Looking to Refute


#1

books.iuniverse.com/viewbooks.asp?isbn=0595274994&page=1

Hence, all of Rome’s propaganda notwithstanding, Catholicism’s antiquity is self-assumed, and has no relationship whatever to the truth. All the claims of longevity are just that, and only that - claims unsubstantiated by history, the Holy Scriptures, or the writings of early church saints. Rome is undaunted in the face of reality and truth, however, adamantly insisting that Catholicism is the one and only true church founded by Christ. Therefore, of Catholicism’s numerous heresies, this must be considered the first, for it is the one from which all the others derive their existence. Moreover, it is a chief cause of Rome’s well-documented antipathy to the Scriptures, a matter given extensive coverage later in this chapter.

What our Lord left on earth was left not just to 12 Apostles, but to 120 disciples who were in the same upper room together on the first Pentecost. These all were indwelt by and filled with the Holy Spirit who empowered them to carry the salvation message throughout the world. Not one of those 120 disciples was a Catholic. Nor were Peter, James, John, Thomas, or any of the other Apostles Catholics. Their immediate successors - Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Linus, Cletus, etc. - were Christians, not Catholics. When, in the middle of the 2nd century, Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, was martyred, the crowd of onlookers called him the “father of Christians.” Referring to himself, Polycarp declared, “I am a Christian!” In the Bible we read, “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” (Act 11:26)

The Council of Nicaea, AD 325 - 225 years removed from the apostolic church - was a synod of Christian, not Catholic, bishops. It was convened and supervised by the emperor, Constantine, an alleged convert to Christianity, not Catholicism. At the time, there were at least 1800 known Christian, not Catholic, churches, each one independent of the others, each led by its own bishop. The Council was attended by 318 of those bishops, but Sylvester, the sitting bishop of Rome, (who is listed by the Vatican as a Catholic pope,) was not among them. Historically, the designation “Catholic” is not found in common usage until the fifth century. Church historian, Eusebius, writing in the 4th century, recorded events of Christendom’s early years without once mentioning a Catholic Church. Near the start of the 5th century, Augustine, bishop of Hippo in Africa, was called by his mother a “Catholic Christian.”

Possessed of these facts, we conclude that what was passed on by Christ’s disciples to their successors was not a religious denomination - Catholicism - but the simple grace-based Christian faith instituted by our Lord. History, the Bible, the writings of the early church saints, these offer no support whatever for Rome’s claims that Catholicism was the one and only true church founded by Jesus; nor that Christ ordained Peter as bishop of Rome and the first pope. The so-called “holy sacrifice of the Mass,” was unknown in the apostolic church; the Lord’s Supper was a memorial, not a reenactment, of Calvary, and there were no priests allegedly endowed with the power to take the place of Jesus here on earth. Baptism was not mandatory for salvation or receipt of the Holy Spirit. No works were required of the individual who wished to be saved, only faith in Christ Jesus. “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31) “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed and were baptized.” (Acts 18:8)

No one, this writer included, disputes the fact that the Roman Catholic Church emerged from apostolic Christianity. So did the eastern branch of Christendom, known today as the Orthodox Church. So did the Anabaptists, the Arians, The Docetists, the Marcions, the Ebionites, the Gnostics, etc. All emerged from the same Christian roots and are eloquent proof that common beginnings do not guarantee truth will be the end result.


#2

The Gospel Christ entrusted to His followers has never been added to, taken from, or altered in any way. It and it alone is the benchmark against which the one and only true church is measured and identified. What God’s Word said in the first century is what God’s Word says today: “By grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8, 9) Salvation faith is a free gift from God. It can’t be bought with all the good works or penances in the world. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) A new spiritual birth is necessary, and occurs when the Holy Spirit indwells the believer. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) The new birth results from belief in all that Christ is, all that He said, and all that He did. It has never been limited to persons of any one particular denomination, but to “whosoever believeth.”

This basically is the Gospel left to us by Christ, the one His disciples preached and recorded. Like Jesus, it is the “same yesterday, today and forever.” (Heb 13:8) That verse should apply as well to Catholicism if it is the one true church founded by Christ. But it does not apply because of Rome’s own self-generated problem - its “Patchwork Gospel” - which completely obviates that unsubstantiated claim. History is a hard task master, and it shows that from the time it assumed an identity of its own, becoming the Catholic, rather than the Christian church, Catholicism has been “patching” the immutable Gospel of Christ with one doctrine after another, none of which is supported in the Scriptures, nor was orally transmitted by Christ’s Apostles. By inference, this makes the God of Scripture appear to be both inept and unjust. Inept, because His original Gospel allegedly was incomplete, insufficient, and had to be “patched” numerous times over many centuries. Unjust because the original converts were denied privileges and benefits enjoyed by later converts to the “complete Gospel” whose latest “patch” was added in 1965.

This “Patchwork Gospel” that Rome created, and now is forced to live with, actually is the strongest rebuttal to any and all claims that the Roman Catholic Church is the one and only Church instituted by Christ. It is painful to admit that in 52 years as a Catholic I never once realized that the God of Catholicism needed hundreds and hundred of years, and numerous “patches” to the original, to get His Gospel “right” in my generation. Neither did I realize that the Jesus of Catholicism is a wholly different Jesus than the Savior known and preached by His Apostles. In retrospect, I accepted all of the church’s doctrines as having been a part of the religion since the time of Christ. I did not know, for example, that the critically important doctrine of transubstantiation - the assertion that ordinary bread and wine becomes the physical body and blood of Jesus - has been an article of faith only since the 13th century. Through the parochial school training I received, I fully believed the following, which is from a book entitled, “The Faith of Millions - The Credentials of the Catholic Church.”

“When the priest announces the tremendous words of
consecration, he reaches up into the heavens, brings Christ down
from His throne, and places Him upon our altar to be offered up
again as the victim for the sins of man. It is a power greater than
that of the saints and angels, greater than that of the Seraphim and
Cherubim. The priest brings Christ down from heaven, and renders
Him present on our altar as the eternal victim for the sins of man -
not once but a thousand times! The priest speaks and lo! Christ,
the eternal and omnipotent God, bows His head in humble
obedience to the priest’s command.”

Aside from the fact that the above is unscriptural, blasphemous, and utter nonsense, it points up the problem Rome has created for itself by periodically “patching” strange new doctrines into God’s original and only Gospel, the one Gospel that identifies the Church He left on earth. Since transubstantiation was not declared an article of faith until 1215 AD, Catholic liturgy did not “bring Christ down from heaven” prior to that date. How, then, could this doctrine be a product of “apostolic succession” when, 1) there were no priests in the apostolic Church, and, 2) when a gap of more than 1200 years separates it from the Apostles? And, would God feed His flock mere bread and wine prior to AD 1215; then begin feeding them His actual body and blood after that date? Hardly.


