The Catholic Church is the original Christian Church

Religion is probably the biggest divider in world history, but for those that believe in God it is central to our existence. Share your views.
silentwssj
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The Catholic Church is the original Christian Church

Unread postby silentwssj » October 19th, 2014, 7:06 pm

OK people! I guess we can touch on some religion. A little about me first off. I came to believe about 15 years ago. This occurred by my reading of the bible cover to cover! I was what one could rightly call a son of Darwin before that time. I still believe in science to this day. In fact in my eyes religion and science are inseparable. They must both flow from the same font of truth. To deny one for the other is to ignore the truth. Anyhow, I have spent an incredible amount of time reading various books on religion. Early on I discovered that there are many differing views and denominations found within Christianity. This perplexed me because they can not all be right. What this lead to in my case was a whole lot of research. What I found and believe is that the Catholic church is the original Christian church and was founded by God himself! I know this statement will offend many of you and hopefully we can work through that in a respectful manner. It is not my objective to offend anyone or disrespect anyone. I simply would like to explain and defend the Catholic faith to the best of my limited ability. After all eternal salvation is at stake here! I would love to debate science and other religions here as well. I think it is fitting that we begin with an explanation of Catholicism's beliefs vs other Christian's beliefs. I have been wanting to do this for some time now. I purposely avoided it because it is so controversial and it takes so much time. I firmly believe that we must all make time for God though. There is nothing more important than this. I realize that this thread is bound to evoke strong opinions. That is OK! I only desire friendly debate and the truth! I would also like to say that this is no small undertaking. I think we should pick one subject at a time and through it before moving on. I am a busy man and cannot spend all day on here. Please be patient if you ask me a question. I will look up an answer and try to give as valid and truthful a response as possible.

I would like to discuss the Eucharist 1st.
I talked about this in another post earlier today on Oklahoma satanist using the Eucharist for their black masses. My opinion is that they did this because they to know just exactly what the Eucharist is, "the body and blood of christ"! I was presented a question from another member. It went something like this. " if the apostles consumed Jesus real body and blood, then they would be committing cannibalism! In the old testament this is forbidden by a biblical prohibition against drinking blood. I gave a few reasons why the Eucharist is Christ's real body and blood in the other thread. I would like to further elaborate here. It was this misunderstanding that lead to the unbeleiving jews and diciples in john 6 to reject Jesus when he said they must eat his body and drink his blood. Everyone who heard Jesus understood him to be speaking literally of his own body and blood. "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Object the unbelieving Jews vs 52 " this is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" Demand his unbelieving disciples vs 60. They understood clearly that Jesus meant exactly what he said. What does he do? Instead of explaining that they were misunderstanding what he really meant "which is undoubtedly what he would have done if that were the case", instead he tells them " truly,truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you" vs 53. "For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed" now stop and ask yourself is this the language of symbolism? If so why is it that jesus disciples won't accept the literalness of his teaching and leave him vs 66. Here is the main point! Jesus does not call them back and explain that he is only speaking figuratively which is what he would have done if he was speaking in non literal terms. Instead he knew that they understood exactly what he meant! They just wouldn't accept it! He challenges the apostles "will you go away" vs 67. Notice only that Judas apparently rejects this teaching vs70-71. The unbelieving disciples leave Jesus after verse 63. They would not have left at this point if Jesus had assured them that he was only speaking symbolically. This is the only time in the new testament that any of Jesus disciples abandon him because they find a doctrine of his to hard to accept! Jesus fulfills his promise to give his literal flesh and blood as food and drink at the last supper. You can look up this on four separate occasions. Matt 26:26-30, Mark 14:22-26, Luke 22:14-20, and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 at the all powerful words of Christ himself "this IS my body... This IS my blood". To believe in the real presence is simply to take Jesus at his word. If he declares ordinary bread and wine to be his true flesh and blood then by the all powerful word of God that is what they become! God created light by saying " let there be light" nobody doubted his all powerful word then! Another point, just as he did in John 6, Jesus equates his body and blood given in the Eucharist with his body and blood sacrificed on the cross. "This is my body, which is given for you (Luke 22:19); " this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28). Jesus identifies the body and blood he gives at the last supper as the very same body and blood that he will sacrifice on calvary. If we accept the body and blood offered on the cross as literal(as all Christians do) , then we must also accept the body and blood offered in the Eucharist as literal. If Christ is not speaking literally, why does he use such clear and simple words on the night before his suffering and death on the cross? This was definitely a time for plain and literal speech. The Eucharist was celebrated on passover, and so the Eucharist is the fulfillment of the Jewish passover sacrifice. This ritual required that the paschal lamb be eaten (exodus 12:8, 46) to avoid the death of the firstborn. John the baptist calls Jesus "the lamb of God" (john 1:29) and St Paul calls Christ our paschal lamb. Who "has been sacrificed" 1 Corinthians 5:7. We must eat the flesh of our paschal lamb, Jesus the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Israelites who did not eat the paschal lamb did not share in the benefits of the lamb's sacrifice (freedom from bodily death). Similarly, if we don't consume the true paschal lamb in the Eucharist, we won't share in the merits of the lamb's sacrifice on calvary(which is spiritual death). So to answer the original question, is it cannibalism? No! In the sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ's body and blood are truly present, but not with their normal physical properties. Jesus's normal condition is hidden under the appearance of bread and wine. While the apostles truly consumed Christ's real body and blood, it was not cannibalism , because Christ was not in his natural condition. They did not bite off pieces of his body or swallow quantities of his blood; instead they received Christ wholly and entirely body, blood, soul, and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine.receiving Christ's real but sacramental presence in the Eucharist has nothing to do with cannibalism or drinking blood. To me personally as a Catholic, I take the Eucharist seriously. I am a part of the body of christ And I know not to consume the Eucharist in an unworthy manner. 1 Corinthians 11:27 "whoever therefore , eats the bread or drinks the blood in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the lord". I take this seriously! I know not to be in a state of mortal sin when I come up for communion. Hopefully some of you can have a deeper understanding of this truth as well now. In summation, the primary reason we should believe in the real presence is that the infallable teaching authority of the Catholic Church has proclaimed it for nearly 2000 years! This same authoritative church assures us that the doctrine of the real presence is true. Obviously, most non Catholic Christians do not accept the teaching authority of the Catholic church. I would encourage you to scour the earliest writings left behind by the original Christians. You will soon discover that they all believed in the true presence. It was not until the reformation 1500 years later that this was challenged. I can still appeal to history, scripture to reach those who do not believe in the church's authority though. Anyways, go ahead and hit me with any and all objections. I will Do my best to answer any questions in a respectfully manner. Maybe we should discuss scripture, authority and tradition next. If you don't understand those 3 things you will never get a good understanding of Catholicism. Anyhow I am tired from doing all of this by mobile phone. Much love and respect to all! God bless each and every one of you. Silent!

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Re: catholicism

Unread postby bumperjack » November 12th, 2014, 7:07 pm

Silent good post I also have studied alot on this subject believe it or not I also been saved for 46 years but pushed a different agenda but he never left me nor forsaken me I have studied Gods infallible word and been given a lot of truth by the Holy Spirit,What ee first have to understand that denominationalism is of Man not God they are man made every single one. Of them Catholicism is a Christian denomination with a false doctrine my brother true story the true church in the new covenant resides within us the Gospel is about Salvation and santification,We are to make disciples thats what Jesus said pick up your cross and follow me in Matthew 16:24 the only way we can know about false doctrines and false teachings is by studying Gods infallible word Daily and by prayer and growing in our personal Relationship with are Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I also have read the bible like you cover to cover but understanding and retaining its contents is a different subject all together homeboy Only those that Grow Spiritually and obtain the fruits of the spirit is evidence of spiritual growth the Holy Spirit is our guide our teacher and our counsler for discernment of the truth of scripture,Which is God's infallible word If we pray for Spiritual Wisdom out of His mouth come knowledge and understanding,when this transformation takes place internally He changes our Hearts and we have a renewing of our minds but you know this already the old bump might surprise you with Him who has given me the truth peaceout bumper

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Re: catholicism

Unread postby MMRbkaRudog » November 12th, 2014, 11:02 pm

How come non denominational Christians believe this is the way all of a sudden? I mean you're telling me Christians had it wrong for over a thousand years? No disrespect, but I think you have to belong to a denomination. Look at all these different views people have. Obviously going your own way doesn't seem to be doing nothing other than adding on to all the different views of what Christianity, which is now hundreds of denominations and then your non denominational Christians.

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Re: catholicism

Unread postby bumperjack » November 13th, 2014, 6:11 am

Rudog,you only have to belong to a denomination if you start a Church yourself,There are know non denominational Churchs that exist today they migdht claim that they are but to get the tax free write off you have to denominalize your church prime example Calgary church claims there non denominational thats. False because they are,there are over 4,200 Religions in the World today and many false :roll: churchs and religions today so one must be careful The New Testament. Explains Salvation and Santification I guess you have to dig into Religion to get a better understanding the apostle Paul who in the Bible states we must pray for wisdom and out of Gods mouth come knowledge and understanding how we Spiritual Grow is by reading God's infallible word and praying daily it is a daily endeavor if you dont know the truth its because many are spiritually blinded Ruedog

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Re: catholicism

Unread postby MMRbkaRudog » November 13th, 2014, 7:53 am

bumperjack wrote:Rudog,you only have to belong to a denomination if you start a Church yourself,There are know non denominational Churchs that exist today they migdht claim that they are but to get the tax free write off you have to denominalize your church prime example Calgary church claims there non denominational thats. False because they are,there are over 4,200 Religions in the World today and many false :roll: churchs and religions today so one must be careful The New Testament. Explains Salvation and Santification I guess you have to dig into Religion to get a better understanding the apostle Paul who in the Bible states we must pray for wisdom and out of Gods mouth come knowledge and understanding how we Spiritual Grow is by reading God's infallible word and praying daily it is a daily endeavor if you dont know the truth its because many are spiritually blinded Ruedog

I feel what you're saying with the corruption, but there are good people out there.

