Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tony Bartolucci; Drowning in the Tiber: Parts 10 and 11 are now up!

Parts 10 and 11 of the sermon series Drowning in the Tiber by Pastor Tony Bartolucci of Clarkson Community Church are now available for listening. Please see the link at the top of the list of sermons to read Pastor Tony's explanation of why he is preaching this series.

257 comments:

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Elena said...

I read. I also listened to the first talk all the way through. I hear a lot of passion, I hear a lot of emotion. I do not hear a lot of logic and reason. I also hear a lot of ad hominem attacks.

Really Jennie this isn't compelling, persuasive or even interesting to well catechized catholics who have had the chance to debate this stuff before.

Jennie said...

Pastor Tony does use logic and reason and scripture and history to support his arguments. I don't remember any ad hominem attacks; I do remember him showing that Beckwith does not always have scriptural support for his various reasonings.
Did you mean you listened to the very first sermon, or the first one on this post, number 10?
Do you have any examples of things you disagree with specifically?

Elena said...

Well then you and I have very different ideas about what logic and reason are and how they should be presented in a presentation.

I don't have any "points" per se that I can disagree with because in the first talk he doesn't give any. Just that he was flabbergasted, aghast, appalled that anyone would EVER become a Catholic but he doesn't exactly give a reason why... other than he thinks that would be siding with the devil which of course is a blatant attack on the church but he doesn't back that up exactly either.

It's not a compelling introduction and doesn't persuade me at all to listen to any further parts of the series.

A good presentation would have done both.

Paul said...

Elena wrote:
"I read. I also listened to the first talk all the way through. I hear a lot of passion, I hear a lot of emotion. I do not hear a lot of logic and reason. I also hear a lot of ad hominem attacks.
---------------
Elena,
Can you give us an example of an ad-hominem attack by Pastor Tony?

Maybe one like this?

"I listened to 9 minute of part one. That was more than enough.

He is undoubtedly an anti-Catholic bigot who is able to spout a lot of things he THINKS are wrong with the Catholic church, but he doesn't back any of it up with statistics or facts, but merely the anecdotal information of some guy named Greg Bonson - who I never heard of and am not sure why I need to take his works as compelling or authoritative."

Elena said...

Actually anti-Catholic bigot is a descriptive term. He is in fact anti-Catholic and a bigot.

Paul said...

"The term bigot is often misused to pejoratively label those who merely oppose or disagree with the devotion of another. The correct use of the term, however, requires the elements of obstinacy, irrationality, and animosity toward those of differing devotion."

Elena,
that part of the wiki definition seems to describe your kneejerk response. What in the 9 minute intro. can legitimately be described as bigotry?

Elena said...

it would take up less bandwidth to come up with what could not legtimately be described as bigotry.

Jennie said...

Elena,
I would define bigotry as looking down on or disliking some person or group because of unreasonable personal animosity. This is opposed to a reasonable opposition, such as an opposition to a group's ideology or religious beliefs, based on comparing the teachings to an objective standard which reasonably could be expected to apply to the group. For example, Pastor Tony
compares the teachings of Roman Catholicism to the teachings of scripture and shows many cases where the RCC teachings are opposed to scripture. This is not bigotry. On the contrary, Elena, I think your response to his reasonable arguments shows unreasonable animosity, and a refusal to acknowledge the justice of his accusations.
It is entirely justifiable to compare a religion that calls itself Christian to the scriptures that were inspired directly by the author and founder of Christianity. If it doesn't measure up to the standard of God-breathed scripture, and doesn't even acknowledge the supremacy of the same, then it is imperative that true believers be made aware of this, and that it be exposed for a false gospel so many will not be deceived by it. That is what impels Pastor Tony to preach these sermons.

Paul said...

Elena said:
"it would take up less bandwidth to come up with what could not legtimately be described as bigotry."
------------------

Elena,
I'm not asking you to list *every* offense, I'm asking you to cite *one* example. Provide the quote, and explain how it is bigotry in its context.

Anonymous said...

Do RCists ever argue ABOUT things rather than WITH people over nothing?

Jennie said...

Anonymous,
If you spend any time here, you will see plenty of arguments over 'things'. :)

Elena said...

Hey man, I'd LOVE to argue about someTHING, but Bartolucci doesn't come up with anything to really sink your teeth into.

On the contrary. He talks about all the sinful Catholics he saw growing up. He talks about Dr. Bahnsen's disbelieve when a fellow Presbyterian converts to Catholicism and considers it a "Haley's comet" type of event. He mentions that his bible study class he wanted to consider Catholicism a cult but the more level headed in the group wouldn't go for it. (Now he says it's just an apostate church - there you go Paul - an example!) And he keeps saying over and over that it was unthinkable that anyone would convert to Roman Catholicism.

All fine and good. These were his experiences, his impressions, and his opinions. I have no doubt of that. But arguing anecdotes is not exactly the framework for a reasonable and logical discussion.

In my opinion, it's a good introduction for his autobiography I suppose, but as an introduction to a series that is supposed to reach Roman Catholics it's really a sloppy, poorly written introduction to the series. I guess if he's preaching to the choir (Jennie) it's okay but it doesn't compel me to put any more time into it.

Jennie said...

Elena,
If you'd really 'love to argue about someTHING' then listen to some more so you can get to the meat of the sermons, and then we can talk about it. I believe there is plenty to discuss.

Jennie said...

I think the intro is very interesting and gives good backgound info about the Pastor and about Francis Beckwith and his book. The rest of the sermons have more about the different objections that Bible-believers have against Roman Catholicism.

Paul said...

Jennie wrote:
"Elena,
If you'd really 'love to argue about someTHING' then listen to some more so you can get to the meat of the sermons, and then we can talk about it. I believe there is plenty to discuss."
---------------
Jennie,
I wholeheartedly agree. There IS plenty to discuss here.

Elena said...

"I think the intro is very interesting"

Like I said, preaching to the choir.

Jennie said...

He's preaching to whoever 'has ears to hear' the truth.

Elena said...

... and you know Jennie, you're just as bad. He has his view, but it isn't exactly established as "truth." Have you found condescension to be an effective tool for evangelization in the past?

Jennie said...

Is being sure of the truth 'condescension'?

Elena said...

The way you both put things is indeed condescending.

Bartolucci said...

I rarely engage in blogs, and my time is extremely limited, but I am willing, as time allows, to dialogue with anyone regarding a defense of my research. As I continue to work on this project for possible publication, I have been adding footnotes and additional supporting material.

Please keep in mind that my introduction was just that, an introduction. I would ask that my critics listen to any one of parts 3 - 11 (especially parts 9-11 and my exegesis of the Scriptures that Dr. Beckwith mishandles in his book). If I'm in error, please show me. I am not beyond correction.

I would also ask my critics to answer a very simple question, "What is the Gospel?" We are talking about a subject ("what must I do to be saved?") with eternal ramifications. We may err in other areas, but we cannot afford to err here.

Elena said...

I haven't really asked you to defend your research as yet. I am saying that your introduction is off putting. Since you plan to publish this, who is your intended market? If it's the Jennies of this world, you'll probably do just fine, sell a first printing and get quoted from time to time in such debates.

If it's folks like me and Leo (we're the other token Catholics on this blog)then probably not so well. We've dealt with other Protestant apologists and even Jack Chick tracts for many many years. It would have to be a compellingly good read for me to sit down and digest it cover to cover. It would have to be an EXCELLENT read for me to actually purchase a copy.

And I didn't feel persuaded to do that from the introduction.

Jennie said...

Hi Pastor Tony,
I'm glad you came by. I hope we can have a real discussion on the important content of your messages here. I think Elena must be here for some reason, besides to be deliberately insulting; maybe it's because the things you've said in your messages threaten to expose some vulnerable areas in the RC teachings.

I am interested in the error of mysticism in the RCC, which the Desert Fathers introduced, and which continues today in deceiving people into thinking there is another way to God than the Gospel of scripture teaches. You mentioned some mystical type experiences that Beckwith used in his book to show how he was led to the RCC. Mystical experiences don't prove validity.
I am also interested in how the canon was recognized by the believers as opposed to the RCC teaching that the Church determined the canon.
Also, the understanding of what the doctrine of sola scriptura really means, and what it does not mean, is important. The RCC apologists like to misrepresent the doctrine and then try to disprove their false idea of it. I think it's ironic that they try to use scripture to disprove the authority of scripture. If they don't recognize it's supremacy, is it not hypocritical to use it to try to prove their rejection of it?
As you said, the most important area of difference between the RCC and scriptural teaching is the gospel itself. The gospel of grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is denied by the RCC.

Jennie said...

Elena,
I was wondering if you and Leo might be related somehow; I do seem to remember him saying once he had to go pick up pizza for his 6 children; but maybe that's just a coincidence. It's none of my business of course, but it did seem like he started commenting alot when you stopped for a while; and then he stopped and here you are again; just a coincidence?

Elena said...

Because all Catholics with 6 children look alike - I know. Although I'm sure Leo is a lovely man, I don't believe we have ever met in real life or online.

My husband is well documented on my blog in anecdotes and pictures. And as he is a band instrument repair technician and band camps have just ended and school is starting, he barely has time to sit down and eat let alone participate in blog conversations. Especially at his blazing typing speed of 23 words a minute give or take.

Now what you are taking as insults I am meaning as constructive, refreshingly frank criticism. If Pastor B. is reaching out to Catholics like me and Leo, the he is missing the mark. Does he want to know that now or does he want to wait until he publishes and stores boxes of books in his basement?

And I actually am giving you the same assessment Jennie. you want to blog your own thoughts - fine. That's well and good. But if it's to evangelize Catholics - not so much.

Elena said...

FYI, I handle the "ears to hear" comment in some depth here.

Jennie said...

Elena,
Having ears to hear certain kinds of truth pertaining to different fields of knowledge such as politics or childbirth, or even being emotionally affected by someone's testimony, is not the same as having one's eyes opened to the truth of the gospel. The Jews of Jesus' day had all the correct outward understanding of the law, and were 'good' conservative people who thought they were right with God because they were Jews 'kept' the law. However, most of them rejected the gospel and did not recognize the Messiah even though they had been the 'keepers of God's word'. They hated Him and killed Him, and were judged for it. This happened in order that all might be equally guilty before God, who would alone be glorified; the gospel then, according to God's plan, the gentiles also received the gospel. It isn't enough to be a conservative homeschooler. The Holy Spirit has to work through His word, open your eyes, and regenerate your heart.

Elena said...

Having ears to hear certain kinds of truth pertaining to different fields of knowledge such as politics or childbirth, or even being emotionally affected by someone's testimony, is not the same as having one's eyes opened to the truth of the gospel.

Nonsense. There are great similarities. I just used some of those examples to illustrate that there may be a problem with hearing the truth, but it's not coming from my neck of the woods. Truth is truth.

Luke 24:32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

Jennie said...

Truth is truth.

Luke 24:32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"


Yes. Scripture, which Jesus was explaining to the men on the road to Emmaus, is truth. The problem is that anything else added to or subtracted from or re-interpreting the plain language of scripture changes the pure meaning of what God said. The RCC does all these things, and so does not teach the truth. They don't even acknowledge that scripture is the only word of God and the supreme authority. Therefore they have no right to interpret it.

Elena said...

Yes. Scripture, which Jesus was explaining to the men on the road to Emmaus, is truth. The problem is that anything else added to or subtracted from or re-interpreting the plain language of scripture changes the pure meaning of what God said.

Says you. Please note that Jesus was explaining scripture ORALLY to the men. He was not having them read it for themselves and then come up with their own way of looking at it.

From my place on the bank on the Tiber I see the chaos that is the many splinters of Protestantism and think ya'll have a lot of nerve telling us we don't understand what God meant when there is so much dissension between you. The only point of agreement of course being that the Catholics are wrong - insert two eye rolls here!

Plank
eye
and all of that.

Lockheed said...

"Please note that Jesus was explaining scripture ORALLY to the men. He was not having them read it for themselves and then come up with their own way of looking at it."

Elena,

Can you provide an list of verses infallibly interpreted?

If not, on what basis can you claim to know what ANY verse in Scripture means?

Micah

Bartolucci said...

To answer Elena's question, I am wise enough to know that there is no magic bullet that's going to change minds. As long as Jesus tarries there will always be religionists of all kinds, including cults (see my article "Heretics Ye Shall Always Have With You" located at http://www.tonybartolucci.com/pen/heretics.htm). This is a consequence of the sinful estate of man. Only God can open eyes and change hearts, that's clear from Scripture.

I hope to encourage genuine believers (the elect) and, perhaps be used as a tool in God's hand to reach others. Certainly, I will be attacked and misrepresented along the way. However, that's the way I responded when I was a Roman Catholic, so I understand. I did write a brief on why I'm doing this on the sermon page of my website:
http://www.tonybartolucci.com/Sermons/whytiber.htm. The same would go for any book, should one be published, which is by no means certain at this point.

Bartolucci said...

Dear Jennie,

I am rewriting a draft of the second chapter which addresses the mysticism within the RCC and the connection to modern-day ecumenism and the RC Charismatic Movement (which greatly influenced Dr. Beckwith).

My friend Richard Bennett (who was a Dominican Priest trained in Rome and Ireland) has written extensively on this in books and articles. See his Berean Beacon website: www.bereanbeacon.org. Keep in mind that I cannot go to great depth on each of these issues or the series would be three years long!

As to the canon, this has been addressed by better men than me, but I did give an overview in part eight. Be sure to download the outline - it will be very helpful. The outlines are on the sermon page: www.TonyBartolucci.com/sermons.htm

Yes, RC apologists do misrepresent sola scriptura. But they have to as this is one of the many doctrines that, if true, emasculate Rome's authority. A must read for anyone who wants to dig deeper is the three volume set by William Webster and David King entitled "Holy Scripture." In my humble opinion, it is absolutely irrefutable.

And yes, I did say that the key issue is the Gospel. I had a man come to church while I was preaching this series who is a devout Roman Catholic. His coming was, I believe, a "divine appointment." He was fuming and made a bee-line right for me after the service. I answered his questions but there was one he would not answer for me: "What is the Gospel?" Sadly, he didn't answer it because he didn't know. That is tragic.

I have yet to see the question answered by my critics.

Bartolucci said...

Elena wrote:
Please note that Jesus was explaining scripture ORALLY to the men. He was not having them read it for themselves and then come up with their own way of looking at it.

I have no idea what this means. Perhaps it was an unguarded statement (I've made these myself). I'm sure you would agree that the Bible was given as written, propositional revelation to be heeded.

Jesus often quoted the O.T. and made sure his hearers were accountable to the written Word. Examples include:

Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God.

Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, "It is written, '\Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.\'"

In Matthew 4, which chronicles the temptation of Jesus, He responded to the 3-fold temptation of Satan by quoting the written Scripture

The same thing is true after Christ's resurrection. The epistles, for example, were written and inspired (thus inerrant). We read of the Christians in Berea, who in Acts 17:11 are commended as being "more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so."

These Christians were engaging in private interpretation – something that's forbidden by the RCC (see The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1917, under the topic "Religious Discussions" which states: "all laymen are forbidden, under threat of excommunication, to dispute publicly or privately with heretics on the Catholic Faith.")

Elena added:
From my place on the bank on the Tiber I see the chaos that is the many splinters of Protestantism and think ya'll have a lot of nerve telling us we don't understand what God meant when there is so much dissension between you. The only point of agreement of course being that the Catholics are wrong - insert two eye rolls here!

I'm sorry, but with all due respect, this really is a non sequitur. However, I'm out of time. I am more than able to navigate through the fog to address this common objection.

In fact, one of my sub-titles will be "The Reformation: Revival or Rebellion?" I will argue that the Reformation was perhaps the greatest revival this side of Acts chapter two.

Elena said...

To answer Elena's question, I am wise enough to know that there is no magic bullet that's going to change minds.

In my experience, the way to change minds is to have a rock solid, logical, compelling argument and be able to back up your points with solid evidence. Period. All of the Protestant ministers starting with Scott Hahn that you were so bewildered to see coming into the Catholic church left because the case for Catholicism had all of those elements. That's really all there is to it.


As long as Jesus tarries there will always be religionists of all kinds, including cults

...and you'll probably be a little more approachable if you quit calling Catholicism a cult. Jonestown and The Branch Dividians were cults. When you try to throw the Catholics in there too you just make yourself look ridiculous. I'm just sayin.


Only God can open eyes and change hearts, that's clear from Scripture.

Ah... a point of agreement!!

However, that's the way I responded when I was a Roman Catholic, so I understand.

Frankly your Catholic upbringing sounds like it left a lot to be desired. I teach my own children that they can defend their Catholic faith without attacks and misrepresentations. The plain truth is sufficient. They just have to know it and speak it, and as Jennie says, let the Holy Spirit work.

If your own research is firm you should be able to do that without attacks and misrepresentations as well as all of the drama you seem to find necessary to infuse your rhetoric with.


I did write a brief on why I'm doing this on the sermon page of my website:
http://www.tonybartolucci.com/Sermons/whytiber.htm.


Yea. I read it. Not impressed. For the same reasons I've already mentioned.

As for Richard Bennett, my blogging buddy at visits to Candyland blogged about him in depth.

What is the Gospel? In the words of the late great John Paul II, "(Jesus) confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed: that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal".

Elena said...

I have no idea what this means. Perhaps it was an unguarded statement (I've made these myself). I'm sure you would agree that the Bible was given as written, propositional revelation to be heeded.

I mean that while Jesus and the guys were walking own the road to Emmaus he didn't whip out his copy of the bible and start pointing out chapter and verse. He was TALKING to them, making oral references to the scriptures that they had undoubtedly memorized and heard from their youth onward.

I'm sorry, but with all due respect, this really is a non sequitur.

Not at all. Jennie wants to talk about Catholics "adding, subtracting and plain message getting lost," so I think it's only fair to bring up the disunity that exists on the other side of the Tiber. It was a fair comment.

