(Continued from page 344)
How Scripture reveals that 'the married state' obliterates Papal Rome's claims for celibacy!
Augustine's ideas eventually led to the uniting of Church and State and the Murderous Inquisition!
Jerome's opponents, such as Helvidius, Jovinian, Vigilantius, and Aerius, are known through the emotional replies of Jerome, the last through the Panarion of Epiphanius. These adversaries are recorded in Papal Roman Catholic Church 'history' among the heretics, while they have received a fairer estimation from many 'Protestant' historians and even called 'forerunners of the Reformation'. Jovinian was a monk who used his own experiences to witness to the falseness of asceticism and the false doctrines that promoted it and he wrote in Rome before 390 AD. Although his work was lost (doubtlessly Rome made sure it was destroyed!), Augustine wrote an account that reveals the existence of the original and Jerome's response reveals how he pressed Jovinian with the alternative of marrying, and proving the equality of celibacy with married life, or giving up his opposition to his own condition. Jerome also gave a very unpropitious depiction of his character, evidently coloured by fierce resentment, and made an extreme, ad hominem attack on a man who had merely made a strong Biblical argument against false teaching. Augustine limited his criticism to reproaching Jovinian for having deceived many Roman nuns, causing them to marry, by actually daring to reveal to them the many examples of God-fearing women in the Bible (many of them married and certainly never ever declared to be in an inferior spiritual state!). Again, we can recognise in such errors that Augustine, faced with an irrefutable Biblical argument, could fail to recognise the truth and thus can hardly be expected to be a strong defender of Truth. Anyone seeking support for asceticism can only clutch at straws, such as the 'advice' of Paul at 1 Corinthians 9:5:
'Have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas (Peter!)?'
Typical deception of Papal Rome is found in The Confraternity Version which reads:
'Have we not a right to take about with us a woman, a sister, as do the other apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?'
In the Greek, the word is gune, for wife, and adelphe, for sister. It is highly improbable that the Apostle would have travelled with a woman to whom he was not married. The reply Papists generally make to the argument often brought from these words in favour of a married clergy, is absolutely inconclusive. The disjuncture between the Apostles and the brethren of the Lord, is a proof that James, bishop of Jerusalem, and Jude, Jesus' brethren, were not of the number of the Apostles. The last clause of this verse - 'and Cephas' - is important because it declares in effect that Peter continued to live with his wife after he became an Apostle, and also that he had no rights as an Apostle which were not also common to Paul - a remark that is utterly subversive of popery, if traced to its obvious consequences.
Peter continued in the married state for at least 25 years. Early in His public ministry Jesus had healed Peter's wife's mother (Greek penthera - 'mother in law, wife's mother'), who was sick with a fever (Matthew 8:14-15), so Peter was clearly a married man at that time, and therefore at the time Jesus addressed to him the words which Rome says constituted his appointment as pope (Matthew 16:18). Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians was written about the year 58 AD. Hence Peter was a married man during a considerable part of the time that the Roman Church says that he was a pope in Rome (42-67 AD) - and his wife was there with him. But the truth is that Peter was never in Rome at all and his ministry, which was primarily to the Jews, took him to the provinces of Asia Minor and to the east, as far as Babylon (1 Peter 1:1; 5:13).
Rome claims that she never changes but her popes are all single men so the logical conclusion is that Peter was never 'a pope'. Clearly, if celibacy really had the place in Christian ministry that Papal Rome has given it we have to question why Christ would have chosen - as the foundation stone and first pope of His church - a man who was married! The clear, provable, Biblical truth is that Christ established His church and took absolutely no account at all of celibacy but clearly chose apostles who were married. Paul defended his own right to have a wife (in 1 Corinthians 9:5) and to take her with him on his missionary journeys if he chose to do so and also declares that 'the rest of the apostles,' and 'the brethren of the Lord,' were also married men whose wives accompanied them on their missionary journeys. The question as to how supposed great church authorities such as Jerome could have been so deceived on asceticism and whether or not it is permissible and advisable for 'clergy' (who are not even described in the manner invented by Papal Rome) to marry. On the contrary, in the 'Pastoral Epistles' such as his first letter to Timothy, Paul says that a bishop should be 'the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded ... one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity' (3:2, 4). Likewise the elders (Titus 1:5, 6) and the deacons (I Timothy. 3:12) should each be the husband of one wife, 'ruling their children and their own houses well.' The evidence is indisputable - men such as Jerome and Augustine (and the false priesthood of Papal Rome that developed from their errors) have absolutely no grounds to teach that the apostles were single men and that the single state is holier than the married state.
The patriarchs, prophets, and priests of the Old Testament era were mainly married men for marriage for the priests was practically obligatory since the priesthood was hereditary, i.e. perpetuated by the descendants of the priests. It is very reasonable to assume that Paul was also married, and that his wife had died, because his account of his role in persecution of the Christians before the time of his conversion reveals:
'And when they were put to death I gave my vote against them' (Acts 26:10)
His vote was presumably cast as a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin and membership of that body was only open to married men.
