(Continued from page 329)
Papal Councils and Augustine's opinion did not prevent division over the Apocryphal books after 419 AD!
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
3. Fixation in the African and Gallican Churches
It was some little time before the African Church perfectly adjusted its New Testament to the Damasan Canon. Optatus of Mileve (370-85) does not used [sic] Hebrews. St. Augustine, while himself receiving the integral Canon, acknowledged that many contested this Epistle. But in the Synod of Hippo (393) the great Doctor's view prevailed, and the correct Canon was adopted. However, it is evident that it found many opponents in Africa, since three councils there at brief intervals--Hippo, Carthage, in 393; Third of Carthage in 397; Carthage in 419--found it necessary to formulate catalogues. The introduction of Hebrews was an especial crux, and a reflection of this is found in the first Carthage list, where the much vexed Epistle, though styled of St. Paul, is still numbered separately from the time-consecrated group of thirteen. The catalogues of Hippo and Carthage are identical with the Catholic Canon of the present. In Gaul some doubts lingered for a time, as we find Pope Innocent I, in 405, sending a list of the Sacred Books to one of its bishops, Exsuperius of Toulouse.
So at the close of the first decade of the fifth century the entire Western Church was in possession of the full Canon of the New Testament. In the East, where, with the exception of the Edessene Syrian Church, approximate completeness had long obtained without the aid of formal enactments, opinions were still somewhat divided on the Apocalypse. But for the Catholic Church as a whole the content of the New Testament was definitely fixed, and the discussion closed.
Rome's 'Tradition' invents un-Scriptural doctrines & practices, such as the 'Brown scapular' of Mary!
TCE: Note that, while The Catholic Encyclopedia is forced to admit that the opinion of 'the great Doctor' Augustine was not over-riding, for 'it is evident that it found many opponents in Africa, since three councils there at brief intervals - Hippo, Carthage, in 393; Third of Carthage in 397; Carthage in 419 - found it necessary to formulate catalogues', it still makes the false claim: 'opinions were still somewhat divided on the Apocalypse. But for the Catholic Church as a whole the content of the New Testament was definitely fixed, and the discussion closed.' As we have shown - there was definitely still division over the apocryphal books and the discussion was most definitely not closed.
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
The final process of this Canon's development had been twofold: positive, in the permanent consecration of several writings which had long hovered on the line between canonical and apocryphal ; and negative, by the definite elimination of certain privileged apocrypha that had enjoyed here and there a canonical or quasi-canonical standing. In the reception of the disputed books a growing conviction of Apostolic authorship had much to do, but the ultimate criterion had been their recognition as inspired by a great and ancient division of the Catholic Church. Thus, like Origen, St. Jerome adduces the testimony of the ancients and ecclesiastical usage in pleading the cause of the Epistle to the Hebrews (De Viris Illustribus, lix). There is no sign that the Western Church ever positively repudiated any of the New Testament deuteros; not admitted from the beginning, these had slowly advanced towards a complete acceptance there. On the other hand, the apparently formal exclusion of Apocalypse from the sacred catalogue of certain Greek Churches was a transient phase, and supposes its primitive reception. Greek Christianity everywhere, from about the beginning of the sixth century, practically had a complete and pure New Testament canon. ...
TCE: How ironic that The Catholic Encyclopedia should claim that 'The final process of this Canon's development had been twofold: positive, in the permanent consecration of several writings which had long hovered on the line between canonical and apocryphal ; and negative, by the definite elimination of certain privileged apocrypha that had enjoyed here and there a canonical or quasi-canonical standing.' That the writers cannot see the absurdity of failing to easily recognise the genuine 'canonical' books - and thus proving that the Holy Spirit could not have been at work in the Papal Roman Catholic Church [leading 'into all truth' (John 16:7ff.)!] - but also bemoaning the 'loss' of fake 'Apocryphal books' because 'The final process of this Canon's development had been ... negative, by the definite elimination of certain privileged apocrypha that had enjoyed here and there a canonical or quasi-canonical standing' reveals the true spirit that rules over Papal Rome. How could any who claim to follow the Word of God even talk about 'privileged apocrypha that had enjoyed here and there a canonical or quasi-canonical standing'? If Papal Rome really sought the truth these books would never have enjoyed such a 'standing'! They claim, of the 'disputed books', that 'the ultimate criterion had been their recognition as inspired by a great and ancient division of the Catholic Church' while the truth is that it was always a lottery amongst those making up the 'Church Fathers'.
Again we see the repeated contradictions that simply cannot over-turn the fact that, if 'Papal Infallibility' existed, it would never have taken centuries to discover the true canon of the Bible - which Papal Rome has never managed to do anyway! The fact that small numbers of Christians who had access to part, or occasionally the whole, of the Canon accepted what they read through the leading of the Holy Spirit 'into all truth', as promised (John 16:7ff.), and this fact is impossible to over-turn. The apostles were emphatically promised inspiration for the completion of Scripture - and that they would be shown all the things they needed to know:
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall he speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you. (John 16:12-15).
Christ had emphasised this same truth earlier (John 14:26): 'But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.'
In 1 John 2:19-29 the apostle John emphasises the difference between those who had 'deserted' and those who knew the truth - and the source of that truth:
'They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming. If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him.
In 1 Corinthians 2:4-16 the apostle Paul writes a similar truth:
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
In fulfilment of Christ's promise (particularly that the Holy Spirit would: 'teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you') the New Testament revelation was completed under His inspiration and the apostolic writings were accepted as Scripture by all who were under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit - which would certainly be many in the first century churches. Later, as the heresies that they warned about (even in these same verses) multiplied, and as the increasing confusion and corruption of the 'Church Fathers' testifies, those who took heed to 'seducing spirits' (1 Timothy. 4:3 - as men such as Jerome clearly did in downgrading marriage and embracing ascetism, etc.) strayed further and further from the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as their work reveals to this day.
The apostle Peter, speaking to the Christians about Paul's writings, referred to them as Scripture and placed them on par with the Old Testament prophets:
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:15-16).
The apostles knew that the Lord had promised them all inspired truth (John 16:7-15), and they knew that they were receiving revelation. Consider, for example, Paul's statement to the churches in Galatia:
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12).
Also consider the words of Paul to the church at Thessalonia:
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the Word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
The Thessalonian believers knew that Paul had given them the Word of God!