Paul said...

Elena wrote:
"What is the Gospel? In the words of the late great John Paul II, "(Jesus) confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed: that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal".
------------

This looks more like universalism:
"that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal".

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi,

I've been following the conversation here, and to be honest I only listened to sermon #10. I think the point Pastor Bartolucci was trying to make in this sermon is that we must not confuse justification with sanctification. According to his sermon, justification is a legal declaration of righteousness based upon the sinner being covered with Christ' righteousness, and has nothing to do with works. Where it gets fuzzy is when he tries to explain righteousness by works doctrine from a Catholic vs. Prostestant approach. God judging our fruit but not our works? Are not fruit a product of work?

just said...

It's not universalism. He's just not a Calvinist ;) God is with all of humanity to save us, only tragically not all of us will have Him.

I've been Catholic for two years, after 16 years as a very well-taught Evangelical, including a stint at Dallas Theological Seminary. I'm in formation as a Secular Franciscan right now, so I'm not lacking in Catholic instruction, either. I know what I left and why, and I know where I am now and why.

That said, I'm continually frustrated by the attempts of many to debate my faith. A neighbor brought me a James White pamphlet on the 62 major errors of the Catholic faith. I appreciate his concern for my soul, and I am totally willing to sit down and have a conversation. But to start out by calling my faith, which I had to fight for and lost friends over, a cult and an apostate religion, ends that conversation before it even starts. Add to that the differences in culture and worldview, and you end up with a bunch of angry exchanges that barely qualify as dialogue.

It is kind of fun, and very handy, that as an adult convert I can speak both languages.

The gospel? God loves us so much that He became man to redeem us. He overwhelms us with His grace. All we can do is accept it. And if we do, it turns our lives upside down and we are never the same. That very same grace works in us our whole lives to make us more like Him and bring us home to Him when our lives on earth are finished.

just said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennie said...

From my place on the bank on the Tiber I see the chaos that is the many splinters of Protestantism and think ya'll have a lot of nerve telling us we don't understand what God meant when there is so much dissension between you. The only point of agreement of course being that the Catholics are wrong - insert two eye rolls here!
The problem with your idea of unity, Elena, is that you believe in an institutional unity within an organization, based on a catechism written by men who were not inspired by the Holy Spirit. There can be no unity in the church apart from the truth of scripture and the indwelling of the Spirit of God. Out of the 'splinters' you imagine in 'protestantism' many are legalistic groups that do not teach the gospel of scripture and so teach a works salvation, many do not hold to scripture as their final rule of faith, many are lost in mystical practices or worldliness. These groups are not 'protestants' but are just more religionists who have joined the ranks of apostasy spreading across the world since the Apostles died. The only true unity is between those few who are scattered across the globe who still hold to the word of God as their final authority and their joy as it reveals Christ to them. To these, the RCC is just another splinter, and is in fact the first major splinter to leave the true church nnd cleave to the state as her hope and power instead of to her Lord.

Jennie said...

Elena,
Following is the passage in which Jesus teaches that those who worship God must worship Him in Spirit and Truth, which I mentioned earlier. No one can worship Him without the Holy Spirit who comes to indwell us when we come to Christ by faith in the gospel of the inspired scriptures, the truth of God that reveals the Savior to those who believe. There is no other inspired (God-breathed) word of Truth except for the scriptures written by the Prophets and the Apostles.
John 4:21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

Notice that the woman says 'When He comes, He will tell us all things.' He began telling us all things in His sermons and parables, and after He went to the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to inspire the Apostles to speak and write His word and finish the revelation of 'all things'. He did not leave anything out to be secretly passed on or revealed later as some new revelation. Everything we need 'for life and godliness' was written down by the Apostles for us. Any tradition that lifts itself up against this is to pervert and subvert the true gospel of salvation by grace apart from works which fulfills the law and brings us our true Sabbath rest in Christ our righteousness.

Sue Bee said...

Pr. Bartolucci says,"I would also ask my critics to answer a very simple question, "What is the Gospel?"

Perhaps I don't qualify as a critic, but I'll answer anyway :). The entire gospel in one verse: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

We are talking about a subject ("what must I do to be saved?") with eternal ramifications.

The answer to this is there is absolutely nothing I can do in order to be saved. God has provided everything necessary for my salvation. He saved me because I could not do it myself.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Pastor Bartolucci mentioned the wheat and tares, and that the tares do not become wheat. Yes, while that is true for that parable, the purpose of Jesus teaching that parable was to show that true and false believers exist within the earthly church community, and must continue to co-exist until the 'day of harvest.'

It wrong for us to try to 'weed out' the tares out of the church community. By weeding out those who we think are tares, we may end up actually weeding out true wheat, or true believers from the church congregation. Many of us are going to be really surprised and SHOCKED to find out that some of the people who we hold in high esteem within the Christian community WILL NOT MAKE IT INTO HEAVEN. On the other hand, people who we think are least in the Christian community, and probably some people who we are opposed to, because they don't hold our so-called 'conservative values,' might just end up there in heaven! Only God is the only true judge of the heart and state of the soul. Sometimes people who we think are tares are actually wheat in God's eyes, and people who we think are wheat are actually tares in God's sight.

We need to learn to co-exist without tearing each other apart! It is okay to talk about different teachings and use the word of God to verify if such teachings are true or not, but is it NOT OKAY to just outright condemn people to hell just because their teachings differ from ours. This goes for Catholics who are condemning as well as Prostestants who are condemning, as well as for myself!

As an author myself, I would hate to see Pastor Bartolucci write a book categorically condemning one set of people. The book needs to have universal appeal. We are all sinners, and many within the Christian community, even Prostestants, yes Prostestants, hold to false teachings. How about writing a book to clarify false teachings instead of condemning people? Let's deal with some of these false teachings and clarify scripture, as I try to do on my blog from time to time. Remember, Christ came to save the world, not to condemn it. The question we should be asking is this: Will God send Catholics or other Christians to hell because they practice what appears in our eyes to be a 'works' salvation? Your answer to this question will reveal if this is a topic with eternal consequences or not.

Peace and blessings.

Elena said...

Following is the passage in which Jesus teaches that those who worship God must worship Him in Spirit and Truth, which I mentioned earlier

I don't have a problem with that Jennie. Catholics worship God in Spirit and truth. I totally agree.

Jennie said...

Hillary (Daughter of Wisdom),
If we are pointing at individuals and saying 'you're not saved, get out of our church' or something similar (though there is a place for discipline if a believer is sinning and needs to be separated) then that might be considered 'trying to weed out the tares'. There is a difference in exposing error in doctrine of a system, such as RCism, and in condemning individuals. We are commanded to expose error for the sake of others who may be deceived by it (and we ourselves are in danger if we tolerate error).

Sue Bee said...

Elena wrote: From my place on the bank on the Tiber I see the chaos that is the many splinters of Protestantism and think ya'll have a lot of nerve telling us we don't understand what God meant when there is so much dissension between you. The only point of agreement of course being that the Catholics are wrong - insert two eye rolls here!

The church is "the communion of saints" - that is, all those who believe in Christ as the Lord and Savior. All who live in Christ belong to the same church. All who believe the same truth - the Gospel - are part of His church. This is our point of agreement.

No, Christians don't agree on all points of doctrine. Differences exist between Protestant denominations, and within the Orthodox sects, Anglicans, Lutherans, Reformed, and Catholics too.

Most differences are fairly minor. But we know if the Gospel is being preached, His Truth will be heard, He promises us this. The mission field is not our neighbor's church!

However, there are sects whose doctrine obscures the Gospel. They turn the attention away from Christ and His atoning work on the cross and place it somewhere else. False doctrines can & do undermine the formation of true faith. We do at times need to be vigilant and speak out.

What we need to speak, however, isn't condemnation, what we need to speak is the Truth. The Gospel. His Word alone has the power of the Holy Spirit - the power to save. Our goal isn't to change "your thinking to my thinking". The goal is to spread the Word to all, to share the gift of salvation.

"Amen" to what Daughter of Wisdom just wrote.

Jennie said...

Hillary,
As an author myself, I would hate to see Pastor Bartolucci write a book categorically condemning one set of people. The book needs to have universal appeal.

Pastor Bartolucci isn't condemning a set of people. He is exposing error in a system which has added to the word of God and obscured the gospel of Christ, as the Apostle Paul exposed the error of false teachers in scripture and warned believers to do the same. If Pastor Tony isn't specific about what he is refuting, no one will know which specific errors he is talking about and it won't do any good for those he hopes to help.

Elena said...

All who live in Christ belong to the same church. All who believe the same truth - the Gospel - are part of His church. This is our point of agreement.

Well WE agree on that Sue. In fact the church refers to Christians outside the Catholic Church as separated brethren - the connection as siblings with one Father is still there. But that's not what Jennie and Pastor B are saying at all. In fact Jennie just wrote that she doesn't even consider all Protestants as true believers - just apparently the ones that think as she does. shrug...

Jennie said...

Mark 13:21 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.

Luke 6:26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
For so did their fathers to the false prophets.

Acts 13:6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.”
And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!
5 For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles. 6 Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things....
12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Jennie said...

Galatians 2:4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), 5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Colossians 2:4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

2 Peter 2: 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Elena said...

Uh... Jennie did it ever occur to you that some Christians read those same verses and apply them in your general direction. I'm just saying.

just said...

For those who believe the Catholicism obscures the gospel, I will agree with you to a point. If your gospel is that a sinner need only repent and ask Jesus to be his/her Lord and Savior and then is guaranteed a place in heaven, we do differ a bit. To a Catholic, repentance is only the beginning of a relationship with God, and God's plan for us is far richer and deeper than just going to heaven. It's also about what God does here on earth, in us and through us. We are called to repentance and conversion every single day.

When I am at Mass, it's fairly rare that I hear anything resembling an altar call, because there is the assumption that anyone going to the trouble of getting themselves into a pew is already walking the road of a life of faith. Still, in the prayer before the Eucharist, every single time, the story of the Last Supper is retold. We hear again and again why Jesus died for us.

(There is a woman who generally sits in front of me, who has made the commitment to bow her head every time the name of Jesus is mentioned in Mass, even in the homily. She looks like a bobblehead. Mass is all about Jesus.)

What we do _not_ hear is a simple formula, and you may consider that to be obscuring the gospel. Fine, but recognize that many Protestant denominations would have people fainting in the aisle if it happened in their church!

Many dioceses in the US are beginning a program called Why Catholic? this fall. It's a small group program of hourly lessons once a week for six weeks, and then I think another six weeks in the spring. I would ask anyone who thinks the Catholic faith is not Christian, would consider going. Consider it a matter of stewardship. I have little to say to my neighbor about the 62 Major Errors of the Catholic Church, because most of them are based on misunderstandings of what we actually believe. I would have to sit down with him and go though the basic of our faith and clarify all the wording and cultural inferences before he would know enough to really even discuss.

That's why it took me three years to convert. I not only had to read the Catechism, I had to understand it, and I had to ask real live people what that all meant. I remember the first time I (very politely) asked a Catholic acquaintance why she worshipped Mary. I meant well, but I really. didn't. get. it. and I'm just grateful she took the time to figure out what *I* meant so that she could answer my question.

And yes, I concede that there a significant number of clueless Catholics out there who maybe do believe stuff that isn't really part of the faith. Just like there were people in my old church who knew they had asked Jesus to be their Savior, but had never cracked open a Bible, because they knew they were saved.

Jennie said...

The first passage I quoted above:
Mark 13:21 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.
reminded me of something I want to share about it and the following related passage:

Matthew 24:
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.


When Jesus was preparing to go to the cross, He told His disciples that He was going away to the Father in heaven, but that He would send the Holy Spirit by whom He would be with them until the end of the age. He warned them in the above passages not to believe it if someone tells them that Christ is somewhere on earth, in the desert, or in the inner chambers, or here or there. He warned that there would be great signs and wonders that would deceive, if possible, even the elect, so they must take heed to what He has told them and not believe them. I want to say that the Roman Catholic eucharist, by which they claim their priests convert bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and then it is worshipped as Christ on earth, is a false christ. Jesus will not be bodily on earth again until His return from the sky with all the saints, as described in Revelation and other prophets. The RCC doctrine of the eucharist teaches that Jesus is bodily on earth and bodily with us. The bible teaches the opposite. The RCC doctrine teaches that the eucharist is a perpetual or continued sacrifice for the propitiation of sins. The Bible teaches in Hebrews that Jesus suffered once and died once for all for the propitiation of sins and sat down at the right hand of the Father so that continued sacrifices like the old testament priests did are unnecessary and useless. The RCC teaches that the eucharist is a sacrifice for sins. The Bible says Jesus' once for all sacrifice is the only sacrifice for sins. The RCC teaches that the eucharist is an unbloody sacrifice. The Bible teaches that 'without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.' So Roman Catholics are believing in a useless repeated sacrifice that has no blood.

See Hebrews 8-10. Hebrews 9 says:
11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Notice the passage says 'with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands' and 'with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.' The tabernacle He entered was not the RCC tabernacle that holds a wafer, but the one He entered ONCE FOR ALL, HAVING OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION. This makes the RCC christ a false christ who is offered perpetually in a useless unbloody manner.

Jennie said...

I also meant to add that the RC eucharist is associated with signs and wonders that purport to show it as the true body and blood, when the Bible denies the entire doctrine.

Jennie said...

Uh... Jennie did it ever occur to you that some Christians read those same verses and apply them in your general direction. I'm just saying.
Yes.

Jennie said...

Just,
If your gospel is that a sinner need only repent and ask Jesus to be his/her Lord and Savior and then is guaranteed a place in heaven, we do differ a bit. To a Catholic, repentance is only the beginning of a relationship with God, and God's plan for us is far richer and deeper than just going to heaven. It's also about what God does here on earth, in us and through us. We are called to repentance and conversion every single day.
That is not 'my' gospel nor is it the Biblical gospel, nor is it the true 'protestant' gospel. You are right that many churches are teaching the 'ticket to heaven' false gospel, but leaving one false gospel for another is not the answer. There are still churches teaching the truth of scripture, though this is a time of widespread apostasy. Jesus and the Apostles all prophesied of this time. We should be diligent to search the scriptures for the truth and ask for mercy that we not believe a lie.

Jennie said...

Just,
To a Catholic, repentance is only the beginning of a relationship with God, and God's plan for us is far richer and deeper than just going to heaven. It's also about what God does here on earth, in us and through us. We are called to repentance and conversion every single day.
You are implying that this is not the case for a protestant who truly is regenerated by faith in Christ? This is the essence of the Biblical gospel, that as we are made right with God by grace through faith apart from works (Eph. 2), so we continue to live by grace through faith and do works through Him, not by our own power (Gal. 2, John 15).

just said...

"When Jesus was preparing to go to the cross, He told His disciples that He was going away to the Father in heaven, but that He would send the Holy Spirit by whom He would be with them until the end of the age."

Jennie, you're adding to what Jesus said. When he gave the great commission, He told them to make disciples, baptize in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all He had commanded. And then He said "I will be with you always, until the end of the age." He just mentioned the Holy Spirit, and He has told them about the paraclete before, so He could have specified the Holy Spirit, if that's Who He meant. But He didn't. He used the first person singular to refer specifically to Himself.

Your understanding of the Catholic teachings about the Eucharist is missing a lot. No wonder you reject it, if you think we have a priest up there day after day after day re-offering a useless sacrifice in a desperate attempt to get our sins forgiven.

When Jesus said "Do this is memory of me," he was talking to men who understood from context and culture that he was referring to a ritual action. And they already knew he wasn't talking about a simple symbol, because back in John 6, when He told them they had to eat His Body and Blood, a whole bunch of people went, "Gross!" and left. He didn't turn around and say, "Come back! I am not being literal about this!" They understood just fine what He was saying, and they could not accept it.

So when they are all in the upper room, and Jesus says, "This is my Body; this is my Blood," they made the connection.

When we offer the Eucharist every day and everywhere, we aren't acting within the constraints of time. Everything is present to God, because He isn't confined by time. We are placing ourselves back in time, to the last supper, but according to God's time, it's still right now. That's what the ritual setting demands. That's what rituals were about back in Jesus' time, and what they still are today. (Speaking in anthropological terms, rituals are what connect Heaven and earth) If that all sounds like voodoo and gobbledygook to you, remember that we live in a very different culture, and it isn't fair or accurate for us to impose our sensibilities on a different culture. Take the text literally, but make sure we have the right culture "glasses" on to actually understand the idioms and other cultural artifacts.

Jesus was talking to men who were a part of a very ritualized culture. They were accustomed to heaven touching earth all the time. That's what the temple was for. So when He told them to eat His flesh and drink His blood, and then He did the ritual right in front of them, they knew this was something to do over and over.

This is turning into a book, which is why you just need to come over and have coffee rather than doing all this in a comment box.

Anyway, if you object to my notions of ritual and all as unbiblical and not literally there in the text, then I would ask (and I still do of anyone who doesn't believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist), why don't you take John 6 literally? It offended all the people who stopped following Jesus. They clearly took it literally, and Jesus didn't correct them.

Why was it offensive if it was just a symbol?

Elena said...

Uh... Jennie did it ever occur to you that some Christians read those same verses and apply them in your general direction. I'm just saying.


Yes.

Oh good. Then let me save you some time and keystrokes. When I see verse after verse like that, knowing full well I could throw them right back at you if I wanted to - I simply decline reading them.

As for the Eucharist- that's way off topic for this thread so I'm not going to comment on your misunderstanding and errors on the topic.

just said...

***Just,
You are implying that this is not the case for a protestant who truly is regenerated by faith in Christ? This is the essence of the Biblical gospel, that as we are made right with God by grace through faith apart from works (Eph. 2), so we continue to live by grace through faith and do works through Him, not by our own power (Gal. 2, John 15).***

Well, I just told you what the Catholic gospel is, and you are telling me that the Protestant gospel is the same thing. So where do we disagree?

