Tuesday, October 25, 2011

JUST FOR my fellow CATHOLCS - Deuterocanonicals

Just for Catholics is a website where Dr. Mizzi seeks to convince Catholics to leave the Catholic Church. I am reviewing his teachings and comparing them to the Word of God in Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium. We are currently on this article.  Today I am going to depart from my usual procedure and blatantly plagiarize another Catholic's work.  I'm not a scholar of Bible history and I see no sense in reinventing the wheel.   Dr. Mizzi's words in blue.

Apocrypha are Not Canonical

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Question: How do you know that the Protestant Bible is the right one, and not the Catholic Bible, which includes more books in the Old Testament?

Answer: The Protestant and Catholic Bible are identical except for a set of books called the apocrypha or deuterocanonicals.

The apocrypha consists of 15 pieces of Jewish literature written around 200 years B.C. They are included with the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures known as the Septuagint. Seven of these books (First and Second Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Baruch and Ecclesiasticus, also known as Sirach) and additions to Esther and Daniel, are considered canonical by the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants do not accept them as part of the Holy Scriptures.

R. K. Harrison explains: "Use of the term apocrypha to mean noncanonical goes back to the fifth century AD, when Jerome urged that the books found in the Septuagint and in the Latin Bibles that did not occur in the canon of the Hebrew Old Testament writings should be treated as apocryphal. They were not to be disregarded entirely, since they were part of the great contemporary outpouring of Jewish national literature. At the same time they should not be used as sources for Christian doctrine, but at best for supplementary reading of an uplifting and inspirational nature" [1]

Nicholas: This is not quite accurate. The term "apocrypha" was used in two ways, primarily the term "apocrypha" was used in reference to books which were never accepted by any Christians. The term did sometimes mean the Deutero-Cathonical books which Catholics accept, but because the term is used in different ways, it depends on the context.

These books do not make any claim to inspiration. On the contrary, the prologue of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) asks pardon from the readers for all inexactitudes: "I entreat you... pardon us for those things wherein we may seem, while we follow the image of wisdom, to come short in the composition of words." The author of Maccabees concludes by saying, "I also will here make an end of my narration. Which if I have done well, and as it becometh the history, it is what I desired: but if not so perfectly, it must be pardoned me" (2 Maccabees 15:28, 39). That is not the language of divine inspiration!

Nicholas: The charge that they "do not make any claim to inspiration" is a dangerous one. Many non-Biblical books make reference to inspiration, while many books of the Bible don't make any reference to inspiration. As for those two quotes Dr. Mizzi gives, the first quote is ripped out of context:

I entreat you therefore to come with benevolence, and to read with attention, and to pardon us for those things wherein we may seem, while we follow the image of wisdom, to come short in the composition of words; for the Hebrew words have not the same force in them when translated into another tongue. And not only these, but the law also itself, and the prophets, and the rest of the books, have no small difference, when they are spoken in their own language.

The issue here is not about inspiration, but the fact that there is not a perfect carry over from Hebrew to another language. Regarding the 2 Maccabees conclusion, the author is talking not about the truth but about style of writing. It is a display of humility saying he wrote to the best of his gifts, but is not denying there could be a better way of explaining the same account. God includes the author's personality and style when He inspires them to write. Paul makes it clear he is not the best speaker in the world (2 Cor 11:6), but does not disqualify him from getting the truth across. The same could be said about Moses, who was also not good at public speaking. In 1 Cor 1:16, Paul says he "doesn't remember" if he baptized anyone else, certainly this does not mean 1 Corinthians is not inspired!

First Maccabees notes that there were no prophets in Israel at that time (1 Maccabees 4:46; 9:27; 14:41). Since the New Testament frequently refers to the Scriptures as "the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 5:17; 7:12; 11:13; 22:40; Luke 16:16; 24:44; John 1:45; Acts 13:15; 24:14; 28:23; Romans 3:21), how could a writing that specifically states that there were no prophets at the time when it was written be called Scripture?

Nicholas: This is a misunderstanding. The term "Law and Prophets" is a summary of all the Old Testament, the fact is the historical books like Chronicles did not technically fall into the category of "Prophets" (and certainly not Law). Also, books like Esther and Song of Songs, Job, etc don't fall into the category of "Prophets." Further, nothing demands a prophet must be currently living to be inspired.

What is more serious, the apocrypha teach doctrines that contradicts Scripture (see, for instance, Sirach 3:3,30, in contrast with Galatians 2:16,21; 3:10-14; Tobit 12:9 contradicts 1 John 1:7 and Hebrews 9:22; Wisdom 8:19,20 contradicts Romans 3:10). They encourage practices that do not conform to Scripture (Sirach 12:4-7 disagrees with Luke 6:27-38 and Matthew 5:43-48).

Nicholas: Dr. Mizzi must have misquoted here, Sirach 3:3, 30 is nothing to do with Galatians 2,3. Tobit 12:9 talks about how alms forgive sins, and Dr. Mizzi considers this heretical, yet Prov 16:6; Lk 11:41; 1 Pt 4:8; James 5:20; etc suggest the same thing. Wisdom 8 is poetic and not necessarily literal, kind of like Song of Songs or Ecclesiasties, it does not contradict Rom 3:10 (though I would wonder if Dr. Mizzi thinks Lk 1:5-6 contradicts it). As for Sirach 12 contradicting Mat 5:43, Jesus affirms the OT was not the ideal in that very verse, so Dr. Mizzi should not be making that argument.

Thus far, it should be clear that Dr. Mizzi has less of a case against the Deutero-Canonical Books than he made it appear, in fact he is being more unfair to the D-C Books than he would be of the rest of the OT (and there are various 'difficulties' in the OT).

Recently, someone asked me, "I was on a Catholic website that claimed the book of Judith is a parable. So when it says Nebuchadnezzar is the leader of the Assyrians it's not to be taken literally. What do you think about this?" Well, I think the reason why we are advised that the Book of Judith should not be taken literally is quite simple. The introductory verse of the books states:

"It was the twelfth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh. At that time Arphaxad ruled over the Medes in Ecbatana."

But King Nebuchadnezzar was NOT the king of Assyria; he was the king of Babylon! (See, for example, 2 Kings 24:11 - "And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it") So, if we take Judith as a historical book, the evident historical blunder immediately undermines its supposed canonicity and inspiration.

