29 October, 2012

The Protestant Struggle to Accept the Miracle of the Eucharist

(Yorkshire Lass) “I have looked very carefully at the RC belief in transubstantiation -what Jesus said -John 6:63 is the key to the whole issue -"The Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing." Surely here he refered to his OWN flesh !”

(Cristoiglesia) I really do not see how such an understanding is plausible. Let us examine His previous statements in His colloquy at Capernaum.

Jesus is speaking of the New Covenant requiring a new sustenance which is His Body and Blood. In making this comparison He says that real bread comes from the father just as He and then says that He is the bread of life. If one eats this bread they will live forever. The disciples listening to Him began to realize that Jesus was not speaking metaphorically but literally and then we come to the following verse:

(Joh 6:52 DRB) (6:53) The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat

Then Jesus said in unambiguous literal language:

(Joh 6:53 DRB) (6:54) Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you: except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.

The following verse indicates the purpose of eating His body and drinking His blood. It is so that we can “abidete” or in other words remains in Him by the Grace bestowed by the act of receiving His Body and His Blood. But the Eucharist benefits us even more in that it augments our union with Christ as the principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist is an intimate union with Christ.

(Joh 6:56 DRB) (6:57) He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me: and I in him.

An additional benefit of the Eucharist is that it is impossible to unite to Christ without the cleansing of past sins and preserving us from future sins through His grace. This is part of the sanctification process where we grow in our faith in him which separates us further from the risk of mortal sin. Additionally, the Eucharist participation renews, strengthens and deepens ones incorporation into the Church which is achieved through Baptism. It joins us to the entire Church Militant, Suffering and Triumphant.

This being the context of the teaching at Capernaum how can one reasonably come to the conclusion that Jesus’ flesh counts for nothing. Christ previously said that we must eat His Body and drink His Blood to have life eternal. It is through this very act that His divinity is united to us and we abide in Him and Him in us.  The Bible compares this eating of His Body and Blood to the Israelites eating the manna in the desert. Had they not eaten the manna they would not have been saved. In John 6 we see that Jesus is teaching that we must receive His Body and Blood to be saved from death as well. We can also look to God’s commandment to the Israelites in saving their first born sons to eat the Lamb to save their sons. Had they not done as commanded they would have died. So too is the fate of those who refuse to eat His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity as  they risk being dead to Christ. To the carnal mind the mysterious cannot be contemplated but to a person of faith all things are possible with God and can be understood because we trust the one who teaches us which is Christ who is truly the Word made flesh.

(Yorkshire Lass) “The R C gets its very literal meaning (re the bread & wine) from earlier verses.”

(Cristoiglesia) That is correct because Jesus is truly teaching in the least ambiguous of language that He is truly commanding us to eat His Body and to drink His Blood. He even goes so far as to tell us that we must “gnaw” (Gr. Trogo) His flesh. He said this is (Gr. touto esti) my Body which has the literal meaning. He could have said if He had meant that it was symbolic instead (touto esti) had He wanted to convey that it was symbolic. The Greek clearly points out that Jesus was speaking literally as well as the context.

It is totally implausible for Jesus to be referring to His own Body as counting for nothing since He had already taught that it was necessary for eternal life and for us to abide in Him. It sounds as if it counts for everything and is essential for our eternity.   

(Yorkshire Lass)“Surely you cannot believe in transubstantiation for that's quite frankly cannibolism!”

It would appear that you are coming to this conclusion either by ignorance as to what constitutes cannibalism or out of prejudiced against the Church and its teaching. Surely it is not a studied conclusion.

However I am quite encouraged that you would even inadvertently relate the modern Church to the New Testament Church where that same criticism was given to the Church by the Romans and the Jews in the same pejorative way as you. We Christians have been called cannibals throughout the whole history of the Church by our detractors. At Capernaum many of Jesus’ disciples left Him for that same reason. They recognized that He was asking them to separate themselves from the familial relationship with God by breaking the Old Covenant law that forbids them to drink blood. Even the 12 disciples who had been with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry recognized that this was hard teaching but stayed instead because they had come to believe that Jesus indeed had the words of eternal life. They would later come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah prophesied after his resurrection.