It is fairly commonly believed that Catholics teach a works salvation, that you have to do all the sacraments and stuff to be saved. Nope. Or that we rely on killing Jesus over and over. Nope.

We believe in salvation by God's grace alone, which we appropriate by faith, which faith is shown alive and not dead by the fruits that proceed from it.

So where is this hideous false Gospel that hasn't appeared in any Catholic teaching I've ever read?

I grew up going to an anti-Catholic school, so I know all the arguments like the back of my hand. That's why it was such a shock the first time I went to a Mass (for a friend's baby's baptism) and got smacked in the face with the discovery that it wasn't true.

Your arguments against a false gospel of works are solid. The problem is that the Catholic Church doesn't teach it.

just said...

"The gospel of grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is denied by the RCC."

jennie, this is quoted from your post of two days ago at 11:21pm. It's just not correct. The only objection I have would be semantic, because the way you write it leaves room for "fire insurance" where someone could say he had faith, but never did anything about it, and that was good enough. It sounds to me like that idea is as abhorrent to you as it is to me.

Elena said...

From the catechism of the Catholic Church 1697:

a catechesis of grace, for it is by grace that we are saved and again it is by grace that our works can bear fruit for eternal life;

Jennie said...

We are called to repentance and conversion every single day.

Just, I should clarify that we are NOT called to conversion every day. Believers are converted once by faith, and regenerated by the Holy Spirit, becoming new creations in Christ. We then continue in this walk of faith by the power of the Holy Spirit.

just said...

I want to say one more quick thing before I go walk my poor desperate dog.

When we look at other religions/denominations as outsiders, we always do it through our own lenses. Very often conservative Protestant Christians look at Catholic Christianity through lenses which have scratched on to them "False Religion." That colors *everything.* It wasn't until I gave up the notion that Catholicism was a cult and false gospel, and permitted myself to believe just the tiniest bit that maybe Catholicism was at least a valid flavor of Christianity, that I was able to understand Catholic teaching enough to get a clear look at it.

It sort of reminds me of people who ask whether Catholics are Calvinists or Arminians. Someone who asks that sort of question betrays such a lack of knowledge of Christianity and history in general that there is no right answer and no place for discussion.

Maybe that's why these discussions get so heated. We Catholics know from the outset that you think we are dead wrong about the single most important issue in the world. That's incredibly insulting, especially when Catholics who debate like this tend to be the well-informed ones who really know the faith. You tell us we're headed for Hell because we believe abc, and we try as hard as we can to explain that we actually believe xyz, but you don't believe us.

just said...

Jennie, when I talk about daily conversion, I'm meaning the greek word metanoia. Turning away from sin and turning toward Christ. We are indeed called to this every single day, no? We get out of bed and immediately tell Jesus that we will walk in the power of the Spirit and not in our flesh, and ask for His help in doing that.

just said...

MUST. Walk. Dog.

See how we are both saying the same thing, but with different vocabulary, and so you heard me say something completely different from what I meant?

I remember hearing about kids who would keep on praying the sinners' prayer every night, because they just weren't sure it took, or maybe they didn't do it exactly right, or whatever. That may be what you think of as repeated conversion.

When I write "daily conversion," I'm talking about the daily process of turning away from sin and temptation and choosing Jesus over any other thing or person. In Campus Crusade, we called this Spiritual Breathing-- we exhale our sin and inhale the power of the Holy Spirit. Not in some weird sense, but in the sense that every time we blow it, there has to come a point where we don't just acknowledge our sin, but we repent and turn away from it.

Jennie said...

Just,
do you believe that you must participate in the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church in order to be saved?

Jennie said...

Just,
I said:
"When Jesus was preparing to go to the cross, He told His disciples that He was going away to the Father in heaven, but that He would send the Holy Spirit by whom He would be with them until the end of the age."

You said:
Jennie, you're adding to what Jesus said. When he gave the great commission, He told them to make disciples, baptize in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all He had commanded. And then He said "I will be with you always, until the end of the age." He just mentioned the Holy Spirit, and He has told them about the paraclete before, so He could have specified the Holy Spirit, if that's Who He meant. But He didn't. He used the first person singular to refer specifically to Himself.
I was using more than one passage in my statement. There are several passages in which Jesus told the disciples He was going away and would send the Holy Spirit as their teacher and comforter, and that in this way He and the Father would be with them.
See John 14:
2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”


15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.

John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

John 16:
4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.
“And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
5 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

just said...

"Just,
do you believe that you must participate in the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church in order to be saved?"

Hold on to your hat. To your evangelical Bible Christian ears, please hear me say NO, the sacraments are not required for salvation.

That said, of course I have to clarify. First, nobody is required to receive the sacraments of marriage, holy orders, anointing of the sick, or confirmation. A mature Catholic, however, who professes to believe and obey the teachings of the Church, is required to celebrate Reconciliation and Eucharist once per year.

For me, as an adult convert, I choose to be at Mass nearly every day, and I choose to confess my sins to a priest (who wants to carry those burdens alone??) every couple of weeks.

You protestants, whom we call separated brethren, are not held accountable to our standards. We know God works in grace through the sacraments, but He isn't limited to the sacraments, so you who accept God's grace but don't buy the sacraments are good to go, though we believe you are missing out on some wonderful aspects of the Christian life.

And here's the real bottom line--if I am a Catholic, and I understand what we believe and teach about the sacraments, I would have to be an idiot to refuse them. I get so much out of daily Mass, and I get so much out of confession/reconciliation.

One thing to remember is the Catholicism started in Rome. Ha. You know this. But culturally, Roman=Western, which in a practical sense means Everything Gets Written Down. So the catechism often looks like 500pp of rule after rule after rule.

So, yes, there are a number of things that I am called to do, asked to be obedient, and some of them, like being kind to small animals, are not explicitly written in the Bible. The Eucharist, however, was commanded. Even if you believe differently about what is actually going on, any Christian denomination I can think of has communion in some shape or form at least quarterly.

And we know it is scriptural to confess our sins to one another. The reason we do it to priests is that Jesus told them whatever sins they declare forgiven are forgiven and what they say aren't, aren't. My priest encourages me, admonishes me sometimes, but #1, he always declares to me that God has forgiven my sin. I knew as an evangelical that I was forgiven, but I only knew spiritually, and I am also a physical person. So when my earthly ears can hear it, too, it's a double bonus.

So, you see, you asked what you thought was a yes/no question, but in the Catholic faith, there are very few of those :)

just said...

Jennie,

As to the Holy Spirit issue above, Jesus made it clear that he was leaving in his ascension back to heaven, and he said straight out that the Holy Spirit would come. But then he said *he* would be with us to the end of the age. If we're going to be literal about it, and I think we should be, we need to take this as a both/and. We have the Holy Spirit with us, and we also have Jesus Himself present with us, in some way that is different from His incarnated body as they knew Him when He walked on earth.

First he said he was leaving and would send the Comforter until he could come back, and then he said he would be with us himself. So either he contradicted himself, or both statements are true.

just said...

Oh, and I forgot to add that Roman Catholic addresses only Roman Catholics. There are also Ukrainian Catholics, Byzantine Catholics, Ruthenian Catholics, several other ethnically-centered Catholics, plus Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Antiochian Orthodox, the Orthodox Church in American, etc. All are considered by Catholics universally to have valid sacraments.

They all look very differently, though. A Byzantine Catholic liturgy looks more like a Greek Orthodox liturgy than a typical RC Mass. It is a *huge* culture shock for an American.

So I only speak for Roman Catholics, as a Roman Catholic. I don't know what, specifically, the other members of the Catholic family (which are all united under Rome even if they aren't Roman) are instructed to do with regard to sacraments and the frequency of celebrating them.

I also inadvertently skipped Baptism. Jesus commands it, so we do it. But we give you a free pass if you either didn't know you were supposed to, or wanted to but were for some reason prevented. Just the same as many protestant groups.

Jennie said...

Just,
If what you said is the true teaching of the RCC on the sacraments, and you are not misunderstanding it or interpreting it through your former evangelical lenses :), I don't believe the RCC has made it clear to her people that the sacraments are not the means of salvation. However I believe the RCC does in effect cause people to believe the sacraments, which can only be administered by a priest, are the means of salvation.
The biblical teaching is that salvation is through God alone. God gave us the word by the Holy Spirit which is preached so people can learn of God's provision for forgiveness and new life. The Holy Spirit is not limited by or to the sacraments. He goes where He wills, even to some who have never heard the word preached, like one I heard of in the Soviet Union who was drawn to a desire for God even though she had never heard the word. Later when she did, she was ready to receive it. The sacraments, which we don't call by the same name, are baptism and the Lord's supper. They are both given as a sign for believers, not as a means of justification.

just said...

You all don't know me from Eve, not even the other Catholics. There is so much personal context missing. I hate to be writing all these things out when you can't see my face, hear my tone, or taste my coffee.

I used to be right where you are. The only thing that cracked open this door for me, was not internet combox debates. It wasn't reading books, though there are some great ones out there. What made me begin to consider that Catholics might be Christian, was that I was invited to join a small group Bible study. There were five Catholics, one Greek Orthodox, and me, the token Protestant.

They studied Scripture! They believed Scripture! They loved Jesus and clearly has personal relationships with Him!

Well, I thought, that's because within the whore of the Catholic church is a faithful remnant of people who are actually Christians, not because they are Catholic, but in spite of it. These women probably don't believe half of what the Church teaches.

Except they did.

I spent at least a year with them before I ever looked at apologetic books or websites. Then I went to Mass once and immediately had a zillion questions, so I went whole hog into research for the next two years before I formally became Catholic.

So it's hard for me to believe that one rainy day in front of the computer is really going to do any of you any good as far as truly understanding Catholic faith and practice. You might be like me, and need to meet flesh and blood faithful Catholics who are also faithful Christians, who will love you and answer your questions and not argue or get upset.

Because the people you've been talking to and the books you are reading aren't accurately representing the faith. Much of that is a language problem, like daily conversion. And salvation. Whew, there's a hurdle to get over.

Language issues can sometimes be resolved by reading books by adult converts who actually speak both languages. Scott Hahn is one, though he was a presbyterian, so he may use different words than a Bible Christian. There is one book called Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic that uses more Bible Christian term to explain Catholic concepts.

I'm sure you've heard the line "It's not a religion; it's a relationship." And it takes a relationship to understand another relationship.

If any of you live in a medium sized college town with a Ruby Tuesday but no Target, and a thunderstorm just passed over, then you're in my neck of the woods and I'll put the coffee pot on for you. Otherwise maybe I should stop writing combox novels when I have a house to clean :)

Jennie said...

Elena,
As for the Eucharist- that's way off topic for this thread so I'm not going to comment on your misunderstanding and errors on the topic.

Hey, it's my thread, I can go off topic if I want. You don't have to respond, but it seems like a convenient excuse to me.

Jennie said...

Just,
I think it would help you understand where I am coming from if you read my Sabbath Rest posts, part one through three, and my post on 'I am the Bread of Life' post. Here are the links if you like:

http://pilgrimsdaughter.blogspot.com/2009/04/i-am-bread-of-life.html

http://pilgrimsdaughter.blogspot.com/2009/07/sabbath-rest.html

http://pilgrimsdaughter.blogspot.com/2009/07/sabbath-rest-part-two.html

http://pilgrimsdaughter.blogspot.com/2009/08/sabbath-rest-part-three-parting-thought.html

just said...

So you're saying you go with two ordinances? Okay, that helps orient me.

**However I believe the RCC does in effect cause people to believe the sacraments, which can only be administered by a priest, are the means of salvation.**

I agree with you, in two differing ways. First, yes, there are people in the Catholic Church, as there are in any Church, who believe if you show up and get your ticket punched, you're set. This is not what the Church is teaching, but people sometimes don't get it. If a person goes to Mass many Sundays, but never does anything else, there will be a lot of misconceptions. Add that to all the Catholics who never darken the door of a church, and we've got a problem. Which, incidentally, is why the Why Catholic? program was developed. Because statistically the largest religious group in the US is lapsed Catholics.

My second point is semantic. Sacraments are indeed a means to salvation. But you have got to remember that as a Catholic, I now look at salvation differently from how I did as an Evangelical.

Let's go with a metaphor:
When a caterpillar says to God, "I repent of my sin, and I want to be your beautiful butterfly!" God reaches out his hand, and poof! A beautiful butterfly appears. This was my understanding of salvation.

Now, a Catholic would also say Hallelujah Amen! But we would also ask for an instant replay in slow motion. God's time is always now, but we are stuck here on earth in a time with past, present, and future. So we replay the tape, and see that when the caterpillar made his profession of faith, he took a deep breath, hung on with his little knees, and tipped upside down. His heart beat very
hard, but he forced himself to stay still while God wrapped him up into a cocoon. He was pretty freaked out, because he knew that when he emerged as a butterfly, he would be right side up, and he didn't really want to think about just how that would happen. But he so wanted to be a butterfly, that he figured he would take it step by step and trust that God knew what he was doing. He spent a few days coming apart into goo, then more days rearranging himself and growing familiar parts, like legs, but in a different way, because he was right side up. He was still himself, and the same in some ways, but so different in others. Then, finally, he started to feel itchy, and when he wiggled, he cracked open the cocoon. He kept working at it. It felt like picking a scab; painful but irresistable. When he finally climbed out, his wings were all stuck together, but he found a sunny branch and soon was dried out. And then he looked up, and God's hand was just beginning to pull away from him. To him it was practically his whole life, but to God it was only an instant.

I though of that on my dog walk.

Sacraments don't save me like some magic wand or a check box. But sacraments are encounters with God that change me to be more like Him. God does not live in a neat little box, so we can't say that completing some checklist forces His hand and makes Him let us into Heaven. But He has given us the sacraments as gifts. We don't have to wonder how we're supposed to get to know an infinite God. He leaned right down and hollered in our faces with the incarnation!

You can do it your way as a Protestant. No faithful Catholic will argue that. We just think it's unfortunate that you're missing out on these things.

Does your church practice anointing of the sick? At my old church, they used to say right out that they had no idea why we were commanded to lay hands on the sick, but we were, so we did. It is amazing to be physically ill, and have a physical prayer to respond to that. To be touched, to have the sign of the cross traced on one's body, to smell the balsam in the oil. We are not just spirits trapped in bodies until we go to heaven. We are fully spiritual and fully physical, and the sacraments are ways that we can celebrate both at once.

Jennie said...

Just,
to be clear, I believe we ARE JUSTIFIED ONCE when we come to Christ by faith and the Spirit regenerates us and makes us a new creation, part of the Body of Christ; bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh; then and only then can we walk by faith, in the Spirit, and do works for Him. If we are not yet justified by faith, all our works are for ourselves and are filthy rags. They can't save us and only make us more in debt. See Romans 4: 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
7 “ Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
And whose sins are covered;
8 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.”

Abraham was justified ONCE by faith, and then continued to walk in faith, proving his righteousness by his works.

just said...

I read your Bread of Life article. I used to believe exactly that.

If after the upset people left, Jesus then said that he was only speaking in spiritual terms, then why didn't they come back? Why did he let them leave in the first place, if he knew it was just a misunderstanding? And why would the gospel writers not clarify?

I think that trying to turn this into a metphorical passage involves an awful lot of twists and turns that aren't necessary with a literal interpretation. And the response of the crowd is consistent with a literal interpretation.

Jennie said...

Just,
I agree that the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's supper are a way for us to relate physically to the spiritual reality they represent. I don't believe they in themselves do anything, but with faith and the Spirit, they are a powerful sign to us and to others; to unite us to other believers and to Christ.

Jennie said...

The scriptures teach that it is the Spirit through the word that changes us, making us like Christ as we abide in Him. If this is not the basis of our faith, then the sacraments mean nothing. 'Sanctify them by Thy truth. Thy word is truth.'

just said...

Read the Sabbath rest pages. I think you might be reading more into the text than what is explicitly there, but it is an interesting connection and I think it is a useful perspective.

But then, you have to remember that I don't believe I am working to earn my salvation :)

Here's a Biblical note on that. Remeber when Jesus says you don't put new wine in old wineskins, because they would burst? I look at the things I do to nurture my relationship with God, as things that build a new wineskin. God has more and more of himself to pour into me every day, but unless I am growing, I don't have the capacity to receive Him. What a bummer it would be to look at God and say, "Wow, I love what you're offering me, but I'm not ready to turn from my sin and get consistent with my quiet times, so we'll just have to hold off on that blessing for a while. I'll catch you later."

just said...

**I don't believe they in themselves do anything, but with faith and the Spirit, they are a powerful sign to us and to others**

Yes, we disagree there. This is one of the major points of disagreements between Catholics/Orthodox and Protestants. Catholics are very earthy, very physical (as opposed to fleshly). We use our physical senses in ways that many Protestants don't. We teach with icons, we smell incense, we hear bells, we fiddle with beads while we pray to cut down on distraction.

Both of us believe our positions to be biblical, and both of is know that while this issue is significant, neither side gets kicked out of Christendom over it.

just said...

**If this is not the basis of our faith, then the sacraments mean nothing.**

Agreed. The Church teaches that right intention is required in order for a sacrament to be valid. Which translates too: If you didn't mean it, nothing happened.

Jennie said...

Just,
If after the upset people left, Jesus then said that he was only speaking in spiritual terms, then why didn't they come back? Why did he let them leave in the first place, if he knew it was just a misunderstanding? And why would the gospel writers not clarify?

I think that trying to turn this into a metaphorical passage involves an awful lot of twists and turns that aren't necessary with a literal interpretation. And the response of the crowd is consistent with a literal interpretation.


