Monday, September 11, 2006

responding to an onslaught of Catholic criticism & accusations

If you have read any of the discussions that I have had with Danny or others on my blog you will notice that I try to stick to issues that can be discussed, defined, and defended in the scriptures. Not once have I assaulted you or anyone else’s perceived motives for saying or believing what you do, they are not what I am primarily concerned with because they cannot be known by me unless you articulate them to me. In a totally different fashion you have attacked me personally and attributed motives and experiences to me that you have no idea if they are true or untrue. A few of the more egregious ones are below:

“You were raised on beliefs that the evil Catholic church persecuted good Christians for thousands of years until Martin Luther came to free them, you also believe that the evil catholic demonized church hid the bible from people and kept them illiterate in order to somehow rip them off on salvation.”

“…you are spouting off things that you have no real clue about except from local legend taught to you be your childhood church and family that the Catholic Church is the devil.”1

“Look at it this way, Danny is throwing all his seed out on the fertile ground in hopes of having a great harvest... you on the other hand is content that you don't have to throw out any seed to have a harvest...”2

You do not know me, my family, my upbringing, the diversity (or lack thereof) of my own personal spiritual heritage, nor the experiences and studies that I have done. You know nothing about me except what I have written, and to attack me on these other issues is simply abhorrent and does more harm to any possible valid arguments that you may present. One thing that I appreciated corresponding with Danny is that, for the most part, we debated the issues according to the scriptures. He and I have very different theology, ecclesiology, as well as soteriology and we debated them rationally, reasonably, and in a fair manner. I invite you to do the same because again, attacks on perceived personal characteristics, motives, amount of study or anything else is folly and it makes you look spiteful, angry, and it undermines any valid argument that you would seek to make.

So, if you want to have a discussion or debate about the issues that are on this blog, let’s do that and stick to the issues and leave the speculation on each other’s family life, education, and motivates off the table. I also find it strange that you haven’t made any response to the article that I wrote that you requested (“Prayer to Saints”). In that article you will see my spirit in that I try to tackle the issue and deal with it in a fair way by searching the scriptures.

“There are now over 78,000 Protestant denominations all claiming that they hold the one true truth of Christ.... [Martin Luther] split up the unity of Christ, he split Christ... now you tell me which denomination has held true to its teachings? Which denomination can trace its roots back over 2000 years? Can your independent church do that? When you got ordained or whatever you call it, did a Bishop in the lineage of the apostles lay his blessed hands on your head and give you the power of the Holy Spirit? Is your ordination even valid? In the Old Testament, the Jews had a lineage of Priests and the Priesthood... do protestants share that line? Why do protestants not have priests??? Remember in the bible it talks about presbyters (priests) and bishops...”3

I would like to see your source for the total number of Protestant denominations. I don’t doubt that the number is high, but I have never seen a statistic that has shown the number to be 78,000, so I will dispute this number until you can show me a credible source that shows that. But even if there are 78,000 or 100,000 denominations, that is not the primary issue. The question should be, “Is there a church or denomination that is preaching Christ and His gospel truthfully from the Bible?” If anyone is a part of a church that preaches a false gospel, we should try to call that church back to the truth (or call them to the truth for the first time), but if the church will not, we must divorce ourselves from that assembly and find one that does preach the gospel. That is the historical reason why people have left the Catholic church or other denominations – in an attempt to preserve and proclaim the gospel.

As to whether or not my church can trace its roots back 2000 years, yes we can. Not in a church hierarchy or structure like the Catholic church, but in the truth of our doctrine and in it’s primary root in the scriptures. The funny thing about Protestant churches is that there are churches that preach the gospel of Christ that are Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Assemblies of God, Baptist, and non-denominational Bible churches. There are also churches of the same denomination or affiliations that do not preach the gospel. So this issue begs the question as to why do those churches that do preach the true gospel belong to various denominations. The answer, which is not the most desirable one but it is reality, is something that I addressed in “Fundamentalism”. The main catalyst for this was an article by Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. where he talked about the reasons for division in and amongst churches.4