#3

Catholics, (me, too, when I was one) accept without question that the Apostle Peter was a Catholic and the first pope. They believe that Jesus ordained him with the words from Matthew 16:18, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” But the Bible itself, history, and the writings of the early church saints show this belief to be seriously in error. In fact, if it were not for some forged documents appearing in the third century, documents that even Rome admits are blatant frauds, there is little likelihood Peter ever would have been touted as a bishop of Rome and the first pope. The Apostle Paul was a far better candidate because of his lengthy, biblically recorded, stay in Rome, plus his own claim to having the oversight of all the churches. (2 Cor 11:28) All evidence considered, the papacy has not existed from the time of Christ. It was permanently “patched-in” many hundreds of years later when a second set of forged documents gained acceptance for a time as genuine and trustworthy.

In regard to the critical matter of church leadership, a monarchy headed by one individual called the pope was not what Christ bequeathed to His Apostles. In the book of Acts, in nine Pauline epistles and the First Epistle of Peter, it is evident that there were many churches, each independent of the others, all comprising the one Church whose unifying element was common faith in Jesus, His atoning sacrifice, and His bodily resurrection. That the existence of numerous independent churches met with Christ’s approval is supported by our Lord’s letters to seven of them in the book of Revelation. He did not address one letter to one church ruled by one bishop occupying a position of supremacy over all the churches. He addressed seven letters to seven “Messengers” who were the leaders of seven separate independent churches; and He revealed His very presence among them. “These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks,” (Rev 2:1) In his Galatians epistle, Paul acknowledges a multiplicity of churches in that area alone by addressing his letter “unto the churches of Galatia.” (Gal 1:2)

Further evidence that the apostolic church was made up of many individual, independent, churches, is found in letters generated by Clement and Ignatius, two renowned first-century saints. Especially in letters of Ignatius, it is apparent the independent churches were headed by bishops, presbyters and deacons. Polycarp, bishop of the Smyrna church, awaiting arrest and martyrdom, prayed for the safety of the churches, not the Church singular. Regarding the installation of new bishops, Ignatius in his letter to the Philadelphia church, constrained the church members to elect a new bishop. In so doing he contradicts Rome’s “apostolic succession” claim in which the faithful are led to believe bishops appointed by the Apostles appointed bishops to succeed themselves, who appointed bishops to succeed themselves, who then appointed bishops to succeed themselves, etc., all the way down to the present time. Likewise, in Clement’s letter to the church at Corinth, he related how the Apostles wanted bishops they had appointed replaced, as death removed them. They were to be replaced by

“…other approved men…with the consent of the whole church.”

Clement, a bishop of Rome, (AD 92-101) never claimed that he was a supreme bishop with authority over all other bishops. And, the cited quote from his letter to the Corinthian church shows to be in error the Catholic belief that new bishops could only receive their appointment from existing bishops, or a “pope.” The churches obviously enjoyed the right to approve individuals who aspired to leadership positions, another serious blow to Rome’s “apostolic succession” crutch. If, however, one measure of the true church founded by Jesus is, in fact, “apostolic succession,” Rome is in really deep trouble because of the eastern branch of Christendom, existing today as the Orthodox Church.

Since the days of the Apostles, eastern churches have maintained absolute independence from Rome, and do not embrace Catholicism’s “Patchwork Gospel.” Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, and Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, were two of many eastern bishops, first-century successors to the Apostles. Both men were protégés of John the Evangelist. Through them and others, apostolic organization and authority would have passed to all succeeding Eastern Church bishops right down to the present time, thereby, obviating Rome’s claim of exclusivity through “apostolic succession.” For the record, today’s Orthodox Church is comprised of independent fellowships each with its own governing bishop, an exact extension of apostolic church organization.


#4

HELP!!! This has shaken my faith in the church…


#5

[quote=Questions…]HELP!!! This has shaken my faith in the church…
[/quote]

For a quick antidote, read these conversion stories:

Paul Thigpen
paulthigpen.com/paulthigpen/howibecamecatholic.html

Roy Shoeman
salvationisfromthejews.com/christversion.html

hurst


#6

Here is an excerpt from Paul Thigpen:

But the scandal was overcome when I finally admitted that no Christian community has ever even come close to being perfect. In fact, I saw the Catholic Church’s problems repeated in the history of all the groups that repudiated her, that vowed they would never be like her. They reminded me of the adolescent daughter who swears she’ll never be like the mother she resents – yet ends up becoming just like her in spite of her vow.

It was simply historical proof of the Pauline judgment that my Protestant mentors had always been so fond of quoting Romans 3:23, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Each breakaway group, I learned, inexorably retraced the missteps of the Catholic tradition to one degree or another because whatever problems the Church has, they are not exclusively Roman; they are universally human.

In taking the long view, I also came to marvel at the sovereign grace of God. Those same bickering councils that Protestants have disparaged nevertheless demonstrated the most astonishing wisdom in crafting creeds that would stand the test of time. Those avaricious popes gave their blessing to men and women of blessed poverty whose explosive holiness shamed their lax brothers and sisters and turned the Church upside down. In John Paul II, in the heroism of the Church in Eastern Europe, in the charismatic renewal and other life-giving movements, I could see signs of God’s grace with us yet, despite the serious attacks on the Church both within and without.

At the same time, I saw how Rome has remained the spiritual center of gravity for the churches that have separated from her. However much they try to distance themselves, they keep finding their way back: When the arid, rigid predestinationism of Calvin grew at last intolerable, they turned to Wesley for a more human – and more Catholic – view. In the Holiness movement they recaptured something of the Catholic traditions of asceticism and works of mercy; in the Pentecostal movement they recovered a sense of sacrament and mystery.

Meanwhile, even our now-secular society – itself spawned in many ways by the logical conclusions of Protestant views – still attempts to make up for the useful Catholic traditions it has repudiated. As G. K. Chesterton once noted, whatever Catholic elements the Protestants threw out of their churches, the modern world eventually reintroduced because they couldn’t live without them. But they always brought those elements back in a lower form. Instead of the confessional, for example, we now have the psychoanalyst’s couch, with none of the safeguards of the confessional. Instead of a glorious communion with saints who help us on our pilgrimage to heaven, we now have spiritualists who frolic with demons that seduce us into hell.

