Tag Archives: Series

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

Original Post and Comment

My new comments will be in red and italicized 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:


Media_httptrustinjesu_fqakn

Christ with the Eucharist, Vicente Juan Masip, 16th century. Image via Wikipedia.

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 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 15:1-11)

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 cornmonly 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.]

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

Original Post and Comment

My new comments will be in red and italicized 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:


Juan_de_Juanes_002

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 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 15:1-11)

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 cornmonly 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. D
o 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.]

Apologetics in Action: To Londy, On the Authority of the Reformation

Original Post and Comment

My new comments will be in red and italicized in an effort to maintian 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.]

Anyway, a couple of comments were presented one from a self-proclaimed atheist and a person who appears to be a Protestant seeking to bring me to the Fullness of Truth. In doing so, this individual exposed the own truth behind the heretical basis of Protestantism, that is to say the sin of pride. Protestant reformers sought to conform the Church to what they conceived in their minds as truth. Yet each person is subject to the truth in relation to their lived experience and thus there is a potential to either negate the validity of the experiences of others or embrace the so-called validity of all (usually at the expense of one that unites the rest) – this is what I call relativism.
In any event, I will strive to give more of an explanation to address the first comment post from this person and, in light of my com-box reply, seek to address the issues pointed out in the second comment post.

I am a Protestant, however there is nothing heretical about the Reformed position at all. It seeks to be as Biblical as possible where it is Catholicism that steps outside the Bible and claims external authority. Protestant reformers attempted to reform the Roman Catholic Church according to the Bible and not their own minds. There is nothing relativist about what they did either, I assumed being a devout Catholic that your understanding of the Protestant Reformation would be a little sharper. I would expect for you to disagree with it, but not to completely misunderstand it.

Media_httpuploadwikim_naxmi

Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter by Pietro Perugino (1481-82) Fresco, 335 x 550 cm Cappella Sistina, Vatican. Image via Wikipedia.

[Again, this line of thought is already begins with an erroneous view of history and Church roles. First, let us define heresy (from Dictionary.com):

  1. opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, esp. of a church or religious system.
  2. the maintaining of such an opinion or doctrine.
  3. Roman Catholic Church: the willful and persistent rejection of any article of faith by a baptized member of the church.
  4. any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.

In each of these four definitions or types, the understanding of the word is clear. A heretical view is one that is opposition to orthodox, established views. In the context of Christian theology, Protestant reformers, much like earlier heretics, refused to accept various dogmatic teachings of the Christian faith including the authority of the Church, the Canonicity of Scripture and the interpretations therein. It is important to point out, however, that Protestants today, while technically maintaining heretical views, are not truly considered heretics as their understanding of the Christian faith was formed completely in the bubble of said heresy. For many, today’s Protestants are not necessarily personally culpable for their flawed views as this is the only view they know (my wife is an excellent example of this).

Now let us examine more fully, the statements made by llondy. Concerning, the claim that the Reformers sought to “reform” the Church in accordance with Scripture fails to take into account Scripture itself: nature, substance and origin. For example, let us consider what the Bible, quoting Jesus, says about addressing disagreements:

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

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.

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew (RSV) 18:15-20)

This passage is rich in opposition to the manner in with Protestant reformers chose to handle their grievances with the Church. In the first verse, Jesus tells us that at the first stage, we must go directly to the person who offended us. As can be the case, should this not prove efficient, then we escalate out complaint higher, ultimately lodging the complaint with an authoritative body: in this case the Church. Here again, should the offender, or any party for that matter, fail to listen to the Church Jesus says in no uncertain terms, “let them be anathema.”

This is where Martin Luther, a former Catholic priest, went wrong. Instead of trying to address many of the abuses he witnessed within the Church via the means prescribed above and in faith in the words of Christ, he chose instead to do it himself. This is the same manner in which of ther reformers handled the situation as well: Zwingli, Calvin and even Henry VIII.

I chose to include verses 18-20 because it reiterates two important points: Church authority and Christ’s headship over the Church. Let us first consider the many denominations that are present as a result of Protestant heresies. Under what authority to these person go out and established new ecclesial communities? Certainly, no Protestant community can claim Apostolic succession and thus claim to be founded by Jesus Himself. The Catholic Church makes this claim and maintains the historicity in both practice and record to prove it. Next, we must ask ourselves, “What church is Jesus referring to?” Keep in mind that this particular church must be one established by Him (Matthew 16:18) and must have His very authority. Now, Matthew 18:18 establishes this authority within the Church as a group, however, in Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus gives that very authority to Peter himself – to exercise by himself as the steward of the Kingdom (cf. Isaiah 22:22), which is the Church.

