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Monday, October 6, 2008

The Church is like the early church

One of our commenters today suggested that if we looked at the bible and studied history a bit more we would come to discover that the Catholic Church is NOTHING like the early church.

One of my favorite saints is Justin Martyr.


Here is a description of the mass written by Justin Martyr around 155:


On the day we call the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place.



The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits.



When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things.



Then we all rise together and offer prayers* for ourselves . . .and for all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation.



When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss.



Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren.



He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks (in Greek: eucharistian) that we have been judged worthy of these gifts.



When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying: 'Amen.'



When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give to those present the "eucharisted" bread, wine and water and take them to those who are absent.169


Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1346 The liturgy of the Eucharist unfolds according to a fundamental structure which has been preserved throughout the centuries down to our own day. It displays two great parts that form a fundamental unity:


- the gathering, the liturgy of the Word, with readings, homily and general intercessions;
- the liturgy of the Eucharist, with the presentation of the bread and wine, the consecratory thanksgiving, and communion.



The liturgy of the Word and liturgy of the Eucharist together form "one single act of worship";170 the Eucharistic table set for us is the table both of the Word of God and of the Body of the Lord.171



It seems that the Catholic Mass of today has A LOT in common with the worship of the early Christians.

Compare to what Justin wrote and compare it to cyber church.
www.keepingthehome.com: Today's Cyber Church

I think the early Christians would be surprised and I don't think think they would consider this to be the best or most complete way to worship in a community.



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43 comments:

Jennie said...

Elena,
I believe you are referring to one of my comments.
Non-Catholic Christians would not agree that this church service described by Justin Martyr is a Roman Catholic service. It sounds like what is described in the book of Acts and what many non-denom., home churches, and some Baptist churches (not the big mega-churches) I have attended strive for. Baptist churches un fortunately have departed from taking the Lord's Supper every time they meet, and that is one thing I would like to see rectified, as it is a command of the Lord and a joy to Christans to remember His sacrifice in this way.

There is obviously a difference of opinion on what constitutes the Roman Catholic Church, and when it began.
I am not a historian, though I love to read and know more than the average person about history, I have not taken more than the normal classes in college, but I have read on my own as I have time, just to let you know. I can't spout dates and names; I have to go look things up that I remember reading before to refresh my memory and add to my knowledge.

Anyway, from what I have read in the past, I remember that Catholics and non-Catholics don't agree that this early church period is the Roman Catholic church. The Roman practices developed over time, until it resembled what we see today. And the rituals and robes and relics, and praying to saints and Mary, and calling Mary the mother of God, etc. were not fixed at the beginning, but came gradually.

So non-catholics would consider this early church as being their heritage, and that the Catholics departed from this gradually, adding fancy robes, and rituals, and golden monstrances,and mystical ideas, and paying for masses, or penance, or rosaries, etc. None of this is mentioned in the Justin Martyr passage you quoted. Nor does he mention priests, or confessionals, or incense.
Please be assured I am not making light of your beliefs, but I want you to see the difference between this early church and what the Roman Catholic church became and is.
I am very aware of how the Baptists and others have also departed from the early example, and my husband and I, as I mentioned in a comment on an earlier post, are very interested in promoting a return to the Biblical example for the church. So you see, I do not only criticize the Catholic church for it's departure, but all denominations are guilty of this.
I will try to find some sources for the history, but I'm afraid, as I mentioned in another comment, that neither of us will believe the other's sources.
Jennie

Jennie said...

Also, I meant to comment that I don't know that 'Cyber-Church' is a good substitute for 'real' church attendance. I have never attended the cyber services, though I do read Candy's blog for housekeeping ideas and out of curiosity.
I guess cyber services are ok to fellowship, but not to replace the meeting together of believers to worship and have communion.
Jennie

Elena said...

Catholics don't disagree that the church has developed over time. Our understandings have developed over time. But everything in the Justin Martyr writings are at the heart of Catholic worship in the mass today.

Of course, early Christianity came from our roots in Judaism. Jesus was a Jew.

Robes and rituals most certainly were a part of Jewish culture and Jewish worship. The Golden Monstrance holds the blessed sacrament and it is treated with the same sort of respect that biblical was held for the arc of the covenant - again, very scriptural and part of early Christianity. As we are now going through the Jewish days of atonement, I would also say that doing penance is also very much a part of our early Christian heritage.

The rosary is not part of mass. However it is a way of focusing on the life of Christ and is also very scriptural. Focusing and remembering Jesus was a huge part of the early church.

Our bishops and priests have apostolic succession - the laying on of hands through the centuries to the next generation. Apostles indeed were part or the early church.

Confession was instituted by Christ himself. I think you can search this blog for more info on that.

In coming back to my Catholic faith I was more struck by the similarities with the early church than the differences. It certainly was more than singing some hymns and then hearing a sermon.

Jennie said...

Yes of course you are right about the Jewish robes and the Ark of the Covenant being part of our heritage. I hadn't thought about it that way, but non-catholics look to Jesus' example and the Apostles also, and see His simplicity and humility. He didn't wear fancy robes and gold ornaments or use them. He was poor because He gave up the pomp of heaven for us. We should follow that example, and that is why we don't use those things.
The Baptists and others have gotten away from the simplicity of the gospel as well, in their mega church glitz and entertainment mentality, which appalls me.
Like I said before, we all need to return to the Bible and Christ's example and admonition. (see my comments under the other recent posts)
Also, I think you mentioned my comment about there not being penance in the early church. I'm not sure what you meant but I meant the practice of saying rosaries or having to do other things to make up for our sins afte we confess them. Jesus paid the penalty already and if we repent we don't have to pay for our sins, though we may suffer the consequences of our sins of course.
Jennie

Elena said...

So Jennie am i to understand that you also have a problem with judicial robes? how about graduation caps and gowns? choir robes? are you equally upset with the Lutherans? Anglicans? Orthodox and others who were liturgical vestments for their religious ceremonies?

Are we also to be homeless (during Jesus' ministry he did not have one address). Do you maintain a kosher or at least a Mediterranean type of diet? Are you penniless? and how do you tie all of this in with Jesus worshiping at an actual temple? Where exactly does Jesus condemn these things in the temple?

As for the rest of your post, this is the fundamental difference in understanding between Catholics and Protestants. We are hoping to cover much of this during November.

Jennie said...

No, I don't have a problem with any of those things; I was just saying that the earliest Christians
in Acts didn't mention using these things and Jesus didn't while on earth, so, at least in the Baptist churches and non-denominational ones I have attended, we don't use those outward items.
Please don't be contemptuous or sarcastic, as I am trying to refrain from any animosity.

To go on, I have several times mentioned in all my comments that I have criticism for Baptists as well as Catholic practices, not as an authority, but everyone has the responibility to compare themselves with scripture, and to exhort each other with it.
I hope we can speak as friends and learn from each other.