Yet through all the confusion, I came to see, Rome remains the solid theological standard for those who have separated from her. As even the oldest denominations have succumbed to the spirit of the age on one critical issue after another, the Catholic Church has remained firm – on the sanctity of life, on the nature of sexuality, on the supernatural foundations of faith, on the essence of God and the identity of Christ. Today as yesterday, Veritatis Splendor – the splendor of truth, as the Holy Father has so aptly called it – blazes forth from Rome. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Perhaps most importantly, my reading of Erasmus and Newman and my study of the history of liturgy helped me to see that the primitivist assumption underlying Protestant views of the Church was seriously mistaken in at least two ways. First, Erasmus and Newman taught me that the Church is a maturing organism whose life span stretches across the centuries – not an archaeological expedition always searching for fossils to help it reconstruct a primitive campsite. They challenged me to defend the Protestant notion that we should desire the embryo over the mature organism; and having studied church history, I found such a defense impossible.

Second, when I studied the history of Jewish and Christian liturgy, I found that even if we could return to the primitive Christian experience, that experience would not resemble most of the Protestant, especially the charismatic, churches of today. The congregations I’d been part of were for the most part assuming that they had recovered a New Testament model of strictly spontaneous worship, local government, and Bible-only teaching. But the early Church, I found, was in reality liturgical in worship; trans-local and hierarchical in government; and dependent on a body of sacred Tradition that included the Scripture, yet stretched far beyond it as well.

paulthigpen.com/paulthigpen/howibecamecatholic.html

hurst


#7

Here is an excerpt from Roy Shoeman:

I will just touch briefly on some of the milestones which led me to the Catholic Church. After the dream of Mary, I started going to a local Protestant Church, but left when I asked the pastor about Mary and he made a disparaging remark. I started hanging around Marian shrines, particularly a shrine of Our Lady of La Salette which was in Ipswich, Mass., about 40 minutes from my house. On a winter ski trip to the Alps, I decided to visit the real La Salette apparition site (in the French Alps), and ended up spending the rest of the “ski” trip there, in deep prayer (more details on that stay can be found here). Someone I met there recommended that I make a visit to a Carthusian monastery, and I ended up doing so, spending a week there, on a kind of solitary “come and see” although I was still Jewish! There I became aware, for the first time, how the Catholic Church was itself an outgrowth of Judaism. It was unavoidably obvious, given how the monks spent many hours a day chanting the Old Testament psalms, with their continual references to Israel, Zion, Jerusalem, the Jewish Patriarchs, and the Jewish people, visibly identifying with the “Israel” of the psalms (that is, the Jews). A small illustration: One day when I was working alone in the fields, an elderly monk came out to speak with me. He approached and shyly asked, “Tell us, if you don’t mind – We couldn’t help noticing that you do not receive communion, so you must not be Catholic. What then are you?” When I replied “Jewish”, he grinned and with a deep sigh said “That’s a relief! We were afraid you were Protestant!”. At the time I had no understanding at all of the difference between Protestants and Catholics – they were just meaningless words to me describing Christians – yet I was deeply struck by the fact that in some mysterious way this monk identified with Jews as opposed to Protestants. I later realized that in his eyes Jews were “elder brothers in the Faith” who had not yet received the grace to recognize the Messiahship of Jesus, whereas Protestants had once had, but then rejected, the fullness of the truth.

salvationisfromthejews.com/christversion.html

hurst


#8

[quote=Questions…]What our Lord left on earth was left not just to 12 Apostles, but to 120 disciples who were in the same upper room together on the first Pentecost. These all were indwelt by and filled with the Holy Spirit who empowered them to carry the salvation message throughout the world. Not one of those 120 disciples was a Catholic. Nor were Peter, James, John, Thomas, or any of the other Apostles Catholics. Their immediate successors - Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Linus, Cletus, etc. - were Christians, not Catholics. When, in the middle of the 2nd century, Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, was martyred, the crowd of onlookers called him the “father of Christians.” Referring to himself, Polycarp declared, “I am a Christian!” In the Bible we read, “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” (Act 11:26)
[/quote]

Haha. They forget Ignatius of Antioch. Check this for the 'meaing of Catholic.

“Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains *. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]). *

The Martyrdom of Polycarp

[quote]“And of the elect, he was one indeed, the wonderful martyr Polycarp, who in our days was an apostolic and prophetic teacher, bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna. For every word which came forth from his mouth was fulfilled and will be fulfilled” (Martyrdom of Polycarp 16:2 [A.D. 155]).

The Muratorian Canon

"Besides these [letters of Paul] there is one to Philemon, and one to Titus, and two to Timothy, in affection and love, but nevertheless regarded as holy in the Catholic Church, in the ordering of churchly discipline. There is also one [letter] to the Laodiceans and another to the Alexandrians, forged under the name of Paul, in regard to the heresy of Marcion, and there are several others which cannot be received by the Church, for it is not suitable that gall be mixed with honey. The epistle of Jude, indeed, and the two ascribed to John are received by the Catholic Church (Muratorian fragment [A.D. 177]).

More in a moment…

The Council of Nicaea, AD 325 - 225 years removed from the apostolic church - was a synod of Christian, not Catholic, bishops.

Excerpts from the Council of Nicea:

"But those who say: ‘There was [a time] when he [the Son] was not,’ and ‘before he was born, he was not,’ and ‘because he was made from non-existing matter, he is either of another substance or essence,’ and those who call ‘God the Son of God changeable and mutable,’ these the Catholic Church anathematizes"

(Appendix to the Creed of Nicaea [A.D. 325]).

“Concerning those who call themselves Cathari [Novatians], that is, ‘the Clean,’ if at any time they come to the Catholic Church, it has been decided by the holy and great council that, provided they receive the imposition of hands, they remain among the clergy. However, because they are accepting and following the doctrines of the catholic and apostolic Church, it is fitting that they acknowledge this in writing before all; that is, both that they communicate with the twice married and with those who have lapsed during a persecution” (Canon 8)
. …

"Concerning the Paulianists who take refuge with the Catholic Church, a decree has been published that they should be fully baptized. If, however, any of these in times past have been in the clerical order, if indeed they have appeared spotless and above reproach, after being baptized, let them be ordained by the bishop of the Catholic Church" (Canon 9).So a bishop of the Catholic church isn’t a catholic bishop?

It was convened and supervised by the emperor, Constantine, an alleged convert to Christianity, not Catholicism. At the time, there were at least 1800 known Christian, not Catholic, churches, each one independent of the others, each led by its own bishop. The Council was attended by 318 of those bishops, but Sylvester, the sitting bishop of Rome, (who is listed by the Vatican as a Catholic pope,) was not among them.

