Open letter to non-Catholics IV-Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, Magisterium


Dear fellow Christians, and all others,

Today I would like to discuss the Catholic doctrine of the Deposit of Faith.  We believe that the Deposit of Faith has three parts-Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium.  This was the basis of Christian Bible interpretation for 1500 years.

The question is, which came first, the Church or the Bible?  Or better, which came first, the Church or the New Testament?  Because we know that there were Old Testament writings before Jesus walked on earth.  But there is one problem with that.  There was no official canon of the OT sacred writings. There were recognized the Torah, or Pentateuch, the prophets, and the psalms.  There were different books recognized by different groups.  The Catholic Church chose what books were canonical to Christians.  The Hebrew Canon wasn’t even chosen until the 1st century AD, and was based primarily on the language it was written in.  The Catholic Church chose the version written in Greek, which was used in the entire known world.  This is also the one Jesus quotes, for the most part.

So Jesus died on the cross, Resurrected on the third day, appeared to many over a period of 40 days, then ascended into heaven.  On Pentecost, 10 days later the Church that Jesus spoke of (Matt 16:18) came alive.  This is the birth of the Church.  There were no Christian scriptures at this time, which is why we can say that the Church came before the scriptures.

How was Christianity spread, if there were no writings?  And if sola scriptura is to be held, how could it be held in the twenty or so years after Jesus rose?  The answer is that Christianity was spread by word of mouth.  How can we know that there wasn’t erroneous ideas floating around? There were.  But Jesus sent his Holy Spirit to protect the Church he proclaimed.  He gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to his apostles, the 11 (after Judas committed suicide), then 12 (after Matthias was appointed).  Paul was proclaimed an apostle after his conversion on the road to Damascus, but did not receive the Holy Spirit until hands were laid on him.  (To this day, this is how the apostolic authority is conferred to new bishops, priests and deacons).  James is believed to have been written around 45AD, the first written book. Paul wrote to the Galatians around 48AD.  So between Jesus’ death in 30AD, and Paul’s letter to the Galatians and Thessalonians around the same time, there was no Christian writings.

At any rate, St. Paul mentions following tradition in many of his letters.  By the way, the authority Jesus bestowed on the apostles when he laid hands on them is the same authority that the magisterium uses to guide them in their teaching office-the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

To recap briefly, Jesus taught his apostles, and gave them the power and authority to teach in his name.  The apostles did this, and passed on their authority to others, and so on, and so on.  To prove apostolic authority, look at St. Paul’s letter to Timothy, his appointed bishop.  St. Paul instructs Timothy to find faithful men, test them, and if proven worthy, to pass on the faith to them.  In just this short letter, we see three generations-Paul, who never met Jesus, but was conferred his office by laying on of hands of the other apostles, Timothy, and his successor. 

So what, exactly is Sacred Tradition?  What the apostles handed on to the Early Church Fathers.  Much of which is written down. 

So, how do faithful Catholics interpret the Bible? We listen to what our Holy Father and our Bishops have to say about it.  They discern from those who came before, and teach us how to apply it.

But for those of you who are not convinced that this is the right way, let me ask you some pointed questions about this Bible Alone thing that popped up about 500 years ago…(Thank you Steve Ray for solidifying these questions)

1. Where did Jesus give instructions that the Christian faith should be based exclusively on a book?

2. Other than the specific command to John to pen the Revelation, where did Jesus tell His apostles to write anything down and compile it into an authoritative book?

3. Where in the New Testament do the apostles tell future generations that the Christian faith will be based solely on a book?

4. Some Protestants claim that Jesus condemned all oral tradition (e.g., Matt 15:3, 6; Mark 7:8‑13). If so, why does He bind His listeners to oral tradition by telling them to obey the scribes and Pharisees when they “sit on Moses’ seat” (Matt 23:2)?

5. Some Protestants claim that St. Paul condemned all oral tradition (Col 2:8). If so, why does he tell the Thessalonians to “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thes 2:15) and praises the Corinthians because they “hold firmly to the traditions” (1 Cor 11:2)?

6. If the authors of the New Testament believed in sola Scriptura, why did they sometimes draw on oral Tradition as authoritative and as God’s Word (Matt 2:23; 23:2; 1 Cor 10:4; 1 Pet 3:19; Jude 9, 14 15)?

7. How do we know who wrote the books that we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Hebrews, and 1, 2, and 3 John?

8. On what authority, or on what principle, would we accept as Scripture books that we know were not written by one of the twelve apostles?

9.  How do we know, from the Bible alone, that the letters of St. Paul, who wrote to first-century congregations and individuals, are meant to be read by us as Scripture 2000 years later?

10. If the books of the New Testament are “self-authenticating” through the ministry of the Holy Spirit to each individual, then why was there confusion in the early Church over which books were inspired, with some books being rejected by the majority?

11. On what biblical basis do Protestants think that everything that the apostles taught is captured in the New Testament writings?

12. If the meaning of the Bible is so clear—so easily interpreted—and if the Holy Spirit leads every Christian to interpret it for themselves, then why are there over 33,000 Protestant denominations, and millions of individual Protestants, all interpreting the Bible differently?

13. Protestants usually claim that they all agree “on the important things.” Who is able to decide authoritatively what is important in the Christian faith and what is not?

 14. How did the early Church evangelize and overthrow the Roman Empire, survive and prosper almost 350 years, without knowing for sure which books belong in the canon of Scripture?

 15. Who in the Church had the authority to determine which books belonged in the New Testament canon and to make this decision binding on all Christians? If nobody has this authority, then can I remove or add books to the canon on my own authority?

Where does the Bible . . .

 

. . . say God created the world/universe out of nothing?

 

. . .  say salvation is attainable through faith alone?

 

. . . tell us how we know that the revelation of Jesus Christ ended with the death of the last Apostle?

. . . provide a list of the canonical books of the Old Testament?

 

. . . provide a list of the canonical books of the New Testament?

 

. . . explain the doctrine of the Trinity, or even use the word “Trinity”?

 

. . . tell us the name of the “beloved disciple”?

 

. . . inform us of the names of the authors of the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John?

 

. . . who wrote the Book of Acts?

 

. . . tell us the Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Trinity?

 

. . . .tell us Jesus Christ was both fully God and fully man from the moment of conception (e.g. how do we know His Divinity wasn’t infused later in His life?) and/or tells us Jesus Christ is One Person with two complete natures,

human and Divine and not some other combination of the two natures (i.e., one

or both being less than complete)?

 

. . . that the church should, or someday would be divided into competing and disagreeing denominations?

 

. . . that Protestants can have an invisible unity when Jesus expected a visible unity to be seen by the world (see John 17)?

 

. . . tell us Jesus Christ is of the same substance of Divinity as God the Father?

 Many thanks to Steve Ray…

For more info and education, visit www.Catholic-Convert.com

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75 thoughts on “Open letter to non-Catholics IV-Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, Magisterium

  1. huge error in judgment, trusting the words of men over the inerrant word of God…

    you might as well believe in luck.

    d.

  2. Well, the real mistake is thinking that you do not ‘trust’ the words of men. We trust God when we believe what he told us-that the Holy Spirit protects the apostles and their successors from teaching error. This is the exact same inspiration that created the New Testament. The Holy Spirit guided the authors to write what they wrote and protected them from error. Jesus promised the same to the successors to the apostles.

    But you think you don’t put trust in the words of men? Do you believe in the canon of the New Testament? This was decided by men. Do you believe the concept of the ‘Trinity’? This was a word used by men to describe God in Three Persons.

    Here’s some other traditions believed by Protestant that aren’t biblical, in other words, they are the traditions of men (and I’m not saying all of them are wrong…):
    Age of Accountability
    Total Depravity of Man
    Personal Lord and Saviour
    Ask Jesus into your Heart
    The Rapture
    Invisible Church
    Folding your Hands, Bowing your Head
    “Personal Relationship with Christ”
    Accepting Christ as Lord and Savior
    Enthroning the Bible in your Heart
    “Covered with the righteousness of Christ”
    Limited Atonement
    Imputed righteousness
    Altar Call
    Dedication; Rededication
    “Giving your Life to the Lord”
    Revival
    Inerrancy
    Eternal Security
    “Once saved, always saved”
    Denominations
    Faith Alone
    Sola Scriptura or Scripture only
    Devotions
    Wedding rings
    Full-time Ministry
    Church as a building when we see the early believers meeting in private homes.
    “Righteousness of Christ”

  3. your examples prove my point: huge error in judgment.

    you’ve concluded something so un-Biblical (“We trust God when we believe what he told us-that the Holy Spirit protects the apostles and their successors from teaching error.”).

    believe what you want, God decidedly did NOT tell YOU what you’ve concluded. this is a fundamental error like the one in the garden (Gen 3ff) and you would do well to go back there to find out what’s meant by “Did God say…” then fast-forward to the final chapter of Revelation, near the end when the Holy Spirit instructs John to write, “Do not add…or take away…”

    NONE of your teachings are “inspired” by the Holy Spirit; God’s teachings, found in His word, are.

  4. OK, pope Dave.

    What you don’t understand is that the Bible is not the sole teaching of God. There was no Bible, certainly no New Testament, at the time of Christ. For twenty years, there was not one jot or tittle written. That’s why we Catholics rely on the Sacred Scripture, along with Sacred Tradition, with the guidance of the Magisterium.

    Your proof-text, in con-text, says “I warn everyone who hears the prophetic words in this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words in this prophetic book, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city described in this book. ”

    So, get away from all the pre-text!

  5. your stuff comes off like the scribes and pharisees; Jesus called them hypocrites; i agree with His truthful statement.

    look at what roman catholics have done: they’ve taken the pure word of God and made it of no effect by adding “…Sacred Tradition, with the guidance of the Magisterium.”

    huge errors in judgment.

    the rc heirarchy would do well to repent in dust and ashes.

    God’s word is ample enough to explain itself and does not need tradition and self-appointed magisteria to provide insight into what He intends.

    all of the above aside, how are you able with your heavy load of traditions and magisteria, to provide an unadulterated gospel of the kingdom? you keep people bound up so that there is no way for them to successfully find the LORD inside your walls; but then, that’s what’s been going on for years in other churches, so you’re in a giant bad company of rejectors of the gospel.

    God is graceful and is saving all He seeks to save outside of the churches with their traditions and teachings…and He’s doing that by His pure word.

    faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God…not by the interpretations, traditions, magesteria, etc., set up by men.

  6. Again, thank you for your pronouncement and judgement, Pope Dave.
    “your stuff comes off like the scribes and pharisees; Jesus called them hypocrites; i agree with His truthful statement.” Jesus was talking to officials who spouted law from their mouths that they didn’t believe in their hearts. I agree too, with HIS statement, and not with YOUR interpretation…
    “the rc heirarchy would do well to repent in dust and ashes.” What makes you think they don’t??
    “God’s word is ample enough to explain itself and does not need tradition and self-appointed magisteria to provide insight into what He intends.”
    Where in the Bible does it say that? If you can’t show that in scripture, then this is the tradition of a man…
    “all of the above aside, how are you able with your heavy load of traditions and magisteria, to provide an unadulterated gospel of the kingdom? you keep people bound up so that there is no way for them to successfully find the LORD inside your walls; but then, that’s what’s been going on for years in other churches, so you’re in a giant bad company of rejectors of the gospel.”What do you mean “unadulterated”?? Even the eunuch in the chariot said “How can I understand if no one teaches me…” We teach the truth of the gospel, the way it has been taught since the first Pentecost.

    “God is graceful and is saving all He seeks to save outside of the churches with their traditions and teachings…and He’s doing that by His pure word.” This is the first thing you’ve said that’s right. Except that it’s not because of his word, it’s because of his saving action.

    By the way, there is no such thing as a Bible translation that hasn’t, in some way, added or subtracted from what was originally written. Even Martin Luther added and subtracted words from scripture. And many protestant Churches have subtracted whole books.

