(Continued from page 302)
Do Catholics check their minds in at the door?
Should we point out Papal anti-democratic behaviour - as well as the heretical nature of some 'Protestant' pastors?
You write: I will now contend with another point you made - and I had to chuckle about it - that about Catholics having to check their minds in at the door. Didn't Jesus tell the apostles to teach Christians to observe all that He commanded them? What is wrong with Catholics giving their allegiance to the teachings of the apostles? By doing so, they are merely following the words of Jesus. Jesus did not say to believe what we want to believe. He said to 'observe all.' That is what true Catholics do.
TCE: The previous answers already prove you have left your mind 'at the door' and the more 'stigmata' - and allied frauds you bring forward - and the more false doctrines of Papal Rome are examined, the more you prove the point to be true! Our doctrines and behaviour are clearly to be based on Scripture, as we have proved. Without correct doctrines how can anyone know what correct behaviour is? The truth is that you have not followed Christ's instructions but, instead, follow Papal Rome in their idolatry. Instead of giving your allegiance to Jesus, or the example of the apostles, you have acquiesced to the contradictory teachings, beliefs and methods of corrupt men based on 'doctrines of demons' (1 Timothy 4:1-2). 'That is what true [Roman] Catholics do' and they will find that eternity in Hell is no laughing matter!
You write: And you ridicule Catholics for not being democratic (the Kingdom of Heaven is a theocracy, not a democracy). I know for a fact that if Fundamentalists do not agree with their pastors' interpretations of the Bible, they are kicked out of their churches and shunned by family members and former friends. I have seen it happen to people I know personally.
TCE: We did not 'ridicule' [Roman] Catholics, but merely pointed out what an enemy of truth, justice and freedom of speech the papacy has been. The strong democracies of the West were originally heavily based on the Scriptures but are being increasingly weakened in the West as compromise with every deception of Satan gains momentum - much of it through the ecumenism of the current pope.
When Christians leave churches after questioning the pastors teachings there should always have been a thorough examination of the doctrinal differences. Was the pastor correct in his interpretation, or is he a heretic? There are very few 'Fundamentalists' who will stand up for the truth to the extent that they are kicked out of churches by pastors but, as we have heavily detailed in our pages, e.g.
Papists believe that 'Protestants' have the right to interpret the Bible personally - so that millions of 'views' exist?
it is Biblical to stand for the truth rather than fall for the lie and preferable to be a 'doorkeeper in the house of the Lord' (Psalm 84:10) rather than follow deceivers into apostasy. Accepting false doctrine and resultant bad behaviour has nothing to recommend it in the eyes of God - as the accounts of the history of king Saul (1 Samuel 13:9-13; 15:9-26) and a multitude of other Scriptures prove (Revelation 2).
But what is the pattern in Papal Rome? She has been notorious for un-Scriptural behaviour throughout her history and her heresies far outstrip any claims you might make for 'Fundamentalists [who] do not agree with their pastors' interpretations of the Bible ... [and are] ... kicked out of their churches and shunned by family members and former friends.' The history of Papal Rome shows the vile behaviour that popes inflicted on those who disagreed with their invented doctrines. This is certainly something that is deserving of ridicule and your attempts to compare the few foolish 'Fundamentalist pastors' who pop up in life now and then do not even begin to compare with the horrendous line of 'popes' who were queuing up to force their personal doctrinal heresies on the 'ignorant and unstable' (2 Peter 3:16)! The fact that Papal Roman Catholics are, in the main, too frightened and too ignorant of the Bible to protest against their 'popes' teachings reveals everything.