First of all, Jesus often spoke in metaphorical terms using literal words to describe spiritual truths.
Secondly, He never ran after those who disbelieved in order to correct them. If you look into this, you will see that He often allowed people to misunderstand and walk away without correction.
Third, Jesus said in the John 6 passage several times that He was speaking of spiritual things, not physical, and that the manna that spoils could not save the Israelites, but believing in Him is what saves us. Believing in Him (eating His flesh and drinking His blood) and abiding in Him (ingesting His word by the Spirit) is what first saves us and then continues to sanctify us.
Jesus spoke metaphorically when He called Himself a vine, and a shepherd, a gate, a door. We don't think He was a plant, etc. The greater truth of John 6 is the spiritual truth of faith in His finished sacrifice and continued abiding in His word. Then if you want to believe it is really His body and blood you won't be trusting in eating a piece of bread to save you. Many do.

just said...

I'm going to have to be careful with terms, so I don't even want to type "justification" in case I screw it up :)

It's hard to talk about time when we're also talking about God. I believe in salvation happening once, being adopted into God's family once. When we sin, we don't get disinherited, and we don't turn back into a butterfly. But we do have some making up to do, the same as if we insult our earthly family.

Jennie said...

Just,
Since you're new, I just want to say that I don't go around saying Catholics are going to hell. I think you mentioned that. I am talking about a system, not about individuals. I give each person the benefit of the doubt; I don't know anyone's heart. I know there are saved people in every church. I believe the protestants are way off as a whole, too, and getting worse.

just said...

I look at v35 as not so much a metaphor, as a fulfillment of an Old Testament type. I expect you see that, too, and just choose not to be literal about it.

Well, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is probably the defining doctrine of the Catholic Faith. Most everything else you can find somewhere else, but not this. Elena, do you know when it was that people started *not* believing in the Real Presence? I know that all the early reformers did believe.

The Real Presence was the kicker for me. You may find this mystical and as such invalid, but I knew that first Mass that it was Jesus, right there. I still had a zillion questions about other things that needed to get answered, but I knew that was Jesus. And so I was stuck--I had to wade through Mary worship and priests as vending machines and works salvation, and clear it all up, because there was nowhere else I could go to find Jesus present like that. It took me two solid years.

And now I am off to (wait for it) Eucharistic Adoration. And after that I will have dinner with friends and we will stay up until midnight playing dominoes. I may peek back tomorrow after I finish the weeding I neglected when I stumbled onto this blog. So I bid you all a fond adieu.

Paul said...

just wrote:
"You protestants, whom we call separated brethren, are not held accountable to our standards. We know God works in grace through the sacraments, but He isn't limited to the sacraments, so you who accept God's grace but don't buy the sacraments are good to go, though we believe you are missing out on some wonderful aspects of the Christian life."

--------------
Trent says:
CANON V.-If any one saith, that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation; let him be anathema.

CANON I.-If any one denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema.

CANON XXIV.-If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema

The Official Catechism of the Catholic Church
"Outside the Church there is no salvation"
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door.
Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

Elena said...

and the key part of that Paul is the last part:

Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

Paul said...

RC catechism on the necessity of keeping the commandments: 2068 The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them; the Second Vatican Council confirms: "The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments."
Beckwith cites Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler as evidence that one must keep the commandments to be saved. This, of course, contradicts the rest of the Bible which says that no one can be justified by keeping the Law (and the 10 commandments are certainly part of the Law).

Oh, could someone please point me to the place where Pastor Bartolucci calls The RCC a cult?
I have listened to the whole series twice and cannot recall that.

Paul said...

Jennie, I know this may be a big distraction.
If you want to remove it or move it I understand.
I helped contribute to this list and have never used it personally with any potential converts to the RCC.

An Excellent Question from the Mail Bag

08/20/2007 - James White
Last week I received the following e-mail, and I felt it would be best to share my response here on the blog.

Dear Mr. White, For someone considering converting to Catholicism, what questions would you put to them in order to dicern whether or not they have examined their situation sufficiently? Say, a Top 10 list. Thanks.

When I posted this question in our chat channel a number of folks commented that it was in fact a great question, and we started to throw out some possible answers. Here is my "Top Ten List" in response to this fine inquiry.
10) Have you listened to both sides? That is, have you done more than read Rome Sweet Home and listen to a few emotion-tugging conversion stories? Have you actually taken the time to find sound, serious responses to Rome's claims, those offered by writers ever since the Reformation, such as Goode, Whitaker, Salmon, and modern writers? I specifically exclude from this list anything by Jack Chick and Dave Hunt.
9) Have you read an objective history of the early church? I refer to one that would explain the great diversity of viewpoints to be found in the writings of the first centuries, and that accurately explains the controversies, struggles, successes and failures of those early believers?
8) Have you looked carefully at the claims of Rome in a historical light, specifically, have you examined her claims regarding the "unanimous consent" of the Fathers, and all the evidence that exists that stands contrary not only to the universal claims of the Papacy but especially to the concept of Papal Infallibility? How do you explain, consistently, the history of the early church in light of modern claims made by Rome? How do you explain such things as the Pornocracy and the Babylonian Captivity of the Church without assuming the truthfulness of the very system you are embracing?

Paul said...

cont.
7) Have you applied the same standards to the testing of Rome's ultimate claims of authority that Roman Catholic apologists use to attack sola scriptura? How do you explain the fact that Rome's answers to her own objections are circular? For example, if she claims you need the Church to establish an infallible canon, how does that actually answer the question, since you now have to ask how Rome comes to have this infallible knowledge. Or if it is argued that sola scriptura produces anarchy, why doesn't Rome's magisterium produce unanimity and harmony? And if someone claims there are 33,000 denominations due to sola scriptura, since that outrageous number has been debunked repeatedly (see Eric Svendsen's Upon This Slippery Rock for full documentation), have you asked them why they are so dishonest and sloppy with their research?
6) Have you read the Papal Syllabus of Errors and Indulgentiarum Doctrina? Can anyone read the description of grace found in the latter document and pretend for even a moment that is the doctrine of grace Paul taught to the Romans?
5) Have you seriously considered the ramifications of Rome's doctrine of sin, forgiveness, eternal and temporal punishments, purgatory, the treasury of merit, transubstantiation, sacramental priesthood, and indulgences? Have you seriously worked through compelling and relevant biblical texts like Ephesians 2, Romans 3-5, Galatians 1-2, Hebrews 7-10 and all of John 6, in light of Roman teaching?

Paul said...

cont.
4) Have you pondered what it means to embrace a system that teaches you approach the sacrifice of Christ thousands of times in your life and yet you can die impure, and, in fact, even die an enemy of God, though you came to the cross over and over again? And have you pondered what it means that though the historical teachings of Rome on these issues are easily identifiable, the vast majority of Roman Catholics today, including priests, bishops, and scholars, don't believe these things anymore?
3) Have you considered what it means to proclaim a human being the Holy Father (that's a divine name, used by Jesus only of His Father) and the Vicar of Christ (that's the Holy Spirit)? Do you really find anything in Scripture whatsoever that would lead you to believe it was Christ's will that a bishop in a city hundreds of miles away in Rome would not only be the head of His church but would be treated as a king upon earth, bowed down to and treated the way the Roman Pontiff is treated?
2) Have you considered how completely unbiblical and a-historical is the entire complex of doctrines and dogmas related to Mary? Do you seriously believe the Apostles taught that Mary was immaculately conceived, and that she was a perpetual virgin (so that she traveled about Palestine with a group of young men who were not her sons, but were Jesus' cousins, or half-brothers (children of a previous marriage of Joseph), or the like? Do you really believe that dogmas defined nearly 2,000 years after the birth of Christ represent the actual teachings of the Apostles? Are you aware that such doctrines as perpetual virginity and bodily assumption have their origin in gnosticism, not Christianity, and have no foundation in apostolic doctrine or practice? How do you explain how it is you must believe these things de fide, by faith, when generations of Christians lived and died without ever even having heard of such things?
And the number 1 question I would ask of such a person is: if you claim to have once embraced the gospel of grace, whereby you confessed that your sole standing before a thrice-holy God was the seamless garment of the imputed righteousness of Christ, so that you claimed no merit of your own, no mixture of other merit with the perfect righteousness of Christ, but that you stood full and complete in Him and in Him alone, at true peace with God because there is no place in the universe safer from the wrath of God than in Christ, upon what possible grounds could you come to embrace a system that at its very heart denies you the peace that is found in a perfect Savior who accomplishes the Father's will and a Spirit who cannot fail but to bring that work to fruition in the life of God's elect? Do you really believe that the endless cycle of sacramental forgiveness to which you will now commit yourself can provide you the peace that the perfect righteousness of Christ can not?


source (with hyper-links)
http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=2210

Elena said...

btdt

Anonymous said...

So many misconceptions.

The priest does not perform the action of transubstantiation. God does.

The priest does not 'dispense' sacraments. In fact, anyone (not even a Christian, given the desire to do what the recipient would have done) may baptize. The Sacrament of Marriage flows through the husband and wife; the priest or deacon acts only as a witness for the Church.

The priest does not forgive sins himself, but pronounces forgiveness through the authority of God.

If you want to rail against the gifts of God, experienced through the Sacraments, at least get the details right.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie,

Sorry to cause such a ruckus on this thread, but don't you see? The reason why people leave Protestantism for Catholicism or vice versa is the same reason why people change religions or join cults. They do this because their needs are not being fulfilled where they are, and they go where they perceive their needs are being fulfilled. The problem is this: People are really seeking fulfillment which they think is in God, but really, their fulfillment lies within an organization. They find fulfillment and meaning in the brotherhood, the services, the teachings, the doctrines, etc. They are very familiar with the creeds, dogmas, and unique doctrines of their organization, but know very little of God personally. They mistake knowing church teaching as being equivalent to knowing God. They readily accept those teachings, even if those teachings go against scripture because those teachings agree with what they want for their lives. Only a very few try to find out God for themselves, to see what He is really like. Many are afraid to explore the reality of God, because He might not be what they want Him to be.

What we need to do is preach Truth, as in scripture. Some will reject and some will accept, but Truth we must always preach. The true believer will gravitate towards Truth, and the false believer will run from it.

The true believer must however learn to co-exist with the false believer, because somewhere down the road, the false believer may experience a true conversion, and will need the support of the true believer. That was the case with the apostle Paul. He was a believer and worshipper of God as a Pharisee, albeit in a false system. After his Damascus road experience, he converted to Truth, and accepted Jesus as Messiah, and became a most powerful proponent of Truth in the gospel, among the very people he once persecuted.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Now for a little dose of Truth as it relates to John 6:48-71.

This whole chapter actually proves my point very well about Truth, and the reasons why people follow a certain religion.

1) A large crowd of disciples was following Christ, not because they were interested in Truth, but because they liked the benefits and privileges associated with discpleship.

Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled (John 6:26).

2) Jesus knew that among those followers, some were true believers and some were false believers.

But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him (John 6:64).

3) Jesus used the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand to teach a spiritual lesson about Himself being the Bread of life, but the people did not understand what He was saying.

Many of his disciples, when they heard this, said, This is an hard saying: who can hear it? (John 6:60).

Even today many are saying, 'this is a hard saying' i.e. difficult to understand. It was hard for the followers of Jesus to understand this saying because those disciples were thinking of eating physical human flesh and drinking physical blood, which runs counter to God's commandments. If they understood this to be a spiritual lesson, then they would have understood that Jesus was talking about spiritual matters not physical matters.

People have no way of deciphering spiritual Truth from the physical unless God reveals it to them. Jesus says, "No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father" (vs. 65). No one can follow Jesus' commands, and His ways, unless God gives that person the understanding and the power to do so.

What was Jesus' explanation of the 'hard saying' about His flesh and blood?

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life (John 6:63).

So we see that the flesh by itself is useless (profiteth nothing). It is the spirit that gives life (quickeneth), and His words (Christ's words) are spirit and life. This goes well with a prior teaching of Christ, that "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God" (Luke 4:4).

So what is my verdict on this passage? I cannot personally condemn anyone who wants to take this passage literally because the passage does say we are to eat His flesh and drink His blood (vss. 53-56). Once a person however learns the spiritual Truth that Jesus is teaching, then that person will realize that Jesus wants us to live a life totally dependent on His word. May we then join Peter in his testimony of Christ, "Thou hast the words of eternal life" (John 6:68).

Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

As I've said before, it is AMAZING how God uses words to send hidden messages to the elect.

Peace and blessings.

Paul said...

Elena said:
"Not at all. Jennie wants to talk about Catholics "adding, subtracting and plain message getting lost," so I think it's only fair to bring up the disunity that exists on the other side of the Tiber. It was a fair comment.
------------
Elena,
there seems to be a disunity on your side of the Tiber as well.

"Henceforward the Immaculate Conception became an apple of discord between rival schools of Thomists and Scotists, and the rival orders of the Dominicans and Franciscans. They charged each other with heresy, and even with mortal sin for holding the one view or the other. Visions, marvelous fictions, weeping pictures of Mary, and letters from heaven were called in to help the argument for or against a fact which no human being, not even Mary herself, can know without a divine revelation. Four Dominicans, who were discovered in a pious fraud against the Franciscan doctrine, were burned, by order of a papal court, in Berne, on the eve of the Reformation. The Swedish prophetess, St. Birgitte, was assured in a vision by the Mother of God that she was conceived without sin; while St. Catharine of Siena prophesied for the Dominicans that Mary was sanctified in the third hour after her conception. So near came the contending parties that the difference, though very important as a question of principle, was practically narrowed down to a question of a few hours. The Franciscan view gradually gained ground. The University of Paris, the Spanish nation, and the Council of Basle (1439) favored it. Pope Sixtus IV., himself a Franciscan, gave his sanction and blessing to the festival of the Immaculate Conception, but threatened with excommunication all those of both parties who branded the one or the other doctrine as a heresy and mortal sin, since the Roman Church had not yet decided the question (1476 and 1483)." [Source]
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/creeds1.vi.viii.html

Elena said...

wow Paul - you have to back to the 15th century for that one?

Anonymous said...

The remarkable thing about that dispute: when the matter was decided, all parties assented. They didn't run off and start their own belief system, or some such.

Catholics don't deny that there is spirited debate and even dispute in theological matters. There is a vital tension in discerning the will of God. What matters is that at the end of the day, we are promised that the Holy Spirit will not abandon us, or lead us away from God. When that day comes, assent to the decision is a hallmark of the One Church.

Which is exactly what shows the strength of the Church in the little anecdote above.

just said...

I'm so disappointed by that list of ten questions. I was all psyched up to see if I had done all those things, but I just got insulted for my trouble. #11 might have been "Did they check their brain at the door?"

Oh, and please don't tell me that I became a Catholic so that my needs could be met by the system. It took me three years to convert and I lost a whole bunch of friends who figured I apostasized. I don't care about the system; all I need is Jesus, and I found Him in the Church. I have a relationship with Him like I never did as an evangelical. I was telling my discipler (spiritual director) a couple weeks ago that I always said I had a "personal relationship with Jesus," but I really didn't know what that was until I became Catholic.

Jennie said...

Just,
going back to what you said in response to my statements about the eucharist:
When we offer the Eucharist every day and everywhere, we aren't acting within the constraints of time. Everything is present to God, because He isn't confined by time. We are placing ourselves back in time, to the last supper, but according to God's time, it's still right now. That's what the ritual setting demands. That's what rituals were about back in Jesus' time, and what they still are today. (Speaking in anthropological terms, rituals are what connect Heaven and earth) If that all sounds like voodoo and gobbledygook to you, remember that we live in a very different culture, and it isn't fair or accurate for us to impose our sensibilities on a different culture.

I believe you were responding to what I said from Hebrews, which states that Jesus gave Himself up for us ONCE FOR ALL. It also states that this is unlike the old testament sacrifices that had to be done over and over again, and still were not effective to take away sin. See Hebrews 8-10. It seems you are saying that rituals are outside of time because God who commanded them is outside of time, however, this was not true for the Israelites' sacrifices which they repeated over and over. The bible says 'it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.' Their sin was taken away because of faith in God, just as Abraham was justified by faith, because they looked forward to the promise of a Messiah. There is no need for ritual for salvation. It shows our faith by obedience and love, but it does not save us. You are explaining away the scripture that I shared in Hebrews that says that priests and sacrifices for sin are not needed anymore, since Jesus our High Priest made His once for all sacrifice and then sat down at the right hand of the Father to be our intercessor. Hebrews 7: 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
Is this not clear? WHO DOES NOT NEED DAILY TO OFFER UP SACRIFICES...FOR THIS HE DID ONCE FOR ALL WHEN HE OFFERED UP HIMSELF. The RCC has made a perpetual replacement sacrifice for the finished sacrifice of Christ, which comes in between people and Christ and distracts from and perverts the true gospel of faith in His finished work. He becomes a perpetual victim upon a cross instead of the victorious Savior seated at God's right hand for us. I guess that's why the RCC now needs Mary to intercede for them because Jesus is still suffering and dying. This is offensive to me and directly opposes God's word.

Jennie said...

continued
Hebrews 9:11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Notice it says 'the tabernacle not made with hands' and 'once for all' and 'through the eternal Spirit'. It is not perpetual sacrifice of the eucharist, but the once for all sacrifice that works through the eternal Spirit of God. The sacrifice is effective because God is eternal. All that is needed is faith to submit to it, given by God's grace.
Hebrews 9:24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. He does not have to offer Himself often and suffer often as a perpetual victim. He has triumphed over sin and death and this perpetual sacrifice reducing Him to a piece of bread is a blasphemous insult to His amazing work.

You are right that I believe the mystical experience of the mass is invalid. The scriptures tell us there are false spirits and false prophets and to test every spirit.
1 John 4
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Just because you feel something and think it is Jesus doesn't mean it is. This may be offensive to you, but it is true teaching from scripture. If there was no danger we would not have been warned about it. If it was easy to discern it would not be a problem.

Jennie said...

