Skip to comments.From Calvinist Prosecutor to Catholic Apologist
Posted on 07/26/2013 2:04:17 PM PDT by NYer
Sunday, June 21, marked the 90th anniversary of the Scopes Monkey Trial decision. The questions surrounding evolutionmeaning, in particular, the origins of humansstill raise large and important questions for how we understand human nature and the doctrine of original sin. But Jason Stellman thinks that the obsession with our physical origins, though understandable, is perhaps theologically off-kilter. Where we've come from biologically is not as important as where we're heading. It's not the beginning of the journey, manit's the destination. Stellman's The Destiny of the Species (Wipf and Stock, 2013) is a brief, rollicking, and readable apologetic, notable not just for turning the question of origins on its head, but also for pioneering a slightly different route from the path taken by many Catholic converts in their first books.
From Prosecutor to Papist Stellman's own personal story is compelling. Born and raised in Orange County, California, Stellman came to serious faith in the context of the Evangelicalism of the California preacher Chuck Smith's Calvary Chapel ministries. He served as a Protestant missionary in both Hungary and Uganda before turning to a more theologically rigorous form of Protestantism: Calvinism. Stellman attended Westminster Seminary in Escondido, California and began ministering in the Presbyterian Church in America, the largest conservative Presbyterian denomination in the U.S., planting Exile Presbyterian Church in Woodinville, WA in 2004. Stellman's name came into the limelight when he was chosen to serve as the chief prosecutor in the 2011 heresy trial of fellow Presbyterian minister Peter Leithart, a Calvinist writer and scholar known to readers of journals including First Things and Touchstone. Leithart's views were accused of being in line with a school of Presbyterian thought known as the “Federal Vision,” and he was tried for, among other charges, allegedly failing to distinguish justification and sanctification, divine law and divine grace, and teaching that baptism confers grace and divine adoption. In short, Leithart was on trial for being too Catholic.
Although Stellman's work as prosecutor was acknowledged as solid at the time, Leithart was acquitted by the Northwest Presbytery. In the time after this trial, however, Stellman himself began to question certain historic Protestant beliefs like sola scriptura and sola fide. Through a number of contacts, including the group of formerly Calvinist Catholic apologists centered around the “Called to Communion” (calledtocommunion.com) website, which was founded to foster dialogue with and provide apologetics precisely for Calvinists who suspected the Catholic Church of being right or at least having something to say, Stellman began the journey that ended with his own entrance into the Church on September 23, 2012. Over the last year Stellman has been doing catechesis in a Seattle-area parish, and he now works at Logos Bible Software, developing resource material that will provide an easy way to look at the Scriptures in the light of Patristic and Medieval sources as well as the teachings of the Magisterium.
Apologetics for Everyone Much of Catholic apologetics in English-speaking countries, and increasingly in Latin America, has focused on the differences between Catholics and Protestants. This is not surprising given that large swaths of Evangelical Protestants were baptized as Catholics and left the Church due to the catechetical and spiritual failures of post-conciliar American Catholicism. Sherry Wedell of the Catherine of Siena Institute has written extensively of this phenomenon, which continues to this daymany Catholics who hunger for solid biblical teaching and help in living a life of Christian discipleship seek out elsewhere what they should find in Catholic faith. They find it in the Protestant world where large parts of the Catholic faith have been conserved, especially devotion to Scripture, a serious search for divine intimacy, and the main outlines of Christian morality. Thus Catholic apologetics has been naturally geared toward showing lapsed Catholics and the Protestants they have joined that Catholic faith actually fulfills what they are looking for in a more coherent and comprehensive way. This is an important taskand the importance of it has born great fruit over the last thirty years, not only bringing many serious Protestant pastors, academics, and laity into full communion, but changing the dynamic of Catholic-Protestant relations. During the last two papal conclaves, I have been asked a number of times by Evangelical Protestants about the candidates and what they have to offer. In 2005 one Evangelical Presbyterian friend asked me, “Are we going to get a really good Pope?” I was tempted to answer after the fashion of Tonto when the Lone Ranger asked what chance there was of the duo escaping a wrathful Indian tribe: “Who is this 'we,' white man?” But I didn't, because such a recognition shows how much anti-Catholicism has been tamed in the age of John Paul II, Catholic Answers, Evangelicals and Catholics Together, and all the other efforts of apologetics and dialogue.
