How the Early Church Disproves Protestant Claims About the Eucharist and the Church

One obstacle to Catholic-Protestant dialogue is that we don’t put equal weight to the testimony of the Church Fathers. If the earliest Christians univocally said that X or Y is true, we Catholics trust that it’s true, simply because the Holy Spirit would never let the entire Church fall into heresy, given that His perpetual task is to guide the Church into the fullness of truth forever (John 14:16, 16:13). Protestants can’t affirm this without affirming some very Catholic doctrines that were universally believed in the early Church, like the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. That’s not to say Protestants give no weight to the Church Fathers – many do, although as with most doctrines, it’s impossible to speak of Protestants holding a single cohesive position on the question. But frequently, they will point out (quite correctly) that the Church Fathers aren’t individually infallible or inspired: they can, and do, make mistakes. So how can we put weight in their witness?

I want to consider the question in light of three classically-Reformed doctrines: perseverance of the Saints (the idea, sometimes called “One Saved, Always Saved,” that if you have true faith in Christ at any point in your life, your salvation is guaranteed, and you cannot fall away permanently); a rejection of the degree of authority given the bishop and the visible Church by the Catholic Church; and the rejection of transubstantiation. On this last point, Dr. Keith Mathison notes that: “The Reformers were united in their rejection of both aspects of Rome’s doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. They rejected transubstantiation, and they rejected the idea that the Lord’s Supper is a propitiatory sacrifice.” For example, John Calvin writes:

What remains but for the blind to see, the deaf to hear, children even to perceive this abomination of the mass, which, held forth in a golden cup, has so intoxicated all the kings and nations of the earth, from the highest to the lowest; so struck them with stupor and giddiness, that, duller than the lower animals, they have placed the vessel of their salvation in this fatal vortex. Certainly Satan never employed a more powerful engine to assail and storm the kingdom of Christ.

My question, then, is: What would you have to believe in order to accept the standard Protestant position on these three points?

I. The Church in Asia Minor

To answer this, let’s go back to Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) in the first century. St. John writes the Book of Revelation around the year 96 A.D. (we know this from some of the earliest witnesses). He’s writing from exile in Patmos, and he has specific revelations from Christ for the seven churches of Asia Minor:

Seven_churches_of_asia.svg

So, for example, here is what Jesus has to say to the church of Smyrna (Revelation 2:9-11):

I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who conquers shall not be hurt by the second death.

So Christ warns them that their faith will be tested, but He also praises them for the spiritual riches, comforts them in the face of the impending suffering, and promises the crown of life to those who persevere.  It’s night and day different from the words of rebuke that Our Lord has for, say, the church of Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22).

Flash forward about a decade. There are a few things that you should know about the Church in Asia Minor in the first decade of the second century. Eusebius, the earliest Church historian, sets the scene well in Church History (which was written around 323-325 A.D.):

At that time Polycarp, a disciple of the apostles, was a man of eminence in Asia, having been entrusted with the episcopate of the church of Smyrna by those who had seen and heard the Lord. And at the same time Papias, bishop of the parish of Hierapolis, became well known, as did also Ignatius, who was chosen bishop of Antioch, second in succession to Peter, and whose fame is still celebrated by a great many. At that time Polycarp, a disciple of the apostles, was a man of eminence in Asia, having been entrusted with the episcopate of the church of Smyrna by those who had seen and heard the Lord. And at the same time Papias, bishop of the parish of Hierapolis, became well known, as did also Ignatius, who was chosen bishop of Antioch, second in succession to Peter, and whose fame is still celebrated by a great many.

Like Polycarp, the oldest account of his martyrdom records that Ignatius was also a disciple of the Apostle John. In about 107 A.D., this Ignatius is being led off to his martyrdom in Rome. Along the way, he writes seven letters: to the Roman Christians, asking them not to stop his martyrdom; to Polycarp; and to five of the churches of Asia Minor (Smyrna, Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, and Philadelphia). Eusebius mentions all seven of these letters, down to the chronology of when they were written.

Let’s consider just a couple passages from those letters. To the Ephesians (another of the churches St. John writes to in Revelation: Rev. 2:1-7), Ignatius writes:

For if I in this brief space of time, have enjoyed such fellowship with your bishop — I mean not of a mere human, but of a spiritual nature— how much more do I reckon you happy who are so joined to him as the Church is to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is to the Father, that so all things may agree in unity! Let no man deceive himself: if any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God. For if the prayer of one or two possesses [Matthew 18:19] such power, how much more that of the bishop and the whole Church! He, therefore, that does not assemble with the Church, has even by this manifested his pride, and condemned himself. For it is written, God resists the proud. Let us be careful, then, not to set ourselves in opposition to the bishop, in order that we may be subject to God.

To the Smyrnaeans, Ignatius warns them about the Gnostics, writing:

They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again. It is fitting, therefore, that you should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of them either in private or in public, but to give heed to the prophets, and above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion [of Christ] has been revealed to us, and the resurrection has been fully proved. But avoid all divisions, as the beginning of evils.

Note what he’s not saying. He’s not saying, “Hey, I have this unique, controversial theory that the Eucharist really is the Flesh and Blood of Christ. You should believe it, too.” Nope. Rather, he takes it for granted that the Church in Smyrna, the same church Christ praised a decade earlier, (a) universally believes in the Real Presence; and (b) will recognize that the Gnostics are heretics simply by his pointing out that their theology is incompatible with orthodox Eucharistic theology. He’s able to use the Real Presence as a litmus test for orthodoxy, declaring that those who dissent should be cut off from communion, and incur spiritual death. And he’s writing this to the local church headed by St. Polycarp, the disciple of the Apostles who was “entrusted with the episcopate of the church of Smyrna by those who had seen and heard the Lord.” And notice how the Church responds: Ignatius is praised and venerated throughout Christendom, not rejected as a heretic.

 

That Ignatius of Antioch holds to the Catholic position on the Eucharist and the authority of the bishop and the visible Church is beyond serious question. You cannot side with both the Protestant Reformers and Ignatius on the Eucharist or the visible Church.

So go back to my original question: to side with the Reformers, what would you have to believe? Consider a few of the implications:

  • St. Ignatius, a disciple of the Apostle John, is a heretic.
  • St. Polycarp, a disciple of the Apostle John and other disciples, is a heretic.
  • After St. Peter left Antioch, either he or the local church he led immediately replaced him with a heretic (Ignatius).
  • The Church in Smyrna, consisting of “those who had seen and heard the Lord,” chose a heretic (Polycarp) as their bishop.
  • The Church in Smyrna itself fell into heresy, since their Eucharistic views mirrored Ignatius, and they venerated him and preserved and distributed his letter.
  • This means that the Church in Smyrna somehow went from being praised and encouraged by Christ in 96 to heretical (seduced by satanic fictions) within a hair over a decade. Think about that: it’s not just that the local institution went bad. We’re talking about the same individual Christians, praised for their faith by Christ and then condemned for their faith by Calvin. And somehow, we’re supposed to believe all of this while simultaneously believing that individuals can’t permanently fall away.
  • The same, of course, is true for the Church in Ephesus, the one praised and edified by St. Paul, and directly encouraged in Revelation 2 by Jesus Christ Himself. In 96, they’re believers; by 107, they’ve somehow all become heretics (without history recording a single peep of protest as true Christianity was overthrown!).

Surely you see the problem. We’re supposed to believe that the Smyrnaean Christians are doing great in 96, and somehow become heretics by 107, all under the watch of a disciple of the Apostles (Polycarp) and seduced into a satanic parody of Christianity by another disciple of the Apostles (Ignatius).

 

If these believers were destined to end up heretics, did they have the true faith and lose it? That would debunk the doctrine of perseverance of the Saints. Did they never have the true faith? That would contradict the explicit Scriptural address to them. Or did they still have the true faith in 107? That would confirm the orthodoxy of belief in the Real Presence, and the ugly insanity of Calvin’s railing against the teaching as “satanic.”

II. The Global Church

 

Now let’s step back and consider the entire Church. Calvin seemingly recognizes that in condemning Catholic Eucharistic views as Satanic, he was making war on the whole Church throughout history. He wrote:

By these and similar inventions, Satan has attempted to adulterate and envelop the sacred Supper of Christ as with thick darkness, that its purity might not be preserved in the Church. But the head of this horrid abomination was, when he raised a sign by which it was not only obscured and perverted, but altogether obliterated and abolished, vanished away and disappeared from the memory of man; namely, when, with most pestilential error, he blinded almost the whole world into the belief that the Mass was a sacrifice and oblation for obtaining the remission of sins.

That’s a remarkable claim: Calvin is saying that Satan succeeded in misleading “almost the whole world” into the false Catholic view. And he has to say almost, because to say that the entire Church fell away would be obviously unworkable. If the entire Church fell under the snare of Satan, then the gates of Hell overcame the Church (which Christ promised wouldn’t happen, in Matthew 16:17-19).

But what’s the basis for this “almost”? Where was the group of first or second or third or fourth century Christians who denied Catholic Eucharistic theology? As I’ve mentioned before, they simply don’t exist. The whole Church of antiquity holds to the faith of Ignatius, no “almost” about it. So work out those conclusions. Did the Apostles simply fail to produce any orthodox followers, or produced such a meager crop that history no longer remembers them? Or were these “orthodox” Christians of the early Church simply too shy about their faith to share it? Or did they produce orthodox followers who then fell away within a decade of the death of John, contrary to the perseverance of the Saints?

Now remember what Christ promised about how the gates of Hell wouldn’t overcome the Church (Matthew 16:17-19); about how “he who hears the word and understands it […] indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty” (Matthew 13:23). Remember also what the Scriptures say about how if Christ is the true Messiah, the faith won’t simply die out within a few years, and that if it does, it shows Jesus isn’t the true Christ (Acts 5:35-39).

Can you reject Ignatius, Polycarp, and the churches of Ephesus and Smyrna without rejecting Revelation and Paul’s Epistle Ephesians? It’s not clear to me how you could, particularly while clinging to the fiction of “perseverance of the Saints.” But equally clear is that to hold to Ignatius, Polycarp, et al – to believe that the students of the Apostles actually know a thing or two about the Apostles and their teaching – is to reject the Protestant beliefs about the Eucharist and the visible Church.

205 Comments

  1. Every time I read some of Calvin’s (or Luther’s) apologetic passages I cannot but remark, sometimes with astonishment, sometimes with disgust, that his language does not behoove a preacher. His unrestrained vitriolic polemics only show that, as a speaker, he might have aroused fiery passions among his followers, but his discourse is too debased as purely written word to be considered credible. They’re certainly examples of fine rhetoric, even of 16th-century belles lettres, but they’re hardly charitable or even intelligent discourses on the nature of the subject at hand, specially when he’s engaged in polemics against the Catholic church. I remember an argument he made for the canonicity of inspired books in which his argument goes along the lines of “it’s as clear as black is different from white”. That is clearly not an argument. When you ask something and someone answers: “It is so because it is obvious; the Holy Spirit guided me and others, and it is also so obvious because things are like this”. That is far from Joe’s argument here: the answer to Joe’s list of implications would be a resounding “Yes” from a coherent Calvinist, but they couldn’t explain why except conceding that “they were all heretics because we don’t believe like them on this point (because we have true understanding of the Scriptures because we are guided by the Holy Spirit and others aren’t) and no, they never had true faith, because those whom scripture adresses as having true faith were not there anymore, and even if they were, they were won over by the heretics that were the apostles’ disciples and that proves the overwhelming power of Satan and his dominion over the Catholic church.” See, there’s always a slithery way out, no matter what.

  2. Great article, just one quick point: Perseverance of the Saints is a Reformed teaching of Calvin, specifically. I don’t know about the Lutherans, but many other branches of Protestantism reject this idea.

  3. The thing that made me convert wasn’t merely the obviousness of Ignatius’ catholic views, but that combining his catholic views with the fact of his martyrdom makes it impossible to consider him a heretic or apostate.

    As far as I know, heretics and apostates don’t die for their faith. Dying for your faith speaks volumes of the sincerity of one’s faith.

    His martyrdom for his catholic faith in 107 is so extremely early, when I realised this I had to become Catholic.

    Of course protestants also have martyrs, so I don’t doubt their sincerity either. It’s just that Catholics were without doubt the first martyrs.

  4. Seems to me the only way one could refute Joe’s testimony here, would be to posit that Eusebius was either a liar, or a poor historian. Or, I would think, to question the letters of Ignatius. Anyone here know if anyone has ever gone down those rabbit holes, with any attempt at credibility?

    I certainly am not…..I fall 100% in the ‘Holy Spirit” camp.

    1. AK, sadly, as I said above, there are many (lame) ways to (try to) refute Joe’s arguments. Eusebius need not be a liar: it’s not a question of fact, but a question of values. A Protestant may very well believe Eusebius’s testimony to be trustworthy, and at the same time judge his reported facts according to his own values: “OK, Eusebius reported the facts correctly, so they were early heretics. Eusebius was a martyr, but he was a heretic, too”. There is no credibility attempted, except for claiming for oneself to hold the true keys of both scripture and history. Since history belies any pre-Reformation understanding of the Eucharist that was like the post-Reformation ones, the Protestant (post-Calvin, specifically) has to believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding him/her against all historical evidence, that is: “after 100 ad (or before) everyone was wrong, until X [put your favorite Protestant theologian/preacher/pastor/heresiarch here]”. Add to that that there is a) no notion of heresy in post-classical Protestantism; b) therefore “heresy” doesn’t matter; c) therefore it doesn’t matter whether I believe in something that never existed, because what matters is what the Holy Spirit tells me when I read the Bible in my blessed little church where I feel cozy.

      There are no arguments against feeling: no truth can beat the “it’s my family” or “that’s too much tradition, I just feel good where I am, so that must be the holy spirit” king of argument. There is no credibility at stake here, unfortunately. I once asked a fellow how he knew his church was the true one, and he answered: “I never thought of it. I just feel good.”

      The truth is, he was never seeking truth, religiously or otherwise. He was seeking comfort: and comfort comes easily if there’s no right or wrong, just opinions. And if you pull people out of their comfort zone, they might very well just grab anything within their reach to stay put. Take our friend Craig, for instance. He’s well above the “I feel good and Jesus loves me but we all hate Catholics” crowd. But he cannot avoid retreating into oblivion and censorship when he sees his dead-end situation in a mirror. There are just many limits to dialogue, you see.

      Sorry for taking up the role of the Devil’s advocate here, but you see, there’s no argument against those who propose that “there was a 1400-year-old invisible group of invisible people who sometimes emerged as “heretics” until Luther mounted a successful revolution of visible “heretics” who where the true orthodox that became the visible orthodox until orthodoxy and heresy became meaningless some hundreds of years afterwards. But that doesn’t really matter, what matters is that Catholics aren’t really Christians, see what I mean?”

      1. KO – I’ll piggyback off awlms’ comment, your ‘if it feels good…’ analysis is spot-on. In answer to my own question, there seems to have been no credible opposition to the early Fathers and historians which could refute the conclusions of Joe’s analysis.

        I have heard a lot of stories like Clay’s above, lately.

    2. To be clear, the Letters of Ignatius have been tampered with, but dedicated scholars have sifted through the texts and found the interpolations. I’ve just finished reading both versions of the Letters to Ephesus and Smyrna, and the interpolations don’t distract or detract from the thrust of what Joe is saying. You can read accounts here, where they freely admit the additions: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3836

  5. I’m still waiting for some historical group of believers from 100 AD forward who were proto-Protestant and rejected the Mass. The silence from history is defeaning and caused me to convert. The weight of Catholic history crushed me.

  6. Not one of my better responses to an article, but in short I believe that the perseverance of the saints is a historical, Christian doctrine and the view that the Real Presence is something conflated with the forgiveness of venial sins is not covered by the source material in the article.

    https://youtu.be/KK-TZtnWg9E

    God bless,
    Craig

    1. I viewed your video above, and can only say that your ‘reformed’ Protestantism doesn’t seem to have any cohesiveness of doctrine that lines up with ecclesiastical history, the Fathers of the Church, the early Christian martyrs, the Desert Father’s, and the important institution and history of monasticism–such as might be found in the extensive work ‘Vitae Patrum’ which is easily found online. That is to say that it seems that there is nothing in particular that ties Protestant History and ecclesiology together.

      On the other hand, the Catholic Church throughout it’s history, has always been composed of many integral parts, and which are highly organized even a a physical human body is, even as St. Paul describes in his epistles. But the multitude of these individual parts and many doctrines have a very visible cohesiveness and integrity that ties them all together as one body, (unlike Protestantism). And history can prove the holiness and practicality of the institutions and doctrines that the Church has produced over the centuries. And this cohesiveness is very visible, such that all can easily study and learn from…..such as one might easily discover in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

      Regarding the subject matter of the Eucharist and transubstantiation, this Divinely instituted sacrament is the fortress and protector of all ecclesiastical cohesiveness, and it is tied by an unbreakable unity to the Christ ordained authority of Bishops, Priests, deacons and other ministers who by their ordinations pastor the Church. This has been from the beginning of Christianity. For instance, In the Didache you find Eucharistic history, in the Acts of the Apostles examples of ordinations, in the letters of Ignatius of Antioch –the essential nature of the authority of bishops and their inseparable tie to the Eucharist. Then there is also the witness of the Martyrs, also detailed in Eusebius’ History(Chapter 8), wherein again you see that the bishops, priests and deacons, all ministers of the sacraments, were the particular targets of the Romans for persecution, torture and death. And during the same time, in the 250 AD’s to 400 ADs, you find countless ascetics living in North Africa and Palestine, and many stories of their attendance at weekly liturgies and the Eucharist…even in the remotest of deserts. Protestants seem to completely ignore this historical reality, and by doing so, neglect a huge part of the history of Christianity, and which played an essential role in Church and world history for the last 1700 years or more.

      In short, a body is dead if it is only a bunch of parts thrown on top of each other. All the parts are there but there is no unity and integrity, nor a means of the parts interacting, and harmonizing, with each other. This is like Protestantism. The Catholics have many parts, but all are tied together and have spiritual ‘life’ pumping through the body via the Christ ordained sacraments and God ordained Church hierarchy and pastoral leadership . Some members indeed might be corrupt, but still the integrity of the body as a whole is readily visible for all of those who desire, those who have spiritual ‘eyes to see’, and spiritual ‘ears to hear’… as Jesus taught in His Gospel.

      Moreover, The integrity of the Church is a treasure of the Church, and this is why all of Church history has been carefully compiled and saved by the Catholic Church over the last 2000 years. The Church even created very organized institutions for the very purpose of recording and saving essential Christian history. And an example of this is the reason why the Church ‘canonizes’ it’s most important and saintly historical figures—so that all of history might have an easy reference of the part these great saints have played in Church history. Where are the Protestant saints? Why don’t Protestants have such institutions of canonizations so as not let slip by from memory their most important members? Where are their members from before 1515 AD?

      In sum, the Catholic Church is exactly what the Nicaean Council I defined it as: THE ‘One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. These elements guarantee its integrity and define it’s God protected unity.

      But what do the myriads of Protestant sects provide? Where is their unity of belief and doctrine? Where is their integrity of body, linking one Protestant to another? Why is it not plainly visible and plainly understood like the Catholic Church and doctrine are?

      Only the Catholic Church (and to some extent the Orthodox Church), was given this great gift of Church unity and integrity from God. On the other hand, Protestant ecclesiastical unity is nowhere to be found.

      1. “Only the Catholic Church (and to some extent the Orthodox Church), was given this great gift of Church unity and integrity from God. On the other hand, Protestant ecclesiastical unity is nowhere to be found.”

        Very good point. I cannot help but notice that whenever I speak of Protestantism, I have to say, “Well, some teach this and others teach that.” It is hard to know when diversity of opinion crosses over through essentials which are non debatable–other than an infallible Pope or Council saying otherwise.

        1. “I cannot help but notice that whenever I speak of Protestantism, I have to say, “Well, some teach this and others teach that”.

          Well, sometimes it’s worth remembering, but even then, everybody here knows that.

          “It is hard to know when diversity of opinion crosses over through essentials which are non debatable–other than an infallible Pope or Council saying otherwise.”

          That’s the closest I’ve seen you as an argument for those institutions. As I’ve gathered from a year of debates here and elsewhere, theological uncertainty is not a problem for Protestants. Maybe it was for Calvin, Luther &tc, but heresy lost its meaning soon after. The original meaning for heretic is, if I am not wrong, to have a private opinion / choice on matters of dogma. Today, there is no “essential core” in Protestantism, if there was ever one. I once asked someone if there were core doctrines every Protestant sect would believe. Almost none were shared by the most prominent groups, and the doctrines that were shared could be interpreted, as usual, according to one’s whims. I have seen Christians not believe that Jesus is God, that he wasn’t God on Earth (only in Heaven), that hell is not eternal, that souls are not spiritual, that God will destroy the sinners’ souls after they suffer in hell; there are those who believe there is no real hell, because hell is just a purgatory; there are even official pastors from mainstream churches in Europe who do not believe in the existence of God. There are no essentials when people cannot decide what the essentials are and if none of anyone’s essentials are shared by all members. “All you need is love”.

    2. Hello Craig.

      I need to correct a few errors you made in your video. At 1:28, you said that St. Augustine wrote a book called “The perseverance of the Saints” but the title is actually “The predestination of the saints” which is divided into two sections, one dealing with predestination and the other with the “gift of perseverance.” There is no such book by St. Augustine entitled “The perseverance of the saints.” What a Catholic can agree with, and I do, is that all those who were predestined to final perseverance, will be going to heaven and cannot fail to persevere. But we don’t know who that is, namely because we don’t receive the grace of final perseverance until the hour of our death. But those who get it, will be going to heaven, period. The number of the elect is fixed from before the foundation of the world. All this is Catholic doctrine and Joe’s article contradicts none of it. That is not the reformed position though. If you want to make the doctrine “The perseverance of the elect,” then it’s orthodox. But the notion that everyone who enters into a state of grace at some point in their life is guaranteed the gift of final perseverance is a heterodox invention by the reformation which St. Augustine absolutely did not hold to in the least.

      St. Augustine in Book 2, Chapter 19 of the same work (ie The Gift of Perseverance) says this:

      “But God has judged it to be better to mingle some who would not persevere with a certain number of His saints, so that those for whom security from temptation in this life is not desirable may not be secure. For that which the apostle says, checks many from mischievous elation: Wherefore let him who seems to stand take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12) But he who falls, falls by his own will, and he who stands, stands by God’s will.”

      Again in Chapter 21 St. Augustine says:

      “But of two pious men, why to the one should be given perseverance unto the end, and to the other it should not be given, God’s judgments are even more unsearchable. Yet to believers it ought to be a most certain fact that the former is of the predestinated, the latter is not. For if they had been of us, says one of the predestinated, who had drunk this secret from the breast of the Lord, certainly they would have continued with us. 1 John 2:19 What, I ask, is the meaning of, They were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would certainly have continued with us? Were not both created by God— both born of Adam— both made from the earth, and given from Him who said, I have created all breath, souls of one and the same nature? Lastly, had not both been called, and followed Him that called them? And had not both become, from wicked men, justified men, and both been renewed by the laver of regeneration? But if he were to hear this who beyond all doubt knew what he was saying, he might answer and say: These things are true. In respect of all these things, they were of us. Nevertheless, in respect of a certain other distinction, they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they certainly would have continued with us.”

      There’s more actually but I think that will do. There’s a great lecture on the subject by a Catholic theologian named William Marshner that can be found here:

      https://instituteofcatholicculture.org/talk/are-you-saved/

      At around 4:30 you start to reference schism. Every single schismatic ever is always claiming that it’s the other side doing the schism. How do we cut through the confusion? Union with the Pope. An Oriental Orthodox who accepts Chalcedon and joins the Roman Catholic Church is not a schismatic, he is actually ending his schism. Schism from the Church Christ founded is never justified ever. One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. Jesus Christ founded one Church because He has one Body. No one has the authority to “start another believing church” as you said.

      I think your confused how exactly Holy Orders works. We Roman Catholics recognize the validity of Holy Orders in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, and I think Old Catholic (less sure on that one) communions. The sacrament of Holy Orders is separated into 3 degrees, Diaconate the 1st, Presbyterate the 2nd, and Episcopate the 3rd. The gifts and call of God are irrevocable and so someone ordained a Bishop (ie in the Episcopate) retains their Holy Orders and can ordain others even if he is in schism or heresy. However, if their intention changes to where they no longer intend to ordain someone to the sacrificial priesthood and essentially deny the theology of the mass (which is the case with the Anglicans), the ordination would be invalid.

      At 6:45 you get to your discussion of the Eucharist. I’ll start that while I get what you’re trying to do with making a distinction between Transubstantiation and “Real Presence,” to me it seems that if you don’t think that Our Lord’s “real presence” in the Eucharist is sufficient to cause you to give full on adoration/latria to the Eucharist, it ain’t real enough lol. I think you also misunderstand what Ireneaus was driving at when he says the Eucharist has “two realities.” It’s much easier to see him as pointing out the dual natures of Christ in relation to the Eucharist since Christ is a Divine Person with a created Body. Since the Eucharist is the flesh of Jesus Christ and Christ is also “earthly and heavenly” (ie Divine and human), the Eucharist is also “earthly and heavenly.” I don’t think he meant to use Aristotelian metaphysics there but was simply describing the Eucharist as Jesus. The metaphysics of accidents does not apply to the substance of the thing but in Transubstantiation, the substance of the Eucharist is as Ireneaus said, “both earthly and heavenly.”

      As for Ignatius of Antioch, he chastises the Docetics because they “do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ.” Craig, do you confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ? If you do not, then you have that in common with the Docetics. Yes the Docetics did not believe Jesus had any flesh so obviously they would deny that the Eucharist is the flesh of Jesus. How can you not see this? It would be thoroughly nonsensical for Ignatius to chastise the Docetics for denying that the Eucharist is the flesh of Jesus Christ if he himself did not believe that the Eucharist is the flesh of Jesus Christ unless you want to accuse him of being a hypocrite or a liar. At least John Calvin was honest enough to recognize the meaning of the epistles of Ignatius of Antioch and tried to save face by denying their authenticity. Do we really need to debate the what the meaning of the word “is” is? lol.

      Ignatius does not criticize the Docetics because they do not confess that the Eucharist is “based on” Jesus’s flesh. Ignatius does not criticize the Docetics because they do not confess that the Eucharist “means Jesus had flesh.” Ignatius criticized the Docetics because they do not confess that the Eucharist IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11 Jesus’s flesh! Sorry for the caps and exclamation points but I mean come on dude! lol. I’ll grant you that both that the Eucharist is “based on” Jesus’s flesh and the Eucharist does mean that Jesus had flesh (both of which the Docetics would deny and both are taught by the Catholic Church) but both of those truths are fully compatible with the Eucharist actually BEING Jesus’s flesh and it’s THAT point that Ignatius chastises the Docetics for denying. Just because you affirm something the Docetics do not on the Eucharist does not mean that that was all Ignatius was trying to affirm when he criticized them. He criticized them for denying something you also deny.

      Likewise when Justin Martyr says that the Eucharist is “the FLESH of the incarnated Jesus.” Do you believe that the Eucharist is the flesh of the incarnated Jesus Craig? I gotta think the answer is no. If your answer is yes, I would like to know exactly how that can be possible if you deny any substantial change in the Eucharistic elements. Also if yes, I would wonder if you then give the Eucharist complete, full on adoration/latria which would logically follow from the Eucharist being Jesus’s flesh. Unless you don’t think that Jesus’s flesh was/is Divine. I would be interested in what you believe on that because I have heard at least one other reformed Christian on Called to Communion deny that Christ’s body is in fact Divine.

      At around 15 minutes in you start to discuss the early church fathers in relation to the Mass being a sacrifice and forgiving venial sins. First off, Joe was quoting Calvin in his diatribe against the Catholic Church on the mass. I’ll admit that I have not done due diligence on looking for venial sins being forgiven by partaking of the Eucharist, the Mass as a sacrifice can be clearly seen in the Didache as well as Justin Martyr and Ireneaus (as well as being in the book of Hebrews I might add). The Mass being a sacrifice offered by priests is in just about every father that talks about Christian worship.

      As far as the atonement is concerned I would love you to show me an affirmation of penal substitutionary atonement among anyone there. I have yet to find it and I find a lot of things contradictory to it. I will admit though that the doctrine of the atonement can and has gone through some development and the idea of satisfaction brings a lot of biblical elements together but this post was less about that. And none of your criticisms of Catholics in relation to the fathers on the atonement, assumption of Mary, the cannon, ect, is a defense against the critiques made by Joe in his article. And when it comes to the Church fathers on baptismal regeneration, read this:

      http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/06/the-church-fathers-on-baptismal-regeneration/

      Thank you for your video and I look forward to your response.

      May God be with you.

      Matthew

      1. Matt,

        “I need to correct a few errors you made in your video. At 1:28, you said that St. Augustine wrote a book called “The perseverance of the Saints” but the title is actually “The predestination of the saints” which is divided into two sections, one dealing with predestination and the other with the “gift of perseverance.””

        Thank you for the correction, it is “On the Gift of Perseverance,” when you go by memory sometimes you flub titles. I obviously conflated the titles of Book I and Book II, my apologies. However, I still think my point stands as Augustine literally defends the doctrine of perseverance.

