24 June, 2013

Response to Leda who claims that God asking us to believe truly in Him is irrational

(Leda) Thank you for your exhaustive reply on the subject of the Trinity. I will read it again to get a better grasp of this complicated issue, but I have a feeling already that It may not be acceptable to many people.

(Cristoiglesia)  The teaching in this Creed (The Creed of Athanasius) is a compilation of at least three Ecumenical Councils and spells out the orthodoxy of Christianity in regards to the essential belief in the nature of God for Christians. While one may not, for many reasons, be able to grasp its profound teachings, it is a substantial effort to condense several centuries of Christian thought into the reality of true Christian belief about God and the person of Jesus in particular as the second person in the Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit who are the only uncreated of all eternity.

(Leda) From a merely historic point of view, it is difficult to believe that an all powerful God should use a Jewish adolescent to 'create', in very human terms, a being identical to all others.

(Cristoiglesia) Perhaps you could elaborate on what you mean by this statement in more detail but I will respond to what you have already said….I cannot give a true response as to why God chose this way to atone for the sins of man except to say that a perfect sacrifice is needed as the Lamb of God and that perfection necessitated a perfection that only God in the flesh could provide. Keep in mind this is not the first time that God had created perfect humans as Adam and Eve were the first to be created and were without any sin It is through their sin that sin entered into the human race. She was called “woman” and this is the same name that Jesus called His mother referring to her sinless state as she was previously prepared at her conception for her role in our salvation to be the God bearer. Her womb was, as a result, consecrated to God for all times and she became the ark of the New Covenant which was Jesus Christ and God incarnate. Her perfection in Christ bore His perfection by God’s will. Truly Jesus was indeed “very human” as well as being very much God incarnate. We call Him Immanuel or God with us. Historically I do not see the difficulty that anyone would have with the incarnation of the God-man who was fully God as well as fully man.

(Leda) This, in a strictly traditional Jewish society with very strict moral rules for little girls in particular, though usually given in marriage at age 12 or thereabout. The child and her family would be ostracized by the rest of society. An arranged marriage to Joseph seems to have been arranged, but even this implies that Mary could not remain a virgin.

(Cristoiglesia) I am at a loss to understand why you say that the blessed mother could not remain a virgin. Such arrangements were quite common and not unusual at all for consecrated virgins to be betrothed to a much older caretaker as a protector for the virgin. This was the arrangement with Joseph who was probably 70 years of age when the marriage occurred.

We see from Scriptures that it is likely that the blessed mother had made a vow of virginity even before the angel of the Lord visited her which is evidenced by her answer to the angel saying, “how can this be done because I know not man?” St Augustine and subsequent fathers of the Church and theologians have reasoned from this response that she indeed had made a vow of virginity and subsequently it would be unreasonable for one so faithful and obedient to God to have at any time abdicated her vow.

According to St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae there are three reasons why she was forever virgin:

First, it would follow that since Jesus was the only begotten Son of the Father that He should also be the only begotten Son of His mother.

Secondly, the virginal womb of the blessed mother is the shrine of the Holy Spirit where Christ was formed and subsequently nurtured.

Thirdly, such a premise would be derogatory to the dignity and holiness of God’s mother. It would suggest that she was ungrateful and unsatisfied to God for the gift of such a Son.

It is further fitting and logical that the blessed mother of God is the tabernacle of the Lord and her womb is the ark of the New Covenant. Just like the ark carried by the Israelites that contained the law of God, Aaron’s rod and manna from God it should be understood that no man could ever touch what God had consecrated to himself and live. So, it would follow that if St. Joseph, as some have claimed through eisegesis of Scripture, had consummated his marriage to the blessed mother of God and lived then it would put into question even the possibility that Jesus was the messiah prophesied which would mean that the world still awaits the messiah or Savior of the world.

One can find in the writings of Origen and St. Ambrose further explanation of the impossibility that the blessed mother of God was not the perpetual virgin as the Church has always claimed her to be for 2000 years.

(Leda) Why should this powerful God choose this near barbarous way to 'beget' his Son?

(Cristoiglesia) Perhaps before I answer you out of speculation, why do you believe that such a divine plan was “barbarous”?

(Leda) These are just a few points that people worry about, and to ask them to believe in something so irrational, or be condemned, as stated, 'he shall perish everlastingly', is what tempt many Catholics away from the church.

