The Other Woman

"Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high?" —Job 39:27
“Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high?” —Job 39:27

While many Protestants deny that Roman Catholicism is a Christian denomination, one of the most persistent criticisms of Protestants by Roman Catholics is that we, allegedly, can only trace our religion back to the 16th century. Arguing that point, the Roman Catholic apologist offers what he believes to be the most compelling rebuttal possible: if Roman Catholicism is not the True Church, then the True Church must have perished shortly after it was formed, being then revived only in the 16th century, making Jesus a liar (Matthew 16:18). The Protestant is thereby presented with an unpalatable dilemma: either accept that Roman Catholicism is and always has been the True Church, or acknowledge that Jesus Christ is a liar. Many a professing Evangelical has stumbled at the false dilemma, concluding that because Jesus is not a liar, then Roman Catholicism must be the True church.

By way of a recent example, K. Albert Little of the Cordial Catholic, capitulated to that argument, as explained in his article, “Why I’m Becoming a Catholic At Easter.” He was seeking “a more ancient faith,” and right on cue, he determined that he must accept Roman Catholicism as Christ’s Church, for if he does not, “[t]hen Jesus is a liar and not God.” Persuaded by that reasoning, Little converted in 2015, thinking he had found a religion that “can clearly trace its roots back to the very first apostles and to Christ’s promise to build a Church.”

As we have noted in many different articles in our blog, however, the early Church rejected the very things that make Roman Catholicism what it is—papal primacy, Roman primacy, papal infallibility, priestly celibacy, baptismal regeneration, the immaculate conception, the perpetual virginity, dormition and assumption of Mary, Mary as Mother of the Church, transubstantiation, eucharistic adoration, the sacrifice of the Mass, kneeling on the Lord’s Day, incense, candles, relics, images, the title Pontifex Maximus, communion on the tongue, the liturgical mixing of water with wine, etc., etc., etc…  These all find their origins in the 4th century and beyond, not in the 1st. No, Roman Catholicism cannot “clearly trace its roots back” that far, which is why her apologists are always Longing for Nicæa in order by fraud, fabrication, insinuation, inference or deceit to find some scrap of evidence that might support her claim of early origins. In reality, Roman Catholicism hates the early church, even while claiming to be its sole heir, so different is the early church from the later Roman imposter.

The Roman apologist’s—and, we might add, the pliable Evangelical’s—approach to this issue takes as its starting point an erroneous assumption that they cannot prove and which we refuse to grant to them: namely, that medieval Roman Catholicism was the result of a continuous unfolding and maturing of the apostolic faith, and therefore represents the sole manifestation of Christ’s Church for the first 1,000 years of Christianity. Relying on that invalid assumption, they end up converting to or defending not a 1st century apostolic religion but a late 4th century novelty that is nothing but a carnal, diabolical attempt to imitate Christianity.

We join the Roman apologist and the impressionable Evangelical, of course, in their affirmation that Jesus is not a liar, and we agree that the late 4th century emergence of the Roman Papacy is a testimony of His truthfulness. Nor, we add, were His prophets and apostles liars, foreseeing the rise of Roman Catholicism from the fragments of the Roman Empire, warning of the Roman Papacy as the Little Horn of Daniel 7:8, the Beast of Revelation 13:1-2, and “that Wicked” “man of sin” and “the son of perdition” of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8. Based on their warnings, we can hardly be surprised that such a religion as Rome, emerging late in time, three hundred years after the apostolic era, would also implore us to worship an image that comes to life and speaks (the Eucharist) at the insistence of a false prophet that works miracles, even to make the sun come down to earth in the sight of men (the Apparitions of Mary). No, we are not surprised at all, for Jesus has not lied to us (Revelation 13:13-14).

As surely as the gates of hell could not prevail against Christ’s Church, the rest of the world could by no means fail to succumb to the “strong delusion” His Father would send upon them (2 Thessalonians 2:11). And Roman Catholicism could by no means fail to emerge in the late 4th century from among the thirteen fragments of the Roman empire, subduing three of them and rising up among the remaining ten, ruling as Rome’s successor for 1,260 years, persecuting Christ’s Church through it all. All of these have surely come to pass, for Christ, His prophets and His apostles have told us they would. They have not lied to us.

Since Jesus is no a liar, and Roman Catholicism is not the true Church, then there must have been a religion that actually originated with Christ and His apostles, survived the late 4th century apostasy, rise and medieval reign of Roman Catholicism, and still perseveres to this day. But because the Roman apologist and the pliable Evangelical are ignorant of and cannot find that actual True Church in their history books, they have settled for what they can find. And what they can find is Roman Catholicism writ large across the pages of yore, complete with its clamorous and inventive protestations of apostolic continuity.

With that limited and incorrect information, the Roman Catholic digs in and the exasperated Evangelical finally capitulates, as if the Church of Rome was the only possible answer to the quest for the ancient religion founded by Christ and His apostles. In this, both the apologist and the convert are oblivious to the fact that a “strong delusion” from God (2 Thessalonians 2:13) is just as irresistible as His grace, and that Rome’s historians were not immune to the delusion. In fact, the Roman Catholic presumption of apostolic continuity is actually the delusion, and their manifold idolatries—bowing in the service of relics, images, Mary and the Eucharist—is the “pleasure” the deluded take “in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:14). That presumption of continuity is precisely why people stumble at the arguments of the Roman apologists, and swallow their idolatries whole.

Take for example two converts to Roman Catholicism who “returned” to what they were told was the “apostolic faith,” laboring  under the delusion that Rome’s errors could be traced to the earliest ages of Christianity. Walid Shoebat converted in part because he was persuaded that the church of the first four centuries permitted incense and images in its worship:

“But as I researched the oldest Christians and their churches from the first century to the fourth … all these churches used icons and incense.” (Walid Shoebat, Why Catholics Having Icons Is RIGHT, And Evangelicals Not Having Icons Is WRONG)

Or consider Elizabeth Esther who converted because she was persuaded that the Holy Spirit had led the early Church into the doctrine of Mary’s immaculate conception:

“To be honest, when I was a Protestant, all these Marian doctrines confused me. … Ultimately it came down to an issue of trust: could I trust that the Holy Spirit had led the early church?” (Elizabeth Esther, Why the Immaculate Conception Makes Protestants Squirm)

Yet even Rome’s apologists—and her very own Catholic Encyclopedia—know very well that Mr. Shoebat and Ms. Esther are misled on the very things that caused them to convert in the first place: the presumption of continuity:

“When, exactly, incense was introduced into the religious services of the Church it is not easy to say. During the first four centuries there is no evidence for its use.” (Catholic Encylopedia, Incense, Use)

“[I]n the first ages of Christianity, when converts from paganism were so numerous, and the impression of idol-worship was so fresh, the Church found it advisable not to permit the development of this cult of images…” (Catholic Encyclopedia, The True Cross, “Catholic doctrine on the veneration of the Cross”)

“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? … A significant turning point in the Mariological consciousness of the West does not occur until 377 … with respect to Our Lady’s holiness, the year 431 marks a turning point for Eastern patristic thought.” (Evangelical Catholic Apologetics (ECA) The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God: from Juniper Carol’s Mariology and Ullathorne’s Immaculate Conception.)

What can we make of such converts as Shoebat and Esther, who insist that they converted to Roman Catholicism because icons, incense and the Marian dogmas are all from the earliest days of Christianity, when their own apologists and Encyclopedia acknowledge that they cannot find any evidence for icons, incense and the Marian dogmas in the earliest days of Christianity? It is a delusion of eschatological proportions, and her apologists labor under it constantly.

Take for example, Scott Hahn, former Presbyterian minister turned Roman Catholic apologist, as he alleges apostolic continuity even while tacitly acknowledging that he cannot find it:

“The Immaculate Conception was a commonplace of the early Church. Saint Ephraim of Syria testified to it in the [late] fourth century [360 A.D.], as did Saint Augustine in the fifth.” (Scott Hahn, Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God, (Doubleday, 2006) 96)

It is for this reason that we focus on the late 4th century—that brief point in time at which the Roman Empire was divided into thirteen dioceses (of which Roman Catholicism claimed three), and the point at which so many of Rome’s errors originated. We do this to show that Roman Catholicism emerged not as a continuous expression of Christ’s faithful church, but rather as a step-wise and sudden departure from it, just as it was prophesied to do. Roman Catholicism is the “falling away,” and its deeply flawed historiography the “strong delusion” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 11). Those misguided shepherds of the deluded apostasy became the guardians of the library of history, writing a fictitious account of their origins, attempting to construct a plausible account of their illegitimate rise to power, convincing even themselves that they were the heirs of the apostles, alleging continuity even as they are baffled at the endemic discontinuity of their religion. The belief in Roman Primacy is no different.

As we noted in our article, “And Now Ye Know What Withholdeth” and in our series, The Visible Apostolicity of the Invisibly Shepherded Church, the Early Church steadfastly rejected any presumption of primacy from the Bishop of Rome, despised the very notion of an earthly chief metropolis, and opposed any attempt to establish a central episcopate on earth before Christ’s return. Christ, the Chief Shepherd, ruled His Church from Heaven and would not establish an earthly government until His return. The Early Church was entirely satisfied with that arrangement, and scoffed at the Bishop of Rome for even hinting at anything different.

But then came Pope Damasus I (366-384 A.D.) who claimed against all evidence that “the holy Roman church is given first place by the rest of the churches,” branding the city of Rome the chief metropolis of Christianity, ranked “before all other cities in the whole world” (Council of Rome, III.1-2). Under his reign, Emperor Theodosius I issued De Fide Catholica (380 A.D.), claiming that Pope Damasus I was the new Pontifex of the state, and Catholicism its new religion. Two years later, Emperor Gratian formally renounced the title Pontifex Maximus. Thus was the Bishop of Rome finally elevated to his coveted position of prominence, a primacy until then denied to him by the Church of Christ. It was a position secured in pride, ambition, blood, savagery and intrigue, such was “the violent character of the episcopal elections at Rome” in those days. One hundred thirty seven men lay dead at his ascension (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. III, § 72 The Roman Schism of Damasus and Ursinus). Those 137 deaths would not be the last at the hands of the new religion and empire. No, far from it.

Truth, too, would be a casualty of the rise of the Roman Papacy, as can be seen in a survey of how Rome twisted the canons of the early councils to forge them fraudulently into conciliar recognition of Roman primacy. As we showed in False Teeth, and “Unless I am deceived…”, Canon 6 of Nicæa (325 A.D.) had recognized the bishop of Rome as a minor custodian of several provinces within the Diocese of Italy (Milan being the chief metropolis) and therefore a suitable precedent for making the bishop of Alexandria the custodian of a few provinces within the Diocese of Oriens (Antioch being the chief). But Jerome (398 A.D.), Rufinus (403 A.D.) and Pope Innocent I (411 A.D.) had all mistakenly assumed that the Diocese of Egypt was already in existence at Nicæa and further that the Council had made the bishops of Alexandria and Antioch the chief metropolitans of their respective dioceses.

The Diocese of Egypt, in fact, was not formed until at least 374 A.D., which is the very reason the council had to wrestle with the problem of the jurisdictions of two metropolitans within a single civil diocese, a situation that mirrored the current status quo in Italy in the early 4th century. Just as Rome had recently been allocated a portion of the Diocese of Italy, Alexandria would be allocated a portion of the Diocese of Oriens, which was the only reason Canon 6 had invoked the Bishop of Rome at all. Jerome’s, Rufinus’ and Innocent’s anachronism completely changed the geographic context of Canon 6. Ever since then Roman Catholicism has employed the anachronism to recast the 6th of Nicæa as a formal codification of the ancient primacy of Rome, whose bishop allegedly assigned metropolitans to their dioceses, very nearly the exact opposite of the canon’s original meaning.

Two decades later, during the trial of Athanasius, Bishop Julius of Rome was adhering to Constantine’s recent judicial reforms when he dutifully compiled his opinion and forwarded it to the Emperor for a judicial review, and thence to the Council of Sardica (343 A.D.) for a final ruling. As we showed in our series, Anatomy of a Deception, Julius’ famous quip that “the custom has been for word to be written first to us” and for “a just decision to be passed from this place” (Athanasius, Apologia Contra Arianos, Part I, chapter 2, Letter of Julius to the Eusebians at Antioch), was simply a criticism of the Eusebians’ failure to comply with Constantine’s recent prohibition of consultatio ante sententiam, the illicit practice of appealing to the Emperor while a lower court was still considering the case (Lord Thomas Mackenzie, Studies in Roman Law (1886), 379). As Julius and Athanasius both testified, the Eusebians had written to him first but had also continued arguing their case at the Imperial Court, in violation of Constantine’s reforms (Athanasius, Apologia Contra Arianos, Part I, chapter 2, Letter of Julius to the Eusebians at Antioch, paragraph 26; Letter of Julius to the Eusebians at Antioch, paragraph 1). That circumvention of the lower courts was illegal no matter which metropolitan bishop was handling a case. Julius’ objection was not about Roman primacy but about honoring Constantine’s appellate reforms.

That unlawful practice of consultatio ante sententiam was formally prohibited by the 7th Canon of Sardica—”[f]or many of the bishops do not intermit resorting to the imperial Court”—and Julius’ compliance with the new appellate procedure was formally recognized in Canon 9 which required appeals to the Emperor’s Court to advanced only through the metropolis of a diocese. But a special case existed in Italy where, as we have noted above, there were two metropolitans—one in Milan, and one in Rome—so the canon clarified the procedure, taking into account Rome’s diminutive status within the diocese. Appeals would generally be advanced through the chief metropolis (Milan), but if the appeal was lodged in Rome, the Bishop of Rome was allowed to advanced the appeal himself:

“But those who come to Rome ought, as I said before, to deliver to our beloved brother and fellow bishop, Julius, the petitions which they have to give, in order that he may first examine them, lest some of them should be improper, and so, giving them his own advocacy and care, shall send them to the [Imperial] Court.” (Council of Sardica, Canon 9)

The canon was simply an acknowledgment of Rome’s diminutive status within the Diocese of Italy, a material recognition that Milan was yet its chief metropolis, as Athanasius twice observed (Athanasius, History of the Arians, Part IV, chapter 33; Apologia de Fuga, chapter 4).

But again by ignorance and myth Roman Catholicism was able to recast Julius’ comments and the 9th of Sardica as an ancient acknowledgment of Roman episcopal primacy, when in fact the canons had authorized all metropolitans to prepare rulings for judicial review by the Emperor, and every appellant to advance his case through the metropolitan of his choosing. According to Canon 9, Rome was only exceptional in its diminution, for its bishop presided in the lesser metropolis of a diocese in which there were two metropolitans.

By the time of the deposition of Apiarius of Tabraca (418 A.D.), the Canons of Sardica were reinterpreted by Pope Zosimus as if they required all episcopal disputes to be handled by the Bishop of Rome alone. What is more, Zosimus had falsely purveyed the Sardican canons as Nicæan in an attempt to imbue his medieval misrepresentation with the impression of antiquity.

By Chalcedon (451 A.D.), Pope Leo took up the mantle of Zosimus’ deception, and in full knowledge of Zosimus’ error, continued to advance the fraudulent presumption of primacy. When Leo sent his legates to the council, they carried with them a conveniently edited Canon 6 from Nicæa:

The church of Rome has always had primacy. Egypt is therefore also to enjoy the right that the bishop of Alexandria has authority over everything, since this is the custom for the Roman bishop also.” (Richard Price & Michael Gaddis, The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon, vol 3, in Gillian Clark, Mark Humphries & Mary Whitby, Translated Texts for Historians, vol 45 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2005) 85)

That introductory clause was pure fraud, but was put forward as ancient evidence of Roman primacy even as Leo continued insisting that the canons of Nicæa “can never be modified by any change, nor …  perverted to private interests” (Leo the Great, Letter 106, paragraph 4). His perverted modifications could not be found in any of the ancient records of Nicæa, but the facts of history were no obstacle to the ambition of the Bishop of Rome. By the relentless power of repetition, with an occasional rewriting of history, plus some creative editorial modifications to the canons, the square peg of Roman primacy was steadily pounded into the round hole of a history that could not have otherwise accommodated it.

Thus is the unnatural birth and fraudulent rise of the religion called Roman Catholicism—which is nothing but a widespread apostasy from the late 4th century—presented to us as the only viable option in our quest for the true ancient, apostolic church. We are told that we must finally kneel at the threshold of a library of history that is fraudulently maintained at the gates of Rome, and accept as our mother this institution born of blood, scandal, political intrigue, conciliar misunderstandings, canonical lies, historical errors, doctrinal inventions, novel idolatries, geographical myths and outright deception.

Because … you know … otherwise Jesus is a liar.

The fundamental historical flaw in the reasoning of the Roman apologist and the pliable Evangelical is that both overlook the three century gap in her alleged doctrinal continuity, and see Damasus’ bloody, carnal ascension and Rome’s unscrupulous rise to earthly power as the excusable consequence of the fall of man and the supposed necessity of having a visible shepherd on earth. Roman Catholicism, they say, is nevertheless our only option.

Confronted with the claim of a different, purer, more ancient Church, they scour the history section of Rome’s library to search for another institution inflamed with the same carnal, demonic ambition for earthly power and primacy that has infected Roman Catholicism since her illegitimate birth. Because another such carnal monstrosity cannot be found in the post-apostolic era, Rome is supposedly exonerated and Protestantism ostensibly disproved. There is only one woman who can be our mother, we are told, and Roman Catholicism is her name. We are invited, nay, commanded, to kneel in submission before Holy Mother Church.

But Jesus told us there is not only one Woman from which to choose. There are two. Just as Proverbs 14 declares that both the foolish woman and the wise sit at the city gates saying “Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither…” (Proverbs 9:4,16), even so there are two Women in the Book of Revelation vying for the allegiance of men—the Harlot decked in earthly beauty (Revelation 17:4) whose children are harlotry and abomination (Revelation 17:5), and the Bride of Christ arrayed in Heavenly beauty (Revelation 12:1) whose children “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). Roman Catholicism is associated with one of those two women, to be sure, but her origins, her seat, and her rise to power suggest she is affiliated with the former, not the latter. After all, the Harlot of Revelation 17 “is that great city,” Rome, which at the time of John’s Revelation, “reigne[d] over the kings of the earth” (Revelation 17:18). By Damasus’ own proclamation, his new religion was headquartered there (Council of Rome, III.2). And since Jesus is no liar, there is, indeed there must be, another Woman. That other Woman is the Israel of God, the Church of Christ, the Woman of Revelation 12.

Jesus had marked out that True Church of the 144,000 less than ten years before the rise of Damasus, as we highlighted in our article, Do Not Weep For Nicomedia. That is the True Church, its members marked with the seal of God on their foreheads (Revelation 7:3). It is she who kept Rome at bay for three centuries, resisting the “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). She was preserved from the wiles of the devil and removed to the wilderness to allow the unrestrained rise of “those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads” (Revelation 9:4), known now to history as the religion of Roman Catholicism, the fifth empire of Daniel’s visions.

To find the True Church that stood apart from the Harlot Rome, we will look to the wilderness as Revelation 12 instructs us to do. In our quest for  her, we must be careful not to stumble where so many have before, encountering the Harlot in the Wilderness (Revelation 17:3) thinking to have found the True Church (Revelation 12:6,14). Both women cry out for our allegiance—the one who invites us to live, and to “go in the way of understanding” (Proverbs 9:6), and the other whose abode is death, and whose “guests are in the depths of hell” (Proverbs 9:18). By His Word, the Lord’s people may discern which Woman ought to receive our attention. We are looking for the Woman arrayed in Heavenly light (Revelation 12:1-2), not the Harlot burdened with earthly encumbrances (Revelation 17:4). We are not looking for a religion based in the harlot city of Rome.

What we shall find in the following series is that there is an apostolic religion that actually does trace its origins to the apostles, the members of which religion rejected the late 4th century novelties and apostasy of Rome, flying instead to a place of refuge in the wilderness where they were nourished and fed by their Lord and His Word. The godly purity and simplicity of their mode of life stood in remarkable contrast to the base carnality of Rome’s bloody, deceptive and scandalous rise to power, her grasp of the Scriptures so exceptional that her Roman detractors attributed it to demonic possession. At every turn, she resisted what Roman Catholicism invented and imposed mercilessly and relentlessly upon the world, from the late 4th century idolatrous novelties, to the demonic Crusades and the idolatrous 11th century introduction of Eucharistic adoration. Through it all, she was earnestly evangelical, coming down from her place of refuge to minister the Gospel of Christ to a world ensnared in the shackles of the Roman apostasy. Every notable Reformation movement of record—movements as early as the late 4th century—originated with her. The Scriptures, as we shall see, identify her for us along the way, not only by what she did, but also by what she could not be tempted to do.

No, we cannot “turn in hither” (Proverbs 9:16) to the harlot of Rome, for if Roman Catholicism is the True Church, then Christ’s Bride succumbed to the great apostasy and perished in error and idolatry at the end of the 4th century, making Jesus a liar.

But we know Jesus has not lied to us. So we “turn in hither” (Proverbs 9:4) to the Other Woman, for we Protestants, in our manifold denominations, are her offspring (Revelation 12:17).

619 thoughts on “The Other Woman”

  1. Excellent summary Tim. Very well written. I cannot wait to see you teach the distinctions between the visible and invisible church from the Confession, and the being and well-being.

    I also think there are a couple more distinctions that many Roman Catholics and Evangelicals ignore. The first is the word distinguish between an infant state and growing up state.

    For example, James Renwick wrote in “An Informatory Vindication Of a Poor, wasted, misrepresented, Remnant of the Suffering, Anti-Popish, Anti-Prelatick, Anti-Erastian, Anti-Sectarian, True Presbyterian Church of Christ in Scotland, United together in a General Correspondence; By way of Reply to Various Accusations, in Letters, Informations & Conferences, given forth against them” (Anno 1687), the following distinction (he used the word “distinguish”):

    As to the first, We shall distinguish:

    I. Between a Church in her infancy & growing up into Reformation; And an adult Church, which hath arrived at a higher pitch of Reformation: In the former many things may be tolerated, which may not in the latter; & therefore our Fathers might have born with many things in Ministers, which we cannot, because we have been Reformed from these things, which they were not.

    II. We distinguish between a Church in a growing case, coming forward out of darkness & advancing in Reformation; And a Church Declining {61} & going back again: In the former, many things may be born with, which in the latter are no ways to be yielded unto; as in the time of the former Prelacy many did hear Prelatical men, which now we cannot do, & so in other things.

    The other is what Gillespie refers to toleration and accommodation of errors, weakness, etc.

    George Gillespie wrote:

    Consider what I say. The Lord guide your feet in the way of peace. And O that God would put it in your hearts to cry down Toleration, and to cry up Accommodation!

    The fourth kind of toleration, arising from necessity which hath no law, may well be mourned for as an affliction, it cannot be condemned as the Magistrate’s fault. Even a David may have cause to complain that the sons of Zeruiah are too strong for him. In such cases as these, our Divines have given a relief to the conscience of the Christian Magistrate, purging him of the guilt of this kind of toleration; provided always, that he hath endeavoured so far as he can to extirpate heresies, and to establish the true religion only. Which hath nothing to do with that principle now defended, that the Magistrate though he may never so easily, yet he ought not nor cannot without sin exercise a coercive power in matters of religion.

    The fifth and last is that kind of toleration whereby the Magistrate when it is in the power of his hand to punish and extirpate, yet having to do with such of whom there is good hope either of reducing them by convincing their judgments, or of uniting them to the Church by a safe accommodation of differences, he granteth them a Supersedeas; or though there be no such grounds of hope concerning them, yet while he might crush them with the foot of power, in Christian pity and moderation, he forbeareth so far as may not be destructive to the peace and right government of the Church, using his coercive power with such mixture of mercy as createth no mischief to the rest of the Church.3 I speak not only of bearing with those who are weak in the faith, Rom. 15.1, but of sparing even those who have perverted the faith, so far as the word of God and rules of Christian moderation would have severity tempered with mercy: that is (as hath been said) so far as is not destructive to the Church’s peace, nor shaketh the foundations of the established form of Church government, and no further: these last two kinds of toleration are allowed; the first three are wholly condemned.

    EIGHTHLY, there is also a great difference betwixt Toleration and Accommodation. By accommodation I understand an agreement of dissenters with the rest of the Church in practical conclusions, so that if any difference be, it is in their principles, not in their practices, and so not obvious, apparent and scandalous to people. I had rather go two miles in an Accommodation, (yea as many as the word of God will suffer me) than one mile in a Toleration. For in that way there is no schism, no rent in Israel, but the Lord one, and his name one. In this way there is Temple against Temple, and Altar against Altar, Manasseh against Ephraim, and Ephraim against Manasseh, and they both against Judah: a misery from which the Lord deliver us. I do not deny, but if a safe and happy Accommodation be impossible, such a Toleration as I have formerly spoken of, is not to be disallowed. But the Accommodation is a more excellent way, and that which is to be rather embraced, yea endeavoured for and followed after, according to the Apostle’s rule, Phil. 3.15,16, (which Isidorus Pelusiota did long since observe to be the best and happiest way of putting an end to divisions and dissentions in the Church) Let us therefore as many as be perfect be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

    George Gillespie, Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty Or, The true Resolution of a present Controversy concerning Liberty of Conscience. Here you have the Question stated, the middle way betwixt Popish Tyranny and Schismatizing Liberty approved, and also confirmed from Scripture, and the testimonies of Divines, yea of whole Churches: The chief Arguments and Exceptions used in The Bloudy Tenent, The Compassionate Samaritane, M.S. to A.S. &c. examined. Eight Distinctions added for qualifying and clearing the whole matter. And in conclusion a Parænetick to the five Apologists for choosing Accommodation rather than Toleration, December 16, 1644.

  2. We recognize this distinction every day in regard to a Christian man; and it is no less to be recognized in its application to Christian society. There is many a doctrine and truth of revelation, in regard to which a man may err without ceasing on that account to be a Christian man; and there may be many a duty recognized in Scripture as binding upon all, in which he may be totally deficient without forfeiting his Christianity. In other words, there is much in doctrine and duty, in faith and practice, necessary to the perfection of a believer, which is not necessary to the existence of a believer as such; and so it is with a Christian Church. What is essential to its existence as a Church is something very different from what is essential to its perfection as a church…. This distinction is of considerable value, and not difficult, under the teaching of Scripture, to be applied. We read in Scripture that the Christian Church is, “the pillar and ground of the truth,” and that, “for this cause the Son of God himself came, that he might bear witness to the truth.” In other words, we learn that the very object for which the Church of Christ was established on the earth was to declare and uphold the truth…. Judging then by this first test, we are warranted in saying, that to hold and to preach the true faith or doctrine of Christ is the only sure and infallible note or mark of the Christian Church, because this is the one thing for the sake of which a Church of Christ has been instituted on earth. A true faith makes a true church and a corrupt faith a corrupt church: and should it at any time apostatize from the true faith altogether, it would by the very act, cease to be a Church of Christ in any sense at all. The Church was established for the sake of the truth and not the truth for the sake of the church…. For this thing then the Church of Christ was instituted; and this thing, or the declaration of the truth, must therefore be, in its nature and importance, paramount to the church itself. Again we read in Scripture that Christ,” gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” In other words we learn that ordinances and office bearers have been established for the object of promoting the well­being and edification of the Church. These things then [the ordinances and the ministry ­ GB], unlike the former [the truth ­ GB], were instituted for the sake of the Church and not the Church for the sake of them; and these things [the ordinances and the ministry ­ GB] therefore, must be, in their nature and importance, subordinate to the Church (James Bannerman, The Church of Christ, Vol. 1, 1869, SWRB reprint, 1991, pp. 56­59, emphases added).

    The Westminster Confession of Faith (25:2) defines an essentially true church as having one mark, viz., the profession of the true religion.

    The idea that there is one mark that alone distinguishes the being of a church from its well­being is clearly and plainly taught in the Westminster Confession of Faith, where it states,

    The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children; and is the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ; the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation (Westminster Confession of Faith, 25:2, emphases added).

    Likewise the Larger Catechism, Question 62:

    Q. What is the visible church?
    A. The visible church is a society made up of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion, and of their children.

    Notice that the only mark mentioned as necessary for the existence or “being” of a true visible church is, “the profession of the true religion.” According to the Westminster Divines this is the single mark that distinguishes Christian churches from Pagan churches. By using this mark we can determine whether a body of people meeting together for worship are to be considered “Christian” in any sense. The Reformers, by applying this single mark to the Roman Catholic Church, called her a true church (as to essence or being), and correctly distinguished her from the Turks or Pagans.

    For example, commenting on Jeremiah 15:16, John Calvin writes:

    The name of God is indeed called indiscriminately on all, who are deemed his people. As it was formerly given to the whole seed of Abraham, so it is at this day conferred on all who are consecrated to his name by holy baptism, and who boast themselves to be Christians and the sons of the Church; and this belongs even to the Papists (Calvin’s Commentaries, 1539 Latin, Baker Book House English reprint [1850] 1993, Vol. 9, p. 285).

    Another excellent reformed scholar, Francis Turretin, defines the essentially true church (esse) as having one mark, viz., the profession of Christianity and gospel truth.

    The Church of Rome can be regarded under a twofold view (schesei); either as it is Christian, with regard to the profession of Christianity and of Gospel truth which it retains; or Papal, with regard to subjection to the pope, and corruptions and capital errors (in faith as well as morals) which she has mingled with and built upon those truths besides and contrary to the Word of God. We can speak of it in different ways. In the former respect, we do not deny that there is some truth in it; but in the latter (under which it is regarded here) we deny it can be called Christian and Apostolic, but Antichristian and Apostate (Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 1696 Latin, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing English translation, 1997, Vol. 3, p. 121).

    Here the Church of Rome (which retains the single mark: a profession of gospel truth) is designated a true church when compared to Pagans. Turretin, like Calvin, is saying that in the Roman Catholic Church there remains a possibility of salvation which is not true in a Pagan group, and in this sense he is willing to call them a Christian church, a true church essential, or a truly constituted church. On the other hand Turretin makes it clear that when he considers the Catholic Church as Papal he designates her a false church and Antichristian. Notice here, that by distinguishing between the being and well­being of the Church of Rome Turretin calls them a true church (as to being) and a false church (as to well­being) at the same time. It is significant to recognize this point, which to some seems like a contradiction throughout the writings of the Reformers. A true church can, at the same time, be considered true in one sense while false in another. In this case Turretin is saying that though the Romish church is essentially Christian (esse) it has strayed so far from its Christian foundation that it must be called false (bene esse).

    Samuel Rutherford defines the essentially true church as having only one mark, viz., the profession of the truth and doctrine of godliness.

    A visible profession of the Truth and Doctrine of godliness, is that which essentially constitutes a visible church, and every member of the visible church.” (Samuel Rutherford, The Due Right of Presbyteries, 1644, SWRB reprint, 1995, p. 251).

    To properly examine what Samuel Rutherford meant by this statement we must do more than Mr. Bacon when he simply cites one quote and then boldly asserts that Rutherford agrees with him. Mr. Bacon has asked us to believe that Rutherford is in total agreement with the eighteenth chapter of the Scottish Confession of Faith while the so­called Steelites are in disagreement with both Rutherford and the Confession. I believe and will establish that Samuel Rutherford was in agreement with the 1560 Scottish Confession of Faith, but for very different reasons than Mr. Bacon sets forth. Furthermore, I will demonstrate that he has grossly erred regarding his doctrine of the Church primarily because he does not understand the Reformers’ distinction between the being and the well­being of the church. Consequently, this particular error will be shown to be the foundation of the destructive misrepresentations set forth in his Defense Departed.

    Let’s begin with what Rutherford and others do NOT mean when they teach that “A visible profession of Truth and Doctrine of Godliness is that which essentially constitutes a visible church.”

    1. Rutherford shows that actual saving faith is not necessary to the essence or being of a true visible church.

    That which is unseen is the form and essence of an invisible church, and that which is visible must be the essential form of a visible church (Samuel Rutherford, The Due Right of Presbyteries, 1644, SWRB bound photocopy reprint, 1995, p. 242).

    And whereas our Divines say, that the church is invisible, because faith which is the specific and constitutive form of the Church is invisible, and known only to God the searcher of hearts (Samuel Rutherford, Survey of the Survey of that Summe of Church Discipline, 1658, SWRB bound photocopy reprint, 1997, p. 418)

    2. Ministers, Elders and Deacons are not necessary to the essence or being of a true visible church.

    In 1646 an anonymous work entitled Jus Divinum Regiminus Eccesiastici or The Divine Right of Church Government was published. Its authorship is generally attributed to either Westminster Divines themselves (likely the London Covenanted Presbyterians), or those who closely sympathised with them. It is ironic that this book refutes its own publisher (Naphtali Press) on this vital point, the very crux of the controversy!

    There are degrees of necessity; some things are absolutely necessary to the being of a church, as matter and form, viz., visible saints, and a due profession of faith, and obedience to Christ, according to the gospel. Thus it is possible a church may be, and yet want both deacons, elders, and pastors too, yea, and word and sacraments for a time: some things are only respectively necessary to the well­being of a church; thus officers are necessary, yet some more than others, without which the church is lame, defective, and miserably imperfect (The Divine Right of Church Government, Jus Divinum Regiminus Ecclesiastici, ed. by Thos. Henderson, 1844 edition, SWRB reprint, 1997, p. 121; see also Naphtali Press edition, p. 123, emphases added).

    3. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are not necessary to the essence or being of a true visible church.

    Abraham called with his house to leave idolatry, obeyed the calling, building an altar to the Lord (Gen 12:1­18) professes and teaches as a Prophet the doctrine of the covenant, and God appearing revealed the Gospel unto him (Gen 12:1­3, Gen 15:4­7) and so he and his house are a visible church, when, not while many years after and until he was ninety and nine, the seal of circumcision was ordained and given to him and his house, Gen 17:1­3. (Samuel Rutherford, Survey of the Survey of that Summe of Church Discipline, 1658, SWRB reprint, 1997, p. 17).

    …and the church is a true visible church in the wilderness… which yet wanted [lacked ­ GB] circumcision and the passover forty years in the wilderness (Josh. 5:5­7), this proves that there is a true visible church, where Christ is, and yet wanteth the ordinary seals, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Samuel Rutherford, Survey of the Survey of that Summe of Church Discipline, 1658, p. 17, emphases added).

    4. Church discipline is not necessary to the essence or being of a true visible church.

    But a church may retain the essence and being of a visible church, and yet have no discipline in actual use, or little, and though want [lack ­ GB] of discipline do leaven a church, yet it does not (as Robinson says) evert the nature thereof, and turn it into Babylon and a den of dragons (Samuel Rutherford,The Due Right of Presbyteries, 1644, SWRB bound photocopy reprint, 1995, p. 288, emphases added).

    To summarize, Rutherford and others do not make actual saving faith, ministry, sacraments or church discipline necessary to the existence of a true church essentially considered. Why? Because saving faith is the essence of the invisible church and does not pertain to the definition of the true visible church, and because ministry, sacraments and discipline, while necessary and profitable for the well­being of the church are not necessary to its existence or being. Seeing that Rutherford removes all of these things from his definition of an essentially true church, what is left to include? One mark, and one mark alone is necessary to the definition of a true church (esse), viz., profession of the truth.

    A visible profession of the Truth and Doctrine of godliness, is that which essentially constitutes a visible church, and every member of the visible church (The Due Right of Presbyteries, 1644, SWRB reprint, 1995, p. 251, emphasis added).

    Truth of Doctrine concurs to give being to the Church and to the constitution of it (Samuel Rutherford, The Due Right of Presbyteries, 1644, SWRB reprint, 1995, p. 285, emphasis added).

    Any sort of profession, whether by an avowing of that Gospel to one another, or suffering for it, even when the shepherds are smitten and the flock is scattered is a very practical and speaking mark that such a company is a true church (Samuel Rutherford, Survey of the Survey of that Summe of Church Discipline, 1658, SWRB reprint, 1997, p. 16).

    And yet if these may be, to wit, hearing and professed receiving, here is an essential mark by which persons before they receive seals are made members and visible disciples, and societies visible and Churches essentially differenced, 1. From all the false churches visible upon earth, who have not the sound of the word preached and professedly heard and visibly received and 2. from all civil societies 3. from all Pagan and heathen societies on earth. Ergo they were a distinct Christian society, differenced essentially, and if they should all die before they had been baptized or had received the seals they have been true visible church members; and if killed for the truth they had died visible professing martyrs, and the called Church of Christ (Samuel Rutherford, Survey of the Survey of that Summe of Church Discipline, 1658, SWRB reprint, 1997, p. 17).

    It is to be carefully observed, that like James Bannerman, the Westminster divines, and Francis Turretin, Samuel Rutherford also taught the distinction between the being and well­being of a true church. By one single mark he distinguishes the true church from false churches (who have no profession of truth), from all civil societies and from all Pagan societies on earth. We can now confidently affirm that Rutherford’s definition of the essentially true church is exceedingly broad. By his definition there are many true churches upon the earth. Samuel Rutherford was simply saying that one mark was necessary to distinguish an essentially true church from a Pagan church, which is precisely what the PRCE is saying. Strictly speaking, all that Scripture requires to constitute (esse) a visible church is the mark of the truth, viz., possession of the true doctrine of Christ and enough of the fundamentals of the true Christian religion to warrant a possibility of salvation. This is the minimal standard necessary for a church to qualify as a true church as opposed to a Pagan church.

    To illustrate this in practical terms let us consider how Rutherford applies his definition to the Roman Catholic Church.

    Speaking of the reason why the Reformers still consider the baptism of Rome to be valid (and therefore not to be repeated in a Protestant Church) Rutherford states:

    Because their [those in Rome who received an invalid baptism by a midwife or a private person ­ GB] profession of that covenant whereof baptism is a seal, separates them sufficiently from infidels though they want [lack ­ GB] the seal external (Samuel Rutherford, The Due Right of Presbyteries, 1644, SWRB reprint, 1995, p. 239).

    Notice that Rutherford says that even those in Rome who receive an invalid baptism by a midwife or a private person do profess the true covenant in such a way as to separate them from Infidels and Pagans. This is precisely the purpose of distinguishing between the being and well­being of the church. If we say that we receive the baptism of Rome then we must “essentially” receive the ministry of Rome which administers the baptisms. This is exactly what Rutherford concludes when he says,

    These have a ministry essentially entire who have power under Christ to preach the Gospel and Administer the Sacraments, Matthew 28:19. The Romish priests have this, and are called to this by the church (Samuel Rutherford, The Due Right of Presbyteries, 1644, SWRB reprint, 1995, p. 240, emphasis added).

    John Robinson, Rutherford’s Independent opponent from New England, objects,

    How can England forsake the church of Rome and forsake the ministry within the church, as in the subject, especially, seeing you teach that a true ministry makes a true church (Samuel Rutherford, The Due Right of Presbyteries, 1644, SWRB reprint, 1995, p. 240).

    Rutherford responds,

    England may well separate from Rome everting the fundamental parts of faith and not separate from Rome’s baptism or ministry, in so far as they essentially be the ordinances of Christ (Samuel Rutherford, The Due Right of Presbyteries, 1644, SWRB reprint, 1995, p. 240, emphasis added).

    Rutherford is applying his doctrine exactly the same way as Turretin, Calvin, and the divines of the Westminster Assembly. He teaches that one may lawfully separate from a church that is essentially true (as to being) when it is deformed as to its well­being. The Reformers do not profess separation from the true remnant of Rome which professes the true Gospel, but, from the Papal part of Rome that destroys the fundamentals of the truth. Though the ministerial Church of Rome still retained an essentially true ministry and valid baptism, the Papal tyranny inseparably attached to it was like a malignant tumor and these Reformers understood that this true church (esse) was something to denounce and avoid lest they die amidst her corruption. Is this not exactly what John Calvin is teaching when he says,

    However when we categorically deny to the papists the title of the church, we do not for this reason impugn the existence of churches among them. Rather we are only contending about the true and lawful constitution of the church, required in the communion not only of the sacraments (which are signs of profession) but also especially of doctrine (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 4.2.12, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles, emphases added).

    http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/covrefdf/covrefdf.htm

  3. The catholic church comprehends all that profess the true religion. There is a lawful and necessary division of it into sections in respect of local situation. But when a number of people, bearing the Christian name, combine together as a distinct society, for the purpose of maintaining and propagating doctrines and practices, which, instead of belonging to the true religion, are contrary to it; they ought not, considered as such a combination, to be called a lawful section of the catholic church. It is not denied, that they belong to the catholic church; but it is denied, that there ought to be any such section or division in it. Thus, there ought to be no section of the catholic church, having for the peculiar end of its distinct subsistence, the support of episcopal hierarchy, unknown in the Scripture, of the propagation of antipaedobaptism, or of anti­scriptural doctrine, in opposition to that of God’s election, redemption, effectual calling and the conservation of his people, as delivered in the scripture; or for the support of ways and means of divine worship not found in scripture. If the catholic visible church were brought to a suitable discharge of her duty, she would abolish all such sections. But no society ought to be called such an unlawful section, while it can be shown that it subsists as a separate society for no other end, than for the maintaining of something in the doctrine, worship or government of the church which belongs to the Christian religion as delivered in the Word of God, or for exhibiting a testimony against prevailing errors and corruptions which the scripture requires the catholic church to condemn. Such a profession of any party of Christians is no sectarian profession; and a union with them is not a sectarian, but properly a Christian union; and, being cordial and sincere, is a union in Christ; and communion upon the ground of this union is truly Christian communion. On the other hand, however much of our holy religion any body of Christians hold in common with others, and however many of them we may charitably judge to be saints, yet while their distinguishing profession is contrary to the Word of God, communion with them, as a body so distinguished, is sectarian communion; as it implies a union with them in that which ought to be rejected by the whole catholic church (John Anderson, Alexander and Rufus, 1862, pp. 10, 11, emphases added).

    We must distinguish between the true church (being) and the true church (well­being) to fulfil our moral duty to God.

    John Anderson writes,

    I have already mentioned the important distinction between a true church [being ­ GB] and a pure church [well­being ­ GB]. A church may retain the principal doctrines and ordinances of the Christian religion in her profession, in such a measure, that she may be called a true church; and yet she may as an ecclesiastical body, have such errors in doctrine; such human inventions as integral parts of her worship; such unscriptural officers and usages in her government; or may be chargeable from such defection from reformation, formerly attained, that we cannot be faithful to the cause of Christ, which, in these respects, is opposed; nor to the catholic [universal ­ GB] church, for whose true interest we are bound to use our best endeavours; nor to the souls of men, which are deeply injured by such evils; without withdrawing from her communion. A particular church, in this case, though she ceases to be a pure church, may still be called a true church of Christ, on account of the measure, in which she retains the profession of his truths and ordinances. (John Anderson, Alexander and Rufus, 1862, SWRB, 1997, p. 77).

    John Calvin uses the same reasoning when speaking of the Roman Catholic Church of his day. He distinguished between a true church (esse) and the faithful church (bene esse) which one ought to join or in which one should remain. He demonstrates that it is a fundamental principle of Protestantism to separate from a true church (esse) to go to a true church (as to well­being) when staying in a true but corrupt church prevents us from fulfilling our duty to God or conversely causes us to sin.

    However when we categorically deny to the papists the title of the church [as to its well­being ­ GB], we do not for this reason impugn the existence of churches among them [as to their being ­ GB]. Rather we are only contending about the true and lawful constitution of the church, required in the communion not only of the sacraments (which are signs of profession) but also especially of doctrine (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 4.2.12, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles).

    In the same way if anyone recognizes the present congregations ­ contaminated with idolatry, superstition, and ungodly doctrine ­ as churches (in full communion of which a Christian man must stand ­ even to the point of agreeing in doctrine), he will gravely err. For if they are churches the power of the keys is in their hands; but the keys have an indissoluble bond with the Word, which has been destroyed among them. Again if they are churches, Christ’s promise prevails among them; Whatever you bind,”etc [Matt. 16:19; 18:18; John 23:20]. But on the contrary, they disown from their communion all that genuinely profess themselves servants of Christ. Accordingly either Christ’s promise is vain, or they are not, at least in this regard, churches. Finally instead of the ministry of the Word, they have schools of ungodliness and a sink of all kinds of errors. Consequently, by this reckoning either they are not churches or no mark will remain to distinguish the lawful congregation of believers from the assemblies of Turks (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 4.2.10, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles).

    Speaking of the Romish Antichrist he says,

    Daniel [Dan.9:27] and Paul [2 Thess. 2:4] foretold that Antichrist would sit in the Temple of God. With us it is the Roman Pontiff we make the leader and standard bearer of that wicked and abominable kingdom. The fact that his seat is placed in the Temple of God signifies that his reign was not such as to wipe out either the name of Christ or of the Church. From this it therefore is evident that we by no means deny that churches under his tyranny remain churches… (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 4.2.12, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles).

    Finally, Calvin states,

    To sum up, I call them churches [esse ­ GB] to the extent that the Lord wonderfully preserves in them a remnant of his people, however woefully dispersed and scattered ­ and to the extent that some marks of the church remain ­ especially those marks whose effectiveness neither the devils wiles nor human depravity can destroy. But on the other hand, because in them those marks have been erased to which we should pay particular regard in this discourse, I say that every one of their congregations and their whole body lack the lawful form of the church [bene esse ­ GB] (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 4.2.12, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles).

