In baseball, a Grand Slam is when the batter hits a home run while the bases are loaded, resulting in an instant score of 4 home runs. Using that analogy, have come across 4 devastating quotes against Protestantism (and even Eastern Orthodoxy) coming from the Third Ecumenical Council, the Council of Ephesus (431AD). As I present the quotes, it will become clear from the significance of the things taught that one must take a stand and conclude either this Council was orthodox and Catholic or heterodox and untrustworthy.
Quote #1 -
Quote #1 -
Forasmuch as the divinely inspired Scripture says, “Do all things with advice,” it is especially their duty who have had the priestly ministry allotted to them to examine with all diligence whatever matters are to be transacted. (Letter to the Synod in Pamphylia)
First off, credit goes to Joe and his excellent Catholic apologetics blog for finding this quote. The quote "Do all things with advice" comes directly from the deutero-canonical book of Sirach 32:19, and the footnote on this text quotes famous Protestant historian Philip Schaff who agrees that this Ecumenical Council plainly saw this book as divinely inspired Scripture. But Protestants say that this book is for sure not inspired Scripture and they threw out this book.
Quote #2 -
Quote #2 -
Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the Only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the Unbloody Sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his Holy Flesh and the Precious Blood of Christ the Saviour of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the Life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the Life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his Flesh, he made it also to be Life-giving, as also he said to us: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood. (Second Letter of Cyril to Nestorius)
This quote contains three powerful statements that should make any good Protestant cringe. First, St Cyril describes the Mass as the "Unbloody Sacrifice," meaning the Mass is a Sacrifice and re-presents the same sacrifice of Calvary but only in an 'unbloody' manner, the very thing Catholic Dogma teaches. Second, St Cyril says that the Eucharist is Christ's actual flesh and blood, not mere bread symbolizing Christ's flesh. Third, at the end of this quote Cyril quotes John 6:52-53, saying that this refers to the Eucharist. But Protestants cannot affirm any of these things, and in fact hold them as hallmarks of a false church.
Quote #3 -
Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever both lives and judges in his successors. The holy and most blessed pope Cœlestine, according to due order, is his successor and holds his place, and us he sent to supply his place in this holy synod, which the most humane and Christian Emperors have commanded to assemble, bearing in mind and continually watching over the Catholic faith. For they both have kept and are now keeping intact the apostolic doctrine handed down to them from their most pious and humane grandfathers and fathers of holy memory down to the present time (Session III)
This quote plainly says that there is no doubt and that it is known by all that Peter was the prince and head of the apostles and leader of the Church, and that Pope Celestine was Peter's successor and rules in his place. This quote is an abomination for both Protestants and Eastern Orthodox for obvious reasons: if the Papacy is true, both of those groups are in deep trouble! Eastern Orthodox love to espouse that the Papacy is the worst heresy ever, even worse than Arianism and Nestorianism. And yet nobody at this Council noticed the worst heresy ever being spouted right off in front of them! They must pick whether this Council taught heresy here or whether the Catholic Church is right. The truth is plain for those who want to see it.
Quote #4 -
If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (Θεοτόκος), inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh let him be anathema. (Anathema #1 against Nestorius)
If anyone does not agree that in a real sense that Mary is the "Mother of God," then they are embracing heresy. Of course, this dogma has been widely misunderstood to mean Mary created/produced the Trinity, but all it means is that Mary bore and gave birth to the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son. There are many Protestants who disagree with this dogmatic teaching and do not believe Mary is "Mother of God" and consider this a major heresy and blasphemy.
In the end, the Protestant really has to decide whether the Church went completely in heresy this early on in Church history or not. These teachings are too significant to sweep them under the rug or cherry pick the Council's teachings. This Council provided a benchmark for all Christianity at the time as to what was orthodox and what wasn't, so to claim heresy effectively entails the whole visible Church went apostate. I know many Protestants will try all kinds of fancy tricks to get around this, but really this isn't a hard issue to address. Catholics have no problem taking these things at face value as they're plainly taught, and we affirm these things even today.
Either take Christian history seriously or don't. I would just hope that Protestant seminaries would be honest enough to admit that this Council sounds nothing like what any Protestant denomination would ever teach.