Consider, also, the words of Peter to the Christians in the first century churches:
This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour. (2 Peter 3:12).
Peter reminded the Christians that the commandments of the apostles are on par with the Old Testament Scriptures. Obviously this was something that the apostles taught to all of the churches. They could not have been put in remembrance of something that they had not already been taught.
We also know the Bible contains the complete Word of God because we are told the Faith was once delivered to the saints:
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3).
The faith refers to the body of New Testament truth delivered by the apostles and prophets through inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the term 'once delivered' tells us that this body of truth was given during one particular period of time and was completed in referring to the New Testament Scriptures. Thus this verse refutes the idea that the Christian faith has been progressively given through the Papal Roman Catholic Church.
While some Catholic apologists admit that the Church 'made some mistakes' and 'there were a few bad popes' they still try and insist that Papal Rome couldn't be the whore described so clearly in Revelation 17 because Christ promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the church (Matthew 16:18), and Papal Roman Catholicism was the Church - despite all evidence to the contrary! Many of the 'Protestant' groups you revile (sometimes for good reason because they never fully shook off the errors they took away with them when they left Rome, or which they attached themselves to fairly recently, after starting off well) are deceived by Papal Rome's misrepresentation of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel and, by participating in her errors, bring the wrath of God against themselves.
For centuries after Christ walked the earth and long before the Papal Catholic Church was invented by Constantine, or the Reformation woke up to the truth, simple Christian fellowships existed in many nations surrounding Israel and then further afield as the evangelisation commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ continued. These believers fought the heresies in their day, just as they were soundly warned to do in the Word of God, and those who followed them were also equally capable of recognising from Scripture the heresies and hypocrisy practiced by Rome and its popes. For at least a thousand years before the Reformation the true church was composed of multitudes of simple Christian believers who were not part of the Roman system and they refused to be called 'Catholics,' and worshipped independently of the Roman hierarchy. It is a fact that they were pursued to imprisonment and death since at least the end of the fourth century and, despite the attempts of Papal Rome to destroy all the evidence of their existence, ancient records still exist, such as the 'Edict of the Emperors Gratian, Valentinian II, and Theodosius I' of February 27, 380, which established Roman Catholicism as the state religion and (in part) declared:
We order those who follow this doctrine to receive the title of Catholic Christians, but others we judge to be mad and raving and worthy of incurring the disgrace of heretical teaching, nor are their assemblies to receive the name of churches. They are to be punished not only by Divine retribution but also by our own measures, which we have decided in accordance with Divine inspiration (Sidney Z. Ehler, John B. Morrall, trans. and eds., Church and State Through the Centuries, London, 1954, p7).
It is a fact that Hitler used the same kind of 'coded' terminology (having already told Papal Rome that he was going to complete what they had failed to do properly) in public to let the German nation know that his 'Final Solution' to the 'Jewish Problem' was underway while, in private amongst his supporters (mainly SS types!), he laughed about those he had already murdered and those who were to share the same fate. The recordings and films of Hitler's rants are regularly screened on 'The History Channel'.
The early non-Catholic Christians had, out of conscience before God and in obedience to His Word, separated themselves from what they sincerely called, even in their day, 'the whore of Babylon.' Concerning them, Bishop Alvaro Palayo, an official of the Curia in Avignon, wrote grudgingly:
'Considering the Papal Court has filled the whole Church with simony, and the consequent corruption of religion, it is natural enough the heretics should call the Church the whore' (De Planet. Eccl. ii.28, cited by J.H. Ignaz von Döllinger, The Pope and the Council, London, 1869, p185).
Papal Rome responded by hounding these genuine believers (labelling them 'heretics') to their deaths by the hundreds of thousands as the Crusades of the popes were organized, just as they were determined to drive Jews and Muslims from the Holy Land. That Papal Rome is known to have tried to exterminate anyone who didn't accept 'her truth' is also irrefutable and the history of the tumultuous periods that followed, particularly the Dark Ages caused largely by the Popes, would also witness a wider rediscovery of Biblical Evangelicalism that had for centuries been the domain of persecuted sects dating back to the Novationists of the post-Nicean period, followed by such as the Waldenseans (aka Waldensians) of the Piedmont Valleys above Turin, Italy, the Lollard followers of John Wycliffe, and the Bohemian Brethren followers of Jan Huss ('Hussites'). Even within Rome we find the Italian champion of the Gospel, the early 'Reformer' Savaranola of Florence who, prior to his martyrdom by the papacy, decried the idolatry and the moral and financial corruption of Rome and pointed crowds back towards a Biblical faith that he had recognised to be missing from that taught by popes.
E.H. Broadbent calls these Bible-believing Christians The Pilgrim Church in his book of that name:
In the Alpine valleys of Piedmont there had been for centuries congregations of believers calling themselves brethren, who came later to be widely known as Waldenses, or Vaudois. ... In the South of France ... the congregations of believers who met apart from the Catholic Church were numerous and increasing. They are often called Albigenses [and] had intimate connections with the brethren - whether called Waldenses, Poor Men of Lyons, Bogomils, or otherwise - in the surrounding countries, where churches spread among the various peoples.
In 1209 [Pope Innocent III] proclaimed a crusade against [them]. Indulgences, such as had been given to the [Holy Land] Crusaders ... were now offered to all who would take part in the easier work of destroying the most fruitful provinces of France. This, and the prospect of booty and license of every kind, attracted hundreds of thousands of men. Under the presidence of high clerical dignitaries and led by Simon de Montfort, a military leader of great ability ... the most beautiful and cultivated part of Europe at that time was ravaged. ... (E.H. Broadbent, The Pilgrim Church, London, 1931, pp. 88-89).
Thus those who chose the truth of the Bible rather than bend the knee to Papal Rome were burned at the stake or slain with the sword when their towns and villages were utterly destroyed by papal armies. Papal Catholic apologists falsely accuse them of heresies and abominable practices to this day and, despite the fact that Rome made sure that most of their records were destroyed, the accounts of their trials that survived reveal that they held beliefs similar to Bible-believing evangelicals of today.