The Eucharist is really and truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord but the eating of it and drinking of it is not cannibalism. In cannibalism they eat dead bodies but Catholics eat the glorified resurrected Body, Blood Soul and Divinity of our Lord that is not dead but living in eternity. Ever the smallest of the elements even down to the molecular substance and beyond it contains the fullness of its spiritual and corporeal reality. In cannibalism the victim is divided and eaten but there is no such occurrence in the Eucharist. When we eat of the Eucharist we truly and really abide in Him and more importantly He abides in us and through this we are incorporated into the mystical Body of Christ.

(Yorkshire Lass) “Or is there now a choice of conscience in this matter?”

No, if one does not believe in the Eucharist they cannot truly believe in Christ and become a part of the mystical Body of Christ. His commandment to eat His Body and to drink His Blood was not an optional commandment but an essential commandment of the New Covenant with mankind.

(Yorkshire Lass) “Also re-enacting the sacrifice of Jesus is unscriptural "He sacrificed for their sins once for all...”

(Cristoiglesia) 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.
" The protestant revelation was that we ingest the WORD of God by faith! Just as Jesus said to his disciples -John 15:3 "You are ALREADY clean because of the word I have spoken to you" -later, John 17:17 he prayed the Father "Sanctify them by the Truth, your word is Truth."

(Yorkshire Lass) “Jesus was soaked in symbolic thinking for our benefit, but, the spiritual meanings behind them were SO REAL to him that he failed I think, to grasp our inate blindness or short-sightedness re Pure Abstract Realities. He couldn't understand the lack of faith in his disciples because faith was as natural & essential as breathing for Him”

I do not see this as being plausible. We can tell by the discourse that Jesus knew exactly what they were thinking and emphasized the literalness of His statements with even more literal language. When they left Him he did not run after them and reveal that He had been misunderstood but instead let them leave and never follow Him again. You must remember that they had just seen His miracle of feeding the multitude so they were prepared to accept His teaching of miraculous events. Truly had Jesus meant to be understood metaphorically or symbolically he would have directly spoken in symbolic language and any metaphors would have been clearly stated. He would not have let His disciples be deceived by His language to the point of abandoning Him. Instead what Jesus said after they had left was to turn to the 12 and ask if they wanted to leave also. The words of St. Peter were prophetic when He said “to whom shall we go as you have the words of eternal life”. Clearly they believed in the teacher even if the teaching was hard to understand. They would not fully understand these words until after Jesus had risen from the dead and ascended to the Father in heaven. His words recorded in John 6 were literal and that is a undeniable fact.

(Yorkshire Lass) “If every other thing about the RC was true to the early church principles I would still be repulsed by the forced celibacy rule.”

(Cristoiglesia) There is no forced celibacy rule. The Church has never forbid anyone to marry. Those who choose to be celibate are following the teaching of Jesus and St. Paul that recommended to those called to celibacy to not marry but instead dedicate their lives and their efforts to Christ’s Church. Those called to celibacy voluntarily choose to remain celibate and make a vow to God to remain celibate their entire life.

(Yorkshire Lass) “Many R C's now see this as grossly unwise, wrong & anti-scripture.’

(Cristoiglesia) No they do not as it is taught by Jesus and St. Paul and is entirely scriptural.

 (Yorkshire Lass) ‘Re women bishops I recall Deborah the Judge -in the strict Jewish setting!-that's really remarkable. amen! No perfect church- ask St Paul!”