The most disturbing parts of the above comment were the references to the giving of the power of the Holy Spirit, the Papacy, and priests or bishops. Scripture says that all Christians are given the Holy Spirit (John 7:39; Romans 5:5; 8:9; 1 Corinthains.3:16; 6:19). To say that people are given the Spirit by men (whatever their role in the church) is an abomination. Why don’t Protestants have priest? Peter said, when writing to Christians in his first epistle, “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) We are all priests if we are believers in Christ and are born again because the Spirit dwells within us. As far as the office of bishops goes, the word that you are referring to (presbuteroV) is pronounced pres-boo-ter-os and it means elder. But even if the word bishop is to be used, it seems to be synonymous with that of an elder (see 1 Timothy 3:1ff and Titus 1:6-8). Finally, as to the papacy and the office given to Peter and the reference (I believe) to Matthew 16:18, I think that it is folly to see this as the indoctrination or ordination of Peter as the end-all be-all apostle and head of the Church. Here are a few reasons why I think this:

The words “rock” and “Peter”

  • petroV - (pet-ros)“Peter” a rock or a little stone

  • petra - (pet-ra) rocky ground (firm), a large rock (Matthew 7:24-25; 27:51, 60; Romans 9:33; 1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:8; Revelation 6:15,16)
It seems clear that after you look at the biblical text to better understand the words used in Matthew 16:18 that Christ is making a play on words to get his point across. I would like to paraphrase John MacArthur made this point well in one of his lectures about the papacy. He said, “You are Peter – petros, small rock – and on this PETRA – a rock bed – I will build my church.” He was referring to Peter with “petros” (petroV) and to Himself with “petra” (petra). If Peter was the prime and unchallengeable apostle, why then did he refer to himself as a fellow elder in 1 Peter 5:1 and not a special word or title for being a Pope, bishop, or cardinal? Corresponding to that, why was Paul able to reprimand Peter in of faith and doctrine?

“But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.” Galatians 2:11-13

Peter had fallen in with the Judaizing crowd of false teachers who were teaching that Christians had to be Jewish (observing the dietary, social, and other laws) and were denying the freedom in Christ that the apostles proclaimed. Finally (for now, anyway) If you look at Romans 9:33 and 1 Corinthians 10:4, the rock (petra) being referred to here is explicitly and unquestionably Christ, not Peter. Ephesians 2:20 says that the apostles (all of them) laid the foundation, but it is Christ on whom the structure holds together in that He is the corner stone. The point is that Christ is what the Church is built on, not Peter. To say that Peter is the “rock” that the church is built upon (as miss-interpreted from Matthew 16:18) is at best an aberrant teaching, but at worst it is idolatry because it places Peter in the place of Christ.

Before I go on, let me clear up something that some readers seem to have misunderstood. I was debating another Catholic about the truth that we are saved by grace alone we are saved through faith alone, and he kept on asking me to show him where the used the phrase “faith alone” in order to prove my point. Well, the bible doesn’t use that phrase in those words, but the overall testimony of salvation is just that. So, in my response, I wrote this:

“Does the phrase “faith alone” or “only faith” appear in scripture referencing the requirements for salvation? Nope. But neither does the word Trinity. Orthodox Trinitarian theology is taken from the whole of Scripture in what it has to say about God, not just a few passages that, if seen alone, may lead to some incorrect conclusions. Nevertheless, the important thing is that we have come up with a way to express how the Bible describes God – He is a Triune God and thus we have the word Trinity. In the same way we confess that man can be saved only by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone because it is only by this way that God alone gets all of the glory because He does everything to save wretched sinners who can do nothing to save themselves.”5

This is not saying that I don’t believe in the Trinity. What it is saying is that there are some ways that we express doctrinal truths in words that capture the meaning of the scriptures even if the word or phrase itself is not found in the text itself (i.e. grace alone by faith alone for salvation and the theology of the Trinity). I used this same line of argument and theology to challenge some Roman traditions and doctrines, some of which concerned the doctrines of Mary because they don’t have scriptural support.

