Thursday, February 14, 2013

Connecting the Dots Between the Early Church and Catholicism, Part V


217
Eucharist 

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

220: 
Centralized Authority
The Council of Carthage that can be dated between 220 and 230 was the first Western assembly about which we are well informed. Bishop Cyprian of Carthage provides information that the participants confronted issues surrounding the legal rules of baptism. He also mentions another council that condemned Privatus, the bishop of Lambaesis, for his crimes. From the time of St. Cyprian general synods came to be the wonted resource of Church administration. 

Chair of Peter
Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church would be built’ [Matt. 16:18] with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth’ [Matt. 16:19]?" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 22). 

[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . What kind of man are you, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when he conferred this personally upon Peter? Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys" (Tertullian, Modesty 21:9–10). 
221
Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter. (Letter of Clement to James 2). 
[Simon Peter said to Simon Magus in Rome:] ‘For you now stand in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church’ [Matt. 16:18]. (Clementine Homilies 17:19). 
Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter. (Letter of Clement to James 2). 
225
Tradition, Succession, Authority
Although there are many who believe that they themselves hold to the teachings of Christ, there are yet some among them who think differently from their predecessors. The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession from the apostles and remains in the churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as the truth which is in no way at variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition. (Origen, The Fundamental Doctrines 1:2). 

233
Intercessory Prayer

But not the high priest [Christ] alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels . . . as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep" (Origen, Prayer 11). 

248
Origen (ten years later Cyprian) explicitly say that confession is to be made to priest. 

Albeit hard and laborious [is] the remission of sins through penance, when the sinner . . . does not shrink from declaring his sin to a priest of the Lord and from seeking medicine, after the manner of him who say, ‘I said, "To the Lord I will accuse myself of my iniquity. (Homilies on Leviticus 2:4). 

Authority of Peter

Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? ‘Oh you of little faith,’ he says, ‘why do you doubt?’ [Matt. 14:31]" (Origen, Homilies on Exodus 5:4). 

Regeneration at Baptism and Eucharist
Formerly there was baptism in an obscure way . . . now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God, as he himself says: ‘My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink’ [John 6:55]" (Origen, Homilies on Numbers 7:2). 

Infant Baptism
Every soul that is born into flesh is soiled by the filth of wickedness and sin. . . . In the Church, baptism is given for the remission of sins, and, according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants. If there were nothing in infants which required the remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous" (Origen, Homilies on Leviticus 8:3). 

The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. The apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of the divine sacraments, knew there are in everyone innate strains of [original] sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit" (Origen, Commentaries on Romans 5:9). 

Mary, Ever Virgin

The Book [the Protoevangelium] of James [records] that the brethren of Jesus were sons of Joseph by a former wife, whom he married before Mary. Now those who say so wish to preserve the honor of Mary in virginity to the end, so that body of hers which was appointed to minister to the Word . . . might not know intercourse with a man after the Holy Spirit came into her and the power from on high overshadowed her. And I think it in harmony with reason that Jesus was the firstfruit among men of the purity which consists in [perpetual] chastity, and Mary was among women. For it were not pious to ascribe to any other than to her the firstfruit of virginity" (Commentary on Matthew 2:17). 

OT Canon Septuagint
Of this same thing in the Wisdom of Solomon [it says], ‘Although in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality . . .’ [Wisdom. 3:4]. Of this same thing in the Maccabees [it says], ‘Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness’ [1 Macc. 2:52; see Jas. 2:21–23]" (Cyprian of Carthage, Treatises 7:3:15). 

So Daniel, too, when he was required to worship the idol Bel, which the people and the king then worshipped, in asserting the honor of his God, broke forth with full faith and freedom, saying, ‘I worship nothing but the Lord my God, who created the heaven and the earth’ [Dan. 14:5]" (Letters 55:5; Daniel 14 is not in the Protestant Bible). 

230-250: 

Heresy 
Christian councils of Rome were held to decide questions and to represent the “whole Christian name” (repraesentatio totius nominis Christiani). The exact nature of these assemblies has been debated, but there can be no doubt that they promulgated norms and made decisions for Christian communities. There are references to assemblies in Asia Minor at Iconium (235--heretical baptisms invalid) , Synnada, (About 230-5 a council on the rebaptizing of heretics)

240-250: Christian councils of Carthage

251

On Confession to Priest

The apostle [Paul] likewise bears witness and says: ‘ . . . Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27]. But [the impenitent] spurn and despise all these warnings; before their sins are expiated, before they have made a confession of their crime, before their conscience has been purged in the ceremony and at the hand of the priest . . . they do violence to [the Lord’s] body and blood, and with their hands and mouth they sin against the Lord more than when they denied him. (Cyprian of Carthage, The Lapsed 15:1–3). 

Of how much greater faith and salutary fear are they who . . . confess their sins to the priests of God in a straightforward manner and in sorrow, making an open declaration of conscience. . . . I beseech you, brethren, let everyone who has sinned confess his sin while he is still in this world, while his confession is still admissible, while the satisfaction and remission made through the priests are still pleasing before the Lord" (ibid., 28). 

[S]inners may do penance for a set time, and according to the rules of discipline come to public confession, and by imposition of the hand of the bishop and clergy receive the right of Communion. [But now some] with their time [of penance] still unfulfilled . . . they are admitted to Communion, and their name is presented; and while the penitence is not yet performed, confession is not yet made, the hands of the bishop and clergy are not yet laid upon them, the Eucharist is given to them; although it is written, ‘Whosoever shall eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’ [1 Cor. 11:27]" (Letters 9:2). 

And do not think, dearest brother, that either the courage of the brethren will be lessened, or that martyrdoms will fail for this cause, that penance is relaxed to the lapsed, and that the hope of peace [i.e., absolution] is offered to the penitent. . . . For to adulterers even a time of repentance is granted by us, and peace is given. (ibid., 51[55]:20). 

But I wonder that some are so obstinate as to think that repentance is not to be granted to the lapsed, or to suppose that pardon is to be denied to the penitent, when it is written, ‘Remember whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works’ [Rev. 2:5], which certainly is said to him who evidently has fallen, and whom the Lord exhorts to rise up again by his deeds [of penance], because it is written, ‘Alms deliver from death. [Tobit 12:9]" (ibid., 51[55]:22). 

On the primacy of Peter

The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. . . . If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church? (Cyprian, The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]). 

There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering" (Cyprian, Letters 43[40]:5). 

There [John 6:68–69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop, and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priests of God, believing that they are secretly [i.e., invisibly] in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is one and Catholic, is not split nor divided, but it is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere one to another. (ibid., 66[69]:8). 

251 
Council of Carthage  to establish rules for reconciling those Christians who had abandoned their faith because of persecution. During the next year he gathered 67 bishops to treat questions of reconciliation again and infant baptism. 

253
Tradition and Authority of Rome 
[T]he Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with Novatian, she was not with [Pope] Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop Fabian by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honor of the priesthood the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way" (Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 75:3). 
But what is his error . . . who does not remain on the foundation of the one Church which was founded upon the rock by Christ [Matt. 16:18], can be learned from this, which Christ said to Peter alone: ‘Whatever things you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]" (collected in Cyprian’s Letters74[75]:16). 
[Pope] Stephen [I] . . . boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18]. . . . [Pope] Stephen . . . announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter" (ibid., 74[75]:17). 

Infant Baptism
As to what pertains to the case of infants: You [Fidus] said that they ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, that the old law of circumcision must be taken into consideration, and that you did not think that one should be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day after his birth. In our council it seemed to us far otherwise. No one agreed to the course which you thought should be taken. Rather, we all judge that the mercy and grace of God ought to be denied to no man born" (Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 64:2). 

If, in the case of the worst sinners and those who formerly sinned much against God, when afterwards they believe, the remission of their sins is granted and no one is held back from baptism and grace, how much more, then, should an infant not be held back, who, having but recently been born, has done no sin, except that, born of the flesh according to Adam, he has contracted the contagion of that old death from his first being born. For this very reason does he [an infant] approach more easily to receive the remission of sins: because the sins forgiven him are not his own but those of another" (ibid., 64:5). 

Intercession of Saints
Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity. Let us on both sides [of death] always pray for one another. Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love, that if one of us, by the swiftness of divine condescension, shall go hence first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord, and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy" (Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 56[60]:5. 

256 
Council of Carthage: September eighty-seven bishops assembled from the three provinces still maintained their attitude against Baptism by heretics. While maintaining the right of bishops to think for themselves, he still clung to the necessity of unity in the Church, and would not break the revered bond with Rome.

264

Council of Antioch (264-272); and the Fathers seem to have rejected Homoousion. 

Primacy of Peter’s Chair in Rome

In this chair in which he himself had sat, Peter in mighty Rome commanded Linus, the first elected, to sit down. After him, Cletus too accepted the flock of the fold. As his successor, Anacletus was elected by lot. Clement follows him, well-known to apostolic men. After him Evaristus ruled the flock without crime. Alexander, sixth in succession, commends the fold to Sixtus. After his illustrious times were completed, he passed it on to Telesphorus. He was excellent, a faithful martyr . . . " (Poem Against the Marcionites 276–284). 

[In the second] year of the two hundredth and fifth Olympiad [A.D. 42]: The apostle Peter, after he has established the church in Antioch, is sent to Rome, where he remains as a bishop of that city, preaching the gospel for twenty-five years" (Eusebius of Caesarea, The Chronicle). 

Peter, the first chosen of the apostles, having been apprehended often and thrown into prison and treated with ignominy, at last was crucified in Rome. (Peter of Alexandria Penance, canon 9). 

300  

Assumption of Mary

If therefore it might come to pass by the power of your grace, it has appeared right to us your servants that, as you, having overcome death, do reign in glory, so you should raise up the body of your Mother and take her with you, rejoicing, into heaven. Then said the Savior [Jesus]: ‘Be it done according to your will’" (Pseudo-Melito, The Passing of the Virgin 16:2–17). 

