Saturday, October 10, 2009

Non-Catholics know about the Church Fathers?

Okay, I have to admit. I am always shocked to hear about someone who is not Catholic, yet they know about the Apostalic and Church Fathers. Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Polycarp....if you would have asked me who these folks were when I was a Protestant, I couldn't have told you. More than that, I wouldn't have cared. Of course, my feelings have completely changed.

These men is part of the reason why you call yourself a Christian today. They fertilized the soil of Christianity with their blood and converted a pagan Roman Empire. For almost 400 years, it was illegal to be a Christian and Christians could be executed without a second thought. That did not deter the faith of these men.

Not to mention, many of them are only one degree separated from the Apostles themselves. That is right. Polycarp, for instance, was made the Bishop of the Church in Smyrna by St. John. (Click here for a really great video, by Non-Catholics, on the ordination and martyrdom of Polycarp) Clement of Rome was probably baptized by St. Peter. Clement of Rome also became the 4th Bishop of Rome, Peter of course being the first. (FYI - Bishop of Rome = Pope). Why so many Bishops of Rome in such a short span of time? Remember, Christians were being martyred for the faith left and right.

Another great fact about these individuals, and many more, is that today, we can still hear their voices through their writings. Do you want to know what they were taught by the Apostles? Do you want to know what they believed? Do you want to know what they thought the appropriate age for Baptism is? Do you want to know how they were taught to worship God? It is all there. Or, it is all here rather:

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/

Question for you, for anyone? How important is it to you that your faith resembles the faith of these that were taught by the Apostles? Is it important or not important at all? If not, why not? If you found out that they believed something that completely contradicts what you believe, would you be shocked? Would you investigate why they might believe this? Would you consider looking at other Apostalic Fathers and figure out if that particular belief was shared? Would you be willing to change your belief to match theirs?

God bless...

113 comments:

triednotfried said...

Ok, I'll start:

"I am always shocked to hear about someone who is not Catholic, yet they know about the Apostalic and Church Fathers."

Hey, we're people too! ;-)

Beginning with Martyr... I'm reading an extremely long article right now, some of which I will leave here... I will come back Carlus and answer your questions.
"We get a glimpse of what that early liturgy was like in the writings of Justin Martyr. “On the day named after the sun,” says Justin, “all who live in city or countryside assemble.” He then draws the following picture of a Christian liturgy in Rome around A.D. 150.

After the prayers the people greeted each other with a kiss. Then they celebrated the Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper. Along with other offerings, the people brought bread and a cup of wine mixed with water to the presider. The presider took the gifts and offered prayer “glorifying the Father of the universe through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” uttering “a lengthy thanksgiving [Eucharist] because the Father has judged us worthy of these gifts.” After the people had assented with an “Amen,” the deacons distributed the gifts.
An important thing to note in this liturgy is that it had two main parts—the service of the Word and the service of the Lord’s Supper—and that the intercessory prayers formed a bridge between the two. The church (except for certain sects) followed this liturgical structure in all times and at all places until 1525.
Equally important in the liturgy described by Justin is the absence of division between clergy and people. The extent to which Justin refers to the people as the subject or object of the actions is striking: we pray, we eat, we greet one another, we say “Amen,” the presider exhorts us. The liturgy belonged to the people.

triednotfried said...

Cont.

"How did these early Christians view the Lord’s Supper? As the Greek word itself suggests (eucharisteo = give thanks), the overarching context was one of thanksgiving to God for creation and redemption. But the eucharist was more than thanksgiving. It was also an act offellowship, an offering (in fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy of the pure offering of the Gentiles—Mai. 1:10-12), and a memorial, a remembrance of Christ’s passion.
Giving thanks, fellowshipping, presenting an offering, and doing in memorial— all these are elements of devotion we address to God. But Justin also saw the eucharist as God's gracious act toward us. We are nourished and transformed by the eating and drinking, for “through the word of prayer that comes from him, the food over which the eucharist has been spoken becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus.”
Later Developments
The liturgy as the Reformers knew it in central Europe of the early sixteenth-century was profoundly different from this second-century liturgy described by Justin. The enduring structure of Word and sacrament was still there. But across the intervening centuries the liturgy as a whole had been radically altered.
The difference in how the liturgy looked, how it sounded, and how it was done would have struck one first. The people no longer spoke; priests and choir alone voiced words. The people no longer understood what the presider said; Latin had remained in the liturgy even when the people no longer understood a word of it. The prayers were no longer “of the people”; instead they were recited inaudibly by the priest. Sermons had all but disappeared. And the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper were now rarely shared with the people.
To these and many other such practices and abuses, the Reformers reacted intensely. They recognized that the liturgy, which in the early church had given equal position to Word and sacrament, now placed almost total emphasis on its eucharistic component. The first half of the liturgy (the service of the Word) had lost its independent significance and was understood merely as preparation for the eucharist.
The eucharist too was understood and experienced in a far different way than it had once been. Gradually, over the years, people began to believe that liturgy was something the clergy did on behalf of the people. And at the heart of what God had assigned the clergy to do was celebrate the sacraments—especially the sacrament of the eucharist.
By the time of the Reformation the church came to think of a sacrament as something that both symbolized and conveyed a gift of divine grace. That is to say,in the Lord’s Supper the bread and the wine effected the grace— not God by way of the bread and wine, but the bread and wine themselves. The priest was thus a dispenser of grace.
The church went on to say that once the bread and wine had been consecrated by the priest, these elements actually became the body and blood of Christ. The bread and wine were “transubstantiated.” So, gradually the sacrament came to be viewed not only as a memorial of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross but also as a “propitiatory sacrifice” in which God’s favor could be secured.
What did all this mean for the layperson? If we keep in mind the insistence that the bread and wine are transubstantiated into Christ’s body and blood, so that Christ becomes bodily present, the answer will not be hard to guess: adoration. Adoration of the Christ who is bodily present under the appearance of bread and wine became for the laity the central worship act."

triednotfried said...

cont.

"If we put all these features together, what leaps to the eye is that the medieval church had a liturgy in which, to an extraordinary degree, God’s actions were lost from view. The actions were all the people’s. The priest addresses God. The priest brings about Christ’s bodily presence, and the laypeople adore Christ under the bread-like and winelike appearances. When they receive the consecrated bread from the hands of the priest the people are infused with grace.
The Reformers rejected the sole emphasis on the Lord’s Supper, working to regain the balance between Word and sacrament…
The great Catholic liturgical scholar J. A. Jungmann puts it like this: “Hearing Mass was reduced to a matter of securing favors from God.”

Sorry this is so long... but it's very important IMO.

D.L. said...

How important is it to you that your faith resembles the faith of these that were taught by the Apostles?

I'm more concerned that my fith resembles that of the Apostles themselves, however I have read a lot about the history of the early church.

Is it important or not important at all? If not, why not?

It would be only as important as their faith was the same as the apostles', as recorded in scripture.

If you found out that they believed something that completely contradicts what you believe, would you be shocked?

Probably not, but it would cause me to examine scripture to wee if we might both be wrong.

Would you investigate why they might believe this?

To see if they adhered to the doctrine of the apostles themselves. For exsmplr - in the matter of justification by faith.

Would you consider looking at other Apostalic Fathers and figure out if that particular belief was shared?

Not particularly.

Would you be willing to change your belief to match theirs?

I would be willing to change my belief if I was not in line with scripture. If theirs was in line and mine was not, I would still align my belief with scripture. If the change matched theirs, it would be as a secondary result.

thekrywickis said...

Carlus, I think that many protestants don't know about the church fathers because we typically only study the men that were in the Bible. Do I think there is merit in studying men like Justin Martyr? Of course. Do I think that a Christian (Catholic or non-Catholic) needs to study them in order to have a full understanding of what Christianity is? No. To me, it's kind of like saying you would have to study every President in the history of the U.S. to understand the presidency. Is it important to study past presidents? Of course! But you can still understand who the President is and what he does without going through all the history.

This is not to discount history at all. However, my question to you is this; isn't Paul more a founding father of the church than any of these men? I'm not saying they aren't founding fathers. In fact, I don't know the timelines for all of them, but I do know that Justin lived and died after Paul.

I would answer your questions very similarly to the way DL answered them. For me, the only one thing that truly matters is that we have and understanding of the work of the cross. God made it pretty clear that whatever age we are baptized, whether the juice and bread turn into his true blood and body, whether we pray to saints or not, none of that has any bearing on whether we will get into Heaven.

So, do I think our church history is important? Of course. But it is far overshadowed by the importance of the divinely inspired words that are in the Bible.

Deb, I tried to read all of your posts before I posted, but I didn't get all the way through yet. Time constraints. :-)

Carlus Henry said...

triednotfried,

Hey, we're people too! ;-)

I can see how that statement could be taken wrong....my apologies if I offended....

Beginning with Martyr...

I am sure that I have left plenty of links to Justin on my blog, but just in case you are interested in reading his Apologies, here they are:

First Apology
Second Apology

The quotes from the article seem to come from the First Apology....Ch 65.

An important thing to note in this liturgy is that it had two main parts—the service of the Word and the service of the Lord’s Supper—and that the intercessory prayers formed a bridge between the two. The church (except for certain sects) followed this liturgical structure in all times and at all places until 1525.

??? Actually, this is exactly the same way that the Catholic Church performs the Liturgy today. Liturgy of the Word (where we read Holy Scriptures), then Liturgy of the Eucharist (Holy Communion). As a matter of fact, when I first read Justin, I was amazed that the liturgy that he descibes is the Mass of the Catholic Church...almost verbatum.

Equally important in the liturgy described by Justin is the absence of division between clergy and people.

I am not entirely sure of the point that the author is trying to make here, but clearly, when Justin refers to the deacons, he is showing that there is a distinction between clergy and the people.

I do agree with the author that the Liturgy is performed by the people. I am pretty sure that is what liturgy actually means. It is the work of the people it is in essence, what the people do.

he overarching context was one of thanksgiving to God for creation and redemption.

yes, yes....

But the eucharist was more than thanksgiving. It was also an act offellowship, an offering (in fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy of the pure offering of the Gentiles—Mai. 1:10-12)

Yes, Yes....tying it to Malachi...

and a memorial, a remembrance of Christ’s passion.

Yes, indeed...

But Justin also saw the eucharist as God's gracious act toward us. We are nourished and transformed by the eating and drinking, for “through the word of prayer that comes from him, the food over which the eucharist has been spoken becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus.”

YES!!!...and then the author goes on to suggest the Mass became foreign because of the Latin language barrier.

I can see the argument here. I would have found it more difficult to become Catholic back in the 50's when it was still in Latin. However, what the author is presuming that even though the people did not speak Latin, doesn't necessarily mean that the people didn't understand it.

There are points in the Mass where we may still sing a Latin pharse, "Kyrie eleson". (Not to mention one of my favorite songs "Ubi Carits"). But everyone with a proper catechesis would have known what was being prayed and recited. During religious education, they would have been taught the prayers in Latin.

The church went on to say that once the bread and wine had been consecrated by the priest, these elements actually became the body and blood of Christ. The bread and wine were “transubstantiated.” So, gradually the sacrament came to be viewed not only as a memorial of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross but also as a “propitiatory sacrifice” in which God’s favor could be secured.

How exactly is this new information? Didn't we just see how Justin Martyr viewed it as the literal Body and Blood of Jesus? Let's read it again, from Justin:

through the word of prayer that comes from him, the food over which the eucharist has been spoken becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus.

The author of the article is making it seem as though this was a new invention. Clearly it is not.

Carlus Henry said...

triednotfried,

(continued)

I really don't have much more to say. I just noticed that I ended that comment abruptly....

:)

God bless...

Carlus Henry said...

D.L.,

Straight forward answers...I like it. Sola Scriptura all the way.

I guess my follow up question to you would be context. For instance, baptism. I think that a case can be made that through the Waters of Baptism, Christ regenerates the Soul. In other words, to be born-again, is to be baptized.

Many Non-Catholics would suggest that it is merely a symbolic act and there is not grace that comes through the waters from Christ.

Since both arguments can somehow be interpreted from Scripture, don't you think that it is important to have a better understanding of what they were taught and teaching prior to the canonization of Scripture? Wouldn't it be important to have the same understanding, as oppose to our opinions of what Christ and the Apostles taught through scripture?

Carlus Henry said...

Kara,

Do I think that a Christian (Catholic or non-Catholic) needs to study them in order to have a full understanding of what Christianity is? No.

I would disagree. What we have in today's western society is competing Christian Faiths. We market Jesus like He is a fast food item. "What kind of Jesus do you want today, Regular, Medium, or Super Sized". We treat faith like we treat a menu at a restaurant - give me a little Sola Fide, with a side of predestination and some believer's baptism....

It is very hard to decipher, in today's day and age, true Christianity. What does it look like. My position would be that true Christianity was it's purest during the first 800 years or so of the Church. I think that the closer we get to Christ, the more unadulterated, no holds barred, phenominal truth, pure Christianity we would be familiar with.

That is why it is important to know the Church Fathers. It is that old phrase, if you don't know your history you are doomed to repeat it.

This is not to discount history at all. However, my question to you is this; isn't Paul more a founding father of the church than any of these men?