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Re: catholicism

Unread postby bumperjack » November 13th, 2014, 9:14 am

Yes I agree there is Good and there is Evil in this World we live in,and I personally know some good people

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Re: catholicism

Unread postby bumperjack » November 13th, 2014, 4:23 pm

Silent here is my study on Catholicism from great sources,The most crucial problem with the Roman Catholic Church is its belief that faith alone in Christ is not sufficent for Salvation.(John 1:12,3:16-36) Acts 16:31 Romans 10:9-10-13) Ephesians 2:8-9) The Roman Catholic Church rejects This. The Official position of the Roman Catholic Church is that. A person. Must. Believe in Jesus Christ. And be baptised and recieve the Eucharist along with other sacraments and obey the decrees of. The Roman Catholic Church and perform meritorious works and not die with any mortal sins and etc.,ect.,etc.,Catholic divergence. From the bible. On this most crucial. Of issues,salvation means. That yes Catholicism is a False Religion. If a person Believes what the catholic Church Officially teaches, he/ she will not be saved. Any claim that works rituals must be added to faith in order for Salvation to be achieved is a claim that Jesus death was not sufficent to fully purchase our Salvation. While Salvation by faith. Is the most crucial issue,in comparing Roman Catholicism with the word of God,there are many other differences and contradictions as well silent, The Roman Catholic Church teaches many doctrines that are. In diagreement with what the bible declares,these include apostolic succession,worship of saints or mary, The Pope/Papacy,infant baptism,transubstantiation,plenary indulgences,the sacramental system,purgatory. While Catholics claim scriptural support. For these concepts. Silent they are only based on Catholic Tradition. Not the Word of God. In fact they all clearly contradict Biblical principles. The Roman Catholic Church is not. A Church that. Jesus Christ established, It is not a church that is based on the teachings of the apostles( as described in the book of Acts and the New Testament epistles, while Jesus words. In Mark 7:9 were directed towards the Pharisees they accurately. Describe the Roman Catholic Church, You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe. Your Own Traditions.

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Re: catholicism

Unread postby silentwssj » November 13th, 2014, 9:27 pm

Wow! I finally got a response to this post! It is funny because I almost just this issue just simply die out because nobody had the balls to respond to any of it! It is funny because all of the stuff that you just said Bumperjack is what I was thinking about at work. I was thinking about this very post today and how I was going to approach it. To be honest I was thinking of starting off by talking about how Catholicism is not any of those things that you just claimed that it is! I guess I don't have to cover any of that because you just took the words right out of my mouth! Instead I will simply say that I don't agree with anything that you just said and I will do my best to systematically present the Catholic point of view! I am not surprised by the above post, I have heard all those claims before. You probably have never been exposed to any kind of Catholic apologetics before so I will excuse it! It is a common misconception to think that you know what the Catholic church teaches only to find out different once you immerse yourself in it's actual teachings. Religion is a touchy and emotional subject. Some of the most heated battles that I have had with people have been in regards to this very subject. I know that you are well meaning though bumperjack. I got your e-mail and I will check out the material that you sent me. What I really want to do is submit 1 or 2 posts a month on Catholicism. I think that I will pick a topic And simply work through them all one by one! This will be very time consuming so please be patient with me people! I don't want to misrepresent anything. I also want to give the best possible answers to everything. All this will take a lot of research, thought, and writing! Bear with me people, I will do my best to represent everything truthfully and thoughtfully. Instead of throwing out a bunch of stuff I think we should focus on one topic at a time. That way I can be thorough. I am going to reference the Bible, Catechism "only to clear up what the Catholic Church actually teaches", I will touch on some early writings of the original Christians as well. It is all relevant after all! I was going to start of with Tradition and the Bible and possibly tie it in to the Papacy and Authority. I could also break each one of those topics into their own posts. I think that it would be good to cover those 4 things first because so much of everything else hinges on those topics and a proper understanding of them. I am willing to hit Salvation first though if I get some feed back that that is where people want to start. After that I do insist that I go back to those other 4 topics first though. I have to work all week with only Sunday off. Please let me know by then what everyone wants to do. On Sunday I will begin. I may not put out the post for another week as I have a lot of research to do first. I do want to urge all of you to keep it respectful! Religion is a real touchy subject. A little about me and my personal circumstances at the moment. I am an Electrician and I am working out of town right now. We actually started a bible study amongst all of my co-workers. inevitably it got a little heated between the various protestant groups and even more so between those of us that are Catholic vs Protestant. Recently we actually held a meeting amongst each other and stressed the fact that we are all Christians! It is never a good thing to down play another persons version of the same religion. It is a good thing to intelligently and respectfully debate things and it is not a good thing to make wild accusations about other groups beliefs. That never bears fruit! In fact I believe it usually just pushes people away and makes them angry at each other. I am happy to say that we prayed together and came to a mutually respectful agreement with one another. Now we just read passages and each person is free to talk about how he interprets those passages. Nobody has to believe that person opinion but we all agree to give each other mutual respect and floor time. Hopefully we can do that here to as well. With that being said, my main goal in doing this is to simply present Christianity from a Catholic point of view. I will do my best to not directly attack the protestant view point. In fact I will only bring up protestant topics if I have to give a defense of something Catholic or if I am directly challenged on something and even then I will try my best to stay respectful! What I want to focus on here is Catholicism. Eventually, I would like to talk about other religions and Science as well. We will see how this goes. Anyways it is bedtime! Peaceout brothers and sisters! Silent

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Re: catholicism

Unread postby bumperjack » November 14th, 2014, 6:07 am

Silent good post and yes I truly believe we serve a Awesome God and we will keep it always 100%,I was saved and baptised 46 years ago,as my Relationship with Jesus Christ becomes closer as I pray and read the word daily and spiritually grow Im open to hear your views on Catholicism? I personally believe it is a personal Relationship with the Co creator of all things Jesus Christ and not about Religion or denominations as when we except Christ as our savior a transformation takes place in our hearts and a renewing of our minds all old things pass away we think differntly and act differently from that transformation We become more Christ like as we grow brother,It is a very argumentative subject Religiion,but I only touched on it cause of the Respect I have gained for you over the months on Street Gangs and also being homeboys from Nor Cali and being invovled with hoods,Gangs and Prisons we lived the life in a real way,We are are both now living for Christ and we can agree to disagree about denominations which are man made doctrines but are real focus should be on our Heavenly Father His Son and the Holy Spirit who is our teacher our guide and our Counsler,Brother after all them years in prison and a life in gangs Im careful to give Him the Glory for my life now and I have fully submitted to His will and plan and purpose for my life and you had a part in getting me to Thank God in all we do and I thank you for that you are spiritually blessed I truely believe and I always like to hear what you have to say my Brother peaceout your Brother in the Lord Bumper

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Re: catholicism

Unread postby silentwssj » December 19th, 2014, 7:35 pm

QUESTIONS ABOUT THE EUCHARIST





This page responds to the following Protestant objections to Transubstantiation, the change of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ at Mass. (Either click on the specific argument or scroll down to read it.)

Protestant Argument 1: Cannibalism
Protestant Argument 2: Spirit means symbolic
Protestant Argument 3: The flesh is of no avail
Protestant Argument 4: “Eat my flesh” - “I am the door” Both are symbolic.
Protestant Argument 5: Leviticus 17:14 says not to drink blood



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Cannibalism



Protestant Argument 1:
Jesus Christ could not have intended for us to eat His Flesh and Blood, because that would be cannibalism.

Catholic Response: ( This is one Catholic’s attempt to defend what God has revealed through His Catholic Church. I, of course, do not intend to speak for the Church.)

When Catholics celebrate the Lord’s Supper and consume His Flesh and Blood in the Eucharist it is not cannibalism. That will be demonstrated farther down in this article, but let us first consider some preliminary points:

Three parts:

I. The Process Used To Interpret Scripture
II. What Happened In The Early Church
III. Is It Cannibalism ?




I. The Process Used To Interpret Scripture

There is a worldly temptation to consider ourselves and our own opinion the final arbiter of what is right and what is wrong, to call it as WE see it. This temptation can carry over into our determination of what Sacred Scripture means. That is, we can choose to filter what God has said through our own understanding of what is right and proper.

If a person’s criteria for determining what Sacred Scripture means is: “The Bible can only mean that which is valid according to my own understanding,” that person is very easy prey for Satan. Consider 1 Peter 5:8, 2 Peter 1:20, 2 Peter 3:16. Footnote 1

God’s ways are far above our ways and our understanding of what seems to be right, Cf. Romans 11:33-34. Footnote 2

When God asks us to die to ourselves and to our deepest desires for the things of the earth, we will be susceptible to Satan’s deceptions if we judge those commands according to what seems right in our own mind since the dying part will hardly seem right in our own eyes. No one wants to truly die to himself.

Hypothetically: If Jesus’s statement:
“… he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day,” (John 6:54)
had been an instruction to engage in cannibalism, then for the Christian, cannibalism would have been a good thing. We are not to determine what Jesus said according to our thinking of what is right and wrong, rather we are to adjust our thinking of what is right and wrong according to what Jesus told us to do.



II. What Happened In The Early Church
And What Did They Believe

The early church was also falsely accused of endorsing cannibalism, Cf. Tertullian, The Apology, Chapter 7:1. This is because the early church also taught that we are to literally eat and drink Christ’s Flesh and Blood.

See: What the Early Church believed (external link from Catholic Answers)

We will see later how this is not done in a cannibalistic manner, but the point here is that this false accusation should not sway us from accepting the Lord’s teaching. Jesus Christ was falsely accused and He predicted that His Church would be treated the same way

See: Christ and His Church are falsely accused.