Sylvester sent his legate to represent him…
[/quote]


#9

Historically, the designation “Catholic” is not found in common usage until the fifth century. Church historian, Eusebius, writing in the 4th century, recorded events of Christendom’s early years without once mentioning a Catholic Church. Near the start of the 5th century, Augustine, bishop of Hippo in Africa, was called by his mother a “Catholic Christian.”

Not true, as the quotes I showed prove. Catholicity, or universality, has always been a distinctive mark of the Church.

“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen” (Apostles’ Creed [A.D. 360 version, the first to include the term “Catholic”]).

Possessed of these facts, we conclude that what was passed on by Christ’s disciples to their successors was not a religious denomination - Catholicism - but the simple grace-based Christian faith instituted by our Lord. History, the Bible, the writings of the early church saints, these offer no support whatever for Rome’s claims that Catholicism was the one and only true church founded by Jesus; nor that Christ ordained Peter as bishop of Rome and the first pope.

Nonsense. Plenty of reasons to support Petrine primacy. Read all those tracts, they’ll give you a decent foundation. As for their ‘conclusion,’ it’s totally unbased in argument, as if a refutation of one side entails their side. Even if they had, it wouldn’t prove their points. But they didn’t, so why bother.

The so-called “holy sacrifice of the Mass,” was unknown in the apostolic church; the Lord’s Supper was a memorial, not a reenactment, of Calvary, and there were no priests allegedly endowed with the power to take the place of Jesus here on earth.

Scripture and Tradition are unanimous on the Real Presence of Christ and the sacrificial nature. Real Presence, Sacrifice of the Mass. Early Christians believed in the Real Presence. The Eucharist in Scripture.

So when the Didache, written in about 90AD, called it a sacrifice, they didn’t really mean it?

The Didache

“Assemble on the Lord’s day, and break bread and offer the Eucharist; but first make confession of your faults, so that your sacrifice may be a pure one. Anyone who has a difference with his fellow is not to take part with you until he has been reconciled, so as to avoid any profanation of your sacrifice [Matt. 5:23–24]. For this is the offering of which the Lord has said, ‘Everywhere and always bring me a sacrifice that is undefiled, for I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is the wonder of nations’ [Mal. 1:11, 14]” (Didache 14 [A.D. 70]).

Or Pope Clement

“Our sin will not be small if we eject from the episcopate those who blamelessly and holily have offered its sacrifices. Blessed are those presbyters who have already finished their course, and who have obtained a fruitful and perfect release” (*Letter to the Corinthians *44:4–5 [A.D. 80]).

Or Iggy of Antioch:

“Make certain, therefore, that you all observe one common Eucharist; for there is but one Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and but one cup of union with his Blood, and one single altar of sacrifice—even as there is also but one bishop, with his clergy and my own fellow servitors, the deacons. This will ensure that all your doings are in full accord with the will of God” (Letter to the Philadelphians 4 [A.D. 110]).

Etc…

Baptism was not mandatory for salvation or receipt of the Holy Spirit. No works were required of the individual who wished to be saved, only faith in Christ Jesus. “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31) “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed and were baptized.” (Acts 18:8)

Necessity of Baptism. Let’s see them explain away Christ’s words… as the link shows, the tradition shows it clearly.

“Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 3:21)

5 Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. (John 3:5)

How about you guys get to demolished the second and third, I’ve got to go do other things. :wink:


#10

[quote=Questions…]The Gospel Christ entrusted to His followers has never been added to, taken from, or altered in any way. It and it alone is the benchmark against which the one and only true church is measured and identified. What God’s Word said in the first century is what God’s Word says today

[/quote]

This is not true. The Marcionites relied solely on their version of Luke and discarded the Old Testament and other valid NT letters that did not agree with his doctrine. In fact, it was primarily due to such abuse of Scriptures that the Catholic Church compiled the NT Canon and determined that the OT is to be retained as the foreshadowing of the NT, among other things.

We should keep in mind the battles encountered even from the beginnings of the Church:

2 Corinthians 11:13 For such false apostles are deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

Whoever wrote the diatribe against the Roman Catholic Church seems to fit this category. If nothing else, he has abandonded the Ship and is now relying on his own strength to understand the Gospel and obtain salvation according to his own understanding, or that of those he has chosen to follow in place of the Church.

It seems the bird has snatched away the faith that was not deep to begin with.

Not all things were written down, nor were all things made explicit.

John 21:25 But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.

hurst


#11

Thank you for all that, I was just web surfing and this hit me like a ton of bricks. WOW. Thank you all so much. I shall review all the comments and advice. There was more there that I read…it is shocking.


#12

It was the 6th century - 500 years after the Apostles - before the doctrine of purgatory began to attract attention as a possible future doctrinal “patch.” It was not made an article of faith until AD 1274 by the Second Council of Lyons. It was reconfirmed by the Council of Trent in the 16th century because of attacks on it by the Reformers. Indulgences, temporal punishment, mortal and venial sin - doctrines symbiotically related to purgatory - also were unknown to the apostolic church and were “patched-in” many hundreds of years later. Is it unfair to question where in eternity all the souls went who died before purgatory and its related doctrines were “patched-in?”

Unreported to Catholics is the fact that the apostolic church had no priests. Their Old Testament function - offering the sacrifices - was eliminated forever by Calvary. And early efforts aimed at re-establishing a Levitical-type priesthood were condemned by Jesus, Himself, in the Book of Revelation. (Rev 2:6, 15) The Roman Catholic priesthood, then is a much later development, another example of Rome’s “patchworking.” Likewise, confession of sins to another human being was unheard of in the days of the early church. The Bible says we are to confess sin directly to God. That was apostolic church practice according to the episode in Acts where Peter rebuked Simon for trying to buy power to confer the Holy Spirit. Peter said, “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” (Act 8:22) If Peter was bishop of Rome and the first pope, and if Catholic Confession was a doctrine known to the Apostles, why didn’t Peter “hear” Simon’s confession, give him absolution, and send him on his way a forgiven sinner? Or, why did Clement’s 1st century letter to the Corinthian church include the following observation?

“The Lord, brethren, stands in need of nothing: and he desires
nothing of anyone, except that confession be made to him. For, says
the elect David, “I will confess unto the Lord…”

As doctrinal “patches” go, the one that mandated confession of sins to a priest was another late comer. First declared a doctrine in the 12th century, it was formalized as an article of faith 100 years later - in AD 1216 - during the Second Lateran Council, the same western-church synod that decreed the doctrine of transubstantiation. In my years as a Catholic I was uninformed and, therefore, unaware that - like the ones I have cited - doctrines I believed were instituted by Jesus, were, in reality, very late additions to the religion, and were simply “the commandments of men.”

