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  • Ron Thomas 3:24 pm on 2015-12-01 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catholic Church, pontiff, ,   

    The Pontiff Said… 

    It is remarkable to me that some continue to express uncertainty about truth. Note the following:
    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.
    Was Jesus correct when He said one could KNOW the truth, and with this knowledge be set free from sin (John 8:31-32)? Of course He was correct! If that is so, then the “pontiff” was surely not correct in this sentiment.
    Maybe Catholics are a bit uncertain about truth – and this would stand to reason considering their oral tradition takes such precedence like it does. Oral tradition in biblical matters, however, have no room for growth.
    Whatever is to be said about the Catholic Church’s man-made leader, to the Christian, he is not to be listened to.
     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:54 am on 2015-05-14 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catholic Church, church fathers,   

    Yeah, but the old rules of the church fathers say… 

    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)

     
    • Joseph Richardson 10:02 am on 2015-05-14 Permalink | Reply

      Hi, Eugene. You say you don’t intend to do damage to the text, “but” — Jesus’s own context makes plain that “their worship is to no purpose” because for the sake of their traditions, they have “put to one side the law of God.” The Pharisees made vain their worship because they “rejected the commandment of God in order to keep their tradition” (v. 9, RSVCE). Jesus Himself was a traditional and Law-observing Jew. He did not reject all “traditions of men,” nor did His Apostles — they taught in the synagogue; they observed all the Jewish feasts and holy days. What Jesus opposed was the keeping of traditions that rejected the Law of God.

      Now, you use this passage as a cudgel to take a swing at various Catholic practices. You’re not alone — it’s commonly misused for that. You say, again, that you don’t intend to do damage to the text, but using it as a weapon, especially against fellow believers, is hardly a good and proper use for it! I don’t understand your fixation on attacking the Catholic Church. Don’t you have a flock to shepherd?

      You take a swing, and yet don’t present any argument how any of these traditions “reject the commandment of God” — which is the only way this passage would apply. Each of these traditions is supported by if not based in the Word of God in Scripture, and is part of the faith once delivered to the saints:

      Lent is an emulation of the example of the Lord Himself in His fasting in the desert. By all accounts, it was practiced by the first generations of the Church and in all likelihood the Apostles themselves. It is based in Scripture and the truth of Christ’s revelation, and imparts those truths to the faithful, not rejects them.
      The Catholic understanding of the authority of bishops and of the papacy is just as equally based in Scripture itself.
      Scripture imparts to us that the saints are not “dead” at all, but more alive in Christ than we are (e.g. John 11:26, Heb 12:23, etc.).
      The Apostles themselves referred to themselves as spiritual “fathers” (1 Cor 4:15, Philem 10, etc.). You again “do damage to the text” of Jesus’s excoriation of the Pharisees (“Call no man on earth your father,” Matthew 23:9) by taking it so literalistically. Do you not call your father on earth “father,” and are you not called a “father” by your children?
      «And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”» (Mark 14:22)
      Scripture calls baptism “the circumcision of Christ” (Col 2:11). Jesus welcomed even the newborn infants who were brought to Him, and exhorted us not to hinder them (Luke 18:16). He commanded every one of us to be baptized (Mark 16:16). So how exactly is the baptism of infants a “rejection” of the commandment of God, rather than its affirmation?
      «Each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day [of the Lord] will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.» (1 Cor 3:13)

      I don’t understand your last complaint. The Church Fathers do not give us “rules” to follow, but are the witnesses to the Church’s faith in Christ throughout the ages: they are, quite literally, the “saints” to whom the faith was delivered. Unless you or your grandfathers pulled the Christian faith out of a hat in modern times, they are your fathers, too.

      • Eugene Adkins 10:21 am on 2015-05-14 Permalink | Reply

        Fixation? Did you you notice the number of times that the “Catholic Church” tag has been used. There are literally thousands of articles on TFR and I have personally contributed over 500 of them myself, so to say I have a fixation with the Catholic Church would be quite a misrepresentation of the things I have written about.

        The Catholic Church follows man-made traditions that are not in line with the commandments of God and it forces its followers the adhere to such under threat of disfellowship. On the rare occasion that I write about Catholic topics it’s so a truth seeking Catholic may see the errors of the Catholic Church, much in the same way I write about the topic of faith only for Baptists, amongst others.

        • Joseph Richardson 10:32 am on 2015-05-14 Permalink | Reply

          You keep doing it. I’ve called you out on it, I reckon, at least a dozen times. That comes across to me as a fixation. But I apologize: I did not mean to offend.

          Again: I’ve shown you on a number of occasions how Catholic traditions are either not “man-made” at all, or are not at all opposed to the commandments of God. Again: you are simply jabbing here, not presenting any case how these things are opposed to anything but your own understanding. If you want to expose errors to truth-seekers, then you ought to do so, rather than what is in effect merely calling names. Then we might at least have something substantive to talk about.

          The Catholic Church does not hold out “threats”: if you don’t believe what we believe, you’re welcome to go do something else. Nobody is Catholic, or has to stay Catholic, who doesn’t want to be Catholic. I am sure your church is just as willing to “disfellowship” someone who wants to persist in your body while teaching something contrary to your beliefs as the next church. Or would you mind if I came and joined your church and continued to honor and pray to saints?

          • Eugene Adkins 10:59 am on 2015-05-14 Permalink | Reply

            So you think 12 articles out of 500+ is a fixation? Okay.

            I used the verse because the Catholic Church, like the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus spent a lot of time refuting, teaches their traditions must be observed all the while having no clear scriptural basis for doing so…even to the extent of going beyond what God had said to do or restricting the freedoms that God has given.

            1) Lent: not one single scripture that indicates any such occasion required by God to be faithful to him (as your comment itself shows).

            2) There is no directive at all for any Christian to pray to God through any person other than Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5), nor is there any proof whatsoever that a dead person can pray to God and change the circumstances of the living (Luke 16:31)

            3) There is a difference between looking at someone as a forerunner, and even more so with calling our physical parents by the named relationship we have with them, and referring to someone with a self-made spiritual title such as holy father or most holy father (and the same goes with title of mother) which was directly condemned by Jesus (Matthew 23:8-13…which just so happens to deal with the Pharisaical attitude of religious hierarchy).

            4) Jesus welcoming newborns has nothing to do with baptizing them. A prerequisite of the baptism given by Jesus is that one must believe (which is why you don’t baptize unbelievers) and be willing to repent (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38) neither of which can be done by babies; like the babies that the Catholic Church requires to be baptized so they are saved in case they die.

            5) 1 Corinthians 3:13 is talking about converts that fail to stay faithful (1 Peter 1:7), not a person losing their salvation because they can’t pass the fires of Purgatory.

            6) Catholics do place great emphasis on the traditions of the “church fathers” even to the extent of overriding the plain scriptures of God (it’s called Catechisms), and this is why I wrote this particular post.

            7) Bishops and priests that are not allowed to be married contrary to the teachings of the scriptures (1 Corinthians 9:5, 1 Timothy 3:2), and a misrepresentation of the rock that Jesus’ church was to be built upon (which was his sonship proven to be true by him conquering hades through his resurrection – Matthew 16:18, Romans 1:4). Which again goes back to what I said in reply number 6.

            • Joseph Richardson 11:40 am on 2015-05-14 Permalink

              You’ve posted a lot of anti-Catholic pieces on your personal blog, too, Eugene. Don’t be disingenuous. I have no wish to attack the Church of Christ or any other Christian sect. I applaud your faith, even if I disagree with some of the finer points of your doctrine. Truth be told, the Church of Christ is much more in agreement with the Catholic Church than many Protestant sects. In this day and age, all we who call on the name of Christ ought to be embracing each other in love and not tearing each other down.

              Jesus spent a lot of time refuting, teaches their traditions must be observed all the while having no clear scriptural basis for doing so… even to the extent of going beyond what God had said to do or restricting the freedoms that God has given.

              This is not actually what Jesus taught at all. There is no evidence that he rejected anything merely because it “had no clear scriptural basis” or even that it “went beyond the extend of what God had said to do.” Again, as a traditional and Law-affirming Jew, he practiced and supported the greater part of what had been handed down in the Jewish tradition. You are interpolating your own (unscriptural) beliefs.

              To that: Where in Scripture, anywhere, does it teach us that we should not do anything that isn’t required by God? Is there anywhere at all that Scripture teaches the authority of Scripture as an exclusionary principle? There are many good and praiseworthy things that Christians (even you) do that are not required or prescribed by Scripture. If something is good and praiseworthy, honors God, and teaches His truths, why should you be opposed it?

              1. Again: How does emulating Jesus’s fasting “reject the commandment of God”?

              2. «And the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.» (Rev 5:8) — “Saints” here referring to those holy ones on earth (the Church), their prayers being raised up as incense to the throne of God by both elders (Rev 5:6-8) and angels (Rev 8:1-4).

              3. The pope does not call himself “holy father” (it is not a “self-made title”) and nobody at all uses the title “holy mother”. Jesus’s words are plain: “Call no man on earth your father.” So if you are going to take them plainly, then you must apply them uniformly.

              4. Where does it state in Scripture that belief is a prerequisite for baptism in every case? Again, Jesus did welcome infants, saying that the kingdom of God (i.e. salvation) belonged to them. Scripture calls Baptism the “circumcision of Christ,” circumcision being a rite given to infants. Whole households of believers were baptized (Acts 16:15, 33, 1 Cor 1:16), and there is no reason to think this did not include children and servants. At best we can say that Scripture is unclear in the matter of infant baptism: certainly not that it rejects it.

              5. “He will suffer loss [on the Day of the Lord], though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” The words of the text themselves say that there are some whose workmanship is not up to snuff who will nonetheless be saved even through their work is burned up. That’s really all a belief in purgatory entails.

              6. Catechisms override Scripture? I wonder if you’ve ever consulted a catechism? A catechism is nothing but a teaching tool that explains what Catholics believe from Scripture. Rather than “overriding” Scripture, the Catechism has over 1,500 citations to Scripture on which nearly ever sentence is based and relies. The Church Fathers are the same: they are read because they explain how they understand Scripture. They are called “doctors” (teachers) of the faith because they teach the faith. Surely you believe in teachers? What about textbooks?

              The peace of the Lord be with you, Eugene.

            • Eugene Adkins 12:16 pm on 2015-05-14 Permalink

              I’ve posted a lot of anti-Catholic articles on my site? Don’t be disingenuous? I think you’re getting me confused with someone else. You can go and count them for me if you please. I have 2 posts, maybe 3 that I can recall, that center around the Catholic Church and its teachings specifically. This is 2 or 3 out of (somewhere in the neighborhood) 250 articles that have been posted over a span of 3+ years.

              And Jesus didn’t say belief has to accompany baptism every time so that makes it okay to baptize people who don’t believe? You just made my point – to justify the tradition of the Catholic Church you have just set aside the plain intent of God’s command.

              And I didn’t leave off the transubstantiation reference intentionally; I looked over it because I was reading your reply off of a small phone. We do not literally consume Jesus’ flesh of drink his blood by partaking of the Lord’s Supper any more than we are literally washed by his blood or literally circumcised when we’re baptized. It’s accomplished by faith and not by a physically literal process. The context of John 6, which is where the major reference can be found concerning the necessity of eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood (which if taken literally is cannibalism), is about having a mentality of faithfulness that causes us to follow and consume Jesus by being consumed by him unlike the people who sought him for superficial reasons and ultimately left because they didn’t like his teachings. It has nothing to do with a physical nature which is why Jesus compared himself in an analogous way to the literal bread that the children of Israel ate in the wilderness to sustain them.

              See ya, Joseph.

            • Joseph Richardson 12:31 pm on 2015-05-14 Permalink

              The point is not how often or how many times you have attacked the Catholic Church relative to other things you have posted, but that you have done so and continue to do so. I am sorry I characterized it as a “fixation”, but I repeat what I said in the first place: Aren’t there more positive, more edifying, and more relevant topics to focus on for a Church of Christ reader? How does tearing down the Catholic Church build anybody up?

              You just made my point – to justify the tradition of the Catholic Church you have just set aside the plain intent of God’s command.

              Scripture doesn’t say. Rather than the Catholic Church “setting aside” anything, your belief interpolates things that are not there. I do not see how this is any better (if it isn’t worse) than what you accuse my Church of.

              The context of John 6 … is about having a mentality of faithfulness that causes us to follow and consume Jesus by being consumed by him…

              Again, this is nothing but interpolation: the text of the Scripture says only that we must consume His flesh and drink His blood, in graphic terms that were offputting to his audience. Just because they are offputting to you does not authorize you to ignore the words of the text and impose your own unsupportable reading. The very earliest Christians (cf. 1 Cor 10:16, 11:29; also Ignatius of Antioch, c. A.D. 107) understood the Eucharist to be an actual consumption of Jesus’s real Body and Blood. No Christian rejected this until the time of the Protestant Reformation.

              God bless you and His peace be with you, Brother Eugene.

            • Eugene Adkins 12:42 pm on 2015-05-14 Permalink

              Acts 20:31-32

            • Joseph Richardson 12:49 pm on 2015-05-14 Permalink

              Phil 3:15

            • Joseph Richardson 12:42 pm on 2015-05-14 Permalink

              Also, I happened to discover the embarrassing fact that your church participates in an extravagant, extrascriptural practice known as “Vacation Bible School.” Oh, woe to those who would lead the little children down the dark path of extrascriptural innovation! 😉

              (My church has V.B.S. as well, and it’s actually a lovely and praiseworthy practice. See, not every good thing has to be prescribed by Scripture!)

            • Joseph Richardson 11:49 am on 2015-05-14 Permalink

              I notice, also, that you dropped your claim about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist being “unscriptural.” Good call. 😀

          • Eugene Adkins 11:07 am on 2015-05-14 Permalink | Reply

            And by the way, I don’t think all 12 articles are by me. But you can check because I may be wrong.

            And one more thing, at least we are kind and respectful enough to allow you to reply with your p.o.v., unlike some sites out there that directly attack the church of Christ with name calling and petty personal attacks on a regular basis.

            • Joseph Richardson 11:45 am on 2015-05-14 Permalink

              I do appreciate that you are kind and respectful and willing to have a conversation about it. I wouldn’t still be responding if you didn’t. 🙂 God bless you, Eugene.

      • LaraIngalls 11:01 pm on 2015-05-16 Permalink | Reply

        Hi all, I have read this discussion with keen interest and would like to add a few thoughts, if I may. If I repeat earlier ground, it is merely for my point.

        Firstly, it is clear to me from my global travels that in the world’s view, Catholicism = Christianity. New Testament Christians such as myself must work feverishly and vocally to help people understand the difference. This becomes ever more important in the current anti Christian climate – when much of the criticism is rooted in Catholic history (including the economically motivated Crusades; persecution for those translating God’s word out of Latin; more recently, the silent complicity with anti Semite Nazism and the global methodical cover up of child molestation by priests). This distance is also required for notable atheists to understand (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and their ilk criticise many Catholic traditions which I also do not follow or endorse – then use this to spread anti- Christian atheism). God’s church existed centuries before any synod or any Roman, Greek or other Papal/ holy Father (Acts 11:26).

        Secondly, the Scriptures themselves claim and maintain their exclusivity. Passages state that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:7-9); there is no need for v2.0, modernization or any further papal bull or synod to tell me what God’s will is for me. Scriptures also maintain that even if an angel were to come down and tell me something conflicting it, then I must follow scripture (Galatians 1:6-11). There is no room for Priesthood, Pope (which is Latin for father, also the basis for Padre, the Mexican name for a priest) or anyone else telling me something that adds to or contradicts what the Holy Bible already states.

        Thirdly, anything practiced by the church that is not directly stated in scripture is preference that is not imposed on anyone (Matthew 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 7:5-6) Sunday worship is stated in Scripture (Acts 20:7); Wednesday Bible class is preference. Weekly Lord’s supper is stated in Scripture (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26); doing this before, during or after singing is preference. Bible study is mandatory in scripture (Acts 17:10-11; 2 Timothy 2:15), VBS is preference. I could continue, but surely this is sufficient.