The first Christian to suggest a figurative only interpretation of John’s Gospel chapter 6:41-69, was Berengarius of Tours (died 1088 AD.) He later repented and came back to the Catholic Church. Of course I am not including here Judas Iscariot who was the very first follower of Christ who did not believe Jesus when He said that we should eat His Flesh.

John 6:64-66
“ ‘But there are some of you that do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.’ After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.”

Even the Reformers Martin Luther and King Henry VIII believed that we are to literally eat and drink Christ’s Flesh and Blood. It is only in recent times that this figurative only interpretation has become popular. ( The early church fathers affirmed the literal meaning of John 6. See link to early church writers above. Please read what they actually said, not just what others claimed the early church believed.)



III. Is It Cannibalism


What is the Eucharist ?
In Catholic Eucharistic celebrations Christ’s Body is truly and substantially present, not in a natural way but in supernatural, i.e. miraculous way. It is the same as in the Last Supper when Christ changed the substance of the bread and wine, but not its form, into His Flesh and Blood. So, the *FORM* of the Eucharist, which does not change, is bread and wine.


What is cannibalism ?
Cannibalism is to eat food, but not just any food. For it to be cannibalism the *FORM* of the food has to be meat and or blood of one’s own species. Since the *FORM* of the Eucharist is not meat or blood it cannot be cannibalism.

So, the determining factor is the form of the food. If a person eats a dead man, that would be cannibalism. If, on the other hand, a lion nourishes himself by eating several people, and then a month later a hunter comes along and kills and eats that lion, that would not be cannibalism.

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Spirit means symbolic ???



Protestant Argument 2:

In John 6:63 Jesus said that his words are “spirit and life.” By the word “spirit” He means that they are only symbolic.

Catholic response:

A fundamental flaw in this reasoning is that the word “spirit” is never used in the Bible to mean symbolic.
John 4:24 says “God is spirit …”

Using this definition for the word “spirit” would force that same Protestant to conclude that God does not really exist, but rather is only symbolic of something else.

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The flesh is of no avail



Protestant Argument 3:
Jesus words “the flesh is of no avail” (John 6:63) means that we do not have to eat His Flesh.

Catholic response:

The references to “the flesh” and “my flesh” mean two different things. Whereas, if the Protestant assumption that they mean the same thing were true it would prove too much. It would mean His Incarnation, His death on the cross, and His bodily resurrection all account for nothing.

The Protestant argument would make nonsense out of Jesus’ words. “You must eat my flesh to have eternal life, but it is just a waste of time ???”

Note that Jesus is referring to “the flesh” as opposed to “my flesh” that He had spoken of earlier. The meaning of the phrase “the flesh” can be seen by looking how it is used else where in Sacred Scripture. It means that which is of purely human origin without the aid of God’s grace. Cf. Galatians 5: 16-22 and Romans 8:9 1 Corinthians 2:9 - 3:3. Footnote 4.

He just said that we had to eat His Flesh in John 6:50-51. When the Jews ask how this can be, Jesus repeats his command to eat His Flesh not once or twice but three more times in verses 53, 54, and 56. (Cf. John 6 verses 50-52, 53, 54, and 56. Footnote 3)

And to further emphasis His point He says in
John 6:55 “For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”

In verse 60 the Jews say that it is hard to accept. (The Greek word used here is “skleros” which means “hard to accept” not “hard to understand.”) After this Jesus says
John 6:63-64 “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.”


The Pharisees were trying to evaluate Jesus words by their own fleshly and natural judgment. They were thinking without faith and by their own fallen human nature with all of its pride, selfish desires and tendencies toward sin. That is why Jesus says that we can only come to have faith in Him and accept His words as true only by the aide of God’s grace, John 6:65.

Further, the contention offered by some Protestants that Jesus was refuting the literal meaning of His words runs into serious theological contradictions. Jesus said:

John 6:63-64
“It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.”

If Jesus had been intending that we understand Him to be referring to His own flesh in the phrase, “the flesh is of no avail” this would contradict several other Scriptural passages.

John 1:14
“And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.”

Ephesians 2:13-16
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.
14 For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh,
15 abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace,
16 and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it.”

Colossians 1:21-22
“And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him ...”

Therefore, Jesus was not referring to His own flesh in John 6:63, but rather He was explaining why the worldly thinking of the Pharisee’s prevented them from believing in the truth that He had just said.

John 6:60-65
“Then many of his disciples who were listening said, ‘This saying is hard; who can accept it?’
61 Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, ‘Does this shock you?
62 What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
63 It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
64 But there are some of you who do not believe.’ Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
65 And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.’ ”

Only by God’s grace can we believe in what Jesus said because it goes beyond our common human understanding of things. Jesus’ words have spirit and life (John 6:63.) What did He tell us to do ? To eat His Flesh and drink His Blood. We thereby receive the Holy Spirit who has transformed the bread and wine into the Body, and Blood, the Soul and the Divinity of Jesus Christ and who gives us everlasting life.

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“Eat my flesh” – “I am the door” Both are symbolic.



Protestant Argument 4:
“Eat my flesh” - “I am the door”
Both are symbolic.

Catholic response:

When Jesus says “I am the door” or “I am the vine” those words by their very nature have obvious symbolic parallels that apply to Christ. However, when Christ takes bread and says “This is My Body” it really becomes His Body. Bread is in no way like flesh. Its very nature cannot symbolize the actual Body of Christ.



Besides Jesus always explained his symbolic speech or parables to His disciples.
Mark 4:34 “ … he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.” Cf. Mat 16:5-12, John 3:3, 4: 31-34, 10:1,6,9

To make Himself perfectly clear He says in
John 6:55 “For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”

Jesus' followers left him precisely because His words were hard to accept.

Jesus followers understand Him in a literal sense and some leave Him and follow Him no more because this saying is just to hard to accept. And, it is the literal meaning that is hard to accept. Without the gift of faith we cannot follow Him. John 6: 52, 60, 64-66. If Jesus was speaking symbolically He would have been morally obligated to explicitly say so. HE DOES NOT. He just says to those remaining “Do you also wish to go away?” John 6:67

See More Details from Catholic Answers

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Leviticus 17:14 says not to drink blood



Protestant Argument 5:
Leviticus 17:14 says not to drink blood or you will be cut off !

Leviticus 17:14 “… I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.”




Catholic response:

Yes !!! We must be cut off !!!

Jews and everyone is born in the family of Adam. We must be cut off from Adams family and be grafted into Christ’s family. We must be cut off from the Old Covenant and its laws so that we can get into the New Covenant.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22
“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”

To be “cut off” means to die. Cf. Isaiah 53:8
“… he was taken away … he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?”
Also see Job 27:8 Footnote 5.

We must be cut off. That is we must die to ourselves in order to live for Christ.

Luke 9:23-24
“And he said to all, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.’ ”

Romans 7:1-6
“ Are you unaware, brothers … that the law has jurisdiction over one as long as one lives? …
4 In the same way, my brothers, you also were put to death to the law through the body of Christ, so that you might belong to another, to the one who was raised from the dead in order that we might bear fruit for God. …
6 But now we are released from the law, dead to what held us captive, so that we may serve in the newness of the spirit and not under the obsolete letter.” NAB

Saint Paul compares Adam’s sin to Christ’s reward in

Romans 5:15-19
“But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by that one person’s transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one person Jesus Christ overflow for the many. …
17 For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ.
18 In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all.
19 For just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous.” NAB

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Footnote 1

1 Peter 5:8
“Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.”

2 Peter 1:20
“First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation”

2 Peter 3:16
“There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.”

Return



Footnote 2
Romans 11:33-34
“O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ ”


Isaiah 55:9
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Return




Footnote 3

John 6:39-66
“ ... and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day.40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.”42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”43 Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves.44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.46 Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father.47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.48 I am the bread of life.49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die.51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”59 This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caperna-um.
60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.64 But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” 66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.”
RSV

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Footnote 4

Galatians 5:16-22
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. … (19) Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness …”

Romans 8:9
“But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.”

1 Corinthians 2:9 - 3:3
“But, as it is written,
‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him,’ God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit.
The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.
3:1 But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men?”

Return



Footnote 5

Job 27:8
“For what is the hope of the godless when God cuts him off, when God takes away his life?”

Return



Footnote 6

The early Church Fathers interpreted these passages literally. In fact, NO Christian denied the literal interpretation in over six hundred years of the early church.

In summarizing the early Fathers’ teachings on Christ’s Real Presence, renowned Protestant historian of the early Church J. N. D. Kelly, writes: “Eucharistic teaching, it should be understood at the outset, was in general unquestioningly realist, i.e., the consecrated bread and wine were taken to be, and were treated and designated as, the Savior’s body and blood” (Early Christian Doctrines, 440).

Read what early church said at :

http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-real-presence


Problems with supposed symbolic interpretation.

The phrase ‘to eat the flesh and drink the blood,’ when used figuratively among the Jews, as among the Arabs of today, meant to inflict upon a person some serious injury, especially by calumny or by false accusation. To interpret the phrase figuratively then would be to make our Lord promise life everlasting to the culprit for slandering and hating him, which would reduce the whole passage to utter nonsense” (O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, 215). For an example of this use, see Micah 3:3.


Paul confirms literal interpretation


1 Corinthians 10:16
“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor. 10:16). So when we receive Communion, we actually participate in the body and blood of Christ, not just eat symbols of them. Paul also said, “Therefore whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. . . . For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Cor. 11:27, 29). “To answer for the body and blood” of someone meant to be guilty of a crime as serious as homicide. How could eating mere bread and wine “unworthily” be so serious? Paul’s comment makes sense only if the bread and wine became the real body and blood of Christ.

