The Pontiff recently concluded his three-country tour of Africa, visiting the Central African Republic, Uganda, and Kenya.The Christian Post reports that during an in-flight press conference on his return trip to Rome, Francis stated,“We Catholics have some–and not some, many–who believe they possess the absolute truth and go ahead dirtying the other with calumny, with disorientation, and doing evil. They do evil. I say this because it is my Church.”He added that “ideas and false certainties” can replace faith, love, and God.
“Now the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not take food without washing their hands with care, keeping the old rule which has been handed down to them: And when they come from the market-place, they take no food till their hands are washed; and a number of other orders there are, which have been handed down to them to keep–washings of cups and pots and brass vessels. And the Pharisees and the scribes put the question to him, Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers, but take their bread with unwashed hands?” (Mark 7:3-5 ∼ BBE)
It’s not my intent to do damage to the above text, but look how well some of the teachings of the Catholic Church fits the very point that the Spirit of God was trying to make when it comes to observing them because they are the “old rules” of the fathers that often get brought up when discussing matters of the faith that has been once and for all delivered to the saints:
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not observing lent?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not recognizing the authority of the Pope?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not praying to or through dead saints?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not referring to individuals as holy father or holy mother?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not believing in transubstantiation?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not baptizing babies?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not supporting the doctrine of purgatory?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by refusing to accept the extra-biblical quoted rules of the fathers when matters of the Bible are discussed?
Now you know why the “old rules” of the fathers (a.k.a. the touted “old traditions” of the Catholic Church) aren’t that impressive to members of the church of Christ – it’s because those “old rules” didn’t originate with God through the New Testament any more than the past “old rules” of the Jewish fathers originated with God through the Old Testament.
“But their worship is to no purpose, while they give as their teaching the rules of men. For, turning away from the law of God, you keep the rules of men. And he said to them, Truly you put on one side the law of God, so that you may keep the rules which have been handed down to you.” (Mark 7:7-9 ∼ BBE)
Not long ago there was a letter to the editor that took exception to that which I wrote in the Decatur Herald & Review. It was not a particularly strong exception, but one that was present just the same. In fact, one could read the letter and think it was but a “slap on the hands” given me. I was grateful to read it and had hoped that others would give response to what I wrote more than just the one I have seen. The nature of my letter to the editor was in relation to a news article that suggested the Catholic Church was entertaining a stance on marriage that was not biblical.
In any case, the gist of the letter was 1) the “Catholic Church has and will continue to maintain that Holy Matrimony is indissoluble between one man and one woman,” and 2) “[e]very effort must be undertaken in these contemporary times to engage those who profess perfectly or imperfectly their faith in Christ.”
Without dealing with the first point, let me address the second. The concern expressed in this reply to me was that Christians failing to help those struggling with sinful desires (weaknesses) would be a disservice to them and to the Lord. It is true that the Lord’s church should seek to make a positive difference in the lives of those who struggle with sin. This approach not only applies to those outside of Christ, but those in Christ who continue to struggle. The nature of the sin is immaterial; struggling with whatever sinful desire plagues a person—it is important those who want to get away from this struggle know to whom they can turn. People need an answer and a spiritual place where others can assist. Who of us can’t relate with such a sentiment?
Being able to relate is tremendously important, but no saint should even entertain the thought, much less speak it, that it is okay to compromise the Lord’s way for the benefit of making oneself acceptable to a larger number of people. This is what I understood the Catholic Church to be contemplating. Frankly put, there is no way we can improve upon the Lord’s message and method, so we ought not to try. Yes, it may be true, that more flies are be caught with honey than with some other trap – but a trap is all that it is. It is a feigned effort with a disguise that will fall off.
In the Tuesday paper (10.14.2014) there was an article headline telling us the Catholic Church is entertaining a more open response to the homosexual community. The lead sentence conveyed two primary points in regard to a new practice within: first, the church is now “accepting gays into the church” because they have “gifts to offer,” and second, morality in regards to any homosexual couple is now “problematic.” This is not a surprise. The Catholic Church has not followed the Bible for years, hundreds years in fact. They take some information in the Bible and teach it, but following the New Testament as prescribed by the Lord and His apostles is something they don’t do.