Aside from the manner in which the Protestant reformers attempted to reform the Church, they also sought to implement their own fallible and errant theology. Protestant theology, much of which remains founded in dogmas taught and promulgated by the Church such as the Most Holy Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus, was formed by personal and not divinely protected thoughts of the Reformers in contrast to Saint Peter‘s warning in 2 Peter 1:20-21, “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Consider this warning with the what Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:15-16 concerning the wisdom contained in the writings of Paul,”And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.” The sum total of these warnings inform the faithful to seek guidance from the Church, which is the authoritative body founded by Jesus and protected by the Holy Spirit.

In light of Scripture, the question must be asked, “If the Reformers, did not answer to the authority of the Church and sought to supplant said authority with Sola Scriptura, then why accept Catholic New Testament Canon, why throw out books of the already-defined Old Testament Canon, why trust in the fallible Martin Luther for direction on the Canon and why later, count Luther’s own teaching as wrong and formulate new ones?” These questions continue and persist because there is no proper answer. The Protestant Reformation was born of men. Men who decided to go against God and “do it their way.” For this reason I consider Protestantism to be a religious tradition(s) that is relativistic. There is no central authority to teach and aid the believer to the Fullness of the Truth.

Without such an authority they cannot adequately defend the Canon of Scripture without acquiescing to the Magisterium for the New Testament and then seeking to contradict that same authority in defense of the heretical action of removing books from the Old Testament Canon. Interestingly enough, the reason for removing the books from the Old Testament rests on acceptance of majority Jewish canon, which remains undefined to this day: Ethiopian Jews use the same Old Testament Canon that Catholics use, Reformed Jews only recognize the Pentateuch as the Sadducees did – it was the Pharisees that accepted a Canon in use by Protestants. Yet, the Jews were never given the authority to define the canonicity of Scripture (if they did, they did not exercise it) and as it relates to the Christians, their authority was no longer valid so to appeal to their Canon makes no sense. The refusal to accept the “Apocryphal” (Deuterocanonical) books of the Bible was as response the increasing conversion of Jews to Christianity, which is the fulfilment of that religion.

In speaking with one Protestant (Baptist) scholar, of whom I asked, “How can you discount Catholic theology and not do the same with other Protestant sects?” His response was disturbing to me considering Jesus prayer in the Garden:

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.
As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.
I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word,
that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.
Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me.
I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John (RSV) 17:16-26)

The response I received from the scholar was, “Each Christian tradition contains their own truth and interpretation. We are all right because we believe in the essentials of Christianity.” What are the essentials of Christianity and who determines one doctrine over another? It is through this doubt and the inability of any Protestant ecclesial community to address this that we are able to identify them as congregations that abide in some Truth but not the Fullness of Truth that is the inheritance of all the baptised.

Apologetics in Action: To Londy, On the Authority of the Reformation

Original Post and Comment

My new comments will be in red and italicized in an effort to maintian 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.]

Anyway, a couple of comments were presented one from a self-proclaimed atheist and a person who appears to be a Protestant seeking to bring me to the Fullness of Truth. In doing so, this individual exposed the own truth behind the heretical basis of Protestantism, that is to say the sin of pride. Protestant reformers sought to conform the Church to what they conceived in their minds as truth. Yet each person is subject to the truth in relation to their lived experience and thus there is a potential to either negate the validity of the experiences of others or embrace the so-called validity of all (usually at the expense of one that unites the rest) – this is what I call relativism.
In any event, I will strive to give more of an explanation to address the first comment post from this person and, in light of my com-box reply, seek to address the issues pointed out in the second comment post.

I am a Protestant, however there is nothing heretical about the Reformed position at all. It seeks to be as Biblical as possible where it is Catholicism that steps outside the Bible and claims external authority. Protestant reformers attempted to reform the Roman Catholic Church according to the Bible and not their own minds. There is nothing relativist about what they did either, I assumed being a devout Catholic that your understanding of the Protestant Reformation would be a little sharper. I would expect for you to disagree with it, but not to completely misunderstand it.

Gesupietrochiave.jpg

[Again, this line of thought is already begins with an erroneous view of history and Church roles. First, let us define heresy (from Dictionary.com):

  1. opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, esp. of a church or religious system.
  2. the maintaining of such an opinion or doctrine.
  3. Roman Catholic Church: the willful and persistent rejection of any article of faith by a baptized member of the church.
  4. any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.