    Note that Calvin is calling particular churches within the Roman Catholic Church true (as to essence) while at the same time calling them false because they lack a true and lawful constitution. He states that the true and lawful constitution of the church is required in the communion of the sacraments as well as the doctrine. The fact that he mentions their true and lawful communion in relation to the sacraments is significant to our present dispute with Mr. Bacon. Here Calvin is using this phrase, “true and lawfully constituted” in exactly the same sense as the PRCE did when we dissociated from the RPC. Like John Calvin, Rutherford, and Turretin, we were not contending that the individual churches of the pretended presbytery of the Reformation Presbyterian Church did not exist as Christian churches relative to Pagans; rather, we were contending about the true and lawful constitution of the church which the Reformation Presbyterian Church required in her terms of communion. In the twenty­three times we used the phrase “truly constituted church” in our letter of dissociation we never once used it in such a way as to denote the essence or being of the church. We were not arguing about whether the bodies in the Reformation Presbyterian Church were Christian or Pagan, only whether these bodies lacked a true and lawful constitution as they applied their doctrine to the ministry, ordinances and discipline. We were simply saying that their terms of communion were inconsistent with our duties and obligations before God and that we could not in good conscience comply with them. Consequently, we believed that our differences with the Reformation Presbyterian Church were so fundamental that we could not continue to be ecclesiastically associated with them.

    Again I cite John Anderson:

    If there be no lawful refusing of sacramental communion, with a particular church, then there can be no lawful separation from it, till it be unchurched. But the latter is absurd; and therefore the former. I think it manifestly absurd to say that we are not [to ­ GB] separate from a particular church, however degenerate and corrupt in doctrine, worship, discipline and government, till it is no church of Christ at all: for this would be to suppose that, though Christ has provided the censures of the church as a means of preserving her from the danger arising from the offences of one or a few members, he has provided no means of her preservation from the far greater danger of utter ruin by the prevailing influence of a corrupt majority. When such a majority is found incorrigibly obstinate in their opposition to any steps towards a thorough reformation, it is evident, that there is no remedy but secession. By such a majority, one great end of church communion, which is, that the truths and institutions of the Lord Jesus may be preserved pure and entire, is avowedly and obstinately opposed; and therefore, in this case, the Lord Jesus, is saying to his people, as in 2 Corinth. 6:17, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate.” Many limit such calls to our departure from the communion of Pagans and Papists. But they are applicable to our secession from any prevailing party, even though they should bear the name of Christians, of Protestants and Presbyterians, who, in their united capacity, or as a professing body, are going on in obstinate opposition to any of the truths and institutions of Jesus Christ; so that none can continue in their church communion, without being involved in the guilt of that opposition. From such combinations Christ is calling his people to separate. It is not meant, however, that degenerate Protestants and Presbyterians are upon a level with Heathens and Papists; for there may be a just cause of separation from the former, though not so great as from the latter (John Anderson, Alexander and Rufus, 1862, Still Waters Revival Books reprint, 1997, p. 78, emphases added).

  4. Tim,

    Since you are using the term in capital letters, True Church, I assume you mean the true and faithful church (bene esse) vs. the true church (esse). Calvin made the distinction below, but I’m not sure if you would agree as a Presbyterian Protestant or not since many Presbyterians don’t like distinctions about the visible (being) and invisible (wellbeing).

    “John Calvin uses the same reasoning when speaking of the Roman Catholic Church of his day. He distinguished between a true church (esse) and the faithful church (bene esse) which one ought to join or in which one should remain. He demonstrates that it is a fundamental principle of Protestantism to separate from a true church (esse) to go to a true church (as to well­being) when staying in a true but corrupt church prevents us from fulfilling our duty to God or conversely causes us to sin.

    However when we categorically deny to the papists the title of the church [as to its well­being ­ GB], we do not for this reason impugn the existence of churches among them [as to their being ­ GB]. Rather we are only contending about the true and lawful constitution of the church, required in the communion not only of the sacraments (which are signs of profession) but also especially of doctrine (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 4.2.12, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles).”

    http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/covrefdf/covrefdf.htm

  5. Tim,

    Wow, you have to watch this video. It gets into the history of the Scriptures in Ireland and Scotland during the dark ages. To tie together the path here will be an interesting journey.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29AzChfEBkg

    I do hope you find time to watch it although you probably know all these quotes from reformation ministers already, it might be worth to review again.

    1. Thanks, Walt. The Culdees clearly had a direct link to the Nicæan and ante-Nicæan church, a path traced apart from Rome. Notice that the church in Scotland, very long before the 16th century, rejected incense, candles, praying for the dead, transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the mass. This ties them to the Church to which Jovinianus and Vigilantius belonged, not to the Church of Rome. Thanks for the link.

      Tim

  6. There were NO Protestant schismatics prior to the 16th century. Every group that I expect you will mention sometime in the future (since you didn’t mention any in your post) are either Catholic or so heretical that you wouldn’t even recognize them as Christian (such as denying the incarnation). I hope you don’t go down the Baptist successionism route that even Baptists reject.

    If the heretics Jovinianus and Vigilantius are your Protestant examples, please explain how they taught major Protestant doctrines such as Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide.

    1. Thank you, Mark.

      Is it your opinion that Wycliffe (d. 1384) was a 16th century protestant schismatic? Or that Jan Hus (d. 1415) also was a 16th century protestant schismatic? Or is it your opinion that they were Roman Catholics?

      Thanks,

      Tim

  7. I think it is up to you to prove that Wycliffe and Hus were Protestants. Of course it depends on what Protestant flavor you subscribe to, right? Are you a Calvinist? Lutheran? Reformed? You also need to show why Jovinianus and Vigilantius are true Protestants. While you are at it, name one prominent Protestant preacher in the first 4 centuries.

    1. Mark, I’ll need you to define “Protestant schismatic,” then. Otherwise we may be talking past each other. Without using the term “Protestant” or “schismatic” in your definition, what is it precisely that you do not believe existed before the 16th century?

      Thanks,

      Tim

  8. I’m not sure I would try to define “protestants” in the first to fourth centuries since protestant by definition was a protestor against the Romish doctrine, discipline, form of worship and form of government in the 14th. Wycliff is considered the morning star of the reformation and one of the early protestors.

    What I am looking for is what Calvin was looking for in history!

    To sum up, I call them churches [esse ­ GB] to the extent that the Lord wonderfully preserves in them a remnant of his people, however woefully dispersed and scattered ­ and to the extent that some marks of the church remain ­ especially those marks whose effectiveness neither the devils wiles nor human depravity can destroy. But on the other hand, because in them those marks have been erased to which we should pay particular regard in this discourse, I say that every one of their congregations and their whole body lack the lawful form of the church [bene esse ­ GB] (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 4.2.12, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles).

    Or in later generations like Rutherford who makes the distinction in history.

    Rutherford responds,

    England may well separate from Rome everting the fundamental parts of faith and not separate from Rome’s baptism or ministry, in so far as they essentially be the ordinances of Christ (Samuel Rutherford, The Due Right of Presbyteries, 1644, SWRB reprint, 1995, p. 240, emphasis added).

    Rutherford is applying his doctrine exactly the same way as Turretin, Calvin, and the divines of the Westminster Assembly. He teaches that one may lawfully separate from a church that is essentially true (as to being) when it is deformed as to its well­being. The Reformers do not profess separation from the true remnant of Rome which professes the true Gospel, but, from the Papal part of Rome that destroys the fundamentals of the truth. Though the ministerial Church of Rome still retained an essentially true ministry and valid baptism, the Papal tyranny inseparably attached to it was like a malignant tumor and these Reformers understood that this true church (esse) was something to denounce and avoid lest they die amidst her corruption. Is this not exactly what John Calvin is teaching when he says,

    However when we categorically deny to the papists the title of the church, we do not for this reason impugn the existence of churches among them. Rather we are only contending about the true and lawful constitution of the church, required in the communion not only of the sacraments (which are signs of profession) but also especially of doctrine (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 4.2.12, Translated by Ford Lewis Battles, emphases added).

    http://www.reformedpresbytery.org/books/covrefdf/covrefdf.htm

  9. Since you are the one making the claim that there are Protestant groups in the first four centuries, I think it is you who needs to define your terms. Do they hold to the doctrines invented in the 16th century of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide? Can they teach heresy such as that suicide is a good thing and we shouldn’t marry? Or do you have some other definition.?

    1. Mark, where in this article or in these comments have I claimed “that there are Protestant groups in the first four centuries”? I made no such claim, and in response to a claim I did not make, you responded emphatically that “There were NO Protestant schismatics prior to the 16th century.” Now you are saying “Since you are the one making the claim that there are Protestant groups in the first four centuries…”, something I did not say. I said “Jovinianus and Vigilantius” were part of the True Church, but I did not use the term “4th century protestants” here. You did.

      So, define your term. Without using the word “Protestant” or “schismatic,” what is it that you believe did not exist prior to the 16th century. I honestly don’t know what you mean by “Protestant schismatic,” and until I do, I can’t have a productive conversation with you.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Tim

  10. Tim–

    Sorry, but I don’t believe the “other woman” needs to be particularly literal or visible through history. It is enough that two millennia later, the Word of God is still spread abroad amongst the peoples of the world, showing no signs of slowing down. The gospel is alive and well and growing. Despite significant ups and downs through time, despite places that still haven’t heard the music of liberation, the message of Jesus and his love has profoundly, consistently influenced the history of the planet due in large part to his messengers: the church. No need to track down a Trail of Blood running through each and every era in each and every land. Biblical prophecies have a tendency to be fulfilled in unexpected ways. Most missed Jesus, the gentle healer, looking instead for an earthly warrior-conqueror to free them from the clutches of imperial Rome.

    I myself have been discovering just how pervasive the absence of Roman Catholic distinctives is in the timeframe of the Apostolic Fathers. If one’s stock in trade is continuity going all the way back, it must be disconcerting to uncover those early years. The first three hundred years are very unkind to Roman sensibilities.

    What does one do when history doesn’t corroborate his or her denomination’s distinctives? (By the way, you are aware, are you not, that there is no clearcut mention of infant baptism until around 250 CE? How have you dealt with that fact?)

    1. Thanks, Hans,

      I think you are absolutely right when you say,

      “…how pervasive the absence of Roman Catholic distinctives is in the timeframe of the Apostolic Fathers. If one’s stock in trade is continuity going all the way back, it must be disconcerting to uncover those early years. The first three hundred years are very unkind to Roman sensibilities.”

      It was disconcerting enough to Cardinal Newman that had to develop the “development of doctrine” doctrine to account for it. That 300 year gap is the soft white underbelly of the whole Roman Catholic system. That is why her apologists are so quick to paper over it. E.g., Scott Hahn,

      “The Immaculate Conception was a commonplace of the early Church. Saint Ephraim of Syria testified to it in the [late] fourth century [360 A.D.]…”

      or when he claimed that the early church believed Mary was the Ark of the New Covenant:

      “We find that already at the beginning of the 3rd Century in the writings of Hippolytus of Rome. … We find it in Antioch by the 5th Century in the writings of the Patriarch Severus who fits it into its entire context” (Answering Common Objections, A Closer Look at Christ’s Church, Mary, Ark of the Covenant, see “added notes”).

      The problem is, Hippolytus thought Jesus, not Mary, was the Ark of the New Covenant, and Hahn is only able to overcome the gap through the Roman presumption of continuity—a strong delusion indeed.

      To my main point in this article, just as the pervasive absence of Roman Catholic distinctives in the timeframe of the Apostolic Fathers is observable and, as you say, disconcerting to the Romanist, so is the visible and sudden stepwise emergence of Roman Catholic error at the end of the 4th century also observable. If that sudden emergence of error is the “flood” that emerged from the serpent’s mouth (as I believe it is), and the Woman is given a geographic means to escape from it, then we should not only expect an exodus to occur at about that time—a removal of the Church to a place of doctrinal safety, which would correspond to the time when “he be taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:11)—but also expect that group to behave distinctively and visibly in a manner depicted for us in the Scriptures. In fact, there was such aa visible group that did just that.

      It’s not about a trail of blood, per se, but about a trail of faithfulness to the written Word, and Jesus’ specific prophecy of that Woman’s behavior. More details when we pick up on this, but the just as the Serpent’s behavior is observable in Revelation 12, the Beast’s observable in Revelation 13, the Woman’s is observable in Revelation 12, and she ends up doing (and not doing) very specific observable things that help us identify her—including a tremendous amount of successful evangelizing of those trapped in the Religion of Rome, which is where all the different reformation movements originated. Rome has been bothered by the origination and perpetuation of these reformation movements since her inception, and Rome’s angst is easily documented.

      Well more later, but I believe there is a visible church that was visibly apostolic and did visible things that can be corroborated by the Scriptures.

      Regarding the absence of a clear cut reference to infant baptism in the early years, I have not addressed the topic here, though I agree with your summary of the situation. However, baptism and circumcision appear to me to be sufficiently linked (Colossians 2:11-13) as to make baptism the replacement for circumcision (circumcision being now unnecessary (1 Corinthians 7:18)), and yet regeneration (“the circumcision made without hands” (Colossians 2:11)) sufficiently separated from physical circumcision as to remove either circumcision or baptism as the effectual cause of regeneration, for there is a “baptism made without hands” as well (1 Peter 3:21; Titus 3:5), the washing of regeneration.

      Moses’ complaint against his own people was that while they were circumcised in the flesh, they were not circumcised in the heart (Deuteronomy 10:16). Unable to circumcise their own hearts—even though their flesh was circumcised—the Lord had to perform the heart circumcision for them (Deuteronomy 30:6). On any given day under the Law, there might be a child being circumcised, or an adult (Exodus 12:48, Joshua 5:2). Thus, under the Old Law, they practiced both infant circumcision and believer’s circumcision. As both baptism and circumcision are significations of rebirth, but neither bring about what they signify, I have no problem with infant baptism as a replacement of infant circumcision, and just as believer’s circumcision was practiced under the old covenant, believer’s baptism is practiced in the new. As a father in the OT might have prayed, “O, Lord, that Thou would in Your own time bring about the regeneration that this circumcision now signifies,” I prayed the same thing for my four children, “O, Lord, that Thou would in Your own time bring about the regeneration that this baptism now signifies.” It seems to me that it is baptismal regeneration, rather than infant baptism, which places the church between the sinner and his Savior, and therefore is inimical to the Gospel of Christ.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      Tim

  11. Tim,

    If you get time, please rent this video. It is one of the best, if not the best, historical research on how the RCC and Jesuits came in from the counter reformation, Vatican II to take over the Bible translations for the protestants. All the names, dates and proofs are in this documentary video.

    https://vimeo.com/ondemand/bridgetobabylon?autoplay=1

    It is really amazing research. I thought I knew a lot of this, but this video put everything in place why I was taught as a Catholic what I was taught about Protestants and the bible.

  12. I guess we’ll just have to wait for your follow up articles to see which Catholic or heretical groups you pick as the “true church.” That should be interesting. I am sure the Waldensians and the Albigensians will come up.

    1. I suppose. I will still need you to define that which you do not believe existed prior to the 16th century.

      It seems to me that you are laboring under the invalid assumption that Roman Catholicism is the True Church, and that anything different from it is schismatic or heretical. Thus, you appear to me to believe that the True Church originated in the late 4th century, and what existed since the apostles was schismatic and heretical until Roman Catholicism came along to “restore” it, for the early church was very much different from Roman Catholicism. It is a puzzle to me that you can defend as apostolic something that did not exist until the latter part of the 4th century, but I have found that most Roman Catholics are comfortable with the inconsistency. People who are familiar with history, however, are generally unwilling to overlook that three century gap.

      Thanks,

      Tim

  13. “It is a puzzle to me that you can defend as apostolic something that did not exist until the latter part of the 4th century.”

    You mean like the Creed which defined that Jesus was consubstantial with the Father and not a created being (as the Arian heresy taught)? Do you believe Jesus is consubstantial with the Father?

  14. Quite honestly, I don’t know what a Protestant looks like. There are over 40,000 denominations that teach radically different things from one another. You are the one who first used the word Protestant, and now you are backtracking. Since there are more flavors of Protestantism than ice cream in the entire universe, you will need to define the term so that everyone understands. You also said “evangelical”. Is that the flavor of Protestantism you are talking about?

    1. Thank you, Mark. If you “honestly … don’t know what a Protestant looks like,” then you can’t possibly know that there weren’t any “Protestant schismatics” prior to the 16th century, because by your own admission, you would not know one if you saw one.

      Thanks,

      Tim

  15. If you know what a Protestant looks like from the 5th or 6th century, I’d love to learn about them.

    A couple of sources that may help you:

    First, “The Apostasy That Wasn’t: The Extraordinary Story of the Unbreakable Early Church” by Rod Bennett

    Secondly, “Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History” by Protestant Rodney Stark.

    Hope those help.

  16. Tim–

    You’re right. Paedobaptism places no impediment between the sinner and his Savior. And I don’t begrudge you the conviction. I see it as fairly neutral. After all, it doesn’t do much of anything. I can pray for the future regeneration of MY four toddlers without getting them wet in the meantime.

    I just think the simple, straightforward sense of the NT passages on baptism, which virtually always include faith and repentance, are credobaptistic. The absence of any clear examples of infant baptism in either Scripture or the first couple of hundred years of church history kind of clinches it for me. With Sola Scripture, we are to allow for “good and necessary consequence.” In infant baptism, we do indeed have GOOD consequence, and yet nothing in the conclusions can be shown to be necessitated. An appropriate match between covenants can be made between physical circumcision at eight days of age and infant baptism…but one can just as easily be made between the spiritual “circumcision of the heart” and believer’s baptism. I have clear examples of the latter in Scripture and early history. The other makes no appearance.

    I’ll leave it at that. You didn’t ask for a baptism debate on this thread. I very much appreciate where you’re coming from. Keep up the good work.

  17. That’s why I am hoping you will explain what you mean by Protestant. Is a Protestant any person or group who broke away from the only Church around, the Catholic Church? Do their beliefs matter or can they be heretics? What beliefs make one a Protestant? Do they reject infant baptism? Do they believe in the 5 solas? Do they believe works play a role in salvation? Do they believe you can lose your salvation?
    Do these men look Protestant? Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen.

  18. Mark–

    So who exactly is a Catholic? Are Novatianists Catholic? Are Sabellians and Docetists and Arians and Paulicians and Albigensians and Monarchianists and Jansenists and Lefevrists and Sedevacantists of all stripes Catholic? Is SSPX Catholic? Are both Benedict XVI and Francis Catholic? Is the Nouvelle Theologie Catholic? Were both Vatican I AND Vatican II Catholic? Are both Thomists and Molinists Catholic? Are Caucasian and African-American parishes both Catholic? Are all the syncretists in Latin America Catholic? Are both rambunctious Charismatic and Latin-rite sit-on-your-hands parishes Catholic? Are geocentric rad-trads and ultra-modernists both Catholic? Are pro-choice Catholic politicians Catholic? Are the overwhelming number of Catholic women who use contraceptives Catholic?

    People in glass houses….

    If you want to know who Protestants are, take the time to study us!

  19. Mark–

    Yes, there is only one Church. But when it can be anything you want it to be, then there is no principled difference between that “oneness” and the unity/disunity of 40,000 pseudo-Protestant denominations.

    Brothers Benny, Creflo, and Joel, by the way, are all Word-Faith proponents, a heresy which infects not only Charismatic Protestantism, but much of Third-World Catholicism.

  20. Pope Francis, by the way, sent a message to Kenneth Copeland via video, enthusiastically extolling Copeland’s (Word-Faith) ministry…and championing the bonds of brotherhood between the two of them.

    1. Hans, I don’t know how well that argument will work with Mark, since Mark may or may not think that Pope Francis is a heretic. Some Catholics think he is. Some Catholics think he is not.

      http://novusordowatch.org/2016/02/voris-slams-true-popes-to-excuse-francis/

      http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=1413

      So it depends on what denomination of Roman Catholicism Mark converted to.

      If he thinks Francis is a heretic, Francis’ comments to Copeland may not bother Mark. Or, if Mark does not think Francis is a heretic, then he may nonetheless believe that Francis’ efforts toward being a universal shepherd are not performed infallibly, in this case. Or, Mark may believe Francis did not err in his overtures to Copeland. Like I said, it all depends on which denomination of Roman Catholicism he converted to. I have a very hard time keeping up with them all. Your list is a good start, I suppose.

      Tim

  21. There are no “denominations” in Catholicism. That’s a made up term from Protestants to deal with all their fractals. Genuine Catholics believe the Church’s teachings and are in communion with the Holy See. There is only One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. If you want to know what the Catholic Church teaches, read the Catechism.
    There are shades of truth outside of Catholicism, such as in Protestant groups, but only the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth. That’s why there is not such thing as a “pro-abortion Catholic” because the Church is clear that abortion is a grave evil.

    1. Which catechism should I read, Mark? The nice folks over at Novus Ordo Watch think that you are but a Vatican II sect. They think John Paul II was just a false pope. So they don’t think I should read the catechism he promulgated.

      How do I know which Roman Catholic sect is the right one? How did you know?

      Tim

    1. But Mark, the people over at Novus Ordo Watch say that if *you* are in unity with a false pope then *you* are not genuinely Catholic. How do I know which sect to believe?

      1. The Catholic Church is the Church. It is not a denomination or sect. Novus Ordo Watch is by their own definition, ” a lay-led internet apostolate.” It’s not a church nor claims to be one. It is also not a sect, because it is just an apostolate. I don’t know what else to tell you. You seem to be a bit rusty with your Catholic knowledge. You left the Church in 1990? That’s 26 years ago, over a quarter century. Wow.

        1. An awkward pivot to ad hominem, Mark. How long I have been away from Rome is very much beside the point. By your definition, anyone not in unity with the Holy See is not a genuine Catholic, and since the nice people over at Novus Ordo Watch are not in unity with the Holy See (they believe Francis I is a false pope), they are not Genuinely Catholic. You may not think they are a sect, but they think you are one.

          So the problem remains. Whom am I to believe? Novus Ordo Watch represents a group of people who think every pope since John XXIII is false, and that you are a Vatican II sect, and not a Genuine Catholic. They say you are part of “a Neo-Modernist sect which falsely claims to be the Roman Catholic Church.” They make a good argument. Sounds pretty reasonable. You say those not in union with the Holy See (Novus Ordo Watch) are not genuinely Catholic. You make a good argument. You have some things you want me to read, and on the basis of that information return to the Holy See in order to be part of the one true apostolic faith, of which they are not. They say they have some things for me to read, and on that basis flee from the allegedly “Holy” See, for it is occupied by a false pope, and by fleeing from Francis, join the one true apostolic faith, of which you are not. They are sedevacantists. You are a Vatican II sectarian.

          Unable to explain why I should believe your sect, or theirs, you throw up your hands and say, “I don’t know what else to tell you.”

          Indeed, you do not.

          Thanks,

          Tim

          1. The problem with Novo Ordus Watch is that they reject the teachings of Vatican I. The most important problem is that they don’t have faith in Jesus Christ who said, “The gates of hell will not prevail against it.” They believe the gates of hell has prevailed against the Church. I have faith in Christ’s promise that it won’t happen.
            Maybe that’s the question for you. Do you believe the gates of hell has prevailed against the Church starting in 387AD until the Protestants? Funny, the Mormons think the gates of hell prevailed against the Church until Joseph Smith came along.

          2. Mark, actually, the reason they reject Vatican II is because they believe in the indefectibility of the church. It works both ways:

            “Since the Catholic Church is divinely protected from failing and enjoys “perfect and perpetual immunity … from error and heresy” (Pius XI, Encyclical Quas Primas, n. 22), it is necessary to hold that the apparent authorities that introduced these substantial changes in Catholic teaching were not legitimate and did not in fact hold their putative offices validly. Hence we believe that the last legitimate and valid Pope of the Roman Catholic Church was Pius XII, who reigned from March 2, 1939 until October 9, 1958.”

            You say the church cannot fail, and therefore we must be united to that visible shepherd. They say that visible shepherd has fallen away and therefore the true church must separate from him. But both of you believe that the church cannot fail. It’s just that you both have different ways of expressing and practicing it, which sounds a lot like two competing denominations claiming to be the true church. That’s why I’m trying to figure out which Roman Catholic denomination is the true church.

            Neither of you has presented an infallible case. Which way should I turn, and why?

            Tim

          3. I said they reject Vatican I, while they would say they don’t reject Vatican I.
            Specifically, Chapter 2.
            On the permanence of the primacy of blessed Peter in the Roman pontiffs.

          4. So we’re back to your interpretation vs. theirs. Still doesn’t solve the problem. They don’t reject Vatican I, but you say they do. Two different groups with two different interpretations of the same text, each claiming to be the true church. Why should I choose your interpretation over theirs? Which of these two denominations should I choose? And why?

          5. Tim, do you know what was settled at Vatican I? The Pope as head of the Church until Christ returns. It lays out how popes are elected. Sedevacantists have put themselves into an untenable situation. They cannot ever again have another pope because all of those bishops have died. But my point is that they fundamentally *lack faith* in Jesus Christ who said the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. They believe the gates of hell have prevailed.
            I don’t think you are REALLY arguing whether YOU should be a Catholic or join a sedevacantist schism. You seem to not be able to get past the 4th century.

          6. Mark, I am merely asking you to do more than insist on your own interpretation that your denomination of Roman Catholicism is the correct one. Vatican II schismatics make some arguments. Sedevacantists make some arguments. Both claim to the the authentic Roman Catholicism. Yet you believe for some reason that your arguments are authoritative. Why should I accept your arguments as authoritative?

            Thanks,

            Tim

          7. I encourage you to become a sedevacantist! At least it is a stepping stone to full communion with the Church!

  22. Tim–

    I didn’t imagine that Mark thought Francis a heretic. But he himself brought up Word-Faith as if it should be an embarrassment to us. I just think it ironic that the Holy Father doesn’t see it that way!

    I agree with him that, for what it’s worth, the present Catechism is the official statement of Catholic orthodoxy (though, of course, it differs in certain aspects from other catechisms: Baltimore, Trent).

    But there is such a thing as Protestant orthodoxy, as well: those who are bound to the magisterial confessions. We need not answer for all the farblown sects and cults who pervert the established gospel anymore than Mark has to answer for the gobbledygook on his side of the fence. One size should fit all. Catholics must learn to be honest and fair.

  23. Mark–

    As far as I can tell, you and your church are in schism from the church of the Apostles and from the church of the Apostolic Fathers. I believe that to be the more serious charge.

    1. Hi Hans,
      I am a cradle Catholic. And you are right when you say that the Catechism represents Catholic orthodoxy. I am interested in logic and truth and you are the only one who has answered Mark’s question about who is a Protestant. I don’t know if everybody agrees with you or not, but I am not the one to say who is and who is not an orthodox Protestant.
      Even Timothy here appears to be beating around the bush appearing to say that as long as you don’t hold to Catholic doctrine you are OK.
      You said that “you and your church are in schism from the church of the Apostles”. Can you prove your statement?
      God bless you.

      1. Phil, you wrote,

        “Even Timothy here appears to be beating around the bush appearing to say that as long as you don’t hold to Catholic doctrine you are OK.”

        I was surprised to read that. Can you help me understand how you concluded that I appear to say, “as long as you don’t hold to Catholic doctrine you are OK.?

        When did I ever appear to say or imply such a thing? It is not what I believe.

        Tim

        1. Hi Tim,
          That’s the impression I got from your blog. I was talking to Hans because he gave a straight answer to Mark’s question and you did not. If you want to use generalities in your arguments you better be ready to define them and you will make more sense. That is why I like to discuss things only one item at a time. I asked Hans about the schism and I am going to address that issue with him.
          God bless you.

          1. Phil, you wrote,

            “If you want to use generalities in your arguments you better be ready to define them and you will make more sense.”

            I completely agree. That is why I am asking you to be specific in your charge against me. You wrote,

            “Even Timothy here appears to be beating around the bush appearing to say that as long as you don’t hold to Catholic doctrine you are OK.”

            These are generalities, Phil. Please “be ready to define them and you will make more sense”. After several exchanges, I still don’t know what your charge is.

            Let me put it this way: you said, you are talking to Hans because he gave a straight answer to Mark’s question and I did not. Which question was that? Please specify the offense and I will respond.

            Thanks,

            Tim

    2. You do realize that the charge of apostasy predates Constantine, right? Remember the Judaizers of the first century? Don’t forget the Marcionites of the second century. Both groups held that they had the “true faith” and the Catholic Church (the only Church around) was apostate.

      Here’s a list of Popes dating back to Peter. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_popes

      1. Mark, regarding your “list of Popes dating back to Peter”.

        Was Clement the successor to Peter in Rome? (Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics, chapter 32). Or Was Linus? (Irenæus, Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 3, paragraph 3).

        Was Ignatius Peter’s successor in Antioch? (John of Chrysostom, Homily on St. Ignatius, chapter IV). Or was it Evodius (Eusebius, Church History, Book III, chapter 22).

        Was Annanias the first to preside over the church of Alexandria? (Eusebius, Church History, Book III, chapter 21). Or was it Peter’s disciple, Mark? (Council of Rome, III.3).

        So, those are your three great sees—Rome, Antioch and Alexandria—that comprise the great “See of One.” And history has forgotten who their first bishops were “after Peter.” With the contradictory evidence in the writings of the early church fathers, are you really confident that Wikipedia has it right?

        Thanks,

        Tim

        1. I’m only talking about the Pope which is the Bishop of Rome. The Church accepts Irenaeus’ authority for this over Tertullian, thereby placing Linus next after Peter.
          I hope you acknowledge the Papal succession the early fathers recorded.
          And please don’t forget to comment on the Judaizers and Marcionites. I won’t let you forget.

          1. “Mark, your comment about Judaizers and Marcionites was addressed to Hans.”
            So was my list of popes but you commented on that.

          2. Mark, your comment to Hans was in a defense of Rome against Hans’ charge of schism. Here is what Hans said:

            “As far as I can tell, you and your church are in schism from the church of the Apostles and from the church of the Apostolic Fathers. I believe that to be the more serious charge.”

            In response to Hans’ charge of schism from the True Church, you responded with the only defense you can muster: the invalid presumption of continuity. In other words, your defense against Hans’ charge of discontinuity from apostolic succession is that Roman Catholicism enjoys unbroken apostolic continuity from the apostles, which merely begs the question. Your response was simply that [Roman] Catholicism was “the only Church around”, and to prove it, you offered an “unbroken list of popes.”

            Clearly, you are taking as your starting position the presumption of continuity in your argument against Hans, and as I stated in the article, above, it is a presumption that I refuse to grant to you. On Roman Catholic blogs, you are free to use that invalid assumption, which is the sandy foundation of the Roman Catholic religion, but here you are not free to do so. As I wrote above:

            “The Roman apologist’s—and, we might add, the pliable Evangelical’s—approach to this issue takes as its starting point an erroneous assumption that they cannot prove and which we refuse to grant to them: namely, that medieval Roman Catholicism was the result of a continuous unfolding and maturing of the apostolic faith, and therefore represents the sole manifestation of Christ’s Church for the first 1,000 years of Christianity. Relying on that invalid assumption, they end up converting to or defending not a 1st century apostolic religion but a late 4th century novelty that is nothing but a carnal, diabolical attempt to imitate Christianity.”

            That erroneous assumption is a luxury that will not be afforded to you here. So I provided historical evidence to show you that you do not actually have any certain historical evidence for any of the immediate successors of alleged “Three Petrine Sees,” (a construct of the Bishop of Rome), and you responded again with you erroneous assumption: “The Church accepts Irenaeus’ authority for this over Tertullian, thereby placing Linus next after Peter.” But as I also noted in the article above, I do not accept that Rome is the guardian of the library of history, so I do not defer to Rome’s judgment of the historical record. Again, you have fallen back on the presumption of continuity to defend against the charge of discontinuity, an assumption that you are not accepted here.

            I will let Hans answer regarding the question you asked him the Judaizers and Marcionites. My response on your list of popes was simply to deny you the presumption of continuity here. It carries no weight here.

            Tim

  24. ” That’s why I’m hoping you will explain what you mean by Protestant ” Jesus helps us to understand this. ” If someone comes to you and says ” I am the Christ” don’t believe him” Each believer has the biblical mandate from the Lord to identify apostasy, false Christ’s, false teaching. The Roman Catholic Church claims to be Christ’s natural and historical body on this earth. So we as believers must examine that claim in high curiosity according to Jesus command. So how would a believer be able to judge the highest authority claim ” says, I am the Christ” if it were not by scripture? It is exactly why Jesus directs us to the scriptures, not only to find the things pertaining to life and Godliness, but just as importantly to judge error at the highest level. Roman Catholics tell us to accept their claim to who the real church is, but Jesus said ” don’t believe Him” I look at the scriptures and not only does it tell me Rome is not the Christ, it tells me that it is the antichrist of scripture. K

    1. Kevin, please quote the scripture that tells us that the Catholic Church is the antichrist. You make this claim on another blog but it is an EXTRA biblical man-made tradition promulgated by Luther to scare the common folk into following him.

  25. The Apostle Paul put himself in the category of subjecting himself to judgment of error, if I or and angel from heaven preach another gospel let him be accursed, yet the CC has never done that. So for the Catholics who are interested in logic and reason, what is reasonable about a magisterium who is unwilling to put themselves under the same scrutiny as an Apostle. Paul confronted Peter on error in Acts, Paul puts himself under scrutiny, Jesus tells believers keep yourself from false a false Christ, and yet when a mere sinner like ourselves claims to be the infallible head of true religion and God on earth, this can’t be challenged. Logic? Reason? K

  26. Phil–

    Let me start by getting your take on what Tim wrote. He talked about how the following mainstream tenets of Roman Catholic faith are not to be found in the first three hundred years of the common era:

    “…papal primacy, Roman primacy, papal infallibility, priestly celibacy, baptismal regeneration, the immaculate conception, the perpetual virginity, the dormition and assumption of Mary, Mary as the Mother of the Church, transubstantiation, eucharistic adoration, the sacrifice of the Mass, kneeling on the Lord’s Day, incense, candles, relics, images, the title Pontifex Maximus, communion on the tongue, the liturgical mixing of water with wine, etc., etc., etc….”

    If the Church of Rome is the valid continuation of the Apostolic church, why does its continuity only go back to around 300 CE or so and not ALL the way back? (We wouldn’t dare to say that same-sex marriage and abortion-on-demand typified the thinking of the framers of the US Constitution. An aweful lot can change in 240 years!) And why do the Apostles say nothing of these important matters in THEIR written memoirs?

    Discontinuity is the simplest explanation. You have the burden of proof for demonstrating otherwise…and the extant evidence is not in your favor. (That said, I’m not sure that Tim is correct concerning relics. The early martyrs were certainly greatly honored, and I believe relics were collected and revered.)

    1. Hi Hans,
      Thank you for answering my question. I agree that if there is discontinuity of doctrine, then it would not be a true development. But then it has to be demonstrated that the discontinuity actually took place and that it was regarding a matter of faith. For example, the early Christian community discontinued the use of circumcision. I like to deal with only one of the items mentioned by Tim, which you quoted. Therefore, we can start with papal primacy if you have no objection. It is clear from the Gospels and the book of Acts that Peter had a prominent status among the apostles: he is mentioned there more often than all the others, and when a list is given he is the first one to be mentioned. We believe that the apostles passed on their authority to the disciples that succeeded them (they were called bishops) and there was no discontinuity there. I understand that most protestants don’t have bishops and those that have them cannot document any apostolic continuity.
      God bless you.

  27. ” please quote me the scripture that tell us the CC is the antichrist ” Mark, are you willing to tell me the scripture that tells us the RCC is the infallible interpreter of scripture. The OT didn’t have an infallible teaching office and yet the 1st century Jew was expected to know the scriptures. So specifically point me to the verse that commissioned your church to be the sacrament of salvation. Thanks

    1. 1 Timothy 3:15. The Church is the pillar and foundation of truth. God didn’t say truth mixed with error. Or false truth. God cannot lie. What the Church teaches is truth. Do you have another definition of truth that allows for fallibility?

  28. When you say what the church teaches is truth. But the question everyone has to ask is the same , according to whom? Rome, Geneva, Salt Lake, etc. We all have to answer that question. The logical answer is where do I go to answer that question. The point of the article is Catholics say we have one choice. But if the history of the “church “has taught us anything with councils and counter councils, popes and anti popes, etc. At one time in the all 3 popes excommunicating each other. The whole ” church” was under excommunication . No, Jesus was right when he taught us that we should never sacrifice the scriptures for the sake of traditions. K

    1. Geneva and Salt Lake City cannot trace themselves back to Peter as does Rome. Peter and his successors (the bishops of Rome) always had a place of primacy in the Church. Even the Orthodox will admit that much.
      Kevin, you are all over the map. You are just going to keep throwing mud against the wall to see if something sticks but nothing has. Your fallback is that the Catholic Church is the antichrist. If you want to believe something that isn’t in the Bible, please don’t argue that the Catholic Church makes up doctrines that aren’t in the Bible. That’s just being hypocritical.

      1. Mark, you wrote, “Geneva and Salt Lake City cannot trace themselves back to Peter as does Rome.”

        Again, the presumption of apostolic continuity is denied. Roman Catholicism cannot trace itself back to Peter.

        Thanks,

        Tim

        1. “Again, the presumption of apostolic continuity is denied. Roman Catholicism cannot trace itself back to Peter.”

          Yes, we can, and we do. Do you want the list of Popes again? You can disagree with the teachings, but the Catholic Church today has apostolic succession ALL THE WAY BACK to Peter. To deny this fact of history is just revisionist.

          1. Mark, again, your presumption of Roman Catholic apostolic continuity is denied. You have observed that I “can’t get past the fourth century,” and that is because that is when the distinctively Roman Catholic doctrines and Roman Catholic primacy again. You are quite right, I “can’t get past the fourth century” because the fourth century is when your religion started. It does not enjoy apostolic continuity. To respond that it enjoys apostolic continuity on the basis of its apostolic continuity is circularity.

            Tim

          2. On p. 141 of his book “Petrus in Rom: Die literarischen Zeugnisse” (Berlin and New York 2009) Classical philologist Otto Zwierlein deals with the first list of bishops of Rome, namely the one that the church father Irenaeus presents in Against Heresies at the end of the 2nd century. With respect to the nine men mentioned there following Peter as bishops, namely Linus, Anencletus, Clemens, Evaristus, Alexander, Xystus, Telesphorus, Hyginus, and Pius, Zwierlein casts doubt on the historical reliability of the list. As for Peter, Zwierlein argues that he was never in Rome. An overview of his respective arguments can be read in the following link:

            https://www.philologie.uni-bonn.de/philologie/personal/zwierlein/st_peter_in_rome.pdf

        2. “So I provided historical evidence to show you that you do not actually have any certain historical evidence for any of the immediate successors of alleged “Three Petrine Sees,””

          Again, the only one that matters in the context of Papal succession is the Bishop of Rome, whom all the other Bishops were dependent on. Rome had primacy and exercised universal jurisdiction. It is easily shown by the writings of the Church fathers.

          1. Mark, I know “the only one that matters” is “the See of the Prince of the apostles” and Pope Leo said the see exists in three places:

            “Wherefore though there are many apostles, yet with regard to the principality itself the See of the Prince of the apostles alone has grown strong in authority, which in three places is the See of one. For he himself exalted the See [Rome] in which he deigned even to rest and end the present life. He himself adorned the See [Alexandria] to which he sent his disciple [Mark] as evangelist. He himself established the See [Antioch] in which, though he was to leave it, he sat for seven years. Since then it is the See of one, and one See, over which by Divine authority three bishops now preside, whatever good I hear of you, this I impute to myself.” (Gregory the Great, Book VII, Epistle XL, To Eulogius, Bishop of Alexandria)

            So, yes, all three matter, and Rome does not even know for sure who the “immediate successor” of Peter was in each place. So to allege that Roman Catholicism can accurately trace its succession from Peter on the authority of the Church Fathers, while at the same time claiming that Rome has the authority to interpret and contravene adverse findings in the fathers, is pure circularity.

            If “it is easily shown by the writings of the Church fathers,” then please provide incontrovertible proof of the identity of Peter’s immediate successor in each place the Pope Leo identified as the See of Peter. You can’t do it without falling back on your invalid presumption of Roman Catholic apostolic continuity.

            Thanks

            Tim

          2. You have to read the entire letter to see that Gregory the Great knew he was in the seat of Peter and that the others knew it too. He was “unworthy” as he says at the beginning. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/360207040.htm

            See just means overseer and all Bishops share in that. Many times Gregory the Great exercised his authority as the universal head of the Church. Just writing this letter to them demonstrates that fact.

            Context!

          3. Mark, I don’t understand your response. I did not allege that Gregory did not “know” or believe he was in the seat of St. Peter, or that by then other people did not believe him to be so situated, so I don’t understand why you would respond that the “Context!” shows that he believed “he was in the seat of Peter and that the others [believed] it too.” I was not disputing that.

            Also, I did not challenge the meaning of “see,” so I don’t understand how “Context!” changes the meaning of anything I quoted about the See of the Prince of the Apostles.

            You said the ONLY one that matters is Rome, and Gregory did not think that was true. He said the See of St. Peter has grown strong and “in three places,” not “in one place.” That alone shows that Rome is not the only one that matters when apostolic continuity is in view. In fact Benedict XVI confirmed my understanding of this, and refuted yours, in his book on Petrine succession. He explicitly stated that the matter of apostolic continuity must encompass Antioch, Alexandria and Rome, even if Rome is preeminent and normative among them:

            “…the continuity of apostolic succession … was concentrated in the three Petrine sees—Rome, Antioch and Alexandria—among which Rome, as the site of Peter’s martyrdom, was in turn preeminent and truly normative.” (Benedict XVI, Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today, II.2.b “The Petrine Succession in Rome”)

            Nobody denied that Rome was preeminent. The only unreasonable denial is your denial that apostolic continuity from Peter in Antioch and Alexandria are irrelevant in the matter of Petrine apostolic continuity. Your popes clearly think Antioch and Alexandria were important and should be included in a discussion on Petrine apostolic continuity.

            I may be obtuse, and so I’ll ask your patience, but I simply do not understand how the “Context!” of Leo’s letter changes anything I said, or how my citation of Leo was out of “Context!”

            I look forward to any clarification you can offer.

            Best,

            Tim

          4. “The only unreasonable denial is your denial that apostolic continuity from Peter in Antioch and Alexandria are irrelevant in the matter of Petrine apostolic continuity.”

            At least you recognize Petrine apostolic continuity? I guess. Or maybe not. You seem to not be totally forthcoming. Is this your big hang up? Whether Papal succession continued from Rome, Antioch, or Alexandria? If that’s the case, I can help put this to rest pretty easily. Let me know if this is your #1 hangup or if you are just bringing it up in an attempt to muddy the waters so you can confuse Catholics and impress Protestants. My guess is for the latter.

          5. You’ve lost me again, Mark. You claimed apostolic continuity, and provided a list of popes since Peter. I showed you that the data from the early church are inconclusive on the identities of the immediate successors to Peter in the three Petrine sees of Rome, Antioch and Alexandria. You responded that only Rome matters and that Antioch and Alexandria are irrelevant in this discussion. I provided citations from two popes who disagree with you. Now that we agree (or should) that the discussion of Petrine apostolic continuity must include the lines of succession from all three Petrine Sees, and further there is no conclusive solution to the problem of identifying the immediate successors, you are left appealing to the Roman Catholic church’s ability to interpret history and render a judgment on the actual successors of Peter, the very assumption that I do not consider valid and refuse to grant.

            It’s not about muddying water or impressing people. It’s about you proving Rome’s apostolic continuity without basing your argument on Rome’s presumption of apostolic continuity. You can’t do it. That’s why the article upon which your church stands or falls is Sola Ecclesia—something most Roman Catholics cannot grasp or acknowledge, but is nonetheless indisputably true. What these arguments typically boil down to is attempting to authenticate Rome as the successor of the apostles by appealing to Rome’s version of history, which is circularity.

            Thanks,

            Tim

          6. Mark Rome: “Again, the only one that matters in the context of Papal succession is the Bishop of Rome, whom all the other Bishops were dependent on. Rome had primacy and exercised universal jurisdiction. It is easily shown by the writings of the Church fathers.”

            Quote from Irenaeus’s work Against Heresies 3:3:2:

            “For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world. And it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition.”

            On p. 145 of his book “Petrus in Rom: Die literarischen Zeugnisse” (Berlin and New York 2009) Classical philologist Otto Zwierlein translates this passage as follows:

            “For with this church, on account of its superior authority [or antiquity], it is [legally or practically] necessary for the whole church [or every church] to agree [or come together], that is those on every place who are of the faith; it is in this [i.e. either the Roman church, or the whole church] that the tradition which comes from the Apostles is preserved by those who are on every place.”

            On pp. 145-146 Zwierlein paraphrases the passage as follows: “As the church in Rome was founded by Peter and Paul it is compared to the other churches of a superior origin (“potentior principalitas”). Consequently, it cannot but be that the Apostolic tradition concerning faith and doctrine that has been preserved by the faithful in the whole world is in agreement with the tradition concerning faith and doctrine in the church in Rome whose orthodoxy is warranted by its being founded by these apostles and by the succession of bishops down to the present day. Therefore it suffices to measure the teaching of the heretics against the Apostolic tradition in the church of Rome.”

            As Zwierlein points out on p. 146 according to Irenaeus this tradition can also be found in the churches of Smyrna and of Ephesus (Against Heresies 3:3:4), as these churches, according to Irenaeus, also were founded by apostles, the former by John, the latter by Paul. So, the idea is that every church that was founded by an apostle is a church whose orthodoxy is warranted by its being founded by an apostle and by the succession of bishops down to the present day and not just Rome.

            Zwierlein’s book mentioned above can be read in the following link:

            https://de.scribd.com/doc/219580350/Otto-Zwierlein-Petrus-in-Rom-Die-Literarischen-Zeugnisse-Mit-Einer-Kritischen-Edition-Der-Martyrien-Des-Petrus-Und-Paulus-Auf-Neuer-Handschriftlicher

          7. ” I provided citations from two popes who disagree with you. ”

            No, your citations do not disagree with me. I have not seen that. I already explained the first one and Benedict agrees with Rome being the Petrine authority. Just realize that the reason you can’t find Antioch or Alexandrian succession is because they aren’t important like Rome is because Rome has the seat of Peter!
            Sola Ecclesia? Really? You sound like James White. What’s funny is that you are trying to refute the authority of the Church from AUTHORITIES IN THE CHURCH! You are attempting to use Sola Ecclesia to refute Church history. Oh the irony.

