29 April, 2010

A desperate and unjustified attack on Christ's Church

(SPLTexas) You are testifying to the fact that your faith is unfounded:

(Cristoiglesia) Well, let’s see if you are right.

(SPLTexas) You said not that you believe in the words of God and Jesus in the bible but man made doctrines and rituals of men disguised as religion.

(Cristoiglesia) No, I never said that. There are no man-made doctrines in the Catholic Church and I am a Catholic. I am faithful to the teaching of Jesus, the disciples and the teaching authority of Christ’s Church. It is rather odd that you would make such an accusation since you are in a man-made sect teaching man-made doctrines and are in protest of the only Church that Jesus and the disciples founded which is the Church that was given the promises by Jesus to be the enduring Church, free from apostasy and recorded in the Bible to be the “pillar and foundation of the truth.

(SPLTexas) Where in the Bible do you find rosaries,

(Cristoiglesia) Where in the Bible do you find it stating that it is the regula fidei? What do you have against prayer? Show me in the Bible where it says not to pray.

The hermeneutic principal I see used by non Catholics time and time again is the proof text method. In almost all cases that is a methodology that results in eisegesis and not exegesis.

The proof text model employed in interpretation ignores context and results in simply an anthology of verses that support unorthodox doctrines like soul sleep and to a lesser extent Sola Scriptura. Ignored is the fact that without their context they have no meaning. In other words, one takes a theme to support and search for verses with certain key words that epigrammatically coincide with the doctrine and not for their contextual contribution to understanding. Consequently, as we see in this use of Scriptures, there is an allegorization as an adjustment to the plain meaning within context creating a usage of the text foreign to its intended meaning. This almost always results in eisegesis.

Systematic theology deals with the teaching of the Bible as a whole body of work instead of individual books or individual verses. This is why one should consider not just those verses which support one’s views but how one deals with those that are contradictory to one’s teaching or understanding. Can the doctrine one believes pass the test or scrutiny of a systematic study of the doctrine?

There seems to be an evolution of Catholic hermeneutics. It started with the Alexandrian school and is apparent in the writings of St. Titus Flavius Clement. He believed that the Scriptures hid the sense, and that the holy mysteries and prophesies were hidden in parables. Origen was a disciple of St. Clement and coined the threefold sense of Scripture: corporeal, psychical and the spiritual in his work “On First Principles”. This was the first written work on hermeneutics.

Around the end of the third century there was the Antiochian school founded by Lucian of Samosata or Diodorus. It produced two of the greatest theologians of the Church, Theodore of Mopsuestia and John Chrysostom. This school expands the teaching of the Alexandrian school to include “theoria” which comes from a Greek word meaning “to see”. This method of interpretation contended that the spiritual sense is inseparable from the literal sense. There was a concern in this school of being overly literalistic or going too far in allegory as to lose the plain meaning of the Scripture. To the Antiochians Scripture had only one meaning which possessed the attributes of literal, spiritual, historical and typological. They believed that the aim of exegesis involved spiritual as well as doctrinal enlightenment in conjunction with historical and philological facts.

The third school in the patristic period was the Western School which had elements of the two previous schools. This school included St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose and St. Hilary. Most of what we know of this school is contained in St. Augustine’s work ”De Doctrina Christiana”. St. Augustine introduced the idea of “regula fidei” or the rule of faith which are the collection of doctrines of the Church. The proper use of the regula fidei presupposes that the meaning of Scripture has already been decided sufficiently in order to recognize that the passage does belong to the doctrine being used as a “rule of faith’ to measure it. Otherwise St. Augustine said that there was an enormous chance of eisegesis. Eventually in the Western school there were four terms that won out in their hermeneutical approach which were: literal, allegorical, tropological, and analogical. This was illustrated in John Cassian’s “Conferences:

Jerusalem literally means city of the Jews, allegorically Jerusalem means Church, tropologically Jerusalem is the soul, and anagogically Jerusalem is our heavenly home. He emphasized that the literal sense is always the precedent in interpretation.

Personally, I do not have a problem with the grammatico-historical method of exegesis but I use what is called the Syntactical-Theological method by Walter Kaiser, Jr., which combines systematic theology with biblical exegesis. When Walter Kaiser coined the name of this methodology he said, “ Because the Bible purports to be the Word from God the task of locating meaning is not finished until one apprehends the purpose, scope, or reason (indeed, the theology) for which the text was written.”

(SPLTexas) worshipping mary,

(Cristoiglesia) You certainly won’t find the worship of anyone or anything but God in the Catholic Church. Such is forbidden in the Scriptures and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

(SPLTexas) praying to dead people,

(Cristoiglesia) If you will check Scriptures you will find that necromancy is forbidden in the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says,
All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead, or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums ["channelers"] all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone. (CCC 2116)

(SPLTexas) scapula,

(Cristoiglesia) I think you mean scapular. This can refer to two different things. It is usually part of the habit of monastic orders and is symbolic of an apron. It can also be a devotional Sacramental that reminds the wearer to pray constantly.

