I want to congratulate my Cohost, John Benko for a fine debate on Mary. He did a real good job exposing the anti-Catholic argument that Catholics “worship Mary”.
I thought John really presented the Catholic position on Mary, the Saints, and prayer. In an Earlier debate, George (the opponent) made the argument that no one is in heaven, that the saved are in the ground body and soul in a “sleeping” state.
He believes that both the body and the soul are in the grave waiting for the resurrection of the Lord.
They are taking this from 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven with commandment, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead who are in Christ, shall rise first.”
This is not how the early Church interpreted this text, the body is indeed in the grave, but the soul lives on. The Catholic Church has for 2,000 years have taught that the soul will go to one of three places immediately after death.
The saved will go to Heaven or Purgatory, the damned will go to hell. Purgatory is not an eternal state so the soul will go to Heaven eventually due to the grace and mercy of God. When the trumpet of God sounds on that great and glorious day, the dead in Christ will rise, just like Matthew 27:51-54:
“And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
The General Judgment will be far more a complete and dramatic scale, a grander scale more than this, the soul will be reunited with the body and then judgment. The saved will enter into Heaven and the damned will go to hell.
The soul does not die, I remember the medical establishment taught us that no one knows when the soul of a person passes on so we should always be mindful of those who are dying in the hospital.
I think this is true so we need to give them as much comfort as we can by being encouraging. When I worked in the Emergency Room, I was very mindful of this. I remember one Lady who had been pronounced dead by the doctor, when I was getting her prepared to put her in a shroud, she woke up and I began to respond but she was ready to go.
She did not want me to help her, she immediately went back into her prose, she looked very much in peace. The doctor let her go.
One of the important Priests who played a major role in my formation, Father Micek, he told me the story when he was a young priest in Arkansas, a Mission Territory. He was teaching an elderly lady the Catholic Faith when one evening, Father was called about the lady going into a coma. The Lady’s Daughter called Father because her Mother was in a coma for 5 days. At this time, there was not the great medical ability to give IV, so the Lady was greatly dehydrated, this was a serious health issue, close to death. Father baptizes the woman and then begins to administer the Annointing of the Sick. She was totally unconscious, yet at the point when Father finished the Annointing, the woman sat right up and cried, “Thank God, thank you Father”! Father was a young man and just beginning his ministry. He almost fell over in totally surprize! Father’s story has always stuck with me as I can imagine this scene!
It was 29 December 2004, I received a Red Cross message informing me that my Mother was dying. The Doctor and Hospice all were confirming Mom’s status with the Red Cross. I was informed that my Mother was coming in and out of consciousness and she had been calling for me. I was serving in New Orleans working at the Military Enlistment Processing Center (MEPS) as the Medical Element NCOIC.
I arrived home from work and that is when I was notified by my wife of the situation. My family in Missouri alerted us before the Red Cross message arrived to my unit. My Command was afraid to let me respond to my Mother’s wish because the next day was for the Recruiters, the opportunity to floor Applicants all day. I was able to work out support from my Element, but my Command would not budge. I was able to fly to Missouri the following evening after the mission was completed. My Mother’s persistence kept her alive as long as she hoped I was on my way home.
I finally arrived at home in Southwestern Missouri at 23:00 the following night. I flew wearing my Class A uniform. Mom had never seen me in uniform through out my military career. I always went home in civilian clothes, but on this trip, in honor of my Mother, I was determined to wear my uniform. A friend picked me up at the airport and they briefed me what was happening. Mom had been in a coma for nearly 5 days, she has not had anything to eat or drink so she was dehydrated.
They had to put a diaper on her because she was not conscious. When I arrived there I could see her skin tone was pale, her eyes were sunken in, her joints were swollen from lack of circulation, her vital signs were practically non-existent and her breathing was raspy. I sat down at the foot of the bed and simply observed what was happening. One of my Aunt’s was there with my Sister-In-Law and Brother who were trying to make Mom as comfortable as they could.
After a few moments, everyone left the room leaving my Brother and me alone with Mother. Mom didn’t know who I was, she was in a coma state. As we both sat there with Mom, my Brother began to sing a Johnny Cash song to break the ice. I kind of just listened and watched. There was no response from Mom not even a twitch. When he paused, I began singing a song that came to mind, “Immaculate Mary, your praises we sing….”
At this point, Mom began to respond to what I was singing. I began singing every verse I could think of. Mom began to sing with a voice that seemed to come deep from within her chest and she became stronger the more I sang. I was singing every song I could think of as Mom seemed to be coming out of this death trap.
We ended up singing praises to God for 30-40 minutes after which, Mom was alert, could see me and I was able to explain my medals on my uniform to her. This was the most amazing thing, everyone there was scratching their heads as I was very excited. The following morning, Father Bill arrived (childhood Priest) to give Mom the Anointing of the Sick.
As soon as Father left, Mom was able to get up and use the rest room, she sat down at the table and was eating chicken, chili dogs, and pizza. Again, everyone was scratching their heads trying not to get too excited about this.
I was only quoting James 5:13-15, “Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven”.
Consider Elisha, “Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.”
Also Samuel, “Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put the mediums and the necromancers out of the land. The Philistines assembled and came and encamped at Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.” So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you.” The woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?” But Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.” Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul.” The king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a god coming up out of the earth.” He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped in a robe.” And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage.”
From a Christian perspective, the soul lives and is aware of the things through the power of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
It is clear from this text that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. St. Paul sees this as a major reason we should fight the battle of life because we are being watched by heaven.
At the death of Jesus, he went to preach to the spirits in “prison” indicating that those in this state were with Jesus. Jesus opened the doors for all those in his hearing, those saved from the foundation of the world. They were not spiritually dead, but they clearly were waiting. The Catholic Church does not believe that the soul sleeps in the tomb until the Resurrection. The Saints are seen praising God around the throne. Revelation 4 is basically the heavenly worship that is taking place in the Mass, we are participating in that heavenly worship.
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The show notes to this debate are at http://tinyurl.com/7x7punu. Email as at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions.
In the previous 6 debates with George Lujack, we have held our show notes close to the vest until broadcast time.
However, for this debate, we are putting all our cards on the table well in advance.. All materials were published days before this debate and even made available to our opponent himself. In short, we are telling George exactly where we are going to run and daring him try to counter it.
Since day 1, he has unabashedly claimed that the Catholic Church worships and idolizes Mary as a goddess. Those are not my words, they are his. The assertion is absurd and, in making it, he reduces his own credibility to zero and appears much more a desperate, irrational polemicist than a serious debater. In short, George is breaking the commandment of God by bearing false witness against his Catholic neighbors. It really is just that simple.
I will come right out and say openly that it is my view that George doesn’t believe this foolish nonsense any more than I do and that he probably understands that no Catholic will ever really take him seriously as long as he spouts such mush.
On the chance that George really does believe that Catholics worship Mary and the Saints, the Pope, Statues and Leprechauns as assorted Idols and gods and goddesses, he will be afforded every generous opportunity to prove it. He will also be pressed hard to put up or shut up on this ridiculous charge.
So, here and now, I will not set any burden of proof to be met, I will only explain in detail the bar George has set for himself, with his own words, and then I will sip coffee while his own nutty polemic comes crashing down on his own head.
Remember, I will do nothing here but use George’s own ridiculous assertions against him. That he is hoisted by his own petard, don’t blame me.
First, we will start with a vocabulary lesson, starting with the word worship.
[wur-ship] Show IPA noun, verb, wor·shiped, wor·ship·ing or ( especially British ) wor·shipped, wor·ship·ping.
When I speak of Worship, I am holding to the first and second definitions because they are literal and I am not British. Catholics hold this worship as due God alone. George, therefore, must prove that Catholics view Mary as Divine, since He has already claimed that.
The British use, often extracted from the Catholic encyclopedia, is of no value here because I speak American English and so does George, referring to a Judge as your honor, not your worship as our British counterparts do. Attempting to juxtapose British English on me would be dishonest to the extreme. I hope he doesn’t even try it.
[ahyd-l] Show IPA
Once again, George has already shown his hand. Therefore, he must prove that Catholics view Mary as a material Diety, worthy of worship. Not a pure human. He must prove that we hold her to be a goddess.
[god-is] Show IPA
Since definitions 2 and 3 are of slang and hyperbolic use, George must prove definition #1. A LITERAL female god.
If George can prove that we hold Mary to be a Divine being, possessing the attributes of Divinity, he wins. To do this, he must show that Catholics hold her to be eternal, omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. That means she is uncreated and has no limits to her knowledge, presence and power.
Also, since the Bible itself shows that worship requires a sacrifice, please show where Catholics offer Sacrifices to Mary. One of the proof-texts he will obviously use is Jeremiah 44, referring to the cult of Ishtar, the so-called Queen of Heaven. This is wonderful. I look forward, with great eagerness, for George to demonstrate how Catholics gather wood for fires, offering cake and drink libation sacrifices to Mary. As if!
Produce one Encyclical, Council document or verse from the catechism that shows that, as a Catholic, I am to Adore and Worship Mary as a Divine being, that I am to offer sacrifices to her and raise her to equality with God.
Do all this, or concede the argument up front.
Since George has already stated that Catholics have adored, idolitrized and worshiped Mary as a goddess, he cannot even assert unintentional worship, as if that were possible.
We opened this show with audio of clips of George’s own words and the show notes begin with a screenshot of George claiming in facebook that he can prove Catholics make Mary a goddess.. By his own words he is condemned. He has painted himself into this corner and was very foolish to do so.
Accusing Catholics of worshiping Mary and the Saints is among the ugliest slander and vitriolic, gutter polemics. It is usually offered in 2 equally absurd variations-
- That Catholics somehow unintentionally or unknowingly worship Mary, the saints etc.
- That Catholics openly consent to the worship of Mary, the saints etc., then lie about doing so.
Both are equally absurd. The first is impossible and illogical, as worship requires assent to Divinity. It is beyond the worst perversion of the definition of worship to suggest that it is something that can occur without the full consent of the mind, heart, body and soul. In short, version number one is flat-out impossible. The second version is even worse because it accuses Catholics, falsely, of two mortal sins- Idolatry and false witness.
At least the first can be excused as ignorance.
George openly accuses Catholics of elevating Mary and the saints to the level of gods. In doing so, he mortally wounds any possible chance of meeting his own burden of proof.
By the standard George has set, he must prove that Catholics;
- Fully consent, mind, body, heart and soul, to the elevation of Mary and other saints to the level of diety.
- Fully consent to the deception of said worship
Not only are both of these assertion ludicrous, they are even less ludicrous than the claim that he can prove them true. In other words, George is claiming he can prove what Catholics think and that they all lie about thinking it!
George would have to be mentally unstable to truly believe he can demonstrate this, so I have to assume he is just blinded by irrational, anti-catholic hate. No other explanation makes sense.
In view of this, George cannot offer anything in his opening statement- or any of his arguments- that will be even remotely credible….
….with the possible exception of an apology for breaking one of the ten commandments and smearing his neighbors.
Briefly, I’ll address the points George will surely make in the desperate attempt to buttress this disgusting slander. He will start by accusing us of violating the second commandment (which is actually part of the first) in making unto ourselves graven images of worship. As if! Remember that the Israelites consented to the worship of the golden calf and other false gods.
God’s word from Exodus 32;
8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’”
I have a small statuette I won, of the Holy family. I can assure you that it is made of plaster and should I be unfortunate enough to drop it, it will probably break. I have never once prostrated myself before it, nor have I offered sacrifices to it. It is no more a god to me than the statues of angels Moses made, at God’s command, in the Temple and on the Ark of the Covenant. It does not possess any of the attributes of humanity much less divinity.
Next, he will assert that prayer is worship. Hogwash. To pray means to ask, nothing more. nowhere in the Bible is prayer called worship. This is indefensible nonsense.
Quoting his own King James Bible, 1st Kings, chapter 2;
16 And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on.
17 And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.
18 And Bathsheba said, Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.
19 Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and
she sat on his right hand.
20 Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me not nay. And the king said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay.
In this instance, prayer is not called worship. Nor is prayer called worship in any of the 188 instances of the word worship in the King James Bible.
Not only do Adonijah and Bathsheba both use the word pray as what it means- to petition- but the King- Solomon- actually gives a bow of respect to his mother, the Queen Mother and places her on a throne to his right.
Luke chapter 1 tells us that Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Davidic Kingdom. This makes Mary the Queen Mother, not as a goddess, but as her rightful position in the King’s court. To deny this is to deny scripture.
Following this, George will doubtless assert that the Angels and Saints cannot hear our prayers. This, once again, is a direct contradiction to Scripture. In the book of Revelation we see both Angels and Saints receiving our prayers and passing them on to God…. Angels in chapter 8, Saints in chapter 5.
I am positive George will quote Colossians 2 regarding the worship of angels, trying to make a hallow juxtaposition against Catholics. He will offer nothing but implication linking this to Catholics.
Yet, if you are still convinced that those in heaven cannot hear petitions, consider this exchange straight from the 16th chapter of Luke’s gospel;
23And in hades lifting up his eyes, being in torments, he sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24And he crying out said, Father Abraham, have compassion on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering in this flame. 25But Abraham said, Child, recollect that *thou* hast fully received thy good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazarus evil things. But now he is comforted here, and *thou* art in suffering.
The accusation that Catholics worship Mary, or anyone else but God Almighty is not merely false but the worst kind of polemic garbage and bile. To even attempt to make it plausible requires George and those of like mind to invent a definition of worship wholly alien to the Bible.
- Prove to me that you worship Christ. List for me all the things one must believe about the person of Jesus to properly be called a worshiper of Him. Then, using the same standard, prove that I am a worshiper of Mary.
- Each time I, as a Catholic, pray the “Hail Mary”, I echo the words of Scripture “Blessed are you among women”. Here, I expressly assent to her humanity and that she is blessed no further than that. Further, I ask her to pray for me. If I saw Mary as a goddess, please explain why I would call her human and ask her to pray for me.