310  
Council of Elvira or Illiberis, Spain is the earliest council for which we have a set of legislative decrees. Although the 81 canons commonly attributed to the council may be the product of several Iberian councils from later in the century, it is clear that the focus of the canons was on the sexual mores of the clergy and laity. Elvira was the first Western council to dictate that priests should be celibate. Its canons, however, did not circulate widely.

Relics in Early Christianity
We took up his bones, which are more valuable than precious stones and finer than refined gold, and laid them in a suitable place, where the Lord will permit us to gather ourselves together, as we are able, in gladness and joy and to celebrate the birthday of his martyrdom. (Harnack, History of Dogma, tr., IV, 313). 

314 
Heresy

Council of Arles issued 25 canons that dealt with a variety of recent problems in the church. These canons dealt with the discipline of the clergy, the alienation of ecclesiastical property, chastity, adultery, murder, and magic. 

Lactantius

Primacy of Rome
When Nero was already reigning, Peter came to Rome, where, in virtue of the performance of certain miracles which he worked . . . he converted many to righteousness and established a firm and steadfast temple to God. (The Deaths of the Persecutors 2:5). 
In the fourth century the great biblical scholar, Jerome, declared, "We do not worship, we do not adore, for fear that we should bow down to the creature rather than to the creator, but we venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore him whose martyrs they are" (Ad Riparium, i, P.L., XXII, 907). 



35 comments:

Eric Richter said...

“Council of Carthage 220: a proof of centralized authority”
Actually, the Second Council of Carthage is a proof against the papal primacy. Cyrpian, bishop of Carthage and president of the council spoke:
“For no one of us has set himself up to be bishop of bishops, or attempted with tyrannical dread to force his colleagues to obedience to him, since every bishop has, for the license of liberty and power, his own will, and as he cannot be judged by another, so neither can he judge another. But we await the judgment of our universal Lord, our Lord Jesus Christ, who one and alone hath the power, both of advancing us in the governance of his Church, and of judging of our actions in that position.” (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, series II, volume XIV, page 517)


Chair of Peter’s statement of Tertullian
When this was written, Tertullian had broken with the Orthodox Church and joined a sect called Montanism (The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. XIV, p. 1030). Few years ago, the pope appealed to this famous biblical passage to hold the papal supremacy. Tertullian wrote this passage in an ironical way to mock of the pope:
“I now inquire into your opinion, (to see) from what source you usurp this right to "the Church."
If, because the Lord has said to Peter, "Upon this rock will I build My Church, to thee have I given the keys of the heavenly kingdom; Whatsoever thou shale have bound or loosed in earth, shall be bound or loosed in the heavens," you therefore presume that the power of binding and loosing has derived to you, that is, to every Church akin to Peter, what sort of man are you, subverting and wholly changing the manifest intention of the Lord, conferring (as that intention did) this (gift) personally upon Peter?”
(On Modesty, chap. 21; in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. IV, p. 99)
It’s hard to believe that Tertullian accepted Papal Primacy, because he fought the papal authority many times as a Bishop and wrote a book against the pope Callistus (Ibid. p. 1028) after his separation of the Church.

You Wrote:
“221
Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter. (Letter of Clement to James 2).
[Simon Peter said to Simon Magus in Rome:] ‘For you now stand in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church’ [Matt. 16:18]. (Clementine Homilies 17:19).
Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter. (Letter of Clement to James 2).”

My Answer:
The Letter of Clement to James is a forgery. Clement of Rome never wrote that epistle, as the Catholic Church has acknowledged:
“It was a Roman forgery, claiming for the Church of Peter the succession to a part of the headship of the Church of James. James indeed had been "bishop of bishops", and Peter's successor could not claim to be more than Peter was among the Apostles, primus inter pares. The Roman attempt was eventually successful, but not without a struggle.” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. IV, p. 82).
The author of this epistle is unknown, but his intentions, however, are quite obvious. The date remains unknown, although the scholars have suggested some dates between the first and fifth centuries.
It’s interesting to note that the pseudo-Clement called James as “the bishop of bishops, who rules Jerusalen –the holy Church of the Hebrews- and Churches everywhere” (Letter of Clement to James, Chap. 1; The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. VIII, p. 218)

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
225
Tradition, Succession, Authority
Although there are many who believe that they themselves hold to the teachings of Christ, there are yet some among them who think differently from their predecessors. The teaching of the Church has indeed been handed down through an order of succession from the apostles and remains in the churches even to the present time. That alone is to be believed as the truth which is in no way at variance with ecclesiastical and apostolic tradition. (Origen, The Fundamental Doctrines 1:2).

My Answer: I do not see this passage as a proof of apostolic succession, because it is not limited to the roman church, but many Christian churches. This argument was widely used against the gnostic by many christian writers.

You wrote:
233
Intercessory Prayer
But not the high priest [Christ] alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels . . . as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep" (Origen, Prayer 11).
And others quotes of Origen

My Answer: Origen was a reputed theologian in early Christianity, but and heretic according modern standards. Some heretical doctrines that Origen held are: pre-existence of the souls, transmigration of souls, Christ had a beginning, subordination, allegorism, etc. If we gonna believe in the intercession of angel because Origen held that, Why do not believe in the others doctrines that Origen held?
This passage of Origen is not a historical evidence either of angel veneration. There were always heresies into the christian Church, even Paul face up a group of false teachers who had a especial notions about angels (Col. 2:18)

You wrote:
OT Canon Septuagint
Of this same thing in the Wisdom of Solomon [it says], ‘Although in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality . . .’ [Wisdom. 3:4]. Of this same thing in the Maccabees [it says], ‘Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him for righteousness’ [1 Macc. 2:52; see Jas. 2:21–23]" (Cyprian of Carthage, Treatises 7:3:15).
So Daniel, too, when he was required to worship the idol Bel, which the people and the king then worshipped, in asserting the honor of his God, broke forth with full faith and freedom, saying, ‘I worship nothing but the Lord my God, who created the heaven and the earth’ [Dan. 14:5]" (Letters 55:5; Daniel 14 is not in the Protestant Bible).

My answer:
Cyprian, as many others Church Fathers, accepted and quoted from deuterocanonical books of the OT. But they also quoted from some apocryphal books and even rejected canonical books. Cyprian, for example, rejected Hebrews, II Peter, James and Jude (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. III, p. 539)

Saint Jerome, the author of the Vulgata (which is a infallible Bible version according the Council of Trent), also considered the deuterocanonical books as “apocryphal”, and “not canonical”, the pope Gregory I shared his opinion.
“Let her [christian Church] avoid all apocryphal writings, and if she is led to read such not by the truth of the doctrines which they contain but out of respect for the miracles contained in them; let her understand that they are not really written by those to whom they are ascribed, that many faulty elements have been introduced into them, and that it requires infinite discretion to look for gold in the midst of dirt.” (Saint Jerome, Letter to Laeta, chap 12; in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Vol. VI, p. 191)



You wrote:
On Confession to Priest
In early Christianity was pretty common to confess the own sins before the whole church. This is called “public confession”. This was not a private confession before the priest, like modern Catholics do.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
On the primacy of Peter
The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. . . . If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church? (Cyprian, The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

My Answer: Modern Scholars rejected this passage as a forgery, because was interpolated for obvious reasons.
“Cyprian is often innocently quoted by Romanist controvertists against the very principles of Cyprian himself, of his life and his writings. This is due to the fact that they have in their hands vitiated and interpolated copies” (The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. V, p. 997)


You wrote:
There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering" (Cyprian, Letters 43[40]:5).
There [John 6:68–69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop, and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priests of God, believing that they are secretly [i.e., invisibly] in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is one and Catholic, is not split nor divided, but it is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere one to another. (ibid., 66[69]:8).

It’s interesting, but I haven’t found these quotes on Cyprian’s works. I have read his epistles in the ANF and did not find these quotes anywhere. Would you be so kind as to provide me the source of your quotes?


You wrote:
253
Tradition and Authority of Rome
[T]he Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with Novatian, she was not with [Pope] Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop Fabian by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honor of the priesthood the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way" (Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 75:3).

My answer:
Magnus, a disciple of Cyprian sent a letter to Him about the controversy between Cornelius (the pope) and Novatian (the anti-pope). Cyprian was a advocator of Cornelius and denied some heretical doctrines that Novatian had proclaimed.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
But what is his error . . . who does not remain on the foundation of the one Church which was founded upon the rock by Christ [Matt. 16:18], can be learned from this, which Christ said to Peter alone: ‘Whatever things you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]" (collected in Cyprian’s Letters74[75]:16).
The whole text says:
“But what is the greatness of his error, and what the depth of his blindness, who says that remission of sins can be granted in the synagogues of heretics, and does not abide on the foundation of the one Church which was once based by Christ upon the rock, may be perceived from this, that Christ said to Peter alone, "Whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." And again, in the Gospel, when Christ breathed on the apostles alone, saying, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit they are remitted unto them, and whose soever sins ye retain they are retained." Therefore the power of remitting sins was given to the apostles, and to the churches which they, sent by Christ, established, and to the bishops who succeeded to them by vicarious ordination.” (Letter of Firmillian, bishop of Caesarea, to Cyprian, chap. 16 in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. V, p. 697)
As we can see, this passage says that Christ gave the gift of forgive sins to all apostles not just Peter. The same letter admitters the apostolic succession in the several churches that the Apostles had founded, but ignored any alleged roman supremacy at those times (Ibid. chap. 3).