        “all those who were predestined to final perseverance, will be going to heaven and cannot fail to persevere. But we don’t know who that is…”

        And this is Reformed teaching. The Reformed do not teach that the elect all know who they are 100%. Rather, what we do teach that Christians should be confident in their salvation (as well as work it out in fear and trembling), because God is true to His promises and those who a really saved cannot be lost.

        “But the notion that everyone who enters into a state of grace at some point in their life is guaranteed the gift of final perseverance is a heterodox invention by the reformation which St. Augustine absolutely did not hold to in the least.”

        But, Augustine did not pass comment “the state of grace” saying some enter this state and then lose it. This is where Catholicism splits off Reformed doctrine, and where Catholicism says something in addition to Augustinian doctrine, as Augustine does not make this differentiation.

        This is why when you quote Augustine, he is not saying that there are saved people who then lose their salvation. From your own quote, you can see, what Augustine is saying is that there are “pious” men which were never saved to begin with:

        “if they had been of us, says one of the predestinated, who had drunk this secret from the breast of the Lord, certainly they would have continued with us. 1 John 2:19…And had not both become, from wicked men, justified men, and both been renewed by the laver of regeneration? …Nevertheless, in respect of a certain other distinction, they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they certainly would have continued with us.””

        What Augustine did believe in, and Protestants generally (Lutherans, Methodists, and Anglicans aside) do not is that there is justification in baptism. So, in this sense there are people who are “justified” who then lose it. In my view, Augustine here would be inconsistent, though because the Church has always taught that those who do not receive baptism with the right intent are not actually baptized by the Holy Spirit, it is possible that Augustine might have not viewed this person has really renewed as he was never a Christian to begin with. However, because what he literally says is that the man is regenerated, it would seem that he is inconsistent.

        “Every single schismatic ever is always claiming that it’s the other side doing the schism. How do we cut through the confusion? Union with the Pope.”

        I already anticipated that answer in the video and said that because this is not in the purview of what Ignatius is talking about, to use Ignatius as a proof-text really does not get to the point.

        “I think your confused how exactly Holy Orders works.”

        Not really, I am aware they have holy orders and said they were apostolic churches in the video.

        “At 6:45 you get to your discussion of the Eucharist…I think you also misunderstand what Ireneaus was driving at when he says the Eucharist has “two realities.” It’s much easier to see him as pointing out the dual natures of Christ in relation to the Eucharist since Christ is a Divine Person with a created Body. Since the Eucharist is the flesh of Jesus Christ and Christ is also “earthly and heavenly” (ie Divine and human), the Eucharist is also “earthly and heavenly.” I don’t think he meant to use Aristotelian metaphysics there but was simply describing the Eucharist as Jesus.”

        Okay, so you just debated against the only pro-Catholic argument in the whole video. Certainly, it is possible, that Irenaeus is trying to affirm how the eucharist presents Christ’s two natures. However, my reading anyway, is that he says the bread has two natures. It is somehow still bread but it is also now Jesus Christ. As Irenaeus was steeped in Platonism, and not Aristotelianism, he did not use the terms “substance” and “accidents,” but he got almost as close as you could without naming the terms themselves. But, if you want to argue that he didn’t, that just concedes to me a point I felt I could not make, which is, all of the fathers affirm the Real Presence but none describe it identically with transubstantiation.

        “Craig, do you confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ?”

        Yes, but you’re missing out the point why they confessed not–they denied Christ came in the flesh. They could not partake in a sacrament that affirmed a Christological reality that rejects their doctrine. So, while I do not doubt that Ignatius believed in the Real Presence, if you read him without presuppositions, the Epistle to the Smyreans is not clear that this is what he believed (Justin Martyr and Irenaeus are much clearer on the doctrine.)

        1. “He criticized them for denying something you also deny.”

          It appears you may have a comprehension issue, I said explicitly in the video that I believed in the Real Presence.

          “Do you believe that the Eucharist is the flesh of the incarnated Jesus Craig?”

          …yes, said so in the video.

          “I would like to know exactly how that can be possible if you deny any substantial change in the Eucharistic elements.”

          I don’t know how it works, it just does.

          “Also if yes, I would wonder if you then give the Eucharist complete, full on adoration/latria which would logically follow from the Eucharist being Jesus’s flesh.”

          Being that men are temples of the Holy Spirit, and I don’t pray to them even though God is present, I would not go “full on.” I worship, I pray, I give thanks. Maybe I do not go far enough for you.

          “I’ll admit that I have not done due diligence on looking for venial sins being forgiven by partaking of the Eucharist…”

          Any mention is not found until the 4th or 5th centuries, and only in one or two places.

          “…the Mass as a sacrifice can be clearly seen in the Didache as well as Justin Martyr and Ireneaus (as well as being in the book of Hebrews I might add).”

          Not exactly, you will need to quote them. In Chapter 14 of the Didache is probably making reference to almsgiving (in light of Chapter 13), or possibly the giving of thanks. Reading Irenaeus, I have seen him use the word “sacrifice” the same way. I cannot remember how Justin Martyr used it, but I do not remember him conflating it with the eucharist. While I do not deny that the Eucharist re-presents Christ’s sacrifice, and in this sense is a sacrifice, this is not how the term “sacrifice’ was used in the first and second centuries.

          “As far as the atonement is concerned I would love you to show me an affirmation of penal substitutionary atonement among anyone there.”

          https://christianreformedtheology.com/2015/11/26/penal-substitution-in-the-church-fathers-part-ii/

          It is worth noting that Ransom Theory was the most popular. Satisfaction simply did not exist.

          “I have yet to find it and I find a lot of things contradictory to it.”

          Augustine explicitly rejected it for example.

          “…is a defense against the critiques made by Joe in his article…”

          It is, actually. Joe is arguing that Protestants are out of step with what the early church wrote. He then quoted books that did not actually argue certain Catholic positions (i.e. the eucharist forgiving venial sins, perseverance in light of Rev 2), and then had the audacity to simply say that there is a disconnect between Protestantism and historical Christianity, when if you apply the same standards, there is an obvious disconnect between RCCism and historical Christianity.

          You can’t have it both ways.

          Thank you for your thoughtful response!

          1. This is getting interesting.

            “Craig, do you confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ?”
            Craig: Yes.

            “I would like to know exactly how that can be possible if you deny any substantial change in the Eucharistic elements.”

            I don’t know how it works, it just does.

            So you don’t deny substantial change, you just deny the possibility of explanation, since you deny other people’s explanation. You could come up with a Lutheran or a Calvinist or any other explanation. I’ll take your word for the moment and believe that the word “is” means “essence”, not merely “state” or “presence”. Your English language doesn’t have that refinement. Few do, anyway. Arabic doesn’t have the verb to be in the present tense. So it would be

            “Also if yes, I would wonder if you then give the Eucharist complete, full on adoration/latria which would logically follow from the Eucharist being Jesus’s flesh.”

            Craig: Being that men are temples of the Holy Spirit, and I don’t pray to them even though God is present, I would not go “full on.” I worship, I pray, I give thanks. Maybe I do not go far enough for you.

            That ‘s hardly an answer. You’re confusing presence of the Holy Spirit in people with presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. You just said above that you “cannot explain how it works”, but you said you believed that the Eucharist IS Jesus. Now you contradict yourself; you seem to say that Jesus is only “present” in the Eucharist, either in consubstantiation (Lutheran) or spiritual presence (Reformed, both of which you haven’t upheld, since you asserted that you “don’t know how it works”). You’re even unsure about which doctrines you believe. You’re not praying to men or worshiping men when you pray to Jesus, that’s preposterous. If the Eucharist is Jesus, and you pray to/worship Jesus, you should worship the Eucharist, too.

            “He then quoted books that did not actually argue certain Catholic positions”
            He wasn’t arguing about those positions, the subject at hand was another one completely. I’m sure he could answer those questions, but that wasn’t his goal here.

            “and then had the audacity to simply say that there is a disconnect between Protestantism and historical Christianity”
            You don’t have to be bold or have the “audacity” to notice something we already know for almost 1500 years. It’s just common sense among 1.000.000.000+ faithful.

            Finally, ” there is an obvious disconnect between RCCism and historical Christianity.”
            If that were the case, hundreds of millions of people would be in the dark shadows of ignorance for almost 2000 years, because they couldn’t see the obvious! Hundreds of thousands of people who dedicated their lives completely (you know what I mean: completely, 24/24) to history, doctrine, prayer and preaching would be the dumbest people on Earth, because either they or the ECF and the Church officials were heretics, but they didn’t think that, even though they spent hundreds of years reading those texts over and over! And worse, they think those early guys are saints and doctors, even though as you claim those saints and doctors would call them heretics (as you affirm)! But of course you, Craig have a deeper understanding of the ECF and church history from your hobby than many people have had with a lifetime of exclusive dedication! Well, that’s what I’d call presumptuousness.

          2. KO,

            “So you don’t deny substantial change, you just deny the possibility of explanation”

            I don’t deny the possibility of explanation. I don’t know the explanation.

            “Your English language doesn’t have that refinement.”

            I’d agree, but your behavior could use some refining, I would appreciate a less snarky dialogue between us,

            “You’re confusing presence of the Holy Spirit in people with presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.”

            Not exactly. In short, would I worship Christ if He were right in front of me? Of course. Would I worship a part of Christ? I am not exactly clear that it would be wise to do this. Could you point to anyone in the early church who worshiped the elements in the manner you speak of?

            “You don’t have to be bold or have the “audacity” to notice something we already know for almost 1500 years.”

            But, your church believes doctrines no one taught for 1,000 years, like the Satisfaction Model of the atonement. So, the extra 500 years is bad? The historical disconnect cuts both ways.

            “you, Craig have a deeper understanding of the ECF and church history from your hobby than many people have had with a lifetime of exclusive dedication!”

            Never said I did. But I might be better than you, I might not be. I don’t know.

          3. Craig, thank you for your kind response and thank you for taking your time to answer. I admit that my demeanor has been less than polite toward you lately, so I ask your pardon. Let’s get to the crux of the problem:

            Me: “You’re confusing presence of the Holy Spirit in people with presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.”

            You “Not exactly. In short, would I worship Christ if He were right in front of me? Of course. Would I worship a part of Christ? I am not exactly clear that it would be wise to do this. Could you point to anyone in the early church who worshiped the elements in the manner you speak of?”

            That’s where you get the Eucharist wrong. It isn’t one “part” of Christ: it is Christ. Anyone here can explain it much better than me, so bear with me with my language is inept. You cannot divide Christ. You cannot say about the Eucharist: “here is only the body of Christ, not Christ himself.” Is Christ’s flesh human or divine? My humble understanding is that it is both, so if you would have adored him in the flesh right in front of you, you must also adore his flesh in the Eucharist. It is not as if his flesh was manifest as bread and but his person is flying somewhere in heaven.

            You have already confessed that the Eucharist is literally Jesus’ flesh, haven’t you? You have also confessed that the essence of the Eucharist is Christ, haven’t you? I might be mistaken, but that’s way different from any Protestant explanation I’ve ever heard. But then you come back to a traditional Protestant view: that Christ is merely “present”, so it couldn’t be His flesh in the bread, it is only the spirit. You have to make your choice: it is either an essential “is” (the Eucharist is the flesh and vice versa) or a presential “is” (Christ is “in” the bread).

            Which takes us to the next question:

            “Could you point to anyone in the early church who worshiped the elements in the manner you speak of?”
            First, it’s not the “elements”. Nobody has ever worshiped bread and wine in the Catholic Church. We reach a stalemate because you have no evidence that the early church didn’t worship the Eucharist. But my humble guess is that with all their language of the Eucharist being a sacrifice, and the sacrifice being Jesus himself (real flesh and blood), logic dictates that it should be adored. Christ is here, physically, with us, so let every one kneel down (or bow down, if you’re among the Copts) in reverence.

          4. KO,

            I appreciate your amicable tone. To answer your points:

            “That’s where you get the Eucharist wrong. It isn’t one “part” of Christ: it is Christ.”

            Are you sure? My finger is a part of my body. It is really part of Craig Truglia, but it is not the entirety of what is Craig Truglia.

            “You cannot say about the Eucharist: “here is only the body of Christ, not Christ himself.””

            Good point. But, we speak of bodies knowing that the entirety of that same body might not be present. So, I am not sold on this. This is why I asked if we can point to any early church practice on this specific subject.

            “Is Christ’s flesh human or divine?”

            I’d imagine human, and I’d also imagine that His soul si not divorced from the Eucharist, but I do not know.

            “it is either an essential “is” (the Eucharist is the flesh and vice versa) or a presential “is” (Christ is “in” the bread).”

            Well, Christ says “this IS my body,” but He did not say “all of my body.” So, I really do not know scientifically how to explain the Eucharist.

            “First, it’s not the “elements”.”

            My apologies. I trust you understood that I meant the elements after the little bell rings 🙂

            “We reach a stalemate because you have no evidence that the early church didn’t worship the Eucharist.”

            Sure, but 1. I am not arguing that they didn’t and 2. I don’t presume something historically unless there is evidence of it, so the default position would be if something is not said, it was not believed (though obviously this is not always right.)

            “But my humble guess is that with all their language of the Eucharist being a sacrifice, and the sacrifice being Jesus himself (real flesh and blood), logic dictates that it should be adored.”

            It is worth noting that the term sacrifice was used plenty of times in the first and second centuries but never of the Eucharist, which makes me think it is a later development (though not much later, I believe Clement of Alexandria speaks of the term when discussing the priesthood, but I am going by memory.

          5. Craig,

            Others have made many of the points I would have made in my comment. As KO said, the Eucharist is not “part” of Jesus. The tiniest crumb of the consecrated host or a single drop of the consecrated chalice contains all of Christ; Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity. How exactly God accomplishes this is a mystery that we the faithful do not need to know lol. But the mystery is better explained using metaphysics developed by Aristotle. That’s all “transubstantiation” is; a better explanation of the Mystery.

            You mentioned to KO that Christ’s flesh is merely human. But that position leads to Nestorianism. Christ does not “own” his body as one would own a car. His Body is Him. Jesus’s flesh is Jesus. Since Jesus is both Divine and human, His flesh is fully Divine and human and fully worthy of adoration. In fact if you do not worship His flesh, you actually sin according to St. Augustine who said:

            “…I turn to Christ, because it is He whom I seek here; and I discover how the earth is adored without impiety, how without impiety the footstool of His feet is adored. For He received earth from earth; because flesh is from the earth, and He took flesh from the flesh of Mary. He walked here in the same flesh, AND GAVE US THE SAME FLESH TO BE EATEN UNTO SALVATION. BUT NO ONE EATS THAT FLESH UNLESS FIRST HE ADORES IT; and thus it is discovered how such a footstool of the Lord’s feet is adored; AND NOT ONLY DO WE NOT SIN BY ADORING, WE DO SIN BY NOT ADORING.” (Psalms 98:9)”

            As for the Mass being a sacrifice, read this Called to Communion article:

            http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/05/holy-orders-and-the-priesthood/

            Specifically in the 2nd century, you will see Justine Martyr use Malachi 1:11 to refer to the Eucharist. So also Ireneaus whom you quoted in your video. What do you think an “oblation” is? It’s a sacrifice! And the Didache at the end of the first century calls the Eucharist a sacrifice, once again quoting Malachi 1:11. So your contention that the Eucharist was not thought of as a sacrifice in the 1st century is incorrect.

            I look forward to your reply. May God be with you.

            Matthew

          6. Matt,

            You are correct.

            Chap 116 of Dialogue with Trypho states:
            [W]e are the true high priestly race of God, as even God Himself bears witness, saying that in every place among the Gentiles sacrifices are presented to Him well-pleasing and pure. Now God receives sacrifices from no one, except through His priests.

            Chap 117
            Accordingly, God, anticipating all the sacrifices which we offer through this name, and which Jesus the Christ enjoined us to offer, i.e., in the Eucharist of the bread and the cup, and which are presented by Christians in all places throughout the world, bears witness that they [the sacrifices, see chap 116] are well-pleasing to Him. But He utterly rejects those presented by you and by those priests of yours…Yet even now, in your love of contention, you assert that God…is pleased with the prayers of the individuals of that nation then dispersed, and calls their prayers sacrifices. Now, that prayers and giving of thanks, when offered by worthy men, are the only perfect and well-pleasing sacrifices to God, I also admit. For such alone Christians have undertaken to offer, and in the remembrance effected by their solid and liquid food, whereby the suffering of the Son of God which He endured is brought to mind, whose name the high priests of your nation and your teachers have caused to be profaned and blasphemed over all the earth.

            Justin Martyr here conflates the sacrifices of prayers, thanks, and praise with that of the memorial aspect of the Eucharist.

            God bless,
            Criag

          7. Craig,

            What do you mean by “conflation?” Everything Justin Martyr says is fully compatible with Catholic teaching on the Mass as a sacrifice. He explicitly affirms it in the first sentence of Chapter 117. This just goes to show how sacrificial the term “remembrance” is (in greek, anamnēsin) to the early Church.

            Matthew

          8. Matthewp, thank you, I could never have expressed myself so clearly. Craig, thank you for your candor and kindness, again.

            Craig says, “Well, Christ says “this IS my body,” but He did not say “all of my body.” So, I really do not know scientifically how to explain the Eucharist.”

            Well, there are no scientific explanations of the Eucharist. There are theological ones. Although there might be a hint of truth in a Wittgensteinian sense, the other side of the coin (if you want to take the road of Anglo-Saxon analytical philosophy and logic to its consequences) is that he didn’t say “that is just a part of my body” either. The common, literal meaning of the passage denies the meaning that we’re eating “a part of the body of Jesus” in the Eucharist. Christ is not divided.

            “Justin Martyr here conflates the sacrifices of prayers, thanks, and praise with that of the memorial aspect of the Eucharist.”
            Well, I always saw the mass that way: isn’t it the Catholic way? Readers here may correct me if I’m wrong. As Matthew said, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus speak of the Eucharist as sacrifice.

            Matthew summarized it all:
            “But the mystery is better explained using metaphysics developed by Aristotle. That’s all “transubstantiation” is; a better explanation of the Mystery.”
            What do you have against an Aristotelian explanation of the Eucharist, Craig? After all, it’s just an explanation… early Christians just didn’t have that, so to say, refinement and precision.

            But in the end, Craig, which do you believe? Just forget about denominations here for a moment. Forget you’re a Baptist and I’m a (literally die-hard) Catholic. In the end you’ve got to make your choice: do you believe in an essential “is” (the Eucharist is the flesh and vice versa) or a presential “is” (Christ is [present] “in” the bread)?

            (You know what “we” believe…)

            God bless,

            KO

        2. Craig – “And this is Reformed teaching. The Reformed do not teach that the elect all know who they are 100%. Rather, what we do teach that Christians should be confident in their salvation (as well as work it out in fear and trembling), because God is true to His promises and those who a really saved cannot be lost.”

          Except that St. Augustine contradicts this teaching when he says in the above quote that Matthew shared: “And had not both become, from wicked men, justified men, and both been renewed by the laver of regeneration?” Both the man gifted with final preservation and the man not gifted with final preservation were saved, hence why St. Augustine said that they were both “justified men.” It looks to me that St. Augustine believes the Catholic doctrine of final preservation and assurance, rather than the Reformed version.

          The key distinction in the Catholic doctrine is this: that the gift of final preservation is distinct from the gift of justification.

          The Catholic doctrine does not deny the veracity of God’s promise, nor does it teach that true believers cannot have some assurance that they will be given the gift of final preservation. It should even be possible to believe that the gift of final preservation is sealed at the time of the true believer’s baptism, as what ultimately matters is that final preservation is unknown to the Christian until death, and the fruits of it are given at death. We even teach that Christians ought to have confidence in their salvation at Baptism. We simply teach that if someone falls away from faith or commits a mortal sin, they *need* to avail themselves of the sacrament of confession in order to be justified again and have hope of receiving the gift of final preservation. This teaching was constant in the church up until Luther, and this is what your doctrine is missing.

          Supporting this claim, St. Augustine again:

          “Let this be in the heart of the penitent: when you hear a man confessing his sins, he has already come to life again; when you hear a man lay bare his conscience in confessing, he has already come forth from the sepulchre; but he is not yet unbound. When is he unbound? By whom is he unbound? “Whatever you loose on earth,” He says, “shall be loosed also in heaven” [Mt 16:19; 18:18; Jn 20:23]. Rightly is the loosing of sins able to be given by the Church… (Psalms 101:2:3)”

          Pax Christi.

          1. “The key distinction in the Catholic doctrine is this: that the gift of final preservation is distinct from the gift of justification.”

            I identified this in my response.

          2. Re-read your answer more carefully. My counter is that St. Augustine isn’t inconsistent when the interpretive lense is the Catholic position.

            In addition to this, you really shouldn’t be using as an authority in support of your position someone who disagrees with your gospel. St. Augustine clearly and repeatedly teaches baptismal regeneration rather than being saved by faith directly. This is a different teaching on how to be saved and therefore a different Gospel. Either allow St. Augustine (and the scriptures — see Acts 2:37-38, 1 Peter 3:21, Romans 6:4-7) to correct you, or use a different Church Father, or put a disclaimer that St. Augustine isn’t really a Reformed Baptist theologically.

          3. Alex,

            “Re-read your answer more carefully. My counter is that St. Augustine isn’t inconsistent when the interpretive lense is the Catholic position.”

            I didn’t say he was. I said Augustine himself is inconsistent in this point.

            Rom 8:30 states: “[T]hese whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”

            Further Titus 3:5-7 states: “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs [a]according to the hope of eternal life.”

            The Scripture speaks of those who are justified as heirs and destined for glory. Clearly, Augustine’s view of baptism, taken at face value, disallows this. Hence, he is inconsistent as he would be saying that there would be baptized, justified people who were never brothers in Christ. Cyril of Jerusalem speaks of those who are baptized with water lacking the proper motive are not baptized by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps, Augustine shared this view though it would be hard (and odd) to apply to infants.

          4. on Rom 8:30 St. Thomas Aquainas (Commentary on Romans 708): “Hence, second, he mentions justification, when he says, “and whom He called, them he also justified,” by infusing grace: “they are justified by his grace as a gift.” Although this justification is frustrated in certain persons, because they do not perservere to the end.” This chain needs to be taken as a whole — as there are some who are justified without being predestined.

            on Titus 3:5-7 St. Thomas Aquainas (Commentary on Titus 95): “If he is loved by God, he should love in return; and if he loves, it is because he has received grace, because he cannot love without grace and this makes him an heir: “to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” (1 Pet 1:4)” Hence, being made an heir through grace is contingent on Loving God in return after grace has been received, which although a natural result of grace being received, isn’t automatic and irresistible (and by resistible, I mean antecedently).

            I don’t think it could be reasonably argued that Augustine believed in justification by faith alone, seeing as he explicitly denies it: “Unintelligent persons, however, with regard to the apostle’s statement: “We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law,” have thought him to mean that faith suffices to a man, even if he lead a bad life, and has no good works. Impossible is it that such a character should be deemed “a vessel of election” by the apostle, who, after declaring that “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision,” adds at once, “but faith which worketh by love.” It is such faith which severs God’s faithful from unclean demons,–for even these “believe and tremble,” as the Apostle James says; but they do not do well. Therefore they possess not the faith by which the just man lives,–the faith which works by love in such wise, that God recompenses it according to its works with eternal life. But inasmuch as we have even our good works from God, from whom likewise comes our faith and our love, therefore the selfsame great teacher of the Gentiles has designated “eternal life” itself as His gracious “gift.”

          5. Noticed ambiguity in my previous answer. Clarification: I am saying that Loving God in return is resistible, but only antecedently.

          6. Alex, we are changing topics now. I understand that you believe “there are some who are justified without being predestined.” However, Rom 8:30 taken together with Titus 3:4-7 would appear not to allow this. Those who are regenerated are done so that they would be heirs of life. The greek word in Titus 3:7 simply states that those justified by grace simply become heirs of life. There are no conditions are exceptions, unless you insert an idea or inference not explicitly found in the text. http://biblehub.com/greek/1096.htm

          7. Craig,

            Accusing St. Augustine of inconsistency is very close to being uncharitable toward him. He was known to let his audience know when he changed his mind (which he did in regards to the Pelagian controversy). Saying that he believed baptismal regeneration and then would say that those “truly saved” cannot ever fall away is accusing him of double speak. You should listen to the lecture I gave you by William Marshner. In it, he points out St. Augustine’s position on Romans 8:30 which is that the glorified is a subset of the justified. Everyone who is ever justified should hope for eternal life! That’s why St. Augustine strongly recommends that the faithful pray for the gift of perseverance! But as St. Paul said just a little earlier in Romans 8:24-25:

            “For in this hope, we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

            Furthermore, the Reformed position on eternal security encounters a major problem. If you admit as you do that you do not know who the elect are and only the elect have their sins forgiven, logically it would follow that you could not know if any of your sins were ever forgiven at all. In Catholic teaching by contrast, the objective reality of the sacrament of Baptism lets the believer know that all of their sins prior to baptism including original sin have been completely washed away. Now that is not a guaranteed ticket to heaven because the promised inheritance can be squandered/forfeited but that’s what the sacrament of Penance is for 🙂 lol. The objective reality of the sacraments offers solid ground to the subjectivism of the reformed schema.

            If someone asked me if I am going to heaven, the only answer any faithful follower of Jesus should be able to give is: “I sure hope so!” Our hope is in God, therefore it is sure. But it is hope, not epistemic certainty. It would take too much time to hash out all the scriptures that speak of believers committing apostasy but I’ll just choose the most devastating one for now which is Galatians 5:4:

            “You are SEVERED from Christ you who would be justified by the law. You have FALLEN AWAY from Grace.”

            You cannot be severed from what you were never apart of and you cannot fall from what you don’t have. The reformed position that apostasy basically cannot happen for “true believers” just cannot be squared with the biblical evidence. And as Joe pointed out in his article, it gets really rich when Calvin tried to maintain that “true believers cannot fall away” and then turn around and claim that the whole Church basically fell away!

            Looking forward to your reply. May God be with you.

            Matthew

          8. “However, Rom 8:30 taken together with Titus 3:4-7 would appear not to allow this. ”

            Craig. That’s precisely why I brought in St. Thomas Aquinas to weigh in on these two passages, because his exposition of them explains precisely how these two texts reconcile, both with each other and the other scriptures quite nicely.

            Bringing in ideas not explicitly in the text, but are explicitly written about by great saints; or bringing in ideas not explicitly in the text, but are explicitly written in other parts of scripture isn’t eisegesis. It’s sound biblical interpretation.

          9. Alex:

            “Bringing in ideas not explicitly in the text, but are explicitly written about by great saints; or bringing in ideas not explicitly in the text, but are explicitly written in other parts of scripture isn’t eisegesis. It’s sound biblical interpretation.”

            I didn’t call it eisegesis on your part, though it can be on Aquinas’ part in Rom 8:30. His exegesis of Titus seems to mitigate against his position on 8:30 BTW.

            Matt:

            “The reformed position that apostasy basically cannot happen for “true believers” just cannot be squared with the biblical evidence.”

            This is essentially what Augustine said by saying those who fall away were never actually brothers. As for your quotation of Gal 5:4 never speaks of those “fallen from grace” having attained santifying grace, and it appears much more akin to Heb 6 where those who cannot be brought back to repentance “tasted” the Holy Spirit, but were not indwelt.

            God bless,
            Craig

          10. Craig,

            Read Chapter 21 of Augustine’s book on the Gift of Perseverance again. I’ll quote it all:

            “Therefore, of two infants, equally bound by original sin, why the one is taken and the other left; and of two wicked men of already mature years, why this one should be so called as to follow Him that calls, while that one is either not called at all, or is not called in such a manner—the judgments of God are unsearchable. But of two pious men, why to the one should be given perseverance unto the end, and to the other it should not be given, God’s judgments are even more unsearchable. Yet to believers it ought to be a most certain fact that the former is of the predestinated, the latter is not. For if they had been of us, says one of the predestinated, who had drunk this secret from the breast of the Lord, certainly they would have continued with us. 1 John 2:19 What, I ask, is the meaning of, They were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would certainly have continued with us? Were not both created by God— both born of Adam— both made from the earth, and given from Him who said, I have created all breath, souls of one and the same nature? Lastly, had not both been called, and followed Him that called them? And had not both become, from wicked men, justified men, and both been renewed by the laver of regeneration? But if he were to hear this who beyond all doubt knew what he was saying, he might answer and say: These things are true. In respect of all these things, they were of us. Nevertheless, in respect of a certain other distinction, they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they certainly would have continued with us. What then is this distinction? God’s books lie open, let us not turn away our view; the divine Scripture cries aloud, let us give it a hearing. They were not of them, because they had not been called according to the purpose; they had not been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world; they had not gained a lot in Him; they had not been predestinated according to His purpose who works all things. For if they had been this, they would have been of them, and without doubt they would have continued with them.”

            Pay very close attention to the distinction Augustine draws. He says that in respect of being changed from wicked to holy, unjustified to justified, unregenerated to regenerated, the man who falls away WAS of us. But in respect to the gift of perseverance, he was not. That is how Augustine interprets 1 John 2:19.

            We’ve reached a point in our dialogue where I have to warn you because this is where reformed folks REALLY can get on my nerves 😉 lol. Do not try to claim that what Augustine says here is compatible with reformed doctrine. You and I both know that Calvin and the reformed who follow him believe that if you get regenerated/justified by God, you cannot be lost at all and are guaranteed to be going to heaven. Augustine is abundantly clear that he does not believe that in the slightest. This passage from Augustine’s magnum opus on predestination/perseverance is absolutely incompatible with reformed doctrine on the same topic, period. Augustine would never say that someone who is regenerated and justified is not a brother in Christ.

