19 May, 2010

Our Debt to Jerusalem


Our Debt to Jerusalem

The late Pope John Paul the Great was acclaimed throughout his pontificate for being the pontiff that finally aligning the barque of Peter with ‘our elder brothers and sisters,’ the first children of Abraham, the Jews. As someone who had resisted anti-Semitism throughout his life, his apology, offered in Jerusalem in the extraordinary Holy Year of the Millennium, carried the credibility of one who experienced the horrors of the Holocaust first hand in Poland. His acknowledgement of the debt of all Christians to the people of the first covenant should have consequences not only in the spiritual realm but in worldly matters too.

Recent events in Israel (new construction projects in Jerusalem, slow resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians, etc.) now demand that the nations of the world respond with diplomatic initiatives supporting either Israel or the Palestinian Authority. So the questions becomes: Do Christians have an obligation to take one side or the other in these disputes? Given that Sacred Scripture of both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles states that the presence of the Jewish people in Jerusalem is an essential precursor to the arrival of the Messiah in glory, it would seem that Christians who hold to an orthodox interpretation of scripture are obliged to stand with Israel.

Thomas Oden, in his 2003 book The Rebirth of Orthodoxy: Signs of New Life in Christianity enumerates the reasons that Christians live in a fraternal relationship with Judaism. These include a commitment to the Hebrew Bible as Holy Scripture and an understanding of themselves as co-inheritors with Jews at the final coming of the Messiah. They also share a common belief in the God of Abraham, Moses, and Israel as the giver and orderer of nature and history and that he is the creator of man and woman in His image and likeness. Together we believe that when we fail to fulfill our obligations, he offers a way of atonement such that we need not fear his coming at the consummation of history.

It is due to this final point that Christians should be able to see the source of inspiration for supporting not only Judaism as a religion, but also the State of Israel. Our faith in God is a ‘particular faith’ in that it is founded upon specific interventions of God in creation—with Noah, Abraham, and Moses, and for Christians, His incarnation in the person of Jesus Christ—and a particular understanding of one particular people’s history: the history of the Jews. We both hold that the Exodus with its Messianic elements was central event which sealed our relationship with God. The Jews are still waiting for his arrival. Christians simply believe that God promised His chosen people that the Messiah has come and that he will come again. It is part of our creed that when He does return, he will do exactly what the Jews expect of the Messiah—come in a way that will make it impossible to deny his true nature. Jews and Christians both believe in the general resurrection of the dead and of a final judgment by which the people of the covenant will be rewarded for their fidelity to their commitments to God and each other.

The same Hebrew Scriptures, as well as in the Talmudic interpretations that followed state that when that, when the Day of Judgment comes, the people of Israel will occupy the lands He gave to them after their Exodus from Egypt. Sacred Scripture tells us that the penultimate battle in which good finally vanquishes all evil is to take place in these lands of Israel. Christian Scripture even names the exact place in Israel where the Apocalypse will culminate. Given that we draw our hope in the promise of God from these same sources, are we not then both obliged to believe that the existence of the State of Israel is a necessary precursor to the Messiah’s final arrival on earth? In the political battles that constantly inflame the Middle East, Christians are obliged to support whatever is necessary to guarantee the continual existence of the Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital—obliged, that is, if one believes in the promise and truth of Scripture as understood for almost 2500 years of human history.

We are members of the same family of God. In times of trouble, a family pulls together in mutual support, respect, and affection. Christian nations should remember this familial debt we owe our elder brothers and sisters, and define their foreign policy to reflect these values and convictions.

23 comments:

  1. Anonymous21 May, 2010

    Hi Tim,

    You write: "Recent events in Israel (new construction projects in Jerusalem, slow resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians, etc.) now demand that the nations of the world respond with diplomatic initiatives supporting either Israel or the Palestinian Authority."

    This is a false dichotomy. There are more than these two options.

    I support a third way: standing in double solidarity with both the Jewish and the Palestinian peoples. I support the right of Jews to securely exist in the State of Israel, and I support the Palestinian right to justice and autonomy.

    If I may restate your underlying premise to support the Jews over the Palestinians, it is:

    The Jews are more like us than the Palestinians. Our god approves of us and not them.

