Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Catholics View of the Sabbath: The Official Documentation



Many priests, bishops, scholars and popes have written or spoken opinions about the Sabbath, which they are free to do. But if someone wants to understand the official position Catholics have about the Sabbath, go to the Catechism.

Here are sections of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that explain what we believe about the Sabbath day:


++++++++++++++++

345 The sabbath—the end of the work of the six days. The sacred text says that “on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done,” that the “heavens and the earth were finished,” and that God “rested” on this day and sanctified and blessed it.213 These inspired words are rich in profitable instruction: (2168)

346 In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakeable faithfulness of God’s covenant.214For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it. (2169)

347 Creation was fashioned with a view to the sabbath and therefore for the worship and adoration of God. Worship is inscribed in the order of creation.215 As the rule of St. Benedict says, nothing should take precedence over “the work of God,” that is, solemn worship.216 This indicates the right order of human concerns. (1145-1152)

348 The sabbath is at the heart of Israel’s law. To keep the commandments is to correspond to the wisdom and the will of God as expressed in his work of creation. (2172)

349 The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ’s Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation.217 (2174, 1046)


ARTICLE 3
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT


Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work.90

The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.91

I. The Sabbath Day

2168 The third commandment of the Decalogue recalls the holiness of the sabbath: “The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD.”92

2169 In speaking of the sabbath Scripture recalls creation: “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.”93 (2057)

2170 Scripture also reveals in the Lord’s day a memorial of Israel’s liberation from bondage in Egypt: “You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out thence with mighty hand and outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.”94

2171 God entrusted the sabbath to Israel to keep as a sign of the irrevocable covenant.95 The sabbath is for the Lord, holy and set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on behalf of Israel.

2172 God’s action is the model for human action. If God “rested and was refreshed” on the seventh day, man too ought to “rest” and should let others, especially the poor, “be refreshed.”96 The sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money.97 (2184)

2173 The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating the sabbath law. But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this day.98 He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation: “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.”99 With compassion, Christ declares the sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing.100 The sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day to honor God.101 “The Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”102 (582)



II. The Lord’s Day

This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.103

The day of the Resurrection: the new creation

2174 Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week.”104 Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the sabbath,105 it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica)—Sunday: (638, 349)

We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.106

Sunday—fulfillment of the sabbath

2175 Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ’s Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man’s eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ:107 (1166)

Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord’s Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death.108

2176 The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribed by nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public, and regular worship “as a sign of his universal beneficence to all.”109 Sunday worship fulfills the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and Redeemer of his people.

The Sunday Eucharist
2177 The Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church’s life. “Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church.”110 (1167, 2043)

“Also to be observed are the day of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christi, the feast of Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, the feast of Saint Joseph, the feast of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints.”111

2178 This practice of the Christian assembly dates from the beginnings of the apostolic age.112 The Letter to the Hebrews reminds the faithful “not to neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but to encourage one another.”113 (1343)


Tradition preserves the memory of an ever-timely exhortation: Come to Church early, approach the Lord, and confess your sins, repent in prayer.... Be present at the sacred and divine liturgy, conclude its prayer and do not leave before the dismissal.... We have often said: “This day is given to you for prayer and rest. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”114

2179 “A parish is a definite community of the Christian faithful established on a stable basis within a particular church; the pastoral care of the parish is entrusted to a pastor as its own shepherd under the authority of the diocesan bishop.”115 It is the place where all the faithful can be gathered together for the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. The parish initiates the Christian people into the ordinary expression of the liturgical life: it gathers them together in this celebration; it teaches Christ’s saving doctrine; it practices the charity of the Lord in good works and brotherly love: (1567, 2691, 2226)


The Sunday obligation

The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.”117 “The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day.”118 (20421389)

You cannot pray at home as at church, where there is a great multitude, where exclamations are cried out to God as from one great heart, and where there is something more: the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond of charity, the prayers of the priests.116

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.119 Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

2182 Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God’s holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. (815)

2183 “If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful take part in the Liturgy of the Word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families.”120

A day of grace and rest from work

2184 Just as God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done,”121 human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord’s Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.122 (2172)


2185 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body.123 Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health. (2428)

The charity of truth seeks holy leisure; the necessity of charity accepts just work.124

2186 Those Christians who have leisure should be mindful of their brethren who have the same needs and the same rights, yet cannot rest from work because of poverty and misery. Sunday is traditionally consecrated by Christian piety to good works and humble service of the sick, the infirm, and the elderly. Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week. Sunday is a time for reflection, silence, cultivation of the mind, and meditation which furthers the growth of the Christian interior life. (2447)

2187 Sanctifying Sundays and holy days requires a common effort. Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord’s Day. Traditional activities (sport, restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), require some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care to set aside sufficient time for leisure. With temperance and charity the faithful will see to it that they avoid the excesses and violence sometimes associated with popular leisure activities. In spite of economic constraints, public authorities should ensure citizens a time intended for rest and divine worship. Employers have a similar obligation toward their employees. (2289)

2188 In respecting religious liberty and the common good of all, Christians should seek recognition of Sundays and the Church’s holy days as legal holidays. They have to give everyone a public example of prayer, respect, and joy and defend their traditions as a precious contribution to the spiritual life of society. If a country’s legislation or other reasons require work on Sunday, the day should nevertheless be lived as the day of our deliverance which lets us share in this “festal gathering,” this “assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven.”125 (2105)

2189 “Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Deut 5:12). “The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord” (Ex 31:15).

2190 The sabbath, which represented the completion of the first creation, has been replaced by Sunday which recalls the new creation inaugurated by the Resurrection of Christ.

2191 The Church celebrates the day of Christ’s Resurrection on the “eighth day,” Sunday, which is rightly called the Lord’s Day (cf. SC 106).

2192 “Sunday... is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church” (CIC, can. 1246 § 1). “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass” (CIC, can. 1247).

2193 “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound... to abstain from those labors and business concerns which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord’s Day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body” (CIC, can. 1247).

2194 The institution of Sunday helps all “to be allowed sufficient rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives” (GS 67 § 3).

2195 Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord’s Day.

90 Ex 20:8-10; cf. Deut 5:12-15.

91 Mk 2:27-28.

92 Ex 31:15.

93 Ex 20:11.

94 Deut 5:15.

95 Cf. Ex 31:16.

96 Ex 31:17; cf. 23:12.

97 Cf. Neh 13:15-22; 2 Chr 36:21.

98 Cf. Mk 1:21; Jn 9:16.

99 Mk 2:27.

100 Cf. Mk 3:4.

101 Cf. Mt 12:5; Jn 7:23.

102 Mk 2:28.

103 Ps 118:24.

104 Cf. Mt 28:1; Mk 16:2; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1.

105 Cf. Mk 16:1; Mt 28:1.

106 St. Justin, I Apol. 67: PG 6, 429 and 432.

107 Cf. 1 Cor 10:11.

108 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Magn. 9, 1: SCh 10, 88.

109 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 122, 4.

110 CIC, can. 1246 § 1.

111 CIC, can. 1246 § 2: “The conference of bishops can abolish certain holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday with prior approval of the Apostolic See.”

112 Cf. Acts 2:42-46; 1 Cor 11:17.

113 Heb 10:25.

114 Sermo de die dominica 2 et 6: PG 86/1, 416C and 421C.

115 CIC, can. 515 § 1.

116 St. John Chrysostom, De incomprehensibili 3, 6: PG 48, 725.

117 CIC, can. 1247.

118 CIC, can. 1248 § 1.

119 Cf. CIC, can. 1245.

120 CIC, can. 1248 § 2.

121 Gen 2:2.

122 Cf. GS 67 § 3.

123 Cf. CIC, can. 1247.

124 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei 19, 19: PL 41, 647.

125 Heb 12:22-23.















70 comments:

Marcos David Torres said...

Hi Teresa!

I'm so thankful you posted this on here. One thing that has annoyed me over the years is when people use unnoficial documents as if they are official with regard to a church. If someone is going to disagree with Catholicism it should be on the basis of what Catholics offocialy believe and not on what others say they believe.

This is the reason why the books in my library exposing Mormonism have remained unread. If I am going to disagree with Mormonism I should do it based on their official teachings, not on what some other guys says those teachings are.

On any note, I would like to pose a question that may open pandoras box, lol. Im so busy I am almost hesitant to ask because we may be debating for a while :/ But thats cool. I enjoy debating with you.

Ok, so here's my question: The celebration of Sunday makes perfect logical sense when one thinks of celebrating the ressurection. However, why did the church have to transfer Sabbath to Sunday? Couldnt we keep the Sabbath, which has scriptural support, and develop a tradition of celebrating Jesus' resurection without replacing the Sabbath?

For example, Christians celebrate Christmas as a tradition, not a command. Christmas is not commanded in scripture but we have decided to do it out of appreciation for Jesus' birth. Likewise, couldnt we celebrate Sunday in appreciation for Jesus resurection(which like Christmas has no scriptural mandate) and yet leave the Sabbath as it is?

I think that would be awesome! Two party days!

Teresa Beem said...

For the first few centuries of Christianity many in the eastern part of the Empire rested on Sabbath.

Keep in mind something. There has never, ever been a "day of worship" for God's people. There was for Israel a day of rest but not a day of worship. Worship of the one true God has always happened daily. Christianity has always worshipped daily. It is a tradition of Protestantism that there is one day a week that we go to church. All the churches that go back to the time of Christ (Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic...etc.) have corporate worships daily. They celebrate Sunday as special.... but they came and still come together daily in worship.

Okay, so with that in mind many early Christians DID rest on Sabbath--as well as go to church daily. If you were to go to the Vatican today you would hear them call Saturday the Sabbath and Sunday, the Lord's Day. There is no idea in Catholicism that Sunday is the Sabbath. That is a misunderstanding of Catholicism. Catholics have always understood Saturday as being the Jewish day of rest--the Sabbath--and Sunday being the day of Christians celebrating the Resurrection. It is not, as Adventists believe, our "day" of worship. It is special, but not in the sense of a Sabbath.

The idea of keeping Sunday as a Christian Sabbath was bantered about by popes, bishops and theologians for centuries with no definitive development of that doctrine. Since the east kept Sabbath... there could be no confusion of the two.... Sunday was not Sabbath.

So, just how did it come about--this idea of Sunday being "Sabbath"? Well, it really caught on after the Reformation. It was the Calvinists who took the idea and ran with it making it ubiquitous among Protestants. Catholics have always seen Sunday as a fulfillment of the first/eighth day in scripture--NOT the seventh day.


Teresa Beem said...

Please read the following:

349 The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ’s Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation.

2174 Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week.”104 Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the sabbath,105 it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica)—Sunday:


So you see, to Catholics the Sabbath was part of the old creation.... When Christ was resurrection there was in a sense a "new heaven and a new earth." A new kingdom had come and a new cycle. This cycle doesn't have a sabbath or a day of worship.

Catholic didn't one day get together and say, "Hey we should keep Sunday as the Sabbath." To Catholics Sunday ISN'T the Sabbath at all! From the day of the resurrection it has been celebrated and the church never changed the Sabbath.

2178 This practice of the Christian assembly dates from the beginnings of the apostolic age.112 The Letter to the Hebrews reminds the faithful “not to neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but to encourage one another.”

If you will read the writings of the early Church Fathers you will find that Christians worshipped daily and had a special celebration of the Resurrection on Sunday. This is from the beginning. What Adventists mix up is the Edict of Tolerance I think Constantine issued in AD 312. If you read this edict you will find that it just allows Christians to celebrate the Lord's Day without being thrown in prison. It did nothing to make Sunday a Sabbath. That is an SDA misunderstanding and indeed an anachronism.

Catholics "sanctify" all holy days as a discipline.... these can be changed at will and are never referenced as Sabbaths. Sunday is a holy day of obligation NOT because it is a Sabbath, but because the church, by her authority, decided that for the sake of unity we needed certain days we "assemble together." It is exactly like a Christmas! To a Catholic Sunday isn't a Sabbath, that is a Protestant thing.....

Arik said...

For the Catholic church, it may want to try to refrain from calling Sunday "Sabbath" however according to the Catechism and Dies Domini, it has all the same characteristics of the true Sabbath but one, God did not create, bless or sanctify it nor ever gave a command to do so. Your third command is not found in Scripture, it is a concoction of the Catholic Church. This is where the church over stepped it's authority, it was one thing to set aside Sunday as a day to commemorate the resurrection, (which is also not found in Scripture) it is another to make it a law and pass it on to the people as though it is God's law.

The Ten commandments are still binding as the Catechism is correct, but what it misses is that this law is the same law written into our heart and mind under the New Covenant (Hebrews 8). Paul is very clear that a covenant goes in force nice the testator has died and therefor can not be changed. Christ Himself would have had to give the command to keep Sunday holy before He died in order for it to be part of the New Covenant, but He didn't.

Marcos is correct, the church should not have usurped the law of God for her own. The Sabbath does have Scriptural support and is sufficient for all not just Jews to be a day to commemorate God's creative work at creation and redemption. The Ten commandments are moral law, all of them, despite the early church trying to relegate the Sabbath to ceremonial or not part of natural law.

Fact is Scripture teaches that to really celebrate the resurrection of Christ is to live by the power of the Gospel. Christ in us (His character) is synonymous with having the law written in our heart and mind.

The Sabbath, the most glorious day in the law, has been changed into the Lord's day. (...) These and other similar matters have not ceased by virtue of Christ's teaching (for He says He has come to fulfill the law, not to destroy it), but they have been changed by the authority of the church.» (Archbishop Gaspare de Fosso, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova amplissima Collectio, 1902, vol. 33, pp. 529,530.)

Anonymous said...

Very good comments, Teresa and Marcos. I would suggest to Marcos to read "The Didache" (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles). God bless!

Teresa Beem said...

