Saturday, July 29, 2017

Teaching The LGBT Agenda To Children Is Dangerous

"To teach children about LGBT life is, in most cases, to introduce and suggest it to them at a time when they shouldn’t be encouraged to jump into it. But let’s say we want to teach kids about this sexual content at a young age to prepare them for the topsy-turvy world out there. The curriculum put forward by Welcoming Schools and other gay-affirming educational groups is not the right way to bring this topic to kids. It is blatantly false, presenting LGBT life as untroubled and joyful. It equates all kinds of intercourse, glossing over the hygienic and epidemiological problems that afflict anal sex in particular. It romanticizes homes, relationships, friendships, and social circles tied to LGBT activities, all but coaxing the children to rush into those milieus expecting happiness and sunshine.

One problem is that this material should never be taught to minors in school at all. But a bigger problem is who is pushing this material right now.

These are the same people who’ve burned us a thousand times before, as I will elaborate in a series of posts on “These are the people who want to talk to your kids.” The movement behind these curricular changes found success almost entirely by threatening, embarrassing, and insulting people who stood in their way. They have never improved the lives of the people they claim to champion. Nor have they ever behaved in a dignified way to people who had reservations or objections to their work.

The impetus for the folly of teaching kids about strange sexualities comes from a group of people who were wrong about every measure they promoted to society at large; they are largely responsible for millions of people in America dying of AIDS not to mention the new drug-resistant forms of syphilis and gonorrhea; they have contributed to mental health disasters among millions of gay Americans caught in a subculture of unstable relationships and unhealthy beauty standards; they are responsible for a spike in same-sex rapes in the military and partly to blame for the rise in military suicides; they have complained about bullying and teen suicide for decades and have only aggravated these problems with every youth program they’ve tested; they undermined the adoption system and contributed to the growth of new forms of human trafficking and eugenics to meet their demand for designer babies; they have been the single greatest force in destroying free speech at schools and universities with their gross distortions of Title IX and anti-harassment laws… but worst of all, they are horrible, vicious people who have made the gay subculture, once a place of blossoming creativity, a place of acrimony and nastiness."

Robert Oscar Lopez, LGBT: These Are the People Who Want to Talk to Your Kids, Part 1

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Uncompromisable Nature Of Truth

"We must not so seek peace with others as to wrong truth. Peace must not be bought with the sale of truth.  Truth is the ground of faith, and the rule of life. Truth is the most orient gem of the churches’ crown. Truth is a deposit, or charge that God has entrusted with us. We trust God with our souls.  He trusts us with His truths. We must not let any of God’s truths to fall to the ground.  Luther says, “It is better that the heavens fall—than one crumb of truth perish.”  The least filings of this gold are precious. We must not seek the flower of peace as to lose the diamond of truth."

Thomas Watson, Puritan preacher (1620-1686)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Luke 22:32 Does Not Support Papal Supremacy

  • Introduction:
          -The Roman Catholic Church interprets Luke 22:32, where the Lord Jesus Christ prayed that the Apostle Peter's faith failed not and for him to strengthen the faith of the other disciples, to be a promise that Peter would be preserved from error in doctrinal matters. In other words, the Church of Rome uses this Bible verse to support the doctrine of papal infallibility.
  • Refutation Of Papal Argument From Luke 22:32:
          1.) It is true that the devil wishes to destroy the church of God. And yes, our Lord Jesus Christ prayed that the Apostle Peter would not cease to remain faithful and to be a source of strength for the other disciples. But this was only done because Christ knew that Peter was going to deny him three times (v. 33-34). Consequently, the Lord wanted him to be restored and forgiven for his miserable failure to stand up for the truth of the gospel (v. 31-32). Now this, of course, would certainly be a very encouraging message for the other apostles to learn. Luke 22:32 is speaking of the time when authentic conversion of heart takes place, that is, when the Apostle Peter repents of his errors. Quite simply, this text is about Peter's faults, not about receiving praise, rewards, or being promoted to a position of supremacy. This passage of Scripture is about the unfathomable love, kindness, and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Roman Catholic apologists are altogether missing the point of Luke 22:32 when they cite it as a Papal proof-text. They totally distort the meaning of this Bible verse by emphasizing a meaning that is contrary to what it is actually saying.
          2.) To formulate an argument for the authority of the Roman Catholic Church on the basis of Luke 22:32 is unwarranted, for the previous context of the passage being addressed here contains events that are injurious to modern-day claims of Peter being appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ as the prince of the apostles. Most notably, the disciples had a dispute among themselves as to who would be regarded as the greatest (Luke 22:24-27). In fact, Christ said that all twelve apostles were going to be seated on twelve thrones (Luke 22:29-30). There is nothing in the context of Luke 22 even suggesting that the Apostle Peter would be singled out for the reason of being a recipient of special honor. But if the fact that Jesus Christ isolated the Apostle Peter for this important exhortation has any logical significance for the establishment of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, then how would it explain the incident where the same apostle was individually rebuked by Christ and called "Satan" (Matthew 16:23)? The truth of the matter is that a purpose of all church leaders is to "strengthen the brethren". And one does not need to possess the gift of infallibility to fulfill this duty.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