I certainly don't think Jesus condemned the Temple or the Jewish temple practices which He Himself instituted. I am saying that He did not come in His royal or priestly robes, and that is what we as Baptists see and follow.

Jesus being poor and homeless is an example to not focus on this world as our home, and
while He may call on some of us to give up much or all of our things, we aren't all asked to do that, but should hold them loosely and be willing to give them up, which is something I need to work on.

We don't accept apostolic succession as Biblical, but I never said Apostles were not a part of the early church. We don't see any mention of Apostles after the original ones died; at least we never hear anyone else called an apostle in the Bible after Paul became one.

Rosaries are not mentioned in the
Bible, so while I personally don't think there's anything wrong with using an item to help you pray,
the way they are typically used is to repeat prayers over and over, sometimes as a penance (tell me if I'm mistaken) and Jesus condemned using vain repetition, so that's why we don't use them.

About the robes and monstrances again, we believe that Jesus' example on earth supercedes the Jewish practices in the Temple, and His life, death, resurrection, and eventual return fulfills those foreshadowings in the Old Testament. Someday He will return as Judge and King in His royal robes; then believers will also be crowned and robed with Him, but not before then.
Jennie

Kelly said...

I seem to be coming in late again.

Jennie, do you have a particular date or period of time in mind where you feel the early church is separate from the Catholic Church? It is true that some aspects of Catholicism developed later, but many were present in the early church.

For example, relics are found in Acts 19:11-12 when Peter's handkerchief heals the sick. You can also look to 2 Kings 13:21 when Elisha's bones bring a man back to life.

Mary as the Mother of God was a relatively early title of the Church. It was used in the 300's, well before the Middle Ages.

As for robes, clearly they were the clothing of the time, so they would have been worn. We have kept traditional clothing for worship, as do many other churches. Fancy can be relative. Most of the churches that I attend have cheap polyester or cotton robes. The sort that you may imagine, with silk and gold embroidery are few and far between, and almost always either donated or preserved from a previous generation.

Simplicity and humility are always good principles. However, let us remember that when Judas objected to expensive oil being wasted on Jesus, he was rebuked. The gold leaf, fancy robes, and big churches are intended to give glory to God, not to man. They remind us of the heaven, and the worship of God which is eternally present in Heaven.

Here are some other elements of Biblical worship:

* Incense should be burned perpetually, throughout the generations. Ex 30:8
* Candlesticks and candles should be used. Ex 31:8
* Vestments should be worn. Ez 3:10
* God find repetitious prayer pleasing. Rev 4:8
* Includes communion of the body and blood of Christ through the bread and the cup. 1 Cor 10:16.
* Wine is used for this communion. 1 Cor 11:20-21
* Christians who are with God in Heaven also participate with us in this worship (Heb. 12:1, Rev 6:9-10, 8:3-4)

Worship in Heaven also includes:

* an altar (Rev 6:9, 8:3, and others)
* the prayers of the saints being offered at the altar in the form of incense (Rev 8:3-4)
* The Lamb standing as if it had been slain (perpetual sacrifice) (Rev 5:1-7)
* Angels repetitiously praying Holy, Holy, Holy (Rev 4:8)

Elena said...

I am neither being contemptuous or sarcastic. I am however trying to point out some of the obvious flaws in the reasoning that somehow priestly vestments are wrong. They aren't expressly forbidden by Jesus, and in fact other Christians including Protestant Christians use some for of special dressing for their ministers/ priests/ pastors. You might be interested to know that every garment the priest wears has a meaning. You can read more about that here

This might be a good place to insert that Catholics are not bound by sola scriptura and also to point out that the early Christians didn't even have a bible in the way we know it. Certainly not many of them could read it as not everyone was literate.

Apostolic succession - look up Mathias.

Rosary - we've already covered. You can find articles on that and vain repetition in our archives.This is a good place to start.

Jennie said...

Hi Kelly,
No I don't know a particular date though I think some things I've read say around the time of Constantine, which I believe was around the 300's. I think it was gradually happening before that, too. People seem to naturally deviate from the rule over time if they don't continually correct themselves by the Word. That is one purpose of His Word, to give us something to measure ourselves by and to give us His example.

If Mary was called Mother of God in the 300's I would say that that was part of the deviation from the scriptures continuing at that time.

The Baptists (I guess I'd better stick to talking about them since I don't know much about other groups), as I have said before,
have also deviated from the pure gospel, and added many things to their practices and beliefs that are not Biblical, such as teaching 'once saved, always saved' and ignoring the warnings about apostasy; and not practising communion every Sunday.

About relics, I don't know much, but I tend to think that since Paul was an Apostle and had special power, that that was a very rare thing and we should be careful about over doing it on collecting items from saints.
People tend to begin venerating things instead of looking to God.
I don't think that was something all saints had the power to do (and all believers are called saints).

Talking about robes and incense, etc. maybe we as non-catholics should not focus on those outward differences so much, as they are not as important as the heart issues and whether you truly believe and trust in Christ's perfect and complete sacrifice to save you, not adding anything to it.
Angels saying Holy, Holy, Holy to worship God doesn't seem the same to me as repeating a prayer over and over in order to pay for a sin. To me, it is very important to recognize that Jesus paid for our sins once and for all on the cross.

Jennie

Clare said...

Well, the 'Got Questions' link is a "place to start" I guess :)

Jennie, I strongly identify with some of what you are saying. The pomp and 'folderololls' of the church used to bug me no end. I often wondered what Jesus would have made of it.
But then I was challenged by other scriptures, such as the woman who 'wasted' nard on Jesus. But especially Gods instructions regarding the building of the Ark of the covenant. It was certainly richly adorned with no expense spared. The finest materials were used, and this was at Gods behest, not the whims of the Jews.
Scripture calls us to live simply in a way that honours God.All that we have we should hold very lightly as it belongs to God not us. However, when we lavish care, time and money on the things you describe, we are not spending money out of our own vanity, on ourselves, but in recognition of the King of Kings.
I appreciate your sincere concern. It's good to think about these things.

Clare said...

Um. Some else will explain this much better and I have to dash and get supper started (London time here!)
But when I pray I am not "paying for sins"
However, one of the MANY aspects of prayer is 'producing fruit in keeping with repentance'. Penance and repentance actually have the same root and are, I believe interchangeable.

As I said, I'm hoping someone will improve on my poor effort here!

Barbara C. said...

This was a comment I've been working on all morning (in between a game of Five Little Monkeys) so bare with me for my late chime in.

Jennie,

I don't know if you have ever been to a Catholic Mass, but what Justin Martyr describes is still the basic form of the Mass used today.

This long post goes step by step through the Catholic Mass with biblical references. And to be honest it does not even scratch the surface of how the Mass holds up historically with Biblical and non-Biblical records of Judaism and Christianity in the first few centuries.

http://catholicspitfiregrill.com/2008/09/28/what-you-really-need-is-an-intimate-relationship-with-jesus/

I also understand that many non-Catholic Christians hold the view that the early church is not the same church as the Roman Catholic Church. If I understand your understanding correctly, you think that the Roman Catholic Church "broke off" from the original Christian Church. If you look at the secular historical record, though, this does not pan out. (Of course, this is often explained away in extreme fundamental denominations as a vast Catholic conspiracy where the Catholics are like the government in 1984, constantly changing written history to support their current position.)