Anonymous,
I think you are still in the "day of worship" mindset, the Old Covenant mindset. We are working off of two different world views. So I doubt we will come to any consensus on this subject. God bless, Teresa

Anonymous said...

Teresa, I agree with you, especially when you say:
"Christianity has always worshipped daily. It is a tradition of Protestantism that there is one day a week that we go to church. All the churches that go back to the time of Christ (Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic...etc.) have corporate worships daily. They celebrate Sunday as special.... but they came and still come together daily in worship. "
Catholic Masses happen daily. Sunday is a special day of celebration.
Thank you for your thoughts.

Marcos David Torres said...

Hi Teresa

So sorry I haven't responded yet. I have been so busy I haven't even read your reply yet! :/

I will try to get to it this week though.

God bless!

Teresa Beem said...

Marcos,
Believe me, life is busy. Blogs are for those free moments. And those free moments are becoming less and less. Have any kids? If so then I can't believe you even have time to write occasionally. God bless and respond when you can....

Anonymous said...

Like Anonymous above, I never thought as having worship service only on Sundays as a Protestant tradition. When I informed my SDA friend that Catholics have a worship service every day and have been since the start of the church he didn't believe me. When I asked him why would the Catholic church enforce a "Sunday Law" changing its own traditions of worshipping every day, he said he didn't know but it will happen. If I had thought about Protestants being the only ones worshipping on Sunday, I would have made that point to him.

Going off topic.... Teresa, have you written anything on your blog about SDA's belief that God have a body? If I understand correctly this is a belief of theirs. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks.

Teresa Beem said...

I never heard that when I was SDA. I bet Ellen White, their prophetess, had a vision in which she saw God, therefore He must then have a body according to them. I don't know... just a guess. But all the years I was SDA no one mentioned it.

Anonymous said...

Marcos David Torres,
Beem is correct, I can testify to you that my priest has never once come up to me and said, "happy sabbath!" on Sunday morning. Nor has anyone mentioned any connection what so ever. He has indeed called Saturday the sabbath, however when I've attended mass on a Saturday there has been an absence of the usual greeting's one has at an SDA church. I must ask you if you've ever attended a Seventh-Day Baptist church? I have not, but would be interested in knowing if everyone runs around saying, "happy sabbath"? For some reason everyone, and I mean every SDA I've ever known says this. (maybe they stick a note to my back that reads "Catholic")
And in fact, in Mexico I know for certain that Sunday is referred to as "the 8th day"...although I don't know how it is said in Spanish.
Also, a fun history note, Pope Pious I made the decision to celebrate Easter on Sunday and that all other Sunday's would be it's prototype.
Remember: The Roman Catholic church has never abandoned the Sabbath. The Calvonists, rabid anti-Catholic's, did.

Marcos David Torres said...

Teresa!

Alas! I have finally found time to reply, lol. For the sake of simplicity I quote you first and then I respond.

"For the first few centuries of Christianity many in the eastern part of the Empire rested on Sabbath. Keep in mind something. There has never, ever been a "day of worship" for God's people. There was for Israel a day of rest but not a day of worship. Worship of the one true God has always happened daily. Christianity has always worshipped daily. It is a tradition of Protestantism that there is one day a week that we go to church. All the churches that go back to the time of Christ (Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic...etc.) have corporate worships daily. They celebrate Sunday as special.... but they came and still come together daily in worship."

I agree 100%. Sabbath is not a day of worship. Every day is a day of worship. Sabbath has never been about having one day apart to worship God and while worship is involved as in everyday Sabbath has always been a day of rest. No disagreement here :)

"Okay, so with that in mind many early Christians DID rest on Sabbath--as well as go to church daily."

I also agree 100% with what you are saying here. Early Christians went to church daily (I wish more SDA churches would do the same! My aunt and uncle who are Catholic go to church every day. I have often wondered, what would they do if they became Protestants where most churches are only open a few times a week? They love going to church every day! And so do I. In the future I plan on planting an SDA church in Australia and with God’s grace will follow the NT model of having fellowship everyday whether at church or at a church members home.)

"If you were to go to the Vatican today you would hear them call Saturday the Sabbath and Sunday, the Lord's Day. There is no idea in Catholicism that Sunday is the Sabbath. That is a misunderstanding of Catholicism. Catholics have always understood Saturday as being the Jewish day of rest--the Sabbath--and Sunday being the day of Christians celebrating the Resurrection. It is not, as Adventists believe, our "day" of worship. It is special, but not in the sense of a Sabbath."

This I also agree with. Catholics have never attempted to say that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath, that’s a protestant argument. Catholics freely admit that they don’t believe that Sunday is Sabbath which is what weird’s me out the most when protestants try to use the Bible to argue that it is. It’s funny because while they are trying to argue that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath the Catholics don’t even break a sweat over it. They just come out straight and say that they celebrate Sunday in honor of Jesus resurrection and view Sabbath as Jewish. So once again we have no disagreement here.

Marcos David Torres said...

"The idea of keeping Sunday as a Christian Sabbath was bantered about by popes, bishops and theologians for centuries with no definitive development of that doctrine. Since the east kept Sabbath... there could be no confusion of the two.... Sunday was not Sabbath. So, just how did it come about--this idea of Sunday being "Sabbath"? Well, it really caught on after the Reformation. It was the Calvinists who took the idea and ran with it making it ubiquitous among Protestants. Catholics have always seen Sunday as a fulfillment of the first/eighth day in scripture--NOT the seventh day."

Once again, no disagreement here. Although I am not 100% sure of the historical data I do know that the whole Sunday is Sabbath thing is a protestant thing. If you look at the history of Protestantism in America you will see that in the early days Protestants actually had Sunday laws that were extremely strict. You couldn’t hold hands in public on the Sabbath (Sunday) or even kiss. When Ellen White came around saying we should take a stroll on Sabbath to enjoy Gods finished work of creation she would have been considered an extreme liberal by comparison.
A perfect example of how Catholics don’t dilly dawdle with this is in a quotation (whether official or unofficial I don’t know) from their own faith saying, “People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become 7th Day Adventists, and keep Saturday holy.” (The Pastor's page of The Sentinel, Saint Catherine Catholic Church, Algonac, Michigan, May 21, 1995)

Marcos David Torres said...

“349 The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ’s Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation…. (There was a lot here so I’ve ellipsed it). If you will read the writings of the early Church Fathers you will find that Christians worshipped daily and had a special celebration of the Resurrection on Sunday. This is from the beginning. What Adventists mix up is the Edict of Tolerance I think Constantine issued in AD 312. If you read this edict you will find that it just allows Christians to celebrate the Lord's Day without being thrown in prison. It did nothing to make Sunday a Sabbath. That is an SDA misunderstanding and indeed an anachronism. Catholics "sanctify" all holy days as a discipline.... these can be changed at will and are never referenced as Sabbaths. Sunday is a holy day of obligation NOT because it is a Sabbath, but because the church, by her authority, decided that for the sake of unity we needed certain days we "assemble together." It is exactly like a Christmas! To a Catholic Sunday isn't a Sabbath, that is a Protestant thing.....”

Once again, I don’t think we have any disagreements here. Talking about the Sabbath with a Catholic is by far much easier than talking about it with a protestant. (By the way, I feel like I’ve bagged on Protestants during this reply. That’s definitely not my intention. Since I am so busy and have little time I’m trying to be as precise as possible and that can often come across rather cold, but I love protestants! If I didn’t love them I couldn’t possibly be SDA since we are protestants as well)
When it comes to Catholics and SDA’s the issue doesn’t revolve around the Bibles view of the Sabbath. Catholics have no apologies regarding the Sabbath and they don’t attempt to say that Sunday is Sabbath either. Where we part ways (and I’m sure you know this Teresa) is that due to Sola Scriptura we SDA’s cannot accept the points you made above. While celebrating Sunday as Christ’s resurrection is awesome, it’s not mandated in scripture. The Sabbath as Gods day of rest is never replaced in scripture either nor is it Jewish (there weren’t any Jews around when the Sabbath was instituted at creation). The Sabbath, as a day of rest, is for all mankind not just for Jews. With the absence of any Biblical evidence that we ought to push Sabbath aside to make room for Sunday (which Christ nor his apostles never commanded) we have to logically deny Sunday and embrace Sabbath.

However, the Catholic Church believes that it is Gods true church and as such has the authority to make Sunday the day of assembly. Under this view it’s Scripture + the authority of the church that determines this issue. As Protestants this is a doctrine that we deny.

So it seems to me that the root of our disagreement is not Sabbath but authority. As a protestant I accept authority only from Scripture. As a Catholic it is scripture + church. If I could be convinced that the church does have that authority then I would gladly become a Catholic due to the law of logical consistency.

Marcos David Torres said...

So I suppose this leads me to a question which for the time are more for the sake of understanding than anything else.

As I understand it, the Catholic view of Papal Succession indicates that starting with Peter every Pope is a successor of the authority that Jesus gave to Peter (Mat 16:18-19). Is that correct?

If that is the case, then is it correct to say that the church is above scripture?

That's all of for now :)

PS. I know others who read this bl will want to respond to my questions or comment. Because I am so busy I will only be able to respond to Teresa so I hope no one is offended. Occasionally, if the question is simple enough, I may entertain it but for the most part I wont be able to.

God bless!

Teresa Beem said...

Hello Marcos!! Glad to know we are in agreement in so much of what usually clouds discussions between Catholics and Protestants.
To get right to it.....

I think we need to be even more specific about Catholic teaching, just for clarity.

Catholics believe the full and total Word of God--that is ALL that He spoke and some of which was written down and some not. You see, God came to set up a Kingdom, not give us a book. And the Kingdom would know ALL of what He said, not just the written part.
_________

Textual proof of the Word of God being more than what was written down:

Act 1:1, "In the first book, O The-oph'ilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God."

After His resurrection, Christ spent forty days explaining the Kingdom to His eleven Apostles. These teachings, never written down explicitly in scripture, were nevertheless incredibly important and binding on Christians. We know that the Bible is not the exhaustive Word of God for this is plainly written by John in his gospel, last chapter, verse 25: "And there are also many other things which Jesus did , the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written . Amen." Paul tells the readers of his letters that there are some things he can only say to them in person.

So we must ask ourselves two questions: 1. Is the Word of God that was not written down important to us today? 2. If so then why didn't He have someone write them down?

Catholic Answers to that.....

1. Catholic "Dogma" (or big "T" Tradition)

Catholics believe that what Christ spoke (and was never written) is indeed important. Catholics call the Word of God that was passed down through word of mouth "Tradition." (All tradition means is "that which is passed down.") Catholics did not make up Tradition. Tradition is not our opinions or our pronouncements. It is the very Word of God. Jesus sent forth disciples to teach and preach the gospel. He never commissioned His Apostles to write (except John's Apocalypse.) In fact, Jesus said to this disciples, "He who hears you, hears me." (The primary, official way of spreading the gospel is through the mouth of man. Jesus sent MEN out into all the world... He didn't mention a book.)

ALL of God's Word started out as Tradition (oral teachings). It was only later that the Apostles wrote part of them down, and they by no means considered what they were writings as exhaustive and writing for the purpose of people looking to a book in order to receive all truth. Even the Ethiopian understood that he needed help when reading the Bible and exclaimed to Philip, "How can I understand, lest someone TEACH me!" The Bible was never to be the teacher. God set up Teachers to teach and the Bible is a supplement. But the TEACHINGS both oral and written ARE the Word of God.

Catholics also have "Doctrine" which is the Apostolic interpretation of the Dogma. It is authoritative because it was given to the Apostles to teach. Like a Bride has the authority to explain to the kids what the father meant when he said, "Clean out the garage." The kids may take that as meaning sweep, while the mother knows that means clean and organize all the toys too. Someone has to have a clear, authoritative understanding of the Word of God or else everyone will be swept away with the winds of doctrines.... Peter warns us against this. SDAs, since they have EGW as interpreter of scripture, understand this a little better than many other Protestants. (And by the way... you weren't really ragging on Protestants... at least I wasn't taking it that way!) Okay back to what I was thinking....

Teresa Beem said...

This segues very well into point 2:

Why didn't God write down EVERYTHING for us so we wouldn't be wondering about oral tradition?

Well, perhaps God told only the Apostles (after His death) for forty days about the Kingdom BECAUSE He knew that everyone would go around claiming authority to speak for Him. After all, many Jewish RABBIs and Jewish leaders heard Christ too. Everyone could have walked away with a different understanding and all kinds of little differing sects could have sprung up (as they did) without an AUTHORITATIVE voice as to WHAT Jesus meant. Because what Jesus meant is vital. This idea that we can all think Jesus meant different things is ludicrous. So Christ specifically endowed a few men with His authority for a church (His Kingdom) that would clearly pass down the traditions of His teachings. Some things--vital teachings--were told ONLY by mouth so that a Book would NOT lead the kingdom, but a people.

Catholics do not place Tradition above scripture at all. We believe that our FIRST authority is the full Word of God, both written and unwritten. Then God placed a Kingdom with leaders who are authorized to interpret scripture so that heresies do not eat up the Kingdom. So that the sheep can clearly know who the shepherds are. So that false shepherds, when they arise from within and without can be dealt with. It is a real, visible kingdom. With real visible leadership.

Protestants often misunderstand "Dogma" (Big "T" Tradition with discipline (little "t" tradition.) Disciplines are teaching of the church, "club rules" such as keeping Sunday as day to celebrate Christ's resurrection. Another is the celibacy of the Priesthood. These traditions/disciples can and do change with the times. They are "as needed" to bring the Body of Christ into unity and perfection.

Teresa Beem said...

Now to your comment about the Sabbath issue:

You are correct, Catholics no longer keep the Sabbath rest as a day, because it has been interpreted by Christian authorities from the beginning as being fulfilled in Christ. The rest the old testament law pointed to was Christ Himself. That is why Paul allowed for people to keep or not keep Sabbath days. It was no longer a commandment in the New Covenant.