Amen!!! Definitely. So here is the rub, we have so many of Paul's writings in the New Testament, but everyone is interpreting them differently. I think that by studying the Early Church, we can have a better idea of the context of the teachings and what was actually taught. If anything, they help to give us a better understanding of the Apostles and of Christ.

In fact, I don't know the timelines for all of them, but I do know that Justin lived and died after Paul.

I am not entirely sure of all of the contemporaries of the Apostles, but I do know that at least the following men were alive during the Apostles...

Clement of Rome
Polycarp
Ignatius of Antioch

Regarding Justin Martyr. He was born 100A.D. That is only 10 years or so after the death of the last Apostle.

Carlus Henry said...

Kara

(continued)

For me, the only one thing that truly matters is that we have and understanding of the work of the cross.

Exactly. The understanding is the point that is important to me as well. It is the understanding of the redemptive work and total submission of my life to Christ. But that brings up a whole host of questions. In order to submit your life to Christ you have to know what He said to do. In order to be the best soldier you can be, you have to do whatever your commander-in-chief says, right? I want to know what THE Commander-In-Chief says to do in order to be a good disciple. History and the Church Fathers help to separate the Gospel from all of the hype today.

God made it pretty clear that whatever age we are baptized, whether the juice and bread turn into his true blood and body, whether we pray to saints or not, none of that has any bearing on whether we will get into Heaven.

...or did He? Did He really say those things, or is this something that we have been taught that is not founded on Divine Revelation, let alone Holy Scriptures....

I think that we are called to be obedient to God. But in order to be obedient to God, we have to know our instructions. We have to understand the things that He told us to do. "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you will not have any life within you"..."unless a man is born of water and of spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven"...what does this all mean....? Problem is you can go to 10 different churches and get 25 different answers.

So, do I think our church history is important? Of course. But it is far overshadowed by the importance of the divinely inspired words that are in the Bible.

Instead of pitting one against the other, I like to think that it is all part of the complete deposit of faith. The two shall never contradict. The teachings are divine, whether they come from the Scriptures or from the Church. The Scriptures were selected according to what they were already taught - Sacred Tradition.

I love this stuff...I wish I had more time...but life is getting me too....sorry for the delay.

God bless...

triednotfried said...

No offense Carlus, winks are just pure harassment.... friendly harassment mind you.. =)

I'll look at what you have here, I've been reading so much lately I really couldn't tell you if i've seen this yet...

Kara: I tried to get shave it down a bit... it is a huge piece of reading.... hope ur feeling better!

thekrywickis said...

Carlus, how do you fit Eph. 2:8-9 into your reasoning?

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast."

thekrywickis said...

Deb, I'm feeling much better! We had a confirmed swine flu at work and I was really nervous I had it. Turns out I just have a cold.

This stuff makes my head spin!

Carlus Henry said...

Kara,

Swine flu??? Wow!!! Glad you are okay....

Carlus, how do you fit Eph. 2:8-9 into your reasoning?

What part of my reasoning, specifically?

My initial thought, and of course, I am going on nothing but purely what I take from this verse, not necessarily in the context that you may have meant it.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.

Paul is talking here about salvation in the past tense. you have been saved...However, we know that at other times Paul talks about salvation in the present tense (1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12) and he talks about it in the future sense (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15).

What in particular did I say that made you reference this passage?

Thanks and God Bless...

Carlus Henry said...

Kara,

I seemed to have erased too much...

It is all by God's Grace. Everything is by God's Grace. It is by God's Grace that I work up this morning. It is by God's Grace that I am not locked up in prison or drugged out on the corner...

It is also by God's Grace that I get to share my faith with people that I meet online. We all can choose to cooperate with God's Grace, or we can choose to deny and work against it.

thekrywickis said...

Carlus,

"God made it pretty clear that whatever age we are baptized, whether the juice and bread turn into his true blood and body, whether we pray to saints or not, none of that has any bearing on whether we will get into Heaven.

...or did He? Did He really say those things, or is this something that we have been taught that is not founded on Divine Revelation, let alone Holy Scriptures...."

I was referring to this. The first paragraph is mine, the second is your response. I was basing my comment on those verses. All the things I mentioned would be "works". So I guess I'm asking, how does that fit with what you were saying?

Maybe this is more to the point; are you saying that before you converted to Catholicism that you were not truly saved? Are you saying that one has to be physically baptized by water to be saved? Take communion to be saved? What about people that don't have those options? What about a baby that is born and dies within minutes? You see where I'm going with this?

Carlus Henry said...

Kara,

Okay...thanks for the clarification...

All the things I mentioned would be "works". So I guess I'm asking, how does that fit with what you were saying?

I would not fit those items into the category of works. Especially with the negative connotation that works has in most Protestant circles. The things that you described, communion, baptism..etc...are not works of men, they are Acts of God. God is the one, specifically Jesus, who performs the Sacraments. Jesus is the one that is doing the Baptism, Jesus is the one that is changing the elements to His Body and Blood. No man can take credit for such a thing. Priests do not take credit for those things. Jesus is the One. No, they are not works of men.

Jesus told us to do it. He told us to be baptized or we will not see the Kingdom of Heaven. He told us to eat His Flesh and Blood or we will not have life within us. These are not my words, it is His. This is just to further show you that they are not mere works, they are instituted by Our Lord and Savior. What do followers of Christ do? Whatever Christ says to.

Maybe this is more to the point; are you saying that before you converted to Catholicism that you were not truly saved?

No. That is not what I am saying at all. I believe that I was saved before becoming Catholic.

Are you saying that one has to be physically baptized by water to be saved?

Not me, Christ. We all are born of Adam. We have to be reborn, regenerated in Christ. The way to do that is through the waters of baptism. That is the normal means.

What about a baby that is born and dies within minutes? What about people that don't have those options?

Or the person who does not have an opportunity to be baptized...like the thief on the Cross, or a recent convert to the faith and never have a chance to be baptized? We believe that they are baptized by the baptism of desire. We would say someone who dies for the faith is baptized by blood.

Now what about the Christian who just adamantly refuses to be obedient to Christ and get baptized, even though they have all of the opportunity in the world...well, I commit their soul to Christ's mercy.

I hope that this is making my position more clear.

Belteshazzar Mouse said...

Wow, great stuff!

I would like to add one simple comment to clarify the baptism comments below.

Catholics use the phrases baptism of blood, baptism of desire and baptism of water as ways of understanding that God does not penalize us for not "going through the motions". They are all the "one baptism" we declare in our creed - the one and the same baptism. This recognizes fully that this is a singular act of God as baptizer and not a work of man.

That being said, Catholics understand the _command_ to baptize and the importance of the community involved in baptism (I see Romans 1:12, among others, is important here). Baptism, like any sacrament, is a celebration of what is _already accomplished by God_. Catholics also believe that the sacrament is an effective act and word, in other words, a necessary outward sign of the grace God is giving. There is something important to our human condition that makes the word and the act important and real to us and to our community.

For those not able to partake in the baptism by water, God knows the inward sign (desire, faith).

D.L. said...

"I think that a case can be made that through the Waters of Baptism, Christ regenerates the Soul. In other words, to be born-again, is to be baptized."

Probabaly can, but not from scripture.

Carlus Henry said...

D.L.,

Probabaly can, but not from scripture.

Sure I can...but thanks for illustrating the problem with Sola Scriptura. You read Scripture and believe it to say one thing. I read scripture and believe it to say something else. If we compare my understanding of Baptism, with the Church Fathers understanding of Baptism, do you think that your understanding would be more or less like theirs? Shouldn't it be? Remember, these are the guys who were taught by the Apostles. These are the guys that we relied upon in order to help determine the canon of Scripture....

Do you see why it might be important to have a beter understanding of what the Early Church thought?

thekrywickis said...

"We believe that they are baptized by the baptism of desire. We would say someone who dies for the faith is baptized by blood."

"Catholics use the phrases baptism of blood, baptism of desire and baptism of water as ways of understanding that God does not penalize us for not "going through the motions". They are all the "one baptism" we declare in our creed - the one and the same baptism. This recognizes fully that this is a singular act of God as baptizer and not a work of man."

Carlus and Belteshazzar, can you please support these thoughts with scripture?

D.L. said...

The only water baptism referred to in scripture is the baptism of those who believe. My belief needs to agree with scripture. If in agreeing with scripture I happen to be in agreement with a mortal human being, that's OK. That's it. Period. End of discussion.

Paul and Christy said...

Kara,

In response to your Eph 2 reference you stopped one verse to early. v.10 tells us 1"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for GOOD WORKS, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."

We cannot boast, but we can cooperate, and that cooperating shows our faith.

D.L.,

It would have been impossible for all theology to be based on something that did not exist, since the NT wasn't in existence until around 400.

The Teaching given to the Apostles by Jesus is what the Church taught from. As situations warranted, the epistles were written. These letters, which now comprise the NT, derived their authority from the teaching of the Apostles, or Sacred Tradition, not the other way around.

pb

Carlus Henry said...

D.L.,

The only water baptism referred to in scripture is the baptism of those who believe. My belief needs to agree with scripture.

Your belief needs to agree with what Christ taught. It is altogether possible for you or me to read something into scripture that is not there at all. For many reasons, we have the ability to misunderstand the teachings of Scripture.

With that in mind, that is why I believe that it is important to have a good understanding of what the Apostles taught, not only in Scripture, but also what the taught to their followers, and the followers after them. We can get a glimpse of this by reading their writings as well, which further illuminates what Scripture truly mean. After all, it was these gentleman, and their legacy, that helped to distinguish what should be in the canon of the New Testament. What did they rely on? The teachings as they received it from those who received it from Christ....

Carlus Henry said...

Kara,

Carlus and Belteshazzar, can you please support these thoughts with scripture?

Jesus Himself declared that unless a man is born again of water and spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. That is why when He ascended into Heaven, he told the Apostles to preach and baptize. Notice He didn't say to preach and write it all down for the generations to come because all they are going to rely upon is Scripture. No...he said preach and baptize.

That is why in Acts, when people are coming to the faith, the first thing that the Apostles do is baptize them. That is how pivotal and important it is.

However, we see Jesus' mercy on the Thief of the Cross. Now of course it is not known if this man was ever baptized or not, but let us assume that he wasn't. If he was not, then Christ is showing mercy on who he wants to show mercy to. He is God and He can do that. Now, do you think that if there was the opportunity for the thief to be baptized that he would have been? Of course he would have. However, since there was not an opportunity for baptism, and God is God, He is showing mercy.

After the New Testament, Christians everywhere started to die for the faith. Rome's persecution of Christians was pretty evil. There are those who were martyred for the faith, before they had a chance to be baptized. There was not an opportunity for baptism. Do you think that God would extend His mercy to those that didn't have the opportunity similarly to the thief on the cross? I would say yes. If He can forgive and show mercy on a sinner like me, how much more so will He extend mercy to someone who dies for the faith.

Question for you...

With all of the competing religions marketing their own brand of Jesus, do you now see why it may be of value to listen to the Early Church and what they believed about the Christian faith?

Do you now understand how the Eucharist and Baptism are not works of Men, but they are Works of God (and they are definitely not works of the law)?

D.L. said...

A careful exegesis of "born of water and the spirit" and the examination of the context of scripture, OT and NT, concerning "water" and new birth, suggests that saying dogmatically that it refers to water baptism might be premature.

In Acts (Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12,36,37; Acts 10:43,44,47) baptism seems to have been for those who had already believed and thus were already saved, since our belief in Christ determines our eternal destiny (John 3:18), in Jesus own words.

In Ezekiel 36:25, God made this promise to Israel about a new covenant. He said, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all you idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances or my commandments.”

Being who he ws, Nicodemus probably knew exactly what Jesus was talking about in His reference to "water". Titus 3:5 echoes the inner "washing of regeneration".

Weston said...

Jesus Himself declared that unless a man is born again of water and spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. That is why when He ascended into Heaven, he told the Apostles to preach and baptize.

I tend to agree with this article and this article when they state that when Jesus talks about water in John 3:5, there is no evidence to say that He is speaking specifically about the practice of literal baptism, but rather a figurative washing or cleansing spoken of in Ezekiel 36:24-26. Especially in light of John 4:1-2 which states that Jesus himself did not baptise.

Additionally, since the Bible states that Jesus did not baptise, only His disciples did, wouldn't this indicate that baptism is not a work of God, but rather a work of man?

Notice He didn't say to preach and write it all down for the generations to come because all they are going to rely upon is Scripture. No...he said preach and baptize.

In my mind, the written word is just a different avenue for preaching, one that is more resistant to distortion and the effects of time.

thekrywickis said...

Carlus, you still haven't really supported this argument with scripture. You see, I believe that when Jesus told the Apostles to baptize, he didn't necessary and physical water baptism. I think he meant more than that. You said this:

"We all are born of Adam. We have to be reborn, regenerated in Christ. The way to do that is through the waters of baptism. That is the normal means."

I strongly disagree... it is the baptism of the HOLY SPIRIT, not of water that saves us. There are numerous times in the NT that baptism is mentioned, many times where John the Baptist says (paraphrasing) I've baptized you with water, but the Holy Spirit is the one that will baptize you with fire. In fact, in Matthew 3:11, John says "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
This leads me to believe that the more important, or the baptism that matters, is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Which is a work of God, yes. However, physically getting dunked into water (or sprinkled on, or whatever), that is a work of man.