“On the [bodily] assumption of Mary:

Check out Revelation in your bible and read this: (Rev. 11:19). Both Enoch and Elijah were assumed into heaven (Heb. 11:5, 2 Kgs. 2:11). Also, in Matthew 27:52-53 one can read about saints whose bodies left the grave after the Resurrection of Christ. If God did that for two of his prophets, don't you think he would also do it for his own mother?”6

The bible makes no case for the bodily assumption of Mary. To base a doctrine of Mary on vague passages and assumptions based upon the logic that if God did it for these other people, “don’t you think He’d do it for his mother?” is a problem. Primarily, these assumptions are not based in scripture. Are there passages where God does something for a few people, it doesn’t require that God would do it for more. Also, this idea of Enoch and Elijah being taken into heaven has nothing to do with their status as great or important men of God, necessarily. David was a man after God’s own heart, Moses had the closest relationship with God (in the Old Testament) of anyone, and John the Baptist was the greatest of all of the prophets and all of these men were not taken bodily into heaven. To say that the doctrine of the bodily assumption of Mary is an argument from silence is an understatement.

“…take a look and see what the divorce rate is for married ministers? It’s about 70%, that is a high rate. Why juggle a family and God, remember God said that he is a jealous God, if you are his minister, don't you think he would want you to focus on him 100% instead of being disc traced by family? Jesus himself didn't marry, some of his apostles didn't either, in fact the ones that were married when Jesus called them, left their wives and family to follow Christ and they probably never saw them again.”7

In the same spirit as my challenge to the previous statement that there are 78,000 Protestant denominations, I simply would like to know the source for the 70% divorce rate among protestant ministers. I know that so-called Evangelicals have a divorce rate similar (if not a little above) the rest of the culture, but I have never heard of this shocking rate, so I doubt this figure’s credibility. The only semi-cogent argument is the fact that Jesus, Paul, and others didn’t marry. This is true. As a matter of fact Paul makes the case that it is better if a man can remain single, but he clearly knows that not many men can. Regarding singleness and sexual purity, Paul wrote, “Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. “(1 Corinthians 7:7-9) Furthermore, if it were the call of God to have the elders of the church (presbuteroV) be single, why then is the call to be a husband of one wife made repeatedly (see 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6). As far as the statement that many of the apostles weren’t married or that they never saw their families again, “Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?” (1 Corinthians 9:5) Again, I am no Catholic theologian, but doesn’t the fact that Peter was married and had his wife with him really hurt the idea of forced celibacy of the priesthood?

There was a panel discussion involving various religious leaders (Jew, Protestant, Catholic, and others) on the Larry King Live show on 3/11/2003 where they were discussing the different positions on the war in Iraq. During this conversation, the gospel came up and was discussed between the panel members (John MacArthur and United Methodist Bishop MelvinTalbert) and Larry King. Here is a part of the transcript from that show:

MACARTHUR: I see what you are saying, Well, they, do. But there has to be truth, and untruth and once you've established the truth and I think the word of God has been established as true, I think it can hold up under the most intense scrutiny and other book do not.

KING: Bishop, don't you believe, Bishop Talbert, that Christianity is the right path?

TALBERT: I do believe for Christians, but we're not here to settle which religion is right. That settle -- that dispute belongs to God. We are here to practice what we preach.

KING: Do you believe your religion is right.

TALBERT: Yes I do.

KING: Or else why believe it.

TALBERT: That is right.

KING: So therefore the other religions have to be wrong.

TALBERT: No, I don't say that at all.

KING: If you believe your religion is right. The other religions are wrong.

TALBERT: I believe my God is large enough to be inclusive of all human beings who were created in god's image and that includes those religions that are not Christians.

MACARTHUR: I want to ask a question. Why did Jesus say -- why did Paul say if any man preaches any other Christ than the true Jesus Christ, let him be a cursed? Let him be [anathema]. Why does the Bible say neither is their salvation in any other name than Jesus Christ. Why does the scripture condemn anyone who rejects Jesus Christ and the gospel of Christ? Why is the message so exclusive?

