Monday, March 30, 2009

Did Jesus have brothers or sisters?

The Bible tells us that Jesus has brothers, so how can the Catholic Church tell us that Mary was a virgin her whole life?

As the above question points out; the purpose of this question isn’t to discuss if Jesus had siblings, the purpose is to determine f Mary was a perpetual virgin. If she wasn’t, then the Catholic Church has infallibly declared something not true.

This post originally focused on the translation of “brothers” but it has been updated to include several questions received afterward regarding the perpetual virginity of Mary.

The Bible says Jesus had brother.
The issue, as is often the case, is translation. It’s so easy to assume that Jesus and the Gospel writers spoke English and that we have the exact words originally written. This is simply not the case. The passage in question was originally written in Hebrew and the word used meant literally “closest blood relative”. This is often translated to mean brother but if a person has no brothers it can just as easily mean cousin or a number of other family relationships. The word we see is “brother”. The word written is something much less specific.

The Greek language has a separate word for “cousin” and “brothers” but the Greek still says Jesus had brothers.
Again, the literal translation of Hebrew to Greek is “brother” (adelphoi). This happens over and over in the Bible. In Lk 22:32 Jesus tells Peter to strengthen the “brethren” (plural of “brothers”). Is Jesus regarding biological brothers only? In Rom 9:3 Paul uses “brethren” and “kinsmen” the same way. Acts 1:12-15 shows around 120 “brothers” gathered. That’s a big family (even for Catholics)!

The Catechism has a compelling argument as well:

Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus.157 The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, "brothers of Jesus", are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls "the other Mary".158 They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.159 (CCC 500)

157 Cf. Mk 3:31-35; 6:3; 1 Cor 9:5; Gal 1:19.
158 Mt 13:55; 28:1; cf. Mt 27:56.
159 Cf. Gen 13:8; 14:16; 29:15; etc.

The fact that the Greek indicates “brother” is not proof that the relationship is by blood.

Why would God give Joseph a wife he couldn’t sleep with?
Because Mary, as the early Church fathers record, was a consecrated virgin. The custom of families giving their daughters to the service of the Lord was old (see 1 Sam 2:22) and still continues today (in the form of religious sisters and consecrated virgins). The custom was for them to marry an older man (a widower) who probably already had children (which could also answer why Jesus had “brothers” if need be). We see Joseph disappear pretty early on in Jesus’ life, which supports the notion that he was older when they married.

Mary’s response to the angel is consistent with her vow of virginity. “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (Lk 1:34). This is an odd question for someone about to be married. The angel never says “today” you will conceive. If Mary was going to have a “normal” relationship with her husband, why not assume that the conception would come about the normal way? However, as a consecrated virgin, this question makes perfect sense.

Does that mean all wives should deny sex to their husbands?
Only if you’re a consecrated virgin when you get married.

In Mt 1:25 it says Joseph didn’t have relations with her “until” she had Jesus. That implies they had relations afterward.
No, actually it doesn’t. The English connotation of “until” is that something didn’t happen before but did happen after. We see “until” used in a way that doesn’t conform to this understanding several times in the Bible.

Mt 28:29 “I am with you “until” then end of the world”. After the end of the world, will Jesus leave us?

Lk 2:37 “and then as a widow “until” she was eighty-four..” After she turned 85 did she stop being a widow?

1 Tim 4:13 “”Until” I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching. “ Should they stop doing these things once Paul arrives?

The purpose of Mt 1:25 was to fulfill the prophesy about Jesus being born of a virgin. It has nothing to do with what happened afterward.

The Bible says Jesus was Mary’s “first born”. That implies there were other children.
Again, no it doesn’t. The title of first born was a legal one. The first born was given to the Lord for service and had special inheritance rights. The presence of a first born has nothing to do with the presence of a second born.

Where in the Bible do we see proof of Mary’s perpetual virginity?
Well, take Ezek. 44:2, for instance. Ezekiel prophesizes that no man will pass through the gates by which the Lord enters the world. Jesus entered the world through Mary.

Jesus is always referred to as “the” son of Mary, not “a” son of Mary (Mk 6:3 for example).

In Jn 19:25-27 Jesus gives Mary to the beloved disciple (John). This would have been unlawful if Jesus has other living brothers

What did the Church fathers say about her perpetual virginity?
"Let those, therefore, who deny that the Son is by nature from the Father and proper to his essence deny also that he took true human flesh from the ever-virgin Mary" (Discourses Against the Arians 2:70 [A.D. 360]).. Athanasius

"We believe that God was born of a virgin, because we read it. We do not believe that Mary was married after she brought forth her Son, because we do not read it. . . . You [Helvidius] say that Mary did not remain a virgin. As for myself, I claim that Joseph himself was a virgin, through Mary, so that a virgin Son might be born of a virginal wedlock" (ibid., 21). Jerome

"It helps us to understand the terms ‘first-born’ and ‘only-begotten’ when the Evangelist tells that Mary remained a virgin ‘until she brought forth her first-born son’ [Matt. 1:25]; for neither did Mary, who is to be honored and praised above all others, marry anyone else, nor did she ever become the Mother of anyone else, but even after childbirth she remained always and forever an immaculate virgin" (The Trinity 3:4 [A.D. 386]). Didymus the Blind

And St. Augustine himself:

"In being born of a Virgin who chose to remain a Virgin even before she knew who was to be born of her, Christ wanted to approve virginity rather than to impose it. And he wanted virginity to be of free choice even in that woman in whom he took upon himself the form of a slave" (Holy Virginity 4:4 [A.D. 401]).

"It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when he was invisible, she too was created. A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man?" (Sermons 186:1 [A.D. 411]).

"Heretics called Antidicomarites are those who contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary and affirm that after Christ was born she was joined as one with her husband" (Heresies 56 [A.D. 428]).

73 comments:

dave said...

hello On "biblestudy .org" they went heavily into the GREEK ,not hebrew to study the matter.Greek does have a word for cousins and it is not used in the passages saying Jesus had "bretheren"

Anonymous said...

can someone help me. my catholic sister disagrees with the fact that Jesus had brothers and sisters. At my community church I heard that James is Jesus brother. Who is correct? My sister seems to think that only some religions think he had siblings. which religion is this? please help!

The Catholic Connection Team said...

Hi, Anon,

Catholics are pretty much the only Christians who believe Jesus had no blood brothers or sisters. In fact, we believe that Mary, Jesus’ mother, remained a virgin her entire life, not just before giving birth to Jesus.

One clear piece of scriptural evidence of this is John 19 when, from the cross, Jesus tells Mary that the beloved disciple is her son, and he tells the beloved disciple that Mary is his mother. If Mary had other children, this would have been against Jewish law. The Bible does say James is Jesus brother; yet Hebrew makes no distinction between “brother” and “cousin”. All it means is the closest blood relative.

The Catholic Catechism explains it this way:

Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus.157 The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, "brothers of Jesus", are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls "the other Mary".158 They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.159 (CCC 500)

157 Cf. Mk 3:31-35; 6:3; 1 Cor 9:5; Gal 1:19.
158 Mt 13:55; 28:1; cf. Mt 27:56.
159 Cf. Gen 13:8; 14:16; 29:15; etc.


Most non-Catholic Christians really don’t care if Jesus had brothers or sisters. The only time they reference the issue is to try to “disprove” a Catholic teaching.

Anonymous said...

I went to a catholic school and I disagreed with the perpetual virginty of mary, here's why:

1. John 7 3-5 says that his brothers did not believe. This could not have been about the disciples as they are discussed here as a third party. And besides, his brothers here could not have been his disciples because the disciples did believe in jesus. Only judas and maybe doubting thomas had trouble.

2. Why would God give joseph a wife he could not honor in the fashion of all other women. She's our model right? So should we all refuse to sleep with our husbands?

3. Check out matthew 1:25. It says joseph did not know mary until she brought forth her firstborn. It seems pretty clear to me this means he did not have sex with her until after jesus was born.

4. Why did the bible refer to jesus as mary's first born if she had no other kids?

5. Somebody said something about a translation issue to acct for why other christian don't believe mary did not have sex with her husband. Why would God, who kept the bible safe for hundreds of years, allow all of us to be decieved and the catholics to know the truth? That seems biased, huh? Not much like God.

I think people want to pray to mary to get some sort of brownie points with jesus but thw scriptures never indicate us to do this. If mary was never a pertetual virgin that woukd take away her diety in a sense. Well, mary was never God to me. Mary did not save me. She can't cleanse me from my sins. Only the blood of jesus did that.

Mary was a great woman. But she was a woman. Let's not give her the glory that is due to God alone. Let's glorify God for the marvelous work He did through his chosen vessel.

Catholic Connection Team said...

Dear, Anon,

1.John 6:66 says “As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him”. The term “disciples” often refers to more than the 12.

2.This is addressed in our post on Mary’s perpetual virginity found here: http://tadaministries.blogspot.com/2008/11/why-do-catholics-say-mary-was-perpetual.html

3.The point of this verse is to show the virgin birth of Jesus to show Jesus was the foretold messiah. In English, “until” implies something is done after, the Greek doesn’t imply this. It could have been translated as “before”.

4.First-born was a sign of status, not number of children. You’ll never see the term second-born. First-born means Jesus inherits Joseph’s lineage to King David; another sign that he is the messiah.

5.Does it surprise you that some people believe different things and that some people are deceived? How biased would God be if he allowed the 1.1 billion Catholics in the world to be deceived? God revealed Truth to us in the form of Jesus Christ; whether we believe the truth is up to us. Don’t hold God responsible.

6.Mary is not God to Catholics. I suggest you read a catechism (paragraph 500 deals with perpetual virginity of Mary) to see what Catholics actually believe about her.

The Catholic Connection Team said...

More thoughts on the verse saying Joseph had no relations with Mary “until” she bore Jesus Mt 1:25:

Mt 28:29 “I am with you “until” then end of the world”. After the end of the world, will Jesus leave us?

Lk 2:37 “and then as a widow “until” she was eighty-four..” After she turned 85 did she stop being a widow?

1 Tim 4:13 “”Until” I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching. “ Should they stop doing these things once Paul arrives?

As stated in our previous reply, the English preposition “until” implies “until after”. The Bible clearly doesn’t follow that implication. So, Mary being a virgin “until” she had Jesus only proves her virginity up to that point; it is silent on what happened after.

Big thanks to ScriptureCatholic.com for compiling a list of these, and many, many other helpful verses on this topic.

dave ruiz said...

I have spent hours blogging on "this catholic journey", supporting the idea that Jesus did have brothers, Mary was probably not perpetual virgin, nor immaculately conceived, nor ascended. We dealt with scripture, church fathers ,papal decrees, and some logical assumptions and what has been divinely revealed to me as a believer,with all the above.I believe EVERY point made by Catholics on these issues has an answer, a rebuttal, so that to him who has an ear, let him hear. Alleluia

Dan said...

Dave,

Every argument on any topic has a rebuttle based in a particular interpretation of scripture and personal logic that supports a person's point of view.

The presence of a rebuttle doesn't prove the rebuttle is correct.

Let him who has ears listen; especially to the Church which Jesus founded on Peter.

dave ruiz said...

Just a quick comment. John 19, where Jesus gives Mary over to John's care, as if this proves there were no siblings. It is quite a shallow approach. There are only two kingdoms and two kinds of people on earth: the kingdom of light (God) and the kingdom of darkness (Satan). Read Gen.3:15-the two seeds, of Eve (light-children of the promise) and Satan. Indeed it was the unbelievers of the promise, children of the dark, of Satan that crucified Jesus, that put John and Mary at the feet of a dying Jesus. John 7:15 "Neither did his bretheren believe". His brothers did not believe during his ministry, they were in darkness, controlled by Satan. Given this scenario, would you commit your mother to non- believers ?. Is not spirit thicker than blood? Mark 3:35 "Whoever does the will of my father ,he is my brother ,mother..." John was a beloved believer,the youngest, and it was very appropriate for Jesus, dying himself, yet concerned for the pain that John and Mary were going thru at the foot of the cross. Come on, put yourself there. The agony of a mother, the agony of the apostle who loved Jesus, who could curl up like a child in his bosom. And you are are saying ,"be comforted in your non-believing family". No ,it makes perfect sense that his brothers were not given care to their mother. To follow ,it may have been that pain suffered by his brothers being "cut off" spiritually from their mother, that may have pricked there hearts to repentance. For indeed they did repent after the resurrection,and in a big way .Once they saw the light ,they must have been very sorry and grieved for missing the boat on just who their brother was. (A lot like Peter grieving for his denial of Jesus, but he would have a big comeback in the book of Acts). So would James and Jude, authoring two books of the bible, and James becoming the leader of the Jerusalem church. Indeed it is a story of second chances. I am sure James and Jude came to understand why Jesus gave Mary over to John, and were later just happy to be part of God's spiritual family, submitting one to another in love.Alleluia

dave ruiz said...

Dan, thanks. Yes ther are several scriptures that say the church is the pillar of truth (well, maybe just this one), but there are many more which say "the Holy Spirit will lead you, and guide you in ALL things", many more. As Augustine said, "He will teach us. He will lead us, grant understanding to me". "The Church is the way ,the truth and the life" ,right ?

Dan said...

Dave, one such reference is Jn 14:26 where Jesus promises the Advocate (Holy Spirit) who will “teach you everything”. What a great promise! The question is, who did Jesus say this to?

Will Jesus send the Spirit to you and me personally? How can that be if we believe contradictory things? Why would the same Spirit lead me into one belief and you into another? How do we know which of us is following the Holy Spirit and which of us has been misled?

