Longing for Nicæa

Rome will never have that for which she longs the most.
Rome will never have that for which she longs the most.

Roman Catholicism, as a religion, is a novelty of the late fourth century, but in order to be taken seriously she must at every opportunity claim Nicæan and ante-Nicæan origins for her novelties. Yet at the same time, there is nothing so foreign to Roman Catholicism as the Nicæan and ante-Nicæan Church. For this reason, while Roman Catholicism constantly attempts to lay claim to apostolicity, she must always at the same time distance herself from the practices and beliefs of the Church of the apostles. It is a love-hate relationship. Rome strives diligently to identify herself with the apostolic era, and then exhausts herself explaining why the Church of that era was so different from Roman Catholicism. What we find as we examine Rome’s vain striving for antiquity and continuity is an uncomfortable truth that lies beneath the surface of all of her posturing, a truth that can never be uttered aloud: She does not know whence she came.

The dissonance that exists between Rome’s claims to apostolicity and the actual origin of her doctrines is plainly observable in the words of her own apologists as they try to explain the antiquity of their religion. Did the early church believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary? “Of course,” they say. “Why, as early as the late fourth century we see plain manifestations of the dogma in the writings of the Fathers.” Did the early church believe that Mary was sinless? “Of course,” they say. “Why, as early as the late fourth century we see plain manifestations of the dogma.” Did the early church believe in the primacy of the three Petrine sees? “Of course,” they say. “Why, as early as the late fourth century the Council of Rome plainly testified of this.” Did the early church really believe that Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins was offered Thursday night at the Last Supper. “Of course,” they say. “Why, as early as the late fourth century Gregory of Nyssa wrote clearly of this.” Did the early Church see Mary as the model of Christian worship? “Of course,” they say. “Why, as early as the late fourth century, Ambrose prayed that his flock would have the spirit of Mary to glorify God.”

By “Early Church,” Roman Catholic apologists think to refer to the apostolic church of the first three centuries—the Nicæan and ante-Nicæan church. But the best they can do is prove the origins of a religion that emerged in the latter part of the fourth century. Rome’s only hope for apostolic authenticity is somehow to reach back to a time before she existed in order to lay claim to what she can never have. Thus, she longs painfully, achingly, desperately for the age of Nicæa in order to stake out a claim to apostolicity.

Cardinal Newman, a 19th century Anglican convert to Roman Catholicism, formally acknowledged the dissonance between modern Roman Catholicism and the ancient church when he developed the Development of Doctrine doctrine. The catalyst for his work was, as Newman knew quite well, that 19th century Roman Catholicism could not look into the mirror of the first three centuries and see herself looking back. Something was vastly different, and such a vast difference required an explanation. Thus was born Newman’s Development of Doctrine doctrine in order to explain what he himself acknowledged as “a want of accord between the early and the late aspects of Christianity” (John Henry Cardinal Newman, Essay on the Development of Doctrine, Introduction, paragraph 3). The objective of his essay was to show that the differences between the Early Church and Roman Catholicism could all be accounted for by the gradual “development of doctrine.” And thus, he concluded, the later emergence of Roman Catholic doctrines must have been the result of an unbroken, continuous process of doctrinal development since the apostolic era.

It is only by the “development of doctrine” that Roman Catholicism can lay claim to both antiquity and continuity. Roman Catholicism is offered to the world as the oldest Christian denomination, the only one that can trace its origins all the way back to the apostles. But as any student of Church history can easily discover—and this is precisely what Newman discovered—the contents are inconsistent with the packaging. What her salesmen cannot deny is that Roman Catholicism simply does not appear to be as antiquated as she claims, and because of that, her continuity from the days of the apostles is called into question as well.

As we have on other occasions noted, another convert from Anglicanism, Roman Catholic priest John Brande Morris, conceded this very point—namely that “early traces” of Roman Catholicism are “invisible” except to the eye of the Catholic:

“Apply this to the Catholic religion : if there are early traces of identity of belief, they may be invisible, except to the eye of a Catholic, but perfectly clear to him.” (Jesus, the Son of Mary, by the Rev. John Brande Morris, M .A., 1851, pp. 25-33.)

The heart and soul of all Roman Catholic apologetics therefore is to allege antiquity and to explain away discontinuity. Her apologists are very much invested in those two activities, and are ever mindful of their duties. Thus, Rome is constantly pining for, longing for, yearning and stretching and reaching and grasping for the age of Nicæa and earlier. Yet for all of her earnest grasping, she is constantly finding that her affection is not returned by the Nicæan and ante-Nicæan church—a church that remains conspicuously just beyond her reach. Like a badgered but uncooperative witness, the Early Church was unaware that Roman Catholicism even existed, and refuses to capitulate even under a hostile cross examination.

It does not take long to discover this rather distinct pattern as each uniquely Roman Catholic doctrine is evaluated for its historicity. As Roman Catholic apologists inadvertently testify, the consistent pattern is to reach back to Nicæa and earlier, only to discover that authentically Roman Catholic doctrines cannot be found there. Instead they emerge suddenly, in stepwise fashion, toward the end of the fourth century, well after the Council of Nicæa.

Roman Primacy

Let us start by recalling our last two articles, False Teeth and “Unless I am Deceived…”, in which we showed that Roman Catholic efforts to find Papal primacy in Canon 6 of Nicæa are of necessity founded upon the grossly anachronistic assumption that the Diocese of Egypt existed sixty years earlier than it actually did. That anachronism, first employed by Jerome, dates to the late fourth century. It is only by casting that anachronism retroactively upon Nicæa that Roman apologists can find early fourth century Roman primacy in Canon 6. Move the creation of the Diocese of Egypt back into the latter part of the fourth century where it belongs, and Canon 6 loses all of its “papal primacy” teeth, and instead depicts Rome as a lesser metropolitan in the Diocese of Italy which was at the time administered from Milan.

Recall as well the fraudulent efforts of Popes Zosimus and Leo to package Roman primacy in Nicæan wrapping, the history of which we recounted in our four part series, Anatomy of a Deception. Pope Zosimus in 418 A.D. had misconstrued the canons of the Council of Sardica (343 A.D.) to confer judicial primacy on Rome, when in fact Sardica had merely conferred judicial primacy on Metropolitans—all Metropolitans—who were then authorized to rule on, and then forward, appeals to the Emperor’s court.

But Zosimus had misread the canons and tried to force universal Roman judicial primacy upon them. Then, in order to imbue his misconstruction with Nicæan antiquity, Zosimus simply attributed the canons of Sardica (343 A.D.) backwards onto the Council of Nicæa (325 A.D.). Pope Leo then, with full knowledge of the misconstruction, continued to conflate Sardica with Nicæa and argued that the Council of Nicæa had conveyed judicial primacy on Rome. By the time Pope Leo’s delegates arrived at the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.), the Latin version of the canons of Nicæa had been edited to state, “The church of Rome has always had primacy,” something none of the authentic Greek records of Nicæa actually said.

That is Rome’s constant ambition and temptation—to lay claim to the Nicæan era, something that the facts of history simply will not allow.

Recall as well our eight part series, The Visible Apostolicity of the Invisibly Shepherded Church, in which we showed that the Early Church was completely unaware of Roman primacy or even the need for an earthly chief shepherd or an earthly chief metropolis. The best case Rome could make for ante-Nicæan Roman primacy, as we showed in part 5 of that series, is from a bad English translation of a barbaric Latin translation of a lost Greek original of Irenæus’ works. It is there that Irenæus is made to insist that all churches must “agree” with the church of Rome (Irenæus, Against Heresies, Book III, chapter 3, paragraph 2). Yet in Irenæus’ historical context, we found that the surrounding churches, including Irenæus’ church (Eusebius, Church History, Book V, chapter 24, paragraphs 9-11), were constantly disagreeing with Rome, correcting, rebuking her heresies and otherwise keeping Rome at bay. In fact we find that Irenæus had himself come to Rome to correct the errors being advanced by “Pope” Eleutherius (Schaff, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, Introductory Note to Irenæus Against Heresies). Irenæus had not come to Rome “to agree with” her at all.

In reality, upon a more contextual reading, Irenæaus insisted that it was the duty of all churches to meet with Rome, not to agree with her, and by meeting with her to resist and forestall her propensity to wander from the fold and think above her station. In spite of these data, Rome maintains on the basis of Irenæus that the whole church agreed with and submitted to a second century Roman primacy that actually did not emerge until the latter part of the fourth.

Much of Rome’s argument for ancient Roman primacy is built upon horribly anachronstic reconstructions of Nicæa, and a notoriously “barbaric” translation of a lost ante-Nicæan original work.

Yes, Rome urgently seeks and desperately needs to find ante-Nicene evidence for her doctrines, so she is willing to accept fraud, anachronism and unreliable translations to make her case.

In short, she is always reaching back for Nicæan antiquity, always longing for Nicæa.

The Three Petrine Sees

Recall as well Bryan Cross’s article on Ignatius of Antioch, in which he alleges that Ignatius was deferential to Rome. Ignatius’ alleged deference was taken to suggest an early manifestation and recognition of Roman primacy. This, says Cross, is because “at this time [c. 107 A.D.] there was a recognized primacy in the three apostolic churches: Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria … because of their relation to St. Peter” (Cross, St. Ignatius of Antioch on the Church). We search in vain through the ancient records to find the primacy of which Cross speaks, the primacy of “the three Petrine Sees.” Cross attempts (in the comment section of his article) to find the primacy of “the three Petrine Sees” in Canon 6 of the Council of Nicæa which canon mentions the three metropoli of Alexandria, Rome and Antioch. But that canon neither makes mention of their primacy, nor of their particular relationship to Peter, nor even that Rome was chief of the three. As we showed last week, the mention of those three particular metropoli was simply because Rome’s diminutive provincial stature within the greater Diocese of Italy provided a relevant illustration of how Alexandria could maintain its provincial Metropolitan jurisdiction within the greater Diocese of Oriens—a diocese that was otherwise governed from Antioch. The canon’s mention of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch had nothing at all to do with their ostensibly Petrine origins, or even with any hierarchical primacy, but rather with the fact that Rome was subordinate to Milan in Italy, as Alexandria was to Antioch in Oriens, each in its respective diocese. There is not so much as a hint of Petrine language in the canon itself.