John 21:15-17 Does Not Support Papal Supremacy

  • Introduction:
          -The Roman Catholic Church interprets the words of our Lord Jesus Christ ("feed my sheep") which were directed specifically to the Apostle Peter, as recorded in John 21:15-17, to mean that he was given an exclusive position of primacy to care for the household of God, which is the church. In other words, the Papacy maintains that Christ conferred to Peter a distinctive, greater position of episcopal authority which he allegedly passed on to the Roman bishops of future generations. The text of John 21:15-17 has been used by Roman Catholic apologists to corroborate the notion that the pope has been appointed by Christ to serve in the office of "Chief Shepherd".
  • Refutation Of Papal Argument From John 21:15-17:
          -All leaders of the church have been commissioned by the apostles to care for the church of God (Acts 20:28). The Apostle Peter was not the only one who was obligated to nourish the "flock". Thus, the text of John 21:15-17 does not guarantee a unique position of supremacy to Peter.
          -In addition, the Apostle Peter himself forbade people from becoming lords over God's heritage (1 Peter 5:1-5). In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ identified Himself as being the "Chief Shepherd" (John 10:10-16). The Apostle Peter himself called Christ the "Shepherd and Bishop of our souls" (1 Peter 2:25). According to Hebrews, Jesus is the "Great Shepherd" (Hebrews 13:20), which excludes the Bishop of Rome. There is only one Chief Shepherd over the household of God. Scripture also never records Christ reserving His title for Peter or him being addressed by that title. Thus, this title cannot rightfully be applied to anybody who claims to be a representative of Jesus Christ here on earth or descendant of the Apostle Peter.
          -This passage from the Gospel of John is not about inheriting a position of special primacy. John 21:15-17 was simply a threefold confession of faith articulated by Peter for the three times that he denied knowing our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:33-34). This passage shows us an utter failure on Peter's part. It therefore makes no sense to view this text as one that exalts him in any fashion. Although we know from the pages of the New Testament that the Apostle Peter played a significant role in preaching the gospel, we have no biblical evidence suggesting that he was given a position of supremacy over the church. To call the pope the "Good Shepherd" is outright blasphemy against our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for the occupation of such a title by a mere man robs Him of the honor that only He deserves.

The Early Church Fathers On "Upon This Rock" (Matthew 16:18)

  • Introduction:
          -The modern Church of Rome parades its misinterpretation of Matthew 16:18-19 as though this isolated verse conclusively proves the validity of its claims to ruling over Christendom. In other words, the Roman Catholic Church maintains that it is built on the Apostle Peter as its foundation and any spiritual gifts that our Lord Jesus Christ may have bestowed on him was passed on to succeeding popes of future generations. Thus, we see the reason that Rome's adherents fight so vigorously to protect their understanding of the meaning of the "rock" as documented in Matthew 16:18-19. These claims are pivotal for the substantiation of the authoritative claims of Roman Catholicism. On the contrary, the extra-biblical writings of the most primitive Christians are strangely silent about any universal jurisdiction of the Roman Bishop or a complex church hierarchy. In fact, the church fathers were far from unanimous on accepting of the "rock" metaphor found in Matthew 16:18 as being the Apostle Peter himself. The following source explains:

          “It may jolt them to hear that the great Fathers of the church saw no connection between it and the pope. Not one of them applies ‘Thou art Peter’ to anyone but Peter. One after another they analyse it: Cyprian, Origen, Cyril, Hilary, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine. They are not exactly Protestants. Not one of them calls the Bishop of Rome a Rock or applies to him specifically the promise of the Keys. This is staggering to Catholics...The surprises do not stop there. For the Fathers, it is Peter’s faith — or the Lord in whom Peter has faith —which is called the Rock, not Peter.” (“Vicars of Christ, The Dark Side of the Papacy”, p. 24)
  • The Above Quotation Tells Us That:
          -The Church Fathers were not unanimous in their interpretation of the "rock" of Matthew 16:18. In other words, most of them did not support the modern-day Roman Catholic interpretation of the passage from the Gospel of Matthew. This is true, even of the few who believed that Peter was indeed the rock. As Roman Catholic archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick once said, “If we are bound to follow the majority of the fathers in this thing, then we are bound to hold for certain that by the rock should be understood the faith professed by Peter, not Peter professing the faith.” (Speech of archbishop Kenkick, p. 109; An inside view of the Vatican council, edited by Leonard Woolsey Bacon)
          -The most primitive Christians did not refer to the Roman bishop as the "rock of the church" or apply the privilege of "binding and loosing" exclusively to the Roman bishop. Following are actual excerpts from the church fathers, which were taken from this article.
  • Presenting Patristic Evidence:
          Basil of Seleucia, Oratio 25:

          "You are Christ, Son of the living God.'...Now Christ called this confession a rock, and he named the one who confessed it 'Peter,' perceiving the appellation which was suitable to the author of this confession. For this is the solemn rock of religion, this the basis of salvation, this the wall of faith and the foundation of truth: 'For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.' To whom be glory and power forever." (Oratio XXV.4, M.P.G., Vol. 85, Col. 296-297)

