29 August, 2011

Refuting "CARM's" claim that the Catholic Church is not Christian

(Cristoiglesia) This is a refutation of the claims of Matt Slick about Christ’s own Church the Catholic Church claiming that the Church is not Christian even though it is the original Church founded by Jesus and the Disciples which Jesus said would endure for all times and that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

(Matt Slick)“Is Roman Catholicism and Christianity the same thing?

(Matt Slick) “No, Roman Catholicism and Christianity are not the same thing. Christianity is properly defined by certain doctrines that are revealed in the Bible.“

(Cristoiglesia) Really, so it is your contention that the Church founded by Jesus with Himself as the high priest and cornerstone, St. Peter as His prime minister fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah of the Messiah establishing an enduring office and the disciples as the foundation stones that is built upon by apostolic succession is not Christian? But, I do agree that Christianity is defined by its doctrines in accordance with Scriptures.

(Matt Slick) “It is not defined by simply saying that as long as you believe in Jesus, you're a Christian. Mormons believe in Jesus, but their Jesus is a brother of the devil in the pre-existence. The Jesus of the Jehovah's Witnesses is Michael the Archangel. So, just saying you believe in Jesus doesn't make you a Christian. This is why the Bible tells us who Jesus really is, God in flesh, creator of the universe.”

(Cristoiglesia) We agree again.

(Matt Slick) Likewise, there are essential doctrines, and if any of those essential doctrines are violated, then a church would only appear to be Christian but not really be Christian. What are those doctrines? The Bible tells us. Let's take a look.

There is only one God and you are to serve no other gods (Exodus 20:3; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8)
Jesus is both God and man (John 1:1,14; 8:24; Col. 2:9; 1 John 4:1-4)
Jesus rose from the dead physically (John 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 15:14).
Salvation is by grace through faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 3:1-2; 5:1-4).
The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus according to the scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:8-9).
God is a Trinity (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14)
Jesus was born of the virgin Mary (Matt. 1:25)

(Cristoiglesia) We are still in agreement.

(Matt Slick) So, someone who is a true Christian will believe these things and not violate them. Roman Catholicism violates two of them.

(Cristoiglesia) I agree that Christians should not violate any of the teachings of the Bible but your claim that Christ’s Church violates two of them is preposterous and makes Jesus a liar and the Bible a false teacher. Jesus says that the “Gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church” and if what you say can be proven it makes Christ a liar. Furthermore, the Bible says that the Church is the “pillar and foundation of the truth” which makes the Bible a false teacher. I must reluctantly say here that you sound unlike one who is a follower of Christ as you are bearing false witness against Jesus and the Bible. You instead sound like one who has a spirit of contention against the teaching of Jesus and the Bible and subsequently the Church.

(Matt Slick) First of all, by its practice of promoting Mary (and the Saints) to the level of God-like capabilities, they break the commandment to have no other gods before the true and living God. In Roman Catholicism, they say that Mary is the mediatrix (Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 969); Mary made atonement for the sins of man (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, page 213); Mary is the subject of preaching and worship ((Vatican Council II, p. 420); etc.

(Cristoiglesia) The Church has not “promoted” the blessed mother of God to a Goddess status. I assume you are speaking of the fact that the saints can hear our prayers as the “God-like capabilities” but you fail to make a case that this equals Goddess status in the eyes of the Church. Search the catechism all you want and you will never see any teaching of the blessed mother of God being a Goddess or even suggesting any such thing. So there is no teaching in the Catholic Church that says that the blessed mother of God is a Goddess. So, you are guilty of bearing false witness which is a mortal sin against the Decalogue. You even take the liberty of not only calling the blessed mother of God a Goddess but also claiming that the Church places her on a higher level than Her Son. One will never see any such Catholic teaching. The truth is that the blessed mother of God always points to her Son as the source of our Salvation and your claim against her and the Church is a direct insult to her who would never allow such blasphemy as the Church teaches that Christ is the source and foundation of our hope for eternal life.

(Matt Slick) Also, Catholicism violates the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone.

(Cristoiglesia) There is no biblical doctrine of “faith alone” but instead such a doctrine is entirely man-made. The biblical teaching by St. James in his epistle is that faith without works is dead faith and that is the only place in all of Scriptures that “faith alone” is mentioned.

(Jas 2:17 KJV) Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

However, one does receive grace through faith. But as James says dead faith is without merit.

(Matt Slick) Paul the apostle, for example, tells us in Romans 4:5, "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness."