Cross therefore had to fill in for Nicæa that which Nicæa did not say for itself:

“The order of these three sees was recognized by the Council apparently on the basis of the origin of the Sees.” (Cross, St. Ignatius of Antioch on the Church)

His proof for this? A letter from Gregory the Great in the late 6th century (Cross, St. Ignatius of Antioch on the Church, comment 7). In fact, as we showed in A See of One,  the theory of “the three Petrine Sees” originated in the latter part of the fourth century, no earlier. The first explicit reference to it was at the Council of Rome in 382 A.D. (Council of Rome, III.3). The very idea of it was unknown to the earlier church.

Thus, in his efforts to establish the antiquity of his position, Cross actually tried to trace the origins of the concept of the primacy of “the three Petrine sees” to the Niceæan and ante-Nicæan era, when in fact it originated in the latter part of the fourth century.

But Rome desperately needs Nicæan antiquity, and thus, she is always grasping at Nicæa.

The title “Pontifex” applied to the Bishop of Rome

Recall the Catholic Encyclopedia‘s attempt to find ante-Nicæan evidence that the Bishop of Rome was commonly addressed under the title “Pontifex Maximus.” The actual transfer of the office of Pontifex from pagan Rome to Roman Catholicism took place in 380 A.D. when Emperor Theodosius I issued De Fide Catholica, claiming that Pope Damasus I was the new Pontifex of the state religion. Two years later, Emperor Gratian formally renounced the title Pontifex Maximus.

Prior to that, the Bishop of Rome never owned the title. There is simply no evidence that he was formally addressed as Pontifex prior to the end of the fourth century.

Of course there is one incidental use of the term, in which the Bishop of Rome was mocked and ridiculed and derided under that title. Bishop Callistus of Rome had claimed the power to remit the sins of adultery and fornication, a claim to which Tertullian responded in disbelief. The presumption, the arrogance, the unmitigated gall! Who did Callistus think he was? The Pontifex Maximus?

“I hear that there has even been an edict set forth, and a peremptory one too. The Pontifex Maximus — that is, the bishop of bishops — issues an edict: ‘I remit, to such as have discharged (the requirements of) repentance, the sins both of adultery and of fornication.’ O edict, on which cannot be inscribed, ‘Good deed!’ … But it is in the church that this (edict) is read, and in the church that it is pronounced; and (the church) is a virgin! Far, far from Christ’s betrothed be such a proclamation!” (Tertullian, On Modesty, Ch. 1)

Notably, Tertullian here objects to the imperial nature of the offensive decree, and objects that the duty of a bishop was to preside ministerially, “not imperially” (Tertullian, On Modesty, Ch. 21). Then he informs Callistus that the only power conferred on Peter was to remit sins committed against Peter:

“Observe what He bids. Who, moreover, was able to forgive sins? This is His alone prerogative: for ‘who remits sins but God alone?’ … Hence the power of loosing and of binding committed to Peter had nothing to do with the capital sins of believers.” (Tertullian, On Modesty, Ch. 21)

Clearly, by objecting to Callistus’ odious decree, Tertullian had used the title Pontifex Maximus as a term of derision and ridicule in order to mock him. But because Roman apologists are ever desirous to find ante-Nicæan evidence for their novelties, even such occasions as this must be turned to Rome’s advantage. Thus the Catholic Encyclopedia takes Tertullian’s derogation of Callistus as if it proved that the title of Pontifex had been commonly attached to the Bishop of Rome as early as the second century:

“As regards the title Pontifex Maximus … . Tertullian, as has already been said, uses the phrase of Pope Callistus. Though his words are ironical, they probably indicate that Catholics already applied it to the pope.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, The Pope)

Such is the desperation of Rome, that she is forced to take Tertullian’s insult on the chin in order to lay claim to the title by which he delivered the insult. The actual conferral of the title “Pontifex” upon the Bishop of Rome is not found until the decree of Emperor Theodosius I in the latter part of the fourth century.

But Rome needs Nicæan antiquity, and thus, she is always stretching back in time beyond Nicæa to find proof of her origins.

Relic Veneration

Recall the efforts by Roman Catholic priest, Fr. William Saunders, to imbue relic veneration with ante-Nicæan antiquity. After making some attempts to find the “use” of relics in Scripture, and in the burial of Polycarp, he identified 312 A.D. as the point when Roman Catholicism started exhuming relics of dead saints for veneration:

“After the legalization of the Church in 312, the tombs of saints were opened and the actual relics were venerated by the faithful. A bone or other bodily part was placed in a reliquary—a box, locket and later a glass case—for veneration.” (Saunders, Why Do We Venerate Relics?)

By this sleight of pen, Saunders attempted to place the practice earlier than the council of Nicæa. But as we showed in our article, Diggin’ Up Bones, the first recorded instance of extracting the bones of saints for veneration did not actually occur until 354 A.D. when the emperors initiated the practice. But even in 356 A.D. when Anthony discovered some people in Egypt mummifying “good men” and “holy martyrs” and keeping them in their homes, “thinking in this to honour the departed,” he sternly corrected them saying “that this thing was neither lawful nor holy at all.” Rather, the dead were to be buried, not kept above ground. Upon receiving this instruction, the unlawful practice was abandoned, and the people “gave thanks to the Lord that they had been taught rightly” (Athanasius, Life of Anthony, paragraph 90).

One of the earliest recorded instances of “the faithful” actually opening up tombs and collecting the relics of martyrs for personal veneration—something Saunders dated to 312 A.D.—is a letter from Basil placed in 373 A.D. (Basil, Letter 155). Saunders attempted to trace the practice of relic veneration to the time before Nicæa, yet it cannot be found any earlier than the late fourth century.

Rome needs Nicæan antiquity, so she is always grasping at the age of Nicæa.

The Immaculate Conception

Recall the statement by Pope Pius IX in his 1854 proclamation, Ineffabilis Deus, in which document he promulgated the doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary. According to Pius IX, “illustrious documents of venerable antiquity, of both the Eastern and the Western Church, very forcibly testify” of the “doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the most Blessed Virgin” (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus,1854). But as we showed in “A Significant Turning Point…”,  Roman Catholic scholars have long acknowledged that it is difficult to trace the origins of the doctrine to a time any earlier than the end of the fourth century:

“One of the most perplexing problems in patristic Mariology revolves about Mary’s holiness. … From the close of the Apostolic Age to the Council of Nicaea (325 AD) the literary heritage of Western Christianity contains so remarkably little on the theme of Our Lady’s holiness that a pointed question is inevitable. Was the pre-Nicene West even conscious of the problem?” (Evangelical Catholic Apologetics, The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God from Juniper Carol’s Mariology and Ullathorne’s Immaculate Conception)

As those same scholars acknowledge in the same article, “A significant turning point in the Mariological consciousness of the West does not occur until 377” A.D.. Thus, Pius IX’s claim to the ante-Nicene antiquity of the doctrine actually falls quite flat. The early church was completely unaware of Mary’s immaculacy.

But Rome needs Nicæan antiquity, and therefore, she is always longing for Nicæa.

Mary as the Ark of the Covenant

Recall Roman Catholic apologist Scott Hahn’s efforts to find the belief of Mary as the “Ark of the New Covenant” in the Early Church. It was during his talk under that title that someone actually asked Hahn if he had any proof of it:

“Where do we find specific examples of Mary as Ark of the Covenant in the early Church?” (Answering Common Objections, A Closer Look at Christ’s Church, Mary, Ark of the Covenant, see “added notes”)

In response, Hahn gave Hippolytus as an example, dating the belief to the early 3rd century, well before the council of Nicæa:

“We find that already at the beginning of the 3rd Century in the writings of Hippolytus of Rome” (Answering Common Objections, A Closer Look at Christ’s Church, Mary, Ark of the Covenant, see “added notes”).

But as we showed in Searching for the Lost Ark, Hippolytus said explicitly that “the ark made of imperishable wood was the Saviour Himself” (Hippolytus, Fragments, On the Psalms, Oration on ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’). Hippolytus did not think the Ark of the New Covenant was Mary at all.

Other ante-Nicene documents are brought forward by Rome to prove the antiquity of the doctrine, but as we showed in the same article, those documents are known to be corrupted or fraudulent. For example, the 3rd century writings of Gregory Thaumaturgus are brought forth to support an early date for the teaching, for he is alleged to say that “the holy Virgin is in truth an ark, wrought with gold both within and without” (Gregory Thaumaturgus (213 – 270 A.D.), First Homily). Yet even Roman Catholic scholars acknowledge the Homily to be a spurious work, “of doubtful genuineness” (Livius, Thomas, The Blessed Virgin in the Fathers of the First Six Centuries, (London: Burns and Oates, 1893), p. 48n)).

In fact, it is not until the end of the fourth century that we find statements supporting a belief in Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant. Thus, Rome’s efforts to discover ante-Nicæan evidence of the teaching are found to be quite erroneous.

But Rome needs ante-Nicæan antiquity, and thus, she is always longing for Nicæa.

“Incarnational” Worship

Recall Mark Shea’s criticism of Evangelicals because of their alleged “fear of the incarnation.” In his article on the subject, he alleged that Evangelicals have a “horror of the physical” and therefore they “get away from the Incarnation as fast as they possibly can” whenever they encounter things like relics, icons, statues, images, candles, priests, liturgy, the Mass sacrifice and Eucharistic adoration. The reason, he said, is that Evangelicals do not fully appreciate the incarnation and the implications it has for New Testament worship. We should worship the Eucharist and sacrifice it, and venerate images, relics and statues because God is alleged to meet us “incarnationally” through these means. After all, he says, the Early Church worshiped in God this way.

