is a "subtraction"?
· If Catholicism is "b+" and Protestantism is "b-" and Orthodoxy is "a", how do I know whether "a" or "b" is right in the first place?
· By what authority are doctrinal errors rejected?
· Who decides which of the following forms of baptism are valid: Baptism with the formula "in the name of the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier", baptism with the formula "in the name of Jesus", baptism by sprinkling, baptism of infants, Mormon baptism?
· Who decides what is "contrary to Scripture"?
· To what entity did Our Lord Jesus Christ refer when he said in the Gospel: "Listen to the Church" (Matthew 18:17)?
· Of what/whom does the church consist?
· How does the church speak to the world?
· Who speaks on behalf of the church?
· What is the relationship between authority and ecclesiology?
· On what basis should we judge any Christian community's claim to be "the catholic Church"?
· Which is of greater importance when evaluating the "catholicity" of a given Christian community: its public doctrine or what its constituents actually believe?
· Does existence as a "state church" automatically invalidate a community from being truly "church"?
· Is the Primacy of Peter the cause of "the unity of the Catholic Church" or "the biggest single cause of division within Christendom"?