Deborah is a good example of one being obedient to Christ. Those that are not obedient are those who reject His Church for the tens of thousands of man-made counterfeits. The Bible says of the Church that it is the “bulwark and foundation of the truth”. The invisible Church represents the perfection of the Church even if those of the visible Church sometimes fail in their testimony of word and deed. St. Paul was in obedience to the Church and thus to Christ. Those outside of the Church do not have the protection of the ark of the Church in which like Noah’s ark which saved mankind from the flood the Church saves all mankind from the influence of sin by providing the grace for eternal life. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

15 October, 2012

Defense of the Claim that Calvin taught the same as St. Augustine

(Christian Skeptic) “We have already addressed the Catholic misunderstanding of James 2 AD NAUSEUM. I'm not going to keep explaining it if you won't engage with it.”

(Cristoiglesia) The fact is that there is no “Catholic misunderstanding” of James 2. The fact is that the Catholic understanding is the authoritative understanding according to Scriptures. Christ gave all authority for teaching to the Church and the Bible promises that that authority will forever be within the Church and free from any error. I understand that out of prejudice alone you desire that the plain meaning of James 2 be different and support your man-made doctrine but the truth is that it stands as a contradiction to your obvious exegetical error in regards to whether faith alone is evidence of justification which it clearly is not throughout the Scriptures. God’s grace does not only bring one to faith alone but continues that faith through one’s lifelong journey to sanctification culminated at judgment at the completion of our earthly existence.

(Christian Skeptic) “I do follow the teachings of the Church.”

(Cristoiglesia) No, you clearly do not but instead protest not only the authority of the Church but its infallible teachings. If you followed the teaching of the Church you would not be outside of its unity and consequently God’s will who prayed that we be on within His Church. He prayed for unity and not the division caused by heretics like Calvin who preferred humanism over the teaching of the Church and labored to change the understanding that man is created to serve God to one that says that God is obligated to serve man. You follow private personal interpretations in defiance of biblical teaching and instead reject the authority of the Church given by Jesus to shepherd His flock and lead all people to the fullness of truth.

(Christian Skeptic) “Romanism is the one that strayed from the Church.”

(Cristoiglesia) Again you embrace the private interpretations of men and reject the authority of the Church. Jesus said that the Church would never fall into apostasy stating that the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church. You seem to defy this teaching by saying that Jesus lied and that the gates of hell did indeed prevail against the Church. I do not know if you come to this conclusion because you think that Jesus lied or that He was misquoted by the biblical writer but I believe that the Bible is God’s inspired truth and does not contain the errors that you obviously believe. Jesus was competent in establishing the enduring Church that the Bible says will for all times be the “bulwark and foundation of the truth”. Your disagreement and Calvin’s does not change the truth taught by Jesus about His Church and its enduring authority.

(Christian Skeptic) “Calvin taught Augustinianism.”

(Cristoiglesia) Such a claim as this is absolutely absurd. Certainly it can be supported that Calvin plagiarized from the teaching of St. Augustine but only to create some credibility for his heretical works. The central theme for all of St. Augustine’s teaching on soteriology is that man’s liberty to accept and respond to salvific grace or reject it is central and fundamental in God’s plan for salvation. Calvin taught that man is incapable of any liberty and is either predestined to receive and respond to salvific grace or is not predestined to receive the grace necessary for salvation. On these fundamental approaches to the understanding of God’s plan for salvation Calvin and St. Augustine are diametrically opposed to one another. According to St. Augustine God allows man to either rise from depravity or fall into damnation freely by his own will. God’s will remains that all men may be saved according to their own will.

(Christian Skeptic) “If Calvin is a devil, then so was Augustine. Rome considers Augustine a Doctor of the Church. So you condemn your own religion.”

(Cristoiglesia) Calvin is the tool of the devil by his efforts to twist the teaching of God and of one of the great doctors of the Church into a caricature of the actual teaching to support his humanist desires in which Calvin labors to depict God as being less that just and far from loving. The Church does not teach Calvinism and St. Augustine did not inspire such nonsense as you claim.

