Tuesday, May 30, 2017

According To Roman Catholicism, A "Representative Of Christ" (Pope) Can Be A Heretic!

  • Following is a clip from a debate between Calvinist apologist James White and Roman Catholic Dr. Robert Sungenis:

Pope Benedict XVI Admitted That The Apostle Paul Taught Sola Fide!

Paul . . . places so much emphasis on the impossibility of justification on the basis of one’s own morality. . . If, on the other hand, we should acknowledge that Paul in no way yields to moralism in this exhortation or in any sense belies his doctrine of justification through faith and not through works, it is equally clear that this doctrine of justification does not condemn man to passivity. . .” (Joseph Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth,  p. 236-237)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Pro-Life Or Pro-Choice?

  • Introduction:
          -From the Christian perspective, the fact that the liberal agenda is so focused on depicting the concept of abortion as being morally acceptable is completely abhorrent and reprehensible because the practice is in reality the murder of innocent babies. The existence of controversy on this matter pertaining to the birth of children shows us that our society has become morally blind, that is, polluted by our own sinful lusts. Annually, thousands of women choose to terminate the lives of their fetuses at Planned Parenthood organizations. In other words, millions of innocent little children each year are denied a chance at life because of birth control. Not only is the purpose of this article aimed at revealing the absolute immorality of abortion, but it also strives to critique the basic arguments set forth by advocates of abortion and to provide some background information on Planned Parenthood.
  • What if?:
          -What if the mothers of today's abortion advocates decided to abort them before they were even born into this world? The answer is obvious. Those people would not be alive today. If this fact in any way bothers pro-choice individuals, then they need to keep in mind how disturbing this thought must be to their developing children (speaking as if they possessed the ability to reason within themselves).
  • Human Life Begins At The Moment Of Conception:
          -Oftentimes, we hear in the news about the confronted women who support abortion "rights" participating in clamorous protests. They are known for creating slogans such as "It's my body...My choice..." and "A zygote, embryo, or fetus is not a baby...". But what they usually fail to recognize is that not only do their arguments make themselves appear to be uneducated around intelligent people, but they are also resorting to pseudo-scientific methods.
          -The life developing inside the womb has a different body and the decision is therefore not up to the woman to terminate the child's life. A baby's organs function apart from the mother's, whether they be born or unborn.
          -If a baby does not have the "right" to use a woman's body for a period of nine months (it is attached to her through an umbilical cord), then why should an infant have a right to nurse on his or her mother, since he or she also depends on her for survival? Using this line of reasoning, why not bother to perform a surgical procedure to end their lives at the whim of the parent, as well?
          -When can a fetus correctly be recognized as human life, three hours before birth? When exactly does a fetus transform into a baby?
          -If a fetus is not a baby, then what is it? If the answer is a "glob of cells", then why can't it be correctly recognized as being a "human", since we are also a "glob of cells"?
          -The claim that an embryo or cell in another stage of development in the womb is not a human is scientifically inaccurate. They all have DNA, 46 chromosomes, a unique blood type, brain waves, and organs that function independently of the mother's body. They all have a human nature, as further evidenced by the myriad of photos of aborted babies. The only difference between us who are fully grown and the beings found in the womb is their stage of development. But development does not determine "how human" a person is. There is no such thing as "different degrees of being human". Thus, human life begins at the moment of conception.
          -The value of human life is not dependent on how well a human body is developed. Neither can humans be called property.
          -Quite simply, abortion does not make a woman "unpregnant", but rather makes them the mother of a dead baby.
  • What About "Women's Rights"?:
          -It is important to note that the abortion movement is one of the offshoots of the feminism movement, which supposedly sought to obtain equal rights for women. Hence, this is the reason that pro-choice advocates proclaim that they want "equal rights" with men. But this view on the value of human life is very distorted. It has been deliberately misconstrued. In what sense are we free? All women, like men, have equal rights before the eyes of God, insofar that they do not interfere with the rights of and the security of other people. It has already been vindicated in this research paper that a cell in the human womb is indeed a human person. Therefore, women should not be entitled to have abortion procedures performed on developing cells which are located within their wombs because doing such deprives babies of the right to life. 
  • What About Cases Of Rape Or Incest?:
          -Women who were raped by selfish men may certainly feel violated and would thus not want to possess a child (or any object) that brings back any terrible memories of the occasion(s). Neither would families want a product of incest to be born into the world because of the possibility of a damaged reputation, various genetic health conditions, or abnormal bodily features on the baby. But these reasons do not amount to a valid rationalization of the abortion procedure because the scenarios presented at hand still involve the murder of an innocent human being. The conclusions to these arguments have been constructed entirely on self-serving logical premises.
          -Despite the fact that the perpetrator(s) of the crime(s) should be penalized to the maximum extent of the law, that still does not mean that we should murder other people because we have been victimized. It is equally wrong to take somebody's life because he or she is not wanted. In other words, the child should always be love, regardless of how they were conceived.
          -This pro-abortion argument could actually be used to devalue women because it implies that they are unable to overcome negative circumstances or are not strong enough to conquer obstacles in life. 
          -We must choose to set aside all emotional barriers in order to make rational decisions which are built on the proper application of sound moral principles.
  • Negative Psychological Effects Of Having Abortions:
          -There are many cases of women who went to get abortions and as a result experienced tremendous amounts of guilt. In fact, they have even suffered depression, anxiety, and attractions to illegal drugs. There is increasing testimony to the previously presented information from former pro-choice advocates.
          -Just imagine all of the babies who have survived abortion procedures. Examples of survivors would include, but are not limited to, Melody Olsen, Claire Culwell, Gianna Jessen, and Josiah Presely. Though the number of abortion survivors are few, these people have dedicated much time to explaining how terrible that they feel on a daily basis simply because they know that they were not wanted by their own biological parents. How deplorable that those harmed individuals must feel! How come all of these innocent babies didn't get a chance to determine their fate? Why didn't they they a choice in the matter? Clearly, the title "pro-choice" is self-deceiving. It is self-defeating. People who profess to be "pro-choice" are trapped within the prison of their own selfishness. Liberals are drunken on their own stupidity.
          -Women need to think twice (it is better to say an infinite number of times) before even getting an abortion. Why not give the unwanted child up for adoption or, better yet, abstain from sexual intercourse until the time is appropriate for starting a family within the confines of marriage (or women need to permanently keep their legs closed)? 
  • Why Oppose Planned Parenthood?:
          -While Planned Parenthood claims to be focused on the health and well-being of females, it is in reality solely focused on providing the "service" of abortion. It is in reality about population control, for its founder Margaret Sanger once said that colored people, the disabled, and other heavily criticized minorities in America were "human weeds" that "needed to be exterminated". She wanted to shape a society that was perfect in her own eyes, that is, a society that shared her own views on moral issues. It is a well documented fact that Sanger's mindset was based on eugenic underpinnings. All that one has to do is to read through her writings such as the Pivot of Civilization and the Birth Control Review. In fact, much of her ideology was heavily influenced by eugenicist Dr. Havelock Ellis.  
          -Other powerful reasons for rejecting Planned Parenthood as being a morally safe institution would include:
             1.) This organization has persistently bargained from and has made profits from the sale of human organs.
              2.) Planned Parenthood has repeatedly failed to protect young girls from getting sexually abused. In fact, we can easily lay the charge that this organization is guilty of promoting pedophilia, for it readily provides birth control services to under-aged females and has even gone as far as to hide information from inquiring parents. We must ask what the point is behind giving little girls condemns and denying their parents the right to know about the business of their children, when under-aged sex is supposed to be illegal? 
              3.) Planned Parenthood has been sued on a number of different occasions for the fraudulent use of billions in taxpayer funds. Thus this organization is nothing more than a money making scheme that serves its own hidden agendas.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Does Ecclesiastes Affirm The Doctrine Of Soul Sleep?

  • Introduction:
          -Advocates of the soul sleep doctrine usually quote Ecclesiastes 9:5 and Ecclesiastes 12:7 to provide biblical justification for their theological position on the afterlife. In other words, they usually quote Old Testament texts to establish their denial of conscious life after death. The phrase "the dead do not know anything" is interpreted to mean that the human soul ceases to remain conscious after our physical bodies die. But what is being forgotten about here is the surrounding context of these soul sleep proof-texts.
  • The Book Of Ecclesiastes Does Not Support The Doctrine Of Soul Sleep:
          -The entire context of this book was written from the human perspective of life on earth. In other words, it is about how things work in this world. It is about how things are done "under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:1-3). In the verses in question, the author Solomon is not making any doctrinal statements about the consciousness of the soul after death. A person "knows nothing" after death because his or her soul has returned to the God who gave it. Death is simply the end of our worldly existence.

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Refutation Of Soul Sleep

  • Introduction:
          -Soul sleep is the belief that after a person dies, his or her soul "sleeps" until the resurrection and final judgment. According to this theology, the souls of people who are in the condition of bodily separation are unaware or unconscious of the things taking place around them. This perspective on the afterlife forms a sharp contrast to the biblical view of conscious life after death. Professing Christian denominations that uphold this position include the Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, and the Christadelphians. In the Bible, the word "sleep" is used in relation to the word "death", for a corpse indeed appears to be sound asleep. A person's body is "sleeping" while his or her soul is in the location of his or her eternal destiny. 
          -We face judgment with God the moment we die (Hebrews 9:27). Hence, our fate is eternally sealed at them moment of physical death. While some people enter into the presence of God in the heavenly sanctuary above, those who were unfaithful to Him will end up in a state of eternal separation from God in the flames of hell (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10).     
          -There is a temporary heaven and hell that exists until the final resurrection (i.e. 2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 1:18; 20:13-14). In the resurrection, each person's "sleeping" body will be "awakened" and transformed into a perfected, permanent body that will be possessed by each individual for all eternity. This is true for all people, whether they be sent to heaven or sentenced to eternal punishment in hell. All of the people who were accepted into heaven after judgment will be sent to the new heavens and earth (Revelation 21:1), whereas folks who were in Hades will be thrown into the lake of sulfur and fire (Revelation 20:11-15).
  • For believers, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23).
  • The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus clearly reveals to us that souls will not cease to be conscious in the afterlife (Luke 16:19-31).
  • The young disciple Stephan, who was being stoned to death for preaching the gospel, saw heaven's door opened right before his eyes and Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:54-59). He clearly went to heaven to be with the Lord after physical death.
  • Physically dead tribulational martyrs were fully conscious in heaven (Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9-17).
  • Our Lord Jesus Christ told the unrepentant thief on the cross that he would enter paradise that same day (Luke 23:39-43).
  • God took Enoch and Elijah into heaven, but they did not lose consciousness (Genesis 5:24; 2 Kings 2:11).
  • Moses and Elijah were spiritually conscious during the Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-9).
  • How could Jesus "preach to the spirits in prison", if they were supposed to be in a state of unconsciousness until the final resurrection and judgment (1 Peter 3:18-19)?
  • Our Lord Jesus Christ solemnly promised that the souls of believers would never die (John 11:20-26). Furthermore, God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Matthew 22:31-32).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"Lord of The Flies" Theme Reflection

Image result for lord of the flies
In the novel titled "Lord of The Flies", which was authored by William Golding, a choir of boys got sequestered on an island due to a plane crash. The setting of this fictional work took place on a vacant island during World War Two. In other words, a large group of British boys who participated in a choir were unable to reach their originally planned destination because of a forced plane landing during the Second World War. Because of this tragedy, this group of boys needed to learn how to properly fend for themselves. The choir needed to function as a whole in order to survive because there was no source of bodily nourishment being provided by responsible adults who worked to maintain the health of the global economy. The primary theme to Lord of The Flies is that the formation of societal values and that any degree of success is entirely dependent on the compromise of individuals who work together for the sake of the common good.
A large group of choir boys from England were separated from the world on a small island by the ocean due to a plane crash and thus needed to learn how to establish a civilized, well-organized assemblage of people in order increase the probability of prolonged survival or getting rescued. But the boys failed to grasp the severity of their life-threatening situation. For example, most members of the choir became so preoccupied with hunting wild boars that they repeatedly failed provide fuel for the rescue fire and thus missed an opportunity to get rescued by a war ship that passed by the island. Most of them viewed life on the island as solely an opportunity for constant entertainment. Their reasoning was based on the fact that no adult figures were present on the island to govern their decisions each day. Most members of the British choir instantly developed the false notion that they could do whatever their hearts desired. Consequently, no formal structure of societal function was formed on the island. There was no submission to a final standard of authority. There was no standard of certainty, consensus, or organization. The meaning of obedience was completely forgotten. The distinction between good and evil became blurred because of the continual reluctance to submit to an authority. Their starting behaviors paved the road to moral corruption and built foundation for the household of death. This is what happens when people fail to recognize the weights of accountability on their shoulders when placed in a position to make moral or rational choices in life independently.    
As the time the boys thrived on the isolated island became lengthier, the overall moral character of the choir members also began to deteriorate. Most of them began to act purely animalistic in nature. The character named Ralph, who was originally supposed to function as the leader appointed by the crowd, possessed a conch which was representative of authority. However, most members of the British choir either willfully ignored the call of his conch or took his words of reason as a joke. In other words, they ignored the voice of their conscience by rebelling against rightly ordained authority. They eventually became so rebellious to authority that they wrongly revoked his position of authority by replacing him with another main character named Jack, who was cruel, savage, and immoral. He directly influenced the crowd of boys to create a tribe that functioned apart from Ralph's lawfully given authority. They even painted their own faces as a means of covering their actual character. They appointed Jack because he suited their desires to partake of their own selfish lifestyles. Each individual boy wanted to go his own way. The boys reached a point where they no longer cared about appearing visibly in the sight of civilization again. They acted in the manner they did because their consciences were seared with a hot iron. We need to recognize that morals decline as people refuse to submit to rightful authorities and fail to recognize the needs of others. What all the boys in the novel needed was to get rescued. They needed to return back to their regular life patterns at home and look forward into a bright future. But this could only be made possible, if the boys decided to focus on the welfare of each other.   
What happened to the boys on the lost island was that they never dedicated time to any form of self-reflection. Hence, they were completely unwary of their darkened hearts. Most members of the choir became so perverse in their morals that they ended up killing a female sow that was nursing piglets. Only moments after the kill, one of the boys portrayed the stabbing of the female pig's rear as being a sexual reference. Not only is the murder of a nursing mother considered as an incomprehensibly evil action to all rational people, but it is also beyond the minds of most people to liken a female animal to a woman. On the night of the same day there was a thunderstorm, and there was a wicked feast being held in praise of the successful hunting. Simon peered through the bushes of the jungle at the tribal chanting and had an illusion of the maggot infested boar head talking to him. It told him to relinquish to the brutal ways of the tribe, nevertheless he refused to succumb to the evil enticements. The decomposing boar head clearly resembles the work of the devil at hand in the hearts of mankind. The other main characters Simon and Piggy were murdered for not conforming to the corrupt values of the island tribe. Members affiliated with the tribe later kidnapped the twins Sam and Eric so that Ralph would have no means of support. They attempted to murder him the next day by lighting the island on fire. The scenario described in the story line of "Lord of The Flies" clearly reveals the inevitably disastrous results of refusing to work together for the sake of the common good. The poor formation of a societal structure on the island clearly enhanced the careless, selfish, and abominable side of the choir members. The shattering of the conch symbolized the destruction of authority. Indeed, we have the same tendency programmed into our nature to act in the same manner as that of a spoiled child who knows nothing of disciplinary action.
The novel titled "Lord of The Flies" gives thinking readers valuable insight into the ramifications of failing to form a society with morally sound values. The theme of this fictional work strives to give us the impression that we need to work for the common good in order for society to continually survive, for a house divided against itself cannot stand. In order to be successful, we need to submit to members of authority. The choir boys on the island never bothered to listen to the handful who tried to form an organized civilization on the island because of inherent selfishness. They wanted to have things their own way, which reveals their internal sense of evil. Just as the choir boys began their quest for survival on the island in a disorganized manner, they ended up getting rescued in the same manner. The island was ablaze because of the tribal attempt to hunt down Ralph, the boys were all filthy from covering up their faces, and were running to the shore in a savage manner when adult figures finally arrived on the island to save them. They were caught in the middle of acting as if they were savages who had never been exposed to the light of civilized life. It would be better for us to continually heed to the voice of reason, lest we end up in a state of hopeless anarchy as the British choir boys on the island did and perish.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Psalm 34: Taste And See That The LORD Is Good

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
11 Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
22 The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

Absurd Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox Objections To Sola Scriptura

  • "The Phrase 'Bible alone' Is Absent From Scripture":
            -Let it be granted that the phrase "Bible alone" is absent from the pages of our Bibles. However, the mere fact that the Bible does not occupy a specific word describing an article of the Christian faith does not prove it to be unbiblical. For example, the word "Trinity" is absent from Scripture. The same is equally true of the word "Incarnation". But these two examples are clearly biblical doctrines. The same can be said of Sola Scriptura, for the Apostle Paul emphatically stated that Scripture alone equips the man of God for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17).  
  • "The Church Came Before The Bible":
            -The underlying problem with this argument is that it synonymously occupies the terms "Bible" and "New Testament". This is known as the fallacy of equivocation.  
            -While it is true that Jesus Christ established the Christian church prior to the writings of the New Testament canon, this does not in any way suggest that the New Testament cannot function as its criterion. Neither does this prove that the Old Testament could not have functioned as the final authority for the first century Christians. 
            -What needs to be recognized here is that the first century church was governed by the apostles and that their teachings did not differ in substance from what was already taught in Scripture. The apostolic doctrine was not supplementary in nature, but rather was complimentary. The newer revelation from God simply elaborated on already established doctrines. In other words, the New Covenant is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant.
            -Existing prior in time does not logically translate into evidence of being in higher authority. If a sequence in a given order is equivalent to different ranks of authority, then does it not follow that the Old Testament was superior to the New Testament Scriptures and the church, since it existed before they did? Is the Book of Ezekiel somehow more authoritative and inspired than the writings of the Apostle Paul? Is Adam superior to Jesus Christ?
  • "Jesus Commissioned A Gospel Preaching, Not A Bible Reading church":
            -This objection would have merit, if, and only if, the gospel revelation was developed independently of Scripture. In other words, this argument against Sola Scriptura would be valid if the teachings of the gospel were not found in the Bible. But this is certainly not the case. Not only is the message of the gospel prefigured in the Old Testament (i.e. Psalm 23; Isaiah 53), but the oral teaching is specifically identified in New Testament passages such as John 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. We have no spoken words of our Lord Jesus Christ or the apostles documented outside the New Testament Scriptures and are thus obliged to derive our gospel preaching off them alone.
            -The original doctrines of Christianity are unchangeable (i.e. Galatians 1:6-12). They were delivered to the saints "once for all" (Jude 3). If we do not study Scripture for ourselves or have religious training that is directly based on Scripture, then how can we rightly preach the gospel? How can we represent the original church? From whence would the church derive its authority to preach? How could we know with any degree of certainty that Christ gave that church who demands submission is faithful to God's will? Why do we even have a Bible? It is not as though Jesus and the Holy Spirit were in disagreement with each other.
  • "Jesus Did Not Write Any Scripture":
            -So what if Jesus Christ did not choose to write any Scripture? The mere fact that He did not choose to take a writing utensil to formulate divinely inspired documents has nothing to do with the authority of Scripture itself, for He is the King of Kings. That was never His purpose. He did not come to write Scripture, but rather to redeem mankind from sin. He is our Savior. But He always taught by using the Scriptures and appealed to them in all matters pertaining to discernment. Would it not be wise to emulate His example?
            -The Lord Jesus Christ commissioned the twelve apostles to spread the message of His work. They continually worked at defending the faith in the first century. They were the first ones appointed to establish and contend for the original churches of God. Hence, they wrote Scripture so that future generations could do the same task of preserving the purity of the glorious gospel. Scripture is meant to be the measuring stick against heresy. 
            -Not only does the argument that Christ did not produce Scripture fail to prove anything, but it is also completely irrelevant to the subject matter being debated at hand. If this anti-Sola Scriptura logic proves anything at all, then it only proves that we should not have a canon of Scripture. It only proves that the apostles, prophets, and their closest associates never should have written Scripture. This would only mean that our detractors should not be holding Bibles in their hands, let alone be reading them. 
            -It is also true that Jesus Christ never baptized anybody (John 4:2). Does this mean that baptism is unimportant or of less importance?
  • "In Matthew 18:15-17, the Lord Jesus Christ gave the church all authority in spiritual matters":
            -This Scripture passage only provides us with a general model of conflict resolution. Nothing within the context of Matthew 18:15-17 indicates that a "church hierarchy" is supposed to preside over all matters in the church.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Is The Church of Christ a Sound, Biblical Church?

  • Introduction:
          -The intention behind writing this article is not to bash any members of the Church or Christ or to cast any form of condemnation on those who are affiliated with these churches, but rather serves to reveal some fundamental concerns that exist within the Church of Christ sects. Hence, the question that this article strives to answer can be a very confusing, convoluted process because many smaller, individualized congregations occupy the title "Church of Christ", yet have significant doctrinal differences at the same time. While the majority of these non-denominational sects have indeed been established upon the solid foundation of the gospel, some are borderline cult-like in their preferential customs, traditions, and doctrines. In short, this means that the answer to whether a single "Church of Christ" group is biblically sound or not is completely dependent on the nature of its organizational structure and beliefs.
  • Brief History of the Church of Christ:
          -In 1906, the Church of Christ group broke away from the "Disciples of Christ", which was established in the mid 1800's by Alexander Campbell, over the issue of using musical instruments in worship.
          -The Campbells joined Barton Stone and Walter Scott to create the "Restoration Movement", which was an attempt to restore Christianity back to its original state after the alleged total apostasy of Christianity (or, as they put it, "a great falling away from the truth"). 
  • Was There Ever A Great Apostasy Of Christendom?:
          -If, as Church of Christ members claim, that there was a complete falling away from the truth and light of the gospel, then where was the church of the New Testament before it was restored by God? What happened to the church? How did the truth of the gospel vanish from the face of the earth? Where did the truth go? 
          -Not only is the belief in a complete apostasy of Christianity deprived of historical evidence, but it also violates Christian theology, for our Lord Jesus Christ emphatically promised that His church would be preserved throughout all generations (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 3:21). The Word of the Lord endures forever (1 Peter 1:23-25). Furthermore, there has always been a general consensus among true Christians on essential doctrines such as the Trinity, Incarnation, Hypostatic Union, and the Virgin Birth. 
  • Doctrinal Summary of Church of Christ Groups:
          -Most Church of Christ groups adhere to the essential doctrines of the Christian faith such as the Trinity, the physical resurrection of Christ, and a literal hell. However, others have been corrupted by the stains of heresy. Members of the Church of Christ have embraced a works-based salvation, have completely denied the future event called the Rapture, vehemently oppose the use of instruments in worship, and have even made claims to being the "one true church". The previous list is by no means meant to be exhaustive in nature, but rather serves to be the issues that this article intends to address. These issues are important because they have become sources of division throughout mainstream Christianity, as well.
  • Psuedo-Sola Scriptura:
          -Practically all members who constitute the Church of Christ population adhere to a false view of Sola Scriptura. They redefine this principle to mean that the Bible is the "only" authority existing in the church, whereas the original, classical principle originally meant that Scripture alone is the only infallible rule of faith for the church. The actual view permits for the existence of other authorities in the church, insofar as they stand in complete agreement to the written Word of God. As a result of perverting the concept of Sola Scriptura, Church of Christ advocates have developed various slogans such as, "We speak where the Bible speaks. We are silent where the Bible is silent." This is really ironic, since members of the Church of Christ vehemently reject the establishment of creeds! It is noteworthy to study the Church of Christ deviation from the Reformed principle of Sola Scriptura, for it reveals internal inconsistencies in the arguments of these people.   
  • Works-Based Salvation:
          -One of the false doctrines running rampant throughout the Church of Christ groups is baptismal regeneration. Moreover, most of these people maintain that man must perform meritorious works in order to get saved. They view heaven as an earned "reward", rather than a free gift provided by God to those who are spiritually bankrupt and thus on the verge of eternal condemnation in hell. They add church attendance, weekly Sunday communion, and gospel preaching as prerequisites to faith in the work of Jesus Christ. But where does the New Testament specifically authorize these steps as being necessary for the justification of sinners? 
          -Scripture teaches that we are saved by the grace of God through our faith in Him--apart from the merit of all good works. Works are the product of salvation, not the cause.
  • Denial of The Rapture:
          -Many people who are associated with Church of Christ groups deny the the concept of the Rapture. Instead, they believe that the Lord will come to judge and part the righteous from the wicked. But the Scriptures do affirm that there will be a "departure" of Christians from this world (1 Corinthians 15:20-23; 50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). In the twinkling of an eye, the Lord shall return. In fact, Revelation 20:1-6 speaks of the literal 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ.
  • On Musical Instruments In Worship:
          -Many Church of Christ groups believe that we are forbidden to use instruments in worship because the New Testament does not specifically authorize us to use them. However, the Bible also never specifically instructs us to use hymnals, microphones, pitch pipes, pews, or to worship in a church building, yet these people still occupy all of the previously mentioned items. My point here is that we are to always exercise good judgment. There are Scripture passages in both Testaments that implicitly, if not explicitly, allow us to use instruments in worship (i.e. Psalm 33:2-4; 1 Chronicles 25:5-6; 2 Chronicles 6:5; Psalm 150; Revelation 5:8; 15:2). Not only is it wrong to be so dogmatic about an issue that is so clearly non-essential, but it would also make sense for the Church of Christ members to ramble about using instruments in worship, if people started worshiping them or the Bible expressly forbade us from such activity. But none of this is the case here.
  • More Cult-Like Features:
          -A fourth and final observation that warrants concern is the belief that the "Church of Christ" is the only true church and that no salvation exists outside that particular church body. Although not all members of the Churches of Christ subscribe to such a mentality, it is still widely prevalent throughout various sects that fit into this criteria. These features are still a common characteristic of a cult. But the truth of the matter is that the "true, original church" comprises of all who are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, all throughout the world (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:17-18). It is not limited to any specific group of people who dwell in a specific location.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Pope Francis Casts Doubt On Marian Apparitions

Outrageous Blasphemy From The Roman Catholic Catechism

  • Introduction:
          -While it is true that the Church of Rome does not teach that human beings can become gods in the afterlife, its official catechism does contain a handful of disturbing statements that appear to indicate that Christians can become God in the supernatural realm. Roman Catholicism solemnly professes to adhere to strict monotheism. Hence, devout Roman Catholics have produced a number of different apologetic retorts when confronted with the following two quotes from their catechism. Nevertheless, the quotes seem pretty literal and straightforward. They seem to have blasphemous overtones:
             +"The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature":"For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God." "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God." The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods." (CCC# 460)
              +"Christ and his Church thus together make up the "whole Christ" (Christus totus). The Church is one with Christ. The saints are acutely aware of this unity:  Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God's grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man. . . . The fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does "head and members" mean? Christ and the Church. Our redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself. Head and members form as it were one and the same mystical person. A reply of St. Joan of Arc to her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the believer: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter." (CCC# 795)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Luther Added The Word "Alone" to Romans 3:28?

                                      By James Swan at Beggars All Reformation And Apologetics

Have you ever been in a discussion in which it was asserted that Martin Luther added words to the Bible?

Here Are Some "choice" comments from the depths of cyber-space:

"Martin Luther ADDED words to the Bible that were not there. When he was confronted with this sin of adding to the Bible he replied: "Bacause Dr. Martin Luther will have it so!" This man was one ego-maniac with delusions of popehood." [Source]

"Romans 3:28 states, "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law" (NKJV). Martin Luther, in his German translation of the Bible, specifically added the word "allein" (English 'alone') to Romans 3:28-a word that is not in the original Greek. Martin Luther reportedly said, "You tell me what a great fuss the Papists are making because the word alone in not in the text of Paul…say right out to him: 'Dr. Martin Luther will have it so,'…I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word 'alone' is not in the Latin or the Greek text" (Stoddard J. Rebuilding a Lost Faith. 1922, pp. 101-102; see also Luther M. Amic. Discussion, 1, 127). This passage strongly suggests that Martin Luther viewed his opinions, and not the actual Bible as the primary authority--a concept which this author will name prima Luther." [Source]

"By September 1522, Luther had translated the New Testament into his version of the German Bible. It is to be noted that Luther taught a false doctrine that man was saved by faith alone, and upon his own recognizance and without any authority, he added the word "alone" to Romans 3:28, ... thereby ignoring all of the verses which admonish anyone not to add to or take away from, the Holy Word of GOD. He displayed his inflated ego and total arrogance, when he wrote the following regarding his addition:"If your Papist annoys you with the word (alone), tell him straightway, Dr. Martin Luther will have it so: Papist and ass are one and the same thing. Whoever will not have my translation, let him give it the go-by: the devil's thanks to him who censures it without my will and knowledge. Luther will have it so, and he is a doctor above all the doctors in Popedom."Amic. Discussion, 1, 127. Demonizing again! My My, tsk tsk, such language Dr Luther, and didn't he elevate himself above everyone on earth?This is the example set by the first Protestant, for his version of the command of Jesus Christ of, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 22:36-40)." [Source]

"...Luther insists on his own (in effect) absolute infallibility. In defending his addition of the word "alone" to Romans 3:28 ("faith alone"), Luther railed: Thus I will have it, thus I order it, my will is reason enough . . . Dr. Luther will have it so, and . . . he is a Doctor above all Doctors in the whole of Popery. (O'Connor, 25; Letter to Wenceslaus Link in 1530)One wonders whether Luther uttered these absurd sentiments with a smile on his face, or with tongue in cheek. In any event, such boastful, essentially silly and foolish rhetoric is not uncommon in Luther's voluminous writings." [Source]

The arguments above are fairly simple: Luther simply inserted the word “alone” into Romans 3:28. Luther is painted as outrageous: he shows a total disregard for the sacred text, simply making it say what he wanted it to.

How to respond:

1. First, locate the context.
The main text of Luther used for these type of comments are his Open Letter on Translating (1530). Luther says in the introduction:
“…there has been much discussion about the translating of the Old and New Testaments. It has been charged by the enemies of truth that the text has been modified and even falsified in many places, which has startled and shocked many simple Christians, even among the educated who do not know the Hebrew and Greek languages. It is devoutly to be hoped that with this publication the slander of the godless will be stopped and the scruples of the devout removed, at least in part. Perhaps it may even give rise to more writing on such questions and matters such as these. Therefore I ask all lovers of the truth to take this work to heart seriously, and faithfully to pray to God for a right understanding of the divine Scriptures, to the improvement and increase of our common Christendom.”
The first section of the treatise is actually fairly angry, sarcastic, and humorous. Luther shows himself fed up with his Papal critics. His anger was fueled against them for an ironic reason- they rallied against his translation, while at the same time utilizing it for their own new translations. A strong Papal critic of Luther (Emser) did just that:
“We have seen that scribbler from Dresden play the master to my New Testament. I will not mention his name again in my books, as he has his Judge now, and is already well-known. He admits that my German is sweet and good. He saw that he could not improve upon it. Yet, eager to dishonor it, he took my New Testament nearly word for word as it was written, and removed my prefaces and notes, replaced them with his own, and thus published my New Testament under his name!”

2. Put this context into the quotes being misued.

With this context in mind, point out that Luther was blasting away at his Papal critics:
“If your papist wishes to make a great fuss about the word sola (alone), say this to him: "Dr. Martin Luther will have it so, and he says that a papist and a donkey are the same thing." …For we are not going to be students and disciples of the papists. Rather, we will become their teachers and judges. For once, we also are going to be proud and brag, with these blockheads; and just as Paul brags against his mad raving saints, I will brag against these donkeys of mine! Are they doctors? So am I. Are they scholars? So am I. Are they preachers? So am I. Are they theologians? So am I. Are they debaters? So am I. Are they philosophers? So am I. Are they logicians? So am I. Do they lecture? So do I. Do they write books? So do I.”
“I will go even further with my boasting: I can expound the psalms and the prophets, and they cannot. I can translate, and they cannot. I can read the Holy Scriptures, and they cannot. I can pray, they cannot. Coming down to their level, “I can use their rhetoric and philosophy better than all of them put together. Plus I know that not one of them understands his Aristotle. If any one of them can correctly understand one preface or chapter of Aristotle, I will eat my hat! No, I am not overdoing it, for I have been schooled in and have practiced their science from my youth. I recognize how deep and broad it is. They, too, are well aware that I can do everything they can do. Yet they treat me as a stranger in their discipline, these incurable fellows, as if I had just arrived this morning and had never seen or heard what they teach and know. How they do brilliantly parade around with their science, teaching me what I outgrew twenty years ago! To all their noise and shouting I sing, with the harlot, "I have known for seven years that horseshoe nails are iron.”
“Let this be the answer to your first question. Please do not give these donkeys any other answer to their useless braying about that word sola than simply this: "Luther will have it so, and he says that he is a doctor above all the doctors of the pope." Let it rest there. I will from now on hold them in contempt, and have already held them in contempt, as long as they are the kind of people (or rather donkeys) that they are.”
One can almost feel Luther’s anger towards his Papal critics. They discredited him as a doctor of theology, a degree he earned in a rather quick period of time, and his academic abilities were above most. Indeed, he had done the work necessary to be taken seriously. His critics criticized his German translation while at the same time stealing it for their own translation- this infuriated him, and rightly so.

3. Luther's actual reasoning for using "alone" in Romans 3:28

This is the sad part about those who use Luther's Open Letter On Translating against him. He actually goes on to give a detailed explanation of why he uses the word "alone" in Romans 3:28. In the same document, in a calmer tone, Luther gives his reasoning for those with ears to hear:
“I know very well that in Romans 3 the word solum is not in the Greek or Latin text — the papists did not have to teach me that. It is fact that the letters s-o-l-a are not there. And these blockheads stare at them like cows at a new gate, while at the same time they do not recognize that it conveys the sense of the text -- if the translation is to be clear and vigorous [klar und gewaltiglich], it belongs there. I wanted to speak German, not Latin or Greek, since it was German I had set about to speak in the translation.”
Luther continues to give multiple examples of the implied sense of meaning in translating words into German. He then offers an interpretive context of Romans:
“So much for translating and the nature of language. However, I was not depending upon or following the nature of the languages alone when I inserted the word solum in Romans 3. The text itself, and Saint Paul's meaning, urgently require and demand it. For in that passage he is dealing with the main point of Christian doctrine, namely, that we are justified by faith in Christ without any works of the Law. Paul excludes all works so completely as to say that the works of the Law, though it is God's law and word, do not aid us in justification. Using Abraham as an example, he argues that Abraham was so justified without works that even the highest work, which had been commanded by God, over and above all others, namely circumcision, did not aid him in justification. Rather, Abraham was justified without circumcision and without any works, but by faith, as he says in Chapter 4: "If Abraham were justified by works, he may boast, but not before God." So, when all works are so completely rejected — which must mean faith alone justifies — whoever would speak plainly and clearly about this rejection of works will have to say "Faith alone justifies and not works." The matter itself and the nature of language requires it.”

4. Previous translations of the word “alone” in Romans 3:28

Luther offers another line of reasoning in his “Open Letter on Translating” that many of the current Cyber-Roman Catholics ignore (and most Protestants are not aware of):
“Furthermore, I am not the only one, nor the first, to say that faith alone makes one righteous. There was Ambrose, Augustine and many others who said it before me.”
Now here comes the fun part in this discussion.

The Roman Catholic writer Joseph A. Fitzmyer points out that Luther was not the only one to translate Romans 3:28 with the word “alone.”

At 3:28 Luther introduced the adv. “only” into his translation of Romans (1522), “alleyn durch den Glauben” (WAusg 7.38); cf. Aus der Bibel 1546, “alleine durch den Glauben” (WAusg, DB 7.39); also 7.3-27 (Pref. to the Epistle). See further his Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen, of 8 Sept. 1530 (WAusg 30.2 [1909], 627-49; “On Translating: An Open Letter” [LuthW 35.175-202]). Although “alleyn/alleine” finds no corresponding adverb in the Greek text, two of the points that Luther made in his defense of the added adverb were that it was demanded by the context and that sola was used in the theological tradition before him.
Robert Bellarmine listed eight earlier authors who used sola (Disputatio de controversiis: De justificatione 1.25 [Naples: G. Giuliano, 1856], 4.501-3):

Origen, Commentarius in Ep. ad Romanos, cap. 3 (PG 14.952).

Hilary, Commentarius in Matthaeum 8:6 (PL 9.961).

Basil, Hom. de humilitate 20.3 (PG 31.529C).

Ambrosiaster, In Ep. ad Romanos 3.24 (CSEL 81.1.119): “sola fide justificati sunt dono Dei,” through faith alone they have been justified by a gift of God; 4.5 (CSEL 81.1.130).

John Chrysostom, Hom. in Ep. ad Titum 3.3 (PG 62.679 [not in Greek text]).

Cyril of Alexandria, In Joannis Evangelium 10.15.7 (PG 74.368 [but alludes to Jas 2:19]).

Bernard, In Canticum serm. 22.8 (PL 183.881): “solam justificatur per fidem,” is justified by faith alone.

Theophylact, Expositio in ep. ad Galatas 3.12-13 (PG 124.988).

To these eight Lyonnet added two others (Quaestiones, 114-18):

Theodoret, Affectionum curatio 7 (PG 93.100; ed. J. Raeder [Teubner], 189.20-24).

Thomas Aquinas, Expositio in Ep. I ad Timotheum cap. 1, lect. 3 (Parma ed., 13.588): “Non est ergo in eis [moralibus et caeremonialibus legis] spes iustificationis, sed in sola fide, Rom. 3:28: Arbitramur justificari hominem per fidem, sine operibus legis” (Therefore the hope of justification is not found in them [the moral and ceremonial requirements of the law], but in faith alone, Rom 3:28: We consider a human being to be justified by faith, without the works of the law). Cf. In ep. ad Romanos 4.1 (Parma ed., 13.42a): “reputabitur fides eius, scilicet sola sine operibus exterioribus, ad iustitiam”; In ep. ad Galatas 2.4 (Parma ed., 13.397b): “solum ex fide Christi” [Opera 20.437, b41]).

See further:

Theodore of Mopsuestia, In ep. ad Galatas (ed. H. B. Swete), 1.31.15.

Marius Victorinus (ep. Pauli ad Galatas (ed. A. Locher), ad 2.15-16: “Ipsa enim fides sola iustificationem dat-et sanctificationem” (For faith itself alone gives justification and sanctification); In ep. Pauli Ephesios (ed. A. Locher), ad 2.15: “Sed sola fides in Christum nobis salus est” (But only faith in Christ is salvation for us).

Augustine, De fide et operibus, 22.40 (CSEL 41.84-85): “licet recte dici possit ad solam fidem pertinere dei mandata, si non mortua, sed viva illa intellegatur fides, quae per dilectionem operatur” (Although it can be said that God’s commandments pertain to faith alone, if it is not dead [faith], but rather understood as that live faith, which works through love”). Migne Latin Text: Venire quippe debet etiam illud in mentem, quod scriptum est, In hoc cognoscimus eum, si mandata ejus servemus. Qui dicit, Quia cognovi eum, et mandata ejus non servat, mendax est, et in hoc veritas non est (I Joan. II, 3, 4). Et ne quisquam existimet mandata ejus ad solam fidem pertinere: quanquam dicere hoc nullus est ausus, praesertim quia mandata dixit, quae ne multitudine cogitationem spargerent [Note: [Col. 0223] Sic Mss. Editi vero, cogitationes parerent.], In illis duobus tota Lex pendet et Prophetae (Matth. XXII, 40): licet recte dici possit ad solam fidem pertinere Dei mandata, si non mortua, sed viva illa intelligatur fides, quae per dilectionem operatur; tamen postea Joannes ipse aperuit quid diceret, cum ait: Hoc est mandatum ejus, ut credamus nomini Filii ejus Jesu Christi, et diligamns invicem (I Joan. III, 23) See De fide et operibus, Cap. XXII, §40, PL 40:223.

Source: Joseph A. Fitzmyer Romans, A New Translation with introduction and Commentary, The Anchor Bible Series (New York: Doubleday, 1993) 360-361.

Even some Catholic versions of the New Testament also translated Romans 3:28 as did Luther. The Nuremberg Bible (1483), “allein durch den glauben” and the Italian Bibles of Geneva (1476) and of Venice (1538) say “per sola fede.”

Further Information

I've also had a written debate with a Roman Catholic on Luther's use of the word "alone." That can be found here.

Natural Remedies Of God's Creation

Shrubby St. John’s Wort

The common name for the plant that I have chosen to conduct research on is called “Shrubby John’s Wort”. The Latin name for Shrubby John’s Wort is Hypericum ascyron.

Shrubby John’s Wort grows in the form of a shrub. It is a perennial. It blooms from mid-July through September. It fruits from September to November. The flowers of the plant are yellow, which are five parted. Has a ring of orange anthers. Shrubby St. John’s Wort has dark green leaves. It is arranged in a terminal cyme. It’s fruit is in the form of a capsule, which has three different compartments. The leaves on a Shrubby St. John’s Wort are oblong and have opposite arrangements. The plant has a woody base.

Originally, St John’s Wort grew in parts of Europe and Asia. This plant was native to these regions. But it has proliferated in different temporal regions worldwide. St. John’s Wort is known as an invasive weed to some.

St. John’s Wort does not grow in any particular soil. It grows in sand, clay, rocky soil, or loam. It can tolerate both moist and dry soil. It thrives in a wide variety of environmental conditions.

It grows in prairies, swamps, and meadows.
Growth cycle: St. John’s Wort reproduces by seed. This plant  grows underground roots. The plant develops fruiting capsules. It develops prostate winter stems (woody stems). Winter stem growth takes place from June to September. Then, St. John’s Wort grows upright flower spikes. Full flowering takes place.
There are no known variations of Shrubby St. John’s Wort.

St. John’s Wort grows a strong taproot. It grows many lateral roots. The leaves on St. John’s Wort are long, light green in color, and oppositely arranged on the woody branches. The plant produces yellow or orange flowers which have black dots on the edges of the petals. The flowers on St. John’s Wort appear to be star-shaped.

There are no specific growth instructions for Shrubby St. John’s Wort. The plant grows in moist soil. It can either grow in a fully sunlit location or in an area of partial shade. St. John;s Wort can even be grown from cuttings.

St. John’s Wort can be used for medicinal purposes. This plant can be used in the treatment of  disorders such as anxiety and depression. It can also be used to treat other conditions such as an upset stomach, insomnia, hemorrhoids, and muscle pain. However, possible side effects of using St. John’s Wort include, but are not limited to, anxiety, dry mouth, headache, skin rash, and diarrhea. In fact, the consumption of this plant may be poisonous to animals.   

The strong and wide root system of St. John’s Wort has been used to prevent erosion.