Stellman certainly has done his part in explaining his own move, writing an essay titled “I Fought the Church, and the Church Won” and giving an in-depth interview on “Called to Communion” as well as engaging in various interesting questions about the real differences between Catholics and Calvinists on his personal blog, “Creed Code Cult”. But refreshingly, Stellman's Destiny of the Species is actually not geared toward Protestants interested in or annoyed by Mary, the Pope, Purgatory, and Indulgences. It is an apologetic for Christianity as a whole after the fashion of Chesterton's Orthodoxy or Lewis's Mere Christianity, geared toward those who might be “spiritual but not religious,” “nones,” lapsed Catholics who have left Christian faith behind altogether or are already practicing some other sort of faith, and Christians of all sorts, whether Catholic or not. What he has produced is an old-fashioned apologetic for everyone.
Back to the Future Stellman's book, written around the time of the 150th anniversary of Darwin's Origin of the Species, arrived not only in time for the 90th anniversary of the Scopes Monkey Trial, but also Pope Francis's first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, with which it bears some striking similarities. Destiny of the Species begins with the premise that while our biological origins are of interest to us, Darwin ultimately “doesn't scratch where we truly itch.” We certainly eat, drink, defecate, breathe, and move in ways that remind us we are animals. But unlike other animals, whose existence is instinctual, man “is not pushed but pulled, not driven but drawn.” Your dog may appreciate a good nap, a beef, and a burgundy, but we have desires for glory, love, and life that has no end. We are, says Stellman, “hard-wired for heaven.” All of the frantic search for someplace else and something new that Tocqueville found in so pure a form in America (and that more recent writers like David Brooks and Wendell Berry have wryly observed or excoriated) is the sign not simply of biological urge, but spiritual need. Stellman uses Chesterton's fine phrase to describe it: divine discontent. We all hunger for a future that is more than we can experience now.
Like Lumen Fidei, Stellman is proposing that human discontent and restlessness should be answered not by quelling them, but by seeking answers to them. Francis answers Nietzsche's dictum that “if you want peace of soul and happiness, then believe, but if you want to be a follower of truth, then seek,” noting that “autonomous reason is not enough to illumine the future”. Stellman observes that for the vast bulk of people, the way to apparent peace and happiness is not belief, but “worldliness”simply following our biological needs and various emotional passions for things, fame, revenge, and pharmacologically-induced good feelings. The way of belief, according to Stellman, is actually the path to truth and the only way to real peace and happiness. The rest of his book is dedicated to illuminating the truth that, as Pope Francis puts it, “the light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence.” It is “a light coming from the future and opening before us vast horizons which guide us beyond our isolated selves towards the breadth of communion.”
The seeker with a pure heart will not choose between belief and truth, but between competing beliefs. Again, like Pope Francis, Stellman emphasizes that our choice is really between true belief and idolatry. Stellman's middle chapters survey the various false gods that humans encounter, offering treatments of the five vanities surveyed in the book of Ecclesiastes, the temptations of a technologically advanced and affluent society, and how the universal acknowledgment of sin's reality usually issues in our identification of it in someone else's life. We all love to confess others' sins while staying silent about our own. Stellman's treatment is generally good in this section, though it must be said that his treatment of the dangers of life in a consumer society tend toward a sort of stereotyped vision of business and markets that might have been better left out or at least balanced by a recognition of the dangers of modern do-gooderism present in non-profit and government work, too. Stellman, whose views are probably left-of-center, occasionally seems as if he's making a brief against politically conservative Christians and not a brief for Christianity. Jibes at those who watch FOX News or take different views on political issues detract from what is solid and permanent in his exposition. This leads to a second difficulty in the book. Stellman uses a variety of pop-culture references to make his points. Many of them, such as his use of The Matrix to illuminate the choice we have to make between simply distracting ourselves and offering ourselves to seek the truth, hit home. Not all of them do. Rock music fans, especially U2 fans, sometimes need to be reminded that song lyrics seldom stand well on their own.