A nineteenth-century Roman Catholic author admitted:
'The pope [Innocent III] and the prelates were of opinion that it was lawful to make use of force, to see whether those who were not reclaimed out of a sense of their salvation might be so by the fear of punishments, and even of temporal death.' (Du Pin, The Inquisition, Vol. ii, pp. 151-54, cited in R.W. Thompson, The Papacy and the Civil Power, New York, 1876, p418)
While we occasionally meet people who have a slim grasp of the history of the 'Crusades' they know nothing of the atrocities committed before the armies reached the Holy Land, or their belief that the land of Israel belonged to the Roman Catholic Church, not to the Jews. When, in 1096, Pope Urban II decreed the first crusade to retake Jerusalem (from the occupying Muslims) the massive armies he created massacred Jews across Europe on their way to the Holy Land. Thus history records one of the acts that inspired Hitler's Holocaust, for almost their first act upon taking Jerusalem 'for Holy Mother Church' was to herd all of the Jews into the synagogue and set it ablaze! It is a fact that Papal Rome slaughtered Jews by the thousands before Hitler killed his millions in the name of Papal Rome - and 'Holy Rome' has killed far more Jews (and Christians) than pagan Rome ever achieved. These facts of history cannot be swept under the carpet and very few have ever heard that similar crusades involving huge armies were also fought against genuine Christians who would not submit to Rome.
Exact figures are not available, but the slaughter of 'heretical' Christians by the popes probably ran into the millions during the thousand years before the Reformation, e.g. in the city of Beziers alone about 60,000 men, women, and children were wiped out in one crusade (R.W. Thompson, The Papacy and the Civil Power, New York, 1876, p418; cf. Peter de Rosa, Vicars of Christ: The Dark Side of the Papacy, Crown Publishers, 1988, p73; cf. Broadbent, ibid., p88-89). Innocent III (AD 1198-1216) considered the annihilation of these particular heretics 'the crowning achievement of his papacy'! In spite of Papal Rome's periodic massacres, groups of independent Christians grew in numbers long before the days of Luther and the 'Reformation' and when they were seemingly wiped out in one area they sprang up in another just as illustrated by the saying of Tertullian: 'the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church' (Acts 8:1,4; 11:19-21).
It is typical or Papal Rome that, when the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association acquired the printing rights for a special edition of the Henry H. Halley Bible Commentary and entitled it 'Pocket Bible Handbook' it still contained the details of Papal Rome's martyrdom of millions who would not bow the knee to her false doctrines. However, when the Billy Graham Crusade Edition [in 1962, 1964 and 1969] was produced his 'Association' removed all these pages so that anyone reading the 'Handbook' would never read the many pages which detailed the historical facts reciting the evil of many of the popes as well as Rome's persecution and slaughter of Christians for centuries even before the Reformation. Graham's group co-operates with Papal Rome (e.g. about 400 Catholic 'counsellors' were involved in Graham's 1990 'Crusade' at Nassau Coliseum, Long Island) so that those who came forward at the 'Crusade' were simply 'shepherded' back to the heretical Vatican cult from which they may have temporarily escaped and were supplied with the carefully edited copy of Halley's 'Handbook'! Here is an example of the facts that Halley originally detailed (and which are still found in copies sold to this day), but which were removed from the specially 'doctored' Crusade editions:
[The Albigenses] preached against the immoralities of the [Catholic] priesthood, pilgrimages, worship of saints and images ... opposed the claims of the Church of Rome; made great use of the Scriptures... . By 1167 they embraced possibly a majority of the population of South France ... In 1208 a crusade was ordered by Pope Innocent III; a bloody war of extermination followed, scarcely parallelled in history; town after town was put to the sword and the inhabitants murdered without distinction of age or sex ... within 100 years the Albigenses were utterly rooted out. [Two centuries later] between 1540 and 1570 no fewer than 900,000 Protestants were put to death in the Pope's war for the extermination of the Waldenses. Think of monks and priests directing, with heartless cruelty and inhuman brutality, the work of torturing and burning alive innocent men and women, and doing it in the Name of Christ, by the direct order of the 'Vicar of Christ'! ... on the night of August 24, 1572, 70,000 Huguenots, including most of their leaders, were massacred [St. Bartholomew's massacre]. Some 200,000 [more] perished as martyrs ... [and] 500,000 fled to Protestant countries. (Henry H. Halley, Pocket Bible Handbook, Chicago, 1944, pp. 608-13).
The French Vaudois incurred the wrath of Pope Innocent VIII (1484-92) 'for daring to maintain their own religion in preference to that of Rome' and, in 1487, this pope raised a crusade against them in which he promised 'the remission of all sins to everyone who should slay a heretic' and ordered any bishop removed who neglected to purge his diocese from heretics (Muston, History of the Waldenses, vol. i., p. 31, cited in Thompson, op. cit., p. 489; cf. Broadbent, op. cit., pp. 100-01).
Two authors published books (Samuel Morland, History of the Evangelical Churches of Piedmont, written in 1648; and George Stanley Faber, An Inquiry into the History and Theology of the Ancient Valdenses and Albigenses, written in 1838) which drew on a number of other works going back into the thirteenth century and revealed the depth of Papal Rome's atrocities against Christ's church. Piedmont was an area in France populated by the Albigenses and others declared 'heretics' by Rome. The surviving written and public testimony at their trials make it clear that the Vaudois, Albigenses, Waldenses, and other similar groups, shared the beliefs of the Reformers, as Martin Luther acknowledged:
We are not the first to declare the papacy to be the kingdom of Antichrist, since for many years before us so many and such great men (whose number is large and whose memory is eternal) have undertaken to express the same thing so clearly and plainly (Plass, What Luther Says, Vol. 1, p36).
Papal Rome has long lost its power to 'lawfully' exert the death penalty against heretics such as ourselves - although those days may return in the near future if the plan for 'One World Religion' plotted through popes such as John Paul II comes to fruition - but it is still difficult to be a contemporary evangelical, Bible-believing, Christian in parts of Latin America and in Catholic strongholds of Europe in our day. The truth is so suppressed in such countries that most Catholics are unlikely to ever be confronted with the Biblical gospel their entire lifetime. Many quotes have already appeared on our pages - and many more are available - that reveal the antagonism of Rome towards Christ's true Gospel.