The Bible shows clearly that pagan religions expected, and naturally demanded, that all citizens follow the same religious persuasion as that ascribed by the national leadership, normally the king. Indeed, frequently, the king was presented as a human form of deity just as popes have raised themselves above their fellow servants (despite the clear Scriptural instructions by Jesus to the contrary!) taking on titles originating from the Emperor of Rome (i.e., Pontifex Maximus) or usurped from Jesus (Vicar of Christ!). The book of Daniel illustrates this fact for, in Daniel 3, we have the command of King Nebuchadnezzar for all the leaders of Babylon to bow down and worship an image of gold built to represent himself as the one worthy of worship. The penalty for non-compliance was death. The king's imposition of this sentence upon Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was unsuccessful because of their unwavering loyalty to the God of heaven. Another example of this sacral mentality is recorded in Daniel 6, where an attempt was made to eliminate Daniel from the leadership of the province of Babylon. King Darius was persuaded to enact a law forcing all to acknowledge him alone as the object of worship for a space of thirty days. The penalty for non-compliance was death.
New Testament Christianity was of a different character from paganism. It provided for the rightful role of civil government, but excluded from that provision the right of the civil powers to trample the conscience of its citizens. In reality, Christianity laid the foundation for the privileges which we enjoy in free nations today. This was a national loyalty, not built upon unified religious practices, but rather, built upon the right of citizens to elect the leaders to whom they would be loyal, and who, it was expected, would establish just laws. The United Kingdom Parliamentary system and the United States Constitution, which provide for religious liberty separate from loyalty to the civil government, has proven the effectiveness of true democratic/republican forms of government. Similar religious liberty resides in certain constitutional monarchies. The fact that citizens may worship differently from each other, and even strongly disagree, has not been seen to affect the loyalty of the citizens to the nation. All of this will change under the rule of the Anti-Christ and is becoming increasingly obvious under the approaching feudalism in Europe but, of course, Papal Rome has already had a trial run (in the Dark Ages) of this murderous system and was foolishly followed by the insufficiently reformed Reformers, such as Luther and Calvin, who accepted allegiance to rulers in order to gain protection but, instead, compromised their beliefs! In the United Kingdom the Anglicans continue to reap the whirlwind they sowed when Henry VIII broke away from Papal Rome for selfish reasons, but failed to shake off the yoke of occultism which continues to stalk the corridors of power through the 'Royal Family' (true inheritors of the mantle of Saul) connection.
Do you still 'chuckle' as you 'check your mind in at the door'?!
You write: Fundamentalists claim that people have the right to interpret the Bible personally, but if the interpretation is not the same as their own, then they claim it is wrong. Fundamentalist churches are not democracies in the least. Fundamentalists always jump on the Catholic papacy and say it is wrong, but Fundamentalist pastors are their own 'popes.' If one can believe Protestant teaching that each person can interpret the Bible as he so chooses, then we have the possibility of having 400 million Protestant 'popes.' You cannot have something for yourself and then say that it is wrong for Catholics to have the same thing.
TCE: Nowhere have we stated that anyone has 'the right to interpret the Bible personally' and Scripture clearly proves this to be untrue as we made clear in the first e-mail and, again, above. Have you never read 2 Peter 1:20-21:
19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Then he warns of those like the popes who would lead many astray (2 Peter 2:1-3):
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
Whatever you believe about interpretation by 'Fundamentalists' the facts are very simple: there are "principles of interpretation" called hermeneutics (from the Greek word hermeneuo "to interpret") which ensure correct methods of interpretation of Scripture. Biblical interpretation also requires correct "exegesis," the process of interpreting a text of Scripture. The existence of many disagreements about the meaning of Scripture throughout history, never mind by Catholics, Protestants, or 'Fundamentalists', reminds us that the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture does not imply or suggest that all believers will agree on all the teachings of Scripture. This should warn us that the problem of interpretation does not exist with Scripture, but with those interpreting.