          Cyril of Alexandria:

          "When [Peter] wisely and blamelessly confessed his faith to Jesus saying, 'You are Christ, Son of the living God,' Jesus said to divine Peter: 'You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.' Now by the word 'rock', Jesus indicated, I think, the immovable faith of the disciple.” (Cyril Commentary on Isaiah 4.2)

          Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Book XII):

          “For all bear the surname ‘rock’ who are the imitators of Christ, that is, of the spiritual rock which followed those who are being saved, that they may drink from it the spiritual draught. But these bear the surname of rock just as Christ does. But also as members of Christ deriving their surname from Him they are called Christians, and from the rock, Peters.” (Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Book XII), sect. 10,11)

           Augustine, sermon:

          "Christ, you see, built his Church not on a man but on Peter's confession. What is Peter's confession? 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' There's the rock for you, there's the foundation, there's where the Church has been built, which the gates of the underworld cannot conquer." (John Rotelle, O.S.A., Ed., The Works of Saint Augustine, © 1993 New City Press, Sermons, Vol III/6, Sermon 229P.1, p. 327)

          Bede:

           "You are Peter and on this rock from which you have taken your name, that is, on myself, I will build my Church, upon that perfection of faith which you confessed I will build my Church by whose society of confession should anyone deviate although in himself he seems to do great things he does not belong to the building of my Church...Metaphorically it is said to him on this rock, that is, the Saviour which you confessed, the Church is to be built, who granted participation to the faithful confessor of his name." (Homily 23, M.P.L., Vol. 94, Col. 260. Cited by Karlfried Froehlich, Formen, Footnote #204, p. 156.)

           Cassiodorus:

           "It will not be moved is said about the Church to which alone that promise has been given: 'You are Peter and upon this rock I shall build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.' For the Church cannot be moved because it is known to have been founded on that most solid rock, namely, Christ the Lord." (Expositions in the Psalms, Psalm 45.5, M.P.L., Vol. 70, Col. 330)

           What Is Very Telling Is That Even The Roman Catholic Catechism Leaves Room For The Interpretation Of The Rock Found In Matthew 16 To Be A Reference To The Apostle Peter's Confession Of Faith:

           "Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: 'You are Christ, the Son of the living God.' On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built His Church." (CCC# 424)

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Christian Analysis Of Stress

       Anxiety, which can negatively impact us physically or psychologically, can occur during the times that we feel burdened, pressured, and secluded. In other words, we suffer these troubling, worrisome feelings when we encounter predicaments that develop by reason of mental or external environmental sources. These difficult circumstances commonly happen as a result of poor decision making, materialism, and trauma. Anxiety can have a serious toll on our jobs, education, health, and relationships. Not only can anxiety make the individual involved feel altogether hopeless about life, but it can also impair the ability to think rationally. Though stress is indeed a normal reaction of the human mind, there are different degrees of stress and personal responses may vary. Fortunately, there are measures that can be taken to prevent stressors and cope with them as they arise.

       Before discussing how to deal with stress, it is important to note that there exists two different stress reactions. The first type of reaction is called a "processive stressor", which can either trigger our minds to attack or flea from a source of stress. The second type of reaction is called a "systematic stressor", which constitutes the body's genetically programmed responses to stress. However, there are two decisions that we can make when we are confronted by anxiety. We can either allow stress to dominate every facet of our lives or we can choose to conquer it. We can successfully overthrow the feelings of stress through the divine power and grace of God. We should make our top priority seeking after God's kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

       A crucial step to avoiding and dealing with stressors is to become organized, for having everything set into place allows a person to perceive things more clearly. In other words, a person who has all things correctly put in order has better judgment and thus has a better ability to resolve and even circumvent stressors. But how does a person establish a basis for being organized? First of all, the foundational move to all problem solving is to admit the existence of a problem. The next important step would be to learn how or when to emphatically say no. Not only is this resistance vital for developing will power, but it also hinders one from becoming over-committed. Then, it would be highly advisable to make lists, learn how to prioritize, learn how to manage time, and consult people who have the knowledge and resources necessary for dealing with issues that provoke stress. But the ultimate step in dealing with anxiety is to always trust in God.

       Many people in this world end up enduring excessive fretfulness due to not placing their trust in the Lord to give them what they need. People suffer from unnecessary unhappiness simply because they are concerned about fulfilling an endless list of worldly requirements or focused on popularity. We tend to feel over-burdened because we attempt to use our finite abilities and rely on our finite understanding of the world to fulfill duties that require an infinite source of ability and understanding, which can only be found in God. He will give us the strength that we need to make it through the things that trouble us in our daily lives (Psalm 34:4; Matthew 6:25-27; John 14:27). All that we need to do is place our trust in Him. We need to continually seek Him daily through prayer and supplication in gratitude for His great kindness and mercy (Philippians 4:6-7).