What is truly problematic is that the Catholic Church, a significant religious community, has now introduced confusion into their own community. “Some conservative cardinals downplayed the report as insignificant or derided it as unacceptable, while conservative groups denounced it as heresy and a ‘betrayal’ that will only serve to confuse Catholics.”
This gets to a greater issue: a moral base from which one can understand right, wrong, good or bad is set in place by God, or by man. If by man, then the moral base is fluid, not anchored in anything but man’s thinking. If it is anchored in God (and it is), then that which the Catholic Church, or any other church says to the contrary is a church to be rejected as not of God.
Submitted to the Herald-Review (Decatur, IL)
During the last couple of years in the ole’ blogosphere I have been accused by Catholic apologists of self-popery. And why such an accusation? Because I dared to have “a personal interpretation” of the Bible that disagreed with them and with the pope’s!
In the Catholic Church, one’s doctrine is not determined by the revealed and written word alone – it is determined by those who make determinations based upon orally determining factors (a.k.a. making up the rules as you go) that shape the determination of God’s will in God’s word. Therefore to rest upon the written word of God alone is to be mistaken, and studying to show yourself approved (2 Timothy 2:15) need not apply since the studying has already been done for you. You just need to study what has already been studied and follow what those personal studies determined for you to study and personally believe.
Case in point is the latest issue the Catholic Church is having with the pope’s willingness to actually “have a debate” on the sinfulness of homosexuality. The reason I bring this up is that there should be no debate at all – none whatsoever. And why not? Because the word of God has settled the issue, but unfortunately the written word of God is not enough for the Catholic Church.
I know, I know. Many Catholic apologists will say “the issue is more complicated” than what I’m presenting it to be. And my response to that is “it’s only complicated because the pope (the pride and head of the Catholic Church) is complicating a very uncomplicated biblical issue and it’s making a lot of Catholics feel uncomfortable.” It’s actually a case of the pope wanting to do something but the Catholic Church has decided that personal interpretations do indeed matter after all.
Following the closing of this latest “synod session” it was released to the press that, “This synod will be followed by a year of consultations, and a follow-up questionnaire will be sent out to dioceses around the world. A second, larger synod will then be held in October 2015. After that, the results will be handed to the Argentinian pope, who will have the final say in outlining the Church’s stance on family matters.”
A questionnaire? Why that would involve making personal interpretations wouldn’t it? Why not just speak “ex cathedra” and get it over with. After all, when the “ex cathedra” starts talking, the Catholic Church has no other choice but to listen because the pope can do no wrong when he starts dictating what is and what is not right for the Catholic Church to believe. But I really do wonder what would happen to all the Catholics if the very “papa” who could do no wrong actually told the majority of the people who make up the Catholic Church that their personal interpretation was wrong on this issue? I wonder how open they’d be to personal interpretation then? But then again, why would the pope do that? After all, who is he to judge?
You see, the irony of the whole matter to me is that while I have been accused of self-popery multiple times over the last couple of years, because I have dared to have an opinion that disagrees with “Catholic Oral Tradition”, the reality of the matter is that the Catholic Church actually has a pope in authority who could be accused of the very thing I’m supposedly guilty of – self-popery! For if the Catholic Church had always had the right answer on this issue then how can this discussion be anything but wrong?
“The spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics had called for the Church to take a more merciful approach to unmarried mothers, remarried divorcees and gays, famously saying of homosexuals, “Who am I to judge?”” (see the above link for the quote source)
So much for that Catholic unity. And may we all learn a valuable lesson about biblical authority from this situation.
- The Final Word? – BP’s Fuel For Thought
In a disturbing move, a group of “pastors” have been given subpoenas that demand that any sermon or other shared forms of communication dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker (who is the city of Houston’s first openly lesbian mayor) be turned in to authorities or face contempt of court charges.
Is it just me or does anybody else hear someone with a German accent saying, “Let me see your papers.”
On a “related” note, the Catholic Church (i.e. the Vatican, from where no wrong can come I’ve been told) isn’t worried about such news at all since it sounds like they may soon be requesting their own “pastors” to do the same.
“Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time I punish them, they shall be cast down,” says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 6:15)
Been thinking here lately (I’m really opening myself up to zingers there!) about the catholic church situation and what the catholic church itself teaches about the pope and even Mary.