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Re: catholicism

Unread postby silentwssj » December 31st, 2014, 9:42 pm

The Institution of the Mass



Many non-Catholics do not understand the Mass. Television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart wrote, "The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Mass is an expiatory sacrifice, in which the Son of God is actually sacrificed anew on the cross" (Swaggart, Catholicism and Christianity). The late Loraine Boettner, the dean of anti-Catholic Fundamentalists, said the Mass is a "jumble of medieval superstition."

Vatican II puts the Catholic position succinctly:

"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us" (Sacrosanctum Concilium 47).

Even a modestly informed Catholic can set an inquirer right and direct him to biblical accounts of Jesus’ final night with his disciples. Turning to the text, we read, "And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’" (Luke 22:19).

The Greek here and in the parallel Gospel passages (Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22) reads: Touto estin to soma mou. Paul’s version differs slightly: Touto mou estin to soma (1 Cor. 11:24). They all translate as "This is my body." The verb estin is the equivalent of the English "is" and can mean "is really" or "is figuratively." The usual meaning of estin is the former (check any Greek grammar book), just as, in English, the verb "is" usually is taken literally.

Fundamentalists insist that when Christ says, "This is my body," he is speaking figuratively. But this interpretation is precluded by Paul’s discussion of the Eucharist in 1 Corinthians 11:23–29 and by the whole tenor of John 6, the chapter where the Eucharist is promised. The Greek word for "body" in John 6:54 is sarx, which means physical flesh, and the word for "eats" (trogon) translates as "gnawing" or "chewing." This is certainly not the language of metaphor.



No "figurative presence"



The literal meaning can’t be avoided except through violence to the text—and through the rejection of the universal understanding of the early Christian centuries. The writings of Paul and John reflect belief in the Real Presence. There is no basis for forcing anything else out of the lines, and no writer tried to do so until the early Middle Ages. Christ did not institute a Figurative Presence. Some Fundamentalists say the word "is" is used because Aramaic, the language Christ spoke, had no word for "represents." Those who make this feeble claim are behind the times, since, as Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman showed a century ago, Aramaic has about three dozen words that can mean "represents."



The Catholic position



The Church teaches that the Mass is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Calvary, which also is invariably misunderstood by anti-Catholics. The Catholic Church does not teach that the Mass is a re-crucifixion of Christ, who does not suffer and die again in the Mass.

Yet, it is more than just a memorial service. John A. O’Brien, writing in The Faith of Millions, said, "The manner in which the sacrifices are offered is alone different: On the cross Christ really shed his blood and was really slain; in the Mass, however, there is no real shedding of blood, no real death; but the separate consecration of the bread and of the wine symbolizes the separation of the body and blood of Christ and thus symbolizes his death upon the cross. The Mass is the renewal and perpetuation of the sacrifice of the cross in the sense that it offers [Jesus] anew to God . . . and thus commemorates the sacrifice of the cross, reenacts it symbolically and mystically, and applies the fruits of Christ’s death upon the cross to individual human souls. All the efficacy of the Mass is derived, therefore, from the sacrifice of Calvary" (306).



"Once for all"



The Catholic Church specifically says Christ does not die again—his death is once for all. It would be something else if the Church were to claim he does die again, but it doesn’t make that claim. Through his intercessory ministry in heaven and through the Mass, Jesus continues to offer himself to his Father as a living sacrifice, and he does so in what the Church specifically states is "an unbloody manner"—one that does not involve a new crucifixion.



The Language of Appearances



Loraine Boettner mounts another charge. In chapter eight of Roman Catholicism, when arguing that the meal instituted by Christ was strictly symbolic, he gives a cleverly incomplete quotation. He writes, "Paul too says that the bread remains bread: ‘Wherefore whosoever shall eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner. . . . But let each man prove himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup’ (1 Cor. 11:27–28)."

The part of verse 27 represented by the ellipsis is crucial. It reads, "shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." Why does Boettner omit this? Because to be guilty of someone’s body and blood is to commit a crime against his body and blood, not just against symbols of them. The omitted words clearly imply the bread and wine become Christ himself.

Profaning the Eucharist was so serious that the stakes could be life and death. In the next two verses (29–30), Paul states, "For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died."

Boettner’s omitted statements reveal that when Paul uses the term "bread," he’s using the language of appearances, what scholars call "phenomenological language." In this form of speech, something is described according to how it appears, rather than according to its fundamental nature. "The sun rose," is an example of phenomenological language. From our perspective, itappears that the sun rises, though we know that what we see is actually caused by the earth’s rotation.

Scripture uses phenomenological language regularly—as, for example, when it describes angels appearing in human guise as "men" (Gen. 19:1-11; Luke 24:4–7, 23; Acts 1:10–11). Since the Eucharist still appears as bread and wine, Catholics from Paul’s time on have referred to the consecrated elements using phenomenological language, while recognizing that this is only description according to appearances and that it is actually Jesus who is present.

We are not merely symbolically commemorating Jesus in the Eucharist, but actually participating in his body and blood, as Paul states, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16).



The Manner of Melchizedek



The Old Testament predicted that Christ would offer a true sacrifice to God using the elements of bread and wine. In Genesis 14:18, Melchizedek, the king of Salem (that is, Jerusalem) and a priest, offered sacrifice under the form of bread and wine. Psalm 110 predicted Christ would be a priest "after the order of Melchizedek," that is, offering a sacrifice in bread and wine. We must look for some sacrifice other than Calvary, since it was not under the form of bread and wine. The Mass meets that need.

Furthermore, "according to the order of Mel-chizedek" means "in the manner of Melchizedek." ("Order" does not refer to a religious order, as there was no such thing in Old Testament days.) The only "manner" shown by Melchizedek was the use of bread and wine. A priest sacrifices the items offered—that is the main task of all priests, in all cultures, at all times—so the bread and wine must have been what Melchizedek sacrificed.

Fundamentalists sometimes say Christ followed the example of Melchizedek at the Last Supper, but that it was a rite that was not to be continued. They undermine their case against the Mass in saying this, since such an admission shows, at least, that the Last Supper was truly sacrificial. The key, though, is that they overlook that Christ said, "Do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19). Clearly, he wasn’t talking about a one-time thing.

"Do this in remembrance of me" can also be translated as "Offer this as my memorial sacrifice." The Greek term for "remembrance" is anamnesis, and every time it occurs in the Protestant Bible (whether in the New Testament or the Greek Old Testament), it occurs in a sacrificial context. For example, it appears in the Greek translation of Numbers 10:10: "On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts, and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; they shall serve you for remembrance [anamnesis] before your God: I am the Lord your God." Thus the Eucharist is a remembrance, a memorial offering we present to God to plead the merits of Christ on the cross.

Fundamentalists disbelieve claims about the antiquity of the Mass’s sacrificial.aspects, even if they think the Mass, in the form of a mere commemorative meal, goes all the way back to the Last Supper. Many say the Mass as a sacrifice was not taught until the Middle Ages, alleging Innocent III was the first pope to teach the doctrine.

But he merely insisted on a doctrine that had been held from the first but was being publicly doubted in his time. He formalized, but did not invent, the notion that the Mass is a sacrifice. Jimmy Swaggart, for one, goes further back than do many Fundamentalists, claiming, "By the third century the idea of sacrifice had begun to intrude." Still other Fundamentalists say Cyprian of Carthage, who died in 258, was the first to make noises about a sacrifice.

But Irenaeus, writing Against Heresies in the second century, beat out Cyprian when he wrote of the sacrificial nature of the Mass, and Irenaeus was beaten out by Clement of Rome, who wrote, in the first century, about those "from the episcopate who blamelessly and holily have offered its sacrifices" (Letter to the Corinthians 44:1).

Furthermore, Clement was beaten out by the Didache (a Syrian liturgical manual written around A.D. 70), which stated, "On the Lord’s Day . . . gather together, break bread and offer the Eucharist, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure. Let no one who has a quarrel with his neighbor join you until he is reconciled, lest our sacrifice be defiled. For this is that which was proclaimed by the Lord: ‘In every place and time let there be offered to me a clean sacrifice. For I am a great king,’ says the Lord, ‘and my name is wonderful among the gentiles’ [cf. Mal. 1:11]" (14:1–3).

It isn’t possible to get closer to New Testament times than this, because Clement and the author of the Didache were writing during New Testament times. After all, at least one apostle, John, was still alive.



A misreading



Fundamentalists are particularly upset about the Catholic notion that the sacrifice on Calvary is somehow continued through the centuries by the Mass. They think Catholics are trying to have it both ways. The Church on the one hand says that Calvary is "perpetuated," which seems to mean the same act of killing, the same letting of blood, is repeated again and again. This violates the "once for all" idea. On the other hand, what Catholics call a sacrifice seems to have no relation to biblical sacrifices, since it doesn’t look the same; after all, no splotches of blood are to be found on Catholic altars.

"We must, of course, take strong exception to such pretended sacrifice," Boettner instructs. "We cannot regard it as anything other than a deception, a mockery, and an abomination before God. The so-called sacrifice of the Mass certainly is not identical with that on Calvary, regardless of what the priests may say. There is in the Mass no real Christ, no suffering, and no bleeding. And a bloodless sacrifice is ineffectual. The writer of the book of Hebrews says that ‘apart from shedding of blood there is no remission’ of sin (9:22); and John says, ‘The blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin’ (1 John 1:7). Since admittedly there is no blood in the Mass, it simply cannot be a sacrifice for sin" (174).

Boettner misreads chapter nine of Hebrews, which begins with an examination of the Old Covenant. Moses is described as taking the blood of calves and goats and using it in the purification of the tabernacle (Heb. 9:19–21; see Ex. 24:6–8 for the origins of this). Under the Old Law, a repeated blood sacrifice was necessary for the remission of sins. Under the Christian dispensation, blood (Christ’s) is shed only once, but it is continually offered to the Father.