(Christian Skeptic) “Augustine taught double predestination just as Calvin (Enchiridion chap. 100) and his doctrine of election was identical (see "On the Predestination of the Saints.")”

(Cristoiglesia) St. Augustine was a very prolific writer and over the life of writings he did over time come to even greater understandings as his writings matured along with his maturity and faith. He built upon previous writings and many times expounded on teachings that he later thought would be misunderstood. A reasonable person should not take excerpts from his writings in an eisegetical attempt to support their own beliefs for this is not the purpose of his writing but instead he created works so that one could learn from what he wrote instead of twisting it into a meaning that he never endorsed or taught. This is exactly what you are attempting to do here. The truth is that the theme of St. Augustine’s writing is that God does not interfere with the ability of man’s will to rise above his depravity or fall from God’s grace. The teaching of St. Augustine is clearly that God desires that all be saved but not at the exclusion of his just nature that gives man the ability to elect by the freedom of their will to be among those saved by God’s grace. God is all loving and does not create men to be condemned into an eternity in the damnation of hell.  

(Christian Skeptic) “You assume that the Church in the Bible is your church.”

(Cristoiglesia) Of course I do as it is supported by all sources whether the Bible, history or the writings of the Church fathers. Only by the greatest ignorance can one conclude and assume that the Church is not what these sources confirm. There simply is no reliable evidence to the contrary which makes such a conclusion implausible and unreasonable.

(Christian Skeptic) “This seems to be an idea fixed in many Catholics' minds and they can't think outside of that.”

(Cristoiglesia) There is no reason for us to “think outside of that” as there is no real evidence to the contrary.

(Christian Skeptic) “ Your church is not the church spoken of in Scripture.”

(Cristoiglesia) Be at least somewhat reasonable here….The biblical writers of the New Testament were all Catholic Christians as there were no others called Christian in the first century. The Catholic Church exercised its authority from Christ to canonize the Christian Bible in the late 4th and early 5th centuries. The entire New Testament is about the Church and its relationship with Christ. How can anyone even imagine that the teaching can be referring to any other than the true enduring Church today called the Catholic Church? Where is their evidence and surely where is their logic to such an impotent, unsupportable conclusion?

(Christian Skeptic) “ Your church disagrees with Scripture and the doctrines of the Early Fathers. Clement of Rome, for instance, taught sola fide in Corinthians chap 32. Similarly, Chrysostom taught sola fide in his commentaries on Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians.”

(Cristoiglesia) I am not sure of the quote you refer to of St. Clement but here are the commentaries of St. Chrysostom and St. Augustine:

"All indeed depends on God, but not so that our free-will is hindered. 'If then it depend on God,' (one says), 'why does He blame us?' On this account I said, 'so that our free-will is no hindered.' It depends then on us, and on Him For we must first choose the good; and then He leads us to His own. He does not anticipate our choice, lest our free-will should be outraged. But when we have chosen, then great is the assistance he brings to us...For it is ours to choose and to wish; but God's to complete and to bring to an end. Since therefore the greater part is of Him, he says all is of Him, speaking according to the custom of men. For so we ourselves also do. I mean for instance: we see a house well built, and we say the whole is the Architect's [doing], and yet certainly it is not all his, but the workmen's also, and the owner's, who supplies the materials, and many others', but nevertheless since he contributed the greatest share, we call the whole his. So then [it is] in this case also.” John Chrysostom, Homily on Hebrews, 12:3 (A.D. 403).

"Now for the commission of sin we get no help from God; but we are not able to do justly, and to fulfill the law of righteousness in every part thereof, except we are helped by God. For as the bodily eye is not helped by the light to turn away there from shut or averted, but is helped by it to see, and cannot see at all unless it help it; so God, who is the light of the inner man, helps our mental sight, in order that we may do some good, not according to our own, but according to His righteousness." Augustine, On Forgiveness of Sins and Baptism, II:5 (A.D. 411).