As I said before, I believe church history is extremely important. BUT, I don't see where you can prove to me that these four men were actually in the physical presence of the Apostles and therefore were specifically taught by them any differently than we are. Most of them lived after the Apostles EXCEPT for Ignatius of Antioch who was POSSIBLY a student of John the baptist, but that has not been proven. So, I say again, is it important to study them? Of course. I love history and it's important in every aspect of life. HOWEVER, I'm not going to change my mind JUST because I learn that one of these men believe differently than I. Will I study it, try to understand it? Certainly.

D.L. said...

I reckon Wes and Kara have some powerful points from the scripture side of the house on this one. Wes, those articles you mentioned are a couple of keepers, for sure!

Carlus Henry said...

D.L.,

A careful exegesis of "born of water and the spirit" and the examination of the context of scripture,

Context of scripture....? This interchange between Jesus and Nicodemus occurs in John 3:1-21...

The context of this passage is that in John 3:22, it shows Jesus and His discipled doing what????? Baptizing.... Is this something that is completely ironic....or is it something that John is building the context around?

In Acts (Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12,36,37; Acts 10:43,44,47) baptism seems to have been for those who had already believed and thus were already saved, since our belief in Christ determines our eternal destiny (John 3:18), in Jesus own words.

Now I think that you are reading into scripture. Our faith does start with our belief, but does it end there? No. I would submit that our faith begins there....and it is followed by obedience. In order to be a follower of Christ, I have to do more than just admit that He is Lord. I have to be obedient to what he says to do. He says that we need to be baptized....we need to do it.

You cannot create a false dichotomy between faith and obedience. They are completely intertwined....John 3:36

Some translations say "whoever rejects the Son of God...." What is really said is "whoever disobey's the Son of God"

Kittel, a Protestant reference work, clearly defines apeitheo to mean "to be disobedient." The word belief has the element of obedience wrapped in its arms and the opposite of biblical belief is disobedience.(Kittel [Gerhard Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the NewTestament Eerdmans, 1968] )John 3:16 and Eternal Security...and this is a Protestant.

Being who he ws, Nicodemus probably knew exactly what Jesus was talking about in His reference to "water".

What??? Maybe we are not reading the same Scripture, but clearly Nicodemus had no idea what Jesus was talking about


Titus 3:5 echoes the inner "washing of regeneration".

Do you see how you have to interject the word "inner" into this. There is no "inner" anywhere within that verse. You are attempting to use that verse to complement your own understanding.

Carlus Henry said...

Wes...

there is no evidence to say that He is speaking specifically about the practice of literal baptism, but rather a figurative washing or cleansing spoken of in Ezekiel 36:24-26.

What??? All of the evidence is clearly there in Scripture. Not only that, but it is completely supported by history of OUR faith...yours and mine. Even Luther accepted it....Today, most Protestants accept Baptism as a Sacrament....

Especially in light of John 4:1-2 which states that Jesus himself did not baptise.

What???? Are we not reading the same Bible. Doesn't it state that Jesus baptized John 3:22....

Additionally, since the Bible states that Jesus did not baptise, only His disciples did, wouldn't this indicate that baptism is not a work of God, but rather a work of man?

See John 3:22...

In my mind, the written word is just a different avenue for preaching, one that is more resistant to distortion and the effects of time.

Over 30,000 different denominations in the world who all believe in Scripture Alone is evidence of otherwise...don't you think? Seriously....I would love to hear if the written word is less vulnerable to distortion, then why is Protestantism so fractured?

Belteshazzar Mouse said...

"Carlus and Belteshazzar, can you please support these thoughts with scripture?"

I guess I am confused, as I am defining baptism of blood and baptism of desire, which was a response to the question "What about people that don't have those options? What about a baby that is born and dies within minutes?"

What needs support in this paragraph? I just want to fully answer this question and not miss something that has not already been sited here. I believe we agree that Jesus commanded we baptize (Matthew 28:18-20). I stated in my paragraph that Catholics believe that this is completely a work of God and I do not think we disagree there. I also believe that we agree that the people that do not have the option to be baptized by water are not left hanging. I can provide scriptural support if I know where the disagreement lies.

Weston said...

Hmm, is this a contradiction? Same book even.

John 3:22
After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized.

John 4:1-2
The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, [2] although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.

---

I didn't mean to say that Jesus didn't support baptism, I was saying that in that particular verse He was not referring to baptism, meaning that physical baptism with real water is not a condition for salvation.

Over 30,000 different denominations in the world who all believe in Scripture Alone is evidence of otherwise...don't you think? Seriously....I would love to hear if the written word is less vulnerable to distortion, then why is Protestantism so fractured?

I said more resistant to distortion, not "distortion proof". Imagine how crazy things would be if all we had was an oral tradition passed down like a big game of 'Telephone'.

D.L. said...

Well Sir, Scripture comes down on the side of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, not a sprinkle, shower, or dunk. All the examples I see in the Bible have believers being baptized, which must mean that they had already been regenerated. See the problem here, pardner?

"I would love to hear if the written word is less vulnerable to distortion, then why is Protestantism so fractured?"

There you go, trying to make this this a Catholic/Protestant thing. The only thing I have to say about that is that the Catholic Church isn't as unified as you want us to believe, and that the Protestant Church is not as 'fractured' as you make it out to be.

thekrywickis said...

Carlus,

"Over 30,000 different denominations in the world who all believe in Scripture Alone is evidence of otherwise...don't you think? Seriously....I would love to hear if the written word is less vulnerable to distortion, then why is Protestantism so fractured?"

So then how is it that the writings of Justin, et.al. are going to help us understand scripture any better? They are writings as well. I'm sure 30,000 different denominations could read the 1st and 2nd Apologies and get something different out of those than the Catholic church as well.

Question to everyone... what was the original Greek/Hebrew word used for baptism in the verses that have been mentioned? That might be a key. Deb, you here? I have a feeling you might know the answer.

thekrywickis said...

Belteshazzaar -

I was asking if you and Carlus could provide scriptural support for the concepts of baptism of desire or baptism of blood. I don't see it mentioned anywhere in scripture.

triednotfried said...

Hi Kara: The word "baptism" is a transliteration of the Greek word "baptisma", and that word stems from a Greek verb "bapto". The word meant to dip, to dye or to change the identification of... When a piece of cloth was "bapto" into a vat of dye, the identification was changed. That is the root meaning of the word.

The actual rite of baptism was always a ritual in the Jewish culture. Ceremonial washings of the priests and dipping the temple utensils into water was actually part of the law. An example being a priest was "baptized" into his office and was used to identify the priest in his position.

AND, even tho it looks like John 3:22 and John 4:1-2 contradict they do not. John says that Jesus and his disciples were in the land of Judea, and that they (the disciples) were baptizing (if you look at the language)... in John 4 it is filling in the details of the statement.... there is no contradiction.

Carlus Henry said...

triednotfried,

AND, even tho it looks like John 3:22 and John 4:1-2 contradict they do not. John says that Jesus and his disciples were in the land of Judea, and that they (the disciples) were baptizing (if you look at the language)... in John 4 it is filling in the details of the statement.... there is no contradiction.

Not to take us too far off topic, but with the limited amount of research that I have done, the scholars that I seem to happen upon all say that there is not anything absolutely conclusive regarding whether or not Jesus baptized. Some report that He did baptize, others report that He didn't, and some are saying that it is just difficult to tell if He did or not.

Also, when you mentioned

(if you look at the language)...

to what are you referring specifically?

D.L. said...

We know that Jesus didn't baptize folks at least where it specifically says in the bible He didn't, but His disciples did. Just because it doesn't say in the Bible that "Jesus never performed a baptism on anybody", in no way allows us to make up something like the act of baptism saves somebody.That sounds like you're tring to say somethin' IS that really AIN'T in the bible. Now who would be silly enough to do that?

Carlus Henry said...

Sorry to all that I haven't responded to...but this is just low hanging fruit, that begs a response...

D.L.,

We know that Jesus didn't baptize folks at least where it specifically says in the bible He didn't, but His disciples did.

We know? We know conclusively beyond the shadow of a doubt? I do not think that there is a unanimous position on this at all.

Just because it doesn't say in the Bible that "Jesus never performed a baptism on anybody", in no way allows us to make up something like the act of baptism saves somebody.

I am not even sure I understand this statement. It is the double negative thing that is tripping me up.

I am not making up the act of baptism saves someone. In addition to the words of our Savior in John 3, you will also find in 1 Peter:

and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge[a] of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.1 Peter 3:21-22

God bless...

thekrywickis said...

"The word "baptism" is a transliteration of the Greek word "baptisma", and that word stems from a Greek verb "bapto". The word meant to dip, to dye or to change the identification of... When a piece of cloth was "bapto" into a vat of dye, the identification was changed. That is the root meaning of the word."

Thanks for that Deb. There are many verses in the Bible that refer to us being a new Christian in Christ after our baptism in the Holy Spirit which comes when we accept and believe in the work of the cross. My opinion has still not been swayed that the only baptism that matters to our salvation is the one of the Holy Spirit.

All that being said... when I attended Word of Life Bible Institute, I was baptized on a visit home with all my family around. I do believe we should be baptized after we've accepted Christ as a showing of our commitment to Him. However, it's like a marriage ceremony. You can go through a marriage ceremony and still not be married. Sure, maybe legally you are married, but it could end there. True marriage is more than that. It's an ongoing relationship that you nurture on a daily basis. You go through the ceremony to proclaim your love to each other and have your friends and family witness it. I've always thought of baptism as the same thing. We should physically be baptized, yes. But it's simply showing the world "I choose Christ". Someone could be baptized by water and not be baptized by the Holy Spirit. Someone could be baptized by the Holy Spirit and not be baptized by water. I ask you then, which one is truly saved? The answer is obvious.

thekrywickis said...

"and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge[a] of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.1 Peter 3:21-22"

Yes Carlus, SYMBOLIZES. It's symbolizing your actual baptism that's from the Holy Spirit. Just like your wedding ring symbolizes your marriage. It's a symbol of something far greater. To me, you just made MY point.

Carlus Henry said...

Kara,

You see, I believe that when Jesus told the Apostles to baptize, he didn't necessary and physical water baptism. I think he meant more than that.

Are you talking about the Great Commission, where Jesus told the Apostles to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit? You don't think that Jesus meant physical water baptism?

Carlus, you still haven't really supported this argument with scripture.

Are you saying that I didn't support my position from Scripture because I didn't cite my scripture references in my response?

I strongly disagree... it is the baptism of the HOLY SPIRIT, not of water that saves us.

Your confusion on my position on this one is my fault. You are approaching baptism as if it is was a mere ritual outward expression. I am approaching baptism like it is an act of God. Christ is the one who is involved when someone is baptized. Through the waters of baptism, you are receiving the Grace of Christ. You are, in fact, being baptized by the Holy Spirit. It is like Paul said:

one Lord, one faith and one baptismEph 4:5

John says "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
This leads me to believe that the more important, or the baptism that matters, is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Which is a work of God, yes. However, physically getting dunked into water (or sprinkled on, or whatever), that is a work of man.


You are creating a separation of the two that does not need to exist. Physically dunked in the water, imparts grace. Most Protestant theologians would still consider it a sacrament. Even the Reformed theologian Charles Hodges would say so. Christ is the one that is baptizing, therefore it is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

As I said before, I believe church history is extremely important. BUT, I don't see where you can prove to me that these four men were actually in the physical presence of the Apostles

This, I don't have to prove, it is a matter of history who was in the prescence of the Apostles and who wasn't.

and therefore were specifically taught by them any differently than we are.

Of course we are taught differently than we are. Tell me, how many different churches there were during the time of these four men? One. How many different churches are there today? When they worshipped God is it more or less likely that they worshipped the way that the Apostles and Christ set up? When we worship God, is it more or less likely that we are worshipping the way that God intended? Is there anyplace in Scripture that identifies the way to worship? Is there anywhere in Scripture that identifies the appropriate age for baptism? No. Why not? Because that is stuff that they didn't have to write down because they taught through their example. While today, we cannot even come to a concensus on what it takes to be saved, what baptism means, is baptism necessary for salvation, the relationship between faith, works of the law, obedience....Do you still really think that they are not taught any different than us?

Carlus Henry said...

D.L.

Well Sir, Scripture comes down on the side of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, not a sprinkle, shower, or dunk.

Let's be specific. Your interpretation of scripture comes down to this conclusion. My interpretation of Scripture leads me to a different conclusion. There are other Protestants would agree with you. There are Catholics and Protestants who would agree with me. The history of the Church would also agree with me. The History of the Christian faith would also agree with me.

All the examples I see in the Bible have believers being baptized, which must mean that they had already been regenerated. See the problem here, pardner?

I definitely see the problem. You are understanding scripture to your own presupposition that regeneration occurs before physical water baptism. If instead you would allow Scripture to speak for itself, you will see that:

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.Titus 3:4-7

Did you catch it? Washing of Rebirth....what is Paul talking about here? Washing of Rebirth? Rebirth...hmmm....to be re-birth is to be re-born....re-born = Born Again. Ah....I understand it now. Washing...hmmm...washing....when you wash, you use water....ahhh. Waters of being Born again....sounds a little like John 3. Baptism....I got it. Washing of Rebirth is talking about being born again through the waters of baptism....perfect.

