21 June, 2010

Misunderstandings of Church teaching discussed with Tristen

(Tristen) “Purgatory - implies that the sacrifice of Christ was insufficient to deal with my sins.”

(Cristoiglesia) Really? I see that you did not explain such a bazaar conclusion or provide a basis for such a conclusion. It appears that you are quite confused as to what the Church teaches about Purgatory. The following may help you to put the Doctrine of Purgatory into perspective by studying the biblical teaching on Purgatory:

There is a common Protestant misunderstanding of purgatory. At least one protestant minister, John Wesley, spoke of perfectionism in this life, possible but rare. He is one of the few to proclaim that one can be sanctified in this life and he left the Moravian Church over this issue after a rebuke by Count Zinzendorf for this teaching.

People in purgatory are already justified by receiving the supernatural eternal life into our souls through Baptism making us a part of the Body of Christ. Those in purgatory have accepted Christ by faith and have not rejected Him by unrepentant mortal sin. It is a place where one is purified by fire (Mal 3:2). Imagine the joy of being in purgatory and knowing that you are there because you have passed judgment and are assured of being in the presence of God in heaven. Purgatory is not an eternal destination, there are only two, heaven or hell.

We should not think of purgatory as some kind of legal punishment for past sins as it would be under the old law. Those in purgatory are already new creatures changed by Christ’s grace, they are the adopted children and part of God’s family in purgatory one receives final discipline and cleansing preparing one for the perfection of heaven. Catholics believe that sanctification is a process and is not completed when one comes to belief. So purgatory is not a suggestion that Christ’s atonement is insufficient but that we have not yet completed our sanctification through the grace of Christ.

Cleansing or sanctification is a gradual process and we must endure to the end to be saved.

(Mat 10:22 DRB) And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.

(Mat 24:13 DRB) But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.

(Mar 13:13 DRB) And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake. But he that shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved.

Catholic soteriology recognizes that for some of us the process was not completed at death or that we died with unrepentant sin.

(Heb 9:27 DRB) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment:

The judgment is our eternal destiny and for those whose name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life, heaven is assured. But we know that one must be free of sin to be in God’s presence.

(1Ti 6:14 DRB) That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,

It may be that one is not prepared to be in our Lord’s presence as we may still be with spiritual shortcomings or temporal effects of forgiven sins on our soul making it necessary for some form of purification to enter heaven in God’s presence. Since this is a process of purgation it is called purgatory and it is in keeping with prophecy of the prophet Habakkuk who said that only that which is holy may enter heaven.

(Hab 1:13 DRB) Thy eyes are too pure to behold evil, and thou canst not look on iniquity. Why lookest thou upon them that do unjust things, and holdest thy peace when the wicked devoureth the man that is more just than himself?

St. Paul also taught of a process of purgation which may involve suffering on the soul of Christians and in his first letter to the Corinthian Church he describes the process of purgation after death.

(1Co 3:10 DRB) According to the grace of God that is given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation: and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

(1Co 3:11 DRB) For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus.

(1Co 3:12 DRB) Now, if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble:

(1Co 3:13 DRB) Every man's work shall be manifest. For the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire. And the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is.

(1Co 3:14 DRB) If any man's work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

(1Co 3:15 DRB) If any mans work burn, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.

St. Paul speaks metaphorically that the results of sin that remain on one’s soul is like “wood, hay and straw” and are burned away in the process of final purification to be received in the presence of the Lord. St. Paul also speaks of one’s works as “gold, silver and precious stones” which are refined and retained.

This passage reminds me of what Christ said in the following indicating that some sins may be forgiven after death.

(Mat 12:32 DRB) And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world, nor in the world to come.

Purgatory is also related to the parable of the unforgiving servant which is as follows…

(Mat 18:32 DRB) Then his lord called him: and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me:

(Mat 18:33 DRB) Shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee?

(Mat 18:34 DRB) And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt.

After telling the parable Christ emphasizes His message lest it be misunderstood with this warning……..

(Mat 18:35 DRB) So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.