            Your comment on Galatians 5:4 is interesting because I thought the reformed denied the distinction between actual grace and sanctifying grace and believe that grace is God’s favor only. And even if you were right about all of the Galatians who embraced the Judaizing heresy never were given sanctifying grace (highly unlikely given Galatians 3:27) that still wouldn’t explain the fact that they were “severed from Christ.” In fact, anyone who is in Christ is in a state of sanctifying grace because there is no one who is in Christ who isn’t sanctified/justified (see 1 Corinthians 6:11). If they were severed from Christ by embracing a heresy, then that can only mean that they were once in Christ and then were cut off when they committed the mortal sin of heresy. And look at Galatians 5:7 where St. Paul says:

            “You were running well, who hindered you from obeying the truth?”

            You just can’t make believe that these whom Paul is addressing weren’t ever true believers, the text doesn’t allow it.

            Now since you brought up Hebrews 6, I’m afraid I need to dish out a little tough love here Craig 😉 lol. This in particular is one of my pet peeves. The distinction you try to draw between “tasting the Holy Spirit” and being “indwelt with the Holy Spirit” is completely absurd. It’s a distinction without a difference if there ever was one. And futhermore, that’s not what the text actually says. I’ll quote Hebrews 6:4-6 in full:

            “For it is impossible[a] to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt.”

            “Enlightened” is actually an Early Church reference to Baptism. See this link:
            https://books.google.com/books?id=1omnb4D5uaMC&pg=PA208&lpg=PA208&dq=%22enlightened%22+a+reference+to+baptism&source=bl&ots=E4P34vXbpF&sig=t_o65vsYBeuZvbcGx0PFWWfvzq4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjOt_iK-djOAhWDLSYKHe4OA5gQ6AEIMzAE#v=onepage&q=%22enlightened%22%20a%20reference%20to%20baptism&f=false

            “Tasted the heavenly gift” I think is a strong reference to the Eucharist (See Psalm 34:8). “Partakers of the Holy Spirit” is what the text actually says (not tasted the Holy Spirit). The distinction you try to make becomes all the more absurd if you try to separate “Partakers of the Holy Spirit” from being “indwelt with the Holy Spirit.” I also think that’s a reference to the Sacrament of Confirmation (see Acts 8:16-17, Acts 19:4-6). “Tasted the goodness of the word of God” might be another reference to the Eucharist and of course, the Word of God is Jesus Christ. Evidently, according to verse 6 it’s still possible to commit apostasy even after all that. The mental gymnastics I see reformed folks do with this passage is enough to make Simone Biles jealous lol.

            May God be with you.

            Matthew

          11. Matthew:

            You write,: Pay very close attention to the distinction Augustine draws. He says that in respect of being changed from wicked to holy, unjustified to justified, unregenerated to regenerated, the man who falls away WAS of us.

            But in what you quoted from Augustine he said: They were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would certainly have continued with us?

            So, I did pay attention, I disagree with your conclusion. As for the issue of baptism, justification, and perseverance, we already discussed what we disagree about on this, I do not see the need to rehash it.

            Your comment on Galatians 5:4 is interesting because I thought the reformed denied the distinction between actual grace and sanctifying grace and believe that grace is God’s favor only.
            We do, I was merely explaining the passage using terminology you understand.

            that still wouldn’t explain the fact that they were “severed from Christ.”
            Yes, when taken literally it would mean one is physically removed from communion. However, being that the Scripture says that there are men with “us but not of us” being severed from the Body of Christ, the Church, does not by necessity mean you are an actual member of the Body.

            “You were running well, who hindered you from obeying the truth?”
            You just can’t make believe that these whom Paul is addressing weren’t ever true believers, the text doesn’t allow it.

            Why not, Heb 6:1-3 allows it.

            The distinction you try to draw between “tasting the Holy Spirit” and being “indwelt with the Holy Spirit” is completely absurd. It’s a distinction without a difference if there ever was one.

            Not true, because in Heb 6:9 Paul writes, But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that [h]accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.

            Hence, there was a qualitative difference between the recipients (at large) and those the warnings were referring to.

            “Enlightened” is actually an Early Church reference to Baptism.

            Way ahead of you: https://christianreformedtheology.com/2015/12/19/cliff-notes-to-justin-martyrs-first-apology/

            “Partakers of the Holy Spirit” is what the text actually says (not tasted the Holy Spirit).

            Thank you for the clarification, though I still maintain that those who “partake” are different than those who are indwelt. The Spirit moved Cyrus to free the Jews without regenerating Him, so I don’t think this is a meaningless differentiation.

            God bless,

            Craig

          12. Craig,

            Did you not notice the distinction Augustine made? It’s like you completely ignored it! Maybe this can help with you. The distinction is in what the two men Augustine describes in chapter 21 are predestined to be. Both were predestined to be regenerated and justified believers and in that sense, the man who falls away was of us. But the one who remains faithful to the end was predestined to final perseverance/glory and the other was not so in that sense, the man who falls away (and doesn’t ever return) was not of us. That’s the difference between predestined to grace on one hand and predestined to glory on the other (or as Augustine put it, “called according to the purpose”).

            I notice that sometimes both sides can fall into a nasty habit of presupposing an interpretation of a Scripture and then porting that interpretation into a Church father when they reference it. But you cannot do that here. St. Augustine interprets 1 John 2:19 differently than you do. He explicitly says that this does not mean that the man who falls away was never saved because he stipulates that he was in fact justified and regenerated. Someone who is washed with the laver of regeneration (ie baptized) and is therefore justified, is saved! Saved here meaning that their sins he committed before baptism were forgiven and God’s grace of His own Divine Life is given to him. Latent in our discussion is very different conceptions of salvation/justification. Of course, Catholics believe that God infuses the grace of His own Divine life into the believer at baptism and takes away his sins and that’s what justification is. St. Augustine absolutely believed in infused righteousness/justification so you cannot assume he interprets 1 John 2:19 the way you do.

            In response to Galatians 5:4 you said: “Yes, when taken literally it would mean one is physically removed from communion. However, being that the Scripture says that there are men with “us but not of us” being severed from the Body of Christ, the Church, does not by necessity mean you are an actual member of the Body.”

            You cannot be severed from Christ’s Body if you were never in Christ’s Body! You basically affirmed “a” and “~a” in your last sentence! When your theology forces you to violate the law of non-contradiction, something has gone awry 😉 lol.

            I don’t know what you were referring to from Hebrews 6:1-3 but I don’t see at all how it proves your point. And your thought that there is a different audience whom the author of Hebrews warns and one that he praises is also absurd. He warns them because he loves them and doesn’t want them to commit apostasy! Of course he is confident that they won’t but that makes his warning against it all the more important! Why would he warn them of the danger of apostasy if it was impossible? And if when he warns of apostasy he is somehow speaking to a different audience, what difference would it make? They would have never been saved at all so there is no apostasy to commit! And who partakes of the Holy Spirit without being indwelt by Him? What does it mean to “partake?” In fact, the greek word here is “metochous” which also means “companion/comrade/friend” (see Hebrews 1:9). So that passage could be translated “companions/friends of the Holy Spirit. Once again, the mental gymnastics is astounding and it’s all to hold on to a false presumptuousness. I understand wanting to be hopeful and confident in one’s salvation but presumption is completely another matter.
            I would also like to see how you interpret Hebrews 10:29 which states:

            “How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant BY WHICH HE WAS SANCTIFIED, and outraged the Spirit of grace?”

            Are you going to tell me that someone who was sanctified by the blood of the covenant was never saved to begin with? Your basically telling me that one can be baptized, confirmed, receive the Eucharist, and was still never saved at all. What on earth is the point of those then?! Evidently, according to you they contribute nothing whatsoever to salvation. In fact, your position, far from giving anyone assurance, would completely terrify me. If I do not know I’m one of the elect, I can never know if God has ever forgiven me for anything. And since I cannot know I’m one of the elect without God directly telling me, scrupulosity would be ramped up to an infinite degree. This was the problem the Puritans had and thought of silly was to “be sure of one’s election” like being very rich. They wouldn’t even let you vote unless you could “prove” you were one of the elect! lol. Thank God Almighty for the objectivity of the sacraments!

            May God be with you.

            Matthew

          13. If we obey Christ when He teaches us to Pray the ‘Our Father’, we are asking God daily for the gift of perseverance by begging: “Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil”. We also realize in this prayer that we beg for our food, both spiritual and physical, when we pray ‘give us this day our daily bread’. Since physical food, symbolized by ‘bread’ is necessary with great frequency, i.e.. ‘daily, and spiritual bread is also needed frequently, i.e.. frequent prayer and the Eucharist, so too, under this symbolism provided by Christ in the Lords prayer …a person will die, either physically from the lack of physical bread, or spiritually from the lack of spiritual bread, i.e.. he will lose his faith and be lost).

            And it is certain that these who receive the Eucharist have already been regenerated by the Holy Spirit in Baptism, as none are given this sacrament otherwise.

            So the Lord’s Prayer teaches us something about the necessity to pray for perseverance on a daily basis, lest we fall into temptation and succumb to deadly sin. In this sense we can understand clearly the warning:

            “Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

            For those who are regenerated in grace and baptism, and indeed fall through negligence to eat their daily bread of prayer, and frequent Eucharist provided by the Holy Church, the saying of Christ is easily understood: ‘Many are called but few are chosen”

            And if it wasn’t necessary to sustain our faith with spiritual food lest we die spiritually, and if salvation was merely a one time event at the time of our conversion, then why would Jesus ask Peter to ‘feed his sheep’, if he loved Him? Why would Jesus use this symbolism of food anyway? And, eating a meal is never a ‘once and done’ event. It is needed to be repeated often to maintain physical life in this world. So using this symbolism that Christ gave to us by His very mouth, teaches us that many things are needed to maintain salvation. And a sheep of Christ will spiritually die if he be not fed and cared for by the Church.

            Why have a Gospel if we don’t listen to Christ when He teaches these things?

          14. Matt:

            This is my last reply (time constraints) but here it goes:

            “I don’t know what you were referring to from Hebrews 6:1-3 but I don’t see at all how it proves your point.”

            Because Heb 6:1-3 shws that the people Paul was discussing knew certain things, but could not be conflated with those he was addressing the letter to as per Heb 6:9/

            “And your thought that there is a different audience whom the author of Hebrews warns and one that he praises is also absurd.”

            No, because the other big “you can lose your salvation” passage is in Heb 10, in which Paul ends the chapter saying: “But [k]we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the [l]preserving of the soul.” Obviously, the warnings in heb 6 and 10 were not applicable to Paul’s audience, whom he presumed to be saved.

            “Are you going to tell me that someone who was sanctified by the blood of the covenant was never saved to begin with?”

            The unbelieving husband is “sanctified” by his believing wife (1 Cor 7:14), so yes, unbelievers are in a sense sanctified via association with believers, though not sanctified in the absolute sense that they are saved.

            God bless,
            Craig

          15. Craig: “…so yes, unbelievers are in a sense sanctified via association with believers, though not sanctified in the absolute sense that they are saved.”

            So……unbelievers are in a sense sanctified (justified), but not sanctified (justified) in the absolute sense that that are saved (given the gift of final perserverance). Now change “unbelievers” to “unbelievers and those counted amongst the unbelivers due to mortal sin” (See Luke 12:42-46), and you have the Catholic view in different, though misleading, terms.

          16. Craig,

            I understand and appreciate that you cannot continue this conversation which I have enjoyed immensely but for the sake of anyone reading this blog, I cannot allow your final contentions to go unanswered. You did not address my response to your contention that Hebrews is addressing a different audience when it warns the readers of the dangers of apostasy from when it praises them. If it is true, that all “true believers” cannot ever fall away and anyone who does fall away only appears to and was never saved to begin with, then the warnings serve absolutely no purpose. There would be no need to warn either group because falling away is impossible in both cases because you cannot leave what you were never a part of. This point went unchallenged.

            Furthermore, that kind of exegeses is sloppy. There is only one audience for this letter and it is Jewish Christians (possibly former Jewish priests/Levites). The author warns them of the danger of falling away, praises them for the good they have done, and urges them to continue to persevere. There is absolutely no need to try to create separate audiences for the sake of saving your a novel teaching created in the 16th century contra 1500 previous years of tradition. It is beyond absurd to postulate that the author of Hebrews’ audience are pretend believers in Hebrews 10:32-38 but suddenly switches to “true believers” in verse 39. I’ll quote it all for context:

            “But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on the prisoners, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised.
            ‘For yet a little while,
            and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry;
            but my righteous one shall live by faith,
            and if he shrinks back,
            my soul has no pleasure in him.’
            But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls.”

            In verses 32,34,35, and 36, the sacred author uses the 2nd person plural. In verse 39, it’s the 1st person plural. The only change is the author includes himself. There is absolutely no indication of a change in audience. Also, the person in verse 29 wasn’t just “sanctified” but was sanctified by the blood of the covenant. Like the person in Hebrews 6:4-6, this person in Hebrews 10:29 was a baptized, confirmed believer who received the Eucharist and still fell away.

            Your problem here Craig, is that you have a preconceived notion of what it means to be “saved.” Namely: “I had the perfect obedience of Jesus imputed to me at one point in the past which is all that is necessary for me to go to heaven and avoid hell and nothing I do can change it.” But Salvation is a process as can be seen from scripture putting “salvation” into past, present, and future tenses (Ephesians 2:8, 1 Corinthians 1:18, and Romans 13:11 respectively). It’s possible that once your faulty conception of justification and salvation is resolved, that you will see the truth on this matter. But if not, know that the Scriptures are abundantly clear that apostasy/mortal sin is a very real danger that must be guarded against and that everyone in all of Christian history thought so until the 16th century.

            May God be with you.

            Matthew

          1. If you don’t think he was an idolater, then you believe in transubstantiation and the adoration of the host? Because if the bread is Jesus, there is nothing wrong in that: on the contrary, it even becomes obligatory, as St. Augustine says.

      1. Well, I guess it was from this (thanks to Matthewp):

        In fact if you do not worship His flesh, you actually sin according to St. Augustine who said:

        “…I turn to Christ, because it is He whom I seek here; and I discover how the earth is adored without impiety, how without impiety the footstool of His feet is adored. For He received earth from earth; because flesh is from the earth, and He took flesh from the flesh of Mary. He walked here in the same flesh, AND GAVE US THE SAME FLESH TO BE EATEN UNTO SALVATION. BUT NO ONE EATS THAT FLESH UNLESS FIRST HE ADORES IT; and thus it is discovered how such a footstool of the Lord’s feet is adored; AND NOT ONLY DO WE NOT SIN BY ADORING, WE DO SIN BY NOT ADORING.” (Psalms 98:9)”

        So either St. Augustine is an idolater because he adored the Eucharist, or you’re a sinner, according to St. Augustine, because you don’t adore “that flesh”. So the question, in the end, has some terse validity in it:

        “Do you think he was an idolater?”

        1. This is exactly what I was driving at. I have asked many a Reformed person, was St. Augustine an idolater. Everyone one of them has said no. Almost all have said that St. Augustine did not believe the Eucharist was fully Christ.

          Which brings us to this point. Craig you said:

          Could you point to anyone in the early church who worshiped the elements in the manner you speak of?

          Yes.

          St. Augustine says this:

          I turn to Christ, because it is He whom I seek here; and I discover how the earth is adored without impiety, how without impiety the footstool of His feet is adored. For He received earth from earth; because flesh is from the earth, and He took flesh from the flesh of Mary. He walked here in the same flesh, AND GAVE US THE SAME FLESH TO BE EATEN UNTO SALVATION. BUT NO ONE EATS THAT FLESH UNLESS FIRST HE ADORES IT; and thus it is discovered how such a footstool of the Lord’s feet is adored; AND NOT ONLY DO WE NOT SIN BY ADORING, WE DO SIN BY NOT ADORING.” (St. Augustine, Expostition of the Psalms, Psalms 98:9)

          Since adoration is worship, and St. Augustine commands adoration of the Eucharist, there are can be only two possibilities to this quote of St. Augustine’s:

          1.) St. Augustine does not believe that the bread has changed, and fully become Christ. But if he even believes one little crumb of that bread is still bread, then he is commanding idolatry of that one little crumb of bread.

          2.) Or, St. Augustine truly believes that the bread has become Christ, and not even one little crumb of it is bread any longer (which by the way is transubstantiation, so St. Augustine obviously believed in the concept of transubstantiation).

          Now you have said you do not believe St. Augustine was an idolater. Based on his quote, you must believe number two. I have had some of the Reformed ilk walk away in silence when I bring this up. Some have changed their view, and said based on this passage, St. Augustine must be an idolater. And a few have admitted that St. Augustine obviously believed that the Eucharist was fully Christ.

          1. I am voting, but for Darrell Castle. I can simply not vote too, but the town tries to put initiatives that raise taxes on the ballot so I’ll have to show up.

  7. Along with the Lord’s Prayer and the specific teaching that we must forgive to be saved. The parable of the unforgiving servant doesn’t make sense if one can’t lose their salvation:

    “That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’ Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

    Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.””
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:23-29, 31-35‬ ‭NABRE‬‬

    Let’s see – King forgives a debt that can’t be repaid. God forgives us for a debt we can’t repay. The servant is free as long as he forgives others. We are saved as long as we forgive others. Servant does not forgive and loses his freedom for eternity since can’t ever pay back what he owes. Christian does not forgive, loses his salvation and spends eternity in hell.

    The parable makes no sense if once your debt is forgiven you can’t lose salvation.

    1. Fantastic point CK. The only retort I’ve heard from a reformed thinker is that “well this parable isn’t talking about salvation.” They would need to pay close attention to verses 23 and 35 of Matthew 18. This parable is absolutely relevant to the question of salvation/eternal life.

      Matthew

  8. Craig –

    Could you please name some people or groups of people in history during 100 AD through 500 AD that were generally close to a Reformed view of Christianity? I’m looking for historical information rather than debating the underlying theology.

    1. Clayton,

      While I do not think anyone in the early church would have been strictly “reformed” (or Catholic/AO/EO for that matter), as I think that the concerns and beliefs of the ancient church were markedly different. Justin Martyr and the Greek Apologists had different Christology, Clement of Alexandria and Origen had some nutty ideas, and on and on we go. I would say, it is not until we get to guys like Ambrose where I would say they are 90% Catholic, but this would be true of many notable guys in the fourth century.

      Yet, a key exception to this (and to my whole rule) would be Marius Victorinus, whose commentary on Galatians (http://ixoyc.net/data/Fathers/612.pdf) is surprisingly reformed. Ambrosiaster also is very reformed sounding, given differences in terminology and paradigms given the breadth of time. While I may include guys like the Apostolic Fathers in this group, we simply do not have enough of their writings to definitively state what they believed about many things.

      Despite some differences between some of these men, they kept one communion and apparently viewed their ideas as reconcilable. It saddens me that this is not true today among any of us.

      God bless,
      Craig

      1. Hi Craig,

        There are some important differences between Reformed ecclesiology and early Church ecclesiology that are not so philosophical and doctrinal in nature, but are historical and cultural movements that should not be overlooked, because they reveal much about the nature of the early Catholic/Orthodox/Coptic Church. What I’m referring to primarily is the monastic movements which flourished with renowned saints such as Antony of Egypt, Hilarion of Palestine, Ammon of Mt, Nitria, Pachomius of Egypt, Simon Stylites…etc..

        In my opinion, a study of the early Church should not be only conducted on the intellectual/philosophical level, but on the practical, spiritual and historical level also. And so, monasticism should in no way be ignored in an analysis of early Christianity. That St. Athanasius was so instrumental in starting this movement, with his publication of the “Life of St. Antony”, and considering his prominent position as a great leader in the early Church, I think due consideration should be given to the many rules of life, traditions, sayings, liturgical practices, etc… that influenced this movement in the early centuries. Basically, the early monks of the 3rd through 6th centuries practiced Christianity more by their examples than by their preaching, more by their daily living, customs and rules of life, than by any theological writings.

        But, that other great theologians such as Augustine, Basil of Caesarea and Jerome followed this early Christian movement, and were monks themselves, shows that it played a huge part in almost everything that took place in the pre-Nicaean Church, and even more so in the Post-Nicaean.

        Now relating this to Protestant, and ‘Reformed’, theology, we know that Martin Luther had an ‘axe to grind’ with this same millennia old institution of monasticism in the Church. And I assume that the ‘Reformed’ Christians today also have one also, following some of Luthers’ opinions on the subject.

        The reason I write this, is because it never seems to be brought up in any discussion on this site or other apologetic sites that I visit. It’s as if even Catholic and Protestant apologists care only about theological doctrine, but not about practical, cultural and spiritual movements that greatly effected the Church over the last 2000 years, such as was the Christian monastic movements.

        Basically, I just want to put it on your radar, and will bring the subject up on and off in future comments. I’m wondering how Protestants can care so little for something that played such an important role in the history of Christianity, and was responsible for the conversion of so many peoples and nations even until after the discovery of the New World.

        Anyway, I think it’s good for all Christians to consider monasticisms (and mendicantism also, via Sts. Dominic and Francis) role in Christian history, and also consider how this millennia old movement might have be greatly damaged by the attacks, and antagonism, of Luther and Calvin, and then by the countless Christian denominations and sects that followed them.

        Any ideas on the subject?

        1. Al, I think I remember your story (you became a “born again” Catholic after reading about the lives of the Saints.) The story of my repentance and coming to faith is roughly similar, as I have told it here before, I heard Augustine’s repentance read in class and I took it as a revelation. So, I read Augustine, and the Divine Comedy, I read some Thomas Merton, and the Scriptures (including the Deuterocanon).

          Now, the part of the story I can’t remember telling here was how seriously I took Augustine’s example. He fought sin, and visceral satisfaction even (enjoying food, art, and etcetera), tooth and nail seeing them as distractions which inhibited his walk with God. I saw these examples amongst the saints in heaven in Dante’s Paradiso. Plus, I was challenged by Christ’s words to sell everything one has and give it to the poor (the words which converted Saint Anthony.) So, I put them into practice myself (i.e. no air conditioning, eating simply for sustenance, and denying myself all luxuries.)

          Along the way, though I was not particularly physically challenged as much as I was psychologically, I decided that it was best to get married. So, I courted my wife and we get married. Now, I try to live the same way but paying mind to the fact that I have to sacrifice some of my ideals for the sake of my wife (Al, you are a married man, so I am sure you know the value of a dinner out and a weekend together, etc.)

          Now, the point of my story is that I find the monastic life very compelling, and even considered (though not seriously) becoming Catholic so that I may pursue it. I have argued with Protestants to this day who believe that married life is superior to celibacy (which is a lie from the pits of Hell and contradicts Scripture) and who do not believe in the importance of physical poverty (sadly, from what I know Catholicisim is slipping on this too). In fact, I am in process writing a commentary on the Epistle of James which I hope to teach in my church, for the purpose of teaching James 4 and the evils of pursuing worldly, materialistic, lusts.

          So, the difference between you and I Al is strictly theological on this point. While there are Protestant Monks (I just passed an Episcopalian Abbey in Boston last weekend), on the whole Protestantism has the wrong views on poverty and celibacy. However, as best I understand it, Catholicism has an unbiblical sacerdotalism and veneration to Mary. The latter is probably most difficult for me to accept. It was the absence of the latter, and the minimized appearance of the former, in my reading of church history that has made me decide against Catholicism. But, if I decide wrong out of ignorance, it is my hope and prayer to relent.

          God bless,
          Craig

          1. Thanks for your reply, Craig. Maybe we can bring up the monastic aspect of Catholicism in future posts. It is highly interesting even if not perfectly practicable in the married vocation.

            Currently, I have switched from distributing Catholic Radio cards and promotions to distributing St. Bonaventures ‘Life of St. Francis’ in mass volumes at College campuses and various farmers markets. I also continue to study the Life of St. Francis, even though I have read in countless times. He is really quite the example of a perfect follower of the words of Christ. I also was ‘reverted’ by this very Saint, and coincidentally, met my future wife on the anniversary of his death, which is Oct. 3. Now I find myself spreading his good example via these readings that I printed about 14 years ago. I just purchased another small press about 5 months ago, and got my first negatives made for duplicating the old readings that are quickly running out. My garage is becoming a small print shop again, dedicated to the ‘Lives of the Saints’, but particularly St. Francis. Living in the Saint Francis…San Francisco.. Bay area doesn’t hurt either, as people of every strip have a fascination with the saint, even if it just an external fascination. When I give them the readings they get the ‘real McCoy’, and being written by a great theologian as was St. Bonaventure also has some subtle but exquisite value. I find myself appreciating Bonaventure more and more every day, now that I know how carefully he wrote to capture the soul of Francis on paper.

            So, this is why I really love the Catholic faith, because of the incredible, and highly loving, people who have been a part of it for 2000 years now. There are so many great saints, so many great souls.

            Anyway, that’s another bit of my conversion/post conversion story. Maybe we can continue in the future on the subjects, and importance, of the witness of the saints and monasticism.

            Best to you always,

            – Al

      2. Craig –

        Am I correct you believe that there isn’t enough written history for man to determine what the ancient church actually believed and practiced? If so, why did the Roman Catholic position emerge post 500 AD through 1,400 AD? Just political power?

        1. It’s not just the fact that the RC position is the one that persisted and prevailed, but that it represents very hard truths that should otherwise have been the first to disappear on their own. If Jesus had taught and the Apostles understood that the Eucharist was anything short of unqualified real presence of Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity; such a belief would never have gained even a small toe hold.

        2. No. There’s just not enough details in the first 2 centuries to say that Christians adhered to every Reformed (or Catholic) doctrine. Within the first five centuries, we have a pretty good idea of what the Church taught, it was not entirely Catholic and definitely not Reformed (due to its strong sacramental and ecclesiastical emphases.) I wish I had a better answer, but I have not read enough of the third, fourth, and fifth centuries to give a more concise answer.

          1. “Within the first five centuries (…) it was not entirely Catholic”.

            Of course, if you read “19-20th century Catholic” as a paradigm for “Catholic”. That is the same as saying that the US in the late 1700’s was not entirely “American”.

            On the other hand, your “definitely not Reformed” is to be recommended. What emerges in the first five centuries is that most Catholic doctrines we know of has its incipient manifestation there. Did they believe it in the same way we (or Medieval, as opposed to Late Antique Christians) believe it? Of course not. But what Protestant doctrines can be ascribed to the Church Fathers? NONE Let me repeat before it sinks in: NONE. Mathison himself aknowledges that regarding some issues, and I doubt that the five “solas” can be found in any thinker before Luther.

            We salute the venerable images. We place under anathema those who do not do this. Anathema to them who presume to apply to the venerable images the things said in Holy Scripture about idols. Anathema to those who do not salute the holy and venerable images. Anathema to those who call the sacred images idols. Anathema to those who say that Christians resort to the sacred images as to gods. Anathema to those who say that any other delivered us from idols except Christ our God. Anathema to those who dare to say that at any time the Catholic Church received idols.
            http://shamelesspopery.com/keith-mathison-and-john-calvin-on-ecumenical-creeds-and-councils/

          2. KO,

            You are correct as far as distinctively protestant doctrines though. All the truth that is found in any protestant community is also found in the Catholic Church which is where the protestants inherited it from.

            Craig,

            I would like to ask you a question and that is when, if at all, was the Christian Church distinctively reformed in it’s doctrine before the Reformation? Thanks.

            May God be with you.

            Matthew

          3. Matt, I already pointed you to Victorinus. Otherwise, we do not have enough historical evidence to convincingly teach that the Apostolic Fathers were Catholic or Protestant leaning, though when their writings are taken at face value they say nothing that contradicts reformed teaching while, without explanation, a few of their teachings would contradict Catholic understandings (see Clement/Didache versus Ignatius on the Monarchical Episcopacy.) If the Epistle of Mathetes is as earlies as the Apostolic Fathers, and not ascribed to the Greek apologists, then we would have an early writing that already talks about penal substitution.

            God bless,
            Craig

          4. “Clement/Didache versus Ignatius on the Monarchical Episcopacy.”

            I guess there has been a long long thread here at Shameless Popery about that… I guess the “False Prophets” joke.

            “when their writings are taken at face value they say nothing that contradicts reformed teaching”

            John Calvin would disagree. So would Luther. I’ve just seen a lot, I mean a mass of evidence, that contradicts reformed teaching just in this post and others (see “Justin Martyr or Justin Idolater”?). It happens that your understanding of the Eucharist, as per your posting here, although a bit awkward, is nothing Protestant. No Protestant I know would confess what you have confessed here (transubstantiation). What baffles me is that no Catholic doctor in Patristics and even some serious Protestants would claim that any Church father held to a heretic (that is, Protestant) doctrine. I’m no expert either, but when I hear some PhD in Patristics affirm what you’ve just affirmed, then I’ll give the thought some credence.

          5. Hi Craig,

            Hypothetical situation for you?

            If someone were to tell you to do something, and that if you didn’t do it, your disobedience would be a sin, that would mean that person feels he holds authority over you, correct? Granted they may not actually hold that authority, but in their mind they clearly feel they do, else why would they feel disobeying them is a sin, if they have no claim to some sort of authority over you?

