Rebuttal: Catholics believe in Apostolic succession and the interpretation of scripture through sacred tradition (oral and written)
What the Bible Says
Other Scripture to Consider
What the Church Teaches
In Other Words
Here, I am taking Jesus at his word, that means I take him at all of his words, not just the ones that sit comfortable with my interpretations. Jesus left us men of God, which he instructed and guided by with the Holy Spirit before any word was written down. Because the word was not yet written, they taught with words, these words are the Oral Traditions of the Catholic Church. It was not until later these words of traditions were written, copied and circulated among the churches throughout the regions.
Let me draw you a parallel with scripture. Mt 16:16-19 is a direct reference back to Isaiah 22:22, where the prophet Isaiah recognizes Eliakim as the steward of the royal House of David. The steward was the prime minister of the kingdom. The keys of the kingdom were the sign of his personal authority delegated by the king himself”. In much the same way, Peter (the first Pope) was charged by Christ with the authority of his Church, when He gave to Peter the keys to the kingdom of God, which means shepherding Jesus’ entire flock. Peter passed that authority down to other bishops who sit in his Chair, which is still linked to the chair of Moses. Remember the prayer Jesus instructed us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” The Catholic Church is the representation of the throne of God, here on earth. This is a Catholic's authority.
So who is the authority of the accusers? If they say “The Bible,” or “Jesus,” then obviously they have read it through the eyes of their own authority, since the Bible cannot interpret itself. If you say "It’s the Holy Spirit which guides me to understand the Bible," how do you know for sure you are understanding correctly? When a question with scripture is posed, who does a protestant turn to for the answer? How can they be confident that the answer they find is true?
Jesus prayed that we should be one unified Church (“Catholic” means “universal”). The devil wants to separate and divide. Thus, there are tremendous divisions among Christians. The United States alone has more than 30,000 “non denominational” denominations. For me the question becomes, “How can you consider it right to pick and choose, out of context, what scripture to use so that your personal points of view are supported?” This is what every deviating member of the Church has done – claiming to be “the authority.” YOU HAVE NO AUTHORITY, and NEITHER DO I. I thank God for the Church, who has preserve for me the truth of the scriptures. In my personal study of the Bible, I have a vast amount of resources for checks and balances in the proper authorities in the Church to guide me in truth.
Catholics are practicing Christians because we trust and believe the teachings of Jesus Christ - no matter how radical they may seem. He built his Church upon his chosen. His chosen, with the guidance of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, gave authority to others through the laying on of hands - transferring the anointing and the authority. "The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. [Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them. “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained”( John 20:20). I follow them as the authority of Christ, end of story.
To claim that Catholics do not read the Bible is pure ignorance. Again, one of the reasons Jesus created his Church was to protect the authenticity of His Father’s word. How can you trust that the “Bible” you are reading is the Word of God? You say you trust the Bible to be "The Word," yet you do not trust the very body of people (church) that was divinely inspired, fasted, prayed and assembled the book [the cannon] over 1600 years ago. The men who decided on what books to include in the Bible were Catholic bishops. this is historically documented. Your Bible is not the full version. Study the history of the Church and the early Church fathers, for yourself. Study them with the mind and intention of searching for the fullness of truth. Please do not study with a hardened heart; but, truly ask the Holy Spirit for guidance so that you may find truth in His fullness.
You might be saying, “Well that’s what I do already;” however, you must take your own (2 Peter 1:20) interpretation out and redirect the interpretative authority to the authorities of scriptures [the first bishops of the Church]. Martin Luther, the so called reformer (more like a rebel in my opinion) added in his version of the Bible the word “alone.” He added this word to give credence to his idea of sola fide, which is belief in ‘faith alone’ sufficing for salvation. In a letter written by James, an original apostle of the Savior of the World, wrote, “A man is justified by works and not by faith alone,” (James 2:14-24). Protestants claim the Bible alone, as the authority and yet they don't believe the Bible when is says scripture is NOT a matter of one's own private interpretation? I am sure you can agree that Jesus said, “Not to add or take away one word,” Rev 22; 19. Is that not written in your “bible” too? Did you pass up that scripture verse? Do you not believe in what Jesus is saying? Furthermore, it is most logical, to trust the Church and its traditions (consistent for over 2000 years) than to trust any Joe Blow who thinks that they have a better handle on Divine Revelation. David Duke thought he had a handle on what was “right.” To answer this question of authority for yourself, read the Apostolic Succession.