Read the context of Jesus’ words and you’ll see he’s not speaking to “the crowds” but to his disciples. He promises the Holy Spirit’s guidance to the apostles; not the masses. These words of Jesus’ are why we trust the writings of the apostles and why you and I are not allowed to add our own writings to the Bible. They were inspired to write truth; we aren’t.

The Holy Spirit does lead individuals, but not in the same way it leads the Church. The Church is infallible (Jesus promises the gates of hell won’t prevail against it in Mt 16:18). Individuals are not infallible; we can choose to follow truth or not to. Praying to the Holy Spirit does not guarantee that you will follow the truth. Otherwise, all Christians would believe exactly the same thing.

dave ruiz said...

Dan, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church" does not mean church heirarchy is infallible. Just three verses later, Peter falls flat on his face (fallible) and Jesus tells him, "Satan get behind me". No I believe it says the gates of hell (Jesus is the KEY), can not hold the saints who have died and are in Hades,(He led captivity captive ,the firstfruits of many) and also future saints who shall die..Death where is your sting ? That is the meaning .Come on, we have too many examples where "hell" has prevailed in your church and mine, in your life and mine. The church is growing, and killing us does not stop us. The Bride of Christ is growing with every new birth, born again experience.

dave ruiz said...

Dan, we are only two blogs in and I see the curtain that was split in two by the blood of our Lord, so that we could be one with Him, and enter into the Holy of Holies, making us all priests, is being sewn back up by your words. It is very unscriptural to say the Holy Ghost has seperate ministries- one for apostles and one for "laity"-it aint in scripture (apart from giftings). I guess John did not know what he was talking about when he said to "laity"- "You have an unction from the Holy One, and know ALL things". I guess Jesus is more alive in a bishop than in a lay person..... Alas the division of old is upon us ,right back to jewish days, with a seperate priesthood, and their traditions which could not be wrong, for they were " son's of Abraham ", God's chosen (they put Jesus to death). As you imply ,no man goes to the father except thru the Church. Baltimore catechism#3-#562 "Scripture alone can not be our guide to salvation and infallible rule of faith because all men can not understand the Holy Scripture but they can listen to the church. Many things in Scripture can not be understood without explanation given by tradition". This is so unjewish (old testament) and so against new testament, and so aginst what earliest church fathers state. It qualifies (and belittles)the efficacy of the ministry God ,His Word, the Holy Spirit , Jesus, the Gospel and lowers the nature of man...... Go ahead and place your faith in a church (one of many) that tells you it is the oldest and apostolic and universal etc. etc., therefore it must be the right one....... Again, tell me I can not know, understand, experience, be forgiven, have full assurance of salvation DIRECTLY, ONE ON ONE, from God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Does not the foolishness of preaching lead me to His Door ? Will I always need the schoolmaster, even after I am in the School -His presence ? Do you think God can not handle any difference of opinion after that ?What is it to you ? (oh but they are not in MY group ). Lord help us.

Dan said...

Dave, it looks like your understanding of infallibility is a bit off the mark. It doesn’t mean sinless or unable to err in any way. It also only applies to the Church; not individuals within the Church speaking as individuals and only to teachings about who God is and how we respond to him (faith and morals).

Jesus says the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. The purpose of the Church is to teach us truth of God (that’s why we focus on faith and morals). If hell can prevent the Church from teaching the truth; she has prevailed. Why? Because if we don’t know the truth anymore, then our salvation is in danger. Corrupting our understanding of the truth is how the gates of hell attempt to prevail. Since Jesus promises that won’t happen; we know the Church must be infallible (she will not teach false doctrine).

The early Church was infallible when she defined the Trinity in 325 (Council of Nicaea). Otherwise, we can’t be sure Jesus is divine. The early Church was infallible when she selected the books of the New Testament in 397, otherwise we can’t be sure they’re the right books.

The early Church was infallible; otherwise we can’t trust anything about our faith. If the early Church was infallible, why isn’t the Church today infallible? If early Christians needed the Church to teach them the truth (only 1 in 10 could read); what makes us think we can figure the truth out individually today?

Dan said...

Dave, Jesus tells us in Mt 18 to take our disagreements to the church and that they church has ultimate authority (if he won’t listen, even to the church, treat him as an outsider). He doesn’t say to open the scriptures and show him that he’s wrong according to your fallible interpretation. As I said before, the Holy Spirit does guide individuals, but not infallibly.

But maybe we Catholics are wrong. Maybe Jesus wants us to figure out truth individually. Maybe Jesus wants some of us to think he’s present in the Eucharist and some of us to deny his presence. Maybe he wants some of us to baptize infants and others to only baptize adults. Maybe he wants some of us to believe “once saved, always saved” while others believe we “work out salvation with fear and trembling”. Maybe Jesus enjoys seeing you and me arguing over our fallible interpretation of his book.

But I doubt it.

Jesus is the way the truth and the life. There is only one Jesus so there is only one truth. Common sense and a quick look around shows us that personal interpretation leads us into disunity and relativism; not truth.

dave ruiz said...

Dan, Only the church is infallible, but leaders can be infallible when speaking on their own, but not when speaking of God and His truth. Sounds like circular reasoning. That is what I meant, the church (your church) is infallible. What did I miss? You base it on a wrong interpetation of scripture ("gates of hell")..... Your pope can be wrong, and especially when speaking ex- cathedra. What, the last two times is example enough, that Mary ascended, and was immaculate. All of a sudden, after almost two thousand years, a new dogma, tenet of faith, as if adding to scripture, that MUST be believed, even though earlier popes resisted such nonsense and several even proclaimed anathema to those who believed such heresy.....How can you so easily dismiss and seperate "individuals" (fallible) and church(infallible) ? Are they not one in the same ? Hey if my pastor or leader errs, my church errs. In fact, the bible says when you sin, you effect the whole body.....No, it is a dangerous concept, unbiblically attached to "romanism" and no other christian sect, and has added to much church hostility and disunion. Pope Gregory called it the spirit of antichrist ,this supreme universalism.

dave ruiz said...

Dan,once again ,by your very words, you show a down play on the Holy Spirit, and an upplay to the church (works). ....Again,you put EVERYTHING on the churches shoulders-its purpose. It is the HOLY SPIRIT who has the mission, purpose of declaring to the individual hearts of men, indeed convicting of sin, righteousness, and judgement to come. A church can work with or against this work of God. Hey the devil himself can preach and men will be saved-BECAUSE OF THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT IN MEN"S HEARTS. So how is your church, your denomination so necessary ? Who cares if it apostolic or ten or two thousand years old, or universal or "one" -if they just read out the gospel or epistle of John, God promises his Word will not return void, men will be convicted, BY the SPIRIT,and be saved.......Again,you misunderstand the roles(people,church and the holy spirit) and proclaim the church gave us the trinity correctly and the books of the bible. You idolize that church. Excuse me me ,but it was all the work of the Spirit, and the churches showed it by its declarations. How else could a church be right, except it be by the Spirit. You did not need no stinking council to point out inspired scripture. It was there all the time, before the council (ask Eusubius,who compiled a bible for Constantine-I think before the council). Much of the new testament writings SAID they were inspired, to be held right along with old testament. It would have been faithless, disobedient to think otherwise of those writings. Again,churches had free choice in discerning what was scriptural, and what was not. Furthermore,I do not believe the Catholic church today is in accordance with the churches of that time. Had you ben like most of them we would not be having contrary opinions.....Finally, I believe one's faith should be so personally grounded, directly grounded to divine revelation and communion with the Spirit, Jesus, that even if the church should fail, He would not, and one would remain in HIM. How do you think the Waldenses or Albigenses or Wycliffe or Tyndale felt before being killed for their minority faith ? One can not use a faulty church for their lack of faith, for wisdom cries out from the rooftops. Again, you say the church was needed because people could not read...Augustine shakes his head at you and says ""Since we are to weak to find the truth by pure reason, and for that cause we needed the AUTHORITY of Holy Writ, I now began to believe that in no wise would you have given such surpassing authority throughout the whole world to that Scripture, unless you wished that both through it you be believed in and through it can be sought...that authority seemed all the more venerable and worthy of inviolable faith, because they were easy for everyone to read...making itself accesible to ALL men". ("Confessions" book 6 ch. 5 by Ryan) You see, the Lord leads to you to still waters, to a preacher (Jerome), to a church(catholic small c) that gives you scripture, and the spirit gives understanding to the individual as to the rightness of a preacher and church by scripture. He did not mention Church the way you do. Baltimore catechism #3 -#562 contradicts Augustine. Augustine is a breath of fresh air to me, a kindred spirit in the matters we are discussing.(this happened to him before he was laid hands on, or was a church leadre ,in case you say I am laity and he was "bishop"). Do you see him here fretting or even admonishing personal interpetation. You confuse personal interpetation with divine revelation. Actually you have probably dcecided yours is divine, all others personal and carnal (that I have no problem with, if you accept that you can receive divine revelation yourself, independent yet not apart from church). So don't beliitle people(illiterate), Augustine found no problem here. Of course you have to have a higher opinion of : #1 -Scripture, #2 -the ministry of the Holy Spirit, #3-the capacity for humans to have personal revelation.(did you know God spoke to people who were NOT circumcised, not jewish, in the old testament ?) Alleluia

dave ruiz said...

Dan, Sorry I missed it, but did you realy ask if Jesus would send the Spirit to us personally ? Does the Catholic church teach He does not? I thought you were being rhetorical, but just in case, I have been given the belief that indeed Jesus does send the Spirit to us personally ,and indeed is one of His baptisms for us. I am His temple and a priest thereof. If we differ after his spirit baptism,it is not the fault of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. That would be like saying God has a problem or does not operate with men because they are imperfect, since the perfect garden "fall".

Dave ruiz said...

Dan you say the Holy Spirit guides ,but not infallibly, as catholics also say scripture guides but not infallibly, but the church is infallible. Wow ,sounds like a cult. What a fireproof doctrine to Hold on to the destiny of men's souls. I can deal personally with Scripture, the Holy Spirit and the Church, and you are saying scripture can fail me, the Spirit can fail me, but NOT the church! There is no scripture which gives that exclusive authority. It is either all three can fail me or all three can lead me truthfully. Indeed ,Pope Gregory said that is the spirit of antichrist, to put Rome as sole dictator of "What hath God really said, and done and in what manner" .

dave ruiz said...

Dan, To your point that Mat. 18 gives the church ultimate authority, even over scripture (in settling a grievance).I get a whole different view on reading verses 15-20. I would elevate the spiritual capacity of a single man(lay person) to have the capability of discerning wrong, when a brother has "trespassed" against him (without the church). Is there a scriptural basis for his assesment of trespass, probably. Can the Holy spirit bear witness to the assessment, probably. I believe it is understood even though not stated, after all these are "brothers". Furthermore ,it is stated that a second and third person can come up with the SAME assessment (again wihout the church). Jesus states the bigger picture in verse 20- "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them". How can two or three "miss" when Jesus is there ? Would you say Jesus can fail them ?(indeed ,the heart is revealed if the offender does "miss" it). Finally ,the church, representing what has alredy occurred in the individual, then with 2 or 3, adds more weight to the aggreement, and gives a final chance for repentance before excecising judgement of the non-listening heart as "heathen". The church has no more authority than the first, ,or second ot third person, except in "excommunicating,(a corporate event) for lack of a better word. Authority is in the Scripture and witnessed by the Spirit in us, individualy and collectively. Where 2 or 3 are in Jesus' name, there is the church. An individaul in Christ is the church..... Again, the text to me implies the depravity of one who scoffs off all exhortation, from an individual, to several, to many. It does NOT demonstrate the church being superior to Scripture or to the witness of the Spirit.

dave ruiz said...

Dan, you keep saying "personal interpetation" vs. church interpetation. I do not claim to have a "personal" interpetation, as if it were my own. If I did, how is it that millions around the world have the same interpetation ? How personal can that be? Hey, I believe in the trinity and so do you (along with many other doctrines- Alleluia) Yet yours is a church interpetation and mine is "personal" ? What is personal is His gift to me of "His " interpetation (not an interpetation, but truth). As Paul says, "Not me but Christ in me". Can you get any more personal than that ? It is my understanding that Christ freely gives us His mind, truth(interpetation) to any who seek and ask. I believe by this very truth we do believe in many of the same things. Why do you focus on the disagreements, and throw out this truth (personal divine revelation) ? When we discuss our differences, I am praying you have the same personal divine revelation on the matter. I sense you want me to catch your "church" interpetation (divine revelation but as filterd through the church). So Paul should have us saying "I have the mind of the church which has the mind of Christ". I believe there are many scriptures which do admonish being close to the Spirit, to Scripture, to Jesus, to the Holy Spirit,to seek Him, ask Him and He will lead us to truth and righteousness IN A PERSONAL WAY FIRST, moreso than in a corporate way, which follows. Alleluia ! Differences do not diminish His promise. I do not think there has been 100% conformity corporately ever anyways, and it would be wrong to use that as an authoratative benchmark. The bigger testimony is unanimity around the world that Jesus is messiah and Savior of mankind.(Just as jews had great diversity, yet unanimity of presenting to the world the Messiah-"salvation of the Jews")

Dan said...

Dave, you've said a lot in the last few posts and I don't know that I can respond to it all.. Regarding Augustine, it's interesting that he used the Deuterocanonical books in his Old Testament (Christian Instruction 2:8:13 )? How can you use him to defend your use of scripture when he uses a different scripture?. Didn't he also say “Indeed, I would not believe in the gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so” (Against the Letter of Mani Called 'The Foundation' 5:6)?

