catholic questions

I saw someone post these questions and have wondered about them myself:

Where in the Bible do we find Peter assuming and exercising the role of a Catholic pope?
Where does the Bible say the early churches treated Peter in a papal fashion?
Where does the Bible say that one man is the head of all churches?
Where does Bible say God established a special priesthood for the churches that is separate from the priesthood of the believers?
Where does the Bible describe the office of such priests in the early churches?
Where does the Bible say that New Testament priests are ordained after the order of Melchizedek?
Where in the Bible do we find a requirement that pastors be celibate?
Where does the Bible say the apostles passed on their authority through a succession?
Where does the Bible give standards for apostolic succession? There are standards for pastors and deacons, but where are the standards for an ongoing apostleship?
Where does the Bible describe nuns in the early churches? 
Where in the Bible do we find anyone praying to Mary or to any other person other than God?
Where does the Bible call Mary the Mother of God?
Where does the Bible say that Mary is the Queen of Heaven?
Where in the Bible do we find the teaching that Mary is sinless?
Where in the Bible do we find the baptism of an infant who is too young to believe in Christ?
Where does the Bible teach us that the church can identify dead people as saints and can then pray to them?
Where does the Bible teach that a dead person can intercede for the living?
Where does the Bible teach about purgatory?
Where does the Bible teach that churches should use the bones of dead men in any type of religious manner?
Where does the Bible teach that the churches used indulgences?
Where in the Bible do we find even one example of a Catholic mass being conducted or even described? If Christ established the mass and if it is central to the Christian faith as Rome claims, why is there not one example of it in the book of Acts and the New Testament epistles?
Where in the Bible do we find Christians taking the Lord’s supper by partaking of the bread alone without the wine or grape juice?
Where in the Bible does Paul or any of the early church leaders teach that there are seven sacraments?
Where in the Bible do we find the churches practicing the sacrament of confirmation?
Where in the Bible do we find the churches practicing any sort of extreme unction or last rites as a sacrament?
Where in the Bible do we find the prayer of the rosary?
Where in the Bible do we find that New Testament churches are to conduct elaborate rituals and ceremonies after the fashion of Rome?
Where in the Bible do we find that the headquarters for the church is to be in Rome?

Indulgences, purgatory, transubstantiation, immaculate conception, papal supremacy, papal infallibility, perpetual virginity of Mary, Mary as co-mediatrix/co-redemptrix, tradition equal to scripture, works oriented salvation, priestly confessions, repetitive prayers through the rosary, prayer for the dead, removing the 2nd commandment the Decalogue, the assumption of Mary, etc.

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89 Responses

  1. My goodness.. How will we ever answer all of those…

    Peter never exercised that authority. The one time that he seemingly stood up and spoke for the Apostles was in Acts 2, but then again you could say that he was unlocking the door with his keys. But, at any rate, this one time is outweighed by Jame’s leadership of the Apostolic Council and by Paul’s correction of him. No local congregation treated Peter with any papal fashion – not even Cyprian who preached the unity of the Church based on the Bishops recognized a papal throne of Peter. (3rd Century).

    Didn’t the Apostle John promise to handle Diotrephes who had set himself up as the singular voice of God in a local congregation?

    The guess the first question that has to be asked is if the person believes that the Bible is the source of that Roman Tradition is the source of authority.

  2. Polycarp,

    I agree with you. I just listed the questions as examples of some of what I see as doctrinal errors in the RCC. I think much of the Roman tradition are not based upon the Bible, but upon manmade ideas.

    Since you answered a couple of the questions, I figured I’d answer some of them also.

    1 Peter 2:5 tells us that we are ALL a royal priesthood – there is no separate priesthood within the priesthood.

    Only Christ is of the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 7), and He is one forever. We have no other high priest, nor do we need one – as Christ is perfect and eternal and He offered the perfect sacrifice once for all.

    As for Mary, I have written various posts on her, but find no biblical support for calling her mother of God, nor queen of heaven.

    We are to worship God, not Mary: https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/mary-or-christ/
    Mary was not without sin: https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/was-mary-without-sin/
    https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/by-whom-are-we-saved-who-is-our-high-priest-who-intercedes-for-us/

    Mary had children other than Jesus, so was not a perpetual virgin: https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/09/26/was-mary-a-perpetual-virgin/

    As for the Lord’s supper, it is to be a reminder by eating bread and drinking wine of what God did, not eating of Christ’s body and drinking of Christ’s blood (Christ was our passover lamb, the blood of the lamb was used by those who believed God to paint the door jams, it was not drank): https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/the_lords_supper_eucharist_and_wine_body_and_blood_of_christ_or_analogy/
    https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/transubstantiation/

    As for praying to dead people, or interceding for dead people, I find the opposite in the Bible:
    https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/10/24/problems-with-the-roman-catholic-church/
    https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/08/12/prayer-who-what-when-why-how-so-what/

    As for purgatory, I find the Bible actually teaches otherwise:
    https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/what-does-the-bible-say-about-purgatory/

    In regards to infant baptism, I find no support in the Bible for it.
    https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/07/26/what-happens-to-infants-or-children-when-they-die/
    https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/07/22/summary-on-baptism-for-adults-and-infants/
    https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/baptism-water-or-spirit-required-or-not-is-it-for-infants/
    https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/07/14/more-on-water-baptism-and-whether-it-is-for-childreninfants/

    I find no Biblical support for nuns.
    I find no Biblical support for indulgences.
    I find no Biblical support for a sacrament – something which confers grace.
    I find no Biblical support for the rosary, icons, statues, or crosses – particularly with the body of Christ on the cross.
    I find no Biblical support of elaborate rituals.
    I find no Biblical support of the church having a headquarters, with the possible exception of Jerusalem, as that is where the apostles hung out when not on missionary journeys.
    I find no example in the Bible of a church service or mass should look like.

  3. WB, one of the issues with Catholicism, and the Orthodox, is that they have a different starting point than say you or I. They believe in the authority of the Church over the authority of the Word of God. Paul said to follow the traditions by his word and epistle, meaning, to me at least, that the words of the Apostles contained in Holy Scripture is our starting point and ending point. I do not see scriptural support for doctrinal development, progression, or evolution. If there is such a creature, than Rome and Istanbul (Orthodox) are the truest churches and all of us heretics.

    As far as a central ‘see’, no one recognized Rome or Jerusalem as central until centuries later when a Council gave the ‘Pope’ (the bishop of Alexandria was called Pope first, long before Rome) the authority to set Easter for all of Christiandom. We know this because of the very issue of Councils – that they were had in different cities, and drew together bishops from every congregation. If Rome was central, then Vatican 2 would have been something like Vatican 16 (give or take a few).

  4. I have no problem with the authority of the church, but do not see how it can take precedence over the authority of Scripture. Christ held to scripture and said the Holy Spirit would remind the apostles of all truth, and Peter said Paul’s writings were scripture. We must test everything against scripture, otherwise heresy can creep into the church, which is what has happened in the churches that ignore scripture of put their own authority over that of God’s word.

  5. Polycarp, you don’t speak for Catholics. Those of us that know our faith know who’s in authority. WB, here ya go:

    First, many of these can be dismissed because nowhere in the Bible does it say that it is the sole authority. However, many are there. But because the Bible doesn’t claim itself as the sole authority of Christianity, it doesn’t matter that it’s not there. You may claim that 2 Timothy 3:16–17 claims Scripture is sufficient as a rule of faith. But an examination of the verse in context shows that it doesn’t claim that at all; it only claims Scripture is “profitable” (Greek: ophelimos) that is, helpful. Many things can be profitable for moving one toward a goal, without being sufficient in getting one to the goal. Paul is, in context, laying down a guideline for Timothy to make use of Scripture and tradition in his ministry as a bishop.

    Where in the Bible do we find Peter assuming and exercising the role of a Catholic pope? A Catholic pope is a teacher, a leader, a shepherd. Christ asked Peter specifically three times Peter, do you love me? And he answered three times “You know, Lord, that I do.” Our Lord directed him “Feed my sheep. Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep.” Acts 2 shows him doing just this.

    Where does the Bible say the early churches treated Peter in a papal fashion?
    What do you mean by papal fashion? What do you mean by “early churches”? There was only one church. If you mean as leader of the Church, Acts 15.

    Where does the Bible say that one man is the head of all churches?
    Again, there was only one church-the Church Jesus founded. The New Testament contains five different metaphors for the foundation of the Church (Matt. 16:18, 1 Cor. 3:11, Eph. 2:20, 1 Pet. 2:5–6, Rev. 21:14). One metaphor that has been disputed is Jesus Christ’s calling the apostle Peter “rock”: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). The Church Fathers, those Christians closest to the apostles in time, culture, and theological background, clearly understood that Jesus promised to build the Church on Peter. What was to happen to the church after Peter died? The apostles determined together that there would be apostolic succession, which Paul demonstrates in his pastoral letters to Timothy and Titus.

    Where does Bible say God established a special priesthood for the churches that is separate from the priesthood of the believers?
    It doesn’t have to. But at the time of the founding of the church, there were bishops, the apostles, and believers. The apostles were clearly separate. The priests, again, are nothing more than the shepherd of their flock.

    Where does the Bible describe the office of such priests in the early churches?
    It doesn’t have to. But the early church didn’t need bishop’s representatives because the flock was much smaller.

    Where does the Bible say that New Testament priests are ordained after the order of Melchizedek?
    Psalms 110, might be 109 for you.
    Where in the Bible do we find a requirement that pastors be celibate?
    It doesn’t, but Jewish priests were required to be celebate prior to entering the holy of holies. But this is a discipline and there are married priests.

    Where does the Bible say the apostles passed on their authority through a succession?
    The role of apostolic succession in preserving true doctrine is illustrated in the Bible. To make sure that the apostles’ teachings would be passed down after the deaths of the apostles, Paul told Timothy, “[W]hat you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). In this passage he refers to the first three generations of apostolic succession—his own generation, Timothy’s generation, and the generation Timothy will teach.

    The Church Fathers, who were links in that chain of succession, regularly appealed to apostolic succession as a test for whether Catholics or heretics had correct doctrine. This was necessary because heretics simply put their own interpretations, even bizarre ones, on Scripture. Clearly, something other than Scripture had to be used as an ultimate test of doctrine in these cases.

    Thus the early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly, a Protestant, writes, “[W]here in practice was [the] apostolic testimony or tradition to be found? . . . The most obvious answer was that the apostles had committed it orally to the Church, where it had been handed down from generation to generation. . . . Unlike the alleged secret tradition of the Gnostics, it was entirely public and open, having been entrusted by the apostles to their successors, and by these in turn to those who followed them, and was visible in the Church for all who cared to look for it” (Early Christian Doctrines, 37).
    Where does the Bible give standards for apostolic succession? There are standards for pastors and deacons, but where are the standards for an ongoing apostleship?
    See above
    Where does the Bible describe nuns in the early churches?
    It doesn’t, but it doesn’t have to. The institution of nuns and sisters, who devote themselves in various religious orders to the practice of a life of perfection, dates from the first ages of the Church, and women may claim with a certain pride that they were the first to embrace the religious state for its own sake, without regard to missionary work and ecclesiastical functions proper to men. St. Paul speaks of widows, who were called to certain kinds of church work (I Tim., v, 9), and of virgins (I Cor., vii), whom he praises for their continence and their devotion to the things of the Lord. In the earliest times Christian women directed their fervor, some towards the service of the sanctuary, others to the attainment of perfection. The virgins were remarkable for their perfect and perpetual chastity which the Catholic Apologists have extolled as a contrast to pagan corruption

    Where in the Bible do we find anyone praying to Mary or to any other person other than God? Mary wasn’t prayed to in the bible because she wasn’t known to be dead yet. Referring to the intercession of saints, the Bible directs us to invoke those in heaven and ask them to pray with us.

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

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

    Where does the Bible call Mary the Mother of God?
    A woman is a man’s mother either if she carried him in her womb or if she was the woman contributing half of his genetic matter or both. Mary was the mother of Jesus in both of these senses; because she not only carried Jesus in her womb but also supplied all of the genetic matter for his human body, since it was through her—not Joseph—that Jesus “was descended from David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3).

    Since Mary is Jesus’ mother, it must be concluded that she is also the Mother of God: If Mary is the mother of Jesus, and if Jesus is God, then Mary is the Mother of God. There is no way out of this logical syllogism, the valid form of which has been recognized by classical logicians since before the time of Christ.
    Where does the Bible say that Mary is the Queen of Heaven?
    It doesn’t but there is precedent. If we agree that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of Lords, then Jesus is King of heaven. Solomon and kings of his time had their mothers as the queen because they had so many wives. So when Bathseba asked Solomon for a favor, the King deferred to his Queen Mother. In the same way, at the wedding feast at Cana, our Lord was beseeched by his mother to create wine from the water.
    Where in the Bible do we find the teaching that Mary is sinless?
    Luke 1:26 Full of grace.
    Where in the Bible do we find the baptism of an infant who is too young to believe in Christ?
    It doesn’t, but it doesn’t have to. See above. In Bible times, it was the adults that were converted (along with their families, children included). But since baptism is the new form of circumcision, tell me, when did circumcision usually take place???

    Where does the Bible teach us that the church can identify dead people as saints and can then pray to them? First off, only the bodies are dead, the souls are, from the moment of conception forever, alive. Secondly, where does the Bible state that we shouldn’t revere those found to be most holy? Do you revere your parents? Lincoln and Washington? Martin Luther King? Some sports hero? Saints are merely those of the Christian faith that have been shown to worship God and Christ the best. They are people in heaven who we look up to.
    See praying to Mary for further information.

    Where does the Bible teach that a dead person can intercede for the living?Revelation 5:8
    Where does the Bible teach about purgatory? The concept of an after-death purification from sin and the consequences of sin is stated in the New Testament in passages such as 1 Corinthians 3:11–15 and Matthew 5:25–26, 12:31–32. The doctrine: (1) that a purification after death exists, (2) that it involves some kind of pain, and (3) that the purification can be assisted by the prayers and offerings by the living to God.
    Where does the Bible teach that churches should use the bones of dead men in any type of religious manner? It doesn’t, but doesn’t have to. This is a tradition. But we really revere our heroes and this is one way we show it.
    Where does the Bible teach that the churches used indulgences?
    An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishment due for their sins. Simply, we know that sin results in guilt and punishment. Punishments are both temporal and eternal. Temporal penalties can remain when sins are forgiven. God blesses some people as a reward to others (as God promised Abraham in the scene outside Sodom(Gen 18). God remits temporal punishments through the Church (John 20:21-23). God blesses dead Christians as a reward to live Christians (2 Maccabees 12:42)
    Where in the Bible do we find even one example of a Catholic mass being conducted or even described? If Christ established the mass and if it is central to the Christian faith as Rome claims, why is there not one example of it in the book of Acts and the New Testament epistles? Where in the Bible is your worship described?
    At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
    Most of the book of Revelation describes the Mass.

    Where in the Bible do we find Christians taking the Lord’s supper by partaking of the bread alone without the wine or grape juice? It doesn’t have to. This is a tradition which is not in practice very much today. Mostly it was done for sanitary reasons. And it’s not the Lord’s supper, it’s the Eucharist. The body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ completely in the bread and completely in the wine.

    Where in the Bible does Paul or any of the early church leaders teach that there are seven sacraments? Baptism Matt. 28:19
    Confirmation: Acts 8:14–17, 9:17, 19:6, and Hebrews 6:2, which speak of a laying on of hands for the purpose of bestowing the Holy Spirit.
    Reconciliation: Matt. 6:12 John 20:21-23
    Holy Orders: The sacrament of holy orders is conferred in three ranks of clergy: bishops, priests, and deacons.

    Bishops (episcopoi) have the care of multiple congregations and appoint, ordain, and discipline priests and deacons. They sometimes appear to be called “evangelists” in the New Testament. Examples of first-century bishops include Timothy and Titus (1 Tim. 5:19–22; 2 Tim. 4:5; Titus 1:5).

    Priests (presbuteroi) are also known as “presbyters” or “elders.” In fact, the English term “priest” is simply a contraction of the Greek word presbuteros. They have the responsibility of teaching, governing, and providing the sacraments in a given congregation (1 Tim. 5:17; Jas. 5:14–15).

    Deacons (diakonoi) are the assistants of the bishops and are responsible for teaching and administering certain Church tasks, such as the distribution of food (Acts 6:1–6).
    Eucharist: John 6:51–56
    Matrimony: Need I really explain this one?
    Anointing: “This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord” (Mark 6:13; Jas. 5:14-15).
    Where in the Bible do we find the churches practicing the sacrament of confirmation? See above
    Where in the Bible do we find the churches practicing any sort of extreme unction or last rites as a sacrament? See above
    Where in the Bible do we find the prayer of the rosary? The rosary is almost entirely scriptural. Apostles Creed, the Lord’s prayer, the Hail Mary (from Luke chapter 1), and meditations on the events in Christ’s life.
    Where in the Bible do we find that New Testament churches are to conduct elaborate rituals and ceremonies after the fashion of Rome? It doesn’t, specifically, but the liturgies celebrated in the Temple built by Solomon were pretty elaborate. This is not a requirement of the mass.
    Where in the Bible do we find that the headquarters for the church is to be in Rome? Doesn’t have to. This is in reverence to St. Peter, who ended up dying in Rome. There, his successor was chosen. There, the headquarters of the Church remains.
    Indulgences, purgatory, transubstantiation, immaculate conception, papal supremacy, papal infallibility, perpetual virginity of Mary, Mary as co-mediatrix/co-redemptrix, tradition equal to scripture, works oriented salvation, priestly confessions, repetitive prayers through the rosary, prayer for the dead, removing the 2nd commandment the Decalogue, the assumption of Mary, etc.
    All explained or proven false. Regarding the Decalogue, when did you ever hear of a Catholic referring to the 9 commandments??? There’s 10, and actually more than 10, it’s a difference of division. Regarding the assumption of Mary, Some people think Catholics believe Mary “ascended” into heaven. That’s not correct. Christ, by his own power, ascended into heaven. Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God. She didn’t do it under her own power. Some people think Catholics believe Mary “ascended” into heaven. That’s not correct. Christ, by his own power, ascended into heaven. Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God. She didn’t do it under her own power.

    • Sory it took me so long to approve this. I just got to where I could do so (busy day at work on computers, but I didn’t have any time to review much today).

      Wow. :) I’m impressed David. Thanks for the reply. I’ll have to spend some time reviewing it. So please don’t think I’m ignoring you.

  6. Take your time. We must work in the same field. I’m a DBA.

    I have to say I just want to correct misunderstandings. We are very God and Christ centered. I realize there are some Catholics, like those who are advocates of OL of Guadalupe, who seem to elevate Mary, but that’s not what the Church teaches.