(Cristoiglesia) To a Christian true belief in God is neither irrational nor condemning.  As Christians we know that God requires our true belief in Him as fully God and fully man and this makes perfect since in view of the incarnation. What is condemning is a false belief in Christ and a denial that He is not God. Surely to deny Him is to spend eternity separated from His love. This is not what God chooses but each individual that makes the free choice to follow Him or deny Him. God sends no one to eternal condemnation as each person chooses to believe or reject the call of the Holy Spirit to true faith. It is said that hell is locked from the inside.

(Leda) I know Father that you will have a full answer covering these points, and some people will just shut off (what? their mind?) and accept what we shall call, this 'contract' in exchange for 'salvation'.

(Cristoiglesia) All Jesus asks is that we believe in Him. Surely many will reject this simple and humble request of our Lord and as a result reject His salvific grace that He offers to all who believe in Him. You seem to think that the ”contract” that He died for on the cross is unreasonable but regardless this is the obedience He requires to have eternal life.

(Leda)I am sorry Father if my reply disappoints you, but I hope you will understand.
Yours sincerely.
(Cristoiglesia) Do not worry about my disappointment of your apparent rejection of God’s simple request but about the result of your rejection. May our Lord have mercy on you. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

17 June, 2013

Transubstantiation and the Real Presence by Matt Slick of CARM

(Matt Slick) “Transubstantiation is the teaching that during the Mass, at the consecration in the Lord's Supper (Communion), the elements of the Eucharist, bread and wine, are transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus and that they are no longer bread and wine, but only retain their appearance of bread and wine.

The "Real Presence" is the term referring to Christ's actual presence in the elements of the bread and the wine that have been transubstantiated.

Paragraph 1376 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states,

    The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation (CCC, 1376).

Because they are the presence of Christ himself, Catholics worship and adore the elements.”

(Cristoiglesia) Correct, it is fitting that we worship our Lord when in His presence.

(Matt Slick) “The Mass contains a series of rituals leading up to the Lord's Supper which also contains a reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ.  Furthermore, transubstantiation states that the substance of the elements are miraculously changed, even though their appearance is not. In other words, the bread and wine will appear as bread and wine under close scientific examination, but the true substance is mystically the Body and Blood of Christ.  Synonymous with transubstantiation is the doctrine of the Real Presence.  Where transubstantiation is the process of the change, the real presence is the result of that change. In other words, the doctrine of the real presence states that the bread and wine contain the actual presence of Christ in bodily form as a result of the process of transubstantiation. Roman Catholicism states that the incarnation of Christ itself, where Jesus was a man but contained an invisible divine nature, is analogous to the the doctrine of the real presence.

Some of the verses used to substantiate this teaching are the following:

    Matt. 26:28, "for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins."
    John 6:52-53, "The Jews therefore began to argue with one another, saying, How can this man give us His flesh to eat? 53 Jesus therefore said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.'"
    1 Cor. 11:27, " Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord."

Can we conclude from the above verses that the Communion Supper actually involves the change of the elements into the mystical Body and Blood of Christ?  Let's take a look.
First - there is no indication that the words were meant to be literal”

(Cristoiglesia) Of course there is no indication that the words of Jesus are not literal or that they are symbolic or metaphorical.

(Matt Slick) “No where in scripture do we find this teaching.   We see scriptures refer to the elements as the body and blood, but we also see Jesus clearly stating that the words He was speaking were spiritual words when talking about eating his flesh and drinking his blood:  "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life," (John 6:63).  He did not say they were literal words; that is, He did not say that they were His actual body and blood.”

(Cristoiglesia) Now you are coming to a ridiculous conclusion. Jesus has just commanded His followers to eat His flesh and drink His blood and then states that to do so is to no avail or a waste of time. Why would Jesus command them to do something that would be pointless? He did not and you are trying to twist the interpretation away from the Catholic understanding in a most ridiculous way. There is no indication that Jesus was speaking symbolically or metaphorically but just the opposite in His colloquy of John 6 at Capernaum which emphasized the literalness of His teaching. He said that we must “gnaw” on His flesh and such a mental image produced is not one of symbolism or metaphor. This was the preparation for the understanding of the “Last Supper” so that they would indeed know that what He was offering to them was His actual Body and Blood under the appearance of bread and wine.