       Of course, nothing about submission to the Lord guarantees a simple or a care-free life. Having faith in God does not preclude moments of suffering. We should find peace and comfort in the fact that we have been reconciled to a holy God through Jesus Christ. We now have contact with divine assistance, for Christ is our direct channel to God through prayer. We can approach the Father only through the Son. Only through God are things possible. He is our strength and all in all. While it is true that we are merely imperfect human beings who can capitulate to the struggles of our earthly lives, God will sustain us by His grace if we genuinely place our trust in Him. He can impart to us the strength and wisdom to cope with whatever is facing us.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Addressing A Few Objections To The Holy Trinity

  • Introduction:
          -A major characteristic of many, if not most, false religions is that they tend to oppose the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ and the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. In other words, people who are of this world are detractors of Christ's divine kingship. At best, He is usually reputed to be a "lesser god". For example, the Unitarians believe that Christ was simply a morally sound teacher. But these beliefs terribly misrepresent the true, scriptural version of our Lord Jesus Christ, for His divine nature was equal to that of the Father's (John 1:1-3; 5:18; 10:30-33; 19:7). Thus this article strives to briefly examine some of the basic objections to the historic Christian position regarding Jesus Christ's nature and authority:
             1.) Many people reject the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ because of His statement regarding His lack of knowledge regarding the day and hour (Mark 13:32). This is used to deny that He is all-knowing. However, this objection does not hold any water because He was speaking from the aspect of His human nature. He was thus not speaking concerning His divine nature. Christ in His divine nature knows everything (Luke 5:4-6; John 21:15-17).
             2.) Others object to the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ on the basis that He prayed to God the Father. But this argument is fallacious because it fails to recognize the two separate natures of Jesus Christ: human and divine (Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:17). He prayed to the Creator in the state of His humanity, which is something that we humans should be doing. This action was appropriate and thus does not diminish Christ's intrinsic divinity.
             3.) Some believe that Jesus Christ is lesser than God the Father in terms of authority because the Scripture calls Him the "Son of God" (John 3:16). On the contrary, this title only lends credence to the divinity of Christ, since it means having the same essence as God (John 5:18; 10:35-36; 19:7). In other words, both are equal in the sense that they possess the same divine authority. They are equal in essence. The Lord Jesus Christ became a servant by taking on the form of a man, and is positionally lower than God the Father.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Brief Case For The Deity Of The Holy Spirit

  • Quite simply, the purpose of this article is to prove that the Holy Spirit is God. He shares many of the same attributes as both the Father and the Son. Consider, for example that:
           1.) He is present everywhere (Psalm 139:7-9).
           2.) He is all-knowing (1 Corinthians 2:10-11).
           3.) He is all-powerful (Romans 15:19).
           4.) He is eternal (Hebrews 9:14).
           5.) The Holy Spirit was involved in the process of creation (Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30).
           6.) The Holy Spirit is a source of life (John 6:63; 2 Corinthians 3:6).
           7.) The Holy Spirit inspires revelation (2 Peter 1:19-21).

Commentary From The NET Bible On Romans 9:5

tn Or “the Christ, who is over all, God blessed forever,” or “the Messiah. God who is over all be blessed forever!” or “the Messiah who is over all. God be blessed forever!” The translational difficulty here is not text-critical in nature, but is a problem of punctuation. Since the genre of these opening verses of Romans 9 is a lament, it is probably best to take this as an affirmation of Christ’s deity (as the text renders it). Although the other renderings are possible, to see a note of praise to God at the end of this section seems strangely out of place. But for Paul to bring his lament to a crescendo (that is to say, his kinsmen had rejected Godcome in the flesh), thereby deepening his anguish, is wholly appropriate. This is also supported grammatically and stylistically: The phrase ὁ ὢν (ho ōn, “the one who is”) is most naturally taken as a phrase which modifies something in the preceding context, and Paul’s doxologies are always closely tied to the preceding context. For a detailed examination of this verse, see B. M. Metzger, “The Punctuation of Rom. 9:5,” Christ and the Spirit in the New Testament, 95-112; and M. J. Harris, Jesus as God, 144-72.

https://netbible.org/bible/Romans+9

A Case For The Deity Of Jesus Christ: He Is The I AM

"Jesus himself affirmed his eternal existence, when he said to the Jews: “Before Abraham was born, I am” (Jn. 8:58). The present tense form, ego eimi (“I am”) stands in contrast to the aorist form “was born” (genesthai — to begin to be, to come into existence). The two expressions contrast the eternal and the temporal.

The Jews certainly understood what Christ said, i.e., that he claimed eternality, therefore, the status of being God. That is why they sought to stone him. The expression “I am” points one back to Exodus 3:14, where Jehovah identifies himself as the “I AM,” i.e., the self-existent One."