"'No man can come to me, except the Father who hath sent me draw him'! For He does not say, 'except He lead him,' so that we can thus in any way understand that his will precedes. For who is 'drawn,' if he was already willing? And yet no man comes unless he is willing. Therefore he is drawn in wondrous ways to will, by Him who knows how to work within the very hearts of men. Not that men who are unwilling should believe, which cannot be, but that they should be made willing from being unwilling." Augustine, Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, I:19 (A.D. 420).

"Most bitter enemies of grace, you offer us examples of ungodly men who, you say, 'through without faith, abound in virtues where there is, without the aid of grace, only the good of nature even though shackled by superstitions.' Such men, by the mere powers of their inborn liberty, often merciful, and modest, and chaste, and sober. When you say this you have already removed what you thought to attribute to the grace of God: namely, effectiveness of will ... If it pleases you so much to praise the ungodly that you say they abound in true virtues - as though you did not hear the Scripture saying: 'They that say to the wicked man: You are just, shall be accursed by the people by the people, and the tribes shall abhor them' - it were much better for you, who say they abound in virtues, to confess that these are gifts of God in them." Augustine, Against Julian, 4:3:16 (A.D.421).

"As strong as we could, we urged on them, as on your and our brothers, to preserve in the Catholic faith, which neither denies free will whether for a bad life or a good one, nor allows it so much effect that it can do anything without the grace of God, whether to convert the soul from evil to good, or to preserve and advance in good, or to attain eternal good, where there is no more fear of falling away." Augustine, Epistle 215:4 (A.D. 423).

"[L]est the will itself should be deemed capable of doing any good thing without the grace of God, after saying, 'His grace within me was not in vain, but I have laboured more abundantly than they all,' he immediately added the qualifying clause, 'Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.' In other words, Not I alone, but the grace of God with me. And thus, neither was it the grace of God alone, nor was it he himself alone, but it was the grace Of God with him. For his call, however, from heaven and his conversion by that great and most effectual call, God's grace was alone, because his merits, though great, were yet evil." Augustine, On Grace and Free Will, 5:12 (A.D. 427).

"'There is henceforth laid up for me,' he says, 'a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day.' Now, to whom should the righteous Judge award the crown, except to him on whom the merciful Father had bestowed grace? And how could the crown be one 'of righteousness,' unless the grace had preceded which 'justifieth the ungodly'?" Augustine, On Grace and Free Will, 6:14 (A.D. 427).

"'I have fought,' says he, "the good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith.' Now, in the first place, these good works were nothing, unless they had been preceded by good thoughts. Observe, therefore, what he says concerning these very thoughts. His words, when writing to the Corinthians, are: 'Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.'" Augustine, On Grace and Free Will, 7:16(A.D. 427).

"The first man had not that grace by which he should never will to be evil; but assuredly he had that in which if he willed to abide he would never be evil, and without which, moreover, he could not by free will be good, but which, nevertheless, by free will he could forsake. God, therefore, did not will even him to be without His grace, which He left in his free will; because free will is sufficient for evil, but is too little s for good, unless it is aided by Omnipotent Good. And if that man had not forsaken that assistance of his free will, he would always have been good; but he forsook it, and he was forsaken. Because such was the nature of the aid, that he could forsake it when he would, and that he could continue in it if he would; but not such that it could be brought about that he would." Augustine, On Grace and Free Will, 11:31 (A.D. 427).

"And besides, this is the apostolic declaration, "No one saith, Lord Jesus, but in the Holy Spirit: and who is it that calleth Him Lord Jesus but he that loveth Him, if he so call Him in the way the apostle intended to be understood? For many call Him so with their lips, but deny Him in their hearts and works; just as He saith of such, 'For they profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him.' If it is by works He is denied, it is doubtless also by works that His name is truly invoked. 'No one,' therefore, 'saith, Lord Jesus,' in mind, in word, in deed, with the heart, the lips, the labor of the bands,--no one saith, Lord Jesus, but in the Holy Spirit." Augustine, On the Gospel of John, 74:1 (A.D. 430).

