The Catholic Defender: "In Christ Alone" is that Biblical?
I was listening to a song this morning that is a popular Praise and Worship song, "In Christ Alone" and after listening really to the words, I question it being really Biblical? What, you might be thinking, why not?
Let me ask you this question: What does the implication "In Christ Alone" really imply? The question is not the power of Christ or what Jesus accomplished for all mankind. It is a question discovering what it means that Jesus is the Mediator between God and man.
I find the same theme coming from those who challenge me about the Catholic faith. Jesus is truly the Mediator between God and man, but what do those questioning the Catholic Church mean when they quote this and proclaim "in Christ Alone" they find salvation?
As a Catholic, when challenged, I hear often times this question: "Why do you need to go to a priest in Confession when you can go straight to Christ alone?" Did you catch that? Do you see how dangerous this is?
As a Catholic, I will respond that I go to Confession because that's Christ Command to obey His Church! It is Christ working though His Ministry given to His Catholic Church.
It does not take long speaking with someone before you discover what their real issue is? They want to take out the "Middle Man" so that when they sing "In Christ Alone", you do not need a "Middle man"? Hence, why do you need to go to a priest for Confession.
I will respond to their challenge sharing that it is because of Christ, we follow His teachings as given His Church. Consider when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish that feed at least 5,000 men not counting women and children. Jesus certainly could have feed all the crowd Himself, but that is not what Scripture records. It was not Christ alone because Jesus gave His Apostles the task of distributing the miracle.
The answer really brings out Jesus purpose of calling His Apostles preparing them for three years through His public Ministry. The Apostles Ministry is through the power of Christ!
Consider Luke 10:16, Jesus could not be more clear telling His Apostles, "he who listens to you (the Church), listens to me. He who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects the one who sent me"? This obviously is not "Christ alone", it is Christ working through His Ministry entrusted to His Church.
Again, consider Jesus appearing before His Apostles after the Resurrection who were in hiding within bolted doors, saying, "As the Father as sent me, I am now sending you... Receive the Holy Spirit, if you forgive men their sins, they are forgiven. If you hold them bound they are held bound." This is not "Christ alone", it is Christ working through His Ministry that He entrusted to His Church.
Matthew 28:16-20 we see Christ laying out the Great Commission just before his Glorious Ascension into Heaven. Jesus is sending out His Church to go to all the nations administering Baptism and to teach what He commanded them. This is not Christ alone, but it is through Christ's Church that His word is being proclaimed.
Ephesians 3:1-4 St. Paul is clear that he was made an apostle, not for his own ego, but for our benefit. Again, it is not Christ alone, but it is through Christ that St. Paul became an apostle and this includes all who have been ordained in the Catholic Faith! Consider 1 Timothy 4:11-16, 2 Timothy 1:6, and Titus 1:5 which the doctrine of Apostolic Succession is recognized.
James 5:13-17 addresses the Anointing of the Sick, here St. James call for the sick to call for the priest who will offer this great Sacrament of healing through the Church. The purpose of conducting and administering this duty was built into the Ministry of the Church by Christ Himself. The result shows healing and forgiveness to the sick. Again, it is not Christ alone, but it is through Christ this is accomplished.
The real teaching from Scripture is clear over and over again, Christ is the Mediator between God and man, but the truth is this: The Virgin Mary, the Saints, the Catholic Church, her Sacraments, Scriptures, Tradition, all of it works as a result of Jesus Mediation. That is the bottom line.
The basic problem with "In Christ Alone" and Jesus as "Mediator" is that those making this challenge, are attacking the Catholic authority, for them it is "Bible alone"? So for them, "In Christ Alone", it is really their imposing what it means to them, their own personal interpretation?
What separates Catholics and Protestants and other Non-Catholic neo Christian groups is authority. Is the Catholic Church the one true Church coming from Christ through His Apostles and their successors. or are the Protestants correct in protesting that authority? That is the bottom line.
As Catholics, we have the fullness of Christianity with the Chrism of the Holy Spirit keeping the faith fully intact.
The Church does not belong to the Pope and the Bishops in union with him. The Church belongs to Christ! It is Jesus Church, the Pope is the Lord's "Prime Minister", His "Royal Stewart" that Christ Himself founded upon St. Peter.
Pray for our Priests, but also pray for more vocations to the priesthood. Pray for men with integrity to respond to the call of Christ. It is not "In Christ Alone", but it is through Christ that all this is accomplished.
This Lent, hopefully, will be a great opportunity to offer ourselves to grow closer to Christ our Lord accepting the grace of Christ given us by the sweet grace offered through the Ministry of the Church.