In each of these four definitions or types, the understanding of the word is clear. A heretical view is one that is opposition to orthodox, established views. In the context of Christian theology, Protestant reformers, much like earlier heretics, refused to accept various dogmatic teachings of the Christian faith including the authority of the Church, the Canonicity of Scripture and the interpretations therein. It is important to point out, however, that Protestants today, while technically maintaining heretical views, are not truly considered heretics as their understanding of the Christian faith was formed completely in the bubble of said heresy. For many, today’s Protestants are not necessarily personally culpable for their flawed views as this is the only view they know (my wife is an excellent example of this).

Now let us examine more fully, the statements made by llondy. Concerning, the claim that the Reformers sought to “reform” the Church in accordance with Scripture fails to take into account Scripture itself: nature, substance and origin. For example, let us consider what the Bible, quoting Jesus, says about addressing disagreements:

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

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.

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew (RSV) 18:15-20)

This passage is rich in opposition to the manner in with Protestant reformers chose to handle their grievances with the Church. In the first verse, Jesus tells us that at the first stage, we must go directly to the person who offended us. As can be the case, should this not prove efficient, then we escalate out complaint higher, ultimately lodging the complaint with an authoritative body: in this case the Church. Here again, should the offender, or any party for that matter, fail to listen to the Church Jesus says in no uncertain terms, “let them be anathema.”

This is where Martin Luther, a former Catholic priest, went wrong. Instead of trying to address many of the abuses he witnessed within the Church via the means prescribed above and in faith in the words of Christ, he chose instead to do it himself. This is the same manner in which of ther reformers handled the situation as well: Zwingli, Calvin and even Henry VIII.

I chose to inclu
de verses 18-20 because it reiterates two important points: Church authority and Christ’s headship over the Church. Let us first consider the many denominations that are present as a result of Protestant heresies. Under what authority to these person go out and established new ecclesial communities? Certainly, no Protestant community can claim Apostolic succession and thus claim to be founded by Jesus Himself. The Catholic Church makes this claim and maintains the historicity in both practice and record to prove it. Next, we must ask ourselves, “What church is Jesus referring to?” Keep in mind that this particular church must be one established by Him (Matthew 16:18) and must have His very authority. Now, Matthew 18:18 establishes this authority within the Church as a group, however, in Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus gives that very authority to Peter himself – to exercise by himself as the steward of the Kingdom (cf. Isaiah 22:22), which is the Church.

Aside from the manner in which the Protestant reformers attempted to reform the Church, they also sought to implement their own fallible and errant theology. Protestant theology, much of which remains founded in dogmas taught and promulgated by the Church such as the Most Holy Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus, was formed by personal and not divinely protected thoughts of the Reformers in contrast to Saint Peter’s warning in 2 Peter 1:20-21, “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Consider this warning with the what Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:15-16 concerning the wisdom contained in the writings of Paul,”And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.” The sum total of these warnings inform the faithful to seek guidance from the Church, which is the authoritative body founded by Jesus and protected by the Holy Spirit.

In light of Scripture, the question must be asked, “If the Reformers, did not answer to the authority of the Church and sought to supplant said authority with Sola Scriptura, then why accept Catholic New Testament Canon, why throw out books of the already-defined Old Testament Canon, why trust in the fallible Martin Luther for direction on the Canon and why later, count Luther’s own teaching as wrong and formulate new ones?” These questions continue and persist because there is no proper answer. The Protestant Reformation was born of men. Men who decided to go against God and “do it their way.” For this reason I consider Protestantism to be a religious tradition(s) that is relativistic. There is no central authority to teach and aid the believer to the Fullness of the Truth.

Without such an authority they cannot adequately defend the Canon of Scripture without acquiescing to the Magisterium for the New Testament and then seeking to contradict that same authority in defense of the heretical action of removing books from the Old Testament Canon. Interestingly enough, the reason for removing the books from the Old Testament rests on acceptance of majority Jewish canon, which remains undefined to this day: Ethiopian Jews use the same Old Testament Canon that Catholics use, Reformed Jews only recognize the Pentateuch as the Sadducees did – it was the Pharisees that accepted a Canon in use by Protestants. Yet, the Jews were never given the authority to define the canonicity of Scripture (if they did, they did not exercise it) and as it relates to the Christians, their authority was no longer valid so to appeal to their Canon makes no sense. The refusal to accept the “Apocryphal” (Deuterocanonical) books of the Bible was as response the increasing conversion of Jews to Christianity, which is the fulfilment of that religion.

