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Which Came First?

THIS CLASSIC RIDDLE ("which came first: the chicken or the egg?") is very much to the point here. In point of time, it should be apparent that the Church long precedes the Bible as an integral collection of books, and considerably precedes even the individual books of the New Testament. Thus, it is quite certain that the Church founded by Our Lord was not "based on the Bible." The Church created by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost had no Bible as we know it... and didn't have to have it to be truly the Church. It can be said with some justification that if every single copy of the Bible in existence were destroyed, the effect upon the Church would be minimal (although the context in which such an event could occur might not be!).

But the converse is not true. If there were no Church [but we are assured this will never come to pass... "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt 16:18)], the Bible would not be sufficient to provide what is needed for our salvation. If we doubt the truth of this, we need only cast our glance over the spectacle of what happens when people attempt to create their own "churches" based upon their own, private interpretations of the Holy Scriptures.

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