If there were any advantage in a 'celibate priesthood', such as greater holiness and devotion, why didn't Jesus choose unmarried men to be apostles? Papal Rome's writers try desperately to prove that the celibate state has many advantages but forget that, were that so, it would have been equally applicable to the Old Testament patriarchs, prophets, and priests under the old dispensation. But this was not the case and the very opposite was true, for Christ chose married men to be the first ministers and missionaries of the church by way of example and as a safe-guard against the very scandals and abuses that have been so common in the Papal Rome's false priesthood as publicised as never before in these Last Days.
When certain ministries under the old covenant called for the God-ordained priests to dedicate themselves by separation exclusively for spiritual activities, they were only temporary excursuses in their matrimonial life. Similarly, under the new covenant, there will be special situations in which an unmarried person may render more efficient service or in which it may be temporarily inexpedient to marry, and both Christ and Paul made exceptions for such cases. But this did not make the exception the rule or give any good reason to believe that large number of Christians would ever be expected to refrain from marriage for those purposes or that unending celibacy would ever be a necessity. Jesus made it clear that it was not a path that more than a few can follow:
'For there are eunuchs (Greek eunouchos, 'a castrated person, an impotent or unmarried man'), that were so born from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs, that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it'(Matthew 19:12).
In his clear exposition on the married and single states, Paul said:
'Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband' (I Corinthians 7:2)
'If they have not continency (Greek egkrateuomai - exercise self-restraint [in diet and chastity], be temperate), let them marry' (1 Corinthians 7:9).
Continency is a gift, even as are certain talents and skills (1 Corinthians 7:7):
'For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.'
He very clearly stated:
'But this I say by way of concession, not of commandment' (v6).
But it is not a gift given to all men, nor to all women so, clearly, no church or church leaders should make it compulsory on those to whom it has not been given. And it is evident that it has not been given to all the members of any group of Christians for not all of them even understand Jesus' teachings, nor are all of them able to practice it consistently.
How did men like Jerome miss the clear Biblical truth that there is nothing sinful about marriage in itself and, clearly, God instituted marriage as a holy ordinance:
'And YHWH God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him. ... Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh' (Genesis. 2:18, 24);
Matthew 19:4-6: 'And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.' (cf. Mark 10:7)
'The bishop (Greek episkopos - bishop, overseer, cf. pastor, elder) therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife' (1 Timothy. 3:2);
In 1 Timothy. 5:14, Paul writes: 'I will that the younger women marry.'
'Let marriage be had in honour among all, and let the bed be undefiled: for fornicators and adulterers God will judge' (Hebrews 13:4).
While the Lord Jesus Christ quoted and enforced the original law given in Genesis 2:24, that a man shall 'leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh' and the same passage was quoted by the Apostle Paul as containing a great and symbolical truth (Ephesians. 5:31), seducing spirits teach 'doctrines of demons' (1 Timothy. 4:1) that forbid marriage!
The Word of God teaches that the one man for one woman marriage relationship is the most intimate and sacred that can exist on earth and as a result we find that from the beginning, with rare exceptions, patriarchs, prophets, and apostles have been married men, and elders and deacons are, of necessity, married men while Christians of every ilk follow the same pattern.
While the Holy Spirit uses marriage as a type of the most sacred of all relationships, the union of the church and the believer with his Lord (Ephesians. 5:23-33), those who forbid marriage teach 'a doctrine of demons' (1 Timothy. 4:1-4). So how could 'Church Fathers' ever consider that the celibate state was peculiarly holy so that Rome presumed to teach that the marriage of its 'clergy' is 'a pollution and a sacrilege.' Marriage is so obviously God's plan for normal family life that to see it as a sacrament, as Rome teaches, makes it all the more disturbing that the 'institution' should ever have come to be considered the worst kind of sin and that it be an abominable thing for 'a priest' to have a legitimate wife (while a blind eye is turned to mistresses and other sexual partnerships!).
We are supposed to believe that 'Church Fathers', who were supposedly battling to preserve the Biblical canon against heretics, somehow came to accept a delusional doctrine which degrades marriage by making it a less holy state, yet has its foundations in Manichaeism or Gnosticism? All of the tenets of the doctrine clearly come from beliefs outside of the Judeo-Christian religion which assume that evil is essentially connected with matter, that sin has its seat and source in the body, that holiness is attainable only through asceticism and 'neglecting of the body', and that, because the 'vita angelica' is a higher form of life than that of men here on earth, marriage must therefore be a degradation. Thus it rests on principles derived from the philosophy of Gnostic Manicheanism, a paganism strongly taught by Augustine, which presupposes that God is not the author of matter and did not make man pure when He invested him with a body. Because Augustine was never recognized as a church father by the Eastern Orthodox Church it has normal matrimony for its clergy - which even the pope permits for the Eastern branches of the Roman Church (yet another hypocritical contradiction!).