  29. The Church looks at it this way. The Catholic Church has the fullness of truth. The full deposit of faith from the Apostles. All other religions have a measure of truth. Some more than others. What truths they have differ all who have truth share in it with the Catholic Church. Some have a lot of truth, such as the Orthodox, who share in the Sacraments and have valid apostolic succession and can thus be called a Church. They just are in schism with the Pope. We share with the Protestants a belief in Jesus and they have baptism and marriage. Depending on the group we may have more in common. Even sedevacantists have truth. Many of their Churches have valid sacraments. Pope Francis even gave them the faculties to hear confessions in this year of mercy.
    Religions that are not Christian still have some truth in them, such as the universal truths of love and peace. We affirm truth that is present in their religion even though they may have a deficient understanding of the Trinity.
    So, I hope this sheds some light on how the Catholic Church views those outside the Church. I know many of you look at the Catholic Church and say she’s just a FALSE church. Maybe we should find areas of agreement instead of just throwing barbs at where we disagree.

  30. ” The Catholic Church has fullness of truth” this statement I believe is what is meant in 2 Thessalonians 2 : 11 being under a strong deluding influence. Faced with clear historical evidence in this article that the Roman Catholic Church was built on the lies of the popes of Rome, and faced with clear evidence that all these novel doctrines arose late 4th century, the Catholic apologist will not address these facts but default to canned answers. Instead of repeating ” The Catholic Church has the fullness of truth”, please tell us why Damasus lied in his statement asserting primacy to the council of Rome? Since the true church rejoices with the truth, it will be interesting to find out why our supposed head lied to procure primacy?

  31. ” We affirm truth truth that is in their religion ” Well you are finding out more of who Protestants are. We don’t look to affirm truths in other religions such as Roman Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism etc. We look for religion that affirms ” the truth” as Jesus called himself. We are scripturalists. We measure claims of true religion against the scripture. And Rome fails the test. ” The Catholic Church has the fullness of truth”, unless you are able to explain the the discontinuities presented here in the article, that claim fails. Of course those Protestants that are not pliable include those who have asked this question , Who is the antichrist of scripture ? God throughout his Revelation has made things clear through signs. God has provided clear signs in scripture as to who antichrist is. One 17th century Cotton Mather said anyone who does not see that this is marvelously summed up in Roman Catholicism is under a strong delusion. The scholarship found in articles such as The Other Woman help to continue the peeling of the grape of scripture so that believers can understand where is the church, and where is antichrist. Satan has no greater purpose than confuse the two. K

  32. “We don’t look to affirm truths in other religions”

    Well, that’s why you have no influence on anyone outside of “Pastor Bob’s” garage church! You don’t represent the Christian faith to the world! Leave this to your Mother Church, the Catholic Church.

  33. Mark, any church or pope that says Trinity hating Muslims can stay where they are and do their best and they are golden is not the Church of Christ, who said I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to God but through me. And incidentally, every true believer represents faith to the world. Peter called us God’s cleras ,clergy. We are the priesthood of believers. Mark, I’m not sure why you call the Roman Catholic Church our church when we deny that it is a Christian church. K

    1. Kevin, denying the Catholic Church is a Christian Church is in the same league as denying the Trinity or that Jesus is the Incarnate Son of God. It is also like saying that purgatory isn’t real, or that Mary isn’t the Mother of God. It’s also like saying that baptism isn’t a sacrament or that the Eucharist isn’t the real presence of Christ. No, what you BELIEVE doesn’t make the truth not true. For instance, you can DENY purgatory, but still end up there. Does that make sense?

  34. Mark, the Roman Catholic Church isn’t the same as a Jesus in the world. Churches don’t connect us to God. No church owns God. He comes to us in the gospel by his choosing. Sometimes that is in the church sometimes outside. Jesus said to Nicodemus the Spirit blows like the wind, where and when He wills. Churches aren’t continuations of incarnations , nor can they replace His uniquely finished work. They can obey God, carry on his mission, pass on his message, but cannot replace his uniquely finished work as the agency of redemption through the acts of the church. K

  35. Mark ,

    You always take us to the same one way street which is also a dead end street . That of presumed magic of apostolic succession , exclusive possession of the Holy Spirit and sanctity of Tradition and the Catechism .
    The other ploy by the RCC is to exploit isolated words and verses and put on them whatever “inspired” interpretation it wishes .

    1. Steven147,
      I do always take people to authority. That’s what we are talking about really. Prots like you deny any Church authority. Despite the desperate attempts here to muddy the waters and cast doubt that Jesus would do what He said He would do- build a Church on St Peter and preserve and keep it until He returns again, I stand with the Church Jesus founded. Don’t be duped by those trying to discredit the Church. They have a bone to pick and pick it they will even at the expense of truth.

  36. Mark–

    Whatever you want to call it: there is an undeniable addition of theological tenets some three hundred years into church history. Rome ascribes all of these additions to undocumented sources. It’s their word against every non-Catholic historian who has ever lived (and many honest Catholic historians, as well).

    There is indeed some amount of deference given to Peter in the NT. He heads up the search for a successor to Judas, and he preaches at Pentecost. But he virtually disappears from Acts after the first 5 chapters. He doesn’t even preside at the Council of Jerusalem, and is roundly upbraided by Paul in Galatians.

    As a NT writer, he is outshone not only by Paul, but John and Luke and probably Matthew. As a missionary, he is outdone by Paul, Andrew, John, Mark (if you want to count him), and Thomas.

    Historically, there is no monolithic structure in the very early church, with different “schools” clustered around various Apostles. John had ascendency in Ephesus; Andrew in eastern Europe; Mark in Alexandria; Thomas in India; etc.

    Peter is given the power to bind and loose in Matthew 16, but the others get the same responsibility just two chapters later.

    Paul is given charge of the missioinary effort to the Gentiles. Only the effort to the Gentiles succeeds. Peter’s effort among the Jews eventually FAILS! (epically) That makes Paul preeminent in my book…if anyone is. But most probably, no one is intended to be…other than Jesus. (And he’s a pretty good head for the church. You all should try him. He’s just plain smarter than Francis.)

    Peter is one of only two Jewish popes. The church was gentilized almost from the get-go.

    In a practical sense, Rome was not the center of Christendom for quite some time. The superior numbers were in the East. The first seven Ecumenical Councils were NOT in Rome. They ALL took place in the East!

    Both the Anglicans and the Swedish Lutherans have demonstrably valid lines of apostolic succession. Rome denies them on account of the wording of their ordination vows. But–if they even took vows–early bishops probably didn’t use wording acceptable to the modern magisterium either.

    1. Hi Hans,
      Thank you for your comment. I just became aware of the snafu. Your answer is that there were some theological tenets added to the faith of the Church in the first few centuries. You are quite correct, and even beyond that time. But you have to prove that these tenets (e.g. Trinity) were unrelated to the earlier faith and not true developments.
      I am going to deal with only one item at a time and most of your other statements are irrelevant at this point. For example you said that at that time the center of Christianity was in the East. Bravo! I am not excluding the East: Catholic means universal and you are the ones that are obsessed with Rome, I am not.
      God bless you.

      1. Phil, would you please define “obsessed”? I am asking this because your statement “you are the ones that are obsessed with Rome” is difficult to understand when the standard meaning of “obsessed” is applied. I don’t believe Hans engaged in this dialogue with you with the intent of disproving Phil’s personal interpretation of Catholicism, and yet now that you have accepted the dialogue with him, you have changed the topic of discussion from Roman apostolic continuity to Phil’s personal interpretation of apostolic continuity. Hans said explicitly,

        If the Church of Rome is the valid continuation of the Apostolic church, why does its continuity only go back to around 300 CE or so and not ALL the way back? … Discontinuity is the simplest explanation.”

        His statement, “you and your church are in schism from the church of the Apostles” was clearly about “Roman Catholicism” and Roman apostolic continuity, and that is what you agreed to discuss with him.

        To accept for the purposes of dialogue his question about Roman Catholic apostolic continuity, and then dismiss as “obsessive” his observation about Roman apostolic discontinuity, is to change the topic after you have already agreed to discuss it.

        The popes have been claiming for a long time that apostolic continuity and Petrine primacy is of necessity Roman. This is shown by a simple review of the statements of Damasus, Leo, Gregory and Benedict who speak of Roman Petrine Primacy and the continuity of apostolic primacy centered on Rome (but originating in all three of the “Petrine Sees”). To them, Rome is the sine qua non of apostolic continuity:

        Pope Damasus I said (382 A.D.) “Therefore first is the seat at the Roman church of the apostle Peter ‘having no spot or wrinkle or any other [defect]’. … ” (Council of Rome, III.3)

        Pope Leo I (451 A.D.) sent his legates to Chalcedon with version of the Nicæan Canons edited to read, “The church of Rome has always had primacy.” (Richard Price & Michael Gaddis, The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon, vol 3, in Gillian Clark, Mark Humphries & Mary Whitby, Translated Texts for Historians, vol 45 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2005) 85).

        Pope Gregory I (c. 600 A.D.) “For he himself [Peter] exalted the See [Rome] in which he deigned even to rest and end the present life.” (Gregory the Great, Book VII, Epistle XL, To Eulogius, Bishop of Alexandria)

        Pope Benedict XVI (written by then-Cardinal Ratzinger in 1991, and then republished under his name, Benedict when he was pope) said “the continuity of apostolic succession, which was concentrated in the three Petrine sees—Rome, Antioch and Alexandria—among which Rome, as the site of Peter’s martyrdom, was in turn preeminent and truly normative.” (Benedict XVI, Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today, II.2.b “The Petrine Succession in Rome”)

        Do Damasus, Leo, Gregory and Benedict appear “obsessed” with Rome? If Hans is “obsessed” with Rome, it is because he is disagreeing with the actual teachings of the religion to which you claim to belong, which is precisely what you agreed to discuss with him. Roman Catholicism claims that “The church of Rome has always had primacy.” That statement by Rome (451 A.D.) is easily falsified by the historical data. By changing the topic, you are essentially asking Hans to refute your personal interpretation of Roman Catholicism, which in fact confirms Hans’ original concern about the many denominations within the construct of “Roman Catholicism”. To Hans’ long list of different kinds of Roman Catholics, we can now add Phil’s version, which is not “obsessed” about Roman primacy. You may be interested in Taylor Marshall, who comes from the denomination of Roman Catholicism that is “obsessed” with Roman Primacy. He documented the tenets of that Roman Catholic denomination in his book, “Eternal City: The Eternal City: Rome & the Origins of Catholic Christianity. You’ll find it to be an interesting read because there are many Roman Catholics who think that Rome is, and always has been, central to the relgion to which you claim to belong.

        Best regards,

        Tim

        1. Tim, you do realize that the Catholic Church is not a “denomination”. That is a word made up by Protestants to try and dignify all of the fractals of confusion it has spawned in the world since the 16th century. It is unbiblical and unhistoric. There are no such thing as “denominations” since there is only one Church.

          I really encourage you to read “The Apostasy that Wasn’t”. You believe a presupposition that the Church went off the rails in the late 4th century and then you read history to fit that paradigm. I would like you to also comment on the Judaizers, who claimed the Church went off the rails in the 1st century and the Marcionites who said the same in the second century. Who’s right? You or them? Why you instead of them?

          1. Mark, I have never said that the Church went off the rails in the late 4th century. If you can find where I have said that, please let me know and I will gladly correct it. It has never been my position that “the Church went off the rails”.

            Thanks,

            Tim

          2. Mark,

            I am familiar with Rod Bennett’s work. Here is an excerpt from my article “Diggin’ Up Bones” (below). Rod does his level best to turn the ancient practice of burying martyrs and celebrating their “birthdays” at their tombs, into the modern practice of exhumation and annual exposition for veneration—none of which actually began until the end of the 4th century.

            From “Diggin Up Bones“:

            We are hardly surprised, of course, to read and hear Roman Catholic apologists as they backfill the Early Church’s treatment of the remains of the martyrs with their later superstitious novelties. For example, Rod Bennett, a former Protestant, now Roman Catholic, comes to precisely the wrong conclusion about the bones of Polycarp (hat tip: Ken Temple). Upon a reading of the Martyrdom of Polycarp, as cited above, Bennett concludes, remarkably, that the Early Church must have kept the relics of martyrs in the churches for veneration:

            “It would likewise appear from the passage being discussed that the remains (or “relics”) of these martyrs were also kept in the churches early on and played some part in these anniversary celebrations.” (Bennett, Rod, Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words, (Ignatius Press, 2002) 220 n7).

            Actually, in the context of this period in history, it appears that the remains of martyrs were most certainly not kept in the churches “early on,” and they were not venerated. They were buried. In the ground. When the Early Church so clearly abhorred the keeping of martyrs above ground (per Athanasius) and actually wrapped martyrs in linen to be buried (per The Martyrdom of Ignatius) and actually buried martyrs in a cemetery (per Jerome), and employed people for the task of burying martyrs (per Dionysius), it is nothing more than a gratuitous interpolation to read the Martyrdom of Polycarp and conclude that his remains were kept for veneration above ground in the church. And yet, that is precisely what Bennett does.

            What is more, in his lecture for The Coming Home Network International, Rod Bennett reads the account of the martyrdom of Polycarp and concludes something of which the text itself makes no mention—that Polycarp’s relics were exposed annually for veneration:

            “Polycarp was a disciple of St. John the Evangelist himself, the one who leaned on Jesus breast at the Last Supper, and about that time we can see in the records a feast of the martyrdom of Polycarp being celebrated, compete with the exposition of his relics.” (Bennett, The Four Witnesses Brought Me Home, 35:15-35:45)

            But what was being described by the Smyrnæans was a burial, not an extraction, and what followed was a birthday party away from the church, not an exposition in the church. The text simply does not support Bennett here.

            I looked at Rod’s sequel to The Four Witnesses, and his method does not appear to have changed.

            Thanks,

            Tim

          3. Are you saying that the Catholic Church wasn’t apostate before the 4th century but also not the true church? If it wasn’t apostate why do you feel it wasn’t the true church? Do you reject the idea that Jesus founded a visible church?

            I can’t wait to hear who you think the True Church was from the beginning.

          4. Mark,

            The Roman Catholic Church did not exist until the end of the 4th century, and therefore could not have been the Church Jesus founded. The Church Jesus founded is the True Church. Jesus did not found the Roman Catholic Church. What emerged as Roman Catholicism at the end of the Fourth Century was the “falling away” of which Paul warned (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Many people were deceived by the new doctrines that came upon the earth as a flood, and thus fell away into apostasy, but the remnant did not. That remnant was the True Church and was sustained by Jesus in the wilderness throughout Roman Catholicism’s reign as The Fifth Empire of Daniel’s and John’s visions.

            Within Roman Catholicism, any suggestion that Roman Catholicism as a religion is apostate and the prophesied “man of sin” is usually met with two illogical arguments:

            Argument 1) that would mean the whole church fell away, making Jesus a liar
            Argument 2) identifying the Papacy as the “man of sin” and “son of perdition” is to concede that Roman Catholicism must have been the true church at some point, for the “man of sin” must come from within (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

            Both arguments are logically fallacious.

            On the one hand, to argue that the Roman Catholic Church cannot fall away because the Church is indefectible, presumes that Roman Catholicism is the Church Jesus founded, which presumes the apostolic continuity of Rome’s late 4th century novelties, which presumption is then used to prove Rome’s apostolic continuity, and thus to prove that her novelties are apostolic and therefore not novel and therefore not apostate, which is circularity. The presumption of apostolic continuity is denied, as it is not a legitimate defense against the claim that Roman Catholicism does not enjoy apostolic continuity. Yet it is the defense most frequently offered.

            On the other hand, Roman Catholics also respond that if the Papacy is the “man of sin” who “sitteth in the temple of God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4) then we must also concede that the office of the Roman Papacy must have started within the church, for the “man of sin” arises from within, and therefore the Roman Papacy must have originated within the church, defeating the claim that the Papacy is “the man of sin,” for that would mean “the man of sin” is authentically Christian. That argument is fallacious, for it would mean that the “man of sin” could never exist at all, nor could he ever be identified, because the owner of the title could always argue that he can’t be the “man of sin” because the “man of sin” originates from within and is therefore Christian. Thus, the Roman Catholic response to argument 2 reduces to the illogical proposition that anyone identified as the “man of sin” would have to be presumed to be authentically Christian, and therefore not “the man of sin,” which in turn reduces 2 Thessalonians to nonsense.

            But Paul was quite clear in his statements that heresies, error and apostasy will arise from within, and cause people to fall away from within. He said in Acts 20:30,

            “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”

            His statement is not self-defeating. It is possible for error to arise from within the Church (“of your own selves”) resulting in apostasy (“to draw away disciples”), a falling away from the Church, without the whole church falling away.

            Peter said the same thing:

            “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (2 Peter 2:1-2).

            In other words, it is possible for error to arise from within (“there shall be false teachers among you”) resulting in apostasy (“many shall follow their pernicious ways”), without the whole church falling away.

            John confirmed this very meaning:

            “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (1 John 2:19)

            In these apostolic admonitions, we are warned that error and apostasy come from within, and that the error and apostasy coming from within is not truly Christian.

            Thus, the Roman Catholic objection that anything coming from within the Church must be authentically Christian is defeated. The apostles did not argue that way. They warned of the very thing Roman Catholicism says is impossible, for Rome would have us believe–against the apostles themselves—that no error could possibly ever arise from within.

            I that vein, Paul states that the “man of sin” is revealed by the “falling away” that he brings about by trying to draw away disciples after him from within:

            “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3)

            By no means can this be construed to mean that the “man of sin” and “son of perdition” is Christian and that the “falling away” is universal, although Roman Catholicism attempts to force that very meaning upon it any time Roman Catholicism is identified as the “son of perdition.”

            Thanks,

            Tim

          5. So, according to you, they held a “birthday party” at St Polycarp’s grave? Unbelievable. I think it is YOU that is inserting your own bias here.

            From the Martyr of Polycarp:

            “We afterwards took up his bones, as being more precious than the most exquisite jewels, and more purified than gold.”

            and

            “the Lord shall grant us to celebrate the anniversary of his martyrdom, both in memory of those who have already finished their course, and for the exercising and preparation of those yet to walk in their steps.”

            THAT is veneration.

            The burial place was most likely a crypt (look it up), below the alter of the church. A place where the people could go down into and worship, meditate and pray. The bones were laying in the crypt. Remember, in Rome they buried the martyrs in the catacombs, where they also held Mass, worshipped, and prayed.

            Relics are talked about in the New Testament. Acts 19:11-12.

            I encourage you to read the book since you say that you haven’t read it.

          6. Mark,

            In The Martyrdom of Polycarp, chapter 18, “the anniversary of his martyrdom” is correctly translated “the birthday of his martyrdom.” And so it is rendered in the original Greek, “μαρτυρίου αὐτοῦ ἡμέραν γενέθλιον,” and in Latin accordingly, “natalem martyrii ejus diem” (P.G., vol. 5, cols. 1043, 1044). In those days, the date of the Martyr’s death was celebrated as his birthday.

            Tim

          7. I think you know the image you were trying to create by saying it was a “birthday party away from the church”. You were dismissing the veneration of his relics, which is clearly what they were doing. You just can’t accept it in your paradigm. This is what the early Church did and we have ample evidence from the catacombs that this was the practice.

          8. Mark, are you denying that they celebrated his “birthday”? The original Greek says “birthday”. Do you have access to another version of the account that says “anniversary”?

            Thanks,

            Tim

          9. The context of what we are talking about is whether they venerated the relics of Polycarp, which YOU disagree with. I agree that they had a special recognition on the anniversary of his martyrdom. That is clear. You seem to be diverting away from the actual bones by saying that Polycarp was buried in the ground at some cemetery away from the church and not in a crypt that is below the church. The common practice was to put the bones of the Martyrs where they worshipped and that was the church.

          10. So you’re denying that they celebrated his “birthday”? Remember, Mark, your objection was to the very idea of a “birthday party.” You wrote,

            So, according to you, they held a “birthday party” at St Polycarp’s grave? Unbelievable. I think it is YOU that is inserting your own bias here.

            My argument was from the original text, Mark. Do you think the original text was wrong to say “birthday”? On what basis?

            Thanks,

            Tim

          11. Tim,

            Doctrine aside, which other church can trace its roots back to Peter? Only the Catholic Church can. BTW, the “Roman Catholic Church” was invented in the 17th century by the Anglicans. Calling the Catholic Church “Roman Catholic” is another misunderstanding. Please use the right term if you want credibility. Roman Catholic is just a slur. You get this one free pass but from now on if you continue to use it I will take it that you are using it as a slur.

          12. “The Book of the Apocalypse … is the story of how the Church overcomes the Roman Empire and becomes the Roman Catholic Church.” (Taylor Marshall (Roman Catholic apologist), Eternal City: Rome & the Origins of Catholic Christianity (2012) 158).

          13. Taylor Marshall is an Anglican convert and is very eager with identifying with the Bishop of Rome. Even Vatican I worked to scrub the term Roman its documents. You can certainly find people referring to the Catholic Church as Roman Catholic, but it is incorrect.

          14. Catholic Answers, What is the difference between the Roman Catholic and the Catholic religion?

            Q: What is the difference between the Roman Catholic and the Catholic religion? I was brought up to believe that Roman Catholic was the stricter of the two.

            A: … A Roman Catholic is a Catholic who is a member of the Roman rite. …

            What is missing from their answer is that “Roman Catholic” is an offensive slur.

            Mark, when you get Catholic Answers and Roman Catholic Apologists straightened out, let me know. Oh, I know what the Catholic Encyclopedia says. But you’ve got enough work to do “in house” before you try to clean up the blogs of your “separated brethren.” I have no plans to abandon the term.

            Best,

            Tim

          15. Actually, let’s move beyond Polycarp and get to who you think the “True Church” of the first 4 centuries actually is!

          16. Mark, I’ve already stated that I’m about to write a series on that topic. I have no plans on writing a custom series for you in the comment section of the blog. However I did ask you a question about Polycarp’s birthday. please answer that question.

            Thank you,

            Tim

          17. You can call it a birthday celebration! You, though are making the point that they had a “birthday party away from the church”. How do you know that? How do you know that his bones weren’t in a crypt below the church which is below the alter?

          18. This blog takes forever to load and I can’t click on your response to reply. It is getting cumbersome.

            One random out of context quote and I am to dismiss altars? Sorry. You can see them represented in frescoes on the catacombs.

            Your Catholic encyclopedia quote didn’t say crypts weren’t around in the early church. Did you mean to quote something else?

            You are trying to prove your point by refuting my points. How do you know that the bones were buried “away from the church”? You made that assertion so you need to provide proof.

          19. Mark,

            Just read the article in the encyclopedia under crypt. It says the crypt is from the middle ages. Polycarp was not from the middle ages. That’s how I know they did not put his bones in the crypt under the church.

            You asked a question. I answered it. Do you have evidence that can overturn the Catholic Encyclopedia statement that the crypt is from the middle ages?

            Tim

          20. Mark, where are altars represented in the frescoes on the catacombs. Can you provide references?

            Minucius Felix’ quote was neither random, nor out of context. Minucius Felix said “we have not temples and altars”. What’s out of context about that? Here are some more references:

            “But if you wish to be taught how the Law is dead, look and see. Where now are the sacrifices? Where now is the altar? Where is the temple? Where are the purifications? Where is the celebration of the Passover? Is not the Law dead in all these things? Or let those friends and defenders of the letter keep the letter of the Law if they can.” (Origen, Homilies on Genesis, Homily VI, 3)

            “Whoever, therefore, has obeyed all these heavenly precepts, he is a worshipper of the true God, whose sacrifices are gentleness of spirit, and an innocent life, and good actions. And he who exhibits all these qualities offers a sacrifice as often as he performs any good and pious action. For God does not desire the sacrifice of a dumb animal, nor of death and blood, but of man and life. And to this sacrifice there is neither need of sacred boughs, nor of purifications, nor of sods of turf, which things are plainly most vain, but of those things which are put forth from the innermost breast. Therefore, upon the altar of God, which is truly very great, and which is placed in the heart of man, and cannot be defiled with blood, there is placed righteousness, patience, faith, innocence, chastity, and abstinence.” (Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, Book VI, chapter 24)

            “These are the things which the worshipper of God ought to hold forth; these are the victims, this the sacrifice, which is acceptable; this is true worship, when a man offers upon the altar of God the pledges of his own mind.” (Lactantius, Epitome of the Divine Institutes, chapter 67)

            To the early church, the “altar of God” was in the heart not in the church building, and the sacrifices offered there were the pledges of the mind because physical altars were under the Law, and the Law was dead.

            Of course, according to the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia, Pope Sixtus II (257-259 A.D.) “was the first to prescribe that Mass should be celebrated on an altar,” so that should be proof enough for you that there were no altars prior to that, since Polycarp predated Sixtus II. But wait a second. What is the source for Sixtus II’s introduction of the use of the altar? Oh yeah: It’s a “A legend cited by Saint Ambrose of Milan,” at the end of the 4th century.

            Well, on top of that, the earliest “known” church building ever is from about 230 A.D., about 100 years after Polycarp died.

            So that’s how I know that Polycarp’s followers did not put his remains “in the crypt” “under the altar” “in the church.”

            Do you have any evidence at all to support your theory that there were church buildings, crypts and altars in Polycarp’s day?

            Thanks,

            Tim

          21. “Do you have evidence that can overturn the Catholic Encyclopedia statement that the crypt is from the middle ages?”

            No, I don’t. But crypt might not be the right word. Do you have any evidence that they “held a birthday party away from the church?” What I have noticed about you Tim is that you strain a gnat but swallow a camel.

            And to think you are saying all of this so you don’t have to read the book I mentioned. Sigh.

            Are you going to deal with the relics mentioned in the Bible? How about the relics of Ignatius of Antioch in 107AD? “For only the harder portions of his holy remains were left, which were conveyed to Antioch and wrapped in linen, as an inestimable treasure left to the holy Church by the grace which was in the martyr.”

            Altars weren’t the granite monstrosities that you see today, but simple tables. I think you can do a simple Google search and find examples in the catacombs just like you searched the Catholic Encyclopedia. All you really need to do is look to the catacombs where the martyrs were interred and where people worshiped, prayed, and meditated. Sometimes the early Church is best seen in pictures and not words.

          22. Mark, you wrote,

            “And to think you are saying all of this so you don’t have to read the book I mentioned. Sigh.”

            How could you possibly “know” that? You have assigned a motive to my actions that you cannot possibly know. Is that normal for you to assign motives to people’s actions without any actual information about their intent?

            Thanks,

            Tim

          23. Mark, I asked if you have evidence of altars in the frescoes of the catacombs. You replied,

            “No, I don’t.”

            That is the correct answer. What you have evidence for in the frescoes of the Catacombs is “ordinary house tables,” which, from what I understand, were a common household implement used in antiquity for meals. Here is what the Catholic Encyclopedia says of “altars” depicted in the frescoes of the catacombs:

            “The earliest Christian altars were of wood, and identical in form with the ordinary house tables. The tables represented in the Eucharistic frescoes of the catacombs enable us to obtain an idea of their appearance.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, History of the Christian Altar)

            So what you have depicted for you in the frescoes of the catacombs are “ordinary house tables,” just like Jesus used when He ate his last meal with His disciples (Luke 22:21).

            Thanks,

            Tim

          24. Mark, you asked,

            “Do you have any evidence that they “held a birthday party away from the church?”

            Let’s use the Catholic Encyclopedia. The Catholic Encyclopedia says that the later use of the stone altar originated from the practice of celebrating the Lord’s Supper at the tombs of the martyrs on their “birthdays” or anniversaries:

            “The earliest stone altars were the tombs of the martyrs interred in the Roman Catacombs. The practice of celebrating Mass on the tombs of martyrs can be traced with a large degree of probability to the first quarter of the second century.” (Catholic Encyclopedia, History of the Christian Altar)

            I’ll quibble with them about whether the tomb of a martyr served as a “table” or an “altar,” but for now, let’s agree that the martyr’s anniversaries were celebrated at the tombs, and let’s also agree for now that this practice can be traced to Polycarp’s day, “to the first quarter of the second century.” Fair enough.

            Then the article goes on:

            “The regular Sunday services were held in the private houses which were the churches of the period. Nevertheless, the idea of the stone altar, the use of which afterwards became universal in the West, is evidently derived from the custom of celebrating the anniversaries and other feasts in honour of those who died for the Faith.”

            So, the practice of using a stone altar comes from the tradition of celebrating mass at the tomb of the altar. And “churches of the period” were private houses.

            So yes, what the Martyrdom of Polycarp describes for us is “a birthday party away from the church.”

            You continued,

            “What I have noticed about you Tim is that you strain a gnat but swallow a camel.”

            Mark, you continually rely on anachronisms to support your position (i.e., altars depicted in the frescoes of the catacombs, church buildings and crypts under the churches of the 2nd century, etc…) and I continually show you that you are relying on anachronisms. You said my understanding of the martyr’s “birthday” was “unbelievable,” so I showed you from the original text that “birthday” is exactly what they called it. I don’t understand how that is straining at gnats.

            Thanks,

            Tim

          25. “Mark, I asked if you have evidence of altars in the frescoes of the catacombs. You replied,

            “No, I don’t.””

            NO. You asked: “Do you have evidence that can overturn the Catholic Encyclopedia statement that the crypt is from the middle ages?”
            No, I don’t.

            Please stop misquoting me. If you can’t even quote someone correctly from 2016 on your own blog, how accurate are you with people who lived 1900 years ago?

          26. Mark, my mistake. Your statement was that I could “see [altars] represented in frescoes on the catacombs.” So I asked you for evidence to support your claim, and you said I could find it myself. More specifically, you said “Altars weren’t the granite monstrosities that you see today, but simple tables. I think you can do a simple Google search and find examples in the catacombs.” And you were right. When you look up altars in the catholic encyclopedia, they say what you can find in the catacombs are “ordinary house tables” which are identical in form, so it is supposed, with the early altars.

            You continued,

            “Please stop misquoting me. If you can’t even quote someone correctly from 2016 on your own blog, how accurate are you with people who lived 1900 years ago?”

            A reasonable request. I shall endeavor to stop making mistakes, but I am not infallible, so I will certainly continue to err. I will appreciate you continuing to point my mistakes out to me, and I invite you to correct me where you can, which is why I use actual references—so you can look up the original citations. I will gladly concede to you that I am not the best at what I do, and not even as good as I ought to be at it, considering the nature of my observations.

            On that note, perhaps you can help me by answering a question I put to you yesterday. You said my quote from Minucius Felix was “random” and “out of context.” I don’t know how you can prove it was random. A remarkable coincidence it would be, I think, for me to select a quote randomly from the vast library of patristic writings at the very moment we were discussing altars and, quite improbably, it actually includes not only a reference to altars (which was quite topical), but also a negative reference, for it was my very point that they were no longer in use. As to it being “out of context,” here it is in its local context (I encourage you to expand the context to your own content, until you are satisfied):

            “But do you think that we conceal what we worship, if we have not temples and altars? And yet what image of God shall I make, since, if you think rightly, man himself is the image of God? What temple shall I build to Him, when this whole world fashioned by His work cannot receive Him? And when I, a man, dwell far and wide, shall I shut up the might of so great majesty within one little building? Were it not better that He should be dedicated in our mind, consecrated in our inmost heart? Shall I offer victims and sacrifices to the Lord, such as He has produced for my use, that I should throw back to Him His own gift? [That would be] ungrateful [since] the victim fit for sacrifice is a good disposition, and a pure mind, and a sincere judgment. Therefore he who cultivates innocence supplicates God; he who cultivates justice makes offerings to God; he who abstains from fraudulent practices propitiates God; he who snatches man from danger slaughters the most acceptable victim. These are our sacrifices, these are our rites of God’s worship; thus, among us, he who is most just is he who is most religious. But certainly the God whom we worship we neither show nor see.” (Minucius Felix, Octavius, chapter 32)

            No visible sacrifices. No visible altars. In fact, “the God whom we worship we neither show nor see” certainly suggests that the early church did not expose the eucharist either for adoration or for sacrifice. If there were no altars, and no sacrifices, no visible object of their worship, then something shaped like a table probably served as one as well, which means the table shaped objects that you claim can be found in the frescoes of the catacombs were probably tables, I imagine.

            Your assumption that altars in the early years were “but simple tables” merely covers up the fact that they were not altars at all because there were no sacrifices. Simple tables, indeed, because the Lord’s Supper was a meal, not a sacrifice, in the early church. It would not become so until the latter part of the 4th century.

            Well, again, I apologize for misquoting you. It was an accident, and not a purposeful one at that, but an error nonetheless.

            Tim

        2. You: “Thus is the unnatural birth and fraudulent rise of the religion called Roman Catholicism—which is nothing but a widespread apostasy from the late 4th century”

          “What we shall find in the following series is that there is an apostolic religion that actually does trace its origins to the apostles, the members of which religion rejected the late 4th century novelties and apostasy of Rome”

          Apostasy = Went off the rails.

          1. Mark,

            I have also said, “Since Jesus is no a liar, and Roman Catholicism is not the true Church, then there must have been a religion that actually originated with Christ and His apostles, survived the late 4th century apostasy, rise and medieval reign of Roman Catholicism, and still perseveres to this day.”

            Roman Catholicism ≠ True Church. And thus, I have not said “the Church went off the rails”. In fact, even in the quotes you cited, I indicate that the True Church rejected the apostasy of Rome, and in fact “stayed on the rails.”

            Thanks,

            Tim

        3. You quoted correctly from Catholic Answers. Roman Catholic only refers to the Roman Rite of the Church. The problem is that the Roman Rite doesn’t encompass the entire Catholic Church, which includes the Eastern Rites. You can can call Catholics anything you want to. I am just pointing out the facts for you. Take it or leave it. You also call the “Roman Catholic Church” a denomination, which is also incorrect.
          I’m really only interested in who you think is the “true church” from the first 4 centuries. You haven’t given any names yet, just vagaries.

          1. Well, let me know how Taylor Marshall responds when you confront him in his slur. I will also request that you stop skipping around from topic to topic to avoid issues in which you have been proven to be wrong.

            Back to Polycarp, please: you thought it was “unbelievable” for me to say they were celebrating Polycarp’s birthday. And yet the original text actually say that. So, my argument was from the original text, Mark. Do you think the original text was wrong to say “birthday”? On what basis?

            Tim

        4. Tim, as far as Minucius Felix, his book is a dialog with a heathen “Octavius”. He was repudiating their pagan sacrifices at altars and saying Christians don’t do that. Furthermore, he, and other writers didn’t give all the mysteries of the Christian faith to just anyone, not even Catechumens! It was a practice called Disciplina Arcani.

          So, out of context you can make any claim you want about Felix, but with context and against the entire backdrop of the early church that the Mass was a sacrifice, your assertions don’t hold up.

  37. Mark,

    You have an interesting presupposition to religion. It seems very exclusive and that you believe only one religion is really true, and other religions or denominations are only partially true.

    Do you find anyone calling you a cult follower when you make these claims? Anyone who claims they have the only true Church usually is involved in a cult.

    Do you know if anyone else inside the Roman Catholic Church believes they are members of the only true religion and Church?

    1. Hans, you made a lot of points and I am not going to answer a scatter shooting like that. Peter singularly was given the keys to the kingdom. If you remember from the OT that they keys of the kingdom were given to the “prime minister” who took care of the kingdom. Yes, Peter is all over the New Testament. His name is mentioned more often than all the other disciples put together and he is always listed first. Peter is the one who stood up at the council of Jerusalem after everyone had spoken and declared that Gentiles didn’t need to be circumcised.
      Aside from that, Jesus is the one who said to Peter, thou art rock and upon this rock I will build my Church. Jesus knew what He was doing when created the structure of the Church this way.

  38. I read an amazing sermon this morning by Spurgeon called ” Suffering outside the camp. ” I recommend this highly. Jesus suffered outside the camp. Spurgeon talks about all the great men like Luther who was called a dog, a beast, and adulterer ,because he went outside the camp and suffered mightily for doing what was right. It reminded me of the great reform and all the true church who suffered outside the camp in the name of our Lord and to maintain the truth of the gospel.

    1. Except Luther was a heretic and excommunicated. He wasn’t suffering for righteousness sake. That’s the reason he’s not St. Luther today. Among other things:

      “To kill a peasant is not murder; it is helping to extinguish the conflagration. Let there be no half measures! Crush them! Cut their throats! Transfix them. Leave no stone unturned! To kill a peasant is to destroy a mad dog!” – “If they say that I am very hard and merciless, mercy be damned. Let whoever can stab, strangle, and kill them like mad dogs” Erlangen Vol 24, Pg. 294

      “If the husband is unwilling, there is another who is; if the wife is unwilling, then let the maid come.” Martin Luther; On the Jews and Their Lies, translated by Martin H. Bertram, Fortress Press, 1955

      “The word and work of God is quite clear, viz., that women are made to be either wives or prostitutes.” On Married Life

      “If your Papist annoys you with the word (‘alone’ – Rom. 3:28), tell him straightway, Dr. Martin Luther will have it so: Papist and ass are one and the same thing. Whoever will not have my translation, let him give it the go-by: the devil’s thanks to him who censures it without my will and knowledge. Luther will have it so, and he is a doctor above all the doctors in Popedom.” Amic. Discussion, 1, 127,’The Facts About Luther,’ O’Hare, TAN Books, 1987, p. 201. Cf. Also J. Dollinger, La Reforme et les resultants qu’elle a produits. (Trans. E. Perrot, Paris, Gaume, 1848-49), Vol III, pg. 138.

      “…the epistle of St. James is an epistle full of straw, because it contains nothing evangelical.” ‘Preface to the New Testament,’ ed. Dillenberger, p. 19. – Cf. Also Jean Janssen, L’Allemagne et la Reforme. (Trans. E. Paris, Plon, 1887-1911). Vol II, Pg. 218.

      “I have greater confidence in my wife and my pupils than I have in Christ” Table Talk, 2397b

    2. “There are almost as many sects and beliefs as there are heads; this one will not admit baptism; that one rejects the Sacrament of the altar; another places another world between the present one and the day of judgment; some teach that Jesus Christ is not God. There is not an individual, however clownish he may be, who does not claim to be inspired by the Holy Ghost, and who does not put forth as prophecies his ravings and dreams.”- Martin Luther

  39. Mark, what do you think of this speech given by a Roman catholic priest on Sept. 10, 2016.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tVxn9HYrhP0&feature=youtu.be

    Is this not a bit extreme for this priest to be choosing who to vote for in the election? What happened to separation of church and state where the church should not be involved in state issues? Tim writes about this in his blog that the church has no rights, as I recall, in engaging in state functions or in state affairs. Tim correct me if I’m wrong, but should this priest be trying to persuade people and other pastors to get involved in state issues?

  40. HANS said : Let me start by getting your take on what Tim wrote. He talked about how the following mainstream tenets of Roman Catholic faith are not to be found in the first three hundred years of the common era:

    ROCKY: It seems that part of the real problem is that a certain evolutions of theological concepts or doctrine or practices (like Trinity etc) is being used as some kind of “evidence” of what…false teaching? Hardly. In fact it is evidence of the authority of the Catholic Church.

    Papal primacy?

    ROCKY: Mat 16:16-19 and see Phil’s post on Sept 23.

    Roman primacy?

    ROCKY: Where Peter and his successors are so is the primacy of those who bore the Keys of the Kingdom.

    Papal infallibility?

    ROCKY: Mat 16: 16-19

    Priestly celibacy?

    ROCKY: Flowing from papal and Church authority we see that Jesus and Paul endorse celibacy. In fact we can say it is an expected hallmark of the faith once received.

    “… they have renounced marriage for THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it”_* (Matt. 19:11–12).

    1Cor 7:27-34
    He who marries “does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better” (7:38).

    We observe that many protestants rail against celibacy, (e.g. John MacArthur) and find themselves outside of what was recommended by Jesus and Paul.

    Postscript: It is irrelevant whether or not celibacy for the priesthood was not instituted by the Church. The bishops along with the petrine office had/has the authority to set these rules (precepts of the Church) or duties. That is part of what binding and loosing has to do with.

    Baptismal regeneration?

    ROCKY: Its self evident right. John 3:5, Mt 28:18-20; Jn 3:5; 4:1-2; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom 6:3-4; Mk 16:16; Titus 3:5; Eph 5:26; 1 Peter 3:21

    Immaculate conception?

    ROCKY: Luke 1:26-29
    In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full-of-grace, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.

    Those who understand what Grace is, will understand that when one is filled with it there is sin abiding there. Her completion in grace means sin could not be found in her, from the start of her being.

    The assumption of Mary flows theologically from her being filled with grace from the start (radically completed in grace in a past way).

    The perpetual virginity?

    ROCKY:
    It was always held (sacred tradition) and the texts referring to brothers, being well known by all early first century faithful, were always interpreted as cousins. Always. There is much more to be said on this of course.

    The dormition and assumption of Mary.

    ROCKY: A sacred tradition flowing from her sinless state. The assumption of Mary flows theologically from her being filled with grace from the start (radically completed in grace in a past way).

    QUESTION: IS Sola Scriptura MORE BIBLICALLY SUPPPORTED THAN THE ASSUMPTION? It does not seem so. Except that there actually IS scripture that offers something else other than scriptura as the arbiter of truth – an authority – which is the Church.

    Mary as the Mother of the Church?

    ROCKY: The NEW EVE.

    Transubstantiation?

    ROCKY: The belief in the Real Presence of Jesus was ALWAYS believed in the very earliest early Church. It was ONLY the theological clarification that came along more precisely later under the name “transubstantiation” A analogous situation can be said of the later Church definition of the three aspects of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) under the new name “TRINITY”

    eucharistic adoration,

    Rocky: A loving practice and devotion that developed over time.

    Tertullian (155-220)
    Christians desired frequent communion, but persecution limited Eucharistic services. Christians began keeping some consecrated bread and wine at home on their person

    The sacrifice of the Mass?

    ROCKY: Malachi 1: 1-11
    11 For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation (offering):

    the title Pontifex Maximus?

    ROCKY: Apparently this was only a secular state legal title; and the Pope didn’t pay much attention to it. So in fact it is not official title of the Catholic pope and never was.

    kneeling on the Lord’s Day, incense, candles, relics, images…communion on the tongue, the liturgical mixing of water with wine, etc., etc., etc….”

    ROCKY: The real question is, WHY would anyone think that these have bearing on the validity of the Catholic Church?

    HANS: If the Church of Rome is the valid continuation of the Apostolic church, why does its continuity only go back to around 300 CE or so and not ALL the way back?

    ROCKY: Well that’s not even true Hans. Certainlya after after the end of the persecutions the church started to coalesce into a more structured form in the 300s.

    Thus the early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly, a Protestant, writes, “[W]here in practice was [the] apostolic testimony or tradition to be found? . . . The most obvious answer was that the apostles had committed it orally to the Church, where it had been handed down from generation to generation. . . . Unlike the alleged secret tradition of the Gnostics, it was entirely public and open, having been entrusted by the apostles to their successors, and by these in turn to those who followed them, and was visible in the Church for all who cared to look for it” (Early Christian Doctrines, 37).

    The letter of Pope Clement of Rome to the Corinthians (A.D. 96) indicates that the successor of Peter was relied on for his authority.

    1. Thank you, Rocky, and welcome. I could answer all of these, but it is much more productive to deal with one at a time.

      Of kneeling on the Lord’s day, you wrote,

      “WHY would anyone think that these have bearing on the validity of the Catholic Church?”

      An interesting question. On the matter of kneeling at Mass, Catholic Answers said,

      “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)

      Also, Pope Benedict XVI, in his book, The Spirit of the Liturgy said a “liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core” (p. 194), and for this reason, he prescribed that “Where it has been lost, kneeling must be rediscovered” (p. 194).

      So Catholics not only see kneeling as a manifestion of apostolic continuity with the first century church, but also see it as essential to the Sunday liturgy.

      I don’t know if you subscribe to the same view of Roman Catholic apostolic continuity that Catholic Answers and former Pope Benedict XVI do, so I think it is best to ask: why do you think Catholic Answers and the Pope think kneeling at Mass on Sunday “is another manifestation of the continuity between the Church of the first century and the Catholic Church of today”? Is it your opinion that it does not and should not matter if you stand or kneel during Mass? Why do you (or don’t you) think so?

      Thanks,

      Tim

  41. Tim,

    I am reading a book by Rutherford that was originally published in 5 years after his death in 1713, and reprinted in 1991. In one of the footnotes it references a comment Rutherford wrote that says:

    “Ah! many (I fear) have a thin and lean stock of good works to take to Heaven with them: Familists(1) teach, that to take delight in the holy service of God is to go a whoring from God!”

    (1) Members of the sect called The Family of God. This mystical , antinomian sect originated in Holland, and gained many adherents in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They held that religion consisted chiefly in the exercise of love and that absolute obedience was due to all established governments, however tyrannical. Rutherford wrote against their tenents in “A survey of the spiritual antichrist, opening the secrets of familisme and antinomianisme” London, 1648.

    What are you views on how Christians should adhere to tyrannical governments in the kingdom of God on earth?