Stellman really excels when he is bringing out the great riches present in Scripture. Again, mirroring Lumen Fidei, Stellman shows how the Decalogue is meant not simply as a veto on naughty human actions, but as a liberation of humans from the passions and idolatries he's been describing and toward a life of spiritual abundance. (I would complain that he describes the Commandments using the Protestant rather than the Catholic numbering, but my own contribution to ecumenical outreach is to say let's do it the way Protestants and Jews do.) Using Job, Stellman shows how the real objection to God's existence, the problem of evil, is met by God's presence, ultimately in the form of Jesus Christ, whose Resurrection and Ascension show us, in a limited way, what we will be. Stellman's final pop-culture flourish is to use the movie Memento, which tells its story alternating between scenes starting in the beginning and moving forward and the end moving backward, as an analogy to the way in which the light of faith works. We know the destiny of the species is assured, but the light of faith, while illuminating all of life, doesn't usually show us more than we need for our own personal immediate steps ahead. “One step enough for me,” in Newman's famous words. Stellman's vision of Christianity answers exactly to the two primary aspects of Chesterton's personal philosophy in Orthodoxy. In the light of the future prepared for us, life is both familiar and unfamiliar, marvelous and unsatisfactory. It is not merely a biological process, but a high adventure. The Destiny of the Species: Man and the Future that Pulls Him
by Jason J. Stellman
Wipf & Stock, 2013
My apologies for not reading anymore than the title before commenting. But it occurred to me if one thinks they may have been conceived or designed by aliens, it is bound to impact or shape their world view. Our understanding of our origins or even the impetus for the design of those origins are very important without which is no solid foundation.
In before the Protestant anti-Catholic morons who will claim this convert really never knew his Protestant faith!
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (1John 2:19)
I’m pro-truth, not anti-Catholic. I care about Catholic people, if not I wouldn’t bother.
Lol ... just heard from one of them earlier today with the same tired list of 5 de-converts ... is that even a word? ; - )
“Im pro-truth, not anti-Catholic.”
The Catholic faith IS the truth.
“I care about Catholic people, if not I wouldnt bother.”
I have no reason to believe your claims.
You are so wrong, Friend, but I know only The Lord can show you that.
Want to know why I started studying your religion? Because I love my Catholic relatives. I knew we were different, but I really wanted to convince myself they were saved.
I was raised Baptist. I guess you could say that I'm at least agnostic if not atheist now.
At the tender age of 16, I was invited by my girlfriend to attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve at the local catholic church.
The most bizarre string of ritualistic craziness I've ever seen.
Didn't get the whole thing then, don't get it now, never will get it.
Bloody statues, parades of people in robes, people speaking ancient languages and swinging incense burners.
I got out of there as fast as I could graciously and never talked to the girl again.
Scared the crap out of me to see people I thought were normal participating.
“Didn’t get the whole thing then, don’t get it now, never will get it.”
I think you’re selling your intelligence short. Ask a question. Someone here will get the answer for you. Was Jesus’ Judaism not stepped in “ritualistic craziness” as ordained by God? Ever read the Old Testament where YHWH actually ordered all that BLOODY craziness like the sacrifices? And you’re going on about a few bloody statues. My God, the Son of God, died on a cross. That was bloody. And beautiful.
“Bloody statues, parades of people in robes, people speaking ancient languages and swinging incense burners.”
Sounds awesome! I’m partial to the Romans and Russians myself: look here in the middle of the video. The music is beautiful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdkBFwulcI8
“I got out of there as fast as I could graciously and never talked to the girl again.”
Clearly she was better off if that was how you would treat her just because you didn’t understand the Mass.
“Scared the crap out of me to see people I thought were normal participating.”
Then you must think very little of Christ because of His circumcision, sacrifices at the Temple, paying Temple taxes, kosher diet, etc. Did you ever think that maybe you’re just a small mind and person and maybe God and Christianity were bigger than you? Did you ever think that maybe you should grow as a person to be more rather than simply abandon faith altogether.
Christ changed everything. What have you done lately that merits any note?
When was the last time you even tried to pray? Maybe you just need to realize what you aren’t. You aren’t God. But He loves you and is even now waiting for you. Will you respond? Or will you run away from him like you did your girlfriend when you were 16?
Excellent reply, Vlad!
You’re better than me who has no patience with these rabid snake handlers, Bible thumpers, Harold Campings, Paul Crouches, Jim Joneses, the Bakkers, don’t forget the second ‘k’, Billy Grahams, who claim they saw freedom of religion in the Soviet Union, all those parents who will rather see their child die than to give him an aspirin, the 7th Day Witnesses knocking on our doors day in, day out, did I miss anyone? Oh yes, I missed the 30,000+ different hateful heresies.