When Jesus bowed His sacred head on Calvary’s cross, and in agony whispered, “It is finished,” (John 19:30) the Gospel of salvation was complete. Animal sacrifice was ended; the Levitical priesthood was eliminated; the Temple was done away with. All replaced by simple faith in our Lord’s sinless deity, His once-for-all-sacrifice, and His glorious resurrection from the grave. Through this simple faith came forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, and adoption into His household for all eternity. Before the foundation of the world, before there was an Adam, an Eve, or an original sin, that plan of redemption for fallen mankind was in place. (1 Pet 1:20) Jesus, through His sinless life, sacrificial death and grave-conquering resurrection, executed and completed that plan. There was nothing partial about it. Nothing was left undone because God is a God of completeness. He did not create a partial universe, a partial world, or - as the evolutionists claim - partial people. Neither did Jesus leave behind a partial Gospel. Nothing, absolutely nothing, was left out of the Gospel entrusted to His Apostles and disciples. The New Testament, compiled and ratified long before there was a Catholic Church, contains every doctrine received, preached, and recorded by them; every doctrine a lost soul needs for deliverance from sin and admission into heaven’s eternal bliss.


#13

Catholics who firmly believe that their religion is the one and only founded by Christ are sorely mistaken and deliberately misled. The numerous doctrinal “patches” applied to Catholicism down through the ages are mute, unimpeachable testimony to the contrary. The sacraments, (works necessary for salvation), are “patches” added hundreds of years after the passing of the Apostles and their successors. Likewise, the priesthood, the papacy, Purgatory, mortal and venial sin, temporal punishment, indulgences, verbal confession, the Mass liturgy, transubstantiation. Canonization of “saints,” the Marian doctrines, and “Tradition” as a doctrinal source equal to God’s divine Word, also are late additions to a Gospel made whole, entire and eternal by those sacred words, “It is finished.” Sadly, not even one of the aforementioned doctrines is supported by Scripture, nor by oral transmissions of traditions observed and practiced by the Apostles or the apostolic church. Catholicism’s motto - semper eadem, (ever the same), - should be changed to nunquam eadem, never the same.

The fallacy of Rome’s claim to be the one true church is clearly exposed by its own history of adding strange new doctrines from time to time. For Catholics, it means they’ve never had one complete set of truths, one, single, immutable pathway to salvation. What applies today may be altered, added to, or eliminated tomorrow. In fact, Rome has today’s Catholics doing a lot more to be “saved” than Catholics living before most “patches” became articles of faith. For example, weekly Mass attendance was not mandatory until the 12th century. Holy Communion was not necessary for salvation before that, and neither was confession of sins to a priest. From all the evidence, only one conclusion is possible - Catholicism really isn’t the one true church at all. Rather, it’s a denomination whose roots can be traced to early Christianity, but whose “Patchwork Gospel” betrays it as a purveyor of heresy, an apostate church.

In subsequent chapters, Rome’s most flagrant anti-Scriptural “patches” will be reviewed, starting in chapter two with the numerous Marian heresies. Chapter three will be devoted to the fraud-based papal office, and other chapters will critique Purgatory, temporal punishment, indulgences, mortal and venial sin, transubstantiation, Confession, the Mass, apparitions, etc. For the remainder of this chapter, however, a “patch” Rome calls “Tradition” will be the object of study, because the fallout from it produced the second of Catholicism’s many heresies, and a fitting twin for the one just dealt with. Obviously meant to solve problems, “Tradition” has served only to emphasize the apostate condition into which Catholicism had lapsed by the 16th century when Martin Luther’s Bible reading produced the launching pad for a Reformation that had been in the making for over 300 years. How “Tradition” came to be an article of faith, what effect it has had on the Roman Catholic view of Scriptures, the inescapable trap that has resulted, these comprise a fascinating but tragic story, one that began in AD 1546 in Trent, Italy.

By the 16th century, Catholicism had added so many doctrinal “patches” the Council of Trent, (AD 1545-63) had to take drastic action to justify their establishment as articles of faith. One of its most critical tasks was to protect and preserve at any cost the illusion that Catholicism is the true and only church founded by Christ, empowered by Him to “create” doctrines not found in Scripture. Reformers were challenging every “patched” doctrine. Justification and indulgences, which brought the opening sally, were only the tip of the iceberg. Purgatory, temporal punishment, sacraments, the priesthood, the papacy, the Mass, transubstantiation, and more, all came under fire from the Reformers. Their watchwords were four in number: sola Scriptura, sola gratia, sola fide, sola Christus. Only Scripture, only Grace, only Faith, and only Christ.

For Rome, the stakes were enormous. To admit sola Scriptura would have been an unmitigated disaster. Doctrines not found in the divine Word - all the ones that had been “patched-in” over a period of ten centuries - would have been exposed as man-inspired, and simply could not have been defended. Equally repugnant to the Vatican was the Reformers’ insistence that justification is exclusively by the grace of God, whose free gift of faith in Christ’s sacrifice produces forgiveness of sin and assures eternal life in heaven. Admitting to that would have wiped out the sacraments and all other works that had been “patched-in” as necessary for salvation. But the most perplexing problem of all for the assembled prelates, may well have been what to do about its own Office of the Inquisition, which office, for over 300 years, had been executing those very advocates of the four “only’s” that the Council was convened to deal with.


#14

One could have predicted that Rome would not capitulate without a fight, for the nearly absolute power Catholicism had wielded over western churches since the 9th century is not something willingly relinquished. But it is doubtful that anyone - even the most avid Reformer - had the slightest inkling that Trent’s prelates would do the unthinkable. Compelled to deal with a challenge that had rapidly gotten out of control, deal with it they did. On the 8th of April, AD 1546, the Council issued a decree that met the sola Scriptura issue head-on, and, as far as Rome is concerned, disposed of it for all time. That wordy decree included the following excerpt:

(The Synod) “following the example of the orthodox Fathers, receives and venerates with an equal affection of piety and reverence, all the books of both the Old and of the New Testament… as also the said Traditions as well those (traditions) appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated either by Christ’s own word of mouth or by the Holy Ghost, and preserved in the Catholic church by a continuous succession. Let all, therefore, understand, in what order, and in what manner, the said Synod, after having laid the foundation of the Confession of Faith, will proceed, and what testimonies and authorities (Praesidiis) it will mainly use in confirming dogmas, and in restoring morals in the Church.” (Emphasis mine.)