"But how can that be?" ask Fundamentalists. They have to keep in mind that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever" (Heb. 13:8). What Jesus did in the past is present to God now, and God can make the sacrifice of Calvary present to us at Mass. "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes" (1 Cor. 11:26).

Jesus does not offer himself to God as a bloody, dying sacrifice in the Mass, but as we offer ourselves, a "living sacrifice" (Rom. 12:1). As this passage indicates, the offering of sacrifice does not require death or the shedding of blood. If it did, we could not offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. Jesus, having shed his blood once for all on the cross, now offers himself to God in a continual, unbloody manner as a holy, living sacrifice on our behalf.

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Re: catholicism

Unread postby silentwssj » December 31st, 2014, 9:45 pm

The Sacrifice of the Mass




The Eucharist is a true sacrifice, not just a commemorative meal, as "Bible Christians" insist. The first Christians knew that it was a sacrifice and proclaimed this in their writings. They recognized the sacrificial character of Jesus’ instruction, "Do this in remembrance of me" (Touto poieite tan eman anamnasin; Luke 22:19, 1 Cor. 11:24–25) which is better translated "Offer this as my memorial offering."

Thus, Protestant early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly writes that in the early Church "the Eucharist was regarded as the distinctively Christian sacrifice. . . . Malachi’s prediction (1:10–11) that the Lord would reject Jewish sacrifices and instead would have "a pure offering" made to him by the Gentiles in every place was seized upon by Christians as a prophecy of the Eucharist. TheDidache indeed actually applies the term thusia, or sacrifice, to the Eucharist. . . .

"It was natural for early Christians to think of the Eucharist as a sacrifice. The fulfillment of prophecy demanded a solemn Christian offering, and the rite itself was wrapped in the sacrificial atmosphere with which our Lord invested the Last Supper. The words of institution, ‘Do this’ (touto poieite), must have been charged with sacrificial overtones for second-century ears; Justin at any rate understood them to mean, ‘Offer this.’ . . . The bread and wine, moreover, are offered ‘for a memorial (eis anamnasin) of the passion,’ a phrase which in view of his identification of them with the Lord’s body and blood implies much more than an act of purely spiritual recollection" (J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines [Full Reference], 196–7).



The Didache



"Assemble on the Lord’s day, and break bread and offer the Eucharist; but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one. Anyone who has a difference with his fellow is not to take part with you until he has been reconciled, so as to avoid any profanation of your sacrifice [Matt. 5:23–24]. For this is the offering of which the Lord has said, ‘Everywhere and always bring me a sacrifice that is undefiled, for I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is the wonder of nations’ [Mal. 1:11, 14]" (Didache 14 [A.D. 70]).



Pope Clement I



"Our sin will not be small if we eject from the episcopate those who blamelessly and holily have offered its sacrifices. Blessed are those presbyters who have already finished their course, and who have obtained a fruitful and perfect release" (Letter to the Corinthians 44:4–5 [A.D. 80]).



Ignatius of Antioch



"Make certain, therefore, that you all observe one common Eucharist; for there is but one Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and but one cup of union with his Blood, and one single altar of sacrifice—even as there is also but one bishop, with his clergy and my own fellow servitors, the deacons. This will ensure that all your doings are in full accord with the will of God" (Letter to the Philadelphians 4 [A.D. 110]).



Justin Martyr



"God speaks by the mouth of Malachi, one of the twelve [minor prophets], as I said before, about the sacrifices at that time presented by you: ‘I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord, and I will not accept your sacrifices at your hands; for from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, my name has been glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering, for my name is great among the Gentiles . . . [Mal. 1:10–11]. He then speaks of those Gentiles, namely us [Christians] who in every place offer sacrifices to him, that is, the bread of the Eucharist and also the cup of the Eucharist" (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 41 [A.D. 155]).



Irenaeus



"He took from among creation that which is bread, and gave thanks, saying, ‘This is my body.’ The cup likewise, which is from among the creation to which we belong, he confessed to be his blood. He taught the new sacrifice of the new covenant, of which Malachi, one of the twelve [minor] prophets, had signified beforehand: ‘You do not do my will, says the Lord Almighty, and I will not accept a sacrifice at your hands. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is my name among the Gentiles, says the Lord Almighty’ [Mal. 1:10–11]. By these words he makes it plain that the former people will cease to make offerings to God; but that in every place sacrifice will be offered to him, and indeed, a pure one, for his name is glorified among the Gentiles" (Against Heresies 4:17:5 [A.D. 189]).



Cyprian of Carthage



"If Christ Jesus, our Lord and God, is himself the high priest of God the Father; and if he offered himself as a sacrifice to the Father; and if he commanded that this be done in commemoration of himself, then certainly the priest, who imitates that which Christ did, truly functions in place of Christ" (Letters 63:14 [A.D. 253]).



Serapion



"Accept therewith our hallowing too, as we say, ‘Holy, holy, holy Lord Sabaoth, heaven and earth is full of your glory.’ Heaven is full, and full is the earth, with your magnificent glory, Lord of virtues. Full also is this sacrifice, with your strength and your communion; for to you we offer this living sacrifice, this unbloody oblation" (Prayer of the Eucharistic Sacrifice 13:12–16 [A.D. 350]).



Cyril of Jerusalem



"Then, having sanctified ourselves by these spiritual hymns, we beseech the merciful God to send forth his Holy Spirit upon the gifts lying before him, that he may make the bread the Body of Christ and the wine the Blood of Christ, for whatsoever the Holy Spirit has touched is surely sanctified and changed. Then, upon the completion of the spiritual sacrifice, the bloodless worship, over that propitiatory victim we call upon God for the common peace of the churches, for the welfare of the world, for kings, for soldiers and allies, for the sick, for the afflicted; and in summary, we all pray and offer this sacrifice for all who are in need" (Catechetical Lectures 23:7–8 [A.D. 350]).



Gregory Nazianzen



"Cease not to pray and plead for me when you draw down the Word by your word, when in an unbloody cutting you cut the Body and Blood of the Lord, using your voice for a sword" (Letter to Amphilochius 171 [A.D. 383]).



Ambrose of Milan



"We saw the prince of priests coming to us, we saw and heard him offering his blood for us. We follow, inasmuch as we are able, being priests, and we offer the sacrifice on behalf of the people. Even if we are of but little merit, still, in the sacrifice, we are honorable. Even if Christ is not now seen as the one who offers the sacrifice, nevertheless it is he himself that is offered in sacrifice here on Earth when the body of Christ is offered. Indeed, to offer himself he is made visible in us, he whose word makes holy the sacrifice that is offered" (Commentaries on Twelve Psalms of David 38:25 [A.D. 389]).



John Chrysostom



"When you see the Lord immolated and lying upon the altar, and the priest bent over that sacrifice praying, and all the people empurpled by that precious blood, can you think that you are still among men and on earth? Or are you not lifted up to heaven?" (The Priesthood 3:4:177 [A.D. 387]).

"Reverence, therefore, reverence this table, of which we are all communicants! Christ, slain for us, the sacrificial victim who is placed thereon!" (Homilies on Romans 8:8 [A.D. 391]).

"‘The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not communion of the blood of Christ?’ Very trustworthy and awesomely does he [Paul] say it. For what he is saying is this: What is in the cup is that which flowed from his side, and we partake of it. He called it a cup of blessing because when we hold it in our hands that is how we praise him in song, wondering and astonished at his indescribable gift, blessing him because of his having poured out this very gift so that we might not remain in error; and not only for his having poured it out, but also for his sharing it with all of us. ‘If therefore you desire blood,’ he [the Lord] says, ‘do not redden the platform of idols with the slaughter of dumb beasts, but my altar of sacrifice with my blood.’ What is more awesome than this? What, pray tell, more tenderly loving?" (Homilies on First Corinthians 24:1(3) [A.D. 392]).

"In ancient times, because men were very imperfect, God did not scorn to receive the blood which they were offering . . . to draw them away from those idols; and this very thing again was because of his indescribable, tender affection. But now he has transferred the priestly action to what is most awesome and magnificent. He has changed the sacrifice itself, and instead of the butchering of dumb beasts, he commands the offering up of himself" (ibid., 24:2).

"What then? Do we not offer daily? Yes, we offer, but making remembrance of his death; and this remembrance is one and not many. How is it one and not many? Because this sacrifice is offered once, like that in the Holy of Holies. This sacrifice is a type of that, and this remembrance a type of that. We offer always the same, not one sheep now and another tomorrow, but the same thing always. Thus there is one sacrifice. By this reasoning, since the sacrifice is offered everywhere, are there, then, a multiplicity of Christs? By no means! Christ is one everywhere. He is complete here, complete there, one body. And just as he is one body and not many though offered everywhere, so too is there one sacrifice" (Homilies on Hebrews 17:3(6) [A.D. 403]).



Augustine



"In the sacrament he is immolated for the people not only on every Easter Solemnity but on every day; and a man would not be lying if, when asked, he were to reply that Christ is being immolated. For if sacraments had not a likeness to those things of which they are sacraments, they would not be sacraments at all; and they generally take the names of those same things by reason of this likeness" (Letters 98:9 [A.D. 412]).

"For when he says in another book, which is called Ecclesiastes, ‘There is no good for a man except that he should eat and drink’ [Eccles. 2:24], what can he be more credibly understood to say [prophetically] than what belongs to the participation of this table which the Mediator of the New Testament himself, the priest after the order of Melchizedek, furnishes with his own body and blood? For that sacrifice has succeeded all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, which were slain as a shadow of what was to come. . . . Because, instead of all these sacrifices and oblations, his body is offered and is served up to the partakers of it" (The City of God 17:20 [A.D. 419]).



