Tag Archives: Protestantism

The target of anti-Catholic bigotry

 

English: Baptism of Christ
English: Baptism of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, for the first time in my life, I really felt the heartache resulting from bigotry cause by irrational hatred based clearly on ignorance. What the hell is he talking about you ask?

Well, I was told – and made clear – by a close family member that they “completely and totally renounce anything Catholic.” And this even when they cannot defend their acceptance and adherence to sometimes heretical doctrines of men such as “Baptism is you getting wet and not required,” “Jesus is in my heart but especially not in the Sacrament of the Alter,” “Mary was just a vessel and not blessed” and so on.

You see, each of the items in the list and more are all refuted in the Bible, the sole rule of authority for most Protestants despite the Bible itself stating otherwise, and moreover are inventions of men trying to justify their own abandonment of the Church which through the Holy Spirit, as promised by Christ, is infallible and led to all truth. In this conversation truth was relative yet “my truth” held no value.

This pointed denial of the Church who gave this person the doctrines of Salvation by Grace, the Most Holy Trinity and even the Canon of Scripture, we shocking in their own professed willingness to take that position to hell if that is where it led. (Of course they were referring to the “hell” of the Catholic Church, which is apparently somehow different from their “hell.”)

Anyway, I just felt like a little rant before bed on this matter because I cannot recall ever feeling such hatred wrapped in a sweet presentation.

 

One of the most effective ways of refuting the Protestant heresy Eternal Security

One of the most effective ways of refuting the Protestant (particularly Calvinist) heresy of Eternal Security (aka Once Saved Always Saved) is to point out some examples of individuals in Scripture who at one point in their life were saved but then lost their salvation through grave sin (whether they repented or not is outside the scope of this brief article). The following list is by no means exhaustive, and I welcome any suggestions for other examples.

King Uzziah:

I have to credit Dave Armstrong (bookmark him!) with pointing this example out to me a while ago. 2 Chronicles 26:3-5, 16, 20-21 records the following about this man:
Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.

But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the LORD his God and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.

And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead! And they rushed him out quickly, and he himself hurried to go out, because the LORD had struck him. And King Uzziah was a leper to the day of his death, and being a leper lived in a separate house, for he was excluded from the house of the LORD.

Clearly, there was a time when Uzziah was living in God’s favor, with no indication this was disingenuous. Yet, he “grew proud, to his destruction” to the point he was struck by God and never healed. (This is in contrast to those who have sinned and have healed after repenting.) This can only signify that Uzziah lost his salvation, and goes directly against the Protestant notion that good works will automatically flow. I’m sure there are similar situations for other OT Kings who at one point lived uprightly but then became corrupt.

NICK’S CATHOLIC BLOG: Examples of Individuals Losing Salvation in Scripture

Arminian Chronicles: A kinder, gentler anathema?

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EMBLEM OF THE PAPACY: TRIPLE TIARA AND KEYS

My friend over at Arminian Chronicles takes great issue with the Church’s authority to excommunicate members of the Church. Below, is the text of his response to a post in wherein I re-blogged a list of Protestant divisions theorized by Catholic Nick to be caused by the man-made doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Let us examine the post and I will respond in kind:

A kinder, gentler anathema?

I had claimed, and still do, that Rome’s anathemas needlessly divide the body of Christ; far more than sola scriptura does. For example, Rome (not scripture) anathematizes those who think indulgences are worthless. So Rome causes divisions that scripture alone does not.

This is not just in theory but in practice. Joseelcarpintero commented in a way that lumped me in with the unsaved false teachers in 1 John 2:19. And that’s not the only time people have tried to scare me into the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, Rome is not the only group to anathematize me. With everyone thinking they alone have found the one true way, the only thing I know to do is turn to Christ and put my trust in Him.

Now consider the reverse. I don’t consider joseelcarpintero a false teacher. I don’t know him but I hope that he is trusting in Christ for his salvation. So which is causing division, sola scriptura or Rome’s anathemas?