Evangelicals, by way of contrast, prefer worship that is “spiritual”—which Shea denigrates as “disembodied”—so foreign to them is the “incarnational” worship of the Early Church. The evidence Shea provides for “incarnational worship” is John of Damascus (c. 675—749 A.D.). But as we showed in our article, Novel Antiquity, it is the ante-Nicæan and Nicæan Church that reminds us that we do not worship an unseen God with things that are seen, and we do not worship an incorporeal being with corporeal offerings, and we do not worship God with images, incense, candles and smoke. “For if God is not seen,” wrote Lactantius at the turn of the fourth century, “He ought therefore to be worshipped with things which are not seen” (Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, Book VI, chapter 25).  Early in the fourth century, Lactantius was ridiculing pagan Rome’s use of candles in worship, noting that it is inappropriate to use them in the worship of the true God (Lactantius, Divine Institutes, Book VI, chapter 2, On the Worship of False Gods and the True God). Even at the end of the fourth century, Epiphanius was protesting as “contrary to the Scriptures,” an “image either of Christ or of one of the saints … hung up in Christ’s church” (Jerome, Letter 51.9, From Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, in Cyprus, to John, Bishop of Jerusalem, 394 A.D.).

No, the Early Church was unfamiliar with Shea’s allegedly “incarnational” worship, and did not believe that God met us “incarnationally” through these means.

But Rome needs Nicæan antiquity, and thus, she is always longing and reaching for Nicæa.

The Sacrifice of the Mass

Recall Roman Catholic apologist Scott Hahn’s claim that Christ had instituted the sacrifice of the New Covenant at the Last Supper. As we showed in Melito’s Sacrifice, and again in The ‘Certainty’ of ‘Cumulative Probability’, Hahn cited Melito’s second century Peri Pascha as proof that the Early Church believed in the Sacrifice of the Mass. And yet Peri Pascha says nothing of a Thursday night sacrifice at the Last Supper. The only time he mentions Christ’s sacrifice is when he refers to the Cross.

Further, we showed that Cyprian of Carthage (200 – 258 A.D.) did not believe Jesus could offer His blood until He had first been “trampled upon and pressed” on the cross (Cyprian of Carthage, Epistle 62, paragraph 7), making a Thursday night sacrifice impossible. Likewise, Aphrahat the Persian Sage (c. 270 — c. 345 A.D.) insisted that it is the Jews, not the Early Church, who sacrifice on Thursday. “Our day of great suffering, however, is Friday,” he wrote, “the fifteenth day,” and again,  “our great day is Friday … the day of the crucifixion” (Aphrahat, Demonstration 12, On the Passover, chapters 8, 12). The idea of a Thursday night sacrifice at the Last Supper is a late fourth century novelty.

As we also showed in our series, Their Praise was their Sacrifice, the Douay Catechism claimed that “All the Holy Popes, and Fathers, and Councils of the primitive ages” (Douay Catechism, (1649), pg. 90) believed that the Roman Mass Sacrifice was the fulfillment of Malachi 1:11, “and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.” Yet, the evidence shows the opposite.

Tertullian explicitly saw the fulfillment of Malachi 1:11 in “simple prayer from a pure conscience” (Tertullian, Against Marcion, Book IV, chapter 1). Eusebius, who was present at the council of Nicæa, denied that we should offer anything but “these unembodied and spiritual sacrifices” of praise, prayer and a contrite heart (Eusebius of Cæsarea, Proof of the Gospel, Book I, Chapter 10). Notably in the canons of the Council of Nicæa there is a reference to an “offering” and “those who offer” (Canons 5, 11, 13, 18, 20), but the bread and wine are never the direct object of that verb. The only time “to offer” has a direct object is in reference to “prayer” in Canon 20, as we would expect. And the only time the bread and wine are the direct object of a verb, it is when men “give the Body of Christ” to other ministers, or when deacons “receive the eucharist even before the bishops,” or when they “receive the eucharist according to their order after the presbyters from the hands of the bishop or the presbyter” (Canon 18). A sacrifice of praise and thanks was offered to God, and bread and wine were given to and received by men. The Council of Nicæa knew nothing of the Roman Mass sacrifice.

The Douay Catechism claimed that Nicæa had recognized “that the mass is the self same sacrifice of bread and wine that had been instituted by our Saviour” (Douay Catechism, (1649), pg. 90), but it was not until 382 A.D. that Gregory of Nyssa first “realized” that Jesus had sacrificed Himself in the elements of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday night (Gregory of Nyssa, On the Space of Three Days, Oration I). Thus, Maurice de la Taille exults that Gregory “makes use of this reckoning more remarkably than all the other Fathers,” and finally provides “a most appropriate and convincing illustration of our explanation of the Supper” (de la Taille, The Mystery of Faith, chapter 3, §1.B.a, n71). Gregory’s “remarkable,” “appropriate” and “convincing illustration” of the Mass Sacrifice was about fifty years too late to be authentically Nicæan.

But Rome is constantly trying to date her novelties to the Early Church, for Rome needs Nicæan antiquity, and thus, she is always longing for Nicæa.

The Liturgical Mixing of Water with Wine

As we showed in our series, The Mingled Cup, Roman Catholic apologists appeal to Justin Martyr, Irenæus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria and Cyprian of Carthage in order to prove that the rite of adding “a small quantity of water” to the wine during the Lord’s Supper is an ancient apostolic tradition originating with Christ. But upon examination, Justin, Irenæus, Clement and Cyprian all understood the “mixed cup” simply to refer to the two ingredients of wine: water and merum, or “pure wine.” In fact, when speaking of the mixed cup, they often spoke of the “mixed bread,” mixed grains, water being added to flour or dough being baked into bread—in other words, they were speaking of a common manufacturing process for bread and wine.

Justin spoke of the mingled cup being brought forward already mixed (Justin Martyr, First Apology, Chapter 65), and Irenæus referred to the “mingled cup” in the same breath that he referred to “the manufactured bread” (Irenæus, Against Heresies, Book V, chapter 2, paragraphs 2-3). Clement insisted that “it is best to mix the wine with as much water as possible” (Clement of Alexandria, Pædagogus, Book II, chapter 2, “On Drinking”). Cyprian made the manufacturing connection explicitly, stating that adding water to wine was “just as” the adding of water to flour to make bread, and mixing water with wine was “in like manner” with the grinding and mixing of grain to make bread (Cyprian of Carthage, Epistle 62, paragraph 13). These are all references to the secular manufacturing process for wine, not to a liturgical rite introduced by Jesus or His apostles. What is more, by the time of early 4th century Aphrahat of Persia was still depicting the Lord’s Table as if the cup had been mixed before Jesus even sat down for the meal (Aphrahat of Persia, Demonstrations, Demonstration 6: On Covenanters, chapter 6). Thus, after three hundred years of Christianity, there was still no liturgical tradition of Jesus mixing His own cup at the Table during the meal.

When trying to justify the antiquity of the liturgical rite, Thomas Aquinas first appealed to the secular manufacturing process, which does not prove a liturgical rite. Attempting to find actual ante-Nicæan evidence, Aquinas then cited an epistle allegedly from “Pope” Alexander I (d. 115) To All Priests, but that epistle has since proved to be a forgery, being found among the Pseudo-Isodorian Decretals and Other Forgeries, from the 9th century. Aquinas then appealed to Cyprian’s Epistle 62, but Cyprian was not speaking of a liturgical rite, but of a manufacturing process, as we noted above. Finally, Aquinas appealed to the earliest actual evidence for the liturgical rite: Ambrose’s Concerning the Sacraments (Book V, chapter 1, paragraph 4), from the late 4th century (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III, Question 74, Article 6), which is where the rite actually originated.

We are not surprised, of course, that Aquinas had to appeal to a fabricated epistle from “Pope” Alexander I in order to prove the antiquity of the rite, for Rome is constantly trying to date her novelties to the Early Church. And Rome is in desperate need of Nicæan antiquity, so she is always reaching, stretching and grasping for the age before Nicæa.

The Perpetual Virginity of Mary

Recall the statement by lay Catholic apologetics organization, Biblical Catholic Apologetics, in which this telling observation is conceded:

“Great teachers of the Church from at least the fourth century spoke of Mary as having remained a virgin throughout her life” (Biblical Catholic Apologetics, Mary: Virgin and Ever Virgin).

We notice with Biblical Catholic Apologetics that all of their sources come down to us from the latter part of the fourth century:

“Athanasius (Alexandria, 293 – 373
Epiphanius (Palestine, 315? – 403)
Jerome (Stridon, present day Slovenia, 345? – 419)
Augustine (Numidia, now Algeria, 354 – 430)
Cyril (Alexandria, 376 – 444)
… and others.” (Biblical Catholic Apologetics, Mary: Virgin and Ever Virgin).

Perhaps Irenæus can lend some help from the second century. Did he not affirm Mary’s perpetual virginity? Another Roman Catholic ministry claims that “St. Irenaeus … upheld the perpetual virginity of Mary.” But did he? As preeminent Roman Mariologist, Fr. Juniper Carol acknowledges,

“according to those authentic writings of his which have come down to us … there is nothing in these translated passages to show that Irenaeus held the permanence of Mary’s virginity” (Juniper Carol, The Perpetual Virginity of the Mother of God, Part II, The Patristic Tradition Concerning Mary’s Virginity).

But what about Origen in the third century? Did he not acknowledge that Mary remained perpetually a virgin? It would seem so, based on his recounting of an apocryphal tradition of which he was aware. He wrote:

“But some say, basing it on a tradition in the Gospel according to Peter, as it is entitled, or ‘The Book of James,’ that the brethren of Jesus were sons of Joseph by a former wife, whom he married before Mary. Now those who say so wish to preserve the honor of Mary in virginity to the end…  And I think it in harmony with reason that Jesus was the first-fruit among men of the purity which consists in chastity, and Mary among women; for it were not pious to ascribe to any other than to her the first-fruit of virginity.” (Origen, Commentary on Matthew, Book 10, chapter 17)

The problem here is that Origen denied Mary’s virginity in partu, that is, that her physical virginity was preserved during Christ’s birth. It is impossible for Mary to remain physically a virgin after Christ’s birth if she ceased physically to be a virgin during Christ’s birth. He wrote of Mary,

“In the case of every other woman, it is not the birth of an infant but intercourse with a man that opens the womb. But the womb of the Lord’s mother was opened at the time when her offspring was brought forth …”  (Origen, Homilies on Luke, Homily 14, paragraphs 7-8).