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
D. SUBSEQUENT HISTORY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON
1. To the Protestant Reformation
The New Testament in its canonical aspect has little history between the first years of the fifth and the early part of the sixteenth century. As was natural in ages when ecclesiastical authority had not reached its modern centralization, there were sporadic divergences from the common teaching and tradition. There was no diffused contestation of any book, but here and there attempts by individuals to add something to the received collection. In several ancient Latin manuscripts the spurious Epistle to the Laodiceans is found among the canonical letters, and, in a few instances, the apocryphal III Corinthians. The last trace of any Western contradiction within the Church to the Canon of the New Testament reveals a curious transplantation of Oriental doubts concerning the Apocalypse. An act of the Synod of Toledo, held in 633, states that many contest the authority of that book, and orders it to be read in the churches under pain of excommunication. The opposition in all probability came from the Visigoths, who had recently been converted from Arianism. The Gothic Bible had been made under Oriental auspices at a time when there was still much hostility to Apocalypse in the East.
TCE: Strange that groups within Rome should attempt 'to add something to the received collection' and allow heretical works to be 'found among the canonical letters' while remaining so ignorant about the true canon that it was necessary for her to threaten 'excommunication ... [to any expressing] doubts concerning the Apocalypse'! But no surprise that Papal Rome, infamous for perpetually embracing heresies such as the 'Epistle to the Laodiceans ... and the apocryphal III Corinthians', should attempt to foist the blame for such a colossal mistake ('in all probability') on recent converts - 'the Visigoths'!
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
2. The New Testament and the Council of Trent (1546)
This ecumenical synod had to defend the integrity of the New Testament as well as the Old against the attacks of the pseudo-Reformers, Luther, basing his action on dogmatic reasons and the judgment of antiquity, had discarded Hebrews, James, Jude, and Apocalypse as altogether uncanonical. Zwingli could not see in Apocalypse a Biblical book. ɶcolampadius placed James, Jude, II Peter, II and III John in an inferior rank. Even a few Catholic scholars of the Renaissance type, notably Erasmus and Cajetan, had thrown some doubts on the canonicity of the above-mentioned Antilegomena. As to whole books, the Protestant doubts were the only ones the Fathers of Trent took cognizance of; there was not the slightest hesitation regarding the authority of any entire document. But the deuterocanonical parts gave the council some concern, viz., the last twelve verses of Mark, the passage about the Bloody Sweat in Luke, and the Pericope Adulteræ in John. Cardinal Cajetan had approvingly quoted an unfavourable comment of St. Jerome regarding Mark, xvi, 9-20; Erasmus had rejected the section on the Adulterous Woman as unauthentic. Still, even concerning these no doubt of authenticity was expressed at Trent ; the only question was as to the manner of their reception. In the end these portions were received, like the deuterocanonical books, without the slightest distinction. And the clause 'cum omnibus suis partibus' regards especially these portions.--For an account of the action of Trent on the Canon, the reader is referred back to the respective section of the article: II. The Canon of the Old Testament in the Catholic Church.
TCE: Why does The Catholic Encyclopedia need to dissemble about Luther and his doubts ('Luther ... had discarded Hebrews, James, Jude, and Apocalypse as altogether uncanonical') when he included all 27 New Testament books in his translation of the Bible (the New Testament being first published in 1522 and the complete Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha, in 1534) especially when it is clear that 'The Apocalypse' was a stumbling-block to the 'Alexandrian fathers', as well as many other prominent figures of all persuasions? But we have no record of the progenitors of The Christian Expositor ever expressing doubt about any of the accepted 66 books of the Bible which have appeared in works distributed by orthodox Christian groups for many years!
But what of the fairly recent authorities in the Bible languages? Erasmus, who appears to have had the linguistic skills if not the spiritual gifts, at least brought an inquiring mind to the problems of the canon and, in his introduction to his Greek New Testament (1st Edition, 1516) he made several comments on New Testament books. He rejected the Pauline origin of the Epistle to the Hebrews on grounds of style and doctrine, but expressed the view that this does not make it of less value, admitting that it was most closely akin to the spirit and soul of Paul. The Epistle of James, in his view, did not show the dignity and gravity of an apostle, although Erasmus affirmed its authority, mentioning in this connection the doubts of so great a man as Jerome. He noted doubts on 2 Peter and Jude and regarded 2 and 3 John as by the Presbyter. He distinguished the style of the Apocalypse from the style of John's gospel and 1 John, and disputed that John the evangelist was the author, one of his arguments being drawn from the fact that in the gospel the author does not give his own name, while in the Apocalypse he does! He followed the dictates of his own reflections upon the canon, recognizing the right of other spiritual men to come to their own conclusions, while dutifully submitting to the authority of the Church. The obvious question to ask is whether anyone would so readily acquiesce to the authority of Papal Rome if that church had not proven beyond doubt that to question her was to risk your very life which might be taken in the most vile manner and often after horrendous torture designed to extract other names who might also dare to question the 'Might of Rome'! What was only implicit in Erasmus, a humanist who flirted with offices (including the 'priesthood') in Papal Rome, became explicit in Luther in his eventual rejection of the supreme authority of the Church. Because Erasmus' opinions ran counter to ecclesiastical policy, his attitude was condemned later at the Theological Faculty of Paris in 1526 with the contention that it was not right for a Christian to call in question the names which the Church has received as authors.
Cardinal Cajetan opposed Luther at Augsburg in 1518 but, nevertheless, shared something of his freedom of approach to the canon and he appealed to the authority of Jerome for disputing Hebrews, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude. Jerome did not reject these books but Cajetan favoured 2 Peter and dismissed the Apocalypse. Regarding Hebrews, he considered that if it was not by Paul it could not clearly be canonical and he admitted that 2 and 3 John and Jude are of less authority than the rest of the scriptural books. It is extraordinary that no action was taken by Papal Rome against such views until after the death of Cajetan in 1534 and Papal Roman Catholics who question men like Luther should pay more attention to the doubts expressed by their own men in the same era! His opinions, together with those being expressed by the Reformers (Luther in particular), led to the fateful decrees of the Council of Trent on the canon in 1546. There was considerable difference of opinion over the classification of the canonical books, but the decision of the Council meant that, for the first time, the Bible became an article of faith of the Church accompanied by an anathema upon all who questioned any part of it. Moreover, the text specified was the Old Vulgate which was to be regarded as 'sacred and canonical.' Clearly, historical criticism played no part in the decisions of this Council, which virtually forbade any further examination of the problems involved. It is worth noting that, in a list of books prepared by Sixtus Senensis (whose opinions were representative of the majority opinion at the Council), a kind of 'deutero-canon' was mentioned, comprising Hebrews, the minor Catholic epistles, the Apocalypse, and three separate passages (Mark 16:9-20 ; Luke 22:43-44 and John 7:53-8:11).