Now that is not all that used to save us...He used the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit....hmmmm....sounds like the historical Christian view that baptism does play a role in salvation to me. To say that it is just a sprinkling or a dunking without any effect, just doesn't make sense in the context of this passage....

There you go, trying to make this this a Catholic/Protestant thing.

Hey, don't blame me. Blame Luther. He was the one that pulled out of thin air this idea that anyone carrying a Bible will be led to all truth. Can anyone pick up the Bible and come to a correct understanding of Christianity? No. We are living proof. You think Scriptures support your ideas, I think Scriptures support mine - yet both contradict. What do we do now? Sola Scriptura is completely illogical and doesn't work.

The only thing I have to say about that is that the Catholic Church isn't as unified as you want us to believe, and that the Protestant Church is not as 'fractured' as you make it out to be.

Okay, let's put it to the test. The Catholic Church has, for all intensive purposes...one Pastor. We call him the Bishop of Rome, or the Pope. Who can speak authoritatively for the Protestant Church? Who speaks on behalf of the Protestant Church? Seems pretty fractured to me.

Carlus Henry said...

Kara,

So then how is it that the writings of Justin, et.al. are going to help us understand scripture any better? They are writings as well. I'm sure 30,000 different denominations could read the 1st and 2nd Apologies and get something different out of those than the Catholic church as well.

Great points!!! When non-Catholics willingly choose to ignore the Early Church writings as evidence to how the Early Christians practiced the faith and believed, they neglect a complete body of evidence. Many people believe, like I once did, that the Catholic Church started making up crazy things like prayers for the dead, Sacrifice of the Mass, Christs presence in the Eucharist...Catholics didn't make this stuff up. It has always been a part of the Christian Faith.

Also, it helps to clarify some of the more ambiguous beliefs and practices of the Faith. What did Christians really believe regarding Infant Baptism? I believe a case can be made, on Scripture alone, that we are supposed to baptize infants. It wouldn't be an extremely strong conclusive case, but one can still be made. If you open up one of the Church Fathers or just do the slightest bit of historical study, you will learn that the pagans accused the Early Christians of drowning babies....(since Christianity was illegal, and worship services were hidden, pagans of the time only heard rumors of what Christians actually do when they worship. Drowning babies and practicing cannibalism were two of the main accusations leveled against Christians.) Now, enter this body of evidence and the support for Infant Baptism becomes much more clear if not conclusive.

Carlus Henry said...

Kara,

Yes Carlus, SYMBOLIZES. It's symbolizing your actual baptism that's from the Holy Spirit. Just like your wedding ring symbolizes your marriage. It's a symbol of something far greater. To me, you just made MY point.

Careful....look at the entire context of the passage...

and this water symbolizes baptism

To begin, what is being symbolized? Either this is saying that

A.) Baptism is a symbol of something....or
B.) Something is a symbol of baptism.

Look at the verse before

who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you

Clearly, the entire passage is saying the the waters of the Flood with Noah's Ark, saved only a few people. The water of the Flood symbolizes baptism which now saves you. So the correct intrepretation of this scripture would be B.

The waters of the Flood, which saved a few, symbolizes baptism which now saves you. Do you think that I am misinterpreting this scripture, or do you think that you are?

triednotfried said...

"(if you look at the language)...

to what are you referring specifically?"

Carlus, I wasn't trying to be conclusive, just there are some seemingly contradictive statements in the Word that really aren't. Sometimes it helps to go back to the Greek/Hebrew etc. to see that. By the way, it's good to see your smile.... =)

Carlus Henry said...

triednotfried,

it's good to see your smile....

Awwww shucks...Thanks!!!

thekrywickis said...

Carlus,

"Are you saying that I didn't support my position from Scripture because I didn't cite my scripture references in my response?"

I'm asking you to support with scripture the concepts of baptism of desire and baptism of blood. Like when we talked about the criminal on the cross, babies, and other people that are not able to physically be baptized. Sorry if I wasn't clear before. I would really like an answer to that question.

"This, I don't have to prove, it is a matter of history who was in the prescence of the Apostles and who wasn't."

Is it? I was under the impression that everyone except Ignatius of Antioch lived after the Apostles had died. Am I wrong? I'll do more research on that.

I don't know that we are going to come to agreement on the topic of baptism, but I am enjoying this conversation. I can't respond to all of your last post quite yet, I need to have a little more time to carefully read through everything. However, one thing... are you interpreting the passage you quoted at the end to mean that Noah and his family were baptized by the flood?

I also want to say one other thing. Carlus, I know that the "Protestant" church has many different denominations. I don't know what most of them believe. But, I can pretty much guarantee you that me, Wes, DL, and Deb all go to churches that are different denominations from one another. However, we all seem to be in agreement on things like baptism, the Lord's supper, salvation, etc. The things that caused breaks in churches, at least from what I've studied, were things like preaching style, music style, church governing (i.e. how involved the church members would be in making decisions for the church). I've attended Presbyterian, Lutheran, Bible, Baptist, Christian Reformed, Methodist, Church of God, Charismatic, and an Evangelical Free church. They all had the same resounding message of the Gospel. The differences I saw were small, and normally existed on things that were not confronted directly in scripture. Now, don't get me wrong, there were a few that had beliefs that were way off scripture (like one that believe Jesus is not God). We have one leader just like the Catholic church does, but that leader is God. Not a man. I don't mean to offend you, but I've always thought the Catholic church has tried to scare regular people like you and me away from studying scripture. It's always struck me as a church where it's more important to listen to the "church fathers" or the Pope, or the Priest, or... whoever, over simply reading scripture. My father-in-law. my mother-in-law, my husband, and many others I know came to a saving knowledge of Jesus CHrist by simply reading the scriptures. So, I say again, do you need to read the work of these 4 men to fully understand the work of the cross? No.

Whew, okay... I'm off my soapbox. Carlus, I respect you, and your opinions, but I also know that I'm saved and I know that I have a great understanding of the scriptures as well.

Carlus Henry said...

Kara,

We have one leader just like the Catholic church does, but that leader is God. Not a man.

I respect you too, and I am enjoying our conversation as well. However, it would appear, on the surface anyways, that you may be insinuating that I do not believe that God is the head of my church. Or, you don't believe that God is the head of my Church. Of course I believe that God is the head of my church.

Just like you, my church has one pastor. The pastor of my Church is the Pope. The point that I am making is that there is no visible unity among the Protestant Churches. And let's be honest, there is not a such thing as the Pastor of the Protestant Church. Who speaks on behalf of all Protestants? For this reason, the Protestant Church is fractured. And yes, it is a bit more complicated than just music and ministerial style that caused the separation between all of the churches. There is a great book that goes into more detail called "Seperated Brethren". Please don't get offended by the title. It just goes into detail on how many of the more prominent Non-Catholic denominations were started and what theological differences caused the split (Eucharist, Baptism, Trinity, Divinity of Christ...etc..etc)

I'm asking you to support with scripture the concepts of baptism of desire and baptism of blood. Like when we talked about the criminal on the cross, babies, and other people that are not able to physically be baptized. Sorry if I wasn't clear before. I would really like an answer to that question.

I think that I already stated that I would have a hard time to definitively show in Scripture the concept of baptizing babies. At most, we hear of whole households being baptized, but beyond that, I do not believe that it can be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt. In order for something to be believed, does it have to be explicity stated in Scripture? If so, can you please show me in Scripture where it says that? As a matter of fact, can you please show me in Scripture where Scripture is identified - a divine table of contents, if you will? I am not trying to be obnoxious...I am more trying to make a point.

Is it? I was under the impression that everyone except Ignatius of Antioch lived after the Apostles had died. Am I wrong? I'll do more research on that.

Yes. Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, and Polycarp are all examples of people who learned at the feet of the Apostles.

However, one thing... are you interpreting the passage you quoted at the end to mean that Noah and his family were baptized by the flood?

No. I am sharing what Paul is saying. Just like the few were saved in the waters of the flood, you are now saved by the waters of baptism. The waters of the flood, symbolizes baptism.

I've attended Presbyterian, Lutheran, Bible, Baptist, Christian Reformed, Methodist, Church of God, Charismatic, and an Evangelical Free church.

hehehe...we have something else in common. I have attended a Baptist, Lutheran, Church of God In Christ, Non-Denominational, Pentecostal and now a Catholic Church. My friend and I have shared similar experiences, and we refer to ourselves as mutts ;-)

D.L. said...

You know, I can't find anywhere that Christ or the Apostles taught that baptism causes regeneration and that is what you are talking about isn't it? It just isn't in the Book.

"It would have been impossible for all theology to be based on something that did not exist, since the NT wasn't in existence until around 400."

Here again I see a pretty low view of God. All of the NT books were written long before 400 A.D., God inspired their writing,and the God I claim to serve is big enough to have the 'canon' of His inspired books in His mind long before prople came along, and big enough to 'inspire' the contents of the canon when it was made official.

So ya see, to say that a bunch of fellas sitting around a table came up with the NT contents all by themsves is just plain silly, unless you've got a religion that's pretty much made up out of stuff not in the Bible.

Weston said...

Who speaks on behalf of all Protestants?

I, for one, am extremely glad that there is no one person who speaks on behalf of my denomination and requires that I believe whatever he decrees. I'll give up the right to think for myself to no man, not even the pastor of my church.

When Jesus died, the veil was torn away and we were granted direct access to God. There's no need to recreate a priesthood exactly like the Jews had. There's no longer a need for a middle-man.

You might ask, what's the purpose of a pastor, then? Simple. You and I, as much as we'd like to, do not have the luxury of studying the Gospel all day, every day; so we enlist the services of someone who can do this for us and teach us what he has discovered. I do not believe there is anything "holy" or "special" about the clergy; they are sinners and in need of grace just like everyone else.

In order for something to be believed, does it have to be explicity stated in Scripture?

You're right; something doesn't need to be explicitly stated in the Bible to be a belief. However, when it crosses the line from belief to mandatory doctrine that is required to be believed; that's where I have problem. Here's an example of what I mean: the CRC denomination that I'm currently a part of generally believes that Revelation is largely allegorical. I do not. This is fine, because they don't really know for sure, any more than I do. Now, the moment they start mandating that, to be a member of the church, my speculation must match their speculation simply because they are somehow more "special" than me, then I will be leaving that church.

I ran into this once when I became a member at a Baptist church. I had been sprinkled as a baby and made confession of faith in my teen years, but because I had not been dunked, I couldn't be a member until that happened. Now, I disagreed with this requirement because, in my view, my confession of faith was my public declaration of my faith, just without the water. I decided to let the issue rest, though, and comply, because declaring my faith publicly a second time really wasn't going to hurt anything, aside from making me go through the fear of standing in front of a bunch of people.

thekrywickis said...

"I respect you too, and I am enjoying our conversation as well. However, it would appear, on the surface anyways, that you may be insinuating that I do not believe that God is the head of my church. Or, you don't believe that God is the head of my Church. Of course I believe that God is the head of my church."

For right now I just want to clear up that I did not mean that God is not the head of your church. However, I do think that God is not the only head of your church, and that's what I have a heard time with.

D.L. said...

Isn't "separated brethren" the current term for those that used to be called lost, damned and cursed because they weren't Catholic?

The best I can figure is that it means, is that even though some true believers in Christ aren't card carryin' Catholics, they really wanna be and would be if they knew the truth about the one true church under the Pope.

Paul and Christy said...

D.L.,

Are you trying to be divisive? Why would you think Catholic’s believe non-Catholics to be “lost, damned, and cursed”? Have any one of us ever said that?

The Catholic Church has taken ALL that Christ has revealed and accepted ALL of it, not just what makes us comfortable. When anyone, Catholic or not, does not accept the fullness of the revealed truth of God, they are separated from the unity of the Church which Christ founded. Truth is truth.

About the NT: God inspired the men to decide on the canon, just as He inspired them to write the books. Of course he had it in His mind. He used specific men to work out His plan. It could have been anyone, but it wasn’t, it was His Church, that He founded, that continues on to this day.

But my point was, you can’t put all of Christian doctrine into the Scriptures. The Trinity isn’t there. Does that make it invalid. No. The Truth was revealed to the Apostles and passed down, and some of it was written down. The Scriptures do no even support that they are the complete revelation of God.

pb

Paul and Christy said...

Wes,

You seem to want to have your own interpretation and to trust that over anything else. Again, truth is truth. Either the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Christ, or it isn’t. It isn’t open to our opinion or if it makes us feel good. If you don’t choose to believe it, that doesn’t make it untrue. My search for truth led me eventually to the Catholic Church. They had the most complete and cohesive answers and the history to support it. The CC is not around to control me, only to remind me of the truth that has been revealed.

pb

Paul and Christy said...

Kara,

If you want Scripture study, the CC is the place you want to be. Every day the Liturgy of the Word at Mass gives you a reading from the OT, Psalms, NT, and epistles. And if you want more, there is the Liturgy of the Hours, which has psalms and scripture readings for morning, mid morning, noon, mid afternoon, evening, and night prayers for every day. These are official books of the CC. I would argue that the CC does more to get the Scriptures read than most other denominations.

You can absolutely come to a saving knowledge of Christ by reading scripture. The CC would not refute that. But go to a daily mass sometime and see how Christ is truly with us in the Liturgy. The most intimate personal connection I have with Christ is when I receive Him in the Eucharist. He fills me with His Grace and gives me strength. That is not what some guy in Rome told me to believe. That is my experience.

pb

D.L. said...