The Catholic solution? Judith is not history - it is a parable! Even so, why should someone include evident historical stupidities in a parable? Imagine beginning a story like this: "When Sir Winston Churchill was President of the United States…" That does not give much credibility to your story, does it?

Nicholas: If it is a parable then it is a parable, end of story. Nebuchadnezzar could be equated to someone like Hitler, when you hear the name you immediately think "very wicked man," so if it is a parable then that could be why such a name was used. Or, it could be that there was more than one Nebuchadnezzar, just like there was more than one Herod in the New Testament, thought that is not explicitly indicated (Mat 2:19 &14:1 cannot be the same Herod).

In the New Testament there are about 260 direct quotations from, and about 370 allusions to the books of the Old Testament. When Jesus and His apostles quote or allude to the Old Testament books, it is clear that they considered them authoritative and canonical. For example in John 10:34,35 the Lord Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6, and immediately comments that the scriptures cannot be broken. For the apostle Paul, "It is written" (in the Old Testament books) was the sure ground for his doctrinal teaching. Thus the New Testament testifies to divine authority of the Old Testament. Significantly there are no such quotations to the apocrypha that imply divine inspiration of these books. (See Are the Apocrypha Quoted in the New Testament?)

Nicholas: Dr. Mizzi makes a blunder here basing canonicity upon quotation or allusion to the OT Books, because the fact is not all OT books which Dr. Mizzi accepts are quoted or alluded to in the NT. Further, it cannot be denied that there are some of the most clear allusions to the NT in the Deutero Canonical books, Wisdom 2:12-20 is probably the most explicit prophecy of Jesus in the whole OT.

It must be stressed that these books were not considered canonical by the Jews. These books are written in Greek and are not part of the Massoretic Text, which are copies of the inspired Hebrew text of the Scriptures. The Jewish historian, Josephus, states as a matter of fact that the Jews considered only 22 books of divine origin (equivalent to 39 books in the Protestant Old Testament, since some of them - such as the minor prophets - were counted as one book). To this day, the Jews hold to the same canon held by Evangelicals. The rejection by the Jews of the apocrypha is very significant, because they were the people entrusted with the words of God.

"What advantage then hath the Jew?...Much every way: chiefly, because unto them were committed the oracles (words) of God" (Romans 3:1,2).

The church inherited the canonical books from God's Old Covenant people, the Jews. (God also gave the church additional books, the New Testament, which completes the Holy Bible). It does not make sense to make additions to the books of the Old Testament many centuries after the covenant with the Jewish people had given way to the new. The Church in the New Testament has no business adding to the canon of the Old Covenant Scriptures received by the Jews.

Nicholas: There are serious problems with the above comments. First of all, there was more than one canon for the Jews. The Septuagint was the Greek translation of the Old Testament, and it contains the Deutero-Canonical Books. The Septuagint was the most popular translation for Jews, and the New Testament writers quoted the Septuagint for their Old Testament references the great majority of the time. The Deutero-Canonical books were also written by Jews, so Dr. Mizzi's case is very misleading. Further, there was no official fixed canon for the Jews and only after the Apostolic Age, but at that point it doesn't matter because regardless of their canon at that point the Jews also rejected the New Testament writings meaning we don't look to that point in Jewish history for our canonicity. As for Dr. Mizzi's claim of adding new material to the OT many centuries after the New Covenant, that is very historically inaccurate because the Deutero-Canonical books were written centuries before Jesus.

Indeed, many Christian leaders throughout church history taught that the Hebrew Bible consisted of 22 books. These correspond to the 39 books of the Old Testament of the Protestant Bible. (The numbers differ because some books, such as Samuel and Kings, are divided into two books, First and Second Samuel, etc, in the Protestant Bible). [2]

Nicholas: This is not quite accurate either, the 22 books of the Jewish numbering system did not necessarily correspond to the 39 books of the Protestant Bible. Further, the way the books were numbered as 22 books required many books to be counted as one, thus the Deutero-Canon is not automatically excluded (and in fact sometimes were included, as is shown at the end of this response).

How then did the apocryphal writings find their way in the Catholic Bible? Early in the second century, the first Latin translations of the Bible were done from the Septuagint (which included the apocrypha). There was a conflict between the great Fathers, Augustine and Jerome, regarding the value of the apocrypha. Augustine accepted them because he used the Septuagint which contained these books and which was popular in North Africa. Jerome was one of the few Fathers who knew both Greek and Hebrew, and he rejected the apocrypha because he knew that those books were not accepted by the Jews and were not part of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Nicholas: Look at the argument given above. Dr. Mizzi openly proves that the Catholic Church didn't just add these books out of nowhere. The Septuagint was the most popular translation among Jews at the time of Christ and the favorite translation of the early Christians, and Dr. Mizzi admits the Deutero-Canonical books were included! Also, Dr. Mizzi shows that St Augustine openly accepted the Deutero-Canonical books, and St Augustine is usually a Protestant hero. I guess St Augustine was not guided by the Holy Spirit or something to be able to discern inspiration and canonicity. As for Jerome's objection, he counted the Deutero-Canonical books of a secondary status (but by no means worthless and to be thrown out), but later dropped that objection (especially because the post-Apostolic Jews don't have any say on our canon).

Greatly influenced by Augustine, the provincial councils of Hippo and Carthage in the fourth century included the apocrypha as part of the Old Testament canon. However, we must add that contrary to the impression given by Catholic apologists, the apocrypha were not officially recognized by the Catholic church as canonical at Hippo and Carthage. The apocrypha were finally added to the Old Testament by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent in the 16th century. Moreover the canon approved by Carthage is different from that approved by Trent. The Council of Trent omits the Septuagint First Esdras which had been included by Carthage; while Second Esdras (Ezra and Nehemiah combined in a single book in the Septuagint) were distinguished as two separate books (First Esdras and Second Esdras, also known as Nehemiah).

Nicholas: Dr. Mizzi admits that there were Christians out there who accepted the Deutero-Canonical books in the early Church, which hurts his claims about genuine Christians having the Holy Spirit touch their heart to tell them what is canonical or not. Second, those local councils were ratified by two Catholic popes, who agreed with the listing and kept this listing all the way up to the Council of Florence (before Luther) and up through Trent. Trent did not "add" the Deutero-Canonical books, rather it infallibly listed the whole canon because, as shown elsewhere, the Protestant Reformation gave way to lay men deciding canonicity for themself. (Luther himself doubted the canonicity of books like Hebrews, 2&3 John, 2 Peter and most of all the Epistle of James). The Catholic Church exercises the power of infallibility whenever it determines an issue needs to be clarified, so up till Trent the tradition was to keep the canon passed on for centuries (which included the Deutero-Canonical books), then when this tradition was challenged by the Protestants threatening to rip apart the canon the Church stepped in at the Council of Trent.