    • I’m a computer programmer. I started many moons ago doing client-server programming, was converted to be a Unix sys admin, then got back to development, then back to sys admin, then did DBA work, then back to development. I’m doing weblogic java development right now.

  7. You wrote, “I have to say I just want to correct misunderstandings.”

    I appreciate what you wrote. You took a lot of time to put it together, whether it is from other articles, or you wrote it yourself. I appreciate it. I’ve looked into some of the questions since I posted this article. But I still did not understand things from a Catholic’s perspective. Thanks again.

    “We are very God and Christ centered.”

    I have a lot of respect for the Roman Catholic Church, but I disagree with some of its teachings.

    I realize there are some in the RCC who are very God the Father and Christ centered.

    ” I realize there are some Catholics, like those who are advocates of OL of Guadalupe, who seem to elevate Mary, but that’s not what the Church teaches.”

    But I grew up Catholic in San Antonio TX, and my mother was Mexican. So I know there are many who DO elevate Mary and the saints to the status of God, or almost. There are many who marry pagan rituals and ideas with the teachings of the RCC. It seems the church tolerates it if it does not actually teach it. And its a shame.

    I am working on a response to your very lengthy response to my post. I should finish it tomorrow.

  8. What I wrote comes from somewhat from others because I want to be precise (just like the question of annulment).

    Archbishop Sheen of blessed memory once said that few people in America hate the Catholic religion, but there are many who hate what they mistakenly believe is the Catholic religion—and that if what they hate really were the Catholic religion, Catholics would hate it too.

    Sometimes it’s just a matter of terminology, sometimes, as in the case of Guadalupe, the ‘humanness’ of humanity deviates people from the truth of our faith. What’s seldom covered is that there are people within the Church trying to correct these errors of the people. What people believe and what is actually taught are many times different. Mama Mary is the most exalted creature ever to grace the face of the earth. But never is she to be placed before Jesus Himself.
    It’s like what gets reported about the pope. Do you know what he actually said on his way to Angola? I doubt it, but let’s see…

    • I am so grateful there are people within the church trying to correct errors of people. This truly gives me hope for the Roman Catholic Church. It warms my heart, as they say here in the south. :)

      No, I have no idea what the pope said on the way to Angola, but it sounds like the start of a punchline. :)

      I have no hate for the RCC, nor for its people. I just think that SOME of what I understand it teaches is against Scripture.

      I was almost finished with my response, but my computer died. Thankfully, I had most of it also on another computer. So I just have to re-do a couple of hours of work.

      And I have to give praise to God, for I still have a job after my company laid off people today – one in my group. While I know God is good and looking out for those of us who love Him even if they lose a job, it still feels good to have a job and not be looking for a new one right now.

  9. Regarding the pope in Angola, it’s been reported that he said that condoms don’t help in preventing AIDS and HIV. What he really said is about as long as my post answering the questions you asked. It’s on my blog at rootofjesse2.wordpress.com from a few days ago.

    I’m glad to know you have no hate for Catholics. I hope to be able to honestly dialogue with you and maybe set the record straight. I can assure you as a former Evangelical turned Catholic (although the transition was far from as easy as that-I had to lose sight of God before finding my way in!), I’ve been shown and can explain what we truly believe. Also, I know there’s some really bad Catholics who give us a bad name, but in a group of a billion, there’s bound to be some!

    I’m glad you didn’t lose your job. How do you think I’ve been the last several months when I work for a bank??? Thank the Lord we weren’t into mortgage banking very much! Also we’re not taking fed money, somewhat because we don’t need it, mostly because we’re a subsidiary of a foreign bank.

    Take your time with rebuttal, I won’t be on again until Monday.

  10. David,

    First let me say, I know people in the Roman Catholic Church I believe are saved, just as I do Protestants. Over the centuries Christians from the Catholic Church have done outstanding missionary and other excellent Christian work. I do not hate Catholics or the Roman Catholic Church. I simply find issue with some teachings/traditions in the RCC that are not found in the Bible, and in some cases are against what the Bible teaches, church history itself.

    “First, many of these can be dismissed because nowhere in the Bible does it say that it is the sole authority. ”

    I have no problem with anything that is extra-biblical, so long as it is not against what the Bible teaches.

    Jesus was clear that men added to what God had written, and He kept referring back to what GOD wrote, not what man taught.
    Peter, James, and Paul quoted scripture to decide how things should work in the church. We should follow their example.

    Mark 7:5-7 (quoting Isaiah 29:13)

    5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?” 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ” ‘These people honor me with their but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’

    John 6:45 (quoting Isaiah 54:13)

    It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.

    Acts 1:20 (quoting Psalm 69:25; 109:8)

    “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the book of Psalms, ” ‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, ” ‘May another take his place of leadership.’

    Acts 15:13-18 (quoting Amos 9:11-12)

    13 When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 16 ” ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ 18 that have been known for ages

    Romans 1:17 (quoting Hab. 2:4)

    17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

    ==

    I wrote, “Where in the Bible do we find Peter assuming and exercising the role of a Catholic pope?”

    You wrote, “A Catholic pope is a teacher, a leader, a shepherd. Christ asked Peter specifically three times Peter, do you love me? And he answered three times “You know, Lord, that I do.” Our Lord directed him “Feed my sheep. Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep.” Acts 2 shows him doing just this.”

    A pope is much more than simply a shepherd. He rules the RCC. But Peter did not rule the church. Peter denied Christ three times, and as part of his restoration, Jesus asked him three times if Peter loved Him. The fact that someone can reject Christ is not reason to create a position which did not exist in the Bible.

    Peter was one among many leaders. James led the church at Jerusalem (Acts 15; Acts 21:18). The church was founded upon Christ. Peter and the rest of the apostles and the prophets are the rest of the foundation. But no where do we see Peter being the sole leader of the church. In Acts 2, Peter spoke up, explaining things, but this does not mean he was the leader. James ran the church council in Acts 15. Peter was an apostle, one among many, one among equals. See https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/what-rock-did-jesus-build-his-church-upon/ and https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/peter-and-the-rock-2 for more discussion.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where does the Bible say the early churches treated Peter in a papal fashion?”

    You responded, “What do you mean by papal fashion? What do you mean by “early churches”? There was only one church. If you mean as leader of the Church, Acts 15.”

    By papal fashion, I dont know what the original writer meant, but I mean being the single top leader of all the local churches.

    As for early churches, I meant the individual local churches, not the universal church. The universal church is led by Christ – the head (Ephesians 5:23).

    Individual churches were led by elders (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5), which were either appointed or elected and ordained (depending on translation), by the Apostles or people who worked with them. The apostles together focused on the ministry of the word of God (Acts 6:1-5), not any one person – they were equals.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where does the Bible say that one man is the head of all churches?”

    You responded:
    “Again, there was only one church-the Church Jesus founded.”

    Yes, the Church Universal. But there are individual local communities of faith called churches.

    You continued, “The New Testament contains five different metaphors for the foundation of the Church (Matt. 16:18, 1 Cor. 3:11, Eph. 2:20, 1 Pet. 2:5–6, Rev. 21:14). One metaphor that has been disputed is Jesus Christ’s calling the apostle Peter “rock”: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). The Church Fathers, those Christians closest to the apostles in time, culture, and theological background, clearly understood that Jesus promised to build the Church on Peter.”

    Please show me where you find this information about the Church Fathers?

    1 metaphor shows Christ is the foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11).
    1 metaphor shows all believers are spiritual stones, with Christ as both the cornerstone and the capstone ( 1 Pet 2:4-8)
    1 shows that all the prophets and apostles as the foundation with Christ as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20)
    1 metaphor shows each foundation of the wall of the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, had the name of an apostle on it (Revelation 21:14-24).

    The first metaphor of the founding of the church is in debate. It seems clear to me, given the other metaphors that CHRIST is the main foundational stone of the church, with the prophets and apostles being equally important to each other in the foundation of the church (but not equal to Christ). But no where do I see God mentioning a single earthly leader of the Church Universal.

    You continued, “What was to happen to the church after Peter died? The apostles determined together that there would be apostolic succession, which Paul demonstrates in his pastoral letters to Timothy and Titus.”

    Perhaps this is true. But I think that is reading into scripture. Timothy and Titus were part of Paul’s missionary team, as were other men. There is no evidence they were more important than anyone else on Paul’s team, nor is there evidence of apostolic succession. There is merely evidence they were on Paul’s team and he sent them on tasks.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where does Bible say God established a special priesthood for the churches that is separate from the priesthood of the believers?”

    You responded, “It doesn’t have to. But at the time of the founding of the church, there were bishops, the apostles, and believers. The apostles were clearly separate. The priests, again, are nothing more than the shepherd of their flock.”

    It is not clear that bishop is a separate office than elder, see discussionbelow. I’d have added deacon (and possibly deaconess, depending on your translation) to your list. The apostles were essentially church planting missionaries who helped the local churches keep pointed towards Christ and using what God had written. But the elders led the local churches. There is no evidence of the elders being part of a universal hierarchy. The elders and deacons came from the local assembly. History shows elders would come together to discuss issues of doctrine.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where does the Bible say that New Testament priests are ordained after the order of Melchizedek?”

    You responded, “Psalms 110, might be 109 for you.
”

    But that is CHRIST being a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. No where does it mention others being made priests like Christ.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where in the Bible do we find a requirement that pastors be celibate?”

    You responded, “It doesn’t, but Jewish priests were required to be celebate prior to entering the holy of holies. But this is a discipline and there are married priests.”

    Married priests are an exception, and to my knowledge, only those who were pastors/priests in a different denomination and married during that time are allowed to be married priests. It seems to me that requiring people to be unmarried to minister goes against what said in the Bible, given that Peter and others had wives (1 Corinthians 9:5), and that the requirements for elders/overseers and deacons included being married (1 Timothy 3:2, 12). See for https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/celibate-priests/ for more on this.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where does the Bible say the apostles passed on their authority through a succession?”

    You responded, “The role of apostolic succession in preserving true doctrine is illustrated in the Bible. To make sure that the apostles’ teachings would be passed down after the deaths of the apostles, Paul told Timothy, “[W]hat you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). In this passage he refers to the first three generations of apostolic succession—his own generation, Timothy’s generation, and the generation Timothy will teach.”

    I agree that Paul told Timothy to teach those who would teach others, and this established the continuation of the teaching of good doctrine. However, I do not see Timothy being named an apostle, nor pope, or anything other than a teacher. Nor do I see authority being passed on – merely good doctrine.

    ==

    “The Church Fathers, who were links in that chain of succession, regularly appealed to apostolic succession as a test for whether Catholics or heretics had correct doctrine. This was necessary because heretics simply put their own interpretations, even bizarre ones, on Scripture. Clearly, something other than Scripture had to be used as an ultimate test of doctrine in these cases.”

    This I am not familiar with. I’ll have to look this up. It seems to me (from what I recall from my reading) that the church fathers argued doctrine from the Old Testament and the writings of the apostles, et al., not whether someone was taught by someone taught by someone taught by an apostle – since there were some who had been taught by an apostle and yet were not of them (1 John 2:19).

    I’m sure Polycarp could address this better than I.

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

    But again, this does not speak of apostolic authority – merely teaching doctrine.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where does the Bible give standards for apostolic succession? There are standards for pastors and deacons, but where are the standards for an ongoing apostleship?”

    You wrote, “
See above”

    The problem is, what you have shown are standards for elders and deacons, and the continuation of good doctrine, but nothing about any apostolic authority, nor the continuance thereof.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where does the Bible describe nuns in the early churches?
”

    You responded, “It doesn’t, but it doesn’t have to.”

    I agree, if it does not go against what scripture teaches.

    You further wrote, ” The institution of nuns and sisters, who devote themselves in various religious orders to the practice of a life of perfection, dates from the first ages of the Church, and women may claim with a certain pride that they were the first to embrace the religious state for its own sake, without regard to missionary work and ecclesiastical functions proper to men. St. Paul speaks of widows, who were called to certain kinds of church work (I Tim., v, 9), and of virgins (I Cor., vii), whom he praises for their continence and their devotion to the things of the Lord. In the earliest times Christian women directed their fervor, some towards the service of the sanctuary, others to the attainment of perfection. The virgins were remarkable for their perfect and perpetual chastity which the Catholic Apologists have extolled as a contrast to pagan corruption”

    The problem with your quotation of 1 Timothy 5:9 is that widows were spoken of in as not being put on the widows list unless they met certain criteria. The widows list was those widows who were in need and the church provided for – not women in a group of women sent out away from the local church.

    The mention of virgins in 1 Corinthians 7 is of women dedicated to the work of God. No mention is made of a hierarchy/association of them. These women were in the local church, dedicated to the Lord’s affairs. I see no sending of women to places other than their local churches.

    ==
    I wrote, “Where in the Bible do we find anyone praying to Mary or to any other person other than God?”

    You responded, “Mary wasn’t prayed to in the bible because she wasn’t known to be dead yet. Referring to the intercession of saints, the Bible directs us to invoke those in heaven and ask them to pray with us.
    Thus, in Psalm 103 we pray, “Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will!” (Ps. 103:20–21). And in the opening verses of Psalms 148 we pray, “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host!”

    The thing is, you are mentioning telling the angels to praise God. Not praying to dead people in heaven (I also find this ironic considering the Roman Catholic Church teaches purgatory, but that’s a different question). Scripture tells us to not communicate with the dead (Deuteronomy 18:9; Leviticus 19:31; Leviticus 20:6; 1 Chronicles 10:13). And while some people (perhaps most) are not calling upon mediums to communicate with the dead, they are none the less communicating with the dead through prayer. Now, some will say that Catholics pray to living spirits in heaven – but their bodies are still dead, and God was clear about not communicating with dead people. Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 8:19 that we should talk directly to God, not dead people. We are to pray to God, according to both the Old and the New Testaments. Please see https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/08/10/to-whom-should-we-pray/ for more about this.

    In fact, scripture tells us when we are dead, there is there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom (Ecclesiates 9:10). I think the point is that those in heaven have no concern for this life, given that Paul said there would come a time when we will know fully, probably referring to what God says (1 Corinthians 13:12).

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

    The verse you partially quote, Revelation 5:8, states

    8 When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

    This passage does not say the four living creatures and the 24 elders were prayed to. Nor does it say they prayed for the living on earth. It is symbolism of the prayers offered to God by people on earth. The psalmist in Ps 141:2 said his prayers were counted as incense to God – but he prayed to God, as we see in verse 1 of the same psalm. In Revelation 8:3-4, we see another angel adding incense to the prayers of the saints. This does not say he was prayed to.

    We are to pray to God (1 Kings 8:48-50). We are to make petition to God (Ezra 8:23). In every place the word ‘pray’ is used, it is used either in reference to God or to an idol, either explicitly or implicitly (from context). Jesus Himself taught us how to pray – TO THE FATHER (Luke 11:1-13). I think God made it clear we are to pray to HIM, not anyone else. To do so makes them an idol.

    ===
    I wrote, “Where does the Bible call Mary the Mother of God?
”

    You responded, “A woman is a man’s mother either if she carried him in her womb or if she was the woman contributing half of his genetic matter or both. Mary was the mother of Jesus in both of these senses; because she not only carried Jesus in her womb but also supplied all of the genetic matter for his human body, since it was through her—not Joseph—that Jesus “was descended from David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3).
    Since Mary is Jesus’ mother, it must be concluded that she is also the Mother of God: If Mary is the mother of Jesus, and if Jesus is God, then Mary is the Mother of God. There is no way out of this logical syllogism, the valid form of which has been recognized by classical logicians since before the time of Christ.”

    See, you were doing fine until you tried to say that because Mary was the mother of Jesus (I agree), and Jesus is God (I agree), then Mary is the mother of God. The logic fails because the Word is God and existed before time – before Mary. Jesus was the human incarnation of God the Son (100% God and 100% man), and Mary was the mother of this human incarnation – the human part of Jesus. To say she was the Mother of God is to imply that she existed before time and gave birth to God the Son and is on equal footing with (or even higher than) God the Son. In fact, none of those things are true. She gave birth to his human shell, not to God. Mary is to be honored because of her faith, but she is the mother of the human incarnation of the Son of God, not the mother of God.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where does the Bible say that Mary is the Queen of Heaven?”

    You responded, “It doesn’t but there is precedent. If we agree that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of Lords, then Jesus is King of heaven. Solomon and kings of his time had their mothers as the queen because they had so many wives. So when Bathseba asked Solomon for a favor, the King deferred to his Queen Mother. In the same way, at the wedding feast at Cana, our Lord was beseeched by his mother to create wine from the water.”

    Mary told her human son to do something. But while the Lamb is the King of King and Lord of Lords, Mary is not a queen. She is a woman who was faithful, a vessel and little more. She did not understand who her son was, as is evident in Luke 2:19,33. She needed a savior, as we see in Luke 1:46-47. She knew she was not on equal footing with God. See https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/mary-or-christ/ , https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/was-mary-without-sin/ , and https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/09/26/was-mary-a-perpetual-virgin/ for more discussion on Mary.

    ==
    I wrote, “Where in the Bible do we find the teaching that Mary is sinless?”

    You responded, “Luke 1:26 Full of grace.”

    I went and looked. I think you are mistaken on the verse. Verse 26 talks about Gabriel being sent by God. It is in verse 28 we see these words,

    28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

    She was highly favored, but this does not mean she was without sin. Even the American Standard Bible does not use the term “full of grace” (see it on the Vatican’s website: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__PWK.HTM ). The Catholic Church derived its doctrine from the Latin translation, not the language in which it was originally written. It is unfortunate, but the Latin Vulgate got the translation of this verse wrong. It is unfortunate, because the RCC will not correct this doctrine, since it has so much invested in it, and based upon it.

    The only place in the Bible I could find the term “full of grace” were in John 1:14, Acts 6:8 (in the NASB), and Colossians 4:6 (in the NIV). Let us look at these.

    John 1:14

    14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

    Acts 6:8

    8And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.

    Colossians 4:6

    Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

    We know that Jesus was born sinless and stayed that way. But we also know Stephen was a sinner. The term “full of grace” does not necessarily mean without sin. It means that Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit, wisdom, faith (Acts 6:3, 5).

    ==

    I wrote, “Where in the Bible do we find the baptism of an infant who is too young to believe in Christ?”

    You responded, “It doesn’t, but it doesn’t have to. See above. In Bible times, it was the adults that were converted (along with their families, children included). But since baptism is the new form of circumcision, tell me, when did circumcision usually take place???”

    Baptism is not the new form of circumcision. God circumcises our hearts (Romans 2:29). Baptism is considered a way to express faith and identify with Christ, and is something done by adults, once they come to faith. John the Baptist baptized people to reveal Christ to Israel (John 1:26-32). But we are baptized because we believe in Christ (Acts 19:4-5). In doing so, we are baptized by one Spirit into the body and into Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27). It symbolizes the death and rebirth we go through when we are baptized by the Holy Spirit when we come to faith (Romans 6:3-5). We know water baptism is a symbol for adults who believe because of what Peter said in 1 Peter 3:21.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where does the Bible teach us that the church can identify dead people as saints and can then pray to them?”