We hold many truths in common (like Trinity) and I see that as a real blessing. I also see it as your continuing the traditions of the early Church. If Martin Luther had thrown out the Trinity, would you still believe it? In the third century a guy named Arius used scripture and logic to “refute” Jesus' divinity. It was the Church that assured the common Christian that Jesus was divine at the Council of Nicaea. There are many people today who use scripture and logic to refute long-standing traditions.

Please provide chapter and verse of the books of the New Testament where they claim inspiration for themselves. Peter mentions that Paul's writings are on par with “scripture” (Old Testament), but I'm unaware of Jude, Titus, Revelation, 1-3 John, etc claiming inspiration for themselves.

I'm intrigued by your claim that Christians who believed in the Immaculate Conception or Assumption were anathema. Can you provide a source (other than Jack Chick or Loraine Boettner, please).

We obviously disagree and are convinced we are right. What does the Bible tell us to do in this situation? We can continue bickering, I suppose, but what does the Bible say we should do instead (hint, Mt 18:17 is a good place to start. Acts 1:15-22 and 15:7-11 are pretty useful demonstrations of how questions were settled, too ).

Who or what does the Bible say should settle disagreements among Christians? The Church or Scripture (Go ahead and bring up 1 Tim 3:16 if you would like; but first, if it is sufficient in the sense you want it to mean, why didn't the apostles consult scripture in Acts 15 and why didn't Jesus instruct us to use it in Mt 18?)

Regarding Mt 18:17, you make several assumptions (as you acknowledge) by assuming a scriptural precedent for your disagreement. I think a simple reading of the passage shows that the church has the final say; a greater say than “several witnesses”. While two or three ensure Jesus is present; the fact that there is doctrinal division in Christianity proves that our free will trumps the truth Jesus wants to guide us into.

Dan said...

As long as we're discussing Augustine; let's see what he says about Mary (since that's what started this conversation)

"Having excepted the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom, on account of the honor of the Lord, I wish to have absolutely no question when treating of sins—for how do we know what abundance of grace for the total overcoming of sin was conferred upon her, who merited to conceive and bear him in whom there was no sin?—so, I say, with the exception of the Virgin, if we could have gathered together all those holy men and women, when they were living here, and had asked them whether they were without sin, what do we suppose would have been their answer?" (Nature and Grace 36:42 [A.D. 415]).

"In being born of a Virgin who chose to remain a Virgin even before she knew who was to be born of her, Christ wanted to approve virginity rather than to impose it. And he wanted virginity to be of free choice even in that woman in whom he took upon himself the form of a slave" (Holy Virginity 4:4 [A.D. 401]).

"Heretics called Antidicomarites are those who contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary and affirm that after Christ was born she was joined as one with her husband" (Heresies 56 [A.D. 428]).

Dave, are you a heretic called Antidicomarites? I agree with you on one thing, St. Augustine is a breath of fresh air.

dave ruiz said...

Dan, yes, apocraphyl books have been around since the Septuagint(collection of Hebrew religious writings-not necesarily all cannonical-even the Catholics dropped a few books as not inspired and perfect).Yes, maybe Augustine qoutes them once or twice (Jesus never and New testament never).The fact is he qoutes scriptures (non-apacraphyl)thousands of times to make his points. That is why the catholic church had authority, because they were truly representing Scriptures-the Manichaens were ripping the bible apart. Augustine was once a Manichaen, and he came to love scripture, and the Christian Catholic church which had a true version of "Solo escriptura". Your qoute is from "a Letter to Mani". He debated heavily with them, using scripture. He often interchanges the word "Christian" with "Catholic" (universal) as opposed to false sects. See "Writings against Manichaens" 61:30. I have no trouble in Augustine mentioning "Catholic" positively. It did not have the same connotation then as it does now in our "catholic-protetant" dialogue. The fact is Augustine was a bit of both, but more protetstant, in my opinion. Again ,authority came from standing on scriptures,and the blood of those proclaiming the faith, and its universality.

dave ruiz said...

Dan, Because I believe in the trinity I am somehow following chuch tradition (Roman Catholic). Wow, you definitely are slanted to a church and you definitely are "of Peter" (raising of divisons). It is the same ugly spirit that reared it's head in Paul's day and he rebuked it as divisive and carnal. Here is a beautful scriptural truth, found all throughout the Holy Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, which early christians(including laity) divinely understood, THROUGH HOLY SCRIPTURES, and Catholicism has the audacity to claim it as "their" thing to proclaim, as in hooray for "our" side........ Again it takes one to know one. Yes catholics have a need to follow a man (yes you say the vicar of christ), so you figure I have the same spiritual makeup, but would follow other men (yes, like a Luther). Again, playing the "I am of Peter I am of Paul" boasting game. Well ,I hate to pop your bubble, but it is possible by the grace and freedom in Christ not to play that game. So Luther or even Augustine or a pope or bishop or my pastor or you can say whatever you want, but may we judge and follow according to the Word of God. So if Luther were to declare against the trinity ,I would dump his opinion like a hot potato. You however, do not have such freedom, you are bound to your pope and dogmas, irrespective of scripture. (Pope Pius 8th denounced liberty of conscience-1829)..... Look at your words:that it is wrong to "use scripture and logic to refute long standing traditions". What, leave your bible and brain (mind of Christ) at the door cause "we've done that been there" for you ? Look how you belittle Scripture and logic-very "jewish" or cultish. Yes, you hail "tradition" due to a poor foundation of how it is used in scripture, and by early fathers. Again, we should never be debating the ultimate authority of scripture,it can be all to clear cut. Even Jehovahs Witness's claim all their dogmas to be scriptural,and see traditon as a faulty ground.

dave ruiz said...

Dan ,I said "much" of the new testament writings knew they were inspired .I did not say all. You mention you might agree with Pauls', but I believe Peter says his are also.(have not had time to look it up). Regardless, just with Paul you have a lot of N.T. Regardless. I like how scripture was universally accepted (that is, people in Antioch and people in Rome held Paul's or Peter's writings as sacred, without any institution or council telling them). But there was room for debate, as for some of the books. Final ratification came in 1500's (Trent ?) I like that a Jerome or a Luther or some famous jesuit could debate or have opinions on some authorship or even validity, despite a general consensus. For 1500 years there was freedom, and not a big hangup on having diffreences on discussing what is scripture.

dave ruiz said...

Dan, as far as mary i did find that Pope Gelasius and Pope Hormisdas declared that the teaching of the assumption was heretical(not sure about the anathema). Also, Epiphanius 80 Heresies Panarion said Mary as co-redemptrix as heretical. The gospel of Peter and the Passing of Mary (Transitus) were declared as heretical and forged books by Popes (Gelasius and Hormisdas)459..Ephinaeus said no one knows of Mary's end and Jerome said there were no reports of her assumption. I think i found this at W.Webster-"the Church at Rome"or "mary worship by mary collins". I have discussed this much at "this Catholic Journey"_"did Jesus have brothers" comments 3-29-09 and 5-02-09....Pope Nicholas, Akexander 3rd, Innocent 3rd(858,1159,1243) decreed Mary not be a perpetual virgin.

Dan said...

Dave, Augustine wrote “We must hold to the Christian religion and to communication in her Church, which is catholic and which is called catholic not only by her own members but even by all her enemies.” (The True Religion 7:12). Does this sound like a reference to a generic, universal Church or a Church that is actually CALLED Catholic; even by her enemies? Do you ever get tired of being on the wrong side of Augustan’s arguments (like the ones about the virginity of Mary that you chose not to address)?

The NT “never” refers to the Apocrypha? When Jesus teaches us the “golden rule” in Lk 6:31 isn’t he being awfully similar to Tob 4:15? Paul makes a clear reference to 2 Maccabees 7:7-9 in Hebrews 11:35.

Your point that Augustine argued with scripture is odd. Don’t I also argue with scripture? If you look through the posts on this blog I reference scripture over and over again. Every Christian argues with scripture. Of course scripture has authority; it’s the inspired word of God. The question is whether or not we are interpreting it correctly. I’ve asked before; if it’s so easy to interpret scripture correctly, why do we disagree on doctrine and why was Arius able to use it as a tool to deceive? What guarantee do you have that you’re not just like Arius?

You mention that JWs use scripture alone as if that helps your position. They deny Jesus’ divinity using scripture alone. If the scriptures are perfectly clear and tradition is unnecessary then why are they misled?

The claim that scripture “was universally accepted” by the early Church is simply not true. Many local churches accepted the Didiche, Shepherd of Hermes, or letters of Clement as inspired or rejected Revelation, 1-3 John, etc. “Close” doesn’t equal “universal”. It took a Church to determine which were true and which were not. Every time you read from the New Testament, you acknowledge the infallibility of that Church.

Dan said...

Sorry to double post but I want to add some things. Augustine doesn’t refer to the Apocrypha “once or twice” as you claim. He specifically says they are in the accepted list of scripture. That’s not a vague reference here or there. He flat-out says that he accepts the books you reject.

I did not say that your belief in the Trinity came from the Catholic Church; I said it came from the “early Church”. The point was you believe it because you subscribe to tradition. Before you say you have no tradition, let me ask what you do when you show someone the Bible. Do you give them the Bible and say “read it for yourself, make your own conclusions, it’s easy to understand and the Spirit will guide you into truth” or do you say “let me show you how to understand this” (Like Acts 8)?

The very act of explaining scripture to someone flies in the face of saying the correct interpretation is obvious. If it’s obvious, why are you explaining it?

If I interpret a passage differently from you, do you say “the Spirit guided you differently” or “you’re interpreting it wrong”? If you and I both claim to just follow the Bible with no traditions pushing us to see certain thing sin scripture; then what right do either of us have to tell the other they are “wrong”?

The interpretation you believe is correct is your tradition.

I know, I know, you just read the Bible and find the truth without any pre-conceived notions; just like all the other “Bible Christians” who do the same thing and disagree with your interpretations.

Do you see why I’m skeptical of that approach?

dave ruiz said...

Dan, Sorry I have not finished addressing your comments of of 10 -23 (4th paragraph is where I finished commenting on) .I was gonna tell you to wait for me to catch up (before more commenting by you). Believe me I do not want to overlook anything .

dave ruiz said...

Dan, O.K., ready to begin again with your 5th paragraph of 10 -23, where you say we both think we are each right,and now what? Well first, I would like to address why do we think we are right ? Is it because, God has given us the individual capability to know right from wrong, that our spirits are regenerated so we can commune with the Almighty, or because of the personal ministry of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin,righteousness and judgement to come ? Is it because that is what we have been taught and feel comfortable with our teachers, that they are inspired ? You see, depending on your view of the above will dictate how you think differences should be solved. That is why most evangelicals will first consider the regeneration of a person hoping for a shift for a personal divine revelation on the matter, while a Catholic will consider denomination and hope for a shift towards church revelation. The interesting thing is I believe divine revelation also gives you a church revelation (I am sure you think a church revelation gives you divine revelation). All this jibberish to say you'll say listen to my church and I'll say listen to God (thru Spirit and Scripture)....Hence you say Matt.18:17, I feel incorrectly because that is dealing with a "brother", not on a doctrinal issue but for a personal "trespass". Matt 18 is an issue within a church, not from one denomination (for lack of a better word) to another...... Again. Acts 1:15 is "within"the same church,not dealing at all with differences.Yes there was a leader who helped solve a problem,I do not disagree with group dynamics and one person arising as "leader", in THIS situation. What does Peter lead with ? Does he cite tradition or hey ,we have authority cause we are the church ? Excuse me, but verse 16 says Peter is concerned with being SCRIPTURAL,and doing things accordingly to SCRIPTURE(if only all bishops of Rome had done the same-relying on Scripture is acting APOSTOLIC)......Acts 15 is how things should be done but are not any more because of divisions in the church (I feel largely due to Rome"s divisiveness).You do not have all the leaders from all Christendom meeting together any more(rarely), perhaps wisely because we have grown so far apart on dogma. In Acts The central "shifter" again was what God had said (to Peter-gentiles are saved) and what God had written about this (James cites prophets "as it is written"). Again, no citing of tradition or "we have authority and can do whatever we want". No, the WORD guided them - what God DID, SAID, and WROTE. James was the officiator, and pronounced the new dogma or decision. Peter was not the first to speak (first to be quoted ,yes and powerful because of HIS TESTIMONY OF GOD"S DOING AND SAYING), nor was he the last to speak,certainly not a papal figure here.

dave ruiz said...

Dan, On to your next paragraph:I hope I answered why Jesus did not use scripture in Matt 18 (dealt with an offense from a brother ,not dogma).Hopefully I have shown that the first council did use Scripture, God's WORD (to Peter)and God's deeds (saving and Spirit filling gentiles-much of Scripture is a record of HIS deeds). Again your frame of reference makes it difficult to see them using Scripture, but they did, yes the CHURCH USED SCRIPTURE(verses 16,17). I will not mention 1 Tim 3:15 because you do not believe Scripture is all sufficient.

dave ruiz said...