Christ was warning us of the danger of a hard heart or anger making us unwilling to forgive others. We should acknowledge that these are the signs and example of a defective soul in need of purgation so that he that is imperfect may be in the presence of God and dwell in glory. (See CCC 1030-1032)

(Tristen) Deification and prayer to Mary - is unsupported in scripture. Jesus went out of His way to ensure that Mary would not be venerated.

(Cristoiglesia) The Church does not deify the blessed mother of God in any way. Such a claim is an outright prevarification of Catholic teaching. In fact the Church teaches the exact opposite of such an accusation.

Paragraph 6. Mary - Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church
963 Since the Virgin Mary's role in the mystery of Christ and the Spirit has been treated, it is fitting now to consider her place in the mystery of the Church. "The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer.... She is 'clearly the mother of the members of Christ' . . . since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head."500 "Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church."501
Wholly united with her Son . . .
964 Mary's role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. "This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to his death";502 it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion:
Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: "Woman, behold your son."503
965 After her Son's Ascension, Mary "aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers."504 In her association with the apostles and several women, "we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation."505
. . . also in her Assumption
966 "Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death."506 The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:
In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.507
. . . she is our Mother in the order of grace
967 By her complete adherence to the Father's will, to his Son's redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church's model of faith and charity. Thus she is a "preeminent and . . . wholly unique member of the Church"; indeed, she is the "exemplary realization" (typus)508 of the Church.
968 Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further. "In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior's work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace."509
969 "This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation .... Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."510
970 "Mary's function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin's salutary influence on men . . . flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it."511 "No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source."512
971 "All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship."513 The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration."514 The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.515
972 After speaking of the Church, her origin, mission, and destiny, we can find no better way to conclude than by looking to Mary. In her we contemplate what the Church already is in her mystery on her own "pilgrimage of faith," and what she will be in the homeland at the end of her journey. There, "in the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity," "in the communion of all the saints,"516 the Church is awaited by the one she venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother.
In the meantime the Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she shines forth on earth until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God.517
973 By pronouncing her "fiat" at the Annunciation and giving her consent to the Incarnation, Mary was already collaborating with the whole work her Son was to accomplish. She is mother wherever he is Savior and head of the Mystical Body.
974 The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son's Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of his Body.
975 "We believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ" (Paul VI, CPG # 15).
500 LG 53; cf. St. Augustine, De virg. 6: PL 40,399.
501 Paul VI, Discourse, November 21,1964.
502 LG 57.
503 LG 58; cf. Jn 19:26-27.
504 LG 69.
505 LG 59.
506 LG 59; cf. Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus (1950): DS 3903; cf. Rev 19:16.
507 Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion, Feast of the Dormition, August 15th.
508 LG 53; 63.
509 LG 61.
510 LG 62.
511 LG 60.
512 LG 62.
513 Lk 1:48; Paul VI, MC 56.
514 LG 66.
515 Cf. Paul VI, MC 42; SC 103.
516 LG 69.
517 LG 68; Cf. 2 Pet 3 10.

Your suggestion that Jesus broke the Commandment to not honor His mother is quite offensive to the Christian conscience. He never did such a thing. In fact the Bible tells us that Jesus forbid just the actions you profess of our Lord in the following:

Mark 7:9-13 (King James Version)
9And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
10For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
11But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
12And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
13Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

Jesus rejected the teaching of the Pharisees that allowed one to dedicate something to the Temple against the benefit of his parents. Jesus followed and taught as the Essenes and not the Pharisees as you seem to support in your accusation against Jesus. By not honoring His mother Jesus would be committing an evil act by His own teaching.

(Tristen) “The scripture is also clear that Mary had other children and spoke in tongues.”

(Cristoiglesia) Since the blessed mother of God was present in the “Upper Room” at Pentecost it is reasonable to assume that she spoke in tongues as the others who were also present.

However, there is absolutely no evidence biblically, historically or patristically that Jesus had any siblings.

From a historical standpoint, in regards to the perpetual virginity of the blessed mother, no one believed that she had other children until the last two hundred years or so due to widespread mistranslation of Scripture and the non-scriptural practice of Sola Scriptura using improper hermeneutics.