        I pray for all to study and draw closer to God. This temporary earth would be much better if more were openly, vocally following God’s law and standing up for His purpose.

        • Joseph Richardson 8:53 am on 2015-05-18 Permalink | Reply

          Hi, Lara. Thanks so much for reading and replying. You have some thought-provoking comments.

          First, I’d like to clarify: you say that “in the world’s view,” Catholicism is Christianity, and that “New Testament Christians” must work to help people understand the difference. So do you believe that Catholicism is not Christian? I would agree that my church is not the same as your church in terms of practice, discipline, and externals, but we both believe in the same Gospel, share the same faith, and follow the same Lord — “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:5). If you believe otherwise — on what grounds do make such a distinction?

          Second, you include a long string of charges here to unpack as a parenthetical:

          … much of the [anti-Christian] criticism is rooted in Catholic history, including the economically motivated Crusades …

          So, can I presume you make a distinction between “Catholic history” and “Christian history”? If the Crusades were “Catholic” but not “Christian” — what exactly is “Christian history”? Who were your spiritual forefathers over the nineteen centuries from Christ until the Restoration? Or do you believe that the Christian faith was then pulled out of a hat?

          Truth be told, the Crusades, especially the early ones, had worthy, defensible, even laudable motivations besides the economic, mostly the protection of Christian pilgrims. There has been a lot written recently, and not just by Catholic authors, on the truth of the Crusades, against the secular, anti-Christian myth — which, despite your own words, you are buying into.

          … persecution for those translating God’s word out of Latin …

          Except not. In nearly every one of the vernacular languages, the earliest translations from the Latin were carried out by Catholic clerics, long before any Protestants breathed, with the full sanction and support of the Church. The only exception is English, the history of which was caught up in the midst of Reformation politics. William Tyndale was persecuted not solely because he translated the Scriptures, but because he taught heterodox views about them. Mere years later, his own translations were used in what eventually became the King James Bible. But it cannot be held that the Catholic Church was ever categorically opposed to the English people having the Scriptures in their own language: Even before the King James Bible was published, exiled English Catholic clerics at Rheims and Douai, under their own persecution by Protestants, published an English translation of the Bible for the people (the Douay-Rheims Bible).

          … more recently, the silent complicity with anti Semite Nazism …

          Again, this is a secular, anti-Christian slur — I thought you were opposed to that? — that has been largely debunked by recent historians. Or do you only believe anti-Christian slurs when they are also anti-Catholic?

          … and the global methodical cover up of child molestation by priests …

          The abuse of children, especially by clergy, is horrific and unconscionable. But for a cover-up to be “global” and “methodical,” the said abuse being covered up must first have been “global” and “methodical.” But the fact is, only a miniscule percentage of Catholic priests have ever been accused of abuse (there are more than 400,000 globally, and fewer than 1 percet has ever been accused of abuse) and any allegations of episcopal cover-ups likewise account for only a few bishops and dioceses out of more than 5,000 globally. The secular, anti-Christian media has again loved to blast the Church; but statistically, non-Catholic clergy are far more likely to abuse children than priests: the difference being that Protestant pastors are generally attached to local, isolated bodies and not a single, global punching bag. Child abuse by clergy is a problem that pervades the whole body of Christ; it cannot be held against the Catholic Church alone, which unlike Protestant churches, has the reach and the means to document and systemically deal with the problem and has been doing so for decades.

          God’s church existed centuries before any synod or any Roman, Greek or other Papal/ holy Father.

          Really? Again, I’m curious about your understanding of Christian history. The first “synod” or council, the Council of Jerusalem, is documented in Acts 15. Other early synods and councils are documented as early as the second century. And before any Greek or Roman? The New Testament, I’m sure you know, is written in Greek; and there were certainly Roman Christians in biblical times — there was actually a letter written to them, and both the Apostles Paul and Peter ministered in Rome. And before any “pope”? The “pope,” I’m sure you know, is the bishop of Rome, and there has certainly been a bishop in Rome from the earliest days of the Church.

          Secondly, the Scriptures themselves claim and maintain their exclusivity. Passages state that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever …

          This seems to be non sequitur. How does Jesus being the same yesterday, today, and forever claim and maintain the “exclusivity” of Scripture (I presume you’re referring to what I said above about Scripture excluding any doctrine not spelled out in it)?

          There is no need for v2.0, modernization or any further papal bull or synod to tell me what God’s will is for me.

          Except Scripture itself shows us an example of just such a synod being required to discern God’s will (Acts 15) — especially in cases of disagreements in the Church (“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. … Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them”, Matthew 18:17,20). Synods and councils have been called at various times in the history of the Church when the meaning and interpretation of Scripture were not clear to believers, when believers disagreed and could not resolve the disagreement by Scripture alone. The councils did not supplant or take the place of Scripture; far from it. It was by the agreement of Christian leaders and the guidance of the Holy Spirit (who guides Christians into all truth, John 16:13) that the truth of such doctrines as the Trinity and the true Godhood and true manhood of Christ were definitively taught to believers — and in fact, that we are even able to know the canon of Scripture and have a Bible.

          [The] Scriptures also maintain that even if an angel were to come down and tell me something conflicting it, then I must follow scripture.

          Naturally — and the Catholic Church agrees with you there.

          There is no room for Priesthood, Pope or anyone else telling me something that adds to or contradicts what the Holy Bible already states.

          Of course, neither pope nor priests can contradict the Word of God. But as for there being no room: There is no room for teachers (1 Timothy 3:2, 4:13) or pastors (Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 5:2) or leaders (Hebrews 13:17)?

          Anything practiced by the church that is not directly stated in scripture is preference that is not imposed on anyone (Matthew 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 7:5-6).

          The cited Scriptures don’t actually teach anything like that. But sure, that’s fine. The Catholic Church actually agrees with you, for the most part: that’s the difference between doctrine (what is taught as an article of the faith) and discipline or practice (what is done and recommended to the faithful because it is a good thing to do). Lent, for example, is a practice for teaching the Gospel; it’s not as essential element of the faith in itself.

          I think, though, by your distinction about “preference,” you are glossing over an important point: Sure, it is up to the individual believers whether or not he or she participates or allows her children to participate in Vacation Bible School. That’s “preference.” But at the church level, it is the church who embraces, organizes, and recommends Vacation Bible School. It is not in itself an individual “preference,” but a practice the church must adopt, in which members choose to cooperate and support. If I’m a member of your church and I believe Vacation Bible School is against scriptural precepts, then that’s my “preference,” but it won’t stop Vacation Bible School from being taught at my church. (I suppose I could go to a different church.) In exactly the same way, it is the indidivual believer’s “preference” whether or not he or she participates in Lent or any other practice of the Catholic Church — or how he participates, or what he does. The Church only recommends practices to the faithful that have proven beneficial.

          I would also point out that the “preferences” you mention are actually traditions (“of men”) that you follow. The order of worship (Communion after singing and Scripture-reading) is practiced, practically universally by all Christians, because this is what has been handed down from the very earliest Christians. Yes, it’s “preference” and it’s not unchangeable. But it is something not explicitly laid out in Scripture that nearly all Christians follow, because it is a good thing to do.

          I pray for all to study and draw closer to God. This temporary earth would be much better if more were openly, vocally following God’s law and standing up for His purpose.

          Amen. May God bless you, and the peace of the Lord be with you!

          • Eugene Adkins 8:55 pm on 2015-05-18 Permalink | Reply

            Hey, Joseph,

            I wanted to point out something, which is something that I’ve noticed from previous conversations that we have had, when it comes to what you say about the Catholic Church and what the Catholic Church itself says.

            You said, “In exactly the same way, it is the indidivual believer’s “preference” whether or not he or she participates in Lent or any other practice of the Catholic Church — or how he participates, or what he does. The Church only recommends practices to the faithful that have proven beneficial.

            Now is it recommends, or is it commands?

            The Precepts of the Catholic Church are like a bare bones list of things you must do as a Catholic; they are like minimum membership requirements … 4. You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.”

            which are the chief commandments, or laws of the Church? The chief commandments, or laws, of the Church are these six: … 2. To fast and to abstain on the days appointed.”

            The Church has specified certain forms of penance, both to ensure that the Catholic will do something, as required by divine law, while making it easy for Catholics to fulfill the obligation … Canon 1252 All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence; all adults are bound by the law of fast up to the beginning of their sixtieth year … Fasting: The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday [Canon 97] to the 59th Birthday [i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday] to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal.”

            All words placed in bold were done so to show that what you call a recommendation is called a command by your church…which happens to be a command not commanded by God. And this is why I wrote the article that I wrote. Because the Catholic Church will criticize people (like the Pharisees did to Jesus’ disciples) for not following a Catholic Tradition (a.k.a. Catholic/Universal Law) that is not mentioned, much less required, by God one single time. All the Catholic Church can say is “Yeah, but the old rules of the church fathers say….” I understand that you have a hard time understanding the point that is being made because of your p.o.v concerning Catholic doctrine, and not I’m not trying to teach a Catholic what Catholic doctrine is, but, as it has been plainly shown, a command like Lent is not a doctrine found in the New Testament and therefore the Catholic Church has no scriptural right to bind it on anyone contrary to what it teaches.

            • Joseph Richardson 9:33 am on 2015-05-19 Permalink

              Hi, Eugene. Yes, you’re right. There are certain precepts of the Church, requirements and expectations of being Catholic. Call them commands if you’d like. As your quotation itself says, these are “bare bones” membership requirements, the most basic expectations of a member of the Catholic Church. I am sure your church also has membership requirements. Every club, every organization, every body has membership requirements. What would you expect of me if I wanted to join your church?

              So yes, I generalized when I referred to “recommendations”: but the fact is, beyond these very basic expectations, all of these practices are recommendations. The only appointed days for fasting are Ash Wednesday at the beginning of Lent and Good Friday, the day our Lord suffered. Days of abstinence are Fridays during the season of Lent. This is extremely basic: if our Lord fasted for forty days in the desert, the absolute least we can do is fast for one day. If our Lord suffered death on the Cross for our sins, the absolute least we can do is to remember his suffering by denying ourselves a little. Beyond this, how a Catholic keeps or observes Lent, or if he or she does so at all, is at the individual’s discretion. In practice, even anyone who flouts days of abstinence or fasting receives nothing: not a punishment, not an excommunication, not even a stern word — because really, what can the Church do? All penance is voluntary: unless a person undertakes it willingly, it is neither binding nor of any benefit to him. I’ll say again, no one is required to be a Catholic or a Christian; no one has to participate in church or accept any teaching at all. The Church is a teacher, not a dictator, and her classroom is one of invitation, not compulsion.

              Because the Catholic Church will criticize people (like the Pharisees did to Jesus’ disciples) for not following a Catholic Tradition (a.k.a. Catholic/Universal Law) that is not mentioned, much less required, by God one single time.

              Really? I have never seen or heard of the Catholic Church “criticizing people” (presumably you mean non-Catholics) for not following Catholic traditions. Perhaps individuals might, but you’ll never hear that from me. I’ll certainly recommend traditions, practices, and teachings to you, if you ask, because I think they are good and beneficial and graceful — but I’ll never beat anyone over the head with that. It’s wonderful that many Christians in this day and age, and not just Catholics, are returning to traditional Christian practices like Lent. You shouldn’t knock it unless you try it. It’s like V.B.S. for the whole family. 🙂

              “Yeah, but the old rules of the church fathers say….”

              Again, the Church Fathers do not give us “rules”.

              As it has been plainly shown, a command like Lent is not a doctrine found in the New Testament and therefore the Catholic Church has no scriptural right to bind it on anyone contrary to what it teaches.

              Again, how is Lent contrary to anything the New Testament teaches?

              The peace of the Lord be with you, Eugene.

            • Eugene Adkins 6:22 am on 2015-05-20 Permalink

              Now you’re playing shell-games with the meaning of your words and with what the Catholic Church has done and taught concerning its “authority” for centuries my friend. I didn’t call it a command. Catholics did; including the EWTN site.

            • Joseph Richardson 6:30 am on 2015-05-20 Permalink

              How so? I agreed it could be called a command, and otherwise confirmed what you presented. But the word “precept” in Latin most literally means “requirement” (prae + ceptum = taken before), so I prefer that word. I am striving to be as open and clear as possible.

      • LaraIngalls 10:38 pm on 2015-07-30 Permalink | Reply

        Sorry for the delayed response, serious technical difficulties the last couple of months. Still, I would like to pick this up where you responded to me, Joseph (the right to Reply has been removed from the later post, so I did it here):

        1. So do you believe that Catholicism is not Christian? I would agree that my church is not the same as your church in terms of practice, discipline, and externals, but we both believe in the same Gospel, share the same faith, and follow the same Lord — “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:5). If you believe otherwise — on what grounds do you make such a distinction?

        1 Answer: Yes, I believe that Catholicism has placed at its head the Pope, rather than Jesus. Whether or not one believes the Pope is a modern day apostle, it is clear that all authority in the church comes from GOD and His son, Jesus, not any man. Additionally, the exaltation of Mary as the ‘mother of GOD’ is again not supported in scripture; reverencing a human in such a way has never been endorsed by the Bible. Just from these two Catholic traditions and teachings, I very much believe Catholics are not Biblical Christians.

        2. you include a long string of charges here to unpack as a parenthetical:

        a/ can I presume you make a distinction between “Catholic history” and “Christian history”? If the Crusades were “Catholic” but not “Christian” — what exactly is “Christian history”? Who were your spiritual forefathers over the nineteen centuries from Christ until the Restoration? Or do you believe that the Christian faith was then pulled out of a hat?

        2a Answer: Yes, history bears out that there have indeed been groups separate and distinct from the label of ‘Roman Catholic’ or ‘Eastern Orthodox’. Historically, common knowledge also adds Coptic Christians, Thomas Christians and Syrian Christians to those who do not recognise Papal authority and pre-date the Catholic church. Please refer to the book Traces of the Kingdom (http://traces-of-the-kingdom.org) for some thought provoking historical context to Christianity.

        b/ Truth be told, the Crusades, especially the early ones, had worthy, defensible, even laudable motivations besides the economic, mostly the protection of Christian pilgrims. There has been a lot written recently, and not just by Catholic authors, on the truth of the Crusades, against the secular, anti-Christian myth — which, despite your own words, you are buying into.

        2b Answer: A lot has indeed been written on the Crusades. A lot of modern re-telling and interpretation of this medieval trauma is coloured by modern events. What is clear from contemporary sources is that those who started the early Crusades were providing a unifying, religious motivation for what was required by the European political leaders, namely a safe trade route through the Middle East to transport goods from the East to the West (come to think of it, modern events also have this motivation).

        c/ In nearly every one of the vernacular languages, the earliest translations from the Latin were carried out by Catholic clerics, long before any Protestants breathed, with the full sanction and support of the Church. The only exception is English, the history of which was caught up in the midst of Reformation politics. William Tyndale was persecuted not solely because he translated the Scriptures, but because he taught heterodox views about them. Mere years later, his own translations were used in what eventually became the King James Bible. But it cannot be held that the Catholic Church was ever categorically opposed to the English people having the Scriptures in their own language: Even before the King James Bible was published, exiled English Catholic clerics at Rheims and Douai, under their own persecution by Protestants, published an English translation of the Bible for the people (the Douay-Rheims Bible).

        2c Answer: Let’s leave aside what occurred in other languages (many of which had a similarity to Latin that meant scripture could be understood by the lay person at some level, e.g., medieval Italian, Spanish, French). Tyndale, et al., did indeed depart from Catholic teachings, once he understood the Holy Bible’s actual words and meaning. For this he and most others involved in the translation work were persecuted by the Catholic church. The Douai-Rheims Bible is riddled with inaccuracies in text and translation. Modern analysis has proven this.

        Then and now, the act of reading the Bible on one’s own, letting its word speak to us rather than following the filter of what someone else teaches (be it priest, pastor, reverend, etc.) does provoke many to become true Christians. And that does indeed provoke Catholic leaders to excommunicate individuals at the very harmless end of their punitive measures.

        d/ … more recently, the silent complicity with anti Semite Nazism … Again, this is a secular, anti-Christian slur — I thought you were opposed to that? — that has been largely debunked by recent historians. Or do you only believe anti-Christian slurs when they are also anti-Catholic?