    In other words, you push the most basic "in" and "out" group dynamic to justify your discrimination against the Palestinians. This is quite shameful really...especially when your Christ typified true human compassion by consorting with, and favouring "out" groups (e.g. sinners, Samaritans, women etc...).

    Anyone can love their own kin - but having love and compassion for those outside your kin group is the mark of a truly noble individual.

    Cheers...Martin

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  2. Martin: I disagree that I have set up a false dichotomy. It is perfectly within the bounds of what I propose to be willing to call for the Israelis to change their approach to the Palestinians. I simply believe that since I hold to the truth of scripture, I therefore believe that the land belongs to the Jewish people by virtue of divine gift. I further believe that it is clear in scripture that their presence in the Holy Land is a necessary precursor to the coming of the Messiah.

    I am not discriminating against the Palestinians. Your contention that I am is drawing a conclusion that is not supported by my argument.

    Tim

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  3. Martin: I do concede though that I could have stated my point better than I did, especially in the manner that I concluded the post.

    Tim

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous21 May, 2010

    Hi Tim,

    You write: "Given that we draw our hope in the promise of God from these same sources, are we not then both obliged to believe that the existence of the State of Israel is a necessary precursor to the Messiah’s final arrival on earth? In the political battles that constantly inflame the Middle East, Christians are obliged to support whatever is necessary to guarantee the continual existence of the Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital—obliged, that is, if one believes in the promise and truth of Scripture as understood for almost 2500 years of human history."

    If your god is so powerful, why does he need your help in setting the stage in Israel? Is not the Lord of the Universe potent enough to direct history's true course and fulfill his own prophecies?

    I am sorry - but this kind of apocolyptic thinking is rubbish. What scares the hell out of me is to think that if a mushroom cloud should appear over the Middle East, some religious fools would smugly smile to themselves confident that their Lord was about to 'rapture' them.

    A sane person would see nuclear anilhation in the Middle East as a profound human tragedy that should have been avoided at all costs. But not the fanatics. They will not rest until their apocolyptic nightmares are foisted upon the rest of us.

    Evil men can commit evil deeds - but it takes religion to make a good man commit evil.

    Good grief - the problems in the Middle East are intractable enough without every faction thinking the Lord of the Universe is on their side. How about a little humilty here guys? You cannot even prove your tin pot gods are real, yet you are ready to plunge everyone into the abyss in support of your collective delusions.

    Seriously Tim, I am beginning to worry for your sanity if this is truly your outlook.

    Cheers...Martin

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  5. I have to agree with Tim's point that Israel should be supported because the land of Israel was a divine gift to Israel.

    However, I would have to disagree with the author's statement that "we are members of the same family of God". All humans are part of the human race, but none except those who are born again are actually children of God. Unless one is born again, he is at enmity with God and in the spiritual sense, is not a part of the "family of God". The Jews who have not accepted Christ as their personal Messiah are therefore not God's people. They have not been born again. The author seems to come from the false premise that the Jews as well as christians (born again christians) are both a part of God's chosen people. If he is referring to the none-believing Jews who worship in the Jewish religion, this again is incorrect. They do not believe in Christ and so therefore are not part of God's family. Only the new birth makes one a part of God's family. (see John chap. 3)

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  6. STG: Catholics are 'born again' in every sense of the word by the grace of the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and eucharist. If it is your contention that a particular sect of protestantism is unique in believing in John 3, then you are mistaken.

    Further, Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the law, but to complete it. In saying this he reaffirmed the initial covenant that God established with the Jewish people. They are indeed our elder brother/sister for all Christians.

    Fr. Tim

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  7. Martin: Please do not question my sanity! I'm as sane and rational as I was when we were in school together. I do wonder though if you are having a bad day for you are accusing me of things that I have neither stated nor implied. A 'mushroom cloud' ANYWHERE on the earth is an evil that should be abhorred by all civilized people. What have I written that would make you think that I hold to such a horrid act as being a sign of goodness? Further, I have no belief in that wonderful recent construct of some evangelicals called the 'rapture'. What would make you think otherwise.

    I do believe in God. I do believe that sacred scripture is the word of God. How could either of these two convictions be a surprise to you?

    To hold that scripture has real world implications should not come as a surprise to anyone who holds to these two convictions, or even to people who do not believe in God or scripture (given the billions of people who do hold to God's existence).