  7. so, are you saying that there is no received text? because if you are, then perhaps that’s why you need someone to interpret for you. surely you’ve heard of an interlinear Bible…one that’s a word for word translation; surely you’ve heard of the Englishman’s concordances of Hebrew and Greek…concordances that provide occurrances of Hebrew and Greek words (as compared to Strong’s that provides occurrances of translated English words…from the KJV). certainly you’re not in the dark since your church translators did their homework in Latin (a dead language – one that the LORD knew would die and, hence, did NOT use to pass along His word).

    how was the eunuch taught? with the extant word of God…not, as you suppose, with some tradition or magesteria hovering around in robes and ropes.

    if you’re searching for truth, you won’t find it anywhere but in God’s word the Bible. if you feel that your translation is adulterated, find one that isn’t…or remove the adulterated parts that don’t line up with the received text. there are many parts that some rc bibles insert (apocrypha) that have nothing whatsoever to do with God’s word. I wonder why those magesteria ever inserted them there…maybe just for distractions; for sure, God did NOT say any of that stuff.

  8. Trouble is, there many versions of received text. Which one is right? And which is not a translation? Because ANY translation would be biased by the translator. Latin was not the original language of religion until later on, but the Greek that was originally used is also a dead language. What’s your point?

    Ah, I thought you’d say that, about how the eunuch was taught. The eunuch was taught by Philip, an apostle, who had the Holy Spirit guiding him. It was Philip’s interpretation of Isaiah that the eunuch listened to. Philip’s point of view, guided by the Holy Spirit to protect him from teaching error. And this is exactly what the Catholic Church does today.

    I believe the inspired interpretation of the inspired word of God, which IS Sacred Tradition and Magisterium. All protected from error by the Holy Spirit.

    What you call “apocrypha”, really deuterocanonical texts was established as the canon of the Old Testament scripture from the very beginning…by Catholics. They were shown to be inspired because Jesus and the apostles all quoted liberally from them.

  9. you’ve had the last word above and i trust that you’re satisfied that you’ve defended your (church’s) position.

    goodbye.

  10. Just tryin’ to educate. Your post seems to indicate that you disagree. Why not point out where I am wrong?? More importantly, because my opinion could be wrong-I don’t have the grace of the Holy Spirit guiding me, why not point out where the Catholic Church is wrong?

  11. if i were to continue, you would have to remove yourself from the very clothes of self-righteousness that you so “humbly” wear…and from the clutches of the CC that issued those clothes.

    You must “give diligence to make your calling and election sure” remembering “that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” this last is of most importance: we, individually or through carnal intermediaries, are not to interpret scripture “not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

    if you persist in looking for truth anywhere but the Bible, you will never find it and you will have failed at making your calling and election sure; you will have found a false gospel.

    if you are satisfied that the Bible and the other stuff of the CC are “all you need,” then you might as well be a mormon since the principle is the same (Bible +); or the pharisees who Jesus repudiated for the same reason (Mark 7:6ff).

    Jesus spoke in parables and without a parable He did not speak. Jesus is identified as the Word: His word, the Bible, is a complicated parable that only His word, the Bible, can explain.

    Some parts of the Bible seem easily understood; yet all of the Bible must hang together as a completed whole and those seemingly easily understood passages must pass the test of comparing spiritual things with spiritual. many fall into wrong doctrine.

    1Cor2 might be an excellent place for you to start your journey away from the things of this world.

    allow the LORD’s word to educate you.

  12. I have a question for you…

    Is not the New Testament the word of God written down? It is! Before it was written down, it was taught. Spoken. Proclaimed to other men. Most of the New Testament authors are not the people the books are ascribed to. Did Matthew write Matthew, or Luke write Luke? Or was it transmitted by these great men to others through their voices? It was, mostly, dictated by men to men. After it was written down, these men continued to speak, to pass on the faith. This is what Sacred Tradition is.
    Your comparison to Mormons is not valid because those we adhere to were the immediate successors to the apostles. If you believe what you wrote, then we might as well extract the letters of St. Paul, St. James, St. Peter, and St. John.
    Jesus did not only speak in parables, he gave direct instruction, too, such as “Take and eat, all of you. This is my body…” But Jesus Himself did not write anything down. God, in His wisdom, inspired men to write it down, long after Jesus ascended into heaven. Would you really put limits on how long God could inspire men to write truthfully about His Church?
    So now, we know that men were inspired to write the books of the New Testament. What was their inspiration? Memories of Jesus’ time on earth. How were they kept from writing error? The Holy Spirit kept them from writing error. Did that inspiration end with the martyrdom and death of the apostles? No, it didn’t. The Holy Spirit chose men among the disciples of the apostles to carry on in truth. This was demonstrated, as Jesus did, by laying on of hands. The bishops today have the same gift of the Holy Spirit, which keeps them from writing in error. Jesus said that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against his Church (singular), meaning that we can know that He, God, is watching over and protecting the Catholic Church, the one Church He founded.
    “Allow the LORD’s word to educate you”? Thanks, I already do. I trust the Holy Spirit to show me what’s right and wrong. Not Pope Dave.

  13. i’m still waiting for the question…

    the last living man, the disciple Jesus loved wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,

    “Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
    Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
    Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
    Rev 22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

    This effectively ended what the Creator wanted written in a book.

    You and your church (along with many, many others) do not know that the Bible is a finished work. You, et al, believe that the Creator is still writing His book and, to use your word, “protecting,” through the Holy Spirit, people to continue the “work of writing and (even editing) His Book.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

    The Holy Spirit is active and alive; however, He is not inspiring people to write more of the Bible; if you believe that there’s more of the Bible to be written (or found), the Holy Spirit did not put that into you. The Creator is drawing all to His Son, Jesus; but that is a great mystery.

    Is He drawing you to Jesus?

    Yes and you’ll find His record of what He wants you to know about Him when you read His word, the Bible. When you bring His word to those around you, you are being obedient to His command to preach the gospel of the kingdom to all the world for a witness.

  14. First of all, look carefully in my previous reply. There are lots of questions there for your consideration. St. John says, in your translation:

    ““Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
    Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
    Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
    Rev 22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

    Seems like he wasn’t referring to any other book but the one he wrote. But Luther, and Calvin, the founders of the Protestant movers, tried to remove this very book from their Bible, along with others. I think that puts the entire protestant movement in dire straits.

    You obviously don’t know much about the Catholic Church. We know that the Bible is a finished work. We gathered it and proofed it. We handed it to the world. In fact, the Catholic Church came before the Bible. The thing is, we have to know the culture of that time to be able to understand it, and to understand what was written. That we get from the apostles and the early Church Fathers, those who were disciples of Christ himself, or disciples of the apostles. The Catholic Church hasn’t added anything to the Bible since we canonized the scriptures. What I said is that the Holy Spirit keeps the leadership of the Church from teaching error.

    And just so you don’t get the idea that Catholics don’t know their Bible, I can assure you we do. We hear it every Sunday, every day for those who are able. We hear nearly the whole Bible in a 3 year period. So we do know and read our Bible. We get our interpretation straight from the horse’s mouth, Jesus’ most trusted friends on earth.

  15. You won’t post these, I’ve noticed you don’t post any scripture that slaps down your demonic beliefs, but maybe when you have to be alone with yourself at night you will think about who you are following. None other than Lucifer himself.

    Matthew 15:3
    But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

    Matthew 15:6
    And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

    Mark 7:8
    For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

    Mark 7:9
    And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

    Mark 7:13
    Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

    Colossians 2:8
    Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

    1 Peter 1:18
    Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

  16. You’ve noticed wrong. I edited for brevity. When you give a reasonable amount that people might actually read, it’s posted.
    The Bible-Ruth, where did it come from? Who determined which authors, which letters, which gospels, etc. would be included in the New Testament, or for that matter, the Old Testament?
    Ruth, you think the Bible is the only thing we have to go on regarding faith? Do you believe in any of this list? Which ones?

    “Age of Accountability”
    “Total Depravity of Man”
    “Personal Lord and Saviour”
    “Ask Jesus into your Heart”
    “The Rapture”
    “Invisible Church”
    “Folding your Hands” or “Bowing your Head”
    “Personal Relationship with Christ”
    “Accepting Christ as Lord and Savior”
    “Enthroning the Bible in your Heart”
    “Covered with the righteousness of Christ”
    “Limited Atonement”
    “Imputed righteousness”
    “Altar Call”
    “Dedication”; “Rededication”
    “Giving your Life to the Lord”
    “Revival”
    “Inerrancy of Scripture”
    “Eternal Security”
    “Once saved, always saved”
    “Denominations”
    “Faith Alone”
    “Sola Scriptura or Scripture only”
    “Devotions”
    “Wedding rings”
    “Full-time Ministry”
    “Church as a building”
    “Righteousness of Christ”

    None of them are scriptural. They all come from man-made tradition. Not all of them are wrong, either.

  17. Even though you’ve asserted trivial conclusions and demanded answers to questions of no consequence, David, you’ve left unanswered and most likely purposely, the most important questions posed…those that ask about your relationship with the LORD. Will He say to you that He never knew you?

  18. Oh, my relationship with the LORD is alive! And growing more every day. Why would you think otherwise, and who are you to judge?

  19. David,

    I find it unnecessary to judge; your own words, ideas, and quality of your thought does that far better than anything else I would ever say.

    Joh 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

    Act 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

    Rom 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

    The Bible, alone and in its entirety is the word of God; you needn’t stumble at that wearing your robes, ropes, self-righteousness, tradition, and magesterium; for whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

  20. Pope Dave,
    Just by your comment, you are judging. But tell me something: Where in the Bible does it say that the Bible alone is the entire word of God? And how was the teaching of Jesus transmitted before it was written down?

  21. How about we take just one of those Sacred Traditions and put it to the test?

    Can you show from history or Scripture that the apostles handed down the doctrine that Mary remained a virgin all her life?

    BTW, the Old Testament Scriptures in the Latin Vulgate Jerome produced was translated from the Hebrew Scriptures not the Septuagint.

  22. Actually, I think I’m going to leave you to answer this question: Can you prove that she didn’t?

    And for your information, the canon was held and declared before the Vulgate was translated. In fact, there was an implied canon before the Jewish hierarchy decided their Hebrew Canon…

  23. I don’t know why you would publish an open letter to non-Catholics then refuse to answer a question regarding it. Nevertheless I will give you my answer and ask that you please answer my question at the end of my response.

    From my ten plus years of reading ante-Nicene ecclesiastical writings, I can conclude that the belief of Mary remaining perpetually virgin was not an orthodox doctrine of the early church.

    In this quote from Irenaeus, a second century bishop, it is quite apparent that he didn’t believe Mary remained in virginity.

    “For the one and the same Spirit of God, who proclaimed by the prophets what and of what sort the advent of the Lord should be, did by these elders give a just interpretation of what had been truly prophesied; and He did Himself, by the apostles, announce that the fullness of the times of the adoption had arrived, that the kingdom of heaven had drawn near, and that He was dwelling within those that believe in Him who was born Emmanuel of the Virgin. To this effect they testify, saying, that before Joseph had come together with Mary, while she therefore remained in virginity, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” (Against Heresies; 3:4)

    There is no doubt that Irenaeus took for granted that Mary and Joseph had sexual relations after Jesus was born. And Origen, in the late second century, reveals exactly where that belief originated.

    “And depreciating the whole of what appeared to be His nearest kindred, they said, Is not His mother called Mary? And His brethren, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? They thought, then, that He was the son of Joseph and Mary. But some say, basing it on a tradition in the Gospel according to Peter, as it is entitled, or The Book of James, 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.” (Commentary on Matthew; 17)

    Keep in mind that the Catholic Church regards “The Protoevangelium of James” as spurious and its contents unreliable.

    In the third century Tertullian was very explicit and mater-of-fact about Mary having other children after Jesus.

    “Thus is the temptation about His birth unsuitable, for it might have been contrived without any mention of either His mother or His brethren. It is clearly more credible that, being certain that He had both a mother and brothers, they tested His divinity rather than His nativity, whether, when within, He knew what was without; being tried by the untrue announcement of the presence of persons who were not present.” (On the Flesh of Christ; 7)

    The Catholic Encyclopedia even affirms the understanding that Tertullian taught this:

    He [Tertullian] emphasizes the reality of Christ’s Body and His virgin-birth, and teaches a corporal resurrection. But he seems to deny the virginity of Mary, the Mother of Christ, in partu, though he affirms it ante partum. (Catholic Encyclopedia on Tertullian)

    From a biblical perspective, if a person who had never previously heard the Gospel and read them for the first time, they would believe that Mary had other children based simply on the text. It would take someone to come in and tell them that what they read isn’t as it appears. That means the burden of proof lies with those who dispute the obvious conclusion drawn from the text.