You are aware that shortly after Jesus was born, two turtle doves were killed right? You are aware that prior to dying, Jesus was tied to a post, whipped and beaten. He was then paraded around, with a crown of thorns on His head and mocked. Someone took a reed and beat Him around the head (while He was wearing a crown of thorns). Then after being beaten and humiliated, He was made to carry a large and heavy wooden cross up a hill (both ways in the snow). Finally He was nailed to a cross; the nails went through His wrists and feet. A soldier proceeded to drive a spear into His heart to make sure He died by nightfall.
While He was being crucified, His mother, the Virgin Mary, watched as her only son was killed for the sins of all mankind, including yours and mine.
I am not sure what the objection to ancient languages and incense burners are.
To understand it, start with God sending his only son to die so that our sins may be forgiven.
I had an addiction to pornography and masturbation that I tried for years to end. Praying never worked; fasting never worked. Then one day I decided to search for a Catholic solution to my addiction to porn. I found a page talking about praying to Rosary. After the first time I prayed the Rosary, I have had no desire to watch porn and have had negative reaction to songs that talk about having sex. Some friends tried to get me to watch Game of Thrones; I only watched the first episode (actually I only stayed past the first incest scene as I was unsure of how to get out of it politely).
My addition to masturbation took longer to get rid of, sometimes I would forget to say the Rosary for a few days and would relapse. Eventually I found a set of Catholic prayers called the Divine Office. Included are ones to say just before going to bed; these finish with a prayer to Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and Queen of Heaven and Earth. I have not had the temptation to masturbate at night or in the morning since starting these prayers.
However, I still had a problem with impure thoughts during the middle of the day. Saying three Hail Marys; one for Faith, one for Hope, and one for Charity; keeps these thoughts away for about half an hour.
If this were the work of the Devil, why would he give up one of his most powerful weapons against us?
The Scopes trial was in 1925. The 90th anniversary (or, as it will inevitably be called by illiterates, “the 90-year anniversary”) will be in 2015.
You just made it! Congrats! LOL!
What a powerful story. Blessings to you.
You know many people say that the Rosary is great for maintaining purity in mind and body. Mary was a Virgin and has always been thought of as a model of virtue.
I’m sure the publishers knew exactly what they were doing when they put Mary on the cover of this prayer book for purity in teenagers: http://www.catholiccompany.com/pure-faith-prayer-book-teens-p1003016/
Friday, July 26, 2013 6:01:58 PM · 56 of 57
Mr Rogers to NYer:
The evangelical missionaries ignore scripture:
Thus I aspire to proclaim the gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on anothers foundation, but as it is written: Those who have never been told of him shall see, and those who have never heard of him shall understand.
Friday, July 26, 2013 6:40:36 AM · 18 of 50
NYer to Buckeye McFrog
So...you attack protestants for evangelizing Catholics, yet...
For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O manyou who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourselfthat you will escape the judgment of God?
If I hadn’t lost my link list and am currently rebuilding I would post the LONG list of converts to Catholicism.
I think we can start with St. Paul.
Nope, I always start with the words of Jesus Christ himself.
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:
Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.
I was referring to your list of converts to Catholicism; the first (famous) example would be St. Paul. I am discounting conversions prior to the Descent of the Holy Spirit; this is somewhat arbitrary. What did you mean?
I can’t explain an experience, but we should get our doctrine from the Word of God, not experience. I certainly would never trust feelings and experiences. The Bible says “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Feelings and experiences can seem right, but you can’t trust your own fallen mind to judge them.
The Bible also tells us to “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” God never intended His people to worship Him apart from the use of their minds. Real spirituality begins with a precise understanding of truth. His Word is objectively true. Use your mind to measure all experiences and feelings against the Truth, against His Word. We are to be like the Bereans in Acts 17 who were “more noble” because “they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” As a result “many of them therefore believed.”
In Ephesians 6:11 Paul says, “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” What is our armor? It consists of the belt of truthfulness (not merely knowing the truth, but being committed to it), the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace (confidence that we have made peace with God), the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation (confidence in our security in Christ), and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. None of those hints at any secret technique. Rather, they speak of clear understanding and a solid commitment to biblical truth and holiness.
When we resist Satan by taking our stand in the armor of God’s truth, he flees. James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Peter said, “Resist him, firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9, emphasis added)-firm in the Christian faith, which is the revealed truth. This is objective truth, not some unseen cosmic force. Since Satan is a deceiver and a liar, we can successfully resist him only by knowing and obeying the truth.