With this astonishing “declaration of independence,” Rome notified the Reformers, and all posterity, that Catholicism was free from reliance on divine Scripture alone, (sola Scriptura) for its doctrine, was not in the least encumbered or bound by it, and was, in fact, at liberty to use other “testimonies and authorities”…(read that, Tradition)…“in confirming dogmas.” Thus was severed for all time whatever was left of Catholicism’s relationship to the church instituted by Christ. The Word of God that Rome hadn’t paid much attention to for ten centuries anyway, was formally evicted from its rightful position of exclusivity and preeminence, its value as the source of doctrine virtually eliminated. The numerous “patches” added to the Gospel from the 6th century on were - in retrospect - attributable to that which was venerated “with an equal affection of piety and reverence,” - (the said Traditions ) - which allegedly had been “preserved in the Catholic church by a continuous succession.”

Nor was that infamous Council content to stop at giving itself the authority to deviate from God’s divine Word in matters of faith, doctrine, organization, etc. It must also appoint itself the sole custodian and interpreter of the very Scriptures it held in such low esteem. To wit:

“Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, it (Trent) decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall - in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine - wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church - whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures - hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never (intended) to be at any time published. Contraveners shall be made known by their Ordinaries, and be punished with the penalties by law established.” (Emphasis mine.)

From these Council of Trent decrees it is clear that the second of Catholicism’s many heresies is Rome’s teaching that it alone has been entrusted with God’s revelation of Himself to mankind - both the divine Scriptures and Catholicism’s alleged Traditions - and the very interpretation of it to boot. Since escaping from the Roman Catholic Church I never cease to be amazed at these kinds of claims. During my years as a Catholic I was not aware of them. I would be surprised if one out of a thousand of the faithful today are aware of them, either. For example, to justify this second great heresy, Rome claims that the Catholic Church actually pre-dates the New Testament, and is responsible for the assembly and ratification of its canon. But historical fact gives the lie to such preposterous claims.


#15

The renowned church historian, Eusebius, AD 260-339, writing early in the fourth century records the following in Book 1, Chapter 4:4:

“……but although it is clear that we are new and that this new name of Christians has really but recently been known among all nations, nevertheless our life and our conduct, with our doctrines of religion, have not been lately invented by us, but from the first creation of man, so to speak, have been established by the natural understanding of divinely favored men of old.”

Had the Roman Catholic Church existed at the time it is certain Eusebius would have so noted the fact. He didn’t. In AD 397, (still nearly 200 years before Catholicism) the Council of Carthage was convened, and Rome maintains that this convocation determined the New Testament canon. Not so says history. The representatives to that council merely confirmed the 27 New Testament books that were listed by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, (an Eastern Church) 30 years before, and had been confirmed in AD 393 at the Synod of Hippo. But even before that, in the very beginning of the second century, Polycarp, Clement, Justin Martyr and, a bit later, Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, were quoting in their writings from most of our New Testament books. F. F. Bruce relates that the writings of Irenaeus alone in about AD 180, showed canonical acceptance of the four Gospels, the Acts, Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I and II Thessalonians, I and II Timothy, Titus, I Peter, I John and the Revelation. In other words, at least 21 of our 27 New Testament books were considered Holy Scripture more than 400 years before the Roman Catholic Church became an identifiable entity. Catholicism did not pre-date the New Testament; did not spearhead verification of its canon; is not its exclusive custodian, nor its God-appointed interpreter.

It will come as no surprise that the Council of Trent declarations cited earlier remain in effect to this day. They have never been modified; never been abrogated. In fact the Second Vatican Council, (1963-65) enthusiastically embraced them along with the rest of Trent’s myriad decrees and condemnations. Today, the church’s official position is unchanged and is boldly reiterated on pages 26 and 27 of the 1994 Catechism.

“.…the (Catholic) Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”

The baseless, unsupported claims and autocratic proclamations emanating from Rome are nothing but brazen falsehoods, ugly heresies that foster the one-true-church illusion held so resolutely by the laity. These far-fetched claims are accepted by Catholic faithful as justification for Rome’s various, unscriptural mandates - in this case, that “Tradition” is to be given honor and reverence equivalent to the very Word of God. Not only are their claims lacking the support of history, the Bible, and saints of the apostolic church, they contradict the very Scriptures Rome claims authority over.

Our Lord told the religious Jews that, “the Scriptures cannot be broken.” (John 10:35) By this He clearly indicated that His Word is not to be demeaned, avoided, ignored, changed, or added to. In Psalm 89:34, quoted on the first page of this chapter, He declared that He would not break His covenant - in the New Testament, His promise of salvation by grace and faith alone - nor would He change (or allow to be changed) a single one of His Words. In the Galatians letter of Paul, those who preach a gospel different from the one he preached - his came directly from the lips of Jesus - are cursed, not once, but twice. (Gal 1:8, 9) Additional warnings against tampering with Scripture are found in Deuteronomy, Proverbs, and Revelation, and will be seen later on.


#16

By exalting “Tradition” Rome has trapped the faithful in a belief system centered on “the commandments of men,” not on the Gospel of the Savior who died for their sins. Since the word tradition is suggestive of long established customs and practices it is fair to insist that the many doctrines Rome has “patched-in” over a period of fifteen-hundred years be traceable to the early church, orally transmitted by the Apostles and their immediate successors. From all available records, however, such is not the case by any stretch of the imagination. And when the 1994 Catechism is consulted for Rome’s definition of “Tradition,” we see at once why none of the added doctrines is traceable to the Christian Church of the first four hundred years

(Tradition is) “…distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through tradition…the church, in her doctrine, life and worship perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself IS, all that she BELIEVES. (Emphasis mine.)

“Tradition” as Rome sees it, is not a compendium of early church customs and practices at all. It’s simply “all that she herself is,” and “all she believes,” masquerading as apostolic hand-me-downs. To rationalize fifteen centuries of error; to justify her heretical view that not all truths revealed by God are to be found in His Scriptures, Rome resorts to “Tradition” that really isn’t traditional at all. The whole thing is suggestive of an incomplete Bible, a partial Gospel, a capricious deity who improvises as He goes along. In the Scriptures, however, tradition does not inspire what Rome describes as “sentiments of devotion and reverence.” Quite the opposite. Eleven out of thirteen times the word appears in the New Testament, it refers to that which is displeasing to God. Cf. Mat 15:3,6; Mar 7:8, 13; Col 2:8; I Pet 1:18. Only twice is it used in a favorable sense. (2 Th 2:15, 3:6) But, in neither instance can it be construed as justification for “patching-in” doctrines never known to, nor verbally passed on by, the original 120 disciples and their successors.

