17 January, 2010

The sharing of the eucharist discussed with Evangelist Paul

(Evangelist Paul) Sadly, this is yet another area where some folks have completely mis-understood what Jesus was saying.

In 1 Cor. 11 Jesus said, "this do in REMEMBERANCE of me".

Verse 16 even tells us what the Lord's Supper (communion, or whatever else some call it), really is..... "shew the Lord's death till he come"

The Lord's supper was an exercise that Jesus taught to help us remember His broken body, and shed blood for us. We were to do it as often as we thought we needed to until He comes back, in order to remember Him.

That is all it is. When a person is saved, the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit comes and dwells within them. It is this spirit that seals us until the day of redembtion (the Lords return). Any person who is saved, has the Lord in them. They do not have to take a piece of bread or drink any drink in order to do it.

Nowhere in the Bible is the Catholic Church's teaching on this found.

And might I add, anyone who has examined themself to be in the faith may partake of it. Nobody is perfect, we have all sinned. As such, we all stand before the Lord "unclean". But when we have trusted Christ as our Saviour, He washes clean all our sins, and we are now a "new person" in Christ, born again, and a Child of God. As such, we stand before Him "accepted" in Christ. Thus, after confessing and forsaking any known sin in our life, and recognizing what the bread and drink is a picture of, we can all freely partake of the Lord's Supper, just as we can all freely partake of God's Salvation.

(Cristoiglesia) I am afraid that you are one of those who has completely misunderstood what St. Paul was teaching about the Lord’s Supper. Primarily your error can be blamed on your assumption that the word “remembrance” has the same meaning of the word “anamnesis” that was the original source word in the English translation. The problem is that there is no word in English that has the same meaning as the Koine Greek word “anamnesis”. In English “remembrance” means to recall a past event into memory but this is not the meaning of “anamnesis”. “Anamnesis” tells the reader that a miraculous event will occur each time that one practices “anamnesis” that will transcend time and place and is a representation of the same actual event. In this case it is the continuing presentation of the death of our Lord where we are actually present at the foot of the cross with the rest of God’s Church, militant, suffering and triumphant. God gives us the food of everlasting life which is His Body and His Blood. We are not “remembering” anything but are instead present at the one sacrifice for all humanity.

Now you say that the receiving of the Body and the Blood are not necessary for eternal life but such an assumption makes no sense. In John chapter 6 Jesus tells the people gathered in the synagogue in Capernaum that they must eat His Body and drink His blood for eternal life and compares it to the Manna in the desert that sustained the Israelites in the desert. I ask you, would they have lived if they had just remembered that every day that the Lord provided the Manna or was it necessary for them to eat it for their nourishment. Of course, if they had not eaten of the Manna they would have died. Eating of His Body and His Blood is no different. It is not enough to remember what He did for us but to participate in His sacrifice by being present and receiving what Jesus said was His truly real and substantial Body, Blood Soul and Divinity. Jesus called us to action in our participation in His one sacrifice for all. So your claim in opposition to the teaching of our Lord that receiving His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity is not necessary must be false and without Scriptural support. Yours is proven nothing more than a doctrine of men in opposition to God’s Word.

St. Paul taught that we should examine ourselves and be in a state of grace before receiving the Blessed Sacrament. He further stated that we are discern (recognize) that what we are receiving is the truly real and substantial Body, Blood Soul and Divinity. St. Paul said that if we did not then we would bring condemnation on ourselves. He emphasized that we may even die as a result of receiving unworthily. So, not having the right understanding could mean not only our physical death but the death of our soul from Christ. In John chapter 6 we learn that we cannot “believe” His hard teaching in our carnal sense but that our belief will only come through our spiritual sense and convicted by the Spirit. He was saying that the receiving of His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity is the most precious of gifts and that it is of great profit to our eternal destination. In fact, He says we cannot live eternally in His presence without receiving this gift while properly disposed.

Now certainly there is symbolism involved in the Eucharist celebration. We are drinking with Him the cup of consummation of the Passover which His Blood is representing the saving power of blood as it was when it was spread upon their doorposts by the hyssop branch. We eat His truly real and substantial Body just as the Israelites had to eat the Paschal Lamb to save their first born sons. Even His Words were full of symbolism on the cross. He gave His mother to the Church and under the care of St. John. He asked the Father to forgive us for we are innocent of knowledge. He said “I thirst” so that the fourth cup or the cup of consummation where the bitter wine would be received soaked in a sponge and lifted to His lips on a hyssop branch to introduce His Kingdom. He then said, “it is finished” which meant the Old Covenant and introduced the New Covenant of Grace. However, even though there is much symbolism it does not detract from the commandment of our Lord to share in His sacrifice with spiritual recognition of the reality of His Body and Blood.