Jackson, Wayne. "Was Jesus Created By God?" ChristianCourier.com. Access date: July 18, 2017. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/396-was-jesus-created-by-god

Monday, July 17, 2017

What To Remember When Confronted By Hardships

  • Scripture Passage Being Examined:
          -"but He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' I will rather boast more gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • Brief Elaboration On 2 Corinthians 12:9:
          -God's Word, the Bible, clearly says that His divine grace manifests itself and covers us more abundantly during our trials. His strength compliments the inherent weakness of mankind. His sufficiency fulfills what is lacking in us. In other words, the Lord will continually provide us with the spiritual strength necessary to endure and overcome any boundaries that may become hindrances to our spiritual growth. In the surrounding context of 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Apostle Paul was telling the Church of Corinth how God did not accept his petition to remove his distress, but rather assisted him when he was grieving about the devil irritating him after he had received personal revelation that he was not allowed to communicate to other men (v. 7). Thus we see that the Lord permits us to undergo temptations for the sake of building us up. We can build up our spiritual strength for times of infirmity through the persistent resistance of temptation and continued obedience to God. The Lord will enable us to succeed in defeating times of spiritual desolation by nourishing us with His sufficient grace. We, in the same manner as the inspired writer Paul, can confidently proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord because He is faithful and trustworthy. He is with us, even during times of hardship (v. 10).

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

“Fake News” Stories That People Believe about Early Christianity

"Ever since the discovery of the so-called Gnostic Gospels at Nag Hammadi in 1945, it has been popular to insist that these “lost” gospels were really more popular than even our canonical ones. During the first few centuries, we are told, Christians read the Gospel of Thomas with equal (if not more) regularity than the books that made it into our Bibles.

And, of course, this whole narrative has a clear purpose behind it, namely to convince people that all gospels are pretty much the same and that no gospel is more valid than another.

But, this narrative quickly evaporates when one looks at the historical data. When it comes to nearly every line of evidence–frequency of citation, use as Scripture, number of manuscripts–it is clear that these apocryphal gospels were not very popular after all. Indeed, all the historical indicators show that that our four gospels were, far and away, the most popular gospels in the early church."

https://michaeljkruger.com/five-fake-news-stories-that-people-believe-about-early-christianity/

Monday, July 10, 2017

Isaiah 22:20-22 And Papal Supremacy

  • Introduction:
          -Roman Catholics argue in defense of Papal authority by paralleling Matthew 16:19 with Isaiah 22:20-22. First of all, the foundation to this argument is based on the fact that there is a "key" involved in both these passages. Secondly, Catholics point out that the text of Isaiah has a prime minister figure. And thirdly, it is important to note the similar wording of the actions of "opening and shutting" and "binding and loosing" found in both the paralleled texts. Roman Catholics thus argue that this scenario prefigures the Lord Jesus Christ giving the Apostle Peter supremacy over His entire church. The logic of this Catholic typology is based on a comparison of Peter to Eliakim, who was given the key to the house of David (Isaiah 20:22).
  • Serious Flaws In The Typology For Papal Authority:
          1.) The Bible mentions many different sets of "keys". In fact, there is nothing in the context of Isaiah 22 demanding that it be paralleled with the text from Matthew 16.
          2.) The context of this passage is about a male figure named Shebna (Isaiah 22:15). His position of authority was being revoked from him as a result of his pride. Shebna's position, which was only secondary to King Hezekiah, was being given to another individual named Eliakim. However, the Apostle Peter never replaced anybody.
          3.) If Isaiah 22:20-22 was a prophecy about the Apostle Peter being appointed as the first pope, then how would Roman Catholics explain Isaiah 22:25? The Apostle Peter was never removed or cut down. The interpretation of this prophetic passage from the Book of Isaiah is not applicable to the Roman Catholic Church because it would only prophecy the fall of the Papacy. This is totally inconsistent with the claims of modern-day Romanism, for it teaches the infallible preservation of the Roman tradition.
          4.) The name of "Eliakim" literally means "God will raise up". It is a typology of our Lord Jesus Christ, not the Apostle Peter. Jesus is the One who will inherit the glorious, everlasting throne of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Isaiah 22:23; Isaiah 9:6-7). He possesses the key of David (Revelation 3:7), which pertains to the promises of King David's throne. It is about the establishment and fulfillment of his kingdom. The phrase "house of David" is used within the context of his ancestral lineage. While the singular key of the household of David is pertinent to the Nation of Israel (Isaiah 22:21-22), the plural keys of the kingdom of heaven are more pertinent to the work of the church (Matthew 16:13-20).