It was mentioned previously that the Trent declarations of 500 years ago have never been abrogated, nor so much as modified in the slightest degree. On the contrary, they have been enthusiastically ratified and even reinforced with the passing of time. For instance, today’s Catholics, besides being denied the liberty to interpret Scriptures for themselves, also are denied the freedom to interpret “Tradition,” whatever that may be at any given time. The 1994 Catechism puts it this way:

“The task of giving an authentic INTERPRETATION of the Word of God, whether in written form or in the form of Tradition, has been ENTRUSTED to the living, teaching office of the CHURCH ALONE.” (Emphasis mine.)

Way back in the dark ages, the Roman church began to recognize the danger to itself of exposing the laity to the Word of God. Experience showed that problems resulted when individuals got their hands on Scriptures produced in their own language. At first, this was successfully countermanded by making Latin the only approved language for Scripture, liturgical rites, prayer, communication, etc. This effectively kept God’s Word out of the hands of the common people who were Latin illiterate. But later on, as the Scriptures began to appear in more and more native languages - Anglo-Saxon, Gothic, Germanic, Slavic, Coptic, Armenian, etc. - more stringent controls became necessary. Only Latin Vulgate Bibles were approved. Those published in other languages were condemned and ownership of them prohibited. Any native-language Bibles found were summarily confiscated and destroyed. Among those suffering that fate were the Gothic Bibles of the Ostrogoth, Theodoric, the Lollard Bibles of Wycliffe, and the Old English texts that became popular in England as far back as the 10th Century.


#17

Rome’s obsession to control both the message of Scripture and the interpretation of it has never been more evident than in its treatment of Godly dissenters such as Wycliffe, Tyndale, Savonarola, Huss, the Cathari, the Waldenses, etc. Wycliffe was excommunicated for translating the Bible into English in 1382. After death, his bones were exhumed, burned and tossed in the river. Tyndale, for his English translation of the Bible, Savonarola and Huss, for preaching sola scriptura and sola gratia, all were burned alive. The Cathari, also called the Albigenses, and the Waldenses, for their insistence on justification by faith, were exterminated as heretics.

The 16th century Council of Trent forbade publication of the Scripture except by those to whom Rome had issued a proper license. By the 19th century, no fewer than six different popes ruled against all efforts aimed at making the Scriptures available to the general public. Pius VII said that the indiscriminate distribution of Bibles in native languages “…produced more harm than benefits…was eminently dangerous to souls.” Gregory XVI was vehemently opposed to making the Scriptures freely available to all people. Leo XIII in 1897 forbade the publication or reading of Scriptures in native languages.

There is an obvious antipathy to God’s Word in the Vatican, expressions of which sometimes are nothing short of incredible. Ignatius Loyola who founded the Jesuit order, in his “Rules For Thinking With The Church,” expressed his disdain for Scripture in Rule #13 which states:

“I will believe that the white that I see is black if the hierarchical Church so defines it.” One of Loyola’s fellow Jesuits had this to say about God’s Word: Without the authority of the Church, I would believe St. Matthew no more than Titus Livius.”

To Polish Cardinal Stanislaus Hosius, who presided over the Council of Trent, is credited the following statement about the value of God’s Word: “Except for the authority of the Holy Mother Church, the Scriptures would have no more weight than the fables of Aesop.”

In a recent general letter to Roman Catholic bishops from current pope, John Paul II, the church “party-line” regarding sola scriptura is rigidly adhered to. Addressing a “resurgence of fideism” (faith alone) that has been observed, he writes as follows:

“One currently widespread symptom of this fideistic tendency is a ‘biblicism’ which tends to make the reading and exegesis of Sacred Scripture the sole criterion of truth. In consequence, the Word of God is identified with Sacred Scripture alone, thus eliminating the doctrine of the Church which the Second Vatican Council stressed quite specifically. Having recalled that the word of God is present in both Scripture and Tradition, the Constitution Dei Verbum continues emphatically: ‘Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture comprise a single deposit of the word of God entrusted to the Church…’ Scripture, therefore, is not the Church’s sole point of reference. The ‘supreme rule of her faith’ derives from the unity which the Spirit has created between Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church in a reciprocity which means that none of the three can survive without the others. (Emphasis mine.)


#18

On the charges against confession…

Confession in a Scriptural context…

ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/GOTOCON.HTM

This works too.

Somewhere else, I was writing on this, and I copped something from Subrosa’s posts (a poster who posts often) as well as a link he gave (the one above). I’ll paste what I had there, here. (WHat I said sort of molds the link and what subrosa said in the specific instance that I’m quoting.)

Perhaps if you coupled this with JaneFrances’s wonderful post.

Jesus came to forgive sins. His mission was truly a mission of reconilliation.

Jesus preached about the forgiveness of sins, see the parables of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11ff) or the Lost Sheep (Lk 15:1ff), and His teaching that “There will likewise be more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than over 96 righteous people who have no need to repent.” (Lk 15:7)

Jesus himself also forgave sins. The woman caught in adultery (Jn 8:1), or the woman who washed His feet with her tears. (Lk 7:36-38ff). (We also pray for forgiveness in the Our Father.)

His mission, of course, reaches its climax in his passion, death and resurrection, whereby sin is conquered. But when he ascended to heaven, he didn’t mean for his ministry of reconciliation to end.

Paul, in second Corinthians, speaks of the ministry of reconcilliation.

[quote]2 Cor 5:18 And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation

Ministries, of course, are performed by ministers. Priests and bishops are ministers, of course. Paul says that he entrusted “us,” that is, men.

2 Cor 5:19 namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation

.

Paul calls himself and others “ambassadors.”

2 Cor 5:20 So we are ambassadors for Christ

, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God

Remember, an ambassador is an official representative of someone. That’s exactly what the priest is, an ambassador for Christ, with Christ’s power entrusted to him, as Jesus says to the Apostles:

John 20:22-23

he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

But notice what he does as well as says. He breathes on them.

Bible quiz: what’s the only other time God breathes into man?

The answer is Gen 2:7 where he breathes life into the man he has created. Now, Jesus, the Son, breathes His life into His Apostles His priests, so that through them He will “breathe” life into the souls of contrite sinners. In this scene, Christ instituted the sacrament of penance and made His Apostles the ministers of it.

(Note that you can’t choose whose sins to forgive or retain unless they communicate those sins to you. This presupposes come sort of confession.)
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As such, it isn’t surprising that there is ample evidence of confession in the fathers.


#19

It was the 6th century - 500 years after the Apostles - before the doctrine of purgatory began to attract attention as a possible future doctrinal “patch.” It was not made an article of faith until AD 1274 by the Second Council of Lyons. It was reconfirmed by the Council of Trent in the 16th century because of attacks on it by the Reformers. Indulgences, temporal punishment, mortal and venial sin - doctrines symbiotically related to purgatory - also were unknown to the apostolic church and were “patched-in” many hundreds of years later. Is it unfair to question where in eternity all the souls went who died before purgatory and its related doctrines were “patched-in?”