While the Old Testament Scriptures clearly present marriage as the normal state of man and, before the fall, our first parents were commanded to: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth', it is clear that marriage was purposed by God so that His plan for the world could be carried out. To contradict the Scriptures by claiming that marriage is less holy, or less acceptable to God than celibacy, is so obviously an un-Biblical doctrine that one would think that every Spirit-filled Christian would recognise this immediately - but apparently not Jerome or Augustine, et al! The unmarried state was regarded, under the old dispensation, as a calamity and a disgrace (Judges 11:37; Ps. 78:63; Isaiah 4:1; 13:12) and the highest earthly destiny of a woman was never to be in a nun-like state but to be the wife of one man and the mother of children (Genesis. 30:1; Ps. 113:9; 127:3; 128:3-4; Prov. 18:22; 31:10, 28).
By contrast, we see that Jovinian was excommunicated and banished with his adherents at a council (~390 AD) headed by Siricius, bishop of Rome, who was zealously opposed to the marriage of priests. Jovinian fled to Milan to join two monks, Sarmatio and Barbatian, who held similar views but the bishop of Milan, Ambrose, also held a council against him and he and his party eventually disappeared from history and he died in exile (before 406 AD). According to Jerome's works, Jovinian held these four points:
(1) Virgins, widows, and married persons, who have once been baptized into Christ, have equal merit, other things in their conduct being equal.
(2) Those, who are once with full faith born again by baptism, cannot be overcome (subverti) by the devil. (3) There is no difference between abstaining from food and enjoying it with thanksgiving.
(4) All, who keep the baptismal covenant, will receive an equal reward in heaven.
Jovinian insisted chiefly on the first point and Jerome subsequently devoted the whole first book of his refutation to this point and then attacked the other points in the second. Jovinian, having utilised many of the clear and irrefutable arguments from Scripture detailed above, declared the prohibition of marriage and of divinely provided food a Manichaean error. To try and answer these arguments, Jerome indulged in entirely unwarranted inferences and wrote of marriage contemptuously, even offending his own friends. Augustine attempted to argue for the advantages of married life in a special work, De bono conjugali, but did not yield from his un-Scriptural ascetic estimate of celibacy.
Anyone who opposed Jerome was attacked in the most vicious manner for, to him, they were 'dogs, maniacs, monsters, asses, stupid fools, two-legged asses, gluttons, servants of the devil, madmen, useless vessels which should be shivered by the iron rod of apostolic authority. He made ad hominem attacks a speciality: 'Helvidius had a fetid mouth, fraught with a putrid stench...'. He joined Augustine in demanding the death penalty for heretics - a frightening prospect when we read his appalling inability to consistently interpret Scripture! (James Heron, The Evolution of Latin Christianity, p323).
Vigilantius, one of the men against whom Jerome fulminated, was identified by George Faber, diligent historian of the Waldenses and Albigenses, with the Waldensian Christians of northern Italy. Vigilantius (in 406 AD) published an inflexible and Scripturally correct critical Treatise against the obvious growing errors perpetrated by the 'Church Fathers' and their ilk, including:
the claim that Celibacy is the duty of the Clergy;
the idolatrous and unchecked veneration of the Martyrs;
the idle unscriptural figment that these Martyrs are potent intercessors at the throne of grace;
the foolish blind reverence paid to the un-Scriptural and useless relics;
the gross folly of burning tapers, like the Pagans, before shrines in broad day-light;
the spurious miracles, which were said to be wrought by the inanimate remains of the Martyrs;
the foolishness of the boasted sanctity of vainly gratuitous monachism (the religious and work activities of a monk);
the useless absurdity of pilgrimages, either to Jerusalem or to any other reputed sanctuary. (Faber, History of the Ancient Vallenses and Albigenses, 1838, p291-292).
Jerome composed a typical 'reply' to Vigilantius in which he veered between illogical absurdity and brutal, foul-mouthed obscenities. Faber made the following significant remarks about the conflict between Vigilantius and Jerome:
To the ecclesiastical student, the sentiments of Vigilantius are familiar: and their complete identity with those of the Vallenses, in all ages, cannot have escaped his notice. He wrote from a region, situated between the waves of the Adriatic and the Alps of King Cottius. ... this district, on the eastern side of the Cottian Alps, is the precise country of the Vallenses. Hither their ancestors retired, during the persecutions of the second and third and fourth centuries: here, providentially secluded from the world, they retained the precise doctrines and practices of the Primitive Church endeared to them by suffering and exile; while the wealthy inhabitants of cities and fertile plains, corrupted by a now opulent and gorgeous and powerful Clergy, were daily sinking deeper and deeper into that apostasy which has been so graphically foretold by the great Apostle: and, here, as we learn through the medium of an accidental statement of Jerome, Vigilantius took up his abode, at the beginning of the fifth century, among a people, who, Laics [laity] and Bishops alike, agreed with him in his religious sentiments, and joyfully received him as a brother. Jerome, nurtured in the adulterate Christianity of opulent cities and fanatic monks and lordly prelates, is amazed, yea horrified, at the alpine audacity of Vigilantius. What, cries Jerome, scandalized to the last pitch of endurance, does the Roman Bishop, then, do ill, who offers sacrifices to the Lord over the bones of dead men; the bones, I trow, of Peter and of Paul: bones, in our estimation, venerable; bones, in thy estimation, a mere worthless portion of dust? Does the Bishop of Rome do ill, who deems their tombs the altars of Christ? Are the Bishops, not merely of a single city, but of the whole world, all mistaken: because, despising the huckster Vigilantius, they reverently enter into the stately cathedrals of the dead? (italics in original) (Faber, History of the Ancient Vallenses, pp293, 94, 98).
