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Friday, March 31, 2017

Why A Christian Should Be A Conservative

Republican vs. Democrat
Conservative vs. Liberal
Part 1 Gay Marriage and Gender Choice
By 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

  • Defining the issues:
         -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:
         -Even if we had all agreed to accept Papal authority, that would only eliminate doctrinal conflict in a circular, tautological sense. But that would still not reveal to us whether we should be in communion with the Roman Bishop (i.e. whether we are right or wrong in our decision making). It still does not build a case for Roman Catholicism. Anybody can make a claim to having perfect doctrinal unity. Additionally, it is possible to be unified in error.
  • A Hypocritical Double-Standard:
         -While it is true that there are 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):

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Is The Roman Catholic Communion Of Saints Biblical?

  • Defining The Issues:
          -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

    Modern Society Downfall

    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


    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

    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).

    Appendix
    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
    www.justforcatholics.org
    Used by permission
    Thank you for your partnership in the proclamation of the gospel!
    Joseph Mizzi, 2000 - 2014

    Logical Reasons To Believe That Jesus Actually Performed Miracles

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    Say No To Lust And Adultery

    • Defining The Issues:
              -We live in a society that has been entrenched with sexual sin--from the songs that we hear on the radio, to commercials and shows broadcasted on TV. Forms of sexual promiscuity can be found just about anywhere in society these days. Why is sexual temptation such a big deal? Why is lust, fornication, and adultery morally wrong? What measures can we as Christians take to prevent ourselves and others from falling into a state of sexual temptation?
    • A Straightforward Confrontation: 
              -Lust for another person is clearly based on selfish motives, for we cannot be made into the "property". It gives men the totally wrong implication that woman are merely "baby making machines". Females are not simply "tools" that are used for the sake of self-pleasure. Not only is it wrong to deny human dignity, but engaging in sexual activity with random people reduces our nature to being on the same level as the wild animals. If we were truly programmed to function on the basis of mere instinct, like animals do, then we would have no recognition for morals. Neither would it be possible for us to have personal values. But we do have such traits due to our advanced intellect, reasoning capacities, and free will.
              -Marriage is supposed to be the life-long, romantic commitment and companionship to a partner of the opposite sex. Adultery is wrong for obvious reasons: it is lying and unfair. The lives of many people and long-term relationships have come to a tragic end simply because of a single act of adultery. So matters like these are not something to take lightly.
              -If fornication and adultery are morally permissible, then why even bother with getting married in the first place?
              -Pornography is very addictive. In other words, the brains of people who continually watch it end up getting stimulated to the point that they end up getting engrossed in the films. As a result, the brains of the people involved must watch the same films repeatedly and/or get even deeper into watching more disgusting films because they are seeking to be in the same stimulated mental state. That is addiction--being enslaved to a master of sin. Pornography negatively affects a person's psychological health in the same sense that illegal drugs such as heroin, bath salts, methamphetamine, amphetamines, and cocaine do! People end up becoming enslaved to this film monster. It has ruined many lives. Not only does the pornography industry completely disregard the value of the human body and deteriorate our overall quality of life, it earns itself several billion dollars annually. The people who are bold enough to run such businesses are incredibly careless of the needs of other people. Why not shut down the pornography industry to donate the amassed money to infinitely more important aspects of life such as the starving and homeless people of this world or to helping millions escape religious persecution in other countries?  If the answer to this question is to maintain the strength of the economy, then why not find better alternatives? Why not spend as much effort on working to do what is morally right?  
    • Jesus Christ specifically taught that having a mental sexual desire for another person is equivalent to actually committing adultery/fornication (Matthew 5:28-29). This teaching of the Lord is certainly not anything new (Proverbs 6:25-26; Job 31:1). Lust itself is a form of idolatry (Colossians 3:5). A soul can be punished for eternity in hell because of this sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
    • We are not to focus on finding ways to indulge our own sinful lusts (Romans 13:14). Sexual temptations are waging war against our souls (1 Peter 2:11). We will either choose to rebel against (and conquer) sin or continually engage in sin (and let it conquer us). The Apostle Paul instructed us to keep ourselves pure (1 Timothy 5:22).
    • The Apostle Paul instructed women to dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9). And Jesus Himself warned against being a stumbling block to others (Matthew 18:6).
    •  Measures That Should Be Taken (Speaking In A General Sense):
              -Eliminate the source: the best way to get rid of any temptation is to get eliminate the source; you first need to identify with certainty the source(s) of your sexual temptation(s); then, find ways to permanently remove/avoid temptations (to the best of your ability).           
              -Prayer: acknowledge God's infinite lordship; beg the Lord for forgiveness; pray for those who are ensnared by sexual sin.
              -Study: read the Bible and meditate upon the moral principles taught within; spend some quality time studying Scripture or memorizing specific verses (Psalm 119:10-11).
              -Find wholesome Christian people: though a difficult task, you should try to find a group of true Christians who can help you steer out of the direction of sexual temptation; you need to carefully examine professing Christians (rather than blindly accepting their mere profession by mouth) because Satan can also use other people as a means to drag you back down; might have to cut off contact with people who live immoral lifestyles (unless they are your co-workers, etc.--then you can do nothing about that situation).
              -Find some good Christian music to distract you from sinful thinking; take brakes from the TV and video games (or cut them out of your life for good); spend much valuable time doing godly things.
    • Yes, You Can Overcome The Struggles Presented By Sexual Temptation:
              -We are fully capable of being victorious over our spiritual weaknesses such as lust, just as Joseph in the Old Testament refused to sleep with his master's wife (Genesis 39:6-21). He was not even married during that time! 

    Saturday, March 25, 2017

    Christian Dating And Courtship

    • Introduction:
              -This article is dedicated primarily to the people in the Christian community who are interested in, searching for, or are actively involved in dating another person of the opposite sex. Choosing the right partner for yourself in marriage is indeed a paramount decision--a relationship with two selfish spouses cannot stand. So a few theological insights will be provided to help you choose the correct partner to marry. 
    • Marriage Is Permanent (lasts until the moment of physical death):
              -"For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man." (Romans 7:2-3)          
              -"and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:8-12)
    • On Choosing The Wrong Spouse?:
               -According to the Bible, people committed to matrimony are united until the moment of physical death. If a spouse dies, however, then the living member is free to marry again (1 Corinthians 7:39). God absolutely despises divorce (Malachi 2:16). Divorce is invalid because no man can undo what God has done (Mark 10:9).
               -It is therefore best to marry another Christian--somebody who shares a similar worldview. To marry somebody from a different religious or a secular background is not recommended because he or she could pose a great threat to one's spiritual life--though it is not an absolute command (1 Corinthians 7:12-14; 1 Peter 3:1-6). It could be chaotic. Furthermore, a person who marries after a divorce is in the state of adultery , which is a spiritually unsafe condition (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Revelation 21:8). 
               -We need to stop judging people by worldly factors such as physical appearance, charm, intellect, and wealth. Neither should one choose a spouse on the basis of a mere profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:21). What a person should be looking at in a potential spouse is their overall doctrine, state of heart, and personality. Thus, it is better to suffer from the pains of loneliness than to make the poor decision of marrying the wrong person! Some people may have to wait a long time before finally getting married, like Isaac who was forty before he got married (Genesis 25:20). In fact, not everybody has been called to live a married life. And remember, there will be no marriage in the afterlife (Mark 12:18-27).

    Marriage From The Christian Perspective

    • The Biblical Purposes Of Marriage:
              -For human reproduction (Genesis 1:28)
              -Love/Companionship (Genesis 2:18; Proverbs 31:10-31)
              -Prevention of lust through sexual satisfaction; "due benevolence" (1 Corinthians 7:1-5; 9)
    • Biblical Description of Marriage:
                 -"And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE"and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?" (Matthew 19:4-5)
    • Biblical Responsibilities Of The Husband:
              -According to the Bible, the husband is supposed to show loving leadership over his family (1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 3:19). In other words, he is to exercise  complete authority over his household, be responsible, and thus provide for the needs of the household. The man is meant to be the head of the household.
    • The Functions Of The Wife:
             -The wife is supposed to be the manager of the home, but under the supervision of the husband. In other words, she is supposed to care for the children, prepare the meals, and keep the house organized (Titus 2:4-5; 1 Timothy 2:15; 5:14). The wife is free to take on other responsibilities, as long as they do not interfere with her mandatory duties (and thus distracts the husband from fulfilling his tasks). 
    • Submission To The Husband Does Not Equal Inferiority Or Lack Of Dignity:
            -Women are not in any way intellectually subordinate in nature or worthy of less respect than men. In other words, both genders posses equal intrinsic value because they were both created by God, who is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Women are not merely slaves or indentured servants. Women can have their own thoughts. They have the same inherent rights as men.  
           -Wives have been called to be obedient to their husbands because man was created first in order and Eve was the one who was directed manipulated by the devil, who was in the form of a serpent (1 Timothy 2:11-15). The biblical form of submission to the husband, however, is totally different than the types submission described previously. This "obedience" actually points to the closeness of the two partners in marriage. It is the sharing of a mutual goal, a romantic partnership. It represents the different responsibilities that both leading figures of the family have, as described above. The wife of the household has indelible value and a vital role for the success of the family, regardless of whether she works outside the house or not.     
    • The Necessity Of Compromise:
             -In order for marriage to work, both partners must agree to fulfill the necessary obligations that have been assigned to them. No successful relationship can thrive without compromise. There has to be necessary conditions for the husband and wife to abide by, for the household cannot stand in a state of division, an individual cannot complete a job which requires many people to work together, and are simply limited by bodily design. 
           -Human beings were never meant to be stand alone creatures. In other words, we all have the inherent need for social interaction, mental settlement, and compatibility. We all need each other. Both genders, when isolated from each other, are essentially incomplete. One cannot survive without the existence of the other. In summary, I have been stressing the fact that compromise is an underlying component to human survival and rationality. This is why marriage must also have strict boundaries and obligations for authoritative figures of the family. Its foundation is based on commitment. It is because the spouses love each other, that the marriage, and thus the family structure, is held together.

    Thursday, March 23, 2017

    On Assurance Of Salvation

    • Can We Have Assurance Of Salvation?:
              -Since we are able to humbly approach God with absolute trust in His divine promises (2 Corinthians 1:20; Hebrews 10:22), we are therefore able to have great assurance of our salvation (John 5:24; John 6:32-63; 1 John 5:11-15). Salvation is promised to those who are faithful to God's will (1 John 2:25). All who call upon His name shall be saved (Romans 10:13). God's character is unchangeable (Malachi 3:6), never deceptive (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:17-18), and reveals no partiality in judgment (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:6-7). So yes, we can indeed have great assurance of our salvation. But we must choose to accept the free gift of salvation that God has given us.
    • A Major Evidence Against A Works-Based Salvation:
            -Having assurance of eternal life is proof of being saved by faith apart from meritorious works because if our works contributed at all to our salvation, then we could not have any real assurance of salvation. If any kind of works contribute to salvation, then how many must perform to be justified in the sight of God? How many sins will God tolerate? How could one know that he or she is saved? No answer has ever been provided to these loaded questions and thus undermines any possible certitude of salvation or trust in the Lord for eternal salvation. The futuristic sight of our eternal destinies would simply be too cloudy because there would be no grounds to make any sort of determination with certainty. Nobody is capable of coming close to measuring up to God's perfect standard of morality, the Mosaic Law. Since the Scriptures clearly attest in favor of having great assurance of everlasting life with God in heaven, we know that works have no bearing on justification before God.
            -If salvation was determined on the basis of works, then we would expect Scripture to describe salvation as being a merited reward. But Scripture describes eternal life as being an unmerited gift that nobody can earn. We should also take note of the fact that the concept of a works-based salvation inevitably leads to sins such as pride, lust, and arrogance. We have the inherent tendency to sin. The mere fact that we are able to have great assurance of salvation demonstrates the ultimate futility of one trusting in his or her own works to get saved.
    • On Losing Salvation:
              -One sin will not necessarily send a person directly to hell (this does not in any way mean that sin is permissible or justifiable). Salvation, technically speaking, is not easy to lose. Habitual sinning is generally the spiritual symptom of a spiritually unhealthy journey. This process may continue until a person completely falls away from God because of a hardened heart or he or she truly repents so that he or she may continue to build his or her relationship with God. People practice sins such as murder, theft, and greed because their hearts are dedicated to those specific sins. They are the EVIDENCE of what is in our hearts (i.e. 1 Samuel 16:7). We fall into a state of sin, especially during our times of spiritual weakness. One can indeed "walk away" from salvation, which means that he or she can choose to open the door leading to eternal condemnation and thus choose to close the door to eternal life. We can indeed forsake our salvation. We can indeed reject the gifts and callings of God (but doing such is morally wrong). We escape the wrath of God by repenting from our hearts through faith in Him. God ultimately looks at a person's state of heart (i.e. Matthew 5:21-28; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10).

    Are All Sins Equal In Severity?