  42. Mark, I was reading a blog commentary by conservative priest Fr. Z’s blog and he listed all these alleged saints:

    St. Charles Lwanga and companions, pray for us.
    St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.
    St. José de Anchieta, pray for us.
    St. Modeste Andlauer, pray for us.
    St. Edmund Arrowsmith, pray for us.
    St. Robert Bellarmine, pray for us.
    St. John Berchmans, pray for us.
    St. Jacques Berthieu, pray for us.
    St. Andrew Bobola, pray for us.
    St. Francis Borgia, pray for us.
    St. John de Brebeuf, pray for us.
    St. Alexander Briant, pray for us.
    St. John de Britto, pray for us.
    St. Edmund Campion, pray for us.
    St. Peter Canisius, pray for us., pray for us.
    St. Juan del Castillo, pray for us.
    St. Noël Chabanel, pray for us.
    St. Peter Claver, pray for us.
    St. Claude de la Colombiere, pray for us.
    St. Anthony Daniel, pray for us.
    St. Paul Denn, pray for us.
    St. Philip Evans, pray for us.
    St. Peter Faber, pray for us.
    St. Thomas Garnet, pray for us.
    St. Charles Garnier, pray for us.
    St. Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us.
    St. Roque González de Santa Cruz, pray for us.
    St. John Soan de Goto, pray for us.
    St. Rene Goupil, pray for us.
    St. Melchior Grodziecki, pray for us.
    St. Alberto Hurtado, pray for us.
    St. Rémy Isoré, pray for us., pray for us.
    St. Francis Jerome, pray for us.
    St. Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
    St. James Kisai, pray for us.
    St. Stanislaus Kostka, pray for us.
    St. Jean de Lalande, pray for us.
    St. Gabriel Lalemant, pray for us.
    St. David Lewis, pray for us.
    St. Lèon-Ignance Mangin and companions, pray for us.
    St. Paul Miki and companions, pray for us.
    St. Henry Morse and companions, pray for us.
    St. John Ogilvie, pray for us.
    St. Nicholas Owen, pray for us.
    St. Joseph Pignatelli, pray for us.
    St. István Pongrácz, pray for us.
    St. Bernardino Realino, pray for us.
    St. John Francis Regis, pray for us.
    St. Alonso Rodriguez, pray for us.
    St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, pray for us.
    St. José María Rubio, pray for us.
    St. Francis Xavier, pray for us.
    St. Robert Southwell, pray for us.
    St. Henry Walpole, pray for us.

    While being raised Catholic my mom and dad would have various “saints” around to pray to, but for me even as devoted as I was, it seemed they were dead people of the past. How could I get dead people to pray for me I would ask? The answer was always that it is in the bible.

    Since I was asked to read the bible 3 days a week in morning mass in our Catholic school, I was becoming familiar with the Bible even more than my catechism. I started to enjoy reading it, but I could not find any references to calling upon the dead to pray for me. It was strange. I found where Saul went to a local witch under disguise asking her (she was living) to go bring Samuel back from the dead to speak to him, but Samuel was not happy with this request by Saul, and of course it really freaked out the witch who learned it was king Saul. Saul of course let her live as witches are good mediators between the dead and the living, but I could not find other examples of calling upon the dead to speak with and pray for me.

    While reading your commentaries here I see you are not really a big fan of Scripture that might disagree with your tradition, but this issue has always been a major problem for me that perhaps you can give your best insight. My mom and dad could not give me any good bible reference, nor could our local priest so perhaps you can provide me the proof texts and authorized examples of speaking to the dead and requesting that they pray for us.

  43. I totally reject their notion which has wide support in the NT by St Paul and St Peter I think .
    Self defence and resistance are legitimate and rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s works both ways and involves consequences as well.

  44. Mark, another question for you after reading your posts. Do you believe that the protestant churches are true churches?

    The reformers believed that the Roman Catholic Church was a true church as to being since you profess the true religion. See below.

    ———
    The Westminster Confession of Faith (25:2) defines an essentially true church as having one mark, viz., the profession of the true religion.

    The idea that there is one mark that alone distinguishes the being of a church from its well­being is clearly and plainly taught in the Westminster Confession of Faith, where it states,

    The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children; and is the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ; the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation (Westminster Confession of Faith, 25:2, emphases added).

    Likewise the Larger Catechism, Question 62:

    Q. What is the visible church?
    A. The visible church is a society made up of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion, and of their children.

    Notice that the only mark mentioned as necessary for the existence or “being” of a true visible church is, “the profession of the true religion.” According to the Westminster Divines this is the single mark that distinguishes Christian churches from Pagan churches. By using this mark we can determine whether a body of people meeting together for worship are to be considered “Christian” in any sense. The Reformers, by applying this single mark to the Roman Catholic Church, called her a true church (as to essence or being), and correctly distinguished her from the Turks or Pagans.

    1. Hmm. Not sure your Westminster Confession really says the Catholic Church is a “true church” when it also says the head, the Pope is the antichrist. I think you may be reading more into that than is there. They mention catholic only because of its meaning as “universal”.

      If you are validly baptized, you are a brother or sister in Christ. Christians. Separated Christians, but Christians. Pope Benedict explained in 2007 that non-Catholic Protestant groups are “ecclesial communities” and not “Churches”. The Eucharist is the center of worship in the Church. It is the worship that Jesus commanded at the Last Supper. It is at the Mass that the entire Church (the Church militant, suffering, and triumphant) are present. The Church teaches that ALL Christians are present at the Mass each and every time, past, present, future; dead or alive. Those alive, those in purgatory, and those in heaven all are present each time the the Mass is celebrated.

      Wherever the Mass is celebrated by valid priests with Apostolic succession, there is the Church. Protestant groups do not have a valid Eucharist or Apostolic succession, so therefore they are not Churches, but ecclesial communities.

      I hope that helps.

  45. Having listened to the political speech by the Priest above who said the bible is a political document, I reminded if he spent that time studying the scripture alone he might understand that Paul said it was a trustworthy statement , deserving full honor, that Christ came into the world to save sinners. It is the flavor of our day to gain political justice. I was discussing with a black Christian friend the other day who believes in social justice and reparations, that Peter said slaves submit to your masters in good or bad. Of course anyone would desire to be free from such a terrible thing, but yet we are taught from scripture that Christ’s kingdom has to do with personal redemption. The Philippians jailer wasn’t thinking about politics when he asked Paul what must I do to be saved. Jesus avoided all attempts to be political. I agree with Tim, when the church chose to enforce orthodoxy and orthopraxy thru civil means it led to much sin. Our beloved Reformers weren’t exempt. Otherwise why would scripture tell us to submit to rulers and authorities. John MacArthur says America is the first composite society and blessed because of it. K

  46. Mark, by way of introduction to this blog, I decided to answer, more or less simplistically, Han’s shotgun scatter style post to you. I have done such things before only to receive back . . . nothing. Just silence. Maybe he is working on it.

    I am hoping he will address my question on the lack of celibacy in the protestant world (given its endorsement by Jesus and Paul); and secondly if he can also provide a defence of Sola Scripture, given that this “doctrine” actually contradicts scripture-shown authority of and by the Church (who holds those keys).

    Is there a denomination or ecclesial community that offers a claim to that authoritative position besides the Catholic Church.

    Does Sola Scriptura divide up that authority amongst the many denominations and ecclesial communities? Apparently but that makes no sense. And it hurts my head to think of it.

  47. WALT as a Catholic, I think we have to say that all those who understand who Jesus was/is and what he did, and accept his sacrifice for their salvation can be called Christians. Of course that normatively includes baptism as we are told. I will leave that discussion to you and Mark.

    You say “the Reformers, by applying this single mark to the Roman Catholic Church, called her a true church”. I actually am gratified to hear that statement as I most often hear just the opposite.

    I guess what twigs in my head when I hear the mention of the Westminster Confession of Faith is also from Chapter 25.

    V. The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error;[10] and some have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan.[11] Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth to worship God according to His will.[12]

    VI. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ.[13] Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.[14]

    There is one fellow who posts on this site regularly (and other sites) who likes to say to us Catholics “your synagogue this or your synagogue that”, obviously in reference to article 25:5 and then would often just call the Catholic Church the antichrist, citing 2nd thess as evidence, which I did not see there by the way. He mentioned the Westminster confession as a cherished document, obviously a major source or reinforcement to his anti-Catholic beliefs, in particular this one as being the antichrist.

    How are we Catholic supposed to take this kind of official statement or teaching in light of 1) guidance by the Holy Spirit to all truth that many think resides in this statement (infallible?).

    2) And then how do we ever bridge a gap toward some Christian brotherhood based on goodwill and common ground if we are completely written off by this Westminster article as the spawn of satan.

    I would rather hope that your statement on the Catholic Church being a true church is the understanding that is held to by most in the evangelical community. Sadly that is not my experience.

    Can you shed some light on this Walt.

    Thanks very much.

  48. Tim–

    You are correct. It was meant as a reply to Phil.

    Mark–

    My response appears to be “scatter shot” because it is a point by point reply to Phil.

    Phil–

    Sorry to get you mixed up with Mark.

  49. Rocky wrote:

    “How are we Catholic supposed to take this kind of official statement or teaching in light of 1) guidance by the Holy Spirit to all truth that many think resides in this statement (infallible?).

    2) And then how do we ever bridge a gap toward some Christian brotherhood based on goodwill and common ground if we are completely written off by this Westminster article as the spawn of satan.

    I would rather hope that your statement on the Catholic Church being a true church is the understanding that is held to by most in the evangelical community. Sadly that is not my experience.”

    Rocky, please take my response with gentleness which is not always easy for me as I spent a significant amount of time as a Roman Catholic struggling with her teachings from my youth, and as I became older and more interested to learn whether true myself the things I was taught, I became bitter toward my Roman Catholic teachers and parents. Today, I’m not so bitter as over the years I’ve learned that there are really very few, in fact a small remnant, who really desire to know the truth of Scripture and historical testimony. Thus, when I would challenge my parents to reprogram their presupposition with Protestant and more bible based teaching they just were not interested. They felt comfort being among their friends who were more social Catholics and students of Scripture.

    With that being said, in your first question, we would not hold the historical testimony of Westminster to be infallible but rather inerrant…e.g, without error. There is a difference that I will not write about here, but in any event, there is significant biblical and historical evidence that the Papacy is antichrist, but yet is still a true church as to being or essence. This means that within the visible Roman Catholic Church there are elect Christians for sure. While I don’t believe I was “born again” in the Roman Catholic Church as a youth, I certainly did gain a significant understanding of the RCC teachings of baptism, communion (e.g., Lord’s Supper), form of worship, form of government, doctrines and church discipline. It gave me a very strong historical testimony on what was taught so that (unlike the Independents, Baptists or “non-denom” sects who reject all historical testimony as “roman catholic tradition” and claim to be “Bible Only”) I was able to more fully appreciate Presbyterian government, worship, catechisms, confessions, etc. We believe in Sola Scriptura in the sense that Scripture is the primary standard of all authority, and that our confessions, catechisms, etc. are secondary standards and not equal to Scripture. Scripture is infallible while our approved secondary standards (by faithful church courts) are inerrant.

    Tim as a Presbyterian will disagree with me, but we do not consider the footnotes to be inerrant but rather the body of the principles contained in the documents. This view can stir up a hornets nest just like the Roman Catholics believe their church testimony is equal to, or greater than (by logical conclusion), the Scriptures. Most Protestant sects outside Presbyterianism reject all human testimony as being inerrant no matter what Church courts have said and that is why there are 80,000+ denominations.. Each sole minister is a court unto himself, and the only one who he believes is teaching the truth is their own church, and the one down the road has it wrong so they do not form any unity or uniformity as we find in most VISIBLE branches of Roman Catholicism and Presbyterianism…although there are lots of differences.

    The struggle that I had as a Roman Catholic is that Scripture was teaching me so many contrary doctrines that I had to withdraw from being a Roman Catholic just to “try” to figure out some of the errors I was seeing comparing Scripture with my teaching. I was not looking for perfection, and had never even heard of the reformers or of Calvin at that time. I was migrating just into more pentecostal and non-denominational contemporary teachings but reading my bible daily trying to compare Scripture with what I was taught as a Catholic.

    Today I would not say that unity is likely between reformed Protestants/Presbyterians and Roman Catholics due to the significant differences on doctrine, discipline, form of worship and form of government. There is unity in one sense. Those in the Roman Catholic Church are preaching and teaching that Protestants and Orthodox should return to the one true Christian Roman Catholic Church to be one with Jesus, and true reformed Covenanted Presbyterians are preaching the same thing to Protestants and Roman Catholics alike.

    We agree in one sense that both sides are involved in heretical, backslidden Churches and both should join the other side who are the faithful elect of God. The real cults or synagogues of Satan like Mormon, Jehovah witnesses, Unitarian, etc. need to be called out for their evil.

  50. Mark,

    Thanks for the summary of your teachings.

    Just to be clear, the Westminster Confession and reformers all taught an invisible and visible church. The invisible are the elect and the visible are all those who profess the true religion, whether elect or not. See below.

    ———
    I. The catholick or universal church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.a

    II. The visible church, which is also catholick or universal under the gospel, (not confined to one nation, as before under the law,) consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion,b together with their children;c and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,d the house and family of God,e out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.f
    ———–

    We believe Roman Catholics are part of the true visible church because they preach the true Christian religion. We do not believe all Roman Catholics are the elect, nor do we believe all Protestants or Orthodox are the elect.

    While Roman Catholics do not allow us reformed Protestants, or evangelical Protestants or orthodox to be considered “true churches” as you state above, we do grant this basic tenant of Christian teaching to you as Roman Catholics.

    I remember growing up being taught that there was no true Christian outside the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and all outside of our Catholic Church was going to hell, but when I became a Protestant it was so strange that they believed that even those elect who were saved were inside the Roman Catholic visible church.

    Be certain, the reformers made a distinction between the visible and invisible universal church that Rome does not allow.

  51. Walt said, “We believe Roman Catholics are part of the true visible church because they preach the true Christian religion. ”

    I think you need to regroup because this is not what you believe. The Catholic Church rejects Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide in the traditional Protestant sense and so there is no way you consider the Catholic Church as “true religion”. You will need to quote from an authoritative source that says that you believe this in spite of the Church’s denial of central tenants of your Protestant sect. Also, calling the Pope the antichrist shows that I am right in my assessment.

    I am not interested in your opinion. I want to see official teachings. James White would SO disagree with you right now.
    Hope that helps.

  52. Mark, actually I think you are correct about the WCF. Paul uses church as a metaphor for the body of believers. Personally I believe if you are the antichrist of scripture, you aren’t a true visible church. You pose as a Christian church because that’s what Satan does. Roman Catholicism is a false Christianity , apostate, a front for the kingdom of Satan. In the long war on the truth it is the most relentless and deceptive enemy. The true church has always known that and separated itself from that communion. For those elect who are in that synagogue , we should encourage them to leave that communion immediately. It has a false tradition, it has a false magisterium, a false priesthood, a false gospel of worthiness of merit, has a false justification by sacraments ex opere operato, it puts up a piece of bread in the place of our savior, a few drops of water in the place of the Spirit. What fellowship has light with darkness ? None in my opinion.

    1. Kevin, of course that’s what you think. Maybe Walt can explain to you why you are wrong.
      Once you’ve read The Apostasy that Wasn’t, by Rod Bennett and
      Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians” by Karl Keating then please come back and we can talk! IMO, you have a dark soul, Kevin. A very dark soul.

  53. Mark said, “I am not interested in your opinion.”

    That is why I quoted the WCF 25:1 and 25:2 so that you could see the difference between the invisible church of the elect, and the visible church of profession.

    If you don’t understand this distinction made by the WCF than I’m not going to give you any more authority. The Larger Catechism would say the same thing making the distinction between the true church of the elect, and the true church of those who profess Christ (including the reprobate). The visible church professes the true Christian religion, but inside are heretics, false prophets, false teachers, etc. whereas in the invisible church are only the chosen elect of God.

    As you can see by even Kevin’s comments, one who claims to be reformed and a follower of reformed Christians, that he does not even understand this very basic teaching of the reformers that is clearly explained in reformed documents.

    Mark, don’t feel bad that you don’t understand this basic reformed doctrine. 99% of the Protestants don’t either…even those claiming to be reformed.

  54. Mark,

    Just an FYI, a false prophet, false teacher and an antichrist can be located within the visible church. Yes, the WCF declares that the man of sin, the antichrist and son of perdition is within the visible church.

    VI. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ.[13] Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God.[14]

    [14]MAT 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 2TH 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. REV 13:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

    So please don’t be confused about your particular Roman Catholic teaching that the antichrist is “outside” the visible church, and likely some Jewish guy out of Spain that will come and get you marking your forehead with a 666 paint brush. No, the reformers taught Antichrist, the man of sin, the son of perdition was that Papal figure claiming to be the head of the visible church….the Roman Catholic visible Church, and all her sister Protestant churches that adhere to Romish doctrines.

    PS – You may want to get out of Rome while you still can!!!

  55. “By communicating with idolaters in their rites and ceremonies, we ourselves become guilty of idolatry; even as Ahaz, 2 Kings 16:10, was an idolater, eo ipso, that he took the pattern of an altar from idolaters. Forasmuch, then, as kneeling before the consecrated bread, the sign of the cross, surplice, festival days (Christ-mass, Easter, etc. – ed.), bishopping, bowing down to the altar, administration of the sacraments in private places, etc., are the wares of Rome, the baggage of Babylon, the trinkets of the whore, the badges of Popery, the ensigns of Christ’s enemies, and the very trophies of antichrist, — we cannot conform, communicate and symbolise with the idolatrous Papists in the use of the same, without making ourselves idolaters by participation. Shall the chaste spouse of Christ take upon her the ornaments of the whore? Shall the Israel of God symbolise with her who is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt? Shall the Lord’s redeemed people wear the ensigns of their captivity? Shall the saints be seen with the mark of the beast? Shall the Christian church be like the antichristian, the holy like the profane, religion like superstition, the temple of God like the synagogue of Satan?”

    – A Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies, in George Gillespie’s Works volume one (emphases added), p. 80,

  56. Hi Mark, go on the Reformed site Greenbaggins and read an article ” Is the Papist my brother” Instead of a technical reading it will explain historically ,in reality the Reformed have not considered the Roman church a valid visible church nor those in it our brethren. Maybe Tim can provide the link if he see fit. It’s a good article. But as Tim said in the article, many pliable Protestants remain.

  57. Blind leading the blindAnother excellent reformed scholar, Francis Turretin, defines the essentially true church (esse) as having one mark, viz., the profession of Christianity and gospel truth.

    The Church of Rome can be regarded under a twofold view (schesei); either as it is Christian, with regard to the profession of Christianity and of Gospel truth which it retains; or Papal, with regard to subjection to the pope, and corruptions and capital errors (in faith as well as morals) which she has mingled with and built upon those truths besides and contrary to the Word of God. We can speak of it in different ways. In the former respect, we do not deny that there is some truth in it; but in the latter (under which it is regarded here) we deny it can be called Christian and Apostolic, but Antichristian and Apostate (Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 1696 Latin, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing English translation, 1997, Vol. 3, p. 121).

    Here the Church of Rome (which retains the single mark: a profession of gospel truth) is designated a true church when compared to Pagans. Turretin, like Calvin, is saying that in the Roman Catholic Church there remains a possibility of salvation which is not true in a Pagan group, and in this sense he is willing to call them a Christian church, a true church essential, or a truly constituted church. On the other hand Turretin makes it clear that when he considers the Catholic Church as Papal he designates her a false church and Antichristian. Notice here, that by distinguishing between the being and well­being of the Church of Rome Turretin calls them a true church (as to being) and a false church (as to well­being) at the same time. It is significant to recognize this point, which to some seems like a contradiction throughout the writings of the Reformers. A true church can, at the same time, be considered true in one sense while false in another. In this case Turretin is saying that though the Romish church is essentially Christian (esse) it has strayed so far from its Christian foundation that it must be called false (bene esse).

  58. Mark, beware of self described reformed teachers in protestant circles. Most of them are really independent Roman Catholics at heart, but by profession they claim reformed. The reformers taught clearly a true church visible by profession and a true church by election. As I posted two or so weeks ago you must understand the distinctions they made as to being and well-being and esse vs bene esse when you are truly reformed. Otherwise, as is common with independents, you are really romish in doctrine but professing you are reformed.

  59. Mark, one more point. Remember that Tim on this blog is not professing to be reformed. He has disagreements with the reformed views so how he will define the true and false churches I have no idea. Just remember whatever his definition and explanation Kevin will agree. I posted the reformed view right after Tim’s article was posted hoping someone would read the distinctions but obviously nobody read them, nor understood them. Even Kevin claims that he and other reforms hold your views, but that is not true. The reformers did not teach the Roman catholic view of who is a true church vs false church. Again, I don’t know what Tim teaches but we will soon find out in the next article. I’m sure it will not be the reformed teaching but likely a spiritual view or something the early church fathers taught. I’m as excited as any to read it next.

  60. Here is a catholic theory on the true church

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2016/09/ask-father-why-must-one-be-in-communion-with-rome/

    “From an historical perspective one may also say that it was the unanimous view of both the Early Church Fathers and of great early heresiarchs (concerning their own “churches”) that “the Church” was one visible and indivisible sacramental communion. There was, in other words, nowhere to be found anything like the later Protestant/Evangelical view that “the Church” is an invisible body consisting of all “true Christian” believers (whether “true believers” is defined loosely or narrowly) in whatever “denomination” they may be located, nor anything like the classical Lutheran view that “the Church” is partly visible and partly invisible, and consists of those “churches” which profess “the True Faith” (whether understood strictly or more loosely) but which are not necessarily in sacramental fellowship with one another, nor anything like the post-Reformation “High Church” Anglican “Branch Theory,” according to which a certain number of “churches” or “communions” sharing a common “valid episcopate” but not in communion with one another constitute the (now sadly divided) “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” in which faith is professed in the Creed.

    On this “historical” view there are only at most four “communions” that still embody this claim: the Catholic Church (or perhaps I should say the Catholic communion of sui juris churches in communion with the Pope of Rome), the Orthodox Church(es), the Oriental Orthodox Church(es) – Armenians, Copts, Ethiopians, Syriacs, and the like, who rejected and still reject the Council of Chancedon – and the “Church of the East” (the remnant of the so-called Nestorians). It does put all Protestant and Anglican bodies out of the running if one wishes to arrive at a “purely historical” understanding of Patristic ecclesiology.”

  61. From my study I don’t believe the church ” went off the wheels in the 4th century” The true apostolic religion passed down is not the same as the Roman Catholic religion. Iow, Roman Catholicism was never a true church, visibly. It isn’t the catholic church of the NT or the early church. Trinitarian Baptism is not enough to be a true visible church. When you pervert the word of God since your inception, proclaim a false gospel, pervert the sacraments, lie to claim primacy, engage in idolatry, you aren’t a true visible church. False religions aren’t Christian visible churches. Reading WCF 24.3 for example gives us a closer view. The reason this is important is because the false narrative that a false religion is a visible Christian church makes it more difficult to differentiate truth from error. I’ll be frank, Roman Catholicism was never a Christian church. It’s origin is in the 4th century. And since that inception the true visible church has always separated itself from that system, and suffered dearly for it.

    1. Kevin, so you want me to believe your opinions over the teachings of the early fathers such as Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch who learned the faith from the Apostle John, who learned it from Jesus? They are Catholic in teachings and beliefs. I am afraid it is you who has bought into a false system built on men in the 16th century that isn’t grounded in history or the Bible.

  62. Mark–

    The “power of the keys” was given to all the Apostles, not just Peter. The OT vizier/prime minister was an appointed position with no successors aside from the next royal appointment.

    Paul has more mentions in the NT than Peter, not that the competition is necessarily significant.

    1. Nope, the keys were given singularly to Peter. Jesus binds the next “royal appointment” of the seat of Peter.

      You are wrong again. Peter is mentioned more times than Paul. You need to get your facts right. Peter is mentioned 195 times and John is the second highest with 29 references.

  63. Mark, ” you want me to believe your opinions over the teachings of the early church fathers who learned the faith” actually, I would suggest you look at the evidence that ” the early fathers who learned the faith” were not Roman Catholic in their teachings and beliefs. Much of that evidence can be found here at Out of His Mouth. And then open the scriptures and find out all you can about the antichrist prophesied. God has clearly used signs through scripture. When you read For instance ” the great Harlot “, ” the little horn” , ” the woman clothed in purple and scarlet”, ” woman sitting on a scarlet beast “, ” having in her hand a gold cup” drunk with the blood of the saints. Remember, the beast from the earth deceives those who dwell on the earth, and it was given him to erect and image to be worshiped that speaks. And all those who do not worship it are caused to be killed. Ask yourself questions. To deceive a multitude on the earth you would have to pose as a visible Christian church, right? The colors mentioned of adorning are the colors of Roman Catholicism, right? Who do you know that has a gold cup in his hand? Who has erected an image that talks to be worshiped by the world? Who has an image that speaks? Who has an image that those who didn’t worship it were killed? Strong city on 7 hills? Who has a leader who is called the Vicar of the Son of God which adds up in numerals 666. That is why Cotton Mather said to not see this is to be under strong delusion. The bible is not describing a visible Christian church. Babylon isn’t a Christian church. The bible is describing a false visible Christian church whose real name isn’t The catholic church, but the Harlot antichrist. I do not believe Roman Catholicism is part of the visible Christian church, on the contrary it hates the Christian church. K

  64. Phil–

    I just saw your reply.

    Clearly, there is legitimate and illegitimate “development of doctrine.” The Trinity unquestionably derives from Scripture by “good and necessary consequence.” Mary’s assumption, on the other hand, is totally extraneous to Scripture.

    1. Hi Hans,
      Thank you for your comment. You said that “Mary’s assumption, on the other hand, is totally extraneous to Scripture.” Could you show me how? Didn’t God take to himself Enoch (Gen 5:24) and Elijah (2Kings 2:11) in the Old Testament. Couldn’t He also take Mary, the mother of the Lord (Lk 1:43) Who won our resurrection? Of course, He could, and an ancient East and West tradition says He did although there is no explicit text about it. Did you find anything contradicting it?
      Now, I know that you don’t believe in it because of the relatively recent “Sola Scriptura” tradition of the Reformers,
      which, ironically, is not found in Scripture.
      God bless you.

      1. Phil, Hans,

        Since the core of your discussion is the matter of doctrinal continuity, you both may be interested in Stephen J. Shoemaker’s The Ancient Traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption (2004). As is typical of characteristically Roman Catholic doctrines, the assumption finds no traction in the early church until the latter part of the 4th century:

        “Rather surprisingly, the early centuries of Christianity, as they are preserved for us today, maintain a profound silence regarding the end of Mary’s life. The pre-Nicene Fathers show complete disregard for this event, not even mentioning her death, and only at the end of the fourth century does this gap in the early Christian tradition first generate any visible concern. … This long and profound silence surrounding the end of Mary’s life first arouses concern only late in the fourth century…” (p. 10-11)

        Actual assumption traditions do not emerge until the the next century (this from Shoemaker’s synopsis):

        “The ancient Dormition and Assumption traditions, a remarkably diverse collection of narratives recounting the end of the Virgin Mary’s life, first emerge into historical view from an uncertain past during the fifth and sixth centuries. Initially appearing in Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, these legends spread rapidly throughout the Christian world, resulting in over 60 different narratives from before the tenth century preserved in nine ancient languages.”

        As in so many matters of Roman Catholic dogma, there is a three century gap between the apostles and the emergence of the matter of Mary’s assumption, which of course raises the question of how the church could go three hundred years without such a core apostolic teaching, only to discover it “again” later.

        The only way to link the tradition to the apostles is by historical gloss and the presumption of apostolic continuity, which we see in the papal proclamations on Mary. Of the Immaculate Conception, Pius IX said, “illustrious documents of venerable antiquity, of both the Eastern and the Western Church, very forcibly testify” of the doctrine (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854), and of the Assumption, Pius XII said it “has been approved in ecclesiastical worship from the most remote times” (Munificentissimus Deus, 1950). Both statements are grotesquely false and intentionally misleading. A concern about Mary’s sinlessness does not emerge in the early church until 377 A.D., and as noted above, the Assumption doesn’t get any traction until the end of the 4th century either.

        Safe to say, I think, that when Pius IX appealed to “venerable antiquity” and Pius XII appealed to “the most remote times,” it sounded a lot better than appealing more accurately to “at least three centuries after the apostolic age.” Thus is Rome’s chronic doctrinal discontinuity “infallibly” papered over by Roman Catholicism.

        Thanks,

        Tim

  65. TIM said: Why do you think Catholic Answers and the Pope think kneeling at Mass on Sunday “is another manifestation of the continuity between the Church of the first century and the Catholic Church of today”?

    ROCKY: It is natural and good to have our forms of worship conform as much as is possible to those that we see in the bible and the early Church. Simply, these are links directly to God and in them therefore there must be aspects that have an intrinsic value to our spiritual life. We may add different ways to express our faith, worship and prayer life than those that were originally held to and that’s okay but we want to hold tight to what was handed down as well.

    TIM said: Is it your opinion that it does not and should not matter if you stand or kneel during Mass? Why do you (or don’t you) think so?

    ROCKY: It certainly matters, insofar as it shows our obedience to the structure of the given liturgy and respect for the community. Some who would stand instead of kneeling and are knowingly contradicting the appropriate liturgical form are out of step with the community and the bishop. By setting themselves above the requisite form they are being disobedient and certainly not acting in humility, expected of all Christians. They are in fact causing a small scandal that is possibly (probably) disruptive. It is certainly not in keeping with the spirit of community. Now it would also be the same problem if that person wanted to kneel instead of following the appropriate (given) liturgical form or posture, which may be standing or sitting.

    BTW there are no posture-police ready to pounce. There are times when people do stand some kneel or sit. A few are willfully disobedient, at some points there is latitude and in most others cases people are just confused.

    Is there a problem with the Catholic Answer statement “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.”? After all it is only “a manifestation” of the continuity. And I think these manifestations enrich the faith.

    Or from Pope Benedicts statement from ‘The Spirit of Liturgy’,

    “Where it has been lost, kneeling must be rediscovered, so that, in our prayer, we remain in fellowship with the apostles and martyrs, in fellowship with the whole cosmos, indeed in union with Jesus Christ Himself.”

    I am only seeing Pope Benedict and Catholic Answers affirming the faith once received. Am I missing something?

    1. Rocky, you asked,

      “I am only seeing Pope Benedict and Catholic Answers affirming the faith once received. Am I missing something?”

      Yes, you are. The church of the catacombs apparently preferred standing in prayer, and Turtullian considered kneeling on the Lord’s Day to be unlawful. Basil thought it was wrong to kneel on Sundays, according to “the rules of the church.” Additionally, Nicæa, 1st Constantinople, Ephesus, Chalcedon, 2nd Constantinople, 3rd Constantinople, Trullo, 2nd Nicæa, 4th Constantinople and Pope Hadrian I all rejected kneeling on the Lord’s Day. For about 1,000 years, the Church did not kneel during the weekly service. Thus, there is a 1,000 year gap in your “manifestation of continuity.”

      And yet, Catholic Answers thinks kneeling during Mass is just “another manifestation of the continuity between the Church of the first century and the Catholic Church of today” and Pope Benedict thinks the liturgy of the first millennium of Christianity was missing an essential apostolic element.

      A millennium of not kneeling on Sundays is a pretty big gap in your “continuity.” How could the church forget for 1,000 years what the apostles allegedly taught them?

      Tim

      1. Tim said, “Turtullian considered kneeling on the Lord’s Day to be unlawful. Basil thought it was wrong to kneel on Sundays, according to “the rules of the church.” Additionally, Nicæa, 1st Constantinople, Ephesus, Chalcedon, 2nd Constantinople, 3rd Constantinople, Trullo, 2nd Nicæa, 4th Constantinople and Pope Hadrian I all rejected kneeling on the Lord’s Day. For about 1,000 years, the Church did not kneel during the weekly service. Thus, there is a 1,000 year gap in your “manifestation of continuity.””

        Yes, the early Church didn’t kneel on Sundays or between Easter and Pentecost. This was supposed to be a time of rejoicing!

        But Mass wasn’t said ONLY on Sundays! It was said EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK! Kneeling at Mass was appropriate at other times except the Lord’s Day.

        1. Mark, for 1,000 years the Church “didn’t kneel on Sundays or between Easter and Pentecost.” And then suddenly Roman Catholicism introduced the practice. In what way does the modern practice of kneeling during the Mass demonstrate a continuity with the early church? Do you believe your church should return to not kneeling on Sundays or any time between Easter and Pentecost in order to abide by Canon 20 of Nicæa? Or, rather, do you think your church ought to continue violating Canon 20?

          Thanks,

          Tim

          1. Tim, you quoted a Catholic Answers article that makes no mention of Sunday. You went to lengths to try and prove that since there was a prohibition of kneeling on Sunday that Catholic Answers is wrong. I showed you that kneeling wasn’t prohibited at Mass on other days. Your early father’s quotes doesn’t invalidate the Catholic Answers article because you wrongly assumed they were talking about Sunday Mass.

          2. Mark,

            Here is Justin Martyr’s description of the Lord’s Supper in the early church:

            “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.” (First Apology, chapter 67)

            Would you agree that Justin Martyr’s description of the Lord’s Supper—one of the earliest and most detailed patristic descriptions on record—shows them meeting on Sunday and standing up when they pray? Now, if I’m reading Catholic Answers correctly, the one time per week these people met, they stood up to offer their prayers, but Catholic answers says they were wrong to do that because it does not show humility before God.

            “The Mass is a sacrifice, and there are times–especially in the last part–when the faithful pray on their knees. Kneeling shows our humility before God.” (Catholic Answers, Why Do Catholics Kneel).

            Catholic Answers says we should kneel to pray to show our humility before God during the Mass. Justin said they rose to pray during the “Mass”. Many popes and councils afterward agreed with Justin.

            How does this demonstrate continuity?

            Thanks,

            Tim

          3. Tim,

            First, a practice or manifestation is NOT a matter of doctrinal truth (faith and morals. These disciplinary matters are not necessarily static, immutable, unchangeable. In other words, things can change.

            Cannon 20 says:
            ‘Since there are some who kneel on Sunday and during the season of Pentecost, this holy synod decrees that, so that the same observances may be maintained in every diocese, one should offer one’s prayers to the Lord standing.’

            So this means that Canon 20 (Council of Nicaea) was imposed to keep the same observances. That they needed a Canon to bring everyone into unison suggests some were kneeling during the liturgy, and given the mention of Sundays and Pentecost that this was thought to be inappropriate because these are not liturgical moments which focus on penitence, as Mark Rome indicated.

            Since a canon (such as Canon 20) is a discipline it can be changed and this is what the Latin Church did. The Catholic Church has the authority to do so.

            Why things change. . .

            EXCERPTS from “Kneeling at the Consecration” at EWTN dot com.

            “Whether one kneels or stands for the Eucharistic Prayer is a matter of ecclesiastical tradition. Human customs of paying respect, or in this case worship, determined the development of the practices of the Eastern and Western Churches in this, as in other matters. . .

            Finally, the Magisterium desires each Church to preserve what is peculiar to it, thus manifesting in the unity of the universal Church a legitimate diversity of Rites. . . .

            The Latin Norm. In the Latin Rite adoration of Christ in the Eucharist calls for either kneeling or genuflection. In the Liturgy the people are obliged to kneel for the Consecration. . . .

            Universal Law. The General Instruction on the Roman Missal #43 establishes as the universal norm of the Roman Rite the practice of kneeling for the Consecration. This is understood to mean from the Epiclesis (the prayer calling for the sending down of the Holy Spirit) to the Mysterium Fidei (The Mystery of Faith). . . .

            Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Second Vatican Council: 22. 1. Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.

            22. 1. Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop. . . .

            1983 Code of Canon Law:
            Can. 837
            1. Liturgical actions are not private actions but celebrations of the Church itself…”

          4. Rocky, you wrote,

            “First, a practice or manifestation is NOT a matter of doctrinal truth (faith and morals. These disciplinary matters are not necessarily static, immutable, unchangeable. In other words, things can change. [null]”

            And then Mark piped in,

            “And you know what else? Canon law can change! That’s right! It has changed and it will change again! These aren’t dogmatic statements about the Apostolic deposit of faith, which I think you may be confusing the Canon with.[void]”

            I understand that that is your private opinion, and you are both entitled to it. But the problem is, I am always told that I cannot rely on private opinion. What I need (apparently) is an infallible teacher to tell me whether the canons of Nicæa can ever change. Pope Leo the Great said they absolutely cannot change:

            “These holy and venerable fathers who in the city of Nicæa, after condemning the blasphemous Arius with his impiety, laid down a code of canons for the Church to last till the end of the world, survive not only with us but with the whole of mankind in their constitutions; and, if anywhere men venture upon what is contrary to their decrees, it is ipso facto null and void; so that what is universally laid down for our perpetual advantage can never be modified by any change, nor can the things which were destined for the common good be perverted to private interests.” (Leo the Great, Letter 106, paragraph 4).

            So I nullified and voided your private opinions based on Gregory the Great. But let’s go on.

            Second Constantinople (553 A.D.) said if you don’t respect those canons of Nicæa, you’re not really Catholic:

            “Now that we have given the details of what our council has achieved, we repeat our formal confession that we accept the four holy synods, that is, of Nicaea, of Constantinople, the first of Ephesus, and of Chalcedon. Our teaching is and has been all that they have defined concerning the one faith. We consider those who do not respect these things as foreign to the catholic church.” (Second Council of Constantinople)

            And then 3rd Constantinople (681 A.D.) said it would drive “afar the error of impiety” by keeping the Nicæan canons unaltered:

            And then 2nd Nicæa said, by making sure the Nicæan canons remaing unaltered, “we preserve unchanged all things which pertain to the Catholic Church”:

            “Therefore, with all diligence, making a thorough examination and analysis, and following the trend of the truth, we diminish nought, we add nought, but we preserve unchanged all things which pertain to the Catholic Church, and following the Six Ecumenical Synods, especially that which met in this illustrious metropolis of Nice, as also that which was afterwards gathered together in the God-protected Royal City.” (Second Council of Nicæa)

            And then the 4th Council of Constantinople (870 A.D.) said that the canons of Nicæa were the Word of God, and illuminute our path as by the light of His Word “the better is distinguished from the worse”:

            “If we wish to proceed without offence along the true and royal road of divine justice, we must keep the declarations and teachings of the holy fathers as if they were so many lamps which are always alight and illuminating our steps which are directed towards God. Therefore, considering and esteeming these as a second word of God, in accordance with the great and most wise Denis, let us sing most willingly along with the divinely inspired David, The commandment of the Lord is bright, enlightening the eyes, and, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my paths; and with the author of Proverbs we say, Your commandment is a lamp and your law a light, and like Isaiah we cry to the lord God with loud voice, because your commands are a light for the earth. For the exhortations and warnings of the divine canons are rightly likened to light inasmuch as the better is distinguished from the worse and what is advantageous and useful is distinguished from what is not helpful but harmful. Therefore we declare that we are preserving and maintaining the canons which have been entrusted to the holy, catholic and apostolic church by the holy and renowned apostles, and by universal as well as local councils of orthodox, and even by any inspired father or teacher of the church.” (Fourth Council of Constantinople, Canon I)

            It seems pretty much clear to me that Gregory the Great and bishops gathered at2nd Constantinople, 3rd Constantinople, 2nd Nicæa and 4th Constantinople were pretty sure the canons of Niceæa can never change, and that kneeling during the Mass on the Lord’s Day was worse, and standing on the Lord’s Day was better, and that “any inspired father or teacher of the church” obviously agreed with them. What it doesn’t sound like to me is that they thought some of Nicæa’s canons were just “a discipline” that “can be changed”. No. “[T]ill the end of the world” is a pretty long time,” and the Word of God “to the holy, catholic and apostolic church” is a pretty high standard of unchangeableness.

            So if the ‘universal testimony’ of Roman Catholicism at least until 870 was that the 20th canon of Nicæa was the unchangeable Word of God, but now there is a religion claiming that those guys from a long time ago were wrong, doesn’t that seem just a little “discontinuous” to you?

            If the Pope is infallible in matters or faith and morals, as are ecumenical councils, then it sounds like the prohibition of kneeling on the Lord’s day is an unchangeable infallible proclamation of, in Constantinople’s words, “the holy, catholic and apostolic church” and her bounden duty was “preserving and maintaining the canons which have been entrusted” to it.

            Call me old fashioned, but treating an infallible proclamation of the Word of God as if it is just an optional discipline does not sound the same as “preserving and maintaining” the “word of God” “till the end of the world”.

            I hope you can understand that the knots in which Rome tangles herself in order to maintain the appearance of continuity is exactly why she has to start her conversations on the history of kneeling with, “It’s Complicated…”.

            It sure is.

            No offense, Rocky and Mark, but it’s you guys against Leo the Great. The Great! He said that “if anywhere men venture upon what is contrary to their [the Nicæan] decrees, it is ipso facto null and void.” And that means all your arguments for the change to kneeling are “ipso facto null and void”. I mean disciplines can change. But infallible proclamations of the councils? The Word of God?

            We all know that the real reason kneeling was introduced was because Roman Catholicism had a new idolatry, called Eucharistic Adoration, which began right at the same time kneeling during the Mass was introduced.

            It wasn’t about a new discipline, Rocky. It was about idolatry.

            Thanks,

            Tim

          5. Tim, maybe you can become Catholic and then become a canon lawyer for the church. You certainly display the aptitude for it. Maybe you an attorney by trade?

            I, however, am not a canon lawyer and so this isn’t my area of expertise. I am glad to see you quote from other fathers about how much they revere the canons from Nicaea. As should we do the same for the current canon. I didn’t read anything, as you suggested, that they couldn’t change. Although they have great appreciation for them!
            Canon law has changed over the centuries. For instance, it used to be forbidden to eat meat on Fridays and one had to fast on Sundays until after the Mass. Priestly celibacy is also a discipline that the Latin Church adheres to. That could also change.
            Why don’t you call in and ask Jimmy Aiken on CAL for a better response. I am sorry that I can’t answer this question. All I know is that canon laws are instituted by Popes and can be changed by Popes.

            I already said I wasn’t going to comment on the kneeling thing anymore because it isn’t important to me. That’s because it is just an administrative decision that isn’t part of the deposit of faith from the Apostles. Good luck with your research!

          6. Mark,

            You wrote:

            “That’s because it is just an administrative decision that isn’t part of the deposit of faith from the Apostles.”

            Pope Gregory the Great does not sound like it is just an administrative decision, in his eyes. “Just an administrative decision” isn’t something that lasts until the end of the world, and Pope Gregory clearly believed that 2000 years later people would still not be kneeling on Sundays.

            But I do understand where you’re coming from. You have to evaluate the writings and statements of the Popes, and lacking an infallible list of infallible papal statements, you have to decide fallibly which ones are infallible based on your personal fallible opinion, and based on that, hold fallibly to the ones that you fallibly believe to be infallible. I do not envy you your task of interpreting an incomprehensible and contradictory magisterium.

            Thanks for your comment,

            Tim

        2. Tim, if you think about it, the fact that the council made a decision to stand on the Lord’s Day means that the practice must have been to kneel on the Lord’s Day. So right there that shows that even before Nicaea that they were kneeling.

          1. ” So right there That even before Nicaea they were kneeling” Mark, you admitted after the overwhelming evidence from your popes and councils that they didn’t allow kneeling. So now you are concluding that since they stood, they must have knelt before. But if that were true why the change. Here is the significance. When one stands, his prayers are directed toward heaven where Christ is. Kneeling was so that the bread could be worshiped where Christ isn’t. Christ isn’t in bread, He is in the heart of the one taking the bread. It is a person that is offered to Christians, not some derivative. But Mark, to watch you do mental gymnastics to deny councils and popes that said that canon law can’t be changed through the end of the world where kneeling is denied forever, to mean kneeling must have taken place and takes place shows how Catholics are blind by their idols. Kneeling just has to be there, right, because if it’s not, ” the summit of your salvation” is put on ice, or should I say burned up. K

          2. Most likely it was creeping into the Church to not rejoice on the Lord’s Day or acknowledge the joy of the resurrection during the Easter season between Easter Sunday and Pentecost. People were also fasting on Sundays in an act of penitence, which they shouldn’t do. The council was affirming these days were not to be days of penitence, but of rejoicing. There was no prohibition against kneeling at other Masses outside of these days.

            Again, these were administrative decisions of the Church and can and do change.

          3. Mark,

            The canon says, “Since there are some who kneel on Sunday and during the season of Pentecost…”. It corrects an erroneous practice. Almost every Canon of Nicæa identifies, rejects and corrects an erroneous, unlawful practice. It starts by identifying the error, then implements a corrective action. The council considered it just as erroneous to kneel on the Lord’s day (canon 20) as it was to castrate oneself (canon 1), or promote presbyters without examination (canon 9). So your statement, “So right there that shows that even before Nicaea that they were kneeling” is admirable for its naive ambition to establish some semblance of continuity, but it falls very short of reality. You may as well say of Canon 1,

            “So right there that shows that even before Nicaea that they were self-castrating,”

            or of Canon 2,

            “So right there that shows that even before Nicaea that people were promoted to the episcopate too soon,”

            or of Canon 3,

            “So right there that shows that even before Nicaea that they were allowing bishops to shack up, “

            or of Canon 9,

            “So right there that shows that even before Nicaea that they were promoting presbyters without examination.”

            or of Canon 17,

            “So right there that shows that even before Nicaea the clergy were induced by greed and avarice.”

            or of Canon 18, “So right there that shows that even before Nicaea that they were allowing deacons to administer communion to presbyters,”

            All of those statements, when used to legitimize lawlessness by demonstrating its antiquity, are complete nonsense, and show that yours is nonsense as well. They forbade kneeling on the Lord’s Day because they considered it to be wrong to kneel on the Lord’s Day.

            Tertullian thought it was not just a bad idea, but “unlawful”:

            “We count fasting or kneeling in worship on the Lord’s day to be unlawful. We rejoice in the same privilege also from Easter to Whitsunday” (Tertullian, De Corona, Chapter 3 (204 A.D.))