            Duane

  9. Craig –

    What doctrines did the church teach for the first five centuries that were “..not entirely Catholic?” Your top three would be helpful.

    Also, would you agree that Western Civilization is dominated by Roman Catholicism after the first five centuries? If not, why not and what historical evidence helps support your position? Carl Trueman would agree that such period is dominated by Roman Catholicismand he’s a professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary which holds a Reformed view.

    1. Clayton,

      Being that you are asking the question and not debating, I hope you don’t mind if I don’t go at length defending the proceeding:

      “What doctrines did the church teach for the first five centuries that were “..not entirely Catholic?” Your top three would be helpful.”

      1. Ecumenical Councils were not considered infallible (https://christianreformedtheology.com/2015/06/19/augustine-on-the-superiority-of-scripture-over-councils/)

      2. Scripture was the sole authority for religious matters, though this did not mean that they felt it could be interpreted outside the historical interpretations of the Church (see the above link)

      3. Different Canon until the Council of Carthage, and even then, Augustine and Gregory the Great continued to express doubts about Maccabbees, which leads me to believe that they accepted the Deuterocanon but ascribed to it a secondary status.

      Of course, there is the issue of the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith. I think the earlier church was a little clearer in communicating doctrines such as baptism and other sacraments-by-desire. Certain writers taught that penitents, who died before completing their penance, were forgiven their sins. Now, Catholicism seems to teach the absolute necessity of the priesthood. However, Catholic sacramentalism has been largely intact since reforms by Cyprian and Bishop (Pope?) Callistus, so it has since then been assumed that receiving sacraments outside of this communion other than extenuating circumstances is useless. I know people can quote Ignatius mostly to the same effect, but I am not interested on debating the nuances on this right now. Suffice it to say, the sacramental system is not the reason why I am not a Catholic. It is because most Catholics remain so because of the sacraments puts the thought in my mind that their faith is in the works on an institution and not that of Christ 2,000 years ago. I know Catholics conflate the two, so they would not speak of them as two mutually exclusive things, but this sounds to me as simple debate tactics and not reality.

      “Also, would you agree that Western Civilization is dominated by Roman Catholicism after the first five centuries?”

      Well, it was dominated from what became Roman Catholicism as we know it today. There were still some notable differences in doctrine in the end of the first millennium.

      “Carl Trueman would agree that such period is dominated by Roman Catholicism and he’s a professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary which holds a Reformed view.”

      Raymond Brown is a Catholic priest and professor who taught the priesthood is not apostolic and developed over time. So, the historians cut both ways.

      God bless,
      Craig

      1. Craig – “Now, Catholicism seems to teach the absolute necessity of the priesthood.”

        I was going to ask that question — is this what you mean by “Sacerdotalism”, or are you also referring to the necessity of the Sacraments for salvation?

        Btw, I think you’ll find that traditional catholics are a little clearer on sacraments-by-desire — I’ve found them a good source for clearing up exactly how that works, and it seems pretty congruent with what the church fathers and the catholic church says, if put in a bit more legalistic terms. I’ll be abundantly clear here — If sacraments immediately available, sacraments are necessary — if sacraments not immediately available, perfect contrition (contrition out of Love for God alone) is necessary (except possibly in the case of baptism, that one’s a little fuzzy, as it seems that desire for baptism itself alone, along with faith, is sufficient — any of my fellow Catholics, please clarify here). You’re probably not going to find many Catholics (myself included) who can explain things in a very detailed way probably, at least not as the church fathers do — we’re going through a spiritual drought right now (However, the Christ predicts this — “Narrow is the way of salvation, and few find it.”).

        With regard to salvation by faith, we teach this. We teach that we are saved by faith, so long as that is a faith abides in Charity. Trent also teaches this (see session 6, chapter 8), though in different language, as Trent was fundamentally framed as an answer to the protestant reformation, primarily Luther. And this, I feel is one of the primary problems in protestant-Catholic discussion. Differing terminology. I speak some protestant though, given that I am a convert from Reformed protestantism myself.

        Also, out of curiosity, which of the marian dogmas do you find troubling:
        1. Mary as Mother of God
        2. Mary as ever-virgin
        3. Immaculate conception of Mary
        4. Assumption of Mary

        From what you’ve said in the past, I’m going to guess probably 3 & 4.

      2. “their faith is in the works on an institution and not that of Christ 2,000 years ago.”
        Doesn’t make any sense to me. Others here can speak for themselves. For Catholics the “institution” (the Church) is the Body of Christ himself.

        “this sounds to me as simple debate tactics and not reality”.

        This is not debate tactics, this is the basis of our faith. Even before I knew there were “debates” like those here, when I was a child, I was taught that before my first communion. We were not debating anything, sorry. I could also pass the ball to you and post dozens of biblical passages that affirm that “sola fide”, among other post-Luther doctrines, are wrong, but I won’t.

        Well, it was dominated from what became Roman Catholicism as we know it today. There were still some notable differences in doctrine in the end of the first millennium.
        You have pointed no noticeable differences here. Please add some more to your list. No drops of water in an ocean, please. Just groups of people, for example, a bishop that disagreed and set up a heretical dioceses, something like that. Your three above didn’t convince me at all.

  10. I really can’t see how the Protestant doctrine of ‘once saved, always saved, squares with this saying of Jesus, who is obviously addressing those who believe and pray:

    “And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly. [35] For as a snare shall it come upon all that sit upon the face of the whole earth.[36] Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man.”

    the baptized ‘believer’ is not exempt from this warning, and commanded to put in the effort (holy discipline and work) of ‘watching’ and praying’ at all times….so as to be found ‘worthy’ to stand before the Son of man.

    What kind of philosophical gymnastics is needed to harmonize this scripture with OSAS? Does OSAS merely judge the Protestant Christian as already ‘worthy’, i.e.. ‘saved’, due to his faith and so exempt him from Christ’s warning here?

    It’s mind boggling how any Christian can believe such a doctrine as OSAS, in light of so many parables and warnings of Christ…teaching that every believer has the very great possibility that he might, through negligence, fall away and be lost. That is, if he doesn’t follow Jesus’ grave warning to ‘watch and pray, AT ALL TIMES’.

  11. Just reading through these comments. It’s interesting to me that Catholics often use different historical narratives in apologetics.

    The Newman narrative is by far the more compelling, if only for its resilience when the Church is subjected to criticism.

    If you read his Essay on the Development of Doctrine, you’ll find Cardinal Newman granting, if only for the sake of argument, that the Church fathers were very messy and often in disagreement. They didn’t all hand on this single body of unchanging beliefs and practices.

    For example, he grants that the fathers were *not* in agreement on the Eucharist — some saying it was only a figure, etc.

    But, does this undermine the doctrine of the Real Presence or of the propitiatory nature of the Eucharist? Not for Newman. Why?

    All agree that these doctrines arose as Christians, whether through piety or controversy, reflected more and more on their practices and beliefs. But, for Newman, these developments have the signs of life, and thus of Divine sanction.

    The seeds from which these doctrines grew were planted in widely varying conditions so that they grew differently, just as seeds which are given different soil, light and water will develop differently or not at all. There is always such diversity in the absence of conciliar decrees.

    Newman frees Catholics of the burden to strain agreement out of the Church fathers, also thereby nullifying an entire class of objections to Catholic doctrine.

    1. Well said – the parable of the mustard seed sums it up quite well. I would, however, point out that Newman cites other writer’s interpretations of quotes from Clement and Origen (and a few others, if memory serves) solely for the sake of argument, making the point that some are much quicker to accept the Church’s current teaching on the Eucharist as opposed to papal authority, even though there is much more ample and uniform evidence in the ECFs on the latter. Divergence of thought on the Eucharist in the ECFs was largely related to attempts to solve the mystery of the how or quantifying the what (consubstantial vs. substantial) of the heavenly bread, but in my opinion, you would have to do some real twisting to make any quote from an ECF struggling to understand it all say it “was only a figure.” To all of them, something divine was there and given to us for our benefit.

  12. Craig –

    Raymond Brown wasn’t speaking about history, Trueman was so I’m not sure why you reference Brown. If Brown denied that history was dominated by Roman Catholicism then I would understand why you referenced him (but I’m not sure he ever said that – BTW Luther was a priest so there are priests that don’t follow Roman Catholicism 🙂 🙂 🙂 ).

    What is your explanation for the rise of the Roman Catholic Mass? Everyone misinterpreted scripture for 1,000+ years? Where are these groups of people that correctly interpreted scripture from 500 AD through 1,400 AD when it comes to the Mass? When I see history from 500 AD – 1,400 AD I don’t see any key Protestant tenant in it nor do I see a rejection of the Mass.

  13. “…you would have to do some real twisting to make any quote from an ECF struggling to understand it all say it “was only a figure.” To all of them, something divine was there and given to us for our benefit.”

    …Something ‘divine’ such as are detailed in the following famous ECF writings?:

    1. Justin Martyr:

    “We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [i.e., has received baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).

    2. Irenaeus:

    “If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?” (Against Heresies 4:33-32 [A.D. 189]).
    “He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own body, from which he gives increase unto our bodies. When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life-flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of him?” (ibid., 5:2).

    Clement of Alexandria:

    “‘Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children” (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3 [A.D. 191]).

    Tertullian:

    “[T]here is not a soul that can at all procure salvation, except it believe whilst it is in the flesh, so true is it that the flesh is the very condition on which salvation hinges. And since the soul is, in consequence of its salvation, chosen to the service of God, it is the flesh which actually renders it capable of such service. The flesh, indeed, is washed [in baptism], in order that the soul may be cleansed . . . the flesh is shadowed with the imposition of hands [in confirmation], that the soul also may be illuminated by the Spirit; the flesh feeds [in the Eucharist] on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul likewise may be filled with God” (The Resurrection of the Dead 8 [A.D. 210]).

    Hippolytus:

    “‘And she [Wisdom] has furnished her table’ [Prov. 9:2] . . . refers to his [Christ’s] honored and undefiled body and blood, which day by day are administered and offered sacrificially at the spiritual divine table, as a memorial of that first and ever-memorable table of the spiritual divine supper [i.e., the Last Supper]” (Fragment from Commentary on Proverbs [A.D. 217]).

    Origen:

    “Formerly there was baptism in an obscure way . . . now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God, as he himself says: ‘My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink’ [John 6:56]” (Homilies on Numbers 7:2 [A.D. 248]).

    Cyprian of Carthage:

    “He [Paul] threatens, moreover, the stubborn and forward, and denounces them, saying, ‘Whosoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27]. All these warnings being scorned and contemned-[lapsed Christians will often take Communion] before their sin is expiated, before confession has been made of their crime, before their conscience has been purged by sacrifice and by the hand of the priest, before the offense of an angry and threatening Lord has been appeased, [and so] violence is done to his body and blood; and they sin now against their Lord more with their hand and mouth than when they denied their Lord” (The Lapsed 15-16 [A.D. 251]).

    1. Exactly. The Real Presence was not the impetus of my journey to the Church, but once on the path, these were some of the quotes that were undeniable. After that…me=moth, consecrated host=flame.

      1. Shane…you say that some of the quotes furnished by a previous poster were “undeniable”. Undeniable in what sense?
        Justin Martyr was quoted, which apparently tickled your fancy. OK, let’s scratch that itch, shall we? First of all, did you know that the catechism informs us that the real presence, “endures only as long as the Eucharistic species subsists” (CCC 1377). Read that again. IT’S TEMPORARY. “This real presence only remains while the blessed sacrament still continues undestroyed, which lasts for a few minutes at most” (“How to Become a Catholic” by Fr. George Searle).

        Notice that the magisterium issues “jesus” only a TEMPORARY visa, allowing Him to immigrate into the stomach, but only until the digestive juices begin their attack. The minute he senses persecution from this war zone, he must get out of the country and become a refugee, going who knows where after doing who knows what after crossing the border into the Catholic belly. To understand why his immigration papers do not allow him to stay, we need to go back to the early Christian mindset. So let’s get back to Justin:

        Circa 150, “…we have been taught the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh are nourished, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology, 66).

        Sleepy Catholics simply do not see the contradiction between Justin and MODERN Catholicism, so one needs to spell it out. “The change of which our body and flesh are nourished” is NOT a reference to the benefits of Transubstantiation as defined by MODERN Catholicism. It can’t be. I just told you that MODERN RC-ism teaches “jesus” packs his bags after a minute or two and does not “assimilate” into our digestive track. Catholic author William Jurgens says, “The change referred to here is the change that takes place when the food we eat is assimilated and becomes part of our own body” (“The Faith of the Early Fathers”, vol. 1, p. 57). Therefore, from the Catholicism of ANTIQUITY, Justin is saying that the consecrated Eucharist nourishes our body in the same manner as regular food! But that is not MODERN CATHOLICISM. Again, he and his fan club originally thought the traveling Savior would take a trip thruuuu our digestive system under the appearance, or “accidents” of bread and wine and thus, assimilate Himself into our bloodstream. That being so, the only reason the magisterium LATER ON invented a fast exit for this “Accidental Tourist” is because the consequences of Him being so rudely escorted out of the body are disgusting beyond belief.

        Hence, if anyone wishes to believe that Justin taught Transubstantiation, there is a problem: it simply contradicts modern Roman Catholicism! So much then, for “EVERYONE” believing the same thing down through time as the author of the article and the interlocutors here so wrongly think. Justin’s explanation involves the essence of Deity being broken down and absorbed after the stomach acids take their turn; then burned off as energy, stored as fat, and/or expelled as waste. Apparently, someone along the way realized the horrific ramifications of the Justin Martyr complex and had to think of a way to shorten the itinerary. What to do? Answer? Create a doctrine out of thin air which has him packing his bags before the stomach acids begin their attack so he can seek asylum elsewhere as quickly as possible. That way, He can be spared the shame of ending up in the city sewer.

        At the end of the day, the Catholic “jesus” enters “whole and entire”, and a minute later leaves “whole and entire” (CCC 1374) somewhat like a piece of bubble gum which enters the mouth whole and entire and then leaves whole and entire. What, pray tell, is to be accomplished in the secrecy of those 60 seconds is anyone’s guess. We yawn as they reply, “heavens to betsy, it’s all just a mystery dontcha know!” (as Matthew P said on 8/24). We tire of these escape-route excuses. The bond between the believer and his Lord is so essential and unbreakable that to consider Christ in isolation from His host, even temporarily while the Eucharist “disintegrates”, is unthinkable (Matt 28:20).

        We are convinced that this “bubble-gum-christ” is, “another jesus and another gospel” according to 2 Corinthians 11:4. The real Jesus says that, “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:55-56). The word “abides” means to “remain, to endure.” Since the Catholic “jesus” does not remain, endure or abide, Transubstantiation is a hoax and Calvin’s assessment of it is 100% true. After getting chewed up and spit out like bubble gum, “jesus” cancels his reservation after a minute or two, not to return, technically, until the next Mass. At the end of the day, the elaborate scheme of Transubstantiation must be exposed as religious racketeering at its worst (Titus 1:9-13, Eph 5:11, 2 Tim 4:2, Romans 16:17-18).

        1. Micah – is your issue with Transubstantiation, the real presence (body, soul and divinity) or both. Sounds like you deny modern Catholicism. Am I to assume you are a follower of ancient Catholicism? What century Catholicism are you a member of?

          1. CK: is your issue with Transubstantiation, the real presence (body, soul and divinity) or both.

            M: BOTH, of course. In light of Christ’s promise to send the Holy Spirit, and hence, the Triune God, to indwell all believers, any such promise of the “real presence” of Christ in the Eucharist would not only serve no purpose, but would be redundant. It is therefore, FALSE.

          2. Micah – Christ in the Eucharist would not only serve no purpose, but would be redundant. It is therefore, FALSE.

            Me – God does things his way not your way. We do what He commands regardless if understand it or think it’s redundant. Let’s apply your reasoning. We will avoid any command, teaching or action that’s redundant or serves no purpose since in your world it must be FALSE.

            Christ died for our sins once and for all. All our sins are forgiven so it would not serve any purpose to avoid sin. Also no need to repent. Once saved always saved baby! Member of the elect!

            If you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior you should NOT get baptized. It serves no purpose!

            The Father only sees Christ’s imputed righteousness. Your behavior serves no purpose! Sin is irrelevant!

            Christ born of the Vigin Mary and the miracle of Canaan where enough! All other miracles are redundant and have no purpose! They must be False!

            I could go on….Yiu sound silly and proud.

            The bottom line is He commanded us to be baptized so we do it whether or not we think it’s redundant. He told us to eat His body and drink His blood so we do it. He told us it IS His body and blood so we believe it. He removed any doubt at the last supper when He said
            Matthew 26:26-28King James Version (KJV)

            26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

            27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

            28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

            You partake of the sacrificial lamb by actually eating it. You lack the faith to see it. You can ignore His command. After all, He did give us free will.

        2. CCC 1377: “The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist.”

          I don’t know what is the contradiction here. How could there be a presence if there is nothing in which to be present? Christ cannot be present (substantially or otherwise!) in something that doesn’t exist, he cannot manifest himself through an appearance that lost its form!

          “Notice that the magisterium issues “jesus” [sic, you really like to spell Jesus with a lowercase “j”] only a TEMPORARY visa, allowing Him to immigrate into the stomach, but only until the digestive juices begin their attack.”

          Your theory needs some back up from Catholic theologians. Please show us some evidence of your theory that the doctrine of transubstantiation arose because of disgust with the possibility of Jesus being ejected in a latrine. Please show us where any Catholic theologian or authority put forward such a thesis. Otherwise, I shall just ignore it.

          “Justin’s explanation involves the essence of Deity being broken down and absorbed”
          Just as a soul cannot be broken down, so much a spiritual substance, Christ indeed, could never be “broken down”. Is God separated? Is God divided?

          “to consider Christ in isolation from His host, even temporarily while the Eucharist “disintegrates”, is unthinkable (Matt 28:20).”

          There you deny Calvin himself.

          “First, Let there be nothing derogatory to the heavenly glory of Christ. This happens whenever he is brought under the corruptible elements of this world, or is affixed to any earthly creatures.” (Calvin, Institutes, IV, 17)
          So, according to this, it was derogatory for Christ to be born of a woman “under the corruptible elements of this world”…

          “Secondly, Let no property be assigned to his body inconsistent with his human nature. This is done when it is either said to be infinite, or made to occupy a variety of places at the same time.”

          I would really like Calvin’s explanation about Christ’s body presence in Heaven after His ascension… and here I’ve found it:

          “Calvin repeatedly stated that his argument with the Roman Catholics and with Luther was not over the fact of Christ’s presence, but only over the mode of that presence.”
          And yet, in the Institutes Calvin himself affirms that this mode is “incomprehensible!” Now I see whence Craig’s anti-rationalism derives: “I don’t know how, I just believe, and all explanations are false!”

          Mathison again:
          “According to Calvin, Christ’s human body is locally present in heaven, but it does not have to descend in order for believers to truly partake of it because the Holy Spirit effects communion. The Holy Spirit is the bond of the believer’s union with Christ. Therefore that which the minister does on the earthly plane, the Holy Spirit accomplishes on the spiritual plane. In other words, those who partake of the bread and wine in faith are also, by the power of the Holy Spirit, being nourished by the body and blood of Christ.” (http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/calvins-doctrine-lords-supper/)

          Yet in the preceding paragraph Mathison says:

          Calvin argues that when Christ uses the words, “This is my body,” the name of the thing signified (“body”) is applied to the sign (the bread).

          Now I see. For Calvin, it is a real presence (ie, not only a symbol), but it is not a substantial presence, it is more like an effusion of godliness through the Holy Spirit to the believer. It is not material, it is a spiritual presence. But the thing is, this presence happens, according to Calvin, not in the Host, but in the believer:

          “Calvin denied that unbelievers receive the body of Christ at all. According to Calvin, the body and blood of Christ are objectively offered to all, but only received by believers.”
          There could be nothing more contradictory than this. You cannot have it both ways. It is either real presence, or a presence only for the believers. In which case, the Eucharist is only Christ’s body in the body of the believer. Calvin does not exactly say that, in the Institutes he seems to propose, against Mathison, that unbelievers really receive Christ’s supernatural/spiritual body, but this spiritual body doesn’t “get into” them. So now I ask you: if Christ was spiritually present in the bread given to the unbeliever (though the unbeliever did not absorb it), where did this spiritual body of Christ go? Of course not to the latrine, because the presence is only spiritual for him, but for Calvin it is only a temporary spiritual visa, to use your language.

          Since Calvin rejects that Christ is present “on earth” in the Eucharist, we must conclude that what the Catholic mean by “real presence” is not what Calvinists mean. “Real” means substantial, not spiritual.

          In the end, Calvin’s argument is so tortuous and vitriolic that every time I turn to his writings I feel ashamed by his arrogance and lack of charity: his language is truly debased and foul:

          “those who send forth such monstrous dogmas, so far from being ashamed at the disgrace, assail us with virulent invectives for not subscribing to them.”
          http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.vi.xviii.html

          “Since the Catholic “jesus” [sic] does not remain, endure or abide”.
          Nor does Calvin’s. Or Luther’s Christ “remain, endure or abide” in the bread. For Calvin, Christ is only present in the act of communion. For Lutherans, soon thereafter.

          I really wish you were not so judgmental. But coming from the lineage of Luther, Calvin & Co., it is understandable. “idolatry”, “chew-gum Christ”, “hoax”, “racketeering at its worst”… and then we have to endure some other people here complaining about our language?

          You are offensive. And someone called me a “wimp” here… I’m tired of all of you, scum.

  14. Hi Craig,

    Hypothetical situation for you?

    If someone were to tell you to do something, and that if you didn’t do it, your disobedience would be a sin, that would mean that person feels he holds authority over you, correct? Granted they may not actually hold that authority, but in their mind they clearly feel they do, else why would they feel disobeying them is a sin, if they have no claim to some sort of authority over you?

    Duane

  15. On August 19, 2016, I wrote a personal note to Mr. Heschmeyer, informing him that the “infallible” council of Trent began their treatise on the Eucharist, in this manner: namely, that the Evangelical view on the Eucharist is an “intolerable disgrace”; and that the “express and clear words of Christ” have been “twisted by contentious and evil men to artificial and imaginary figures of speech [which we] denounce as SATANICAL” (emphasis mine. “Concerning the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist”).

    Yet right after telling him that, I was shocked to see that in this article dated August 20, he bemoans “the UGLY INSANITY [emphasis mine] of Calvin’s railing against [transubstantiation] as “satanic.”

    Obviously, the author is under the impression that the Catholic Church has the right to dish it out, but their enemies are by no means allowed to do likewise! This is completely hypocritical and Joe needs to retract the “ugly insanity” of his opinion if he has any integrity whatsoever.

    1. Micah – assuming moral equivalency you statement would be correct. Calling the Eucharist satanic is satanic. Do you apply the same principles to the Apostles and Jesus? Jesus was violent to some money changers and some high priests where violent to Jesus. His followers had no right to be upset…

      One man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter and so on. No judging please!

      1. I am not out of order in judging the hypocrisy of J.H. Had he put in parenthesis that, “while it is true that Trent used the same terminology as Calvin, Calvin is still a dummy because…” then all would be well. But he did not. He singled out Calvin for his “ugliness” and left Trent untouched and smelling like a rose when he knew better.
        I don’t quite see your point regarding Jesus and the apostles. By their opponent’s actions, they judged and were angry. We have been commanded to “judge” likewise. If we did not judge, how then would we come to any conclusion about avoiding wolves in sheep’s clothing? Such cannot be done without judging the words that come out of their mouth.
        As for the Eucharist being “satanic”, I am adamant that it is JUST THAT… when defining it from a Roman Catholic perspective. If I am correct, then calling the Eucharist “satanic” is quite appropriate, and falls within the category of doctrines which Jesus says “I hate” (Rev 2:15).

        1. What Roman Catholic perspective? ie Transubstantiation (the explanation) or that the Eucharist is the body, blood and Divinity of Jesus? Also you keep talking about modern Catholicism, do believe in “ancient” Catholicism? What era?

        2. Trent for Calvin: “Satanic”.
          Calvin for Trent: “Satanic”.

          Are they on the same level?

          Wow, I love translations:

          ” for thus all our forefathers, as many as were in the true Church of Christ, who have treated of this most holy Sacrament, have most openly professed, that our Redeemer instituted this so admirable a sacrament at the last supper, when, after the blessing of the bread and wine, He testified, in express and clear words, that He gave them His own very Body, and His own Blood; words which,-recorded by the holy Evangelists, and afterwards repeated by Saint Paul, whereas they carry with them that proper and most manifest meaning in which they were understood by the Fathers,-it is indeed a crime the most unworthy that they should be wrested, by certain contentions and wicked men, to fictitious and imaginary tropes, whereby the verity of the flesh and blood of Christ is denied, contrary to the universal sense of the Church, which, as the pillar and ground of truth, has detested, as satanical, these inventions devised by impious men; she recognising, with a mind ever grateful and unforgetting, this most excellent benefit of Christ.”
          http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct13.html

          Compare it to Calvin’s whole prolix chapter with 10 occurrences of the word “Satan”, and composed mostly of pure vicious rant. Indeed, his whole opus is a long winding vociferous diatribe, a fluster vomited from a hateful intellect.

        3. The Fundamentalist and Evangelical rejection of Catholic belief regarding the Holy Eucharist can be summed up, pretty simply, as such:

          “Why do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals reject the plain, literal interpretation of John 6? For them, Catholic sacraments are out because they imply a spiritual reality—grace—being conveyed by means of matter. This seems to them to be a violation of the divine plan. For many Protestants, matter is not to be used, but overcome or avoided.

          One suspects, had they been asked by the Creator their opinion of how to bring about mankind’s salvation, Fundamentalists would have advised him to adopt a different approach. How much cleaner things would be if spirit never dirtied itself with matter! But God approves of matter—he approves of it because he created it—and he approves of it so much that he comes to us under the appearances of bread and wine, just as he does in the physical form of the Incarnate Christ.” (Catholic Answers, on Christ in the Eucharist)

          1. You quote Karl Keating: “The Fundamentalist and Evangelical rejection of Catholic belief regarding the Holy Eucharist can be summed up, pretty simply, as such: “Why do [they] reject the plain, literal interpretation of John 6? For them, Catholic sacraments are out because they imply a spiritual reality—grace—being conveyed by means of matter. This seems to them to be a violation of the divine plan. For many Protestants, matter is not to be used, but overcome or avoided.”

            Actually, Protestants reject the literal interpretation of John 6 because the Bible simply will not permit it! And no, Mr. Keating, the Protestant denial may NOT be summed up in one sentence. We reject the Catholic concept of grace because it “MERITS HEAVEN”, being “another gospel” per 2 Cor 11:4 as I will show below. Second, not only is the Bible silent on the metaphysical fiasco called T, but the excuses attempting to support it are far too often, perfectly ridiculous. For example, Matthew P said on August 24 that, “The tiniest crumb of the consecrated host or a single drop of the consecrated chalice contains all of Christ; Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity” (cf. CCC 1377).
            We respond, shall it also be said that the whole earth is in every grain of sand? Or that the whole ocean is in every drop of seawater? Surely not. That being so, Jesus is certainly not in every crumb and drop of the Eucharist; for our senses conclude that what we are hearing is irrational beyond belief (!!!). Who in the world thought up this nonsense? No one knows! Should one embrace the lunacy of the “crumb” theory, stop and think. If we were to suppose that there are about 100 grains of wheat in the communion wafer, and it takes 100 drops of wine to swallow it, that would leave us no choice but to conclude that we had consumed 200 “christs”!

            Helloooooo. “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16).

            Not only that, but the monotonous doctrine that every molecule and particle contains the virtues of a “single, whole Christ” contradicts Scripture when it speaks regarding many DIFFERENT particles being one entity. The Text reads, “we [the church] being many, are one [loaf of] bread” (1 Cor 10:17). In other words, just as a loaf of bread is made up of many different grains, no two being alike, it is still one loaf. A church congregation is made up of many different people, and though no two are alike, they are one church. Likewise, a glass of wine is made up of many different clusters of grapes, and though no two drops are alike, it is one glass of wine. Thus, the biblical axiom is many different things make up one entity. But in Catholicism, we are faced with the “same thing” duplicated many times over, making up the one entity. Not on your life. Thus, because Catholicism has parted company with biblical precedent and sound reason, it must be repudiated at once.

            Mr.Keating further says that [in an effort to] bring about mankind’s salvation… Catholic sacraments are out [for Prots] because they imply a spiritual reality—grace—being conveyed by means of matter. This seems to them to be a violation of the divine plan.

            Protestants will always reject the graced-produced, works salvation offered by the RCC. We read in CCC 1821 that God gives a supposedly spiritual kick in the pants called grace, so Catholics may run around the world doing good deeds which then MERIT HEAVEN. However, this is an absolute rejection of the TRUE gospel of grace offered to us by faith alone in the cross-work of Christ, being replaced by the maniacal idea of “right conduct and obedience to the 10 commandments” as necessary for salvation (CCC 16, 2016). The Bible categorically REFUTES the RCC in the blink of an eye by telling us that the Lord has laid aside the Mosaic law with regards to our justification (Acts 13:39) and hence, Catholicism is found to be, “of their father, the devil” (John 8:44).