My friend tried to soften the blow of anathema by saying:

“Anathema is actually a very formal, fancy and public way of showing that X person incurred latae sententiae or automatic excommunication. The Anathema itself was done away with in 1983. Excommunication, however, remains. Keep in mind that excommunication does not damn one to hell – it is simply a formal state of being way out of communion with Rome and is very severe because if one is totally out of communion with Rome, one is out of communion with Christ.”

And also:

“this is not a judgment against the person’s heart and mind. It is a judgment against the person’s actions in relation to what the Church, under the guidance/protection of the Holy Spirit (God), has stated.”

But to cause division, one does not need to be God and condemn his opponents to hell. Rather, by not treating ones opponents as Christian, they cause division. So Rome’s anathemas do cause division. Think about it – Rome calls councils ecumenical, even if they don’t include Protestants and Eastern Orthodox. That’s division. Rome considers itself the one true church to the exclusion of all others. That’s division. Catholics threaten Protestants with hell. That’s division.

It should be clarified that Trent’s anathemas do not simply mean you can no longer attend mass but you can go across the street to an EoC or Protestant church and we will still consider you Christian. An anathema is a curse. Consider Paul’s use of anathema in Galatians 1:9:

If any one preach to you a gospel besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.

Consider the formula of Rome’s old anathema ceremony:

“Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive N– himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate” (link)

That’s division.

Now perhaps modern Catholics have a new and softer understanding of anathema or have even layed down a power inherent to the apostolic office. That’s good but not relevant because it’s anachronistic to apply a novel understanding of anathema to either Paul or Trent.

Posted by Godismyjudge

Now, in full disclosure, Joseelcarpintero is actually my father. And being my father not only will he defend his Catholic faith but in part, he will defend me so many times his tone will come off as a bit harsher than what I know him to actually be stating. This is a similar case but he recites one of his favorite passages 1 John 2:19 – and rightly so. Of course, not intending to lump my friend specifically as a false teacher but more implicating Protestant Reformers as false teachers, which to a very large degree, I agree.

On Indulgences and Excommunications

These men teach falsely because they were neither given the authority nor do they have the right to interpret, teach or define doctrine outside the Church that Christ establish. This is an affront to the sovereignty of God and His decision to establish a visible Church with a steward, a body of shepherds and the authority to bind and loose and heaven and earth (Mt. 16:18-19, 18:18).

Okay, so how does this fit into today’s discussion. Well, very simply. Anathemas (Greek – literally, placed on high, suspended, set aside) were again a rite of formally excommunicating an individual for the most grevious offenses. Indulegnces are included because the Church infallibly defined the pious use of indulgences, as Pope Paul VI states, “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain defined conditions through the Church’s help when, as a minister of Redemption, she dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions won by Christ and the saints” [Indulgentarium Doctrina 1].

What does that all mean? Well, it means that, under the authority granter her by Christ, the Church has the ability to remit some of the temporal penalties of sin despite already receiving forgiveness. The principle of temporal punishment due to sin is something that is completely supported by Scripture (read A Primer on Indulgences by Jimmy Akin for more information). Those who do not believe what the Church teaches on indulgences and other infallible declarations is clearly out of communion with the Church and thus subject to whatever canonical penalty she deems appropriate. This is her right per Jesus Himself. So to anathematize/excommunicate any person for their disbelief in the infallible is more a matter of disobedience to the Church and subsequently God (Lk 10:16) rather than on understanding. That is what faith is all about. I have faith in Christ and His Church yet I do not understand everything about either – thus the phrase, “the mystery of faith.”

Another thing to note about excommunication is that this is a canonical penalty that only the Church can give out. That means that one must be a formal member of the Church to receive such a penalty. The first Reformers were all Catholic and thus subject to such penalties. But subsequent persons who know nothing of the Catholic faith are not necessarily subject to these same penalties. That would be unjust and unnecessary.

