Sunday, March 29, 2020

Commentary On 1 Timothy 1:8-10

[1 Timothy] 1:8 We know, etc. Cf. Ro 7:12, 16.

[1 Timothy] 1:9-10 The list of transgressions follows the Decalogue with six instances for the first table of the Law and eight for the second table. Paul gives extreme cases of transgression (e.g., murders of fathers for the Forth Commandment) to emphasize the negative character of the Law.

Martin Franzmann and Walter H. Roehrs, Concordia Self-study Commentary [commentary on 1 Timothy], p. 219

Where The Spirit Of The Lord Is, There Is Liberty

"[2 Corinthians] 3:17 The Lord is the Spirit. Cf. 6. Since the Lord (Christ) is present among His people, known, and operative by the power of the Spirit, the two are so closely associated in God's working and in the church's experience that Paul can simply identify them in order to emphasize the fact that God's new order of things ("new," 6; "righteousness...splendor," 9; "glory," 18) is experienced by man IN CHRIST (Cf. 5:17)."

Martin Franzmann and Walter H. Roehrs, Concordia Self-study Commentary [commentary on 2 Corinthians], p. 165

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Gifts Of God

        It is a fact that we have a tendency to take for granted the graces of God. He is in control of them. It is He who provides. Even something seemingly trivial like a bottle of water or the oxygen that we inhale is a gift of God. We ought to show gratitude to Him for the people and the things that we so cherish. They are all gifts from God.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Tim Staples' Goofy Claims About 1 Corinthians 11:27-29

  • Discussion:
          -The purpose of this article is to interact with a few claims that Catholic apologist Tim Staples has made regarding 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 and transubstantiation. He even says that his proof-text is perhaps the "plainest of all." Do his claims hold water? Following are excerpts from the author alongside with a rebuttal:

          "According to St. Paul, a constitutive element involved in a Christian’s preparation to receive the Eucharist is “discerning the body.” What body is St. Paul talking about that must be “discerned” you ask? It’s really not very hard to tell. He just said, in verse 27, “Whoever . . . eats . . . in an unworthy matter will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” Any questions?"

          No, rather, Paul is talking about unity amongst brethren and correcting abuses of the Lord's Supper. In 1 Corinthians 10, he uses the analogy of a body in describing what the church is supposed to be. The church at Corinth was divided amongst classes of wealth (1 Corinthians 11:20-22). This passage is not at all about the nature of the communion wafer itself.

          "St. Paul uses unequivocal language in describing the nature of the Eucharist by using the language of homicide when he describes the sin of those who do not recognize Christ’s body in this sacrament and therefore receive him unworthily. He says they are “guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” According to Numbers 35:27, Deuteronomy 21:8, 22:8, Ezekiel 35:6, Rev. 18:24, 19:2, and elsewhere in Scripture, to be “guilty of blood” means you are guilty of shedding innocent blood in murder. This is not the language of pure symbolism. This is the language of real presence. Think about it: If someone were to put a bullet through a picture of a real person, I am sure the person represented in the photo would not be thrilled about it, but the perpetrator would not be “guilty of blood.” But if this same perpetrator were to put a bullet through the actual person you better believe he would be “guilty of blood.”

          Mr. Staples asserts that what the Apostle Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 "is not the language of pure symbolism." At the same time, mind you, he makes a connection in the same symbolic sense being argued against. The Corinthians who partook of communion with a guilty conscience did not literally murder Jesus Christ. The definition of "symbolic" used by Tim Staples appears to be selective and constrictive.

          "It does not come as a surprise to Catholics that St. Paul would refer to the Eucharist as “bread” and “wine.” We do it commonly in the Church. This is so for at least two key reasons. First, Jesus is “the true bread come down from heaven” and “true drink” according to John 6:32 and verse 55. It is entirely proper to refer to the Eucharist as such because the Eucharist is Jesus. Second, in human discourse we tend to refer to things as they appear. This is called “phenomenological” language. We say “the sun will rise at 5:45 am tomorrow.” Does this mean we are all geocentrists who believe the sun rotates around the earth? I hope not!"

          The utilization of language does not in of itself prove that one has properly applied it in a given context. Nowhere in Scripture does one find a hint of the communion elements being the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. Nowhere does the New Testament teach that the sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Mass are inextricably united.

          The water used in baptism does not become the Holy Spirit that it illustrates. The water represents the Spirit and His regenerating work, just as the bread and wine used in the Last Supper represents the finished atonement of Jesus Christ.

          If transubstantiation took place during the Lord's Supper, then that would imply that Christ had two bodies. He would be sitting in a chair while holding Himself in the air with His own two hands.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Commentary On Genesis 2:8

2:8 The location of the Garden of Eden has never been precisely determined. Scripture locates it generally on the Tigris (designated in the KJV by its ancient name Hiddekel) and Euphrates rivers where they were joined by the rivers Pishon and Gihon. The last two have never been identified. Tradition has located Eden south of Ur, at a site known as Eridu. British archaeologists excavated the ruins of Eridu in 1918-19. On the other hand, Albright thinks that Pishon and Gihon may have been the Blue and White Nyle.

Harper Study Bible [Revised Standard Version], p. 7

Monday, March 23, 2020

Luke 1:69 And The Deity Of Jesus Christ

        "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant." (Luke 1:68-69)

        What did Zacharias mean when he called the baby in Mary's womb a horn of salvation? In order to answer that question, we must turn to the Old Testament to see how that figurative expression was utilized.

        In the Old Testament, horns in many instances carried connotations of strength and honor (Job 16:15; Psalm 75:5-6; 148:14; Lamentations 2:3). God is described as being the horn of salvation in Psalm 18:2. Hence, the psalmist calls Him the mighty savior.

        The title given to God in Psalm 18:2 is applied to Jesus Christ by Zacharias. In an indirect fashion, he is calling Christ God. He is the mighty savior of the Jewish people. He is victorious over darkness and sin. He is deserving of honor.

        The horn of salvation is associated with the lineage of King David. It also might point to in an inexplicit manner a hymnal of praise to God sung by the mother of the Prophet Samuel ("...will exalt the horn of His anointed," 1 Samuel 2:10).

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Did Mary Participate In The Atonement Of Christ?

        "...we cannot doubt that she greatly grieved in soul in the most harsh anguishes and torments of her Son. Further, that divine sacrifice had to be completed with her present and looking on, for which she had generously nourished the victim from herself. Finally this is more tearfully observed in the same mysteries: There stood by the Cross of Jesus, Mary His Mother...of her own accord she offered her Son to the divine justice, dying with Him in her heart, transfixed with the sword of sorrow." (Leo XIII, Iucunda Semper, September 8, 1884)

        First of all, Scripture states that Jesus Christ offered Himself to God as atonement for our sin (Hebrews 9:14). He laid down His own life on His own accord (John 10:17-18). Mary played no role whatsoever in this act of redemption. Mary could not have offered her son to God as a sacrifice, even if she had wanted to.

        Secondly, Mary would have been in agony and distress to see her son nailed to a crucifix. Such reactions are only natural of normal mothers when they see their children suffer. However, there is no valid reason to suggest that Mary's grief had some sort of a unique or redemptive value. She is a human being, not a goddess.

Evolution And Language Development

"Much of the resistance to Darwinism "all the way up" comes from scientists and philosophers who deny the capacity of natural selection to produce specifically human mental qualities like the capacity for language. Foremost among these is Noam Chomsky, founder of modern linguistics, who describes a complex language program seemingly "hard-wired" into the human brain, which has no real analogy in the animal world and for which there is no very plausible story of step-by-step evolution through adaptive intermediate forms. Chomsky readily accepts evolutionary naturalism in principle, but (supported by Stephen Jay Gould) he regards Darwinian selection as no more than a place holder for a true explanation of the human language capacity which has not yet been found."

Phillip E. Johnson, Objections Sustained, p. 60

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Does Easter Come From Eostre?

"The major problem with associating the origin of Easter with the pagan goddess Eastre/Eostre is that we have no hard evidence that such a goddess was ever worshiped by anyone, anywhere. The only mention of Eastre comes from a passing reference in the writings of the Venerable Bede, an eighth-century monk and historian. Bede wrote, “Eosturmonath has a name which is now translated as ‘Paschal month,’ and which was once called after a goddess of theirs named Eostre, in whose honor feasts were celebrated in that month. Now they designate the Paschal season by her name, calling the joys of the new rite by the time-honoured name of the old observance” (De Temporum Ratione). And that’s it. Eostre is not mentioned in any other ancient writing; we have found no shrines, no altars, nothing to document the worship of Eastre. It is possible that Bede simply extrapolated the name of the goddess from the name of the month.

In the nineteenth century, the German folklorist Jakob Grimm researched the origins of the German name for Easter, Ostern, which in Old High German was OstarĂ¢. Both words are related to the German word for “east,” ost. Grimm, while admitting that he could find no solid link between Easter and pagan celebrations, made the assumption that Ostara was probably the name of a German goddess. Like Eastre, the goddess Ostara was based entirely on supposition and conjecture; before Grimm’s Deustche Mythologie (1835), there was no mention of the goddess in any writings.

So, while the word Easter most likely comes from an old word for “east” or the name of a springtime month, we don’t have much evidence that suggests anything more. Assertions that Easter is pagan or that Christians have appropriated a goddess-holiday are untenable. Today, however, it seems that Easter might as well have pagan origins, since it has been almost completely commercialized—the world’s focus is on Easter eggs, Easter candy, and the Easter bunny."

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Bad Catholic Apologetics On Isaiah 64:6 And Sola Fide

  • Discussion:
          -Quite simply, the purpose of this article is to respond to a few claims that Roman Catholic apologists have made regarding Isaiah 64:6. Following are a few excerpts from an article alongside with a critique:

          "This pertains to a particular historical situation, not to a general condition. The passage appeals to a time when Israelites once had a right relationship with God, when God helped them against their enemies because they waited on him, gladly did right, and remembered his ways."

          Several passages in Scripture have a more direct significance and application to the original audience than to readers in later generations. Prophecy has an immediate group of listeners and also a future fulfillment. There are indications which point to Isaiah 64:6 having a universal application.

          "When they sin against him and did not repent and return to their former state, he abandoned them to the will of their enemies, so that even Jerusalem and its Temple were destroyed. (Isaiah speaks of this prophetically, before it happened.)"

          The sinful state described in Isaiah 64:6 is applied to the entire human race elsewhere in Scripture. In Psalm 14, David describes the pagan world as corrupt and having turned away from the living God. His description is clearly universal. Paul quotes that Psalm in describing the state of Israel (Romans 3:10-18). Every mouth will be silenced as the whole world is held accountable before God (Romans 3:19-20).

          "It was during that period of continued sin, leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., that they had “become like one who is unclean”–they hadn’t always been like that. In this state, even the nation’s acts of righteousness appeared like filthy rags to God, so he wouldn’t help them: “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!” (Is 1:15-17)."

          The onus is on the Roman Catholic apologist to demonstrate how Isaiah 64:6 cannot apply to every person. The text being discussed attests to the depths of human depravity and our utter inability to redeem ourselves. What is ironic about the Roman Catholic Church describing its position on justification as being on the basis of grace is that adherents are required to attain and maintain their justification on the basis of good works.