Just,
to continue responding to what you said about the mysticism of the mass:
The Real Presence was the kicker for me. You may find this mystical and as such invalid, but I knew that first Mass that it was Jesus, right there. I still had a zillion questions about other things that needed to get answered, but I knew that was Jesus. And so I was stuck--I had to wade through Mary worship and priests as vending machines and works salvation, and clear it all up, because there was nowhere else I could go to find Jesus present like that. It took me two solid years.

I think you just admitted that because you felt a presence in the eucharist, you were willing to accept all the things you knew were false teachings in the RCC. How do you know it was the presence of Jesus and not some other deceiving spirit sent to trick you into accepting false gospel. The passage I quoted in the last comment and many other like it warn us to test everything by God's word and not believe everything and every spirit we encounter. Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. God's word is our guide, given by God's mercy and grace to help us discern the truth, with the help of His Spirit who teaches us as we seek God in the word. We don't seek Him in experiences or in 'the inner chambers' or 'the desert' as He warned us. He is found in His word, is with us by the indwelling Spirit,and will return in glory.

Jennie said...

Paul,
Thanks for the list of questions. They are compelling, as far as I'm concerned, but it seems not to those who have already made up their minds to accept Rome's teachings. I don't WANT to understand how those things and many others can be disregarded.

Jennie said...

Hillary (D of W),
It seems we agree on John 6. I believe Peter's last statement sums up the intent of the passage. 'You alone have the words of eternal life.'

Clare said...

I'm somewhat tentative about commenting here, because the discussion is so good I'm not sure I have the time to add anything to it.
But having lurked here it seemed polite to say hello and thank the sharp minds and quick typing fingers that have spent time laying out their thoughts so lucidly.

I left the RC church some years back. Not in bitterness, but in great relief to be free of the 'encumbrances' of inherited religion.
Even though my background is different to that of Just, I very much identify with his ( is he a man? I'm just assuming) description of coming into the church.
For me, it wasn't a feeling or a need. I really really loved the evangelical church I was in.
I actually remember feeling a combination of sickening dread and excitement as the penny started to drop.
Having made a simple commitment to follow The Truth ( that is the person of Jesus) even if it led me where I did not want to go, I was aghast to find that The Truth was leading me into the RC church of all places.

Having sighed and rolled my eyes at relatives who were praying for my return, and patronised them by running rings around their paltry scripture knowledge, it took enormous, choking gobstoppers of humility to accept that I had been wrong.

I went to every solid, bible believing, smart thinking friend I knew, hoping that just one would be able to deal the killer blow to my growing conviction that the RC was teaching the truth.
I looked on the internet and read books.
I was sure that the place where the RC theology would come apart would be Mary, or the saints. They seemed like the weak link in the chain.
And one weak link was all I needed to be off the hook, so I persued them with vigour.

Suffice to say, in the end it all fell away and I accepted the full truth of what the church says about herself.

This is a rather circuitous way of emphasising that my coming into the church was not because of some need or individual propensity for smells and bells, or tradition or some other thing that was lacking in my evangelical church. It wasn't because I hadn't asked myself the kind of questions that James White sets out ( goodness me, if it was that simple!) I tried very hard NOT to be catholic.

My coming back to the church was owing to my simple but very sincere promise to Jesus that I would follow Him wherever He led me. Even if that was somewhere I did not want to go. I made that promise because I knew that His plan for me was good, that He would never lead me into disaster, that He knew better than me what was good.

Because of this promise, I was determined to set my own 'knowledge' aside and dare to ask " Could it be...could it POSSIBLY be...that the Truth is in the RC church?"
I believe that once you are prepared to ask that question, with humility and a sincere desire for the truth, rather than just to bolster your own theological perspective, things will start to look very different.
You have to be prepared to sit with the discomfort for a while, but it's totally worth it!
Although I thought I was doing great before ( and in many senses I really was) being a Catholic has brought about such deep changes in my intimacy and love for, and trust in Jesus that it honestly does make me weep with gratitude.

Clare said...

Oh, and Just, I'm really loving your contributions here.
Please get a blog!

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Just and Clare:

I am so glad that you are both finding a deeper relationship with Christ on your Christian journey. What you are both saying about not finding Him in evangelical circles is not surprising. About 20 years ago, I too left mainline evangelicalism to join a very fundamental evangelical group, and I have never looked back since. I am now part of a group that believes that the Bible is 100% inspired and we are encouraged to explore our own spirituality and relationship with Christ, outside of the external biases of men. It has been great. The more I study the Bible, and worship, the more I come to know God and who He is. It is not forbidden for us to read the opinions of men on scripture, but we are also encouraged to examine EVERYTHING to see if it stands up to the standard of scripture. We need to be like the Bereans and not just take everything people say as gospel truth, but examine the scriptures to see if they are so. Consequently, I am well-read on church history, Bible, and so on. I see in the past where some Church Fathers have made valuable contributions to the Christian faith, while others have not.

It is not wrong to change churches for a need. If you are attending a church and your spiritual needs are not being met there, or you are not being encouraged to grow, then you should go where you can grow spiritually. My only thing question is this: Is the God you are now worshipping of the same character as the God of the Bible, or is your church making Him to be what He is not? Is your church declaring Biblical truth as taught by the God of the Bible, or is it creating a doctrine for itself that contradicts the very word of God, and that pleases its own purposes? If you can answer these questions honestly and say, yes, the God described in the Bible is of the same character as the God described by my church, and the doctrine of my church is the same as the doctrine of the Bible, then you are in the right place.

While I do not believe there is any such thing as a true church here on earth, as both true and false believers co-exist within the earthly church, I do believe that certain environments can either encourage or discourage one's faith journey.

Peace and blessings.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Jennie,

I am glad we both agree on John 6, as the interpretation is given by Jesus Himself within the same passage. If Jesus says that was what He meant, then who am I to disbelieve Him?

When as Christians are we going to take God at His word, and stop trying to make God say what He is not saying?

Peace and blessings.

Clare said...

Hello Daughter of Wisdom
Thank you for your thoughtful response.

It is not wrong to change churches for a need. If you are attending a church and your spiritual needs are not being met there, or you are not being encouraged to grow, then you should go where you can grow spiritually.

But I WAS growing spiritually in my old church. I found it a really spiritually invigorating environment, and the very evident faith and enthusiasm of other members of the church was a huge encouragement to me.
After a while, however, I did notice that it was hard to get a clear answer on certain 'how should we live today' issues.
Many people formed their own take on issues like baptism, women priests, the Eucharist. Contraception was also a big concern for me. Was it ok or not to 'help out' the Creator and Sustainer of life by contracepting?

What I found was a multiplicity of differing views ALL supported by scripture.
That kind of got the "What is the Truth?" ball rolling for me. And then one thing led to another.
I remember thinking at one point, maybe I should just stop thinking now, because this is leading me to bigger questions that feel too difficult to contemplate.

I've started writing a bit about that process here:

http://mybattlementsofrubies.blogspot.com/2009/07/contraception-passover-meal-and.html

My only question is this: Is the God you are now worshipping of the same character as the God of the Bible, or is your church making Him to be what He is not? Is your church declaring Biblical truth as taught by the God of the Bible,

Honestly, hand on heart I can say a hearty " Yes!"

or is it creating a doctrine for itself that contradicts the very word of God, and that pleases its own purposes?

Again, in all honesty, that is the very thing that I saw amongst my very very good, faithful, prayerful evangelical friends. This was particularly apparent to me in the multiplicity of views on 'how to live' questions such as divorce, contraception and other 'modern' issues like stem cell research and IVF etc.
It did not 'please my own purpose' to accept that I must not contracept. It was a 'hard teaching' but one that, once embraced, has brought me profound joy and freedom.

If you can answer these questions honestly and say, yes, the God described in the Bible is of the same character as the God described by my church, and the doctrine of my church is the same as the doctrine of the Bible, then you are in the right place.

YES! Deo Gratias! I really can.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie,

The claims of transubstantiation are so out of character with God. If the elements of communion, namely the bread and wine actually turns into flesh and blood respectively, then that would be first time in Sacred History where God asks His people to consume human flesh, and drink blood.

The drinking of blood has always been a sin, since the earliest of time, and the first recorded prohibition against drinking blood is found in Genesis 9:4. The consumption of human flesh was never a part of any of the Old Testament sacrificial offerings, and God actually condemned persons who engaged in human sacrifice (Leviticus 18:20). When Christ died on the cross to pay our penalty for sin, no one, and I mean NOT ONE PERSON, took and ate of His broken body, or drank of His spilled blood. If Jesus had commanded His disciples to literally eat His flesh and drink His blood, then why did the disciples not eat his flesh and drink His blood after He died? They had full access to the body for burial. No, no. Christ wanted us to remember His sacrifice using the elements of communion to symbolize His sufferings. The elements of communion were derived from the food used in the Passover feast. In the first Passover, the blood was sprinkled on the door posts of the homes, but was not drunk. After that first Passover, the blood was not used in the ritual anymore, but is now symbolized in the wine. In the first Passover, they actually ate real unleavened bread. Jews now eat unleavened bread every year to symbolize the haste with which they left Egypt. Christ now uses those very symbols to point to Himself as the Bread of Life, and the Lamb who poured out His blood to save us.

Gotta go now!

Peace.

Clare said...

But D.O.W
1 Cor 11.26 says:
For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

27Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.


How does such a severe warning sit with a symbol?
Also, the very early Christians did not see it as a symbolic meal.
With respect, your interpretation is very new on the Christian stage of history.
I echo someone else s question ( was it Just?): When did a disbelief in the real presence start to arise? I also understand that the reformers believed this doctrine?

Paul said...

Clare wrote:
"Also, the very early Christians did not see it as a symbolic meal.
With respect, your interpretation is very new on the Christian stage of history."
---------------
Augustine argued that the sacraments, including the eucharist, are signs and figures which represent or symbolize spiritual realities. He made a distinction between the physical, historical body of Christ and the sacramental presence, maintaining that Christ’s physical body could not literally be present in the sacrament of the eucharist because he is physically at the right hand of God in heaven, and will be there until he comes again. But Christ is spiritually with his people.15 Augustine viewed the eucharist in spiritual terms and he interpreted the true meaning of eating and drinking as being faith: ‘To believe on Him is to eat the living bread. He that believes eats; he is sated invisibly, because invisibly is he born again.’16

These views of Augustine are obviously in direct opposition to those of the Council of Trent. In fact, teachings such as his on the eucharist were anathematized by that Council. This highlights once again the lack of patristic consensus on the teaching of this major doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. The view of the transformation of the elements into the literal body and blood of Christ eventually triumphed within the Church but not without consistent opposition. There were two major controversies in the ninth and eleventh centuries between the literal and more spiritualistic views and even in the Scholastic age there were many prominent theologians who rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation.17

source:
http://www.the-highway.com/eucharist_Webster.html

Paul said...

From the ESV Study Bible

1 Cor. 11:27 Unworthy manner probably refers to the incompatibility of the Corinthians' divisive arrogance as compared to the sacrificial, others-oriented nature of Jesus' death. A broader application of this principle would encourage believers to examine their own lives (see v. 28) and to repent and ask forgiveness for any unconfessed sin before partaking in the Lord's Supper. guilty concerning the body and blood. Jesus' body was broken and his blood shed for others. Thus the selfish behavior of the Corinthians is a sin against others, but it also represents a profaning disrespect for Jesus himself.

1 Cor. 11:27 Unworthy manner probably refers to the incompatibility of the Corinthians' divisive arrogance as compared to the sacrificial, others-oriented nature of Jesus' death. A broader application of this principle would encourage believers to examine their own lives (see v. 28) and to repent and ask forgiveness for any unconfessed sin before partaking in the Lord's Supper. guilty More »

1 Cor. 11:28 Whoever partakes of the Lord's Supper must examine himself to see whether he has properly understood the unselfish, atoning nature of Jesus' death “for” others, and how that should be imitated in his own life (cf. note on v. 27).

1 Cor. 11:29 Without discerning the body is usually understood in one of two ways. Some hold that it means “not understanding that the bread represents the body of Christ that was sacrificed for us,” with the result that such people do not act in a Christlike, self-sacrificial way. Others note that Paul does not mention the blood, and because of this they conclude that Paul has moved beyond the meaning of the bread to the idea of the church as a gathering of the body of Christ (see 12:12–27; cf. 10:16–17). According to this second view, “without discerning the body” would mean “not understanding that Christians, since they are the body of Christ, should act like Christ when they assemble.” On either view, these people do not recognize the spiritual reality of what is happening at the Lord's Supper, and therefore they are acting in a way that dishonors Christ. Eats and drinks judgment on himself is a sober warning that the Lord will discipline those who dishonor the Lord's Supper (see 11:30), and therefore it should not be entered into lightly.

Clare,
does the RCC have an Infallible Interpretation of this passage?

just said...

I cannot let another cay get sucked away in the comboxes :) But here I am dipping my toe in anyway.

Jennie, you missed my point about the perpetual sacrifice of the Eucharist. It *was* once for all. What we are doing at the altar is revisiting, ritually but not symbolically, the Last Supper. Not the crucifixion! Jesus offered Himself to the disciples in the upper room, before he really died.

The sacrifice is once for all, and also perpetual, at the same time. Hee hee. It's that both/and again.

My experience of the Eucharist did not motivate me to shut my eyes and swallow false doctrine. It gave me the opportunity to do the digging I need to do to make an informed decision.

As an evangelical, I firmly believed that God lived in a little box labelled Rational and Objective. He was allowed to communicate with us only through Scripture and sometimes the counsel of wise friends, and in a vague way He could communicate His presence through creation.

What I have discovered as a Catholic, when I talk about having a relationship with God, it really means two-way real time communication. Is it a relationship to talk to somebody and for a reply only be able to read their old letters? I love Scripture and am deeply grateful for it, but God doesn't limit Himself to Scripture. Surely you acknowledge that when you pray about a concern that is not specifically covered in scripture, you might feel a certain peace about a decision you're making? Well, I can tell you that if you are open to it, God talks back, and in a lot more ways than just a vague peace.

And I do test the spirits. What I have now bears good fruit! and does not contradict Scripture, even if it isn't explicitly in there.

It has been a bit of a struggle for me to get used to fact that God wants to relate to me in ways that are not confined to my intellect. I would have classified anything outside of the intellect as "mysticism" as an evangelical, so I'm expecting you're doing the same when you use the word. All I can say is, don't limit God. I did have to sit down and pray, "God, I'm used to knowing you only through Scripture and the presence of your Spirit in other people. If you're going to leave those boundaries, you're going to have to convince me that it is actually you and not some deceptive Spirit."

It was kind of scary, because that would mean God could be unpredictable. Who are we kidding? God is so huge that none of us can can conceive of more than a tiny bit at a time. How many other Persons do we know who are the archetype of everything good? We know gentle people, but God is Gentleness. And Faithfulness, and Playfulness and Grace and Love. Everything else we know, we describe with adjectives, but God is the Noun.

That's why we need every bit of our senses, our rationality, our emotions, and our bodies to know Him.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Clare,

I was just on my way out the door when I stopped to make a final check on my email. I cannot get into this discussion now, but later today I will show that my interpretation is neither novel nor new. My interpretation is the original interpretation as was understood by the apostles. To prepare you, start reading the passage from verse 20, and then I will pick up from there later with you, if it is okay with Jennie.

Peace.

just said...

I'm not Clare, but I'll jump in before I go walk my dog again :D

First, it is rude to ask if Roman Catholics have an infallible interpretation of this passage. If you would like to dialogue instead of shouting back and forth, it would be gracious of you to ask "How do Catholics read this passage?" and to remember that you are also talking about many other churches, including Protestants, who believe that the Eucharist is more than a symbol.

Our answer would be, if a person is in a broken or severed relationship with God (meaning either a non-Christian or a Christian with unconfessed sin) and they have the nerve to demand publicly union with Almighty God, on their terms, they are smacking God in the face. And taking into themselves something so pure and holy, Christ Himself, that their mortal bodies couldn't handle the collision and they died.

Dovetails with Mary's sinlessness. To be overshadowed by God so completely that a Baby was conceived, if she wasn't sinless already, she would have died, too.

Before you ask, I don't know why they don't die anymore.

Walk dog. Weed garden. Defrost freezer. . . .

just said...

I'm halfway out the door, but it occurred to me to mention a couple of parallels wrt approaching the Eucharist unworthily. Because in a culture with primarily oral history, they get the parallels every time.

When the Ark of the Covenant was carried, it was on poles; nobody touched it. Then it slipped, and one guy reached out to steady it, and was instantly dead.

When the high priest went into the Holy of Holies, they always tied a rope to him, so that if he died, they could pull his body out. Apparently there was precedent.

These were all ritual actions, and they knew as a culture that doing ritual actions wrong could kill you.

Jennie said...

Paul,
Thanks for the Augustine quotes about the Lord's Supper. I was going to suggest this morning that the 'real presence' is not the same as 'transubstantiation'. Christ's spiritual presence is always with believers because the Holy Spirit is in us. The trinity is one, while remaining three persons. Christ and the Apostles never taught that His physical presence would come to be with us. They taught the contrary. They did teach, as I think I quoted above, that believers 'are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ' (Ephesians 5). We ARE His body, by the power of His atoning blood and the Holy Spirit.
One of the things Paul quoted above in his comment about why the Corinthians were warned not to take the Supper unworthily, not discerning the body of Christ, is what I was thinking of: that one aspect of this is that believers are the body and if we sin and forget to revere His sacrifice by being repentant and loving each other, we sin against Him and each other. We are one if we are in Christ.

Jennie said...

Hey Ya'll (speaks a transplanted yankee),
I'm not going to be able to comment much until tonight, but everyone who can is welcome to continue the conversation. Thank you all for your contributions. I am especially grateful for Hillary and Paul, who help make up for so much that I lack, and give me the freedom to get off this contraption and tend to my family, as I certainly have much less reason than Elijah to think 'I alone am left'. :)

Jennie said...

Hillary,
you asked if it's ok with me if you explain the 1 Corinthians passage to Clare, I think; please do :)

Elena said...

