The Pontiff recently concluded his three-country tour of Africa, visiting the Central African Republic, Uganda, and Kenya.The Christian Post reports that during an in-flight press conference on his return trip to Rome, Francis stated,“We Catholics have some–and not some, many–who believe they possess the absolute truth and go ahead dirtying the other with calumny, with disorientation, and doing evil. They do evil. I say this because it is my Church.”He added that “ideas and false certainties” can replace faith, love, and God.
“Now the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not take food without washing their hands with care, keeping the old rule which has been handed down to them: And when they come from the market-place, they take no food till their hands are washed; and a number of other orders there are, which have been handed down to them to keep–washings of cups and pots and brass vessels. And the Pharisees and the scribes put the question to him, Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers, but take their bread with unwashed hands?” (Mark 7:3-5 ∼ BBE)
It’s not my intent to do damage to the above text, but look how well some of the teachings of the Catholic Church fits the very point that the Spirit of God was trying to make when it comes to observing them because they are the “old rules” of the fathers that often get brought up when discussing matters of the faith that has been once and for all delivered to the saints:
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not observing lent?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not recognizing the authority of the Pope?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not praying to or through dead saints?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not referring to individuals as holy father or holy mother?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not believing in transubstantiation?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not baptizing babies?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by not supporting the doctrine of purgatory?
- Why do your disciples not keep the rules of the fathers…by refusing to accept the extra-biblical quoted rules of the fathers when matters of the Bible are discussed?
Now you know why the “old rules” of the fathers (a.k.a. the touted “old traditions” of the Catholic Church) aren’t that impressive to members of the church of Christ – it’s because those “old rules” didn’t originate with God through the New Testament any more than the past “old rules” of the Jewish fathers originated with God through the Old Testament.
“But their worship is to no purpose, while they give as their teaching the rules of men. For, turning away from the law of God, you keep the rules of men. And he said to them, Truly you put on one side the law of God, so that you may keep the rules which have been handed down to you.” (Mark 7:7-9 ∼ BBE)
Not long ago there was a letter to the editor that took exception to that which I wrote in the Decatur Herald & Review. It was not a particularly strong exception, but one that was present just the same. In fact, one could read the letter and think it was but a “slap on the hands” given me. I was grateful to read it and had hoped that others would give response to what I wrote more than just the one I have seen. The nature of my letter to the editor was in relation to a news article that suggested the Catholic Church was entertaining a stance on marriage that was not biblical.
In any case, the gist of the letter was 1) the “Catholic Church has and will continue to maintain that Holy Matrimony is indissoluble between one man and one woman,” and 2) “[e]very effort must be undertaken in these contemporary times to engage those who profess perfectly or imperfectly their faith in Christ.”
Without dealing with the first point, let me address the second. The concern expressed in this reply to me was that Christians failing to help those struggling with sinful desires (weaknesses) would be a disservice to them and to the Lord. It is true that the Lord’s church should seek to make a positive difference in the lives of those who struggle with sin. This approach not only applies to those outside of Christ, but those in Christ who continue to struggle. The nature of the sin is immaterial; struggling with whatever sinful desire plagues a person—it is important those who want to get away from this struggle know to whom they can turn. People need an answer and a spiritual place where others can assist. Who of us can’t relate with such a sentiment?
Being able to relate is tremendously important, but no saint should even entertain the thought, much less speak it, that it is okay to compromise the Lord’s way for the benefit of making oneself acceptable to a larger number of people. This is what I understood the Catholic Church to be contemplating. Frankly put, there is no way we can improve upon the Lord’s message and method, so we ought not to try. Yes, it may be true, that more flies are be caught with honey than with some other trap – but a trap is all that it is. It is a feigned effort with a disguise that will fall off.
In the Tuesday paper (10.14.2014) there was an article headline telling us the Catholic Church is entertaining a more open response to the homosexual community. The lead sentence conveyed two primary points in regard to a new practice within: first, the church is now “accepting gays into the church” because they have “gifts to offer,” and second, morality in regards to any homosexual couple is now “problematic.” This is not a surprise. The Catholic Church has not followed the Bible for years, hundreds years in fact. They take some information in the Bible and teach it, but following the New Testament as prescribed by the Lord and His apostles is something they don’t do.
What is truly problematic is that the Catholic Church, a significant religious community, has now introduced confusion into their own community. “Some conservative cardinals downplayed the report as insignificant or derided it as unacceptable, while conservative groups denounced it as heresy and a ‘betrayal’ that will only serve to confuse Catholics.”
This gets to a greater issue: a moral base from which one can understand right, wrong, good or bad is set in place by God, or by man. If by man, then the moral base is fluid, not anchored in anything but man’s thinking. If it is anchored in God (and it is), then that which the Catholic Church, or any other church says to the contrary is a church to be rejected as not of God.