Many people do not really acknowledge the authority of Scripture or submit themselves to it. While the majority of the teachings of Scripture are extremely clear and easily understood, we must also recognize that people often (through their own shortcomings, biases, or agendas) misunderstand what is clearly written in Scripture. We have already given enough examples where 'popes' have exhibited such traits and included examples on our web-pages of 'Protestant' pastors who have fallen astray and which we witnessed first-hand. Again, the difference is clear: Papal Catholics have, and will, tolerate almost any amount of contradictory Biblical interpretation and behaviour by their 'popes' and their church. Any non-Papist who calls themselves Christian and does the same - to any degree - is not treated any more kindly by TCE than Papal error! You claim that 'Fundamentalist pastors are their own 'popes', but you would have to give proven examples of widely divergent teachings comparable to that of the historical 'popes' of Rome to justify your wild claim that 'we have the possibility of having 400 million Protestant 'popes.' The facts show that, even with differing views, such as that of Calvinist and Arminian teachings in the 'Protestant' groups, the basic doctrines of groups outside Rome are extremely consistent with each other! The colossal difference between true Bible believers and Papal Rome is that the former follow every admonition given in the Bible, including a verse that it is difficult to believe can still exist for any Papist, namely 1 Corinthians 11:18-19:
18 '... when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.
The apostle Paul makes it clear that divisions must occur 'so that those who are approved may become evident among you' - and 'those who are approved'' separate themselves over the Word of God (the Bible!) and not the traditions and opinions of foolish men! It is your error in believing that 'Protestant teaching [is] that each person can interpret the Bible as he so chooses' making you believe that such massive variations exist. This is simply untrue and therefore your claim that you (Fundamentalists?) 'cannot have something for yourself and then say that it is wrong for Catholics to have the same thing' is extremely wishful thinking. The fact that so few Papists separate from Rome proves how little they care for His Word, for rarely has Rome made so many preposterous departures from Biblical truth, as well as her own unique doctrines, in such a short period of her history! Sucking up to anti-Christian religions and seeking unity with them is the new Papal speciality, as we have repeatedly and easily detailed on our pages from the abundant evidence available.
All Christians should read their Bibles daily and with great eagerness and never assume, for example, that only those who know Greek and Hebrew, or only pastors, Bible scholars, or Popes, are able to understand the Bible rightly. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and many of the Christians to whom the New Testament letters were written had no knowledge of Hebrew at all and had to read the Old Testament in a Greek translation. Yet the New Testament authors assumed that these people could read it and understand it rightly, even without scholarly ability in the original language. Christians must never give up to the scholarly "experts" the task of interpreting Scripture, but be good Bereans (Acts 17:11) and continuously check what they are taught against the clear teaching of God's Word found only in the Bible.
While there have been many doctrinal disagreements in the history of the church there has been an overwhelming amount of doctrinal agreement on the most central truths of Scripture throughout the history of the orthodox Christian church. When we fellowship with Christians in other parts of the world we discover the remarkable fact that, wherever we find a group of Biblical Christians a vast amount of agreement on all the central doctrines of the Christian faith becomes immediately apparent. Why is this true, no matter what the society, or culture, or denominational affiliation? It is because they all have been reading and believing the same Bible, and its primary teachings have been clear.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "We write you nothing but what you can read and understand ... I hope you will understand fully, as you have understood in part" (2 Corinthians 1:13-14). The addition to his first statement does not negate his affirmation of the clarity of what he has written to them, but does encourage the Corinthians to be diligent in reading Paul's words carefully, in order that their partial understanding may be deepened and enriched. Indeed, the very expression of such a hope shows that Paul assumes his writings are able to be understood (Gk. elpizo "I hope," in the New Testament expresses a much more confident expectation of a future event than does the English word 'hope').
Church leaders at the time of Martin Luther said they wanted to keep the Bible in Latin to prevent the common people from reading it and then misinterpreting it. Why do you think Martin Luther was so anxious to translate the Bible into German? Why do you think Papal church leaders in previous centuries have persecuted and even killed men, like William Tyndale in England, who were translating the Bible into the language of the people?