Catholics did not unilaterally decide to change this "rest." Christ told His Apostles what it meant by "it is finished." That is why all Christians from the very beginning celebrated Sunday. That came from Christ Himself. Jesus TOLD the Apostles that He was the "rest" fulfillment. So when Judaizers tried to get new Christians to keep Sabbath, the early church could definitively say that Sabbath rest was no longer required!

I think there is sufficient evidence in scripture without an oral tradition to understand this. And you know the passages I am speaking of in Romans and Colossians. The early church understood these as meaning the weekly Sabbaths not the High Sabbaths.

So, as you so brilliantly observed, this comes down to what Jesus meant. And SDAs use Ellen White to interpret scripture, Protestants use the Reformers or themselves and the Catholics use the magisterium.

In the end, we must go to scripture to figure out WHO did God place in charge of interpreting His meaning? And it is easily discovered that it is the Apostles. Jesus parables were always exclusively explained to the Apostles.

Now the follow up question.
!. Did the authority to interpret scripture die with the death of the last apostle?
2. If not, who are the successors to the apostles?
3. Are there still successors to the Apostles today and who would they be?
4. Do we have to follow them even if we think they are wrong or they do evil things?

Those are the real questions that need to be asked about church authority.

Teresa Beem said...

God bless you Marcos! It is so enjoyable not to argue. If you knew me you would not in any way think I am saying things to be sarcastic or mean-spirited. I am just a little, brown-eyed female who has SOOO much to get done that often I get straight to the point and don't gush it up much, (which leaves me open to criticism!) Know that I always have an open heart and mind and that I say things straight so that I make an easy target. I am not interested in being believed, I am interested in learning TRUTH, for Truth IS Christ.

So know I am always open to being taught and corrected!

Claudia said...

Teresa, I am following your conversation with Marcos and I would like to congratulate you for your apologetic style, very direct, clear, and charitable. I am learning a lot. Thank you. I am praying to the Holy Spirit to guide both of you.

Teresa Beem said...

Thank you Claudia! You made my morning!

Marcos David Torres said...

Hi Teresa!

Since we are both ridiculously busy, I too will get right to it. First of all, I would like to start by agreeing with your first premise which I will summarize by “not all of God’s word is recorded in scripture. There are extra canonical sources that also contain his word.” While many Christians deny this, it is a Biblically accurate premise. The Old Testament quotes many non-canonical books. If only those men who wrote the Bible had truth then why quote non-canonical writings? Some of these include the book of Jasher, Book of the Wars of the Lord, Chronicles of the Kings of Israel and Judah, the book of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the Seer and so on. In the NT we find reference to the book of Enoch, and the Assumption of Moses. So the fact that there are non-canonical writings that were viewed, at least to some extent, as containing truth is biblically consistent.

With this in mind, I have no problem with non-canonical writings, or even Catholic Dogma. Where I draw the line is when a non-canonical source contradicts the canon. For example, the Canon tells me that Jesus is the Son of God. If a prophet, church, or even an angel tells me otherwise I won’t believe them because they are contradicting the canon. This is why Paul said, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!”

Now there is something interesting in this verse. Paul isn’t simply saying if someone else comes around preaching another gospel. He even says “we” which includes the apostles. Therefore, even the apostles themselves don’t have the authority to contradict the revealed word of God. So I am OK with non-canonical sources so long as they don’t contradict the revealed word of God in the Canon. Unfortunately, in my study of history and scripture I have found much of Catholic Dogma to contradict the Bible.

Marcos David Torres said...

Jesus said, “They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” Mat. 15:9 When Jesus said this he was talking about the Pharisees who had developed all kinds of traditions. The argument that you present on Dogma as authoritative could easily have been used by the Pharisees as well and indeed it was but Jesus rejected all of their traditions and lived only by Gods revealed word. Jesus never quoted oral tradition as authoritative. He lived by a “thus says the Lord.” So in conclusion, I am OK with Tradition so long as it doesn’t contradict Gods revealed word. But at the same time, I believe that scripture alone is sufficient to salvation and that the tradition, if accurate, can be supplementary but is not necessary. Peter tells us that, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 1 Pet. 1:3-4

So what about Catholic Dogma? Well, let me give you an example of why I don’t embrace tradition too easily. The early church was introduced to a heresy known as Gnosticism. The Gnostics used the same “oral tradition” argument that you presented. The Gnostics went around saying that Jesus had entrusted only a small handful of his disciples with “secret” knowledge that no one else knew. This secret knowledge was then passed on to the Gnostics and in turn they had come to share it with the church. While such a claim is weird in and of itself, the real problem came when the Gnostics started sharing their doctrines which contradicted the scriptures. The so called secret knowledge of Jesus was so antithetical to the revealed word of God that Gnosticism was labeled a heresy. I have found Catholic Dogma to be, in many ways, just as antithetical to scripture. Even if I was to accept Catholic dogma as true though, whose dogma should I follow? Augustine’s? Iranaeus? Thomas Aquinas? (All of which were heavily influenced by Greek philosophy.) Or is it popes that are infallible? If the later is true then Catholics of all people have no right to accuse the SDA church of basing their teachings on a prophet (which we do not) for they base theirs on men as well (some of which, as history shows, were sexually immoral, power hungry, and blatantly evil).

Marcos David Torres said...

I don’t mean to bag on Catholics because I know Catholics who are 10 times the Christian that I am. I am simply saying that when it comes to tradition over scripture I cannot accept anything that contradicts scripture. And if I do, whose contradiction should I follow? The theology of the east? The theology of the west? Clement and Origen? Thomas Aquinas? Augustine? The Popes? All of these contradict each other, are heavily influenced by Plato, Aristotle, and Stoic philosophy, and were engaged in endless political battles that resulted in the very sins that placed Christ on the cross. Popes fought against one another for the highest authority, excommunicated one another, and used political treachery to get what they wanted. Are these the gentlemen whose interpretation of scripture I am to consider infallible? While none of us are perfect, to accept spiritual authority from someone whose life is characterized, not by the occasional misdeed, but by open rebellion to Gods law of love is, in my estimation, the apex of gullibility. I think it’s safer to stand on the unchanging truths of scripture, whose words I am guaranteed are from God himself, than to follow men, women, or even angels.

Now allow me to clarify my position a bit. I do believe that Catholicism was used by God. Why? Because Catholicism was Christianity. There were no endless list of denominations. There were fringe groups like the Arians, yes, but Catholicism was Christianity. However, from my study of history I can see that shortly after the apostles died the Christian church began to apostatize. That apostasy continued well into the dark ages before men like Luther began to reclaim the truths of scripture that had long been abandoned. While Catholicism was used by God in many ways, it did eventually apostatize to such an extent that the church of the New Testament was barely visible within it. The reformation was Gods way of taking the church back to the New Testament. An initiative which was met by hostility and cruelty by Popes and bishops alike.

Marcos David Torres said...

So this leads me to point number two which you opened up by asking, “Why didn't God write down EVERYTHING for us so we wouldn't be wondering about oral tradition?”

Based on everything I mentioned above, my answer would be because oral tradition is not necessary. God placed everything that is needed for salvation in his word and anything else that adds to that is either supplementary information that does not change the revealed word or its simply a fabrication of some sort. For example, the Bible teaches that we are saved by faith in Jesus. The New Covenant conditions for salvation are repentance, confession, and baptism – all of which are initiated by the Holy Spirit and not human will. However, the Catholic church has maintained that no one can be saved outside of it. The Sacraments are the means by which grace is imparted to the world. So while Jesus tore the veil of separation between God and man, Catholicism has rebuilt it and the veil is none other than Catholicism itself. Is this the oral tradition that I am supposed to embrace?

You say that Catholics do not place tradition over scripture, but I must lovingly disagree. Catholicism most certainly does. I recently wrote a post titled “Why Sola Scriptura Is not Enough” in which I present the case of David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidian cult. David Koresh taught his followers to follow the Bible and the Bible alone. But (and here’s the big but) he also taught that the Bible pointed to him as the messiah. Thus, if you believe in the bible you believe in Koresh because the Bible points to Koresh. This is heresy. Why? Because the Bible never points to any agency outside itself as having authority over it. It always points back to itself. Sola Scriptura must always point back to Sola Scriptura not the church, the book of Mormon, Ellen G. White, or any other. So to say that the Catholic church does not place the Bible over tradition and then say that the tradition is Gods word unwritten is a prime example of circular reasoning. In the end you are saying that the church does indeed place tradition over scripture. This is precisely what the Pharisees did. And by the way Teresa, I wholeheartedly admit that the SDA church has done the same thing many times. None of us are immune.

Marcos David Torres said...

Now on to the Sabbath issue. You stated,
“You are correct, Catholics no longer keep the Sabbath rest as a day, because it has been interpreted by Christian authorities from the beginning as being fulfilled in Christ.”

While this may be true such an interpretation is false. Here are my reasons for saying so.
1. Every commandment is restated in the NT except the Sabbath. The best explanation of this is not that the Sabbath was universally rejected, but that the Sabbath was universally accepted and thus not an issue in the early church. All of the other commandments repeated in the NT are commandments that were being broken. The Sabbath is never mentioned. The best explanation is that it wasn’t being broken.
2. The Sabbath was one of the biggest religious expressions in Judaism. Had it been changed, the resulting controversies would have been the focus of the apostles. However, the apostles never mention it. The Judaizers themselves never brought up the issue. How so? How could the guys who wanted the gentiles to be circumcised and keep the ceremonial law say nothing about the Sabbath? The best explanation is that they didn’t need to because the Sabbath was kept.
3. Jesus told his disciples to pray that they would not flee Jerusalem on winter or on the Sabbath. When he said this he was refereeing to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, over 30 years after his death. Why would he mention the Sabbath to them if it would no longer matter?
4. The Lords Day of revelation 1 cannot possibly be Sunday. The Lords Day in scripture is always Sabbath. Jesus was known as the Lord of the Sabbath and the Sabbath was known as Gods special day. Since Jesus was Lord of the Sabbath and Sabbath is a day then clearly The Lords Day must be the Sabbath. The only way to argue that it was Sunday is to go completely out of the Bible and build your theology on extra biblical sources.
5. Sunday as day of worship was a popular teaching of the Gnostics because they taught that the OT God was evil and the NT God (Jesus) was good. Therefore they shunned the Sabbath because it was the day of the OT God and presented Sunday as the day of the NT God because of his resurrection. This has no scriptural basis whatsoever.
6. The Sabbath Paul speaks of is indeed the ceremonial Sabbath because the Sabbath in scripture is a memorial of creation. It is not a shadow of Jesus. The ceremonial Sabbath days were a memorial of Jesus. The Sabbath of the 10 commandments is a memorial of creation and after the death of on Friday has become a memorial of redemption. All of Pauls references regarding the Sabbath are surrounded by ceremonial language. No where in the NT do we find Paul suggesting that only 9 of the 10 commandments are still valid or that the day was changed.

Marcos David Torres said...

You say the early church understood these as being the Sabbath and not the High Sabbath. That depends on what early church you are talking about. By the second and third century greek philosophy and Gnosticism had already caused significant alterations to biblical theology so I wouldn’t doubt that they were already posing those arguments. However, I don’t base my theology on the early church. I base it on what scripture is saying and find no evidence that such a position was the norm.

Jesus is indeed the rest fulfillment, but Jesus has also fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law totally apart from me. Since the requirements of the law have already been met in Christ does this mean that I can cheat on my wife and rob the bank and that it’s OK? Obviously not. If Jesus is the true rest, which he is, does this mean that I can break the Sabbath? Obviously not. The Sabbath is not a burden. It is a joy. It is a weekly date with God. 24 hours where I can remember that He is my creator and savior. 24 hours to forget about everything else and enjoy him. I am regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by literal water. Should I not be baptized then?

The reality is that there is ample historical evidence that the Sabbath was kept by the early church and continued to be kept for centuries after. Thus, when it comes to Sunday worship Catholics are the only ones who are internally consistent with their theology. Because Catholics have dogma they have an internally coherent reason to reject Sabbath for Sunday. Protestants, with their sola scriptura theology, have no such reason. Even then, it is possible to be internally coherent and have a faulty premise which leads to error which is what Catholicism has done.

Now to clarify. SDAs do not officially use EGW to interpret scripture. This is a role she rejected throughout her entire ministry. She refused to be the “divine bible commentator” everyone wanted her to be. Though there are Adventists who use her that way, she never advocated that and in fact openly rejected it. Ellen Whites use of scripture is quite often Homiletical and not exegetical so using her as a divine Bible commentator wouldn’t even work. This is why, unlike Mormons, I can give you Bible studies on our 28 fundamental beliefs without ever appealing to EGW. This is also why all of our doctrines are shared everywhere in Christendom. The Sabbath came to us from the 7th day Baptists. The historicist method of apocalyptic interpretation comes to us from the likes of Luther and Newton. Our soteriology is very Wesleyan with elements of Augustine, Arminius, and Luther. The state of the dead as we understand it is a widespread understanding in the Christian world. Even the IJ was discovered by Catholic author F. Dusterwald and Protestant interpreter T. Robinson among others. In short, none of our doctrines necessitate EGW. Anyone who reads the Bible will find them there quite easily.

Marcos David Torres said...