As for the charge that Trent lists different books than Carthage and Hippo, that is unproven. There were often multiple names given to certain books, and sometimes books were combined. Thus if First Esdras and Second Esdras were listed, they could mean a variety of combination ranging from Ezra and Nehemiah as the two Esdras books to Ezra and Nehemiah being combined into one Esdras book while the other Esdras book was a separate book. The Councils of Carthage and Hippo used the name 'two books of Esdras' to refer to what Catholics and Protestants modernly call Ezra and Nehemiah, and this is what was ratified at Trent.

Up to the time of the Reformation, they were not generally regarded as canonical books on the same level as the Old Testament Scripture. "St Jerome distinguished between canonical books and ecclesiastical books. The latter he judged were circulated by the Church as good spiritual reading but were not recognized as authoritative Scripture" (The New Catholic Encyclopaedia, The Canon).

Nicholas: Dr. Mizzi gives no evidence "up to the time of the Reformation" the Deutero-Canonical books were not regarded as canonical, and in fact that is false (eg the Council of Florence and the Latin Vulgate listed them).

Pope Gregory the Great says this about the apocrypha: "…we are not acting irregularly, if from the books, though not canonical, yet brought out for the edification of the Church, we bring forth testimony" (Moral Teachings Drawn from Job; 19, 34).

Nicholas: I was unable to find this source online, but as it stands it is only half a sentence and not enough to form a fair conclusion. On top of that, the sheer amount of misquotes and such thus far in Dr. Mizzi's work should not lead to much worry for the Catholic.

After listing the canonical books of the Scriptures, St Athanasius wrote: "There are other books besides the aforementioned, which, however, are not canonical. Yet, they have been designated by the Fathers to be read by those who join us and who wish to be instructed in the word of piety: the Wisdom of Solomon; and the Wisdom of Sirach; and Esther; and Judith; and Tobias..." (Thirty-ninth festal letter, 367).

Nicholas: The Deutero-Canonical books are called such because they were not accepted on the same level as the rest of Scripture by all the early Church, though a reasonable number did accept them. Further, it is noteworthy that these books were still considered worthy of Christian reading, contrary to Dr. Mizzi's earlier claims that these books teach heresy. On top of that, in this same Letter St Athanasius includes in his OT canon list Deutero-Canonical books like Baruch.

Cardinal Cajetan, a leading Roman Catholic scholar at the time of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, clearly states that the apocryphal books are not canonical and cannot be used to confirm matters of faith. (See St Jerome and the Apocrypha). "Even on the eve of the council [of Trent] the Catholic view was not absolutely unified...Catholic editions of the Bible published in Germany and in France in 1527 and 1530 contained only the protocanonical books" [3] i.e. the list of Old Testament books of these Catholic Bibles was identical to the Hebrew and Protestant Bibles.

Nicholas: Cardinal Cajetan could have held doubts, but his views don't determine Church doctrine. The major Latin translations (the official Church languge) of the Church did contain the Deutero-Canonical books, and that is what Trent mentioned during the sessions regarding the canon.

Following the Lord Jesus, His apostles and the writers of the New Testament, we often refer and quote from the books of the Old Testament to establish our faith, and like them we never use the apocrypha for that purpose.

Nicholas: This line of thinking is erroneous and even problematic for the New Testament does not quote every book of Dr. Mizzi's Protestant canon, so according to that logic he would have to conclude those books don't belong.

[1] Harrison R. K. Old Testament and New Testament Apocrypha, The Origin of the Bible, ed. Wesley Comfort Philip (Tyndale House Publishers 1992, 2003), p 84. [back]

[2] The information is taken from http://biblejournal.net/psalm119.htm

Melito (170 A.D.), in agreement with the original Jewish reckoning, gave the number of Old Testament books as 22. (Eusebius, Eccl. Hist., 4.26.14).

Nicholas: If you look up this reference, the Deutero-Canonical book of Wisdom is explicitly listed.

Origen (210 A.D.), "It should be stated that the canonical books, as the Hebrews have handed them down, are twenty-two; corresponding with the number of their letters." (Eusebius, Eccl. Hist.)

Nicholas: There is no precise reference to the source given, so it can only be assumed Dr. Mizzi has Book VI:25 in mind. In that section the 22 book numbering system is employed, but there are Deutero-Canonical books explicitly listed in that numbering (eg Baruch, Maccabees).

These two examples are sufficient proof that the 22 book numbering system does not at all mean that the Deutero-Canonical books were excluded, in fact they were sometimes included as the two examples show, so Dr. Mizzi's original point fails.

Given this, there is no need to go through the rest of these references to "twenty-two" books.

Hilary of Poitiers (360 A.D.), "The Law of the Old Testament is considered as divided into twenty-two books, so as to correspond to the number of letters." (Tractate on Psalms, prologue 15)

Athanasius (365 A.D.), "There are then of the Old Testament twenty-two books in number ... this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews." (Letter 39.4)

The Council of Laodicea (343-391 A.D.), Twenty-two books. (Canon 60)

Cyril of Jerusalem (386 A.D.), "Read the divine scriptures, the twenty-two books of the Old Testament." (Catechetical Lectures 2, 4.33)

Gregory of Nazianzus (390 A.D.), "I have exhibited twenty-two books, corresponding with the twenty-two letters of the Hebrews." (Carmina, 1.12)

Epiphanius (400 A.D.), Twenty-two books. (De Nensurius et Ponderibus, 4)

Rufinus (410 A.D.): Twenty-two books. (Commentary in Symbols of the Apostles, 37)

Jerome (410 A.D.), "That the Hebrews have twenty-two letters is testified ... as there are twenty-two elementary characters by means of which we write in Hebrew all we say ... so we reckon twenty-two books by which ... a righteous man is instructed." (Preface to the Books of Samuel and Kings)

Synopsis of Sacred Scripture (c. 500 A.D.), "The canonical books of the Old Testament are twenty-two, equal in number to the Hebrew letters; for they have so many original letters."