    So there is extra biblical evidence (which you should look up and read in context) that supports my claim that the ante-Nicene church did not consider the doctrine orthodox. And I showed you evidence of when and where the doctrine originated. And the Bible doesn’t appear to make any claim that Mary remained a virgin. So, since the doctrine draws its support from Sacred Tradition and Sacred Tradition is supposedly derived from oral tradition handed down from the apostles…

    Can you provide evidence from the ante-Nicene era supporting your claim that the church held as orthodox the doctrine that Mary remained a virgin all her life?

  24. It’s my perogative to try and discern where you’re coming from. This being a very broad topic, I want to make sure and address your question. In a discussion, someone once said “I don’t like the new Cathedral”. Doesn’t it follow that you’d ask “What do you mean?” or “What about it don’t you like?”
    I don’t not answer questions. Whether you like my answers (or the Church’s answers, really) is a different matter. 🙂

    It’s also important to know if my questioner believes that extra-biblical writings can provide insight. There are those who say “That’s not in the Bible.”, as if everything must be in the Bible for it to be true. So thanks for contributing what you did so that I may know where you are coming from.

    Let’s start Biblically, though.

    One of the most persistent objection to Mary’s virginity post partum is the frequent scriptural references to Jesus’ “brothers” (Matthew 13:55, Mark 3:31-35, Luke 8:20, John 2:12 and 7:3-5, Acts 1:14, Galatians 1:19 1 Corinthians 9:5). We know that the Greek word rendered “brother” in English (i.e., adelphos) can be used to designate not only a blood brother, but can also be used to denote varying degrees of relationship. “Adelphos”, by itself, is thus inconclusive on the point. But further examination of the biblical texts alone reveals that at least some of these purported “brothers” were not the children of Mary. Nowhere in Scripture is the Blessed Virgin Mary ever explicitly identified as the earthly mother of anyone other than Jesus. There is scholarly argument that the “brothers” appear to be older than Jesus, and there is ample scriptural support for the proposition that Mary had no children before Jesus (e.g., Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-38 and 2:7). Finally, in Jewish culture, we know from scripture that when a father died, the eldest son took over the family, effectively taking care of the mother. In the gospel of John, when Jesus died, hellooked down from the cross at Mary and said “Mother, behold your son…”, then turned to John and gave Mary into his care “Son, behold your mother.” If Jesus had other brothers, her care would have fallen to them, but he freely gave his care into the hands of John.

    Now you ask of the Early Church Fathers…Regarding the Protoevangelium of St James you say we regard it as spurious, yet this is where we get our early history of Mary, and the names of her parents, Anne and Joachim. So, while we don’t consider it gospel, it is by no means spurious. The principal aim of the whole writing [Protoevangelium of James] is to prove the perpetual and inviolate virginity of Mary before, in, and after the birth of Christ. The Protoevangelium records that when Mary’s birth was prophesied, her mother, St. Anne, vowed that she would devote the child to the service of the Lord, as Samuel had been by his mother (1 Sam. 1:11). Mary would thus serve the Lord at the Temple, as women had for centuries (1 Sam. 2:22), and as Anna the prophetess did at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:36–37). A life of continual, devoted service to the Lord at the Temple meant that Mary would not be able to live the ordinary life of a child-rearing mother. Rather, she was vowed to a life of perpetual virginity.

    However, due to considerations of ceremonial cleanliness, it was eventually necessary for Mary, a consecrated “virgin of the Lord,” to have a guardian or protector who would respect her vow of virginity. Thus, according to the Protoevangelium, Joseph, an elderly widower who already had children, was chosen to be her spouse. (This would also explain why Joseph was apparently dead by the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, since he does not appear during it in the gospels, and since Mary is entrusted to John, rather than to her husband Joseph, at the crucifixion).

    According to the Protoevangelium, Joseph was required to regard Mary’s vow of virginity with the utmost respect. The gravity of his responsibility as the guardian of a virgin was indicated by the fact that, when she was discovered to be with child, he had to answer to the Temple authorities, who thought him guilty of defiling a virgin of the Lord. Mary was also accused of having forsaken the Lord by breaking her vow. Keeping this in mind, it is an incredible insult to the Blessed Virgin to say that she broke her vow by bearing children other than her Lord and God, who was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Now let me point out that not everything that every ECF wrote is correct, or considered infallible. Tertullian doubted the virginity of Mary at the time of Jesus birth, but affirmed that she was virgin after Jesus birth. But this is one man’s opinion, and Jerome even says he’s not ‘of the church’.

    Here’s some other quotes showing Mary’s ever-virginity:

    Hilary of Poitiers

    “If they [the brethren of the Lord] had been Mary’s sons and not those taken from Joseph’s former marriage, she would never have been given over in the moment of the passion [crucifixion] to the apostle John as his mother, the Lord saying to each, ‘Woman, behold your son,’ and to John, ‘Behold your mother’ [John 19:26–27), as he bequeathed filial love to a disciple as a consolation to the one desolate” (Commentary on Matthew 1:4 [A.D. 354]).

    Athanasius

    “Let those, therefore, who deny that the Son is by nature from the Father and proper to his essence deny also that he took true human flesh from the ever-virgin Mary” (Discourses Against the Arians 2:70 [A.D. 360]).

    Epiphanius of Salamis

    “We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of all things, both visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God . . . who for us men and for our salvation came down and took flesh, that is, was born perfectly of the holy ever-virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit” (The Man Well-Anchored 120 [A.D. 374]).

    “And to holy Mary, [the title] ‘Virgin’ is invariably added, for that holy woman remains undefiled” (Medicine Chest Against All Heresies 78:6 [A.D. 375]).

    Jerome

    “[Helvidius] produces Tertullian as a witness [to his view] and quotes Victorinus, bishop of Petavium. Of Tertullian, I say no more than that he did not belong to the Church. But as regards Victorinus, I assert what has already been proven from the gospel—that he [Victorinus] spoke of the brethren of the Lord not as being sons of Mary but brethren in the sense I have explained, that is to say, brethren in point of kinship, not by nature. [By discussing such things we] are . . . following the tiny streams of opinion. Might I not array against you the whole series of ancient writers? Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, and many other apostolic and eloquent men, who against [the heretics] Ebion, Theodotus of Byzantium, and Valentinus, held these same views and wrote volumes replete with wisdom. If you had ever read what they wrote, you would be a wiser man” (Against Helvidius: The Perpetual Virginity of Mary 19 [A.D. 383]).

    “We believe that God was born of a virgin, because we read it. We do not believe that Mary was married after she brought forth her Son, because we do not read it. . . . You [Helvidius] say that Mary did not remain a virgin. As for myself, I claim that Joseph himself was a virgin, through Mary, so that a virgin Son might be born of a virginal wedlock” (ibid., 21).

    Didymus the Blind

    “It helps us to understand the terms ‘first-born’ and ‘only-begotten’ when the Evangelist tells that Mary remained a virgin ‘until she brought forth her first-born son’ [Matt. 1:25]; for neither did Mary, who is to be honored and praised above all others, marry anyone else, nor did she ever become the Mother of anyone else, but even after childbirth she remained always and forever an immaculate virgin” (The Trinity 3:4 [A.D. 386]).

    Ambrose of Milan

    “Imitate her [Mary], holy mothers, who in her only dearly beloved Son set forth so great an example of material virtue; for neither have you sweeter children [than Jesus], nor did the Virgin seek the consolation of being able to bear another son” (Letters 63:111 [A.D. 388]).

    Pope Siricius I

    “You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if he had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord’s body, that court of the eternal king” (Letter to Bishop Anysius [A.D. 392]).

    Augustine

    “In being born of a Virgin who chose to remain a Virgin even before she knew who was to be born of her, Christ wanted to approve virginity rather than to impose it. And he wanted virginity to be of free choice even in that woman in whom he took upon himself the form of a slave” (Holy Virginity 4:4 [A.D. 401]).

    “It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when he was invisible, she too was created. A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this, O man?” (Sermons 186:1 [A.D. 411]).

    “Heretics called Antidicomarites are those who contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary and affirm that after Christ was born she was joined as one with her husband” (Heresies 56 [A.D. 428]).

    Pope Leo I

    “His [Christ’s] origin is different, but his [human] nature is the same. Human usage and custom were lacking, but by divine power a Virgin conceived, a Virgin bore, and Virgin she remained” (Sermons 22:2 [A.D. 450]).

  25. I am well aware of the progression of the Marian doctrines through the fourth and fifth centuries. Quoting sources from that period does nothing to support the claim that the apostles handed down the doctrine of Mary ever virgin.

    It is impossible for Tertullian to doubt the virginity of May at Jesus birth and then affirm it afterwards. That doesn’t make sense. I think you meant to say that the other way around. And, incidentally, that was one of the things I showed you. I hope you read it in context. And I can’t think of anyone from church history that was more in love with the Marian doctrines than Jerome. Of course he didn’t like Tertullian; did you happen to find anything from him where he shows that Tertullian was unorthodox in what he stated in his anti-Marcion works?

    I know the Catholic Church derives information about Mary from Protoevangelium of James, but they know that James did not write it, which is why it is spurious. Also there is no disputing the fact that Origen regarded it as unreliable. And the Muratorian Fragment makes absolutely no mention of the gospel of James even among the books that were rejected. There is nothing contained in that book that should be believed. In fact, many of your apologists have abandoned the argument that Jesus’ bothers were older children of Joseph’s and have opted to argue that they are cousins.

    You said, ”There is scholarly argument that the ‘brothers’ appear to be older than Jesus.” Please explain.

    Do you believe Luke, a Greek speaking gentile, would be vague about the family of Jesus when he was so precise in calling Elizabeth Mary’s cousin?

    Concerning Jesus giving His mother to John. Had He given His mother to one of His brothers, His actions would have contradicted His teachings. Jesus said, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” I think you would agree that there is enough evidence from the Gospels to conclude that Mary believed in Jesus, but we know with certainty that His brothers did not (John 7:5). So if Jesus were to give His mother to His brothers He would have contradicted His own teaching. And we know Jesus was true to His teachings.

    If a person who never heard the Gospel and read them for the first time, they would believe that Mary had other children based simply on the text. It would take someone to come in and tell them that what they read isn’t as it appears. That means the burden of proof lies with those who dispute the obvious conclusion drawn from the text.

    I provided extra biblical evidence that supports my claim that the ante-Nicene church did not consider that doctrine orthodox. And I showed you evidence of when and where the doctrine originated. You cannot provide counter proof that the early church believed the doctrine until the fourth century. The conclusion is that Catholic Sacred Tradition falls short of its claim that it represents oral tradition handed down from the apostles – and that’s just one doctrine, there are a slew of others.

  26. Jesus said, “Mat 12:50, Mar 3:35 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” I suppose that you would be saying that Jesus didn’t even know who His close relatives (brother, sister, even His own mother) were, right (please take careful note that Jesus did NOT say **and father**)? Or would you be saying that He was speaking allegorically? Or that He was speaking of something spiritual and not physical? What twist do you have for this verse?

    Another Biblical verse, “Mar 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.”

    Your assertion is that these brothers and sisters are not from Mary…or that they are not brothers or sisters at all…or that they were introduced by Joseph from a prior marriage.

    Let’s look at your assertions one by one. That they are not brothers or sisters is a non-starter, the Bible being a truth book and not a lie book. This means that they cannot be brought in by Joseph either because Joseph is not Jesus’ Father and you would be disingenuous to pose some specious step-relationship…there being no such thing in the Bible. This leaves only Mary as the mother of His four brothers James, Joses, Juda, and Simon and his sisters (at least two, unnamed).

    Using sources outside the Bible to find truth is folly; none, I say again, none of your extra-Biblical sources of information about the LORD can hold a candle to the truth of the Bible and all of those extra-Biblical sources are without merit insofar as Biblical truth is concerned.

    But, of course, you prefer like the Mormons, to use other sources to support your version of a gospel…even the devil believes in Jesus; yet he trembles.

    You and your church don’t even tremble; how sad.

  27. The whole point is that the Fathers of the 4th century taught and believed the same as the Fathers of the third century, who taught and believed the same as those in the second century, who believed and taught the same as the apostles who learned from Jesus. It’s the same today-there is nothing new about Catholicism in regard to the faith and morals we hold true.

    Calling a work ‘spurious’ because we know it wasn’t written by a particular person is ridiculous. We know that Paul didn’t write all his letters, we know that Matthew probably didn’t write Matthew, etc. They aren’t spurious, are they? The worst thing you can truthfully say about the Protoevangelium is that it’s non-canonical.

    Regarding what Tertullian believed, there was a train of thought that Mary conceived virginally, but that her virginity was non-intact when she gave birth, but that God restored it. That’s what Tertullian believed, and he was in error. Mary was ever virgin. But Tertullian strayed from orthodoxy and became a Montanist. So there are reasons to doubt what he wrote.

    You’re wrong to say that the Protoevangelium is not to be believed. Just because one writer regards it as unreliable has no bearing on what the Church thinks.

    Regarding the theories about the ‘brothers of Jesus’, there are many. Older siblings of Joseph is one, and many apologists still hold that as a possibility. Cousins is another which seems more likely. The scholarly argument is just that, argument. It hasn’t been proven one way or another.

    Do you believe in translation differences (regarding Luke)? The actual word in Greek is “kinswoman”, not cousin. The word “brothers” and “sisters” in the Bible, all the way starting in Genesis with Abraham calling Lot his brother even though he was his uncle, to today when we call fellow Christians brothers and sisters, shows that “brothers” is not necessarily blood brothers. But let’s take a look at your literal understanding of this reading. Do you take the entire gospel literally? If so you must, then, believe that when Jesus said “This is my body” and “This is my blood” that he was speaking literally. And your hypothetical person who reads the Gospel for the first time would have to conclude that as well. That’s a Catholic teaching, that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist.

    Regarding Jesus on the cross, Mary and John at the foot of the cross, there you go reading something into it that’s just not there. You say we know that his brothers (cousins) did not believe in him, but we know from Acts that after his resurrection, they did.

    Your assessment of how to interpret the gospel, or the Bible in general is wrong. We assert that Jesus handed down his gospel and how to interpret it to the apostles, and gave the Holy Spirit to them to guide them and protect them from error. They, in turn, passed this down to their successors. This is what the Magisterium is. In fact, when someone wants to propose a new idea for what we Catholics believe, we look to the Early Church Fathers to show us what was believed at the time in closest proximity to Jesus public ministry. If they didn’t believe it, we don’t.

    I have another question for you, though. This questioning of the Marian dogmas, where does it come from? How come it was universally held for 1500 years before it was disputed? The Holy Spirit was given to protect the teachings of Jesus. Why would he let some error go on for so long??

    You provided extrabibilical support, which shows that there was some disagreement. So what? That disagreement was debated, and sufficiently proven to the perpetual virginity of Mary, to be declared orthodox. Your conclusion is that Sacred Tradition falls short, but Catholic conclusion is otherwise.

  28. Pope Dave, welcome back. You suppose wrong. Jesus said that his brothers and sisters and mother were those who do the Father’s will.

    Regarding James, Joses, Judah, and Simon, the Bible
    While the Bible does mention the “brothers” and “sisters” of Jesus (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3), they are never called the sons and daughters of the Virgin Mary because they are not her children. Mark 15:40 mentions a woman called “Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses”. James and Joses are two of the “brethren” of Jesus mentioned in Matthew 13:55, so this woman is clearly their mother, not the Mother of Jesus. This “other Mary” (Mt 28:1) is mentioned in John 19:25 as “Mary the wife of Cleophas”, the “sister” of Jesus’ mother (“sister” here probably refers to a sister-in-law, since they are both called Mary).

    So James and Joses are the sons of Cleophas and the other Mary, who are most likely Jesus’ uncle and aunt on Joseph’s side. Since Simon and Jude are mentioned with James and Joses, they must also be Jesus’ cousins. The fact that the Bible calls them “brothers” does not contradict this. In that culture, as in many Middle Eastern cultures today, the term “brother” was used for many relatives who were not full siblings, such as half or step-brothers, brothers-in-law, nephews, cousins of various degrees, etc. So Jesus’ “brothers and sisters” were really His cousins; Scripture calls them “brothers and sisters” in accord with the custom of the time.

    In the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ family, we discover a definite pattern which indicates that He was indeed an only child. The Bible portrays the Holy Family as consisting of three persons: Jesus, Mary and Joseph. No more, no less. Only Jesus, Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt (Mt 2:13-14); only these three return a while later (2:20-21); only these three go up to Jerusalem when Jesus is twelve (Luke 2:41-43); and these three alone are mentioned after that event (Luke 2:51-52).

    None of these episodes in Jesus’ childhood mention the birth or existence any brothers or sisters. So at best, any hypothetical half-siblings would have to have been born after the trip to Jerusalem. The oldest of them (James?) would have been thirteen years younger than Jesus, and only seventeen when Jesus began his ministry.

    Yet this is inconsistent with the portrayal of Jesus’ “brethren” in the Gospels. They speak and act very disrespectfully toward Him (Mark 3:27; John 7:3). Such behavior toward an elder brother would have been inappropriate in that culture, for the firstborn commanded respect from younger siblings. Their tone toward Jesus makes it more likely that they were Jesus’ elders, in which case they could not have been Mary’s children.

    Again, in the account of the Wedding Feast at Cana, we read that Mary was present (Joseph was evidently deceased by then) and that Jesus and His disciples were also invited (John 2:1-2). Yet no mention is made of His “brethren” being present, or even being invited (though they come into the picture again in vs. 12, after the feast ends). If these “brethren” were also Mary’s children, it seems odd that just one of her sons would be invited to the wedding with His followers, while absolutely none of the rest of her children were invited! Yet if He were an only child, and his “brethren” were actually more distant relatives, this would make more sense.

    Finally, while on the Cross, Jesus gave Mary into the care of St. John, telling them to regard one another as mother and son (Jn 19:26-27). Christ would not have done this unless she had no other sons to provide for her. This is further evidence that Mary had no other children.

    You say, Pope Dave, that Jesus not having direct siblings is a non-starter because the Bible is a truth book and not a lie book, this is true. But Abraham called Lot his brother, even though he was his uncle. Is this a lie, or is it an error of nearly 4000 years distance and cultural distance? Or how about a modern misconception?

    Pope Dave, I will remind you that Jesus wrote not one word of scripture. He spoke to his apostles. The writings of Genesis were spoken for thousands of years before they were ever written down. Same with the Prophets. So before the New Covenant was written down, it was spoken and taught orally to spread it. St. John tells us that, if all the deeds of Jesus were written down, a library would not be able to contain them. Extra-biblical writings show us the context of the gospels and letters contained in the New Testament. And in fact, if a writing is discovered which does not agree with scripture, then it is held as non-orthodox.
    In fact, did you realize that you, Pope Dave, are not orthodox? You don’t believe the true teachings of Jesus. We don’t tremble because we know the Holy Spirit will always guide us if we trust in Him.

  29. Your first paragraph is a completely false statement coming from someone who has not studied the history and has no clue about its facts. You have shown yourself to be disingenuous in this statement and also in the copy and past technique you employed in your previous comment.

    The Protoevangelium of James is in fact spurious; it is not my judgment, it is the judgment of every scholar out there including Catholic scholars. It is spurious because it is not legitimate. Its author claims to be James, the “stepbrother” of Jesus yet the work first appeared in the middle or later part of the second century. The author also heavily relies on the written Gospel of Mathew. That criticism cannot be applied to most of the books of the New Testament.

    Tertullian’s Montanism is in no way related to his anti-Marcion works. And what do you mean he believed her virginity was restored? Claiming that Tertullian was in error based on what you believe holds no weight. If you believe Tertullian was not orthodox in this matter, show me where he was refuted by his contemporaries.

    Since you accept the idea that the arguments about Jesus’ family have not been proven, do you accept the possibility that His brothers and sisters mentioned in the Gospels are children of Mary?

    There was no distinction in the Hebrew and Aramaic written languages for kin, which is why I was carful to use Luke’s Gospel as my example. Luke was a Greek who spoke and wrote in Greek. The Greek language had distinctions for brothers, sisters, and other blood relatives. So again, if Luke used the word for “kin” to describe Elizabeth, why did he use the words, “sisters” and “brothers” to describe His immediate family?

    Since I stated that I believe Jesus’ brothers are His literal blood relatives, you somehow assume that I interpret everything literally. By doing that you are building a straw man that you can easily knock down; I am not a straw man and if you want to know how I interpret something I would appreciate that you get it from me, don’t make it up.

    Jesus’ brothers did come around and we know Mary was with them at Pentecost. For all we know Mary might have lived out her life living in the home of one of her own sons. But if Jesus would have given her over to one of them at the time of His crucifixion He would have contradicted His own teaching. That is not reading into the text, it’s just good exegesis. I would say that calling his brothers and sisters, “cousins” is reading into the text.

    ‘Jesus handed down his gospel and how to interpret it to the apostles’? What does that even mean? And why do you say that your magisterium is protected from error? Wouldn’t you have to have to be infallible in order to make that judgment? I think your magisterium is full of error and I already proved it for one doctrine.

    I question the Marian dogmas because they do not represent the Christian faith that was handed down from the apostles. The fact that those doctrine did not exist in the ante-Nicene church is undisputable. There were no “disagreements” about the doctrines because the doctrines did not exist.

    Have you ever heard of the cult of the Collyridians? The Callyridians were Mary worshipers of whom Epiphanius of Salamis wrote about in the mid fourth century. This cult probably originated in the late second century in Asia Minor about the time Origen said people were first hearing the story about Mary being perpetually virgin. The cult grew noticeably by the fourth century and I believe it had a direct influence on the Catholic Church in that century and the centuries that followed.

    It’s not that the Marian doctrines have been orthodox for the past 1500 years; the problem is that those and other “Sacred Traditions” have developed over the past 1500 years. None of those were handed down by the apostles and, therefore, should be rejected.

    You can believe whatever you like, but don’t expect others to buy into beliefs you can’t support with biblical exegeses or historical facts.

  30. Because you believe it to be so doesn’t make it so. Name some Catholic scholars who think we shouldn’t use it?
    In the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Church, the ProtoEvangelium of St. James the Apostle is taken at face value. It is not in the Cannon of the New Testament Scripture because it is not about Jesus. The Protoevangelium of St. James ca. A.D. 125 is used as a non-canonical but informative text in the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Church and its traditions form the basis for the liturgical observance of the feast of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple, celebrated on 21 November.
    While clearly we understand the Protoevangelium of James to be non-canonical, it can be useful in tracing the Tradition of the Church in matters concerning the Blessed Mother. This “Gospel” shows that certain beliefs that the Church holds about Mary (the Immaculate Conception, the Perpetual Virginity of Mary, the Assumption etc) were known and believed by early Christians as early as 150 AD, most likely even earlier than that, since no doubt these traditions were being spread by word of mouth long before they were actually penned down. Think of what that means. Christians as early as the 1st century accepted the Immaculate Conception and the Perpetual Virginity of Mary and the Assumption.

    So, while James’ Gospel is not considered canonical or inspired, there is still much that we can glean from it as a historical document.

    Regarding Tertullian, or any other Church Father, they did not all walk in lock-step. Some believed unothodox ideas, such as Tertullians belief that Mary was a virgin before Jesus’ birth and after Jesus’ birth, but that when Jesus was born, her virginity was briefly made un-intact. I can’t explain it, you’ll have to ask him when you meet him.

    Do I support the idea that Jesus had siblings? No, most certainly not. Read my reply to Pope Dave.

    So congratulations, who gave you your understanding of the Bible? Where did you get the idea that Jesus had literal brothers? We know, because the apostles and their successor taught, that Jesus was given over to the care of John, who took care of her until she died. Who are you to say that they taught error?

    To explain what I mean about the apostles and their successors being protected from teaching error, you need to understand Apostolic Succession. First, how the apostles were ordained. The original apostles were ordained by their very presence before Jesus. But in Acts, we see where this is not true for Matthias and Paul. Matthias was ordained an apostle to replace Judas by the laying on of hands. Paul was struck down in the dessert and converted, but until hands were layed upon him in Jerusalem, he was not an official apostle. The laying on of hands confered the Holy Spirit on the apostles. This is the same way priests and bishops and the Pope are all ordained today, with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew that his apostles would eventually die and pass on their knowledge, because his commission was to go out and spread the good news. He sent the Holy Spirit to protect his Church from straying from his teachings. This Holy Spirit was passed on, as can be seen in Paul’s letters to St. Timothy. The Pope has this special charism by himself, the magisterium has it in body. All of this is evident, if you read with an open heart. What you (or I) think of the magisterium is of no consequence, and you haven’t proven them wrong on anything.
    I have shown you where the Marian dogmas come from, it’s your choice to reject Jesus’ mother or not. Your pronouncement of what the Early Fathers of the Church of Christ thought isn’t borne out by what you’ve posted.
    The Collyridians were, in fact, heretics, and were pronounced so by the Church. They worshipped Mary, which violates the commandments. Since the Marian dogmas were defined in the Protoevangelium of James, (just because you don’t think it’s reliable doesn’t make it unreliable) your comment about them stemming from this heresy are off target.

    Regarding Marian and other Sacred Traditions, I can show where any Capital T Tradition came from apostolic times. The opening verse of the book of Hebrews tells us that “in many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets.” This was done fragmentarily, under various figures and symbols. Man was not given religious truth as though from a theologian, nicely laid out and fully indexed. Doctrines had to be thought out, lived out in the liturgical life of the Church, even pieced together by the Fathers and ecumenical councils. In this way, the Church has gained an ever-deepening understanding of the deposit of faith that had been “once for all delivered” to it by Christ and the apostles (Jude 3).

    Brian, it is you who can believe whatever you like. I’ve been around the block a few times. From Evangelical to Presbyterian to Baptist to Methodist, to nothing, and finally home to the one holy catholic and apostolic church. I don’t have to expect others to buy into anything. The truth speaks for itself.

    A couple of questions for you: If the Bible is all you need, plain and simple, and you don’t need any teaching authority to tell you what it means, how can there be 30,000+ protestant denominations, all with different doctrines, all stating that they are correct? How come none of them can agree about the simplest thing, like when to baptize a person? How come some churches think abortion is perfectly ok, while others believe it is an unforgiveable sin, that gay ‘marriage’ is ok or not, that female ordination is ok or not, and finally, when was Jesus being literal and when was he being figurative? We Catholics know all this-it’s taught to us. At any rate, I’ll stick with the Catholic Church, because I’m home in Rome.

    Matthew 16:18-20ff.

  31. Dave, you go on pretending to know what you are talking about, but to me, someone who has spent over a decade studying the early church, you just sound foolish. I am not going to continue to feed you information so you can generate incoherent and ridiculous responses. You are not equipped to have this discussion and that is why you have twice tried to build a straw man argument against me. I don’t play that game.

    I’ll leave you with this synopsis of the Protoevangelium from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

    “It purports to have been written by “James the brother of the Lord”, i.e. the Apostle James the Less. It is based on the canonical Gospels which it expands with legendary and imaginative elements, which are sometimes puerile or fantastic…The nativity is embellished in an unrestrained manner. Critics find that the “Protoevangelium” is a composite into which two or three documents enter. It was known to Origen under the name of the “Book of James”. There are signs in St. Justin’s works that he was acquainted with it, or at least with a parallel tradition. The work, therefore, has been ascribed to the second century. Portions of it show a familiarity with Jewish customs, and critics have surmised that the groundwork was composed by a Jewish-Christian.” (Catholic Encyclopedia; Apocrypha)

    Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1Thes. 5:2)

  32. Brian, if you use references other than the Bible, you will be unable to provide or find truth; I sense that you are close to giving up any reliance you may have had on extra-Biblical sources. May the LORD be with you as you seek Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. He told the writers what to write and He knows what His word means; it is up to us to search out the matter…in His word, using His word to define, guide, and explain.

    David, you would do well to take a similar course; yet, it is not time now for you to agree. Keep in mind that you have a short 19 months left before the King returns in glory. Will He know you?

  33. Brian, first off, are you talking to me? I’m not Dave. I’m David. Did I give you a nickname? I don’t believe I did!

    You may have a few years more studying than I do, but so what? You are obviously not Catholic, with a different interpretation than the Church. Some people study but don’t get it right. I was like that in college. I do get it now. Just because you discount the Protoevangelium doesn’t make it discounted by general population. It is in modern use by many apologists, and many writers, as the foundation of Marian belief. In the Eastern Church it is taken at face value. I read the same passage as you in the Catholic Encyclopedia, but what makes that work authoritative? It was published in 1917. I don’t know if there has been new light shone on this work, but I do know that to many it is held high. But go ahead and discount it if you like.

    On a final note, you are the one who came here. I didn’t ask for your opinion. I posted about what Catholics believe. You are free to disagree or agree, or at least try to understand. I see that, when I ask you questions about where you gleaned your understanding of scripture, you don’t deign to answer. This speaks volumes. I have 2000 years of understanding behind me. I know it’s tough to trust in God completely, but this is exactly what He expects us to do. I trust in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to care for and guide the Church they created. It is hard sometimes, but that’s what trust is about, sometimes. You call my arguments straw man arguments, but yet you have no good answer. How do we know authoritatively how to interpret the bible? Until you can answer this question here, we can’t progress in our debate.

  34. Keep in mind that you have a short 19 months left before the King returns in glory.

    Well, where is that in the bible, pope Dave? Jesus told us that no one knows the hour of His final coming. I think I’ll stick with Jesus over you, Pope Dave.

  35. You said: “It is in modern use by many apologists, and many writers, as the foundation of Marian belief.

    Wow David, it’s nice to see you acknowledge that the Marian doctrines did not originate with the apostles. I think we had a breakthrough here! Congratulations! Now maybe you will take a closer look at those other (T)raditions your church teaches.

    You said: “You call my arguments straw man arguments, but yet you have no good answer.

    I refused to allow you to derail the discussion by introducing other topics. When you decided for me how I interpret the Bible then proceeded to argue against your own assumption, that’s a straw man you built and knocked down. That shows an obvious weakness on your part I will not allow it to be a distraction.

    So you want to talk about authority, let’s talk about authority.

    You said: “I know it’s tough to trust in God completely, but this is exactly what He expects us to do.

    I agree, so why do you instead put your trust in men? You call them a “teaching authority.” What makes them an authority?

    My authority for interpretation is in agreement with your statement. I have the gift of the Holy Spirit and I trust God. If I don’t understand a doctrine or if I can’t rectify a doctrine with the Gospel, I do not hold to it. It makes no difference to me how many Protestant denominations there are or how many Catholic factions there are; I hold only to what I understand and nobody is going to take me captive with their doctrines.

    So again, in your opinion, what makes your teaching authority infallible regarding faith?

  36. I said the book (The Protoevangelium of James) is in use by many apologists, and many writers, which shows the error of your belief that it is a spurious work. I’ve been to your site and seen how you parse words.

    What makes those men an authority? The Holy Spirit. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit onto his apostles on Pentecost. They in turn passed it to those they ordained. You can see an example of this in 1 Timothy where St. Paul says to pass on the traditions he (Paul) taught him. There’s three generations there-Paul, the apostle, Timothy the bishop he appointed, and the next in line from Timothy.

    What I want to know is where you got the gift of the Holy Spirit? And how can I know you have it? I know my bishop has it because he can trace his lineage to the apostles.

    It does make a difference how many denominations there are, (by the way, there’s only one Catholic Church) because, if you believe the gospel, Jesus said he would build one church(singular), and appointed Peter as its head. He kept his promise on Pentecost by creating one church. This is the Catholic Church. So there can only be one church. Jesus also told us that it would last until He returns. So far, there’s only one church that can show its continuity from the life of Christ to now.

    It’s not my opinion, Brian, and my teaching is not infallible. In fact, if I were to teach in error, I would hope that everyone would run. But I do teach the truth, which is what the Catholic Church is.

  37. You know your bishop has the Holy Spirit because you can trace his linage to the apostles? That is an interesting statement. So, for example, by that same logic, Paul of Samosata, the bishop of Antioch, had the Holy Spirit too, right? So for that reason his parishioners could trust him. That’s what you are telling me, correct? And are you also telling me that you do NOT have the gift of the Holy Spirit?

    Did you say continuity back to the apostles? Tell me, what do you think of Eusebius’ remarks in his Ecclesiastical History concerning turmoil among church leaders in the late third century? If the continuity was so great, why did he say they were almost, as it were, taking up arms against one another?

    You need to go back and read my question again. I said, “in your opinion, what makes your teaching authority infallible regarding faith?”

  38. “Jesus told us that no one knows the hour of His final coming.”

    1. Where do you find that in the Bible?
    2. What’s the context?
    3. Did I say anything about an hour?
    4. Did I say anything about something “final?”

  39. As long as the bishop is in communion with Rome and speaks as the body of the Magisterium, yes. So, you see, or maybe not, a bishop speaking alone, could write an error.

    Turmoil among bishops means nothing other than that they’re human. Look at the US Bishops fighting over healthcare. What I said was, in matters of faith and morals, bishops in communion with the bishop of Rome are protected from error in teaching by the Holy Spirit.

    You need to read my answer again, Brian, I answered you, directly. Let me restate it: I have no charism of infallibility. That belongs to the pope and the magisterium. If you’re asking about the Catholic Church’s teaching authority and infallibility, that’s a different question. The Holy Spirit was sent at Pentecost to protect Peter, and the apostles from teaching error. This charism is passed on to the successors, conferred by laying on of hands.
    What error do you think the Catholic Church has taught in 2000 years or so?

  40. In reverse, when you say His coming, this will be final. When Jesus says ‘the hour’, he speaks figuratively. Matthew 24:36. You said the King is returning in Glory in 19 months, I’m saying Jesus said that no one knows when he’ll be coming.

  41. Paul of Samosata did, according to your statement, have the gift of the Holy Spirit and he taught error. And your bishop, according to your statement, has the gift of the Holy Spirit and could teach error. And you claim that your magisterium has the gift of the Holy Spirit, so how does that protect them from error collectively if it doesn’t protect your individual bishops from error?

    And another thing; don’t you think you could be wrong in believing that your magisterium is exempt from error in matters of faith and morals? The only way you could know that is if you were infallible. And since you already stated that you are not infallible, you do not know that your teaching authority is infallible under any circumstance. It’s simply impossible.

    Surly you know that I was referring to doctrinal disputes, right? There were major doctrinal disputes over the nature of Christ that caused schisms in the church in both the third and fourth centuries. There were bishops, all able to trace their “authority” back to the apostles that were on opposite sides of critical issues that ultimately fractured the church. Supposedly they all were given the gift of the Holy Spirit, so why didn’t they agree on these important issues?

    And what about when the bishop of Rome tried to excommunicate all the bishops of Asia Minor over the Passover controversy, is that continuity?

    And since you brought up councils and believe their conclusions to be error free, why do you believe the Roman church has primacy over other churches? The council of Nicea firmly established that the church in Rome did not hold primacy over all the other churches. And the first council of Constantinople tried unsuccessfully to set an order of prominence among the principle churches of the various regions. If they were safeguarded from error, why did they not succeed?

    You said, “What error do you think the Catholic Church has taught in 2000 years or so?”

    Would you like a list?

    All the Marian doctrines (which we already proved are not apostolic)
    Transubstantiation
    Confession to a priest
    Purgatory
    Penance
    Mortal Vs venal sins
    Holy days of obligation
    Praying to saints
    Holy relics
    Primacy of the bishop of Rome
    Infallibility
    There are more, but that’s all I can think of right now.

  42. This is where you are wrong and must ask yourself if you are ready: “I’m saying Jesus said that no one knows when he’ll be coming.”

    Since you are filled with another spirit, you are not able to hear; however, casting pearls before swine, I will tell you the following:

    He has already come (and no one ***knew*** the day or hour) to begin the 23-year judging process in all of the local congregations: including yours.

    Every eye will see Him in the fall (October) 2011.

    Are you ready?

  43. But the charism of infallibility only applies to the bishops when they work together with the bishop of Rome. How? I will ask when I’m dead and gone. Could I be wrong? Not if I believe what Jesus taught us. The way I know is that I trust in what Jesus told us. Matt 16:18-20-he built his Church on Peter (the Rock), and promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. He told his apostles in the Gospel of John that when he left us bodily he would send the Holy Spirit to protect the Church from error. He did so on Pentecost. I know my teaching authority is not infallible. But I believe those that Jesus gave us.

    Yes, there were schisms, and those schismatic thoughts were proven wrong, and they were cast out. Regarding the “Passover controversy” this is a tradition (small “t”). Since we don’t know when Christ died, other than that it was the Friday before Passover, it’s legitimate to dispute when to celebrate it. The argument was not over the day of Jesus’ resurrection, but over what day was most appropriate to commemorate it annually.

    To resolve the dispute, Polycarp traveled to Rome. A letter by Irenaeus, quoted by Eusebius and others, tells us what happened. “When the blessed Polycarp was at Rome in the time of Anicetus, and they disagreed a little about certain other things, they immediately made peace with one another, not caring to quarrel over this matter. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe what he had always observed with John, the disciple of our Lord, and the other apostles with whom he associated…. Neither could Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it.” Both men decided they would not quarrel. They chose to live in peace. Irenaeus’ letter records that Polycarp and Anicetus took the Lord’s Supper together. It didn’t matter to them what season or day it was. Taking the Lord’s Supper together symbolically showed their unity in Christ. After this, “they parted from each other in peace.”

    We can be certain that this happened because Irenaeus’ letter, written only a few decades after the original event, called on another bishop of Rome to repent and follow the well-known example of his predecessor. A few decades later Polycrates and Victor did not get along nearly as well. The discussion began to degenerate. In anger, Victor excommunicated the Quartodeciman Polycrates and those who shared his views. Many bishops protested, such as the aforementioned Irenaeus, though they did not agree with the Quartodeciman position. Victor’s attempted excommunication apparently failed.
    But since this matter was not about faith or morals, it does not fall under what Popes do infallibly.

    Regarding the Council of Nicaea, I don’t know where you came up with that cock-eyed idea. Documentation? The first Council of Constantinople did not succeed in setting a hierarchy of principal churches because to do so would be error. There is one pre-eminent church-Rome, all others are next.

    You say “we” have already proven that Marian doctrine is not apostolic, but the Catholic Church says you are wrong. If you look around my blog, you can find scriptural documentation for all of those that you declare wrong. After you’ve read them, if you care to discuss, please do.

  44. Jesus told us to always be prepared, so that’s what I try to do.

    By the way, Pope dave, where does your authority come from to interpret scripture?

  45. It sounds like you are very familiar with the Passover controversy so I would like to ask you a few questions regarding it.

    You say the dispute does not fall under faith and morals, why then did Nicea strictly forbid Quartodeciman observance, and the council of Laodicea in 364 made doing so a mortal sin? Will you please explain that?

    In regard to the previous question, since Anicetus was inferior to Polycarp, and Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John, what justification could there be for later making that apostolic tradition forbidden and carrying with it the penalty of mortal sin? Does this make sense to you?

    You said, “Polycrates and Victor did not get along nearly as well. The discussion began to degenerate.” I am quite familiar with Polycrates letter, but I am not sure how you come to the conclusion that their discussion degenerated; what discussion are you talking about?

    Regarding Nicea: You refer to my remarks as a Cock-eyed idea? Okay, you tell me what you think about the council’s conclusions on jurisdiction. (Remember, you claimed to be able to defend every sacred tradition as apostolic, so you cannot expect me to do your research for you.)

    It is interesting what you say about Constantinople because that council attempted to place Rome in the most prominent position, but the bishop of Rome refused to go along. They later removed the canon.

    Just in case you have difficulty with the answers, I thought maybe you could contact Ralph Orr or wcg.org where I miraculously found the exact same words to describe the Passover controversy. Here they are:

    To resolve the dispute, Polycarp traveled to Rome. A since-lost letter by Irenaeus, quoted by Eusebius and others, tells us what happened. “When the blessed Polycarp was at Rome in the time of Anicetus, and they disagreed a little about certain other things, they immediately made peace with one another, not caring to quarrel over this matter. For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp not to observe what he had always observed with John, the disciple of our Lord, and the other apostles with whom he associated…. Neither could Polycarp persuade Anicetus to observe it… Both men decided they would not quarrel. They chose to live in peace… Irenaeus’ letter records that Polycarp and Anicetus took the Lord’s Supper together. It didn’t matter to them what season or day it was. Taking the Lord’s Supper together symbolically showed their unity in Christ. After this, “they parted from each other in peace.’

    We can be certain that this happened because Irenaeus’ letter, written only a few decades after the original event, called on another bishop of Rome to repent and follow the well-known example of his predecessor.

    A few decades later Polycrates and Victor did not get along nearly as well. The discussion began to degenerate. In anger, Victor excommunicated the Quartodeciman Polycrates and those who shared his views. Many bishops protested, such as the aforementioned Irenaeus, though they did not agree with the Quartodeciman position. Victor’s attempted excommunication apparently failed.” (http://www.wcg.org/lit/church/holidays/passover.htm)

    What is really striking about this is that the World Church of God, the website you lifted your information from, hates Catholicism with a passion. They take the exact opposite view as you on this issue, yet you chose them as your source of information. That’s remarkable. If you would have read a little further down you would have seen this:

    “After the Council’s close, Emperor Constantine supported its judgment with a vile anti-Semitic attack against all Quartodecimans. He ordered a severe persecution of those who refused to comply.”

    Do you agree with that statement David?

    And at the bottom of the page you would have seen this:

    “Unless noted otherwise, materials on this website are copyright © Grace Communion International. All rights reserved.”

  46. Are you asking about “interpret” in the sense of Genesis 41 or 1 Corinthians 12 or 14?

    Jesus spoke in parables and WITHOUT A PARABLE He did NOT speak. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one…if you have seen Me you have seen the Father.” Mystery: Jesus spoke everything into existence.

    When He told the parable of the sower and the seed, now be careful how you answer this: what did He say it meant?

    if your church were to approach the Bible with the idea of finding out what the LORD is saying…instead of how it’s been proceeding for as long as it’s been pursuing its own agenda, your church and its adherents would not be in the miserable state that they find themselves in. you all have a works gospel which sends you straight to hell…Ephesians 2:8&9.

  47. Wow, lots to talk about here, Brian. Short answers-
    The date when Easter was celebrated was a small ‘t’ tradition. Therefore it was not a matter of faith and morals. Nicaea was a council called to decide how to combat the heresies of the time, namely Arianism. The majority of the time of the council seems to have been spent dealing with that and drawing up the Creed. After this, the Quartodeciman conflict was taken up. Because the feast of Easter was closely linked to Passover, some held that it should be celebrated in conjunction with Passover; others wanted nothing to do with a Jewish feast because of their role in Jesus’ death. The council debated this issue and resolved it. It was put into law that Easter should be celebrated with the formula they came up with. It’s not a decision of faith, but of communion. It could be changed today. The decisions of the early councils held the weight of law since they constituted both civil and church law. And breaking church law carried the weight of mortal sin. (You must know that all that’s necessary to be out of mortal sin is to obey God and His Church, and confess to a priest).
    Regarding the personal discussions of Polycarp and Anicetus, Anicetus was the Pope, how was he inferior to Polycarp? But Polycarp and Anicetus had, apparently, a good relationship and while they disagreed on some things, agreed to disagree amiably. Polycrates and Victor was a different matter. Victor apparently had a much more fervent idea of when the day should be celebrated, and since Christ died on Sunday, it was settled to be celebrated on Sunday. There is apostolic weight for both cases, but the submission to the bishop of Rome here is noteworthy.
    Regarding Nicaea Canon 6 “The ancient customs of Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis shall be maintained, according to which the bishop of Alexandria has authority over all these places since a similar custom exists with reference to the bishop of Rome. Similarly in Antioch and the other provinces the prerogatives of the churches are to be preserved. In general the following principle is evident: if anyone is made bishop without the consent of the metropolitan, this great synod determines that such a one shall not be a bishop. If however two or three by reason of personal rivalry dissent from the common vote of all, provided it is reasonable and in accordance with the church’s canon, the vote of the majority shall prevail. ” What is it you don’t understand here? A bishop cannot be a bishop without consent of the patriarch, Alexandria has jurisdiction over Egypt, etc. as Rome has over it’s territory. This does not preclude the Pope being the Bishop with jurisdiction over the entire Church.
    Regarding the quote from the World Church of God, first, wherever I got it, it was not noted. I didn’t get it from the site. So sorry. Regarding how the World Church of God feels about the Catholic Church, it’s not a very Christian attitude is it? In fact, it’s downright Pharisaic.

    I agree with the statement this way: After the council, Constantine supported the council’s judgement. He ordered persecution of those who refused to comply. I don’t know about anti-semitic attacks.

  48. Interpret as in Acts 8:26-40. Philip had the authority to interpret scripture to the eunuch because he had been ordained and commissioned by Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

    Jesus told a few parables of the sower and the seed. Let’s look at Matthew 13 where he says that he spoke in parable because the people were not given the gift of understanding, which the apostles had been given.

    This is exactly right! What did the apostles do when Jesus died, after he conferred the Holy Spirit on them at Pentecost? They went out and spread the word, for many years verbally, before they ever wrote a word. Your characterization of Catholics is wrong. We don’t have a works gospel, we have a faith gospel. We obtain our faith by the grace of God. But faith without works is dead. We also do works by the grace of God. So everything we do or say is a gift. Praise God for the gift of your life today, would you?

  49. Phillip did NOT interpret, he “preached Jesus.” Furthermore, what you don’t recognize is that the eunuch was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit when he made his statements and asked his questions…just as Phillip was.

    What kind of faith do you claim for the catholics for whom you speak? Is it the faith of Ephesians 2: 8&9? If so, Whose faith is found at that citation? If not, what’s the value of your “faith?”

    What is your understanding of your description, “the grace of God?”

  50. Thank you for responding in your own words.

    You are telling me that the day Easter is celebrated is a small-t tradition and the council of Nicea established a law stating which day it must be celebrated. And anyone who dared hold to the apostolic tradition of Polycarp and the Asia Minor churches was worthy of damnation? And you believe that? Your theology is becoming more confusing the more you elaborate. I thought small-t traditions weren’t that important.

    If you believe that Anicetus, as the bishop of Rome, held a higher position than that of Polycarp, why did he, out of respect for Polycarp, concede the administration of the Eucharist to him? The truth is Polycarp was the first bishop of Smyrna and was allegedly given the episcopate by the Apostle John. That is deuced from the testimony that he was a disciple of the Apostle John and the fact that he received his office from the apostles. Anicetus was the eleventh bishop of the church in Rome. Big diference!

    Here is an excerpt from Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book 3:

    But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true…There is also a very powerful Epistle of Polycarp written to the Philippians, from which those who choose to do so, and are anxious about their salvation, can learn the character of his faith, and the preaching of the truth. Then, again, the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles.” (Against Heresies 3:3:4)

    Who submitted to Victor? There is no record of anyone submitting to Victor.

    So your presupposition concerning canon 6 is that the bishop of Rome already had jurisdiction over the whole church? How do you support that assumption historically? In other words, what proof do you have that the bishop of Rome held primacy over the other churches prior to Nicea? And it is for certain that Nicea did not allude to any primacy of Rome existing during that time.

  51. Brian, it’s an article of faith that we believe that Christ died, and rose. This is unchangeable. Do we know the date and hour? No. We have a general idea, because scripture says it was during Passover. That’s the point we adhere to. Scripture also says he rose on Sunday. One group wanted to celebrate on Sunday and the other wanted to celebrate in conjunction with Passover. Could we change the formula with which we determine Easter each year? Unlikely, but yes, we could. Capital tradition-“T”radition cannot change. “T”radition is a basic truth of our faith. Truth cannot change. That doesn’t mean that when the church decides something definitively, that they aren’t serious about it. If the Church decides something it’s serious. The effect of not following the Church’s laws is very serious. I didn’t mean that ‘t’raditions aren’t important. They don’t carry the weight of Traditions.

    Regarding Anicetus and Polycarp, in terms of importance, the bishop of Rome carries the weight. That’s all there is to it. Every bishop is a direct representative of an apostle, regardless of how far down the line they are. Benedict the XVI is the successor to Peter, not the successor to John Paul II.

    Regarding Nicaea, you bet.
    Pope Clement I
    “Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved; and especially that abominable and unholy sedition, alien and foreign to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-willed persons have inflamed to such madness that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be loved by all men, has been greatly defamed. . . . Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us [i.e., that you must reinstate your leaders], let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger. . . . You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy” (Letter to the Corinthians 1, 58–59, 63 [A.D. 80]).

    Ignatius of Antioch
    “Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father” (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D. 110]).

    “You [the church at Rome] have envied no one, but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instructions may remain in force” (3:1).

    Dionysius of Corinth
    “For from the beginning it has been your custom to do good to all the brethren in various ways and to send contributions to all the churches in every city. . . . This custom your blessed Bishop Soter has not only preserved, but is augmenting, by furnishing an abundance of supplies to the saints and by urging with consoling words, as a loving father his children, the brethren who are journeying” (Letter to Pope Soter in Eusebius, Church History 4:23:9 [A.D. 170]).

    “Today we have observed the Lord’s holy day, in which we have read your letter [Pope Soter]. Whenever we do read it [in church], we shall be able to profit thereby, as also we do when we read the earlier letter written to us by Clement” (4:23:11).

    The Martyrs of Lyons
    “And when a dissension arose about these said people [the Montanists], the brethren in Gaul once more . . . [sent letters] to the brethren in Asia and Phrygia and, moreover to Eleutherius, who was then [A.D. 175] bishop of the Romans, negotiating for the peace of the churches” (Eusebius, Church History 5:3:4 [A.D. 312])

    “And the same martyrs too commended Irenaeus, already at that time [A.D. 175] a presbyter of the community of Lyons, to the said bishop of Rome, rendering abundant testimony to the man, as the following expressions show: ‘Once more and always we pray that you may rejoice in God, Pope Eleutherius. This letter we have charged our brother and companion Irenaeus to convey to you, and we beg you to receive him as zealous for the covenant of Christ’” (5:4:1–2).

    Irenaeus
    “But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition” (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]).

    Cyprian of Carthage
    If any one consider and examine these things, there is no need for lengthened discussion and arguments. There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, “I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, “As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you: Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained;” yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity. Which one Church, also, the Holy Spirit in the Song of Songs designated in the person of our Lord, and says, “My dove, my spotless one, is but one. She is the only one of her mother, elect of her that bare her.” Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church think that he holds the faith? Does he who strives against and resists the Church trust that he is in the Church, when moreover the blessed Apostle Paul teaches the same thing, and sets forth the sacrament of unity, saying, “There is one body and one spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God?”(The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; first edition [A.D. 251]).

    “Cornelius was made bishop by the decision of God and of his Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the applause of the people then present, by the college of venerable priests and good men, at a time when no one had been made [bishop] before him—when the place of Fabian, which is the place of Peter, the dignity of the sacerdotal chair, was vacant. Since it has been occupied both at the will of God and with the ratified consent of all of us, whoever now wishes to become bishop must do so outside. For he cannot have ecclesiastical rank who does not hold to the unity of the Church” (Letters 55:[52]):8 [A.D. 253]).

    Eusebius of Caesarea
    “Paul testifies that Crescens was sent to Gaul [2 Tim. 4:10], but Linus, whom he mentions in the Second Epistle to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21] as his companion at Rome, was Peter’s successor in the episcopate of the church there, as has already been shown. Clement also, who was appointed third bishop of the church at Rome, was, as Paul testifies, his co-laborer and fellow-soldier [Phil. 4:3]” (Church History 3:4:9–10 [A.D. 312]).

    By the way, the above is not my own words.

  52. So, Philip says to the eunuch “Do you understand what you are reading?” and the eunuch says “How can I understand if no one explains it to me.”, and Philip does not interpret the prophet Isaiah showing how it points to Jesus??? Are you serious?

    Catholics know that the apostles were sent the Holy Spirit when Jesus died, because he promised it. We also know that the church didn’t die, because Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against his Church, the one he commissioned. We also know that he gave the apostles the ability to pass the Holy Spirit down to their successors, which were and are the bishops. The Catholic Church is protected by the Holy Spirit from teaching error in matters of faith.

    Yes, we know that our faith in God is grace from Him as well. My Church’s understanding of the grace of God is that we can do nothing without it. We can’t breathe, we can’t speak, we would be nothing without it. But James also said that faith without works is dead. It’s easy to say you follow Jesus, and to believe, but do you spend any time getting to know Jesus?

  53. Yes David, I can tell the difference.

    So you are saying that little-t tradition became big T tradition as soon as the Catholic Church decided to make little t into law? And, by virtue of their great and awesome power, they made God conform to their law by demanding He damn anyone who dares not obey. Is that about right?

    I’ll bet it is a lot easier to go find out-of-context quotes to defend your position than it is to actually read the works you are quoting from. Unfortunately you gain no understanding from doing that, but don’t worry you are not alone, just about every Catholic I encounter does the same thing. I’ll bet you know nothing of what you are presenting here. You are not the first Catholic to attempt to overwhelm me with quotes; if you are going to use them I am going to assume you understand their context.

    Clement:

    Clements’s letter, or more accurately, the letter from the church in Rome, is one of exhortation not authority. Rome was the principal church in the west and Corinth was within its jurisdiction. It was, therefore, fitting that the church in Rome exhorts the Corinthians towards peace because of the issues between the people and their bishop.

    Eusebius said, “In the times of Clement, a serious dissension having arisen among the brethren in Corinth, the church of Rome sent a most suitable letter to the Corinthians, reconciling them in peace, renewing their faith, and proclaiming the doctrine lately received from the apostles.” (Ecclesiastical History 5:6:3)

    It was Rome’s duty to see to the peace and prosperity of the churches of its region, just as it was for Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria.

    Ignatius:

    Your quote from Ignatius confirms exactly what Nicea stated.

    Ignatius: “to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans.”

    Nicea: “The ancient customs of Egypt, etc. shall be maintained, according to which the bishop of Alexandria has authority over all these places since a similar custom exists with reference to the bishop of Rome.”

    How is that proof of Roman primacy? Your presupposition has you understanding it wrong.

    Once Ignatius was martyred how was his successor chosen and aproved? I’ll give you a hint: the church in Rome had nothing to do with it.

    Do you know why Ignatius wrote to the church in Rome?

    How many times did Ignatius mention the bishop of Rome in his letter?

    Irenaeus:

    I am surprised the Irenaeus quote didn’t surface sooner in our discussion; I think it’s the all time favorite for Catholics because they think they have found proof for Rome’s supremacy – that is until context is brought in.

    Ther “quote” you provided states: “the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul.”

    What Irenaeus actually said was this: “the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul.” (Against heresies 3:3:2)

    I personally find it interesting and noteworthy how your source construes “the very great” into “the greatest” and “universally known” into “most ancient church known to all.” Those are the product of Catholic editing and it only goes to show how weak your position is.

    It is important to note that Irenaeus chose to illustrate his argument through the apostolic succession of the church in Rome, but clearly indicated the same could be done with a number of other churches as well. Notice also that Irenaeus says that the church in Rome was organized by both Peter and Paul; not Peter alone.

    For it is a matter of necessity that every church should agree with this church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.” (ibid)

    Catholics like to take this to mean that the church in Rome held authority over the other churches, but that is not what Irenaeus was saying. The church’s preeminent authority was that of the apostles Peter and Paul who founded it. He would have said the same thing had he given his example using the church in Antioch or Jerusalem. But because he said, “it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches,” he used only the church in Rome as his example, probably because that is where the heresies of Marcion and Valentinus were flourishing.

    Irenaeus’ primary defense was proof of authentic doctrine through apostolic succession. If a doctrine could not be traced back to the apostles, it is of a more recent formation and heretical. (This is something both Catholics and Protestants should consider when evaluating their own doctrine. Successions of bishops means nothing if the orthodox doctrine has been added to or distorted.)

    In his argument against the heresies, Irenaeus goes on to establish two primary proofs: 1) the apostolic succession in the church at Rome, and 2) how one can learn what the apostolic tradition is.

    Concerning the apostolic succession in Rome and the origin of her episcopate:

    The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric.” (ibid 3:3:3)

    Not Peter, but “the blessed apostles” Peter and Paul founded, built, and organized the church in Rome. Not Peter, but the apostles Peter and Paul committed Linus to be the first (not second after Peter) bishop of the church in Rome. Clement, Irenaeus declares, was the third bishop, not from Peter, but from the apostles Peter and Paul. Unless Peter and Paul sat as co-bishops in Rome, it cannot be said that Peter was the first bishop of the church in Rome without contradicting the facts of the most relevant historical evidence we have.

    The historical evidence is clear enough, but even from a biblical perspective it would not make sense for an apostle to hold the office of a bishop. The apostles were commissioned to lay the foundation of the church, not run it. This is why we read from Irenaeus that the apostles Peter and Paul built the church in Rome and appointed Linus as the first bishop. An example of the apostles duty can be found in the Book of Acts, chapter 6 where the apostles appointed Stephen to overlook the daily distribution because they could not have there attention withdrawn from preaching the word of God and laying the foundation of the church.

    With regards to the other quotes you presented, you are going to have to elaborate on why you believe those support your argument.

  54. Not at all, Brian. Tradition comes from God through Jesus and the apostles. tradition is customs.
    Brian, you really don’t think I’ve read these things? Just snapping quotes out at you? Common mistake, to lump one person in with a group. That’s akin to racism.
    Regarding Clement’s letter (from the head of the Church in Rome=Bishop of Rome = Pope) the first point is that he knows he has authority over them to direct them in matters of faith. Second, the letter was then meticulously copied by the Corinthians and circulated around the empire. Which shows, Brian, that the Church of Corinth and the others held Clement as primary over them. I’m not a word counter, Brian.

    Brian, if you’re going to try to parse words, tell me, what did “very” mean back then? As in the Nicene Creed-“God from God, Light from Light, Very God from Very God”…Very didn’t just mean more than some, it meant most. So when Irenaeus says as you quoted, it means how I quoted. As for Peter and Paul in Rome, Peter was the administrator, Paul was the preacher. Different people have different gifts, Brian. Just because Peter and Paul were both in Rome does not cast shadow that Jesus made Peter prime of all the apostles. It is true that every diocese has apostolic succession. But Rome was prime. The Church of Peter was the prime church, no matter where it was because in Scripture, Christ made Peter the head of His Church.

    St. Ignatius states that Alexandria has jurisdiction over Egypt, etc. as Rome has over its territory. It nowhere says that Rome is not over Alexandria, or any of the other patriarchates. Why was he writing them? So that they wouldn’t try to save him from martyrdom.

  55. David,

    “Tradition comes from God through Jesus and the apostles. tradition is customs.”

    Fist of all, you haven’t shown one single Tradition to have come from Jesus, so saying that they did means nothing. Second of all, your little (t) tradition apparently carries a lot of weight since disobeying some of them means separation from God. Well, not really, but in the mind of a Catholic they do.

    True, Clements letter was copied and circulated, but so to was a letter attributed to Barnabas, and also the Shepherd of Hermas; does that mean those authors held primacy over the whole church too?