(Matt Slick) “But, a Catholic might object and say that Jesus clearly said, "This is My blood..." and "This is my body..." This is true, but Jesus frequently spoke in spiritual terms:  "I am the bread of life," (John 6:48); "I am the door," (John 10:7,9); "I am the resurrection and the life," (John 11:25); "I am the true vine," (John 15:1), etc.  In the context of John 6, Jesus is telling His disciples that they must eat His body and blood (John 6:53).  He clearly says He was speaking in spiritual terms, "...the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life," (John 6:63).”

(Cristoiglesia) There is no parallel between Jesus saying “this is my Body, this is my Blood” because with the metaphors it is possible that they can have a symbolic sense. His Body and His Blood have no symbolic sense because Flesh is nothing like the bread and the wine is nothing like His blood in a metaphorical sense.

(Matt Slick) “Second - the elements of the communion supper were still referred to as bread and wine

After The institution of the communion supper, both the elements were still referred to as bread and wine.

"And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 29 "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom," (Matt. 26:26-29).

After Jesus said, "This is my blood," (Matt. 26:28), he said, "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Fathers kingdom," (Matt. 26:29).  Why would Jesus speak figuratively of His blood as "the fruit of the vine" if it was his literal blood?  He called it wine.”

(Cristoiglesia) He was referring to its appearance and not its essence which is its intrinsic quality was defined and explained at the colloquy at the synagogue in Capernaum as His literal Body and Blood.

Matt Slick) "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup," (1 Cor. 11:23-28).

If the elements were changed and were really bread and wine, then why does Paul refer to the element of bread as bread and not the literal body of Christ?”

(Cristoiglesia) Jesus speaks not only of the appearance but of the reality. He says This is my Body, this is my blood. Each time He is showing them the bread and the wine. He says do this in  “anamnesis” of me. “Remembrance” as it is translated into English is a very awkward translation for this word in Koine Greek. The translators are doing an approximation of the meaning which does not mean to recall something from the past into memory but instead to make, in this case, the future present or in the case when we observe this Sacrament it is to make the past present. It is a divine miracle that the disciples witnessed as it is when we experience it at Mass. The Body and the Blood spoken of here is the actual Body and Blood sacrificed on Calvary. This is confirmed by St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthian congregation telling them that unless they discerned (recognized) the reality of the Body and the Blood in the bread and the wine then to receive it is to bring condemnation on them. In other words how can one be condemned for not recognizing a metaphase or a symbol.  The truth is that such an assumption would be ridiculous.

(Matt Slick) “Third - there is no indication the disciples thought the elements changed’

There is no indication in the biblical accounts of the Last Supper that the disciples thought that the bread and wine changed into the actual body and blood of Christ.  Are we to believe that the disciples who were sitting right there with Jesus, actually thought that what Jesus was holding in his hands was his literal body and blood?  There is no indication that they thought this.

(Cristoiglesia) I guess you are trying to say that they were not paying attention to Christ’s teaching at Capernaum which was for the purpose of preparing them for this moment. St. Paul was not even there in Capernaum and He wrote that it was indeed the real Body and Blood of our Lord to the Corinthian congregation saying that if they did not recognize it to be real then they are condemning themselves to receive it unworthily. I think that there can be no doubt that they indeed knew of what Jesus was giving them. He said that they must discern this in their spiritual senses and indeed they did.

(Matt Slick) “Fourth - there is no indication the disciples worshipped the elements

We see no indication at all that the disciples worshipped the elements.  The adoration of the Eucharist is practiced during the Mass.  Catholicism says, "Moreover, the Catholic Church has held firm to this belief in the presence of Christ's Body and Blood in the Eucharist not only in her teaching but in her life as well, since she has at all times paid this great Sacrament the worship known as "latria," which may be given to God alone."1 Where is the worship given the sacrament by the disciples anywhere in the New Testament?  It is not there.”

(Cristoiglesia) Your statement here is very confusing in light of Scripture. Are you trying to say that the disciples believed that Jesus is not God and thus refused to worship Him? Did not the prophecy of Malachi foretell of this worship.

 We can see the prophecy of the sacerdotal priesthood of the New Covenant in the writings of the prophet Isaiah. He teaches that in the Messianic Kingdom that priests will be called even from among the non-Jews which sets apart the New Covenant Church from the Old Covenant priesthood.

Isaiah 66:21 (King James Version)
21And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD.

This priesthood is to fulfill the prophesy of Malachi for a permanent and continuous sacrifice:

Malachi 1:11 (King James Version)
11For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.

