Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Lord's Supper Is To Be Understood Symbolically

Verse 22: The head of the household blessing bread and wine was standard for any meal, but later sources suggest that special blessings were used for Passover. Jewish people broke bread rather than sliced it. In Aramaic, one would not distinguish “is” from “represents.” The standard Jewish interpretation of what the household head pronounced over the bread at Passover was not literal: “This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate when they left Egypt.” No one assumed that the bread they were eating was 1300 years old, or had been digested by the ancestors; rather, they reenacted those events and participated in them.

23: Probably some time by the end of the first century, Jewish people used four cups at their Passover meal (like Greeks at banquets); scholars have suggested that this is the fourth cup (which followed blessing the bread) or the third. A common cup was passed, using red wine.

24: Sacrificial blood had long been used to ratify biblical covenants (for “blood of the covenant,” see Exodus 24:8). God had redeemed his people from Egypt through the paschal lamb’s blood. “On behalf of many” probably reflects Isaiah 53. Passover ritual interpreted the wine, but not as blood; the law forbade drinking blood.

25: Jewish people often made vows of abstinence (e.g., “I will not eat this or that until a particular thing happens”; similarly, “I will not use this or that …”). Jewish blessings over the wine called it “the fruit of the vine.” Early Jewish sources often view the kingdom as a banquet (cf. Isaiah 25:6-9); endless wine would then be available (Amos 9:13).

26: People usually sang the remaining part of the Hallel (Ps 113 to 118) after the Passover meal and lengthy discussion about the Passover. (Music was common fare at many ancient banquets.) Walking from a home in the Upper City to the Mount of Olives presumably took fifteen minutes or longer.


Friday, July 27, 2018

Sufficient Proofs For The Word Of God

"Men crave in these days some demonstration from the unseen world. Here is abundance of such evidence—Here is clear proof of an unseen and almighty intelligence presiding over human history, and showing us that He does so by describing beforehand the whole course of its events. What need we any further proof? The order of the visible world is evidence of the invisible to him who reads history in the light of prophecy! He beholds the hand of God in human experience, and watches the development of the Divine plan in the progress of the world. He knows, moreover, what events to expect, for he discerns his own chronological position in the stream of time; and as nine-tenths of the program have already been fulfilled, he doubts not that the remaining tenth will be in its predicted and fast-approaching season. And further, it is clear that if by so many infallible proofs we are convinced that the Bible as a whole is from God, no difficulties as to the mode of its inspiration, no scientific or critical objections, should be suffered to interfere with our hearty and thankful reception of its revelation. If God has spoken, man is responsible to hear, to believe, and to obey. And lastly, may we say, that to study the Christian evidences, whether of this or of any other kind, is merely to examine the foundations of the house. It is well at times to do this. But it is better to enter and abide in the house! It is infinitely better to avail one’s self of its shelter from the stormy blast, to enjoy its rich and spacious accommodation, to dwell in safety and peace under its blessed roof and to gaze on the widespread prospect from its windows."

Henry Grattan Guinness (1835-1910)

Contradictions Between Sexual Revolution And The #MeToo Movement

"There is a deep tension between the premises of the sexual revolution and those of #MeToo. The sexual revolution promises greater availability and enjoyment of sexual pleasure without commitment or guilt. This promise can only be accomplished by the trivialization of the intrinsically personal meaning of sex. It is very difficult to see how we can simultaneously promote the trivialization of sex and treat sexual assault with the seriousness that it deserves.

But a powerful personal drive like sexual desire cannot really be trivialized, and its personal meaning cannot be completely denied. If sex ceases to be about love, it will necessarily be about war. This is evident in the hook-up culture, which pushes the revolution’s core premise—sex without marital commitment, or “free love”—to its logical conclusion by elevating sex without any commitment at all. In the hook-up culture and its #MeToo reaction, we can see how sex without comprehensive commitment necessarily becomes predatory, thus paving the way for sexual assault."

Elizabeth Schlueter and Nathan Schlueter, What #MeToo and Hooking Up Teach Us About The Meaning of Sex

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sex Needs More Than Just Consent

"Certain moral norms follow from the personal meaning of sex. In the first place, there is a need for consent. Sexual contact without consent is a direct assault against the whole person. It is deeply depersonalizing. But sexual assault is only the most extreme kind of sexual depersonalization. Every time a person is used for sexual gratification, he or she is depersonalized. This fact accounts for the true meaning of sexual modesty (and shame), not puritanical repression. It is our natural defense against the “objectifying” gaze, against being used for someone else’s gratification.

But not just any kind of consent is adequate to the intrinsic and personal language of sex, and thus to the dignity of the person. Because sex is an embodied union of thewhole person, consent to sex without total commitment to the whole person contradicts the meaning and language of the body. It makes an act that speaks love between persons into an act of use of persons.

Sex is thus very different from other human activities. In some contexts, the mutual “use” of persons is morally acceptable. In typical market transactions, for example, the parties “use” one another for their own benefit. When someone purchases bread from the baker, each person is unproblematically looking to his or her own advantage, and (unless the transaction involves force or fraud) neither person feels“used.”

Why is it that “feeling used” is a common experience in sexual intercourse, even when it is consented to? And what conditions for sexual intercourse would prevent that feeling? While “affirmative consent” may at least avoid rape, most people have a sense that consent should be broader, that sex should at least be “a part of a relationship.” But what kind of relationship is sufficient to prevent sex from being depersonalizing? A committed one? How committed? Experience leads us to the following conclusion: Nothing short of comprehensive personal consent—in other words, marriage—is adequate to the intrinsic language of sex or the vulnerability it necessarily entails."

Elizabeth Schlueter and Nathan Schlueter, What #MeToo and Hooking Up Teach Us About The Meaning of Sex

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Commentary On Hebrews 10:7

"Then said I, lo, I come,.... Christ observing that legal sacrifices were not acceptable to God; that there was a body prepared for him; and that it was written of him in the book of God, that he should come; and the time being now come, with a note of attention and admiration, the matter being of great moment and concern, he cheerfully expresses his readiness to come, immediately, without any compulsion, even he himself, and not another.

In the volume of the book it is written of me; in the book of the law, as the, Targum and Kimchi on Psalm 40:7 interpret it; and which may design the Bible in general, the whole book of the Scriptures of the Old Testament: so ספר, "the book", is used for the whole BibleF18, and it is saidF19, all the whole law, that is, all Scripture, is called מגילה, "a volume"; accordingly there are things written of Christ in all the writings of the Old Testament, in the law, and in the prophets, and in the psalms. Jarchi interprets it of the law of Moses, and so it may design the pentateuch, or the five books of Moses; and there are several places therein, in which it is written of Christ, and particularly in Genesis, the first of these books, and in the head, the beginning, the frontal piece, the first part of that book; namely, Genesis 3:15 which may be principally designed. Books were formerly written in rolls of parchment, and hence called volumes; See Gill on Luke 4:17, See Gill on Luke 4:20. The end of his coming is next expressed by him,

to do thy will, O God; which, when he came, he set about with the utmost delight, diligence, and faithfulness, in preaching the Gospel, performing miracles, doing good to the bodies and souls of men, and in finishing the great work of man's redemption, which was the main part of his Father's will he came to do; and which he did, by fulfilling the law in its precept and penalty; by offering himself a sacrifice to God; by suffering death, the death of the cross; by destroying all his and our enemies, and so working out everlasting salvation."

Gill, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/hebrews-10.html. 1999.

Jesus Is Worshiped As God In Scripture

  • Discussion:
          -If critics of the Trinity are correct about Jesus Christ not being God, then how do they account for the multiple occasions throughout Scripture where He is worshiped as one who has divine status? Consider the following texts from the Gospel of Matthew:

          "After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." (Matthew 2:11)

          "And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!" (Matthew 14:33)

          "And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him." (Matthew 28:8-9)

          The problem for folks who reject the deity of Christ is further enhanced as one considers how the Old Testament Scriptures expressly condemn idolatry (Exodus 20:4-6; 34:14; Deuteronomy 6:13; 32:29; Isaiah 42:8). Only God is to be worshiped. If Jesus Christ is not God, then He cannot rightly be the recipient of worship. This excerpt provides us with necessary backdrop:

          "To enter into this debate, you must understand the Greek term for worship: proskuneo. Groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses are quick to point out that proskuneo can refer to the act of bowing low to the ground before someone. This act was used to express respect or reverence towards a superior (e.g. a king). In these situations, proskuneo is better translated or bow down, not worship. However, when proskuneo is used in a religious context, it is an act of acknowledging deity. Therefore, context is key in determining whether or not Jesus was actually worshiped."