Now to your questions

1. Did the authority to interpret scripture die with the death of the last apostle? Of course not. It continues to this day as the right and ability of every believer. Unfortunately, many theologians of the past have interpreted the Bible using Greek goggles which is why we have ended up with so much heresy. Every heretical teaching that I have studied all begins with a premise that is rooted in greek philosophy. If we throw those goggles away and read the Bible with Bible glasses we won’t have a problem interpreting scripture correctly.
2. If not, who are the successors to the apostles? The idea of apostolic succession is not found anywhere in scripture. Peter is never seen as the head of all apostles either. In fact, when Paul rebuked him Peter did not respond with a “hey I am the head apostle here.” The idea of apostolic succession is alien to scripture and the idea of Peter being the captain of the apostles is even more alien.
3. Are there still successors to the Apostles today and who would they be? No there aren’t. The church doesn’t need apostolic successors. It simply needed the truth, as it is in Jesus, accurately recorded as a guide for all to follow. Our problem in Christianity is not lack of apostolic authority, it is lack of obedience to Gods revealed word. Even when the apostles were around numerous heresies abounded. Their response to these heresies was never their own authority, it was always the word of God. If we made his word of such importance as they did we could combat heresy likewise.
4. Do we have to follow them even if we think they are wrong or they do evil things? Based on my precious answers I don’t see a need to answer this question but I will repeat what I stated earlier. While none of us are perfect, for me to allow a blatantly evil person to be my spiritual guide is far from intelligent. Sure, all of us have sinned. All of us continue to sin. But there is a difference between doing evil things and being an evil person. We all do evil things, but Gods children have been redeemed from the power of sin so that our lives are not characterized by wickedness. Would Catholics continue to follow the Pope today if he were to molest children, steal money from the church, lie to his bishops and steal money from his treasury? I would certainly hope not. Yet many Popes of antiquity have been so evil you have to wonder if they were even born again Christians. This is not judging. This is fruit analysis. Jesus said, “by their fruits you shall know them”

Teresa, I would like to close this response by affirming, as you did in your previous response, that I am in no way being sarcastic or mean-spirited. I am being more candid than usual because of my lack of time, but I say everything in love. As you well know, I don’t like to argue but I love a good friendly chat.

God bless!

Teresa Beem said...

Hi Marcos:
Just got a minute.....

Please show me clearly in New Testament scripture where:

1. Our interpretation of scripture is the final authority. (Please keep Matthew 18 in mind as Christ clearly puts the church as final arbiter in faith and morals). You see the gnostics and Judaisers and heretics all used scripture to deceive people away from the truth. The Lord chose Apostles as leaders of a church in order to establish who is and who isn't a false shepherd. The Bible does not call all the disciples shepherds. Most of them He called sheep. Giving the SHEEP the authority to choose their own shepherd? That's not biblical or logical or workable. Why need shepherds and teachers if there is no visible kingdom and we are all to go straight to the Bible for our answers. The Ethiopian told Phillip that he needed help in understanding scripture. Cornelius sent for Peter. Peter cautioned that there are lots of people who twist scripture. Paul said that their are teachers and authorities so that people are not caught up in winds of doctrine. The Bible clearly says the church and its leaders are His authority. He didn't tell the Apostles to write a book. He said, "He who listened to you listens to me."

2. Please show me in scripture where we are allowed to usurp God's authorities when they are wrong.

You see you claim you don't follow the traditions of man and in fact you do:

The Bible's books are from tradition. There is no infallible list of what books should be included in scripture WITHIN scripture. You can't point to a text to give me a list. The Catholics used tradition to decide what books, letters and gospels are scripture.

I understand that you disagree with the church's interpretation. I respect your freedom to do so. But when I read scripture it is quite clear from beginning to end, that God expects us to obey His authorities. And nowhere do I see Him giving each one of us, individually, the right to decide for ourselves what scripture means and then use our personal interpretation to go against the Bible and cause a schism in the church. Again, that is against scripture. We are to be unified. Eph. 4


Gotta run, I see this as quickly going to a he said/she said and a battle of interpretation of the Bible. There is little way to get beyond that. God bless,
Teresa

Marcos David Torres said...

Hi Teresa!
Great questions. Before I answer them though allow me to establish some commonality between us, then I will clarify some misunderstandings, and then I will go to the scriptures.
Commonality
Like Catholics, Adventists have no problem with saying that there is a true church and that they are it. Many Christian Protestants would say that this is arrogance but the reality is every church claims to be the true church either actively or passively. Catholics do so actively by claiming that they are the true apostolic church and that outside of Catholicism salvation cannot be found. Adventists do so actively in one sense and passively in another because while we believe our message is the message of the true church we don’t claim to be the only church in which Gods spirit dwells and neither do we believe that Adventists alone will be saved. And many protestant denominations do so passively. While they won’t openly say, “we are the true church” they won’t say “we are a false church” either. Because theological pluralism is anti-biblical, by refusing to label yourself as a false church you are passively saying you have the truth and that those who don’t agree with your truth are teaching false doctrines. Hence, it is impossible to be a Christian without believing your church is the true church. Any accusation of arrogance is therefore null and void.
So why am I saying this? This brings me to my clarification point. I am not saying that we have individual authority to interpret the Bible any way we please. This is what breeds cults. Men like David Koresh interpreted the Bible in their own way and we can see where that led them. The understanding of scripture is individual (personal devotional time), communal (community of believers getting together to study the Bible), and ecclesiastical (church leadership). What the interpretation never is – is one man’s authority above everyone else. The heretics used scripture to defend their views yes, but it is always, in every case, mingled with some sort of non-biblical presupposition such as Greek philosophy. It is the responsibility of the leaders to equip the community and to exhort, explain, and teach the truth as it is in Jesus to those who are not so well acquainted with God’s word but it is never its responsibility to replace Gods word to such an extent that it becomes a dictator over men’s consciences. So in conclusion, my personal interpretation of scripture is never the final authority. The church, or the community (I am using those terms interchangeably) has the supreme authority in this matter but even then it is not final because church leaders can and do apostatize. For example, I am giving Bible studies to some new Christians right now. Since I know the Bible and they don’t I have the authority when I teach them. However, that authority is not my own, it comes from scripture. The moment I stop teaching scripture and start teaching my own ideas I no longer have authority and these new Christians have every right to go to the Bible themselves and follow what it says instead of what I say. So I believe the Bible is interpreted individually, which is subject to community, which is subject to clergy, which is subject to scripture. In Catholicism it seems that scripture interpretation is based on clergy which is subject to nothing and this I cannot accept.

Marcos David Torres said...

So far I haven’t used scripture because I have been saving it to the end. But now I wll. First, where we agree:
The disciples forbade a man from casting out demons because he wasn’t a “disciple”. Jesus told them not to forbid him because he that is “not against us is for us” (Luke 9:49-50). While this is not explicitly related to interpreting scripture it still demonstrates that Christ desires all who are his to be engaged in his work, not just the disciples (clergy). I am sure both you and I would agree with this.
Jesus first evangelist was the Samaritan woman followed by the demon possessed men from Gadarenes. Neither of them where disciples but they were commissioned to preach the gospel. Here we understand that Jesus wants all of us, not just clergy, to preach the gospel. (BTW by clergy I mean those in authority in the church such as apostles, prophets, pastors etc.). Again, I’m sure you and I would agree on this point.

Marcos David Torres said...

Where we would disagree:
In Matthew 28:20 Jesus tells his disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Thus, the disciples can only teach what Jesus has commanded, nothing more – nothing less.” So what if the apostles begin teaching things Jesus commanded them to teach that are not in scripture (dogma)? That’s fine so long as it doesn’t contradict scripture which dogma often does. So to teach something that contradicts scripture and then say it is a tradition that was simply not recorded in scripture is what is known as the fallacy of inconsistency. This is also an example of ad-hoc reasoning, another logical fallacy, because it introduces an unexplainable variable into an equation in order to justify its conclusion and make it appear valid. For example, the Bible is our only guide but we do a lot of things that are not in the Bible so how do we defend that? Enter the ad-hoc: Claim apostolic authority, dogma, and unwritten-word-passed-down and now we have a reason to support our non-biblical beliefs and practices. However, if this variable is removed Catholicism will find itself without foundation. This realization on the part of Catholic priests is part of what ignited the protestant reformation. When they attempted to have their questions answered, they were not met with a “thus saith the Lord”, they were met with a “thus saith the church and if you don’t recant you die.”
Paul said that the Bereans were more noble than those in Thessalonica because they checked Paul's message with Scripture (Acts 17:11). In other words, they didn’t just take Paul’s word for it because he was an apostle with authority. Instead, they checked him out with scripture. Paul was very pleased with this because he understood scripture to be above him, not the other way around. I am an SDA today because I do my best to investigate everything I hear by Gods word. The result is that while I agree with our fundamental doctrines I have gotten rid of a lot of the SDA traditions I was raised with. And the day I discover SDA teachings to be false is the day I walk away from this movement.
Paul told the Corinthians "follow my example as I follow Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). Thus, Paul’s claim to spiritual leadership was not in his apostolic title but in how he followed Jesus. At this point I must say that even if the doctrine of apostolic supremacy and authority were biblical I still wouldn’t be able to follow the Papacy because, unlike Paul, many of them have not followed Christ’s example in dealing with sinners or in moral living, and none of them have followed Christ’s example of doctrine. I propose that if we are going to look for scriptural evidence of any sort, perhaps it would be wise to search for scriptural evidence regarding a large amount of Catholic teaching. There is none of course (Mary as intercessor, Sainthood, purgatory, apostolic succession, Sunday worship, confession to priests etc.) at which point one has to claim apostolic authority and dogma in order to maintain ones views (the ad-hoc fallacy).

Marcos David Torres said...

In 2 Tim 3:14 and 15 Paul tells Timothy to hang on to the truth remembering who he learned it from (authority of the church) but then Paul tells him, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Placing the ultimate authority not in himself or the church but in the scriptures. Notice also that Paul says the scriptures are “able to make thee wise unto salvation.” No mention of dogma or apostolic authority here. Just scriptures. Paul then says,
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” This text reveals to you and I the supremacy and efficacy of Sola Scriptura. No need of dogma.
2 Timothy 2 is especially helpful in this discussion. Paul tells Timothy to “rightly divide the word of truth.” He doesn’t tell him to accept his interpretation of it as infallible but to study it for himself. Then Paul talks about combating heresy. He talks about a heresy that was floating around in their day and then says “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm” and the foundation is not apostolic authority but, “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” Here Paul refers to the community of believers not a special supreme group. He then says, “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” Here Paul teaches us that everyone can be an instrument God uses to maintain true doctrine and combat heretical teachings. Not just apostles, but anyone including the common people.
In Galatians 1:8 Paul says, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” According to Paul, he himself cannot change the gospel even though he is an apostle. He is under the authority of scripture not vice versa. Not only that, but Paul says that if he were to tell the Galatians another gospel they should not believe him just because he is an apostle. They should believe Gods revealed word alone and not that which contradicts it. Again Paul says, “I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” Much of Catholic Dogma is of human origin and cannot possibly come from Christ because unlike Paul, Catholic dogma contradicts the revealed word of God.
Philip, a deacon, interpreted Isaiah to the Eunuch. He was not an apostle. And Priscilla and Acquilla led Apollos without apostolic help. Thus, two more examples of non-apostolic interpreters of scripture.

Marcos David Torres said...

2. Please show me in scripture where we are allowed to usurp God's authorities when they are wrong.
We are not allowed to usurp Gods authorities at all because to usurp means to take someone’s place illegally or by force. To usurp a divine authority would be to take their place illegally. Christ is the head of his church and his apostles are its leaders. If you are honest with yourself you will discover that it is precisely because we cannot usurp church authorities that I cannot be a Catholic because the papacy has usurped Christ and the Apostles. Can the Papacy usurp Christ and Peter? Based on what Catholicism teaches they most clearly have. So as a protestant I don’t teach that we ought to usurp church authority, I teach that we ought to uphold it which is why I am not a Catholic, for Catholicism has indeed usurped Christ. As an Adventist Christ is the head and his teachings are above all. He cannot be usurped, replaced, removed, or covered up. Catholicism’s papal system has done just that. Thus, all teachers or “authorities” that came after Christ and the Apostles must be in subjection to Christ and His apostles. If they contradict Christ and His apostles then they have no authority. Thus, to reject them is not to reject Gods authority, it is to reject false teachers.
“The Bible's books are from tradition. There is no infallible list of what books should be included in scripture WITHIN scripture. You can't point to a text to give me a list. The Catholics used tradition to decide what books, letters and gospels are scripture.”
Here I must simply and lovingly disagree. While the church did not use an infallible list of books to include in the canon they did not use tradition either. Books like the Epistle of Clement had been considered authoritative by many Christians but did not enter the canon. There was a criteria used for determining what books should go in the Bible and the criteria included agreement with previous revelation. This is why no New Testament book contradicts another and neither do they contradict the Old Testament. The books which were excluded failed the test of canonicity. By accepting the Bible as we know it today, I am not following tradition for tradition was not a factor in the approval of New Testament books. The criterion used was sound, biblical, and internally consistent. Again, it was not tradition.
“I understand that you disagree with the church's interpretation. I respect your freedom to do so. But when I read scripture it is quite clear from beginning to end, that God expects us to obey His authorities. And nowhere do I see Him giving each one of us, individually, the right to decide for ourselves what scripture means and then use our personal interpretation to go against the Bible and cause a schism in the church. Again, that is against scripture. We are to be unified. Eph. 4”
I couldn’t agree more. Yet the question remains, where is the real authority? Will you follow the teachings of Christ and the apostles? Or will you follow the teachings of the men who came after (papacy)? The two are antithetical.

Blessings,

Marcos

Teresa Beem said...

Marcos!

You have more time than I do I guess.

Sounds like your last couple sentences were an altar call. My guess is that you have shown you are really not interested in understanding Catholicism, but exposing it. I am not here to make you Catholic, but explain. You evidently are on a mission. But please understand this in the most humble way I know how to say this. It seems that most Protestants want Catholics to satisfy to their understanding Catholic doctrines. That is not what I am here to do. I am going to present the doctrine/dogma as I can and if you don't accept it, God bless you and there's no problem. We would never force anyone to become Catholic. If you want to understand and I am not doing a good job of clearing up something that seems inconsistent, then I will continue. But I am not trying to prove anything. Nor have you proved anything to me. Sorry, I have already heard these arguments before I became Catholic. If we are here to prove something to each other... that's probably not going to happen.