            The council of Trullo understood too that kneeling on the Lord’s day was unlawful, on the authority of Nicæa:

            “We have received from our divine Fathers the canon law that in honour of Christ’s resurrection, we are not to kneel on Sundays. Lest therefore we should ignore the fulness of this observance we make it plain to the faithful that after the priests have gone to the Altar for Vespers on Saturdays (according to the prevailing custom) no one shall kneel in prayer until the evening of Sunday, … and thus during an entire day and night, we celebrate the Resurrection.” (Council of Trullo, Canon 90)

            In sum, Nicæa Canon 20 identified an unlawful practice of kneeling on Sunday and forbade it for all time.

            But many centuries went by and then Roman Catholicism suddenly “realized” that “Jesus” had been “really present” in the Eucharist all those centuries, and it occurred to them that that all the popes and councils had been in gross error to forbid kneeling all those centuries, because the people who had been told kneeling was unlawful were supposed to be bowing before the “Eucharistic Christ”:

            “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)

            As we have already discussed, elevation of the host for adoration during Mass began in the 11th century, when Pope Gregory VII demanded that Berengar of Tours acknowledge…

            “… that the body and blood of Christ were truly present in the Eucharist. This resulted in a refining of the church’s teaching on the real presence. In response, eucharistic devotion burst forth throughout Europe: processions, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and other prayers focused on the reserved sacrament became part of Catholic life. Around the same time, elevations of the bread and the wine were added to the eucharistic prayer at Mass. For some, the moment of seeing the consecrated host overshadowed the rest of the liturgy. Times of extended exposition of the Blessed Sacrament outside the Mass grew out of this action, and eventually a blessing with the exposed Eucharist, or benediction, developed.” (Victoria M. Tufano, What’s the history of adoration of the blessed sacrament?, US Catholic)

            How could your church be that wrong for that long and still pretend to be apostolic and continuous? You have represented yourself as a Catholic here, but Pope Leo warned me of people like you:

            “[The] canons [of Nicæa] last till the end of the world… and, if anywhere men venture upon what is contrary to their decrees, it is ipso facto null and void … ” (Leo the Great, Letter 106, paragraph 4).

            And 2nd Constantinople says you’re not even really Catholic:

            “We consider those who do not respect these things as foreign to the catholic church.” (Second Council of Constantinople)

            Sorry to break it to you, Mark, but you and your whole denomination of “Sunday Kneelers” are just Sunday-kneeling schismatics, and not really part of the Catholic Church. At least that’s what Leo and 2nd Constantinople say, and they would never lead the church into error, would they?

            So many Roman Catholic denominations. I struggle to keep up with them all. They all claim to hold to the same infallible magisterium, but they all have unique and contradictory interpretations, but nevertheless still insist that their private interpretation is the correct one and everyone else is wrong. Why, I’ve even heard that there are Roman Catholics who think it is sacrilege to say Mass in english.

            If only there was an infallible shepherd who could sort all this out for you.

            Thanks,

            Tim

          4. “So many Roman Catholic denominations. I struggle to keep up with them all. ”

            There are no Catholic denominations! As I’ve said, the term denominations was invented by Protestants. There is only one Church. Repeat after me. There is only One Church.

            Your reasoning about Nicaea is pretty funny. You said that kneeling is an unlawful practice. I notice that you didn’t mention many of the canons that were approved, which were clearly administrative. You seem to be the one who is interpreting, putting your own spin, on what and why they wrote something. Sorry, I believe the Church when it comes to interpreting Nicaea, not you.

            The councils and the fathers and the Bible and Christianity makes a whole lot more sense when you can see that the Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus founded. The pieces fit together and the doctrines, teachings, history, everything makes sense. That’s because it is a reasonable religion.

            Do you believe the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed or was that just another heresy brought forth by Constantine?

          5. Mark says,

            “There are no Catholic denominations! As I’ve said, the term denominations was invented by Protestants. There is only one Church. Repeat after me. There is only One Church.”

            But Pope Leo says anyone who opposes the canons of Nicæa “by fewer or by more ecclesiastical judgments” is utterly destitute of authority.

            “Let no synodal councils flatter themselves upon the size of their assemblies, and let not any number of priests, however much larger, dare either to compare or to prefer themselves to those 318 bishops, seeing that the Synod of Nicæa is hallowed by God with such privilege, that whether by fewer or by more ecclesiastical judgments are supported, whatever is opposed to their authority is utterly destitute of all authority. … These holy and venerable fathers who in the city of Nicæa, after condemning the blasphemous Arius with his impiety, laid down a code of canons for the Church to last till the end of the world” (Pope Leo the Great, Letter 106)

            Seems to me that your denomination has opposed the canons of Nicæa by some ecclesiastical judgments, and not just a few. You’re asking me to acknowledge as the true church those popes and councils who have flattered themselves with their ability to overturn the Nicæan canons on a whim, and therefore are, according to Pope Leo, “utterly destitute of all authority”. Do I understand you correctly then to say that the church Jesus founded is utterly destitute of all authority? I mean, Leo says anyone—priest, synod or council—who overturns or modifies those canons is utterly destitute of all authority, and you say the Catholic church is authorized to overturn and modify them. That means the Catholic Church is destitute of authority. Why would Jesus establish a church that was utterly destitute of all authority? That’s how I know you’re a schismatic, Mark. Just one more Roman Catholic denomination, claiming to have the correct interpretation of the same text everyone else has, too.

            Maybe you can help me understand: which infallible statements of popes are binding and which are optional?

            Thanks,

            Tim

          6. Mark,

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but are you saying that because the term “denomination” did not exist before the 16th century, then the thing signified by the term did not exist before the 16th century, either?

          7. “then the thing signified by the term did not exist before the 16th century, either?’

            The thing that is signified by the term denomination has NEVER existed and still does not exist.

          8. Mark,

            Then what do you call a group of people who adhere to certain beliefs claiming to be the true church but in disagreement with other people who adhere to other certain beliefs while also claiming to be the true church, but both claiming to be able to trace their unique interpretation back to the apostles?

          9. There is only one Church that has the fullness of truth, and that is the Catholic Church. The Orthodox Churches are true Churches, they are in schism with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. They can claim they are the true church, but their claims aren’t reality. There are various other groups that have some valid sacraments. For instance, as you mentioned the sedevacantists. They validly celebrate the Eucharist (mostly). However, they are in schism with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Protestants are Catholic through their baptism and are separated brethren. You have two sacraments- marriage and baptism, although you won’t call them sacraments. There are thousands of these ecclesial communities all with varying degrees of truth, but a LOT of false teachings.
            For many groups, they are just false teachers and false prophets. Mormons and JWs fall into this category along with a host of individual false prophets who have come along in the 19th and 20th centuries.

            I consider you, Tim, a brother in Christ, a Christian. By virtue of your baptism you are called Christian. You may not agree with everything the Catholic Church teaches. That may be from poor catechesis or other issues. But through your Baptism, you are grafted into the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, the Catholic Church. While you scream against the Church’s authority or historicity, that doesn’t negate the fact that you are Catholic in a broadest sense.

            Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation. When you make it to heaven, and I hope you do, you will then know that heaven is full of Catholics. Jesus founded only one Church, not many denominations.

          10. TIM SAID: Quoting Leo the Great, “These holy and venerable fathers who in the city of Nicæa, after condemning the blasphemous Arius with his impiety, laid down a code of canons for the Church to last till the end of the world, survive not only with us but with the whole of mankind in their constitutions; and, if anywhere men venture upon what is contrary to their decrees, it is ipso facto null and void; so that what is universally laid down for our perpetual advantage can never be modified by any change, nor can the things which were destined for the common good be perverted to private interests.” (Leo the Great, Letter 106, paragraph 4).

            TIM also said: Sorry to break it to you, Mark, but you and your whole denomination of “Sunday Kneelers” are just Sunday-kneeling schismatics, and not really part of the Catholic Church.

            ROCKY: Tim, your argument on the changing of canons laws is based on false assumptions. No I am not surprised by that.

            I gather Pope Leo is talking about the Canons that have to do with heresy and which contain doctrinal truths on the nature of God.

            “Matters of canon law can change if they are of purely ecclesiastical origin (e.g., the requirement of not eating meat on Fridays). Matters contained within canon law which find their origin in divine law cannot change (e.g., that bread and wine are needed for the celebration of the Eucharist).” {DIOCESAN OFFICES of Honolulu.}

            And the discipline of women wearing a veil at Mass was not retained in a newer code of canon law, and so woman no longer have to maintain that practice.

            I can understand your confusion Tim. My own cursory google searches failed to find a Vatican link that defined the who, what and how of canons and how they can be validly changed. I am sure the info is there somewhere though.

            It is clear that Popes can change canon law if they are disciplines but not if they are doctrinal or moral truths.

            I wouldn’t spend too much more time on this Tim. It’s a dead end.

          11. Rocky, you wrote,

            “I wouldn’t spend too much more time on this Tim. It’s a dead end.”

            So you say. But Pope Hadrian I disagreed with you. The Council of Trullo (692 A.D.) did not think it was an optional discipline:

            We have received from our divine Fathers the canon law that in honour of Christ’s resurrection, we are not to kneel on Sundays. Lest therefore we should ignore the fulness of this observance we make it plain to the faithful that after the priests have gone to the Altar for Vespers on Saturdays (according to the prevailing custom) no one shall kneel in prayer until the evening of Sunday, … and thus during an entire day and night, we celebrate the Resurrection.” (Council of Trullo, Canon 90)

            Pope Hadrian I, about a hundred years later, received “All the holy six synods … with all their canons”, indicating that he saw the Trullo canons as ecumenical. “We are not to kneel on Sundays” was a divine, unalterable law by which people were to honor the resurrection.

            But then, suddenly, in the 11th century, kneeling on Sunday became a very pressing issue before the church. What could possibly bring about such a monumental change to 1,000 years of “the word of God” and these canons which were to last until the end of the world? Well, there’s a pretty simple answer. The Beast of Revelation 13 had introduced its idol, the Eucharist, and it was time to start forcing people to bow down to it. Jason Evert, of Catholic Answers, gives this very revealing explanation of why it was so important in the 11th century to start worshiping the Roman bread god:

            “Eventually kneeling became more common in public prayer with the increase of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. … In the Eucharist we are invited to approach an even greater manifestation of God’s presence—the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of God the Son—so it is fitting that we adopt what in our culture is one of the most reverential postures. Most fundamentally, kneeling at the consecration is a matter of obedience. Some may like to stand, but the Holy See does not allow for this (GIRM 21).” (Jason Evert, Catholic Answers, Should we stand or kneel at Mass?)

            Increase of adoration”? If kneeling on Sundays is about worshiping the Eucharist during Mass, how could the church have missed—nay, forbidden!—kneeling on Sundays to worship the Eucharist for 1,000 years? How is it possible that the apostolic discipline of worshiping the Eucharist during Mass was only rediscovered in the 11th century? Unless, of course, the early church wasn’t actually aware of the ‘Real Presence’ in the first place. Evert thought he was making a case for reverence of the Eucharist, but in reality he was acknowledging yet another discontinuity with the early Church. If the church had been so cognizant of the “Real Presence”, kneeling on Sundays during the consecration would have been required instead of forbidden.

            Anyway, once Roman Catholicism realized in the 11th century that everyone should have been kneeling before the Eucharist the whole time, they started elevating the host and added kneeling to the Sunday liturgy, killing people who would not worship the bread and, on top of that, forbidding those who refused to worship the image of the beast to engage in commercial trade:

            “In parts of Toulouse a damnable heresy has recently emerged, which is gradually spreading towards neighbouring areas and diffusing like a canker, through to Gascony and other provinces; many of which are already infected. Which, while in the form of a snake hiding inside its coil how much more it creeps secretly, more seriously while the Lord’s vineyard those of a simple-mind are destroyed. Wherefore against them, we command that the bishops and all the priests of the Lord having their abode in those parts to be vigilant, and under the penalty of anathema to prohibit them where they are known to follow this heresy, nor to afford any one of them shelter on their land, or presume to impart protection. Commercial trade with them is forbidden; neither the sale nor the purchase of things may be undertaken with them, in order that that source of comfort to mankind might at least force them to see the errors of their lives to return to their senses. But if any man should attempt to be in opposition to this, and found to be a participant in this iniquity they shall be smitten by anathema. They are to be put into custody by Catholic princes and suffer the loss of all goods. And because of the different parties together in a covert, often come together, and in addition to the consent residing in one house no error in one case, having the home colony, such meetings are to be carefully investigated, and if they are found, they are to be forbidden with all due canonical strictness.” (Canon 4, Council of Tours (1163))

            Yes, the sudden interest in kneeling before the bread god was quite significant indeed.

            Thanks,

            Tim

          12. “Maybe you can help me understand: which infallible statements of popes are binding and which are optional?”

            All infallible teachings from the Pope are binding on the conscience of the faithful and cannot change. It is not up to an anti-Catholic Protestant blogger to determine which are and which aren’t infallible teachings.

          13. Mark,

            That’s why I asked:

            “Maybe you can help me understand: which infallible statements of popes are binding and which are optional?”

            Can you?

            Tim

          14. Tim asked,

            “Maybe you can help me understand: which infallible statements of popes are binding and which are optional?”

            I just answered that. All infallible statements are binding and none of them are optional.

            Maybe you are intending to ask me to provide a list of infallible statements? But, why does it matter to you? You don’t believe in infallibility anyway?

          15. Mark, different Roman Catholics subscribe to different lists of ex cathedra papal statements. One says there are only two such statements. One says there are only three. Others say there is only one. Another says there are four. Some say there are dozens. Each is left to his own devices to determine what is infallible and what is not. So in theory the pope guides the Roman Catholic Church infallibly from the seat of Peter. In practice, however, each Roman Catholic has to figure it out on his own. That is why people still aren’t sure if Ordinatio Sacerdotalis was ex cathedra, and similarly why Cardinal Christof Schönborn thinks Amoris Laetitia was a teaching of the ordinary magisterium, but Jessica Murdoch thinks it is not. Nobody actually knows, but each thinks he is submitting to Peter’s successor. And to my point, you think you have the right set of teachings, but why should I take your word over another Roman Catholic’s words? Why should I subscribe to your personal interpretation of Roman Catholicism rather than Pope Benedict XVI’s?

            Actually you are wrong to say I don’t believe in infallibility. I believe in it very much. I just don’t think your popes and councils have it.

            Thanks,

            Tim

    2. Tim, this is what I mean by straining the gnat and swallowing the camel. You ignore the Eucharist in an attempt to discredit an article on a Catholic apostolate website. First, realize that if you ever found a mistake on Catholic Answers, my faith isn’t shaken because they don’t comprise official Catholic teaching.

      But that’s neither here nor there. It is you that has drawn this arcane connection between kneeling in the early Church as PROOF of continuity. I think there are things that are 100 times more important. The article was specifically about kneeling and why Catholics do it and at the end there was an aside that said “oh yeah, and the early Church did it as well.”

      I have already explained to you that the CA article NEVER mentions Sunday, but you bring it up again and again. The Eucharist was celebrated not just on Sunday and so kneeling was the appropriate posture. As Rocky pointed out, the Canon only suggested standing anyway.

      And you know what else? Canon law can change! That’s right! It has changed and it will change again! These aren’t dogmatic statements about the Apostolic deposit of faith, which I think you may be confusing the Canon with.

      Anyway, I find the kneeling thing not the least bit interesting. I only jumped in to say the Mass was not just on Sunday and so kneeling in the early church was OK on many occasions.

  66. KEVIN said, having in her hand a gold cup” drunk with the blood of the saints.

    ROCKY: I breaking this into several posts because the last time I ran acrosSKevin posting such stuff he refused to respond to my responses. But sadly he likes to throw this stuff around.

    BTW, I had hoped to respond to some more thoughtful posts (of goodwill) but have gotten sideswiped by these old chestnuts. Sorry for taking up space.

    SEVERE JUDGEMENT AGAINST BABYLON
    Jeremiah 51:6-8
    …6Flee from the midst of Babylon, And each of you save his life! Do not be destroyed in her punishment, For this is the LORD’S time of vengeance; He is going to render recompense to her. 7Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the LORD, Intoxicating all the earth. The nations have drunk of her wine; Therefore the nations are going mad. 8Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; Wail over her! Bring balm for her pain; Perhaps she may be healed.…

    Revelation 14:8
    Then a second angel followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, who has made all the Gentiles to drink the wine of the passion of her immorality.”

    Revelation 17:4
    And the woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls. She held in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality.

    Revelation 18:3
    All the nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her immorality. The kings of the earth were immoral with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy through the extravagance of her luxury.”

    Jeremiah 13:13
    then say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Behold I am about to fill all the inhabitants of this land– the kings that sit for David on his throne, the priests, the prophets and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem– with drunkenness!

  67. KEVIN said, the great Harlot …the woman clothed in purple and scarlet”, “woman sitting on a scarlet beast “

    Rev 17:5 “Babylon the great, mother of whores and of earth’s abominations.” 6 And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the witnesses to Jesus….”

    Rev 17:18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”

    Rev 18:10 “Alas, alas, the great city, Babylon, the mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.”

    Rev 18:20 “Rejoice over her, O heaven, you saints and apostles and prophets! For God has given judgment for you against her.’

    *SO WHO IS BABYLON – THE GREAT CITY MOTHER OF WHORES?*

    ANSWER

    *The GREAT CITY “where also their lord was crucified – JERUSALEM*

    Rev 11:8
    “and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that is prophetically called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.”

    NOT ROME

  68. KEVIN said, The colors mentioned of adorning are the colors of Roman Catholicism, right? “the woman clothed in purple and scarlet”

    Revelation 18:16-17 “…Alas, alas, great city, wearing fine linen, purple and scarlet, adorned (in) gold, precious stones, and pearls. In one hour this great wealth has been ruined.”

    ….compare to….

    *Exodus 39: 1-3*
    Moreover, from the blue and purple and scarlet material, they made finely woven garments for ministering in the holy place as well as the holy garments which were for Aaron, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

    2 He made the ephod of gold, and of blue and purple and scarlet material, and fine twisted linen. 3 Then they hammered out gold sheets and cut them into threads to be woven in with the blue and the purple and the scarlet material, and the fine linen, the work of a skillful workman.

    *Exodus 39:8-14*
    8 He made the breastpiece, the work of a skillful workman, like the workmanship of the ephod: of gold and of [a]blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. 9 It was square; they made the breastpiece folded double, a span [b]long and a span [c]wide when folded double. 10 And they [d]mounted four rows of stones on it. The first row was a row of ruby, topaz, and emerald; 11 and the second row, a turquoise, a sapphire and a diamond; 12 and the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 13 and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They were set in gold filigree settings when they were [e]mounted. 14 The stones were corresponding to the names of the sons of Israel; they were twelve, corresponding to their names, engraved with the engravings of a signet, each with its name for the twelve tribes.

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    In Isaiah 1:21-26, Jerusalem was faithful in the beginning (1:21), then became a harlot (same verse), and then at the end is healed, forgiven, and restored (1:26).

    In Jeremiah 2:13-3:25, Israel was once faithful (2:17) then turned to harlotry (2:20) as a wife departing from her husband (3:20) but is promised restoration in the end if they repent (3:14-18).

    In Ezekiel 16, God entered into Covenant with Jerusalem (16:8), but Jerusalem played the harlot (16:15) and yet is finally restored for the sake of the Covenant (16:60-62).

    In Hosea 2, speaking of the house of Israel, we find that it was once faithful (2:14-15), that it then played the harlot (2:5), and that it will be restored in the end (2:19-23).

    also Ezekiel 16: 1-3, 26; 23:1-5,11,17-19 and Jeremiah 2:1-2, 17-20; 3:1-2,6-8; 5:1,5-7 and Isaiah 1:1, 21

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    Revelation 18:24 24
    24 “In her was found the blood of prophets and holy ones and all who have been slain on the earth.”

    Compare then with these following passages about Jerusalem.

    Luke 11:47-51
    “Woe to you! You build the memorials of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, *’I will send to them prophets and apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’* in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!”

    Luke 13:31-34
    31 Just at that time some Pharisees approached, saying to Him, “Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill You.” 32 And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.’ 33 Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem.*34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her!* How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!

  69. Rocky, are you saying literal Israel is the antichrist? I’m not following your point? Maybe you would be interested to study the rest of what Tim has written on prophecy here . This includes his work on Daniel, and it’s connection with Revelation. He ties it all in a very interesting way. I have been Reading here for a couple years. Unless you see how it all fits together I’m not sure you will understand the significance of the points I made. Can I say, it is absolutely worth it. It has strengthened my faith as a Reformed believer, and it has clarified who the Roman Catholic religion really is, the antichrist of scripture. It comes together so marvelously. In fact it is my contention that anyone who is willing to do that shedding ( a music term for the hard work) here will be greatly rewarded. Roman Catholicism is the 5th earthly kingdom , the little horn of Daniel, the very antichrist. You are obviously here for a reason. It is a blessing. Take advantage of it. I have read all the articles here a minimum of 5 times each, and I got A ‘ s in college, but understanding these things is so important. Listen, we all have the same things, the scriptures, the Spirit, and secondary sources. So we must put in the work. K

    1. KEVIN: Rocky are you saying literal Israel is the antichrist? I’m not following your point?

      ROCKY: The point is you are just making calumnious statements based on a YOUR extra-biblical traditional beliefs and the Westminster confession and obviously do not understand much of what you are saying.

      When the Whore falls we read, “‘Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and APOSTLES and PROPHETS! God has judged her for the way she treated you’. . . . In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth” (Rev 18:20 and 24).

      So, the Whore could not be the Catholic Church because:

      1) it did not exist to kill the old testament prophets

      and

      2) No blood is on the Churches hand with respect to any Apostle. Nada.

      Prophets existed as a group only in the Old Testament and in the first century (Acts 11:27-28, 13:1, 15:32, 21:10). Since the Whore persecuted apostles and prophets, the Whore must have existed in the first century and BEFORE.

      WHO KILLED THE PROPHETS
      Indeed, Jesus himself could not be any clearer in Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you!

      Passages of Revelation pertaining to the whore or the harlot makes sense when it is referring to ancient PAGAN Rome but makes no sense when Fundamentalists try to associate it with modern Rome.

      All those rebuttal posts with scripture passages were meant to give you pause Kevin and anyone of goodwill who may be reading your diatribe and my response.

      I am not giving you a definite answer of who or what the whore is, but just pointing out an abundance of scripture and facts that point elsewhere and has more backing than you can provide.

      Yes compare it ALL back to Jerusalem and to apostate Judaism.

      But also think what else the Whore might be. Maybe, just maybe the 7 hills are the 7 continents and the whore is that city that has exported all its materialism and immorality to the entire world – the United States.

      ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
      BTW, the KJV rightly translates Rev 17:9 as mountains whereas everyone knows that Rome is founded on 7 pokey ole hills.

      “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.”

      But those 7 areas of high elevation around Jerusalem are in fact called mounts. Right! You knew that? Right?

  70. Phil,

    While Sola Scriptura is not mentioned in scriptures so equally none of the other doctrinal additions and bells and whistles are mentioned in scriptures . The term sola scriptura is invoked as a protection against additions, innovations and transformations introduced by people claiming a blank cheque to do anything they please under apostolic succession and some blanket verses in Matthew 16 , and 18 and John 21 .

  71. Mark,

    Acts 19:11-12 does not refer to veneration of relics but to items that had come in contact with Paul’s body while he was still alive .
    Is this your only scriptural reference to veneration of relics in the NT ?

  72. Phil–

    MARY’S assumption is extraneous to Scripture (i.e., it is not found therein).

    Why in the world would Sola Scriptura need to be found in Scripture itself?

    When you read my comments, do you rush on down to your friendly neighborhood magisterium office to get an official interpretation? Or do you read and evaluate it yourself? Sola Scriptura is the default setting for interpretation. It is the practice in all of the Eastern religions. It is the practice in Judaism and Islam. The only other groups besides Catholicism that have an infallible interpreter are authoritarian cults.

    The Catholic interpretation of the vast majority of the Scripture passages have not been defined by dogmatic decree. Therefore, you’re free to use Sola Scriptura. Without guilt or consternation that you might be employing an extra-biblical innovation.

    Besides, the whole Roman ethos is that truth which can be thoroughly demonstrated by the processes of logic and history is true…whether or not it immediately jibes with Scripture or dogma. This is why Catholicism has no problem with heliocentrism despite the biblical narrative of the miracle whereby the sun stands still in the sky.

    Sola Scriptura is nothing more than common sense. (So sorry to hear you don’t subscribe to that!)

    1. Hi Hans,
      You said:
      MARY’S assumption is extraneous to Scripture (i.e., it is not found therein).

      Why in the world would Sola Scriptura need to be found in Scripture itself?

      In other words, if “it is not found therein” it must be “extraneous to Scripture”. That’s why I don’t believe in “Sola Scriptura” and it is only “common sense”. I believe in the whole of Scripture and in “common sense” and in other things like God’s creation and revelation, but not in “Sola Scriptura”.
      God bless you.
      P.S. You also said: “The Catholic interpretation of the vast majority of the Scripture passages have not been defined by dogmatic decree.” It’s true and you are quite correct there. I wonder how that fits with your idea of “authoritarian cult”.

  73. Phil, you said ” didn’t He take Enoch and Elijah” Phil do you realize that you cite the scriptures that prove this. There is no evidence from scripture to show us this about Mary. Don’t you think God would have revealed this. Phil if you get a chance, John MacArthur does an extensive series on Mary, probably the best I’ve heard. He actually goes through scripture and shows how God went out of his way to deflect any undue glory to Mary, and even to show how butting in Jesus ministry was rebutted. Jesus was called her firstborn, this meant in the idiom there were others to follow. Phil, here is my point, why would God tell us about Enoch and Elijah, yet not mention anything about the mediatrix of all graces, the gate to heaven. I often wonder if Roman Catholics understand the severity of making Mary a sinless person who was taken up like Jesus and a mediator. For the Protestant this is a clear act of idolatry and strike against the complete sufficiency of Christ, his vicarious atonement and as sole mediator. K

  74. Rocky–

    You quoted J.N.D. Kelly but neglected to read to the end of the chapter. He makes it quite clear that the early church fathers held to the utter completeness and sufficiency of Scripture for adjudicating conflicting interpretations. They employed boatloads of Scriptural citations whenever they were involved in theological polemics. In other words, they practiced Sola Scriptura.

  75. Mark–

    You may be right that Peter receives more NT mentions than Paul. It all depends upon what counts as a mention. I went back and counted again and came up with 182 for Peter but only 180 for Paul. I guess that clinches it. Peter was more important! (Poor Mary, only 20 mentions. Perhaps you’ll need to take down all those statues.)

    I guess it doesn’t matter that Paul dominates 20 whole chapters of Acts (whereas Peter is preeminent in only the first five). I guess it doesn’t matter that Paul, together with his disciple Luke, wrote over half of the New Testament. I guess it doesn’t matter that Peter will never be important enough theologically to warrant a “New Perspective on Peter.”

    Oh, well.

    1. Hans,

      A couple years back, a participant in the comment section offered, in addition to the number of mentions of Peter, 25 other proofs from Scripture to show that Peter was the first pope. Among them was the typical claim that Peter is always mentioned first in lists. That actually is not true. When listing the apostles who came from the city of Bethsaida, Peter is listed last:

      “Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.” (John 1:44)

      And when Paul lists they “who seemed to be pillars,” Peter is in the middle:

      “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me…” (Galatians 2:9)

      I note as well that the angel sends the Marys and Salome to go tell “his disciples and Peter” (Mark 16:7). Again, Peter is last.

      If listing Peter first means he was the first pope, what do these verses signify when they list him in the middle and last?

      Ok. Some of what is below is tongue in cheek; some is Scriptural exegesis, and some is reductio ad absurdum, so it should be taken as such. Here are the 26 arguments and the responses:

      #1 John’s gospel was written in Greek. One word is in Hebrew however. Jesus changes Simon’s name to “Kephas” and form of Kaiphas. Elsewhere in this gospel, the wicked High Priest speaks infallibly due to his office when he says it is better for one man to die than…

      It’s Aramaic, actually. This proves that Jesus changed Peter’s name. Nothing more, and nothing new. He did this with other Apostles, as well. James and John were named “Boanerges” (Mark 3:17), also Aramaic in origin.

      #2 Jesus gives Simon the title of Rock. Henceforth the other Apostles call Simon Peter. Only Jesus continues to use the name Simon for him. An example; Jesus said to Peter,” Simon are you sleeping”.

      It is clear from John 1:42 that Jesus renamed him Peter on their first meeting. But in Mark 1:29, 30, 36, after Peter had been with Jesus in Capernaum (1:21) and Jesus’ fame had spread throughout all of Galilee (1:28)—clearly some time after Jesus had already renamed him Peter—Mark kept on calling him Simon (Mark 1:29, 30, 36), and then mentioned in passing that Jesus had already renamed him Peter (3:16). Was Mark wrong to call him Simon all that time even though he knew full well that Jesus had already renamed him, and it was even past the point in the narrative that the renaming took place? It is clear that at least one Apostle called him Simon well after the renaming. But why draw the line arbitrarily at the Apostles? Long after Jesus’ and Peter’s first meeting, Luke continues calling him “Simon” (4:38, 5:3, 5:4, 5:5). When Luke finally calls him “Simon Peter” (Luke 5:8), two verses later he says James and John “were partners with Simon” (Luke 5:10), knowing full well that was not Peter’s name anymore. When Luke finally acknowledges that it is Jesus Who named him thus (6:14), he then has the men returning from Emmaus saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon” (Luke 24:34). I suppose they learned this from Jesus Himself, but why would He tell them about Peter, and forget to remind them to call him by his new name, because only Jesus was to continue calling him Simon? Perhaps it is because Luke just did not get the significance? Is it possible that you have been selective in your criteria to ensure that we arrive at the “proper” conclusion?

      #3 Jesus gives Peter the keys of the Kingdom/Church in a formula reminiscent of the investure of the prime minister in Is 22:22. This office was dynastic ( calling for successors)

      Yes, in Matthew 16:19, Jesus says to Peter, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Peter immediately applies it the way Roman Catholics interpret it, and attempts to bind something on earth by rebuking Jesus and binding Him from going to the cross (Matthew 16:22). That the keys were not to be interpreted as Roman Catholics interpret them, is evidenced by the fact that Jesus finds Peter’s attempt to bind something on earth offensive, and says, “thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23). Then in Matthew 18:18-19, Jesus gives those keys promiscuously to all members of the body of Christ. Speaking to all the disciples, and says it twice for emphasis: “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”

      Predictably, Peter then begins to argue with Jesus again (Matthew 18:21). But Jesus had just said to the disciples, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mattthew 18:20). His presence with the sheep (lay people) is what gives the power to bind and loose. Since Aphrahat, Augustine and Chrysostom saw Jesus building His Church, not on Peter but on Peter’s confession (Aphrahat, Demonstration 1, On Faith, ch 17; Augustine, The Retractions; Chrysostom, In pentecosten) perhaps the binding and loosing (the keys themselves) are given to each member of the kingdom as part of their welcome package?

      Jerome, as always, is very helpful here: “But you say, the Church was founded upon Peter: although elsewhere the same is attributed to all the Apostles, and they all receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and the strength of the church depends upon them all alike, yet one among the twelve is chosen so that when a head has been appointed, there be no occasion for schism” (Jerome, Against Jovinianus, Book I.26). Thus, Jerome saw that all the Apostles had the keys. In the next sentence, he says, “Deference was paid to age…” Remarkably, Jerome is arguing here that John, a virgin, would have been a better choice, but deference was given to age, not papal primacy. So all apostles had the keys, but Peter was the eldest so he got to be in charge, solely on account of his age. This doesn’t sound like “Saint” Jerome thought the same way you do.

      #4 In Lk 22 Jesus says to Peter, “Satan has desired to sift you (plural. You 12) but I have prayed for you ( singular. You Peter ) so that you will strengthen them ( Peter was to strengthen the others )

      Well, I think this is obviously because Peter was not a virgin, and non-virgins are particularly susceptible to incontinence and infidelity, whereas virgins are not. The rest of the Apostles were virgins (Jerome, Against Jovinianus, book I.26) and Jesus obviously wasn’t worried about them. Jerome continues,

      “Peter is an Apostle, and John is an Apostle—the one a married man, the other a virgin; but Peter is an Apostle only, John is both an Apostle and an Evangelist … The virgin writer expounded the mysteries which the married could not, and to briefly sum up all and show how great was the privilege of John, or rather of virginity in John, the Virgin Mother was entrusted by the Virgin Lord to the Virgin disciple.”

      Because it is the duty of each apostle and disciple and prophet to “strengthen the brethren” (Paul (Romans 1:11); James (James 5:8); Timothy (1 Thessalonians 3:2); Peter (2 Peter 1:12); Judas and Silas (Acts 15:32)), and Peter, being married, was most likely to be unfaithful to this task, he is the only apostle singled out by the Lord to be in need of prayer. The rest were virgins, so they weren’t going to fail in this task. So sayeth “Saint” Jerome.

      Of course, I jest, but if St. Jerome is right, then I fail to see how his concern about the pitiful spiritual condition of Peter does not also apply … to Peter.

      #5 After the Resurrection, Jesus tell Peter to ”Feed my lambs ( lay people ), Feed my sheep ( clergy ) shepherd my sheep.

      Since it is the duty of all shepherds to feed the sheep (1 Ti 3:2, “A bishop then must be … apt to teach”), we must conclude that among all the disciples, Peter was the only non-virgin, and therefore most in need of reminding that his duty was to teach and not go after his lusts and yield to his concupiscence. Again, I jest, but why not apply Jerome’s denigrating remarks about Peter … to Peter? Anyway, the word for sheep in John 21:16,17 is the same word Jesus uses to describe the multitude when He says, “But when he saw the multitudes, … as sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). The word for lambs in John 21:15 is the same word He uses to describe Himself throughout the book of Revelation. In other words, the Roman Catholic attempt to make “sheep” in John 21:16 and 17 mean “clergy,” and “lambs” in John 21:15 refer to lay people is convenient, but arbitrary. (See also Matthew 10:6, 15:24, 18:12, 25:32; Mark 6:34; Luke 15:4, 15:6; John 10:2, 3,4,7,8,11,12,13,15,16,26, and 27 to see how Jesus uses “sheep” to refer to, or include, lay people.)

      #6 In every list of the Apostles, Peter is first, Judas last despite the sequence of the other 10 is different in each list.

      I don’t know. Maybe Peter was tall and was born in January with a big nose, and Judas was short and born in December with a small nose, and one list is based on height, and another list is based on birth date, and another based on nose size. Your use of the lists to prove primacy is called the logical fallacy of “asserting the consequent,” or “If q then p; p, therefore q.” It looks like this: “If Peter was the first Pope (q), then he would be listed first in every list (p); He is listed first in every list (p), therefore he must be the first pope (q).” It sounds great but is logically fallacious. I could make the same case that he was not the pope, but rather the eldest, as Jerome did, for Jesus said, “But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger…” (Luke 22:26). Therefore, Peter was the eldest, and Matthew listed them by age. It’s a logical fallacy, I know, but your methodology is equally fallacious.

      Besides, Bethsaida is called “the city of Andrew and Peter” (John 1:44), not “the city of Peter and Andrew.” Why would Andrew be listed first when describing Bethsaida, which means “house of fish.” I mean, if Peter does not have primacy in “the house of fish,” can we honestly say he has primacy anywhere?

      #7 Many times the phrase, “Peter and the others” is used.

      But every time Peter is listed, he is not first, as in John 1:44, “the city of Andrew and Peter,” and Galatians 2:9, “James, Cephas, and John.” Maybe Andrew was a virgin, and that’s why he had primacy in the house of fish, and maybe James was a virgin, too, and Paul thought the best way to arrest Peter’s cupidity was to place him between two men of greater continence, James and John. Also, in Mark 16:7, Magdalene is told to “tell his disciples and Peter,” not “Peter and the disciples.”

      #8 Peter always speaks for the others ( Pentecost, before the Sanhedron, etc. )

      Except, of course, when he doesn’t. In Acts 6, all twelve apostles are present in Jerusalem (6:2), and yet it is Stephen, a deacon, who had the leaders of the synagogue tangled in knots: They were “disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake” (6:9-10). Peter was there, and was supposed to be devoting himself to the ministry of the word (6:4). Why did he leave the preaching to Stephen, a mere deacon? Peter had been in Jerusalem the whole time (8:1,14), and yet Stephen went before the High Priest to make the case for the gospel. Wasn’t the gospel of the circumcision committed to Peter (Galatians 2:7)? And when an opportunity to preach the gospel to the High Priest comes up, it is Stephen, not Peter, who speaks for the Church. Yet Peter was in town at the time.

      #9 Jesus preaches from Peter’s boat

      Well, it is true, but Luke only calls the boat “Simon’s” (Luke 5:3), not “Peter’s”, so since Jesus didn’t preach from a boat that would represent the Barque of the Church, it does not matter. In question #2, Luke’s testimony didn’t matter to you because he was not “an apostle.” Why does Luke’s testimony suddenly matter here? Perhaps because no apostles said Jesus preached from Peter’s boat? Don’t tell me “Luke said Jesus preached from Simon’s boat.” Tell me one of the apostles said Jesus preached from Peter’s boat.

      #10 Peter hauls in the great net of 153 fish (According to the Jews, there were 153 races of men)

      Well, as noted above, if Peter doesn’t have primacy in “the house of fish” (by your own reasoning, for Peter is not listed first among those who came from Bethsaida, “the house of fish”) does it honestly matter how many fish he hauled in? Andrew could easily haul in more, as he had the primacy over Peter in “the house of fish.” (see response to #6, above).

      #11 After the Resurrection, Magadalene is told to go tell Peter.

      That is not true. Here is the testimony from Scripture about what Magdalene did or was told:

      Matthew 28:7 “go quickly, and tell his disciples”
      Matthew 28:10 “go tell my brethren”
      Mark 16:7 “go your way, tell his disciples and Peter”
      Luke 24:9 “and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.”
      John 20:17 “but go to my brethren”

      She is never told to “go tell Peter.” The only time it mentions that she went to Peter was before she knew he was raised from the dead: “Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him” (John 20:2). You can find in a commentary on the Gospel of the Holy Twelve (Lection 95.8) the allegation that “to her alone He gave the commission, ‘Go tell Peter,’” but I do not believe you will find it in the Scriptures.

      #12 Peter cures with his shadow

      Well, all we know is that people thought his shadow might cure them (Acts 5:15). There is no testimony from Scripture that this actually worked. To heal with his shadow, Peter would have to be present, but Paul didn’t even need to be present for his miracles to work: “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:11-12). Wow, the only other time someone is healed by touching someone’s garment is when the sick woman touched Jesus’ garment (Matthew 9:21). You may also recall that the greatest faith in Israel was the belief that Jesus could heal without being present (Matthew 8:8-10). Jesus and Paul could heal from a distance. But Peter, apparently, could not. He had to be there. Perhaps people believed in Paul more than they believed in Peter?

      #13 Peter strikes Annaias and Sappira dead with his words because they had lied to the Holy Spirit (They had lied to Peter).

      Actually, they lied to the apostles: “and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 5:2), not to Peter. By Peter’s own testimony, they had not “lied unto men” but to God (Acts 5:5). He did not say “thou hast not lied unto ME, but unto God.”

      #14 Jesus speaks in the plural only once, when he tells Peter the two of them will share the Temple tax coin.

      That is not true. When Jesus wanted to confirm Philip’s faith, “he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do” (John 6:5-6).

      #15 Peter walked on water with Jesus

      Peter asked a sign, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water” (Matthew 14:28). Jesus said “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Matthew 12:39), putting Peter in the same category as Thomas: “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Peter, you may recall, is the only apostle Jesus refers to as Satan (Matthew 16:23, Mark 8:33), which is the same language Jesus used to address Satan when He was being tempted (Luke 4:8).

      # 16 Peter opens the Church to Jewish converts on Pentecost

      Jesus had already opened the Church to Jewish converts. Nicodemus was “a ruler of the Jews” (John 3:1) and was one of the people who joined Mary Magdalene in bringing burial spices to Jesus’ tomb (John 19:39). Peter did not open it to Jewish converts.

      #17 Peter opens the Church to Samaritan converts

      Jesus had already opened the Church to Samaritan convert. The only leper who came back to glorify God was the Samaritan leper (Luke 17:12-19). Peter did not open it to Samaritan converts.

      #18 Peter opens the Church to Gentiles ( Cornelius )

      Jesus had already opened the Church to Gentile converts. It was a Roman Centurion who had faith greater than any Jesus had seen in all Israel (Matthew 8:10). Peter did not open it to Gentile converts.

      #19 Peter ( Not James! ) makes the decree that is binding today at the Jerusalem Council. ( James’ decree was temporary so as not to scandalize his Jewish convert flock ).
      #20 Peter puts his imprimatur on Paul’s writings as scripture

      I place these two together to show what liberty the Roman Catholic takes in exegeting any passage to make it comport with the initial assumption. In Acts 15:15, James is alleged to put his imprimatur on Peter’s words by saying Peter’s words are true because they accord with Scripture, and this somehow proves that Peter was superior to James because James was declaring Peter’s words to be true. Then in 2 Peter 3:16, Peter puts his imprimatur on Paul’s words, and this proves that Paul is inferior to Peter, because Peter declared that Paul’s words were true. If this is your manner of exegesis, even “Jesus wept” (John 11:35) must somehow mean that Peter was infallible. Do you not see, rather, that in both cases, it is the Scripture that is above them all?

      #21 Peter is mentioned about 200 times in the NT. John, about 25. The others, 3 or 4 times.

      Because there are three synoptic gospel accounts, but only one account of Acts, this method adds an artificial bias toward the original Twelve. Peter is mentioned about 30 times per synoptic gospel. Taking only John’s Gospel and one synoptic into account, (which means removing about 60 redundant references), Peter is mentioned about 140 times, and Paul is mentioned about 180 times. To be fair to Peter, we should exclude the times he is mentioned as Satan (Matthew 16:23, Mark 8:33), or when he does not know what he is talking about (Mark 9:6), or when he doubts (Matthew 14:31), or when “he was to be blamed” (Galatians 2:11), or when he “walked not uprightly” (Galatians 2:14), or when he “doubted in himself” (Acts 10:17), or when he denied Christ (Matthew 26:70, 72, 74; Mark 14:68 70, 71; Luke 22:57, 58, 60 John 18:17, 25, 27), or when he whines (Luke 8:45; John 13:37; John 21:21). So maybe just 119 times. Plus, Paul wrote more new testament books than Peter. Also, did I mention that Paul can heal at a distance? (Acts 19:11-12).

      #22 Peter decrees that someone must take Judas’ bishopric. And like the High Priests of Israel who used the Urim and Thumim. Peter had the Apostles choose by lot.

      This actually works against you. If Peter was functioning in a role similar to the High Priest, he would have cast the Urim and Thumim alone. Instead, the decision was made by the eleven together: “And they appointed two, … And they prayed, … And they gave forth their lots.” (Acts 1:23-26). This rather supports Jerome’s argument that “the strength of the church depends upon them all alike.”

      #23 Peter raises the dead

      But when Eutychus fell from a third story window (Acts 20:9-10) and was “taken up dead,” Paul immediately “went down, and fell on him,” the way Elijah fell on the widow’s son in 1 Kings 17:22, “And he stretched himself upon the child … and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.” The same method was used when Elisha raised a widow’s son when he “stretched himself upon him” (2 Kings 4:35). Paul did not say “Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him” (Acts 20:10), until after he had laid on him just like Elijah and Elisha had, and just as Jesus Who said, “Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth” (Mark 5:39), before He proceeded then to raise her from the dead. Thus did Paul follow in the footsteps of Elijah, Elisha and Jesus, all of whom raised people from the dead simply by their touch. But Peter, unable to raise people from the dead simply by touching them, had to resort to prayer, and did not touch Dorcas (Tabitha) until she was alive again (Acts 9:41-42).

      #24 Peter is superior to Paul. In Galatians, Paul “visits” James but “consults” Cephas

      It must not have been that important to him, since Paul waited three years before “consulting” with Peter (Galatians 1:18). It takes some real chutzpah, to take Paul’s story about “I neither received [the gospel] of man, neither was I taught it” (Galatians 1:12) and turn it into getting taught by Peter.

      #25 Peter has the vision of unclean animals ( gentiles )

      Yes, but it took Peter three times to get it (Acts 10:16), and even then “Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean” (Acts 10:17). But Paul knew a whole chapter earlier that he was “a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear my name before the Gentiles” (Acts 9:15), and Paul immediately “spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians” (Acts 9:29), indicating that it only took one vision for Paul to understand his mission to the Gentiles. For Peter it took three visions, and he still didn’t get it.

      #26 Although John was younger and outran Peter to the tomb, he stood aside and let the Pope enter first so as to be first Apostolic witness

      Or, maybe Jerome was right, and John could not risk that his virginal purity might be compromised by coming in contact with a dead body. But Peter, already unclean with the filthy, carnal, impurity of marriage, could freely touch a dead body without further compromise to his already decrepit marital pollution. Remember, they did not run to the tomb believing Jesus was alive, but rather believing He was still dead. Virgins know better than to touch what is unclean. Unclean married people do not.

      1. TIM says: “That the keys were not to be interpreted as Roman Catholics interpret them, is evidenced by the fact that Jesus finds Peter’s attempt to bind something on earth offensive, and says, “thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23). Then in Matthew 18:18-19, Jesus gives those keys promiscuously to all members of the body of Christ. Speaking to all the disciples, and says it twice for emphasis: “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven”

        ROCKY: Actually Jesus says, I WILL give the keys of the kingdom (future tense) to Peter and this most likely occurred at the same moment HE founded his Church upon Peter (the rock) – at Pentecost. It is odd that you fail to recount John 21:15-17 where Jesus corroborates Peter’s authority and makes Peter the shepherd over the entire flock (then entire Church) that belongs to Jesus.

