Christian BoyLove Forum #66659
The question is not 'which is the true church?' but 'is God at work in the local church I am at present attending?'. If He is, then it is irrational for a disciple of Jesus to abandon His workshop...
You confuse the JWs and Mormons with normal Protestant denominations. There are limits - at least in most denominations - as to what is to be believed. On the whole the 7 Ecumenical councils are a good start - though engagement with their history does make it a case of victors' justice; on a number of occasions apparently properly constituted councils were overturned a few years later when the Emperor changed. And of course it was a legitimate council of the church (Constaance) that tore up a safe conduct promise to Jan Huss; Rome thereby proving that it is not bound by its promises.
Your exposition of Mt 18 is interesting. If you actually read what it says, as opposed to the interpretation that Rome wants to put on it, you will see that it is the LOCAL church operating as the people to whom appeal is made over a sin that an individual has committed; for its proper application see 1 Cor 5. And it's interesting to note that it is the WHOLE church; there's no reason why it should only be the bishops. This is the basis for congregational ecclesiology... Note that the word 'church' in the NT is clearly used for gatherings in houses (Philemon 1), the church in a city (Rev 2 and 3) as well as the universal church.
Let's focus on the core question: how do I get to be saved, or as the NT puts it (1 Tim 1:18). Certainly the belief that a piece of magic - being baptised as a baby - will get me into heaven is deeply flawed, as is the idea that a brown scapular will do it: '"Those who die wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire."
It's quite amusing to see the modern writer trying to impose a protestant spin on the Catholic statement that is totally unambiguous.
The same attempt to duck the outrageous claims of the past is seen in the hypocrisy of the hierarchy's failure to act in accordance with the infallible statement over the Assumption of the BVM. There's no point in claiming the modern catechism says something which that the 'infallible statement' explicitly denies.
So. If you are a Catholic and believe that God is at work in your church, demonstrated by people becoming Christians and growing in discipleship, then it may be appropriate for you to remain a Catholic. But for an outsider to join an organisation based on spin, lies, hypocrisy and a propensity to persecute other Christians that still persists, shows a depressing lack of discernment...