Is Roman Catholic Doctrine Biblical? The Immaculate Conception

Mary PanelNow this is a very interesting doctrine. The Immaculate Conception of Mary.

To assist the Roman Catholic Church with their quest to deify Mary as the Queen of Heaven, it was deemed necessary, over the course of time, to assign to her the attribute of a sinless and perfect life, which meant there was a need to accredit her with, what they have termed, an immacualte conception; that is, a completely sinless nature from the very womb of her own mother.

This could have led to several complications, of course, because, how far back do you go? If Jesus’ mother was sinless, under the Roman Catholic doctrine of original sin, how could she have been born in the sin of her own mother? Would there have been a need to also attribute sinlessness and immaculacy to Mary’s mother, and so on.

So, to illustrate the Roman Catholic desire to elevate Mary as venerated as the Queen of Heaven, which is the name of a blasphemous goddess, I present from the very Vatican site, AD CAELI REGINAM, which begins with the following astonishing statement:

From the earliest ages of the catholic church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.

So here we have still pronounced the Queen of Heaven and the Virgin Mother of God. Of course, there is no mother of God. He is the Eternal Pre-existant One, without mother or father. Jesus, in fact, is the Eternal Word who is God made flesh. He existed as the Word long before Mary. She is the mother of Jesus, the Word made flesh, but not of God. Neither is she any longer a virgin. She was a virgin, as prophesied, when she was visited by the Holy Spirit and conceived Christ, but subsequently gave birth to children by her husband, Joseph, the brothers and sister of Jesus.

However, in the spirit of cleverness and doctrinal sleight of hand, the various papal agencies eventually came up with a set of beliefs, based, not on scripture, but on a philosophically pragmatic, humanly conceived desire to place Mary on a par with similar female goddess figures represented in the idolatry of most pagan cultures, and culminating in a declaration of her immaculacy for all time, since Popes are, by definition, infallible, and therefore, once a papal decree is issued it is, apparently, gospel, although whose gospel is up for scrutiny.

From About Catholicism some of the doctrine is revealed.

What Is the Immaculate Conception?

Development of the Doctrine:

Because of the doctrine of Original Sin, some in the West began to believe that Mary could not have been sinless unless she had been saved from Original Sin at the moment of her conception (thus making the conception “immaculate”). Others, however, including St. Thomas Aquinas, argued that Mary could not have been redeemed if she had not been subject to sin—at least, to Original Sin.

The answer to St. Thomas Aquinas’s objection, as Blessed John Duns Scotus (d. 1308) showed, was that God had sanctified Mary at the moment of her conception in His foreknowledge that the Blessed Virgin would consent to bear Christ. In other words, she too had been redeemed—her redemption had simply been accomplished at the moment of her conception, rather than (as with all other Christians) in Baptism.

Spread of the Feast in the West:

After Duns Scotus’s defense of the Immaculate Conception, the feast spread throughout the West, though it was still often celebrated at the Feast of the Conception of Saint Anne. On February 28, 1476, however, Pope Sixtus IV extended the feast to the entire Western Church, and in 1483 threatened with excommunication those who opposed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. By the middle of the 17th century, all opposition to the doctrine had died out in the Catholic Church.

Promulgation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception:

On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX officially declared the Immaculate Conception a dogma of the Church, which means that all Christians are bound to accept it as true. As the Holy Father wrote in the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus, “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”

So, as late as 1854, this doctrine, which had been lavishly taught for centuries before in the Roman Catholic Church, became an official dogma. Apparently, now, all Christians are bound to accept it as true. But on what grounds? On what scriptural basis? From the New Advent Catholic Encyclopaedia:

No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogmacan be brought forward from Scripture. But the firstscriptural passage which contains the promise of theredemption, mentions also the Mother of the Redeemer. The sentence against the first parents was accompanied by the Earliest Gospel (Proto-evangelium), which put enmity between the serpent and the woman: “and I will put enmity between thee and the woman and her seed; she (he) shall crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for her (his) heel” (Genesis 3:15). The translation “she” of the Vulgate is interpretative; it originated after the fourth century, and cannot be defended critically. The conqueror from the seed of the woman, who should crush the serpent’s head, is Christ; the woman at enmity with the serpent is Mary. God puts enmity between her and Satan in the same manner and measure, as there is enmity between Christ and the seed of the serpent. Mary was ever to be in that exalted state of soul which the serpent had destroyed in man, i.e. in sanctifying grace. Only the continual union of Mary with grace explains sufficiently the enmity between her and Satan. The Proto-evangelium, therefore, in the original text contains a direct promise of the Redeemer, and in conjunction therewith the manifestation of the masterpiece of HisRedemption, the perfect preservation of His virginal Mother from original sin.

So now, because there is no actual scripture to demonstrate the immaculate conception of Mary, by a simple twist of the true meaning of a verse suggested in the Latin Vulgate, it is not Christ, the Seed of the woman (which refers to the Eve, in fact, and not directly to Mary) who crushes the head of the serpent, but the woman herself, who, it is now claimed, is Mary, and, somehow out of this we have the interpretation that Mary is preserved from original sin. This is quite astonishing violation of scriptural truth to produce a heresy. A simple study of related verses would have solved this error, but it was separated out as a convenient way of introducing a heresy.

As they correctly say, this interpretation cannot be defended critically. Yet it has, astonishingly, been declared so by a papal bull, and that is, for Catholics, an end of it. So here we have the doctrine explained for us in its full glory.

In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December, 1854,Pius IX pronounced and defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.”

“The Blessed Virgin Mary…”

The subject of this immunity from original sin is the person of Mary at the moment of the creation of her souland its infusion into her body.

“…in the first instance of her conception…”

The term conception does not mean the active orgenerative conception by her parents. Her body was formed in the womb of the mother, and the father had the usual share in its formation. The question does not concern the immaculateness of the generative activity of her parents. Neither does it concern the passive conception absolutely and simply (conceptio seminis carnis, inchoata), which, according to the order of nature, precedes the infusion of the rational soul. The person is truly conceived when the soul is created and infused into the body. Mary was preserved exempt from all stain oforiginal sin at the first moment of her animation, andsanctifying grace was given to her before sin could have taken effect in her soul.

“…was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin…”

The formal active essence of original sin was not removed from her soul, as it is removed from others bybaptism; it was excluded, it never was in her soul. Simultaneously with the exclusion of sin. The state of original sanctity, innocence, and justice, as opposed tooriginal sin, was conferred upon her, by which gift every stain and fault, all depraved emotions, passions, and debilities, essentially pertaining to original sin, were excluded. But she was not made exempt from the temporal penalties of Adam — from sorrow, bodily infirmities, and death.

“…by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race.”

The immunity from original sin was given to Mary by a singular exemption from a universal law through the same merits of Christ, by which other men are cleansed from sin by baptism. Mary needed the redeeming Saviour to obtain this exemption, and to be delivered from the universal necessity and debt (debitum) of being subject to original sin. The person of Mary, in consequence of her origin from Adam, should have been subject to sin, but, being the new Eve who was to be the mother of the new Adam, she was, by the eternal counsel of God and by the merits of Christ, withdrawn from the general law of original sin. Her redemption was the very masterpiece ofChrist’s redeeming wisdom. He is a greater redeemer who pays the debt that it may not be incurred than he who pays after it has fallen on the debtor.

Such is the meaning of the term “Immaculate Conception.

So there we have it. Mary is called Queen of Heaven, a name which angered God, “The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger” Jeremiah 7:18. She is called the Mother of God, which is impossible. She is made sinless from birth to death by virtue of an immaculate conception for which there is no evidence in scripture.

All of this so that Roman Catholics, from Popes to paupers, can pray to her as a goddess and as a mediatrix, called by Pius XII Queen of Creation, who also says, in 1954,

…if Mary, in taking an active part in the work of salvation, was, by God’s design, associated with Jesus Christ, the source of salvation itself, in a manner comparable to that in which Eve was associated with Adam, the source of death, so that it may be stated that the work of our salvation was accomplished by a kind of “recapitulation,” in which a virgin was instrumental in the salvation of the human race, just as a virgin had been closely associated with its death; if, moreover, it can likewise be stated that this glorious Lady had been chosen Mother of Christ “in order that she might become a partner in the redemption of the human race”.

Do you see this? The gradual replacement of Christ with the Queen of Heaven. So in the Vatican’s official doctrine:

“Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.”The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:

In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.

. . . she is our Mother in the order of grace.”

What do you think? Is this the doctrine of a sound church? Has this gospel of the elevation of Mary to almost equal redemptive status with Christ anything to do with the true gospel? 

Posted by Steve


519 thoughts on “Is Roman Catholic Doctrine Biblical? The Immaculate Conception

  1. The Immaculate Conception is all tied up with the Deity of Christ and Original Sin.

    It’s an answer to the question – How can that which is sinful and unholy give birth to God who is holy?

    That’s an honest theological question which the Church had to wrestle with.

    It sure as heck wasn’t anything to do with paganism.

    Personally I think the doctrine of Original Sin needs to be looked at, then the question would be a non-issue. Original Sin is mentioned nowhere in the Old Testament.

  2. Well I don’t support everything that the Catholics say… But the fact that Steve has gone to so much trouble to try to question their theology shows a bit of an obsession, frankly – and also a problem with authority.

    Like it or not, the Catholic church was the first church and has Pastors and Bishops, to which respect and honour is due. The fact that you are so eager to bring them down is indicative of a divisive and anti-authoritarian spirit.

    You ought to be thoroughly ashamed of yourself. You are a very naughty boy.

  3. I think the Jerusalem Church was the first Church, wazza2, actually.

    And the Apostles of Christ the first recorded authority under Christ.

    Would you agree?

  4. And no trouble at all, wazza. It’s fairly basic really. The error is so plain no one could mistake it.

    I’m only surprised I had to actually take the time to point it out.

    I own up to having a problem with authority, but only if it s usurped.

  5. ”which, according to the order of nature, precedes the infusion of the rational soul. The person is truly conceived when the soul is created and infused into the body.”

    More muddled thinking from the Vatican.

    As to Original Sin, that’s simply the term covering the fact that all born of Adam have fallen from the original grace he walked under, and all need a saviour, wouldn’t you say Bones? What do we need to rehash regarding this doctrine?

  6. I already gave my opinion on this in the post.

    I take that as a ‘no’. Which must make you an Arian? So Jesus was not God?

    How do you answer the question

    How can that which is sinful and unholy give birth to God who is holy?

    Or just don’t think about it.

  7. As to Original Sin, that’s simply the term covering the fact that all born of Adam have fallen from the original grace he walked under, and all need a saviour, wouldn’t you say Bones? What do we need to rehash regarding this doctrine?

    Well there are different interpretations aren’t there, Zeiby. The Catholic doctrine of Original Sin (similar to Reformers) is that we all inherited Adam’s sin. We inherit it from conception. Hence the need to pray for babies aborted in the womb that Jesus would save them despite their sinfulness (ie Adam’s). And the need for a separate doctrine about Mary as that which is sinful cannot give birth to holiness.

    If, however, our sins are our own personal sins – and yes all have sinned (babies and foetuses as well? Really?)- because we have made a voluntary decision to disobey God and we are responsible and judged for our own sins, then we would have no need to make allowances for foetuses, babies, the mentally disabled (which I hear from many Protestants, God will save them despite their depraved condition and inability to repent) as well as the Virgin Mary and nonsense such as the Immaculate Conception.

    That’s why Original Sin is important in this doctrine.

    No original sin – no immaculate conception.

  8. Bones,
    I take that as a ‘no’. Which must make you an Arian? So Jesus was not God?

    Hahaha! LOL! That’s hilarious logic! You’ve cheered me up no end! Thanks! 😀

    Let’s hear how you came that incredible conclusion!

    Jesus was the Word made flesh, as I said in the post. He was the Word who is God. Eternal. Godhead. He is not made, or created. He is the only begotten of the Father. Begotten not made.

    As God he has no mother, in other words. The man, Jesus, the pre-extistant Word, made flesh, was born of Mary. The Word is the Seed, sown into Mary to become flesh. You see that? He became flesh.

    Colossians 1:15-17
    He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

    God, as God, has no mother. It is fairy-tale doctrine to attempt to make this so. She is the ‘mother of my Lord’, Jesus, yes, that is clear, but nowhere in scripture is she called the mother of God.

    How could the creature form the Creator? Yet your newly beloved Catholic church calls her Theotokos, God-bearer, as if she formed God in her womb. Instead she formed the man, Jesus, but the Seed was always God, long before Mary was even conceived.

    As Jesus says to his own critics, “Before Abraham was, I Am!” For this they tried to stone him, because he announced himself as the Eternal God.

    Micah 5:2
    “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
    Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
    The One to be Ruler in Israel,
    Whose goings forth are from of old,
    From everlasting.”

    And so, you join the chorus of error which attempts to make Mary, who did not exist when God spoke to Abraham, or Moses, or even Adam, the mother of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the Eternal Godhead!

    Just to clarify for you, Jesus is the Word made flesh who is God. He is the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form.

    There! I have shown I am not Arian.

    But now I must be excommunicated from Catholicism for saying she is not the mother of God! Oh dear. What a shame!

    At one time they would have tortured me on the rack until I recanted or burned me at the stake for saying so, this church you are defending so diligently. Do you think they would not still do so if the Protestants had not, once they grew in strength, power and numbers to withstand Catholic kings, stood up to their barbarity?

    So, now. Do you say that Mary is the mother of God?

  9. Bones, at least you have nailed the error of original sin. As Paul said, “Had I not known the Law I could not have sinned!” But as soon as the law is known, we sin.

    No child knows the rules until they are spelled out to them. In a Christian home infants are covered by their parent’s faith. That is why infant baptism, or christening, is unnecessary.

    Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ, which includes believing in the heart that he is, and making confession with the lips that he is Lord.

    This cult is so steeped in nonsense it is hard to see how they could recant enough of it to break free.

  10. Agree that the whole elevation of Mary thing is an unnecessary, even idolatrous, distraction from Jesus. Even Jesus did not recognise her really as his mother in the traditional sense of equality between mother and father. He dismissed his family and taught those he was speaking to were his mother, brothers and sisters. In John 19:26 he refers to her as ‘woman’ in handing her over to John’s care. So no, Mary has no status above any other human despite being the bearer of Jesus as an unborn baby.

    As to her having to have special sanctification from God to do this, there is no scriptural evidence. She was selected by God, informed by Gabriel, but you would think that the gospels would mention something of a unique ‘cleansing’ (supposing original sin). She certainly considered it an enormous privilege.

    I assume you would agree Bones that her placenta would feed the baby? So human blood is coursing through Jesus. This is Jesus as wholly man, but being conceived supernaturally of the Holy Spirit, a singularly unique event in all human history, provides the wholly God element to Jesus’s earthly existence ie NOT inheriting the fallen Adamic nature through the father’s sperm.

    I don’t agree that original sin can be cast off so easily. We are born fallen, we don’t become fallen. Our later unsaved lives merely solidify that position. Romans 1 is clear how God can save those who have not heard the gospel. This is the same way God addresses salvation for a baby that dies in the womb or who is too young to make a salvation choice by faith, or the mentally handicapped. God sees each circumstance and evaluates their position with respect to their ability to believe through faith. Dieing in one’s sins isn’t the baby’s situation, but one who had the chance to believe by faith and chose not to.

    There is more than sufficient support for our being born in sin rather than our selfish actions in life confirming that sinful status. Mary, though, is no more Queen of Heaven/Mother of God (triune, so mother of the father too?) than Ishtar or others who have pagan fertility goddess titles.

  11. I can understand how the thought that Mary could be the mother of God can run across a person’s mind as a plausible logical idea, but anyone who has read their Bible for more than a few months would then dismiss that thought as completely impossible and unreasonable.

    So the fact that Popes, who are supposed to be the arch-superintendent of the entire RC conclave, and, therefore, have an inkling of theological accuracy, could consider this idea for more than a split second is quite astonishing.

    Then to make it a doctrine, which, if denied, is worthy of excommunication, is beyond belief.

    But, of course, it does beg the question, do they actually read the Bible?

    Secondly, the whole Queen of Heaven idea lends compelling weight to those theologians, like Hislop, Barnes, Fawcette, Browne, Jamieson, Clarke, Gill, Wesley, even, who was an Anglican, who make comparisons between the gradual deification of Mary and the deification of pagan goddesses, including the trinitarian similarities in so many pagan systems of father god, mother god, and son god who sacrificially dies and is raised again.

    These are, of course, corruptions of the true Godhead of Father, Word and Holy Spirit.

    But the Spirit, in these pagan idolatries, is dismissed, and the woman goddess is deified to replace the Spirit, which is what makes pagan systems so blasphemous.

    As I look deeper into this, the similarities become greater with each glimpse of Vatican dogma as it is today, let alone what highly respected theologians said of it 100 years ago.

  12. Still going on with your pagan nonsense. It really is hard to stop believing in things that you hold to so dogmatically which have been proven to be error. Have you sought deliverance?

    There is nothing pagan in this doctrine. Is it errant? Yes.

    As is Original Sin which is not a Judaic belief. As Jesus was a Jew, he would not have believed in it either.

    Maybe Original Sin is pagan.

  13. So no, Mary has no status above any other human despite being the bearer of Jesus as an unborn baby.

    Wow. Is that all that Mary did? Is that all that your mother did or your wife did?

    Could have sworn that the Lord showed her favour.

    Luke 1:42f

    In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!”
    But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

    Yep, He did.

    This is Jesus as wholly man, but being conceived supernaturally of the Holy Spirit, a singularly unique event in all human history, provides the wholly God element to Jesus’s earthly existence ie NOT inheriting the fallen Adamic nature through the father’s sperm.

    Is that how Original Sin is passed? Through sperm?

    What of the sinfulness of Mary’s flesh?

  14. Dieing in one’s sins isn’t the baby’s situation, but one who had the chance to believe by faith and chose not to.

    Sorry, but there is no choice with Original Sin.

  15. Bones, the deification of Mary to heights level with, if not above, Jesus, particularly in her RC intercessory capacity, may not be ‘pagan’, but it is in line with many false ‘mystery Babylon religions that created similar female goddesses to worship.

    Just like ‘Trinity’, ‘original sin’ is not in the bible, but the concept is referred to on many occasions. I’ll dig them out, but you could do so easily too. Even if there is no ‘original sin’, Mary was of the age whereby she would have sinned. That she had faith in God and was an observant Jew doesn’t make her any different to similar Jewish virgins of her time.

  16. You guys need to get a copy of Early Christian Doctrines (J.N.D. Kelly) instead of reading made up nonsense like Hislop’s stuff.

    Kelly analyses early Christian doctrines and how they evolved from the first to the fifth century.

  17. Not sure why there is problem with the word ‘pagan’ to describe all those multi-culti-interfaiths. It’s used throughout Paul’s letters. It simply refers to all those outside of accepted Christianity, with a particular emphasis on the worship of natural objects (sun, moon, planets, environment).

    Bones – ‘Sorry, but there is no choice with Original Sin.’ Romans is clear on the fate of those who have not had the benefit of an unambiguous gospel message – all mankind is without excuse. Therefore, God can forgive a baby in original sin, or handicapped person, just as he did all those who worshipped him without a full revelation of Christ, as we have.

  18. Anyway. let’s look at what Catholics believe about this. Of the RC doctrines this is one that has little support from the Apostolic times and early Christianity. It is true that Early Christians thought of Mary as a special woman. She was hailed as the new Eve. She was contrasted with Eve in that Eve brought death and sin into the world through her disobedience, the new Eve brought life and salvation through her act of obedience.

    The Marian doctrines are, for Fundamentalists, among the most bothersome of the Catholic Church’s teachings. In this tract we’ll examine briefly two Marian doctrines that Fundamentalist writers frequently object to—the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.

    The Immaculate Conception

    It’s important to understand what the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is and what it is not. Some people think the term refers to Christ’s conception in Mary’s womb without the intervention of a human father; but that is the Virgin Birth. Others think the Immaculate Conception means Mary was conceived “by the power of the Holy Spirit,” in the way Jesus was, but that, too, is incorrect. The Immaculate Conception means that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived without original sin or its stain—that’s what “immaculate” means: without stain. The essence of original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature. Mary was preserved from these defects by God’s grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings.

    When discussing the Immaculate Conception, an implicit reference may be found in the angel’s greeting to Mary. The angel Gabriel said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). The phrase “full of grace” is a translation of the Greek word kecharitomene. It therefore expresses a characteristic quality of Mary.

    The traditional translation, “full of grace,” is better than the one found in many recent versions of the New Testament, which give something along the lines of “highly favored daughter.” Mary was indeed a highly favored daughter of God, but the Greek implies more than that (and it never mentions the word for “daughter”). The grace given to Mary is at once permanent and of a unique kind.Kecharitomene is a perfect passive participle of charitoo, meaning “to fill or endow with grace.” Since this term is in the perfect tense, it indicates that Mary was graced in the past but with continuing effects in the present. So, the grace Mary enjoyed was not a result of the angel’s visit. In fact, Catholics hold, it extended over the whole of her life, from conception onward. She was in a state of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence.

    Fundamentalists’ Objections

    Fundamentalists’ chief reason for objecting to the Immaculate Conception and Mary’s consequent sinlessness is that we are told that “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23). Besides, they say, Mary said her “spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47), and only a sinner needs a Savior.

    Let’s take the second citation first. Mary, too, required a Savior. Like all other descendants of Adam, she was subject to the necessity of contracting original sin. But by a special intervention of God, undertaken at the instant she was conceived, she was preserved from the stain of original sin and its consequences. She was therefore redeemed by the grace of Christ, but in a special way—by anticipation.

    Consider an analogy: Suppose a man falls into a deep pit, and someone reaches down to pull him out. The man has been “saved” from the pit. Now imagine a woman walking along, and she too is about to topple into the pit, but at the very moment that she is to fall in, someone holds her back and prevents her. She too has been saved from the pit, but in an even better way: She was not simply taken out of the pit, she was prevented from getting stained by the mud in the first place. This is the illustration Christians have used for a thousand years to explain how Mary was saved by Christ. By receiving Christ’s grace at her conception, she had his grace applied to her before she was able to become mired in original sin and its stain.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that she was “redeemed in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son” (CCC 492). She has more reason to call God her Savior than we do, because he saved her in an even more glorious manner!

    But what about Romans 3:23, “all have sinned”? Have all people committed actual sins? Consider a child below the age of reason. By definition he can’t sin, since sinning requires the ability to reason and the ability to intend to sin. This is indicated by Paul later in the letter to the Romans when he speaks of the time when Jacob and Esau were unborn babies as a time when they “had done nothing either good or bad” (Rom. 9:11).

    We also know of another very prominent exception to the rule: Jesus (Heb. 4:15). So if Paul’s statement in Romans 3 includes an exception for the New Adam (Jesus), one may argue that an exception for the New Eve (Mary) can also be made.

    Paul’s comment seems to have one of two meanings. It might be that it refers not to absolutely everyone, but just to the mass of mankind (which means young children and other special cases, like Jesus and Mary, would be excluded without having to be singled out). If not that, then it would mean that everyone, without exception, is subject to original sin, which is true for a young child, for the unborn, even for Mary—but she, though due to be subject to it, was preserved by God from it and its stain.

    The objection is also raised that if Mary were without sin, she would be equal to God. In the beginning, God created Adam, Eve, and the angels without sin, but none were equal to God. Most of the angels never sinned, and all souls in heaven are without sin. This does not detract from the glory of God, but manifests it by the work he has done in sanctifying his creation. Sinning does not make one human. On the contrary, it is when man is without sin that he is most fully what God intends him to be.

    The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was officially defined by Pope Pius IX in 1854. When Fundamentalists claim that the doctrine was “invented” at this time, they misunderstand both the history of dogmas and what prompts the Church to issue, from time to time, definitive pronouncements regarding faith or morals. They are under the impression that no doctrine is believed until the pope or an ecumenical council issues a formal statement about it.

    Actually, doctrines are defined formally only when there is a controversy that needs to be cleared up or when the magisterium (the Church in its office as teacher; cf. Matt. 28:18–20; 1 Tim. 3:15, 4:11) thinks the faithful can be helped by particular emphasis being drawn to some already-existing belief. The definition of the Immaculate Conception was prompted by the latter motive; it did not come about because there were widespread doubts about the doctrine. In fact, the Vatican was deluged with requests from people desiring the doctrine to be officially proclaimed. Pope Pius IX, who was highly devoted to the Blessed Virgin, hoped the definition would inspire others in their devotion to her.

    The Assumption

    The doctrine of the Assumption says that at the end of her life on earth Mary was assumed, body and soul, into heaven, just as Enoch, Elijah, and perhaps others had been before her. It’s also necessary to keep in mind what the Assumption is not. Some people think Catholics believe Mary “ascended” into heaven. That’s not correct. Christ, by his own power, ascended into heaven. Mary was assumed or taken up into heaven by God. She didn’t do it under her own power.

    The Church has never formally defined whether she died or not, and the integrity of the doctrine of the Assumption would not be impaired if she did not in fact die, but the almost universal consensus is that she did die. Pope Pius XII, in Munificentissimus Deus (1950), defined that Mary, “after the completion of her earthly life” (note the silence regarding her death), “was assumed body and soul into the glory of heaven.”

    The possibility of a bodily assumption before the Second Coming is suggested by Matthew 27:52–53: “[T]he tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” Did all these Old Testament saints die and have to be buried all over again? There is no record of that, but it is recorded by early Church writers that they were assumed into heaven, or at least into that temporary state of rest and happiness often called “paradise,” where the righteous people from the Old Testament era waited until Christ’s resurrection (cf. Luke 16:22, 23:43; Heb. 11:1–40; 1 Pet. 4:6), after which they were brought into the eternal bliss of heaven.

    No Remains

    There is also what might be called the negative historical proof for Mary’s Assumption. It is easy to document that, from the first, Christians gave homage to saints, including many about whom we now know little or nothing. Cities vied for the title of the last resting place of the most famous saints. Rome, for example, houses the tombs of Peter and Paul, Peter’s tomb being under the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. In the early Christian centuries relics of saints were zealously guarded and highly prized. The bones of those martyred in the Coliseum, for instance, were quickly gathered up and preserved—there are many accounts of this in the biographies of those who gave their lives for the faith.

    It is agreed upon that Mary ended her life in Jerusalem, or perhaps in Ephesus. However, neither those cities nor any other claimed her remains, though there are claims about possessing her (temporary) tomb. And why did no city claim the bones of Mary? Apparently because there weren’t any bones to claim, and people knew it. Here was Mary, certainly the most privileged of all the saints, certainly the most saintly, but we have no record of her bodily remains being venerated anywhere.

    Complement to the Immaculate Conception

    Over the centuries, the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church spoke often about the fittingness of the privilege of Mary’s Assumption. The speculative grounds considered include Mary’s freedom from sin, her Motherhood of God, her perpetual virginity, and—the key—her union with the salvific work of Christ.

    The dogma is especially fitting when one examines the honor that was given to the ark of the covenant. It contained the manna (bread from heaven), stone tablets of the ten commandments (the word of God), and the staff of Aaron (a symbol of Israel’s high priesthood). Because of its contents, it was made of incorruptible wood, and Psalm 132:8 said, “Arise, O Lord, and go to thy resting place, thou and the ark of thy might.” If this vessel was given such honor, how much more should Mary be kept from corruption, since she is the new ark—who carried the real bread from heaven, the Word of God, and the high priest of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ.

    Some argue that the new ark is not Mary, but the body of Jesus. Even if this were the case, it is worth noting that 1 Chronicles 15:14 records that the persons who bore the ark were to be sanctified. There would be no sense in sanctifying men who carried a box, and not sanctifying the womb who carried God himself! After all, wisdom will not dwell “in a body under debt of sin” (Wis. 1:4 NAB).

    But there is more than just fittingness. After all, if Mary is immaculately conceived, then it would follow that she would not suffer the corruption in the grave, which is a consequence of sin [Gen. 3:17, 19].

    Mary’s Cooperation

    Mary freely and actively cooperated in a unique way with God’s plan of salvation (Luke 1:38; Gal. 4:4). Like any mother, she was never separated from the suffering of her Son (Luke 2:35), and Scripture promises that those who share in the sufferings of Christ will share in his glory (Rom. 8:17). Since she suffered a unique interior martyrdom, it is appropriate that Jesus would honor her with a unique glory.

    All Christians believe that one day we will all be raised in a glorious form and then caught up and rendered immaculate to be with Jesus forever (1 Thess. 4:17; Rev. 21:27). As the first person to say “yes” to the good news of Jesus (Luke 1:38), Mary is in a sense the prototypical Christian, and received early the blessings we will all one day be given.

    The Bible Only?

    Since the Immaculate Conception and Assumption are not explicit in Scripture, Fundamentalists conclude that the doctrines are false. Here, of course, we get into an entirely separate matter, the question of sola scriptura, or the Protestant “Bible only” theory. There is no room in this tract to consider that idea. Let it just be said that if the position of the Catholic Church is true, then the notion of sola scriptura is false. There is then no problem with the Church officially defining a doctrine which is not explicitly in Scripture, so long as it is not in contradiction to Scripture.

    The Catholic Church was commissioned by Christ to teach all nations and to teach them infallibly—guided, as he promised, by the Holy Spirit until the end of the world (John 14:26, 16:13). The mere fact that the Church teaches that something is definitely true is a guarantee that it is true (cf. Matt. 28:18-20, Luke 10:16, 1 Tim. 3:15).

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/immaculate-conception-and-assumption

  19. @ Zeibart

    Romans is clear on the fate of those who have not had the benefit of an unambiguous gospel message – all mankind is without excuse. Therefore, God can forgive a baby in original sin, or handicapped person, just as he did all those who worshipped him without a full revelation of Christ, as we have.

    So Zeibart does that answer a question I’ve always had.

    What happens to those who have never heard the Gospel?

    Is God’s forgiveness available to them too?

  20. Answer for Bones’ question about those who have never heard the Gospel

    “All people are accountable to God whether or not they have “heard about Him.” The Bible tells us that God has clearly revealed Himself in nature (Romans 1:20) and in the hearts of people (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The problem is that the human race is sinful; we all reject this knowledge of God and rebel against Him (Romans 1:21-23). If it were not for God’s grace, we would be given over to the sinful desires of our hearts, allowing us to discover how useless and miserable life is apart from Him. He does this for those who continually reject Him (Romans 1:24-32).

    In reality, it is not that some people have not heard about God. Rather, the problem is that they have rejected what they have heard and what is readily seen in nature. Deuteronomy 4:29 proclaims, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” This verse teaches an important principle—everyone who truly seeks after God will find Him. If a person truly desires to know God, God will make Himself known.

    The problem is “there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:11). People reject the knowledge of God that is present in nature and in their own hearts, and instead decide to worship a “god” of their own creation. It is foolish to debate the fairness of God sending someone to hell who never had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ. People are responsible to God for what God has already revealed to them. The Bible says that people reject this knowledge, and therefore God is just in condemning them to hell.

    Instead of debating the fate of those who have never heard, we, as Christians, should be doing our best to make sure they do hear. We are called to spread the gospel throughout the nations (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). We know people reject the knowledge of God revealed in nature, and that must motivate us to proclaim the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Only by accepting God’s grace through the Lord Jesus Christ can people be saved from their sins and rescued from an eternity apart from God.

    If we assume that those who never hear the gospel are granted mercy from God, we will run into a terrible problem. If people who never hear the gospel are saved, it is logical that we should make sure no one ever hears the gospel. The worst thing we could do would be to share the gospel with a person and have him or her reject it. If that were to happen, he or she would be condemned. People who do not hear the gospel must be condemned, or else there is no motivation for evangelism. Why run the risk of people possibly rejecting the gospel and condemning themselves when they were previously saved because they had never heard the gospel?”

  21. “Anyway. let’s look at what Catholics believe about this.”

    Honestly, why would anyone bother? All one needs to know is that they don’t hold to the truth of salvation through faith in Christ alone – that is to say, they obstinately refuse to believe God’s revelation regarding the only way that we can be saved, and are thus condemned out of their own mouths as nothing more than stiff-necked rebels.

    The bottom line is that the catholic “church” is a satanic counterfeit, and anything they have to say is nothing more than pointless window-dressing. How anyone who claims to know God can fail to understand this simple truth is beyond mind-boggling.

  22. @ Margot

    So did Jesus reveal Himself to the Aborigines pre-settlement and the North American Indians pre-colonisation?

    Was God the great Spirit?

  23. Honestly, why would anyone bother?

    Steve seems to bother.

    All one needs to know is that they don’t hold to the truth of salvation through faith in Christ alone

    You mean like this

    The Catholic position on salvation can be summed up thus: We are saved by Christ’s grace alone, through faith and works done in charity inspired by the Holy Spirit.

    http://www.fisheaters.com/solafide.html

  24. I wasn’t there Bones, but one thing I do know – Jesus will lose none of all that the Father has given Him and will raise them up on the last day.

  25. @ Steve

    You use the violent reign of Caholicism in the past to condemn it. You would be closer to an Anabaptist than a true Protestant as such you would have been hunted by Catholics, Lutherans and Calvinists.

    Actually one of the few times that Protestants and Catholics united was when together they seiged the town of Munster in Westphalia which had been overtaken by Anabaptists.

    The city was captured in 1535, and the Anabaptist leaders were tortured and killed and their bodies hung in steel cages from the steeple of St. Lambert’s church.

    Roman Catholics and Protestants alike persecuted the Anabaptists, resorting to torture and execution in attempts to curb the growth of the movement. The Protestants under Zwingli were the first to persecute the Anabaptists, with Felix Manz becoming the first martyr in 1527. On May 20, 1527, Roman Catholic authorities executed Michael Sattler. King Ferdinand declared drowning (called the third baptism) “the best antidote to Anabaptism”.

    The Tudor regime, even those that were Protestant (Edward VI of England and Elizabeth I of England) persecuted Anabaptists as they were deemed too radical and therefore a danger to religious stability. The persecution of Anabaptists was condoned by ancient laws of Theodosius I and Justinian I that were passed against the Donatists, which decreed the death penalty for any who practiced rebaptism.

    Martyrs Mirror, by Thieleman J. van Braght, describes the persecution and execution of thousands of Anabaptists in various parts of Europe between 1525 and 1660. Continuing persecution in Europe was largely responsible for the mass emigrations to North America by Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anabaptist

  26. “The Catholic position on salvation can be summed up thus: We are saved by Christ’s grace alone, through faith and works done in charity inspired by the Holy Spirit.”

    The sentence states “by Christ’s grace alone, through faith”, but instead of stopping there it promptly contradicts itself by immediately thereafter referring to “works”. So yes, that’s a prime example of that to which I am referring – and also to the confused and Orwellian double-speak that is one of the sure hallmarks of a cult.

    In any case, that is not the full catholic position on salvation at all – so it’s not just double-speak, but deception. They are of their father: just as he is the father of lies, so also they are inveterate liars.

  27. “Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen”.

    How can Mary the mother of Jesus hear millions of people praying to her at the same time? She can’t because she is not God. At the wedding at Cana when there was no wine left, Mary said to the servants to do whatever Jesus said, as she knew he was God. Mary submitted herself to God, and yes she is a great example for us.

    But Jesus has not delegated his divinity to Mary, she has no rank in Heaven approaching equality with Jesus, Jesus does not do whatever Mary tells him to do and so answer every prayer to Mary, and Mary does not hand out grace. The Catholic Church doctrine, teaching, and what some priests say, about Mary is an insult to her.

  28. Bones,
    You use the violent reign of Catholicism in the past to condemn it.

    Not at all. It is what it is so I comment on it.

    I refer to the error the RC church uses as doctrine. It condemns itself. I merely point out why.

    Their violent history is just a matter of fact. The Inquisition wasn’t ended until 1960, and included the infamous Spanish Inquisition, for which even modern Catholics have no answer, nor have seen, yet, an apology, in the sense of remorseful acceptance of guilt.

    My main thrust, however, has been to post articles which show their questionable doctrines, which are neither peripheral to their main criterion, nor isolated to specific groups within the main church. These are universal RC beliefs.

  29. My goodness, Bones, at March, 12.40pm, did you read what your quoted author from catholic.com said at the end:

    Since the Immaculate Conception and Assumption are not explicit in Scripture, Fundamentalists conclude that the doctrines are false. Here, of course, we get into an entirely separate matter, the question of sola scriptura, or the Protestant “Bible only” theory. There is no room in this tract to consider that idea. Let it just be said that if the position of the Catholic Church is true, then the notion of sola scriptura is false. There is then no problem with the Church officially defining a doctrine which is not explicitly in Scripture, so long as it is not in contradiction to Scripture.

    The Catholic Church was commissioned by Christ to teach all nations and to teach them infallibly—guided, as he promised, by the Holy Spirit until the end of the world (John 14:26, 16:13). The mere fact that the Church teaches that something is definitely true is a guarantee that it is true (cf. Matt. 28:18-20, Luke 10:16, 1 Tim. 3:15).

    That is the most heretical reasoning for avoiding scriptural truth I’ve read for a while. can you seriously condone this?

    As far as I am concerned, that is all anyone needs to know about this so-called church. It has given itself the right to bypass all scripture and introduce its own doctrine sans scripture if necessary by simply appealing to its own authority, which, ironically, it claims from scripture! I’m aghast at the gall of this.

    How is that any different to the Watchtower Society when it introduces their own ‘Bible’, The New World Translation, simply because there is so much error in their own doctrine, which is easily refuted by anyone who knows their way around the Word?

    Bones,
    She was contrasted with Eve in that Eve brought death and sin into the world through her disobedience, the new Eve brought life and salvation through her act of obedience.

    There is no scriptural basis for this nonsense. They are again merely attempting to replace Christ with Mary. She is no more the new Eve than you are.

    These RC failed doctrines were well exposed by the theologians of 150 years ago, and accurately so. In fact, they were also exposed in previous eras, but the people who exposed them were put to the sword, the flame and the stake. Now you claim we are more enlightened so we don[t view the Catholic church in the same light. Well, more fool us, then, because these apologetics from the very source of the error entirely reflect the error of 100, 200, 300, 400 years and beyond, to the third and fourth centuries after Christ, and some even before that, as Rome became the capital city of Christendom.

    Nothing has changed except the diminishing of the power of the RC church over kings and nations to make war with those who dare to expose their crass error.

    And you attempt to state their belief in salvation is without works, when it is clear that the whole of their system is based on works, penance, fear and subjugation of its subjects.

  30. Let it just be said that if the position of the Catholic Church is true, then the notion of sola scriptura is false.

    Upon which admission I feel I can rest my case that the RC church dogma is untrue, and, therefore false.

    Because, by their own reasoning, if sola scriptura is true, then the Roman Catholic church is false.

  31. Which is exactly why the Second Vatican Council, despite the cleverly orchestrated PR it produced, and the way it has softened evangelical’s opinion over time, failed to change the fundamental errors it had gradually built, in particular upon this pretext of the infallibility of its own authority, especially in papal decrees, which, along with in the obviously secularised politically dominionist and theocratical governments of the Borgia, Medici and other Popes, produced doctrines which could never stand the test of scriptural fidelity today.

    But what is scriptural fidelity to a Roman Catholic?

    This from the Second Council:

    In the Second Vatican Council’s document on divine revelation, Dei Verbum (Latin: “The Word of God”), the relationship between Tradition and Scripture is explained: “Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit. To the successors of the apostles, sacred Tradition hands on in its full purity God’s word, which was entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.

    “Thus, by the light of the Spirit of truth, these successors can in their preaching preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same devotion and reverence.”

    So,despite the procession of politically totalitarian Popes, who were no more pious than despots, they were given the spiritual authority to devise decrees which were, and are, considered as authoritative as the gospels, and even more authoritative than the words of Christ, indeed, wherever they considered themselves sufficiently ‘led’ of the Spirit to even change the true meanings of the words of Christ, Paul, John, or any of the Apostles of Christ, to suit their own ends.

    And thus they exalt themselves above the Word of God, and, therefore, above the very Throne of God, in their own arrogance and conceit.

  32. Wow. You don’t have issues much.

    Could have sworn I said that I said this doctrine is errant

    …nonsense such as the Immaculate Conception.

    There is nothing pagan in this doctrine. Is it errant? Yes.

    Yep I sure did.

    So after three attempts you found something which was wrong in their doctrine.

    Keep going.

    I’m going to be fascinated with indulgences.

    Especially their comparison to tithing and Prosperity teaching.

    Can’t wait.

  33. Bones,
    She was contrasted with Eve in that Eve brought death and sin into the world through her disobedience, the new Eve brought life and salvation through her act of obedience.

    There is no scriptural basis for this nonsense. They are again merely attempting to replace Christ with Mary. She is no more the new Eve than you are.

    Huh. Do you not know who Mary is?

    That’s a perfectly reasonable conclusion. You hate it because of it’s connotations.

    Do you really believe there was no Christian Church for 1500 years?

    Actually wait, the JWs say the same. So you have an ally.

    I’m not surprised because you are possessed by the same spirit.

  34. Oh and it is obvious that dialoguing with you is pointless. You are not a person who seriously studies doctrines of the Church or Church history of which there is plenty of scholarly works available.

    No, you continue to cling onto what someone wrote in the 1800s who knew jack all.

  35. You’re not following, Bones. Mary is called the second Eve because RCs contend that she was the one who bruised the serpent’s head, not Christ, because of the way the Vulgate passage was translated into English. Instead of correcting the mistake they embraced it to assist in making her Queen of Heaven.

    Your attack is unwarranted. I have responded to your claim took my doctrine from Chick publications. You’re one who has focused on Hislop, who is a minor influence, as I have repeatedly told you. He has been your obsession.

    Neither have you refuted anything I have posted. You and Greg are alone in your defence of these errors.

    My posts are measured and clear, and my comments have been scripturally accurate apologetics.

    The association with JWs is ridiculous. It would mean that Wesley, Barnes, Jamieson, Clarke, Gill, Fawcette, Browne and many others were all JWs by your logic simply because JWs are opposed to Catholicism.

    So was Luther, and Huss, Wycliffe, Tynedale, the list goes on.

  36. RP posted a photo on here, ages ago, of a statue of Mary standing on a globe of the earth, with her foot on England, supposedly crushing Protestantism. If you google images of Mary, she is almost always represented with HER foot crushing the serpent’s head.

    Just as is written in Genesis 3:15 in the Douay Rheims bible.

    In the words of Pope Pius IX, “…the Most Holy Virgin, united with Him by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with Him and through Him, eternally at enmity with that poisonous serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and thus crushed his head with her immaculate foot.”[

    What explanation does the Catholic Church give for these words/statues today?

  37. It’s a pity there’s no Catholics who visit this site. I’m a bit over providing Catholic education but I suppose I’m learning something.

    Well a 5 second search came up with this.

    Goes back to Jerome’s translation of the Hebrew and Septuagint. Modern translations use ‘he’ or ‘it’. Jerome translated it as ‘she’.

    Genesis 3:15 is one of the most famous passages in Scripture, since it offers the first, veiled prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. But confusion results from differing translations of the passage.

    In most editions of the Douay-Rheims Bible—the Catholic counterpart to the King James Version—Genesis 3:15 says, “I will put enmities between thee [the serpent] and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.”

    In the New American Bible, and all other modern Bibles, it says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”

    The difference turns on who will crush the serpent’s head and whom the serpent tries to strike. The Douay-Rheims uses feminine pronouns—”she” and “her”—implying that the woman is the person being described. Modern translations use masculine pronouns—”he” and “his”—implying that the seed of the woman is the serpent-crusher.

    This disparity results from a manuscript difference. Modern translations follow what the original Hebrew of the passage says. The Douay-Rheims follows a textual variant found in many early Fathers and some editions of the Vulgate, though not the original. Jerome followed the Hebrew of this text in his edition of the Vulgate. The variant probably originated as a copyist’s error, when a scribe failed to note that the subject of the verse had shifted from the woman to the seed of the woman.

    Today, people notice this variant because the expression found in the Douay-Rheims has been the basis of popular Catholic art showing a serene Mary standing over a crushed serpent. Her representation as Our Lady of Grace usually depicts her in this way.

    Christians have recognized since the first century that the woman and her seed of Genesis 3:15 do not simply stand for Eve and one of her righteous sons, such as Abel or Seth. They prophetically foreshadow Mary and Jesus. The first half of the verse (speaking of the enmity between the serpent and the woman) has been applied to Mary, and so the second half (speaking of the crushed head and heel striking) also has been applied to Mary.

    Though the variant that uses “she” and “her” probably came from a copyist’s error, the idea it expresses is true. There is a sense in which Mary crushed the serpent’s head and in which she was struck at by the serpent. She didn’t do these things directly, but indirectly, through her Son. It was Jesus who directly crushed the serpent’s head from the cross and Jesus whom the serpent directly struck on the cross. Yet Mary cooperated in these events.

    She, not anyone else, was the person who agreed to become the human channel through which Christ would enter the world in order to crush the serpent’s head (Luke 1:38). She herself was wounded when the serpent struck Jesus. Simeon had prophesied to her that “a sword will pierce through your own soul also,” a prophecy fulfilled when Mary saw her Son hanging from the cross (John 19:25–27).

    Thus Jesus directly crushed the serpent and was directly struck by the serpent, while Mary indirectly crushed it and was indirectly struck by it, due to her cooperation in becoming the mother of Christ.

    Therefore, though the she/her and he/his readings of Genesis 3:15 are different, both are true, and Catholics have long recognized this. A footnote provided a couple of hundred years ago by Bishop Challoner, in his revision of the Douay-Rheims version, state, “The sense is the same: for it is by her seed, Jesus Christ, that the woman crushes the serpent’s head.” (For more information, see A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, Bernard Orchard, O.S.B., ed. [New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1953], p. 186.)

    http://archive.catholic.com/thisrock/1997/9709chap.asp

  38. ”Is that how Original Sin is passed? Through sperm?

    What of the sinfulness of Mary’s flesh?”

    It takes 2 to create. Human + human will only create fallen sinful flesh but God + human can = perfect human should he create purity in the baby rather than the mother. Mary did not need to be given some unscriptural doctrine of sanctification by the RC church – the miracle happened to Jesus.

  39. Interesting that the Lutherans and Catholics have come to an agreement on justification, the cause of the Reformation.

    In 1999, Lutherans and Roman Catholics reached historic agreement on a divisive issue that dates back to the sixteenth century.

    The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) asserts that the past condemnations issued by both churches do not apply to their teaching as set forth in that document. Instead, the JDDJ considers the notion of salvation itself. We are saved by God’s grace through faith alone rather than by our own efforts. At the same time, the question arises about the spiritual significance of our “good works.”

    The JDDJ was signed on Reformation Day, 31 October 1999, All Saints Day eve. The ceremony took place in Augsburg, Germany, where the confession of the same name was presented in 1530 by the Lutheran reformers in an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the conflict with the Roman Catholic Church.

    http://www.lutheranworld.org/LWF_Documents/EN/JDDJ_99-jd97e.pdf

    It’s quite an amazing document.

    I wonder if Lutherans would agree with Martin Luther’s accusation that Catholic Church is the AntiChrist?