When studying Scriptures as a body of work, in context pointing towards the atonement of humanity there is no other reasonable conclusion that one can come to other than the fact that St. Mary had no other children than Jesus. Also the historical and the Biblical accounts confirm that the blessed mother was forever virgin. St. Joseph was not chosen as a husband in the normal sense but as the protector of the blessed mother's virginity. He was a much older man, likely a widower, chosen by God for this purpose. Let us look at the verses in question....

(Mat 12:46 DRB) As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him.

(Mat 12:47 DRB) And one said unto him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee.

(Mat 12:48 DRB) But he answering him that told him, said: Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?

(Mat 12:49 DRB) And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my brethren.

(Mat 12:50 DRB) For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

The Greek noun used here is adelphoi which means brother and it is spelled exactly the same way both times it occurs in these Scriptures. One should note also that there is no such thing in Koine Greek grammar as a familial form of adelphoi. Now it is important to note that the language used here is in itself a translation from Aramaic for adelphoi used in the familiar way. In Aramaic there is no word which would distinguish ones biological brothers from other relatives such as cousins or even step brothers or sisters. The more acceptable term in proper translation would probably be something like brethren instead of brother. When Christ spoke he also used the Aramaic equivalent to adelphoi in the Greek, in a non-familiar sense when he said the following in verse 50, “he is my brother”.

As you can see with proper exegesis there is nothing in these verses to support the theory that St. Mary was not forever virgin and that she had other children besides Jesus. Please note that in all of Scriptures, no one is specifically called a child of the blessed mother other than Jesus.

Please note the following:

(Mat 1:20 DRB) But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.

(Mat 1:21 DRB) And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins.

(Mat 1:22 DRB) Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying:

(Mat 1:23 DRB) Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

The blessed mother was a virgin when she conceived and was a virgin after giving birth.

(Luk 1:26 DRB) And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,

(Luk 1:27 DRB) To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary.

(Luk 1:28 DRB) And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

(Luk 1:29 DRB) Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.

(Luk 1:30 DRB) And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

(Luk 1:31 DRB) Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus.

(Luk 1:32 DRB) He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.

(Luk 1:33 DRB) And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

(Luk 1:34 DRB) And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?

(Luk 1:35 DRB) And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

The verses preceding show that she intended to remain a virgin when she said to the angel Gabriel, “I know not man”. Please notice in the following verses in St. John’s account of the crucifixion of the blessed mother being put into the care of St. John. If she had other children and especially other male children the Jewish tradition would be that she would have been cared for by them. Jesus knowing the hardship of a childless widow placed her in good hands with St. John.

(Joh 19:26 DRB) When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son.

(Joh 19:27 DRB) After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.

Last of all there is the difficulty of history and Sacred Tradition to overcome, which has always, without exception, called her the Blessed Virgin.

(Tristen) Forbidding ministers to marry. Paul equates forbidding to marry with "doctrines of demons".

Certainly you are correct that St. Paul spoke of forbidding to marry is a doctrine of demons. Catholics agree and that is why the Church does not forbid anyone to marry. Celibacy is a self imposed discipline and those who choose celibacy take a vow to God to remain celibate. The Church chooses from those who have made this vow to be among the priesthood. The Church also allows married men to be priests when they convert from Protestant faiths as ministers to the Catholic Roman Rite. The Roman Rite is just one of 23 Rites in the Catholic Church and the only one that the discipline of celibacy.

There is no where in the Scriptures that it says not to tell clergy to marry. What it does say is not to forbid marriage. In fact, both St. Paul and Jesus recommend celibacy for clergy. Both of them gave testimony by their actions of being celibate. Neither does this say that they must marry but if they are married that they should be men of good moral character. So the Church teaches nothing against the teaching of Scriptures by allowing clergy to swear a vow of celibacy and emulate Jesus and St. Paul.

(Tristen) “Prayer to the saints. The Bible says we should pray to God, in the Name of Jesus. And that when we need grace we should boldly approach God's throne directly. Jesus died to reconcile me to God through Christ - not the saints.”