        2d Answer: Please point out to me where the Catholic Pope, Magesterium, or Catholic Cardinals openly and actively opposed the Nazi persecution of the Jewish people. I have yet to find such in any historical documents I have read on the matter.

        e/ The abuse of children, especially by clergy, is horrific and unconscionable. But for a cover-up to be “global” and “methodical,” the said abuse being covered up must first have been “global” and “methodical.” But the fact is, only a miniscule percentage of Catholic priests have ever been accused of abuse (there are more than 400,000 globally, and fewer than 1 percent has ever been accused of abuse) and any allegations of episcopal cover-ups likewise account for only a few bishops and dioceses out of more than 5,000 globally. The secular, anti-Christian media has again loved to blast the Church; but statistically, non-Catholic clergy are far more likely to abuse children than priests: the difference being that Protestant pastors are generally attached to local, isolated bodies and not a single, global punching bag. Child abuse by clergy is a problem that pervades the whole body of Christ; it cannot be held against the Catholic Church alone, which unlike Protestant churches, has the reach and the means to document and systemically deal with the problem and has been doing so for decades.

        2e Answer: There is a long and turbulent history regarding Catholic leaderships’ accountability to local legal frameworks. In this context, it is clear that if a person breaks the law (e.g., child molestation), they are accountable to the secular legal authorities. Instead, in documented and circumstantial evidence, Roman Catholic leadership chose to either ignore the allegations or, if there were grounds, to merely move the priest/ bishop to another diocese. Moving the perpetrator did nothing to actually deal with the sin – which inevitably was repeated in the new location, time after time. In documented and circumstantial evidence, fellow Catholic leaders withheld evidence from local authorities; they met with and put pressure on victims and their families to turn the other cheek, forgive and forget, and drop the charges as being harmful to the Catholic establishment. I know of two such cases personally, in two very different geographies – which therefore led to my conclusion that this was a globally, Pope – endorsed directive.

        f/ Again, I’m curious about your understanding of Christian history. The first “synod” or council, the Council of Jerusalem, is documented in Acts 15. Other early synods and councils are documented as early as the second century. And before any Greek or Roman? The New Testament, I’m sure you know, is written in Greek; and there were certainly Roman Christians in biblical times — there was actually a letter written to them, and both the Apostles Paul and Peter ministered in Rome. And before any “pope”? The “pope,” I’m sure you know, is the bishop of Rome, and there has certainly been a bishop in Rome from the earliest days of the Church.

        2f A: please see above.

        This is getting too lengthy, as I fear it would, so I will divide my response in two. Second instalment due in a moment.

        • Joseph Richardson 3:18 pm on 2015-08-03 Permalink | Reply

          Thanks for the kind reply, Lara. I will do my best to address your points. You have a lot of different and diverse charges here, so I will try not to spend too long addressing any one. If you would like me to address any one in greater detail, I would be very glad to.

          Yes, I believe that Catholicism has placed at its head the Pope, rather than Jesus.

          This is not what Catholics believe. “As Lord, Christ is head of the Church, which is his Body (cf. Eph 1:22)” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 669). The pope is only the pastor of the Church. Or should I presume that if your church has a pastor (Ephesians 4:11, John 21:16, 1 Peter 5:2), you have appointed someone else other than Christ as your head?

          Whether or not one believes the Pope is a modern day apostle, it is clear that all authority in the church comes from GOD and His son, Jesus, not any man.

          (i) No one claims that the pope is “a modern day apostle.”

          (ii) Just as the authority of any other pastor comes only from God, the authority of our pastor comes only from God, and not from any man.

          Additionally, the exaltation of Mary as the ‘mother of GOD’ is again not supported in scripture; reverencing a human in such a way has never been endorsed by the Bible.

          (i) “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord [i.e. God] should come to me?” (Luke 1:43)

          (ii) Understanding the term “mother of God” requires some historical background. It is a translation of the Greek term Θεοτόκος [Theotokos], literally “God-bearer” or “the one who bore God.” It was applied to Mary from the earliest centuries of the Christian Church not in exaltation of Mary, but in exaltation of Christ. In the Christological controversies of those early centuries, there were many heretics who argued that Christ was not God or was not fully God. Who was the One whom Mary bore? Was He only a man, or was He God? Affirming Mary as the Theotokos or “mother of God” was one important way early Christians affirmed the full divinity of Christ.

          Just from these two Catholic traditions and teachings, I very much believe Catholics are not Biblical Christians.

          Are there other reasons you believe this, or just these two?

          Yes, history bears out that there have indeed been groups separate and distinct from the label of ‘Roman Catholic’ or ‘Eastern Orthodox’. Historically, common knowledge also adds Coptic Christians, Thomas Christians and Syrian Christians to those who do not recognise Papal authority and pre-date the Catholic church.

          That was not the question. I said nothing at all about the label “Roman Catholic.” Certainly there have been many groups and divisions — but there is only one Church of Christ. Are not all these groups Christians? I ask again, who were your spiritual forefathers from Christ until the Restoration, if not one of these groups?

          Please refer to the book Traces of the Kingdom (…) for some thought provoking historical context to Christianity.

          I mean no offense, but that website is kind of terrible and crashed my computer. I could not find any of the “thought-provoking historical context” you are referring to. I am an historian, however. I do know a few things about the history of the Christian Church. What else is it that you would like me to know? You have not given me an answer to my question, only pointed somewhere else.

          Let’s leave aside what occurred in other languages (many of which had a similarity to Latin that meant scripture could be understood by the lay person at some level, e.g., medieval Italian, Spanish, French).

          You accused broadly that the Catholic Church “[persecuted] those [who translated] God’s word out of Latin.” So you cannot in good faith “leave aside” what occurred in every language but the one you speak. The fact is, the Catholic Church translated the Scriptures into Latin so that all people might read them (Latin was the common language in Europe for many centuries), and translated them into a wide variety of other languages, including Ethiopian, Gothic, Armenian, Slavonic, so that those peoples might read them, too. In modern centuries, with the rise of vernacular languages and the invention of the printing press and even before, it was Catholic clerics who translated the Scriptures into Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and even German (before Luther ever put pen to paper), with full sanction and approval of the Catholic Church. (As someone who reads both Latin and several of the Romance languages, I can assure you that no, a layperson knowing only the vernacular would understand very little of the Latin Vulgate.) The common canard that the Catholic Church systematically persecuted translators of the Bible or sought to keep the Scriptures out of the hands of common people is entirely without merit or foundation.

          Tyndale, et al., did indeed depart from Catholic teachings, once he understood the Holy Bible’s actual words and meaning. For this [Tyndale] and most others involved in the translation work were persecuted by the Catholic church.

          (i) You accused that the Catholic Church “[persecuted] those [who translated] God’s word.” If you acknowledge that Tyndale was persecuted for departing from Catholic teachings and not for translating the Bible, then it seems you’ve vacated your original charge.

          (ii) You will have to provide some context for “most others.” The only Bible translator I know of who was even charged with heresy was Tyndale (and this only after years of publicly writing against the Church) — who does not by himself substantiate the wide charge you made.

          The Douai-Rheims Bible is riddled with inaccuracies in text and translation. Modern analysis has proven this.

          Modern analysis has also shown the inaccuracies in Tyndale’s translation and even the King James Bible. The fact that these translations were imperfect (as any human effort is) does not negate the fact that these people were striving, at great risk to themselves, to bring God’s Word to the people. They created a foundation for future translators to build upon and improve. (And yes, I am including Tyndale in that statement, whom I have studied and admire quite a lot.)

          Then and now, the act of reading the Bible on one’s own, letting its word speak to us rather than following the filter of what someone else teaches (be it priest, pastor, reverend, etc.) does provoke many to become true Christians. That does indeed provoke Catholic leaders to excommunicate individuals at the very harmless end of their punitive measures.

          The Catholic Church likewise encourages the Christian faithful to read Scripture privately. They are just as much “true” Christians as you are, yet they remain faithfully in the Catholic Church, and are not “excommunicated,” “punished,” or any other such. I frankly don’t know what you’re talking about. As the Second Vatican Council taught, «[We] also earnestly and especially urges all the Christian faithful to learn by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the “excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:8). “For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (St. Jerome).» (Dei Verbum 25 [1965]).

          Please point out to me where the Catholic Pope, Magesterium, or Catholic Cardinals openly and actively opposed the Nazi persecution of the Jewish people. I have yet to find such in any historical documents I have read on the matter.

          A seeming lack of open opposition does not equal “silent complicity.” Ample historical evidence has come to light in the recent decades of popes, bishops, and religious who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to protect Jews and help them escape Nazi persecution. A summary, with references: Catholic resistance to Nazi Germany.

          There is a long and turbulent history regarding Catholic leaderships’ accountability to local legal frameworks….

          Again, I don’t deny that grave wrongdoing has occurred, and even occurred widely. But you cannot substantiate the charge that any such wrongdoing was “global” or “methodical,” let alone — in the absence of any real evidence implicating any pope — “papally-endorsed.” Does the fact that these sins occur in any way undermine the holiness of Christ or of His Church? I am sure you are aghast to discover that there are sinners in the Church of Christ, and I certainly hope there are none to be found in your church.

          [Regarding Christian history,] please see above.

          Yes, I’ve already noted your non-answer above.

          I will reply to your second half also.

        • Joseph Richardson 3:23 pm on 2015-08-03 Permalink | Reply

          Richard, out of curiosity, how would you say the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth when well-meaning people cannot agree on the interpretation of Scripture?

        • RichardS 6:18 pm on 2015-08-03 Permalink | Reply

          Joseph the Bible says in 2 Peter 1:20-21 that ” (20) knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, (21) for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of GOD spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” and 2 Timothy 3 :16-17 “(16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (17) that the man of GOD maybe complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” If you study the Bible thoroughly you will find the right answers because you will be “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) as Paul said.

        • Joseph Richardson 1:16 pm on 2015-08-04 Permalink | Reply

          If you study the Bible thoroughly you will find the right answers because you will be “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) as Paul said.

          Richard, thanks, but that doesn’t really answer my question. Obviously, well-meaning people studying the Bible, believing themselves to be “rightly dividing” the Scriptures, can come to different interpretations and conclusions of what they mean. So how does the Holy Spirit guide such people into truth?

          • Eugene Adkins 3:00 pm on 2015-08-04 Permalink | Reply

            Hi, Joseph.
            Let me quickly join the conversation and make a point here about someone needing more than the scriptures alone to understand God’s will since everyone doesn’t agree about the meaning of scripture and whether or not that requires extra-biblical aides (meaning more than than the principal of sola-scriptura).

            Did everybody who heard Jesus teach agree with what He taught?
            (For brevities sake I’ll attempt to “read your mind” – but correct me if I make the wrong assumption here – and think you’re going to answer with a “no”.)

            If people could hear the plain principles of the gospel be taught by Jesus and still not agree with what he taught, does that mean the fault was with Jesus’?

            The truth can be known (John 8:32), and those who desire the truth can find it. Faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17), and those who desire the truth of God can study/believe God’s word in such a way that their interpretation doesn’t contradict what the rest of the Spirit’s inspiration has revealed (1 Peter 1:22-25, Ephesians 3:3-5, John 10:35b, John 17:17, Psalm 119:160 ESV).

            When a person discovers that his or her belief contradicts the commands, precepts, etc, given in the word of God, then it is our belief that must change and not God’s word (i.e. via Acts 2:38, 18:8 and Mark 16:16 – amongst many other verses, an individual must believe/repent to be baptized; therefore there is no requirement from God to baptize babies).

            If you want to know how long something is you get a ruler that matches the standard of measurement that has been delivered…God’s standard of righteousness, by which we will all be judged is found in the word and gospel of Jesus Christ, so it behooves us all to appeal to God for his standard and not a man made one (Romans 1:16-17, Acts 17:30-31, 1 Peter 1:22-25). If Timothy, amongst many others, could know the truth, then there’s no reason why someone cannot do the same today (2 Timothy 2:15, 3:15-17).

        • Joseph Richardson 4:20 pm on 2015-08-04 Permalink | Reply

          Hi, Eugene. I think you are reading more into my comment than I said or implied. I simply asked how, if the Holy Spirit “guides us into all truth,” He guides well-meaning people who have different interpretations of the Scriptures into resolution. You still haven’t answered that question: there’s not even a mention in your comment of the Holy Spirit.

          In fact, yes, the people who heard Jesus and followed Him agreed with what He taught — or else they stopped following Him (e.g. John 6:66). They had an advantage we do not have: they had the opportunity to hear Him speak on more than several occasions, to clarify their understanding, even to ask Him questions. They had more than the fixed word on a page of writing — and in fact the idea that Jesus ever intended His people to have nothing more than that is completely foreign to Scripture. He sent out His Apostles to teach what He taught, to speak as He spoke (Matthew 28:19-20, Luke 10:16). You name Timothy and his ability to know the truth. Timothy also had the advantage of that continuing apostolic witness: if he did not hear the voice of Jesus Himself, he heard the voice of the Apostles whom Jesus sent to continue His witness and carry His message and was taught by them (e.g. 2 Timothy 2:2, 1:13). He did not rely on “Scripture alone” either.

          The fact is, people reading the same words of Scripture and making every human effort do come to legitimately different understandings of the words. A person reading Jesus’s calls to baptism (e.g. “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven”, John 3:5) might legitimately understand this to be a call to their children also (Acts 2:39) — especially if the baptism of children is something Jesus’s own Apostles, carrying on His own message, also taught (as the earliest testimonies of the Early Church attest). Someone who divorces themselves from that living apostolic witness and instead relies on the fixed word alone thus loses an essential context.

          This is getting far off track, though. I commented here to defend the Church against the accusations you and now Lara were making. This is new ground that is unlikely to be fruitful.

          • Eugene Adkins 4:33 pm on 2015-08-04 Permalink | Reply

            I did refer to the Spirit. His guidance comes through the written word that he has delivered, and when one takes into account the entire the message then one can use what the Spirit has delivered to understand what the revealed will of God is (Ephesians 3:4, 2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Corinthians didn’t always have Paul with them in person yet they were still commanded to speak the same thing in his absence (1 Corinthians 1:10). Whether they did or not is on them, but they could or else it wouldn’t have been expected; such is no less true for the church today since we have what the Spirit has deemed necessary to reveal through the same letters that we still have to this day (1 Corinthians 14:37).

          • Eugene Adkins 11:11 am on 2015-08-05 Permalink | Reply

            Hey (sorry I didn’t finish this thought yesterday, I was at work), I also meant to say that you could have just said the original title to my post was right and we could have avoided all these extra words 😉

            • Joseph Richardson 2:15 pm on 2015-08-05 Permalink

              Again, the Corinthians had the living witness of Paul and of the leaders he had appointed for them. They did not have a “Bible.” At the time these words were written, they had probably a single letter of Paul (this one) and not a single Gospel (since they were not written yet) — scarcely anything they could rationally consider their “sole rule of faith.” How,t hen, were they supposed to know right doctrine, or cleave together in unity?

              You still didn’t answer my question: How does the Holy Spirit lead believers into truth when they have legitimate disagreements about the interpretation of Scripture? I suspect there isn’t an answer. In your view, there isn’t a “legitimate disagreement,” is there? Anyone who disagrees with your interpretation of Scripture is simply not “rightly dividing” it; they are simply wrong. I’m glad this is satisfying to you. It was never satisfying to me as a Protestant.

              Your original post and title implied that the Church Fathers taught something contradictory to Scripture and the message of Christ, and that this was somehow binding upon Catholics as “traditions of men” akin to what Jesus condemned. On both counts of this thesis you are wrong, and are still wrong.

            • Eugene Adkins 2:31 pm on 2015-08-05 Permalink

              Well, according to your logic, saying that the Spirit directly reveals it to the individual or the church leadership won’t work either because there are multiple people/churches who claim this very thing as well…including the Eastern Orthodox Church which makes the same claim of inherited leadership as the Roman Catholic Church (the whole pope thing and all). The solution that I see is that dependance upon the word of God works because only the word of God remains the same as historical manuscripts have shown…unlike the doctrines of men which change with the wind (Ephesians 4:14).