Paul's scholarship always seems to stop just short of anything that might remotely support Catholicism. For example, August also said:



The bread which you see on the altar is, sanctified by the word of God, the body of Christ; that chalice, or rather what is contained in the chalice, is, sanctified by the word of God, the blood of Christ. {Sermo 227; on p.377}

Christ bore Himself in His hands, when He offered His body saying: "this is my body." {Enarr. in Ps. 33 Sermo 1, 10; on p.377}

Nobody eats this flesh without previously adoring it. {Enarr. in Ps. 98, 9; on p.387}

[Referring to the sacrifice of Melchizedek (Gen 14:18 ff.)] The sacrifice appeared for the first time there which is now offered to God by Christians throughout the whole world. {City of God, 16, 22; on p.403}

Christ is both the priest, offering Himself, and Himself the Victim. He willed that the sacramental sign of this should be the daily sacrifice of the Church. {Ibid, 10, 20; on p.99}

Clare said...

D.O.W
Thank you. I will read the passage.
But I may not have time to respond. We are off for a week in the Isle of Wight tomorrow morning so I ought to be packing!

Paul.
Clare,
does the RCC have an Infallible Interpretation of this passage?


Thank you for your response.
Since the CHURCH is the pillar and bulwark of TRUTH, and I believe that the RC is the CHURCH, then I accept the churches interpretation as infallible.
I can explain exactly why I have become convinced of that, but not just now ( tempus fugit, and all that!)
Of course that's not all there is to it, but since you asked, and I don't have much time, that's the straightest answer I can give you.

I suppose the other obvious question is, does your church, or do you, have an infallible interpretation of this passage? If so, can you explain why you believe that?

The other observation I have to make is that the study notes from the ESV that you supplied here had nothing particularly challenging to offer to someone with my (RC) perspective.
I do observe that it takes a bit of 'gymnastics' semantically speaking, to make the verse mean something other than what it says.
But if enough depends on it, and you are determined enough, you can do that with just about any verse of scripture.

I hate to leave the conversation at such an interesting point.
I'll try and jump on later tonight ( I'm about 6 hours ahead of most of you I think) and catch up a bit.
But if I don't, excuse me, I have pregnancy induced somnolence!

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Thank you so much Jennie for allowing me to proceed with 1 Corinthians 11.

Clare: Wishing you a wonderful vacation, and a smooth pregnancy.

Below I have posted the passage from 1 Corinthians 11: 17-34, to show what Paul was talking about, when he said, "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:27). I have posted the text from the NIV for increased clarity of understanding. I have also highlighted certain words for emphasis.

"17In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. 20When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, 21for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!,
23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

33So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
And when I come I will give further directions."

The passage is plain. Paul was condemning the Corinthians because they were treating the communion supper like an ordinary supper. Many were eating to their fill, and were being selfish about it. There were also many divisions within that church, and their spirit of division and selfishness was making a mockery of the symbolism of the Lord's supper, which symbolized Christ's lack of selfishness and His self-sacrifice for all. So we too are warned, whenever we celebrate the Lord's supper, to examine our hearts and to treat the emblems of communion with the utmost respect, even though the bread and wine are memorials of Christ's death. The communion emblems are holy, and should be treated as such.

Yes, someone is correct in saying that God does punish us when we disrespect even symbolic things, such as Uzzah touching the Ark of the covenant, or the priest neglecting to give the required sacrifice on the day of atonement and is killed. God is the same
yesterday, today, and forever.

Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Just said:
Dovetails with Mary's sinlessness. To be overshadowed by God so completely that a Baby was conceived, if she wasn't sinless already, she would have died, too.

I have a surprise for you. The Holy Spirit lives within the body of EVERY true believer. He is living and alive inside of us, every day. Our bodies are His temple.

"What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Peace and blessings.

Elena said...

I have a surprise for you DOW - we already know that. It's one of the reasons Catholics show so much respect for the body of a deceased person - because it was a temple of the Holy Spirit. But once more this is a non sequitur - as she wasn't denying that we are temples of the Holy Spirit- but that Mary was sinless.

Another surprise - none of the rest of us are sinless.

just evelyn said...

Well, shoot, I know that! ::rolls eyes::

But that is completely different from physically carrying a baby Who was fully God and fully Man, in her womb. For nine months. And as we know now, every mother carries fetal stem cells from each of her babies for the rest of her life.

That just blows me away.

Elena said...

The passage is plain.
we celebrate the Lord's supper, to examine our hearts and to treat the emblems of communion with the utmost respect, even though the bread and wine are memorials of Christ's death. The communion emblems are holy, and should be treated as such.



You are sooo close on this one. Yes, we are to treat the emblems as holy. Do you know how the Catholics treat them? After all of the congregation has drank from the cup, the priest then consumes all that remains. The vessels are washed in a special sink and the water and any left over waste from that sink does not just go down into the drain and then into the sewer- but down a special pipe where it empties directly into holy ground beneath the church.

The reason communion hosts are made in a special way is so that there will be no crumbs that will accidentally be left or fall to the ground. And if a host does fall to the ground it still has to be picked up and consumed because we still believe it is the mystical body of Jesus Christ.

I have NEVER seen the bread and wine in Protestant churches treated with that much respect. However, you are correct that they should be treated respectfully and it is an important aspect.

Catholics go a bit farther. If you are knowingly in a state of serious sin, a Catholic must go to confession before receiving communion or that is additional mortal sin.

From Dave Armstrong's Biblical Defense of Catholicism - emphasis mine!

1 Corinthians 11: 27-30 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. {Read 11:23-26 for the context}

James Cardinal Gibbons comments on these passages:

Could St. Paul express more clearly his belief in the Real Presence than he has done here? . . . He who receives a Sacrament unworthily shall be guilty of the sin of high treason, and of shedding the blood of his Lord in vain. But how could he be guilty of a crime so enormous if he had taken in the Eucharist only a particle of bread and wine? Would a man be accused of homicide . . . if he were to offer violence to the statue or painting of the governor? Certainly not. In like manner, St. Paul would not . . . declare a man guilty of trampling on the blood of his Savior by drinking in an unworthy manner a little wine in memory of him.31

Jennie said...

Elena,
profaning the body and blood of the Lord doesn't have to mean the bread and wine, but the more important aspect of being acutely aware of the sacrifice that Christ made for our sin and revering that in the remembrance of it. If we partake thoughtlessly or sinfully we have profaned the memory of His actual sacrifice which paid the price for our sin; we would be insulting Him and disregarding His great sacrifice. This is much worse in my opinion than the physical aspect of it.

just evelyn said...

So it's not "just a symbol" to you. It's actually at least a sign, because there is a real connection between communion and the Last Supper.

(To clarify my terms, a symbol carries meaning only because we assign it. A symbol of fire would be the blinking lights and the sirens of a smoke alarm. A sign would be seeing the smoke itself. Someone from outer Mongolia wouldn't necessarily know what all the noise was about, but anybody who sees smoke knows there is a fire)

Jennie said...

just evelyn (is this the same person as 'just'?),
yes, sign would be a better word than symbol. The word sign is used in a similar way about circumcision for the Israelites, and I think it is used for the passover as well. I'll have to go look that up.

Jennie said...

Just evelyn,
Yes, here it is:
Exodus 12:
13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.


The blood of the Lamb placed on the doorposts is a sign for the Israelites that God will pass over them and their firstborn will not be harmed. The feast itself is an everlasting ordinance to be kept as a memorial of the way they were saved. In itself the feast is not to save them, but to remember and honor God as their savior.

Jennie said...

Notice if you read the passage of Exodus 12, that only the first passover lamb saved them from death; the future sacrifices were for a memorial. Does anyone know if the Israelites always placed the blood upon the doorposts every year, or was it only that first time? I couldn't tell. Or if they still do it today?

Elena said...

profaning the body and blood of the Lord doesn't have to mean the bread and wine,

We don't believe it is bread and wine after it has been consecrated. It is in fact, the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

Jennie said...

I know. But isn't it our hearts where we profane it rather than in the way we treat the physical elements? Though certainly if we make a mockery of the elements, that shows the sinfulness of our hearts.

Elena said...

But isn't it our hearts where we profane it rather than in the way we treat the physical elements?

It's both

Jennie said...

Just Evelyn,
I believe the passover is called a 'sign' also because it is a sign or foreshadow of the crucifixion of the Lamb of God. The feast is a foreshadow of the believers' reception of this provision for our salvation. The Lord's supper is an ordinance of remembrance just as the passover feast was commanded to be for the future generations.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Elena said, "But once more this is a non sequitur - as she wasn't denying that we are temples of the Holy Spirit- but that Mary was sinless. Another surprise - none of the rest of us are sinless."

And yet though we are not sinless, God chooses to live inside of us, and we do not die because of that. I tell you, the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary had nothing to do with her being a sinless person or not. She stood before God like the rest of the elect - someone who had been justified and clothed in the righteousness of God.

When you say Mary was sinless, you make God into a liar.

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8).

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).


She never claimed to be sinless, and I do not know where you got that claim. That claim has been put upon her by men, to support their own doctrines. As a matter of fact, if she were sinless, that would disqualify her from being the one to bear the Son of God. God sent His Son through the likeness of sinful flesh to redeem us from sin.

"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3).


Also, take a close look at Jesus' genealogy and you will see a lot of sinful folks who were redeemed, and made righteous.

Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie asked, "Does anyone know if the Israelites always placed the blood upon the doorposts every year, or was it only that first time? I couldn't tell. Or if they still do it today?"

Yes Jennie I do know. The blood was placed on the doorposts in the first Passover, but not in subsequent Passovers (Please read Deuteronomy 16). The purpose of the blood was to protect the homes with firstborn children from the destroying angel, that passed through Egypt. In Exodus 12, the Israelites were commanded to kill the lambs and sprinkle the blood on their doorposts. In Deuteronomy 16, the Israelites were commanded to SACRIFICE the lambs in the particular place where God chose (vss. 5-6). So now in Deuteronomy the lambs were treated as sacrifice, and the flesh eaten (vs. 7). The blood would therefore be poured out or discarded as in a regular sacrifice.

In today's Jewish household, the blood is not used in the feast at all! The lamb is roasted and the flesh eaten, and the blood is discarded. I know this from my Jewish friends, and there are lot of them here in Florida.

Elena said...

And yet though we are not sinless, God chooses to live inside of us, and we do not die because of that. I tell you, the Holy Spirit overshadowing Mary had nothing to do with her being a sinless person or not.

And I tell you that it did. Stalemate.

As for the "all have sinned" thing - I'm pretty sure we just did that on this blog. The short argument is have babies and mentally retarded people sinned?

No

That is not a literal verse.

Where's Evelyn's dog? - maybe I can help it chase its own tail.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Who are we going to believe? Are we going to believe what someone tells us what they think God is like? Or are we going to believe what God Himself tells us about Himself?

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Elena, you can put forth as many arguments as you want, it does not change the facts. The facts speaks for itself, and the scripture speaks for itself. Your arguments cannot change the word of God.

I am not going to answer your question but to only say that Mary was neither a baby or a mentally retarded person.

Peace.

Jennie said...

Thanks Hillary,
Yes Jennie I do know. The blood was placed on the doorposts in the first Passover, but not in subsequent Passovers (Please read Deuteronomy 16). The purpose of the blood was to protect the homes with firstborn children from the destroying angel, that passed through Egypt. In Exodus 12, the Israelites were commanded to kill the lambs and sprinkle the blood on their doorposts. In Deuteronomy 16, the Israelites were commanded to SACRIFICE the lambs in the particular place where God chose (vss. 5-6). So now in Deuteronomy the lambs were treated as sacrifice, and the flesh eaten (vs. 7). The blood would therefore be poured out or discarded as in a regular sacrifice.

I am trying to understand this better. So the original passover was the one in which the blood was applied and the firstborn were saved from death, and the subsequent passovers were sacrifices in memorial of the first saving one?

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie said:

"I am trying to understand this better. So the original passover was the one in which the blood was applied and the firstborn were saved from death, and the subsequent passovers were sacrifices in memorial of the first saving one?"


That's correct! Isn't that what the Bible says, that the Israelites were to keep the Passover as a memorial of the first?

It is great how God uses this first Passover as a foreshadowing of the Crucifixion. Christ made a once-and-for-all sacrifice, but we memorialize His death when we take communion. His blood was shed ONCE.

I wonder, for all those who claim the elements of communion are changed, does the elements taste like blood and human flesh? I am just curious.

Elena said...

Elena, you can put forth as many arguments as you want, it does not change the facts. The facts speaks for itself, and the scripture speaks for itself. Your arguments cannot change the word of God.

I agree.

The problem is you are misinterpreting the facts.

of course you won't see it that way.

Stalemate

... chasing the tail.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Elena said, "The problem is you are misinterpreting the facts.

of course you won't see it that way.

Stalemate

... chasing the tail."

Elena, I can't help it that God has revealed to me the mysteries of the kingdom.:-)

"And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given" (Matthew 13;10-11).

Hey, I am not surprised that we disagree. I kinda expected that.

Peace and blessings.:-)

Elena said...

Elena, I can't help it that God has revealed to me the mysteries of the kingdom.:-)

Neither can I... a gift

"As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind." Daniel 2:29

Jennie said...

Hillary,
I think I know the answer to this, but why did the Israelites still have to actually sacrifice the lamb every year if the first passover was the saving one, and the subsequent ones were ordinances for a memorial?

just evelyn said...

As to the Body and Blood, we say that their substance is Christ, but the accidents, what we perceive, are of bread and wine. Because God knows we couldn't manage it any other way. Occasionally the accidents also change, and what always appears is cardiac tissue with AB blood type. You can google verified Eucharistic miracle for the accounts. I know you won't believe it, but, hey, there they are for anybody who wants to take a look.

Yes, I am just Evelyn. I don't know why google chops it off like that.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

I think I can answer your question by drawing an analogy with the crucifixion.

In the first Passover meal, the blood was sprinkled on the doorposts, so that the destroying angel would pass over those homes. In subsequent Passover celebrations, the destroying angel was not a factor, and thus no need to sprinkle blood on the door posts. The Passover meal was still kept as a memorial, but it also had a later fulfillment in the crucifixion which was to come.

On the night before He died, Jesus chose to use the elements of the Passover for the Last Supper. He had the bread and the wine, but the lamb was missing from the meal. He was to be the Lamb. So now our communion meals are only remnants of the original Passover meal. Instead of now memoralizing the Passover, the elements now memoralize the sacrifice of Christ, whose blood will cause the angel of death to pass over us, so that we can live eternally.

Peace.

Jennie said...

just Evelyn,
Well,I already told you what the Bible said about testing the spirits, so we know there are false deceptive spirits. As I've mentioned on this blog before, there are also lying signs and wonders prophesied, so it is imperative to search the scriptures to compare everything to them, knowing that we can be deceived by doctrines that seem true but are not. See 2 Thessalonians 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Unrighteousness is anything that opposes the truth, whether it sounds like goodness or not. The Jews were 'good' and yet they did not believe and they killed their Messiah.
Matthew 24:23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.


Jesus is warning that even the elect might be deceived, if possible, so sincere people who don't believe the truth of scripture are in danger of believing a lie and falling for a false Christ. He said 'do not believe it' if someone tells you He is anywhere on earth, even if you see signs and wonders. He has told us ahead of time. Those who trust in His word believe and obey Him.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Just Evelyn,

Thanks for the info. but I tell you, God giving His people blood to drink is so out of character for Him. Here is what it says in Revelation 16 about the people whom God gave blood to drink.

Revelation 16:3-7, NIV

3The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead man, and every living thing in the sea died.

4The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. 5Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:
"You are just in these judgments,
you who are and who were, the Holy One,
because you have so judged;
6for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve."

7And I heard the altar respond:
"Yes, Lord God Almighty,
true and just are your judgments."


The drinking of blood is not for God's people, but is a punishment for the unrighteous. That's why you did not taste blood or flesh when you consumed the emblems (accidents).

Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

The right information pertaining to the kingdom of God is here on this blog. This may only be a blog but valuable work is going on here. Paul speaks about baby food (milk of the word) and solid food pertaining to the Word, but most churches are unable to get beyond the baby food because members are so unprepared to receive it. If you want to grow in Christ, then you must also eat solid food.

Peace.

Paul said...

Elena wrote:
"Paul's scholarship always seems to stop just short of anything that might remotely support Catholicism. For example, August also said:

'The bread which you see on the altar is, sanctified by the word of God, the body of Christ; that chalice, or rather what is contained in the chalice, is, sanctified by the word of God, the blood of Christ. {Sermo 227; on p.377}'"
-------------------
From Dr. Joe Mizzi:
Catholic authors often misuse Augustine’s figurative writings to support the doctrine of transubstantiation. The following example is a case in point:

That bread, which you can see on the altar, sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That cup, or rather what the cup contains, sanctified by the word of God, is the blood of Christ. It was by means of these things that the Lord Christ wished to present us with his body and blood, which he shed for our sake for the forgiveness of sins. If you receive them well, you are yourselves what you receive. You see, the apostle says, We, being many, are one loaf, one body (1 Cor. 10.17). That's how he explained the sacrament of the Lord's Table; one loaf, one body, is what we all are, many though we be (Augustine, Sermons, 227).

Augustine believed that in a sense the elements are the body and blood of Jesus. “The bread…is the body of Christ…that cup…is the blood of Christ.” In what sense is he speaking? Is the substance of the bread changed into the body of Christ? Or is bread the body of Christ in a symbolic sense? We can readily discover the answer to this all important question.

First, looking at the context, it is clear that Augustine is using figurative language. Just as he asserts that the bread is the body of Christ, he is equally emphatic that Christians are one loaf, one body. Clearly, he means that the one Eucharistic loaf represents the unity among believers. Similarly, “by means of these things” - the bread and the cup - the Lord presents his people with his body and blood. The Eucharistic elements are the figure or sign of Christ, as Augustine asserts explicitly elsewhere in his writings:

continued:

Paul said...