Isidore of Seville (600 A.D.) said the Old Testament was settled by Ezra the priest into twenty-two books "that the books in the Law might correspond in number with the letters." (Liber de Officiis)

Leontius (610 A.D.), "Of the Old Testament there are twenty-two books." (De Sectis)

John of Damascus (730 A.D.): "Observe further that there are two and twenty books of the Old Testament, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet." (An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 4.17)

Nicephorus (9th century A.D.), "There are two and twenty books of the Old Testament." (Stoichiometry)

Jesudad, Bishop of Hadad, Syria (852 A.D.) recognized a canon of twenty-two books. (John E. Steinmueller, A Companion to Scripture Studies, vol.1, p.80)

Hrabanus (9th century A.D.) said the Old Testament was formed by Ezra into twenty-two books "that there might be as many books in the Law as there are letters." (Whitaker, Disputation)

Peter of Cluny (1150 A.D.): Twenty-two books. (Edward Reuss, Canon of the Holy Scriptures, p.257)

John of Salisbury (1180 A.D.): Twenty-two books. (Edward Reuss, Canon of the Holy Scriptures, p.257)

Hugh of St. Victor (12th Century): "As there are twenty-two alphabetic letters, by means of which we write in Hebrew, and speak what we have to say, so twenty-two books are reckoned, by means of which ... the yet tender infancy of our man is instructed, while it yet hath need of milk." (Didascalicae Eruditionis, 4.80)

Richard of St. Victor (13th Century), Twenty-two books. (Tractatus Exceptionum, 2.9)


[3] Brown R. E. and Collins R. F. Canonicity, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, ed. Raymond E. Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Roland E. Murphy (Bangalore: Theological Publications in India, 2000), p 1042. [back]

I don't know you Nicholas, but thanks for your excellent response!


De Maria

Saturday, October 22, 2011

St. Paul didn't say faith ALONE.

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When St. Paul said, “justified by faith apart from works”, Luther interpreted that as faith “alone”: But that s not what St. Paul meant. St. Paul was teaching the justification which occurs in the Sacraments.

Let me explain:

St. Paul taught the Catholic Teaching that only those who do the works of the Law are justified:

Romans 2:13
King James Version (KJV)
13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Canon as Sacred Tradition?

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Absolutely,  the Canon is a part of Sacred Tradition.  Jesus Christ only established Tradition.  And the Apostles and Disciples were first inspired to preach the New Testament and then to write it.

I've been having a grand old time on Ken's blog.  And so, I'd like to take a break from reviewing Dr. Mizzi's articles.  God willing, I'll get back to those later.  

On Ken's blog, we are discussing Sacred Tradition and Sola Scriptura.  The Protestant stance seems to be that:

1.  Scripture alone is infallible.
2.  Therefore Sacred Tradition can't be infallible.

The Catholic position is this.  

1.  Where does Scripture say that Scripture ALONE is infallible?  We don't see it.
2.  Sacred Tradition was the source of Sacred Scripture, therefore it must have also been infallible before Scripture was written.
3.  Neither Scripture nor Tradition ever state that Tradition or the Church somehow lose the charism of infallibility.

Lets break it down.

Jesus Christ is infallible.  He taught His disciples infallibly and left them to teach as He taught.  

The Catholic presumption is that He left them to teach infallibly.  I assume that Catholics and Protestants agree that the Apostles and disciples passed down the Traditions of Jesus Christ infallibly.

Just in case some Protestant's don't agree, here's what Scripture says on the matter:

2 Peter 1:19-21

King James Version (KJV)

 19We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
 20Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
 21For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.  

So, if the Holy Spirit inspired the men to write infallibly, why not to teach infallibly?  Notice that holy men were not only moved by the Holy Spirit to write, but also to preach.  That verse seems to indicate then, that:

1.  Holy men spoke infallibly (moved by the Holy Ghost).
2.  Holy men wrote infallibly (also moved by the Holy Ghost).

There are more verses which show that Sacred Tradition is infallible at the time of the Apostles.  And none which even hint that the teaching of the Church is ever not infallible.

Let me know what you think.


De Maria

JUST FOR my fellow CATHOLICS-New Revelations

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Just for Catholics is a website where Dr. Mizzi seeks to convince Catholics to leave the Catholic Church. I am reviewing his teachings and comparing them to the Word of God in Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium. We are currently on this article. His words in blue. 

New Revelations
Question: A Catholic lady told me about the various messages given at the apparitions of Mary. I asked her why those things are not mentioned in the Bible. She said they are new revelations. Could this be so?

1.  One shouldn't get their knowledge about Catholic doctrine from just any little old lady.  I'm sure if I went around asking little old ladies what Dr. Mizzi teaches, he might not be happy with the results I got.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We are Judged according to our works

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Scripture says that we are judged according to our works.

Revelation 20:13

King James Version (KJV)

 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Why our works?  Well, Scripture says that our works are an expression of our faith:

James 2:18

King James Version (KJV)

 18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

JUST FOR my fellow CATHOLICS-Early Christians and Scripture

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Just for Catholics is a website where Dr. Mizzi seeks to convince Catholics to leave the Catholic Church. I am reviewing his teachings and comparing them to the Word of God in Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium. We are currently on this article. His words in blue. 

Did the Early Christians Possess the Scriptures?

Let us begin by unraveling this ambiguous question.  First of all, what does it mean to "possess the Scriptures"?

It could mean "personal" possession.  Such as we are accustomed to having today.  We, at least most of us, have several Bibles in our homes.  Did the Early Christians of the first century have this type of "possession" of Scripture?

The answer is, "No.  They didn't."

The Sacraments are pre-Judgment events

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Revelation 22:14

King James Version (KJV)

 14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.


In order to receive the Sacraments, one must be in a state of grace.  This is even true of Baptism.  

I keep harping on RCIA, but think about it.  We undergo RCIA (and catechism classes) to study and show ourselves approved (2 Tim 2:15).  Here are the steps below as listed in the Catechism.  Note how the completion of RCIA gives us admission to Baptism and Eucharist.

