Doctrines of Demons

Someone stated that the text qouted below, from Timothy, that Paul was speaking of the Catholic Church, claiming that the forbiding of mairage is the celibate priesthood, and the abstinence of food is Lent… how can I refute this? To me it sounds like it would mean fordbidding mairage entirely, but I’m not sure how to respond.

1 Timothy Chapter 4 RSV

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

[2] through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared,
[3] who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
[4] For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving;
[5] for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

There were numerous sects (weren’t the Marcions the first ones?), who completely forbid marriage. Notice that the Catholic Church doesn’t forbid marriage per se, She justs tells the priests that they can’t marry - big difference. If you recall, Jesus was rather celibate, and St. Paul praised those that practice celibacy. I’d hate to see that your friend is condemning the teachings of St. Paul… I’d call that person a heretic before I’d call St. Paul one.

Also, you’re friend would have to lump St. James, the bishop of Jerusalem, for his doctrine of demons. For in Acts 15, he forbids several types of food types.

Your friend should learn the difference between abstinence from a type of food for one day and totally banning that food.

So far your friend has condemned St.'s Paul and James. Should I continue?

Yes, this is definitely to be understood in light of the problems the early Church was having with the followers of Simon Magus, Marcion, and other early Gnostic groups. These claimed that the teachings of the Apostles and the Church were actually not Jesus’ true teachings, and that only they knew the truth.

The Gnostic idea was that all matter and all flesh was bad, created out of mistakes and filth and terror by a fallible lower being who was not actually God. So of course they thought marriage was bad, eating meat was bad, and so forth. (Although some of them taught that indiscriminate sex was okay, because that didn’t tie you to flesh like marriage did.)

Now, the prevailing Greco-Roman philosophical culture also held that matter was bad, bodies were prisons, and that vegetarianism made you less tied to the prison of matter and flesh. So many Christians were falling for these lies, or at least burdening themselves with believing that they had to be vegetarians to be Christians.

So that’s what St. Paul is talking about. He was perfectly okay with people wanting to fast, or wanting to refrain from eating meat, or wanting to stay single and virgin. But he wanted them to do this out of love of God as a free gift or out of penitence. He did not want them to do this out of the erroneous idea that it was God’s absolute command to all people, or out of hatred and despising of God’s good Creation as a prison.

Far from forbidding marriage, the Catholic Church esteems Christian marriage as a sacrament and considers it the usual vocation of Catholics. The Catholic Church only forbids marriage to those who have already vowed to God to remain unmarried for the sake of the Kingdom of God. In this Church is completely in accord with the commands of God:
Moses said to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, "This is what the LORD has commanded. When a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. (Numbers 30:1-2)
It has long been a church discipline in the Latin rite of the Catholic Church to ordain to the priesthood only men who have made a vow to remain unmarried for the sake of the Kingdom of God. This practice is in accord with the advice of St. Paul:
The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. (1 Corinthians 7:32:34)
As long as there is a sufficient number of candidates for the priesthood among men who have vowed to remain unmarried, whose single interest is in pleasing the Lord, why would the Church even consider ordaining a married man, whose interests are, as Scripture says, necessarily divided?

Jesus declared all foods clean but Jesus also occasionally fasted. He gave instructions to his disciples on how to fast, and his disciples occasionally fasted. Fasting is by definition abstaining from foods which are ordinarily to be received. St. Paul was not condemning Catholics, who like him, practice occasional fasting, but he was condemning those who say that some foods are never to be received.

On a side note, my parish priest is a married Episcopal convert to the Catholic Church. Fr. Martin is a staunch proponent to the discipline of chastity among priests.

He says that if one is married and a priest he would be forced to neglect either his wife or his parish. There’s no way both can get the attention that they deserve.

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