TALBERT: For me, salvation in Jesus Christ is the way, and what I try to do as a Christian is to live that example. My responsibility is not to convert all other religions, but to live the Christian faith in the face of those religions. Are you going to say that my -- our friend on the show tonight who is Jewish is on the wrong path? That's god's choice. That's god's judgment, not mine.8

It was to this video clip (you can see the video in my post titled “Compromising the Gospel” from 9/8/06) that the same Catholic blogger made the following comment on my blog,

“That Methodist Preacher has his own way of trying to convert and for that, he should not be bashed. Just think about this for a second... Think about the hermits in the bible, the first Monks, did they go out and yell fire and brimstone and try to convert every soul they met? NO! They worked out their salvation in the wild, they preached to people that came to listen to them... do you see where I am going with this, they were like magnets and that is what attracted all those people... Jesus in a way did the same thing... instead of knocking on doors and trying to convert people, he healed and the people followed, think of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the people followed him there on their own free will.

My point is, everyone is called to their own way of evangelizing and spreading the truth of Christ, just because that Bishop didn't do what you do, that doesn't make him wrong. Your way of evangelizing, is I am sure you talk to the youth, on the streets where you live, and most of all on your blog. I leave you with this, don't be bothered with the splinter in someone else’s eye, while you have the beam in your own.”9

I hope that my Catholic friend just didn’t listen to the Methodist Bishop at all, because it is not with his “way” of evangelism that I had a problem with; it was his message, the gospel that he believes that I have a problem with. He was discounting the clear scriptures showing that Jesus is the only way for salvation for anyone by using phrases like “I do believe [that Christianity is the right path] for Christians” or “For me, salvation in Jesus Christ is the way” but possibly the most condemning thing that he says is that according to his judgment (based on the scriptures) he cannot say whether a devout Jew would go to heaven or not. The answer is clearly that he wouldn’t! If anyone believes that the gospel as articulated by this Methodist Bishop, they do not understand Christ and they deny the truth of the scriptures. Then according to the apostle Paul, they are to be cursed (Galatians 1:6-10), or according to Christ they are false teachers or wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15).

Again, you show your biblical ignorance by using the text in Matthew 7 where Christ says, "Do not judge so that you will not be judged. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.” (Matthew 7:1,3,5) This text is referring specifically to the pharisaic way of passing judgment on people for various issues, not their theology. We know that it is not referring to judging someone by what they preach or teach because later on in that same chapter Christ says that we are to judge teachers by their fruit – what they do and say (Matthew 7:18-20). So please don’t misuse the admonition not to judge as seen in the first pat of Matthew 7 to promote spiritual and theological lethargy and apostasy.

“By the sounds of your post... my friend... you have chosen to save your seeds and your harvest will yield nothing.”10

I have no idea what this means regarding anything that I have written. The word “baffled” does not even come close to how little I understand this comment.

“Should Protestants be called Christian, if they reject the teachings of Christ, and do their own thing??? If you do not follow the teachings laid down by Christ, theoretically you should not call yourself a Christian. This is a controversial topic, many will scoff at the very idea. But what do you think?”11

That is a very good question. If the standard of what is to be “Christian” is the Catholic church, then no. But if the standard is a clear understanding and steadfast holding onto what the bible clearly teaches about all matters of doctrine, then Protestants absolutely are Christian, but the same cannot be said for Catholics. It is definitely a provocative question.

Here is a provocative question for you, my Catholic friends. If Catholic theology is true, I am not sure where I – a Protestant who is sold out to the Lord and who loves and is serving Christ – would go when I die. It could be purgatory or hell, but I don’t know which. However, if the “sola” theology as articulated in the reformation is correct (which is in direct opposition to Catholic theology), then, my Catholic friends, you will not go to purgatory because it does not exist. You will be in hell. I say this to make this point: If we do not have the right gospel and therefore we don’t have the right Christ, we will not be saved. Examine the scriptures and plead with God in prayer to open your eyes to the truth. Only He can save you, and if He does, He will completely save you. None of your works count for your salvation.