Luther's approach to the New Testament canon introduced the idea of degrees of canonicity within the collection of sacred books. He seems to have had three parts to his New Testament: (1) Those books which were the most valuable - John's gospel and 1 John, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and 1 Peter. These books, he claimed, could teach all that is needful and blessed for the reader to know; (2) Those books which were least esteemed - Hebrews, James, Jude, and the Apocalypse, all four of which he placed at the end of the New Testament; (3) The remaining books - i.e., he considered Hebrews to be by the disciple of an apostle, not by an apostle, and it was therefore not placed on an equal footing with the apostolic epistles. Although he called James 'a right strawy epistle,' he had some esteem for it and sometimes quoted it while denying its apostolic authorship on two grounds: (1) Its contradiction of Paul's doctrine of justification (which it does not contradict, but Luther did not know how to distinguish the way James handled this truth) and (2) the paucity of its references to Christ. Luther explained his concept of apostolicity when expounding the latter point and his work is rejected by orthodox Christians for he believed at one time that even one of the Twelve disciples, such as Peter or like the Apostle Paul, would be no true apostle if he did not testify of Christ. And conversely that if such men as Judas, Annas, Pilate or Herod preached Christ then that would be apostolic! Luther's definitions were clearly faulty at times, being governed by what he conceived to be the true content of the Gospel. While he struggled with the book, he admitted that there are many good sayings in James. Of the other books which he questioned, Jude was considered to be an extract from 2 Peter and could not therefore be placed on an equality with the 'capital books.' The Apocalypse he wrote of, in a typically crude manner, as 'a dumb prophecy' but did not believe anyone was to be hindered if they regarded it as a work of the Apostle John. Although he separated these four books from the rest, Luther claimed that in former times they were regarded in a different light (and, as we have shown in numerous places, this is true of many of the canonical books!). He repeatedly revealed that he did not rely on careful examination of external evidence and his method of criticism was mainly subjective.
In all of this Luther is never shown to be more confused than the 'Church Fathers'!
Calvin exercised most influence in the matter of the canon, for he was not reticent to state his opinions on the Antilegomena. He had no doubt that Hebrews was an apostolic epistle, but denied the Pauline authorship considering the writer to be a disciple of the apostle and claiming that the epistle supported this view. He noted differences of method and style as evidence against Paul being the author and used the same argument for 2 Peter. He claimed it was lacking the genuine 'language' of Peter and came to the conclusion that it must have been produced by one of his disciples writing at the command of Peter. Calvin did not, however, reject the epistle, concluding that 'the majesty of the Spirit of Christ exhibits itself in every part of the epistle.' He recognized why doubts had existed in the Early Church concerning the book of James, but saw insufficient reason for rejecting it, acknowledging that all the New Testament books could not be expected to address the same issue and he thereby distinguished his position from that of Luther. In Jude he found nothing alien to the purity of apostolic doctrine and accepted it in spite of the doubts expressed by 'Church Fathers' and other ancients. He made no mention of the remainder of the oft disputed books - 2 and 3 John and the Apocalypse. While Calvin arrived at his view of canonicity from personal research while not utterly rejecting patristic testimony, by the time Professor of Greek Theodore Beza's New Testament edition (1564) was produced he had overlooked any previous doubts regarding James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Jude, and also considered the Apocalypse canonical, even allowing that conjecture might suggest John Mark as author.
The Catholic Encyclopedia cont. ...
The Tridentine decree defining the Canon affirms the authenticity of the books to which proper names are attached, without however including this in the definition. The order of books follows that of the Bull of Eugenius IV (Council of Florence), except that Acts was moved from a place before Apocalypse to its present position, and Hebrews put at the end of St. Paul's Epistles. The Tridentine order has been retained in the official Vulgate and vernacular Catholic Bibles. The same is to be said of the titles, which as a rule are traditional ones, taken from the Canons of Florence and Carthage. (For the bearing of the Vatican Council on the New Testament, see Part II above.)
3. The New Testament canon outside the Church
The Orthodox Russian and other branches of the Eastern Orthodox Church have a New Testament identical with the Catholic. In Syria the Nestorians possess a Canon almost identical with the final one of the ancient East Syrians; they exclude the four smaller Catholic Epistles and Apocalypse. The Monophysites receive all the book. The Armenians have one apocryphal letter to the Corinthians and two from the same. The Coptic-Arabic Church include with the canonical Scriptures the Apostolic Constitutions and the Clementine Epistles. The Ethiopic New Testament also contains the so-called 'Apostolic Constitutions'.
As for Protestantism, the Anglicans and Calvinists always kept the entire New Testament. But for over a century the followers of Luther excluded Hebrews, James, Jude, and Apocalypse, and even went further than their master by rejecting the three remaining deuterocanonicals, II Peter, II and III John. The trend of the seventeenth century Lutheran theologians was to class all these writings as of doubtful, or at least inferior, authority. But gradually the German Protestants familiarized themselves with the idea that the difference between the contested books of the New Testament and the rest was one of degree of certainty as to origin rather than of instrinsic [sic] character. The full recognition of these books by the Calvinists and Anglicans made it much more difficult for the Lutherans to exclude the New Testament deuteros than those of the Old. One of their writers of the seventeenth century allowed only a theoretic difference between the two classes, and in 1700 Bossuet could say that all Catholics and Protestants agreed on the New Testament canon. The only trace of opposition now remaining in German Protestant Bibles is in the order, Hebrews, coming with James, Jude, and Apocalypse at the end; the first not being included with the Pauline writings, while James and Jude are not ranked with the Catholic Epistles.
The criterion of inspiration (less correctly known as the criterion of canonicity)
Even those Catholic theologians who defend Apostolicity as a test for the inspiration of the New Testament (see above) admit that it is not exclusive of another criterion, viz., Catholic tradition as manifested in the universal reception of compositions as Divinely inspired, or the ordinary teaching of the Church, or the infallible pronouncements of ecumenical councils. This external guarantee is the sufficient, universal, and ordinary proof of inspiration. The unique quality of the Sacred Books is a revealed dogma. Moreover, by its very nature inspiration eludes human observation and is not self-evident, being essentially superphysical and supernatural. Its sole absolute criterion, therefore, is the Holy inspiring Spirit, witnessing decisively to Itself, not in the subjective experience of individual souls, as Calvin maintained, neither in the doctrinal and spiritual tenor of Holy Writ itself, according to Luther, but through the constituted organ and custodian of Its revelations, the Church. All other evidences fall short of the certainty and finality necessary to compel the absolute assent of faith. (See Franzelin, 'De Divinâ Traditione et Scripturâ'; Wiseman, 'Lectures on Christian Doctrine', Lecture ii; also INSPIRATION.)