There have always been heretics and they occur in every walk of spiritual life but, as we make clear on our web-pages and above, it is totally un-Scriptural to allow this to occur. It is an utterly fallacious argument to claim that the Papal Roman Catholic Church should be allowed to get away with her repeated and ludicrous heresies because you believe that 'Fundamentalist pastors are their own 'popes'. Read an account of a 'Fundamentalist' pastor who threw away his job rather than repent because his heresy was exposed:
The fact that the Baptist Union in Britain tried to save this man's neck merely reflects the extent of their compromise with Papal Rome through the Ecumenical Movement. There may be few orthodox Christians in the world today as the Apostasy gathers momentum but, then, you should know all about such compromise as your own people strive to remain faithful to the Papal Rome they knew before John Paul II. Even as we write, the installation of the new Archbishop of Boston, Sean O'Malley is scheduled for Wednesday (30th July 2003) during an 11am 'mass' at Holy Cross Cathedral in Boston. Among the guests invited to attend the installation are arch-abortion advocates Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, pro-abortion Governor Mitt Romney, as well as members of the U.S. House of Representatives whose districts overlap the Archdiocese of Boston. Do you not find it outrageous that abortion champions Kennedy, Kerry, and other 'Catholic' abortion advocates will probably present themselves to receive 'Holy Communion' - and be given it - as they were at Cardinal Law's anniversary Mass at Holy Cross a few years ago. There has been big talk of 'zero tolerance', but this only applies to select abuse and not to those kinds that the corrupt hierarchy of Papal Rome in the USA approves of - like abortion? Or abuse that can cost the Church millions of dollars in litigation? Will you be protesting the honouring of these men who, in the words of your own brothers, are 'advocates of that most prevalent form of child abuse, abortion'.
But child abuse does not simply occur in the world, does it? One of the most secure bastions for child abuse is the Papal Roman Catholic Church itself. While Catholic Bishops claim to have been 'enlightened' and say they are doing everything they can to protect our children, nothing could be further from the truth. Bishop Gerald Andrew Gettelfinger of Evansville Indiana, one of seven bishops who voted against the 'Zero Tolerance' policy which called for the removal of any priest guilty of abusing one child, believes that an admitted 'sex addict,' registered sex offender, and convicted felon is the best man to run the diocese's diaconate program. 'Father' Jean F. Vogler, who served jail time for possession of dozens of video tapes containing child pornography, who once served as the bishop's advisor, now not only heads the diocesan diaconate program, but is an associate pastor and heads an RCIA program at his parish. This 'king of child porn,' who excused his behaviour by claiming that 'he began looking at pornography in his mid-40's to compensate, he now believes, for a lack of intimacy in his life,' ['Parish Makes Peace With Sins of the Father,' by Jodi Wilgoren, The New York Times, Monday, April 15, 2002] is now held up as a moral leader deemed fit to educate and lead others to holiness:
'Vogler was the leader of Evansville's largest parish and a top aide to the bishop when the Postal Service's undercover Operation Special Delivery found dozens of lewd videotapes of children in the rectory of his Holy Rosary Church in 1995. He was immediately suspended and, after pleading guilty to a felony, was sent to prison. After his release, he spent seven months in therapy'. ['Parish embraces fallen priest, learns power of forgiveness, by Jodi Wilgoren, New York Times News Service, Chicago Tribune, Friday, April 19, 2002 ]
While Bishop Gettelfinger's actions in this case show his contempt for victims and suggest his loss of faith, the words and actions of some parishioners is beyond belief. According to one parishioner, 'There weren't any children crying to their parents,' said Charles Burns, 50, a postal worker who has attended Holy Trinity for a decade. 'Father Jean was hurting himself, he was hurting his ministry. He wasn't hurting anyone else.' ['Parish Makes Peace With Sins of the Father,' by Jodi Wilgoren, The New York Times, Monday, April 15, 2002] Apparently Mr. Burns, and many of his fellow parishioners, lack the common sense to realize that a person who buys child pornography merely pays someone else to abuse children so they can obtain their perverted satisfaction by viewing a video of the abuse. As such, Fr. Vogler paid others to abuse children so that he could watch.
Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger (Evansville, IN) is the current bishop-advisor to the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (the Catholic Church's liaison between the BSA and the Catholic Church, aka NCCS). At the May 2002 meeting, he was an opponent of the one-strike policy in the USCCB adopted Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. At the November 2002 bishops' meeting, he was one of seven bishops who voted against the new policies the US bishops voted upon to prevent sexual abuse of minors. He has admitted to allowing at least one convicted child molester serve as a priest in the diocese, as well as other known molesters.
'In late March 2002, Bishop Gettelfinger told parishioners that priests who sexually abuse children are guilty of 'grave sins' and that he would not tolerate them. A couple of months later, news accounts detailed the backgrounds of six diocesan priests; some had been convicted for sexual abuse, yet allowed to remain ministers in the diocese. One had been a Scout chaplain.
In his report on this abuse, at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/950285/posts
Stephen Brady, (July 21, 2003), concluded:
Protestants don't have Christian unity while 'one billion Catholics' have 'one set of doctrine'?
'The crisis within the Catholic Church is not about mistakes, or poor judgments made on the part of bishops. It is not about new research or new discoveries, either. This current crisis was brought on by perversion, lust, greed, and the loss of faith by our bishops. Those bishops within the minority who do not fall into this category, but refuse to take a public stand against those in the errant majority, are cowards. Until we laymen accept this fact and address it, nothing will change'.
There would be little point in a Papal Roman Catholic responding that abuse of a similar nature is found in Protestant, or 'Fundamentalist,' churches, for the standards you claim to set are those of Christ and His apostles and comparing the supposed True Church of Christ with those often accused of being 'separated brethren' - at best - would be to aim low. But the fact is that Papal Rome has more problems with abuse of every kind - as do all the other cults (Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.) because of their un-Scriptural foundation of both 'priesthoods' and organisation, both clearly being led by the spirit of sinful men rather than the Holy Spirit who 'leads into all the truth' (John 16:13).
'Protestant' arguments have little power against Catholics who know the Bible and History?
You write: 'The idea that each Protestant can be his own pope has made a travesty about another teaching of the Bible, that of the necessity of Christian unity. Jesus prayed in John 17 that the apostles and all who believed their word would be one as Jesus and the Father are one, which is perfectly one. Paul in many passages exhorts Christians to be one in mind and in faith, with no divisions among them (1 Corinthians. 1:10 is a fine example). He even goes so far as to say that those who form sects will not obtain the kingdom of God (Galatians. 5:19-21). Yet what does Protestanism [sic], including Fundamentalism, do? It forms sect after sect after sect, with thousands of denominations now worldwide. It is probably the greatest scandal of Christianity in the eyes of non-believers. One billion Catholics, on the other hand, have one set of doctrine.
TCE: We have already dealt thoroughly with many of these points in earlier replies where we defined the authority of Scripture. Jesus words in John 17 merely confirm those conclusions:
8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them ...11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name - the name you gave me - so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 'I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. 20 'My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 'Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25 'Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.'
Their unity - and that of all true Christians who follow them - is based on the Word of God which is truth (v8, 12, 17, 20, 23) revealed to them by the Son. Anyone who does not bring this Word cannot be in unity with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You continue your errors by quoting 1 Corinthians 1:10 ('I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment'). Paul continues to emphasise the truth that brings unity throughout the letter, e.g., in verse 17 he declares:
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel - not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
And again in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, 13, 16:
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power ... 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words... 16 But we have the mind of Christ.
We have the mind of Christ if we are empowered through His Word and Spirit and do not rely on the words of men as Papal Rome does. He continues this message by warning them 'Do not go beyond what is written' - the Old Testament and the writings of the apostles already received (1 Corinthians 4:6-7):
Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, 'Do not go beyond what is written.' Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
If they learn not to go beyond the teaching of the Scripture about how they should treat God's teachers and all of God's people, then the result will be that they will not be conceited in taking a stand for one teacher or person over against another. We have clearly established that Papal Rome has fought over more than one pope - thus proving they have no unity at all.
If anyone wanted to make a case for calling an apostle 'pope' (papa, father!) we could quote Paul's own words concerning himself (1 Corinthians 4:14):
I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. 15 Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
But, of course, this is not what Paul meant, for he is explaining that his seeming harshness in writing this to the Corinthians was not to shame them but to warn them of the seriousness and perverseness of their actions and their pride. He grants that they have countless guides or guardians but denies that they have spiritual fathers to advise them. But since he has begotten (Gk. egennesa) them in Christ (i.e., by Christ's atoning work) through the gospel and is therefore their spiritual 'father', he feels he has a right to advise them. In speaking of the leaders of the Corinthians as paidagogoi ('guardians'), the apostle is calling attention to the distinction between himself, their spiritual 'father', and those leaders, many of whom could be called 'guardians,' or 'guides.' In the ancient Roman Empire, paidagogoi indicated 'slave-guides,' who escorted the boys to and from school and were in charge of their general conduct. So, in a sense, they could be called instructors (cf. Galatians 3:24). Since Paul could rightfully claim to be their spiritual 'father', he feels he can ask them to become imitators of him (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1; Galatians 4:12; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:9). But note that Peter never once claimed even to be the spiritual 'father' of any flock!
As we noted previously, it is interesting that you ignore (1 Corinthians 11:17-19) while emphasising divisions among Christians:
In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval.
Here Paul makes it clear that divisions (the Greek word is schisma from which we get schisms) must occur to prove who is following truth and who refuses to accept that they are in error! Knowing human nature, he assumes some such divisions are inevitable even among Christians, so that those who act worthy of God's approval might be evident (v19). The word haireseis in verse 19 is the Greek from which we get heresies, but most translations use 'factions, sects, or differences' here. There is absolutely no approval from God in Scripture for just trying to get along with error, tolerating it, or turning a blind eye, as so many do today, even in the Protestant church. We have accepted for many years that the Great Apostasy is underway and Papal Rome is a leading light in the Ecumenical Delusion that will usher in the One-World Religion of the Anti-Christ.
You quote Galatians 5:19-21:
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Most of the words are self-explanatory. The Greek word, echthrai, the first of several words occurring in plural form to denote multiple manifestations of the quality, means 'enmities' such as those between classes, nations, and individuals. It is these enmities that have been broken down for those who are in Christ (Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 2:14-16). 'Strife' or 'discord' (Gk. eris) is the natural outcome of hatred both in the world and in the church. Four out of six of Paul's uses of the word are connected with church life. 'Jealousy' (Gk. zelos) and 'fits of rage' (Gk. thumoi) can denote both good and bad qualities. There is a godly zeal as well as righteous anger. When zeal or anger originate from selfish motives and hurt pride, they are evil and harm others, as Paul implies here. Eritheiai may be translated in many ways: contention, strife, selfishness, rivalry, intrigues. Its basic meaning is a selfish and self-aggrandizing approach to work. This and the preceding three words occur in the same order in 2 Corinthians 12:20. 'Dissensions' (Gk. dichostasiai) and 'factions' or 'party spirit' (again - haireseis) denote a state of affairs in which men are divided and feuds flourish. As in 1 Corinthians 11:17-19, divisions can be caused by selfish, fleshly motives, but those who stand for the truth of God's Word will separate themselves from factions who refuse to obey Scripture by either removing the offenders from the fellowship, or by removing themselves from fellowshipping with those who prove themselves to be unbelievers (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Frankly, since we have supplied details of the many schisms between popes who set their armies on each other, it can only be the extent of your spiritual blindness/delusion that gives you the nerve to even bring the subject up!
A common misunderstanding among others claiming to represent Christ, and among many non-Christians, is that the presence of so many Christian denominations means they must all disagree with each other, believing their individual denomination is the only true sect. Look at the fruit of the Reformation, with its many divisions and denominations among the Protestants is a common cry from Catholic 'apologists'. 'How can such confusion be of God!' they ask. The implication is that only Protestants have doctrinal differences among themselves, while the Papal Roman Catholic Church is a unity of 980 million faithful adherents who all believe and practice the same thing. The outsider might swallow this nonsense and accept that there must be some kind of spiritual 'free-for-all.' This, of course, is not the case. Though various denominations may disagree on certain points, most differences are minor and will in no way prohibit anyone from being truly saved. For example, the fact that one believes the rapture of the Church will take place before the tribulation, while another believes it will take place during or after it, has nothing to do with the core doctrine of salvation. It will not cost a person his gift of eternal life if the wrong choice is made concerning these minor matters. What is important and vital to salvation is what an individual believes and acts upon concerning the Bible's basic truths of salvation through faith in Christ alone and the nature of God (even children can understand the concept of Father, Son and Holy Spirit). If the mark is missed on these, it is missed completely. Basically, all truly, orthodox, Christian denominations hold to these Biblical truths:
• The Bible Is the infallible Word of God and the only authority concerning spiritual matters.
• There is one God revealed through three personages - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
• Jesus was truly God and truly man, and He came to earth to die and provide salvation for all who believe on Him.
• Christ's birth (being born of a virgin) was indeed a miracle.
• Jesus rose again bodily from the dead.
• Salvation is a free gift and cannot be earned by doing good works.
Papal Rome joins cults like the Mormons in giving the impression that they are the only true church because they all supposedly believe the same things. That is, of course, far from the truth. Papal Roman Catholicism gives a false impression of unity because wide disagreements in doctrine and practice are retained under its broad cloak. As we have already proven, popes disagreed with and excommunicated one another as heretics (yet those excommunicated remain on the list of popes today!) and councils disagreed with one another and there were even serious differences of opinion within the same council. There were many dissenters at the Council of Trent - a council which did not represent the mind of the Church at large, yet remains the major fount of official dogma today. At Vatican I many bishops were opposed to Papal infallibility and only later confirmed the vote to spare themselves the pope's wrath. It was much the same at Vatican II, with Pope Paul VI suppressing opposition. The numerous divisions within the Papal Roman Catholic Church range all the way from arch-conservatism to beliefs and practices of priests and nuns deeply involved in Hinduism or Buddhism, to Hans Kung's liberalism. The latter is so far from Papal Rome's official party line that in 1979 the Vatican revoked his status as a theologian. Yet he remains a powerful influence within the Catholic Church. Friar Matthew Fox was silenced for one year by the Vatican but was able to take up where he left off and allowed to spread his pagan and New Age views. He was expelled from the Dominican order for insubordination but not excommunicated from the Church for his gross heresies and now hides behind an Episcopalian front. A wide range of other theologians and clergy remain in the Church, from Maryknoll priests and nuns advocating Marxism and Liberation Theology to Society of St. Pius X zealots who are scandalized by John Paul II's ecumenism and distribute magazines such as 'SI SI NO NO' illustrating the modern schisms. There have been at least as many divisions among Papal Roman Catholics through the centuries as among Protestants, and there still are to this very day. Some of these disagreements were fought with sword and spear. Consider, for example, the Great Schism when France and Italy struggled for possession of the lucrative papacy. In 1378, Urban VI, a Neapolitan, became pope. Trying to effect some much-needed reform, Urban excommunicated the cardinals who had purchased their benefices and this politically ingenuous move split Papal Rome into two 'Obediences.'. Historian von Dollinger explains:
Simony had long been the daily bread of the Roman Curia and the breath of its life; without simony the machine must come to a stand-still and instantly fall to pieces. The Cardinals had, from their own point of view, ample ground for insisting on the impossibility of subsisting without it. They accordingly revolted from Urban and elected Clement VII, a man after their own heart. And thus it came to pass that from 1378 to 1409 Western Christendom was divided into two Obediences.
