*BEST OF DTB #144* The Catholic Defender: Our Desert Experience

Posted by John Benko - February 26th, 2012

We all can reflect on the road we have traveled. Many of us can identify what the “desert experience” is. Lent is a great opportunity to take self-inventory to see what stands in our way or what we need to do to grow closer to the Lord.

You may know someone who has been addicted to drugs, pornography, alcohol, cigarettes maybe gambling. When we or a family member has been addicted to something like the above, it can be very difficult for the family.

Sometimes we tend to bring on these desert experiences on ourselves. But not all, some of us have faced abuse, neglect, due to someone who was in control.

There are many people today who are in prison because they themselves were abused and unloved, regardless of any desert experience we have endured or gone through.

There is a light on the other side of the tunnel. There is hope!

Soldiers who are deployed and face danger can identify with this. Families who sacrifice normal family life give daily when their loved ones are on a year long deployment. This is a sacrifice few can appreciate because they do not know what it is for a parent to be gone for a 12-15 month deployment.

The Catholic Church gives us a wonderful opportunity to place our journey and unite it with Jesus Christ.

Through Jesus Christ, we can find strength and necessary healing from our past desert experiences.

Luke 4:18-19 quotes Isaiah 61:1-2, saying “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord”.

Jesus, through his life, death, and resurrection, has brought salvation to the world. No matter what sin we have done, no matter what has happened to us, we all need his help.

St. Paul writes, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers loved by God, how you were chosen. For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction. You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit, so that you become a model for all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded not only in Macedonia and in Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves openly declare about us what sort of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-10).

There is a lot here to consider. We see the importance of prayer in the working of our faith, the labor of love. We see a glimpse of the Trinity as St. Paul invokes the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, showing our hope, our love, and his choosing of us to accomplish his will.

St. Paul infers the Catholic Faith on a couple of instances, “our gospel” covers all the deposit of faith given to the Apostles.

St. Paul also notes that his listeners were “Imitators” of the Apostles which comes through the Holy Spirit. This gospel is proclaimed by the Catholic Church as they went forth teaching and spreading the Faith despite great affliction.

Through their preaching and witness, they turned people away from the worship of idols.

Jesus delivers us from whatever desert experience we have faced. Jesus established the Catholic Faith that is sent by Jesus to proclaim the “Good News”, to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to recover the sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

This is the Catholic Faith, it has been handed down to us, yes, entrusted to us by the Lord himself through His Apostles.

If your sitting on the fence, if you have been abused or have been living in sin, St. Paul offers this advice: “Working together, then, we appeal to you not to recieve the grace of God in vain. For he says: ‘In an acceptable time I heard you, ond on the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).

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* BEST OF DTB #143* Christie hits the big time!

Posted by John Benko - February 26th, 2012

In what will surely be a mortal wound to her humility, Deeper Truth Blog and show contributor Christie Martin will be a Monday (Feb 27, 2012) guest on Gus Lloyd’s Seize the Day show on Sirius XM; The Catholic Channel.

If you are not fortunate enough (we are! we are! we are!) to have Sirius XM (I have it in my car, on my computer and on my cellphone), I will see if we can get an mp3 copy of it.

There is a link to Gus Lloyd’s website on our website, which I am just certain Christie will plug on the show (shameless hint). I am a frequent listener of Gus and I have called in many times. His show is my favorite Catholic channel program.

On behalf of all of the members and fans of Deeper Truth, a heartfelt congratz to Christie! Also, make sure you frequent Her blog!

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*BEST OF DTB #141* Addition by subtraction: How godless heretics like Debra JM Smith create a diffrent gospel by stripping the real gospel of it’s core.

Posted by John Benko - February 23rd, 2012

taken from informingchristians.comThere are those (I am one of them) for which anger and hypocrisy are dangerous traps that one must be on guard against, lest they slip and fall. On the other hand, for others, hate and hypocrisy are as comfortable as an old pair of slippers. It is just who they are. These are the people, like Sister Bertha Betterthanyou, mocked by Ray Stevens in the classic Mississippi Squirrel Revival.

Unfortunately, Debra JM Smith of “Informing Christians is just such a hypocrite. The name of her website is classically ironic in the sense that she is-by no stretch- either informed or Christian. True, she claims to be a Christian but so does Obama. Both fall short, if even from different angles, both theologically and by disposition. Both are woefully ignorant of Scripture and history and both are puffed up to that extreme level of hypocritical self-righteousness that Jesus, John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul so vehemently condemned in the first 18 books of the New Testament. In fact, of the sins Jesus condemned in the Gospels, hypocrisy is, far and away, the biggest.

Luke 18
9And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

What is most ironic about Debra is that I enjoy a far better relationship with most of the Evangelical pastors and followers that support the very same protestant ideology that she claims to adhere to- that of justification by faith alone. This, despite the fact that I have made no bones about my rejection of this doctrine as, not merely false but, in direct opposition to what Scripture teaches (James 2:24) .

The reason for this is simple. Though I do see my Evangelical brothers and sisters as holding to an ill-informed understanding of just how the process of salvation takes place in the life and heart of the believer, I also see in them that true spark of the Holy Spirit’s Divine fire that motivates them to follow the greatest commandments, as recorded in the 22nd chapter of Matthew’s gospel;

35And one of them, a doctor of the law, asking him, tempting him: 36Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? 37Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.
38This is the greatest and the first commandment.
39And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Debra JM Smith, on the other hand, hates anyone who doesn’t agree with her, even to the extent of hating anyone who doesn’t hate anyone that doesn’t agree with her. Recently, she added my friend Jimmy Z , and Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, to the ever-growing list of people not good enough for her.