           The four gospels clearly indicate that Jesus Christ was revered as a deity. His triumphant arrival into Jerusalem and praise from a crowd on Palm Sunday especially brings this point into light (Matthew 21:15-16). The people had called Christ hosanna, which is an utterance of adoration and recognition of His Messiahship. When confronted by Jewish leadership about this incident, He quoted Psalm 8:2. That context indicates the type of honor that only God is worthy of receiving. Yet, Jesus Christ applied to Himself that passage from the Psalms which was originally addressed to Yahweh. Christ believed Himself to be God in the flesh.

           It is also telling to note that the New Testament records angels and the apostles always refusing the type of honor that Christ accepted (Acts 10:25-26; 14:13-15; Revelation 4:10; 19:10; 22:8-9). Neither would it have made any sense for the Father to say that He was pleased with His begotten Son (Matthew 3:16-17), if He were acting disobediently. Christ never once in Scripture rebuked anybody who worshiped Him.

           If Jesus is not God, and accepted worship in violation of Jewish Law, then the New Testament must be in error for telling us that Jesus lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:14-16). He would not even be a good moral teacher. If Jesus Christ is not co-eternal with the Father, then He is not really much different from the rest of us. Would anybody say, "Lord, save me," to a mere prophet (Matthew 14:28-30)?

           It is evident from Scripture that Christ is the second Person of the triune God. Revelation 5:13-14 describes the same amount of worship being given to the Lamb and God. The Greek term "latreuo" is applied both equally to the Father and Son in Revelation 22:3. In this passage, the throne of the Lamb is made equivalent with the throne of God. This excerpt from Dr. Thomas Constable's expository notes is pertinent here:

           "[Revelation] 22:3 There will no longer be a curse because the tree of life will heal (redeem?) the nations. The curse in view is probably the curse that God pronounced on the old creation at the Fall (cf. Zech. 14:11; Mal. 4:6). God will have intimate fellowship with His people because this curse has now been lifted. Evidently believers (His bond-servants in the new creation; cf. 1:1) will occupy themselves serving God and the Lamb in the new earth. The Greek word for “serve” (latreuo) suggests priestly service in view of its other uses in this book (cf. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). “His” and “Him” present God and the Lamb as essentially one being."

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

No Such Thing As "Co-Dependency"

"The literature on codependency is based on assertions, generalizations, and anecdotes. … To start without the slightest shred of scientific evidence and casually label large groups as diseased may be helpful to a few, but it is potentially harmful and exploitive as well. If as the best sellers claim, 'all society is an addict,' and 96% of us are codependents, that leaves precious few of us outside the rehab centers — but at that point the claims become ludicrous at best."

“Codependency,” University of California Berkeley, Wellness Letter, October 1990, pg.7, cited by Gary E. Gilley and M. Kurt Goedelman, “Twelve Steps in the Wrong Direction: A Biblical Critique of Codependency and Alcoholics Anonymous,” The [PFO] Quarterly Journal, January-March 2016, pg.15

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Shroud Of Turin Is Not Genuine

"Bloodstains found on the shroud of Turin burial cloth, believed by many to have once wrapped the body of Jesus Christ, are likely fake, according to new research reported in the Journal of Forensic Sciences.

In June 2017, researchers at the Institute of Crystallography found traces of blood on the 14-foot-long relic, with initial analysis of the particles discovering "a scenario of great suffering, whose victim was wrapped up in the funeral cloth."

The nanoparticles uncovered were found to not be typical of the blood of a healthy person.

The Journal of Forensic Sciences report on July 10 revealed that the bloodstain patterns were analyzed in a type of crime scene scenario. In the test, researchers found that the linen seems to have been patched with bloodstains from a standing model, and not from a crucified man or a facedown corpse....

In 1988, radiocarbon measurements suggested that the shroud was a forgery made somewhere between 1260–1390 A.D., but later research found that the fibers tested at the time were from a patch added later on the shroud, and not part of the original cloth.

DNA sequencing tests in 2015 found pollen and dust particles from the shroud belonging to plants from South America, the Middle East, Central Africa, Central Asia, China, and other regions.

The Catholic Church has never declared the shroud to be a genuine religious relic, but regards it as an icon, attracting millions of people when it is put up for public display at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, where it is kept."


The Scriptural Definition Of Repentance

        There is confusion amongst professing Christians as to the definition of repentance, namely whether it consists of a change in mind or a change in ways. The Bible does provide a definitive answer to this question, which is deemed utterly unsatisfactory to the many in our culture and to those who preach a watered-down version of the gospel (2 Timothy 4:3). 

        According to Scripture, the act of repentance is more than a change of mind. It involves turning from sinful ways. It involves entrusting oneself to God, who gives lavish, tender forgiveness. Repentance is not a work, but a change in heart. It is a change in purpose. It is a change in perspective. Repentance is crying out to God, admitting the futility of remaining in sin. This theme was taught especially in the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 14:6; 18:20-31). The underlying theme of the gospel is repent or perish. Repentance is certainly accompanied with godly sorrow and grief, as was the case of the Apostle Peter who denied knowing Jesus Christ three times in a row (Luke 22:62-64). Consider how the men of Nehemiah responded to the preaching of Jonah:

          "Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it." (Jonah 3:5-10, emphasis added)

          Note how Jesus Christ alludes to this Old Testament event:

          "The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here." (Matthew 12:41)

          People who profess the name of Christ have no excuse for not having repented of their sins. They will have a desire to serve God because their hearts have been changed by the Holy Spirit. The lives of the apostles themselves are evidence of this truth. If we truly wish to inherit eternal life, then we must turn to God and seek the forgiveness that He provides. True repentance will inevitably result in a changed lifestyle. An aspect of repentance is the conviction that sin should no longer persist in our lives. We must recognize that we are spiritually bankrupt sinners who are in need of His redemption. The New Testament indicates that faith and repentance are inseparable (Mark 1:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 20:21). If there is no repentance, then there can be no forgiveness of sin by God.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

We Are Solely Responsible For Staying Out Of Poverty

"No one can blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault. If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault. Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior."

Walter Williams, “Dependency, Not Poverty

Friday, July 20, 2018

General Causes Of Poverty

"A majority of poor people, however, are poor because they did it to themselves. They failed to educate themselves. No matter how lousy government schools are, you can learn in them if you want to. One study of Asian children found that they excelled whether they attended a good school or a slum school. The difference was, their parents motivated them to learn.

Besides, there is hardly a city or town in America that doesn’t have a public library, and there’s a Ph.D.’s worth of knowledge sitting on those shelves, free for the taking. Harrison Ford, the actor, went to a library and taught himself to be a master carpenter before he became a successful actor. The public libraries are probably one of the most valuable and least used resources in America that are available to everyone.

Some people are poor because they develop drug or alcohol addictions. Chemical addictions are not racial in the least. I know of a former lawyer and judge, white as bleached flour, who wrecked his career, his family and his life because of an addiction to crack cocaine. A chemical addiction can drive anybody down if it is not faced and stopped.

Some people are poor because they never developed good work habits or even good grooming. Nobody is going to hire some kid with his pants down around his buttocks, who talks jive instead of English, and who is two days from his last brush with soap and water. Nobody is going to keep or promote someone who is chronically late for work, watches the clock and is the first out the door...

Some people are poor because they never learn to handle money. Government schools and a lot of parents fail their children in this regard. It’s one of the most important things a child can learn, because the formula for success is simple: You must spend less than you earn; you must save and then invest. That’s all there is too it. There are thousands of how-to books written on the subject, but the good ones all boil down to those three rules. Spend less than you earn. Save it. Invest it…

Finally, as sad as it is to say it, some people are poor because they are stupid and/or lazy. These you can’t help. They will either squander or let somebody gyp them out of whatever you give them...But don’t buy this con game of laying poverty on the non-poor. It’s bull uttered by people with an ideological interest in big government."

Charley Reese, “Poor do it to themselves,” Conservative Chronicle 10/19/05

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Roman Catholicism And The Canon Of Scripture

"It is not that the Church and her Magisterium actually create the canon: even less do they endow Scripture with its authority, as mistakenly rather than intentionally certain Catholic apologists have sometimes maintained. With this dogma, as with the others, Church and Magisterium simply recognize the truth established by God's action, submit to it and, since they are responsible for it, proclaim it with authority, making it into a Church law."

Yves Congar, The Meaning of Tradition, p. 110

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Why The Left Loves And Hates Science

“Why do you hate science?”

That’s the question leftists have taken to asking non-leftists. Leftists claim to love science, insofar as anyone can love a method for testing a hypothesis, and accuse their enemies of hating it. How can anyone love or hate an indifferent set of techniques? And how can an ideology that believes technological civilization is destroying the planet really claim to love the science behind it?

But swap out “science” for “god” and the question, “Why do you hate science” makes perfect sense. So do the constant assertions of love for science. These aren’t scientific assertions, but religious ones.

Actual science doesn’t care whether you love or hate it. That’s not how you engage with the theory of relativity. But religion is measured by love and hate. Either you love a deity or you hate it.