  40. Welcome to mystery Babylon, Bones. You’re now beginning to see how the mystery works. The bending and fabrication of truth and scripture by stealth. The serpent was always only ever crushed by the foot of Christ, whose heel was bruised at the cross. But to have a mediatrix it was necessary to elevate the woman.

    The woman of Genesis was only ever Eve, not Mary. Mary has nothing to do with it except to be a descendent of Eve who bore the Child, the Seed.

    The cleverness of the deception has fooled scores for centuries. Further research should show you how other errors are fabricated and taught.

  41. It’s quiz time with Bones.

    Besides the Catholic Church who else has been labelled the AntiChrist by nutbags?

    Actually my theory about AntiChrist labels is

    AntiChrist = someone I really hate. (Forget what John was referring to)

    Take a quiz and find out.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/apocalypse/antichrist/quiz.html

    I’m not sure what Pete Seeger did to be named the AntiChrist but it has more validity then Steve’s lunacy.

    There is one on the list that modern scholars think John was referring to, and sorry he wasn’t Catholic.

  42. Are these theologians, Bones? Some credits would be handy. One of them (the first speaker) is an astrologist.

    I don’t always trust BBC documentaries, but they’re occasionally interesting.

    I don’t think you can negate the work of former theologians because there is ‘modern’ scholarship. Some of them (and I’m not talking about those on this doco) are not even saved.

  43. Actually what is a lie is the idea of Mary crushing the head of the serpent. It’s either a lie or a very stupid exegesis, considering it was devised by the very best of Catholic theologians.

    And backed up by the ‘modern’ theology of the Second Vatican Council, which readily admits it doesn’t need scripture anymore to prove that Mary is the Queen of Heaven.

    The only useful thing the Second Vatican did was change the rules about conducting the mass in latin.

    The thing is, now everyone knows what is being said but isn’t doing much about anything which doesn’t match what Christ and the Apostles said.

    Genesis 3:15
    “I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

    Who is speaking? God.

    Who is He addressing? The devil, the serpent, whom He curses.

    Who is the woman? Eve, who was deceived but did not sin. It was the man, Adam, who sinned, and through whom sin entered he human race.

    Whose seed would endure enmity? The seed of the serpent and he seed of the woman, Eve.

    Who is the Seed of the woman? The Christ, the Messiah, the Seed of Abraham of promise.

    What would the seed of the woman do to the seed of the serpent? Bruise his head.

    What would the seed of the serpent do to the seed of the woman? Bruise his heal.

    This is prophesying the victory of Christ over the devil at the cross.

    Mary in no way features in bruising he head of the serpent. Her role is to give birth to the man, Jesus. That is all.

    This is such simple doctrine, it is almost impossible t get it wrong, yet the RC church not only gets it wrong, but takes it beyond error into false doctrine which leads the sheep astray.

    That is the actual lie of it. The deception is real because it has stood so long and never been corrected.

  44. Wesley, of course, puts it much better:

    And I will put enmity between thee and the woman-The inferior
    creatures being made for man, it was a curse upon any of them to be turned against man, and man against them. And this is part of the serpent’s curse.

    1. A perpetual reproach is fastened upon him. Under the cover of the serpent he is here sentenced to be,
    (1.) Degraded and accursed of God. It is supposed, pride was the sin that turned angels into devils, which is here justly punished by a great variety of mortifications couched under the mean circumstances of a serpent, crawling on his belly, and licking the dust.
    (2.) Detested and abhorred of all mankind: even those that are really seduced into his interest, yet profess a hatred of him.
    (3.) Destroyed and ruined at last by the great Redeemer,
    signified by the bruising of his head; his subtle politics shall be all
    baffled, his usurped power entirely crushed.

    2. A perpetual quarrel is here commenced between the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of the devil among men; war proclaimed between the seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent, #Re 12:7|. It is the fruit of this enmity,
    (1.) That there is a continual conflict between God’s people and him. Heaven and hell can never be reconciled, no more can Satan and a sanctified soul.
    (2.) That there is likewise a continual struggle between the wicked and the good. And all the malice of persecutors against the people of God is the fruit of this enmity, which will continue while there is a godly man on this side heaven, and a wicked man on this side hell.

    3. A gracious promise is here made of Christ as the deliverer of
    fallen man from the power of Satan. By faith in this promise, our first parents, and the patriarchs before the flood, were justified and saved; and to this promise, and the benefit of it, instantly serving God day and night they hoped to come. Notice is here given them of three things concerning Christ.
    (1.) His incarnation, that he should be the seed of the woman.
    (2.) His sufferings and death, pointed at in Satan’s bruising his heel, that is, his human nature.
    (3.) His victory over Satan thereby. Satan had now trampled upon the woman, and insulted over her; but the seed of the woman should be raised up in the fulness of time to avenge her quarrel, and to trample upon him, to spoil him, to lead him captive, and to triumph over him, #Col 2:15|.

  45. Bones,
    more validity then Steve’s lunacy.

    You’re getting a little desperate to play the man there, Bones. Running out of excuses.

    In fact the reference to the Queen of Heaven is more literal lunacy. The queen of heaven was considered by the ancients to be the moon, and the king was he sun.

    Jeremiah 44:17-18
    “But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble. But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.”

    Gill:
    to the work, or workmanship, of heavens; {q} that is, to the whole host of heaven, sun, moon, and stars, which were worshipped in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem, #2Ki 23:5|. The Targum renders it, “to the star of heaven;” and Jarchi interprets it of some great star in the heaven, called the queen of heaven; and thinks that these cakes had the impress of a star upon them; see #Am 5:26| where mention is made of “Chiun, your image, the star of your god”. The word “chiun” is akin to the word here translated cakes, and thought to be explained by a star; see also #Ac 7:43| but it seems rather to be the moon, which is expressly called by Apuleius {r} the queen of heaven; and often by others Coelestis; and Urania by the Africans, as Tertullian {s} and Herodian {t} affirm; as also Beltis, by Abydenus {u}; and Baaltis, by Philo-Byblius, or Sanchoniatho {w}; which have the signification of “queen”; and these cakes might have the form of the moon upon them, and be made and offered in imitation of the shewbread:

    …we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth…

    We’ve heard that somewhere before!

  46. It’s pretty simple really – once one undermines the Catholic concept of “papal authority”, the rest of their false theology will fall like dominoes.

  47. Margot = newporteddy.

    Not sure if this has been discussed but Bones keeps pointing back to history and Catholicism but what about current popes and their Marian theology?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Mariology

    Which leads us back to Mary being claimed as co-redemptrix. This is not going away any time soon AND is interestingly connected to Islam as they revere Mary above Christ in their own special way

  48. Are these theologians, Bones?

    I’m at work at the moment. I had a quick look at some of my Commentaries on Revelation by Leon Morris, FF Bruce and iVp (Guthrie ed).

    None mentioned your reputable theologians and came to the same conclusion about Mystery Babylon.

    It was Rome.

  49. This is not going away any time soon AND is interestingly connected to Islam as they revere Mary above Christ in their own special way.

    Some do. Some Christians make idols of all sorts of things.

    Mary, money, spiritual gratification, the Bible. Anything that is placed above God.

  50. Bones,
    I’m going to be fascinated with indulgences

    I’m sure you are, the way you’re going with this!

    That’s a tempting subject, but I was more interested in doing a piece on veneration of relics.

    Thing is, I think Luther has them already covered pretty well!

  51. I was in the Philippines one time, and they were flogging relics on gold chains on TV. True story!

    Modern theology, eh!

  52. One of the saddest things I witnessed, were crowds of people from all over the world, waiting in line for an opportunity to kneel and ask intercession from a dead pope in a glass case in St Peters.

  53. That’s what happens when cultural idols become enmeshed with Christianity. Of course we in the West don’t do that. We haven’t enmeshed western civilisation into the Gospel. Our idols of individuality and greed are not as transparent as those who participate in heretical parades.

    That’s how we can twist Jesus’s words to justify our individualistic and greedy lifestyle.

    Hey, pastors will even commend you for it.

    I was in the Philippines one time, and they were flogging relics on gold chains on TV. True story!

    Modern theology, eh

    Yep sounds Pentecostal to me.

  54. I’m sure you are, the way you’re going with this!

    That’s a tempting subject, but I was more interested in doing a piece on veneration of relics.

    Thing is, I think Luther has them already covered pretty well!


    Go for it. It will show how obsessed you are.

    You are completely blind on this issue.

    Lutherans and Catholics have come to an agreement over the meaning of justification and identify each other as Christian churches, putting to bed centuries of enmity and hatred between both sides.

    Modern scholarship bebunks medieval understandings of RC as the Antichrist (Mystery Babylon or whatever). At least they had an excuse as they were victims of persecution. Now the only ones believing that are extremists and cultists and you.

  55. I was in the Philippines one time, and they were flogging relics on gold chains on TV. True story!

    Modern theology, eh!

    I googled modern religious relics but all I could find was this Bandanna with a cross painted by Phil Pringle himself!! At only $24.95 you too can afford a genuine P.Pringle and wear it constantly to remind yourself of the love of God. http://www.c3store.com/browse/details.asp?ProdID=126176

    This is so far away from selling relics, I dont know why it came up in the search. Its a good thing we have come so far from that medieval religious superstition.

  56. Of course, it doesn’t happen today…

    Relics associated with John Paul II (#265) were on display, already being venerated, and even being distributed in some cases well ahead of his May 1, 2011 beatification. Much of these relics appear to have been collected and disseminated by John Paul II’s longtime secretary Dziwisz — already notorious for not burning the pope’s personal papers, following his death, despite explicit written instructions, addressed to Dziwisz, to do so. Dziwisz, rightly, is being subjected to some criticism for introducing these relics since they appear to distract from the gravitas of the pope’s beatification and legacy.

    Plus, John Paul II is not a saint as yet. So to have relic veneration at this stage borders on ‘cult practices’ — something frowned upon by the Church. When canonized (which is a given), the pope’s relics will be First- Second- and Third-Class Relics per Catholic notation.

    That a reliquary with John Paul II’s blood was put on display during the beatification ceremony, and was even kissed by Pope Benedict XVI (#266), adds further confusion to this whole issue of relic worship. Refer to these New York Times photographs: photo 1 & photo 2. Also see below. [The reliquary, with the glass vial of blood, was carried by the French, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, whose testament that she was cured of Parkinson’s disease after praying to Pope John Paul II was the miracle used for the beatification. Carrying such a reliquary, obviously, was the ultimate test that she had been cured. [Disclosure: my mother had Parkinson’s.]] But, it has also been pointed out that John Paul II was a great worshiper of relics.

    Per Catholic convention any body parts [including blood, internal organs, nails, hair] of the pope, once he is canonized, will be treasured First-Class Relics. Anything he wore, used [e.g., rosary, crucifix, pens, books] or even touched is a Second-Class Relic — once he is saint. Any object that comes into physical contact with a Second-Class Relic automatically becomes a Third-Class Relic. So, there will be thousands of relics associated with John Paul II. The Confraternity of Catholic Saints, a Philippines youth organization created in 2003 to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ is already claiming that they possess 12 credible relics including a rosary and a papal seal.

    http://popes-and-papacy.com/wordpress/?p=2872

    I don’t think you were looking hard enough, wazza. They were definitely advertising Catholic relics for sale on Philippines TV a few years ago. Just saying…

  57. From the Philippines Daily Enquirer…

    RELIGIOUS relics have played an important role in the spread of Catholicism.
    This is because individuals see them as a way to come closer to the saints and thus form a closer bond with God.
    On Nov. 12 at 4 p.m. at the Cathedral Museum, the public is invited to attend a free talk on “The devotion of Holy Relics with its historical, anthropological and spiritual dimensions,” with Fr. Dennis Ruiz, OAD as the speaker.
    Fr. Dennis is the curator of the chapel of relics of the discalced Augustinians (OAD), member of the archdiocesan commission on cultural heritage, and chairman of the commission on liturgy and worship of the OAD. The talk will focus on the beginning of the proliferation of relics with its importance as one of the factors in the foundation of “Christianitas,” its abuses and the Church teachings that govern proper devotion.
    The event is part of a series of free monthly lectures on heritage and culture, initiated by Hambin, a Cebuano cultural advocacy group. For details, call Laila Labajo at the University of San Carlos History Department at 2300100 local 310.

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/90829/talk-to-tackle-devotion-of-holy-relics

    The Philippino Catholics just love relics, symbols, icons, saints, statues of Mary, you name it!

  58. I don’t think I’ll bother, after all, with the relics thing, or indulgences. They’re soft targets, and very obvious, although I won’t dismiss the thought altogether, since it’s become rather clear that relics are still venerated and available today, and just as much objects of idolatry as they ever were, even though the Vatican has attempted to distance itself from the controversy.

    They do say that it is a blessed thing to venerate relics on the official Vatican website, though, so it’s hard to say what they actually believe, especially since many Catholics go wild for relics, icons, statues, and the like.

    Bones accuses me of being obsessed with this. I’m not actually. It all started when zeibart produced a list of cults, I pointed out RC error, and Bones accused me of getting all Catholic information from Chick publications, which was something of a back-hander, so I turned the other cheek and exposed what I actually do know about the RC mob, and it’s not pretty, is it? And there’s more. Far more.

    I think I’m much less obsessed about what is undoubtedly a false system than others have been on here about Pentecostals, but, there you go, when the tables are turned you see how the protagonists respond.

    You haven’t commented on this ‘modern’ evidence of relic worship, Bones, wazza.

  59. Anyone heard of prayer handkerchiefs or prayer cloths?

    The Pentecostal equivalent to relics.

    Was there a literature that supported the use of these prayer handkerchiefs?

    A. It comes up everywhere. In every Pentecostal periodical that I’ve looked at, these handkerchiefs come up-in the letters that people send in asking for them, letters of thanks for the evangelists who sent them, and advertisements. But there’s very little discussion of them. The practice is implicit, and it gets very little attention as a separate healing practice. Divine healing receives a lot of attention, and they’ll mention handkerchiefs as one means among many. But in general there’s very little reflection on what the handkerchiefs in particular do, or how they might be different from laying on of hands. Incidentally, this is true for black denominations as well as white denominations.

    Q. In effect the absence of direct testimony to their difference suggests just how normal they were.

    A. Exactly. They were there from the beginning. While we think of Protestants as not having a rich material devotional history, these handkerchiefs were everywhere. This is a rich material practice that is so taken for granted that we hardly see it.

    Q. What is the metaphysics involved here?

    A. The evangelists would take a handkerchief and pray fervently over it, maybe pray so hard that they would be sweating. They’d wipe the sweat of their brows onto the handkerchief, and then send it off to someone as a sacramental object of divine grace and prayer. This handkerchief itself was thought to be a vehicle of these prayers. We think of prayer itself in the Protestant evangelical tradition as being above materiality. But these objects themselves were thought to be saturated with a kind of power through these signs of intensive prayer.

    Q. This also inverts our understanding of Protestants as having no forms of mediated grace.

    A. Yes, that is exactly what these objects were. Like saints and prayer cards in the Catholic tradition, the handkerchiefs were a manifestation of mediated grace. You see that in the letters people send to the periodicals after they receive them. This is just a typical letter of gratitude: “I received the letter with the anointed handkerchief and wonderful blessings I received after I placed one to my body. I surely do feel so much better.” Writers explain how they took this object, put it to the part of the body that had been ill, and felt the healing taking place in their body just from using the handkerchief. The handkerchiefs are most important, but there are other objects of mediated grace. People often used the periodicals themselves. We have a lot of accounts of people praying and putting copies of these denominational newspapers on some part of their body that was ill and feeling the healing take place. The handkerchiefs themselves are just the most ordinary of objects. We use them to wipe away tears or sweat, or blow our noses-just the most ordinary kinds of bodily stuff. But even as these are objects of divine grace, they are also objects of human kindness and generosity. You can see the power of asking someone for a handkerchief out of desperation-when you have tuberculosis or some degenerative disease-and all these handkerchiefs flood into you from this widespread community of people you may never have met before.

    http://www.materialreligion.org/journal/handkerchief.html

  60. Or here

    Apparently the anointing of the Holy Spirit can be passed on to a cloth.

    I wonder how much they cost.

    Modern theology. Bah

    There’s nothing new under the Sun.

  61. Of course, there are Biblical precedents for the use of cloth for healing.

    Acts 19
    11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul,
    12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

    Matthew 9 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.”
    22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

    John 14
    12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

    Healing is one thing, but the veneration or worship of relics is quite another.

    Claiming that handkerchiefs or aprons, or cloth garments are in any way the same or the equivalent to relics used in RC worship is going way beyond any real logic.

    I denounce the use of cloth to raise finances for a TV ministry however, if that is what is taking place. God’s healing power is not merchandise. Simon the Sorcerer found that out. The Holy Spirit cannot be bought or traded. He is to be respected and honoured not sold out like some trinket in a market stall.

    The use of handkerchiefs or cloth to transfer the anointing is clearly viable, but sometimes overdone in some churches, and should only be used as and when the Spirit leads, not as a talisman or charm for healing, or prayer, or any other work of power.

    God is the Healer, not cloth. How he utilises material is up to him, but if we step over the line and attempt to revere or venerate or sell or degrade his power and anointing we are in gross error.

  62. Only God should be venerated or revered or adored or hallowed, worshipped or bowed down to.

    Teeth, bones, clothes or icons of Apostles, saints or canonised persons should never receive anything but honour due to the name of the person they came from.

  63. Actually, icons should never receive anything but appreciation as a nice piece of art, or being a well-defined or colourful picture.

    And, in fact, there is no Biblical doctrine for canonising saints.

    Now there’s a potential subject for investigation…

  64. “Lutherans and Catholics have come to an agreement over the meaning of justification and identify each other as Christian churches, putting to bed centuries of enmity and hatred between both sides.”

    How nice. It’s a shame that the Lutherans didn’t check with the Holy Spirit first, though.

  65. Though Steve has moved on to a different aspect of Catholicism, this popped up on my FB wall this afternoon.

    A Catholic priest admitting you can buy your way out of purgatory during a debate with dr James White….

  66. Claiming that handkerchiefs or aprons, or cloth garments are in any way the same or the equivalent to relics used in RC worship is going way beyond any real logic.

    Hahahahaha, I’ve been ROFL @ this.

    It’s exactly the same.

    Be healed by Kenneth Copeland’s snotrag?

    You’d have more chance with St Peter’s mouldy old skull.

    You’re an idiot.

  67. Having condemned the very practice you call me an idiot for I think not.

    I forgive you for your sad outburst.

  68. Or maybe Bones is actually agreeing with RC doctrine that the relics and bones of dead what they call saints can be prayed to or through, and can bring healing.

    I think he’s been thoroughly converted.

  69. But, anyway, Bones, which part of the following don’t you understand?

    Acts 19:11-12
    Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

    Matthew 9:21-22
    For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

    Virtue went from Jesus’ garment and she was healed.

    What comparison has this with the unproven bone fragments or cross splinter relics which are bowed down to or prayed through?

    None at all.

    In 2 Kings 13 the bones of the prophet Elisha were disturbed and it had an affect on a man who was thrown into his grave.

    So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet.

    But are you going to compare unidentified bone fragments or splinters of wood to a known grave of a known prophet who was known for the outstanding miracles God performed through him in his lifetime, when some of these so-called saints are not at all renowned for a single miracle in theirs?

    And are you going to permit people to worship those bone fragments and splinters, or claim that they can pray through them? I call that idolatry, and it is identified as a sin before God.

    Call me names by all means, but if you are going challenge Biblical evidence do so with scripture.

  70. Modern Marian Mediatrix Cultic Movement

    To see how things are changing in the Catholic Church, I researched the more ‘modern’ popes, from 1900 to the present in regard to their devotion to Mary and their perspective of saints.

    To simplify it for readers here, I have sourced this from wikipedia, starting on the list of popes page, so you can check it quickly for yourselves, but it’s all available elsewhere in more detail.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_popes

    Of the 9 popes since 1900, only two have NOT been staunch and vehement Mary worshippers and promoters. However all have promoted the beatification and canonisation of saints.

    In fact, from Pius X, the movement towards Mary as more than co-redemptrix to mediatrix is in full swing, and, in my observations of how these things develop, likely to take place within the next two or three popes as full blown dogma, should the Lord tarry.

    Ad Diem Illum is Pius Xs encyclical to the Immaculate Conception, which names Mary as the mother of all Christians, being the mother of Christ. You can see where he is going with this. He calls it ‘the restoration of all things in Christ’, quoting scripture of the last days, from Acts. “There is not safer and more direct road [to Christ] than Mary’ claims Pius X. The journey of the Queen is unfolding!

    So now you can see more clearly why Pius Xs motto was ‘Omnia restaurare in Christo’, ‘to restore everything in Christ’. When we look at the hidden things, often written in double entente form, and we read between the lines we find the true meaning. As Jesus said, the hidden things will be revealed. The restoration, for Pius X is through Mary the mother. Jesus becomes a secondary vehicle, since she precedes him.

    Pius X’ successor, Benedict XV, was an ardent mariologist. He authorised the Feast of Mary Mediator of all Graces, in support for mediatrix theology – the idea that Mary is a mediator in the salvation process. He elevated known shrines to Mary, and claimed that ‘she redeemed with Christ the human race’.

    Pius XI was one of the more Christocentric popes.

    Pius XII, between signing the Reichskonkordat with National Socialist Germany and consigning the world to The Immaculate Heart of Mary, was another to push the Mary barrow fervently along.

    In 1950, he defined the dogma of the assumption: By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

    John XXIII seems to have been a genuine believer in Christ and was the initiator of the Second Vatican Council, but died whilst it was still in session.

    Paul VI, his successor, however, kept the ball rolling on the Mary mediatrix push, and resumed the work of the previous popes, writing that “Mary is rightly to be regarded as the way by which people are led to Christ. Therefore the person who encounters Mary cannot help but encounter Christ.”

    John Paul I was only pope for 33 days, so we don’t have enough to know his views as pope on Mary, but he seems more Christ centred.

    John Paul II, however was big on Mary, writing Redemtoris Mater, which deals with the role of the Virgin Mary as mediatrix.

    “Thus there is a mediation: Mary places herself between her Son and mankind in the reality of their wants, needs and sufferings. She puts herself “in the middle,” that is to say she acts as a mediatrix not as an outsider, but in her position as mother. She knows that as such she can point out to her Son the needs of mankind, and in fact, she “has the right” to do so. Her mediation is thus in the nature of intercession: Mary “intercedes” for mankind.”

    So we move along nicely, don’t we, towards the day when Mary, as mediatrix, is not just between us and Christ, and, as co-redemptrix, alongside Christ in mediation, but over Christ, and the direct line to the Father, with Christ as an intermediary, being the Son, and inferior. It is only a matter of time before the Queen of Heaven is not just enthroned, but over all, in all and through all.

    Finally, we have the present pope, another Benedict, the XVI, taking us full circle through the 20th century into the 21st.

    From what I have heard of his teaching he is another of the Mary clan, although he has yet to put out a official cyclical on his position, other than that ‘This life of love, according to him, is the life of the saints such as Teresa of Calcutta and the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is the direction Christians take when they believe that God loves them in Jesus Christ’, which seems Mary-light compared to the others, and yet still has that air of Mary being the way to Jesus, as He is the Way to the Father touch.

    So, has anything changed in the RC camp? Have they moved on from the intense Mary worship of bygone days, which culminated in 1854 with the dogma that Mary was conceived immaculately and is without sin?

    No. They haven’t. In fact, they’ve upped the ante, and developed the doctrine of Mary as mediatrix with progressively serious intent.

    Is there any going back with this doctrine? It appears not.

    It took 100 years almost to the day from Mary being accredited with immaculate conception to the dogma of her assumption. The assumption had to be declared because, if she was born sinless, then she could only be ascended in her holiness, as Christ was in his.

    Yes. I see lights going on. You can start to see where this is heading. I hope. The idea of mediatrix has already been floated by several popes during the 20th century. The dogma is imminent.

    What comes next then? You tell me, because popes have declared that they are the Church, who is Mary the Mother, who declares things through the popes which supersede scripture of Paul, John, James, Peter, ad even Christ himself!

    Does this have connotations for Christians? Yes, because it is false doctrine, and is not being dealt with, but rather intensified by successive popes, who are still considered infallible, and still considered Christ on earth for the RC Church.

    It is another gospel. It is false. It is from the mouths and pens of their own popes. It is to be renounced as heresy.

  71. For more on this you might just google 5th Marian Dogma, by the way! You’ll find stuff like this. Lots of it!

    GLOBAL CATHOLIC NEWS
    Rome’s Zenit News

    Cardinals Hoping for a 5th Marian Dogma

    ROME, FEB. 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Five cardinals have sent a letter inviting prelates worldwide to join them in petitioning Benedict XVI to declare a fifth Marian dogma they said would “proclaim the full Christian truth about Mary.”

    The text, released last week, includes the petition that asks the Pope to proclaim Mary as “the Spiritual Mother of All Humanity, the co-redemptrix with Jesus the redeemer, mediatrix of all graces with Jesus the one mediator, and advocate with Jesus Christ on behalf of the human race.”

    I mean, if you don’t have scripture, and it ain’t in the traditions yet, you gotta get yourself a dogma!

    A matter of time…

  72. From the Vatican site, the declaration of Pius XII of Mary’s Assumption, which you should read in full.

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_11101954_ad-caeli-reginam_en.html

    3. It is gratifying to recall that We ourselves, on the first day of November of the Holy Year 1950, before a huge multitude of Cardinals, Bishops, priests, and of the faithful who had assembled from every part of the world, defined the dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven where she is present in soul and body reigning, together with her only Son, amid the heavenly choirs of angels and Saints. Moreover, since almost a century has passed since Our predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, proclaimed and defined the dogma that the great Mother of God had been conceived without any stain of original sin, We instituted the current Marian Year And now it is a great consolation to Us to see great multitudes here in Rome – and especially in the Liberian Basilica – giving testimony in a striking way to their faith and ardent love for their heavenly Mother. In all parts of the world We learn that devotion to the Virgin Mother of God is flourishing more and more, and that the principal shrines of Mary have been visited and are still being visited by many throngs of Catholic pilgrims gathered in prayer.

    Are you reading this, Bones? Can you see where they’re going with this yet?

  73. Stop the press.

    Steve has found evidence that Popes have given Mary special status.

    Nice work, Sherlock.

    So are they followers of Christ or not?

  74. You don’t get it do you, Bones? If Jesus’ mother is made
    Mediatrix because she gave birth to Christ, and is accorded sinless perfection, and deathless assumption, she is perfect. Then how far back do you go with this? To her mother, grandmother, Eve? The ancients made a goddess of Eve!

  75. But, no, not if they follow this false Mary. It’s another gospel. It has to be, because Cheist himself said he was the only Way. There is no other, including his mother. She was a sinner like the rest of us who needed a Saviour.

  76. As to the RC authority of Dogma, here is the definition from the Catechism:

    “The Church’s Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.”

    So it is that ‘the faithful are required to accept with the divine and Catholic faith all which the Church presents either as solemn decision or as general teaching’.

    So there is a push, from several Cardinals and from the congregations, including priests for the Fifth Dogma of Mary, which elevates her to Mediatrix, and is required dogma for all Catholics to adhere to and accept as truth.

    Now a Cardinal is as high as you can get under the Pope. When Cardinals are pushing the agenda you know it is likely that there is general agreement that this should become dogma.

    I their encyclicals, modern Popes, for the last hundred years, have consistently paved the way for Mary to become Mediatrix. They have made her sinless by announcing her as immaculately conceived, and sinlessly assumed to heaven. She is called Queen of Heaven. She has been called the Mediatrix by popes as the intercessor between men and Christ, as Christ is between men and God.

    Rather than pull back from this dogma, and reverting to Biblical understanding of Christ being the only Mediator between man and God, popes have openly and unreservedly encouraged the idea that Mary is the Mediatrix, which will inevitably become the fifth dogma of Mary.

    Four Dogmas of Mary

    Perpetual virginity of Mary – Mary was a virgin before, during and after giving birth.

    Mother of God – not that the nature of the Word or his divinity received the beginning of its existence from the holy Virgin, but that, since the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word of God united to himself according to the hypostasis, was born from her, the Word is said to be born according to the flesh.

    Immaculate Conception – Mary, at her conception, was preserved immaculate from Original Sin.

    Assumption into heaven – Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

    Of course, there is no scripture for any of the dogmas of Mary, and they all lead to the same conclusion, that Mary has been illicitly elevated above her station, from blessed amongst women in scripture to the Queen of Heaven, a position of idolatry, and a title of abominations.

    How did this come about? Because the Roman Catholic system is basically corrupt, riddled with religious dogma, ritual and superstition, and has been for centuries. The first two dogmas of Mary date from the third century, the latter two from the mid-nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This doctrine has been developing amongst popes for over 1600 years unabated, and is about to reach its zenith. For now!

    The dogmas are the outworking of what has been within for ages. Even an appeal to modern enlightenment reveals that, in fact, the papacy has reverted to pre-christian belief systems utilising Bible characters acting out idolatrous rustic tradition.

  77. So, after all this evidence from both sides, what do you actually do about it? The options are, as I see it:

    1. Ignore all that has been proclaimed and bury it under the cloak of ‘unity’ based on each side’s core faith.
    2. Treat the RCC as the world’s biggest cult and have nothing to do with it or any of its adherents.

    WWJD?

  78. Zeibart, I would treat them the same as Pentecostals. Some are obviously working for the kingdom, some obviously aren’t. Actually that goes for most denominations.

  79. The dogmas are the outworking of what has been within for ages. Even an appeal to modern enlightenment reveals that, in fact, the papacy has reverted to pre-christian belief systems utilising Bible characters acting out idolatrous rustic tradition.

    That’s just sheer nonsense.

    Have you done much reading on Early Christianity and beliefs beside the Bible? Because it obviously shows that you haven’t.

    Read JND Kelly’s Early Christian Doctrines (a Protestant btw) for how a lot of these beliefs came about.

    There was nothing pre-Christian about them.

  80. The beliefs of the old world didn’t suddenly end because the Bible was introduced or Christ was crucified and raised.

    They had their own continuance, and it is clear that some latched unto the burgeoning faith, especially when Christianity was made the state religion against the will of those who preferred to remain with their pagan beliefs.

    Belief in triune gods, fertility rites, sacrifice, goddess worship, idolatry of secondary gods and the like have been prevalent for ages. The Bible itself addresses the issue of other gods, of idolatry, even to the point where the chosen nation, Israel, deserted God in favour of the pagan gods of surrounding nations.

    The Old Testament is pre-christian, highlights the abomination of idolatry, and it is clear that some religions, including some who purport to be Christian, have reverted to worship systems which God exclusively forbade.

    If the elevation of Mary from a woman blessed among women to Queen of Heaven is not a reversion to goddess worship, then what do you call it?

  81. Bones, you didn’t answer my question from a few days ago, when you challenged me over the doctrine of Mary being called the mother of God, which I refuted through scripture, and which you moved on from without further response.

    I asked, ‘Do you say that Mary is the mother of God?’

  82. I asked, ‘Do you say that Mary is the mother of God?’

    Of course she is. Are you saying she isn’t?

  83. Yes, Steve does sound like a Nestorian, trying to divide Christ’s divinity and humanity. He probably doesn’t even know what it means.

    Nestorius developed his Christological views as an attempt to rationally explain and understand the incarnation of the divine Logos, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity as the man Jesus Christ. He had studied at the School of Antioch where his mentor had been Theodore of Mopsuestia; Theodore and other Antioch theologians had long taught a literalist interpretation of the Bible and stressed the distinctiveness of the human and divine natures of Jesus. Nestorius took his Antiochene leanings with him when he was appointed Patriarch of Constantinople by Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II in 428.

    Nestorius’ teachings became the root of controversy when he publicly challenged the long-used title Theotokos (Bringer forth of God) for the Virgin Mary. He suggested that the title denied Christ’s full humanity, arguing instead that Jesus had two natures, the divine Logos and the human Jesus. As such he proposed Christotokos (Bringer forth of Christ) as a more suitable title for Mary.

    Nestorius’ opponents found his teaching too close to the heresy of adoptionism – the idea that Christ had been born a man who had later been “adopted” as God’s son. Nestorius was especially criticized by Cyril, Pope (Patriarch) of Alexandria, who argued that Nestorius’ teachings undermined the unity of Christ’s divine and human natures at the Incarnation. Nestorius himself always insisted that his views were orthodox, though they were deemed heretical at the First Council of Ephesus in 431, leading to the Nestorian Schism, when churches supportive of Nestorius broke away from the rest of the Christian Church. A more elaborate Nestorian theology developed from there, which came to see Christ as having two natures united, or hypostases,[citation needed] the divine Logos and the human Christ.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestorianism

  84. Interesting attack, Bones. I rather think Greg is raising an issue, but you turn it into a personal slight, even before I own up to anything of the sort, but you seem to be turning derogatory attacks into an art-form lately.

    But no, I am clearly not a Nestorian.

    Of course, if Mary is the mother of God, she would have to have divinity attributed to her, would she not? Hw could she not be a goddess if she gave birth to God?

    And, of course, she would have to be an eternal being, also, since God is without beginning and without end. She would have to become the Alpha and Omega. Is this where you are going with your claim?

    I’d like you to define for us the nature of Mary if she is the mother of God. Is she flesh and blood, or divinity, and an eternal spirit like God?

    How did she come in the flesh if she is an eternal spirit? Was she birthed in the flesh by her mother as a spirit, or the word made flesh?

    God is a Spirit, is He not?

    Did Mary give birth to the Father?

    Jesus is the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form.

    Did Mary give birth to the Holy Spirit? How did she do this, since to was through the Spirit that the Word was sown into her seed and formed the man Jesus.

    Mary’s spirit was dead through sin. She was not immaculately conceived. She was a sinner like all of us. She needed Jesus as Saviour s we all do.

    The entire reason they had to pretend and lie and make Mary to be conceived immaculately was so that this mother of God contrivance could have some kind of credence. But it can’t work.

    Mary was overshadowed by the Spirit. The Seed, God the Word was sown to her human seed and Jesus was conceived.

    Who was the Word? Was He God? Did He exist outside of Mary? Did He exist before Mary was born? Of course.

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God – John 1:1

    Nothing that was made was made without the Word. He is the Eternal Creator of all things, which were made by Him and for Him.

    Now you claim, erroneously, illogically and ignorantly, that the Creator was made by a created being.

    He is the Eternal God. He was not created, nor was He made.

    Mary did not give birth to God. God the Word was sown into her uterus and united with her human seed.

    She is the mother Jesus, but not of God.

    Yet Jesus is not two separate kinds. He is God and He is man.

    God was God long before Mary was conceived. She is not His mother.

  85. By the way, the blasphemous title Theotokos was attributed to Mary in 431 at the Council of Nicea, and it was added as a result of erroneous teaching that Mary was mother of God.

    The rot had already crept in. The RC church had, by then, taken its apostate course and the false teaching on Mary had started to take hold.

    The elevation of Mary to Queen of Heaven, as I have previously outlined, was in full swing.

    As we came into more recent centuries it became expedient for various popes to upgrade their theology of Mary to counter any internal challenge to the false logic of mariology, and further their cause of making her mediatrix, a blasphemy which is in full swing even as we discuss this topic, and wholly dependent on the second marian dogma which makes her mother of God.

  86. Romans 1:25 ESV “…..because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”

    Taking a little bit of text and thinking about it. Who is the “creature” and who is the “Creator”?

    Just had this random thought that Mary is a “created” person being worshipped by her fellow “creations” rather than those “creations” worshipping their Creator.

    Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. I know, “context, context, context.” But am I wrong here?

  87. Exactly right, margot, and that’s one of the points I am making here. The idea that the Creator is in any way formed by the creature is preposterous and blasphemous.

    It is the way forward for RC adherents to be dogmatically encouraged to worship Mary as mediatrix, effectively replacing Christ as intermediary between men and God.

    Yet the RC church has not only made seventeen century long dogma out of this unprovable error, it has decreed that if you do not confess Mary as mother of God you can be excommunicated.

    Such is the depth of the delusion and deceit.

  88. And Rick Warren wants to come together with Rome. Rick Joyner is a Knight of Malta and the whole ecumenical movement seeks to bring all the disparate streams of independent churches all together. Indeed, Rick Warren wants to bring in Mormons and even Muslims into the community of faith.

    http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/mwest/120321
    March 21, 2012
    Rick Warren once again caught up in controversy, Part 1
    By Marsha West

    In January 2011 mega church pastor Rick Warren enlisted the help of three doctors to come up with a health plan for Saddleback Church (SBC). The doctors he chose were Daniel Amen, a professing Christian, Mark Hyman, a Jew, and Mehmet Oz, a Muslim (and Oprah’s “favorite doctor”). The foursome put their heads together and came up with The Daniel Plan (TDP). In a piece I wrote titled Rick Warren Introduces “The Devil Plan” I demonstrated that doctors Amen, Hyman and Oz are steeped in Eastern mysticism and the occult. So — why did Rick Warren knowingly choose occultists? Why not play it safe and choose doctors who are “in the faith”? It seems “America’s Pastor” is always stirring up controversy, even when it’s unnecessary.

    Honestly, I don’t really care why he chose the doctors he did. What gives me pause is that Rick Warren is a heavy hitter in Christendom, so it only makes sense that a shepherd of the flock should have more concern for the spiritual health of the sheep than for their waistlines.

    When I wrote on TDP my primary concern was that Christians who trust Rick Warren would purchase the doctors’ books, CDs, DVDs and nutritional supplements simply on his recommendation. My concern was well founded as many believers have been, and will continue to be, influenced by a worldview that’s incompatible with Christianity.

    Ignoring critics, Warren decided to take his weight loss program nationwide. TDP is now available to churches that are looking to offer a weight loss program. As of this writing 15,000 people have signed up.

    Pastor Warren’s willingness to unite with occultists isn’t the only thing that has people on edge. Other criticisms are that he:

    …embraces pragmatism — in the Church, the pragmatist will look to the world’s marketing methods such as surveying the community when determining how to grow their church rather than looking to biblical examples.

    …discounts the value of doctrine because he believes that doctrine can be a hindrance to unity.

    …misapplies Scripture and uses it as a tool to cover his own ideas with a pretense of divine authority.

    …has redefined Christian ministry in terms of social activism or what is termed social justice. (As an aside one of the leaders of Social Justice Christianity, as it is called, is Marxist sympathizer Jim Wallis, founder and editor of Sojourners magazine. “Social justice Christians,” says Eric Rush, “are those who profess Christianity, but who adhere to politically entrenched concepts of equality and redistribution of wealth. These ideas are ostensibly rooted in their faith, but in truth, they have been incrementally and insidiously insinuated into many American churches by Marxists, progressive politicians and pastors….”)

    In his best-selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren says this:

    Jesus modeled a purpose-driven life, and he taught others how to live it, too. That was the “work” that brought glory to God. Today God calls each of us to the same work.

    Really? Then why did Jesus answer the way He did in John 6:28-29? :

    Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

    In his article, Michael Horton on Rick Warren, Modern Reformation, and Desiring God, Horton observed:

      His best-selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life, begins by announcing that it’s not about you, but about God, and then the rest of the book is about you.
  89. Well, we’ve never heard that before, Bull. Why didn’t you mention this previously? You kept us in the dark about Warren, NAR, the protocols of Zion, Elijah List, Latter Rain and Purpose Driven!

    Amazing how it connects to everything, especially all the controversial or blasphemous stuff that’s out there. Next you’ll be telling us Warren is pope.

  90. Actually, joining Bull’s chorus, Jesus modelled a Spirit-led life, not a purpose-driven life.

    His ministry didn’t begin until he was filled with the Spirit. Throughout he says he does nothing of himself, but only what the Father tells him.

    There as always a purpose, a cause, and works along with the words, but it was never driven. It was led.

    John 5:19-20
    Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.”

    John 5:30
    “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”

    John 6:38
    “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”

    John 12:49
    “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.”

    John 12:50
    “And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

    So it is with us. We are led by the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, and guided by the Spirit.

    Romans 8:14
    For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

  91. “[…] Jesus modelled a Spirit-led life […]”

    Nonsense, he didn’t do anything of the sort – he was the Messiah, not a model.

  92. Well, Zorro, there is more than one meaning to ‘model’, you know. In fact the meaning applied by Bull was ‘a means used as an example to follow or imitate’, so, in fact, ‘model’ applies perfectly.

    Ephesians 5:1-2
    Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

    So, to imitate someone we have to see what they are demonstrating, or showing, or, as Bull says, ‘modelling’. God, through Christ, demonstrates the way to walk in love. We imitate him.

    ‘Imitate’ is the translation of the Greek word mimetes, from which we derive the English ‘mimic’, ‘to be an imitator’.

    Not only this, but a person who models something shows what the object or subject being modelled looks like, giving a demonstration of the way it should be utilised.

    The question is, then, was Jesus driven by purpose or led by the Spirit?

    The clear evidence is that, for the start of his ministry on earth, as Messiah, he was led of the Spirit, according to Matthew, who used the term anago, which is a navigational term, meaning to launch out, set sail, as in being led out to begin a journey.

    Interestingly, Mark says, of the beginning of his journey, that Christ was ‘driven’ out, ekballo, which can either mean he was cast out into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil during the first weeks of his ministry, or he was ‘lead forth or away somewhere’, but there is a degree of force connected to this word, which implies that the Holy Spirit took hold of Christ and drew him forcefully into the wilderness to undergo a period of testing before the commencement of his earthly ministry.

    Luke has ago, which, again, is ‘to be led, or taken along with one, to lead by laying hold of and in this way bring to a point of destination’, ‘to lead, guide or direct’.

    John has Jesus telling his disciples, as he chose them, to follow him, but not until after he has been baptised with the Holy Spirit, and confirmed by the Father as the Son of God.

    However you look at it, and I have given several examples of how Jesus was led, and did only his Father’s will, according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as our example, or ‘model’ to imitate, however you look at it, Jesus was led by the Spirit during his earthly ministry, and Paul admonishes us to imitate Christ’s walk.

  93. I’m not sure zorro’s rather lame ‘joke’ deserved your time and dead-pan reply, Steve. Still, he should be in no doubt now…

  94. That’s OK, zeibart. I love the Word. Researching this was a pleasure, not a chore. Digging for treasure is rewarding.

    I like a good laugh, but, on this occasion, if Zorro was jesting, I didn’t get the joke. I guess that’s why we usually add a 😀 to let people know we’re being tongue in cheek, just in case the joke backfires!

  95. I thought I might see who else was devoted to Mary.

    Interesting what you dig up.

    In his Personal Prayer book written in 1522, Luther wrote his commentaries about “Hail Mary” prayer (English translation from Luther’s Works Vol. 43). While he was against over-venerating of Mary, whom he referred as Mother of God, he believed that she was without sin, a privilege given only to her by God.

    Take note of this: no one should put his trust or confidence in the Mother of God or in her merits, for such trust is worthy of God alone and is the lofty service due only to him. Rather praise and thank God through Mary and the grace given her. Laud and love her simply as the one who, without merit, obtained such blessings from God, sheerly out of his mercy, as she herself testifies in the Magnificat [Luke 1:46-55].

    It is very much the same when I am moved by a view of the heavens, the sun, and all creation to exalt him who created everything, bringing all this into my prayer and praise, saying: O God, Author of such a beautiful and perfect creation, grant to me…. Similarly, our prayer should include the Mother of God as we say: O God, what a noble person you have created in her! May she be blessed! And so on. And you who honored her so highly, grant also to me….

    Let not our hearts cleave to her, but through her penetrate to Christ and to God himself. Thus what the Hail Mary says is that all glory should be given to God, using these words: “Hail, Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee [Luke 1:28]; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ. Amen.”

    You see that these words are not concerned with prayer but purely with giving praise and honor. Similarly there is no petition in the first words of the Lord’s Prayer but rather praise and glorification that God is our Father and that he is in heaven. Therefore we should make the Hail Mary neither a prayer nor an invocation because it is improper to interpret the words beyond what they mean in themselves and beyond the meaning given them by the Holy Spirit.

    But there are two things we can do. First, we can use the Hail Mary as a meditation in which we recite what grace God has given her. Second, we should add a wish that everyone may know and respect her [as one blessed by God].

    In the first place, she is full of grace, proclaimed to be entirely without sin-something exceedingly great. For God’s grace fills her with everything good and makes her devoid of all evil.

    In the second place, God is with her, meaning that all she did or left undone is divine and the action of God in her. Moreover, God guarded and protected her from all that might be hurtful to her.

    In the third place, she is blessed above all other women, not only because she gave birth without labor, pain, and injury to herself, not as Eve and all other women, but because by the Holy Spirit and without sin, she became fertile, conceived, and gave birth in a way granted to no other woman.

    In the fourth place, her giving birth is blessed in that it was spared the curse upon all children of Eve who are conceived in sin [Ps. 51:5] and born to deserve death and damnation. Only the fruit of her body is blessed, and through this birth we are all blessed.

    Furthermore, a prayer or wish is to be added-our prayer for all who speak evil against this Fruit and the Mother. But who is it that speaks evil of this Fruit and the Mother? Any who persecute and speak evil against his work, the gospel, and the Christian faith, as Jews and papists are now doing.

    The conclusion of this is that in the present no one speaks evil of this Mother and her Fruit as much as those who bless her with many rosaries and constantly mouth the Hail Mary. These, more than any others, speak evil against Christ’s word and faith in the worst way.

    Therefore, notice that this Mother and her Fruit are blessed in a twofold way-bodily and spiritually. Bodily with lips and the words of the Hail Mary; such persons blaspheme and speak evil of her most dangerously. And spiritually [one blesses her] in one’s heart by praise and benediction for her child, Christ-for all his words, deeds, and sufferings. And no one does this except he who has the true Christian faith because without such faith no heart is good but is by nature stuffed full of evil speech and blasphemy against God and all his saints. For that reason he who has no faith is advised to refrain from saying the Haft Mary and all other prayers because to such a person the words apply: Let his prayer be sin [Ps. 109:7].

    Luther’s Works, Vol. 43, pages 39 to 41

    http://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/category/virgin-mary/

  96. What did you believe about Mary’s perpetual virginity, John Calvin?

    Seems the Reformers were good Catholics.

    While most Protestants reject perpetual virginity of Mary, it was not the position adopted by one of Reformers, John Calvin. In his commentary on Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark and Luke he wrote on Matthew 1:25

    And knew her not.</b. This passage afforded the pretext for great disturbances, which were introduced into the Church, at a former period, by Helvidius [c. 4th century AD]. The inference he drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband. Jerome [c. 347 to 420 AD], on the other hand, earnestly and copiously defended Mary’s perpetual virginity. Let us rest satisfied with this, that no just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words of the Evangelist, as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called first-born; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin. It is said that Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son: but this is limited to that very time. What took place afterwards, the historian does not inform us. Such is well known to have been the practice of the inspired writers. Certainly, no man will ever raise a question on this subject, except from curiosity; and no man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.”

    John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark and Luke, First Volume (page 107)

    Calvin understood that brothers of Christ were his relatives (cousins) and this is in line with what Catholics believe.