(SPLTexas) legion of mary,

(Cristoiglesia) I do not have a lot of knowledge of this organization but what I know is that it is a organization of laity, traditionally mostly women who have ministries for mostly poor women and children. They are particularly active with the prostitutes in the Philippines in getting them out of the life of prostitution by teaching them skills and getting them education.

(SPLTexas) prarying to statues,

(Cristoiglesia) You will not find such a practice in the Catholic Church as the Church forbids idolatry in any form:

Catechism of the Catholic Church

2112 The first commandment condemns polytheism. It requires man neither to believe in, nor to venerate, other divinities than the one true God. Scripture constantly recalls this rejection of "idols, [of] silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see." These empty idols make their worshippers empty: "Those who make them are like them; so are all who trust in them."42 God, however, is the "living God"43 who gives life and intervenes in history.

2113 Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God, whether this be gods or demons (for example, satanism), power, pleasure, race, ancestors, the state, money, etc. Jesus says, "You cannot serve God and mammon."44 Many martyrs died for not adoring "the Beast"45 refusing even to simulate such worship. Idolatry rejects the unique Lordship of God; it is therefore incompatible with communion with God.46

2114 Human life finds its unity in the adoration of the one God. The commandment to worship the Lord alone integrates man and saves him from an endless disintegration. Idolatry is a perversion of man's innate religious sense. An idolater is someone who "transfers his indestructible notion of God to anything other than God."47

(SPLTexas) depending on perverted men for forgiveness.

(Cristoiglesia) This is a very strange accusation coming from a professed Christian. We depend on Jesus only for forgiveness and He is certainly not perverted. Jesus gave the authority and the responsibility to the Church to forgive the sins of man. Jesus told the Church that what sins we forgive are forgiven in heaven and what sins we retain are retained in heaven. He expected the Church to fulfill that authority and this is the only method of forgiveness contained in Scriptures. Protestants reject this teaching by Jesus saying that they prefer to ask Jesus directly for forgiveness and by doing so they are abdicating being obedient to Christ’s teaching. I think that most do this out of pride by not wanting others to know their sin but Jesus knowing the carnal reluctance to admit our sin uses this as a sign of obedience and devotion in serving God. Certainly it is an embarrassment to expose our soul to others but it also makes it less likely that we will commit that sin again. The priest, as in the other Sacraments, is acting in “persona Christi”, which means that he is the hands and mouth of God when He grants absolution. If the confession is not from a contrite heart there is no forgiveness.

(SPLTexas) If you substitute the blood of Jesus for forgiveness with a man made ritual, and if you substitute the words in the Bible that God and Jesus spoke with man made doctrines, rituals and talismans, then how can you enter the kingdom of God.

(Cristoiglesia) You need to explain what you mean here by a man-made ritual. Are you saying that practices established by Jesus are man-made? If you are then you are denying His divinity. Think about it, would Jesus have given the authority to forgive sins to the priests if he did not expect this authority to be used, especially in the absence of any other teaching of a different method.

We can discuss man-made doctrines when you find them in the Catholic Church with some specificity. So far you have been unable to identify one but instead you are creating straw men and calling them Catholic doctrine. I can not comment on rituals unless you explain what you are calling a ritual and why you are opposed to them.

I assume that the talismans you speak of are the sacramental’s that are used by some to remind them to pray to God. All Catholics know that any protection they offer comes not from the Sacramental but from their prayers. We believe as Catholics that God grants our prayers. Why do you think that devotion and obedience to God through prayer prevents one from entering the kingdom of God?

(SPLTexas) You have made the sacrifice that Jesus made of no effect through holding on to man made lies that do not bring people to repentance and changed lives by the Blood of the Lamb and the Power of the Holy Spirit.

(Cristoiglesia) Before you can make such a claim you must identify these supposed lies. I cannot comment on vacuous accusations or ambiguous theological opinions. But, I will say that I know of no lies taught by Christ’s Church as I searched for them for 30 years before becoming Catholic. People have been coming to repentance in the Catholic Church for 2000 years and long before the Protestant rebellion when the protesters of the Church turned Secular Humanists decided they could no longer endure the sound doctrine in Christ’s Church and founded their own counterfeit sects that continue to show their bad fruit with over 30,000 different divisions in the Corpus Christi each claiming their own truth and heresy. But, at the same time the Church that Christ founded, the Catholic Church, remains true to the commission of Christ and is the recipient of His promises.

(SPLTexas) If you die in your sins, you will go to hell where the worms do not die and the fire is never quenched. Do not gamble with eternity by holding on to man made teachings and of devils mean to keep people from their God and Savior, Jesus doctrines.

