17 April, 2010

Continuing discussion with "Truthsayer" about the Church

(Truthsayer) It's obvious that your trust is in the RCC.... You have bought this religion hook, line, and sinker.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes I am convinced that Jesus is God, the creator of all things and the Savior of the world. I am convinced that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Him and since it is and was the only Church that it is the Church that He prayed we all be one within at the garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion and resurrection.

(Truthsayer) I hope that you'll have a time in your life when you realize that you need to read the New Testament through the eyes of faith and not through the sordid lens of the RCC.

(Cristoiglesia) I was a Protestant for fifty years before becoming Catholic. I always read the Bible open and desiring to learn instead of the way yourself and most Protestants read the Bible which is to support their man-made doctrines and to ignore all scriptures that are contrary to their man-made heresies. Reading the Bible as I have always done in a humble scholarly way is what brought me to Catholicism.

(Truthsayer) Let me summarize some basic things that you need to know.

(Cristoiglesia) OK

(Truthsayer) 1. Salvation is through faith in Christ alone, (Ephesians 2:8-10), "not of works, lest any man should boast." When a person is saved they are automatically added to the Church which is HIS body.. (It doesn't belong to the RCC or any other denomination.)

(Cristioiglesia) I think there are things you should know and I am pleased to address this common Protestant heresy of “faith alone”. The only place that “faith alone” is mentioned in scriptures is when it is condemned in the book of James. Martin Luther the author of “faith alone” regretted this doctrine later on in life and questioned his salvation because of introducing this error into Christianity. This Protestant doctrine is truly a doctrine from hell.

Many people, like yourself, seem to think that all they have to do is in a moment of emotion and/or reason ascent to recognition of Christ being their savior and their salvation to eternal life is assured. From that point forward it makes no difference that their life is changed and they will live differently. The only thing that has changed is that evil in their lives as displayed outwardly and lived inwardly no longer has an effect on their eternity as their one act of acceptance has made them immune to the actions of their sins at judgment and obligated God to accept them into His presence. Some will go so far as to say that one's sinfulness and evil has nothing to do with the value of their souls before God because even the most evil, sinful soul is covered rather than purified by Christ's atonement. It would appear that these people are saying that Christ's atonement is a method or sinister plan to allow sin in the presence of God draped in a covering of righteousness to conceal the evil within and that salvation is assured regardless of the state of their souls.

The question comes immediately to mind, how one can come to such conclusions considering the context of the body of Scriptures that contradict such a notion. I believe that it all comes down to one verse which is unique in all of Scripture that depicts Christ as a personal savior dependent on one’s inner conviction. All other Scriptures depict only salvation through the Church saying that He died for us, meaning the Church. St. Paul certainly taught this as he practiced seeking salvation through Christ's Church.

Here is the Scripture which through the eisegesis of some causes misunderstanding:

(Gal 2:20 DRB) And I live, now not I: but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and delivered himself for me.

Some take this verse to mean that one need only repent and turn to God with the heart of a little child and their salvation is assured.

(Joh 3:3 DRB) Jesus answered and said to him: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Catholics see salvation quite differently than those who think that covering one’s sins is enough to enter the presence of God. We recognize that Christ has redeemed us on the cross and unlocked the gates of heaven and that redemption is not the same as salvation but instead a prelude to salvation. In order for us to receive salvation we must cooperate by being spiritually alive. Our soul cannot be in a natural state when we die to receive salvation and no covering of its sinfulness will be enough to hide what is beneath, a soul without the sanctifying grace cannot enter heaven. If, at death, the soul is sanctified then there is no doubt of heaven even if that soul needs to go to the purification of purgatory. Only souls that are indeed good and pleasing to God by being full of His sanctifying grace will merit heaven. It is the state of the soul at death that merits heaven and this fact emphasizes why we need God’s ongoing grace in our lives to persevere to the end.

(Truthsayer) 2. After a person is saved they should be baptized by immersion. This is the ONLY believers baptism mentioned in the New Testament. (Acts 2)

(Cristoiglesia) Let me say that I have no problem with immersion Baptism but I do have a problem with those people that say it is the only valid method of Baptism.

The Bible is totally silent as to the method to be used in Baptism. Furthermore there is no example in Scriptures of anyone being Baptized by immersion or any other methodology. The Bible is totally silent as to how it is to be done. Only the “Didache” gives any description as to the Method and form of Baptism. The Didache says the following:

The Didache was written around A.D. 70 and, though not inspired, is a strong witness to the sacramental practice of Christians in the apostolic age. In its seventh chapter, the Didache reads, "Concerning baptism, baptize in this manner: Having said all these things beforehand, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in living water [that is, in running water, as in a river]. If there is no living water, baptize in other water; and, if you are not able to use cold water, use warm. If you have neither, pour water three times upon the head in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." These instructions were composed either while some of the apostles and disciples were still alive or during the next generation of Christians, and they represent an already established custom.