Kelly and I went to the same secular university (we were roommates) in the Bible belt. I often say that I learned more about the Catholic Church in two semesters of "History of Christianity" (taught by a non-Catholic) then I did in 12 years of Catholic school. It wasn't until those classes that I realized that the Catholic church wasn't "just another denomination" but the original denomination.

It would not be unnatural or wrong for the externals of the Christian Church to gradually develop as the world around it changed, as Christianity basically went from an underground, illegal Jewish sect to the dominant religion in the Roman Empire. Look at the example of Judaism itself, as they adapted their worship from not having a Temple to having a Temple that was destroyed two times and the development of the synagogal system. Does that mean that Jesus wasn't really a Jew as perhaps the externals weren't the same as in the time of Israel (Jacob) even if the teachings on faith and morals were the same?

And what even many Catholics often misunderstand is that Church councils never "change" or "invent" doctrines on faith or morals they just clarify things that have always been the position of the Church. There was just no need to spell it out until someone or something tried to offer an incorrect spelling. The Church also applies Jesus' teachings to concepts that could not have even been fathomed by first century humans (like in vitro fertilization ). Anything that is "changed" is just the externals, just like getting a haircut doesn't change the person inside.

Oh, and I looked briefly at that website you recommended. I noticed that everything in the anti-Catholic section came from the same book which was written around the end of the 19th century. I would be very curious to read that book and check its references and how it stacks up with historical archaeological discoveries in the past 100 years (and before). (I did the same thing with a book by Ann Coulter a few years ago and was surprised that admist many of her hyperbolic misrepresentations she did get some facts correct.)

Jennie, I really applaud you for being willing to have a good conversation. It's very hard for very many people to do on such a sensitive subject. And I appreciate your openness to listening to the other side of the story.

Kelly said...

Jennie, so you don't believe in "once saved, always saved"? I do associate that with Baptists, so I'll try to remember that you disagree.

I think that Catholics do have the temptation to focus on outwards things, but by the same token, some non-Catholic Christians have the tendency to simplify to the extent that there is never any giving glory and honor to God in their worship. We all have areas which need improvement.

Catholics recognize that Jesus did everything for us. The forgiveness of our sins through sacramental confession is not dependent on the penance. Doing penance is a tangible way for us to show that we have true contrition for our sins, and our willingness to try and make amends for the damage our sins have done, as well as our resolution to avoid sinning again.

I usually explain it by pointing out the way most people parent. If a child breaks a window and asks forgiveness, then they are forgiven. However, they might still be given a "penance" such as saving up their allowance to help with repairs, or making a gesture towards the person whose window they broke. Their forgiveness isn't dependent on what they do to make amends.

Using the 300's as our guideline, here are some Catholic practices for which we have historical references prior to that time:

*The primacy or papacy of Peter
*The bishop of Rome as successor of Peter having a special role in the leadership of the church
*That Jesus is physically present in communion, specially using the word "Eucharist"
*Calling the church "Catholic"
*That bishops and deacons have authority given to them by God, and references to apostolic succession
*That Mary was ever virgin
*Infant baptism
*Original sin
*Commemorating the dead of saints
*Prayers for the dead

The Catholic Church considers anyone who is in heaven to be a saint. Usually when we speaks of saints, however, we are referring to canonized saints, which are people who are specifically recognized for their piety, and which serve as examples to us in their life.

I'm out of time now, sorry!

Jennie said...

Elena,
In mentioning robes earlier, I don't mean that it is wrong to use them and have no basis to say that, but only that church leaders wearing special robes is not mentioned in Acts. I know everyone wore robes back then and that the Jewish priests wore special robes. I talk about the leaders wearing different clothing to separate themselves from the regular people.
I guess one thing to bring out is that Baptists and some others believe that all believers are priests and saints, and our leaders are not called priests, but pastors, so they don't dress any differently that we do.
I certainly appreciate the special meaning that the Jewish priests robes and ornaments represent, as they foreshadow Christ Himself as our High Priest.

Yes, I know Catholics don't believe in Sola Scriptura, and I think that is one of the ways you have deviated from the Truth, accepting teachings of men that contradict scripture. (The Baptists have also done this)

Early Christians obviously did not have a whole Bible, but they had the Old Testament teachings, and they had the teachings of the Apostles and others that were copied and passed around. Eventually, as you know all these were put together as a whole.

Matthias was only chosen by lots to replace Judas and was never mentioned again, as Paul became the new 12th Apostle. I don't see that as being Apostolic succession as it never is mentioned as being done again by any Apostle.

Jennie

Elena said...

As Sola Scriptura is a man made doctrine that is only around 500 years old, I am at a loss to understand how Catholics (and the Orthodox) are the ones who deviated here.

Yes, the bible eventually came to be put together as a whole- by the Catholic Church! That is also an historical fact.

Examples of apostolic succession here.

See also here.

Barbara C. said...

But Jennie,

Even the earliest written parts of the Bible weren't written until about 15 years after Jesus' death and resurrection. So, how did the early Christians discern what was right and true? True they had the OT but that did not tell them how what Jesus taught was more or different. They had to rely on the Apostles and those who were sent by the apostles to teach in their stead. (This is part of the concept of Apostolic Succession, that the apostles sent people in their place.)

Furthermore, you even see in the writings of the New Testament that the early Apostles themselves were trying to figure it all out--for instance whether non-Jewish converts needed to be circumcised. This is something that is not recorded that Jesus addressed while he was alive. So, one could say that the decision not to require circumcision is "man made" because according to the recent article on Berean Beacon no one can be considered infallible except God. Obviously the Apostles, while exceptional, were just mere mortals.

And by following sola scriptura even before the Bible was collected and canonized, does that mean that other writings before the solidification of the canon should be considered the true and inerrant word of God also since some of them were commonly used in the early Christian church?

Just looking at Wikipedia, the NT canon as it is today is seen as early as 367 A.D. (still 330 years after Jesus' death and resurrection). If one believes that the Catholic Church was formed with the Edict of Milan in 313 (as some non-Catholic Christians mark as the point where the "deviation" from the early Christian Church became confirmed), then why do sola scriptura Christians accept a NT canon that was defined by the Catholic Church. Wouldn't the Bible in its current form be as suspect as any other "man-made" notion of the Church?

Logically, if one wanted to only look towards scripture for the definition of Christ's teachings and the beliefs and practices of the early church (and believe that Catholic church to be in error as of 300) then one should look at ALL of the writings of early Christians that were passed around not just the ones that an errant church compiled together and said was official. This would include books that Catholics consider NT Apocrypha (a variety of gospels, epistles, and revelations).