Friday, July 7, 2017

Addressing The Roman Catholic Misinterpretation Of Matthew 16:18-19

  • Defining the issues:
          -The meaning of the "rock" found in Matthew 16:18-19 has been disputed among Roman Catholic and non-Catholic scholars alike. Literally volumes of books have been written to defend various interpretations of this symbol. In fact, the three most prominent views on the identity of the rock are that it is representative of Jesus Christ Himself, the Apostle Peter's bold confession of faith, and Peter himself. However, the Church of Rome has made significant claims regarding the meaning of the rock in Matthew 16:18-19 in relation to its inflated views of its own authority. In short, the purpose of this article is to interact with the Romanist interpretation of the rock found in Matthew 16:18-19. 
  • How the Roman Catholic Church interprets the rock of Matthew 16:18-19:
          -Roman Catholics argue that because the Apostle Peter is allegedly the rock, their church is built on him and is therefore the true, original church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Roman Catholicism maintains that 1.) Christ granted Peter special primacy over His entire church and 2.) that this apostle passed his unique position of spiritual authority to the Roman bishops who would succeed him in later generations (CCC #881-882). Consequently, it is claimed that the doctrines of the Church of Rome have been infallibly preserved throughout the centuries.
  • The Greek "Petros" and "Petra" distinction:
          -The words "petros" and "petra" are used in the original Greek grammatical construction of Matthew 16:18. In other words, the passage reads, "You are Peter ("petros") and upon this rock ("petra") I will build my church." While "petros" means a piece of rock (masculine), "petra" means a mass of rock (feminine). Thus there exists a distinction between both words occupied in Matthew 16:18. But if the Apostle Peter was meant to serve as the foundation upon which the Christian church stands, then we should not be seeing two different Greek words with two different meanings in the passage from the Gospel According to Matthew.
  • The Rock of Matthew 16:18-19 is not the Apostle Peter himself, but rather is his solid confession of faith (Matthew 16:16):
          -The church is built on all of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20-22). In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation stone upon which the church is built, not Peter (1 Corinthians 3:11). While the Apostle Peter's name is defined in Scripture to mean "a stone" (John 1:42), Christ is referred to as "the rock" (1 Corinthians 10:3-4). A play on words is evident here. The "rock" mentioned in Matthew 16:18 is simply Peter's confession of faith (Matthew 16:16). This interpretation of the passage is very reasonable, especially in light of the fact that the surrounding context (v. 13-18) is about the spread of the gospel and the identity of the Messiah, not the establishment of some sort of authoritative office with successors. It is upon our confessions of faith that the church stands or falls. Thus every doctrine and practice of the church should be in accordance to the Will of Jesus Christ. The Scripture constantly describes God as "the rock" (i.e. 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 22:32; Psalm 18:31; Isaiah 44:8; Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:6-8). In Matthew 16:16-18, the words "it" and "this" are referring to the Apostle Peter's statement identifying the Lord Jesus Christ. The church is built on the revelation that Christ is the promised Jewish Messiah.
  • The meaning of the keys, binding, and loosing:
          -Quite simply, the "keys" represent the authority to proclaim the salvation of converts and the condemnation of sinners (i.e. Luke 10:16). The keys are knowledge of the Kingdom of God (i.e. Matthew 23:13; Luke 11:52). The door of salvation is opened to those who accept the message of the gospel (i.e. Acts 14:27; Romans 1:16), whereas the door of eternal condemnation is opened for those who reject the salvific message of the gospel. The mission of the entire church is to preach the gospel to the world (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:45-49). In the Book of Acts, converts such as Paul and Cornelius received the gift of the Holy Spirit. They rejoiced as a result of hearing the proclamation of eternal salvation. But notice how the Lord Jesus Christ instructed His original disciples to shake the dust off their feet when they encountered cities who rejected them for preaching the gospel message (i.e. Matthew 10:14-15; Mark 6:11; Acts 13:51). This is a perfect way of applying the principle of "loosing", or announcing the condemnation of sinners. Today, we serve as ambassadors for Christ by performing the ministry of reconciliation through the preaching of the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Christians have been authorized to declare the terms of forgiveness as provided by the gospel: holding fast by faith in Jesus Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). This power of the keys was not possessed by the Apostle Peter alone, nor does the Scripture passage in question point to that interpretation. Rather, it was given to all the apostles (Matthew 18:18). This citation is also beneficial, "What is the power of binding and loosing? These disciples immediately recognized the background of its meaning. If you were a Jew, living at the time of Christ, and you had done something that you thought could be a violation of the Mosaic Law, you would have to take your problem to the ruling elders. They would have debated your case; then they would have come to one of two conclusions. They would have either bound or loosed you. If they had bound you, this meant that you had violated the Mosaic Law and that you were obligated to pay the penalty-sacrifice and/or restitution. If they had loosed you, this meant that you had not violated the Mosaic Law. No sacrifice was necessary. These ruling elders were simply declaring what had already been legislated by Moses" (Was the Church Established by Peter?, Robert Gromacki, cited by Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics, p. 109-110) 
  • The Apostle Peter was not the first pope:
          -The structure of the Roman Catholic hierarchy cannot be substantiated at all by the New Testament. In other words, Scripture mentions nothing about the one-head bishop structure that is found in the modern Church of Rome. In fact, the Bible never even records the Apostle Peter as passing on his apostolic authority to a designated successor or a discussion on who would occupy his seat of authority after his departure from the world. In Scripture, it seems as if nobody recognized him as having any primacy over the other apostles. What is even more significant to observe about the pages of the New Testament is that we never see the Apostle Peter acting in the authoritative manner that popes do. Although he can rightly be accredited as possessing historical salvation primacy, we never see him acting as the "prince of the apostles".
  • Even if the Apostle Peter was the rock of Matthew 16:18, that fact would still not grant the Roman bishop universal jurisdiction over Christendom:
          -The context of Matthew 16 is absolutely silent about the establishment of an extremely wealthy church hierarchy that claims infallibility with a continual chain of leading successors. The Scripture text addressed in this article says nothing about a "Vicar of Christ" or a teaching Magisterium. It says nothing about the unbiblical offices and societies contained in the Church of Rome. Neither does Matthew 16:18 command us to adhere to a mysterious body of extra-biblical revelation, as Roman Catholicism does. In fact, this passage says nothing about submission to an earthly institution that is headquartered in Rome, Italy! So appealing to Matthew 16:18-19 as a biblical proof-text for the Papacy is completely unwarranted. Roman Catholics are placing too much weight on this particular Bible verse. They are merely reading their church hierarchy into a passage where such notions are absent.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Glorious Light Of The Gospel