You wrote:
[Pope] Stephen [I] . . . boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18]. . . . [Pope] Stephen . . . announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter" (ibid., 74[75]:17).
My Answer:
The whole text says:
“And in this respect I am justly indignant at this so open and manifest folly of Stephen, that he who so boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid, should introduce many other rocks and establish new buildings of many churches; maintaining that there is baptism in them by his authority. For they who are baptized, doubtless, fill up the number of the Church. But he who approves their baptism maintains, of those baptized, that the Church is also with them. Nor does he understand that the truth of the Christian Rock is overshadowed, and in some measure abolished, by him when he thus betrays and deserts unity.” (Ibid, chap 17)
This letter shows that Stephen had appealed to his alleged authority to impose his own belief about the baptism of heretics. But the bishop of Caesarea and Carthage (two of the most important episcopates of the early Christianity) were against the posture of the bishop of Rome.
Although Stephen appealed to the apostles for his posture, the Bishop of Caeserea refuted him:
“And indeed, as respects what Stephen has said, as though the apostles forbade those who come from heresy to be baptized, and delivered this also to be observed by their successors, you have replied most abundantly, that no one is so foolish as to believe that the apostles delivered this,” (Ibid, chap. 5)
“But that they who are at Rome do not observe those things in all cases which are handed down from the beginning, and vainly pretend the authority of the apostles; any one… may see that there are some diversities among them, and that all things are not observed among them alike, which are observed at Jerusalem, just as in very many other provinces (Ibid. chap. 6)
We can see that early catholic bishops denied that Rome was following the apostolic teachings.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
Infant Baptism
As to what pertains to the case of infants: You [Fidus] said that they ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, that the old law of circumcision must be taken into consideration, and that you did not think that one should be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day after his birth. In our council it seemed to us far otherwise. No one agreed to the course which you thought should be taken. Rather, we all judge that the mercy and grace of God ought to be denied to no man born" (Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 64:2).
If, in the case of the worst sinners and those who formerly sinned much against God, when afterwards they believe, the remission of their sins is granted and no one is held back from baptism and grace, how much more, then, should an infant not be held back, who, having but recently been born, has done no sin, except that, born of the flesh according to Adam, he has contracted the contagion of that old death from his first being born. For this very reason does he [an infant] approach more easily to receive the remission of sins: because the sins forgiven him are not his own but those of another" (ibid., 64:5).

The Letter LVIII of Cyprian to Fidus (Not Letter LXIV) is a proof that many christian was baptizing their children. This wasn’t a universal practice but wide, we must to acknowledge.
The infant baptism started around the third century, and in the first two hundred years of Christianity we have no mention of it. Why did this practice start? I don’t know, and personally think that the infant baptism is completely unnecessary. Tertullian, the bishop of Carthage, had the same opinion:
“And so, according to the circumstances and disposition, and even age, of each individual, the delay of baptism is preferable; principally, however, in the case of little children. For why is it necessary—if is not so necessary —that the sponsors likewise should be thrust into danger? Who both themselves, by reason of mortality, may fail to fulfil their promises, and may be disappointed by the development of an evil disposition? The Lord does indeed say, “Forbid them not to come unto me.” Let them “come,” then, while they are growing up; let them “come” while they are learning, while they are learning whither to come; let them become Christians when they have become able to know Christ.” (On baptism, chap. XVIII; in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. III, pp. 1272-1273)




You wrote:
Intercession of Saints
Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity. Let us on both sides [of death] always pray for one another. Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love, that if one of us, by the swiftness of divine condescension, shall go hence first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord, and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy" (Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 56[60]:5.

My answer:
I have to admit that this text speaks about the intercession of death. But I haven’t found this dogma before the third century, neither in the Bible. I must to believe that this dogma started in the third century.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
256
Council of Carthage: September eighty-seven bishops assembled from the three provinces still maintained their attitude against Baptism by heretics. While maintaining the right ofbishops to think for themselves, he still clung to the necessity of unity in the Church, and would not break the revered bond with Rome.

My answer:
The Second Council of Carthage did not accept the roman decision of do not baptism again the regretful heretics. The African church, as many others christian churches along the roman empire, baptism again to those heretics who returned to the catholic church. So, we can see a lot of christian bishops disobeying the papal decision! This talks a lot about papal primacy in early Christianity.



You wrote:
Primacy of Peter’s Chair in Rome
In this chair in which he himself had sat, Peter in mighty Rome commanded Linus, the first elected, to sit down. After him, Cletus too accepted the flock of the fold. As his successor, Anacletus was elected by lot. Clement follows him, well-known to apostolic men. After him Evaristus ruled the flock without crime. Alexander, sixth in succession, commends the fold to Sixtus. After his illustrious times were completed, he passed it on to Telesphorus. He was excellent, a faithful martyr . . . " (Poem Against the Marcionites 276–284).

This poem, which was falsely ascribed to Tertullian, is considered now as anonymous. The date is uncertain but is supposed to be before 325 A.D. By these times, the “roman Peter myth” was quite spread.

You wrote:
[In the second] year of the two hundredth and fifth Olympiad [A.D. 42]: The apostle Peter, after he has established the church in Antioch, is sent to Rome, where he remains as a bishop of that city, preaching the gospel for twenty-five years" (Eusebius of Caesarea, The Chronicle).
My answer:
I have not found this passage in the work of Eusebius. I will assume that is a forged quote. Would you be so kind as to supply me the source of this quote?

You wrote:

Peter, the first chosen of the apostles, having been apprehended often and thrown into prison and treated with ignominy, at last was crucified in Rome. (Peter of Alexandria Penance, canon 9).
Nobody denied this. The presence of Peter in Roma, just as his death in Rome is a historical fact. But his alleged episcopate in Rome however, is a invented no more that a roman myth. The first lists of roman bishops do not contain the name of Peter on them.

You wrote:
300
Assumption of Mary
If therefore it might come to pass by the power of your grace, it has appeared right to us your servants that, as you, having overcome death, do reign in glory, so you should raise up the body of your Mother and take her with you, rejoicing, into heaven. Then said the Savior [Jesus]: ‘Be it done according to your will’" (Pseudo-Melito, The Passing of the Virgin 16:2–17).

This work is dated around the fifth century (The Encycclopedia Catholica, vol. 1, p. 1259) and was rejected by the christians according with the Decretum of Gelasius (six century).

You wrote:
310
Council of Elvira or Illiberis, Spain is the earliest council for which we have a set of legislative decrees. Although the 81 canons commonly attributed to the council may be the product of several Iberian councils from later in the century, it is clear that the focus of the canons was on the sexual mores of the clergy and laity. Elvira was the first Western council to dictate that priests should be celibate. Its canons, however, did not circulate widely.

My answer:
Council of Elvira was a local synod in which only nineteen bishops met (The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. V, p. 787). Their canons only were valid in Spain and weren’t spread into the Roman Empire. Married clergies were very common until the twelve century. Many popes were married in the middle age.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
Relics in Early Christianity
We took up his bones, which are more valuable than precious stones and finer than refined gold, and laid them in a suitable place, where the Lord will permit us to gather ourselves together, as we are able, in gladness and joy and to celebrate the birthday of his martyrdom. (Harnack, History of Dogma, tr., IV, 313).

My answer:
I have the third edition of the Harnacks’ History of Dogma in seven volumes, and I’ve not found this quote.


You wrote:

In the fourth century the great biblical scholar, Jerome, declared, "We do not worship, we do not adore, for fear that we should bow down to the creature rather than to the creator, but we venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore him whose martyrs they are" (Ad Riparium, i, P.L., XXII, 907).

My answer:
Of course, this is a proof the “veneration” of the martyrs’ relics in the fifth centuries. I have no problem to acknowledge that. The fact is there’s no any evidence of christian veneration of relics in the early Christianity.

Teresa Beem said...

Hello Eric,

Thank you for taking the time to look these quotes up and do some research on them. I have only skimmed a couple of the responses and tomorrow when I have more time I will try and read them through more thoroughly. But for a quick response:

I think we can all agree that not all the Church Fathers agreed on all the same things. The primacy of Rome was disputed by some but enough of the bishops did agree and gave Rome primacy that we can say that the doctrine was developing. Protestants will say the development of certain doctrines was of the Devil, the Catholics would say the development of certain doctrines, no matter HOW rocky and opposed even from within was from God Himself directing the church. If you look at the Arian heresy, the Donatist heresy, you will find the church being torn apart. But we can definitely say that God was with the outcome of those. (Unless you reject Christianity entirely....). Not every bishop or priest must always be in agreement of Rome to show that a doctrine was true. Catholics believe that God uses these tensions to help keep us on the right path by strengthening our resolve to learn and know Truth.

Secondly, Catholics will use writings (even though rejected as inspirational) as historical sources. So, just because something was not written by the person who we thought wrote it does not entirely make it unusable as a source and maybe "pseudo" doesn't mean all the information in it is wrong. Unfortunately, this gives rise to entirely subjective opinions about the source and its materials. We have to compare these "pseudo" writings carefully with other historical documents to use them. From my research these sources I chose do give some true historical information because they seem to correspond with other ancient texts. But you are free to disagree and I will respect that.

The main point of this entire series is to show that the early church indeed looked a LOT more like the Catholic Church than it does any other church today (except the Coptics and Orthodox). It may not be quite as clear as we would like (with ALL bishops agreeing on all topics) but in the end, when you place ALL the evidence together and look at it as a whole, you have to admit that the first four centuries are not at all like Protestantism in neither theological nor ritualistic nor liturgical ways.

Will try and get a response point by point to you and BLESSINGS in Christ!
Teresa

Teresa Beem said...

Eric,

Of course one quote cannot prove anything, but we must look at the direction of the church. There were church leaders who indeed saw Peter and his successors as the head of the church before the Council of Carthage. Pope Clement wrote in his Epistle to the Corinthians as head of the church (late first or early second century). He did just what popes are supposed to do, he told the Christians to obey their bishops, for the bishop of Rome sitting in Peter's seat is not supposed to usurp the local bishop. He can remove him, but the locals are to be subject to the bishop, not directly to the pope.

Here are some other quotes from about the same time period as the council:

Clement of Alexandria

"[T]he blessed Peter, the chosen, the preeminent, the first among the disciples, for whom alone with himself the Savior paid the tribute [Matt. 17:27], quickly grasped and understood their meaning. And what does he say? ‘Behold, we have left all and have followed you’ [Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28]" (Who Is the Rich Man That Is Saved? 21:3–5 [A.D. 200]). 
 
Tertullian

"For though you think that heaven is still shut up, remember that the Lord left the keys of it to Peter here, and through him to the Church, which keys everyone will carry with him if he has been questioned and made a confession [of faith]" (Antidote Against the Scorpion 10 [A.D. 211]). 
"[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys, not to the Church" (Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]). 
 
The Letter of Clement to James

"Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter, the first fruits of our Lord, the first of the apostles; to whom first the Father revealed the Son; whom the Christ, with good reason, blessed; the called, and elect" (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221]). 

Teresa Beem said...

Here we see some more quotes, including Cyprian.

Origen

"[I]f we were to attend carefully to the Gospels, we should also find, in relation to those things which seem to be common to Peter . . . a great difference and a preeminence in the things [Jesus] said to Peter, compared with the second class [of apostles]. For it is no small difference that Peter received the keys not of one heaven but of more, and in order that whatsoever things he binds on earth may be bound not in one heaven but in them all, as compared with the many who bind on earth and loose on earth, so that these things are bound and loosed not in [all] the heavens, as in the case of Peter, but in one only; for they do not reach so high a stage with power as Peter to bind and loose in all the heavens" (Commentary on Matthew 13:31 [A.D. 248]). 
 
Cyprian of Carthage

"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.’ . . . On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]). 

[Evidently we either misunderstand Cyprian's earlier statetment or his views changed on his acceptance of Peter's seat of authority.]

 
Cyril of Jerusalem


"‘But,’ you [Jovinian] will say, ‘it was on Peter that the Church was founded’ [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division" (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]). 

"Simon Peter... chief of the apostles, after having been bishop of the church of Antioch and having preached to the Dispersion . . . pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to overthrow Simon Magus, and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last..." (Lives of Illustrious Men 1 [A.D. 396]). 
Augustine

"Among these [apostles] Peter alone almost everywhere deserved to represent the whole Church. Because of that representation of the Church, which only he bore, he deserved to hear ‘I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven’" (Sermons 295:2 [A.D. 411]).
 
"Some things are said which seem to relate especially to the apostle Peter, and yet are not clear in their meaning unless referred to the Church, which he is acknowledged to have represented in a figure on account of the primacy which he bore among the disciples. Such is ‘I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,’ and other similar passages. In the same way, Judas represents those Jews who were Christ’s enemies" (Commentary on Psalm 108 1 [A.D. 415]). 
"Who is ignorant that the first of the apostles is the most blessed Peter?" (Commentary on John 56:1 [A.D. 416]). 

Teresa Beem said...

And:
Council of Ephesus

"Philip, presbyter and legate of [Pope Celestine I] said: ‘We offer our thanks to the holy and venerable synod, that when the writings of our holy and blessed pope had been read to you . . . you joined yourselves to the holy head also by your holy acclamations. For your blessednesses is not ignorant that the head of the whole faith, the head of the apostles, is blessed Peter the apostle’" (Acts of the Council, session 2 [A.D. 431]). 

"Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [Rome] said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors’" (ibid., session 3). 

Teresa Beem said...

Okay to a different point: The Apocrypha.

First the word meant many different writings back then. So when Jerome or anyone from that timeframe uses the word, you have to research to know which books they were speaking of.

Secondly, St. Augustine and St. Jerome fought about which books were to be in scripture. Even though St. Jerome argued for the Hebrew Old Testament, he eventually relented and translated the Septuagint. He was obedient to Rome and the word of Pope Damasus for in the end, he knew who to be respectful of and was thoroughly Catholic. The Latin Vulgate was and still is the basis for most of Christianity's Bibles. Some of the Reformers took out the seven books they did not agree with. Jerome didn't do that... What if we all started removing books from the Bible we don't find inspirational or agrees with our theology? What a mess! We have to trust God knew what He was doing when the Bible canon was formed or Protestants have no Bible!!


Teresa Beem said...

As far as the Eusebius quote I got it from a:
http://www.catholic.com/tracts/peters-primacy

The problem is that quote is from the original in Latin of "The Chronicles"... so I don't have a English primary source....

Teresa Beem said...

Okay Eric,

Please show me in Christian history from primary texts where the early church DID NOT worship daily with a special observance of Sunday as the day of the Resurrection? Is there any proof whatsoever from primary sources that the early church ONLY worshipped on Saturday and rejected worshipping on Sunday?

Please show me in any primary Christian history sources where the church taught that vegetarianism was to be followed or that the Levitical food restrictions were still to be kept or that wine was not to be drunk?

Please show me in any primary Christian history sources where a Christian prophet taught that the Lord would abandon His Church contradicting the promise He made to her when He said, "I will never leave or forsake you," or "I will be with you to the end of the age." Where in scripture or Christian history is there any prophet raised up to warn people of the Catholic Church's apostasy? (A prophetical warning BEFORE it happened....as Christ always does with true prophets.)

Please show me in any primary source where the early church believed that the investigative judgment was coming later... especially when scripture records that judgment started at the time of the Apostles.

Please show me in any primary source where the early Christians believed that the Sabbath would one day be a test and that it would one day be required.

Please show me some proof that early Christianity resembled Adventism? From early Christian sources themselves...

There are none. There were some heretical groups that resembled some of Adventism like the Ebionites and the Montanists, but they were thoroughly heretical in many of their beliefs and I doubt Adventists would want to tie themselves to those groups in any way.

The historical facts are that the early Christians believed what Catholics believe even if they were in seed form. Early Christianity in almost no way resembled today's Protestantism neither in liturgy, practice or theology.

If you disagree please show me in primary sources...

Thanks for all your work. Know that I never get emotional in any way with debates or discussions. Jesus called us to reason together and this we are obliged to do! See a smile of Christian love at the end of each line! God bless,
Teresa

Eric Richter said...

I agree with you that most Church Fathers had different opinions concerning doctrines and interpretations. But they agreed in some things. The papal supremacy was one of these topics where the most of them were agreed in something. Most early christian writers denied that primacy of Rome. A lot of bishops and councils disagreed with the Bishop of Rome and even disobeyed his orders.
I don’t understand why so many Catholics believe in the primacy of Rome and the papal infallibility, when the History shows us clearly that these are not more that myths.

I think that the apocryphal and pseudo-epigraphical writings are valid historical sources, but only in their context. If some book -that contains some particular doctrine- was rejected, then I should believe that a small minority of christians believe that particular doctrine, but the most of Christians rejected it. Therefore, if this particular doctrine was considered as heretical, it should be not support by us.
The first two hundred of Christianity were entirely different to the current Roman Church. Not only in theological aspects but in liturgical too. There’s no mention of candles, incense, altars, priesthood, etc. until the third century. The oldest church (I mean the building) is from the third century. Before that time, Christians gather themselves in houses.


I have realized that the interpretation of Peter as the “rock” in which the Church has been founded is very ancient (although some important catholic theologian have rejected). I did not know that. But this is an “interpretation issue”. Despite theoretically many early fathers considered Peter as the most important apostle, they did not assigned to the bishop of Rome the same role of Peter. In practice early bishop did not pay obedience to the bishop of Rome and some councils took decisions opposite to the roman decisions. Papal primacy doesn’t have precedents in early Christianity.


The Apocrypha
Jerome did not accept the deuterocanonical books as inspired. He wrote:
“As, then, the Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees, but does not admit them among the canonical Scriptures, so let it read these two volumes for the edification of the people, not to give authority to doctrines of the Church” (Prefaces to Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs; in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, series II, vol. VI, p. 492)
This is a very clear statement.
I must to say that the current catholic canon wasn’t decided till one thousand five hundred years after Christ. The Council of Trent had place when the Catholic Church was under attack from the Reformation. The Protestants accused the Catholics of having unbiblical doctrines. But the apocryphal books had texts that could be used for support the catholic doctrines. That’s why the Council affirms their canonicity.
We cannot accuse the protestant of removing books from the Bible for rejected the apocryphal. If we do that therefore need to accuse the same to Hilary of Potiers, Saint Jerome, Athanasius of Alexandria, Cyril of Jerusalem, Tome of Aquino, Gregorius I and many others.
In a matter of fact, the apocrypha explicitly contradict other texts of the Bible. If we gonna believe in the apocrypha we need to believe that the Inspiration is divided.

Eric Richter said...

Well, I didn’t say that the Christians only worship on Saturday. There’s nothing wrong in worship on Sunday. Not even Adventist worship only in Sabbath, we also gather together in others days (even Sunday) to worship God. What is wrong is keep as holy another day than Saturday. A primary text is the statement of Ignatius of Antioch, who exhorted the asian Christians to observed the Sabbath according Jesus’ example. That is, not following the jew traditions, but making the Holy Sabbath a blessing to the man. (Epistle of Magnesias, chap. X). This quote comes from the beginning of the Second Century. It’s earlier that any quote about Sunday.
I also gave you quotes from historians that prove the coexistence of the Sabbath and Sunday as far as the fifth century.

I don’t believe that the christians should to be vegetarian. I am one, but I believe (along with E.G.W.) that to eat or not to eat meat is not a salvation issue. Jesus wasn’t vegetarian, and I have no knowledge if some early christian was one.
The Bible is very clear recommending do not drink alcohol. Even who wanted to be ecclesiastical authorities should avoid alcohol drinks (Titus 1:7; 2:3; 1 Timothy 3:3)
I never found a single text in the NT which forbids the levitical food restrictions. Even Peter, the alleged first pope, was keeping them years after Christ’s Death (Acts 10:14).

I have never said that God abandoned His Church. What I said is that His church abandoned God’s doctrines, becoming into a renegade people. Jesus Himself stated:
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;” (John 8:31 KJV)
This apostasy change wasn’t abrupt but gradual instead. Some groups denounced the apostasy of Christians. I’ll give an example: At the beginning of the third century the Montanists (a prophetic movement) arose. Tertullian joined this group tired of seeing the relaxed live of clergy. Sadly, the Montanists became itself in a heretical sect.

I have never seen a single text in the NT which claimed that the judgment started at the times of the Apostles. Would you be as kind as show me some?

I think that the early church liturgy (First and Second century) is complete different compared with the liturgy of every modern churches. The theology of early Christians was quite different of our modern christian theology. They were focused in the daily life and the good deeds and the propagation of Gospel. They were preaching to pagans and healing sick persons and feeding poor persons. Many apologists said that Christians’ behavior was the best argument against the pagan idea which said that they were dangerous.
I don’t think that the Adventism theology matches perfectly with the theology of early Christians. But it’s closer than the catholic theology.

Teresa Beem said...

Eric wrote:
We cannot accuse the protestant of removing books from the Bible for rejected the apocryphal. If we do that therefore need to accuse the same to Hilary of Potiers, Saint Jerome, Athanasius of Alexandria, Cyril of Jerusalem, Tome of Aquino, Gregorius I and many others.
In a matter of fact, the apocrypha explicitly contradict other texts of the Bible. If we gonna believe in the apocrypha we need to believe that the Inspiration is divided.

My response:

You are confusing argument and opinion with actions. St. Jerome argued against including the seven books into the canon but when asked by the pope to include them he obeyed. Obedience is the ultimate proof of Catholicism rather than what a person's opinion is. Many, many Protestants assume that theological arguments from Catholics means something more than it does. It is the submission to God's authorities that shows what one really believes. St. Jerome was very Catholic. He obeyed and translated the seven books. I cannot believe you would even include Athanasius and Cyril in you list. Again, these men were fully Catholic in all they did, even if they didn't agree with the canon as decided by the church, they accepted the canon.

One other insight that might help you understand Catholicism. Protestants are raised in this culture of equality and it effects ALL their assessments even without realizing it. Catholics are hierarchical more like the Jews. To the Jews Torah is the most holy of the writings. The prophets were of lesser status, even though inspired by God. Catholics have always set the four gospels above all scripture. We see the rest of scripture THROUGH the eyes of the four gospel writers. We understand the Old Testament through the life of Jesus not the other way around. The gospels are our "holy of holies" and then comes the writings of Paul and the letters... This is true of the Old Testament. These deuterocanonical books the Protestants removed were always of less importance to the Old Testament. They were never considered as inspired and holy as the Pentateuch. Yet, they were still the infallible Word of God.

When reading argumentation of the early church over these writings, often they are not speaking of a "either they are inspired or they are not" but rather they were arguing on HOW inspired they were. The debate wasn't about if but about degree.

But we must understand that these men, though they might have disagreements about doctrines, the fact that there ARE disagreements is a blessing to us because they left a paper trail. This paper trail shows us how the doctrine DID develop and that these men DID NOT abandon the church when they didn't get their way over theology. They submitted BECAUSE they knew God was leading the church. They did not break off for conscience sake and begin a new church. They understood unity was more important than individual opinion.

That speaks volumes about their faith in Christ's church.

Teresa Beem said...

Eric wrote:
In a matter of fact, the apocrypha explicitly contradict other texts of the Bible. If we gonna believe in the apocrypha we need to believe that the Inspiration is divided.

My response:

This is again where Catholicism shows its genius and its foundation in the supernatural God who wrote Scripture. When there is a hierarchy in scripture it solves all the seemingly divided and contradictory passages. God inspired the text and the compilation by the Church and God inspires the interpretation through His Church. When Jesus makes a statement that seems to contradict what Paul wrote... say on works vs. faith... (Jesus said we are judged by how we helped the least of these, Paul says we are saved by faith) we choose to see Paul's writings interpreted through the lens of the gospels. We see that Jesus is telling us what faith looks like, Jesus is DEFINING faith for us. We actually understand Paul better when we see his writings through the words of Christ. Often Protestants reverse that and try to make sense of Jesus through the lens of Paul.

While Protestants fumble and seem disoriented about Jesus words to be perfect, and judgment by works, they have tried to solve the problem by splitting the idea of faith and works. They have divided what God had joined together. Catholics have ALWAYS taught faith and works were "one flesh." As James wrote, "faith without works is dead." Faith has a body and a spirit to be alive--belief IS acting out on that belief. We allow faith and works to be two sides of the same coin and that explains Jesus' words about judgement.

So any contradiction you may think you see in the deuterocanonical writings is just a simply misunderstanding about priority in interpretation. See them through the lens of the Catholic Church and the mistakes clear up like a target shooter going from one eye to two....

Teresa Beem said...

Let us examine Ignatius' Letter to the Magnesian church and see what church is most resembles:

Chapter 3. Honour your youthful bishop

...yield him all reverence, having respect to the power of God the Father, as I have known even holy presbyters do ...submitting to him, or rather not to him, but to the Father of Jesus Christ, the bishop of us all. ...obey [your bishop], in honour of Him who has willed us [so to do], since he that does not so deceives not [by such conduct] the bishop that is visible, but seeks to mock Him that is invisible. And all such conduct has reference not to man, but to God, who knows all secrets.


COMMENT: What church today continues to teach that one must submit, obey and reverence its bishops as if they are God?


Chapter 4. Some wickedly act independently of the bishop

It is fitting, then, not only to be called Christians, but to be so in reality: as some indeed give one the title of bishop, but do all things without him. Now such persons seem to me to be not possessed of a good conscience, seeing they are not stedfastly gathered together according to the commandment.


COMMENT: What church today continues to teach that one must do nothing without the bishop? (in a moral and liturgical sense.)


Teresa Beem said...

Chapter 6. Preserve harmony

...I exhort you to study to do all things with a divine harmony, while your bishop presides in the place of God, and your presbyters in the place of the assembly of the apostles, along with your deacons, who are most dear to me, and are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ... Let nothing exist among you that may divide you; but be united with your bishop, and those that preside over you, as a type and evidence of your immortality.

COMMENT: What church today teaches that being in union with the bishops is an evidence of immortality and that that divisions in the church are evil?


Chapter 7. Do nothing without the bishop and presbyters

As therefore the Lord did nothing without the Father, being united to Him, neither by Himself nor by the apostles, so neither do anything without the bishop and presbyters. Neither endeavour that anything appear reasonable and proper to yourselves apart; but being come together into the same place, let there be one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in love and in joy undefiled. There is one Jesus Christ, than whom nothing is more excellent. Therefore run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father, and is with and has gone to one.


COMMENT: What church today still teaches that there is but ONE altar, one church, and one temple and that Christianity must remain united under the Apostles, bishops and priests?

Teresa Beem said...

Chapter 9. Let us live with Christ

If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death....

COMMENT: The two sources I have on this contain the word's "The Lord's Day" perhaps you have a different translation. I don't know...

But if we look at the passage in context I think it will be obvious that it is rejecting Sabbaths rather than supporting them. I am pasting the entire Chapter 10 below and it says nothing about Sabbaths... so perhaps you wrote down the wrong source....


Chapter 10. Beware of Judaizing

Let us not, therefore, be insensible to His kindness. For were He to reward us according to our works, we should cease to be. Therefore, having become His disciples, let us learn to live according to the principles of Christianity. For whosoever is called by any other name besides this, is not of God. Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the sour leaven, and be changed into the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ. Be salted in Him, lest any one among you should be corrupted, since by your savour you shall be convicted. It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. For Christianity did not embrace Judaism, but Judaism Christianity, that so every tongue which believes might be gathered together to God.

Teresa Beem said...

Eric wrote:

I also gave you quotes from historians that prove the coexistence of the Sabbath and Sunday as far as the fifth century.

My response:

You should read my book, "It's Okay NOT to be a Seventh-day Adventist" because for ten chapters I laid out the history of Sabbath keeping and carefully documented how the idea of a Sunday Sabbath came about. You are correct and this is why Adventism cannot be.

The western church for various reasons quit observing the Saturday rest early on. Perhaps it was because so many soldiers and slaves became Christian and they couldn't rest on Saturday. But it was not because they were breaking a commandment for Paul clearly told them that keeping any day holy was up to the local church or even the person. Rest or not rest on SAbbath--don't judge and follow your conscience. Well soldiers and slaves aren't at liberty to follow their conscience even if they did believe sabbath rest was still necessary. So the bishops of the west worshipped daily and no longer rested on Sabbath.

The eastern part of the Empire was different (we think it is because of St. John--he had been the youngest disciples and perhaps was the least likely to feel he had the authority to tell people they didn't have to rest on Sabbath). In any case, the east was more traditional. They rested on Sabbath (guess they had more liberty!) and kept Passover on the exact date as the Jews (something that caused a huge problem with the western church and indeed the weekly sabbath rest didn't. This proves that the weekly sabbath rest issue wasn't important or their would have been a huge fight like the Easter/Passover Sabbath did. )

Today we have the weekend because the eastern part of Christianity rested on Sabbath and celebrated the Lord's Day on Sunday. There was no confusion over which day was Sabbath. Nowhere in Christendom for the first 1500 years was there any confusion that Sunday was Sabbath. In all Latin languages and you can hear at the Vatican TODAY the world "Sabbath/Sabbato" for Saturday. They never changed the word for Sunday into Sabbath nor have they ever even in their minds.


Teresa Beem said...

This is the problem.

After the Reformation a few British and French groups (very, very tiny groups) were reading the Bible for themselves and they began to believe that the Ten Commandments were binding for Christians (and this is because the Catholic church refers to the Ten Commandments in their catechism for instructional reasons as a "discipline" which means instructional rather than dogma). So when these few people read them they realized that Sunday was being kept more like Sabbath than Saturday. So they decided to start keeping the Jewish Sabbath completely misunderstanding the New Covenant.

The story is much more complex (get my book www.amazon.com) and you can read the whole thing....

But in the end, the idea of a Sunday Sabbath came from Calvinists (not Calvin) during the 16th century and didn't catch on ever until the SDAs came around. They misread history, the Catholic Church and scripture.