The logic of sola scriptura just doesn't hold up. Not to mention the fact that no where does the Bible itself say that it is the ultimate authority on Christian faith and practice. In fact, it says to look to oral tradition as well. And the teachings of the Catholic Church come from both oral and written words that have been handed down, just as the practices and beliefs of Judaism in Jesus' time did the same.

Looking at one of many Berean Beacon articles against Scott Hahn, it mocks his argument against sola scriptura because he did not quote scripture in the particular article they were referencing. Scott Hahn has quoted supportive scripture elsewhere (don't have references at my fingertips, though). The article itself quotes a verse from Proverbs saying that the word of God is pure to prove sola scriptura, but the verse does not say that ONLY the "written" word of God is pure. This hardly proves sola scriptura.

Of course, in the end, people on both sides just wish the ones on the opposite would just "open their eyes and see the Truth", so we just be at an impasse. ;-)

Kelly said...

Jennie, I think you have discovered that we just love to discuss theology here, so please try not to feel that we are overwhelming you.

I often tell people tongue-in-cheek that our goal is to get someone to move from "The Catholic Church just makes stuff up" to "The Catholic Church has some strange Biblical interpretations."

I don't know if you have noticed, but your points have moved from "that isn't in the Bible" to "That was only mentioned once" or "I disagree that the verse means that." We're happy to agree to disagree on interpretation, but I'm glad that you're seeing that we do believe our doctrines are based on Scripture.

Regarding having priests versus pastors, the word priest comes from the Greek word "presbyter" which is the same as "elder." Both elders and overseers (where bishop is derived) are mentioned in the Biblical church.

Pastor comes from "shepherd" and has certainly is based on the Biblical image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, but isn't really mentioned as a specific church title in the Bible.

You have said now that the Peter handkerchief thing was special, and only because he was an apostle. Matthias was only mentioned once, etc. I would guess that you would also say that John 20:22-23 gives only the apostles the power to forgive sins. But why would Jesus have established this church that is radically different in the first generation and then is no more? Rather than the Catholic Church departing from Scripture, I feel that your interpretation is departing from what we find in the 1st generation church.

Paul is preaching to the gentiles, and he trudges up to Jerusalem in Galations 2 to make sure he is doing the right thing. Why not just check with scripture?

Then they have the Acts 15 council, where they all debate about what they should do (no mention of checking scripture again) decide what they think is the best course of action. Then, James says, "Yes, let's do that. And besides, it says in Amos . . ."

Then they distribute the letter to the other churches. This makes it appear they have authority. Paul appeals to them, they're distributing judgements, this is a hierarchy here.

More importantly, why are Luke and Mark's writings in the Bible? They were not commissioned by Jesus, either before his death, or after, in the way that Paul was. By your logic, they shouldn't have authority, because authority passed away with the apostles.

We feel that Tradition has a basis in Scripture. Remember, the Jews do not see it this way at all. They say that God gave an oral Law, and a written Law. Over time, the Oral Law was written down. The same as Catholics, they see the Oral law as what is to be used to interpret the written Law.

Why did Jesus put so much emphasis on preaching the Word? Why did it take so long for the Word to be written?

2 Tim. 1:13 - oral communications are protected by the Spirit. They abide forever. Oral authority does not die with the apostles.

2 Peter 1:12, 15 - Peter says that he will leave a "means to recall these things in mind." But since this was his last canonical epistle, this "means to recall" must therefore be the apostolic tradition and teaching authority of his office that he left behind.

Phil. 4:9 - Paul says that what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do. This refers to learning from his preaching and example, which is apostolic tradition.

1 Thess.1:5 – our gospel came to you not only in word, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul is referring to the oral tradition which the Thessalonians had previously received. There is never any instruction to abandon these previous teachings; to the contrary, they are to be followed as the word of God.

1 Thess. 4:2 – Paul again refers the Thessalonians to the instructions they already had received, which is the oral apostolic tradition.

2 Thess. 2:5 – Paul yet again refers the Thessalonians to the previous teachings they received from Paul when he taught them orally. These oral teachings are no less significant than the written teachings.

2 Thess. 2:15 - Paul clearly commands us in this verse to obey oral apostolic tradition. He says stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, either by word of mouth or letter. This verse proves that for apostolic authority, oral and written communications are on par with each other. Protestants must find a verse that voids this commandment to obey oral tradition elsewhere in the Bible, or they are not abiding by the teachings of Scripture.

1 Tim. 6:20 - guard what has been "entrusted" to you. The word "entrusted" is "paratheke" which means a "deposit." Oral tradition is part of what the Church has always called the Deposit of Faith.

2 Tim. 2:2 - Paul says what you have heard from me entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. This is "tradition," or the handing on of apostolic teaching.

2 Tim. 3:14 - continue in what you have learned and believed knowing from whom you learned it (by oral tradition).

unknown anon said...

One small thing:

The consideration of the title Mother of God is NOT about Mary, but about Christ.

Christ is True God AND True Man (a foundational belief of all Christians). He is One Person. To deny His divinity is to deny who He is and what He has done for us. To deny His humanity is the same thing. In order for us to acknowledge this orthodox truth, Mary MUST be the Mother of God. It's not about her, but HIM.

Jennie said...

Help, I'm surrounded! :)

I don't think I can answer everyone, but I'll pick a few items and try.

Clare, I guess it's not so much the gold and robes and beautiful things themselves that I see as wrong, but what they are used for or what they stand for. I can't name everything, but take the monstrance: It holds the blessed bread that you believe is truly the body of Christ. People bow to it and adore it as if it really were God. To me, that is idolotry. Baptists believe that Christ was speaking symbolically when He said 'This is My Body.'
I guess we disagree about which things are literal and which are symbolic.

Also, I believe that statues of Mary and others are idols, and take away the place that belongs only to God, who said to 'make no graven image...' You may say I am inconsistent, because I don't believe art is a 'graven image' but it doesn't serve the same purpose as the statues in the churches and homes of Catholics.

Barbara,
yes, I have been in a Catholic mass many times, first as a child with my mother; her family were Italian Catholics; we left the Catholic church after my father, who was agnostic and never attended church with us, accepted Christ as savior and we began going to an Episcopal and then a Baptist church. My mother and the four of us children all accepted Christ as savior about that time.
I also have attended with other relatives while visiting them.
I also had my first communion as a child, though I don't remember a thing about it now.
I have said in another comment on another post here that I consider my spiritual heritage to be Baptist. Also, on my father's side we descend from one of the Mayflower pilgrims, and their heritage is very important to me as well. So, though I come from Catholics on one side and can understand some of what you are saying, I can't go back to it.

About the Catholic church 'breaking off' at some point in history: I don't think they exactly broke off; I get the impression from what I've read that the hierarchy gradually grew and became more 'Catholic' and then as some people realized that things were not scriptural they departed from the 'church.' The church became too much of a government, and this always leads to corruption. This of course is a very simplified view, but my mind works by trying to simplify and distill ideas down to one thought, and I'm not good with details. I will have to look things up and find the details.