Sechnall of Ireland



"[St. Patrick] proclaims boldly to the [Irish] tribes the name of the Lord, to whom he gives the eternal grace of the laver of salvation; for their offenses he prays daily unto God; for them also he offers up to God worthy sacrifices" (Hymn in Praise of St. Patrick 13 [A.D. 444]).



Fulgentius of Ruspe



"Hold most firmly and never doubt in the least that the only-begotten God the Word himself became flesh [and] offered himself in an odor of sweetness as a sacrifice and victim to God on our behalf; to whom . . . in the time of the Old Testament animals were sacrificed by the patriarchs and prophets and priests; and to whom now, I mean in the time of the New Testament . . . the holy Catholic Church does not cease in faith and love to offer throughout all the lands of the world a sacrifice of bread and wine. In those former sacrifices what would be given us in the future was signified figuratively, but in this sacrifice which has now been given us is shown plainly. In those former sacrifices it was fore-announced that the Son of God would be killed for the impious, but in the present sacrifice it is announced that he has been killed for the impious" (The Rule of Faith 62 [A.D. 524]).

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Re: catholicism

Unread postby silentwssj » December 31st, 2014, 9:49 pm

Christ in the Eucharist


Protestant attacks on the Catholic Church often focus on the Eucharist. This demonstrates that opponents of the Church—mainly Evangelicals and Fundamentalists—recognize one of Catholicism’s core doctrines. What’s more, the attacks show that Fundamentalists are not always literalists. This is seen in their interpretation of the key biblical passage, chapter six of John’s Gospel, in which Christ speaks about the sacrament that will be instituted at the Last Supper. This tract examines the last half of that chapter.

John 6:30 begins a colloquy that took place in the synagogue at Capernaum. The Jews asked Jesus what sign he could perform so that they might believe in him. As a challenge, they noted that "our ancestors ate manna in the desert." Could Jesus top that? He told them the real bread from heaven comes from the Father. "Give us this bread always," they said. Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst." At this point the Jews understood him to be speaking metaphorically.



Again and Again



Jesus first repeated what he said, then summarized: "‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’" (John 6:51–52).

His listeners were stupefied because now they understood Jesus literally—and correctly. He again repeated his words, but with even greater emphasis, and introduced the statement about drinking his blood: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" (John 6:53–56).



No Corrections



Notice that Jesus made no attempt to soften what he said, no attempt to correct "misunderstandings," for there were none. Our Lord’s listeners understood him perfectly well. They no longer thought he was speaking metaphorically. If they had, if they mistook what he said, why no correction?

On other occasions when there was confusion, Christ explained just what he meant (cf. Matt. 16:5–12). Here, where any misunderstanding would be fatal, there was no effort by Jesus to correct. Instead, he repeated himself for greater emphasis.

In John 6:60 we read: "Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’" These were his disciples, people used to his remarkable ways. He warned them not to think carnally, but spiritually: "It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (John 6:63; cf. 1 Cor. 2:12–14).

But he knew some did not believe. (It is here, in the rejection of the Eucharist, that Judas fell away; look at John 6:64.) "After this, many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him" (John 6:66).

This is the only record we have of any of Christ’s followers forsaking him for purely doctrinal reasons. If it had all been a misunderstanding, if they erred in taking a metaphor in a literal sense, why didn’t he call them back and straighten things out? Both the Jews, who were suspicious of him, and his disciples, who had accepted everything up to this point, would have remained with him had he said he was speaking only symbolically.

But he did not correct these protesters. Twelve times he said he was the bread that came down from heaven; four times he said they would have "to eat my flesh and drink my blood." John 6 was an extended promise of what would be instituted at the Last Supper—and it was a promise that could not be more explicit. Or so it would seem to a Catholic. But what do Fundamentalists say?



Merely Figurative?



They say that in John 6 Jesus was not talking about physical food and drink, but about spiritual food and drink. They quote John 6:35: "Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.’" They claim that coming to him is bread, having faith in him is drink. Thus, eating his flesh and blood merely means believing in Christ.

But there is a problem with that interpretation. As Fr. John A. O’Brien explains, "The phrase ‘to eat the flesh and drink the blood,’ when used figuratively among the Jews, as among the Arabs of today, meant to inflict upon a person some serious injury, especially by calumny or by false accusation. To interpret the phrase figuratively then would be to make our Lord promise life everlasting to the culprit for slandering and hating him, which would reduce the whole passage to utter nonsense" (O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, 215). For an example of this use, see Micah 3:3.

Fundamentalist writers who comment on John 6 also assert that one can show Christ was speaking only metaphorically by comparing verses like John 10:9 ("I am the door") and John 15:1 ("I am the true vine"). The problem is that there is not a connection to John 6:35, "I am the bread of life." "I am the door" and "I am the vine" make sense as metaphors because Christ is like a door—we go to heaven through him—and he is also like a vine—we get our spiritual sap through him. But Christ takes John 6:35 far beyond symbolism by saying, "For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed" (John 6:55).

He continues: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me" (John 6:57). The Greek word used for "eats" (trogon) is very blunt and has the sense of "chewing" or "gnawing." This is not the language of metaphor.



Their Main Argument



For Fundamentalist writers, the scriptural argument is capped by an appeal to John 6:63: "It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." They say this means that eating real flesh is a waste. But does this make sense?

Are we to understand that Christ had just commanded his disciples to eat his flesh, then said their doing so would be pointless? Is that what "the flesh is of no avail" means? "Eat my flesh, but you’ll find it’s a waste of time"—is that what he was saying? Hardly.

The fact is that Christ’s flesh avails much! If it were of no avail, then the Son of God incarnated for no reason, he died for no reason, and he rose from the dead for no reason. Christ’s flesh profits us more than anyone else’s in the world. If it profits us nothing, so that the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ are of no avail, then "your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished" (1 Cor. 15:17b–18).

In John 6:63 "flesh profits nothing" refers to mankind’s inclination to think using only what their natural human reason would tell them rather than what God would tell them. Thus in John 8:15–16 Jesus tells his opponents: "You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me." So natural human judgment, unaided by God’s grace, is unreliable; but God’s judgment is always true.

And were the disciples to understand the line "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life" as nothing but a circumlocution (and a very clumsy one at that) for "symbolic"? No one can come up with such interpretations unless he first holds to the Fundamentalist position and thinks it necessary to find a rationale, no matter how forced, for evading the Catholic interpretation. In John 6:63 "flesh" does not refer to Christ’s own flesh—the context makes this clear—but to mankind’s inclination to think on a natural, human level. "The words I have spoken to you are spirit" does not mean "What I have just said is symbolic." The word "spirit" is never used that way in the Bible. The line means that what Christ has said will be understood only through faith; only by the power of the Spirit and the drawing of the Father (cf. John 6:37, 44–45, 65).



Paul Confirms This



Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16). So when we receive Communion, we actually participate in the body and blood of Christ, not just eat symbols of them. Paul also said, "Therefore whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. . . . For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself" (1 Cor. 11:27, 29). "To answer for the body and blood" of someone meant to be guilty of a crime as serious as homicide. How could eating mere bread and wine "unworthily" be so serious? Paul’s comment makes sense only if the bread and wine became the real body and blood of Christ.



What Did the First Christians Say?



Anti-Catholics also claim the early Church took this chapter symbolically. Is that so? Let’s see what some early Christians thought, keeping in mind that we can learn much about how Scripture should be interpreted by examining the writings of early Christians.

Ignatius of Antioch, who had been a disciple of the apostle John and who wrote a letter to the Smyrnaeans about A.D. 110, said, referring to "those who hold heterodox opinions," that "they abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again" (6:2, 7:1).

Forty years later, Justin Martyr, wrote, "Not as common bread or common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, . . . is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus" (First Apology 66:1–20).

Origen, in a homily written about A.D. 244, attested to belief in the Real Presence. "I wish to admonish you with examples from your religion. You are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries, so you know how, when you have received the Body of the Lord, you reverently exercise every care lest a particle of it fall and lest anything of the consecrated gift perish. You account yourselves guilty, and rightly do you so believe, if any of it be lost through negligence" (Homilies on Exodus 13:3).

Cyril of Jerusalem, in a catechetical lecture presented in the mid-300s, said, "Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy
of the body and blood of Christ" (Catechetical Discourses: Mystagogic 4:22:9).

In a fifth-century homily, Theodore of Mopsuestia seemed to be speaking to today’s Evangelicals and Fundamentalists: "When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood,’ for he wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements], after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit, not according to their nature, but to receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord" (Catechetical Homilies 5:1).



Unanimous Testimony



Whatever else might be said, the early Church took John 6 literally. In fact, there is no record from the early centuries that implies Christians doubted the constant Catholic interpretation. There exists no document in which the literal interpretation is opposed and only the metaphorical accepted.

Why do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals reject the plain, literal interpretation of John 6? For them, Catholic sacraments are out because they imply a spiritual reality—grace—being conveyed by means of matter. This seems to them to be a violation of the divine plan. For many Protestants, matter is not to be used, but overcome or avoided.

One suspects, had they been asked by the Creator their opinion of how to bring about mankind’s salvation, Fundamentalists would have advised him to adopt a different approach. How much cleaner things would be if spirit never dirtied itself with matter! But God approves of matter—he approves of it because he created it—and he approves of it so much that he comes to us under the appearances of bread and wine, just as he does in the physical form of the Incarnate Christ.

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Re: The Catholic Church is the original Christian Church

Unread postby alexalonso » December 18th, 2015, 1:35 am

The original Christian congregation predates the Catholic church by 300 - 400 years, so there is no way that Catholicism in a position of legitimacy or authenticity. The teaching of the Saints and many other Catholic practices were never preach by 1st Century Christians, but the Catholic church certainly influenced the trajectory of Christianity around the world.

