Letter to the editor: what is a true church?

This letter appeared in today’s “Irish News” and the screenshot of it was sent to me early this morning by a friend. I replied as followed and submitted my reply to that newspaper. Hopefully, they will print it.

Sincere regards,
Ivan Foster


I wonder has your correspondent, Mr Brian O’Hare of Newry, (Letter – Catholic Church not a Christian Church) ever read the words of the Lord Jesus when He said:
“‭Enter ye in‭‭ at‭ the strait‭ gate‭: for‭ wide‭ [is] the gate‭, and‭ broad‭ [is] the way‭, that leadeth‭‭ to‭ destruction‭, and‭ many‭ there be‭‭ which‭ go in‭‭ thereat‭‭:‭ ‭because‭ strait‭ [is] the gate‭, and‭ narrow‭‭ [is] the way‭, which‭ leadeth‭‭ unto‭ life‭, and‭ few‭ there be‭‭ that find‭‭ it‭,‭” Matthew 7:13-14.

It is not popularity amongst mankind but conformity to the Word of God which identifies the true and false within Christendom.After all, Christ had very few to stand with Him at the cross!

It must never be forgotten that the Roman Catholic Church for centuries strictly forbade  the possession of a Bible and pronounced an anathema against any who violated this decree. (Council of Valencia, 1229 and repeated in the Council of Trent, 1545-63 and in other authoritative later pronouncements.) The banning of the Bible was part of Rome’s response to the Protestant Reformation and the Reformers’ urging of the people to read the Word of God in their mother tongue.

What a contrast such a decree is to what the Lord COMMANDED Israel!

“‭Hear‭‭, O Israel‭: The LORD‭ our God‭ [is] one‭ LORD‭:‭ ‭And thou shalt love‭‭ the LORD‭ thy God‭ with all thine heart‭, and with all thy soul‭, and with all thy might‭.‭ ‭And these words‭, which I command‭‭ thee this day‭, shall be in thine heart‭:‭ ‭and thou shalt teach them diligently‭‭ unto thy children‭, and shalt talk‭‭ of them when thou sittest‭‭ in thine house‭, and when thou walkest‭‭ by the way‭, and when thou liest down‭‭, and when thou risest up‭‭.‭ ‭And thou shalt bind‭‭ them for a sign‭ upon thine hand‭, and they shall be as frontlets‭ between thine eyes‭.‭ ‭And thou shalt write‭‭ them upon the posts‭ of thy house‭, and on thy gates‭,‭” Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

To these verses we might add what Paul wrote.

“‭And‭ that‭ from‭ a child‭ thou hast known‭‭ the holy‭ scriptures‭, which‭ are able‭‭ to make‭‭ thee‭ wise‭‭ unto‭ salvation‭ through‭ faith‭ which‭ is in‭ Christ‭ Jesus‭.‭ ‭All‭ scripture‭ [is] given by inspiration of God‭, and‭ [is] profitable‭ for‭ doctrine‭, for‭ reproof‭, for‭ correction‭, for‭ instruction‭ in‭ righteousness‭:‭ ‭that‭ the man‭ of God‭ may be‭‭ perfect‭, throughly furnished‭‭ unto‭ all‭ good‭ works‭,‭” 2 Timothy 3:15-17.

Only ignorance of the Bible will promote the view espoused by Mr O’Hare!

While I could add many other passages in support of what I say, I will let the apostle Peter have the last word:

“‭Being born again‭‭, not‭ of‭ corruptible‭ seed‭, but‭ of incorruptible‭, by‭ the word‭ of God‭, which liveth‭‭ and‭ abideth‭‭ for‭ ever‭.‭ ‭For‭ all‭ flesh‭ [is] as‭ grass‭, and‭ all‭ the glory‭ of man‭ as‭ the flower‭ of grass‭. The grass‭ withereth‭‭, and‭ the flower‭ thereof‭ falleth away‭‭:‭ ‭but‭ the word‭ of the Lord‭ endureth‭‭ for‭ ever‭. And‭ this‭ is‭‭ the word‭ which‭ by the gospel is preached‭‭ unto‭ you‭.,” 1Peter 1:23-25.

Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
Kilskeery, Co. Tyrone.