    “The word brothers, we have formerly mentioned, is employed, agreeably to the Hebrew idiom, to denote any relatives whatever; and, accordingly, Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ’s brothers are sometimes mentioned.”

    John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark and Luke, Second Volume (page 215)

    “Luke VIII.19. And his mother and his brethren came to him. There is an apparent discrepancy here between Luke and the other two Evangelists; for, according to their arrangement of narrative, they represent Christ’s mother and cousins as having come.”

    John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark and Luke, Second Volume (page 89)

    English translation is taken from Calvin’s Commentaries, Vol. 16, translated by Rev. William Pringle, published by Baker Book House, Grand Rapid Michigan. All Calvin’s Commentaries are available online

    http://vivacatholic.wordpress.com/2008/02/22/calvin-on-perpetual-virginity-of-mary/

  97. Certainly, no man will ever raise a question on this subject, except from curiosity; and no man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.

    This is one of the few things I agree with Calvin on. I just wish he applied it more widely.

  98. Well, if calvin and Luther venerate Mary and consider her a perpetual virgin, they must be right, right?

    Wrong. Do you also agree with Luther’s anti-semetic views or Calvin’s murder of Servetus? They were not always right, were they?

    Mary was blessed amongst women, no above women.

    She was not born sinless, nor did she live a sinless life. She was not conceived immaculately, what ever that might actually mean, she was not a perpetual virgin, having had sexual intercourse with Joseph after Jesus was born, and giving birth to other children, she did not ascend into heaven without dying, she is not the mother of God, she was not made mediatrix.

    What is the point of defending and attempting to rationalise these heresies?

  99. You do understand that being a virgin means a person never has sexual intercourse, don’t you?

    For Mary to bear brothers and sisters of Jesus, guess what, she and Joseph must have had sex together. Just to consummate their marriage they had to have sex together.

    The Bible is very clear about this. James was the brother of Jesus. James’ mother was Mary. His father was Joseph. Mary and Joseph had sexual intercourse. She was not a virgin after that. Ever!

  100. Mary and Joseph had sexual intercourse. She was not a virgin after that. Ever!

    You can read that into it if you want. Or you could read it as perpetual virginity as the scriptures are silent.

    I find it interesting that Calvin and Luther would be part of the goddess cult. I wonder when true Christianity actually started.

    Probably with Brian Houston or Phil Pringle.

  101. I believe that Jesus did have real brothers and sisters.

    There are those who don’t which is interesting.

    Older stepbrother, son of Joseph by an earlier marriage

    Jerome asserts in his tract The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary that the term first-born was used to refer to any offspring that opened the womb, rather than definitely implying other children.[32]

    The Protevangelium of James assumes the Greek nature of Jewish practices during this period in history and says that Mary was betrothed to an older relative in order to preserve her virginity and that Joseph already had children. In this case, James was one of Joseph’s children from his previous marriage and, therefore, Jesus’ stepbrother.

    One argument supporting this view is that it would have been against Jewish custom for Jesus to give his mother to the care of John (who is not at all suspected to be a blood relative of Jesus) if Mary had other living sons. This is because the eldest son would take responsibility for his mother after the death of her husband.[33] So any other sons of Mary should have taken on this responsibility if they existed, therefore arguing against a direct biological brother relationship.

    Also, Aramaic and Hebrew tended to use circumlocutions to point out blood relationships; it is asserted that just calling some people “brothers of Jesus” would not have necessarily implied the same mother.[34][35] Rather, something like “sons of the mother of Jesus” would have been used to indicate a common mother. Scholars and theologians who assert this point out that Jesus was called “the son of Mary” rather than “a son of Mary” in his hometown (Mark 6:3).[34]

    Cousin, son of a sister of Mary

    James, along with the others named “brethren” of Jesus, could also have been Jesus’ cousins. This claim is justified by the fact that cousins were also called “brothers” and “sisters” in Jesus’ postulated native language, Aramaic, which, like Biblical Hebrew, does not contain a word for cousin. [36] Furthermore, the Greek words adelphos and adelphe were not restricted to their literal meaning of a full brother or sister in the Bible; nor were their plurals.[34][35] This use is still common in Greece and other Balkan cultures. This assumes, naturally, that the Middle Eastern authors’ usage of Greek reflects their way of speaking. The tradition of considering cousins as brothers or sisters is still evident in most Eastern cultures; in some languages, the term cousin does not even exist.

    Eusebius of Caesarea (c. 275 – 339) reports the tradition that James the Just was the son of Joseph’s brother Clopas and therefore was of the “brethren” (which he interprets as “cousin”) of Jesus described in the New Testament.

    This is echoed by Jerome (c. 342 – 419) in De Viris Illustribus (On Illustrious Men) – James is said to be the son of another Mary, wife of Clopas and the “sister” of Mary, the mother of Jesus – in the following manner:

    James, who is called the brother of the Lord, surnamed the Just, the son of Joseph by another wife, as some think, but, as appears to me, the son of Mary, sister of the mother of our Lord of whom John makes mention in his book…

    Jerome refers to the scene of the crucifixion in John 19:25, where three Marys – the mother of Jesus, Mary of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene – are said to be witnesses. John also mentions the “sister” of the mother of Jesus, often identified with Mary of Clopas due to grammar. Mary “of Clopas” is often interpreted as Mary, “wife of Clopas”. Mary of Nazareth and Mary of Clopas also need not be literally sisters, in light of the usage of the said words in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic.[34]

    Mary of Clopas is suggested to be the same as “Mary, the mother of James the younger and Joses”, “Mary the mother of James and Joseph” and the “other Mary” in Jesus’ crucifixion and post-resurrection accounts in the Synoptic Gospels. Proponents of this identification argue that the writers of the Synoptics would have called this Mary, simply, “the mother of Jesus” if she was indeed meant to be the mother of Jesus, given the importance of her son’s crucifixion and resurrection: they also note that the mother of James and Joses is called “Maria”, whereas the mother of Jesus is “Mariam” or “Marias” in Greek. These proponents find it unlikely that Mary would be referred to by her biological children other than Jesus at such a significant time (James happens to be the brother of one Joses, as spelled in Mark, or Joseph, as in Matthew).[34][35][37]

    Jerome’s opinion suggests an identification of James the Just with the Apostle James, son of Alphaeus; Clopas and Alphaeus are thought to be different Greek renderings of the Aramaic name Halpai.[35] Despite this, some biblical scholars tend to distinguish them; this is also not Roman Catholic dogma, though a traditional teaching.

    Since this Clopas is, according to Eusebius, Joseph of Nazareth’s brother (see above) and this Mary is said to be Mary of Nazareth’s sister, James could be related to Jesus by blood and law.[34]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_the_Just

  102. it’s possible that those mentioned as brothers of Jesus were either step-brothers (children of Joseph’s previous marriage) which was a popular early church tradition, or cousins (the word used as brothers was also used for cousins).

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the perpetual virginity of Mary was established belief from at least the 4th century, and the early protestant reformers – Calvin, Zwingli and Luther also held to it.

    To me the traditional view makes sense, but I also have no problem thinking that Mary and Joseph had other children later.

    I wouldn’t give up my life for either view though.

    Church history can make a fire-breathing protestant a little nervous. Any of you ever been to the Catacombs?

  103. No. Have you, SM? It would be an amazing place to go to.

    I wouldn’t give up my life for either view though.

    That’s right. Nor would I waste my time condemning those who disagreed.

  104. So, here we have it folks. Roman Catholic dogma is alive and well amongst the liberal theology types. What a turn up for the book.

    Liberals can explain away the virgin birth, the miracles, the origins of man, the resurrection, the great exchange, the doctrines of heaven and hell, but when it comes to Mary, well, she can be a perpetual virgin!

    I must admit I’m flabbergasted!

  105. Liberals can explain away the virgin birth, the miracles, the origins of man, the resurrection, the great exchange, the doctrines of heaven and hell

    I’m pretty sure RCs believe all that too.

  106. ”but when it comes to Mary, well, she can be a perpetual virgin!”

    Don’t you think that all this to-ing and fro-ing over Mary is like arguing how many angels could stand on the head of a pin?

    Personally, anything that robs Jesus of the smallest aspect of what he died to give humanity is abhorrent to God. That includes any hint that Mary holds some kind of intermediary role between man and God – Jesus is unique in that respect.

    Perpetual virginity is just not something that changes my relationship with God or other people.

  107. Of course they do. As do the JWs.

    Different Jesus.

    No, JWs don’t. They don’t believe in a physical resurrection nor hell. Nor that Jesus was divine.

    And they’re fundamentalist.

    Do you have the right Jesus?

    How do you know?

  108. Matthew 1:24-25 – “And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.”
    Matthew 12:46-47 – “While He was still speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. And someone said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.”
    Matthew 13:55 – “Is not this the carpenters son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?”
    Mark 6:2-3 – “And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?”
    John 2:12 – “After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother, and His brothers, and His disciples; and there they stayed a few days.”
    Acts 1:14 – “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”
    1 Cor. 9:4-5 – “Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?”
    Gal. 1:19 – But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lords brother.”
    John 7:5 – “For not even His brothers were believing in Him.”

    Some might be explained away as cousins, but not every reference.

  109. ziebart,

    Perpetual virginity is just one aspect of what the RC church has had to do to create the Queen of Heaven dogma.

    The span of the deception is what is being discussed, also. The virgin and mother of God dogmas date from three centuries after Christ. The immaculate conception and assumption, plus the naming of the Queen of Heaven date to the late 19th and early 20th century.

    The mediatrix push is current, with six cardinals having put it forward as the fifth Mary dogma, with almost unilateral Catholic support, including that of successive popes.

    It’s only a matter of time before one of them makes it a dogma.

    They have not changed a single thing, except to advance the false doctrine.

  110. Bones, your statement was that the RCs can explain away the same things as the liberals. Agreed. So can the JWs. In fact, lie them, you have to, because you display the form of godliness but deny the power.

    My Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. Is yours?

  111. Well you see they don’t really care what you think Steve, because in their eyes, they formed the canon of scripture which you use to condemn them with and which you love.

    Interesting eh.

  112. No. In their eyes they formed the canon of scripture and then added the traditions, some of which contradict the canon, and most of which they prefer to the canon.

    There is a vast difference between the two.

    In their eyes! As you say. But not in the eyes of God.

    The Roman catholic church as it is today bears no resemblance to the Church of Paul.

    There is no Queen of Heaven, Bones.

  113. Actually, I do you a disservice, joking apart. You are a compassionate person who wants justice for all. That is commendable, and I like it in you. It is also Christlike, and has power in its form, always.

    I am fighting you on one thing alone, here, and that is the attempted equivalence between RC dogma and Pentecostalism.

    You may not care what I think, but I have presented my case against RC dogma well. There is more, but we have enough to discuss for now.

    The thing is, no one has stated why Pentecostalism is error. Not one scripture reference, not one doctrine, not one error presented.

    I could do better than that. I could put up a few, but nothing which even closely resembles RC dogma.

    I could do even more with the charismatics, who are so fraught with experimentally outlandish ideas it is an embarrassment at times, but still nothing remotely as pagan, sustained and deceptive as the Queen of Heaven dogma.

  114. Bones, your statement was that the RCs can explain away the same things as the liberals. Agreed. So can the JWs. In fact, lie them, you have to, because you display the form of godliness but deny the power.

    No, my statement was that they believe the same essentials of the faith as you: the virgin birth, the miracles, the origins of man, the resurrection, the great exchange, the doctrines of heaven and hell.

    My Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. Is yours?

    Yep, as is St Francis of Asissi’s Jesus.

    You should read about him some time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_of_Assisi

  115. Thanks, Bones!

    I have mixed feelings about the way Francis of Assisi went about things. He was, of course, the product of his day, but, to bring things into focus, and show the depths and strengths of the doctrine of Mary, I found this prayer from Francis of Assisi:

    Hail, holy Lady, most holy Queen,
    Mary, Mother of God, ever Virgin.
    You were chosen by the Most High Father in heaven,
    consecrated by Him, with His most Holy Beloved Son and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

    On you descended and still remains all the fullness of grace and every good.
    Hail, His Palace.
    Hail His Tabernacle.
    Hail His Robe.
    Hail His Handmaid.
    Hail, His Mother.
    and Hail, all holy Virtues, who, by grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are poured into the hearts of the faithful so that from their faithless state, they may be made faithful servants of God through you.

    Maybe I’ll just go away and scratch my head at the preposterous nature of these things.

  116. Rebuttal to wazza2:
    The Catholic church was NOT the first church. The first church consisted of the New Testament churches, and they adhered to the Doctrines of Christianity and the Gospel of Christ as outlined in the New Testament. There was no Roman Catholic church until the 3rd Century, formed under the leadership of Roman Emeror Constantine; in an effort to bridge the gap between Paganism and Christianity. (Much like the “Seeker-Friendly churches of today).
    Under his hand (the first instance of the State seeking to control Christianity) the Catholic church was formed and began its organized tenure.
    A simple and honest research and perusal of the Encyclopedia Brittanica will reveal these facts, as well as proving the Roman Catholic background behind the Easter and Christmas holidays as we know them today….
    For an in-depth history lesson I strongly recommend the book “Babylon Mystery Religion” by Ralgh Woodward, as well as “A Woman Rides the Beast”, by Dave Hunt.

  117. So, Bones…

    You say,
    I’m sorry I’m not as tolerant as Steve who has condemned nearly the whole history of Christianity inclding the martyrs as being pagan and members of the Whore of Babylon.

    Show me where in the post, or any other post, or on the thread, or on any other thread, I said that the first martyrs were either pagan worshippers or the Whore of Babylon.

    Point it out today, before we continue, and I will personally apologise for calling true, devout, Christian martyrs pagan or the Whore of Babylon.

    Show me one single line I’ve written which backs up your claim.

    If you want to engage me on this I’m happy to discuss or even debate the doctrine I have put up in posts regarding the Roman Catholic church and its aim and error.

    But, if you want to slyly aim vile accusations at me about what I say, you’d better be able to demonstrate it clearly, because I won’t have you speaking garbage about what I say or believe.

  118. Let’s look at a timeline of Christian belief and persecution up to 450AD.

    You have attacked all the Catholic doctrines as being evidence of paganism influencing Christianity and that the Roman Catholic Church is Mystery Babylon. All straight from Hislop’s crap.

    *c. 29 AD Our Lord’s Resurrection. The First Pentecost. St. Peter preaches in Jerusalem and converts three thousand people, creating the first Christian community

    *c. 35 Saul of Tarsus has an apparition of Jesus Christ and is converted to Christianity.

    *c. 39 St. Peter baptizes Cornelius. This event marks the beginning of the missionizing to the Gentiles.

    42 The first persecution of Christians in Jerusalem under Herod Agrippa. Many Christians escape to Antioch, establishing its first community.

    *44 Martyrdom of St. James the Great, brother of the Apostle John. He is the first apostle to die for the faith. He was sentenced by Herod Agrippa in 44 AD. Today he is honored at the shrine of Santiago Compostela.

    c. 51 The Council of Jerusalem. It rules that Gentile converts do not have to observe the Moasaic Law.

    62 Martyrdom of St James the Less, Bishop of Jerusalem. He is stoned to death.
    *64 First persecution of the Christians by Nero, who blames them for setting a fire that burned much of Rome. Christianity soon after becomes a capital crime.
    *66 Jews revolt against Roman authority. The Christians, remembering the prophecies of Christ, leave Jerusalem, led by their bishop, St. Simeon. A civil war ensues. Nero sends Vespasian and Titus to put down the insurrection.
    *67 Martyrdom of St. Peter. Tradition states that he was crucified upside down. St. Linus succeeds him as pope (-76).
    *69 Fall of Jerusalem. The Temple is destroyed. Tacitus records that 600 000 Jews were slaughtered during the siege; Josephus said it was a million.

    76 Pope St. Cletus (Anacletus) reigns(-88).

    *c. 88 The reign of Pope St. Clement I (-97). During his pontificate, he issues a letter to the Corinthians, urging them to submit themselves to lawful religious authority. He writes “Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry.”

    The beginnings of apostolic succession.

    *95 Persecution of Christians in Rome under Domitian.
    *97 Pope St. Evaristus accedes to the Chair of Peter (-105).
    *c. 100 Death of John, the last apostle. The period of Public Revelation comes to an end.
    *c.100 Birth of St. Justin Martyr (d. c. 165), Church Father. He wrote two Apologies of the Faith, and A Dialogue with Trypho, the Jew. In his writings, he bears witness to a number of Catholic doctrines. In one famous passage, he describes the Order of the Mass.
    *c. 105 Death of Pope St. Evaristus. Pope St. Alexander I replaces him (-115).
    106 Ignatius a disciple of the Apostle John gives evidence of the acceptanc of the doctrine of transubstantiation. He writes They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again. (Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans).
    Then, having taken the bread and given it to His disciples, He made it His own body, by saying, “This is my body,” that is, the figure of my body. A figure, however, there could not have been, unless there were first a veritable body (Against Marcion, Bk 4).
    107 Ignatius writes of Mary’s Perpetual virginity
    described the virginity of Mary as “hidden from the prince of this world … loudly proclaimed, but wrought in the silence of God.”
    The affirmation of the doctrine of Mary’s virginity before, during and after the birth of Jesus was the principal aim of the early 2nd century work, the Protoevangelium of James (c. 120-150). The work, concerned with the character and purity of Mary, claims that Joseph had children from a marriage previous to Mary.
    *c.107-117 Martyrdom of St. Ignatius of Antioch, apostolic Father and bishop. He was a disciple of St. John, along with St. Polycarp. Theodoret, the Church historian says he was consecrated bishop by St. Peter, who was at first bishop of Antioch before going to Rome. Ignatius was martyred in Rome under Emperor Trajan’s rule. It was during the journey to Rome that he wrote his famous letters that contain invaluble information about the early Church. He was the first to use the term “Catholic” to describe the Church.
    *111 Pliny the Younger, govenor of Bithynia, writes in a letter to the Emperor Trajan that to his surprise, the Christians are not guilty of any of the vices they are rumoured to engage in. He executes Christians who would not apostatize.

    2nd Century Prayers found inscribed on catacomb walls to the Saints Peter and Paul.
    *117 Persecution of Christians under Hadrian (-138).
    *c.130 Birth of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Church Father and bishop. He had heard St. Polycarp in Smyrna. He wrote a famous treatise, Against Heresies, refuting Gnosticism, and intervened in favour of the Quartodecimians when they were excommunicated by Pope Victor I for not observing Easter according the Roman Calendar (i.e. the first Sunday after the full moon after the Spring equinox).
    *135 Emperor Hadrian excludes Jews from Jerusalem.
    *c. 156 Martyrdom of St. Polycarp, disciple of St. John the apostle. First recorded instance of devotion to a martyr and the devotion to relics in the Martyrdom of Polycarp
    *c. 160 Birth of Tertullian, Church Father. Tertullian apostatized to the Montanist sect and in his later years rejected the Catholic Church. However, in his earlier years, c. 200 AD, he justified Catholic belief against heretics by appealing to the apostolic origin of the Church, whereas the heretics and their heresies were subsequent to it.
    *165 Death of St. Justin Martry (b. 100), Church Father.
    *172 Montanus launches his Montanist movement, based on his private revelations. He claimed that there was an age of the Father (the Old Testament), the Age of the Son (the New Testament) and the age of the Holy Spirit, which he would inaugurate and which would announce the end of the world. It denied the divine nature of the Church and preached a very rigorous morality.
    *c.176-177 Athenagoras writes Embassy for the Christians, aka Apology, a work addressed to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus that shows the reasonableness of the Christian faith and the absurdity of the charges made against Christians. It also defended the notion of the Trinity.
    *177 St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against All Heresies, a work of apologetics refuting Gnosticism, which claimed salvation through an esoteric knowledge. Irenaeus argues that this belief counters that universal tradition handed down from the apostles, and that the bishops are the successors of the apostles who have the authority to transmit Revelation. To make his point, he lists the succession of popes beginning with Peter.
    *185 Birth of Origen, controversial Church Father. His writings were, in many ways, productive for the orthodox faith. However, a number of his ideas were problematic or downright heretical. Among them: his excessive allegorism in Scriptural interpretation, his subordinationist tendencies, his belief in eternal creation and final salvation of all souls. His writings sparked complex doctrinal controversies. In spite of the problems, he had many admirers among orthodox Fathers.
    *189 Pope Victor I takes over the See of Peter. (-199)
    *189 Pope Victor I excommunicates the Quartodecimians. The Quartodecimians of Asia Minor reckoned the date of Easter according to the Jewish Passover, as 14 Nisan, regardless of whether or not it fell on a Sunday, contrary to the majority of the faithful in various parts of the Empire. Pope Victor ordered Bishop Polycrates of Ephesus to call a synod and have the bishops of Proconsular Asia submit to the Roman practice. The bishop called the synod, but the assembly refused to submit, citing that the apostles John and Philip followed the same custom. The pope then excommunicated the bishops and their followers. St. Irenaues protested this action as too harsh, but did not say the pope had overstepped his authority. This is the first record of an episcopal council in the post-apostolic age
    190 First evidence of doctrine of purgatory and request for prayers after death.
    “The citizen of a prominent city, I erected this while I lived, that I might have a resting place for my body. Abercius is my name, a disciple of the chaste shepherd who feeds his sheep on the mountains and in the fields, who has great eyes surveying everywhere, who taught me the faithful writings of life. Standing by, I, Abercius, ordered this to be inscribed; truly I was in my seventy-second year. May everyone who is in accord with this and who understands it pray for Abercius.” (Abercius, Epitaph of Abercius, A.D. 190.)

    *c. 200 Death of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Church Father and bishop.
    *c. 200 Monarchianism makes its appearance. In contrast to Arianism, Monarchians affirm Jesus is God, but in order to safeguard the unity of God, they essentially deny the distinction between the Son and the Father. St. Hippolytus was an ardent opponent of this heresy.
    *202 Emperor Septimius Severus persecutes Christians with the aim of establishing one common religion in the Empire.
    *c.208 The first record of prayers for the dead in the writings of the Church Fathers. Tertullian writes that a good widow prays for her dead husband’s soul in On Monogamy.
    *220 Pope St. Callistus I excommunicates Sabellius, a priest who taught that the Son of God did not exist before the Incarnation, and that God exists in three “modes” but not in three persons, therefore the Son and the Father suffered at the passion. This heresy, Sabellianism, would become prevalent in the fourth century.
    *222 St. Urban I becomes Pope (-230).
    *222 Alexander Severus becomes emperor (-235). He lifted many harsh laws against the Christians, and essentially gave them the right to exist as a religion. They now had the right to own property and assemble for worship. He had a personal devotion to Jesus Christ, but he honoured him as one among many gods.
    *250-251 The Decian Persecution. The Emperor Decius requires all citizens in every town and village of the Empire to perform acts of worship to the gods of the State. People suspected of Christianity are brought before a commission and required to sacrifice. Refusal meant a long prison stay and subjection to torture so that the accused would apostatize. Failing that, they are put to death. Many Christians apostatize or obtain certificates stating that they had sacrificed. This systematic persecution produces numerous martyrs.
    *250 Martyrdom of Pope St. Fabian in the Decian persecution. He was not given the opportunity to apostatize but was swifty executed for his faith.
    *c. 250 The devotion to martyrs, once a more private practice, becomes widespread after the Decian persection due to the great numbers of martyrs it produced.
    *c. 250 Birth of St. Anthony of Egypt (d. 355) considered to be the founder of monasticism. Approximately 5000 disciples of both sexes had gathered around him in the Nitrian desert (Egypt), despite his opposition. We know of him through a biography of St. Athanasius.
    *251 Council of Cartage under St. Cyprian allows those who lapsed during the persecution to be readmitted after a period of penance.
    *251 Pope St. Cornelius succeeds Pope St. Fabian (-253).
    *251 Novatian becomes the second anti-pope in Church history (-258). He strongly disagrees with Pope Cornelius’ stance allowing those who apostatized during the Decian persecution to return to the fold after a suitable penance. He insisted on permanent excommunication for them. This period is known as the Novatian Schism. The Novatian church will continue to exist up to the eighth century, but will be absorbed by the Catholic Church.
    *c. 251 St. Cyprian writes his famous treaty, On the Unity of the Church. He argues that the Church was founded on Peter, and that the local bishop was the head of the local Church. In practice, however, he contradicted himself by asserting that the pope could not make him accept Christians baptized by heretics.
    *c. 253 Death of Origen, Church Father. He probably died from the tortured he suffered under the Decian persecution.
    * 253 Election of Pope St. Lucius I (-254).
    *254 St. Stephen I is elected Pope (-257). He is the first pope known to have invoked Matt. 16:18 as evidence for the authority of the Chair of Peter.
    *256 Pope St. Stephen I upholds the baptisms administered by heretics.
    *257 The Emperor Valerian launches a persecution against Christians (-259). The clergy is summoned to sacrifice to the pagan gods. If they refused, the church property they legally held in the church’s name was to be confiscated and they were to be exiled (a year later, the penalty would be immediate execution). All faithful Christians who met in religious assemblies were punishable by death.
    *257 St. Sixtus II becomes Pope (-258). He was arrested very shortly after his election and beheaded for his faith.
    *258 Martyrdom of St. Cyprian of Carthage. He defended the readmission to the Church of those who apostatized during persecution, but rejected the idea that baptism by heretics and schismatics is valid. In his writings, he defended the primacy of Peter as the source of unity in the Church. He remained the foremost Latin writer until Jerome. At his execution, his followers placed cloths and handkerchiefs near his place of execution in order to catch his blood and thereby have a relic of him.
    *259 Peace of Gallenius. Emperor Gallenius succeeds to the throne, ends the persecution of Christians and legally recognizes their existence. Church property is restored. This peace lasts for forty years. Churches are built, bishops gain social prestige and Christians acquire more social status. Christians serve the regimes of various emperors. Christianity still remains a target for hostility.
    *259 Pope St. Dionysius begins his pontificate (-268).
    *c. 260 Birth of Eusebius of Caesarea, Church Father, bishop and “Father of Church history.” his Church history is an important source of information about the Early Church. He also wrote the Life of Constantine.
    *261 A period of relative peace begins for the Church (-303).
    *c. 265 Three councils held at this time in Antioch condemn Paul of Samosata, bishop of Antioch, for his heretical teachings on the relationship of God the Father and God the Son. He maintained that Jesus the man was distinct from the Logos and became the Son of God through adoption because of his merits, and that God is only One Person. His teachings were a pre-cursor to the Arianist heresies of the fourth century and beyond.
    *269 Pope St. Felix I fills the See of Peter (-274).
    272 Emperor Aurelian rules that the bishop of a city is whomever the bishops of Italy and Rome acknowledge as such. The ruling deprived the deposed Paul of Samosata, bishop of Antioch, of all church property–including churches. This way the secular arm made it possible for Rome to effectively depose bishops.
    *275 Pope St. Eutychian succeeds Pope St. Felix I.(-283).
    285 Partition of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western halves. Diocletian rules the Eastern half, Maximian, the Western

    c. 297 Birth of St. Athanasius (d. 373), Doctor of the Church. Archbishop of Alexandria. He was a staunch defender of the Divinity of Jesus Christ against Arianism, and was exiled sevral times for his orthodoxy.

    *c. 300 Christianity introduced in Armenia.
    *Constantine re-unites both halves of the Empire, becomes sole emperor.
    *302 Growing intolerance of Christians leads to the army and the imperial service being closed to professed Christians.
    *303 Persecution of Christians by Diocletian through a series of edicts.All people were to worship state gods. Churches were to be destroyed, Christian books were to be burned. The first act of the persecution was to burn down the cathedral at Nicomedia.
    *304 Christians faithful to the their religion are now subject to the death penalty. The government commits massacres to terrify the faithful.
    *304 Death of Pope St. Marcellinus I.
    *305 Emperors Diocletian and Maximian resign. Galerius, viciously anti-Christian, succedes as emperor in the East. The new emperor in the West, Constantius Chlorus, ceases the persecution in his domains.
    *c. 305 The Council of Elvira, Spain approves the first canon imposing clerical celibacy.
    *306 Constanine becomes the emperor in the West and continues the policy of toleration towards Christians.
    *306 Galerius orders all his subjects to make pagan sacrifices.
    *306 Birth of St. Ephraem the Syrian (d. 373), Doctor of the Church. Known as the Harp of the Holy Spirit. Author of the Nisibene Hymns, some of which are Marian.
    *308 Election of Pope St. Marcellus I (-309). His stance against apostates who demanded immediate re-entry into the Church raised a commotion and led to the Emperor Maxentius exiling him. He died soone after leaving Rome.
    *309 Reign of Pope St. Eusebius.
    310 Sapor II becomes king of the Persian Empire (-381). Until the third century, the Church grew in Persia without persecution. However, with the accession of the Sassinid Dynasty (227 AD) the Church became suspect and was eventually persecuted. Under Sapor II, Christians are subject to a persecution worse than any undertaken by the Roman Emperors. It was considered the religion of the Roman Empire, with whom the Persian were constantly at war.
    *311 An edict of toleration is emitted in the names of Galerius, Constantine and Licinius. The emperors come to realize that persecution produced non-believers in either the gods of the state or in the Christian God. Emperor Maximinus of Daza only follows the policy for six months, then continues the persecution in the East.
    *31l Pope St. Militiades begins his reign (-314).
    *311 The Beginning of the Donatist Schism. Donatus, Primate of Numidia, will not recognize the election of Cecilian as Bishop of Carthage. Cecillian’s consecrator is Felix of Aptonga, a man who had allegedly apostatized under Maximian’s persecution (303-305). To the Donatists, apostasy and other serious sins destroys a priest’s spiritual powers. The priest’s powers are therefore dependent on his personal holiness. Donatus holds a council which illegally elects a pretendant to the see. Although he lives in Carthage, Donatus has no jurisdiction there.
    *312 Martyrdom of Lucian of Antioch during the persecution of Maximinus of Daza. He taught that the Word (logos) was a creature. He taught Arius, the heresiarch, and his teaching was at the origin of the Arian heresy. He is also known for having rejected allegorical interpretations and was strongly literal in his biblical interpreations. He reconciled with the Church.
    *312 Constantine defeats the Emperor Maxentius at the battle of the Milvian Bridge. The night before the battle, Constantine has a vision of a cross in the sky and the words “In this sign you shall conquer.” After the victory, Constantine orders that the cross be put on the soldiers’ shields and standards. Once Constantine enters Rome, he offers the Lateran Palace to the Pope as a residence.
    *313 Edict of Milan. Toleration of Christians in the Western Roman Empire. All people, not only Christians, have freedom of religion so long as they render honour to “the divinity.” Emperor Constantine returns Church property. In the Eastern Empire, Maximinus continues to persecute Christians until he grants them toleration in a last-ditch effort to gain their favour and keep alive his struggle against his enemy Licinius.
    *313 Constantine intervenes on the Donatist schism and recognizes the election of Cecillian of Carthage, the orthodox candidate. The churches held by Donatists are handed over to Catholics.
    *313 The Lateran palace makes its first appearance in Catholic history as it is the scence of an appeal of the Donatists in the matter of Cecillian’s election as Bishop of Carthage. Emperor Constantine chose the bishops to sit on the tribunal, but the pope presided over it. It rules in favour of Cecillian.
    *314 St. Sylvester I is elected Pope (-335)
    *c.314 Constantine agrees to hear a new appeal by the Donatists in the case of Cecillian’s Episcopal election. This time the appeal is brought to a secular court. The Donatists maintained that Felix of Aptonga could not have validly ordained Cecillian because he had apostatized during a persecution. The police books of the persecution were produced, and there was no evidence Felix had ever been arrested. It was also shown that the Donatists had attempted to forge the certificate proving his guilt. Constantine sends this evidence to the Council of Arles, where the Fathers note that the Donatists are “crazy fanatics, a danger to Christianity.” They rule in favour of Cecillian.
    *315 Birth of St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 387), Doctor of the Church. He fought Arianism in the East.
    *315 Birth of St. Hilary of Poitiers (d. 368), Doctor of the Church.
    *316 Constantine hears another appeal of the Donatists in the matter of the election of Cecillian of Carthage. He rules in favour of Cecillian. He rules that the churches held by the Donatists were to be handed over to the Catholics, and that the Donatists were forbidden to meet.
    *c. 318 Beginnings of the Arianist controversy. Arius taught: that the Father and the Son were not of the same substance, and therefore the latter was inferior; and that the Word (Logos) is a creature and that the Holy Spirit is a creature of the Logos.
    *320 St. Pachomius founds the first two monasteries– on for each sex in Tabennisi.
    *321 The Donatists appeal to Constantine for toleration. He grants it, in spite of his contempt for the sect.
    *323 Licinius, Emperor of the East launches a persecution against Christians.
    *323 Constantine and Licinius do battle at Chrysopolis. Licinius dies six months later. Constantine has no rival and is the sole ruler of the Empire. Constantine preserves freedom of religion but his attitude towards paganism becomes contemptuous. Paganism and Christianity enjoy equal status before the law.
    *325 The Council of Nicea. Presided by Emperor Constantine and Hosius of Cordoba. Pope St. Sylvester I sends papal legates, being too old to make the journery from Rome. Many of the bishops in attendance had been physically injured in the persecutions of previous decades. The Council defines trinitarian belief in God. The Father and God the Son are declared of the same substance against the teachings of Arius. Emperor Constantine considers heresy to be a form of rebellion, and banishes Arian bishops to Illyria.
    *325 Building of Church of Natitvity, Bethlehem.
    *326 Constantine recognizes the Novatian Church, the parallel Church established under the Novatian schism in the preceding century. It would die out a century later in Rome, but would survive until at least the seventh century in the East.
    *329 Birth of St. Basil the Great (d. 379), Doctor of the Church and father of Eastern monasticism. He was the first to draw up a rule of life and he developed the concept of the novitiate.
    *c. 329 Birth of St. Gregory of Nanzianzus (d. 389), Doctor of the Church, one of the traditional four Greek Doctors.
    *c. 340-350 The Arian bishop Ulfilas makes a corrupt translation of the Bible into the Gothic language and converts the Goths. From then on, barbarian tribes that converted to Christianity were Arian, until the conversion of the Franks in the 6th century.
    *340 Birth of St. Ambrose of Milan, one of the four traditional Latin Doctors of the Church. He baptized St. Augustine. He fought the Arian heresy in the West and promoted consecrated virginity.
    *341 Emperors Constants and Constantius II abolish and prohibit pagan sacrifices. Pagan sentiment becomes very anti-Christian.
    *341 Death of Eusebius of Nicomedia, bishop of Constantinople. He schemed to depose Catholic bishops throughout the empire and replace them with Arians. He made Arians appear orthodox through ambiguous formulas of faith.
    *c. 343 Birth of St. Jerome (d. 420), one of the four traditional Doctors of the Latin Church. He translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek texts into Latin and produced the first authoritative translation, the Vulgate. At that time, Latin was still a vernacular language. He also wrote a treaty against Helvidius, upholding the Virgin Birth.
    *347 Birth of St. John Chrysostom (d. 407), Doctor of the Church and Bishop of Constantinople. He is the foremost Greek Doctor of the Church, known especially for his homilies on Scripture. He alienated the court at Constaninople with his preaching against the vanities of the rich. The conspiracy of his enemies resulted in his exile. The pope and many Western bishops supported him but could not obtain justice for him.
    *347 Emperor Constans ends the toleration of Donatists in Numidia. The period of Donatist dominance in Africa had been one of license, including riots and massacres. He exiles the Donatist bishops and hands their churches to Catholics.
    *c. 360 Scrolls begin to be replaced by books.
    *361 Emperor Julian “the Apostate” becomes Roman Emperor (-363). He was brought up in Arian Christianity in his early childhood, but was tutored by Pagans in his adolescence. Upon his accession to the throne, he attempts revive Paganism, and in his contempt the Christian Faith, he tries to re-build the Temple in Jerusalem, but fails.
    *362 Emperor Julian recalls the exiled Donatist bishops.
    *363 Emperor Julian “the Apostate” dies before getting a chance to launch a systematic persecution against the Christians, although mobs that riot and kill them go unpunished.
    *363 Jovinian, a Catholic, becomes Emperor. He restores toleration for all religions.He reigns only for nine months.
    *364 Valentinian, a Catholic, now rules the Western empire (-375). He takes the property of State-run temples, but instead of handing it over to the Church, as Constantius II did, he puts the imperial treasury in charge of it.
    *364 The Arian Valens becomes Emperor of the Eastern Empire (-378). He seeks to Arianize his Christian subjects and makes life difficult for Catholics.
    *366 Reign of Pope St. Damasus I (-384). He is most famous for compelling St. Jerome to undertake a faithful translation of the Scriptures, the version known as the Vulgate. St. Damasus condemned Apollinarianism and Macedonianism. He approved the canons of the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (381).
    *c. 368 Death of St. Hilary of Poitiers (b. 315), Doctor of the Church and bishop. He was exiled for his orthodox faith by the Emperor Constantius, but eventually was able to return to Poitiers. He attempted to reconcile the Semi-Arians and the orthodox faithful.
    *390 St. Ambrose threatens Theodosius with excommunication for massacring 7000 people in Thessalonica as punishment for the murder of an imperial official. Theodosius does public penance.
    *391 Emperor Theodosius closes all pagan temples in his realm.
    *392 Upon the death of Western Emperor Valentinian II, Theodosius becomes the sole ruler of the whole Roman Empire. He forbids all pagan household rites and idols, but does not compel any of his Pagan subjects to become Christian. Paganism will continue to exist, mainly in the backwaters, for the next three centuries.
    *c. 392 Death of Apollinaris of Laodicea, heresiarch. In his early years, he was respected for his classical and Scriptural knowledge, on the same level as St. Athanasius, St. Basil and St. Jerome. However, he taught that Christ’s reason was taken over by the Logos. Apollnaris did not reconcile with the Church.
    *c. 393 Birth of Theodoret of Cyrus, Church Father, bishop and historian. He opposed St. Cyril of Alexandria in the Nestorian controversy, but he eventually submitted to the Council of Ephesus on the matter.
    *397 Death of St. Ambrose of Milan (b. 340), Doctor of the Church.
    *399 Election of Pope St. Anastasius (-401). A man of great holiness, he was friends with St. Augustine and St. Jerome. He condemned Origenism.
    *397 Death of St. Martin of Tours. He was the first saint honoured for his asceticism, not for martyrdom, and whose prayers were invoked in liturgy. He is considered the founder of monasticism in the West. He was also the first to attempt to convert the pagan countryside of Gaul.
    410 The Sack of Rome by the Visigoths, led by Alaric. This event is the inspiration for St. Augustine of Hippo’s monumental work, The City of God.
    *410 The Donatists are granted toleration by Emperor Honorius.
    *c. 411 Beginning of the Pelagian controversy in Northern Africa. Pelagius, an unordained monk, denied the theory of Original Sin, stating that death was a physical necessity, not a result of Original Sin, and that Adam’s fault was transmitted through bad example. He denied the necessity of grace to perform good acts, and affirmed it was possible to lead a life completely free of sin. St. Augustine refuted these beliefs at length.
    *411 286 Catholic Bishops and 279 Donatist Bishops meet at a conference in Carthage to discuss reunion. It was presided by an Imperial official. He rules that the Donatists have to submit to the Catholic Church. An imperial edict the following January, 412, confirms this decision and threatens banishment for all who disobey.
    *415 After the Jews massacred a group of Chrisitans, St. Cyril of Alexandria organizes a mob to drive out the Jews from Alexandria, as the Prefect of the city, Orestes, sided with the Jews and had condemned a guilty Christian for disturbing the peace.
    *417 Election of Pope St. Zosimus (-418).
    *418 Election of Pope St. Boniface I (-422).
    *418 The Council of Carthage condemns Pelagianism. Emperor Honorius banishes all Pelagians from the cities of Italy. Eighteen bishops, led by Julian of Eclanum, must leave their sees for refusing to sign an orthodox creed, not because it was anti-Pelagian, but because it was based on St. Augustine’s ideas.
    *419 The Council of Africa produces the first Code of Canon Law in Church history: the Codex Canonum Ecclesiae Africanae. It forbade appeals overseas in disciplinary matters, including to Rome
    *c. 420 The Semi-Pelagian controversy erupts. Many Pelagians accepted the condemnation of their beliefs at the Council of Carthage (418). In light of that, a more moderate form of Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, arose. It stated that the act of will preceded the grace of salvation. The main proponents of this belief were the monks of Marseilles, including Vincent of Lerins and its main opponents were St. Augustine and his disciple Prosper of Aquitaine. It was condemned at the Second Council of Orange, 529.
    *422 Pope St. Celestine I begins his pontificate (-432). During his reign, Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople, professed the heresy of the two-person nature of Christ, known as Nestorianism.
    *c. 422 A mob of Christians in Alexandria murder Hypatia, a renowned female pagan philosopher. They tore her to shreds using sharp roof tiling, then burnt her remains. Damascius attributes the murder to St. Cyril of Alexandria’s envy of her reputation; he is, however, a Christian-hater. The Church historian Socrates does not mention any motive on Cyril’s part, but says that it did bring disgrace on the Church of Alexandria. More about the incident here
    *426 The Council of Africa formally requests the pope that he not be so ready to hear appeals settled in their jurisdiction or lift excommunications that they have imposed. Rome makes no reply.
    *427 Nestorius, heresiarch, is appointed Bishop of Constantinople.
    *428 Nestorius campaigns and obtains a new law against heresy. His friend, the monk Anastasius, in attempt to promte Nestorius’ theology, preaches that the title “Mother of God” should only be used with the greatest of care, if at all. This creates a tumult. Nestorius excommunicates those who object to this novel theology. They appeal to the Emperor.
    *429 Vandals invade North Africa led by Genseric. They were Arian and very anti-Catholic. Catholic churches are burnt, Catholic meetings are prohibited, and Catholic clergy are exiled and replaced by Arian clergy.
    430 The well-known words of St Augustine (d . 430) may be cited: ” As regards the mother of God,” he says, ” I will not allow any question whatever of sin.” It is true that he is here speaking directly of actual or personal sin. But his argument is that all men are sinners; that they are so through original depravity; that this original depravity may be overcome by the grace of God, and he adds that he does not know but that Mary may have had sufficient grace to overcome sin “of every sort” (omni ex parte).
    [
    431 Mary’s title as Theotokos (the Mother of God) was formally adopted after the Nestorian dispute.

    Explaining his rejection of Nestorius’ preferred title for Mary (Christotokos, Mother of Christ), Cyril wrote: “Confessing the Word to be united with the flesh according to the hypostasis, we worship one Son and Lord, Jesus Christ. We do not divide him into parts and separate man and God as though they were united with each other [only] through a unity of dignity and authority… nor do we name separately Christ the Word from God, and in similar fashion, separately, another Christ from the woman, but we know only one Christ, the Word from God the Father with his own flesh… But we do not say that the Word from God dwelt as in an ordinary human born of the holy virgin… we understand that, when he became flesh, not in the same way as he is said to dwell among the saints do we distinguish the manner of the indwelling; but he was united by nature and not turned into flesh… There is, then, one Christ and Son and Lord, not with the sort of conjunction that a human being might have with God as in a unity of dignity or authority; for equality of honor does not unite natures. For Peter and John were equal to each other in honor, both of them being apostles and holy disciples, but the two were not one. Nor do we understand the manner of conjunction to be one of juxtaposition, for this is insufficient in regard to natural union…. Rather we reject the term ‘conjunction’ as being inadequate to express the union… [T]he holy virgin gave birth in the flesh to God united with the flesh according to hypostasis, for that reason we call her Theotokos… If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is, in truth, God, and therefore that the holy virgin is Theotokos (for she bore in a fleshly manner the Word from God become flesh), let him be anathema.” (Cyril’s third letter to Nestorius)

  119. Early Christians were Catholic in their belief especially towards communion. They took Jesus’s words literally, they prayed to the Saints, believed in purgatory and honoured Mary and believed in her perpetual virginity.

    For that and their refusal to sacrifice to pagan gods they were tortured and martyred under Domitian, Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Septimus Severus, Maximinus the Thracian, Decius.

    These Christians, who watched their families suffer and suffered themselves, were Catholic in their theology and according to you were guilty of embracing paganism which is a flat out lie, regardless of whether or not I agree with their theology.

    So yes, you condemn the martyrs as well.

  120. I also find Quakers very interesting as well.SM, I did consider putting myself up for the Catholic priesthood at one point. I’m not arguing that there aren’t major concerns within the RC Church. Celibacy is an enormous problem which I can’t help but think corresponds to all the child rape charges levelled against the RC clergy. The hypocrisy of it is that they accept married Anglican clergy of which my brother is one.
    The current Pope has been instrumental in silencing some of his more effective clergy and was very much a headkicker in terms of doctrine. Also it is very patriarchal. And don’t get me started on the beatification of Pope Pius XII whose silence on the Holocaust in WWII was bloody cowardly.

    I’m currently more interested in learning about that other great Christian tradition, Orthodox Christianity.

    I would also like to learn more about Quakers as well.

  121. “[…] they prayed to the Saints […]”

    Call it by it’s proper name, Dr Bones: necromancy.

  122. Goodness, Bones, you actually agree with the error that makes Peter the first pope! You are a Roman Catholic!

    Your explanation is utterly predictable, and totally wrong. I have never stated at any time that the martyrs were pagan or the Whore.

    The truth is that you know it, but refuse to apologise for your disgusting accusation.

    The more you imply it the more I will deny it.

    You are wrong.

    I hope that’s clear enough for you.

  123. Bones,
    You have attacked all the Catholic doctrines as being evidence of paganism influencing Christianity and that the Roman Catholic Church is Mystery Babylon. All straight from Hislop’s crap.

    You go in deeper and deeper!

    Can you show anything in the posts which relates to Hislop?

    There is nothing. I determined not to reference him, only the Vatican and Catholic’s own doctrine.

    How long will you persist with this rubbish?

  124. You truly are a coward or a moron. I know it’s a shock to you that the apostles weren’t reformers or pentecostal but through their teaching especially John and his Gospel inspired the Roman Catholic Church.

    As for Hislop that’s where your crap comes from.

    Oh and I’m not Catholic. Never will be. I am a student of church history however. Guess your wrong again. Gee that’s a turn up.

  125. Bones, there have been quite a few evangelicals who have joined the orthodox church in their quest for historical roots.

    I think that along with bible study, it’s a great idea for everyone to study church history – not only the first few centuries, but throughout the 2000 years.

    (maybe not everyone has to do it to your level, but most people don’t even know the background to their own church).

    I’ve had the privilege of meeting people who became Quakers, Catholics, Orthodox, Southern Baptist, Pentecostal etc etc etc, in pagan countries. It probably gives me a different perspective. When everyone around you are Buddhists, or no religion at all, the different Christian faiths seem more similar than they do in “christian” countries.

    Just the fact that people read the Bible, go to church and say Jesus Christ is Lord, and died on the cross and rose again sets them so apart. When you meet you feel like you’re on the same team!

    Peace people.

  126. So, Bones, you agree with the following quote from the Vatican, which I posted:

    From the earliest ages of the catholic church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ; nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.

    Nothing to do with Hislop, Bones. Nothing.

    By the way, the apostles were all Pentecostal, in the sense of the word I would adhere to.