        John 21:15-17
        “Simon… do you love me more than these?”…“Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said…“Feed my lambs.” A second time…“Simon… do you love me?”… “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said…“Tend my sheep.”A third time, “Simon…do you love me?”… “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

        As to Jesus giving the power of binding and loosing to ALL the apostles as to Peter, this is in keeping with apostolic succession by the laying on of hands to the making of bishops that we see in the bible. But we must recall (and not neglect) that ONLY Peter was given the keys (regardless of what can be construed from non-infallible Jerome).

        TIM says; Since Aphrahat, Augustine and Chrysostom saw Jesus building His Church, not on Peter but on Peter’s confession . . . perhaps the binding and loosing (the keys themselves) are given to each member of the kingdom as part of their welcome package?

        ROCKY: Actually Peter’s confession is critical as to what and why Jesus chose Peter to build His Church upon. Peter’s confession was his defining moment.

        Matthew 16:16-19 in fact defines the charism of Peter (that gift) upon which Jesus builds his Church – the charism of SPIRIT-REVEALED-TRUTH becomes the charism of the Church in the Petrine office. That charism being infallibility.

        That is the magisterium of the Catholic Church, the ONLY body that claims Mat 16 and Peter (the Rock) and that charism.

        TIM: The Retractions; Chrysostom, In pentecosten) perhaps the binding and loosing (the keys themselves) are given to each member of the kingdom as part of their welcome package? Jerome, as always, is very helpful here

        ROCKY: Well I think all you can take away from this rather confusing bit of Jerome text is that he acknowledges the headship of Peter. Not sure what he is trying to say if he is being literal by saying “they all receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven” because clearly that is not in the bible so we can look elsewhere for an explanation.

        The following quotes from Jerome clearly show what page he is very much on.

        “‘But,’ you [Jovinian] will say, ‘it was on Peter that the Church was founded’ [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division.” St. Jerome, “Against Jovinian,” c. 393 A.D.

        “(Pope) Stephen . . . was the blessed Peter’s twenty-second successor in the See of Rome.” St. Jerome, “Against the Luciferians” c. 383 A.D.

        “I think it is my duty to consult the chair of Peter, and to turn to a church (Rome) whose faith has been praised by Paul. I appeal for spiritual food to the church whence I have received the garb of Christ.” St. Jerome, “Letter 15,” 396 A.D.

        “I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none, but the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails.” St. Jerome, “Letter 15,” 396 A.D.

        “Simon Peter, the son of John, from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, brother of Andrew the apostle, and himself chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion . . . pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to over-throw Simon Magus, and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord.” St. Jerome, “Lives of Illustrious Men,” c. 396 A.D

  76. Rocky, the Harlot Babylon of Revelation 17 can be no other than papal Rome. ” drunk with the blood of the saints ” ” having a gold cup in his hand” The beast that carries her has 7 heads up and 10 horns. Please review the connection with Daniel. That material can be found out here at Out of His mouth. If you are willing to read all of this here, I am willing to enter into a discussion. But just cutting and pasting verses from the OT and Revelation without any context is not something I’m willing to engage in. I have provided a sufficient outline to you of why your false religion is not a Christian visible church, but the 5th earthly kingdom and antichrist. As I said false religions aren’t visible Christian churches. They are false visible Christian churches. We know Satan makes good look evil and vice versa. And since Roman Catholic Church is a front for the kingdom of Satan it poses as a Christian church, but has never been. Babylon isn’t a Christian church. K

    1. KEVIN SAID: Rocky, the Harlot Babylon of Revelation 17 can be no other than papal Rome. ” drunk with the blood of the saints ” ” having a gold cup in his hand” The beast that carries her has 7 heads up and 10 horns.

      ROCKY: Oh…boy! Here we go again. I try to stay away from opinion so that I do not get accused of wish-fulfilment theology. On the other hand that is just about the only thing you offer. Opinion. I already made it clear in my latest post to you why the Catholic Church cannot be the Whore and the other posts deal with strong contenders for the whore. And I even looked back at your original post where you do not lay out anything with scripture or logic. Just accusations.

      You are prone to a lot arm waving and histrionics Kevin and then when someone offers you scripture, you mock them. But if I only offer you opinion and no scripture I am still mocked.

      So, though I may respond to some absurd and outlandish statement of yours for purposes of a teachable moment I will no longer bother trying to have a rationale dialogue with you. Unless, that is, if there is some effort on your part to finally bring that goodwill which allows for that rationale and sincere discussion. This SHOULD be the hallmark of intra-Christian discussion, right? So long buddy.

  77. I take the point of kneeling being to venerate the statues or the Host in the altar or on exhibition but it is also a multifactorial manifestation amongst people , for example people kneel also at home to pray and carry that on in church as well.

  78. ” I think there are things 100 times more important” Really Mark, can you think of anything more important than someone’s soul? To bow and kneel to bread is idolatry. God will not admit those who worship the Roman Eucharist into heaven, just like he will not admit someone who is trying to be justified by works in some way into heaven, and it’s likely that He won’t into heaven those who pray to Mary. There is nothing more important than this topic. Tim is trying to show you where idolatry was elevated in the Roman Catholic religion. And he has done it in an poignant way, by showing how the medieval Roman religion actually broke unchangeable canon law in order to worship their idol. Just think about the significance of that. Eternal. I’m not sure there is any clearer example of discontinuity between Rome and Nicaea, nor a clearer example of the supper celebrated in memorial of free and full justification by faith thru the one time vicarious sacrifice of Christ being turned into a complete violation of the gospel of Christ. K

  79. Phil–

    I appreciate your comment and owe you a couple of clarifications. First off, I meant “extraneous” in its basic meaning of ‘existing outside of,’ not with its connotations of incompatibility and irrelevance. I don’t believe the assumption, for example, to be alltogether tangential to biblical discussion. It’s a valid, pious option in that it could have happened and changes absolutely nothing theologically: neither Enoch nor Elijah are due hyperdulia, after all.

    Plain and simple, there is no treatment of hermeneutics in the Bible. Therefore, both Sola Scriptura and magisterial interpretation can only be encountered OUTSIDE of Scripture.

    We both submit to authority. Both you and I submit to the Word of God Written (which we both agree is divine revelation). In addition, you submit to a completely undocumented and unverifiable Apostolic oral tradition…and to a human interpretation authority, who are self-identifiably infallible.

    Here I will insert my second caveat: I didn’t intend to point to Catholicism as an “authoritarian cult.” Just to the fact that that’s the side of the ledger one falls on when truth is held hostage. Certain Catholic tenets are not open to scrutiny. They need not remain subject to logical and historical validation. (Even though this runs 180 degrees AGAINST basic Catholic epistemology!)

    Sola Scriptura does NOT exclude ecclesial authority in any sense, just ecclesial infallibility. You have your catechism, and we have our confessions and creeds.

    Sola Scriptura does not exclude a role for tradition either. Tradition corroborates. No, it is not additional divine revelation as it is with Rome. But it is important nonetheless. Tim wouldn’t be concentrating on post-Apostolic practice if it weren’t. (We believe Apostolic oral tradition to be coterminous with Scripture in terms of its teaching parameters.) Very early practice should come closest to what we see in the book of Acts.

    1. Hi Hans,
      Thank you for your clarifications. I don’t know how many share your understanding of Sola Scriptura. This is the first time I have heard it explained it that way.
      You said: “Sola Scriptura does not exclude ecclesial authority in any sense, just ecclesial infallibility. You have your catechism, and we have our confessions and creeds.” I do not understand what you mean by “ecclesial authority.” Could you clarify it for me. Most Protestants think that the Church of Christ is invisible.
      God bless you.

  80. Hi Hans, you said ” I don’t believe the assumption , for example to be altogether tangential to biblical discussion “, then you said ” it’s a valid pious option that could have happened, and changes nothing theologically.” Changes nothing theologically? Valid pious option? Could have happened ? Not tangential to biblical discussion? It seems a little naive to say it’s no big deal. It contributes to the idolatry of Rome, and feeds the perversion of the gospel by undermining the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice. Not to mention it contributes to the violation of Christ’s as sole mediator. Would you like to re consider this ? Thanks k

  81. Hans said ” very early practice should come closest to what we see in the book of Acts” this is very well said, much of the time overlooked. The earliest practice seems would seem the most pure of error. K

  82. Mark just so you understand, when you say Protestants are part of Catholic ( Roman) church, historically the Reformed have excommunicated Roman Catholics from their churches and not allowed them to participate in the Lord’s supper. WCF 24.3 says not to not marry Papists etc. Just so you understand Roman Catholics are considered cut off from the body of Christ. Rome is no true Christian church, nor are their members considered in the body of Christ. We don’t deny God’s elect in that comnunion, but you are under a false assumption that you are in the true church. Watching your discussion with Tim has been instructive for me. Under the complete lack of a retort to arguments made by Tim on kneeling, you play back the old tape ” there is only one Holy Catholic church” Hopeful? This is a false sense of security. From the Reformed perspective you are cut off from the body of Christ. K

    1. Kevin, it matters not what the reformed groups say. They have no Apostolic succession or are the Church that Jesus founded. They took some things they wanted from the Catholic Church, rejected some, and then added man-made traditions to justify the rest.

  83. Kevin–

    It contributes to the idolatry of Rome?

    How? Do they idolize Enoch and Elijah?

    It undermines the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice? It violates Christ’s role as sole mediator?

    How? Mary need not be co-redemptrix to be assumed.

    Assumption need not imply sinlessness. You’re treating the Marian dogmas as if they were all of one piece. For example, Mary can be a perpetual virgin (as a number of Reformers maintained) without changing a single, solitary aspect of christology.

    Hyperdulia is one of the principal errors of Catholic teaching. But not even immaculacy necessitates it (depending upon how it’s formulated).

  84. Mark–

    I fail to see how Apostolic succession matters unless it can also be shown to be Christic succession. The (Lutheran) Church of Sweden has Apostolic succession and is thoroughly apostate from stem to stern. The (Anglican) Church of England also has Apostolic succession and is barreling headlong toward apostasy. Apostolic succession guarantees absolutely nothing. Most Roman Catholic parishes in the U.S. are likewise headed toward apostasy if they aren’t already there.

    It’s more important to be a part of a church that the Spirit is currently maintaining than a church which, long ago, Christ supposedly founded. Who cares about your beginnings if Christ has clearly abandoned you? Your lampstand has been removed. Move on.

    1. “Who cares about your beginnings if Christ has clearly abandoned you? Your lampstand has been removed. Move on.”

      Really? Says who? You?

      Christ hasn’t abandoned the Catholic Church. Far from it. Protestants have LEFT the Catholic Church in the 1600s, that’s true. You also cannot determine who has left Christ. Sorry for you, but that’s true. You have no authority to make any determinations like that.

  85. Mark, actually Hans has the authority to tell you that. Protestants believe in the priesthood of believers. We are God’s cleras, clergy. When someone professes true faith, we can tell them their sins are forgiven. It is a statement about something already true in heaven. The declaration doesn’t make it true. Any Christian has the authority of Christ to warn someone. Jude ” save others , snatching them out of the fire” I think Hans is correct. K

  86. Mark–

    Christ hasn’t abandoned the Catholic Church? Says who? You? By whose authority do you make such determinations? By the authority of an apostate church? Well, let me tell you, you have no idea how impressed I am! A church with little or no concern for righteousness has a line of head touchings going back into antiquity. Simply amazing!

    The Protestants WENT BACK to the one, true, holy and apostolic church in the 1600’s, abandoning a rat-infested ship and jumping into the waves, into the arms of a waiting Savior….

    1. Jesus never said the Church would be perfect, or sinless, just that He would be with it until the end. In Matthew 13 made this clear when he explained the parable of the wheat and the tares. “The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

      If you find a perfect church please let me know so I can avoid it! If it is perfect I know it isn’t Christ’s Church.

      1. Mark,

        I hate for you to hear about it here, but you come from a long line of schisms dating back to the 4th century, and because it is in the nature of your religion to bring error and strife, it has continued to form sect after sect after sect, breaking into innumerable different groups of people professing to have the true faith.

        The founders of your religion broke off in the late 4th century, introducing so many errors that the name of the sect would be too long, so I call it the Diluvial Sect because its errors came on like a flood. You’d be surprised, you really would, how many different ways your religion found to be wrong all at the same time. The people you kicked out for disagreeing were actually the true believers.

        Not much later, some people in your religion broke off again, forming the Filioque Sect, because, just like someone edited the 6th of Nicæa just in time for Chalcedon, someone in your religion also had the temerity to pencil in “and from the Son” in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed sometime in the late 6th century (what is it about you guys always changing the canon in the dark of night, anyway?).

        Then you all had to make a huge deal about adding water to wine before the consecration instead of after (which was all based on a historical misunderstanding anyway), and your Ante-consecrationist sect in the West broke off from the Post-consecrationist sect in the East.

        Then some of your folks thought everybody else in the history of Christianity (!) had been wrong for a thousand years for not elevating the host during Mass and kneeling during the consecration, so you formed the Genuflexionist-Elevationist sect that kneels during the consecration while the host is raised—something even the Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges “was introduced during the Middle Ages,” about the 11th century. And to top it off, y’all killed a bunch of folks who thought maybe you should think twice about diving head first into more novelties.

        Then y’all went plain nutty and claimed that Mary was conceived immaculately, forming the Immaculist Sect, and again, not everyone agreed or had even heard that the church had “always” believed in Mary’s immaculate conception. Your propaganda department had to kick into overdrive for this one, because everyone knew that the early church thought Mary was sinful. The Catholic Encyclopedia just gathered up all the early affirmations of Marian peccability, and put them in the file called “stray, private opinion”. (Problem solved!) People who didn’t buy that argument got kicked out.

        Later—because your religion’s thirst for power knows no bounds—your folks broke off again, forming the Infallibilist Sect, and quite nearly lost your beloved Keenan who was gobsmacked to discover that your popes were (and always had been!) infallible. In Keenan’s 1860 Catechism, he was indignant at the very suggestion of papal infallibility, and derided it as a Protestant invention (Who knew?): “This is a Protestant invention: it is no article of the Catholic faith: no decision of his can oblige under pain of heresy, unless it be received and enforced by the teaching body, that is by the bishops of the Church.” Keenan must have been sent off to a re-education camp because his 1870 Catechism was “Revised and corrected, conformably to the decrees of [Vatican I]”, and suddenly the popes were, and always had been, infallible. (What is it about you guys always changing history?) Anyway, some people didn’t believe this new teaching, and couldn’t be re-educated like Keenan, and of course they got kicked out.

        But the slope of Marian sinlessness is a hard one not to slide down, so you created yet another sect that held to Mary’s bodily assumption—the Assumptionist Sect—claiming that the dogma of her assumption was a teaching from “the most remote times,” hoping nobody would notice that there was no evidence for it any earlier than the late 4th century. People who didn’t accept the dogma got kicked out.

        Then you went all modern, and broke off again at Vatican II. The Sedevacantist Sect thinks Pius XII was the last legitimate pope, and they’re waiting for your Modernist Sect to repent and come back to the one holy catholic, apostolic church. You guys can’t sneeze without forming a new sect, or discovering a new dogma from the late 4th century, or picking a fight within your own house. Hey, I know not everyone thinks Mary is the Mother of the Church, so why not proclaim it infallibly? After all, there’s some evidence from the late 4th century that Ambrose taught it, and late 4th century has always been “apostolic” enough for forcing people to accept your sectarian teachings. Don’t worry if not everyone agrees with the new Maternalist Sect. (You can just kick them out.)

        Now y’all are arguing amongst yourselves about whether Francis I is a heretic.

        Sorry, Mark. You can say it over and over and over again, but you can’t make your “church” the true church simply by repeating the claim with conviction. You’re just another Roman Catholic sect from a long line of Roman Catholic sects.

        Thanks,

        Tim

        1. That’s a very innovative way to look at history Tim. I’ve never heard of most of those sects, except for the sedevacantists.

          I understand your desire to try and poke holes in the Catholic Church being the same Church that started with Peter. The problem with your theories are that nothing that you have said has refuted the historical truth that the Catholic Church is the same Church through history and has Popes going all the way back to Peter. You may not like or agree with the doctrines of the Church. You seem to think the religion that you created is the right one. So does every other Protestant. They have their own Truths (TM). Tim Kauffman’s Truths(TM) are that, your own truths. How do you know the difference between your opinion and doctrine? What one must believe and what is not important?

          Presbyterians now allow homosexual marriage. The Biblical teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman must be just an opinion, right?

  87. Mark–

    No parable has been more abused than the wheat and the tares by Catholics. Come harvest time, God won’t have to sort things out for you guys. He can just set the field ablaze!

    Tares are supposed to be apparent Christians who do everything right but whose hearts remain unchanged. As sprouts, tares took just like wheat. That’s why you can’t root them out. Out-and-out weeds, on the other hand, need to be gotten rid of. It’s one the ways we know that Catholicism doesn’t represent a true church: true churches exercise church discipline. Yes, there is a mixture involved. Yes, there are imperfections. But you all look like you don’t even care, or–worse yet–that you actually PREFER imperfections! “We’re a mixture of wheat and tares, and the more tares, the better!”

    Look, Mark, I really don’t want to get into a pissing contest with you over what constitutes valid authority. Take the time to show me, if you don’t mind, why I should take the Motives of Credibility seriously. Your assertions that Rome is the church founded by Christ fall on deaf ears. There is a real disconnect theologically between the Apostolic church and Rome. Likewise, there is a clear disconnect between the church of the Apostolic Fathers and Rome. Fill in the dots. Why should I make these connections you make? And why should I believe that Christ will never let the church fail, even for a time, based on one verse? Why can’t the verse simply be eschatological? If the church is still around when Christ returns, then, technically, the gates of hell have not prevailed against it, right?

    1. Thank you, Hans,

      That was a very helpful link. The article led me to another opinion piece by the same author, in which he conceded the point you had made in an earlier comment—namely that Roman Catholicism is functionally denominational. In his article, “Against Walter Kasper (II),” Ross Douthat verbalized that exact reality on the issue of Marriage and communion within Roman Catholicism. He described a situation in which people who disagree with the pope would just go church shopping until they find one that agrees with their personal interpretation of the bible and the magisterium:

      “[R]emarried Catholics who are morally convinced that their first marriages were invalid, but who haven’t managed to obtain an annulment, might decide to find a parish where they can act on that conviction and receive the eucharist.”

      This scenario plays out every Sunday in Rome. My mother, who is still a practicing Roman Catholic, did not like the parish in her town so she commutes to another town to the north where the priest preaches things that she agrees with. This, ironically, is precisely what Jason Stellman said was the reason he swam the Tiber. Only Protestants are supposed to church shop!

      When Protestants talk about true church authority … that claim is an illusion. It’s like shooting an arrow at the wall, and then painting the target around it. Because what you’re doing, is you’re basically opening up your bible and figuring out what the Gospel is, and then finding a church out there that agrees with you. … You figure out, ‘Oh yeah, this is the gospel, this is what scripture teaches. Now I’ve got to find a church that teaches what Scripture teaches, by which I mean that agrees with me about what Scripture teaches.’ (Jason Stellman, Third Annual Holy Family Conference (March 8-9, 2013), 14:40, 15:30)

      Well, Ross Douthat knows Roman Catholic do exactly that. They paint their targets around their arrows, and then sit down in the pew and congratulate themselves on having found the true church to which they submit “unreservedly.” Francis’ dithering on communion for the remarried is having the same result.

      What is especially notable in this controversy is that forbidding communion to remarried catholics is not a discipline but a doctrine. Roman Catholics never hesitate to bring out that doctrine-discipline distinction when I discuss the matter of kneeling. To wit, Rocky and Mark:

      “First, a practice or manifestation is NOT a matter of doctrinal truth (faith and morals. These disciplinary matters are not necessarily static, immutable, unchangeable. In other words, things can change.”

      “These aren’t dogmatic statements about the Apostolic deposit of faith, which I think you may be confusing the Canon with.”

      Well now they aren’t doctrinal, apostolic truths, but they certainly used to be. Pope Leo I thought the Nicæan divines had “laid down a code of canons for the Church to last till the end of the world” (Leo the Great, Letter 106, IV). If that doesn’t sound sufficiently permanent, the 4th Council of Constantinople insisted that those 20 Canons of Nicæa had been delivered to the church by the Apostles themselves:

      “… we must keep the declarations and teachings of the holy fathers… Therefore we declare that we are preserving and maintaining the canons which have been entrusted to the holy, catholic and apostolic church by the holy and renowned apostles, and by universal as well as local councils of orthodox, and even by any inspired father or teacher of the church.” (Fourth Council of Constantinople, Canon I)

      Rocky and Mark say the prohibition of kneeling was not an unchangeable apostolic truth. Popes and “infallible” ecumenical councils say otherwise.

      The relevance to our current discussion is that the Roman Catholic practice of withholding communion from the invalidly remarried is absolutely doctrinal, not merely disciplinary, as Pope John Paul II said plainly in 1982,

      “However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. … if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.” (John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 79.e (1981))

      The chief inquisitor himself reaffirmed this interpretation thirteen years later (Cardinal Ratzinger, Letter To The Bishops Of The Catholic Church Concerning The Reception Of Holy Communion By The Divorced And Remarried Members Of The Faithful, 5 (1994)). The prohibition is doctrinal, and to violate it would cause the church to lead the faithful into error.

      Put John Paul II’s and Leo I’s statements side-by-side, and they sure sound like binding, permanent interpretations of the apostolic deposit of faith. But just as Leo I’s interpretation was demoted to mere discipline when practice changed in the 11th century, Francis’ defenders are arguing the same thing—that the communion prohibition was just disciplinary, and disciplines can change.

      So now Roman Catholics on both sides are re-reading Amoris Laetitia to determine whether it is an infallible proclamation—some say it is, some say it is not—and nobody seems to know for sure. Cardinal Christof Schönborn says it’s binding, and Jessica M. Murdoch would presume to correct the cardinal in his error. I guess Schönborn and Murdoch are in two different camps on this, which is pretty much what happens every time the pope speaks. The side that agrees with him says the teaching is magisterial, and the side that disagrees says the teaching is merely opinion, spawning two new sects—each convinced that their personal interpretation of the teaching of the magisterium is the correct interpretation.

      Thanks again for the link.

      Tim

      1. “The side that agrees with him says the teaching is magisterial, and the side that disagrees says the teaching is merely opinion, spawning two new sects—each convinced that their personal interpretation of the teaching of the magisterium is the correct interpretation.”

        No, that is what PROTESTANTS do. Catholics stick together and hash things out like a family should. Protestants just gather their toys and go start new groups.

  88. TIM said: Sorry, Mark. You can say it over and over and over again, but you can’t make your “church” the true church simply by repeating the claim with conviction. You’re just another Roman Catholic sect from a long line of Roman Catholic sects.

    ROCKY: What? Tim the Catholic Church is easily seen to be the authoritative church that Christ established.

    No one who knows the history of the early Church can deny that Real Presence Eucharistic communion was the very core of the early Church faith gathering.

    Believed by the earliest Church = taught by the apostles.

    Taught by the apostles = Given by Jesus.

    If the early Church was NOT REAL Presence Eucharistic in its entire belief, JUST WHERE in the historical process did the ENTIRE church become REAL PRESENCE EUCHARISTIC in its faith gatherings? It certainly was completely so before Calvin and Zwingli came along.

    All the earliest Christian communities throughout Judea, throughout the Middle East, throughout Asia, throughout Africa and throughout Europe were Real Presence Eucharistic. It was the focus of their communion breaking of bread/faith worship from their very roots and down through ALL generations. And undeniably and unshakeably guided by the Holy Spirit BECAUSE HE promised [John 14:26 and John 16:12-13]

    Since Real Presence Eucharistic celebration was the notable practice of the early church, does it stands as an immutable fact that the reformers were committing an egregious act of heresy and proving themselves void of God’s fullest truth.

    Real Presence Eucharistic faith is a simple and unshakeable litmus test of where God wants us to be. Not with a non-Real Presence Eucharistic Church that is for sure.

    TIM SAID: The founders of your religion broke off in the late 4th century, introducing so many errors that the name of the sect would be too long, so I call it the Diluvial Sect because its errors came on like a flood.

    ROCKY: Tim, do you actually have any information that can legitimize this statement.

    1. Rocky,

      What do you mean by “real presence”? Some Roman Catholics think “real presence” means “real physical presence of Jesus’ body and blood”. Some people who believe in the “real presence” believe in the “real spiritual presence” but deny the physical presence of Jesus’ body and blood.

      As I observed in my previous comment, the 11th century was the turning point at which the “real physical presence” became such a pressing issue that people were required to kneel on Sunday’s during the consecration. I honestly don’t know how the “church” could have missed such a critical aspect of the liturgy so as to forbid for 1,000 what should have been required. Unless something significant changed in the 11th century. That significant change is the introduction of the Eucharistic idol, and suddenly Eucharistic adoration took Europe by storm. Here’s a helpful history for you:

      “In about the fourth century monasteries began to reserve the Eucharist, and by the 11th century, reservation—still mainly for the sick and dying—was a regular feature of churches. While reverence was certainly given to Christ present in the sacrament, it was not yet customary to pray before the reserved sacrament.

      In the 11th century the French monk Berengar of Tours began to teach that the bread and wine in the celebration of the Eucharist could not change physically into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Pope Gregory VII demanded a retraction from Berengar saying that the body and blood of Christ were truly present in the Eucharist. This resulted in a refining of the church’s teaching on the real presence. In response, eucharistic devotion burst forth throughout Europe: processions, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and other prayers focused on the reserved sacrament became part of Catholic life.

      Around the same time, elevations of the bread and the wine were added to the eucharistic prayer at Mass. For some, the moment of seeing the consecrated host overshadowed the rest of the liturgy. Times of extended exposition of the Blessed Sacrament outside the Mass grew out of this action, and eventually a blessing with the exposed Eucharist, or benediction, developed.”(Victoria M. Tufano, What’s the history of adoration of the blessed sacrament?, US Catholic))

      Yes, kneeling on Sundays was a pretty big deal.

      Tim

      1. Protestant favorite St Augustine wrote during the late 4th/early 5th century, “Nobody eats this flesh without previously adoring it.”– St. Augustine, Enarr. in Ps. 98, 9

        He worshiped the Eucharist and so did other Christians!

    2. Rocky, you quoted me and responded as follows:

      TIM SAID: The founders of your religion broke off in the late 4th century, introducing so many errors that the name of the sect would be too long, so I call it the Diluvial Sect because its errors came on like a flood.

      ROCKY: Tim, do you actually have any information that can legitimize this statement.

      Ok, let’s start with Mary’s sinlessness. Early church fathers thought Mary was sinful. When do you suppose they started thinking she was not? Would you like to guess when the “church” suddenly started realizing that Mary was sinless?

      Thanks,

      Tim

      1. TIM said: let’s start with Mary’s sinlessness. Early church fathers thought Mary was sinful. When do you suppose they started thinking she was not? Would you like to guess when the “church” suddenly started realizing that Mary was sinless?

        ROCKY: Mary’s sinlessness is not explict but if you look at what the Catholic Church has inferred or pulled out or extrapolated upon from scripture and sacred tradition on: the nature of Jesus, the Trinity, Purgatory, baptism etc. etc. you might say the same thing and probably have. But remember this is the Church with its bishops and petrine chair that delivered the bible to the world and to say that one delivery is inspired and good while other deliveries are corrupt will not stand.

        And in the end it is this Church magesterium that must be pulled down, and pulled down based on its First Principles. The foundational supports (platform) of scripture and sacred tradition. These both include the development of church structure and guidance from day one by an ordained authority by the laying on of hands and the Conciliar tradition like that of Acts 15.

        Question: Were there other elements of heavenly life, not necessary for our immediate salvation that God wanted to share with his adopted sons and daughters?

        ANSWER: It would seem so. If not, then why did Jesus say the following words through John if there wasn’t more he would bring to light.

        John 16:12-13
        _“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”_

        MARY
        First. Superabundant grace was applied to Mary from birth so that a fitting and perfect vessel was available contain our Lord. That grace was certainly derived in advance through her Savior our Lord Jesus Christ.

        CHURCH FATHERS
        I am aware of some controversies about a few Church fathers like Ambrose, Augustine and even Aquinas who SEEM to have made some statements which support Mary having sin or sinned. But other evidence would negate that. Regardless, if you have something specific you would like to say on the Church fathers I would like to see it

        Augustine’s Nature and Grace
        Chapter 42 [XXXVI.]— The Blessed Virgin Mary May Have Lived Without Sin. None of the Saints Besides Her Without SinHe then enumerates those who not only lived without sin, but are described as having led holy lives,— Abel, Enoch, Melchizedek, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua the son of Nun, Phinehas, Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Joseph, Elisha, Micaiah, Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, Mordecai, Simeon, Joseph to whom the Virgin Mary was espoused, John. And he adds the names of some women,— Deborah, Anna the mother of Samuel, Judith, Esther, the other Anna, daughter of Phanuel, Elisabeth, and also the mother of our Lord and Saviour, for of her, he says, we must needs allow that her piety had no sin in it. We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin.

        Ambrose:
        “. . . Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free of every stain of sin.”
        (Commentary on Psalm 118, 22, 30; Jurgens, II, 166)

        Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg on this issue.

      2. “Early church fathers thought Mary was sinful. ”

        Really? You need to back that up with some quotes. I haven’t met a Protestant who understands what sin is.

        Let’s not forget that there have been millions of people who have lived and died and have not sinned.

        1. Mark, for evidence that the Early writers thought Mary was sinful, see my article, “A Significant turning point…”. Among the patristic writers who thought Mary was sinful were Tertullian, Origen, Basil, Chrysostom and Hilary. Mariologists generally accept that early writers seem to say she was sinful, and there is little that can be gleaned from them to conclude that she was sinless. Until about 377 A.D..

          Thanks,

          Tim

          1. Sorry, I am not seeing in anything that you wrote that the early fathers said that Mary sinned. You gave a lot of spin, but didn’t prove your assertion.

            The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus died for Mary just as He died for everyone else. Are you confused by that statement? I can explain it if you want. You also seem to think that concupiscence is sin, which it isn’t.

            I have to say that I am really troubled that you characterized Mary as an “interrupting obstructionist”. To go from “blessed” to this statement just shows the lengths you must go to dismiss Mary.

          2. So am I to understand, Mark, that in your sect of Roman Catholicism, vaingloriousness is not a sin? In Thomas’ sect, it was.

            Chrysostom thought Mary was vainglorious, and that Jesus reproved her for it:

            “Do you see, how He both rebuked them, and did what they desired? Which He did also at the marriage. [John 2:1-11] For there too He at once reproved her asking unseasonably, and nevertheless did not gainsay her; by the former correcting her weakness, by the latter showing His kindly feeling toward His mother. So likewise on this occasion too, He both healed the disease of vainglory, and rendered the due honor to His mother, even though her request was unseasonable. ” (John Chrysostom, Homilies in Matthew, Homily 44.3)

            Sure sounds like Jesus “reproved” Mary and healed her of the disease of vainglory. Do you know of other people in your sect who think vainglory is not a sin? Can you put me in contact with them so I can better understand your sect?

            Thanks,

            Tim

          3. BTW, the “scandal” that Origen is talking about is not doubt but having a sword pierce her heart as she watched her son die on the cross. She knew He had to die, but had to endure watching it happen. There was no unbelief in Mary.

          4. Mark, what did Basil think it was?

            “The Lord was bound to taste of death for every man— to become a propitiation for the world and to justify all men by His own blood. Even you yourself, who hast been taught from on high the things concerning the Lord, shall be reached by some doubt. This is the sword.” (Basil, Letter 260.8-9)

            Tim

          5. Read Basil 260:9 in its entirety. It confirms what I said. It NEVER says that Mary doubted. Mary had a “tempest” in her soul and “you” have doubted, but Mary didn’t doubt. “This is the sword. That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. ”

            “By a sword is meant the word which tries and judges our thoughts, which pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of our thoughts. Now every soul in the hour of the Passion was subjected, as it were, to a kind of searching. According to the word of the Lord it is said, All you shall be offended because of me. Matthew 26:3 Simeon therefore prophesies about Mary herself, that when standing by the cross, and beholding what is being done, and hearing the voices, after the witness of Gabriel, after her secret knowledge of the divine conception, after the great exhibition of miracles, she shall feel about her soul a mighty tempest. The Lord was bound to taste of death for every man— to become a propitiation for the world and to justify all men by His own blood. Even you yourself, who hast been taught from on high the things concerning the Lord, shall be reached by some doubt. This is the sword. That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. He indicates that after the offense at the Cross of Christ a certain swift healing shall come from the Lord to the disciples and to Mary herself, confirming their heart in faith in Him. In the same way we saw Peter, after he had been offended, holding more firmly to his faith in Christ. What was human in him was proved unsound, that the power of the Lord might be shown.”

          6. Mark, your argument is not with me but with your own religion. The Catholic Encyclopedia under the immaculate conception, acknowledges that Origen, Basil and Chrysostom seem to have been in error. The encyclopedia agrees with me that Origen thought the sword was unbelief, Basil thought it was doubt, and Chrysostom believed Mary to be vainglorious:

            In regard to the sinlessness of Mary the older Fathers are very cautious: some of them even seem to have been in error on this matter.

            Origen, although he ascribed to Mary high spiritual prerogatives, thought that, at the time of Christ’s passion, the sword of disbelief pierced Mary’s soul; that she was struck by the poniard of doubt; and that for her sins also Christ died (Origen, “In Luc. hom. xvii”).
            In the same manner St. Basil writes in the fourth century: he sees in the sword, of which Simeon speaks, the doubt which pierced Mary’s soul (Epistle 260).
            St. Chrysostom accuses her of ambition, and of putting herself forward unduly when she sought to speak to Jesus at Capharnaum (Matthew 12:46; Chrysostom, Homily 44 on Matthew).

            Please let me know what the curators of Roman Catholic history think of your private opinion on the deposit of faith. Rocky seems to have a better grasp. He wrote,

            Believed by the earliest Church = taught by the apostles.

            Taught by the apostles = Given by Jesus.

            So there you have it. Jesus taught the apostles that Mary was sinful. (Thanks, Rocky!)

            Have a good weekend.

            Tim

        2. OK. thanks for the Catholic Encyclopedia quote. Seems they may have been in error.

          Because you are wrong on so many points my first assumption is that you are wrong on everything. While you may be right about this (the Catholic Encyclopedia you reference is out of date so I can’t say for sure), it just makes your point about Mary moot anyway. Nothing to see here. Move on.

          The early fathers aren’t infallible and the Church never claims that they are. But the Church is the final arbiter as to what is true and what isn’t. I know that is a difficult concept for a Protestant who just needs to make up his own mind for it to become Truth(TM).

          1. Mark, regarding Mary’s sinlessness, my point remains: There is no evidence the early church believed she was sinless, and an awful lot of evidence that they believed she was sinful. When did it finally occur to someone that she was sinless? I’ll let the Evangelical Catholic Apologetics Association fill us in:

            “A significant turning point in the Mariological consciousness of the West does not occur until 377, with the publication of St. Ambrose’s three books On Virginity, addressed to his sister, Marcellina. … the attitude of Ambrose toward Mary is something novel in Latin literature.”

            In the east, it was even later. The early church thought Mary was sinful, until something happened toward the end of the 4th century. Thus, Mary’s “sinlessness” was a novelty three centuries separated from the apostles.

            But let’s move on to Mary’s perpetual virginity. The early church did not believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary. Would you like to guess when someone figured out that she had remained a virgin in partu and post partum? Catholic Biblical Apologetics has this telling history of the doctrine:

            “Great teachers of the Church from at least the fourth century spoke of Mary as having remained a virgin throughout her life:

            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).

            Notice that all these trace to the late 4th century.

            Thanks,

            Tim

          2. Tim, absence of evidence doesn’t mean evidence of absence.

            I don’t agree with your statement that there’s “an awful lot of evidence that they believed she was sinful.” Actually, in general, Mary’s sinlessness was undisputed by the early Fathers. Origen , Hippolytus, Ephraim attest to her sinlessness.

            As for the perpetual virginity of Mary, we have the Protoevangelium of James, Origen, Hilary, Athanasius, and others.

          3. Mark, clearly Mary’s sinlessness was not undisputed in the Early Fathers. Origen, Basil and Chrysostom thought she was sinful. I’m curious why you would list Origen as evidence of her “undisputed” sinlessness when only yesterday you gave measured acceptance of the Catholic Encyclopedia’s report that Origen had attributed sinfulness to Mary.

            Regarding Hippolytus, you may feel comfortable with your private interpretation of his writings, but Juniper Carol, a well-studied mariologist within your own camp, reads Hippoytus and is unable to conclude that he thought Mary was sinless. Of Hippolytus’s views on Mary’s sinlessness, Juniper Carol writes, “The answer must, in the state of the evidence, be a confession of ignorance.”

            Regarding Ephraem the Syrian, you’ll get no argument from me; his theories on Mary’s sinlessness are from the late 4th century.

            So your argument that Mary’s sinlessness is “undisputed” in the early fathers relies on Origen (who you know acknowledged she was sinful), Hippolytus (from whom Carol acknowledges we can conclude nothing), and Ephraem (who testified of her sinlessness in the late 4th century). You will find that you hit that same brick wall every time you try to find your novelties before the latter part of the 4th century. This is why Carol finally had to acknowledge that he couldn’t find any definite proof of Mary’s sinlessness until 377 A.D..

            Regarding Mary’s perpetual virginity, you cite Origen, and it is true that Origen believed Mary refrained from sexual intercourse after Christ was born, but Hilary believed Mary lost her physical virginity in partu, for he believed that in Childbirth, Mary lost her virginity:

            “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).

            However much you would like to minimize that sentiment from Origen, Juniper Carol confesses that Origen “expressed himself in terms incompatible with Mary’s virginity in partu.” So Origen is no friend to the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity. She cannot be a perpetual virgin if she ceased to be a virgin at Christ’s birth.

            Clement, on the other hand is made in one Latin adaptation from the 9th century to support “Mary’s virginity post partum,” but Carol is compelled to add that “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)

            Thus, neither Origen nor Clement are able to help you. Tertullian is even worse. He explicitly testifies that Mary was no longer a virgin at the point of childbirth:

            “Indeed she ought rather to be called not a virgin than a virgin, becoming a mother at a leap, as it were, before she was a wife. And what must be said more on this point? Since it was in this sense that the apostle declared that the Son of God was born not of a virgin, but “of a woman,” he in that statement recognised the condition of the “opened womb” which ensues in marriage.” (Tertullian, On the Flesh of Christ, 23)

            What is more, while Clement and Origen appear to acknowledge the existence of the protoevangelium of James, Carol again insists that there just is not sufficient evidence to support the claim that the Protoevangelium of James was conveying an apostolic tradition:

            “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.”

            What is more, Eusebius has Jesus recalling how His father pulled Him from the womb of “My travailing mother” in childbirth, stating that “His birth of a woman that was a Virgin was no worse experience than the suffering of death”—childbirth being a painful experience for them both (Eusebius, Demonstration of the Gospel, Book X, Chapter 8 (c. 311))

            So, in summary, Tertullian believed she was “not a virgin” in childbirth, Origen was aware of the Gospel of James, but did not accept its claims that her physical virginity remained in partu, and the evidence from Clement is from the 9th century and cannot be trusted. And Eusebius in the early 4th century was still claiming that childbirth was a painful experience for both mother and Child, indicating a loss of her physical virginity in partu.

            And that leaves you with Hilary and Athanasius from, you guessed it, the late 4th century. Thus, Carol concludes, quite justifiably,

            “even in the middle of the fourth century, persons, sometimes of considerable authority and prestige, who attributed to Jesus a veritable cortege of brothers and sisters.” (Juniper Carol, The Perpetual Virginity of the Mother of God, Part II).

            The great thing about Juniper Carol is that you can’t ask for a historian who desired more earnestly to find early evidence of perpetual virginity than he. But he was an honest historian, so he had to conclude what I have: you just can’t find viable evidence of a belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity until the end of the 4th century. But there is a lot of evidence that people believed she lost her virginity when Jesus opened her womb.

            If you have any actual evidence, please let me know.

            Thanks,

            Tim

          4. Since you are very fond of Carrol, let me quote from the link you provided.

            “Up to the end of the second century, therefore, we have only fragmentary indications concerning Our Lady’s perpetual virginity; at the most, they reveal that a certain number of interesting views were in circulation concerning Mary’s virginity in the actual birth of Christ and thereafter; on the other hand, they reveal unmistakably, as we have seen, that the virginal conception of Christ was beyond all doubt or discussion in the apostolic Church; it was accepted as a revealed dogma of faith. (136)”

            Remember, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I am sorry, but you have no business trying to interpret the Catholic early Fathers in much the same way as you have no business interpreting scripture. It only leads you where YOU want it to go, and that is to unhistoric and unbiblical teachings. I would recommend more books for you to read, but you seem averse to anything that is contrary to your viewpoint.

            Let’s get on to your proving your church goes back to the Apostolic times. Even commentators here think you reject the True Church! Not just me, a Catholic. Who to believe, who to believe? You’ve got one person, Kevin, who is just expecting you to usher in the reign of Christ with your next post. No pressure. lol.

          5. Mark, I am not sure what you intended to prove in your citation of Carrol. What does it mean to you? What is it supposed to mean to me?

            Tim

          6. Carol said that we have fragmentary evidence of Mary’s perpetual virginity. Not everything has to be written down and explicated in order for it to be part of the deposit of faith. I am going to keep saying this, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. No matter how small the evidence is, Mary was a perpetual virginity, before, during, and after birth This is dogma of the Church.

        3. MARK said: Really? You need to back that up with some quotes. I haven’t met a Protestant who understands what sin is.

          ROCKY: This is an important point ,Protestant understanding of sin. For many, it all ties in with a lack of understanding of what Sanctifying Grace is – God’s life. For them it is a kind of favor or a smile from God. Nothing too real. The concept of how grievous Sin removes this kind of Grace and leads to the loss of justification is no longer on their radar.

          Mary being full of Grace as the angel said tells us a lot.

          1. ” This is an important point. For many it all ties in with a lack of understanding of what sanctifying grace is – God’s life. ” It is a person offered in the gospel, not a derivative off that person. Christ in us the hope of glory. The medieval sophistry came up with philosophy to define grace. But grace isn’t a physical stuff that elevates nature outside of itself to diety. It is demerited favor that redeems and renews nature. Thats why Rome rejects the redemptive model of scripture for a ontological process. The Reformers saw this. It was unreasonable for one act to put sin away to the sophists. So they saw the church as the agency of redemption thru the acts of the church. But Christ said he had accomplished all that the father had given him to do. He didn’t come to make salvation possible , He redeemed his people Ephesians 1 : 7. True believers are in a saved state, not a savable state.

    3. Rocky,

      Back to your question, “Tim, do you actually have any information that can legitimize this statement,” let’s move on to Mary as Ark of the New Covenant. The early church did not believe Mary was the ark of the new covenant. But at some point, people started thinking she was. Would you like to guess when people started thinking she was the ark of the new covenant?

      Thanks,

      Tim

  89. Tim , I actually have friend who is divorced, living with his Catholic girlfriend who have both applied annulment. They found a parish that allows them to participate in the Eucharist. Now, interestingly, the sacrament is of no effect to those in mortal sin. He didn’t know that until I told him that’s what the church says. They have applied for annulment, and were told it would take minimum 2 years. So much for Francis power in the church. So think about this. The church won’t allow divorced people to reconcile or partake of the wafer. They then live in sin, yet the find a parish that allows them to take it, yet the church says it is of no effect. Thank God for the clarity of an infallible teaching office. K

  90. Tim and Rocky–

    I find it somewhat humorous for Catholics to talk about their version of the real presence as if it were more “physical.” The entire body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ is encapsulated in a sip of wine or a crumb of bread? That’s a completely ludicrous thing to say unless the sacrament is spiritually mediated.

    Anglicans, Lutherans, and many Presbyterians (including Calvin himself) all speak of the real presence in the Eucharist. Even Zwingli sort of did. His view was not purely symbolic.

    Another thing that gets me is some of the RC Eucharistic miracles: in one, the accidents of flesh and blood were restored. I think they even had it tested, and it was heart muscle or something like that. (So much for the “entire body, blood, soul, and divinity.” One is genuinely gnawing on a knuckle or an ear!)

    1. Hans,

      For what it’s worth (and it may not be worth much), the eucharistic miracles usually involve bleeding, pulsing or speaking hosts. In other words, the Eucharist is an image that comes to life and speaks. That is why I focus on the Eucharistic miracles in my eschatological studies. Eucharistic Adoration exploded in Europe in the 11th century, right about the same time Apparitions of Mary took off as well. Thus, the Papal Roman empire is the Beast, the Apparitions are the false prophet that makes the fire of heaven come down to earth (as at Fatima) and the Eucharist is the image of the beast that comes to life and speaks (Eucharistic miracles).

      More info on the speaking, bleeding hosts here. Notably, Gregory IX’s papal inquisition of 1233 was started because he interpreted the eucharistic miracle of 1228 “as a sign against the widespread heresies regarding the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.”

      Enjoy,

      Tim

  91. Tim, why do you celebrate Christmas? The Apostles never celebrated it. Jesus never commanded anyone to celebrate it. It was set to December 25th in the 4th century by the Catholic Church. It’s just another innovation from Rome. Besides it was set against the Winter Solstice pagan celebration. You seem to want to claim you are a purist when it comes to religion, yet I bet you keep Christmas, with the Christmas tree and Yule Logs, and Mistletoe, and all the other pagan items.