So clearly immersion only Baptism is not at all biblical.

(Truthsayer) 3. After a person is saved and baptized they are expected to continue steadfastly in the "Apostles doctrine", fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. (Acts 2) They are to be gathered together according to Mathew 18:20.

(Cristoiglesia) You are very confused about a couple of things which causes you to ere. First of all a person is not saved until their earthly death. If their soul is full of salvific grace they are saved. When one is baptized they come into the familial relationship with God and are given the gift of the Holy Spirit that leads them to grace.

Now let us examine the scripture verses you provided:

Matthew 18:15-20 (King James Version)
15Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
18Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Here Matthew is recording the teaching of Jesus to the disciples who were to become the foundation of the Church. In the first century the Church was defined by the disciples after the resurrection as those who gather around the Bishops. We know this because this is the definition recorded by the disciple of St. John and St. Peter who was the third bishop of Antioch named St. Ignatius. He wrote in his letter to the Smyrnaeans:

Chapter 8. Let nothing be done without the bishop
See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

Chapter 9. Honour the bishop
Moreover, it is in accordance with reason that we should return to soberness [of conduct], and, while yet we have opportunity, exercise repentance towards God. It is well to reverence both God and the bishop. He who honours the bishop has been honoured by God; he who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop, does [in reality] serve the devil. Let all things, then, abound to you through grace, for you are worthy. You have refreshed me in all things, and Jesus Christ [shall refresh] you. You have loved me when absent as well as when present. May God recompense you, for whose sake, while you endure all things, you shall attain unto Him.

So, the fellowship being spoken here is defined as the Church and the Church is defined as those who follow the Bishops. Those that have separated themselves from the Church like you are not a part of the communion spoken of here but are instead outside of unity with the Church which describes the Protestants like yourself. The scriptures you referred to say that we are to treat you like the heathen and the publicans because you refuse out of your carnal pride to hear the Church. So, you are correct that it speaks of fellowship but you fail to recognize that you as a Protestant are outside of that fellowship according to the scriptures you provided as reference.

(Truthsayer) The "breaking of bread" mentioned in Acts 2 is simple obedience to the Savior when He instituted a "remembrance of Himself" when He was alone with His disciples in the upper room on the same night that He was betrayed... By the way.. In connection with this, Christ was not introducing cannibalism... The bread and cup were symbolic of His body and blood.

(Cristoiglesia) For the Christian today it is a great honor to be called a cannibal because this is the label we received by those that persecuted us in the first few centuries of the Church. It was a pejorative label given to us by the Jews and Pagans that hated us. Thank you for calling us the same hate filled name as they called those who were the disciples of our Lord that were martyred for their faith. But we are not worthy as our sacrifice is not as great as theirs.

The Israelites continued to remember their bitter bondage while in Egypt. Jesus instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice as a reminder of the sorrow and brokenness of humanity lost in sin before His atoning sacrifice. The Israelites before and the Jewish people today continue to recall that God brought them out of bondage and the miracle of the Passover.

The ongoing celebration of the Mass is very different from the Passover celebration in that it is not a recalling of a one time event but a continuing sacrifice with Jesus as the priest and the victim. We are not celebrating this to recall what we have read or been told but are really and actually at the foot of the Cross with the blessed mother and St. John. In the Bible it says that we are to do this in “remembrance” as it is often translated into English but that same word in Koine Greek is actually “anamnesis” which has no English equivalent. “Remembrance” is a rather crude and awkward approximation of the true meaning of “anamnesis” which denotes a miracle. Recalling something to memory is hardly a divine miracle. So, there is clearly a difference between the ongoing practice of recalling the bondage of Egypt and the command of our Lord to “do this in “anamnesis” of me which we do in the one miracle of the Eucharist. Jesus provides the great feast of His actual Body and Blood in exactly the form, time and place at the foot of the cross as He said. It is completely recognizing the fact that we discern His Body and Blood in the Spirit of faith as He said and not by our human carnal reason as Protestants struggle to do.

In John 6:51 Jesus says that He is the bread from heaven. He is not talking of a huge loaf of bread which all believers must partake but makes it clear that it is His actual flesh that brings life eternal and not a recalling or remembrance of His flesh. Obviously this is a miracle not unlike the miracle of His feeding the multitudes before. The disciples would have believed because they had just witnessed a similar miracle. Also His relating this feast to manna (John 6:49-50) illustrates its temporary sustenance and contrasts it to the enduring nature bestowed by eating His flesh.

“51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Surely if this was a remembrance or recalling only it would necessitate a killing of another lamb which would not be the self same sacrifice but another symbolic of the first whose blood spread on the entrance to their homes with the hyssop branch saved their first born sons. It was this Old Covenant celebration that necessitated the ongoing sacrifice of the temple which was the only place that the lambs could be slaughtered because only the priests could kill the Passover lamb in remembrance of the real and original sacrifice. It is significant that St. John records, since He was the only one of the Gospel writers present that, Jesus was killed at the exact same time of the representative Paschal lambs at the Temple. This indicated a new ongoing sacrifice once for all times of the New Covenant.

