Wednesday, October 14, 2015

New Evangelizers Post: On the Necessity of a Magisterium

I have a new article up at  

I was asked a question recently by a good friend about the content of what Muslims really believe. In other words, he asked me what true Islam was.

This is actually a more difficult problem than it first appears. Mohamed gave the world the Koran, which he said was the word-for-word dictation of God through the angel Gabriel to Mohamed. For that reason, Muslims believe it is perfect. And because it is perfect nothing else is necessary. When Mohamed died, he said that there would come another prophet. Almost immediately, Islam fractured into 2 factions: Shia and Sunni.

Why did the fracturing occur?

I would suggest that it was because there was no Magisterium.

In Catholicism, “Magisterium” is the teaching authority of the Church. Christ said to the Apostles, “Whoever hears you, hears me. Whoever rejects you, rejects me.” (Lk 10:16) And particularly to Peter, he says, “I give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven, whatever you declare loosed on earth, shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16:19) This authority was given to the Apostles (and in a special way Peter). And this authority was later passed on to their successors: the bishops (and in a special way, the pope).
This is not just a nice parting gift Jesus gave us before He flew away home. In a religion like Christianity, a Magisterium is essential.


This gets at the core the core problem of fundamentalism. Let us look at the denominations of our Protestant brothers and sisters, particularly those who hold to Martin Luther’s motto: Sola Scriptura, which means that the Bible alone has authority. Luther rejected the authority of not only a Magisterium, but also of Sacred Tradition.
For Luther, since the Bible is the Word of God, nothing else is necessary. But as we can see in Protestantism, this always leads to dissent and division.

This is not an insult, merely a logical necessity.

The reason is that you cannot have a text alone be an authority.

Words need interpretation.

You can read the entire article here.

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