Gingrich, for being a former adulterer (like King David and Mary Magdalene), and Rick Santorum for being a Catholic who dares to draw breath without her personal, sanctimonious permission. As for Jimmy Z, she has cut off all communication with him and suggested on her website (which, according to Alexa, gets about as much traffic as a dirt road in Ethiopia) that persons like Jimmy Z should be slapped upside the head for their support of Catholic candidates like Gingrich and Santorum. Of course, on her same dysfunctional site, she decries Maxine Waters calling John Beohnner and Eric Cantor demons. Boehnner and Cantor are both devout Catholics.

Jimmy Z has suggested, on his site and his program, that either Gingrich or Santorum would be manifestly better than Obama or Romney. This is about as controversial as suggesting that water is wetter than dirt. This, however, has raised the ire of the wicked witch of the north, who openly opined that it is better that Obama be reelected than she cast her precious vote for one of those Catholic types.

Yes, better to let the babies continue to die so that you can continue to reassure yourself of how pure you are. Jesus, who bled and died for you and picked up Mary Magdalene from the dirt, she was cast down on by her would-be executioners, wouldn’t want you to come down from your ivory tower, would he?

Hypocritical viper.

Of course, the irony is that we supposed non-christian catholics were only too happy to put our support behind any evangelical that may have emerged, only to watch the evangelical voters in Iowa, Florida and Nevada flock to Romney the Mormon. You going to blame the Pope for that one, too?

Of course, this problem puts the glaring spotlight on exactly the fatal flaw of evangelicals and protestantism as a whole. It is a house divided, the surest proof that it’s origin is men and not Christ. The disunity in protestantism testifies infallibly against it’s alleged Divine foundation. God is not divided. The divisions in protestantism are what, ultimately, ensure it’s demise…well…that and the Divine revelation that has ordained it so clearly in the Scriptures. I love and have great respect for most of my protestant brothers and sisters, and believe most of them truly love and seek to serve Christ. However, make no mistake, I am Catholic for a reason. That Catholicism is the fullness of truth, as founded by Christ Himself is, for me, an indisputable fact.

Yes, I have said it. I do not believe that protestantism represents the church that Jesus Christ built on the Rock of Peter (Matthew 16:18) (and yes, it is Peter) and the foundation of the Apostles (Ephesians 2:20). Jesus said very plainly, in Matthew’s gospel that a house divided against itself cannot stand. President Abraham Lincoln echoed those words in his Gettysburg address. taken from informingchristians.com

Protestantism is built on the foundation of an anti-Semitic, vulgar misogynist named Martin Luther (who is on the record as accusing Christ our savior as having committed adultery at least 3 times ) and a murderer named John Calvin. These men were wolves in sheep’s clothing of the very highest order.

Luther attempted, unsuccessfully, to remove both the Book of Revelation and the Epistle of James from the canon of Scripture, calling the latter an epistle of straw and lamenting how he should like to throw Jimmy into the stove.

These are the facts and they are a documented part of the historical record. Denial of these facts is futile. They simply are what they are.

Protestantism, since the late 16th century has only grown into a more fractured entity with new and abhorrent doctrines arising, seemingly by the day, each laughingly purporting to take it’s divine foundation in sacred scripture.

Debra’s notion of being “born-again” is a perfect example. Having been formed in 1910 in Pilot Point, Texas, this perversion of the discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus (John Chapter 3) has no basis in scripture or the history of the Christian church. In describing the necessity of being born of Water and The Spirit (3:5), Jesus is clearly enunciating Sacramental Baptism as a sacrament of initiation in the Christian faith. Those who deny this actually blaspheme Jesus Christ. The historical record is rock solid that the early church understood this.

Justin Martyr
“As many as are persuaded and believe that what we [Christians] teach and say is true, and undertake to be able to live accordingly, and instructed to pray and to entreat God with fasting, for the remission of their sins that are past, we pray and fast with them. Then they are brought by us where there is water and are regenerated in the same manner in which we were ourselves regenerated. For, in the name of God, the Father . . . and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit [Matt. 28:19], they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, ‘Unless you are born again, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:3]” (First Apology 61 [A.D. 151]).
“‘And [Naaman] dipped himself . . . seven times in the Jordan’ [2 Kgs. 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as newborn babes, even as the Lord has declared: ‘Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’” (Fragment 34 [A.D. 190]).
“[N]o one can attain salvation without baptism, especially in view of the declaration of the Lord, who says, ‘Unless a man shall be born of water, he shall not have life’” (Baptism 12:1 [A.D. 203]).
“The Father of immortality sent the immortal Son and Word into the world, who came to man in order to wash him with water and the Spirit; and he, begetting us again to incorruption of soul and body, breathed into us the Spirit of life, and endued us with an incorruptible panoply. If, therefore, man has become immortal, he will also be God. And if he is made God by water and the Holy Spirit after the regeneration of the laver he is found to be also joint-heir with Christ after the resurrection from the dead. Wherefore I preach to this effect: Come, all ye kindreds of the nations, to the immortality of the baptism” (Discourse on the Holy Theophany 8 [A.D. 217]).
The Recognitions of Clement
“But you will perhaps say, ‘What does the baptism of water contribute toward the worship of God?’ In the first place, because that which has pleased God is fulfilled. In the second place, because when you are regenerated and born again of water and of God, the frailty of your former birth, which you have through men, is cut off, and so . . . you shall be able to attain salvation; but otherwise it is impossible. For thus has the true prophet [Jesus] testified to us with an oath: ‘Verily, I say to you, that unless a man is born again of water . . . he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’” (The Recognitions of Clement 6:9 [A.D. 221]).
Testimonies Concerning the Jews
“That unless a man have been baptized and born again, he cannot attain unto the kingdom of God. In the Gospel according to John: ‘Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God’ [John 3:5]. . . . Also in the same place: ‘Unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye shall not have life in you’ [John 6:53]. That it is of small account to be baptized and to receive the Eucharist, unless one profit by it both in deeds and works” (Testimonies Concerning the Jews 3:2:25–26 [A.D. 240]).
Cyprian of Carthage
“[When] they receive also the baptism of the Church . . . then finally can they be fully sanctified and be the sons of God . . . since it is written, ‘Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God’” (Letters 71[72]:1 [A.D. 253]).
Council of Carthage VII
“And in the gospel our Lord Jesus Christ spoke with his divine voice, saying, ‘Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ . . . Unless therefore they receive saving baptism in the Catholic Church, which is one, they cannot be saved, but will be condemned with the carnal in the judgment of the Lord Christ” (Seventh Carthage [A.D. 256]).
Cyril of Jerusalem
“Since man is of a twofold nature, composed of body and soul, the purification also is twofold: the corporeal for the corporeal and the incorporeal for the incorporeal. The water cleanses the body, and the Spirit seals the soul. . . . When you go down into the water, then, regard not simply the water, but look for salvation through the power of the Spirit. For without both you cannot attain to perfection. It is not I who says this, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the power in this matter. And he says, ‘Unless a man be born again,’ and he adds the words ‘of water and of the Spirit,’ ‘he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ He that is baptized with water, but is not found worthy of the Spirit, does not receive the grace in perfection. Nor, if a man be virtuous in his deeds, but does not receive the seal by means of the water, shall he enter the kingdom of heaven. A bold saying, but not mine; for it is Jesus who has declared it” (Catechetical Lectures 3:4 [A.D. 350]).
“[A]s we are all from earth and die in Adam, so being regenerated from above of water and Spirit, in the Christ we are all quickened” (Four Discourses Against the Arians 3:26[33] [A.D. 360]).
Basil the Great
“This then is what it means to be ‘born again of water and Spirit’: Just as our dying is effected in the water [Rom. 6:3; Col. 2:12–13], our living is wrought through the Spirit. In three immersions and an equal number of invocations the great mystery of baptism is completed in such a way that the type of death may be shown figuratively, and that by the handing on of divine knowledge the souls of the baptized may be illuminated. If, therefore, there is any grace in the water, it is not from the nature of water, but from the Spirit’s presence there” (The Holy Spirit 15:35 [A.D. 375]).
Ambrose of Milan
“Although we are baptized with water and the Spirit, the latter is much superior to the former, and is not therefore to be separated from the Father and the Son. There are, however, many who, because we are baptized with water and the Spirit, think that there is no difference in the offices of water and the Spirit, and therefore think that they do not differ in nature. Nor do they observe that we are buried in the element of water that we may rise again renewed by the Spirit. For in the water is the representation of death, in the Spirit is the pledge of life, that the body of sin may die through the water, which encloses the body as it were in a kind of tomb, that we, by the power of the Spirit, may be renewed from the death of sin, being born again in God” (The Holy Spirit1:6[75–76] [A.D. 381]).
“The Church was redeemed at the price of Christ’s blood. Jew or Greek, it makes no difference; but if he has believed, he must circumcise himself from his sins [in baptism (Col. 2:11–12)] so that he can be saved . . . for no one ascends into the kingdom of heaven except through the sacrament of baptism.
. . . ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God’” (Abraham 2:11:79–84 [A.D. 387]).
“You have read, therefore, that the three witnesses in baptism are one: water, blood, and the Spirit (1 John 5:8): And if you withdraw any one of these, the sacrament of baptism is not valid. For what is the water without the cross of Christ? A common element with no sacramental effect. Nor on the other hand is there any mystery of regeneration without water, for ‘unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God’” (The Mysteries 4:20 [A.D. 390]).
Gregory of Nyssa
“[In] the birth by water and the Spirit, [Jesus] himself led the way in this birth, drawing down upon the water, by his own baptism, the Holy Spirit; so that in all things he became the firstborn of those who are spiritually born again, and gave the name of brethren to those who partook in a birth like to his own by water and the Spirit” (Against Eunomius 2:8 [A.D. 382]).
John Chrysostom
“[N]o one can enter into the kingdom of heaven except he be regenerated through water and the Spirit, and he who does not eat the flesh of the Lord and drink his blood is excluded from eternal life, and if all these things are accomplished only by means of those holy hands, I mean the hands of the priest, how will any one, without these, be able to escape the fire of hell, or to win those crowns which are reserved for the victorious? These [priests] truly are they who are entrusted with the pangs of spiritual travail and the birth which comes through baptism: by their means we put on Christ, and are buried with the Son of God, and become members of that blessed head [the Mystical Body of Christ]” (The Priesthood 3:5–6 [A.D. 387]).
Gregory of Nazianz
“Such is the grace and power of baptism; not an overwhelming of the world as of old, but a purification of the sins of each individual, and a complete cleansing from all the bruises and stains of sin. And since we are double-made, I mean of body and soul, and the one part is visible, the other invisible, so the cleansing also is twofold, by water and the Spirit; the one received visibly in the body, the other concurring with it invisibly and apart from the body; the one typical, the other real and cleansing the depths” (Oration on Holy Baptism 7–8 [A.D. 388]).
The Apostolic Constitutions
“Be ye likewise contented with one baptism alone, that which is into the death of the Lord [Rom. 6:3; Col. 2:12–13]. . . . [H]e that out of contempt will not be baptized shall be condemned as an unbeliever and shall be reproached as ungrateful and foolish. For the Lord says, ‘Except a man be baptized of water and of the Spirit, he shall by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ And again, ‘He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be damned’” [Mark 16:16] (Apostolic Constitutions 6:3:15 [A.D. 400]).
“It is this one Spirit who makes it possible for an infant to be regenerated . . . when that infant is brought to baptism; and it is through this one Spirit that the infant so presented is reborn. For it is not written, ‘Unless a man be born again by the will of his parents’ or ‘by the faith of those presenting him or ministering to him,’ but, ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit.’ The water, therefore, manifesting exteriorly the sacrament of grace, and the Spirit effecting interiorly the benefit of grace, both regenerate in one Christ that man who was generated in Adam” (Letters 98:2 [A.D. 412]).

“Those who, though they have not received the washing of regeneration, die for the confession of Christ—it avails them just as much for the forgiveness of their sins as if they had been washed in the sacred font of baptism. For he that said, ‘If anyone is not reborn of water and the Spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven,’ made an exception for them in that other statement in which he says no less generally, ‘Whoever confesses me before men, I too will confess him before my Father, who is in heaven’” [Matt. 10:32] (The City of God 13:7 [A.D. 419]).

It is fitting to note that all of these quotes occur before the absurd date that Debra suggests as the start of Catholicism. (approx 430 AD by her nutty calculation) and all but the last 2 occur before the date that we actually got our first Bible (from the Catholic Church) in 393 AD. So, the historical record is clear. The church of the Bible not only believed that Baptism was necessary for Salvation but saw it explicitly in John 3

In addition, God’s inspired Word, the Scriptures say that Baptism saves us, in no uncertain terms-

1 Peter 3:21
Whereunto baptism being of the like form, now saveth you also: not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the examination of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Colossians 2:12
Buried with him in baptism, in whom also you are risen again by the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him up from the dead.

This is why I laugh out loud when I read Debra claiming that she believes the Bible. She flat out doesn’t! Debra JM Smith believes in a different gospel than that preached by Jesus and the Apostles. Her gospel is addition by subtraction. She, and those of like mind, follow an ala carte theology of cherry-picked, reinterpreted verses that turn the original intent of the sacred writers on it’s ear. If I adhered to her “Scripture alone” belief system, it would only make me that much more a Catholic because it is clear to me that every Catholic doctrine is right there, plainly in the Scriptures. One only has to read.

This notion of being “born again”, according to the protestant rendering is a classic example. Nowhere, in any writing in the Scriptures or in the first 19 centuries of Christianity can this abhorrent interpretation be found. “Water and the Spirit” has always been properly understood as Sacramental Baptism. Sacramental Baptism was initiated by Jesus Christ in the Jordan River, at the hands of His Cousin John. That is when John’s merely symbolic water baptism became infused with Jesus Christ’s salvific grace.

There is not one jot or tittle of Scriptural support for Debra’s absurd interpretation of John 3, nor is there any historical support older than 1910. Those are the facts and they are indisputable.

Like I said, addition by subtraction. Debra zooms in on John 3 and reinterprets it in her own sinful image while dismissing the almost 2 dozen other verses on baptism that give it it’s proper context. The fact is that any Baptized Christian is a born-again Christian. When one is baptized in the name of The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, they are incorporated into God’s universal (Catholic) Church. Any baptized Christian can be saved by Grace, according to the light within them. Catholics do not hold that non-Catholics cannot possibly be saved. Some obviously will. However, none…not one….will be saved in the manner Debra claims, simply by a profession of faith. This is a clear and unambiguous perversion of scripture caused by wrenching a handful of scriptures from their context. Like I said, addition by subtraction.

More addition by subtraction- Quoting Ephesians 2: 8-9, leaving out the rest of the chapter that gives it it’s proper context. What’s more, She claims that verses 8 and 9 say that salvation is a free gift when an honest examination of the structure of the sentence clearly shows that it is GRACE that is the free gift. The sentence clearly says that you are saved by the free gift of grace not that you are freely saved by the gift of grace. v10 proves this context by telling us that the purpose of that Grace is to give us the ability to perform the work that has been prepared for us to do.

Debra will always deliberately leave off v10. How she reconciles this with her alleged faith is a mystery to me.

However, Debra’s heretical and blasphemous theology is no mystery to me, or anyone else who (unlike her) has actually read the Bible. You simply cannot get through Matthew 25 or Romans 2 or James 2 holding fast to Salvation by faith alone or Once saved, always saved. It is simply impossible.

There are numerous other invented doctrines Debra believes. The Rapture is one. There is not one scintilla of Scriptural support for this man-made doctrine. Dispensationalists cite parts of Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4 as support for this doctrine. (wrenched from their context, of course). Simply reading the entire chapters makes it clear enough that they are about the second coming, which occurs on the last day, and that the dead must rise first. Rapture refuted.

The gospels put Debra to the lie. Catholics do not add one letter to the gospels. We simply extract what is there. If Debra’s Bible only included that which she actually believes, you could fit it in an envelope. This is the difference between those who claim to read and follow the Bible, and those who actually do.

It is also an example of those wholly ignorant of history. Debra’s contention that the New Testament Scriptures predate Catholicism by 400 years only manifests her abject ignorance. The historical record clearly shows just the opposite. In 110 AD, Saint Ignatius of Antioch said “Where Jesus is, there is His Catholic Church”. Ignatius was a disciple of Saint John and, in saying this, actually used the same greek phraseology as found in Acts 9:31
ἐκκλησία καθ’ ὅλης. Ekklesia Kath Olos, literally translated is The Catholic Church. It’s right there in the Scriptures. See for yourself.

The Bible, on the other hand, wasn’t produced until 393 AD. So, yes, the Catholic Church actually preexisted the Bible by almost 400 years, not the other way around. These are the facts and they cannot be disputed.

Now, let’s get to the meat of the matter. The great commission.

The mission of a Christian is to attract people to Jesus Christ. Debra JM Smith repels people from following Jesus because she is a hate-filled demoniac. There is nothing about Debra JM Smith that reflects Christ. That is the clearest proof that she is no Christian.

Now Debra is pontificating that she can vote for non-other than a so-called Born again Christian. Interesting. It was Debra Smith who not only voted for John McCain but so enthusiastically supported him as to proclaim that he would win the state of New York.

McCain, and his nasty daughter, as you know, have nothing but utter contempt for Evangelicals. He once called them agents of intolerance. Obama’s contempt for Christians is even more stark. Yet, Debra hates Catholics so much that she would rather see the blood of babies run in the street, the agenda of radical homosexuals markedly advanced, our national and economic security eviscerated, than to vote for someone who will respect and protect people’s faith…..

….even the faith of a godless hypocrite like her.

Note: Materials copied from informingchristians.com, a public domain, were used for the purpose of Criticism and, thus, constitute fair use , under the legal definition. The website has been credited for the production of such material and any claims of copyright infringement are futile.

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* BEST OF DTB #140* Picking up the pace

Posted by John Benko - February 23rd, 2012

Yesterday morning at Mass, I was struck by the unusually large number of cars in the parking lot and people in the pews- for a weekday mass, anyway. Apparently, it was not lost on the Priest, either. During his homily, he spoke of what he and his fellow priests described as the PACE Catholic. PACE, he explained, stands for Palm Sunday, Ash Wednesday, Christmas and Easter.

The remarks got a chuckle but reminded me that we can all stand to pick up the pace, myself included. To be honest, I was a little upset with myself that I missed the Catholic roundtable show, Tuesday night and I was determined to make up for it be participating in Christie’s Garden of Holiness, “have a miserable lent” show. Unfortunately, I was knocked out with a vicious migraine (It was actually making me nauseous as it felt like my eyeball is being projected from my head). A good night’s sleep did not help much.

Now, I am not telling stories of woe to get sympathy points. Actually, the opposite is the case. I am realizing that one area in which I must pick up the pace is my health. Good intentions and commitments are not worth much if I lack the physical stamina to carry them out. Carrying 100 lbs of extra weight doesn’t help that cause. That the 100 lbs of extra baggage represents an 85 lb drop from my all-time highs is reason for optimism but not for satisfaction. I have a long way to go and my family, my friends, my co-workers and my brothers and sisters in the faith are depending on me to get it done. I smiled a little as the scale this morning has me at a new 5 year low.

By the way, it just hit me, just as I am typing this….. my headache is going away. It’s the coffee. I just realized that I had no caffeine yesterday. It would appear that my caffeine addiction is worse than I thought.

Picking up the pace does not mean perfection. It means that a commitment to God extends beyond 4 days a year and it extends past the Church. We must strive to better ourselves in all facets of our life- our jobs, our marriages, our extended families and our Christian outreach.

A wonderful counselor once told me that every person is 4 people- A spiritual person, an emotional person, an intellectual person and a physical person. Not only can I see, that I need improvement in all 4 areas, but I can see how each is dependent on the health of the other 3.

This lent, I pick up the pace.

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*Best of DTB #139* Have a miserable Lent, y’all!

Posted by John Benko - February 21st, 2012

Wednesday’s Garden of Holiness Show topic will be on the spiritual practice of fasting. Here’s a bit of a preview…

Tomorrow’s the big day!
Yo, Joe, you got some schmutz there…

Tomorrow is the beginning of the season of Lent. I know that plenty of nonCatholics practice it, but most of the ones I know don’t. They look at me a little funny when I mention fasting, so I am taking a minute to once and for all sing the praises of fasting!

Why Fast? Two Reasons…

Fasting Increases Compassion

If there was ever a need for the American Christian, it is fasting! We have such an appalling abundance that we actually think a car, a computer, heating and air conditioning, and cable are basic necessities. Here in the West, we base our very lives on increasing our comfort, not our discomfort. Fasting goes against the grain. In fact, it runs counter to our culture (ergo, if you ever want to be cool and counter cultural fasting is for you!)

Why voluntarily suffer? I’d pose that there are plenty of reasons. Fasting and being hungry is a type of suffering because it is uncomfortable. It’s the rare Middle Class American who can actually distinguish between true, gut-wrenching hunger and the nagging, “Yeah, I could eat” feeling. Fasting puts you in that gut wrenching place and helps you to understand this a little more.

Let me take that back. There is nothing comprehensible about this.

Voluntary suffering through fasting, helps you to feel the misery of the world more personally–a world where in some places hunger is the norm. Through fasting you may only have a taste of hunger, but that taste is enough to make you more viscerally aware of another’s real and completely involuntary suffering. So, one reason to fast is to increase your compassion and to assist you in commiseration with others. Muslims fast during Ramadan, in part, for this very reason.

Fasting Strengthens Your Will

Another reason is to strengthen your will. I am going to make the controversial statement that we Americans are becoming weak willed. I say that for two reasons: we don’t exercise it and we don’t respect it.

You calling me a weak willed wimp? Sort of, but fasting can fix you by…

Exercising your will
First, our lives are physically easy. There is much less to endure. In the summer, we are cooled. In the winter, we are warmed. Our food does not come to us through our labor in the fields, it comes from quick visit to a store. There are less physical demands on our bodies that our minds have to willfully force us to endure. Our determination, our will, to stick with a physically demanding task is exercised much less these days and is therefore weaker. Fasting answers that weakness directly. Fasting is voluntarily taking on a hardship. The longer that you endure it, the more you exercise your will. In fact, because it is voluntary, it is incredibly easy to abandon. The act of the will involved to sustain a fast is immense!

Respecting your will more than your whims
Number two, we have been told since the 60s that our feelings were more authentic than our reason and our will. “If it feels good, do it!” has been the rallying cry for the hedonists among us for decades now, and as a result, we have little respect for personal grit and determination until the fruits of them are made conspicuous by success. Even then, we are more apt to respond with jealousy rather than determination to mimic the behavior that led to that success. A fast doesn’t feel good if you do it. It takes endurance… meh. It takes determination… ugh. It takes an act of the will to conquer the self… that is so ickily Catholic!

So what? Start small. If you are physically unable to sustain a fast for a day, skip a meal. If that is impossible, fast from a food item, like dessert. If even that is too much for you, and this is entirely possible given the amount of diabetes and eating disorders in the world, fast from something other than food.

Some nonfood items to fast from…

  • Wearing your favorite color
  • Drinking soda
  • Wearing eyeliner
  • Sarcasm (good luck with that)
  • Complaining (these are getting harder)
  • Pride (good, Lord, help me!)

Actually, He will…

About.com’s section of Catholic Fasting
Cool spot to reference if you want Biblical support on the topic of fasting

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*BEST OF DTB #138* The Catholic Defender: Birth Control and the Liberal

Posted by John Benko - February 17th, 2012

Because of the open warfare that Obama has made on Christianity, there has been a lot of talk about birth control in the news. How the liberal Democrats are staging a ruse against the Church claiming the issue is “Women’s Health”.

Nancy Pelosi and the liberal left are trying to hijack the debate so they can force their policy upon the Church.

Jennifer Bendery, writing for Huff Post Politics, today writes: “I think it’s really curiouser and curiouser that as we get further into this debate, the Republican leadership of this Congress thinks it’s appropriate to have a hearing on the subject of women’s health and can purposely exclude women from the panel,” Pelosi said during a press conference. “What else do you need to know about the subject?”

“If you need to know more, tune in, I may, I may at some point be moved to explain biology to my colleagues.”

Pelosi’s remarks came shortly after three House Democrats walked out of a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on religious liberty and birth control in protest of Chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) refusal to allow a woman to testify in favor of the Obama administration’s contraception rule. The morning panel at the hearing consisted exclusively of men from conservative religious organizations.

A second panel included two women, but both were critics of Obama’s birth control mandate, which does not exempt religiously affiliated employers from having to include contraception in employees’ insurance coverage. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) told reporters in the hallway outside the hearing that she marched out because it was being conducted like an “autocratic regime.”

“Five men are testifying on women’s health,” Pelosi said. “Where are the women? Imagine having a panel on women’s health and they don’t have any women on the panel.”

See how the Democrats are wanting to frame the debate? Today’s hearing had nothing to do with women’s health or birth control. It was about the Government’s attack on religious freedom of conscience.

Jennifer Bendery does provide an update reporting, “Issa spokeswoman Becca Glover Watkins later criticized Pelosi for ignoring the fact that two women were scheduled to testify at the hearing.

“Rep. Pelosi is either ill informed or arrogantly dismissive of women who don’t share her views. Today’s hearing does in fact include two women, Dr. Allison Garrett of Oklahoma Christian University and Dr. Laura Champion of Calvin College Health Services,” Watkins said.

From the Article “Issa to keep contraception fight going” by Steve Benen, he is also staging this debate with contraception being the central issue. It appears this is the Democrat’s strategy to defend Obama?

Steve Benen quote the hearing saying, “Republican Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will convene a hearing [Thursday], “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”.

Check how Benen gives his two cents on todays happening: “The lead witness is the Most Rev. William E. Lori, Roman Catholic bishop of Bridgeport, Conn., and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. Judging from Lori and the rest of the witness list, it’s obvious that Issa has posed what he considers to be a rhetorical question and lined up nine like-minded rhetoricians to answer it anyway.”

The hearing was specifically looking at the question of Separation of Church and State. I find it ironic that if Christians speak out on moral issues in public, we are hit erroneously with the question of Separation of Church and State. However, if the Obama Administration believe they can force Christians to bend the knee to him, they do not recognize their infringement. The issue is not womens rights to use Birth Control. The access is everywhere. To force Christians to pay for abortions and birth control against their conscience is a clear infringement against the Constitution of the United States.

Amendment 1 states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Clearly, the framers of the Constitution says that the Government cannot interfere with the freedom of religion and the practice thereof.

One of the Democrat’s talking points is their claiming 98% of Catholic women use Artificial Birth Control as to say that the Church has no right to prevent them from using Birth Control. This is the real issue, the promotion of Abortion, Homosexuality, Divorce and remarriage, and many other points of interest, the Progressives seek to destroy traditional values.