Carlus,

Not a whole lot of interpretating to do with scripture to see that belief came before baptism in all NT examples and that regeneration occurred before baptism. Belief in Christ does not happen without regeneration. Not my interpretation - it's what's in the book. You choose to believe Rome and I go with scripture. Not rocket science that I can tell.

"We know? We know conclusively beyond the shadow of a doubt?"

If the bible says in a specific place that Jesus didn't personally baptize anyone, but his disciples did, I reckon we know. Either that, or the bible lied.

PB,

I'm not trying to be divisive, the Word divides all by itself. None of you have personally said anyhone is cursed and damned to hell, But a little council aways back sure did - over a hundred times.And it's never been cancelled out, just became PC for the CC to calls us something different now.Sounds like we don't know any better but to be misguided Protestants or somethin',but if somebody tells us about the 'real' church we'll just jump on the bandwagon. I guess if we don't, we aren't real believers and are going to hell anyway?

How else am I supposed to see it? Ya'll gotta help me out here. I see why you need the Pope to keep everything straight - it's too confusing for us regular folks!

Paul and Christy said...

D.L. said, "Not a whole lot of interpretating to do with scripture to see that belief came before baptism in all NT examples and that regeneration occurred before baptism"

That's not what Acts 2:38 seems to say
'Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'

So if regeneration is via the HS, this verse, read without a whole lot of interpretation, seems to imply....repentance....baptism...
and then the gift of the HS (regeneration).

Am I reading anything into that?

pb

Carlus Henry said...

Paul...

No...I think you are reading that verse just fine.

Carlus Henry said...

D.L.,

You know, I can't find anywhere that Christ or the Apostles taught that baptism causes regeneration and that is what you are talking about isn't it? It just isn't in the Book.

Seek and you shall find....

I said:
"It would have been impossible for all theology to be based on something that did not exist, since the NT wasn't in existence until around 400."

You said:
Here again I see a pretty low view of God. All of the NT books were written long before 400 A.D., God inspired their writing,and the God I claim to serve is big enough to have the 'canon' of His inspired books in His mind long before prople came along, and big enough to 'inspire' the contents of the canon when it was made official.

Exactly. Now, who did God use in order to make the canon official? Did he talk to anyone person in particular, or did He talk to The Church that He created and whose Spirit He promised would lead men into all areas of truth? History says the Church. What do you say?

So ya see, to say that a bunch of fellas sitting around a table came up with the NT contents all by themsves is just plain silly, unless you've got a religion that's pretty much made up out of stuff not in the Bible.

You are right. I am so glad that is not what I have been saying, whew!!! Who would even think that?

Carlus Henry said...

Kara,

For right now I just want to clear up that I did not mean that God is not the head of your church. However, I do think that God is not the only head of your church, and that's what I have a heard time with.

What do you mean? Don't all churches have a Pastor who is responsible for teaching the Word of God. Doesn't that mean that they are in a leadership position? Doesn't that qualify that God is not the only one that is the head of a church? There are actually other people who are in positions of authority in the church?

Either way, thanks for clearing things up.

Weston said...

You seem to want to have your own interpretation and to trust that over anything else.

You're right. I trust my own judgment. So do you. So does every other human being. In fact, I don't think you can really have it any other way. Don't believe me? Let's say that you put your complete trust in the Bible as ultimate truth, which I assume you do, as do I. In doing so, you have made a personal judgment call. You said, in effect, "I believe that the Bible contains truth." Many people (not I) disagree with that statement. So, wouldn't that be your own interpretation that you trust over anything else?

Again, truth is truth. Either the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Christ, or it isn’t. It isn’t open to our opinion or if it makes us feel good.

I completely agree; truth is truth. There's a right and a wrong answer. But don't confuse absolute truth with an opinion about truth. Ultimately, everything that you know and believe is an opinion about what you think truth is, no matter whether that truth was something you came up with yourself or if it was something that you absorbed from a source that you consider trustworthy. It's not wrong for me to be realistic about this process and acknowledge that, yes, I have certain ideas about what is true and what isn't, and I implicitly trust my own judgment when determining truth. No one else can make that judgment for me unless I make the decision to allow them to.

If you don’t choose to believe it, that doesn’t make it untrue.

Correct. However, the converse is also true; just because you choose to believe something does not make it true.

My search for truth led me eventually to the Catholic Church. They had the most complete and cohesive answers and the history to support it. The CC is not around to control me, only to remind me of the truth that has been revealed.

I'm glad that you've found what you feel is a trustworthy source of truth. I don't feel the same way. That's not to say that the CC does not proclaim truth, simply that I'm not going to implicitly trust it and automatically accept it, like I do with the Bible. Everything that the CC says, or my own church, for that matter, I will have to critically examine in light of the Bible in order to determine whether it is true or not.

To the Catholics here, I have a question. Hypothetically, what if the Pope were to declare tomorrow something that severely disagreed with your understanding of the Bible? Like that abortion is perfectly acceptable, or that God created everything through evolution, or that all Christians should begin offering animal sacrifices? How would you respond to that? Would you automatically accept it because he's the Pope? Or would you substitute your own judgment?

Carlus Henry said...

Weston,

I said:
Who speaks on behalf of all Protestants?

You said:
I, for one, am extremely glad that there is no one person who speaks on behalf of my denomination and requires that I believe whatever he decrees. I'll give up the right to think for myself to no man, not even the pastor of my church.

The point that I was making is that the Protestant Church is fractured. Your response is proof of this. Not only that response but this one as well...

Here's an example of what I mean: the CRC denomination that I'm currently a part of generally believes that Revelation is largely allegorical. I do not....Now, the moment they start mandating that...my speculation must match their speculation...then I will be leaving that church.

Fractured. And this is the real problem. Far be it from even the remotest possibility that they might actually be right. I mean that is not even considerable. They might be right and you might be wrong. No, you would rather up and leave until you find a church that matches your beliefs (or create your own), because of course you must be right.

This also highlights another common thread in Protestantism. You, like most Non-Catholics, don't believe that your church actually teaches the truth. If you did, you would not waver if their belief contradicted yours. You may struggle with it, (because you still retain the ability to think for yourself) but you certainly wouldn't find another church that matched your beliefs.

Either way, you are helping to prove my original point with the Protestant Church is fractured.

You're right; something doesn't need to be explicitly stated in the Bible to be a belief.

Amen!!!

However, when it crosses the line from belief to mandatory doctrine that is required to be believed; that's where I have problem.

Of course. That is only logical. If I believe that God only speaks authoritatively through Scriptures, and I can't find it personally in Scripture, then I would have a problem with it as well. The only problem with this view is the risk that I may be interpreting scriptures incorrectly. I mean, that is definitely a possibility right?

So, question:

1.) How do you know if you are interpreting scriptures correctly or not? What is your guarantee that you are correctly interpreting Scripture?

2.) Do you trust your church to teach you the truth? Do you trust your pastor to teach you the truth? Do you think that you know more than your pastor? I mean after all:

You and I, as much as we'd like to, do not have the luxury of studying the Gospel all day, every day; so we enlist the services of someone who can do this for us and teach us what he has discovered.

...or is he only right until his opinion disagrees with ours?

God bless...

Belteshazzar Mouse said...

I apologize for being so slow to respond. This blog is just too fast for me. 8^)

Baptism of blood and baptism of desire can not be found in the Bible. Just as the word baptism can not - it is a translation. We define baptism to match our understanding of the baptisma. Even a literal translation of baptisma does not match the word baptism used by anyone here on this blog.

I used these words, defined by others, to address a concern laid here, that unbaptised children and persons without the means and knowledge of baptism could not be saved. I asserted neither, so I would ask that Weston provide the sitation of that. (I might site 1 Co 2:9-10, among others, to demonstrate that God is merciful and loving and provides for all.)

I do believe that scripture supports, and Jesus commands, that we baptize. I do believe that God does the baptizing, with Spirit. I believe we celebrate this with our community and, in doing so, it becomes effective. I and others on this blog have sited all these things already.

I find it interesting that it has been demonstrated here that even the non-Catholics here have mentioned the importance of the community and ceremony: "I do believe we should be baptized after we've accepted Christ as a showing of our commitment to Him. However, it's like a marriage ceremony." - (thekrywickis). Yes and Yes. Did you know that that baptism (and all baptisms done anywhere by anyone in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is recognized as the same baptism Catholics celebrate? We also recognize marriages performed outside the Catholic Church. Why? Because God was responsible. No one else. So, yes they are very similar.

To end here, I would like to emphasize that I do not, ever, follow the Pope, priests or anyone blindly as a Catholic. Neither should any Catholic, though admittedly some do. I question everything in the light of scripture. I often find myself confused and conflicted about a teaching. I may go to a catechism or letter or the writings of a Doctor of the Church or teaching of the Catholic Church, which _always_ leads me back to scripture. I am still looking for the doctrine of the Catholic Church that contradicts scripture, even after reading most of the discussion on this blog (long time reader, occasional responder). Most often I find that non-Catholics misunderstand the Catholic teachings, and only understand what some non-Catholic wishes to tell them.

I still struggle to see where we disagree on many points that have been leveled against Catholics and this issue.

thekrywickis said...

Carlus,

"Fractured. And this is the real problem. Far be it from even the remotest possibility that they might actually be right. I mean that is not even considerable. They might be right and you might be wrong. No, you would rather up and leave until you find a church that matches your beliefs (or create your own), because of course you must be right.

This also highlights another common thread in Protestantism. You, like most Non-Catholics, don't believe that your church actually teaches the truth. If you did, you would not waver if their belief contradicted yours. You may struggle with it, (because you still retain the ability to think for yourself) but you certainly wouldn't find another church that matched your beliefs."

But wait... Wes said he would leave if the church MANDATED he believe the same thing, not that he would leave because that's what they teach in their doctrine. There's a difference. Be careful, Carlus!

The church, Catholic or Protestant, is made up of sinful humans. Therefore the church as a whole (church meaning ALL Christians) is fractured. Carlus, you are starting to sound slightly holier than though. I don't think you mean to, but it the tone is underlying.

Let's remember that no matter what denomination, we are all part of the same church. We will all be in Heaven together.

Weston said...

Fractured. And this is the real problem. Far be it from even the remotest possibility that they might actually be right. I mean that is not even considerable. They might be right and you might be wrong. No, you would rather up and leave until you find a church that matches your beliefs (or create your own), because of course you must be right.

Huh? Who puts their faith in something that they believe to be wrong? Of course I'm going to put my faith in the ideas that I believe are truth, at least the best that I can discern truth. If the church that I attend doesn't appear to be teaching the truth, why would I stay? I had a friend that attended a church for several months before the pastor mentioned in passing in a sermon that he didn't believe that Jesus was God. My friend was astonished and he never went back. Should he have stuck around just in case that the pastor might actually have been right?

You, like most Non-Catholics, don't believe that your church actually teaches the truth. If you did, you would not waver if their belief contradicted yours. You may struggle with it, (because you still retain the ability to think for yourself) but you certainly wouldn't find another church that matched your beliefs.

There is truth... and then there is speculation. Truth is something like the fact that Jesus died for our sins. It's there, indisputable in the pages of Scripture. Protestant churches most definitely teach these truths. Speculation, on the other hand, is something like the question of whether babies will be in Heaven. The Bible never speaks directly to this issue, so anything that is taught on this subject is pure conjecture. If my church tries to teach me something on this topic, I will consider it and possibly believe their teaching as a plausible explanation, but if they try to present it to me as truth that I must believe, then they must either present some sort of hard proof or back down on claiming it as truth. I get really uncomfortable when any church starts preaching something that very well might be plausible, but cannot be determined conclusively, as God's truth.

1.) How do you know if you are interpreting scriptures correctly or not? What is your guarantee that you are correctly interpreting Scripture?

No one has a guarantee that they are correctly interpreting scripture.

2.) Do you trust your church to teach you the truth? Do you trust your pastor to teach you the truth? Do you think that you know more than your pastor?

I trust him, so I hold the things he says as "likely truth", until I discover either a) evidence that confirms it or b) a reason to believe otherwise. This is the reason I listen to you and examine the teachings of the Catholic church. Let me give you an example: When it comes to the Protestant doctrine of "once saved, always saved", I disagree with my denomination. In fact, my beliefs are closer to what the Catholic church preaches. However, I could just dismiss everything you say out of hand simply because I'm not Catholic and it's not what my pastor teaches.

Carlus Henry said...

Kara,

Wes said he would leave if the church MANDATED he believe the same thing, not that he would leave because that's what they teach in their doctrine. There's a difference.

Help me understand the difference? How else do you define a denomination, a church, except from it's doctrine? I don't believe in judging a church by the people, I believe in judging a church based on what it teaches, and how closely it relates to what has been revealed by God.

The church, Catholic or Protestant, is made up of sinful humans.

Sadly, yes.

Therefore the church as a whole (church meaning ALL Christians) is fractured.

I understand the point that you are trying to prove. But remember, the whole reason why we got on this fractured topic, is because Wes made the comment that the written Word of God, is less susceptible to distorition compared to the "telephone" game of the Catholic Church.