Jerome's typical rants speak volumes about the gulf that existed between true followers of the New Testament writings and the world in which so many apostate 'Church Fathers' lived. Vigilantius and the other true Christians who hid in the Alps were correct in their realisation that Jerome and the apostate bishops and popes were in serious error - error which has been continued to this day! Vigilantius was just one of a small band of true believers who were sincere men of God who were faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ and 'the faith once delivered to the saints' (Jude 3).
Attitude of the other apostles toward Peter?
Augustine's outward manner of life was extremely simple, and mildly ascetic. He lived with his clergy in one house in an apostolic community of goods, and made this house a seminary of theology, out of which ten bishops and many lower clergy were trained and went out into ministry. Although not as strict in his views on women as Jerome, females, including his sister, were excluded from his house, and could see him only in the presence of others. He set other un-Scriptural precedents in founding religious societies of women, over one of which his sister, a saintly widow, presided. Regarding one of many false ideas that Papal Rome tries to promulgate - the idea that only the most 'saintly creatures' chose the acetic life - he once said in a sermon that he had nowhere found better men, and he had nowhere found worse, than in monasteries! Combining, as he did, the clerical life with the monastic, he unwittingly became the founder of the Augustinian order - which gave the reformer Luther to the world - wearing the (un-Scriptural!) black dress of the Eastern coenobites, with a cowl and a leather girdle, and living almost entirely on vegetables. He set many good examples, being especially devoted to the poor, and others which Papal Rome discarded, even having church vessels melted down to redeem prisoners and refusing legacies by which injustice was done to natural heirs, e.g. he commended bishop Aurelius of Carthage for giving back, unasked, property which a man had bequeathed to the church but then had need of when his wife unexpectedly bore him children.
He was the intellectual head of the North African and the entire Western church of his time and took active interest in all theological and ecclesiastical questions, being the champion of the church against Manichaean, Donatist, and Pelagian heresies. Some credit him with combining the speculative intellect of the Greek church with the practical tact of the Latin and, undoubtedly, he had a creative and decisive hand in almost every dogma of the church, completing some, and advancing others. He eventually escaped from his early errors so that the centre of his system is the evangelical or Pauline doctrine of sin and free redeeming grace of God in Christ. While Origen's ideas of the pre-existence and pre-temporal fall of souls adopted pagan Platonic ideas into the Christian faith, Augustine's point of view is recognisable as one taken from the Old Testament.
Augustine is considered by some to have less knowledge, or learning, than Origen and Eusebius, but to be superior to any of the Latin fathers, with the single exception of Jerome. But the study of Platonic and Neo-Platonic works is revealed in his 'City of God', his book on heresies, and other writings, where he reveals an extensive knowledge of ancient philosophy, poetry, and sacred and secular history. But his knowledge of Greek literature was mostly derived from Latin translations and he admitted to having, in comparison with Jerome, only a perfunctory acquaintance of Greek while he did not understand Hebrew at all. He has therefore been excused from many errors by some historians in that, while exhibiting an extraordinary familiarity with the Latin Bible, he made many mistakes in exposition. He is even credited with being a thinker rather than a scholar, depending mainly on his own abundant resources. Yet, knowing these facts, we must question how he could be considered any sort of authority in determining the full nature of Jerome's Vulgate when we realise that he did not have the linguistic ability to judge the translations that had been made from Hebrew, or the comparative nature of the Greek Septuagint, yet he tried to persuade Jerome to utilise the latter!
Augustine's writings, over some 44 years, reveal massive knowledge and experience of the Christian life of his era and the abundance of ideas, noble sentiments, and clear statements of truth, coupled with powerful arguments refuting error delivered in passages of impassioned fluency and beauty, that are also blemished by a myriad of repetitions, inventive opinions, and fanciful hypothesize from an admittedly fertile mind. Unfortunately, his theology reveals the clear metaphysical and speculative poison that afflicted him, as it also did its work on the other 'Church Fathers'.
Augustine's 'Confessions' are revered for their sincerity and humility, as he admits his journey from pagan sensualist, to Manichaean heretic then, through earnest seeking and penitence, to final Christian convert. That these 'Confessions' are so often devoted to speculative philosophy and metaphysical questions about God, the nature of time and space, and typical allegorical exegesis common to the 'Church Fathers' is revealed in ideas such as the Platonic view of the pre-existence of the soul and that the acquisition of knowledge is a recollection or excavation of the knowledge hidden in the mind (later abandoned in his 'Retractions'!). His polluted reasoning prepared the way for the catholic ecclesiastical philosophy which overstated the authority of the church and helped cement its bonding to the state, an error that became complete in the scholasticism of the Middle Ages and resulted in the murderous wedding of the church-state Inquisition.