Paul said, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Again, we don’t battle Satan with magic words and imaginary forces; we rely on the power of His truth as it brings even our thoughts captive to our Lord. That is genuine and ultimate victory over satanic forces.
No matter how Satan attacks, the solution is the same. We stand in the truth. We don’t need to learn hidden strategies to fight Satan. God’s truth is the supreme weapon against the father of lies (cf. John 8:44). Only when we know the truth and commit ourselves to obey it will we stand strong.
To measure the efficacy of praying rosaries and saying Hail Marys we can’t rely on our experiences or the claimed experiences of another. If you search the Scriptures like a Berean you will find that Mary is presented in a favorable light, but the unrestrained praise and sentimental effusion common among Catholics are no where to be seen. There isn’t even a hint that Mary participated in the redemption, so she can’t be a mediatress of all grace. To the contrary, the Bible teaches Jesus is the one redeemer and one mediator.
I am curious as to where this Bible came from that you quote.
The Hail Mary:
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee (Luke 1:28)
Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb (Luke 1:42)
Holy Mary (Not explicitly, but Luke 1:46-48)
Mother of God (Luke 1:43)
Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death (Protestants ask people to pray for them. If you raise the question that Mary is dead, please prove it. If you retort that death is a fact of life, is the virgin birth any more believable?)
Another foundation of the Rosary is that Mary is Queen of Heaven and Earth. (Rev 12)
And as for Mary’s ability to intercede for us? John 2.
Jesus and Mary attend a wedding and the hosts run out of wine, a serious problem. Mary asks Jesus to do something. His response is that his hour has not yet come. Mary’s response is to turn to the servants and tell them to do whatever Jesus asks. Jesus proceeds to do the exact thing Mary asks; even though by his own profession it is not yet time.
We also have the question of whether Mary suffered at the Cross. This can be inferred since her son had been betrayed, beaten, humiliated and nailed to the cross for everyone’s sins. What mother would not suffer seeing her son go through that? Then there is a little problem of Simeon’s prophecy. In addition to saying Jesus is destined for the fall, he also tells Mary that her own soul will be pierced. Finally when Jesus was on the Cross, he declared that Mary was now mother of John, the only Apostle to never abandon Jesus.
Mary did participate in the Redemption. Her only objection to conceiving Jesus was that she had no husband. She said that she will carry out the Word. She also saved the couple at Cana by requesting that Jesus help them, even though his hour had not yet come.
The unrestrained praise is due to Mary. In a society where promiscuous women were not tolerated, Mary agreed to have a child without the guarantee that she would have a husband. No promise was made to her, but she put her faith in God.
The Rosary is not a secret technique; it is not an unseen cosmic force; it is not a hidden strategy. The Rosary is routinely prayed publicly by Catholics. Discovering it is easy. The only thing it requires is Faith, which Mary had.
You quote a passage that says when you stand firm against the Devil he flees from you. When I pray three Hail Marys, lustful thoughts depart from me. If that is not the Devil fleeing, I am uncertain what would be. One can lose their firmness and invite the Devil to try again.
The passage you cite with the Bereans is interesting. They did not have a New Testament (or any books of it). The scriptures cited must therefor be the Old Testament. They had to trust that what Paul was saying was true and had happened.
The quote from Proverbs 14:16 is also interesting. The Catholic Church is an enormous organization that has existed for 2000 years. One word that does not fit this would be “man” in the singular.
You ask me to to measure all experiences and feelings against the Truth. The Truth maintains that lustful thoughts are wrong. How one would view porn or masturbate without said thoughts escapes me. When I pray the Rosary, keep the Divine Office, and say Hail Marys when suffering temptation, I do not suffer these temptations or am able to banish them when they arise. I am uncertain how else to interpret this.
You didn’t want an honest biblically informed answer. You trust yourself and the traditions of wicked men, not Scripture.
If that the best you can do? I pointed out places in the Bible parts of the Rosary come from. Just because you were not able to derive it on your own through your own examination, does not mean it is not there.
You have failed to explain how I cannot trust my experience that the Devil flees before the Rosary. I suffer significantly less temptation and commit sinful acts when I keep it faithfully.
You have pointed out where things in your superstitious chants come from, but you ascribe meaning they don’t have. I don’t have time today for a lengthy biblical analysis of saying Hail Marys. But would it matter? Do you really care biblical fidelity or are you more in defending Rome and your experiences? Anything I say will almost certainly be countered by some Catholic source. God has to open your eyes to the truth. I can’t teach you a thing.