As Fr. William Most insists, however, it is an infallible Roman Catholic teaching on Mary’s perpetual virginity that she remained physically a virgin in partu, and therefore we cannot rely upon Origen for ante-Nicæan evidence for the doctrine.

But what about Clement of Alexandria, also in the third century? Taking a position opposite of Origen’s, Clement of Alexandria, again basing his position on apocryphal tradition, notes that “some say that, after she brought forth, she was found, when examined, to be a virgin” (Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, Book VII, chapter 16). But the problem here is that Clement cannot be made to attest to her virginity in perpetuity. Juniper Carol tries to get Clement to support the doctrine, but does so with extreme caution:

“If the Latin adaptation of Clement …  expresses his personal views accurately, he certainly held Mary’s virginity post partum.” (Juniper Carol, The Perpetual Virginity of the Mother of God, Part II, The Patristic Tradition Concerning Mary’s Virginity)

But as Fr. Carol acknowledges in the footnotes, Clement’s views on this are not certain at all, for they come from a 9th century Latin adaptation that is known to be unreliable:

“We cannot rely absolutely on this text, since it is a translated adaptation, with the expressed intention of expurgating anything that might be offensive…” (Juniper Carol, The Perpetual Virginity of the Mother of God, Part II, The Patristic Tradition Concerning Mary’s Virginity).

Aside from the fact that no reliable testimony on Mary’s perpetual virginity emerges from the Early Church, the additional problem with all of these early opinions, as Fr. Carol acknowledges, is that nobody seemed to think the issue of Mary’s perpetual virginity was an apostolic belief. People were opining based on personal preference, private opinions and apocryphal writings, but there is no sense that there was an apostolic tradition to undergird the opinions. Carol writes of this very problem,

“Whatever their origins, we have no grounds for concluding that the Apocrypha contained and transmitted an authentic apostolic tradition concerning the dogma of Mary’s perpetual virginity; in each instance such a tradition would have to be established—an impossible task with our present documentary sources. Moreover, in themselves, the apocryphal narratives scarcely measure up to the quality of sober objectivity characteristic of the transmission of a doctrine that is authentically apostolic in origin.” (Juniper Carol, The Perpetual Virginity of the Mother of God, Part II)

In the face of such a problem, Rome tries to invoke her typical Nicæan and ante-Nicæan trump cards. One organization makes a back-door attempt to trace the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity to Nicæa:

“In the Nicene Creed, the issue ‘born of Mary, always a virgin’ states that this has been the traditional observance.” (Roman Catholic Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, Mary, Ever Virgin)

Another makes a passing reference to the fact that Athanasius called Mary “ever-Virgin,” and after all, Athanasius had been present at Nicæa:

“The Patristic writers also had no difficulty in asserting Mary’s perpetual virginity. For example, St. Athanasius (373 A.D.), bishop of Alexandria, who was, as a deacon, active at the First Council of Nicaea, stated that Jesus ‘took human flesh from the ever-virgin Mary.'” (John A. Hammes, The Patristic Praise of Mary)

Yet another organization claims that the term aei-parthenos (ἀειπαρθένου) or “Ever-Virgin” in reference to Mary originates from the beginning of the fourth century:

“The term aei-parthenos is attested at the beginning of the fourth century in Epiphanius of Salamis. See Denzinger-Schönmetzer, n. 44” (Joseph, Mary, Jesus, by Lucien Deiss, Madeleine Beaumont 1996, 30, n 2)

From these citations, ought we believe that the church held to the perpetual virginity of Mary at the Council of Nicæa and earlier, even if Irenæaus, Origen and Clement cannot be made to do so? That is the implication of the attempts to attach Mary’s perpetual virginity to the Council and its creed and its era.

But in reality, while Epiphanius was born at the beginning of the fourth century (c. 315 A.D.), his use of “ἀειπαρθένου” dates to 374 A.D., late in the fourth century (Phillip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical notes. Vol. 2, The History of Creeds, Two Creeds of Epiphanius. A.D. 374.).

And though Athanasius was present at Nicæa, his description of Mary as “ever-virgin” dates not to the Council, but to 360 A.D. (Discourses Against the Arians, Discourse 2, chapter 70), late in the fourth century.

And even though later versions of the Nicæan creed included “ever virgin” as a description of Mary (i.e., 2nd Constantinople, 554 A.D.), the language was never actually applied to Mary in the original Nicæan Creed.

So when did the tradition actually resolve into an article of faith? What Juniper Carol can tell us is that in the East, “even in the middle of the fourth century,” we still find writers “of considerable authority and prestige, who attributed to Jesus a veritable cortege of brothers and sisters.” But then in the west, sometime between 350 and 400 A.D., the question of Our Lady’s perpetual virginity “was settled for all time” (Juniper Carol, The Perpetual Virginity of the Mother of God, Part II).

In other words, for all the fanfare about the ante-Nicene and Nicene antiquity of the dogma of Mary’s perpetual virginity, early evidence prior to Nicæa cannot be made to support it, and is strictly based on anachronisms, apocryphal writings, and private opinion, lacking any apostolic warrant whatsoever.

But Rome needs Nicæan antiquity for her doctrines, so Nicæa is invoked to shore up the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity, even though Nicæa actually said nothing of it. For Rome is always longing for Nicæa.

Kneeling on the Lord’s Day

We note this same tendency in the way Catholic Answers responded to the inquiry of a Protestant reader about kneeling during Mass. We addressed this particular point in our article, “It’s Complicated.” The response from Catholic Answers was as preposterous as it was indignant:

“Your question is a surprise because you probably should be asking yourself why you don’t kneel in your Protestant services. Scripture suggests you should. In Ephesians 3:14 Paul says, ‘I kneel before the Father,’ and in Acts 9:40 Peter ‘knelt down and prayed.’ The Catholic habit of kneeling is consistent with Scripture and is another manifestation of the continuity between the Church of the first century and the Catholic Church of today.” (Catholic Answers, Why Do Catholics Kneel?)

We can scarcely imagine a more unsuitable description of kneeling than “another manifestation of continuity” between Rome and the first century church. The problem with the above answer is that kneeling on Sundays is an 11th century novelty, and it had been explicitly prohibited—by popes and councils—for a thousand years. The early church fathers considered it unlawful, and Nicæa prohibited it explicitly (Nicæa, Canon 20). And that council, said Pope Leo, had “laid down a code of canons for the Church to last till the end of the world” (Leo the Great, Letter 106, paragraph 4).  Those inviolable canons were also reaffirmed by 1st Constantinople, Ephesus, Chalcedon, 2nd Constantinople, 3rd Constantinople, Trullo, 2nd Nicæa, 4th Constantinople and Pope Hadrian I.

Then suddenly, in a quantum leap of discontinuity, Roman Catholicism introduced the practice of kneeling on Sundays at the end of the eleventh century in order to worship the consecrated host at mass. And yet, when a Protestant dares to question why Rome kneels on Sundays, the knee-jerk response of the Roman Catholic is to allege ante-Nicæan antiquity for the practice, and to demand Protestant adherence to the allegations.

But the Nicæan and ante-Nicæan church did not believe in kneeling on Sundays in worship—a novel practice that Rome introduced in the eleventh century when Eucharistic adoration “burst forth throughout Europe” (Victoria M. Tufano, What’s the history of adoration of the blessed sacrament?, US Catholic). The Catholic Encyclopedia explains:

“The practice of kneeling during the Consecration was introduced during the Middle Ages, and is in relation with the Elevation which originated in the same period.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Genuflexion)

No, the early church forbade kneeling on the Lord’s Day. As we explained in When “Mary” Got Busy and “It’s Complicated,” there is a particular reason that this novelty originated at the end of the eleventh century, instead of the fourth.

But in any case, Rome is constantly trying to date her novelties to the Early Church, for Rome needs Nicæan antiquity. And thus, she is always longing, aching, and pining and reaching and grasping for Nicæa.

But Nicæa will not return Rome’s unsolicited affections.

To summarize, we simply recall that Rome’s attempts to find Papal Primacy in the 6th Canon of Nicæa are founded upon a gross anachronism. Pope Leo’s attempts to impute Roman judicial primacy to Nicæa was wholly fraudulent. Bryan Cross’s attempts to place the primacy of the Three Petrine sees in Ignatius of Antioch and Canon 6 of Nicæa required that he impute a late-fourth century teaching retroactively to the Early Church. Rome’s attempts to find Pontifex Maximus used in the Early Church is based upon Tertullian’s use of the title as an insult. The attempt to place the exhumation and veneration of martyrs’ relics before Nicæa required that a late-fourth century practice be incorrectly placed in 312 A.D.. Pius IX’s attempts to impute the Immaculate Conception to the Early Church was found to be a terrible historical inaccuracy. Roman Catholic attempts to prove an ante-Nicæan belief in Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant required a misrepresentation of Hippolytus, and relied upon other documents known to be fraudulent and spurious. Roman Catholic criticism of the allegedly “anti-incarnational” worship of Protestants required evidence from the late fourth century and beyond, because the Early Church was apparently “anti-incarnational” in its worship, too, by Roman Catholic standards. The Sacrifice of the Mass cannot be found at Nicæa, and does not finally find an advocate until Gregory of Nyssa in 382 A.D.. Early proof of the perpetual virginity of Mary required a later modification to the Nicæan creed, relied upon words of Athanasius that were 35 years removed from the Council, and required dating Epiphanius’ use of “Ever-Virgin” to his birth in 315 A.D., instead of to his actual use of the term in 374 A.D.. And finally, the allegation of the “continuity” of kneeling on the Lord’s Day since the first century required that a thousand years of explicit prohibitions of the practice be ignored, including Nicæa’s outright prohibition of the practice.