    Acts 2
    1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
    2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
    3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
    4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

    Since you refuse to apologise for your vile accusations I have no choice but to forgive you for your presumption.

  127. No they weren’t Pentecostals. They worshipped at synagogues

    Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Heaven

    ——————————————————————————–

    In a lasting vestige of anti-Catholic prejudice, a concerted effort to discredit the Church is being made today by some non-Catholic Christians who continue to propagate the falsehood that Catholics worship Mary OR that the devotion to the Blessed Mother is a continuation of devotion to the various mother goddesses of the ancient pagan pantheons. These charges can legitimately be called prejudices because they proceed from a prejudgment (made in advance based on preconceived ideas about what Catholics believe) and efforts to enlighten and convince with facts usually fall on deaf ears. However, it is necessary for Catholics to be forewarned about these on-going polemically, “prayer warfare” and “prophetic acts” (such as the smashing of a statue on Brazilian TV), so as not to be scandalized about their Catholic faith by such attacks.
    ——————————————————————————–

    Mother of God

    One such claim is that calling Mary the Mother of God is a manifestation of the apostasy of Catholicism, which has returned to pagan mother goddess worship. This title, bestowed by the Council of Ephesus in 431, is seen as proof of Catholic apostasy from the Gospel. The historical facts underlying the Council do not dissuade those captured by this prejudice about the Church and its love of Mary, however, they clearly show the Church’s intention to protect the doctrine of Christ’s divinity and sacred humanity, the Incarnation, as well as give the proper due to she who fully cooperated in it by her Fiat (let it be done).
    The fourth and fifth centuries, the first ones of Christian emancipation from persecution, were centuries of consolidating the truth about God and Christ. The Councils of Nicea (325) and Constantinople (361) defined the basic teachings of Christianity in the Creed which goes by their name (and which is obligatory at Sunday Mass), against those who in one manner or another denied the unity of God, and the Divinity of the Son (“one in substance with the Father”) and of the Holy Spirit (“who proceeds from the Father and the Son”). It also asserted the true humanity of Christ “born of the Virgin Mary,” thus protecting the Incarnation of the Word, the Word-made-flesh, from the assault of heretics like Arius. Jesus Christ was indeed the Eternal Son, a Divine Person, who united in Himself both a Divine and human nature.

    However, some of those who remained in the Church after Nicea-Constantinople sought to mitigate the full force of these teachings by various equivocations. In 428 Archbishop Nestorius, the newly elected Patriarch of Constantinople, began to teach that Mary was indeed the Mother of Christ but was not the Mother of God, a title freely used in the Church. Although attempting to remain faithful to the Creed, that is professing belief in Christ’s true Divinity and true humanity, Nestorius’ writings, however, suggested that in Christ there was more of a moral unity of two persons, the Word and Jesus. In addition to the rebellion of the clergy and people, Nestorius had to contend with the attacks of St. Cyril of Alexandria, who finally submitted both Nestorius’ writings and his own defenses to Pope St. Celestine, who condemned Nestorius as a heretic.
    Nestorius was only emboldened, teaching that Jesus was merely the temple of the Word, and if Mary is the Mother of God she has been made a goddess. His contemptuous remarks included, “a mother cannot bear a son older than herself.” Both the Pope and Nestorius were desirous of a Council and so one was called in Ephesus in June of 431. However, Nestorius and his followers did not come, despite several summons, and after seven sessions to consider the matter the teaching of Nestorius, and some other heretics such as Pelagius, were condemned. Here is what the Council decreed:

    111a For we do not say that the nature of the Word was changed and made flesh, nor yet that it was changed into the whole man (composed) of soul and body but rather (we say) that the Word, in an ineffable and inconceivable manner, having hypostatically united to Himself flesh animated by a rational soul, became Man and was called the Son of Man, not according to the will alone or by the assumption of a person alone, and that the different natures were brought together in a real union, but that out of both in one Christ and Son, not because the distinction of natures was destroyed by the union, but rather because the divine nature and the human nature formed one Lord and Christ and Son for us, through a marvelous and mystical concurrence in unity. . . . For it was no ordinary man who was first born of the Holy Virgin and upon whom the Word afterwards descended; but being united from the womb itself He is said to have undergone flesh birth, claiming as His own the birth of His own flesh. Thus [the holy Fathers] did not hesitate to speak of the holy Virgin as the Theotokos (Mother of God). [Denzinger paragraph 111a]

    113 Canon. 1. If anyone does not confess that God is truly Emmanuel, and that on this account the Holy Virgin is the Mother of God (for according to the flesh she gave birth to the Word of God become flesh by birth), let him be anathema (condemned, i.e. excommunicated).

    114 Can. 2. If anyone does not confess that the Word of God the Father was united to a body by hypostasis [union in a single Person] and that one is Christ with his own body, the same one evidently both God and man, let him be anathema.

    115 Can. 3. If anyone in the one Christ divides the subsistences [divine and human natures] after the union, connecting them by a junction only according to worth, that is to say absolute sway or power, and not rather by a joining according to physical union [union in the one Christ], let him be anathema.

    116 Can. 4. If anyone portions out to two persons, that is to say subsistences, the words in the Gospels and the apostolic writings, whether said about Christ by the saints, or by Him concerning Himself, and attributes some as it to a man specially understood beside the Word of God, others as befitting God alone, to the Word of God the Father, let him be anathema.

    117 Can. 5. If anyone ventures to say that Christ is a man inspired by God, and not rather that He is truly God, as a son by nature, as the Word was made flesh and has shared similarly with us in blood and flesh, let him be anathema.

    118 Can. 6. If anyone ventures to say that God or the Lord is the Word of Christ from God the Father and does not rather confess the same as at once both God and man, since the Word was made flesh according to the Scriptures, let him be anathema.

    119 Can. 7. If anyone says that Jesus as man was assisted by the Word of God, and that the glory of the Only-begotten was applied as to another existing beside Him, let him be anathema.
    … and so on

    As can be seen, all of the decisions of this great Council, of which the title Mother of God was only the pricipitating issue, protect and defend this truth: Jesus Christ was NOT a mere man on whom the Word descended in some way or to whom the Word was united but distinct, rather He was the Divine eternal Person of the Word, who in time assumed a human nature of Mary, but remained the Word, the One Christ, 2nd Person of the Trinity, uniting in Himself His Divine Nature and His Incarnate Human Nature.

    In all, twelve canons defend and put outside Christian faith various propositions attacking the union of Christ’s two natures in His One Divine Person. In a single brief statement the Council declares that Mary gave birth NOT to a mere man, human nature, but to a Divine Person who assumed our manhood. She is properly, then, the human Mother in time of God the Word, and not just the Mother of Christ, a title any good new ager of our day could accept. By calling Mary the Mother of God, the Catholic Church establishes herself alone in the West, together with the Orthodox who separated from us in the 11th century, as doctrinally incapable of renouncing the union of the two natures in the one Person of the Eternal Word.

    Is there a Scriptural Basis?

    The Scriptural basis of the unity of God, the eternity of the Word and the Incarnation is actually sufficient in itself to arrive at the conclusion that Mary is the Mother of God. God gave us reason and guided by the Holy Spirit the Church comes to an ever deeper penetration of the profound depths of Divine Revelation (Jn 16:13), which being the Word of God cannot be exhausted by a bare-bones literal reading – “if it isn’t explicitly in Scripture then it is revealed.” By this logic most prophetic matters referring to Christ in the Old Testament could be dismissed because they were hidden in types and presented as shadows. Thus the simple logic of the Church is that if Scripture reveals that Mary is the Mother of the Word-made-Flesh, and the Word-made-flesh is God, then Mary is the Mother of God (the Word), not from eternity of course, but beginning in time and for eternity. To say only that Mary is the Mother of Jesus or only the Mother of Christ, is to subscribe unwittingly to the doctrines of heretics who denied the unity of the Christ’s Divine and Human Natures.
    But is it in Scripture? Yes, in addition to the above way we find that God reveals to the heart of Elizabeth the truth about the Incarnation, God-made-flesh. When Mary arrives to assist her in her pregnancy with St. John the Baptist, on seeing the Blessed Mother St. Elizabeth declares,

    “blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, how is it that the Mother of the Lord (mater tou kyrios) comes to me” (Lk 1:42-43).

    In both the first half and the second half of this inspired address mother and child are inseparably united. In the first, Mary and the fruit of her womb, Jesus, are praised. In the second the unity of their relationship is revealed, as well as the unity of Christ. Mary is not merely the mother of Jesus the Messiah, somehow conceived, but the mother of the Lord. The text preserves the Greek, kyrios, although the language that would have been spoken was Aramaic. Among the Jews the name of God was not spoken, but a substitution was made to preserve respect. By convention when translating Hebrew and its sister language Aramaic into Greek, such as in the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) used to evangelize Greek-speaking Jews and gentiles, the word substituted for God’s name was Kyrios, which we translate as Lord. This was in lieu of I AM, Christ’s use of which for Himself would later scandalized the Jews. Elizabeth would never have been so bold, however, instead calling the fruit of Mary’s womb, the Lord, with all the meaning which the Jews attributed to it and which the Catholic Church continues to understand of the Word-made-flesh in Mary’s womb.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Queen of Heaven

    Much is made of the title Queen of Heaven by those who attack Catholicism and Marian devotion. The allusion is always to the pagan pantheons and to the mother of the gods, often mother in a very carnal sense of other pagan deities. The Canaanite worship of the “Queen of Heaven” condemned by the prophets is mentioned, as is the worship of Diana of the Ephesians, devotion to whom was exceeding popular before the Gospel arrived among the pagans. It is said that Catholicism at the Council of Ephesus restored this pagan devotion under the cover of devotion to Mary. The history of that Council given above shows the absurdity, and the intellectual dishonesty, of that claim! One might as well claim with respect to Jesus that Christians worship a mere man, since to arrive at this conclusion the Church’s teaching must be ripped from its context and distorted to fit a preconceived judgement.

    What then does it mean for Mary to be the Queen of Heaven? In the Old Testament monarchy the Queen of the Davidic Kingdom was the Queen Mother. The Kings, for reasons of state and human weakness, had many wives, none of whom fittingly could be called Queen. That honor was reserved for the mother of the King, whose authority far surpassed the many “queens” married to the king. We see this is the role Bathsheba played with respect to King Solomon and the occasions when the Queen Mother acted as regent on behalf of juvenile successors to the throne.

    The role of the Queen Mother, therefore, is a prophetic type of the Kingdom role of Mary, just as the role of the Davidic King is a prophetic type of the Kingdom role of Jesus. Jesus inherited the Kingdom promised to David, who was told that one of his descendants would rule forever. The angel Gabriel revealed this fact to Mary at her Annunciation,

    Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33)

    Aside from the prophetic types present in the Kingdom of Judah, there is also the text of Psalm 45, which when speaking of the Kingdom of God also speaks of its Queen.

    [6] Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. [7] Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. [8] All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad. [9] Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. [10] Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; [11] So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him. (Psalm 45:6-11, KJV)

    That Kingdom ruled by God is the same as the Kingdom ruled eternally by the Son of David. It is not an earthly kingdom, though it is present on earth in the Church, but a heavenly kingdom, the Kingdom of God. The Queen of that Kingdom is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Lord God Jesus Christ.

    http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/mother.htm

  128. Bones, you do the Apostle John a disservice.

    He was never, ever a Roman Catholic. He would never, ever have preached purgatory, the mass, transubstantiation, marionism, canonising of saints, idol worship of statues, christening as new birth, or any other error associated with the Roman Catholic church.

    A catholic he was, in the sense of being in the universal Church of Christ, a member of His Body, but not in the sense the following apostasy which is the Roman Catholic church.

    The truth is that I knew most of this long before I ever read Hislop, and, as I have already said, and you have already read, I find Hislop’s a more interesting read on some of the pagan beliefs and systems than on forming doctrine of my own, but he does say some things, I stress, not all, some things I would agree with, and most evangelicals would agree with in his book, especially on the adaptation of pagan festivals into the Roman Catholic church after Constantine.

    That is well known fact. But Hislop is not my Bible. It is an interesting reference, that is all. Just as Smith’s dictionary is a useful study tool, and Vine’s, or Strong’s. They were Calvinists, so I would hardly agree with everything they say theologically, but, like Spurgeon, they say many things which are worth accepting.

    How did we get here? I sad something about Easter being pagan. You accused me of taking my Catholic understanding from Chick magazines, and I retorted that I would be more of a Hislop reader than Chick.

    In short, you insulted me as a serious reader or person who studies anything with any substance. I countered with the title of a book which was far more substantial, and you went off like a rocket on amphetamine into some stratospheric attack for reading a book you’d never even read.

    Then I put up some posts which clearly exposed RC error, which you have defended as if it were your own, which you now deny yourself, and have started distancing yourself from. What’s that all about, Bones?

    Again I tell you that the Roman Catholic dogma I have posted and critiqued is its own evidence of error. I could just as easily have posted it without comment, and it would still present for itself the same self-condemnatory evidence to any true Bible student.

  129. Bones,
    No they weren’t Pentecostals. They worshipped at synagogues

    I think you’re losing the plot in your anger, Bones.

    Pentecostals do what they can to model their beliefs on Christ’s instructions to the Apostles from the time they were in the Upper Room onwards.

    They were in the Upper Room for ten days praying, when on the Day of Pentecost they were filled with the Spirit. Day of Pentecost. Pentecostals. Spirit-filled. Baptised with the Holy Ghost. Part of the OUtpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh – Pentecostal.

    Of Pentecost!

    Whether they worshipped in synagogues or in homes is not the point, nor is it relevant. They were filled with the Spirit. They were empowered form on high. They received the Promise of the Spirit.

    Have you heard of La-la-land? I think you’ve arrived there with your theology!

  130. Bones,
    The role of the Queen Mother, therefore, is a prophetic type of the Kingdom role of Mary, just as the role of the Davidic King is a prophetic type of the Kingdom role of Jesus. Jesus inherited the Kingdom promised to David, who was told that one of his descendants would rule forever. The angel Gabriel revealed this fact to Mary at her Annunciation…etc…

    From ‘Global Catholic Network’, yes?

    You’re not seriously putting this up as a theological reason for calling Mary Queen of Heaven, surely?

    Can you see the patter which constantly rises in this mediatrix push? The constant drive to elevate Mary over Christ – the Mother over the Son, the Queen over the Prince.

    Come on, Bones. Wake up!

    I was very upset by your accusation. I have forgiven you and walked away. End of.

    Now I’m upset, for you, about the way you are failing to see truth. I don’t mean that in any derogatory way, but it is plain as day that the Queen of Heaven dogma is error.

  131. When reading John 6:25-70 in the context of John’s own student Ignatius as well as the Synoptic Gospel accounts of Jesus saying “This is my body”, “This is my blood” the evidence is overwhelming that the Gospel writers and the Apostles had a literal interpretation of the bread and wine becoming the body and blood of Christ.

    The end of John 6 describes the Protestant reaction to Jesus’s teaching. Except they didn’t leave, they interpreted it differently.

    60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

    61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[e] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”

    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.

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

  132. “[…] the apostles weren’t reformers or pentecostal but through their teaching especially John and his Gospel inspired the Roman Catholic Church.”

    What a load of rubbish, Bones.

    The catholic “church” has nothing whatsoever to do with God. It’s a counterfeit that is responsible for having doomed the souls of millions of its adherents to a Christless eternity.

    I’m amazed that you remain so obdurately and wilfully blind to the plain truth. Do you really not understand Jesus meant when He said “By their fruit you will recognise them”?

  133. Dr Zorro
    Yes well we are seeing the results of the fruits of the religious wars in our own society where people are over sectarian violence and killing others for their religious beliefs. In that basket are the Catholics, Protestants and Reformers such as Calvin.

    And you are clearly ignorant of church history.

  134. Jesus fully explains at 63:
    ‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life’.

    Are you going to drink Christ’s blood daily, Bones?

    Sorry. He shed it at the cross.

    Will you eat his flesh? He says it counts for nothing. It is the Spirit who gives life.

    Will you receive the Word and the Spirit? Then you have all you need for communion with God through the body of Christ.

    The bread and the wine represent his body and his blood as a remembrance.

    He says if you judge the body and blood incorrectly you bring sickness and even death to yourself, so it is important to understand truth.

    Calling down Jesus into the wafer and into the wine is clearly error, and not something John taught his disciples, since he quotes Jesus’ words when he says the flesh profits nothing. Life comes form the Spirit.

    Making Jesus a sacrifice at every mass is obviously an error, since Jesus is seated at the right hand f the Father and will be until he comes for the Church.

    If Jesus came down into every mass on earth he would being the earth and not seated in heavenly places. The doctrine of transubstantiation is a nonsense.

    He said ‘remembrance’, not mass.

    1 Corinthians 11
    23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
    24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
    25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me
    .”
    26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
    27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
    28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
    29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
    30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
    31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
    32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
    33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
    34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

  135. I’m just reading what the Bible is saying and how the Apostles and early christians read it. Take it up with them. They obviously got it wrong.

    Good luck finding any reference to communion as purely a remembrance or symbolic act in early Christian history. There is none.

  136. Erm! I think the issue is if they were Christian.

    What are you looking for? Absolution as a Roman Catholic?

    If they were martyred for their fait, it wasn’t for their faith to Rome, was it? Not to an earthly city. They were sojourners, Bones, of no fixed earthly abode.

    That is the point, really.

    They were not subjects of a pope, were they? Or of dogma.

    They were disciples of Christ.

    Your sectarianism is limiting your reason.

  137. “And you are clearly ignorant of church history.”

    And you are clearly ignorant of the word of God.

    I know which boat I’d rather be in.

  138. They were Catholic in every sense of the word. They were martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ. They honoured others who were martyred as examples of Christian witnesses, they prayed to saints, they honoured Mary the new Eve. They believed in transubstantiation and yes they had Popes.

    You had better disown them.

    You are the one accusing them not me. You are the accuser, the satan of the brethren.

  139. Dr Zorro, I knew would jump in with that.

    OK enlighten me on John 6:25-70.

    Hopefully you do a better job than Steve.

  140. “Dr Zorro, I knew would jump in with that.”

    Twenty-twenty hindsight is not the same thing as prescience, Bones.

    I see that you have referred to those who believe in a literal six-day creation as “retarded”. So tell me Bones, exactly how intelligent are you? Is your IQ high enough to qualify you for admittance to Mensa?

  141. Dr Zorro, get back to me when you work out John 6 mate. Should be easy for someone as knowledgeable about the Bible as yourself.

  142. “[Steve] is so entrenched in his belief that Roman Catholics are not Christians that he refuses to accept any evidence to the contrary.”

    Steve’s right, Greg. If roman catholics were in fact Christians then there would have been no need for the reformation.

    “Apostles were Pentecostals pfft! – not the type that roam the world these days mate.”

    That’s correct. Today’s Pentecostals are, by and large, vacuous fools who have their eyes firmly fixed on the things of this world.

    “The churches liturgy was universal. The deference to Rome as the leading church was universal after the demise of the church in Jerusalem.”

    I’m sure it may have seemed so, but we know that God, in His faithfulness, always preserves a remnant who remain faithful to Him.

    “I recommend you read WHC Frend’s The EArly Church for a good starting text.”

    I have to date assiduously eschewed academic endeavours, but I will consider having a squiz at that.

    Actually with all this talk about exactly what brand of Christians our earliest spiritual antecedents might have been, I’m thinking that someone should write a book: “The Species of the Origen” would doubtless make for a catchy title.

  143. @Zorro

    “I’m thinking that someone should write a book: “The Species of the Origen” would doubtless make for a catchy title.”

    Gold! Love it!

  144. If Roman Catholics were in fact Christian then there would have been no need for the reformation.

    The Orthodox church is as old as the Catholic Church, has similar doctrines, yet God has not seen the need to reform it. Therefore they are Christian by your logic.

  145. “The Orthodox church is as old as the Catholic Church, has similar doctrines, yet God has not seen the need to reform it. Therefore they are Christian by your logic.”

    Or alternatively, they are, according to my logic, in need of reforming.

  146. No. Mary is sinless because that is how God prepared her to be the mother of Jesus the Christ, who is God, the 2nd Person of the Trinity. This is only logical that Christ would take His perfect human nature from the flesh of His sinless mother Mary. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception praises God and His omnipotent and almighty power to do as He wills through His creation. To deny this logical and reasonable following is to deny the power and reasonableness of God. This has nothing to do with deification of Mary as a goddess. It has everything to do with the impeccability of Jesus Christ, True God and True Man.

  147. It’s great to see you Francis. That is exactly what I have been trying to explain.

    The eyes see, the ears hear, but no one’s home.

  148. Interesting, francisphilip, and welcome.

    Can you tell me why, if God was able t make Mary sinless, he didn’t merely make everyone sinless in the same way, all the way back to Cain and Abel?

    Would have saved us a lot of trouble, don’t you think?

  149. And was Mary’s conception different to Jesus’ seeing that he is the Word made flesh. What is she?

  150. Bones,
    That is exactly what I have been trying to explain.

    You agree with francisphilip at 11.22pm?

    Please confirm. You seem to be concurring with this dogma of the ‘immaculate conception’.

  151. We are righteous by the blood of Jesus!

    Female ovaries don’t contain blood and the male seed sperm does not contain blood. When they come together a new life is conceived. Only at that point is blood generated for the child. The placenta moves around the blood of the foetus. None of the mother’s blood flows into the child. The only blood alive in the child comes from the egg & seed sperm. Which means that none of Mary’s blood got into Jesus body. The only blood He had came from the male seed of the Father. His blood was divine; there was no corruption in it. He is the only begotten Son of the Father.

    1 Pet 1:23 – “For you have been born again (regenerated) not of perishable seed (mortal origin-seed sperm) but of incorruptible (immortal), through the living & enriching Word of God.”

  152. Dear Steve – I can confidently speculate as follows: the fall of our original parents, Adam and Eve, was extremely damaging and traumatic and due in large part to the disordered use of free will. God loves His creation deeply and works delicately and patiently, and therefore, slowly to perfect it – not only our bodies, but the relationship of our free will to our bodies. Mary’s entire family line, precious to God, was being worked slowly and delicately to the point at which it was finally time for the miraculous to occur with a special infusion of divine sanctifying grace – the completion of generations of healing and perfecting of the human personage – that healed state being present finally in the Virgin Mary with the help of an infusion of sanctifying grace. The final test of the preparedness was that her free will coincided perfectly with her grace-infused, sinless bodily state when she said “YES!” to God in her Fiat. Her example of generational healing is necessary for humanity to see and grasp and understand that with God, anything is possible, but in His loving patience and prudence, waits for perfection and permits us to say “yes” or “no” – to cooperate or not to cooperate.

    Whereas our Redemption, the appearance of the Messiah was a bursting out of divine grace for the entire world to reorient us toward healing (but which requires our cooperation), the gift of the Resurrection is a further objective reward for the rest of us who, generation after generation, teach Christ to our children and encourage our children to cooperate with God – with His Grace – and then actually do cooperate with God in order to be healed and to return to a truly loving relationship with God. Healing takes time, and it must be done correctly and fully.

  153. So, francisphilip, we’re saved by works, or by grace?

    Can you show me from scripture where it says that Mary lived a sinless life?

    How did you come to this doctrine, because I cannot find it in scripture, either confirmed or implied?

    In fact, the Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, which must include Mary, because she isn’t singled out by any of the Apostles or Christ as sinless.

  154. Dear Steve – you asked, “And was Mary’s conception different to Jesus’ seeing that he is the Word made flesh. What is she?”

    “the Word made flesh” means that God became man. St. John is emphasizing the hypostasis of Christ’s humanity and divinity (the hypostatic union) in which two natures, human and Divine, subsist perfectly in the one Person of Christ. This is not so with Mary. Mary has only one nature: human. But she was healed / made sinless in order to become “Theotokos” which means God-bearer. She is not “Christ-bearer” because God is a unity of Persons in the Trinity. The 2nd Person of the Trinity is not a separate god. Therefore, she is Theotokos, and not just “Christotokos.”

  155. Yes, ‘God-bearer’. Theotokos. This is a name which has no reference in scripture. Can you tell us the origin of this name? Who gave it to us?

    But you didn’t explain how Mary, being human, was made sinless or maintained sinlessness.

    She has a heritage which goes back to Adam. Death came upon all through his sin. All retained his liability to sin. How did she resist this without the blood of Christ?

    Was Mary able to live her life completely without ever breaking one single Mosaic Law, which she was under until Christ was raised?

  156. Dear Steve – I do not recommend a discussion of “can you show me in Scripture where it says…” 🙂 Can you show me in Scripture where it says that you exist? (I’m being sarcastic)

    St. John wrote, in Scripture, “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” This expression also implies the same about Mary. I have noticed that the Scriptures, while they dwell on the apparent sins of Peter, Judas, Saul/Paul, Thomas, John, James and so on, say nothing specifically about Mary ever having sinned. Yet, you ask me to show you where it explicitly states that she did NOT sin. Scripture calls out Solomon and his many concubines/wives who led him to idolatry, the Samaritan woman at the well who had five “husbands” and the woman caught in adultery. But it says nothing about Mary doing anything like that – not even a hint. But you ask me to prove, via Scripture, that she did not sin? Well, I have to start by saying that it does not explicity or implicitly state that she, specifically in particular, DID sin – ever.

    That stated, we can not deny what St. Paul wrote: “all have sinned”. What is St. Paul really trying to teach here? He is teaching that none of us can be redeemed without the Merit / Grace of Christ, for “all have sinned” and live in a state which require the intervention of God. Of course, that intervening work had already been completed in Mary at her conception. Indeed, Mary needed the help of Grace which she uniquely received unlike anyone else in humanity, and she was, “full of grace” and the “favored one” of God even at the time of the Annuniciation [Luke 1:28], and this goes to her immaculate conception and state of grace/favor. Mary was not excluded from the need for redemption, but this happened as part of her conception.

    Now, as for committing personal sin (via willful acts), does an infant in the womb sin? Or is that infant not a human? Does a child who has not reached the age of reason sin? Well, is that child not human yet either? What did St. Paul really mean by “all”?

    Granted, it would have been helpful if St. Paul were to have stated, “All except for Jesus and Mary have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.” But he was not teaching about the impeccability of Jesus and Mary; he was teaching about the absolute dependency of humanity on the Grace of Jesus Christ, right? He was reaching out to move all sinners to be saved through Jesus Christ.

    Understand this: St. Paul was moved by the Holy Spirit to write what he did. He was writing on behalf of “all” of “sinful humanity”, of which Mary had previously been separated – preserved – according to God’s Plan, and through merits/graces of Jesus Christ.

    This is a matter of faith and reason and understanding.

    All Peace to you 🙂

  157. Dear Steve – I understand your questions and position. Please read what I have already written with the “eyes” of faith and reason. Try to trust more in the word’s of Christ in the Gospel. Try not to dwell on one-liners so much because rarely can we understand the context and true meaning of Scripture by focusing only on one word or line without the rest of Scripture to help us understand better. And pray to God to help you to undertand. I’m sure that our interaction is part of that help from God. Trust.
    All Peace to you.

  158. Dear Steve – Scripture expresses clearly that Mary and Joseph were very obedient to religious laws in place at the time. Those examples are clearly present, and they only imply their goodness. Nothing implies or expresses that they were bad in any way. However, it was not Joseph’s place to bear the Savior. Also, Theotokos just means “God-bearer.” Is that in scripture? The actual word is not. The word is just another expression of who Mary really is – she bore Jesus Christ, True God and True Man. However, to claim that Mary did not bear God, is to state, wrongly that Jesus Christ was not God. In that statement, one removes themselves from being included in the Church of Christ.

    Peace to you. 🙂

  159. You see, we have to a) use our free will to cooperate with Grace (God’s unmerited favor and help) and b) use our intellect to think and understand. Can the Holy Spirit move us to understand Scriptures better? You bet! That is what the Holy Spirit has been doing for 2,000+ years of the Church. We NEED the Holy Spirit to grow and understand more fully the mysteries of our Salvation. That is why God sent us His Holy Spirit – to help us, even now.

    The entire Church of Christ (of all of the Baptized in Christ) subsists in the Catholic Church. The Holy Spirit is most persistently present in the Catholic Church in order that all of the Baptized may be led truly and correctly. So please do trust in the teachings of the Catholic Church to keep you on course – on the right path to unity and understanding.

    Peace to you. 🙂

  160. Well, in fact the doctrine wasn’t a dogma until the mid-nineteenth century, as the post indicates.

    On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX officially declared the Immaculate Conception a dogma of the Church, which means that all Christians are bound to accept it as true. As the Holy Father wrote in the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus, “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”

    Thus it was that for 18 centuries previous this was not a either a dogma or doctrine, although Pope Sixtus IV extended the feast of Duns Scotus, who pressed for the concept, to the entire Western Church, and in 1483 threatened with excommunication those who opposed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

    So here is the only evidence we have that this is something for ‘all’ Catholics to accept, or be excommunicated. So if I ask for evidence, and, as you seem to state, it cannot be supplied, so i just have to believe, I an be shunted out of the Catholic Church for the crime of not being given evidence of a dogma which was introduced between 1400 and 1850 years after Christ.

    So where is faith and reason in that?

    Peace back to you!

  161. Dear Steve – no. That’s not how it works. 🙂 Often the Church has been forced to reveal a hidden truth when Christ or the Church come under attack. I’ll explain.

    What has happened over the many centuries is that the Church is, in her mission to safeguard the flock and keep them in the truth, is sometimes forced into making a “definition” formally (on matters of faith and morals only) about what is to be believed. This is a defensive measure, not for the sake of individuals who want to dictate their opinions on people, but for the sake of truth and salvation – and has occured most often when the Jesus Christ or the Church herself (the Bride of Christ) come under attack. The Church has historically used the “ecumenical councils” to formally define and promulgate a response – officially and finally (depending upon the wording used) – to heresies or wrong teachings or other disturbences (attacks) which might be harmful to the Faithful.

    For example, the first ecumenical council held by the Church was the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325. A bishop named Arius was obstinately spreading the heresy that Jesus Christ, the 2nd Divine Person of the Trinity, was only a special creation of God – that He was not really divine – that “there was a time when he was not.” Of course, he was wrong and woe to all of the Faithful who were being laid astray in the false teaching. For the Gospel of John teaches that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Church, in her love for the Faithful and her responsibility to Christ to protect the Faithful, was forced to respond.

    For any definition to be valid, it must be firmly approved by the Pope as a definition to be believed.

    Also, the Pope, outside of an ecumenical council, can also make definitions on matters pertaining to faith and morals through such documents as Constitutions and Encyclicals. These definitions are not new creations; they capture what has already been true from the beginning.

    Why do some definitions seem new? That is due, in part, to the fact that it often brings out a deeper, hidden truth which was forced to be revealed under the threat of an attack on the truth of Jesus Christ. For example, some may claim that Jesus Christ was a sinful man – just a human being – because he was born of a human being and that all humans are full of sin – and that his flesh, therefore, must have original sin. The Immaculate Conception, a truth, thwarts that attack on Jesus Christ Himself. While the IC may not have been expressly taught before (because we would prefer to focus on God instead of the willing instruments of God’s redemption and salvation), we are nevertheless forced to focus on the instruments when Christ Himself comes under attack.

  162. Dear Steve – no, I did not mean to imply that you would be shunted out of the Catholic Church because you did not understand the Immaculate Conception. Many Catholics probably don’t fully understand this dogma for various reasons, but they are not excommunicated for that. However, they are to have faith and accept what the Church formally defines. Why is this?

    Christ gave us the Church heirarchy and the Holy Spirit to bring all to salvation. He gave the Church hiearchy the power to “loose and bind.” He gave the keys to heaven and hell to Peter and his successors, the popes. Christ did all of that for a reason – because He knew that we would need THEM to help us on the way to salvation. Christ gives each of us the grace of faith at our baptism – for a reason. Of course, it helps us to believe in Him. But, it also helps us to be obedient to those He willed to protect us. Finally, God sees obedience to His words/desires as the ultimate way of expressing our love for Him. Therefore, a spirit of disobedience to His Spirit-led Church, those He has put in place to help us, is a very negative thing – a movement away from faith in Christ and His will for us to be gathered obediently into one Church where we are safe.

    Excommunication is used as a last resort and in particular cases where the the souls of the Faithful are at great risk. In most cases, we excommunicate ourselves in a spiritual sense when we act out disobediently out of pride or hatred, but not because we are ignorant or don’t understand and need more help understanding. When we are asking to understand, that is actually very pleasing to God.

    No worries.

    Peace to you 🙂

  163. francisphilip,
    For example, some may claim that Jesus Christ was a sinful man – just a human being – because he was born of a human being and that all humans are full of sin – and that his flesh, therefore, must have original sin. The Immaculate Conception, a truth, thwarts that attack on Jesus Christ Himself. While the IC may not have been expressly taught before (because we would prefer to focus on God instead of the willing instruments of God’s redemption and salvation), we are nevertheless forced to focus on the instruments when Christ Himself comes under attack.

    Which attack was that, francisphilip?

    I understand the Arian controversy, which, again, was easy to deal with through scripture, not by making up something outside of scripture, but I don’t have any historical information on an attack which stated that Jesus was sinful and therefore needed a mother who was not sinful.

    Besides which I have enough scripture to easily defend that attack. Why do I need one made up to thwart what I can refute through scripture?

    Nice try!

    So you admit that all human beings are full of sin, though. Wouldn’t that include Mary. So how do we know she didn’t sin?

    Should we now declare that her mother was also sinless, had an immaculate conception, just in case people say that Mary sinned, and then they say Jesus sinned, etc.. How far back do you want to go with this mother thing? Eve?

  164. francisphilip,
    you cover many doctrines in your last comment.

    You say:
    Many Catholics probably don’t fully understand this dogma for various reasons, but they are not excommunicated for that. However, they are to have faith and accept what the Church formally defines.

    But if I choose not to accept the dogma of the immaculate conception, knowing what it says and what it means, what then? Will I be excommunicated?

    If I say that Mary was a sinner like all men and women, and will not recant of this doctrine, what then? Will I be excommunicated?

    If I publicly teach this as doctrine, what then? Will I be excommunicated?

    You say:
    Christ gives each of us the grace of faith at our baptism

    We are given faith to be saved in baptism. Which baptism is that? Infant baptism? How can an infant confess Christ as Lord? How do they express their faith to receive Christ?

    You say:
    He gave the keys to heaven and hell to Peter and his successors, the popes.

    He gave the keys of the kingdom to loose and bind to the Church, to the Body of Christ.

    He said the Father gave the revelation that Jesus was the Christ to Peter, and that the Church would be built on this revelation. No man taught Peter this. He received by revelation form the father. That revelation is the foundation, not Peter himself.

    Nowhere does it mention popes. Popes were/are elected by men, not God.

    Peter was the Little Pebble, petros. The revelation of the Christ is on the Big Rock, Petra, the foundation if faith, the revelation that Jesus is the Christ.

    You speak of obedience to men in the Church, the hierarchy. What if they are found to be sinful. Do I still have to obey them? What if they say I will be excommunicated because I refuse to accept the dogma of the immaculate conception of Mary? Will they punish my disobedience? How?

    I am saying I am not ignorant of the dogma of Mary. I am fully aware f it, and I do not believe it. I say it is anathema. What then. Will these men punish me? How?

    Peace to you also.

  165. And so, with the entrance of Francis to this debate, Steve’s original article is proven true! And, as a bonus, both Greg and Bones are revealed to be closet Catholics, who are more than willing to ignore swathes of scripture to fit into their own beliefs! This is priceless! I love this site! Who needs Home and Away!

  166. By the way Francis, the Roman Centurian who, at the foot of the cross, said “Truly this was the Son of God”, is never mentioned of as having committed any sin, therefore he also obviously was completely sinless.

  167. I’m a closet Catholic? What am I supposed to be offended by that? Is that an insult?

    Thanks. I consider it an honour to be counted with the Apostles, the Church Fathers, The Martyrs of the Early Church, Augustine, The Doctors of the Church, St Francis, Mother Teresa, Oscar Romero, Maximilian Kolbe.

    Some of those are my personal heroes of the faith.

    You should read about some of them.

    It might help you grow some balls.

  168. No. Bones is no closet Catholic. He is full blown and proud of it, as is Greg, apparently, and why wouldn’t they be? I’m glad we’ve arrived at this point of confirmation or conversion, I’m not sure which, but, whatever, he is a Roman Catholic.

    There is a difference between Catholic and Roman Catholic.

    BUT… The Apostles were never of Rome, only of the New Jerusalem, and of the Kingdom of Heaven. They started out in Jerusalem, not Rome.

    The early fathers were not of Rome.

    Rome, as a headquarters of Catholicism, came much later. His claims, as has been pointed out, of apostolic succession are erroneous and contrived.

    How does he account for the Borgia and Medici popes? Purely political and nothing to do with God’s Kingdom.

    And, to add to the intrigue, as Roundhouse has said, francisphilip confirmed just about everything I wrote on Catholicism, and even came up with some other doctrinal explanations which were quite interesting. In fact, he made it clear that Biblical confirmation was quite unnecessary. Go figure.

    I hope he comes back to share and confirm more.

  169. Roundhouse said: “By the way Francis, the Roman Centurian who, at the foot of the cross, said “Truly this was the Son of God”, is never mentioned of as having committed any sin, therefore he also obviously was completely sinless.”

    My dear Roundhouse – I can only say =, “Ha ha ha” to that remark. My goodness, just how literal and willing not to think can we be!? Now, I know you’re not being serious, so point taken and I’m smiling now. Thank you. 🙂

  170. Francis, I am only pointing out how ridiculous the extra-biblical myth of a sinless Mary is. By using the theological copout of “not everything made it into the bible” using Johns final few verses as evidence of Mary’s supposed sinlessness is as absurd as claiming that anyone else in the bible who isn’t mentioned as having sinned therefore means that they were sinless. I’m only pointing out the obvious.

    Did you know that many of the women written about in the Old Testament never had their deaths recorded in the bible, therefore, using your logic, I can assume that they never actually died, right? Absurd, and unscriptural.

    Steve, you are right, Bones and Greg are not closet Catholics, they are full-blown Mary worshiping idolators! My mistake. Still, I can’t say I am surprised, seeing that they are proven non-believers in the bible.

  171. Dr Roundhose

    You are a nutjob.

    It’s not rocket science. Jesus=God, Mary is His mother. Mary is the mother of God. It is frickin illogical to believe anything else without denying the divinity and humanity of Christ.

    I’m only pointing out the obvious.

  172. @Bones, sorry, I don’t believe anything you say. You don’t believe the bible, so you have no biblical basis for your argument

  173. That’s ok Dr Roundhose. I didn’t mean to scare the children. As I said before, the ears hear, the eyes see, but noone’s home.

    Go and listen to Joyce Meyer’s “Don’t Feel Bad About Yourself, Send Me More Money” and leave the adults in peace.

  174. @Bones, nope, enjoying staying here and watching you try and twist the bible to suit your needs!

  175. @Bones

    “A Pentecostal telling someone else they twist the Bible.”

    How would you know? You don’t believe the bible

  176. Not possible. Did Mary exist before Him? Of course not. Jesus is the eternal God who became flesh and dwelt among us. It’s only His humanity that came through Mary, and she cannot carry the name “Mother of God”, though certainly “most blessed of women”.

  177. Mary WAS the mother of Jesus. Nothing more. Chosen by God, sure, but His mother? Nope

  178. @Bones

    “I’m sure that made sense to you, Roundhose.”

    Yep, sure does, but I can see that you’re confused – “do I follow hundreds of years of tradition, or the bible? I know, tradition! It’s much easier that way!”

  179. Oh and on Psalm 103:3 and who heals all your diseases (sicknesses).

    The issue isn’t the verse but on your understanding of it. Jusy because someone doesn’t agree with your interpretation does not mean they do not believe the Bible.

    You’ve taken that verse very literally to mean physical, miraculous healing which God can and does do.

    I believe that the writers are talking of the sickness of the soul.

    In the Old Testament forgiveness and healing go hand in hand.

    Isaiah 53:5

    But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

    Our healing comes from our salvation. It has to do with the taking away of sin in our lives. Not so much physical healing – which God does do but not always.

    How do some Bible commentaries interpret that verse

    Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

    who healeth all thy diseases; not bodily ones, though the Lord is the physician of the bodies as well as of the souls of men, and sometimes heals the diseases of soul and body at once, as in the case of the paralytic man in the Gospel; but spiritual diseases, or soul maladies, are here meant; the same with “iniquities” in the preceding clause: sin is a natural, hereditary, epidemical, nauseous, and mortal disease; and there are many of them, a complication of them, in men, which God only can cure; and he heals them by his word, by means of his Gospel, preaching peace, pardon, and righteousness by Christ; by the blood, wounds, and stripes of his Son; by the application of pardoning grace and mercy; for healing diseases, and forgiving iniquities, are one and the same thing; see Isaiah 33:24, and this the Lord does freely, fully, and infallibly, and for which thanks are due unto him; and it would be very ungrateful, and justly resented, should they not be returned to him; see Luke 17:15.

    Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

    103:1-5 By the pardon of sin, that is taken away which kept good things from us, and we are restored to the favor of God, who bestows good things on us. Think of the provocation; it was sin, and yet pardoned: how many the provocations, yet all pardoned! God is still forgiving, as we are still sinning and repenting. The body finds the melancholy consequences of Adam’s offence, it is subject to many infirmities, and the soul also. Christ alone forgives all our sins; it is he alone who heals all our infirmities. And the person who finds his sin cured, has a well-grounded assurance that it is forgiven. When God, by the graces and comforts of his Spirit, recovers his people from their decays, and fills them with new life and joy, which is to them an earnest of eternal life and joy, they may then be said to return to the days of their youth, Job 33:25.

    http://bible.cc/psalms/103-3.htm

  180. So Roundhose what did Christians do for 500 years while the books of the New Testament canon were being decided on?

    They couldn’t go to your local Christian Bookshop and buy a copy and Jesus didn’t hand the New Testament over to the disciples before He ascended. They were taught by their leaders and doctrines such as transubstantiation, praying to saints, purgatory, devotion of Mary were around before much of the New Testament canon was decided upon.

    And hey just because something’s not in the Bible does not make it wrong eg the Trinity.

  181. @Bones

    “You’ve taken that verse very literally to mean physical, miraculous healing which God can and does do.”

    Yup. Why does it need to be explained away? Oh, I know – because it doesn’t fit into your own experiences. So, you grasp at some other explanation. Except, the truth of this passage is not just restricted to this scripture. It is throughout both the Old and New Testaments, in plain sight, and in plain language. But, as I said, you’ll find some text somewhere that takes away the true meaning, because, well, because it doesn’t fit in with our own experiences. I can show you many, many scriptures that prove you wrong. But, why bother? Your experiences trump scripture, so you’ll search for any and all reasons to explain them away.

  182. My experiences are that I’ve seen God heal miraculously and I’ve had to go to the doctors.

    Should I have waited upon the Lord to heal my 12 month old son or taken him to have heart surgery?

    I have explained the text as I understand it.

    Maybe Steve needs to explain it to you as well and then you might listen.

  183. Oh and dude, my mother suffered a heart attack on Boxing Day 4 years ago. She literally died 3 times in the ambulance and we were told in hospital to say our farewells as she wouldn’t make it through the night nor gain conscious. I didn’t say my goodbyes because I actually felt that God would do something and He was our only hope. I read scriptures of healing over her and prayed for healing. By the end of the prayer she was squeezing my hand and her eyes were open. By morning she was conscious and talking. even the doctors couldn’t believe it.

    She lived for four more months and for that I am grateful.

    So yeah I have glimpsed the majesty and power of our God.

  184. @Bones

    “My experiences are that I’ve seen God heal miraculously and I’ve had to go to the doctors.”

    As have I. But my own experience doesn’t change the truth of the scripture either.

    “Should I have waited upon the Lord to heal my 12 month old son or taken him to have heart surgery?”

    You need wisdom in a situation like this of course. But it doesn’t change the fact that healing is for all of us

    “I have explained the text as I understand it.”

    You have explained the text as you’ve experienced it.

    Ok, now that we’ve addressed Psalm 103, what about the other ones I posted?

  185. Oh I gather you mean these.

    Galations 5:1 “IN [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off].”

    If you read Galatians 4 and 5 Paul is talking about the yoke of the law and some Christians such as the Judaisers wanted to stay under the Law. In Christ we are free from the curse of the Law and are to live in the Spirit.

    Romans 6:18 “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”

    We have been set free from sin and are no longer slaves to it. Paul explains later on.

    22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[b] Christ Jesus our Lord.

  186. Dear Roundhouse – in regard to your statement, I can say that not everyone can find the strength to believe. It was true even with St. Thomas who knew Jesus Christ directly. He could not believe – until Christ Himself appeared to him to prove His resurrection. It is astonishing how obstinate St. Thomas was, even after being chosen by Christ. But, the crucial point here is that after Christ provided Thomas the grace he needed to believe, St. Thomas cooperated with that grace, “My Lord and my God!” The Lord further admonishes, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe…” One day, you may also receive more grace than I have facilitated in my notes to you on this subject if you desire it.

    Finally, what good can ever come, in this life or the next, out of slamming the mother of Jesus Christ? What good can ever come from saying that Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ – was a sinner? Who are you fighting for? Who’s salvation will come from this argument? Who are you saving? Who are you respecting in that accusation that Mary was just a sinner, yet “highly favored” or “full of grace” and chosen above all other women in eternity to be the mother of our Lord? If you say she was a sinner, you will also argue that her virginity was meaningless; you will go even further to infer that Mary had a healthy level of concupiscence because of the many “brothers” of Jesus Christ. In doing so, you will turn Jesus into just another prophet in history – a man who had a mother just like you and me. Why do you want to take people down that dark, deceitful path? Are you Mary’s enemy? If you are, you are God’s enemy, are you not?. In light of Mothers’ Day coming up and the honor we give our parents and the Lord’s parents, pray about it. Peace to you.

    “Francis, I am only pointing out how ridiculous the extra-biblical myth of a sinless Mary is. By using the theological copout of “not everything made it into the bible” using Johns final few verses as evidence of Mary’s supposed sinlessness is as absurd…”

  187. God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle. Why did He do that? What was God teaching Moses about Himself and His choice of a dwelling? And what does this say about God’s choice of Mary?

    Of course, if you are a literalist, you might say “I don’t know. Scripture does not explicitly say why. Therefore, there is no reason.” Then the truth comes out whereby one convicts oneself of having not the use of reason: “there is no reason.” This one demoralizes God’s most favored creation – the human – Whom God placed above the angels – above Satan Himself.

    And so Satan, disgruntled and prideful and divisive, attempts to demoralize humans by telling them that they can not know the things of God outside of the literal written word in the Sacred Scripture – that they can not use reason and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to know truths which are not directly revealed.

    Of course, any man who has not been evangelized and who has not heard of God can conclude, via reason, that there must be a first Unmoved Mover – a first Uncaused Cause. Yes – I can use reason to know that God exists – because I’m a human made in the Image of God (have the power to reason) and humans are ranked higher than the angels, especially Satan who works to prevent humans from being human ( preventing our using reason with Divine Revelation and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to know better and deeper of the things of God).