Dan, again ,(on your last paragraph 10-23),yes the church has the final say in Matt 18, if needed, which is not always, and here only for excommunicating, which is a corporate event to deal with an offens ,sin....I am glad you agree that Jesus can be in the midst of two or three. Is there any qualifications ,like more so if he is a church leader as opposed to say, just ordinary lay people ? I am glad you agree we have free will,and of course it has enmity with God's will(see, you are being very scriptural). You stray when you imply God's solution is to bypass His personal intervention on man's will but instead work through a heirarchy of church leaders, like we are all dumb sheep with bad hearts (wills). The sheep may feel secure and in God's care, but they are unchanged). Sorry ,I think God wants to take our stubborn will head on, and change it ,and give us a new heart. It is a bit pious to say I am going to avoid trumping God's will for me by placing my trust in His church. Like wow, I am glad I am not trusting in myself(like those protestants) but I am trusting in myself to pick the right church, that has decided everything properly for me. No wonder so much energy is spent in the catholic church saying "we are the right church". You don't trust yourself on personal divine revelation, but you trust yourself to pick out 'His " church amongts the many ???? This to me is illogical. You must first deal with your bad heart(will), before you can even hope to be lead or pick the right church. So, your at the beginning again, needing divine intervention first, by hearing the WORD.(This is evangelical, non-denominational).It is false piety not to trust what God has or could put in you but trust in a priest or bishop. How do you think Adam, Abel, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob got it right? They had no church or religion yet. Why do you look at all the wrong divisions that can happen with this personal divine revelations ? Is it your smokescreen to keep away from it ? Why not look at all the unity there is in evangelicanism, around the world, simultaneously because of his personal Word ?Just because there are tares doesn't mean God hasn"t planted the wheat. Is the wheat picky as to who casts it?

dave ruiz said...

Dan,still have to discuss 10-29 comments,Lord willing next time thanks

dave ruiz said...

Sorry meant your 10-23 2nd entry comments for next time

dave ruiz said...

Dan, did Augustine believe Mary was born "immaculate"? From your quote it seems she had total grace to overcome sin, which seems that occurs while one is accountable (not at birth). It is strange that he acknowledges that all have sinned as scripture says, so it is ironic for him to state an exception. I will acknowledge that many believe her to be perpetual virgin, but less believe her to be "sinless" and even less "assumed-assumption". Again you may consider Augustine to be fresh air on some Marion doctrine (not all), as I consider him to be fresh air on the authority of scriptures (even if he brakes his own rule once). Remember, I do not put my faith in any man, but may I gleen the good in all and eschew the wrong. Now, why don't you acknowledge his authoratative view of scripture as I acknowledge his view on Mary ? Are you free to do so ? Will your church let you ?The truth can set one free.....But back to Mary. I believe Augustine did not want to let Marionism to get "out of hand". It was her FAITH and obedience to the WORD-spoken and written that made her blessed. In that she is like the rest of us (blessed,if we do the same), and "she is still a member of the whole body and the body is greater than any member ,with Christ as the head" (Sermon 72/A,7). Again, I believe Augustine erred here with Mary being ever virgin, but he also erred in believing marriage a sin. Marionism slowly grew as did the idea of virginity being superior to marriage. Ambrose said "marriage is a crime against God" and Tertulian said "marriage is an obscene moral crime". Just google the saints name and the words "crime" or "evil" and maybe "marriage" and you can check the sources....As far as me being heretical to any errant Catholic dogma, I pray so. But ,excommunicating and branding heretical is on way to keep unity,even on non-salvation issues. Silly though to cause divisiveness on extra-biblical dogma. Oh yes several popes said if I don't beleve the full Marion doctrine, I am anathema, lost, no heavenly partaker. So you are right, you need the Catholic church to be saved, the bible is NOT enough, for new dogma to believe in for salvation has been added (Immaculate Conception-1850 ? and Assumption 1950-?)

dave ruiz said...

Dan "Your design is to deprive scripture of all authority, and to make every man's mind judge what passage of scripture he is to approve of and disprove, making scripture subject to you. The high authority of scripture should be the reason of approval instead of us approving the reason of correctness" Augustine 339 "Writings against the Manichaens". A church can do the same with scripture and it is dangerous to tamper with the Authority of Scripture. "Christian scriptures define the catholic church" (#30 -today it is 50-50 traditon -scripture defining the catholic church).... "of false christians worshipping of tombs and pictures and feasts for the dead(34-75)"...Augustine uses scriptures to discuss marriage and property(35:77) and "is it not intolerable that they forbid us to believe a book widely known and placed in the hands of all, supported by general agreement" (#61) " So when we haste to retire into darkness it would be well by His adorable widom we should be met by the friendly shade of AUTHORITY, and should be attracted by the wonderful character of it's contents and utterances of it's pages...ask me not my opinion but hear the oracles of God and submit our weak inferences to the announcements of Heaven"...Ch 7-11 Knowledge of God from the scriptures....Ch19: Description of Duties of Temperance According to Sacred Scriptures.... Ch 20,23 25 26 28 deals with scriptures galore and 29 with he authority of scriptures. No where do I find him saying the church derives authority outside of Scriptures(except for Mary, possibly, if he did say she was sinless). All his doctrinal debate with the Manichaens rested on the Scriptures-hundreds of quotes. The few times he mentions church and saints and martyrs and holy men ,they too are resting on SCRIPTURE.

dave ruiz said...

Dan,almost caught up to you still have to respond to your 2 entriws of 10-29 thanks

Dan said...

Dave, you appear to base your arguments on two assumptions; that Catholicism and the Bible are opposed to each other and that the Catholic Church is just one denomination among many. I disagree with both of these assumptions.

You imply that Catholicism sees the Bible as an obstacle to be overcome or an annoyance that can be ignored if need be. You have said Catholics take the Bible and Tradition as a 50-50, something has to be in one or the other for us to accept it. You have asked if my Church would allow me to acknowledge that the Bible has authority.

These sorts of comments make it hard to take you seriously, Dave. The Catholic Church has always recognized that the Bible is authoritative. Our Catechism (the Baltimore Catechism is outdated, you should probably use the newer version) teaches this forcefully: “The inspired books teach the truth. Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures." (CCC 107).

We embrace and love the Bible. Have you not read a council document? They are full of references to the Bible! Every teaching we hold to is rooted in the Bible (granted, it may not fit YOUR interpretation). We believe that the relationship of Bible and Tradition is 100-100 (not 50-50). Every single truth is in the Bible and every single truth is in Tradition. The two are intimately inter-locked and cannot be separated (to be fair, the Bible is part of Tradition in our view).

So, I can agree wholeheartedly with your quotes from Augustine. The Bible is TRUE and it is an AUTHORITY and we can profit from reading it (I read 15-30 minutes most days). Allelujah! The Catholic Church will never say the Bible is wrong or incorrect. We will never say we can “override” it.

Now, we still have the issue of interpreting it differently and that is a real issue but please don’t say that we don’t respect the Bible as an authority. That’s simply not true.

Dan said...

Your second assumption:

To my age-old challenge that “Protestants can’t agree on an interpretation so the Bible must not be intended to be interpreted individually” you brought up the age-old rebuttal of “you Catholics do the same thing by assuming you picked the right Church”. In my opinion, that rebuttal doesn’t hold water.

First, that rebuttal doesn’t answer the original question. The fact is you don’t have a coherent response to why so many sincere Christians who trust the Holy Spirit to guide them into truth with the Bible alone come up with contradictory doctrines.

You could say “Jesus loves variety” as some Protestants claim but I really doubt he loves it when we hold views so opposite that they are mutually exclusive and those views lead us to condemn each other as “unsaved”. I doubt he likes that at all.

I do not think the Catholic Church is “one among many equals”. The Catholic Church has several characteristics no other Church has. Prior to 1054 there was only one Christian Church and it was decidedly Catholic. That Church believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, that Church had the sacraments of confession, anointing, etc. After 1054 there were two Christian Churches and BOTH still believed in those sacraments and behaviors. They split on the authority of the Bishop of Rome verses the four Eastern Patriarchs. Five hundred years later Protestantism came along.

When we look at Churches today only one has been perpetual (we can pick any date in history and point to the existence of our Church, can you? Jesus said, “I will be with you ALL days” Mt 28:20), only one even bothers to claim to be “Catholic”, only one even bothers to claim to be infallible (“the gates of hell will not prevail” Mt 16:18).

So, no, the Catholic Church is not just another denomination. It is distinctly different from all other Christian denominations. This makes the argument that Catholics pick a Church while Protestants pick doctrines an apples to oranges comparison.

Please tell me, how can we say the Holy Spirit will guide individuals into truth with the Bible alone when that formula clearly leads to the splitting of Christianity; not its unity? I have asked this several times and I have not yet seen an answer.

My guess is your responses will claim that the Catholic Church doesn’t actually respect the Bible and we just pay it lip service, that the Catholic Church isn’t perpetual (or there was some perpetual remnant of Protestantism with absolutely no historical credibility), or any number of different arguments regarding my claims about Catholicism’s love of the Bible and our uniquness among Christian denominations.

My guess is you will completely ignore the one and only question I ask you to answer (see two paragraphs above).

dave ruiz said...

Dan, back to your first post of 10 -29: The answer to Augustine calling the Christian Church "catholic", is yes and yes. Catholic is generic in the sense of "universal" (Augustine here uses a small "c" in catholic) and it is synomous with a specific church(Christian). Christianity began as a jewish sect, then came to be caled "Christian" in Antioch, later people of "the way", and finally after it becoming the mandatory religion of the Roman empire, widespread now after 300 years -universal or "catholic". With time(Augustine-382 a.d.) the "c" became "C". So far, I do not see myself on the wrong side of Augustines' statement, unless of course one thinks today's Catholic church is just like that one of his day. I do not believe he believed in a supreme universal bishop (does not mention it when mentioning church offices), and as discussed earlier Mary's Assumption or her co-redemptrix status. I will say I have heard he does lay a groundwork for a centralized form of church government to enforce unity in his book "City of .." something-forgot title. So ,I do not agree with all he wrote or believed. I have not read him anywhere to say there is a higher authority than Scripture (a bit of "solo escritura" for all dogma)........As far as the Apocrypha, you misrepresent me. I said there are no "QUOTES" in the new testament or by Jesus of the apocrypha . Yes, you can add there are several alludings to them, including one more in Jude you did not mention. Still, that is only a handful as compared to over 300 DIRECT QUOTES from the old testament. Again, the "extra" books are in the Septuagint. Jerome hesitantly included them in his Vulgate. They are gnerally not found in the Hebrew old testsment. Remeber ,Catholicism also rejected one or two of those books(of the Septuagint), on the same grounds many theologians have rejected some of the others. I would have to read where Augustine claims them to be canonical, and make sure he did not recant. Again, the little reading I have done of Augustine, all his quotes are NOT apocraphyl. Again Jerome (almost his mentor),had doubts ,or found them to be LESS cannonical than the Hebrew Old Testament.....to be cont.(ans.to your 10-29 entry) thanks

dave ruiz said...

Dan, why do you find it odd when I say Augustine used scripture to prove his points. You said in your 10-20 blog "take your disagreements to the church" and "doesn't say open scriptures and show.." citing Matt.18. Yet Augustine says "Ask me not my opinion, but hear the Oracles of God, and submit our weak inferences to the announcements of (the church-not) heaven" Sorry, "the church not" was mine ,the rest is in his "Writings Against the Manichaens".On 10 -23 you also say it can be wrong to "use scripture and logic to refute long standing tradition"......Again, you say scripture has authority, the Spirit ministers, we are priests, BUT,BUT,BUT always with a qualification. So scripture has authority but not the final authority or sole authority. The Spirit ministers to us but differently to the apostles or church officers. We are priests in a general sense but then there is a different class of priests, that intercede for us( Catholic Catechism) etc. etc.....Yes you do argue scripturally,thank-you. BUT, you also argue from "tradition", and some church fathers. Most Catholic apologeticists are unabashed in saying they carry EQUAL authority with scripture. So, if Augustine says Mary was without sin, it carries Equal weight with scripture, or little or no scripture. Hey he was a church father and the Lord will not let the church be in error. Right ?.....Where did I say interpeting scripture is easy ? Different interpetations seems to be a big hangup for you, like you want to scrap the whole method that makes it possible (personal divine revelation, liberty of conscience,"solo escriptura", etc.).Did not Jesus say we will have wheat and tares together, and "what is that to you ? ". We have different interpetations because of sin. Hey, even you admit church officers are not perfect (i.e.- bad popes). So ,you want to do away with sin ? Of course not, so let's just get rid of God speaking to individuals and have Him go through the church only. Again why the hangup? God spoke to Adam and Eve, and Cain and Abel heard the Word. Maybe God should have done it differently, and we would not be in this mess, and Cain would not have slain Abel......Just cause Arius used scripture wrongly is s silly inference against scriptural interpetation method .Hey, it is because of sin and the devil. The devil used scripture wrongly also in tempting Jesus, and Peter. God isn'y changing the rules of the game because of it(different interpetations),so why are you? You do not trust in the Spirit to get it RIGHT,as Jesus did and Peter and millions of souls who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. Guarantee: the Spirit bear us personal witness, through scripture and YES, YES ,other saints,the Body of Christ.

dave ruiz said...

Dan, again you say something I never did (10-29, still), that scripture is "perfectly clear". Yes ,scripture is perfect ,but not clear because of sin nature. Augustine says it must be divinely revealed, that God graciously gives us understanding. Paul even says we see some things as through a clouded glass, relative to how we shall see when we are face to face with Jesus. Truth is truth and is not ambiguous, yet some things of God are wonderfully held in some obscurity, as fine gold for the seeker to find (with a right heart). You can not circumvent this with "tradition"-robbing one of seeking and purifying to have that particular obscurity lifted........10-29 to be continued with scripture foemation BEFORE the 325 council.

dave ruiz said...