(Cristoiglesia) Yes sin separates us from the familial relationship with Christ and also separates us from our eternal promise. So far you have been unable to identify any man-made teaching in the Catholic Church unless you are calling the teaching of Jesus as man-made. When you can identify such a teaching you can then make such a claim.

Everyone who dies without a sanctified soul can expect an eternity in hell. Perhaps it is you who should take your own advice as you are in protest of the only Church that Jesus founded. You admittedly suggest that you cannot endure the sound doctrine contained in Christ’s Church and truly are contending that your man-made sect is superior and with more veracity than the Church founded by our Lord. It sounds as if by your own testimony that you should not be a gambler with your own eternity. You are clearly outside of God’s will because Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest and crucifixion that we all be one in His Church as He and the Father are one.

(SPLTexas) You are like Saul before He met Jesus.

(Cristoiglesia) And you are like the unbelievers or proto-Protestants who were former disciples that walked away from Jesus after His colloquy at Capernaum. They rejected His teaching just like you do because of their own pride and lack of faith and obedience. I am not like Saul at all but instead I am faithful to Jesus like Paul in Christ’s Church. I was like Saul when I was a Protestant and acted just like you in persecuting Christ’s Church. May our Lord forgive me.

(SPLTexas) Talk with Jesus and ask Him to forgive you and fill you with His Holy Spirit to teach you truth from His Spirit and Words, not from men.

(Cristoiglesia) I did and He brought me to His Church kicking and screaming that I did not want to be Catholic.

(SPLTexas) Stop quoting men - quote the Bible - KJV or earliest. The cathecism is not the Bible - I am familiar with it, and you are quotiing the blind following the blind.

(Cristoiglesia) Again it is you that reject the Church founded by Jesus for the doctrines of men. I do quote the Bible but the difference between you and I is that I understand it through the teaching authority that Jesus left on earth. You must come to understand that the Bible is written by Christ’s Church and is about Christ’s Church. The Church existed for 400 years and grew under oral teaching through apostolic succession. Why would you think that the Catechism is the Bible? Catholics do not.

(SPLTexas) Forget the pharisetical teaching and let Jesus write His laws in heart!

(Cristoiglesia) Do you even know what that means? Perhaps this will help you understand.

(Deu 30:11) This commandment, that I command thee this day is not above thee, nor far off from thee:

(Deu 30:12) Nor is it in heaven, that thou shouldst say: Which of us can go up to heaven to bring it unto us, and we may hear and fulfil it in work?

(Deu 30:13) Nor is it beyond the sea: that thou mayst excuse thyself, and say: Which of us can cross the sea, and bring it unto us: that we may hear, and do that which is commanded?

(Deu 30:14) But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart, that thou mayst do it.

This is the teaching of Moses where Moses tells the people the importance of the law being upon their hearts and how it is essential for God’s plan for humanity. We rarely see reference to these verses because they speak most profoundly against Calvinist predestination that says only some are predestined to salvation and others are predestined to hell. If the law is written on everyone’s heart by God, then for what purpose, except to provide a pathway to eternity in Christ. I heard a preacher in a small Pentecostal Church in the mountains of Kentucky say that the law on our hearts was like the Rosetta stone allowing us to understand the things of God, that the law contains the very concept of faith and this grace and this Godliness coexists with our inherent sinfulness until we are washed by the blood of the Lamb with our surrender and become pure of heart within God’s law and consequently within His will. We can not be within God’s will without obedience to this imputed law that along with inherited sin intuitively shows us the need for a Savior, Christ Jesus. This is why we have no excuse for our lack of surrender to God because He is not only evident in His creation but He is a part of our very being upon our creation.

How could one understand God’s demands upon us without this law? How can we understand God’s will for us to live within righteousness and justice if not for this law that abides always in our conscience? We often think of God’s law as something without us but in fact it is eternal within our being that calls to intuition the will of God. This is essential for without the law we can not know God.

Now the law on our hearts should not be confused with those external laws of men. The law written on our hearts is the law that makes us understand righteousness, justice, love and reconciliation. The law in our hearts is not the external law that can result in legalism where the letter of the law is followed at the expense of the spirit of the law. There is no other means by which we know His voice when He speaks to our spirit.

(Heb 8:10) For this is the testament which I will make to the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will give my laws into their mind: and in their heart will I write them. And I will be their God: and they shall be my people.

(Rom 10:6) But the justice which is of faith, speaketh thus: Say not in thy heart: Who shall ascend into heaven? That is to bring Christ down;

(Rom 10:7) Or who shall descend into the deep? That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.

(Rom 10:8) But what saith the scripture? The word is nigh thee; even in thy mouth and in thy heart. This is the word of faith, which we preach.

(Rom 10:9) For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

(Col 1:27) To whom God would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ, in you the hope of glory.

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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