Constantine never changed the Sabbath. Christians worshipped daily and many rested on Sabbath for many centuries in the east. And it is ironic that Constantine moved the Empire's capital to the EAST--so if he was trying to stamp out Sabbath rest, he certainly didn't do a good job. Which Constantine changing the Sabbath to Sunday is pure SDA fiction anyway.

But please don't get me wrong. Adventists are not purposefully repeating myth and are not culpable for any wrong doing. They just need to be courageous enough to research history without fear of being deceived.

God bless you Eric and I am impressed that you are doing so much research into this. God promised that if we seek with ALL our hearts we will find... I know it is true in my life. We just also need to be humble as we seek. (Not preaching at you but myself!)

Eric Richter said...

You wrote
You are confusing argument and opinion with actions. St. Jerome argued against including the seven books into the canon but when asked by the pope to include them he obeyed. Obedience is the ultimate proof of Catholicism rather than what a person's opinion is. Many, many Protestants assume that theological arguments from Catholics means something more than it does. It is the submission to God's authorities that shows what one really believes. St. Jerome was very Catholic. He obeyed and translated the seven books. I cannot believe you would even include Athanasius and Cyril in you list. Again, these men were fully Catholic in all they did, even if they didn't agree with the canon as decided by the church, they accepted the canon.
Athanasius (an egyptian bishop) was the first person in the History who accepted the current biblical canon of NT. He listed the 27 books of the New Testament as the canonical Scripture. At Rome, and many others places, apocryphal books were accepted as canonical. The Athanasius’ canon is the currently accepted by the most of Christianity.
“There are, then, of the Old Testament, twenty-two books in number; for, as I have heard, it is handed down that this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews; their respective order and names being as follows. The first is Genesis, then Exodus, next Leviticus, after that Numbers, and then Deuteronomy. Following these there is Joshua, the son of Nun, then Judges, then Ruth. And again, after these four books of Kings, the first and second being reckoned as one book, and so likewise the third and fourth as one book. And again, the first and second of the Chronicles are reckoned as one book. Again Ezra, the first and second are similarly one book. After these there is the book of Psalms, then the Proverbs, next Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. Job follows, then the Prophets, the twelve being reckoned as one book. Then Isaiah, one book, then Jeremiah with Baruch, Lamentations, and the epistle, one book; afterwards, Ezekiel and Daniel, each one book. Thus far constitutes the Old Testament. […]But for greater exactness I add this also, writing of necessity; that there are other books besides these not indeed included in the Canon, but appointed by the Fathers to be read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness. The Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach, and Esther, and Judith, and Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd.” (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Vol. IVV, p. 552)
There were others Father of the Church that also denied the canonicity of the Apocrypha.
Melito, philosopher and bishop of Sardis, wrote a “catalogue of the acknowledged books of the Old Testament” in one of his books:
“Of Moses, five books: Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy; Jesus Nave (Joshua), Judges, Ruth; of Kings, four books (two of Samuel and tow of Kings); of Chronicles, two; the Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon, Wisdom also (the original text said “Book of Proverbs”, so the texts remains ambiguous), Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Job; of Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah; of the twelve prophets, one book; Daniel, Ezekiel, Esdras (in which Nehemiah was included).” (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, series II, vol. I, p. 205)
As you can see, the canon of this Church Father its almost identical to the Palestinian Canon. The omission of Esther maybe is caused by the male chauvinism that prevailed among the first Christians and the rejection of its canonicity by many Jews. The insertion of Wisdom is probably caused by an confusion of the original greek text.
It’s necessary to say that Eusebius recorded a travel of Melito to Palestine in order to identify the books recognized as canonical by the Jews.

Eric Richter said...

Origen, who received the title of “Doctor of the Church”, wrote:
“It should be stated that the canonical books, as the Hebrews have handed them down, are twenty-two; corresponding with the number of their letters: The twenty-two books of the Hebrews are the following: That which is called by us Genesis, but by the Hebrews, from the beginning of the book, Bresith, which means, ‘In the beginning’; Exodus, Welesmoth, that is, ‘These are the names’; Leviticus, Wikra, ‘And he called‘; Numbers, Ammesphekodeim; Deuteronomy, Eleaddebareim, ‘These are the words’; Jesus, the son of Nave, Josoue ben Noun; Judges and Ruth, among them in one book, Saphateim; the First and Second of Kings, among them one, Samouel, that is, ‘The called of God’; the Third and Fourth of Kings in one, Wammelch David, that is, ‘The kingdom of David’; of the Chronicles, the First and Second in one, Dabreïamein, that is, ‘Records of days’; Esdras, First and Second in one, Ezra, that is, ‘An assistant’ (It means Ezra and Nehemiah); the book of Psalms, Spharthelleim; the Proverbs of Solomon, Meloth; Ecclesiastes, Koelth; the Song of Songs, Sir Hassirim; Isaiah, Jessia; Jeremiah, with Lamentations and the epistle in one, Jeremia; Daniel, Daniel; Ezekiel, Jezekiel; Job, Job; Esther, Esther. And besides these there are the Maccabees, which are entitled Sarbeth Sabanaiel.” (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, series II, vol. I, p. 272)
Origen did not include the Apocrypha into his list. The mention of Maccabeus does not mean an acknowledgment of their canonicity, because they are mentioned aside of the list and not included in the list of twenty-two books.

The Synod of Laodicea (364 AD), which met bishop from Minor Asia, stated I its Canon LX:
“These are all the books of Old Testament appointed to be read: 1, Genesis of the world; 2, The Exodus from Egypt; 3, Leviticus; 4, Numbers; 5, Deuteronomy; 6, Joshua, the son of Nun; 7, Judges, Ruth; 8, Esther; 9, Of the Kings, First and Second; 10, Of the Kings, Third and Fourth; 11, Chronicles, First and Second; 12, Esdras, First and Second; 13, The Book of Psalms; 14, The Proverbs of Solomon; 15, Ecclesiastes; 16, The Song of Songs; 17, Job; 18, The Twelve Prophets; 19, Isaiah; 20, Jeremiah, and Baruch, the Lamentations, and the Epistle; 21, Ezekiel; 22, Daniel.” (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Vol XIV, p. 125)
Into this list the Apocrypha is not included, except for Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah.

Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, wrote:
“And of the Old Testament, as we have said, study the two and twenty books, which, if thou art desirous of learning, strive to remember by name, as I recite them. For of the Law the books of Moses are the first five, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. And next, Joshua the son of Nave, and the book of Judges, including Ruth, counted as seventh. And of the other historical books, the first and second books of the Kings are among the Hebrews one book; also the third and fourth one book. And in like manner, the first and second of Chronicles are with them one book; and the first and second of Esdras are counted one. Esther is the twelfth book; and these are the Historical writings. But those which are written in verses are five, Job, and the book of Psalms, and Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, which is the seventeenth book. And after these come the five Prophetic books: of the Twelve Prophets one book, of Isaiah one, of Jeremiah one, including Baruch and Lamentations and the Epistle; then Ezekiel, and the Book of Daniel, the twenty-second of the Old Testament. (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series II, Vol. 114, p. 159)
Again the Apocrypha is ignored as canonical Scripture, except for Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah. These books seem to be very valued in the East Church.

Eric Richter said...

Gregory of Nazianzus, patriarch of Constantinople, wrote a poem:
“But let not extraneous books seduce your mind.
For many malignant writings have been disseminated.
Accept, o friend, this, my approved number.
These are all twelve of the historical books, of the most ancient Hebrew wisdom:
First there is Genesis, then Exodus, Leviticus too.
Then Numbers, and the Second Law.
Then Joshua and Judges. Ruth is eighth.
The ninth and tenth books, the acts of Kings,
And, Chronicles. Last you have Ezra.
The poetic books are five: Job being first,
then [the Psalms of] David; and three of Solomon,
Ecclesiastes, Canticles and Proverbs.
And similarly five of prophetic inspiration.
There are the Twelve written in one book:
Hosea and Amos, and Micah the third;
then Joel, and Jonah, Obadiah,
Nahum also, and Habakkuk, and Zephaniah,
Haggai, then Zechariah, and Malachi.
All these are one. The second is of Isaiah.
Then the one called as an infant, Jeremiah,
Then Ezekiel, and the gift of Daniel.
I count therefore, twenty-two of the ancient books,
corresponding to the number of the Hebrew letters.
And if there are any beyond these, they are not genuine.”
(Migne’s Patrologia Graeca, vol. 37, p. 471-474)

Epiphanius, apologist and bishop of Salamis (320 – 403 AD), wrote:
“By the time of the captives’ return from Babylon these Jews had acquired the following books and prophets, and the following books of the prophets: 1. Genesis. 2. Exodus. 3. Leviticus. 4. Numbers. 5. Deuteronomy. 6. The Book of Joshua the son of Nun. 7. The Book of the Judges. 8. Ruth. 9. Job. 10. The Psalter. 11. The Proverbs of Solomon. 12. Ecclesiastes. 13. The Song of Songs. 14. The First Book of Kings. 15. The Second Book of Kings. 16. The Third Book of Kings. 17. The Fourth Book of Kings. 18. The First Book of Chronicles. 19. The Second Book of Chronicles. 20. The Book of the Twelve Prophets. 21. The Prophet Isaiah. 22. The Prophet Jeremiah, with the Lamentations and the Epistles of Jeremiah and Baruch. 23. The Prophet Ezekiel. 24. The Prophet Daniel. 25. I Ezra. 26. II Ezra. 27. Esther. These are the twenty-seven books given the Jews by God. They are counted as twenty-two, however, like the letters of their Hebrew alphabet, because ten books which (Jews) reckon as five are double. But I have explained this clearly elsewhere. And they have two more books of disputed canonicity, the Wisdom of Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon, apart from certain other apocrypha. All these sacred books taught (them) Judaism and Law’s observances till the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (The Panarion, chap. VIII)

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
One other insight that might help you understand Catholicism. Protestants are raised in this culture of equality and it effects ALL their assessments even without realizing it. Catholics are hierarchical more like the Jews. To the Jews Torah is the most holy of the writings. The prophets were of lesser status, even though inspired by God. Catholics have always set the four gospels above all scripture. We see the rest of scripture THROUGH the eyes of the four gospel writers. We understand the Old Testament through the life of Jesus not the other way around. The gospels are our "holy of holies" and then comes the writings of Paul and the letters... This is true of the Old Testament.”
This is confused to me. I can’t believe that the Holy Spirit inspired a writer and then He inspired another writer but with a different “level of inspiration”. I don’t see biblical evidence of such thing. And it does not matter what the jews believe about the Old Testament, their scriptural interpretation was wrong at Jesus’ times and so is now.

You wrote:
These deuterocanonical books the Protestants removed were always of less importance to the Old Testament.
I think that the historical proves are enough to state that the protestant did not removed those books from the Bible, but Catholics added to It. Christianity never accepted unanimously the canonicity of Apocrypha, and many early theologian rejected it.

You wrote:
“They were never considered as inspired and holy as the Pentateuch. Yet, they were still the infallible Word of God.”
Infallible??? You make me laugh :D.
Apocrypha contradict the Bible and even contradict itself. For example, 1 Maccabeus 6:8-16 says that Antiochus died in Persia because a severe depression.
“And it happened that, when the king heard these words, he was terrified and very moved. And he fell down on his bed, and he fell into feebleness out of grief. For it had not happened to him as he had intended. And he was in that place through many days. For a great grief was renewed in him, and he concluded that he would die. And he called all his friends, and he said to them: "Sleep has withdrawn from my eyes, and I am declining, and my heart has collapsed out of anxiety. And I said in my heart: How much trouble has come to me, and what floods of sorrow there are, where I am now! I used to be cheerful and beloved in my power! Truly, now, I remember the evils that I did in Jerusalem, from which place I also took away all the spoils of gold and silver that were in it, and I sent to carry away the inhabitants of Judah without cause. Therefore, I know that it is because of this that these evils have found me. And behold, I perish with great sorrow in a foreign land." Then he called Philip, one of his friends, and he placed him first over all his kingdom. And he gave him the diadem, and his robe, and his ring, so that he would guide Antiochus, his son, and raise him, and so that he would reign. And king Antiochus died there, in the one hundred and forty-ninth year.”

But in 2 Maccabeus 1:14-16 says that Antiochus was killed by the priests of the city of Nanea:
“For Antiochus also came to the place with his friends, as if to live with her, and so that he would receive much money in the name of a dowry.
nd when the priests of Nanea had made the proposal, and he had entered with a few men into the vestibule of the shrine, they closed the temple, after Antiochus had entered. And throwing open a hidden entrance to the temple, they cast stones, and they struck the leader and those who were with him. And, having severed their limbs and cut off their heads, they threw them outside.”

Eric Richter said...

In the other hand we have another story or Antiochus’ death in the same book, in the chapter nine:
“At the same time, Antiochus returned in dishonor from Persia. For he had entered into the city called Persepolis, and attempted to rob the temple, and to oppress the city, but the multitude, rushing to arms, turned them to flight, and so it happened that Antiochus, after fleeing, returned in disgrace. And when he had arrived near Ecbatana, he realized what had happened to Nicanor and Timothy. And so, rising up in anger, he thought to turn back upon the Jews the injury done by those who had put him to flight. And, therefore, he ordered his chariot to be driven without stopping along the way, for the judgment of heaven was urging him on, because he had spoken so arrogantly about how he would come to Jerusalem and make it into a mass grave for the Jews. But the Lord God of Israel, who oversees all things, struck him with an incurable and invisible plague. For, as soon as he had finished these words, a dire pain in his abdomen seized him, with bitter internal torments.And, indeed, it sprung forth justly, since he had tormented the internal organs of others with many strange and new tortures, yet he in no way ceased from his malice. But, beyond this, being filled with arrogance, breathing fire with his soul against the Jews, and instructing the task to be accelerated, it happened that, as he was rushing on forcefully, he fell from the chariot, and his limbs were afflicted with a serious bruising of the body. And he, being filled with arrogance beyond human means, seemed to himself to command even the waves of the sea and to weigh even the heights of the mountains in a balance. But now, humbled to the ground, he was carried on a stretcher, calling himself as a witness to the manifest virtue of God. So then, worms swarmed from his impious body, and, as he lived on in pain, his flesh fell away, and then his odorous stench oppressed the army. And him who, a little before, thought that he could touch the stars of heaven, no one could endure to carry, because of the intolerable stench. And so, from then on, being led away from his heavy arrogance by the admonishment of a divine plague, he began to come to an understanding of himself, with his pains increasing through every moment. […] And so the murderer and blasphemer, having been struck very badly, just as he himself had treated others, passed from this life in a miserable death on a journey among the mountains.”

We can readily see that the three stories are completely different each other. So, how Antiochus died according the “infallible word of God”?
God does not contradict himself because He is infallible. Their revelation to the human race, the Bible, must to be infallible too or God could not be infallible. But Maccabeus contradict themselves three times!! This means that Maccabeus are not infallible nor the word of God.

Bible also said that “God spoke to the fathers through the Prophets;” (Heb. 1:1). Prophets are the channel which God uses to communicate with human beings. But in Maccabeus times there’re no prophets in Israel (1 Macc. 4:46; 9:27). The very Author of Maccabeus acknowledged that his work was not inspired:
“And, indeed, if I have done well, so as to have made an adequate history, this also is what I wanted. But if it is less than worthy, may it be permitted me.
For, just as it is adverse to drink always wine, or always water, so also it is pleasant to use sometimes the one, and sometimes the other. So, if the words were always exact, it would not be pleasing to the readers. Therefore, here it shall be completed.
” (1 Macc. 15:37-39)
The Author admitted that his intention was create a literary work, not an inspired writing. He himself considered that his work might have mistakes. But a canonical book is as infallible as God Himself.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
When reading argumentation of the early church over these writings, often they are not speaking of a "either they are inspired or they are not" but rather they were arguing on HOW inspired they were. The debate wasn't about if but about degree.
‘ve never seen this alleged argumentation of inspiration’s degres. Would you be as kind as show me?


You wrote:
But we must understand that these men, though they might have disagreements about doctrines, the fact that there ARE disagreements is a blessing to us because they left a paper trail. This paper trail shows us how the doctrine DID develop and that these men DID NOT abandon the church when they didn't get their way over theology. They submitted BECAUSE they knew God was leading the church. They did not break off for conscience sake and begin a new church. They understood unity was more important than individual opinion.
That speaks volumes about their faith in Christ's church.

I think that you ignored certain aspects of early Christianity. First Christians were not a unified Church but a religious movement instead. Some Church Fathers started new churches, for example Tatian, or joined to others churches, like Tertullian. The ultimate authority was the regional Bishop, not the Pope. Early councils contradicted each other and many bishop confronted others bishops. Doctrinal and hierarchical unity in early Christianity is a myth, something that never happened.
The “doctrine development” that you support is the best evidence that the apostles and first Christians DID NOT believe in catholic doctrines. If they believed them, “development” had not been necessary.

You wrote:
This is again where Catholicism shows its genius and its foundation in the supernatural God who wrote Scripture. When there is a hierarchy in scripture it solves all the seemingly divided and contradictory passages. God inspired the text and the compilation by the Church and God inspires the interpretation through His Church. When Jesus makes a statement that seems to contradict what Paul wrote... say on works vs. faith... (Jesus said we are judged by how we helped the least of these, Paul says we are saved by faith) we choose to see Paul's writings interpreted through the lens of the gospels. We see that Jesus is telling us what faith looks like, Jesus is DEFINING faith for us. We actually understand Paul better when we see his writings through the words of Christ. Often Protestants reverse that and try to make sense of Jesus through the lens of Paul.
Bible explains itself for us. One verse explains another. With a full perspective, we can understand the alleged contradictions in the biblical text. But Apocrypha have also historical and doctrinal mistakes. For example, Judith 1:5 states:
“Thereafter, in the twelfth year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, who reigned in Nineveh the great city, fought against Arphaxad and prevailed over him:”
Nebuchadnezzar never reigned over Assyria, but Babylon instead. There’re not historical records of an Assyrian king named Nebuchadnezzar. In a matter of fact, there’s not historical evidence of Judith’s story at all.
Tobias shows us an Angel of God who sins, telling a lie (Tob. 12:15). The demons can be repelled through magic (Ibid. 6:8). Alms could save us from sin and death (Ibid. 12:9).
Baruch contradicts the biblical Chronology. According Baruch, the Israelites who lived in Babylon sent money and offerings to Jerusalem in order to make sacrifices in the “altar of the Lord” (Baruch 1:10) and a letter to be recited in the “Temple of the Lord” (Baruch 1:14). But at those times, the temple was completely destroyed.

So, how can I believe in books so obviously equivocated?

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
While Protestants fumble and seem disoriented about Jesus words to be perfect, and judgment by works, they have tried to solve the problem by splitting the idea of faith and works. They have divided what God had joined together. Catholics have ALWAYS taught faith and works were "one flesh." As James wrote, "faith without works is dead." Faith has a body and a spirit to be alive--belief IS acting out on that belief. We allow faith and works to be two sides of the same coin and that explains Jesus' words about judgement.
Adventists believe that Faith is what saves us. Faith is not some theological knowledge but the intimate belief that Jesus saved us all. The difference between knowledge and Faith is that the Faith move us to make good works, not in order to be saved, but because we were saved. In the other hand, catholic believe that works might saves as well as Faith, and that’s something unbiblical.