Let me address some of your points though, so you may understand how Catholics see them.

You wrote:

The disciples forbade a man from casting out demons because he wasn’t a “disciple”. Jesus told them not to forbid him because he that is “not against us is for us” (Luke 9:49-50). While this is not explicitly related to interpreting scripture it still demonstrates that Christ desires all who are his to be engaged in his work, not just the disciples (clergy). I am sure both you and I would agree with this.


My response:
Jesus was not giving the man authority over teaching. We all would agree with that. Not all of the body are teachers.

I Cor. 12:5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord....7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit ... 12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. .... 24 ... But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body... 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? ....


There are only some people given a special gift of teaching and preaching. Not all have that gift.



Teresa Beem said...

Your assumption is that the sheep get to judge their shepherds based upon their own personal interpretation of scripture. That is unwise and unworkable. (And unbiblical.)

Referring to the II Tim. 3:16 passage:

So much of what Protestants pull from Paul’s letters to Timothy they ASSUME and falsely that Paul is speaking to all disciples. No. He is giving good advice to a fellow leader! He is not addressing the laity. So when Paul tells Timothy to “rightly divide” he is speaking to a leader and teacher who is under God’s authority AS a teacher and leader. We are not all teachers and leaders.

Again, God describes us as sheep, not all of us as shepherds. 

Remember what Paul says to Timothy AFTER telling the leader of the church to use BOTH scripture and tradition. He says , “ALL scripture is profitable.” To which we get into the whole canon discussion.

What can Protestants say about the admonitions of “all scripture” when they have taken out what they don’t like. They don’t want to be held under the authority of scriptures that support Catholic teaching. So they dealt with it by rending God’s written word as the Romans rent His garment and the Protestants have also rent the Body of Christ. Everything about Protestants causes schism, disunity, pride....



Another problem is that Protestants took out scripture that did not agree with their theology setting precedent that we can dismiss that which we don’t like.

The Catholic Bible was the Bible of the early church. Jesus and His Apostles used the Septuagint and of the 350 Old Testament quotes within the New Testament over 300 come from the Septuagint. The early church fathers quoted from the Catholic Bible and the books (as scripture)--and these the Protestants took out at whim.

I have been all over the US and Europe tracking down early manuscripts of the Bible just to set my eyes on them and see that they do indeed include the Deuterocanonical books. I had to find out for certain. I have spoken to Bible manuscript collectors and Bible (Protestant and atheists) librarians to verify over and over that yes, indeed for 1600 years all true Bibles (except for a few Waldensians who had an almost illiterate man try and translate it and ended up with something so offensive to Christians it literally caused a war... but the Cathars/Waldensians and Albegensians were a bunch of wacko cultists that make even David Koresh look sane. And I knew David Koresh!!!)



So for the Reformers to use “Sola Scriptura” was incredibly hypocritical for they just tossed out the books that didn’t match their theology and then demanded the Catholics to prove by scripture their beliefs. Then when they pointed to Second Maccabees for some of them---it conveniently wasn’t in Protestant Bibles. See the problem?

Teresa Beem said...

You wrote:

Catholics do so actively by claiming that they are the true apostolic church and that outside of Catholicism salvation cannot be found.

My response:
This is rather a long topic. So I will send you to a link that is helpful in dealing with this. And yes, Catholics believe that there will be many, probably most, in heaven that were not Catholic here on earth.

http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/what-no-salvation-outside-the-church-means

Teresa Beem said...

Lets look at a few texts on traditions. The Bible isn't against traditions that are God-made and that is exactly what Catholics claim their big "T" traditions are. And many of them Protestants claim, even though they are not explicitly in scripture--such as the Trinity, divinity of Christ, the canon of scripture, etc.

1 Corinthians 11:2, "I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you."


“and I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.
Gal. 1

2 Thessalonians 2:15, “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.”



The question is not that we cannot follow traditions, but which traditions? Who has the authority to say which traditions? Well the church itself does.

Let's look at the text you brought up and assume it discounts Catholic dogma:

“teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Your assumption is that “all that I have commanded you" is Protestant scriptural interpretation. Remember that Christ's words were always oral and some of those were written down. Not all that Christ spoke was written. It is merely your opinion that it must be written. I do not find that in scripture itself. 

You see I wrote a book with chapters showing how SDA doctrines are not only non-biblical but completely based upon the fantasies of Ellen White. That is the traditions of .... woman! (smile!) So, do you see how this is all about your interpretation vs. mine. That is all it can be without God having placed an authority we can look to to unite us and teach us truth and true intepretation. 


There are 1.1 Billion Catholics on the planet and over 2000 years of scholars that would disagree with Protestant interpretation of scripture. They read it and they see Protestantism as a schism in which the scriptures are very clearly against. They left scripture and its teaching of a visible church with visible leaders we must submit to and they create 20,000 different denominations each with their own ideas of scripture, each with their own authorities. And in the end each Protestant becomes his or her own pope. 




The Bible doesn’t point to us as interpreters, It points to the church.
1 Timothy 3:15, "if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." The CHURCH not the Bible is the pillar and foundation of truth. The bible points TO the church. As Christ said recorded in John 5:39, "You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me."

The scriptures are the story of God's people. It is a book about God and is God-breathed, but that is not the ONLY thing that is God-breathed and authoritative. The Bible points to a people, a kingdom, a church.

Teresa Beem said...


Hebrews 13:17
Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.

2 Thessalonians 3:14
If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.

2 Thessalonians 3:14
If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.

2 Corinthians 10:8
For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I shall not be put to shame.

These people were given authority from God, not from correctly interpreting scripture. You’ve got it backwards.



2 Peter 2:9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

Jude 1:8
Yet in like manner these men in their dreamings defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile the glorious ones.

I Peter 5:2 Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, 3 not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.

There is not a breath or hint anywhere in the Bible where it gives people permission to disobey God’s appointed leaders.

The Bereans did not go directly to scripture--they FIRST accepted Paul as an authority. They listened to Paul’s authoritative interpretation of Jesus being the OT Messiah. It is because Christ gave Paul the authority to teach that the Bereans then were ABLE to study scripture rightly and decipher from the OT that Jesus was. indeed the Messiah. This is EXACTLY what Catholics do today. Catholic teachers and clergy have been given the authority to correctly teach what is unclear in scripture. Then if you wish to be Catholic, go check out in scripture to see if we are correct. If you are convicted by the Holy Spirit, then become Catholic, if not. Then don’t.



You wrote: 

Paul told the Corinthians "follow my example as I follow Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). 


The Corinthians did not know Christ--nor was the scriptures compiled into a Bible at this time. All they had were a few letters and perhaps a gospel or two. This is not a call for the Corinthians to judge Paul’s rightness or authority. In fact Paul is pretty strong about his authority in his letters. He is saying to them... follow me and I am following Christ. It is a pecking order. “Get in line.”

You wrote:
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed ! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received,



My response:
How did they receive this gospel--through authorized teachers. You assume that they are to go to the Bible to find out the true gospel but that is nowhere in the context. Scripture isn’t mentioned... Paul’s teaching are. He says nothing about being under the authority of scripture. 

Catholic dogma never contradicts the Word of God. Again this is about how you interpret scripture versus how the church from the beginning interprets scripture.

Teresa Beem said...

wowsers.... I am tearing through this and getting so interrupted and not proofing it before I post it forgetting there is no edit buttons on this....! Sorry it is so convoluted and full of typos... but I really don't have time to redo it. Just a couple more points:

Back onto the canon of scripture for one more point:

You were unable to show me an infallible list of books within scripture. So therefore you must agree that the Catholic church who made up the criteria for books being placed within the scriptures. Please show me in scripture where your list of criterion is? Where is the test in scripture that tells us what books are canonical? It is through the writings of the early fathers that we know who authored the gospels and the other books. Many do not identify the writer. What scripture passage tells us who gets to identify the canon of scripture. Men of God, Catholic men came together in several Catholic councils and decided which books are to be read in mass and that was why the Bible was compiled. It was not compiled to be the final authority, but that the mass might have regular and ubiquitous readings throughout Christendom. And these set of books included what the Protestants took out.


And finally God ABSOLUTELY tells us explicitly to go to the church for the interpretation of morals and for all other moral issues AS THE FINAL arbiter of these things, not the individual. EVEN if the church leaders are corrupt. Two final texts to prove this.

Matthew records the words of Jesus, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat [Jesus explicitly citing oral tradition as authoritative as there is no mention of Moses seat in OT]; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice."

Jesus says OBEY the leaders in Moses seat (later it will be Peter's seat or the Holy See of Peter in Rome) even when they are corrupt and are hypocrites.

And:

Jesus words recorded in Matthew 18, "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private ; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.... [then take 2 or 3 witnesses] If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church ; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven ; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."

That was a huge anathema from the lips of Christ. If someone refuses to listen to the church as final arbitrator--treat him like a gentile or tax collector. In fact it means "excommunicate" him. For it was not allowed for Jews to eat with gentiles. God placed the church in charge, not a Book. The Church birthed the book, not the book a church.

I have family coming in for a few days and have to get ready so I won't be able to even read a response for probably well over a week. Again, this is not to convince you. I don't expect you to accept this and that is not my point. No altar call here... Just an explanation of how Catholics interpret scripture.... and have for 2000 years.

Marcos David Torres said...

Teresa!
Yes, the last week was certainly generous with regards to time and it looks like this next week will be also. I don’t anticipate that to be a perpetual reality though, lol.
I would like to begin with an apology. I was not intending to come across as though I am on a mission to expose Catholicism. There’s far too much of that kind of thing going on and if anyone is going to do that, I’m certainly not the one qualified for it. It seems I fell into the rhythm of candid responses because of our time constraints and got carried away. In the future, even if it takes me an entire month to respond, I will prefer to do that rather than to respond quickly and risk coming across in an unfriendly/dogmatic way. When it comes to the truth, its ultimate purpose is to help us see who God is. Man kind’s problem with sin began with lies about God at the Garden of Eden and part of Gods resolution of the sin problem is to repair the lies told about him. That’s the purpose of doctrine. It’s a beautiful thing.
I would like to continue our dialogue because, even though we don’t see eye to eye, I am learning much about Catholicism and it helps me to understand your faith and appreciate it more. I can see that our differences are not just doctrinal but go much deeper than that. You and I approach the Bible from two distinct platforms and so it leads us into two distinct understandings. But the fascinating thing is that, fundamentally, we still end up in the same place – helplessly in love with Jesus.
Now before I continue I would like to pose a question for the sake of understanding your faith a little more. This is not an issue I intend to pursue just one I would like to understand. You say you would never force anyone to become a Catholic. Historically, the Catholic Church has done just that. So has the Catholic Church evolved in that respect? I ask this because like Catholics, SDA’s have aspects of their history that do not represent who they truly are and it’s not fair for us when others bring accusations against us based on certain historical facts. So I would like to know your views on that.
Now for the remainder of my response, rather than continue the back and forth “he said, she said” which as you know can last forever, I would like to explain my worldview. The more I ponder your views the more I see a striking similarity between us.
But first let me clarify some points of contention.
My appeal to the story of Jesus telling his disciples to allow the man to continue to cast out demons was for the sake of establishing commonality between us. It was not to argue against your position regarding interpretation. As I pointed out, both you and I would agree that all of us are meant to engage in ministry and as you rightfully pointed out, not all of us are called to the same ministry.
I also appreciate the link you provided discussing the Catholic position with regards to the salvation of non-Catholics. I haven’t had the time to look at it, but if it helps to clarify that misunderstanding from my part then I look forward to checking it out.

Marcos David Torres said...

Now allow me to clarify the whole tradition issue. When it came to the Canon of scripture I responded with the position that while the church didn’t use an inspired list it didn’t use tradition either. This was in response to your statement that I claim to not follow tradition and yet I do. In all sincerity, my response to that statement, while sound, was unnecessary because I never claimed to not follow tradition. I follow many of them. Christmas is a tradition not mandated in scripture, so is Easter and I enjoy both of them (Especially Christmas!). Much of what we do as Protestants also comes from Catholicism like the way we do church, communion, and ecclesiology. So the idea that I don’t follow any tradition is actually not true. I follow a whole bunch of them! I also have no problem with tradition. There are still Christians today who keep the ceremonial days of the OT as a tradition, not as a mandate. They do it for their own spiritual lives and enjoy it. There’s nothing wrong with that. Where I draw the line (not I alone but the church as well) is when tradition overrules or contradicts scripture. You maintain this is just an issue of interpretation. I respectfully disagree. If the Bible says red I don’t need a prophet or apostle to tell me it’s red. I can see it for myself. If the church tries to then tell me that it’s white then I need to study it. If I find no truth in that then I need the community and the experts to help me determine if it’s white. When I have all of the evidence together I then search the scriptures again. If I still see no evidence of it being white what am I supposed to do? This was the issue many reformers (who were Catholic priests) had. The Bible said red over and over again and the church said white. Eventually they could no longer obey the church in good conscience so they appealed to the church for a Biblical response. They never got one and in many cases the response was “recant or die”. Call me a heretic, or a sheep choosing his shepherd, but I cannot embrace such a theology. :)

Marcos David Torres said...