About the website, bereanbeacon.org, that I referenced: That article under church history about the Waldenses and Vaudois was written by one man in the 19th century, but at the end he has many references to his sources. They certainly existed and were certainly persecuted by the Roman church. (I did not say they were 'hidden,' Kelly. If anyone has hidden them maybe it is the Catholic churches historical records. I say this because the Catholic records obviously contradict the Protestant records in many cases, and both can't be right, though both of course can be wrong :))

Well, it's my bed time so I'll try to come back tomorrow and discuss Sola Scriptura and Apostolic succession, etc.
Jennie

Sue Bee said...

You've been arguing about adiaphora. From reference.com: Adiaphora in Christianity refers to matters not regarded as essential to faith, but nevertheless as permissible for Christians or allowed in church. What is specifically considered adiaphora depends on the specific theology in view.

Robes, candles, altars, goblets, etc etc are clearly adiaphora. Even actions such as kneeling or making the sign of the cross are adiaphora. However, Word and sacrament are not adiaphora - they are essential to faith.

Regarding Sola Scriptura, the idea dates back to the early church fathers:

"Regarding the things I say, I should supply even the proofs, so I will not seem to rely on my own opinions, but rather, prove them with Scripture, so that the matter will remain certain and steadfast.” St. John Chrysostom (Homily 8 On Repentance and the Church, p. 118, vol. 96 TFOTC)

"Let the inspired Scriptures then be our umpire, and the vote of truth will be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words." St. Gregory of Nyssa (On the Holy Trinity, NPNF, p. 327).

"We are not entitled to such license, I mean that of affirming what we please; we make the Holy Scriptures the rule and the measure of every tenet; we necessarily fix our eyes upon that, and approve that alone which may be made to harmonize with the intention of those writings." St. Gregory of Nyssa (On the Soul and the Resurrection NPNF II, V:439)

“What is the mark of a faithful soul? To be in these dispositions of full acceptance on the authority of the words of Scripture, not venturing to reject anything nor making additions. For, if ‘all that is not of faith is sin’ as the Apostle says, and ‘faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,’ everything outside Holy Scripture, not being of faith, is sin.” Basil the Great (The Morals, p. 204, vol 9 TFOTC).

“For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell you these things, give not absolute credence, unless you receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.” St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures, IV:17, in NPNF, Volume VII, p. 23.)

"It is impossible either to say or fully to understand anything about God beyond what has been divinely proclaimed to us, whether told or revealed, by the sacred declarations of the Old and New Testaments." St. John of Damascus, On the Orthodox Faith, Book I, Chapter 2

"Nevertheless, sacred doctrine makes use of these authorities as extrinsic and probable arguments; but properly uses the authority of the canonical Scriptures as an incontrovertible proof, and the authority of the doctors of the Church as one that may properly be used, yet merely as probable. For our faith rests upon the revelation made to the apostles and prophets who wrote the canonical books, and not on the revelations (if any such there are) made to other doctors. Hence Augustine says (Epis. ad Hieron. xix, 1): "Only those books of Scripture which are called canonical have I learned to hold in such honor as to believe their authors have not erred in any way in writing them. But other authors I so read as not to deem everything in their works to be true, merely on account of their having so thought and written, whatever may have been their holiness and learning."--St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologia, Part 1, Question 1, Article 8

Elena said...

Sue, the early church father's did not subscribe to sola scriptura in the way that modern Protestants do.


Augustine

"There are many other things which rightly keep me in the bosom of the Catholic Church. The consent of the people and nations keeps me, her authority keeps me, inaugurated by miracles, nourished in hope, enlarged by love, and established by age. The succession of priests keep me, from the very seat of the apostle Peter (to whom the Lord after his resurrection gave charge to feed his sheep) down to the present episcopate [of Pope Siricius]" (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 5 [A.D. 397]).

"[On this matter of the Pelagians] two councils have already been sent to the Apostolic See [the bishop of Rome], and from there rescripts too have come. The matter is at an end; would that the error too might be at an end!" (Sermons 131:10 [A.D. 411]).

Aquinas
The formal object of faith is Primary Truth as manifested in Holy Scripture and in the teaching of the Church which proceeds from the Primary Truth. Hence, he who does not embrace the teaching of the Church as a divine and infallible law does not possess the habit of faith.

Dionysius of Corinth

"For from the beginning it has been your custom to do good to all the brethren in various ways and to send contributions to all the churches in every city. . . . This custom your blessed Bishop Soter has not only preserved, but is augmenting, by furnishing an abundance of supplies to the saints and by urging with consoling words, as a loving father his children, the brethren who are journeying" (Letter to Pope Soter in Eusebius, Church History 4:23:9 [A.D. 170]).

"Today we have observed the Lord’s holy day, in which we have read your letter [Pope Soter]. Whenever we do read it [in church], we shall be able to profit thereby, as also we do when we read the earlier letter written to us by Clement" (ibid., 4:23:11).


Irenaeus


"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]).

Cyprian of Carthage


"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]). ... On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).


Peter Chrysologus


"We exhort you in every respect, honorable brother, to heed obediently what has been written by the most blessed pope of the city of Rome, for blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, provides the truth of faith to those who seek it. For we, by reason of our pursuit of peace and faith, cannot try cases on the faith without the consent of the bishop of Rome" (Letters 25:2 [A.D. 449]).


Jerome


"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).

"The church here is split into three parts, each eager to seize me for its own. . . . Meanwhile I keep crying, ‘He that is joined to the chair of Peter is accepted by me!’ . . . Therefore, I implore your blessedness [Pope Damasus I] . . . tell me by letter with whom it is that I should communicate in Syria" (ibid., 16:2).

Elena said...

It holds the blessed bread that you believe is truly the body of Christ. People bow to it and adore it as if it really were God. To me, that is idolotry. Baptists believe that Christ was speaking symbolically when He said 'This is My Body.'

We go over WHY this is NOT symbolic in this article on here.

About the Catholic church 'breaking off' at some point in history: I don't think they exactly broke off;

Break off from what? Christianity at that point was Catholic or Orthodox. The protestant reformation started in 1517. So clearly the "break off" of Protestant Christianity was then.


Jennie, we don't expect you to answer every point. We don't expect you to "defend" the Baptist faith. We aren't attacking it! Our primary purpose here is to defend Catholicism.

It's a lot to digest. Take your time and read. Feel free to ask questions.

Kelly said...

Also, I believe that statues of Mary and others are idols, and take away the place that belongs only to God, who said to 'make no graven image...' You may say I am inconsistent, because I don't believe art is a 'graven image' but it doesn't serve the same purpose as the statues in the churches and homes of Catholics.

This reminds me of the time I was at the home of a Baptist acquaintance near Christmas. I noticed a nativity scene, and I asked why she could have graven images, but we were guilty of idolatry by having them in our church. She replied "But I'm not worshiping these statues!"