"For just to keep any from supposing that the branch can bear at least some little fruit of itself, after saying, 'the same bringeth forth much fruit,' His next words are not, Without me ye can do but little, but 'ye can do nothing.' Whether then it be little or much, without Him it is impracticable; for without Him nothing can be done." Augustine, On the Gospel of John, 81:3 (A.D. 430).

(Cristoiglesia) Surely you are misunderstanding the teaching of the fathers and of the Church.

God bless!

In Christ

Fr. Joseph

03 October, 2012

Discussion with a Jehovah Witness

Part I

(John Trunkwalter) "The Roman Catholic Church came in as the result of the bible fortold apostascy.
(2Thessalonians 2:3) 3 Let no one seduce YOU in any manner, because it will not come unless the apostasy comes first . . .
this was talked about in the book of acts."

(Cristoiglesia) Really? So you are calling the Bible false teaching by this statement. By what authority do you make such unsupported statements? The entire New Testament speaks of the Church and its relationship with Christ. Nowhere in the Bible does it make any statements about the Church falling into apostasy. However, I do know the true source of your fanciful history. The Jehovah Witnesses came out of the Stone-Campbell-Millerite movement of the mid-19th century along with other heretical sects all claiming to be the restored church. Your cousin religions are the Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Christadelphians and Church of Christ and the schismatic sects that came from these. The Jehovah Witnesses have spawned many schisms such as the Iglesia Ni Cristo and the Church of Christ International. Most of these heretical sects do not accept the fact that Jesus is God which places them firmly outside of Christianity. Some are Arians like the Jehovah Witnesses others are Sabellians or Modal Monarchists.

These groups came from the Protestant movement and have nothing to do with the Church founded by Christ except their spurious claim to be Christian and a restoration of Christ's Church claiming that the Church fell into apostasy shortly after the death of the disciples. Such statements and beliefs are contradictory to the Bible and more directly they are contradictory to the teaching and assurances of Jesus. If such claims were true it would mean that for 1800+ years the Church ceased to exist until so called Prophets like Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell and Ellen G. White founded their heretical sects. The truth of the Bible, the Church and history is completely different from your claims. Jesus said that the Church would never fall into apostasy by stating that "the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church". You are claiming that Jesus either lied or was incompetent in establishing His Church. He was neither. You are claiming that the Bible is a false teacher when it claims that the Church is the "pillar and foundation of the truth". These things are taught by Jesus and the Bible so that Christians will not fall for false teachers that claim otherwise.

As 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is saying "Let no one seduce you" which is truly what you are trying to do. The Apostasy spoken of has been spoken of in different ways through history. The earliest commentary says that it is the destruction of Rome as a power in the world when the nations of Rome depart from the unity of the Roman State. Others state later that it is referring to the last days when the antichrist comes to persecute the Church. Others predicted that it would be Christians falling away because they could not endure the sound doctrine of the Church. This would relate to the Protestant rebellion of the 15th century. No one claims that such an apostasy occurred immediately after the death of the original apostles. Such a supposition is pure folly with no support biblically, patristically or historically. Where is the evidence to support your claim that the Church came about as the result of such an apostasy? Of course there is none.

(John Trunkwalter) "(Acts 20:29, 30) 29 I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among YOU and will not treat the flock with tenderness, 30 and from among YOU yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.
And this is what happened the church made up doctrine that dishonered God like the 3=1 trinity and the apostacy was in full bloom."

