Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

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.
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Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » December 8th, 2014, 5:31 pm


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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » December 8th, 2014, 7:35 pm

Silent as you stated in one of your post the bible was written on Tradition,Thatis incorrect the bible was not written on Tradition it was inspired by the Holy spirit through the Authors which were jewish apostles and disciples,the RCC claims alot of things that cannot be proven Historically or biblically.I will post a few more things on what the real church is brother it is not a physical church what the New Testament is talking about there are many other Churchs,Religions that believe they are the one true church but believe this all these buildings & Physical churchs are mislead to understand that BS really brother there is scripture that states God does not dwell in physical churchs made by human hands brother.The Church is the body of Christ believers.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby MMRbkaRudog » January 18th, 2015, 8:26 am

Silent probably didn't even see this one, but I'm sure it's been talked about.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby silentwssj » January 18th, 2015, 8:44 pm

Hey there Rudog! I saw it, I just didn't reply because I covered all of that in my post on Tradition. Bumperjack is right about the Holy Spirit inspiring the Writers. That was never in question though. Where he misses the point is that all the Early Church had to go off of in the beginning was Tradition. The New Testament was not completely written until 100 AD! It was not formally made into a Bible for the first 400 years. When they decided what would and would not be included in the Cannon of Scripture it was Sacred Tradition that they used to guide them. No book could be included if it contradicted Tradition in any way. It is this same Tradition that we use to interpret these Scriptures! It is sad because Protestants miss all of this! They have literally "Thrown the baby out with the bath water" in their insistence on not believing anything not explicitly contained in Scripture. The funny thing is that have many of their own "Man made Traditions". Ours come directly from the Church that Christ himself founded theirs come from the twisted theology of the reformers! I have been reading a new book lately. it deals extensively with this subject. I may have to revisit the Tradition post in the future for same additions. Bottom line, the early church was in no way shape or form Bible based! It couldn't have been because the New Testament did not exist! It is a hard pill for Protestants to swallow. Especially when they seriously read the writings of the earliest Christians. They were all catholic in name and belief! In my opinion this leads them to blatantly deny the truth in order to save face! If they didn't they would have no choice but to accept Catholic teachings on all of these matters. This directly leads to false teachings and mass confusion! It is ridiculous how many different Protestant Denominations exist in the world today. If they would just simply read the writings of the first Christians they would understand that everything believed in Catholicism has been followed from the first century up until the present time. Anyhow, to each his own right! I just feel for those who never get to know the truth! They are being seriously mislead. That is why I am spending all this time doing this. Hopefully a few people will open their eyes and study this on there own. Peace out, Silent!

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 20th, 2015, 8:42 am

Silent: Catholics often say that it was their church that gave us the Bible. They sometimes claim this when defending their "Sacred Tradition," so that they might support extra-biblical teachings such as purgatory, penance, indulgences, and Mary worship. They often say the only way the Christian church knew what books are to be included in the Canon of Scripture was because it was revealed by word-of-mouth in the early church, that is, by the tradition of the Catholic Church.

Unfortunately, this argument implies that tradition is superior to Scripture. Of course, we are not saying that the Roman Catholic church teaches that tradition is above Scripture. But when Sacred Tradition is claimed to be the thing by which Scripture is given, then tradition is inadvertently the thing that gives blessing and approval to the Bible. Heb. 7:7 says, "But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater." The unfortunate psychological effect of saying that Roman Catholic tradition is what gave us the Bible is that it elevates their tradition to a level far greater than what is permitted in Scripture. In fact, it is contradicted by scripture:

"Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other." (1 Cor. 4:6).

The Bible tells us to obey the Word of God--to not go beyond the written Word (1 Cor. 4:6). Unfortunately, the problem with an elevated status of Roman Catholic church tradition is that it results in various justifications of its non-biblical teachings such as prayer to Mary, purgatory, indulgences, penance, works of righteousness, etc. Because it has deviated from trusting God's Word alone, it has ventured into unscriptural areas. Nevertheless, did the Roman Catholic Church give us the Bible? No, it did not.

First of all, the Roman Catholic Church was not really around as an organization in the first couple hundred years of the Christian Church. The Christian church was under persecution, and official church gatherings were very risky in the Roman Empire due to the persecution. Catholicism, as an organization with a central figure located in Rome, did not occur for quite some time in spite of its claim they can trace the papacy back to Peter.

Second, the Christian Church recognized what was Scripture. It did not establish it. This is a very important point. The Christian Church recognizes what God has inspired and pronounces that recognition. In other words, it discovers what is already authentic. Jesus said "my sheep hear my voice and they follow me . . . " (John 10:27). The church hears the voice of Christ; that is, it recognizes what is inspired, and it follows the word. It does not add to it as the Roman Catholic Church has done. Therefore, it is not following the voice of Christ.

Third, the Roman Catholic Church did not give us the Old Testament which is the Scripture to which Christ and the apostles appealed. If the Roman Catholic Church wants to state that it gave us the Bible, then how can they rightfully claim to have given us the Old Testament which is part of the Bible? It didn't, so it cannot make that claim. The fact is that the followers of God, the true followers of God, recognize what is and is not inspired.

Fourth, when the apostles wrote the New Testament documents, they were inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit. There wasn't any real issue of whether or not they were authentic. Their writings did not need to be deemed worthy of inclusion in the Canon of Scripture by a later group of men in the so-called Roman Catholic Church. To make such a claim is, in effect, to usurp the natural power and authority of God himself that worked through the Apostles.

Fifth, the Scripture says, "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." (2 Pet. 1:20-21). The Bible tells us that the Scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the very nature of the inspired documents is that they carry power and authenticity in themselves. They are not given the power or the authenticity of ecclesiastical declaration.

Conclusion
The Christian church, as an earthly organization, recognized the Word of God (John 10:27). It didn't give us the Word of God. Also, it was the Jews who gave us the Old Testament. The authenticity of the New Testament documents rests in the inspiration of God through the apostles--not the Catholic Church. Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Church did not give us the Old Testament. The Jews did. How can the RCC claim it gave us the Bible when it did not give us the Old Testament? Finally, when the Catholic Church claims that it is the source of the sacred Scriptures, it is, in effect, placing itself above the word of God by claiming that through its authority we received the word of God.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby MMRbkaRudog » January 20th, 2015, 8:54 am

The Catholic church put together the Bible. Of course the books existed, but the church picked which ones were to go in and make the Holy Bible. Therefore the original Bible cannot be considered extra Biblical, because it is the Bible. Of course someone such as Martin Luther thought it was too Biblical, but it was the Bible regardless.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 20th, 2015, 4:42 pm

Rudog extra biblical means things that are not in the bible.I can name alot of things that are not but we know which things are not in the bible them are . Extra Biblical things.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 20th, 2015, 4:44 pm

Extra Biblical teachings.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby MMRbkaRudog » January 20th, 2015, 6:32 pm

bumperjack wrote:Extra Biblical teachings.

I get what you're saying, but there is no worship of Mary.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 20th, 2015, 6:48 pm

They (Catholics) pray through Mary she is a Saint to Catholics.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby silentwssj » January 21st, 2015, 5:45 am

OK real quick here! I am super busy at the moment and that is why I have responded. I will address all of this later this weekend. Some quick points though. The Catholic Church was the first and only Church in the beggining. Some NT testament books were written by Apostles and some were written by Church members. The Church decided which books made up the Cannon almost 400 years later. Nobody ever said that Catholics wrote the OT! They did decide which books were to be included though. You are making things up here Bumperjack! We also don't worship Mary. You are thoroughly indoctrinated in anti Catholic lies and mis-information. I guess we have to go back to square one again. You are still denying Tradition even though the Bible clearly teaches it. You are also still claiming that the Church was founded with Constantine even though I have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt the falseness of this claim. Anyhow, its time for work! We will deal with all of this later in the week! As I said before at some point I am just going to have to leave you be in your beliefs though Bumperjack. We are rapidly approaching the point of never ending circular arguments. Peace out Silent!

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 21st, 2015, 7:07 am

Silent,your faith is your faith, there are alot of things I have learned & the reformation happenened for a reason,as we know.There are things in History that none of us have answers for not even you my Catholic friend the truth is in the word.You can post your beliefs,opinions,and what you believe to be the truth that you have been taught,I search for the truth,everybody has been lied to at some point and time.You nor anyone can account for 280 to 300 years in early Christianity my brother yhats facts in History.Your not a Scholar or theologian and I'm not either.You have knowledge in your faith and that is wonderful silent but I'm afraid you are being mislead in Catholicism. Because of this one fact There is no need for a mediator between God and man except for our savior "Jesus Christ" is says in scripture not to go beyond the written word. Rituals are not tradition,oral tradition was written in scripture,I understand you need something to back up all the extra biblical teachings,Salvation is found in our Savior alone not in all that you mentioned.I'm not going to get into a disrespectful dialog with you so I'm just stating how I feel what you believe in my eyes is wrong and what I believe in your eyes is wrong,your very well read brother and knowledgeable but truth be told nobody has all the answers brother you are posting your faith and that is based on only what you believe to be the truth is all.There is always 2 sides to a debate and the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.L&R BJ.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 21st, 2015, 7:19 am

I believe they are debates not arguments but know Im a Christ Follower,I believe in what is written.you believe in a Church and claim Jesus founded it.and the authority was left to fallible men,we all fall short of God's glory,I will continue to take my sins and prayers to my Savior the mediator to God and men the only way to the father is through His son.Silent if your going to post your belief people are going to comment,If the purpose for you putting in out there to convert one's belief to Catholism good luck brother much L&R BJ.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 21st, 2015, 7:42 am

Silent: I know your very busy and your very well read in many areas but FAITH IS BELIEVING THE TRUTH,CONVINCED OF WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN TAUGHT TO BE THE TRUTH,BEING CERTAIN OF REALITY,HAVING EVIDENCE OF UNSEEN THINGS,"FAITH" BELIEVING HOPING IN,EMBRACING,SEIZING THE TRUTH,WE THAT HAVE FAITH IS NOT THE SAME FAITH IS ALL TO CONVERT THOSE TO YOUR UNDERSTANDING ISNT EASY BUT CAN I BELIEVE BE DONE MY FAITH IS WHAT I BELIEVE TO BE THE TRUTH LIKE YPURSELF SO ILL END THIS WITH L&R BJ

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 21st, 2015, 7:58 am

Silent Catholicism.Tradition & The Bible I understand your Faith to a point! but to go over a issue is ok! to get a better understanding, its like reading the Bible more than once! I understand your time is limited,but actually i been in the word since i was a kid and Im still learning today,dont get caught up in a "think you know it all" aspect cause then you will never learn anything other then what you already know brother. Im not accusing you of that but sometimes you come across like what you say is the gospel truth when many times its not.L&R BJ :roll:

One of the great differences between Protestant and Catholic doctrine is in the area of Tradition. The Protestant church maintains that the Bible alone is intended by God to be the source of doctrinal truth (2 Tim. 3:16). The Catholic Church, however, says, "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God . . ." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 97. Note, all citations in this article are from this Catechism).

The Catholic Church reasons thusly:

"The apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority.'" (Par. 77).
"This living transmission, accomplished through the Holy Spirit, is called tradition . . . " (Par. 78).
"Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence." (Par. 82).
Within the Catholic scope of Tradition, many doctrines have been "revealed" to the Church over the centuries. For example, there is the veneration of Mary, her immaculate conception and her bodily assumption into heaven. There is also the apocrypha, transubstantiation, praying to saints, the confessional, penance, purgatory, and more. Protestantism as a whole differs with Catholicism in these additions.

Tradition in the Bible
The Bible speaks about tradition. Some verses speak for tradition, and others speak against it. Of course, the contexts are different and carry different meanings. For example:

For Against
2 Thess. 3:6, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us." Matt. 15:3-6, "And He answered and said to them, 'And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4For God said, Honor your father and mother, and, He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death 5But you say, Whoever shall say to his father or mother, Anything of mine you might have been helped by has been given to God, 6he is not to honor his father or his mother. And thus you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition."
2 Thess. 2:15, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us." Mark 7:8-9, "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men. 9He was also saying to them, You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition."
1 Cor. 11:2, "Now I praise you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you." Col. 2:8, "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ."


In the discussions regarding Tradition between Protestants and Catholics both sets of scriptures are often quoted in order to establish their respective positions. The Protestants often quote Matt. 15:3-6 in opposition to Sacred Tradition. In an appeal to be biblical, many Catholic apologists cite 2 Thess. 2:15 to validate their position on Sacred Tradition. Unfortunately, this amounts to using the Word of God against itself. Clearly, God's word is not contradictory. Rather, it is our understanding that is in error.

The Bible is for tradition where it supports the teachings of the apostles (2 Thess. 2:15) and is consistent with biblical revelation. Yet, it is against tradition when it "transgresses the commands of God" (Matt. 15:3). By Jesus' own words, tradition is not to transgress or contradict the commands of God. In other words, it should be in harmony with biblical teaching and not oppose it in any way.

Though the Catholic Church officially states that Sacred Tradition should not and does not contradict Scripture, Protestants see much of the teaching from this Sacred Tradition as doing just that. It isn't enough for the Catholic to say that their church is the true church, that they have the apostolic tradition, that they hold the keys to the truth, and that they have revealed doctrines consistent with biblical revelation. Likewise, it isn't enough for a Protestant to pass judgment upon Catholic doctrines simply because they are Catholic and are derived via Sacred Tradition.

Are Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition Really Equal?
To me, it is not enough to simply say that Sacred Tradition is equal to Scripture based upon the decree of the Catholic Magesterium. Like any spiritual teaching, I must compare it to the Bible. Jesus' own words in Matt. 15:3 lend support for myself and many non-Catholics to subject the fruit of Sacred Tradition to the pruning of God's word. In other words, do the teachings of the Catholic church that are derived through tradition transgress the commands of God? Of course, the Catholic will say that they do not.

When Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees in Matt. 15:1-6, He reprimanded them for not understanding God's word. They were appealing to the tradition of the elders--those who had passed down oral and written tradition. Jesus, on the other hand, exposed their error by citing scripture. Please take note of what He said in Matt. 15:1-6.

"Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying, 2"Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." 3And He answered and said to them, "And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4"For God said, Honor your father and mother,' and, He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.' 5"But you say, Whoever shall say to his father or mother, "Anything of mine you might have been helped by has been given to God," 6he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And thus you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition."

Whatever might be said about this passage, at least one thing must be observed: The tradition of the religious leaders was subject to the Word of God. Are the religious leaders of the Catholic Church exempt from subjection to the Word of God? And likewise, is their Sacred Tradition also exempt? I think not.

Where the Protestants would interpret Tradition in light of Scripture, it seems that the Catholic Church does the opposite. Consider the following, "The Second Vatican Council indicates three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it. 1. Be especially attentive to the content and unity of the whole Scripture.'. . . 2. Read the Scripture within the living Tradition of the whole Church.' . . . 3. Be attentive to the analogy of faith." (Par. 111, 112, 13, 114).

It is number 2 that is the main concern here. What does it mean to read Scripture "within the living Tradition of the whole Church?" If Scripture is "within the living Tradition," then Tradition encompasses Scripture. In other words, it is the tradition of the Church that interprets Scripture. This is in contradiction to the Word of God spoken by Jesus in Matt. 15:1-6.

Some object and say that the Pharisees didn't have apostolic authority and succession that was ordained by the apostles as does the Catholic Church and, therefore, Matt. 15:1-6 cannot be used to nullify Sacred Tradition.

But the issue in Matt. 15:1-6 is not succession of authority but the traditions of men being used in opposition to the truth of the Word of God. Essentially, the Pharisees were seeing the Word of God "within" their sacred tradition. Jesus, in contrast to this, cited the Word of God to judge their traditions. The apostles, likewise, continuously admonished their people to check their teaching against the Scripture (Acts 17:11), thereby substantiating the position that even what they taught was subject to God's Word. After all, no doctrinal teaching should contradict biblical revelation, and the Sacred Word of God was and is the final authority in all things spiritual. The Catholic Church's position and teaching is based on Sacred Tradition are no different. They must be compared to Scripture.

My desire in writing this is not to alienate Catholics nor belittle their beliefs. I believe that there are some Catholics who love the Lord and are saved. But I would like to add that I believe it is in spite of official Roman Catholic doctrine. Nevertheless, it is my opinion that the Catholic church has added teachings that are not consistent with biblical revelation.

If you are a Catholic, I hope my words do not offend you. Rather, I hope and pray that you would consider what this site has to say and compare it with the Word of God. :roll:

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby MMRbkaRudog » January 21st, 2015, 8:10 pm

bumperjack wrote:They (Catholics) pray through Mary she is a Saint to Catholics.

Yeah and what is your point? Do you not consider Mary a saint? I think anyone claiming to be Christian can see Mary as a saint, but I have seen Catholic haters go as far as to be disrespectful when talking about Mary. Now you can not pray to Mary and I understand that you don't, but it doesn't necessarily mean you worship who you pray to and calling someone like Mary a saint, is definitely not worshipping her. I'm not saying you're one of those Catholic haters I brought up in example, but just saying that I really do believe anyone calling themselves Christian should be able to see how special and anyone disrespecting the mother of Jesus, just seems very unchristian to me.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby silentwssj » January 21st, 2015, 8:18 pm

Hey there Bumperjack! I just wanted to clear some things up here. I definitely am a humble individual and don't at all claim to know everything. I learn a little more every day as I am sure you do to. What was getting to me was your insistence on claiming that Catholicism was not in existence prior to Constantine's time. I have presented you with numerous writings of the early Catholic Church. In theses writings they refer to themselves as Catholic not only in name but also in belief! What I have been trying to show you is that there is intentional distortion of truth amongst some Protestant writers. They feel that if they can show that the Catholic Church never was in existence for the first 300 years of Christianity then that will disprove the Church's claim to being established by Christ. The problem is that the first Christians left numerous writings. Most Protestants don't know about any of this because they never study anything except their Bible! If a person ever embarks on a serious study of this they will find out that the early Church called it self Catholic and that all the distinctively Traditional Catholic beliefs are found in these writings. I have already laid out verses that show that Tradition is to be followed straight from the Bible. That is irrefutable! If a person denies this they are choosing to take verses out of context. All the verses where Tradition is condemned in the Bible have a context to them. I can definitely go over each one of these and give a lengthy explanation. I half heartedly tried to explain all of this in my post on Tradition. Maybe I should do a better job and cover things more thoroughly. Anyhow, I will not tonight as I am about to turn it in for the night. As far as Mary, the Saints and Christ being the one mediator go, I have been purposely avoiding those topics because I will do a post on that topic in the next month or so! Patience my Brother! You and I have come to far in our friendship to mess it all up over religious debate! I admit I am very busy right now and simply don't have much spare time! I will get back on track though. Patience is the keyword here. So with that being said, I will offer you a few posts. Please read them and tell me what you think? Much L&R Silent!

The Catholic Church claims that she was founded by Christ. Some Evangelicals and fundamentalists claim that she was founded by the emperor Constantine (c.272-337).


The idea for this post came from a friend of mine, and funny as it may be, I first thought that this was a rather lame myth (still do).

"Who thought that?" I asked myself. I mean, come on, really, St. Ignatius of Antioch was calling the Church Christ founded the "Catholic Church" in the first century and there is evidence that this verbiage was a unique identifier of the Church all the way back to the mid first century. (Note: the term Christian was a term given to the followers of Christ by unbelievers--they (unbelievers) also called themselves Nazarenes--Acts 24. In other words, believers of Christ called themselves Catholics and the world called them Christians*)




And then I turned on the TV and heard a preacher talking about how Constantine changed the Sabbath day and founded the Catholic Church. Apparently the myth persists (along with dogs can fly). I don't like myths that keep people from the truth.

This myth assumes three things:


1. Christians did not worship on Sunday before Constantine

2. Constantine had a significant sway in the Christian Church

3. The Roman Catholic Church did not exist before Constantine

#3 runs concomitant with the idea that The Council of Sardica established the primacy of the Roman bishop thereby inaugurating the Roman Catholic Church in some sense.



Reply to #1- Christians worshiped on the Lord's day and not the Sabbath day




St. Ignatius to the Magnesians:


"We have seen how former adherents of the ancient customs have since attained to a new hope; so that they have given up keeping the sabbath, and now order their lives by the Lord's Day instead, the day when life first dawned for us, thanks to Him and His death."
Barnabas, The Epistle of Barnabas, 120A.D.:

"Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day, also, on which Jesus rose again from the dead"
St. Justin Martyr, The First Apology, 155 A..D.:



"Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness, made the world; and Jesus Christ our savior , on the same day rose from the dead."
There are two creations. In the first creation, the day of rest was the Sabbath. It was the day God's work was completed. When Christ came, he presented himself as the creator (John 1:3) and the synoptic Gospels unanimously recognize him as the "Lord of the Sabbath" (Matt 12:8, Mark 2:28, Luke 6:5).

Christ came to fulfill not abolish the Old Covenant. Through his entire ministry, he came to fulfill "all righteousness" (Matt 3:15). Thus, in the new creation, Christ established a new Sabbath, the day of his rest, or rather the day that he completed his work. Of course, this is Friday and no one believes that the Christian day of worship is Friday. Yet we know that three days latter he rose again, and so the "Lord's Day" would be that day that Christ rose from the grave.


In the Didache, an early record of apostolic teaching (c.60-100), we find evidence that Christians began to meet on the "Lord's day":


"And on the Lord's own day gather yourselves together and break bread and give thanks, first confessing your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. And let no man, having his dispute with his fellow, join your assembly until they have been reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be defiled; for this sacrifice it is that was spoken of by the Lord; In every place and at every time offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great king, saith the Lord, and My name is wonderful among the nations."-14:1-3
The teleological ordering of the temple cult and Judaism at large was the first creation, the genesis of God's relation to mankind. Christianity, however, is ordered to the new creation and as such the new, final and definitive revelation of God in Christ Jesus. Those who demand that Christians worship on the first "day of rest" deny the early Christian practice as it relates to the revelation of Jesus Christ, teach the error of the Judaizers who claimed that one had to follow the Jewish customs to be Christian, and more importantly deny one of the greatest proofs of Christ's resurrection.


Pope Benedict XVI in Jesus of Nazareth, Part 2, points out the fact that the cult of the temple would not come to a complete end until after Christ's ascension. Christ prophesied that the temple would be laid to waist, and it was at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD that this would come to pass. Moreover, the sabbath was so deeply imbedded into the culture, psychology and religious practice of Jews it is hard to imagine what could possibly augment this practice. It is precisely because the early Jews ceased to worship on the Sabbath but instead worshiped on the "Lord's Day"--Sunday--that we have evidence that something monumental happened on Sunday, something so great as to literally re-order their entire psychology. So it is, that in Christ, God re-orders the entire cosmos to the new creation, and the rhythm of worship would forever be ordered to his glorious work in His Son.

Reply to #2 Constantine's influence was limited but welcome




What did Constantine do in the Edict of Milan? Did Constantine established a new Sabbath?

First, the Edict of Milan established religious tolerance of all religions. The edict reads:



"And thus by this wholesome counsel and most upright provision we thought to arrange that no one whatsoever should be denied the opportunity to give his heart to the observance of the Christian religion, of that religion which he should think best for himself, so that the Supreme Deity, to whose worship we freely yield our hearts) may show in all things His usual favor and benevolence."
Christianity had severely dis-settled the temple economy of the Roman religions. In turn, the second half of the edict discusses the proper way of restoring property to Christians since it was a common practice to extort Christians since their religion had so significantly diminished the Roman economic system of temple sacrifice and feasts.

Considering #1, we should reject that notion that Constantine established Sunday as the day of worship. Instead, the infamous Edict of Constantine (c.321), should be understood as a way Constantine integrated his new and immature Christian faith into his administrative role as emperor. In no way was Constantine the leader of the Christian Church, nor was his edict directed at Christians only. The fact that the Romans worshiped the sun (whether on Sunday or not) can be understood, instead of some pernicious conspiracy, as a way that God was preparing Gentiles for His Son, who would rise again--like the Phoenix--on Sunday.


Reply #3 The Catholic Church existed before Constantine, and the primacy of the Roman Bishop was affirmed before the Council of Sardica

Evidence A- The First Epistle of St. Clement

Written in the second century, the fourth Pope is writing to the Corinthian church founded by St. Paul. Pope St. Clement opens the letter, "The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth". Clearly, both (1) the Church at Rome existed at this time and (2) churches by this time are being identified by location not congregation.



The entire tone of the letter is authoritative. Why, we should ask, is the pastor of the church in Rome writing instructively to the church in Corinth? Most striking about the overall language, tone and style of the letter is Pope St. Clement's command that those who were in schism in Corinth submit to the bishop, and "[lay] aside the proud and arrogant self-confidence of your tongue. For it is better for you that ye should occupy a humble but honorable place in the flock of Christ, than that, being highly exalted, ye should be cast out from the hope of His people". Pope St. Clement also makes one of the most obvious and direct references to apostolic succession.

Evidence B- St. Ireneaus, St. Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, St. Cyprian and St. John of Chrysostom



All of these early churchmen witness to the Petrine office. Against the claim that the primacy of the bishop of Rome is grounded in the proclamations of Sardica, in each of their writings we find direct evidence that the early church understood the preeminence of St. Peter, the perpetuation of the apostolic offices and the primitive transfer of the locus of that chair to Rome. Here are just a few examples:


"Peter, upon whom is built the Church of Christ, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail, left only one epistle of acknowledged genuinity. Let us concede also a second, which however is doubtful." Origen, Commentaries on John 5,3

"[T]he blessed Peter, the chosen, the preeminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly grasped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? ‘Behold, we have left all and have followed you’ [Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28]" Clement of Alexandria, Who Is the Rich Man That Is Saved? 21:3–5

"For what purpose did He shed His blood? It was that He might win these sheep which he entrusted to Peter and his successors." (St. John of Chysostom, De Sacerdotio, 53
Evidence C- The Bible Teaches it


For this purpose, I will leave you with a few passages of Scripture. The purpose is to simply evidence the possibility of Scripture establishing the primacy of St. Peter and not to prove the papacy:


"And I also, I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and hades' gates shall not prevail against it." - Matt 16:18

"But I have prayed for thee [Peter], that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren." -Luke 22:32

"And when there had been much disputing, Peter, rising up, said to them: Men, brethren, you know, that in former days God made choice among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel, and believe." -Acts 15:7
In sum, the Roman Catholic Church was alive and kicking 250 years (since the fall of Jerusalem) before Constantine. The bishop in Rome had authority, and the early Church recognized both apostolic succession and in particular the unique succession of the Petrine office. What Constantine did was provide religious asylum in Rome to Christians who had previously been persecuted. In addition, the early Christians worshiped on Sunday well before Constantine because Christianity is ordered to the new creation not the first creation. Therefore, it is obvious and beyond argument that Constantine did not found the Roman Catholic Church through either the Edict of Milan or in his influence on the Council of Sardica. The claim is a myth and should be rejected as propaganda meant to further schismatic religions.