In other words, there is at least a 300-year gap between the apostolic era and Rome’s novelties.  And importantly, that does not leave a lot of time for doctrines to “develop.” Rather, they seemed instead to emerge spontaneously. We noted above, in reference to Cardinal Newman’s “Development of Doctrine,” that he attributed the later emergence of Roman Catholic teachings to an unbroken, continuous process of doctrinal development since the apostolic era. But what we find when we examine the historical origins of Roman Catholicism is not a gradual, continuous emergence of the doctrines since the age of the apostles, but rather a sudden, step-wise emergence of error at the end of the fourth century.

And to cover up her later origins, Rome consistently, perpetually, instinctively and relentlessly lavishes her affections upon the Council of Nicæa.

But Nicæa stubbornly refuses to requite them.

36 thoughts on “Longing for Nicæa”

  1. Tim quoted Priest JB Morris who said:

    “Apply this to the Catholic religion : if there are early traces of identity of belief, they may be invisible, except to the eye of a Catholic, but perfectly clear to him.” (Jesus, the Son of Mary, by the Rev. John Brande Morris, M .A., 1851, pp. 25-33.)

    Growing up Catholic you have no other choice but to be taught day after day that Roman Catholicism is the only Christian church directly linked to the Apostle Peter, and to the Apostolic church unbroken…Pope after Pope…

    This claim is ingrained into your thinking over and over again, and that is why Rev. Morris is so correct. Facts, evidence and truth are not part of this claim as has been demonstrated on this site week after week, and confirmed by Jim, CK and Bob week after week. What is true to the eyes of the Roman Catholic is what they were taught…not what they investigated and learned for themselves. Like a robot or a computer, they believe solely what they were told and taught…some call it brain washing, and it can be a dangerous thing to be brain washed and never change.

    1. TIM–
      You said: “Roman Catholicism, as a religion, is a novelty of the late fourth century, but in order to be taken seriously…they say, “Why, as early as the late fourth century we see plain manifestations of… as early as the late fourth century we see plain manifestations of the dogma…” Of course,” they say. “Why, as early as the late fourth century the Council of Rome plainly testified of this…” Did the early church really believe… “Why, as early as the late fourth century Gregory of Nyssa wrote clearly of this… Did the early Church see Mary as… as early as the late fourth century, Ambrose prayed that…”

      And on and on and on…..!

      History shows that only two Christian Churches can claim even as early as the late 4th century–the Eastern Greek Orthodox and the Western Latin (Roman) Catholic and both of them espouse Petrine Primacy. It just so happens that that particular apostolic see was established in Rome. (Good luck trying to prove Constantinople primacy.)

      You and so many others have claimed that the papacy is Satanic and cannot claim any further back to the Anti-Nicaean Church. But what you and nobody else have been able to prove is that any Reformation Church can claim Anti-Nicaean much less Apostolic. The only tradition that any Protestant can claim is loosely based on Sola Scriptura and then anachronistically project it on the early Church without any historical traditions or early church writings to back it up.

      So far, all you have been doing is trying to disprove Rome’s claims instead of proving the existence of the alternative “True Church” that existed at the same time during the centuries between the apostles and the Reformation. And since you have not done that, the result is basically proving how the gates of Hell prevailed against the Church for centuries upon centuries until the Reformation “fixed it”. The problem is, it didn’t fix anything. It only created a bigger excuse to divide the Church even more.

      Can you come up with the evidence to show otherwise?

      1. Bob,

        I suspect that my consecutive posts on a similar theme are becoming tiresome to you. But there is nothing compelling you to read them either. Is there? To a similar objection which you raised in May, I responded as copied below. Your objection has not changed in the intervening months, and neither has my response.

        Thanks,

        Tim

        ————
        Bob,

        You observed,

        “Nor have you explained why the Post-Nicene Fathers did not express outrage over this Satanic takeover of the Church of Rome.”

        I have sufficiently showed that all the way through Constantinople (380 A.D.) the surrounding churches were restraining Rome, objecting to her, correcting and rebuking her, and at times were willing to separate from her in order to preserve the Petrine unity of the Church. As Firmilian amply demonstrated for us, they were willing to call “pope” Stephen a false Christ, false apostle and worker of deceit, and Constantinople called Rome out in her carnal ambitions, appealing to 1 Corinthians 3:3-4, to implore Rome to set aside her carnality: “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?”

        As regards the “Satanic takeover of the Church of Rome,” that would not take place until it took place (of course), which was in the latter part of the 4th century, no earlier—although we know from Scripture that the mystery of iniquity was fast at work the whole time (2 Thessalonians 2:7). It did not happen immediately after Nicæa was adjourned, and therefore there was no immediate “post-Nicene” outrage of a Satanic takeover. But evidence for their objection to the mystery of iniquity is hardly lacking.

        But the Satanic takeover did come. You seem to think that because the fragmented empire aligned itself with Rome, it proves that the Church of Christ itself had no objections to Rome. But that is to misunderstand Christ’s warning. He told us explicitly that “These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast… For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled” (Revelation 17:13-17).

        Of course the fragmented empire decided to align with Rome. That’s what a general apostasy, a great “falling away,” is (2 Thessalonians 2:3). You can’t have a general apostasy and a great falling away without a general apostasy and a great falling away, although Rome always insists that it be so—if there is a great falling away, then the gates of hell have prevailed, and Christ’s promise is broken. By this erroneous thinking, Rome would presume to make Paul wrong about a general apostasy in order to make Christ right about the preservation of the church. But they are both right—Christ preserved his Church by providing a haven for her in the wilderness while the rest of the people stumbled into Rome’s apostasy. As is typical with Roman Catholic apologists, you have argued that everyone capitulated to Rome and submitted to her, and therefore she cannot be antichrist. Yet giving up and submitting to her is precisely what “God hath put in their hearts” to do. There were, as we have noted, objections, and Rome excommunicated those who objected. And the error to which they objected was the aggregation of new doctrines that had no basis in apostolic revelation—veneration of relics, perpetual virginity of Mary, etc…

        The problem with your epistemology is that you have evaluated history and concluded that Roman Catholicism cannot be antichrist because she is the “true church,” and the True Church cannot be antichrist. If I am not convinced that she isn’t the antichrist, I am instructed to ask her and see what she says. She of course denies being the antichrist, and therefore I am to rest assured that she is not. But that is like going to Rome to ask if she is the 4th beast, or to Greece to ask if she is the 3rd, or to Alexander to ask him if he is the great horn, or to Medo-Persia to ask if she is the 2nd beast. Even Nebuchadnezzar did not know that he was the head of gold until it was revealed to him by Daniel. Thus, just as we cannot go to Nebuchadnezzar, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome to ask if they are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th empires, we cannot go to Roman Catholicism to ask if she is the 5th. We have to go to Scripture and inquire of God’s Word. And what He has revealed to us there is that from the midst of the fragments of the 4th empire would arise a great evil, and the rest of the fragments would agree with her “and give their kingdom unto the beast.” Thus, the thing you think exonerates Rome is actually the very thing that proves her identity.

        Start with the assumption that Roman Catholicism is the true church, and you arrive, unsurprisingly, at the conclusion that she is the true church, with a visible shepherd—just ask her, and she’ll tell you so. But start with the assumption that God’s word is authoritative and self-attesting, and you arrive at the conclusion that Roman Catholicism is the great evil which would come upon the earth, at which time God’s Church, the Woman of Revelation 12, would flee to the wilderness and be preserved there by her invisible Shepherd. How do I know this? It is revealed to us in the Scriptures. Yet you ask,

        “Did your so called “authentic and invisibl[y] shepherded Church” tuck tail and run for the hills? What happened to its visible apostolicity?”

        You ask this as if the Woman fleeing to the wilderness “into her place” is evidence against the True Church, yet the very thing by which you think to accuse her is proof of her identity. Of course the Woman will fly to the wilderness to stay away from “the face of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14), for the Lord had prepared a place for her there. As you shall see when we come to the Vaudois, the greatest attestation of the visibility of her apostolicity will come from her own detractors. But that is for another day.

        Quite telling, I think, that you defend Rome because everyone ended up submitting to her, yet you accuse the church because she fled to the wilderness—but all these things were according to God’s plan and foreordination, and His decrees are unchangeable and must surely come to pass. Daniel had predicted this very outcome, and John added details to Daniel’s vision.

        “And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.” (Isaiah 44:7-8)

        Everyone would eventually cast their authority upon Antichrist and the remnant would fly to the wilderness—it could not have been otherwise. The flaw in your epistemology is that you have turned to History as your primary source of truth, and used it to judge the Scriptures. You should have used Scripture as your source of truth and used it to judge History. That error in your epistemology has led you to conclude the very opposite of what God has revealed to us.

        Thanks,

        Tim

        1. TIM–
          I ask you: “Can you come up with the evidence to show otherwise?” and you again respond:
          “As you shall see when we come to the Vaudois, the greatest attestation of the visibility of her apostolicity will come from her own detractors. But that is for another day.”

          The writings of the Vaudois are non existent. And any history I have found about them is suspect if not spurious. Your delay is telling me you are finding the same thing. So if you cannot provide any credible evidence, then the Reformed Church has no better credentials for apostolicity than Rome or Constantinople.

          1. Is that what my “delay” is telling you? What it ought to be telling you is what it told you in February when you asked the same question: that I plan to get to the Vaudois in time. There is much more to be written. As I said then, I repeat now: Patience, Bob.

            It is, after all, my blog. I write at my leisure, on topics of my choosing.

            You are, of course, welcome to comment on them.

            Thanks,

            Tim

  2. As against the Roman Catholic claims, as far as she has departed from the Orthodox belief, you are right that she has made up the claims falsely, has fabricated history, but she is not born in the 4-century as you claim, and during the first millennium, Rome held to the same beliefs as to the Orthodox faith. The Roman Catholic faith as it continues in the modern form, you could say started only after she separated from the Church, which was one, and continues in the Orthodox Church, since after the schism, she deviated gradually and then entirely from the true faith

    1. Thank you, Vangelis. I appreciate your comment. I will elaborate on the matter further in future posts, but my point here, as it has been in many other posts, is to show that there was a sudden, stepwise emergence of false doctrines in the latter part of the fourth century, an emergence that is so sudden that it can only be explained in terms of the eschatological warnings of Scripture.