              And about Paul and the church at Corinth…if they could speak the same thing without Paul being there physically then there’s no reason we can’t do the same through the recorded words that the Spirit deemed necessary for the church’s unity of faith (1 Corinthians 1:10 – see also Philippians 2:12 and John 17:20-21). The word of the Lord is right, not the words of men (Psalm 33:4); and don’t pretend like the Catholic Church has no divisions (including doctrinal ones) within it.

        • RichardS 12:44 am on 2015-08-06 Permalink | Reply

          Joseph, you replied to Eugene about the baptism of babies by referring to John 3:5 and Acts 2:39 in order to justify the practice. However, the Lord said in Matthew 18:3 “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Little children and especially babies are innocent of sin because they don’t know what sin is. In Acts 2:38 Peter told them to “Repent and let every one of you be baptized”. I would like to know how a baby can repent when they don’t know what sin is or what repent means? Or in Acts 2:41 the Bible tells us that “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized”. How can babies “gladly receive his word”?

        • Joseph Richardson 12:05 pm on 2015-08-06 Permalink | Reply

          Well, according to your logic, saying that the Spirit directly reveals it to the individual or the church leadership won’t work either…

          That isn’t actually my logic or what I would argue. And you still didn’t really answer my question. Your answer is, apparently, “They had (and we have) what they needed to remain together in unity.” But the fact is that Christians haven’t remained together in unity; and faction and fragmentation seem to be endemic to the churches who proclaim “Scripture alone” as their rule of faith. Why is that?

          [T]here are multiple people/churches who claim this very thing as well … including the Eastern Orthodox Church which makes the same claim of inherited leadership as the Roman Catholic Church (the whole pope thing and all).

          I presume you’re referring to apostolic succession, which yes, both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches claim, and actually recognize each other’s claims.

          The solution that I see is that dependance upon the word of God works because only the word of God remains the same as historical manuscripts have shown … unlike the doctrines of men which change with the wind (Ephesians 4:14).

          Except the doctrines of the Catholic Church (or the Orthodox churches, either) haven’t actually changed in substance over the past 2,000 years. So much for “changing with the wind.” On the other hand, the descendants of the Protestant Reformation or the Restoration Movement…?

          And about Paul and the church at Corinth…if they could speak the same thing without Paul being there physically then there’s no reason we can’t do the same through the recorded words that the Spirit deemed necessary for the church’s unity of faith (1 Corinthians 1:10 – see also Philippians 2:12 and John 17:20-21).

          I don’t see how that logic follows at all. You seem to be presuming that “in Paul’s absence” these churches had nothing but the Holy Spirit (and therefore your church today is in the same boat as they). But the manifest fact is that (a) Paul was still alive, corresponding with them and offering his leadership and guidance even if not in person, and (b) Paul left chosen, faithful men in these churches to teach and lead in his stead (2 Timothy 2:2, Philippians 1:1). As I have pointed out, these people did not even have the New Testament Scriptures (though by the Epistle to Philippians, there were probably several more letters in circulation) — so attempting to relate these statements to a sole reliance on Scripture is fallacious. If these churches could remain together in unity without Paul’s presence, it was because they had been taught in person by Paul and could come to a full understanding of his every doctrine, because they had Paul’s appointed leaders at their head, and because they had the Holy Spirit.

          The word of the Lord is right, not the words of men (Psalm 33:4)…

          So, men cannot speak the word of the Lord? When men speak it, it is the “words of men” and no longer right…?

          Don’t pretend like the Catholic Church has no divisions (including doctrinal ones) within it.

          Any flock with over a billion members is bound to have some who stray. But as far as the doctrine taught by the Church, no, there is no division or disagreement.

          • Eugene Adkins 12:20 pm on 2015-08-06 Permalink | Reply

            The Spirit works through the truth of God’s word when we seek the truth and have faith in the word that the Spirit has given (see the parable of the sower in Luke 8, 2 Peter 2:19-21 and 1 Thessalonians 2:13) whether audibly heard or read in written form (which is what Paul was taking about in 2 Thessalonians 2:13-16 – not oral teachings/commands that contradict the written word), and yes, people can speak the word of God without it being their words; in fact that’s what Christians are called to do (1 Peter 4:11, 1 Thessalonians 2:1-4).

        • Joseph Richardson 12:21 pm on 2015-08-06 Permalink | Reply

          Joseph, you replied to Eugene about the baptism of babies by referring to John 3:5 and Acts 2:39 in order to justify the practice. However, the Lord said in Matthew 18:3 “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Little children and especially babies are innocent of sin because they don’t know what sin is. In Acts 2:38 Peter told them to “Repent and let every one of you be baptized”. I would like to know how a baby can repent when they don’t know what sin is or what repent means? Or in Acts 2:41 the Bible tells us that “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized”. How can babies “gladly receive his word”?

          Richard, your questions kind of answer themselves. If a child isn’t guilty of sin, why would she need to repent? And if a child is already “as a little child,” why would she need to turn to that? Scripture tells us that the people brought even the tiniest of infants to Jesus (Luke 18:15) and he welcomed them, responding, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child shall not enter it” (Luke 18:16-17): the implication being that the kingdom of heaven belongs to even the smallest children, and that they are able to receive it. And again, if Jesus said baptism was a prerequisite for entering the kingdom of God (John 3:5), why should we presume this does not also apply to children — to whom it belongs?

        • RichardS 8:11 pm on 2015-08-06 Permalink | Reply

          Joseph, those questions were rhetorical in nature and were meant to make you see that babies and little children have committed no sin and are innocent (Matt. 18:3). Babies and little children can’t repent of sins because they are innocent and they can’t confess unto salvation as Paul said in Romans 10:9-10 because they don’t understand why they need to confess. Until they understand the gospel of the Lord, they can’t “Repent, and believe in the gospel” as the Lord said in Mark 1:15. It should also be noted that the word baptize is a transliteration not a translation and means to submerge or immerse not to sprinkle.

      • LaraIngalls 11:13 pm on 2015-07-30 Permalink | Reply

        Part 2 (sorry for the length)

        3. This seems to be non sequitur. How does Jesus being the same yesterday, today, and forever claim and maintain the “exclusivity” of Scripture (I presume you’re referring to what I said above about Scripture excluding any doctrine not spelled out in it)?

        3 Answer: Jesus is the Head of the Church which He established. If He is the same and consistent, then it follows that His Scripture is also consistent throughout time. The only way to know of Jesus is through the Holy Spirit inspired Bible – the only Scripture to reference as a Christian.

        4. Scripture itself shows us an example of just such a synod being required to discern God’s will (Acts 15) — especially in cases of disagreements in the Church (“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. … Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them”, Matthew 18:17,20). Synods and councils have been called at various times in the history of the Church when the meaning and interpretation of Scripture were not clear to believers, when believers disagreed and could not resolve the disagreement by Scripture alone. The councils did not supplant or take the place of Scripture; far from it. It was by the agreement of Christian leaders and the guidance of the Holy Spirit (who guides Christians into all truth, John 16:13) that the truth of such doctrines as the Trinity and the true Godhood and true manhood of Christ were definitively taught to believers — and in fact, that we are even able to know the canon of Scripture and have a Bible.

        But as for there being no room: There is no room for teachers (1 Timothy 3:2, 4:13) or pastors (Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 5:2) or leaders (Hebrews 13:17)?

        4 Answer: Jesus left His apostles to lead His church, men who had walked with Him, heard all His teachings, and prayerfully followed His edict to preach the Word, spread the Gospel, and convert others to His church. There is no evidence within the Scripture that any authority to alter this teaching was ever shared with anyone outside those original 13 apostles (excluding Judas, who died before the resurrection/ establishment of the church, and including his replacement, Matthias, and Paul). The meeting of the apostles that is documented in the Bible (Acts 15) is the only time a clarification (not a new teaching) was agreed amongst the apostles that was documented for future reference in Scripture.

        All Christians have the responsibility of sharing the Gospel, not merely a few (as you call, pastors or leaders). As the Scripture states (I Corinthians 12, 13), different members of the church have different gifts – including teaching or public speaking. Whatever gifts we Christians have, we are to use in service of God.

        Leadership is still resting squarely on Jesus, as communicated exclusively from the Scripture. He has outlined for us two ‘offices’ as it were: Elders (I Timothy 3) and Deacons (I Timothy 2). These are to help administer the local Christian fellowships. Elders are to act in a similar capacity to Judges in the Old Testament – the judicial/ executive capacity, rather than legislative, to borrow understanding from the US Constitution. No new laws can be agreed or endorsed by Elders or Deacons; all church law remains intact as it was given in the New Testament.

        5. [There is a] difference between doctrine (what is taught as an article of the faith) and discipline or practice (what is done and recommended to the faithful because it is a good thing to do). [There was a discussion of Lent and Vacation Bible School].

        5 Answer – Because the Catholics are globally organised, things such as Lent are endorsed across cultures, geographies, localities, etc. That is a true distinction between the Catholic organisation and the Church organisation outlined above, e.g., Elders and Deacons. It is up to each local community of Christians to decide how best to achieve their unified objectives of worship and spreading the Gospel of Christ. In the US, that has resulted in widespread support of VBS, church camp, etc. These are not practiced in other parts of the world, where other means are better aligned with local culture/ preferences. The unified Gospel unites all Christians across the globe, though. A Church of Christ in Oneida, TN, and one in Chennai, India, one in Düsseldorf, Germany, or Scunthorpe, UK, all will teach the same – because the source is the same: The Holy Bible.

        As always, I pray for you and I hope and pray my response, while delayed, has again pointed out the central importance of Scripture in determining all matters of faith. I pray GOD blesses you and me in our study of HIS word and will for all.

        • RichardS 1:03 am on 2015-07-31 Permalink | Reply

          In your reply to Joseph on point 4 it should be pointed out to him that John 16:13 was given to the apostles following the Passover meal to let them know the Holy Spirit would “guide you in all truth” when He was gone. Today the Holy Spirit guides us by the written words in the Bible not a council of men in the Vatican City.
          Keep up the good work.

        • Joseph Richardson 3:18 pm on 2015-08-03 Permalink | Reply

          If He is the same and consistent, then it follows that His Scripture is also consistent throughout time. The only way to know of Jesus is through the Holy Spirit inspired Bible – the only Scripture to reference as a Christian.

          Again, I do not follow your logic. Yes, Scripture (in its original text and languages) is consistent throughout time. But how do you leap from that statement to “The only way to know of Jesus is through the Bible”? Does the Bible itself not inform us that Jesus sent out Apostles and founded a Church with the mission of teaching people about Him (e.g. Matthew 28:20, Acts 28:31, 1 Timothy 4:11-16) and to be “the pillar and bulwark of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15)? Where do you find that “the only way to know of Jesus is through the Bible”? I certainly (as a Protestant) heard of Him in the church long before I was able to read even a word of Scripture.

          There is no evidence within the Scripture that any authority to alter this teaching…

          Wait, what? Whoever said anything about “altering” the teaching of Christ? Let alone the “authority” to do so? No pope, bishop, synod, council, or anyone else has the “authority to alter” the teaching of Christ.

          The meeting of the apostles that is documented in the Bible (Acts 15) is the only time a clarification (not a new teaching) was agreed amongst the apostles that was documented for future reference in Scripture.

          Yes, for future reference and example. This is how Scripture shows us that doctrinal controversies should be resolved.

          All Christians have the responsibility of sharing the Gospel, not merely a few (as you call, pastors or leaders). As the Scripture states (I Corinthians 12, 13), different members of the church have different gifts – including teaching or public speaking. Whatever gifts we Christians have, we are to use in service of God.

          Yes, we are in agreement. In fact, the whole thrust of Pope Francis’s exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”) is just that, that it is the responsibility of every Christian to share the gospel of Christ.

          Leadership is still resting squarely on Jesus…

          Yes, as I agreed above.

          He has outlined for us two ‘offices’ as it were: Elders (I Timothy 3) and Deacons (I Timothy 2).

          Actually, the office described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 is that of bishop (ἐπίσκοπος [episkopos]), meaning literally an “overseer” (epi “over” + scopos “sight”). This term in Scripture is roughly synonymous with the office of presbyter (πρεσβύτερος [presbyteros] or “elder”) mentioned in 1 Timothy 4:14, 5:17, Titus, 1:5, 1 Peter 5:1, etc. (cf. Titus 1:3, 5). But the fact is that both offices are named. Deacons are described in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. The word presbyter evolved into the English word priest, and in fact the word presbyter is still used to describe the office in the Romance languages.

          These are to help administer the local Christian fellowships. Elders are to act in a similar capacity to Judges in the Old Testament – the judicial/ executive capacity, rather than legislative, to borrow understanding from the US Constitution. No new laws can be agreed or endorsed by Elders or Deacons; all church law remains intact as it was given in the New Testament.

          Yes, I know how these offices are understood in your church. But the fact is that what you describe here are interpolations upon Scripture and not described in Scripture.

          It is up to each local community of Christians to decide how best to achieve their unified objectives of worship and spreading the Gospel of Christ.

          Such is also true in the Catholic Church.

          A Church of Christ in Oneida, TN, and one in Chennai, India, one in Düsseldorf, Germany, or Scunthorpe, UK, all will teach the same – because the source is the same: The Holy Bible.

          Likewise in the Catholic Church.

          I pray GOD blesses you and me in our study of HIS word and will for all.

          May God bless you also, and His peace be with you.

        • RichardS 7:27 pm on 2015-08-03 Permalink | Reply

          Joseph, was Peter an elder or a bishop ?

        • Joseph Richardson 1:12 pm on 2015-08-04 Permalink | Reply

          Joseph, was Peter an elder or a bishop?

          He was both, as he himself tells us, and also a pastor:

          I exhort the presbyters [presbyteroi] among you, as a fellow presbyter [sympresbyteros] and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Pastor [poimaino] the flock of God that is your charge, exercising oversight [episkopeo] not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:1–3).

        • RichardS 9:34 pm on 2015-08-04 Permalink | Reply

          Joseph, you are right to say Peter is all three because the three refer to the same office. In the text I looked at in 1 Peter 5:2 it says “Shepherd (poimanate) the flock”. The Church in the New Testament is called by different names (1 Cor. 1:2 ; Rom. 16:16 ; Eph. 1:22-23) yet it’s still the same and only church of the Lord.

        • RichardS 12:08 am on 2015-08-06 Permalink | Reply

          The point I was trying to make is that the Bible refers to the Lord’s church by different names yet it is still His church. The same applies to the office of an elder when different names are used.

    • docmgphillips 10:37 am on 2015-05-14 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent!

    • RichardS 2:57 am on 2015-05-16 Permalink | Reply

      Joseph,
      If Christ or the apostles told us to observe Lent or Easter I would like to read it in the Bible.I have not been able to find it. However, if it was in the Bible, the Catholic Church would have done the same thing the Pharisees did to the Law of Moses. You see, the Catholic Church has changed the way that Lent has been observed according to church history. In an article on the CERC website Fr. William Saunders said “Over the years, modifications have been made to the Lenten observances , making our practices not only simple but also easy.” Those practices are not emulating Christ when He was fasting in the wilderness. Besides, in Matt. 6:16-18, the Lord said to fast secretly not publicly.
      As far as VBS goes, it is not a religious observance like Lent, it is the study of the Bible like the saints did daily in the first century(Acts 2:42 ; 5:42). The same would be true of gospel meetings.

      • Joseph Richardson 10:34 am on 2015-05-17 Permalink | Reply

        Hi, Richard! Thanks so much for reading and joining the conversation.

        A few things I would say:

        If Christ or the apostles told us to observe Lent or Easter I would like to read it in the Bible. I have not been able to find it.

        As I said to Eugene above: the mere fact of something not being explicitly prescribed in Scripture is not any reason not to do it — especially if one is going to apply the Scriptures Eugene applied. There were many “traditions of men” Jesus accepted and embraced and did not oppose: what He opposed were traditions the Pharisees practiced that rejected the commandments of God. (He uses the example of the practice of making offerings to God taking precedence over honoring your father and mother, vv. 9-13.) So again: How does observing Lent, in emulation of our Lord’s fasting, reject the commandments of God?