__________________________________________________________


*Bonus myth busted that the term "Catholic" is less authentically Christian than the general term Christian, when in fact, the term Christian was a general and ambiguous term, albeit one giving one great honor if it was the cause of your personal suffering (1 Pet 4:16), whereas the term Catholic was used to distinguish between those who followed the Apostolic teaching that would spread to the entire world versus those who started sects or lived in schism from Christ's Church.




The Myth of Constantine




Today being the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, celebrated throughout the Catholic and Orthodox world, and in theory in the Anglican one too, it seems as good a day as any to start into my Protestant Myths about the Catholic Church.

Most of these myths, as I've said, are straightforward misrepresentations of doctrine and practice, but three are myths that simply fly in the face of all historical evidence.

The first myth, then, is the claim that the Catholic Church was created by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the fourth century.

The basic thrust of the myth is that before Constantine Christianity was a simple, pure faith, and that the semi-pagan Constantine spoiled it by adding all manner of pagan elements to it, thereby creating the corrupt institution that is the Catholic Church. If you're drawn to New Age stuff, you'll follow the variant of this you'll read and see in the likes of The the Vinci Code, arguing that before Constantine came along Jesus wasn't even seen as divine. If you're a Protestant, you'll basically claim that Jesus had always been seen as divine -- which is true -- but that before Constantine came along the Church was just like your church, whatever that may be, with Constantine having added pretty much everything you disagree with in historical Christianity.

This is all nonsense, I'm afraid, and played no small part in why Blessed John Henry Newman conceded, following an extensive and thorough investigation of early Christian history, that 'To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant.' It wasn't long, of course, before he felt that to do other than to assent to the authority of the Catholic Church would have been hypocritical.



Arian and Pagan Emperors
The first clues to the absurdity of this broad hypothesis, in whatever form, lie in what we know of the major characters of the era, with particular reference to dates. During the fourth century, there was rarely just one emperor at any given time, but nonetheless, certain figures were dominant, and it's worth thinking about them for a minute. Constantine I was on the scene between 306 and 337, and while nobody really understands Constantine's religious views, it's clear that by the end of his reign he tended more towards Arianism than Catholicism, and the fact of his moving the seat of imperial power to a Constantinople is a rather broad hint that he thought of Rome as an obsolete backwater. His son Constantius II who was around between 337 and 361 was at the very least semi-Arian. Constantine's nephew Julian ruled between 361 and 363, and persecuted the Church as part of a campaign to restore the Empire's pagan identity. His successor Jovian was an orthodox Christian but ruled for just one year, and Jovian's successors Valens and Valentinian were divided in their views, one being Arian and the other being Catholic. It was only with the accession of Theodosius I to the imperial throne in 379 that the whole empire was ruled by a Catholic.

A good barometer for judging the Catholicity, for want of a better word, of Rome's emperors during the period is to look at the life of Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria. Athanasius was the Church's greatest champion of the orthodox view of the Incarnation, and was the first person who we know of to have identified the 27 books of the New Testament that Christians regard as canonical, listing them in his Easter Letter of 367. Over the course of his life Athanasius was exiled from his see in Alexandria by Constantine, by Constantius (twice), by Julian, and by Valens. Think about it: if the Catholic Church was really the quasi-pagan creation of the Roman emperors, would four emperors have gone to so much trouble to silence its greatest spokesman?




A Dog that Doesn't Bark
That's the first point. The second is this: we have no evidence whatsoever of a rupture in mainstream Christian belief and practice during the period, other than that Christian worship ceased to be a furtive activity; it became possible to build large churches for large congregations that could now worship in the open. Neither Ambrose nor Augustine, for instance, give any indication that the essential teachings and practices of Christianity had changed in any way under Valentinian and Theodosius.

What of under Constantine? Even despite his late Arian tendencies and his sidelining of Rome as a seat of imperial power -- in truth, it hadn't even been the nominal capital of the west since 286 -- might he not have corrupted Christian beliefs and practices in other ways, introducing Pagan Roman customs and ideas and thus in some sense creating the Catholic Church? Well, in principle this might have happened, of course, but good luck finding evidence of it: there isn't any. Now, sure, absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, but given that this was an era where people would riot over disputed points of dogma, Catholics and Arians falling to blows with depressing regularity, you'd at least expect to find some traces of dissent or approval about new teachings and new forms of worship.




Same Beliefs, Same Practices, Same Faith
Perhaps most importantly, we have quite a bit of evidence for what the Church was like well before Constantine, and, putting it bluntly, it is essentially and recognisably the Church today. Think of what most people regard as the most distinctive features of Catholic Christianity:
•Sunday as a day specially set aside for worship, with the Mass as the central act of worship, the Mass being understood as a sacrifice, and Christ being believed present in the Mass under the appearances of bread and wine.
•An ordained priesthood, with priests serving under local bishops, each one of these bishops serving as a point of local unity and as a conduit to the universal Church, claiming a pedigree of orthodox episcopal succession going back to the Apostles.
•The Church in Rome as having a unique primacy and authority in the Church, with the bishop of Rome claiming an episcopal succession back to St Peter, and acting as a visible point of unity for the whole Church.
•Honour being paid to the saints, veneration of the physical remains of saints, the belief that the saints in heaven can hear our prayers and pray for us, and the usefulness of prayers for the dead.

Every single one of these practices and beliefs is attested in Christian writings from more than a century before Constantine legalised Christianity. Clement of Rome, the author of the Didache, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna, the author of the Martydom of Polycarp, the author of the Shepherd of Hermas, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, and Tertullian among others collectively attest to the Church of the second century -- indeed, the Church of the late first century too -- as being in its essentials recognisably the same Church that still exists today.

That's not to say that the Church is right about what it teaches and does -- though I think it is -- just that it has neither invented what it teaches now nor abandoned what it taught in Antiquity. This is something that can be tested quite easily. Sure, the Didache and Clement's Letter to the Corinthians, almost certainly the two earliest extra-Biblical Christian texts, were only rediscovered in the nineteenth century, but I don't think this is an excuse for people pretending or acting as if Christians wrote the Bible in the first century and never wrote another word afterwards, ignoring the Bible and doing their own thing for the next 1400 years.




Indeed, leaving aside the fact that it flies in the face of all historical evidence, the whole notion that the Church as a whole went off the rails in Antiquity or the Middle Ages is profoundly unbiblical. The Bible features Jesus saying he will be with the Church always, assuring the Apostles that who hears them hears him, and guaranteeing the Apostles that the Spirit will guide them; it shows the Apostles and the elders of the Church in Jerusalem claiming to speak with the authority of the Spirit, and it identifyies the Church with Christ himself; indeed, Paul calls the Church the pillar and bulwark of truth.




If anyone's determined to argue -- honestly -- that the Catholic Church, which even now includes roughly half the world's Christians, was founded by Constantine and not by Christ, they need to be able to justify this both historically and theologically. Where do they think the Church described in the Bible was to be found in the centuries between John and Luther, if it was not that Church that Ignatius and Augustine called Catholic?



______________________________________________________________

And if you don't believe me, go and take a look at the relevant sections in J.N.D. Kelly's Early Christian Doctrines, Henry Chadwick's The Early Church, and perhaps most especially the ancient Christian texts themselves in H.S. Bettenson's Documents of the Christian Church, James Stevenson's A New Eusebius: Documents Illustrating the History of the Church to AD 337, or the Penguin collection called Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers.



Constantine Did Not Create The Catholic Church

By Ted on September 21, 2013 in General


By Theodore Shoebat

Out of the greatest figures in Christian history, one of the most misconstrued and slandered is Constantine. Critics say that he founded the Catholic Church and he bonded it with paganism mixed with Christianity.

Constantine
Constantine

This assertion has been used to wrongly deceive countless Christians and bring false information to Messianics and Evangelicals. It was first originated by anti-Christian writers, such as Franz Cumont.

Franz Cumont
Franz Cumont

What many don’t recognize is that Cumont introduced this theory from an anti-Christian perspective. He wrote that Christianity took from its opponents their own weapons, and used them; the better elements of paganism were transferred to the new religion. [1]

With this said, we can agree that the beliefs which try to prove that Constantine configured his own church and mixed it with paganism, was originally produced by haters of the Faith, and has succeeded in causing further division in the Church, with Christians who hate Constantine going against those Christians who they perceive as subscribing to beliefs founded by Constantine. Such contention is founded on false history.

To refute the notion that Constantine invented a new church and to show that the Church did not change after – or was supplanted by – Constantine, I will almost always use primary source accounts such as Eusebius, Tertullian, St. Ambrose, St. Irenaeus, Firmicus, St. Justin Martyr, and St. Augustine.

This is important because it shows that once we look to the original sources of the Church, and not anti-Christian writers or information from the internet, what we find is not Constantine repressing Christians, but heretics who would be rejected by both learned Protestant and Catholic scholars.

One of the most frequent accusations is that Constantine founded, or at least helped establish, an official church of the empire, and then began slaughtering Bible-believing Christians who refused to conform, and forced them into an “underground” church.

The evidence presented for this persecution of these obscure believers is an edict of Constantine in which certain sects are listed as being heretical and banned from preaching or assembling religious meetings, it states:


Understand now, by this present statute, ye Novatians, Valentinians, Marcionites, Paulians, ye who are called Cataphrygians, and all ye who devise and support heresies by means of your private assemblies, with what a tissue of falsehood and vanity, with what destructive and venomous errors, your doctrines are inseparably interwoven, so that through you the healthy soul is stricken with disease, and the living becomes the prey of everlasting death. Ye haters and enemies of truth and life, in league with destruction! All your counsels are opposed to the truth, but familiar with deeds of baseness, fit subjects for the fabulous follies of the stage. …We have directed, accordingly, that you be deprived of all the houses in which you are accustomed to hold your assemblies, and our care in this respect extends as far as to forbid the holding of your superstitious and senseless meetings, not in public merely, but in any private house or place whatsoever. Let those of you, therefore, who are desirous of embracing the true and pure religion, take the far better course of entering the Catholic Church, and uniting with it in holy fellowship, whereby you will be enabled to arrive at the knowledge of the truth.[2]

Now, I know that such fierce and overly zealous words may set alarms off in your heads. These poor believers are banned from preaching their theologies, and not only that, they are being coerced into joining the Catholic Church which, as many believe, is the Harlot of Babylon.

I will describe each of the sects listed in the edict, and what we will realize is that these sects were completely foreign to any Christian denomination (Protestant or Catholic) and more akin to heretical groups such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, and other cults which we would deem false and dangerous.

The five sects condemned by Constantine cannot be considered as original Christians, simply for the reason that all of them broke away from the Catholic Church many years before Constantine was ever emperor, and did not exist prior to Constantine, or the Catholic Church.

1. The Valentinians. These were founded by one Valentinus, and his doctrine was blatantly heretical. He denied that Christ came in the flesh, [3] (St. Ambrose, Of the Christian Faith, 2.5) coinciding directly with the heresy condemned by St. John when he wrote:


Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 1:7)

St. John
St. John

They believed that the Father was both male and female, and that he impregnated a type of goddess named Silence, and through this intercourse, she gave birth to an “aeon” named Only-Begotten who then emitted Christ and the Holy Spirit. [4]

This bizarre belief is reminiscent of Mormonism, which teaches that the Father had literal sex with the Virgin Mary in order to beget Christ. For example, Mormon leader Orson Pratt, once said:


But God having created all men and women, had the most perfect right to do with His own creation, according to His holy will and pleasure: He had a lawful right to overshadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a husband

Mormon heretic Orson Pratt
Mormon heretic Orson Pratt

The Valentinians were so blasphemous that they believed Christ was in a conjugal relationship with the Holy Spirit.[5] The Valentinians were condemned by St. Polycarp. It is true that he was a Catholic, but he pursued heretics, and not only that, he was a student of St. John himself, a fact which cannot go ignored. Irenaeus, a student of St. Polycarp, wrote of St. Polycarp’s relation with the Apostles:


And Polycarp, a man who had been instructed by the apostles, and had familiar intercourse with many that had seen Christ, and had also been appointed bishop by the apostles in Asia, in the church at Smyrna. …He always taught what he had learned from the apostles, what the church had handed down, and what is the only true doctrine.[6]

St. Polycarp
St. Polycarp

How could the Valentinians be true Christians if they were teaching such false doctrine and were condemned by a man who had been directly appointed by the Apostles themselves? Either the Apostles lacked discernment when choosing a bishop, or Polycarp was orthodox and the Valentinians were indeed heretical.

This further shows the historical rape which many modern day Christians have done to Church history when condemning Constantine as a repressor of Christians, when he in fact was striving to protect the Church against these very wolves.

2. The Marcionites. These heretics, which are rejected by both Catholic and Protestant scholars, were founded by one Marcion, a native of Pontus, who taught that there was a god greater than the God of the Old Testament, and that, as Islam teaches, God was not the Father of Christ.[7]

Marcion
Marcion

They affirmed that the God of the Old Testament was evil and corrupt, while the god who Marcion invented, was good.[8] One of their other beliefs was that Christ did not actually fulfill the Law, but abolished it as the work of evil, and that the prophets were all sinister writers and not of God.[9]

The Marcionites were as well condemned by Polycarp, the student of St. John, and when Marcion said to Polycarp, “Acknowledge us,” the saint wittingly responded: “I acknowledge the first-born of Satan.”[10]

3. The Novatians. These were founded by Novatian, a bishop of Rome, over half a century before Constantine’s conversion in 312 AD, and his emperorship in 306 AD.