We cannot be sloppy with the gospel and distort that which Christ died to give us as Bishop Talbert did on Larry King Live. We must always examine the facts that we hold on to, no matter if we are Protestant or Catholic. I find it ironic that in the same responses where I was berated for “spouting off things that you have no real clue about except from local legend taught to you be your childhood church and family” and then to have the same person within a day make the absurd statement that 70% of protestant ministers are getting divorced without any citation of any source (much less a credible one). Let us debate these issues vigorously because eternity hangs in the balance. And I will hold to the Truth (unpopular among Catholics) that salvation is by God’s grace alone through faith in Christ alone and that it is not on the basis of any work (baptism, penance, or anything else). This salvation which is completely by grace alone and not as result of works then produces good fruit from the saved person. But this fruit does not contribute to the justification of that person or make it more likely that they will get into heaven.

sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria, sola Scriptura amen




1 http://contendersbiblestudy.blogspot.com/2006/09/grace-baptism-and-scripture.html#115794251070662334

2 http://contendersbiblestudy.blogspot.com/2006/09/grace-alone.html#115798436432443951

3 http://contendersbiblestudy.blogspot.com/2006/09/grace-baptism-and-scripture.html#115794251070662334

4 A Call for Theological Triage and Christian Maturity by R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

5 http://contendersbiblestudy.blogspot.com/2006/09/grace-baptism-and-scripture.html

6 http://contendersbiblestudy.blogspot.com/2006/09/grace-baptism-and-scripture.html#115794251070662334

7 http://contendersbiblestudy.blogspot.com/2006/09/grace-baptism-and-scripture.html#c115794251070662334

8 http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0303/11/lkl.00.html

9 http://contendersbiblestudy.blogspot.com/2006/09/compromising-gospel.html#115798387546400349

10 http://contendersbiblestudy.blogspot.com/2006/09/grace-alone.html#115798436432443951

11 http://contendersbiblestudy.blogspot.com/2006/09/compromising-gospel.html#c115799333045977332

15 comments:

Danny Garland Jr. said...

WOW. I don't read your blog for a couple of days and I miss so much that happened!

I briefly scanned this post and I'd like to comment on the petros/petra comment. First of all, petros/petra is the greek translation of the language which Jesus spoke, which was Aramaic. In Aramaic, the word for "rock" is "Cephas" which St. Paul uses to describe St. Peter in Galatians. When Cephas was translated into Greek to describe Peter directly the masculine form of the word that is Petros is used. Then Jesus uses the word not adressing Peter directly, yet still referring to him, so the Greek translation is in the feminine, Petra.

In the original Aramaic it would be the same word for both:
"You are Cephas and upon this Cephas I will build my Church."

Many Protestant scholars will even attest to this.

Eric,
I know we have our differences in theology, but I still respect you and if you want people to take your arguments seriously, you have to research them more and make sure they are valid and solid.

Peace and Blessings,
Danny

St. Michael the Archangel said...

Eric,

obviously you felt that I was attacking you, I actually didn't have the intention when I posted, if you felt that way my appologies. Thank you for trying to belittle me, I needed that bit of humilty as one of my works for my salvation...

Let me explain the harvest thing for you. What I was saying was the person that works in the field aka (works out their salvation) will yield a large harvest, but the person that sits on the sidelines and thinks that they are already saved and refuses to work in the field... will not have a harvest and when they die, they will have a great shock.

Christ was always telling parables about people working in the fields, and in the vineyards. What do you think he was referring too?

I always research my material, go back and read the church fathers, and no they were not Protestant.. they were Catholic. If you truly believe every article of the reformation, then it will take alot of grace for you to find the truth and the light.

I will pray for you.

I'll relate a quick story with you. My Mom goes to 6:30 am Mass every day on her way to work. For the past 2 weeks she has noticed an older man who doesn't go to communion, but does follow along beautifully with all the prayers of the church. He is about 60 years old. Today he got up and walked out into the isle and put his hands up in the air with a bible in his hand and stood there for a few minutes in silent prayer. She was leaving the church and someone introduced her to him, he wasn't Catholic, he was a Pentecostal, and was a practising one for over 40 years. He had such beautiful words for the mass, he loved it, he loved to just go and sit in front of the Tabernacle and listen to God in his true presence.

Now what do you think would draw that man to the Catholic church after going to another for over 40 years? What attracted him to it? Here is a little fact, there are over 1.1 billion Catholics in the world, Here is a link since you find what I state to be lies: http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/greatc.html

And each year we gain millions more, one day we will be united, hopefully that day will come soon.
I will post more when I get a chance.