The following verses refer to the sacrifice of the bread and the wine by Melchisedec which scholars agree is the prototype of Christ. This also refers to the last supper where Jesus orders the repetition of the Mass.

Genesis 14:18 (New King James Version)
18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.

Hebrews 5:5-10 (King James Version)
5So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.
6As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
7Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
10Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

So, it can be and has been said that the Church has received the ongoing sacrifice of our Lord and that as a result there is a sacerdotal priesthood necessarily separate from the priesthood of all believers that offers this continuous sacrifice to the Father of the Eucharist. As a result the priesthood has been changed by Christ and His sacrifice from the Old Covenant priesthood into the one prophesied in Scriptures by the prophets Isaiah and Malachi. So, in conclusion, if the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was a atoning sacrifice for mankind then the priesthood is undeniable the priesthood prophesied and made necessary by Christ. We find this evidence in the colloquy of Capernaum and in the Gospel accounts of the last Supper.

(Matt Slick) Fifth - the supper was instituted before Jesus' crucifixion

The Mass is supposed to be a reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ.  Therefore, according to Roman Catholic theology, the bread and wine become the broken body and shed blood of Christ and are, somehow, the crucified body and blood of Christ..  But how can this be since Jesus instituted the Supper before He was crucified?  Are we to conclude that at the Last Supper, when they were all at the table, that when Jesus broke the bread it actually became His sacrificial body -- even though the sacrifice had not yet happened?  Likewise are we to conclude that when Jesus gave the wine that it became His actual sacrificial blood -- even though the sacrifice had not yet happened?  That would make no sense at all.”

(Cristoiglesia) As I said before you are misinterpreting or ignoring what the Bible says in its original language. Jesus instructed the disciples to do this in “anamnesis” of me which is not a recalling from the past but making the past or the future present.  At the last supper the miracle of our Lord was to make the future present and today Christ in the Eucharist makes the past present. It makes perfect sense in the original Koine Greek and is consistent with Jesus teaching at Capernaum, at the Last Supper and today. It is also consistent with the prophetic teaching of Isaiah and Malachi.

(Matt Slick) “Sixth - the Roman Catholic view is a violation of Levitical law

The Roman Catholic interpretation of the Eucharist requires the participant to eat human flesh and drink human blood.  Remember, Roman Catholicism teaches that the bread and the wine become the actual body and blood of Christ.  Essentially, this amounts to cannibalism.  What does the Scripture say concerning this?

    "For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off," (Lev. 17:14).

Notice that the scripture says that you are not to eat the blood of any flesh. It would certainly appear that the Roman Catholic view is in contradiction to the Old Testament scripture since it advocates the eating of the blood of Christ.  To the RCC it is not just symbolic, it is the actual eating and drinking of the body of Christ.”

(Cristoiglesia) Certainly Jesus’ teaching is a violation of Levitical Law which is the Law of the Old Covenant. That is the exact reason that the disciples left Jesus at Capernaum as they recognized that He was indeed telling them that to abide in Him that they must violate this law of the Old Covenant. Even the disciples that stayed said that this is hard teaching and Jesus knowing their minds asked them if they were going to leave also. St. Peter spoke for the 12 saying, to whom shall we go as you have the words of eternal life. He then told them that they must believe Him not in their carnal senses but in their spiritual sense that obviously makes the belief in miracles possible. Certainly they had already been witnesses to His miracles and understood what He said. One does not need to know the specifics of a miracle to recognize it as a miracle. After all miracles are of God and beyond the understanding of our finite intellects. He was saying that they must trust in Him instead of their carnal intellects and reason which would fail them as it did those that left Him never to follow Him again at Capernaum.

Christ indeed not only instituted His Kingdom on the Cross of Calvary but also instituted the New Covenant with Humanity. No longer were the Levitical laws binding on God’s followers and condemning of them. When Jesus said, ”it is finished” the old Covenant was no more and the New Covenant was proclaimed. The Eucharist is the sacrifice of the New Covenant with humanity and does away with the Temple sacrifices. Otherwise, God would not have allowed the Temples to be destroyed.

(Matt Slick) “Some Roman Catholics responded by saying that Jesus had instituted the new and everlasting covenant in which the sacrificed body and blood of Christ was reality. Therefore, because it was a new covenant it was also the sacrificed body and blood. But this cannot work because the new covenant could not yet be instituted until after the death of Christ  as the Scriptures state.