Christian Initiation
1229 From the time of the apostles, becoming a Christian has been accomplished by a journey and initiation in several stages. This journey can be covered rapidly or slowly, but certain essential elements will always have to be present: proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel entailing conversion, profession of faith, Baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion.
1230 This initiation has varied greatly through the centuries according to circumstances. In the first centuries of the Church, Christian initiation saw considerable development. A long period of catechumenate included a series of preparatory rites, which were liturgical landmarks along the path of catechumenal preparation and culminated in the celebration of the sacraments of Christian initiation.
1231 Where infant Baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is usually celebrated, it has become a single act encapsulating the preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way. By its very nature infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth. The catechismhas its proper place here.
1232 The second Vatican Council restored for the Latin Church "the catechumenate for adults, comprising several distinct steps."34 The rites for these stages are to be found in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).35 The Council also gives permission that: "In mission countries, in addition to what is furnished by the Christian tradition, those elements of initiation rites may be admitted which are already in use among some peoples insofar as they can be adapted to the Christian ritual."36
1233 Today in all the rites, Latin and Eastern, the Christian initiation of adults begins with their entry into the catechumenate and reaches its culmination in a single celebration of the three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.37 In the Eastern rites the Christian initiation of infants also begins with Baptism followed immediately by Confirmation and the Eucharist, while in the Roman rite it is followed by years of catechesis before being completed later by Confirmation and the Eucharist, the summit of their Christian initiation.38

Now, compare that to the Rev 22:14 which I posted above.  Rev 22 is the very end of the Bible.  The only thing which is revealed next is the Judgment.  And the verse itself says that those who keep the Commandments will be Judged worthy to receive the Tree of Life, which is a euphemism for what?

It is a euphemism for the Eucharist.  It is a euphemism for Christ Himself.  And thus to enter the City which is euphemism for heaven itself.  Do you see the relationship between the Sacraments and the Judgment?!

John 6:54

King James Version (KJV)

 54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

This is the case with every Sacrament.  Not just Baptism, not just Confirmation, not just Eucharist.  But also Confession:

1454 The reception of this sacrament ought to be prepared for by an examination of conscience made in the light of the Word of God. The passages best suited to this can be found in the Ten Commandments, the moral catechesis of the Gospels and the apostolic Letters, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the apostolic teachings.53


The sick person before God
1502 The man of the Old Testament lives his sickness in the presence of God. It is before God that he laments his illness, and it is of God, Master of life and death, that he implores healing.99 Illness becomes a way to conversion; God's forgiveness initiates the healing.100 It is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously linked to sin and evil, and that faithfulness to God according to his law restores life: "For I am the Lord, your healer."101 The prophet intuits that suffering can also have a redemptive meaning for the sins of others.102 Finally Isaiah announces that God will usher in a time for Zion when he will pardon every offense and heal every illness.103

Matrimony and Holy Orders:

1533 Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist are sacraments of Christian initiation. They ground the common vocation of all Christ's disciples, a vocation to holiness and to the mission of evangelizing the world. They confer the graces needed for the life according to the Spirit during this life as pilgrims on the march towards the homeland.
1534 Two other sacraments, Holy Orders and Matrimony, are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so. They confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God.
1535 Through these sacraments those already consecrated by Baptism and Confirmation1 for the common priesthood of all the faithful can receive particular consecrations. Those who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders are consecrated in Christ's name "to feed the Church by the word and grace of God."2 On their part, "Christian spouses are fortified and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and dignity of their state by a special sacrament."3

Those who keep the Commandments receive the right to the Tree of Life, the right to partake of the Life of Christ.  It is they who enter onto Mt. Sion and dwell with the spirits of men made perfect, even in this life, before the final Judgment:

Hebrews 12:22-24

King James Version (KJV)

 22But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
 23To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
 24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.


De Maria

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

JUST FOR my fellow CATHOLICS-The Authority of Scripture

File:McVey wide skyscraper.jpg

Just for Catholics is a website where Dr. Mizzi seeks to convince Catholics to leave the Catholic Church. I am reviewing his teachings and comparing them to the Word of God in Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium. We are currently on this article. His words in blue.

The Authority of the Bible

Question: The Church gives authority to the Bible. Several councils, the Councils of Hippo and Carthage to name two, gave testimony to the veracity of Scripture.

In the question above, Dr. Mizzi is portraying himself as a Catholic who is supposed to be asking a question.  The first problem is, there is no question in that statement.

The second problem is, that is not a Catholic statement.  The Catholic Church says that the Bible is inspired by God.  Therefore, it is God who gives the Bible its authority:

Monday, October 10, 2011

We are justified by faith and work AND by faith apart from works

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It is both/and folks.

We are justified by faith and works.

We are also justified by faith apart from works.

We are justified by faith and works before and after the Sacraments.

We are justified by faith apart from works during the Sacraments.

We are not justified by faith ALONE. Faith ALONE is dead. If one does not have
works to perfect one's faith, one will die in his sins.


De Maria

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

JUST FOR my fellow CATHOLICS-The Canon and Infallibility

McVey wide skyscraper.jpg

Just for Catholics is a website where Dr. Mizzi seeks to convince Catholics to leave the Catholic Church.  I am reviewing his teachings and comparing them to the Word of God in Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium.  We are currently on this article.  His words in blue.

The Canon and Infallibility
Question: How do you know that the books of Scripture are inspired? Only by the authority of the Catholic Church can we know with certainty which books belong to the Bible. All Christians must therefore submit to the authority of the Catholic Church.

This is true.  It is the Catholic Church which canonized the Bible and therefore from her authority everyone knows which are the books of the Bible:

"I would not believe theGospels unless the authority of the Catholic Church moved me thereto" (St. Augustine).

Answer: There are several reasons why I believe that the Bible is inspired. First of all, I was influenced by the testimony and teaching of the church (the Roman Catholic Church in my childhood, 

Very good!

Is the Catholic Church infallible?

McVey wide skyscraper.jpg

Let's see if you can follow my logic.

Scripture says that the Church teaches the Wisdom of God:

Ephesians 3:10
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

Is God's Wisdom infallible? I say yes.

Is there really any need to say more? I don't think so. But there is more.

Scripture says that the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth:
1 Timothy 3:15
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

God is here saying that the Church always upholds the truth. I believe God. Therefore, I conclude that the Church is infallible.

Scripture says:
Matthew 16:18
And I say also 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.

Here the Church is depicted as keeping hell in a state of seige. And further it is said that hell will never prevail against the Church. If the Church committed errors in the mission given her by God, then the gates of hell would have prevailed.

God says that won't happen. I believe God. Therefore, I conclude that the Church is infallible.

But is this the Catholic Church?

I believe the Church described in Scripture is the Catholic Church, yes.