St. Michael the Archangel said...

As for the divorce rate.. your right... I made a mistake. I should have done the proper research instead of relying on false data... Here is a link, scroll down to the bottom. http://rra.hartsem.edu/q&a-archive00.htm

EJ said...

Danny - don't get me wrong, I understand that there is a debate/controversy over the best way to interpret this verse. I was simply showing why I believe that the rock is referring to Christ Himself, since in Paul refers to Peter as Cephas but he also refers to Christ with the same "petra" word.

I also don't know what you know of my personal study, but you seem to believe that i must not be studying at all. I wonder why you are so prone to lash out at what I say with various ways of saying "study more" instead of asking a question like "Why did you choose to interpret this passage in this way as opposed to another?"

One of the other reasons why I reject interpreting this scripture placing with placing a lot of weight on the Aramaic is that all scripture is inspired, and the scripture was written in Greek by the providence of God and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So therefore - whatever the true and best understanding of this passage is – I believe that basing the interpretation of this verse on language that is not in the text is troublesome. Not outlandish or unheard of, but troublesome.

In the gospel of Matthew, every time that he wants to say Peter’s name (except matt 10:2 where translated inserted the name of Peter to clarify the verse) he uses a form of petros, not petra.

Leaving aside the discussion on Matthew 16:18, everywhere ekse that the word petra appears in Matthew’s gospel it is rendered as “rock” (Matthew 7:24,25; 27:51,60). In verses 24 & 25, this word seems to be referring to acting correctly upon hearing the words of Christ, the adverse example of sand is used for someone who doesn’t act correctly upon the hearing of the words of Christ. In verse 51, the context makes it plain that it is referring to rocks around or under the Temple and in 60 it is referring to the rock formation where the tomb that held the body of Christ was hewn out of.

As for appearances of this word in other places than Matthew, it appears in Mark 6:48 with a parallel passage and meaning to Matthew 7:24,25, and in Luke 8:6 and 8:13 this word is used to denote bad soil for growing crops as a symbol for where the gospel will take root in peoples’ lives. Also in Revelation 6:15,16 the word explicitly refers to actual large stones or boulders for men to hide in or desire to be crushed by.

In Romans 9:33, 1 Corinthians 10:4, and 1 Peter 2:8 this word refers to Christ himself.

I think with seeing how this word is used primarily in Matthew’s gospel and then secondarily at the use of this word in the rest of scripture, it seems to me that the understanding that petra is referring to Cephas is less likely.

So, if my description of how I exegete Matthew 16:18 didn’t deal with the issue of other possible historical and defendable positions, neither did yours. I wonder if you have ever looked at the word study in depth? You very likely have, I would bet, and so you would be familiar with the case and points that I bring up. But you can see, hopefully, that in this case the interpretational difference that I (and others) would have with Rome are based upon solid principles of bible interpretation.


And Michael – if you got the 70% figure from this website and attributed it to protestant clergy, I am still baffled. The only way that I was able to come up with 75% was by adding all of the figures in the PCUSA which is the most liberal (and in my experience, non- gospel preaching) wing of any Presbyterian church. Other than that, the rate was too high (by far), but it was nowhere near 70%. Unless I missed something, of course. In that case, please show me where I missed something.

soli Deo gloria.

St. Michael the Archangel said...

EJ,

You are totally misunderstanding me... Listen for a seoond, I apologized because when I am wrong, I admit it. I got the 70% from another site that I thought was reliable, but it wasn't, so I did a search and came up with that protestant one, which I thought you would find reliable, it said that clergy divorce rates were like 13% or something like that. That is the number I was referring to. The fact of the matter is, its a distraction to have a family and then to have God and be a light in the darkness of this world at the same time as dedicating 100% of your life to God as his minister. Those 2 things just don't work together very well.