(Cristoiglesia) Nonsense! Again you base your conclusion on the English approximation in translation of “anamnesis” Which does not mean to recall something in the past to memory. What it means is that there is a miracle in which the past or the future is made present.

(Matt Slick” "And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it," (Heb. 9:15-16).

Therefore we can conclude that the Levitical law was still in effect because the new covenant had not yet been established. So, the Roman Catholic position would have Jesus himself violating  Old Testament law by having the disciples drink the blood -  If it were literal blood.”

(Cristoiglesia) Again you are teaching nonsense based on improper exegesis. At the Last Supper the future was being made present which was not a violation of Levitical law. Today the past is being made present by Christ’s miracle of anamnesis.

(Matt Slick) Yet another response is that in Mark 7:19 it says, "'because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?' (Thus He declared all foods clean.)"  but the problem with this response is that Jesus with declaring all animals clean to eat.  He  was not saying it was okay to drink their blood. Furthermore, in the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, James the apostle gives instructions and said, "Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood," (Acts 15:19-20).  So, well after the ascension of Christ and the establishment of the church, the instruction is still to abstain from drinking blood.”

(Cristoiglesia) What is being spoken of here is the practice of drinking the blood of animals sacrificed to Idols in the Pagan temples. It has nothing to do with the Levitical laws that prohibit the drinking of blood. It is about Gentile converts and not Jewish converts and as a result is a non sequitor argument.

(Matt Slick) Seventh - it is a violation of the incarnation

The biblical doctrine of the incarnation states that the Word which was God and was with God (John 1:1), became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). This "became flesh" involves what is known as the hypostatic Union.  This is the teaching that in the one person of Christ are two natures: divine and human. That is, Jesus is both God and man at the same time and He will forever be God and man.

Furthermore, by definition, for Jesus to be human He must be located in one place.  This is the nature of being human.  A human male does not have the ability to be omnipresent. He can only be in one place at one time.  To say that Jesus in His physical form is in more than one place at a time, is to deny the incarnation.  That is, it denies that Jesus is completely and totally a man -- since a man can only be it one place at one time.  Therefore, to say that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ is to violate the doctrine of the incarnation by stating that Christ is physically present all over the planet as the mass is celebrated. This is a serious problem and a serious denial of the true and absolute incarnation of the Word of God as a man.”

(Cristoiglesia) The teaching of Christianity is that Jesus is both fully man and fully God. Are you trying to claim that God becoming man at the incarnation was an abdication of the attributes of being God? The incarnation to a Christian is that Jesus has all the attributes of humanity except sin as well as all the attributes of God. Jesus did not give up His divinity to become man and all the attributes of God are present in Christ.

At the incarnation Jesus never ceased to be fully God.

According to the doctrine of the Church in regards to the Eucharist, the Body and the Blood of the God-man Jesus are really, substantially and truly present. It is the true nourishment of the souls of men. The elements are transubstantiated into the Body and the Blood of Christ resulting in a change into an unbloody Sacrifice of the New Testament Church within the New Covenant of God.

The Incarnation does not prevent Christ from fulfilling His teaching In John 6 where we are commanded to abide in Him and Him in us by receiving His blessed Sacrament of His Body and His Blood. How is a symbol like Manna from heaven? How can we “gnaw” (KG-trogo) on His flesh if it is symbolic. Why does St. Paul say that we bring condemnation on ourselves for discerning only a symbol. Sorry, but Nestorianism does not stand the test of Scripture.

(Matt Slick)”But, did not Jesus say in Matt. 28:18-20 that He would be with the disciples always, even to the ends of the earth?  Is this not a declaration that Jesus will be physically present everywhere?  No, this is not what is stated.

The answer is found in the teaching of the Philippians 2:8

King James Version (KJV)

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross..  This is the teaching that the attributes of both the divine and human nature are ascribed to the single person of Christ.  It does not mean, however, that anything particular to the divine nature was communicated to the human nature. Likewise, it does not mean that anything particular to the human nature was communicated to the divine nature.  It means that the attributes of the divine nature are claimed by the person of Christ.  Therefore, Jesus is omnipresent, not in His human nature, but in His divine nature.

To make this more clear, let's look at some verses that illustrate the communicatio idiomatum:

    John 17:5, "And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was."
    John 3:13,"And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man."