(Cristoiglesia) According to Josephus and supported by Scriptures Abraham was formerly an idolater before being chosen by God. This verse is saying that as an idolater he did not merit his vocation by his works. After being called and having left his country because God had called him to do so he believed in God’s promises. The faith and justice were reputed to him as God’s gift. He did not have a dead faith as St. James forbids but instead an active faith is shown throughout his life in love and in charity for others. Your supposition that Abraham had a dead faith is a false understanding based on eisegesis.

(Matt Slick) But Roman Catholicism denies that and says, "...so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments," (CCC, par 2068). Also, consider this:

"If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema" (Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon 9).

(Cristoiglesia) As you can see your eisegesis of St. Paul’s teaching has resulted in you coming to a false conclusion and cause you to teach falsely. The Church was clearly correct and authoritative in teaching that faith without works is dead faith.

(Matt Slick) So, even though Roman Catholicism claims to be Christian and that it is the one true church, it violates the essentials of the Christian faith. It goes beyond what is written in God's word (1 Cor. 4:6). It denies the sole and true sovereignty of the living God by promoting prayer to and the worship of Mary. Also, it denies justification by faith alone in Christ alone. It is not a Christian church.

(Cristoiglesia) Not only does the Church proclaim to be the one true Church so does Jesus, the Bible, historical evidence and patristic evidence. You have not made a case for the Church contradicting or “violating” any “essentials” of the Christian faith. Instead you attempt to make the doctrines of men and devils of the Protestant sects as “essentials” of the Christian faith without any scholarship or cogent argument for your position. You quote St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian Church as an example of the Church somehow contradicting the Scriptures without any support other than it being an egregious accusation without and foundation. Such an attack using the Scriptures of the Church is nothing less than shameful. You make the statement that the Church “denies the sole and true sovereignty of the living God by promoting prayer to and the worship of Mary” and you must know that this is false. Do you not know that the Church forbids the worship of anyone or anything but God? Certainly you are quick to quote the catechism out of context when you think it suits your purpose but quotes of the Catechism are absent when they contradict your ignorant claims. Here is what the Catechism says about idolatry of which you accuse the 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

Here is what the Church teaches about the sovereignty of God over His creation:


302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created "in a state of journeying" (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call "divine providence" the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:

By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, "reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well". For "all are open and laid bare to his eyes", even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures.161

303 The witness of Scripture is unanimous that the solicitude of divine providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history. The sacred books powerfully affirm God's absolute sovereignty over the course of events: "Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases."162 And so it is with Christ, "who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens".163 As the book of Proverbs states: "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established."164

304 And so we see the Holy Spirit, the principal author of Sacred Scripture, often attributing actions to God without mentioning any secondary causes. This is not a "primitive mode of speech", but a profound way of recalling God's primacy and absolute Lordship over history and the world,165 and so of educating his people to trust in him. The prayer of the Psalms is the great school of this trust.166

305 Jesus asks for childlike abandonment to the providence of our heavenly Father who takes care of his children's smallest needs: "Therefore do not be anxious, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?". . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well."167

Since “faith alone” is not a biblical teaching and is, in fact, contradicted by Scriptures it would seem by any reasonable person that based on your attack on Christ’s Church in your commentary and by using your own standards as what makes a Church Christian you have indeed illustrated that you have been a false witness against the Church in your effort to justify your own unbiblical theological errors and disobedience to the teaching of Jesus and the written Word of God. May our Lord have mercy on you. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

Showing love for one another through prayer

(Bird of Paradise) “Yes I can support my claims. I will start with 'praying to saints'. I want you to read the entire message, due to the fact that I will adress common catholic counter arguements in the end. If you still have counter arguements, I expect you use passages to back them up. If you are incapable of using passages, you would have proved my point (Catholics don't follow the bible).”

(Cristoiglesia) It appears that you come to this discussion with the erroneous presumption that the Catholic Church does not follow the Bible. Now I cannot address this fully unless you define what you mean by “follow the Bible”. If you are referring to the unscholarly approach to biblical hermeneutics of some Protestants called in the Latin “Sola Scriptura” of Bible alone then I am indeed guilty as is the Church. However, using proper biblical hermeneutical principals I will address and points you make with biblical citations as well as sound scholarship as to their meaning. I will not use Scriptures to support my teaching without explaining the correct and reasonable meaning of those Scriptures as well as the context they are presented. I do concede that there are differences in the approach to Scriptures between many Protestants and the Church founded by Christ as would be expected as there is a profound difference in authority between Christ’s authority as the founder of the Church and man’s authority in the founding of the many thousands of counterfeit sects to what our Lord has established and prayed that we have unity within. Your implicit claim will likely be that these man-made sects have the same authority or greater than the authority given by Christ to His Church. So much of what we will discuss has to do with that authority which I believe is Christ through His Church and you will obviously proclaim to be the Canon of Scriptures produced by the Church by the African Synods in the late 4th and early 5th centuries that confirmed the Canon of Pope St. Damasus is the sole authority of faith. Such a conclusion as this on your part cannot be supported in any reasonable way and certainly not by Scriptures which stands in witness against such an approach. Ironically in itself it is contradictory to the Scriptures themselves, which says that not all of Jesus’ teaching is contained within and that which is contained within is not for private interpretation. Instead the clear teaching of Scriptures is that it is to be understood and interpreted within the community of the Church and not individually or outside of this God given authority. I certainly will be careful not to be guilty of such an error.