He refuted pagan philosophy as pantheistic or dualistic and exposed the superstitions of astrology and magic while being credited with being the founder of a Christian philosophy and, in his work De vera religione (390 AD) proposed that true religion is only to be found in the catholic church of that time. He wrote against the heresies of Manichaeism, Donatism, Arianism, Pelagianism, and Semi-Pelagianism, managing to remain strong in his convictions while avoiding the personal antipathy that Jerome was prone to exhibit.
His important anti-Arian works on the deity of Christ and of the Holy Ghost, particularly his fifteen books De Trinitate (400-416 AD), were respected even above the analogous works of Athanasius and the two Gregories, and remained definitive for many centuries. While Augustine's works on the Scriptures are not renowned for the correctness of his grammatical and historical exposition his theology relied less upon intractable exegesis because of the taint of Platonism and allegorization. Thus the number of abstruse and difficult points, which were not considered to be easily comprehensible by many commentators, led to confusion over the meaning of his writings and some problems were even attributed to the influence of his early Manichean persuasions. This influence, concerning the doctrine of the two principles, one wholly evil, and the other wholly good, to whose energy and operation all the good and evil in the world were attributed, was noticed long before Calvin was similarly influenced in his doctrines. These two opposite and conflicting 'beings' Augustine seems, in some cases, to unwarily unite in one God so that the Merciful, Sovereign God of the Bible, is not only the author of all the good in the world, but also of all the evil. This came about because Augustine's doctrinal stance somehow came to teach a pre-determined, eternal decree, by which all the actions of angels and men are appointed and irrevocably established! It can hardly be a surprise to Papal Roman Catholics that former Papal priest, John Calvin, was so heavily influenced by Augustine that he came up with similar doctrine because, philosophically, Calvinism is not Scriptural, or Christian, or even Jewish, but Islamic and a pseudo-Christian equivalent of the Islamic doctrine of lnja Allah.
Many examples of the blundering allegorization of the 'Church Fathers' can be found, such as from Judges 8:35 where Ambrose and Augustine endeavoured to find a parallel between the Lord Jesus Christ and Gideon in a similar manner to that invented by Origen. Gideon is infamous for his 'fleece' test of God - which is almost incomparable as an example of weak faith!
Another example of the abilities of the 'Church Fathers' is found in Psalm 14:3-7 when the addition of six verses occur which are found in Jerome's Vulgate, the Vatican copy of the Septuagint, the Ethiopic, and the Arabic, and also in St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, 3:13-18. Commentators have supposed Paul quoted from this Psalm as it then occurred in the Hebrew text, or in some version of the Septuagint from which (they guessed) he borrowed them. That these words are not interpolations in the New Testament is evident from these facts and they are also apparently unrequired in any manuscript yet discovered and exist in all the ancient versions, the Vulgate, Syriac, Ethiopic, and Arabic. Yet it has been postulated, particularly by Jerome, that Paul did not quote them from this Psalm but, being intent on demonstrating the depravity and wretchedness of man, he collected the teachings from different parts of Scripture and associated them with his quotation from Psalm 14:3, as if they had all belonged to that place. Succeeding copyists read the Letter to the Romans and believed the words were quoted from that Psalm and so inserted them into the Septuagint because they, somewhat astonishingly, presumed they had been lost. But, again showing the lack of agreement between 'Church Fathers', it does not appear that they made a part of this Psalm in Origen's Hexapla and, in the portions that still exist of this Psalm there is not a word of these additional verses referred to in that collection, neither here nor in the parallel Psalm 53.
Jerome and others claim that Paul borrowed these words in this manner:
Romans 3:13: 'Their mouth is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit.' Borrowed from Psalm 5:9. 'The poison of asps is under their lips.' From Deuteronomy. 32:33; Psalm 140:3.
Romans 3:14: 'Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.' From Psalm 10:7.
Romans 3:15: 'Their feet are swift to shed blood.' From Proverbs 1:16, or Isaiah 59:7.
Romans 3:16-18: 'Destruction and known are in their ways, the way of peace they have not known, and there is no fear of God before their eyes.' From Isaiah 59:7, 8.
When these passages are collated in the original many doubt the hypothesis of Jerome, et al, and point out that these verses are not found in the best copies of the Vulgate, though they may have been in the old Itala or Antehieronymain version. They are not in the Codex Alexandrinus of the Septuagint, the Greek or Latin text of the Complutensian Polyglot, the Antwerp and Parisian Polyglots, or the Chaldee or Syriac versions. They are also not known to be part of this Psalm by authorities, such as Theodoret, Chrysostom, Euthymius, Arnobius, Apollinaris, the Greek Catena, Eusebius, of Caesarea, nor Jerome. Jerome recognizes that they were read in his time in the churches and they are found in many Latin manuscripts, quoted by Justin Martyr and Augustine, and also found in the Editio Princeps (first printed edition) of the Vulgate, and in all the ancient Psalters known. All of this would seem to point to the same evidence admitted by The Catholic Encyclopedia - in that additions have been made to ancient works that were held by Papal Rome by 'Catholic hands' as they deemed fit from conjectures of this kind - whether it was the genuine Canon or the Apocrypha!