Please notice that in these two verses, Jesus lays claim to the glory that He had with the Father before the foundation of the world.  He also claims to have descended from heaven, but how could these be true since He is a man?  The answer is because the attributes of the divine nature are claimed by the person of Christ.  Therefore, the person of Christ could claim to have glory with the Father and could claim to descend from heaven.  But we know that the man Jesus, in the flesh, did not exist until His conception.  Furthermore, this means that the two natures of Christ are distinct, yet they are in Union in the one person of Christ (the hypostatic union).  It further means that the attributes of the divine and the attributes of the human are not transferred to one another -- the divine does not become localized and the human does not become infinite.  If this were the case, then the nature of the divine and the nature of the human will be violated. Therefore, we can see that for Jesus to be a man, He must retain the attributes of humanity.  This means that He must be localized and it means He cannot be physically omnipresent. If He were, by definition He would not be a man. But the Roman Catholic position is that the bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Christ and this violates the doctrine of the incarnation.  Therefore, transubstantiation cannot be the correct teaching of Scripture.”

(Cristoiglesia) I see that you are a disciple of the Nestorian heresy as was your Protestant predecessors Zwingli and to a lesser extent Calvin. The Fact is that Jesus Commanded that we eat His Body and drink His Blood and He demonstrated this to His disciples after the teaching at Capernaum during the Last Supper. He said unambiguously, “This is my Body, This is my Blood”. There was no symbolism in these words as there was no symbolism in the words at Capernaum. The Christian belief that Jesus is fully man and fully God does not violate the fact that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist and in the Tabernacles and Monstrance’s of His Churches

(Matt Slick) Eighth - the Lord's Supper is not a sacrifice of Christ

The Bible tells us:

    "By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified, (Heb. 10:10-14).

In the Roman Catholic Mass, there is a sacrifice of Christ.  In other words, in the ceremonies, is a reenactment and an actual sacrifice of Christ per the Mass.  This is an obvious contradiction to the Scriptures which teach us that Christ died once for all and that by the one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.  It does not state in the Word of God that the sacrifice of Christ must be repeated in order to forgive us of our sins or somehow help us to maintain our salvation by the infusion of grace.  The fact that Christ died once and the sacrifice occurred once, is proof that it is sufficient to cleanse us of our sins.  We connect with the sacrifice of Christ by faith, not by a ceremony.

(Cristoiglesia) Through the miracle of anamnesis 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.

(Matt Slick)Conclusion

It should be obvious to anyone who believes the word of God, that the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation is not biblical.  For the reasons listed above, we urge that Roman Catholics recognize that Jesus Christ died once for all and that there is no need to participate in a ritual where His re-sacrifice is practiced.

(Cristoiglesia) We do not participate in any ritual that is a re-sacrifice of our Lord. We participate in the same sacrifice of our Lord to the Father.

(Matt Slick) Finally, because the sacrifice of Christ was once for all, it is sufficient to save us and we do not need to maintain our salvation by our efforts or by our participation in the Lord's supper.  It is not a means of grace that secures our salvation or infuses into us the grace needed that then enables us to maintain our salvation by our works.  Instead, we are made right before God by faith.

(Cristoiglesia) You are not suggesting that Catholics actually go against our teaching by believing that it is by works that we are saved. The fact is that the Church has condemned the heresy that you accuse us of which is Pelagianism. Following God’s Commandments to participate in His Sacraments indeed impart grace so that we can endure to final salvation. As Jesus said through the Sacrament of the Eucharist the grace of God is imparted to us so that we can abide in Him and Him in us. Following God’s Commandments is not a work but a Christian sign of devotion to our Lord. Faith indeed secures our initial salvation and the ongoing graces of the Sacraments allow us and encourage us to endure to final salvation. The “faith alone” that you promote is condemned in Scripture as “dead faith”.

  (Matt Slick)  "being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus," (Rom. 3:24).
    "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," (Rom. 3:28).
    "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," (Rom. 4:3).
    "For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith," (Rom. 4:13).
    "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1).
    "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved," (Rom. 10:9).

(Cristoiglesia) The only place that “faith alone” is mentioned in scriptures is when it is condemned in the book of James. Martin Luther the author of “faith alone” regretted this doctrine later on in life and questioned his salvation because of introducing this error into Christianity. This Protestant doctrine is truly a doctrine from hell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Christ
Fr. Joseph