On the Catholic Church as the Cause of Disunity

Above my friend mentioned a solid truth about a root cause of division among Christians in general, “by not treating ones opponents as Christian, they cause division.” This goes for all sides – if we as Christians do not see the image of God in each person no matter the faith then we are doomed to fail in our intereactions with them. I want to add though, that although I know that my friend knows that I am a Christian, he is one of the few Protestants I know that actually considers Catholicism a Christian denomination. So to reiterate what he said about treating opponents as Christians…

To move on, my friend makes the case for Rome and her excommunications as a cause of division. To a certain degree this can be seen as true. Hoever, the more accurate manner of looking at comes from Jesus Himself who stated:

“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke (RSV) 10:16) 

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  (Matthew (RSV) 16:19)

“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew (RSV) 18:18)

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household.” (Matthew (RSV) 10:34-35)

These are all divisive sayings. Clearly Christ knew that His Gospel of Salvation would divide families, friends and even persons within His Church. Yet He always made it clear that those who truly believe in Him will stick with Him despite all of these divisions and losses. Why? Because He is the “the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by [Him]”  (John (RSV) 14:6). These divisions are not caused by Christ or His Church, they are caused by the light of Truth case upon the darkness that already exists thus illumining these divisions making their existence evident.

So when the Church calls for an ecumenical council she rightly calls for all validly ordained bishops from within the Church. Priests and bishops from the Eastern Orthodox Churches are certainly invited to attend, once of course, they come into communion with the One True Church just as many of the other Eastern Rites have already done. As for Protestants, none exist as a “Church.” Communities where Protestants gather to praise the Lord are more rightly defined as ecclesial communities rather than churches because none of their faith traditions were established by Christ, His Apostles or any subsequent validly ordained bishop, etc. Then communities where established solely by men and cannot trace their ecclesial history back father than Luther – who excommunicated himself by his disobedience to the Church and God. So in this, she does not cause division, the division already exists and was caused by men seeking to undercut the Church’s God-given authority for their own man-made attempt at it.

The power binding and loosing remains with the Catholic Church. This has always been the case since A.D. 33 and will not change until Christ’s return. Thus, the verse found in Galatians 1:9, that my friend quotes above, speaks directly to the inherent problem of Protestantism – they do not preach the full Gospel of Jesus Christ and thus are already anathema from the beginning. Protestant faith traditions are outside of communion with Christ because they are outside of communion with the Church.

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Arminian Chronicles: A kinder, gentler anathema?

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys
EMBLEM OF THE PAPACY: TRIPLE TIARA AND KEYS

My friend over at Arminian Chronicles takes great issue with the Church’s authority to excommunicate members of the Church. Below, is the text of his response to a post in wherein I re-blogged a list of Protestant divisions theorized by Catholic Nick to be caused by the man-made doctrine of Sola Scriptura. Let us examine the post and I will respond in kind:

A kinder, gentler anathema?

I had claimed, and still do, that Rome’s anathemas needlessly divide the body of Christ; far more than sola scriptura does. For example, Rome (not scripture) anathematizes those who think indulgences are worthless. So Rome causes divisions that scripture alone does not.

This is not just in theory but in practice. Joseelcarpintero commented in a way that lumped me in with the unsaved false teachers in 1 John 2:19. And that’s not the only time people have tried to scare me into the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, Rome is not the only group to anathematize me. With everyone thinking they alone have found the one true way, the only thing I know to do is turn to Christ and put my trust in Him.

Now consider the reverse. I don’t consider joseelcarpintero a false teacher. I don’t know him but I hope that he is trusting in Christ for his salvation. So which is causing division, sola scriptura or Rome’s anathemas?

My friend tried to soften the blow of anathema by saying:

“Anathema is actually a very formal, fancy and public way of showing that X person incurred latae sententiae or automatic excommunication. The Anathema itself was done away with in 1983. Excommunication, however, remains. Keep in mind that excommunication does not damn one to hell – it is simply a formal state of being way out of communion with Rome and is very severe because if one is totally out of communion with Rome, one is out of communion with Christ.”

And also:

“this is not a judgment against the person’s heart and mind. It is a judgment against the person’s actions in relation to what the Church, under the guidance/protection of the Holy Spirit (God), has stated.”

But to cause division, one does not need to be God and condemn his opponents to hell. Rather, by not treating ones opponents as Christian, they cause division. So Rome’s anathemas do cause division. Think about it – Rome calls councils ecumenical, even if they don’t include Protestants and Eastern Orthodox. That’s division. Rome considers itself the one true church to the exclusion of all others. That’s division. Catholics threaten Protestants with hell. That’s division.