(Cristoiglesia) Certainly we should pray to God but it does not say that we should not ask others to pray for us or for us to pray for them. Prayer is a part of the great commission and it is every Christian’s ministry that we all as Christians share and we pray for each other out of love for one another. The Bible teaches that our physical death does not separate us from the Church or from God’s love. Nor does our status as part of the Church Triumphant release us of our responsibility of ministry to assist others in what we have attained. Those of us in the Church militant are encouraged to call on those who have won the race for which we have hope pray for us out of love and present those prayers before the throne of God. It is natural for a Christian filled with God’s love and indwelled by the Holy Spirit to desire both the prayers of others and to pray for others as part of our own personal ministry. This does not end until the Parousia where all are reconciled to the Father. Jesus did not remove the love for one another but is instead an example of that love that we should follow and emulate. This explains it in more detail from elsewhere in my blog:

First of all it is disingenuous to state that the practice of praying for each other has no biblical foundation, we are instructed in Scripture to have a prayer life for others as it is part of God’s commandment to love one another.

(2Co 5:8 DRB) But we are confident and have a good will to be absent rather from the body and to be present with the Lord.

The Catholic Church does not teach that it is absolutely necessary for one to ask for the intercession of saints for salvation. The Church does teach that prayer to God is necessary for salvation for all believers. For a Catholic it would be wrong to ignore the liturgical worship offered to God at feast days for the saints and the prayers asking for their intercession.

The Communion of Saints is a dogma of the ancient Church and is recorded in the apostles Creed. It simply states that the faithful because of their relationship with Christ are alive even after the death of their flesh and worship with us. To us the Church is made up of the Church militant who represents all those believers living out their hope in the flesh.

(Phi 2:12 DRB) Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but much more now in my absence) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.

(Phi 2:13 DRB) For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.

It consists of the Church Suffering who are those who are temporarily in need of further purgation from sin so that they may enjoy the presence of God.

(2Ma 12:46 DRB) It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.

Lastly, the Communion of the Saints consists of those who have won the race:

(Phi 3:14 DRB) I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in Christ Jesus.

Their immortal souls are in heaven in God’s presence:

(Rev 5:8 DRB) And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

The universal stream connecting all of God’s creation is His love, which we take on in our baptism into our journey towards sanctification. This is not an emotional but a desire placed in us by the Spirit of God that endures as a desire for those other than ourselves and this love extends even to our enemies. This is truly a love that comes only from God and is a foreign concept and nonsense to those who have not received God’s salvific grace. This desire within our souls does not end with the death of our flesh but continues into eternity where the saints through their intercession in prayer encourage us in our race and assist us to endure unto our union with God.

I think that some people of faith, who do not understand the Communion of Saints, somehow believe that asking saints to pray for us is detracting from our love or our trust in God. In truth it is impossible, if we truly love as God commands and has given us the grace to understand, not to pray to those whom we love and in turn we expect them to return that same love to us by praying for us and presenting our prayers to God.

(Kristen) Changing the definition of saint to mean, 'a special kind of Christian' - rather than all who are sanctified (Christians). God is no respecter of persons. Any virtue found in a Christian is the result of the work of Christ - not their own righteousness. There is no such thing as a Christian who is more 'special' to God then other Christians. Certainly, acts of faithfulness deserve our respect, but that's all.

(Cristoiglesia) No one has changed the definition of “saint” but it is you that is limiting the definition. Saints are not just those in the invisible Church militant here on earth but also the Church suffering through purgation and those triumphant in heaven who have received the heavenly promise. The Bible does not limit sainthood as you labor to do out of your prejudice against all things taught in Christ’s own Church. We honor saints as an inspiration as those who have received our hope.

(Tristen) “Making the authority of the church equal to that of the Bible (or at least making the church the only authoritative interpreter of doctrine). All doctrine should be submitted to the authority of God's word. No doctrine which is unsupported by scripture should be adhered to dogmatically.”