No one loves or hates science. But they do love Scienticism. Scienticism is science without skepticism. It takes the ideas of science and uses them to create an infallible belief system that gives our lives meaning and dictates how we should live those lives.

In other words, a religion.

Its god is Homo Progressivus, born an ape and ascending to singularity synthesis. Its heaven is a social services agency. Its saints died for social progress. And if you want angels, why not try UFOs?

Religion is vanishing in Europe and America is catching up. Morals are as outdated as phrenology. No one believes in the golden future anymore. Least of all the worshipers at the chrome altar of Scientism.

Every crackpot leftist theory from Marxism to Global Warming is cloaked in an inevitable something. The revolution of the working class can’t be stopped. The world is bound to run out of food, oil and sanctimony. The rise of the oceans can’t be stopped (except by electing Democrats). Science says so.

But science is the opposite of infallible. Its strength is its fallibility.

Science offers a crab walk forward, because it’s willing to admit and correct errors. But Scientism never admits it’s wrong. Instead it claims that scientific testing has found it absolutely true. Then it hides its data and tries to pass laws banning anyone from questioning its absurdly premature conclusions.

Scientism strips science of its greatest strength and builds a cargo cult around wearing a lab coat.

The left loathes real science because it hates skepticism. But it loves infallibility. And that is all that’s left of its science. What was once the soul of secularism, a belief system bestriding civilization, now exists solely to offer infallibility to whatever loathsome nonsense the left believes at any given moment."


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Per Fidem Solam: Romans 3:24 In The Würzburg Glosses, 8th Century

.... Very interesting: Per Fidem Solam: Romans 3:24 in the Würzburg Glosses, from an Irish theologian in the 8th Century:

"23 For all have sinned and do need the glory of God. 24 Being justified freely by his grace [that is, by faith alone, i.e. the faith of belief in Jesus Christ], through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [that is, it is He that has redeemed and it is He also that is the ransom, i.e. by the blood] 25 Whom God had proposed to be a propitiation [that is, it has been set forth in the mysteries of the Godhead, to make atonement for those who believe his liberation would be in the blood], through faith in his blood, [that is, through the faith of every one who believes in his salvation through His blood] to the showing of his justice, for the remission of former sins."


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Scholarly Affirmation Denying Papal Supremacy

"It was during the Middle Ages that Christianity, in the form of the Roman Catholic Church, became a political power in western Europe. A leader called a bishop headed each major Christian community. By the A.D. 500s, the bishops of Rome, now known as popes, became the leaders of the Catholic Church." Eastern Orthodoxy was, “not under the leadership of the popes in Rome, but rather the emperors in Constantinople.”

Our World Today: People, Place and Issues, Boehm, et. Al, Glencoe/McGraw-Hill (2003), page 241, section "The Rise of Christianity"

Catholic Answers Provides Lousy Excuses For Marian Devotion

  • Discussion:
          -An apologist named Mary Beth Kremski wrote an article for Catholic Answers titled Making Peace with the Mediatrix, where she attempts to clarify Catholic doctrines on Mary, especially the title of Mediatrix in light of 1 Timothy 2:5. In fact, the author boldly stated:

          "The idea that Jesus alone can mediate grace actually contradicts Scripture: Ephesians 4:29 tells us that you and I are to "impart grace" to others by our words. As members of the body of Christ, we are called to "impart" (or mediate) grace in a variety of ways, including ministries of healing, teaching, and prayer."

          There are absolutely no words that can sufficiently express the degree of absurdity behind this rhetoric. The Roman Catholic Church clearly teaches that Mary is co-mediator with the Lord Jesus Christ, whereas Scripture teaches that He is the one who reconciles man to God. This constitutes a flat contradiction. There is no explaining this away. Scripture tells us that the only way that we can reach the Father is through the Son (John 14:6). 

          We do not access Christ through Mary. There is no other name among men by which we can be saved (Acts 4:10-12). Thus, He is the only one who can impart to us salvific grace. The reason He is the mediator of the New Covenant is that He give Himself up as an expiatory sacrifice for the sins of this world. Yet, the author has the audacity to suggest that "the idea that Jesus alone can mediate grace actually contradicts Scripture." Next, consider the cited proof-text in the Catholic Answers excerpt being dissected:

          "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." (Ephesians 4:29)

          This passage of Scripture speaks of us "imparting grace" in the sense of being graceful and compassionate. The context stresses the importance of godly conduct in the Christian life. It has nothing to do with praying to souls who have departed into the supernatural realm. It says nothing concerning the administration of grace that brings about conversion, which the Church of Rome claims also belongs to Mary. The Bible does not give to Mary and saints attributes that Rome has assigned to them. Hence, the points made by the folks at Catholic Answers are outright wrong. The entire article which has been linked here in this post is a work of fanciful speculation, twisted exegesis, and cognitive sophistry.

          The Roman Catholic concept of prayers to deceased saints is not only foreign to the pages of Scripture, but is also contradicted by primitive writers. Consider a handful of excerpts from various early church fathers:

          "Neither does [the Church] accomplish anything by angelic invocations, or by incantations, or by some other perverse curious art, but she directs her prayers to the Lord, who has done all things, in a pure, sincere and upright spirit, and invoking the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, she is accustomed to doing miraculous works for the benefit of mankind, not to make them wrong...the altar is then in heaven. our prayers and directed offerings)." (Irenaeus of Lyon, Against Heresies 2:32: 5 and 4:18:6)
          "Paradise, the place of heavenly bliss appointed to receive the spirits of the saints, cut off from the knowledge of this world." (Tertullian, Apology 47)

"For whoever of his soul serves the Divine Being in any other way, who does not always take into account the Creator of everything, to direct his prayers to Him alone , and to do all things as if in the eyes of God, who sees us completely, even our thoughts." (Origen, Against Celsus 7:51)

          "But if we accept prayer in its full sense, we can never pray to any created being, not even to Christ himself, but only to the God and Father of all whom our Savior has prayed as we have already shown, and teaches us to pray." (Origen, About Prayer 10)

          "It is evident that those who pray to the dead , or venerate the earth, or offer their souls to unclean spirits, do not act as if becoming men, they will suffer punishment for their wickedness and guilt , who, rebelling against God the Father of the human race, committed themselves to inexpiable rites, and violated the whole sacred law." (Lactantium, The Divine Institutes 2:18)

           "Moreover, when we stand praying, beloved brethren, we ought to be watchful and earnest with our whole heart, intent on our prayers. Let all carnal and worldly thoughts pass away, nor let the soul at that time think on anything but the object only of its prayer. For this reason also the priest, by way of preface before his prayer, prepares the minds of the brethren by saying, 'Lift up your hearts,' that so upon the people's response, 'We lift them up unto the Lord,' he may be reminded that he himself ought to think of nothing but the Lord. Let the breast be closed against the adversary, and be open to God alone." (Cyprian, On the Lord's Prayer, 31)

           Church historian Philip Schaff notes, in his History of the Christian Church, the following regarding the Roman Catholic Marian dogmas which developed after the New Testament Scriptures were penned:

           "Thus the veneration of Mary gradually degenerated into the worship of Mary; and this took so deep hold upon the popular religious life in the Middle Age, that, in spite of all scholastic distinctions between latria, and dulia, and hyrerdulia, Mariolatry practically prevailed over the worship of Christ...Irenaeus calls her also the "advocate of the virgin Eve," which, at a later day, is understood in the sense of intercessor. On this account this father stands as the oldest leading authority in the Catholic Mariology; though with only partial justice; for he was still widely removed from the notion of the sinlessness of Mary, and expressly declares the answer of Christ in John ii. 4, to be a reproof of her premature haste. In the same way Tertullian, Origen, Basil the Great, and even Chrysostom, with all their high estimate of the mother of our Lord, ascribe to her on one or two occasions (John ii. 3; Matt. xiii. 47) maternal vanity, also doubt and anxiety, and make this the sword (Luke ii. 35) which, under the cross, passed through her soul."

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Abortion Is Wrong Even If The Fetus Is Not A Person

"Marquis thinks abortion is wrong even if the fetus is not a person.

Once again, to see the force of this strategy, imagine two people on a sidewalk debating the issue. If someone told you that the two debaters had come to agree that the fetus is not a person, you’d probably form the belief that the “pro-choice” side had won; likely, you’d conclude that the “pro-lifer” had been convinced.

But Marquis’ argument doesn’t rely on the fetus being a person.

Here it is:

(1) What makes killing someone wrong, in most respects, is it deprives them of a future of value.

(2) When a fetus is killed, it suffers the same kind of loss.


(3) Abortion is immoral just as killing an adult or a child is immoral.

As Marquis puts it:

When I am killed…I am deprived of all the value of my future. Inflicting this loss on me is ultimately what makes killing me wrong. This being the case, it would seem that what makes killing any adult human being prima facie seriously wrong is the loss of his or her future. …

The future of a standard fetus includes a set of experiences, projects, activities, and such which are identical with the futures of adult human beings and are identical with the futures of young children. Since the reason that is sufficient to explain why it is wrong to kill human beings after the time of birth is a reason that also applies to fetuses, it follows that abortion is prima facie seriously morally wrong.

Notice that Marquis’ argument doesn’t rely on the fetus being a person. Marquis is in essence shoving the question of personhood aside and looking strictly at what it is that makes killing someone wrong.

If it turned out that what makes killing someone wrong crucially relies on personhood, then Marquis wouldn’t have an argument against abortion (using the assumptions he’s relied on). But the wrong-making feature of killing that he’s identified is something adults, children, and fetuses share when each of them are killed. So if the feature that makes killing someone from the first two groups wrong is that it deprives them of a future of value, then it also furnishes us with an argument against abortion, since the fetus, like the child and the adult, has a future of value.

(Interestingly, Marquis’ argument does not provide grounds for seeing euthanasia as wrong, given that in many cases the candidate for euthanasia does not have a future of value.)

Notice that Marquis’ argument is not vulnerable to the familiar “pro-choice” lament that anti-abortionists are “giving full rights to a potential person” or anything like that. The question of personhood is irrelevant.

Marquis’ argument relies on a theory about what makes killing someone wrong, and then noticing that the same effects occur when a fetus is killed — the fetus, like the adult, is wrongly stripped of a future of value. It’s not like, when an adult is killed, someone can plausibly respond “Yes, but, they only had this ‘future of value’ potentially — so there’s no wrongdoing here.” No one would accept this reasoning. That’s because, as Marquis notes, we see this future of value as something an adult possesses in the present. That’s precisely why we’re so scandalized when someone is killed — they are robbed of something — the most precious thing — they possess: their future of value.

That’s what makes abortion seriously immoral."


Friday, July 13, 2018

The Legacy Of The True Historical Patrick

                                            By Greg Bentley Of Berean Beacon

Ireland has a very distinctive history. It was an island untouched by the Roman legions, and Patrick, the Evangelist, brought to it the Gospel of grace. Patrick was descended from a family that had placed their faith in Christ Jesus for at least two generations. He tells us his father was “the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a presbyter, of the settlement of Bannaven Taburniae.”[1] These facts are recorded in Patrick’s own testimony of faith. This authentic document is preserved in five manuscripts: one in the Book of Armagh of the seventh century, the second in the Cotton Library of the tenth century, a third in the French monastery of St. Vedastus, and two more in the Cathedral Library of Salisbury. This authenticated document is the main source of both the person and the mission of Patrick, and also his clear statement of the Gospel of grace.

Patrick was born in the year A.D. 373[2] in a town on the River Clyde in Roman Britain, now a part of Scotland. When he was sixteen years old, Patrick was captured by a band of pirates who sold him to a chieftain in what is now county Antrim in Northern Ireland. For six years he tended flocks. In his testimony, he tells us, “I was taken captive before I knew what I should desire and what I should shun.”[3] It was during the time of his captivity that he turned from his careless ways and came to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. He was convicted that he was a sinner. In his own words,

“[B]efore I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and He that is mighty came and in His mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for His great favours in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure.”[4]

Patrick, like so many of the godly men of history, found God’s favor in the riches of the grace of Christ. This was the theme echoing throughout the testimony of Patrick, in his own words “I am greatly God’s debtor, because he granted me so much grace.”[5] He then grew in the grace of God. Having believed on “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,”[6] he directly received “of his fullness…grace for grace.”[7] In his own words,

“More and more did the love of God, and my fear of Him and faith increase, and my spirit was moved so that in a day [I said] from one up to a hundred prayers, and in the night a like number; besides I used to stay out in the forests and on the mountain and I would wake up before daylight to pray in the snow, in icy coldness, in rain, and I used to feel neither ill nor any slothfulness, because, as I now see, the Spirit was burning in me at that time.”[8]

Patrick relates how, after six years, he escaped and following a difficult journey on land and sea returned to his people in Scotland. In his own words, “I was again in Britain with my family [kinsfolk], and they welcomed me as a son, and asked me, in faith, that after the great tribulations I had endured I should not go any where else away from them.”[9]

His Direct Mission from the Lord

Like the Apostle Paul, he received a clear and personal call from the Lord to preach the Gospel in the land of his former captivity. He described his call in these words,

“I saw a man whose name was Victoricus coming as if from Ireland with innumerable letters, and he gave me one of them, and I read the beginning of the letter: ‘The Voice of the Irish’, and as I was reading the beginning of the letter I seemed at that moment to hear the voice of those who were beside the forest of Foclut which is near the western sea, and they were crying as if with one voice: ‘We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us.’ And I was stung intensely in my heart so that I could read no more, and thus I awoke. Thanks be to God, because after so many years the Lord bestowed on them according to their cry.”[10]

He speaks of being called again in a dream another night, but makes it clear how he interpreted what was happening by the Scriptures. He wrote, “‘Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we know not how to pray as we ought. But the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for utterance.’” And again, “‘The Lord our advocate intercedes for us.’” Thus, Patrick relies on Scripture to understand his experience and to see that it was the Lord Himself who was calling him. In his own words, “He who gave his life for you, He it is who speaks within you.”[11] He understood that Christ Jesus, who had died for his sins, was the One who was calling him to work as an evangelist in the very island where he had been held captive.

A second historical document from Patrick’s own hand is his letter to Coroticus. In it he explains, “Thus I am a servant in Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[12] This is a major factor in understanding Patrick. He knew himself as a sinner and found salvation where only sinners find it, “in Christ Jesus our Lord.”[13] The first words of his testimony read, “I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many.” Likewise, in the beginning of his letter to Coroticus he states, “I, Patrick, a sinner, unlearned, resident in Ireland”. Quite clearly Patrick saw himself as a sinner. He did not look to some spark of divine life from within himself or to some ritual; rather, he looked unto Christ Jesus. Patrick’s words, “unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” shows his distinct and personal comfort and courage in Christ. Totally unlike religion that looks to rituals, Patrick had his eyes set on the Lord. Catholicism now, and to some extent even in Patrick’s time, looks to sacraments as necessary for salvation.[14] Patrick saw himself only as a sinner saved by grace in Christ Jesus. Patrick’s message is that salvation is totally in Christ alone—a message utterly diverse from that of Roman Catholicism, then and now.

His Mission Begins

Patrick, the Christian evangelist, being about 30 years old, together with some brothers in the Lord, set out for Ireland. He arrived in or about the year 405. This fact of history is authentic and verified. For example, Marcus, an Irish Bishop, who lived at the beginning of the ninth century, states that Patrick came to Ireland in the year 405, and Nennius, who lived about the same time, repeats the statement.[15] This date is of great importance because many centuries later there was an attempt made to confuse Patrick with Palladius, who had been sent out by Pope Celestine as a missionary to Ireland. When news of Patrick’s Christian success had reached Rome, Pope Celestine then sent Palladius as a bishop to bring the churches under the control of the Papacy. It was in 432, at least 27 years after Patrick’s commission from God, that Palladius from Rome came on the scene. When Palladius did come to Ireland, it was to an Ireland that had many Christian churches and that did not accept his message of subservience to the Bishop of Rome. In actual fact, Palladius was greatly discouraged by his lack of success. To quote from the historian Philip Schaff, “Palladius was so discouraged that he soon abandoned the field, with his assistants, for north Britain, where he died among the Picts…. The Roman mission of Palladius failed; the independent mission of Patrick succeeded. He is the true Apostle of Ireland, and has impressed his memory in indelible characters upon the Irish race at home and abroad.”[16]

God’s Grace Over the Course of Sixty Years

The work of Patrick and his associates in Ireland was extremely difficult. He came up against the old pagan religion of the Druids. The people believed in the Druids as pagan priests who would mediate for them in the things of the spirit. When Patrick preached Christ Jesus in his own words he said,

“I am greatly God’s debtor, because he granted me so much grace, that through me many people would be reborn in God, and soon after confirmed, that clergy would be ordained everywhere for them, and the masses lately come to belief, whom the Lord drew from the ends of the earth. As He once promised through His prophets: ‘To you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited naught but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.’[17] And again, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the uttermost ends of the earth.’ And I wish to wait then for His promise which is never unfulfilled, just as it is promised in the Gospel.”[18] He wrote of baptizing many thousands of believers after they had professed faith.[19]

He also wrote about anxious journeys, difficulties, and disappointments. He combated the powers of darkness in the priesthood of the Druids. He relied on Christ Jesus and the glorious Holy Spirit given to convict people of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He understood grace to be entirely from God when he declared,

“I, alone, can do nothing unless He Himself vouchsafes it to me. But let Him search my heart and [my] nature, for I crave enough for it, even too much, and I am ready for Him to grant me that I drink of His chalice, as He has granted to others who love him. Therefore may it never befall me to be separated by my God from His people whom He has won in this most remote land. I pray God that He gives me perseverance, and that He will deign that I should be a faithful witness for His sake right up to the time of my passing.”[20]

Over the course of 60 years, Patrick went the length and breadth of Ireland preaching the Gospel and, like Timothy and Titus before him, he ordained elders and established churches. It is reckoned that at the end of his days there were 365 churches across the island. These were established, as were the churches in biblical times, with the people served by a pastor or elder. The authority of the pastor was one of service, rather than lording it over the people. It was like the establishing of churches thatwere written about in the pages of the New Testament. Likewise, the monasteries set up by Patrick, were totally unlike the monasteries that were established under the Church of Rome. These monasteries were quite like those of the Vaudois and other early Christian churches of northern Italy and southern France, whereby men came aside for some years to be trained in the Scriptures and to learn how to evangelize and to bring the Gospel to others. Later in their lives, these men married and had families. These men were not forsaking the world for some retreat of inner holiness; rather, they were men who saw light and life in Christ Jesus and wished to evangelize others with the true Gospel. Because of these monasteries andthe churches that Patrick founded in Ireland, Ireland became known as the “Isle of Saints and Scholars.”

Six Hundred Years of Fruitfulness

The clarity of the Gospel message cherished by Patrick and those who worked with him was to live on for many years after him. There were many famous missionaries like Patrick, such as Columba and his companions who set out for Scotland in 563. Then there was Columbanus with his companions that went to evangelize France and Germany in 612. Kilian and the brothers that accompanied him went as missionaries to Franconia and Wurzburg in 680. Forannan and twelve brothers with him set out to bring the Gospel to the Belgian frontier in 970.[21]

For more than 600 years, Irish missionaries carried the Gospel with the same truthfulness as Patrick’s to Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, and beyond. Darkness covered Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries. The Dark Ages had begun and the Roman Church, having gained rulership through intrigue and persecution, now held most of Europe in her iron grip. Even so, in those dark centuries, the Irish missionaries continued to spread the true Gospel, seed which for centuries to come would bear much good fruit all across Europe.
Embezzlement of the Legacy of Patrick

With the coming of the Danes in the ninth century, however, the Celtic Church in Ireland began to lose its biblical clarity. Furthermore, Papal Rome began to unleash military power to bring Ireland under her control. This began with the decree of Pope Adrian IV issued to King Henry II of England in 1155. The Pope authorized the invasion of Ireland and sent the k
ing a ring of investiture as Lord of Ireland, calling upon the monarch to, “to extirpate the vices that have there taken root, [in Ireland]…saving to St. Peter and the holy Roman Church the annual pension of one penny from each house.”[22]

King Henry carried out the designs of the Papacy in 1171 and with a strong military force subdued the whole Irish nation. He received from every Archbishop and Bishop, at the Synod of Cashel in 1172, charters whereby they confirmed the Kingdom of Ireland to him and his heirs. The King sent a transcript of these charters to Pope Alexander III, who, according to the letters of the Archbishops and Bishops, was extremely gratified by the extension of his dominion, and in 1172 issued a bull confirming the Papal decree of Pope Adrian. Further rulings were sent from Rome to Henry II and to the princes and nobles of Ireland, and to the bishops of Ireland to establish the hierarchy over the people and pastors and command obedience of both Ireland and England to the Papal throne.

The Heritage of Patrick Lives On!

The heartbeat and the soul of Patrick was the Gospel of Christ. He wrote in his testimony,

“I am imperfect in many things, nevertheless, I want my brethren and kinsfolk to know my nature so that they may be able to perceive my soul’s desire. I am not ignorant of what is said of my Lord in the Psalm: ‘You destroy those who speak a lie and a lying mouth deals death to the soul.’ Likewise the Lord says in the Gospel, ‘In the day of judgment, men shall render an account for every idle word they utter’’ So it is that I should fear mightily, with terror and trembling, this judgment on the day when no one shall be able to steal away or hide, but each one shall render account for even our smallest sins before the judgment seat of Christ.”[23]

These words of Patrick are like a prophetic trumpet of the Lord. It is most serious to steal the legacy from the people of the nation, particularly when that heritage was life and light in Christ Jesus! Many Irish have grown up engrossed in the rites and rituals of Roman Catholicism. Many of us, turning from those dead things and having drunk deeply of the biblical grace of God that is in Christ Jesus, now want to stand on Patrick’s words, “no one shall be able to steal away or hide, but each one shall render account for even our smallest sins before the judgment seat of Christ.” To publish abroad the Gospel of God’s chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world”[24] is our longing now, as it was Patrick’s then. The wonder of Patrick’s life was simply God’s grace in Christ Jesus. The divine call to the true Gospel went forth from Ireland for more than 600 years. Just as Patrick expected the power of God’s grace to overcome the priesthood of the Druids, we now stand for the same biblical Gospel that he preached to evangelize even those in the Catholic priesthood and hierarchy. The battle is the Lord’s and the victory will be His. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”[25] In the legacy of Patrick, we pray Christ words, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.”[26] The frightening words of the Lord ring in the ears of those who spend their lives in man-made religion, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”[27] No person by merely acknowledging Christ through a priesthood and sacraments shall have any part with God in Him, but only the one who does the will of His Father. The Lord made the will of the Father abundantly clear when He said, “this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”[28] “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts….”[29] As Christ Jesus’ Gospel stands, so also is His call on your life. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”[30] Believe on Him alone for, “this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”[31] Then you will stand where, before you, Patrick stood immoveable, and this is how it will be for all eternity. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”[32] “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” §

Permission is given to copy and distribute this article.

[1] The Confession of Patrick, http://irelandnow.com/confession.html 1/18/2012

[2] “According to the best authorities, Patrick was born about A.D. 373; and Lanigan has adduced good evidence to prove that he died in A.D. 465 (Apud Lanigan, vol. iv. p. 112). The Book of Armagh furnishes corroborative evidence of the same fact. It says, ‘From the passion of Christ to the death of Patrick there were 436 years.’ The crucifixion took place about A.D. 30; and adding these thirty years to the 436 that intervened between the crucifixion and the death of Patrick, we arrive at A.D. 466 as the year of his demise. Traditions of the highest authority attest that he spent sixty years in preaching the Gospel to the Scoto-Irish.” From, “St. Patrick: Apostle of Ireland” in History of the Scottish Nation by J.A. Wylie (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co. Andrew Elliot, Edinburgh 1886) Vol. II, Ch 9.

[3] The Confession of Patrick, p. 2.

[4] Ibid., p. 2

[5] Ibid., p. 5

[6] John 1:14

[7] John 1:16

[8] The Confession of Patrick, p. 2.

[9] The Confession of Patrick, p. 3.

[10] Ibid., p 3.

[11] Ibid., p. 3.

[12] Letter to Coroticus, http://prayerfoundation.org/st_patricks_letter_to_coroticus.htm 1/30/03, p. 2.

[13] “…that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith..” Philippians 3:8-9

[14] “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” (italic in the original). Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second ed., (United States Catholic Conference, 1997) Para. 1129.

[15] The historian, J A Wylie goes to great lengths of demonstrate the fact that Patrick came to Ireland to evangelise in 405. Among others, he quotes Dr. Killen as saying “‘Its [i.e., this fact] claims to have been acknowledged by the best critics of all denominations,’ by Usher, Ware, Tillemont, Lanigan, and Neander….He [Dr. Killen] thinks that Patrick arrived in Ireland immediately after the death of Nial, or Nial of the Nine Hostages, in the year 405.’” From “St Patrick: Apostle of Ireland” by J.A. Wylie in History of the Scottish Nation, Vol. II, Ch. 13, endnote No. 4.

[16] Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 4, Ch. 2, Sect. 14, “The Conversion of Ireland”.

[17] Jeremiah 16:19

[18] The Confession of Patrick, p. 5.

[19] Ibid., p. 2.

[20] Ibid p 8

[21] For a more complete list, see Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 4, Ch. 2, “Conversion of Northern and Western Barbarians”, Sect. 15, “The Irish Church after St. Patrick. The Missionary Period”.

[22] The full text of the Papal Bull of Pope Adrian IV that empowered king Henry II to conquer and subdue Christian churches to Rome can be read at: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/medieval/bullad.htm 2/1/2003

[23] The Confession of Patrick, p. 8.

[24] Ephesians 1:4

[25] Luke 12:32

[26] John 17:24

[27] Matthew 7:21

[28] John 6:29

[29] Hebrews 3:7, 8

[30] Romans 10:17

[31] 1 John 5:11-12

[32] II Corinthians 5:17

Presenting A Different Jesus

"The Jesus being presented in many churches today is different because He is not the One we find in the Bible. The popular Jesus being presented is the one who fills churches to the rafters with fans and not disciples. People are following a genie in a bottle that will grant them all of their hopes and dreams. He is a Hallmark card version of Jesus who is willing to overlook sin and just be a good friend to pal around with. He never makes us feel bad or consider ourselves less than number one.

Many of our modern churches focus on self-improvement instead of dying to self. This is works based nonsense and basically, the same thing practiced among many pseudo-Christian cults including Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormonism. The logic is if you work hard enough and be good enough, you can earn eternal life.

Instead of lovingly warning people about fleeing the wrath to come, we decide we know a better approach. We attempt to woo people into the Christian life by presenting its features and benefits much like a good salesman. This isn't the biblical model of how to present the gospel and it is certainly not the way to make disciples.

The local church's main purpose isn't to help people improve their financial planning skills, have a better marriage, or to get them connected into activities galore for the whole family. What people desperately need is to hear the gospel to come to the end of themselves and be truly born again. We don't want to present a different Jesus who is a cosmic genie who caters to our felt needs and desires.

Trouble begins when seeker-sensitive hirelings who are not shepherds water down the gospel. They present a different Jesus and this is a deception plaguing many churches today. These preachers may want to improve their image, popularity, or ministry numbers, so they make coming to Jesus about life enhancement, not dying to oneself.

I feel the uneasy tension when [speaking] to people about heaven, hell, eternity, sin, and repentance. The Lord never promised it would be easy to be His disciple but he promised to be with us always and give us the words to say when we testify about Him. It's my deep desire and prayer for each of us to renew our commitment to speak the truth, with love as the motive and do it with boldness as the Holy Spirit directs us. While many are compromising and presenting a different Jesus, I pray the faithful remnant will continue to make Him known."


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Theological Musings On Music

"...Music in our day is dominated by the rapidly degenerating corruption of our society. It is riding the culture’s corruption down. For music that is beautiful, music that is magnificent, we have to go backwards in time. We have to get out of this culture to another time and another place. We even call that classical music. We have to go back sometimes decades, maybe centuries, to find music that endures because of its quality, its elevation, its dignity, its excellence.

...The music of the redeemed is different. We live in a different world. We are citizens of a different kingdom. The music of the redeemed is alien to the music of the world. The music of the redeemed is reflective of that which is most lofty, most elevated, most exalted, most noble: the truth of God – it never changes. So our music doesn’t ride the culture. Music doesn’t ride the culture among the redeemed, it simply reveals the truth, and the truth never changes.

...Music is not worship. Music is a means to express worship, but it is not worship. Worship is the heart going up toward God in gratitude and thanksgiving for all that God has done: that’s worship. Worship is acknowledging God to be who He is revealed to be in Scripture. It is acknowledging what God has done; and in particular, that He has saved us, redeemed us, given us eternal life; and it is expressing gratitude to God. There are many ways to do that; music is one of them. But music is not worship. Music is a means by which a worshiping person expresses his thanks.

Secondly, a misconception is that music motivates worship, music induces worship. That’s not true either.That is not true. It gives expression to love; it gives expression to adoration. But the motivation for that has to come from somewhere else, not from music. Music enhances and enriches. But the motive for all of our songs is not a sound, it’s a truth.

Another misconception is that when people have trouble worshiping, music will create worship, music will create the mood for worship. Worship is not a mood experience. That needs to be said loudly and clearly.You go to many “churches” and you’ll be in the dark, and there will be sensual kind of music that appeals to the flesh at one level or another; and there will be lights flashing in all kind of directions. That has nothing to do with worship; and, frankly, does the opposite of inducing worship. It simply induces a fickle feeling. It’s a false substitute for true worship.

...Another misconception is this, that non-Christians aren’t going to come to church unless we import their music. Music so dominates our culture. It is so ubiquitous that if we’re going to appeal to nonbelievers,we’ve got to change our music. We’ve got to do the kind of music that they like and somehow baptize it if we’re going to reach out evangelistically. That’s not true. Never, never in Scripture is music ever, ever stated to be used as an evangelistic technique in some direct sense.

So what is music? It is the gift of God, common grace to the world, to give them a means of expressing their emotion. That’s the broad part of music: their joys, their sorrows, their hopes, their aspirations, their disappointments. But for believers, it is a gift of God to allow believers to give expression of gratitude to God for who He is, what He’s done, and particularly for our salvation. The redeemed sing. Music reaches its highest level among Christians, its greatest usage among Christians. The music of the church is just that: it’s the song of the redeemed."


Important Facts About The Passion Translation

What are the chief problems with the Passion Translation?

The Passion Translation has many serious problems. These include:

A lack of qualifications of the lead [sole] translator. This is a direct quote from Simmons about his qualifications to undertake this project: “I had minimal background in biblical languages, so yeah, it was something that, honestly, something the Lord has really helped me with.” Source (14:52)

A lack of transparency in his process (i.e., Simmons doesn’t reveal the names of the “reputable” editors and scholars who have supposedly reviewed his work)

Simmons’ reliance on Aramaic manuscripts to produce this translation. This is problematic because the earliest Aramaic manuscripts are from the fifth century. In contrast to Simmons’ translation of the New Testament, the standard English translations are based on much earlier and more reliable Greek manuscripts.

Simmons’ claims to have received a personal appearance from Jesus and a commissioning from him to produce this translation

Simmons’ claims that he received revelation “downloads” from God that would enable him to translate

Simmons’ claims that God would give him secrets of the Hebrew language that would enable him to translate

Simmons’ claims that Jesus showed him a new chapter of the Bible, John 22

His misleading promotion of his work as a “dynamic-equivalent translation” and as a reliable text for serious study of the Bible

Evidence of bias and abuse of the text of Scripture (see below)

What are some noteworthy examples of NAR-friendly bias and abuse of the text of Scripture?

Following are a few examples of bias and abuse of the text. At the end of this fact sheet are links to critics’ sources that contain more examples. Take note that critics have pointed out other examples that Simmons changed after they drew attention to them. So his translation is a moving target. When Simmons has been challenged about faulty renderings of verses, he sometimes has simply revised them – in substantial ways – without offering any explanation for his revisions.

Example 1: Take note of the addition of teaching about the Holy Spirit and the deletion of admonitions to correct and rebuke.

2 Timothy 4:2

Standard English Translations

“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (English Standard Version)

“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” (New International Version)

“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (New King James Version)

The Passion Translation

“proclaim the Word of God and stand upon it no matter what! Rise to the occasion and preach when it is convenient and when it is not. Preach in the full expression of the Holy Spirit[a]—with wisdom and patience as you instruct and teach the people.” (TPT)

Simmons’ footnote a: 2 Timothy 4:2 As translated from the Aramaic.

Example 2: Take note of the NAR bias for an over-realized eschatology — i.e., teachings that the blessings God has promised for the future are readily available in the present age.

Mark 1:15

Standard English Translations
“and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (ESV)

"The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (NIV)

“and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” (NKJV)

The Passion Translation

“At last the fulfillment of the age has come! It is time for the realm of God’s kingdom to be experienced in fullness! Turn your lives back to God and put your trust in the hope-filled gospel!”[a] (TPT)

Simmons’ footnote a: Mark 1:15 The Greek is “believe the good news” (“the gospel”), and the Aramaic is “put your trust in the joyful message of hope.” This translation merges both concepts, making it “the hope-filled gospel.”

Example 3: Take note how he has added the word “first” before the word “twelve.” Could this be because NAR leaders, including Simmons, teach that the office of apostle is ongoing for today?

Matthew 10:2

Standard English Translations

“The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;” (ESV)

“These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John;” (NIV)

“Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;” (NKJV)

The Passion Translation

Now, these are the names of the first twelve apostles: first, Simon, who is nicknamed Peter, and Andrew, his brother. And then Jacob and John, sons of Zebedee. (TPT)

How is the Passion Translation tied to the New Apostolic Reformation?

Brian Simmons, like some other leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation, denies being a part of this movement. Yet the core teaching of the New Apostolic Reformation is the necessity of the present-day governing offices of apostle and prophet along with their new, authoritative revelations. Simmons holds the governing office of apostle with Harvest International Ministry, and works closely with many New Apostolic Reformation leaders. His translation is endorsed almost only (if not exclusively) by NAR leaders. His translation shows significant evidence of NAR doctrinal bias. For these reasons, critics of this translation have dubbed it the “NAR Bible.”


Monday, July 9, 2018

A Review Of David Daniels, Is The ‘World’s Oldest Bible’ A Fake?

In the book, Daniels attempts to argue that Codex Sinaiticus is a modern production (c. 1840s). This bizarre position has been a trend in recent years among KJV-only circles and even taken up by people I’ve known and respected for decades.