TCE: Without supplying any evidence The Catholic Encyclopedia claims that Luther's followers 'excluded Hebrews, James, Jude, and Apocalypse, and even went further than their master by rejecting the three remaining deuterocanonicals' while failing to address the facts regarding the Bible translation of Luther - which certainly did not exclude any of these works (as we have just shown)! We have already discussed how Luther ascribed to several books of the New Testament different degrees of doctrinal value and the very fact that The Catholic Encyclopedia labels 'II Peter, II and III John' as 'deuterocanonicals' betrays the real source of erroneous mis-naming of the canon. Attempting to bring in the claim that Papal Rome has somehow been capable of determining the true canon and is in any way led by the Holy Spirit ('infallible pronouncements of ecumenical councils') has easily been refuted by careful examination of the historical facts. Even claims made against the barely 'Reformed Protestant' groups fails to mention how, for example, the Lutheran Bible (1912) eventually junked the Apocrypha and contained the full, orthodox canon. Not that this matters too much now for a large part of the Lutheran tradition has gone back to its vomit (2 Peter 2:22: 'It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, 'The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire') - a subject for another place!
What happened when John XXII was denounced as a heretic by Emperor Louis of Bavaria?
You write: In this discussion it is important to keep in mind what the Church means by [Sacred] Tradition, and not what the protestant community alleges. The term does not refer to legends or mythological accounts, nor does it encompass transitory customs or practices which may change, as circumstances warrant, such as styles of priestly dress, particular forms of devotion to saints, or even liturgical rubrics. Sacred or Apostolic Tradition consists of the teachings that the Apostles passed on orally through their preaching. These teachings largely (perhaps entirely) overlap with those contained in Scripture, but the mode of their transmission is different.
They have been handed down and entrusted to the Church. It is necessary that Christians believe in and follow this tradition as well as the Bible (Luke 10:16). The truth of the faith has been given primarily to the authority of the Church (Ephesians. 3:5), who, with Christ, form the foundation of the Church (Ephesians. 2:20). The Church has been guided by the Holy Spirit, who protects this teaching from corruption (John 14:25-26, 16:13).
What principle operated in the selection of the New Testament writings and their recognition as Divine? The Church is the principle and criterion. Christianity holds the Church (and its Sacred Tradition) as the true criterion.
TCE: This is a massive section direct from:
http://www.catholic.com/tracts/scripture-and-tradition (# not always available)
Roman Catholicism makes the fundamental error that church tradition is as authoritative as the Bible and this allows it to hold such alien doctrines as the papacy, the priesthood, Mary the Queen of Heaven, the saints, the mass, prayers to and for the dead, etc., without support from the Scriptures. The carefully validated Bible used by Protestants reveals these teachings to be false and, careful examination proves, the Apocrypha are also hardly of great help to Papal Rome's attempts to add these false teachings to the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the Roman Catholic Church needs to bring in 'other authorities' and these are found in the official pronouncements of the pope and the Church councils which become as binding upon Catholics as the teachings of the apostles. A Catholic writer expressed this false dogma in the following way:
'The Bible is a chance collection of missionary writings. ... It does not give a general view of revealed truths. Christian gospel. ... We find, welling up between Christ and the Scriptures, the living teaching of the Church guarding and explaining the truth. Through every gap and rift in the Bible message gleam the clear waters of tradition' (Karl Adam, One and Holy, pp. 78,79).
That this view of authority has not changed is made clear by the statements of the Second Vatican Council:
'It is not from sacred scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and sacred scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence. It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, sacred scripture and the teaching authority of the Church. ... are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others. ... Sacred theology rests on the written word of God, together with sacred tradition, as its primary and perpetual foundation' ('Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation').
Any church teaching that contradicts the Bible is in error (Isaiah 8:20; Acts 17:11; Romans 16:17; Galatians. 1:8; Philippians. 3:17; Colossians. 2:8; 1 Timothy. 6:14; 2 Timothy. 1:3; 3:16-17). Roman Catholic tradition not only adds to the Bible's teaching but also directly contradicts this teaching and many Catholic dogmas are in direct opposition to apostolic truth. The Lord Jesus publicly condemned the Pharisees because their traditions contradicted Scripture and led men away from the pure truth of God's Word (Mark 7:6-13) and Christ still condemns those who, by their traditions, contradict the Scriptures and that applies to Rome or any other group that exalts its own tradition to an equal footing with the Bible. The very existence of the relatively recent doctrines concerning Mary, after nearly 2,000 years of silence over these matters, reveals how your papal heretics just add to the Word of God on nothing more than a whim!
The Christian faith was revealed in its finality in the New Testament Scriptures and every word was carefully chosen by God (1 Corinthians 2:12-13). The apostle Paul taught that:
'Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.' (2 Timothy. 3:16-17).
Scripture is able to do this and we have no need for extra-biblical 'revelations' and traditions, such as the proclamations of popes and councils. The truth that God desires His people to know today was revealed once for all in the Bible and the church's job is to defend this truth, not formulate something new. As Jude wrote, we are to 'earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints' (Jude 1:25). The New Testament faith was finished during the days of the apostles and the fact that some doubted the nature of the canon because of their vain, worldly, philosophies and traditions does not mean that simple, honest spirited Christians cannot know 'all truth' that Jesus told us the Holy Spirit would lead us into (John 16:7ff.). Those who add to God's revelation are condemned in the last chapter of the Bible (Revelation. 22:18) and this serious warning has been ignored by the Catholic hierarchy, and they will pay the consequences.
While Rome tries to maintain that, alongside the written Word there is also an unwritten Word, an oral tradition which was taught by Christ and the apostles but which is not in the Bible, but was supposedly handed down generation after generation by word of mouth and is expressed in the pronouncements of the church councils and in papal decrees, simple examination of the facts of history reveals the fallacy of such a claim. The Council of Trent also declared that the Word of God is contained both in the Bible and in tradition, that the two are of equal authority, and that it is the duty of every Christian to accord them equal veneration and respect.