As a minister, you have to be there for God anytime that he or someone calls. Imagine this for a second, your a married Baptist minister and you get a call that someone is at the hospital that needs to see you, you look at the clock, its 1:30 am, your wife is on a trip by herself and you are watching your 3 children. Now how are you going to get to that Hospital to see that soul that is requesting a man of Gods help? Maybe this person is dying and only has an hour left to live, maybe they want to get saved... tell me, how are you going to get over there with your 3 kids, you can't leave them there by themselves, ect.. ?

EJ said...

Michael I wanted to respond briefly, as I am off to work now. It is a troublesome and bad mar on the church that so many true or false ministers are divorced (not to mention congregants). However, if you want to discuss the disfunciton and sexual impurity of the clergy, then we will discuss it honestly and in depth. Protestant AND Catholic clergy sexual misconduct.

As to "distraction" and other things, I will address it later.

St. Michael the Archangel said...

EJ,

As you know, I never mentioned that, and for a fact that is not something I want to discuss with you or any other (catholic hater) as of right now. This is just gas for the bonfire you have built around the Catholic Church. I do not wish to discuss the clergy abuse, that is something that I am over and it is in the past. Just wait untill the Protestant clergy, teachers, and politicians get busted for this topic, then we will see who has the last laugh. It is coming for all those that relished the Catholic abuse alegations. I wonder just how many of those priests were actually guilty and were not prosecuted falsely, in front of a mob, no one is safe, and think of all the millions these so called abusers made???!

Again, I do NOT want to broach on this topic, I am afraid it would get ugly.

Please respond to my married minister question I asked you when you get a chance.

Pax Christi,

Michael

EJ said...

God hates divorce. If someone divorces (except for possible cases of abandonment by an unbeliever and the ongoing and unrepentant adultery of a spouse) and marries again, that is adultery. So wrapped up in your comment about protestant ministers and divorce is the overriding issue of adultery/fornication. That is why the two issues are somewhat germane.

I am not a Catholic hater. I don't hate Catholics parishioners, priests, bishops, cardinals, or the Pope. I don't hate you or Danny, or any other Catholic. What I am opposed to is catholic theology, but not as an hating commentator, I genuinely care for Catholics - those near me and in my family, those who are cyber-near me in this forum, and generally speaking across the globe. My compassion doesn't start or end with catholics on this matter, but true Catholics (who believe in works + faith = salvation) are included.

If my statements have been angry or hateful, I am truly sorry. Also, please show me what it was that I said so that I can see my error and be a ever-getting-better witness for Christ.

And yes...I will stil tackle the issue in more depth, and soon.

Jeff said...

St. Michael said,

"Just wait untill the Protestant clergy, teachers, and politicians get busted for this topic, then we will see who has the last laugh"

These comments of his are very sad and shocking indeed. That he would actually want a last laugh in this matter is very distressing.

St. Michael the Archangel said...

Jeff,

Justice comes for us all, I have been bombarded by ignorant protestants for years, since the abuse crisis in the Catholic church. In the discussions I have had with Protestants, if they can't win the argument, they always end with the Priestly abuse crap. Did you know, that is is only 2% of the Priestly population that are accused of abuse? That really isn;t that much, but look at what a stink it caused.

Now, I am sure that teachers abuse children, 110% more than Priests do, but do you ever hear of that in the news?? Very rarely, same with Protestant ministers, do you ever hear about them? NO. Why? I believe that there is an evil power here at work that is bent on destroying the Catholic church and has been ever since Christ died.

Will I laugh when the time comes that people start to talk about the Protestant clergy abuse crisis... NO, I will not laugh.. I will be sad, but like I said, justice comes for us all. When will it happen? Only God knows that.

EJ said...

Michael,

Despite what you may think, I did not “raise” this issue for any other reason than because it is germane to the issue of divorce among ministers (see my previous comment where I show correlation between the two).

You may not believe it, but I wish that these scandals were not a reality. Whether or not I agree with your doctrine (and our differences have eternal consequences) doesn’t change the fact that when I am witnessing to someone who is an unbeliever, they may still bring up this issue as a reason not to trust Christ. It may be similar for Catholics who were confronted with the televangelist scandals a few years ago as a reason to reject the message that Catholics bring.