It should be clarified that Trent’s anathemas do not simply mean you can no longer attend mass but you can go across the street to an EoC or Protestant church and we will still consider you Christian. An anathema is a curse. Consider Paul’s use of anathema in Galatians 1:9:

If any one preach to you a gospel besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.

Consider the formula of Rome’s old anathema ceremony:

“Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive N— himself and all his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate” (link)

That’s division.

Now perhaps modern Catholics have a new and softer understanding of anathema or have even layed down a power inherent to the apostolic office. That’s good but not relevant because it’s anachronistic to apply a novel understanding of anathema to either Paul or Trent.

Posted by Godismyjudge

Now, in full disclosure, Joseelcarpintero is actually my father. And being my father not only will he defend his Catholic faith but in part, he will defend me so many times his tone will come off as a bit harsher than what I know him to actually be stating. This is a similar case but he recites one of his favorite passages 1 John 2:19 – and rightly so. Of course, not intending to lump my friend specifically as a false teacher but more implicating Protestant Reformers as false teachers, which to a very large degree, I agree.

On Indulgences and Excommunications

These men teach falsely because they were neither given the authority nor do they have the right to interpret, teach or define doctrine outside the Church that Chri
st establish. This is an affront to the sovereignty of God and His decision to establish a visible Church with a steward, a body of shepherds and the authority to bind and loose and heaven and earth (Mt. 16:18-19, 18:18).

Okay, so how does this fit into today’s discussion. Well, very simply. Anathemas (Greek – literally, placed on high, suspended, set aside) were again a rite of formally excommunicating an individual for the most grevious offenses. Indulegnces are included because the Church infallibly defined the pious use of indulgences, as Pope Paul VI states, “An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain defined conditions through the Church’s help when, as a minister of Redemption, she dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions won by Christ and the saints” [Indulgentarium Doctrina 1].

What does that all mean? Well, it means that, under the authority granter her by Christ, the Church has the ability to remit some of the temporal penalties of sin despite already receiving forgiveness. The principle of temporal punishment due to sin is something that is completely supported by Scripture (read A Primer on Indulgences by Jimmy Akin for more information). Those who do not believe what the Church teaches on indulgences and other infallible declarations is clearly out of communion with the Church and thus subject to whatever canonical penalty she deems appropriate. This is her right per Jesus Himself. So to anathematize/excommunicate any person for their disbelief in the infallible is more a matter of disobedience to the Church and subsequently God (Lk 10:16) rather than on understanding. That is what faith is all about. I have faith in Christ and His Church yet I do not understand everything about either – thus the phrase, “the mystery of faith.”

Another thing to note about excommunication is that this is a canonical penalty that only the Church can give out. That means that one must be a formal member of the Church to receive such a penalty. The first Reformers were all Catholic and thus subject to such penalties. But subsequent persons who know nothing of the Catholic faith are not necessarily subject to these same penalties. That would be unjust and unnecessary.

On the Catholic Church as the Cause of Disunity

Above my friend mentioned a solid truth about a root cause of division among Christians in general, “by not treating ones opponents as Christian, they cause division.” This goes for all sides – if we as Christians do not see the image of God in each person no matter the faith then we are doomed to fail in our intereactions with them. I want to add though, that although I know that my friend knows that I am a Christian, he is one of the few Protestants I know that actually considers Catholicism a Christian denomination. So to reiterate what he said about treating opponents as Christians…

To move on, my friend makes the case for Rome and her excommunications as a cause of division. To a certain degree this can be seen as true. Hoever, the more accurate manner of looking at comes from Jesus Himself who stated:

“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke (RSV) 10:16) 

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  (Matthew (RSV) 16:19)

“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew (RSV) 18:18)

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household.” (Matthew (RSV) 10:34-35)

These are all divisive sayings. Clearly Christ knew that His Gospel of Salvation would divide families, friends and even persons within His Church. Yet He always made it clear that those who truly believe in Him will stick with Him despite all of these divisions and losses. Why? Because He is the “the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by [Him]”  (John (RSV) 14:6). These divisions are not caused by Christ or His Church, they are caused by the light of Truth case upon the darkness that already exists thus illumining these divisions making their existence evident.