          2. “…this is an absolute rejection of the TRUE gospel of grace offered to us by faith alone in the cross-work of Christ, being replaced by the maniacal idea of “right conduct and obedience to the 10 commandments” as necessary for salvation”

            Micah, do you just ignore the words of Christ? Do you ignore His multitude of very clear warnings, that our salvation can be lost through our own neglect, and fall, through temptation and other wiles and tricks of the devil? Have you never read the parables of Christ? …such as the wise and foolish virgins? Or, the man who buried his talent? Or the man forgiven by the King, but who would not forgive the debt of the man who owed to him much less? Do these mean nothing?

            How can you ignore these essential teachings of Christ?:

            “So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. [17] Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. [18] For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. [19] He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] For I tell you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

            Micah, you might want to philosophize your way around this clear teaching of Christ, searching and interpreting St. Paul in any way that suits your needs. But the words above teach much and they hey are plain and simple. You should learn by them, even as the Catholic Church has listened, and learnt, for the last 2000 years.

            Here is another word of warning and life, from Christ Our Lord:

            “And you yourselves like to men who wait for their lord, when he shall return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open to him immediately. [37] Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh, shall find watching. Amen I say to you, that he will gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and passing will minister unto them. [38] And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. [39] But this know ye, that if the householder did know at what hour the thief would come, he would surely watch, and would not suffer his house to be broken open. [40] Be you then also ready: for at what hour you think not, the Son of man will come.

            [41] And Peter said to him: Lord, dost thou speak this parable to us, or likewise to all? [42] And the Lord said: Who (thinkest thou) is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord setteth over his family, to give them their measure of wheat in due season? [43] Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord shall come, he shall find so doing. [44] Verily I say to you, he will set him over all that he possesseth. [45] But if that servant shall say in his heart: My lord is long a coming; and shall begin to strike the menservants and maidservants, and to eat and to drink and be drunk:

            [46] The lord of that servant will come in the day that he hopeth not, and at the hour that he knoweth not, and shall separate him, and shall appoint him his portion with unbelievers. [47]” (Luke 12:36)

            Micah, at least Catholics don’t try to philosophize around these most loving, and easy to understand, warnings of Christ, above. And there are so many others like it. Maybe you should try to humble yourself, even as as a little child, so as to be able to understand these beautiful and most loving teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

            May God, in His great love, give you eyes to see and ears to hear!

            Amen.

          3. “our senses conclude that what we are hearing is irrational beyond belief”

            Make your own list of “irrational beyond belief”:

            * Origin of the cosmos.

            * The origin of the species.

            * Original Sin

            * Noah and a world wide flood.

            * the Tower of Babel.

            * Moses.

            * Egypt being plagued by 10 plagues.

            * the Exodus.

            * David and Solomon

            * the 10 Commandments.

            * Joshua and the tumbling walls of Jericho.

            * sun, shadows and drought.

            * 1,000,000 Ethiopians being murdered.

            * Yahweh is the only God.

            * The Trinity etc etc etc etc.

          4. The miraculous incidents you described in the Bible ARE NOT support for the “miraculous” RC Eucharist. You are merely falling back on that same old schtick; namely, that since God can do anything, “IT MUST BE TRUE”.
            Nonsense.
            The train is both unbiblical and irrational. Look into the field. There is a rooster and a caterpillar. Yes, Almighty power could turn the rooster into a caterpillar and vice versa, just as John the Baptist said God could turn these rocks into the sons of Abraham (Matt 3:9). But to make the first thing become a second thing, which hides under the appearance of the first thing, is something Almighty power COULD NOT DO, since neither could achieve the purpose for which they were made in their original form! To suppose then, that God could turn the rooster into a caterpillar… UNDER THE FORM OF A ROOSTER, are the ravings of a maniac. Hence, neither is the bread turned into the body of Christ… under the form of bread. Aquinas ruffles the feathers of this rooster by saying that God can make “diverse forms succeed each other in the same subject.” We submit that this is nothing but a bunch of cock-a-doodle-doo! (Summa Theologica, pt. 3, q. 75, art. 3; pt. 3, q. 77, art. 1).

          5. In my previous reply, I meant, “the tranz” . This computer tries to correct me when I use short-cuts.

          6. “The miraculous incidents you described in the Bible ARE NOT support for the “miraculous” RC Eucharist. You are merely falling back on that same old schtick; namely, that since God can do anything, “IT MUST BE TRUE”.

            Have I ever said that they supported the Eucharist? What they do is that they support faith in things that cannot be seen, nor proved. You haven’t proved that the Resurrection occurred, either. It is faith. Period. “Oh, but there were witnesses”. Of course. There have been witnesses to (false) miracles for millennia. Why should you trust a bunch of peasants from Palestine? You haven’t answered that question, have you?

            Your argument is, “If the flesh cannot be seen, then transubstantiation is not to be believed, it’s just a metaphor”.

            If what cannot be seen nor proved is just a metaphor, all those “incidents” I cited, which are really myths, are metaphors, too. No historical evidence for Exodus. Or Noah. Or Abraham. Or the tower of Babel. No evidence for Heaven or Hell either, according to your own premises. No evidence that the Bible is the Word of God, or even if God inspired it. The list goes on. If one accepts all those incredible claims, accepting that God himself is spiritual food offered as flesh when he came in the flesh is just one more “irrational” thing you’ll believe.

        4. Micah,

          The polemics in your comments are not helpful for discourse. Their purpose is not to get at the truth of the matter but to incite emotions. I will say that if Calvin was right about the Eucharist, then the Catholic position would be “satanic” but this also works in reverse. If the Catholic position on the Eucharist is correct, then the protestant position is “satanic.” I can likewise view the scripture cited (Revelation 2:5, Titus 1:9, Ephesians 5:11, Romans 16:17-18, Galatians 1:6-8, ect), as condemnations of your false gospel and as preaching “a difference Jesus” but doing so would presuppose the truth of my position and the falsity of yours as you have done. So before we throw around these accusations, let’s at least try to ascertain the truth of the matter.

          It is not lost on me the level of contempt you have for Justin Martyr. I would be interested in why I should chose to believe your interpretations over him since he lived much closer to the time of Christ and the apostles than you did. He is in a superior position to know their teaching and notice in the quote you mentioned, Justin starts by saying “we have been taught.” Justin did not come up with this understanding of the Eucharist. He learned it from someone even earlier. Furthermore, you keep using the word “contradiction” but I do not think it means what you think it means 😉 lol. A contradiction is specifically affirming a proposition and denying (or asserting the opposite) that proposition at the same time. The Catholic teaching is that Christ’s substantial presence in the Eucharist lasts as long as the Eucharistic species (accidents of bread and wine) subsist. In order to show a contradiction between that position and Justin Martyr, you need to show him denying that or affirming the opposite, neither of which he does in the quote from him that you bring forth. I do believe that Justin Martyr says that the Eucharist does have an effect on our bodies, but that’s fully compatible with the Catholic position. The Eucharist effects our bodies is an incredibly intimate way as long as Christ is substantially present therein. Our bodies are literally touching God. And despite your uncharitable and polemical language, Jesus says in John 6:55 “My flesh is TRUE FOOD and my blood is TRUE DRINK.” In Greek, it is “alethes estin brosis/posis.” It shouldn’t be any surprise that when we eat His flesh and drink His blood, things that typically happen when something is eaten or drunk are going to happen here! John uses the verb “trogon” as “to eat” in verses 53-58 of chapter 6. This verb literally means “to chew/gnaw.” Food is meant to be eaten and drink is meant to be drunk. If Jesus really does give us His flesh and blood as food and drink, He expects us to well…eat and drink! Lol.

          You have not said anything in regards to the other Church Fathers and griping about Justin Martyr doesn’t refute him. As it pertains to Ignatius of Antioch, I’m going to ask you the same question I asked Craig. Micah, do you confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of Jesus Christ? If not as I assume, then you would fall under the same critique Ignatius leveled against the Docetics. If you do, then please explain how that is possible without transubstantiation as Craig failed to do.

          Incidentally, you could stand to learn a lot from Craig, while I strenuously disagree with him and I believe his argumentation is poor, we did have a respectful and high quality exchange. I would like to do the same with you but the polemics will have to stop.

          May God be with you.

          Matthew

          1. You say that the polemics will have to stop? A polemic is simply an
            argument that is intended to support a particular position against a contrary one. Thus, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH POLEMICS, end of story, especially when one perceives the word of God is being mishandled. Methinks you just can’t take the heat. Apparently, the only effective way your church thinks to deal with “malcontents” is to hop a plane (as the Pope will do next month) and celebrate the Reformation with the Lutherans (!!!). This is the type of ammo perfectly suited for Jay Leno on the “The Tonight Show”.

            Now I was going to respond to something you said in another box, but there is no reply switch there. I’m assuming they disappear after a certain amount of time. So I will do so here and get to the rest if I can later. You said…

            “How exactly God accomplishes this is a mystery that we the faithful do not need to know lol. But the mystery is better explained using metaphysics developed by Aristotle. That’s all “transubstantiation” is; a better explanation of the Mystery.”

            On its face, to think that God chose non-Christian Aristotle to dispense the mysteries of His kingdom, is unbelievable. The Bible says that when He desires to do so, He chooses to reveal His secrets to His servants…NOT METAPHYSICAL ATHEISTS. Look it up.

            Naturally, the invisible concept of Transubstantiation goes beyond the
            the realm our God-given senses, and so the higher-ups have no choice but to make the laity comfortable in their ignorance. The catechism says,
            “That in this sacrament are the true body of Christ and His true blood, is something that cannot be comprehended by the senses…but only by faith which relies on divine authority…” (1381). “[We] must firmly maintain that in objective reality, independently of our mind, the bread and wine have ceased to exist” (John Paul II, “Ecclesia de Eucharistia”, 15). “[Only] the sensibly perceptible properties of bread and wine remain. This kind of change has no counterpart in nature; it belongs to the supernatural order” (therealpresence.org). Transubstantiation is, “the greatest miracle of its kind, where all the laws of nature are suspended” (Pope Leo XIII, “Encyclical on the Most Holy Eucharist”).

            All of this comes rolling down on our heads without a speck of biblical evidence. At the get-go, even an innocent bystander would be skeptical. After all, any forensic evidence is not to be hoped for, being “independent of our mind and our senses”, and based solely on “faith in the divine authority” of the Roman Catholic church, which it appears you think is quite funny by ending your sentence with LOL. However, if T is false, as I insist, I trust you realize that you will no longer be laughing when you are issued a passport to hell.
            To begin with, the Bible does not even hint at the “divine authority” of the church at Rome, as the catechism claims…. not even in the book of Roooooomans, where one would expect to find it. Second, God requires no more than the right use of the faculties He’s given us, and that right use has boundaries. The alleged miracle of T goes beyond the restricted bounds of our God-given senses, bidding us to embrace a “chemical/metaphysical theology” which leads us AWAY from our Creator, and into the world of quantum physics to help explain what God apparently chose not to explain. Third, we were created with limitations, and mandated limitations are par for the course when it comes to God’s dealing with mankind. Jesus was no exception. He voluntarily subjected Himself to earthly limitations, not going beyond what the Father instructed (Jn 8:28). Repeatedly, the Israelites were told not to go beyond the word which was commanded (Deut 4:2; 12:32; 13:1-4). Balaam could not go beyond the word (Num 22:18). The man of God could not go beyond the word (1 Kings 13:7-8). The waves of the sea were told not to go beyond the word (Job 38:11). Satan was told not to go beyond the word (Job 2:6). Paul did not go beyond the word (Acts 26:22). We are even told “not to think of men beyond that which is written” (1 Cor 4:6). Was not Jesus a man? And are we not going beyond what is written about Him when all sorts of contrived explanations are brought forth to explain His being sequestered away in the “miraculous” bread and wine? Surely then, these mandated limitations have something to say with respect to Transubstantiation, which shamelessly goes outside established boundaries by enticing us to believe something that, “indeed taxes our mind’s ability to pass beyond appearances. Here our senses fail us.” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 58).

            After stealing the notions of Aristotle to suit his purposes, Aquinas composed a poem….
            “Though the senses fail to see; faith alone which sight forsaketh, shows true hearts the mystery.”

            Amusing isn’t it…for all the yada yada yada Catholics make against being saved by faith alone, they are more than happy to cuddle up with Aquinas and blow the trumpet of FAITH ALONE IN THE EUCHARIST!
            NO. The Lord does not ask us to venture into unchartered territory and forsake the testimony of our sight by “faith alone”. The very thought that we trash the witness of our senses, emasculates the import of being created in the very image of God. Worse still, another hymn goes, “Seeing, touching, tasting, are by thee deceived”…

            but weeee say Mr. Aquinas is not to be believed! (“Adoro Te Devote”).
            Suffice to say that it is the height of lunacy to suppose that Jesus Christ broke through the curtain of this world to “deceive us by faith alone in the Eucharist” which Trent says is “necessary” for salvation. The Bible absolutely rejects such devilish tricks and those who are His sheep will turn away from T, since it is clearly not the voice of the Shepherd speaking.

          2. “All of this comes rolling down on our heads without a speck of biblical evidence.”
            The evidence is there. But one of the two contenders don’t consider it evidence because… because they have a doctrine that says it must be interpreted otherwise, that is, not literally.

            “based solely on “faith in the divine authority” of the Roman Catholic church”

            Sorry, it is based on the literal word of God. The Orthodox, the Copts, the Armenians, the Jacobites, the Nestorians… even if not “explained” in Aristotelian terms, believe it. They shun Luther and even more Calvin. So it’s not a “Roman Catholic” thing.

            ===

            “The alleged miracle of T goes beyond the restricted bounds of our God-given senses”

            Pick your dogma:

            T = incarnation; T= Resurrection; T = Ascension; T = walking on water; T = feast of Cana; T = miracle of the bread and fish; T = raising the dead…

            the list goes on…

            All of God’s miracles got “beyond the restricted bounds of our God-given senses”, or logic, or science. Or are you going to explain to me scientifically how Christ rose from the dead?

            “if T is false, as I insist, I trust you realize that you will no longer be laughing when you are issued a passport to hell.”

            If you’re a Calvinist, your passport has been issued by God himself, so why bother. If I were a Calvinist I’d say: “I’m f**, f** God”. But anyway, I don’t care about your threats of Hell. It’s just funny.

            “leads us AWAY from our Creator”

            How???

            “and into the world of quantum physics to help explain what God apparently chose not to explain.”
            Well, God apparently chose not to explain a lot of things, mate. You may state like Craig, and contradicting sometimes his own dogmas, that the Bible is literally true on this, but he chooses not to think. That’s fine. But interpreting like Calvin, “the verb to be here means a spiritual reality” through a linguistic analogy, means that Calvin is wrong, because he too is explaining what God, according to you, “chose not to explain”.

            ===

            “The Lord does not ask us to venture into unchartered territory and forsake the testimony of our sight by “faith alone”. ”

            So, if I go into “unchartered territory” believing that Christ rose from the dead, because then I’d be “forsaking the testimony of our sight” with “faith alone”, then I’d go against a command by “the Lord”? What is faith, then?

            “The Bible absolutely rejects such devilish tricks and those who are His sheep will turn away from T, since it is clearly not the voice of the Shepherd speaking.”

            No, of course not, when we read the Bible and it says, “My flesh is TRUE FOOD and my blood is TRUE DRINK,” that’s the Devil speaking! And the “Angel of the Loooooord” speaks “gospel of salvation” through Calvin! Hail!

          3. KO says on 8/31

            “All of God’s miracles got “beyond the restricted bounds of our God-given senses”, or logic, or science. Or are you going to explain to me scientifically how Christ rose from the dead?”

            Reply: You miserably fail to get the point. First of all, Christ rising from the dead was based on reliable WITNESS testimony of those who used their SENSES — which does not effect my argument in the least and you were out of order to think it has any merit. The fact of the matter is that from Genesis to Revelation, the Lord constantly appeals to our senses to vividly depict His power. Virtually every miracle was meant to astonish the eyes of men and display His glory. Need it be said that miracles, by their very nature, are an appeal to our senses? Yet the “miracle” of Transubstantiation is not an appeal to the senses, nor to any principle in human nature; but is an appeal to fanaticism, violating common sense and sound reason. There exists no pattern in the Bible of the supernatural taking place — where all the evidence indicated nothing supernatural had taken place. A miracle must function within the bounds of verifiable reality. But since Transubstantiation is an allegedly “invisible” miracle that cannot be seen (CCC 1348), it goes against reality and is foreign to the Text. Just think. How can we forget the ocean being split down the middle, the lame walk, the blind receive sight, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and even dry bones are changed into an army of men, all to the amazement of the onlookers (Ezekiel 37:5-10). Moreover, John the Baptist said that God could of these very stones, turn them into children of Abraham (Matt 3:9). But if He did, the stones would take on the appearance of men! The record even shows that when God turned the rivers into blood, it took on the appearance of blood and was obvious for all to see! (Psalm 78:44). Yet Catholicism wants us to believe in the optical illusion that the blood of Jesus takes on the appearance of bread and wine for no one to see.

            The God of the Bible has created a universe that lights up the heavens, leaving our senses awestruck. He then bids us, to a lesser degree, to take out our own flashlights and light up the senses of others: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt 5:16). Therefore, the “panoramic” element displayed in creation and miracles, leads us to conclude that the invisible marvel of Transubstantiation is positively out of character for God and is saying something about Him which is incorrect (Job 42:8).

            You then say: “The Bible says, “My flesh is TRUE FOOD and my blood is TRUE DRINK”, as if Protestants are unaware of this verse. But you are again out of order to think that this somehow supports T. IT DOES NOT. Catholics like to say that “My flesh is true food” (6:55) precludes any metaphorical interpretation due to the emphasis of the subject (namely, “TRUE”). As a result, they demand that Jesus was speaking literally. However, this objection wrongly assumes that an emphasis on “true” qualifies for the flesh being literal. When comparing Scripture with Scripture (1 Cor 2:13) the Catholic argument disappears into nothingness. Recall that Jesus is also the “true light” (1:9), the “true vine” (15:1) and the “true bread” (6:32), all of which are emphasized, and all of which Catholicism admits are metaphorical. That said, “true food” and “true drink” are in harmonious, metaphorical unity with the others. Furthermore, the Jews had just witnessed the feeding of thousands, and were only seeking Jesus to satisfy their oral fixations. Knowing their thoughts (6:26), the Great Orator peels back the layer of their mental onion by using metaphor, the prime objective of which is linking to what a person is already familiar with and to make a dazzling connection. The flesh-eating perspective, being identical to the concept of BELIEF, was brought in to INTENSIFY the dire need for faith, and to see beyond the present reality of their physical hunger.

          4. “Christ rising from the dead was based on reliable WITNESS testimony of those who used their SENSES ”

            No, all the witnesses are unreliable. If you don’t have faith, you won’t believe them. I certainly wouldn’t believe a bunch of peasants from 1st c. Palestine on anything of such importance. Specially if I were Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Persian, you name it.

            “Need it be said that miracles, by their very nature, are an appeal to our senses?”
            Only if you believe those reports to be true. I wasn’t there. It didn’t appeal to my senses at all. I have to trust.

            ==

            “The flesh-eating perspective, being identical to the concept of BELIEF, was brought in to INTENSIFY the dire need for faith, and to see beyond the present reality of their physical hunger.”

            I still wonder why people who heard Jesus were so shocked. After all, they were just there to eat bread and fill their bellies for free; anyway, I should they be shocked and turn away from such a simple truth as a metaphor? They must be so very stupid, and the Lord is much more stupid for letting the first hearers think it was true indeed, when he could have said: “Wait, calm down, this is only a metaphor, this is a parable, a sign, folks! Don’t run away!” But no, people really took it literally — idiots, according to you:

            60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
            … 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

            67“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

            68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

            ===

            Besides of course the deafening silence in more than a millennium, except for a few “drops of water in an ocean” of discordant heretics — a deafening silence broken by the brilliant light of Calvin.

          5. “A miracle must function within the bounds of verifiable reality.”

            Of course. I didn’t verify all those items in my list, hence, they didn’t exist. They are all irrational — Moses, the Exodus, Adam and Eve… the whole shebang.

          6. Micah,

            Your arrogance is appalling and is outstripped only by your ignorance of Catholic teaching. Each one of your comments has revealed how little you know. You constantly gripe about how you cannot “see” transubstantiation. Let me ask you, have you ever “seen” a soul get saved? Have you seen the sins get forgiven for that soul? Of course not! It might help to make a distinction between “miracle” and “supernatural.” If you want to define “miracle” as: a visible supernatural event” then Transubstantiation would not qualify. But it still would qualify as something supernatural caused by God as would a soul having it’s sins forgiven. If you really want some proof of something “miraculous” taking place then please google “Eucharistic Miracles” where you will find numerous cases where the accidents of flesh and blood were actually present in a host…but those would all be “satanic deceptions” along with every single other miracle within the Catholic Church right? How many visible miracles have occurred in your ecclesial community by the way?

            For some reason, you just can’t stand Aristotle. What did he ever do to you? And your are abundantly wrong about him being an atheist. As for “God reveals himself to his servants,” you know very well as much as I that God does not call the perfect, rather He perfects the called. Abram was a know-nothing pagan from Ur when God called his name. God of course revealed Himself in a special way to Abraham (changed name) and established the nation of Israel but the Holy Spirit works through all nations and there were many God-fearing non Jews after the Exile. To categorically dismiss Aristotle and Socrates as if they are completely useless reveals nothing more than unsubstantiated bias. St. Paul himself quoted Greek poets multiple times (see Acts 17:28, Titus 1:12)!

            It’s funny that you should threaten me with “a passport to hell.” You know what, if transubstantiation is false, you’re right. But what if it’s true? Then the shoe is on the other foot my friend. With all the arrogance you have produced here, you better check yourself before you wreck yourself. I warned you. You will have no excuse when you stand before the Judgement seat of Jesus Christ. You have come PERILOUSLY close to blasphemy against the Holy Spirit when you call the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church “of the devil.” The Pharisees did something similar when they accused Jesus of casting out devils with the help of devils. Jesus warned them as I do you now: “whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” The Church is the work of the Holy Spirit. If you do not repent, you will have NO EXCUSE.

            In typical anti-catholic fashion, you cannot stick to one subject and jump around to various other ones but I will stick to the Eucharist for now. You haven’t even attempted to explain the belief of the Early Church fathers (other than a poor attempt with Justin Martyr which I refuted). You are constantly hung up on being able to “see” transubstantiation but “we walk by faith, and NOT BY SIGHT!” and again, “Blessed are they WHO HAVE NOT SEEN, but still believe.”

            Finally you attempt to address an actual argument I made. Your interpretation of John 6:55 fails for several reasons. Jesus does say He is the “true” vine, but He does not take a leaf and say “this is my body.” He does not say “unless you eat my leaves, you have no life in you.” In John 6, Jesus says “my FLESH is true food.” And again “unless you EAT of the FLESH of the Son of Man and DRINK his BLOOD, you have no life in you.”

            Now eating someone’s flesh and drinking their blood already had a metaphorical understanding in the Old Testament and that was to do someone injury, harm, or persecution (see Psalm 27:1-2, Isaiah 9:18-20, Isaiah 49:26, Micah 3:3, and Revelation 17:6-16). If you believe Jesus was using metaphor only when He said “eat my flesh, drink my blood,” that would mean that we must injure, harm, and persecute Jesus to have eternal life…oops. Eating someone’s flesh and drinking their blood was never even remotely understood to be a metaphor for belief. You simply cannot handle Jesus’s abundantly plain teaching like the Jews in Capernaum that day. You, like them, think of the Eucharist carnally; as if the Catholic position is that we bite off pieces of Jesus. Your ignorance on receiving the smallest crumb of the Consecrated Host is receiving all of Jesus is proof of this. You brought up 1 Corinthians 10:17 but completely failed to note the context of the previous verse: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation (greek: koinonia of communion) in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” One Bread, One Body, One Christ. The smallest crumb and the tiniest drop is still that One Bread, One Body, One Christ.

            Others have also asked questions of you which will need answers. I am especially wanting to hear your answer to CK in his latest comment. I am still waiting on an answer on my point about Ignatius of Antioch. I was rather harsh with you in this comment but I do it out of love for your soul which I desire to be saved. If you agree to drop the harshness out of your tone, I will do likewise with mine. I will conclude with this prayer:

            “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy. Amen.”

            May God be with you.

            Matthew

          7. M: Your arrogance is appalling

            Me: Oh stop it. Anytime someone goes out of their way to study the issues, the inevitable claim of arrogance rears its ugly head simply because you disagree. Deal with it. If I had the chance to debate Frank, he would lose. But of course, these days he’s much too busy to debate anyone, packing, as you know, for his trip to Sweden in Oct to celebrate the Reformation with the Lutherans (!!!).

            M: Each one of your comments has revealed how little you know.

            Me: And then there is that old-standby, the “ignorance” factor, and yada yada yada that “you don’t understand Catholicism”. However, the Pope says in the intro to the catechism that it was written for those who want to know what the RCC teaches. Will you say that not one non-Catholic on planet earth understands the RCC? If so, then the Pope has completely failed in his mission. On the other hand, if there is a Protestant whom you can identify that duzzzz understand the RCC, then I will compare their view with my own, and if we agree (as I suspect we will) then your claim that “I do not understand” will be seen to be a canard.

            M: If you really want some proof of something “miraculous” taking place then please google “Eucharistic Miracles” where you will find numerous cases where the accidents of flesh and blood were actually present in a host…but those would all be “satanic deceptions” along with every single other miracle within the Catholic Church right?

            Me. Correct. First of all, if it was God’s intention to keep the miracle of T “invisible”, then wy does He go out of His way to produce miracles contrary to His original intent? The RC god sounds quite schizophrenic if you ask me.
            Furthermore, the Lord taught very clearly in the parable of the rich man in hell that His protocol is NOT AND NEVER WILL BE to send anyone back from the dead to convince them of the truth of the gospel since in His eyes, the Scriptures are perfectly satisfactory to be read or preached for the Holy Spirit to make His move on someone’s heart. That means that each and every one of those appearances of “mary” down through time are a sham and a hoax, and this goes double for bleeding and levitating wafers!

            M: The Church is the work of the Holy Spirit. If you do not repent, you will have NO EXCUSE.

            Me: The word “church” is mentioned well over 100 times in the N.T. and absolutely NO WHERE does it refer to a monolithic religious superstructure situated in Rome to which we are to bow our knee.

            M: You are constantly hung up on being able to “see” transubstantiation but “we walk by faith, and NOT BY SIGHT!” and again, “Blessed are they WHO HAVE NOT SEEN, but still believe.”

            Me: Come now. Neither of those verses is attributed to the invisible Eucharist. It is a poor apologetic.

            M: In John 6, Jesus says “my FLESH is true food.” And again “unless you EAT of the FLESH of the Son of Man and DRINK his BLOOD, you have no life in you.”

            Now eating someone’s flesh and drinking their blood already had a metaphorical understanding in the Old Testament and that was to do someone injury, harm, or persecution (see Psalm 27:1-2, Isaiah 9:18-20, Isaiah 49:26, Micah 3:3, and Revelation 17:6-16). If you believe Jesus was using metaphor only when He said “eat my flesh, drink my blood,” that would mean that we must injure, harm, and persecute Jesus to have eternal life…oops.

            Me: This is a ridiculous argument. First of all, if you insist Jesus was speaking literally in John 6, how pray tell, would His hearers have been able to obey Him at that time when the Last Supper was still a year in advance?
            Second, this complaint ignores that in His lifetime, Jesus received a double dose of physical, as well as psychological abuse. That being so, the objection vanishes because by “eating His flesh” in a metaphorical sense, we reap the benefits of that abuse by believing He suffered for our sins in our room and stead (Isaiah 53).
            No one ever told you that, did they? I didn’t think so.
            Third, the objection is disingenuous, in that while it acknowledges that eating flesh and drinking blood can be metaphors for contempt, it leaves the impression that they can ONLY be metaphors for contempt.
            As a matter of fact, any given word or words can be used metaphorically in a number of ways. Consider, for example, the word “sword.” In Luke 2:35, a “sword” will pierce Mary’s heart. Clearly, “sword” is a metaphor for sorrow. But in Revelation, the “sword” in Jesus’ mouth is a metaphor for judgment (cf. Revelation 1:16; 2:16; 19:15, 21). In Matthew 10:34, “sword” is a metaphor for division and violence, whereas in Ephesians 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12, the “sword” is a metaphor for the Word of God. Hence, Catholicism cannot escape the absolute truth that “metaphorical believing” under the auspices of “eating flesh and blood” is indeed a viable alternative to their position, as it, like the word “sword”, can have more than one metaphorical meaning! Furthermore, contrary to the Catholic insinuation, eating flesh and drinking blood are metaphorical in other ways besides hating or causing someone injury. Sometimes eating flesh and drinking blood are metaphors of distress under persecution (Lev 26:29; Deut 28:53; Jer 19:9). Sometimes they metaphorically express divine justice or giving someone their just desserts (Numbers 23:24; Isaiah 49:26; Rev 16:6). Other uses are found in Ezekiel 39:17-21, 2 Samuel 23:17, Isa 49:26… and James speaks of eating flesh as a metaphor for GREED (5:3).
            No one ever told you these things did they? No, I didn’t think so.
            Hence, while Scripture can shed light on how “flesh-eating” has been metaphorically used, the determining criterion for a proper exegesis of those terms is the immediate context of John’s gospel. Thus, the context makes it clear that eating flesh and drinking blood are primarily metaphors that embrace the benefits that come from BELIEVING in Jesus, end of story.