        As far as VBS goes, it is not a religious observance like Lent, it is the study of the Bible like the saints did daily in the first century. The same would be true of gospel meetings.

        You’re making a false distinction. How are Vacation Bible School or “gospel meetings” any less “religious observances” than, for example, Lent? They are all activities undertaken for teaching and guiding the faithful in Gospel truths. And they are all of them not prescribed by Scripture.

        However, if it was in the Bible, the Catholic Church would have done the same thing the Pharisees did to the Law of Moses. You see, the Catholic Church has changed the way that Lent has been observed according to church history.

        Again: What the Pharisees did to the Law of Moses was embrace new traditions that supplanted the truth of the commandments of God. They did things that took the place of what God plainly commanded and things that actually opposed the intent of those commandments — for example, again, doing things that they deemed more important than honoring their fathers and mothers.

        But Lent is something different, as you yourself admit. It is not a “commandment of God,” something God commanded us to do — it is a practice, like Vacation Bible School, that the faithful participate in in order to learn the truths of the Gospel and follow the Lord more closely, to remind us of our Lord’s suffering and His sacrifice for us. And there are lots of different ways to do that: I am sure that you in your church have your own way of remembering what the Lord did for us. So if different people do that differently — if different practices have developed in different places in different times over the course of church history — how exactly is that tantamount to “rejecting the commandments of God”? (Most Lenten practices are private and personal.)

        God bless you, and the peace of the Lord be with you!

        • LaraIngalls 10:50 am on 2015-05-17 Permalink | Reply

          Hi Joseph, I addressed some of this in my earlier response, e.g., VBS and Lent. Is this helpful to the discussion?

          • Joseph Richardson 10:52 am on 2015-05-17 Permalink | Reply

            Yes, it is, and thanks. I’ll reply some more to you above (hopefully in the next few minutes but possibly later).

  • Ron Thomas 10:00 am on 2014-11-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catholic Church, , , sinful desires, struggling with sin   

    The Disguise Falls 

    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.

     

     
    • Eugene Adkins 6:14 am on 2014-11-06 Permalink | Reply

      When people bring up attracting flies, I like to mention that in reality it’s rotten meat that catches the most.

      • Ron Thomas 6:57 am on 2014-11-06 Permalink | Reply

        Very good!

        On Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 6:14 AM, The Fellowship Room wrote:

        >

  • Ron Thomas 7:32 pm on 2014-10-21 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catholic Church, ,   

    Letter to editor 

    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)

     
    • Joseph Richardson 10:03 am on 2014-10-23 Permalink | Reply

      Don’t believe everything you read in the secular media. The only Catholics “entertaining” a change in Catholic teaching are liberal and progressive activists — same as in the rest of today’s cultures.

  • Eugene Adkins 6:29 am on 2014-10-21 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Catholic Church, ,   

    I guess they do believe in personal interpretation after all 

    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 2015After 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.

    Related Article:

     
    • Joseph Richardson 2:03 pm on 2014-10-21 Permalink | Reply

      Hey Eugene. The Catholic view of interpreting Scripture really in no way resembles “making it up as you go” (arguably, this is the way many non-Catholics view it). We interpret it, largely, the way it’s always been interpreted. “Studying to show yourself approved by God” really ought to, you know, involve studying the way Christians have read and interpreted Scripture from the very beginning.

      I think you are misinterpreting the meaning and outcome of the synod on the family — along with many in the secular media. You are bound to get a warped view of Pope Francis and of the Catholic Church in general if you’re only going on what they say. If you have read any of what Pope Francis has actually said and written, “the sinfulness of homosexuality” is not a question of “debate” for him (though it may be, I admit, a question a few liberal bishops would like to raise). The oft-reported “Who am I to judge?” quote has been taken grossly out of context: what the pope said was, he had no place to judge a priest who had homosexual attractions and tendencies but who lived a celibate life in accord with the Church’s teachings. Sin is sin, and of that there is no question or doubt.

      The larger issue that the synod considered, and which indeed there has been a lot of debate about, is the best way for pastors to approach Catholics who have been civilly divorced and remarried outside the Church — who, in the Catholic understanding, are now “living in sin” and are not allowed to receive the Eucharist. Some (more liberal) would have the Church relax these restrictions, since sin is so widespread, but again, but if you read the final report of the synod, the gathered bishops reaffirmed the sanctity and sacramentality of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Despite what the media would tell you, and what activists would like to make it, homosexuality was a minor and marginal concern. (How best to minister to homosexuals in the light and truth of the Gospel of Christ is always something worth discussing, and this is what was discussed.)

      • Eugene Adkins 6:52 pm on 2014-10-23 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Joseph.

        My friend, it sounds like you’re making a molehill out of a mountain.

        • Joseph Richardson 7:37 pm on 2014-10-23 Permalink | Reply

          For a more realistic view of your “mountains,” you might try reading some conservative Catholic news sources. My favorite is the National Catholic Register. There is a lot of concern about this, but you are getting a very distorted perspective.

    • Jack 6:44 pm on 2014-10-21 Permalink | Reply

      Interpretation is the assignment of meaning to that which is not self evident. In other words_ opinion which denies the existence of truth and surely invites comparisons as opposed to what can be known.

      “But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this YOU KNOW WITH CERTAINTY, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and GOD.
      (Ephesians 5:3-5)

      “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge GOD any longer, GOD gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are a gossips, slanderers, haters of GOD, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, ALTHOUGH THEY KNOW the ordinance of GOD, that those who practice such things are worthy of a death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
      (Romans 1:28-32)

  • Eugene Adkins 6:08 pm on 2014-10-14 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catholic Church, ,   

    They want to see their papers 

    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)

     

     
    • Randal 6:09 pm on 2014-10-14 Permalink | Reply

      There is none so dictatorial and oppressive as a progressive in power.

      • Eugene Adkins 6:19 pm on 2014-10-14 Permalink | Reply

        For every created right there must be a wrong, and those in power are only beginning to think of how much wrong they can create with all their warped rights.

    • Loy Pressley 6:53 pm on 2014-10-14 Permalink | Reply

      If you can’t see it coming, you have to be blind!!!

    • Jack 7:47 pm on 2014-10-14 Permalink | Reply

      “Is it just me or does anybody else hear someone with a German accent saying, “Let me see your papers.”

      Thankfully the German thing ended seven decades ago, the Russian thing five decades ago, while the Canadian thing is right next door, speaks the Queen’s English, where anything outside of the Church building is hate speach. And of course the hundreds of years of Sharia Law is raging where they execute Moslem converts. Bibles are banned in Saudi Arabia as well as anything and everything that refers to Israel.

      This is not the first openly homosexual Houston has elected. They have the largest block of homosexual voters in the Country_ over 100,000 every election.

      Albuquerque tried to make us pay for an annual permit 14 years ago, we were backed by the Rutherford Foundation and let them know we would take it all of the way to the Supreme Court, and they withdrew.

      • Eugene Adkins 9:07 pm on 2014-10-14 Permalink | Reply

        “We want to be like the nations around us.”

        Didn’t work out too good for Israel, and America won’t be any different – expect our nation doesn’t enjoy the luxury of having a personal covenant with God like Israel of old did…we’re more akin to Nineveh, Babylon and Rome.

        • John Henson 1:41 pm on 2014-10-15 Permalink | Reply

          Actually, the “German thing” is alive and well. In Russia, a traveler must present his passport and visa to the local police within 24 hours of arrival. Police will want to see the passports of anyone they don’t recognize, and that includes people traveling out of their province.

  • Eugene Adkins 8:27 am on 2013-03-02 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catholic Church, , , , , Immaculate Conception, , , Original Sin,   

    Just a few questions for my Catholic friends… 

    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.

    Thanks.

    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.

     
    • Eugene Adkins 11:31 am on 2013-03-02 Permalink | Reply

      One Catholic did respond in a respectful way, but unfortunately he used scripture by adding the Catholic church’s word to the word of God. Here’s a quick run down.

      As to the questions about the “pope” he quoted Mathew 16:18-19 and inserted the word popes. He quoted John 21:15-17 and again inserted the word pope and supreme pastor. He then quoted Luke 22:31-32 and inserted the words head apostle and head of the church concerning Peter and did indeed refer to the pope as infallible.

      As to the questions about Mary he quoted Luke 1:28 and said highly favored (finding grace) means “full of grace.” There’s a salvation’s span of difference between needing grace (which Mary did indeed need – Luke 1:47) and being made to not need it and thus becoming the only unique person to have ever lived who didn’t need a Savior from sin. Being born of a virgin was a sign to God’s people that the Savior had been born, not that the woman who had borne the Savior was sinless.

      Here is a direct quote from his reply about Mary and his reference to Luke 1: “Because the Archangel Gabriel addressed in this way in this salutation, it gives the “proper name” to Mary as being “Favored One” or “Full of Grace.” This, therefore, must express a unique quality of Mary alone. God favored her / filled her with Grace because of her unique election as the Mother of God. She was prepared by God from the beginning for this role. She is unique in all of the universe…The blessing of God which rests upon Mary is made parallel to the blessing of God which reest upon Christ in His humanity (in her very womb). This parallelism suggests that Mary, just like Christ, was from the beginning of her existence, free from all sin.

      For these simple errors alone I didn’t approve the comment because if one is bold enough to add so plainly to God’s plain word they will not be willing to listen to God’s word if a conversation were had.

      For a further explanation and proof according to the scriptures of how Peter was in no way above the other apostles or that he was even the “pope” check out John T Polk Jr.’s post(s):

      Was Peter the First “Pope?” Here’s the link – http://fellowshiproom.org/2013/02/12/was-peter-the-first-pope/

      and

      Where Was “Vatican Smoke” In The New Testament Church? Here’s the link – http://fellowshiproom.org/2013/02/12/please-read-acts-151-31-then-read-the-following/

    • Sandra Moore 12:40 pm on 2013-03-02 Permalink | Reply

      I found this to be interesting. It is from a article in The Huntsville Times on Friday, Feb 15. The questions were asked and answered by “the Explainer,” and I’m not sure who or what that is.

      “Q: Will he still be infallible?
      A: No…and in fact, he’s never been infallible. In accordance with the First Vatican Council of 1870, the pope is infallible only when he makes an ex cathedra statement– that is, a statement concerning “a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole church.”

      Most popes never make ex cathedra statements during their papacy; only one infallible statement (regarding the Assumption of Mary) has been made since the first Vatican Council of 1870. Pope John XXIII was quoted as saying, “I am only infallible if I speak infallibly but I shall never do that, so I am not infallible.” Pope Benedict XVI has never spoken ex cathedra, and he will lose the ability to do so once he resigns from the papacy.”

      Seems to me that John XXIII was making sure he never got into trouble by trying to be infallible. 😉

      • Joseph Richardson 3:47 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

        HI. Thanks for this quote. I’m from the Huntsville area (Decatur, actually).

        Pope John was right. Few popes have ever spoken, nor ever had the need to speak, ex cathedra. The only time the need at arises is when some aspect of Christian faith or morals has to be defined dogmatically; and the only time that is needed is when some aspect of the faith is challenged. For example, in the first centuries of the Church, the doctrine of the Trinity was only defined, progressively, to refute the challenges of heretics who taught something in opposition to the truth. A heretical sect would teach, for example, that Jesus wasn’t truly God, and the Church would have to reject that teaching infallibly; then another sect would teach that the Father and the Son were not equal, or that the Holy Spirit wasn’t really God, and the Church would have to reject those teachings. By successive hammering out, the Christian faith arrived at the Trinitarian and Christological (having to do with Who and What Jesus is) doctrines that all Chrisians hold today. Every pope hopes that he never has to face the kind of challenges that would require an infallible pronouncement to resolve.

    • Joseph Richardson 10:51 am on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

      Hi again. I appreciate that you are interested in asking questions and having a respectful dialogue. It doesn’t look like you’ve gotten any adequate answers here. I do hope you will consider me your “Catholic friend” and, I do hope, “brother.” I look forward to your response to my other comments on the authority of the papacy.

      I’ll try to reply here in brief, and then we can expand if you wish.

      Your question about infallibility again reflects some misunderstandings. I think you are misunderstanding the ways in which the Catholic Church sometimes uses the word .holy. For the sake of discussion, let’s define that word. From TheFreeDictionary.com:

      ho·ly [ˈhəʊlɪ]
      adj. ho·li·er, ho·li·est
      1. Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred.
      2. Regarded with or worthy of worship or veneration; revered: a holy book.
      3. Living according to a strict or highly moral religious or spiritual system; saintly: a holy person.
      4. Specified or set apart for a religious purpose: a holy place.
      5. Solemnly undertaken; sacrosanct: a holy pledge.
      6. Regarded as deserving special respect or reverence: The pursuit of peace is our holiest quest.
      7. Informal Used as an intensive: raised holy hell over the mischief their children did.

      When we call the pope the “Holy Father,” that is an aspect of his office — that office is (1) “belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power,” the Church, and his office is (4) “specified or set apart for a religious purpose”; that office is (5) “solemnly undertaken,” and because of that office, he is (6) “regarded as deserving special respect or reverence.” The pope, as a man, may or may not be holy as in (3), “living [a holy life],” being “a holy person.” Certainly there have been popes who were not!

      To say that God is holy is an entirely different sense of the word. God alone is infinitely holy and (2) “worthy of worship”; He is also, by his nature, (1) “a divine power” and “sacred.” The saints (sanctus, holy, set apart), on the other hand, are holy first and foremost because they (3) lived holy lives, and we believe that after their deaths they’ve gone to Heaven and are with Jesus and are thus (1) associated with a divine power. They are (2) deserving of veneration, not akin to worship but more akin to (6), a special respect or reverence.

      Well, so much or brevity I guess. 😉

      Now, to your question about infallibility: Again, you are misunderstanding the Church’s claims. Infallibility is an aspect of the office of the papacy, not of the person of the pope. There was nothing “infallible” about Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he was pope, or about him now that he is no longer pope. And this is why I got into that about holiness: you ask how holy he is: well, he’s only as holy as the life he lives. Having read his writings and followed his life for the past eight years, I think he’s a pretty holy guy — but there’s nothing divine about him as a person, and never was. Further, there is nothing infallible about the person of Pope Francis, or the former Cardinal Jose Bergoglio.

      With regard to infallibility: the best way to think about it’s not so much about the pope being infallible, but that when he sits in the captain’s chair, it’s really God steering the boat. Literally, that’s pretty much exactly what the Church teaches: by the formal definition of the doctrine, the pope is only said to be infallible when he speaks ex cathedra (“from the chair” of the episcopate) regarding matters of faith and morals (and “the chair” is not a literal chair). Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would guide the Church into all truth (John 16:13), and it’s only as an aspect of that that the pope is ever considered infallible. And his infallibility only “kicks in” when he invokes it; and it is only formally invoked in very limited circumstances. The pope in his day-to-day life isn’t infallible when he declares his favorite pizza or gives his opinion about football (soccer, you know), or even when he writes encyclicals about Church practice or discipline (which are not considered ex cathedra, but, by analogy, written standing up). He is considered to have authority when he writes such, just as a prominent pastor or scholar is considered to have authority when he speaks, by nature of who he is and what he knows. But papal infallibility has only really been invoked twice in the past couple of centuries. And ex cathedra pronouncements are only ever made in union and agreement with the cardinals and bishops of the Church.

      It all boils down to this: Papal infallibility is an assurance that the Holy Spirit, not the pope, is guiding the Church, when push comes to shove. That is not to say that the pope is the Holy Spirit, or always follows the Holy Spirit, or even necessarily lives in accord with the Holy Spirit — certainly there have been popes who have not. But even in the darkest times of the Church, corrupt popes have never promulgated dogma that is contradictory to the teachings of Christ or the Bible or the Church: they have never declared, say, that the pope is divine, or that Mary is divine, or that Jesus is anything but divine. They have never declared that usury or theft or murder is okay, or that everybody has to give all their money to the Church. The fact that even the most dastardly people who have held the office of pope, regardless of how they lived their personal lives, have never promulgated such heresy or error should be a confirmation of the truth of this doctrine. Infallibility — the guidance of the Holy Spirit — ensures that the Church will never run off the rails. And the fact that in 2,000 years it hasn’t is a sign of the Church’s Oneness, Holiness, Apostolicity, and Catholicity. You and I disagree about interpretations of Scripture — you may even disagree that the Church has never “run off the rails.” But in the 2,000 years of the recorded history of the Catholic Church, the Church has never promulgated any doctrine in opposition or contradiction to its own doctrines, or contradictory to the truth of Scripture. You would be hard pressed to prove that it has.