    • Introduction:
              -Many professing Christians advocate the belief that all sins are equally severe in nature. In other words, people wrongly believe that all sins have the same negative weight on our souls. But if you go by the Bible alone for spiritual discernment, and not by the mere opinions of fallible and uninspired men, then you will readily come to the conclusion that the "sin is sin" theory is unequivocally repudiated  by scriptural instruction (2 Timothy 3:15-17). In short, there are no statements, either implicitly or explicitly, in Scripture which provide any substance for the justification of the belief that all sins are equally severe in nature.
    • Sins Are Not Equally Severe:
              -While it is true that all sins can lead up to spiritual condemnation by the gradual hardening of our hearts to the point that we begin to outrightly reject the blessings and gifts of God (Romans 6:23),  some sins do have a much worse impact on our souls than others (John 19:11; 1 John 5:15-17). Some sins can cause more spiritual harm than others, or even terminate our relationship with God. 
              -While it is true that all other types of blasphemy are forgivable, God will never forgive blasphemy committed against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-29).
              -Grave sins such as homosexuality, murder, and idolatry reveal a fatal state of heart, if not repented of and forgiven by God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5-7; Revelation 21:8). We can deduce that sins such as worry and unthankfulness are not as bad or severe as others such as the ones listed in the above scriptural references because they are not included in the comprehensive lists of sins that are more severe on the "spectrum" of sins.    
              -Just as sins have differing degrees of severity (Ezekiel 8), some Commandments are greater in importance than others (Matthew 22:36-39). Scripture tells us that certain sins are "more tolerable" than others (Luke 10:7-12). Scripture mentions "greater condemnation" (Matthew 23:14; Luke 12:47-48). There are different levels of severity in punishment for those in hell.
    • What About James 2:10-11? Does It Teach That All Sins Are Equal In Severity?:
              -No, the passage says absolutely nothing about all sins being equally severe in nature. The inspired writer James was not placing murder in the same category of severity as adultery (or visa versa). In fact, the context of James 2:10-11 is not about differing degrees of sin, but rather, a Christian demonstrating the reality of his or her salvation through good deeds. All the passage is saying is that if you commit sins such as adultery and murder, then you have violated the God's moral Law. In other words, the text is simply stating that there are multiple ways to break the Commandments of God. There is more than one way to break His Moral Law, just as there are multiple ways of violating the traffic law. Would it be rational to conclude that all violations of the traffic law are of the same severity if we were to examine the scenarios of a driver speeding eighty miles over the permitted speed limit on a road, accidentally running past a stop sign, or simply forgetting to wear a seat belt?

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    Annihilation Refuted

    • Definitions:
             -Eternal Torment: the souls of dead unbelievers or unrepentant sinners suffer eternal punishment in literal flames.
              -Annihilationism: souls of dead unbelievers and/or unrepentant sinners get destroyed immediately (instead of eternal damnation in flames).
    • Defenders of the "Annihilation" doctrine would include the Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and Christadelphians.   
    • Logically Necessary:
              -If God will grant eternal salvation to people who love and place their trust in Him, then He would also grant eternal condemnation to people who willingly act contrary to His will. The Lord reveals no partiality and will thus judge everybody equally according to his or her own deeds (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Why not believe that our comfort or existence in heaven will also last only for a short period of time, as well?
    • A License To Sin:
              -If a person desires to continue acting in an evil manner, then he or she will have no worries about any sort of future punishments. After all, a non-existent being cannot feel any pain. So there will ultimately be no punishment for any sins in this heretical theological framework.
    • Flat Contradiction To Biblical Teaching:
             -The Bible emphatically teaches that the wicked will endure everlasting punishment in hell (Matthew 13:50; 18:8; Mark 9:43-48; Matthew 25;41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Daniel 12:2; Revelation 14:11; 20:10; Isaiah 33:14; 66:24).
    • The Parable Of The Rich Man And Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31):
            -Luke 16:19-31 is the most comprehensive passage in Scripture discussing what happens in the afterlife, what it is like, and why people end up where they are after death. The context describes hell as being a state of everlasting punishment in literal flames. This interpretation of the verses listed previously is totally consistent with the picture presented in Luke 16:19-31 and thus delivers an irrefutable blow to annihilationism!
           -This teaching must have been an actual occurrence because Abraham was a real literal Old Testament character. So it is not actually a "parable".
           -Even if Jesus Christ intended His words recorded in Luke 16:19-31 to be a metaphorical parable, the text would still clearly teach that sin will permanently sever us from the presence of God, if not repented of. 
    • The Greek "Aionion":
            -Annihilationists correctly point out that the Greek word "aionion", which is translated into English as "eternal", does not always mean eternal. The word generally means an age or period of time. However, the New Testament clearly denotes the Greek term "aionion" to mean an eternal length of time. It describes the length of God's reign (Revelation 11:15) and our salvation (John 3:16). To make such an argument only causes spiritual deception. The concept of a literal, eternal conscious torment in the literal flames of hell is indeed a startling truth. Attempting to deny its existence is only futile.