Dan,you have a slanted view of how we got the bible. You stretch the story to fit your church dogma. Yes there is some truth to your story, but it is slanted (not totally on the level with ALL the facts).....The Jews NEVER had a "church" meeting or council to declare "cannon" (not until 98 A.D. ?), yet Jesus had no problem with quoting scripture. I believe history shows much of new testament scripture also did NOT need a "church " council to declare cannon....Paul claimed "inspiration" (1 Cor 2:7-13 14:37,! Thess.2:13). John in Rev 1:2, 2 Peter 1:15,3:2,1 Tim 5:18 (of Peter's writings and Matthew or Luke),Peter says Pauls writings as scripture@ Peter 3:15,16...From Ignatius(110 A.D.) quotes from 12 books ,alludes to 4 gospels ,Papias 3 gospels (120),Didache refers to 7 books(120), Barnabas 4books(120),sheperd of hermas many books(130),Tatian-harmony of four gospels(160),justin Martyr mentions 4 gospels ,Rev. Acts 8 epistles(140), Iraneus,quotes most of the 27 books as "scripture" known as "The Gospel and the Apostles"((170). By the way still no church council. Tertulian says of christian scriptures as "New Tesrament", with 1800 quotations in "Against Heretics" (USES SCRIPTURE). Origen (230) accepts 27 books as New testament. Now to be sure there were slight variations,in collections.So while many would claim 27 books, some would say 25 or 24, omitting some. Rarer was someone adding a book other than one of the 27.....Again you are correct ,it would take better communication TO FINE TUNE THE TESTAMENT. Persecution made that difficult until after 325 A.D. Constantine the Empereor ordered Eusebius, Bishop of Caesaria, to make 50 copies of Christian scripture. He wrote of 1-those universally accepted, 2-disputed books:James, 2 Peter, Jude,2 and 3 John, 3-spurious: Sheperd of Hermas Apocolypse of Peter books, Acts of Paul,Didache ,Barnabas, 4-forgeries:gospel of Peter( Mary's assumption ?),Thomas, Matthias Andrew, acts of John. Finally, his bibles contained the 27 books as we have today. So we have bibles WITHOUT A CHURCH COUNCIL. That Council would happen 50 years later at Carthage, formalizing what had already become the unanimous judgement of the churches....So 21 books were universal,some got the 27 right(Origen-Eusebius)-church officers yes,but independent say of other bishops. Catholic yes, but not in todays' sense of the word.The bible really is a miracle, the obedience of men to hear and believe in His Word ,and be faithful stewards of our heritage. Alleluia, call these men what you like from the rank and file to the bishops, a kingdom of priests, Christians, the bride of christ ,His church. Your heritage and mine,and any soul who reads and believes. You want to boast, go ahead and spoil the moment.

Dan said...

Dave, thank you for answering my question about why different interpretations can come from one truth! I fully agree with you answer; which was that sin leads us astray.

The question now is, do you sin? If you do, how do you know that you, Dave, have been guided into the right interpretation as opposed to following your own passions, desires, pre-conceived notions, biases, and your desire to be right? I have all of these passions and am sinful, but when I read the Bible I have a framework that tells me this is an interpretation in accord with the truth or not.

Does that mean I don’t have to grow in holiness? Does that mean I can just slide along as my sinful self and never improve because big daddy Church will take care of me? No, I am responsible for my own faith and each Catholic should take responsibility for understanding why they believe what they profess to believe. The Church’s teaching does keep us from straying into error; which is handy in this confusing world of contradictory teachers.

What makes you trust your interpretation when another sincere “Bible Christian” has a contradictory interpretation? You say my comparison to Arius is “silly” but I think it’s perfectly relevant. Without an objective standard (tradition) how do you resist well-spoken and well-argued falsehoods?

For example, do you allow divorce in your church? Mine doesn’t. Jesus says we shouldn’t (Mk 10:11-12). I’m sure you have some Biblical loophole that allows it. The question is; how can you be sure you have the right understanding? If you’re wrong and you divorce your wife and marry again; you’ve committed adultery. This isn’t a “minor issue”. How do you know for sure that your church’s interpretation is guided by the Holy Spirit and not convenience?


I’m not sure where you’re going with the canons from the Church Fathers. Don’t you realize the pattern you show illustrates the Catholic point? Ignatius quotes 12 books and 4 gospels, Justin Martyr knew more, Eusebius pretty much got it right. This development over time of understanding is called… “Tradition”.

The Catholic point about the councils is that they are the capstone of the debate and wondering about the New Testament canon. That debate had been going on for hundreds of years and was growing more and more accurate as time passed. The debate continued in some circles I suppose; but by and large it ended with the councils.

What’s interesting to note is the Father’s reasons for trusting a writing. I assume you think they trusted the writings because the Holy Spirit guided them personally. The Holy Spirit guided alright, but personally? Not so much.

Let’s see what Eusebius says:

“Now all these would be among the disputed books; but nevertheless we have felt compelled to make this catalogue of them, distinguishing between those writings which, according to the TRADITION OF THE CHURCH, are true and genuine and recognized, from the others which differ from them in that they are not canonical. . . To none of these has any who belonged to the SUCCESSION OF ECCLESIASTICAL WRITERS ever thought it right to refer in his writings.” (Ecclesiastical History 3.25.1-7)

In short, Eusebius believes the books in the New Testament belong there for two reasons. First, the tradition of the Church tells us they are true and genuine and the succession of ecclesiastical writers (authors within the Church) refer to them. In both cases, he looks to the Church, not his personal revelation, to know which books to trust.

The Bible is truly a miracle! It is a great gift of the Holy Spirit! But, the simple fact is that the Bible took centuries to get just right. That alone is proof that the Bible is the product of tradition (guided by the Holy Spirit). As Eusebius says “the tradition of the Church”.

You attempted to show that these men relied on the Spirit alone but instead demonstrate clearly that the Spirit led them over time through the vehicle of the Church into the truth of the Bible.

dave ruiz said...

Dan,still have to catch up yo you but your last comment is a bit irritating, not being true to the dialogue, yours and especially mine. Is that the only way to respond to my truth, by misquoting and or misrepresenting? So please show me where I said in my last blog on cannon formation, that men led by the Spirit are "alone" or act "alone",or are apart fom their offices, apart from the Body of Christ, apart from the bride of Christ, apart from the Church?...... Show me where I did not mention a church "council" was not needed...... Show me where you or I say the bishop of Rome (pope) called for a council of all head bishops, and they finally gave us the complete bible..Show me where I say Eusubius called for a council before he made the 50 bibles...Show me where we say the Church had a central form of heirarchy, that the churches did not act independently on cannon, that an emperor did not call for the this first council....Look, the Roman Catholic Church today makes claim that they gave the world the Bible. I disagree, so would 2nd century Philippians ,Colossians Thessalonians etc.,etc,......I believe the catholic church distinguishes between "tradition" and Scripture. They are not the same." A developement of understanding" is an unusual definition for tradition. I totaly reject that scripture was cannonized by that kind of "tradition". I can make believing in scripture in my family a tradition (or in a church-to which I believe is what Eusebius meant) , but that does not make it "scripture, inspired,or canon"...... Again, we stray into semantics, but I think your are trying to contrive a justification for "tradition" because the Catholic Church puts equal weight tradition as with Scripture. I disagree that Scriture is tradition in that sense. A set of unwritten(usually) practices, precepts, customs comprise tradition. Nothing wrong with tradition, as long as God is O.K. with it. Oops, we are right back where we started, who interpets what God is saying ?

dave ruiz said...

Dan still responding to 10-29 you say I believe in the trinity because of tradition (not personal divine revelation). Again you are slanting to a church and tradition, specifically yours. Yet you say we are the same. Maybe. You and I are taught, or someone from the church mentions "trinity", may even explain it. You then say it is your responsibilty to understand it for yourself. So far we are in the same boat. Hopefully the explanation for trinity comes from scripture for "faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God". The Holy Spirit gives illumination to the Word to our spirit, bearing witness to the truth. This is how Augustine said it happened to him. Jerome, a christian who has a "catholic" church, preaches. Augustine hears, and sees the "light", gets personal divine revelation on what Jerome preached, and what he read for himself from the Word. The Truth is now Augustine's. Jerome and his church is now vindicated as true pillars of the truth, in Augustines' eyes. That would never have happend if not for the ministry of the Holy Spirit to Augustine. The church doesn't vindicate truth, the truth vindicates the church. It is good to seek to understand your church(Jerome), but that is not the same as seeking to understand wether your church is right or not. Augustine did the latter. Which did you mean in your 11-5 blog ?

Dan said...

Dave, I had written a response to your piece about the canon of the New Testament and decided not to post it. In short, I apologize you feel I mis-represented you. I believe the evolution of the New Testament is a perfect example of how tradition in the Catholic Church has always been formed (becomes more and more clear until a universal standard is set at which point the entire Church adopts that standard as true).

Instead I want to focus on what you pointed out is the central issue. You said “we are right back where we started, who interpets what God is saying ?”

You have identified the key. Previously, I asked about divorce and how you know you have the right interpretation on whether or not divorce is acceptable. I’m going to assume you allow divorce; if you don’t then we can pick another topic.

How do you KNOW that divorce is permissible? This is extremely important. If someone wants to divorce his wife and his interpretation of the Bible allows him to do so but his interpretation is wrong then he’s committed a serious sin! We agree that saying “my pastor/church told me it was OK” isn’t a valid defense against sin so a person would need to be absolutely sure they are acting within the will of God before divorcing, right?

So, how do you know divorce is permissible? How do you know your belief is right when other Christians hold contradictory beliefs and serious sin is on the line (for this or any other topic)?

Please don’t tell me the Holy Spirit will guide us into truth. We all know the Holy Spirit guides. We also know we’re sinful and aren’t guaranteed to follow the guidance we’re given.

Please don’t turn this around and ask how I know which church to belong to (I already answered that). The only question I want an answer to is this:

What assurance does a person have that they have the right interpretation when other sincere people come to a different interpretation?

david ruiz said...

Dan, I guess we both agree the Holy Spirit can and desires to guide us into righteousness (tell us what is right and what is wrong, with us, our actions and attitudes and doctrine etc., etc. -everything). We both agree that sin can negate that ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is where we seem to part. It seems you are still looking for confirmation of righteousness outside of that true paradigm. I do not know if that is possible. That is, the Holy Spirit ministers and to the point that we in tune with Him, is the level of our sanctification, of His bearing witness to our spirit, of wether or not we are in His righteousness. It seems your question focus's on dogma, or "works" righteousness (getting it right, be it divorce or proper baptism or just what is the Eucharist etc., etc., etc., that these are SO SO SO important).I say they are important but not as important as our relationship to HIM. If we disagree because of sin, then that is the bigger problem- SIN (not wether you are baptized this way or that way etc.). You continue to look for how to justify (who is right or who is wrong), despite the bigger problem of sin disturbing the relationship with the Lord. No, the only justification posible is the Lord and His work, baptizing(spiritual) us into his church. The church does NOT justify us. Again, He desires relationship first and most before dogmatic righteousness and because of that the church is not a justifier or a gap filler for a mistep in relationship. That is to say , He is the rock and author of all assurances (stemming from relationship). In His body are many members to that end: His Word, His ministers of angels, pastors, teachers, deacons, brothers, friends , parents, children .His Body. I do not want to say church, although I should be able to but because of sin(pride in denominationalism), I do not want to cloud the issue. His body and church are synonomous, or at least should be(and there is only one Body). I have not said it hear yet, but there are no Catholics in Heaven. There are no Baptists or Lutherans in heaven. They do not go by those names up there. You only find souls that have been washed by the precious Blood of the Lamb . Alleluia !

Dan said...

Dave, thank you for that thoughtful response. You are so right in saying there are no Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, etc in heaven; only those “souls that have been washed by the precious Blood of the Lamb Alleluia !” Amen and alleluia to that!

You wrote about Catholics looking to the Church for justification and I’d like to clear that up. Only the grace of Jesus Christ can save and only a personal relationship with him will suffice for salvation. Is it surprising to hear a Catholic say I need a personal relationship with Christ?

The Catholic Church doesn’t “justify” its members. It offers vehicles for us to be justified (by Christ). The Sacraments like baptism, Eucharist, reconciliation, etc put the individual Catholic in a position where they can know Jesus in a profound and intensely personal way. These don’t replace Christ’s justification; they are participations in what Jesus commanded us to do to be justified (Eat my flesh, baptize all nations, whose sins you forgive are forgiven, etc).

There is a deadly danger in going through the motions of ritual without actually forming a relationship with Christ (many Catholics are guilty of this). However, I also see a real danger in only focusing on the relationship and not knowing the truth of what God actually wants us to do (morals) and what is true about Him (faith).

If Jesus wasn’t worried about our actions then why did he teach so much? Why did he tell people what actions are right and which are wrong? Why didn’t he focus on building relationship and let the good actions flow from that? He taught because for us to have a relationship with him, we must know what actions are good and which are evil.

Do you see the danger in focusing on the relationship over the truth? You start in a position where you’re inclined to sin and you expect to learn what actions are good or sinful through a personal relationship and your reading of the Bible when so many others in your situation haven’t done so? That seems awfully risky to me.

This is why the Catholic Church teaches us and why Catholics are obligated to accept her teachings. My sinful passion and desire cloud my vision of what is right and wrong but the Catholic Church (by the power of the Holy Spirit) teaches me what is truly good and truly sinful; not because “the pope said so” but because “Jesus and the apostles said so”. If a new issue comes up that couldn’t have been conceived by the apostles (like stem cell research) then the Catholic Church considers the tradition given to us by the apostles (which includes the Bible) and makes a decision that’s consistent with apostolic teaching. The question is not “what should WE do” but “what would Jesus and the apostles do”.