In speaking with one Protestant (Baptist) scholar, of whom I asked, “How can you discount Catholic theology and not do the same with other Protestant sects?” His response was disturbing to me considering Jesus prayer in the Garden:

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.
As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.
I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word,
that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.
Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me.
I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John (RSV) 17:16-26)

The response I received from the scholar was, “Each Christian tradition contains their own truth and interpretation. We are all right because we believe in the essentials of Christianity.” What are the essentials of Christianity and who determines one doctrine over another? It is through this doubt and the inability of any Protestant ecclesial community to address this that we are able to identify them as congregations that abide in some Truth but not the Fullness of Truth that is the inheritance of all the baptised.

Reanimating Judas: Examining [Materialism/Relativism] in the US

Media_httpuploadwikim_gnaag

Image via Wikipedia

This is the first examination of the three principles of communism taught by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen on his Life is Worth Living television program which currently airs on EWTN and The Church Channel. After viewing the program that aired last week on The Church Channel where Archbishop Sheen spoke on the deceitful tongue of communism and how it followed the same pattern of betrayal of Our Blessed Lord as Judas‘ I decided to examine Sheen’s three points (materialism, myth of coexistence and betrayal with a kiss) in light of modern secularism and relativism.

Materialism
Dictionary.com defines materialism as the “preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.”

In order to disarm the faithful the first step for any of these false doctrines is to deny the spiritual needs of the human person and focus solely on the material or physical. This appeal often takes the form of addressing some grave social ill while ironically encouraging personal greed at the same time. For example, socialists try to make the case (sometimes with supposed Biblical support) for the redistribution of wealth by stating that because wealth is concentrated among a very few, elite groups and persons, it remains inaccessible to the average person and thus is the cause of starvation and poverty – and of course Jesus said to the young rich man in Matthew 19:21, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” On the flip side, persons I refer to as “relative capitalists” make the case that personal ambition should be the sole barometer of success stating that opportunities abound for all humans who wish to make the necessary decisions. They too can quote scripture, “If any one will not work, let him not eat”  (2 Thessalonians (RSV) 3:10).

Materialism Causes Spiritual Doubt
Without Holy Mother Church to properly guide and form our consciences this first volley of the Enemy can lean many into mortal sin. Judas provides for us a biblical case study for this materialism and its effects on the soul and the body. Remember that long before he “was paid…thirty pieces of silver” (Matthew (RSV) 26:15) for his betrayal of Our Blessed Lord, the apparent material/monetary desire of this former apostle and disciple coupled with an even more sinister doubt and acceptance of the Evil One was first made explicitly manifest right after the “Bread of Life Discourse” (John 6:22-59), in what my translation (RSV-CE) subtitles as “The Words of Eternal Life” (John 6:60-71):

Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.”

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

Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him.

In this passage, one gets the sense that Judas finally came to the realization that the Son of Man was indeed the Son of God and that His kingdom would not be of the earth. Moreover, Judas began to realize that that continuing to follow Jesus could lead to his own death. What Jesus is saying is completely radical and without the gift of faith makes one think of cannibalism (so much so that the pagan Rome persecuted early Christians do to their misunderstanding or lack of faith concerning the Eucharist).

But as I stated before, materialism is more that just an offense against spirit vis-a-vis faith. It is also an offense against integrity as Judas can attest to:

Mary Anoints Jesus
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:1-8)

This incident, which occurs after the Bread of Life Discourse, demonstrates to us how materialism if left unchecked eats away at the faith creating a vicious cycle that leads to out-right lies and that conceal the true nature of a person’s intent. Many today, knowingly and unknowingly make similar claims of the Church often siting the seemingly immense wealth that she has as proof of her hypocrisy. They ask the same question Judas did of why Jesus allowed Mary to anoint His feet with such expensive oil, “Why is it not sold and given to the poor?” The faithful combat such doubt and heresy with the Holy Eucharist and obedience as Jesus explains, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” Jesus is speaking of the Mass and our worship of Him.Because of the concupiscence of man, the poor will always remain but as with all things God takes care of them and us. So we should always protect the dignity of human persons as we would do ourselves but ensure that all glory is given to God first. Sometimes that means that we provide for Him the purest of gold for His tabernacle and the finest artisans for His sanctuaries. And sometimes that means we simply, with an earnest heart, make for Him a place of worship not unlike His first tabernacle and sanctuary: a poor, humble Jewish girl who gave birth to a King in a cave set aside for livestock wherein “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).