      I have elsewhere written of the emergence of a Fifth Empire to follow Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, and that Fifth Empire is Roman Catholicism. The emergence of Roman Catholicism as the prophesied antagonist and in fact the archenemy of the Church of Christ was prophesied by the apostles and prophets, most notably by Daniel and by John in Revelation. The prophecies do not foretell an Imperial Christian Church displacing Rome and taking over administration of the empire to bring in the glorious earthly reign of Christ, but rather foretell an entity of evil origins that arises from within the church, initiating a great falling away (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4). That entity is represented in Daniel as rising from the ruins of the Roman Empire, and essentially taking over the empire—which ironically, is precisely what Roman Catholic apologists claim that Roman Catholicism did (see, for example, Taylor Marshall’s The Eternal City).

      In any case, the eschatological significance of the sudden emergence of Roman Catholic errors at the end of the fourth century is what was prophesied in Revelation 12:15, “And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood (potamon, ποταμόν).”

      Significantly, the conflict depicted in Revelation is the same as that depicted in the Garden of Eden. God’s Word vs. the Serpent’s word. The flood comes “out of his mouth”—the mouth of the serpent (Revelation 12:15-16) in the form of error, just as the sword comes “out of His mouth”—the mouth of Jesus (Revelation 19:15,21) in the form of Truth. What differentiates God’s people from those who are carried away of the flood, is their adherence to God’s Word that forbids the idolatry that arose from the late fourth century novelties of Roman Catholicism.

      I note that the word for flood (potamon, ποταμόν) in Revelation 12:15-16 is the word used in Matthew (7:25,27) and Luke (6:48-49) when Jesus describes the house that is built upon the rock of His Word, and is therefore able to withstand the floods. Also, the word for “carried away of the flood” (potamophorēton, ποταμοφόρητον), bears with it the sense of being carried away by error, as in Ephesians 4:14,

      “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about (peripheromenoi, περιφερόμενοι) with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”

      Thus the Serpent would open his mouth as a fountain of error in an attempt to shake the Church at its foundation, hoping that she would be carried away by the flood of false doctrines that he had let loose. But his efforts would fail because God’s people stand on His word, and will not be shaken from it, for a man liveth “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), and a house founded upon the Rock of His Word will not fall (Matthew 7:25).

      At the latter part of the 4th century, when Roman Catholicism first came on the scene, the Serpent spewed forth his erroneous doctrines—the primacy of the pope, the primacy of Rome, the pope as Pontifex of the new state religion, the sinlessness of Mary, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the sacrifice of the Mass, the veneration and invocation of relics and martyrs and saints, unnatural ascetism, mandatory celibacy of the clergy, Jerome’s erroneous Vulgate translation with its false gospel of “do penance, for the Kingdom of Heaven is a hand,” etc… Yet his efforts were in vain, for the Lord had provided a place in the wilderness for His people to be nourished, and therefore protected, by His Word.

      This, of course, is more than I can develop in the comment section of the blog, and I will get to it eventually, but I wanted to respond to your comment and give you some more detail on my perspective.

      Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, Daniel’s beasts of chapters 7 and 8, as well was John’s depiction of the serpent, beasts and harlot of Revelation 12, 13 and 17 tell us something very specific about the successor to the Roman Empire. History does not proceed from the Fourth empire into a foggy, nondescript, mist of an indiscernible journey, a dark, obscure and blurry, uncertain progression of ecclesiastical nothingness. Rather it progresses unwavering, inevitably toward a massive conflict between Jesus Christ and the grotesque caricature of Christianity that Roman Catholicism is (Revelation 19:19). In the meantime, Jesus Himself shepherds His church and keeps his flock safe from the errors of Rome.

      I agree with you that Rome and the East split from each other in the great schism, but as far as I can tell, they are both cut from the same cloth, as it were.

      The Woman of Revelation 12 (the true and apostolic church) is preserved from the Roman errors that spewed out of the mouth of the Serpent. Find the people who rejected the innovations, and you will find the Woman. Find the Woman and you will find the wilderness where she was preserved “from the face of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14).

      Future entries here will include extensive discussion on the Woman and her whereabouts from the end of the fourth century, but She was certainly not in Rome. I will also say that she was not in Constantinople, either.

      Thanks again for your comment, and thanks for reading.

      Tim

      1. Tim,
        “the Serpent spewed forth his erroneous doctrines—the primacy of the pope, the primacy of Rome, the pope as Pontifex of the new state religion, the sinlessness of Mary, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the sacrifice of the Mass, the veneration and invocation of relics and martyrs and saints, unnatural ascetism, mandatory celibacy of the clergy, Jerome’s erroneous Vulgate translation with its false gospel of “do penance, for the Kingdom of Heaven is a hand, etc…”

        Okay. You say these are the errors. Could you list some of the true doctrines espoused by this “woman”? You know, things like Bible Only, OSAS, Christ suffering the torments of hell, Christ being loathed by the Father while on the cross, Predestination to hell, denial of free will, Limited Atonement, etc. etc.?

        If you are too busy to make a comprehensive list, could you name just one Calvinist doctrine promoted by your “woman”?

        If you can’t name a single Calvinist doctrine held by the original woman/church, do you think you could find time to explain to Walt why he should follow you like a mouse following the Pied Piper?

    2. Vangelis,
      Is it true the Orthodox allow for a man to divorce his wife and take another? I understand the second marriage won’t be a sacrament but it is allowed. I also hear that some of your Churches allow for not just one but two non sacramental “marriages” while the real wife is still living? ( This smacks of the bigamous and “biblical” ( Ha! ) concessions Luther made to Philip of Hesse and Melancthon made to Henry VIII ).

      Oh,and what is the Orthodox view of contraception? The Orthodox priest where I live in Portugal says it is up to the couple after conferring with their priest. This is what Protestant James Dobson teaches. It isn’t the constant, 2,000 year Tradition of the Church.

      Will there be any development of doctrine in your Church? I mean, since there is no emperor or czar left to call an ecumenical council, how are you guys going to address surrogacy, cloning, sex changes, in vitro, etc. etc. and other weird developments in the future?

      Methinks it is only a matter of time before the divided Churches that call themselves ” Orthodox” end up as split as the Protestants on these and a host of other issues unless they get back to the Bark of Peter.

  3. Tim,

    Our church claims historical testimony to these three creeds, and periods of history before Rome takes over the dark and middle ages. Here is the VISIBLE church, and the true church with true doctrine, church government and worship.

    The Universal Formularies
    – The Apostle’s Creed (200?-500?)
    – The Nicene Creed (381)
    – The Athanasian Creed (415?-550?)

    Then, we jump to the first reformation:

    The Scottish Formularies
    – The Book of Common Order (1562)
    – The Scottish Confession of Faith (1560)
    – The First and Second Books of Discipline (1560) (Off-site)
    – The Form of Examination Before the Communion (~1567)
    – The Psalms of David in Metre (1650) (Off-site)
    – The Book of the Universal Kirk (1560-1616)
    – The Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (1638-1649 incl.)
    – The True History of the Church of Scotland (1678)

    Then to Westminster:

    The Westminster Formularies
    – The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) (Off-site)
    – The Larger Catechism (1648) (Off-site)
    – The Shorter Catechism (1648) (Off-site)
    – The Form of Presbyterial Church Government (1645) (Off-site)
    – The Directory for the Public Worship of God (1645) (Off-site)
    – The Directory for Family Worship (1647) (Off-site)

    Now compare this line of doctrine, discipline, form of worship and government to that claimed by Rome! MAJOR DIFFERENCES.

    Rome’s is based upon Jerome’s Vulgate riddled with errors and contradictions. Scotland and the reformers is based upon the best Textus Receptus and Masoretic Text.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textus_Receptus
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masoretic_Text

    1. Walt,

      “The Scottish Formularies
      – The Book of Common Order (1562)
      – The Scottish Confession of Faith (1560)
      – The First and Second Books of Discipline (1560) (Off-site)
      – The Form of Examination Before the Communion (~1567)
      – The Psalms of David in Metre (1650) (Off-site)
      – The Book of the Universal Kirk (1560-1616)
      – The Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland (1638-1649 incl.)
      – The True History of the Church of Scotland (1678)”

      Ever hear of Mary Queen of Scots? You do realize, don’t you, that you don’t have to be a Calvinist in order to be a scot-o-phile ?

  4. Tim wrote:

    “By the time Pope Leo’s delegates arrived at the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.), the Latin version of the canons of Nicæa had been edited to state, “The church of Rome has always had primacy,” something none of the authentic Greek records of Nicæa actually said.

    That is Rome’s constant ambition and temptation—to lay claim to the Nicæan era, something that the facts of history simply will not allow.”

    What? Is this really true Jim? This is fraud and deception!

    How can you, Bob and CK blindly ignore this deception?

  5. Tim wrote:

    “Recall Roman Catholic apologist Scott Hahn’s efforts to find the belief of Mary as the “Ark of the New Covenant” in the Early Church. It was during his talk under that title that someone actually asked Hahn if he had any proof of it:

    “Where do we find specific examples of Mary as Ark of the Covenant in the early Church?” (Answering Common Objections, A Closer Look at Christ’s Church, Mary, Ark of the Covenant, see “added notes”)

    In response, Hahn gave Hippolytus as an example, dating the belief to the early 3rd century, well before the council of Nicæa:

    “We find that already at the beginning of the 3rd Century in the writings of Hippolytus of Rome” (Answering Common Objections, A Closer Look at Christ’s Church, Mary, Ark of the Covenant, see “added notes”).

    But as we showed in Searching for the Lost Ark, Hippolytus said explicitly that “the ark made of imperishable wood was the Saviour Himself” (Hippolytus, Fragments, On the Psalms, Oration on ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’). Hippolytus did not think the Ark of the New Covenant was Mary at all.”

    What? This is not what I was taught in Catholic School. I was taught always that Mary was the ark of the covenant.