As a Catholic I can be sure that I know what actions are sinful and should be avoided and which actions foster my relationship with Jesus and should be endured. You may say that’s taking the easy way out by letting the pope make decisions for me. You may say that’s injecting men between Christ and me. These accusations miss the point entirely. We see the Church as a loving mother who makes rules to keep us safe, healthy, and happy. She’s not injecting herself between us and Jesus but giving us the best possible foundation so I can come to know Christ more fully!

Saying the relationship is more important than knowing whether an action is right or wrong seems to deny that Jesus came so we may KNOW the truth (Jn 8:31-31. If you’re in his word; why don’t you KNOW the truth with certainty? Catholics do.). The Catholic position of having a personal relationship AND knowing which actions hurt or help that relationship seems much more in keeping with how Jesus taught than focusing on a relationship and not fretting the details.

dave ruiz said...

Dan again we talk close but far,but maybe you have me right. Yes, knowing Him is more important than my own righteousness. Was not an adulterer, a murderer, held highly for having a heart after God ? Was not a full keeper of the law nothing until he Knew Him, and then became "Paul" ? Was not the thief on the cross, who did everything wrong to get there, in paradise that day ? Did not Jesus say, 'Depart from me. I never knew you.", to good religious workers ? Did not Paul say his goal was to "apprehend " Him ? He is the truth, and we are perfect in him are we not ? Where did I ever say I did not know things without certainty ? Where did I ever say I do not have the mind of Christ, and have full assurance and know all things. Do you have full assurance of your salvation ? beyond a shadow of a doubt ? If your church does not give you that, then is not in vain your baptisms and sacraments and traditions, your "details" ? Again you belittle my statement of relationship being first, that it belittles details. That is like saying it was just as important to wash, dress and feed Lazarus after hi resurection, as it was for Jesus to have called him back from the dead. I am sorry but Jesus has the primary work and the church the secondary work. No, Jesus does not frett the details, and does demand every jot and tittle of His Word to be the rule. I am saying IF YOU ARE CLOSE TO HIM, HE WILL LET YOU KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG. HE DOES LEAD TO STILL WATERS. The church is the way the truth and the life ? the church will lead to still waters ? Please tell me where the the church is a "mother" ? I can see "bride" or "sheperd" but "mother" sounds not so right..... I strongly disagree with your view on the role of the church, forming the very reason I disagree with that same church. Salvation is not in a church per say , it is Christ alone, by faith and not of works. You have to do so much to be saved, and then you are not sure of even that, but you are sure of your church. Again you say you need "vehicles" for justification-that is called works-(make you feel good don't they). I am sorry but I do not recall anyone in Acts being saved after baptism or confirmation or "remembrances of His passover blood", but all examples of what people do AFTER they are saved. Early popes did not teach regeneration at baptism........You say "relationship" is risky because of a poor track record. You assume it is poor because a church is needed and I say it is poor because the individual is "wrong" with God (relationship). The poor result is because of a "will" against God, they do Not want to know or do right. Where the will is broken and yielding the Lord bears fruit in the individual...........You make Jesus sound like a moralist ,legalist teaching right from wrong. Why ? His whole point was to overcome religion which made people feel "righteous". He strived to show depravity, blindness, in effect a deadness in relationship....hence you must be born again. It was not enough to know the Bible, the traditions, or right from wrong but to be in the Truth and in the Spirit of all the above. You are like the man who wanted to know how to please God, and Jesus said keep the law, do what is right(his comfort level).The man could not do more and follow Christ,in truth and Spirit.....Again if you have relationship, He will show you what to do. Why do you say, "Sorry Jesus, I am to much a sinner to have you lead me, but I will listen to your church". If there is a church that lets you believe that, they will want you as a member.

Dan said...

Dave, I’m getting a bit tired of going around and around on this.

First, I asked you how you know you’re led into truth while other sincere Bible-only Christians have contradictory views. You said knowing right/wrong action is less important than your relationship with Christ (I took it to mean you didn’t actually know, or care, what is truly right/wrong but instead focused on relationship with Christ.).

Then I said you don’t know for certain what is right/wrong and you reply with “Where did I ever say I do not have the mind of Christ, and have full assurance and know all things” and “IF YOU ARE CLOSE TO HIM, HE WILL LET YOU KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG”. I assume by this you mean that you DO have full assurance that you understand what is right/wrong.

Do you see why this is frustrating to Catholics? You have given me two answers that are incompatible.

Please answer plainly whether or not you KNOW what you believe is true. Do you KNOW FOR SURE baptism is symbolic or that artificial contraception is moral (for example)?

If you know for sure, how do you know you’re right if the Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, etc down the street disagrees with you? The problem I see is that since Jesus made each of us exactly the same promises; you have no way of knowing FOR SURE that you have the mind of Christ while your disagreeing Protestant brother is confused by sin.

If you don’t know for sure, why do you say you are assured of all truth? Why not admit you’re just doing the best you can?

It’s one or the other. Either you know the truth and you can tell me why you know the truth or you simply don’t know the truth and you’re following Jesus as well as you can.

P.S. You seem to subscribe to the “once saved always saved” notion. Is that true?

dave ruiz said...

Dan,sorry about the frustration.It is to be expected.I understand you think I am contradicting myself, but I am not.I understand your positions, you have explained them well. It is frustrating for me when you do NOT see my arguments,even twist them ("my" interpettation, being "alone", not knowing right from wrong, church in general(body of Christ) vs church(Roman Catholic), I say "some" books and you say I said all etc.) So the frustration is both ways. You do not understand what I am saying -that is frustrating for you. You twisting my words is frutrating for me. I think it is impossible for you to "see" it "my" way except for divine inspiriation. So to me frustration is normal(at least it was for me till I got saved).......It is Not contradictory to say relationship is more important than doctrine, morals, and that relationship will guide you in doctrine and morals. My son first had to be born first before I could teach him to look both ways before crossing the street. I could see where this is hard for a catholic who believes regeneration at baptism, which I do not. Instead you are more comfortable talking about dogma. I just read where you say (11-12) the danger of not "forming a relationhip with Christ-going thru the motions". I am sorry but I do not think that is correct Catholicism. Is it possible for a Catholic not to have a relationship with Christ(not having formed one, as you say) ? Does not regeneration( born again) quicken our spirits to Christ? Can you be saved without that? I thought you were regenarated at baptism.? What good is correct dogma if you are not going to heaven, an unregenerated catholic , who has not formed a relationship with Christ ? That is my biggest peave against the catholic church-they teach, make you think you are o.k. spiritually but are not (not ready for the personal judgement day) .They make you think you are born again when you are not( again being catholic is more important,that is your justifiacation,just do not die with a mortal sin). Quite a burden, isn't it ? Where is the Good News ?

dave ruiz said...

Dan,please do not assume anymore. Christ in me, or in anyone who wills, does not make you Ignorant of right from wrong. I do believe the Lord in me can discern All things rightly and has done so on many things, but personally not all. Did Adam or Abel or Abraham or Even Paul know all things ? I am not contradicting myself ,for the Lord lights our paths, I can not see beyond the light He has shown me .Even Paul said we see thru a clouded glass, yet we know all things and have full assurance(John). So yes, what I believe ,I believe is true (you seem to want to know that, like shall I believe something that is not true ? Again, I am not contradicting but I have been wrong before and I will be wrong again, on some matters of faith(rapture,holloween, christmas,Israel in prophecy today etc.) Even Paul sometimes spoke for "himself" ,but most often for the Lord. .....Tell me if the Lord shows me a truth like He is the Messiah, He loves me, is coming again, wants to sanctify me,etc ,shall I qualify His truth, His light to me by what others do ? Yes, I know you want me to address division and we can, but also allow me to again address unity of faith. You did agree that only those souls washed in the blood of the Lamb are in heaven. Not totally catholic is that ? For indeed you must wash yourself a bit ,as in purgatory-sorry that is not His blood totally washing but a souls' sweat and suffering, and "prayers". Also the Church has flip - flopped on wether a non catholic can attain heaven, or even a second class spiritual walk on this earth etc, etc,. Again there is great unity of faith around the world, who believe the basics of Jesus as Lord and savior, by faith, which He bestows on a contrite and broken spirit, regenerating, making born again, where "all things are new" and we "see". You see it as a confusing world, from your reference point of security in a specific church/denomination, and where would you go as a protetsant(baptist, lutheran etc.)? Again the main message is be born again, know Jesus personally, in truth and spirit. It is not a denomination, it is a relationship. I don't mind you thinking "I don't know for sure" because a protetsant might think something different(because of sin in one of us or, if it is something not as neccesary(e.g. rapture ,Israel). You lump the world into two camps, catholic and protetstant, when it is not. The world has been always those regenerated and those not. When you are regenerated ,your reference point is NOT other believers or groups, but God himself. Why cannot God reaasure a soul himself, regardless of what a "brother " says,(again ,I am not contradicting ,"brother has it's place also,but NOTHING tops the Spirit,He is alive ,a person ,although invisisble, who speaks to us, dirctly, personally.It is to Him you will have to answer to,so why wouldn't He tell you personally what He expects ? Differences is an excuse, for no man seeks after God .There have always been differences in the church even Catholic ,even today. You are not unnimous in all things especially practice. Again, you belittle the all authority of scripture, the assurances of the Spirit, freedom of conscience and individual conscience. All others do the best they can, and may need a "church" .It is called works,self washing. Again, heaven for me is based on what Christ did for me, not what I can do for Him. That is why it is called "good news"-gospel.

dave ruiz said...

Dan, I have answered your question as to the Ministry of the Holy Spirit to individuals (as opposed to "church "guiding us).Because it has results you do not like, you dismiss the method. The method is not the problem, for by your method you still have division, or bad results.Your history is loaded with unity and allegiance to Rome being more important than righteousness-(bad, bickering, carnal, worldly popes).There would have been more churches if they had not been killed (Waldeneses,Albigences). If you had had not strayed with coruption Luther would have had nothing to ignite. You downplay the division over popery and the Eatern churches. That is a big deal.That dogma has caused more division and bloodshed than any other in christendom, and played like the cosa nostra. A few good popes (gregory )condemned the idea of "supreme bishop". You never answered me -was there a church for Adam, Abraham, Abel, Enoch ? How did they come to believe ? Jesus said "salvation is of the Jews". How could that method of delivery be true when there were so many divisions(Saducees,Pharisees etc) ???

dave ruiz said...

Dan, you say my baltimore catechism is outdated. How could that be, you never change dogma. "the catholisc church has scripture as authoratative". No one denies that. What the church refuses is that it is all authoratative or that it has sole authority. You did not address the 50/50(bible/tradition) equal authority, instead you say my catechism is is "outdated", when that dogma still stands and is repeated often.You did not address the popes just 150 years ago be against Bible societies,and how for centuries felt it was not for laity. Indeed early councils ,creeds were pure bible doctrine, and that the church based its authority not on tradition or church say so but on the bible as sole authority. Why could not that have continued ? I have never heard the 100-100. No matter, you state the point, the bible has its equal, tradition. Again the Assunption and immaculte conception are not biblical..... I did not know that is an age old rebuttal (cant personally interpet scripture yet can pick right church). See, the spirit speaks to many uniformly. The Spirit showed me that logic, as I guess he has others thru the ages........... What are all these opposing views that seem to bother you ? What ever they are, I am sure they have been around since before 1500. I guess if they are debated within the catholic church it is o.k..(Jerome argued against apocrypha,and was not sure of a few nt books;debate on Mary,on baptism, regeneration,"outside" believers,marriage,celibacy,etc.).................We also differ on what church is. Is it a catholic (unversal) body of believers in Christ around the world? Or is it a specific heirarchy ,governance to which some believers belong ? Hey, my faith is before "church". My faith goes back to Abraham, even Abel. It was also at the beginning of the church age( faith still the main operative to regeneration)........... Indeed ,the Catholic bothers to make many claims, but as Pope Gregory said ,it is the spirit of anti christ. All those claims stemmed from a power grab for the bishop of Rome. The first hundred years did not need to make such claims. Those claims are carnal."I am of Peter " boasting. We understand your claims,just totally disagree.I believe scripture references to such claims are wrong ,and have caused much division. Again, God help us.

Dan said...

Dave, let me begin by saying you did an excellent job explaining your position. Thank you for that.

However, you misrepresent Catholicism as badly as I misrepresent you. Last time: I said that a person needs not only “the motions” but a relationship with Christ for salvation. You replied “I am sorry but I do not think that is correct Catholicism” (11-16). You continue that false assurance is you “biggest peave” with Catholicism.

Needing a relationship with Christ is not correct Catholicism? We give false assurances of salvation? Have you been reading the Catechism according to Jack Chick, or what?

Catholicism exhorts each person to own their faith and to trust in the mercy of Jesus Christ. That is the Good News! We teach salvation is IMPOSSIBLE for a human alone. We have NO HOPE of salvation; except to hope in Christ! Only through the grace of Jesus can we attain salvation. A personal relationship, a conversion of heart, is REQUIRED for the Catholic Church to be of any help at all! You can have all the sacraments you want but if you won’t use the grace Christ has given you to know Him then it does you no good.

“He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church (baptized), does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a "bodily" manner and not "in his heart." All the Church's children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.” (Lumen Gentium 14)

In other words, going through the motions is NOT enough! We must “persevere in charity” and be part of Christ “in the heart”. This is relationship. This is real, personal conversion! Not only will going through the motions not save you; it will bring you more severe judgment!

