Now it’s a good idea?

Apparently the Pope is going to introduce the idea that Roman Catholic priests in Brazil should be given the “right” to get married.

Before this announcement one could often talk with a “Catholic Apologist” about the unscriptural nature of refusing to allow a priest to be married and he or she would be accused of being a Catholic basher and sola scripture fanatic. But now, to many Catholics, although undoubtedly to all, this will probably sound like a good idea simply because the Pope will say there is nothing unscriptural about it.

Truth is, people in the Catholic Church have been listening to the wrong Head of the church for well over a millennium (Colossians 1:18).

Read the scriptures and you find that the church has always represented marriage as a good, holy and undefiled right given to all people who meet God’s requirements (Hebrews 13:4) – including church leaders!

As a matter of fact, the scriptures record that a plurality of the apostles were married (1 Corinthians 9:5) as well as using a healthy marriage as a central identifying characteristic of the lives of bishops (pastors, elders, overseers, etc.) and deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-2, 12; Titus 1:5-6).

Must an individual be married to acceptably serve God? Absolutely not! 1 Corinthians 7 and Matthew 19:9-12 teaches us that. But no man, or woman, or council has the right to deny the scriptural state of marriage to any member of the body of Christ (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

While it may now sound like a good idea to some, according to the Holy Spirit “marriage rights” was never a bad idea to begin with.

#catholicism, #marriage, #news

A one-time replaced apostle is not the same as apostolic succession

Unfortunately, the Catholic church justifies its hierarchal claim concerning “apostolic succession” by using just enough scripture to confuse people into thinking the practice is “scripturally” endorsed. If asked about “apostolic succession”, one will be referred to a section in Acts 1 which says:

And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.” (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it’; and, ‘Let another take his office.’ “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” (Acts 1:15-26 NKJV)

There is no question as to whether or not Matthias replaced Judas, but to make the leap from a replaced apostle to apostolic succession rightly deserves to be questioned. Continue reading

#acts-1, #apostles, #catholicism

Pope Francis has only "half of the saint’s love"

According to a recent story, pope Francis has been credited with a miracle…wait a second, make that a “half miracle” after a vial of 1,700-year-old blood partially turned to liquid when he kissed it. This same blood purportedly liquefies at least three times a year, if the “faithful” are faithful enough in prayer; the blood has being doing so for the last 600 years, although this is the first time the blood has done such in the presence of the “papacy” in over 150 years.

In response to why the blood only partially liquefied, the pope said, “If only half of it liquefied that means we still have work to do; we have to do better….We have only half of the saint’s love.

In response to why the blood only partially liquefied, the Bible says, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4 – ESV)

#catholicism, #pope-francis, #roman-catholic-church

What is the Difference Between Catholics and…

“What is the Difference Between Catholics and Protestants?” is the title of an article on a popular Protestant website. You can probably imagine how the author answers the question. (I didn’t bother to read it. I have other priorities.) As a New Testament Christian who eschews sectarian divisions, how would you answer this question? Are there any real differences between the two groups? If so, what are the basic differences? Feel free to share your perspective in the comments area.

#catholicism, #denominationalism, #protestantism, #religious-differences

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Calendar Apostasy

God sent His people, Israel, into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, but with these “statutes and judgments” in Moses’ final declaration to them:

“These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things. But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks” (Deuteronomy 12:1-6). The people in that land were pagans and idolaters who worshiped the Creation rather than the Creator. They worshiped the various “gods” which supposedly represented the powers involved in life on Earth. God did not allow His people to simply adopt, nor adapt, the Canaanites’ religious practices as worship to Him. All of: “the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods,” “their altars,” “their sacred pillars,” “their wooden images,” “the carved images,” were to be “utterly” destroyed so they would have no influence among the Israelites, whatsoever. Only the specified worship in the manner God described would be acceptable to God. The Israelites were not to be allied to the worship proscribed by the seasons, but that which was determined by God.