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Re: The Catholic Church is the original Christian Church

Unread postby MMRbkaRudog » December 20th, 2015, 10:03 pm

alexalonso wrote:The original Christian congregation predates the Catholic church by 300 - 400 years, so there is no way that Catholicism in a position of legitimacy or authenticity. The teaching of the Saints and many other Catholic practices were never preach by 1st Century Christians, but the Catholic church certainly influenced the trajectory of Christianity around the world.

No proof of that, end of discussion or would you like to come back a year later to respond with the same ol??

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Re: The Catholic Church is the original Christian Church

Unread postby silentwssj » December 26th, 2015, 2:04 pm

Alex, right now is not a good time for me to debate all of this! I got nothing but respect for you my brother! I am super busy with work and school right now. I am talking 70 hr workweeks plus school! That is why i have been quiet lately! I do have a couple questions for you though. How do you explain the fact that all the early Writings of the Christian fathers were Catholic? They not only called the Church catholic but there beliefs expressed in their writings were Catholic 100% as well! There is no such thing as any writings that even remotely reflect what protestants believe today. All writings for the first 1000 years were catholic period! After the Eastern orthodox branched off things started to change. Mainline protestant theory's didn't appear until the 15th century. If anything in Protestantism is true don't you think there would be writings in existence to back up those beliefs from the first centuries of Christianity? Even if you want to say whether its true or not makes no difference, the written record holds. All beliefs of the early church are in union with Catholicism only! Their was no such thing as "Sola Scriptora" or "Sola Fide". To say that you are once saved always saved where is that in the writings of the ancients! Where is that in the Bible? Truth be told these beliefs only appear on the record 1500 years later and then only when protestants decided to be their own authority, change scripture, throw certain books out and take many biblical verses out of context! Thats the real truth! Here are two articles proving the biblical roots of praying to the saints notice there are many quotes from early church fathers. Look at the dates! If you are going to say this is a later invention how do you explain these writings? Where are writings from early church fathers that condemn the practice? Answer they do not exist! Another thing is where do you get "The original christian congregation predates Catholicism by 3-400 years"? If this were true they would have left writings showing they different beliefs from Catholicism. They also would not be calling themselves Catholic. Here is the first writing naming the Church catholic! Notice it is quoted from someone who was a disciple of an Apostle. he calls the church Catholic not congregational! Anyways peace out! I am not going to get into a lengthy religious debate at this time! i am simply to busy! We can visit all of this next summer when things cool down for me if you wish! Much love and respect, Silent!

Praying to the Saints

The historic Christian practice of asking our departed brothers and sisters in Christ—the saints—for their intercession has come under attack in the last few hundred years. Though the practice dates to the earliest days of Christianity and is shared by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, the other Eastern Christians, and even some Anglicans—meaning that all-told it is shared by more than three quarters of the Christians on earth—it still comes under heavy attack from many within the Protestant movement that started in the sixteenth century.



Can They Hear Us?

One charge made against it is that the saints in heaven cannot even hear our prayers, making it useless to ask for their intercession. However, this is not true. As Scripture indicates, those in heaven are aware of the prayers of those on earth. This can be seen, for example, in Revelation 5:8, where John depicts the saints in heaven offering our prayers to God under the form of "golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." But if the saints in heaven are offering our prayers to God, then they must be aware of our prayers. They are aware of our petitions and present them to God by interceding for us.

Some might try to argue that in this passage the prayers being offered were not addressed to the saints in heaven, but directly to God. Yet this argument would only strengthen the fact that those in heaven can hear our prayers, for then the saints would be aware of our prayers even when they are not directed to them!

In any event, it is clear from Revelation 5:8 that the saints in heaven do actively intercede for us. We are explicitly told by John that the incense they offer to God are the prayers of the saints. Prayers are not physical things and cannot be physically offered to God. Thus the saints in heaven are offering our prayers to God mentally. In other words, they are interceding.



One Mediator

Another charge commonly levelled against asking the saints for their intercession is that this violates the sole mediatorship of Christ, which Paul discusses: "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5).

But asking one person to pray for you in no way violates Christ’s mediatorship, as can be seen from considering the way in which Christ is a mediator. First, Christ is a unique mediator between man and God because he is the only person who is both God and man. He is the only bridge between the two, the only God-man. But that role as mediator is not compromised in the least by the fact that others intercede for us. Furthermore, Christ is a unique mediator between God and man because he is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 9:15, 12:24), just as Moses was the mediator (Greek mesitas) of the Old Covenant (Gal. 3:19–20).

The intercession of fellow Christians—which is what the saints in heaven are—also clearly does not interfere with Christ’s unique mediatorship because in the four verses immediately preceding 1 Timothy 2:5, Paul says that Christians should interceed: "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and pleasing to God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:1–4). Clearly, then, intercessory prayers offered by Christians on behalf of others is something "good and pleasing to God," not something infringing on Christ’s role as mediator.



"No Contact with the dead"

Sometimes Fundamentalists object to asking our fellow Christians in heaven to pray for us by declaring that God has forbidden contact with the dead in passages such as Deuteronomy 18:10–11. In fact, he has not, because he at times has given it—for example, when he had Moses and Elijah appear with Christ to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:3). What God has forbidden is necromantic practice of conjuring up spirits. "There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, any one who practices divination, a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer. . . . For these nations, which you are about to dispossess, give heed to soothsayers and to diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you so to do. The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren—him you shall heed" (Deut. 18:10–15).

God thus indicates that one is not to conjure the dead for purposes of gaining information; one is to look to God’s prophets instead. Thus one is not to hold a seance. But anyone with an ounce of common sense can discern the vast qualitative difference between holding a seance to have the dead speak through you and a son humbly saying at his mother’s grave, "Mom, please pray to Jesus for me; I’m having a real problem right now." The difference between the two is the difference between night and day. One is an occult practice bent on getting secret information; the other is a humble request for a loved one to pray to God on one’s behalf.



Overlooking the Obvious

Some objections to the concept of prayer to the saints betray restricted notions of heaven. One comes from anti-Catholic Loraine Boettner:

"How, then, can a human being such as Mary hear the prayers of millions of Roman Catholics, in many different countries, praying in many different languages, all at the same time?

"Let any priest or layman try to converse with only three people at the same time and see how impossible that is for a human being. . . . The objections against prayers to Mary apply equally against prayers to the saints. For they too are only creatures, infinitely less than God, able to be at only one place at a time and to do only one thing at a time.

"How, then, can they listen to and answer thousands upon thousands of petitions made simultaneously in many different lands and in many different languages? Many such petitions are expressed, not orally, but only mentally, silently. How can Mary and the saints, without being like God, be present everywhere and know the secrets of all hearts?" (Roman Catholicism, 142-143).

If being in heaven were like being in the next room, then of course these objections would be valid. A mortal, unglorified person in the next room would indeed suffer the restrictions imposed by the way space and time work in our universe. But the saints are not in the next room, and they are not subject to the time/space limitations of this life.

This does not imply that the saints in heaven therefore must be omniscient, as God is, for it is only through God’s willing it that they can communicate with others in heaven or with us. And Boettner’s argument about petitions arriving in different languages is even further off the mark. Does anyone really think that in heaven the saints are restricted to the King’s English? After all, it is God himself who gives the gift of tongues and the interpretation of tongues. Surely those saints in Revelation understand the prayers they are shown to be offering to God.

The problem here is one of what might be called a primitive or even childish view of heaven. It is certainly not one on which enough intellectual rigor has been exercised. A good introduction to the real implications of the afterlife may be found in Frank Sheed’s book Theology and Sanity, which argues that sanity depends on an accurate appreciation of reality, and that includes an accurate appreciation of what heaven is really like. And once that is known, the place of prayer to the saints follows.



"Directly to Jesus"

Some may grant that the previous objections to asking the saints for their intercession do not work and may even grant that the practice is permissible in theory, yet they may question it on other grounds, asking why one would want to ask the saints to pray for one. "Why not pray directly to Jesus?" they ask.

The answer is: "Of course one should pray directly to Jesus!" But that does not mean it is not also a good thing to ask others to pray for one as well. Ultimately, the "go-directly-to-Jesus" objection boomerangs back on the one who makes it: Why should we ask any Christian, in heaven or on earth, to pray for us when we can ask Jesus directly? If the mere fact that we can go straight to Jesus proved that we should ask no Christian in heaven to pray for us then it would also prove that we should ask no Christian on earth to pray for us.

Praying for each other is simply part of what Christians do. As we saw, in 1 Timothy 2:1–4, Paul strongly encouraged Christians to intercede for many different things, and that passage is by no means unique in his writings. Elsewhere Paul directly asks others to pray for him (Rom. 15:30–32, Eph. 6:18–20, Col. 4:3, 1 Thess. 5:25, 2 Thess. 3:1), and he assured them that he was praying for them as well (2 Thess. 1:11). Most fundamentally, Jesus himself required us to pray for others, and not only for those who asked us to do so (Matt. 5:44).

Since the practice of asking others to pray for us is so highly recommended in Scripture, it cannot be regarded as superfluous on the grounds that one can go directly to Jesus. The New Testament would not recommend it if there were not benefits coming from it. One such benefit is that the faith and devotion of the saints can support our own weaknesses and supply what is lacking in our own faith and devotion. Jesus regularly supplied for one person based on another person’s faith (e.g., Matt. 8:13, 15:28, 17:15–18, Mark 9:17–29, Luke 8:49–55). And it goes without saying that those in heaven, being free of the body and the distractions of this life, have even greater confidence and devotion to God than anyone on earth.

Also, God answers in particular the prayers of the righteous. James declares: "The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit" (Jas. 5:16–18). Yet those Christians in heaven are more righteous, since they have been made perfect to stand in God’s presence (Heb. 12:22-23), than anyone on earth, meaning their prayers would be even more efficacious.