“Your assumption is that the sheep get to judge their shepherds based upon their own personal interpretation of scripture. That is unwise and unworkable. (And unbiblical.)”
Now here is where you and I are actually painfully close yet unmistakably far from one another. I do not assume that the sheep get to judge their shepherd based on our personal interpretation of scripture. The apostles are the ones with the ultimate authority. I view it like this: I have the right to interpret scripture, but that right is subordinated to the community of believers. For example, if I read the Bible and I believe it teaches that Jesus was just a man and not God it is not Biblical for me to build a theology on that. I have to take my findings to the community of believers. When they look at my study they can determine whether or not it is sound. Now suppose the community decides I am correct. That still doesn’t end the issue. I now have to present it to those in ecclesiastical office. Now suppose they disagree and show me the reasons why from scripture. I now go home, investigate, and if I am humble and led of the Spirit I will come to knowledge of the truth. But if I am proud and unwilling to accept the truth because of my personal agenda then the church has a right to label me a false teacher. But suppose the church looks at my views and decides they are wrong yet gives me no reason whatsoever other than “we said so and since we are the head of the church you must submit or die.” How could I in good conscience do such a thing? At that point I am not choosing my own shepherd I am simply trying to understand the truth. If the church cannot point me to the word of God for the truth but must instead point to Ellen White, Joseph Smith, Marshall Applewhite, and yes, even the Pope as the source of truth then my only two options are to surrender my convictions or two maintain them until the church can give me reason to reject them. “Because we said so” is not a good reason (That won’t even work with your teenagers). In the end, if the church is teaching the truth from Gods word it will never have to resort to a “because we said so” argument. It will easily point to scripture and settle the issue.
Now of course, this is where the question of schisms comes up. Protestantism, as you have pointed out, is riddled with schisms – is this what God wants? It seems then that we have two options. Either an arbitrary “because I said so” model, or a “everyone has their own interpretation” model. I don’t believe either of these is what God wants. The first eliminates the use of personal study, conviction, and reasoning. It ultimately results in spiritual darkness rather than spiritual light. This is evident with the dark ages. No one but the priest was allowed to have a Bible because no one but the priest could interpret it. Rather than being a blessing and preventing heresy this model produced some of the most wicked actions ever perpetrated against mankind during the dark ages. Paul evidently did not think that the Bible was dangerous in the hands of common man. He did not rebuke the Bereans and take their Bibles away saying, “No you can’t investigate my claims because you are incapable of interpreting scripture. Just take my word for it.” So the idea of an arbitrary interpreter of scripture such as the system inherent in Catholicism doesn’t make sense to me.

Marcos David Torres said...

But then there is the “everyone has their own interpretation” model. This model, as you pointed out, has resulted in nothing but endless division. Everybody who comes up with some “new interpretation” starts their own church. This is the reason why so many people are confused in our generation. There are thousands of churches each claiming to be the right one. So which one is it? Such vast division cannot be Gods plan for his church.
Here I must point out a few things. First of all, apostolic authority does not prevent schisms and false teachers. These were present during the days of Paul and Peter (Judaizers), the centuries preceding the reformation (Marcion, Montanus, Arius), and the centuries after it (Calvinism, Mormonism). Schisms and heresy can never be avoided. This was Christ’s message in the parable of the wheat and tares.
Second of all, I believe whole heartedly that the early church was used by the Holy Spirit. Apostolic succession was one of the church’s attempts to combat heresy in the early days. However, the church began to apostatize and apostolic succession evolved into something its initiators never intended.
So what about the protestant reformation and its many factions? Well, the reason why the reformation developed so many different churches is because many of the reformers approached the rediscovery of Bible truth with a similar mentality as the Catholics. For them, if Luther didn’t teach it then it’s not true. So when the Lutherans got to studying and found more truth the church didn’t accept it so they had to go and start another church. The Anabaptists discovered that infant baptism was unscriptural but the other reformers didn’t embrace it hence the Anabaptists. Then there were the 7th day Baptists who discovered the Sabbath but no one else embraced it hence the 7th day Baptists. If the reformers had approached the reformation as an opportunity to rediscover Bible truth even if their leaders had not done it we would see less fractions today. Eventually those churches became institutions so there’s even less chance of forming under one banner now. (But many Protestants recognize the immaturity of their ancestors in that respect which is why there is so much talk of unity and denominational barriers being torn down these days.)

Marcos David Torres said...

Anyways, back to my worldview. If arbitrary rule results in spiritual darkness and “every man for himself” results in spiritual confusion then what alternative is there? Here is where I as an Adventist would say that the only alternative is the prophetic gift. Ellen White is the only alternative to these two extremes and she falls smack into the middle of these two extremes. EGW neither has arbitrary rule over doctrine and neither does she support the every man for himself idea. EGW’s prophetic gift was not intended to be a divine commentary on the Bible that everyone had to blindly follow, but neither is it “just another interpretation to throw into the pile” so to speak. EGW’s prophetic gift always pointed back to the Bible and never to herself. When discussing difficult theological issues her only role was to tell the leaders if they were on the right track and occasionally the angel would give her scriptures and she would tell those studying to look up the scriptures the angel gave because they would point them in the right direction. As such, not a single one of the doctrines of the SDA church depends on EGW nor on her interpretation of scripture. In fact, every single one of our doctrines are shared by Christians of all denominations none of which rely on EGW. So the prophetic gift is the perfect balance between arbitrary rule (Papacy) and no rule whatsoever (Protestantism). In the end, the most qualifying factor of the prophetic gift is that it always points back to the Bible and not itself. Christ is the head of the church, Ephesians 1:22 “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church.” “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
Now what about EGW’s non-biblical statements? O dude, she has tons of them! Adam and Eve were clothed in light, the chapter on Jesus childhood in Desire of Ages, and so much more. However, not a single one of these statements is doctrinal and not a single one contradicts scripture. As far as doctrine, none of what EGW teaches is an invention she came up with because it is taught by many others, not just EGW, and if I was to throw out every EGW book in my library today I would still be an Adventist. Our teachings are strictly biblical.

Marcos David Torres said...

“Another problem is that Protestants took out scripture that did not agree with their theology setting precedent that we can dismiss that which we don’t like.
The Catholic Bible was the Bible of the early church. Jesus and His Apostles used the Septuagint and of the 350 Old Testament quotes within the New Testament over 300 come from the Septuagint. The early church fathers quoted from the Catholic Bible and the books (as scripture)--and these the Protestants took out at whim.”
Here we get into lots of hot water. The history of the canon is one of the most difficult to piece together. First of all, it’s not really possible to determine the exact boundaries of Jesus’ canon. In addition, Jesus never quoted apocryphal books. Though there are allusions to certain traditional books in the NT those allusions are not doctrinal. Jesus also used the proto-Masoretic texts, the Septuagint, and the Aramaic versions interchangeably and was not devoted to one as though it was the ultimate. The truth is, the Jewish Canon wasn’t even in place during Jesus’ days and the Christian Canon didn’t officially come together until around the fourth or fifth century. Neither the church fathers not the early theologians were unanimous in the canon or even in their theology. This issue alone is one that would require a large amount of study but at the end of the day not all of Catholic theology can be defended even from the Septuagint. Not only that, but the books that Catholics embrace from the Septuagint were not wholly embraced as authoritative even in Jesus day and many of them were a mixture of Judaism and Greek Hellenization. To use these books as authoritative would be like using the theology of the Sadducees as authoritative (no resurrection, afterlife etc.). These books are also inundated in lots of controversy and contain theology that is neither proposed nor defended anywhere else in the Bible and at time even contradicts it. The point I am trying to make is, I can teach you everything SDA’s believe from the Torah alone or from the Gospels alone. I am not dependent on some book that contains knowledge that no other book has.

Marcos David Torres said...

Now regarding the Waldensians etc., we cannot be for certain what they believed because the only thing that’s left of them is what their enemies said about them.
Because of our distinct world views I don’t see much use in quoting scripture. Our worldviews are obviously going to color our interpretation of scripture, therefore, it will continue to be a “he said, she said” ping-pong game, lol. But with that said, allow me to review some (not all) of your answers.
“The Bereans did not go directly to scripture--they FIRST accepted Paul as an authority. They listened to Paul’s authoritative interpretation of Jesus being the OT Messiah. It is because Christ gave Paul the authority to teach that the Bereans then were ABLE to study scripture rightly and decipher from the OT that Jesus was. indeed the Messiah. This is EXACTLY what Catholics do today. Catholic teachers and clergy have been given the authority to correctly teach what is unclear in scripture. Then if you wish to be Catholic, go check out in scripture to see if we are correct. If you are convicted by the Holy Spirit, then become Catholic, if not. Then don’t.”
This is exactly what I am saying we should do. We have no disagreement in what you have stated above. What I am suggesting is that while this is true, what happens if you go to scripture and what the pope taught is not correct? I have two options – check my brain at the door (I say that with a smile ) or continue to ask the Pope more questions until he can clarify all of my misunderstandings. What most Catholics do is the former, not the later. (And trust me, though this is not a part of our theology, SDA’s do it to.)
“You wrote: 

Paul told the Corinthians "follow my example as I follow Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). 


The Corinthians did not know Christ--nor was the scriptures compiled into a Bible at this time. All they had were a few letters and perhaps a gospel or two. This is not a call for the Corinthians to judge Paul’s rightness or authority. In fact Paul is pretty strong about his authority in his letters. He is saying to them... follow me and I am following Christ. It is a pecking order. “Get in line.”
Again, I fully agree. But many of the Popes have not followed Christ at all. This throws the entire idea of an arbitrary apostolic interpreter of scripture into question for me.
“8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed ! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received,”


“How did they receive this gospel--through authorized teachers. You assume that they are to go to the Bible to find out the true gospel but that is nowhere in the context. Scripture isn’t mentioned... Paul’s teaching are. He says nothing about being under the authority of scripture. Catholic dogma never contradicts the Word of God. Again this is about how you interpret scripture versus how the church from the beginning interprets scripture.”
Here we agree once more. The authority is in what Paul taught them and over the centuries, beginning with Luther, the teachings of Paul and the teachings of the Catholic church have been determined to be antithetical to one another.

Marcos David Torres said...

“And finally God ABSOLUTELY tells us explicitly to go to the church for the interpretation of morals and for all other moral issues AS THE FINAL arbiter of these things, not the individual. EVEN if the church leaders are corrupt. Two final texts to prove this.”
“Matthew records the words of Jesus, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat [Jesus explicitly citing oral tradition as authoritative as there is no mention of Moses seat in OT]; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.”
Yes. But this assumes that the scribes and Pharisees are teaching true doctrine. Remember, Jesus also refused to obey their traditions (which were not true doctrines) and he told his disciples to do likewise. If I as a pastor tell people to obey the commandment that says, “don’t steal” and yet I steal, that doesn’t give people the right to then steal. They still have to follow what I taught because it is in agreement with scripture. But If I tell them, “it’s OK to steal” they don’t have to listen to me because it goes against the Bible.
“Jesus says OBEY the leaders in Moses seat (later it will be Peter's seat or the Holy See of Peter in Rome) even when they are corrupt and are hypocrites.”
Again, I would gladly do so if they taught the truth. The truth stands whether or not its expositor is a hypocrite. But when they teach error, that’s a different story.
“Jesus words recorded in Matthew 18, "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private ; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.... [then take 2 or 3 witnesses] If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church ; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven ; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
“That was a huge anathema from the lips of Christ. If someone refuses to listen to the church as final arbitrator--treat him like a gentile or tax collector. In fact it means "excommunicate" him. For it was not allowed for Jews to eat with gentiles. God placed the church in charge, not a Book. The Church birthed the book, not the book a church.”
The context of this text is not interpretation of scripture but approaching a brother in the wrong. Jesus gives the church authority to engage in disciplinary action for the sake of saving not condemning. How did Jesus treat gentiles and tax collectors? With love. The church should treat those in error the same way that she may win them back. This matches what Jesus said in the text before about not losing one of his children.

Marcos David Torres said...

It seems to me that at the end of the day, as I mentioned above, you and I approach the Bible with different worldviews and so we interpret it differently. The issue then is not to argue about what scripture says but to determine if the glasses we are wearing when we read it are the correct ones. I think in the end only time will tell who is right. If the SDA prophetic scenario begins to unfold exactly as we believe the Bible says it will then I am certain that all those who are faithful to Jesus will take a stand for him. If the SDA scenario turns out to be false, then I suppose you and I (along with my wife and kids) will be having communion together someday. As far as I am concerned, of all the churches there in Christianity the only ones that can possibly be the true church are either the SDA church or Catholicism. But that’s another story. :)

Teresa Beem said...

Marcos,

You so remind me of my father and his family. We spent many a Sabbath sitting around debating Adventism. (We didn't have any non-SDAs in the family so the arguments were pretty limited.) It is awesome that you are a seeker. You know, a brilliant Protestant minister who converted to Catholicism, John Henry Cardinal Newman, once said, "To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant." He was making the observation that Church history argues against Protestantism and that those Protestants who study history deeply many times realize that the Catholic Church is the true Church. So, this is exciting that you are seeking answers! Not that I would in any way believe you to be unsaved if you reject the Catholic church. God is taking His faithful on many different roads and I think at this particular moment in time, God has many of his faithful in Adventism because Adventists need the truth too! Ultimately, belief in the truth of Catholicism is a gift of faith given by God and if someone is truly never convinced of it, God is merciful.

For clarity as well as time, I hope you are not offended by my sending you links. I have so many times had these exact same discussions that it seems easier for me to just link you to my answer (or a better one I found.) Catholic Answers is a great place to go to get really great information on many of your questions:

www.catholic.com

I'll try and get to a few of your questions personally.

Teresa Beem said...

Marcos questioned:

You say you would never force anyone to become a Catholic. Historically, the Catholic Church has done just that. So has the Catholic Church evolved in that respect?

My response:

There is no Catholic dogma or doctrine or even discipline that states that the church can or may force a person to become Catholic. It never has, nor ever will say "recant or die". That is a Protestant myth. In fact, because of this misunderstanding the church has now created a statement that says it may NEVER do such a thing. All humans have a God-given right to follow their conscience. The worst the church has ever been able to do was to excommunicate a Catholic---which is bad enough! But even the worst level of ex-communication is about getting the sinner to repent and come back to Christ. If you kill them, they can't repent! So the church, which is against the death penalty, would never kill someone in order to bring them back to the church. It makes no sense.