    I don’t know what you mean by parsing words; go read a proper translation of Against Heresies and see for yourself.

    Are you seriously arguing from silence? What you say must be true because nothing is expressly stated against it? What is expressly stated affirms my argument and refutes yours.

    Very good on the easy question, now try answering this other question I asked:

    Once Ignatius was martyred how was his successor chosen and approved? I’ll give you a hint: the church in Rome had nothing to do with it.

  56. Brian, there you go, lumping all us Catholics together again…Mortal sin is separation from God if we die before repenting. If we repent, and confess, we’re no longer separated.

    Was Barnabas or the Shepherd Bishop of Rome, the Pope? It’s the weight of the person, not the document. Regarding “proper translations”, would that be one translated the way you want it to read?

    I don’t know how Hero (Herodion) was chosen, but it’s not unusual that bishops are chosen without Rome knowing about it. He was a deacon of the Church of Antioch. He might have been chosen by Ignatius, since he knew he was going to his death. That’s what’s required to become a bishop-laying on of hands of another bishop.

    I’m not arguing from silence, I’m arguing from Scripture. Jesus made Peter head of his Church. So no matter where Peter went, he was the head of the Church. This is proven in Acts 15, and before that when John deferred to Peter at the tomb.

  57. David, the primary reason I asked the question, and also other questions, is to prove that you have no familiarity with the works of the early church. It is rather irritating that you continue to come off as if you know what you are talking about. I am sorry, but it would be absurd for me to continue this discussion with you.

    God bless David; I wish you the best!

  58. You seem to be enamored of extra-Biblical writings…typical of catholics.

    You gave no support for your statement about Phillip “interpreting” and you don’t have any idea what grace is and Whose faith is required for salvation; you’re going backwards.

    Study Ephesians 2: 8&9…that’s the gospel.

  59. Oh, so it’s a matter of book knowledge, is it? My faith is a matter of faith first, study until the day I die. I already said that you probably have more book knowledge than I do. Not knowing who appointed Herodion means very little. I can almost picture how he was ordained though, because it’s done the same way today. He was appointed, probably by Ignatius himself, as he knew he could no longer shepherd his flock. But especially in those days, approval of Rome was not necessary.

    Brian, my faith is rich. It spans 2000+ years. There’s a lot of material. I know more about the current church, but I read selections of the Early Church Fathers every day. It’s because of their witness that I am Catholic.

    I agree, though, that you’re wasting your time, because you constantly don’t understand what I’m saying. For an ex-Catholic, that’s rather surprising, but then again, since you left the faith, it’s obvious you don’t understand it. God bless you, too.

  60. Thanks for the complement. We know that Jesus spoke and taught orally. We know that Jesus did not say “Go out and write”. He said “Go out and proclaim.” So the apostles knew from oral tradition what to teach. IT was later on that it was written.

    I think I did. Go back and re-read it.

    You have no idea what I know. The grace of God is required for our salvation.

    By the way, Ephesians is a letter of St. Paul, not Gospel, last time I checked. But are you saying that St. Paul’s sentence here, which contradicts James? Or yet contradict himself?
    Galatians Chapter 6
    6: Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches. 7: Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8: For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9: And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. 10: So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

    James Chapter 1
    22: But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23: For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; 24: for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25: But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.
    James Chapter 2
    14: What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15: If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16: and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17: So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. 18: But some one will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19: You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe — and shudder. 20: Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21: Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22: You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23: and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24: You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25: And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26: For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.

  61. Brian’s gone; I left, came back to find you still in unbelief. Now I leave again.

    May the LORD have mercy on you.

  62. His choice, and yours. Except that you have no right to judge my beliefs.

    Just a question-where do you think you get the right to interpret scripture?

  63. You asked me that question before and I didn’t answer it before because trick questions don’t have answers.

    I do not interpret scripture; scripture, the inerrant word of God, interprets scripture…”comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” The Holy Spirit prompted holy men of God to write His word; His word defines itself and is its own dictionary. When the Word made flesh spoke in parables, only He was qualified to explain them; His disciples didn’t presume to interpret them, He didn’t ask them for an interpretation. He, through His word, gives us instruction…All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

    That Biblical statement does not mean that we build doctrine using God’s word…this is what began to occur soon after Jesus ascension (but even before He went to the cross, too…and before He became flesh) and continues right to this day…no, the plain meaning of this statement is that scripture is profitable for doctrine: not for building doctrine.

    You would do well to leave behind the old ways. Even Nicodemus had to be told: “You must be born again.”

    Begin to read God’s word, really study it; prepare your heart to hear what God wants you to know.

  64. But all scripture was oral before it was written. And it was interpreted. Even if it was translated from Greek to Latin, it was interpreted. Actually, very little was written down before about 90 AD. You’re right that the Holy Spirit kept the message on track. But it was passed orally for a long time. And that’s what the apostles and their successors did. They spoke of the inspired word of God. They taught it. Just as Philip did with the eunuch. He taught him what the book of Isaiah meant.

    But you’re wrong-men, yourself included, interpret scripture. You protestants can’t even agree on how to baptize, whether by immersion or infusion or sprinkling, whether adult or infants, and you can’t agree on what it means. Catholics have known all along, from the day of Pentecost, what it means to be baptized. You can’t agree on whether women can be ordained, whether Jesus is present in the Bread of Life he spoke of, whether the New Testament speaks of pre-millenial, mid-millenial or post-millenial end of the world, or, really, what the Book of Revelation even means.

    Leave behind the old ways? Heck no. I believe Jesus showed us exactly what we need to do to get to heaven, and I will stick to his way, the Catholic way. Your final statement suggests that I don’t read and study scripture, but you should know better. I am a new student, and like the eunuch I have a trusted source to show me the way.
    “…The Apostles, handing on what they themselves had received, warn the faithful to hold fast to the traditions which they have learned either by word of mouth or by letter (see 2 Thess. 2:15), and to fight in defense of the faith handed on once and for all (see Jude 1:3). Now what was handed on by the Apostles includes everything which contributes toward the holiness of life and increase in faith of the peoples of God; and so the Church, in her teaching, life and worship, perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes.” (Dei Verbum 8) “There exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence.” (ibid. 9)

  65. You’re completely, totally, and thoroughly outside the Bible bringing in tradition(s) and you are, therefore, decidedly NOT obeying His word and the plagues written in the Bible will be visited on you.

    Just as the Creator promised that eating of the fruit of the tree of good and evil would result in death, so you are on the same road.

    May God have mercy on you.

  66. Why is it irrelevant? The point is that people were trained for years before they could even begin to understand and read the scriptures with meaning. They were taught by word of mouth, TRADITION. But punctuation and capitalization give words and phrases meaning today. The point being that the scriptures needed to be taught and interpreted by humans guided by the holy spirit, and not your every day person who picks up the book.

  67. So, you’re saying that unless one was “trained for years…taught by word of mouth, TRADITION…taught and interpreted by humans guided by the holy spirit” (glad that you didn’t capitalize that holy spirit: was that your slip prompted by the Holy Spirit), one would begin, then, “to understand and read the scriptures with meaning.” None of that is relevant, even if it MIGHT be close to factual.

    Here’s why it’s irrelevant: We have God’s written word, the Bible; in contradistinction to your offered “word of mouth” approach. We’re living in the now, not then. Furthermore, the LORD commanded that His word be written in a book…to avoid all of that human guiding that you’re suggesting. Certainly, the LORD knows the consequences of sin and how we humans are more likely to embellish when we speak (as Eve did in the garden).

    Go back to my first entry; I would NEVER trust the words of men over the LORD’s. That’s why I must always use scripture to interpret scripture. You feel comfortable/are edified/assume that the holy spirit is guiding them/whatever listening to men and their interpretations; I don’t and the reason is quite clear: I am commanded to compare spiritual things with spiritual…which means the LORD’s word interprets itself.

  68. So you’re saying that the Ethiopian eunuch should not have trusted what Philip was teaching him? Because that’s exactly what Catholics do. We trust those who Jesus promised would have the Holy Spirit (Who prevents them from teaching error) to explain the gospels and epistles to us. The eunuch could read. Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading. The eunuch said ‘how can I if no one explains it to me?’. Philip explained it to him. Philip was an apostle. He was given the Holy Spirit. The Bishops are successors of the apostles, and have the same gift of the Holy Spirit. That’s fine that you don’t believe that, but you have no right to criticize those who do…about 1.6 Billion of us.

  69. Before the Bible was completed, it was unfinished and had not been completely written in a book. When it was completed (somewhere between 80-100 AD)…see the last few verses of Revelation…there was no more to be written and that’s were comparing scripture with scripture (spiritual things with spiritual) begins.

    The Holy Spirit prompted the eunuch to say what he said (to be written in a book, like all of the other words to be written in a book) and Philip to say what he said (to be written in a book, like all of the other words to be written in a book). The Holy Spirit prompted every speaker to say/write the things that were to be written in a book.

    People are not “given the Holy Spirit.” That’s disrespectful of God the Holy Spirit. What you wrote would be like saying people are “given God the Father or God the Son” as if They are commodities. That’s disrespectful of God and perhaps you would like to ask the LORD for His guidance about what you need to do about your attitude.

    There is no such thing as “successors of the apostles.” That’s a man-made religious myth. That’s not a criticism of you or the “1.6 billion catholics who believe it;” it’s a statement of Biblical truth. If you want to argue with God’s word the Bible, well, OK; go ahead.

    What’s the Bible saying to you; not: what’s your church/religion saying to you? If you can’t find the gospel in every sentence, you need to dig deeper until you do. Compare spiritual things with spiritual.

    You’re stuck with a pre-conceived belief that your religion/church has the answers for you; it doesn’t and the LORD would not give it that authority. The gospel/salvation is not now, nor has it ever been about religion/church/temple/sacrifice-works (of any kind); it’s about grace, the gift of God.

  70. You’re correct about the words of the book(s) of the Bible. But how they are to be understood is what we’re talking about. Who told you what the words mean? How do you know when Jesus was speaking figuratively and when he was speaking literally? Someone told you, whether you know it or not, and because of that, you are believing the interpretations of men. Unauthoritative men.

    John also says, in his gospel, written before Revelation, that all the books in the world could not hold everything that Jesus said and did.

    But you contradict yourself. You say that the Holy Spirit prompted Philip to say what he said and do what he did (and you’re right), so Philip, an apostle, had the Holy Spirit. Who gave it to him? Jesus did. Because Jesus said he would send his Holy Spirit to guide his Church. And Paul tells Timothy, his successor (Paul is an apostle, and received the Holy Spirit when the other apostles laid hands on him), who also was given the Holy Spirit when Paul laid hands on him, to choose his successor from those he taught. So, to recap, we have Jesus striking Paul down in the desert and converting him. We have Paul receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit from the other apostles, who received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We have Paul laying hands on Timothy, his successor, and giving him the Holy Spirit in the laying on of hands. Paul exhorts Timothy to choose his successor by certain actions, and to ordain him, passing on the Holy Spirit. This is Biblical. You can read it in 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy.
    And just as the Eunuch needed Philip to explain the prophet Isaiah, just as the disciples needed the scriptures explained to them on the road to Emmaus, we need to know what the scriptures mean. I believe you put yourself on a pedestal when you think that you can possibly know what the Bible speaks to you. So does the preacher who preaches to you every Sunday. By the way, I do find the gospel in every sentence of what my Church teaches, because my Church came from Jesus before there ever was a gospel.
    Have a nice day, and may God bless you as He has me.

  71. If the Church can exist without the Bible,as it quite clearly did before a word of the New Testament was written down, why should it have to prove itself from a book that, while helpful and worthy, is clearly not necessary to its existence?
    If you trust the books of the Bible, you must, in turn, trust the early Christian church, which was the Catholic Church (meaning universal). If you don’t trust the early church with how it interprets the scriptures, how can you be sure they figured out correctly the NT canon, or how can you even be sure the books themselves are inspired? The production of scripture, the identification of what is scripture, and the interpretation of scripture are all tied together, and they all assume a faithful God who correctly guides them all.

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