They were a controlling and legalistic cult, whose main tenet was that Christ could not forgive Christians who, under pain of death, acknowledged the gods of the Roman state, a belief rejected and condemned by the Catholic Church in the third century, and which would be indefinitely condemned by any Protestant or Evangelical church.[11]

He was in fact condemned by a pope, Pope Cornelius, which disproves the common accusation that Constantine was the first pope and the founder of the Catholic Church, and substantiates that the office of pontificate existed prior to the first Christian emperor. Two other popes who reigned in the Church right before Constantine were Pope Gaius and Pope Marcellinus, who were martyred by the pagans.

Pope Cornelius
Pope Cornelius

Novatus was not only a schismatic, but had to be treated by exorcists on account of demonic possession which lasted for some time. Can a man of Christ’s Way be overtaken by demons, as Muhammad and Joseph Smith were?

He was a violent madman, who robbed money from the Church, taking even charity funds from orphans and widows, allowed his father to starve to death and did not care to even bury him, and murdered his own son by kicking his pregnant wife in the belly. St. Cyprian described his vicious and evil behavior as such:


Orphans despoiled by him, widows defrauded, moneys moreover of the Church withheld, exact from him those penalties which we behold inflicted in his madness. His father also died of hunger in the street, and afterwards even in death was not buried by him. The womb of his wife was smitten by a blow of his heel; and in the miscarriage that soon followed, the offspring was brought forth, the fruit of a father’s murder. And now does he dare to condemn the hands of those who sacrifice, when he himself is more guilty in his feet, by which the son, who was about to be born, was slain?[12]

St. Cyprian
St. Cyprian

While he refused to accept the lapsed Christians, he himself was terrified of persecution, to the point that when asked to assist the Christians being oppressed by the emperor Decius, he imprisoned himself in fear and even denied that he was a presbyter, affirming that he was “an admirer of a different philosophy.”[13]

When he gave the communion bread to his followers, he did not bless them in anyway, but forced them to promise not to betray him, telling them: “Swear to me, by the body and blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, that you will never desert me, not turn to Cornelius [the Pope].” Instead of the receiver saying “Amen” when accepting the bread, he was compelled to say: “I will no longer return to Cornelius.”[14]

Could you imagine Holy Communion being done like this in your church? It was not done to remember Christ but to compete with the Catholic Church and gain power over it. Again, this was before Constantine, and it was a cult which broke away from the Church, and did not exist before it. It had no Apostolic succession, but was merely a schism which abused and forced its followers to be loyal to Novatus.

They broke the precept taught by St. Paul…


…that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. (I Corinthians 12:25)

With this said, I must say, for the sake of truth, that while Novatus was wicked, many of his followers, the Novatians, were pious and holy Christians, upholding the orthodox tenets of Christianity, and despite Constantine’s decree, they had many churches built in the empire.

St. Paul
St. Paul

4. The Paulians. Their name did not, as some may think, come from St. Paul, but a deceiver named Paul of Samosata who, like Muhammad, taught that Christ was not the Son of God,[15] and that He was not divine, but a mere man.[16]

Constantine repressed this sect, but again, they were heretical and they broke away from the Church, and never had a pre-existing church.

5. The Cataphrygians. These are more usually known as Montanists, from their second century Phrygian founder Montanus, He founded his cult similarly to how Joseph Smith founded the LDS, or how Muhammad founded Islam, through a demonic vision.

It was said that he was taken away by an evil spirit which compelled him to go into a violent frenzy in which he uttered all sorts of blasphemies. He attracted two women to join his movement, who has well would enter into hysterical and ecstatic states of ecstasy. They were like Muslim Sufis. They soon founded a cult of wild charismatics who broke away from the Church and believed that they were the true prophets foretold by God.[17]

As the Mormons and the Muslims replaced Jerusalem with Salt Lake City and Mecca, the Montantists declared that the two Phrygian cities, Pepuza and Tymium, were a Jerusalem. (Euseb. Eccles. Hist. 5.18) If the Catholic Church rejected Jerusalem and the Holy Land, as many have said, why would they then condemn this heresy? The Montanists even had a prophet who, like Muhammad, dyed his hair and put on mascara,[18] which reminds us of a lot of a lot of people in the modern day church.

This sums up the five heresies which Constantine’s edict suppresses. They were not Christian and thus the allegations that Constantine persecuted the original church, founded the Catholic Church and was the first pope, are false.

Those who use these heresies as examples for the original church, are now compelled to either accepts these cults or admit that the established Church in the time of Constantine was the same one before Constantine and that there was no underground church.

Moreover, the fact that Constantine repressed these groups shows that he had a knowledge on the Scripture, and possessed enough discernment to realize that they were dangerous to the Faith.

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ADOPT MITHRAISM

Mithra on the left
Mithra on the left

Furthermore, the usual assertion that Constantine introduced Mithraism, or an ancient Persian cult, and Roman paganism, into the Church, is again fallacious.

Mithraism involved the worship of a bull fighter named Mithra, and of fire, and had nothing to do with Christianity. In fact, the cult was repeatedly condemned by Christian authorities before and after the time of Constantine, because the Church never changed its position in regards to the false religion.

For example, the Christian writer Firmicus, who lived during and after the time of Constantine, heavily denounced Mithraism as such:


The male they worship as a cattle rustler, and his cult they relate to the potency of fire, as his prophet handed down the lore to us, saying: … ‘Initiate of cattle-rusting, companion by handclasp of an illustrious father’. Him they call Mithra, and his cult they carry on in hidden caves, so that they may be forever plunged in the gloomy squalor of darkness and thus shun the grace of light resplendent and serene. O true consecration of a divinity! O repulsive inventions of a barbaric code![19]

Firmicus
Firmicus

Firmicus was not going against the Church when he wrote this. He never anathematized as a dissenting heretic. Firmicus was simply agreeing with the Church’s teaching on Mithraism, which was affirmed and taught centuries before Constantine was ever emperor. There was no new church to go against, when combating Mithraism.

Another frequent claim by anti-Christian writers (and sadly Christians who believe their lies) is that the idea of Holy Communion originated from Mithraism (the Mitraists used bread and water in their rituals, which is radically different to Christianity and is what Mormons actually do) and that the Catholic Church took this ritual for their Communion.

Justin Martyr, writing in between 151 and 155 AD [20] (around 277 years before Constantine’s conversion), not only chastised and condemned Mithraism, but concluded that its bread and water ritual was a demonic plagiarism of Holy Communion:


For we do not receive these things as common bread nor common drink; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior having been incarnate by God’s logos took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food eucharistized through the word of prayer that is from Him, from which our blood and flesh are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who became incarnate. For the Apostles in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, thus handed down what was commanded them: that Jesus took bread and having given thanks said: “Do this for my memorial, this is my body”; and likewise He took the chalice and having given thanks said: “This is my blood”‘ and gave it to them alone. Which also the wicked demons have imitated in the mysteries of Mithra and handed down to be done; for that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain words said over them in the secret rites of initiation, you either know or can learn. [21]

St. Justin Martyr
St. Justin Martyr

The fact that Holy Communion was observed, and Mithraism was condemned, before and after Constantine, shows a consistent tradition being maintained and protected, and not a new church being created after 312 AD.

CONSTANTINE, PAGANISM AND THE CHURCH

Constantine hated paganism and its violent and homosexual practices with such fury that he passed laws to repress them, and to exterminate the pagan priests of Egypt. Eusebius, one of our major primary writers on Constantine, recounts that:


Consistently with this zeal he [Constantine] issued successive laws and ordinances, forbidding any to offer sacrifice to idols, to consult diviners, to erect images, or to pollute the cities with the sanguinary combats of gladiators. And inasmuch as the Egyptians, especially those of Alexandria, had been accustomed to honor their river through a priesthood composed of effeminate men, a further law was passed commanding the extermination of these as a corrupt and vicious class of persons, that no one might thenceforward be found tainted with the like impurity.[22]

We could reasonably compare these laws to those of Moses, which prescribe the death penalty for paganism and homosexuality. These laws were definitely influenced by Biblical laws, for, according to Eusebius, he would “devote himself to the perusal of the inspired writings.” [23]

Not only that, but Constantine built Constantinople to be a city without the blemish of heathenism and idolatry, without the worship of devils and pagan temples. In the words of St. Augustine, it was to be a city “without any temple or image of the demons.” [23A]

St. Augustine
St. Augustine

CONSTANTINE AND THE BIBLE

A frequent accusation is that Constantine outlawed the Bible from being read privately. The truth is that he respected the Bible to the point that he ordered fifty Bibles to be copied for the churches. This was a very laborious project, because in those days there was no printing machines or internet, books had to be copied down by hand, it was costly and time consuming.

Most people in that age would not have been able to afford purchasing a Bible, and Constantine was charitable enough to give Bibles to churches so that the Scriptures could be read to the congregants.

Constantine issued this order to the bishop Eusebius for this to be done, writing:


Do you, therefore, receive with all readiness my determination on this behalf. I have thought it expedient to instruct your Prudence to order fifty copies of the sacred scriptures (the provisions and use of which you know to be most needful for the instruction of the Church) to be written on prepared parchment in a legible manner, and in a commodious and portable form, by transcribers thoroughly practiced in their art.[24]

Eusebius
Eusebius

After Constantine defeated one of the greatest persecutors of the Church, the pagan emperor Maxentius, the Roman senate erected an arch in honor of the victory, and unlike former emperors, it did not give any praise to Jupiter, Apollo, or Mars.[25]

Before 312 AD, the year of Constantine’s conversion, Roman coins were minted with pagan symbolism, but after 312, the coins are seen with Christian imagery.[26] All of these indications lead to the conclusion that there was indeed a significant change in the empire after Constantine’s conversion.

There was a pagan influence that remained in the empire but there wasn’t a new Church established, made with both Christian and pagan beliefs and rituals. The Church was the same as it was prior to Constantine; the only difference was that it was allowed to exist without pagan, government despotism.

Because of Constantine, the great persecutors of the church, such as Maxentius, Gallerius, and Licinius were vanquished; Christianity was allowed to thrive. Because of Constantine’s liberation of the Church, Christianity spread as it did, and became the dominant Faith in the world, but of course this is not the case today.

History has been lacerated and defiled and the Church, in antiquity, was a beacon of light destroying the forces of evil and heresy, unlike today, where it has became a circus.

The Church is here to destroy the works of the devil. Let us do so in light of what the early Christians did, not defiling their history but repeating it.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby silentwssj » January 21st, 2015, 8:21 pm

Here another good article Bumperjack! Notice the direct line to Saint Mark and the beliefs that are identical to Catholicism's!


JUST FOUND: The Oldest Copy Of The Gospel Of Mark Has Just Been Discovered In An Ancient Egyptian Mummy

By Ted on January 21, 2015 in Featured, General


By Theodore Shoebat

The oldest copy of the Gospel of Mark has just been discovered in an ancient Egyptian mummy. According to the report:


A fragment of what could be the earliest copy of the Gospel of Mark – the oldest of the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and central to the belief system of Christianity – is set to be published after being discovered in the face mask of an Egyptian mummy.

Not all mummies were created equal – we’re used to seeing them contained by stunning sarcophagi and masks coated in gold, but only Egyptian royalty were honoured with such finery. When regular citizens died and were mummified, their masks were made from simple papyrus – a plant-based, paper-thin material – which was glued together in layers and painted.

And while papyrus was obviously a whole lot cheaper to produce than gold, it came in limited supply, so people often recycled it, just like how kids use old newspapers to make Papier-mâché. Now, researchers have figured out how to loosen the glue that holds these papyrus layers together, thousands of years after it was applied, so they can be extracted from the mask with the original ink writings still intact.



f the team’s first century calculation is accurate for the age of this fragment, it predates the current oldest copy of the Gospel of Mark by almost 150 years.

Here are some photos of the mummy:

m1.2

m 1

What Christians were in Egypt in the first century? The Copts, the earliest Christians of Egypt, trace their lineage back to St. Mark, whose Gospel was found in this very mummy.

This proves that the Coptic Church is part of the Apostolic See that can trace their origin back to the Apostles, and ultimately, to Jesus Christ.

This changes the common American perception as to what is Christianity. We believe that the way church is typically done in America is true Christianity, but if this is true, then why do the Copts, who are amongst the oldest Christians in history, conduct their church services so radically different from what the Evangelical do?

To see what the Copts believe, is to see what the earliest Christians believed in. The Copts venerate Mary, have confessions to a priest, holy water, the Eucharist (which they believe is the flesh and blood of Jesus), reverence toward icons, the intercession of the saints in Heaven, and pretty much every thing else Protestants despise.

Here is a Coptic hymn praising the Virgin Mary as an intercessor for the cause of our salvation:



Here are the lyrics in English:


O come let us worship, the holy Trinity, the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

We the Christian people, for He is God, in truth.

We have hope, in Saint Mary, that God will have mercy upon us, through her intercessions.

All calmness, in the world, is through the prayers, of the Theotokos Virgin Mary.

Hail to you O Mary, the beautiful dove, who gave birth to, God the Word.

Hail to you O Mary, a holy hail, hail to you O Mary, the Mother of the Holy.

Hail to Michael, the great archangel, hail to Gabriel, the Announcer.

Hail to the Cherubim, hail to the Seraphim, hail to all the heavenly orders.

Hail to John, the great forerunner, hail to the priest, the relative of Emmanuel.

Hail to my masters and fathers, the apostles, hail to the disciples, of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hail to you O martyr, hail to the evangelist, hail to the apostle, Abba Mark the beholder of God.

Whats amazing is that the teachings expressed in this hymn is exactly what the Roman Catholic Church teaches. When someone affirms these beliefs in regards to Mary, Protestants will automatically think the person teaching is Roman Catholic. But, why are these beliefs always made exclusive to the Roman Catholic Church? The Coptic Church of Egypt, which goes all the way back to St. Mark himself, venerates Mary and affirms that she prays for to Christ for our salvation as a mediator.