So for now let’s agree to disagree. You keep on praying and chanting about and to this “holy Mary.” Nevermind the Bible teaches that the Lord alone is holy, nevermind that the “Queen of Heaven” was the false God of the pagan Babylonians (see Jeremiah 7:18, 44:17-19, 25), nevermind Christ forbid empty repetitive prayer (Matthew 6:7).
“Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Revelation 15:4)
He alone is holy!
I have seen no reason to believe that Rome stands in contradiction to biblical fidelity. In fact the Catholic Church compiled what we call the New Testament.
Part of the Rosary is “Glory be to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.”
There is an element of the Rosary that is frequently ignored re Matthew 6:7. The short Rosary is composed of 5 decades, and 4 short Rosaries comprise a long Rosary. Each decade of the Rosary corresponds to mystery of Christ.
1) Annunciation to Mary
2) Visitation to Elizabeth
3) Birth of Jesus
4) Presentation in the Temple
5) Finding in the Temple
1) Our Lord agonizing in the Garden
2) Our Lord beaten at the post
3) Our Lord humiliated
4) Our Lord carrying the cross
5) Our Lord Crucified
2) Wedding at Cana
3) Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
4) Transfiguration of Our Lord
5) The Last Supper
1) The Resurrection
2) The Ascension
3) The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4) The Assumption of Mary
5) The Coronation of Mary
During the decade corresponding to a particular Mystery, one is supposed to meditate on the Mystery. What one meditates on is largely personal choice; for example I sometimes meditate on what appear to be contradictions between two Bible verses relating to that Mystery.
Claiming the Rosary is repetitive is true. Claiming it is empty is not.
Of these 20 Mysteries, 19 are found in the Bible; Glorious 4 is not explicitly in the Bible. 17 are explicitly about our Salvation or an aspect of God; Luminous 2, Glorious 4 and 5 do not appear (on their face) to be about our Salvation.
The Queen of Heaven in Jeremiah is by nature opposed to God. Honoring her is by default turning away from God. However, Mary is not opposed to God, in fact she turned to God.
The woman in Rev 11 has a crown. Crowns are associated with Royalty. Since this person is a woman, she is either a Queen or a Princess.
Believe as you will. It is your life.
And Rome did not put together the New Testament!
Who did then? If you say God, where was it written to include those books and not others? And how was this Testament preserved in its current state for a millennium before the rise of Protestantism, who made no changes to the New Testament and few to the Old one.
Your error is believing the Roman church dates back to Peter. Apostolic succession is a grand lie. The New Testament developed just as the Old Testament did—over time and by consensus of the saints.
Excuse me, but god supposedly designed things so that there can never be any virgin mothers.
Luke 1:34 and Matthew 1:20. By denying the possibility of a Virgin Birth, you are denying God’s absolute power over all creation.
When did the RC Church start? Who founded it?
Who were these saints; how do we know they had authority to compile the New Testament?
Jesus told Peter that he would found a Church with Peter as the rock and that Peter would have the keys to the kingdom of Heaven. Apostolic Succession rests on these keys being handed down from one person to the next. There is nothing in the NT that says they cannot be, nor is there anything that says they can be. So what happens to these keys?
Using Hosea 2, we have that Christians are the New Jews/Israel. The tribe of Judah ruled over all the tribes of Israel. However, due to misbehavior, 10 of the tribes rebelled and formed their own Kingdom. That Kingdom fell to sin. In Isaiah 22, we have the curious case that the key to the House of David can be passed down from generation to generation and that the holder of the key can open a door that none can shut and can shut the same door that none can open.
If you will do a word study on petra versus petros and then reread the text you will see that Rome completely misinterprets the passage. Be a Berean and study for yourself. Eternity is too long to be wrong.
Here is a simple easy-to-read breakdown:
Is The Church Built on Petros or Petra?
Here are a few more helpful links:
Papal Claim of Apostolic Succession
Papal Claim to Have the Keys of the Apostle Peter
What Every Catholic Should Know
The Testimony of a Former Catholic Priest (video)
Concerning what every Catholic should know:
Whose word is truth?
First, that quote from Canon does not say anything about Scripture. All it says is the Pope has infallible teaching authority. If the Pope has infallible teaching authority, this is granted by God, not by men.
