10 February, 2010

Criticisms of Church teaching discussed with "Slick".

(Slick) With so much written in the world about the canon this topic is pointless for me concerning your Catholic bias. The traditional scriptures used by the churches were identified gradually by men like Marcion, Irenaeus, Origen, Athanasius adding books to their list of those already accepted and being read, especially those letters that had gone to the fringe of the regions and any like Hebrews and Revelation accepted then rejected here and there. By the time your pope put his stamp on the 27 books it was a settled issue. No council established a single list. The members simply came to agreements the early Church Fathers did a good job, mostly met to settle Church problems. The African problem was not about canon of scriptures. That began as a complaint over the pope's authority there. No pope ever set the canon of scripture.

(Cristoiglesia) First of all, true history is immune from any bias. It is what it is. The history was the same when I was a Protestant as it is as a Catholic.

It is true that different people within the early Church had their own ideas as to what is inspired Scripture. Marcion was a heretic who rejected the entire Old Testament. He accepted only the Gospel of Luke because of Luke’s association with St. Paul and ten of St. Paul’s epistles. He rejected entirely the teaching of Christ’s disciples. Those books that he did approve he edited to remove what he judged as Judaising references.

The use of the written form of teaching can be understood from St. Irenaeus writing “Against Heresies”. He extensively used the oral Gospel as a reference as well as the Syraic Diatessaron written by Tatian around 150 AD which was a harmony compilation of the four Gospels and illustrates the use of the four Gospels. Irenaeus never attempted to define the Canon but would have used the Epistles of St. Paul as well as the four Gospels plus Acts.

Origen was responsible for characterizing the books as those accepted by al the congregations, books in dispute and those that were not canonical. He accepted the following as canonical:

The four Gospels
13 Of St. Paul’s epistles
Acts of the Apostles
I Peter, I John, and St. John’s Apocalypse

The books in use that he ruled were not canonical are:

II Peter
II and III John

Bishop Athanasius did accept what would become Canon after the African Synods under the supervision of St. Augustine at Hippo and received final approval of Pope St. Damasus at the Council of Rome in 382. Some discussion continued but the Canon was set and remains to this day.

He also called the Didache, Shepherd of Hermes and Barnabas Scripture. He doubted the authorship of Hebrews but recognized its inspired status.

(Slick) The modern RCC is in idolatry.

(Cristoiglesia) Charging the Church with idolatry is a vey serious charge which would mean that Jesus lied when He said that the Church would never fall into apostasy. I see that you give no specificity to your claim but I would assume you make such a statement because of ignorance to the biblical teaching on idolatry. The truth is that the Church forbids idolatry in any form. If you knew anything about Catholic teaching and practice you would know this is a false accusation.

(Slick) Mary died and her soul went to Heaven.

(Cristoiglesia) Really? I guess you have book, chapter and verse that supports this claim? Otherwise, it is just your personal opinion with out support. Perhaps you have historical or patristic evidence that you can cite? Do you have any authoritative source? Of course you don’t but it is based on prejudice against our Savior’s mother.

(Slick) She bore other children, bothers and sisters of Jesus.

(Cristoiglesia) This is one of the most ridiculous claims of Protestants. Surely such a claim is in direct defiance of the Gospel. It would mean that if the blessed mother was not the Ark of the New Covenant and that Jesus was a pretender to being the Lamb of God. Do you really want to teach or believe such nonsense? How would such a conclusion affect your faith? Could you still be a Christian if indeed Jesus was not the Lamb of God and the world still awaits a Savior? Yet Protestants will persist even by misinterpreting Scripture to support their prejudice against the mother of God. The only reference in Scripture that Protestants us to tell this lie is a misinterpretation of the word “adelphoi” which means Brethren and not siblings. In this case we know who they were and who their mothers were and it was NOT the blessed mother. You should have questioned your false interpretation when Jesus gave St. John the care of His mother from the cross. Do you really think that if Jesus had siblings that we would not know their descendants today? Not likely at all. What happened when the Ark of the Covenant was touched? How could St. Joseph have done so and lived. It becomes even more implausible since he was a very old man when Jesus was born.

(Slick) She is not an intercessor. Jesus is that.

(Cristoiglesia) No, Jesus is the sole mediator between the Father and man. You see, the Bible instructs us to love each other and to express that love through prayer for each other, whenever we pray for another we become an intercessor. The blessed mother of God prays for us and according to Scriptures the prayers of the righteous are of great benefit. In Revelation we learn that our prayers of the saints are presented before the throne of God.

(Slick) God is no respecter of persons.

(Cristoiglesia) So, am I supposed to understand from this that we are not to have respect for the mother of God? Such a position seems to run in opposition to the biblical teaching that we are to call her blessed.

(Slick) Probably every papacy has severely violated James 2:1-10 as a matter of course.

(Cristoiglesia) I doubt it and this is nothing more than an unsupported slanderous statement. The history of the papacy shows very humble men for the most part.

(Slick) All believers' sins are washed in Jesus' blood. There is no continual need for any works attaining extra forgiveness, as God's mercy is sufficient. Either you are in Christ and secure in Him, or you try to crawl in by some other gospel of works. There should be no fear in any person their sins mount up against them in this life. Just one graven image (Jesus on the cross) is idolatry.

(Cristoiglesia) Certainly our sins are washed by the blood of Christ but as long as we live we are subject to the seduction of sin and we sometimes fall to this temptation. We know from Scriptures that this sin separates us from the familial relationship we have with Christ and that some sin is fatal in that it will have a determination as to our eternal destiny. Jesus continues to cleanse us of our recurring sin through the Sacrament He established of Reconciliation. You seem to believe that good works are something that the Holy Spirit would not encourage one who is in Christ to do. But, just the opposite is true Good works are always the result of God’s grace and are the fruit of the Spirit. Security in Christ is not a guarantee that regardless of our sinful soul that we will be saved Certainly God is the God of mercy but He is also the God of justice and no sinful soul will enter heaven. Therefore the biblical teaching is that salvation is a process where we are continuously filled with God’s grace through the Sacraments as we are sanctified to His glory. Jesus through His grace is the beginning and the end of our salvation which is determined by the state of our soul at death and not when we say an unbiblical sinners prayer. He did not institute His Sacraments frivolously but purposefully. The Bible teaches in the epistles of St. Paul that we are to approach our salvation with fear and trembling. Scriptures say that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. If you truly believe that Jesus owes you a debt because you believe in Him you may very well be disappointed. The pride you feel when you claim your assurance of salvation is really the deception of Satan who has convinced you to commit the sin of presumption. We are not to judge anyone’s salvation and especially not our own.

St. Paul taught to preach Christ crucified and that is what we do with the crucifix. Religious art is not idolatry unless you are so foolish as to think that it is an idol. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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