The Protestant has two choices: he will either have to prove how the Coptic Church changed from being like him, to a Catholic church with Catholic rituals. Or, he will have to admit that the Christian Church was this way from the beginning.

Why are such Catholic beliefs isolated to Rome? Why not Egypt? When we study Christianity in Egypt, what we will find is that they always had such rituals and Catholic beliefs, and they are not Rome, nor are they the Vatican.

All of the beliefs and rites that have for centuries been condemned as “Romish” or “Popish,” was actually, before Luther, universally accepted Christian throughout Christendom. Hence why Christianity was given the title “Catholic” from the time of the Faith’s beginning, since the beliefs of the Catholic Church were indeed “universal” (which is what Catholic means).

Here is a video of the Coptic Pope (yes they have a pope), sprinkling holy water:



Again, the Coptic Church, which was founded by St. Mark, has all of the rituals that the Roman Catholic Church has. So what will it be? Were all of the ancient churches corrupt and evil until the Protestant Reformation? Did God allow the world to live in darkness for over a thousand years until the glutton, Martin Luther, showed up?

Think about it; read history, and you will see that the Protestant church is of recent origin.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby MMRbkaRudog » January 21st, 2015, 8:38 pm

@silentwssj, thanks for sharing that. I've been interested in learning more about groups in early Christianity, like the valentinians. Couldn't believe I saw someone promoting a modern day valentinian movement on YouTube, because it did seem so heretical. You feel what I was saying on this thread earlier? I was trying to say basically anyone really calling themselves a Christian should see how special Mary is, and I can't believe how much she gets downplayed by some so called Christians.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby silentwssj » January 22nd, 2015, 5:13 am

I definitely feel you on Mary Rudog! I will do my next post on her. Time for work though, it is dumping snow right now. New Mexico sure ain't Cali, Lol!

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 22nd, 2015, 1:06 pm

Silent it is understandable about your knowledge into your faith, and I have learned alot and humility is key so we take pride out of the equation, we must stay humble first and foremost,I have searched and learned from all these post and digging into History and I'm trying my best to stay neutral, so I can try understanding both sides and there is alot of truth and lies out there and I agree totally with your perspective and alot of what you have taught me has merit but there are also things that in my understanding that do not is all,and then there is the tailgator Rudog hiding onto the bumper,Mary was Jesus' s mother she was a ordinary woman who also needed a savior cause she was a sinner "Rudog" she is not a Saint or anybody to worship as far as I understand in what I have been taught,far as disrespecting her that is total nonsense "Rudog" I have not done so & will not do so,Catholic faith elevates her to a position the written word does not is all.Your entitled to your opinion Rudog but if your going to ride the bumper you mise-well jump in the car on this thread and open your "History books" This is educational for anyone who wants to dig in,your endowindows and comments are not really saying a whole lot stud.Im pretty well read in alot of areas also and Im humble to learn more as I study daily but will never know it all.That keeps me humble and lets me learn more each day.Were your comming from Rudog I don't know sometimes? But like I told you before you can jump in with both feet anytime.L&R BJ

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 22nd, 2015, 1:29 pm

This is what the bible teaches:
Rudog this is for you: Mary the mother of Jesus was described by God as “highly favored” (Luke 1:28). The phrase “highly favored” comes from a single Greek word, which essentially means “much grace.” Mary received God’s grace.

Grace is “unmerited favor,” meaning something we receive despite the fact that we do not deserve it. Mary needed grace from God just as the rest of us do. Mary herself understood this fact, as she declared in Luke 1:47, “. . . and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. . .”

Mary recognized that she needed the Savior. The Bible never says that Mary was anyone but an ordinary human whom God chose to use in an extraordinary way. Yes, Mary was a righteous woman and favored (graced) by God (Luke 1:27-28). At the same time, Mary was a sinful human being who needed Jesus Christ as her Savior, just like everyone else (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 John 1:8).

Mary did not have an “immaculate conception.” The Bible doesn’t suggest Mary’s birth was anything but a normal human birth. Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus (Luke 1:34-38), but the idea of the perpetual virginity of Mary is unbiblical. Matthew 1:25, speaking of Joseph, declares, “But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus.”

The word “until” clearly indicates that Joseph and Mary did have sexual union after Jesus was born. Joseph and Mary had several children together after Jesus was born. Jesus had four half-brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). Jesus also had half-sisters, although they are not named or numbered (Matthew 13:55-56). God blessed and graced Mary by giving her several children, which in that culture was the clearest indication of God’s blessing on a woman.

One time when Jesus was speaking, a woman in the crowd proclaimed, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed” (Luke 11:27). There was never a better opportunity for Jesus to declare that Mary was indeed worthy of praise and adoration. What was Jesus’ response? “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Luke 11:28). To Jesus, obedience to God’s Word was more important than being the woman who gave birth to the Savior.

Nowhere in Scripture does Jesus, or anyone else, direct any praise, glory, or adoration towards Mary. Elizabeth, Mary’s relative, praised Mary in Luke 1:42-44, but her praise is based on the blessing of giving birth to the Messiah. It was not based on any inherent glory in Mary.

Mary was present at the cross when Jesus died (John 19:25). Mary was also with the apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:14). However, Mary is never mentioned again after Acts chapter 1. The apostles did not give Mary a prominent role. Mary’s death is not recorded in the Bible. Nothing is said about Mary ascending to heaven or having an exalted role there. As the earthly mother of Jesus, Mary should be respected, but she is not worthy of our worship or adoration.

The Bible nowhere indicates that Mary can hear our prayers or that she can mediate for us with God. Jesus is our only advocate and mediator in heaven (1 Timothy 2:5). If offered worship, adoration, or prayers, Mary would say the same as the angels: “Worship God!” (see Revelation 19:10; 22:9.) Mary herself sets the example for us, directing her worship, adoration, and praise to God alone: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is His name” (Luke 1:46-49).

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 22nd, 2015, 1:39 pm

WHICH IS THE TRUE RELIGION PROTESTANTISM OR CATHOLICISM IN CHRISTIANITY?

Neither Protestantism or Catholicism is the true religion. It is not an issue of a movement, or a position, or being a member of the "right church." Instead, true religion, as it relates to Christianity, is that which agrees with the Bible and does not violate the essentials of the Christian faith. The question, in the case of Protestantism and Catholicism, is which view is most biblical. We say that without a doubt the Protestant movement is far more biblical than the Catholic Church, since the Catholic Church has added many doctrines that are not found in Scripture. In fact, so many were added that eventually God ordained the Protestant Reformation as an effort to get back to what Scripture says.

But, generally speaking, Roman Catholics will say that their church is the most biblical because they include "sacred tradition" as part of the revelation given by God. They will say there are verses that support tradition (2 Thess. 2:15; 3:6; 1 Cor. 11:2), the source of their teachings which are not found in Scripture. However, the same Scripture they appeal to in order to support tradition also says to beware of tradition.

Matt. 15:3-6, "And He answered and said to them, 'And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, Honor your father and mother, and, He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death 5 But you say, Whoever shall say to his father or mother, Anything of mine you might have been helped by has been given to God, 6he is not to honor his father or his mother. And thus you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.'"
Mark 7:8-9, "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men. 9 He was also saying to them, You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition."
Col. 2:8, "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ."
Tradition is only good if it conforms with Scripture. It is bad if it contradicts Scripture. In fact, we are told in the Bible not go beyond what is written in its pages. In other words, we are not to teach as Christian doctrine that which is not confirmed in Scripture.

"Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that in us you might learn not to exceed what is written, in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf of one against the other," (1 Corinthians 4:6).

So, we have an explicit statement in the Bible not to exceed what is written in Scripture. Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic Church has, without a doubt, exceeded what is written in the word of God. Please consider the following Roman Catholic teachings that cannot be found in Scripture.

Only the Roman Catholic Church has authority to interpret Scripture: "The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him." (Catechism of the Catholic Church 100)
Forgiveness of sins is by faith and keeping the commandments: "so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments," (CCC 2068)
Grace can be merited: "Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods." (CCC 2027)
Penance is necessary for salvation: “This sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn." (CCC 980)
Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Christ: "Mary "remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin" (St. Augustine, Serm. 186, 1: PL 38, 999): with her whole being she is "the handmaid of the Lord" (Lk 1:38)," (CCC 510). (Contrast this with Matt. 1:25)
You must go through Mary to get to Jesus: "so no man goeth to Christ but by His Mother." (Vatican Website: Encyclical of Pope Leo 13th on the Rosary, Octobri Mense, Pope Leo 13th, 1903-1914)
Becoming gods: "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God." "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods," (CCC 460). (See the article The CCC paragraph 460 and becoming a god)
Muslims worship the true god: "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day, " (CCC 841).
Purgatory: The 2nd Vatican Council, p. 63, "The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. Gods holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments."
Indulgences: "An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity," (CCC 1478).
Conclusion
So which is the true religion, Protestantism or Catholicism? It cannot be the Roman Catholic Church since it not only adds to Scripture but also violates it. As far as Protestantism goes, there are many denominations within the overall movement and each would have to be examined against Scripture. There are good churches and bad churches within the Protestant movement. So again, they are only as good and true inasmuch as they agree with Scripture.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby silentwssj » January 22nd, 2015, 10:46 pm

Hey there! well I just drove 350 miles through a blizzard! I made it home safe and sound thank God! I want to urge you Bumperjack to not disrespect Rudog! I don't think that he is intentionally coming at you sideways! He is entitled to his opinions. On another note I would love for Rudog or anyone else for that matter to jump into all of this. Any and all are welcome! The more input we get the more that we learn right! Anyhow, I actually like these last posts that you put up Bumperjack! I of course don't believe them but I am definitely learning a lot about the other sides views on everything! I will try and address some Tradition stuff later this weekend. As far as Mary and the Saints go that will have to wait until later. I want to do a whole post on all that in about a month or so. I have been real busy working long hours lately. I have also started training someone at the gym. This does not leave me much time for anything else. I think I am about to get laid off soon though. Hopefully I get some time in between my next call to work on some of this stuff! Anyhow, lets not get off track or emotional with each other Lol! This is after all a thread about religion. peaceout as always, Silent!

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby MMRbkaRudog » January 23rd, 2015, 5:44 am

Your threads and silent's are the main thing going right now. Do I feel like going around in circles, creating some of the largest pages during these discussions? No, but I may want to chime in. Now back to subject.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Bible state the dead can hear our prayers in some kind of example? Someone highly favored by God to have a virgin birth, doesn't sound like an ordinary woman to me. I have seen people say she is normal for doing things like praying to God, but didn't Jesus do the same? Does that mean Jesus is an ordinary man?

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 23rd, 2015, 8:00 am

@Rudog No matter How great a Saint is or was they were,they are not (omniscient)Knowing Everything, Nor can they answer prayers, ( It is a known fact from my studies (there are more prayers offered to Mary than to God by Catholics) Mary & the Saints are glorified and thought to have great abilities. God can answer prayers only.So it becomes useless to pray to a Saint.Deuteronomy 18:11 tells us that anyone who consults with the dead is detestable to the Lord.We have to Remember who Jesus was? He came to save the World! not condemn the World!Mary was The Mother of Jesus,but there is only one savior pur Lord Jesus Christ the only mediator between God & Man,We are not to go beyond the written word.Understandable therr usually not much going on here on Streetgangs I also like posting Prison Clips from California Prisons your welcome to jump in there anytime Rudog.The NT was written for us Christians to follow,Paul tells us not to be concern with who teaches but what one teaches to discern truth from err.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 23rd, 2015, 8:30 am

Rudog,Highly Favored does not elevate one's status,what it actually means is you are blessed for being Obedient to God's will and commandments and you show your love to Him so you gain God's blessings,she was a ordinary women who experienced more than others of course by being the mother of our Savior but she is elevated in Catholicism which is beyond the written word by the apostles in the NT.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 23rd, 2015, 8:41 am

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"About speaking talking or praying to the dead"
This what the Bible tells us: Praying to the dead is strictly forbidden in the Bible. Deuteronomy 18:11 tells us that anyone who “consults with the dead” is “detestable to the Lord.” The story of Saul consulting a medium to bring up the spirit of the dead Samuel resulted in his death “because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance” (1 Samuel 28:1-25; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14). Clearly, God has declared that such things are not to be done.

Consider the characteristics of God. God is omnipresent—everywhere at once—and is capable of hearing every prayer in the world (Psalm 139:7-12). A human being, on the other hand, does not possess this attribute. Also, God is the only one with the power to answer prayer. In this regard, God is omnipotent—all powerful (Revelation 19:6). Certainly this is an attribute a human being—dead or alive—does not possess. Finally, God is omniscient—He knows everything (Psalm 147:4-5). Even before we pray, God knows our genuine needs and knows them better than we do. Not only does He know our needs, but He answers our prayers according to His perfect will.

So, in order for a dead person to receive prayers, the dead individual has to hear the prayer, possess the power to answer it, and know how to answer it in a way that is best for the individual praying. Only God hears and answers prayer because of His perfect essence and because of what some theologians call His “immanence.” Immanence is the quality of God that causes Him to be directly involved with the affairs of mankind (1 Timothy 6:14-15); this includes answering prayer.

Even after a person dies, God is still involved with that person and his destination. Hebrews 9:27 says so: “…Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” If a person dies in Christ, he goes to heaven to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:1-9, especially verse 8); if a person dies in his sin, he goes to hell, and eventually everyone in hell will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15).

A person suffering in agony will not be able to hear or answer a prayer, nor will a person who is living in heavenly bliss with God. If we pray to someone and he is in eternal agony, should we expect him to be able to hear and answer our prayers? Likewise, would a person in heaven be concerned for temporal problems on earth? God has provided His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the mediator between man and God (1 Timothy 2:5). With Jesus Christ as our mediator, we can go through Jesus to God. Why would we want to go through a sinful dead individual, especially when doing so risks the wrath of God?

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby silentwssj » January 23rd, 2015, 10:39 am

Hey there! Well I really did not want to start posting anything on this subject yet but you guys are definitely going there right now. Honestly, I have to do some reading, thinking and writing before I can begin this next post. If it gets to the point where we just end up addressing it all right now, I guess I will have to resort to simply posting other peoples arguments. I doesn't matter to me, I can produce articles on every subject imaginable. Here is a pretty good rebuttal of the article that you just posted Bumperjack. I think it also validates what Rudog was trying to say. As I have always said though, to each his own! I don't like the arguments that you two are starting to have with each other on here. Hopefully we can realize that we are debating religion and refocus on acting like Christians here! After all that is the purpose of all this! Peace be with you both and much love and respect as well. Silent!



Praying to the Saints

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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.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby silentwssj » January 23rd, 2015, 10:44 am

Praying to Dead Folks

In a previous post, I talked about the problem of how a saint in heaven could hear the prayers of multiple people praying to him at the same time. In his book, Answers to Catholic Claims, A Discussion of Biblical Authority, James White attempts to make that discussion a moot point when he says there shouldn’t be any of this praying to dead folks to begin with:

The Bible strongly condemns communication with the dead. It does not matter if those who died were good or bad, saintly or evil, there is to be no communication between the living and the dead. The only communication with spirit beings that originates with man that is allowed in Scripture is that of prayer to God and He alone.

Biblical texts like Deut. 18:10-11 and Isaiah 19:3—each of which condemns necromancy—are employed to say “communication with the dead” is condemned absolutely.

Actually, what is being condemned in these texts from Deuteronomy and Isaiah is conjuring up the dead through wizards and mediums, not praying to saints. The Church has always condemned this. Mediums attempt to conjure up spirits and manipulate the spiritual realm at will. This is categorically different from Christians asking for the intercession of their brothers and sisters in Christ. We do not “conjure up” or manipulate anything or anyone. True prayer—whether to God or the angels and saints—changes the pray-er, not the pray-ee.

If one says recklessly as Mr. White said, “… there is to be no communication between the living and the dead,” where does this leave Jesus? He is clearly guilty according to Luke 9:29-31:

And as [Jesus] was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem.

According to Deuteronomy 34:5, Moses was dead. And yet Jesus was communicating with him and Elijah about the most important event in human history—the redemption. Obviously, Jesus does not agree with Mr. White.

FIRST CONTACT

There is another point to White’s argument that requires a deeper level of response. Notice, he said, “The only communication with spirit beings that originates with man that is allowed in Scripture is that of prayer to God and He alone.” This point taken alone would not exclude communicating with the dead in any context. It would only exclude such communication if contact originates from the earth dweller.

In one sense, it seems Mr. White, as well as our Protestant friends he represents by his statement, is stuck in an Old Testament mindset. It is true that we do not see Old Covenant faithful initiating prayer to the dearly departed, but this is to be expected because the faithful dead before Christ and the beatific vision afforded by him would not have had the power to either hear or respond to those prayers. Moreover, the Old Covenant People of God did not have the developed understanding of the after-life that only came with the Revelation of Christ.

Jesus Christ introduces a radical development the Old Covenant saints could not have imagined when he clearly initiates the communication with the faithful departed unlike anything we saw in the Old Testament. I say "clearly" because even Protestant Apologist Eric Svendsen seems to see it, though I'm not sure how cognizant he was of the rammifications of this statement he made about the Transfiguration in his book, Evangelical Answers:

The transfiguration was an apocalyptic event choreographed directly by the Son of God to give the apostles a glimpse of his eschatological glory…

If Jesus “choreographed” it, then he initiated it. Some may say, “Well, he's God, so he can do that.” Yes, he is. But he is also fully man and we are called to imitate him. If Jesus initiated communication with the dead, there is no reason to believe followers of Jesus cannot do the same. This is precisely what we mean as Catholics when we say we "pray to the saints."

THE BIBLE SAYS SO

The New Testament presents to us very plain examples of the faithful on earth initiating communication with the saints in heaven. First, we have Hebrews 11-12. Chapter 11 gives us what I call the “hall of faith” wherein the lives of many of the Old Testament saints are recounted. Then, the inspired author encourages these to whom he referred earlier as a people who were being persecuted for their faith (10:32-35), to consider that they are “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,” encouraging them to "run the race" of faith set before them. Then, beginning in 12:18, he encourages these New Covenant faithful by reminding them that their covenant—the New Covenant—is far superior to the Old:

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire … darkness … gloom … and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers entreat that no further messages be spoken to them…

But you have come to… the city of the living God… and to innumerable angels… and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven… and to… God… and to the spirits of just men made perfect… and to Jesus…

Notice, in the Old Covenant the faithful approached God alone and with trepidation. But in the New Covenant, the faithful have experienced a radical change for the better. “But you have come to … and to … and to … and to.” In the same way we can initiate prayer and in so doing “come to” God and Jesus, we can also “come to” the angels and “the spirits of just men made perfect.” Those would be the saints in heaven. In the fellowship of the saints, we have the aid and encouragement of the whole family of God.

The Book of Revelation gives us an even better description of this communication between heaven and earth:

The twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints … the elders fell down and worshipped (5:8-14).

These “elders” are offering the prayers of the faithful symbolized by incense filtering upward from the earth to heaven. And because they are seen receiving these prayers, we can reasonably conclude they were both directed to these saints in heaven and that they were initiated by the faithful living on earth. We also see this same phenomenon being performed by the angels in Revelation 8:3-4:

And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.

The bottom line is this: Both the faithful on earth and our brothers and sisters in heaven (and let’s not forget our “cousins,” the angels) are all acting just as Catholics would expect. Believers on earth are initiating prayers which the saints and angels in heaven are receiving. Is this the necromancy condemned in Deuteronomy and Isaiah? Absolutely not! This is New Testament Christianity.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby bumperjack » January 23rd, 2015, 2:02 pm

Silent,Its one's understanding thats in question,There is alot of information out there,it's not about who is right or who is wrong here, there are arguments on what one believes as there faith in Christ.We are not to judge one another,so we have to keep ourselves in check without putting each other down.I agree we must act as Christians.It's a very controversial subject."Religion" is a big subject and we hopefully can continue on a educational stand point,once it becomes anything other then educational,then I will bow out,cause my time will turn into wasted energy.Your post Silents are your views and are interesting whether I feel there the truth or not? That's were I believe I must be careful as we all do,we can agree or disagree out of respect for one another,so nobody feels they have to defend there faith I stand on my beliefs,even if there not in line with your faith silent we both serve the same God and that's the most important aspect here seriously my bad for jumping the gun homie Rudog I believe was bored and was asking questions and stating his concerns and beliefs as there In line with Catholicism also And thats ok also because we serve the same God,God the father God the Son and the Holy Ghost.Life & Peace BJ.

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Re: Teaching Authority in Sacred Scripture?

Unread postby silentwssj » January 23rd, 2015, 2:34 pm

I am going to real quickly address Tradition again as this topic keeps on coming up over and over again! I looked at my original post and honestly it was pretty good so I am going to simply cut and paste it here again. I also will add a little to it at the bottom. I want to emphasize context here. Yes Traditions of men are condemned but not all tradition. Look up Qorban rule , you will understand the context of the passage!

Ok people! It is time to discuss another important subject, Tradition! Honestly, I probably should have combined this topic with the last post on the Bible but I felt it was simply just to long. These two subjects go hand in hand though, so we an rightly consider this post an extension of the last one. Anyhow, I will attempt to explain here just exactly how my Protestant brothers have taken a few biblical passages out of context and follow it up with a thorough explanation of just what exactly Tradition is and is not! Once again, I would like to stress respect for all Christian denominations. I am not trying to attack Protestants. I am simply trying to defend the Catholic faith! To do this I have to point certain things out. I do not do this out of spite or hatred for them. I truly believe that we are all Christians and we should be striving for the same goal of spreading the Gospel together. My only hope is that at the very least they can gain a deeper knowledge and respect for what the Catholic Church actually teaches and represents.

Many people, Secular, Protestant and even some uneducated Catholics are confused by the Catholic Church's vast array of Doctrines and customs! For most Protestants, the word "Tradition" implies the worst kind of man made traditions, the kind that Christ warned against in the Bible. They read passages such as (Mark 7:1-13) and (Matthew 15:1-9) which discusses the traditions of men and conclude that anything that is based off Tradition is plainly condemned by Christ and thus nullifies the word of God! The problem here is that Protestants read these passages and take them out of context. It seems at first glance that all traditions are condemned. What I tried to teach you guys on Street Gangs in the last post is that the Bible must be read a whole and in context! You can not have any contradictions. There are also numerous Biblical passages that support Tradition. I have a long list of them but I will simply show a few of them to you to make my point. (1 Corinthians 11:2) "I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you." What is it that he handed on to them, the whole deposit of faith!(2 Thessalonians 2:15) "Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or letter of ours." How can you read that last passage and not conclude that you are being ordered by an Apostle and in scripture to follow Tradition! This Tradition is oral and it is to be respected right alongside scripture. Remember there can be no contradictions in the Bible. How can you say do not follow traditions of men but then have numerous passages that order the following of Tradition? Obviously something is being taken out of context here! The truth is that as I said before there was a church and a faith already operating before there was a Bible! Look to the last post for a detailed explanation of this! Not everything was written down in scripture. Here is proof! (John 21:25) "There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written." I ask you to consider, could this information be what was passed down orally in Tradition? Obviously there is more than just Scripture and obviously you are commanded to follow scripture and oral Tradition as I pointed out 2 passages back! Here is a warning for those choosing to disregard Tradition. (2 Thessalonians 3:6) We instruct you Brothers, in the name of our lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the Tradition they received from us." Wow! Just what exactly is being said here? How can that possibly coincide with not following the Traditions of men. Obviously there are Traditions that should be followed and Traditions that should not be followed. It is in scripture and Scripture can not contradict itself. Maybe my protestant brethren are simply "cherry picking" a verse out of the Bible and distorting its meaning by not paying close attention to the context into which it was written!

I think that I need to break down what was actually being said in (Mark 7:1-13) and (Matthew 15:1-9). To do this I am going to explain the context of the passage! I will not copy it in its entirety because it is to long. Look it up for yourself if you want! I will emphasize a part of it though. (Mark 7:10-13) "For Mosses said, honor your father and your mother, and whoever curses father or mother shall die. Yet you say, if a person says to father or mother, "any support you might have had from me is "Qorban", (meaning dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your Tradition that you have handed on." Now lets examine just exactly what the "Qorban" rule is and what was being forbidden! The "Qorban" rule was a bogus legal loophole devised by some Rabbis that allowed someone to technically deposit all his wealth in the Temple as "Alms", when in fact, he still had control over and access to his money. This ruse allowed him to avoid having to help his parents in times of need, which directly contravened God's law to "honor your Father and your Mother" (Exodus 20:12) Christ rightfully condemned this "Tradition of men", precisely because it nullified the Commandments of God! On a side note, we discussed "Call no man Father" on the last post, obviously God does not contradict himself. Why then would a commandment say to honor your Father and mother! Anyhow, I think I have made my point! A person must consider the context when reading scripture! The bible is not meant to be read passage by passage disregarding all other passages that deal with the same subject. Also, you need to step outside of the Bible and do your research to understand what is being said in the Bible. The "Qorban" rule is an excellent example of this!

Sadly, for any non Catholic Christian, when they read this verse they believe the issue is settled in regards to Tradition! They do not bother to look any further and simply disregard all of the other Bible verses that I pointed out above that command you to follow Tradition! This is unbiblical and demonstrates a lack of scholarliness on their part! They try to refer to (2 Timothy 3:17) "All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work". On the surface this makes it look like wow! the bible is the only thing that I need to read. What they miss is a careful understanding of this passage! It does not say that scripture is the "Only" thing that makes a Christian complete or fully equipped! This is vitally important to understand! You see, Protestants use this passage to justify their insistence on using the Bible as the sole rule of faith! This is absolutely erroneous and un-Biblical! In fact it is a tradition of men that they follow directly from the reformers who put it forth! What the Bible does say as I quoted above already is once again (2 Thessalonians 2:15) "Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the Traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours".