  • Scripture Passage Being Examined:
          -"Rather, we have renounced shameful, hidden things; not acting deceitfully or falsifying the word of God, but by the open declaration of the truth we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even though our gospel is veiled, it is veiled for those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they may not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Corinthians 4:2-4)
  • Commentary On 2 Corinthians 4:2-4:
          -The gospel is not merely a bunch of unintelligible nonsense, but rather is a lucid, powerful guide that leads all who hunger and thirst for righteousness on the path to eternal life with our Lord Jesus Christ in heaven. It serves as a spiritual compass that points the lost in the direction of God who is in the heavenly sanctuary. The proclamation of the gospel contains no falsehood. The gospel is not based on mythological accounts. This divine revelation from God is the way of holiness. However, there are still many people in this world who do not appear to be capable of accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This inability to grasp simple spiritual truths is a sure sign of taking the path to eternal condemnation. It means that a person has poor spiritual heath. It means that our hearts are not right with God. In order to inherit the kingdom of God, we must be born again. We must accept what the Lord has accomplished on our behalf. We must allow the Holy Spirit to transform our lives. We must experience genuine conversion of heart. People are lost not because the truth of the gospel is in some way lost, perverted, ambiguous, or imperfect, but rather that the devil has placed a veil of sin over their eyes. They have inability to discern truth from error because their consciences have been darkened by the stains of sin. The unrepentant and unbelieving do not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate, because their ways stand in contradiction to His statutes. In order to see by the infinite power of God's grace, the lost need to put on the glasses of faith by standing in complete conformity to His divine will. The glorious light of the gospel shines on those who are free from the power of the devil.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Roman Catholic Mary Worship

        Following are a few excerpts from a Roman Catholic devotional prayer book titled "Devotions in Honor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help" (pages 38-39), which contains extremely idolatrous prayers to Mary from "Saint" Alphonsus Liguori:

        "Come then to my help, dearest Mother, for I recommend myself to thee. In my hands I place my eternal salvation and to thee do I entrust my soul. Count me among thy most devoted servants, take me under thy protection and it is enough for me. For, if thou protect me, dear Mother, I fear nothing not from my sins because thou wilt obtain for me the pardon of them nor from the devils because thou art more powerful than all Hell together nor even Jesus my Judge Himself, because by one prayer from thee He will be appeased. But one thing I fear that in the hour of temptation I may neglect to call on thee and thus perish miserably. Obtain for me then the pardon of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance and grace always to have recourse to thee O Mother of Perpetual Help."

        "Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin and My Mother Mary, to thee, who are the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the World, the Advocate, the Hope and the Refuge of Sinners I have recourse today, I who am the most miserable of all. I render thee my most humble homage O Great Queen and I thank thee for the graces thou hast obtained for me until now and in particular for having saved me from Hell which I have so often deserved. I love thee, o most amiable Lady; and for the love which I bear thee, I promise to serve thee always and to do all in my power to make others also love thee. I place in thee all my opes and I confide my salvation to thy care."

        "Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin! O my Mother! Thou who art the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the world, the advocate, hope, and refuge of sinners! I, the most wretched among them, now come to thee. I worship thee, great Queen, and give thee thanks for the many favors thou hast bestowed on my in the past; most of all do I thank thee for having saved me from hell, which I had so often deserved. I love thee, Lady most worthy of all love, and, by the love which I bear thee, I promise ever in the future to serve thee, and to do what in me lies to win others to thy love. In thee I put all my trust, all my hope of salvation. Receive me as thy servant, and cover me with the mantle of thy protection, thou who art the Mother of mercy! And since thou hast so much power with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the grace ever to overcome them. From thee I ask a true love of Jesus Christ, and the grace of a happy death. O my Mother! By thy love for God I beseech thee to be at all times my helper, but above all at the last moment of my life. Leave me not until thou seest me safe in heaven, there for endless ages to bless thee and sing thy praises. Such is my hope. Amen."

The Moral Argument Against Evolution

        Modern day atheists are prone to argue that human morality has developed as a result of the process called natural selection. It is claimed that our moral standards are simply genetic chemical compounds that are shaped according to evolutionary needs. In other words, the formation of human morality is supposedly prompted by the conditions of current physical surroundings, in the same sense that the physical components of the body adapt to environmental changes. The naturalistic worldview maintains that our morals have developed by mere chance. In short, evolutionists claim that continually changing behavioral patterns are what morality consists of. Adherents of this so-called new science called evolutionary psychology believe that everything regarding the human personality can be explained adequately by evolutionary forces.