I honestly cannot stress enough how much I do not recommend this book to anyone. I quote from my conclusion:

In summary, David Daniels demonstrates over and over again that he is agenda-driven by a desire to undermine any opposition to the KJV, he cherry-picks references that he can twist in his favour without giving the full context (or without reporting information from the same works that he cites elsewhere that could undermine his point), and he has effectively zero experience with real manuscripts. I cannot recommend this book to anyone.One of the most striking things to me is how much Daniels doesn’t say. If you are on the fence about this issue, that should concern you—what Daniels is not telling you.

To be clear, I don’t harbour any ill-will toward Daniels. In fact, I wrote a positive review of one of his other books, a biography of Jack Chick.

That being said, I cannot recommend his book on Codex Sinaiticus to anyone. That is not because I’m opposed to finding out manuscripts are fakes. The Museum of the Bible is to be commended for removing some of its Dead Sea Scrolls after getting further tests done (let’s not forget that they were the ones who paid for these extra tests and have supported Kipp Davis’ investigations on their authenticity this whole time). Also, there was that other manuscript that caused a big stir and turned out to be a fake a few years ago. No, the problem with Daniels’ book is that it is built on one-sided reporting, conspiracy theories and a desire to defend the King James Version at all costs rather than the careful analysis, experience with manuscripts and expertise that normally leads to the identification of forgeries.


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Does Hebrews 6:4-6 Teach That Apostates Cannot Be Forgiven?

        The text of Hebrews 6:4-6 has been a source of brewing controversy among various Christian circles as to its meaning. It certainly is thought-provoking in a solemn sense. In fact, it has put believers into a state of needless panic over it seemingly teaching that people who depart from the truth of the gospel are beyond the reach of obtaining reconciliation with God. Nevertheless, we know beyond a reasonable doubt that Hebrews 6 cannot be enforcing such an idea, considering that Scripture exhorts us to spiritually assist backsliders in coming to repentance (Galatians 6:1).

        What may serve as an antidote to this apparently problematic passage of Scripture is the recognition that the audience to which this epistle was originally dedicated was Jewish. It was primarily addressing Jewish Christians who were thinking of reverting to Old Testament Judaism in the face of upcoming persecution. In short, the author goes on to demonstrate Christ as being superior to the Old Covenant and to urge them to fervently hold fast to the gospel. They were in need of spiritual edification (Hebrews 6:1-3).

        This epistle goes in depth concerning various types, shadows, and how they are fulfilled in the New Testament. It describes Christ as being greater than Moses and the angels. It affirms Him to be our Sabbath and High Priest. The author affirms Christ to be greater than the temple and its sacrifices. He is the fulfillment of the Law, which cannot save us. Its customs are powerless. Jesus established the New Covenant. The Jewish Christians were encouraged to continually remain faithful to the Lord and endure upcoming persecution for His sake (Hebrews 10:23-39).

        So, it is abundantly clear that the author was not trying to say in Hebrews 6:4-6 that God will not forgive the sins of apostates who humbly return to Him. Rather, those who persistently seek the Law as a means of justification are only destining themselves for eternal condemnation. These people are inexcusable because they already know and understand the truth of the gospel. The sacrificial alters have no power to redeem us. The priesthood cannot atone for our iniquity. Jesus Christ already made full atonement for our sin (Hebrews 10:10-14). We are to trust in His work alone for salvation. Those who attempt to reinstate Old Covenant practices are putting Christ to an open shame. They are rejecting the sufficiency of His work. The same can essentially be said of other forms of apostasy, as well. Those who repent of sin, however, can receive mercy from God.

Does The Parable Of The Rich Young Ruler Refute Justification By Faith Alone?

  • Comments On The Story Of The Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:17-30; Luke 18:18-30):
          -A young man who was wealthy approached Jesus Christ and asked him about what kind of works that he needed to accomplish in order to obtain eternal salvation in heaven (Matthew 19:16). He clearly wanted to earn a right standing with God.
          -In response, Christ revealed that the young man fell short of meeting God's perfect standard of obedience to the Law (v. 21-22), as we all do. The disciples marveled at this encounter (v. 25). He concluded the conversation by reinforcing the fact of the impossibility of salvation apart from the work of God (v. 26). So this is in reality another passage that is supportive of the "faith alone" argument.
          -The Parable of The Tax Collector and the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14), which was told right before Jesus ended up meeting with the rich man, clearly teaches that one is saved by his or her trust in God (not dependent upon one's own works).

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Secular Science And Human Rights

"Sheldrake: In theory science does portray humans as just machines, computers, “lumbering robots” in Richard Dawkins’s phrase, with no free will. From this point of view our minds are merely the activities of our brains. On the other hand, most scientists subscribe to secular humanism, which says we should do everything we can to improve human welfare, stop suffering, and so on. So there’s a conflict there. If you consider humans machines, then you should treat them the same way science treats animals, which is what the Nazi doctors did in the death camps; the same experiments long carried out on animals were applied to humans there. There’s nothing in science that tells us humans are special and shouldn’t be treated this way. That idea comes from secular humanism, which is a kind of quasi-religious faith."


The Myth That Roman Emperor Constantine Changed The Sabbath

          We usually hear the claim from Seventh-Day Adventists that the Roman Catholic Church changed the Jewish Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday during the reign of Emperor Constantine in the fourth century. These Sabbatarians argue that we absolutely must avoid worshiping on Sunday due to participation allegedly being the mark of the Beast. 

          Typical attempts to substantiate their claims involve the citation of various nineteenth century authors, who simply made guesses regarding the methodology of early Christian worship services. On the contrary, any notion of the Church of Rome changing the Sabbath Day to Sunday is as false as false can be. The truth of the matter is that mandatory Sabbath observance was only meant for the Nation of Israel, and that the tradition of gathering on Sundays for worship has been practiced since the first century in correspondence to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

          The text of Acts 20:7-12 very clearly describes Christians as having fellowship on Sunday. The New Testament records the existence of this apostolic tradition elsewhere in passages such as John 20:19-20, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, and Revelation 1:10. If we are going to view the New Testament as a reliable historic document, then the charge that Roman Emperor Constantine changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday is refuted because according to this perspective, Christians had already been worshiping on the first day of the week. The tradition of gathering on Sunday has been observed since the timing of the first century. Now, allow us to view a handful of primitive extra-biblical sources to further vindicate this point:

          "Christian Assembly on the Lord's Day: But every Lord's day do ye gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, saith the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations." (Didache: The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, Chapter XIV)

          "We keep the eighth day [Sunday] with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead." (Letter of Barnabas 15:6–8 [A.D. 74])

          "[T]he Gentiles, who have believed on Him, and have repented of the sins which they have committed, they shall receive the inheritance along with the patriarchs and the prophets, and the just men who have descended from Jacob, even although they neither keep the Sabbath, nor are circumcised, nor observe the feasts." (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, chapter XXVI)

            "[T]hose who were brought up in the ancient order of things [i.e. Jews] have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s day, on which also our life has sprung up again by him and by his death." (Ignatius of Antioch​​​​​​​, Letter to the Magnesians 8 [A.D. 110])

            It is simply invalid to assert that the Roman Emperor Constantine altered this Jewish day of observance from Saturday to Sunday. Nobody has the power to change the Sabbath because it was originally instituted by God for the Jewish people.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Does Philippians 2:12 Nullify "Faith Alone?"

          Notice that this verse says "work out," not "work for" your salvation. People who have genuine faith in Christ will by definition be doing good works through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:10). Thus, Christians are able to "work out" their salvation. 

         Works are the product, not the cause, of our justification. Philippians 2:12 does not address justification, but rather speaks of sanctification. See also Philippians 2:13. 

         This passage of Scripture is speaking of growth in the Christian walk. Sanctification is an ongoing process that requires human excretion. 

         The phrase "fear and trembling" indicates a mindset of awe and reverence toward God. It does not denote uncertainty of our standing before God in Christ. We ought to respect Him because He is holy.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Commentary On Hebrews 12:14

Our apostle having now finished his exhortation unto patient perseverance in the profession of the gospel under all sufferings and afflictions, he now proceeds to a prescription of practical duties incumbent upon Christians at all times in the daily course of their conversation, two of which are contained in this verse, namely to follow peace and holiness; the former contains our duty to man, the latter, our duty to God.

Here observe, that both duties are enjoined in one and the same precept, and also with one and the same penalty: Without which, that is, without following of both which without pursuing and endeavouring after both, no man shall see the Lord.

Indeed, if a person follows holiness, though he cannot obtain peace, he may see God provided he pursues peace, and the fault is none of his that he doth not find it; but if he does not pursue peace, though he pretends never so much to holiness, he cannot be happy, for a Christian must be of a peaceable as well as of a pious, conversation; peace and holiness, peacableness and purity, are here joined together, and he neither can be happy in this or the next world, that puts them asunder.

Observe farther, The manner how peace and holiness must be followed, namely, with intense endeavours: The original word imports a vehement pursuit, a metaphor taken from huntsmen, who follow the chase, and pursue their game though it flies before them; if peace be had, though it be upon hard terms, we must endeavour to secure it, for it can never be bought too dear, if it be not purchased by sin and baseness.

A frame and disposition of seeking peace with all, is eminently suited unto the doctrine and grace of the gospel. A forward spirit, ready for strife and contention, easily provoked, and retaining long a sense of injuries, is directly contrary to the spirit and temper of the gospel.

Observe likewise, How that holiness towards God must be accompanied with peaceableness towards man. It is evangelical holiness which is here required; which must be an inward holiness, an universal holiness, a sincere and real holiness, an humble and self-denying holiness, a growing and progressive holiness, and such a holiness towards God as is always accompanied with righteousness towards men.

Observe lastly, The absolute necessity of holiness in order to eternal blessedness, Without it no man shall see the Lord. The future sight of God in glory depends peremptorily on our present holiness, not as the meritorious cause of it, but as a necessary qualification and preparation for it, and as it is the indispensable condition of our obtaining of it. The soul is by holiness made meet and fit for the enjoyment of God in happiness, Colossians 1:12.

Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Hebrews 12:14". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/hebrews-12.html. 1700-1703.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Keep Sex In The “Fireplace"

"In the book of Proverbs, the author takes great strides to warn his son of the dangers of sexual promiscuity and adultery, which could destroy his character and ruin his life. For it is only in the safe pastures of marital fidelity that a man will find joy and satisfaction. Sexual passion is good, as long as it is kept in its proper context. For once the fire gets out of the fireplace (its proper place), it does nothing but burn everything it touches."

Eric J. Bargerhuff, The Most Misused Verses in the Bible, p.142

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Biblical Evidence Against The Apostle Peter Being The First Pope

  • Defining The Issues: 
          -The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ made the Apostle Peter the first pope and that He had built His church upon him. It is also asserted that Jesus gave Peter a unique position of authority over His church which was supposed to get passed on through "apostolic succession" to present-day popes (thereby establishing the concept of an infallible church). These claims to authority have spewed a great deal of controversy among the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant churches.
  • General Absence Of The Papal Office Throughout The New Testament: 
          -The New Testament contains various passages discussing the types of offices, ministers, and qualifications necessary for obtaining such positions in the church (Ephesians 4:11-15; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 5:1-19; Titus 1:5-9). Yet, the concept of a pope is absent in these contexts. Paul does not distinguish Peter from the other apostles in the lists where that specific role is mentioned. Scripture describes individual congregations as being ruled by pluralities of elders (Acts 14:23; 20:28; 1 Timothy 5:17). Moreover, the New Testament says nothing regarding the establishment or existence of a one-head bishop hierarchical church structure. There is no mention of a single human leader rightly claiming to have been bestowed a gift of infallible teaching authority. The Apostle Paul said that he himself was not inferior even to the greatest apostles in 2 Corinthians 12:11.
  • General Absence Of Papal Titles:
          -Peter was never addressed by titles of exultation such as are used to honor popes of later times. In other words, he was never called "Pope," "Chief Shepard," "Head of the Church," "Holy Father," "Sovereign Pontiff," or any other religious titles used to honor popes today. Instead, he was simply called an "apostle and servant" (1 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1) and "fellow presbyter" (1 Peter 5:1). Such titles logically place Peter on the same level of authority as any other elder in the church. The Apostle John also referred to himself as an "elder" (2 John 1; 3 John 1), thereby implying that he had the same authority as Peter. 
            +Some may argue that the Apostle Peter avoided these titles because he was humble and modest. But if that is the case, then why do modern popes refuse to follow Peter's example? The truth of the matter is that the Lord Jesus Christ forbade the practice (Matthew 23:8-12).
           +Jesus is the "Chief Shepherd" of the "flock" (John 10:10; 14-16; Hebrews 13:20), not the pope.
          -Christ is the "head of the church" (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:15; 5:23-25). Roman Catholics believe that the pope is the "visible" head of the church and that Christ is the "invisible" head. However, Scripture reserves no such position for any man. The Kingdom of God is spiritual and so does not require a single earthly leader to guide it.
  • The Apostle Peter Did Not Behave As If He Were A Pope:
          -The Apostle Peter was not a wealthy man as are modern-day popes (Acts 3:6-7). In other words, he did not have a throne, crown, or any other types of riches, as successive popes have enjoyed for centuries.
          -The Apostle Peter did not allow men to bow before him religiously (Acts 10:25-26), but modern popes accept and encourage this kind of behavior. We are not to bow before people to honor their religious office or affiliation (Matthew 4:9-10; Revelation 22:8-9).
  • Scripture Never Tells Us That The "Keys" Of The Kingdom Were Given To The Apostle Peter Alone:
          -All of the apostles were given the authority of the "keys" (Matthew 18:18; John 20:23).
  • The Apostle Peter Was A Married Man:
          -The Apostle Peter was a married man (Matthew 8:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5). However, such is forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, the Apostle Peter is automatically disqualified from leading the Papacy!
  • The Apostle Peter Viewed Himself As Having No Supremacy Over The Church:
          -"Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:1-5)
  • James, Not Peter, Presided Over The Jerusalem Council:
          -Although the Apostle Peter attended the Jerusalem Council, it was James who issued the final ruling that circumcision was unnecessary for salvation.
  • Peter Was Ordered By Others To Travel:
          -"Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them." (Acts 8:14)
  • The Apostle Paul Worked Harder Than Peter: 
          -"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me." (1 Corinthians 15:10).
          -If the Apostle Peter was the first pope, then why did he not write more Scripture?
  • The Apostle Peter Was Only Known As The Apostle To The Jews:
          -If Peter was appointed by Christ to govern the entire Christian church worldwide, then why is it that Paul was the one commissioned to evangelize the Gentiles (Galatians 2:8)? In that same context, the Apostle Peter is only referred to as "one of four pillars," with James being listed as first in order (Galatians 2:9).
  • The Apostle Paul Rebuked Peter As Though He Were His Equal:
          -The text clearly shows that Peter and Paul had equal authority because the former boldly confronted the latter for his sin. Peter is not in an exulted position. Any person courageous enough to publicly repudiate the claims of a Roman bishop in later centuries would most probably get himself or herself executed, if done in the manner as Paul did in the text of Galatians 2:11-14.
  • Paul Never Mentioned Or Greeted "Pope Peter" In His Epistle To The Romans:
          -If the Apostle Peter was the first pope, then why is it that Paul wrote such a theologically rich epistle to the Romans? How come he never bothered to mention such a prominent figure in his greetings (Romans 16)? Where was "Pope Peter" when everybody else had deserted Paul (2 Timothy 1:15; 4:16)?
  • Nobody In Scripture Seems To Recognize That Peter Was Given Special Supremacy:
          -"Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves." (Luke 22:24-26)             +The context of this dispute among the disciples regarding who was the greatest in the eyes of Jesus Christ took place on the night of the Last Supper, moments before His arrest. Even on that night, the apostles still did not seem to recognize that Jesus had already made the Apostle Peter their leader. He did not chide them for failing to give Peter due respect, which is precisely what we would expect if the apostle was indeed appointed into a position of supremacy. Moreover, this passage of Scripture emphatically denies that the church is supposed to have an earthly head governing it!
  • The Apostle Peter Himself Seemed Quite Unaware Of Apostolic Succession:
          -"I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder." (2 Peter 1:13)
          -"And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind." (2 Peter 1:15)
          -"This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles." (2 Peter 3:1-2)
          -How come Peter failed to mention his papal office in the two epistles that he authored?
  • The Apostle Peter Did Not Exclusively Exercise Authority In Church Government:
          -The Apostle Peter was not in charge of the replacement apostle after Judas was dead (Acts 1:23-26). In other words, he did not occupy his supreme authority on this issue of church government like popes would. Instead, all of the apostles nominated two candidates (not Peter alone) and prayed to Christ for an answer (not looking to Peter). Afterwards, they all cast lots to see who the new apostle would be (Peter did not cast any). This passage certainly weakens the Roman Catholic claim that the pope has power over church government.
          -"In Acts 11 Peter is called to answer for his actions in going to Cornelius' house. Does he give evidence of Papal prerogatives here? Does he answer as Innocent III, or Alexander VI? Hardly. There is no mention of his position as Pope. Instead, rather than pleading his position as Vicar of Christ, Peter relates the supernatural vision and direction that had been given to him to proclaim the gospel message to the Gentiles. This no more makes Peter a Pope than Paul's guiding vision in Acts 16." (James R. White, The Roman Catholic Controversy, p. 112)