Guidance from Materialism
Without the “pillar and bulwark of truth,” which is the Church (1 Timothy 3:15), the well-sounding but contradictory messages of materialism lead many to a confused state wherein their only option to make order of the disordered is to apply the principles of relativism. These principles always elevate the individual above the community no matter the original intention.

Let me give you an example. Back in college, I theorized that the linear spectrum of political ideology is not accurate. Those who are furthest to the right or left are actually closer in ideology and practice than those who remain centered (especially God-centered). For me, the political spectrum is best represented by “sleep/standby icon” 

Media_httpuploadwikim_dxinz

often used on many of today’s electronic gadgets. This image shows the supposed divide between left and right (in the “one/on” line), placing them nearest to each other in their most radical sense by forming the zero or off. The function of the icon is equally representative of present state of our relativist world; reminding me of Jesus’ words in Revelation 3:16, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.”

If this icon/button represents the lukewarm state of a machine, so it represents the lukewarm nature of a relativist person who is first a materialist like Judas.

Reanimating Judas: Examining [Materialism/Relativism] in the US

Giotto - Scrovegni - -28- - Judas Receiving Pa...

This is the first examination of the three principles of communism taught by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen on his Life is Worth Living television program which currently airs on EWTN and The Church Channel. After viewing the program that aired last week on The Church Channel where Archbishop Sheen spoke on the deceitful tongue of communism and how it followed the same pattern of betrayal of Our Blessed Lord as Judas’ I decided to examine Sheen’s three points (materialism, myth of coexistence and betrayal with a kiss) in light of modern secularism and relativism.

Materialism
Dictionary.com defines materialism as the “preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.”

In order to disarm the faithful the first step for any of these false doctrines is to deny the spiritual needs of the human person and focus solely on the material or physical. This appeal often takes the form of addressing some grave social ill while ironically encouraging personal greed at the same time. For example, socialists try to make the case (sometimes with supposed Biblical support) for the redistribution of wealth by stating that because wealth is concentrated among a very few, elite groups and persons, it remains inaccessible to the average person and thus is the cause of starvation and poverty – and of course Jesus said to the young rich man in Matthew 19:21, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” On the flip side, persons I refer to as “relative capitalists” make the case that personal ambition should be the sole barometer of success stating that opportunities abound for all humans who wish to make the necessary decisions. They too can quote scripture, “If any one will not work, let him not eat”  (2 Thessalonians (RSV) 3:10).

Materialism Causes Spiritual Doubt
Without Holy Mother Church to properly guide and form our consciences this first volley of the Enemy can lean many into mortal sin. Judas provides for us a biblical case study for this materialism and its effects on the soul and the body. Remember that long before he “was paid…thirty pieces of silver” (Matthew (RSV) 26:15) for his betrayal of Our Blessed Lord, the apparent material/monetary desire of this former apostle and disciple coupled with an even more sinister doubt and acceptance of the Evil One was first made explicitly manifest right after the “Bread of Life Discourse” (John 6:22-59), in what my translation (RSV-CE) subtitles as “The Words of Eternal Life” (John 6:60-71):

Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.”

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

Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him.

In this passage, one gets the sense that Judas finally came to the realization that the Son of Man was indeed the Son of God and that His kingdom would not be of the earth. Moreover, Judas began to realize that that continuing to follow Jesus could lead to his own death. What Jesus is saying is completely radical and without the gift of faith makes one think of cannibalism (so much so that the pagan Rome persecuted early Christians do to their misunderstanding or lack of faith concerning the Eucharist).

But as I stated before, materialism is more that just an offense against spirit vis-a-vis faith. It is also an offense aga
inst integrity as Judas can attest to:

Mary Anoints Jesus
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:1-8)

This incident, which occurs after the Bread of Life Discourse, demonstrates to us how materialism if left unchecked eats away at the faith creating a vicious cycle that leads to out-right lies and that conceal the true nature of a person’s intent. Many today, knowingly and unknowingly make similar claims of the Church often siting the seemingly immense wealth that she has as proof of her hypocrisy. They ask the same question Judas did of why Jesus allowed Mary to anoint His feet with such expensive oil, “Why is it not sold and given to the poor?” The faithful combat such doubt and heresy with the Holy Eucharist and obedience as Jesus explains, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” Jesus is speaking of the Mass and our worship of Him.Because of the concupiscence of man, the poor will always remain but as with all things God takes care of them and us. So we should always protect the dignity of human persons as we would do ourselves but ensure that all glory is given to God first. Sometimes that means that we provide for Him the purest of gold for His tabernacle and the finest artisans for His sanctuaries. And sometimes that means we simply, with an earnest heart, make for Him a place of worship not unlike His first tabernacle and sanctuary: a poor, humble Jewish girl who gave birth to a King in a cave set aside for livestock wherein “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).