“Justice comes for us all.” You are right about that. Anything done to little children or vulnerable congregants, whether it is by a protestant minister or a Catholic priest, is a terrible sin and God will have justice. I pray that those who have committed these vile acts would truly repent and be saved; otherwise they will get their just reward in Hell.

As for those Catholic priests and protestant ministers who have been wrongly and maliciously accused of this vile act, I pray that God would use this trial to glorify Himself and to do a refining work in their lives if the accused (whether protestant or Catholic) is truly saved.

Soli Deo Gloria

St. Michael the Archangel said...

there is no guarantee on salvation, if there was then we wouldn't exist, all adam and eve would have had to do was ask God the father for forgiveness and he would have gladly forgiven them and excepted them back into the heavenly garden. But instead, they had to go out and "work" out their salvation, even after they were sorry. So we too will have to work out our salvation, even after we repent, that is why there is a place called purgatory, and it is in the bible.

Ryan Murphy said...

"Only He can save you, and if He does, He will completely save you. None of your works count for your salvation."

Sorry, but you're wrong. You'll quote Romans 3:28, I'm sure, and say that "a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law", but that refers to the Old Testament Mosaic law. Saving faith is active: it is "faith working through love" (Gal 5:6). 1 Cor 13:2 says that faith without love (charity, good works) is nothing. If we love God, we will keep His commandments (Jn 14.21). No offense to you, but James 2:20-26 says the following:

"Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called "the friend of God." See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."

Ryan Murphy said...

"I would like to see your source for the total number of Protestant denominations. I don’t doubt that the number is high, but I have never seen a statistic that has shown the number to be 78,000, so I will dispute this number until you can show me a credible source that shows that. But even if there are 78,000 or 100,000 denominations, that is not the primary issue."

Actually, my very Catholic source says 33,000. But once it gets that high, what's the difference?

"The question should be, “Is there a church or denomination that is preaching Christ and His gospel truthfully from the Bible?” If anyone is a part of a church that preaches a false gospel, we should try to call that church back to the truth (or call them to the truth for the first time), but if the church will not, we must divorce ourselves from that assembly and find one that does preach the gospel. That is the historical reason why people have left the Catholic church or other denominations – in an attempt to preserve and proclaim the gospel."

Do you really think it's God's will that His people should split up into as many as 33,000 different churches? Don't you think that we should adhere to the scriptures?:

John 10:16 - there shall be one fold and one shepherd
Romans 16:17 - avoid those who create dissentions
1 Corinthians 1:10 - I urge that there be no divisions among you

EJ said...

Ryan – Your first comment regarding James 2 and the faith/works issue, you may or may not have read the way that I have attempted to articulate my position. I encourage you to read the following two articles:

the Contender: Is Turning from Sin Legalism?

the Contender: Repentance and Faith: two necessary sides of the same saving coin

These articles were written in opposition to some Protestants who are promoting a “cheap grace” or “easy believism” which hold the position that as long as one prays a prayer one time and they have no fruit (the fruits that accompany a believer are good works) - no evidence of being born again – that these people are truly saved. I reject that notion and believe that we are saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and that the necessary result of being saved in this way is good works.

However, I do agree with my “cheap grace” opponents, who are in opposition to the Roman view, that these same works do not contribute to justification (i.e. the declaration of a sinner to be “not guilty” before God based on the imputed righteousness of Christ), but that they are part of the process of sanctification.

I am writing a new post to try and paint this issue in a more clear light.

As to the denominational issue…

The Church (the Bride of Christ, those whose names have been written down in the book of life) has always been told to watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing and to discern what the teachers are saying, because they may be corrupt and wrong. If these teachers are able to gain the primary positions of authority in a church, we can no longer sit under their tutelage, and must fellowship with the saints under correct and biblical instruction. Is it unfortunate that there are so many denominations? Yes. However one of the more recent events that I can recall where the brevity of the Church was seen was at the “Together for the Gospel” conference in Louisville Kentucky. At this conference, men (mostly pastors) from all sorts of liturgical backgrounds and various theological schools (differences in eschatology, ecclesiology, pneumatology, etc) gathered together to celebrate their common agreement on the foundational doctrines of the church – that of Christ and the Gospel!

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