    Tim

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  8. Tim,

    "Further, Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the law, but to complete it. In saying this he reaffirmed the initial covenant that God established with the Jewish people. They are indeed our elder brother/sister for all Christians.

    Fr. Tim "

    I must respectfully disagree Tim.
    The apostle Paul made it clear that not all Israel was saved, but only a remnant. "I ask, then, has God rejected his people? Of course not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew." Romans ch.11 vs 1, 2a Saint Joseph's Edition - New American Bible.

    "So also at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if by grace, it is no longer because of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace." Romans ch11 vs5,6.

    "What then? What Israel was seeking it did not attain, but the elect attained it; the rest were hardened, as it is written:
    'God gave them a spirit of deep sleep,
    eyes that should not see
    and ears that should not hear,
    down to this very day.' Romans ch11 vs 7, 8.

    "Hence I ask, did they stumble so as to fall? Of course not! But through their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make them jealous...." Romans ch11 vs 11

    "I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers, so that you will not become wise in your own estimation: a hardening has come upon Israel in part, until the full number of the Gentiles comes in, and thus all Israel will be saved," Romans ch11 vs 25, 26a

    This verse and others tells us why Israel are not believers. God has allowed a hardening of their hearts. There will be a time in the future, after all Gentiles that God has chosen have been saved, that God will again save Israel.

    Although Jews who worship in their own religion are not born again, we are still required to bless the Jews because God has said we must. He still has plans for Israel according to much biblical prophecy.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Tim,

    "STG: Catholics are 'born again' in every sense of the word by the grace of the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and eucharist."

    "What then can we say that Abraham found, our ancestor according to the flesh? Indeed, if Abraham was justified on the basis of his works, he has reason to boast; but this was not so in the sight of God. For what does the scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.' A worker's wage is credited not as a gift, but as something due. But when one does not work, yet believes in the one who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. So also David declares the blessedness of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 'Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgive and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not record.'" Romans Ch4 vs 1 to 8 Saint Joseph's NAB

    How was Abraham saved or how did he become a child of God? In other words, how was Abraham made righeous before God? Was it by some sacrament or was it by grace through faith?

    It says Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness? Is this what is referred to as imputed righteousness?

    Was Abraham credited with God's righteousness because of his faith?

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  10. Tim,

    "Thus Abraham 'believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.'

    Realize then that it is those who have faith who are children of Abraham. Scripture, which saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, foretold the good news to Abraham, saying, 'Through you shall the nations be blessed.' Consequently, those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham who had faith." Galatians ch3 vs 7 to 9

    So did Abraham become a child of God by faith (in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice)? Or is there a new system of becoming a child of God now, by means of sacraments?

    ReplyDelete
  11. STG: You ask if there is a 'new' system of becoming a child of God: no. The sacraments are a means by which we receive the grace of God through faith. If there is no faith, then the sacraments are powerless; empty ritual that accomplishes nothing. Faith is the essential element on our part if we are to be saved. This is what the Church teaches and it is in no way different than what you are offering. None of the scripture you quote contradicts what the RC Church teaches and practices.

    Fr. Tim

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  12. Anonymous22 May, 2010

    Hi Tim,

    You ask why I think your article promotes armed conflict (which may ultimately escalate into a nuclear holocaust) in the Middle East?

    It is because you write such things as this:

    "Do Christians have an obligation to take one side or the other in these disputes?" In a round about way - you answer it "yes".

    "Sacred Scripture tells us that the penultimate battle in which good finally vanquishes all evil is to take place in these lands of Israel. Christian Scripture even names the exact place in Israel where the Apocalypse will culminate."

    "...Christians are obliged to support whatever is necessary to guarantee the continual existence of the Jewish state with Jerusalem as its capital—obliged, that is, if one believes in the promise and truth of Scripture as understood for almost 2500 years of human history."

    Scripture is not at all clear about the Second Coming, End Times, Apocolypse, etc... To say that it is, is to oversell Revelations entirely.

    I am mightily glad that you would see nuclear conflict in the Middle East as something to be avoided at all costs, but I don't think you appreciate that many fundamentalist christians will read this article and see tacit approval for it in your words.