    And so, I can also reason about the sinlessness of Mary, the “highly favored” of God. And the Lord approves us by saying “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

  188. Margot,
    I did comment on the fallacy of the fifth marian dogma.

    https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/is-roman-catholic-doctrine-biblical-the-immaculate-conception/#comment-28728

    Bones defended it to the hilt, calling it ‘sheer nonsense’, even though I quoted from multiple examples what the popes themselves and the Vatican stated on these things. It was extraordinary. Is extraordinary.

    I proved solely from the mouths of the popes and cardinals themselves that the push for the fifth marian dogma is on.

    I predicted, and continue to predict, that, should the Lord tarry, the fifth marian dogma will be introduced as dogma within two popes.

    It is already being pushed for by five cardinals.

    It is only a matter of time.

    I also refuted Bones and Greg’s claims that Mary is the mother of God, on which the first dogma hinges, the others being Mary’s perpetual virginity, immaculate conception, and ascension into heaven.

    These are all blasphemies.

    My point in demonstrating these heresies was to prove to wazza, who claimed that the errors were made in the opening centuries of Roman Catholic dogmas, that, in fact, they are being built upon, not repented of, and that, in essence, all of the key errors not only remain but are being defended by their priests, by their popes and by the Vatican.

    Wazza has since been silent on it apart from a few minor digs.

    However, Bones and Greg have maintained a strangely abusive stance.

  189. fracisphilip,
    And so Satan, disgruntled and prideful and divisive, attempts to demoralize humans by telling them that they can not know the things of God outside of the literal written word in the Sacred Scripture – that they can not use reason and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to know truths which are not directly revealed.

    Well, there you have it folks, from the writings of one of the Catholic brothers here, something which is so akin to what the other brothers, Greg and Bones, say, that scripture is of no value to us as an absolute because there are things which groups like the Roman Catholic church teach which cannot be confirmed by scripture so therefore the Bible is to be discarded as not helpful in those cases, where only reason and a papal bull will suffice, and we can’t know why such things as the immaculate conception, or prayer through Mary, or the coming dogma of Mary as mediatrix is truth except through the infallibility of the papacy.

    And…
    …on top of this, those of us who trust the Bible for our doctrine are being led by Satan himself into the delusion of supposing that anything which isn’t Biblically based is error!

    And…

    …you know that francisphilip, to whom be peace accorded, is true to his Roman Catholic faith in this and absolutely accurate to all I have said in my posts, and everything he has mentioned is accurate to the doctrine and dogma you will find issued form the Vatican today.

    So…

    …a question. The Holy Spirit is telling me that the immaculate conception of Mary is error. What should I do? Believe the Holy Spirit or Rome?

  190. francisphilip,
    And so, I can also reason about the sinlessness of Mary, the “highly favored” of God. And the Lord approves us by saying “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

    So if I reason that Mary has sinned and that she is in need of a Saviour, what then? Am I just as blessed? Or is your reason somehow more reasonable than my reason?

  191. And, let’s face it, francisphilip, Bones and Greg, and even wazza at times, the dogmas and the doctrines I have exposed in posts are primarily based on reason, not scripture, as francisphilip has just admitted.

    Be honest now!

  192. Look, to illustrate this, I have already researched this and could line up a few RC priests using this kind of reason to explain why they venerate and pray through saints, and similar doctrines, from actual You Tube clips they have posted.

    I’d like to think there’s no point to doing this because it is plain to see that all of these doctrines have precious little or no scripture attached to them, and require huge slabs of imagination, explanation and reasoning to even convince their own, let alone someone who actually knows their way around a Bible.

    You may empathise with their tradition and consider their little quirks and diversions to be, in your mind, harmless, but, form the perspective of truth, error is error, and should not be perpetuated once it is revealed.

  193. Dear Steve – I can only recommend that you enter the Church in a spirit of humility and obedience and pray for God’s help to see more clearly.

    Christ was often opposed in the Scriptures; many even wanted to kill Him. As such, I would not doubt if people also wanted to kill his Mother Mary since she gave birth to Him. I am sure that Jesus Christ is very protective of His Mother (though Scripture will not tell you that – we can reason that God Who commands honor to parents would be the Supreme example of honoring His own Mother Mary).

    Christ said something which is very important and which you should not deny since it is plainly written in black and white and which I want you to meditate on for the sake of your soul which needs healing. I write this as one who has sought healing and received healing directly from the Lord – but over a period of years. Christ said this:

    “Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness.
    If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.” [Luke 11:34-36, RSV Holy Body]

    What is your “eye” Steve? Do you understand the metaphors in use here and what it means not to have an “eye” which is sound? Having an unsound eye can make good things seem bad and bad things seem good. It can cause one to reject Jesus Christ as the Messiah as they were actually doing to Him. In our context, this unsound “eye” can happen to people who have had traumatic experiences in life – who need healing. It can also happen to people who have other influences which “cloud” their “vision.”

    There are two lessons: 1) Christ used metaphors which did not explicitly tell us exactly what He was saying; we need to use reason, prayer, the gifts of the Holy Spirit to lead us to what is meant by Sacred Scripture in whatever context Scripture is or can be applied; 2) We all are susceptible of having an unsound “eye” which hampers our ability to receive “light” and which causes our “body” to become “full of darkness.”

    When we are “full of darkness,” we a) can not receive all of what we need to be healthy [the light gets blocked] and b) can not function as God desires us to function – that we may give true “light” to others.

    From where comes a spirit of dissension, division, anger, doubt, accusation? It can come from the effects of evil in our lives. Indeed, evil in our “eyes” can cause us to “see” things in a “negative light” when those things are actually in “positive light.”

    I recommend to anyone in this situation to pray to God for a spirit of humility, of obedience, and for healing what has wounded us either from within our bodies (perhaps hurtful conditions with which we were born) or from outside our bodies (external influences which have “entered in” and damaged us in some way – physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, etc.)

    So, disputing the Dogma can help bring the disputer to salvation because it brings to “light” thepoor condition of the “eye” of the disputer so that he can be healed.

    Metaphorically, the “patient” must cooperate with the “doctor” in order to be healed. But if your “eye” is not sound, it is very difficult for you.

    I will pray to the Lord to help you and Roundhouse – for Him to heal you – to give you a new eye so that you can see and be very happy again – and so that the “shackles” that bind you to such a fruitless effort of disputing this Dogma will be removed. But, cooperation with grace is key. Do pray for the strength to trust more so that you can cooperate little by little.

    Peace to you and Roundhouse and goodbye; you and others who suffer in this way as I have will be in my prayers for redemption from what ails you. May you be loosed and made happy in the Lord again.

  194. @ Steve – time for a name change perhaps, “Stephen of London”? 🙂

    Can I be blunt? .

    The object of their worship is Mary, not Christ. Just travelling the world and visiting Catholic churches, (as we all do for some reason) proves that.

    AND if the priests can’t have sex (doctrine of demons) there’s no way the object of their worship, Mary, could possibly have been “known/had intercourse” with Joseph.

    Their object of “worship/Mary” must be pure eternally, even though the bible says otherwise. But what we know, Steve, believing as we do the Word of God, rather than the traditions of men.

    @ Francisphillip – why did Mary bring an offering of two turtledoves (Lev 12), one for a burnt offering, the other as a SIN OFFERING.

    It wasn’t for the child she was carrying, it was for her own uncleanness and by conforming to the Levitical law, she is acknowledging her own sinfulness, which at that time, could only be restored by sacrificial cleansing.

    “What are the ramifications of Mary being sinless? She would be the first human being without sin since Adam. She would qualify to be our substitute just as Jesus, since only a sinless being could redeem mankind.”

    There would have been no need for Jesus.

    “The Bible is clear only God is holy in this way. 1 Sam.2:2 says, “there is no one holy as the Lord,” in Rev.15:4 we see the redeemed singing the song of the lamb in heaven “You alone are Holy.”

  195. Dear Margo – because Mary was obedient to the law.
    Peace to you. Good bye.

  196. @ Stepehen of London (saintly compliment 🙂 ) – forgive me if I am repeating your previous links. A lot of comments get lost in the mix as more comments come on the thread.

    @ francisphillip (are you Bones’ brother by any chance?)

    Only sinners need a saviour and as Mary did (in Luke 1:46-47 “My soul exalts the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced IN GOD MY SAVIOUR”) – so do I also rejoice in Him.

    She is blessed AMONG women, not EXALTED above them.

    Luke 1:48 “For He has regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed”

    Mary is referring to Jesus as HER Saviour, and in doing so, acknowledges her own need. Nowhere in scripture does she or anyone else declare her “immaculate” or free from sin.

    Quite the opposite, her words, her humility, are indicative of someone whose only hope for salvation is “divine grace”.

  197. Dear Margot – Mary was redeemed leading up to her conception. I think I addressed that in my earlier notes. Indeed, God is her Savior because without the merits/grace made available through his death on the Cross, it would not have happened. However, having been redeemed in this special way, she was conceived without original sin. Now, given her unique role in all of creation to be the “tabernacle” of God, this is not difficult to grasp and accept and expect. Again, logically, given her being the only person in all of eternal creation to be chosen and prepared in this way, and given that she is the Mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and given His title as King, to not see her exalted status as a result is just, well, a symptom of a much deeper challenge.

    But she does not exalt herself; she points us to Jesus Christ. Indeed, she is very humble. She does not wish to be put on such a pedestal. However, attacks on Jesus Christ require that the Church reveal Mary’s true dignity and exalted role. Is Mary precious in her son’s eyes? Well, I would have to say that she is still the “favored one” in His view [Luke 1:28, RSV Holy Bible]. We should also attempt to favor her as Christ Himself favored and favors her (if that were even possible for us).

    Please pray for God to help you and pray for the strength to cooperate with the Lord’s healing graces which free you from what binds you from the “light.”

    Peace to you.

  198. @francis

    Matthew 12:48-50 Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”
    But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

    If she was to be revered, why did he dismiss her so easily in this instance?

    @Margot

    “(are you Bones’ brother by any chance?)”

    Good call! I’d say that he most probably is. Bone’s perhaps felt he needed someone else here to start posting kooky mumbo jumbo to take the heat of his own ignorance of the bible

  199. Dear Roundhouse – Okay, you don’t understand what He was teaching. He was not dismissing His family – He loves His family; To a group which could not see past the heredity of their blood kin, He was teaching that spiritual ties through obedience to the Will of God are more important than simple hereditary blood lines. Remember that the Jews placed a lot of emphasis on keeping their familial lines “clean” and that to be physically Jewish (circumcised penis) was more important than being spiritually Jewish (circumcised heart). St. Paul teaches us about this problem – He expands on what Jesus Christ was teaching here. We become adopted children – members of God’s family through….obedience as opposed to disobedience (the reason why all of humanity fell into original sin).

    You should ask God to help you know His ways, which are not your ways. I say this because you and others continue to “miss the mark” on the deep, spiritual truths of God. Why would one ever believe that God, who is Love incarnated, would hate His Mother? Why would Jesus the Lord cut down His Mother – publically – to give us an example for a teaching? Please. Pray on it – ask God to help you understand Him.

    Dwell on this metaphor which Jesus gave to those who consistently doubted His divinity:

    “Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness.
    If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.” [Luke 11:34-36, RSV Holy Bible]

    If we have a unsound “eye”, then we simply can not receive that “light” that we need in order to understand God. Please ask God for healing grace and help.

    Peace to you.

  200. So “Mary was redeemed leading up to her conception”? Really?

    More idolatry.She was born with a sin nature just like every other human being, simply an instrument used for God’s glory and purpose.

    But Catholics prefer to refer to her as Queen of Heaven? Where have I read that before? Jeremiah 7:18, 44:17-19 & 25.

    She was chosen in Him (Eph 1:4) before the foundation of the earth as ALL Christians are, to be holy and blameless in Him.

    “The snowball of Mary in superiority will roll down the slope of Catholic fantasy until she becomes, in their minds, immaculately conceived, sinless assumed into heaven and finally redemptrix and co-redeemer with Christ”

    She gave birth to Jesus in His humanity, she did not give birth to God (theoticas) – God was never born.

    “Mary: Favoured But Not So Immaculate”

    http://www.cwrc-rz.org/mary-favored.html

  201. Well dear Margot, if you really think, logically, that Mary is idolized because she was born without original sin, then you would have to admit that Adam and Eve were both gods, and we know that is not true.

    My goodness, such passion for beating up our poor Mother Mary. You seem to write and accuse out of fear. The title, “Queen of Heaven” is appropriate to the Mother of the “King of Heaven”, wouldn’t you say? Please study your history to understand how the mothers of child temporal kings were deeply respected as queens. Indeed, for people of early centuries, they could hardly call a mere mother of a temporal king as “queen” and then not also give to Mary, Mother of God [you do believe Jesus is God?] the title of queen? It is a simple act of justice and love and honor “Honor your parents.”

    You have taken the quote from Ephesians out of context. I’m sorry that you are struggling to find ways to demean Mary, even out of context.

    Please pray on your words and ask God for forgiveness for what you are doing to His Mother, and for healing and for understanding, that is, if you love Mary at least because you love Jesus.

    May God heal you and may you find light and forgiveness in your quest for understanding.

  202. We can never remove the humanity from Jesus Christ. We can never remove that loving bond which exists between Mary and her child and Jesus and His mother. Why? Because Jesus, in addition to His perfect divine nature, also has perfect human nature – which comes with emotions and other aspects which bond mother with child and child with mother, but in their case, quite perfectly.

    Does Jesus love His mother? You bet!
    Does Jesus respect His mother? You bet!
    Does Jesus listen to His mother? You bet!
    Does Jesus protect His mother? You bet!!!
    Will Jesus judge us at the particular and general judgments? You bet!

    And if Jesus gives His mother to be our mother, does he expect us to highly esteem her, as much as He esteems her? You bet!

    Do you esteem Mary at least because you esteem Jesus Christ?

    The answer to this question is important.

    May you find light and understanding and peace in this.

  203. @ francisphillip – ever heard the expression “blue sleeps faster than wednesday”? You are making as much sense!

    From John Macarthur”s “Exposing The Idolatry Of Mary Worship”….

    “Jesus operates on justice, Mary operates on mercy. You don’t want justice, you want mercy. It’s hard to get justice…it’s hard to get mercy out of Jesus, it’s easier to get it out of Mary because she’s compassionate and Jesus can’t resist His mother when she pleads for mercy on behalf of someone who’s asked her for it. Love Mary and she’ll get the mercy you need from Jesus because Jesus can’t resist His mother. Which is a blasphemy against the nature of God as a Savior and the heart of Christ as a compassionate Savior.”

    In reality, Satan transforming himself into an angel of light, stealing glory from the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit. “:Worshipping a dead woman (in connection to this world) who does not hear our prayers, has no divine power, sends no grace”

    “For all this idolatry, will the Catholic Church escape the judgement of God? God gives His Glory to no other. But Satan steals the glory of God whenever he can.”

    More of John Macarthur as he ends his sermon with this prayer…

    “When we look at what the bible actually says about Mary, it’s so beautiful, so simple, she knew her place. In the one statement that we have that came from her lips, her praise, she celebrated that You, God, are her Saviour. How wonderful that she knew she was a sinner who like every other sinner, needed a Saviour. Help us Lord, to hold fast to the Truth and to run, with all our might, from lies and deception. Rescue people, Lord, from this horrible, horrible deception that they might come to the true and pure grace that comes only through You, our Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These things we ask for the glory that is Yours and Yours alone….Amen”

  204. @ francisphillip – you ask “Do you esteem Mary at least because you esteem Jesus Christ?”

    Why would I “esteem” Mary as if equal to Christ? As if I only “esteem” Christ?

    As a Protestant I believe I give more honour to “highly favoured” Mary by not spreading falsehoods about her and her role in the outworking of God’s plan to redeem a paricular people to Himself.

  205. To correct the error, lies and innuendo which I’m quite used to coming from Christians.

    Francisphillip is not my biological brother. My brother would be too busy ROFL @ most of the nonsense on this thread.

  206. @ Bones – I asked if he was your brother, where is “the error, lies and innuendo” in that question?

    It’s only “nonsense” if it disagrees with your point of view. Which, apparently, no one else is entitled to.

  207. Yes just like your point of view.

    Roundhose made the claim that francisphillip is my brother.

    He isn’t; Roundhose is wrong; it’s a lie.

    That’s a fact.

  208. @Francisphilip, thanks for your contribution.

    “Finally, what good can ever come, in this life or the next, out of slamming the mother of Jesus Christ? What good can ever come from saying that Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ – was a sinner?”

    Steve is not slamming Mary. He would no doubt say without battering an eyelid that his children, his wife, and his mother all all sinners.

    Protestants could admire Mary more than they admire Paul, Peter, Joseph, Abraham etc. They just don’t think that it’s true that she never sinned.

    I understand that to a devout Catholic, that might be hard to hear, but I don’t think you are being fair, or will gain anyone’s respect by calling that “slamming Mary”, or hating Mary.

    It’s sad thought that some Protestants have reacted in the wrong way to counter what THEY see as wrong teaching about Mary – there have no doubt been less sermons about Mary than there could have been.

  209. Actually SM, it goes beyond that with Protestants. The immaculate Conception has been called idolatrous (!) on this thread.

    Steve is firm in his errant biblical and theological belief that the RC church is Mystery Babylon. His errors have been pointed out but all his posts have been to prove his spiteful belief.

    Zorro just thinks Catholics are Satanic.

    Margot won’t even confirm if Mary is the mother of God.

    Roundhose just follows the others like a little puppy wanting affection from his masters.

    Of course the Bible is used to condemn Catholics. Where does it say that in the Bible? Try asking that to a first, second, third, furth or fifth century Christian. There was no Bible.

  210. Oh and Steve said in a previous thread that RCs were wackier then JWs, Mormons and all the cults.

    That says a lot.

  211. I did confirm that Mary is the mother of Christ in His human form, born “a descendent of David, according to the flesh”.

    What’s your point, Bones? Jesus existed as the eternal God, before being born in Bethlehem.

    Are you trying to contribute to “worship” of a woman, a woman that Jesus himself, though He loved and cared for her, and gave her into the care of the apostle John, in Luke 11:27 had the perfect opportunity to give mary a place of priority in the church.

    “While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed”. But He said, “ON THE CONTRARY BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HEAR THE WORD OF GOD AND OBSERVE IT”.

    Jesus did not allow anyone to elevate Mary as an object of veneration. Her relationship with Him as His physical mother did not confer on her any more honour than those who hear and obey the Word of God.

    “The Apostle Paul in the epistles makes reference to the mother of Jesus twice, but never names her. Paul will not pick her up and elevate her because the Spirit of God would not allow that. Paul would know that. In Galatians, the second time he refers to her he says, “When the fullness of the time came God sent forth His Son, born of a woman…born of a woman.”

    “And with that, she is gone from the pages of the Bible.”

  212. @ Bones – I’ll stick to the scriptural text to validate if Mary was kept free of original sin from her moment of conception.

  213. My dear Margot – as I have stated in earlier statements, the Church did not seek to bring out the hidden truth of Mary’s true role until the Person of Jesus Christ came under attack. You will not understand this without studying Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition/Church History and the help of God which will only come if you are obedient to Him.

    Dear SM – I would not be so bold as to stand in front of our Lord Jesus and His Mother Mary and say to Mary, “You’re a sinner. Confess to Jesus right now. Only someone who obeys Jesus is fit to be His Mother Isn’t that right Jesus? Didn’t you mean to tell it the way it is – that she is reckoned with everyone else? Way to go Lord – stick it to her. And now let me go tell my Mom of her sinful state. I’m glad I’m here to help you set things straight with Mary. Mary, don’t stand so close to Jesus. Afterall, you’re just a sinner just like me And you’re not fit to be called Queen of anything.” Yet if you will stand by your words and say that to her face in the presence of God, then you will have made your choice – a sinner accusing Mary of being a sinner standing too close to Jesus…her baby boy. And who will that save? Will Jesus her son be thankful for you setting things straight so that Mary can be “put in her sinful place with the rest of us”? Doesn’t that belittle God?

    Not all are given to believe in the actual power of God, or in the treasury of truths which have not been expressly written in the Scriptures. If some Protestants do not want to believe in the Immaculate Conception (even when given the grace to be able to see and believe), that is their choice. It is an understandible choice for those operating without the assistance of the Holy Spirit which is operating in the Catholic Church by the authority of Jesus Christ. I do not have that choice – not because I’m commanded to believe – but because I actually believe and understand and seek to obey the Will of God.

    Pray for the grace not to resist God’s call if you are called to become one again with the Church, in her protection and faithful care.

    Peace to all.

  214. Where have I said I think nothing of Mary? I’ve pointed to Jesus’ own words in Luke 11:27 where he corrects another woman’s blessing of the womb that bore Him.

    I’ve called her “highly favoured” and honoured her name by refuting falsehoods about her.

    And yes, the (lower case “c”) catholic/universal church started at Pentecost.

  215. Was Mary Theotokos or Christotokos? That was the whole point of the Nestorian schism. Which is what Margot is implying.

    Theotokos is the person who gives birth to a god. Christotokos, the term the Nestorians preferred, is the person who gives birth to a christos (anointed one or messiah). The Theotokos could be giving birth to a god who is a savior/messiah, but the Christotokos is giving birth to a human savior. Thus the Theotokos is in a sense more inclusive. The child of a Theotokos could be human and divine, where the child of a Christotokos would be human. That means that a Christotokos Mary only gave birth to the human aspect of Jesus. Making her the mother of a god puts her in a very special position, worthy of reverence as the Blessed Virgin Mary. Nestorius’ position made Christ a sort of split personality with two separate essences. The doctrine that became dominant is that Jesus and the Son of God are one completely unified person.

    Interestingly the RC Church and Nestorian churches have made up.

    It’s also interesting to note that, several years ago, the “Nestorian” patriarch signed a common christological declaration with Pope John Paul II. (The preferred term, I’m told, is Church of the East, or Assyrian Church.) This led both parties, in turn, to permit the sharing of sacraments some years later. These were major historic events, missed by almost everyone.

    From the Vatican (note the acknowledgement of prior misunderstanding):

    “We both recognize the legitimacy and rightness of these expressions of the same faith and we both respect the preference of each Church in her liturgical life and piety.

    This is the unique faith that we profess in the mystery of Christ. The controversies of the past led to anathemas, bearing on persons and on formulas. The Lord’s Spirit permits us to understand better today that the divisions brought about in this way were due in large part to misunderstandings.

    Whatever our Christological divergences have been, we experience ourselves united today in the confession of the same faith in the Son of God who became man so that we might become children of God by his grace. We wish from now on to witness together to this faith in the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, proclaiming it in appropriate ways to our contemporaries, so that the world may believe in the Gospel of salvation.”

    http://ancienthistory.about.com/b/2011/06/22/nestorian-heresy.htm

  216. @ Bones – well, wiki says he is. And only God knows where he is. What’s your point? His theology, his practices, etc etc?

  217. The doctrine of Original Sin was formulated (for want of a better word) by Augustine and most of the Reformers were inspired by Augustinian theology – the Marist, saint praying, purgatory believing, transubstantianist idolator.

    Ironic, isn’t it.

    What does John McArthur say about Augustine and Early Church History?

  218. Martin Luther’s Bible must have been quite small.

    Regarding the New Testament Book of Hebrews Martin Luther stated,

    It need not surprise one to find here bits of wood, hay, and straw (O’HarePF. The Facts About Luther, 1916–1987 reprint ed., p. 203).

    He also wrote,

    St. James’ epistle is really an epistle of straw…for it has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it” (Luther, M. Preface to the New Testament, 1546).

    Perhaps none of Martin Luther’s writings on the Bible are as harsh as what he wrote about “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1). Specifically he wrote,

    About this book of the Revelation of John…I miss more than one thing in this book, and it makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic…I can in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it. Moreover he seems to me to be going much too far when he commends his own book so highly-indeed, more than any of the other sacred books do, though they are much more important-and threatens that if anyone takes away anything from it, God will take away from him, etc. Again, they are supposed to be blessed who keep what is written in this book; and yet no one knows what that is, to say nothing of keeping it. This is just the same as if we did not have the book at all. And there are many far better books available for us to keep…My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book. For me this is reason enough not to think highly of it: Christ is neither taught nor known in it” (Luther, M. Preface to the Revelation of St. John, 1522).

    As the following quotes show, Martin Luther did not care for several books in the Old Testament either:

    “Job spoke not as it stands written in his book, but only had such thoughts. It is merely the argument of a fable. It is probable that Solomon wrote and made this book.”…

    “Ecclesiastes ought to have been more complete. There is too much incoherent matter in it…Solomon did not, therefore, write this book.”…

    “The book of Esther I toss into the Elbe. I am such an enemy to the book of Esther that I wish it did not exist, for it Judaizes too much…”

    “The history of Jonah is so monstrous that it is absolutely incredible.” (as quoted in O’Hare, p. 202).

    Furthermore, Martin Luther had little use for the first five books of the Old Testament (sometimes referred to as the Pentateuch):

    Of the Pentateuch he says: “We have no wish either to see or hear Moses” (Ibid, p. 202).

  219. Whatever.

    It’s still here now and it will still be here when we are dead and buried, should the Lord tarry….

    2 Timothy 3:16–17. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

  220. Ohhhh.

    Those attacks on the Bible by Luther were amazing. They were Hitchens and Dawkins like.

    Tossing the book of Esther in the Elbe.

    What a classic.

  221. Dear Francis,

    “I would not be so bold as to stand in front of our Lord Jesus and His Mother Mary and say to Mary, “You’re a sinner. Confess to Jesus right now.”

    I can’t imagine going to heaven and saying that to anyone.

    “Only someone who obeys Jesus is fit to be His Mother Isn’t that right Jesus?”

    I don’t see that. All protestants are saying is that Mary was not absolutely without sin for her whole life.

    “Mary, don’t stand so close to Jesus. Afterall, you’re just a sinner just like me”

    When you and I get to Heaven, I believe we will be able to stand close to Jesus.

    “And you’re not fit to be called Queen of anything.”

    To me (and I’ll be shot by my protestant friends…..)t doesn’t bother me that much if you want to call Mary the Mother of God, or even the Queen of Heaven. I won’t though.

    ” And who will that save?”
    I don’t believe saying that Mary was sinless will “save” anyone, Neither will saying that she was in need of salvation like me.

    “Doesn’t that belittle God?”

    I don’t see that it does.

    I appreciate the way you argue here Francis. God bless.

  222. @Bones, I was absolutely shocked when I first read about Luther’s comments about James and Revelation. Funnily enough, years ago when I told my friend he didn’t believe me and accused me of slander….

  223. It’s great how because of the internet the study of Church History is available to everyone. I wish I had this when I was a youngster. Me and my friends were being groomed as future ministers and had never heard the term “Church Father”. And not being in traditional churches Apostle’s Creed sounded like one of Rocky’s foes….

  224. “Over time certain groups split from the Catholic Church”

    Tell that to the Orthodox. 🙂

    I’m just glad I live in these times. In those days being excommunicated was a big deal. Now, you can just go to the church down the road.

  225. It did. He saw in Revelation a tool to attack the RC Church and used the metaphor of the ant-Christ to atack th RC Church and its papacy. That’s the only use he saw for the book.

    Hundreds of years later people still accept Luther’s teachings on the RC Church.

    I wonder if they say the same of his teaching about the Jews which sounds ominously familiar.

    Martin Luther advised his followers,

    …to burn down Jewish schools and synagogues, and to throw pitch and sulphur into the flames; to destroy their homes; to confiscate their ready money in gold and silver; to take from them their sacred books, even the whole Bible; and if that did not help matters, to hunt them of the country like mad dogs (Luther’s Works, vol. Xx, pp. 2230-2632 as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.99).

  226. So Margot what does John MacArthur think of Martin Luther?

    Could you imagine the comments on here if Wazza or Greg said what Luther said.

    The hypocrisy of some Christians is mind blowing.

  227. While you are here Francis, there are three things I really admire about the Catholic Church.
    1. The centrality of the mass in church life. For some evangelical churches it’s now once a month. And in some places it almost seems like an embarrassing ritual.
    2. The way priests hear confession and keep confidence. There’s been times when I’VE thought of going to confess to a priest!! Confess sin in a protestant church and the Pastor’s wife will know about it, probably the assistant pastors wife, maybe their kids hear it over the dinner table, then the youth leader, then it’s used in next Sunday’s sermon, etc etc.
    3. The dedication and love of the multitudes of men and women who forego marriage and children to serve God and the church 100%. I’m in awe of that. Seriously.

  228. “Francisphillip is not my biological brother. My brother would be too busy ROFL @ most of the nonsense on this thread.”

    If your brother would be ROFL for that reason, we could conclude that it’s because spiritual dullness is in the genes.

  229. @ Bones – you’re the one with all the angst. Deal with it, your “blood pressure” is showing.

    What does John MacArthur think? I don’t know, though I love his teaching generally. Wouldn’t make any difference to what either of us believe anyway.

    You and I parted ways on doctrine back in Genesis…..

  230. @Bones, From what I understand several Lutheran bodies in the US have made statements concerning Luther and his influence on anti-semitism.

    I think he changed towards the end of his life. (didn’t he?)

  231. “You and I parted ways on doctrine back in Genesis…..”

    Yeah, but you guys haven’t parted ways on ALL doctrine. That’s the thing! 🙂

  232. “[I admire] The dedication and love of the multitudes of men and women who forego marriage and children to serve God and the church 100%. I’m in awe of that. Seriously.”

    The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.

    ‘[…] Forbid people to marry […]’.

    ‘[…] order them to abstain from certain foods […]’.

    I guess Bones eats fish every Friday. (He wouldn’t want to annoy Mary, would he?)

  233. ” it’s because spiritual dullness is in the genes”

    ouch.

    I think people are genetically predisposed to doctrinal belief…

  234. Nope

    Warning against the Jews

    (//en.wikisource.org/wiki/Warning_Against_the_Jews_(1546))

    Shortly before his death on February 18, 1546 Luther preached four sermons in Eisleben.[20] To his second last sermon he appended what he called his “final warning” against the Jews.[21] The main point of this short work is that authorities who could expel the Jews from their lands should do so if they would not convert to Christianity. Otherwise, Luther indicated, such authorities would make themselves “partners in another’s sins”.[22]

    Luther began by saying,

    We want to deal with them in a Christian manner now. Offer them the Christian faith that they would accept the Messiah, who is even their cousin and has been born of their flesh and blood; and is rightly Abraham’s Seed, of which they boast. Even so, I am concerned [that] Jewish blood may no longer become watery and wild. First of all, you should propose to them that they be converted to the Messiah and allow themselves to be baptized, that one may see that this is a serious matter to them. If not, then we would not permit them [to live among us], for Christ commands us to be baptized and believe in Him, even though we cannot now believe so strongly as we should, God is still patient with us.[23]

    Luther continued, “However, if they are converted, abandon their usury, and receive Christ, then we will willingly regard them our brothers. Otherwise, nothing will come out of it, for they do it to excess.”[23] Luther followed this with accusations,

    They are our public enemies. They do not stop blaspheming our Lord Christ, calling the Virgin Mary a whore, Christ, a bastard, and us changelings or abortions (Mahlkälber: “meal calves”). If they could kill us all, they would gladly do it. They do it often, especially those who pose as physcians—though sometimes they help—for the devil helps to finish it in the end. They can also practice medicine as in French Switzerland. They administer poison to someone from which he could die in an hour, a month, a year, ten or twenty years. They are able to practice this art.[23]

    He then said,

    Yet, we will show them Christian love and pray for them that they may be converted to receive the Lord, whom they should honor properly before us. Whoever will not do this is no doubt a malicious Jew, who will not stop blaspheming Christ, draining you dry, and, if he can, killing [you].[23]

    This work has been newly translated and published in volume 58 (Sermons V) of Luther’s Works, pages 458-459.[24]

  235. “The hypocrisy of some Christians is mind blowing.”

    The hypocrisy of faux-Christians is worse.

  236. Dr Zorro. I’m not Catholic. I don’t believe that a person has to forego marriage in order to be a minister.

    But the RCC doesn’t forbid marriage for all people anyway.

    I’m just saying that I am in awe of people who do forego marriage in order to serve the Lord fully.

    (And I’ve met plenty of female protestant missionaries who gave up the hope of a comfortable life in their home countries and spent their whole lives in foreign countries to preach the gospel. I’m equally in awe of them.)

    Here’s what bugs me about his blog. Why does everything have to be all or nothing? Can’t you people see ANYTHING good in people or churches you don’t agree with doctrinally?

  237. Zorro, you are a classic example that you can be a Christian and a dickhead.

    Now go and find some Catholics to burn.

  238. @ SM – Charles Spurgeon told the painful story of the Irishman who attended a sectarian religious society meeting. 

    Telling of the meeting, the man recounted: “Oh, it was lovely: none of us knew anything and we all taught each other.”
     
    Bit like SP02 at times. 🙂

  239. “Nope”

    Warning against the Jews

    Shortly before his death on ….

    I think I just got completely aced! lol

    You win this one Bones!

  240. “I think people are genetically predisposed to doctrinal belief…”

    It’s a shame Darwin isn’t around; we could have asked him his opinion on the matter.

    Maybe what’s needful in Bones’ case is that he pull himself up from the primordial theological slime – note how his theological focus is set fairly and squarely on the blurry picture in his rear-view mirror – and evolve into a true believer. Remember: where there’s natural selection, there’s hope!

  241. “Dr Zorro. I’m not Catholic. I don’t believe that a person has to forego marriage in order to be a minister.”

    I understand, SM. I didn’t mean to suggest that you were, or that you did. The Scripture seemed apropos, so I thought it would be worthwhile to add it to the mix.

  242. Well if you’re a true believer, I couldn’t evolve into you. That would be some step backwards on the evolutionary scale.

    Although I could have an accident and suffer brain damage then I would be like you.

  243. “Zorro, you are a classic example that you can be a Christian and a dickhead.”

    Thanks Bones, I would hate to be one of those stereotypically bland one-dimensional Christians who are bound by tradition, immune to wisdom, proof against knowledge, deaf to the Spirit, distant from God, and altogether blind regarding the truth.

  244. That’s alright Zorro. Let us know when you enter the 21st century. Oh and the JWs called they agree with you.

    Nutbags

  245. Margot,

    “Telling of the meeting, the man recounted: “Oh, it was lovely: none of us knew anything and we all taught each other.”

    Bit like SP02 at times.”

    LOL; it’s quite true.

    We should have an SPO2 barbecue. I would buy Bones a beer, but only on the condition that he first promised not to pour it on me.

  246. @Bones

    “Zorro, you are a classic example that you can be a Christian and a dickhead.”

    The really interesting thing about debating on the internet is that we can say things in print and anonymously that we would never say to anyone in real life. I am fairly certain, however, that Bones is actually one of those people who would call the old lady whose shopping accidentally brushed his leg on the bus a “f____ing wh_re” without batting an eyelid. And that’s sad.

  247. “I am fairly certain, however, that Bones is actually one of those people who would call the old lady whose shopping accidentally brushed his leg on the bus a “f____ing wh_re” without batting an eyelid.”

    I don’t believe that he would, RH.

    He’s someone with strongly held views that he also expresses strongly. I’ve actually got more respect for someone who is wrong but has the courage of their convictions than I do for many of the mealy-mouthed individuals of which there seems to be such a proliferation these days.

    Bones might be wrong about some things, but he’s not a bad bloke.

  248. Roundhose, those aren’t words that I use.

    Christians are a weird mob. They get all upset because someone calls them a dickhead. Then in the next breath they call someone “Satan’s Whore” or “you serve Satan’s butthole” which is apparently perfectly acceptable or “you don’t know the Bible as much as me”, like it’s a competition between guys to see who has the biggest dick.

    There is little humility that says “Shit, maybe I’m wrong and this guy is right”.

    That’s why people outside of Christianity just see arrogance and hypocrisy.

  249. Greg,
    the bishops head the church – not Constantine

    Actually Christ is the Head of the Church.

    Your claim that Rome heads the church is precisely why many protestant or evangelical commentators consider Rome to be the seat of apostasy, both in pagan terms and in false doctrinal terms.

    The idea that the popes are descended by succession form Peter is also nonsense. Paul was the Apostle to he Gentiles, and Peter to the Jews. I do have scripture for that. There is no real evidence that Peter was ever in Rome, but we know that Paul was. Peter did not write to the Romans. Paul did.

    The Roman Catholic church did not start on the Day of Pentecost. The Body of Christ did, but the Roman Catholic church split off sometime when it decided to apply idolatrous dogma to its doctrine, which is entirely why I put up the posts on the patent error which you have been unable to refute, even though Bones consistently erroneously claims to have successfully refuted.

    No. In fact, you and Bones have put up RC propaganda absolutely akin to francisphilip’s apologetics, which, by his own admission, have no foundation in scripture, ad must be accepted by some kind of faith in papal infallibility…or else! Yes. He even threatened, er, sorry, warned us that we had to accept RC dogma or face the wrath of Christ.

    I remember Bones lamenting on another thread the absence of an actual Catholic commenter to help confirm what you have been saying, and, lo and behold, here is francisphilip, in full flight, totally confirming all I have said which declares Catholic dogmas to be essentially drawn from outside of the Apostles’ Doctrine, Christ’s Doctrine, and any acceptable Biblical standards whatsoever.

    You and Bones have been disgustingly rude towards what I have put up as an apologetic defending truth against RC error, and you have been very personal with it. No matter. It was a surprise to me tat you would so vehemently defend such glaringly obvious errors, but I have now got used to the fact that you are Catholic apologists.

    Incidentally, I did not call you closet catholics. That was Roundhouse, whom I corrected for such a claim. In fact, as I told him, and he accepted, you and Bones are the real deal. There is nothing closet about it.

    So, as I pointed out somewhere, I am now treating both of you as Roman Catholics, and why shouldn’t you be. I even apologised for being inconsiderate enough to put up a satirical piece called, ‘Greg drops brain in dunny whilst hailing Mary’, when, in fact, you were merely defending your religious standpoint.

    But Christ is the Head of the Church, Greg, and always will be. The popes are mere men with a man-given title. The bishops are sinners in need of a Saviour, as is Mary, and can only be saved by grace through faith like the rest of us.

  250. Is the RC church Mystery Babylon?

    Is the RC Church wackier than any cult such as JWs, Mormons which you have claimed?

    Oh and the big problem with Pentecostal churches is no bishops, no oversight and no accountability. Which is completely scriptural.

  251. Where do you get the word ‘bishop’ from, Bones? I can’t find it in the Greek!

  252. There is no real evidence that Peter was ever in Rome…

    Isn’t there, let’s see…

    Tertullian, in The Demurrer Against the Heretics (A.D. 200), noted of Rome, “How happy is that church . . . where Peter endured a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned in a death like John’s [referring to John the Baptist, both he and Paul being beheaded].”

    In the same book, Tertullian wrote that “this is the way in which the apostolic churches transmit their lists: like the church of the Smyrnaeans, which records that Polycarp was placed there by John; like the church of the Romans, where Clement was ordained by Peter.”

    In his Letter to the Romans (A.D. 110), Ignatius of Antioch remarked that he could not command the Roman Christians the way Peter and Paul once did, such a comment making sense only if Peter had been a leader, if not the leader, of the church in Rome.

    Irenaeus, in Against Heresies (A.D. 190), said that Matthew wrote his Gospel “while Peter and Paul were evangelizing in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church.” A few lines later he notes that Linus was named as Peter’s successor, that is, the second pope, and that next in line were Anacletus (also known as Cletus), and then Clement of Rome.

    Dionysius of Corinth mentions the burial place of Peter as Rome when he wrote to the Church of Rome in the time of the Pope Soter (died 174), thanking the Romans for their financial help. “You have thus by such an admonition bound together the planting of Peter and of Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both of them planted and likewise taught us in our Corinth. And they taught together in like manner in Italy, and suffered martyrdom at the same time.”

    Clement of Alexandria wrote at the turn of the third century. A fragment of his work Sketches is preserved in Eusebius of Caesarea’s Ecclesiastical History, the first history of the Church. Clement wrote, “When Peter preached the word publicly at Rome, and declared the gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had been for a long time his follower and who remembered his sayings, should write down what had been proclaimed.”

    Lactantius, in a treatise called The Death of the Persecutors, written around 318, noted that “When Nero was already reigning (Nero reigned from 54–68), Peter came to Rome, where, in virtue of the performance of certain miracles which he worked by that power of God which had been given to him, he converted many to righteousness and established a firm and steadfast temple to God.”

    I’d say Peter was in Rome.

  253. Interesting, and of course I know about these claims, but they are hardly contemporary. They are written some time after Peter died. There is no basis to consider that Peter was ever either Bishop of Rome, or pope, which isn’t even a Biblical term.

    Even if Peter was in Rome, and started a church, it was not the Roman Catholic church. At best it would have been the church at Rome.

    And it certainly wasn’t ever destined to be the headquarters of the church in the earth.

    Neither is Peter who the RC church claims he is in every church everywhere.

    He is Peter the Apostle to the Jews.

    Roman Catholics spent most of their history hating the Jews.
    ____________________________________

    And to answer your question for you. The origin of ‘bishop’ is latin, being the vulgar latin version of the Greek, episkopos (biscopos), and generally applied to Roman Catholic bishops, so it is essentially a catholic term.

    No matter, episkopos is Greek for ‘overseer’ – epi – over, skopos – seer.

    I dont think you could claim that any church is devoid of overseers, even Pentecostal churches.

    You really are being…what’s the word? Contentious.

  254. Dear SM – I appreciate your willingness and ability to respond rationally to my last note. That is a very good sign. Peace to you.

  255. I’m pretty sure it’s only recently that episkopos has been translated as overseer in the new translations of the Bible. That’s certainly how the King James and RSV translated it.

    BISHOP evolved from the Greek EPISKOPOS. First the ‘-OS’ inflection was dropped, before the EPISKOP became BISKOP, and finally BISHOP, but the original merely means Overseer. Hence the adjective episcopal.

  256. Dear Steve – a good study of Sacred Scripture (and the reception of the grace of the Holy Spirit) and history will help you understand the Papacy better – how it developed and how it has endured and flourished to this day with great success and great influence on the entire world. One must try to see such things not from the view point of an adversary, but from the viewpoint of Christ Himself – not that you can think as Christ thinks without the help of the Holy Spirit, but you can certainly pray for this grace and receive it if you are obedient to God. He helps those who obey Him – that is – who love Him. Peace to you.

  257. The AV also mentions Easter, Bones, but we’ve already been there!

    Your claim was that Pentecostals don’t have bishops. I merely pointed out the Greek meaning of episkopos, which means, and has always meant ‘overseer’. We’ve always had overseers, Bones.

    francisphilip,
    a good study of Sacred Scripture (and the reception of the grace of the Holy Spirit) and history will help you understand the Papacy better

    You are right.

    Actually, it is the study of Scripture and reception of the grace of the Holy Spirit and history that has helped me understand the papacy better.

    This is why I put up the posts which point out the error in purgatory, the mass, canonisation of saints and Mary as mediatrix.

    I am not seeing anything from the point of view of an adversary, but from the perspective of the gospel of Christ. I am giving an apologetic, a defence of truth.

    On the papacy: do you, with Pope John Paul II acknowledge the roles of the popes in the crusades, the inquisitions and the refusal to condemn the holocaust?

    These, amongst other wickednesses, were the works of a variety of popes over the ages.

    I thank Bones for reminding us of John Paul II’s frank admission.

    Peace to you both!

  258. Goodness, Bones, never did a supposedly bright man so want to publicly flaunt his ignorance as you do.

  259. Ask your Pastor. You go to a Pentecostal Church. I’m sure he’d love to tell you, as if you don’t already know. 😉

    Tell me, you decried the immaculate conception on one thread, and yet, here you are defending it on this thread. Have you changed your mind about this also?

    Do you now say thatMary is sin-free, and was granted an immaculate conception?

  260. Oh gosh. I just realised. You go to a Pentecostal church, but the Pastor probably isn’t your pastor.

    Have you met your local Catholic Bishop yet?

    I was on first name terms with our local Catholic Bishop, and had tea with him on many occasions. A very pleasant charismatic man in his latter years. I also had a great relationship with the Anglican Bishop, who is now an Archbishop. Great guy. Different politics, though. But they are good Christian people.

    Just don’t agree with some of their dogmas and doctrines.

    Not unusual. And not wrong. Certainly not bigoted.

    Otherwise we’d have to call you and Greg bigoted towards Pentecostals, which is weird, considering you seem to think you are one.

  261. Belief in the Immaculate Conception is neither here nor there, I understand why RCs believe it but it is not an essential doctrine nor is it satanic.

    Might be why I’m not actually RC.

  262. @Steve

    “Tell me, you decried the immaculate conception on one thread, and yet, here you are defending it on this thread. Have you changed your mind about this also?”

    Bones doesn’t care what he believes, as long as it’s the opposite to what you believe it appears, Steve!

  263. I am very reluctant to criticise the faith of the martyrs of Christ and think that my faith is better than their’s.

  264. There is also the insinuation that the doctrine is evidence of paganism in the RC Church which I flatly refute.

  265. Name: Queen of Heaven

    Dogma 1: Mother of God
    Dogma 2: Eternal Virgin
    Dogma 3: Sinless Ascension
    Dogma 4: Immaculate Conception
    Dogma 5: Mediatrix

    You don’t see a process here, Bones?
    __________________________

    You’re the ONLY ONE making claiming criticism of the martyrs of Christ. Sorry to raise my voice, but…

    YOU’RE
    THE
    ONLY
    ONE

    …making that equivalence.

    Name me one Catholic festival which has not replaced a pagan pageant.

    For instance. When was Jesus born? Certainly not 24 December [Gregorian calendar]. Between May [Gregorian calendar] and September [Gregorian calendar], probably, when shepherds are most likely to be out in the fields tending their flocks.

    So what happened on the calendar at 24 December?

    Or Easter
    Or Ash Wednesday
    Or All Saints Day
    Or Michaelmas Sunday
    Or…

    …what day is it today on the Gregorian [RC] calendar?

    Sunday
    The name comes from the Latin dies solis, meaning “sun’s day”: the name of a pagan Roman holiday. It is also called Dominica (Latin), the Day of God. The Romance languages, languages derived from the ancient Latin language (such as French, Spanish, and Italian), retain the root.

    French: dimanche; Italian: domenica; Spanish: domingo
    German: Sonntag; Dutch: zondag. [both: ‘sun-day’]

    Monday
    The name comes from the Anglo-Saxon monandaeg, “the moon’s day”. This second day was sacred to the goddess of the moon.

    French: lundi; Italian: lunedi. Spanish: lunes. [from Luna, “Moon”]
    German: Montag; Dutch: maandag. [both: ‘moon-day’]

    Tuesday
    This day was named after the Norse god Tyr. The Romans named this day after their war-god Mars: dies Martis.

    French: mardi; Italian: martedi; Spanish: martes.
    The Germans call Dienstag (meaning “Assembly Day”), in The Netherlands it is known as dinsdag, in Danmark as tirsdag and in Sweden tisdag.