Submitted to the Herald-Review (Decatur, IL)
During the last couple of years in the ole’ blogosphere I have been accused by Catholic apologists of self-popery. And why such an accusation? Because I dared to have “a personal interpretation” of the Bible that disagreed with them and with the pope’s!
In the Catholic Church, one’s doctrine is not determined by the revealed and written word alone – it is determined by those who make determinations based upon orally determining factors (a.k.a. making up the rules as you go) that shape the determination of God’s will in God’s word. Therefore to rest upon the written word of God alone is to be mistaken, and studying to show yourself approved (2 Timothy 2:15) need not apply since the studying has already been done for you. You just need to study what has already been studied and follow what those personal studies determined for you to study and personally believe.
Case in point is the latest issue the Catholic Church is having with the pope’s willingness to actually “have a debate” on the sinfulness of homosexuality. The reason I bring this up is that there should be no debate at all – none whatsoever. And why not? Because the word of God has settled the issue, but unfortunately the written word of God is not enough for the Catholic Church.
I know, I know. Many Catholic apologists will say “the issue is more complicated” than what I’m presenting it to be. And my response to that is “it’s only complicated because the pope (the pride and head of the Catholic Church) is complicating a very uncomplicated biblical issue and it’s making a lot of Catholics feel uncomfortable.” It’s actually a case of the pope wanting to do something but the Catholic Church has decided that personal interpretations do indeed matter after all.
Following the closing of this latest “synod session” it was released to the press that, “This synod will be followed by a year of consultations, and a follow-up questionnaire will be sent out to dioceses around the world. A second, larger synod will then be held in October 2015. After that, the results will be handed to the Argentinian pope, who will have the final say in outlining the Church’s stance on family matters.”
A questionnaire? Why that would involve making personal interpretations wouldn’t it? Why not just speak “ex cathedra” and get it over with. After all, when the “ex cathedra” starts talking, the Catholic Church has no other choice but to listen because the pope can do no wrong when he starts dictating what is and what is not right for the Catholic Church to believe. But I really do wonder what would happen to all the Catholics if the very “papa” who could do no wrong actually told the majority of the people who make up the Catholic Church that their personal interpretation was wrong on this issue? I wonder how open they’d be to personal interpretation then? But then again, why would the pope do that? After all, who is he to judge?
You see, the irony of the whole matter to me is that while I have been accused of self-popery multiple times over the last couple of years, because I have dared to have an opinion that disagrees with “Catholic Oral Tradition”, the reality of the matter is that the Catholic Church actually has a pope in authority who could be accused of the very thing I’m supposedly guilty of – self-popery! For if the Catholic Church had always had the right answer on this issue then how can this discussion be anything but wrong?
“The spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics had called for the Church to take a more merciful approach to unmarried mothers, remarried divorcees and gays, famously saying of homosexuals, “Who am I to judge?”” (see the above link for the quote source)
So much for that Catholic unity. And may we all learn a valuable lesson about biblical authority from this situation.
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In a disturbing move, a group of “pastors” have been given subpoenas that demand that any sermon or other shared forms of communication dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker (who is the city of Houston’s first openly lesbian mayor) be turned in to authorities or face contempt of court charges.
Is it just me or does anybody else hear someone with a German accent saying, “Let me see your papers.”
On a “related” note, the Catholic Church (i.e. the Vatican, from where no wrong can come I’ve been told) isn’t worried about such news at all since it sounds like they may soon be requesting their own “pastors” to do the same.
“Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time I punish them, they shall be cast down,” says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 6:15)
Been thinking here lately (I’m really opening myself up to zingers there!) about the catholic church situation and what the catholic church itself teaches about the pope and even Mary.
So the pope’s word is supposed to be infallible, right? When does it become so? Was his word as a “cardinal” infallible? And since he’s still alive does his word continue to be infallible? If not, how does one go from being fallible to infallible and back to fallible again? Talk about a rollercoaster ride! And also, is Benedict still the most-holy or is he only normal-holy? Or is he even Benedict anymore?
Now when it comes to Mary and her conception being “immaculate” from “original sin” how did she come to be that way? Jesus was born in the flesh according to her genetic material, right? Were her mother and father immaculate as well? How about her grandparents? And her great-parents and their great-grandparents? When did this whole “immaculate” thing start in the gene pool? Why didn’t the siblings of Jesus get the same benefits of their mother’s “immaculate” condition? Scratch that last question – seems like I remember something about sex between a husband and a wife not being allowed and no other children being born. But the other questions still stand.
And by the way, if you do give an answer in the affirmative, please give a scripture reference that affirms your affirmation along with it 🙂 That would be most helpful.