Furthermore, I believe it is ridiculous and unreasonable to assume that the Church who wrote the New Testament, as all the writers were Catholic Christians, and canonized the Christian Canon would not follow the Bible that it chose as the rule of faith for Christian teaching. I submit that the Scriptures are not extra ecclesial but are to be understood in the Church under the authority of teaching given to the Church by Christ and the comforting guidance of the Holy Spirit that is absent outside of Christ’s Church. So, in summation, we follow the Bible according to the authority of Christ given to His Church instead of the unreasonable and unbiblical extra ecclesial approach to the Bible of non-Catholic Christians.

The approach to authority is very different in the ancient Church than in the modernist Protestant church. The Catholic Church follows the “Word of God alone” while the Protestant ecclesiastical groups follow Sola Scriptura which states that only God’s written word is authoritative. The latter is a sixteenth century man-made doctrine designed to destroy the unity of the Church and fragments the entire body of Christ by exponentially increasing schisms caused by accepting only part of God’s word by the Protestants. Sola Scriptura is not a doctrine for a better understanding of the Logos but instead is designed to circumvent the legitimate authority of the Church given by Christ.

It is the belief of the ancient Church that is the Magisterium of the Church that has the authority given by Christ to expound on, recognize and guard the Word of God. The Word of God is not only the written Scriptures but all that is handed to the Church by the Holy Spirit. In so doing and carrying out her responsibility the Church is the true servant of the Word.

God’s people have never been Sola Scriptura advocates. In Jesus’ day the orthodox Jews were not, nor were Jesus or the apostles. The continuation Sola Verbum Dei is a theological continuation of God’s Word from the Old Covenant to the New. The only ones who believed in anything resembling Sola Scriptura were the Sadducees who were the theological liberals of their day. We know that the first century Christians did not believe in Sola Scriptura by the teaching of St. Paul in Holy writ:

(2Th 2:15 DRB) (2:14) Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle.

The Church teaches that the Word of God is the Logos:

(Joh 1:1 DRB) In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God.

(Joh 1:2 DRB) The same was in the beginning with God.

(Joh 1:3 DRB) All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made.

(Joh 1:4 DRB) In him was life: and the life was the light of men.

So the question among Christians should not be what is the Word but instead how is the Word revealed to man. To the Protestant the Word is only revealed in written form called Sola Scriptura. To the Catholic Christian the word has a much broader meaning and is revealed to man in more than a written form where men were inspired to reveal God’s Word. Catholics believe that inspiration is not only personal as with the biblical writers but is also revealed to and through the Church such as in the Ecumenical Councils and through the authority exercised through the Church to recognize, guard, interpret and teach the Word. The Church throughout history has faithfully exercised her authority to guard the word of God against the attacks of heresies, such as Sola Scriptura.

Should I conclude by saying that you do not follow reason or the Holy Spirit in using your private interpretations to support your preconceived ideas making you guilty of eisegesis in your extra ecclesial approach to Scripture?

(Bird of Paradise) “Praying to the dead is forbidden in the bible. Deuteronomy 18:11 tells us that anyone who “consults with the dead” is “detestable to the Lord.” You can also find these verses in Leveticus 20:16 and18:31.”

(Cristoiglesia) (Deu 18:11 KJV) Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

Here the Bible is speaking of the practice of the occult. A charmer is one who makes a compact with the devil as is defined as familiar “spirits”. Necromancers do their work to deceive those that consult them. As in Isa 24:4, 1 Kin 28:7.

(Lev 20:16 KJV) And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

I see no parallel between this verse and necromancy.

(Lev 18:30 KJV) Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.

There is no Lev 18: 31 so I assumed you meant Lev 18:30. This verse is not related to necromancy.

The Church would agree that necromancy is forbidden in Scriptures. We would also agree that one who practices necromancy has a pact with the devil to deceive.