    Wednesday
    The day named to honor Wodan (Odin).
    The Romans called it dies Mercurii, after their god Mercury.

    French: mercredi; Italian: mercoledi; Spanish: miércoles.
    German: Mittwoch; Dutch: woensdag.

    Thursday
    The day named after the Norse god Thor. In the Norse languages this day is called Torsdag.
    The Romans named this day dies Jovis (“Jove’s Day”), after Jove or Jupiter, their most important god.

    French: jeudi; Italian: giovedi; Spanish: jueves.
    German: Donnerstag; Dutch: donderdag.

    Friday
    The day in honor of the Norse goddess Frigg.
    In Old High German this day was called frigedag.
    To the Romans this day was sacred to the goddess Venus, and was known as dies veneris.

    French: vendredi; Italian: venerdi; Spanish: viernes.
    German: Freitag ; Dutch: vrijdag.

    Saturday
    This day was called dies Saturni, “Saturn’s Day”, by the ancient Romans in honor of Saturn. In Anglo-Saxon: sater daeg.

    Which month on the Gregorian [RC] calendar?

    Only a few names of the month were derived from Roman deities. Most simply came from the numbers of the months or — in two cases — in honor of Roman emperors.

    January
    Named after the Roman god of beginnings and endings Janus (the month Januarius).

    February
    The name comes either from the old-Italian god Februus or else from februa, signifying the festivals of purification celebrated in Rome during this month.

    March
    This is the first month of the Roman year. It is named after the Roman god of war, Mars.

    April
    Called Aprilis, from aperire, “to open”. Possible because it is the month in which the buds begin to open.

    May
    The third month of the Roman calendar. The name probably comes from Maiesta, the Roman goddess of honor and reverence.

    June
    The fourth month was named in honor of Juno. However, the name might also come from iuniores (young men; juniors) as opposed to maiores (grown men; majors) for May, the two months being dedicated to young and old men.

    July
    It was the month in which Julius Caesar was born, and named Julius in his honor in 44 BCE, the year of his assassination. Also called Quintilis (fifth month).

    August
    Originally this month was called Sextilis (from sextus, “six”), but the name was later changed in honor of the first of the Roman emperors, Augustus (because several fortunate events of his life occurred during this month).

    September
    The name comes from septem, “seven”.

    October
    The name comes from octo, “eight”

    November
    The name comes from novem, “nine”.

    December
    The name comes from decem, “ten”.

    Maybe they had a holy visitation during the naming of the last four months.

    I guess these things have nothing to do with Rome, eh Bones.

    One has to ask why, when it was in his power to change it forever, Pope Gregory XIII didn’t remove the references to gods and goddesses, pagan worship and festivals.

    Why retain July or August, for instance? Was it going to mess up the advanced computers of the day, like some millennium bug of 1582!!!!

  266. Bones,
    Belief in the Immaculate Conception is neither here nor there, I understand why RCs believe it but it is not an essential doctrine nor is it satanic.

    In fact, I put it to you that it is part of the process of elevating Mary to mediatrix, which is very significant doctrinally, and it is inevitable that the Vatican will go through with this procedure in the near future. The thing is, what will follow?

    By this reckoning, also:

    Belief in prosperity is neither here nor there, I understand why some believe it but it is not an essential doctrine nor is it satanic.

  267. @Steve

    “Belief in prosperity is neither here nor there, I understand why some believe it but it is not an essential doctrine nor is it satanic.”

    Good one!

  268. “I was on first name terms with our local Catholic Bishop, I also had a great relationship with the Anglican Bishop, … they are good Christian people.”

    Glad to hear that.

  269. Dear Steve – in reply to your last reply to my last reply…:-) I would like to counter your anti-papal comment by saying that the Pope can be a sinful man. But his position, being very necessary for all of Christendom, is protected and guided by the Holy Spirit concerning the formal definition on matters of faith and morals. We should not condemn humanity for being human. The Pope is human like you and me, but duly authorized – delegated great authority for which he will be held accountable. Please don’t think that just because the Pope is a sinful man that the papacy is somehow “unauthorized.” The Scriptures forewarned us that “to err is human” as per the example of St. Peter and others. I understand the disappointment in not having a sinless Pope, but he never has been sinless – neither have you and I. But the Church has survived well as has the Papacy, by the grace of God who promised that the Church would never be overcome. And it is in the Church where we are the safest – not on our own – not in an unauthorized, self-proclaimed Christian denomination. We are safest in real unity – in real communion – in a real family as it truly is meant to be, with love between us and to God. Peace to you.

  270. “But [the pope’s] position, being very necessary for all of Christendom, is protected and guided by the Holy Spirit concerning the formal definition on matters of faith and morals.”

    The pope is just a silly old man with a penchant for wearing ridiculous outfits, and who happens to be demon-possessed.

    “But the Church has survived well as has the Papacy […]”.

    The true church has survived despite the papacy and despite the lies and heresies of roman catholicism.

  271. Belief in prosperity is neither here nor there, I understand why some believe it but it is not an essential doctrine nor is it satanic.

    That is correct. It has no bearing on your salvation. If you want to send Phil Pringle or Joyce Meyer $1000 in the belief that God will make you a millionaire, go for it.

    It just shows that you are a moron.

    As can be seen on this thread you can be a moron and be a Christian.

    Bit like believing a literal 6 day creation.

  272. Why retain July or August, for instance? Was it going to mess up the advanced computers of the day, like some millennium bug of 1582!!!!

    Well go for it Steve. Make up your own non-pagan names. We can call Sunday Jesus’s Day. Obviously the RCs weren’t as rabid a nutbag as you are.

    The names were already in use and they saw no need to change them. Bit like changing the names of the planets. We’re changing the name of Mercury to Matthew one of the disciples.

    They obviously weren’t as hung up as you.

    Oh and holidays comes from holy day which people were given time off to worship God. Does that still happen?

  273. “Belief in prosperity is neither here nor there, I understand why some believe it […]”

    Jesus said “a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”, so anyone who holds to the prosperity “gospel” has neither read their Bible nor understood the spirit and intent of God’s plan of salvation.

    Such people may well indeed become materially wealthy, but spiritually speaking – that is, in God’s estimation – they are paupers who are both blind and naked. They truly are the ones who have a form of Godliness but deny the power thereof, and they are more pitiable than unbelievers.

  274. It really is a stupid view that somehow pagan origins make something against God.

    One of the evils of Christianity has been the wholesale destruction of cultures and civilisations caused by what Christians believed were pagan influences. Many Evanglicals would be quite happy to do the same.

    I couldn’t care less how Christmas or Easter originated.

  275. “As can be seen on this thread you can be a moron and be a Christian.”

    I understand that you are speaking from personal experience, Bones.

  276. Bones,
    the wholesale destruction of cultures and civilisations caused by what Christians believed were pagan influences

    You mean like stopping people burning dead men’s widows alive at the deceased’s funeral, or ending cannibalism, walking across burning coals, burning human sacrifices and the like, Bones?

    Bones,
    one of the evils of Christianity

    Yes, that’s right, come on, declare yourself…

  277. Zorro,
    The kingdom of God does not consist of meat or drinks, but of righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost…

    When you define prosperity as financial or material gain you limit your argument to the physical aspect of who we are in Christ.

    The body will be changed. It is the soul and spirit which has been redeemed, and has been converted.

    The body is still subject to the temporal, until such time as it is redeemed, changed and takes on the incorruptible.

    Until then we are in need of material support. What level is actually dependent on several factors, such as whether we work, are ft and strong, or have enough trust in God to supply our needs.

    The lazy man will not plough in winter and will be hungry in summer, so says the proverb. Those who make excuses about whether to sow or plough will, in the end, get nothing. If a man will not work he will not eat, says Paul.

    Contrast this with what Jesus says about not worrying about food, clothing or shelter. He tells us to seek first the kingdom and everything else will be added to us by the Father.

    So we seek righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost, and God does the rest.

    The reward? Well better raiment than even Solomon, more abundance that the birds of the air (who do not sow or plough), protection and provision.

    As Paul says, we learn how to abound or be abased, live content in what we have and able to provide for the wellbeing of others who lack, so that our God can supply all our needs according his riches in glory.

    Prosperity isn’t about our bank balance or possessions, but about a lifestyle of dependence on God, on seeking him and his kingdom, and allowing for his provision and protection.

    Psalms 1
    1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
    2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
    3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

    Tsalach
    1) (Qal) to rush
    2) to advance, prosper, make progress, succeed, be profitable
    2a) (Qal) to prosper
    2b) (Hiphil)
    2b1) to make prosperous, bring to successful issue, cause to
    prosper
    2b2) to show or experience prosperity, prosper

    Jeremiah 17
    7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.
    8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

    Prosperity is to successfully accomplish all that the Lord has set before you regardless of adversity, infirmity, challenges or obstacles.

  278. Yes, we can be proud of what we have done to the Native Americans, the colonisation of India, the segregation of Africa, the Conquest, rape and destruction of South and Central America.

    I remember watching the Taliban destroying the 1600 year old Buddhas of Barniyan and thinking what a crazy bunch of nutbags destroying history.

    In reality they were the same as Evangelical Christianity.

    But hey better to be dead than pagan.

  279. Bones,
    Your bitterness of speech [on this blog at least] is beginning to make you look absurd as you flit from one pet revulsion to another.

    Your antichristian attacks, and that is what they are, not defence of anything godly, but attacks on Christians, Christianity, the Bible, Creation, sound doctrine, Pastors, Pentecost, and anyone associated with these things who doesn’t agree with your spite and malice, is beginning to show you to be a very unreasonable, hostile man.

    I for one don’t think it would serve any good purpose or be wise to continue to feed your acrimonious attitude towards Christians with a response of any kind until you demonstrate some kind of decency and approachability.

  280. “When you define prosperity as financial or material gain you limit your argument to the physical aspect of who we are in Christ.”

    I don’t define prosperity in such narrow terms as that; it is the heretical “prosperity gospel” crowd who wish to use the term in that sense alone. I have personally heard many sermons where Scripture has been twisted to redefine not only prosperity, but many other terms besides (since just as alcoholics can’t stop at one drink, compulsive liars can’t stop at one lie).

    Where is Bones? Is he off trying to spot a moron in the mirror?

  281. One last thing, though, for you to consider:

    rape and destruction of South and Central America.

    Weren’t the Conquistadors acting on behalf of the papacy?

    I mean…

  282. Yes, well, Zorro, I’m sorry you’ve had that version of prosperity to deal with, if that s the case. I have a different experience, and I teach on prosperity, but it’s not from a perspective of avarice.

    Maybe I’ll take the risk of putting up a post on it some time. And you realise, it will be a risk, personally speaking, on this site.

  283. “Maybe I’ll take the risk of putting up a post on it some time. And you realise, it will be a risk, personally speaking, on this site.”

    Yes, of course, but surely there’s a hint of an adrenaline rush as one willingly ventures into the theological lion’s den that is SPO2?

  284. Couldn’t be much worse than the response to RC dogma exposure.

    The sooner the Church distances itself from error the sooner it will be more effective in its witness.

    I include all error in that, not just the glaringly obvious dogmas I put up.

    Judgement begins at the Household of God. So be it!

    The world needs a chaste, holy, pure Church.

  285. This might be worth a post on Catholic dominionism:

    European colonialism and imperialism
    In the late 15th century, the Christian nations of Western Europe began the modern age of colonialism with the “Age of Discovery”, led by the Spanish colonization of the Americas and Portuguese Empire in the Americas and along the coasts of Africa, the Middle East, India, and East Asia. The Roman Catholic Church played a role in their overseas activities, and the enormous trade profits and riches from gold and silver mines allowed them to finance costly religious wars in Europe.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion#Spanish_Conquest_of_the_Aztec_Empire

  286. @Steve

    “Maybe I’ll take the risk of putting up a post on it some time. And you realise, it will be a risk, personally speaking, on this site.”

    Please do. I’d love to see your take. I really enjoy what you post, so I am sure it will be great.

    I’d also like to personally thank you Steve for sticking with this place. I am shocked at the unGodly hatred directed towards you. It wouldn’t make you any less of a man if you were to simply leave these people to their own bitterness, yet you continually offer a level-headed perspective without the vileness that the others resort to (excluding Margot, who, while I disagree with most of what she believes, has generally not lowered herself to the really awful language that Bones, Zorro and Greg have displayed here). There have been a few times where I have written a lengthy response to something, only to find you have just posted something similar, except much better than I could ever have done! Well done mate!

  287. Name me one Catholic festival which has not replaced a pagan pageant.

    For instance. When was Jesus born? Certainly not 24 December [Gregorian calendar]. Between May [Gregorian calendar] and September [Gregorian calendar], probably, when shepherds are most likely to be out in the fields tending their flocks.

    So what happened on the calendar at 24 December?

    Or Easter
    Or Ash Wednesday
    Or All Saints Day
    Or Michaelmas Sunday
    Or…

    …what day is it today on the Gregorian [RC] calendar?

    Maybe they had a holy visitation during the naming of the last four months.

    I guess these things have nothing to do with Rome, eh Bones.

    One has to ask why, when it was in his power to change it forever, Pope Gregory XIII didn’t remove the references to gods and goddesses, pagan worship and festivals.

    Why retain July or August, for instance? Was it going to mess up the advanced computers of the day, like some millennium bug of 1582!!!!

    Honestly you are as misguided as any JW. Why does Gregory XIII get the blame for keeping pagan names for the days and months (oh and add the planets)?

    Those names had been used since 45 BC in the old Julian Calendar.

    Tell me why did the Christians who destroyed pagan temples, pagan writings, even influenced the Emperor Constantius II to introduce the death penalty pagans, why did they not remove the pagan names in the calendar? Why did they celebrate Christmas and Easter on those festivals?

    Let me guess: because they were pagan.

    How stupid is that logic.

    The ones who destroyed pagan Rome were pagan.

    Oh but it was Pope Gregory XIII’s fault.

    Yep that makes sense. That’s JW logic.

    You are clearly under a spirit of delusion.

  288. Yes congratulations to Steve for dishonouring the blood shed by those in the name of Christ.

    Well done, mate.

  289. Where is Bones? Is he off trying to spot a moron in the mirror?

    Nope just seeing if there is a correlation between stupidity and biblical literalism.

    Which there is.

    Thanks for proving it.

  290. @ Roundhouse – Margot has “generally” not lowered herself?

    I have never used any bad language or discussed anything inappropriate on this blog, even when discussing various ministries.

    My views are entirely conservative, entirely biblical (even if you don’t agree) and I openly hold to a “young earth, 6 day creation” worldview and to the inerrancy of scripture, (which apparently means I’m “retarded”).

    I don’t how long you have been reading this blog, but I have been around for many years, though not always using my real name, since about 2003? Seen it’s many changes. I know how good it can be….

  291. @Margot

    Sorry, didn’t realize I used the word “generally”. I agree, you have not used inflammatory language from what I have seen. Of course, there are things we agree with, such as a six day creation, but there are certainly things we don’t agree on.

  292. Nice chap, Gregory…

    Gregory XIII
    Some historians have severely criticized Gregory XIII for ordering that the horrible massacre of the Huguenots on St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572 be celebrated in Rome by a “Te Deum” and other marks of rejoicing.

    He did indeed, amongst other ‘business (above)’, order that the old Julian calendar be revised. The thing is, he kept the pagan references, when, given the power of Rome at the time, he could have made some serious revisions.

    In fact, my point was that Gregory, being pope of the day, allowed what all popes allow, the continuation of paganism in between the lines of supposed Catholic festivals. It is a known fact, and not really in dispute.

    It has been apparent on every RC mission field globally, and is a fact today that RCs evangelise by replacing the old festivals with a ‘saint’s’ name or saint’s day, which makes the canonisation of saints doubly important to their evangelistic strategies.

    This is far from a moronic suggestion or JW-like assumption. This is demonstrable, proven fact.

    The only moronic assumption would be to deny it, really.

  293. I appreciate your remarks and encouragement, Roundhouse.

    If we don’t discuss our difficulties we never resolve anything. Name calling is juvenile, but it can be awfully good fun 😀 – as long as it isn’t too seriously served.

  294. Rubbish it could have been revised any time throughout history especially when Constantius and Theodosius were persecuting and destroying paganism in the Roman Empire. They obviously saw it as no big deal. Like we do now. It was hard enough adding two more months to the calendar let alone causing world wide confusion by changing names. It took some countries centuries to accept the Gregorian calendar as it was.

    So what about replacing the Festival of the Sun with Christmas or any other pagan day. It’ll be like the replacement of the Queen’s Birthday with some other holiday (Republic Day). These are pagan cultures not Western or European. Their customs can not die out and be replaced with nothing or else be made into Europeans which is what a lot of Christians have tried to do.

    There is always the tension when evangelising a culture as to how much of that culture to maintain (as that is their identity) while also trying to evangelise it.

    My comments previously about the attacks on pagan civilisations was to show Christians can go too far and actually destroy the people they are called to witness to. It is true as well that sometimes the RC Church has erred on accepting the practices and superstitions of the people they are called to witness to.

    Are you telling me if you had the power to change the names of days, months, planets, date of Christmas, Easter you would?

  295. Very Catholic of you.

    So by your own admission, it is sound evangelistic practice to include pagan festivals in the strategy.

    Thank you. Now we’re getting somewhere.

    And you didn’t cuss me out once!

    The RC church of the 15th century were the main destroyers. Again that was your own logic at work.

  296. @Bones

    “I do love you guys.”

    Appreciate the sentiment, but actions speak louder than words. Retract your “nutjob” comments, and I’ll believe you

  297. “Retract your “nutjob” comments, and I’ll believe you”

    You see being called a nutjob as evidence of lack of love? On this blog that’s almost a term of endearment.

  298. I don’t think any of us can really begin to imagine the decisions faced by the people we so easily criticize. Church leaders and missionaries have always faced the problem of how much to engage with the culture they evangelize in. It’s really not that easy.

    I could go on and on and give examples, but suffice it to say that it’s not absurd to replace a pagan holiday with some kind of Christian event – even if it’s initially just to give the converts something to do when the other 99% of the population are involved in the celebration of the day.

    Some things just evolve over time.

    But here’s a funny thing. A groovy church like C3 could go to Japan and start a church but Christmas with all it’s pagan trappings and non-biblical traditions is so loved there, that if you held a Christmas event on the 24th, complete with trees, lights, mistletoe, etc you would probably easily get three times the amount of visitors to your church than for any other time.

    So modern funky churches have the great luxury of being able to evangelize on the goodwill of centuries of Christian witness of the Catholics and Anglicans, but can make it exciting and relevant but then distance themselves from every evil and mistake of thousands of years.

    It’s a great place to be.

    (and that’s not a criticism. Just pointing out that we are standing on the shoulders of giants and I think we diss the giants too much.)

  299. @Margot, so when were the golden years of sp?

    Or the time for you personally when you felt it had a positive influence on your life?

  300. “however Roundhouse, you are a nutjob so i’m not sure how Bones could possibly retract the statement and retain any integrity whatsoever. ”

    Everyday, I tell myself that I am going to watch what I say, only speak encouraging words and long for the day when Christians “esteem one another” etc etc

    Then I read a line like that and literally laugh out loud.

    Some of the insults on here would make Basil Fawlty and Blackadder proud.

  301. btw Steve, I keep forgetting who everyone is here, but i thought you were a C3 Pastor? Or something like that. Anyway, if you are, just thought I’d tell you again that you are a credit to your group. Really. I know a lot of pentecostal pastors and missionaries, but I don’t know any who could keep up with a defense of Charismania (my term of endearment) using biblical quotes and historical sources like you. Impressed!

    You should be the Charismatic Apologetics teacher at the Holy Spirit Radical New Generation Flourishing Totally Awesome Bible College!

  302. Greg it is obvious that Jesus literally gave the Bible to Protestant Reformed Pentecostals (ie the disciples) who immediately went into hiding with the remant JWs, Mormons, Christadelphians and all the other remnants of the true faith.

  303. So by your own admission, it is sound evangelistic practice to include pagan festivals in the strategy.

    Thank you. Now we’re getting somewhere.

    And you didn’t cuss me out once!

    The RC church of the 15th century were the main destroyers. Again that was your own logic at work.

    Give me time.

    Notice how after totally having your argument annihilated, you are left to pick on a crumb.

    It’ll be interested to see Pentecostal churches in 2000 years time. Actually many won’t last a century and haven’t even lasted a generation before falling into a moral or doctrinal heap.

    And I agree with Greg. If you want to reach a culture you have to assimilate to it. Terrible that, isn’t it.

  304. Indeed, to attack the Papacy is to attack Jesus Christ who willed it to be. However, many don’t see this; many don’t see the need in a unifying force (such as the Pope, the Magisterium and the Church). But, they agree that we need a President of a country to be a unifying force. This is the work of Satan – to blind good people from seeing the good of what is actually good (or from seeing the bad of what is actually bad). The same evil work comes through attacking the Mother of the Lord. My goodness – what charity is there in either? Some are so very eager to slam the Pope while placing the same said selves on grand pedestals of self-appointed self-righteousness. Jesus said it to Peter, and Peter and the Apostles, by the immense help of Pentecost, started the tradition which has continued to this day, albeit with great and dark challenges along the way – yet never overcome, as Christ promised. What charity is there in attacking the “tree” (the Catholic Church) from which the “branches” have splintered (the Eastern and other ecclesial communities)? The break away communities do not realize that they are acting, at many times, more like Mistletoe than like authentic branches because they will the “tree” to die for the sake of their own growth – and they are NOT of the “tree” and they do not bear the good fruit of the “tree” – for the fruit of Mistletoe is poison, but the Mistletoe (which pridefully demands its name be capitalized) feasts on the life-blood of the “tree.” And you see, by this analogy, that all Grace is given through the authority of the Catholic Church to be received either as an organic part of the “tree” or as a parasitic growth feasting upon it yet willing it’s death and doom. And how, then, will the Mistletoe live if the “tree” were to die, as if actually it could die. What blindness – the work of Satan upon good souls.

    It is better to believe in Christ’s command to Peter than it is to doubt Peter’s authority which is Christ Himself. So, what Peter and His successors say on matters of faith and morals – they are authorized by Christ to say. Indeed, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is authorized by Christ, through the successor of Peter. There is no one else on earth with that authority. To respect it, is to respect the very Word of Christ which set the Church in motion upon the shoulders of Peter and His Apostles.

  305. Bones,

    “Nope just seeing if there is a correlation between stupidity and biblical literalism.

    Which there is.”

    So when it says in John 6:

    ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” […] Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.’

    and you take that literally, what does that make you?

  306. “And I agree with Greg. If you want to reach a culture you have to assimilate to it. Terrible that, isn’t it.”

    ‘You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.’
    1 Cor 10:21

  307. “Indeed, to attack the Papacy is to attack Jesus Christ who willed it to be.”

    Jesus Christ willed no such thing. The catholic church is a creation of Satan, pure and simple.

    “But, they agree that we need a President of a country to be a unifying force.”

    Really? Who is the president of Australia?

    “[…] Peter and the Apostles, by the immense help of Pentecost, started the tradition […]”.

    You haven’t read your Bible, have you? Jesus took a very dim view of tradition – he rebuked the Pharisees for nullifying the word of God by their tradition. It’s interesting to note, therefore, that the catholic “church” also nullifies the word of God by their traditions.

    “What charity is there in attacking the “tree” (the Catholic Church) […]”

    If you want to use that sort of analogy, call the catholic “church” what it really is: a rotten log inhabited by insects.

    “[…] all Grace is given through the authority of the Catholic Church […]”

    ‘For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.’ John 1:17

    Do you see that? Grace comes through Jesus Christ, not through any “church” – but you, by your tradition, nullify the word of God.

    “There is no one else on earth with that authority.”

    ‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession […]’ 1 Peter 2:9

    Do you see that? As a Christian, I am chosen, a member of a royal priesthood, a member of a holy nation, and God’s special possession.

    If you had read your Bible, you would also understand that I am a true son of Abraham – and therefore a son of the living God – and that I am a brother of Christ and a joint heir with him. And are you aware that those of us who are Christians will judge angels?

    And you think I don’t have authority? How wilfully blind and ignorant can a man be?

  308. “Steve, Zorro, Roundhose and Margot.

    I do love you guys.”

    I know Bones; I love you too.

  309. “You should be the Charismatic Apologetics teacher at the Holy Spirit Radical New Generation Flourishing Totally Awesome Bible College!”

    Easily the quote of the year.

  310. There’s nothing wrong with tradition. Jesus worshipped in the Jewish tradition. Judaism is a religion based on tradtion. It wasn’t tradition that Jesus objected too but hypocrisy. The first thing the disciples did – start a traditon: called communion.

    But of course Zorro doesn’t have a tradition.

    Jackass!

  311. and you take that literally, what does that make you?

    John 6 and the Eucharistic discourses make far more sense literally than symbolically. It’s interesting how slavish many literalists are who condemn those who take Jesus words literally; like the disciples (and as much evidenced by Early Christianity from the time of the disciples on) understood it.

    They condemn you for not taking Genesis literally and for taking Jesus’s words literally.

    They are truly hypocritical and I have to say it; nutbags.

  312. Er, what ‘annihilation’, Bones?

    I made the point that you admitted that RC evangelism included adapting paganism. You confessed to this as their strategy.

    I’d say the ‘annihilation’ was the other way round!

  313. “John 6 and the Eucharistic discourses make far more sense literally than symbolically”.

    To whom? A cannibal?

  314. “There’s nothing wrong with tradition.”

    Yeah, nothing wrong with it at all. After all, it’s tradition that’s given us the catholic “church” – that beacon of light, that shining example, the very apotheosis of Godliness in the earth.

    Not many hypocritical jackass nutbags in the catholic church, are there?

    Remember what Jesus said of the little children:

    “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

    Do you believe that what Jesus said is true, Bones?

  315. Hahaha

    It’s precisely why the early Christians were called cannibals. I wonder why?

    Christians are cannibalistic, incestuous, ass-worshiping magicians who practice dangerous superstitions. Or at least that is what early critics thought.

    The strongest evidence I’ve found for the ancient confession of the real presence is the fact that the early Christians were accused precisely of cannibalism, of eating children, to be precise. Why? The rumor got out that they were eating the flesh of the child of God. Wow…lots of theological realities are attested in that rumor.

    And how did they dispell that rumor? They didn’t! They locked non-baptized out of the church when they celebrated the Sacrament and kept right on eating and drink the body and blood of God’s Son.

    Now, they could have immediately said, “Oh, you misunderstand. It is just a symbol. It is a metaphor. Just like your Mithras rites are metaphors and symbols.” [a la Zwingli]. Or they could have trotted out Calvin’s, “Oh, no, we don’t actually believe we are actually eating or drinking the body and blood of Christ. Oh, no, our souls are ascending up to heaven and they are partaking of Him there.”

    Nope, they didn’t do that either.

    They just kept confessing the real presence and held it its comforting hope all the more.

  316. “Wow…lots of theological realities are attested [to] in that rumo[u]r.”

    So unlike us nutbags who read the Bible for theological insight, you prefer instead to see what wonderful truths you can glean from rumours?

    I know who I think the jackass is.

  317. Remember what Jesus said of the little children:

    “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

    Do you believe that what Jesus said is true, Bones?

    There are many Protestants and Pentecostals I can apply that verse too as well.

  318. Wow Zorro, you need to go back to primary school and learn some basic comprehension skills.

    I wonder why there was a rumour that Christians were cannibals.

    I really shouldn’t be mean to the intellectually impaired.

  319. Yes, maybe Steve could post how tragic and obviously pagan that Gregory XIII didn’t get rid of the pagan Hindu-Arabic number system. He could have if he wanted to. He didn’t therefore he was a pagan lover.

    True nutbag.

  320. How is your traditionless life going, Zorro?

    Must be interesting having a life based on no tradition whatsoever. Crikey, you mustn’t even have communion.

    Because after all Jesus is against tradition.

    The eyes see, the ears hears, but there really isn’t anyone home is there.

  321. “There are many Protestants and Pentecostals I can apply that verse too as well.”

    You have to avoid the issue of the sins committed by the catholic “church”, don’t you Bones? Their offences are piled up to heaven, and they are a stench in God’s nostrils. How will they avoid the judgement that is coming upon them?

  322. “I wonder why there was a rumour that Christians were cannibals.”

    I wonder why some people think the world will end on December the 24th this year. You don’t think that maybe that’s true as well, do you Bones? Do you think that maybe that was something Jesus said to the Mayans?

  323. Bones, can’t you have a discussion without a sarcastic remark or dopey insult? No, you’ll say! OK!

    You have stated 1) that RCs were responsible for some of the greatest atrocities amongst pagans in Central and South America, 2) RCs were responsible for incorporating pagan beliefs into their strategy for evangelism, and 3) that utilising pagan festivals is perfectly sensible for RCs to use as an introductory level faith in their belief system.

    These things indicate a very strong connection between RC approaches to evangelism and building community, and existing Roman idolatry and pagan beliefs, which we seem to still have amongst us, even after over 2,000 years of Christian enterprise.

    I, for one, would like to see the the names on the days of the weeks and months changed to reflect either Christian values or a more numeric secular approach.

    Sadly, in business, the old Gregorian calendar throws up a pagan necessity which could have been dealt a blow long ago.

    I think it is an issue, and has been perpetuated by RC refusal to embrace the full gospel and deny the gods of men, groves, dates, festivals, and hill-top shrines of pagan and heathen worship.

    Embracing their feasts and dates is tantamount to embracing their gods.

    I’d rather we didn’t have to.

    Far from being moronic, nutjob-ic or any other -ic, this is a godly desire founded on true worship.

  324. “Zorro, how did you get the canon of the New Testament?”

    How could you not know that Bones? Aren’t you meant to be some sort of expert on church history?

  325. You have to avoid the issue of the sins committed by the catholic “church”, don’t you Bones? Their offences are piled up to heaven, and they are a stench in God’s nostrils. How will they avoid the judgement that is coming upon them?

    Probably God thinks the same of your sins. But I believe you think you will avoid His judgement.

    The Catholic Church has sought forgiveness for many wrongs in the past including reconciliation and repentance.

    That is not enough for some. I noticed you hated the Lutherans for coming into dialogue as well.

    You hate the Orthodox too. What did they do to you for you to condemn them?

    Of course you keep your real Christian theology as a bit of a secret. It might be a weakness to know you’re reformed and the nightmares that occurred under Oliver Cromwell and John Calvin’s Geneva.

  326. “I, for one, would like to see the the names on the days of the weeks and months changed to reflect either Christian values or a more numeric secular approach.”

    So long as we don’t end up with Houstonday, Pringleday …

    Or we could go the numeric approach – just imagine, if you promised to do something “oneday”, then you would be bound to make good before “twoday” arrived (maybe that would mean it should have been done yesterday?)

  327. “But I believe you think you will avoid His judgement.”

    That’s because, unlike the catholic “church”, I repent.

  328. “I know, Zorro.”

    I don’t believe that you do – if you did, you wouldn’t be asking me.

  329. I tend to use the following configuration in business: 19.50 hrs on 10/05/2012. That way no-one is compromised, so it’s already there if we look.

    Bones prefers the ‘traditional’ way, because it suits his catholic leanings.

  330. I don’t believe that you do – if you did, you wouldn’t be asking me

    So I take it you have no problems in accepting that the clergy who decided on the New Testament Scriptures were the AntiChrist.

  331. Bones prefers the ‘traditional’ way, because it suits his catholic leanings.

    Yep, I live in reality.

    You must have done well teaching your kids not to use the pagan names for days, months, planets. Have you made up your own names for them?

  332. That’s because, unlike the catholic “church”, I repent.

    Catholics have repented, you choose not to forgive.

  333. Bones, you continually reference paganism on behalf of your catholic roots. I need no other witness but yours.

    Now showing – THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, the church that gave brought you THE WINTER SOLSTICE FESTIVAL SPECIAL – XMAS, and ASH TOROTH IN APRIL, and now the blockbuster, for one day only WODENSDAY. Coming soon to a church near you – THORS DAY, an action packed myth of epic proportions.

  334. I mean, judge no man in regard to a holy day or a feast, but please don’t try to tell us there is no paganism in the RC church. It’s rife with it.

  335. There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.
    There is no paganism in the RC Church.

  336. Christians really are easily deceived by propaganda.

    From the Reformed Brian Abshire

    Rethinking the Pagan Origins of Christmas

    Reformed believers have never liked Christmas. The Regulative Principle states that what God has not commanded in worship, is forbidden; since there is no command to celebrate Christmas, many Reformed folks think Christians shouldn’t either. The more historically minded will cite the Puritans and Presbyterians who denounced Christmas and banned it when they could. Some will even insist that Christmas is really a Popish plot to seduce Protestants back into Romanism.

    Furthermore, they often point out that most of our Christmas traditions derive from pagan sources and surely, no right-thinking Christian would want to participate in an essentially, idolatrous celebration, would they?

    Yet many other Christians, without a particular theological axe to grind, are also very uncomfortable with celebrating Christmas. Every year I get at least one email or letter from some concerned reader quoting those verses in Jeremiah about the foolish idolater who cuts down a tree and worships it. And I am not above criticism here; a number of years ago I wrote an article for a national magazine explaining how most of our Christmas traditions actually arose out of Roman and Celtic nature worship.

    When I first began my campaign to “expose” the “pagan origins” of Christmas back in the seventies, I rather enjoyed debunking this most sentimental of holidays to smug, self-satisfied Christians who never thought about WHY they were doing, what they were doing. The Apostle Paul warned about those who thought they knew something (1 Cor 8:1) because a little knowledge can make a man arrogant. And, to be honest, there was more than a little arrogance on my part over the years when I would sit down with someone and take an unholy delight in telling them that all their holiday traditions were little more than demonic inspired pagan rituals baptized with the thinnest veneer of “Popish” Christianity.

    However, as I have had a chance to read more, think more and reconsider whether the dubious pleasures of being a cynical, condescending, self-righteous jerk is worth the cost of God’s eternal judgment (it isn’t): eventually I concluded that I needed to re-think these issues from the bottom up. First, there IS a legitimate theological question on whether or not it is ethically appropriate for Christians to celebrate Christmas, since we have no explicit command to do so. But as I am going to try and demonstrate in this essay, in reality, MOST of the reasons given against Christmas are misinformed at best; and sometimes are mere rationalizations to justify something a bit unsavory in our characters. So if you think you already KNOW all about “Christmas” and its “Pagan past” maybe I can help you to rethink some things.

    Historical Origins

    When people debunk Christmas, usually they begin with calling the date into question. It is often said that while no one is sure exactly when the Lord Jesus was born, it probably wasn’t in December since shepherds did not keep flocks outside during the winter therefore, being no need to watch them. So how did we arrive at December 25 as Christmas? The traditional debunker’s answer is that the early church chose December twenty-fifth because it was part of the Roman holiday of Saturnalia, a celebration of the birth of the unconquerable Sun god.

    At this point, the reasonably astute scholar will cite sociological or psychological factors demonstrating the widespread celebration of the winter solstice in European pagan cultures. For example, in primitive times, winter was always the low point of the year; the harvests were all in, and no further sources of food would be available until the next harvest. If the harvest was not sufficient, starvation was inevitable Furthermore, modern research only now is beginning to understand the serious physiological and psychological effects of the lack of sunlight.

    The pagan presupposition of the prime nature of reality meant that the gradual darkening of the days until the winter solstice was an implicit threat that spring might never come. Supposedly, somewhere in the dim, dark past when our ancestors squatted in caves and the height of erudite conversation consisted of “Ug,” they feared that the spring would never return. Often, human sacrifices were made to ensure that the days would again lengthen and spring with its new life would return. And sure enough, once the sacrifices were made, the days starting getting longer again! Thus it is said that many pagan cultures over time, developed the custom to celebrate some sort of midwinter festival; a festival that came down to us as (dire music here) Christmas!

    However, let’s think about this for a moment shall we? This approach is based essentially on an evolutionary presupposition about the origins and development of human culture. Winter solstice festivals, especially in Northern Europe are assumed to evolve out of the recurring fear that the world was headed into eternal winter and therefore, when the days began to lengthen, and enough food was on hand to provide assurance of surviving until spring, it became a time of celebration. Rome is assumed to have had this same tradition and being a civilized and depraved society, turned into a rowdy orgy. Gifts were freely exchanged, slaves often exchanged places with their masters for the day, and drunkenness and debauchery were common.

    Most Christmas detractors cite the above as reason enough to regard celebrating the nativity as just another example of the Church compromising with paganism. However, new research is coming out that is overturning this “traditional” view of the holiday’s origins. First, some writers seem to jump between what may have been certain Celtic traditions and Roman ones without really thinking about the differences. The Mediterranean winter is considerably different than the ones experienced in Northern Europe and it is unlikely that different environmental factors would have resulted in similar social customs; i.e., there is a big difference in surviving a frozen winter in Northern Germany and a wet, but reasonably warm winter in Rome! Yet, debunkers switch between the two traditions without really seeming to appreciate the differences between the cultures.

    Secondly, the assumption that Christians “baptized” a pagan holiday appears to be the work of two scholars who each had an axe to grind. Paul Ernst Jablonski, a German Protestant, wanted to show that the celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25th was one of the many “paganizations” of Christianity transforming “pure” apostolic Christianity into Roman Catholicism. Since he was already predisposed to hate Christmas (and Catholocism), he sought arguments why Christians should not celebrate it; attributing its origins to paganism is an effective way to poison the well. The second scholar was a Roman Catholic, Dom Jean Hardouin, a Benedictine monk, who tried to show that the Catholic Church adopted pagan festivals for Christian purposes without paganizing the gospel.

    However, there is now available from good evidence that rather than Christians copying a pagan festival, that the Romans actually copied the celebration of Christmas from Christians! The below quote is quite long but well worth the read.

    “But in fact, the date [December 25th] had no religious significance in the Roman pagan festal calendar before Aurelian’s time, nor did the cult of the sun play a prominent role in Rome before him. There were two temples of the sun in Rome, one of which (maintained by the clan into which Aurelian was born or adopted) celebrated its dedication festival on August 9th, the other of which celebrated its dedication festival on August 28th. But both of these cults fell into neglect in the second century, when eastern cults of the sun, such as Mithraism, began to win a following in Rome. And in any case, none of these cults, old or new, had festivals associated with solstices or equinoxes.
    As things actually happened, Aurelian, who ruled from 270 until his assassination in 275, was hostile to Christianity and appears to have promoted the establishment of the festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Sun” as a device to unify the various pagan cults of the Roman Empire around a commemoration of the annual “rebirth” of the sun. He led an empire that appeared to be collapsing in the face of internal unrest, rebellions in the provinces, economic decay, and repeated attacks from German tribes to the north and the Persian Empire to the east.

    In creating the new feast, he intended the beginning of the lengthening of the daylight, and the arresting of the lengthening of darkness, on December 25th to be a symbol of the hoped-for “rebirth,” or perpetual rejuvenation, of the Roman Empire, resulting from the maintenance of the worship of the gods whose tutelage (the Romans thought) had brought Rome to greatness and world-rule. If it co-opted the Christian celebration, so much the better.”

    Thus rather than Christians co-opting some pagan festival, it looks as if the pagans stole one from us! The old evolutionary assumption of primitive, superstitious pagans creating a festival back in the dim dawn of human history in response to misunderstood environmental forces must give way to an advanced culture intentionally creating a religious celebration for purely civil purposes. Therefore the widespread assumption is that Christmas is just a baptized version of “Saturnalia” is not historically maintainable.
    The feast of the Nativity seems to have sprung full blown in the fourth century (AD 336); yet a moment’s reflection shows that this assumption is unwarranted. It implies a degree of centrality of power that the Church would not have until many centuries later; the fourth century church was NOT the monolithic institution it became in the late Middle Ages; the “pope” at this point was simply the bishop of Rome. Therefore to assume that a brand new feast could be created out of whole cloth and imposed on the entire church is stretching things a bit.

    Furthermore, if a festival appears suddenly with traditions and customs, then it is highly unlikely that it is something new. Most likely, the festival had been celebrated quietly for a long time BEFORE it became publicly acceptable. Remember, the real reason why Christianity was suppressed under the Roman Empire, was for civil, not theological reasons. Rome required an annual sacrifice to the Emperor recognizing him as “Lord;” the ultimate connection between heaven and earth. Christians could not in conscience offer a pinch of incense to a statue of the Emperor and call him “Lord” because Jesus, and Jesus alone was Lord. Thus, Christianity was seen as a revolutionary movement and its members as traitors to the Empire.

    Celebrating the birthday of the King or Emperor was more than just a social custom, but an important political reality; it demonstrated one’s allegiance and submission to the civil order. Thus for Christians to openly celebrate the birth of Christ would have been to invite intense persecution BECAUSE the culture of the day would have seen it as a treasonable act. Hence, the nativity was NOT openly celebrated for several hundred years.

    Yet, the church fathers in the fourth century, when Christianity became legal, openly acknowledged that Christmas HAD BEEN recognized and celebrated for a very long time-and that December 25 was widely held to be the Lord’s birthday (and thanks to Valerie Jacobson for doing the research on these).

    Augustine (354-430) of Hippo, On the Psalms, Psalm 133 “For from Christ comes the dew. No light is set on a high place, save Christ. How is He set on high? First on the cross, afterwards in heaven. Set on high on the cross when He was humbled; humbled, but His humiliation could not but be high. The ministry of man grew less and less, as was signified in John; the ministry of God in our Lord Jesus Christ increased, as was shown at their birth. The former was born, as the tradition of the Church shows, on the 24th of June, when the days begin to shorten. The Lord was born on the 25th of December, when the days begin to lengthen”
    Augustine also specifically titled one of his points of Sermon 22, “The Festival Has Nothing to Do with Sun-worship, as Some Maintain.” Thus in the fourth century, Augustine both refuted that Christmas had its origins in Saturnalia while also clearly attributing the Lord’s birth to December 25th as the “tradition of the church.” Why December 25? Well, the argument is too long and complex to go into here except to say that it had to do with trying to reconcile Roman and Jewish calendars; a headache for everyone involved. Furthermore, Christians at the time had certain theological presuppositions that governed how they actually dated certain events; they assumed a relationship between the death of the Lord Jesus and when He would have been born; and by carefully calculating the dates of certain “known” events, they arrived at December 25th as the day of His birth. Whether their calculations were based on a sound basis is really immaterial; the point is that the Lord’s birth was NOT celebrated just because it coincided with a Roman pagan festival. Their calculations might have been wrong, but they were not blindly being subverted by pagan influences or accommodation to cultural norms.
    Despite this, many debunkers insist that when the gospel penetrated Northern Europe, many of THEIR winter solstice customs found their way into Christmas celebrations, thus unwittingly introducing paganism into the church. Again, this is not quite so easy to determine as some have assumed. Granted, there was a tradition of a religious observance of Christmas AND a cultural custom of feasting and merry making that had long been a part of European culture, but how much of the actual customs and traditions actually derived from pagan sources just cannot be determined. Did the pagans influence Christians or did Christians influence the pagans? Which came first?

    For example, St. Boniface is usually credited with the idea of “Christmas trees” as he cut down Druid groves and secured the decorated trees in Christian homes to prevent pagans from worshipping them. So, does the “custom” of having Christmas trees come from pagan, Druid tree worship, or is it a Christian custom? Or is there even another explanation altogether?

    Most people assume that our current Christmas customs come down from pagan history, passed down from generation to generation with their origins being lost in the mist of times (until the debunkers write articles exposing the pagan origins of Christmas). However, what few Christians seem to appreciate is that almost ALL of our modern day Christmas traditions only came into existence in the 19th century when Queen Victoria brought her new German husband, Albert, to England. Albert introduced Christmas trees to English and American homes. Germans had a long history of Christmas trees that was unknown in Britain; in fact Martin Luther is usually credited with putting the first lights on trees to show his children the glory of God he witnessed one night by glimpsing stars through the trees one dark night. Albert brought this custom to England, and suddenly, everyone else wanted Christmas trees to!

    If you remember your Dickens, try to reconcile the “traditional” Christmas celebration of today, with what happened in Ebenezer Scrooge’s experience; despite the cultural differences between middle 19th century England and modern America, is there ANYTHING in Dickens that looks like our Christmas? Scrooge is vilified because he is a miser who takes no joy in life, lives in a cold, unheated home, eats gruel and only grudgingly gives his workers the day off. After his “conversion” he buys Bob Cratchet a goose and eats dinner with his nephew (at least I think that is what happened; I’ve seen too many movies to distinguish between the book and film versions). The point is, there is no tree, no presents, no mistletoe, holly, ivy, etc. There is no Santa Claus and the holiday has NOTHING to do with children. The story is in reality about a grumpy, nasty old man learning how to lighten up, become a bit more cheerful and nice to others while enjoying a feast with his family.

    However, when Victoria and Albert’s Christmas celebration was popularized in a British magazine, within a decade, a whole new tradition was created, almost out of whole cloth. Christmas became popular and new customs were invented, literally overnight. There is even evidence that some people self-consciously tried to create the appearance that certain symbols were ancient ways to celebrate Christmas, just to give the new holiday some sort of authenticity and credibility. Thus mistletoe, holly, ivy, wreathes, etc., all within just a decade or two, were deliberately chosen as Christmas “symbols” and accepted by the public BECAUSE they gave people the feeling of antiquity. In fact, an argument can be made that it was only later on that some scholars made a connection between these symbols and how some ancient pagans might have used them. But the connection is tenuous at best; it is simply inaccurate to say that somehow these customs originated in ancient pagan religion and survived down into the present time when in reality, they were NOT a common part of Christmas celebrations UNTIL the late 19th century! Thus our modern celebration of Christmas, in reality, has NO direct connection with ancient pagan religion or their symbols because MOST of what defines a “traditional” Christmas was in fact deliberately and self-consciously created by the Victorians!

    Even the much maligned Santa Claus (the English “Father Christmas”) who began life as a Celtic version of Bacchus, the god of wine and drunkenness is not quite what you think. In England, going back to antiquity, traveling groups of actors made a bare living by putting on various religious plays. One of the favorite recurring characters that showed up around Christmas time was “Father Christmas” who was universally considered a crude, drunken, lecherous individual. He was a comic relief kind of character, and probably was in fact intended to be a Christian ridicule of ancient pagan religion and excesses. He was never taken seriously, never honored and he certainly was not the sort of person you would want to dangle your children on his lap.

    However, though there is some connection between “Father Christmas” (as he is still called in England) and Santa Claus, the two are distinct individuals. Santa is a creation of good old American ingenuity and is an amalgamation of a number of different traditions, “Father Christmas” being only one dim source for the legend. The Dutch who settled New York had their traditions of “Saint Nicolas” which was far more influential in creating the myth than “Father Christmas.” In fact, it is likely that the British inflated the traditional “Father Christmas” as their own version of the American “Santa Claus” (the Brits are very sensitive about American cultural subversion).

    But most of what constitutes the “Santa Claus tradition” was actually the result of an invented, fictional character no more intended to be considered “authentic” or as a tie to Christmas past than Superman! The point being is that there was NO history of some jolly old elf who gave toys to good little boys and girls UNTIL what’s his name wrote that stupid poem “The night Before Christmas.” Identifying Santa Claus with “Father Christmas” or “St. Nicholas” is revisionist history pure and simple; an attempt to give some credibility and historicity to what was a created character intended to be no more real than Winnie the Pooh!