- George, you claim that prayer equals worship, yet not one of the 188 appearances of the word worship in the King James Bible say such a thing. In fact, the word pray appears twice in 1st Kings Chapter 2 in a way expressly showing non-worshipful petition. How is it that you can insist on a definition of worship that has no Biblical support whatsoever?
- Revelation 11:19 to 12:17 shows a woman who is called the Ark of the Covenant, who is in heaven, who has a physical body, who has a crown on her head, showing queen-ship, who gave birth to the child called up to God’s throne who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron, who is the mother of all Christians. This is not what I say, this is what the Bible says. Who else could this woman possibly be other than Mary?
- The Queen Mother (1 Kings 15:13, 2 Chronicles 15:16, Jeremiah 13:18, 22:10, 29:2 ) was the mother of the King in the davidic kingdom. Luke 1:32 tells us that Jesus fulfills the throne of the Kingdom of David. Under this Kingdom, Mary IS the Queen Mother. How can you seriously deny this?
Here are some points that I think are likely to be raised during the course of this debate. The argument will be in BLUE with my Response in GOLD.
Argument: If Catholics do not worship Mary, why do they call her Theotokos- the Mother of God? Is this not putting her above God?
Answer: Not at all. To call Mary the Mother of God is only to confirm what Scripture says about her. Elizabeth, in Luke 1 says what is it to me that the Mother of My Lord should come to me. ‘My Lord’ is translated from the Greek Kyrios which is equivalent to the Hebrew Adonai, a name used for God. To call Mary the Mother of God, is simply confirming the Biblical reality that is the Incarnation.
It is a simple logical syllogism. Jesus is God, Mary is His Mother, therefore, Mary is the Mother of God.
The key word is ‘co’ which means ‘with’, not ‘equal’. In calling Mary a co-redemtrix and co-mediatrix, the Catholic church is simply affirming a fundamental reality- that Mary co-operated with the plan of redemption by bring Jesus to us.
Argument: Catholics claim that Mary has appeared all over the world. At Fatima, Catholics claim that Mary said: The soul which recommends itself to Me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish. Isn’t this elevating Mary to a level of Savior?
Answer: First of all, no Catholic is bound to believing in private revelations. However, Jesus did say that there would be signs by which many would believe and the documented miraculous events at places like Lourdes and Fatima are undeniable. At the heart of Mary’s statement- properly context-ed, is one of the most fundamental divisions between Catholics and Protestants, the notion of intercessory prayer. Yet, Mary never claims to be a Savior, she claims to be an Advocate. In the Rosary are the Apostles Creed and the Our Father as well as the Hail Mary. Mary’s entire message at Fatima is one of prayer, fasting and penance and returning to her Son. Mary is offering her assistance in leading souls to her son. Her messages at these events always point to Jesus. True, one may reject these events as inauthentic if they so chose but to call them worship is quite a stretch.
12: It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its
inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.
13: It works great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of men;
14: and by the signs which it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast, it deceives those who dwell on earth, bidding them make an image for the beast which was wounded by the sword and yet lived;
Answer: Signs and wonders are not at all what is being condemned here, unbelief and apostasy are what is being condemned.
Let’s take the quotes one by one. The quote in Matthew 16 did not mean Jesus didn’t perform any signs in the Gospels, we know better than that. In fact, just 5 verses later, Jesus reminds the disciples of the miracle of the fish and loaves. Jesus did not condemn the signs themselves, he condemned the evil and adulterous pharisees who sought to put him to the test because of their lack of belief.
In 2 Corinthians, we are warned that Satan disguises himself as a being of light. There would be no need for him to do this if it were not for the fact that actual beings of light have appeared to people.
It is the same with the proof text from Revelation 13 . When the anti-christ brings fire down from heaven, he is merely doing a cheap imitation of what Elijah did in 2 Kings.
It is nonsense to suggest that the Bible tells us to unilaterally reject all miracles. Both the Prophet Joel and Peter told us that in the last days young men would see visions and old men would dream dreams. The key is knowing how to discern.
Often used as a gotcha claim that Catholics worship Mary, anti-catholics sometimes quote the catholic Encyclopedia using the British use of the word worship. Even when they do so, the full context proves them wrong. Also, isn’t it ironic that proponents of the King James Bible would try and impose the Saxon dialect on us?
The word worship (Saxon weorthscipe, “honour”; from worth, meaning “value”, “dignity”, “price”, and the termination, ship; Latin cultus) in its most general sense is homage paid to a person or a thing. In this sense we may speak of hero-worship, worship of the emperor, of demons, of the angels, even of relics, and especially of the Cross. This article will deal with Christian worship according to the following definition: homage paid to God, to Jesus Christ, to His saints, to the beings or even to the objects which have a special relation to God.There are several degrees of this worship:
- if it is addressed directly to God, it is superior, absolute, supreme worship, or worship of adoration, or, according to the consecrated theological term, a worship of latria. This sovereign worship is due to God alone; addressed to a creature it would become idolatry.
- When worship is addressed only indirectly to God, that is, when its object is the veneration of martyrs, of angels, or of saints, it is a subordinate worship dependent on the first, and relative, in so far as it honours the creatures of God for their peculiar relations with Him; it is designated by theologians as the worship of dulia, a term denoting servitude, and implying, when used to signify our worship of distinguished servants of God, that their service to Him is their title to our veneration (cf. Chollet, loc. cit., col. 2407, and Bouquillon, Tractatus de virtute religionis, I, Bruges, 1880, 22 sq.).
- As the Blessed Virgin has a separate and absolutely supereminent rank among the saints, the worship paid to her is called hyperdulia (for the meaning and history of these terms see Suicer, Thesaurus ecclesiasticus, 1728).
The show notes to this debate are at http://tinyurl.com/7x7punu. Email as at email@example.com with comments or questions.
At the end of this debate, there is no change from the beginning. The basic assertion, that Catholics worship or idolatrize Mary, Angels, saints is unsupported and unsupportable. Nothing more need be said on the matter. If George had merely stated that prayer and devotion to Mary and the Saints constituted material worship, or confined his line of attack to the appropriateness of icons or prayers, or even Mary’s rightful place in the plan of salvation, we would have much to discuss. He would have still lost, but t would have been a contest.
However, when George actually accuses me of fashioning Mary into a goddess, I can truly do nothing but roll my eyes and go on to the next topic. This is one debate our opponent simply made too easy for us, by grossly overreaching on his assertion.
This accusation is not merely false but is nothing more than bitter, hyper-polemic drivel. The Mary goddess canard is the invention of rabid anti-Catholics with over-active imaginations and too much time on their hands. There has never been any evidence produced whatsoever to support such idiot, paranoid nonsense.
George is too obsessed with paganism, druidism and babylonianism, none of which have anything to do with Catholicism whatsoever. George’s entire case is a supposition, inside a juxtaposition, wrapped around a paranoid, conspiratorial fabrication.
As a Catholic, I could not give two flips if the Babylonians had a goddess, two goddesses or two legions of goddesses and 47 hobgoblins with snakes in their hair. That has squat to do with me and his lame assertions to the contrary are so much hyperventilated smoke. In short, if George truly believes that I worship Mary as a goddess then what can I say but that I feel sorry for him?
This is exactly the kind of irrational lack of charity that causes divisions rather than heal them because George wants to believe the lie…he needs to believe the lie. It is not enough that he believe that Catholics are wrong, he needs to believe they are evil and that is really a shame.
It is that irrational hatred that made this debate so easy because it caused George to lose his center and strike out irrationally.
The accusation that Catholics worship Mary is false, irrational polemics based in nothing but hate. It is an anti-catholic invention totally lacking in any substance or logic and George should be ashamed of himself for suggesting something so asinine. As far as debate goes, I hope George has learned a valuable lesson. He spent all his credibility capital right here by claiming he could prove about me what no man could possibly prove about another… what I believe.
I hope he will be more rational going forward, he really went off the reservation this time.
Opening Statement: ‘Alleged’ Idolatry of the Catholic Church 04/26/2012 by George Lujack Alleged idolatry of the Catholic Church? Alleged? Really? Saying that there is alleged adultery in the Catholic Church is like saying there is alleged prostitution going on in a brothel. Idolatry is what the Catholic Church is all about. Idolatry is what keeps Catholics faithful to their church, when all logic and reason should alert them to flee from this unbiblical and corrupt organization. Idolatry of the Catholic Church would include the idolatrous history of the Catholic Church (that would include actual history and false revisionist history), idolatry of the grand Cathedrals they build, and of course idolatry of their art and graven images that the Catholic Church makes, honors, reveres, adores and worships. Whether they realize it or not, practicing Catholics are idolaters in one form or another. Catholics are idolaters if they own and revere statues of Christ, Mary, saints or any other figure that they pray through or to. Catholics worship false gods if they pray to or attribute powers to saints – powers that are only manifested by God. Therefore, when Catholics pray before a statue of Christ, Mary, or pray the rosary, or bow before images of other dead Christian saints, and expect Mary or these other dead saints to answer their prayers, or intercede on their behalf before God, these Catholics are breaking the 1st and 2nd Commandments simultaneously. They are attributing powers reserved for God, prayer and answers to prayer, to dead saints. Therefore, Catholics are breaking God’s Command to not have other gods, as ONLY He is God. Catholics also disobey God by having graven images of God, Mary and of other saints that they worship as demigods. Catholics that use graven images as a vehicle or medium to ‘better’ communicate with God, should heed the warning given by God for not listening to Him or His commandments, in this case the commandment forbidding the use of graven images… PROVERBS 28:9: He that turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. Catholics like to re-define what worship is, in order to justify having their graven image statues, bowing before them and serving them. In Acts chapter 10, we see the righteous Roman centurion Cornelius merely bowing before Peter, and Scripture defines this “falling down to his feet” bowing before Peter as an act of worship. ACTS 10:25-26: As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” How is it then that Catholics can say with a straight face that when they have and maintain graven images, bow before these graven images and pray to and/or through theses graven images, that they are not engaged in worshiping graven images and false demigods? Scripture defined Cornelius for falling at his feet before Peter as – an act of worship. Peter admonished Cornelius and told him not to do such a thing, for he only was a man. Can you imagine what Peter would say if he saw Catholics throughout the centuries making, bowing and praying before statues made of Him? What would Peter say if he could speak today to Catholics who make statues of him and pray to him through those statues? I assure you, If Peter saw such things he would say to Catholics today as he once said to Cornelius, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” Peter would also tell Catholics to not pray to him, for he is a man and as such, cannot hear nor answer prayer. Only God should be prayed to and only God can hear and answer prayer. The Catholic 10-Commandments are not the same 10-Commandments of Judaism and Christianity. They have altered the word of God, the 10-Commandments written with the finger of God, and have deleted the 2nd Commandment forbidding graven images. The 2nd command was obvious deleted from the 10-Commandments by Catholicism, so that they could break the 2nd commandment. In order to keep the Commandments numbered at ten, they split the 10th Commandment against coveting, into the 9th and 10th commandments, which they list as coveting a neighbor’s wife as the 9th Commandment and coveting a neighbor’s property as the 10th Commandment. EXODUS 20:4-5: You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. EXODUS 20:23: You shall not make anything to be with Me—gods of silver or gods of gold you shall not make for yourselves. Since it is IMPOSSIBLE for man to make an actual god, the commandment against making gods refers to making a representative or graven image of God – used to worship God, or the making of false gods, gods that are created by man. Making a representative of God was the justification the Hebrews used after their Exodus from Egypt. Many of the Hebrews that made the golden calf, knew it was wrong to do so, and they had not yet been given the 10-Commandments. The Hebrews wanted a god to go before them, just as Catholics want their graven idols today to go before them, to be with them and comfort them. Exodus 20:4 proclaims that it is not merely a sin to bow down to an idol, it is a sin to make one, or own one, or worship in a church before one. God is a jealous God, and He will not share His glory or allow images and worship to be conducted through the work of craftsmen. Cursed is the man who makes a graven or molten image and sets it up, such as they do throughout the Catholic Churches (Deuteronomy 27:15). Catholics who make, own, pray before, serve, honor and worship graven images are often in denial that they are doing anything wrong. Unfortunately, they often cede their logical mind and obedience to God and lay it at the alter of their Catholic Church, falsely believing that the Catholic Church is the authority on such matters, and not the everlasting word of God. Closing Statement It is in truth and spirit that we should worship and honor God. God is the author of truth and Scripture is His manual. Man does not get to choose and worship God in a manner of his choosing. God is sovereign and it is He who commands us how we should worship Him. Prayer is defined as: A solemn request, request for help, reverent petition, expression of thanks made to God, a god, or another object of worship When Catholics pray to Mary, or the saints, they give them an attribute that belongs to God and they make Mary into a goddess and the saints demigods. The Catholic Church, since it’s foundation, had absolutely no intention of worshiping God in spirit and in truth, but instead through idolatry and deception, false doctrines and Babylonian tradition. God does not want, nor will He accept worship through the use of graven images, nor through the false doctrines of the Catholic Church that have promulgated the making and wide distribution of statues. God does not permit the worship of saints that have been set up through the Catholic Church, in the tradition of paganism’s polytheism, in the role of tin demigods. Mary and all the Christian saints are dead in their graves, awaiting their resurrection upon the return of Christ, as plainly stated in 1 Corinthians 15:53. The dead will rise from their graves to be with the Lord at the last trumpet, something they cannot do if they are already with the Lord in heaven. The use of false-god graven image idols within the Catholic Church and by the Catholic faithful, has inevitably lead to alleged moving images and weeping and bleeding statues. God would never use a graven image to work a miracle through. Deceived Catholics believe in many of these false miracles and lying wonders attributed to these statues, as disobedience in breaking God’s 2nd Commandment can only bring forth bad fruit and unrighteousness. Further signs and lying wonders will usher in the wicked one, as Scripture foretells… 2 THESSALONIANS 2:9-12: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and LYING WONDERS, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The debate is set for April 20, 2012 at 7:00 Central , 8:00 Eastern live here on deepertruth. The show notes can be found at http://tinyurl.com/7s5ljbv
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, I am honored to participate in this debate on the doctrine of Sola Fide. Classical Protestantism is basically founded on two primary columns called Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide.