    Wow, I was really deceived as a small Roman Catholic boy! I’m glad I learned how to read and think for myself, and not be a robot of ignorance…as in computer language…garbage in, and garbage out.

  6. Tim wrote:

    “Yet, the evidence shows the opposite.”

    Over and over and over again…everything Rome teaches about its claim to the Apostolic and Nicene church period is a LIE it seems. What sort of church build’s its foundation on LIES? Could it be the church of Satan? Satan is a liar and the foundation of lies is built upon him….from the beginning.

    “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John. 8:44)

    Is this beginning to sound like the Roman Catholic religion?

  7. What?

    Tim wrote:

    “Perhaps Irenæus can lend some help from the second century. Did he not affirm Mary’s perpetual virginity? Another Roman Catholic ministry claims that “St. Irenaeus … upheld the perpetual virginity of Mary.” But did he? As preeminent Roman Mariologist, Fr. Juniper Carol acknowledges,

    “according to those authentic writings of his which have come down to us … there is nothing in these translated passages to show that Irenaeus held the permanence of Mary’s virginity” (Juniper Carol, The Perpetual Virginity of the Mother of God, Part II, The Patristic Tradition Concerning Mary’s Virginity).”

    Jim, what is going on here? Please CK clear up this teaching I was taught as a child about Mary. I was taught this was a Apostolic and Early church teaching. Help! I feel deceived.

  8. Tim wrote:

    “As Fr. William Most insists, however, it is an infallible Roman Catholic teaching on Mary’s perpetual virginity that she remained physically a virgin in partu, and therefore we cannot rely upon Origen for ante-Nicæan evidence for the doctrine.”

    Yes, this is what I was taught. Guaranteed. Even my father from Notre Dame was taught this at Catholic School and Catholic University. Everyone must believe this to be Catholic.

    Tim and Fr. Carol then write:

    “Aside from the fact that no reliable testimony on Mary’s perpetual virginity emerges from the Early Church, the additional problem with all of these early opinions, as Fr. Carol acknowledges, is that nobody seemed to think the issue of Mary’s perpetual virginity was an apostolic belief. People were opining based on personal preference, private opinions and apocryphal writings, but there is no sense that there was an apostolic tradition to undergird the opinions. Carol writes of this very problem,

    “Whatever their origins, we have no grounds for concluding that the Apocrypha contained and transmitted an authentic apostolic tradition concerning the dogma of Mary’s perpetual virginity; in each instance such a tradition would have to be established—an impossible task with our present documentary sources. Moreover, in themselves, the apocryphal narratives scarcely measure up to the quality of sober objectivity characteristic of the transmission of a doctrine that is authentically apostolic in origin.” (Juniper Carol, The Perpetual Virginity of the Mother of God, Part II)”

    No way. This is not possible. How could so much evidence prove over and over and over again that this doctrine is a fraud, and never taught by the Apostolic church. Why was I so deceived as a boy to believe this when it is not true? Why did my dear father die believing this lie? Why was he so convinced when the local Roman Catholic church priest guaranteed him that this was a true apostolic teaching?

    It was all a lie and Jim, CK and Bob will all march in this week to defend it over and over again…posting Wikipedia or Catholic Encyclopedia links to prove the virgin birth of Mary. They will give no evidence…but evidence does not matter to them. What really matters is to get as many Christians to become Catholics as possible as fast as possible to grow the numbers, grow the revenues and grow the global religion.

  9. Tim wrote:

    “We noted above, in reference to Cardinal Newman’s “Development of Doctrine,” that he attributed the later emergence of Roman Catholic teachings to an unbroken, continuous process of doctrinal development since the apostolic era. But what we find when we examine the historical origins of Roman Catholicism is not a gradual, continuous emergence of the doctrines since the age of the apostles, but rather a sudden, step-wise emergence of error at the end of the fourth century.”

    Can the evidence be more clear on this point? I think not.

    The problem with Newman, the Pope and so many other apologists on (who stop by from time to time to rant, then get corrected with facts and then leave silently) and off this blog, is they don’t want to know the facts, the evidence and truth.

    Roman Catholicism is about degrees of Satan worship, money, power, prestigious, global one world religion and tolerance for all evil, wickedness and sin. Of course, there are some fringe “causes” Roman Catholics get behind that help them “do good” and “buy” their way into heaven (after purgatory), such as anti-abortion, anti-contraception, etc. However, these are the exceptions and get the most vocal press. Under the surface of these causes, when you did into the evidence of history, it is a really bad system of belief and is the Antichrist in Scripture. It is Satanic in origin as we have seen based upon lies, fraud and deception.

    I can only pray that those inside Roman Catholicism will come out of her my people and be not partaker of her sins!

    1. Walter,
      Anyone who believes God made men to sin, as you believe, doesn’t need the devil in your paradigm. You make God the author of sin. Bone headed belchings like this,

      “Roman Catholicism is about degrees of Satan worship, ”

      is a bit like spitting in the wind.
      Now, learn to cross your legs like a proper lady when wearing your kilt.

  10. Tim,
    “It is only by the “development of doctrine” that Roman Catholicism can lay claim to both antiquity and continuity. ”

    Do you want to deny “development of doctrine” is found in the Bible?

    As for Scott Hahn trying to prove Mary as Ark of the Covenant from the Fathers, shucks, I can do better than that. I can prove it from St. Luke ( and have about a year and a half ago on this very blog ).

    Same goes for the Papacy. I can go back before even the ante-Nicean Fathers. The Petrine office about the easiest thing to prove in the Bible. Easier than proving the divinity of the Holy Ghost and just as easy as proving the Trinity.

    What you need to do is prove the Fathers taught Calvinism. Neither the pre nor the post Nicaea Fathers taught such absurdities as OSAS or that Christ suffered hell. Even if, and that is a mighty big “EVEN IF”, you could debunk my religion, that does not prove yours. It would just plunge both of us into relativism and despair.

    By the way, your innuendo/ hint/implication that the Assumption of Mary began to be fabricated in the 4th century is bogus. The is sufficient evidence for its belief long before that time.

    I shall continue perusing your article for more tid bits. But it will have to wait for a serious reading as I am heading for America for a month. Can you give me some juicy Calvinist contacts in the Portland area?

  11. Lurkers,

    I have already demonstrated Mary’s Perpetual Virginity on this blog. Scroll around and find it. My presentation of this sublime dogma is well worth the effort, if I do say so.

  12. Jim wrote:

    “Same goes for the Papacy. I can go back before even the ante-Nicean Fathers. The Petrine office about the easiest thing to prove in the Bible. Easier than proving the divinity of the Holy Ghost and just as easy as proving the Trinity.”

    This would be surprising to learn that the Papal government is biblical. From all Scripture I have read, I have never seen anywhere in Scripture where a Pope is the head of Christ’s church…whether in the old or new testaments.

    In fact, in the Grand Debate among the best reformers and ministers in the history of the Christian church, I read the biblical arguments between the Presbyterians and Independents. However, I have never read any arguments supporting Episcopal or Popish church government.

    Tim stated here a week or so ago that the Early Church (I assume he is also alleging the Apostolic church) was based upon the Episcopal form of church government. I am not an expert on the early church sufficient to rebuke this opinion of Tim, but from all I’ve read on his blog here I do not see either the Independent view or the Episcopal view developed.

    The Episcopal church herself claims they were always run by a central episcopate…whether a Pope or a King. I don’t see anywhere in the Early Church that a Pope or King ran the alleged Episcopal church. Obviously Jim sees that from Peter the Pope has always run the Romish church, and according to the Episcopal church they have always been run by a Pope or a King as the head. This is entirely against Scripture which is clearly defining a Presbyterian form of church government run by elders (often called Bishops) and not by Prelates.

    “A territorial prelature is, in Roman Catholic usage, a prelate whose geographic jurisdiction, called territorial prelature, does not belong to any diocese. A territorial prelate is sometimes called a prelate nullius, from the Latin nullius diœceseos, prelate “of no diocese”, meaning the territory falls directly under the jurisdiction of the pope and is not a diocese under a residing bishop.[1] As of 2013, there were 44 territorial prelatures, all in the Latin Church.

    The term also is used in a generic sense, in which case it may equally refer to an apostolic prefecture, an apostolic vicariate or a territorial abbacy.

    Equivalents of diocesan bishops in law
    Canon 368 of the Code of Canon Law lists five Latin Church jurisdictional areas that are considered equivalent to a diocese. These are headed by:

    A Territorial Prelate, formerly called a Prelate nullius dioceseos (of no diocese), in charge of a geographical area that has not yet been raised to the level of diocese
    A Territorial Abbot, in charge of an area, which in mission countries can be quite vast, associated with an abbey
    A Vicar Apostolic (normally a bishop of a titular see), in charge of an apostolic vicariate, usually in a mission country, not yet ready to be made a diocese
    A Prefect Apostolic (usually not a bishop), in charge of an apostolic prefecture, not yet ready to be made an apostolic vicariate
    A Permanent Apostolic Administrator, in charge of a geographical area that for serious reasons cannot be made a diocese.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarchy_of_the_Catholic_Church#Equivalents_of_diocesan_bishops_in_law

  13. Jim said:

    “Anyone who believes God made men to sin, as you believe, doesn’t need the devil in your paradigm. You make God the author of sin.”

    Wow, that is strange. Never heard this before. Is this a Romish belief and teaching? There is no sense me posting over 100 Scripture proofs that debunk your views that God made men to sin, and that God is the author of sin, but I suggest you get your head into Scripture and off YouTube.

    1. Walt,

      “Wow, that is strange. Never heard this before. ”

      Wow, this is just one more example of how little you know about Calvin and Calvinism.

  14. Wikipedia says:

    “Ordination to the episcopate is the fullness of the priesthood and the completion of the sacrament of Holy Orders. Bishops are considered the successors of the apostles.

    Within the Catholic Church the following posts have similarities to that of a diocesan bishop, but are not necessarily held by a bishop.”

    I have no idea how this defines the Early Church or Apostolic church government. The Prieshood was totally abolished as a church officer in the New Testament…it was an office fulfilled in Christ Jesus. In fact, we are the priesthood of believers.