The fact that there is a split between Catholics and Non-Catholics is not just sad, it is a absolute disguisting travesty. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, for us specifically, that we all may be one John 17. And, we were all one until 1500's. (except for the Great Schism of the Orthodox Church, but since no one here is Orthodox, that doesn't matter within the context of our discussion).

Carlus, you are starting to sound slightly holier than though. I don't think you mean to, but it the tone is underlying.

If I sound that way, please understand that is not my intent. I do not consider myself more holy than anyone. Don't mistake my passion for arrogance.

On that same note, I am still hoping that you can answer my questions. I think I have done a pretty good job at answering yours. Namely:

1.)What do you mean? Don't all churches have a Pastor who is responsible for teaching the Word of God. Doesn't that mean that they are in a leadership position? Doesn't that qualify that God is not the only one that is the head of a church?

2.)In order for something to be believed, does it have to be explicity stated in Scripture? If so, can you please show me in Scripture where it says that?

3.) Am I misinterpreting 1 Peter 3:21?

God bless...

Tuesday Morning said...

To the Catholics here, I have a question. Hypothetically, what if the Pope were to declare tomorrow something that severely disagreed with your understanding of the Bible? Like that abortion is perfectly acceptable, or that God created everything through evolution, or that all Christians should begin offering animal sacrifices? How would you respond to that? Would you automatically accept it because he's the Pope? Or would you substitute your own judgment?

Weston,
Fair question. Catholicism teaches that the Pope and College of Cardinals cannot teach anything ex Cathedra (BCW) that is contrary to scripture or God. Now this might sound self-serving, but cosider that after 2000 years the church has yet to violate this teaching. Why? Because she can’t. Catholics trust the teaching authority of the church because we trust she’s guided by the Holy Spirit. After 2000 years of unbroken succession with scores of sinful popes, bishops, clergy etc…, it’s actually pretty darn incredible that she hasn’t declared one of the examples you cited above. If there was ever a case for her authority and being the repository for the fullness of Christian truth, that would be it. Some will disagree with what she teaches, but to me that opens up a brand new question for those that challenge her authority.
To paraphrase someone I read…
Either the Catholic Church is what she proclaims or is the whore of Babylon we’ve been warned against. There really isn’t much middle ground given the ‘radical’ things claimed by the Papists. If she is what she claims, then people should be flooding to her and her teachings. If she isn’t then people should be railing against her daily as a corrupt institution guilty of mis-leading people away from God through false teaching and fully capable of promoting and supporting the most egregious and sinful behavior through her claims of teaching and interpretive authority.

The Catholic Church…you can love it or hate it, but an honest Christian really can’t be lukewarm, indifferent or simply disagree with it.

thekrywickis said...

Carlus,

"On that same note, I am still hoping that you can answer my questions. I think I have done a pretty good job at answering yours. Namely..."

You are right, I keep coming to the blog and getting side tracked with what else has been said. I'm a little tired right now, so I will save answering these questions for tomorrow.

thekrywickis said...

Paul,

In response to your comment to me... I guess I don't know what to say. I have a personal relationship with my Savior; a close, intimate relationship that is very important and special to me. I don't need to attend a Liturgy or read any Catholic approved books to understand how to pray or when to pray. I too remember Christ by partaking in the Lord's supper and know the peace that He offers. I have attended Catholic Mass, I have attended Catechism classes. I'm not speaking blindly from no experience with the Catholic church.

I don't mean to offend, but I feel like you are saying that I can't have the same close relationship with Christ that you do, and that really offends me. I'm pretty sure you haven't attended my church and you don't know what it's like. I'm really tired of the sweeping generalizations that are being made on this blog. I said before, I'll say again... Catholics, Protestants, we are all sinners saved by grace. We are all part of the same church.

D.L. said...

"...or did He?"

Joh 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Jesus seems to have been pretty clear........

thekrywickis said...

Carlus,

Okay, now I can't sleep because I'm thinking about these questions. So here goes:

"1.)What do you mean? Don't all churches have a Pastor who is responsible for teaching the Word of God. Doesn't that mean that they are in a leadership position? Doesn't that qualify that God is not the only one that is the head of a church?"

Leadership position, yes, but he is more like a stable hand that helps with the sheep and God is the Shepherd. Does that make more sense? I've always had the impression that Catholics are not encouraged to talk to God directly but to use their Priest or the saints as a mediator. Am I wrong? Don't get me wrong, I have a high level or respect for the Pope, but having a leader like that makes it seem more like a government to me. Please do not take offense because I truly do not mean any. And please set me straight where I am wrong.

"2.)In order for something to be believed, does it have to be explicity stated in Scripture? If so, can you please show me in Scripture where it says that?"

This is where we all have to be really careful. Anyone can believe anything they want, but it doesn't mean it's true. Baptism of blood and of desire sound nice, but they don't seem necessary to me since I believe when the Bible talks about baptism in the NT, it's referring more to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. So, to me (and again, please don't take offense!) it seems like you have taken baptism, which is addressed time and time again in scripture, misinterpreted it, and then added to it. But, you are right, there are many things that are not in scripture that we can believe. It doesn't mean they are right. To me, the message of the Gospel is simple. We are sinners, separated from God. God sent is Son to die for our sins. If we accept His death on the cross as the propitiation for our sins we can have a relationship with God and spend eternity in Heaven with Him. Did I miss anything? I sure don't think so. This is the absolute truth that we can all hold to. Nothing else should matter.

And for the question about 1 Peter 3:21. I found this commentary:

http://truthsaves.org/doctrine/ipeter3_21.shtml

This is exactly what I believe. I believe that I am right and you are misinterpreting the verse. I believe that before we go to any teachings outside the Bible, it is important to understand the Bible in the original language it was written.

Hopefully I've answered everything. I'm kind of spent on this topic. My frustration is showing through, I know, and I apologize. Hopefully we're still friends! :-)

Carlus Henry said...

Kara,

Hopefully I've answered everything. I'm kind of spent on this topic. My frustration is showing through, I know, and I apologize. Hopefully we're still friends! :-)

We are still cool... :-)

You have been very patient and civil. Thanks....
C

Weston said...

Fair question. Catholicism teaches that the Pope and College of Cardinals cannot teach anything ex Cathedra (BCW) that is contrary to scripture or God. Now this might sound self-serving, but cosider that after 2000 years the church has yet to violate this teaching.

Whenever I encounter Big Catholic Words I always look them up. You might know this information already, but for the sake of people reading that might not, I'll include it here.

The pope himself has only invoked his ex cathdra (meaning "from the seat of authority") powers once since they were officially created in 1870. In 1950, Pope Pius IX declared that, at the end of her life, Mary was taken directly into Heaven such that her body no longer existed on Earth. In addition to that, you as a Catholic must believe this or else you will be thrown out of the Catholic church (anathema).

Now, I don't want to sidetrack us into a discussion of the Assumption of Mary, but I want to point out that once was enough. I believe this single instance of the use of the power not only demonstrates the extreme danger of the ex cathedra power, but also constitutes a teaching that is contrary to scripture and the teaching of the early church and therefore violates the teaching you said has stood for 2000 years. I've read the verses that Catholic church uses to support this teaching, John 14:3, Isaiah 60:13, Luke 1:28, 1 Corinthians 15:21-26, Psalms 132:8, Genesis 3:15, Psalms 45:9–17, Revelation 12:1–2. If you haven't studied this topic, go read them for yourself. I have come to the conclusion that I can find absolutely no evidence anywhere for this doctrine, without some seriously massive leaps in interpretation.

So, here we have a doctrine that has been fabricated purely out of the imagination of the Church. This is that speculation I was speaking of earlier. I have no problem with the idea itself; it's a nice and pleasant idea to think of God taking special care of the woman He chose to carry His son. The problem I have, and the point I'm trying to make, is that, if you are Catholic, you are not at liberty to disagree with this dogma. If you choose not to believe in this idea, you may not be a member of the Catholic church. It doesn't matter what evidence you dig up; you are forced to believe whatever the "Magisterium" decrees is truth, even if it makes no sense.

This just blows my mind. I simply can't imagine being a part of a church that has the power to make stuff up and then coerce me to believe it with threats of excommunication.

The Catholic Church…you can love it or hate it, but an honest Christian really can’t be lukewarm, indifferent or simply disagree with it.

Uh, I don't understand this. Why must I love or hate the Catholic Church? I don't hate it; I just disagree with it.

triednotfried said...

Weston: I needed to address your comments about the assumption of Mary... I finally have a moment to breathe and read through these comments. One thing I am learning to do is to look objectively at the different doctrines of different religions and belief systems.

That particular doctrine really began within the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century. It was a feast that honored her, which grew into a commemoration of her death, and as it spread west, the emphasis went to her resurrection when the name of the feast was changed to "assumption". It was made official in 1950.

I really don't have a problem with the assumption part. The Bible record God "assuming" Enoch and Elijah into Heaven in Genesis 5:24, and 2 Kings 2:11. I can't sit here and say that God would not do the same with Mary. The Bible does not record Mary's death nor is she mentioned after Acts 1. So can you say she was NOT assumed by God? and what is your Biblical proof?

The ONLY reason I am presenting this is because I think that in order for us to really come to the knowledge of the truth is to stop looking at things with our "AHA" eyes. By that I mean, we look for things that only support our position to begin with.

Now, that being said, I do have some serious issue with this as what really bothers me is that to assume that Mary was risen on the third day (part of the doctrine) is just too big of a step toward making her equal to Christ. Anything that would cause her to become a deity as Christ causes serious red flags for me.

"The Catholic Church…you can love it or hate it, but an honest Christian really can’t be lukewarm, indifferent or simply disagree with it."

That bothered me too, you don't have to hate to disagree. I think we can disagree without hating anything. One thing I think we agree on is that we are all passionate about our God. My standing firm on doctrine has gotten me the title of "holier than thou" as well, but nothing could be further from the truth. I just want to hear the words "Well done good and faithful servant" when standing before my King some day, not "What the heck?"

Weston said...

1. So can you say she was NOT assumed by God? and what is your Biblical proof?

No, I can't prove it false; there is no evidence either way. In cases such as this, the burden of proof is always on the party making the claim. So, in other words, a statement can't be considered true simply because you can't prove it false. For example, an Atheist will claim that the Universe was created by a Big Bang; just because I can't specifically prove it false doesn't automatically make it true. This is the logical fallacy called argumentum ad ignorantiam, or 'negative evidence'.

triednotfried said...

Sorry Weston and again I am not trying to be argumentative. But we are asking another group of believers for "proof" of their position, when we have none of our own. That bothers me. Even in your Big Bang theory, I can't completely disagree with that either. I'm sure there was a huge bang when God spoke things into existence. My point is, to throw everything out is not wise either, only when it completely goes against scripture do I feel it necessary. Otherwise we may be losing out on some very important stuff.

D.L. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tuesday Morning said...

This just blows my mind. I simply can't imagine being a part of a church that has the power to make stuff up and then coerce me to believe it with threats of excommunication.

Weston,
The premise of your complaint assumes the Church is NOT guided by the Holy Spirit. If the premise (taken by Catholics and the entire Chrsitain community up until the reformation) is that the Church IS guided by the Holy Spirit, then it makes perfect sense that she would excommunicate anyone not willing to accept the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

“Making stuff up” cuts both ways when the only earthly authority we can claim for what we interpret is what we ‘think’ of what we’ve read. In other words, it’s awfully disingenuous for someone who relies on personal interpretation to become so stunned and disbelieving that someone else might make something up! Of course as Catholics we don’t believe this particular dogma as ‘made up’ but that’s better served under a different topic.

At the risk of getting too far off topic (if we haven’t already) let’s take a recent example of the dangers of personal interpretation. There’s a movement currently afoot in many Protestant churches to legitimize homosexual marriage in the light of scripture. “Can’t be done!” you might say, and I’d reply why not? From the outside we Catholics look at the situation and say what did you expect? Who was going to stop it and by what authority? In a book as large as the Bible, anything can be read in a context that serves one’s personal desire or ambition. Let’s take another example, some churches now teach that God will save everyone (there is no damnation) and they pull out scripture to make their case. Will he? Is a personal profession of faith even necessary anymore? “Of course” you might say, but there are scores of churches teaching otherwise and they’re all quoting scripture. Other Christian churches are blurring the lines between Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, etc…

Some on this blog have suggested that beliefs separating denominations do not generally impact salvation (baptism, eucharist, Mary, etc…) and are therefore inconsequential to the ultimate goal for us all, but the examples above seem to cut to the core of Christianity and what it teaches, and one could make a convincing case that it stems from a faith practice that encourages personal interpretation to discern truth.

Uh, I don't understand this. Why must I love or hate the Catholic Church? I don't hate it; I just disagree with it.

Hate might be too strong a word, but how can one simply disagree with a church that in your own words “makes stuff up?” We’re not talking about a philosophy here or simply discussing ideas. This is flipping salvation man, eternity, communion with the One responsible for our very existence, and there’s a church out there promoting cannibalism, a sinless mother and claiming its truth is more complete than all other churches. A church guilty of making things up is just as capable of telling people they don’t need Jesus anymore… unless there’s some reason that could never happen.

Paul and Christy said...

Kara,

I never said you couldn’t have a personal relationship with Christ outside of the Liturgy. But if Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, as I believe, then receiving Him is the most intimate way I can relate to Him. I made no generalizations, only shared my experience. I don’t see how that is offensive.