I think the misunderstanding comes in what you feel is the purpose of the statues. Catholics do not believe that Mary or a saint is indwelling in the statue. You could take a hammer and smash it, and it would be disrespectful (like ripping up your wedding picture would send a message to your husband), but it is still just a statue.

We are not worshiping it, but using it as an aid to prayer. In the same way that illustrations in Bibles help us to form an image for focus as we pray, the statues help us to call to mind those who came before us.

We might kneel in prayer before the statue, but we are praying to God before the statue, not praying to the statue. I sometimes see people kneeling in prayer before gravestones in cemeteries, but they are not praying to the dead or the stone.

We do not pray to Mary and the saints in the same way that we pray to God. We are asking them to pray for us, the same way that we ask our family and friends here on earth to pray for us.

We believe that God is the God of the living and not the dead, because the dead are alive to Him (Matt. 22:32; Mark 12:27; Luke 20:38) and that they are aware of us on earth, surrounding us as a great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1). The saints present their prayers to God before His throne in heaven (Rev. 5:8).

Jennie said...

Hi,

I haven't been able to get back to comment; been busy with home things.

I've been reading about the Vaudois or Waldensians some more.
I admire them immensely and they can't be explained away. You need to read both sides or you are going to get a scewed picture of reality. One or both sides may contain error or deception, but if you read both you will get a good idea of the truth. Just do a google search if you are interested. It's not good to forget such admirable people or be in ignorance of them.


About Sola Scriptura, I had two points to make.

First point: That the PHRASE sola scriptura is not claimed to be in the Bible. The cry of Sola Scriptura made by the Reformers was IN RESPONSE to the errors they saw in the Roman Catholic teachings that added to scripture. They were saying that the RCC was placing erroneous man-made doctrines on a par with scripture. These doctrines were not taught in the Bible and were contrary to it, not in harmony with it. Just look up Luthers 95 theses to know what these things were.

Point 2:

That even if we concede that so called oral traditions can be accepted, Scripture has to be the final authority; everything must be compared back to written Scripture, so Sola Scriptura is the only logical conclusion. (And we have to assume that the
Old and New testaments are Scripture, whether you accept anything else is irrelevant)

For example, to show that this is true, if we read the writings of the men in the next generation after the Apostles and say their teachings come from oral teachings of the Apostles, yet these teachings contradict the written scriptures, are we to accept these?
If these teachings do not contradict the scriptures and also are in agreement with them, then they can be accepted, and may also just be repeats of what the N.T. says, so are not essential for everyone to read.

So, while there may be things that were passed down orally (and written down by other men eventually, or we would not know about them) they are either not essential or they are, if contradictory, false teaching.
If you read the gospels and the epistles, you find many warnings against false teachings creeping into the church, so it is a constant danger that must always be guarded against.
Even some of the early teachers in the first generations of the church began to insert some ideas that are questionable, while most of what they taught seems to agree with the N. T. writers. So those errors needed to be caught and rectified quickly. See this example I found of the importance of the Primacy of Scripture involving St. Basil: http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2007/08/checking-basil-quote.html

Our resposibility is to read the Bible as being the aword of God, and then compare EVERYTHING to it, including the teachings of the church, and determine if they agree or contradict.
You cannot logically say that 'oral tradition' is on a par with scripture if it contradicts it or adds things that appear nowhere in scripture and are not in harmony with it.
For examples of contradictions, look at bereanbeacon.org and click on the button at the bottom of the page 'what every Catholic should know.' There are charts there that compare the teachings. Click on the subjects on the sidebar to see the different charts.

Finally: 'I will worship toward Your holy temple,And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.'
Psalm 138:1-3


Jennie

Elena said...

Some things come to mind as I read your comment Jennie. You support Sola Scriptura and you concede that it is a man made tradition. In fact it is a man made tradition that cannot be supported by scripture!

Then, as many have done before you, you say that scripture alone should be our sole guide without any "writings of man." Yet Protestants have been doing that for generations and they continue to schism and splinter off from each other. No one is quite sure exactly how many protestant denominations there are! If it's that easy to read and interpret then I should expect more unity in the sola scriptura branch of Christianity instead of so much separation.

Catholics believe that the "pillar of truth" is the church (which is exactly what it says in the bible! The Pope and the Magesterium safeguard the oral tradition and the teachings from scripture to each generation. You can see our links on the Papacy here.

Jennie said...

Sola Scriptura is only a phrase. I don't have to support it or refute it. It's only a historical word used by the reformers to give a name to their cause against false traditions. And in my comment I showed logically that scripture must be the final authority.
I could show you verses on the primacy of scriptures.

The verses in the epistles that Kelly mentioned as teaching the validity of oral tradition, I don't see as supporting the Roman Catholic idea of it. At that time they had little or nothing written down yet, so they had to encourage everyone to remember what they had taught them orally. The people then were blessed to hear directly from the mouths of the Apostles. We have to go by what they wrote down, since we obviously cannot go back in time and hear them.

Still all claims must be compared to the written scripures, no matter how old the writings are, or who wrote them.

You must concede that scripture has to be the final authority, because anything that contradicts it is false.

Jennie said...

Elena,
Also you can't lump all 'protestants' together and then say look how disunified they are. I don't consider myself a protestant, and I don't group myself with them against Catholics.
I consider the Catholic church as just another of many denominations at best.
There is error in all the denominations and we all need to go back to the pure teaching of scripture, if indeed we are in Christ.

The church is called the pillar and ground of the truth, just believers are called the light of the world. We aren't the truth, but we hold it up to the world.
We are the church only as long as we uphold the truth of God's word. If we depart from the truth, we cease to be the Church.
Revelation 2 and 3.

Elena said...

Sola Scriptura is only a phrase. I don't have to support it or refute it.

I've read other Protestant writings that have referred to it as a Doctrine! Apparently there is not even complete agreement on that!

And in my comment I showed logically that scripture must be the final authority.
I could show you verses on the primacy of scriptures.


And I can pull up verses to refute that. Let's not. Logically scripture can't be the final authority because people can't agree on what the words from scripture always mean. There are thousands of interpretations. Protestants disagree on many of them.



The verses in the epistles that Kelly mentioned as teaching the validity of oral tradition, I don't see as supporting the Roman Catholic idea of it. At that time they had little or nothing written down yet, so they had to encourage everyone to remember what they had taught them orally.


BINGO! So don't you think that if it was Jesus Christ's intention that his written word be supreme that he would have said more"write this down," and he would have left us with the actual completed bible? He didn't. IN fact he left it to the church to gather and approve the books that were eventually compiled into what became the bible.


The people then were blessed to hear directly from the mouths of the Apostles. We have to go by what they wrote down, since we obviously cannot go back in time and hear them.

Did you ever watch the movie Roots? At the very end of the movie, Alex Haley comes upon his African village and listens to the village elder repeat his family's history through the generations including mention of Kuta Kinte - the African that was kidnapped and taken to America. Oral tradition. Catholics understand that oral tradition is also as sacred as the written and it is her duty to safeguard both.