Having others praying for us thus is a good thing, not something to be despised or set aside. Of course, we should pray directly to Christ with every pressing need we have (cf. John 14:13–14). That’s something the Catholic Church strongly encourages. In fact, the prayers of the Mass, the central act of Catholic worship, are directed to God and Jesus, not the saints. But this does not mean that we should not also ask our fellow Christians, including those in heaven, to pray with us.

In addition to our prayers directly to God and Jesus (which are absolutely essential to the Christian life), there are abundant reasons to ask our fellow Christians in heaven to pray for us. The Bible indicates that they are aware of our prayers, that they intercede for us, and that their prayers are effective (else they would not be offered). It is only narrow-mindedness that suggests we should refrain from asking our fellow Christians in heaven to do what we already know them to be anxious and capable of doing.



In Heaven and On Earth

The Bible directs us to invoke those in heaven and ask them to pray with us. Thus in Psalms 103, we pray, "Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will!" (Ps. 103:20-21). And in Psalms 148 we pray, "Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!" (Ps. 148:1-2).

Not only do those in heaven pray with us, they also pray for us. In the book of Revelation, we read: "[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Rev. 8:3-4).

And those in heaven who offer to God our prayers aren’t just angels, but humans as well. John sees that "the twenty-four elders [the leaders of the people of God in heaven] fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" (Rev. 5:8). The simple fact is, as this passage shows: The saints in heaven offer to God the prayers of the saints on earth.



he Intercession of the Saints

Fundamentalists often challenge the Catholic practice of asking saints and angels to pray on our behalf. But the Bible directs us to invoke those in heaven and ask them to pray with us.

Thus, in Psalm 103 we pray, "Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will!" (Ps. 103:20–21). And in the opening verses of Psalms 148 we pray, "Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!"

Not only do those in heaven pray with us, they also pray for us. In the book of Revelation, John sees that "the twenty-four elders [the leaders of the people of God in heaven] fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" (Rev. 5:8). Thus the saints in heaven offer to God the prayers of the saints on earth.

Angels do the same thing: "[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Rev. 8:3–4).

Jesus himself warned us not to offend small children, because their guardian angels have guaranteed intercessory access to the Father: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 18:10).

Because he is the only God-man and the Mediator of the New Covenant, Jesus is the only mediator between man and God (1 Tim. 2:5), but this in no way means we cannot or should not ask our fellow Christians to pray with us and for us (1 Tim. 2:1–4). In particular, we should ask the intercession of those Christians in heaven, who have already had their sanctification completed, for "[t]he prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects" (Jas. 5:16).

As the following passages show, the early Church Fathers not only clearly recognized the biblical teaching that those in heaven can and do intercede for us, but they also applied this teaching in their own daily prayer life.



Hermas

"[The Shepherd said:] ‘But those who are weak and slothful in prayer, hesitate to ask anything from the Lord; but the Lord is full of compassion, and gives without fail to all who ask him. But you, [Hermas,] having been strengthened by the holy angel [you saw], and having obtained from him such intercession, and not being slothful, why do not you ask of the Lord understanding, and receive it from him?’" (The Shepherd 3:5:4 [A.D. 80]).



Clement of Alexandria

"In this way is he [the true Christian] always pure for prayer. He also prays in the society of angels, as being already of angelic rank, and he is never out of their holy keeping; and though he pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him [in prayer]" (Miscellanies 7:12 [A.D. 208]).



Origen

"But not the high priest [Christ] alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels . . . as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep" (Prayer 11 [A.D. 233]).



Cyprian of Carthage

"Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity. Let us on both sides [of death] always pray for one another. Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love, that if one of us, by the swiftness of divine condescension, shall go hence first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord, and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy" (Letters 56[60]:5 [A.D. 253]).



Anonymous

"Atticus, sleep in peace, secure in your safety, and pray anxiously for our sins" (funerary inscription near St. Sabina’s in Rome [A.D. 300]).

"Pray for your parents, Matronata Matrona. She lived one year, fifty-two days" (ibid.).

"Mother of God, [listen to] my petitions; do not disregard us in adversity, but rescue us from danger" (Rylands Papyrus 3 [A.D. 350]).



Methodius

"Hail to you for ever, Virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for to you do I turn again. You are the beginning of our feast; you are its middle and end; the pearl of great price that belongs to the kingdom; the fat of every victim, the living altar of the Bread of Life [Jesus]. Hail, you treasure of the love of God. Hail, you fount of the Son’s love for man. . . . You gleamed, sweet gift-bestowing Mother, with the light of the sun; you gleamed with the insupportable fires of a most fervent charity, bringing forth in the end that which was conceived of you . . . making manifest the mystery hidden and unspeakable, the invisible Son of the Father—the Prince of Peace, who in a marvelous manner showed himself as less than all littleness" (Oration on Simeon and Anna 14 [A.D. 305]).

"Therefore, we pray [ask] you, the most excellent among women, who glories in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in you, and who in august hymns celebrate the memory, which will ever live, and never fade away" (ibid.).

"And you also, O honored and venerable Simeon, you earliest host of our holy religion, and teacher of the resurrection of the faithful, do be our patron and advocate with that Savior God, whom you were deemed worthy to receive into your arms. We, together with you, sing our praises to Christ, who has the power of life and death, saying, ‘You are the true Light, proceeding from the true Light; the true God, begotten of the true God’" (ibid.).



Cyril of Jerusalem

"Then [during the Eucharistic prayer] we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition . . . " (Catechetical Lectures 23:9 [A.D. 350]).



Hilary of Poitiers

"To those who wish to stand [in God’s grace], neither the guardianship of saints nor the defenses of angels are wanting" (Commentary on the Psalms 124:5:6 [A.D. 365]).



Ephraim the Syrian

"You victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Savior, you who have boldness of speech toward the Lord himself, you saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us so that we may love him" (Commentary on Mark [A.D. 370]).

"Remember me, you heirs of God, you brethren of Christ; supplicate the Savior earnestly for me, that I may be freed through Christ from him that fights against me day by day" (The Fear at the End of Life [A.D. 370]).



The Liturgy of St. Basil

"By the command of your only-begotten Son we communicate with the memory of your saints . . . by whose prayers and supplications have mercy upon us all, and deliver us for the sake of your holy name" (Liturgy of St. Basil [A.D. 373]).



Pectorius

"Aschandius, my father, dearly beloved of my heart, with my sweet mother and my brethren, remember your Pectorius in the peace of the Fish [Christ]" (Epitaph of Pectorius [A.D. 375]).



Gregory of Nazianz

"May you [Cyprian] look down from above propitiously upon us, and guide our word and life; and shepherd this sacred flock . . . gladden the Holy Trinity, before which you stand" (Orations 17[24] [A.D. 380]).

"Yes, I am well assured that [my father’s] intercession is of more avail now than was his instruction in former days, since he is closer to God, now that he has shaken off his bodily fetters, and freed his mind from the clay that obscured it, and holds conversation naked with the nakedness of the prime and purest mind . . . " (ibid., 18:4).



Gregory of Nyssa

"[Ephraim], you who are standing at the divine altar [in heaven] . . . bear us all in remembrance, petitioning for us the remission of sins, and the fruition of an everlasting kingdom" (Sermon on Ephraim the Syrian [A.D. 380]).



John Chrysostom

"He that wears the purple [i.e., a royal man] . . . stands begging of the saints to be his patrons with God, and he that wears a diadem begs the tentmaker [Paul] and the fisherman [Peter] as patrons, even though they be dead" (Homilies on Second Corinthians 26 [A.D. 392]).

"When you perceive that God is chastening you, fly not to his enemies . . . but to his friends, the martyrs, the saints, and those who were pleasing to him, and who have great power [in God]" (Orations 8:6 [A.D. 396]).



Ambrose of Milan

"May Peter, who wept so efficaciously for himself, weep for us and turn towards us Christ’s benign countenance" (The Six Days Work 5:25:90 [A.D. 393]).



Jerome

"You say in your book that while we live we are able to pray for each other, but afterwards when we have died, the prayer of no person for another can be heard. . . . But if the apostles and martyrs while still in the body can pray for others, at a time when they ought still be solicitous about themselves, how much more will they do so after their crowns, victories, and triumphs?" (Against Vigilantius 6 [A.D. 406]).



Augustine

"A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers" (Against Faustus the Manichean [A.D. 400]).

"There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for the dead who are remembered. For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended" (Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]).

"At the Lord’s table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps" (Homilies on John 84 [A.D. 416]).

"Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ" (The City of God 20:9:2 [A.D. 419]).


MMRbkaRudog
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Re: The Catholic Church is the original Christian Church

Unread postby MMRbkaRudog » December 29th, 2015, 12:26 pm

With all due respect, I don't see Alex coming back and saying anything much more than what I said. That is why I came the way I came, because all he does is seem to just make these short comments that seem almost random and could be years after a post! Do you really believe Alex will comeback anytime soon, saying something with much substance?

It's not hard to keep up with this forum! If I were to click "new posts" everyday, there's a good chance a wouldn't even catch new posts on here. I understand you are busy Alex and if you are reading this, have you actually considered doing what I have said on your very own forum? I understand this is your site and all, so we couldn't have this w/o you. Don't take how I talk as disrespect Alex, because I am just being maybe as simple as you are. Maybe I haven't made much of a debate on the subject, but I honestly don't think Alex has any more than me. Peace

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Re: The Catholic Church is the original Christian Church

Unread postby silentwssj » December 30th, 2015, 1:10 pm

Honestly, I think most people already have a belief system in place. You can spend all day debating things and it won't make a difference. All the facts in the world won't change a made up mind! On another note, this is your website though Alex! It would be Nice to hear from you every now and then. Even if it was not religion related. I know that you know a lot about gangs. I am always curious as to what you think or know about the whole Norteno vs Sureno thing!


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