    And so for all the rest of the “traditional” customs that are so often associated with paganism. So what if a Christmas wreaths looks like the sign of Oromous: the snake that swallows its own tail (hence a pagan symbol of eternity, i.e., a circle has no beginning or end) or that Christmas colors are red and green, both of which had profound magical meaning in ancient cultures. So what if the first “Christmas” trees were originally literally living idols, or that holly and ivy had some association with Druid worship, or that mistletoe, according to ancient Nordic myths, was placed over marriage beds so that the couple might be fruitful and bear many children. None of these “symbols” were in fact highly regarded UNTIL the Victorians decided to invent a whole new holiday and needed things that would make Christmas look “traditional.”

    A Christian Response

    So if Christmas is so innocent, why were the Puritans and Presbyterians in the 17th century so opposed to its celebration? We must never forget that we are all subject to historical conditioning; that the events we see around us can and do have a profound effect on our perceptions and ideas. For the English Reformers, Christmas was not to be celebrated PRIMARILY because they were trying to purify the worship of God from all the man-made rules and regulations that had grown up under the Roman church. Remember, the prime cause of division between Protestants and Catholics was the issue of authority. Rome insisted that authority was vested in the church and therefore could change doctrine and bind men’s consciences at will. The Reformers insisted that final authority rested in the Word of God.

    Therefore in the 16th and 17th century, men literally fought and died over this issue of authority. The Roman church had created all sorts of feasts and festivals demanding that Christians celebrate them or suffer temporal and eternal sanctions. The Reformers insisted that only God, through His Word had proper authority. Christmas, Easter and other feasts, fasts and festivals of the church calendar were infringements of the doctrine of the liberty of conscience. Therefore, they denied that Christmas SHOULD be celebrated because there was no specific Biblical warrant for doing so.

    However, there was also another reason for the Puritan hatred of Christmas; Christmas as a feast, was well known for being a time of drunkenness and debauchery, with the church often turning a blind eye. Even in the 19th century, “Christmas Carolers” or the “Here we go a wassailing gang” was not the innocent custom we have today. Gangs of rowdy young men were known to go house to house singing songs and demanding free drinks; sometimes roughing up those who refused to “celebrate” the custom. Thus the Puritans and Presbyterians wanted to stamp out an ungodly practice that was associated with the worst sorts of behavior. It is just folly to look at our modern celebration of Christmas and assume that THIS was what the English Reformers were so concerned about. I doubt if there is an American evangelical alive today whose conscience is bound that if he does not celebrate Christmas, God will be displeased with him and he might lose his salvation. And the last time Christmas carolers came to my door, hardly any of them threatened to burn my house down if I refused to give them free booze!

    Thanks to the sentimentality of the Victorians, Christmas was made into a family-oriented holiday, focusing on children. Because they were a religious people (and revivalism had deeply stamped all evangelical Christianity with a strong emotive cast by the end of the century) the Victorians made a clear connection between the birth of Christ and the strong emotional bonds towards their own families. Christmas thus was no longer an adult festival, but a family one.

    Frankly, if I had lived in the 17th century I would have had no problem preaching against Christmas because at that time, it WAS a hindrance to sanctification. But that is NOT the case today; history has moved on and so should we. Granted, there is much today to criticize in the way that even Christians celebrate Christmas; for example, going into credit card debt to buy unneeded presents is pretty dumb. Materialism is of course a prevalent sin today and we often equate happiness with possessions. Christmas celebrations COULD become sinful if people spent money they did not have, or become absorbed with giving and receiving presents. Some people might find that they tend to get drunk at Christmas parties, or kiss other men’s wives under mistletoe; but then the problem, quite frankly is NOT Christmas, but of a lack of basic Christian character.

    But what about the worship issue; where do we get the right to celebrate Christmas since we have no Biblical command to celebrate the birth of Christ as a religious ordinance? Seriously though, who in this day, outside of the Roman church IS celebrating Christmas as a divine command? How can it be sin, to celebrate an historical event? Can Christians lawfully celebrate Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Reformation Day, or Mothers’ Day? Why or why not?

    A few years ago, after publishing a piece on Christmas, I received a letter from a “truly reformed” sort who was anti-Christmas and took exception to my writing that it was OK to recognize the Savior’s birth. He even included with his letter a copy of his church’s bulletin to show me what a “really” Reformed worship service looked like. In the announcement section was a blurb for their annual upcoming “Reformation Day” celebration with a special speaker in the morning, and a costume party for the kids after the evening service. Now just hold on a moment; where in Scripture did this truly Reformed brother receive a command to celebrate the Reformation? What divine mandate makes it acceptable to dress our kids up in costumes and have special games? Did you see what he has done? Celebrating the birth of Christ is somehow bad and evil; but it is OK to celebrate the Reformation! “Mr. Pot, Mr. Kettle on line two” If we can lawfully celebrate ANY event in history, such as the Reformation, or the American War of Independence, then we can also lawfully celebrate the birth of Christ.

    No, December 25th is NOT a “religious” holiday in that God has commanded us to do certain things on that day and if we do not do those things, we incur His wrath. A “Christmas” worship service is bound just like any other worship service to be conducted in certain ways; i.e., we sing, pray, read the Word, preach the Word and administer the sacraments. Sure, Christians ought to be careful not to introduce elements into the worship service such as advent candles and plays that replace the preaching of the Word-all things that would be unlawful in ANY worship service. Christmas trees and Santa Claus are just as inappropriate in worship services just as idol worship or temple prostitution (and yes, I am referring to YOU; roller-blading down the sanctuary dressed as Santa Claus-what were you thinking!).

    We are NOT free to create new elements of worship just because we think they might be nice or aesthetically pleasing. Worship is our religious duty to give back to God that which He has demanded of us; and if He hasn’t commanded it, we have no right to offer it; sorry, the theology of the Little Drummer boy is saccharine sweet but heretical. There is a recurring problem of sinful men wanting to create worship services that please us rather than God-but really, that’s a whole different issue. But come on people, why is it that I can preach messages about mothers on Mother’s Day, sermons on patriotism on Veteran’s Day, sermons emphasizing the Reformation on Reformation day, but I cannot preach on the incarnation in December! Give me a break!

    Furthermore, there are many things we may lawfully do outside of worship that are forbidden IN worship. For example, do you celebrate birthdays? Can you give your wife or children birthday presents, sing a special song to them, have a special cake with candles that can be blown out after they make a wish? If so, what is your Biblical mandate for doing so? What, God has not bound your conscience regarding celebrating birthdays and leaves it up to your personal choice? I agree; God is neither pleased nor displeased with you celebrating someone’s birthday other than whether the general provisions of His law are obeyed. However, if we can celebrate OUR birthdays lawfully, why can we not celebrate the birthday of the Lord Jesus just as long as we do not bind men’s consciences OR break God’s law in worship?

    But what about all the parties and gifts and special meals; surely all this consumption is unholy and displeasing to God. However, is it? God gave the ancient Israelites many different feasts and festivals; in fact they had to even set aside a third of a tithe so that every third year they could hold a big party! God certainly does NOT object to feasts and festivals, to enjoying the good things he provides, to remembering the weak and downtrodden, to giving gifts in memorial to His gracious gift to us.

    And that is really the unspoken problem that a lot of Christians have with Christmas despite their theological or historical rationalizations. They don’t like feasts and festivals; somehow being happy and joyous seems unspiritual to them. They may well have unconsciously adopted a Greek mindset that sees the body as inherently inferior, therefore making physical pleasures innately sinful. They conclude that there must be something wrong with people laughing and feasting, giving and receiving presents and having a good time! I am dead serious here; over the years when I talk to many, many Christians, it appears that the real reason why they hate Christmas is because they think that it is wrong to have fun. There really are a lot more people like Scrooge, and the Grinch than we think.

    The twenty-fifth of December as just another day, and is of no religious significance. There is nothing “holy” about it, and it despite the efforts of the Fathers to calculate the right date, probably was not the day Jesus was actually born. However If the angels of heaven could publicly proclaim His birth, what possible problem can there be for us to likewise commemorate that wondrous event? How can it be wrong to sing those wonderful, postmillennial hymns which celebrate the birth of Christ during the month of December? And since the incarnation is so central to human history, then where is the problem with preaching a special series of sermons exploring the implications of the advent of the Lord Jesus?

    And though most of what we think of as “traditional” Christmas customs are less than 100 years old, how is anyone violating God’s law by putting up a Christmas tree or giving kids some special presents on December 25th?” Where does Scripture say that God is offended if wives make some special foods for dinner that day? Where does He forbid us to invite friends, neighbors or members of the church over to laugh and joke and play silly games and rejoice in all the blessings that He gave this past year?

    So folks, lighten up, rejoice in your liberty of conscience in Christ. If you choose not to celebrate Christmas, then Lord bless you-take advantage of having the day off and read a good book or something. But grant your brother the same liberty of conscience-and literally, for God’s sake, do not create a law where He Himself has not done so. But as for me and my house, we intend to feast and celebrate and rejoice that the Lord has come into the world with a cheerful heart and a good conscience.

    http://christian-civilization.org/articles/rethinking-the-pagan-origins-of-christmas/

  337. “I tend to use the following configuration in business: 19.50 hrs on 10/05/2012. That way no-one is compromised.”

    No banana for you, Steve. The Americans use MM/DD/YYYY rather than DD/MM/YYYY, which introduces scope for confusion. Not only that, but neither DD/MM/YYYY *nor* MM/DD/YYYY sort in the correct order.

    The best solution is actually YYYY/MM/DD HH:MM which is unambiguous, and which does sort properly.

  338. Hey that was a great article Bones.

    “We must never forget that we are all subject to historical conditioning; that the events we see around us can and do have a profound effect on our perceptions and ideas. ”

    Aint that the truth.

  339. Wriggling like a beached fish in the shimmering sun, Bones, speaking of which…

    I dunno, it may all be just a strange coincidence that so much RC symbolism matches pagan stuff.

    But, why does any true Christian need any symbolism whatsoever?

    Isn’t having God in our lives in Person enough?

    Why should anyone need to be reminded by some image or statue, or ceremonial garb that is strangely reminiscent of ancient pagan idolatry?

  340. “Catholics have repented, you choose not to forgive.”

    No. They expressed remorse, but they haven’t changed their ways.

    Judas was conscience stricken after he had betrayed Jesus, but he was damned just the same.

  341. ““We must never forget that […] the events we see around us can and do have a profound effect on our perceptions and ideas. ”

    Unlike the Bible, which Bones ignores or ridicules except when it suits him, at which juncture he trenchantly defends it.

    Nutbag indeed.

  342. Thanks for the hint, Dr Z. I’ll consider that option.

    Bones, SM, Catholics all,

    I don’t give a rip what or when anyone celebrates, or what the days are called, or what people prefer as months, festivals, feasts, names, or whatever relates to anything under the sun.

    As I referenced earlier, let no one judge you or anyone in regard to a holy day or a sabbath.

    The Israelis have managed to retain a calendar which is Jewish and not Gregorian and seem to function OK within the broad spectrum of life.

    We can, as Dr Z and I have indicated, utilise modern configurations to get around it if it disturbs us to touch the unclean thing. Personally I don’t give a monkey’s. I’m free as bird, liberated by the blood of Jesus and life of the Holy Ghost.

    However, don’t come the raw prawn by trying to say the RC church has nothing in any way pagan in its make-up.

    I’ve shown so many things, which you are even pointing out to us as the truth, but not an issue, as a method of evangelism, as a matter of pragmatism, etc, etc, which is another way of saying to me that I’m completely right.

    So what isi it, Bones?

    There is no paganism in the RC church, or there is paganism in the RC church, but it’s OK because that’s the way they evangelise and adopt, er, sorry, adapt to other cultures, which are often pagan?

    You can’t have it both ways.

  343. Apologising for the murderous treatment of saints is one thing, Bones,and we applaud any move towards contrition, even though it was savagely opposed by many RC theologians, but retaining error is quite another.

    You realise that the reason the inquisitions murdered and maimed so many godly men and women, and their children, was to sustain the error which those martyrs opposed.

    If the error remains, there is no repentance, just an empty apology by a generation which identifies with the guilt and atrocities of its ancestors.

    But those martyrs still died at the hands of their persecutors. For what? For pointing out exactly what I am pointing out to you today.

    I guess you’d be putting a few faggots on the pyre.

  344. For our US guests, I hasten to add that a ‘faggot’, in its former British sense is a measure of a bundle of sticks used to light a fire.

    The other, slang, type Bones would certainly not want to burn.

  345. Btw, Steve, I’m not into the church calendar at all.
    I don’t even get excited about Christmas or Easter.
    And, I’m not Catholic. Neither am I interested in the past sins of churches. Southern Baptists and the Assemblies of God don’t have a great history with race relations either.

    The pentecostals have basically had a century of history. And the new style charismatic churches just a couple of decades.
    But go over to groupsects if you want to see how they are faring.

    If I were a critic looking in from the outside, or an historian, I would say that the Charismatic movement is morally bankrupt and couldn’t possible be of God.

    (how’s that – “an historian”)
    just thought I’d up the level here…

  346. @ SM – got any kids/ grandkids? That certainly ups the level of excitement at Christmas & Easter.

    Drains the bank account but perhaps that’s what tithing is really all about? 🙂

  347. My dear Steve – you seem very angry with the Catholic Church. Why? The Roman Catholic Church, via the armies of the Roman Empire, conquered the pagan tribes of Europe. The armies of the Roman Empire were filled with Catholic soldiers, and they brought religion and civilized life to them – indeed – to your and my forefathers. The Catholic Church further conquered, with the help of the appearance of Our Lady of Guadelupe, the Aztec Empire which was slaughtering humans daily by the thousands by forced human sacrifices – evil men ripping hearts from live people – and all of South and North American slowly fell under Christendom. And now the Church continues to bring life and civilization to other primitive peoples around the world. And so, the Church leaders, even in light of their pagan rituals, brought them into the Church to save their lives. In her great wisdom, the Church may apply tactics to help destroy pagan practices, even by creating some which mimic pagan practices – like the practice of the Christmas tree. Oh my! You did not know that the Christmas tree is related to pagan rituals in Germany? Indeed! It goes back to the time of St. Boniface who evangelized the Germans tribes o/a 8th Century AD.

    That stated, here is the “key” to the problem within Christendom: rebellion against authorized authority – the Pope and the Magisterium. They have the Holy Spirit to guide them and us. Christ made it so, whether you will support that Scriptural truth or not. But why do so many reject the authority of the Pope and the Magisterium and Tradition and then go off and flounder developing some 27,000 splinter groups all looking at each other and wondering, “What is truth? What do those words in the Scriptures really mean? Why are we all divided and scattered and none of us can agree? Oh, where is the unity?”

    The unity is from the Holy Spirit and that Spirit holds THE Church together. Our separated bretheren have Baptism to hold them within our Church of Christ which subsists in the one, apostolic and catholic Church. But there is not much more. Indeed, our separated bretheren have faith, but that faith is from their Baptism which the Pope and the Magisterium recognizes.You are missing out on those graces which come from the other sacraments and life of the Catholic Church.

    Peace to you. Seek true obedience out of love for God. Seek unity. Try to trust Jesus’s commission to build His Church on Peter. Try to trust Jesus’s delegation of authority to the Apostles to loose and bind. Trust also in the fact that the Popes and other ordained are still sinful human beings – they are not God or gods – and then trust also that God works through that to keep us guided by His Holy Spirit. Trust and you will truly live life to the fullest here and eternally. Stop hating. You are not hated; you are like a weak little brother who needs help understanding. It is good to be a child in the eyes of God, is it not? But even a child must be just.

    Peace to you.

  348. @ francisphillip – be blessed by the finished work of Christ…..

    The Gospel and Roman Catholicism

    What Roman Catholics Need to Hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ

    by Bob DeWaay

    “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” (1Timothy 1:15)

    “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1John 5:12,13)

    There are many hurting and disillusioned people who grew up under the teachings of the Roman Catholic church. They are disillusioned because the church that they were told is their only hope of getting to God has been found to be scandalous. Knowing nothing but the Catholic Church, feeling let down by the Catholic Church, and knowing of no other way to find God, they feel hopeless. This article is addressed to such individuals. I want to share with you some things that Jesus and His Apostles taught that you probably never heard from your Church. What you know so far seems like “bad” news: only the Roman Catholic Church holds the key to finding God’s forgiveness and this church has lost credibility. So you either support the church in spite of evidence that there are many serious problems, or you give up on finding God. What the church has not told you, but is contained in the Bible she claims to believe, is the truth that will set you free.

    Jesus Did it all For You
    The most common problem in the minds of many who have grown up under the guidance of the Roman Catholic church, is the idea that Jesus did not do enough to assure anyone of heaven. It is understood that the works prescribed by the church are necessary if one is to ever hope to please God and find forgiveness. Another problem is the popular perception that all good people go to heaven, especially if they are Catholic. So there are the confusing, conflicting notions that only by obeying Rome can one hope to find heaven and that everyone will probably go there anyway unless they are horrible criminals. I will show you from the Bible that both of these ideas are not true.

    Let us start with the idea that all “good” people go to heaven, especially if they are Catholic. One Bible verse quoted at the beginning of this article says that only the one who “has the Son” has life. Those who do not are excluded. The next verse makes it clear that it is eternal life that Saint John was writing about. The Roman Catholic church believes that there is a literal heaven and hell, and they are right about that matter. But what you have not been told is what the Bible says is the basis of God’s final judgment that determines your eternal destiny. Saint John says it is your relationship to Jesus Christ that determines this. Listen to what Jesus said as quoted by His beloved Apostle John: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24). Jesus says that eternal life is something that one can have based on believing His Words and trusting God. When He says, “passed out of death,” He is speaking of the matter of our sinful condition. The penalty for sin is death. Here is how Saint Paul explained it: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

    God allowed Saint John, at the end of his life, to see and write about what will happen at the end of this age. He wrote about the final judgment: “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds” (Revelation 20:12). He then wrote about the final destiny of those whose names were not found in the book of life: “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). What we need to know is how our name can be found in that book. What work can we do that will assure that our name will be found in the roll book of heaven? The Roman Catholic church has a long list of works you have been told to do, works that will keep you busy the rest of your life. But what did Jesus say we must do?

    Jesus was asked directly what work was necessary to please God: “They said therefore to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (John 6:28). What do you think Jesus’ answer was? Did He tell them to make sure to be very religious for the rest of their lives and make sure they give to the church? No. Saint John wrote down the very words of Jesus on this matter: “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent’” (John 6:29). Jesus was the one God sent, who existed with God from all eternity, who was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus walked the face of the earth as the only sinless One, fully human and fully God. The Roman Catholic church believes these facts. What Jesus said was that the work of God is to put your faith in Christ. This is not a meritorious work you do, but it is the work of God in you that transforms you.

    This belief that is necessary to please God and to have your name found in the Book of Life so that you escape the final judgment, includes trusting in what Christ has done for you. Just after Jesus told those inquirers about the work of God, which is faith in Christ, Jesus also said this:

    Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you, that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:35-37)
    You must come to Christ and trust Him as the One who has everything you need. Many who personally saw Jesus do many miracles did not believe on Him. Those ones he was talking to in John 6 had seen Him multiply bread miraculously and walk on water. Yet they refused to believe Him when He taught them that He was the only way to God. Consider what He said to these same people: “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40).

    Paying the Penalty
    So Jesus taught that you can have eternal life and have assurance that you will participate in the final resurrection to spend eternity in heaven with Jesus and all the saints. There is important content about this faith you must have that the Roman Catholic church likely has never told you. Their own Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for all sins for sinners who trust Him, once for all. It is the once for all that your church has failed to inform you about. You likely feel like Jesus has to be sacrificed over and over again in the Mass, and that you must participate or your sins can never be forgiven. Please let me share some Bible verses with you about this matter so you can judge for yourself what Jesus and His personal disciples taught.

    Saint Peter explained the purpose of Jesus’ death, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1Peter 3:18a). Since Jesus was sinless, He died for our sins, not His. That He died “once for all,” means that the payment He made to God for sins was sufficient payment for any and all sins. No further sacrifice would ever be necessary. When we speak of the blood of Jesus, we are speaking of his laid down life, and the literal blood shed when He was crucified. That one act satisfied God’s holy and just requirements for payment of sins. “Once for all” means that it never needs to be or will be repeated. We need to trust His once for all payment of our sins rather than trust human works. All religious works are worthless if they are not done out of faith in Christ’s finished work. Saint Paul wrote, “whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23b).

    Peter also told that Jesus’ “once for all” death for sins is for the purpose of “bringing us to God.” It is Jesus who brings us to God. Those who put their faith in Jesus and Him alone, He will bring to heaven so that we might be in the presence of God. Jesus Himself said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3). After Jesus died for sins, He was raised from the dead on the third day. After appearing to His disciples He bodily ascended into heaven. The apostles of Christ had been told to be comforted, because He was making a place for them there. Jesus then made a very strong statement, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me’” (John 14:6). Jesus and Jesus alone can bring us to the Father, and give us a place in Heaven.

    The Mediator
    God brings us into a relationship with Himself when we come to Jesus Christ by faith and believe that He paid the penalty, once for all. This means that we repent (turn away from trusting our selves or anything other than God) and believe (trust fully in the resurrected Christ). Those who repent and believe are saved from the wrath of God. Saint John wrote about this, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). God’s wrath against sin was averted by the blood of Jesus. The Bible tells us about how Jesus made a better sacrifice than the Old Testament animal sacrifices:

    And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:12-14)
    Jesus cleanses us not just by an external covering of sin, but He cleanses us from the inside out. He does a work of grace in our hearts and minds. When our conscience is defiled because we know we sinned, doing a few good deeds will not cleanse it. If we trust Jesus’ finished work, He will fully cleanse our conscience, making us forgiven and clean.

    The next verse in the book of Hebrews after the one just quoted calls Jesus our “mediator.” This is very important for you to understand. It on this point where the Roman Catholic Church has misled you and millions of others. You likely have been told that there are numerous mediators between you and God, from the local priest, to the bishops, other prelates, the pope, glorified saints, and Mary. However, please think about what Saint Paul wrote in the Bible: “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Timothy 2:5). There is only one mediator, Jesus Christ. You may have been told that you cannot go directly to Jesus. If so, nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible says that you must go to Jesus to be saved: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

    Jesus is man and God, the only perfect, sinless savior. As God He is able to hear your prayers. Any person lacking the qualities of deity cannot do so. We are finite and shall always be finite for all eternity. If you are in a room with ten or 15 people speaking at once, you are soon unable to understand any of them. Imagine having a million people speaking to you at once! To be able to hear them all simultaneously and respond to them would require infinite intelligence and power. Jesus has that, since He is God. Mary is a glorified saint1, but still finite as are the rest of the saints and all created beings. Jesus was never created, but existed with God and as God from all eternity. Therefore, Jesus can hear you and go to the Father on your behalf, if you trust Him.2 Mary cannot possibly hear and answer all the prayers being directed her way every day, she is a finite human being. Only Jesus can help you, and He wants you to ask Him to. Jesus makes this invitation to you: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy‑laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28,29).

    Trusting Jesus for Salvation
    The Gospel is the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. The gospel is free. None of us will ever merit salvation, it is given to sinners as a free gift. The Bible ends with and invitation to receive this free gift: “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost” (Revelation 22:17). Coming to Christ means giving up trusting self, man, or any religious system. It means trusting the finished work of Christ on your behalf.

    The message of the Bible is very simple. It is summarized in Jeremiah 17: “Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord . . . Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord” (Jeremiah 17:5,7). To trust any system of religious works is to trust man. We must repent of this and believe upon Jesus Christ whom God raised from the dead. Saint Paul wrote: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved” (Romans 10:9). To be saved means to be rescued from the penalty of sin and the wrath of God. To be saved means to be assured of spending eternity in heaven with God and all the glorified saints.

    You have probably been told that no one can know for sure if they are completely right with God and assured of heaven. The Bible says differently. I will close with this passage that was cited at the beginning of this article: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1John 5:13). You can know your eternal destiny now. Lay aside all the religious works and human intermediaries and turn in faith to Christ, believing that He paid the penalty for sins, once for all. God cannot lie, and He said that He gives eternal life to all who believe in Christ.

  349. Romans 10:1-4 (ESV)

    “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them (Catholics) is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

  350. Francis…that first paragraph of your just may be the most politically incorrect view of history that I’ve seen in a long time.

    If I were you I wouldn’t say it on TV.

  351. @Margot. I should have explained further. I don’t personally find Christmas or Easter a more spiritually significant time. That’s just me.

    But, Christmas with all the tradition that it brings – yeah it’s my favorite time of the year. Nice food, smiley happy kids, and I like all the music too. (even the secular stuff – Elvis’ Blue Christmas – you name it.)
    And it is a great time to have events in church – I’m thinking esp of Asia.

    But for me personally…? Not really into it.

    Having said that, I realize that most of Christendom has observed the church calendar, and I think that’s cool.

    No escaping my upbringing I suppose. Grew up in the 70’s in Queensland and then joined a charismatic church that didn’t have any traditions – except baptism at the church picnic!

    btw, guys, can we discuss something important one day?

  352. Like this from Francisphillip?

    “That stated, here is the “key” to the problem within Christendom: rebellion against authorized authority – the Pope and the Magisterium. They have the Holy Spirit to guide them and us. Christ made it so, whether you will support that Scriptural truth or not. But why do so many reject the authority of the Pope and the Magisterium and Tradition and then go off and flounder developing some 27,000 splinter groups etc etc……”

    Bring on the rebellion.

  353. “Thanks for the hint, Dr Z. I’ll consider that option.”

    You’re welcome, Steve.

  354. “My dear Steve – you seem very angry with the Catholic Church.”

    I don’t think Steve is angry, francisphillip. I think he is rightly dismissive of the absurd claims of roman catholicism, which are without scriptural foundation and which actually run counter to the scriptures.

    On the day of judgement the pope will have to bend his knee before God, and he will be compelled to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. That will be the last thing he does before being consigned to the place that has been prepared for him in the lake of fire.

    Remember: Jesus is Lord, the pope’s a fraud.

  355. “but of course neither you nor Steve are bigoted toward the Catholic Church, oh no – of course not.”

    You can call it what you like, Greg; what matters is the fact that I’m right.

  356. This thread is getting really, really boring. It’s going nowhere. Steve, Bones is not going to get it through his head that the Catholic Church isn’t everything he believes it to be. Time will tell how wrong he is. Arguing about it now is pointless. Just leave him to stew in his own bile and change the subject!

    So, Steve, what about posting your views on the “prosperity gospel”?

  357. Why should anyone need to be reminded by some image or statue, or ceremonial garb that is strangely reminiscent of ancient pagan idolatry

    Having smashed your condemnation of the Christian origins of Easter and Christmas, let’s do some more.

    The video shows nothing of paganism.. Look a picture of pagan symbol, now a Catholic symbol. So what? How did it get to be a Catholic symbol is the question. You use the logic that atheists do to condemn Christianity. Look that god was born of a virgin, did miracles, was crucified and resurrected. The Christians must have copied it. Never attempting to show how they could have done that.

    If few Fundamentalists know the history of their religion—which distressingly few do—even fewer have an appreciation of the history of the Catholic Church. They become easy prey for purveyors of fanciful “histories” that claim to account for the origin and advance of Catholicism.

    Anti-Catholics often suggest that Catholicism did not exist prior to the Edict of Milan, which was issued in 313 AD and made Christianity legal in the Roman Empire. With this, pagan influences began to contaminate the previously untainted Christian Church. In no time, various inventions adopted from paganism began to replace the gospel that had been once for all delivered to the saints. At least, that is the theory.

    Pagan Influence Fallacy

    Opponents of the Church often attempt to discredit Catholicism by attempting to show similarities between it and the beliefs or practices of ancient paganism. This fallacy is frequently committed by Fundamentalists against Catholics, by Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, and others against both Protestants and Catholics, and by atheists and skeptics against both Christians and Jews.

    The nineteenth century witnessed a flowering of this “pagan influence fallacy.” Publications such as The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop (the classic English text charging the Catholic Church with paganism) paved the way for generations of antagonism towards the Church. During this time, entire new sects were created (Seventh-Day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses)—all considering traditional Catholicism and Protestantism as polluted by paganism. This era also saw atheistic “freethinkers” such as Robert Ingersoll writing books attacking Christianity and Judaism as pagan.

    The pagan influence fallacy has not gone away in the twentieth century, but newer archaeology and more mature scholarship have diminished its influence. Yet there are still many committing it. In Protestant circles, numerous works have continued to popularize the claims of Alexander Hislop, most notably the comic books of Jack Chick and the book Babylon Mystery Religion by the young Ralph Woodrow (later Woodrow realized its flaws and wrote The Babylon Connection? repudiating it and refuting Hislop). Other Christian and quasi-Christian sects have continued to charge mainstream Christianity with paganism, and many atheists have continued to repeat—unquestioned—the charges of paganism leveled by their forebears.

    Use of a round wafer implies sun worship?

    Hislop and Chick argue that the wafers of Communion are round, just like the wafers of the sun worshippers of Baal. They don’t bother to mention that the wafers used by the same pagans were also ovals, triangles, some with the edges folded over, or shaped like leaves or animals, etc. The fact that a wafer is round does not make it immoral or pagan, since even the Jews had wafers and cakes offered in the Old Testament (Gen. 18:1-8, Ex 29:1-2).

    Unfortunately for Chick and other Fundamentalists, their arguments backfire. An atheist will take the pagan connection one step further, saying, “Christianity itself is simply a regurgitation of pagan myths: the incarnation of a divinity from a virgin, a venerated mother and child, just like Isis and Osiris, Isa and Iswara, Fortuna and Jupiter, and Semiramis and Tammuz. Beyond this, some pagans had a triune God, and pagan gods were often pictured with wings, as was your God in Psalms 91:4. The flames on the heads of the apostles were also seen as an omen from the gods in Roman poetry and heathen myths long before Pentecost. A rock is struck that brings forth water in the Old Testament . . . just like the pagan goddess Rhea did long before then. Also, Jesus is known as the ‘fish,’ just like the fish-god Dagon, etc.” Unless the Fundamentalists are willing to honestly examine the logical fallacies and historical inaccuracies, they are left defenseless. Fortunately, like the attacks on Catholicism in particular, all of the supposed parallels mentioned above self-destruct when examined with any scholarly rigor. If not guilty of historical inaccuracies, they all are guilty of what can be called “pagan influence fallacies.”

    Anything can be attacked using fallacy

    The pagan influence fallacy is committed when one charges that a particular religion, belief, or practice is of pagan origin or has been influenced by paganism and is therefore false, wrong, tainted, or to be repudiated. In this minimal form, the pagan influence fallacy is a subcase of the genetic fallacy, which improperly judges a thing based on its history or origins rather than on its own merits (e.g., “No one should use this medicine because it was invented by a drunkard and adulterer”).

    Very frequently, the pagan influence fallacy is committed in connection with other fallacies, most notably the post hoc ergo proper hoc (“After this, therefore because of this”) fallacy—e.g., “Some ancient pagans did or believed something millennia ago, therefore any parallel Christian practices and beliefs must be derived from that source.” Frequently, a variant on this fallacy is committed in which, as soon as a parallel with something pagan is noted, it is assumed that the pagan counterpart is the more ancient. This variant might be called the similis hoc ergo propter hoc (“Similar to this, therefore because of this”) fallacy.

    When the pagan influence fallacy is encountered, it should be pointed out that it is, in fact, a fallacy. To help make this clear to a religious person committing it, it may be helpful to illustrate with cases where the pagan influence fallacy could be committed against his own position (e.g., the practice of circumcision was practiced in the ancient world by a number of peoples—including the Egyptians—but few Jews or Christians would say that its divinely authorized use in Israel was an example of “pagan corruption”).

    To help a secular person see the fallacy involved, one might point to a parallel case of the genetic fallacy involving those of his perspective (e.g., “Nobody should accept this particular scientific theory because it was developed by an atheist”).

    Whenever one encounters a proposed example of pagan influence, one should demand that its existence be properly documented, not just asserted. The danger of accepting an inaccurate claim is too great. The amount of misinformation in this area is great enough that it is advisable never to accept a reported parallel as true unless it can be demonstrated from primary source documents or through reliable, scholarly secondary sources. After receiving documentation supporting the claim of a pagan parallel, one should ask a number of questions:

    1. Is there a parallel? Frequently, there is not. The claim of a parallel may be erroneous, especially when the documentation provided is based on an old or undisclosed source.

    For example: “The Egyptians had a trinity. They worshiped Osiris, Isis, and Horus, thousands of years before the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were known” (Robert Ingersoll, Why I Am an Agnostic). This is not true. The Egyptians had an Ennead—a pantheon of nine major gods and goddesses. Osiris, Isis, and Horus were simply three divinities in the pantheon who were closely related by marriage and blood (not surprising, since the Ennead itself was an extended family) and who figured in the same myth cycle. They did not represent the three persons of a single divine being (the Christian understanding of the Trinity). The claim of an Egyptian trinity is simply wrong. There is no parallel.

    2. Is the parallel dependent or independent? Even if there is a pagan parallel, that does not mean that there is a causal relationship involved. Two groups may develop similar beliefs, practices, and artifacts totally independently of each other. The idea that similar forms are always the result of diffusion from a common source has long been rejected by archaeology and anthropology, and for very good reason: Humans are similar to each other and live in similar (i.e., terrestrial) environments, leading them to have similar cultural artifacts and views.

    For example, Fundamentalists have made much of the fact that Catholic art includes Madonna and Child images and that non-Christian art, all over the world, also frequently includes mother and child images. There is nothing sinister in this. The fact is that, in every culture, there are mothers who hold their children! Sometimes this gets represented in art, including religious art, and it especially is used when a work of art is being done to show the motherhood of an individual. Mother-with child-images do not need to be explained by a theory of diffusion from a common, pagan religious source (such as Hislop’s suggestion that such images stem from representations of Semiramis holding Tammuz). One need look no further than the fact that mothers holding children is a universal feature of human experience and a convenient way for artists to represent motherhood.

    3. Is the parallel antecedent or consequent? Even if there is a pagan parallel that is causally related to a non-pagan counterpart, this does not establish which gave rise to the other. It may be that the pagan parallel is a late borrowing from a non-pagan source. Frequently, the pagan sources we have are so late that they have been shaped in reaction to Jewish and Christian ideas. Sometimes it is possible to tell that pagans have been borrowing from non-pagans. Other times, it cannot be discerned who is borrowing from whom (or, indeed, if anyone is borrowing from anyone).

    For example: The ideas expressed in the Norse Elder Edda about the end and regeneration of the world were probably influenced by the teachings of Christians with whom the Norse had been in contact for centuries (H. A. Guerber, The Norsemen, 339f).

    4. Is the parallel treated positively, neutrally, or negatively? Even if there is a pagan parallel to a non-pagan counterpart, that does not mean that the item or concept was enthusiastically or uncritically accepted by non-pagans. One must ask how they regarded it. Did they regard it as something positive, neutral, or negative?

    For example: Circumcision and the symbol of the cross might be termed “neutral” Jewish and Christian counterparts to pagan parallels. It is quite likely that the early Hebrews first encountered the idea of circumcision among neighboring non-Jewish peoples, but that does not mean they regarded it as a
    religiously good thing for non-Jews to do. Circumcision was regarded as a religiously good thing only for Jews because for them it symbolized a special covenant with the one true God (Gen. 17). The Hebrew scriptures are silent in a religious appraisal of non-Jewish circumcision; they seemed indifferent to the fact that some pagans circumcised.

    Similarly, the early Christians who adopted the cross as a symbol did not do so because it was a pagan religious symbol (the pagan cultures which use it as a symbol, notably in East Asia and the Americas, had no influence on the early Christians). The cross was used as a Christian symbol because Christ died on a cross—his execution being regarded as a bad thing in itself, in fact, an infinite injustice—but one from which he brought life for the world. Christians did not adopt it because it was a pagan symbol they liked and wanted to copy.

    Examples of negative parallels are often found in Genesis. For instance, the Flood narrative (Gen. 6-9) has parallels to pagan flood stories, but is written so that it refutes ideas in them. Thus Genesis attributes the flood to human sin (6:5-7), not overpopulation, as Atrahasis’ Epic and the Greek poem Cypria did (I. Kikawada & A. Quinn). The presence of flood stories in cultures around the world does not undermine the validity of the biblical narrative, but lends it more credence.

    Criticism, refutation, and replacement are also the principles behind modern holidays being
    celebrated to a limited extent around the same time as former pagan holidays. In actuality, reports of Christian holidays coinciding with pagan ones are often inaccurate (Christmas does not occur on Saturnalia, for example). However, to the extent the phenomenon occurs at all, Christian holidays were introduced to provide a wholesome, non-pagan alternative celebration, which thus critiques and rejects the pagan holiday.

    This is the same process that leads Fundamentalists who are offended at the (inaccurately alleged) pagan derivation of Halloween to introduce alternative “Reformation Day” celebrations for their children. (This modern Protestant holiday is based on the fact that the Reformation began when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517.) Another Fundamentalist substitution for Halloween has been “harvest festivals” that celebrate the season of autumn and the gathering of crops. These fundamentalist substitutions are no more “pagan” than the celebrations of days or seasons that may have been introduced by earlier Christians.

    Historical truth prevails

    Ultimately, all attempts to prove Catholicism “pagan” fail. Catholic doctrines are neither borrowed from the mystery religions nor introduced from pagans after the conversion of Constantine. To make a charge of paganism stick, one must be able to show more than a similarity between something in the Church and something in the non-Christian world. One must be able to demonstrate a legitimate connection between the two, showing clearly that one is a result of the other, and that there is something wrong with the non-Christian item.

    In the final analysis, nobody has been able to prove these things regarding a doctrine of the Catholic faith, or even its officially authorized practices. The charge of paganism just doesn’t work.

    NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
    presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
    Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

    IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
    permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
    +Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

    http://www.catholic.com/tracts/is-catholicism-pagan

  358. This thread is getting really, really boring.

    Of course it is. You’re a Pentecostal. You have the attention span of a 2 year old.

    Now go to bed and let Mum tuck you in.

  359. You can call it what you like, Greg; what matters is the fact that I’m right.

    So am I. You’re a dickhead.

  360. “what matters is the fact that I’m right.”

    That’s how my mother used to finish and win every argument.

    I have a question that’s relevant for Catholics, Wesleyans, Reformed,
    Liberal Christians, C3 people and even Dr Zorro. And I want your various answers.

  361. Well, as far as I can see, Bones has admitted that paganism is part of the RC thrust, and their strategy of inclusion encourages it, whilst pointing out the atrocities of De Quiros on behalf of papal supremacy.

    Francisphilip has categorically confirmed the violent and destructive force of RC invasion techniques, and even lauded them. His applause of genocide is astonishing. Maybe the OT armies were sent to wipe out idolatry in Canaan, but the NT mandate was far removed from this.

    We were supposed to evangelise through the gospel, not the gun, through the Sword of the Spirit, not the spear, canon or cutlass.

    Thank you gentlemen for your confirmation, even on issues I didn’t raise in my posts.

  362. How can we Christians live better? Especially the leaders? Why are we so bad? Christians who walk with God, read the bible, listen to sermons, teach others, just mess up so bad.

    Groupsects has a blog devoted to it. He gets new stories almost daily. Steve talks about the horrible things done in the name of God throughout the centuries – and he’s right. The church has fought over anything and everything. And tortured and excommunicated, and ranted and faced against each other. But more than that, it’s the sexual failings. Story after story about Catholic priests. But not only them but evangelicals.
    Jim Bakker, Roberts Lliardon, Jimmy Swaggart. The super dooper spiritual men who claim to be so close to the Holy Spirit – caught up with prostitutes, sex with children, you name it. And it’s our biggest names.
    Swaggart, the biggest evangelist of the day, couldn’t keep away from prostitutes. The leader of the evangelical body in the US taking drugs and getting gay massage. Frank Houston – more than one victim. Richard Roberts drinking driving doing 90 miles an hour. Tom White of Voice of the Martyrs. The list just goes on and on and on. Our leaders behave worse than the average Joe.

    So, people think they are just rotten eggs. Hypocrites. I don’t think they were always bad and just used the church as a front. I honestly believe most of these people wanted to live a life pleasing to the Lord. I’m sure each one of them tried to pray, reckon their bodies dead to sin, overcome, walk in the spirit etc etc (all the different things we hear about “walking in victory”.

    So, why?

    Why?

    I like to think that the longer we walk with the Lord, the stronger we become, the closer to Him we become, the more conformed to His image etc we become. So, why do so many people who I think we can assume love God, and have spent their lives in service for him, fail so spectacularly. I know we are all sinners. But I also know many non-church going average joes who may sleep around (a little), read playboy, drink a lot, but who manage to not molest children.

    My assumption – I don’t think any of the above people wanted to sin in the way they did. Why couldn’t they resist? And why were they tempted on such terrible levels of sin? (Premise – yes I do think that molesting a 10yr old is worse than taking a second look at a miniskirt, or calling someone a nut job).

    I just don’t get it anymore.

  363. Hopefully someone can rephrase all that into proper English and make a thread out of it. I really want to hear.
    The list of examples could of course go on and on. (the planet shakers fake cancer dude, etc etc. Just when you think it couldn’t get crazier – it seems to get crazier).

  364. @ SM – All I can think of is the Apostle Paul’s humble approach to ministry, have a read of this…….

    “In Defense Of Integrity”
    http://www.gty.org/resources/articles/A367

    And we mustn’t let the “few” affect the effectiveness of the “many” quietly and humbly going about the work of the various ministries God has called them to.

  365. You’re a jerk. Seriously. A dead-set jerk.

    Ouch. Go to bed, kid.

    Before I taunt you a second time.

  366. @ SM – yes. We pray together each evening, my husband has his prayer time as he runs and swims each morning. I pray at different times as different situations arise or just grateful, very grateful.

  367. SM, I appreciate your concerns, and your references to charismatics, and by association, Pentecostals was noted.

    However, would never, ever consider groupsects or Lance as an avenue for determining opinions about the Body of Christ, or the effectiveness of the Church either in the modern era or the past.

    Lance is an unbalanced, dogmatic, antichurch chauvinist in the strongest sense of the word. His anti-christian, anti pentecostal, anti-pastor ravings are a disgrace if he is actually a Christian, and antichrist talk if he is not.

    The truth is that churches aren to built by charismatic individuals. Not real churches, anyway. They are built by faithful, unknown, unheralded church members who are faithful to meet with and evangelise friends and family.

    Some speakers have amazing ability to preach or teach, and can draw a crowd, but the person in the crowd was brought by someone, and will be looked after my someone other than the speaker.

    Further, though there are people who fall, and they have always existed, there are countless more who stand.

    It’s a pity people like Lance don’t have the kind of heart which can produce a balanced view by putting up stories which tell of the marvellous things Christians and churches and pastors and ministries do to help others and to promote the good news that Jesus has opened the door to the kingdom for all through his cross.

    All they have is a mind that tears down, but replaces the void with nothing but their own sour grapes.

    I believe in a ministry which is discerning and which can pull down strongholds of darkness and excess, but that is never where it ends, nor is it the purpose of pulling down the enemy’s strongholds.

    The reason Jeremiah was called to tear down excess and idolatry was to prepare the ground to build holiness and faith.

    For every ministry that falls through sin or greed or sexual deviations there are countless others who strive for holiness, righteousness and to preach the truth to a dying world.

    That must be our theme.

    Let God deal with the renegades and the fools, the degenerates and the liars. Expose them. Rebuke them. Hope to restore them. But don’t focus on them as the entire length, breadth, height and width of your ministry or consideration.

    Focus on Christ and truth. Always.

  368. God has exposed you as a liar, lacking in discernment.

    Focus on truth. That’s rich coming from you.

  369. So tell us, Bones…

    1. You hold to Mary as mediatrix, yes or no.

    2. You agree that purgatory is a real place, yes or no.

    3. You consider the mass to be scriptural, yes or no.

    4. You say canonisation of saints is Biblical, yes or no.

    5. You agree that Mary was immaculately conceived, yes or no.

    You see, the only thing I have done here is expose RC dogma, being doctrine which is not found in the Bible, or known to have any scriptural basis, but has been announced in the RC church as dogma by papal bull, and therefore as compulsory for every RC adherent to accept, on pain of excommunication for rejecting it.

    God has not exposed me as a liar. No one has. I am not. You have claimed it. But you are not God.

    I have correctly and Biblically discerned, with Biblical evidence, and the words of their own writings, that the RC church is in error in four specific areas – the mass, purgatory, canonisation of saints and Mary as mediatrix.

    You have not been able to provide either a defence or a rebuttal of any substance.

    Added to this, which I did not raise, you have agreed that the RC church adapted paganism into their theology as a mater of pragmatic evangelism in foreign fields.

    On top of this, again, which I did not raise, you agreed that the RC church plundered and vandalised the Central and South American peoples for gain, destroying their culture by destroying the people, stealing their precious metals and stones, and importing them into the Vatican empire via Spain and Portugal, who also plundered African and Indian communities.

    I have not attacked Catholics. I have defended the integrity of the Word of God against the errors on four counts, which I have already mentioned.

    That is all.

  370. Dear Steve – no offense, but you have no basis of understanding for making an argument and you, like Satan, are trying to put words into Bones’ mouth which are not there. God knows who you are and has given you ample grace and opportunity to grasp the spiritually-obvious. You have not attacked Catholics; you have attacked Jesus Christ Himself however by refusing to accept His authority which He delegated to the Apostles to bind and loose, and you will be held accountable if you actually realize what you are doing. “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” It is the scribe who calls out the words, yet moves not to understanding or the deeper spiritual meaning of the words – the Scribes were just men who said “Do what the words say” but do not venture to understand, do and teach others to do what they truly mean if not in their own self-interest. Is it not in your own self-interest to refute that authority which competes with your own career? Indeed. Indeed. Many a large salary is paid to scribes, salaries that would be lost if they did not fight Christ’s own authority. Indeed – men for hire – men for hire. Indeed – the hireling – the hireling works for money. He accepts pay for being the Accuser; indeed, the great Accuser who accuses the sons of God who work to please God. The Shepherd works for God alone. He is not motivated by a salary – a pay check. He works for love – He sacrifices for love. Not the scribe. He is a hireling and is paid to refute the reasoning of human beings inspired by the Holy Spirit. Indeed – he works against the Holy Spirit by working against those the Holy Spirit leads Himself. Indeed, he attacks the Holy Spirit Himself. And God the Father says about His Son, “Listen to Him,” but the scribe refuses to listen and He disobeys God the Father. Indeed – he attacks God the Father by His willful disobedience by not listening to the Son Who builds His Church on Peter and gives Peter the keys and delegates the authority to loose and bind and to retain and forgive sins. Indeed, those who fight the Pope, fight the Holy Trinity – they hate the Holy Trinity. You do this. You, the scribe – the hireling – the accuser. Beware and repent for love of your own soul. Stop and obey. Stop your nonsense.