Try these two tracts, Purgatory and the Roots of Purgatory. Purgatory derives especially from the concept of praying for the dead. Think about it logically. There is no reason to pray for those in hell, they cannot be saved, their outcome is certain. There is no reason to pray for those in heaven, after all, they are in heaven. And yet, why did the early Christians pray for the dead? Purgatory reconciles it perfectly.

Some Fundamentalists also charge, as though it actually proved something, “The word purgatory is nowhere found in Scripture.” This is true, and yet it does not disprove the existence of purgatory or the fact that belief in it has always been part of Church teaching. The words Trinity and Incarnation aren’t in Scripture either, yet those doctrines are clearly taught in it. Likewise, Scripture teaches that purgatory exists, even if it doesn’t use that word and even if 1 Peter 3:19 refers to a place other than purgatory.

Christ refers to the sinner who “will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:32), suggesting that one can be freed after death of the consequences of one’s sins. Similarly, Paul tells us that, when we are judged, each man’s work will be tried. And what happens if a righteous man’s work fails the test? “He will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:15). Now this loss, this penalty, can’t refer to consignment to hell, since no one is saved there; and heaven can’t be meant, since there is no suffering (“fire”) there. The Catholic doctrine of purgatory alone explains this passage.

Then, of course, there is the Bible’s approval of prayers for the dead: “In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the dead to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin” (2 Macc. 12:43–45). Prayers are not needed by those in heaven, and no one can help those in hell. That means some people must be in a third condition, at least temporarily. This verse so clearly illustrates the existence of purgatory that, at the time of the Reformation, Protestants had to cut the books of the Maccabees out of their Bibles in order to avoid accepting the doctrine.

Prayers for the dead and the consequent doctrine of purgatory have been part of the true religion since before the time of Christ. Not only can we show it was practiced by the Jews of the time of the Maccabees, but it has even been retained by Orthodox Jews today, who recite a prayer known as the Mourner’s Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a loved one so that the loved one may be purified. It was not the Catholic Church that added the doctrine of purgatory. Rather, any change in the original teaching has taken place in the Protestant churches, which rejected a doctrine that had always been believed by Jews and Christians.

Why Go To Purgatory?

Why would anyone go to purgatory? To be cleansed, for “nothing unclean shall enter [heaven]” (Rev. 21:27). Anyone who has not been completely freed of sin and its effects is, to some extent, “unclean.” Through repentance he may have gained the grace needed to be worthy of heaven, which is to say, he has been forgiven and his soul is spiritually alive. But that’s not sufficient for gaining entrance into heaven. He needs to be cleansed completely.


#20

From the Fathers.

The Acts of Paul and Thecla

“And after the exhibition, Tryphaena again received her [Thecla]. For her daughter Falconilla had died, and said to her in a dream: ‘Mother, you shall have this stranger Thecla in my place, in order that she may pray concerning me, and that I may be transferred to the place of the righteous’” (*Acts of Paul and Thecla *[A.D. 160]).

Abercius

“The citizen of a prominent city, I erected this while I lived, that I might have a resting place for my body. Abercius is my name, a disciple of the chaste Shepherd who feeds his sheep on the mountains and in the fields, who has great eyes surveying everywhere, who taught me the faithful writings of life. Standing by, I, Abercius, ordered this to be inscribed: Truly, I was in my seventy-second year. May everyone who is in accord with this and who understands it pray for Abercius” (*Epitaph of Abercius *[A.D. 190]).

The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity

This Dinocrates had been my brother after the flesh, seven years of age, who died miserably with disease. . . . For him I had made my prayer, and between him and me there was a large interval, so that neither of us could approach to the other . . . and knew that my brother was in suffering. But I trusted that my prayer would bring help to his suffering; and I prayed for him every day until we passed over into the prison of the camp, for we were to fight in the camp-show. Then . . . I made my prayer for my brother day and night, groaning and weeping that he might be granted to me. Then, on the day on which we remained in fetters, this was shown to me: I saw that the place which I had formerly observed to be in gloom was now bright; and Dinocrates, with a clean body well clad, was finding refreshment. . . . [And] he went away from the water to play joyously, after the manner of children, and I awoke. Then I understood that he was translated from the place of punishment" (*The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity *2:3–4 [A.D. 202]).

Tertullian

[quote]"A woman, after the death of her husband . . . prays for his soul and asks that he may, while waiting, find rest; and that he may share in the first resurrection. And each year, on the anniversary of his death, she offers the sacrifice

" (*Monogamy *10:1–2 [A.D. 216]).

John Chrysostom

"Let us help and commemorate them. If Job’s sons were purified by their father’s sacrifice [Job 1:5], why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them"

(*Homilies on First Corinthians *41:5 [A.D. 392]).

And many more… as it goes. So now Augustine shows how it all fits in. And not, “500 years after,” but fewer, clearly developing on the theme of the reason, ‘why prayer for deceased Christians?’

Augustine

If, then, works of mercy are celebrated for the sake of those who are being remembered, who would hesitate to recommend them, on whose behalf prayers to God are not offered in vain? It is not at all to be doubted that such prayers are of profit to the dead; but for such of them as lived before their death in a way that makes it possible for these things to be useful to them after death" (ibid., 172:2).

"Temporal punishments are suffered by some in this life only, by some after death, by some both here and hereafter, but all of them before that last and strictest judgment. But not all who suffer temporal punishments after death will come to eternal punishments, which are to follow after that judgment

" (*The City of God *21:13 [A.D. 419]).

"That there should be some fire even after this life is not incredible, and it can be inquired into and either be discovered or left hidden whether some of the faithful may be saved, some more slowly and some more quickly in the greater or lesser degree in which they loved the good things that perish, through a certain purgatorial fire"

(*Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Charity *18:69 [A.D. 421]).

“The time which interposes between the death of a man and the final resurrection holds souls in hidden retreats, accordingly as each is deserving of rest or of hardship, in view of what it merited when it was living in the flesh. Nor can it be denied that the souls of the dead find relief through the piety of their friends and relatives who are still alive, when the Sacrifice of the Mediator [Mass] is offered for them, or when alms are given in the Church. But these things are of profit to those who, when they were alive, merited that they might afterward be able to be helped by these things. There is a certain manner of living, neither so good that there is no need of these helps after death, nor yet so wicked that these helps are of no avail after death” (ibid., 29:109).

[/quote]


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