It is no surprise to find Papists revealing their unbelief in the authors of the Gospels and the canon in general. It is a trend that they have even passed onto their 'separated Protestant brethren' (as declared by one of your infallible Popes!). Whether Mark composed his Gospel is a question that many of the early 'Church Fathers', such as Papias, Clemens, Alexandrinus, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius, etc., struggled with, believing that he was only the amanuensis of Peter and that this apostle, out of modesty, would not put his name to the work, but dictated the whole account to Mark. Conversely, Augustine appears to have been the first to maintain that Mark abridged Matthew's Gospel and that it is not to be considered as an original work. Others supposed that Mark compiled it, partly out of Matthew's Gospel, and partly out of the Gospel of Luke. But all of this is nothing but unbelieving conjecture without foundation. Similar conjecture occurred regarding the language in which it was written, and the people to whom it was sent. Some contended for a Latin original, because of several Latin words found in it, such as σπεκουλατωρ, Mark 6:27, one of the guard; κεντυριων, Mark 15:39, 44, 46, a centurion, a captain of one hundred men; συσσημον, Mark 14:44, a signal, a sign agreed on. But more contemporary scholars consider the presence of such words are easily accounted for by considering that his Gospel was written more for the use of Latin and Greek speaking people (and particularly for the Roman people) - which is why he completely passes by the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ as it would be of little consequence to Gentile converts, although very necessary for the Jews, and especially the Jews of Palestine. Today, few people try to argue that Mark was not originally written in Greek - this is partially indicative of the difference in the standard of research and logic employed by theologians since the days of the 'Church Fathers'. Perhaps the fact that the miracle of the healing of the blind man (found at Mark 8:22-26) is not mentioned by any of the other evangelists might have been thought considerable proof that Mark did not abridge Matthew's Gospel?
Jerome was apparently the first to postulate that Jesus' brethren were the sons of his mother's sister (Art. Jacobus. Lardner, Canon., vol. iii. p63) and this opinion was eventually embraced by Augustine. These spurious opinions prevailed, becoming the utterly unsupported opinion of Papal Roman Catholics in general. Origen, Epiphanius, and other ancient writers, came up with their own heretical opinions, e.g. that James, the Lord's brother, was not the son of the virgin's sister, but of Joseph, our Lord's reputed father, by a former wife, who died before he espoused the virgin! Epiphanius and Theophylact came up with another heretical suggestion: that Joseph's first wife was first the widow of Alpheus, Joseph's brother, and Joseph therefore married her on his brother's death to raise up seed to him so that James, the issue of that marriage, was appropriately called the son of Alpheus, and brother of our Lord. Commentators have pointed out how such wild and un-Biblical conjecture would have been spared if a few facts had been checked, i.e.:
near relations were called brethren by the Hebrews;
Alpheus and Cleophas are the same names written differently;
James, the son of Alpheus, was not only the Lord's near relation, but an apostle who was honoured by a lone post-resurrection appearance by the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:7).
These circumstances, together with the standing of James, made him noteworthy among the apostles who appointed him to reside at Jerusalem and to superintend the Church there. This appointment was made soon after the martyrdom of Stephen and it should be noted by those who would make Peter pre-eminent among the apostles that, after the choice of the seven deacons, James is clearly seen in a more prominent position in the Church at Jerusalem, e.g.: when the apostles and elders at Jerusalem came together to consider whether it was needful to circumcise the Gentiles, after there had been much disputing, Peter spoke (Acts 15:7) then Barnabas and Paul (Acts 15:12) and, when they had finished, James summed up the whole matter and proposed the terms on which the Gentiles were to be received into the Church (Acts 15:19-21). The whole assembly are in agreement and wrote letters to the Gentiles complying with the opinion of James (Acts 15:22-29) which clearly demonstrates that James presided at the council in Jerusalem. We dealt with the other aspects of Peter's standing among the apostles on earlier pages under the heading:
How 'the Reformers' tried to equal the 'Church Fathers' in complicating the beautiful simplicity of the Gospel of Grace!
We could add many other examples of the mistakes introduced by Papal Rome and the 'Church Fathers', but these will suffice for now. While it is easy to discover a myriad of appalling errors introduced into Papal Rome's versions of the Bible (as easy as it is to spot them in the Book of Mormon!), the genuine Christians of the first century followed the words of the Lord Jesus Christ and were guided by the Holy Spirit so that they recognized that the apostles were writing Scripture and received the New Testament epistles as such. It is only Papal Rome, who have to try and defend the blundering mistakes of their 'Church Fathers' and Popes, and pathetic 'modernists' of recent centuries who have been duped into rejoining Rome in spirit, if not physically, who deny these facts and try and claim that the New Testament canon was formed haphazardly and centuries after the apostles. Even the advice of Jerome, the one man who can be shown to have at least made serious attempts to understand Hebrew and thereby get to grips with the carefully preserved texts of the Old Testament, was largely ignored by Papal Rome.
