Saturday, August 12, 2006

on Doctrines, Tradition, and the Catholic Church

Responding to my Catholic friend's blog entry "Martin Luther's Devotion to Mother Mary":

I have found this post…provocative, to say the least. One main distinction between the protestant and Catholic theological formative processes is that protestant, or true, theology (did you catch that good natured jab) is influenced by the thoughts of God fearing men and women who have gone before us, but it is not determined definitively by them. I can disagree, and I should disagree, with someone who holds a view or doctrine that rests more on the philosophy and tradition of men (Colossians 2:8), which change and contort over the years, rather than on scripture which remains constant throughout the ages. I would be first in line to proclaim that the faith that I confess and that I hold dear and the truth of the scriptures has been understood in large part to the work of godly men like Athenasias, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, and others, but all of them had faults with their theology as they expressed it. How arrogant to think that a man (whether pope or reformer) can accurately articulate divine truths without error and then that we should unquestioningly follow them in that, when we see that even the apostles themselves were not infallible in way that they handled themselves (Galatians 2:11-14), but only in the writing of scripture (2 Peter 3:15,16).

So, as interesting, and disturbing, as the Mariology of Martin Luther is, it is still subject to the same scriptural scrutiny that the any other doctrine of any professed believer or biblical institution. Believing the idea that Mary was taken into heaven in a miraculous way, not through death, is not found in scripture, and therefore I would strongly disagree with that idea, but holding that idea is not in and of itself heretical and therefore we can disagree in a loving, brotherly way. However, if one believes that our works add to the righteousness of Christ (i.e. that the righteousness from Christ is insufficient to fully save us), then we have a different issue. If someone believes that, it flies in the face of the gospel, and is heresy.

As a side note to Mariology, if Mary was “holiness personified”1 as Luther apparently stated or how the Roman Catholic doctrine esteems her, why then in her magnificot does she call God her savior? “And Mary said: "My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:46,47) The only One who is and was holiness personified is the Person of Jesus Christ, and the fullness of God dwelt in Him in bodily form (Colossians 1:19; 2:9). Christ didn’t ever make any comments or statements that put Him in the position of needing to be saved, but rather as savior. Being holy would make one not need a savior because, by definition, a holy person has no sin to be forgiven or cleansed of.

Subsequent thoughts:

“The reason [protestant fundementalists] are hard pressed [to convert others] is because they feel that their strengh lies in numbers.”2 This statement is what is known as a straw man. Basically, a “straw man” is where someone states an idea or truth as being held by someone else (usually an opponent), but the statement itself is not jermain to the accused parties actual beliefs or statements. This then allows the accuser to show the false statement as being utterly rediculous and dismissable. That being said, there is some truth that some “protestant” circles make all of their goals about numbers and size, but it must be understood that these men and women and the “churches” that they build are not fundamentalists, nor would many of them even be truly Christian in doctrine. Many of the mega-churches place more weight on self esteem and marketing than on the Bible at all.

“Catholics have been pursecuted for thousands of years.”3 Christians have been persecuted from the beginning, there is no doubt. To say that Catholics have been persecuted, and then to say that they have been persecuted for thousands of years is almost laughable. It was the Catholic church that was behind the various Crusades4 and the inquisition that Jews and others in our modern culture use as a primary reason for rejecting Christ. It was the Catholic church that persecuted people and burned John Huss, William Tyndale, Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, Thomas Cranmer,5 and many many other reformers (before and after the Reformation). I am greatly offended at the thought that it was the church of Rome that was the recipient of persecution as opposed to the institution which executed a truly Roman (in the sense of Nero) style persecution of believers.

“Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man;
we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace,
in England, as I trust shall never be put out.”
– Hugh Latimer
6



1 http://whoislikeuntogod.blogspot.com/2006/07/martin-luthers-devotion-to-mother-mary.html quoting Martin Luther’s Sermon, Christmas, 1531

2 http://whoislikeuntogod.blogspot.com/2006/07/martin-luthers-devotion-to-mother-mary.html although not written by the main author of the work that I am responding to, he agrees with the sentiments by saying, “I agree…you make some very strong points.”

3 Ibid.

4 This is not to say that all Catholics then or now agree with it, but it is a simple fact. It is true that people who have distorted what the Bible says have been proponents of slavery in the U.S. and other non-biblical and despicable actions, and forced conversion and political conquest are in the “despicable” category along with justification for the enslavement of Africans.