These two columns were built upon the foundation of Martin Luther, the “Father” of Protestantism.
The Late John Gerstner was a Professor of Church History at Pittsburg Theological Seminary and Knox Theological Seminary once said, “If Protestants were wrong on Sola Fide–and the Catholic Church was right that Justification is by faith and works, I’d be on my knees tomorrow morning outside of the Vatican doing penance”.
According to Luther and Calvin this was the article on which the Church stood or fell, Sola Fide was the material principle of the Reformation (From Scott Hahn’s testimony).
I have always answered the question posed to me about faith and good works with the use of a good rope. I also include grace giving the example of how the rope is made. Grace, faith, and good works together provide a solid strong secure lifeline. However, when there is the absence of a component, the life line is weakened.
Consider 1 Corinthians 13:2, “If I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” St. Paul is essentially saying that if you have no love, your faith is in vain.
This is in total agreement with James 2:14. St James asked the question, “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works. Can his faith save him?”
The answer is quite obvious as vs 17 says answers his question, “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead”. As St. Paul had already noticed, “I am nothing” meaning I gain nothing. This was the prinicple reason Martin Luther placed the book of James on the back burner, calling it a gospel of straw, that it had no backbone. You will see why in a minute.
Consider 1 Corinthians 13:13, “So faith, hope, and love (charity) abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” St. Paul has already said that without love, he was nothing, so when you read St. Paul, he writes to encourage the Church to develop the gifts which up build the Church.
Good works is often seen as fruit in both the Old and New Testaments. Matthew 7:15 states, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheeps clothing but inwardly are revenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” This is really saying, or you will know them by their works. Jesus would continue saying in verse 23, “And I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you evil doers.”
Psalms Chapter 1 is among my favorite Old Testamtent scripture, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners nor sits in the seat of scoffers: but his delight is the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water: that yeilds it’s fruit in it’s season. And it’s leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
Notice the tree planted by streams of water? This is a reflection of grace. We are to bear good fruit from the tree of life. The grace that is given freely we are to utilize in our life, to allow it to blossom. What God does in this light prospers because it is His work being accomplished.
St Paul echoes this writing, “For by grace you have been saved”. This is clearly refering to the running water in Psalms 1, from this grace, we are to bear good fruit. St. Paul continues, “this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God”. Just like the leaf that does not wither, it is God doing the work in us and so the work prospers. St. Paul point out, “Not because of works lest any man should boast” because it is God doing the work through your faithfulness. St. Paul is clear about this, saying “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for Good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. If we choose not to walk in them, we are in effect, throwing God’s gift back in His face. That’s why faithfulness is so important in this debate.
St. Paul’s basic view on faith is this: faith is complete trust in the Lord, obedience to Jesus Christ. St. James agrees, he sees faith as belief in Jesus Christ, the resurrection and salvation coming from the Lord.
St. Paul’s basic view on works of the Old Testament law as acts of ritual adherence to a code to attain merit. Consider Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust consume and where theives break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where theives do not break in and steal. For where your treassure is, there will your heart be also.”
A person is basically known by three main areas in their life, you are known by what you say and by what you do. but most of all, we are known by what you love.
So why is there this debate and so much disunity concerning faith and good works? Remember Martin Luther, why he wanted to toss out the book of James from the New Testament Canon? St. Paul writes, “For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law” (Romans 3:28).
Clearly St. Paul is speaking to the works of the Old Testament law of Moses. The Council of Trent following St. Paul, states, “If anyone shall say that man can be justified before God by his own works which are done either by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law, and without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathama.”
What was the Council of Treat responding to? Martin Luther! Romans 3:28, Luther, in his German translation of the bible, specifically added “alone” to the text so it read, “For we consider that a person is justified by faith “alone” apart from works of the law”. This word being added was not in the original Greek text and when questioned about this, Luther responded: “You tell me what a great fuss the Papist (Catholics) are making because the word “alone” is not in the text of Paul… say right out to him: ‘Dr. Martin Luther will have it so,… I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word “alone” is not in the Latin or the Greek text (Stoddard J. rebuilding a lost faith, 1922 p 101-102).
That is an amazing sentiment of defience against the Church and really placing upon himself a heavy burden to bear going against 1500 years of Christian tradition.
St. James sees works as spontaneous acts of love that spring from the fruits of the Spirit. Galations 5:22 lists the fruits of the Spirit as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” This all has to come from the heart which builds the works through faith in Jesus Christ.
The real problem of Sola Fide is what it rejects. Daniel writes a prophecy about the Church stating, “And in the days of these kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall it’s sovereignty be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).
Isaiah 54:17 states, “No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, says the Lord.”
The Lord Jesus said to Simon, son of Bar-Jona, “And I tell you, you are Kapa, and on this Kapa I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
St. Paul echo’s this writing, “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the Saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:19-20).
Once again, recalling the Prophet Daniel, he writes, “As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it smote the image on its feet on iron and clay, and broke them in pieces! Jesus is the stone the builders rejected who became the cornerstone.”
For Protestants grounded in the doctrine of Sola Fide, the Sacraments become a system of works, no longer necessary for salvation. The Protestants want to tie Catholic Sacraments to the Old Testament works of the law which St. Paul saw as rituals that adhere to a code to attain merit.
That is a total misrepresentation of the Sacraments which are the outward signs of inward grace received by the faithful. The Sacraments are life giving because it is Christ Jesus who administers them through His Catholic Church.
The Council of Jerusalem in 49 A.D. set the direction the Catholic Church would move recognizing the importance of faith (Acts 15:9), that we are saved by God’s grace (Acts 15:11), which is the call to action by the Holy Spirit and us (Acts 15:28).
St. Paul responds to those who sought to uphold the law of Moses saying “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor un-circumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love (Gal 5:6).
Colossians 9-12 states, “Therefore, from the day we heard this, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, so as to be fully pleasing, in every good work bearing fruit and growing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with every power in accord with his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.”
Looking back at the two major pillars of Protestantism, Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide, the Catholic Faith on the other hand, has the three pillars resting on the promises of Jesus, that the gates of hell will not prevail against it, that Jesus would remain with the Church until he returns, and Jesus promise to sent the Holy Spirit.
I used to listened to a local Christian radio station near Ft. Campbell KY from time to time to check out what they would teach. On one occasion, the topic of faith and good works was the focus. I called up the radio station to see if I could enter the conversation. Unfortunately, it was only a tape recording and so there was no discussion that was live. Since it was a tape played in the studio, the only person available was the clerk answering the phone. To me that was enough!
I began my challenge with Matthew 25:31-46. If faith would get you to heaven and you do not need “good works”, why would Jesus warn us if we do not perform the Corporal Works of Mercy, you would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Jesus spoke that we must feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, cloth the naked, shelter the homeless, comfort the imprisoned, and visit the sick!
Jesus clearly states, “out of my sight, you condemned, into that everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels… As often as you neglected to do it to one of these least ones, you neglected to do it to me. These will go off to eternal punishment and the just to eternal life”.
As important as faith is, Jesus doesn’t speak to that issue, He is speaking of works that He fully expects His people to conduct. The Lord hears the cry of the poor, we become His hands when we seek to do His will! The lady at the studio was a bit taken back! She was not expecting a rebuttal like this, especially from a Catholic! To me, this was the opening argument! If someone claims to believe in God, but does nothing to help their fellow man, I simply was taking the Lord’s word on the issue.
This debate goes back to the original Protestant, Martin Luther! He taught “Faith Alone” and “Sola Scriptura”, which attacked the very core and foundation of the Church. This attack would shake the Church to her foundations! The sacraments could not be “life saving” or “necessary” because they would be the products of “works”!
Luther’s issue was far more than the selling of indulgences or disputes about the souls of Purgatory! This would undo 2,000 years of Christian teaching. Baptism, for example, is seen more as a public act, not a matter of necessity.
I encourage the reading of James chapter two. This speaks loudly about “faith alone” which it clearly says there is no faith alone! Philippians 2:16 states, “As I look to the day of Christ, you give me cause to boast that I did not run the race in vain or work to no purpose. Even if my life is to be poured out as a libation, over the sacrificial service of your faith. I am glad of it and rejoice with you”.
St. Paul also says (Philippians 2:12), “So then, my dearly beloved, obedient as always to my urgings, work with anxious concern to achieve your salvation…” If you are studying for a test and the teacher during review stomps his foot or pounds his hands on the desk to insure you get the point, what should you do? You should take note of the essential information! Well, what does God tell us about Judgement? Our finals, the test we should all want to pass!
Jesus states, “But he who ACTS in the truth comes into the light, to make clear that his DEEDS are done in God (John 3:21)”. Romans 2:5 states, “In spite of this, your hard and impenitent heart is storing up retribution for that day of wrath when the just judgement of God will be revealed, when He will repay every man for what he has DONE…”
1 Peter 1:17 says, “In prayer you call upon the Father who judges each one justly on the basis of his ACTIONS. Since this is so, conduct yourselves, reverently during this sojourn in a strange land”. Hebrews 13:21 states, “Furnish you with all that is good, THAT YOU MAY DO HIS WILL. Though Jesus Christ may carry out in you all that is pleasing to Him. To Christ be the glory forever! Amen.”
Revelation 22:12 states, “Remember, I am coming soon! I bring with me the reward that will be given to each man as his CONDUCT DESERVES.” John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever DISOBEYS the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him (Romans 5:9)”.
Scripture after scripture tells us we will be held accountable to our deeds. We must do the will of the Father! If you KEEP His Commandments, you SHOW you love Him! The Catholic Church recognize that we must be obedient in faith. The skull has what we call “infused joints” that keeps our brain protected and intact. We need each part for it to function properly. Likewise, faith and good works are infused, both are essential.
Jesus tells us to “store up heavenly treasure that no one can steal”. Our faith must produce fruit! Don’t take your faith and bury it in the backyard (Matthew 25:24-28). As I talked with the lady who answered the phone, I realized that the issue will not be won or lost based on this discussion. If I did nothing else, I hope that Jesus would chalk this up to one of the spiritual works of mercy, to instruct the uninformed, to be patient with those in error.
I think the Catholic Church has made some in-roads through the Protestant world! I have heard many of them tell me that “people of faith” will have good works as a result of the fruits of the spirit! That makes the argument more obsolete! Oh, Can you imagine that? Martin Luther would be rolling over in his grave if he heard that!
Faith is a gift! Good works are the product of our response to that gift. Salvation is not earned so that we can punch our own ticket, but good works that pleases God and are God ordained makes that ticket complete. The harvest is plenty but the workers are few!
Opening Statement: ‘Sola Fide’
April 20, 2012
By George Lujack
Sola fide (Latin meaning “by faith alone”), also known as the doctrine of justification by faith alone, is a Christian doctrine that distinguishes most Protestant denominations from Catholicism.
The doctrine of sola fide or “by faith alone” asserts God’s pardon for guilty sinners is granted to and received solely through faith, and not through works. All humanity is fallen and sinful, under the curse of God, and incapable of saving itself from God’s wrath and curse, which is eternal death and separation from God. It is through faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone that grants pardon to sinners or justification through Christ. Salvation or redemption is a gift of God’s grace, attainable only through faith in Jesus, who died as an atonement sacrifice for all sinners who repent and place their faith in Him.
Catholics believe that faith is necessary for salvation but not sufficient. Catholics assert that sola fide is an error because, in addition to believing, God also requires good works, obedience, acts of love and charity as a prerequisite for acceptance into His kingdom, and for the reward of eternal life.
Martin Luther elevated sola fide to the principal cause of the Protestant Reformation and the main distinction between Protestant Christianity and Roman Catholicism. Luther said, “Works are necessary for salvation but they do not cause salvation; for faith alone gives life.”
John Calvin, also a proponent of the faith alone doctrine, taught that “every one who would obtain the righteousness of Christ must renounce his own.”
The Bible has seemingly contradictory statements of faith and works. James 2:24 states, “… that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. Romans 3:28 declares, “We conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”
There seems to be a semantic component to this debate as well, which has gained new attention in the past century. Luther’s supporters may have understood “salvation by faith alone” to mean “salvation by being faithful to Christ,” while his Catholic opponents understood him to mean “salvation by intellectual belief in Christ.”
Now the latter, salvation by mere intellectual belief in Christ should be rejected by Christians, for Scripture declares that even the demons intellectually believe in Christ (James 2:19). Mere belief that God exists is insufficient for salvation. Thus, as Scripture declares, faith (mere belief in Christ) without works is dead (James 2:17).
An intellectual believer in Christ who refuses to do any works; whether it is tithing, charitable deeds, proclaiming the gospel, etc., is not alive in Christ, but dead in his own spirit – having faith that merely believing in God is sufficient for salvation.
Faith without works would equate to someone who believes in Christ, but refuses to do any charitable works, good works for Christ, or Christ’s kingdom. Someone who has faith without works is an unworthy, unprofitable servant as illustrated in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. In that parable, the king cast the lazy and wicked servant into the outer darkness, or hell (Matthew 25:30).
This parable of the talents is a reflection of how Christ views lazy, unprofitable, “lukewarm” Christians. According to Revelation 3:15-16, He will say to many in the various churches that He knows their works (or more accurately their evil works or lack of good works), and that these believers are neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, and because they are lukewarm, He will vomit them out of His mouth.
Salvation by being faithful to Christ is a sound biblical position and doctrine to live by. Being faithful to Christ compels a believer to do good works.
On the other hand, works alone cannot save us. Those who refuse to accept Christ for their salvation and believe there are “many paths” to God will be doomed to hell. Popular talk show host Oprah Winfrey has recently promoted the many paths to God theology on her television program. Christ declared that there is only one way to the Father and that is through faith in Him (John 14:16). Adam, after he sinned, was doomed to hell (which is eternal death and separation from God). There was no work that Adam could do to re-attain his salvation. All that Adam, and all sinners that came afterward could do, is to have faith in the promised Messiah who would take away the sins of the world. Yeshua the Messiah, Jesus the Christ fulfilled the OT prophecies written about Him and salvation is available to all mankind. Hallelujah!