  16. Micah said – Actually, Protestants reject the literal interpretation of John 6 because the Bible simply will not permit it!

    Me – no Protestants won’t permit it! much like atheist don’t believe in God because they don’t have enough faith. Jesus says eat His body and drink His blood. Micah says no because he thinks carnally and not spiritually. Kind of like those disciples that left Him. Many were offended by what He said, much like you. God can do this, you don’t have the faith that He can. Plain in simple.

    Micah – We respond, shall it also be said that the whole earth is in every grain of sand? Or that the whole ocean is in every drop of seawater? Surely not.

    Me – or that God, who is love and truth,declares that He wants all men to be saved but actively makes sure people go to hell? Surely not!

    Micah-All of this comes rolling down on our heads without a speck of biblical evidence. At the get-go, even an innocent bystander would be skeptical. After all, any forensic evidence is not to be hoped for, being “independent of our mind and our senses”, and based solely on “faith in the divine authority” of the Roman Catholic church,

    Me-the New Testament is based on faith of the divine authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The irony!

  17. I still can’t figure out why some comments have reply buttons but others do not. I wanted to say a few words to others, but am unable to do so.

    You say, “Protestants won’t permit [the doctrine of T] much like atheists don’t believe in God because they don’t have enough faith…. God can do this, you don’t have the faith that He can. Plain in simple.

    Me: That old stand-by, “God can do anything” is the worst sort of apologetic one can use when dealing in a conversation on erroneous doctrine. It can be used to support ANYTHING, no matter how outrageous. I should remind you that everyone knows God can do anything He wants; but that certainly does not end the discussion, nor would He want it to. As I told Mr. Heschmeyer, Jesus would want us to prove our doctrine exegetically, not simply assert it dogmatically.

    In response to a “whole entire Christ” being in every little teeny weeny crumb and drop of the Eucharist, I answered, “shall it also be said that the whole earth is in every grain of sand? Or that the whole ocean is in every drop of seawater? Surely not.” Hence, my logical response which annihilates your ludicrous claim, over-rules your reaction — which had absolutely nothing to do with MY RESPONSE. Let the reader look again how you simply changed the subject because you cannot resist the logic of your opponent, as well as leaving everything else I said at 10:23, untouched.

    1. Mikáh, You could start answering the list of “irrational beyond belief” above. Then you come back and talk about “one thing” being “irrational”. The Bible, taken literally, is “irrational beyond belief”.

    2. An furthermore Micah,

      Read this from St. Ephraim the Syrian who lived from 306AD-373AD:

      “Our Lord Jesus took in His hands what in the beginning was only bread; and He blessed it, and signed it, and made it holy in the name of the Father and in the name of the Spirit; and He broke it and in His gracious kindness He distributed it to all His disciples one by one. He called the bread His living Body, and did Himself fill it with Himself and the Spirit. And extending His hand, He gave them the Bread which His right hand had made holy: “Take, all of you eat of this, which My word has made holy. Do not now regard as bread that which I have given you; but take, eat this Bread, and do not scatter the crumbs; for what I have called My Body, that it is indeed. One particle from its crumbs is able to sanctify thousands and thousands, and is sufficient to afford life to those who eat of it. Take, eat, entertaining no doubt of faith, because this is My Body, and whoever eats it in belief eats in it Fire and Spirit. But if any doubter eat of it, for him it will be only bread. And whoever eats in belief the Bread made holy in My name, if he be pure, he will be preserved in his purity; and if he be a sinner, he will be forgiven.” But if anyone despise it or reject it or treat it with ignominy, it may be taken as a certainty that he treats with ignominy the Son, who called it and actually made it to be His Body.

      After the disciples had eaten the new and holy Bread, and when they understood by faith that they had eaten of Christ’s body, Christ went on to explain and to give them the whole Sacrament. He took and mixed a cup of wine. Then He blessed it, and signed it, and made it holy, declaring that it was His own Blood, which was about to be poured out…Christ commanded them to drink, and He explained to them that the cup which they were drinking was His own Blood: “This is truly My Blood, which is shed for all of you. Take, all of you, drink of this, because it is a new covenant in My Blood. As you have seen Me do, do you also in My memory. Whenever you are gathered together in My name in Churches everywhere, do what I have done, in memory of Me. Eat My Body, and drink My Blood, a covenant new and old.” (Homilies 4:4; 4:6)”

      Now I’ll stop one objection before it starts that has to do with “if any doubter eats of it, for him it will only be bread.” Christ’s presence in the Eucharist does not vanish from a host because of a doubter, rather a doubter gains no benefit from the Eucharist and has the effectiveness of bread for him/her. Since the Eucharist is meant to confer grace and in a doubter’s case it does not, it is a sacrilege as St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:29:

      “For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”

      Did you happen to catch the bit about crumbs and sanctifying thousands? So this holy saint is a satanic heretic too right?

      May God be with you.

      Matthew

      1. You ask me to read from St. Ephraim the Syrian who lived from 306AD-373AD.
        I did. And so what? He put words into Christ’s mouth, “quoting” Him as meaning, “Do not now regard as bread that which I have given you.” That, sir, is eisegesis. Effy (and practically all of the ECF’s) do not prove their case by SCRIPTURE. I’ve read Darwell Stone’s, “A History of the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist” (circa 1900 in two volumes), and the author has the same complaint as my own; namely, don’t just say so, “Where’s the beef?!” This book quotes what everyone in antiquity said about the Eucharist.

        You ask: Did you happen to catch the bit about crumbs and sanctifying thousands?

        Yes I did. But Scripture leaves no room for the idea that every little crumb and drop of the Eucharist is a “whole Christ” (nor did Effy actually say it was). This is something that is simply read back into the text for the gullible to swallow. Moreover, the idea that the Eucharist “sanctifies”, is brazingly unbiblical. In their never-ending assault on the word of God, the hierarchical machinery grinds against the metal of sanctification, which they suppose results by the worship and ingestion of the Eucharist. However, these bold assertions directly contradict the Bible which says otherwise; namely that we are sanctified through the word of God, under the operation of the Holy Spirit who dwells within (John 17:17; 1 Cor 6:11). Sanctification is a lifelong process wherein we are “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). Thus, the process of daily sanctification can only come about through METAPHORICALLY “eating Jesus, God’s true bread” via His word and not literally by consuming Him head to toe! For, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste; yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psalm 119:9, 103; Job 23:12).

        You go on to remind me of, “For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”
        Please notice that by saying that the Corinthians were “eating and drinking judgment to themselves”, we have yet another shining example of eating and drinking used in a figurative manner in the very verse the Pope would like us to believe a literal transubstantiation had occurred!
        See also 12:13 for more of the “language of heaven”: “[We] have been all made to drink into one spirit”. Catholics simply cannot escape the rich tapestry of figurative expressions that pervade the Bible, which, when taken together, run counterclockwise to Transubstantiation.

  18. Micah – please give me names of the groups of people from 100 AD – 1,400 AD who generally reject the Roman Catholic Mass? What were they called? Where did they live? What happened to these groups?

    I’m looking for historical evidence of people who might worship like Protestants and therefore reject the Mass.

    I’m not looking for your analysis of whether Rome is right or wrong, just the facts. Or don’t such groups historically exist?

  19. We need go no further than the book of Hebrews, which categorically rejects the idea of any so-called “Mass”. I do not risk my eternal salvation on what some ECF’s may have said in the ensuing years, for Scripture indicates that the minute the last apostle was out of the picture, heresy was going to immediately creep in just like when Moses was going to make HIS exit, he told them all, I know the minute I’m gone, you will all turn away. Thus, a doctrine such as T does not intimidate me in the least. The word of God is crystal clear on this issue and has the power to refute any ECF who thought otherwise. Hebrews does not make any room for a sacramentally on-going, unbloody, sacrificial ANYTHING. Since it glaringly refutes the repetitive nature of the OT offerings, it naturally follows that the repetitive nature of the Mass is at enmity with Scripture’s strict denunciation of any repeated offerings whatsoever (7:27, 9:12, 9:25-26, 9:28, 10:10, 10:12, 10:14, 10:18). Any repeated offering demonstrates the insufficiency of the sacrifice to remove guilt (10:1-4), and obviously, true Christians are convinced of the sufficiency of Calvary’s cross to do just that. That’s why we’re told that the propitiation, or payment, for our sins has already been realized to perfection in ONE sacrifice… end of story; not in the re-presentation of that sacrifice in an unbloody fashion on an altar at the command of a sacerdotal priest the Bible does not even mention! One minute they rightly CRITICIZE the repeated offerings of the old testament as inadequate (CCC 1540); but the next minute they ENDORSE the repeated offering of Christ in the Eucharist until kingdom come (CCC 1323, 1393). It’s sheer madness.

    Perhaps Augustine will help you realize that the idea of Christ speaking metaphorically in John 6 and at the Last Supper, was CERTAINLY on the radar screen early on, and this you cannot deny:

    ‘If the sentence is one of command, either forbidding a crime or vice, or enjoining an act of prudence or benevolence, it is not figurative. If, however, it seems to enjoin a crime or vice, or to forbid an act of prudence or benevolence, it is figurative. “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,” says Christ, “and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” This seems to enjoin a crime or a vice; it is therefore a figure…”

    —–NPNF1: Vol. II, On Christian Doctrine, Book III, Chapter 16 (section 24).

    “To what purpose dost thou make ready teeth and stomach? Believe, and thou hast eaten already.”

    —–NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 25, §12.

    “For to believe on Him is to eat the living bread. He that believes, eats…”
    —–NPNF1: Vol. VII, Tractates on John, Tractate 26, §1.

    “certainly then, at least, you will see that not in the manner you suppose does He dispense His body; certainly then, at least, you will understand that His grace is not consumed by tooth-biting.”

    —–NPNF1-7, Tractates on John, Tractate 27, Section 3

    1. Micah, you can go on and harmonise your quotes with these other quotes from Augustine below (just don’t say he was schizophrenic):

      ST. AUGUSTINE (c. 354 – 430 A.D.)

      “That Bread which you see on the altar, having been sanctified by the word of God IS THE BODY OF CHRIST. That chalice, or rather, what is in that chalice, having been sanctified by the word of God, IS THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. Through that bread and wine the Lord Christ willed to commend HIS BODY AND BLOOD, WHICH HE POURED OUT FOR US UNTO THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.” (Sermons 227)

      “The Lord Jesus wanted those whose eyes were held lest they should recognize him, to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread [Luke 24:16,30-35]. The faithful know what I am saying. They know Christ in the breaking of the bread. For not all bread, but only that which receives the blessing of Christ, BECOMES CHRIST’S BODY.” (Sermons 234:2)

      “What you see is the bread and the chalice; that is what your own eyes report to you. But what your faith obliges you to accept is that THE BREAD IS THE BODY OF CHRIST AND THE CHALICE [WINE] THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.” (Sermons 272)

      “How this [‘And he was carried in his own hands’] should be understood literally of David, we cannot discover; but we can discover how it is meant of Christ. FOR CHRIST WAS CARRIED IN HIS OWN HANDS, WHEN, REFERRING TO HIS OWN BODY, HE SAID: ‘THIS IS MY BODY.’ FOR HE CARRIED THAT BODY IN HIS HANDS.” (Ennartiones on the Psalms 33:1:10)

      “Was not Christ IMMOLATED only once in His very Person? In the Sacrament, nevertheless, He is IMMOLATED for the people not only on every Easter Solemnity but on every day; and a man would not be lying if, when asked, he were to reply that Christ is being IMMOLATED.” (Letters 98:9)

      “Christ is both the Priest, OFFERING Himself, and Himself the Victim. He willed that the SACRAMENTAL SIGN of this should be the daily Sacrifice of the Church, who, since the Church is His body and He the Head, learns to OFFER herself through Him.” (City of God 10:20)

      “By those sacrifices of the Old Law, this one Sacrifice is signified, in which there is a true remission of sins; but not only is no one forbidden to take as food the Blood of this Sacrifice, rather, all who wish to possess life are exhorted to drink thereof.” (Questions on the Heptateuch 3:57)

      “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 is OFFERED for them, or when alms are given in the church.” (Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, Love 29:110)

      “But by the prayers of the Holy Church, and by the SALVIFIC SACRIFICE, and by the alms which are given for their spirits, there is no doubt that the dead are aided that the Lord might deal more mercifully with them than their sins would deserve. FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH OBSERVES THIS PRACTICE WHICH WAS HANDED DOWN BY THE FATHERS that it prays for those who have died in the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, when they are commemorated in their own place in the Sacrifice itself; and the Sacrifice is OFFERED also in memory of them, on their behalf. If, the 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.” (Sermons 172:2)

      “…I turn to Christ, because it is He whom I seek here; and I discover how the earth is adored without impiety, how without impiety the footstool of His feet is adored. For He received earth from earth; because flesh is from the earth, and He took flesh from the flesh of Mary. He walked here in the same flesh, AND GAVE US THE SAME FLESH TO BE EATEN UNTO SALVATION. BUT NO ONE EATS THAT FLESH UNLESS FIRST HE ADORES IT; and thus it is discovered how such a footstool of the Lord’s feet is adored; AND NOT ONLY DO WE NOT SIN BY ADORING, WE DO SIN BY NOT ADORING.” (Ennarationes on the Psalms 98:9)

      ===

      I am always impressed by the capacity of quoting without explaining, which in the end explains nothing:

      “certainly then, at least, you will see that not in the manner you suppose does He dispense His body; certainly then, at least, you will understand that His grace is not consumed by tooth-biting.”
      —–NPNF1-7, Tractates on John, Tractate 27, Section 3

      But before he wrote, to quote in full:

      For they supposed that He was going to deal out His body to them; but He said that He was to ascend into heaven, of course, whole: “When ye shall see the Son of man ascending where He was before;” certainly then, at least, you will see that not in the manner you suppose does He dispense His body; certainly then, at least, you will understand that His grace is not consumed by tooth-biting.

      Do you see the difference between the two quotes? According to Augustine, to use plain language, Jesus’ affirmation offended many because that would make them cannibals.

      And after:

      “What is it, then, that He adds? “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.” Let us say to Him (for He permits us, not contradicting Him, but desiring to know), O Lord, good Master, in what way does the flesh profit nothing, whilst Thou hast said, “Except a man eat my flesh, and drink my blood, he shall not have life in him?” Or does life profit nothing? And why are we what we are, but that we may have eternal life, which Thou dost promise by Thy flesh? Then what means “the flesh profiteth nothing”? It profiteth nothing, but only in the manner in which they understood it. They indeed understood the flesh, just as when cut to pieces in a carcass, or sold in the shambles; not as when it is quickened by the Spirit. Wherefore it is said that “the flesh profiteth nothing,” in the same manner as it is said that “knowledge puffeth up.” Then, ought we at once to hate knowledge? Far from it! And what means “Knowledge puffeth up”? Knowledge alone, without charity. Therefore he added, “but charity edifieth.” 535 Therefore add thou to knowledge charity, and knowledge will be profitable, not by itself, but through charity. So also here, “the flesh profiteth nothing,” only when alone. Let the Spirit be added to the flesh, as charity is added to knowledge, and it profiteth very much. For if the flesh profited nothing, the Word would not be made flesh to dwell among us. If through the flesh Christ has greatly profited us, does the flesh profit nothing? But it is by the flesh that the Spirit has done somewhat for our salvation. Flesh was a vessel; consider what it held, not what it was. The apostles were sent forth; did their flesh profit us nothing? If the apostles’ flesh profited us, could it be that the Lord’s flesh should have profited us nothing? For how should the sound of the Word come to us except by the voice of the flesh? Whence should writing come to us? All these are operations of the flesh, but only when the spirit moves it, as if it were its organ. Therefore “it is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing,” as they understood the flesh, but not so do I give my flesh to be eaten.”

      ===

      1. The inconsistencies of Augustine are well noted in commentators and I have no time to deal with all the specifics.

        KO: (Auggie said) “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 is OFFERED for them, or when alms are given in the church.” (Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, Love 29:110)

        M: This is just another perfect example how corruption sneaks into the church without anyone blinking an eye. Not only does the book of Hebrews denounce that Christ should be “OFFERED” in any way whatsoever after the cross (“THERE IS NOW NOW MORE OFFERING FOR SIN”….Read it!), but the horrific idea that dead souls may find relief by my writing a check out to the United Way is anti-christian to the core, and is why anyone choosing to risk their salvation on the words of the ECF’s ought to have their head examined.

    2. Micah,

      KO beat me to the punch again. St. Augustine was clearly a member of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and not your splinter break away community. Your disdain for the Early Church fathers is palpable. Everyone who has a different interpretation than you is committing “eisigeses.” Did you ever stop to think: “Hmm, I’m going up against the entire Church for 1500 years, believing all the holy men and women of that time to be satanic heretics…maybe actually, it’s me!?”

      I am glad you brought up the book of Hebrews because the protestant revolution has been twisting this wonderful book to death for the last 500 years over and against the constant understanding the Church held from the beginning. You said:

      “Since it glaringly refutes the repetitive nature of the OT offerings, it naturally follows that the repetitive nature of the Mass is at enmity with Scripture’s strict denunciation of any repeated offerings whatsoever (7:27, 9:12, 9:25-26, 9:28, 10:10, 10:12, 10:14, 10:18).”

      If you would actually read them, no where is there a “strict denunciation of any repeated offerings whatsoever.” There IS a denunciation of the repeated offerings of the old covenant and an affirmation of the once for all sacrifice of Christ. But that is all Catholic teaching! We do not offer any old covenant sacrifices and I’m sure you’ve been told time and again that the Mass is not a re-crucifixion of Jesus, rather it IS that ONE SACRIFICE being RE-PRESENTED before the Father so that its benefits can be received by the faithful through the Eucharist. It never ceases to amaze me that protestants so blatantly ignore one of the absolutely central points of the book of Hebrews and that is how Christ is our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Psalm 110:4 is referenced no less than EIGHT TIMES! You think this guy Melchizedek might be important?

      Genesis 14:18 states:

      “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out BREAD AND WINE, he was a priest of God Most High.”

      THERE is your Eucharistic connection! And don’t you dare try to wiggle out of this by the absurd claim that bread and wine was not the sacrifice offered by Melchizedek. He was a PRIEST! Not a chef! Now let’s think about this, Melchizedek’s offering is bread and wine. Jesus Christ’s offering is His Body and Blood. Well it logically follows that, since He is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, Jesus offers His Body and Blood, in the form of bread and wine!

      Let’s keep going, Hebrews 7:24 states: “He holds his priesthood because he continues forever.” and Hebrews 8:3 states: “For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; hence it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer.” Priests offer sacrifice. It’s the job description, if there is no sacrifice, then there is no priest. Since it is beyond all doubt that Jesus Christ IS our High Priest, he MUST still be offering a sacrifice! If He wasn’t, He would no longer be a priest! And what sacrifice does He offer? The same one He has always offered! His Body and Blood for the sins of the world! It is ONE sacrifice offered and being offered FOR ALL TIME (in greek, dienekes which means “perpetual” from Hebrews 7:3, 10:1, 10:12, and 10:14). Christ’s offering that he offered and continues to offer is a PERPETUAL offering! It is true that it is only one offering which is not being repeated but that’s what Catholics have always believed. This sounds an awful lot like the Mass doesn’t it? That’s because IT IS! Your absurd position would have Jesus Christ retired as a priest! But Hebrews says His priesthood continues forever! In heaven, the true Holy of Holies, Jesus is perpetually presenting (offering) Himself, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity to the Father for the sins of the world. That’s why sins can be forgiven here and now! When he comes again in Judgement of the world, that time of mercy will end. What is going on in heaven right now, IS. THE. MASS!!!!!!! Any other position would have Jesus retiring/abdicating his priesthood which is ABSURD!. And it would be equally absurd to assert that we cannot say mass here on earth even though that is what is happening in heaven. When Mass is said here on earth, we are caught up in the heavenly liturgy and we are adoring God as He is adored in heaven! The mass on earth is a PARTICIPATION IN the divine liturgy, not a replacement of it. The ONLY difference between what happened on Calvary and what is taking place in heaven and at mass is the MANNER in which Christ offers Himself. Bloody on the cross, unbloody in the Mass. Of course, without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins which is why the Mass/Eucharist and in fact all the sacraments would be completely useless without the cross. That is why we have the crucifix, we preach Christ crucified!

      Hebrews 13:10 states: “We have an altar from which those who serve the tent (ie Jewish temple) have no right to eat.” The word for “altar” is “thysiaterion” which comes from the root “thysia” which means sacrifice! A “thysiaterion” is where sacrifice happens! So evidently, during the 1st century in Christian worship, SOMETHING IS BEING SACRIFICED AND EATEN! Now what could that possibly be!!! Protestant rebels have gotten so caught up in what they think “once for all” means that they have completely missed the forest through the trees. Then they straw-man the Catholic position and completely miss the point of the whole book of Hebrews!

      I also once again note your disdain for the Early Church Fathers. I’ll say this, you certainly have some cojones and I do at least appreciate your recognition that they are completely foreign and alien to your musings. But where on earth do you have the gall, the arrogance, the pride, to lift yourself above them?! Ignatius was ordained by PETER and learned the faith from JOHN! Why in the name of all that is good and holy would I ever trust you, a 21st century protestant with absolutely no authority beyond his own head, over that holy man who knew the apostles and was martyred for his faith?!

      I leave you with St. John Chrysostom’s magnificent treatise on the Priesthood:

      “5. For if any one will consider how great a thing it is for one, being a man, and compassed with flesh and blood, to be enabled to draw near to that blessed and pure nature, he will then clearly see what great honor the grace of the Spirit has vouchsafed to priests; since by their agency these rites are celebrated, and others nowise inferior to these both in respect of our dignity and our salvation. For they who inhabit the earth and make their abode there are entrusted with the administration of things which are in Heaven, and have received an authority which God has not given to angels or archangels. For it has not been said to them, Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven. Matthew 18:18 They who rule on earth have indeed authority to bind, but only the body: whereas this binding lays hold of the soul and penetrates the heavens; and what priests do here below God ratifies above, and the Master confirms the sentence of his servants. For indeed what is it but all manner of heavenly authority which He has given them when He says, Whose sins ye remit they are remitted, and whose sins ye retain they are retained? John 20:23 What authority could be greater than this? The Father has committed all judgment to the Son? John 5:22 But I see it all put into the hands of these men by the Son. For they have been conducted to this dignity as if they were already translated to Heaven, and had transcended human nature, and were released from the passions to which we are liable. Moreover, if a king should bestow this honor upon any of his subjects, authorizing him to cast into prison whom he pleased and to release them again, he becomes an object of envy and respect to all men; but he who has received from God an authority as much greater as heaven is more precious than earth, and souls more precious than bodies, seems to some to have received so small an honor that they are actually able to imagine that one of those who have been entrusted with these things will despise the gift. Away with such madness! For transparent madness it is to despise so great a dignity, without which it is not possible to obtain either our own salvation, or the good things which have been promised to us. For if no one can enter into the kingdom of Heaven except he be regenerate through water and the Spirit, and he who does not eat the flesh of the Lord and drink His blood is excluded from eternal life, and if all these things are accomplished only by means of those holy hands, I mean the hands of the priest, how will any one, without these, be able to escape the fire of hell, or to win those crowns which are reserved for the victorious?”

      May God be with you.

      Matthew

      1. M: KO beat me to the punch again.

        Me: The only thing KO beat you to was being the first to be KO’d. (i.e., knocked out). You will now be KO’d yourself.

        M: St. Augustine was clearly a member of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and not your splinter break away community.

        Me: If he were alive today, Auggie would NOT be a member of the RCC because he has gone on record as stating not only the metaphorical nature of the “cannabilistic” words of our Lord but that the church was built on JESUS (the Rock) and NOT Peter (the man). Of course you just skipped over his metaphorical commentary when I mentioned it so you will kindly afford me the same courtesy if I skip over a few things YOU said.

        M: You distain the ECF’s.

        Me: I don’t hate them at all. They were who they were. I imagine many were saved. But the word of God must be the yardstick on this and every other issue, as Jesus taught.

        M: Did you ever stop to think: “Hmm, I’m going up against the entire Church for 1500 years, believing all the holy men and women of that time to be satanic heretics…maybe actually, it’s me!?”

        Me: I have already proved that the metaphorical view was in vogue VERY early on. Moreover, I never called anyone a “satanic heretic”, but THE COUNCIL OF TRENT DID JUST THAT. It’s OK for them, but not for me??? Get real.
        As for being “David’s slingshot” in front of the Roman Goliath, I have no fears. If Goliath deceives on even the most simple matters, it follows that he will do likewise on the larger ones. For example, regarding the simplicity of prayer: the catechism says to bring ALL our cares to Mary (2677).
        ALLLL?
        Are you kidding me? No, I know you’re not. But that outrageous advice completely contradicts the word of God and is something Jesus NEVER taught — and this you know darn well. Yet you are more than happy to throw the Bible’s instructions on prayer to God alone right under the bus (Phil 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7).

        M: I am glad you brought up the book of Hebrews because the protestant revolution has been twisting this wonderful book to death for the last 500 years over and against the constant understanding the Church held from the beginning.

        Me: As a matter of fact, Hebrews destroys the ignominious notion of Jesus “offering” Himself at the Last Supper before it even happened yet (!!!) as Roman authorities tell us. There is no Scripture-twisting involved at all, but the sober words of truth contained in 9:16-20: “FOR WHERE A TESTAMENT IS, THERE MUST OF NECESSITY BE THE DEATH OF THE TESTATOR; FOR A TESTAMENT IS IN FORCE [only] AFTER MEN ARE DEAD: OTHERWISE IT IS OF NO STRENGTH AT ALL WHILE THE TESTATOR LIVES”

        To put this in perspective, Jesus was inaugurating His last will and “new testament” at the Last Supper. Now a person’s last will and testament is not in force until that person is dead. It is ineffectual, having “no strength at all”. But Rome insists that swallowing the transubstantiated bread and wine under the auspices of Christ’s last will and testament, has the STRENGTH to cleanse us from past sins, preserve us from future sins, strengthens our charity and wipes away venial sins! (CCC 1323, 1393-4, 1395). The Bible indicates no such thing…ANYWHERE.

        9:16-20 utterly rejects the above and any other imagined benefits of the Eucharist based on the fact that Jesus was ALIVE when proclaiming His “last will and testament”. Hence, if the contents of a person’s will are useless and have “no strength at all” until the Testator has DIED (!!!) then Transubstantiation did not occur…let alone did He “offer” Himself before the event at Calvary. Thus, the contents of the cup Jesus held, and by extension, the bread, have no strength at all to be “the cup of salvation” they claim it is (CCC 1355).

        It is conclusive, therefore, that the bread and wine HAD to be symbols, since the reality of the crucifixion had not yet taken place! Catholics may stand on their head in Macy’s window trying to convince us otherwise, but our God-given senses will not allow this “invisible” miracle. Accordingly, since the emblems did not carry any efficacious power back then, they certainly don’t carry any now.

        M: the Mass is.. that ONE SACRIFICE being RE-PRESENTED before the Father so that its benefits can be received by the faithful through the Eucharist.

        Me: Nonsense. A past event CANNOT be taken from antiquity and “re-presented” as the SAME thing in the future (!!!). What you believe is pure science-fiction, as in those “Back to the Future” movies.

        M: It never ceases to amaze me that protestants so blatantly ignore one of the absolutely central points of the book of Hebrews and that is how Christ is our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek…. Genesis 14:18 states:
        “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out BREAD AND WINE, he was a priest of God Most High.”
        THERE is your Eucharistic connection! And don’t you dare try to wiggle out of this by the absurd claim that bread and wine was not the sacrifice offered by Melchizedek.

        Me: There is NO indication that the refreshment brought out was a sacrifice! The Bible simply never comes right out and says what you want it to so you have to… “give it a helping hand.” I would hate to worship the Catholic god, who is forever talking with marbles in His mouth and cannot EVER come right out and say what He means.
        As for Mel, I will say the following to refute your “amazement” that Protestants like to ignore Mel. Quit making up these broad-stroked criticisms!
        Now we are well aware that the Pope’s fan club hyperventilates when Melchizedek brings out those two buzzwords, bread and wine, as a refreshment to Abraham after his return from battle (Gen 14:18-20). From this, they are determined to find a link to the bread and wine at Mass. While it is true the Bible does compare Mel to Christ, it does not make any appeal to the actions of Mel as an anticipation to the Eucharist (!!!). Let’s see how Scripture defines this connection and if it agrees with papal prognostications.

        Christ’s priesthood is said to be “after the order of Melchizedek” no less than seven times and gives seven inferences how this is so (Heb 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:11, 15, 17, Psalm 110:4). Since Scripture is its own best interpreter (1 Cor 2:13), we can see how God arranged the details of Mel’s life so that he be classified as a “type”, or picture of Christ.

        A. Mel appeared briefly on the stage of human history, then disappeared, as did our Savior.
        B. In relation to the manner in which Mel came on the scene (without any recorded ancestry) the vital statistics of both he and Jesus consist of being, “without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life” (7:1-10; John 8:58).
        C. Mel dies like everyone else, but is pictured as having never died by the complete absence of any record of his death. Thus, he represents a priesthood that is perpetual and never ends, which of course is exactly to be said of Jesus the High Priest whose “kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:33; Heb 4:14).
        D. Mel was King of Salem, which by interpretation means “king of peace” (7:2). Jesus is Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6).
        E. Mel was king of righteousness, whose name actually means just that (Hebrews 7:2). So too is Jesus King of Righteousness (Matt 6:33; 2 Pet 3:13).
        F. Mel’s righteousness is mentioned first, then peace second. This is the proper order when it comes to the Redeemer who must first meet all the righteous demands of the law in our room and stead, and second, take the penalty for our noncompliance. Only then may we have peace with God.
        G. Mel’s priesthood was superior to the Aaronic priesthood, and the High Priesthood of Christ is superior to the Levitical (7:11-20).