So when the Church calls for an ecumenical council she rightly calls for all validly ordained bishops from within the Church. Priests and bishops from the Eastern Orthodox Churches are certainly invited to attend, once of course, they come into communion with the One True Church just as many of the other Eastern Rites have already done. As for Protestants, none exist as a “Church.” Communities where Protestants gather to praise the Lord are more rightly defined as ecclesial communities rather than churches because none of their faith traditions were established by Christ, His Apostles or any subsequent validly ordained bishop, etc. Then communities where established solely by men and cannot trace their ecclesial history back father than Luther – who excommunicated himself by his disobedience to the Church and God. So in this, she does not cause division, the division already exists and was caused by men seeking to undercut the Church’s God-given authority for their own man-made attempt at it.

The power binding and loosing remains with the Catholic Church. This has always been the case since A.D. 33 and will not change until Christ’s return. Thus, the verse found in Galatians 1:9, that my friend quotes above, speaks directly to the inherent problem of Protestantism – they do not preach the full Gospel of Jesus Christ and thus are already anathema from the beginning. Protestant faith traditions are outside of communion with Christ because they are outside of communion with the Church.

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List of teachings Protestants cannot agree upon due to Sola Scriptura

The following is a ‘open’ list of teachings (subject to further expansion) which Protestants cannot agree upon due to the doctrinal relativism caused by Sola Scriptura. Though many Protestants today would “solve” this problem by tossing a lot of these into the “non-essential” category, I believe the doctrinal issues I’ve mentioned have been clearly seen to cause division among Protestants:

  1. Once Saved Always Saved
  2. Universal versus Limited Atonement
  3. Infant Baptism
  4. Form of Baptism (e.g. full immersion vs pouring)
  5. Whether Baptism is necessary in ordinary circumstances
  6. Whether the Lord’s Supper is purely symbolic or some sort of ‘real’ presence
  7. Divorce and Remarriage
  8. Whether icons/pictures of Christ are allowed
  9. Which doctrines are perspicuous/essential
  10. Whether Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit have ceased
  11. Whether instruments are allowed in church
  12. Female ordination
  13. The “biblical” form of church government
  14. Sunday versus any day worship / Whether the Sabbath is still in force in some sense.
  15. House churches versus dedicated congregational churches
  16. Dispensationalism
  17. Rapture/Tribulation
  18. Imputed Active Obedience
  19. Whether traditional categories like Person/Nature are true/valid
  20. Mary being “Mother of God”
  21. Mary’s Perpetual Virginity
  22. Whether Inspiration of Scripture is plenary or limited to faith and morals
  23. Whether one can/should pray to the Holy Spirit
  24. Whether Sola Scriptura applied during the time of Christ and the Apostles
  25. How to define/understand Sola Scriptura, especially as it relates to Creeds and Councils
  26. Should Christians engage in politics, civil service, etc. 
  27. Whether Christians should pray the Our Father
  28. Whether prayer should be only spontaneous
  29. Whether keeping the Commandments is necessary for salvation
  30. Whether illness, suffering, poverty, etc, are due to sin or lack of faith
  31. Whether Free Will and Double Predestination are true or not

Feel free to mention some other examples in the comment box!

As a Catholic, it is easy for me to treat this list as a “checklist” of sorts. All I have to do is go down each point and reference the matter in the Catechism. The Catechism is chock full of Bible citations, references to the Church Fathers and council documents, etc. wherein I can read the reasons behind why the Church teaches what it does on these matters.

That said, I do not post this here to belittle but instead to foster conversation and debate. Therefore, I am proposing that over the course of the next several weeks interested parties should speak touch on these matters in a civil and charitable fashion. Best of all, those who decide to meet in person can have a conversation on a set topic and thus prepare to speak on and teach on their theological opinions and understanding on the item of the week.