    There is no legitimate role for religious fervour in diplomacy and political conflict. With respect to the Middle East, we should be looking to encourage peace through justice - not setting the stage for some wild interpretation of the end times' "penultimate battle between good and evil". You are playing with fire when you encourage the belief that the gods support you. They do not. What's more - they will not intervene and save you from yourselves if you start a nuclear holocaust.

    To illustrate my point, here is a little thought experiment for your readers at home: If you could choose the type of person who controls the nuclear weaponry in a Middle East conflict, which one of the following three would it be?

    1. An Islamic jihadist whose eyes grow moist with ecstacy at the thought of gaining his heavenly reward if he wipes out the infidels forever. He believes this to be the unalterable command of Allah himself.
    2. A fundamentalist Christian who believes in the rapture and is absolutely confident that Jesus' second coming will happen only when Armegeddon begins. He loves Jesus with all his heart and his soul and he knows that he and most of his loved ones will be raptured into heaven before the first nuclear shock wave envelopes him.
    3. A godless atheist who knows that this life is the only life we live.

    Given the above choices - my money would be on #3 everytime.

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  13. Martin,

    "2. A fundamentalist Christian who believes in the rapture and is absolutely confident that Jesus' second coming will happen only when Armegeddon begins. He loves Jesus with all his heart and his soul and he knows that he and most of his loved ones will be raptured into heaven before the first nuclear shock wave envelopes him."

    I don't think this is an option so-called "fundamental" christians believe in. This is something of your making.
    From what I have heard, christians who believe in biblical prophecy believe there is going to be an Armegeddon at some point; but I have never heard that they are the ones who are going to help to cause it or bring it in. This is a twist which I think you have added.

    Those who believe there will be an Armaggedon believe it will happen as part of a series of events leading up to the return of Christ. These events do not happen because some country decides to take certain actions which would seem to cause that series of events to occur. That would be very foolish indeed.

    The middle east has been a conflict region because of the existence of two diametrically opposed religions, Judaism and Islam. The nation of Israel has a right to peaceful existence. They occupy a very tiny fraction of the middle east. The Arabs occupy the huge remaining areas in various countries surrounding Israel. The Palestinians are descendents of people who lived in the general region of Israel and surrounding areas. The name Palestine was given to the people in the area by a Roman Emporer 2000 years ago as a kind of insult to Israel. It came from the name of the Old Testament Israel's historic enemy, the Philistines, whose Goliath fought his historic battle with David, who became King David of Israel.

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  14. Anonymous22 May, 2010

    Hi STG,

    I don't want to play "Let's define what a true fundamentalist Christian believes in". As you can appreciate, that is a fool's game.

    Suffice it to say, the type of person I describe in option #2 is representative of a great many American fundamentalists. Whether the views of the person in option #2 matches your own faith is not really the point.

    My point is that the more fervent a believer is, the less likely it is that we will want them involved in decisions that involve war, politics and diplomacy.

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  15. Good morning Martin,

    I will concede there are a great many varieties of so-called "fundamentalists", sort of like the 57 varieties of Heinz soup. I belong to a Reformed church. They are never referred to as fundamentalists as far as I know. But they would consider themselves as conservatives on the political spectrum. That is, they would support the conservative spectrum of ideas generally speaking such as pro-life, anti same-sex marriage, pro free enterprise, and tougher on crime. But as far as Israel is concerned they are sympathetic to Israel but not radically pro Israel; although I myself am 100% pro Israel and believe God has given them their land. The reason I differ with them is about 97% of them are Dutch descent and four of us are not; so I have attended other churches such as Baptist, Presbyterian over the years and have heard biblical preaching and prophecy concerning the end times which makes sense to me. The Dutch reformed people are not into prophecy at all, which is why I say they are sympathetic to Israel, but not radically, and strongly opposed to Islamic terrorism.

    There are probably a few smaller denominations and some mega churches in the U.S. which are strongly pro Israel, such as John Hagee's Cornerstone Church in Texas. He is 100% pro Israel and builds his ministry to some extent on helping Israel and lobbying the government for them. He has about 20,000 members and a national or international satellite TV broadcast so his influence is fairly widespread. But if you consider the millions of christians and thousands of churches in the world, his church is probably a drop in the bucket. Most are not majoring on Israel as he is but most are probably sympathetic to Israel and think it has a right to exist without being threatened with annihilation by a nuclear Islamic fundamentalist regime.