        In a furious attempt to grab a broom and sweep all of the above right out of Scripture, the Roman apologist gives us this lamentable summation; namely that since Christ’s priesthood is specifically said to be patterned after Mel…the “ONLY” conclusion is that the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist could fulfill the pattern! (“Not By Bread Alone”, by Sungenis, p. 89).
        The gentle reader should be rightly shocked by the word “only” in light of the biblical data just presented which shows nothing of the sort, and everything else BUT. The “onlyness” of the Roman view is absolutely inimical to the word of God. This pernicious habit of teaching things about men which go BEYOND Holy Writ is to be condemned (1 Cor 4:6). Catholicism does it with Mel, Jesus, Paul, Mary, Peter, etc..

          1. You are responding to a lengthy response I had submitted, sweeping it under the rug and now all you want to know is my denomination. That will not do. If you had interacted with anything I had said, I would respond; but as Jesus told His accusers, “Because you answer me not, then neither will I answer you.”

          2. Revealing his denomination would only expose him to a serious trouble of having to follow something with some coherence. Coherence is not expected anymore. Just as Craig is both and/or Baptist/Presbyterian, and has just here denied Calvin’s interpretation of the Eucharist, many people are “and/or” some denomination. IF Micah told you his denomination, you could just point where he disagrees with his own church, and where his church disagrees with the one next door. But that just won’t do. He would say, “I can think for myself”.

    3. More from St. Chrysostom in the same treatise on the priesthood:

      “These verily are they who are entrusted with the pangs of spiritual travail and the birth which comes through baptism: by their means we put on Christ, and are buried with the Son of God, and become members of that blessed Head. Wherefore they might not only be more justly feared by us than rulers and kings, but also be more honored than parents; since these begot us of blood and the will of the flesh, but the others are the authors of our birth from God, even that blessed regeneration which is the true freedom and the sonship according to grace. The Jewish priests had authority to release the body from leprosy, or, rather, not to release it but only to examine those who were already released, and you know how much the office of priest was contended for at that time. But our priests have received authority to deal, not with bodily leprosy, but spiritual uncleanness— not to pronounce it removed after examination, but actually and absolutely to take it away. WHEREFORE THEY WHO DESPISE THESE PRIESTS WOUD BE FAR MORE ACCURSED THAN DATHAN AND HIS COMPANY AND DESERVE MORE SEVER PUNISHMENT. For the latter, although they laid claim to the dignity which did not belong to them, nevertheless had an excellent opinion concerning it, and this they evinced by the great eagerness with which they pursued it; but these men, when the office has been better regulated, and has received so great a development, have displayed an audacity which exceeds that of the others, although manifested in a contrary way. For there is not an equal amount of contempt involved in aiming at an honor which does not pertain to one, and in despising such great advantages, but the latter exceeds the former as much as scorn differs from admiration. WHAT SOUL THEN IS SO SORDID AS TO DESPISE SUCH GREAT ADVANTAGES? None whatever, I should say, unless it were one subject to some DEMONIACAL impulse. For I return once more to the point from which I started: not in the way of chastising only, but also in the way of benefiting, God has bestowed a power on priests greater than that of our natural parents. The two indeed differ as much as the present and the future life. For our natural parents generate us unto this life only, but the others unto that which is to come. And the former would not be able to avert death from their offspring, or to repel the assaults of disease; but these others have often saved a sick soul, or one which was on the point of perishing, procuring for some a milder chastisement, and preventing others from falling altogether, not only by instruction and admonition, but also by the assistance wrought through prayers. For not only at the time of regeneration, but afterwards also, they have authority to forgive sins. Is any sick among you? it is said, let him call for the elders of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up: and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him. James 5:14-15 Again: our natural parents, should their children come into conflict with any men of high rank and great power in the world, are unable to profit them: but priests have reconciled, not rulers and kings, but God Himself when His wrath has often been provoked against them.”

      God help those who despise his priests!

      Matthew

      1. M: God help those who despise his priests!

        Me: But in fact, true Christians MUST despise the RC priesthood since it… (not to mention the papacy) is simply never mentioned when listing the offices of the church (1 Cor 12:28; Eph 4:11-12).
        Scripture simply does not come to your rescue on this, as well as everything else. How sorry I feel for you, spending your entire adult life fighting against the word of God. It is a battle you will never win, so why continue?

  20. Micah – you didn’t answer my question. I’m not looking for an interpretation of scripture, I’m looking for historical fact. Who and where are these people on planet earth that didn’t believe in the Mass like Rome? Could you at least give me the names of a group of people, the dates they believed a non RCC Mass and what happened to them? I’m not asking for your exegesis of scripture, I’m asking for historical evidence of a group of believers that didn’t believe in the non RCC Mass, when they existed and what happened to them.

      1. Craig couldn’t come up with an answer either. And there were a lot of heretics in the first centuries, and serious ones centuries later. As expected, there were those who denied the transubstantiation, those hailed as heroes, martyrs and precursors by the Protestants — the Lollards, the Cathari, and others.

        ~~~~
        Once I heard a ludicrous argument that every heresy in the Middle Ages had something in common with post-Reformation theologies (in the plural here, of course). Not that they were heretical, since nowadays (for quite some time) in practice there is no heresy in Protestantism according to Protestant doctrine(s), according to this guy they just had “opinions” that were not shared by this Protestant apologist in particular. And then this argument was mutually reinforced by the person’s conviction that there was an evolution in Protestant doctrines that authorizes every innovation those hundreds of sects ever had. The argument becomes every more moronic because this individual clearly believed that the Roman Catholic Church started its existence after the Schism from the Orthodox, so for him there was no “Roman” Catholic Church before 1054; for him the “Catholic” Church before 1054 was not “Roman”. So, by his definition, the Church from 100 to 500 AD was closer to the Reformed Churches, because “it was not Roman”, and this “Church” didn’t believe (according to him) in a host of issues that the Catholic Church came to “invent” in the next centuries. But notice the argument: “evolution” and “development” and “innovation” are good in all Protestant sects, all the incoherence and divisiveness and rifts are either bounties or utterly irrelevant; doctrinal development is bad only in Catholicism, in which case is only pernicious innovation, heresy, apostasy and/or idolatry: “because Roman Catholic innovations are not in the Bible, whereas all Protestant developments are based on the Bible”. If you say all Catholic doctrines are either in the Bible or derived thereof or don’t contradict the Bible, and point which Protestand doctrines aren’t based on the Bible, this guy retorts that sola scriptura is just common sense (which Catholics don’t have), it doesn’t need to be in the Bible, and all the other doctrines don’t contradict the Bible, they just contradict each other, and that Catholic Bible interpretation is just heretical because Catholics don’t agree with his interpretation.

        1. KO –

          I hear you, of course, these sects die out. Why? Heresy generally dies out except for Protestantism which will never die out. Why? Because you can make up your own version of Christianity on your own terms. Hard to turn that down!!! 🙂

    1. C.D. you didn’t answer my question.

      M: Neither have you furnished a speck of proof for the doctrine of T, and instead of trying to discover your theology in the word of God, you lazily want to go all along with the crowd, thinking that the way to heaven is BROAD and many there be that find it, which is exactly OPPOSITE of what Jesus taught.

      Nevertheless, I think I’ll answer your question in this way. When one picks us Barrett’s World Christian Encyclopedia, we read that the Roman Catholic institution takes the second place ribbon for slaughtering an estimated 5 million people, being the runner-up just behind Islam. Jesus nails it yet again when predicting this slaughter of the innocents in John 16:2, and more than likely He had in mind, IN PARTICULAR, those going to their death in refusing the insidious doctrine of T. The Lord said these precious souls would die under the delusion of those who thought they were doing God a favor. And behold! What do we see looking back in history? JUST THAT. The accounts of those whose lives were snuffed out, specifically in regard for refusing the RC Eucharist, are not only disgraceful, but the murderers began their rampages with, “THIS IS ALL TO THE GLORY OF GOD”. No other religious institution on the planet claiming to be Christian has gone on record SO OFTEN by thinking they were doing God a favor by killing His sheep. Consequently, we may reasonably deduce that Jesus Christ is the arch-ENEMY of the RCC by the logical ramifications of His prediction in 16:2, and therefore it is pointless to argue on the validity of the mass by how many people may have believed it.

      1. Ravings of a madman.

        “the Roman Catholic institution takes the second place ribbon for slaughtering an estimated 5 million people”

        Could you care to point us to the source of the data? Page in the book, sources of the figures, authors? Guess not.

        Well, I’m pretty sure the whole enterprise of colonizing America didn’t cost a life to the “barbarian” “Indians” in the hands of the pure protestants, did it? Oh, forgive me, there was no Protestant church properly speaking, there were only sects… and protestants.

        1. KO: Could you care to point us to the source of the data? Page in the book, sources of the figures, authors? Guess not.

          M: I know the exact page number, but because of your hubris, you must go to the library as punishment. I’ll give you a hint. It’s before page 100.

      2. So basically you are saying there was no Christian organization (certainly not one that you are a member of) before the 1500s and you derive your doctrine from a book whose safekeeping was entrusted to a satanic cult.

        Again, the irony.

        1. I’d never paid attention, but that would be the greatest miracle of God: mysteriously, no Catholic ever inserted Catholic passages in the Bible, or maybe they were just stupid to keep copying the book that would eventually bring their own downfall, so the myth goes. It’s like trusting the Nazis to write a history of the Jews.

        2. Excuse me, but no non-Catholic on this planet derives their doctrine from any Catholic Bible because it contains the Apocrypha, (which is definitely UNINSPIRED for far too many reasons to mention here). Thus, your “ironic jab” that Protestants must be grateful to popery for safeguarding the Bible, falls flat on its face.

          1. Micah said – Excuse me, but no non-Catholic on this planet derives their doctrine from any Catholic Bible because it contains the Apocrypha, (which is definitely UNINSPIRED for far too many reasons to mention here). Thus, your “ironic jab” that Protestants must be grateful to popery for safeguarding the Bible, falls flat on its face

            Me – What I’m saying is the Catholic Church was entrusted with the safekeeping of the books you currently derive your doctrine from. If it weren’t for Catholic monks you wouldn’t have the bible you have today. That’s the irony. If the Catholic Church didn’t safeguard it can you look in your handy dandy encyclopedia and let me know what other organization did? Hint you can’t.

          2. So the “popery” corrupted the bible that you read, how can you trust it? I’m rolling on the ground with laughter!

  21. It’s abundantly clear to faithful Catholics that Micah and others like him are in a most pitiable state. You hold up your own private interpretation of scripture as being 100 percent infallible, every single Early Church Father be damned.

    Micah, you simply do not have any understandiof scripture or Church history. I pray that God will humble you as you have brazenly exalted yourself above all the Church and her saints and you need to learn a lesson. “He who exalts himself will be humbled.”

    Furthermore your interpretation is incredibly shoddy. It boggles my mind that you think verses like 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11 somehow contradict Catholic teaching on the priesthood. Once again, a contradiction is a statement and it’s opposite. You engage in the most egregious kind of eisegesis. Those verses do nothing to contradict the priesthood. Merely not explicitly stating it there is not by any stretch of the imagination a contradiction. Those lists in the aforementioned verses don’t mention bishop or elder either. Are we to assume they don’t exist? The lack of basic logic is astounding when you attempt to make absurd arguments from silence and fail to understand what a contradiction actually is. Then again you seem to despise Aristotle and Socrates so it shouldn’t surprise me.

    May God be with you.

    Matthew

    1. Matt: your interpretation is incredibly shoddy. It boggles my mind that you think verses like 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11 somehow contradict Catholic teaching on the priesthood. Once again, a contradiction is a statement and it’s opposite.

      Me: I know very well what a contradiction is and the fact is, YOU ARE PUTTING WORDS IN MY MOUTH. I never said what you claim I did. On 8/31 I wrote: “true Christians MUST despise the RC priesthood since it… (not to mention the papacy) is simply never mentioned when listing the offices of the church (1 Cor 12:28; Eph 4:11-12).”

      Ummm…. where did I use the word contradiction in reference to 1 Cor 12:28? Answer? No where. I utilized the words elsewhere and you erroneously transported it here to make me look bad. Your credibility is sinking faster than the wicked witch at the end of “The Wizard of Oz”.

  22. Micah,

    Fine you did not use the word contradiction in your previous comment buy you did say that “true Christians” should reject the priesthood because of those verses. I explained to you why that is absurd. If you aren’t going to actually interact with the argument, then it’s pointless to continue this discussion.

    May God be with you.

    Matthew

    1. I have interacted quite ALOT on this board as anyone can see, and if I failed to get to every single point, it is only because I’m not Superman.

  23. In your previous comment griping about contradictions, you did not address my argument related to your faulty interpretation of the scriptures. Either do that or I’m not interested.

    1. This has become a long thread and you need to refer to the time (e.g. 6:15 pm) you are referring to so I can go right to it. If the box does not have a reply switch I can’t answer it.

    2. Matt: If you aren’t going to actually interact with the argument, then it’s pointless to continue this discussion.

      M: Let me give you a little heads-up on what’s going to happen to you on Judgment Day. Jesus will tell you that Heeeee is not interested in any further discussion with you since you foolishly followed Catholic dicta by mutilating the Lord’s Supper. How? Well, whatever Jesus meant by “to take, eat AND drink”, He was obviously demanding that we do both. Yet with unmitigated gall, the Council of Trent subverts the Lord’s authority by declaring, “This holy synod, taught by the Holy Spirit…declares that lay people…are not obliged by any divine command to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist under both kinds, and that it can in no way be doubted without injury to faith that Communion under either kind is sufficient to them for salvation” (“Concerning Communion Under Both Kinds”, ch 1). To suppose that we are at liberty to become lumberjacks and chop Christ’s instructions in two, “not obliged by any divine command” to partake of both bread and wine, is the very height of stupidity and proves in an instant that Protestants have rightly understood the metaphorical speech of Christ all along and Catholicism is therefore, a synagogue of Satan. The axiom He provided at the Last Supper is a foundation that stands immovable, regardless of the bulldozing tendencies of the Roman oligarchy to uproot it. Let the reader consider the words from Pope Gelasius and deal with it: “We have found that certain, having received a portion of the sacred body, abstain from the cup of His blood, being entangled with I know not what superstition. Let them either receive the sacraments entire, or be excluded from them, for a division of one and the same sacrament cannot be made without great sacrilege” (quoted from the on-line book, “Morning Exercises at Cripplegate”, p. 583).

      Even if Transubstantiation wuzzzz the goal, we are quite sure Jesus would not take kindly to whitewashing His words, but rather insist that both instruments are essential to preserve the integrity of whatever it was He had intended. Comically, we read that the apostle Paul, “always respected the duality of the Eucharistic elements” (“The Bible & Morality”, #79).

      Yes, he did. What a pity the church at Rome does not.

        1. Just to reiterate: I can’t reply to some of the above comments because they contain no reply button.

          Anyway, I did not need a link to Newadvent giving me a sermon on communion under both kinds. It is clear for all to see that no matter WHAT fancy excuses they come up with, at the end of the day those religious monsters of days gone by have taken a sledgehammer to Christ’s command and say only ONE of the elements is necessary to consume. Nothing you can say can justify this despicable mutilation of the Lord’s Supper, especially the stark lunacy that the “whole Christ” is contained in every drop and crumb. Worse still, the RCC vainly pleads innocent to all charges of either adding to or subtracting from Scripture. Naturally, we are expecting some sleazy excuse to compensate for their disobedience, and as usual, Catholic representatives do not disappoint. Five hundred years ago, Trent put on their bulletproof vest and thought they were safe by quoting Jesus from chapter 6: “If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever” (“Concerning Communion Under Both Kinds”, ch. 1). They assumed that because the Lord only mentions bread in this verse, and not wine, then receiving Communion in either form is sufficient.

          That the council could actually think this type of shotgun apologetic will get past the “blazing eyes of fire” waiting for them on Judgment Day (Rev 1:14; 19:12) only proves their bulletproof vest is padded with feathers, and their brain as well. The fact is, it’s as common as the noonday sun to speak on a topic, but take for granted things that are not mentioned. For instance, everyone agrees that just because drinking is not mentioned in, “Give us this day our daily bread”, that this is a prayer that we die of thirst.

          Anyone can research and discover that withholding the cup from the congregation first began when “the dangers of spilling” were noticed. For example, when a young girl resisted and pinched her mouth shut as the deacon attempted to pour it in, the contents were spit back onto his garments. Or you may read of the “hazard” of long beards. Droplets were noticed to catch onto the hair and drip to the ground and “religious hearts were offended” because “jesus” had splashed onto the floor like a raindrop. However, these rationalizations to support Communion under only one kind have been correctly criticized by observers as “feeble”, “worthless”, “rash”, “wicked” “presumptuous”, “a monstrous sacrilege”, “the most insolent madness” and “sure to receive special judgment on that final day”. And I couldn’t agree more.

          1. Okay Micah,

            I’ve tried and tried to have a discussion with you. But there is now nothing left to say. You are nothing more than an internet troll now. You need to learn how to make arguments and respond to them in a competent and logical manner. I have grown tired of your griping, screaming, floundering, whining, arrogance, insults, pride, and self-righteousness. I will heed St. Ignatius of Antioch’s advice and now remain aloof from those who deny the Eucharist is the flesh of Jesus Christ. I shake the proverbial dust from my feetMay God have mercy on your soul. Good day sir.

            Matthew

  24. Michael –

    You never answered my first question but you want me to answer your question? That isn’t fair. I’m asking for historical fact. Where is it? Who are these people non Mass believing people? That something was, among other things, the Catholic version of the Mass. I’m not arguing the merits of transubstantiation at all and strictly keeping my discussion to history and reality. The Catholic Mass was the heart of Catholicism and 1,500 years of Christian history. You claim that the Mass is wrong because of your reading of scripture. That’s fine and if you’re correct we should see your view play out in history since you haven’t asserted that you have some superior exegesis that is beyond all of human history (or maybe you will make that claim).

    Where are these people in history that agree with you? What were they called? Where did they live? What happened to them? Were they silent Christians who lived in the hills without any name who were just waiting around for the Reformation and then sprung to life?

    If you have no historical facts to answer my questions then just say so instead of trying to dodge my questions and changing the underlying question.

  25. Micah –
    You never answered my first question but you want me to answer your question? That isn’t fair. I’m asking for historical fact. Where is it? Who are these people non Mass believing people? I’m not arguing the merits of transubstantiation at all and strictly keeping my discussion to history and reality. The Catholic Mass was the heart of Catholicism and 1,500 years of Christian history. You claim that the Mass is wrong because of your reading of scripture. That’s fine and if you’re correct we should see your view play out in history since you haven’t asserted that you have some superior exegesis that is beyond all of human history (or maybe you will make that claim).

    Where are these people in history that agree with you? What were they called? Where did they live? What happened to them? Were they silent Christians who lived in the hills without any name who were just waiting around for the Reformation and then sprung to life?

    If you have no historical facts to answer my questions then just say so instead of trying to dodge my questions and changing the underlying question.

    Joe points to history throughout his article as to those who believed in the Catholic version of the Mass. Where is your history that proves your position? That’s all I want. Assume you are true and Catholics are wrong. Where are these people that should have figured things out like you?

    1. C.D: The Catholic Mass was the heart of Catholicism and 1,500 years of Christian history…Where are these people in history that agree with you? What were they called? Where did they live? What happened to them? Were they silent Christians who lived in the hills without any name who were just waiting around for the Reformation and then sprung to life?

      M: It’s amusing to me that you actually think there was NO ONE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD who could ever be classified as non-Catholic. My, my, do YOU need to take a wake-up pill. For brevity’s sake, I would first refer you to the “Edict of the Emperors Gratian, Valentinian II & Theodosius I” circa 400. This established the RCC as the state religion….which meeeeeens that they were none too happy with those who were noncompliant. It reads: “We order those who follow this doctrine to receive the title of Catholic Christians, BUT OTHERS [emphasis mine] we judge to be mad and raving and worthy of incurring the disgrace of heretical teaching, nor are their assemblies to receive the name of churches. They are to be punished not only by Divine retribution, but also by our own measures, which we have decided in accordance with Divine inspiration.”

      Second, I would recommend “The Pilgrim Church” by E.H. Broadbent. Much more could be said, but your revision of history which puts a rosary into all Christians on earth for 1500 years is categorically FALSE. And by the way, they were “first called Christians” (not Catholics… as we read in the book of Acts, and definitely not ROMAN Catholics which we do NOT read of in the book of Romans – if your position was true).

      1. This is interesting. There are those you classify as non-Catholics in every age that represent a long string of various heresies. You seem to be claiming them as your particular “Christian” thread back to Christ. In so adopting them, your church becomes a composite of every heresy that has ever existed, even if they are contradictory. Is that your contention? If not, where are your examples throughout Christian history that show that your beliefs are consistently represented?

        1. The only thing that is interesting about your post is that it is shocking you actually think you have made a point. You are intimating that Catholicism has 2000 years of complete unity on absolutely everything, and that if anyone considered themselves a Christian without bowing their knee to the Pope, they were a heretic. There have been so many disagreements amongst the popes between themselves and the laity with the hierarchy that we would be here for hours to discuss them all. Just recently, a bunch of women hung out near the Vatican with a long white bedsheet (I think) upon which was written something like, “Since the boys have proved they can’t do the job, it’s time to hire the girls”. Oh, but you will say, all of that doesn’t count. Yeah, right.
          The point is you are demanding a unity from non-catholics that you yourself cannot provide, and therefore your comment is hypocritical to the extreme. At the end of the day, each one of us will be judged on our fidelity to the word of God…ALONE (John 12:48), and NOT UPON THE FACT THAT WE WERE A MEMBER OF A CHURCH THAT WAS IN LOCK-STEP UNITY WITH ANOTHER.
          Catholic personnel from the past simply would not allow “each man to be fully convinced in his own mind” per Romans14:5, and so they murdered them.

      2. Micah,

        You reference the year 400 AD. This was just about the time of the Council of Carthage from 397-419, when the Canon of New Testament scripture was ‘closed’. If you accept the Catholic canon which was closed by the authority of the Church hierarchy circa 400 AD, how can you consider them such heretics at roughly the same time…as you write above, circa 400AD??

        Why would you trust heretics to get the New Testament canon right?

        Just curious.

        1. At the get-go it must be remembered that just because God may choose a particular people to further His agenda, that does not mean that group of people is on the highway to heaven. As you know, He delivered His word specifically to the Jews, but to this day, the majority reject Him. Now in like manner, if He wished to further the process of at least getting the ball rolling in compiling the N.T. by using the authority of Roman bandleaders, then so be it. However, this no more proves the authority of Rome and God’s blessing on that institution anymore than it proves the local synagogue has His blessing either.
          Anyway, did you know that the N.T. canon was recognized many years before Hippo & Carthage by Athanasius? That means the EASTERN Orthodox church first came up with the list of 27 books, and NOT ROME. It was decided in 367, and the 27 were included in Athanasius’s Easter Letter (“Eerdmans’ Handbook to the History of Christianity”, p. 106). The consensus of the Eastern church in 367 was 26 years BEFORE Hippo. During this period, the Western (ROMAN) church accepted a canon that did NOT include the Book of Hebrews, but eventually followed the East in including it. This may be confirmed in the Catholic Encyclopeda located at Newadvent.com. We read:

          “In this formative period the Epistle to the Hebrews did not obtain a firm footing in the Canon of the Universal Church. At Rome it was not yet recognized as canonical…”

          In other words, far from making an infallible decision at Hippo and Carthage, the Roman church relied upon the Eastern church, which does not claim infallibility, for her canon (!!!).

          I might also add that it cannot be proven that the church which held the Council of Hippo in 390 A.D. was the same church which is now known as the Roman Catholic Church. For example, the church of 390 took communion under both kinds because that was the prevailing practice until those religious monsters sank into degeneracy and formally abolished it circa 1400. Thus, the church of 390 was a church altogether different from the Roman Catholic Church today.
          Furthermore, in the proceedings of the Council of Hippo, the bishops did not mention nor give the slightest hint that they were for the first time “officially” cataloging the books of the Bible for the world. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, it was not until the fourth session of the Council of Trent that the high ranking officials of the RCC “officially” cataloged the books they thought should be included in the Bible and bound them upon the consciences of all Catholics.

          1. You might recall the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325AD. The Church was not ‘Catholic’ and ‘Orthodox’…it was…the ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC Church. By reading the canons written for this council you can get a good idea of what the Church was concerned about at thaT TIME. Also, a good reading of Eusebius’ “Ecclesiastical History” gives a good overview of these early years of Church History. It really shouldn’t be ignored by those who seek the truth about early Church history, practices and doctrine.

  26. Micah –

    You keep dodging my question. What group of people rejected the Mass from 1-1,400 AD? Of course there are individual heretics, I’m looking for a whole group who might think like you since scripture is so clear in your eyes and Rome so wrong.

    Just give me your top three groups of people and dates. Shouldn’t be that hard.

    1. Mr. Davidson…just let me say that your question does not intimidate me in the least. You leave the impression that I am petrified by it, and that if I do not answer it, my silence would amount to the ipso facto victory which makes the doctrine of T true after all. I already know that when I do answer it, you’ll simply look for some other historical “fact” you can lean on for salvation, (instead of leaning on the word of God), so that on Judgment Day should you come to find out you have believed a lie, you can simply pass the blame to “history”.

      Anywho, from the written testimonies at their trials, it is quite clear that the Vaudois, Albigenses, Waldenses and other independent Christians were there in antiquity for all to see. In fact. their beliefs were much like those of the Reformers. Luther acknowledged his debt to them when he wrote: “We are not the first to declare the papacy to be the kingdom of Antichrist, since for many years before us so many and such great men whose number is large and whose memory is eternal, have undertaken to express the same thing so clearly and plainly” (“What Luther Says” by Plass, vol 1, p. 36).
      Please do not waste our time by telling me of the “flaws” of these groups and how they are not in absolute, lock-step unity with the Benny Hinns and Kenneth Copelands of today. The more pressing point is that If history shows disagreement amongst Catholics, then you have no right to bring up disagreement amongst Protestants. The only perfect unity that will ever exist will be when God gives the signal for this world to stop, and only THEN will all our beliefs align in harmony down thru eternity. In the meantime, the Lord actually approves of division so that the better argument will shine forth and lazy people will be forced to go back to the Scriptures to check things out (1 For 11:19; Prov 18:17).

  27. Are you really comparing the beliefs of the Albigensians to those of the Reformers? I am betting Luther would disagree. Knowing his pugnacious nature, he might even take a poke at you. In any case, calling the Albigensians and the other Gnostic offshoots ‘disagreeing Catholics’ is quite a stretch. Like calling Jim Jones’ “Peoples Temple” adherents, Christians. But not surprising, considering the entire chain of posts here.

    But hey…disagreement and chaos are Divinely inspired, if we take you at your word. Those 33,000 sects live it daily. I prefer to ‘go back to my Scripture” and take counsel from MT 18:18…..et al…

    By the way, Waldensians and Vaudois are interchangeable terms for the same breakaway group of Protestants. Not Catholics.

      1. Appreciate the further enlightenment (pun intended).

        Cut the Anchor and the ship drifts…wherever. Usually to a wherever that feels good.

        Color me surprised.

      1. OK, I am pretty good at reading comprehension. 9,000 Protestant denoms (as if that in itself isn’t an issue…) and 22,000 “independents.” Would those be ‘nondenominational?’ Every one of those I know, here in Colorado Springs, the Protestant Vatican, call themselves….”Protestants,” despite the article’s tortured logic on who is what. For example, Mormons grew out of the same Second Great Awakening burnt-over-district in New York as so much of the rest of American Protestantism. And the vast majority of the NC article listings had their origins in the Reformation. All schismatics from Holy Mother the real Church.

        And Anglicans aren’t Protestant? Just wow….

        Sounds like the NC Register is trying to find a treasure of Heaven to write articles, in a real vessel of clay. (2 Cor 4:7)

        I don’t feel like a random contributor to the NC Register told me to ‘shut up’….you tried though. Nice try….

        1. The owner of this website has made it known he is displeased with my flowery language, yet you are content to call your opponents the “Protestant Vatican”. May not that also be considered, “flowery”?
          In any case, what you are insinuating is, of course, that because the Vatican (allegedly) has sole right to interpret the Bible, non-Catholics simply have no right to come to any conclusions on their own. Yet, this is downright unbiblical to the MAX.
          May I remind you that Timothy knew the Scriptures from early childhood, and was NOT taught from any magisterium, but BY HIS MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER?! (2 Tim 1:5).

          Priscilla & Aquila were TENTMAKERS, yet a church resided in their house (1 Cor 16:19), and they were capable teachers who had not gone to seminary; instructing a man even as eloquent as Apollos (Acts 18:26).