First, Jesus Christ appointed a Pastor as head of the entire Church:
John 21:17
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

I see only a few Churches with such a Pastor. Further, Jesus Christ said that the Pastor over His Church would be infallible:

Matthew 16:17-19 (King James Version)
17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.18And I say also 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. 19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

The list of Churches accept this teaching gets smaller. Certainly, all Protestant denominations can now be eliminated.

Jesus Christ not only said that the Pastor was infallible but Scripture describes the Church as infallible:
Ephesians 3:10
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

The list remains the same, but now I can certainly eliminate all Protestant denominations.

Back to Matt 16:18, Scripture says that Jesus Christ established one Church. History shows that all the Churches sprang from the Church which is frequently described as the Mother Church. The Catholic Church.

By simple logic of elimination, that leaves only the Catholic Church. Further, the Catholic Church can produce records tracing back to Apostolic times.

Therefore, I conclude that it is the Catholic Church which is described in Scripture.

What do you think?


De Maria

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Priesthood

Lighthouse Catholic Media store

I had forgotten that I had said:

Wow!  What a gold mine!  I get to debunk another article.  ....

But I was reading that article again and I was reminded.

Anyway, the article which Russel is talking about is here.  I normally put the other person's words in blue and mine in black.  But Russell is already using blue for Catholics, so I'll leave his words in black, the Catholic segments in blue and I'll write my comments in Bold.

The Priesthood

“If any one saith, that there is not in the New Testament a visible and external priesthood; or that there is not any power of consecrating and offering the true body and blood of the Lord, and of forgiving and retaining sins; but only an office and bare ministry of preaching the Gospel, or, that those who do not preach are not priests at all; let him be anathema.” (The Catholic Church’s Council of Trent, Session 23, Canon 1)
While many of the world’s religions have an ordained priesthood, the concept of a Christian ministerial priesthood is not found in the New Testament,

Yes it is.
First, the Priesthood is here explicitly mentioned:
1 Timothy 4:14
Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

Here it is explicit in the original Greek, which loses something in the translation to English:
1) to minister in the manner of a priest, minister in priestly service
a) of those who defend the sanctity of the law by undergoing a violent death
b) of the preaching of the gospel
Romans 15:16
King James Version (KJV)
 16That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering  (hierourgeo) the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

 but is something that has evolved over time. There are a number of groups who claim to follow Jesus Christ that maintain a priesthood. For example, the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, and even some Protestant churches, like Anglican / Episcopalian, and some Lutheran churches. The Mormon Church also has a priesthood. Yet, none of these “priesthoods” are valid (according to the Bible), but we will focus on the most prominent: the Catholic priesthood.

One thing that should stand out in that last paragraph, is that all the ancient Christian faiths have a priesthood.  Why?  Because they inherited the Tradition from the Apostles.  Many centuries later, Protestants came along, separated from the Church and discarded the Traditions and began to reconstruct the faith of Jesus Christ in their own image.  One of the Traditions they discarded was the Tradition of Holy Orders, aka, the ministerial Priesthood.

The Catholic Church insists that we must have a distinct, ordained, “hierarchical” priesthood today. But, the truth is, the only types of Christian “priesthood” that we find within the pages of the New Testament are the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:17; 3:1), and the “universal priesthood” of all believers (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:6). While we are able to find Jewish and pagan priests mentioned in the New Testament, we don’t see any Christian “ministerial” priests to mediate between God and man (as we find in the Old Testament).

The Apostle Paul mentions the functions and offices of the New Testament church in chapters 3 and 5 of 1 Timothy, and Titus chapter 1. He also gives specific instructions for ministry, church order, gifts and service in 1 Corinthians chapters 11-14, and in Ephesians chapter 4… and yet, the ministerial office of “priest” is strangely absent. There is not a single mention of a “priesthood” in these contexts. If God had intended a Christianministerial priesthood for today, one would think that such a critical position should be evident in the New Testament. But it isn’t there.

Actually, it is, as I have shown above.  The problem is, that Protestants can't recognize the ministerial priesthood in the pages of Scripture, because they are reading Scripture with their presuppositions.  

We can see, for instance, the episode of the Apostles eating the corn on the Sabbath.

Matthew 12:
1At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. 2But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. 3But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 5Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
6But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. 7But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 8For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Have you ever wondered why the Disciples are guiltless?  They worked on the Sabbath day and were guiltless because they were the equivalent of the Levites, the ministerial priests of the Old Testament.  The Levites were in the Temple, working on the Sabbath.  But there is one greater than the Temple and His ministerial priests are free to work on the Sabbath, because He is Lord of the Sabbath.

But, let’s look at some of the Catholic arguments for the priesthood:



If I may add, the Bible also says that the Old Covenant is a shadow of the New.  Therefore, the New Covenant must be casting a shadow which includes three Priesthoods.

Hebrews 8:5

King James Version (KJV)
 5Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

We agree that there was a “high priesthood” and a “ministerial priesthood” in the Old Testament. But it is wrong to think that Exodus 19:6 proves that there was a “universal priesthood” in Old Testament times. Let’s look at the context:

Exodus 19:5 - Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Exodus 19:6 - And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Yes, God promised Israel that they would be a “kingdom of priests” and a “holy nation.” But, this is a yet UNFULFILLED promise to the Jews. Notice that God’s promise to Israel was CONDITIONAL; that this would happen IF (and ONLY if) they would obey God’s voice and keep His covenant (Exodus 19:5). But they didn’t. Over and over, Israel had broken God’s covenant and disobeyed His commands (e.g., Jeremiah chapter 11, 13, 22, 34, etc.). This continued even until the very end of the Old Testament period, where even the “ministerial” priests had profaned the covenant (Malachi 2:8-10). Even to this day, Israel (as a nation) is disobedient and blinded to the truth (2 Corinthians 3:12-14; Romans 11:25, 31).

Therefore, Israel could not claim that it was a “kingdom of priests” and a “holy nation,” and thus, has not yet become that “universal priesthood.” This will not happen for the Jews, as a nation, until Jesus Christ returns, as Isaiah prophesied (Isaiah 61:6). So, since the “universal priesthood” never happened in the Old Testament, this “three-fold priesthood” concept didn’t exist then, and there is no reason to think that it must be a model for the church today.

One of the problems here, is that Protestants read Scripture differently than do Catholics.  Scripture says:

2 Timothy 2:15

King James Version (KJV)

 15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

In the OT, the Priest that offered the sacrifice was supposed to eat it:

Leviticus 6:26

King James Version (KJV)
 26The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Who eats the Passover lamb?