If works were absolutely necessary for salvation, all babies that died prematurely as well as all persons who genuinely repent before dying, such as was the case of the thief on the cross, would be doomed. Christ declared that the thief on the cross would one day be with Him in paradise, even though the thief had apparently done no work to attain salvation.
Much of the divide between Catholicism and Protestantism is over the faith vs. works issue. At least some Catholics, I would argue, do good works to be seen by men and not so much because of their love for man. Sister Theresa comes to mind. Christ said in Matthew chapter 6, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”
The Roman Catholic Church institution, throughout the ages, has abused the issue of repentance and works; often requiring repentant believers to do penance for sins. Penance cannot absolve a sinner from their sin; only true repentance and prayers for forgiveness can. God never commanded penance for sins against Him, but He did command recompense if you sinned against your neighbor – to repay your neighbor for their loss.
To this day, there are Catholics that believe they can self-suffer for Christ, as if Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was insufficient. This pious, self-righteous, self-suffering for Christ differs from martyrdom, where a believer suffers physical abuse and/or death against their will at the hands of another. Those who believe they can suffer for Christ are an insult to Christ and deny His atonement on the cross was sufficient for their salvation.
On the other hand, at least some Protestants rely on their faith in Christ alone, and do no works at all. God views Protestants who do no works at all as lazy, wicked, lukewarm servants. It is this type of faith, faith without works, that is dead (James 2:17).
As a non-denominational, Scriptural Christian, I cannot wholeheartedly accept either the standard Protestant Sola Fide by faith alone doctrine, or the Catholic belief that works is necessary for salvation. As for my biblically held position on the topic of faith and works, I will state it as the following…
Salvation is attained through faith in Christ who was sacrificed in our place as atonement for the sins of mankind, so that we may receive eternal life. It is through being faithful to Christ that we gladly do good works. Without Christ’s sacrifice and if Christ had not risen, then neither faith, nor good works, nor faith plus good works could save us (1 Corinthians 15:14).
Jesus Christ’s atonement sacrifice made salvation available to the world. It is through repentance of sin and faith and obedience to Him, that we can attain salvation through Him (John 14:16). Being faithful to Christ compels us to do good works. Good works do not save us; they demonstrate that we are faithful Christians. Having intellectual faith in Christ, or merely believing in Him, but refusing to do good works and acting in a manner unbefitting a Christian, equates one to being a lazy wicked servant (Matthew 25:14-30). Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Christians who do not do any good works are in danger of losing their salvation (Matthew 25:30). Likewise, Christians who do not obey Christ’s commandments are liars and are also in danger of losing their salvation (1 John 2:4). Christians, who do good charitable works to be seen by men, will receive no reward from God (Matthew 6:1-4).
Salvation is through faith in the atonement sacrifice of Christ. Salvation is a gift from God. Salvation is unmerited grace and no one can earn it. Faith in Christ brings forth fruit, which brings forth good works. Faith without works is dead. Works without faith is in vain. Believe in God and do His will in your life, and let His Holy Spirit guide you to proclaim the gospel and to do the good works that He will equip you to do
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Several of our friends, predominantly our Protestant friends, have raised a concern about this series of debates between Deepertruthblog and George Lujack. Their concern is that it could be improperly perceived that these debates represent an honest dialogue between Orthodox Catholic Christianity and Orthodox Protestant Christianity, when that is, in fact, not the case.
The concern does have some merit. Although I have actually grown to like George as a person, it would be impossible for me to agree with his own assessment that he is a Biblical christian. He most certainly is not. George denies the personage, and thus, the Divinity of the Holy Spirit. Further, George refers to the Son’s Divinity as inferior to the Father’s thus refuting the Scripture’s characterization of Him as Theos- the most High God, the exact same title as given to the Father. This creates a polytheistic system that is incompatible with Christianity, not unlike the Jehovah Witness cult.
Therefore, it is the position of this blogsite that our Protestant friends are right. These debates are not between a Catholic Christian and a Non-Catholic Christian. They are between a Catholic Christian and an adherent of a Polytheistic, non-Christian sect.
Having conceded that point to my Protestant friends, I have to say that it is my view that the confusion about truth in Christianity is a direct result of the false doctrine of Sola Scriptura, also known as “the Bible alone”, that we will debate tonight.
Now, on to the debate.
Of the ten debates between Deepertruthblog and George Lujack, this one is-by far- the most important, in my view. In fact, I would go so far as to characterize it as more important than the other 9 combined. The hill to live or die on, in all of Catholic apologetics, is this one right here-Sola Scriptura because it is the foundation upon which all errant doctrines in Christendom are built. It is for this reason that I have decided to start with an explanation of just what the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is and what it implies. Here it is as defined by one of it’s adherents (emphasis mine);
Scripture alone (from the Reformation slogan Sola Scriptura) is the teaching that Scripture is the Church’s only infallible and sufficient rule for deciding issues of faith and practices that involve doctrines. While the Bible does not contain all knowledge, it does contain that which is necessary for salvation. Indeed, if something is not found in Scripture, it is not binding upon the believer. This view does not deny that the Church has the authority to teach God’s Word. Furthermore, while tradition is valuable, it but must be tested by the higher authority of the Scriptures.
- Inspiration. Stating that Scripture is Inspired suggests that the truths presented in Scripture find their ultimate origin (inspiration) in the mind and will of God. Inspiration differs somewhat from direct revelation in that Inspiration often leaves, to the writer, the way in which those truths are presented. For example, the synoptic gospels present the life of Jesus in a very straightforward manner, while John’s Gospel takes a much more poetic and airy approach. Catholics agree that the Scriptures are inspired. However, Inspiration does not always equal direct dictation.
- Infallibility. Infallible (or inerrant) means free from error. In the case of the Bible, we hold that it is free from doctrinal or moral error. That a document is free from error does not indicate that it says everything that is right on a given subject, only that it says nothing that is wrong. Let me give an example. If I wrote 2 + 2= 4, and nothing else, on a sheet of paper, I have created an infallible document with regard to mathematics. This certainly does not imply that 2 + 2= 4 is all that there is to be said on the subject of mathematics, only that what it does say is without error.
- Authoritative. Something is authoritative when it comes from an authority. The two are not to be confused. A judge is an authority, his opinion is authoritative. That is, the Judge’s opinion is issued by virtue of His authority. It does not replace the authority, it springs from it. Therefore, if there is a misinterpretation of the Judge’s opinion, the word of the judge, himself would supersede it. A document, even the Bible, cannot be an authority because it is not alive. The Bible is the documented, authoritative Word OF the Authority but it is not the authority itself. The Catholic Church believes that Scripture is authoritative by virtue of the Church that gave it to us. The church is the authority and the Bible is the authoritative set of documents that Church presents. To call the scripture authority, in place of the church from which it came, is illogical and untenable. God gave authority to the church as guarantor of the scriptures. When protestants call scripture the final authority, they ascribe to it characteristics it cannot hold. God is alive and speaks through the spoken as well as the written word.
- Sufficiency. When we say something is sufficient for a purpose, we are saying that it is all that is needed for that purpose. That something is needed for a purpose, in no way implies that it is sufficient for that purpose. Something can be both absolutely necessary for a purpose, yet still insufficient for that purpose. This is to say that even if the thing is absolutely needed for that purpose, there could be additional things needed as well. An example of this is air. Air is absolutely necessary for life but it is also insufficient. Air alone cannot keep a person alive if the person does not also have food, water and shelter as well.
The debate on the doctrine of Sola Scriptura comes down to the alleged Sufficiency of Scripture.
To imply that because the Scriptures are inspired, infallible and authoritative, they are also sufficient is illogical. Genesis chapter 1, verse 1 is inspired, infallible and authoritative but it is not sufficient. There is more needed.
Simply put, the argument that the Scriptures are sufficient, that is, that they contain everything we need to know with regards to salvation is an argument that must stand on it’s own. It is not supported, even implicitly, by the Inspiration, Infallibility, Authoritativeness, or even the absolute necessity of sacred scripture.
Non-Catholics must prove that Scripture, and absolutely nothing else, is needed, or even desirable, in achieving salvation.
This burden of proof would be difficult enough but their task is even more daunting when you consider that they must not merely prove material sufficiency but practical (or formal) sufficiency as well. And not just practical sufficiency but exclusive practical sufficiency.
Remember the assertion: if something is not found in Scripture, it is not binding upon the believer.
The support of Material sufficiency posits that, within the pages of Scripture are fully present all the instruction you need unto the path of salvation. Practical or formal sufficiency states that they are not merely fully present but fully present in such a self-evident manner that any person, through his own reasonable efforts, could find and correctly extract them. The logical consequence of material, practical and exclusive sufficiency is that the Christian is not merely unbound by what is absent from Scripture but even by what only appears to be absent because they don’t know where to look, Practical and exclusive sufficiency means the Christian is bound only to that which he is able to interpret privately from Scripture. This is a direct contradiction of 1 Peter 1:20 which states that no scripture is a matter of personal interpretation.
Practical sufficiency not only denies that the church has a necessary role in the interpretation of Scripture but flat out denies the difficulties presented by translation, historical context, linguistic context, literary context to say nothing of the staggering task that was identifying, cataloging, canonizing, printing, binding and distributing the scriptures. In short, to believe in Sola Scriptura is to believe the Bible created itself. That is taking that doctrine to it’s logical end.
Therefore, the notion of practical, exclusive sufficiency is so absurd as to be surreal, but it is the burden my opponent must meet tonight to defend Sola Scriptura. I tell you now that this burden of proof is so impossible to meet that my opponent will not even attempt to do so.
What he will do instead, because he simply has no choice, is to attempt to create a diversion by claiming that the Catholic Church has x number of doctrines that allegedly contradict Scripture and imply that we deny it’s inspiration or that it is innerant. I will have to be well disciplined not to run down the numerous rabbit holes that will surely be opened.
I am not misrepresenting his position, I am simply taking it to it’s necessary logical end. My opponent’s position is the Bible alone. So, by his doctrine, the Bible created itself. Do not let him try and pretend otherwise. To admit that the church created the Bible is to refute his own doctrine. The burden of proof is fully on him. If the church didn’t create the Bible, it either created itself or it fell from the sky. He will not come close to meeting his burden of proof. That is a promise.
I, on the other hand, will refute this doctrine here and now, with a few simple observations.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:15 says we must follow all the traditions of the Church Oral and written.
- 1 Timothy 3:15 tells us that the church, not the Bible is the pillar and foundation of all truth. In fact, the word church appears 112 times in the New Testament, the word Bible Zero.
- Matthew 18:15-18 tells us that the Church, not the Bible is the final authority in a dispute and that the Church, not the Bible, has been given the power to bind and loose on earth, that which will be bound and loosed in heaven.
- Luke 10:16 quotes Jesus saying “he who hears you, hears me” , Not He who reads you.
- In Luke 1, Luke tells Theophilus that he is writing him not to instruct him but to verify the truth, in which he has already been instructed, by oral tradition.
- Jesus commands the original apostles to go and preach, not go and write. In fact, only three of the original 12 Apostles ever wrote any of the books that became part of the canon of Scripture- a total of only 7 of the 27 books. So, if the written Word is the only infallible source, why are only a quarter of the New Testament books written by Jesus hand picked disciples.
- We have no record of any book, not even one, written by Jesus.
- John 21:25 says the teachings of Jesus could not be held in enough books sufficient to fill the whole world.
- In Acts 8:30-31, we clearly see that the Bible itself tells us that it impossible to properly understand Scripture without guidance.
- In 1 Corinthians 5, Colossians 4, and Jeremiah 36 refer to letters written that believers are bound to. Not one of these three books made the Bible.
- The first Bible appeared 360 years after Christ died, presented by the Catholic Church.
- Nowhere in Scripture can an index of Scripture be found and many of the books themselves do not identify the author. Hebrews is just one example, Matthew and Mark are two more.
- A good tree cannot produce rotten fruit and the rotten fruit of Sola Scriptura is 42,000 denominations.
- Finally, in a fact that can only be described as ironic, there is not one jot or tittle of Scriptural support for this most absurd of doctrines.
Sola Scriptura flies in the face of the established facts. Martin Luther, himself, admitted that it must be conceded to the Catholics (papists as he called them) that without the Catholic Church, we would have no Bible. The Church gave us the Bible, not the other way around.
Sola Scriptura is a doctrine that cannot be defended. It is just that simple.
- In Acts 15, Peter solved the first recorded Church dispute without an appeal to Scripture. Please explain how this is possible with Sola Scriptura.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:15 says that we must obey all the Holy traditions passed down whether oral or written. How does this not counter Sola Scriptura?
- If Sola Scriptura is true, how were Christians saved during the first 360 years of the Church when there was no Bible?
- Where in Scripture is there an index of the books of the Bible?
- Outside of Church tradition, tell me who wrote the Books of Matthew, Mark or Hebrews?
16 All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, 17 That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.
James 1:4 – steadfastness also makes a man “perfect (teleioi) and complete (holoklepoi), lacking nothing.” This verse is important because “teleioi”and “holoklepoi” are much stronger words than “artios,” but Protestants do not argue that steadfastness is all one needs to be a Christian.
Titus 3:8 – good deeds are also “profitable” to men. For Protestants especially, profitable cannot mean “exclusive” here.
2 Tim 2:21- purity is also profitable for “any good work” (“pan ergon agathon”). This wording is the same as 2 Tim. 3:17, which shows that the Scriptures are not exclusive, and that other things (good deeds and purity) are also profitable to men.
Finally, backing up just a few verses from the provided text, Paul says this;
14 But continue thou in those things which thou hast learned, and which have been committed to thee: knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And because from thy infancy thou hast known the holy scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation, by the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
The actual translation is “do not go beyond the line”. It is an admonition not to stray from specific instruction but there certain contexts which must be observed. However, that admonition to not go beyond what is written is until He arrives when he will deal with their stubbornness personally.