Here is the misunderstanding:

When a country was officially Catholic, as most of Europe was for a millennium--the STATE, run by Catholics, would at times either oust or penalized Muslims or Jews. But it was the state trying to create peace. Look at Europe in the last decade where the Muslims immigrate and then want to keep Sharia law. These religious and civil tensions are causing disruptions within a state today as well. Look at Palestine. Look at the riots in Paris. Muslim/Christian Muslim/Jew friction is causing all kinds of problems for the leaders of Europe. But the state's decisions during the middle ages have been mistaken for the church's because there was such an alignment of religion to the state. However, the Catholic Church has never had any authority over Jews or Moslems or any non-Catholics. Nor has it wanted to. The state persecution of non-Catholics was often fought against BY the Catholic church. The state-run Spanish Inquisition was boldly rebuked by the Catholic Church and the Grand Inquisitor (a former Jew himself) was so blood thirsty and vicious that the pope threaded Spain to get him out of the position. Spaniards routinely plead to be tried under the Catholic Church inquisition (that tried heretics) rather than the states.

But for CHRISTIANS--Civil authorities have passed "recant or die" laws, not the Catholic Church. (Even though some local bishop may be encouraging the state to do it! And that DID happen.)

Most countries in the past have had a church-state, the Greeks, Romans, China, Japan, India. A secular state is rather new to mankind. So throughout history, rulers have seen themselves as placed in their position by the gods and have a vital interest in their people's soul as well as body. So the state would mandate religion for the unity and prosperity of their land. They saw that as essential as did the countries of Europe during the first 16 centuries of Christianity.

Teresa Beem said...

And these Christian countries found precedence in the Bible for getting rid of heretics.

Deut. 13: 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God... So you shall purge the evil from the midst of you. 6 "If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, entices you secretly, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods.... you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him; 9 but you shall kill him...




Catholic run inquisitions were about rooting out heresy among Catholics and could not legally nor within her own boundaries ever bring to court anyone who wasn’t Catholic. So the church never forced anyone to become Catholic. The inquisition was for those who were claiming Christianity and speaking heresy to be ex-communicated. More on the Inquisition here:


http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/an-inquisition-primer

http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/secrets-of-the-spanish-inquisition-revealed



Or the post I wrote:



http://arthurandteresabeem.blogspot.com/2010/02/inquisition-dark-legend-and-facts.html

Teresa Beem said...

So how did all this get mixed up? Why are there so many who CLAIM that the Catholic Church persecuted and killed in the Inquisitions?

It's all in your perspective:

If you are were a Jewish child during WWII in living in Rome and the chief Rabbi and a priest barged into your house one evening pressuring your family to "convert" to Catholicism and you were then hauled off to live for many months in a convent to hide from the Nazi's, you were forced to learn the Pater Noster and Hail Mary and attend mass, I bet you would grow up feeling the Catholics forced you to convert. You didn't understand the Catholics were desperately trying to save your life as they did over 700,000 Jews during WWII. Many Jewish survivors were thankful to the Catholic Church, some were very bitter and angry that they were forced to act like Catholics and blamed Catholics since Hitler had been baptized a Catholic as a newborn--even if he rejected Catholicism and became a pagan.

History is complex and any attempt to simplify it can confuse. There have been horrible Catholics who did horrible things--bishops and priests and nuns. But these atrocities are not Catholic beliefs, they are man's fallenness. We all see history through glasses that shield ourselves from reality and place the white hats on our group while picking out the "black hats" to blame. In all Catholic history, independent scholarship has found records of between 3,000 and 10,000 deaths by Catholic hands in the different inquisitions (not the church's but Catholics) over a seven hundred year period. Yet the schism of the Body of Christ by Protestants has caused wars that took the lives of millions--the thirty years war, the German Peasant's war, Hitler (and Lutheran Germany) slaughtered 6 million Catholics in Poland equal to the Jews he killed. The Church of England was instrumental in the slaughter of thousands of Catholics for "heresy" as well as the millions of Irish Catholics. Protestant America slaughtered millions of Indians because they were "heathens." It is a characteristic of man to kill those who threaten their deepest held beliefs to prevent "contamination." And when the numbers are added up, Protestants have killed more Catholics than the other way around. And Communistic dictators have killed much more and abortion is the number one killer of all time--killing one out of four unborn babies.

So if we are going to look for the bad guys, we should look at the whole picture instead of just one side.

Teresa Beem said...

Marcus wrote about surrendering your convictions to the church:

Call me a heretic, or a sheep choosing his shepherd, but I cannot embrace such a theology. :)




I respond: 


Absolutely, if, after studying what the Catholics teach about a subject, you still disagree, you must follow your conscience. To be a Catholic you assent to her authority to interpret scriptures and if you honestly see her as teaching something opposed to scripture, then no Catholic would want you to become Catholic.

We are just confident that when an honest investigation is given into the Catholic interpretation of scripture that most people will become Catholic. If not, we don’t think they are lost. One must absolutely follow one’s convictions and one’s conscience.

However, we ALSO say that we absolutely have the God-given responsibility to pursue an educated conscience. We can do that by both reason and wisdom and knowledge. 

And we challenge all people to be like the Bereans and check out our interpretation with an unbiased perspective. That is what can be difficult because our language is so different from Protestants. Most Protestants give up after a little while, which I don't blame them! Catholicism can seem like quantum physics to some.

You stated that the Catholic Church didn't want people reading the Bible in the Middle Ages.

My response:

Untrue. The Bible was widely disseminated and translated into the local dialects from the beginning. That is a Protestant myth. Even if a parish could not afford to purchase an entire Bible (which were extremely expensive), the people could go to the church for daily readings and also their prayers contained scripture--and I may be mistaken about this--but every church did have a least the four gospels. And they would be placed out so anyone could come at anytime and read them.

Full Bibles were indeed chained at times in order so they could not be stolen, rather than from keeping them from the people. In SOME areas, high crime areas, they would secure the Bible’s down to insure that they would be available for people to come and read them.



Catholics have at times censored certain PROTESTANT Bibles that they said were seriously mistranslated, and that has gone down in Protestant circles as Catholics banning the Bible. There were even a couple times that certain heresies were so prevalent that in local communities the bishop required a priest to be there when Catholics held Bible studies. But remember those were very localized and temporary. I think I remember reading this in ONE parish in Canada during the 1950’s, but this idea the Catholics don’t want their parishioners to read the Bible is not factual. We are encouraged to read the Bible and the mass is full of Bible readings and Psalms from beginning to end.

And your comments about schisms:

Christ and the Apostles commanded us against schisms and denominations. It was inevitable, yes, but sin is inevitable too. We are to turn from evil and obey God. Those who obey God will not be in schism.



Teresa Beem said...

Marcos wrote:
However, the church began to apostatize and apostolic succession evolved into something its initiators never intended.



I reply: 

There is no Biblical proof for what you are suggesting. You may disagree with the Church’s teachings and some of what the Church did, but there is no evidence anywhere that the church apostatized. There is no scriptural revelation by prophets that indicated Christ’s Church would ever leave Him or that He would ever leave His Bride. In fact Christ promised His church that He would NEVER leave her or forsake her and that the gates of hell would not prevail against her.




Marcus wrote that the Biblical Canon development is too complex to know for certain.

My response:

The Protestants do not have a tie-in with church history and documents, so it would be less clear to them. Catholics have a good paper trail.



I have a library of books on the subject... I have spent many years looking into this deeply. All I can suggest is to keep reading... 

I will try and get a list of books for you written by Protestant scholars who do indeed admit Christ and the Apostles used the deuterocanonical books as scripture.

Here are some good ones: (I've read these and can vouch for them.)

http://www.amazon.com/Canon-Scripture-F-Bruce/dp/083081258X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361557092&sr=1-1&keywords=Bible+canon

http://www.amazon.com/Biblical-Canon-Origin-Transmission-Authority/dp/0801047102/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361557092&sr=1-12&keywords=Bible+canon

http://www.amazon.com/Whose-Bible-Short-History-Scriptures/dp/0143036777/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361557286&sr=1-1&keywords=whose+bible+is+it+pelikan

The basic problem is--the Christian church for 1600 years used the Catholic Scriptures including all or some of the Deuterocanonicals. That is what supported many of their doctrines. Why would God allow His Word to be corrupted and lead His people astray into false doctrine? And if so, how can we trust the Bible today? There is a movement of Harvard Bible scholars to take out all but the "authentic" words and acts of Christ, as if they could now--20 centuries after Christ figure out which sayings and acts are myth.

The Protestants had no authority to schism from God's Church nor did they have the authority to schism the God-breathed scripture.

As Cardinal Newman found out. When you look at history, you must decide if you believe the Bible to be God-breathed. If so, then only Satan would want to modify and cut it up. The Protestants have a schismed scripture just as they have a schismed religion. It's a tough fact to accept because people look at Catholic dogma and disagree with it. Just as many Jews looked at Christ's interpretation of the Old Testament and disagreed with it.

Claudia said...

I keep praying for you, Teresa. Yesterday, I spent an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament and I remembered you and Marcos. God bless you!

Marcos David Torres said...

Hi Teresa
Your explanation on whether or not Catholics force other people to become Catholic was really helpful. Thank you so much! In the future, when I have more time, I will dig more fully into these things but it’s awesome to see it from another perspective. I have seen SDA history misused so much that this is the reason why I like to investigate the history of other movements like the Mormons or the Catholics from the “horse’s mouth” so to speak. In this way I can avoid the propaganda that accompanies a dissenters view of a churches history.
This is also one of the reasons why when I preach the Sabbath I never bring up the Catholic church. I have noticed in many SDA sermons on the Sabbath its more “us Vs. them” than it is about explaining the true blessing and beauty of the Sabbath. People walk away with a history lesson (some of which may be propaganda) but they don’t get Christ or the Sabbath any more than when they came.
As you can imagine, while taking Church History here at Southern Adventist University I was surprised to discover that Constantine never marched his pagan army through a river and declared them baptized. I heard that story preached so many times during Sabbath sermons! The way I see it, if I can’t show you from the Bible alone that the Sabbath is still a valid commandment then I’m wasting my time talking about it. Since the Bible alone does support that view I find myself sticking to that.

Marcos David Torres said...

“So if we are going to look for the bad guys, we should look at the whole picture instead of just one side.”
You said this after discussing the mayhem that has been caused in the history of Christianity due to a misuse of Catholicism and Protestantism. All I can say is THANKYOU! I always try to share this with people when I am studying the Bible with them and Catholics come up. Protestants are no different. Someone once said that religion without love is the most dangerous force in the world. That doesn’t change whether you are pagan, Catholic, or protestant. While SDA’s aren’t particularly known for how many non SDA’s they have killed, this is only because the church was born in the US in a civilized society with civilized founders who loved Jesus. But given time and opportunity I don’t doubt for one second that many SDA’s would do exactly what Catholics and other protestants have done in the past. Of course, these wouldn’t be true SDA’s anymore than those other people were true Catholics. But when I look at militant groups like the Creation Seventh Day Adventists, The Branch Dravidian’s/ Shepherds Rod movement, the Historic SDA movement, the SDA reform movement, and many other, I see a common denominator between them and all of these violent Catholics/Protestants of the past – hatred, pride, and intolerance. They reflect Saul of Tarsus more than they reflect Paul the apostle.

Marcos David Torres said...

Now onto your point about Catholics wanting everyone to investigate etc. and not becoming Catholic if you don’t see the light in it. You realize that if you changed the word Catholic to SDA in that statement you would be describing our exact view on that point?
The reason why I say this is because if the Catholic Church claims to have the truth and leaves it up to the individual to decide if they do, then we are still in the same boat as far as “schisms” are concerned. If it’s up to the individual to decide whether or not the church has interpreted scripture correctly, that’s no different from the individual having the right to interpret scripture on his own from the beginning which is what you have vehemently argued against. So in the end, this view doesn’t really do away with schisms. All it does is cause everyone that accepts the church’s interpretation to be unified within the church (which is what every church does with their statement of beliefs, creeds, and baptismal vows). There’s really no difference.

Marcos David Torres said...

Your statement on Catholics hiding the Bible from the population during the dark ages does have truth to it as well. I know that there is a great deal of exaggeration regarding exactly what happened during that time but I will have to investigate more to be sure exactly where the lines are drawn. What I am trying to show is that regardless of whether there were Bibles or not this period of history was certainly dark with regards to spiritual knowledge and that this was due to the idea that the common man could not understand or interpret it.
Marcos wrote:
However, the church began to apostatize and apostolic succession evolved into something its initiators never intended.

I reply: There is no Biblical proof for what you are suggesting. You may disagree with the Church’s teachings and some of what the Church did, but there is no evidence anywhere that the church apostatized.
Just to clarify, I was using history in this part of the discussion, not scripture. The early church fathers who appealed to apostolic succession would, in my opinion, be blown away by what the papacy eventually became. That was my argument.
There is no scriptural revelation by prophets that indicated Christ’s Church would ever leave Him or that He would ever leave His Bride. In fact Christ promised His church that He would NEVER leave her or forsake her and that the gates of hell would not prevail against her.


Yes but at this point we have to define our terms. If by church you mean Gods people then you are absolutely right. If by church you mean the institution and system of Catholicism then I disagree. The institution did and has continued to go further and further away from the simple and pure doctrine of Jesus and his apostles. However, Gods people, his true church (which in the NT church or ekklesia means congregation not institution) has never been abandoned by God. They are in every denomination and fall under many different creeds but in the last days they will form a part of the remnant church.
If you interpreted biblical prophecy as a historicist (history and prophecy go hand in hand) instead of as a prederist (all prophecy has been fulfilled already) or a futurist (all prophecy will be fulfilled way in the future [ironically both of these systems are really only concerned with the beast and the little horn and not the rest of prophecy]) then you would clearly see Church History, not from a scholars perspective but from the perspective of God himself. You would see that Catholicism is indeed the little horn, the beast, and Babylon. But if you reject historicism for these other systems (which cannot stand the test of scrutiny) then of course, you have no way of identifying who the little horn truly is.