Unfortunately for Papal Roman Catholics who cling to the myth of oral tradition, we find the truth is apparent by examination of the written Word of God, for we have a remarkable instance in the New Testament itself in which a falsehood was circulated by well meaning brethren, showing how easily oral tradition can become corrupted and was corrupted - but reported as such - even in the apostolic age. In John 21:21-23 we read (NASB):
21 So Peter seeing him [John] said* to Jesus, 'Lord, and what about this man?' 22 Jesus said* to him, 'If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!' 23 Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, 'If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?'
Clearly, if the early brethren are proven to be unable to accurately remember oral tradition, we cannot trust this method and can discard it as being utterly erroneous!
We have also seen how the 'Church Fathers' repeatedly contradicted each other - they could not even carry a unanimous testimony to the canon of Scripture or which, if any, Apocrypha to accept!
Another nail in this coffin is the ceremonial ordination of Roman Catholic 'priests' who solemnly vow to interpret the Scriptures only according to 'the unanimous consent of the fathers'. As we have shown, any claim to 'unanimous consent' is purely a myth, for they could scarcely agree on any doctrine and contradicted each other and even themselves as they changed their minds and affirmed what they had previously denied.
This is why we have Augustine, revered by so many as 'the greatest of the fathers', writing a special book in his later life in which he set forth his 'Retractions'.
Before the heretic Arius arose with his direct denial of the true divinity of Christ and of the doctrine of the Trinity, the language of ecclesiastical writers was confused and contradictory. In a similar manner, even in the Latin Church, and in the writings of Augustine himself you can find many 'musings' before the rise of the Pelagian heresy that are hard to reconcile with the Augustinian 'system'. Augustine did not just retract, but modified and explained his earlier writings whereas many contemporary born again Christian leaders find most of the doctrines of the Bible extremely lucid and easily explainable. We have, for example, found it easy to explain the Biblical doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone from a handful of transparently clear texts. But it is noticeable that the Reformers had not thoroughly shaken off the influences of Rome and, for example, were anxious to maintain that 'original hereditary depravity' (complicated ridiculously by the use of the word 'concupiscence', in the language of Rome!) was of the nature of sin, and consequently that men do not perish eternally solely propter peccatum alienum, but also propter peccatum proprium.
Men like Calvin could not shake off this nonsensical complication of simple Biblical truth and, even today, are still leading many astray with doctrines derived directly from the Augustinian influence they could never shake off (q.v. 'TULIP')!
We read how some of the fathers of the second century held that Christ would return shortly and that He would reign personally in Jerusalem for a thousand years while Origen (185-254), and Augustine (354-430), wrote against that view. Again, the early 'fathers' condemned the use of images in worship, while later 'fathers' approved such use. The early 'fathers' almost unanimously advocated the reading and free use of the Scriptures, while the later ones restricted such reading and use. The widely renowned Gregory the Great, bishop of Rome, denounced the assumption of the title of Universal Bishop as anti-Christian (and, of course, there is not a single verse that can be sought in the true Bible to support such an idea, or that of 'Archbishop'!) while later popes, even to the present day, have insisted on using this and similar titles to claim universal authority.
Let us see you prove a 'universal tradition' and 'unanimous consent' of the 'Church Fathers' to papal doctrine?
While the writers of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit and therefore preserved from error, we can easily recognise that the traditions of the 'church fathers', the church councils, and the popes are riddled with errors and contradictions. Bellarmine (1542-1621), a Jesuit and noted Roman Catholic writer, divided tradition into three classes: divine, apostolic, and ecclesiastical. Divine traditions are those which are allegedly taught or ordained by Christ Himself, but they were not written down but handed down generation after generation by word of mouth. Apostolic traditions are supposedly those which were taught by the apostles but not written down - and ecclesiastical traditions are council pronouncements and papal decrees which have accumulated through the centuries. However, the facts reveal that it would have been utterly impossible for such claimed 'traditions' to have been handed down with accuracy generation after generation by word of mouth, especially in the circumstances that existed in the post-Apostolic era where superstition, immorality, and persecution characterized the world that the entire fledgling church fought to survive in. There is also absolutely no proof whatsoever that any 'traditions' were transmitted orally but, rather, that they were invented by a succession of popes, particularly through the Middle Ages (see our lists of the growing addition of 'traditions' on our page to Mike Martin - 24 - see this page.
Search your Bible for confirmation of the distinctive doctrines of Papal Rome - you will find nothing to support the claims for pope or the papacy as an institution, or the use of images or idols in worship. Rome cannot give up 'tradition' for to do so would result in the fall of its whole system.
Interestingly, the Roman Church does not claim that the pope receives new revelations or that he is inspired by the Holy Spirit (although, as we have shown, Jesus said the Holy Spirit would lead believers into 'all truth'!) as were the prophets and apostles when they wrote Scripture. Incredibly, there even seems to be denial that new doctrines have been formulated over the centuries - although the record (again - as shown!) proves that the 'new revelations' (post-crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ) that are common to all Christian cults are clearly found in Rome's history! Rome tries to hide this by claiming that ex cathedra pronouncements 'via the Holy Spirit' enable the pope to draw out and proclaim some variation (which is always contradiction!) that supposedly belonged to the original 'revelation'. This is really to claim a divine presence of the Holy Spirit in the giving of these ex cathedra pronouncements and formulation of 'traditions' and therefore essentially the same as claiming 'inspiration'. The proof of the falseness of any 'prophet' or 'leader' is in the fruit of their ministry, i.e. false teachings or false prophecies - and the popes of Rome are fully guilty of both (Matthew 7:15-23).
Claiming to maintain the 'unchangeability of the church' while actually adding new doctrines fools nobody with a knowledge of Scripture and historical facts.
Since you brought up the subject of 'styles of priestly dress' let us try a simple test - and try to find the 'Brown scapular' of Rome's priesthood in Scripture?