    You responded, “First off, only the bodies are dead, the souls are, from the moment of conception forever, alive. Secondly, where does the Bible state that we shouldn’t revere those found to be most holy? Do you revere your parents? Lincoln and Washington? Martin Luther King? Some sports hero? Saints are merely those of the Christian faith that have been shown to worship God and Christ the best. They are people in heaven who we look up to.
See praying to Mary for further information.”

    To honor is to a very different thing than praying to a dead person, even if his soul is alive in heaven – Jesus said to pray to God. To pray to anything else is idolatry. See my response to praying to Mary for further discussion.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where does the Bible teach that a dead person can intercede for the living?”

    You responded, “Revelation 5:8”

    See my response to praying to Mary for more discussion on this.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where does the Bible teach about purgatory?”

    You responded, “The concept of an after-death purification from sin and the consequences of sin is stated in the New Testament in passages such as 1 Corinthians 3:11–15 and Matthew 5:25–26, 12:31–32.”

    Let us look at those passages.
    1 Corinthians 3:11-15

    11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

    This passage refers to our works being tested – not purification.

    Matthew 5:25-26,

    25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

    This does not refer to purification, but to being responsible for our actions (debts).

    Matthew12:31-32

    31 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

    This passage speaks of forgiveness for everything but the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (which is probably speaking of not agreeing, until we die, with God about Christ being sent by Him to suffer and die for our sins).

    None of this speaks to purgatory.

    Your response continues, “The doctrine: (1) that a purification after death exists, (2) that it involves some kind of pain, and (3) that the purification can be assisted by the prayers and offerings by the living to God.”

    There is a test after death of our actions, but not a purification. Christ purifies us when we come to faith (Titus 2:14). Those whose names are not written in the book of life have no faith and will go to the lake of Fire (Revelation 2:10, 21:7, 20:15). Since we are each responsible for our own sins, no one can change whether one gets into heaven except the person himself before death (Deuteronomy 24:16 ; Ezekiel 18:20 ; Luke 16:19-31; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10; Revelation 20:12-13). Faith in Christ takes away our sins, not prayers by others (Hebrews 9:28). The only thing we need to have eternal life is faith in Christ (John 3:14-18, 3:36, 5:24-25, 6:40). See https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/what-does-the-bible-say-about-purgatory/ for further discussion.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where does the Bible teach that churches should use the bones of dead men in any type of religious manner?”

    You responded, “It doesn’t, but doesn’t have to. This is a tradition. But we really revere our heroes and this is one way we show it.
”

    It strikes me as idolatry, which God told us to not do.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where does the Bible teach that the churches used indulgences?”

    You responded, “An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishment due for their sins. Simply, we know that sin results in guilt and punishment. Punishments are both temporal and eternal. Temporal penalties can remain when sins are forgiven. God blesses some people as a reward to others (as God promised Abraham in the scene outside Sodom(Gen 18). God remits temporal punishments through the Church (John 20:21-23). God blesses dead Christians as a reward to live Christians (2 Maccabees 12:42)”

    The problem with this idea is that it goes against each person being responsible for his actions. See previous discussion on praying for the dead.

    God chooses to bless people, on the basis of His own choice and purpose, but one thing we know is that God blesses people of faith (Galatians 3:9). God forgives sin in the same way believers forgive them (the disciples were breathed upon, not necessarily just the apostles in John 20). There is no mention of temporal punishment in John 20, merely forgiveness. There ARE natural consequences to our choices, including sin, but this is not punishment.

    As for trying to use 2 Maccabees as proof for anything, it is plainly evident that this book goes against what God has written about not speaking for idolators (Isaiah 44:9). Idol worshippers will not get into heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), and its clear that we are each responsible before God for our own actions (Deuteronomy 24:16 ; Ezekiel 18:20 ; Luke 16:19-31; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10; Revelation 20:12-13). The actions of others will not affect our standing with God. See https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/what-does-the-bible-say-about-purgatory/ for more discussion.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where in the Bible do we find even one example of a Catholic mass being conducted or even described?”

    You responded, “If Christ established the mass and if it is central to the Christian faith as Rome claims, why is there not one example of it in the book of Acts and the New Testament epistles? Where in the Bible is your worship described? At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us. Most of the book of Revelation describes the Mass.”

    In one of the comments to the post, I wrote that I find no Biblical evidence of what a church service should look like. The closest we come is following the model of Jewish meetings in the synagogue and we know that it involved teaching God’s word.

    Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper, or Eucharist, as a remembrance of Him and what He did (Luke 22:19), not to perpetuate His sacrifice. It is clear from Hebrews 10:10 that Christ made His sacrifice once for all. In John 6, Jesus used the fact that he had just fed the crowd bread to move them towards thinking about eternal life. When they responded with the fact that Moses had given their ancestors manna, Jesus told them it was not Moses, but God. Then He went on to say in verse 35, He said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty”. Obviously people who come to Christ still need to eat and drink. Notice in verse 63, Jesus said His words were spiritual. So although He is the living Bread from heaven, He was speaking spiritually. We see in Matthew 26:26-29 (cp Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:17-20) that Jesus said the bread was His body and the wine was His blood, but He called the wine what it was, “fruit of the vine” AFTER He called it His blood of the covenant. It was wine before, during, and after the Lord’s Supper. If Jesus had been speaking literally, His sacrifice would not have been necessary. Yet, we know it WAS necessary that he suffer and die, that His blood be spilled and His body be sacrificed. Paul called Him our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:1-8). Obviously He was not a lamb, but he was sacrificed like the passover lamb – it is an analogy. So this was yet another analogy, a symbol, of what was necessary for people who believe to have eternal life. He was telling them that HE was the Passover Lamb, which needed to be sacrificed so that those who believed could have eternal life.
    See https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/07/20/transubstantiation/ and https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/09/29/the_lords_supper_eucharist_and_wine_body_and_blood_of_christ_or_analogy/ for more discussion.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where in the Bible do we find Christians taking the Lord’s supper by partaking of the bread alone without the wine or grape juice?”

    You responded, “It doesn’t have to. This is a tradition which is not in practice very much today. Mostly it was done for sanitary reasons. “

    But you see, others have ways of celebrating the Lord’s supper so both bread and wine are used in a sanitary manner. This is more of the church teaching things that are go against scripture.

    You continued, ”And it’s not the Lord’s supper, it’s the Eucharist. The body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ completely in the bread and completely in the wine.”

    Actually, Paul called it the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:20, even in the Catholic Bible, New American Bible (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__PZG.HTM).

    As for it being the body, soul, and divinity of Christ completely in the bread and wine, this goes against what the Bible teaches. See previous discussion of Lord’s Supper.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where in the Bible does Paul or any of the early church leaders teach that there are seven sacraments?”

    First let me say that the Catholic church teaches that the sacraments confer grace to the recipient. However, scripture says that from the fullness of Christ’s grace we receive one blessing after another (John 1:16-17). It is the grace of God that brings salvation (Titus 2:11), not something we or others do. We are chosen by God’s grace (Romans 5:2). God gives us grace to believe, be justified, and be saved (Romans 5:2; Acts 15:11; Titus 3:7; Romans 3:24; Ephesians 2:5-6). Christ determines the grace we are to receive, no one else (Ephesians 2:8). We are saved because of God’s purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began (2 Timothy 1:9). Christ died for our sins by the grace of God (Hebrews 2:9). We need to understand the grace of God in all its truth (Colossians 1:6). God gives us eternal encouragement and hope by His grace (2 Thessalonians 2:16). In fact, we are TOLD to approach the throne of grace (the throne of God) with confidence so we can receive mercy and grace in times of need (Hebrews 4:16). Our hearts are to be strengthened by the grace of God (Hebrews 13:9), rather than ceremonial foods (such as the Eucharist). God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). We are given different spiritual gifts by God’s grace (Romans 12:6), and are to use whatever gift we have received to faithfully administer the grace of God (1 Peter 4:10). We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18), based on context, we do this by making every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him (2 Peter 3:14). We do by not being carried away by the error of lawless men (2 Peter 3:17); we are not to change the grace of God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior (Jude 1:4). Our conversation is to be full of grace (Colossians 4:6). But no where does the Bible teach that doing something or someone else doing something confers grace.

    You responded, “Baptism Matt. 28:19”

    Matthew 28:19-20

    19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

    Notice, this verse does not speak of conferring grace. This speaks of the Great Commission, what we are told to do – make disciples, them having evidence of repentance, and teaching them what God has commanded.

    We are told of the need to repent and be baptized because we have had our sins forgiven (Acts 2:38), and we are to perform deeds appropriate to repentance (Acts 26:20). As for baptism, we see that John baptized with water, but Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8). We see that after the Gentiles believed in Christ, the Holy Spirit filled them, then they were baptized with water (Acts 10:38-48). It is possible to be disciples and not believe, but when they learned of Jesus they were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, to the point that as Paul laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 19:1-7). Baptism in Christ symbolizes being buried with Christ (Romans 6:3). Baptism does not save us, but an appeal to God in good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ does (1 Peter 3:21).

    No where do we see baptism conferring grace to or upon someone. In fact, we are saved through faith in the work of Jesus Christ, as we see in 1 Peter 3:21.

    You further wrote, “Confirmation: Acts 8:14–17, 9:17, 19:6, and Hebrews 6:2, which speak of a laying on of hands for the purpose of bestowing the Holy Spirit.”

    Each of these verses speaks of laying on of hands so people can receive the Holy Spirit, or teaching about the laying on of hands. I find it interesting that confirmation is the third sacrament (after baptism and the Eucharist). Scripture teaches the need to repent (change one’s mind about God having sent Jesus Christ) and then be show evidence of repentance be it through confessing Christ, water baptism, or other deeds appropriate to repentance (Romans 10:9; Acts 2:38; Acts 26:20).

    But as for when and how the Holy Spirit comes upon someone, this is not as clear cut. There are examples of people coming to faith, being baptized with the Holy Spirit, following which they are baptized with water (Acts 10:38-48). There are also examples of people coming to faith, being baptized with water, and then being baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17). Sometimes there was laying on of hands for the Holy Spirit to come upon them (Acts 9:17-18). Sometimes the Holy Spirit came upon the believers without any intervention (Acts 10:38-48). It may be that the laying on of hands upon people while they baptized in the name of the Lord causes the Holy Spirit to come upon them (Acts 19:1-7).

    But I don’t see where this confers grace upon them, since we are told grace comes from God to believe and be saved.

    You continued, “Reconciliation: Matt. 6:12 John 20:21-23”

    Matthew 6:12 speaks of asking God to forgive our sins in the same way we forgive others. Also note that this was given to Jesus’ disciples, not the 12.

    12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

    John 20:21-23

    21So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

    This verse also does not tell us that when disciples forgive sins that this causes God to forgive those sins. What is says is that if disciples forgive sins, it is because they have been forgiven in heaven, and if they do not, it is because they have not been forgiven in heaven.

    “Holy Orders: The sacrament of holy orders is conferred in three ranks of clergy: bishops, priests, and deacons.
    Bishops (episcopoi) have the care of multiple congregations and appoint, ordain, and discipline priests and deacons. They sometimes appear to be called “evangelists” in the New Testament. Examples of first-century bishops include Timothy and Titus (1 Tim. 5:19–22; 2 Tim. 4:5; Titus 1:5).
    Priests (presbuteroi) are also known as “presbyters” or “elders.” In fact, the English term “priest” is simply a contraction of the Greek word presbuteros. They have the responsibility of teaching, governing, and providing the sacraments in a given congregation (1 Tim. 5:17; Jas. 5:14–15).
    Deacons (diakonoi) are the assistants of the bishops and are responsible for teaching and administering certain Church tasks, such as the distribution of food (Acts 6:1–6).”

    So the Catholic church teaches that Bishops and Priests are different offices, with different roles.

    But while evangelists and pastors/priests/elders are different offices (Ephesians 4:11), a bishop is not the same thing as an evangelist. In fact, even though different Greek words are used for bishop (episcopoi) and priest/pastor/elder (presbuteroi), they are the same thing. We see this in Acts 20:17-28, where presbuteros is used when Paul called the elders together, Paul said that God had made them episkopos, or overseers, and they were to shepherd (or feed) the church of God. This can also be seen in Titus 1, where Paul used the term presbuteros and episkopos interchangeably – in verse 5 we are told Titus was to appoint elders (presbuteros), beginning to give the qualifications for office, and then in verse 7 we see that Paul said “For the overseer” (episkopos) and continues to give more qualifications. Their jobs can include directing the affairs of the church, take care of God’s church, preaching and teaching sound doctrine from the word of God, refuting those who oppose sound doctrine, anoint and pray for the sick, and protecting the sheep (Acts 20:28-31; 1 Timothy 3:5, 5:7; Titus 1:9).

    The Greek word for evangelist is Euaggelistes. This is one who is a bringer of good tidings, one who is a herald of salvation through Christ who is not an apostle ( http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=2099&version=nas ). Their job is to preach the Word, correcting, rebuking, encouraging with great patience and instruction (2 Timothy 4:2). While the evangelist is a preacher, teaching people, he is not an elder or overseer, but an elder/pastor/priest is an overseer/bishop.

    I do agree the deacon is to serve the church and help the elder/overseer/bishop/pastor/priest.

    “Eucharist: John 6:51–56”

    Please see previous discussion of Lord’s Supper or Eucharist.

    “Matrimony: Need I really explain this one?”

    No. But I see no where that marriage confers grace. It is good to be single (1 Corinthians 7:1). It DOES help us not fall into sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 7:2, 8-9), but being single allows one to be devoted to God (1 Corinthians 7:32-34). But no where do I see where it confers grace.

    “Anointing: “This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord” (Mark 6:13; Jas. 5:14-15).

    .Both of these speak of anointing the sick and praying for them. But this does not mention anything about conferring grace.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where in the Bible do we find the churches practicing the sacrament of confirmation?”

    You responded, “See above”

    Thanks.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where in the Bible do we find the churches practicing any sort of extreme unction or last rites as a sacrament?

    You responded, “See above”

    Actually, I do not understand how the church thinks such a thing as last rites are needed.

    We are each responsible for our own sins (Deuteronomy 24:16; Jeremiah 31:30; Jude 1:15; Revelation 20:12-13). We get eternal life based upon faith in Christ (John 3:16). We are considered righteous by God when we come to faith (Romans 3:22, 4:5), justified and sanctified by faith (Galatians 3:24; Acts 26:17-18), with our sins forgiven when we believe in Christ as our Savior (Acts 10:43; Ephesians 1:7). Given that when we come to faith in Christ as our Savior, we are redeemed, all our sins are forgiven, we are justified, declared righteous, sanctified, what use would a last rite have?

    ==

    I wrote, “Where in the Bible do we find the prayer of the rosary? “

    You responded, “The rosary is almost entirely scriptural. Apostles Creed, the Lord’s prayer, the Hail Mary (from Luke chapter 1), and meditations on the events in Christ’s life.”

    Yet, it is a series of prayers, repeated – many words. We are told to not babble or use repetition in prayer like pagans who think their prayers will be heard because of their many words, because God knows what we need before we ask, as we see in Matthew 6:7-8

    7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    ==

    I wrote, “Where in the Bible do we find that New Testament churches are to conduct elaborate rituals and ceremonies after the fashion of Rome?”

    You responded, “It doesn’t, specifically, but the liturgies celebrated in the Temple built by Solomon were pretty elaborate. This is not a requirement of the mass.”

    Thanks. I really don’t have anything against it. It was just part of the list of questions I copied from somewhere else.

    ==

    I asked, “Where in the Bible do we find that the headquarters for the church is to be in Rome? “

    “Doesn’t have to. This is in reverence to St. Peter, who ended up dying in Rome. There, his successor was chosen. There, the headquarters of the Church remains.”

    Part of the problem I have with this is the idea that Peter was ever head of the church. See previous discussion.

    Another problem I have with it is that historically, until the bishop of Rome tried to establish a centralized hierarchy in the church, all churches were guided by Bishops. These bishops would have the churches of a particular geographic area under their care. All bishops were considered to be the same level. In some cases, there were bishops who guided other bishops – much like a pastor of pastors. But these bishops were still at the same level of authority as all other bishops – there was no hierarchy as exists in the Roman Catholic Church. It was through agreements of the majority of bishops that major doctrinal issues were decided. The bishop of bishops of an area is known as a Partriach or an archbishop or a metropolitan. The bishop of Rome was considered to be at the same level as the patriarchs who guided churches of various regions – one among equals. The patriarch of Rome was given the honor of “first place in honor” because of its influence in the Roman Empire. But this was an honor, not a rank or position of leadership.
    See https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/the-split-between-roman-catholic-and-orthodox-churches/ for more discussion on this.

    ==

    Indulgences, purgatory, transubstantiation, immaculate conception, papal supremacy, papal infallibility, perpetual virginity of Mary, Mary as co-mediatrix/co-redemptrix, tradition equal to scripture, works oriented salvation, priestly confessions, repetitive prayers through the rosary, prayer for the dead, removing the 2nd commandment the Decalogue, the assumption of Mary, etc. All explained or proven false.

    I didn’t mention of immaculate conception, papal supremacy, papal infallibility, perpetual virginity of Mary, Mary as co-mediatrix/co-redemptrix, tradition equal to scripture, or works oriented salvation in your comment.

    ==

    Regarding the Decalogue, when did you ever hear of a Catholic referring to the 9 commandments??? There’s 10, and actually more than 10, it’s a difference of division.

    Well, yes there are 613 commandments in the Mosaic Law.

    However, we are speaking of the ten taught to most people. Roman Catholics subsume the order to not have idols under the 1st commandment, and make two out of the command to not covet ( http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/command.htm ), based upon Augustine (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04153a.htm ), whereas Protestants and Orthodox Catholics separate the command to not have other gods before Him from the command to not make idols, and hold to one command on not coveting ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments ). Why the change? Could it be because of the felt necessity to use statues and Christ on the cross, in a time when the church was making it hard (if not impossible) for the average person to read the Bible? I really wonder about this.

    You wrote, “Regarding the assumption of Mary, Some people think Catholics believe Mary “ascended” into heaven. That’s not correct. Christ, by his own power, ascended into heaven. Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God. She didn’t do it under her own power. Some people think Catholics believe Mary “ascended” into heaven. That’s not correct. Christ, by his own power, ascended into heaven. Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God. She didn’t do it under her own power.”