Still all claims must be compared to the written scripures, no matter how old the writings are, or who wrote them.

We compare them to both.

You must concede that scripture has to be the final authority, because anything that contradicts it is false.

I don't have to concede that at all. Just looking at the Protestant branch of the Christian tree shows me why!

Elena said...

Also you can't lump all 'protestants' together and then say look how disunified they are. I don't consider myself a protestant, and I don't group myself with them against Catholics.

I don't know that all Baptists are against Catholics. I have met some that are not. I don't know that they all consider themselves not Protestant. The one thing that is a common thread throughout Protestantism is unique individuality!


I consider the Catholic church as just another of many denominations at best. There is error in all the denominations and we all need to go back to the pure teaching of scripture, if indeed we are in Christ.

Well, good luck with that. As long as everyone is doing their own interpretations, consensus and unification are going to be hard to come by.

The church is called the pillar and ground of the truth, just believers are called the light of the world. We aren't the truth, but we hold it up to the world.

OK. But if you want to hold it up then you have to hold up the pillar of truth, which is the chruch, not the individual 1001 interpretations of the scripture.


We are the church only as long as we uphold the truth of God's word.

And who exactly has the authority to do that Jennie? IF Christian A believes one thing and Christian B the total opposite and they both think they are upholding the truth of God's written word in the bible? This is why Jesus established HIS church with a human leader and has passed that church down via apostolic succession. To uphold the truth, of Jesus Christ, you have to uphold His church.

If we depart from the truth, we cease to be the Church.
Revelation 2 and 3.


On that we agree.

Jennie said...

Elena,
When I said this-
"Also you can't lump all 'protestants' together and then say look how disunified they are. I don't consider myself a protestant, and I don't group myself with them against Catholics.
I consider the Catholic church as just another of many denominations at best.
There is error in all the denominations and we all need to go back to the pure teaching of scripture, if indeed we are in Christ."
-I wasn't saying that 'Protestants are against Catholics,' I was saying I don't think of Catholics as one group and all protestants as another big group. I think of them as different denominations, and all are in error in some ways, some more that others. You are lumping all non-Catholic christians together, and then positioning the Catholic church opposite them as the only truth. I do see the Catholic church as having added so much to the gospel that it barely resembles it, but all the denominations have added things and need to go back to the Bible.

It is possible for a church to go so far away from truth that they cease to be the church.

You said this-
"BINGO! So don't you think that if it was Jesus Christ's intention that his written word be supreme that he would have said more"write this down," and he would have left us with the actual completed bible? He didn't. IN fact he left it to the church to gather and approve the books that were eventually compiled into what became the bible."
-I counter that He didn't have to say 'write this down.' The Holy Spirit inspired the men of the Bible to write what He wanted them to write, and His people knew which writings were His. At the right time in history, when it was needed that the books be combined, it was done, by His providence. So that when we no longer had the Apostles or their direct spiritual descendants, we now had the Bible, just in time.

You question how people can know or interpret the Bible correctly without the 'Church' to do it.
Jesus said He would send His Holy Spirit to teach us.
Also: However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
John 16:12-14
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 14:25-27
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1 Corinthians 2:12-14

So far as we are all human and don't always listen to the Holy Spirit and His word, we will have differences.

Jennie

Elena said...

These are the three main branches of Christianity.


* Eastern Christians
* Catholic Christians
* Protestant Christians

With subdivisions within each group.

You are lumping all non-Catholic christians together, and then positioning the Catholic church opposite them as the only truth.
Not at all. In fact I always give the Orthodox their due. I also do not say think that only the Catholic church has the truth and the Catholic church does not teach that. I believe that it has the fullness of the faith but the Catholic church teaches that our separated brethren also have parts of the true faith.

I do see the Catholic church as having added so much to the gospel that it barely resembles it,

And I would counter that you do not know enough about Catholicism to make that assessment.


The Holy Spirit inspired the men of the Bible to write what He wanted them to write, and His people knew which writings were His


Well they knew which writings were his because His Catholic church compiled the books and canonized them under their authority. And that stood for centuries until the Protestant Reformation.


So that when we no longer had the Apostles or their direct spiritual descendants, we now had the Bible, just in time.

Nonsense. It took 300 years for the new testament to be compiled and that was well after the death of St. John, St. Polycarp or any of his disciples. What we had during all of that time, to guide the people was THE CHURCH.

You question how people can know or interpret the Bible correctly without the 'Church' to do it.
Jesus said He would send His Holy Spirit to teach us.


And he does. The Holy Spirit has guided and protected the Catholic church for over 2000 years guiding her in correct interpretations. Without that guidance you have the splintering and divisions in Protestantism with many different interpretations

Kelly said...

Jennie, we're really jumping around in topics here, and I'm going to be gone this weekend, but I'll write one last response.

First, did you read the article I wrote on the Valdois/Waldensians? I put the link the post I made for you. You mention needing to look at more than one source for history, but I used several non-Catholic sources in the article. Whenever I write a history post, I use non-Catholics sources as often as possible to try and combat the idea that we're giving a Catholic version of history.

You, like many, are caught on the idea of Tradition as being opposed to Scripture. Tradition does not oppose or contradict Scripture. Scripture are the bricks, and Tradition in the mortar that holds it together. Scripture does not come with a table of contents, it is Tradition which tells us which books were inspired and which were not.

In the early years, there were many heresies where, like today, both sides pointed to Scripture to validate their argument. The reason we believe in the Trinity today is because Tradition tells us that the Trinity is what the apostles meant in certain verses. If you worship on Sunday or celebrate Christmas (which not all do) you are relying on Tradition.

You said that the Catholic Church hardly resembles the church of the Bible, but I have been supplying you with verses for our Catholic beliefs in nearly all of my replies. Tradition helps us to interpret Scripture. It does not contradict it.

I can see that you really like the Berean Beacon website. I have not found their arguments at all compelling because they always misrepresent Catholic doctrine. I gave you the links to several articles I have written on the blog pointing out errors in their publications, have you had time to read them yet?

For example, the BB typically presents the Catholic Catechism as a sort of second Bible for Catholics, as the Book of Mormon is for the LDS church. The Catechism is our statement of faith. That is why I refer you to it to see that the Catholic Church does actually condemn idolatry. It is also full of Scripture references.

I do need to go now, but I look forward to more conversations with you next week.

Jennie said...

Hi again,
Just wanted to add that I was in error when I said earlier that it was around Contantines's time that the Catholic church became separate from what I would consider the true church. As I said, it happened very gradually, though Constantine was the one who changed things greatly by instituting the 'Christian Church' as a state church in a way, which gave the church much political power and influence and began the corruption which always follows power.
The many other practices and beliefs which deviate from the simple truth of the gospel came gradually over time before and after the time of Constantine.