The demon who impersonates 'Our Lady of Matthew. Carmel' and who gave 'The Great Promise' to St. Simon Stock in 1251 with the words: 'Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire', apparently also appeared to Pope John XXII in 1322 and reconfirmed this false 'Sabbatine (Saturday) Privilege' for those who wore 'Our Lady's' scapular, but with a slight variation: 'I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free.' John XXII issued a bull (March 3, 1322) making 'conditions', i.e.: 'those who wear the Scapular and fulfill two other conditions ... will be freed from Purgatory [by the Virgin Mary] on the first Saturday after death.' ['About the Brown Scapular,' pamphlet put out by The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima, Washington, NJ 07882].
This demonic lie was apparently confirmed by popes Alexander V, Clement VII, Pius V, Gregory XIII, and Paul V [ref. St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Glories of Mary, Redemptorist Fathers, 1931, pp. 161-62, 170] and this promise has been relied upon by tens of millions of scapular-wearing Catholics since then. De Liguori explained further:
[Pope Paul V] in a Bull of the year 1613, says that 'Christian people [who wear the scapular] may piously believe that the blessed Virgin will help them after death by her continual intercession, her merits, and special protection....Why should we not hope for the same graces ... of this good Mother? And if we serve her with more special love, why can we not hope to go to heaven immediately after death, without even going to purgatory?'
Thus many deceived Catholics pray to 'Our Lady of Matthew. Carmel' the prayer of St. Simon Stock:
'Patroness of all who wear the Scapular, Pray for us! Hope of all who die wearing the Scapular, Pray for us! O Sweet Heart of Mary, be our salvation!' [John A. Hardon, S.J., Pocket Catholic Dictionary (Doubleday, 1966), p. 249]
Pope Pius X declared, 'I wear the cloth; let us never take it off'
Pope Pius XI professed: 'I learned to love the Scapular Virgin in the arms of my mother.. . '
Pope Paul V affirmed that 'the Blessed Virgin will aid the souls of the Brothers and Sisters of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel after their death....'
Pope Benedict XV offered a 'partial indulgence for kissing the Scapular.'
Pope Pius XII (in 1950) wrote (of the scapular): 'Let it be your sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which we are particularly urging in these perilous times.' ['About the Brown Scapular,' pamphlet]
One of the 'great authorities' for belief in the 'scapular' was Pope John XXII who is considered an exceptionally holy man by Papal Roman Catholics. Surely he was favoured above all the popes by 'Our Lady of Mount Carmel' allowing him one of her rare personal appearances? John XXII swore that the 'Virgin Mary' appeared to him to present the Great Promise: that she would personally go into purgatory the Saturday after their death and take to heaven all those who, having met certain other conditions, died wearing her 'brown scapular'. In reliance upon this special Sabbatine [Saturday] Privilege, which was later confirmed by other popes (in obvious fear of being party to yet another contradiction!), untold millions of Roman Catholics have since worn (and still wear today) the brown scapular of 'Our Lady of Mount Carmel' as their fast-track 'ticket to heaven'.
The emperor's purging of the papacy turned embarrassing when, shortly after the new pope took office, his wife appeared on the scene and Louis quickly decided that, perhaps, John XXII wasn't so bad after all. For, as Papal Roman Catholic Church historian de Rosa sarcastically remarked, although John XXII had illegitimate children like most of the other popes, at least he 'had never committed the sin of matrimony.' The contemporary Code of Canon Law, Canon 1394, refers to marriage as a 'scandal' for a priest, but we do not read similar harsh words for sins which priests are so frequently found guilty of even today, e.g. paedophilia, keeping a mistress, homosexuality, etc. Even after being reinstated as pope, John XXII continued with heretical pronouncements which were so outrageous that only death saved him from being removed from the papacy again - and the Vatican from increased embarrassment. Of course, this fraud remains on the long list of alleged successors of Peter through whom the current incumbent received his 'authority' too!
Doubtlessly, Bible-believers would be interested to know how 'the 'scapular' (for those in religious orders) which consists of two strips of cloth (one in front, one in back) joined across the shoulders and worn as an outer garment, could possibly augment the efficacy of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ which 'cleanses us from all sin'? While Scripture makes it clear (1 John 1:5-10; NASB) that:
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
Nobody, knowing the many untouchable supporting Scriptures that make this truth utterly clear, will believe for even a fraction of a second that some heretical pope can come up with a piece of cloth that can, in any way under the sun, add efficacy to the blood of the Precious Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God who dwells in unapproachable glory in heaven with the Father (1 Timothy. 6:15-16) and who has already paid the full price for everyone who believes in Him (Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 7:23; Galatians. 3:13-14; Colossians. 1:14;Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 1:18-19)!
One of the thieves crucified alongside Christ was enabled by the Holy Spirit to pass from participating with the crowd, who were insulting the Lord Jesus Christ as He hung in agony on the cross (cf. Matthew 27:38-44), to accepting Him as Saviour, and therefore went from Hell to Heaven in a split second (Luke 23:39-43 - NASB):
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, 'Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!' 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, 'Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 'And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.' 42 And he was saying, 'Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!' 43 And He said to him, 'Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.'
TODAY! Not after an unknown number of days, weeks, months, or years in purgatory - or any other delay! Perhaps some pope would like to explain why the thief on the cross would be interested in the reasons for 'the laity' requiring a different scrap of cloth, consisting generally of two small pieces of cloth joined by strings and worn about the neck under the clothing? Or why some 18 varieties of 'blessed' scapulars would need to be approved by the Church and then, inconceivably, while wearing the scapular you would need to couple it with meeting certain other conditions, so that 'the cloth' confers protection and privileges, even, in some cases, reducing or entirely eliminating one's time in purgatory.
While Catholics wear scapulars and medals to supposedly open heaven's door and seek 'Mother Church' to offer masses after their death (another false idea!) to release them from 'purgatory', official Roman Catholic dogma still holds, in denial of abundant Scripture attesting to Christ having died once for all time on the cross, that Christ is being perpetually immolated as sacrifice on their altars. Why would the thief on the cross, or any Bible-believer, exchange the clear promises of the Lord Jesus Christ for the Vatican's 'Emperor's New Clothes' theology dressed up in the 'filthy rags of righteousness' (Isaiah 64:6) of Satan's 'Brown Scapular'?
You quote Luke 10:16 ('He that heareth you heareth me; and he that rejecteth you rejecteth me; and he that rejecteth me rejecteth him that sent me') as if it referred to Papal Rome - but you forget that the popes and their teachings are easily shown to be contrary to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel He left with his true disciples - and rejecting such obvious error is the duty of the true Christian!
(Continued on page 331)