Two persons of another faith came to my door and they told me that my church, the Catholic Church, had fallen into apostasy (teaching error) after the last Apostle died and the true church had died after that. Their claim surely was a surprise to me because I knew the truth. I asked them how they knew that and they said it was historical. (This sounded like fake news to me.) I said, “Well, I have a list of 266 popes in succession in the house. Would you like to see it? They suddenly declined. I continued to tell them how the Catholic Church had continued unbroken since 33 A.D. and Jesus said, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Matt 16:18. Jesus is saying the church will not fall into apostasy because it will be protected from error. Now this poses a problem, if Jesus is telling the truth, then the Church did not fall into apostasy but if Jesus lied then it would’ve fallen into apostasy. Are they calling Jesus a liar?
According to Matthew 18: 15-18, Jesus gave us a command stating, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you . . . If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” He wouldn’t have said this to the apostles if He wanted the Church to bind heresy on earth.
Christ was directing the faithful to obey the Church that he established and that we can be confident about doing so because the true Church to which Jesus was leading us would never steer us away from God or into error. The question is: To what Church is he referring?
Well, what if we lived in the year 1900 AD? Which church would He be directing us to? At that time, the United Methodist Church would not exist. If we lived in the year 1800, the Mormon Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Salvation Army would not exist. If we lived in the year 1600, the Baptist Church would not exist. If we lived in the year 1400, the Lutheran Church, Anglican, Calvinist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, and many other Protestant churches would not exist. Let’s go back even further to the year 33 AD. Which church would Jesus be directing us to? The only church that existed for the full 2000 years of Christian history is the Catholic Church. If Jesus directed us to a church that didn’t exist, he would have led us to error.
If the true church did not exist on this earth for 2000 years, then Jesus misguided millions into obeying churches with errors, with thousands of different interpretations of His Word, with no apostolic authority and churches that He didn’t even start. Jesus wouldn’t have led us astray or lied to us. He put into place the truth through the Early Church Fathers, a history of 2000 years, but most importantly, the Catholic Church WITHOUT apostasy. This is how we know what is true because Jesus tells us and wouldn’t lead us astray and all we have to do is look at the ACTUAL history.