Marcos David Torres said...

As far as the history of the biblical canon is concerned it is not only protestant scholars that argue this but Catholic ones as well. As a matter of fact I think it was a Catholic historian I read who indicated that the exact Bible of Jesus days cannot be identified etc. However, what makes this whole issue tricky is that scholars, like the rest of us, come with biases. There are traditional scholars, historical-critical scholars, protestant scholars, catholic scholars, Anglican scholars, secular scholars and more. All of these so called experts study history on a much deeper level than many of us ever will and they all disagree with each other. Even within their own groups there is disagreement because each of those groups is divided into liberal or conservative scholarship. So unless I am willing to spend the rest of my life reading what every single scholar says in order to decide which one has it right then I am at a loss right? No. I don’t believe so. God did not place the truth so far out of reach and in such a complicated manner. The truth is simple and accessible even to a child.

I haven’t read all of the deutero-canonical books but I have read some. While I enjoy them and appreciate the picture they give us of Judean life during the intertestamental period they are also full of ideas that are not found anywhere else in the Old Testament nor are they repeated in the New. The book of Tobit, for example, teaches that if you burn the liver of a fish the smoke will scare demons away. Seriously? When the disciples couldn’t cast out a demon Jesus didn’t tell them they forgot the fish liver and the hot coals, he told them to fast and pray. The intertestamental books are obviously and clearly heavily Hellenized by the Greek culture around them. This Hellenization is what led early Christian theologians like Justin Martyr with his doctrine of the “logos,” Tertullian with his doctrine of “transmission of the soul” and “traducianism” Clement of Alexandria with his allegorization of the Bible and Origen with his “pure intellects” and “double creation.” All of this, and so much more that I have read, is sheer weirdness. None of it can be found in scripture.

Marcos David Torres said...

Why would God allow His Word to be corrupted and lead His people astray into false doctrine? And if so, how can we trust the Bible today?
God’s word has never been corrupted. It’s been either added to or subtracted from. The Harvard scholars you refer to are subtracting from Gods word. Christianity, for many centuries has added to it with these “other” books. Why would God allow this? I don’t know, but what I do know is that he warned us about it. The New Testament is replete with warnings against false teachers and false doctrines. Because Christianity came to accept those false doctrines it developed a system that is antithetical to the gospel. Take the desert fathers for example. They are exactly what Paul warned against in 1 Timothy 4:1-5 (forbidding marriage and requiring abstinence from foods). And yet, most people thought these guys were the epidemy of Christian piety and spirituality. Paul says they are following doctrines of demons (Which was nothing more than the philosophies of the Greeks and other pagan religions).

As Cardinal Newman found out. When you look at history, you must decide if you believe the Bible to be God-breathed. If so, then only Satan would want to modify and cut it up. The Protestants have a schismed scripture just as they have a schismed religion. It's a tough fact to accept because people look at Catholic dogma and disagree with it. Just as many Jews looked at Christ's interpretation of the Old Testament and disagreed with it.
And let’s not forget that Jesus looked at the Jewish dogma and OT interpretation and disagreed with it as well. :)

Marcos David Torres said...

Now I wanted to quickly point out something you mentioned in your introduction about the protestant who became a Catholic. The way I see it is like this. Protestants came out of Catholicism but not entirely. They rejected the false teachings of the mother church but only to a certain extent. Protestants still believe and teach Catholic dogma just not on the same level as Catholicism. So if you are intellectually honest, why be a protestant? I mean, you either reject dogma or you embrace it right? It doesn’t make any sense to embrace it half way or to reject it half way. Unfortunately, when Protestants came out of Catholicism instead of pursuing truth until they had fully rejected dogma they pursued truth just a little bit and then planted a banner and said, “We are Lutherans.” Then another group stepped out a little further from Catholicism and planted a banner saying, “we are Baptists.” This process repeated itself over and over until a whole bunch of new churches were born all at different degrees outside of Catholicism. When Adventism was finally established, it was the final church in the string of Protestants that came out of Catholicism, only Adventism is fully outside of Catholicism not just a little bit. Ellen Whites prophetic ministry was to call all Protestants (including herself as a Methodist) fully out of Catholicism and back to the Bible and the Bible alone. Because there was so much arguing about who had the truth God saw it was necessary to call a Prophet to point people back to the Bible. This is precisely what she did. Call me arrogant, but Adventism is the only denomination that is truly “the Bible and the Bible alone.” So what happens when someone who is Adventist rejects Adventism? They have only one logical place to go – Catholicism. Again. You either embrace dogma and become a Catholic or you reject it fully and become an Adventist. In your spiritual journey you came to reject Adventism and so now you are Catholic. This makes perfect sense! It also just as logical to reject Catholicism and become an Adventist. So I can see why this protestant pastor became a Catholic, it makes perfect sense. It also would have made perfect sense for him to become an Adventist.
Ok, so now that I have shared my world view I want to ask another question so I can understand Catholics better.
What is the official Catholic view of Mary? I know some people say you guys worship her, others say you don’t.

Teresa Beem said...

THANK YOU CLAUDIA!
We all need prayers. That is so sweet! Thank you Jesus for such wonderful people as Claudia!
Blessings,
Teresa

Teresa Beem said...

Marcos,

Thank you for clarifying your worldview. I hope you have a wonderful journey with God in Adventism. If that is where God has called you, I would never stand in His way.

Okay---Marian Dogma

The Catholic Catechism states very clearly that Catholics can only worship God. Worship of anyone/anything else is an automatic excommunication.

The pope and the magisterium would balk if they were told they worshipped Mary. No Catholic should ever do such a thing and I have never met any Catholic who did. Some third world countries may have some people who have mixed Catholicism with regional paganism, but that is certainly not Catholicism.

Mary prophesied that all generations will call her blessed. That is why Catholics refer to her as Our Blessed Mother, or Blessed Mary. It is Biblical. We want to be that generation who honors her as did her Son, a good Jew who would obey the "honor your father and mother" commandment.

Catholics see honoring Mary as part of honoring Jesus. Just like honoring a president's mother would be honoring the president. I can't imagine George Sr. or Jr becoming angry and telling those who are placing roses daily at Mrs. Bush's door that they are taking AWAY from his glory by honoring their wife/mother. Nonsense. It is giving God glory to honor His mother.

Teresa Beem said...

I think one of the great misunderstandings among Catholics and Protestants is the very idea of worship.

To a Protestant worship is bowing down and singing praises to and honoring something in a corporate or personal setting.

To Catholics bowing is not worship. Throughout all human history people bowed to each other, to parents, to rulers, etc. The Bible is full of people bowing to each other and even to the Holy Temple. Moses even set up a sculpture of a bronze serpent and the people looked to it to be healed from snake bites and that wasn't worship.

Praise isn't worship to a Catholic. We can praise anyone anytime.

Praise and bowing are PART of worship and support it, but they are not of themselves worship. (The Bible says "do not bow down nor serve." The serve part is very important.)

What do Catholics say worship is?
If you look at the Old Testament, worship is a covenant meal with a sacrifice and then eating a part of the sacrifice. For God and us, worship is a family covenant meal like Christ had with His Disciples.

The Mass is that covenant meal of worship. We go back to the time of the Cross and relive the one sacrifice of Christ. Like Christ told us, in order that we might have life within us, we eat His body and drink His blood. He is our sacrifice and our covenant meal. It is a reliving of the past and an active anticipation of the Wedding Feast at the Second Coming. All time is compressed into the mass and we are living out the whole of Revelation (the mass is rich with the words and images found in the book, Revelation.)

The Cross is the center of our worship. It is there we have the covenantal meal that fulfills the Old Testament sacrificial system. We worship and serve only Christ as God. Never anything or anyone else.

Teresa Beem said...

If you will look at the OT worship and what God considered idolatry, it was never simply bowing in front of something. Idols were painted and made to look like a real person, they were dressed up and people went to them with sacrificial meals and offerings. They asked them for prophecies for daily living. They actually believed that there was a spirit being within the idol that could communicate with them and help them.

Sometimes Catholics pray with pictures and statues of people we believe to be in heaven right now. We don't think these things are real only symbols. Just as you might keep a photo of your wife or child on your desk and even talk to it or kiss it occasionally, you do not get the picture mixed up with the person.

I know a lot of people say.... well, its how it looks that counts. It doesn't look good to pray in front of a statue. Well, I could actually say the same thing about a Protestant kneeling beneath a cross. Or even a family praying in front of their meal. Are they worshipping their food? Of course not. But it could look that way if someone were to take a photo of them and show it to some culture that doesn't pray over meals.

Protestants have a limited understanding of what worshipping idols really meant in the Old Testament. It isn't really their fault because they don't have the complete Bible. The deuterocanonical books relate a bit more on this subject. If you can look up in the Book of Wisdom, chapters 14 and 15 ish.... I think that is where it goes into idolatry more in depth than other parts of the Bible. There may be more, I'll have to look it up.

So all this to say that when Protestants see Catholics praying with a statue in front of them, usually Mary, hence the misunderstanding that we worship Mary, we are simply using the statue or picture as a focus tool like a photo of a family member. We may "pray" to her, but because she is in heaven, we are not praying to the dead but to those in heaven who are more alive than we are! They are in glory and sitting on thrones in heaven! They are co-heirs with Christ and are glorified by Him. So when a Catholic prays to, in translation they are praying WITH the saints in heaven. Because to us pray simply means petition.

The Bible clearly tells us we are to pray for each other and where two or more are gathered in His name, He will be there. So, who better to gather with when you are alone than the woman who gave birth to Christ. We are praying WITH Mary to Christ. So even the word prayer to Catholics is not worship, for throughout human history we have "prayed/petitioned" our leaders for help.

A few years back I got my first ticket. I was told since I had NEVER gotten one I could "pray for judgement" as a plea in court. I did. I actually entered that plea of "prayer.' It just means petition and request. That is another huge misunderstanding.

Teresa Beem said...

Sorry this is so long, but the Marian doctrines are very deep.

In Christian history, Mary has always been seen as the New Eve and the Queen Mother. In the Davidic Kingdom it wasn't the wife who was queen but the mother of the king who sat beside him. Everyone who came into court was supposed to bow first to the Queen Mother and address her first and then they could speak to the King. Since Christ took over the Davidic Kingdom, the Queen Mother is beside Him in heaven and Catholics attempt to always give her honor. It is what the King expects.

Remember what the angel Gabriel called Mary, "Hail, full of Grace." Since for most of Christianity the only translation of the Bible used the word "hail" all interpretation of that text were that God Himself, through His angel messenger was greeting Mary with a royal greeting, "Hail!" No other human was addressed as royalty by God.

These are but a morsel of the depths of why Catholics honor Mary. But this is getting long so I will stop. If you go to Catholic Answers you can find a lot more about Mary and why we honor her.

Thanks for reading. God bless you Marcos and since I am writing this on Friday night, Shabbat Shalom!

Marcos David Torres said...

Teresa!

Thank you for your reply, and I would like to return the blessing by saying that I appreciate your spiritual journey and have learned so much from our dialogue together. I LOVE talking to people of different faiths and though we may disagree I am blessed by the perspectives we all bring of the Jesus we know and love.

About Mary I would like to say that I am very disappointed when I hear Protestants talking about her any old kind of way. I never used to think about it much until I heard the Adventist evangelist Alejandro Bullon discuss it in one of his sermons. Mary is special. She is the mother of Christ, the savior of the world. While we should not worship her, as you have clearly pointed out, she deserves much honor and respect. Satan loves extremes. If he can’t get people to worship Mary he will get them to treat her with indifference. So thank you for clarifying that for me. Now I do have two more questions, one related to this topic and another related to a statement you made.

1. While Catholics don’t worship Mary, isn’t it true that she is considered a co-mediator with Christ? Or is this also a misunderstanding?
2. You mentioned Catholics in other countries mixing Catholicism with their local pagan religions. I have seen, in some anti-Catholic propaganda, a lot of mention of the idolatry and legalism present in countries like Mexico. For some time I have wondered if this propaganda is accusing the Catholic church of a local phenomenon that it doesn’t actually support. What are your thoughts on that? (For the sake of space and comfort this may be a good topic to write a blog on).

In addition, thank you for clarifying the terms that often lead to misunderstandings. I agree with you in reference to idol worship etc. Although I haven’t read all of the Deutero-Canonical books I understand idol worship to be much more than simply bowing down before something. As I kid I was really into martial arts and used to think it was wrong to bow to the teacher (or to the photograph of the founder of the art I studied which was on the wall). I now understand that this was no sin at all because 1) martial arts comes from the Asians who bow to everyone out of respect not worship and 2) I was not worshiping the teacher or the photograph I was simply showing respect within the context of the Asian culture. Since then I have come to understand idolatry as ultimately a denial of Jesus. This is why the early Christians refused to burn incense to the emperor. It was a public denial of Jesus. So it seems you and I share our definition of idolatry.

My old landlord, a retired SDA preacher, would go into his study every morning where he had a large painting of Jesus and he would kneel in front of that picture and pray. But if anyone was far from idolatry, it was good old granpa' Stan (as we came to call him).

I have gained something wonderful from our dialogue, and that is the conviction to avoid all add-hominem arguments when it comes to Catholicism. In case you don’t know (which I am sure you do) ad-hominem is when you attack a person instead of their theology. It’s basically me saying, “Teresa is a false teacher because she is mean" (which you aren’t :D). Well, that doesn’t say anything about your teachings does it? I see now that many people who disagree with Catholicism do so mainly on an ad-hominem basis and not on a purely theological one.

Now we have debated much Teresa and I think both of us have said enough to end the debate here. However I won’t close without asking you one more question which has nothing to do with the debate. I just want to ask if for my own personal blessing and for the blessing of those reading. So here is my question:

What does Jesus mean to you?

Looking forward to it!