Nowhere is it said in the Catechism or in a council document that all you need is to do the “works” but not have any faith. We can take the grace of Christ, be converted in our heart, and develop a relationship with Christ or we can ignore that grace at our own peril.

It almost seems Protestants get annoyed when Catholics talk about a “personal relationship with Christ”, as if Catholics are hijacking their idea! I have been regenerated and reborn through baptism and Jesus now lives in my heart. I adore and consume His precious body in the Eucharist (as He commanded). I confess Him as Lord publicly. I read the Bible regularly. I converse with Him daily. I try to love Him and my neighbor as myself. I am not special; this should be the minimum for a faithful Catholic. I call this a personal relationship with Christ; what do you think I should call it?

Don’t be surprised if this isn’t the way Catholicism is represented on anti-Catholic websites. They often “forget” that we teach repentance, conversion, and that works are a response to grace; not something of our own merit.

Regarding why Adam, Abraham, etc didn’t need a Church. They came to believe just like we come to believe; as a gift of faith from God. It is spectacular that God picked these men to receive this gift even without the benefit of sacraments, the Bible, etc. However, the extension that “if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me” isn’t prudent. They didn’t have the Bible; but we do. You would never throw away the Bible because “if they didn’t need it, neither do I”. The fact is that the Bible is extremely helpful in developing faith and knowing Jesus so we use it. In the same way, the Church’s teachings and sacraments are extremely helpful; but not required for each and every person to know God. They are the “ordinary” way but not the “only” way to know Him.

dave ruiz said...

Dan.Catholicism teaches regeneration at baptism. You said you were born again(reborn) at baptism. So far o.k. ? I thought rebirth, regeneration is new life into His church, His kingdom, His presence, into a relationship wih Him. I never said Catholics do not claim relationship. You misunderstood me. What I said is that catholics are not catholics until baptized,right?.So if a catholic is baptized, is he then not regenerated, reborn spiritually INTO A RELATIONSHIP ? So what did you mean you must also "form" a relationship with Christ ,and have a conversion of heart, even though you are already baptized and Catholic ? This is what I think is not in the catechism. To me when you are regenerated you have a relationship with Christ ,a conversion of heart. You do not need to "form" it again. SO simply put, I found it odd for you to basically say a catholic needs to "form" a relationship even though they are already born again. Again, when my son was born, he did not have to "form" or have a conversion to be my son.......Again,stop the hype that I misrepresent you.Of course you claim relationship and personal faith. Never said you did not. But your own words qualify it(somewhat limit, relative to church and traditon etc.-remember you criticized me for stressing relationship too much). That is where the debate is, the primacy of it,but we both teach it(Just like we both teach the authority of the bible, but me without qualifications and you with)........Yes I remember my priest stressing to us in high school to nurture ,use that relationship with Christ. The trouble was we were not born again. No wonder he was so frustrated with us,trying to get spirit out of flesh. You do the same, stressing those good things beyond "the motions", assuming regeneration because of your work of baptism. Sorry, my experience is that my catholic baptism did not regenerate me. In fact it confused me more when spiritual life was expected of me when I was "spiritually dead". Don't worry, that same priest later (after my conversion-as a Jesus freak, so he called me) said I was not "dead" and was not going to hell-after all I was Catholic......So please tell me if it would be corrct dogma for a priest this sunday to tell his flock to make sure they have formed a relationship with Jesus, or that their hearts have been converted, that they need this regeneration is not his assumption that all already have it ? Even your Lumen quote assumes you are born again and you better shape up or you are lost.It is not as dirct as saying your baptism did not regenerate ,and you are not exalted,so stop trying to be good ,it is impossible,but with God..How can you be exalted or in the bosom of the churchif you are not saved, born again ? It is avery subtle but very fundamental difference between Lumen, my priest and the simple protestant evangelical message, and millions of converted catholics testify of this(to the power of the protestant evangelical message).The catholic church laid the seeds of heaven ,hell salvation,judgement,sin righteousness ,but because of what we have been talking about could not birth the spirit, like the latter could. .......So you do not need the sacraments to know God ? Is this Catholic ? How can you know God without rebirth that you claim comes only with Baptism ? Are you saying you can know God outside the church ? Are protetsants saved, like in the "ark" but in third class, relative to Catholics whose ship it is, in first class ?

Dan said...

Dave, we should all be freaks for Jesus! It’s disappointing that some Christians use “Jesus freak” as an insult.

It seems you treat “regeneration”, “rebirth”, “conversion”, and “relationship” as the same thing and this is causing some confusion about what I have said about them. Rebirth and regeneration are one-time events that happen at baptism. They can never be repeated, formed, or undone. Conversion and relationship begin at baptism but continue to grow and deepen over the entire course of a person’s life. Let me try to explain it with an analogy.

My daughters cannot be reborn in the sense Nicodemus thought Jesus meant in Jn 3:4; their birth was a singular, unrepeatable event. When they were born they entered a relationship with me as their father. Over time this relationship will grow and deepen as we come to know each other more and more deeply. We will never have a “new” relationship; but our existing relationship will “form” and “deepen” over time.

In baptism we are reborn which cannot be repeated. We are brought into relationship with Christ. Over time that relationship deepens but is never restarted. We are not baptized and then form a relationship; we are baptized into a relationship and form that relationship.

In both cases, the relationship can be ended. My daughter can disown me and I can disown God through sin. She is still my daughter and I am still God’s (adopted) son but the relationship is damaged. In this sense, I am in God’s family “bodily” but not “in my heart”.

Conversion is also a life-long process (but doesn’t fit my analogy because my daughter doesn’t “convert” to me!). Every moment of every day we are called to conversion. We are called to forsake sin and turn to our father in love, humility, and repentance.

So, it would be perfectly appropriate for a priest to exhort his flock to continue their conversion to Christ or to continue forming a relationship with Christ (but not to be re-reborn).

You ask if not needing sacraments to know God is Catholic. Well, Catholicism does say baptism is the only way we know of to get to heaven. From that definition, it’s easy to assume Catholicism means that an unbaptized person cannot be saved but that’s not ture.

First, it’s the only way “that we know of”. Baptism is the “ordinary” way to be reborn but not necessarily the “only” way. Jesus told us to baptize all nations, so we do. If He has some other way of saving people then great! However, we don’t know of any other way so we will keep baptizing!

Second, a person does not need to be baptized while alive to be saved. CCC 1257-1261 discuss how unbaptized martyrs and those planning to be baptized (catechumens) are baptized “through blood” and “through intention” respectively. Those truly ignorant of the Gospel, and children who die before baptism MAY be baptized by God. We don’t know for sure what God does with these people but we trust that whatever He does is truly just and truly merciful.

Finally, God can move anyone to know Him without baptism; however, baptism is the “ordinary” way. Remember that OT people like Abraham didn’t have baptism because it was not part of their covenant with God. So to say sacraments are unnecessary because people didn’t need them before the sacraments even existed is, as I tried to show last time, not a fair argument.

dave ruiz said...

Dan thanks .It was a catholic priest who spoke of me as a Jesus freak, in case I did not make it clear......I undrestand "form" as you state it. I understand you to say you can still be "adopted" but rejectful.I would not put it that way .I know you can be saved, going to heaven, but be "carnal". To reject Christ though puts you back in with the lost, sons of perdition(not adopted anymore at the very least). I feel it is a bit clearer that way...... I understand saved to be past, present and future, but there is only one firt time(justification), the others are sanctification....... As far as baptism, I can only relate it to as a consenting individual (not infant), therefore, yes, rebirth brings me into a relationship but it is simultaneously formed. Hey I met Jesus, and because of that I was born again. Of course the relationship grows, but I would NOT say I am reborn, then I form a relationship. Again it is simultaneous......It seems like your dogma of saved with baptism must be flexible to handle the obvious truth and testimony of people who definitely act saved even martyred, without being baptized (yet, as you say). Of course you have to say they would have if given the chance etc, and you are probably right,but not dogmatically right. I just see that as evidence that God does not withold regeneration until baptism, but baptism is a symbol of obedience to the new birth and faith. You almost go all the way by "the blood" (which is good) but then unfortunately qualify it by saying they "intended" to be baptized. I believe the bible does not say you are damned if you are not baptized, but only for not believing......... Again,the main thread from Adam to John is salvation by faith, that is the argument. The way to demonstrate faith may have changed, blood of a ram, circumcision, baptism, belonging to a "people-jews",to belonging to His body,the church. The demonstration does NOT make the faith however. Faith comes first, then any Godly works,to His glory.......My point still stands, that catholics teach you are born again, because of infant or adult baptism. That is what I find wrong and misleading, a type of false assurance. It could be frutrating to to tell a soul to act like they are in the house of the King (with "heart"), when in fact they have not gone in at all, or thru the front door, which is proper......Finally,is it not true catholics teach that only their baptism, or church offers first class spirituality ?

dave ruiz said...

Dan The fist four centuries produced 6 bible translations. Then it stopped with Jeromes' vulgate-Latin. Granted it was good, but there should have been many more due to all the new peoples christainity was spreading to. Was it to keep allegiance to Rome, for the sake of "unity" ? ......The monks did much to preserve the word of God during the dark ages. Pope Innocent 3rd (1198) forbade reading the bible in the vernacular. Pope Hildebrand ordered Bohemians not to read the bible. Pope Clement 2nd (1700) issued a bull against bible reading by laity. Pope Pius (1800) issued a bull against bible societies. Pope Leo 12th (1821) condemned bible societies, religious freedom and bible translations. Pope Pius 8th (1829)denounced liberty of conscience and bible societies. Pope Gregory 16th (1831) condemned bible societies.....Today there are over 1000 bible translations, thanks in part to all those bible societies ,and to the catholic church changing again and getting on board with God's program of bible reading. C. S. Lewis wrote, "those ignorant of history are slaves to the most recent past".

Dan said...

Dave, I did get that it was a priest, should that make a difference?

I think your notion of being born again gives the same false assurance as baptism. If I am born again but do not bear good fruit or sin and refuse to repent I am not saved. How is this not a similar false assurance?

You said "Of course the relationship grows, but I would NOT say I am reborn, then I form a relationship. Again it is simultaneous". I completely agree with you, Dave! Wasn't I clear that our relationship begins at baptism and continues to deepen from there?

As far as first class spirituality I'm not sure what you mean. Regardless, saying you have “third class” spirituality is way better than the Protestants who say Catholics aren’t “saved”. What difference does the class of spirituality make?

Your doctrine of symbolic baptism as opposed to regenerative baptism is at odds with early Christians and the Bible. Each of these quotes is from the second or third century.

Justin Martyr says only one who “has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration” can partake of the Eucharist (First Apology).

"Moreover, the things proceeding from the waters were blessed by God, that this also might be a sign of men's being destined to receive repentance and remission of sins, through the water and laver of regeneration" Theopilus of Antioch, To Autolycus, 2:16

“For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions; being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes” Irenaeus, Fragment, 34

"But you will perhaps say, What does the, baptism of water contribute towards the worship of God? In the first place, because that which hath pleased God is fulfilled. In the second place, because, when yon are regenerated and born again of water and of God, the frailty of your former birth, which you have through men, is cut off, and so at length you shall be able to attain salvation; hut otherwise it is impossible" Recognitions of Clement, 6:

“The Church received from the Apostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants. For the Apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sins, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit." Origen, Commentary on Romans, 5:9

“This is the Spirit which from the beginning was borne over the waters; for neither can the Spirit operate without the water, nor the water without the Spirit...Unless therefore they receive saving baptism in the Catholic Church, which is one, they cannot be saved, but will be condemned with the carnal in the judgment of the Lord Christ." Council of Carthage VII

I could provide many more of these quotes but I think these make the point well enough for any unbiased person to see that the early Church thought baptism required water, removed sin, and regenerated. Yet you say it is symbolic like circumcision.

Of course, I had to save the best for last. Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus was the ultimate born again experience, wouldn’t you agree? Jesus knocked him down, blinded him, and spoke directly to him. This experience was much more powerful than any alter call today! Yet in Acts 22:16 Paul recounts how he was told "Now, why delay? Get up and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away". If Paul had the ultimate “born again” experience, why did he still need to be baptized without delay? Why weren’t his sins forgiven already? The only reasonable answer is that baptism was required to remove those sins. This is so obvious I can’t imagine how a person could deny it, unless they simply didn’t want it to be true!

dave ruiz said...

Dan yes i think it is a big deal,making a difference that a priest could call one a Jesus freak. Priests are very much on a pedestal ,within the church(at least they were with me).I suppose if i remained in the church I would have gotten used to understanding some priests are better than others or that some could be so wrong.....Yes there can be false assurance in ANY church.It has been said that a baptist is toughest to convert because they strees the simple salvation message at every service. They are very faihful in giving a chance to receive Him. So you are around that message so much they could become numb to it, if it has not been made personal. But there is big difference between saying, "I see no friuts and maybe you are not saved,born again"(protestant),and saying "I see no friuts and you need to mature or show "heart" but you are already saved ,born again"(Catholic).I see more hope in the former because it is more something Jesus must do in you (open your eyes), where the latter is something the beleiver must do,and often can be done in ones own strength,or lack of it........ I read somewhere that the catholic church decreed against this "assurance", that it is heretical. We have been talking about people not really being spiritual(with two reasons- not born agin or not with"heart")),but what about those people that really are saved and showing fruits? I believe the Catholic church is against teaching assurance because of a control issue,of keeping you needing the church. Again, to me assurance rests in what Christ did, and the need for me to believe in His good work, not necesarily to remain a good baptist or lutheran etc.......Again ,you have been avoiding Catholic teaching that has fluctuated over the ages,dealing with saved people outside the church. At times the teaching was that this was impossible and now that it is possible but obviously they are without the graces that can only be bestowed by the Cathoilic church(thus I say second class,with less amenities). Will you ackowledge this ? I will acknowledge that protestants do say Catholics are not saved ,as a general rule if it is based on infant baptism. Actually ,I personally do not take for granted that ANYONE is saved, from any denomination. You or I should not assume that we are "there" simply because we take all this seriously enough to spend all this time dialoging, and researching etc..We could just be super religious ,like the pharisees. Yet we can judge what comes out of our mouths, for "out of the abundance of the haert the mouth speaks". When you lift up Christ, I am with you .When you lift up your church ,you lose me....Just cause you are in my church does not mean you are saved. If you love someone that is paramount, to discern there spiritual condition. I really believe that there are souls who have been washed in the blood in all denominations, including catholic. But I also believe the more you make your denomination paramount,the less chances are of that being true(or at least carnal, saying "I am of Peter)........more on baptism later.

dave ruiz said...

Dan what bible version do you have? none of mine say to Paul to have your sins washed away.I get that Pauls conversion was a done deal before his baptism. "He is a chosen vessel" ,his eyes were healed ,opened BEFORE his baptism. What is easier ,to heal or remit sins? Could they not be one in the same. If so, why did Paul receive "sight" before baptism.Again was he noy filled with the Holy Ghost before baptism ?.."And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales,and he received sight forwith,and arose,and was baptized" Where do you see forgiveness of sins.I am sorry ,but I see baptism as obedience to the Lord's command and symbolic of what had already taken olace.It does not say be baptized and receive new life either.There are quite a few instances in Acts where people receive the Holy Ghost ,believe and THEN are baptized. Again,the prerequisite for baptism was to be a believer FIRST, then you could be baptized.Is abeliever not born again ? I do not see any infants fullfilling that requirement, nor is it like circumcision for Paul showed the weakness of that.......The Catholic church declares a unanimity among church fathers and a continuity to today. the fact is on many dogmas ther has been great debate among church fathers,even on this issue of baptism.Even your quotes are way past the apostles and Acts.There was impurit in Acts,so why not 200 years later.Hey, the same fathers you quote also say things like there is no hell(Origen),Cyprian denied such an office of "pope",Chrysostom denied 'confessional' as obligatory and the Eucharist as Christ present, and Augustine did not believe in purgatoty, and the one pope I quoted earleir said regeneration id NOT regenerative etc etc etc etc .I DO acknowledge some of your quotesfor regenerative baptism,it is a part of some protestants. Just do not tell me it is unanimous.Beleive what you want ,just do not twist history to support YOUR church dogma.What is written is written.The debate can not be denied.......Did Justin Martyr then believe infants could receive the "body in communion".His qoute could go either way-symbolic or regenerative, Theoplis uses the word " for a "sign" ". Where does Origen get his facts that the apostles babtized infants/ is it in the bible? "secrets of divine mystery"-sounds hoky poky. Carthage- there it is ,if it ain't Catholic you are doomed, how thretening, bullying ,"cosa nostra",the same self assurance that the Sanhedrin had when they condemned Christ....It is Catholics and others who say it is like circumcision,or replaces it..I accept your comments,please accept mine ,we both have biblical and Fathers quotes, I do not think your view was from the beginning......to be cont.

dave ruiz said...

Dan what bible version do you have? none of mine say to Paul to have your sins washed away.I get that Pauls conversion was a done deal before his baptism. "He is a chosen vessel" ,his eyes were healed ,opened BEFORE his baptism. What is easier ,to heal or remit sins? Could they not be one in the same. If so, why did Paul receive "sight" before baptism.Again was he noy filled with the Holy Ghost before baptism ?.."And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales,and he received sight forwith,and arose,and was baptized" Where do you see forgiveness of sins.I am sorry ,but I see baptism as obedience to the Lord's command and symbolic of what had already taken olace.It does not say be baptized and receive new life either.There are quite a few instances in Acts where people receive the Holy Ghost ,believe and THEN are baptized. Again,the prerequisite for baptism was to be a believer FIRST, then you could be baptized.Is abeliever not born again ? I do not see any infants fullfilling that requirement, nor is it like circumcision for Paul showed the weakness of that.......The Catholic church declares a unanimity among church fathers and a continuity to today. the fact is on many dogmas ther has been great debate among church fathers,even on this issue of baptism.Even your quotes are way past the apostles and Acts.There was impurit in Acts,so why not 200 years later.Hey, the same fathers you quote also say things like there is no hell(Origen),Cyprian denied such an office of "pope",Chrysostom denied 'confessional' as obligatory and the Eucharist as Christ present, and Augustine did not believe in purgatoty, and the one pope I quoted earleir said regeneration id NOT regenerative etc etc etc etc .I DO acknowledge some of your quotesfor regenerative baptism,it is a part of some protestants. Just do not tell me it is unanimous.Beleive what you want ,just do not twist history to support YOUR church dogma.What is written is written.The debate can not be denied.......Did Justin Martyr then believe infants could receive the "body in communion".His qoute could go either way-symbolic or regenerative, Theoplis uses the word " for a "sign" ". Where does Origen get his facts that the apostles babtized infants/ is it in the bible? "secrets of divine mystery"-sounds hoky poky. Carthage- there it is ,if it ain't Catholic you are doomed, how thretening, bullying ,"cosa nostra",the same self assurance that the Sanhedrin had when they condemned Christ....It is Catholics and others who say it is like circumcision,or replaces it..I accept your comments,please accept mine ,we both have biblical and Fathers quotes, I do not think your view was from the beginning......to be cont.

Dan said...

Dave, I know you said to be continued but you’ve said enough stuff that I will respond now. First, I cited Acts 22:16 not 9:18.

And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'(NIV)

What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord.’ (NLT)

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. (KJV)

Acts 22:16 is Paul’s testimony about what happened in his own words. He plainly links baptism with washing away sins.

You try to discredit the fathers by saying they don’t believe other Catholic things. So what if they did? The fathers are a witness to how the early Church worked. If the vast majority of fathers say baptism is regenerative then my bet is that is a teaching of the apostles (esp. when coupled with scripture).

Second, you aren’t even right about them! You say St. John Chrysostom denies Christ in the Eucharist but that is not true! He plainly says that even though you can’t perceive Jesus in the bread or the Spirit in the water of baptism they are real!

"Let us then in everything believe God, and gainsay Him in nothing, though what is said seem to be contrary to our thoughts and senses, but let His word be of higher authority than both reasonings and sight. Thus let us do in the mysteries also, not looking at the things set before us, but keeping in mind His sayings. For His word cannot deceive, but our senses are easily beguiled. That hath never failed, but this in most things goeth wrong. Since then the word saith, 'This is my body,' let us both be persuaded and believe, and look at it with the eyes of the mind. For Christ hath given nothing sensible, but though in things sensible yet all to be perceived by the mind. So also in baptism, the gift is bestowed by a sensible thing, that is, by water; but that which is done is perceived by the mind, the birth, I mean, and the renewal. For if thou hadst been incorporeal, He would have delivered thee the incorporeal gifts bare; but because the soul hath been locked up in a body, He delivers thee the things that the mind perceives, in things sensible. How many now say, I would wish to see His form, the mark, His clothes, His shoes. Lo! Thou seest Him, Thou touchest Him, thou eatest Him. And thou indeed desirest to see His clothes, but He giveth Himself to thee not to see only, but also to touch and eat and receive within thee." John Chrysostom, Gospel of Matthew, Homily 82 (A.D. 370).

You’d better find a new source for your information. Whoever told you Chrysostom denies the Real Presence let you down in a big way! Claiming a father said something, failing to provide a source, and then being proven wrong is very damaging to creditability.

You finished with “I accept your comments,please accept mine ,we both have biblical and Fathers quotes”. Actually, I haven’t seen any quotes from the fathers in your support. You claim there was a great debate on this doctrine but show no proof. You say I am twisting history but offer nothing to untwist it. I’d be surprised if you could find even five fathers who clearly say baptism is non-regenerative and/or ONLY a symbol (note the ONLY, Catholics say it is a symbol; but not only a symbol).

If you show me evidence of this great debate on baptism then I will grant you that your position is at least reasonable (which you have granted me). If not then I will continue to believe that your position is unreasonable and that you're more interested in being right than being in the truth.

If that is the case then I see no reason to continue this discussion.

dave ruiz said...

Dan just aquickie -apologies,realize you quoted acts 22 not 9 the other night-doing a full study of baptism. But a quick response: Paul equates washing of sins with calling on the name of the Lord-"he who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" I am not sure does it say call and be baptized / Anyways ,indeed for Paul it may have been one in the same, his first public confession at baptism; Paul's example does not prove it -whether symbolic or or a needed work:that is why you need to look at all the examples, which to me makes me refrain from putting God in a box and say He must work in such a fashion(more like the wind),but more on that later....You are right ,I did think that I gave you no qoute on a father on baptism(I have quotes for most everything else but not on baptism-at least that I can think of now)-so sorry---as far as discrediting-yes enough to warrant careful scrutiny with scripture,no matter what father we are talking about-and take the good and reject the bad in them....as far as chryssostom.thanks for your qoute,have to see if there is another quote to which another brother was referring to- on first reading it does sound Catholic-but it is not easy reading(quote)....again as fathers,I did not quote one,but find some hope in that you had to go a genaeration or two past the apostles....again, I did address some of your quotes .to me they were not clear cut(some of them,as discussed) I did mention one Pope said baptism not regenerative. I still say for one to say baptimal doctrine and practice (showing ,indicating some belief) has been consistent for 2000 years is untrue, but you are right ,do not take my word for it so far-I only have scripture and one pope for now-I should find some father quotes, history on church buildings(structures) with relation to baptismal practices, and the evolving practice itself.In the meantime, you could respond to my other arguments as stated,if not I could leave with a question: what did Nicodemus fail to do to not have been born again,or even know what it is, when questioned by Jesus?

Ron from Tennessee said...

I don't understand why the Catholic church believes that Mary was always a virgin. The fact that Joseph did not "Know" Mary until she had her firstborn, to me, is very clear.

If it weren't for the Catholic notion of perpetual virginity, I don't believe you would be denying that Jesus had brothers and sisters.

Your support of Mary's perpetual virginity states that the church fathers acknowledge it. Yet, apparently, the earliest mention of it is not until A.D. 360? Surely, if she was always a virgin, it would have been acknowledged by the early church fathers writing in the first or second century.

It is easy to explain away any biblical verse on its own but the number of verses that indicate that Jesus had brothers and sisters, that Joseph had a sexual relationship, and that Mary had other children is too compelling for me to dismiss that they were cousins.

The fact that the Catholic church is the only major denomination that teaches this (and has to in order to support the idea of perpetual virginity that, in itself, has no biblical credence) indicates to me that it is a flawed and erroneous teaching.

Anonymous said...

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- Norman

John Sullivan said...

Indeed one of my favorite discussions. I spent a lot of time discussing this with fellow Catholics today on F/B. I think we are spot-on when we talk about important things like the Immaculate Conception, the Annunciation, and the Assumption. I think the Church's argument about the Blessed Virgin Mary is at best weak and based mainly on cultural norms not far different than those that gave rise to Islam in the Arab world. Most importantly, I don't believe that it means a hill of beans what we say about Mary's status of a Virgin. If she never had relations with Joseph, then great. So what? If she did, then again, great. So what? I prefer to think that in any translation, four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles can't be wrong. I have been called every word under the sun today starting with heretic, but calling the sky green doesn't make it green if it isn't. But again, there is virtually no value in the argument, and nothing lost if either side is right or long. Sure, having all of those kids would be a good Catholic example, and the early (e.g. several centuries after the fact) Church Fathers argued that Mary was some sort of a vessel for the Lord, but are we not carrying that same, undiluted Jesus within us as well when we receive the Eucharist? Sure, we aren't as worthy as Mary is, but through her intercession on our behalf, perhaps someday we will be.

Dan 'n Tara Brooke said...

Hey, John,

I'm curious; if her virginity is irrelevant then why the long post about it? Anyway, Mary's perpetual virginity is worth defining and fending because a) it's true and b) it's a model of how we are to respond to God's calling.

All things that are true are worth defending. If Mary was a perpetual virgin--and I beleive the evidence suggests she is--then there you go.

When I say her perpetual virginity is a model fo us I am not saying we are all called to be virgins; only those who are called to be the Mother of God are. We are all called by God to a particular role and each role has an appropriate response. In the case of Mary, the appropriate response since she was utterly reserved for God, was perpetual virginity. To say "it doesn't matter if she's a perpetual virgin" is like saying "it doesn't matter if she responded to God's call". I go through this quite a bit more in the talk about Mary that I posted on the blog a few weeks ago.

Dan 'n Tara Brooke said...

The link to hear that recording is: http://tadaministries.blogspot.com/2010/10/dans-talk-on-mary-and-virgin-birth.html

racang said...

It has been interesting to read the debate about this topic and the way that things can be explained or rationalized to meet your desire.

So far there has been a lot of discussion about bible verses and their translation.

My question to the team and others is if Mary was all the things Catholic say would it not have been important enough to record in the bible.

Some of the things that you profess to did not become part of Catholic teaching for hundreds of years after Jesus death.

An in reality is this a salvation issue.

For me Christ (alone) was born without sin, was crucified, died and has risen again, will come again to judge the living and the dead and most importantly is the Son of God (which brings up another can of worms, Mary is the mother of God).

Regards