5 These three, Ridley, Latimer, and Cranmer, were known as the “Oxford Martyrs”

6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Latimer

9 comments:

Jade blue said...

It is a curious fact that some seem to have a major problem with the Virgin Mary. It is a problem that goes far beyond theological reason and debate. In some quarters there seems to be a major antipathy, almost hatred, directed at one of the key figures in the story of redemption. In fact a few protestant apologists write of the Mother of the Redeemer almost as if she were the enemy of God .
There is also a great deal of ignorance among modern-day protestants as to the Scriptural and other ancient support for most of the Marian doctrines. It is the fundamentalist move away from Mary that has been the recent aberation. Yet even many Protestant Christians who are not so extreme still believe that Catholic and Orthodox doctrines on the Virgin Mary are unscriptural and are inventions of the Medieval Church, being unknown to the early Christians.
All Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and also IS God, being the 2nd Person of the Trinity, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus is also the son of Mary. Now many Protestants are quite prepared to say "Mary, Mother of Jesus," but balk at saying "Mary, Mother of God." Why?

There is probably an element of cultural conditioning here. Giving Mary such a title seems too grand to many protestants. For centuries most protestants have tried to ignore Mary, and have avoided all talk and discussion of her - except perhaps to condemn Catholic "excesses". But this is a serious matter. To call Mary the "Mother of Jesus" and yet refuse to call her "Mother of God" is to diminish Jesus as well as Mary, for it is a denial that Jesus is truly or fully God.

It was this sort of thinking that led to the formal definition of the title Mother of God at the Council of Ephesus in 431AD. Patriarch Nestorius had preached that Mary was not Mother of God, being only the mother of Jesus's physical body, which was then indwelt by God the Word. This was condemned as Heresy, since the Gospels tell us that the Word did not unite with man, but was made man. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.." (John 1.14). This is a crucial difference. Jesus was not two persons: the Son of God, and the Son of Mary, but one person, the Son of God and Mary. If this were not so, his death could not have saved us.
This is a common complaint of Protestants, but one I really fail to understand. Does admiring any part of God's creation distract you from God? When you walk through a forest of tall, ancient trees and you admire their beauty, does it distract you from God? When you look at a sunset or a towering mountain, does that turn you away from God? Of course not. For most people such things draw them closer to God.

Similarly when you admire people like St Francis, Mother Theresa, or other Christians who have given up their lives to serve God. Does that make you turn away from God - or is it more likely to make you think of the greatness of the God who inspired such people? So it is also with Mary.I find it strange that Protestant Evangelicals never seem to wonder where Mary is now, or what her role might be. If they do chance to wonder, they generally keep it to themselves. Raise too many of the wrong topics, and questions may start being asked about whether you really are "one of the group". Therefore it is quite common for Protestant evangelicals who are quite certain that Uncle Fred is in heaven, wearing his kingly crown, or that they themselves are heaven bound, to question Mary's presence there.
If the Virgin Mary isn't in heaven, then there's very little chance that anyone else will ever get there. Mary is the supreme example, or prototype, of what happens to a person who fully places trust and faith in God. Everything we hope to become in Christ, She already is. . Out of the millions of "decisions" made for Christ, Mary's was the first. Therefore, whatever promises the Holy Scriptures hold for us, Mary already possesses.
The problem with showing Mary's Assumption, (or the deaths of Mary or most of the Apostles, for that matter), in the Bible, is that the Gospel record ends before any of these events occurred. The Assumption is, however, implicit in Revelation Chapter 12.
Mary's Bodily Assumption is also a long-standing teaching of the Ancient Churches. The celebratory festival in August dates from at least the 400s in Palestine, and had reached Gaul by the 500s.
The Old Testament tells us that both Enoch and Elijah were assumed (taken) bodily into heaven. So Mary's Assumption, far from being unbiblical, in fact follows a strong Biblical pattern. Furthermore, it appears from the New Testament, (Jude 9), that Moses too may have been assumed into heaven, even though no record of this appears anywhere in the Old Testament. This, incidentally, provides a biblical record of an important teaching that was passed down over an extremely long period purely by Tradition.
Though no one ever claimed to possess Mary's relics, it seems that early Christians did in fact know the whereabouts of Mary's body! St. John Damascene, a Church Father, relates an interesting historical fact in this regard:

St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon (451), made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; wherefrom the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven.
The early Christians actually knew that something unusual and miraculous had happened to Mary's body soon after her death. This would explain why no one ever possess her mortal remains; her body is not on earth, but in heaven, glorified and united to her soul!
The early Church Fathers were very zealous for the faith. They strenuously fought all new heresies which threatened the Faith delivered to the Apostles. If the Assumption of Mary were a novel belief at the time, we would expect to find Christian writers of the third to fifth centuries condemning it as a newfangled heresy. Yet none do! Nowhere in the writings of the early Church Fathers do we find the slightest condemnation of this doctrine.

Why would God take Mary into heaven like that?
Why not? He took Enoch and Elijah into heaven without them ever tasting death (2 Kings 2:11; Hebrews 11:5); he raised many righteous Jews from the dead at Jesus' resurrection (Mt 27:52-53), and He has promised to rapture up both living and dead believers at the end of time (1 Thess 4:16-17). Why wouldn't Jesus do the same for His Mother, the woman whom He is bound to honor by His own Law? As we have seen, Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant. Why would God allow this sacred Ark to rot in the grave? It is not fitting that the body which was sanctified to bear God Incarnate should see corruption. So God took the New Ark into heaven, where we see her in Revelations 11:19-12:1.
All of these facts and many others present strong evidence that the Assumption of Mary actually happened and that the all true Christians knew about it!

EJ said...

Compelling and thoughtful comments and I appreciate the zeal that you have, Danielle. A few quick thoughts in response to your lengthy statement:

“In fact a few protestant apologists write of the Mother of the Redeemer almost as if she were the enemy of God”

I would not war against Mary by saying that she is an enemy of God. However, one must realize and understand that all people, everywhere and at all times, are born children of wrath because of our sinfulness (Ephesians 2:3), and that all thoughts of men are evil continuously (Genesis 6:5). Mary is no different than any other sinner in this regard, and that is why she calls God her Savior (Luke 1:47).

“Now many Protestants are quite prepared to say "Mary, Mother of Jesus," but balk at saying "Mary, Mother of God." Why?”

One of the reasons that we hesitate in referring to her this way is in response to the dogma that is poured into the statement. “Mary Mother of God” soon becomes “Holy Mary, Mother of God” (which I believe is from the Rosary?) and it is against the unbiblical elevation above her station as the “favored one” who would carry the Messiah (Luke 1:28).

“For centuries most Protestants have tried to ignore Mary, and have avoided all talk and discussion of her - except perhaps to condemn Catholic "excesses". But this is a serious matter. To call Mary the "Mother of Jesus" and yet refuse to call her "Mother of God" is to diminish Jesus as well as Mary, for it is a denial that Jesus is truly or fully God”

It is true that protestants have, possibly to a fault (I grant you), shied away from studying this truly remarkable and singular figure in all of history. The reason that we have erred in this way is again in response to the abuse of the gospel in the elevation of Mary above where any mortal should stand. No person (Mary, St. Francis, Pope John Paul II, St. Peter, or whoever) should ever be prayed to for any reason – whether it is to ask them to pray for us (there is no biblical precedent for prayers to the dead) or anything. Only God is to receive prayer. That is the testimony of the whole of scripture and that is the way that Jesus taught us to pray when He showed the disciples (see the Contender: Prayer to Saints).

On admiring Mary (or other things) : “When you look at a sunset or a towering mountain, does that turn you away from God?”

We can and should glorify God for His creation, but the problem comes when people elevate and admire something that God created too much, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 1:25)

“Mary is the supreme example, or prototype, of what happens to a person who fully places trust and faith in God.”

I don’t disagree with the Biblical commendations that Mary was special, but again, to say that she is the supreme example of one who places full trust in God would diminish the God Man. Christ is that example, not Mary. Never forget that no one showed as much faith and trust and submission to the will of the Father as did the Son, Jesus Christ.

There are many other parts of the previous comment that I could comment on, and I may in a future posting, but I will conclude with my reactions to the following statement:

“Jesus was not two persons: the Son of God, and the Son of Mary, but one person, the Son of God and Mary. If this were not so, his death could not have saved us.”