    Iran is marching toward having nuclear weapons and this is a very dangerous situation because Ahmadinijab has already said Israel should be destroyed I believe. Being a pacifist in the world will not appease radical Islamist countries, nor stop them. That is the problem.

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  16. "My point is that the more fervent a believer is, the less likely it is that we will want them involved in decisions that involve war, politics and diplomacy."

    Hear! Hear!

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  17. Tim,

    "STG: You ask if there is a 'new' system of becoming a child of God: no. The sacraments are a means by which we receive the grace of God through faith."

    According to Boettner's book, Rome teaches five of the seven sacraments are indespensable to salvation. He says there is scriptural support for only two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Centuries later Rome added five more. Peter Lombard (1100-1164) was the first to define the number as seven. No author for more than 1000 years wrote that there were seven sacraments. It was not until the Council of Florence in 1439 A.D. that seven sacraments were formally decreed.

    The sacrament of Baptism is a symbolical ordinance or outward sign of the benefits of Christ which are conveyed to a believer and received by faith.

    But the RCC has perverted the sacrament by representing it as a kind of magical way of producing regeneration and producing automatic forgiveness of past sins and sayiing it is absolutely necessary to salvation. Boettner says Rome teaches that it is not possible for an infant to be saved and go to heaven without baptism. Protestant churches largely believe all infants who die, whether baptised or not, go to heaven. ---from Loraine Boettner's "Roman Catholicism"

    Jesus said something like "Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not for such is the kingdom of heaven."

    There is no scriptural support for more than two sacrament, baptism and the Lord's Supper. By creating seven sacraments, Rome has ignored the Old Testament warning in Deut. 4:2 about adding unto God's Word.

    Possibly even more serious is Rome's teaching that the sacraments confer divine grace, automatically and mechanically. But the Bible teaches that blessings are not inherent in the sacrament (baptism for instance) itself, but are bestowed by the Holy Spirit directly to the believer. "without faith it is impossible to please him" Hebrews 11:6

    Grace is not dispensed by the sacrament itself but comes to a believer who receives it by faith directly from God. If you claim that is what you believe, go back and read the actual catechism on it and consider the wording used in the sacrament. The very wording in your statement above "the means by which we receive the grace of God through faith" demonstrates the point I am making that priests claim to be dispensing grace with the sacraments.

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  18. STG: First off, let me hope that wherever you're writing from that the weather is as glorious as it is here today. Temp's in the low 30's (C) and nary a cloud in the sky. This type of weather normally only comes our way in July & August, so this is truly a gift today (for predicted for this entire week!). It's in that same spirit that I recognize the gift of your contributions to this blog. Thank you.

    Now, on the sacraments.

    Your history is correct. The Church did not establish as dogma that there are 7 sacraments until the 2nd millennium. This does not diminish from their existence, nor their effect. The true point of contention between us is not scripture or even dogma: it's the issue of tradition.

    RC's believe that tradition is the 'faithful remembering and transmission' of the truths of the faith. That guided by the Holy Spirit, and in accordance with the promise of Christ to Peter and the Apostles, the church would not fail in achieving that for which it was created. It is the obligation of the Church at any given moment then to interpret this canon of tradition in the light of current events and knowledge.

    This role of 'tradition' is simply part of our Jewish heritage; a Christian canon of 'midrashic' exegesis complied through the centuries. Jewish communities use the same method to maintain their orthodoxy throughout the years.

    For example, for over 1200 years, it was assumed that the Genesis description of the world was 'true' in the scientific sense of the word. Copernicus proved it to be wrong... and eventually the Church evolved its understanding of nature, God and Scripture. This new knowledge was applied to an old truth and the synthesis of the two is 'tradition'. Ergo, the Church grows and evolves in her understanding of how God works, and what our obligations to Him are through the faithful rendering of 'tradition'.

    Given the imperfections of humanity, it should come as no surprise that it took a long time to come to as complete an understanding of 'how' God interacts with us (ie: the sacraments) as it did.

    Fr. Tim

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  19. Tim,

    Wow you have beautiful weather for May 24. Enjoy it. It is not as dramatic here. Temp is a lot cooler, 14C at 11AM and rising. About 70% clouds and slight breeze, with some sunny breaks.