So the pope’s word is supposed to be infallible, right? When does it become so? Was his word as a “cardinal” infallible? And since he’s still alive does his word continue to be infallible? If not, how does one go from being fallible to infallible and back to fallible again? Talk about a rollercoaster ride! And also, is Benedict still the most-holy or is he only normal-holy? Or is he even Benedict anymore?
Now when it comes to Mary and her conception being “immaculate” from “original sin” how did she come to be that way? Jesus was born in the flesh according to her genetic material, right? Were her mother and father immaculate as well? How about her grandparents? And her great-parents and their great-grandparents? When did this whole “immaculate” thing start in the gene pool? Why didn’t the siblings of Jesus get the same benefits of their mother’s “immaculate” condition? Scratch that last question – seems like I remember something about sex between a husband and a wife not being allowed and no other children being born. But the other questions still stand.
And by the way, if you do give an answer in the affirmative, please give a scripture reference that affirms your affirmation along with it 🙂 That would be most helpful.
If the Catholic church were biblically wise they would allow the vacancy of the pope to stay just that way – vacant. Many Catholics (and even some people who aren’t Catholic???) worry about their church because it has no head. If they understood the true biblical nature of the church they would know that the church is never without her head. Jesus is the head of the church and his reign as such has not ended (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 1:22-23). Two heads are not better than one!
If the Catholic church were biblically wise they would allow the vacancy of “Peter’s throne” to stay just that way – vacant. Many Catholics (and even some people who aren’t Catholic???) worry about finding the right person to continue Peter’s legacy. If they understood the true nature of Peter from the Bible they would know that Peter would never allow himself to sit on a “throne” over the church, they would know that Peter would never allow people to “bow and kiss his ring” and they would know that the Bible never refers to an office in the church called the “pope” (Acts 10:24-26, 1 Corinthians 12:27-28). Peter never sat with a golden scepter upon any “throne” above the church which Jesus Himself rules with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:8-9, Revelation 2:26-27).
If the Catholic church were biblically wise they would allow the silence of uninspired and fallible words to stay just that way – silent. Many Catholics (and even some who aren’t Catholics???) worry about the lack of spiritual guidance without a pope. If they understood the true biblical nature of the church they would know that they should listen to the inspired and infallible word of God that the church is called to follow. The word of God guides the church of God, the church of God does not guide the word of God (Ephesians 3:3-5; 2 Peter 1:3; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:15-17).
If the Catholic church were biblically wise they would know there’s a difference between universal unity based upon error and universal unity based upon the truth…that’s one big if though!
“endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:3-6)
I heard a woman on the “Today Show” yesterday ask the “cardinal” of New York about the process of choosing a new pope. She asked about the “qualities” and “qualifications” that identify the person who could fulfill the position. This caught my attention and I waited for the man’s response. The same man who talked so much about the pope “fulfilling the office of the original pope, Peter the bishop of Rome” and so on. Well, I was waiting to hear some scripture quoted like you can for the biblical office of elder/bishop/pastor (no cardinals mind you) and deacons (1 Timothy 3 & Titus 1), but alas I didn’t hear one single scripture given to describe the qualifying and identifying marks of the office of the pope. I wonder why that is??? Maybe it’s because the “office” of the pope isn’t found in the Bible, but only in the writings of the “church” of Rome!
The Catholic Church prides itself on being the “universal” church, but the only universal thing they own is error. I do not feel bad for the deceivers, but I do feel bad for the Catholics who have been deceived into thinking that Rome has their best interest in mind. Rome has Rome’s best interest in mind and nothing more. Rome is not interested in listening to Heaven’s word because Rome thinks their word is on equal authority with Heaven’s. They are blind to their own blasphemy and to the blasphemy which they cause others to commit.
In fewer areas is the blasphemy of Rome more apparent than in its doctrine of exalting Mary above that which a person should be exalted (1 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Corinthians 12:6). Not only does Rome itself fall before Mary in false and idol worship, but it urges, no, it wickedly compels those who have been deceived into doing to the same. Many people who refer to themselves as Catholics are ignorant of the dangers that the Catholic Church promotes when it comes to Mary. Through deceiving leadership, many individuals, my mother’s side of my own family included, have been led toward the pits of Hell through a make-believe Mary who cannot be substantiated by the word of God. Make no mistake, Mary the servant of God whom we see in the scriptures as Jesus’ mother is not the same Mary the “Queen” of Heaven found in the catechisms of Rome.