Exodus 12:5-11

King James Version (KJV)
 5Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
 6And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
 7And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
 8And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
 9Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.
 10And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.
 11And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD's passover.

The Ordinary Priesthood of the Jewish nation.  Everyone.  It is priests who eat the sacrifice and all the Jews were expected to eat the Passover lamb.


While it is true that our modern word “priest” is derived from the Greek word “presbuteros”, it does not mean that the two words are the same. Derivatives are not definitions. The modern word “Presbyterian” is ALSO a derivative of “presbuteros”, but I don’t think any Catholic would try to say that the New Testament “elders” were Presbyterians. Anyway, the New Testament ALREADY has a Greek word for priest, “hiereus,” not “presbuteros,” and these two Greek words are never used interchangeably. So, this argument certainly does not prove that biblical “elders” were priests.

But it is strong evidence in that regard however.  Although presbyter means "elder", we see that St. Timothy was a presbyter:

1 Timothy 4:14

King James Version (KJV)
 14Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

And yet he was a youth:

1 Timothy 4:12

King James Version (KJV)
 12Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

So, presbyter didn't mean "old".  It therefore meant a special or dedicated type of priest distinguished from the ordinary priesthood of the believer.  That is why, today, presbyter means "priest".  Because it always meant "priest."


“Hiereus” does indeed refer to the priests of the Old Covenant, but not just to the Old Testament priests. It ALSO refers to the New Testament universal priesthood of believers (Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). Furthermore, asserting that “presbuteros” is the “new” term for priest is simply begging the question, i.e., just an assumption without proof. 

The proof is in the Tradition which is followed, universally, by the ancient Christian religions.

We also believe that the fact that “hiereus” is used to describe priests from both Testaments is further evidence that the priesthood has changed from a “ministerial” form (Old Testament) to a “universal” form (New Testament).

You are simply wrong.  The Old Testament is a shadow of the New and designed according to the same heavenly plan.  Therefore, the Old and New Testaments have three types of priests.  Protestants have dispensed with the ministerial priesthood in contradiction of Scripture.


I've never heard any Catholic make this claim.  

There were plenty pagan priests in the time of the Old Testament. But it seems that neither the Lord nor the Jews had any problem calling their own ministers “priests” at that time. They didn’t seem to be concerned about any confusion that might arise between the names of the two groups. Furthermore, the term “elder” was kept over from the Old Testament. The New Testament word used for the Jewish elder (“presbuteros”) is exactly the same word used for the Christian elder. If confusing terms were an issue, why didn’t the early Christians avoid the term “elder” altogether? So, this Catholic argument is just too weak to be credible.

I think you made that up.  I've never heard any Catholic make that claim.

The simple reason why priest and presbyter are interchangeable is because they mean the same thing.  Ruler or Leader of the Church.  The Priest is the Pastor of the local Church.

Now, most pagan religions did not speak Hebrew.  I repeat, they did not speak Hebrew.  Therefore, it would be IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to confuse the Jewish word, "kohen" for "witch doctor".  

However, because the Jewish High Priest and the Levitical Priests were members of the Sanhedrin and were also called "elders", the term "elder" became synonymous with "priest".


But one could argue that many of today’s Protestant pastors / ministers ALSO serve the same function as the New Testament “elders” did, because they also preach the gospel and administer communion, baptism, etc. So this claim proves nothing.

In other words, Protestant Pastors function as priests but do not call themselves priests.  Therefore, in proving the necessity of the priesthood, they deny it.

You're contradicting yourself.

Another thing… if Catholic priests (especially those of the Latin rite) are supposed to be the same as New Testament “elders,” then why are they not allowed (required?) to be the “husband of [but] one wife” (Titus 1:6)? We know that there are exceptions in the Catholic Church, but Paul is speaking of the NORM for elders, here. And the norm is to be married. (We are not debating the virtues of celibacy, but our point is simply that, according to Titus, the great majority of Roman Catholic priests cannot be biblical elders). So, it can’t be said that priests and elders are one and the same.

Sure it can.  Your simple denial does not prove anything.

First, the custom in the Roman rite of the Catholic Church is to have a celibate priesthood.  The Eastern rite of the Catholic Church still permits married priests.

Second, the custom in the Roman rite is a discipline only.  The Pope or the Magisterium united with the Pope can decide at anytime to rescind the discipline.

Third, but they probably won't, because Jesus wasn't married and because St. Paul said:

1 Corinthians 7:8

King James Version (KJV)

 8I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.

And again:

1 Corinthians 7:32

King James Version (KJV)
 32But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

Therefore, it is very unlikely that the Catholic Church will ever rescind that discipline.


First of all, Paul never uses the word “priest” to describe his own office, but considers himself an “apostle.”

Secondly, in NONE of his epistles does he call any leader in the church a “priest,” when he had ample opportunity to do so.

Thirdly, this “priestly service” is simply describing the work of spreading the gospel, which ALL Christians are commissioned to do.

That isn't true.  Again, because you have discarded the Traditions, you don't recognize a priestly service when you see it.  Here is St. Paul describing his priestly service:

1 Corinthians 10:16

King James Version (KJV)

 16The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

That is the Sacrifice of the Mass which you call "communion" and which you claim even your "Pastors" also "administer".  If that is true, then they are offering up the Christian Passover:

1 Corinthians 5:7

King James Version (KJV)
 7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:


Ok, first, just because there are no ministerial priests, this doesn’t mean that there are no church leaders to minister to the people.

You're contradicting yourself again.  Christ's priests are the ministers to the people.  You are rejecting the priesthood and at the same time proving its necessity.

Furthermore, without getting into the concept of “sacraments,” and any role they might play, the point still remains that ministerial priests are NOT found in the New Testament, regardless of whether someone believes they should be there.

Let me put it this way.  Ministerial priests are found in the New Testament, regardless of whether someone believes they should not be there.

And finally, the only sacrifices that need to be offered today are spiritual sacrifices (1 Peter 2:5), our praise(Hebrews 13:15), our bodies (Romans 12:1), our finances (Philippians 4:18), etc. Concerning the Sacrifice of the Mass, see our two-part article on the Eucharist, elsewhere on this blog.

I sure will.  Thanks for the invite.