Even in the Middle Ages those that Papal Roman Catholics would call heretical sects, but which were simply those who continued to follow the revealed Word of God through the leading of the Holy Spirit, such as the 'reformers before the Reformation' (Wycliffe, Russ, Wessel, et al), recognised that Augustine, the bishop of Hippo, had come nearer than most to recognising in the writings of the apostle Paul the doctrine of free grace. The Reformers, despite their many unrecognised errors, were led by his writings into a deeper understanding of Paul, and so prepared for their great recovery of the truth that Papal Rome had lost. Augustine helped mould Luther and Calvin and provided them with works that they used against the dominant heresy of Pelagianism and formalism that had enveloped Rome.
How the 'Joint Declaration of Justification' (October 31st, 1999) exposes both Lutherans and Papal Rome as Biblical morons!
At the outset the Reformers, Melancthon and Zwingli among them, adopted Augustine's denial of free will and his doctrine of predestination, but sometimes went beyond his ideas into the error of supralapsarianism (a Calvinistic view of predestination that maintains that, in the 'logical order of divine decrees', God chose to glorify Himself when He decreed the election of some persons and the reprobation of others before allowing the Fall of Adam). In this point it has been said that Augustine holds the same relation to the Papal Roman Catholic Church as Luther has to the Lutheran; that is, 'he is a heretic of unimpeachable authority, who is more admired than censured even in his extravagances'. Yet, tellingly for the point we are making, his doctrine of predestination was indirectly condemned by the pope in Jansenism, as Luther's view was rejected as Calvinism by the so-called Form of Concord which, in itself is revealed as heretical by the ludicrously complex phraseology that complicates the beautiful simplicity of the true Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, e.g. (commenting on Romans 9:18: 'So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires') they come up with an explanation that rivals the popes for complicating the doctrines of the Bible:
'The Lutheran Church, after the days of Luther, endeavoured to find a middle ground between the Augustinian and the semi-Pelagian doctrine and the Form of Concord teaches that the choice of the vessels of mercy is to be referred to the good pleasure of God, but the passing by of the non-elect is to be referred to their voluntary resistance of his offered grace. Election is founded, according to this view, on the sovereignty of God, but preterition on the foresight of impenitence. This, however, seems to involve a contradiction; for if faith be the gift of God, the purpose to give it only to some, involves the purpose not to give it to others. Besides, it is the very object of the apostle in the whole context to teach the sovereignty of God in dealing with the vessels of wrath'. (ref. Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans by Charles Hodge D.D., LL.D., 1864 ed.).
While the strong influence of Luther led many of his followers to hero-worship him, his personal views on the canon and on predestination were never accepted by them all and, judging him by the standard of the Form of Concord, he is a heretic in his own communion as much as Augustine, on account of his doctrines of sin and grace, is a heretic in the Roman Church despite being revered by many as the greatest of the Fathers. It is noticeable that the Form of Concord was never generally received, but decidedly rejected in several countries, and is disowned by the Melanchthonian and unionistic schools in the Lutheran Church while The Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America requires its ministers to subscribe to the whole Book of Concord (including the Form of Concord), 'as the pure, unadulterated explanation and exposition of the divine Word and will.'
Cornelius Otto Jansen (1585-1638 AD) led a revival of Augustinian theology within the Catholic Church. From 1612 to 1617, he immersed himself in the writings of Augustine (354-430 AD) and then, in 1617, became director of a college in Louvain, France, where he found others open to his convictions. Jansen and his successors challenged the sacramentalism and hierarchical structure of the Counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church's response to the Reformation, and were devoted to reforming the church according to Augustinian standards. The Jansenists taught that grace is irresistible and that Christ died only for the elect. After Jansen's death in 1638, Antoine Arnauld (1612-1694) assumed leadership of the group, which included the French philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662). Pope Innocent X (1574-1655) condemned Jansenism in 1653 - but how did it take a 'pope' so long to recognise a heresy that was nothing but a revival of Augustinianism in the bosom of the Roman Catholic church?
It is an obvious irony that the severance of many Lutherans from Papal Rome was a relatively brief episode in their history and the 're-unification' almost inevitable - although the reasons given for signing a Joint Declaration of Justification in Augsburg, Germany (October 31st, 1999), disclaiming previous differences, don't change a single thing in this respect: Lutherans surrendered while Papal Rome changed nothing. In eternity true believers may learn of the many who were fooled into fellowshipping with Baal/Belial because of this kind of incredible Biblical ignorance!
It is ironic in the extreme to consider that, even as we finally begin proof-reading this work, the most recent papal incumbent, Pope Francis, proves the depth of the 'Great Apostasy' by sending a message of fraternal greeting to the Methodist and Waldensian churches on the occasion of their annual synod, August 24-29, Torre Pellice, Italy:
"Holy Father prays that the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, grant to all Christians progress on the path towards full communion, to witness to the Lord Jesus Christ and to offer the light and strength of His Gospel to the men and women of our time" ("Pope Francis Sends Message," Zenit, Aug. 25, 2014).