    I assume maybe some believe that Priests and Prelates were Apostolic and Episcopal in the Early Church, but this was not the case. Perhaps Hippolytus and Tertullian caused the confusion as outlined below.

    “In the days of the apostles, the calling to serve as priests was revived. Peter declared, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). In this case God’s word has not come as a promise for the future but as a declaration for the present: “You are … a royal priesthood.”

    However, around 200 A.D. two of the church’s leaders, Hippolytus and Tertullian, revived the notion of a “special priesthood,” with that title to be worn only by the clergy. By the end of the fourth century that office had been formalized, and the “laity” accepted second-class status in ministry.

    As a priest-in-training Martin Luther rediscovered the claims of Scripture, with its gift of justification by grace through faith and its commission to serve in the “priesthood of all believers.” He minced no words: “All Christians are priests, and all priests are Christians. Worthy of anathema is any assertion that a priest is anything else than a Christian.”

    John Calvin applied that message by forming a polity wherein laity and clergy alike would serve in ordained offices of leadership — as peers in proclamation of the Word, peers in intercessory prayer, and peers in mission service.”

    http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/today/priesthood-belivers/

    “In his first epistle, for example, Peter applies the attributes of the people of God under the Old Covenant to us as believers and explicitly proclaims that we are the people of God. In Scripture we learn that God mercifully called the children of Israel to be His people, and promised them that if they walked in obedience to His Covenant, they would be His “own possession”, “a kingdom of priests” and a “holy nation” (Ex. 19:5, cf Deut. 14:2, 21). Conjuring up this imagery and applying these attributes to believers, Peter writes:

    But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

    In the same vein, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders in the fifth chapter of Revelation sing that the Lamb was slain and with His blood purchased for God “men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou has made them to be a kingdom of priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth” (Rev. 5:9-10).

    First Peter 2:9-10 and Revelation 5:9-10, then, teach us about the mercy and grace of God who called us to be His priests. In particular, we learn at least three important truths from these passages. First, God, by the blood of Christ, has mercifully called people of every tribe and tongue and nation out of darkness into His marvelous light. Second, as those called into His marvelous light, we are also called to be His chosen people and royal priests. Third, because we are royal priests, we are to serve God daily by proclaiming His excellencies and reigning upon the earth to His glory. Put simply, by God’s grace we are royal priests and as such we are to serve God daily as we reign for Him.”

    http://www.reformed.org/webfiles/antithesis/index.html?mainframe=/webfiles/antithesis/v1n3/ant_v1n3_record.html

  15. Jim,

    I got thinking about your constant and perpetual inquiry about both Tim and I being required to define Calvinism to you, and the several YouTube videos you have posted (which I have watched).

    For me, I have really lost all desire to debate and discuss with Free Will Baptists and Roman Catholics the topic of Calvinism vs. Arminianism. When I was younger, I used to spend day after day, week after week on a well known blog on the internet debating this question. I’m not going to name the site, but I have hundreds and hundreds of posts that taught me that only a handful of those who discussed this doctrine ever really came around to writing me privately saying that they finally got it, and left Arminianism. This is not a doctrine I can convince you of without dozens of hours of discussion, proof texts, and argumentation…when in the end, we know that unless the Lord changes your heart and renews your mind, you will not see it, nor believe it.

    However, there is one video that I always thought was a good overview of the history of the debate and discussion, and while it is a 6 hour series, I would encourage you (or anyone who is serious about the question in their own mind) to watch the first part. The second and third parts are good as well, but the first part will give you the basic issues of what Calvinists believe and teach from a Calvinist. Here you go, if interested.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCtrOqYXekE

    It may not help, but after watching all your video posts it is clear that you need some direction on the issues of the discussion and this will help you more.

  16. Walt,
    “I’m not going to name the site, ”

    Why not? I would love to see you argue about free will.
    Does the blog really exist? Or have you been sniffing the Drambuie fumes again?

    1. Jim,

      Based upon your typical response, don’t ask me again about discussing Calvinism. Your a waste of my time. This was the last time I will discuss the issue with you. Grow up.

      1. This is the last time you will discuss Calvinism with me? I don’t recall you ever discussing Calvinism with me. You only stone wall.

        1. BINGO!!!

          Walt – so what would you say if I left Rome and became either Orthodox, Coptic, or even Mormon? Would I be saved?

          You left Catholicism and began following Calvin (what did Paul say about those who follow follow people such as Appolos, Paul, etc.. Instead of Jesus?) Did you even bother to see if Calvins teaching squares with what the first century Christians taught?

          In order to know this, you must compare what Calvin and early Christians taught. Did early Christians believed OSAS, God creating evil, double predestination. No out of contex sentences please (ie. Don’t “Timothy” it)

          It doesn’t look like you even know what Calvins religion entails to make this comparison.

          Riddle me this – how can an all knowing God not create hell for man yet He creates (forces) some men to go to hell?

  17. WALT–
    You said: “It was all a lie and Jim, CK and Bob will all march in this week to defend it over and over again…posting Wikipedia or Catholic Encyclopedia links to prove the virgin birth of Mary.”

    That is what you said. Is that what you meant?

  18. Walt,
    The Fathers believed justification to be an inner renewal, even a divinization. Calvinist believe it to be an imputation.

    The Fathers did not believe sacrifice was a vicarious punishment meted out to a third party. They did not say the lamb or doves were punished in lieu of the men who presented them as offerings in the temple.

    Calvin invented the view that said Christ’s descent into hell was something other than a triumphal entry to humiliate the devil and empty Abraham’s bosom of the saints awaiting him.

    The soteriology you espouse has zero connection to the early Church. Absolutely zero.

    As for the constant attacks on the Church’s moral system, just remember Calvin was the first Christian toendorse divorce and remarriage. As I wrote to Vangelis, Luther and Melancthon didn’t go that far. Instead they allowed for bigamy because they saw it as biblical. Even Tyndale, who most people think died for defending the Bible, actually fell afoul of HenryVIII for denouncing his divorce and remarriage.

    Dude, you love to throw the pejorative “satanic” at my Church. No sheep that follows Calvin as their shepherd should use that word lightly.

    Do notice, Mr. Walt, your champion Tim has not said a word in about two months in defense of Calvinism despite my non stop taunting him to. Why do you think the oh-so prolific writer Tim has not dared to do anything but submit article after article on the attack. He thinks he can stave me off with the old adage, ” the best defense is a good offense”. But everything he writes, from “Melito’s Sacrifice to his latest piece on Nicaea just leads full circle back to the soft under belly of his own system. And he knows it. Tim can run but he can’t hide.

  19. Tim,
    Since I have warn out my welcome on several blogs with my sassy pen name, ‘ Guy Fawkes”, I am in search of another.
    I kinda’ like. ” Malleus Calvinus”. What do you think? It has a certain catchiness about it,yes? And it fits me well, wouldn’t you say? Like me it is spunky and provocative. Say it a few times. It has a nice ring. Malleus Calvinus, Malleus Calvinus.

    1. JIM–
      You said: “It has a nice ring. Malleus Calvinus, Malleus Calvinus.”

      How about James Tiberius, James Tiberius?

  20. JIM–
    Well, it looks like Tim doesn’t want to address the Waldensians either. I guess both of us have discovered Tim’s stumbling blocks.

  21. Tim said:

    “Significantly, the conflict depicted in Revelation is the same as that depicted in the Garden of Eden. God’s Word vs. the Serpent’s word. The flood comes “out of his mouth”—the mouth of the serpent (Revelation 12:15-16) in the form of error, just as the sword comes “out of His mouth”—the mouth of Jesus (Revelation 19:15,21) in the form of Truth. What differentiates God’s people from those who are carried away of the flood, is their adherence to God’s Word that forbids the idolatry that arose from the late fourth century novelties of Roman Catholicism.

    I note that the word for flood (potamon, ποταμόν) in Revelation 12:15-16 is the word used in Matthew (7:25,27) and Luke (6:48-49) when Jesus describes the house that is built upon the rock of His Word, and is therefore able to withstand the floods. Also, the word for “carried away of the flood” (potamophorēton, ποταμοφόρητον), bears with it the sense of being carried away by error, as in Ephesians 4:14,

    “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about (peripheromenoi, περιφερόμενοι) with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”

    Amen to this point. The difference is one believes it all happened at the beginning of the fourth century fulfilling Revelations, and others who believe that this flood of false doctrine is being fulfilled in our generation.

    The killing of the witnesses and killing of the testimony is coming soon to a faithful remnant believer near you:

    http://www.truecovenanter.com/steele/steele_two_witnesses.html

    As was recently written by a brother in Christ, I quote the following as a warning to all self-proclaimed prophets and teachers of God’s word that could lead hundreds and millions astray:

    “William Perkins

    The Art of Prophesying and The Calling of the Ministry

    From Puritan Paperbacks Series, Banner of Truth.

    Finished reading 2015.02.10.

    Read at the advice of my wife after waiting 16+ years.

    Overall conclusion: Solid. Practical. Spiritual. I liked this sufficiently to send copies to local pastors who I didn’t really know anything about. I would encourage others to do the same. I noticed nothing I would criticize, but I’m rather far from being qualified to do so. The two points of insight I found most worth noting were Perkins’ comments about the necessity that faithful spiritual ministers should be at peace with one another, (page 99,) and that a pastor must look to his King (the Lord) for his maintenance, and not to those to whom the King sends him as ambassador, (page 182.) It is to be noted also, that Perkins has a brief comment about how Christians may help one another when there are no godly ministers, (page 104,) but he does not specify the limits or circumstances of how “godly Christians” shall do so. In any case, it implies that he recognized the reality that sometimes the Church is so backslidden that not only sceptics, schismatics, and hypocrites, but also godly Christians would find no congregation to attend, and no minister to whom to listen. It also makes clear that Perkins would have godly Christians then to fellowship one another, rather than the various erring parties of our still-beloved Church Catholic. Mr. Perkins makes very evident his opposition to all false pretensions to the ministry, regardless of a man’s abilities and sincerely felt impulses to intrude into the office of the ministry without an actual commission.”

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