The actual quote from Matt 4:4 and 2Tim 3:16 do not contradict the infallibility doctrine. All the quote from Mark means is that true Tradition cannot contradict the Word of God. In reference to the Pope, this means that what he infallibly teaches cannot contradict the Word of God, not that he cannot contradict your interpretation of it.
Catholics do not worship sacred images; veneration is not worship. And Catholics do not bow down before sacred images. There is a difference between bowing down before, and bowing down in front of. The earlier one implies that it is because of the image that we bow; the latter implies that it is because of what the image represents. When a Catholic bows in front of a statue of Jesus, we are bowing because of Jesus, not the statue. Jesus does not have one nature with the statue. When interpreting commands in Torah, be careful, as there is a command in Torah that prohibits eating cheeseburgers; however, because of how it is worded and what it fully prohibits, it comes across as a moral, not ritual, commandment. If you want to claim that the Catechism of the Catholic Church incorporates Ex 20:4-5, fine, but keep in mind it is under the subheading of “Love the Lord thy God”. As we are not worshiping the sacred art, I am uncertain of how the Sacred Art is a failure to Love God.
Sacrifice: Whoever wrote that has clearly failed to read those passages in the context of what surrounds them. Also, we agree there is one sacrifice. The Eucharistic Celebration in Mass is not redoing the sacrifice. The Body and Blood in Mass is the same Body and the same Blood in the original Sacrifice. How do you intend to explain 1 Cor 11:27-32? This gives credence to the Catholic belief that one should be in a state of Grace before partaking in Communion. Paul says that Jesus said, “This chalice is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
In addition Paul concludes 1 Cor 11 with a statement he will give more directions when he comes. What directions did he give? Since he has books in the Bible, what he said there must carry weight.
Concerning 1 Peter 2:9, this is almost a direct quote of Ex 19:6. In this one God tells the Israelites that they will be to him a Kingdom of priests. However, not every single Israelite is/was a priest. The first requirement to be a priest was to be a Levite, and not every Israelite was a Levite. Going back to 1 Cor and examing 12:1-31, we see that Paul states we are all one body, but each of us has a different function within that body.
1 Tim 2:5 only says there is one mediator; it does not deny the possibility of subordinate mediators. When we examine Hebrews 5,6, and 7, Paul repeatedly refers to Jesus as the new High Priest. He does not explicitly mention what happened to the lower priests. While it is clear that Jesus is the High Priest in the Order of Melchizedek, it is unclear if there can be subordinate priests. However, we have a curious statement in Hebrews 7:25, Jesus “lives to make intercession for them.” Where else do we see intercessions made? In 1 Tim 2:1, Paul requests that intercessions be made (amongst other things for a list of people). Someone is supposed to imitate Christ by interceding.
In Acts, we have several baptisms. In Acts 9:18, Paul is baptized. There is no statement as to how or with what. So we will backtrack to Acts 8:26-39. Phillip converts an Ethiopian Eunuch. While talking with the Eunuch, they come upon some water and the Eunuch asks if he can be baptized. Both Phillip and the Eunuch go down to the water and the Eunuch is baptized with the water. However, I suppose this is not enough, but I cannot find a passage that says the water is unnecessary. When Jesus was baptized, it was with water.
And whoever wrote this has taken Romans 11:6 out of context. The beginning of Romans 11 makes it clear that Paul is talking about the Jews. He then proceeds to say that there is a remnant chosen by Grace and the choice is no longer done because of Works. This is clearly referring to the Jewish sacrifices in the Temple. It is likely that anywhere else it denies the necessity of Works, it is a denial of Works of the Law.
If you want an example of where Paul speaks highly of Baptism as a work the attains justification, examine Romans 6:3. Here he says that we are baptized into Jesus. From this, we are baptized into his death and resurrection.
Petros v. Petra
The initial problem with this analysis is that it looks at Greek, not Hebrew or Aramaic. While the Bible was written in Greek, Jesus spoke Aramaic.
It does raise an interesting point that Peter denied Jesus and so the Gates of Hell prevailed against Peter (sort of, kind of, not really). Peter sinned by denying Jesus, but then became one of the people proclaiming Jesus.
However, Jesus says that he WILL build his Church on a rock, not that he IS building his Church on a rock. This indicates that at some future point the Church will be built, not that it is being built at the present time. Examining this passage, Ephesians 2:20, Paul says that the household of God is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Jesus is the cornerstone. If you look up a cornerstone, it is the first stone laid and all other stones are set in reference to it.