My point about the Liturgy of the Hours was to show the commitment that the CC has to the Scriptures and getting it in to the hands of the people. I was trying to show that your assertion that , “the Catholic church has tried to scare regular people like you and me away from studying scripture” was wrong.

I may not completely understand every doctrine or dogma of the CC but I have decided with my free will to trust the teaching authority I believe Christ gave Peter and the Catholic Church. While I continue to study and learn, I have accepted the primary premise that Catholic Church has the authority, through the leading of the HS, to teach us how to follow Christ and love Him. This is the reason I believe the Bible to be the Word of God.

Why do you believe the Bible is the Word of God?

triednotfried said...

Sorry Carlus, I won't be talked to that way by anyone...thanks tho, up until now it's been a good discussion. Take care =)

Weston said...

Ok, I didn't want to derail us into a full blown discussion of the Assumption of Mary. I used that as an example purely because it was a historical example of the Pope invoking his ex cathedra authority to declare something that has shaky (at best) scriptural support as a unquestionable truth that is required for church membership.

As far as the 'negative evidence' goes, perhaps I didn't use a absurd enough example to illustrate my point. So let's say that I announce to you that I am, (oh, let's make something big up) a prophet who was sent ahead of Jesus' second coming to prepare the way for Him, just like John the Baptist. Pretty absurd, right? Yes, but now try and prove it false. I dare you to find any evidence in the Bible that specifically says that I am not Wes the Baptist. Oh, there's no verses that deny that? Well, I guess it must be true, right?

All joking aside, it's important to understand this logical fallacy, because people will try and promote doctrines that are just as preposterous under the pretense that the Bible just failed to mention it. I'm thinking of people like David Koresh.

thekrywickis said...

Paul,

I appreciate your answer. I am very passionate about our God, just as you seem to be also. I get a little hot under the collar when I think someone is trying to say that I don't know Him. I thought you were insinuating that because I don't belong to the Catholic Church that I couldn't know Him as intimately as you do. That's where the offense came in.

Why do I believe the Bible is the Word of God? You might not like my answer. :-) Because it says it is. Now, does that mean any book that states that it's the Word of God that I would also believe that book? No way. I don't know how else to explain it though. But, just like you say the Catholic Church is lead by the Holy Spirit, so am I. And honestly, I don't feel that me being lead by the Spirit is any different than the Pope being lead by the Holy Spirit. I know that's a big statement. I'm not saying it to take away from his role in your church. Not at all. But to me, it seems a little odd that you have differentiated between the Catholic Church and other Christians. It almost seems that you are saying that the CC is lead by the HS, and no one else is. I'm sure I'm misunderstanding you? Please set me straight.

Basically what I'm saying is, the Pope and the other leaders of the CC are sinners saved by Grace just like any other Christian. Correct? So I'm not going to put any more faith in them than I would any other human. I'm only going to put my faith in the Holy Spirit. I'm going to take the opportunity to have that direct, personal relationship with God and go to Him directly with my questions, my confessions, my love for Him, etc. Which, I know you are going to tell me that you can do that too. Okay, then I ask you... why the that level of leadership between you and God? I don't understand it. If one is truly seeking God, truly following the Holy Spirit, then one will truly find Him. I found Him without the Catholic Church, and so did millions of other people who are truly saved and have not perverted the scriptures or the role of the Holy Spirit. I know there are many "Protestant Christians" out there that have beliefs that are totally unfounded. Believe me, we look at them and say "huh??" too. Someone mentioned something about a church legalizing gay marriage... that's not my church. That's not the true church. No way. There are still plenty of Protestant churches out there that are on the right track, including mine. And I welcome you to come to it to see what I mean.

And as far as sweeping generalizations... I think we're all making them. We all have these preconceived notions of what the other person believes. Hopefully I haven't come across that I think I completely understand the CC. I know I don't. There are many things we haven't even gotten into... like why in the world aren't your priests allowed to marry? What do nuns and monks do? Why do you pray to the saints? Why do you kneel in church, why do you make the symbol of the cross on your chest when you walk into church? Why does your cross still have Jesus hanging on it when He's no longer dead? I don't expect answers, I'm just pointing out that I don't have an understanding of the CC, but at the same time, I am a true follower of Christ.

thekrywickis said...

Debs, what happened, where'd you go? Are you gone forever!? Don't leave me here alone with all these boys!

Carlus Henry said...

Weston,

I don't wan to sidetrack into a discussion of the Assumption of Mary either, however, there are some statements in your comment that I think do deserve attention:

but also constitutes a teaching that is contrary to scripture and the teaching of the early church and therefore violates the teaching you said has stood for 2000 years.

This teaching is not contrary to scripture. Nowhere does it say that Mary was NOT assumed into heaven. Therefore, there is no contradiction.

So, here we have a doctrine that has been fabricated purely out of the imagination of the Church.

So, let us apply the same thought pattern to Non-Catholics belief in Sola Scriptura. It was never taught in the Early Church, and it has no basis, whatsoever in Scripture. Even if it did have a basis in Scripture, it would be a circular argument. So, to be frank....here we have a doctrine that has been fabricated purely out of the imagination of one wayard Catholic priest.

The problem I have, and the point I'm trying to make, is that, if you are Catholic, you are not at liberty to disagree with this dogma. If you choose not to believe in this idea, you may not be a member of the Catholic church.

Let's be very specific, in order to be a Catholic, there is a long process that you must go through. It is not the same as it is in most Non-Catholic churches where you just approach the front of the Church and say that you want to become a member of the church, and then you are, for the most part a member. Oh sure, you may go through a 4 week class or something, but there really isn't anything that you really have to profess as something that you believe. I remember Kara saying something earlier to this fact....

Wes said he would leave if the church MANDATED he believe the same thing, not that he would leave because that's what they teach in their doctrine.

As any professing Christian, why would you attend a church if you disagreed with their doctrine, or more specifically what they believed and what they preached? Typically, the doctrine of the church is what you are supposed to believe. Today, many Christians have no idea what their church teaches, but what is more shocking, they don't feel that it is important, or have any bearing on whether or not they should attend that particular church or not.

When you become a Catholic, you are asked if you believe everything that the Church teaches. If you do not, then you are completely capable of not joining. To be a Catholic, there is really only one thing that you must believe...That the institution that Christ created 2000 years ago is the Catholic Church and the promise of the Holy Spirit that He gave to His Church, has never left with regards to the doctrine and morals.

I am not interested in doing a doctrinal dance....so as soon as my comments are done regarding the Assumption of Mary, I am going to ask that everyone stop discussing it. If you want, we can devote a whole post to this topic in particular, but for now, I am trying to bring the discussion back to it's focus.

Carlus Henry said...

triednotfried,

That particular doctrine really began within the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century.

Wow....someone is really doing their research. What you probably already know, but for the sake of others, is that no one has her remains. Keeping and venerating the remains (relics) of saints was a common practice in the Early Church, and now. We know where St. Peter and Paul is buried. We know where most of the Apostles are. At one point and time, they wanted to venerate the remains of Mary, however, they could not because there were no remains. They know the burial site, but it is empty.

Story goes something like after Mary died, one of the Apostles, who was not there in time, wanted to pay respect to Mary. So they opened the tomb that she was in, and there were no remains.

Carlus Henry said...

Everyone,

Sorry Carlus, I won't be talked to that way by anyone...thanks tho, up until now it's been a good discussion.

This is the kind of response that I do not want to see at my blog. Someone said something that offended another person. Remember, we are Christians first. If we cannot treat eachother with respect, then I would ask that you would please refrain from commenting....

Carlus Henry said...

Weston,

I used that as an example purely because it was a historical example of the Pope invoking his ex cathedra authority to declare something that has shaky (at best) scriptural support as a unquestionable truth that is required for church membership.

However, regardless of how you feel about it, as you admit, it is not impossible. There are many teachings that I struggle with. While I do believe them, I do have a hard time believing it. Like why in the world, would God come down from heaven in order to die for what He created? That makes absolutely no sense. Also, a Virgin giving Birth? Virgin....how is that possible? I just don't understand it. Just because these are concepts that I cannot completely understand, doesn't mean that I am going to choose not to believe it.....

and no....I don't believe it because it is in the Bible. Sure this is reason enough, but before it was in the Bible, it was being taught by authoritatively by the same Church that identified, through the working of the Holy Spirit, which books were supposed to be in the Bible, and which ones were not.

Carlus Henry said...

Wes,

You said:
Of course I'm going to put my faith in the ideas that I believe are truth, at least the best that I can discern truth. If the church that I attend doesn't appear to be teaching the truth, why would I stay?

Exactly....yet earlier, you said that you have a more Catholic view regarding Predestination (can't rememer if it was this or Free-Will), than the Church that you are currently attending. Yet your church, you still remain. So how important is doctrine and how important is it that you Church teaches the truth?

There is truth... and then there is speculation. Truth is something like the fact that Jesus died for our sins. It's there, indisputable in the pages of Scripture.

If you want to go all philosophical on me.... ;)

You are defining truth with the presuppostion that the Scriptures are true. How do you know if they are true or not (scriptures)? Were you there when Jesus died on the Cross? Were you one of the disciples? No. As a matter of fact, you are having a conversation on your blog right now, that makes it seem as though you have the ability to create a "measuring stick" in order to determine what is Scripture and what is not. What if you decide that Hebrews should not be in the canon? Will you throw it out? In that case, if they could be wrong about Hebrews, you can be wrong about other books that you believe should be in the canon....

We know that Scriptures are true, because we rely on the witness of the Early Christians and the Holy Spirit working through them. This is why it is important to study and know about the Church Fathers. If you have no idea what they believe, then you can pretty much fall for any false teaching that may come around.

So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings[a] we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.2 Thess 2:15

How do you know the traditions / teachings that the Early Church continued in, what I like to consider authentic Christianity, as oppose to the Jesus for Sale attitude of today, unless you study what the Early Church taught and believed?

Carlus Henry said...

Wes,

The Bible never speaks directly to this issue, so anything that is taught on this subject is pure conjecture.

Illogical. The idea that it is not found in scripture is pure conjecture. I keep going back to it, but the point should be understood, or at least refuted....

Since Scripture didn't come with a infallible table of contents, then following this same logic, everything in it is pure conjecture. Do you see how I can easily come to this logic?

If my church tries to teach me something on this topic, I will consider it and possibly believe their teaching as a plausible explanation, but if they try to present it to me as truth that I must believe, then they must either present some sort of hard proof or back down on claiming it as truth.

And this makes complete sense to a Non-Catholic. But for Catholics, we believe that the Church is infallible. We also believed that the Church can authoritatively declare the correct canon of Scripture because it is infallible. We believe that this infallability comes from Christ. So if they can get the canon of Scripture correct through the leading of the Holy Spirit, they are going to get all of the teachings right through the Holy Spirit.

No one has a guarantee that they are correctly interpreting scripture.

Honesty....I can appreciate that.

Thanks bud....

God bless...

Carlus Henry said...

Everyone,

Okay...I think that I am at least all caught up now.... ;)

One quick note...I know that there are some here who are not HTML proficient...so I am going to offer some advice, take it or leave it.

When you are responding to a particular comment, it would be great if you could include the portion of the comment that you are commenting on inside of the italic tags.

For example

<i>Hello World</i>

Would look like:

Hello World

Some people were inquiring on how to do this...and I thought that I would share it with you...

God bless...

Carlus Henry said...

D.L.,

Just be done...don't leave with some dramatic comment and then say you are leaving.....

Everyone please keep D.L. in your prayers, he has decided to be done.

God bless you on your journey, D.L.

Weston said...

Tuesday,

The premise of your complaint assumes the Church is NOT guided by the Holy Spirit.

And your premise is that everyone outside of the Church is NOT guided by the Holy Spirit.

In other words, it’s awfully disingenuous for someone who relies on personal interpretation to become so stunned and disbelieving that someone else might make something up!

You missed my point then. I have no problem with "making stuff up"; in more formal terms, that's called a hypothesis or theory. Everything starts with a hypothesis and then proceeds, though facts and evidence, to something that can be declared as truth. The problem I have is when someone, because they have the power, forces people to accept their theory that does not have enough evidence to become accepted truth. The Catholic Church had this power for a long time in history because they were a major political force. Times are changing, though, and a new force is emerging that is doing the same thing. The "scientific" community has the ear of our politicians and they are forcing their half-baked theories onto the public, like global warming and evolution. It's gotten to the point that our schools are unable to teach these theories as what they are, theories, and are being forced to treat them as truth.

This is bad whenever anyone does it. If my church had the power to impose its half-baked theories on you, I would oppose it too.

Weston said...

Carlus,

Exactly....yet earlier, you said that you have a more Catholic view regarding Predestination (can't rememer if it was this or Free-Will), than the Church that you are currently attending. Yet your church, you still remain. So how important is doctrine and how important is it that you Church teaches the truth?

Yes, I still attend there because I do not know whether I have the truth or not. I do not consider my personal belief to be verifiable truth, so I can't say for certain whether my church is wrong. There is much debate on that particular topic. So I treat my church's teachings and my thoughts on the matter as opposing theories. I can't confidently call one or the other truth. As long as my church does not force me to discard my half-baked theory in favor of their half-baked theory, we can get along just fine.