It is interesting that you bring up salvation in this debate. For this issue, my contention against Catholicism is not with their Mariology, but with its Soteriology (doctrine of salvation). For in the Catholic system we are to add to the works of Christ, and Ephesians 2 is contradicted: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.” (The Council of Trent Canon IX emphasis added) Do you truly believe this? If you do believe that Christ saved us, the works that the Catholic system promotes and requires is an offense to Him. We cannot add to the work that Christ did on the cross. To think this way (our works “co-operate in order to the obtaining of the grace of Justification”) may look like a pious and humble way to approach the savior and a true effort to be obedient, but we spit in his face and mock the terrible price that He paid on the cross when we attempt to add our works to His to accomplish our actual salvation. The very word that translates “It is finished” means that it is done, all of the work to transact the salvation of man was accomplished, no other work is required. This is where the primary issue with the Catholic system is – truly it is not a real grace that we are saved in this system. Because if that is the case, what of Purgatory? Purgatory is the place where Catholics are taught that you are purified before you go to heaven, in the sense of “making up” or “atoning” for some sins that weren’t dealt with on earth. The very presence of the doctrine Purgatory by the Catholic Church is another smack in the face of Christ.

Jade blue said...

I'm not a person to enjoy polemics , theological contradictions or long discutions , because I don't use to protest ( like all the protestants do , even through the chosen name ). Maybe this is my last comment , whatever the answer shall be .

Mary Holiness is the most simple answer : being Mother of God , the chosen one to bring for our salvation our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ . From the very beginning, the Most Holy Virgin Mary was regarded with the greatest esteem, held in the highest honor, and venerated for the purity and sinlessness of her life. Among the earliest Church Fathers--that is, among those that received the Faith directly from the Apostles--we already find wonderful tribute .
For instance, St. Dionysius the Areopagite, Bishop of Athens (Dionysius was the judge of the Areopagus mentioned in Acts 17:34.)
, who was converted to Christ by St. Paul himself , visited the Mother of God in Jerusalem and afterward wrote about it to St. Paul:
"It is impossible for the human mind to grasp what I have seen not only with the eyes Of my soul, but with my bodily eyes, too. I have seen with my own eyes the most beautiful and holy Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ .... That time was for me a time of supreme happiness, thank the most high and most g r a e i o u s God, and the Divine Virgin, the great Apostle John, and thee (St. Paul), for having mercifully granted me such a great blessing,".
St. Cyril of Alexandria, and the decree of the Council of Ephesus-the third great Council of the Church, was the voice of Orthodoxy, defending not only the Holy Virgin, but Jesus Christ, perfect God and man. Since that time Mary has been given the full title, used in all Orthodox services, of "Our All-holy, immaculate, most blessed and glorified Lady, the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary." This includes Theotokos (Mother of God), Aeioparthenos (Ever-Virgin), and Panagia (all-holy). The Fifth Church Council (held in Constantinople in 553), officially added "Ever-Virgin" to the list of titles .
I shall end my defence of Holy Mother of God , our Mother from The Holy Cross , bring to you attention one of greatest protestant figure : Martin Luther .
His attitude towards the use of the "Hail Mary " prayer (the first portion of the Rosary ) is illustrative. In certain polemical utterances he appears to condemn its recitation altogether, but he is only forbidding a use of Marian devotions apart from heartfelt faith, as the following two citations make clear:
Whoever possesses a good (firm) faith, says the Hail Mary without danger! Whoever is weak in faith can utter no Hail Mary without danger to his salvation.
(Sermon, March 11, 1523) .
To summarize, it is apparent that Luther was extraordinarily devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is notable in light of his aversion to so many other "Papist" or "Romish" doctrines, as he was wont to describe them. His major departure occurs with regard to the intercession and invocation of the saints, which he denied, in accord with the earliest systematic Lutheran creed, the Augsburg Confession of 1530 (Article 21).
His views of Mary as Mother of God and as ever-Virgin were identical to those in Catholicism, and his opinions on the Immaculate Conception, Mary's "Spiritual Motherhood" and the use of the "Hail Mary" were substantially the same. He didn't deny the Assumption (he certainly didn't hesitate to rail against doctrines he opposed!), and venerated Mary in a very touching fashion which, as far as it goes, is not at all contrary to Catholic piety. Saying Hail Mary is saying : Holy Mother of God , pray for us sinners , now and at the hour of our death .
With this arguments maybe you shall deny the great contribution of Luther in history of protestantism !