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

03 January, 2010

Infant Baptism discussed with "Firefly"

(Firefly) we are told to believe and be baptized (Acts 8:13; 18:8). how can an infant believe so he/she can then be baptized?

now I would say it's fine to "Christen" a baby,but it wont save the baby or child,
they are under God's protection till they reach the age of accountability,(they will not go to hell) the age where they know what sin is and that they have sined and need salvation. untill then they don't have the ability to believe.

(Cristoiglesia) Certainly the following verses you cite address adult Baptism but really have nothing to do with infant Baptism. Certainly these verses should not be construed to mean that salvation is only for those of a certain age or intellectual ability. Our Lord died for all men and wishes to gather all into Him and that mission is not inhibited by age or intellect. Furthermore it would seem to be preposterous and an insult to reason to think that 1800 =/- years after the practice of infant Baptism was instituted by our Lord and the disciples that it should be discontinued to satisfy doctrines of men in man made heretical sects in protest of the teaching of Christ’s own Church led by those who are given all authority on earth.

Acts 8: (KJV) 13Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

Acts 18:8 (KJV) 8And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

Neither of these verses prohibit infant Baptism or support “believers only” Baptism.

The Church from the beginning has practiced the Baptism of children. The reasons are very clear in Scriptures.

(Joh 3:5 DRB) Jesus answered: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

To the first Christians that baptized their children it was understood by them that Baptism is the doorway to salvation. St. Peter said the following:

(1Pe 3:18 DRB) Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit,

(1Pe 3:19 DRB) In which also coming he preached to those spirits that were in prison:

(1Pe 3:20 DRB) Which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noe, when the ark was a building: wherein a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water.

(1Pe 3:21 DRB) Whereunto baptism, being of the like form, now saveth you also: not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but, the examination of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The effects of Baptism are the regeneration of the soul (born again), eradication of original sin and actual sin and its effects on the soul. A baby does not have actual sin but does have original sin. Through Baptism we become members of the Body of Christ, of which St. Paul says the following:

(2Co 5:17 DRB) If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away. Behold all things are made new.

(1Co 3:16 DRB) Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Baptism is the sacramental doorway into the Church:

(Mat 28:19 DRB) Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

The Bible teaches that everyone should be Baptized:

(Act 2:38 DRB) But Peter said to them: Do penance: and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

(Act 2:39 DRB) For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, whomsoever the Lord our God shall call.

(Act 2:40 DRB) And with very many other words did he testify and exhort them, saying: Save yourselves from this perverse generation.

(Act 2:41 DRB) They therefore that received his word were baptized: and there were added in that day about three thousand souls.

(Act 2:42 DRB) And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles and in the communication of the breaking of bread and in prayers.

St. Peter at Pentecost said to the adults to repent but did not exclude children from Baptism, instead saying that everyone should receive the Holy Spirit not just those of age to repent. He said it is “to you and to your children”. That is why people in the early Church brought even their smallest children to be baptized as do parents today.

There is no necessity to repent for children to be Baptized according to Scriptures. The command to repent is not binding on infants nor to mentally incapacitated people as the intent of repentance is not to exclude those incapable of such an act. They are not to be condemned because of their lack of ability to repent. Certainly the same understanding should apply as we understand St. Paul’s statement in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 where St. Paul says that someone who does not work does not eat. Are we to deny children or the mentally handicapped sustenance? Certainly they should not, nor should they be denied eternal life.

The Old Testament required circumcision at eight days old as a sign of the covenant of God. The child had no knowledge of why he was being circumcised yet the parents brought the son to the synagogue to have this done. God accepted the child into the covenant for what the parents had done just as He accepts the Baptism when the parents present their child to be baptized. The Scriptures tell us clearly that Baptism replaced circumcision:

(Col 2:11 DRB) In whom also you are circumcised with circumcision not made by hand in despoiling of the body of the flesh: but in the circumcision of Christ.