          “The annointing which you received from Him abides in you (the Holy Spirit!!!) and you have NO NEED THAT ANYONE TEACH YOU…” (1 Jn 2:27). And to the two on the road to Emmaus, to them “opened He their eyes to understand the Scriptures!” (Luke 24:31,45). We trust the Lord to do so in our case as well to the extent He sees fit.

          In addition, Jesus CERTAINLY expected the people of His day to make “private interpretations” of His word! “Search the Scriptures” (Jn 5:39), “Have ye not read?” (Matt 12:3), “Is it not written in your law?” (Jn 10:34)—serve to show that we are EXPECTED to excercise our senses on the Word so that we may be able to discern good and evil—just as I am doing now, exposing the EVIL of Roman Catholic thought which bids us to check in our brains with the Vatican hat-check girl and go mindlessly into the Pope’s sitting room to see what he has to say (Matt 12:3, 5; 19:4; 21:16, 42; 22:29-31, Luke 10:26; Acts 17:2-3; 18:8, Heb 5:13-14, Eph 5:17).

    1. AK, as I told before… one more Protestant who shares the beliefs of a series of heresies, and considers himself to be their heir. As John said, “In so adopting them, your church becomes a composite of every heresy that has ever existed, even if they are contradictory. Is that your contention?” For those Protestants who don’t consider the Catholics to be even Christians, all the Protestant churches are Christian, and all the churches compose one “church”. There is no notion of heresy there, it’s just disagreement of opinion, and those disagreements have no effect on salvation (and maybe even very little consequence to Christian life). The only denomination that isn’t Christian is the Catholic Church (they usually don’t care about the Orthodox or the Copts or the Jacobites…), and the only opinion that doesn’t count is the Catholic opinion.

      I remember once I had a debate with a guy who wrote: “Salvation is through faith in the personal sacrifice of Jesus Christ for us. Everyone who believes that Jesus is the only and sufficient savior, died instead of us and resurrected for our salvation, he is able to be saved”. When I answered that Catholics believe all that, and asked what else did I need then, he had no answer. He had no definition for “able” either. What else do you need? Because if you need something else, you’re not a Protestant anymore. But if it’s really just that, one could choose between the Russian Patriarch or James White. He had no argument against that, because he had affirmed before that, apart from that “core”, one is free to think as he pleases. One doesn’t need to believe or do anything else. One doesn’t even need to believe in the Bible, it’s just a “plus”. When I concluded to him, “I believe that! Great, I’m saved”, he said I was drunk! However, that was the logical conclusion of all his premises.

      This may sound irrelevant for the debate at hand, but there is no argument against this mindset. That’s why many churches have banned theology as something that “pulls us away from God”, or as a pagan invention (philosophy) that is unnecessary and harmful. The simple question “Why do you believe in the Bible?”, or “Why is the Bible true?” means nothing to them.

  28. Guys,

    I haven’t been following these comments, but don’t you think you’re wasting your time debating Micah? He’s not even particularly pretending to be interested in the truth, or charity, or humility, or leading others (or being led) closer to Christ. He’s just a James White fanboy who isn’t above making outrageously slanderous claims like this:

    Notice that the magisterium issues “jesus” only a TEMPORARY visa, allowing Him to immigrate into the stomach, but only until the digestive juices begin their attack. The minute he senses persecution from this war zone, he must get out of the country and become a refugee, going who knows where after doing who knows what after crossing the border into the Catholic belly.

    Do you think even he thinks that claim is true? Do you think he even cares that the claim is obviously false? Given this, why waste your time? There are much better (holier, more rational, more open-minded, open-hearted) Protestants out there; this guy isn’t representative.

    I.X.,

    Joe

    1. My dear Mr. H….To suppose that I am not even pretending to be interested in truth, is beyond ridiculous. I speak forthrightly and bluntly, and there is no sin in that as you very well know. Or do you? When you get around to reading the Bible, you will notice that Jesus did not always walk around with a feather duster and a limp wrist sprinkling angel dust on his opponents. Now, if I happen to use a bit of flowery language… like the magisterium issuing “jesus” a temporary visa, what is that to you? Do you despise the fact that I’m a little creative and you yourself are not? If it is a matter of jealousy, then you simply must deal with it. If what I say provokes someone to investigate further into the insidious belief that Jesus Christ plays hide and seek in the form of a Ritz cracker, only to pack his bags one minute later after the stomach acids begin their attack, then my time is not in vain, for even if someone still disagrees with me, they will have learned something in the process.
      As to your assertion that “I know that what I am saying is completely false”, don’t make me laugh. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the real presence of Christ EXITS after the wafer begins to disintegrate, which can only mean by means of the saliva or the stomach acids. You have utterly failed to prove otherwise, and so one is aghast that you have the nerve to simply dismiss the claim out of hand by the mere breath of your mouth!
      You can’t possibly expect anyone to take you seriously.

      I am also offended by your brazen hypocrisy. How? The very first comment I posted on your site was after reading your recent article. The following was my reaction (since you say you have not been following the comments). I would like to know, as I’m sure everyone else would, how you will defend yourself.

      “On August 19, 2016, I wrote a personal note to Mr. Heschmeyer, informing him that the “infallible” council of Trent began their treatise on the Eucharist, in this manner: namely, that the Evangelical view on the Eucharist is an “intolerable disgrace”; and that the “express and clear words of Christ” have been “twisted by contentious and evil men to artificial and imaginary figures of speech [which we] denounce as SATANICAL” (emphasis mine. “Concerning the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist”).

      Yet right after telling him that, I was shocked to see that in this article dated one day later on August 20, he bemoans “the UGLY INSANITY [emphasis mine] of Calvin’s railing against [transubstantiation] as “satanic.”

      Obviously, the author is under the impression that the Catholic Church has the right to dish it out, but their enemies are by no means allowed to do likewise! This is completely hypocritical and Joe needs to retract the ‘ugly insanity’ of his opinion if he has any integrity whatsoever.”

      By the way, are you going to give your sentiments on how you feel about the Pope hopping a plane in Oct to Sweden, to celebrate the Reformation?
      No, I didn’t think so.

    2. Micah,

      You said, “If what I say provokes someone to investigate further into the insidious belief that Jesus Christ plays hide and seek in the form of a Ritz cracker, only to pack his bags one minute later after the stomach acids begin their attack, then my time is not in vain, for even if someone still disagrees with me, they will have learned something in the process.”

      That’s exactly the problem. That’s a gross misrepresentation of Catholic teaching, and you either know this and don’t care, or don’t know what you’re talking about and still spout this nonsense. Either way, you’re a stumbling block to the truth – someone who read you as anything other than a raving blowhard would be the worse off for it.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    3. Joe – after the last spasm of barely-coherent proof-texting, above from this morning, I really need to get back to work and you’re right, leave this guy to whatever he believes. I’m done….

      By the way, Micah, the term “Protestant Vatican” was used by a professor in my MPA Capstone class at U of Colorado. A devout Protestant of the Mormon variety. Who I am sure “Jesus CERTAINLY expected…..to make “private interpretations” of His word!” Just like every Protestant from Luther to Henry VIII to Joseph Smith to Ted Haggard…..

  29. “awlms” says above (with no reply button)…

    “You might recall the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325AD.…it was…the ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC Church.”

    No it wasn’t.
    Of most interest to us today with regards to Roman authority – was the sixth canon, which reads as follows:

    “Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges.”

    This canon is significant because it demonstrates that at this time there was no concept of a single universal head of the church with jurisdiction over everyone else. I’m sure this must come as a shock to your system, so perhaps you need to lay down with a wet washcloth on your forehead.
    After you get up, sit yourself in front of this debate, and don’t forget the tissues. You’ll be crying over the fact that you’ve been duped all along.

    http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2012/12/02/is-the-church-of-the-council-of-nicaea-the-roman-catholic-church-a-debate-between-james-white-and-john-mary-vintage/

    1. Ancient custom = rite. Latin, Byzantine, Coptic, etc., rites…and all in union with Rome. Differing rites and liturgies – allowed to respect local customs and language – do not even begin to imply differences in doctrine or lack of communion with the See of Peter. Difficult concept, I know….please do try to keep up.

      Joe has done a fine job of pointing out how you really should understand what you’re talking about before you open fire. But then again, it’s a nice diversion. I am waiting for you to devolve to all-caps after which you’ll need that washcloth.

  30. Thx, Micah, for opening my eyes. I can’t believe all my years listening to the Catholic church as it spouted that Jesus is God in the flesh, that he has two natures, that he has two wills, even though for 2000 years peoples of all kinds have been disbelieving it. As Micah says “After all, any forensic evidence is not to be hoped for, being “independent of our mind and our senses”, and based solely on “faith in the divine authority” of the Roman Catholic church,” –Jesus is God in the flesh–I haven’t seen sensible proof. God can work miracles through any man, even resurrect him. Jesus, has two natures–not sensible. Jesus has two wills–did he open up his mind and show you two wills. And you believe Jesus is
    God because the Catholic church has said so for 2000 years.

    Show me the forensic proof to my senses that

    Christ assumed a real body, not an apparent body.
    Christ assumed not only a body but also a rational soul
    The Divine and human natures are united hypostatically in Christ, that is, joined to each other in one Person.
    In the hypostatic union each of the two natures of Christ continues unimpaired, untransformed, and unmixed with each other.
    Each of the two natures in Christ possesses its own natural will and its own natural mode of operation.
    The hypostatic union of Christ’s human nature with the Divine Logos took place at the moment of conception.
    The hypostatic union was effected by the three Divine Persons acting in common.

    You expect me to believe these thing just because the Pope, the bishops, the councils have been teaching this without admixture or hesitation for 2000 years. what arrogance.

    I am joining Micah’s church–we’re John 6:42’ers. We know the Church was founded in 632 by “Pope” Gregory and has made up the Trinitarian dogmas– we want forensic proof!

    1. I thought it was Constantine the Great that did all that. Amazing what a guy can do 1-200 years after he’s dead if he’s really determined. Just ask Alexander Hislop – it’s all there in “The Two Babylons.” Inspired, I say….

      In the meantime, I am headed down the street where Parster Fuzz just opened up a new storefront nomdenom…of all those +30,000 denoms/nondenoms, he’s the only one who has it right.

    2. H. Wilnot says:

      Show me the forensic proof to my senses that Christ assumed a real body, not an apparent body [and many other miracles].

      Reply: Your demand of proof for miracles in the Bible (which we don’t have) as an apologetic for the unseen “miracle” in the Eucharist (which we don’t have either) – and therefore the latter must be true also, is very simply, comparing apples and oranges. Needless to say, those who believe in Christ are convinced of ALL the miracles in the Bible, based on the veracity of God’s word alone. In that respect, we walk by faith and not by sight.
      I pointed out previously that the bulk of those miracles were on display at the time for all to see. Nothing was hidden. Jesus even said in essence, “If you can’t believe what I say, at least believe in the miracles!” These miracles were one aspect of verifying His claims to deity. This was His modus operandi. Thus, to suppose He would choose to create a miracle such as T (on the same level as the creation of the world says your church) WHICH NO ONE CAN SEE, grinds against the very nature of who He has revealed Himself to be.

      Divine Providence has decreed we must lean more towards certifiable, objective facts, and Josh McDowell for example,has done just that for the cause of Christ in “Evidence that Demands a Verdict”. Uncertifiable, subjective claims or opinions, on the contrary, appear in Scripture as inadmissible testimony. When divine revelation was unveiled, it was meant to be verified, such as the conversion of a dead soul into a vessel of honor. The change is unmistakeable. On the other hand, Transubstantiation cannot be verified. Even Paul says that the coming of the Messiah and the worldwide spread of the gospel were “not done in a corner” (Acts 26:26). These events were well observed by many. The same cannot be said for Transubstantiation, which is observed by.. NO ONE.
      Again, God’s special revelation in Jesus Christ is backed up with certifiable evidence (John 3:11; Acts 1:21-22; 1 John 1:1-4), and for this reason it is considered true (3:33, 5:32-33, 19:35, 21:24, 3 John 12). In fact, the entire gospel of John, for all intents and purposes appears as a legal defense for the claims of Christ. While He did call Himself the “Faithful Witness” (Rev 1:5) who regarded His personal testimony as valid (Jn 8:14) stressing that His amazing works affirmed His divine status (5:36, 10:25, 10:38, 14:11, 15:24), He did not stop there. Knowing that according to Jewish law, one’s own witness without confirmation invalidates the testimony (Jn 5:31, 8:13-18) He summoned other witnesses (John 18:20; Acts 1:8), including Christians today who may vouch for the many prophecies concerning Christ being fulfilled perfectly. The same was seen in the Old Testament. Israel was witness to the fact that God alone had the power to save, not only by delivering them so often, but by giving them predictions of future events. All of this is said to reinforce the theological importance of how strongly God emphasizes the witness testimony of our senses and how Transubstantiation, being forensically bankrupt, simply cannot meet the high standards of jurisprudence set forth in Scripture.

      Consequently, you are refuted.

      1. “based on the veracity of God’s word alone”
        And that veracity is based on what? Faith. And faith is based on what? “The veracity of God’s word”. Come full circle.

        “the bulk of those miracles were on display at the time for all to see”
        No, they weren’t. That’s why they weren’t registered by any of the great philosophers/writers/litterati of the first century.

        To quote: “His death – and resurrection – were marked by spectacular supernatural events: angelic appearances, earthquakes, legions of beloved Jewish saints coming back from the dead and publicly appearing in Jerusalem, supernatural darkness that covered the entire world, or at the very least the entire region, for hours, and much more. And yet, there is no mention of these supernatural events anywhere other than the bible! […] And he appeared again to many of his followers afterwards, some say for as long as forty days, before ascending bodily into Heaven before a crowd of his followers.None of them or any of the 500 to whom he “appeared” after his death felt disposed to write about it. There is no mention of it anywhere other than the bible!”

        So there goes your “Divine Providence has decreed we must lean more towards certifiable, objective facts”. “certifiable evidence” — No certifiable facts there, mate! Just your faith, based upon hearsay!

        So, the existence of Jesus and the Bible itself has no forensic evidence for itself!

        Want anything more ridiculous and ludicrous than the legend of the flood? Well, that’s either just metaphorical or else people who believe that it really existed are deluded.

  31. The problem with Protestant doctrines as I see it is not so much that they weren’t taught by the Church fathers — because the same thing could fairly be argued about several Catholic doctrines — but that they are not *contained* in the revelation passed on to the first generations of Christians. Take the theory of double imputation. True, it’s not taught by any Church fathers, and thus was not received in that form. But, more importantly, it was not contained in the soteriology handed on, such that it could grow under the guidance of the Holy Spirit: the fathers were taught infusion. By contrast, while none of the Church fathers of a significant stretch teach that Mary was assumed, her assumption is contained in the revelation the fathers received concerning Mary’s role and status, such that as this revelation germinated in the Church, it came to be seen that part of having Mary’s role and status just was being assumed. Similarly, the propitiatory nature of the Eucharist, while not clearly taught for some time, was nevertheless contained in the revelation concerning Christ’s fulfillment of the Passover in the Eucharist, etc. Seeing things from this perspective has helped me immensely in coming back to the Church.

  32. You say: By contrast, while none of the Church fathers of a significant stretch teach that Mary was assumed, her assumption is contained in the revelation the fathers received concerning Mary’s role and status, such that as this revelation germinated in the Church… Seeing things from this perspective has helped me immensely in coming back to the Church.

    Unfortunately, you’ve made a deadly mistake. The “germination” you speak of that the father’s received concerning Mary’s role, is a complete DEPARTURE of the faith once delivered. The catechism says to bring ALL our cares to Mary (2677).
    ALLLL our cares? Says who? Certainly not Jesus Christ.
    (Phil 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7).

    If you can be deceived in such a simple matter as praying to God alone as the Bible clearly indicates, well of course you will be equally deceived about the need to swallow the physical anatomy of the Savior. As a result, says Jesus, “you will die in your sins”.

  33. Micah –

    There’s just one problem with the groups you’ve referenced regarding the Mass (Vaudois, Albigenses, Waldenses), they are all groups from the 10th Century and later. You’ve missed about a 1,000 years of Christianity to demonstrate a group of people who rejected the Mass in early Christianity which was my initial question. I knew you couldn’t answer my question which is why I asked it in the first place hoping that it might actually cause you to think about why there is no group of early Christians who rejected the Mass as taught by Rome and most importantly, why such heretical groups no longer exist (except as Protestants). Over a thousand years of the Mass (not the Lord’s Supper or some other nominalistic way of referring to the Mass) and you can’t explaint why except that you have better exegesis than those who were actually guided by Apostles.

  34. You say: There’s just one problem with the groups you’ve referenced regarding the Mass (Vaudois, Albigenses, Waldenses), they are all groups from the 10th Century and later.

    Answer: If you were in a debate, you would be disqualified. Your original question, thinking that I would have no answer, was, and I do quote: “What group of people rejected the Mass from 1-1,400 AD?”

    I answered you. And you are thus refuted.

    I think now it’s time you start thinking about what you will say to Christ on Judgment Day when He asks why you chose to believe that taking only one element (bread or wine) is sufficient at Mass, when He told you to take BOTH. I can tell you that all such excuses such as “The RCC told me so” will avail you nothing. I quoted previously on this thread that Trent said Christ had commanded no such thing. That, sir, is a bold-faced lie. This one fact alone; namely, the utter desecration of the Lord’s Supper as played out in your masses everyday, proves you are in abject defiance of the gospel and are (at this point anyway) headed for hell.
    Honestly, for all the yada yada yada Catholics make about Jesus saying to “DO THIS”….at the end of the day, Catholics simply…DO NOT!

  35. Micah –

    You got me on the 1,400 and I stand corrected. I have history (along with people directly guided by Apostles instructing on the Mass), a physical Church that has lasted since Pentecost and my own logic and reasoning at Judgment Day. You only have yourself on Judgment Day.

    1. C.D: I have history [to guarantee I get to heaven].

      Me: I see. Forget about God’s word? OK, have it your way.

      C.D: along with people directly guided by Apostles instructing on the Mass

      Me: The apostles never left any instruction on a sacerdotal priesthood who were to preside over the metamorphosis of bread and wine so that one could receive salvation via the mouth.
      Forget about faith via the avenue of preaching per 1 Cor 1:21? OK, have it your way.

      C.D: a physical Church that has lasted since Pentecost

      Me: The “physical” church at Pentecost was located in Jeruuuuuusalem, which was 1500 miles away from the Romish church you now give your allegiance to. And they were called “Christians” –not “Catholics”, as we read in the book of Acts, and were anything BUT Roman.

      C.D: and my own logic and reasoning at Judgment Day.

      Me: I’m still waiting for you or ANYONE to “logically” explain your repudiation of Christ’s word to partake of BOTH bread and wine. I’ve mentioned this nearly ten times already and no one dares answer it because they are petrified of the implications of what I’m saying; namely, being sent to hell in a hand basket. Yet because they refuse to break their ties with Rome, the only alternative is to spit in Jesus’ face for the time being and blame everything on the magisterium, hoping He’ll open heaven’s gate anyway come Judgment Day.
      Good luck.

      You only have yourself on Judgment Day.

    1. Mr. D….I am very well aware that both are offered…as an option…but JESUS CHRIST DID NOT GIVE YOU THAT OPTION. 99% of the time BREAD AND WINE ARE NOT OFFERED, and you are turning a blind eye to the obvious satanic words of Trent who flippantly threw Christ’s words under the bus! READ IT…

      “This holy synod, taught by the Holy Spirit…declares that lay people…are not obliged by any divine command to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist under both kinds, and that it can in no way be doubted without injury to faith that Communion under either kind is sufficient to them for salvation” (“Concerning Communion Under Both Kinds”, ch 1).

      To suppose that we are at liberty to take a sledgehammer and chop Christ’s instructions in two, “not obliged by any divine command” to partake of both bread and wine, proves beyond all doubt that the RC Eucharist is a fraud. That they further convey that swallowing the wafer is necessary for salvation only makes the heat hotter in hell for all who teach it. The Bible states no such thing.

      1. But the bread and wine are just metaphors or symbols so what does it matter in your world???

        The Bible doesn’t mention the word Trinity either so under your logic you should reject that as well.

  36. Since this post garnered so much attention and the Pope’s visit to Sweden was mentioned, I wanted to ask that everyone join me in praying that God will bless discussions that are had around the anniversary of the reformation. Let us all follow the Holy Father’s example (and of those whot came before him) and strive to cooperate with God as he heals the body of Christ on earth, being gracious to all of our brothers and sisters, many of whom have no idea what the reformation was about and have given little to no thought to anything theological. Come Holy Spirit and make us one!

    1. NO! The Council of Trent designated all those who teach that Jesus spoke metaphorically in John 6 and the Last Supper as being under the influence of the devil. This was allegedly an “infallible” council brought together by virtue of the Holy Spirit, as they state in their proceedings. Hence, if Trent was the mouthpiece of God, how then do you have the gall to say that we, under the influence of the devil, are your brothers and sisters?

      Second, let me assure you that your prayers for “healing the body of Christ” will remain unanswered. What you mean to say, of course, is oh how wonderful it would be if all non-catholics would abandon ship and jump into the Tiber and swim to the Vatican.
      However, it will never, EVER be. When Jesus used those “cannabilistic” words in John 6, HE KNEW VERY WELL WHAT HE WAS DOING. He knew that some would take Him in one of two ways, and thus, His intention was to split Christendom straight down the middle, like the sheep from the goats. Those who understood Him correctly (whatever that “correct” way might be) would be His sheep. Those who were foreordained to misunderstand Him, would be lost.

      “I thank thee Father…because thou hast HID these things from the wise and prudent, but hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.” (Matt 11:25-26).

      Thus, the rift will remain until kingdom come.

      1. I have to jump back in here, for now.

        I notice Micah didn’t address my clarification of his misquotes from the Council of Nicaea on liturgical differences within the Catholic Church. Anyone surprised? Parster Jimmuh probably din’t have nuffin to say on that….praise Jeebus…..

        “Second, let me assure you that your prayers for “healing the body of Christ” will remain unanswered.”

        Reminds me of the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bailey Smith, back in 1980, when he said (as Jeff Foxworthy says, in an accent that would scare the hell out of you if you heard it from your brain surgeon before an operation) “God does not hear the prayer of a Jew.” Need I say more, about what we’re dealing with, and why we shouldn’t feed this psychotic ‘vangerlilercal troll anymore? Joe was right on, about 50 posts back.

        “Thus, the rift will remain until kingdom come.”

        As long as such as you remain spewing your bile, it’s the one true thing you said today.

  37. Good article Joe, as always. Though, I have two comments I’d like to make, as a fellow Catholic and potential seminarian.

    1) While you’ve certainly addressed the Eucharist as the Real Presence in the early Church, and how that deals a fatal blow to standard Calvinist objections, you didn’t clearly address the nature of the Mass as Sacrifice, nor the position that the Eucharist itself forgives sins, something that Craig also implied in his comments. Arguably, these two objections are much more difficult to proof-text, and they also happen to be the more pertinent objections. After all, some Protestants like Lutherans and Anglicans will agree with the Real Presence, but they won’t acknowledge its salvific, redemptive or absolutory nature, nor its qualification as sacrifice, rather condemning such notions. These still need to be defended. I imagine you may have done so in other posts, or may be getting to them; but it is clear that we won’t get that in Ignatius. What you do get in Ignatius, is a strong sense of the authority of the bishop, and a clear necessity for the visible Church.

    As to dealing with sacrifice, I tend to think it’s helpful to look at how ancient people thought of sacrifices generally: in three parts. First, the gathering of the victim or elements, and bringing them to the altar. Second, the slaughter of the victim or emptying of the elements, as in libations; it is here, it seems, where Protestant notions of Sacrifice appear to begin and end, though prematurely: and I say begin, because it is rare that one would consider Jesus’ walk to Golgotha to be part of the sacrifice, but of course, we as Catholics recognize that the Sacrifice of Christ consisted of Jesus’ whole passion, not the mere moment of death. Third, of course, near-universal among ancient religions, but especially among Mesopotamian-based ones like Judaism, is the consumption of the victim or elements by the priest.

    This is present in the Greeks, where it was customary for a bull sacrificed to Zeus, once consumed in fire, seen as the eating of the victim by the deity, the priest and the heads of the family, or sometimes the whole family, would consume whatever was left, or a portion set apart for such a purpose; in this, the sacrifice is finished in the meal shared with the god in question. The Hebrew, and subsequently the Jews, had a very similar practice; we see throughout the Torah of my people (the Jews), that whenever sacrifice is commanded, the priest, and sometimes his family, is allotted a portion. We see this much more plainly in the Exodus, where a family must slaughter the lamb, paint the door, and then, without exception, consume the sacrifice, else they’ll be smitten by the spirit of death. The Talmud makes plain this emphasis on the consumption of the sacrifice in the numerous commentaries on Exodus contained within.

    It is here, in the context of this final step to sacrifice, that Jesus’ calling us “a nation of priests” is realized. Instead of the priest alone consuming the sacrifice, the Eucharist is given to all in right relationship with God; thus, we all play a part in the sacrifice of Christ. I’ve always seen the interpretation of this phrase by Protestants to be very strange, as it is usually cited in reference to prayer or forgiveness or something that seems to be particularly Catholic. But it should be noted, here, that the nature of the priest in Judaism was not as an intercessor or mediator between God and man, nor did he himself impart forgiveness; ancient Jews were forgiven in their repentance and in the act of sacrifice, and could always pray to God whenever. No, the sole function of the priest in Judaism was in their role in the rites of sacrifice. When Jesus or Paul says “you are all priests,” he is doing so within a specifically Jewish context of priesthood, not an already-Catholic one. Therefore, there’s something about the nature of sacrifice in which we all share; part of that, is our sins contribution in the death of God, but I think more than that, it is our shared participation in the final step of Jewish sacrifice, the step previously reserved for priests alone, the consumption of the victim – and so, we are priests because we all complete the one, eternal sacrifice of Christ in our consumption of his flesh and blood.

    2) This sort of argumentation, that of forcing Protestants to admit heresy among the very early Church, is only truly useful to those Christians that are more conservative, and actually think that heresy in some way impedes a truly lived Christian faith. Most Christians, gripped by post-modernism (both wings, left and right), will acknowledge that we all, in some sense, are heretics, insofar as we cannot know truly an ineffable God. They will assert plainly that the early Church were followers of Christ doing as they thought best and most in keeping with the spirit of Christ, but they won’t see their own derivation from that reality, or way of thinking, as something to be avoided. Instead, they will likely embrace and exult the diversity of “authentic” Christianity. Of course, it necessarily follows that the Gnostics, Arians, Nestorians and Sabellians are all similar heralds of that “authentic” faith, and examples of Christian diversity. They’ll either a) simply acknowledge that some got it more right than others, and continue to affirm orthodox Christology, or b) determine that the truth about the nature of Christ and God cannot be known for sure, and so become agnostic Christians. While there is certainly some merit in a small dose of agnosticism, that agnosticism is only virtuous when it comes to the cultivation of the virtue of humility before the Church; a personal agnosticism in the ability of oneself to know, that one does “not lean on [their] own understanding,” but rather on the Church as guided by the Spirit.

  38. Ignatius never stated that the Eucharist is the ACTUAL FLESH of Jesus Christ!

    He said, “…they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ.” JUST AS HIM, CHRISTIANS DO REVRENCE THE BREAD IN MEMORIAL AS JESUS’ FLESH!
    But not His actual physical flesh.This is exactly what Ignatius was speaking of. Jesus said to do it in remembrance, it was not His flesh he handed the Apostles, it was a piece of Bread. Jesus had not went to the Cross
    yet, He was showing them His physical death and how they were to remember it afterwards. Ignatius was referring to biblical teaching on what the Bread represents; the Lord’s Flesh.
    The Roman Catholic Church established this irrational man made dogma called “Transubstantiation” at the Council of Trent in 1551.
    I have a list of 41 “Dogmas” just like this one from the RCC Catechism that fundamentally contradict the Bible. Get out of her while you still have breath. Read the Bible for yourself!
    Jesus Christ was the Word made Flesh! If it is not established in the Word of God, it is a man made tradition or lie! Jesus Christ is the only way to God.

    1. Mickey,

      It’s true that you Protestants “reverence the bread” in some way in remembrance of Jesus. But notice how radically different that is from confessing the Eucharist to be His Body and Blood. Do you do what Ignatius does? No. Even by your own description.

      He said the Eucharist was the Flesh of Christ. Weaseling out by saying that he didn’t say “actual flesh” is just playing games with words. He also didn’t day “I’m not joking!” so should we think he was?

      The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 says as part of its creed: “There is one Universal Church of the faithful, outside of which there is absolutely no salvation. In which there is the same priest and sacrifice, Jesus Christ, whose body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the forms of bread and wine; the bread being changed (transsubstantiatio) by divine power into the body, and the wine into the blood, so that to realize the mystery of unity we may receive of Him what He has received of us. And this sacrament no one can effect except the priest who has been duly ordained in accordance with the keys of the Church, which Jesus Christ Himself gave to the Apostles and their successors.”

      Are you telling me that Catholics invented this doctrine in 1551, and then time travelled back to add it to a creed in 1215, and to the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, and all of those other places it’s explicitly found? How exciting of a theory!

      I.X.,

      Joe

    2. Terry said – “Jesus Christ was the Word made Flesh!”

      Me – you didn’t say “actual flesh” so I take it you mean Jesus’s flesh is human and maybe His soul is divine? Like He’s half human, half God or something similar?

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