From time to time there are some who think that Rome doesn’t really teach the things concerning Mary that it is accused of teaching. If the truth were told, people have no idea just how entrenched the Catholic Church is in idol worship and blasphemy. You don’t have to take my word for it though, take the word of Rome itself:
“It has always been the habit of Catholics in danger and in troublous times to fly for refuge to Mary, and to seek for peace in her aternal goodness; showing that the Catholic Church has always, and with justice, put all her hope and trust in the Mother of God.” (Pope Leo VIII – Supremi Apostolatus)
“O Virgin most holy, none abounds in the knowledge of God except through thee; none, O Mother of God, attains salvation except through thee; none receives a gift from the throne of mercy except through thee.” (Pope Leo XIII – ADIUTRICEM)
“As she suffered and almost died together with her suffering and dying Son, so she surrendered her mother’s rights over her Son for the salvation of the human race. And to satisfy the justice of God she sacrificed her Son, as well as she could, so that it may justly be said that she together with Christ has redeemed the human race.” (Pope Benedict XV – INTER SODALICIA)
“From our earliest years nothing has ever been closer to Our heart than devotion-filial, profound, and wholehearted-to the most blessed Virgin Mary. Always have We endeavored to do everything that would redound to the greater glory of the Blessed Virgin, promote her honor, and encourage devotion to her.” … “For, God has committed to Mary the treasury of all good things, in order that everyone may know that through her are obtained every hope, every grace, and all salvation.” (Pope Pius – IX UBI PREMUM)
“It is impossible to measure the power and scope of her offices since the day she was taken up to that height of heavenly glory in the company of her Son, to which the dignity and luster of her merits entitle her. From her heavenly abode she began, by God’s decree, to watch over the Church, to assist and befriend us as our Mother; so that she who was so intimately associated with the mystery of human salvation is just as closely associated with the distribution of the graces which for all time will flow from the Redemption.” (St. Germ. Constantinop – Orat. 11, in Dortnitione B.M.V.)
How much clearer can it be? Catholics can deny that Rome teaches people to worship Mary, but they can only make that claim if they have never heard or do not understand what Rome is teaching to begin with.
If you ask a devout/practicing Catholic to explain or defend the above views with the Bible they cannot, for the Bible condemns such teachings and behavior (Acts 10:25-26; Revelation 22:8-9; 1 John 5:21). God alone is the church’s Savior. God alone redeemed the souls of the lost. God alone deserves glory and praise from the church. God alone is the church’s refuge. God alone satisfied His justice. God Himself gives gifts of mercy from Heaven. Mary never asked to be exalted, and the Bible never tells anyone to do such a thing. She was as dependent upon God for her salvation as any other person ever was. She was and is no more holy than any of God’s people who have been cleansed by the blood (1 Peter 2:9).
Sadly, because of Rome’s darkness many eyes have been closed to the light of Jesus’ glorious gospel that leads to life and immortality (2 Timothy 1:10) never to be opened again; but if you are a member of the Catholic Church please don’t stand idle, leave the path of idol worship while you have the time and opportunity. Trade in catholicism for Christianity. Come to God through His Son alone. No other word, no other path and no other person is needed (John 14:6). Leave the church that began in Rome for the church that began in Jerusalem (Acts 2:47). While all roads may lead to Rome, the roads of Rome do not lead to Heaven. You can escape the “universal” blindness of blasphemy by receiving the sight of God’s grace found in His word (Acts 20:32; 1 Peter 1:22-23).
“Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Eph. 5:14)
“And Mary said: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.'” (Luke 1:46-47)
“Who will not fear you, O Lord, and glorify your name, because you alone are holy?…” (Revelation 15:4)
Check this picture out. Other than the fact that it’s a little dirty and some of the color for the words has chipped away there is something else about this “monument” that doesn’t add up. Can you see it? Start with number one and see how long it takes for things to change what God’s word says. If you need a hint then read Exodus 20 and then come back and look again. Do you see it now? The picture and the scriptures just don’t add up do they? I wonder why someone would have to leave out that particular commandment from the 10??? What do you think?
If you don’t like what God’s word says, then change it! It’s nothing new, but that doesn’t mean it’s something good.