You wrote:
So any contradiction you may think you see in the deuterocanonical writings is just a simply misunderstanding about priority in interpretation. See them through the lens of the Catholic Church and the mistakes clear up like a target shooter going from one eye to two....
I have shown you the historical and biblical evidence that forces me to reject the Apocrypha. I won’t believe that God might inspire a writer and then inspire less another; God does not work like this. If a book shows historical mistakes, doctrinal heresies and contradictions, obviously cannot come from the Infallible God.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
Let us examine Ignatius' Letter to the Magnesian church and see what church is most resembles:
Chapter 3. Honour your youthful bishop
...yield him all reverence, having respect to the power of God the Father, as I have known even holy presbyters do ...submitting to him, or rather not to him, but to the Father of Jesus Christ, the bishop of us all. ...obey [your bishop], in honour of Him who has willed us [so to do], since he that does not so deceives not [by such conduct] the bishop that is visible, but seeks to mock Him that is invisible. And all such conduct has reference not to man, but to God, who knows all secrets.
COMMENT: What church today continues to teach that one must submit, obey and reverence its bishops as if they are God?
Chapter 4. Some wickedly act independently of the bishop
It is fitting, then, not only to be called Christians, but to be so in reality: as some indeed give one the title of bishop, but do all things without him. Now such persons seem to me to be not possessed of a good conscience, seeing they are not stedfastly gathered together according to the commandment.
COMMENT: What church today continues to teach that one must do nothing without the bishop? (in a moral and liturgical sense.)
Chapter 6. Preserve harmony
...I exhort you to study to do all things with a divine harmony, while your bishop presides in the place of God, and your presbyters in the place of the assembly of the apostles, along with your deacons, who are most dear to me, and are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ... Let nothing exist among you that may divide you; but be united with your bishop, and those that preside over you, as a type and evidence of your immortality.
COMMENT: What church today teaches that being in union with the bishops is an evidence of immortality and that that divisions in the church are evil?
Chapter 7. Do nothing without the bishop and presbyters
As therefore the Lord did nothing without the Father, being united to Him, neither by Himself nor by the apostles, so neither do anything without the bishop and presbyters. Neither endeavour that anything appear reasonable and proper to yourselves apart; but being come together into the same place, let there be one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in love and in joy undefiled. There is one Jesus Christ, than whom nothing is more excellent. Therefore run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father, and is with and has gone to one.
COMMENT: What church today still teaches that there is but ONE altar, one church, and one temple and that Christianity must remain united under the Apostles, bishops and priests?

You are ignoring the context of Ignatius letters. The target churches of Ignatius epistles were in troubles concerning their unity. Ignatius saw that the best solution to put in practice in order to avoid divisions were the obedience to the bishops, who were appointed in their places by the very apostles. I wanna remark that Ignatius was not advocating the roman primacy. He did not believe that every Christians should to submit themselves to the roman bishops but local bishop instead. What church can claim the same privilege that the early bishop had?
Non modern bishop was appointed by the apostles or apostles’ followers. Roman see claims that has a bishop who is the successor of the apostles, but the History shows a very different story. The alleged Apostolic Succession is a myth that a brief research can rule out.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
Chapter 9. Let us live with Christ
If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death....
COMMENT: The two sources I have on this contain the word's "The Lord's Day" perhaps you have a different translation. I don't know...

Maybe you did not read what I wrote. I have no translation at all. I have read the very original greek text.
The original greek text, as is found in the Codex Medicio-Laurentianus is as follows:
“If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer sabbatizing, but living according to the Lord’s life, in which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death”
The Codex Medicio-Laurentianus is the oldest which contain the Ignatian epistles. The manuscript Caiensis 395, the oldest latin translation of Ignatian epistles also contain the words “no longer sabbatizing, but living according to the Lord’s”. In this manuscript does not appear the word “life” or “day” either.
You can confirm these texts with a brief research in the web.

The context supports the translation “Lord’s life” as well.
“Be not deceived with strange doctrines, nor with old fables, which are unprofitable. For if we still live according to the Jewish law, we acknowledge that we have not received grace. For the divine prophets lived according to Christ Jesus. On this account also they were persecuted, being inspired by His grace to fully convince the unbelieving that there is one God, who has manifested Himself by Jesus Christ His Son, who is His eternal Word, not proceeding forth from silence, and who in all things pleased Him that sent Him.
If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing sabbatizing, but living accorging to the Lord’s life”
(Epistle to Magnesians, chap. 8-9)
The “divine prophets” were who did not sabbatizing but lived according the Lord’s life/day. Off course, the prophets of Old Testament did not keep the Sunday, that’s completely ridiculous. They kept the Sabbath, but not according the jews’ manners. Just like Jesus did, the Hebrew prophets lived the Sabbath as a blessing for them and for their neighbor. The parishioners of Ignatius should keep the Sabbath following the example of Jesus and the Prophets of the Old Testament.

Ignatius epistle is not a proof for Sunday advocating but Sabbath advocating instead. Early Christians at Ignatius times were keeping the Sabbath.

You wrote:
But if we look at the passage in context I think it will be obvious that it is rejecting Sabbaths rather than supporting them. I am pasting the entire Chapter 10 below and it says nothing about Sabbaths... so perhaps you wrote down the wrong source....
Chapter 10. Beware of Judaizing
Let us not, therefore, be insensible to His kindness. For were He to reward us according to our works, we should cease to be. Therefore, having become His disciples, let us learn to live according to the principles of Christianity. For whosoever is called by any other name besides this, is not of God. Lay aside, therefore, the evil, the old, the sour leaven, and be changed into the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ. Be salted in Him, lest any one among you should be corrupted, since by your savour you shall be convicted. It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. For Christianity did not embrace Judaism, but Judaism Christianity, that so every tongue which believes might be gathered together to God.

As I have shown you, the context supports Sabbath, at least that you accept the Old Testament prophets were Sunday keepers.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
You should read my book, "It's Okay NOT to be a Seventh-day Adventist" because for ten chapters I laid out the history of Sabbath keeping and carefully documented how the idea of a Sunday Sabbath came about. You are correct and this is why Adventism cannot be.
I’ve told you that I have not way to purchase your book, though I really want to read it. An underage boy like me cannot buy from Amazon in Argentina.


You wrote:
The western church for various reasons quit observing the Saturday rest early on. Perhaps it was because so many soldiers and slaves became Christian and they couldn't rest on Saturday. But it was not because they were breaking a commandment for Paul clearly told them that keeping any day holy was up to the local church or even the person. Rest or not rest on SAbbath--don't judge and follow your conscience. Well soldiers and slaves aren't at liberty to follow their conscience even if they did believe sabbath rest was still necessary. So the bishops of the west worshipped daily and no longer rested on Sabbath.
I have never seen historical evidence of what you are talking.

You wrote:
The eastern part of the Empire was different (we think it is because of St. John--he had been the youngest disciples and perhaps was the least likely to feel he had the authority to tell people they didn't have to rest on Sabbath). In any case, the east was more traditional. They rested on Sabbath (guess they had more liberty!) and kept Passover on the exact date as the Jews (something that caused a huge problem with the western church and indeed the weekly sabbath rest didn't. This proves that the weekly sabbath rest issue wasn't important or their would have been a huge fight like the Easter/Passover Sabbath did.)
Your argumentation is ridiculous, John was not the main responsible of evangelize the west. Peter, according many historians, was preaching in Antioch and Corinth. Felipe was preaching in Minor Asia as well. Paul was the main preacher in Minor Asia, according the Bible. Why these apostles never teach against the Sabbath keeping?
When Rome wanted to impose their custom on the western church, the asian bishop said that they kept Easter according the Apostolic teaching of John and Felipe.


You wrote:
Today we have the weekend because the eastern part of Christianity rested on Sabbath and celebrated the Lord's Day on Sunday. There was no confusion over which day was Sabbath. Nowhere in Christendom for the first 1500 years was there any confusion that Sunday was Sabbath. In all Latin languages and you can hear at the Vatican TODAY the world "Sabbath/Sabbato" for Saturday. They never changed the word for Sunday into Sabbath nor have they ever even in their minds.
You’re almost right. Christianity always knew the difference between the “christian” Lord’s Day” and the “jew” Sabbath. But some catholic minorities along the Church history claimed that the Sunday had completely replaced the Sabbath, in every aspect. Adventist believes that the true change is still in the future. In the end of the times Rome and USA will join their strengths in order to impose the Sunday as the only and holy Sabbath. This is the “famous” Dominical Lay that you already know.
What Constantine did was –for the first time in History- was force all christians to observe the Sunday as a day of rest.

Eric Richter said...

You wrote:
This is the problem.
After the Reformation a few British and French groups (very, very tiny groups) were reading the Bible for themselves and they began to believe that the Ten Commandments were binding for Christians (and this is because the Catholic church refers to the Ten Commandments in their catechism for instructional reasons as a "discipline" which means instructional rather than dogma). So when these few people read them they realized that Sunday was being kept more like Sabbath than Saturday. So they decided to start keeping the Jewish Sabbath completely misunderstanding the New Covenant.
The story is much more complex (get my book www.amazon.com) and you can read the whole thing....
But in the end, the idea of a Sunday Sabbath came from Calvinists (not Calvin) during the 16th century and didn't catch on ever until the SDAs came around. They misread history, the Catholic Church and scripture.

This is an interesting theory I must to admit, but not entirely true. Many churches along the history have kept the Sabbath. There is an “continuous line” of Sabbath keeping that we can traces till apostolic times and the very Creation of the world.


You wrote:
Constantine never changed the Sabbath. Christians worshipped daily and many rested on Sabbath for many centuries in the east. And it is ironic that Constantine moved the Empire's capital to the EAST--so if he was trying to stamp out Sabbath rest, he certainly didn't do a good job. Which Constantine changing the Sabbath to Sunday is pure SDA fiction anyway.
You are right, Constantine never changed the Sabbath, actually he just used the force of the state to impose the Sunday keeping, exactly the same thing that Rome and USA will do in a near future. Many churches were keeping the Sabbath in Africa, Asia, and north and western Europe.

Teresa Beem said...

Eric, How old are you? You are doing a very good job of writing if English is your second language?

At this point, I think we must agree to disagree. You wish to remain Seventh-day Adventists and you will see all information through SDA eyes. God bless you and I hope you are allowed to purchase the book when you are a little older.

If you can get EWTN.com where you live that would be awesome for you to watch. Then you can really learn what Catholics believe. God bless you!

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