(Col 2:12 DRB) Buried with him in baptism: in whom also you are risen again by the faith of the operation of God who hath raised him up from the dead.

We must remember what Christ said when there were those who attempted to forbid the children from coming to Him:

(Luk 18:15 DRB) And they brought unto him also infants, that he might touch them. Which when the disciples saw, they rebuked them.

Luk 18:16 DRB) But Jesus, calling them together, said: Suffer children to come to me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

(Luk 18:17 DRB) Amen, I say to you: Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a child shall not enter into it.

Can there be any doubt by a proper understanding of Scripture that children should be baptized? Certainly a complete understanding of the Scriptural verses shows clearly that children have the same need for Baptism as adults and that they should not be held away from this act by their parents or the Church lest they put the child in grave danger and the parents and/or Church are disobedient to the spirit of the teaching of Jesus and the apostles.

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

Protestant doctrine of "Faith Alone" discussed with "Firefly"

(Firefly) what about the Old Testament saints who died in the faith and the expectation of the Messiah who were not baptized in water, yet they were saved?
Romans 4:3,says, "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." Paul refers to Abraham to say that his faith was reckoned as righteousness. Since only the saved are righteous in God’s site, Abraham’s salvation (though ultimately future as it waited for the sacrifice of Christ) was received by faith – before any rituals were instituted, including the ritual of circumcision.

Two verses later in Romans 4:5, Paul speaks to us today by saying, "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.” Notice that the same phrases used: Faith is reckoned as righteousness. Again in Rom. 5:1, he says "therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, this is correct but it is not as simple as you suppose. It is good that you use this as an example however because this needs to be understood in context. One might say that this is an example of “faith alone” if the context is ignored and that would be a great error.

The Abrahamic Covenant is unique in that it is an everlasting covenant with humanity and not for the Jews only as were the other covenants made with Israel.

Romans 4(KJV)
9-Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

10-How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.

11-And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

Gal 3 (KJV)
6-Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

7-Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.

8-And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

9-So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Rom 4 (KJV)
11-And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:

12-And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

The timing of God was intentional so that God’s appointment, promise and justification would not be just to Abraham but to all mankind. It was not to be an exclusive covenant for the Jews like the Mosaic covenant with Israel. Later the Scriptures tell us that Abraham was circumcised so that He could extend His covenant to the Jews. This made him not only the father of the Gentiles but of the Jews as well. The circumcision was significantly important because this sealed the covenant and made it irrevocable which means that the Abrahamic covenant did not end with Christ’s statement upon the cross, “It is finished” which meant the end of the Mosaic covenant only.

To the people of the new covenant the circumcision or seal of our familial relationship is Baptism rather than circumcision as in the Abrahamic covenant. This seal of Baptism means that an irrevocable seal has been placed on our soul. So Baptism is the completion of our faith through God’s grace just as circumcision was the completion of the covenant with Abraham. Baptism is the completion of our faith in Christ. That is why the Bible speaks of one Baptism. We come to faith and are made righteous and are justified through Baptism. Without the seal of Baptism our righteousness is revocable but with Baptism it is eternal and only we can lose it through sin but God will not take it away but will reconcile us to Him 70 times 70. So clearly your example is the antithesis of “faith alone”. Baptism is no more of a "work" than having an emotional assention to faith, responding to an altar call and saying a sinners prayer. Without Baptism we are not cleansed, filled with the Holy Spirit or sealed as one of God's own in the New Covenant.

(Firefly) there are no verses that say we are condemned if we don't get baptized, but we do see scripture that says we are condemned if we don't believe.
Mark 16:16 says "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
John 3:18 says, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already.”
If baptism is necessary for salvation then we should find verses that say “and he who is not baptized will be condemned.” But no such verse exists.

(Cristoiglesia) The following verse would certainly fit the description as a verse that does not exist:

John 3:5 (KJV) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Next we see that it is not “faith alone” that is necessary but also the completion of that faith with Baptism.

Acts 16 (KJV)

30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

32And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

33And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

The next verse clearly says that Baptism does save us along with our faith

1Peter 3

21-The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

See also Mark 16:16, Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38, Acts 16:15

Now the Church recognizes that there is more than a Baptism by water but also a baptism by desire and a Baptism by blood as explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."[62] Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"[63] allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

Thank you for the inspiration and opportunity to contend for the faith delivered once for all. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph