Friday, March 31, 2017

Time For A Creationist Meme

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Why A Christian Should Be A Conservative Republican

Republican vs. Democrat
Conservative vs. Liberal
Part 1 Gay Marriage and Gender Choice
By Catholic Apologist Sean Dolan

  • In modern times, evil ideologies seem to be developing. “Women abandon their natural desires for one another, and men commit shameful acts with each other” (Romans 1:26-27). In many parts of the world, especially in Western Europe and the United States, the people have a growing acceptance of liberal ideas such as homosexual marriage, the choosing of one’s own gender, birth control, abortion, euthanasia, and the promotion of Islam as a religion of peace. When Christians or others who uphold similar views point out the deterioration in overall moral values in society, their opponents tend to depict them as merely being homophobes, Islamophobes, sexists, racists, and a longer list of other derogatory terms. They call us hateful, but are they right in calling us these cruel names? Do they have any valid reasoning to substantiate their claims? Should a real Christian lean on the side of Conservatism or Liberalism?
  • First of all, let us acknowledge that there are extreme forms of bias against each other on both sides. On the other hand though, when investigating the main beliefs to both sides of the debate, a Christian should be on the conservative side. In these next papers, we will look at the main beliefs of Liberals to explain why they are wrong from a biblical standpoint.
  • Gay Marriage:
          -One of the main liberal beliefs is gay marriage. This is morally unacceptable, for in Scripture we see that God intentionally made male and female, and that a man and a female will unite to become one. (Genesis 1:27, 2:24). God made for man a woman in the Garden of Eden. He did not make him another man. If gay marriage was morally acceptable, then why don't we see the creation of two men in Scripture?
          -One may say that there is no direct condemnation of gay or lesbian marriage in these passages, but farther along in this study we are told more directly that homosexuality is wrong.
  • Lot and Sodom (Genesis 19):
            -In the Book of Genesis, Abraham’s nephew Lot goes to Sodom and stays there a while. While there, two angels in disguise show up, and Lot takes them in. Then, the people of the city go to Lot’s house to demand for the angels so that they can have “relations” with them. This was abominable in the sight of God. Lot did not give them the angels. After a period of struggle, they escaped the City of Sodom. The corrupt men of that city did not go without punishment. After Lot leaves Sodom, God destroys the city along with Gomorrah, another evil city, by throwing meteors of fiery sulfur upon them. The two cities are known for their evilness. If what they had done was okay, then why would God destroy the cities?.
  • Condemnation in the Law:
          -“You must not lie with a man as with a women. This is a hateful thing” This is pretty clear that a man should not be acting gay. Marriage is for a man and a women, not a man and man or a woman and a woman" (Leviticus 18:22 JB)
  • Condemnation in the New Testament:
          -Some may argue that the Law was wiped out by Jesus or made inactive, but this is clearly wrong. Jesus Christ was simply the fulfillment to the Law (Matt. 5:17-20). The Apostle Paul even stated that the Moral Law is upheld by our faith in God (Romans 3:31). The New Testament Scriptures clearly condemn homosexuality, which means that it cannot be accepted.
“He answered, ‘Have you not read that the creator from the beginning made male and female and that he said: This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body?" (Matthew 19:4-5 JB).
            ^Though many may claim that Jesus never condemned gay marriage, He affirmed the original design that was intended by God in the above passage. Even if this argument isn’t enough, Jesus Christ never said that it was morally permissible. Saying nothing on it doesn’t mean it’s alright.
“That is why God abandoned them to degrading passions: why their women have turned for natural intercourse to unnatural practices and why their menfolk have given up natural intercourse to be consumed with passion for each other, men doing shameless things with men and an appropriate reward for their perversion” (Roman 1:26-27 JB).
           ^These two verses say that humans have chosen to reject God, who has made Himself evident through nature. Because of their rejection of His will, their reason has become darkened. As a result of this inherent spiritual corruption, these men and women were handed over to unnatural sexual desires. In short, this mental delusion lead them into homosexual acts, which is called “an abomination.” These two verses are the clearest condemnation of homosexuality in the whole New Testament. Homosexuality is unnatural and disgusting.
          -“You know perfectly well that people who do wrong will not inherit the kingdom of God: people of immoral lives, idolaters, adulterers, catamites, sodomites, thieves, usurers, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers will never inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 JB).
              ^Some translations have slightly different wording, but this is yet another outright warning against homosexual thoughts and behaviors.  It plainly states that they will not inherit the Kingdom of God, if they choose to remain in that state of sin. The term “Sodomites” refers to people who do homosexual things, as the people of Sodom did in Genesis 19. Other translations such as the NASB translate the word to mean "homosexuals".
  • A Logical argument:
         -We do not need Scripture to see the perverseness of homosexual actions. From the Natural Law, one can see that the pieces do not fit together, like mismatched pieces of a puzzle. Men can not procreate with men (and women likewise). It is against our natural bodily design. If gay marriage is morally acceptable, then that means everyone can do it. But if everyone does it, then the human race will not continue on because there will be no more babies born into the world.

  • “Gender Choice”:

           -“God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them”Genesis 1:27; 2:24 JB).
              ^God planned for every human to have a specific gender; male or female. This was set; never to be messed with. The Bible does not say that God gave man his own choice over what gender that we wishes to be.
  • The Law: 
          -“A woman must not wear men’s clothes nor a man put on women’s dress; anyone who does this is detestable to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 22:5 JB).
           ^God forbade people to even wear the other gender’s clothes. If it was wrong to do this, one should conclude that we shall not change our gender. 
  • The New Testament:
           -Review: Matt. 19:4/Rom. 1:26-27/1 Cor. 6:9-10
           -These passages condemn gender change. The Lord Jesus Christ, again, restates the theme found in Genesis. Just by looking at the sexual perversions that Paul condemned in Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6, a person should conclude that gender change is evil.

Sola Scriptura And Divisions

  • Although this article is dedicated primarily to the Roman Catholic apologists who maintain that there are 33,000 (or more) Protestant denominations (in order to disqualify the principle of Sola Scriptura), the contents that are about to be presented hold true for all who tout the same argument around.  
  • There is a great deal of controversy between  the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and all of the Protestant churches due to the issue of "private interpretation". Private interpretation of Scripture is the concept of a person using his or her reasoning to make a judgment on a particular passage from the Bible. It is a more individualistic approach to determining what Scripture means.
  • Hierarchical structured churches always insist that we absolutely must have their leaders "infallibly interpret" the Scriptures in order to preserve absolute truth in doctrinal matters and thus aid in the prevention of division within the entire congregational body.
  • The claim that we need an infallible interpreter of Scripture is essentially the same as saying that the Bible is too difficult for the common people to understand. In other words, both arguments use the same logic in there premises in order to reach their conclusions. If Scripture is simple enough for us to comprehend without the need of an infallible interpreter, then why would we even need one in the first place?   
  • Consequently, the Church of Rome claims that Christians who rely on the Bible alone for the development of doctrine (instead of its Magisterium) will inevitably end up in a state of soul endangering confusion. In summary, one of the most common arguments raised against Sola Scriptura is that it unavoidably results in irreconcilable doctrinal contradictions and thus points to the need of an infallible teaching authority.
  • Scripture Is A Perspicuous Guide And Is Therefore In Need Of No Infallible Interpreter:
           -Scripture repeatedly implies and assures that its readers can understand its message (i.e. Deuteronomy 29:29; 2 Kings 22:8-13; Psalm 19:7-9; 119:97-105; 130; Matthew 22:29-32; Luke 1:1-4; 10:25-28; Acts 17:11-12; Ephesians 3:3-5; 2 Corinthians 1:13; 3:15-16; Colossians 4:16; 2 Peter 1:16-21; 2 Timothy 3:15).
           -With the exception of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus, all of the New Testament epistles were written to Christians in general: Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:2; Ephesians 1:1; Philemon 1:1-2; Colossians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; James 1:1-2; Revelation 1:3-4.
           -Calls to read and obey Scripture demonstrates that we can understand it (Joshua 1:7-8; 23:6; 1 Kings 2:3-4; Matthew 12:3; 5; 19:4; 21:16; 42; 22:31; Luke 10:26; John 10:34; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:27; 2 Thessalonians 3:14; 1 Timothy 4:13).
           -The common people understood the teachings of Jesus Christ without an "infallible interpreter" (i.e. Matthew 11:25; 13:51; Mark 12:37). In other words, there was never an infallible interpreter sitting next to Jesus when He was teaching in front of the crowds. Neither do we see one in any of the sermons documented in the Book of Acts. Furthermore, the New Testament epistles to the churches of the first century say nothing about submission to an alleged infallible teaching authority who makes spiritual teachings simple enough for the common people to understand.
           -Three powerful observations that we can gather from the New Testament against the belief that it is too difficult for us to understand is that Jesus Christ did not always explain His parables to those who were confused by His teachings, He made individuals interpret the Scriptures for themselves, and held them accountable when they interpreted them incorrectly. He neither demanded the people who heard His teachings to blindly submit to Him nor instructed His disciples to act in such a manner.These actions clearly show us that God expects us to use our reason in order to discover the truth."Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is" (Ephesians 5:17). 
           -Jesus usually attracted the poor, uneducated, and the common people. Anyone with a humble and prayerful heart can understand what God desires for mankind (salvation), apart from an infallible interpreter.  
  • Attacking Common Straw Man Arguments/ Misrepresentations Of Sola Scriptura:
           -"What use is an infallible book without an infallible interpreter?":
               *The above question can be likened to asking, "What is the use of an infallible God without an infallible human mind to understand Him?" He does not expect us to understand Him infallibly because our minds are finite. However, we can have more than sufficient certainty behind the meaning of Scripture. Now, I am certainly not saying that we can interpret the Scriptures in any random way that we desire. We have the obligation to examine Scripture in its proper context, compare our interpretations of particular Scripture passages to what other passages say about the same topic, use our common sense, and use study aids such as defining the proper meaning of specific Hebrew/Greek words and commentaries. 
           -"By What Authority Do You Interpret Scripture?":
              *We might as well retort by asking, "By what authority do you obey Ten Commandments?" These things are completely irrelevant to the issue of our own "personal authority", but rather, are things God is expecting us to do. He wants us to choose and act in accordance to His will. This in no way implies that no additional church authorities besides the Bible exist. They exist, but are under the judgment of the Scriptures because they are fallible. But we do not need "special authority" to search the Scriptures to discern God's will.  
           -Scripture is clear enough for readers to at least get the basic message of the gospel.  
           -An underlying, fundamental flaw to the argument against Sola Scriptura from church divisions is that it confuses misusing Scripture with the insufficiency of Scripture.
  • Religious Division:
           -The cause of religious division among churches is not the fault or difficulty level of reading the Bible, but rather, is a result of our own inherent sinful desires. In other words, religious division forms as a result of people refusing to accept the clear teachings of Scripture and an intentional lack of devotional study of the sacred Christian texts. It is not the fault of the Bible that people misinterpret it, but their own.
           -The mere fact that divisions exist within the Protestant body neither proves that the Bible is too hard to understand nor that the principle of Sola Scriptura is false. Furthermore, the fact that divisions exist within Protestantism does not logically prove that the Church of Rome has the solution to the problems. Refuting an opponent's argument(s) in a debate does not guarantee the accuracy of your own. Both sides can be wrong.          
           -While it is true that contentions within the Body of Christ over significant doctrinal issues are unfortunate and painful, they may sometimes be necessary. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you” (1 Corinthians 11:19). We are called to publicly expose false brethren and separate ourselves from those who propagate heretical doctrines (Galatians 2:4; Romans 16:17). Although Jesus Christ emphasized spiritual unity (John 17), He never supported organizational unity. In other words, it is wrong to merely set aside our doctrinal differences for the sake of unity because truth cannot be mixed with error. So true conservative Christians must separate themselves from the liberals and other apostates in order to preserve doctrinal purity. Unity does not guarantee truth or preservation of the truths revealed in the gospel.
        -The New Testament reveals to us that churches had significant divisions over doctrinal and moral issues such as the ones located in the ancient cities of Corinth, Galatia, and Colosse. These first century churches had the same problems that exist in our local congregations today. Instead of simply appealing to the allegedly infallible Papal authority of the Apostle Peter for a short, clear, inspired declaration to settle matters once for all, Paul reasoned directly from the Scriptures with these divided churches. Not only did he reason in such a manner, but he also gave them supplemental scriptural material to furnish the discerning ability of the entire church for future generations. If we stay within the boundaries of God's wisdom as revealed through the testimony of Holy Scripture, then we will have no reason to be bitterly divided against each other (1 Corinthians 4:6).        
      -If individual Christians worshiped together, assembled to peacefully resolve disputes on doctrine, studied Scripture more often, and stopped taking it out of context, then religious division on significant doctrinal matters would gradually fade away. There would finally be unity in the Truth. But people need to stop looking at Scripture through the lenses of their church traditions, and let themselves see the truth of Scripture through the lenses of their own reason. People need to seek and discover the truth for themselves because it will set them free from the bondage of sin (John 8:32). 
      -According to Scripture, Christians are permitted to uphold their own views on minor-doctrinal issues (i.e. Romans 14:1-12). Therefore, the New Testament provides us with a list of essential Christian doctrines such as the Virgin Birth, the deity of Christ, and the elements of the gospel. It distinguishes between essential and non-essential doctrines.
  • Unity Does Not Prove Truth:
         -Let us test the argument that unity guarantees absolute truth to the claims of a religious group. If Mormons and Muslims held a unanimous consensus on all of the doctrines of their own religions (in the same manner as the Church of Rome claims), then would it not follow that they are the "true religions of our Lord Jesus Christ"? Of course not. No seasoned Roman Catholic would ever agree with the conclusion of such an argument. Furthermore, we must ask what happens when those two religions CONTRADICT each other on essential doctrinal points? The point of this hypothetical scenario is to demonstrate that unity does not prove truth. Even if the Roman Catholic Church was unified on many doctrinal issues (which is far from being the case), having a standard of unity does not logically make the professing Christian denomination the "one true church of our Lord Jesus Christ". All religions can make such a claim. Additionally, it is also possible to be unified in error.
  • A Hypocritical Double-Standard:
         -While it is true that there are many divisions within Protestantism, Roman Catholics who raise this argument against Sola Scriptura fall into the category of being hypocritical because they have just as many, if not more, divisions within the realms of their own denomination, even though they scarcely choose to recognize that fact.              
          -While the Church of Rome may appear to be fairly unified because of it is structured and organized manner under the headship of a worldly king called the pope, the unity in which Catholics appeal to is simply a delusion. It is simply a trick to deceive those who only look at things from a very superficial perspective, for there are significant theological differences among the Catholic laity, priests, scholars, theologians, and bishops. There are all sorts of societies, movements, and orders forming within the chambers of Roman Catholicism. Consider, for example, the existence of liberal and conservative Catholics. 
         -Many individual Roman Catholics are unlearned in regards to the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The vast majority flatly contradict many of the official teachings of the Catholic Church on issues such as abortion, artificial birth control, the death penalty, homosexuality, on whether priests should be married, letting females join the priesthood, stem-cell research, and much more. Roman Catholics are in a state of bitter division over additional issues such as creation/evolution, the material sufficiency of Scripture, charismatic occurrences, whether practicing Jews and Muslims can be saved without conversion, and whether Mary is the co-redemptrix. Catholic theologians are even divided over the interpretation of Vatican II documents! Although all of these significant divisions are hidden under the umbrella of Rome, the dramatic differences still exist and are still very severe in nature.        
         -In reality, comparing the unity of the Roman Catholic Church to Protestantism as a whole is like comparing apples to oranges. Catholicism is a group that is lead by an individual leader and occupies the same title all throughout its domain ("Roman Catholic"), whereas Protestantism is made up of individual churches with many different labels. Within Protestant Christianity, there is a general consensus as to what constitutes the essential doctrines of Christianity. Though it may shock some to hear this, there is a great sense of spiritual unity amongst all genuine Christians across all different denominations within the realm of orthodoxy. All genuine Christians accept the fundamental doctrines of the faith. We all have a sense of genuine love and fellowship toward each other. We are not lost and always contradicting each other, as Rome arrogantly claims. But it is true that doctrinal differences exist within Protestantism; with some being heretical. Every church group has its own set of divisions.
         -If Sola Scriptura cannot be the correct method of determining truth because of religious division among churches who claim to use this method, then the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches' method of using tradition to determine truth must also be invalidated because they contradict each other, as well. 

  • Refuting The 30,000 Protestant Denominations Myth:
         -This argument is derived off a complete misinterpretation of the World Christian Encyclopedia (David A. Barrett; Oxford University Press, 1982).
         -Out of the cited figure of 20,780 denominations, only 8,196 are labeled as being Protestant. According to Barrett's figure, 223 Roman Catholic denominations exist.
         -The figure of 8,000 denominations is pretty misleading because David A. Barrett separates "distinct denominations" according to their jurisdiction, rather than differing doctrinal practices and beliefs. In reality, these individual "denominations" only have slightly different beliefs. 
         -Then, Barrett breaks the Protestant section down into 21 major traditions, and the Church of Rome is subdivided into 16 different traditions. The word "denomination" in this context is best defined to mean "tradition".
         -Interestingly, the National Catholic Register agrees with me when I say that the 33,000 Protestant denominations argument is utterly false. 
         -In conclusion, the argument that Sola Scriptura does not work because it results in a endless cycle of confusion is based on a completely unfair case of intentional intellectual dishonesty.  

  • An Argument That Backfires:
          -If the Roman Catholic apologist still wants to use this totally false argument against the biblical principle of Sola Scriptura, then we can point out the fact that the same Word Christian Encyclopedia ranks Roman Catholicism as being the fifth worst when persecuting martyrs (total of: 4,951,000):

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sola Scriptura And The Church Fathers

Question: You strongly hold to the principle of Sola Scriptura. This teaching is relatively new, it cannot be found anywhere in the history of Christendom until the Protestant reformation in the 16th Century. I would deeply appreciate if you could show me why you would believe such an erroneous teaching.
Answer: The principle of Sola Scriptura - the Holy Scripture is the only infallible rule of faith for the church - is neither new nor erroneous. On the contrary, the Church Fathers testify that they too upheld the Scriptures as the sufficient and authoritative font of divine revelation.
The Fathers also held tradition in high esteem, but for them tradition was not a supplementary source of divine doctrines in addition to the teaching of the Scripture. Historian Philip Schaff explains:
“Besides appealing to the Scriptures, the fathers, particularly Irenaeus and Tertullian, refer with equal confidence to the "rule of faith;" that is, the common faith of the church, as orally handed down in the unbroken succession of bishops from Christ and his apostles to their day, and above all as still living in the original apostolic churches, like those of Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, and Rome… the substance of its doctrine this apostolic tradition agrees with the holy scriptures, and though derived, as to its form, from the oral preaching of the apostles, is really, as to its contents, one and the same with their apostolic writings… In the narrower sense, by apostolic tradition or the rule of faith was understood a doctrinal summary of Christianity, or a compend of the faith of the church.” History of the Christian Church, II:12.
The following quotations prove that the Fathers considered the Scriptures as both sufficient and the highest authority in the church.

Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book III.
We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.
Athanasius; Against the Heathen, I:3.
The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.
Athanasius, De Synodis.
Vainly then do they run about with the pretext that they have demanded Councils for the faith's sake; for divine Scripture is sufficient above all things; but if a Council be needed on the point, there are the proceedings of the Fathers, for the Nicene Bishops did not neglect this matter, but stated the doctrine so exactly, that persons reading their words honestly, cannot but be reminded by them of the religion towards Christ announced in divine Scripture.
John Chrysostom, Homily 8 On Repentance and the Church, p. 118, vol. 96 TFOTC.
Regarding the things I say, I should supply even the proofs, so I will not seem to rely on my own opinions, but rather, prove them with Scripture, so that the matter will remain certain and steadfast.
Gregory of Nyssa, On the Holy Trinity.
For if custom is to avail for proof of soundness, we too, surely, may advance our prevailing custom; and if they reject this, we are surely not bound to follow theirs. Let the inspired Scripture, then, be our umpire, and the vote of truth will surely be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.
Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection.
We are not entitled to such licence, I mean that of affirming what we please; we make the Holy Scriptures the rule and the measure of every tenet; we necessarily fix our eyes upon that, and approve that alone which may be made to harmonize with the intention of those writings.
Basil, The Morals, p. 204, vol 9 TFOTC
What is the mark of a faithful soul? To be in these dispositions of full acceptance on the authority of the words of Scripture, not venturing to reject anything nor making additions. For, if ‘all that is not of faith is sin’ as the Apostle says, and ‘faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,’ everything outside Holy Scripture, not being of faith, is sin.
Basil, On the Holy Spirit, 7.
We are not content simply because this is the tradition of the Fathers. What is important is that the Fathers followed the meaning of the Scripture.
Basil, Moralia, 72:1.
The hearers taught in the Scriptures ought to test what is said by teachers and accept that which agrees with the Scriptures but reject that which is foreign.
Augustine, Contra litteras Petiliani, Bk 3, ch. 6.
If anyone preaches either concerning Christ or concerning His church or concerning any other matter which pertains to our faith and life; I will not say, if we, but what Paul adds, if an angel from heaven should preach to you anything besides what you have received in the Scriptures of the Law and of the Gospels, let him be anathema.
Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, IV:17.
For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell you these things, give not absolute credence, unless you receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.
Augustine, De Unitate Ecclesiae, 10.
Neither dare one agree with catholic bishops if by chance they err in anything, but the result that their opinion is against the canonical Scriptures of God.
Augustine, De Unitate Ecclesiae, 3.
Whatever they may adduce, and wherever they may quote from, let us rather, if we are His sheep, hear the voice of our Shepherd. Therefore let us search for the church in the sacred canonical Scriptures.
Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, II, 9.
For among the things that are plainly laid down in Scripture are to be found all matters that concern faith and the manner of life.
Augustine, De Bono Viduitatis.
What more shall I teach you than what we read in the apostles? For Holy Scripture fixes the rule for our doctrine, lest we dare be wiser than we ought. Therefore I should not teach you anything else except to expound to you the words of the Teacher.
Hippolytus, Against the Heresy of One Noetus, 9.
There is, brethren, one God, the knowledge of whom we gain from the Holy Scriptures, and from no other source… so all of us who wish to practice piety will be unable to learn its practice from any other quarter than the oracles of God. Whatever things, then, the Holy Scriptures declare, at these let us look; and whatever things they teach, these let us learn. 
Copyright Dr Joseph Mizzi
Used by permission
Thank you for your partnership in the proclamation of the gospel!
Joseph Mizzi, 2000 - 2014

Praying To Departed Saints Is Unbiblical (Part 2; Conclusionary Thoughts; Critique Of Mainline Objections)

  • This second paper is simply a continuation to my first paper pertaining to prayers dedicated to deceased Christian individuals. In other words, the purpose of this article is to place a conclusion on my first article by providing responses to the most common objections raised against the presented materials.
  • "We don't pray to...":
            -Many advocates of praying to the saints argue that they do not pray directly to the saints, but rather, only "ask" them to intercede (intervene on behalf of another) for prayers. In other words, Mary and the saints are only "asked" to pray for those who request their spiritual support.
              *A person would have to pray "TO" the saints if he or she asks them for something because they are not physically present. Furthermore, it would be very illogical to ask somebody in heaven in heaven for support when they are in turn going to ask God.
              *The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that Roman Catholics do indeed pray TO the saints in heaven (CCC # 2679). Consider this, "One prays to the Blessed Virgin, to the angels and saints in heaven, but only in he sense that they intercede before God for us" (New Catholic Encyclopedia [1967], volume II, page 673). Thus, the above defensive argumentation is poor because it misrepresents the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

  • "Prayer is not worship...It's just asking...":
            -On the contrary, the biblical concept of prayer is always a form of worship. In Scripture, people always worshiped through prayer. And those petitions were always directed to God alone. We never see any followers of God praying to other entities for spiritual support (or for any other reason). Neither do we see Him approving of such activity.
            -While it is true that asking is a component of prayer, the biblical concept of prayer cannot simply be watered down to "just asking somebody" because it also encompasses other factors such as praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and mediation (i.e. Psalm 25; Matthew 6:6-14; Luke 18:9-14).

  • "People are more lively in heaven than they are on earth...Angels rejoice over conversions from sin...":
            -Just because a saint is very alive in the presence of God in the heavenly sanctuary does not mean that he or she is capable of answering or being a recipient of prayers. In other words, "being more alive" does not justify engaging in prayers to beings other than God.
            -"Angels rejoicing over a conversion" cannot simply translate into evidence of receiving a prayer request". They most probably know when a soul is added to the Book of Life.
            -Scriptural examples of angles coming down to earth to deliver messages to people or giving us assistance when needed cannot be used as proof of people praying to the saints because God sent them, which is completely different than humans directly petitioning them for support.
            -Let's think of some completely hypothetical scriptural generalizations. What if saints and angels in heaven were indeed conscious of events on earth, could hear prayers, and even had the ability to pray for somebody on earth? These scenarios would still do not translate into a biblical justification of people offering prayers to entities other than God.

  • Does 2 Timothy 1:16-18 support praying to Mary and the saints?:
            -It is assumed that Onesiphorus was dead when the Apostle Paul wrote this epistle.
              *Such an interpretation is clearly read into the context. It is not logically necessary in order for the text to make sense.
              *Even if he was dead at this time, the apostle simply asked God to show mercy to "the household of Onesiphorus", which would mean his family. After all, he was very beneficial to Paul during his ministry.
              *The apostle was neither praying to Onesiphorus nor encouraging anybody to do so.

  • Does Revelation 5:8 and Revelation 8:3-4 support praying to the saints?:
            -It is argued from these texts that the saints in heaven offered prayers to God (they must therefore be aware of our prayers and are interceding for us).
               *This does not mean that people prayed to beings in heaven or that the saints were somehow capable of hearing our prayers. It simply means that God allowed them to "handle" the bowls of prayers. In fact, both texts describe the prayers as coming from saints who are alive on earth and were directed to God alone. These texts do not allow us to pray to saints. Neither do they say anything about prayers being directed to saints or angels in heaven.
                *If the fact that the saints in heaven got to carry some bowls of prayers proves that they were directed to them from people on earth to answer, then the bowls of wrath, which are mentioned in Revelation 16:1-12, must also be directed to the saints in heaven, since they also carried those. But this conclusion is very absurd.  

  • Does Psalm 103:20-21 and Psalm 148:2 support praying to departed saints?:
            -These Scripture passages are totally irrelevant to the debate on whether we should be praying to saints in heaven or not because they say nothing about petitioning saints or angels.
            -The Psalmists are simply telling all creations in all places to glorify God's name. They do not in any way exhort us to honor or pray to beings other than the Lord.
            -In Psalm 103:22, inanimate objects are told to praise God. In Psalm 148:3, the sun, moon, and the stars are also told to praise God. Should we pray to these things, as well? If not, then why?

Praying To Departed Saints Is Unbiblical (Part 1)

  • The Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and even some Protestant churches teach that we can pray to and receive help from certain saints (and even angels) in heaven. In other words, some mainline professing Christian denominations maintain that God has appointed an individual heavenly figure to offer assistance for pretty much every aspect of human life (one figure for each minuscule category).
  • A Practice Contrary To The Bible:
         -Throughout Scripture, there are literally dozens of references to prayer (i.e. Matthew 6:6-14; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 11:1-4; John 14:14; John 17; Psalm 25; 2 Samuel 7:18-29; 1 Kings 8; Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 3:16-17; Acts 7:51-58; James 1:5-6; Romans 10:1; 15:30; etc.), and all were directed to Him alone. Furthermore, the theme of the Bible is trusting in God alone (i.e. Matthew 6:25-34; Jeremiah 33:3; Isaiah 48:17-18; Psalm 23; 50:15; 71:1; 91:15; Joshua 1:1-6; Ephesians 5:19-20; John 16:23; 1 Corinthians 10:31; etc.). We have no examples in the Bible of calling on entity other than God, except by pagans. We never see God approving of the practice of praying to departed saints. Instead, we are told that God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-5; Deuteronomy 24:4; Nahum 1:2). He will therefore tolerate no idolatry. How can this teaching on dead saints possibly hold any truth when the Bible specifically teaches that all Christians are saints (instead of a select group of dead Roman Catholic people)? If we are going to be consistent with the principles of Scripture (which we need to be), then we are forced to conclude that all prayer and devotion belongs to God alone. "Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:25-26).
  • The Saints In Heaven Cannot Hear Us:
          -It is impossible for finite beings with inherently limited abilities to simultaneously hear the requests of every person around the world in different languages. Only deity can perform such tasks (more information on this coming up later in this article).
          -Notice that in Scripture, all occasions involving two-way communication between/among beings from heaven (with the exception, or course, being God the Creator) and earth required the creations to be in the same realm (earth on earth communication), rather than being in two separate realms (heaven to earth contact is never found in Scripture for mere finite beings). For instance, consider the Announcement of the Birth of Jesus Christ and the Transfiguration. This is perhaps the clearest implication that saints who are in heaven are incapable of hearing prayer requests, let alone intercede on our behalf!      
  • Unnecessary Assistance:
         -We do not need any sort of spiritual or physical support from Mary or the saints because Jesus Christ always intercedes for our prayer requests and is therefore able capable of rescuing sinners from eternal condemnation (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit gives us the strength that we need during our times of spiritual weakness and also prays on our behalf (Romans 8:26). We can approach God with "boldness" and "confidence" as a result of our trust and personal relationship with Christ (Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 4:14-16). To ascribe such roles to beings other than the Lord is pure blasphemy.
  • Blasphemy Indeed:
         -Only God is omnipotent and omnipresent. Only He knows all of the thoughts and intentions of the human heart (1 Kings 8:37-39). Only the Lord has unlimited powers. Therefore, praying to the saints in heaven to grant our prayer requests in pointless because they do not have the same attributes that God has. They are finite, whereas God is infinite.
        -How is depending on entities other than God for spiritual support not in some way suggesting that He is weak and powerless? How does such a practice not imply that God's work for us is not sufficient? How would such implications not be offensive to God? Why should we even pray to the saints, especially when we have access to One who can help us with all of our problems (instead of relying on many who can only help with the area of their own "specialty")? Why not make life easier and avoid going to hell after death? Why is it not idolatry to offer the same prayer, adoration, and honor to a bull, Bible, or a soldier, but it is not idolatry when such is offered to Mary and the saints?

  • Consider portions of a few of the prayers that Roman Catholics (and others) have dedicated specifically to Mary:

             -"Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful...but in thy mercy hear and answer me..." (Portion of the Memorare)
            -Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us...." (Portion of the Hail, Holy Queen Prayer)
                 ^Although advocates of Marian devotion deny the charge of idolatry, their own words and actions testify against them. The above prayers are clear examples of idolatry among professing bodies of Christians, for they directly plea to Mary for the forgiveness of sins and thus place her in the same position as Jesus Christ. "I, even I, am the LORD; and BESIDE ME THERE IS NO SAVIOUR" (Isaiah 43:11). "Yet I am the LORD thy God...THERE IS NO SAVIOUR BESIDES ME" (Hosea 13:4)."The GOD of my rock HE IS....MY SAVIOUR..." (2 Samuel 22:3). "neither is there salvation in any other: for there is NONE OTHER NAME under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, BUT BY ME" (John 14:6). "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for HE SHALL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS" (Matthew 1:21). "...through the righteousness of God and OUR SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST" (2 Peter 1:1).   
  • Concerning The Accusation Of Necromancy: 
         -The Church of Rome is notorious for its continuous engagement with the souls of people who have died. Many Roman Catholic Churches across the globe boldly display dressed up corpses in clear glass or plastic cases. In fact, they even go as far as to publicly display organs in the same manner. This is done with pride by the leaders of Roman Catholicism. Millions of Catholics annually go to see and offer continuous religious devotion to these corpses. In other words, the followers of the pope bow down before these cadavers, kiss on them, pray to them, and give them many different forms of adoration. Additionally, there are Catholic churches that display thousands of different pairs of bones (and some places are in fact MADE OUT OF BONES). Such activity clearly resembles worship and is often found in the occult. These pagan practices can be traced back to ancient civilizations in countries such as Egypt and Greece. However, God expressly commanded the Jewish culture to not have any sort of contact with the spirits who have departed into the supernatural realm (i.e. Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Leviticus 19:31; 1 Samuel 28:6-11; 1 Chronicles 10:9-14; Isaiah 19:1-4). The same condemnation of such activity still holds true for Christians today (Galatians 5:19-21). Hence, the underlying reason why the we correctly lay the charge that Roman Catholics are guilty of necromancy. Quite simply, there are no prayers for, to, or through the souls of the deceased. Period.
  • More Evidence Of Mary Worship In The Papacy:
          -May 7, 1997 (David W. Cloud, Fundamental Baptist News  Service, 1701 Harns Rd., Oak Harbor, WA 98277) - On May 7  Pope John Paul II dedicated his general audience to "the Virgin Mary" and urged all Christians to accept Mary as their mother. He noted the words spoken  by  Jesus on the cross to Mary and to John--"Woman, behold thy son!" and "Behold thy  mother!" (John 19:26,27), and he claimed that in this statement "IT IS POSSIBLE TO UNDERSTAND THE AUTHENTIC  MEANING OF MARIAN WORSHIP in the ecclesial community ... which furthermore is based on the will of Christ" (Vatican Information Service, May 7, 1997)  
          -John Paul II underlined that "the history of Christian piety teaches that MARY IS THE PATH THAT LEADS TO CHRIST, and that filial devotion to her does not at all diminish intimacy with Jesus, but rather, it increases it and leads it to very high levels of perfection." He  concluded by asking all Christians "to make room (for Mary) in their daily lives, ACKNOWLEDGING HER PROVIDENTIAL ROLE IN THE PATH OF SALVATION" (Ibid.). 

  • Stay Tuned:
         -Stay tuned for the second article in this series on praying to Mary and the saints. The intention of the next article will provide responses to various objections to the materials presented within this article.  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Is The Roman Catholic Communion Of Saints Biblical?

  • The Church of Rome maintains that "saints" are a select group of deceased faithful Catholics whom it recognizes as worthy of "saintly veneration" through the processes of beatification and canonization. In other words, only a very small group of special, faithful, dead Roman Catholics qualify to be considered as "saints" by the approval of the pope.
  •  On the contrary, the Bible clearly teaches that all Christians are saints. This includes every follower of God; the living and the dead. In fact, the New Testament occupies the term "saint" or "saints" over sixty-seven times in reference to all believers. 
  • Consider a few examples. Every living Christian at the Church of Corinth was called a saint (1 Corinthians 1:2). Every living Christian in Rome was called to be a saint (Romans 1:7). The average Christian in the Church of Philippi was called a saint, along with all of the bishops and deacons (Philippians 1:1). The Apostle Paul did not write an epistle to dead saints at Ephesus (Ephesians 1:1). The same is equally true with the epistle to the Colossians (Colossians 1:1-2).
  • Consider some more Scripture passages to see if the Catholic teaching on dead saints is reconcilable to the biblical teaching that all Christians are saints:
            - "Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem" (Acts 9:13).
         -"And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda" (Acts 9:32).
         -"Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them" (Acts 26:10).
         -"But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints" (Romans 15:25).
         -"Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them" (Romans 16:15).
         -"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia." (2 Corinthians 1:1)
         -"Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work" (1 Timothy 5:10).

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Truth About The Government

Image result for we live in a society where people are more offended by swear words than they are by famine, evironmental destruction , and warefare

Modern Society Downfall

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Refuting The Atheistic/Naturalistic "God Of The Gaps" Argument

  • Atheists and naturalists define the existence of a deity as merely being an explanation for things science has not yet answered. In other words, they commonly lay the charge against theists that they are assuming without proof the necessity of God's existence in all areas that science alone has not been able to explain. But does the "God of the gaps" argument hold any sort of validity under scrutiny?
  • Christians are not pointing to the existence of a deity to seal up any sort of missing or incomplete scientific information. In other words, we are not simply saying, "Oh, God did it." Neither are we making arguments based on mere ignorance.
  • When we develop arguments in favor of the existence of God, we are making inferences from the best observations gathered by science and from the principles of elementary logic to substantiate our beliefs. In the end, all of our collected evidences point to the existence of a external, much greater reality. These logical proofs for the existence of God point beyond the scope of the natural world.   
  • The validity of each logical premise in these arguments is based on the validity of each scientific or logical fact. For instance, the universe does indeed have a fine tuning and a first cause. These many theistic arguments do not simply appeal to God as a means to provide an explanation, but rather, are logical deductions that are unpacked to get there intended point across.
  • If the premises of such arguments are true, then their conclusions automatically follow. This is true, regardless of how people feel or react to the validity of the presented deductive arguments. 
  • It is very illogical to completely deny the existence of a transcendent, supernatural realm when you do not have any evidence to base your beliefs on. A true scientist must always be willing to admit to the possibility of anything, for they are supposed to be dedicated to seeking answers. They are supposed to be all about "evidence". Atheistic scientists are indeed being very biased. They are raising a double standard (they cannot in any way disprove the existence of external deity). Atheistic scientists are thus poorly doing their job.  
  • In my opinion, the arguments presented for the existence of God are by far stronger than any possible negations or anti-theistic arguments. 

Refuting Atheism: "Who Created God? Where Did God Come From?"

  • A very common question raised by atheists in response to logical theistic arguments for the existence of God is, "If God is the creator of the universe, then who created God? Where did He come from?" So let's provide them with a concrete answer.
  • Quite simply, the response to this question is that God has no beginning or end. In other words, He is eternal. We know beyond any shadow of a doubt that something cannot create itself from nothing. It is impossible for nothing to create something.
  • Skeptics may object to this response by claiming that the universe itself is eternal. In other words, they try to remove God from the equation by substituting Him with matter, time, and space as being infinite. However, you cannot reach infinity by using finite instances or materials. In other words, it is impossible to have an infinite number of finite things. So the universe cannot be in itself eternal because it consists of finite particles. Hence, there must be an infinite outside Source, that is, an all-knowing and all-powerful Creator who has existed for all eternity.
  • See these articles:

Sunday, March 26, 2017

1 Corinthians 10:16-17 And 1 Corinthians 11 Do Not Support Eucharistic Theology

Eucharist: Paul’s Teaching in 1st Corinthians
Question: St Paul teaches the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. He states that the cup of blessing is the participation in the blood of Christ and the bread we break is the participation in the body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 10:16). What must the cup and the bread be to make possible this participation in the blood and body of Christ? The most obvious and logical answer is that the bread and cup of wine must really be the body and blood of Christ. St Paul also said that whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord; and any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself (See 1 Corinthians 11:27, 29). How can eating mere bread and wine unworthily be so serious? Paul’s comments make sense only if bread and wine become the real body and blood of Christ.
Answer: It is important to read these two passages in their entirety (see Appendix) so that we may understand Paul’s words in their context.
In chapter 10, Paul corrects the behaviour of some Christians in Corinth who had been participating in pagan temple banquets (8:10). He demonstrates that these social gatherings had a profound religious significance. He appeals, first of all, to the Eucharist, reminding them that partaking of the bread and wine signified their communion (or sharing) in Christ’s body and blood. Moreover, their sharing of the one life-source produces a unity among them; they are one bread, one body. He then gives a further illustration from the sacrifices offered by the Israelites. The victim was divided between God (represented by the altar) and the person who offered it (Leviticus 3 and 7); this sharing was understood to create a bond between them. In the same way, taking part in the pagan temple banquets created a “common-union” between the pagans and the demons they unwittingly worshipped. Hence Christians should not take part in those pagan feasts; otherwise they would be “participants with demons”!
The communion between the Israelites and God was true. That does not mean that the victim was transubstantiated, does it? Similarly the communion of the pagans with demons was also real, and yet there is no suggestion there was a “change in substance” of their offerings. Even so, there need not be a change in substance of the bread and wine to the body and blood of Christ for the communion of Christians with their Saviour and with one another to be genuine and real.
During the Lord’s Supper, we “break the bread” and we partake of “one loaf” (10:16, 17) -- and not of a human body, as Catholic theology would have it. Your conclusion that the eucharistic elements must “really” be the body and blood of Christ is neither obvious nor logical; rather you import the idea of transubstantion which is completely foreign to the context.
In 1 Corinthians 11, the apostle deals with a different problem. He rebukes the Corinthians for their selfish and inconsiderate conduct during their church meetings. “When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?” (11:20, 21).
This sheds light on what Paul means when he says that some were eating and drinking “without recognizing (discerning) the body of the Lord” (10:29). Their problem was not a failure to understand that the bread and wine represented the body and blood of Christ. Rather, they failed to understand and respect the unity of all Christians in the church, the body of Christ. A Catholic commentary concurs: “discerning the body: This is the criterion by which believers must judge themselves. They must evaluate the authenticity of their relationships to other members of the body of Christ, a theme already known to the Corinthians (6:15) and mentioned in 10:17.” So, “not discerning the body” has to do with the unity of the church rather than the nature of the eucharistic elements themselves or transubstantiation. [1]
Some Corinthian Christians were eating in an “unworthy manner” because their selfish behaviour was a contradiction of the unity of the church, the body, brought forth by the bodily sacrifice and the shed blood of Christ represented by the eucharistic bread and cup.
“How can eating mere bread and wine unworthily,” you ask, “be so serious?” Surely you understand why the man who tramples on the nation’s flag is, in fact, dishonouring the country even though the flag is “mere” piece of cloth. Similarly, the profanation of the sacred symbols of Christ’s body and blood is a sin against Christ Himself even though the bread remains “bread” as Paul calls it (v 27).

1 Corinthians 10:14-22
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. 18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

[1] (Murphy-O’Connor J. The First Letter to the Corinthians, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, ed. Raymond E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Roland E. Murphy (Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, 2000), p 810).

Some commentators, both Catholic and Christian, interpret 1 Corinthians 11:29 as a reference to the physical body of Christ. Still, it would be difficult to make this verse a proof of transubstantiation since it can be reasonably understood in a different way (i.e. "the church" -- as we have seen). Moreover, even if it is a reference to the physical body of Christ, it is still not a proof of transubstantiation -- why does it have to be understood in the Aristotelian categories of "accidents" and "substance" rather than the usual biblical symbolic language? In other words, "not discerning the body" could be understood "not discerning the body represented by the bread" rather than "not discerning the body in what appears to be bread but which is in substance the physical body of Christ". [back]

Copyright Dr Joseph Mizzi
Used by permission
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Joseph Mizzi, 2000 - 2014