19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will: and will know, not the speech of them that are puffed up, but the power.
20 For the kingdom of God is not in speech, but in power.
21 What will you ? shall I come to you with a rod; or in charity, and in the spirit of meekness ?
This is a fallacious argument for 2 reasons.
- The Word of God is not restricted to Scripture but every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God, not the pen. (Duet. 8:3, Matthew 4:4). John 1 says the Word of God is a person. A person who we have no record of ever writing anything except once in the sand. That Scripture is the only Word of God is the very point you are trying to establish. Your premise is in your argument, making it circular. “It is because it is because it is”.
- Interpreting Scripture is neither taking away from it nor adding to it. The Catholic Church does not add to Scripture, it adds to our understanding of Scriptural truths that are most certainly already there.
I. Scripture Alone Disproves “Scripture Alone”
Gen. to Rev. – Scripture never says that Scripture is the sole infallible authority for God’s Word. Scripture also mandates the use of tradition. This fact alone disproves sola Scriptura.
Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15 – those that preached the Gospel to all creation but did not write the Gospel were not less obedient to Jesus, or their teachings less important.
Matt. 28:20 – “observe ALL I have commanded,” but, as we see in John 20:30; 21:25, not ALL Jesus taught is in Scripture. So there must be things outside of Scripture that we must observe. This disproves “Bible alone” theology.
Mark 16:15 – Jesus commands the apostles to “preach,” not write, and only three apostles wrote. The others who did not write were not less faithful to Jesus, because Jesus gave them no directive to write. There is no evidence in the Bible or elsewhere that Jesus intended the Bible to be sole authority of the Christian faith.
Luke 1:1-4 – Luke acknowledges that the faithful have already received the teachings of Christ, and is writing his Gospel only so that they “realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.” Luke writes to verify the oral tradition they already received.
John 20:30; 21:25 – Jesus did many other things not written in the Scriptures. These have been preserved through the oral apostolic tradition and they are equally a part of the Deposit of Faith.
Acts 8:30-31; Heb. 5:12 – these verses show that we need help in interpreting the Scriptures. We cannot interpret them infallibly on our own. We need divinely appointed leadership within the Church to teach us.
Acts 15:1-14 – Peter resolves the Church’s first doctrinal issue regarding circumcision without referring to Scriptures.
Acts 17:28 – Paul quotes the writings of the pagan poets when he taught at the Aeropagus. Thus, Paul appeals to sources outside of Scripture to teach about God.
1 Cor. 5:9-11 – this verse shows that a prior letter written to Corinth is equally authoritative but not part of the New Testament canon. Paul is again appealing to a source outside of Scripture to teach the Corinthians. This disproves Scripture alone.
1 Cor. 11:2 – Paul commends the faithful to obey apostolic tradition, and not Scripture alone.
Phil. 4:9 – Paul says that what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do. There is nothing ever about obeying Scripture alone.
Col. 4:16 – this verse shows that a prior letter written to Laodicea is equally authoritative but not part of the New Testament canon. Paul once again appeals to a source outside of the Bible to teach about the Word of God.
1 Thess. 2:13 – Paul says, “when you received the word of God, which you heard from us..” How can the Bible be teaching first century Christians that only the Bible is their infallible source of teaching if, at the same time, oral revelation was being given to them as well? Protestants can’t claim that there is one authority (Bible) while allowing two sources of authority (Bible and oral revelation).
1 Thess. 3:10 – Paul wants to see the Thessalonians face to face and supply what is lacking. His letter is not enough.
2 Thess. 2:14 – Paul says that God has called us “through our Gospel.” What is the fullness of the Gospel?
2 Thess. 2:15 – the fullness of the Gospel is the apostolic tradition which includes either teaching by word of mouth or by letter. Scripture does not say “letter alone.” The Catholic Church has the fullness of the Christian faith through its rich traditions of Scripture, oral tradition and teaching authority (or Magisterium).
2 Thess 3:6 – Paul instructs us to obey apostolic tradition. There is no instruction in the Scriptures about obeying the Bible alone (the word “Bible” is not even in the Bible).
1 Tim. 3:14-15 – Paul prefers to speak and not write, and is writing only in the event that he is delayed and cannot be with Timothy.
2 Tim. 2:2 – Paul says apostolic tradition is passed on to future generations, but he says nothing about all apostolic traditions being eventually committed to the Bible.
2 Tim. 3:14 – continue in what you have learned and believed knowing from whom you learned it. Again, this refers to tradition which is found outside of the Bible.
James 4:5 – James even appeals to Scripture outside of the Old Testament canon (“He yearns jealously over the spirit which He has made…”)
2 Peter 1:20 – interpreting Scripture is not a matter of one’s own private interpretation. Therefore, it must be a matter of “public” interpretation of the Church. The Divine Word needs a Divine Interpreter. Private judgment leads to divisions, and this is why there are 30,000 different Protestant denominations.
2 Peter 3:15-16 – Peter says Paul’s letters are inspired, but not all his letters are in the New Testament canon. See, for example, 1 Cor. 5:9-10; Col. 4:16. Also, Peter’s use of the word “ignorant” means unschooled, which presupposes the requirement of oral apostolic instruction that comes from the Church.
2 Peter 3:16 – the Scriptures are difficult to understand and can be distorted by the ignorant to their destruction. God did not guarantee the Holy Spirit would lead each of us to infallibly interpret the Scriptures. But this is what Protestants must argue in order to support their doctrine of sola Scriptura. History and countless divisions in Protestantism disprove it.
1 John 4:1 – again, God instructs us to test all things, test all spirits. Notwithstanding what many Protestants argue, God’s Word is not always obvious.
1 Sam. 3:1-9 – for example, the Lord speaks to Samuel, but Samuel doesn’t recognize it is God. The Word of God is not self-attesting.
1 Kings 13:1-32 – in this story, we see that a man can’t discern between God’s word (the commandment “don’t eat”) and a prophet’s erroneous word (that God had rescinded his commandment “don’t eat”). The words of the Bible, in spite of what many Protestants must argue, are not always clear and understandable. This is why there are 30,000 different Protestant churches and one Holy Catholic Church.
Gen. to Rev. – Protestants must admit that knowing what books belong in the Bible is necessary for our salvation. However, because the Bible has no “inspired contents page,” you must look outside the Bible to see how its books were selected. This destroys the sola Scriptura theory. The canon of Scripture is a Revelation from God which is necessary for our salvation, and which comes from outside the Bible. Instead, this Revelation was given by God to the Catholic Church, the pinnacle and foundation of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15).
II. Scripture is not Subject to Private Interpretation
“True knowledge is [that which consists in] the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place, and has come even unto us, being guarded and preserved without any forging of Scriptures, by a very complete system of doctrine, and neither receiving addition nor [suffering] curtailment [in the truths which she believes]; and [it consists in] reading [the word of God] without falsification, and a lawful and diligent exposition in harmony with the Scriptures, both without danger and without blasphemy; and [above all, it consists in] the pre-eminent gift of love, which is more precious than knowledge, more glorious than prophecy, and which excels all the other gifts [of God].” Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4,33:8 (inter A.D. 180-199).
“But if there be any (heresies) which are bold enough to plant themselves in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [that first bishop of theirs] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men – a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter. In exactly the same way the other churches likewise exhibit (their several worthies), whom, as having been appointed to their episcopal places by apostles, they regard as transmitters of the apostolic seed. Let the heretics contrive something of the same kind…” Tertullian, On Prescription against the Heretics, 32 (c. A.D. 200).
“To this test, therefore will they be submitted for proof by those churches, who, although they derive not their founder from apostles or apostolic men (as being of much later date, for they are in fact being founded daily), yet, since they agree in the same faith, they are accounted as not less apostolic because they are akin in doctrine. Then let all the heresies, when challenged to these two tests by our apostolic church, offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic. But in truth they neither are so, nor are they able to prove themselves to be what they are not. Nor are they admitted to peaceful relations and communion by such churches as are in any way connected with apostles, inasmuch as they are in no sense themselves apostolic because of their diversity as to the mysteries of the faith.” Tertullian, On Prescription against the Heretics, 32 (c. A.D. 200).
“For those are slothful who, having it in their power to provide themselves with proper proofs for the divine Scriptures from the Scriptures themselves, select only what contributes to their own pleasures. And those have a craving for glory who voluntarily evade, by arguments of a diverse sort, the things delivered by the blessed apostles and teachers, which are wedded to inspired words; opposing the divine tradition by human teachings, in order to establish the heresy.” Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, 7:16 (post A.D. 202).
“When heretics show us the canonical Scriptures, in which every Christian believes and trusts, they seem to be saying: ‘Lo, he is in the inner rooms [the word of truth] ‘ (Matt 24.6). But we must not believe them, nor leave the original tradition of the Church, nor believe otherwise than we have been taught by the succession in the Church of God.” Origen, Homilies on Matthew, Homily 46, PG 13:1667 (ante A.D. 254).
“A most precious possession therefore is the knowledge of doctrines: also there is need of a wakeful soul, since there are many that make spoil through philosophy and vain deceit. The Greeks on the one hand draw men away by their smooth tongue, for honey droppeth from a harlot’s lips: whereas they of the Circumcision deceive those who come to them by means of the Divine Scriptures, which they miserably misinterpret though studying them from childhood to all age, and growing old in ignorance. But the children of heretics, by their good words and smooth tongue, deceive the hearts of the innocent, disguising with the name of Christ as it were with honey the poisoned arrows of their impious doctrines: concerning all of whom together the Lord saith, Take heed lest any man mislead you. This is the reason for the teaching of the Creed and for expositions upon it.” Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 4:2 (A.D. 350).
“And, O wretched heretic! You turn the weapons granted to the Church against the Synagogue, against belief in the Church’s preaching, and distort against the common salvation of all the sure meaning of a saving doctrine.” Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 12:36 (inter A.D. 356-359).
“But since they allege the divine oracles and force on them a misinterpretation, according to their private sense, it becomes necessary to meet them just so far as to vindicate these passages, and to show that they bear an orthodox sense, and that our opponents are in error.” Athanasius, Discourse Against the Arians, I:37 (A.D. 362).
“To refuse to follow the Fathers, not holding their declaration of more authority than one’s own opinion, is conduct worthy of blame, as being brimful of self-sufficiency.” Basil, EpistleTo the Canonicae, 52:1 (A.D. 370).
“While (the sects) mutually refute and condemn each other, it has happened to truth as to Gideon; that is, while they fight against each other, and fall under wounds mutually inflicted, they crown her. All the heretics acknowledge that there is a true Scripture. Had they all falsely believed that none existed, some one might reply that such Scripture was unknown to them. But now that have themselves taken away the force of such plea, from the fact that they have mutilated the very Scriptures. For they have corrupted the sacred copies; and words which ought to have but one interpretation, they have wrested to strange significations. Whilst, when one of them attempts this, and cuts off a member of his own body, the rest demand and claim back the severed limb…It is the church which perfect truth perfects. The church of believers is great, and its bosom most ample; it embraces the fulness (or, the whole) of the two Testaments.” Ephraem, Adv. Haeres (ante A.D. 373).
“Who knows not that what separates the Church from heresy is this term, ‘product of creation, ‘ applied to the Son? Accordingly, the doctrinal difference being universally acknowledged, what would be the reasonable course for a man to take who endeavors to show that his opinions are more true than ours?” Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, 4:6 (inter A.D. 380-384).
“For heresies, and certain tenets of perversity, ensnaring souls and hurling them into the deep, have not sprung up except when good Scriptures are not rightly understood, and when that in them which is not rightly understood is rashly and boldly asserted. And so, dearly beloved, ought we very cautiously to hear those things for the understanding of which we are but little ones, and that, too, with pious heart and with trembling, as it is written, holding this rule of soundness, that we rejoice as in food in that which we have been able to understand, according to the faith with which we are imbued…” Augustine, On the Gospel of John, Homily XVIII:1 (A.D. 416).
“If you produce from the divine scriptures something that we all share, we shall have to listen. But those words which are not found in the scriptures are under no circumstance accepted by us, especially since the Lord warns us, saying, In vain they worship me, teaching human commandments and precepts’ (Mt 5:19)” Maximinus (Arch-Arian Heretic), Debate with Maximinus, 1 (c. A.D. 428).
“Therefore, as I said above, if you had been a follower and assertor of Sabellianism or Arianism or any heresy you please, you might shelter yourself under the example of your parents, the teaching of your instructors, the company of those about you, the faith of your creed. I ask, O you heretic, nothing unfair, and nothing hard. As you have been brought up in the Catholic faith, do that which you would do for a wrong belief. Hold fast to the teaching of your parents. Hold fast the faith of the Church: hold fast the truth of the Creed: hold fast the salvation of baptism.” John Cassian, Incarnation of the Lord, 6:5 (c. A.D. 429).
“I have often then inquired earnestly and attentively of very many men eminent for sanctity and learning, how and by what sure and so to speak universal rule I may be able to distinguish the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical depravity; and I have always, and in almost every instance, received an answer to this effect: That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church.” Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory of the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith, 2:4 (A.D. 434).
“But the Church of Christ, the careful and watchful guardian of the doctrines deposited in her charge, never changes anything in them, never diminishes, never adds, does not cut off what is necessary, does not add what is superfluous, does not lose her own, does not appropriate what is another’s, but while dealing faithfully and judiciously with ancient doctrine, keeps this one object carefully in view, if there be anything which antiquity has left shapeless and rudimentary, to fashion and polish it, if anything already reduced to shape and developed, to consolidate and strengthen it, if any already ratified and defined to keep and guard it. Finally, what other object have Councils ever aimed at in their decrees, than to provide that what was before believed in simplicity should in future be believed intelligently, that what was before preached coldly should in future be preached earnestly, that what was before practiced negligently should thenceforward be practiced with double solicitude? This, I say, is what the Catholic Church, roused by the novelties of heretics, has accomplished by the decrees of her Councils, this, and nothing else, has thenceforward consigned to posterity in writing what she had received from those of olden times only by tradition, comprising a great amount of matter in a few words, and often, for the better understanding, designating an old article of the faith by the characteristic of a new name.” Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory of the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith, 23:59 (A.D. 434).
“[A]ll heresies, that they evermore delight in profane novelties, scorn the decisions of antiquity, and …make shipwreck of the faith. On the other hand, it is the sure characteristic of Catholics to keep that which has been committed to their trust by the holy Fathers…” Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory of the Anitquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith, 24:63 (A.D. 434).
“His (Nestorius) first attempt at innovation was, that the holy Virgin, who bore the Word of God, who took flesh of her, ought not to be confessed to be the mother of God, but only the mother of Christ; though of old, yea from the first, the preachers of the orthodox faith taught, agreeably to the apostolic tradition, that the mother of God. And now let me produce his blasphemous artifice and observation unknown to any one before him.” Theodoret of Cyrus, Compendium of Heretics’ Fables, 12 (c.A.D. 453).
III. The Catholic Church Determined the Canon of Scripture
“For the blessed apostle Paul himself, following the rule of his predecessor John, writes only by name to seven Churches in the following order–to the Corinthians afirst…there is a second to the Corinthians and to the Thessalonians, yet one Church is recognized as being spread over the entire world…Howbeit to Philemon one, to Titus one, and to Timothy two were put in writing…to be in honour however with the Catholic Church for the ordering of ecclesiastical discipline…one to the Laodicenes, another to the Alexandrians, both forged in Paul’s name to suit the heresy of Marcion, and several others, which cannot be received into the Catholic Church; for it is not fitting that gall be mixed with honey. The Epistle of Jude no doubt, and the couple bearing the name of John, are accepted by the Catholic Church…But of Arsinous, called also Valentinus, or of Militiades we receive nothing at all.” The fragment of Muratori (A.D. 177).
“The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means, and according to their usage–I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew–whilst that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was. For even Luke’s form of the Gospel men usually ascribe to Paul.” Tertullian, Against Marcion, 4:5 (A.D. 212).
“In his [Origen] first book on Matthew’s Gospel, maintaining the Canon of the Church, he testifies that he knows only four Gospels, writing as follows: Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language. The second is by Mark, who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a son, saying, ‘The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, saluteth you, and so doth Marcus, my son.’ And the third by Luke, the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts. Last of all that by John.” Origen, Commentary on Matthew, fragment in Eusebius Church History, 6:25,3 (A.D. 244).
“Learn also diligently, and from the Church, what are the books of the Old Testaments, and what those of the New.” Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 4:33 (A.D. 350).
“Likewise it has been said: Now indeed we must treat of the divine Scriptures, what the universal Catholic Church accepts and what she ought to shun. The order of the Old Testament begins here: Genesis one book, Exodus one book, Leviticus one book, Numbers one book, Deuteronomy one book, Josue Nave one book, Judges one book, Ruth one book, Kings four books, Paralipomenon two books, Psalms one book, Solomon three books, Proverbs one book, Ecclesiastes one book, Canticle of Canticles one book, likewise Wisdom one book, Ecclesiasticus one book. Likewise the order of the Prophets. Isaias one book, Jeremias one book,with Ginoth, that is, with his lamentations, Ezechiel one book,Daniel one book, Osee one book, Micheas one book, Joel one book, Abdias one book, Jonas one book, Nahum one book, Habacuc one book, Sophonias one book, Aggeus one book, Zacharias one book, Malachias one book. Likewise the order of the histories. Job one book, Tobias one book, Esdras two books, Esther one book, Judith one book, Machabees two books. Likewise the order of the writings of the New and eternal Testament, which only the holy and Catholic Church supports. Of the Gospels, according to Matthew one book, according to Mark one book, according to Luke one book, according to John one book. The Epistles of Paul [the apostle] in number fourteen. To the Romans one, to the Corinthians two, to the Ephesians one, to the Thessalonians two, to the Galatians one, to the Philippians one, to the Colossians one, to Timothy two, to Titus one, to Philemon one, to the Hebrews one. Likewise the Apocalypse of John, one book. And the Acts of the Apostles one book. Likewise the canonical epistles in number seven. Of Peter the Apostle two epistles, of James the Apostle one epistle, of John the Apostle one epistle, of another John, the presbyter, two epistles, of Jude the Zealut, the Apostle one epistle.” Pope Damasus (regn. A.D. 366-384), Decree of the Council of Rome, The Canon of Scripture (A.D. 382).
“Besides the canonical Scriptures, nothing shall be read, in the church under the title of divine writings.’. The canonical books are:—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, the four books of Kings, the two books of Paraleipomena (Chronicles), Job, the Psalms of David, the five books of Solomon, the twelve books of the (Minor) Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Tobias, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees. The books of the New Testament are:—the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles of S. Paul, one Epistle of S. Paul to the Hebrews, two Epistles of S. Peter, three Epistles of S. John, the Epistle of S. James, the Epistle of S. Jude, the Revelation of S. John. Concerning the confirmation of this canon, the transmarine Church shall be consulted.” Council of Hippo, Canon 36 (A.D. 393).
“I beseech you to bear patiently, if I also write, by way of remembrance, of matters with which you are acquainted, influenced by the need and advantage of the Church. In proceeding to make mention of these things [the canon], I shall adopt, to comment my undertaking, the pattern of Luke…to reduce into order for themselves the books termed apocryphal, and to mix them up with the divinely inspired Scripture, concerning which we have been fully persuaded, as they who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, delivered to the fathers; it seemed good to me also, having been urged thereto by true brethren, and having learned from the beginning, to set before you the books included in the Canon…” Athanasius, Festal Letters, 39 (A.D. 397).
“[It has been decided] that nothing except the Canonical Scriptures should be read in the church under the name of the Divine Scriptures. But the Canonical Scriptures are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Josue, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, Paralipomenon two books, Job, the Psalter of David, five books of Solomon, twelve books of the Prophets, Isaias, Jeremias, Daniel, Ezechiel, Tobias, Judith, Esther, two books of Esdras, two books of the Maccabees. Moreover, of the New Testament: Four books of the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles one book, thirteen epistles of Paul the Apostle, one of the same to the Hebrews, two of Peter, three of John, one of James, one of Jude, the Apocalypse of John.” Council of Carthage III, Canon 47 (A.D. 397).
“The authority of our books [Scriptures], which is confirmed by agreement of so many nations, supported by a succession of apostles, bishops, and councils, is against you.” Augustine, Reply to Faustus the Manichean, 13:5 (c. A.D. 400).
“If any one shall say, or shall believe, that other Scriptures, besides those which the Catholic Church has received, are to be esteemed of authority, or to be venerated, let him be anathema.” Council of Toledo, Canon 12 (A.D. 400).
“A brief addition shows what books really are received in the canon. These are the desiderata of which you wished to be informed verbally: of Moses five books, that is, of Genesis, of Exodus, of Leviticus, of Numbers, of Deuteronomy, and Josue, of Judges one book, of Kings four books, also Ruth, of the Prophets sixteen books, of Solomon five books, the Psalms. Likewise of the histories, Job one book, of Tobias one book, Esther one, Judith one, of the Machabees two, of Esdras two, Paralipomenon two books. Likewise of the New Testament: of the Gospels four books, of Paul the Apostle fourteen epistles, of John three, epistles of Peter two, an epistle of Jude, an epistle of James, the Acts of the Apostles, the Apocalypse of John.” Pope Innocent (regn. A.D. 401-417), Epistle to Exsuperius Bishop of Toulose, 6:7,13 (A.D. 405).
“Item, that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in the church under the name of divine Scripture. But the Canonical Scriptures are as follows: Genesis…The Revelation of John…for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in the church.” Council of Carthage, African Code, Canon 24 (A.D. 419).
“The book of the Apocalypse which John the wise wrote, and which has been honoured by the approval of the Fathers.” Cyril of Alexandria, Worship and Adoration in Spirit and in Truth, 5 (A.D. 425).
“Now the whole canon of Scripture on which we say this judgment is to be exercised, is contained in the following books:–Five books of Moses, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; one book of Joshua the son of Nun; one of Judges; one short book called Ruth, which seems rather to belong to the beginning of Kings; next, four books of Kings, and two of Chronicles –these last not following one another, but running parallel, so to speak, and going over the same ground. The books now mentioned are history, which contains a connected narrative of the times, and follows the order of the events. There are other books which seem to follow no regular order, and are connected neither with the order of the preceding books nor with one another, such as Job, and Tobias, and Esther, and Judith, and the two books of Maccabees, and the two of Ezra, which last look more like a sequel to the continuous regular history which terminates with the books of Kings and Chronicles. Next are the Prophets, in which there is one book of the Psalms of David; and three books of Solomon, viz., Proverbs, Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastes. For two books, one called Wisdom and the other Ecclesiasticus, are ascribed to Solomon from a certain resemblance of style, but the most likely opinion is that they were written by Jesus the son of Sirach. Still they are to be reckoned among the prophetical books, since they have attained recognition as being authoritative.
The remainder are the books which are strictly called the Prophets: twelve separate books of the prophets which are connected with one another, and having never been disjoined, are reckoned as one book; the names of these prophets are as follows:–Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi; then there are the four greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel. The authority of the Old Testament is contained within the limits of these forty-four books. That of the New Testament, again, is contained within the following:–Four books of the Gospel, according to Matthew, according to Mark, according to Luke, according to John; fourteen epistles of the Apostle Paul–one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to the Philippians, two to the Thessalonians, one to the Colossians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, to Philemon, to the Hebrews: two of Peter; three of John; one of Jude; and one of James; one book of the Acts of the Apostles; and one of the Revelation of John.” Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, 2:8,12 (A.D. 426).
The link for the show notes for this debate is http://tinyurl.com/8xztucp. To email us a question or comment, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you look at all the non-Catholic denominations, sects and churches that profess a belief in Christ, there is no question that you have what Jesus called a house divided. Depending on how you count denominations, sub denominations and sub-sub denominations, there are between 30,000 and 40,000 or more.
This is the bitter fruit of Sola Scriptura.
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren, of you, by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I am of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul then crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
The irony is that, while almost all of these religions routinely attack Catholicism, they cannot agree on just why Catholicism is allegedly wrong. Some say that we are right on the Trinity but wrong on the necessity of Baptism. Others say we are right about both of those doctrines but wrong on the Eucharist. Others say, no, no ,no, the Eucharist is right but Catholics are wrong about something else.
The one and only doctrine that unites all non Catholic Christians and alleged Christians is Sola Scripture. That union is a marriage of necessity, not of harmony.
If the authority of the Catholic Church, literally Ecclesia Kath Olos from Acts 9:31, falls, people are free to believe whatever they feel the Scriptures say to them. However, if Sola Scriptura falls, only the Catholic Church remains standing as the fullness of God’s truth.
Jesus said to Peter, upon this Rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her.
Nowhere, does Jesus say upon this Bible, I will build my Church. Nowhere is Scripture called a sole rule of faith, not in history, not in Scripture itself.
This doctrine is wholly without support of any kind- historical support, logical support and most certainly not, Biblical support.
Non-Catholics may genuinely believe that Sola Scriptura is true, but when pressed, they cannot cite one scintilla of Scriptural support for it. The depth of the irony of this should not be lost on anyone.
Sola Scriptura is the theological equivalent of a cat chasing it’s own tail.
Only the Bible is the Word of God and the Word of God says you shouldn’t add to the Word of God, therefore, we know that only the Bible is the Word of God and the Word of God says…..
You get the point. Rinse. Repeat.
Paul says, in 1 Timothy
God is not a book. He speaks to us in any way He chooses and He has made it clear to us that He speaks to us through His Church, in writing and Orally, and even, when He chooses, by direct revelation.
Even Martin Luther, the inventor of Sola Scriptura admitted, in his commentary on the gospel of John, that it must be conceded to the Catholic Church that we gave the world the Scriptures. That argument alone, refutes Sola Scriptura.
April 19, 2012
by George Lujack
Sola Scriptura (Latin meaning “by scripture alone”) is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Additionally, the doctrine maintains, that all Christian doctrines to be followed are to be found directly in Scripture or indirectly by using logical reasoning from Scripture.
Sola Scriptura holds Scripture as the final authority on matters of faith morality, and true doctrine. Sola Scriptura demands that all authorities are subject to, and can be corrected by Scripture – which is the word of God.
By contrast, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Scriptures are not the only infallible source of Christian doctrine, but cite their supposed ecclesiastical authority through Apostolic tradition as a source of equal or greater authority than the Scriptures themselves. They claim this is true even when Catholic traditions are not supported by Scripture or when Catholic traditions contradict Scripture.
Sola Scriptura was considered to be one of the main reasons for the Protestant reformation. Martin Luther said, “A simple layman armed with Scripture is greater that the mightiest pope without it.” Luther also said, “The true rule is this: God’s word shall establish articles of faith, and no one else, not even and angel can do so.”
In regards to the papal claim that the Catholic Church had given the world the Bible, and the church alone could explain it, William Tyndale responded, “Do you know who taught the eagles to find their prey? That same God teaches his hungry children to find their Father in his Word. Far from having given us the Scriptures, it is you who have hidden them from us; it is you who burn those who teach them; and if you could, you would burn the Scriptures themselves.” As William Tyndale prepared to translate the Bible to English, he proclaimed, “I defy the pope and all his laws. I would cause the boy that drives the plough, to know more of the Scriptures than you (Catholics) do.”
Does Scripture support the concept of Sola Scriptura? Scripture testifies and bears witness that it does.
DEUTERONOMY 8:3; MATTHEW 4:4; LUKE 4:4:
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceed from the mouth of God.”
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them …
2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17:
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Jesus, in Matthew 15:6 and Mark 7:13, proclaims that the word of God can be made of no effect through tradition. This is exactly what Catholicism has done from their inception through to this current day.