Guidance from Materialism
Without the “pillar and bulwark of truth,” which is the Church (1 Timothy 3:15), the well-sounding but contradictory messages of materialism lead many to a confused state wherein their only option to make order of the disordered is to apply the principles of relativism. These principles always elevate the individual above the community no matter the original intention.

Let me give you an example. Back in college, I theorized that the linear spectrum of political ideology is not accurate. Those who are furthest to the right or left are actually closer in ideology and practice than those who remain centered (especially God-centered). For me, the political spectrum is best represented by “sleep/standby icon”18px-IEC5009_Standby_Symbol.svg.pngoften used on many of today’s electronic gadgets. This image shows the supposed divide between left and right (in the “one/on” line), placing them nearest to each other in their most radical sense by forming the zero or off. The function of the icon is equally representative of present state of our relativist world; reminding me of Jesus’ words in Revelation 3:16, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.”

If this icon/button represents the lukewarm state of a machine, so it represents the lukewarm nature of a relativist person who is first a materialist like Judas.

Reanimating Judas: Examining Secularism in the US

A couple of weeks ago I posted review of a book by Thomas Colyandro,The Judas Syndrome: Seven Ancient Heresies Return to Betray Christ Anew. In this book the author examined several ancient heresies and linked them to their modern-day manifestations. As with all lies, heresies are nothing new but rather are a rehashing of the serpent in the garden – the Enemy, the Father of Lies, the Murder from the Beginning (John 8:44).

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen taught on this very subject in an episode of his Emmy Award-winning series Life is Worth Living (currently airing on EWTN and The Church Channel, check your local listings).  Archbishop Sheen often spoke of the ills of communism, a very real and present danger to the US at the time, as this country was beginning to wane from the economic boom of the post-WWII era.

Many would argue that communism never really took root in the US, and generally, I would agree except for the fact that, like many beliefs and ideals, all it takes is the planting of a seed for a variant to flourish. This is just as true for evangelization as it is for viral spread of secular ideals. The key difference is truth.

The Gospel truth frees. The secular (un)truth enslaves. Feel free to argue and ponder this point to your hearts desire.

Anyway, I am going to elaborate on my point by piggybacking on what I learned from Archbishop Sheen.

On the particular episode which inspired this post, Archbishop Sheen began his lesson on communism by stating that false doctrines such as these follow three main principles:

(JMJ – Sheen always started writing on the blackboard with the acronym for the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph)

  1. Materialism
  2. Myth of Coexistence
  3. Betrayal with a Kiss

Over the next three days, I will attempt to cover these three principles to the best of my abilities. As always, feedback is appreciated.

Reanimating Judas: Examining Secularism in the US

A couple of weeks ago I posted review of a book by Thomas Colyandro,The Judas Syndrome: Seven Ancient Heresies Return to Betray Christ Anew. In this book the author examined several ancient heresies and linked them to their modern-day manifestations. As with all lies, heresies are nothing new but rather are a rehashing of the serpent in the garden – the Enemy, the Father of Lies, the Murder from the Beginning (John 8:44).

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen taught on this very subject in an episode of his Emmy Award-winning series Life is Worth Living (currently airing on EWTN and The Church Channel, check your local listings).  Archbishop Sheen often spoke of the ills of communism, a very real and present danger to the US at the time, as this country was beginning to wane from the economic boom of the post-WWII era.

Many would argue that communism never really took root in the US, and generally, I would agree except for the fact that, like many beliefs and ideals, all it takes is the planting of a seed for a variant to flourish. This is just as true for evangelization as it is for viral spread of secular ideals. The key difference is truth.

The Gospel truth frees. The secular (un)truth enslaves. Feel free to argue and ponder this point to your hearts desire.

Anyway, I am going to elaborate on my point by piggybacking on what I learned from Archbishop Sheen.

On the particular episode which inspired this post, Archbishop Sheen began his lesson on communism by stating that false doctrines such as these follow three main principles:

(JMJ – Sheen always started writing on the blackboard with the acronym for the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph)

  1. Materialism
  2. Myth of Coexistence
  3. Betrayal with a Kiss

Over the next three days, I will attempt to cover these three principles to the best of my abilities. As always, feedback is appreciated.