    1. Mark said:

      “Tim, why do you celebrate Christmas? The Apostles never celebrated it. Jesus never commanded anyone to celebrate it. It was set to December 25th in the 4th century by the Catholic Church. It’s just another innovation from Rome. Besides it was set against the Winter Solstice pagan celebration. You seem to want to claim you are a purist when it comes to religion, yet I bet you keep Christmas, with the Christmas tree and Yule Logs, and Mistletoe, and all the other pagan items.”

      I can answer it for you. It is because Tim (and other presbyterians and independents) don’t believe in the regulative principle of worship, but rather they subscribe to the normative principle of worship.

      In the regulative principle, we only worship God according to what He has commanded in the Scriptures. In the normative principle, they worship God whatever their imagination permits. Some will be more conservative in their worship (e.g., they might allow an organ or piano in the church service, but they would not allow a rock band. Others might feel God wants the rock band, but not the organ) while others are more liberal. The reformers taught the regulative principle, and so they removed all the organs from the churches in Scotland and England (and parts of Ireland) and instituted exclusive psalmody without the accompaniment of instruments.

      After the restoration settlement (1660) that all changed, and the Killing Times started to remove all Covenanter history forever (or as much as they could). The Romish normative principle came back in and they reinstalled Christmas and other Roman Catholic traditions to “tolerate” all sects and religions. Here is a brief (not very good) summary.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Killing_Time

      This is another more secular summary:

      http://bcw-project.org/church-and-state/the-restoration/restoration-settlement

      “The predominance of conservative Anglicans and Royalists in the Cavalier Parliament ruled out any prospect of a lasting reconciliation with the Presbyterians in a broadly based national church. After restoring bishops to the House of Lords, Parliament set about passing a series of measures to ensure conformity to the doctrines of the Church of England and to discourage Presbyterians and the radical sects. The Restoration religious settlement comprised four acts of Parliament known collectively as the Clarendon Code. The name was derived from Sir Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, who served as Charles II’s lord chancellor—though Clarendon was not the chief instigator of the acts and even argued against some of the more severe requirements.”

      1. I see. So it is OK to accept some of the teachings of Pagan Rome (i.e. the Beast of Revelation, the whore of Babylon) including Christmas celebration, Sunday worship, and the Trinity, but only those things that you want to believe.

        Some groups reject these teachings because they aren’t of Apostolic origin. Seems kind of arbitrary.

        Who’s interpretation of the Bible do we believe? Well, I believe the interpretation that comes from the Church who gave us the Bible, the Catholic Church.

  92. Mark asked ” Why does it matter to you” Mark, the question should be, why does it matter to you? If you don’t know what they are, ( which you dont, because you ask 10 Catholic apologists , you get 15 different answers.) then what good is it. Hey, it’s like saying, I have a smart t brother , but when you get in trouble on your homework he can’t figure out what part of his brain the information is in. So what does Mark do when he wants to know something. He becomes a Protestant. A fallible person with and infallible bible, figuring it out like the rest of us. Mark, what history shows is the only thing Rome is infallible at is being fallible.

  93. Mark, you will like these Roman Catholic inspired acts to outlaw Covenanter preaching forever in England and establish firmly the Roman Catholic re-establishment in England. I know most of the Presbyterians, such as those with Tim’s denomination, really liked the changes so they could reject the NC and SLC in favor of the “reforms” below:

    http://bcw-project.org/church-and-state/the-restoration/restoration-settlement

    “The Corporation Act of 1661 required all office holders in towns and cities to take oaths of allegiance to the Crown, to renounce the Solemn League and Covenant and to take the sacrament in accordance with the doctrines of the Church of England.

    The Act of Uniformity of 1662 brought all ordained clergymen under the doctrines and liturgy of the established Church. Candidates for the ministry had to be ordained by a bishop according to the rites of the Church of England. They were required to renounce the Solemn League and Covenant and to declare their acceptance of the revised Book of Common Prayer and all doctrinal articles sanctioned by the Church. Hundreds of Presbyterian and non-conformist clergymen were ejected from their livings on St Bartholomew’s Day (24 August) 1662 for refusing to comply with the Act of Uniformity.

    The Conventicle Act of 1664 was intended to prevent clergymen ejected by the Act of Uniformity from forming their own congregations. Fines or imprisonment were imposed upon anyone attending an independent prayer meeting or act of worship (“conventicle”) that was not in accordance with the Anglican liturgy.

    Similarly, the Five-Mile Act of 1665 was intended to curb the influence of dissenting clergymen by prohibiting them from residing within five miles of any living they had held before the Act was passed. Furthermore, they were required to take an oath of non-resistance to royal authority before accepting any appointment as tutor or schoolmaster.

    Charles II was more tolerant than the Cavalier Parliament in matters of religion and tried to modify some of the harsher legislation in favour of dissenters and Catholics. This led to increasing disharmony between Crown and Parliament as his reign proceeded.”

  94. I have had time for only one response today and that was to Tim on Mary. Some others have addressed comments or questions to me that I cannot get to today. Hopefully, this weekend.

  95. Mark said ” the problem with your theories is that it does not refute historical truth.” This statement is why I thank God he has led me to the Reformed faith, the gospel of scripture. The one thing that drew me to Out of His mouth is that the articles here are an attempt to put truth is careful historical context. As I have looked at doctrines put in this context, what has become clear, very clear, is the absolute lies that Roman Catholicism was built on. And we know who is the Father of all lies. Here is how your statement should read , the problem with the ” theories” of Roman Catholicism is that they are refuted by the historical truth presented here. There I fixed it for you. K

  96. ” let’s remember there have been millions of people who have lived and die and not sinned” ” For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Mark, do you realize that the law requires perfect perpetual personal obedience. God isn’t like our earthly father. He doesn’t relent. In the day you eat you shall die. Paul said he was blameless before the law, nevertheless he regarded all his righteouness as dung. Not his sin, his righteouness. Galatians 3:10 cursed is anyone who does not abide in ALL things written in the book of the law. Paul put all his righteouness in one column and God’s that comes by faith in the other. To break the law in one thing is to break the whole law. Jesus is the only sinless man that lived on this earth. Rome conflated the law and gospel, thinking the gospel was the enabling of a person to become righteous by obedience and compensation for their lack, not understanding the law requires perfection. Jesus is a softer Moses with an easier law, He lived the law in our place and fulfilled all righteouness. K

  97. “To break the law in one thing is to break the whole law. Jesus is the only sinless man that lived on this earth. ”

    What about all the infants who died before the age of reason, in childbirth, or who were aborted? Did they sin?
    What about the mentally handicapped people who do not know right from wrong. Did they sin?

  98. ” what about all the babies who died before the age of reason . ……….. We are sinners by hereditary right. David said he was conceived in sin in his mother’s womb. Ephesians says we are by nature children of wrath. Romans 5:12-19 describes how all men die in Adam. Death is the wages of sin. Babies die.

  99. Mark–

    Since Scripture is quite clear that all have sinned and fallen short, infants and the mentally handicapped have either sinned or are irrelevant to the argument.

    1. “Since Scripture is quite clear that all have sinned and fallen short.”
      Really? Are you claiming that Jesus sinned? I mean, if you take this literally, then that would include Jesus. After all, according to you, all means all.

    2. Hi Hans,
      You said: “Since Scripture is quite clear that all have sinned and fallen short, infants and the mentally handicapped have either sinned or are irrelevant to the argument.” What does your “ecclesial authority” tell you? I already asked you the same question on 9/29 and since it is relevant here I am repeating it to you today.
      God bless you.

  100. Mark–

    Who’s biblical interpretation are we supposed to believe? I say let’s go with the church who gave us the Bible, plus seven extra books, plus a ton of (imaginary) supposedly Apostolic oral teachings. Or alternatively, we could go with the Mormons, who gave us a new translation of the Bible, plus the Book of Mormon, plus the Doctrines and Covenants, plus the Pearl of Great Price.

    (By the way, the Presbyterian Church in the USA is NOT Presbyterian. They don’t subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith in any meaningful sense. Nor is it really appropriate to speak of them as Protestant or even Christian. We might as well speak of those great “Catholic” theologians: Martin Luther, John Calvin, Michael Servetus, and Fausto Sozzini!)

    1. Definitely not the Mormons since they were started by Joseph Smith in 1830. Nor the Presbyterians, who were founded by John Knox in 1560. I’ll stick with the Catholic Church founded by Jesus in 33 AD.

  101. Phil–

    I assume you need not consult the magisterium to determine that Christ rose from the dead. Hopefully, Romans 3:23 is similarly clear enough, even for you. At the very least, we should be able to agree that everyone in general is sinful. We both would exempt Jesus, and you would exempt Mary, as well (not on the basis of Scripture, but of Tradition).

    Either the immature and the incapacitated are likewise sinful, or they are not in view. I don’t see how there can be another logical option.

    Confessional Protestants confine themselves to biblical interpretations which are in line with the major confessions. The Reformed subscribe either to the Westminster Confession of Faith or to the Three Forms of Unity (the Canons of Dordt, the Belgic Confession, and the Heidelberg Catechism). Anglicans follow the 39 Articles, and Lutherans, the Augsburg Confession. The differences are minimal, in my opinion.

    At any rate, believers are NOT free to interpret as they please but are under ecclesial (creedal) authority, just as you are hemmed in by the interpretations of the Catechism of the Council of Trent and by the current Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    The “church invisible” is not particularly something held just by Protestants. It lines up more or less with the RC concept of the Church Triumphant. The Church Militant is a visible/mixed entity for both Catholics and Protestants. (We don’t speak of a Church Penitent since we don’t share your belief in Purgatory.)

  102. Mark said:

    “I see. So it is OK to accept some of the teachings of Pagan Rome (i.e. the Beast of Revelation, the whore of Babylon) including Christmas celebration, Sunday worship, and the Trinity, but only those things that you want to believe.

    Some groups reject these teachings because they aren’t of Apostolic origin. Seems kind of arbitrary.

    Who’s interpretation of the Bible do we believe? Well, I believe the interpretation that comes from the Church who gave us the Bible, the Catholic Church.”

    True Reformed Presbyterians and Covenanters do not follow Christmas, Easter and other Romish holy days. Yes, the rest are arbitrary in their worship and celebrations.

    We believe in God’s interpretation of the bible as is clear in our confession. We use Scripture to interpret Scripture which is called the literal sense method. Most use the literal method where they interpret literally what each word or verse says, while we use the literal sense method. We look to Pastors, teaching elders, ruling elders and church courts to interpret faithfully the Scriptures. However, we are each personally required to compare their rulings and teachings with Scripture to see if those things are true.

    It was this protestant concept that forced me to reject my Catholic upbringing where my family did not want me to study anything except Roman Catholic teaching. I had to go against their wishes after I found out what the Catholic church did to my mom one day. After that I started digging into the Scriptures to see if what Rome was teaching was true, and slowly I began to be convinced she was ruled by antichrist, and that is when I really started to change.

    In reading your comments and posts on this blog, I can see how blind Roman Catholics can become when they refuse to look at anything except what the Pope and Catholic Church teaches. Your comments have really reassured me that the evil the church did against my mom was a blessing for me, otherwise, I would be much like you. Totally blind faith in the Romish church.

    1. Yet you also accept the New Testament that the Catholic Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, assembled together. The New Testament is a collection of books written by Catholics for Catholics.

      Nothing the Catholic Church teaches is contradicted in scripture. Not one thing. If you can find ONE thing, then I will leave the Catholic Church.

      What about the Nicene-Constantinopalitan Creed. Do you accept that? Do you believe that Jesus is consubstantial with the Father?

  103. Mark said:

    “What about all the infants who died before the age of reason, in childbirth, or who were aborted? Did they sin?
    What about the mentally handicapped people who do not know right from wrong. Did they sin?”

    There is no such doctrine in Scripture called age of reason. That is a Roman Catholic doctrine that I had to learn about and was one of the key doctrines the reformers taught against. Today almost all Protestant churches teach this doctrine on age of reason. Rome is very effective!

    1. Walt said, “There is no such doctrine in Scripture called age of reason.”

      So, you believe and practice infant baptism? Adult-only baptism assumes that one is capable of making a decision to accept Christ so that assumes that children shouldn’t be baptized until they are capable of making that decision.
      My head hurts thinking about all the variations and confusion in the Protestant world over essential points of salvation.

  104. ” and he kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son, and he called His name Jesus.” Mathew 1: 25. This clearly teaches that after the birth of her ” firstborn” ( the Jewish idiom for others to follow) Joseph and Mary had normal relations and other children.

  105. Mark wrote:

    “So, you believe and practice infant baptism? ”

    Yes, of course. All reformed taught infant baptism. It is the heresy of the Anabaptist who created believer only baptism after the age of reason. They used the same Romish doctrine and required all to be baptized upon belief only.

    The reformed teaching on infant baptism has nothing to do with the way Rome teaches infant baptism.

    1. Everybody listen up! Walt says believer only baptism is WRONG! Seems Tim has the same position as you? Is he a true reformed Presbyterian?

  106. Mark said:

    “My head hurts thinking about all the variations and confusion in the Protestant world over essential points of salvation.”

    Actually, you will be happy to know that almost all reformed doctrines have been purged from the original reformed protestant church, and has been substituted by Roman Catholic traditions in worship, government, discipline and salvation. If you study Ordo Salutis the true reformed Calvinist teaching is only subscribed by a very small remnant in the visible universal catholic church. The rest adhere closely to the Roman Catholic teachings so rest assured you will be getting a lot more former “protestants” joining the Romish church. My hope is they read Tim’s blog and articles before they jump in your camp, but it is unlikely.

  107. Mark wrote:

    “Yet you also accept the New Testament that the Catholic Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, assembled together. The New Testament is a collection of books written by Catholics for Catholics.

    Nothing the Catholic Church teaches is contradicted in scripture. Not one thing. If you can find ONE thing, then I will leave the Catholic Church.”

    Mark, we know that is a false testimony. We could show you a hundred errors taught by Rome, and you would never leave.

    Fortunately, Tim will be publishing an article soon showing where the real manuscripts of the majority new testament texts went after the first century. They did not go to Jerome.

    1. Walt, I just asked you to show me one. No Protestant has ever been able to name a Catholic teaching and then show me a verse that contradicts that teaching. Can YOU be the first?

  108. Mark wrote:

    “Everybody listen up! Walt says believer only baptism is WRONG! Seems Tim has the same position as you? Is he a true reformed Presbyterian?”

    Yes, believer only baptism is wrong.

    Tim is Presbyterian, but not a strict subscriptionist and does not hold to the true reformed teachings of presbyterians during the first and second reformations. But this is common among presbyterians today…very few adhere to the six terms of communion that our forefathers adopted and subscribed.

  109. Mark wrote:

    “Walt, I just asked you to show me one. No Protestant has ever been able to name a Catholic teaching and then show me a verse that contradicts that teaching. Can YOU be the first?”

    “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”

    No mention of Priests, Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals or Popes.

    1. The word Bible isn’t in the Bible either. Neither is “reformed”. Nor is the word Trinity. Or the Hypostatic Union.

      This isn’t a contradiction.

      1. Mark, you already hold to a world view that doesn’t allow you to see Rome as even being capable of contradicting itself. It’s deemed impossible for her err, therefore, you aren’t able to see the contradictions even though they are staring you right in the face. You’ve already ruled out the possibility of there being one, before you are presented one. Countless millions have seen them, and left Rome. I guess they are all the unfortunate ones of being improperly catechized.

  110. Mark, Walt just showed you in the most convincing way. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers. No popes, priests, cardinals etc. Incidentally, to add to what Walt said, the word for priest is hierus. It is used 400 times in the OT. Never used in the NT. We have the power of an indestructible life. No more need for priests that die. OT sacrifices couldn’t save anyone, and neither can your mass sacrifice. Only Christ in us the hope of glory. Notice Paul doesn’t say Christ in bread the hope of Glory. Ephesians 1: 13 ” in Him, after LISTENING to the message of truth , the gospel of your salvation, having also BELIEVED, we’re sealed with Holy Spirit of promise.” The gospel is heard and believed Mark. We have Christ in us, and he Intercede for us. No NT priests, except we are God’s cleras, clergy.

  111. Mark said:

    “I said name a Catholic doctrine then show me a scripture that contradicts it. You haven’t done that.”

    It is not what you said Mark. You are not here to be serious. You are here to play mind games. Just read all your posts as they are filled with playing mind games.

    You asked, “No Protestant has ever been able to name a Catholic teaching and then show me a verse that contradicts that teaching.”

    I showed your false Catholic teaching on just the basics in the Christian church…which is how teachers and elders are given by God for the good of His church. Rome ignores Scripture, and instead has instituted a false and antichristian (old testament inspired) system of priest, bishops, archbishops, cardinals and pope’s.

    All these men are forbidden marriage which is referenced in 1Tim.4:3 as another evil practice and doctrine promoted by Rome. I told you I could go on forever listing all the errors and devilish doctrines promoted and taught by Rome, but you don’t care. You are in love with mother Rome no matter what she does that is evil.

    Matthew Poole marks the verse well who it speaks of both in forbidding to marry, as well as abstain from meats…as we could only eat fish on Friday’s and no meat. STRANGE FIRE!

    “Forbidding to marry: the Greek is, hindering to marry, but that might be by forbidding it by a law under a severe penalty. There are great disputes whom the apostle speaketh of, to find out which it is considerable:

    1. That the apostle speaketh of a time that was then to come;

    2. Of some who had it in their power to hinder it:

    which will make the prophecy hardly applicable to any but the Romish synagogue, to be sure, not so applicable; for though there were some persons before them that condemned marriages, yet as they were but a small, inconsiderable party, so they were persons that had no power to hinder marriage by any penal laws, nor any that did it in such hypocrisy under a pretence of piety, when he who runs may read that they do it to maintain the grandeur of their ecclesiastical hierarchy. How applicable therefore soever this might be to the Ebionites, and those that followed Saturninus and Marcion, and the Encratitae, (which the papists contend for), it certainly more nearly concerns the papists themselves, who more universally forbade them to their clergy, and were the first that had a power to hinder them, and fell into much later times than any of the others.

    And commanding to abstain from meats; to abstain from some meats; and this also they should teach in hypocrisy, i.e. under a pretence of piety. This every whit as well agrees to the Romish synagogue as the other, whose prohibitions of flesh are sufficiently known. Mr. Mede is very confident that the Holy Ghost doth here describe the popish monks, and those that gave rules to those orders.”

    1. “It is not what you said Mark. ”

      YES, it is what I said. You even quoted it.

      “No Protestant has ever been able to name a Catholic teaching and then show me a verse that contradicts that teaching.”

      So you quoted 1 Tim. 4:3. First, do you know that there are married priests, right? Also, marriage is one of the 7 sacraments, right? Secondly, nobody is forbidden to marry. If marriage is your calling, you can certainly marry! However, Jesus says that not marrying is better than being married. (Matthew 19:5-12). The question really is, why doesn’t your ecclesial community have celibate ministers!?

      And then you made some connection to not eating meat on Fridays with 1 Tim 4:3. . The Church doesn’t forbid eating meats. There were gnostic dualists who did that, but the Catholic Church doesn’t.
      Hope that helps.

  112. Mark said:

    “Secondly, nobody is forbidden to marry.”

    Interesting. So what I was told as a Catholic was a lie. The lies just continue and continue with you guys. I was told I had to take a vow of celibacy not to marry to be a priest. It was all lies, as I now found out from you that there is no such vow required by those Roman Catholic Priests. Thank you for proving to me again nobody in Rome knows what is being taught to her flock.

    1. Taking a vow of celibacy is not the same as forbidding to marry.
      The discipline of not eating meat on Fridays is not the same as forbidding to marry.

      The context of that verse is defending against the gnostic dualist heretics.

      Context, context, context. A text without a context is just a pretext for your anti-Catholic rhetoric.

      1. Mark said: “Taking a vow of celibacy is not the same as forbidding to marry.”

        It most certainly is…you are master at twisting words. The Scripture is clear who is antichrist and this idea of anti-Catholic stuff is for the birds. Look at the enormous damage the Catholic church has done to billions of people over the centuries, and the incredible soul murder. Being the antichrist religion is a very serious matter.

        Tim has documented intensely what Rome has done to deceive millions. It is guys like you Mark how twist the words to mean what you want the flock to mean.

  113. Mark said:

    “The Church doesn’t forbid eating meats.”

    Again, another lie I was told in Catholic school. We could not eat meat on Fridays, and even in the cafeteria we were served only fish on Fridays. What is it about this lying stuff?

    It has to stop someday soon. A lot of your followers are deceived into thinking these lies being taught to children.

  114. Your a mind game player Mark. It is crystal clear.

    You said give you a Roman Catholic “teaching” and it is exactly what I gave you, and then rather than admit that the “teaching” by Rome in its government is not found anywhere in Scripture, and violates the verse I provided, you twist it into the same old argument that says the word bible is not found in the bible.

    Then I give you two more verses where clearly everyone knows that priests are forbidden to marry by a taking a vow of celibacy, also Catholic nuns must take a vow of celibacy, and we all know meats are forbidden to be eaten on Friday in all the Catholic schools, but again you twist it again.

  115. Mark–

    Abstaining from eating meat is part of Catholic canon law for Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays in Lent. And it is indeed obligatory. Furthermore, fasting is required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. As for Fridays during the remainder of the year, it is true that alternatives exist to the general prohibition.

  116. Tim Kauffman,
    Why do you think Catholics pour over the early Fathers as you do the scriptures to “prove” doctrines? I find it interesting that you put seemingly more emphasis on the early Church than you do your own Bible. Is that something your church has taught you or something you feel is just important to clarify your own faith. The early Church Fathers were Catholic. Through and through. We both agree that their writings aren’t theopneustos but for some reason you come across as though they are. Are they theopneustos to you? If not, why do you place such a high importance on them?

    It is only the Catholic Church, whom these men were part of, that can teach what is truth and what is not.
    Do you think YOU have truth? Why or why not?

  117. Mark–

    In general, the Protestant complaint is NOT that RC doctrines conflict with Scripture. It is that they are often built on concepts which do not APPEAR in Scripture: penance, purgatory, the Assumption, the Immaculate Conception, hyperdulia, etc.

    There are a few minor conflicts. Mary clearly sins in Scripture. Bishops cannot be prohibited from marrying (1 Timothy 3:2). The proclamation that eating meat that has the blood still in it or meat that has been strangled is off limits (Acts 15) was later abrogated by Rome (though it was kept in the East). Also, justification by faith and works runs contrary to Scripture. (Not only is this manifestly clear, but JBFA is essential to any fair reading of the gospel.)

    There aren’t a whole lot of these, however. It’s not one of Rome’s principal errors.

  118. Hans, thanks. I asked for one Catholic teaching that is contradicted by a specific scripture. The only specific scripture you gave was 1 Tim 3:2 saying that this contradicted the discipline that Bishops are not allowed to marry. One, Bishops or priests aren’t prohibited from marrying. If they want to renounce their vows and then become a lay person and marry, they are allowed. It isn’t prohibited.

    Moreover, the scripture you cited says, “married only once.” This actually supports celibacy. Those married men who became priests in the early church were expected to practice continence. Since this passage isn’t talking about polygamy, the only alternative is that if a man were married after his wife died, he isn’t seeking to live a continent life, and therefore cannot attain the Bishopric.

    To this day, in the East and the West, only unmarried men can become Bishops. Thanks for helping me explain truth!

  119. Hans wrote:

    “In general, the Protestant complaint is NOT that RC doctrines conflict with Scripture. It is that they are often built on concepts which do not APPEAR in Scripture: penance, purgatory, the Assumption, the Immaculate Conception, hyperdulia, etc.”

    In addition to the excellent article written by Tim above which details out many of the false doctrines taught by Rome, here is an equally impressive list put out by the reformers in the first reformation. It is a NATIONAL COVENANT where the entire nation of Scotland protested against the Romish Antichrist.

    This should be required reading for ALL Roman Catholic school children in their history class. I was never taught any of this in Catholic School, but should have been taught that an entire NATION was testifying against the Roman religion.

    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/National_Covenant_of_the_Church_of_Scotland

    National Covenant of the Church of Scotland (1581)

    “…To the which Confession and Form of Religion we willingly agree in our conscience in all points, as unto God’s undoubted truth and verity, grounded only upon his written word.

    And therefore we abhor and detest all contrary religion and doctrine;

    but chiefly all kind of Papistry in general and particular heads, even as they are now damned and confuted by the word of God and Kirk of Scotland.

    But, in special, we detest and refuse the usurped authority of that Roman Antichrist upon the scriptures of God, upon the kirk, the civil magistrate, and consciences of men;

    all his tyrannous laws made upon indifferent things against our Christian liberty;

    his erroneous doctrine against the sufficiency of the written word, the perfection of the law, the office of Christ, and his blessed evangel;

    his corrupted doctrine concerning original sin, our natural inability and rebellion to God’s law, our justification by faith only, our imperfect sanctification and obedience to the law;

    the nature, number, and use of the holy sacraments;

    his five bastard sacraments, with all his rites, ceremonies, and false doctrine, added to the ministration of the true sacraments without the word of God;

    his cruel judgment against infants departing without the sacrament;

    his absolute necessity of baptism;

    his blasphemous opinion of transubstantiation, or real presence of Christ’s body in the elements, and receiving of the same by the wicked, or bodies of men;

    his dispensations with solemn oaths, perjuries, and degrees of marriage forbidden in the word;

    his cruelty against the innocent divorced;

    his devilish mass;

    his blasphemous priesthood;

    his profane sacrifice for sins of the dead and the quick;

    his canonization of men;

    calling upon angels or saints departed, worshipping of imagery, relicks, and crosses; dedicating of kirks, altars, days;

    vows to creatures;

    his purgatory, prayers for the dead;

    praying or speaking in a strange language, with his processions, and blasphemous litany, and multitude of advocates or mediators; his manifold orders, auricular confession;

    his desperate and uncertain repentance;

    his general and doubtsome faith;

    his satisfaction of men for their sins;

    his justification by works, opus operatum, works of supererogation, merits, pardons, peregrinations, and stations;

    his holy water, baptizing of bells, conjuring of spirits, crossing, sayning, anointing, conjuring, hallowing of God’s good creatures, with the superstitious opinion joined therewith;

    his worldly monarchy, and wicked hierarchy;

    his three solemn vows, with all his shavelings of sundry sorts;

    his erroneous and bloody decrees made at Trent, with all the subscribers or approvers of that cruel and bloody band, conjured against the kirk of God.

    And finally, we detest all his vain allegories, rites, signs, and traditions brought in the kirk, without or against the word of God, and doctrine of this true reformed kirk;

    to the which we join ourselves willingly, in doctrine, faith, religion, discipline, and use of the holy sacraments, as lively members of the same in Christ our head: promising and swearing, by the great name of the LORD our GOD, that we shall continue in the obedience of the doctrine and discipline of this kirk [The Confession which was subscribed at Halyrud-house the 25th of February 1587-8, by the King, Lennox Huntly, the Chancellor, and about 95 other persons, hath here added, “Agreeing to the word.” Sir John Maxwell of Pollock hath the original parchment.], and shall defend the same, according to our vocation and power, all the days of our lives; under the pains contained in the law, and danger both of body and soul in the day of God’s fearful judgment.

    And seeing that many are stirred up by Satan, and that Roman Antichrist, to promise, swear, subscribe, and for a time use the holy sacraments in the kirk deceitfully, against their own conscience; minding hereby,first, under the external cloak of religion, to corrupt and subvert secretly God’s true religion within the kirk; and afterward, when time may serve, to become open enemies and persecutors of the same, under vain hope of the Pope’s dispensation, devised against the word of God, to his greater confusion, and their double condemnation in the day of the Lord Jesus: we therefore, willing to take away all suspicion of hypocrisy, and of such double dealing with God, and his kirk, protest, and call the Searcher of all hearts for witness, that our minds and hearts do fully agree with this our Confession, promise, oath, and subscription: so that we are not moved with any worldly respect, but are persuaded only in our conscience, through the knowledge and love of God’s true religion imprinted in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, as we shall answer to him in the day when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed.”

  120. ” you got Kevin who expects you to usher in the reign of Christ with your next post” Mark, I can assure you that unless I am convinced by the scriptures I will believe no man. For instance I have found the refutation of claims at Called to Communion ( Confusion) on Baptismal regeneration, the history of the church, and the sacrifice of the mass, overwhelmingly convincing here. The fact that Protestants disagree on things here or on any other site doesn’t change the opportunity to engage and learn. For instance I think the reform violate their own regulative principle with infant baptism. It isn’t commanded in scripture, nor can it be deduced by good or necessary consequence imho. But that doesn’t mean I can’t learn from those who hold a different position. Mark, probably the most compelling thing for me in the last couple years is a deep study of who is antichrist. Since scripture clearly commands believers to keep ourselves from idols and false Christ’s ( if someone comes to YOU and says I am the Christ , don’t believe him”) the onus is on every person to know them when you see them. Out of His mouth is a tool to help both Catholics and Protestants to confront these questions and what scripture says about them. Just my take. K

  121. Mark said:

    “…One, Bishops or priests aren’t prohibited from marrying….”

    and then in same paragraph:

    “…To this day, in the East and the West, only unmarried men can become Bishops…”

    This is a perfect example of someone using word magic and trickery to confuse the reader. It gives me a headache.

    1. Let me give you an analogy. You are allowed to enter either a football game at the high school or a swimming tournament at the public pool from 6-7pm tonight. If you play in the football game, you can’t go swim in the swimming tournament as well. Does your choice of going to the football game prohibit you from going to the swimming tournament? Not hardly. That was YOUR CHOICE. (Maybe you don’t believe in choice?)

      Let’s say at 6:20 you decide you want to go to the swimming tournament instead. Guess what? You must take off your uniform, drive to the pool, put on your swimsuit and then compete. Most likely, your days of playing football are over.

      Make sense?

      1. Mark said: “Most likely, your days of playing football are over.”

        Exactly. And the same applies to bishops. You get married and you are gone from the priesthood. Your choice! However, like the devil himself likes to play word games and say “we don’t forbid them to marry as that would make us look evil in scripture, but if you do marry you are never going to be a bishop, cardinal or pope! Your choice but we don’t forbid it…

        …just know if you marry kiss your power hungry role as bishop goodbye!

        1. You don’t even have Biblical Bishops. lol. Crazy how you criticize the Catholic Church but reject the Bishop. Maybe you should ask Tim.

  122. Mark, that was some serious gymnastics. Again this is just another example how the Roman Catholic religion changes the word of God. Bishops are allowed to marry in scripture. To force men to live in unnatural restraint wasn’t intended by God. Have you ever considered why the Roman priesthood through history has been perversion of no comparison. Just look at the consequence of not obeying the word of God. All because Jerome was obsessed. Also, celibacy in the priesthood allowed the church to confiscate patrimony of families. No children, no passing on your posessions . Don’t you find it interesting how the RC religion managed to pillage people for money. Selling masses and indulgences , and then taking that selling into purgatory. How clever is Satan. Remove assurance, call it presumption, and then tell the people they can buy their way into heaven. Tell priests they can’t marry, so they leave their patrimony to the church. Go gave men the opportunity to go swimming or to play football. Peter was married. Certainly Rome forbids marriage and tells me they must abstain from foods.

  123. Mark–

    Sorry. Forgot they don’t teach Catholics much Scripture! (j/k)

    The first one is Mark 3:21 and 31. The Greek phrase “hoi par’ autou” is somewhat obscure, but the chiastic structure of verses 20-35, make it clear the Evangelist is speaking of Jesus’ family, including his mother. My guess is that Mary’s thinking her son is “out of his mind” might ought to be considered a sin.

    You really didn’t answer the second one–1 Timothy 3:2–unless you consider sheer sophistry a response (as Walt pointed out).

    The third one is Acts 15:20. This one I won’t hold against you since Protestantism has more or less abrogated the conciliar ruling, as well. Not sure on what basis.

    The last one is Romans 3:28. I know you don’t accept our take on it, but for the life of me, I cannot follow the convoluted “logic” required to negate it.

    1. It is you who is doing mental gymnastics on Mark 3:21. Not a contradiction.

      I answered 1 Tim 3:2 but you didn’t like the answer. Not a contradiction.

      Acts 15:20. Not eating blood was part of the Mosaic law which is no longer in effect. Gentiles were told to abstain so they wouldn’t be a stumbling block to Jews. Not a contradiction.

      Romans 3:28. This verse does not say “faith alone” although Luther actually wrote the word “alone’ into his Bible. One is justified by faith, apart from works of law. You can’t keep the Mosaic law and then demand that God give you salvation as payment. It doesn’t work that way. Not a contradiction.

  124. Kevin–

    There’s nothing necessarily “unnatural” about celibacy. Paul encouraged it for those so gifted and so should we. In numerous times and places, having a son in the priesthood was an economic and social advantage, not only for the priest himself but for the rest of his family. The only thing unbiblical in Catholic practice is its obligatory nature.

    Good point about assurance. Catholics haven’t removed it though, simply put stricter boundaries on the levels permitted. How much is too much? They won’t say. Just that the Reformed have too much. This in spite of the fact that a few Catholic saints have been given the grace of the total assurance of final perseverance (through private divine revelation) at some space BEFORE death. (I guess they were just too saintly to be negatively affected by presumption!)

    1. Hi Hans,
      Thank you for your comments. I am sorry to interject my comment here, but I don’t know if you got my answer to you amid all this clatter. I get lost in it.
      In Rom 3:23 Paul is talking about “the righteousness of God” being revealed to “all who believe”, Jew and Gentile, through faith apart from the Law. They “all” need it, because “all” have sinned. An to emphasize the point he quotes sinfulness in the OT mostly Ps 14. Is the “all” in Ps 14 the same as in Rom 3:23? No. They are “the workers of iniquity” Ps 14:4 as opposed to the “generation of the righteous” Ps 14:5. The “immature and the incapacitated” are not included there.
      To prove this point, now, let’s take a look at Rom 5:18 where the “all” Paul is talking about is Adam’s descendants. It is obvious that the “immature and the incapacitated” are included here.
      God bless you.

  125. Mark said ” not everything has to be written down.” Isn’t it great, endless possibilities. It matters not that the bible says , f anyone adds or subtracts from these words, God will add plagues and cut one off. Jude says ” the faith once and for all delivered.” Or scripture says we are complete in Christ having ALL things pertaining to life and Godliness. Thank God the Reformers came and unpiled all the rubbish piled on the cross, and rescued the Apostles and the early church from hair splitting academics who changed the word of God.

  126. Hans, I think maybe you missed my point. I agree there are men who are so in condition not to be married. But Paul says it is better to marry than to burn. Iow, if you are going to sin, dont, get married. Celibacy isn’t a piece of paper you sign, it’s a condition of your body. And yes, Catholic priests have been forced to live in unatural restraint imho. We should pray for these men. Many lonely, hearing the personal sins of others. What does one expect when faced with temptation of this order. And another thing that Christians don’t realize, if these men are preaching a false gospel, and they are, then they are not saved. And if they are not saved, then they don’t have the Spirit of self control. If the priests scandals should tell us anything, it is that most of these men are unregenerate. These men need our prayers as well as the gospel of scripture. Look no further that JP 2. 26 years in that position , never knowing the truth. One cardinal said we prayed for him now we are going to pray to him. He died with a twisted crucifix in his hand and the words in Latin ” I’m all yours Mary” Before he died he committed his life and the whole church into the hands of Mary. Hans, our hearts should break for all those caught up in this evil false system. Elect for sure there are in that church, but I think you put it best, a rat infested ship. We must encourage them to repent of their goodness and believe in the gospel Mark 1 : 15. Hope you and the kids are well. K

    1. It is Jesus who said that celibacy is a better state than marriage. So, it is Biblical. Both Jesus and Paul were celibate. Paul says that if you are married you are concerned about the world. “An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and he is divided.

      Celibacy was the practice from time of the Apostles.
      It is a shame that Protestants don’t embrace celibacy like the early Church did. There is no mandate in the Bible that a priest/pastor needs to be married.
      Celibate priests is NOT a dogma of the Church, but a discipline. It could change in the future, but I seriously doubt it. Hope that helps.

  127. Mark, yet Peter is your rock and pope and he was married. You better get a new rock. If it is better to be single, why does scripture say the Bishop is to be the husband of one wife. If history has proved anything it is men forced to live in a way God never intended them has had 2 consequence . 1. rampant sexual sin and pedophilia. 2. The enrichment of the Catholic church.

    1. Peter practiced continence when he became a priest.
      I’ve already explained “husband of one wife”. It actually supports celibacy when you understand why Paul wrote this.
      If a pastor MUST be married, then what happens to a Protestant pastor who’s wife dies. Is he no longer an elder? The Bible says he must be married, right? Some churches remove that man from ministry until he is married again. Is that your position? Why or why not?

  128. Husband of 1 wife supports celibacy. The next thing you might tell us is that “Christ in you the hope of glory” means Christ in bread the hope of glory. Mark I must admit the apologetic gymnastics and sophistry parallels the best in your church. Good means evil and evil means good. Where have I heard that. K

  129. Mark, does it not also seem that Jesus is saying that celibacy will actually be a hallmark of the kingdom. And yet it is not found in Protestantism. In fact, counter to the words of Christ, it is actually frowned upon and even used as a bludgeon against the Catholic Church.

    “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom it is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. WHOEVER CAN ACCEPT THIS SHOULD ACCEPT IT ” (Matt. 19:11–12).

    1. Rocky, absolutely! Jesus is saying that celibacy is better than marriage. You NEVER hear that in Protestant communities. In fact, good luck getting ordained an elder unless you are married. They think something is mentally wrong with you if you aren’t married.

      1. When you have such illustrious personalities as Clement, Athanasius and Cyril testifying of married bishops in the third and early-mid 4th centuries, we have to wonder why an allegedly “apostolic” teaching was being so callously ignored for so long—even since the days of the apostles.

        Clement of Alexandria said of those who would reject marriage, that they ought well reject the apostles with it!:

        “Clement [of Alexandria], indeed, whose words we have just quoted, after the above-mentioned facts gives a statement, on account of those who rejected marriage, of the apostles that had wives. ‘Or will they,’ says he, ‘reject even the apostles? For Peter and Philip begot children; and Philip also gave his daughters in marriage. And Paul does not hesitate, in one of his epistles, to greet his wife, whom he did not take about with him, that he might not be inconvenienced in his ministry.'” (Eusebius, Church History, Book III, Chapter 30)

        Cyril of Jerusalem wrote, suggesting that it was perfectly normal for “a priest of Jesus” to beget children “according to the course of marriage”:

        “For it became Him who is most pure, and a teacher of purity, to have come forth from a pure bride-chamber. For if he who well fulfils the office of a priest of Jesus abstains from a wife, how should Jesus Himself be born of man and woman? For thou, says He in the Psalms, art He that took Me out of the womb. Mark that carefully, He that took Me out of the womb, signifying that He was begotten without man, being taken from a virgin’s womb and flesh. For the manner is different with those who are begotten according to the course of marriage.” (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, Lecture 12.25)

        Athanasius, writing to Dracontius, pleads the case that it is perfectly normal for bishops to marry and have children:

        “So take these as an example, beloved Dracontius, and do not say, or believe those who say, that the bishop’s office is an occasion of sin, nor that it gives rise to temptations to sin. For it is possible for you also as a bishop to hunger and thirst, as Paul did. You can drink no wine, like Timothy, and fast constantly too, like Paul, in order that thus fasting after his example you may feast others with your words, and while thirsting for lack of drink, water others by teaching. Let not your advisers, then, allege these things. For we know both bishops who fast, and monks who eat. We know bishops who drink no wine, as well as monks who do. We know bishops who work wonders, as well as monks who do not. Many also of the bishops have not even married, while monks have been fathers of children; just as conversely we know bishops who are fathers of children and monks ‘of the completest kind. ‘ And again, we know clergy who suffer hunger, and monks who fast. For it is possible in the latter way, and not forbidden in the former. But let a man, wherever he is, strive earnestly; for the crown is given not according to position, but according to action.” (Athanasius of Alexandria, Letter 49, paragraph 9)

        So let’s see. There were calls for clerical celibacy at the first Ecumenical Council of Nicæa, but they were rejected. Clement, Athanasius and Cyril all testify of married clergy. It looks like it was very much a matter of personal prerogative, but certainly not forbidden canonically or ecumenically.

        So when did Roman Catholicism suddenly realize that mandatory clerical celibacy was both indispensable and apostolic? Does anyone want to guess? I’ll let the Roman Apologist explain it himself.

        Reading now from the Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy, by Christian Cochini. Listen as he waxes sophistical to determine that it is quite reasonable indeed to look to the late 4th century for all things apostolic!

        “The four documents of the late 4th century we have studied pose the problem that started our research: does the discipline of ecclesiastical celibacy, such as that expressed in the first legislative texts making it known to us, go back to the time of the apostles? The second canon of the Council of Carthage in 390 and the three decretals (Directa, Cum in unum, and Dominum inter) originated from the highest men in the Church using their authority in a collegial framework. Three of these documents come from episcopal synods gathering the representatives of many dioceses; the decisions they made are in communion with the Bishop of Rome and thus partake of the authority that is proper to the college of apostles united to its head. Though they do not have the authority of an ecumenical council’s decisions, they are nonetheless an act of government committing the Magisterium of the Church in its highest forms. One should not underestimate a priori the value of such documents. … We will therefore choose the late 4th century as our chronological basis for inquiry on the birth and development of the law on Clerical celibacy rather than the year 325, the date of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicæa. This [Nicæa] was a watershed in the life of the Church granted from then on Constantinian peace and the possibility of overt organization; however, it [Nicæa] does not represent—in our field of study—a sufficiently clear landmark. The documents of the years 380 and 390 clarify for the first time in the history of the Church, as far as we are concerned, the Church’s precise discipline with respect to clerical continence by simultaneously showing its scriptural and traditional motivations. Is such a discipline, as we are told, as old as the Church? In his research about the development of doctrine, Newman did not hesitate to lay down as a principle: ‘The whole question boils down to whether we can faithfully be guided by the strong light coming from the 4th and 5th centuries in order to explore the still pale, though sharp, outlines of previous centuries.’ It seems to us that we too can attempt to look into time with the help of that light.”(Cochini, Christian, Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press (1981))16-17)

        That makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? If you want to know what the Apostles clearly taught, just look at the late 4th century.

        Yes, that is exactly the problem. The late 4th century is as far back as Rome can trace her novelties.

        Tim

        1. As you know Tim, priestly celibacy isn’t dogma but a discipline. I am not going to spend time debating the Fathers on this. However, to claim Paul was married is just really out there. You might as well say Jesus was married and had children with Mary Magdalene (remember the da Vinci code?

          I know that you want to make the late third century this GREAT APOSTASY, but it never happened. Did you ever read the book I recommended?

          Also, you do realize that the Church doesn’t consider the writing of the early Fathers, even Popes, as dogma? Not all of them got everything right all the time. But how can we know what is truth? The Church. How do we know Mary was sinless? Because the Church dogmatically declared that it was part of the Apostolic deposit of faith. We have an infallible authority that Jesus gave to us. You obviously don’t agree with that and that is why you have set up this anti-Catholic blog.

          Looking forward to you showing us where the true church is today!

          1. Mark, you wrote,

            “I know that you want to make the late third century this GREAT APOSTASY, …”

            I have never claimed any such thing.

            Thanks,

            Tim

  130. Mark and Rocky–

    Nothing in Protestantism discourages celibacy. We simply discourage coercion.

    And it is disingenuous to speak of it as discipline rather than dogma. For the huge majority of priests it is obligatory. Yes, there are Anglican priests who are allowed to remain married as they come into communion with Rome. And Eastern-rite priests are exempt. But the cold, hard fact is that, in general, Rome REQUIRES its priests to be celibate. So quit with the smoke screen. It displays a lack of integrity.

    1. Hans, you show little knowledge of Protestantism or Catholicism. I guess because you don’t consider yourself either and probably consider Protestants who don’t agree with you the daughters of the whore of Babylon. I don’t know, maybe. Revelation talks about the daughters too.

      Everything in Protestantism discourages celibacy.

      Now you are waffling on it is obligatory for some and not others in Catholicism. You do realize it was the gnostics who forbid everyone to marry, not just priests. Do you know that?

      No priest has to become a priest and take a vow of celibacy. They have a discernment period and some actually leave their formation studies to get married! And if, at some later point, a priest thinks he has chosen the wrong path, then there is a process for him to be laitized so that he can marry.

  131. Mark–

    1. If I were indeed employing “mental gymnastics” in exegeting Mark 3:21, then it should be easy enough to refute what I had to say. Give it a go.

    2. So, it is your contention that “the husband of but one wife” can only refer to widower bishops being barred from remarrying? Care to walk that one back?

    3. The Mosaic Law was no longer in effect from before the convening of the Jerusalem Council. And for that matter, we still have Jews (including many Messianic Jews, who believe in Jesus) to whom non-compliance with Torah could be a stumbling block. In essence, you’re admitting to me that this verse conflicts with current Catholic dogma but that it is covered under valid “development of doctrine.” Fine and good, but it still conflicts.

    4. I can only assume that you’re not familiar with the process of translation. Words are often “added” because there is not a one-to-one correspondence between languages syntactically and lexically. It used to be that King James Bibles were printed with these added words placed in italics so that everyone could be aware of their occurence.

    Joseph Fitzmyer, an eminent Catholic NT scholar, has documented that Luther was well within his rights as a translator to add the adverb “allein.” In fact, he showed where such Catholic luminaries as Augustine, Aquinas, and John Chrysostom had done the exact same thing (in Latin) with this verse! (Furthermore, Luther DID NOT CHANGE the verse in James that justification is NOT by faith alone.) Luther’s translation of Scripture into German established the modern standard for that language. If HE thought it needed the extra adverb to indicate the appropriate contrast between faith and works, then I’ll be taking his word over yours. Do you even know any German?