Catholics often cite the following verse to proclaim that Catholic Church traditions are on equal par with Scripture:
2 THESSALONIANS 2:15:
Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.
Catholics use this verse and run wild with it, falsely proclaiming it literally gives them the right to have traditions that may oppose Scripture, as if this is what the Apostle Paul was writing in 2 Thessalonians 2:15. That is not what Paul was writing. The oral traditions that Paul taught were in harmony and reflected Scripture. Paul was not writing of the unbiblical traditions that would follow his teachings afterward, in the Catholic Church. The oral traditions of Paul did not conflict in any way with Scripture. Many of the traditions that the Catholic Church would later incorporate into their version of Christianity are unbiblical and oppose Scripture.
Paul warned against preaching about things that are not part of the gospel of Scripture…
… Even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Many of the doctrines of the Catholic Church come from Catholic/Babylonian pagan traditions and cannot be found in Scripture. They are a different gospel, a perverting of true Christianity, which is why Catholicism cannot support Sola Scriptura. It is the Catholic Church, and other corrupt organized church organizations that pervert Scripture for their own worldly gains, their own traditions, and their own power.
Catholics, who do not believe in “Sola Scriptura,” believe in what I would call, “Sola Catholicism” (by the Catholic Church alone) or “Sola Papal Authoritarianism” (by papal authority alone). Catholics believe the doctrines of the Catholic Church and their pope are above the word of God recorded in Scripture.
The irony of Sola Scriptura is that Catholics use Scripture to establish themselves as the one true Apostolic Church. Catholics believe in “Sola Scriptura,” completely and without question, ONLY when Scripture supposedly establishes the Catholic Church as God’s true church, but otherwise do not apply Sola Scriptura to anything (except when twisting Scripture to conform to their false, man-made doctrines).
Here is the Catholic circular reasoning argument, using Scripture to establish the authority of the Catholic Church, then using the Catholic Church to establish Scripture…
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
How do we know that the Catholic Church is the one true Apostolic Church?
We know that the Catholic Church is the one true Apostolic Church, because Scripture declares in Matthew 16:18 that Jesus established the Catholic Church through Peter.
How do we know that Matthew 16:18 actually means that Jesus was establishing the one true Apostolic Catholic Church through Peter?
We know that Jesus was establishing the one true Apostolic Catholic Church through Peter in Matthew 16:18, because the Catholic Church has traditionally taught this!
Catholic circular reasoning is just one example of why we cannot use tradition to establish truths that are not evident in Scripture, to make up doctrines or to change or abolish Scripture. Scripture is the final authority on matters of faith, morals and proper doctrine. Christians turn to Scripture, the unchangeable word of God, for correction and instruction in righteousness. Scripture alone is sufficient to make the person who seeks God complete.
Scripture is not open to private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20). The interpretations of Scripture by Catholic popes and the Catholic Church are private interpretations of Scripture that are generally interpreted in self-serving manner for the purpose of establishing and empowering the Catholic Church.
Jesus told us to proclaim and teach the Scriptures and the good news of the gospel to all people (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus NEVER taught us that we should go out and “defend the faith,” which is what many Catholics do, because the Catholic faith is so obviously opposed to the Scriptures that they claim they are representing. Biblical Christians need only to proclaim the faith, and do not need to defend it, for Scripture defends and bears witness to true Christian faith.
In closing I would just like to reiterate that Scripture is the final word on matters of faith, not the Catholic Church or any other organized church of man. Scripture is the word of God and is not open to denominational interpretations, nor is Scripture subject to change. Scripture is the word of God and cannot be abolished.
It is Scripture that contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. All Christian doctrines should be based on Scripture as Scripture declares these truths in 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
Catholics make a bold, self-serving claim that they are the true church that was commissioned by Christ through Peter. Then, to defend this lie, they challenge anyone to declare that if the Catholic Church is not the true church, then who is? The answer is THERE IS NO TRUE CHURCH!
Scripture does not declare any particular church as true. Only God is true.
Jesus said, I AM the way THE TRUTH and the life. He did not direct us to any church to find the truth, but to He Himself through God’s word in the Scriptures.
Scripture is not of any private interpretation, as stated in 2 Peter 1:20. On any given spiritual topic, there is only one truth as declared by Scripture and Scripture is not subject to change. This does not mean that the Catholic Church speaks the truth, are the arbiters of truth, or have the authority to change truth. The only correct interpretation is the true interpretation on any given spiritual topic. The Catholic Church is not the correct interpreter of Scripture by either appointment or by default.
The truth is that the Roman Catholic Church has attempted to usurp the authority of the Scriptures and Christ Himself to empower and glorify themselves. They are and have been corrupt from their very origin and foundation.
Catholics, even Catholics here on Deeper Truth Blog, often say that they are defenders of the Catholic faith… and that they are. What exactly are they defending their faith against? They are primarily defending their faith against the truths of Scripture. In order to do this, they must say to logically minded persons who read what Scripture actually says and declare to them that Scripture does not mean what it says, here is what we spiritually enlightened Catholics declare that it means…
In contrast to Catholicism, biblical Christians typically proclaim their faith to non-believer atheists, pagans and agnostics. Scripture is used by biblical Christians to defend their faith.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 makes it perfectly clear that Scripture makes the man seeking God complete. Church teachings based on church interpretations that are complete distortions of truth serve to deceive their flock. Church traditions that are unbiblical make the truths of Scripture of no effect with their traditions, which is what Jesus warned about in Matthew 15:6.
Scripture is profitable for doctrine, not unbiblical church doctrines. Scripture may be used for correction, which would include correcting false doctrines held by the Catholic Church and all other churches.
Church tradition never can and never will trump the word of God found in Scripture.
Christians have been commissioned by Christ to proclaim the faith (Matthew 28:18-20), not to defend it. Christians proclaim the faith and it is Scripture that verifies and defends true Christian faith.
Why did Matthew bother saying that Joseph did not know Mary (in the conjugal sense) until the baby was born, specifying UNTIL or UNTIL AFTER depending on the translation, if it should have been, “Joseph NEVER knew her?”
The keys to understanding this passage are both the actual definition of the translated word ‘until’ and the overall context of scripture regarding this.
First, the word.
The greek word heos is translated to ‘until’. It affirms that something did not happen up to that point, but does not imply that it did happen after that (Hebrews 1:13, 1 Timothy 4:13). The Old Testament equivalent can be found in 2 Samuel 6:23, a verse that is absurd if interpreted as the Protestants interpret Matthew 1:25.
13But to which of the angels said he at any time: Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool?
Does Jesus cease sitting at the Father’s right hand once His enemies have been vanquished?
1 Timothy 4:1313Till I come, attend unto reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine.
Are we to understand that Timothy is to cease reading, exhorting and studying doctrine after Paul has come?
2 Samuel 6:23
23Therefore Michol the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.
Soooooo…. Michol had children after she died?
All of these verses are translated from the same word used in Matthew 1:25 (or, in the case of 2 Samuel 6:23, the Hebrew equivalent.)
Those who state that Matthew 1:25 states that Mary and Joseph had intercourse after Jesus was born must also stipulate that Michol had children after she died….an untenable position to say the least.
That Mary had no intention of ever having sex with Joseph is very clear from Scripture.
The Angel says to Mary, in Luke 1;
31Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
33And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
“How shall this be done, because I know not man?”
At this point, the angel has said nothing about the miraculous plan concerning her child. He only says “You will conceive and bear a son”. If Mary’s marriage to Joseph was intended to be conjugal, she would never have assumed for a second that she would conceive in any other manner but relations with Joseph. She said “How SHALL this be done”? Mary is not only a dedicated virgin up to that point, but had no intention of ever not being one.
God accepted that vow because in Mary, and only in Mary, He allowed conception without the loss of Virginity.
The other clincher is that 2 of Jesus’ ‘brothers’, James and Joseph, are clearly identified as sons of Mary and Cleopas (John 19:25).
I hope this helps.
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Sometimes it can happen multiple times a day with many casualties.
A good day would be when we lost no one.
Sometimes the only thing I can do for someone is pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet!
There may not be anything we can do as the wounds were just too catastrophic.
Sometimes, actually most of the time, there is no priest available on the battlefield nor in most of the frontline Aid Stations.
When we recieved causalties, there are so many things happening at once, I might be involved with CPR trying to keep someone alive until the Doc calls it. I would silently pray:
I would be looking around ensuring that all can be done, making sure that the Casualties are packaged and ready for air transport Medevac if the sky is green. If the sky is red that presents problems getting a ground convoy. Continuing in my mind I would pray:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion,
have mercy on us and on the whole world.
This hits home for me literally as my Mother would be told she had two days to live. She developed a massive blood clot that lodged in her right lower leg causing it to turn blue.
Without circulation, her leg did not make it. When I arrived at the hospital, the Doctors did not believe she would survive the knife. They gave her two days to live.
My Brother and I took Mom home to die as she didn’t want to die in the hospital, but at home with her family around her.
As soon as we got her in her bed, I elevated her leg giving some comfort, I placed a rosary above the site where it was dead, and bathed the area with holy water and prayer.
Mom’s medication such as Morphine helped at times, but what helped her most was praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet with me.
She felt at peace with herself and she was able to rest. This went on for about 10 days when I had to get an extension on my leave as Mom was living longer that what the Doctors projected.
I was sitting next to her bed when Mom asked me,
“Do you believe that the Lord will receive me when I pass”.
I told Mom, “Mom, you know He will receive you! You can trust in His word and stand on what He says”.
That’s when I began to sing to her a song we sing at Mass, “Be Not Afraid”! Gigi, my wife, was standing on the other side of the bed when she saw Mom’s rosary on her desk so she gave it to Mom to hold.
As we were singing the song together, Mom was holding her rosary. It was at this point I noticed the rosary change from silver to gold in her hands. What a sign this was for us and I will write here that the Lord gave my Mom another 18 Months.
Mom was finally taken by the Lord on 1 August 2006. I will never forget how the Divine Mercy Chaplet made such an impact for my Mom.
That would lead to the earlier scenario. In the absence of a Priest, without the Anointing of the Sick (Last Rites), the Divine Mercy Chaplet is an important devotion.
I have meet parents of Soldiers who have died that were consoled by me when learning of our dedication of the Divine Mercy Chaplet praying for their Sons. The Devotion of the Divine Mercy is a Nine Day Novena beginning on Good Friday that goes to Divine Mercy Sunday.
Jesus told St.Faustina,” “These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.’ The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy.”
St. Faustina wrote in her diary: “On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy … On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls.”
Opening Prayers (optional):You expired, Jesus,but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us. O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in You!
The Chaplet begins with the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and The Apostles Creed.
On the large beads, we pray: Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
On the ten small beads of each decade we pray: For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
The Chaplet is concluded with (three times): Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
The closing prayer (optional): Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.
The Nine Day Novena:
“Today bring to Me all mankind, especially all sinners,
and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.”
Most Merciful Jesus, whose very nature it is to have compassion on us and to forgive us, do not look upon our sins but upon our trust which we place in Your infinite goodness. Receive us all into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart, and never let us escape from It. We beg this of You by Your love which unites You to the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon all mankind and especially upon poor sinners, all enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion show us Your mercy, that we may praise the omnipotence of Your mercy for ever and ever. Amen.
“Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious,
and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind.”
Most Merciful Jesus, from whom comes all that is good, increase Your grace in men and women consecrated to Your service,* that they may perform worthy works of mercy; and that all who see them may glorify the Father of Mercy who is in heaven.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the company of chosen ones in Your vineyard — upon the souls of priests and religious; and endow them with the strength of Your blessing. For the love of the Heart of Your Son in which they are enfolded, impart to them Your power and light, that they may be able to guide others in the way of salvation and with one voice sing praise to Your boundless mercy for ages without end. Amen.
“Today bring to Me all Devout and Faithful Souls,
and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. These souls brought me consolation on the Way of the Cross. They were a drop of consolation in the midst of an ocean of bitterness.”
Most Merciful Jesus, from the treasury of Your mercy, You impart Your graces in great abundance to each and all. Receive us into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart and never let us escape from It. We beg this grace of You by that most wondrous love for the heavenly Father with which Your Heart burns so fiercely.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon faithful souls, as upon the inheritance of Your Son. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, grant them Your blessing and surround them with Your constant protection. Thus may they never fail in love or lose the treasure of the holy faith, but rather, with all the hosts of Angels and Saints, may they glorify Your boundless mercy for endless ages. Amen.
“Today bring to Me those who do not believe in God and those who do not know Me,
I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy.”
Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
“Today bring to Me the Souls of those who have separated themselves from My Church*,
and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. During My bitter Passion they tore at My Body and Heart, that is, My Church. As they return to unity with the Church My wounds heal and in this way they alleviate My Passion.”
Most Merciful Jesus, Goodness Itself, You do not refuse light to those who seek it of You. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Church. Draw them by Your light into the unity of the Church, and do not let them escape from the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart; but bring it about that they, too, come to glorify the generosity of Your mercy.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who have separated themselves from Your Son’s Church, who have squandered Your blessings and misused Your graces by obstinately persisting in their errors. Do not look upon their errors, but upon the love of Your own Son and upon His bitter Passion, which He underwent for their sake, since they, too, are enclosed in His Most Compassionate Heart. Bring it about that they also may glorify Your great mercy for endless ages. Amen.
Today bring to Me the Meek and Humble Souls and the Souls of Little Children,
and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who will keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence.
Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father’s favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God Himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy*,
and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.
Most Merciful Jesus, whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You O God:
Show them Your mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, who said to them that during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.
“Today bring to Me the Souls who are in the prison of Purgatory,
and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. Let the torrents of My Blood cool down their scorching flames. All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring them relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only knew the torments they suffer, you would continually offer for them the alms of the spirit and pay off their debt to My justice.”