    This is interesting, because Epiphanius of Salamis stated in AD 377 that no one knew Mary’s fate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assumption_of_Mary ). It was not until the 4th or 5th century that the idea of Mary having been assumed into heaven began to be propogated when apocryphal treatise De Obitu S. Dominae (which was falsely attributed to the apostle John) , and Transitus, id est Assumptio sanctae Mariae was circulated. It was not until the the mid 600s that the idea was mentioned in Roman Catholic writings, and not until the 700s that the idea was mentioned in the writings of Orthodox Catholics. In 495 A.D., Pope Gelasius issued a decree which rejected the book which taught the assumption of Mary as heresy, labeling those who put forward the idea as heretics (see Liber qui appellatur Transitus, id est Assumptio sanctae Mariae, apocryphus under books to not be received http://www.christiantruth.com/gelasiusdecretum.html ). In 520 AD, Pope Hormisdas issued his own decree reaffirming the one put forth by Gelasius also condemning the book which taught the the assumption of Mary and its authors as heretical (http://www.christiantruth.com/hormisdasdecretum.html ).

  11. OK, great long answer that I don’t have time to read all of.
    Regarding your comment about traditions and going against the Bible, there is nothing that it really taught by the Catholic Church that goes against what the Bible says.

    I read your blog article on the Petros petra argument. What you’re missing is that Christ called Simon bar Jonah neither petros nor petra. The gospel of John tells us that he was named in Aramaic “Kephas” which is translated into Greek as Petra, and normalized to the male Petros. Also, Jesus often used backdrops. The Matthew 16:18 verse takes place at a place called Panius, a stone cliff with niches in it dedicated to the god Pan, renamed to Caeserea Phillipi.

    Beyond the grammatical evidence, the structure of the narrative does not allow for a downplaying of Peter’s role in the Church. Look at the way Matthew 16:15-19 is structured. After Peter gives a confession about the identity of Jesus, the Lord does the same in return for Peter. Jesus does not say, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are an insignificant pebble and on this rock I will build my Church. . . . I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is giving Peter a three-fold blessing, including the gift of the keys to the kingdom, not undermining his authority. To say that Jesus is downplaying Peter flies in the face of the context. Jesus is installing Peter as a form of chief steward or prime minister under the King of Kings by giving him the keys to the kingdom. As can be seen in Isaiah 22:22, kings in the Old Testament appointed a chief steward to serve under them in a position of great authority to rule over the inhabitants of the kingdom. Jesus quotes almost verbatum from this passage in Isaiah, and so it is clear what he has in mind. He is raising Peter up as a father figure to the household of faith (Is. 22:21), to lead them and guide the flock (John 21:15-17). This authority of the prime minister under the king was passed on from one man to another down through the ages by the giving of the keys, which were worn on the shoulder as a sign of authority. Likewise, the authority of Peter has been passed down for 2000 years by means of the papacy.

    Let’s look now at the office of the Papacy:

    What is the true job description of the Pope and what’s the origin and nature of his authority?

    First, let’s start with what the Pope is not. The Catholic Church is not a multi-national corporation with the Pope as CEO. Neither is it a federal republic with the Pope as king or president.

    Primarily, the Church is a community of disciples. In the New Testament, Christians are most frequently referred to as the brothers and sisters. So this community is a spiritual family. No wonder, then, why its worldwide leader is called “Holy Father.” In fact the word Pope is just an English translation of “Papa.”

    The best way to get a handle on the role of the Pope is to go back to the gospels. Jesus had numerous disciples, including Mary Magdalene, Lazarus, and many others. But from these he chose twelve to whom he entrusted special responsibility. He gave them power to sanctify through the sacraments which they were to administer (John 20:21, Luke 22:19), the authority to teach what they’d received from him (Matthew 28:20), and power to govern the life of the Church (Matt 18:18).

    Then from their number he chose one whose name he changed from Simon to Cephas or Peter, meaning “Rock” (Mat 16: 18). This should tip us off right away of the unique role of this apostle, for this is the only instance recorded in the four gospels of a name change initiated by Jesus. When God changes someone’s name in the Old Testament, its always indicative of a special role in God’s unfolding plan (e.g. Abram to Abraham).

    Nearly every book of the New Testament notes the special role of this apostle, even if the book is written by another apostolic hero. Out of respect, the Beloved Disciple allows Peter to enter the empty tomb first (Jn 20:5-6) making Peter the first official, apostolic witness of the resurrection. Paul, the apostle “born out of normal course,” feels no obligation to spend time with any of the apostles except Peter (Gal 1:18). When it is time to proclaim the resurrection to the people of Jerusalem, it is Peter who is the apostles’ spokesman. Peter’s role is so preeminent that Acts even speaks of Peter and “the Eleven” (Acts 2:14).

    This does not mean that Peter was naturally stronger than the others. All four gospels tell the story of his denial as a perpetual reminder of his inability to live up to his name by his own power. It is only after the Spirit is poured out at Pentecost (Acts 2) that we see him able to fulfill his role. The Lord actually allowed him to experience his own weakness, predicted his fall and commanded him, once he’d been converted and empowered by the Spirit, to strengthen the faith of his brother apostles (Lk 22:32).

    Peter and the other apostles held fast to their profession of faith, in many cases witnessing to it by their blood. Though their role as eyewitnesses to the Lord’s resurrection was unrepeatable, their ministry of sanctification, teaching, and leading the community of disciples had to carried on by others of their choosing, usually called “bishops” in the New Testament. These bishops needed a visible center, head and spokesman who would continue the role of Peter in the Church. Since Peter gave his life for Christ in Rome, the bishop of the Roman Church was seen as the successor of Peter, the “Father” not only of the Christians in the Imperial city, but everywhere.

    • David,

      We don’t have the Hebrew or Aramaic original (there is no certainty which it was), but God has chosen to maintain for us the translation from the Greek. This Greek version, which may have been translated by Matthew himself, shows the word play Jesus used to show the faith Peter had, and that we all must have, and the fact that Christ, the Rock, was the Rock upon which the Church was built. He was considered one among equals, which can be repeatedly seen through out the New Testament (Matthew 17:1; Mark 5:37; Mark 9:2; Mark 14:33; Luke 8:51; Luke 9:28; Galatians 2:9). Indeed, the ‘pillars’ of the Church were James, Peter, and John (Galatians 2:9). While Peter was mentioned first in the Gospels, this was not the case in Galatians, so it is unlikely anything can be made from that. While we CAN recognize that Peter himself said that CHRIST was the Rock upon which the Church was built (Acts 4:8-12; 1 Peter 2:5-8). All the prophets and apostles were also foundational stones (Ephesians 2:19-22). To elevate Peter above any other apostle is to ignore the rest of Scripture.

      You mentioned you believe that Christ was speaking to just Peter when He said “I will give you the keys…” But He was not just speaking to Peter. The conversation started with Him speaking to all His disciples and ended with Him speaking to all His disciples. We know this by seeing that this same thing is written in Matthew 18:18, where He is speaking to His disciples, not just Peter. All believers have these keys – the belief in the Son of God. Just as He was not just speaking to Peter about the binding and loosening, neither was He speaking just to Peter when He said “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.” The keys open and close the gate to the kingdom of heaven – the ability to enter Heaven. As you know, one gets this ability by believing Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Everyone who believes has these keys.

      So no. The RCC has tried to usurp power that was never vested in Peter that was not also vested in other believers. On the basis of that usurption, the RCC has claimed power that was never theirs to have.

      The Pope is essentially the leader of a group of leaders who are elected by those leaders, and he leads the believers in the RCC. They are considered a spiritual family, but led by one man none-the-less. Once there, he sets the direction of the RCC, and has the ability to set doctrine merely by writing a letter.

      I agree the name change of Peter is important, it shows the change Peter had undergone to believe. However, its obvious that faith was not complete, because he denied Christ three times – even after Christ said they believe at last in John 16:31. It was not until Jesus was resurrected and showed Himself to the disciples that they believed (Luke 24:36-43).

      You are reading into the scriptures when you say it was out of respect that the other disciple that Jesus loved did not go in first. It may have been that, or it may have been fear or who knows what. But in fact, although the other disciple that Jesus loved did not go in first, he was the first apostle to see the linens lying there (Jn 20:5).

      Churches other than those in the diocese of Rome were not looking to Rome until later in history. The churches were divided geographically, organized under five patriarchs, the bishops of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople and Rome. The Bishop of Rome was recognized by all the Patriarchs as “the first among equals.” Part of the reason for the schism between the East and West had to do with the power grab made by Rome. The Orthodox church still holds that the bishop of rome is first among equals and is not to be considered the vicar of the Universal Church. The Pope no longer uses the title “Patriarch of the West”. http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/HilarionPope.php There never was a valid single leader of the Universal Church. To my knowledge, there is no evidence Peter founded or even led the church in Rome. I understand the connection between Peter and bishop of Rome was not even made explicit by the Church until the reign of Leo I during the fifth century.

  12. “Please show me where you find this information about the Church Fathers? ”

    OK, but just a few:

    Pope Clement I

    “Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved; and especially that abominable and unholy sedition, alien and foreign to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-willed persons have inflamed to such madness that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be loved by all men, has been greatly defamed. . . . Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us [i.e., that you must reinstate your leaders], let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger. . . . You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy” (Letter to the Corinthians 1, 58–59, 63 [A.D. 80]).

    Hermas

    “Therefore shall you [Hermas] write two little books and send one to Clement [Bishop of Rome] and one to Grapte. Clement shall then send it to the cities abroad, because that is his duty” (The Shepherd 2:4:3 [A.D. 80]).

    Ignatius of Antioch

    “Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father” (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D. 110]).

    “You [the church at Rome] have envied no one, but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force” (Letter to the Romans 3:1).

    Dionysius of Corinth

    “For from the beginning it has been your custom to do good to all the brethren in various ways and to send contributions to all the churches in every city. . . . This custom your blessed Bishop Soter has not only preserved, but is augmenting, by furnishing an abundance of supplies to the saints and by urging with consoling words, as a loving father his children, the brethren who are journeying” (Letter to Pope Soter in Eusebius, Church History 4:23:9 [A.D. 170]).

    “Today we have observed the Lord’s holy day, in which we have read your letter [Pope Soter]. Whenever we do read it [in church], we shall be able to profit thereby, as also we do when we read the earlier letter written to us by Clement” (Letter to Pope Soter in Eusebius, Church History, 4:23:11).

    The Martyrs of Lyons

    “And when a dissension arose about these said people [the Montanists], the brethren in Gaul once more . . . [sent letters] to the brethren in Asia and Phrygia and, moreover to Eleutherius, who was then [A.D. 175] bishop of the Romans, negotiating for the peace of the churches” (Eusebius, Church History 5:3:4 [A.D. 312])

    “And the same martyrs too commended Irenaeus, already at that time [A.D. 175] a presbyter of the community of Lyons, to the said bishop of Rome, rendering abundant testimony to the man, as the following expressions show: ‘Once more and always we pray that you may rejoice in God, Pope Eleutherius. This letter we have charged our brother and companion Irenaeus to convey to you, and we beg you to receive him as zealous for the covenant of Christ’” (Eusebius, Church History, 5:4:1–2).

    Irenaeus

    “But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition” (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]).

    Eusebius of Caesarea

    “A question of no small importance arose at that time [A.D. 190]. For the parishes of all Asia [Minor], as from an older tradition held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should be observed as the feast of the Savior’s Passover. . . . But it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world . . . as they observed the practice which, from apostolic tradition, has prevailed to the present time, of terminating the fast [of Lent] on no other day than on that of the resurrection of the Savior [Sunday]. Synods and assemblies of bishops were held on this account, and all, with one consent, through mutual correspondence drew up an ecclesiastical decree that the mystery of the resurrection of the Lord should be celebrated on no other but the Lord’s day and that we should observe the close of the paschal fast on this day only. . . . Thereupon [Pope] Victor, who presided over the church at Rome, immediately attempted to cut off from the community the parishes of all Asia [Minor], with the churches that agreed with them, as heterodox. And he wrote letters and declared all the brethren there wholly excommunicate. But this did not please all the bishops, and they besought him to consider the things of peace and of neighborly unity and love. . . . [Irenaeus] fittingly admonishes Victor that he should not cut off whole churches of God which observed the tradition of an ancient custom” (Church History 5:23:1–24:11).

    “Thus then did Irenaeus entreat and negotiate [with Pope Victor] on behalf of the peace of the churches—[Irenaeus being] a man well-named, for he was a peacemaker both in name and character. And he corresponded by letter not only with Victor, but also with very many and various rulers of churches” (Church History, 24:18).

    Cyprian of Carthage

    “The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]). … On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?” (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

    “Cyprian to [Pope] Cornelius, his brother. Greeting. . . . We decided to send and are sending a letter to you from all throughout the province [where I am] so that all our colleagues might give their decided approval and support to you and to your communion, that is, to both the unity and the charity of the Catholic Church” (Letters 48:1, 3 [A.D. 253]).

    “Cyprian to Antonian, his brother. Greeting … You wrote … that I should forward a copy of the same letter to our colleague [Pope] Cornelius, so that, laying aside all anxiety, he might at once know that you held communion with him, that is, with the Catholic Church” (Letters, 55[52]:1).

    “Cornelius was made bishop by the decision of God and of his Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the applause of the people then present, by the college of venerable priests and good men … when the place of Fabian, which is the place of Peter, the dignity of the sacerdotal chair, was vacant. Since it has been occupied both at the will of God and with the ratified consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to become bishop must do so outside [the Church]. For he cannot have ecclesiastical rank who does not hold to the unity of the Church” (Letters, 55[52]:8).

    “With a false bishop appointed for themselves by heretics, they dare even to set sail and carry letters from schismatics and b.asphemers to the chair of Peter and to the principal church [at Rome], in which sacerdotal unity has its source” (Letters, 59:14).

  13. BTW, thank you for honest dialog. I appreciate it!

    • Good stuff, David! Thanks. I dont have time to read them in depth right now, but my one or two readers might like to read them, so I approved them before I”m ready to respond. :)

  14. We do have the gospel of John, where Simon is called Cephas, the Aramaic.. John 1:42 “…so you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). Also, in Matthew, Jesus speaks Aramaic from the cross. And four times in Galatians and four times in 1 Corinthians—we have the Aramaic form of Simon’s new name preserved for us. In our English Bibles it comes out as Cephas. That isn’t Greek. That’s a transliteration of the Aramaic word Kepha (rendered as Kephas in its Hellenistic form). When you understand what the Aramaic says, you see that Jesus was equating Simon and the rock; he wasn’t contrasting them. We see this vividly in some modern English translations, which render the verse this way: ‘You are Rock, and upon this rock I will build my church.’ In French one word, pierre, has always been used both for Simon’s new name and for the rock.
    Regarding binding and loosing, Peter was givien authority to bind and loose on earth, an authority which will be confirmed in heaven. Binding and loosing has a variety of meanings, among them that of giving authoritative teaching. This promise is made to Peter directly after he has confessed Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16), a confession that he has made as the result of revelation given to him by the heavenly Father
    Regarding the keys, in those times, you didn’t just give keys to everyone. They were given to Peter, singularly being spoken to by Christ. The conversation started, as you say, by Jesus asking all of his disciples Who do people say that I am? And Who do you (plural) say that I am? Peter alone answered the question, and it was Peter alone whom Christ renamed, Peter alone whom he gave the keys to. The significance of God bestowing a new name on someone is clear. It’s the only one in the New Testament. This has been the belief of the Church since its earliest times.

    You stated: “Everyone who believes has these keys.
    “…Satan believes that Jesus is God. Does he have the keys? I don’t think so. Peter is the gate keeper.

    Peter’s faith was not complete, indeed. That happened when Jesus sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, which is when the Church was actually born.

    You say I’m reading into the scriptures, this is what our scholarship has taught. There is a reason that Peter is always mentioned first, there’s a reason why he’s often singled out (walking on water) or otherwise highlighted. This is because he was the primary apostle.

    Whenever they were named, Peter headed the list (Matt. 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13); sometimes the apostles were referred to as “Peter and those who were with him” (Luke 9:32). Peter was the one who generally spoke for the apostles (Matt. 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, John 6:68-69), and he figured in many of the most dramatic scenes (Matt. 14:28-32, Matt. 17:24-27, Mark 10:23-28). On Pentecost it was Peter who first preached to the crowds (Acts 2:14-40), and he worked the first healing in the Church age (Acts 3:6-7). It is Peter’s faith that will strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32) and Peter is given Christ’s flock to shepherd (John 21:17). An angel was sent to announce the resurrection to Peter (Mark 16:7), and the risen Christ first appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34). He headed the meeting that elected Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:13-26), and he received the first converts (Acts 2:41). He inflicted the first punishment (Acts 5:1-11), and excommunicated the first heretic (Acts 8:18-23). He led the first council in Jerusalem (Acts 15), and announced the first dogmatic decision (Acts 15:7-11). It was to Peter that the revelation came that Gentiles were to be baptized and accepted as Christians (Acts 10:46-48).

    You are correct that there were 5 geographical divisions in the church, but the quotes I have given show that the primacy was always Rome. Yes, first among equals, as it is today. Absolutely. Benedict is the Bishop of Rome first. On equal footing with the Archbishop of Detroit, Washington, Paris, etc.

    I think you are making too much of the importance of the Pope. This has changed over time, but the pope has always been the head shepherd of the flock-a teacher first and foremost. I would suggest you Google “Lumen Gentium”. Maybe it will explain the role of the leaders a bit better.

    • thanks for this reply. I need to look @ rhe Hebrew & Aramaic & Greek of the passages you mention, sice there seems to be onky one word in Aramiac for rock, but many for it in Hebrew & more than one in Greek. I think it would prove interesting. I’m curious as to whether the “Hebrew” of NT times was Aramaic or not. This question is in dispute.

      I’m on my phone right now, so its hard to do much research. I need to verify, but I think there is only one instance of the apostles being names where Peter is not first. There is definitely something of respect there, but the question is whether it was because he was the leader or simply the first to have the truth opened to him. In this regard, i can see both bring viable options. But this brings me to why the Orthodox do not believe Peter was the leader of the entire Church? This was of utmost importance to them, and they were much closer to the issue & time than I.

  15. I wrote, “Where does the Bible say that New Testament priests are ordained after the order of Melchizedek?”
    You responded, “Psalms 110, might be 109 for you.
”
    But that is CHRIST being a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. No where does it mention others being made priests like Christ?

    Melchizedek is the precedent, Deuteronomy 34:9 shows how “Moses laid hands on Joshua and so the people of Israel obeyed him, and did as the Lord commanded” shows how Holy Orders are passed down. The root answer to your question is really John 20: 19-22 and Acts 6:6-7 shows the ministerial priesthood that our priests today are.

    As St. Thomas Aquinas said “Christ is the high priests, all others are his ministers.”

