Theological debate is not loving or God's way?
We will endeavour to reply briefly to most of your points, not because you (incorrectly) write 'I will not get into theologicial [sic] debate, there is no love in that and that isn't Gods way', but because we have already supplied answers to many of your points in replying to other e-mails. Perhaps you have never considered the reason for Paul writing letters to the churches - or Roman Catholic apologists responding to criticism? We are sure that you did not really mean to write that these men did not follow 'God's way' or failed to show 'love'.Catholics are against the occult?
What is 'the church' founded on?
We are glad to read you are against the occult. Unfortunately, Catholics are not the only people claiming to love God and follow Christ while indulging in some form of the occult through ignorance. Presumably you are responding to something we wrote concerning those in the Roman Catholic Church who dabble in such things? A major factor in such dangerous practices is ignorance of Scripture which is the only true guide to the truth and also supplies enough guidelines to keep us away from error.
Jesus said his flesh was real food and his blood real drink?
Our 'church' - or rather 'fellowship of believers' (2 Peter 1:5-9; 1 John 3:11-24) - is founded on faith and obedience to the Word of God, which is found only in the inspired Bible, and therefore to our God and Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 8:6-7):
6 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. 7 For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.
The claims of Christ are found only in the Bible and the defence given by the Apostle Peter is very enlightening:
AC 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is " `the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. ' AC 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
The "stoneship" of Jesus, based on this passage in Psalms, was a familiar theme in early Christianity, as shown by Acts 4:11 and 1 Peter 2:7. Although there is no specific reference to the Resurrection in the Psalm, Jeremias (Jeremias, J. Jesus' Promise to the Nations, Translated by John Bowden. London: SCM, 1958) remarks: "The early community found in Psalm 118:22 scriptural evidence for the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Crucified is the rejected stone which in the resurrection is made by God the chief corner-stone in the heavenly sanctuary (Acts 4:11), to be manifested as such in the parousia" (TDNT, 1:793). In Acts 4:11-12, Peter is inspired to double use of the verb sothenai ("to be saved") to mean both "restoration to health" physically and "preservation from eternal death" which spiritually allows Peter to move easily from the healing of the cripple to the salvation of mankind and, therefore, from a defensive to an aggressive witness. And in his proclamation two quite early and primitive Christological motifs are employed. The first of these is that of "the rejected stone," which has become "the capstone" of the building. In Judaism there was a frequent word-play between the words for "stone" (eben) and "son" (ben) - rooted generally in the Old Testament (cf. Exodus 28:9; Joshua 4:6-8, 20-21; 1 Kings 18:31; Isaiah 54:11-13; Lamentations 4:1-2; Zechariah 9:16) - which attained Messianic expression in the combination of the stone and Son of Man imagery in Daniel 2:34-35 and 7:13-14 and continued to be used through the early rabbinic period (cf. Gen R 68.11; Exod R 29; Pseudo-Jonathan Targum on Exod 39:7). It was for this reason, evidently, that Jesus concluded his parable of the vineyard and the rejected son (Mark 12:1-12) with the quotation of Psalm 118:22-23: "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes." And it is this motif that Peter picks up here in his quotation of Psalm 118:22, building on the associations of "stone" and "son."
In the first-century A.D. Jewish Testament of Solomon 22:7-23:4, the expression "the stone at the head of the corner" (ho lithos eis kephalen gonias) unambiguously refers to the final capstone or capstone placed on the summit of the Jerusalem temple to complete the whole edifice. Peter quotes Psalm 118:22 in this connection. Yet there are also within Judaism instances of the "stone imagery" referring to a "foundation stone," a usage that employs Isaiah 28:16 for support (cf. lQS 8.4; b Yoma 54a). Apparently the "stone imagery" was used variously in Late Judaism. This same variety is reflected in the New Testament, for there the three Christological stone passages (in addition to Mark 12:10-11; Acts 4:11; cf. Luke 20:18; Romans 9:33; 1 Corinthians 3:11; 1 Peter 2:4-8) have varying nuances. Here, however, while elsewhere in the New Testament the ideas of a "foundation stone" and a "stumbling stone" based respectively on Isaiah 28:16 and 8:14 are dominant, the thought of Jesus as the rejected stone that becomes the capstone and completes the edifice is dominant (cf. Psalm 118:22).
The second early christological motif in Peter's proclamation is "Salvation." In the longer Isaiah scroll of the DSS, "God's Salvation" and "Salvation" appear as Jewish designations of the expected Davidic Messiah (1Q Isa 51.4-5, as shown by the use of the third person masculine suffix and pronoun in connection with the expression "my Salvation"). Likewise, "Salvation" is used as a Messianic title in other Qumran literature (cf. CD 9.43, 54; 1QH 7.18-19; 4QFlor on 2 Samuel 7:14 and in connection with Amos 9:11), in various inter-testamental writings (cf. Jub 31:19; also T Dan 5:10; T Naph 8:3; T Gad 8:1; T Jos 19:11, though the provenance of the Greek Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs is debated), and in the rabbinic materials (cf. b Berakoth 56b-57a).