From Dr. Joe Mizzi (continued):
*

The Lord did not hesitate to say: “This is My Body”, when He wanted to give a sign of His body” (Augustine, Against Adimant).
*

He [Christ] committed and delivered to His disciples the figure of His Body and Blood” (Augustine, on Psalm 3).
*

[The sacraments] bear the names of the realities which they resemble. As, therefore, in a certain manner the sacrament of Christ's body is Christ's body, and the sacrament of Christ's blood is Christ's blood” (Augustine, Letter 98, From Augustine to Boniface).

The Eucharist is the figure of the body and blood of Jesus. Since the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ, it is acceptable to call them His body and His blood. The bread resembles the body; therefore it is called the body even though it is not the reality it represents. That is perfectly normal in figurative language.

Augustine believed that the bread and cup were signs, which he defines in this manner: “a sign is a thing which, over and above the impression it makes on the senses, causes something else to come into the mind as a consequence of itself” (On Christian Doctrine, 2, 1). Therefore, when we see the bread, something else comes to mind, namely, the body of Christ. The mistake of the modern Catholic Church is to confuse the sign with the reality it represents.

Augustine rightly warns that "to take signs for the things that are signified by them, is a mark of weakness and bondage" (On Christian Doctrine 3,9). Augustine is here referring to the sacrament of baptism and the celebration of the body and blood of the Lord. Thus, to confuse the bread (the sign) for the body of Christ (the signified) is, according to Augustine a mark of weakness and bondage.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

I am closing off now, but before I go let me make a correction. The blood in the regualar animal sacrifice was sprinkled on the altar, and not discarded. I was thinking of the food laws where the blood was discarded.


For the Passover, no command was given to make any ritual use of the blood, after the first Passover.

Have a great night.:-)

Paul said...

Elena wrote:
"Christ bore Himself in His hands, when He offered His body saying: "this is my body." {Enarr. in Ps. 33 Sermo 1, 10; on p.377}"
----------------------
Elena do you have a link to this sermon. I would really like to read the context. However all I can find is about 55 posts all using a quote from Ludwig Ott's Fundamentals Of Catholic Dogma p. 377.

Sue Bee said...

Someone a hundred or so comments ago asked what the reformers taught. ;)

This is what Lutherans believe & confess, what Martin Luther taught, what the early church fathers taught, and what scripture teaches regarding the Lord's Supper - (all rolled into one paragraph).

...we confess that we believe, that in the Lord's Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered, with those things which are seen, bread and wine, to those who receive the Sacrament. This belief we constantly defend, as the subject has been carefully examined and considered. For since Paul says, 1 Cor. 10:16, that the bread is the communion of the Lord's body, etc., it would follow, if the Lord's body were not truly present, that the bread is not a communion of the body, but only of the spirit of Christ. And we have ascertained that not only the Roman Church affirms the bodily presence of Christ, but the Greek Church also both now believes, and formerly believed, the same. For the canon of the Mass among them testifies to this, in which the priest clearly prays that the bread may be changed and become the very body of Christ. And Vulgarius, who seems to us to be not a silly writer, says distinctly that "bread is not a mere figure, but is truly changed into flesh." And there is a long exposition of Cyril on John 15, in which he teaches that Christ is corporeally offered us in the Supper. For he says thus: "Nevertheless, we do not deny that we are joined spiritually to Christ by true faith and sincere love. But that we have no mode of connection with Him, according to the flesh, this indeed we entirely deny. And this, we say, is altogether foreign to the divine Scriptures. For who has doubted that Christ is in this manner a vine, and we the branches, deriving thence life for ourselves? Hear Paul saying 1 Cor. 10:17; Rom. 12:5; Gal. 3:28: We are all one body in Christ; although we are many, we are, nevertheless, one in Him; for we are, all partakers of that one bread. Does he perhaps think that the virtue of the mystical benediction is unknown to us? Since this is in us, does it not also, by the communication of Christ's flesh, cause Christ to dwell in us bodily?" And a little after: "Whence we must consider that Christ is in us not only according to the habit, which we call love, but also by natural participation," etc. We have cited these testimonies, not to undertake a discussion here concerning this subject, but in order that all who may read them may the more clearly perceive that we defend the doctrine received in the entire Church, that in the Lord's Supper the body and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered with those things which are seen, bread and wine. And we speak of the presence of the living Christ; for we know that death hath no more dominion over Him, Rom. 6:9.

--Article X, The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Jennie said...

just Evelyn,
All I can say is, don't limit God. I did have to sit down and pray, "God, I'm used to knowing you only through Scripture and the presence of your Spirit in other people. If you're going to leave those boundaries, you're going to have to convince me that it is actually you and not some deceptive Spirit."

It is very important for you to know that we must come to God on His terms, which are taught in His word,and not on our own terms or those of others. He has given us this gift of inspired scripture, full of the treasures of His character and plan and promises, and we are told to seek Him in it and to not stray from it. If we do, we are in danger of falling for false teachings. You, in praying the above prayer, showed that you did not seek Him in His word, in Spirit and truth, but left yourself open to be influenced by things outside His truth. You said 'If You're going to leave these boundaries'; but He has already set those boundaries and warned us not to leave them. You have strayed away and He now is using scripture spoken by people who are indwelt by His Spirit to show you His word. I pray you will listen to His voice.
2 Corinthians 6: 1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says:

“ In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.


http://pilgrimsdaughter.blogspot.com/2009/05/thy-word-is-truth.html

Jennie said...

Psalm 32
A Psalm of David. A Contemplation.
1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.
7 You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.

10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him.
11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Jennie said...

Proverbs 3:
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
8 It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.
9 Honor the LORD with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor detest His correction;
12 For whom the LORD loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Very interesting quote by Sue Bee. So we see, that Martin Luther, and some of the church fathers endorsed the Catholic view of transubstantiation. I wonder if there were any church fathers who did not hold this view? The law of physics say, to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The passage that was used to endorse transubstantiation is 1 Corinthians 10:16-17:

16The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

17For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.


The above text is taken from a chapter that is dealing with idolatry. Paul was warning the Corinthians to have no communion or fellowhip with idolatry and rebellion. "My dearly beloved, flee from idolatry" (1 Corinthians 10:14).

The cup of blessing and the bread we break represent our oneness in the blood and body of Christ, i.e the fellowship of the saints and true believers with Christ. Paul explains, we the true believers are "one bread and one body", and that "we are all partakers of that one bread" (vs. 17). Therefore, we as believers belong to the one body of Christ,(which is the church or community of true believers) and we share in a common fellowship with and in Christ. Because we are a part of the body of Christ, we are warned not to have communion or fellowship with devils (vs. 21).


1 Corinthians 10:19-22:

19What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?

20But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

21Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.

22Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?


The scripture is clear. We cannot claim to be a part of the body of Christ and yet participate in idolatry. Paul warns Christians to flee from idolatry. An idol is not just a simple statute, but a representation that is worshipped, and venerated.

This warning is still valid for us today, and is a major sin within Christendom, and many Christians are going to lose out on heaven because of this very sin.


Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie,

I must apologize. I was wrong. We DO NEED TO WARN CHRISTIANS WHO ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY. I too would love someone to warn me if I am going the wrong way. It is not an easy job to give warning and admonishments, but if God has called you to do this, then it has to be done.

While I respect everyone's view, I will only fight for those things that will have eternal consequences. This idolatry thing is one of them.

Peace and blessings.

just evelyn said...

Jennie, God never told us that He would absolutely confine Himself to the boundaries of what is literally in Scripture. We know Scripture trains us, etc, as is 2 Tim, but Scripture itself never tells us that it is the *only* way God speaks. In fact, why would we be told to test the spirits, if it was a given that the spirits were all false because they were extra-biblical? If they were all false, He would tell us to reject them.

When God moves in my life apart from Scripture, He is *always* consistent with His own character, as revealed in Scripture. Don't you hear back from God when you pray? Are you not aware of His constant presence with you and in you? Do you feel the little prompts of the Spirit when you're busy but God wants you to stop and talk to that person you're about to pass by?

Have you read about the Muslims in the midEast who dream of Jesus, who tells them to be looking out for Christians coming their way? Or the tribal people who learn of Him this way? Or the ones who were going to kill that missionary, only 26 people at his home church were wakened by the Spirit to pray, and the tribal people saw his protected by 26 angels?

God is far too huge to confine is some kind of a box, even if it has
"Scripture" printed on it. We know His character from Scripture, and He won't ever contradict that. But remember that even John tells us that Jesus did many more things would couldn't even be written down, because the world couldn't hold all the books.

Elena said...

The right information pertaining to the kingdom of God is here on this blog.

Ah...another point of agreement, although probably not in the same way you meant it. :-)

Daughter of Wisdom said...

And this is how we test the spirits to see if they are from God or from the devil.


Isaiah 8:19-20:

"19And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

20To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."

The Bible gives us clear guidlines on testing spirits. If the spirits contradict the word of God, then they are not of God.

Peace.

just evelyn said...

Right on, DOW. So if they are compatible with scripture, then we have a winner, even if it comes from an unexpected or previously unexperienced (is that a word?) route.

Elena said...

So if they are compatible with scripture, then we have a winner,


Amen!

just evelyn said...

I tried to post this earlier, but apparently i snoozed the computer too quickly:

I am going to go out on a limb, here, because it's probably time for me to move on. Since you don't know me, and I use a pseudonym, I'll tell you something about God's voice in my life.

My chief spiritual gift is giving. Has been my whole life, and it used to drive my mother bonkers :) Normally, this just means that I hold things loosely and am happy to let go and help when a need is presented. However, several times in my life, God has spoken directly to me with a dollar amount and a recipient. Once, I told Him I didn't want to do that, because He was asking for the exact amount I had saved for a new kitchen floor. I submitted, and a couple days later, somebody else replenished my savings. To the dollar.

When you hear those great stories about how a missionary needed x dollars to remain in the field or to pay a medical bill, and then in the next breath, they tell how God provided to the dollar, do you doubt that God did that? Well, there is another side to it. There has to be a giver, and somehow God has to tell that giver how much to give. Those kind of things aren't directly spelled out in Scripture.

I wasn't hearing demons whispering in my ear, because what I did resulted only in the glorification of God. It was always anonymous. No people got any applause for it in any way. God provided, which we know is consistent with His character, but He did it by speaking directly to the hearts of his people.

All my life I have been in the Word and in prayer. All my life I have listened to God's voice. He is my heart's beloved. I know Him--His sheep know His voice!

So when I heard His voice in the Eucharist, I recognized Him. It wasn't a stranger stealing into the sheepfold.

You said before that my mystical experience made me willing to swallow the lies of the Church, but you couldn't be more wrong. I heard the voice of my Shepherd, and that finally made me willing to do all the work it took to determine whether the Church's teachings were consistent with Scripture.

Unless it was demons telling me to give away big chunks of money to the glory of God.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Just Evelyn said: "God provided, which we know is consistent with His character, but He did it by speaking directly to the hearts of his people."

Hallelujah! This is what I have preaching all along! We need to learn how to discern the voice of God within our conscience. Our conscience is the other means by which God speaks to us, but our consciences need to educated in the word of God, so that we can discern the voices within to see whether they be of God or the devil, or of our own devices.

The great mistake that many people make is that they make the church be their conscience instead of the word of God. They have not learned how to trust their inner convictions and so depend upon the opinions of men for guidance, instead of the Holy Spirit. Now, since the church consists of both true and false believers, then allowing the church to become your conscience carries serious risks, because you are opening yourself up to be influenced by false believers as well.

The Bible says that the church is the "pillar and ground of the truth" and that is correct (1 Timothy 3:15). Are you ready for some solid food now? The church that Paul was referencing was not a local ecclesiastical body/church denomination which consists of true and false believers, but what he called, "the church of the Living God" (vs. 15). This church of the living God is not a local earthly ecclesiastical body, but a worldwide community of true believers, whose memberships are written in heaven, i.e the Church Invisible. This is not a new or novel doctrine. This church is the Biblically true church, and has always been. Mention of this church is also made in Hebrews 12:22-24.

"22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."


Christ is the head of this church of true believers. All true believers here on earth are members of this church. The false believers may have membership in earthly churches along with the true believers, but only the true believers have membership in this heavenly church.

Peace.

Elena said...


Hallelujah! This is what I have preaching all along! We need to learn how to discern the voice of God within our conscience. Our conscience is the other means by which God speaks to us, but our consciences need to educated in the word of God, so that we can discern the voices within to see whether they be of God or the devil, or of our own devices.


That sounds positive Catholic Hilary!!


Catechism Catholic Church:
1777 Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking.



1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.

1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path,54 we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.55

Jennie said...

Evelyn,
When I said this:
It is very important for you to know that we must come to God on His terms, which are taught in His word,and not on our own terms or those of others. He has given us this gift of inspired scripture, full of the treasures of His character and plan and promises, and we are told to seek Him in it and to not stray from it. If we do, we are in danger of falling for false teachings. You, in praying the above prayer, showed that you did not seek Him in His word, in Spirit and truth, but left yourself open to be influenced by things outside His truth. You said 'If You're going to leave these boundaries'; but He has already set those boundaries and warned us not to leave them. You have strayed away and He now is using scripture spoken by people who are indwelt by His Spirit to show you His word. I pray you will listen to His voice.
...I was not saying that God is limited, but that He has limited us in the way we can come to Him. He has given us His infallible word and told us there is one way to Him (Jesus) and to seek Him in His word and submit to the gospel of faith apart from works. Of course God can show Himself to people, such as the tribesmen you mentioned, etc., but He always works in accordance with His word and His Spirit glorifies Christ. If we actually seek Him in ways that are not in accordance with His word, we open ourselves up to deception, such as using contemplative centering prayer that empties the mind, which is transcendental meditation, and is used by all pagan religions. We are taught to pray to the Father with our minds engaged, not to empty our minds.
I also was not saying that you are not a christian, though I can't know, or that you have never heard from God. If a person turns to a false way, they risk their salvation. Believers are susceptible to deception if they mistakenly try to seek God in ways He has forbidden. Even if you think He has come to you, you have to compare what you hear to scripture to be sure what you have heard is in accord with His word. He won't contradict His word because He says 'I have magnified My word above all My name.' Psalm 138:2

Jennie said...

Evelyn, you said:
All my life I have been in the Word and in prayer. All my life I have listened to God's voice. He is my heart's beloved. I know Him--His sheep know His voice!

So when I heard His voice in the Eucharist, I recognized Him. It wasn't a stranger stealing into the sheepfold.

You said before that my mystical experience made me willing to swallow the lies of the Church, but you couldn't be more wrong. I heard the voice of my Shepherd, and that finally made me willing to do all the work it took to determine whether the Church's teachings were consistent with Scripture.


Evelyn, I believe that you were already a believer before you entered the RCC. I also believe that you have been deceived into accepting the teachings of the RCC by another spirit that is not of Him, which puts you in danger. The RC doctrines of the mass are in direct contradiction to God's word as I and others have shared. If you read the book of Hebrews it may help, as it was written to people who were trying to return to the ritual of the temple instead of trusting in the completed sacrifice of Christ. If you reread what I said in my earlier comments about Hebrews as relating to the eucharist, you may see what I mean. The RC teachings make the eucharist into a way to force Christ down to them by divination because they lack the Holy Spirit that comes to indwell the believer by faith in the true gospel. Romans 10:6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) 7 or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”(that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
(I am not saying that there are no RC believers, but that the teachings of the system contain many false doctrines)

You also mentioned the teachings on Mary that you had to come to terms with. I have several posts on Mary with alot of discussion under them, that may help you see why I believe the RCC doctrines and practices about Mary are unscriptural and idolatrous. If you look in the sidebar under Mary, you can read those posts and comments if you like.
Some other teachings that show that the RCC is not infallible are their acceptance of evolution, denying the word of God in Genesis that teaches of the 6 day creation and fall. If this did not happen as written there is no need for redemption, because death came before the fall over millions of years of evolution, so scripture is lying when it says death came by the fall of man.
They also teach that Jesus died on Friday and rose on Sunday only allowing for two nights and one day in the grave when Jesus Himself said He would be in the heart of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights. I believe Him when He said that. Tradition says otherwise.
Also they avoid the prophetic passages and rarely teach their people to study these and watch for the signs of the times which was commanded over and over by Jesus and the Apostles. It may be because the reformers used these to compare the RC practices to the false church of prophecy. The RCC then went on and continued to show that this was true by killing and persecuting many saints of God who stood on God's word.
Remember that Jesus and the Apostles warned us of lying signs and wonders that would deceive many. They would not have warned us if it was not a danger.

just evelyn said...

So, basically, you're telling me it's possible for a person to be a spirit-filled Christian, with lots of accountability, scripture study, etc. And yet, while seeking God, He would permit me to be deceived by an evil spirit, such that I would apostasize without intending to, even though I spent three whole years discerning this, asking Him for His will daily. Joining a false church, where, while I am personally convicted that I have a deeper relationship with Christ than ever, bearing loads of good fruit, seeing my prayers answered, seeing the hand of God all over the place in my life, that I am actually completely deceived.

Breathtaking.

a) this is not at all consistent with the character of God. All who earnestly seek Him will find Him. He isn't playing hide and seek. How cruel if He were!

b) your knowledge of the Catholic faith is incomplete, inaccurate, and misunderstood.

Please stop telling me that I believe stupid things like we're trying to force Jesus down to earth in the Mass. This is idiocy.

If I read the book of Hebrews it will help me? Jennie, I have read the entire Bible from cover to cover over TWO DOZEN TIMES. Yep, had to shout that.

What is harder to accept? That God would abandon an earnestly seeking daughter to false spirits, or that you actually don't understand what Catholics believe?

just evelyn said...