In 1409, Pisa was the scene of a synod from all Europe that was called to heal the breach. It was the first time in 300 years that those attending such a gathering dared to speak openly and vote freely. There was a sense of relief, even of triumph when the two reigning popes, Gregory XII and Benedict XIII, were deposed as heretics and a third pope, Alexander V, was elected. Of course, neither of the two 'popes' yielded to the synod's decision. Now there were three 'vicars of Christ' instead of a mere two, just as there had been 350 years before. That situation lasted from 1409-15. Now there were three men each claiming to be Christ's true and only representative on earth, each damning those who followed either of the other two! These are examples of the incredible 'unity' the Papal system has demonstrated though her bloody history.
The accusation that the various Christian denominations fight among themselves is therefore shown to be untrue, for those who are united behind the Word of God have followed its admonitions and have true unity in the spirit. Members of TCE can readily testify that small fellowships of Bible believers still exist in every corner of the UK! They do not match the 980 million (or so!) Papists in numbers but, as Christ made clear in the following clear verses, the kingdom of heaven is never about numbers and, if anything, those very large numbers would make any reader of Scripture doubt that such an organisation could house many truly 'in the truth':
Matthew 7:12: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock ...
We have already given ample detail of the 'broad' way offered by Papal Rome to the 'many' and the 'popes' certainly fulfil the description and warnings concerning 'false prophets'! It is those who 'heareth these sayings of [Jesus], and doeth them' and not those who make grand boasts ('have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?'), as Rome has done, who will 'enter into the kingdom of heaven'. To those who claim to have done great things, but have not done ' the will of my Father which is in heaven' who will find they are rejected with these words: 'And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.'
Rome has certainly been guilty of working colossal 'iniquity' in her long history and anyone striving to defend the past horrors - as contemporary 'popes' are doing in the protection of the thousands of her paedophile priests - can be sure that they will share this fate. We do not write this lightly, for all who claim to be in the faith are clearly warned (1 Corinthians 10:1ff.):
1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.
There is time to escape the net of Papal Rome even on the death-bed and we would exhort you to take time for serious research in stead of accepting what you 'popes' and 'priests' tell you. We have supplied ample evidence that exposes the Vatican for the den of iniquity that it has always been and shown how even former Protestants who are no longer 'protesting' but have compromised themselves with the world and Papal Rome, as the ecumenical poison has done its work, leave the argument for a contemporary unified Papal Rome in tatters for she is still weak, splintered, and at odds over issues critical to the supposed unity desired by antichrist John Paul II.
You write: 'I'll end here. I hope this has given you a lot to think about. I just hope you realize what little power your arguments have against Catholics who know the Bible and History and realize just how far off Fundamentalists are from following Scripture. I pray that God will open your hearts to the truth of the Faith.'
TCE: Thank you for your prayers Mike - you have given us a lot to think about, such as who you are praying to? Mary, the dead saints, or the Jesus of Papal Rome who is another Jesus (1 John 2:18-19; 2 John 9) bringing another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9)? It is a great pity that you complete your communication with such a foolish boast, for you have clearly failed to answer a single question we posed. You have simply emphasised that questions about 'the Bible and History' cannot be answered by any Catholic. Clearly, thinking you know how to answer the questions posed by orthodox Christians is a very long way from actually supplying valid answers. And don't deceive yourself that Popes or their apologists can answer these questions either!
We challenge you to answer the many questions posed through these pages for, if the Papal Roman Catholic Church were 'the Faith' it claims to be, they would not be hard to answer. Eternity is too long and too final to regret having taken a the word of men who have shown themselves to be utterly corrupt and fallible for the requirements of your salvation. Test Papal Rome's claims with those of the Bible as we have done here. Don't trust your feelings or the experiences of others but find out for yourself. Study the Word of God to discover the true condition of man and his need for a perfect Saviour. Put your trust in the completed work of the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
In Christ Jesus, Lord and Saviour
Despite the challenging questions mailed to Mike Martin we heard no more from him. Much of this material has been shared with other Roman Catholics (see following pages) since, but they have equally failed to address the issues we have clearly enunciated!