      As an extension to the doctrine of infallibility: the Magisterium of the Church (Magisterium means “teachership” — the teaching authority of the Church) — that is, the collected body of bishops in communion with the pope, the chief bishop — is considered infallible in its agreement. This means that the ecumenical councils of the Church, from Nicaea to Vatican II, have taught infallible doctrine.

      There you have an explanation of the Church’s teachings on infallibility. I will let you chew that up before I continue with the Marian doctrines.

      • Joseph Richardson 10:55 am on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

        Correction: Benedict XVI is still pope (he’ll always be our “papa,” just as popes who have passed on from this life are still “papas” to us), only not the sitting pope. He is pope emeritus. And his teachings and writings will not be infallible.

        • Eugene Adkins 11:11 am on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

          Quick and simple, Joseph. One, the church has already been guided into all truth. The church doesn’t need a pope for that. Listen to the word of God and not the word of Rome and you’ll see that. Two, Benedict is not “pope” anymore for if he were there wouldn’t have been a need to find a new one.

          What the catholic church says, and what the catholic church believes/does are two different things. They say the pope is only a man, but then they fall at his feet (and the feet of statue’s of Peter – idolatry) to kiss them and his ring and look to his golden cross. Nothing you say will change what people can see when they look at the actions of the catholic church.

    • Joseph Richardson 11:17 am on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

      The Church has been guided into all truth — with 40,000 Protestant denominations who can’t agree on anything? With as many diverse and conflicting interpretations of Scripture?

      “Pope,” as I said before, is an honorific title. You call your grandfather “Gramps” or “Granddaddy” or “Pawpaw.” We call our pastor “Papa.” And even after our pastor retires, he’s still our Papa.

      Also as I said before, what you’re referring to is not “idolatry” (the worship of an inanimate object as a deity) or even “worship” at all, but showing honor to the man and his office, the same way people stand up for the president of the United States or kneel for the queen of England. You may not agree with it, but you’re mistaken if you call it “idolatry.”

      What I hope to change is your perception that what you see is something different from what it is, or something different from what the Church or the Christian faith teaches.

      Now, you asked the questions. Am I wasting my time to reply? Are you even interested in my answers?

      • Eugene Adkins 11:33 am on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

        There were people who argued about Jesus’ teachings while He was still alive, Joseph, don’t confuse catholic unity and the spirit of unity with the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:3). People can be universal in their agreement and still be universally wrong. I’m not a protestant – I am a Christian and that’s where you fail to understand me. I don’t care what people say, people of any religious affiliation. I will only listen to God’s word (1 Peter 4:11), which is found in the Bible and not in the catechism’s of Rome. The mother church started in Jerusalem and not in/at Rome. The source of truth is found in God’s word and not in the pope’s.

        The catholic church does not use pope as an “honorary” title – it’s a title of supposed “authority” and if you don’t believe that then you have a lot of correcting to do with the followers of catholicism who say otherwise. I don’t think your unity is as universal as you think. As I said before, and as the scriptures teach, the church only has one head, and since one means one and that one head is Jesus I guess that leaves the pope and the catholic church claiming authority where it does not exist; at least not outside of the creeds and councils of men.

        Standing up or kneeling out of respect is not the same as kissing, graveling and worshipping at the feet of religious figures. Cornelius made a mistake with that at Peter’s feet and Peter corrected him. Something the so called “popes” fail to do today. Don’t exchange the golden cross of the pope for the cross of Calvary, Joseph.

        I heard your answers, and your answers were not given with scripture. They were given with the doctrines and commandments of men and these answers will never bring a person closer to God; in fact they will push a person further and further away from Him. No, I don’t believe you’re wasting your time with me, but I do believe you’re wasting your time with the catholic church.

        • Joseph Richardson 1:06 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

          Hi, Eugene. Did you know you are named for a series of well-respected popes? Probably not directly, of course — my dad’s middle name is Eugene, named for his great-grandfather, and I don’t think he was named for the popes — but it is nonetheless a good name. Pardon my slowness; I’m now replying from my iPad.

          I appreciate your kind words. That’s an interesting suggestion, that I am “wasting my time” with the Catholic Church. Would you say that all the followers of the Catholic Church over its history have “wasted” their time, and if so, for how long? What about the ones who led holy lives, whom we proclaim as “saints”? Many Protestants respect, say, St. Francis of Assisi, or St. Augustine, or St. Gregory the Great. What about the early ones, like St. Ignatius and St. Irenaeus, who gave their lives for the Christian faith? St. Bernard of Clairvaux was always my favorite when I was a Protestant. He was an ardent proponent of what you would call a personal relationship with Jesus.

          People who disagreed wih Jesus during His ministry on earth stopped following Him (John 6:66, ironically). He Himself prayed that his followers all be one, as He and the Father are One (John 17) (that is, in complete union and agreement, in one mind and one accord [Acts 1:14]). Jesus was, naturally, the authority on what Jesus taught; any disagreement with Him, and folks were no longer Christians. Now you say that the Spirit has guided the Church (I suppose you don’t mean the Catholic Church but the “Church” in a broader sense that includes Protestants into all truth, and that is a difference between universal (catholic) in agreement and being in unity with the Spirit. Are you supposing that Protestant churches have been “in agreement” with the Spirit (the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ)? Why, then, do they not all agree with each other? Why do they have such different understandings of the Christian faith? Wouldn’t “unity in the Spirit” entail “catholic” unity? That’s certainly the sense in which Paul meant those words in the Scripture you cited (Eph 4:3; cf. 1 Cor 1:10), and what Jesus meant at the Last Supper. (For what it’s worth, you sound an awful lot like you are “Protesting” against the Catholic Church; therefore, by definition, you are a Protestant.)

          So you also reject “creeds and councils”? Do you reject, then, the Holy Trinity? Or that Jesus is wholly God and wholly Man? What about the canon of the New Testament? Are you okay, then, with the teachings of the Arians (that Jesus was not truly God), or the Docetists (that Jesus didn’t have a true human body but was only a divine phantom), or Pelagians (that man is not truly tainted by original sin and is capable of rising to divine favor without the grace of God)? All of these were either agreed upon, or rejected, by “councils and creeds.”

          My Bible (ESV, not any weird Catholic translation) at 1 Pet 4:11, that we should love and show hospitality to all those who serve the Church and speak oracles (λόγια, “sayings”) of God. I’m glad we agree on that.

          You seem to like calling things what they are not. The bishop of Rome is not the “Head” of the Church. Let me ask you, does your church have a pastor? Is Scripture wrong when, through the words of St. Peter, it recommends that pastors “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight [ἐπισκοποῦντες, episkopountes, the same root as ἐπίσκοπος, episkopos, bishop or overseer]” (1 Peter 5:1–2)?

          Holy Mother Church was born in Jerusalem, but, you ought to know, it’s not centered in any one place, but in its people, who are the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13,27, Eph 4:4–5). I quote from the Catechism to you to demonstrate what the Catholic Church teaches, about which you are making incorrect statements. The Catechism is an official and authoritative source of Catholic teaching — what the Church teaches about Christian truth. To say that the Church teaches something different than what is defined in the Catechism is self-contradictory. I quote from Scripture, the source of Truth, to demonstrate that what the Church teaches is true. The questions you asked before were about what the Church teaches, not about whether it was true; therefore I quoted from the Catechism. I am doing my best to answer your questions; please let me answer the questions you have asked.

    • Joseph Richardson 6:14 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

      Regarding your Marian questions: my answers will be brief and simple enough. If you care for a lengthier explanation, I can provide it.

      The dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception teaches that by the prevenient (“coming-before”) grace of the Holy Spirit, Mary was spared from the stain of original sin. By that gratuitous grace, because of the love God has for the human race and for His Son, Mary received the same graces that we receive at our Baptism. She, just as human as you or me, and just as much in need of salvation as you or me (cf. Luke 1:47), was “saved” from the moment of her conception. Though the dogma was not formally defined until 1854 — see my comments above about dogma not needing to be defined until they were challenged — the Church has held this belief in more-or-less these terms since the days of the Apostles, and her understanding of it developed over the ages through extensive study of the Scriptures.

      So, no, neither her parents nor grandparents nor anyone else in her family was “immaculate.” And as you should know, sin is a spiritual state, not a physical one, and original sin is not inherited genetically, and has nothing to do with any “gene pool.”

      This was one of the dogmata that I had a harder time with — so I do not expect to get anywhere in arguing with it with you; I only wanted to answer your question about the teachings of the Church.

      And yes, you are correct that the Church believes and teaches that Mary remained a virgin all her life and never bore any more children. This has nothing to do with “sex between a husband and wife not being allowed” — but as the spotless vessel that bore God Himself into the world, she could not conceivably have borne any more. And this is very well supported by Scripture. Aside from the few ambiguous references to Jesus’s “brothers,” you will not find any more explicit statement that these children belonged to Mary. If you care, I can make the case to you.

      You might be surprised to learn that both Martin Luther and John Calvin, as well as nearly all of the early Protestant Reformers, held these doctrines without question.

      • Eugene Adkins 7:40 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

        Joseph, to put it kindly, yet plainly still, all of your answers to questions like this, like all other catholics, are given by/through the word of “dogma’s and catechisms” and sorely lack the proper dividing of the scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15), and that’s even if any scriptures are given at all, which your reply shows to be true. If you will go back and read the original post you will see that I did not ask for the word of the catholic church to be used – I asked for the word of God to be used; and these two things are completely different.

        With your very answer you have failed miserably to show any respect towards marriage and Joseph’s marital rights as a husband, and you have concluded that sex defiles a married person which it does not (Hebrews 13:4). The longer you talk, the farther and farther you get away from the Bible and the closer and closer you get to the words of the catholic church’s “holy father(s)” instead of getting closer to God, the only Holy Father. Everything you just spouted out about Mary cannot be taught with the Bible, hence the catholic church needs to go by the fabricated “oral tradition” because there is no written tradition to defend it with. The only case you have to make is with the words of the largest man-made church ever created and not with the word of God.

        The catholic church promotes and propagates the idolatry of Mary in ways that are clearly blasphemous to spiritual eyes which have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit with the word of God and not darkened, confused and blinded with the words of men.

        “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)

        This is complete and utterly gross blasphemy! It can never be justly said that Mary redeemed mankind in any way, shape, form or fashion! Jesus alone is the redeemer of mankind, Jesus alone is the Mediator of mankind, Jesus alone is the Head of His church and Jesus alone is the Chief Shepherd.

        For these reasons alone are why catholics and the catholic church condemns people who use only the Bible to learn about, come to and have a proper relationship with God. This is because the catholic church knows their traditions are contrary to the Bible’s and that’s why for hundreds of years the catholic church fought so hard to keep God’s word out of the hands of the “common” man because they prefer sheep who have had the wool pulled over their eyes instead of seeing the light of the glorious gospel. And if you disagree then you need to spend time going around and telling other catholics on Word Press that using the Bible alone (sola scripture) is a completely acceptable way to come to God because there are many out there who teach otherwise.

        There are many things in your replies directed toward me and directed toward the truth of God that I could correct with numerous scriptures, but if you’re not willing to the see the plain blasphemy of idol worship that runs rampant in the catholic church, then for now it would be fruitless to go into other areas of your error.

        • Joseph Richardson 7:43 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

          I figured this comment would get your dander up. 😉 I would still like you to reply to my earlier post on the authority of the papacy, very well and plainly supported by Scripture, and to my other comment regarding holiness and infallibility.

          • Eugene Adkins 7:45 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            So you choose to ignore the plain idolatrous quote about Mary? Figured you would. I have failed to have any catholic try to defend that one…among many, many other quotes given by the pope(s) that show how the catholic church worships Mary.

          • Eugene Adkins 7:49 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            And if you’ll pay attention to my first reply to the catholic who actually tried to use scripture (but failed by inserting words like “pope”) you’ll find links to articles here in The Fellowship Room that uses an abundance of scripture to show plainly and beyond a shadow of a doubt that what the catholic church teaches about the pope cannot be defended with the Bible…in fact the Bible defeats it.

        • Joseph Richardson 7:49 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

          I don’t ignore it, but it makes little sense to argue with it at this point. I don’t consider the Church’s Marian beliefs “idolatrous” or “blasphemous” in any way, but I don’t expect you to understand that. You and I would be much more productive, I think, in discussing the things we are closer to agreement on. I am especially interested in your thoughts on the biblical case for apostolic authority.

          • Eugene Adkins 7:53 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            Apostolic authority was only given to the apostles. To be an apostle one had to see the resurrected Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:8). Nothing more needs to be said about that.

        • Joseph Richardson 7:51 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

          So, then, please reply to my biblical argument I made to your other post, if the Bible so well defeats it.

          • Eugene Adkins 7:55 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            I have already said once, Joseph, that there are articles here in The Fellowship Room that defeat the catholic church’s teaching about the pope. I won’t reteach what’s already been taught.

            And I am still “tickled” at how you won’t even try to defend the blasphemous words of your pope.

        • Joseph Richardson 7:56 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

          I asked you to reply to my post, sir. I spent several hours in constructing that argument for you, and your reluctance to address it leads me to believe that you have no answer to the plain truth of Scripture.

      • tiffanystttt 10:39 am on 2015-08-19 Permalink | Reply

        I am clearly quite late in reading all these comments, but please let me, at this late hour, add some detail to this Marian issue.

        1. There is no evidence anywhere in the Bible for praying to or through anyone other than God the Father. Jesus continued this example for us in the Scripture known as the Lord’s Prayer. To pray to anyone other than God is idolatrous. Yet every Catholic who possesses a rosary begins their prayers with ‘Hail, Mary, Mother of God.’ This is entirely unscriptural and thus not Christian behaviour.

        2. I have met Catholics in many countries who proudly tell me they worship Mary. Again, no human can be worshiped, no human can be leader of a true Christian faith. Only GOD is the Creator, the ultimate power in the world; and only Jesus is our leader, who has given all the rules/ examples we need in this day and age through the letters and gospels provided in the New Testament. No one can worship Mary and still pretend to be a Christian (e.g., one who follows Jesus Christ).

        3. The entire belief of Original Sin was the root cause why the Catholic leaders had to come up with the idea that Mary was somehow special; otherwise, baby Jesus would have been born in sin. Both teachings, e.g., Original Sin and the ‘Immaculate’ nature of Mary are never supported in the 27 books of the New Testament. Thus, they are not to be followed by Christians.

        4. Catholics may want to skate over the verses that clearly state that Jesus had at least one ‘brother’. Again, this ignores clearly stated and worded scripture; to accept the scripture would be to run contrary to point 3, e.g., that Mary being ‘immaculate’ would mean all other children were also sinless. Again, Catholics deviate from Scripture and thus Christian teaching.

        5. To believe that Mary was a virgin her entire life is also never supported in scripture. It is clear she took a husband, Joseph, and that sex is part of God’s marriage plan. And contrary to Catholic tradition, sex is not sinful except when trying to make a baby. The very colourful language of Song of Solomon clearly outlines the pleasure in the bonding that takes place between a man and woman when performing sexual intercourse. To preach of sex as sin, or to abstain from sex except for when trying to conceive; or even to demand someone take a vow to abstain from sex to show their devotion to God is not supported by Scripture and thus is contrary to Christian teaching.

        My discussions with atheists, Catholics, CofEngland and Jehovah’s Witnesses tend to collapse when I insist that the only source for a Christian’s faith can be found within the 27 books of the New Testament, supported by the 39 books of the Old Testament to understand who God is (Creator, etc.) and what He has done for His people. I pray that I can prick a conscience or two, to spread the seed in men’s hearts that God can give the increase.