For the Waldenses to have apparently accepted this heretical message from the "holy father," offered through the blasphemous doctrine of the intercession of Mary, is clear evidence of their recent spiritual downfall ('The Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches' was formed in 1975 by the merger of the Waldensian Evangelical Church and the Italian Methodist Church).
In contrast to this recent modern apostasy, the Confession of Faith of the Waldenses (AD 1120 and AD 1150), held that salvation is by the grace of Jesus Christ alone and that the Bible alone is the Word of God and the sole standard for judgment - they rejected Rome's Mary, papal primacy, vows of celibacy, purgatory, masses for the dead, and veneration of saints and held to the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper alone. These ancient Waldensian confessions also correctly identified Papal Rome as "the whore of Babylon."
A Waldensian pastor gave an account of the fearful acts perpetrated against his people by the Inquisition of Papal Rome:
"There is no town in Piedmont under a Vaudois pastor, where some of our brethren have not been put to death ... Hugo Chiamps of Finestrelle had his entrails torn from his living body, at Turin. Peter Geymarali of Bobbio, in like manner, had his entrails taken out at Lucerna, and a fierce cat thrust in their place to torture him further; Maria Romano was buried alive at Rocco-patia; Magdalen Foulano underwent the same fate at San Giovanni; Susan Michelini was bound hand and foot, and left to perish of cold and hunger at Saracena. Bartholomew Fache, gashed with sabres, had the wounds filled up with quicklime, and perished thus in agony at Fenile; Daniel Michelini had his tongue torn out at Bobbio for having praised God. James Baridari perished covered with sulphurous matches, which had been forced into his flesh under the nails, between the fngers, in the nostrils, in the lips, and over all his body, and then lighted. Daniel Revelli had his mouth filled with gunpowder, which, being lighted, blew his head to pieces. Maria Monnen, taken at Liousa, had the flesh cut from her cheek and chin bone, so that her jaw was left bare, and she was thus left to perish. Paul Garnier was slowly sliced to pieces at Rora. Thomas Margueti was mutilated in an indescribable manner at Miraboco, and Susan Jaquin cut in bits at La Torre. Sara Rostagnol was slit open from the legs to the bosom, and so left to perish on the road between Eyral and Lucerna. Anne Charbonnier was impaled and carried thus on a pike, as a standard, from San Giovanni to La Torre. Daniel Rambaud, at Paesano, had his nails torn off, then his fingers chopped off, then his feet and his hands, then his arms and his legs, with each successive refusal on his part to abjure the Gospel" (Alexis Muston, The Israel of the Alps: A History of the Waldenses).
No doubt you will deny responsibility for such acts - or that they even occurred - just as contemporary Papal Rome tried to hide the acts of its paedophile priesthood and Pope Francis would doubtlessly disclaim the other acts of Innocent III and his fellow Inquisitors?
We may, in time, include e-mails written by another unhinged Papal Roman Catholic who raged against us for daring to continue to expose the historical filth of Papal Rome instead of concentrating upon Islam who are visibly the main threat to world peace in these present times. 'It is not altar boys who are plotting terrorist acts' he raged! We pointed out how you do not ignore one evil just because another evil appears to be predominant at the present time for who knows, but God, what combined deception Satan may attempt next? In a later article we will include another threat that eventually followed!
The New Testament prophecies describe two separate streams of Christianity operating side-by-side through the church age. First, there will be sound churches, that hold to the faith once delivered to the saints and they will be persecuted, hated, and despised, as Jesus described when He also promised:
Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world. (Matthew 28:20).
Second, there will be apostate churches that will grow worse and worse as the centuries pass (1 Timothy. 4:1-5; 2 Timothy. 3:13; 4:3-4). In the battle between the Bible-believing Vigilantius and the pre-Romanist Jerome in the early fifth century, we see the two aspects of prophecy pertaining to the course of the church age being fulfilled side-by-side. On the one hand, there were New Testament Christians, seeking to maintain the apostolic faith and standing boldly against apostasy and, on the other hand, there were apostates, fearlessly adding their extra-biblical traditions to the Word of God and persecuting those who resisted their heresies.
The history of Papal Rome reveals that she is truly the 'whore' described in Scripture (Revelation 17:1, 15-16; 19:2) and throughout history true Christians, from the times of the Apostles to this day, recognise this fact and continue to warn the world to avoid her!
Thus we conclude this rebuttal of all your claims for Papal Rome and the canon of the Word of God.
You have answered one question we asked - 'Let us see if you have answered a single point we raised?'
How have you done that? By not answering a single point!
You have merely proven, again, that Papal Roman Catholics never produce serious factual refutation of any Scriptural points, even apart from the subjects you introduced, and we do not intend to respond to any more of the feeble attempts which your work epitomises.
Be sure that we will be praying for you as we pray for all trapped in deception - and following the inspired admonition:
Jude 1:17-25 (NASB) - 17 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you, "In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts." 19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. 24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.