  371. Dear Margot – you took some of my words from last night and used them, as you have done scripture, out of context.

  372. @ francisphillip – do you believe that faith in Christ alone is sufficient for salvation?

    As to whether I took you out of context? No.

    I look at your rambing comments and I’m reminded of Jesus’ words to the Pharisees in Mark 7:9….

    “And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!”

  373. ‘Some others blogging here might agree with me when I say [Francis is] a Catholic version of our friend “Chirpy”!’

    I think that Chirpy was quite sane, by comparison. Dare we ask Francis if the holocaust really happened?

  374. “Stop your nonsense.”

    Hey Francis, do you know why they call it “papal bull”?

  375. ‘Some others blogging here might agree with me when I say [Francis is] a Catholic version of our friend “Chirpy”!’

    Dr Zorro the Gay Blade has obviously been lurking on here for a while.

    I always wondered what happened to CCCer. He was a good bloke.

  376. Actually Chirpy’s denial of the evidence of the holocaust is actually the same as the blatant denial of the evidence I have put up.

  377. My dear Margot – again, you have pulled a one-liner from Scripture completely out of context. My message was not for you. It was for Steve specifically. Without understanding the entire Deposit of Faith, you will continue to have difficulties. God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him. Those who obey Him do His Will. There is no obedience in rebellion to that authority which Christ has placed in His one, catholic and apostolic Church – which is for the good of all of the Faithful. May you understand this, adjust your attitude, and find peace moving forward.

  378. “Dr Zorro” – it is quite okay if you do not find my post to seem sane. It was not for you – it was for Steve specifically. Perhaps others who are accept pay to preach hatred for Christ through attacks on His Mother and His one, catholic and apostolic Church will also receive some light from what I have been given to write. May it be a salve likethe Scriptural spittle and mud on your “eye”. As for papal documents, I am not interested in your opinion – at least not until your eyes have been opened. And my dear “Dr Zorro”, your eyes are closed and you are scared and wounded. Seek healing in the Catholic Church. You are little and helpless and deserve the protection of the Church and all she offers from God Himself. May you find peace in this.

  379. And there you have it folks, Francisphilip’s official “Unam Sanctam” against those chosen in Him before the foundation of the earth.

  380. “[…] His one, catholic and apostolic Church […]”.

    There is only one Church, Francis, and it’s not the catholic “church”. It’s the body of believers; that is to say, it comprises those who have been born again.

    “[…] you are scared […]”

    Yeah mate, I’m fairly shivering in my boots.

    “Seek healing in the Catholic Church.”

    The catholic “church” does not offer healing. It is thoroughly corrupted, and is the haunt of hyenas and jackals; in fact every type of unclean spirit imaginable finds an abode there. It is known by its fruit, and its true nature cannot be hidden. It will be judged by God at the appointed time, and the judgement upon it will be most severe.

  381. Dear little “Dr Zorro”, please review Sacred Scripture from beginning to end and may God call you to His safety. I pray for your soul – for your redemption my little child. No one in the Church desires your loss. You are loved. Peace to you.

  382. @ francisphillip – I must, with great honesty, admit that I DON’T love your posts. They are not only full of false doctrine, they are insultingly patronising.

    If your prayers are to Mary, she, thankfully, is ignorant of them.

    I don’t believe we do you any favours by encouraging you to share those falsehoods.

  383. “[…] please review Sacred Scripture from beginning to end […]”

    Ironically enough, Francis, that’s exactly what you yourself need to do.

    “[Francis’ posts] are insultingly patronising”.

    They certainly come across that way Margot, but they don’t bother me at all. Francis employs a very catholic turn of phrase; he sounds like a priest or some such – although, of course, a catholic priest would never, under any circumstances, commend the scriptures to anyone.

    Francis is a really sad case, and poor old Bones must be squirming with embarrassment at having him post here. I mean, nobody would read his posts and think, “Wow, I really want what this bloke has”, would they?

    I can’t imagine even an addle-brained individual like Bones aspiring to the vacuous, bland and characterless “faith” displayed by Francis.

  384. Let me think would I rather be like Francis or Zorro the Gay Blade.

    Hmmm.

    Just finished watching Oscar Romero for the umpteenth time and am currently listening to my favourite John Michael Talbot music.

    Looks like I’ll miss out on the sexy little mask.

  385. “they are insultingly patronizing.”

    That’s why I like them! But what do you expect with the full on attack of Catholicism here. I thought he’s been as polite as possible. Personally, I think it’s fantastic to have a devout Roman Catholic, a C3 apologist, and a C3-turned Reformed on the same blog.

  386. ‘“they are insultingly patronizing.”

    That’s why I like them!’

    It’s time to confess, SM – your middle name is “&”, isn’t it?

  387. Zorro, I was just thinking I should change my name again….

    How about Q!

    OKay, last change. from henceforth I shall be named Q.

  388. frankiphil,
    no offense, but you have no basis of understanding for making an argument and you, like Satan, are trying to put words into Bones’ mouth which are not there.

    No need to put words into Bone’s mouth. He’s a big boy. He can say what he likes, and usually does. Defending RCism is a futile act, and I’m surprised he bothers, considering he’s a Pentecostal. His misplaced loyalty is a wonder, indeed.

    But you claim I have no basis for an argument when I have clearly pointed out an agrument which exposes obvious error in RCism, that of purgtory, the mass, canonisation of saints, and Mary as mediatrix, none of which have any basis in scripture, which you have already admitted and agreed to by your own words. I need no other witenss where you are concerned, and, if, as I suspect, your views are entirely consistent with all RCs, then I can rest my case.

    As for my credentials, they are sound.

    First, unlike you I have confessed Christ as my Lord and Saviour and depend on no other.

    Second, I am filled with the Spirit with accompanying evidence that I am sealed with the Spirit.

    Third, I have the written Word, which I have ably used as the Sword of the Spirit to distinguish between your error and God’s Truth.

    Fourth, I have your RC church’s own testimony, represented by the articles of Vatican orthodoxy, which I clearly compared to scripture, and which are invariably found wanting when measured against scripture.

    Fifth I presented the dogma which have no precedent in scripture. They condemn themselves, with or without my defence.

    Having used a Concordance to search for ‘pope’, ‘papacy’ or ‘papal’, particularly in conjunction with ‘authority’ or ‘power’, I found there was no reference to any.

    Therefore there is no reference to popes, which tells me there is no requirement whatsoever for anyone to take a blind bit of notice of what they say, or what you threaten on their behalf.

    Jesus is my Lord and King. He is all I need.

    Maybe 500 years ago a person would have had to consider the connotations of their words in the secular, political, religious atmosphere of Roman Catholic inquisitions, anathemas, pogroms, persecutions and death-threats, but since the diminishing of the cruel, worldly power and sorcery of the Vatican we can actually stand up and declare your dogma and doctrine to be error without fear of any kind of reprisal but words, sticks and stones.

    For this I thank Christ, and I thank those martyred by the Vatican for opening the ay to this present liberty.

  389. You sir are a liar

    Margot,
    This part of McClarty’s essay speaks volumes to this discussion, and is very accurate (I’ve broken it up to make it easier to follow in blog form):

    No it isn’t

    So, what doest that have to do with Christmas? Well, in his efforts to “Christianize” Rome, Constantine encountered considerable resistance from the heathen Roman populace. Realizing that he could not utterly remove all of their various feasts, orgies, bacchanalias and observances, he simply stamped Christian names and observances onto the festivities that already existed.

    No he didn’t.

    For instance, the Feast of Ishtar, a Spring Fertility Feast replete with rabbits, eggs and other symbols of fertility, occurred close to the time of the Passover, when Christ rose from the dead.

    The two were effectively mashed together, and the early-risers who went to celebrate the rising of the sun, the rebirth of Tammuz, and his mother Semirimus, called Ishtar, was simply “Christianized” to celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the dead. In fact, it’s pretty spooky that the most significant religious observance of the calendar year still bears her name – Easter!

    This is so wrong it’s hilarious. The Old English word Easter, which Steve objects to wasn’t known until around 900AD. By then Constantine had been dead for 500 years. The Roman Church celebrated Pascha. There is no evidence that Christians ever utilised rabbits or invented the Easter Bunny. These are purely marketting ploys in the modern age that have nothing to do with Christianity. The celebration of the resurrection of our Lord has nothing to do with Ishtar, Tammuz and the rising of the Sun.

    And, people in the Christian church still run out to greet the sun as it rises – a form of Babylonish Baal (sun god) worship.

    Who does that? Which Christians do that?

    Anyway (you can see this coming), rather than try to stop the mid-winter Saturnalia feast, called “birthday of the unconquered sun,” Constantine simply imposed the birth of Christ onto that date in order to give it significance for every citizen of Rome, regardless of their personal depth of Christian commitment.

    It was a small matter to change “the sun” to “the Son.” And, in keeping with their penchant for mixing and matching heathen and Christian names and concepts, that holiday came to be known as the Christ-mass.

    Total and utter crap. Saturnalia was not celebrated on December 25. This is in the times when laws were passed condemning paganism, including destruction of temples and the death penalty for pagan worship.

    The English word “mass” is derived from the Latin “masse,” which is derived from the Greek “maza,” which were small, round barley cakes baked to honor Semirimus as the “queen of heaven.” That name was carried into the Catholic worship service, with its veneration of Mary as “queen of Heaven.”

    Wrong again. Egyptians used oval and triangular
    cakes; folded cakes; cakes shaped like leaves, animals, and a
    crocodile’s head; and so on.

    So, when the Mass was performed to honor her child, it was designated the yearly “Christ-mass.” We just call it Christmas.

    Nice piece of research from McClarty.

    No, it is total and utter lies

  390. From the site Answering Islam.

    Apparently I’m only giving my opinion.

    Christmas: Pagan Festival or Christian Celebration?

    Dr Anthony McRoy

    Joseph F. Kelly, The Origins of Christmas, (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2004)
    J. Neil Alexander, Waiting for the Coming: The Liturgical Meaning of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, (Washington DC: Pastoral Press, 1993)
    Susan K. Roll, Toward the Origins of Christmas, (Kampen: Kok Pharos, 1995)
    Maxwell E. Johnson (Ed.), Between Memory and Hope: Readings on the Liturgical Year, (Collegeville: Pueblo/Liturgical Press, 2000)
    John F. White, Restorer of the World: The Roman Emperor Aurelian, (Stroud: Spellmount 2007)
    Atheist and Muslim polemicists – and some Protestants – often claim that Christmas derives from a previous pagan festival. These books help answer this accusation. Those by Kelly and Alexander are brief, readable and informative (though it must be cautioned that none of the liturgical studies books here have a conservative approach to the Bible). Johnson’s book is a collection of liturgist articles;, those by Thomas Talley, ‘Constantine and Christmas’, and Susan Roll, ‘The Origins of Christmas’, being particularly interesting and pertinent.

    Polemicists (and The Da Vinci Code) frequently state that 25 December was Mithras’ birthday, yet the renowned Mithraic scholar, Dr Richard Gordon has corresponded to me that he is unaware of ‘a single date on a Mithraic inscription that falls in the winter, let alone late in December… We know NOTHING about the cycle of rituals in the cult…’ So, Christmas owes nothing to Mithraism. This is one area where Kelly (p. 65) and Roll (p.111) are inadequate.

    Roll’s book presents two theories for the origins of Christmas: the ‘History of Religions’ school, and the ‘Computation’ thesis. The first only goes back to the eighteenth century, proposed by Paul Ernst Jablonski, an Egyptologist who claimed that ‘Constantine exercised a personal influence on the establishment of Christmas’, p. 130. However, the main figures responsible for the claim were Hermann Usener in 1889 and Bernard Botte in 1932. Usener’s thesis was that the Church adapted certain pagan customs to keep the converts happy, such as the Natalis Sol Invicti – birthday of the Unconquered Sun, pp. 132-133. Botte similarly held that the Church ‘“christianized” certain non-Christian practices, Christmas being intended as ‘a counterfeast in regard to the pre-Christian feast’, p. 141.

    The argument on ‘Christianisation’ usually rests on one or both of two foundations: the Roman Feast of the Saturnalia, which ran 17-23 December, characterised by carousing, merry-making, gifts and candles, and the Sol Invictus event on 25 December. One can immediately dismiss the supposed link with the Saturnalia: it did not stretch to 25 December, was not inclusive of any Solstice commemoration, and ended on 23 December when another event began – the Larentalia, a feast of the dead!

    The evidence suggests that Christian festivals in the fourth century were accompanied by worship and fasting, not dissipation, cf. p. 203. As Kelly notes: ‘early Christian leaders found the Saturnalian practices offensive’, p. 69. Alexander observes (p. 9ff) that the 380 Saragossa synod obliged daily church worship for 17 December-6 January. All the indications are that fasting, rather than secular ‘feasting’ was prescribed, as demonstrated by the writings of Bishop Filastrius of Brescia (d. 397), pp. 14-15.

    Gregory Nazianzen, Bishop of Constantinople c. 379, in his sermon On the Theophany indicates that proper practice for celebrating the Nativity differed from pagan Saturnalia practices – not least riotous conduct: ‘…let us not strive to outdo each other in intemperance… Let us leave all these to … the …festivals of the Greeks… But we, the Object of whose adoration is the Word… seek it [‘luxury’]…in the Divine Law …’ There are no patristic references to a conscious decision to copy or usurp the Saturnalia.

    Secondly, all polemicists – and unfortunately, all the books reviewed here – make the mistake of over-emphasising the Solstice and especially Aurelian’s contribution. Emperor Aurelian, as White’s excellent, informative and lucid book demonstrates, was a remarkable man, who in a short five-year reign re-united and strengthened the Roman Empire. The book is also superb for presenting the cultural/historical background for church history during this era, and White pays special attention to Christianity, e.g. p. 168. Most pertinently, regarding claims that White notes (p. 136) that Aurelian dedicated a temple to Sol Invictus in 274 ‘perhaps on 25 December’; note the caution here – the dating is not secure. Apparently, Aurelian did institute Games in honour of Sol on October 19-22 – but not 25 December.

    A prominent Roman Studies specialist, Dr Steven Hijmans, has demonstrated that contrary to claims (unfortunately, repeated in the liturgical studies books here) that Aurelian borrowed from a Syrian cult brought to Rome by the degenerate Emperor Elagabolus some decades earlier, Aurelian’s religion was a development of the existing Roman cult. Moreover, in Hijmans’ article, Sol Invictus, the Winter Solstice and the Origins of Christmas, we read: ‘…December 25 was neither a longstanding nor an especially important feast day of Sol… the suggestion that it was established by Aurelian cannot be proven. In fact, there is no firm evidence that this feast of Sol on December 25 antedates the feast of Christmas at all.’ He continues: ‘The traditional feast days of Sol… were August 8, August 9, August 28, and December 11. Of these, only August 28 is still mentioned in the Calendar of 354, along with October 19 and October 22, the latter being the most important, judging by the 36 chariot races with which it was celebrated.’

    He also emphasises that we must distinguish between the Sun-god – the cult of Sol – and the Sun – i.e. the astronomical body. Hijmans states that the failure to differentiate ‘between astronomy and cult’ touches upon the ‘fatal flaw in the contention that Christmas was instituted on December 25 to counteract a pagan feast.’ The winter solstice in December was an astronomical event: the major feast of Sol, the sun-god, was October 22. Christians could deal with the astronomical symbolism of the sun, without engaging the deity Sol. Thus Natalis Solis Invicti i.e. the winter solstice, observed on December 25, was recognised as the ‘birthday’ of the astronomical entity, not necessarily the solar deity! This allowed the Christians to utilise the imagery of Malachi 4:2 – that Christ was the ‘Sun of Righteousness’.

    The essential point is this: if Aurelian did not initiate any festival on 25 December, and there was no major festival before that, it follows that the Christian feast of the Nativity – Christmas – cannot be construed as deriving from a pagan festival! This is where so many accusations of ‘paganism’ against Christmas fall down. As for claims that Constantine was responsible for the December 25 Nativity feast, there is no hard evidence for this. The first recorded celebration occurred in Rome in 336, a city Constantine left for the last time in 326 and never returned, (Talley, Between Memory and Hope, p. 267). By this time Constantine was in Constantinople, but he ordered no such Nativity festival on December 25 there. It seems likely that the Constantinople December Nativity only began with Gregory Nazianzus c. 380.

    The second theory is ‘Computation’, based on the Rabbinic concept of the ‘integral age’ of prophets, that they died on the same date they were born, or with Jesus, on the date of his conception (Roll, pp. 95-96). Since Rome and North Africa held that Jesus died on March 25, and the East that He died on April 6, He must have been conceived on either of those dates. Add nine months and you get His birth on January 6 (when Armenians still celebrate the Nativity) or 25 December, Alexander, p. 52.

    There is evidence from North Africa from the third and fourth centuries that the date of the nativity had been computed to 25 December (Roll, p. 87). We know from Clement of Alexandria (c. 159-215) in Stromateis 1:21 that in Egypt people were computing the date of Christ’s birth, and that the Basilidian Gnostics even celebrated the event of His baptism (believing that the heavenly Power endued the man Jesus at this point). On the basis of Luke 3:23: ‘And Jesus was himself beginning about thirty years’ many believed that Jesus was baptised on His birthday. Hence the earliest Nativity celebrations – which occurred on January 6 (Alexander, p. 72) commemorated both the Baptism and the Birth (again, Armenians still celebrate both).

    It appears that the earliest Easter celebration was ‘a unitive feast which included the incarnation’ (Roll, ‘The Origins of Christmas’, p. 287), as demonstrated in the Paschal homily of Melito of Sardis c. 165. However, by the time of Origen (c. 185-254), in Against Celsus VIII:XXI, it had fragmented into Preparation-Day, Passover and Pentecost. The emergence of the Nativity feast was simply an extension of this fragmentation (p. 212). It is also possible that Christological controversies which questioned the true deity or humanity of Jesus spurred the practice. Certainly, we find people like Gregory Nazianzus, Leo, Ambrose and John Chrysostom using the Nativity feast as an occasion to attack Christological heresies (ch.4). Perhaps the process of festal fragmentation and the need to emphasise the true simultaneous deity and humanity of Jesus came together to encourage the Nativity festival.

    What about the candles and lights? We know that the January 6 Nativity feast was sometimes called ‘the Festival of Lights’ (Ta Phōta), and Chanukah, the Jewish ‘Festival of Lights’ was characterised ‘by lighting lamps and kindling fires’ (p. 121). How about the ‘pagan’ Christmas tree? The earliest record of Christmas trees comes from 16th century Germany, when one was decorated with apples, nuts, dates, pretzels and paper flowers. Later, Martin Luther, impressed by the stars shining through the evergreen trees, decorated his Christmas tree with candles to reproduce the majesty of Creation. In Britain, the Christmas tree was introduced by King George III’’s German-born Queen Charlotte, and popularised by Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert.

    The pagan Germans revered an Oak, not a Fir tree! The centre of their worship was the Oak of Geismar, dedicated to Thor (Donar). It was felled by the British/Saxon ‘Apostle of Germany’, Boniface in 723. Falling, it crushed every tree around except a small fir tree. Boniface declared the fir tree’s survival a miracle: ‘Let this be called the tree of the Christ Child.’ Boniface used the triangular shape of the fir to illustrate the Trinity.

    Regarding holly and ivy, all ancient cultures used greenery/flora as decorations, and in winter evergreens were used. There was nothing specifically religious in this, and in Medieval and Tudor times, no ‘arcane’ properties were ascribed to either plant (Ronald Hutton, Stations of the Sun, p. 35). Tertullian in On Idolatry XIV-XVI is concerned that Christians do not participate in pagan festivals, and on that basis attacks Christians who use evergreens during such. Holly became associated with the Crown of Thorns and the red berries with Christ’s blood.

    As an Irishman working in Wales, I am always amused by ‘Celtic’ traditions like the Welsh hat which actually date no earlier than the 18th century. The same is true of the supposed Druid ‘fertility’ link with kissing under the mistletoe. Although mistletoe was used with other evergreens, kissing under it only began in the 18th century (Susan Drury, ‘Customs and Beliefs Associated with Christmas Evergreens: A Preliminary Survey’ [Folklore 98.2 1987, p. 194]) – long after the demise of Druidism! The so-called Druid association is found in Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, Book XVI, where he claims (based on reports) that Druids believe ‘that the mistletoe, taken in drink, will impart fecundity to all animals that are barren…’ Nothing about kissing.

    The other fantasy is that in Norse mythology, the evil god Loki used mistletoe to kill Baldur, but that his mother Freya caused him to be restored to life and then changed the plant to a symbol of love, blessing any who kissed under it. In fact, the Norse Eddas, whilst confirming that Baldur was killed by mistletoe, say nothing about a resurrection, still less about kissing under the plant!

    This 25 December, enjoy your Christmas, celebrating the Nativity of Our Saviour: the festival is truly Christian, not pagan.

  391. Bones,
    I was wondering if your first source was Talley. You didn’t confirm this, which is why I said it was yet opinion. If you can’t cite your references we ca’t confirm them with you.

    But Talley is referenced in your second piece of ‘evidence’. Can you confirm that Talley was also, as I suspected, the first? This would indicate that your source is from one person. I can give you several different people who will contradict what you say.

    Zayeshmehr also known as Yalda and Shab-e Cheleh in Persian is celebrated on the eve of the first day of the winter (December 21-22) in the Iranian calendar, which falls on the Winter Solstice and forty days before the next major Iranian festival “Jashn-e Sadeh (fire festival)”.

    As the longest night of the year, the Eve of Zayeshmehr or the Birth of Mithra (Shab-e Yalda) is also a turning point, after which the days grow longer. It symbolised the triumph of Light and Goodness over the powers of Darkness.

    Yalda celebration has great significance in the Iranian calendar. It is the eve of the birth of Mithra, the Sun God, who symbolised light, goodness and strength on earth. Shab-e Zayehmehr is a time of joy. The festival was considered pone of the most important celebrations in ancient Iran and continues to be celebrated to this day, for a period of more than 5000 years.

    Yalda is a Syriac word meaning birth (NPer. milād is from the same origin) in the 3rd century CE, Mithra-worshippers adopted and used the term ‘yalda’ specifically with reference to the birth of Mithra.

    The original Avestan and Old-Persian term for the celebration is unknown, but it is believed that in Parthian-Pahlavi and Sasanian-Pahlavi (Middle-Persian) it was known as Zāyishn (zāyīšn-i mithr/mihr – birth of Mithra). The New Persian “Shab-e Cheleh Festival” is a relatively recent term. The celebration was brought to Iranian plateau by the Aryan (Iranian) migrants around middle of the 2nd millenniums BCE, but the original date of celebration could be reach as far as pre-Zoroastrian era, around 3rd to 4th millennium BCE.

    In Ancient Iran, the start of the solar year has been marked to celebrate the victory of light over darkness and the renewal of the Sun. The last day of the Iranian month of “Āzar” (21st December) is the longest night of the year, when the forces of Ahriman (darkness) are assumed to be at their peak. While the next day, the first day of the month of “Dey” known as “Khorram rūz” or “Khur rūz” (the day of the sun, 22 December) symbolises the creator, Ahura Mazda (the Lord of Wisdom). Since the days are getting longer and the nights shorter, this day marks the victory of the sun over darkness, and goodness over evil. The occasion was celebrated in the festival of “Deygān” dedicated to Ahura Mazda, on the first day of the month of “Dey” (December-January).

    Fires would be burnt all night to ensure the defeat of the forces of Ahriman. There would be feasts, acts of charity and a number of Zoroastrian deities honoured and prayers performed to ensure the total victory of the sun that was essential for the protection of winter crops. There would be prayers to God Mithra (Mithr/Mihr/Mehr) and feasts in his honour, since Mithra is an īzad (av. Yazata) and responsible for protecting “the light of the early morning”, known as “Hāvangāh”. It was also believed that Ahura Mazda would grant people’s wishes in that day.

    One of the themes of the festival was the temporary subversion of order, as the masters and servants reversed roles. The king dressed in white would change place with ordinary people. A mock king was crowned and masquerades spilled into the streets. As the old year died, rules of ordinary living were relaxed. This tradition in its original form persisted until the fall of Sasanian dynasty (224-651 CE), and is mentioned by the Persian polymath Bīruni and others in their recordings of pre-Islamic rituals and festivals.

    The Iranian traditions merged into ancient Rome belief system, in a festival dedicated to the ancient god of seedtime, Saturn. The Romans exchanged gifts, partied and decorated their homes with greenery. Following the Iranian tradition, the usual order of the year was suspended. Grudges and quarrels would be forgotten and wars interrupted or postponed. Businesses, courts and schools were closed. Rich and poor became equal, masters served slaves, and children headed the family. Cross-dressing and masquerades, merriment of all kinds prevailed. A mock king, the Lord of Misrule, was crowned. Candles and lamps chased away the spirits of darkness.

    Another related Roman festival celebrated at the same time was dedicated to “Sol Invictus” (the Invincible Sun) dedicated to the God Mithra. This ancient Iranian cult was spread into the Roman world by Emperor Elagabalus (r. 218 to 222 CE) and declared as the god of state.

    With the spread of Christianity, Christmas celebration became the most important Christian festival. In the third century various dates, from December to April, were celebrated by Christians as Christmas. January 6th, was the most favoured day because it was thought to be Jesus’s Baptismal day (in the Greek Orthodox Church this continues to be the day to celebrate Christmas). In year 350, December 25th it was adopted in Rome and gradually almost the entire Christian church agreed to that date, which coincided, with the Winter solstice and the festivals, Sol Invicta and Saturnalia. Many of the rituals and traditions of the pre-Christian festivals were incorporated into the Christmas celebration and are still observed to this date.

    Further, the origin of Easter is almost without question from the worship of the dawn goddess of germanic pagan origin, whihc references osara, which is a corruption of ashera.

    In his 1835 Deutsche Mythologie, Jacob Grimm cites comparative evidence to reconstruct a potential continental Germanic goddess whose name would have been preserved in the Old High German name of Easter, *Ostara. Addressing skepticism towards goddesses mentioned by Bede, Grimm comments that “there is nothing improbable in them, nay the first of them is justified by clear traces in the vocabularies of Germanic tribes.”

    Specifically regarding Ēostre, Grimm continues that:
    We Germans to this day call April ostermonat, and ôstarmânoth is found as early as Eginhart (temp. Car. Mag.). The great christian festival, which usually falls in April or the end of March, bears in the oldest of OHG remains the name ôstarâ … it is mostly found in the plural, because two days … were kept at Easter. This Ostarâ, like the [Anglo-Saxon] Eástre, must in heathen religion have denoted a higher being, whose worship was so firmly rooted, that the christian teachers tolerated the name, and applied it to one of their own grandest anniversaries.
    Grimm notes that “all of the nations bordering on us have retained the Biblical pascha; even Ulphilas writes paska, not áustrô, though he must have known the word” Grimm details that the Old High German adverb ôstar “expresses movement towards the rising sun”, as did the Old Norse term austr, and potentially also Anglo-Saxon ēastor and Gothic áustr. Grimm compares these terms to the identical Latin term auster. Grimm says that the cult of the goddess may have worshiped an Old Norse form, Austra, or that her cult may have already been extinct by the time of Christianization.[8]
    Grimm notes that in the Old Norse Prose Edda book Gylfaginning, a male being by the name of Austri is attested, who Grimm describes as a “spirit of light.” Grimm comments that a female version would have been *Austra, yet that the High German and Saxon peoples seem to have only formed Ostarâ and Eástre, feminine, and not Ostaro and Eástra, masculine. Grimm additionally speculates on the nature of the goddess and surviving folk customs that may have been associated with her in Germany:
    Ostara, Eástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the christian’s God. Bonfires were lighted at Easter and according to popular belief of long standing, the moment the sun rises on Easter Sunday morning, he gives three joyful leaps, he dances for joy … Water drawn on the Easter morning is, like that at Christmas, holy and healing … here also heathen notions seems to have grafted themselves on great christian festivals. Maidens clothed in white, who at Easter, at the season of returning spring, show themselves in clefts of the rock and on mountains, are suggestive of the ancient goddess.[9]
    In the second volume of Deutsche Mythologie, Grimm picks up the subject of Ostara again, connecting the goddess to various German Easter festivities, including Easter eggs:
    But if we admit, goddesses, then, in addition to Nerthus, Ostara has the strongest claim to consideration. To what we said on p. 290 I can add some significant facts. The heathen Easter had much in common with May-feast and the reception of spring, particularly in matter of bonfires. Then, through long ages there seem to have lingered among the people Easter-games so-called, which the church itself had to tolerate : I allude especially to the custom of Easter eggs, and to the Easter tale which preachers told from the pulpit for the people’s amusement, connecting it with Christian reminiscences.
    Grimm comments on further Easter time customs, including unique sword dances and particular baked goods (“pastry of heathenish form”). In addition, Grimm weights a potential connection to the Slavic spring goddess Vesna and the Lithuanian Vasara.

    How far do you want to go with this?

    I am no liar.

    I am giving you the thoughts of a number of people which confirm what many other people understand to be the truth.

  392. Vermaseren, M. J.. The Excavations in the Mithraeum of the Church of Santa Pricsa in Rome. Brill. pp. 238–“One should bear in mind that the Mithraic New Year began on Natalis Invicti, the birthday of their invincible god, i.e. December 25th, when the new light …… appears from the vault of heaven.”

    Encyclopædia Britannica “For a time, coins and other monuments continued to link Christian doctrines with the worship of the Sun, to which Constantine had been addicted previously. But even when this phase came to an end, Roman paganism continued to exert other, permanent influences, great and small….The ecclesiastical calendar retains numerous remnants of pre-Christian festivals—notably Christmas, which blends elements including both the feast of the Saturnalia and the birthday of Mithra.”

  393. On round cakes, Bones, have you ever been offered a jam tart? Where did you think the name ‘tart’ came from? Were the tarts by any chance round? And there are other meanings to ‘tart’, are their not? Can you guess the origin?

    When cakes were offered to Ashtart, they were almost invariably circular, and had a criss-cross pattern over the top of a sweet, like jam. This was a symbol of the Queen of Heaven’s crown, hence the circular shape.

    There is a gathering storm of information coming your way, if you want it. t is all available to you.

    But calling me a liar won’t help your cause.

    I am not.

  394. Bones,
    Just so you can realise how this is not as clear cut as you seem to ascribe, I will give some research of experts which will reveal that your one piece of research is not the equivalent of an end of game gotcha, but one in a series of responses to a greater volume of evidence to the contrary.

    XXII. OTHER SUN-GODS

    ONE OF the dominant religious ideas
    of the second and third centuries was
    the belief in the divinity of the Sun.
    We have already seen the elements of solar
    worship involved in the cults of Attis, Serapis,
    Adonis, and Mithras. But there were other
    important sun-cults also. The Emperor Ela-
    gabalus introduced into Rome the worship of
    the Syrian sun-god Elagabal, whose priest he
    had been in the East and for whom he was
    named. And in the year 274 the Emperor
    Aurelian dedicated a magnificent temple in
    Rome to ” the Unconquerable Sun-god ” (Deus
    Sol Invictus), who probably was the chief di-
    vinity of Palmyra in Syria.

    i. THE SUN-GOD OF AURELIAN AND
    CHRISTMAS

    THIS divinity is of especial interest for our in-
    quiry, for his annual festival fell on the twenty-
    fifth of December and its relation to Christmas
    has been a matter of protracted discussion.
    Obviously the season of the winter solstice,
    when the strength of the sun begins to increase,
    is appropriate for the celebration of the festival
    of a sun-god. The day in a sense marks the
    birth of a new sun. But the reason for its be-
    ing chosen as the day for the commemoration
    of Christ’s nativity is not so evident.
    Accord-
    ing to some scholars the time of year of the
    birth of Christ most widely accepted in the
    earlier period in the West was the end of March.
    The author of the pseudo-Cyprianic treatise
    De pascka computus, which was written in 243,
    gives the twenty-eighth of March as the date.
    He states that Sunday, the twenty-fifth of
    March, the vernal equinox, was the first day
    of creation; and that the sun and moon were
    created on Wednesday the twenty-eighth.
    Then after a highly fanciful series of computa-
    tions he arrives at the conclusion that Christ
    was born on the same day of the year as that
    on which the sun was created. Apparently
    others in this early period thought that the
    twenty-fifth of March was the date. But this
    discrepancy of a few days is not important.

    i Duchesne, Christian Worship, 261 ff.; Kirsopp Lake
    in E. R. E., HI. 601 ff.

    SURVIVALS OF ROMAN RELIGION

    Subsequently, it has been claimed, the date of
    the birth was shifted from the twenty-eighth
    or twenty-fifth of March to the twenty-fifth
    of December as a result of the belief that while
    the March date marked the conception in a
    sense the beginning of the Incarnation of
    Jesus, the birth took place nine months later.
    On the basis of this argument the fact that the
    date of Christ’s birth falls on the same day as
    the festival of “the Unconquerable Sun” is
    said to be an accident. But this is hardly a
    satisfactory explanation. The identity of date
    is more than a coincidence. To be sure the
    Church did not merely appropriate the festival
    of the popular sun-god. It was through a
    parallelism between Christ and the sun that
    the twenty-fifth of December came to be the
    date of the nativity.
    That an equation be-
    tween the two had been instituted at a period
    earlier than any celebration of the nativity we
    know from the De pascha computus referred to
    above. Indeed the most significant element in
    that document is just this parallelism. Once
    the equation had been made, the appropriate-
    ness of selecting for the commemoration of the
    nativity that day on which the power of the
    sun began to increase was obvious enough.

    Even Epiphanius, the fourth century metro-
    politan of Cyprus, though giving the sixth of
    January as the date of birth, connects the event
    with the solstice. Moreover, the diversion of
    the significance of a popular pagan holiday was
    wholly in accord with the policy of the Church.
    Of the actual celebration of a festival of the
    nativity, it should be added, there is no satis-
    factory evidence earlier than the fourth cen-
    tury. Its first observance in Rome on De-
    cember the twenty-fifth took place in 353 or
    354 (Usener) or in 336 (Duchesne). In Con-
    stantinople it seems to have been introduced in
    377 or 378.

    SURVIVALS OF ROMAN RELIGION

    GORDON J. LAING

    Professor of Latin The University of Chicago

  395. From the Catholic Encyclopaedia on Mithra worship:

    A sacred meal was celebrated of bread and haoma juice for which in the West wine was substituted. This meal was supposed to give the participants super-natural virtue. The Mithraists worshipped in caves, of which a large number have been found. There were five at Ostia alone, but they were small and could perhaps hold at most 200 persons. In the apse of the cave stood the stone representation of Mithra slaying the bull, a piece of sculpture usually of mediocre artistic merit and always made after the same Pergamean model. The light usually fell through openings in the top as the caves were near the surface of the ground. A hideous monstrosity representing Kronos was also shown. A fire was kept perpetually burning in the sanctuary. Three times a day prayer was offered the sun toward the east, south, or west according to the hour. Sunday was kept holy in honour of Mithra, and the sixteenth of each month was sacred to him as mediator. The 25 December was observed as his birthday, the natalis invicti, the rebirth of the winter-sun, unconquered by the rigours of the season. A Mithraic community was not merely a religious congregation; it was a social and legal body with its decemprimi, magistri, curatores, defensores, and patroni.

  396. Brumalia (Roman Kingdom)

    Influenced by the Ancient Greek Lenaia festival, Brumalia was an ancient Roman solstice festival honoring Bacchus, generally held for a month and ending December 25. The festival included drinking and merriment. The name is derived from the Latin word bruma, meaning “shortest day” or “winter solstice”. The festivities almost always occurred on the night of December 24.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice

  397. Great work doing the Muslims work for them by spreading misinformation. I shall call you Grand mufti Steve,

    I mean between Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, Bacchus and Mithra, it has to be one of them right,

    Saturnalia’s been busted. So it must be one of the others.

    Let’s start looking at your quotes

    The festival included drinking and merriment.

    Yeah it did and orgies and parties.

    Just one problem though.

    Christmas was a time of fasting and temperance for the early Christians. They abhorred the revelry of pagan festivals and were disgusted by them.

    Where is the evidence that Christians participated in or adopted these pagan practices?

    The evidence from Christian leaders writing at the time disputes this. It was a time of worship and fasting. The idea that it was a time of revelry is a modern invention.

    The evidence suggests that Christian festivals in the fourth century were accompanied by worship and fasting, not dissipation, cf. p. 203. As Kelly notes: ‘early Christian leaders found the Saturnalian practices offensive’, p. 69. Alexander observes (p. 9ff) that the 380 Saragossa synod obliged daily church worship for 17 December-6 January. All the indications are that fasting, rather than secular ‘feasting’ was prescribed, as demonstrated by the writings of Bishop Filastrius of Brescia (d. 397), pp. 14-15.

    So what did Bishop of Filastrius of Brescia write. He observed that four times of fast are observed in the Church, at the Nativity, the quadragesima before Pascha, before the Ascension, and then from the Ascension to Pentecost, the Diversarum Hereson Liber, Chap 121 (ca 385-391)

    Gregory Nazianzen, Bishop of Constantinople c. 379, in his sermon On the Theophany indicates that proper practice for celebrating the Nativity differed from pagan Saturnalia practices – not least riotous conduct: ‘…let us not strive to outdo each other in intemperance… Let us leave all these to … the …festivals of the Greeks… But we, the Object of whose adoration is the Word… seek it [‘luxury’]…in the Divine Law …’

    The evidence is that it was a time of worship and fasting. Far from the adoption of pagan practices.

  398. But hey that’s only my opinion (which is based on evidence).

    I’m sure it won’t stop you believing that the Church notices ran like this at the time:

    Following the service there will be a gluttonous feast at Margot’s (bring a plate), followed by the drunken party at Zorro’s (byo), then on to GM Steve’s for the annual orgy (byo), finishing with a gangbang at Roundhose’s (slaves will be provided).

  399. So how is the Christmas season now celebrated but with revelry, high spirits (literally) and volume. I don’t see very much worship and fasting associated with Christmas, do you, especially amongst the non-churched, that is, those who still seem to have a pagan view of life? I wonder what happened there!

    So please don’t attempt to associate some quaint holiness with the season. The ‘evidence’ is obviously against you there, or did you lock yourself away for the last few Christmases and not notice? The current season is merely an extension of what has taken place for aeons.

    But the point is that, contrary to your original source, there was a very definite pagan celebration of the winter solstice, the dates between the latter part of December, stemming from the Julian to the Gregorian calendars, including several other festivals and celebrations, and not, as your source indicated, a quiet season of nothing which was replaced by Christmas.

    No. Not at all. In fact it seems to have been a busy time of year all round. The wikipaedia entry on the winter solstice in particular gets particularly excited.

    So the indications are that there were a number of pagan festivals around this time. The change over of calendars, of course, messed up some of the schedules, so we can’t be certain exactly how and when things were shifted about.

    The ‘evidence’, as you put it, that there were pagan associations with Christmas is the mere fact that Jesus couldn’t possibly have been born at this time.

    The only reason the dates were changed could be to accommodate a pre-existent season, which is why most commentators believe it was inserted to discourage the revelry and replace it with a significant Christian event, certainly after Constantine made Christianity the main religion of the Empire.

    As Laing correctly asserts:

    Subsequently, it has been claimed, the date of the birth was shifted from the twenty-eighth or twenty-fifth of March to the twenty-fifth of December as a result of the belief that while the March date marked the conception in a sense the beginning of the Incarnation of Jesus, the birth took place nine months later.

    On the basis of this argument the fact that the date of Christ’s birth falls on the same day as the festival of “the Unconquerable Sun” is said to be an accident. But this is hardly a satisfactory explanation.

    The identity of date is more than a coincidence. To be sure the Church did not merely appropriate the festival of the popular sun-god. It was through a parallelism between Christ and the sun that the twenty-fifth of December came to be the date of the nativity. That an equation between the two had been instituted at a period earlier than any celebration of the nativity we know from the De pascha computus referred to above.

    Indeed the most significant element in that document is just this parallelism. Once the equation had been made, the appropriateness of selecting for the commemoration of the nativity that day on which the power of the sun began to increase was obvious enough.

  400. Bones,
    I mean between Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, Bacchus and Mithra, it has to be one of them right

    No, Bones, all of them, by different peoples in different locations. But the Romans, when they conquered the known world, adopted many pagan festivals and gods into their own worship systems.

    The point is that there were several things going on at this time in several locations. It was not a dead, empty time for the people.

    Remember, they lived in winter Europe, between seasons when it gets very cold, and there is little food. They called the time from the shortest day to Spring the time of famine. They wondered if the sun would ever return to them. That is why they held festivals at this time. It was a kind of pragmatic superstitious worship.

    Did you know that Stonehenge was built so that the sun fell at a certain place to indicate the winter solstice. The druids worshiped their teutonic gods there, gods borrowed form their Northern European relatives. There is a place in Ireland where the people of the same era erected a mound which allowed the winter solstice sun to shine down a passage only at this time of year. The accuracy of their calculations is one of the indicators of their great intelligence. Here the people worshiped their pagan gods and pleaded for the sun to return again.

    You are trying to say that nothing happened on this date until the Christians determined that Jesus must have somehow been born on December 25 (impossible), and form then on the pagans joined in with the Christians to celebrate the date. That is what you said, according to your ‘evidence’.

    I have made it clear to you that this is not possible, and neither is December 25 the birth of Christ.

    Even the Catholic Encyclopaedia acknowledged December 25 as a date when Mithra was supposed to have been born, and celebrated by the Persians.

    Anyway, do what you want to do with this whole deal.

    if you want to be a Catholic go ahead. It’s your prerogative.

    If you want to hail Mary and pray to saints, go for it.

    I dont think you have any intention of even listening to one thing i’ve said to you or Greg about the errors of this church, and it’s a waste of time talking to you about any of it, frankly.

    I’ve revised heaps, and learned a few new things about the ancients which have confirmed what I knew before.

    If you choose to believe in the canonisation of saints, your relatives might end up in a place called purgatory, or that Jesus can be called down by men in fish suits in a sun-ray wafer, then have a ball.

    Don’t expect me to join you any time soon.

    Finally, if I choose to disengage, please don’t try to claim some kind of evidence strewn victory. The fact is, I’ve got better things to do than discuss this any more with a person who can’t control his temper.

  401. I love you, Bones. You’re the best by test. Don’t let the ankle-biters get to you. 🙂 Peace and all love to you.

  402. Thans for bringing it up Q. Didn’t see the last couple of posts.

    Gordon J Laing in this article criticises early church historian Tertullian for being too negative about pagan practices and defends paganism.

    http://www.tertullian.org/articles/laing_pagan_cults.htm

    It’s pretty obvious that Laing was pushing his barrow that paganism was a positive influence and that Christians adapted it.

  403. I have always been curious about Greg the Explorer’s Romish affections when Rome’s official doctrinal standards confirm him to be in abject heresy and outside the faith…

    How Many Popes Does it Take to Deny the Immaculate Conception?

  404. How Many Popes Does it Take to Deny the Immaculate Conception?

    That is actually a very good question.

    The answer of course is that they never will because they’re all cut from the same cloth. They all have to come through Rome’s purple, to red, to the gold of the papacy, which means they are forever initiates into the mysteries, one of which is the elevation of the Queen of Heaven.

    What surprises me most is how long it has taken them to get as far as they have. Mary is already Queen of Heaven and Mediatrix to practically all Catholics.

    In fact, by their own dogma, if you don’t confess mary as Mother of God you can be excommunicated, so you would certainly never make it to the cloth if you denied Mary as Mediatrix.

  405. confess mary as Mother of God you can be excommunicated

    That’s right. Because you’re saying Jesus isn’t God and deny the Incarnation. So off to the JWs you go.

    The Orthodox venerate (not worship!) Mary as well. Yet deny the Immaculate Conception and co-redemptix dogma.

    An Orthodox View of the Virgin Mary

    A Protestant preacher recently said that devotion to the Mother of God is the cause of all bad in the world, since she was not a virgin after she gave birth to Christ and was just another woman. This really has upset me. Why do we worship the Virgin Mary and how do we answer those who say that she was nothing but another woman? What significance does she have for us Orthodox? (B.W., TX)

    One cannot react to every opinion and idea about Christianity. At some point, common sense must prevail. In the first place, the idea that devotion to the Theotokos, or Bearer of God, is the cause of the world’s ills is a ridiculous proposition. One must look at such an idea with the same passivity that we show towards so-called scholarly attempt to prove that Christian devotion to the Virgin Mary derives from the pagan cult of the earth goddess. It does not deserve a response. Secondly, while non-Orthodox Christian denominations may differ with regard to their assessment of the significance of the Mother of God, this does not explain the views of those who would like to believe—an incredible, if not demonic thing—that a woman chosen by the God of the universe to bear His Incarnate Son would simply return, after this miraculous event, to the world of the flesh. If St. Paul praises the chaste life, if Christians are called to become eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom, and if, at least in the Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran Churches, monks and nuns are called to uphold the standard of virginity and purity,* how could any rational person suggest that the woman called to bear the Son of God would be exempt from such a pious commitment?

    We will not, here, comment on the mistranslation and misuse of Scripture by which some heterodox try to claim that the Virgin Mary was a virgin only “up to the time” of the Virgin Birth and not after, or by which they rather naïvely understand the children of St. Joseph (the Virgin Mary’s step-children) and their cousins to be the literal “brothers and sisters” of Christ. The Fathers of the Church have written at length on these matters. Suffice it to say that ancient Christian tradition supported the idea that the Mother of God was ever-virgin, just as Church Fathers and Councils condemned heretics in the early Church who, like their counterparts today, questioned the spiritual eminence of the Theotokos.

    As for the very eminence of the Mother of God, let us turn to Scripture. Going to the house of Zacharias, the Virgin Mary greeted his wife, Elizabeth. “Filled with the Holy Spirit,” St. Elizabeth cried out, “Blessed art thou among women…” (St. Luke 1: 40-42). In response, the Theotokos observes that “…henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” It would, again, suggest a psychological or spiritual problem of no small dimensions for anyone to believe that, after these statements, the Virgin Mary would simply return to the life of the flesh and set aside her spiritual role in the salvation brought to mankind by Jesus Christ.

    Finally, we Orthodox do not “worship” the Virgin Mary. We “venerate” her and show her great honor. Nor have we ever, like the Latins, developed the idea that the Theotokos was born without sin (the Roman Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception) or that she is a co-redemptor with Christ (the cult of the Redemtrix in the Latin Church). The consensus of the Church Fathers rejects such ideas, and the Orthodox Church adheres to that consensus. However, we do believe that the Virgin Mary is an image, as St. Maximos the Confessor says, of the Christian goal of becoming Christ-like, of theosis. Just as the Theotokos gave birth to Christ in a bodily way, so we must, St. Maximos tells us, give birth to Christ in an unbodily or spiritual way. In so doing, we imitate her practical spiritual life, including the purity and humility by which she formed her free will into perfect obedience to the Will of God. Of this practical image of the Virgin Mary, one of our readers, Archdeacon Basil Kuretich, D.D., has written some words that bear repeating here. They give us a clear picture of the importance of the model which she presents for every Orthodox believer:

    “W