This leads me to give you an explanation of just exactly what is Tradition? Tradition is the "Full deposit of faith" as handed down by the Apostles! Remember there was a fully functioning Church before the New Testament was written! In fact as I stated in the last post, the Cannon of scripture was not codified and put into what we would call the Bible until 4 centuries later! All the early Church had to go on was Tradition! As time progressed and certain heresies popped up, the Apostles would write down letters and send them to the affected Church's as a response and teaching aid. They were not to be considered the only thing to go by. In fact, the Bible is written directly from Tradition. It was the oral tradition that was put into writing as scripture that we find in the Bible today! When the Church held counsels to decide what was and was not scripture it was from this Tradition that books of the Bible were tested by. They could not be in direct conflict with Oral Tradition or they would be discarded! There were many books circulating at this time. Very few made it into the Cannon of scripture! Another thing that Protestants fail to realize is that when these letters were written they only touched on things that were in question. They did not cover absolutely everything that was believed, they only set out to correct the things that had questions attached to them. Most of the teachings of the Church were well understood by all of its members and so did not have to be talked about in scripture. The deposit of faith is what the Church taught the people and that is Tradition in its entirety! Who is the Church and by what Authority do they operate under? Remember, in scripture we told to follow the Church! (1 Timothy 3:15) "The Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth". What Church exactly is that? Well Scripture says (Matthew16:18-19) "And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven". Peter was the first Pope! The Church that Christ established was built on him. He has the keys to heaven! Also, it is very important to understand the gates of hell shall not prevail against it! If the Catholic Church is wrong then are you saying that for 1500 years the Gates of hell were prevailing against it? This can not be according to scripture. The Catholic Church was founded by Christ himself. Each and every Protestant denomination has an individual creator who founded his own Church. I remind you (Luke 10:16) "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me". When I read these passages I am struck by the Bible commanding me to follow the Church. Not just any Church, the one founded on Peter! This is what that Church teaches. There are two kinds of Traditions. One is small "t" Traditions that are man made, not Doctrinal in nature and therefore are changeable, as the needs of the Church dictate. Examples are the Church's customs and disciplines. Things like Holy days of obligation, the pre-communion fast, observance of the Saints feast days, and the different colored liturgical vestments worn by Priest's at different seasons in the liturgical calendar. These were developed over time as the Church recognized their need, and because they are non-doctrinal in nature they can be modified or dispensed with altogether, as the Church determines. The second part of Tradition is what we will call "capital T" Traditions! These are what is found in the original deposit of faith that are Doctrinal in nature and therefore unchangeable. Unlike customs and disciplines these Traditions are not man made; They are God made! They are part of the body of revealed truth given to the Church by Christ and his Apostles. Examples of this would be the true presence in the "Eucharist", Marian Doctrines, Purgatory and the Trinity! I ask you does the word Trinity" even exist in the Bible? No, it does not, it is implied and one can deduce from scripture it's reality but the word is not ever conclusively stated in scripture! Were does this understanding come from then. Tradition! This capital "T" tradition comes from the Apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus teaching and example and what they learned from the holy spirit. As I said before the first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of a living Tradition. (CCC 83) "Tradition is to be distinguished from the various Theological, Disciplinary, Liturgical or Devotional Traditions, born in the various Rites of the Church over time! These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times , in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium"

In conclusion I would like to point out another verse (1 John 3:16) Speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures". Sounds a lot like what Protestants do right! Instead of following the Church's teaching and guidance they distort scripture to their own destruction! I could have given a lot more examples than what I presented here. I also could have drawn from the numerous writings of the early Christians to back all of it up. Instead I am giving a very basic definition of Tradition and what it means. I can only hope that I can inspire all those who wish to learn more to read more! I do hope and pray that I used Scripture properly to show people the truth and bring them to the fullness of truth!

Another passage that we need to address here is (Colossians 2:8) "See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human Tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ." I ask you Bumperjack, is this referring to all Tradition? Obviously not, since Paul refers to his teaching as Tradition, see (2 Thessalonians 2:15) (3:6), (1 Corinthians 11:2) So, what Tradition is Paul referring to? He is denouncing the Traditions of men (in this case the Gnostics) that is opposed to the Apostolic Traditions deposited in the Church. So, once again the Protestant version or interpretation takes this verse out of context. They completely deny that he is referring to Gnostics which is the true context of the passage. Instead they try to take the passage out of context and use it against the Catholic Church which Christ himself founded! Obviously Tradition is what the Church had to go off of since it predates Scripture and its use is upheld by Scripture! Tradition is the full and original deposit of Faith! Anti Catholics love to say that we added things to the Faith the problem is that all Catholic beliefs are found in the early writings of the first Christians. Most Protestants are unaware of this as they only read the Bible. Thus, they are un scholarly, un historical, and participate in the propagation of myth spreading and lies! This is a serious Sin in my opinion! Not only have they broke away from the original Church and Faith they are disrespecting the Faith by not investigating both sides of the issue! Their total and complete ignorance in all of this will lead to serious chastisement when they pass from this Earth! Non of their beliefs or practices are found in any writings until the fifteenth century! They love to say that they were first but history is totally and completely absent in upholding their beliefs in name or writings. I cant emphasize this enough! There is absolutely zero mention of any type of present day Protestant beliefs in any early writings.

Here is something else that I find amusing. Protestants love to condemn Catholics for their Traditions even though they are all backed up with early writings. How about theirs? They love to claim that everything they do is found in the Bible. Well guess what here is a list of Protestant Traditions that do not come from the Bible! "Age of accountability, total depravity of man, ask Jesus into your heart (can you recall Paul emphasizing this concept?), the Rapture, this is a funny one Bumperjack! No one ever believed this nonsense until the nineteenth century. talk about made up doctrine! We will probably have to do a whole post on that one at some point. We Catholics believe in the second coming, which is what has always been believed. Where is the word Rapture in the Bible? or where can you show me any early church fathers believing anything like this? Clothed in the righteousness of Christ (a phrase never found in the New Testament), Invisible Church, here is another lie! We have so many writings that predate Constantine, that call the Church "Catholic" and show the Churches Traditional beliefs! Protestants have had to make up the invisible Church lie to try and validate their total lack of a presence in history until the fifteenth century, Lol! emphasis on a "personal relationship with Christ", accepting Christ as personal Lord and savior, enthroning the Bible in your heart, limited atonement, the altar call, where is found in any early history? rededication, tent revivals, inerrancy, eternal security, denominations, faith alone, Bible alone, neither of these concepts existed until the fifteenth century, Baptism and the Eucharist as being mere symbols, these are concepts that never existed until the fifteenth century. So as you can see Protestants are quite fond of inventing their own unique set of un Biblical Traditions! All of ours are easily traced through history to the early Church! Theirs are all 500 years old or less!

Here is a good article on tradition Bumperjack!

Korban & Sola Scriptura

by Jimmy Akin

in Bible


A reader writes:


Dear Sir,

What is the Korban Rule, and why does James White make such a big deal about it when he speaks of sola scriptura?



A korban (or, more properly, qurban) was an offering made to God and thus consecrated. There were a wide variety of these in the Old Testament.

By the first century, a custom had arisen among Pharisees whereby sons would circumvent their obligation to care for their parents’ financial needs by consecrating to God the financial support that their parents otherwise would have received.

This came up in Mark chapter 7 when some Pharisees attacked the fact that Jesus’ disciples at with unwashed hands, contrary to the tradition of the Jewish elders.

Their having made tradition an issue, Jesus turned the subject around on them by pointing to their own misuse of tradition, and he cited the korban custom just mentioned, stating that it violated the Ten Commandments, which require us to honor our parents and, by implication, support them in their old age so that they do not become financially destitude (which was the fate of almost anybody back then whose children didn’t care for them once they could no longer work).

He therefore concluded that they were "making void the word of God through your tradition" (Mark 7:13) and stated "You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men" (Mark 7:8).

I haven’t read or heard specifically what James White may have been doing with this passage, but it is a staple of Protestant anti-Catholic apologetics.

The reason is that in this passage Jesus sets the korban tradition in opposition to the word of God and this is frequently taken as an indicator that all tradition is opposed to the word of God or that there is a fundamental opposition between tradition and Scripture.

It is thus common to hear Protestant ministers and apologists waxing eloquent on this passage–and even getting emotionally worked up from the pulpit or behind the microphone about how horrible a thing it is to set tradition above the word of God–and how we must therefore cling to the precious principle of sola scriptura or "by Scripture only."

The problem, of course, is that this argument commits the logical fallacy of hasty generalization.

The fact that in this passage Jesus says that particular aspects of Pharisaical tradition are contrary to God’s word does not mean that all traditions are contrary to God’s word. Nor does it say that we must use Scripture only and not Tradition. The fact that one tradition or one set of traditions must be excluded does not mean that all traditions must be excluded.

This conclusion is made even more clear when one realizes that the New Testament praises other traditions, which are in harmony with God’s word.

Thus Paul tells the Corinthians, "I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you" (1 Cor. 11:2), and he commands the Thessalonians, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15). He even goes so far as to order, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us" (2 Thess. 3:6).

Paul also seeks to ensure that the apostolic traditions would be passed down after the deaths of the apostles, and he tells Timothy, "[W]hat you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). In this passage he refers to the first four generations of apostolic succession—his own generation, Timothy’s generation, the generation Timothy will teach, and the generation they in turn will teach.

So from the perspective of the New Testament, Pharisaical tradition was unreliable and could be contrary to the word of God (not that it always was), while apostolic Tradition was normative and binding for Christians.

By the way, you may have some difficulty making some of these points to a Protestant who is using the New International Version. That translation displays a prominent bit of translator bias when it comes to rendering the term for "tradition" in the Greek text (paradosis). Whenever the term is used in conjunction with Jewish traditions, it renders the word "tradition(s)", but when it is used in connection with apostolic tradition (as in the passages above), it mistranslates the word as "teaching(s)." The net effect is to make tradition sound bad by hiding the positive references to it and using the word in passages where it is subject to critique.

Sacred Tradition


Is It Really From the Apostles? ....Yes!



In an earlier comment some months back, a person asked the following question:


“Can you explain why the Catholic Church claims that the doctrines of Sacred Tradition were handed down from the apostles when there appears to be no record of it?”



Now, I don’t know why this is a common thought among many people, but, there are records of the Sacred Traditions having been handed down from the apostles, and the evidence for such is found in the writings of the early ecclesiastic writers and the Early Church Fathers.


We must realize and understand, that it was the apostles who first spread the Christian faith throughout the world. Jesus Christ had chosen the Twelve Apostles as we learn from the sixth chapter of The Gospel According To Saint Luke:



12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and he passed the whole night in the prayer of God. 13 And when day was come, he called unto him his disciples; and he chose twelve of them (whom also he named apostles). 14 Simon, whom he surnamed Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon who is called Zelotes, 16 And Jude, the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, who was the traitor.



So Jesus chose the Twelve, and later He ordained them as we can see from the ninth chapter of The Gospel According To Saint Luke:



1 Then calling together the twelve apostles, he gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. ...6 And going out, they went about through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.



Jesus also instructed the Twelve to spread the good news of His Kingdom as we see in the first chapter of The Acts of the Apostles:



6 They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 But he said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power: 8 But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth.



So, the Apostles followed the commandment of the Lord, and went throughout the “uttermost part of the earth” and led many people to Christ and established churches throughout the known world. From Asia Minor to Northern Africa to Europe the faith was spread, by the Twelve and then by their disciples and followers whom they ordained as deacons, bishops, and presbyters. The Sacred Tradition was most definitely handed down by the Apostles, and we must remember that what the churches established by them, taught by them, and handed down through their successors, were the oral traditions that they received as well as written traditions.



We know that the Apostles went to various regions of the then known world (from both Holy Scriptures and from the traditions of those areas), such as follows:



Saint Andrew - Asia Minor, Greece, and possibly in areas of modern Russia and Poland.
Saint Bartholomew - Asia Minor, Ethiopia, India and Armenia.
Saint James the Greater - Samaria, Judea, and Spain.
Saint John - Asia Minor, Jerusalem, Samaria, Ephesus
Saint Jude - Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia
Saint Matthias - Judea, Cappadocia, Egypt and Ethiopia.
Saint Matthew - Palestine, Ethiopia
Saint Philip - Greece and Asia Minor.
Saint Simon the Zealot - Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iberia
Saint Simon Peter - Palestine, Syria, and Rome
Saint Thomas - Parthia (western Asia), Persia and India
Saint Paul - Greece, Syria, Palestine, Asia Minor, Rome, and Spain



We also know, that in the early Church, there was a disagreement on the date for celebrating Easter. It seems that the eastern Church celebrated Easter according to the Jewish date for celebrating the Passover, which was the fourteenth day of the Jewish month Nisan, regardless of what day of the week it fell on. Several Early Church Fathers (Saint Polycarp for one) defended their choice of that date, saying that it was the tradition handed down to them by the Apostles.

Following are some of the things written by the Early Church Fathers, other ecclesiastical writers of the early Church, and firstly from some of the Epistles of Saint Paul:


Saint Paul the Apostle:


I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you (1 Cor. 11:2)

So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15)

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us (2 Thess. 3:6).


Pope Saint Clement I from his Epistle to the Corinthians:


The Apostles preached to us the Gospel received from Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ was God's Ambassador. Christ, in other words, comes with a message from God, and the Apostles with a message from Christ. Both these orderly arrangements, therefore, originate from the will of God. And so, after receiving their instructions and being fully assured through the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as confirmed in faith by the word of God, they went forth, equipped with the fullness of the Holy Spirit, to preach the good news that the Kingdom of God was close at hand. From land to land, accordingly, and from city to city they preached, and from among their earliest converts appointed men whom they had tested by the Spirit to act as bishops and deacons for the future believers. And this was no innovation, for, a long time before the Scripture had spoken about bishops and deacons; for somewhere it says: I will establish their overseers in observance of the law and their ministers in fidelity.



Our Apostles, too, were given to understand by our Lord Jesus Christ that the office of the bishop would give rise to intrigues. For this reason, equipped as they were with perfect foreknowledge, they appointed the men mentioned before, and afterwards laid down a rule once for all to this effect: when these men die, other approved men shall succeed to their sacred ministry. Consequently, we deem it an injustice to eject from the sacred ministry the persons who were appointed either by them, or later, with the consent of the whole Church, by other men in high repute and have ministered to the flock of Christ faultlessly, humbly, quietly and unselfishly, and have moreover, over a long period of time, earned the esteem of all. Indeed, it will be no small sin for us if we oust men who have irreproachably and piously offered the sacrifices proper to the episcopate. Happy the presbyters who have before now completed life's journey and taken their departure in mature age and laden with fruit! They, surely, do not have to fear that anyone will dislodge them from the place built for them. Yes, we see that you removed some, their good conduct notwithstanding, from the sacred ministry on which their faultless discharge had shed luster.