        • Joseph Richardson 3:33 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink | Reply

          Thanks for the respectful comment, Tiffany. I would agree that discussions tend to collapse between members of the Protestants and Catholics when the Protestant insists on what you say, that Scripture can be the only source for a Christian’s faith (an extreme form of what the Protestant Reformers called “sola scriptura,” one that goes far beyond what even they intended). Having been a Protestant most of my life, I can certainly understand the position — but applied as rigidly as Fundamentalists want to apply it, I don’t think it is a reasonable proposition. I agree completely (and the Catholic Church agrees) that Scripture is the only absolute, inerrant source, the very written Word of God. But it makes little sense to simply ignore and discard the valuable knowledge that the history and tradition of the Church — especially the writings of the earliest Christians, who knew and were taught by the Apostles — can teach us. It is important to remember that Scripture nowhere teaches us to do this: nowhere does Scripture dictate that it is to be the only source of faith or doctrine, or that others should be discarded. On the contrary, we are instructed to “hold fast to the teachings [the Apostles] taught [us], whether by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

          1. To “pray to” another person in the sense that traditional Christians understand the term is simply to ask or beseech them: we are asking others to pray for us, which, according to my Bible, is not only permissible but encouraged. “Idolatry” is to worship another thing as a god that is not a god — and there is none of that at all in asking for another’s prayers.

          “Hail Mary, full of grace / Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb” (Latin Ave, Maria, etc.) is in fact a direct quote from Scripture (Luke 1:28,42). “Mother of God” is a paraphrase from Scripture: Elizabeth calls Mary the “Mother of my LORD” (v. 43). In any case, the fact that any particular prayer is not found in Scripture is irrelevant: if this were a requirement for “Christian behavior,” then every kind of extemporaneous prayer would be excluded.

          I have met Catholics in many countries who proudly tell me they worship Mary.

          2. I cannot speak for them, but only for every Catholic I have ever known, and every official teaching of the Catholic Church I have ever read: Catholics do not “worship” Mary. Pointing to “many Catholics” whom you can neither name nor produce is the stuff of straw men.

          The entire belief of Original Sin was the root cause why the Catholic leaders had to come up with the idea that Mary was somehow special; otherwise, baby Jesus would have been born in sin. Both teachings, e.g., Original Sin and the ‘Immaculate’ nature of Mary are never supported in the 27 books of the New Testament. Thus, they are not to be followed by Christians.

          3. In fact, the belief that Mary never committed sin predates the Church’s understanding of original sin (which is quite scriptural, understood especially from Romans 5:12-21, Ephesians 2:1-3, Psalm 51:5, Genesis 8:21, etc.). Christians as early as the very earliest Christian documents following the New Testament (late first century) demonstrate a convinced belief in both Mary’s all-holiness and her perpetual virginity. This is not something that “Catholic leaders” invented, but that Christians have believed since the beginning. To return your argument: there is nothing in Scripture to support that Mary did sin, and more than a little to suggest that she was extraordinarily holy and blessed. It is in fact only a small minority of Christians who do not believe this.

          Catholics may want to skate over the verses that clearly state that Jesus had at least one ‘brother’.

          4. In fact, references to Jesus’s “brothers” do not at all “clearly state” that any one of them was Mary’s child. If she had other children, then Jesus would have slighted them in asking John to take her into his home (John 19:25-27).

          To believe that Mary was a virgin her entire life is also never supported in scripture.

          Neither is it indicated anywhere in Scripture that she wasn’t.

          To preach of sex as sin, or to abstain from sex except for when trying to conceive; or even to demand someone take a vow to abstain from sex to show their devotion to God is not supported by Scripture and thus is contrary to Christian teaching.

          5. The Catholic Church does not “preach of sex as sin”: in fact, Catholics are far more open in praising both the beauty and the holiness of the marital state and act than any Protestant sect I have ever known. Pope John Paul II presented a whole, developed Theology of the Body expounding on the idea that the marital union is an image of the intimate love of God exchanged between the Persons of the Trinity. So no, your criticism misses the mark.

          On the other hand, Scripture does in fact praise the state of celibacy, Paul even calling it a “special gift from God” (1 Corinthians 7:7-8).

          God bless you, and His peace be with you!

          • Eugene Adkins 7:09 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink | Reply

            “Christians as early as the very earliest Christian documents following the New Testament (late first century) demonstrate a convinced belief in both Mary’s all-holiness and her perpetual virginity.”

            Do you know why documents following the New Testament say that? Because the New Testament does not. People who sin need a savior – Mary needed a savior (“My spirit is glad in God my Saviour.” Luke 1:47) – therefore, according to the scriptures, Mary committed sin like any other adult, save Jesus Christ, who has ever lived (Romans 3:23).

            “Neither is it indicated anywhere in Scripture that she wasn’t.”

            The scriptures don’t say it’s wrong to eat more than the bread and the fruit of the vine while observing the Lord’s Supper, therefore it must not be wrong to add to the meal, right? The scriptures don’t say it’s wrong to get baptized every year, therefore it must not be wrong to teach or do so, right? The scriptures don’t say Mary fasted for two years without any food or drink, therefore this was something that she possibly did, right? The scriptures don’t say a man named Joseph Smith wouldn’t come along and claim to have received another testament of Jesus Christ, therefore the possibility of such is possible, right? After all, the scriptures don’t say anything to contrary of any of these things.

            Such a list of questions shows the fallacy of depending upon the “but the Bible doesn’t say this or that” when it comes to wholesome doctrine so there must not be anything wrong with it – such as the idea that God has ever told us to pray through anyone other than Jesus; one mediator it what the scriptures teach, therefore there is no need, nor desire of God, for anyone to mediate between God and mankind be it either mediator or mediatrix (1 Timothy 2:5).

        • Joseph Richardson 7:39 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink | Reply

          Hi, Eugene.

          Do you know why documents following the New Testament say that? Because the New Testament does not. People who sin need a savior – Mary needed a savior (“My spirit is glad in God my Saviour.” Luke 1:47) – therefore, according to the scriptures, Mary committed sin like any other adult, save Jesus Christ, who has ever lived (Romans 3:23).

          Eugene, your logic here is sketchy on two different counts. First, “If a person sins, then he needs a savior” does not entail “If a person has a savior, then he sins.” This is a formal logical fallacy known as “affirming the consequent.” You can look it up if you’re interested. Second, “Early Christian documents say this because the New Testament does not” simply doesn’t follow at all. Why would early Christian documents — the writings of the very people who were taught by the Apostles, who affirmed faith in the Lord and who held the New Testament as the Word of God — hold and write something that they believed contradicted the Word of God? Where would such a doctrine come from, if not from their own teachers?

          In fact the Scriptures do contradict the contrary cases you have named:

          The scriptures don’t say it’s wrong to eat more than the bread and the fruit of the vine while observing the Lord’s Supper, therefore it must not be wrong to add to the meal, right?

          The Scriptures give us a very clear and closed formula for the Lord’s Supper.

          The scriptures don’t say it’s wrong to get baptized every year, therefore it must not be wrong to teach or do so, right?

          The Scriptures affirm that there is “one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).

          The scriptures don’t say a man named Joseph Smith wouldn’t come along and claim to have received another testament of Jesus Christ, therefore the possibility of such is possible, right? After all, the scriptures don’t say anything to contrary of any of these things.

          Scripture teaches that Jesus is the ultimate revelation of the Word of God, and all that awaits now is His final appearing (1 Timothy 6:14; Titus 2:13).

          The scriptures don’t say Mary fasted for two years without any food or drink, therefore this was something that she possibly did, right?

          And yet there is no story, report, or tradition reporting such, and so no one has ever entertained such a thought. The difference between this and the beliefs you insist on opposing is that these are traditions which have been reported from the very earliest days of the Church.

          Such a list of questions shows the fallacy of depending upon the “but the Bible doesn’t say this or that” when it comes to wholesome doctrine so there must not be anything wrong with it – such as the idea that God has ever told us to pray through anyone other than Jesus; one mediator it what the scriptures teach, therefore there is no need, nor desire of God, for anyone to mediate between God and mankind be it either mediator or mediatrix (1 Timothy 2:5).

          Which is it, then? “The Bible doesn’t say,” or a contradiction of Scripture? It cannot be both. But Scripture in fact does instruct us to pray for all people, to ask others to pray for us — that is, to pray through them. Do you then reject intercessory prayer?

          God bless you, and His peace be with you.

          • Eugene Adkins 7:49 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink | Reply

            It sure is funny how the Bible saying there’s one baptism means that there’s no authority to baptize someone each year, but when the Bible says there’s one mediator then the Bible isn’t saying that it’s wrong to pray through others as a mediator or a mediatrix. The Bible only settles an issue for a Catholic when the Catholic oral teachings also teach such, but when the scriptures don’t align with the Catholic Church’s oral teachings then it must the Bible that fits the oral teachings and not the other way around. One means one my friend for baptisms and mediators/mediatrixs.

          • Eugene Adkins 7:52 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink | Reply

            And what did Mary need saving from if it were not her sins? The Bible doesn’t say that “all have sinned (except Mary) and fallen short of God’s glory (except Mary)” (Romans 3:23).

            • Joseph Richardson 12:45 pm on 2015-08-20 Permalink

              Mary answers that question in the very next phrase: From her “lowly estate.”

              The verse in Romans also does not mention Jesus as an exception to “all having sinned,” but nonetheless He is.

            • Eugene Adkins 1:14 pm on 2015-08-20 Permalink

              Actually, the very next verses (Romans 3:24-25) give the only exception of sin’s guilty partakers to Jesus since redemption, remission and propitiation are only found in Jesus’ blood – hence, the only blood not guilty of sin.

          • Eugene Adkins 7:57 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink | Reply

            “But Scripture in fact does instruct us to pray for all people, to ask others to pray for us — that is, to pray through them.”

            And how in the world, my friend, do you get that the scriptures teach us to pray through people when it simply tells us to pray for each other? For and through are two completely different things. I think your “affirming the consequent” applies here for you are doing the very thing that you have accused me of.

        • Joseph Richardson 8:02 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink | Reply

          And how in the world, my friend, do you get that the scriptures teach us to pray through people when it simply tells us to pray each other?

          One is a necessary product of the other. If you are praying for someone, you are becoming their agent or intercessor (hence, “intercessory prayer”) — i.e. they are praying through you.

          • Eugene Adkins 8:03 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink | Reply

            No, they are not praying – you are praying…these are two different things.

            • Joseph Richardson 8:09 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink

              Yes, you’re exactly right. 😀 When we ask someone to pray, to intercede, for us, they are praying for us; we are no longer the ones praying. Just so with the intercession of our brothers and sisters in heaven.

            • Eugene Adkins 8:11 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink

              And where do you get the idea that you can ask a dead person to pray for you? Just use the same scriptural logic about mediators that you used with baptism and you’ll finally start to get somewhere.

            • Joseph Richardson 8:13 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink

              … Just where do you get the idea that are brothers and sisters in the Lord are “dead”? If we truly believe in the Resurrection, then they are more alive than they’ve ever been before (Hebrews 12:23).

            • Eugene Adkins 8:17 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink

              Being alive has nothing to do with our ability to communicate with them or them for us (Luke 16:26). So again, praying for someone is not the same thing as praying through someone. It’s an unscriptural theme cooked up to defend the oral traditions of the Catholic Church that have no basis in the scriptures…which really does get back to the point of my original post.

            • Joseph Richardson 8:25 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink

              Luke 16:19-31 presents a “chasm” so wide that the rich man is having a conversation with Abraham across it. That’s not really very good for your argument. 😀

            • Eugene Adkins 8:26 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink

              Abraham represents God/paradise/rest, and if you read the whole thing you’ll see that the rich man is told that his brothers must hear the word of God because his suggestion wouldn’t be considered. Keep reading my friend 😉

            • Joseph Richardson 8:28 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink

              Far be it from a Catholic to read a meaning into Jesus’s own words contrary to what He said. 😉

            • Eugene Adkins 8:29 pm on 2015-08-19 Permalink

              Just remember what the gulf represents and how the lesson ends and the scriptures will help to guide you in the right direction of the difference between praying for and praying through.

        • RichardS 1:56 am on 2015-08-20 Permalink | Reply

          Joseph, it looks to me like you might have proved Tiffany’s point in #4 but she didn’t give any Scripture references. If you think that Jesus didn’t have any brothers what about Matt.12:46-50, Matt.13:55-57, Mark 3:31-35, Luke 8:19-21, John 7:3-5, or Acts 1:14?

        • LaraIngalls 3:41 am on 2015-08-20 Permalink | Reply

          Joseph:
          I would agree that discussions tend to collapse between members of the Protestants and Catholics when the Protestant insists … that Scripture can be the only source for a Christian’s faith (an extreme form of what the Protestant Reformers called “sola scriptura,” one that goes far beyond what even they intended). Having been a Protestant most of my life, I can certainly understand the position — but applied as rigidly as Fundamentalists want to apply it, I don’t think it is a reasonable proposition. … it makes little sense to simply ignore and discard the valuable knowledge that the history and tradition of the Church — especially the writings of the earliest Christians, who knew and were taught by the Apostles — can teach us. It is important to remember that Scripture nowhere teaches us to do this: nowhere does Scripture dictate that it is to be the only source of faith or doctrine, or that others should be discarded. On the contrary, we are instructed to “hold fast to the teachings [the Apostles] taught [us], whether by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

          Lara:
          Please understand I am neither Protestant nor Fundamentalist; I am a Christian. I believe in the inspired Word of God as GOD’s sole message, down through the ages as timeless as GOD himself. Anything else is just as the Bible called, and Eugene quoted, a ‘tradition of men’ (Mark 7:5-13; Colossians 2:8-10). A tradition is an add on, as it were, and most certainly at most can be a personal preference – not a dogma to hold over anyone as belief. It makes perfect sense to discard an opinion of another man, whether live or dead, so called ‘saint’, ‘priest’ or ‘layman’, if it is contrary to the teachings in the Holy Bible. To determine this, one must first read and understand the Bible, studying it diligently and prayerfully to really digest it fully and let its words guide our hearts (2 Timothy 2:14-19). We are indeed to hold fast the teachings Jesus and His apostles taught us… everyone else is fallible, thus is not to be held in the same category (Matthew 5:17 – 20; Galatians 1:6-12). There are no more apostles after those fourteen appointed by Jesus.

          Joseph:
          The scriptures don’t say it’s wrong to eat more than the bread and the fruit of the vine while observing the Lord’s Supper, therefore it must not be wrong to add to the meal, right? The scriptures don’t say it’s wrong to get baptized every year, therefore it must not be wrong to teach or do so, right? The scriptures don’t say Mary fasted for two years without any food or drink, therefore this was something that she possibly did, right? The scriptures don’t say a man named Joseph Smith wouldn’t come along and claim to have received another testament of Jesus Christ, therefore the possibility of such is possible, right? After all, the scriptures don’t say anything to contrary of any of these things.

          Lara:
          As Eugene pointed out, this is faulty logic at best. Unlike human law, which seems to need a version 9.79 every time a new technology or loophole is revealed, GOD’s law, once enshrined in Scripture, has remained timeless, ageless and as relevant today as it was when first written. It is, as the church of Christ paraphrases, our obligation to speak where Scripture speaks, and be silent where it is silent.

          Let’s pick apart your questions, assuming they are genuine enquiries. The Lord’s Supper is outlined as two ingredients: bread and fruit of the vine (grape juice). This is related in three Gospels (Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-20). It is clear this was done weekly by the first Christians (Acts 20:7). The same phrase, ‘upon the first day of the week’ is used also for collection (1 Corinthians 16:1,2). I have never heard any Catholic, Protestant, ‘high church’ or ‘low church’ that argues that they can’t take money weekly. But somehow, they will argue that the Lord’s Supper was not observed weekly by the first Christians. Both mention weekly (upon the first day of the week), so, without any other evidence within Scripture, then we should also observe these every Sunday (it is the first day of the Julian Calendar) until Jesus returns. The Lord’s Supper’s content is outlined, bread and fruit of the vine; we know since Jesus was meeting His apostles during Passover that the bread on the table was unleavened; hence, we also use unleavened bread. Jesus was indeed having a meal with His apostles when He instilled the Lord’s Supper (see above Gospels). But to add a meal to the Lord’s Supper would entirely be a preference; and if it were to be added, it should in no way detract from the meaning of this Lord’s Supper: “Do this in remembrance of [Jesus].”