Luke has already stressed this early Christological motif in Zechariah's hymn of praise (Luke 1:69, "a horn of salvation"), in Simeon's prayer (Luke 2:30, "your salvation"), and in introducing the ministry of John the Baptist (Luke 3:6, "God's salvation"). Now in addressing the Sanhedrin, to whom such a Messianic designation was doubtless well known, Peter proclaims, "Salvation is found in no one else [than in `Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead,' (v. 10)], for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (v. 12). There was nothing of compromise or accommodation in Peter's preaching. As this magnificent declaration shows, he was wholly committed to the uniqueness of Jesus as the only Savior. Peter and the other apostles never watered down the fact that apart from Jesus there is no salvation for anyone. (Ref. The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Frank E. Gaebelein, General Editor)
Perhaps you think we haven't looked at some of these points because we have not written extensively on these matters on the website? We have fully considered the Papal Roman Catholic position on the Eucharist - see Addendum - and there is absolutely no truth in your claim that Jesus 'said his flesh was real food and his blood real drink (that was probibly removed from whatever translation of the bible you have).' Perhaps you accept the addition of the word 'real' because the Papal Roman Catholic Church has added this word - and others - to the Scriptures, for it certainly does not appear in the manuscript evidence, and is stated without support in this manner at the first website you reference:
The Roman Catholic Church has consistently held fast to the belief in the Real Presence. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as "the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all sacraments tend." In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained." "This presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present."
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church: paragraph 1374
There is absolutely no Biblical justification for these additions by the Papal Roman Catholic Church and even your recommended website does not attempt to add them - or even explain the reason for their claims. People 'deserted' him because they misunderstood what He was claiming (see Addendum).Even if Rome were wrong about the Eucharist - it would still be alright with God?
'Visual Eucharistic Miracles' prove Rome is correct?
Since the Papal Roman Catholic priesthood is utterly un-Scriptural, anything they do is suspect. They certainly do not have any special 'calling' to perform any sacrament whatsoever. God will not respond to those who presume to take a 'priesthood' upon themselves. Such presumption was one of the first sure signs that king Saul had started on the slippery road to apostasy (1 Samuel 13).
The Eucharist - as possible as the Incarnation?
Have you really not considered that Satan is perfectly able and prepared to counterfeit 'miracles' and the Papal Roman Catholic Church is full of such deceptions? There are excellent grounds to reject the authenticity of the 'Shroud of Turin.' Blood type, whether consistent between alleged 'miracles' or not, is not conclusive evidence for authenticity for we clearly have no idea of the blood type of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Blind unthinking faith is required to be a Christian?
'Nothing is impossible for God' (Luke 1:37), but He will not contradict Himself. If the Eucharist was really the ingestion of the 'literal' flesh and blood of Christ, then Christians would be cannibals! Cannibalism is a punishment in Scripture and the prophetic threat for Israel's disobedience (Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:53, 57; Ezekiel 5:10). It was to befall Jerusalem both in Old Testament times (Lamentations 2:20; 4:10) and in New Testament times (cf. Josephus, War, VI, 201-13 [iii.4]). Many pagans use the Papal Roman Catholic belief in the Eucharist as an excuse to continue in cannibalism. Athenagoras (161-180 A.D.) was a Christian apologist of exceptional rhetorical ability and a contemporary of Justin and Tatian the Syrian whose "Intercession on Behalf of the Christians," was written to the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus to answer the false charges of cannibalism and incest.
The good lives of Papal saints proves that Jesus acted with them?
Yes - it does take faith to be a Christian. But, it is never blind unthinking faith. The Bible has been preserved for us so that we will not be blown 'tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming' (Ephesians 4:14). The fact that the Popes of the Papal Roman Catholic Church have always taught contrary to the Bible - and have often contradicted each others' heresies - proves that Rome is not what she claims to be. As we wrote in reply to the claims of the Christadelphians (http://www.thechristianexpositor.org/page64.html ):
'... the Roman Catholics began deifying Mary many years ago. The term "Mother of God" was first applied to her by the Council of Ephesus, 431 A.D. and she is now considered joint mediator with Christ - with more prayer offered to her than to the Son or the Father - despite the complete absence of Scriptural support. Hippolytus (third century writer) recorded that 'Pope' Callistus (221-227 AD) was Unitarian. 'Pope' Liberius (358 AD) embraced Arianism and anathematised the great Trinitarian defender, Athanasius, 'Pope' Zozimus (417-418 AD) embraced the Pelagian heresy, and 'Pope' Honorius (625-638 AD) specifically taught the Monothelite heresy (that Christ had only one will & therefore denied either His deity or His humanity) - which makes him a CD bed-fellow - and he was subsequently anathematised & condemned by Popes and their councils for 800 years! Rome has been an enemy of orthodoxy!