Most Merciful Jesus, You Yourself have said that You desire mercy; so I bring into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls in Purgatory, souls who are very dear to You, and yet, who must make retribution to Your justice. May the streams of Blood and Water which gushed forth from Your Heart put out the flames of Purgatory, that there, too, the power of Your mercy may be celebrated.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls suffering in Purgatory, who are enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. I beg You, by the sorrowful Passion of Jesus Your Son, and by all the bitterness with which His most sacred Soul was flooded: Manifest Your mercy to the souls who are under Your just scrutiny. Look upon them in no other way but only through the Wounds of Jesus, Your dearly beloved Son; for we firmly believe that there is no limit to Your goodness and compassion. Amen.
“Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm,
and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.”
Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen
Me and my wife of 26 years walked to the tidal basin and then went to the National Shrine for confession and Easter Vigil Mass.
Yes, it was a long day but much more than worth it.
We will be giving the candles to my Mother and Father later today.
My Father is dying of cancer but the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
We wish each and every one of you a very blessed Easter season.
Remember, Easter is a SEASON, not just a day. You ARE expected to be in church the other 51 Sundays as well!
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The show notes for this debate can be found at tinyurl.com/7sqkvkm. This link will be posted in the chat room. If you have any questions, please email them to email@example.com.
In our first debate, my opponent made the charge that Mary is a goddess in the Catholic religion. In our second, he contended that Catholics “praise, worship and idolatrize Mary”. He has also stated this in several online debates and, even as I prepare this monologue, hours before our scheduled 4th debate, I am absolutely certain that I will hear this ludicrous assertion leveled yet again. Now, I am not saying this to get this debate off on the wrong foot, I’m saying it to get it off on the right foot. Let’s please dispense with the super-heated rhetoric and the endless supposition about gods and goddesses, pagans and hobgoblins and things that go bump in the night.
What the Catholic Church claims about Mary’s Immaculate conception is hardly extraordinary in the context of a God who placed eternity inside Her womb and who spoke the universe into existence. It also doesn’t elevate Mary any further than the way God chose to elevate Her as enunciated clearly in Scripture.
In these opening remarks, I will make the affirmative case for this doctrine. I will deal with objections during the question portion and in my closing remarks.
The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception begins with a proper understanding of Grace.
Many protestants contend that grace is nothing more than unmerited favor. This view directly contradicts scripture. Grace is something we receive. It is something that saves us and enables us to do good.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed
John 1:16-17 From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, 17 because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Acts 15:11 On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they.”
Ephesians 3:2 if, as I suppose, you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit,
Ephesians 3:8 To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,
Ephesians 2:8-10 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith ; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God ; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Let us quickly summarize;
- With sufficient Grace, a person is capable of every good deed.
- Grace can only come from Christ, the Mosaic law could not provide it.
- All who are saved are saved by this grace.
- The church are the stewards of this Grace, both for our benefit and to preach.
- You cannot earn this grace, it can only be given as a free gift through faith.
- The purpose of this Grace is to enable us to do the good works that God has prepared for us to do.
It must be emphasized that Ephesians 2 does NOT state that Salvation is a free gift from God, as so many assert, it states that GRACE is a free gift from God.
This fact refutes the protestant notion of imputed salvation but that’s a debate for another day.
Let’s cut to the chase. By Grace you are saved, therefore, for a lack of grace you are lost. Those who do little good have little, those who do much have much. Those who don’t have any, commit unrepentant evil and are damned for it. Grace is necessary for Salvation and grace can be quantified.
Now that we have looked at this, let me outline what we hold to be true, with regard to how this grace applies to Mary.
1) Mary is saved by the same Savior you and I are.
2) Mary is saved by the same Grace you and I are.
3) By the reception of this Grace, Mary is no more made Divine than you and I are.
4) What differs is the timing and the degree of the Grace Mary received.
5) This special provision was provided by God for the purpose of Mary’s integral and crucial role in bringing us the Savior.
6) All of this can be deduced from Scripture.
When the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary (Luke 1:28), the first words he says to her are “Chaire, kecharitomene!” [Χαιρε, κεχαριτομενε!].
Let’s break it down. Chaire means Hail! It is a salutation of royalty.
In fact, it is used twice in the gospels with respect to Jesus
Matthew. 26:49, where Judas greets Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane with “Hail, Rabbi!”
Matthew. 27:29, where Pilate’s soldiers mock Jesus with the greeting: “Hail, King of the Jews!”
Here, the Angel is clearly recognizing Mary as the fulfillment of the Old Testament Queen Mother, the Mother of the King. We’ll cover that in another debate.
Kecharitomene is actually a conjunction of three words- Ke, Charitoo and Mene.
Let us start with charitoo, and let us start with the King James Bible. charitoo is a variant of Charis. Including every variant of Charis, the KJV translates Grace 86% of the time. However, when the variant charitoo is used, the percentage rises to better than 96% with the only exception being- you guessed it- Luke 1:28 (link in the show notes). The oo variant at the end actually adds emphasis.
The prefix Ke actually states that something perfectly exists that was the result of a past action. An example would be “You are a college educated professor”
The suffix mene notes that the action was completed by another (in this case, God). Mary did not endue Herself with Grace, God did it.
Kecharitomene is literally “endured with perfected Grace” or, as every Bible prior to 1611 stated, and many after, “Full of grace”. This includes the Protestant bibles of Luther and Tyndale and proto-protestant Wycliffe. In fact, even the original KJV placed “endured with Grace” in the margin notes.
It is very clear that the KJV and other version have played polemic politics with the very text of sacred Scripture.
Χαιρε (which means both “Rejoice” and “Hail”) is the salutation, like the word “hello” in “Hello, Cathy!” The word that follows, κεχαριτομενε, is the direct address. In the previous example, the name “Cathy” is the direct address. A direct address is usually a name or title (or pronoun taking the place of a name or title) which represents the identity of the person being spoken to. Gabriel identifies Mary with a single term: not the name “Mary,” but the word κεχαριτομενε.
In other words, Gabriel is literally addressing Mary “Hail!, Full of Grace” as if “Full of grace” were here name. Kecharitomene is not merely grace but emphasized Grace, preexisting Grace, endowed grace and perfected Grace. In other words, Fullness of Grace and the complete absence of sin, even original sin.
The great Baptist Greek scholar A.T. Robertson exhibits a Protestant perspective, but is objective and fair-minded, in commenting on this verse as follows:
“Highly favoured” (kecharitomene). Perfect passive participle of charitoo and means endowed with grace (charis), enriched with grace as in Ephesians. 1:6, . . . The Vulgate gratiae plena “is right, if it means ‘full of grace which thou hast received’; wrong, if it means ‘full of grace which thou hast to bestow’” (Plummer).
(Word Pictures in the New Testament, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1930, six volumes, Vol. II, 13) Source
Greek scholar Marvin R. Vincent noted that even Wycliffe and Tyndale (no enthusiastic supporters of the Catholic Church) both rendered kecharitomene in Luke 1:28 as “full of grace” and that the literal meaning was “endued with grace” (Word Studies in the New Testament, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1946, four volumes, from 1887 edition: New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons; Vol. I, 259).
Even the Protestant amplified Bible states that the literal translation is “endued with grace”
In terms of making a linguistic refutation of the Catholic interpretation of Luke 1:28, it cannot be done. Now let’s address the practical case.
Whether or not you accept that Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant or the New Eve or the New holy of holies, there is one thing you cannot deny- between Eden and the Resurrection, to come in direct contact with God, for anyone but God’s high Priest, meant death. This was true for Uzzah, this was true for an unworthy Priest. In fact, a Priest entering the Holy of holies was secured with a rope so that his dead body, if need be, could be pulled out.
My protestant friends argue that Jesus could have been protected from the contagion of original sin, by God, even if Mary wasn’t sinless. I will gladly concede the point. God could have done this in some way, if He chose.
What cannot be argued, however is that Mary, if a sinful woman, could not share direct contact with the almighty Himself inside her. God cannot share the same space with sin. Direct access to God only occurs after the Resurrection when the veil in the Temple is torn in two.
However, perhaps the biggest reason why Mary’s immaculate conception was necessary was because of the necessity of her fiat.
The first woman, Eve had some pretty simple instructions. You can go anywhere you want, eat anything you want….but see this tree, right here? don’t touch it.
Eve, as you know, blew it.
Mary, on the other hand, had a very difficult assignment. Mary was to become pregnant in a time when the accusation of adultery meant stoning. Her only argument in defense? “I am carrying God”. That would go over well.
Yet, Mary simply said “behold the hand maiden of the Lord. be it done to me according to your word”
Mary said yes. She cooperated with God’s plan. Let me repeat that. Mary CO- Operated. There is that word “Co”. “Co” means “with”, not “equal to”, as some suggest.
God is the Operator, Mary is the Cooperator.God is the redeemer, Mary is the Co-redemtrix. God is the Mediator, Mary is the Co-mediatrix. These titles do not make Mary an Operator or a Redeemer or a Mediator. It simply states a simple and unarguable fact. Without Mary’s “Yes”, The redeemer doesn’t come. Without Mary’s “Yes”, there is no mediator between God and man.
Eve said “no” and sin entered the world. Mary said “yes” and salvation entered the world.
Now, the so-called “Bible alone” Christians will say that if Mary had said no, God would just find another way. That is a philosophical argument, not a Biblical one. There is no evidence God had a plan B and He didn’t need one. Jesus knew plan A was going to work because He poured enough Grace into His own Mother to ensure it.
Lastly, the Bible alone Christians will claim we invented this doctrine in 1854. Hogwash! The historical record is clear that the Christian church believed and guarded this doctrine from day one.
(Quotes in the show notes)
[Jesus] became man by the Virgin so that the course that was taken by disobedience in the beginning through the agency of the serpent might be also the very course by which it would be put down. Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason the Holy One being born of her is the Son of God. And she replied, “Be it done unto me according to your word” (Luke 1:38) (Dialogue with Trypho 100 [A.D. 155]).
Consequently, then, Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying, “Behold, 0 Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word.” Eve . . . who was then still a virgin although she had Adam for a husband — for in paradise they were both naked but were not ashamed; for, having been created only a short time, they had no understanding of the procreation of children . . . having become disobedient [sin], was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient [no sin], was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. . . . Thus, the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith (Against Heresies 3:22:24 [A.D. 189]).
This Virgin Mother of the Only-begotten of God is called Mary, worthy of God, immaculate of the immaculate, one of the one (Homily 1 [A.D. 244]).
He [Jesus] was the ark formed of incorruptible wood. For by this is signified that His tabernacle [Mary] was exempt from defilement and corruption (Orat. In Illud, Dominus pascit me, in Gallandi, Bibl. Patrum, II, 496 ante [A.D. 235]).
Ephraim the Syrian
You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is neither blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these? (Nisibene Hymns 27:8 [A. D. 361]).
Ambrose of Milan
Come, then, and search out your sheep, not through your servants or hired men, but do it yourself. Lift me up bodily and in the flesh, which is fallen in Adam. Lift me up not from Sarah but from Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a Virgin whom grace had made inviolate, free of every stain of sin (Commentary on Psalm 118:22-30 [A.D. 387]).
He was conceived by the virgin, who had been first purified by the Spirit in soul and body; for, as it was fitting that childbearing should receive its share of honor, so it was necessary that virginity should receive even greater honor (Sermon 38 [d. A.D. 390]).
We must except the Holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honor to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin (Nature and Grace 36:42 [A.D. 415]).
Theodotus of Ancrya
A virgin, innocent, spotless, free of all defect, untouched, unsullied, holy in soul and body, like a lily sprouting among thorns (Homily 6:11[ante A.D. 446]).
Proclus of Constantinople
As He formed her without any stain of her own, so He proceeded from her contracting no stain (Homily 1[ante A.D. 446]).
Jacob of Sarug
[T]he very fact that God has elected her proves that none was ever holier than Mary, if any stain had disfigured her soul, if any other virgin had been purer and holier, God would have selected her and rejected Mary[ante A.D. 521].
Romanos the Melodist
Then the tribes of Israel heard that Anna had conceived the immaculate one. So everyone took part in the rejoicing. Joachim gave a banquet, and great was the merriment in the garden. He invited the priests and Levites to prayer; then he called Mary into the center of the crowd, that she might be magnified (On the Birth of Mary 1 [d. ca A.D. 560]).
Once again, The show notes for this debate can be found at tinyurl.com/7sqkvkm. This link will be posted in the chat room. If you have any questions, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In fact, it is often said, “Show me evidence of someone praying to Mary in the Bible”. I can do better than that. I can show proof of a prayer to Mary as Theotokos (Mother of God) that predates the Bible by about 150 years! (picture in the show notes)
On to the objections;
- Mary needed a Savior. Of course she did. In fact, the coolest thing about the Immaculate conception is that the savior saved the mother before the mother brought forth the savior who created the Mother. Wow! I have a headache!
- It makes Mary a goddess. Nonsense. Evil Knieval couldn’t make that leap. God prepared Mary for a specific job. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. Bringing God to us through a purified human vessel only shows God’s greatness all the more. Mary spoke true of herself saying that her soul magnifies the Lord. (Luke 1:46)
- The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The Greek Word Pantes means “all mankind”.In context it is referring to all types of people, not every person. Otherwise, it would include babies- born and pre-born and Jesus Himself- an indefensible position.
- If Mary was conceived immaculately, her mother would have had to have been, and her mother and so on. Seriously? The one who held back the Red Sea and protected three Jewish boys from the furnace, the one who brought down Jericho’s walls and protected Jonah in a whale, and stayed the Lions from devouring Daniel, could not keep Satan’s grubby hands off His own Mother? come now.
- Didn’t the Catholic church invent this doctrine in 1854. No. The councils of the church do not invent doctrine, they defend doctrines against challenge. It is quite interesting that it took that long for anyone to seriously challenge this doctrine.
- Romans 3:10 says there is none righteous, no not one. Not one? I’ll give you two- Zechariah and Elizabeth, who Luke call Righteous and blameless before God. Paul says “It is written- there are none righteous”. He is quoting Psalm 14, talking about the fool who says in his heart there is no God.
Pretty amazing stuff if you ask me.
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of they womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
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