In Jesus’ banquet parable (Luke 14:12-24), the master sent his servant to gather up guests for the feast. His instructions were, “Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled” (v. 23, ESV).
In Latin, “compel people to come in” is written, “compelle intrare.” From early centuries of church history through medieval times and beyond, the Roman Catholic Church leaned on a grotesquely twisted interpretation of “compelle intrare” in Luke 14:23, concluding that governmental authorities had the right to coerce people into the church. In a perverse marriage, Catholicism and the state were so tied together that the former could dictate the latter use deadly force against the church’s enemies. And, the church’s enemies included whatever men and doctrines were not in lock step with what the Catholic Church taught. Forced conformity to Catholicism was the glue holding society together. Naturally, if people were allowed to study the Bible for themselves, voluntarily practice what they believed from their own study, and freely preach their views, it would be a fundamental threat to the church’s power (and the crumbling of society, as they knew it).
Reformers such as Martin Luther are often hailed for their courage in confronting the status quo in religion (i.e. Catholicism). Yet, what they created in the Reformation was simply another state religion like Catholicism—only with certain different doctrines. In other words, while Luther opposed the Catholic Church, he very much endorsed the idea that the Reformed church could use force against its own enemies.
While the reformers (such as Luther, John Calvin, etc.) were battling Catholicism, there were others insisting that both sides were wrong in their concept of a church which forced itself on everyone in a given locale. The view of these objectors was that the church of Christ consisted of voluntary believers, and that it had no connection to the state; nor was it biblical to use force in spreading the gospel. They studied their Bibles and clung to their convictions. They also found themselves mercilessly persecuted by both the Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformers.
Martin Luther commissioned his friend, Urbanus Rhegius, to fight those who were calling for a church formed only of voluntary believers. Rhegius said:
“The truth leaves you no choice; you must agree that the magistracy has the authority to coerce his subjects to the Gospel. And if you say, ‘Yes, but with admonition and well-chosen words but not by force’ then I answer that to get people to the services with fine words and admonitions is the preacher’s duty, but to keep them there with recourse to force if need be and to frighten them away from error is the proper function of the rulers….What do you suppose ‘Compelle intrare’ means?” (quoted in Leonard Verduin, The Reformers and Their Stepchildren, p. 74).
Those who thought the church and state were separate, that the state should not interfere with the church, and that the church should be organized along New Testament lines, were considered radicals and hated as enemies. One of them was Felix Manz, of Zurich, Switzerland. His goal was “to bring together those who were willing to accept Christ, obey the Word, and follow in His footsteps, to unite with these by baptism, and to leave the rest in their present conviction” (ibid.). In other words, Manz was opposed to coercion and held that the church should consist of true believers—those who wanted to accept and obey the gospel.
For his “heretical” ideas, Felix Manz had his hands tied around his bent knees, with a big stick shoved between his elbows and knees so that he could not move his arms. He was put in a boat and rowed into the Limmat River, where he was thrown into the frigid water to drown. The date was January 5, 1527.
Over the recent centuries, both Catholicism and Protestantism have had to back off of “compelle intrare,” but neither the former nor the denominations that sprang from the latter have gone all the way back to the primitive church’s organization and practice. Therein lies their insuperable problem.
If we, in the church of Christ, had lived back then, we would have been hunted like dogs by both Catholics and the Reformers. We are still at spiritual war with their religious descendants, but, thanks be, at least they cannot come after us today with a death warrant.
Two items came to my attention yesterday about developments in the Catholic Church.
First, the pope released a document, “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” From the noise, it would appear to be a major pronouncement, but it remains to be seen if their approach will change. Don’t hold your breath. In a striking phrase, Benedict is being touted as the “pope of the word of God.” With the bashing of fundamentalists, it appears to be another move to preempt them and keep from losing ground to those sad and despised souls who take the Bible literally.
The other item is talk between the Catholics and a few Protestant groups on the mutual recognition of each side’s baptisms. The Catholics want to make it easier for others to convert. So says one article about the main benefit of the talks:
For Catholic parish life, the accord would be advantageous in cases where someone baptized in the Reformed traditions wishes to enter full communion with the Catholic Church or wishes to marry a Catholic.
The Catholic Church recently invited Anglican bishops over to their side, and facilitated that move. The impression is the Catholics are hungry for converts, and they’ll take them where and how they can get them.