Moneybags said...

"Believing the idea that Mary was taken into heaven in a miraculous way, not through death, is not found in scripture, and therefore I would strongly disagree with that idea"


While the Assumption isn't in Scripture, neither is the earthly end of nearly all of the disciples. I suggest you read Revelations chapter 12 to see that Mary is in Heaven - body and soul.

http://acatholiclife.blogspot.com/2006/08/solemnity-of-assumption.html

Jade blue said...

Quote :
"Could you tell me what I must do according to Catholic theology in for me to go to heaven when I die."

First of all : don't commit mortal sins and assure salvation of your soul .

The early Church Fathers were unanimous in teaching the reality of mortal sin. They had to embrace the doctrine of mortal sin precisely because they recognized not only the salvific power of baptism but also the damning power of certain serious sins. The Church taught that "baptism . . . now saves you" (1 Pet. 3:21)and since Christ taught that "whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 10:33), the Church Fathers recognized that it was possible to lose the grace of salvation after baptism.

Paul tells us: "For [God] will reward every man according to his works: to those who by perseverance in working good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. There will be . . . glory and honor and peace for every one who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality" (Rom. 2:6–11; cf. Gal. 6:6–10).

Scripture teaches that one’s final salvation depends on the state of the soul at death. As Jesus himself tells us, "He who endures to the end will be saved" (Matt. 24:13; cf. 25:31–46). One who dies in the state of friendship with God (the state of grace) will go to heaven. The one who dies in a state of enmity and rebellion against God (the state of mortal sin) will go to hell.

To resume , save your soul and then your soul shall dwell in Heaven . Salvation comes by Grace, by Faith and by Works .

"Even so let your light shine before men, in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven." Matt 5:16

Salvation is an on going process...
We were saved in the past: Rom 5:1-2, 8:24, Eph 2:5-9.
We are being saved now: 1Cor 1:18, 1Cor 15:2, Phil 2:12, Heb 10:14, 1Pet 1:8-9, 1Pet 2:1-2.
We will be saved in the future: Matt 10:22, 24:13, Rom 6:16, 13:11, 1Cor 3:15, 5:5, Gal 2:17,
Gal 5:4-5, Rev 21:6-7.

We can also lose our salvation: Matt 6:14-15, *7:21, 24:44-51, 25:31-46, Mark 11:26, Luke 10:16,
John 14:21, Rom 11:22, Rev 21:8, 21:27.

So this can be the path to follow for our soul reach the Heaven . Just meditate about this text :
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of Heaven; BUT HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER IN HEAVEN SHALL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN." Matt 7:21.

Don't be afraid for salvation of your soul dear ej , nobody blames you and nobody have the right to do this , only Father from Heaven can judge us in the last Judgement Day .

EJ said...

MB - You summarized the argument and difference here with your statement that Mary's life and death are not really disclosed in scripture. It should be no surprise to anyone that this fact alone is the main crux of the issue. For, as any true protestant, Scripture alone is the final authority in all things (2 Tim 3:15-17). Here is where the argument will always diverge because Catholicism holds other things on an equal (or greater) footing than scripture. It has been said (specifically regarding the biblicity of the office of the Pope) "They use the scripture [to validate the papacy], but they don't need it because they can just invent doctrines." ( Unmasking the Pope and the Catholic System John MacArthur) - audio lecture -)

I may write more later, but I wanted to end the evening with a note of...disgust. This is not disgust over theology or doctrine, but over plagiarism. If anyone has ever read my blog, you will know that I try to go to great lengths to give credit for the information that I use, especially if I quote it verbatim. While reading Danielle's second comment, I was struck with a sense of deja vu. As a matter of fact, I thought that it seemed odd, but I believed that danielle had copied and pasted from a post by blogger "St. Michael the Archangel". After some research (it was really copying a few lines from the comment and googling it), I found what may be the source article.

Why am I making a big deal out of this? First of all, I find it reprehensible to pass ideas off as your own, as well as the simple fact that this seems to be prevalent (at least with the few Catholic bloggers that i have encountered).