Papists can teach others things that they cannot learn from the Bible?
Have you never considered the 'good lives' led by people in many other religions? Are you willing to accept all of them as 'saints' too? We certainly know that your current papal incumbent is likely to accept anyone as a bedfellow, just as he accepts the Dalai Lama (who rejects belief in 'God' but allows others to worship him) as a 'great spiritual leader'!
Which Jesus do you love? The Papal Roman Catholic Jesus who cannot save you to the uttermost but, according to the Popes, makes it necessary for you to strive to do good works to assist in your own salvation and of others, and then requires you to suffer in their invented purgatory for an unknown period of time? Of course, for those in the 'know' (Popes, 'Mother' Theresa etc.), there are supposedly little assists to heaven - such as wearing the (non-Biblical!) scapular.
Failure to 'discern the Eucharistic truth' brings Judgement?
How can you claim that there is 'much I could teach you about Gods love and Mercy that you DO NOT know'? Do you have some special 'gnosis' that is unavailable to every Bible believing Christian? This is contrary to the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who said (John 16:7 & 13-15):
'But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go I will send him to you. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.'
The promise of the Holy Spirit was made to everyone who truly believes, not to a select group whether they call themselves pope, bishop or priest.
The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is Biblical?
The passage to which you refer (1 Corinthians 11:29) is talking about partaking of the emblems of Christ's sacrifice, bread and wine, with 'discernment' of the holiness and seriousness of the sacrament and there is never any mention in Scripture of some mystical transubstantiation occurring:
26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 1CO 11:27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
Participating "in an unworthy manner" (v27) entails coming to the table in an irreverent and sinful way and so sinning against the body and blood of Christ. This is what some of the Corinthians had been doing (v20-22: 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!). Of course, any other sinful approach to the table would be unworthy also. But the apostle does not teach that, in eating and drinking the elements, Christians are physically eating of Christ. The supper is a memorial feast (v24) and a means of grace. Paul shows how to guard against unworthy partaking of the Lord's Supper (v28-30). "To examine [oneself]" is to put oneself to the test as to the attitude of his heart, his outward conduct, and his understanding of the true nature and purpose of the Supper. This is making the Supper a means of spiritual grace. By self-examination the believer guards against eating and drinking to his own judgment through not recognizing the importance of this Supper that commemorates the death of Christ. That Paul is not speaking about God's eternal judgment is seen by the lack of the article with krima. It is "judgment," not "the judgment." Examples of such judgment are given - sickness and death. The purpose of self-examination (v31-32) is to come to the table prepared in heart. Paul's teaching justifies the wholesome practice of some churches in having a communion preparatory service that affords opportunity for such self-examination. Here he quickly adds that even when a Christian is judged by the Lord, this judgment is not punitive to destruction, but a form of fatherly discipline (Hebrews 12:5) to bring God's child to repentance, so that he will not be finally and totally judged with the unsaved world (Revelation 20:12-15).
We do not doubt your sincerity any more than we would doubt the sincerity of a Mormon or a Buddhist. But it is a sincerity based on feelings and devotion to men, not on faithfully following Scripture prompted by the Holy Spirit who only leads those who love the true God into 'all truth' (Romans 10:2-4):
For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge, 3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
The constant contradictions of the Papal Roman Catholic Church over many centuries proves that the popes of Rome are not representatives of Christ in any way whatsoever, and they merely lead you to follow 'another gospel' (Galatians 1:6-9) and worship a man-made God and another Christ. If you believe otherwise, you will also have to accept the leaders of the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. who have also constantly contradicted themselves. Interestingly, the website you recommend attempts to blame the formation of these other cults on the Protestant Reformation, while the truth is that they are the result of any group of men and women putting the teachings of men above that of the Bible - which is exactly what Papal Rome has done.
Again, thank you for taking the time to write, Anthony.
We do agree that every day is a great day - when you know the real Jesus - for God does everything 'more than you could possibly understand.'
Please do not continue to rely on the errors of Papal Rome to put you in good stead with God, but follow the examples of the Bereans (Acts 17:11):
11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Sincerely, in Christ Jesus
Further material - now available on this site in the following referenced article - was also supplied to Anthony Madden:
We heard nothing more from Anthony …