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List of teachings Protestants cannot agree upon due to Sola Scriptura

The following is a ‘open’ list of teachings (subject to further expansion) which Protestants cannot agree upon due to the doctrinal relativism caused by Sola Scriptura. Though many Protestants today would “solve” this problem by tossing a lot of these into the “non-essential” category, I believe the doctrinal issues I’ve mentioned have been clearly seen to cause division among Protestants:

  1. Once Saved Always Saved
  2. Universal versus Limited Atonement
  3. Infant Baptism
  4. Form of Baptism (e.g. full immersion vs pouring)
  5. Whether Baptism is necessary in ordinary circumstances
  6. Whether the Lord’s Supper is purely symbolic or some sort of ‘real’ presence
  7. Divorce and Remarriage
  8. Whether icons/pictures of Christ are allowed
  9. Which doctrines are perspicuous/essential
  10. Whether Charismatic Gifts of the Spirit have ceased
  11. Whether instruments are allowed in church
  12. Female ordination
  13. The “biblical” form of church government
  14. Sunday versus any day worship / Whether the Sabbath is still in force in some sense.
  15. House churches versus dedicated congregational churches
  16. Dispensationalism
  17. Rapture/Tribulation
  18. Imputed Active Obedience
  19. Whether traditional categories like Person/Nature are true/valid
  20. Mary being “Mother of God”
  21. Mary’s Perpetual Virginity
  22. Whether Inspiration of Scripture is plenary or limited to faith and morals
  23. Whether one can/should pray to the Holy Spirit
  24. Whether Sola Scriptura applied during the time of Christ and the Apostles
  25. How to define/understand Sola Scriptura, especially as it relates to Creeds and Councils
  26. Should Christians engage in politics, civil service, etc. 
  27. Whether Christians should pray the Our Father
  28. Whether prayer should be only spontaneous
  29. Whether keeping the Commandments is necessary for salvation
  30. Whether illness, suffering, poverty, etc, are due to sin or lack of faith
  31. Whether Free Will and Double Predestination are true or not

Feel free to mention some other examples in the comment box!

As a Catholic, it is easy for me to treat this list as a “checklist” of sorts. All I have to do is go down each point and reference the matter in the Catechism. The Catechism is chock full of Bible citations, references to the Church Fathers and council documents, etc. wherein I can read the reasons behind why the Church teaches what it does on these matters.

That said, I do not post this here to belittle but instead to foster conversation and debate. Therefore, I am proposing that over the course of the next several weeks interested parties should speak touch on these matters in a civil and charitable fashion. Best of all, those who decide to meet in person can have a conversation on a set topic and thus prepare to speak on and teach on their theological opinions and understanding on the item of the week.

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Talk-radio host on 150 stations is Catholic convert

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Allen Hunt. Image via Wikipedia.

Allen Hunt, a talk-radio host whose show is broadcast on 150 stations, discusses his conversion to the Catholic faith in a Catholic newspaper interview. Hunt, a former megachurch pastor, says that:

there were three big things that led to me entering the Church. First was a growing sense of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. Secondly is what I call doctrine by democracy. In general, in the Protestant church, everything is up to a vote every few years. For instance, in the Methodist church, every four years we would get together to vote whether or not homosexual behavior is acceptable or not and whether it was time to ordain openly gay pastors.

The third area of reflection was Jesus’ prayer in John 17. There, Jesus pleads for unity in the body of Christ. The Protestant church has split into 33,000 different strands. What message does that fractioning send to the world? As well, how much this division must grieve God’s heart.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

via Catholic Culture : Latest Headlines : Talk-radio host on 150 stations is Catholic convert.

Talk-radio host on 150 stations is Catholic convert

Allen Hunt

Allen Hunt, a talk-radio host whose show is broadcast on 150 stations, discusses his conversion to the Catholic faith in a Catholic newspaper interview. Hunt, a former megachurch pastor, says that:

there were three big things that led to me entering the Church. First was a growing sense of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. Secondly is what I call doctrine by democracy. In general, in the Protestant church, everything is up to a vote every few years. For instance, in the Methodist church, every four years we would get together to vote whether or not homosexual behavior is acceptable or not and whether it was time to ordain openly gay pastors.

The third area of reflection was Jesus’ prayer in John 17. There, Jesus pleads for unity in the body of Christ. The Protestant church has split into 33,000 different strands. What message does that fractioning send to the world? As well, how much this division must grieve God’s heart.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

via Catholic Culture : Latest Headlines : Talk-radio host on 150 stations is Catholic convert.

Evangelical Ecclesial Communities Continue to Lose Members

Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome

This is a re-blogged post from prominent Catholic convert, author and certified Holy Land tour guide Stephen K. Ray. Apparently a friend of his forwarded him an article from the Washington Times the details how Evangelicalism in America is on the wane.

To this day, many continue to say the same about the Catholic church yet the opposite is true. Vocations here and abroad are booming and attendance is on the rise. The most exciting aspect of this continued growth within the Church is that many of the disenchanted Evangelicals leaving the Protestant denominations are ending up where they were always meant to be – the Catholic Church.

I think many hardcore Catholics would agree that thanks to God working through these former Protestants, a fire for the love of God has been reignited within the Church. Heck, we’ve been around for over 2,000 years and will be for 2,000 more all the way up to His return.

Now the text:

I find this article interesting because what has filled many Evangelical Churches are people  who were previously Catholic.   And when I have run into these people they would tell me  they “used to be Catholic” and would want to tell me their story.

The number of people attending church services have been down in the Catholic Church and especially in the main line denominational Protestant Churches.   And this took place at a time when Evangelical Churches were growing.

Now it appears that numbers of people attending Evangelical Churches are going down at the rate of one  million a year.  I have also talked to people who said they “used to be Evangelicals” and now it appears there will be more ex-Evangelicals in the world.

http://www.washtimes.com/news/2008/sep/21/americans-leaving-churches-in-droves/

Many of these Evangelical drop outs are coming back to the Catholic Church! I spoke with many of them last weekend at my conference!

via Defenders of the Catholic Faith : Hosted by Stephen K. Ray » Evangelicals Dropping Out.

Here are a couple of nuggets that I found interesting from this article:

I have sensed for several years something is not right with church life, especially with evangelical church life. It’s been reported many times that most Americans have fled mainline Protestant churches in the past half century, cutting denominations such as the Episcopal Church and Presbyterian Church USA by half. But in the past decade, it’s the evangelical churches that are losing ground.

These are not the large megachurches on which all the media are fixated. Ten percent of America’s 331,000 congregations have more than 350 members, but more than half of those attending religious services go to those 33,000 or so churches, according to the University of Arizona’s 1998 National Congregations Study.

This is a very important set of numbers. For me, one of the main reasons that Protestants will ultimately fail in their efforts to remake Christ’s “One True Church” is because all of their institutions and many of their traditions and doctrines are the invention of men.

Yes, many are truly in love with Christ but many remain disillusioned and in contempt with God because they refuse to acknowledge and even consider the validity of the Church He established so long ago. The result of this fracture is continued fracture. This is evidenced by the number in bold above.

This number corresponds with the oft cited 33,000 denominations as found in the Encyclopedia of Christianity (if I recall).

A 1994 Canadian revival known as the “Toronto blessing” livened up some church services for a few years, but by 1997 the biggest spiritual event going was the Promise Keepers meeting on the Mall. And within two years of that, the national men’s group was scraping for funds and downsizing. And then a promising revival in Pensacola, Fla., degenerated into splits among its leaders.

This is an example of what I am talking about. From my experience, Protestant “worship services” hinge on the personality of the pastor plus the personal beliefs of the congregants. Each member is essentially their own pope.

Because the Catholic Church is, at her core, a divine institution, she is evidenced by what we term as the Four Marks of the Church:

  1. One (unity)
  2. Holy (sanctity)
  3. Catholic (universality)
  4. Apostolic (apostolicity)

No other religion, organized or otherwise, can make and meet these marks – including Protestant ecclesial communities.

Apologetics in Action: To Llondy, On the Real Presence (Introduction)

Original Post and Comment

My new comments will be in red and italicized, where necessary, in an effort to maintain the llondy’s formatting so as to show full context.

Good luck reading and following. As usual, those wishing to offer feedback and/or suggestions are always welcome. Enjoy:


My Catholic friend’s comments will be in italics. I do have many Catholic friends that I can discuss these issues with in a cordial manner and I hope this continues to be the case. [Most certainly.]

