Originally posted at CARM)
This verse keeps getting brought up to justify the notion that the RCC is not from God.
Let's look at the verse in context.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Now, I want to know how these verses which are speaking of recognizing false prophets can be extrapolated to the entire church.
Numerous references are brought up to the sex scandals, the inquisitions, crusades, etc.. and it is claimed this is all bad fruit of the RCC and as such since a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, that proves the RCC is a false church.
But, the verse also states that a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit. The Catholic church is also the worlds largest Charity, it the worlds largest operator of private healthcare and educations services. Now, applying this verse literally, this proves the RCC is a good tree, right?
No, When you read the verse in context, you see exactly who Jesus was talking about: "False prophets". These criteria are to be applied to individuals NOT organizations. Because as Jesus pointed out in another part of the Gospel.(Matt 13:24-30) that satan has sown tares among Jesus' wheat. But that we are to leave them and HE will reap the harvest and "bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."
There has always been evil men in the church, as there is in every church. It is amazing how we are so quick to judge a church on the faults of its