    • I hear what you’re saying. But t is Christ who is a priest of the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 6:20), not others. Christ’s priesthood is permanent (Hebrews 7:24). Although, all believers ARE priests (1 Peter 2:5-9)., but I don’t see what order of priesthood believers are members of. I agree with the idea that all others (every believer) are ministers of Christ.

      So you understand ordination of deacons to be passing apostolic authority? Ok. I can understand that. I don’t think I necessarily agree, but I can see the point. I would say it is an agreement with God has already decided, a recognition of God’s authority – rather than a passing on of apostolic authority.

  16. Regarding priestly celebacy

    Celibacy is not the rule for all Catholic priests. In fact, for Eastern Rite Catholics, married priests are the norm, just as they are for Orthodox and Oriental Christians.

    Even in the Eastern churches, though, there have always been some restrictions on marriage and ordination. Although married men may become priests, unmarried priests may not marry, and married priests, if widowed, may not remarry. Moreover, there is an ancient Eastern discipline of choosing bishops from the ranks of the celibate monks, so their bishops are all unmarried.

    The tradition in the Western or Latin-Rite Church has been for priests as well as bishops to take vows of celibacy, a rule that has been firmly in place since the early Middle Ages. Even today, though, exceptions are made. For example, there are married Latin-Rite priests who are converts from Lutheranism and Episcopalianism.

    As these variations and exceptions indicate, priestly celibacy is not an unchangeable dogma but a disciplinary rule. The fact that Peter was married is no more contrary to the Catholic faith than the fact that the pastor of the nearest Maronite Catholic church is married.
    The Catholic Church does not forbid marriage. They only require a man to choose his vocation and fulfill it. It is precisely those who are uniquely “concerned about the affairs of the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:32), those to whom it has been given to “renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom” (Matt. 19:12), who are ideally suited to follow in the footsteps of those who have “left everything” to follow Christ (cf. Matt. 19:27)—the calling of the clergy and consecrated religious (i.e., monks and nuns).

    • Regarding priestly celabacy. I know other churches have other rules.

      But I still find requiring ministers to be unmarried as a rule (even with allowing exceptions) to be against what scripture teaches as the qualifications for an elder/preist/pastor – regardless of which church we are speaking.

      There is no reason a man can not fulfill his vocation as a minister of God and be married. I actually find it helpful, when dealing with issues of marriage or dealing with women.

  17. “Where does the Bible say the apostles passed on their authority through a succession?”…

    But again, this does not speak of apostolic authority – merely teaching doctrine.

    What you need to understand is that an apostle is merely (I use that word advisedly!) one who received the teaching of Christ from his mouth directly, and then passed it on to others. In other words, a teacher. In the passage from Timothy, the apostle Paul is speaking to Timothy, clearly the head of the local church (the bishop), telling him to teach faithful men in order to pass it down accurately. Remember that a bishop is just a successor to an apostle, who was commissioned to teach what Christ taught.

    • “an apostle is merely (I use that word advisedly!) one who received the teaching of Christ from his mouth directly, and then passed it on to others. In other words, a teacher”

      I have not heard that description. So then, all the disciples who learned from Christ were apostles?

  18. Remember that Bishop, Priest and Deacons are merely those commissioned to pass on the teachings of Jesus Christ faithfully.

    • I can see why there is a separation between bishop and priest, but I don’t see the separation in scripture. I dont think its necessarily against scripture (I’m not sure, as I’d have to study division of labor in the church in scripture – I know some elders were in charge of the teaching and preaching, so its possible some were in charge of administration – 1 Timothy 5:17). It may be the separation came as part of the church growth.

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

    The intercession of fellow Christians—which is what the saints in heaven are—also clearly does not interfere with Christ’s unique mediatorship because in the four verses immediately preceding 1 Timothy 2:5, Paul says that Christians should interceed: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and pleasing to God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:1–4). Clearly, then, intercessory prayers offered by Christians on behalf of others is something “good and pleasing to God,” not something infringing on Christ’s role as mediator.
    To close this out, do you ever ask your friends at Church to pray for you, or do you ever pray for someone who’s having surgery or severe challenges? Since the saints and Mary are alive to us, we’re doing the same thing.

    • There is one mediator between God and man, Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). Christ intercedes for us (Romans 8:34).

      I see your point about people in heaven interceding, but I think scripture is clear we are to pray to God.
      I also think that scripture teaches that those in heaven have no concern for this life, as I showed in a previous comment.

  20. –“There is no reason a man can not fulfill his vocation as a minister of God and be married. I actually find it helpful, when dealing with issues of marriage or dealing with women.”

    The vocation of celibacy is explicitly advocated—as well as practiced—by both Jesus and Paul.

    So far from “commanding” marriage in 1 Corinthians 7, in that very chapter Paul actually endorses celibacy for those capable of it: “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion” (7:8-9).

    It is only because of this “temptation to immorality” (7:2) that Paul gives the teaching about each man and woman having a spouse and giving each other their “conjugal rights” (7:3); he specifically clarifies, “I say this by way of concession, not of command. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another” (7:6-7, emphasis added).

    Paul even goes on to make a case for preferring celibacy to marriage: “Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. . . those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. . . . The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband” (7:27-34).

    Paul’s conclusion: He who marries “does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better” (7:38).

    Paul was not the first apostle to conclude that celibacy is, in some sense, “better” than marriage. After Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 19 on divorce and remarriage, the disciples exclaimed, “If such is the case between a man and his wife, it is better not to marry” (Matt 19:10). This remark prompted Jesus’ teaching on the value of celibacy “for the sake of the kingdom”:

    “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom it is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it” (Matt. 19:11–12).

    Notice that this sort of celibacy “for the sake of the kingdom” is a gift, a call that is not granted to all, or even most people, but is granted to some. Other people are called to marriage. It is true that too often individuals in both vocations fall short of the requirements of their state, but this does not diminish either vocation, nor does it mean that the individuals in question were “not really called” to that vocation. The sin of a priest doesn’t necessarily prove that he never should have taken a vow of celibacy, any more than the sin of a married man or woman proves that he or she never should have gotten married. It is possible for us to fall short of our own true calling.

    • I know what Jesus and Paul taught regarding celibacy and marriage. I also know the qualifications for elder/pastor/priest, and they include being the husband of one wife.

  21. –I have not heard that description. So then, all the disciples who learned from Christ were apostles?

    No, backwards. Jesus commissioned disciples, some of whom became his apostles. These received the “inside story”, the fullness of truth, and passed it on. Bishops are the successors of the apostles-every bishop can trace his roots back to an apostle. The apostles received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and proclaimed it to the world.

    • But you said an apostle is one who heard the word from Christ and passed it on. By that definition, Phillip the evangelist was an apostle. :)

      Just pulling your leg. I just wanted clarification from you.

      I think I have a decent understanding of the teaching of the church concerning apostles, bishops, and priests. I just dont agree with their teaching where bishops and priests are separate offices, or where Peter was the head of the church.

  22. -I see your point about people in heaven interceding, but I think scripture is clear we are to pray to God.
    I also think that scripture teaches that those in heaven have no concern for this life, as I showed in a previous comment.

    What is prayer? At it’s basic, it is asking someone for something. In olden times they would say “I pray thee, m’lord…” I think Revelation shows the saints in heaven receiving our prayers and passing them to Jesus.

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

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

    • I understand what the RCC teaches concerning prayer to the dead (spiritually alive), and prayers for the dead. I also know talking to people dead in the body goes against what scripture teaches – as Isaiah said, people should inquire of God, why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Isaiah 8:19.

      But as I’ve written, prayers for the dead has no bearing on what happens to one who is dead, as we are all judged based upon whom we believed in (or not) and what we did in life, according to scripture (Jude 1:14-15; Revelation 20:12-13). Prayers to the bodily dead also have no bearing on what happens, because Christ is our mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5) and both the Holy Spirit and Christ are our intercessors (Romans 8:26-34; Hebrews 7:25). With Christ and the Holy Spirit interceding on our behalf, who needs to talk to men?

  23. BTW I am enjoying this dialog. It is, truly, dialog. Not trying to convert you, or anything, just trying to set the record straight.

    • Some of your answers have been different from the way things have been presented to me before, so it makes it more interesting. I am not trying to convert you either. :) Just set the record straight on what Scripture says.

      I am enjoying the dialog also. There are some thing, as I’ve said, I have no problem with, so long as they don’t go against scripture. Others, I balk at, because they go against scripture. Sometimes, though, someone can show me something I had not considered before, which is why I like to have these dialogs. I’m always willing to learn, regardless of whether I agree with their position or not.

  24. the bible was written by man, edited by man, and interpreted by man for his own needs.

    the truth you’ve created is limiting and unproductive. it becomes more extreme relative to the norm each day. someday soon you will be given as much heed as the average cult member.

    • Its amazing how long people hve been saying the very same thing as you. And yet the Bible speaks directly to our daily lives even today. just because pople want to ginore God does not mean He is irrelevant or wrong.

  25. i have read the bible. it didn’t speak to me or to my daily life, although at the time i wanted it to. It spoke a lot about stoning, and about sacrificing animals (occasionally human animals) to god to appease him. It talked about the destruction of entire cities and the ruin of the life of Job.

    what the bible showed me was a bunch of old explanations for why the world is the way it is. there are better explanations now. i’m not ignoring god; i’m actually very open to the possibility. it’s just that so far there’s been nothing to ignore.

    • I’ve found there are many principles in Scripture that apply today. The Old Testament is full of concrete examples of who God is, what He has done, and what He wants from us and for us. The Bible is the history of God’s interaction with mankind through the eyes of one tribe of people. The New Testament is full of more spiritual truths, focusing us more on the inner man, and the outward expression of the inner man.

      I’ve also found that I am not perfect and mess up. The one who creates something is the one who sets the rules for its functioning, and God has said that He created everything and He is righteous, holy, and just, and that there will come a time when each person will be judged for their actions (Hebrews 9:27; 1 Peter 1:17; Revelation 20:12-13). But, because God is also loving, He sent His Son to suffer and die for our sins, that who ever believes could have eternal life (Jn 3:!6).

  26. you quote the bible as if it means something. the fact is, you don’t know anything about what god said or jesus did. all you know is what the bible tells you.

    where does this trust in the bible come from? do you trust the bible because the bible tells you to trust it? your entire argument is based on the assumption that the bible is telling you the truth. this is an unfounded and dangerous assumption.

    • You have two choices: believe God is big enough and powerful enough to create the universe or not.
      If you believe God created the universe, then you have two more choices: does God care enough to interact with His creation or not.
      If you believe God cares enough to interact with His creation, you have to decide if He speaks to people.
      If you believe God speaks to people, then you have to decide if He is powerful enough to have His words and actions accurately written down.
      If you believe God is powerful enough to have His words and actions accurately written down, then you have to decide if He is powerful enough to ensure His message is accurately maintained accross time, cultures, and languages.

      I think its evident from the fact that we have the Hebrew of the Old Testament, and an accurate translation of it, based upon the Dead Sea Scrolls. Its also evident that we have accurate translations of the New Testament based upon the fact that we ahve over 23 thousand copies of the the writings that go back to within a short period of when they were written.

      The Bible is an historical document – even historians will tell you that. There are more copies of the Old Testament than many secular books which are considered to be accurate, and within a shorter period of time than many other historical documents. The same is overwhelmmingly true for the New Testament.
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/08/14/is-the-bible-trustworthy/

      Archealogy has shown the accuracy of what has been written in it.
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/08/11/archeology-and-the-bible/
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/10/12/historical-accuracy-of-the-bible-did-theophilus-and-caiaphas-exist/
      https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/11/08/historical-accuracy-of-bible-links-for-research/

      *shrug* your choice.

      Its evident to me that God speaks to men and that He had men accurately transmitted the message He wanted delivered to mankind. It is also evident that God is powerful enough to ensure His message is maintained accross the centuries and various cultures.

      So yes, I DO know what God has said, done, and had written.

  27. heretic, did you know that we know EXACTLY where Peter lived, where Jesus stayed in Capernaum? We know exactly where the garden of Gethsemane is, in fact there’s an olive tree there that witnessed Jesus sweating drops of blood. We know exactly where he perfomred the miracles of the loaves and fishes-twice. We know where David is buried, we know where Peter and Paul are buried, we know where Mary lived after her son died.

    The bible is the most accurate work of its time. In some cases we have independent sources that corroborate it. We know where Moses received the 10 commandments, where he struck the rock and it gushed water. We know all these things. As wb has said, it is a historical document.

    Your choice is to believe it or to not believe it. And whichever you choose, you will be accountable at your particular judgement day.

  28. wb,
    I understand how you can struggle with Catholic teaching-a lot of people have doubts, but if we are truly Catholic, we are to believe even if we have doubts.

    For example, regarding Mary being full of grace:

    The Fathers of the Church taught that Mary received a number of distinctive blessings in order to make her a more fitting mother for Christ and the prototypical Christian (follower of Christ). These blessings included her role as the New Eve (corresponding to Christ’s role as the New Adam), her Immaculate Conception, her spiritual motherhood of all Christians, and her Assumption into heaven. These gifts were given to her by God’s grace. She did not earn them, but she possessed them nonetheless.

    The key to understanding all these graces is Mary’s role as the New Eve, which the Fathers proclaimed so forcefully. Because she is the New Eve, she, like the New Adam, was born immaculate, just as the First Adam and Eve were created immaculate. Because she is the New Eve, she is mother of the New Humanity (Christians), just as the first Eve was the mother of humanity. And, because she is the New Eve, she shares the fate of the New Adam. Whereas the First Adam and Eve died and went to dust, the New Adam and Eve were lifted up physically into heaven.

    Of particular interest in the following quotations from the Fathers are those that speak of Mary’s immaculate nature. We will all one day be rendered immaculate (sinless), but Mary, as the prototypical Christian, received this grace early. God granted her freedom from sin to make her a fitting mother for his Son.

    Even before the terms “original sin” and “immaculate conception” had been defined, early passages imply the doctrines. Many works mention that Mary gave birth to Jesus without pain. But pain in childbearing is part of the penalty of original sin (Gen. 3:16). Thus, Mary could not have been under that penalty. By God’s grace, she was immaculate in anticipation of her Son’s redemptive death on the cross. The Church therefore describes Mary as “the most excellent fruit of redemption” (CCC 508).
    Simply stated, Mary was redeemed just like every other human being must be; but unique to Mary (because of her mission to bear God incarnate in her womb), she was preserved free from the stain—i.e., the effects—of original sin. The Church does not teach that Mary was neither subject to original sin nor in need of redemption, only that God blessed her in a special way so that she was never stained by original sin. From this it also reasonably follows that by God’s grace and for His purposes, Mary lived a life free of sin as well.
    Does grace simply mean “graceful”? I must point out that the greeting of the angel Gabriel to Mary was not simply the word “grace.” Luke, writing in Greek, rendered the greeting “Caire kecaritomene” or (transliterated into our alphabet) “Chaire, kecharitomene.” The first word, “chaire,” means “rejoice,” or “hail” or “greetings.” The second word is the direct address. The direct address—like a name, nickname, or title—is the identification of the one being addressed. The most common form of direct address is a person’s name, such saying, “Dear Kate.” Gabriel, an archangel sent by God, did not address Mary by her given name, but considered “kecharitomene” her identity.
    When Origen wrote one of the first commentaries on Luke’s Gospel, he noted that this address—indeed, this verb in this form—was not used anywhere else in Scripture. The verb is “charitoo,” which means, “to grace.” The verb is also used in Ephesians 1:6. But Gabriel’s address is the only place in scripture where it is used as a perfect passive participle. The Greek perfect tense denotes a present state resulting from a past action, with both the past action (what happened) and the present state (as things are now) in view. If I were to attempt a translation of “kecharitomene,” it would be, roughly, “are graced.” Mary was graced (past action) before Gabriel arrived and her present state (what she is) follows continually from that action of God. So Gabriel said something like, “Rejoice, Are-graced!” “Are-graced” is used as Mary’s identity in the place where her name would be.
    It must be emphasized that when this Greek tense is used, the state of being which follows on the action is continual. The state of being started with the action and does not end at any time. The action was perfect and lasting if this tense is used. Mary’s “graced” existence, therefore, began with the moment she was graced (before Gabriel showed up) and did not end.

    • If Mary was free from original sin and lived a sinless life, then she needed no savior. Yet, she knew she did (Luke 1:46-47).

      We also know she needed to undergo purification, which tells us she was unclean (Luke 2:22).

      Everyone, including Mary, is a sinner (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:10.

      Mary thought Jesus was out of His mind (Mark 3:20-35).

      No, it is evident from Scripture that Mary was a sinner.

  29. i don’t argue that the bible is a historical document. it absolutely is. your false assumption, however, is that historical accuracies verify the spiritual claims put forth.

    the dead sea scrolls are clearly also historical documents. they are dated to 150 B.C at the earliest. as a result, they were written hundreds of years after the actual events that they speak of took place. they make no mention of anything in the new testament. considering this, and the fact that they are directly related to the texts we have now, they hardly count as corroboration from an external source.

    your argument for truth of the spiritual events is relentlessly circular. if you dig deep enough through the maze, it turns out the bible is always the sole source if information pertaining to the events it explains.

    wbmoore, in response to the first link you presented: the circular arguments here are in plain site.

    “Positive identification of the New Testament books was necessary because there were false accounts of Christ’s life (Luke 1:1-4) and false epistles (2 Thessalonians 2:2) being distributed”

    “The Bible testifies to itself. ”

    you have used something you read in the bible to demonstrate the truth of the bible. that’s a no-no.

    as to the prophesies, it is not acceptable evidence of a prophesy if the document in which the prophesy lies cannot be proven to have been produced before the prophesied event. the prophesy also cannot have been self fulfilling. In the case of the list you present, there is no evidence (outside the bible) that the fulfillment was not contrived to meet the prophesies. since the bible has failed to make an accurate prediction of an event that happened since its compilation, i don’t see anything compelling about this argument. It would have been very easy for an omniscient being to predict the exact date of an event such as a volcanic eruption or earthquake.

    to david,

    i would like to see your non biblical evidence of any of your claims. there is a difference between an accurate biblical description of a place (such as gethsemane) and an accurate account of the events that took place there. the fact that two of the four gospels mention a place that actually existed does not verify the rest of their stories, any more than the existence of troy verifies the story of oddyseus and the cyclops.

    i apologize for the long post, but i wanted to be thorough.

    • Thanks for your reply.

      Some of the arguments are seem circular, but internal consistency is a common method of determining whether a source is valid or not. Internal evidence is one piece of the puzzle people use when trying to determine the veracity of a source material. In and of itself it is insufficient to show whether a work is trustworthy. But if it is not internally consistent, then there is little need to go further. However, the Bible IS internally consistent.