(Cristoiglesia)By the end of the first century the Church was formed around the bishop who represented the Church in apostolic succession. The great commission was well underway and had extended to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. In scriptures we see St. Paul in his epistles telling the Church to respect the Sacred Traditions handed to them coming from both written sources and oral ones. Even the written sources were delivered orally as transcripts were very rare and few people were literate. There was not widespread distribution of what we consider today to be inspired Scripture as decided at the African Synods by the Church in the late fourth and early fifth centuries. Throughout the first sixteen centuries of the Church there was never any question that the authority of truth rested in the Church as the “regula fidei” where all teaching was and is measured by Sacred Tradition not by the Bible alone, especially when interpreted outside of its source the Church. To orthodox Christians this would be considered ridiculous as well as arrogant considering the church never wrote the Bible to be a sole source of faith, morals and practice and one author even reminded those who would approach its use in such a way as to consider it the only source that it is incomplete as far as teaching and that Christ taught much more than what it contained. In fact, it warns that it contains only a small part of Christ’s teaching, but the faithful need not fear because the Church was sent the Holy Spirit that leads the Church to all truths.

Obviously, because there are those who have rejected orthodox Christianity some lack the fullness of truth that is contained in the Episcopal structure of Christ’s Church. They lack the fullness of worship by not having the corporeal Christ present in their worship. They lack the fullness of faith by not receiving His Body and Blood that the Bible and Sacred Tradition say is necessary for eternal life. The Church is led by men as the enduring Church and not by a book easily misinterpreted and its teaching turned into the traditions and doctrines of men by those through eisegesis use it to support their desires of the flesh very often exhibited by their hatred for the Church and hatred for the most sacred of gifts to humanity His Body and Blood of the Eucharist. These misinterpretations also cause them to have animosity for each other with the same source, the Bible being used to justify schisms which are usually not so much the result of theological disagreements so much as pridefulness and deceit which are no gifts of the Spirit but attributes of the flesh that inhibit our process of sanctification that leads to final salvation. Perhaps this is why Jesus said as a prophetic statement, that unless we eat of His Body and drink His blood we have no life in us. Perhaps this is why the Bible teaches that it is not enough to cry “Lord, Lord” as some of those who do will hear at their judgment that Christ never knew them and be thrown into the lake of fire.

Christ did not teach that we are to gather around a book of Scriptures to find the truth but that the truth is found in the Church that gathers around the bishop. God was not the author of division as has occurred with those who have abandoned the Church for their private interpretations of Scripture into tens of thousands of exponentially increasing schisms without end. God is a God of unity where He prayed His prayer before His arrest and crucifixion that we all be one. He is not a God that can only be found in the pages of a Book but who is found in His Church and where His corporeal presence is given to His Church as He promised so that we may endure to eternal life and His Church may endure until He comes again. It is His Church where the truth resides and it is the place where we find the ”bulwark and ground of the truth”, there is no other.

(Tristen) These are the main reasons that I do not respect the authority of the Catholic church. I am not, however, anti-Catholic. I do believe that Catholics can be Christians. But I don't believe that someone is necessarily a Christian, just because they are a member of the Catholic church (yet another doctrine I disagree with).

(Cristoiglesia) Respectfully the only reason that a professed Christian would not accept the authority of Christ’s Church is because they are influenced by false teachers doing the will of Satan instead of Christ. Jesus gave all authority on earth to His Church and they exercised that authority by giving you and other Protestants the Bible that you use through eisegesis to create your doctrines of men and support your heresies. After all, Jesus prayed that we all be one in His Church as He and the Father are one. I believe that Protestants may be Christians as well but they are approaching the throne of God through the back door when the front door of His Church is wide open. I am unfamiliar with the doctrine you speak of saying that membership in the Church alone makes one a Christian. A Christian is one who does God’s will and not one’s own. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph


  1. Anonymous21 June, 2010

    From Tristen Part 3

    Regarding forbidding ministers to marry.
    You said;
    "The Church chooses from those who have made this vow [celibacy] to be among the priesthood."
    Once again, with respect, this has the appearance of spin. Either a minister is free to marry, or the minister is forbidden to marry (by vow or doctrine).

    Regarding prayer to saints.
    You said;
    "First of all it is disingenuous to state that the practice of praying for each other has no biblical foundation"
    Again, you have twisted my words to misrepresent there meaning. I did make any statement against praying for others - which is the premise of your explanation. I merely submitted the Bible's admonishment that we should directly approach God in our prayers. And that God does not respect the "saints" prayers more then He respects yours or mine (Gal 2:6).