From the beginning, the church had the Apostles and then many bishops or 'overseers' who guided the believers. When the church gained more power and prestige and the bishop of Rome (Rome being a center of power and influence) began to assert power and assume headship over the others is when much of the corruption began.

Jennie

Jennie said...

Hi Kelly,
yes I read the article you linked about the Vaudois, but I don't agree that there is no evidence they existed before Peter Waldo.
I read several articles and found several I still need to read:

http://books.google.com/books?id=vtoRAAAAIAAJ&source=gbs_ViewAPI

http://users.aol.com/libcfl2/walden.htm

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Waldensian_Church_in_the_valleys_of_Piedmont/Chapter_I

http://www.holytrinitynewrochelle.org/yourti16626.html

http://www.wrs.edu/Materials_for_Web_Site/Journals/3-2%20Aug-1996/Collins%20-%20Waldensians.pdf

Jennie

Kelly said...

*shrug* If you want to rely on Baptist sources, then that is your decision. However, I think you hold me to a double standard if you tell me to look beyond "Catholic history" and then rely on sources such as Landmark Baptist Church.

In this episode in history, secular history agrees with the "Catholic version" that there is no evidence the Waldensians existed prior to Peter Waldo. No mainstream historians find the Trail of Tears or other Landmark publications to be accurate sources of history.

If the Vaudois really pre-dated Waldo, then wouldn't they have a name besides "followers of Waldo"? Vaudois sounds different, but it is simply the French version of Waldensian, from "Valdo."

Elena said...

I don't mind discussing with you Jennie but it is rather tiresome to be following you all around the anti-Catholic spectrum. Your original premise was that the early church was not like the Catholic church. With one post I illustrated how they are. Now I counter your assertions with other things and you come up with more stuff. Much of it stuff we have already countered. There is a limit to my time this weekend. If you have anything else to show that the early church was not the same as the Catholic church today it would be good to mention it today. I might throw up a free for all post that anyone can comment on any aspect of Catholicism over the weekend.

What made Constantine so significant is that he basically legalized Christianity which in at that time was only Catholicism. So Christians could practice their faith openly without persecution. It is a very COMMON anti-Catholic claim that that was the split of Catholics from "true Christians" but no one has ever illustrated for me where those "true Christians" were for the next 1000 or so years until the Reformation.

Elena said...

You also should look over our commenting guidelines. He who asserts must prove. It's not up to us to read articles that you haven't even read yet! Make your point, cite your source, and give the link.

Jennie said...

Ladies,
I have indeed read most of those articles I posted and plan to read more, and have also read several more which support the Catholic view, but I assume you already have that info. so I didn't post those.
I am not obligated to believe the Catholic sources just because they say the Vaudois did not exist before Waldo (whose name may not have been Waldo originally) just as you are not obligated to believe my sources.
I don't know after only a little research that NO secular sources support your view, but even if this is so (and I don't think it is) I believe many things that secular sources don't believe, such as a literal interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis that point to a 6 day creation.

I counter that if you all want to rely only on Catholic sources, that is up to you. I don't accept them as infallible any more than you accept mine.

I don't think I have anything else to add about whether or not the Catholic church now is like the early church described in Acts or in Justin Martyr's letter.

Jennie

Kelly said...

I found a quote from the Catechism which clarifies the nature of Tradition versus Scripture:

80 "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal." Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own "always, to the close of the age".


In the late 1800's, several of those books which you link to were written in regards to this idea that there was a group of Christians or Baptists that could trace their history to the early church. Why was this an important idea?

You had the idea that Jesus formed the early church. After the Apostles died, everyone relied on Scripture, and everything was fine until the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church ruined everything. In this timeline, Catholicism is the exception.

However, this did not stand up to the test of history. The book and letters of the New Testament were written in the 100 years after Jesus. Then we have the writings of the Early Church Fathers which have a clear picture of the Catholic practices I mentioned in an above comment. These are the very same men spoken of so highly in the Preface to the KJV by the translators.

But we still had the Bible to rely on during this time, right? After all, all the books were written. Just because they were written does not mean that every church suddenly had a full compilation.

At the time that Irenaeus wrote (120 AD), you could hear all four Gospels and two letters from Paul read in church. Plus the Martyrdom of Polycarp and Letters of Clement, while the letters of Peter and John were not considered canonical, nor was Hebrews or Revelation.

When Tertullian (180 AD) wrote (he was actually one of the first to use the phrase "New Testament"), you could hear the Gospels, Acts, most of the letters of Paul, one letter from Peter, one from John, Revelation and Jude, PLUS letters from Barnabas and Clement, the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter (since John's was so popular?), and the Acts of Paul.

What about that inspiration from the Holy Spirit that everyone automatically recognized? They thought these books were inspired, and read them in church.

Hebrews and James were not even quoted in the Western church until after 350, while the letters of Pope Clement continued to be included in the Bible through the fifth century! Sure, we could probably live without Philemon, but how would ever get by without James or Hebrews?

Would a Christian in one of those churches have everything they need to attain salvation in one of those churches, hearing the Gospel of Mark, the Shepherd of Hermas, and not Hebrews?" That is what Christianity really looked like in that early time. It was nothing like born again Christianity.

That is why this idea of a secret group of Christians who held to the faith but left no evidence behind was invented. Because your choices are either that Jesus founded a church which immediately lost the faith and left everyone without salvation until the 1600's (why not just die for us in the 1600's then?) or that the early church was the Catholic Church, which was founded by Jesus. Both of these ideas were found lacking, so this mythical history was invented and is still circulated among a small group of Christians.

And I just got my call that it's time to leave, so I'll end there.

Kelly said...

I counter that if you all want to rely only on Catholic sources, that is up to you.

Jennie, my whole point is that I am not relying ONLY on Catholic sources, but on secular sources as well. One of the quotes I provided was from a Baptist history professor.

Elena said...

OK Jennie won't accept Catholic sources. She won't accept secular sources. She apparently won't even accept sources from other Protestants unless she pick them... So we're kind of damned if do and damned if we don't... the main gist being that we are just apparently damned anyway!

Elena said...

That is why this idea of a secret group of Christians who held to the faith but left no evidence behind was invented. Because your choices are either that Jesus founded a church which immediately lost the faith and left everyone without salvation until the 1600's (why not just die for us in the 1600's then?) or that the early church was the Catholic Church, which was founded by Jesus

This is one of the main issues that keeps me firmly in the Catholic camp. The idea of this secret group of Christians to me is simply ridiculous, uncompelling and not supported by serious historians. Even before I hd fully embraced Catholicism, this just sounded more like mythology than authentic history.

Diana said...

Jennie,
You mentioned that there are Roman Catholic doctrines that are contrary to scripture. Would you mind telling us your personal "top five" list of RC doctrines that are contrary to scripture (rather than just unmentioned by scripture such as the Immaculate Conception)? If you have the time, would you provide supporting Bible verses as well?
Thank you,
Diana (already looked at the Berean website)