Note that the author of the book of Hebrews takes great pains to distinguish the difference between the Old Covenant (types and shadows) and the New (and better) Covenant. The main function of a ministerial priest of the Old Testament was to offer sacrifices (repeatedly) to God in order to atone for sin. But Hebrews 10:10-12, 18 tells us that the price has now been paid, and there is “NO MORE offering [sacrifice] for sin.” Therefore, no more atoning sacrifices are needed. Jesus Christ has paid the full penalty on the cross of Calvary. We now have a perfect atonement to embrace, once for all (Hebrews 9:12, 28; 10:10). No ministerial priests are needed now to offer sacrifice to God. Their “job” is cancelled out. This was demonstrated by God’s tearing of the veil in the temple (Matthew 27:51). It means all believers now have direct access to God without “ministerial” priests. Jesus Christ is the FULFILLMENT of the Old Testament type of priesthood and its sacrifices.

The problem with that summary is that you show that you don't understand the nature of Old Testament Sacrifice.  Especially of the Sacrifice known as the Passover.

Yes, the Old Testament is a shadow of the more perfect New Testament.  That just proves that the New Testament cast a shadow which included a ministerial priesthood.

And the other sacrifices all disappeared.  Leaving only the perfect Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Did you notice that the Passover sacrifice required that the lamb be eaten.  Perhaps now you will understand why Jesus said:

John 6:53

King James Version (KJV)
 53Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

Yeah, we need Priests to administer the Sacrifice.


We are not saying that there are no leaders in the church today, just that there are no “ordained / ministerial” priests. As important as the priesthood is to Catholics, it is hard to ignore the fact that this priesthood is never mentioned in Paul’s writings. To emphasize the point once more, it is not as though it is absent from only a tiny letter in the Bible, like Philemon or 3 John, but it is absent from the WHOLE New Testament. This is too much of a glaring omission to ignore.

There is a reason why Scripture says:

2 Thessalonians 2:15

King James Version (KJV)

 15Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

Jesus didn't write a word of Scripture.  He passed down Traditions.  Amongst those, is the ministerial priesthood.  If you held the Traditions, you could recognize the priesthood described in the New Testament.  Since you don't, you can't. 

The life, the very core, of a priestly system is the sacrifice. The sacrifice is the whole focus of the priesthood.

The Holy Eucharist is described as the SOURCE AND SUMMIT of our faith.

 If you remove the core of any such system, you take away the life and purpose of that system. If there is no more sacrifice, there is no more system. Its purpose has been served. This is the Achilles’ heel of the Catholic priesthood. Not only is the priesthood NOT in the New Testament, but it also contradicts the New Testament, since Hebrews tells us that there is NO MORE SACRIFICE for sin (Hebrews 10:18).

Let's divide the word rightly.  Here is the verse which he referenced:

Hebrews 10:18

King James Version (KJV)

 18Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

A remission of what?  Sin.  

Is all sin remitted?  Scripture says:

1 John 1:8

King James Version (KJV)

 8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

So then, there is still an offering for sin.  And if we read a bit further:

Hebrews 10:20

King James Version (KJV)
 20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

What Russell doesn't realize is the Sacramental language which is here depicted.  Let's read 19 and 20 together:

Hebrews 10:19-20

King James Version (KJV)

 19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
 20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Folks, St. Paul is talking about the Holy Eucharist.  He does it again in Heb 10:29.

Heb 10:22 is a description of Baptism.

According to its Catechism, the Catholic Church makes some very special claims about its priests. For example, they are supposedly able to absolve (forgive) a man’s sins (CCC #1495); they have “a ‘sacred power’ which is none other than that of Christ” (CCC #1551); they “possess the authority to act in the power and place of the Person of Christ, Himself” (CCC #1548); and the priest “divinizes” and he “is divinized” (CCC #1589), i.e., he makes divine and is made divine…

Once again, we see the Catholic Church making some extraordinary claims about itself, and then it asserts that these claims have (at least some) biblical support. But upon examination, these claims are found to be just that… mere claims, and not truth; they are deceptive claims that actually deny biblical truth.

There's only one way to find out.  Let us see whether you have read those paragraphs correctly and how they stand up to Scripture:
1495 Only priests who have received the faculty of absolving from the authority of the Church can forgive sins in the name of Christ.

Scripture says:

John 20:23

King James Version (KJV)

 23Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

Right on the money.

1551 This priesthood is ministerial. "That office . . . which the Lord committed to the pastors of his people, is in the strict sense of the term a service." It is entirely related to Christ and to men. It depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood; it has been instituted for the good of men and the communion of the Church. The sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a "sacred power" which is none other than that of Christ. The exercise of this authority must therefore be measured against the model of Christ, who by love made himself the least and the servant of all. "The Lord said clearly that concern for his flock was proof of love for him."

Scripture says:

Mark 10:41-45

King James Version (KJV)
 41And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.
 42But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
 43But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
 44And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
 45For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Right on the money, again.

1548 In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis:

It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:20

King James Version (KJV)

 20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Still on the money.

1589 Before the grandeur of the priestly grace and office, the holy doctors felt an urgent call to conversion in order to conform their whole lives to him whose sacrament had made them ministers. Thus St. Gregory of Nazianzus, as a very young priest, exclaimed:

We must begin by purifying ourselves before purifying others; we must be instructed to be able to instruct, become light to illuminate, draw close to God to bring him close to others, be sanctified to sanctify, lead by the hand and counsel prudently. I know whose ministers we are, where we find ourselves and to where we strive. I know God's greatness and man's weakness, but also his potential. [Who then is the priest? He is] the defender of truth, who stands with angels, gives glory with archangels, causes sacrifices to rise to the altar on high, shares Christ's priesthood, refashions creation, restores it in God's image, recreates it for the world on high and, even greater, is divinized and divinizes. And the holy Cure of Ars: "The priest continues the work of redemption on earth. . . . If we really understood the priest on earth, we would die not of fright but of love. . . . The Priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus."
Scripture says:

Galatians 4:19

King James Version (KJV)
 19My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

If he can form Christ in us, that sounds like divining and divinizing to me.

2 Peter 1:4

King James Version (KJV)
 4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Yep.  I'd say, right on the money, again.

So, this creates some serious implications for the Catholic faithful, and should be disturbing to those Catholics who would take an honest look at the evidence presented. We have to ask ourselves: Are we going to believe the Catholic hierarchy, or are we going to believe God’s infallible Scripture?

We believe both.  Whom we don't believe are Protestants.  What we don't believe are Protestant changes to the Word of God.


De Maria