      The argument against the Bible used to be that it was historically inaccurate and/or archaeologically had not been proven. But so much of it HAS been shown to be true that that argument no longer holds water. Some of these evidences can be seen here:
      http://www.christiananswers.net/archaeology/home.html

      However, a historical document is not just something old and purported to be true, but that is based upon events in the past. Of course, someone could try to put all the books together after the fact, but then the writing is shown to show the people they are writing about in a slanted manner. However, if you look at the things written in the BIble, it shows the both the good and the bad of the history of Israel, from Adam down to Jesus. It shows the heroes and the villains. Additionally, the Old Testament was most definitely written before the New Testament was. And the Old Testament is full of prophecies pointing to Christ. So while you might want to doubt the veracity of the Old Testament concerning the prophecies within it concerning events found later in the Old Testament, the same is much harder to do when using its prophecies concerning events surrounding Christ. Jesus Christ was written of in extra-Biblical works as well, after the fact, by non-Christians, such as Tacitus (55-120 AD), Gaius Suetonius Tranquillas, chief secretary of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD), Josephus (37-97 AD), court historian for Emperor Vespasian, Thallus, who wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean around 52 AD, Pliny the Younger, Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor around 112 AD, the Jewish Talmud, compiled between 70 and 200 AD, Acts of Pontius Pilate, reports sent from Pilate to Tiberius, referred to by Justin Martyr (150 AD),
      http://www.westarkchurchofchrist.org/library/extrabiblical.htm

      More can be seen regarding various arguments for/against the veracity of the Bible here:
      http://www.bible-history.com/links.php?cat=13&sub=90&cat_name=&subcat_name=Answers+%26+Evidence2

      I don’t expect you to believe me. Nor do I expect you to understand how anyone who is educated could believe in the Bible. You can choose to ignore what others have found, or you can choose to accept it, or you can choose to do your own investigation. I warn you though, the people I have heard or read of who did their own investigation have not only come to accept the veracity of the claims found in the Bible, but have had their lives changed because of it.

  30. “The argument against the Bible used to be that it was historically inaccurate and/or archaeologically had not been proven. But so much of it HAS been shown to be true that that argument no longer holds water.”

    i never made this argument. my argument was that the identification of specific, real places in the bible has nothing to do with verification of the supernatural claims made by the bible.

    i agree that consistency is a good way to determine if a circular argument is viciously circular. after all, no formal system can be complete, and therefore must be circular on some level. consistency is only one of the important criteria used in judging a system’s merit. two other vital criteria are scope and parsimony.

    I find that the system you define as truth is lacking in all three of these. as i said before, the truth you’ve created is limited and unproductive. it is lacking in scope. scope can be measured by two huge benchmarks: the ability to explain previously unobserved phenomena and the ability to make specific, accurate predictions of future events.

    the scope of your world has been severely limited because it is already assumed to be perfect, and therefore complete. as a result of this, you are unable to explain previously unobserved phenomena, sometimes to the extent that you do not recognize their existence. observations that are in opposition to your system cannot be assimilated, so they are ignored. this is why it is unproductive.

    it is also limited in its predictive power. except for the vague prophesies in the bible (which are to take place at undisclosed times), there are no new predictions to be made. the prophesies cannot even be tested, since they do not specify times and can therefore always be said to be just around the corner. the end of the world has been predicted hundreds of times and has clearly not happened… although harold camping seems confident that 2011 is the date. maybe this time he’ll be right.

    as for parsimony, your system allows none. a parsimonious decision would be to come up with the smallest possible system that explains all observations. the most obvious parsimonious choice would be to consider the nonexistence of god as an alternative, since there is no way at all to observe god. as it is, he exists in the cracks of our scientific understanding. we used to worship the sun (for obvious reasons), but there is no longer any need for a supernatural explanation because we have theories of nuclear fusion.

    and now on to consistency. i’m sure this is where we’ll disagree most, as the number of inconsistencies i find in the bible is staggering. this includes internal inconsistencies (such as differing descriptions of the same events by different gospels), logical inconsistencies (such as theodicy and the problem of free will vs the necessity of determinism in a world created by an all knowing being), and external inconsistencies (such as the impossibility of the ark carrying even a fraction of the known species).

    as to the extrabiblical evidence of jesus’ existence, you know for yourself it is slim.

    -tacitus mentions christos once, as the crucified leader of the christians.

    -josephus mentions jesus twice, once as “brother of james” (clearly not the correct jesus) and once in a document that is believed to be fraudulent.

    -the reference of thallus does not exist in itself, but is cited by a 2nd century document. the reference does not mention jesus, only an eclipse.

    -i had never heard of suetonius mentioning jesus. i looked it up and found this from several sources: “Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from the City.”

    -justin martyr was a christian writing a century after the events in question.

    -pliny the younger, if i remember correctly, mentions christ only as one who is worshiped by christians.

    -the talmud was compiled after the fact, and also makes no definitive reference to jesus. although it describes characters that have some similarities to jesus, they differe in both the specific details and the overall stories.

    the fact is that there is not a single contemporary non biblical reference to the existence of jesus. as to the list you wrote, that comprises about the entirety of the relevant references for the following two centuries. they are meager at best, and do not relieve the bible of its sole duty as the only evidence for christian beliefs.

    the extra biblical support you speak of simply does not exist, as these references do not mention any of the miracles or the resurrection. they therefore do not lend any credence to the prophesies made in the old testament, since the new testament and the old testament were both compiled at the same time (in the 2nd century at the earliest), there is no way to know that they were not made to agree at that point in time.

  31. wb,
    The point is that God preserved Mary from the stain of sin-by His grace, not hers. Maybe you lost these points in your reading:

    These gifts were given to her by God’s grace. She did not earn them, but she possessed them nonetheless.

    Mary was redeemed just like every other human being must be; but unique to Mary (because of her mission to bear God incarnate in her womb), she was preserved free from the stain—i.e., the effects—of original sin. The Church does not teach that Mary was neither subject to original sin nor in need of redemption, only that God blessed her in a special way so that she was never stained by original sin. From this it also reasonably follows that by God’s grace and for His purposes, Mary lived a life free of sin as well.

  32. David, after Pascha, of course, perhaps you would show me the distinctive teachings on Mary from the Church Fathers.

  33. heretic,

    Hope you had a good Easter weekend. I did.

    “i never made this argument”

    I didn’t intend you to read what I wrote as if I was trying to refute what you had written. My bad. I was trying to say that many used to use the argument that the things mentioned in Bible could not have occured since archealogy had not proven the BIble accurate. But the BIble has been shown time and again to be accurate.

    “the truth you’ve created is limited and unproductive. it is lacking in scope.”

    A few problems with your statement:
    1) I have not created anything.
    2) it is patently false, as much of what the west considers science, and the various advnaces due to it, comes monotheists, such as Muslims and Christians,
    3) Your statement assumes science and God are opposed to each other, when in fact science can only exist because of the rules God has set in motion. The only reason a prediction via scientific avenues can occur is because God is a god of order and has implemented rules which govern the universe and we can ascertain these rules.
    4) Your statement presuppose either a) no god, or b) God does not interact with His creation. You throw out any other possibility, and therefore you limit your ability to recognize, understand, and accept what God has done and why.
    5) actually, the most parsimonious explanation would that that God exists and did/does something. To assume that random chaotic events have somehow joined together to form our universe, planet, and species is anything but parsimonious and to claim otherwise is being disingenuious.

    As for internal inconsistencies, I find very few if any that can not be logically shown to not be inconsistent.

    It does not take any extra-Biblical rerference to make what the Bible say true. It simply takes YOU an overwhelming amount of extra-Bibilical evidence to be able to accept it. I have a feeling that even if you were shown hundred and thousands of scrolls (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls) that showed the veractiy of what the Bible teaches (the Old Testament pointing to the New Testament), you would shift to a difrferent argument.

    You are not interested in truth. You are interested in disbelieiving the BIble and believing your religion.

    Have fun with that.

  34. David,

    “The point is that God preserved Mary from the stain of sin-by His grace, not hers. ”

    You miss MY point. If Mary was not stained by sin (original or otherwise), then she had no need for a redeemer to buy her back from slavery to sin. But SHE knew she needed a redeemer.

    Also, the Bible tells us no one is without sin, and surely John (1 John 1:8) knew Mary, and possibly even Paul (Rom 3:23) – so why not say rather that no one but Mary was without sin? Scripture tells us the only one without sin was Jesus (Hebrews 4:15).

    The RCC logic falls on these points.

  35. BTW Davd, I hope you had a good Easter.

  36. Had a great Easter. We brought 7 people into the Church in my parish, thousands around the world. To answer your questions, Mary, too, required a Savior. Like all other descendants of Adam, she was subject to the necessity of contracting original sin. But by a special intervention of God, undertaken at the instant she was conceived, she was preserved from the stain of original sin and its consequences. She was therefore redeemed by the grace of Christ, but in a special way—by anticipation.

    Consider an analogy: Suppose a man falls into a deep pit, and someone reaches down to pull him out. The man has been “saved” from the pit. Now imagine a woman walking along, and she too is about to topple into the pit, but at the very moment that she is to fall in, someone holds her back and prevents her. She too has been saved from the pit, but in an even better way: She was not simply taken out of the pit, she was prevented from getting stained by the mud in the first place. This is the illustration Christians have used for a thousand years to explain how Mary was saved by Christ. By receiving Christ’s grace at her conception, she had his grace applied to her before she was able to become mired in original sin and its stain.
    But what about Romans 3:23, “all have sinned”? Have all people committed actual sins? Consider a child below the age of reason. By definition he can’t sin, since sinning requires the ability to reason and the ability to intend to sin. This is indicated by Paul later in the letter to the Romans when he speaks of the time when Jacob and Esau were unborn babies as a time when they “had done nothing either good or bad” (Rom. 9:11).

    We also know of another very prominent exception to the rule: Jesus (Heb. 4:15). So if Paul’s statement in Romans 3 includes an exception for the New Adam (Jesus), one may argue that an exception for the New Eve (Mary) can also be made.

    Paul’s comment seems to have one of two meanings. It might be that it refers not to absolutely everyone, but just to the mass of mankind (which means young children and other special cases, like Jesus and Mary, would be excluded without having to be singled out). If not that, then it would mean that everyone, without exception, is subject to original sin, which is true for a young child, for the unborn, even for Mary—but she, though due to be subject to it, was preserved by God from it and its stain.

    The objection is also raised that if Mary were without sin, she would be equal to God. In the beginning, God created Adam, Eve, and the angels without sin, but none were equal to God. Most of the angels never sinned, and all souls in heaven are without sin. This does not detract from the glory of God, but manifests it by the work he has done in sanctifying his creation. Sinning does not make one human. On the contrary, it is when man is without sin that he is most fully what God intends him to be.

    The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was officially defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854. When non-Catholics claim that the doctrine was “invented” at this time, they misunderstand both the history of dogmas and what prompts the Church to issue, from time to time, definitive pronouncements regarding faith or morals. They are under the impression that no doctrine is believed until the pope or an ecumenical council issues a formal statement about it.

    Actually, doctrines are defined formally only when there is a controversy that needs to be cleared up or when the magisterium (the Church in its office as teacher; cf. Matt. 28:18–20; 1 Tim. 3:15, 4:11) thinks the faithful can be helped by particular emphasis being drawn to some already-existing belief. The definition of the Immaculate Conception was prompted by the latter motive; it did not come about because there were widespread doubts about the doctrine. In fact, the Vatican was deluged with requests from people desiring the doctrine to be officially proclaimed. Pope Pius IX, who was highly devoted to the Blessed Virgin, hoped the definition would inspire others in their devotion to her.

    Polycarp, ECFs on Mary:

    The Ascension of Isaiah

    “[T]he report concerning the child was noised abroad in Bethlehem. Some said, ‘The Virgin Mary has given birth before she was married two months.’ And many said, ‘She has not given birth; the midwife has not gone up to her, and we heard no cries of pain’” (Ascension of Isaiah 11 [A.D. 70]).

    The Odes of Solomon

    “So the Virgin became a mother with great mercies. And she labored and bore the Son, but without pain, because it did not occur without purpose. And she did not seek a midwife, because he caused her to give life. She bore as a strong man, with will . . . ” (Odes of Solomon 19 [A.D. 80]).

    Justin Martyr

    “[Jesus] became man by the Virgin so that the course which was taken by disobedience in the beginning through the agency of the serpent might be also the very course by which it would be put down. Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason the Holy One being born of her is the Son of God. And she replied ‘Be it done unto me according to your word’ [Luke 1:38]” (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 100 [A.D. 155]).

    Irenaeus

    “Consequently, then, Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying, ‘Behold, O Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word.’ Eve, however, was disobedient, and, when yet a virgin, she did not obey. Just as she, who was then still a virgin although she had Adam for a husband—for in paradise they were both naked but were not ashamed; for, having been created only a short time, they had no understanding of the procreation of children, and it was necessary that they first come to maturity before beginning to multiply—having become disobedient, was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. . . . Thus, the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith” (Against Heresies 3:22:24 [A.D. 189]).

    “The Lord then was manifestly coming to his own things, and was sustaining them by means of that creation that is supported by himself. He was making a recapitulation of that disobedience that had occurred in connection with a tree, through the obedience that was upon a tree [i.e., the cross]. Furthermore, the original deception was to be done away with—the deception by which that virgin Eve (who was already espoused to a man) was unhappily misled. That this was to be overturned was happily announced through means of the truth by the angel to the Virgin Mary (who was also [espoused] to a man). . . . So if Eve disobeyed God, yet Mary was persuaded to be obedient to God. In this way, the Virgin Mary might become the advocate of the virgin Eve. And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so it is rescued by a virgin. Virginal disobedience has been balanced in the opposite scale by virginal obedience. For in the same way, the sin of the first created man received amendment by the correction of the First-Begotten” (Against Heresies, 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).

    Tertullian

    “And again, lest I depart from my argumentation on the name of Adam: Why is Christ called Adam by the apostle [Paul], if as man he was not of that earthly origin? But even reason defends this conclusion, that God recovered his image and likeness by a procedure similar to that in which he had been robbed of it by the devil. It was while Eve was still a virgin that the word of the devil crept in to erect an edifice of death. Likewise through a virgin the Word of God was introduced to set up a structure of life. Thus what had been laid waste in ruin by this sex was by the same sex reestablished in salvation. Eve had believed the serpent; Mary believed Gabriel. That which the one destroyed by believing, the other, by believing, set straight” (The Flesh of Christ 17:4 [A.D. 210].

    Pseudo-Melito

    “If therefore it might come to pass by the power of your grace, it has appeared right to us your servants that, as you, having overcome death, do reign in glory, so you should raise up the body of your Mother and take her with you, rejoicing, into heaven. Then said the Savior [Jesus]: ‘Be it done according to your will’” (The Passing of the Virgin 16:2–17 [A.D. 300]).

    Ephraim the Syrian

    “You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is no blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these?” (Nisibene Hymns 27:8 [A.D. 361]).

    Ambrose of Milan

    “Mary’s life should be for you a pictorial image of virginity. Her life is like a mirror reflecting the face of chastity and the form of virtue. Therein you may find a model for your own life . . . showing what to improve, what to imitate, what to hold fast to” (The Virgins 2:2:6 [A.D. 377]).

    “The first thing which kindles ardor in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater [to teach by example] than the Mother of God? What more glorious than she whom Glory Itself chose? What more chaste than she who bore a body without contact with another body? For why should I speak of her other virtues? She was a virgin not only in body but also in mind, who stained the sincerity of its disposition by no guile, who was humble in heart, grave in speech, prudent in mind, sparing of words, studious in reading, resting her hope not on uncertain riches, but on the prayer of the poor, intent on work, modest in discourse; wont to seek not man but God as the judge of her thoughts, to injure no one, to have goodwill towards all, to rise up before her elders, not to envy her equals, to avoid boastfulness, to follow reason, to love virtue. When did she pain her parents even by a look? When did she disagree with her neighbors? When did she despise the lowly? When did she avoid the needy?” (The Virgins, 2:2:7).

    “Come, then, and search out your sheep, not through your servants or hired men, but do it yourself. Lift me up bodily and in the flesh, which is fallen in Adam. Lift me up not from Sarah but from Mary, a virgin not only undefiled, but a virgin whom grace had made inviolate, free of every stain of sin” (Commentary on Psalm 118:22–30 [A.D. 387]).

    Augustine

    “Our Lord . . . was not averse to males, for he took the form of a male, nor to females, for of a female he was born. Besides, there is a great mystery here: that just as death comes to us through a woman, life is born to us through a woman; that the devil, defeated, would be tormented by each nature, feminine and masculine, as he had taken delight in the defection of both” (Christian Combat 22:24 [A.D. 396]).

    “That one woman is both mother and virgin, not in spirit only but even in body. In spirit she is mother, not of our head, who is our Savior himself—of whom all, even she herself, are rightly called children of the bridegroom—but plainly she is the mother of us who are his members, because by love she has cooperated so that the faithful, who are the members of that head, might be born in the Church. In body, indeed, she is the Mother of that very head” (Holy Virginity 6:6 [A.D. 401]).

    “Having excepted the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom, on account of the honor of the Lord, I wish to have absolutely no question when treating of sins—for how do we know what abundance of grace for the total overcoming of sin was conferred upon her, who merited to conceive and bear him in whom there was no sin?—so, I say, with the exception of the Virgin, if we could have gathered together all those holy men and women, when they were living here, and had asked them whether they were without sin, what do we suppose would have been their answer?” (Nature and Grace 36:42 [A.D. 415]).

    Timothy of Jerusalem

    “Therefore the Virgin is immortal to this day, seeing that he who had dwelt in her transported her to the regions of her assumption” (Homily on Simeon and Anna [A.D. 400]).

    John the Theologian

    “[T]he Lord said to his Mother, ‘Let your heart rejoice and be glad, for every favor and every gift has been given to you from my Father in heaven and from me and from the Holy Spirit. Every soul that calls upon your name shall not be ashamed, but shall find mercy and comfort and support and confidence, both in the world that now is and in that which is to come, in the presence of my Father in the heavens’” (The Falling Asleep of Mary [A.D. 400]).

    “And from that time forth all knew that the spotless and precious body had been transferred to paradise” (The Falling Asleep of Mary).

    Gregory of Tours

    “The course of this life having been completed by blessed Mary, when now she would be called from the world, all the apostles came together from their various regions to her house. And when they had heard that she was about to be taken from the world, they kept watch together with her. And behold, the Lord Jesus came with his angels, and, taking her soul, he gave it over to the angel Michael and withdrew. At daybreak, however, the apostles took up her body on a bier and placed it in a tomb, and they guarded it, expecting the Lord to come. And behold, again the Lord stood by them; the holy body having been received, he commanded that it be taken in a cloud into paradise, where now, rejoined to the soul, [Mary’s body] rejoices with the Lord’s chosen ones and is in the enjoyment of the good of an eternity that will never end” (Eight Books of Miracles 1:4 [A.D. 584]).

