Brian asked:

What do you say to someone who believes that there is no way to know for certain what is the true church?

Tim Staples replied:

"Well I would say to him that you can absolutely know for certainty which is the true church. But perhaps the way you want to approach it Brian is to ask him this. Can we know for certain which books of the Bible should be in the Bible, of the 27 books of the New Testament?

...You need to ask him can we know with certainty that for example 3rd John should be in the Bible, or Hebrews or Revelation right? And then you ask him how. Because in fact our faith goes right back to the creed. You know that little phrase in the creed, was crucified under Pontious Pilate, suffered and died, and was buried. It's very important because our faith is an historical faith that begins with a real person who really did live, really did die and is resurrected form the dead Jesus Christ. And he as a matter of history, it's a historical fact he lived, died and was resurrected and he established a Church. And it was the Church that gave us the Bible.

The only way you can know for certain that we have 27 books of the New Testament is because of the Church and that is the Catholic church. As a matter of history, Pope Damasus the 1st held the synod in Rome where the 27 books were laid out, not infallibly but it certainly held the world together for 1200 years before it was infallibly defined. And so that's the way to go...

Well if you can know that there are 27 books of the New Testament then you have to be able to know that Jesus Christ who lived, died and was resurrected before the New Testament was canonized and the Church that he established that in fact canonized it. Without Jesus and the Church you don't have the New Testament..."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2014)

Editor's note: This is an excerpt of the answer provided. For the complete response download the podcast.

Click icon for archived podcast answering this question in its entirety.

Show air date: September 23, 2014

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Tim Staples

Question appeared in show: 49:48

Social: Share:

This site is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.

"...and upon this rock I will build My Church..." Matthew 16:18