The Eucharist is not a recalling of Calvary. It is not a remembrance of Calvary. Instead, it is the one, same sacrifice with the real Christ as the victim and priest that transcends time and place as the heavenly feast of His real flesh which is the food to endure to final salvation for all mankind. At every Mass we eat the same flesh of our Lord that He served at the last supper and we who abide in Him will continue for all times.


53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

(Truthsayer) I know that you've rejected these truths many times.. That's your choice.. God doesn't force anyone to believe Him against their will. "A man convinced against his will, Is of the same opinion still."

(Cristoiglesia) I have never rejected truth but instead I have always pursued the truth. When I was an anti-Catholic like you the pursuit of the truth is what brought me to the Catholic Church kicking and screaming. I never wanted to be Catholic but the Holy Spirit never stopped leading me to the Church. Those who come to the Church founded by Jesus and His disciples are blessed abundantly, especially so when pulled away from the darkness and desert of truth and practice in the Protestant sects to the fullness of truth and practice of the Catholic Church. It is you who Protests His Church and not I.

(Truthsayer) One last thought, you claim to have been trained in a Baptist theological seminary.. This only proves one thing.. Not everyone that attends a Baptist Seminary is saved. If you had been, you may still have left the Baptists but you wouldn't have joined up with the Roman Catholic Church.

(Cristoiglesia) Praise God He has not saved me yet but by His grace I will be saved upon my death. No one who attends a Baptist seminary is saved but they all have the hope of salvation which is the state of all mankind. Many Baptists have joined the Catholic Church. In fact entire congregations of Baptists have come home to Christ’s Church. Christ’s Church is superior to anything that man will ever create. Christ built it on the firmest of foundations. Using construction vernacular Jesus said that He is the cornerstone of the Church and that the 12 disciples are the foundation stones. That foundation of rock is built upon through apostolic succession. The people who are blessed to receive the call to His Church gather around the teaching authority of these original disciples given to them by Christ Himself.

All Protestant churches are built upon foundations of sand that shift and destroy those sects through schisms perpetrated by the pride of men. Some men not blessed with discernment by the Holy Spirit actually delude themselves into believing that they can create and found a Church that has more authority and veracity than the Church founded by our Lord. Such delusion is the work of Satan who labors to keep the fullness of truth from mankind lest they be faithful and obedient to our Lord through His Church or the fellowship we discussed earlier in Mat 18: 15-20.

(Truthsayer)I have been spending much time studying Paul's epistle to the Galations.. It occurs to me that many of the false doctrines and pagan rituals embraced by the RCC must have begun to raise their ugly heads in the churches in Galatia and this is one of the primary reasons that Paul was writing them this letter of correction.

(Cristoiglesia) There is one huge problem with your conclusion. There are no Pagan rituals or false doctrines in the Catholic Church. Jesus said that the gates of hell will never prevail against His Church. He sad that it would endure for all times and it is recorded in the scriptures, that the Church founded by our Lord and led to all truth by the Paraclete is the “pillar and foundation of the truth.” Does it not bother you that in making your statements and coming to your prejudiced erroneous conclusions that you , in doing so, are calling our Lord at best and incompetent in founding His Church or at worst a liar when He gave His promises to mankind about His Church? How does that build one’s faith? It does not but is just the kind of rhetoric we would expect from the father of lies.


P.S. I would go as far as to suggest that being "in Christ" and "being in the RCC" are mutually exclusive concepts.

(Cristoiglesia) I would be surprised at this time in your life if you did not make such a hateful and bigoted statement. But, speaking charitably, it is sad that you have not been blessed with the grace to recognize His Church. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

1 comment:

  1. >>(Cristoiglesia) Yes I am convinced that Jesus is God, the creator of all things and the Savior of the world.<<

    Really? "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the demons also believe and tremble." (James 2:19)

    "But wilt thou know O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:20)

    Notice the context of James 2:20.. The context demands that we understand that even demons believe, but they do not exhibit the works that accompany salvation.

    "Works" are the FRUIT of salvation, not the ROOT.

    "Things that accompany Salvation." (Hebrews 6:9)

    "When the Apostle speaks of virtues and of graces, he calls them "things that accompany Salvation," not things which cause it. Our faith does not cause Salvation, nor our hope, nor our love, nor our good works; they are things which attend it as its guard of honor. The origin of Salvation lies alone in the sovereign will of God the Father; in the infinite efficacy of the blood of Jesus—God the Son, and in the divine influence of God the Holy Spirit. There are, however, "things that accompany Salvation." (Spurgeon)

    By denying that there is a "present salvation" you are putting yourself in the same condition as the demons. You believe the same way they do, and like them, there are no works, or evidence that suggest that you are saved, as a matter of fact you've stated of that you are not saved.

    Time to rethink, my friend!