    “But Mary, the glorious Mother of Christ, who is believed to be a virgin both before and after she bore him, has, as we said above, been translated into paradise, amid the singing of the angelic choirs, whither the Lord preceded her” (Eight Books of Miracles, 1:8).

  37. 1. “I have not created anything.”

    of course you have created something. your understanding of the universe is a combination of things you’ve experienced, been taught, and figured out for yourself. the synthesis of these things is a creation of yourself, and unique to you. in a more general sense, the you i was referring to was the group of people who share the majority of your beliefs. i don’t mean to say that you purposely created something, just that it is in fact a creation.

    2. “it is patently false, as much of what the west considers science, and the various advnaces due to it, comes monotheists, such as Muslims and Christians,”

    i don’t see how this makes my statement false. you yourself ignore a huge majority of the scientific advances made by these monotheists, since they disagree with your conception of the world. furthermore, these people that you cite often share very little of your beliefs and assumptions about the nature of the universe and the literal interpretation of the bible. finally, these advances, in the huge majority of cases, took place before being an atheist was even an option. i would suspect that if you were to look in the writings of these scientists, you would find that their religious beliefs were neither as extreme as relevant to their daily lives as yours are.

    3. 3) Your statement assumes science and God are opposed to each other, when in fact science can only exist because of the rules God has set in motion. The only reason a prediction via scientific avenues can occur is because God is a god of order and has implemented rules which govern the universe and we can ascertain these rules.

    whoa. talk about assumptions! i do not assume that god and science are opposed to each other, although perhaps i did not explain my reasoning to you very well. science and god are in fact very much in opposition, for this reason: science attempts to define how and why things happen based on natural rules, yet god is inherently resistant to natural rules. clearly no natural rule can explain the actions of god, as this would eclipse his ultimate power. if you look at the history of philosophy and science you will see a consistent pattern: when people don’t understand why or how something occurs, they attempt to explain it as under the control of a supernatural power (god, or many gods). this explanation is fine, except that it doesn’t offer any ability to predict what’s going to happen, since you cannot anticipate a supernatural power (by definition, supernatural = existing outside of natural law). eventually somebody comes along and figures out a new explanation that accounts for the occurrence, but also allows for an occasional accurate prediction. out of sheer practicality, this explanation trumps the original and becomes ‘true’.

    the examples of this are abundant. the early (perhaps first) greek philosopher Thales, in attempting to explain how things can move and change, ascribed to them supernatural beings. supernatural beings existed in every entity in the universe, including humans. the saying “everything is full of gods” is attributed to him. as i said before, people worshipped the sun for thousands of years as the source of all life. now we understand it is a giant ball of gas. people believed the earth to be in the center of the universe for religious reasons. now we aren’t even the center of the solar system. science explains more and more each day, while religion stagnates, unable to make progress. and when the entirety of our theory of the universe is based on theories that are completely incompatible with your understanding (such as evolution, the age of the universe, etc), then i’d say that science and religion are in fact working against each other.

    “when in fact science can only exist because the rules God has set in motion.”

    how can you accuse me of making an assumption and then throw this floater out there?

    4. “Your statement presuppose either a) no god, or b) God does not interact with His creation. You throw out any other possibility, and therefore you limit your ability to recognize, understand, and accept what God has done and why.”

    you should read some philosophy. your statements A and B are the same thing, since the observable difference between them is identical. if god exists but never has an observable effect, then his existence is a moot point and he must be removed from the theory.

    your argument is a common logical fallacy based on the impossibility of proving a universal negative. if i were to demand proof that hera does not exist, you would be unable to do so. but why should i expect you to provide any proof when i cannot provide any evidence that she in fact does exist? your statement makes it sound like i am presupposing the NON EXISTENCE of god, when in fact i am neither presupposing this. i simply see no evidence of it. i do not limit my ability to recognize or accept what god has done, because nobody can in fact attribute any observable action to god. the burden of proof is very much on you.

    5. keep in mind that the most parsimonious explanation that cannot actually explain anything is useless. your explanation may have fewer entities, but it lacks any ability to account for things like cephied variables, the half life of carbon, or the large scale motion of the universe, to name three of the billions of things that the bible cannot explain.

    if you accept the scientific explanation for these things (which you do implicitly every time you use a computer), then additional entities that don’t DO anything can be removed by parsimony. god is ever being confined to smaller and smaller living quarters by science, as we uncover the mystery behind how and why things work.

    “As for internal inconsistencies, I find very few if any that can not be logically shown to not be inconsistent.”

    i mentioned several. if you can solve the problem of theodicy you should be teaching philosophy and theology at harvard, because everyone else seems to be under the impression that it is a logical contradiction. feel free to ask me for more of these, as there are many, many more, all equally unsolvable.

    “I have a feeling that even if you were shown hundred and thousands of scrolls (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls) that showed the veractiy of what the Bible teaches”

    i have read what has been published of the dead sea scrolls. they do not mention ANYTHING from the new testament, therefore (using your logic) can only be considered as reliable evidence for the truth of judaism.

    “You are not interested in truth.”

    i’m interested in all kinds of truth. especially in how yours is so different from mine, although we observe the same things. it’s also interesting how you can ignore so much of my argument and be presumably unphased. if someone tells you that your beliefs include logical impossibilities and you don’t (can’t?) argue back, don’t you think you should at least see what other people have to say about it?

    or you can admit that your position is illogical and that you are engaged in apologetics.

    • I would have used the terms devise, make, or arrange. When I think of create, it implies starting from nothing.

      You don’t know me, so you do not know if I ignore anything. I don’t ignore scientific data, I merely find certain theories being presented to explain said data lacking. Science continues to evolve. The data, or better said – that which creates/created the data, does not.

      You might be surprised by the scientists who are/were deists or theists or out-right Christian:
      Ibn al-Haytham was a devout Muslim, and helped form what is today known as the scientific method.
      Nicolaus Copernicus, a priest, was the first astronomer to formulate a scientifically based heliocentric cosmology that displaced the Earth from the center of the universe in the first half of the 1500s.
      Galileo (who was religious, even though the church persecuted him because he favored Copernican science as opposed to the church which favored Aristotelian science),
      Newton (Not a trinitarian, but who believed in God none the less),
      Charles Babbage,
      Blaise Pascal,
      Ben Franklin was a deist,
      Arthur Eddington, an important mathematical cosmologist, was a Quaker.
      Georges Lemaitre, a Roman Catholic priest, proposed the Big Bang theory.
      I don’t know whether Michael Polanyi, the notable physical chemist and philosopher, was Christian at the end of his life, but I know that he was when he wrote Science, Faith and Society, the best introduction to his thought.
      Henry F. “Fritz” Schaefer – theoretical chemist
      William Phillips was co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics.
      Francis Collins – geneticist,
      Rustum Roy – materials science

      It is religious people who devised and refined the scientific method. They were able to do so because they recognize that God is a god of order and He set into place rules which can be discovered.

      You wrote, “science and god are in fact very much in opposition, for this reason: science attempts to define how and why things happen based on natural rules, yet god is inherently resistant to natural rules. clearly no natural rule can explain the actions of god, as this would eclipse his ultimate power.”

      You are right about nothing being able to explain God. But you are mistaken about science and God being opposed (which by the way is an assumption may scientists who are Christian do not make).

      There might some day be a way to explain the creation of the universe and everything in it using the laws inherent in this universe, but that will not mean God did not do it. Just because something can or can not be predicted does not imply it was/is not done, or allowed, by God.

      God created the laws of this universe so that man might be able to know something of Him and I imagine to improve our lives. Just because God can not be explained by science does not mean they are in opposition to each other.

      You wrote, “when the entirety of our theory of the universe is based on theories that are completely incompatible with your understanding (such as evolution, the age of the universe, etc), then i’d say that science and religion are in fact working against each other.”

      Just because we have a theory does not mean it is accurate. There have been many cases of theories ignoring data, making assumptions which do not turn out to be accurate.

      But to be clear, although you will probably disagree, religion is not God.

      I wrote, “when in fact science can only exist because the rules God has set in motion.”
      You responded, “how can you accuse me of making an assumption and then throw this floater out there?”

      Evidence. God has shown me in so many ways (personal and impersonal) that He exists that I can not ignore His existence.

      I wrote, “Your statement presuppose either a) no god, or b) God does not interact with His creation. You throw out any other possibility, and therefore you limit your ability to recognize, understand, and accept what God has done and why.”

      You replied, “your statements A and B are the same thing, since the observable difference between them is identical. if god exists but never has an observable effect, then his existence is a moot point and he must be removed from the theory.”

      Just because two statements have the same effect does not make the statements mean the same thing. Their effect might be the same but the cause would be different. Thus I made two separate statements.

      I have never asked you to prove or disprove anything. You came on my blog looking for an argument. *shrug* I’m not here to argue. I’m here to show truth, you can accept it or not. I find there is little value in arguing with someone who does not want to accept truth.

      “nobody can in fact attribute any observable action to god.”

      I attribute the birth of my children to God, when my wife and I had been told by specialists she could never conceive.
      I attribute to God being able to pay my bills when my wife and I moved to another city and purchasing a home we were sure God wanted us to purchase and receiving unexpected bills for a large amount of money, then praying and the next day unexpectedly receiving checks from various sources to cover the exact amount.

      Coincidence begins to pale as an explanation when we have case after case of prayer for specific remedies being addressed favorably.

      You might not like to admit it, but your argument DOES presuppose either of the two statements I made. Otherwise, you would look and keep looking for evidence of God.

      ” the burden of proof is very much on you”
      Actually, no. Its not. My job is to tell people what God has done and said – I do, and have done, that. His job is to draw you or not. Your job is to decide for or against. You’re free to believe or not. I’m OK with either choice you make.

      You wrote, “keep in mind that the most parsimonious explanation that cannot actually explain anything is useless.”
      No its not. There are many cases where a highly unlikely chain of events occurred to cause something to come about, when it would have been much easier for something else to explain it.

      Case in point: when you go to someone’s house and see working light fixtures, the most parsimonious explanation would be that the house is hooked up to the electrical grid of that area. But there are many cases where people choose to find other sources of energy. Just because there might be a simpler explanation does not mean the more complex (or even more unexpected) explanation does not fit the facts better.

      You wrote, “your explanation may have fewer entities, but it lacks any ability to account for things like cephied variables, the half life of carbon, or the large scale motion of the universe, to name three of the billions of things that the bible cannot explain.”

      Actually, it DOES account for these things, you just don’t like the account. However, having said that, the Bible does not need to explain such things. It is a collection of writings which God directed men to write to explain 1) the history of God’s interaction with mankind throughout time through the eyes of one tribe of people, 2) describe who God is, 3) describe what God has done, 4) describe what God wants for us, 5) described what God wants for us, 6) describe what will happen in the unknown future. The use of such things is not needed to do that.

      You wrote, “if you accept the scientific explanation for these things (which you do implicitly every time you use a computer), then additional entities that don’t DO anything can be removed by parsimony. god is ever being confined to smaller and smaller living quarters by science, as we uncover the mystery behind how and why things work.”

      No, God is not confined to anything or by anything. As I’ve said before, God has put into place laws which man is still discovering. When those are fully discovered and understood, God will still exist.

      You wrote, ” if you can solve the problem of theodicy you should be teaching philosophy and theology at harvard, because everyone else seems to be under the impression that it is a logical contradiction.”

      I find nothing difficult in understanding how God can be perfect, good, loving, righteous, and just all at the same time, nor how God can allow free will of His sentient creations and still have everything planned out, nor in explaining how a perfect and good God can allow for the existence of evil without being responsible for such.

      You wrote, “feel free to ask me for more of these, as there are many, many more, all equally unsolvable.”

      I have no need to ask you about any of these things. I find no inconsistency. You are the one who came here looking for an argument.

      I wrote, “I have a feeling that even if you were shown hundred and thousands of scrolls (such as the Dead Sea Scrolls) that showed the veractiy of what the Bible teaches”

      You wrote, “i have read what has been published of the dead sea scrolls. they do not mention ANYTHING from the new testament, therefore (using your logic) can only be considered as reliable evidence for the truth of judaism.”

      They show the Old Testament existed before the time of Christ, and the Old Testament points to Christ, which is what the New Testament testifies to.

      I wrote, “You are not interested in truth.”

      You responded, “i’m interested in all kinds of truth. especially in how yours is so different from mine, although we observe the same things.”

      There is only one truth – either you are right or not. We might each grasp different portions of truth, but something is either true or not.

      But you are not looking for God (by the way, I doubt you will find Him here – you need to pray and read the Bible) – you have made up your mind about God. And that’s OK. Each to his own. But beliefs have consequences.

      You wrote, ” it’s also interesting how you can ignore so much of my argument and be presumably unphased. if someone tells you that your beliefs include logical impossibilities and you don’t (can’t?) argue back, don’t you think you should at least see what other people have to say about it?”

      I have no need to argue. If you ask something, perhaps I will try to show you what I understand of it. Perhaps not. It depends on my interest and whether I can give an answer and whether I think you are just baiting. I have taken about as much time as I am going to with this discussion, unless you have something new to offer.

      You wrote, “or you can admit that your position is illogical and that you are engaged in apologetics”

      My position is not illogical, but I AM engaged in apologetics -as are you (though I doubt you would recognize your version of science and philosophy as a religion for which you are proselytizing).

  38. David,

    “Mary, too, required a Savior.”

    Why would someone who has not sinned need a savior? No, she needed a savior because she was a sinner.

    ” Like all other descendants of Adam, she was subject to the necessity of contracting original sin. But by a special intervention of God, undertaken at the instant she was conceived, she was preserved from the stain of original sin and its consequences. She was therefore redeemed by the grace of Christ, but in a special way—by anticipation.”

    This is not what the BIble says. The only adult to not have been a sinner was Christ. Mary was either a sinner or not. If not, then she needed no savior. If so, then she was “stained” by sin. Can’t have it both ways

    No where does Scripture say Mary was without sin. And that actually goes against what Scripture says in Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:23 and 1 John 1:10. Mary was unclean and needed purification (Luke 2:22 ). She, like all of us, was a sinner.
    https://wbmoore.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/was-mary-without-sin/

    “Consider an analogy: Suppose a man falls into a deep pit, and someone reaches down to pull him out. The man has been “saved” from the pit. Now imagine a woman walking along, and she too is about to topple into the pit, but at the very moment that she is to fall in, someone holds her back and prevents her. She too has been saved from the pit, but in an even better way: She was not simply taken out of the pit, she was prevented from getting stained by the mud in the first place. This is the illustration Christians have used for a thousand years to explain how Mary was saved by Christ. By receiving Christ’s grace at her conception, she had his grace applied to her before she was able to become mired in original sin and its stain.

    But you see, Mary is either in the pit or not – if she is human, then she has a sin nature, which means she is a sinner. If she lived to adulthood, Paul said she sinned, for she would fall under the category of “all”. No where does the Bible teach that Mary did not sin. Mary was not a child. She was an adult, and as John said if you claim to not be a sinner then you lie (1 John 1:10), and If there was a person this would not be true of, he would have likely said so. He should know since Jesus charged him to care for Mary.

    “We also know of another very prominent exception to the rule: Jesus (Heb. 4:15). So if Paul’s statement in Romans 3 includes an exception for the New Adam (Jesus), one may argue that an exception for the New Eve (Mary) can also be made.”

    You may argue it, but it goes against scripture.

    “everyone, without exception, is subject to original sin, which is true for a young child, for the unborn, even for Mary—but she, though due to be subject to it, was preserved by God from it and its stain.”

    See, this is not what Scripture says. Scripture says that we die when we come to know the difference between right and wrong, or as Paul put it, “when the Law came” (Romans 7:9).

    I know you will not accept the fact that popes are not infallible when it comes to issues of morals, faith and doctrine. But whether you believe it or not, just because a pope says something concerning doctrine, does not make him right. Popes have historically contradicted each other, even on matters of doctrine.

    Immaculate conception of Mary is unnecessary for Jesus to not have a sin nature. Jesus inherited his FATHER’s nature, not His mother’s.

  39. i recognize that my version of science and philosophy is a ‘religion’ in that it is a system of assumptions and theories working together that may or may not have any actual correlation with reality. and that i’m proselytizing by trying to demonstrate its superiority.

    truth, the kind of truth you are talking about, is not attainable by man. all we can do is create models to explain and predict. you said one thing that i agree with at least:

    “There might some day be a way to explain the creation of the universe and everything in it using the laws inherent in this universe, but that will not mean God did not do it. Just because something can or can not be predicted does not imply it was/is not done, or allowed, by God.”

    i agree that it does not mean that god did not do it. but if you can explain the creation of the universe and everything in it, then god has no observable effect. and therefore he need not exist in the model.

    “I have no need to argue”

    you should always feel the need to argue. regardless of your beliefs the worst thing you can do is stop questioning them.

    i too doubt i will find god here. i wasn’t looking. i already did that, and now i’m content to let god reveal itself to me, should it both exist and feel the need to do so.

    i appreciate the debate, and i’ll let you get back to your conversation about how original sin is inherited. (you should draw a pedigree, it always helps me)

  40. Your post about science to heretic is very much true, though this line “Galileo (who was religious, even though the church persecuted him because he favored Copernican science as opposed to the church which favored Aristotelian science),” is not.

    Galileo came to Rome to see Pope Paul V (1605-1621). The pope, weary of controversy, turned the matter over to the Holy Office, which issued a condemnation of Galileo’s theory in 1616. Things returned to relative quiet for a time, until Galileo forced another showdown.

    At Galileo’s request, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, a Jesuit—one of the most important Catholic theologians of the day—issued a certificate that, although it forbade Galileo to hold or defend the heliocentric theory, did not prevent him from conjecturing it. When Galileo met with the new pope, Urban VIII, in 1623, he received permission from his longtime friend to write a work on heliocentrism, but the new pontiff cautioned him not to advocate the new position, only to present arguments for and against it. When Galileo wrote the Dialogue on the Two World Systems, he used an argument the pope had offered, and placed it in the mouth of his character Simplicio. Galileo, perhaps inadvertently, made fun of the pope, a result that could only have disastrous consequences. Urban felt mocked and could not believe how his friend could disgrace him publicly. Galileo had mocked the very person he needed as a benefactor. He also alienated his long-time supporters, the Jesuits, with attacks on one of their astronomers. The result was the infamous trial, which is still heralded as the final separation of science and religion.

    In the end, Galileo recanted his heliocentric teachings, but it was not—as is commonly supposed—under torture nor after a harsh imprison- ment. Galileo was, in fact, treated surprisingly well.

    As historian Giorgio de Santillana, who is not overly fond of the Catholic Church, noted, “We must, if anything, admire the cautiousness and legal scruples of the Roman authorities.” Galileo was offered every convenience possible to make his imprisonment in his home bearable.