Shame on you Danielle and St Michael the Archangel, it is wrong to steal the words of another person, and that is what happens when you quote someone without giving credit.

Here is the whole quote:

“To summarize, it is apparent that Luther was extraordinarily devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is notable in light of his aversion to so many other “Papist” or “Romish” doctrines, as he was wont to describe them. His major departure occurs with regard to the intercession and invocation of the saints, which he denied, in accord with the earliest systematic Lutheran creed, the Augsburg Confession of 1530 (Article 21).
His views of Mary as Mother of God and as ever-Virgin were identical to those in Catholicism, and his opinions on the Immaculate Conception, Mary’s “Spiritual Motherhood” and the use of the “Hail Mary” were substantially the same. He didn’t deny the Assumption (he certainly didn’t hesitate to rail against doctrines he opposed!), and venerated Mary in a very touching fashion which, as far as it goes, is not at all contrary to Catholic piety. “ (The Coming Home Journal Quarterly Issue: Mary, Mother of God by Larry and Joetta Lewis p. 13
http://www.chnetwork.org/mary.pdf )

See Danielle’s first comment and St. Michael the Archangel’s post to see for yourself.

You will do your arguments better service if you are not lazy or derelict with research and documentation.

I apologize for this unfortunate deviation from the stimulating conversation that we have been having, and I truly hope that the conversation can continue because the issue over Mariology and subsequently Soteriology are of eternal importance. If I or anyone else believes that any work that I do actually adds to the salvation work of Christ on the cross, then grace is no longer grace, and that is a different gospel. And there is only one gospel, and Paul spoke a bold anathema against another gospel.

Moneybags said...

For, as any true protestant, Scripture alone is the final authority in all things (2 Tim 3:15-17).

That is not what 2 Timothy is saying. 2 Timothy is not even referring to the New Testament. It was written BEFORE the Bible was even put together. This verse refers to the Old Testament Scriptures because the Bible was not put together. That verse cannot support sola-scriptura.

"Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours" (2 Thes. 2:15)

Moneybags said...

I also suggest you look at this webpage:

http://home.nyc.rr.com/mysticalrose/marian8.html

EJ said...

Regarding the article on the assumption of Mary:

The presupposition that Mary is the New Eve, and the idea (or dogma) of the bodily assumption of Mary is based primarily (at least in this article that you provided) on this presupposition (or prior conclusion; however you’d like to think of it).

The fatal flaws of this idea begin very early by saying that since Israel is the bride of the LORD and that Mary would be “God's faithful bride” (Mary the New Eve). The consistent teaching throughout the New Testament is not that God has any single female (new Eve) as His bride, but that He is saving His Church to be His Bride. The great picture of marriage is to show us how Christ loves His Church and how we (as members of that Church) are to act, love, and obey. (Ephesians 5:25-32). Just as Eve was taken out of Adam, the Church (the Bride of Christ) is taken out of Christ in the sense that we are made a part of His bride through His death on the Cross. Also, the misunderstanding of Mary as the Bride or Queen of Heaven is why Catholics misinterpret the woman in Revelation 12 as depicting Mary instead of Israel (see Galatians 4:26 for the allegory of Israel – specifically Jerusalem as the center of Israel – as a woman and mother).

Regarding scripture alone, my goal is not to “reinvent” the wheel when it comes to this debate, so please visit http://aomin.org/Roman.html which is an apologetics site, and you can choose from any number of different transcribed debates and issues that deal with Sola Scriptura or other areas where Roman Catholicism and Protestants collide.

However, specifically to your 2 Tim 3 reference, I agree that primarily the scripture that the apostles referred to in this manner was the Old Testament. However, I encourage you to look at 2 Corinthians 4:13 and compare with Psalms 116:10. Paul was comparing what he was writing in this letter to what was written in the Psalms (scripture!). Also, Peter gives his endorsement of Paul’s letters, “and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:15-16 emphasis added).

Is it possible, in Catholic teachings as you know and are taught today, that persons who do not follow Christ in the teachings Catholic Church (i.e. Protestants)? Whatever your answer, please tell me where you find that (cited please). I think that the answer is undeniably yes, and many Catholic friends of mine say the same. I ask this not as one who is vacillating in my convictions, but to seek the official Roman Catholic position.

Copyright © 2005-2010 Eric Johnson