It is our duty, then, my brethren, to follow examples such as these. For the Scripture says: Follow the saints for such as follow them shall be sanctified. And again, in another passage, it says: With an innocent man Thou wilt be innocent and with an elect Thou wilt be elect, and with one perverted Thou wilt deal perversely. Let us, therefore, associate with the innocent and law-abiding; these are God's elect.

These items below come from Saint Jerome’s “Lives of Illustrious Men” :



Saint Quadratus the bishop of Athens:



Quadratus, disciple of the apostles, after Publius bishop of Athens had been crowned with martyrdom on account of his faith in Christ, was substituted in his place, and by his faith and industry gathered the church scattered by reason of its great fear. And when Hadrian passed the winter at Athens to witness the Eleusinian mysteries and was initiated into almost all the sacred mysteries of Greece, those who hated the Christians took opportunity without instructions from the Emperor to harass the believers. At this time he presented to Hadrian a work composed in behalf of our religion, indispensable, full of sound argument and faith and worthy of the apostolic teaching. In which, illustrating the antiquity of his period, he says that he has seen many who, oppressed by various ills, were healed by the Lord in Judea as well as some who had been raised from the dead.



Pantaenus the philosopher:



Pantaenus, a philosopher of the stoic school, according to some old Alexandrian custom, where, from the time of Mark the evangelist the ecclesiastics were always doctors, was of so great prudence and erudition both in scripture and secular literature that, on the request of the legates of that nation, he was sent to India by Demetrius bishop of Alexandria, where he found that Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles, had preached the advent of the Lord Jesus according to the gospel of Matthew, and on his return to Alexandria he brought this with him written in Hebrew characters.



Papias



Papias [A.D. 120], who is now mentioned by us, affirms that he received the sayings of the apostles from those who accompanied them, and he, moreover, asserts that he heard in person Aristion and the presbyter John. Accordingly, he mentions them frequently by name, and in his writings gives their traditions [concerning Jesus]. . . . [There are] other passages of his in which he relates some miraculous deeds, stating that he acquired the knowledge of them from tradition" (fragment in Eusebius, Church History 3:39 [A.D. 312]).



The remainder here come from the writings of just a few more of the Early Church Fathers and Ecclesiastical writers:



Eusebius of Caesarea



At that time [A.D. 150] there flourished in the Church Hegesippus, whom we know from what has gone before, and Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, and another bishop, Pinytus of Crete, and besides these, Philip, and Apollinarius, and Melito, and Musanus, and Modestus, and, finally, Irenaeus. From them has come down to us in writing, the sound and orthodox faith received from tradition" (Church History 4:21).


Saint Irenaeus



"As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the tradition is one and the same" (Against Heresies 1:10:2 [A.D. 189]).



"That is why it is surely necessary to avoid them [heretics], while cherishing with the utmost diligence the things pertaining to the Church, and to lay hold of the tradition of truth. . . . What if the apostles had not in fact left writings to us? Would it not be necessary to follow the order of tradition, which was handed down to those to whom they entrusted the churches?"



"It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors to our own times—men who neither knew nor taught anything like these heretics rave about.



"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles.



"With this church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree—that is, all the faithful in the whole world—and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition".

Clement of Alexandria



"Well, they preserving the tradition of the blessed doctrine derived directly from the holy apostles, Peter, James, John, and Paul, the sons receiving it from the father (but few were like the fathers), came by God’s will to us also to deposit those ancestral and apostolic seeds. And well I know that they will exult; I do not mean delighted with this tribute, but solely on account of the preservation of the truth, according as they delivered it. For such a sketch as this, will, I think, be agreeable to a soul desirous of preserving from loss the blessed tradition" (Miscellanies 1:1 [A.D. 208]).


Origen


"Although there are many who believe that they themselves hold to the teachings of Christ, there are yet some among them who think differently from their predecessors. The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession from the apostles and remains in the churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as the truth which is in no way at variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition" (The Fundamental Doctrines 1:2 [A.D. 225]).


Cyprian of Carthage


"The Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with Novatian, she was not with [Pope] Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop Fabian by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honor of the priesthood the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way" (Letters 75:3 [A.D. 253]).


Athanasius


"Again we write, again keeping to the apostolic traditions, we remind each other when we come together for prayer; and keeping the feast in common, with one mouth we truly give thanks to the Lord. Thus giving thanks unto him, and being followers of the saints, ‘we shall make our praise in the Lord all the day,’ as the psalmist says. So, when we rightly keep the feast, we shall be counted worthy of that joy which is in heaven" (Festal Letters 2:7 [A.D. 330]).

"But you are blessed, who by faith are in the Church, dwell upon the foundations of the faith, and have full satisfaction, even the highest degree of faith which remains among you unshaken. For it has come down to you from apostolic tradition, and frequently accursed envy has wished to unsettle it, but has not been able".


Basil the Great


"Of the dogmas and messages preserved in the Church, some we possess from written teaching and others we receive from the tradition of the apostles, handed on to us in mystery. In respect to piety, both are of the same force. No one will contradict any of these, no one, at any rate, who is even moderately versed in matters ecclesiastical. Indeed, were we to try to reject unwritten customs as having no great authority, we would unwittingly injure the gospel in its vitals; or rather, we would reduce [Christian] message to a mere term" (The Holy Spirit 27:66 [A.D. 375]).


Epiphanius of Salamis


"It is needful also to make use of tradition, for not everything can be gotten from sacred Scripture. The holy apostles handed down some things in the scriptures, other things in tradition" (Medicine Chest Against All Heresies 61:6 [A.D. 375]).


Augustine


"The custom [of not rebaptizing converts] . . . may be supposed to have had its origin in apostolic tradition, just as there are many things which are observed by the whole Church, and therefore are fairly held to have been enjoined by the apostles, which yet are not mentioned in their writings" (On Baptism, Against the Donatists 5:23[31] [A.D. 400]).

"But the admonition that he [Cyprian] gives us, ‘that we should go back to the fountain, that is, to apostolic tradition, and thence turn the channel of truth to our times,’ is most excellent, and should be followed without hesitation" (ibid., 5:26[37]).



"But in regard to those observances which we carefully attend and which the whole world keeps, and which derive not from Scripture but from Tradition, we are given to understand that they are recommended and ordained to be kept, either by the apostles themselves or by plenary [ecumenical] councils, the authority of which is quite vital in the Church" (Letter to Januarius [A.D. 400]).


John Chrysostom


"[Paul commands,] ‘Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word or by our letter’ [2 Thess. 2:15]. From this it is clear that they did not hand down everything by letter, but there is much also that was not written. Like that which was written, the unwritten too is worthy of belief. So let us regard the tradition of the Church also as worthy of belief. Is it a tradition? Seek no further" (Homilies on Second Thessalonians [A.D. 402]).


Vincent of Lerins


"With great zeal and closest attention, therefore, I frequently inquired of many men, eminent for their holiness and doctrine, how I might, in a concise and, so to speak, general and ordinary way, distinguish the truth of the Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical depravity.


"I received almost always the same answer from all of them—that if I or anyone else wanted to expose the frauds and escape the snares of the heretics who rise up, and to remain intact and in sound faith, it would be necessary, with the help of the Lord, to fortify that faith in a twofold manner: first, of course, by the authority of divine law [Scripture] and then by the tradition of the Catholic Church.



"Here, perhaps, someone may ask: ‘If the canon of the scriptures be perfect and in itself more than suffices for everything, why is it necessary that the authority of ecclesiastical interpretation be joined to it?’ Because, quite plainly, sacred Scripture, by reason of its own depth, is not accepted by everyone as having one and the same meaning. . . .



"Thus, because of so many distortions of such various errors, it is highly necessary that the line of prophetic and apostolic interpretation be directed in accord with the norm of the ecclesiastical and Catholic meaning" (The Notebooks [A.D. 434]).


Pope Agatho


"The holy Church of God . . . has been established upon the firm rock of this Church of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, which by his grace and guardianship remains free from all error, [and possesses that faith that] the whole number of rulers and priests, of the clergy and of the people, unanimously should confess and preach with us as the true declaration of the apostolic tradition, in order to please God and to save their own souls" (Letter read at fourth session of III Constantinople [A.D. 680]).


Here is one last example!

Sacred Tradition




What is Sacred Tradition in the Catholic Church? Isn't the Bible Alone sufficient for us without all of the "Tradition" that pollutes the Word of God with man-made stuff? The answer is absolutely not.





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Sacred Tradition is the oral teaching of Jesus Christ handed down to his apostles, who in turn handed it down to their disciples (the early Church Fathers), and then to the next generation, and then finally to us. How do we know this? Well, for almost 400 years there was no written New Testament to fall back on. All of the apostles and disciples taught orally for the first 400 years. Yes, you might say, but didn't Paul, Peter, John, Luke, etc., write everything down in their epistles and gospels? Yes, they did, but none of it was widely available to geographically separated disciples and it wasn't part of "The Bible" until the Councils of Rome, Hippo, and Carthage put the 27 books of the New Testament together in 382 AD, 393 AD, and 397 AD. At that time, it took on the mantle of infallible scripture with the Old Testament. Interestingly, Protestants today accept this Catholic "Tradition" of these 27 books of the Bible being divinely inspired. Protestants also accept the Catholic Tradition of meeting on Sunday, rather than the Jewish custom of meeting on Saturday.

Why is Tradition important? Well, for starters, people who translate the bible into their vernacular might want to put their particular spin on a verse, like Luther did with Romans 3:28, when he inserted the word "alone" after "faith" ("For we hold that a man is justified by faith [alone] apart from works of law"), a word that was not in the Latin text from St. Jerome. He justified it based on his personal opinion on what the verse should have said, even though it directly contradicts James 2:24 ("You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone"). So Tradition took a hit there, and the whole Protestant Reformation began, based on "Sola Fide", or the erroneous doctrine of being saved by "Faith Alone". Scripture cannot be in conflict with Scripture, and one of the ways this is guaranteed is by Sacred Tradition.

There are some instances of Sacred Tradition in the Bible that are interesting. For instance, in Acts 20:35, Paul says the following:


"In all things I have shown you that by so toiling one must help the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, `It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

These words are not recorded anywhere else in the Bible, including the 4 gospels, so this is one example of an oral teaching of Jesus being handed on to Paul,who hands it down to us.

Another example of this is in the book of Jude 1:9, which says the following:


"But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you."

This dispute, between the Archangel Michael and the devil over Moses' body, is nowhere to be found in the written text of the Old Testament.

Here are a few more:



Matthew 2:23:And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene."(This "he shall be called a Nazarene" prophecy is not in written scripture anywhere).

Matthew 23:2:"The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat;"(Moses' seat is not mentioned anywhere in written scripture).

1 Corinthians 10:4:"and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ." (Nowhere in the Old Testament does it say that a rock "followed" the Israelites in the desert.)

2 Timothy 3:8: "As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith;" (These 2 individuals who opposed Moses are not written in the Old Testament).

Hebrews 11:35: "Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life" (This is a direct reference to 2 Maccabees 7, which Luther threw out of his bible in the 16th century. This story cannot be found anywhere in the Protestant Bible. It is in the Catholic Bible, and has been since the 4th century.)

So what happens if we jettison Sacred Tradition and let Sacred Scripture stand on its own? Heresies based on the modern culture start to creep into the interpretations of scripture, for one thing. All of a sudden, new people pop up who say that the Eucharist is only symbolic, and not the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ (and the word "symbolic" is not even in scripture when referring to the Eucharist. None of the writings of the Early Church Fathers used the word "symbolic" either, always referring to the Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Jesus). Artificial birth control and abortion become part of certain churches' "OK list". And today, the Episcopalians and even the Lutherans are saying that it's now OK to have practicing homosexual ministers - Somewhere, Martin Luther, the inventor of the "Scripture Alone" doctrine is turning over in his grave! Both the Old Testament and the New Testament condemn the practice of homosexuality as being evil.

Sacred Tradition does NOT refer to individual practices and customs, such as the language of the Mass, kneeling or standing for Holy Communion, eating or not eating meat on Friday, etc. Rather, it is the oral teaching of Jesus Christ handed on to the Apostles and the Church, which carries equal weight with the Church's book, the Bible. Here is what "Dei Verbum", or the "Word of God" document from Vatican II has to say about Sacred Tradition:


"Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit. To the successors of the apostles, sacred Tradition hands on in its full purity God’s word, which was entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.

"Thus, by the light of the Spirit of truth, these successors can in their preaching preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same devotion and reverence."
Sacred Scripture does condemn in many places the traditions of man (having to do with Jewish practices about not healing on the Sabbath, hoarding money, not helping Samaritans, etc), but those have NOTHING to do with the Traditions Paul is talking about below.

Here are some great bible verses which help to explain Sacred Tradition:
1 Corinthians 11:2: I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you"

2 Thessalonians 2:15: So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.

2 Thessalonians 3:6:Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.

The Catholic Church guarantees the faithful handing on of the Word of God through the teaching authority of the Pope and his Bishops, known as the Magesterium. The Magesterium ensures that no new erroneous doctrine or heresy pops up to lead the people astray. Like a three legged stool, the trinity of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magesterium makes sure that the Word of God is faithfully handed on to each succeeding generation. If any of the three legs goes away, error is certain to creep in, like it is doing in many protestant churches today, who interpret scripture based on their personal opinion of what they think it says. Sin is now being enshrined in many of their doctrines, and it is happening before our very eyes, as they overturn centuries of their tradition with a simple majority vote of their delegates.

Hopefully this clears things up Bumperjack! I am not trying to disrespect your views by the way. I am only interested in setting the record straight as far as Catholic teaching goes! Anyways, I plan on spending the rest of the weekend with my family! I probably wont do much more posting for a few days! Silent!


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