After the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the kingdom of Christ was established on earth, the Gospel of Christ was to be preached to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). While in Lystra, Paul healed a lame man (Acts 14:8-10), but then the idolaters sought to worship both Paul and Barnabas:

“Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!’ And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.’ And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them” (Acts 14:11-18). God’s inspired Apostle Paul stopped any idolatrous practice from being used as an explanation for, or an application to, Christianity. There is nothing in idolatrous teachings or practices which should be admitted or accepted by Christians.

Catholicism, whether Roman or Greek, has incorporated idolatrous practices and seasonal calendars into what they call “Christian,” when all they have done is find some Scripture or event in Christ’s life with which to “tag” what would otherwise be a rejected practice. The disciples were called “Christians” by God first in Antioch (Acts 11:26), but Catholicism has spread the term, like an umbrella, over practices of paganism and idolatry. No Christian in the New Testament ever celebrated an “Easter,” “Christmas,” “Lent,” “Seder,” or any of the 40 days of mishmash found on today’s religious calendars, which are mistakenly termed a “Christian Calendar.”

No denomination is “Protestant” that follows Catholicism’s religious calendar. “Seder” is simply a re-creation of the Jewish Passover, which Jesus died to remove (Colossians 2:14-16); “Yule” is from witches, “Eoster/Ishtar” is from idolaters, and “Fertility rites” demonstrated by rabbits and eggs, are the very things forbidden by Paul (Galatians 4:8-11); and “Lent” is hypocritical display of a misunderstanding of “fasting” condemned by Jesus (Matthew 6:16-18). The Lord’s death, represented in the Lord’s Supper, must be kept free from the impurities of falsehood (1 Corinthians 10:15-22). Everyone who keeps special days on a religious calendar did “not so learn Christ” (Ephesians 4:20).

To be a disciple of Christ, one must believe the historical and factual evidence of His life found in the New Testament (John 20:30-31; 21:25) and obey His command to be baptized  “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). The only events in Christ’s life to be memorialized are: (1) His death, burial, and resurrection first, when a sinner repents and is baptized into death, Romans 6:1-6, then raised “in newness of life”; and secondly, when Christians observe the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26); and (2) the day of His resurrection remembered each week when Christians assemble (“the first day of the week,” Luke 24:1-9; Acts 20:7). There are no other special or seasonal days for Christians, according to the New Testament. “The churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16) never observed a religious calendar that would lead them into apostasy (1 Timothy 4:1-3), because those who follow such stand contrary to inspired truth (2 Timothy 4:1-5). “The churches of Christ salute you” but we salute Jesus Christ above all.

—–John T. Polk II

#bible-study, #catholicism, #church-of-christ, #easter, #idolaters, #idolatry, #pagans, #religious-calendar

Hugh’s News & Views (Significant Statements)

Hugh’s News & views

SIGNIFICANT QUOTES FROM A FORMER CATHOLIC NUN

Last week I told of the conversion to Christ of Joanne Howe, a former Catholic nun. I mentioned that Joanne has written three books: A Change of Habit, From Nun to Priest, and Biblical Answers to Catholic Questions, all published either by the Gospel Advocate Company of Nashville, TN or a subsidiary of the Gospel Advocate. With permission from Neil Anderson, owner of the Gospel Advocate Company, I am sharing with my readers this week some of the many significant statements from Joanne’s pen as she recounted her “journey” from Catholicism to the church of which we read in the New Testament, the church of Christ. All the quotations will be from the first two books mentioned above, and for convenience I will abbreviate them as “Habit” and “Priest.”

“Although I knew the Bible was the world’s best-selling book, I couldn’t explain the purpose of its message, nor did I understand why it was written. The contents of both the Old and New Testaments were mystifying in their teachings and overwhelming in the information they conveyed. Because I had never been taught how to read the Bible or how to understand its message, I felt woefully ignorant of God’s purpose for having it written. When I was told that it would tell me who I was, where I was going, and how I would arrive at my destination, I was confused and concerned that I had never received any instruction like this as a Roman Catholic” (Priest, p. 19).