    Regarding the definition of saint.
    The Bible uses the term 'saint' as a general term referring to all Christians (regardless of their present dispensation). The Catholic church has to give Catholics permission to use this term (canonize)for Christians it regards as special (again see Gal 2:6). Many of these people are great people of faith and it is good to respect them. But your use of the term is not consistent with the way it is used in the Bible. I don't understand your accusation that I was using a limited connotation of this term.

    Regarding the authority of the Bible.
    Your reasoning here is somewhat redundant. It amounts to the statement, "based on what we believe, we are right and you are wrong".

    I presume we agree that the Bible is the divinely inspired revelation of God. We also seem to agree that that insincere people can misuse/misinterpret the Bible for selfish means. Nevertheless, for those of us who are sincere, the Holy Spirit is available to us for our correction, if necessary.

    By adhering to the Bible alone as authoritative, we remove doctrine from errant human hands and leave it in God's perfect trust. I will continue to "test all things" (1 Thess 5:21) against the authority of God's perfect Word. And thus I will avoid being lead astray by the "commandments of men" (Matt 15:9).

    Regarding your last paragraph.
    You accuse me of "doing the will of Satan instead of Christ", also of eisogesis. Both accusations are unqualified. In previous correspondence, I have explained to you that I have no respect for unqualified accusations. These accusations are made all the more ironic by the fact that I have actually demonstrated your use of eisogesis. I certainly don't deny that eisogesis occurs in protestant denominations, but "the Lord knows those who are His."(2 Tim 2:19).

    Take Care.

  2. (Tristen) “Regarding forbidding ministers to marry.”

    (Cristoiglesia) When one does not honor their vow of celibacy they are unworthy of their office and are removed from ministry. We take vows to God very seriously. BTW, I am a married priest as are thousands of others. Sorry but this does not contradict the Bible on forbidding to marry in any way.

    (Tristen) “Regarding prayer to saints.”

    (Cristoiglesia) OK, then show me in the Bible that the blessed mother of God is forbidden to pray for others. All we are doing is asking her to pray for us out of love because the Bible states that the prayers of the righteous are of great benefit. The blessed mother of God is certainly righteous. Galatians 2:6 has nothing to do with this issue at all. St. Paul was disagreeing with the Judaizers about circumcision and not whether we should pray for each other.

    Proverbs 15:29 (King James Version)
    29The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

    If we are to only to pray personally for ourselves to God as you suggest and not for others as the saints are doing then there should be some biblical admonishment not to pray for each other but there is not.

    (Tristen) “Regarding the definition of saint.”

    It is very simple, you are limiting the term “saint” to those of the Church Militant. The facts are that the Church Suffering in purgation are also saints as well as those of the Church Triumphant who have completed their race and are in the presence of our Lord. W are commanded by our Lord to care for each other and to express our love by prayer. The Church does not exclude anyone from being a part of the Church Triumphant as seems to be at the heart of your argument but only canonizes those who the Church is certain are among the Church Triumphant.

    (Tristen) “Regarding the authority of the Bible.”

    (Cristoiglesia) Yes, we are correct because we have Scripture, History and Patristic evidence to support our position on the authority of the Bible. I understand that the Protestants in founding their church did not have a valid clergy with apostolic succession that had the authority for teaching given by Christ but are instead rejecting that authority. They had nothing to appeal to but Scripture but that is not what the Bible teaches but instead the Bible teaches that it is not the Bible that is the regula fidei but the Church. The Bible shows the Church doing the correction and not each individuals inspiration from the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given to the Church to lead it to all truth and not individuals. That is why the Bible states that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of the truth” and not individuals. Certainly the example of the Protestant rebellion is exponentially increasing schisms over matters of interpretation and doctrine. Jesus knew this would happen and that is why He established the Church so that His will would be done that we would all be one in His Church as He and the Father are one. Sola Scriptura is truly a doctrine of devils.

    (Tristen) “Regarding your last paragraph.

    (Cristoiglesia) When you create and follow man-made doctrines, that is doing the will of Satan instead of God. Sola Scriptura is one of the most evil of man-made doctrines. Personally you are doing Satan’s will by bearing false witness against Christ’s Church. I am sorry but there is no other justification because ignorance is not an excuse. It is easy to verify what Christ’s Church teaches.

    God Bless!

    Fr. Joseph