In commenting on my post, the Protestant “llondy,” attempted to clarify how Jesus’ own words were “only symbols and seals of what Christ has done for us.” This for me is tantamount to blasphemy as this Protestant’s position is to make the Lord a liar and a person who speaks against His very own nature. Allow me to expound:

I hope your exposition of this is well done, because to accuse of blasphemy is a serious charge. We all know that not everything the Lord said was literal and when we interpret as such, as in the case of Jesus referencing the vine in John, we are not calling Christ a liar if He is not a vine.

[The rest of Llondy’s comment are directly tied to the orignal aspect of my posts, the Holy Eucharist, that is – the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In an attempt to prevent any continuity issues for the reader, I will address each of Llondy’s points as they occur.

First is the argument that because not everything that Jesus said was to be understood literally thus we cannot take the Jesus’ word in John 6 literally. The example used for this is the passage in John 15 known as “Jesus, the True Vine:”

  • “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
  • Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
  • You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
  • Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
  • I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
  • If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
  • If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
  • By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
  • As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.
  • If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
  • These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John (RSV) 15)
  • To appeal to this passage, or any other passage where Jesus is clearly using metaphorical language demonstrates a lack of contextual memory. The Bread of Life Discourse is the only passage where Jesus does not clarify the meaning of His words – instead He reiterates the very words even more forcefully. Jesus wishes to impact the listener.

    The Protestant heresy of denying the Truth of the Real Presence Christ in the Eucharist dates to around 1517 and the Judas-like invention of the Swedish Protestant Zwingli. Before then, no person ever denied the fact that the practice of Christianity centered on the Eucharist: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly there were other heretics before Zwingli that denied either the divinity of Christ (Arianism) or the humanity of Christ (Gnostics). But no one ever denied the fact that Christians believed in the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

    So unique is this belief to Christianity that during the Diocletian persecution Christians were accused of ritual cannibalism because we “eat the flesh” of Our God:

    The chief accusations urged against the early Christians by their antagonists were atheism, cannibalism, and incest. These charges were made very early. Justin Martyr (Apol. 1. 26) mentions them, and Pliny in his epistle to Trajan speaks of the innocent meals of the Christians, implying that they had been accused of immorality in connection with them. (Compare, also, Tertullian’s Apol. 7, 8, and Ad Nationes, 7). In fact, suspicions arose among the heathen as soon as their love feasts became secret. The persecution in Lyons is to be explained only by the belief of the officer, that these and similar accusations were true. The Christians commonly denied all such charges in total, and supported their denial by urging the absurdity of such conduct; but sometimes, as in the present case, they endeavored to exonerate themselves by attributing the crimes with which they were charged to heretics. This course, however, helped them little with the heathen, as the latter did not distinguish between the various parties of Christians, but treated them all as one class. The statement of Eusebius in the present case is noteworthy. He thinks that the crimes were really committed by heretics, and occasioned the accusations of the heathen, and he thus admits that the charges were founded upon fact. In this case he acts toward the heretics in the same way that the heathen acted toward the Christians as a whole. This method of exonerating themselves appears as early as Justin Martyr (compare his Apol. I. 26). Irenaeus also (I. 25, 3), whom Eusebius substantially follows in this passage, and Philaster (c. 57), pursue the same course. (NPNF2-01 Eusebius 493)

    The mere fact that many, even pagans, thought that early Christians participated in ritual cannibalism is a testament to the faith these believers held in the Holy Eucharist. Denying the very substance of the Consecrated Host is to deny the very existence of Christ and the omnipotence of God as evidenced by what Jesus Himself stated, instituted and even instructed personally to St. Paul. is to deny His command to “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). In this latter case, what weight is given to Paul’s words if the Jesus Christ is not Truly Present in the Eucharist?

    For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

    Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another — if any one is hungry, let him eat at home — lest you come together to be condemned. About the other things I will give directions when I come. (1 Corinthians 11:23-34)

    How can one “be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” if the Lord Himself is not substantially present? How can one “eat and drink judgement upon” themselves by eating and drinking the Body and Blood without properly discerning it?

    So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;
    he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
    For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
    He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6:53-59)

    On this God’s Word is clear.]