“Anxious to discover other messages, I arranged a Bible study with Mr. Coffman. I was impressed with his knowledge of Scripture, and I admired his ability to quote passages accurately from memory. As a result of counseling, my self-confidence was strengthened, and thoughts and feelings became stabilized” (Habit, p. 92).

“My conscience reeled. Throughout my adult life I had sincerely believed that I belonged to the only true church established by Jesus, under the guidance and direction of the Pope . . . Now I was confounded with the scriptural teachings that the Roman Catholic Church was not founded on Peter, but on erroneous interpretation of the Bible” (Habit, p. 96).

“Though confused over the conflicts between my religious views and Scriptures, I remained steadfast in my belief that the Roman Catholic Church was the true church and that its teachings and traditions were divine and apostolic. I had been taught that the Bible was not a sufficient rule of faith and that God’s revelations were also contained in tradition. Scriptures alone could not convey a sure knowledge of faith and morals. Determined to uphold my Catholic principles, I refused to believe that my church would teach me error” (Italics Joanne’s, Habit, p. 97)!

“I was totally bewildered! Many teachings, traditions, and doctrines of my religion were nowhere to be found in the Scriptures! My faith in Roman Catholicism was shattered by the revelations in God’s Word” (Habit, p. 100).

“I felt numb as the impact of the Scriptures sank in” (Habit, p. 107).

“Confronted with Roman Catholic doctrines that were in complete contradiction to God’s inspired teaching, I wrestled with remaining in my parents’ religion, or choosing God’s plan for salvation. Finally, after many hours of prayer and study of God’s promises, I abandoned my life to Jesus and was born again in the waters of baptism” (Habit, p. 111).

“Today, as a New Testament Christian, I have joy and peace in my heart, knowing that Jesus is my shepherd and will guide and protect me wherever I go. He is the joy of my salvation” (Habit, p. 111).

“Many with whom I have spoken do not believe in the Bible nor in the existence of absolute truth. They believe that all truth is relative and that what may be true for one is not true for another . . . I am a believer in the Bible as God’s Word. I accept God’s teachings as absolute. I understand that truth is knowable and that the Scriptures are truth” (Priest, p. 11, 12).

“We live in troubled times, days of uncertainty, religious divisions, confusing philosophies, doctrinal error, and threat of nuclear annihilation. Jesus came to this earth so that you and I might have life and have it more abundantly” (Habit, p. 116, 117)

Are you saved, based on what you have read and learned from God’s Word, or are you depending on the doctrines of man” (Habit, p. 117)?

Significant statements, indeed!

Speaking Schedule:

July 22: Hilldale Church of Christ, Clarksville, TN

July 24: McEwen Church of Christ, McEwen, TN

July 31: GreenHillChurch of Christ, Mt. Juliet, TN

Hugh Fulford

July 9, 2013

#catholicism, #conversion, #conversion-stories, #hughfulford

Hugh’s News & Views (Nun’s Conversion)

Hugh’s News & Views

CONVERSION OF A CATHOLIC NUN

Joanne Howe is a native of Pittsburg, PA, and the oldest of eleven children born and reared in a devout Roman Catholic family. After attending Catholic elementary schools, in 1949 she entered a preparatory school for girls who wanted to dedicate their lives to God as nuns. In 1953 she entered the religious order of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, PA, where she remained until 1968. As she later wrote in From Nun to Priest (Christian Communications, 1994): “Returning to society after three years in a preparatory school and 16 years in the religious order left me unprepared for the challenges that lay ahead” (p. 16).

I am honored to know Joanne as a good friend and as a faithful member of the Nashville Road Church of Christ in Gallatin, TN. In her remarkable book, A Change of Habit (Gospel Advocate Company, 1986), Joanne tells the touching story of her growing disenchantment with her life as a nun, the questions and doubts that she came to have with reference to various Catholic doctrines and practices, the struggles she experienced in exiting the Catholic Church, and finally the exhilaration of coming to know the truth of the gospel in its original purity and simplicity. Continue reading

#catholicism, #hughfulford