It is not a little remarkable that the question of Church authority should have existed for three hundred years, and be yet entirely unsettled; in fact, the confusion relating to it does but increase. I speak of it as an unsettled question, meaning thereby, not that it is one which really admits of doubt, but as being one to which those who called it in question have not themselves given any very decided or uniform answer; there is, in fact, every variety of opinion among them relating to it; some of them act almost upon the Catholic principle, others despise it altogether. All this shows that the principles of the Reformation are but very little known; men talk of acting upon them-but what are they? Who, among the Reformed at least, can tell what they are? That they are in some way connected with" private judgment" in distinction from the authority of the Church is plain enough; but with regard to the extent to which private judgment is allowable, the Reformed are by no means agreed; how far, for instance, they are bound to accept the conclusions of the Heformers, or to assent to articles drawn up by the private judgment of others; or how the accepting them at all is consistent with the right of private judgment, or whether private judgment may be exercised in determining what is Scripture, as well as what is in Scripture, &c. What, then, is the principle of the Reformation, and what is its character? Penny is a convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism and explains why he made this move. “Speaking of the great divisions of opinion which subsist in the English Church, a writer in the British Critic remarks, that" it is a matter of active question at the present time within our Church, whether or not a Judgment impends over each one of us, strictly and literally according to our works; whether the good works of a Christian be 'filthy rags,' or endued with a quality of inherent righteousness; whether the sins of ordinary life be forgiven with greater facility under the Gospel than under other forms of religion, or whether the increased facility of such forgiveness, be the principal good tidings which the Gospel has brought; whether personal assurance of salvation be in ordinary cases a divine promise or a diabolical illusion; whether private study of scripture, with careful abstinence from reference to other authority, be the means by which it is promised that the Spirit shall lead us to the truth, or by which it is to be feared, (if we have the opportunity of knowing better) that the devil will lead us from the truth; whether the Church be or be not an appointed medium between the soul and God; whether the type of Antichrist is to be principally looked for among foreign Protestants or Catholics, and other similar matters."” How much more difference exist in the Anglican Communion today than existed a century ago. And so who is right and who is wrong? He cites an Article of the Church of England: “The Church comes before us as "the witness and keeper of Holy Writ,"” He then proceeds: “The Catholic Church claims to furnish us with a key, so that by the use of it all necessary doctrine shall, under ordinary circumstances, be so plain that" he who runs may read." It does not leave us to our own private interpretation of it, or to that of any private individual whatever, however highly gifted or learned; it sets before us doctrine which has a much higher, and, in fact, a claim differing in kind from that which any other doctrine has upon our acceptance. The Catholic Church does not say: "What we teach you has been deduced from Scripture by the private judgment of able men in our communion, though it is in Scripture;" Catholic truth, though Scriptural, is older than the Scripture, and therefore it would be contradictory to say that it is derived from Scripture.” One easily sees that Jesus Christ founded a Church to teach us the truth.
W G Penny, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1482531593, ISBN 13: 9781482531596