        On the contrary, there is not a particle of reliable experimental evidence suggesting that our moral standards are nothing more than random molecule combinations. In fact, it is illogical to the highest degree to equate moral standards with physical adaptations that can evolve in response to environmental conditions. If our moral codes were determined individually by our chromosomal makeup, then how could we reward or condemn the actions of other people? If no distinction is made between mankind and the animal kingdom, then why should we be disgusted when people engage in acts of bestiality? Why not love our pets rather than friends and relatives? Why not act uncivilized as do wild animals? Why even wear clothing? How does one account for the existence of human reason and free will? Those two truths are regarded as self-evident. These so-called evolutionary explanations are simply imaginary, subjective, hypothetical constructs. It is not coherent philosophy because it is not consonant with the reality of our nature.

        Before moving on, we must we must ask ourselves what constitutes the principles of morality? How can we properly describe morality? First of all, we know that moral laws are not concrete objects, but rather are abstract realities that can only be grasped through mental perception. Moral rules are completely invisible, intangible entities. They are not chemical or biological. Moral laws are spiritual and intellectual propositions that are communicated from the mind of one individual to another. Moral laws have been internally inscribed into our hearts by God (whether a person has the mental capacity to understand those moral laws is another question). They make us capable of formulating rational distinctions between good and evil. Not only do human beings naturally feel obligated to obey these moral codes, but we also feel guilty when we choose to violate them. Lastly, it is important to note that exterior conduct in itself does not prescribe us with a pattern of sound morality to follow, but rather offers us a description of various moral patterns. Although external behaviors can reveal interior motives of the human heart, this objective standard of morality governs our behavior because it judges whether it is good or bad.

        The evolutionary worldview, by definition, fails to give account for the existence of transcendent moral laws. We must not adhere to the "survival of the fittest" worldview, for it is utterly selfish. The inherent self-centered design of the Evolutionary Theory opens the door to much persecution and discrimination of the so-called low classed, minority parties of our society. Not only does evolution leave absolutely no room for objective reasons for protecting the vulnerable, but the notion of natural selection is also totally indifferent to the suffering, weak people of this world. This negative mindset flatly collides with how we should be thinking and acting toward other people. This worldview gives no objective reason for us to do good. The fact that we are able to choose acting in a morally sound manner is irrelevant. Society can still adopt the abhorrent lifestyles logically contained within the dark confines of Darwinism. If there are no objective moral standard existing for us to abide by, then why should we not choose acting immorally? Why should we really care what other people think? If we are going to educate our children into believing that they are animals, then they will also behave in that fashion. And all the evidence of this is found in our modern society.

        If, on the other hand, there exists objective moral laws that are transcendent to the laws of nature, then it logically follows from the premise of the argument that there must also be a supernatural Law Giver. It follows that we can differentiate between the boundaries of good and evil. It follows that we actually have a purpose in life. It follows that life has value and meaning. It follows that we have rationality, intelligence, consciousness, and emotions. These things can only exist, if a supernatural Law Giver placed them into the innermost part of our being, the soul. But none of these significant features of human life can be accounted for, if the evolutionary worldview is correct. Morality is the foundation for all building blocks in life, truth establishes all principles which form the basis of morality, and only through God that we can have such things. If naturalistic evolution is true, then any concept of objective moral laws, meaning, love, and hope are empty illusions. If naturalists continue on chiseling the concept of personhood in accordance with their materialistic philosophy, then they will inevitably be rendering our unique characteristics to mere projections of the human mind. The deconstruction of reality is a dangerous thing.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Scientific Evidences For Biblical Inspiration

       Despite the fact that the Bible was never meant to be a science textbook, it does furnish mankind in all things pertaining to faith and morals. Furthermore, unanimously accepted, fundamental laws of science lend great support to biblical accuracy. In other words, no scientific principle stands in contradiction to the teachings of Scripture. Thus we have evidence assuring us that the Bible as we possess it today is indeed the written Word of God. Following are a few examples of biblical teaching to demonstrate consistency with the realm of modern science:
            
            1.) The universe had a beginning (Genesis 1:1)
            2.) The earth is round, not flat (Job 26:10; Isaiah 40:22; Amos 9:6)
            3.) The water cycle (Job 26:8; 36:27-28; Ecclesiastes 1:6-7; Isaiah 55:10)
            4.) Ocean currents (Psalm 8:8)
            5.) The earth hangs on nothing (Job 26:7)
            6.) The stars are innumerable (Genesis 15:5; Jeremiah 33:22)
            7.) The existence of the universe (1 Corinthians 15:39-40)
            8.) Recognizes the nature of health, illness, and principles of sanitation (Leviticus 12-14)
            9.) Blood circulation (Leviticus 17:11)
            10.) All races have descended from one blood (Acts 17:26).