(Bird of Paradise) Just look at Saul. He contacted Samuel and was killed for it. 1 Chronicals 10:13 also states that this is the reason he died.

(Cristoiglesia) (1Ch 10:13 KJV) So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it;

It was the sacrifice he offered unlawfully that precipitated his demise. He also was guilty of necromancy.

As I said before the Church agrees with the Scriptures that God forbids necromancy. By your statements you have put the onus on yourself to show some evidence that the Church teaches necromancy. There is none and such accusations are vacuous and false as a result.

(Bird of Paradise) “Now, the common catholic counter arguement for this: But the new testament speaks of how we will live eternally now! Thus, are we ever reall dead?”
(Cristoiglesia) No, that is not our argument against necromancy. Our argument against necromancy is that God forbids such practices as having a pact with the devil or having trust in those who do.

Yes, the Church does teach that we have eternal life when we are saved and that our souls never die whether in hell or in heaven. The Bible says that when we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord:

(2Co 5:6 KJV) Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:

(2Co 5:7 KJV) (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)

(2Co 5:8 KJV) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

(Bird of Paradise) “True, we live forever in Gods arms but the new testament still recognizes death in the same manner. When somebody dies, the new testament still uses the term 'dead'. The meaning of 'death' itself never changed. There is no difference between the idea of death in the OT and the NT.”

(Cristoiglesia) Do you mind going into more detail and perhaps provide some scriptural references to your claim. I am sorry but your claim does not represent fact and I cannot comment on your claim unless you can elucidate us with the source of your claim other than your fanciful proclamation.

(Bird of Paradise) “Another common arguement includes: But the Old Testament shouldn't be followed!”

(Cristoiglesia) I have made no such claim nor is it the teaching of the Church.

(Bird of Paradise) “This is not true. Matthew 5:17 makes it clear that Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but fullfill it.The law is still revelant in countless ways.”

I have no disagreement with this nor does the teaching of the Church. You are trying to make a case that the Church teaches falsely by attributing to the Church teachings that are foreign to the teaching of the Church. The Church does not teach or practice necromancy and you have not even attempted to prove that it does which seems to be your claim. This is a diversion and not an argument against the Church as it has no basis in Church teaching. We do believe in the Law of God and that Jesus fulfilled the law. We do acknowledge that all the Mosaic laws are not relevant under the new covenantal relationship with Christ but that their moral precepts still apply. Again this is a diversion from the issue and is not based on the true teaching of the Church but is instead an attempt to build a straw man to argue against. Certainly you failed to argue against the straw man as well as against the true teaching of the Church which you did not even address.

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. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

21 August, 2011

The Church testifies of Christ

Let us look at the teaching of our Lord about His Church. Using construction vernacular He said that He was the King, High Priest, and Cornerstone of the Church. The beginning of a firm/solid/ foundation is always the cornerstone which holds together the elements of the construction.

He appointed St. Peter as the prime minister of the Church fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah that the Messiah would ordain an enduring office of prime minister and that that prime minister would be given the keys to the kingdom. This is exactly what He did when appointing St. Peter. The keys represented his office and the authority of that office which was to have the power of the king in ministering to the kingdom and the authority to teach and proclaim the will of the king. (Isa 22:20-25)

The disciples are called the 12 foundation stones (Rev 21:14) of the Church continuing illustrating the permanence of what God is building. It is not a foundation of sand that is temporary but is of an enduring nature to last until the Parousia and strong enough to withstand the tumultuous attacks of hell that would surely attempt to prevail against the Church using every method of attack from within and from without. Even the world would hate that which our Lord had built just as it hated Him. This enduring leadership is the foundation of a Church that can truly be called the "pillar and foundation of the truth" because that which Christ has ordained shall never pass away or be absorbed into the world but will for all time remain heavenly as the ark for humanity where all may be saved just as the ark of Noah was the type for the Church which must endure within the evil of the world to bring the faithful into the promised land of heaven.

Last of all, the Church stands as testimony to the veracity of Christ and His promises to humanity. The Church is the fulfillment of Scriptures in its enduring quality as well as it being that pillar or bulwark of truth in a world filled with lies, temptation and sins that will murder souls to Christ and decrease the harvest. Its unity in His will with faith and oneness of its mission to proclaim the Gospel after 2000 years is a miracle in itself but also it proclaims the divinity of our Lord where in His prophetic vision, competence of His leadership as the builder of His Church and His promises of His Church makes it truly a city on a hill that cannot be hid (Mat 5:14) frustrating its detractors and more truly the "gates of hell". God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph