There 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.
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?
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.
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.
“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 71:1 [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 [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]).
“[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.
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.
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