    Galileo’s friend Nicolini, Tuscan ambassador to the Vatican, sent regular reports to the court regarding affairs in Rome. Many of his letters dealt with the ongoing controversy surrounding Galileo.

    Nicolini revealed the circumstances surrounding Galileo’s “imprisonment” when he reported to the Tuscan king: “The pope told me that he had shown Galileo a favor never accorded to another” (letter dated Feb. 13, 1633); ” . . . he has a servant and every convenience” (letter, April 16); and “[i]n regard to the person of Galileo, he ought to be imprisoned for some time because he disobeyed the orders of 1616, but the pope says that after the publication of the sentence he will consider with me as to what can be done to afflict him as little as possible” (letter, June 18).

    Had Galileo been tortured, Nicolini would have reported it to his king. While instruments of torture may have been present during Galileo’s recantation (this was the custom of the legal system in Europe at that time), they definitely were not used.

    The records demonstrate that Galileo could not be tortured because of regulations laid down in The Directory for Inquisitors (Nicholas Eymeric, 1595). This was the official guide of the Holy Office, the Church office charged with dealing with such matters, and was followed to the letter.

    As noted scientist and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead remarked, in an age that saw a large number of “witches” subjected to torture and execution by Protestants in New England, “the worst that happened to the men of science was that Galileo suffered an honorable detention and a mild reproof.” Even so, the Catholic Church today acknowledges that Galileo’s condemnation was wrong. The Vatican has even issued two stamps of Galileo as an expression of regret for his mistreatment.

    • Thanks for the expansion upon what I wrote. I like to learn. But what you wrote does not change the fact the RCC put him on trial for his work. You might not have liked the word persecuted, so ok choose a different term – he got in trouble with the RCC because he did not like Copernican science.

  41. WB, you keep insisting that something has to be in scripture. If you want to keep thinking that, so be it, but the Catholic Church has a threefold teaching arm-Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium. Show me, in scripture, where Mary committed sin. Mary needed a Savior, but she was saved before by the grace of God (full of Grace, remember? no matter how you wish to interpret it). God can do anything he wants. Besides, Romans 3:23 does carry exceptions. Jesus Himself is an exception, as are children below the age of reason. Since God can do as He wishes, we can see a logical reason for her to be Immaculately conceived.

    Also, isn’t the man who gets pulled back from the onrushing car just as saved as the one where the car slams on the brakes and narrowly misses him? By this reasoning, God preserved Mary from the stain of sin.

    Regarding infallibility, you need to understand that it’s the Holy Spirit which guides the Pope and the Magisterium to define dogma and doctrine. When the pope is doing this, he is unable to teach in error. Again, a grace of God.

    So, we think, and the Early Church agreed, that Mary was immaculately conceived. Even those who were around her at her death. There’s nothing in scripture that says she particularly sinned, there’s evidence in scripture that she was free from sin. It’s not through her doing, though, it’s by God’s grace.

    • I go back to scripture as the test for ideas pertaining to doctrine, faith, and morality. If it is not against what the Bible says, then I’m ok with it. But it seems to me the RCC is ignoring scripture and reading into it in this case.

      By the logic presented by your example, John, who was greatly loved by Jesus, is without sin, since the Bible does not tell us he specifically sinned and he was one of the disciples Jesus loved (what more grace can one have than to be loved by God incarnate?). But we know that all have sinned. The only exception, based on scriptural evidence would be Jesus (with the possible exception of chlidren – which I would agree with, based on Scripture).

      Being saved from falling into a pit is not the same as being saved out of the pit. If Mary never ‘fell in the pit’, using your example, then she needed no saving out of it. But scripture says ALL have sinned. She said she needed a savior. She was unclean. To my knowledge, only Jesus, and Stephen are referenced as being “full of grace” (John 1:14; Acts 6:8). Scripture actually records Mary as having found favor with God, not being full of grace – even the RCC Bible says this ( http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/luke/luke1.htm ). The Latin Vulgate poorly translates Luke 1:28 saying “ave gratia plena” or “Hail full of grace.” But this is not what the Greek tells us. The Greek word is “Charitoo” or “khar-ee-to’-o”. This word is translated as “to make graceful, charming, lovely, agreeable; to peruse with grace, compass with favour; to honour with blessings.” This does not mean she was full of grace. Yes, she was looked upon favorably by God, but this does not mean she was full of grace.

      I understand what the RCC believes regarding infalllibility concverning the Pope, and the Magisterium concerning dogma and doctrine. I would say anyone filled with the Holy Spirit can not teach in error – not just the pope. I would also say many would like to believe they speak for God, when in fact what they are teaching goes against scripture. The pope is no more and no less capable for speaking for God than anyone else through whom the Holy Spirit is speaking.

      There is NO evidence she was free from sin, especially since scripture tells us she was unclean and had to be cleansed (Luke 2:22 ).

  42. David, please define ‘Early Church’ when you say that it believed that she was Immaculately conceived. I thought that it really wasn’t until Pius (in 1854) that Rome officially declared Mary without Sin.

    If I am not mistaken, most of the beliefs that would become Roman doctrine didn’t originate in the Church but in apocryphal texts, themselves repudiated by the Church.

  43. WB, Mary’s special grace was because she became the new ark of the covenant by containing the Word made flesh. It was this singular act that got her this grace. Let me ask you a question though. While it’s true that God can (and does) do anything he wants, why would he want to be incarnated from a less than perfect vessel?? We believe Mary is that perfect vessel. WB, there is also no evidence that she did sin.

    Regarding Galileo, the Church did not put him on trial for abandoning the geocentric (earth-at-the-center) view of the solar system for the heliocentric (sun-at-the-center) view. They put him on trial for taking his theory out of the realm of science and into the realm of theology. There is little question that if Galileo had kept the discussion within the accepted boundaries of astronomy (i.e., predicting planetary motions) and had not claimed physical truth for the heliocentric theory, the issue would not have escalated to the point it did. After all, he had not proved the new theory beyond reasonable doubt.

    Polycarp, please understand this: The Catholic Church does not make new dogma or doctrine. She has not for 2000 years, since early apostolic times. The Church only feels compelled to define something when that belief is called into question. It was always believed that Christ had two natures-100% of both. Fully divine and fully human. There were those in a time that tried to posit that he was either not human or not divine, or 50/50. At that point, the Church declared definitively what she always believed-100/100 human and divine. The same is true for the Immaculate Conception. It was fully believed and taught for more than 1500 years before it was ever called into question. Early Church usually means first 400-500 years.
    I’d like you to give examples of this last statement, because I found nothing of the kind.

    • David, no where does scripture teach Mary was the new Eve, nor the ark of the covenant. This is extra-Biblical. I think if it was something God wanted us to believe about Mary, He would have included it in the BIble. Jesus is not said to be the covenant, but the mediator and the guarantee of a better covenant (Hebrews 7:22, 12:24), so she could not have been an ark for the covenant. I suppose since Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29), then Mary could be called the ewe, but that’s as far as I can see the analogy go. If Mary were the new Eve, then she would have been married to the last Adam (which is actually what Jesus was called in 1 Corinthians 15:45), which would be creepy. Now, if you say she is the bride because she is part of the church, this still would not make her analogous to Eve, since she was not the first woman to believe Jesus to be Christ (otherwise she would not have thought Him out of His mind). I have no problem with the extra-Biblical ideas, as long as they do not go against the Bible and do not cause you to go against scripture. But unfortunately, it looks like it DOES cause the RCC to go against scripture, since all have sinned and the only explicit scriptural exception to this is Christ. If we keep trying to find exceptions because they are not mentioned in the Bible, then everyone not mentioned in the BIble, or mentioned but not explicitly shown to have sinned could be used as an exception. This doesn’t fly. Mary is included in the “all have sinned”. What do you consider ‘unclean’ and so needing purification to mean? She was not pure. God is perfect and did not need to become human, yet He chose to do so to provide us with a savior in human form. To do so, He emptied Himself (made Himself nothing), and became human (Philippians 2:7). He had no need for a perfec vessel to bear Him; He WAS perfect. Had Mary needed to be a perfect vessel and be born immaculately, following the reasoning of the RCC, then HER mother would have had to be perfect, which would have required her to be born immaculately. For that to be, then HER mother would have had to be born immaculately to be perfect, and HER mother, etc, etc. No, Mary only needed to be faithfully obedient, not perfect to be the woman chosen to bear the Son of God.

      As for Galileo, I need to make a correction in what I have written in my previous comment concerning Galileo. I wrote he was opposed to it, but I was mistaken, he was in favor of it. In 1616 the RCC Qualifiers found the Copernican ideas to be heresy, and Pope Paul V had Lord Cardinal Bellarmine personally admonish Galileo to abandon the ideas, and if Galileo refused then he was to order him not to teach, defend, or even discuss them. It was not until 1523 that Galileo was given permission by Pope Urban to continue his research. Yes, Galileo upset Urban, which caused him to put the machinery of the RCC into action in dealing with Galileo. But the Jesuits (and Dominicans) were upset because they considered the ideas heretical and Galileo taught Copernican ideas as fact rather than hypothetically. They believed it was heretical and when Galileo upset the Pope, Urban not only removed his protection, but also appointed a special commission to investigate and turned the findings over to the Inquisition. By the time of his trial, the merits of the case had already been decided. While had Galileo not upset the Pope, he might have been able to work under the radar of the RCC (because of his relationship with certain members of the RCC), the trial was indeed about the church not liking Copernican ideas, considering them heresy.

  44. David, first, let me state that God cannot do whatever He chooses. Remember, God is a righteous God in all aspects, and He would not do something that goes against His economy, such as creating a perfect vessel. Think of the hypocrisy, for a moment, of God saving Mary without a Redeemer, but not preventing multitudes to die in their sins.

    Is that the God we serve?

    Further, go here and here. It is easy to stand in the present, look to the past and say, ‘We have always believed such and such,’ but rarely is it ever true.

    Mary, I believe, along with the Church Fathers, served as the antithesis of Eve. Eve was perfect bu disobeyed. Mary was was in a sinful nature but obeyed. Only through her obedience against her sinful nature did she qualify herself as Christostokos.

    The Development of Doctrine is something recognized by Rome and the Orthodox Communions.

  45. First, Polycarp, you’re wrong about what Bishop Bruschewitz says. In plain black and white, REVELATION CLOSED. THERE CAN BE NO NEW REVELATION. “It is the duty of the Catholic Church, and, indeed, the abiding Presence of the Holy Spirit within the Church as the Soul of the Mystical Body makes this obligation possible and able to be fulfilled by the Church, to preserve unmutilated, undiluted, unchanged the message of Christ. ” The document says that there are people who misunderstand what “doctrinal development” means, and that there can be nothing that goes against what Christ revealed to his Church. Doctrinal development is merely re-expression of existing doctrine, which existed since Christ gave the world his Church.

    Next, you say that God saved Mary without a Redeemer, forgetting that God is not hindered by space and time. The Redeemer existed before time. Therefore, God could have, and did, redeemed Mary as the sacred vessel which would bring God incarnate to the world.

    WB, you missed the point. The Church is not, and never was, in the business of deciding whether or not science is correct. Until Galileo pushed his theory into the realm of theology, where he didn’t belong, everything was ok. And had he been able to prove his theory, everything would have been ok. No proof, keep working. Come back to us when you have proof. Still, the Church admits she handled the Galileo affair incorrectly, but he was never persecuted, just corrected.
    WB, I guess you don’t know what typology is, or how the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament, and the New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament. Just as Moses leading the Israelites through the Red Sea symbolizes baptism, so Eve is a precursor to Mary. The Catholic Church has taught this since the first Pentecost. Regarding the Ark of the Covenant and Mary being the new Ark of the Covenant, what did the first ark contain? The stone tablets (the word of God), manna (the bread of life), and the rod of Aaron (proof of the true priesthood). Mary contained all three when she conceived with the Holy Spirit. Also notice that the Ark was overshadowed by the shekinah cloud while Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit.

    • Looking at the history, I dont think Galileo took it into the area of theology (unless I’m missing something, which is possible). It was Father Lorini, a Dominican friar and professor of ecclesiastical history in Florence, who took it there.

      And yes, I’m quite familiar with typology. But Eve disobeyed, while Mary obeyed.

      I can see your explanation of calling Mary the Ark of the covenant. But I still dont see her being called Eve.

  46. Mary, the new Eve:

    The earliest patristic texts regarding the Eve-Mary parallel begin in the later half of the Second Century. St. Justin, the Martyr, (+165) in his work, Dialogue with Trypho, states that, “Christ became a man by a virgin to overcome the disobedience caused by the serpent …in the same way it had originated.”
    The name Eve is taken from the Hebrew word, HAWAH, a verb which means “to live.” “The man called his wife Eve, because she became the mother of all the living”(Gen. 3:20). Eve, the first woman, was a virgin at the time that she was tempted by the serpent in the garden. Thus, Eve, a virgin, conceived disobedience and death, whereas, Mary, a virgin, conceived the Word in obedience and brought forth Life.

    St. Ireneus, Bishop of Lyons, (+202) is considered the first theologian of the Virgin Mary. He took up St. Justin’s Mary-Eve theme and further integrated it into his theology. Therein, Mary is treated as the New or Second Eve who is the beginning of the second Creation or re-creation of humanity through the Redemption.

    He wrote, “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosened by Mary’s obedience. The bonds fastened by the virgin Eve through disbelief were untied by the virgin Mary through faith.” (Adv. haereses,3:22)

    Regarding Eve/Adam Mary/Jesus, and the marital connection, typology is not always correct, and sometimes it does convey opposites (see above).

    • I have never seen types used as opposites, but OK, explained that way, I can see what is meant by using Eve as a type for Mary – the commonality is the conception.

  47. Adam and Christ as the new Adam are also common with dissimilar twists. But you got the point! :)

  48. Christ as the new Adam I have always gotten.

  49. “The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.”

    1 chronicles 16:30, psalm 93:1, psalm 96:10

    “He set the earth on its foundations;
    it can never be moved.”

    psalm 104:5

    a literal interpretation is still an interpretation.

    • The best way to understand the Bible is to pray for enlightenment and read it in its historical, contextual setting. Some things are obviously intended to be understood as analogy, other things as literal, other things as hyperbole, other things as history, still others as prophcy of the future from when the human author wrote, other things as God speaking directly to one or more persons at the time and place where the human author was writing. But in all of it, we can see God’s interaction with mankind, who He is, what He has done, what He will do, and what He wants for us and from us.

  50. i’m glad we agree about something. i happen to interpret the bible as all analogy and hyperbole.

    is my interpretation wrong, or just different?

  51. to interpret something is to assign a meaning to it. it’s an action undertaken by the person doing the interpretation and therefor subject to that person’s preconceptions and assumptions.

    the ‘correct’ interpretation would be the one that agrees with the original intent of the author. in the case of the bible, a correct interpretation is impossible for several reasons:

    1. you have little access to the historical and cultural context of the time of the writing of the bible, due to lack of external records. you can only make an approximation of what things would have been like (based largely on the bible itself).

    2. you aren’t even sure what the original words of the author were.

    3. even if you could be sure of the original words and of the author’s intended meaning, you still can’t be sure if the author himself was being truthful.

    • You’re bringing up tired material again.

      The thousands of copies of the New Testament writings shows a remarkable consistency to message, spelling, word usages and style. The same istrue of the Old Testament writings. Additionally, we have the Dead Sea Scrolls showing the accuracy of the oldest copies we have is extrodinarily high.

      God is powerful enough to have written the message He wanted written. He is powerful enough to ensure the message He wants transmitted across cultures, languages, and time gets transmitted.

      God has preserved and presented the message He wants YOU to know: that He loves you, sent His Son to suffer and die to pay for your sins. He offers the gift of eternal life to you. All you need do is recognize you are imperfect and do not do as God would have you (ie. you, like everyone else, are a sinner), admit your sins, and change to follow God through faith in Christ.

  52. and you still aren’t addressing it…

    my point is that interpretation involves a personal element and therefore is a product of your own intelligence. this is evident in the definition of interpretation. the fact that there are many (countless) interpretations for the same book demonstrates that everyone is capable of getting different meaning out of it.

    so, you claim that god is “powerful enough to ensure the message He wants transmitted across cultures, languages, and time gets transmitted. ” what evidence do you have for this in face of the different interpretations you see around you? they range from interpretations like mine to interpretations like david’s to the interpretations of jews and muslims and yecs and baptists.

    by calling my interpretation ‘wrong’ you admit that god is either unable or unwilling to transmit his message to me or the other 5 billion non believers. in other words: if this were the ultimate truth, as you say, there would be NO NEED FOR INTERPRETATION.

    • Actually, among people who hold to the inerrancy of scripture, there really aren’t many different interpretations about the majority of of the text.

      By calling your interpretation wrong, I claim that you are unable to understand God, because you do not have the Holy Spirit to guide your interpretation, or that God has decided for some reason to not allow you to understand yet. He does this because people don’t want to understand or accept the truth. He allows people the free will to make up their own minds, and yet His perfect plan takes this into account.

  53. there are a huge number of potential interpretations that all allow for inerrant scripture. for example, you consider scripture inerrant yet you do no believe that the earth is in a fixed position. therefore you dismiss the errant passage that i mentioned earlier as being allegorical. you do this out of convenience, since you do not in fact believe that the earth is the center of the universe.

    you have already sided with science rather than the bible on this example. it shouldn’t be too hard for you to imagine why it would be the case that you could apply the same logic to other biblical passages that are in disagreement with scientific observations.

    if you can imagine as to why god would purposely deceive me as to the truth of his word by preventing me from understanding it, i’d like you to tell me. after all, “god is not like man that he should lie”.

  54. the passage says something that is not true. it makes a false statement, hence it is errant.

    you said “God has decided for some reason to not allow you to understand yet.” why would it do this? i consider this deceit.

    by telling me that i cannot understand the bible because i dont’ have the holy spirit to help me, you are admitting that the only way to understand thins the way you do is to beg the question. if i could only accept the holy spirit (aka accept the premises of your argument) then it would all fall into place. this is not rational.

    • Again you are just arguing for argument’a sake. You know the passage is not errant, and exactly how it should be understood, yet you claim it is errant. I’m tired of playing your game.

      You dont want to know God, otherwise you would not persist in disobedience. God wants you to love & trust Him. While God offers gifts, He does not force faith upon us. We have to trust, but it is a choice.

  55. i actually do not know how the passage should be understood. if i interpret it literally, it makes a false statement. how do you interpret the passage?

    • As I’ve said, you interpret it contextually, historically, following the normal language grammatical rules. If someone says the sun set, you know the sun is not setting on a chair or the ground, you know it means the earth has revolved sufficiently so sunset has either begun or completed (depending on context).

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