    By the way, is the Moral Law, summarized in the Ten Commandments, part of these “works of the law” through which one cannot be justified? Or are spirit-wrought works of love nonetheless involved in Catholic soteriology?

    1. 1. Not all translations say family. Even if it was family, Mary isn’t named specifically so you have no way of verifying that.

      2. Divorce and remarriage isn’t an option and he isn’t talking about polygamy. This is the only explanation that is consistent with scripture.

      3. It’s along the same lines as 1 Cor 8:9, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.”

      4. It isn’t part of the original text. Paul wrote about faith more than anyone else. He used the words “faith” and also “alone” but NEVER together. If he intended it to say “faith alone” he would have written that.

      It doesn’t matter if I know German. He added it to change the meaning of the verse to fit his innovative ideas. He never was a careful exegete of scripture like the other reformers were. Luther was quite careless in just about everything he did.

      I am not going to get into the moral, ceremonial, and judicial laws here. There’s plenty written on it by Catholic theologians and I encourage you to read them and not anti-Catholic Protestants.

  132. Mark–

    I have no clue where you’re coming from. There is not a single Protestant denomination I am aware of which disparages celibacy. Some believers are so gifted, and they are celebrated…as per Paul. (What do you don’t think biblical inerrancy is about, anyway? Unlike others, we don’t ignore what Scripture has to say. We don’t pick and choose.)

    Yes, any Catholic who wishes to marry may. Our point all along was that priests–as priests–cannot marry and remain priests. It’s not a choice they can entertain.

    1. Hans wrote to Mark:

      “Yes, any Catholic who wishes to marry may. Our point all along was that priests–as priests–cannot marry and remain priests. It’s not a choice they can entertain.”

      What you have to know (which I’m sure you do) is that Mark is gifted at making things very confusing. He confuses words and sentences so that it is very hard to see what he is saying, and then he will blast in a statement of authority like, “and Rome says this so it is fact”. He twists words around better than I’ve ever seen any Catholic adherent. He really is a master because he uses just enough Scripture to make it sound authoritative, and just enough confusing comments to really send the weak and ignorant to think, “wow, it almost makes sense.” To the learned, it is all word games and Roman deception at it’s finest.

      Be careful Hans as I can see you are trying to be nice, but beware of being bit by the serpent who looks and sounds innocent. The devils and his servants are crafty.

      And ignore the anti-Catholic constant comments by Mark. This is a standard ploy used by Rome’s apologists. Just think about all the soul murder and actual murder that has been caused by Rome over centuries, and that is Antichrist according to Scripture. A few “anti-catholic” barbs are nothing when you look at “anti-Christ” in her history.

  133. Mark said ” Paul wrote about faith more than anyone else” You are correct Mark. Paul also wrote true Christians are justified ” freely by his grace. ” Your church says we are justified cooperating with His grace. Where do you come down. Are you with Paul in full and free justification by grace with nothing coming from faith or works, or are you with Rome that cooperation is necessary for final justification ?

  134. Mark–

    1. No, they don’t all say “family.” The Greek says “those who were with him,” which can mean family or friends or other types of associates. But the chiastic structure connects it with the later mention (verse 31) of Mary and his family.

    2. Divorce and remarriage isn’t an option for bishops because Paul SAYS–right here–that it isn’t an option. That’s the point of the passage. Not to make some obscure point about widowers.

    3. If it’s along the same lines as other passages which make the strong accountable for being sensitive to the weak, then why was it abrogated by Rome? You’re just making it worse for yourself.
    It’s like you’re saying, “No, no, you don’t understand. Rome’s not just in conflict with this verse. We’re really, REALLY in conflict with it.”

    4. Like I said before, you simply don’t understand translation. Paul didn’t say either just “faith” or add in an adverb to make it “faith alone.” This may come as a surprise to you, but Paul wrote in Greek! (Are you one of those KJV-only fundamentalists who believe the English text is inspired?)

    If Luther added “allein” in order to change the meaning of the text, then why did Augustine and Aquinas, in commenting on the verse, add in the Latin equivalent, “sola”? Were THEY innovating, as well? Why do some translators of 1 Timothy 3:2 add in a “but” (the husband of but one wife) in order to make it clear that Paul never intended to exclude unmarried bishops? Was THAT innovation to you? If faith justifies apart from works, then what else justifies besides faith? Cash money?

    I have spent tens of thousands of hours reading and listening to Catholic apologists. I have spent almost no time at all considering what anti-Catholics have to say. Go thou and do likewise.

    1. 1. Still haven’t given an argument that Mary had sin.

      2. They weren’t talking about divorce and remarriage. Jesus elevated marriage to a sacrament and restored marriage’s original intent, so there were no divorces and remarriages.

      3. I have no idea what you are trying to say here.

      4. I am not going into justification here. Romans 3:28 doesn’t say faith alone. Jesus never taught faith alone. Too many Protestants start with Paul when talking about justification when they really should start with Jesus. The Biblical evidence and Church history is overwhelmingly against sola fide.

  135. Mark–

    I attended an Evangelical church for a good number of years where the pastor was intentionally unmarried, one of the four elders was intentionally unmarried, and one of the two deacons was still single (he eventually married). Nearly 90% of the U.S. population eventually winds up married, so most elders are likely to be so. If it has ever been your fortune to know many Norwegian bachelor farmers (as Garrison Keillor calls them), then you would know: a good number of folks who end up unmarried, end up unmarried because there really IS something wrong with them!!! That said, I agree that there is a bias against singles in church leadership, but I believe it to be a cultural rather than a theological bias. (There is also a bias against older folks. Churches tend to look for pastors in their thirties if they can find them. They want them hip. They want them physically vital. Another cultural bias.)

  136. Hans said ” If faith justifies apart from works, what else justifies , cash money” pretty much you got that right on. How do you get to heaven in Rome, pay money to the church. Of course, I know you have indeed spent many hours on these things. A Roman Catholic would say sacraments justify. Justification by sacraments of the new law. They accumulate the justice necessary for justification by meriting the merit of Christ thru doing the sacraments. This was huge deal for the Reformers. In Rome it was merit for the strong instead free of grace for the weak. The medieval church completely missed the fact that Jesus didn’t come to make salvation possible through accumulating inherent righteousness thru the sacraments, but He lived the law in our place and fulfilled all righteousness . In Rome grace is just the means of exchange on the church merit system. Again Paul says we are justified FREELY by His grace , not COOPERATING with his grace. K

  137. Phil–

    Once again, I really appreciate your tone. Unfortunately, I don’t quite get your point. Romans 5:19 talks about “the many,” so the “all” in 5:18 might not include infants and others of diminished capacity. Scripture is simply silent on their fate. Perhaps they are accountable for whatever little light they are given. I don’t know. It is sufficient for me that I know the answer to the following rhetorical question: “Will not the judge of all the earth do right?”

    1. Hi Hans,
      Thank you for your comment. Rom 5:12-21 is clearly depicting Jesus as the “second Adam” (antitype). Let’s look at 5:18 “the free gift came to ALL me, resulting in justification of life” (New KJV), “so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for ALL men” (RSV), “in the same way the one righteous act sets ALL people free and gives them life” (Good News), etc… In other words, all the translations agree that Adam was the representative of ALL and set them in DEATH’s path. and Jesus reversed it and set ALL in LIFE’s path (1 Cor 15:21-22). That means ALL, good and bad, innocent and infants. Does that mean that ALL are saved? No, Jesus has won salvation for All of us but not ALL will be saved. That’s where the MANY in 5:19 comes. Even if it is offered to ALL, MANY will not accept it. (Some translations continue to interpret MANY as ALL). That was true in the OT (promise) as it is in the NT (reality). Those who could not accept it on their own (infants and incapacitated) were accepted by the faith of others (circumcision, baptism). This is just the doctrine of original sin in a nutshell. In the end, it is up to God.
      God bless you.

      1. Phil said ” Romans 5:12-21 is clearly depicting Jesus as the second Adam” Yes it does. But Jesus didn’t just return us to the garden, he fulfilled all that Adam failed to be justified. Adam didn’t set men in death’s path, we are sinners by hereditary right, imputation. ” Much more” those who receive the ” free gift of righteousness shall ” reign” in life through Christ. Through one man’s obedience the many will be constituted righteous. This is imputation. Notice it is by His obedience that we are counted righteous. It doesn’t say we are ” put on the path to righteousness. The word means constituted or counted. 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Corinthians 1 : 30, Romans 5 : 10. K

  138. Walt/Kevin–

    The threat that the Catholic Church poses to the gospel, ironically, is NOT how distant it has become to the gospel. But how close it has remained. Sometimes, not only is the good the enemy of the best, but it is its fiercest rival. I have watched far too many close friends succomb to the (ultimately false) charms of Rome: its intellectual vitality, its historical viability, the attraction of its political and social teachings.

    It is, I believe, against the gospel. But Arminian Protestantism, technically at least, is so, as well. Still, you won’t be hearing me call Billy Graham the Anti-Christ.

    There’s no reason to demonize Catholics. For the most part, they are well intentioned but confused. They don’t rub their hands together in glee as they devise yet another nefarious plot. Their eyes don’t glow and their ears don’t steam.

    1. Hans wrote:

      “There’s no reason to demonize Catholics. For the most part, they are well intentioned but confused. They don’t rub their hands together in glee as they devise yet another nefarious plot. Their eyes don’t glow and their ears don’t steam.”

      Agreed. Many of my colleagues are Roman Catholics, and like you said they have no idea what is going on. Like me growing up as a child in the RCC everything was just delightful, but my problem was that I started to read the bible. Just by reading there were some conflicts I started to see, but ignored because all truth stopped at the church…not the bible.

      When my mom got hurt, I went about a search to see if I could figure out what was going on. I went to my last mass and slowly started to dig into Protestantism. It was not until a few years later when I was cursing out Calvin that someone asked if I ever read him. Of course it was no. I was taught as a RCC to discredit all Protestants as being in a false religion. Yes, I was taught to claim everyone was “anti-Catholic” who said anything evil about Catholics, but I was free to discredit and ridicule Protestants. It is funny how that works even on this blog with the Catholics posting! Trained very well.

      Roman Catholicism is a mirror of old testament Judaism and many of the old ceremonies are deeply ingrained. If you really think I’m being anti-catholic, I suggest you read the very straight forward National Covenant of Scotland and what they thought about Roman Catholic teachers and apologists.

      Some might be trying to win Mark’s heart through kind, thought provoking and intelligent conversion here, but just reading his responses tells you he has no interest in being in polite company. He is here to damage the Protestant religion and promote his Roman Catholic teachings at all cost.

      Don’t be fooled…Mark is not your average Catholic who has no idea what they have bought into and is humbly seeking the truth in spite of their tradition.

      1. “Roman Catholicism is a mirror of old testament Judaism and many of the old ceremonies are deeply ingrained. ”

        Actually, it is the “fulfillment” of the Old Covenant. The real question is why can’t you find anything Jewish in Protestant groups. That’s a shame. Do you know who was Jewish? Jesus. Mary. Joseph. All of the Apostles, most of the new testament church. Sigh.

        It was during the 16th century that the alter was replaced by the pulpit, the Eucharist was replaced by a sermon, the priest was replaced by a preacher. You all went back to shadows instead of the reality.

        1. Mark, maybe no one has told you this. The temple was destroyed, not renovated. God doesn’t dwell on altars or in buildings anymore, but in the hearts of His people by faith.

  139. Hans, for the longest time I have been somewhat vague on the Reformed historical position on whether Rome was considered a visible Christian church. As I was learning about reformed theology, it seemed to me by Calvin’s definition of a visible church, and many other opinions, that Rome was to be considered a visible Christian church. But, I never believed that. My dilemma was how could a false religion be a visible Christian church. Then I read an article called ” Is the Papist my brother” , which I recommend all should read. He proves that historically Reformed churches excommunicated Papists from their churches and they weren’t able to participate at the table. Their members were considered cut off from the body of Christ. Trinitarian Baptism was not enough to make it a Christian church. Turrentin said the word and sacraments were so perverted, the many idolatries and antichrist sat in it, and it was Babylon. I am convinced that although Rome poses as a Christian church , ( Satan poses as an angel of light) and the man of perdition rose in the church, Roman Catholicism is not a visible Christian church. Only when Christians see this, and that the true church can be defined, it frees us to approach the dear people of Rome with the true gospel which is simply told and believed Mark 1 : 15. K

  140. Phil–

    Sorry, I wasn’t trying to argue against original sin or total depravity or infants’ need for a Savior. Mark was speaking of the blamelessness of infants when it comes to overt, willful, conscious sin (I assume). Babies are some of the most self-centered creatures on earth, but I am unsure of their accountability. (You cited Romans 5. There Paul holds that those who sinned before the giving of the law are unaccountable for those sins. You yourself would deem infants incapable of mortal sin, at the very least. I’m afraid an aweful lot of theology concerning young children descends into a speculative spiral.)

  141. “Babies are some of the most self-centered creatures on earth, but I am unsure of their accountability. ”

    Shame on those little babies for crying when they are hungry or need a changing. I wouldn’t believe it until I read it from you.

  142. Hans, I think it’s important to note that scripture says we are by nature children of wrath. David said he was conceived in sin in his mother’s womb. Also consider God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah which included babies.

  143. Kevin–

    I’m not contending against any of those notions. I’m merely discussing what “kind” of sin infants are guilty of. In Romans 5, as I observed, Paul calls those who died before the law as unaccountable for their sin…but each and every one of them still DIED. So either they were held accountable for their own sin natures or they were held accountable for Adam’s sin.

    Mark–

    Give it a rest. You must not be a father. My eight-month-old screams bloody murder when he doesn’t receive the exact food he wants at the exact moment he wants it. And he doesn’t have to be appreciably hungry at the time. (And don’t get me started on the utter monsterhood of toddlers!)

    But then, you Catholics are good at dismissing sin. Your mental state and your circumstances and the planets all have to line up just right. You have to sin with the highest of hands, knowing exactly how horrible what your engaged in is. You have to be filled with contempt and rebellion towards God. And you have to be not only willing but downright enthusiastic about committing the particular transgression you’ve mulled over for ever so long. It’s kind of like how decisions are made concerning annulments, where decades-long marriages, producing umpteen kids, are dismissed as sacramentally invalid with the wave of a hand!

    1. Actually, you need to give it a rest. I’ll listen to Jesus who said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
      You believe babies are sinful because you believe that the nature in man was completely corrupted because of the fall. That was Luther’s view. And it is wrong. You equate crying for mother’s milk as sin and that is just a horrendous misunderstanding of original sin and sin in general.

  144. Kevin–

    I believe Charles Hodge and R. L. Dabney had a knockdown, drag-out fight over that one. Hodge contended for the validity of R.C. baptisms and for their participation in the visible church here on earth.

    He wasn’t exactly pro-Rome, however, turning down an invite to observe the proceedings of Vatican I in no in certain terms.

    Here’s from the charitable close of the letter he wrote to Pope Pius IX, declining that invitation:

    “Nevertheless, although we cannot return to the fellowship of the Church of Rome, we desire to live in charity with all men. We love all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. We regard as Christian brethren all who worship, love and obey him as their God and Saviour, and we hope to be united in heaven with all who unite with us on earth in saying, ‘Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen’ (Rev. 1:6).”

    I myself believe that for a Catholic to be a brother or a sister in Christ, he or she would have to be both quite conservative biblically (and in this aspect, a good, traditional Catholic) at the same time as being rather askew doctrinally on several Sacred Traditions (and thus a bad, traditional Catholic on certain issues). Most often, the most devout, Bible-loving, new-evangelism types are also the most gung-ho on Eucharistic Adoration, Mary and the Saints, Purgatory, etc. and the most derisive towards Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura. I think there are some who slip through the cracks, but wherever and whenever it occurs, it would almost have to be a miracle personally overseen by the Holy Spirit himself.

    1. Hans, ” I think there are some who slip thru the cracks , but whenever it occurs, it would almost have to be a miracle ……” I actually agree. You would have to be a bad Catholic to be a believer imho. A good Catholic holds to the gospel and doctrine of Rome. Almost all of the Catholics that I have encountered on these blogs are the most entrenched on transubstantiation and the most pelagian in their view of salvation. I think Rome is more pelagian today than ever with JP 2 saying trinity hating Muslims can stay where they are and do their best. All the Catholics I have encountered believed regeneration and sanctification were justification. Go read about those Jews who believed the same thing in Romans 9:32-10:4, Paul prays for their salvation.

  145. Walt–

    I’m not expecting you to be all nicey-nice with Mark. (I certainly don’t do it very well!)

    I’m just asking you to take the high road. Be respectful. Be as sure as you can be that everything you say is accurate, that nothing is based on stereotypes and misconceptions. In other words, treat Mark as you’d like to be treated.

    Recently–well, in a recorded message, obviously–I heard Mother Angelica observe that Jesus didn’t ask us to make sure that others loved us but to make sure that we loved others. You have no control over Mark. He may never discuss theology in good faith. He may always and ever run over his own grandmother if it means he can score a point or two in the debate.

    We need to get better at finding where our commonalities lie. We need to get better at acknowledging when our adversary makes a good point or has a beneficial insight. Jesus can defend himself quite well without our help.

    We need to be faithful. But we need not act like it’s all up to us.

    Relax. Kick back. Enjoy yourself. Don’t beat anybody bloody. Find a way to love them in spite of themselves.

  146. Mark wrote:

    “Actually, it is the “fulfillment” of the Old Covenant. The real question is why can’t you find anything Jewish in Protestant groups. That’s a shame. Do you know who was Jewish? Jesus. Mary. Joseph. All of the Apostles, most of the new testament church. Sigh.”

    I think you forgot what fulfillment means. Let Kevin below remind you again.

    “Mark, Walt just showed you in the most convincing way. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers. No popes, priests, cardinals etc. Incidentally, to add to what Walt said, the word for priest is hierus. It is used 400 times in the OT. Never used in the NT. We have the power of an indestructible life. No more need for priests that die. OT sacrifices couldn’t save anyone, and neither can your mass sacrifice. Only Christ in us the hope of glory. Notice Paul doesn’t say Christ in bread the hope of Glory. Ephesians 1: 13 ” in Him, after LISTENING to the message of truth , the gospel of your salvation, having also BELIEVED, we’re sealed with Holy Spirit of promise.” The gospel is heard and believed Mark. We have Christ in us, and he Intercede for us. No NT priests, except we are God’s cleras, clergy.”

  147. “the word for priest is hierus. It is used 400 times in the OT. Never used in the NT. ”

    Do you know why hierus isn’t used in the new testament when referring to the priesthood? Because one had to be from the tribe of Levi in order to be called hierus. They couldn’t use that word since it has a specific meaning. That’s why they used a NEW word, presbuteros, to indicate a new priesthood. “For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.” Hebrews 7:12.

  148. Mark–

    1. Well, then, I guess thinking Jesus is “just plumb loco” isn’t a sin in your book.

    2. I see. So why do the disciples argue with Jesus over divorce and remarriage in Matthew 19, saying roughly, “Well, if that’s the case, it’s better not to marry!” Nope, no divorce in that day and age. (By the way, where exactly does Christ institute the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony?)

    3. I was saying that you blatantly admitted to Rome having a conflict with Scripture, and then you doubled down on that admission.

    4. We don’t “start” with any portion of Scripture. It is ALL God-breathed and as such, should make sense as a whole. Jesus and Paul and James make perfect sense together our way and conflict with each other your way. (And Clement of Rome, who clearly taught Sola Fide, would be surprised by your pronouncement concerning the early church.)

    1. 1. Again, you haven’t proven this was talking about Mary. Don’t forget that the Church has declared infallibly that Mary was sinless. This is part of the apostolic deposit of Divine Revelation, so your endeavors to find sin in her are fruitless.

      2. I Timothy wasn’t written until 50 years after Jesus’ ascension. No, there were no divorces after Jesus had restored marriage to a lifelong institution and elevated it to a sacrament. It is in Matthew 19 the Jesus makes marriage a sacrament. Paul then goes on to explain the sacramental nature of marriage.

      3. No, there is no contradiction. Your logic is beyond bewildering. Because the Church put a restriction on the Gentiles to refrain from blood you are saying that because we don’t practice that same restriction that we are contradicting? Abstaining from strangled animals is not a dogma of the Church! It is part of the old law. The same restrictions also include not eating meat offered to idols. Some of these items were big issues back then, but not now.

      4. The only place “faith alone” is mentioned in the Bible is James 2:24, “See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” Luther called the book of James an “epistle of straw”. He originally removed the book because it clearly taught works were a necessary part of the salvation process. He eventually recanted and put it back in.

  149. Mark, there are no more earthly mediators between man and God. 1 Timothy 2:5 ” there is one mediator between man and God, the man Jesus Christ.” As you can see there is no earthy priesthood, but Peter says we are all priests who offer up only spiritual sacrifices to God. You are seeking salvation through a false priesthood who do not have the keys to heaven, but only the keys to hell.

  150. Tim, would you like to guess when the the Godhead was first called Trinity?

    Do you know when the date of Christmas was set?

    Do you know when the date of Easter was set?

    Do you know when the Saturday Sabbath was changed to Sunday by the Roman Church?

    Thanks,
    Mark

    1. Mark, you asked,

      Tim, would you like to guess when the the Godhead was first called Trinity?

      Theophilus of Antioch, late 2nd century.

      Do you know when the date of Christmas was set?

      The data suggests some time before 354 A.D., but I don’t think even Roman Catholicism knows when the date was set. 354 A.D. is the earliest known record of it.

      Do you know when the date of Easter was set?

      I know Pope Victor tried to set the date in the late 2nd century, but Polycrates and the rest of the Bishops of Asia Minor, quoting Peter, said they’d celebrate it whenever they wanted, and that the Bishop of Rome couldn’t do thing about it. The council of Nicæa set a date in 325 A.D. and everyone seemed to be fine with it.

      Do you know when the Saturday Sabbath was changed to Sunday by the Roman Church?

      I don’t believe the Roman Church ever changed the Sabbath to Sunday. If you think the Roman Church changed the Sabbath to Sunday, Catholic Answers says you are suffering from “a common misunderstanding.”

      Thanks,

      Tim

      1. So, unless you reject these things- Christmas, Easter, Trinity, and others I haven’t mentioned, you must believe in a development of doctrine.

        Now, I can find the sacrament of marriage in Paul’s writings in the Bible much as the Catholic Answers article can find Sunday as the new Sabbath. BUT, Sunday as the new Sabbath isn’t explicitly written in scripture. It came from the Church, and there was only one Church, the Catholic Church in the first century. You can read the Fathers on how you MUST keep Sunday as the Sabbath so that you aren’t considered a Judaizer. It is also fine that marriage as a sacrament wasn’t officially defined until later, just like the Trinity.

  151. Walt and Kevin–

    I thought it might be germane to quote from the Charles Hodge letter which I mentioned. It picks up on some of the same themes you guys are discussing:

    “First, that the Word of God, contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only infallible rule of faith and practice. The Council of Trent, however, pronounces Anathema on all who do not receive the teachings of Tradition “pari pietatis affectu” (with equal pious affection) as the Scriptures themselves. This we cannot do without incurring the condemnation which our Lord pronounced on the Pharisees, who made void the Word of God by their traditions (Matt. 15:6).

    “Secondly, the right of private judgement. When we open the Scriptures, we find that they are addressed to the people. They speak to us. We are commanded to search them (John 5:39), to believe what they teach. We are held personally responsible for our faith. The apostle commands us to pronounce accursed an apostle or an angel from heaven who should teach anything contrary to the divinely authenticated Word of God (Gal. 1:8). He made us the judges, and has placed the rule of judgement into our hands, and holds us responsible for our judgements.

    “Moreover, we find that the teaching of the Holy Spirit was promised by Christ not to the clergy only, much less to any one order of the clergy exclusively, but to all believers. It is written, ‘Ye shall all be taught of God.’ The Apostle John says to believers: ‘Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and know all things . . . but the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him’ (1 John2:20,27). This teaching of the Spirit authenticates itself, as this same apostle teaches us, when he says, ‘He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself (1 John 5:10). ‘I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth’ (1 John 2:21). Private judgement, therefore, is not only a right, but a duty, from which no man can absolve himself, or be absolved by others.

    “Thirdly, we believe in the universal priesthood of all believers, that is, that all believers have through Christ access by one Spirit unto the Father (Eph. 2:18); that we may come with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16); ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water’ (Heb. 10:19-22). To admit, therefore, the priesthood of the clergy, whose intervention is necessary to secure for us the remission of sin and other benefits of the redemption of Christ, is to renounce the priesthood of our Lord, or its sufficiency to secure reconciliation with God.

    “Fourthly, we deny the perpetuity of apostleship. As no man can be an apostle without the Spirit of prophecy, so no man can be an apostle without the gifts of an apostle. Those gifts, as we learn from Scripture, were plenary knowledge of the truth derived from Christ by immediate revelation (Gal.s 1:12), and personal infallibility as teachers and rulers. What the seals of apostleship were Paul teaches us, when he says to the Corinthians, ‘Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds’ (2 Cor.12:12). As for prelates who claim to be apostles, and who demand the same confidence in their teaching, and the same submission to their authority, as that which is due to the inspired messengers of Christ, without pretending to possess either the gifts or signs of the apostleship, we cannot submit to their claims. This would be rendering to erring men the subjection due to God alone or to his divinely authenticated and infallible messengers.

    “Much less can we recognize the Bishop of Rome as the vicar of Christ on earth, clothed with the authority over the Church and the world which was exercised by our Lord while here in the flesh. It is plain that no one can be the vicar of Christ who has not the attributes of Christ. To recognize the Bishop of Rome as Christ’s vicar is therefore virtually to recognize him as divine.”

    1. Hodge says ” It is plain that no one can be the Vicar of Christ who has not the attributes of Christ. Or as John MacArthur reminds us that the Spirit is the Vicar of Christ. The 3rd person of the Godhead.

  152. Mark–

    I’m afraid I didn’t find your attempts at logic bewildering, more like humorous. Thanks for a good laugh!

    You wrote:

    “Because the Church put a restriction on the Gentiles to refrain from blood you are saying that because we don’t practice that same restriction that we are contradicting?”

    Yes, Mark. Unless, of course, neither you nor anyone else in the Church is a Gentile….

    The Eastern Orthodox Church still practices the restriction in order not to be in contradiction to Scripture.

  153. Mark–

    Rome, by the way, rejected a definitive Apostolic Tradition in order to set in stone their own proposal for a date for Easter. St. Polycarp made it quite clear that his mentor, the Apostle John, taught them to celebrate Easter on the 14th of Nisan (Passover itself).

  154. Mark–

    The only way you can say that “faith alone” only appears in James and not also in Romans is to negate the validity of Luther’s translation.

    Good luck with that.

    1. Luther’s translation is a joke. He added a word to fit his theology. He actually acknowledges that it isn’t in there but does it anyway. I believe scripture is theópneustos, not Luther.

      Not only did Luther rip out 7 books of the Old Testament because they taught Catholic doctrines, he wanted to also remove Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation. So much for his love of Scripture!

  155. Mark–

    Luther’s translation is a joke? Based on what? Warm fuzzies in the pit of your tummy? As far as I can decipher, you have no linguistic or exegetic expertise. Luther stands.

    The deuterocanonicals weren’t established as canonical until Trent, so technically, it’s more correct to say that Rome added them. The Protestants left them out because 1. The Jews themselves declined to include them in their canon, 2. At the time, these books had no Hebrew urtexts. (I believe a Hebrew rendition has been discovered for Ben Sirach since.) And 3. They included historical and scientific inaccuracies and were deemed deficient. I don’t really think they enhance any Catholic distinctives unless, of course, you wish it so.

  156. Hans, Luther himself agrees that “alone” isn’t in the original Greek! Do you need anything more than that? Luther’s commentary isn’t part of inspired scripture yet you act as if it is! Shall I as a Catholic go and start adding my own words to Scriptures so that you can understand Catholic teaching? I am quite surprised at your response, but then again, I have learned that nothing in Protestantism surprises me. Everyone holds to their own wacky ideas, no matter how unbiblical or unhistoric they are.

    Trent only confirmed what the Church believed for over a millenia, that the deuterocanonicals were inspired scripture. Council of Rome, Hippo, Carthage in the late 4th century all attested to the canon of the Bible.

    I am not going into the whole treatise of why Catholic Bibles are bigger. Suffice it to say that the Jews didn’t have a canon of Scripture in Jesus’ time. Jesus and the disciples used the Septuagint. The early Church used it as well and so Luther ripped out 7 books. May I recommend the book “Why Catholic Bibles are Bigger” by Gary Michuta. It will give you everything you need to know about this.

    1. Mark,

      One reason Catholic Bibles are bigger is that Paul VI added the word “only” (as in “only faith”) to Galatians 5:5.

      “It is in the Spirit that we eagerly await the justification we hope for, and only faith can yield it.” (Galatians 5:5, NAB (1970))

      The word “only” does not occur in the original Greek. Why do you suppose the translators, under the guidance of Pope Paul VI, inserted it into the text? I’m not saying Luther was right. I’m just asking you if Paul VI was in error to insert “only” in such close proximity to “faith” in a verse that is about justification. (I know he didn’t translate it himself. But he promulgated it.)

      Here’s an example of a lay catholic ministry still using that version of the text. Do you think they are in error to do so?

      Thanks,

      Tim

      1. The NAB is a bad translation. No doubt. However, there’s a difference between a bad translation and intentionally inserting a word in order to promote a new doctrine.

        But you bring up a point you weren’t trying to make. You need the authority of the Church to explain what the Bible means. Any Joe off the street can’t pick up the KJV and understand the doctrine of the Trinity much less justification by faith alone.

        1. Mark, you wrote,

          “You need the authority of the Church to explain what the Bible means.”

          I imagine you’d need an infallible interpreter to do that for you. So how many bible verses have actually been interpreted infallibly by your “infallible” interpreter? In other words, how many verses are there for which the Church has provided their meaning infallibly?

          You also wrote,

          “The NAB is a bad translation. No doubt.”

          Did the Church tell you that? Or did you arrive at it based on your own private interpretation? I mean, if you need the authority of the Church to tell you what the Bible means, surely you need the church to tell you infallibly that the NAB is a bad translation. Do you think Paul VI thought it was a bad translation? Do you think he would agree with your personal opinion of a translation he promulgated?

          Thanks,

          Tim

  157. ” shall I as a Catholic go and start adding words to scripture so that you can understand Catholic teaching” as this article proves no one has added more ” words to scripture ” than your church. For instance, pope, cardinal, nun, kneeling stations, Sacraments of the new law” and so it goes. Can you please show us a system of earning increase of grace, justice, salvation, through 7 sacraments of the new law. Where are those words in scripture? Can you show us the word coding merit in scripture? Or pilgrimage ? Faith apart from works is faith alone. ” therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God” please explain how Paul can speak of justification in the past tense that brings present tense peace if it was anything other that faith alone? This is full and free justification by faith alone. Augustine said ” how was Abraham justified, what does the Apostle say , Abraham was justified by faith. Paul and James don’t contradict each other, good works follow justification.” Seems like Augustine and Luther had it right. K

  158. Mark, what is remarkable to Reformed believers is the absolute clarity of scripture. God doesn’t make his word blurry to his people. You may be able to reject Luther, but you cannot reject the words of Paul. I am going to demonstrate to you the utter antithesis the Roman Catholic false religion to the words of Paul. Romans 4:5 ” But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteouness.” God only justifies an ungodly or wicked man. 2. God only justifies a man who does not work. 3. God only justifies a man who believes in Him who justifies the ungodly. 4. God only justifies an man by crediting him with righteouness. 5. God only justifies a man by crediting his faith alone. Now let’s look at the view of justification in your Roman Catholic religion. 1. God justifies only the inherently righteous man. 2. God justifies only a man who works. 3. God justifies a man who do the sacraments of the new law. 4 God doesn’t credit faith as righteouness but expects inherent perfection before entry into heaven. 5. God justifies someone who cooperates with grace. No Mark, your argument isn’t with Luther or any Protestant here, your argument is with the man who got his gospel straight from the face of Jesus. Isn’t it interesting that God’s biggest statement about the free and full justification by faith alone in Christ alone came in an epistle to a the Roman church. He was telling us something indeed. K

  159. “The early Church rejected … baptismal regeneration”

    I’m gonna need some proof of this, big fella! Can you name one early Church father who taught that baptism was merely symbolic?

    1. JPBraid, you asked,

      Can you name one early Church father who taught that baptism was merely symbolic?

      I can, but I’ll first need for you to define “early Church father” and “merely symbolic.” I ask this because when I respond with data to support the claim, a tactic used not infrequently by Roman Catholics is to claim that “such and such writer” was not a Church father. I also find that Roman Catholics, define “merely symbolic” as “meaningless.” I know of no church father, or any Protestant for that matter, who thinks baptism is “meaningless,” but I do know Roman Catholics who think that there are only two possible meanings for baptism: that it means absolutely nothing or that it brings about regeneration. Thus, it will make our conversation more fruitful if you would define your terms in advance.

      So, what do you mean by “early Church father” and “merely symbolic”?

      Best regards,

      Tim

  160. Mark–

    As I’ve said before, you simply don’t know enough about translation to be speaking on the topic. The word “alone” DOESN’T NEED to be present in the Greek text to be necessary in the German translation. Do you honestly believe that ANY translation ever undertaken has the same word count as the original?

    By the way, the Eastern Orthodox churches have a bigger Bible than the Roman Catholics. I guess you all must have deleted a few just because you felt like it! Some copies of the Septuagint include the following books: the Psalms of Solomon, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, the Epistle of Jeremiah the Book of Odes, the Prayer of Manasseh and Psalm 151. If you like the Septuagint so much, then why did you ditch these?

    This is the problem of reliance on infallible ecclesial authority. You never double check what they teach you, but swallow it whole. You have no idea why you believe what you do.

    1. Martin Luther:
      “I know very well that in Romans 3 the word solum is not in the Greek or Latin text — the papists did not have to teach me that. It is fact that the letters s-o-l-a are not there. And these blockheads stare at them like cows at a new gate, while at the same time they do not recognize that it conveys the sense of the text — if the translation is to be clear and vigorous [klar und gewaltiglich], it belongs there.”

  161. Martin Luther:
    “But I will return to the subject at hand. If your papist wishes to make a great fuss about the word sola (alone), say this to him: “Dr. Martin Luther will have it so, and he says that a papist and a donkey are the same thing.” Sic volo, sic iubeo, sit pro ratione voluntas [“I will it, I command it, my will is reason enough.”]. For we are not going to be students and disciples of the papists. Rather, we will become their teachers and judges. For once, we also are going to be proud and brag, with these blockheads; and just as Paul brags against his mad raving saints, I will brag against these donkeys of mine! Are they doctors? So am I. Are they scholars? So am I. Are they preachers? So am I. Are they theologians? So am I. Are they debaters? So am I. Are they philosophers? So am I. Are they logicians? So am I. Do they lecture? So do I. Do they write books? So do I.
    I will go even further with my boasting: I can expound the psalms and the prophets, and they cannot. I can translate, and they cannot. I can read the Holy Scriptures, and they cannot. I can pray, they cannot. Coming down to their level, I can use their rhetoric and philosophy better than all of them put together. Plus I know that not one of them understands his Aristotle. If any one of them can correctly understand one preface or chapter of Aristotle, I will eat my hat!”

  162. Mark, and exactly what was wrong with what Luther said? Most people, including the majority of Roman Catholics don’t understand the condition of the RC religion at the time of the Reformation. Their church was scattered, disunity, full of magic and mysticism, superstition. The priests and cardinals were dumb , many not knowing even the 10 commandments. The church was a cesspool, rat infested ignorance. Luther was right. Study history to confirm.

  163. Mark, additionally out of the Reformation arose the many wonderful confessions which had an amazing uniformity on doctrine, an antithesis to Roman Catholicism.

  164. Mark–

    An ad hominem? Really? Like none of us are aware of Luther’s larger-than-life personality? (The Donald J. Trump of the Renaissance!)

    In his defense, his abrasive, narcissistic bluster is typical of German blue-collar types in that era. (Besides, there have been plenty of Catholics, even saints, who could have used a lesson in the taming of the tongue or the temper…e.g., St. Jerome and St. Thomas More.)

    But enough with the baseless assertions. How about producing an argument? Why, in your opinion, is it a bad translation? What is changed, if anything? And how would you even know? Luther was one of the fundamental architects of the modern German tongue. His dialect, his idiolect, became the standard. To some extent, in his ivory-towered, Latin-speaking academic environment, he was isolated from run-of-the-mill Germans. What he decided German was, was what it became. How on earth can YOU argue with HIS take on German???

    Here’s Luther’s take on the addition of “allein”:

    “I knew very well that the word sola [Latin = alone, only] is not in the Greek or Latin text…It is a fact that these four letters s-o-l-a are not there…At the same time…it belongs there if the translation is to be clear and vigorous. I wanted to speak German, not Latin or Greek, since it was German I had undertaken to speak in the translation. But it is the nature of our German language that in speaking of two things, one of which is affirmed and the other denied, we use the word ‘allein’ [alone] along with the word ‘nicht’ [not] or ‘kein’ [no]. For example, we say, ‘The farmer brings allein [only] grain and kein [no] money.’”

    *************

    A famous Edith Piaf lyric in the original French goes “Non, je ne regrette rien” (“No, I don’t regret anything”…or “No, I regret nothing.)

    In English, we either have to add the “do” and switch “nothing” to “anything” (to undo the double negative) or else lose the “not.” They employ double negatives, and we do not. We’re not changing the meaning by adding or subtracting words. Rather, we’re doing the exact opposite: we’re keeping it the same!

    1. Hi Hans,
      Mark is right. Spanish allows for double negatives and they don’t have to use “sola”. You said: “We’re not changing the meaning by adding or subtracting words. Rather we’re doing the exact opposite: we’re keeping it the same!” Then, why do it?
      Most of those who defend “faith alone” as scriptural end up saying that they mean: “faith alone, but a faith that is not alone”.
      God bless you

  165. Hans, I think it is important to note that for Catholics to “believe in the gospel” Mark 1 : 15 they will have to reject their goodness and righteousness, just as Paul called his righteousness dung in Philippians 3. Notice Jesus calls someone to belief in his words. Mark 1 :15 is told and believed. It isn’t done. The rich young ruler tried to bring his goodness and God rejected it. They have to hate Luther ‘ s words. They have to hate Augustine words. They have to hate Clements words. And Mark even rejected the words of a pope that Tim provided. Hans, for Catholics to embrace the gospel of scripture, the only that can save them, they must reject what their church has historically called ” the work of the people.” to earn one’s increases of salvation. The men here who have abandoned Romanism for the gospel had to reject their goodness just like the rich young ruler. But of course Jesus calls us to calculate the costs. A righteous man brought his resume of works righteouness and merit to Jesus, and Jesus said ” Why do you call me good?” But he never got the message. Catholics are dying kidney patients in constant need of transfusion, but Christians LIVE by faith. K

  166. We see from Luther’s own words that he intentionally injected the word alone and it didn’t have to do with some German syntactical requirement.

    “So much for translating and the nature of language. However, I was not depending upon or following the nature of the languages alone when I inserted the word solum in Romans 3. The text itself, and Saint Paul’s meaning, urgently require and demand it. For in that passage he is dealing with the main point of Christian doctrine, namely, that we are justified by faith in Christ without any works of the Law. Paul excludes all works so completely as to say that the works of the Law, though it is God’s law and word, do not aid us in justification. Using Abraham as an example, he argues that Abraham was so justified without works that even the highest work, which had been commanded by God, over and above all others, namely circumcision, did not aid him in justification. Rather, Abraham was justified without circumcision and without any works, but by faith, as he says in Chapter 4: “If Abraham were justified by works, he may boast, but not before God.” So, when all works are so completely rejected — which must mean faith alone justifies — whoever would speak plainly and clearly about this rejection of works will have to say “Faith alone justifies and not works.” The matter itself and the nature of language requires it.”

  167. Mark–

    Finally, an argument!

    Yes, Luther intentionally injected the adverb…it didn’t take him by surprise! But your other comment, that it wasn’t a syntactical requirement, what do you think syntax is? Mere word order? Or is it word order in service of meaning? He plainly says that the meaning of the passage in Greek REQUIRED the syntactic change in German.

    Now, what was he really changing? My daughter has two favorite kiddie blankets: one with pink and purple butterflies, the other a green and blue plaid with Winnie the Pooh figures emblazoned on it. This morning I told her she would have to leave one in her crib. I held up two fingers and said “not two.” And then I held up one finger, indicating how many she could have: “one.”

    I repeated this for her with the motions: “Not two, just one. Only one!”

    What does the “only” do in this circumstance? Change the meaning? Or is it but an intensifier to emphasize the contrast and thus clarify my meaning to her?

    You see, YOU, Mark, are also adding words to the text. Paul himself says that we are justified by faith apart from works of the law. In your mind, you are adding…”but spirit-wrought works of love in cooperation with grace are essential.”

    What’s that? Eleven? Is that LESS innovation to you? Is that REALLY what Paul intended to say? How do you know? Rome whispered in your ear? Do you even have a mind of your own, Mark?

    To your credit, I do believe that modern translators of the Bible into German by and large leave the “allein” out of the text. That may mean they find it unnecessary (in a word, redundant). Or it may mean they don’t wish to be publicly indicted by the onus of Luther…and dredge all that back up again.

    1. You really do some mental gymnastics to justify Luther’s inclusion of the word “only”. He was rubbing it in the Church’s face when he did that. In fact, in some printing, he made the type of the word “only” larger than the rest of the sentence. This was Martin Luther injecting his personal beliefs into Scripture. He felt HE was the authority to determine not only what Scripture says but also what should or shouldn’t be included in the Bible. He was not an exemplar of Bible scholarship. He ran at the mouth and didn’t have a methodical approach to the Christian faith, like Calvin did and others.

  168. Phil said ” then why do it” because it is the heart of the gospel. It is what Paul teaches. We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone. The word Trinity isn’t used in the bible, then why use it? The truth is Phil is Luther couldn’t write alone big enough because Paul wrote it so large over the epistles. Our acceptance before God has nothing to do with us. Nothing. Listen to Paul in Colossians ” who has qualified us to share in an inheritance of the saints in Light” We are already qualified. How is this possible? We aren’t inherently perfect, and that’s what the law requires. Continuing ” For He rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved son. ” already transfered. Continuing ” in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins” We have redemption, not will have. Our sins are forgiven already. How is this possible if it requires our merits too? How is this possible if the word alone isn’t writ large. Imho, Luther could have written as large as he wanted, because our acceptance before God is free and full. I am as righteous today as I will ever be. Why? Because He has qualified me by simply believing. ” Abraham believed God, and It was credited to him as righteouness.” As Paul points out, there is no works or merit in that verse. Abraham simply believed the promise and he was righteous. Catholics push back so hard against faith alone because their works are required to be qualified. But Paul says Christians are already qualified, redeemed, and forgiven.

  169. I am sitting here after watching the movie on the Catholic Priest scandal and the Boston Globe reporters in 2001-2002.

    The movie is called Spotlight.

    There is one thing that is clear. The Catholic Church is among the most powerful, influential and wicked organizations in the world…bar none. It has its defenders at all cost no matter how many children are abused.

    I would ask everyone to watch the movie Spotlight. It is really an incredible story of persistence and incredible fearlessness by these reporters who against all odds persisted to uncover that very few would ever discuss…as it is all “conspiracy” for those poor victims who tried to tell their story.

    The movie is free on netflix. I suggest you all watch it, and understand what is going on in the Catholic Church!

  170. Mark–

    The real point is whether it can be shown that your interpretation–that Paul is referring to some sort of slavish, self-reliant adherence to the Torah when he speaks of “works of the law”–is the correct one. For all Luther’s pluckishness, his interpretation looks far more straightforward than yours.

    Here’s how Jesus defined the “works of the law”:

    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    So, unless Paul is being totally sarcastic, rolling his eyes or screwing up his face when he mentions the “works of the law,” then we don’t have a second option. JBFA is the only game in town.

    In other words, your fuss over Luther’s “innovation” is a smoke screen. No Protestant needs it. Most translations don’t have it. It’s a non-issue. The real issue is–and I repeat–whose interpretation makes more logical sense in this context?

    Do you have a single good reason for saying that justification by faith apart from works of the law DOESN’T equal JBFA? It sure doesn’t say anything like “faith cooperating with grace” or “faith working through love.” It just says FAITH.

    1. “Do you have a single good reason for saying that justification by faith apart from works of the law DOESN’T equal JBFA?”

      Yes, because the text doesn’t say it. I believe the Bible is theopneustos and if the writer wanted it to say “faith alone” he would have said it. Furthermore, not including “alone” here agrees with James 2:24, “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

  171. Phil–

    The question is whether German ought to use “allein” in this context in order to cement the contrast between the yes to faith and the no to works. Luther says it needs it. If he’s wrong, all he’s guilty of is being redundant (because the contrast is certainly there, regardless).

    Both sides believe they are saved by means of a living, loving, active faith. The difference is that we believe that we are justified not through the good works which that faith produces but through the gift of faith itself. In other words, we point to Christ’s work of grace in us rather than to our exercise of those abilities he graces us with. He crowns his own gifts…and they are his from start to finish. Catholicism puts such a premium on our cooperation with grace, and on our consent to remain in grace. In the end, RC justification is simply NOT by grace alone. Instead, believers justify themselves with the assistance of grace, which is there for their aid every step along the way.

    1. Hi Hans,
      Yes, he was being redundant.
      In regards to justification, where do you stand on the JOINT DECLARATION of 1979?
      God bless you.