You are defining truth with the presuppostion that the Scriptures are true. How do you know if they are true or not (scriptures)? Were you there when Jesus died on the Cross? Were you one of the disciples?

Yes, my foundational principal is that the Bible is true. And yes, by making this statement, I am relying on the evidence that I did not gather personally, but rather was gathered by multiple sources that say that a) Jesus existed, b) His disciples existed, and c) those disciples personally wrote the books that I am now reading. Yes, the evidence gatherers could be lying, but there are enough different people who have studied this that I can be reasonably confident that the likelihood that everyone is lying is very slim.

We know that Scriptures are true, because we rely on the witness of the Early Christians and the Holy Spirit working through them. This is why it is important to study and know about the Church Fathers. If you have no idea what they believe, then you can pretty much fall for any false teaching that may come around.

I agree with you. I see much value in studying the Church Fathers. The whole New Testament was written by the "Church Fathers". However, keep in mind that the Church Fathers also believed that the Earth was flat...

... But for Catholics, we believe that the Church is infallible. ...

Exhibit A:
In 1633, Galileo was put on trial for heresy for teaching that the Sun was at the center of the Universe. The church at that time interpreted Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10, 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 104:5, and Ecclesiastes 1:5 to literally mean that the Earth does not move. Galileo tried to tell them that his heliocentric theory did not contradict Scripture. He was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy," forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

By 1835, the ban on heliocentric teachings was finally lifted. In 1992, Pope John Paul II formally apologized for the fiasco and admitted that errors were made in 1633. I would dare say that most Catholics now believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which is contrary to what the Church taught in 1633.

How do you as a Catholic reconcile this very public admission of error in Biblical interpretation, with the idea that the Church is infallible?

Carlus Henry said...

Wes,

How do you as a Catholic reconcile this very public admission of error in Biblical interpretation, with the idea that the Church is infallible?

Please, not another wild goose chase. Your facts are not entirely accurate to begin with, but your example does not even apply.

My comment reflects the belief and teaching that the Catholic Church is infallible when it comes to the faith and morals. The fact that the Earth is round is no bearing on the Christian Faith.

Also, the Church is only infallible under two circumstances. When the Pope makes a decree as the minister of the faith, which you have already stated has only happened once, or when the Pope and the Bishops come to a group statement.

Either way, there is a lot more information that you need to consider when it comes to the Galileo incident. Basically, Galileo couldn't prove anything and the Church asked him to provide more proof than teaching something without proof. Galileo decided to write a book where he described his theory and basically made fun of the Pope by calling his opponent Simpleton.....

Either way, read more here.

Paul and Christy said...

Wes,

The Galileo incident can actually used to support the assertion that the HS protected the Church from error and from men who had the ability to pronounce geocentrism ex cathedra.

Galileo was stubborn and broke promises by publicly claiming the absolute truth for Copernican doctrines when he did not have good evidence for them. The Congregation of the Index, which heard his case, was concerned for the scientifically uneducated and protecting them from potentially harmful ideas.
They even admitted that if “real proof” of Copernican ideas could be found, “then it will be necessary, very carefully, to proceed to the explanation of the passages of Scripture which appear to be contrary, and we should rather say that we have misunderstood these than pronounce that to be false which is demonstrated.”

A good on the subject articleon the subject.

Weston said...

My intent was not to get into the Galileo case in depth. However, if you take Galileo completely out of it, it is an example where the interpretation, by the Church, of scriptures was one thing at one point in time and then it was another thing at another point in time. The two interpretations can't both be right, so this means that the Church was incorrect in its interpretation of the Bible at one point in time. If the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church and keeps it from error, how can this happen?

You've brought up the fact that the fact that whether the Earth was round or not has no bearing on faith. Sure, I can accept that. However, they threw the guy in jail! I don't care if he called the Pope a big "doo-doo head", that's a bit extreme, don't you think?

What's more, you can't really know when something like the earth being round will suddenly become a faith issue. I mean, you wouldn't think that whether Mary's body is still here on earth would have any bearing on faith and morals, but it suddenly did when the Pope declared that you can't be Catholic without believing it.

Carlus Henry said...

Weston,

I have a suggestion....

Instead of you trying to find a fault with the doctrine of infallability of the Catholic Church through history, I would suggest that you get a better understanding of what the Catholic Church actually believes about infallability.

In other words, if you understood that the Catholic Church believes that She teaches infallibly through the office of the Pope when he speaks ex cathedra, or when all of the bishops and the Pope come together in order to pronounce a belief, then you (and others) would not use these little isolated cases where no one was making an official pronouncement on the faithful as evidence of the Catholic Church not being infallible.

The Pope and the Bishops were not making official pronouncements on the faith to believe the world was flat - therefore, it is not a good case /example for you to prove that the Catholic Church is not infallible...

Understand the doctrine first, and not from a Protestant perspective, then we can talk about it.

Infallability

Papal Infallability

Weston said...

Ok, fair enough.

I'm really not in this to cause trouble; I'm just having trouble making sense of this all. I'm finding Catholicism to be like a very large onion; I peel back one layer of confusing doctrine; only to find another one underneath.

Carlus Henry said...

Wes,

I'm finding Catholicism to be like a very large onion; I peel back one layer of confusing doctrine; only to find another one underneath.

This is a great analogy ;-)

When I started peeling back the layers, I discovered how horribly I have been misrepresenting the Church. There are so many different people who think they understand what the Church teaches, and they don't. I was one of them. When I started to peel back the layers, I started to understand how misinformed I was, and how some folks, are purposely distorting the facts about the Catholic faith. All of the information is there to objectively explain what I believe, yet some folks seem to take pride in distorting it with half truths and half baked historical accounts.

Anyways...loving the discussion...

Weston said...

The thing is, on many issues, there tends to be a gap between the official stance and what the body of the church actually believes. To be fair, this is not confined to just the Catholic church; for example, in the CRC, the official position is that baptism does not save an infant. However, there are quite a lot of people who ignore this and believe that infant baptism saves anyway. Likewise, in the Catholic church, I believe the official stance is that one should not worship Mary, yet a decent amount of the Church does anyway. So, when you are characterizing the beliefs of a denomination, and try to define at "what Catholics believe", do you go by the official stance or what the majority believes?

Carlus Henry said...

Wes,

Good and fair question. Let's put it this way, if one person follows the law of the United States and another person does not, are both being good citizens? No. The one that is following the law, is the one that is being a good citizen.

In the same breath, if someone is professing to be a Catholic, yet they go against Catholic teaching, are they being a good Catholic? No. They are not. If someone is a professing Calvinist, yet they do not believe in predestination, are they being a good Calvinist? No.

This is why we can only judge a church based off of their beliefs, and not the people that are professing to be card carrying members of that church. If I believe that worshipping Mary is right (which of course I don't), then I would be going against Catholic teaching, and therefore should be considered as a bad Catholic and hopefully someone will help me to be a good Catholic by fixing my wayward ways....

Weston said...

Sure, that makes sense. I think the confusion of most non-Catholics is because they don't know what the official position is; they can only look at what Catholics do. Sort of like how the rest of the world makes judgments about what "Americans" are like...

In my reading on infallibility, I came up with a question that I didn't couldn't find an answer to. I understand that the doctrine of infallibility only applies to teachings that are explicitly declared ex cathedra. However, since there has only been two recorded cases of ex cathedra decrees, and I assume that there are a lot more doctrines that are considered infallible than just those two, then it seems like the Pope, instead of making ex cathedra pronouncements, uses his ex cathedra powers as sort of a rubber stamp. i.e. The College of Cardinals come to him with a doctrine and he puts his "seal of approval" on it.

My question, then, is this: Is there a list somewhere of doctrines that have been marked with this ex cathedra "seal", and are certified "error free"? It seems to me that if I was a Catholic, I'd want to know which stuff is error free and which stuff is not.

Carlus Henry said...

Wes,

You are closer to understanding than you were before...nice work.

As you remarked before, ex cathedra, has only been excercised 2 times - yet there is plenty of things that you must believe as a Catholic. For instance the True Prescence of Christ in the Eucharist. So what is the delio? What is missing.

The other part that is missing is the pronouncements of the bishops when they meet with the Pope together. Those things do not carry the stamp of "ex cathedra" yet, they are still binding on the faithful. Think of Acts 12 and the Council of Jerusalem.

In all, the things that Catholics have to believe can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. While this document is not exactly meant to be read from beginning to end, you can use the table of contents to narrow the focus. Another document that is good is the Compendium of the Catechism of the CAtholic Church which is written in a more question and answer style yet uses the numbered paragraphs from the Catechesm.

Tuesday Morning said...

A little pointed humor into this conversation...



I was walking across a bridge recently. I spied this guy who looked like he was ready to jump off. So, I thought I'd try to stall him until the authorities showed up (or at least until I had time to put film in my camera).
"Don't jump!" I said.

"Why not?" he said. "Nobody loves me."

"God loves you," I said. "You believe in God, don't you?"

"Yes, I believe in God," he said.

"Good," I said. "Are you Christian or Jewish?"

"Christian," he said.

"Me, too!" I said. "Protestant or Catholic?"

"Protestant," he said.

"Me, too!" I said. "What kind of Protestant?"

"Baptist," he said.

"Me, too!" I said. "Independent Baptist or Southern Baptist?"

"Independent Baptist," he said.

"Me, too!" I said. "New Evangelical/Moderate Independent Baptist or Conservative Independent Baptist?"

"Conservative Independent Baptist," he said.

"Me, too!" I said. "Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist or Lose-Your-Salvation Armenian Conservative Independent Baptist?"

"Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist," he said.

"Me, too!" I said. "Dispensational Premillenial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist OR Historical Premillennial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist?"

"Dispensational Premillenial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist," he said.

"Me, too!" I said. "Against Women in Ministry Dispensational Premillennial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist OR For Women in Ministry Dispensational Premillennial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist?"

"Against Women in Ministry Dispensational Premillennial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist," he said.

"Me, too!" I said. "Unashamed Fundamentalist Against Women in Ministry Dispensational Premillennial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist OR Strict Separation of Church and State Against Women in Ministry Dispensational Premillennial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist?"

"Unashamed Fundamentalist Against Women in Ministry Dispensational Premillennial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist," he said.

"Me, too!" I said. "Pro-Disney Boycott Pro-Life Unashamed Fundamentalist Against Women in Ministry Dispensational Premillennial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist OR Anti-Disney Boycott Pro-Choice Unashamed Fundamentalist Against Women in Ministry Dispensational Premillenial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist?"

"Pro-Disney Boycott Pro-Life Unashamed Fundamentalist Against Women in Ministry Dispensational Premillenial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist," he said.

"Me, too!" I said. "KJV Only Pro-Disney Boycott Pro-Life Unashamed Fundamentalist Against Women in Ministry Dispensational Premillennial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist OR Modern Versions Pro-Disney Boycott Pro-Life Unashamed Fundamentalist Against Women in Ministry Dispensational Premillenial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist?"

"MODERN VERSIONS Pro-Disney Boycott Pro-Life Unashamed Fundamentalist Against Women in Ministry Dispensational Premillenial Calvinistic Conservative Independent Baptist," he said.

"Arrrgghh!!! You heretic!" I said, and pushed the ******* over.

Carlus Henry said...

Tuesday Morning...

That was awesome!!!!

triednotfried said...

So Catholics aren't Christians? and if so isn't that another denomination of Christianity?

Carlus Henry said...

triednotfried,

So Catholics aren't Christians? and if so isn't that another denomination of Christianity?

What specifically was this in response to....?

(of course we are Christian, some would even say the Original Christians)

triednotfried said...

Mostly the joke... just got me thinking... and that's what I thought... so why is it always Catholic and everything else... instead of another denomination of Christianity... if this is another blog topic, that's fine, just thinking about the whole Catholic/Protestant thing...

thekrywickis said...

so why is it always Catholic and everything else... instead of another denomination of Christianity...

I've always wondered this too. I think many Protestants who don't know any Catholics are under the assumption that Catholicism is another religion separate from Christianity. Maybe this is another blog topic, but I have the feeling much of the things we discussed on here already would be included in the discussion.

How'd I do on the italics?

Carlus Henry said...

Kara,

How'd I do on the italics?

I am very impressed....nicely done...hehehehe

I think many Protestants who don't know any Catholics are under the assumption that Catholicism is another religion separate from Christianity.

Okay...I got a great story about this one. In order to join the Church, you have to go through a program called RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation) Anyways, this is the time where you get to basically drill the instructors regarding the Catholic faith. This is where many of those misconceptions that I had about the faith went away....anyways....one of the instructors told a story.

When she was in college, or highschool, I can't really remember, she was taking a religious / faith class. In the class, all of the students had to attend a church that was a different religion. While the Catholics went to a Mosque or Jewish Temple, many of the Protestants went to a Catholic Church. (That was the punchline if you didn't get it.)

The idea is, that the Protestants thought that the Catholic Church was a different religion than Christianity....

Maybe this is another blog topic, but I have the feeling much of the things we discussed on here already would be included in the discussion.

I will try to throw something together on this...if you are all interested in discussing....

triednotfried said...

I will try to throw something together on this...if you are all interested in discussing....

**** nods head yes****

Kara: Don't leave me here alone with all these boys! I missed this LOL...

Ok, got your back girl, would never leave you alone with all of this testosterone =)