I would like to note, though, that it is totally okay that you don't know all about Catholicism. I see from your profile that you live in Georgia, so the odds of you having Catholics in the neighborhood are slim. You're happy in your church, and you're a busy mom who isn't likely to pick up everything by Scott Hahn to fill you copious spare time, lol :)

What I would like you to do is to accept in humility that you don't know our faith, and stop representing yourself as if you do.

It's very frustrating, and frankly insulting, to be told that evil spirits deceived me into being Catholic, when you don't even understand the teachings of my church.

Jennie said...

Evelyn,
are you saying that it is impossible for you to be deceived?
How do you know that this is not His way of showing His earnestly seeking daughter that she is going the wrong way, out of His mercy.
You have read His word many times, but you have also now accepted the teachings of a system that denies the supremacy of His word and says her word is equal to His, in effect making her word above His because her teachings oppose His word and obscure His gospel of grace alone. The RCC teaches sacramental salvation through coming to the Church; the scripture teaches salvation by grace through faith apart from works (which includes practicing sacraments)coming to Christ, not to the Church. HE is the way, not the RCC

Jennie said...

Evelyn,
What I would like you to do is to accept in humility that you don't know our faith, and stop representing yourself as if you do.

It's very frustrating, and frankly insulting, to be told that evil spirits deceived me into being Catholic, when you don't even understand the teachings of my church.


The reason I began this blog is because I have been studying the teachings of the RCC and scripture and history for several years. Specifically I've been studying off and on for about 5 years and steadily for about a year and a half; studying testimonies, history, doctrines, and comparing it all to scripture.
Part of the reason I am interested in it is because first of all, my family on my mother's side is Italian-American Roman Catholic. My mother left it, taking us four children, when she and my formerly agnostic father accepted Christ when I was about 9. A close family member reverted to the RCC about 5 years ago, not long after I had begun studying about it and becoming sure it was NOT the right way to go. Before that I had been, with no intention of joining it, interested in aspects of it, such as St. Francis and Mother Theresa. The things I was shown led me away from the sacramentalism and mysticism towards God's word alone. I have read many testimonies, such as Scott Hahn's, but they only confirm to me that they were not depending on God's word, but adding man's word to it, and depending upon the Church rather than God. The RCC interprets scripture according to its own tradition, rather than allowing it to speak for itself. Those who depend upon scripture alone grow in unity as they grow in Christ. Denominationalism does get in the way of this, and RCism is part of that division, because it adds things that are unacceptable to those who are Bible christians.

just evelyn said...

Jennie, thank you for giving some background about your family and your motivations. It's totally fine with me that you have looked deeply enough into Catholicism to know that it isn't for you. Fine. I don't have any need to convert you.

What confuses and frustrates me, though, is that if I were debating, say, a Methodist, and that person told me, "Hey, you're not quite getting this. I'd be glad to explain it until it is understandable to you." I would listen to that person until I understood to their satisfaction. It's only polite, and besides, I prefer to know what I'm talking about.

What I see you doing here is ignoring those of us who would like to help you understand, then proclaiming that because we believe what you think we believe, that we are deceived. I understand that we cause some cognitive dissonance--it was so weird for me to get to know those incredible Christian women who were also faithful Catholics.

To resolve that dissonance, there are two options. One, you could charitably say, "Huh. There must be more going on than I understand at this point. I guess I am still learning." Two, you could decide that we are all deceived by demons. This is incredibly *un*charitable. Think it in your heart if you want to, but declaring it to us is rude, and it's not like you're convicting us or anything.

I couldn't be an expert on, for example, Mormonism, if the Mormons said I didn't have it correct. They respect me, because I read the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price, and I can articulate back to them the major points of their faith, to their satisfaction, and I can tell them why I don't buy it. We agree to disagree. (No, I didn't have to do all that reading to know enough to disagree, but I live in a very Mormon town, and Catholics frequently ask me what Mormons believe. Since I've read plenty and then double-checked my understanding with real live Mormons, I'm good to go on this one.)

When you can articulate back to me (or any faithful, practicing Catholic) the major points of our faith, accurately, and then say why you disagree, we've had a fruitful discussion. I think we did that when we went over the Eucharist as a sign, but then it all got derailed when you started writing about us trying to force Jesus down to earth, which we absolutely do not believe.

Now, if you're talking to a poorly instructed Catholic, it doesn't really matter a whole lot what you tell them about the Catholic faith, because they really don't know anyway. When you present the gospel to them, it might well be new information, because they weren't paying enough attention as Catholics to pick it up. (I have a friend who went through 12 years of Catholic school and somehow never noticed why Jesus died. She asked me, and when I rudely boggled at her before I caught myself, she admitted that she hadn't been paying attention.) Hallelujah, they've heard the gospel! They weren't saved *out* of the Catholic Church, because they only had a toe in the Tiber to begin with. Please continue to share the gospel with these folks; they need to hear it. Please don't generalize their confused beliefs to the whole Church, though.

just evelyn said...

Ha! I finally exceeded the space limit for a post and had to split it into two :)

What you said in your previous post, about maybe I'm hearing the voice of God through you? It would be wacky and irresponsible of me to give more weight to some unknown blogger I "met" two days ago, than to all the praying and discerning I've done my whole life. It's just silly. Where you cohere with scripture and the character of God, is in your exhortation to be in the Word and in prayer. Kudos to you for that. I do that already, every single day.

Oh, and since you're interested in St. Francis, I'll mention that I am within a few months of a lifelong profession to the Secular Franciscans, a group committed to living the gospel every day. Have you read Francis' letters to the faithful, and his first Rule? They are nothing but scripture, right out of the Gospels. That's part of the reason I love him. He said, forget all this theology and stuff; we have enough to keep us busy our whole lives if we just do what Jesus told us to do.

Jennie said...

Evelyn,
You think me rude for the things I've said, but from my perspective I see someone in danger and am trying to warn you. I guess if someone is about to blindly fall over a cliff and someone jerks them back it may seem rude until the person realizes the danger they were in.
I see many, many contradictions between God's word and the RCC doctrines, some of which I have mentioned already. If I see danger and don't warn someone, I am guilty of their blood just as if I had watched someone walk over a cliff without warning them and running to pull them back.
The signs of the times show that the time is short and there will be unprecedented deception that will be hard to resist if we are not grounded in His word and protected by His Spirit. The time is here when all His people have to heed His command to 'Come out of Her', to come out of Babylon, the false church whom He warns about, and repent of any sins and false teachings we have embraced, as He taught in Revelation 2-3. All the believers in all denominations need to heed this because all are part of the prophesied harlot church and/or her daughters. (She is called the mother of harlots). I have been particularly interested in the RCC because of my connection to it, while my husband has been interested in correcting the false teachings in the Baptist church because He was raised in it. Right now we are blessed to be in a solid Bible teaching Baptist church, which is getting harder to find every day.
Keep your eyes open, because the leadership of all denominations, including the RCC (as evidenced so much by Pope JP2) is moving towards embracing all religions as equally valid, except for those who hold to scripture alone and say Christ is the only way to the Father.

Jennie said...

And guess what is helping to unite all these world religions:
1. mysticism, especially meditation
2. devotion to the Virgin Mary, helped along by apparitions seen by all religious groups

Jennie said...

Here is a quote from a book written by a Catholic priest that talks of 'bringing Christ down from heaven' which opposes scripture.

" Power of Consecrating: The supreme power of the priestly office is the power of consecrating. 'No act is greater,' says St. Thomas, 'than the consecration of the body of Christ.' In this essential phase of the sacred ministry, the power of the priest is not surpassed by that of the bishop, the archbishop, the cardinal or the pope. Indeed it is equal to that of Jesus Christ. For in this role the priest speaks with the voice and the authority of God Himself. When the priest pronounces the tremendous words of Consecration, he reaches up into heavens, brings Christ down from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the victim for the sins of man.
"It is a power greater than that of monarchs and emperors: it is greater than that of saints and angels, greater than that of Seraphim and Cherubim. Indeed it is greater even than the power of the Virgin Mary. For, while the Blessed Virgin was the human agency by which Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders Him present on our altar as the eternal Victim for the sins of man - not once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ the Eternal and Omnipotent God, bows His head in humble obedience to the priest’s command.
"Of what sublime dignity is the office of the Christian priest who is thus privileged to act as the ambassador and the vicegerent of Christ on earth! He continues the essential ministry of Christ; he teaches the faithful with the authority of Christ, he pardons the penitent sinner with the power of Christ, he offers up again the same sacrifice of adoration and atonement which Christ offered on Calvary. No wonder that the name which spiritual writers are especially found of applying to the priest is that of 'alter Christus.' For the priest is and should be another Christ." Faith of Millions, by John O'Brien, Ph.D., LL.D., p 268-269 ("nihil obstat" by Rev. T. E. Dillon-Censor Librorum and "imprimatur" by John Francis Noll, D.D. -Bishop of Fort Wayne).

Jennie said...

There is only one Christ, one High Priest who offered Himself once to accomplish remission of sins for the world. He now sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven interceding for us. He will return again at the end of the age to judge the world and gather His people to Himself. No one commands Him. He doesn't bow His head to anyone.

Jennie said...

By the way, I do not have comment moderation on and have not deleted anyone's comments. If they do not show up it's not anything I have done. I rarely delete comments.

Moonshadow said...

coming to Christ, not to the Church.

And I've said before, we don't make much distinction there: the Church is the Body with Christ as its Head.

I don't think Jennie has to try very hard to accuse the Catholic Church of teaching things not found in Scripture. From the very book she referenced above, published by Our Sunday Visitor - a very reputable and traditional publishing house - Fr. O'Brien says this at the beginning of chapter 10 on the sacrament of Confirmation:

"There is no explicit mention in the New Testament of its institution by Christ. But there are numerous references to its administration by the Apostles."

And he uses the example of Peter and John being sent to Samaria to lay hands upon the baptized so that they may receive the Holy Spirit.

"Here it is expressly stated that Confirmation is distinct from Baptism and produces a different effect."

--------

The Apostles' creed expresses explicit belief in the Church ... with belief in the Bible following as Church doctrine. I don't mind admitting that I can be deceived ... and that's why I'm in the Church ... because she can't be.

Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hey, I don't think Jennie is saying that Catholics are not Christians and that some are not saved. What she is doing is warning Catholics about some of the errors in their belief system, which if followed, can lead to eternal damnation. In every church there are good and bad Christians, and good and bad leaders. Good leaders lead the flock to Christ, while bad leaders lead the flock to themselves under the pretense they are leading you to Christ. This a warning to ALL CHRISTIANS to not get caught up in reverencing the philosphies of men over the word of God.

Do not think for one moment that the Catholic church is the only church guilty of this. Churches of all denominational stripes possess church teachings which they enjoin upon others as if it were the word of God, but which are only church teachings. They make you feel as if people who do not adhere to their teachings are somehow breaking God's laws, when that is not so. For example, I used to go to a church where it was considered a sin for women to wear make up or jewelry. I used to think that all women who wore make up and jewelry were committing a grave sin against God; but after careful studying of the Bible, I realized that it was just a church rule and not something classified as a sin in the Bible, and therefore not applicable to people outside of that organization.

Having practices unique within your church is not a sin, as long as those practices do not cause you to sin. Having sinful practices embedded in a church system however is a REAL PROBLEM, and if followed, those practices will condemn you to hell.

You have all been warned. The person who gave the warning is now free. It is now up to you. It is now between you and God. Whoever has ears to hear let him hear.

“If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.”(Ezekiel 3:20-21).

Peace.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

The Church is the Body and Christ is it's head.

That is true, but the Church is not the local eccelesiastical denominatinal body, but the eternal, invisible Church in heaven. That is the Church of which Christ is the head. The membership of the local, earthly church consists of both true and false believers, but the heavenly church consists of only true believers - the elect. The true church is not earthly, but heavenly in nature and administration. God's spiritual church is the true Church.

Peace.

Sue Bee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moonshadow said...

Jennie seems to object to God being called "down" by the prayers of the faithful - ordered about, as it were - but we see in Scripture the Holy Spirit falling "down" upon believers who were prayed over.

Is the actual problem that, in the Catholic mass, God is called "down" to animate inanimate objects, bread and wine?

Hillary, since things are "bad all over" in churches ... and what you left sounds pretty bad, not wearing make-up, etc., ... I'll stay right where I am. Thanks for saving me the legwork.

Sue Bee said...

Jennie said: Evelyn, I believe that you were already a believer before you entered the RCC. I also believe that you have been deceived into accepting the teachings of the RCC by another spirit that is not of Him, which puts you in danger.

Jennie, have you ever looked at the list of blogs by RC converts at Visits to Candyland? It is a very, very long list. A LOT of the converts(I would say MOST but I haven't counted) are former Baptists.

Why do Baptists become Roman Catholics? What is wrong with your church, Jennie? What do they find in the RCC that they don't find with the Evangelical Fundamental Bible Baptists?

Perhaps you should listen when they tell you the reasons why they left instead of passing judgment. You might be surprised at what you can learn.

Moonshadow said...

Why do Baptists become Roman Catholics? What is wrong with your church, Jennie?

It's just one of God's mercies that Baptists make the best Roman Catholics. I'm convinced of that. It's their zeal, their humility and their innocence.

For instance, a classmate in grad school was an ex-Baptist with six children married to a Filipino. I'd see him at the Latin Mass on Sunday mornings, so completely engrossed, so humble, so worshipping God. And the eucharistic procession on Corpus Christi around the parking lot? Fuggedaboutit! He was first in line behind the priest and servers!

And yet, I didn't envy his zeal. I was happy for him because it came natural to him. I knew I could not create it in myself. I never met his wife but I always imagined her as being somewhat more reserved. Almost necessarily, as a counterbalance.

Peace of Christ.

Moonshadow said...

Jennie said, coming to Christ, not to the Church.

Hillary said, but the Church is not the local eccelesiastical denominatinal body, but the eternal, invisible Church in heaven.

Then why did Jennie make a distinction between coming to Christ and coming to the Church?

Jennie said...

Sue Bee,
Jennie, have you ever looked at the list of blogs by RC converts at Visits to Candyland? It is a very, very long list. A LOT of the converts(I would say MOST but I haven't counted) are former Baptists.

Why do Baptists become Roman Catholics? What is wrong with your church, Jennie? What do they find in the RCC that they don't find with the Evangelical Fundamental Bible Baptists?

Perhaps you should listen when they tell you the reasons why they left instead of passing judgment. You might be surprised at what you can learn.


You haven't read all the comments carefully (and I don't blame you for not wanting to read that many :)
or you'd have seen that I said the Baptists and all other denominations as a whole are apostasizing. This does not mean that there are not churches or individuals who are faithful, but that most of 'Christendom' has fallen away from the truth. Some groups just got a head start on others. Some groups who came out of earlier ones to get away from false teachings are now going the same way (and as I've said before many never completely 'came out' of Roman Catholic teachings).

I have read many of the conversion stories, but what good is it to leave one sinking ship for another? The Ark of safety is Jesus Christ as found in the word of God alone. The true heavenly church is His body and becomes part of the Ark, but only if they remain in Him and don't trust in man's traditions. He builds His church and it's obvious that it is scattered throughout the world and the denominations, and is only a remnant in each one.

Jennie said...

Teresa,
the heavenly church IS the people who have come to Christ and not to the Church. They BECOME the church by coming to Christ.

About bringing Christ down: our prayers don't attempt to force Christ down to do our will. We learn to submit our will to His in prayer, and His will is done, not ours.
The RCC arrogantly boasts that her priests are 'christs on earth' and can bring Him down as the perpetual victim for the propitiation of sins. Hebrews denies this in detail. Which word will you accept?

just evelyn said...

I am painting my front door today. Apple green, to match the bright blue exterior, since you asked :) And I have to have it done before I go have lunch with my kiddos, so I am going to practice major self-control in the combox department this morning.

That said, I am curious to know, Jennie, since you think that the majority of Christendom has apostasized, and that only a tiny minority of people, self identifying as conservative evangelical Bible Christians, are actually on the right track. . .

Why did Jesus say that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His church? From your stance, as I understand it, the gates of Hell have stomped all over most of the visible church. The first answer I could think of is that you'll say He was only talking about the invisible church. But at the same time, you're saying that even lots of earnest believers, who not only call Jesus Lord, but serve Him (bringing water to the thirsty, food to the hungry, clothing to the naked) are following false gospels and going to end up in hell.

Dang. To me that sure doesn't sound like a merciful God who drops everything to chase down wandering sheep, and who promises that we can't fall out of His hand. It almost sounds like Russian roulette--do the best you can and hope you've tested the spirits correctly, because when it comes down to it, you just might be busted.

P.S. Do you believe in double predestination?

Paul said...

Elena wrote:
"Paul's scholarship always seems to stop just short of anything that might remotely support Catholicism. For example, August also said:
Nobody eats this flesh without previously adoring it. {Enarr. in Ps. 98, 9; on p.387}

--------
Here's a little context:

Augustine (354-430): But the Lord insisted: It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life (Jn 6:54). “Understand what I have told you in a spiritual way. You are not asked to eat this body that you can see, nor to drink the blood that will be shed by those who will crucify me. What I have revealed to you is something mysterious, something which when understood spiritually will mean life for you. Although it is to be celebrated in a visible manner, you must understand it in a way that transcends bodily sight.” Exalt the Lord our God, and worship his footstool, because he is holy. John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, Exposition of the Psalms, Part 3, Vol. 18, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Psalm 98, §9 (Hyde Park: New City Press, 2002), p. 475.

Elena said...

Just to clear up Jennie's uninformed misinformation about Catholic priests - from the "sure norm" the Catechism of the Catholic Church.


1539 The chosen people was constituted by God as "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."6 But within the people of Israel, God chose one of the twelve tribes, that of Levi, and set it apart for liturgical service; God himself is its inheritance.7 A special rite consecrated the beginnings of the priesthood of the Old Covenant. The priests are "appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins."8

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