    The sacramental system is a massive departure from what the Bible teaches. If you believe the Bible as you claim, it is encumbent on you to examine this whole sacramental system in the light of Scripture. You will not find any support for it. To try to use so-called "tradition" is grasping for straws in my opinion.

    The Bible does not support any system of "tradition" that would enable one to twist the Bible in such a way to create a system which puts the dispensing of God's grace in the hands of fallible men. It's just not there. If such a system was contemplated, the apostle Paul and the other writers would have said much about it. Now over 1000 years later Rome claims it's sacramental system is legitimate?

    This amazing ability of Rome to claim tradition for virtually any perverted doctrine is no different than what the cults are doing. In such as system as Rome's, what value is the Bible if it can be cast aside by completely contrary interpretations based on so-called "tradition" which is really just a cover for man-made inventions?

    It has been said that Rome, by it's traditions, has made the Bible null and void. How true.

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  20. STG: Where did the bible come from? How were the books determined to be canonical? How do you know what you know about the faith? It was faithfully taught to you by others. In other words, it was passed on by tradition.

    Do not create some perverse mechanism that somehow distorts either scripture nor what the RC Church practices. It is the same for every church. We simpler have a greater accumulation of wisdom and theological development as we have had to apply the scriptural and traditional teachings for the past 2000+ years. Your church community has been at the job for a few hundred years at most.

    That's what tradition really means, not the parody that you hold it to be.

    BTW: +41 C here this afternoon when +15-20 would be the norm! Yikes.

    Fr. Tim

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  21. Tim,

    This is an enormous subject with many aspects and ramifications. I will have to give it some thought and further investigation.
    IN the meantime, I have been waiting for some warmer, dryer weather so I can go fishing for a good Lake Trout (Char) before the disappear down to the deeper waters of the lake. Weather has been turbulent, 15C, cloudy, showery, and occasionally thunder, for days now. Can't wait any longer. Must get the boat and fishing gear ready and get out, maybe tomorrow. I will respond to these questions later.
    Wayne

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  22. Tim,

    "STG: Where did the bible come from? How were the books determined to be canonical? How do you know what you know about the faith? It was faithfully taught to you by others. In other words, it was passed on by tradition."

    The Bible was given to us by God who inspired the prophets of the Old Testament and Apostles who wrote the New Testament. Which books of the Bible were accepted as inspired Holy Scripture were determined by the early church in the first centuries. (see 2 Peter 1:21)

    The apocrypha was not quoted from by Jesus or the apostles who made many references to the Old Testament in their New Testament writings. It is evident they did not recognize the apocrypha as part of the canon of Scripture. It was the RC Council of Trent that declared it to be Holy Scripture in the 1400s in order to find support for some of their doctrines that otherwise could not be supported by the Bible and were rejected by the Protestants in the Reformation.

    The Bible was not passed on by tradition. It was passed by on actual copies of the original manuscripts. The Old Testament was preserved by the Scribes who carefully copied previous manuscripts. The original Greek New Testament was also carefully copied and passed on. Even the RC first translation completed by Jerome and I his name was was a Latin translation of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts which existed at that time. The Bible had nothing to do with tradition.

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  23. Tim,

    "We simpler have a greater accumulation of wisdom and theological development as we have had to apply the scriptural and traditional teachings for the past 2000+ years. Your church community has been at the job for a few hundred years at most."

    Unfortunately the RCC had departed from the apostolic faith which is in the Bible. Over a period of 1200 years leading up to the Reformation in the 1500s, the RC had developed it's own unique doctrines based on what they claimed as tradition. Just as one example, the RC claims salvation comes by means of the RCC performing the sacraments which you mentioned (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation). If one gets back to the Bible, he finds salvation is simply by faith in Christ. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." John 6:47

    The RCC system is built on claims that grace is dispensed only by the RCC through the sacraments. This puts tremendous power in the hands of the RCC which the Bible does not authorize. This system is claimed on the basis of "tradition" which is really just whatever the church hierarchy says it is. According to that claim, it therefore does not have to be proven by the Bible. But the Bible itself teaches all doctrines must be proven by the Bible. (see Isaiah 8:20) One either believes fallible men or one believes God's Word.

    ReplyDelete

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