There is a simple explanation why Matthew used the masculine form when referring to Peter; Peter is a man not a woman, ergo, the masculine is used. However, there is another realization here. First the masculine is used and then the feminine. The masculine means movable rock; the feminine means immovable rock. This refers to Peter’s faith not being solid at the present time (movable) and that it will be solid (immovable) in the future.
Every single translation I can find of Acts 4:10-11 follows it by saying Jesus is the cornerstone. See earlier comment about cornerstones.
If you examine 1 Cor 4:15, while it is through the Gospel that they are begotten, Paul does beget them (through the Gospel). They (through the Gospel) are the children of Paul.
We have in Luke 9:46, that the disciples quarrel. Later in Luke 11, Jesus gives the Lord’s prayer. In Luke 13:18, Jesus repeats the parable of the Mustard seed. In Matthew, the Lord’s Prayer is given in 6:9. The parable of the Mustard Seed is in 13:31. Peter is appointed Chief Apostle in 15:18. The quarrel happens BEFORE the appointment.
As for there being no title of Pope in the Bible. Okay. A simple explanation is that while the office existed in some form or another, it had not yet attained the title Pope. Also the true title is Bishop of Rome. During Acts 2, Peter was not yet a Bishop, let alone Bishop of Rome, ergo, he could not hold the title Pope. That does not mean he was not the leader of the Apostles. Which is seen in Acts 2, when Peter is the one to address the crowd. In Acts 4, it is Peter, not John, that is filled with the Holy Spirit. Skipping ahead to Acts 10, the repealing of Kosher Laws is proclaimed to Peter, not one of the other Apostles. If anything this also confirms the notion of Papal Infallibility as an infallible proclamation (no need to keep Kosher) was made to Peter. Fast forward to Acts 15, after a lot of debate, Peter stands up states that it is by his mouth the gentiles should hear the Word of the Lord.
At the end of the Gospel according to John, Jesus specifically calls out Peter and gives him commands. The Church maintains that the Pope is to be the most humble of all priests. This is not to say they always act like that. In Matthew and Mark, when Jesus goes to pray in Gethsemane, he takes Peter, James and John deeper into the Garden. When he comes back, they are sleeping. He specifically calls out Peter rather than the other two; he is holding Peter to higher account.
Bottom line: you trust Rome and the Pope. You elevate them over God and His word.
I’m done here, but I will pray of you.
In all of this, you have furnished Bible verses that are clearly taken out of context or ignore other passages that have related meanings. On a couple, certain words in the verse are clearly ignored.
You appear to have a wonderful ability to spew out Bible verses without any ability to string them together.
But I thank you for the challenge without which I would not have found Papal Infallibility in the Bible.
Whatever. After my first comment or two I stopped taking you seriously because I don’t think you are interested in the truth. So you go ahead and believe your pope is infallible. Meanwhile, based on the Bible, I believe your pope is Antichrist. And go ahead and chant your Hail Marys and rub your rosary beads, but I believe that lucky rabbits foot is a pagan practice. Spiritual truths are spiritually discerned.
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
I dare you to listen to even the first two sermons from the sermon series linked below on Antichrist.
I also dare you to read the information in these links. They won’t take long to read.
From Tradition To Truth: A Priests Story
What Every Catholic Should Know
One is quite capable if praying the Rosary without the beads. It is not the presence of beads that makes the Rosary. It is the intent, the time, and the reflection on oneself and the mysteries that make the Rosary. The point of the beads is to keep track of where one is in prayer. There are 5 sets of 10 Hail Marys; one needs a way to keep track of where one is. If you want a biblical basis for using certain objects in Worship and Prayer, Ex 13:9,16 and Deut 6:8, 11:18.
I am not watching videos or listening to audio tapes. If the message is worthwhile, it should be transcribed. The Church does this. Also, if you want to be more effective, I suggest you publish those .doc files as PDFs or Web pages. Handling an increasing number of .doc files is irritating.
Concerning “Thy Word is Truth”
The only one that actually appears to be a contradiction is the one concerning holiness. Holiness comes from God. If we say someone is holy, that is God’s holiness radiated through them. Where do we see this? Rev 12, where Mary is clothed with the Sun. Oh, wait a second, it does not say the Mary is the Sun, only that she is clothed with it.
Believe as YOU WLL.
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