          Eugene has already tackled the question regarding baptism.

          As for Mary’s fast, the only Scriptures that reference Mary are: Luke 1:27 – 2:19; Matthew 1,2; Luke 2:34; Matthew 13:55,56; Mark 6:3; John 19:26, 27; Matthew 27:56, 61; Mark 15:40, 47; Matthew 28: 1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:10; Acts 1). These Scriptures tell us all we need to know: Mary was a virgin who was betrothed (engaged) to Joseph when the Holy Spirit impregnated her; Joseph married her, but they did not have sex until after Jesus was born in Bethlehem; Mary and Joseph raised Jesus in Nazareth; Mary and Joseph had other children: James, Joses, Simon, Judas and ‘sisters’ to Jesus; Mary was present at Jesus’ crucifixion, where Jesus, as her firstborn, appealed for His apostle, John, to look after her as a firstborn son would; and she was present on the first day of the week, when the apostles discovered Jesus’ resurrection. Anything else that is taught about Mary is from sources outside Scripture and thus not to be accepted as fact – or basis for belief.

          Joseph Smith, Muhammed, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Pope John Paul II, etc., are all covered in Mark 7:5-13; Colossians 2:8-10; 2 Timothy 2:14-19.

          Let’s take Matthew 5:27, 28 as my example. Jesus very clearly covers lust coming from the heart of man, thus any one who looks upon another lustfully, (for women can do this to men, also) outside of marriage, has committed adultery. There is no need for this to be brought up to date or clarified by synods, edicts, ex cathedra statements, papal bulls, etc. Pornography, whether print or virtual, word or picture or movie, is covered. Sex, whether virtual or actual, is covered. Women coveting men in the same way is covered. All else is just men’s opinion or addition – which does not carry the same weight as Scripture.

          This is the most important discussion, above all others. If we do in fact agree that there is a purpose to life; there is a GOD; that GOD is the one who provided the Holy Bible… then the disagreement begins when I believe the Holy Bible is the sole source of GOD’s law, and you or others believe other sources provide GOD’s law, also. If we cannot agree this one point, all else becomes irrelevant, including the Catholic veneration of Mary. Once we agree on this point, then only can we move forward to discuss what is or is not within Scripture.

          I prayerfully wish to continue in growing my faith and understanding, and hope you also are of this mind.

    • Eugene Adkins 7:59 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

      Here, Joseph, take your mouse pointer and click where the words are blue:

      Was Peter the First “Pope?” Here’s the link – http://fellowshiproom.org/2013/02/12/was-peter-the-first-pope/

      and

      Where Was “Vatican Smoke” In The New Testament Church? Here’s the link – http://fellowshiproom.org/2013/02/12/please-read-acts-151-31-then-read-the-following/

      • Joseph Richardson 8:02 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

        Don’t insult me, sir. I have read the linked posts, and they do not address at all the argument I made in the other post. They do not even reference the Scripture I cited to you. Do not pretend they do. If you have an answer to my argument, please make it; if you don’t, either admit you don’t, or I will assume it.

        • Eugene Adkins 8:05 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

          Joseph, you’re being obtuse now. Much like the popes:

          “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)

      • Joseph Richardson 8:08 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

        You’re the one refusing to defend your own words. If you call me “obtuse” for holding you to them, then I suppose I am. Apparently you have no answer to that or any of the well-meaning questions I asked above, and have no other resort but to hurt baseless accusations and name-calling at me.

    • Joseph Richardson 8:06 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

      “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)

      I fail to see what’s “blasphemous” about this quote. Mary cooperated with God’s plan of salvation. She said “yes” (Luke 1:38). She allowed herself to be a tool of God’s redemption. She gave up her only son, just as God gave up His only Son, so that mankind could be saved. Do you argue otherwise?

      • Eugene Adkins 8:08 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

        Yeah, and so does the Bible. First, Jesus wasn’t Mary’s only child. Second, there is no co-redeemer. It’s a shame that Mary’s name gets drug through the spiritual mud by the catholic church.

        • Joseph Richardson 8:10 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

          1. Mary cooperated with God’s plan of salvation.
          2. She said “yes” (Luke 1:38).
          3. She allowed herself to be a tool of God’s redemption.
          4. She gave up her only son [we’ll leave that one alone for now, since it’s not relevant to this question], just as God gave up His only Son, so that mankind could be saved.

          Which exactly of these statements does the Bible prove untrue?

          • Eugene Adkins 8:14 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            Jesus’ earthly father Joseph cooperated with God’s plan of salvation. He also said yes. He allowed himself to be a tool of God’s redemption. So I guess Joseph is a co-redeemer of mankind too! I’m only following catholic logic here.

          • Eugene Adkins 8:18 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            When you try to prove too much, you prove too little, Joseph. Everything you said about Mary can be said about Joseph, but for some reason the catholic church doesn’t look at him the same way it looks at Mary. You know, the “Mary” that led the pope to say, “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)

      • Eugene Adkins 8:12 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not refusing to defend “my words.” You’re the one spouting off here on someone else’s blog, Joseph. There’s no point in rehashing what’s already been taught. Those articles that are linked address and undermine every thing you’ve said about the pope. I’m sorry you feel like your time is being wasted, but I’m also sorry that it takes so long to come up with words to defend error.

        • Joseph Richardson 8:31 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

          When did I say my time was being wasted? I’m rather enjoying myself. 🙂

          Here, I will make it simple for you. Please answer these questions which I kindly asked above, if you are able. So far you have evaded them:
          1. Would you say that all the followers of the Catholic Church over its history have “wasted” their time, and if so, for how long?
          2. Are you supposing that Protestant churches have been “in unity” with the Spirit (the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ)?
          3. Why, then, do they not all agree with each other?
          4. Why do they have such different understandings of the Christian faith?
          5. Wouldn’t “unity in the Spirit” entail “catholic” unity?
          6. So you also reject “creeds and councils”? Do you reject, then, the Holy Trinity? Or that Jesus is wholly God and wholly Man? What about the canon of the New Testament? (etc.)
          7. Is Scripture wrong when, through the words of St. Peter, it recommends that pastors “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight (1 Peter 5:1–2)?

          Here, I will summarize my argument of the other post. I would like you to address it, if you can.
          You argued (your own words) that, “Jesus never installed an earthly head, Jesus never asked for an earthly head nor does Jesus need an earthly head. If the catholic church followed/believed the same gospel they would not transfer heavenly authority to an earthly man . . . ”
          I prove the contrary by showing that:
          1. Jesus did entrust His authority to “earthly men” (Matthew 10:1, 5–8)
          2. He sent these men as His representatives. (Matthew 10:40, etc.)
          3. The powers of “binding and loosing” are a clear investment of authority that would be divinely ratified. (Matthew 18:18)
          4. Jesus certainly, and without a doubt, invested this authority to His Apostles and especially to Peter. (ibid., Matthew 16:17–19)
          5. This investment, or stewardship of His “household” the Church, was prophesied by Isaiah and foreshadowed by Christ Himself. (Isaiah 22:20–22)
          6. This authority, by the plain words of Scripture, included the authority to remit or retain sins (John 20:21–23).

          Now, you can see that this is quite clearly a different argument than the ones addressed by the posts you linked to. If you have an answer to it, I would appreciate you giving it (it would be nice to give it over at the other post since the thread here is already pretty muddy. If you can, you may answer the other questions above here.

          Thanks, and I do wish you the peace of Christ.

          • Eugene Adkins 8:34 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            I’ll answer these when you answer whether or not Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, is a co-redeemer of mankind. Yes or No? And you if you say “No” remember, Joseph, that he meets all the “qualifications” that you mentioned when it comes to Mary. If you’re not willing to be consistent here, when will you be?

    • Joseph Richardson 8:35 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

      By the way, in care you’re not aware: Joseph is the most highly regarded saint of the Church, and is held nearly as high as Mary. He is the patron saint of the whole Church. He is also venerated for His role in the plan of salvation, for taking Mary and protecting her and the young Jesus, and not “putting her away” as the Scripture said. Mary, of course, has a slightly more involved role, since it was through her flesh that Christ was born. (And oh, I’m being consistent; you’re just not being patient.)

      • Joseph Richardson 8:37 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

        Second most highly regarded, meant to say, but the word got lost somewhere. Mary is a saint, too.

      • Eugene Adkins 8:37 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

        Nearly as high? I don’t think that’s the same height, is it? Please answer the question with a yes or no. Is Joseph a co-redeemer of mankind?

        • Joseph Richardson 8:39 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

          Yes, he is, and is often called such.

          • Eugene Adkins 8:41 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            Amazing! I never knew there were co-redeemers (at least 2) of mankind’s salvation. Can you give scripture for that? Which is kind of the whole point I was trying to make if you’ll go back and read the original post, Joseph.

          • Eugene Adkins 8:43 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            So Joseph is co-redeemer, but Mary is still, “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) right? Because none, except and none and except would seem to infer that she doesn’t share that with anyone else.

    • Joseph Richardson 8:45 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

      No, there is no Scripture that says that either Mary or Joseph are “co-redeemers” or even says the word “co-redeemer.” But there’s also no Scripture that says the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit form the Holy Trinity. There’s no Scripture that says that Jesus Christ is fully-God and fully-man. There’s no Scripture that says what books belong in the New Testament. There’s not even a Scripture that says that you have to base everything you believe on Scripture (in fact, no one did until the time of the Reformation).

      [Forgive my poor placement of this comment. Please reply to this one to keep the tread going downward.]

      • Eugene Adkins 8:50 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

        Until you can give scripture for what your pope infallible taught the conversation is over because my point has been proven.

        And I already replied before you did, sorry. Here’s what I said:

        Different topic, Joseph. Those points can be proven with scripture. And now here comes the true feelings/following of a catholic – “There’s not even a Scripture that says that you have to base everything you believe on Scripture”

        Remember when you said you agree with me about 1 Peter 4:11? Because it’s not sounding like it right now! You see, Joseph, you can’t defend your beliefs with the word of God as a catholic, and that’s why you have to so heavily depend upon the words and traditions of a man-made church.

        • Joseph Richardson 9:01 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

          I have already said that the word “co-redeemer” is nowhere in Scripture. (For what it’s worth, the word “co-redeemer” was also not in that quote from Benedict XV.) It is a logical consequence (especially in the Latin mind, which likes to stick prefixes on things) of saying that someone cooperates with the Redeemer (co + redemptor = together with the redeemer). Our fundamental difference, as you say, is that I don’t believe I have to base every single thing I say on the plain face of Scripture. I have already explained to you, citing Scripture, how Mary cooperated with God’s plan of salvation, and you did not argue with that: your answer was that Joseph did, too. And he did. If you believe that a lack of direct scriptural proof proves your point, then you’re welcome to think that. I disagree.

          Now, I have given you my best answer. So far that his looked like a game of chicken, with you doing everything you can to avoid answering my questions, which I asked first, eight hours ago (the argument on the other post, at 2 p.m. yesterday), long before you started this whole line of argument about co-redeemers. If you think this conversation is over, then you’re probably right, but not for the reasons you seem to think, and you’re not the only one walking away thinking his point was proven.

          • Eugene Adkins 9:07 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            For what it’s worth, the word “co-redeemer” was also not in that quote from Benedict XV.”

            Really? He’s not saying Mary is a co-redeemer? Why then you could’ve avoided the whole conversation by not using it yourself.

            And by the way, he said:

            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)

            Yeah, that sounds like co-redeemer to me. So if the catholic church teaches idolatrous error when it comes to Mary, then why should I be concerned with anything else it teaches?

          • Eugene Adkins 9:11 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            Facts and thoughts, like the written tradition that makes up the Bible and the “oral tradition/fabrication” that the catholic church is built upon, are two different things my friend.

    • Joseph Richardson 9:11 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

      Dude. Chill. I just defended the argument that Mary and Joseph are co-redeemers. I also just said, as an aside, that the word “co-redeemer” is not in that quote. The word “co-redeemer” is not in that quote. And it’s not. It was a non sequitur, a random comment, which is true. You continue to avoid my well-meaning questions with baseless accusations and name-calling. I really do think you don’t have an answer for me. You’re right. We’re done here.

      • Eugene Adkins 9:14 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

        You defended it alright, but not with scripture…which is/was the whole point of the post. Remember?

        • Joseph Richardson 9:16 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

          As I said, again, repeating myself for the third time, the word co-redeemer is not in Scripture. If you feel triumphant about that, then I’m happy for you. You still refuse to answer my questions, but instead keep changing the subject. I will not reply to you again unless you pick up the arguments you are clearly unable to answer.

          • Eugene Adkins 9:19 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            I don’t feel triumphant, but you should feel defeated since, again for the third time, that was the whole point of my post – catholics can’t defend what they believe with the Bible. It’s as simple as that. Why should I answer your questions with scripture if you’re not going to listen to scripture??? You have already said that you don’t base everything you believe in on the scriptures – so what’s the point of me answering with the scriptures alone if you’re not going to listen to them alone??? Do you see my point that I was trying to make and the one that I am making now?

        • Joseph Richardson 9:24 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

          Okay. Literally, the very last time I will say this.

          1. I already “defended what I believe with the Bible,” now some 32 hours ago, at 2 p.m. yesterday.
          2. I also quoted Scripture to you in my comment above, “defending what I believe.”
          3. You have refused to answer either post.

          This Catholic is perfectly able and willing to “defend what I believe with Scripture,” but either my arguments were so solid that you have no answers to them, or you lack the good faith to admit that I raised good points. In either case, I have absolutely nothing more to say to you.

          • Eugene Adkins 9:29 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            You said:

            “I quote from Scripture, the source of Truth, to demonstrate that what the Church teaches is true.”

            But then you said:

            “Our fundamental difference, as you say, is that I don’t believe I have to base every single thing I say on the plain face of Scripture.”

            Which is it? But anyways, Joseph, back up what you said…quote from the scriptures to show that what “the church” teaches about Mary (and now Joseph) being “co-redeemers” is true.

          • Eugene Adkins 9:36 pm on 2013-03-23 Permalink | Reply

            You raised no points. All you said was that the Bible doesn’t use the word co-redeemer but you still believe Mary and Joseph are co-redeemers because it’s what the catholic church teaches even though the Bible doesn’t.

            And don’t forget what else the catholic church teaches about Mary:

            “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)

            I don’t think you’ll find that quoted in the Bible either…but you can try to prove me wrong if you like since you, “quote from Scripture, the source of Truth, to demonstrate that what the Church teaches is true.”

  • Eugene Adkins 7:22 am on 2013-03-01 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Catholic Church, , , , , ,   

    If The Catholic Church Were Biblically Wise 

    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)

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:36 am on 2013-02-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catholic Church, ,   

    What Was That Chapter and Verse Again??? 

    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!

     
  • Eugene Adkins 9:01 pm on 2013-02-07 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catholic Church, , , , Idol Worship,   

    “Universal” Blindness to the Blasphemy 

    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)

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  • Eugene Adkins 6:44 am on 2012-05-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catholic Church, , ,   

    Something’s Missing Here! 

    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.

     
  • Weylan Deaver 2:18 pm on 2011-08-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catholic Church, , , Felix Manz, John Calvin, , Protestant Reformers, , reformation, , Urbanus Rhegius   

    “Compelle Intrare” 

    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.

     
    • John T. Polk II 2:30 pm on 2011-08-03 Permalink | Reply

      Waylan,
      Thanks for the historical reminder, since we “have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:4), but we may yet pay our dues (Hebrews 11:32-40). Islam, like Roman Catholicism, is passively agreeable as a minority of a population, but in a majority, they are like our adversary the Devil, walking about like a lion, seeking whom they may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Whatever our lot, we must not “fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Keep admonishing, brother.

  • J. Randal Matheny 3:45 am on 2010-11-14 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Catholic Church,   

    Catholicism on the move 

    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.

     
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