I want to take a closer look at what their claim is. How many women are there living in the United States? Roughly, there are about 155.6 million women in the United States.

Of this number, 78 million females are between 45 and 65 years old. There are about 30 million females between 12 and 25 years of age.

This is the group that Planned Parenthood seeks to cater too. To say that 98% of women use Artificial Birth Control is totally misleading.

78 million women are past the child bearing age and would use Artificial Birth Control very rarely. If you count females from birth to age 12, that would be a very low percentage using contraception.

It might be that the extreme Progressive would seek to lower the age of consent of children, certainly they would want to prepare them for the sex culture very early on.

If you asked the question to Catholics, how many of you have used Artificial Birth Control at some point during their life, that might be a very high number. But for the 78 million no longer using Artificial Birth Control, how many of the Catholics have gone to confession and repented of this practice because of the pressure of our culture?

How many of them would support the Government mandating the Church to break with the Apostolic Tradition? The following is an article written by Michael Brendan Dougherty and Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry entitles, “Time To Admit It: The Church Has Always Been Right On Birth Control”

Painting the Catholic Church as “out of touch” is like shooting fish in a barrel, what with the funny hats and gilded churches. And nothing makes it easier than the Church’s stance against contraception.

Many people, (including our editor) are wondering why the Catholic Church doesn’t just ditch this requirement. They note that most Catholics ignore it, and that most everyone else finds it divisive, or “out-dated.” C’mon! It’s the 21st century, they say! Don’t they SEE that it’s STUPID, they scream.

Here’s the thing, though: the Catholic Church is the world’s biggest and oldest organization. It has buried all of the greatest empires known to man, from the Romans to the Soviets. It has establishments literally all over the world, touching every area of human endeavor. It’s given us some of the world’s greatest thinkers, from Saint Augustine on down to René Girard. When it does things, it usually has a good reason. Everyone has a right to disagree, but it’s not that they’re a bunch of crazy old white dudes who are stuck in the Middle Ages.

So, what’s going on?

The Church teaches that love, marriage, sex, and procreation are all things that belong together. That’s it. But it’s pretty important. And though the Church has been teaching this for 2,000 years, it’s probably never been as salient as today.

Today’s injunctions against birth control were re-affirmed in a 1968 document by Pope Paul VI called Humanae Vitae. He warned of four results if the widespread use of contraceptives was accepted:

1.General lowering of moral standards
2.A rise in infidelity, and illegitimacy
3.The reduction of women to objects used to satisfy men.
4.Government coercion in reproductive matters.

Does that sound familiar?

Because it sure sounds like what’s been happening for the past 40 years.

By making the birth of the child the physical choice of the mother, the sexual revolution has made marriage and child support a social choice of the father.

Instead of two parents being responsible for the children they conceive, an expectation that was held up by social norms and by the law, we now take it for granted that neither parent is necessarily responsible for their children. Men are now considered to be fulfilling their duties merely by paying court-ordered child-support. That’s a pretty dramatic lowering of standards for “fatherhood.”

Kim Kardashian’s marriage lasted 72 days. Illegitimacy: way up. In 1960, 5.3% of all births in America were to unmarried women. By 2010, it was 40.8%. In 1960 married families made up almost three-quarters of all households; but by the census of 2010 they accounted for just 48 percent of them. Cohabitation has increased tenfold since 1960.

And if you don’t think women are being reduced to objects to satisfy men, welcome to the internet, how long have you been here? Government coercion: just look to China (or America, where a government rule on contraception coverage is the reason why we’re talking about this right now).

Is this all due to the Pill? Of course not. But the idea that widely-available contraception hasn’t led to dramatic societal change, or that this change has been exclusively to the good, is a much sillier notion than anything the Catholic Church teaches.

So is the notion that it’s just OBVIOUSLY SILLY to get your moral cues from a venerable faith (as opposed to what? Britney Spears?).

But let’s turn to another aspect of this. The reason our editor thinks Catholics shouldn’t be fruitful and multiply doesn’t hold up, either. The world’s population, he writes, is on an “unsustainable” growth path.

The Population Bureau of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations sees the rate of population growth slowing over the next decades and stabilizing around 9 billion in 2050…and holding there until 2300. (And note that the UN, which promotes birth control and abortions around the world, isn’t exactly in the be-fruitful-and-multiply camp.)

More broadly, the Malthusian view of population growth has been resilient despite having been proven wrong time and time again and causing lots of unnecessary human suffering. For example, China is headed for a demographic crunch and social dislocation due to its misguided one-child policy.

Human progress is people. Everything that makes life better, from democracy to the economy to the internet to penicillin was either discovered and built by people. More people means more progress. The inventor of the cure for cancer might be someone’s fourth child that they decided not to have.

So, just to sum up:
•It’s a good idea for people to be fruitful and multiply; and
•Regardless of how you feel about the Church’s stance on birth control, it’s proven pretty prophetic.”

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Let’s all support Christie!

Posted by John Benko - February 16th, 2012

Join Christie Martin tonight in her debut show on Deeper Truth Blog’s Blogtalkradio channel!

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*BEST OF DTB #137* The Catholic Defender tackles Once Saved Always Saved

Posted by John Benko - February 10th, 2012

“After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; then from the cloud came a voice, ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to him’. Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant (Mark 9:2-10)”.
This scripture places the transfiguration of Jesus six days after the first prediction of his passion and death and his instruction to the disciples on the doctrine of the cross. Jesus reveals insight into the divine glory that he possessed.

His glory will overcome his death. The cloud and heavenly voice prepares the disciples to understand the divine plan that Jesus must die before his messianic glory is made manifest. Moses and Elijah represent the law and prophecy in the Old Testament and are linked to Mt. Sinai.
They now appear with Jesus as witnesses to the fulfillment of the law and the prophets taking place in the person of Jesus. The shadow covering them reminds us of the Old Testament indicating the Lord’s presence in the midst of his people (Exodus 40:34-35).
The Apostles were not to reveal what they witnessed until after the Resurrection. The Catholic Church recalls this revelation of the Lord so we can spiritually follow this glory of the Lord. Jesus shows us the true path!
The road leads to Jerusalem. It leads to Calvary, a place called Colgotha, the place of the skull. The human race is intently watching the events unfolding. Everyone plays an important part in what occurred on this hill outside Jerusalem.

It was for us all that Jesus made this journey. The true Lamb of God! “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and might, forever and ever. Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne and from the Lamb. For the Lamb who is the center of the throne will Shepherd them and lead them to springs of life giving water (Rev 5:12-13, 7:10-17)”.
How does Jesus today “Shepherd” his people? Through his Church (John 21:15-19)! What is the “springs of life giving water”? This is a reference to Baptism (1 Corinthians 12:13).
Jesus states, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice (John 18:3)”. We should hunger for his voice (Luke 10:16), we should want to rid ourselves the vice that separate us from that close personnel relationship with him, to live within his Covenant (Matthew 26:28).

Jesus warns, “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord did we not prophecy in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name? Then I will declare to them solemnly, I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers (Matthew 7:21-23)”.
Let the truth lead us to do good works and take advantage of the free grace Jesus offers in the Sacraments (Hebrews 13:16-20).
Recalling the Transfiguration of Jesus, it calls to min a Eucharistic Miracle that took place in the life of St. Clare. On one occasion when the Army of Frederick II was devastating the Valley of Spoleto, some of the Soldiers threatened to sack Assisi.
The people surrounding the convent where St. Clare lived were fleeing the country side fearing for their lives. As the Army placed ladders against the walls, St. Clare prostrated herself before Jesus in the Eucharist.
Her prayer was heard as she took the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament and went before the enemy. As the Soldiers were climbing the ladders with crowbars and axes and weapons of war, the town appeared lost.

Then Jesus in the Host illuminated brightly before the oncoming Soldiers. The Host became dazzling white blinding the attackers. Due to a sudden panic, the Soldiers subsequently fled in terror.
Today, there is another attack upon the Church from another army with different weaponry. This attack storming the walls of faith is a false doctrine called “Once Saved Always Saved” (OSAS).
This doctrine teaches that once you are “saved” you cannot lose your salvation. Ezekial 3:20 states, “If a virtuous man turns away from virtue and does wrong when I place a stumbing block before him, he shall die. He shall die for his sin, and his virtuous deeds shall not be remembered”;
Jesus warns “But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13). The story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) speaks of the importance of repentance. This is reflected again in James 5:18-20) teaching that when a sinner returns to the truth, they are raised from the dead and a multitude of sins are forgiven.
Salvation is not lost because of God, he shows his mercy and forgiveness towards us for the love he has for us. The sin of presumption is to place yourself inside his judgement without his grace.

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*BEST OF DTB #135* The Catholic Defender: Prayer For Healing

Posted by John Benko - February 1st, 2012

I want to dedicate this prayer for the needs of our families and our Nation.

This is composed by Rev. John H Hampsch, C.M.F.

Heavenly Father, I come before you as your child in great need of your help; I have physical health needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs and interpersonal needs. Many of my problems have been caused by my own failures, neglect, and sinfulness, for which I humbly beg your forgiveness, Lord. But I ask you to forgive the sins of my ancestors whose failures have left their effects on me in the form of unwanted tendencies, behavior patterns and defects in body, mind, and spirit. Heal me, Lord, of all these disorders.

With your help I sincerely forgive everyone, especially living or dead members of my family tree who have directly offended me or my loved ones in my family tree who have directly offended me or my loved ones in any way or those whose sins have resulted in our present sufferings and disorders. In the name of your divine Son Jesus, and in the power of his Holy Spirit, I ask you, Father, to deliver me and my entire family tree from the influence of the evil one. Free all living and dead members of my family tree, including those in adoptive relationships and those in extended family relationships from every contaminating form of bondage. By your loving concern for us, heavenly Father, and by the shed blood of your Precious Son, Jesus, I beg you to extend your blessing to me and all my living and deceased relatives. Heal every negative effect in future generations of my family tree.

I symbolically place the cross of Jesus over the head of each person in my family tree, and between each generation; I ask you to let the cleansing blood of Jesus purify the blood lines in my family linage. Set your protective angels to encamp around us, and permit Archangel Raphael, the patron of healing, to administer your divine healing power to all of us, even in areas of genetic disability. Give special power to our family members’ guardian angels to heal, protect, guide and encourage each of us in all our needs. Let your healing power be released at this very moment and let it continue as long as your sovereignty permits.

In our family tree, Lord, replace all bondage with a holy bonding in family love. And let there be an ever deeper bonding with you, Lord, by the Holy Spirit, to your Son, Jesus. Let the family of the Holy Trinity pervade our family, with its tender, warm, loving presence, so that our family may recognize and manifest that love in all our relationships. All of our unknown needs we include with this petition that we pray in Jesus precious name. Amen.

I want to ask for prayer for those needing jobs and work to maintain their households. That our economy will turn around. There is much pain and suffering due to people losing their homes and property. May God bless America.

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