(Cristoiglesia) The verse you provided does not illustrate apostasy of the Church but instead it illustrates that there will be false prophets and teachers that will try to draw people away for Christ's own Church. Your own sect is an example of this and the Bible describes false prophets like the Jehovah Witnesses and others as ravening wolves that go from house to house seeking prey which are those weak in faith and knowledge. The Trinity is the fundamental teaching of the Church and to cease to believe in the Trinity is to cease to be Christian as this is the fundamental and essential belief of Christianity. The Trinity is the undeniable and consistent teaching of Christ, the Church, the Bible and the early Church fathers. Those that believe or teach otherwise were condemned at the Council of Nicaea to an eternity in Hell. Clearly Arians are not Christian and you are one in an evil modernist Arian sect and a counterfeit church to the Christian faith. The Watchtower throughout its short history has been led by false teachers and prophets

(John Trunkwalter) "What Jehovah`s Witnesses are is a restoration of the truth.
(1Timothy 4:1) 4 However, the inspired utterance says definitely that in later periods of time some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons,"

(Cristoiglesia) The only trust Jehovah Witnesses have is in their publishing company and not in any Church founded by Christ containing His promises for veracity.

Christ using construction vernacular says the following:

Upon this rock I will build my Church speaking to St. Peter.
Christ is the cornerstone and the 12 disciples are the foundation
He says that He will be with His Church
He says that the Church will endure until the Parousia
He says that the Church will be free of apostasy
He says that He will be with His Church for all time and does this by sending the Holy Spirit to guide the Church and by sharing His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity with His Church through His miracle of the Eucharist.
He says the His Church is the “bulwark and ground of the truth”.

Can Charles Taze Russell or the Watchtower Publishing Company make such promises when founding their sect? Of course not, only Christ’s promises have veracity regardless of the intent or sincerity of any man.

(John Trunkwalter) "(Daniel 12:4) 4 “And as for you, O Daniel, make secret the words and seal up the book, until the time of [the] end. Many will rove about, and the [true] knowledge will become abundant.”

(Cristoiglesia) Yes,in this time of the end through the Holy Spirit true Knowledge has become abundant. The Catholic church is on its way Down and you see it,all you have to do is watch the news."

The Prophet is saying that his prophecy will not be understood until the apocalypse.

(John Trunkwalter) "(Revelation 18:4-8) 4 And I heard another voice out of heaven say: “Get out of her, my people, if YOU do not want to share with her in her sins, and if YOU do not want to receive part of her plagues. 5 For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind. 6 Render to her even as she herself rendered, and do to her twice as much, yes, twice the number of the things she did; in the cup in which she put a mixture put twice as much of the mixture for her. 7 To the extent that she glorified herself and lived in shameless luxury, to that extent give her torment and mourning. For in her heart she keeps saying, ‘I sit a queen, and I am no widow, and I shall never see mourning.’ 8 That is why in one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong."

(Cristoiglesia) This is a prophetic warning to Christians to get out of Rome when it falls. The fact is that upon this fall Christians were saved by the other congregations founded by St. Peter and St. Paul. They fled to places like Antioch which was the bishopric founded by St. Peter.

(John Trunkwalter) "as for How could God and Christ be saperated Christ was God`s First born son."

(Cristoiglesia) Yes, this verse is stating that there was no other savior before Christ as Christ is God's only begotten Son and the Lamb of God. There is no separation between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as they are one God.

(Colossians 1:15) 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;
Notice not only is he the firstborn but also he is part of creation."

The first[2] born of every creature. St. Chrysostom takes notice against the Arians, that the apostle calls Christ the first-begotten, or first-born, not the first created, because he was not created at all. And the sense is, that he was before all creatures, proceeding from all eternity from the Father; though some expound the words of Christ as man, and that he was greater in dignity. See Romans viii. 29. (Witham)

(John Trunkwalter) "(John3:16) 16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son,
Christ is a Begotten son. no where in the Bible does it say he is eternaly begotten."

(Cristoiglesia) Joh 1:1-2= In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.

Joh 1:14-15= And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”

Isa 44:6= Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘ I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.

God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

Part II

(John Trunkwalter) “Hey Joe, Its time to talk about was the Alpostle Peter the rock on which the Catholic church wac built?
The apostle Paul showedJeus Christ was the Rock on which the True Christian Church Is Built.
1 Corinthians 3:11 Common English Bible (CEB)

11 No one can lay any other foundation besides the one that is already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:4

Common English Bible (CEB)

4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. They drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.

Peter also showed the foundation conerstone was Christ which was chose by God.
1 Peter 2:4-8

Common English Bible (CEB)

4 Now you are coming to him as to a living stone. Even though this stone was rejected by humans, from God’s perspective it is chosen, valuable. 5 You yourselves are being built like living stones into a spiritual temple. You are being made into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Thus it is written in scripture, Look! I am laying a cornerstone in Zion, chosen, valuable. The person who believes in him will never be shamed.[a] 7 So God honors you who believe. For those who refuse to believe, though, the stone the builders tossed aside has become the capstone. 8 This is a stone that makes people stumble and a rock that makes them fall. Because they refuse to believe in the word, they stumble. Indeed, this is the end to which they were appointed.”

(Cristoiglesia) Yes Jesus is the cornerstone of the Church. 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".

(John Trunkwalter) “Peter`s name in the Bible Greek is Pet-ros-a masculin noun meaning a peice of rock

Rock in greek is Pevtra, a noun-feminine-meaning-a rock”

(Cristoiglesia) I truly appreciate the efforts to defend the Watchtower opposition to Christ’s Church using the original languages as a weapon against what Christ and the disciples have founded. The defense of  the following verse:

Matthew 16:18: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church."

Of course this is the verse where our Lord appointed Simon as the leader of the disciples, head of the Church on earth and the Pope. It is believed by some Protestants that they can defend their position of Simon not receiving the authority from Jesus by using the original Greek.

The claim made is that there is a difference between the Greek words “petra” and “petros”. Now, if this discussion between Jesus and Simon had occurred a few centuries earlier before Attic Greek had ceased to be and lost in antiquity it might be a valid argument. However, in the first century when this discussion occurred the Greek language was Koine Greek instead. In Koine Greek there is no difference in the meaning between “petra” and “petros” except in Koine Greek “petra” is feminine and “petros” is the masculine form. So what I am saying is that one is making a great error in interpretation to assign the Attic Greek meanings large stone and small stone, which was used in ancient Greek poetic writings, when that language was gone for centuries in usage.

Now, let us look at the Aramaic which is the familial language spoken by Jesus and the disciples which is the language which this discussion recorded in the Scriptures in Koine Greek occurred. We know that Jesus spoke in Aramaic because His words on the cross are in Aramaic (Matt 27:46). In fact, the book of Matthew was originally written in Aramaic according to most scholars including myself. Also in the St. Paul’s letters to the Galatians and to the Corinthians we see the word Cephas a total of eight times which is the English equivalent of kepha. Kepha always means rock. So, in Matthew 16:18 it would read using the Aramaic “You are Kepha and on this Kepha I will build my Church.” There is no big rock and pebble as evidence was given in the then dead Attic Greek. So in the original language Jesus does not offer a contrast but instead He clearly is calling Simon the rock.

If one is not yet convinced that the rendering in Attic Greek is improper let us look at Matthew 16:18 with the Attic Greek interpretation and see which one makes the most sense…. “Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father in heaven. And I tell you, you are just a little pebble and upon this rock I will build my Church.” Instead of the Koine Greek “you are Rock (Petros) and upon this rock (petros) I will build my Church. He goes on to give Simon Peter the keys to heaven showing the authority of the rock named Peter. As the King of Kings Jesus is making Peter His prime minister of His kingdom and we can see the foreshadowing from Isaiah 22: 21-22 and the leader of the flock from John 21:15-17. It shows in Isaiah the passing on of the keys from one to another for authority of the kingdom just as the authority of the papacy is passed on. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph