Saturday, July 28, 2012

Interpreting scripture

When we read the bible in this age, we take for granted the fact that we even have an organized book to call a bible. Sometimes when we read it we get the impression that Paul the apostle just went around preaching the gospel as a modern preacher would. The problem with that , is that the bible wasn't put together as a collection called the New Testament until the 4th century. So how did Paul insure that the message he gave them was preserved perfectly? He is very clear on a few things in his letters that we need to account for.

I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you.
-1 Corinthians 11:2 (NABRE)

These traditions are called Liturgy. Right off the bat Paul is telling them not to stray from the things he taught them. Without the New Testament , the church came up with a liturgical service they called The Mass. Every church that Paul writes a letter to, is following this unified tradition, called the liturgy. The early church didn't just make up any old ritual to follow for no reason. This liturgy was what Christ revealed to them on the Road to Emmaus.

And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?”
-Luke 24:30-32 (NABRE)

This was the first post resurrection Mass. The last supper was the institution of the Eucharist. The road to Emmaus is the first after he rose. The Eucharistic liturgy is the tradition that Paul is giving them. If we do any reading about the early church, we find the church Fathers reinforcing this.

Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (the Didache), 9:2; 14:1, circa 90 A.D.:
Regarding the Eucharist ... Let no one eat and drink of your Eucharist but those baptized in the name of the Lord; to this, too, the saying of the Lord is applicable: Do not give to dogs what is sacred.
On the Lord's own day, assemble in common to break bread and offer thanks; but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure. However, no one quarreling with his brother may join your meeting until they are reconciled; your sacrifice must not be defiled. For here we have the saying of the Lord: In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice; for I am a mighty King, says the Lord; and my name spreads terror among the nations. [Mal 1:11,14].

Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, Chapter 6, 110 A.D.:
They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes.

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, 8:1, 110 A.D.:
Let that Eucharist be held valid which is offered by the bishop or by the one to whom the bishop has committed this charge. Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

In the year 110 the church was already being called the Catholic Church. Everywhere in the new testament there are warnings against false doctrine.

Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the last times some will turn away from the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demonic instructions through the hypocrisy of liars with branded consciences.
-1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NABRE)

Until I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the presbyterate (priests) . Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to everyone. Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.
-1 Timothy 4:13-16 (NABRE)

For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.
-2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NABRE)

We live in a time where anything goes in Christianity. From health and wealth gospel to hellfire and brimstone. We were left with strict instructions to hold to the things we were taught, by the original 12 apostles.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The human soul

Human Beings
Have lost all sense of good , and evil. They've reserved evil for murderers, rapists, and pedophiles. Everything else is fair game for being heaven bound. Selflessness Is not even an afterthought. Our entire culture has been desensitized to the concept of sin. Sin no longer exists , because for any man to say something is a sin, he automatically is viewed as narrow minded. The belief in God went from being an admirable quality that you would look for in a man or woman, to being something that makes you weak, and naive. The world has decided that having faith means you're afraid of the concept of no longer existing. People have been convinced that it's impossible to know God. And anyone who claims they do know Him, is viewed as a quack. Men are losing their very souls, because they think this life is all that there is. If we don't believe in the afterlife , then there is no reason to do anything other than live it up, without regard to anyone other than yourself, and the few people you actually love. What a selfish scary world we have become. If men continue down this road, and the human spirit is truly killed, what are we worth?
How can men be so intelligent with science, but so oblivious to the concept of having a soul. Somewhere along the line, science decided it didn't want philosophy butting into its business anymore. And we're left with a technologically advanced, meaningless life.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Typology and foreshadows

Types and foreshadows in the old testament of Jesus.
What is being suggested here is not simply that; Jesus is the promised messiah to the old testament prophets, and that each story in some way is a foreshadow of his coming. What is being suggested is that he is the fulfillment of the entire old testament Jewish faith . In other words it's not as simple as seeing the story Moses , and concluding that Moses is a type or foreshadow of Jesus. The suggestion is, that every single thing God did in the old testament was related directly to Jesus. Every feast in the old has major relevance to what Jesus came to do. From Noah's flood being a symbol of baptism, to the first Pentecost being where God scrambles their languages to cause confusion , to the new Pentecost being the untwisting of that confusion and reuniting those languages.
Each gospel writer is trying to get old testament typology across to us. Take Matthew for example. He is clearly trying to show us the similarities between Jesus and Moses. Both Jesus and Moses come into the world when a decree is put out to kill infant boys. When the time is right, Moses takes the Israelites through the Jordan as a foreshadow of baptism and into the desert to fast for 40 days. During that fast the israelites make the golden calf. When the time is right Jesus too goes to the Jordan to be baptized and into the desert for 40 days , only Jesus doesn't fail as the Israelites did. The verses Jesus uses to respond to the devil are straight from Deuteronomy. After that Moses goes to mount Sinai, and receives the 10 commandments of the old covenant. Jesus gives the sermon on the mount to give the law of the new covenant. In the old covenant, the people were rebellious, so curses were given. In the new, Jesus knows he's giving us the holy spirit, so the beautitudes are given with blessings that are promised along with the holy spirit. Moses went up with his 3 closest companions, Aaron , Joshua , and Herr. When he comes down from the mountain his face is shining brilliantly. Also known as the transfiguration. Jesus too goes up the mountain with his 3 closest companions, Peter , James, and John. Then has the transfiguration with Elijah and Moses. Moses chooses leaders for the 12 tribes, Jesus chooses 12 leaders also. Moses couldnt govern the 12 tribes with only the 12 princes, so he appoints 70 more. In Luke 12 Jesus appoints 70 more. Moses gives us the Passover. Jesus is the reason for the Passover being given to Moses. The first plague Moses brings on pharaoh is turning water into blood. Jesus's first miracle is turning water into wine. And later wine into blood. Moses builds the ark of the covenant, in it he puts the 10 commandments (the word of God) , the manna (bread from heaven) and staff of Aaron (to signify authority) Jesus is the new covenant, the incarnate word, the true bread from heaven, and has the authority of God himself. This is typology in the old testament. Everything written in the old testament was written for a reason. Augustin said that the old testament is concealed in the new, and the new is revealed in the old. The treasures in this book are too deep to comprehend.
Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The apostle Paul.

One of the greatest men in Christian history is undoubtedly the apostle Paul. Paul wrote more books in the new testament than all of the other writers combined. So much of what we believe as Christians is based on Paul's writings. And yet most of the contention among Christians is also based on Paul's writings. One of the biggest things we miss in the new testament is what Peter says about Paul.

1And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, 1speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.
-2 Peter 3:15-16 (NABRE)

Here we see that Peter considers Paul to be a beloved brother, but also his recognition of the complexity of his writings.
Most of us think of the Demascus rd. as a profound conversion experience for Paul , and it was. But it also was a calling from Christ himself. Paul wasn't a man burdened with guilt, he was a devout Jew who followed the law perfectly.

although I myself have grounds for confidence even in the flesh.If anyone else thinks he can be confident in flesh, all the more can I. Circumcised on the eighth day, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrew parentage, in observance of the law a Pharisee, in zeal I persecuted the church, in righteousness based on the law I was blameless.
-Philippians 3:4-6 (NABRE)

Paul persecuted the church thinking he was doing the work of God. He saw Christianity as a blasphemous religion that worshipped 2 Gods. What happened on the Demascus rd. changed him forever. It not only changed him, but changed his entire view on who God was.

1Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. 1Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness;and found human in appearance, 1he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. 1Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
-Philippians 2:6-9 (NABRE)

What does Paul mean when he says (Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped)? Many scholars have written about this. It's a profound statement. What Paul is saying is that Christ didn't exploit the fact that he was equal with God. What he did was reveal to us the true nature of God. When Paul says "even death on a cross," it's showing that when they crucified Jesus it was as if God was endorsing the fact that the Jews were right to do so.

If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not remain on the tree overnight. You must bury it the same day; anyone who is hanged is a curse of God. You shall not defile the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you as a heritage.
-Deuteronomy 21:22-23 (NABRE)

This is the reason the Jews wanted Jesus crucified. They wanted to prove he couldn't be the messiah by having God approve of their sentence upon him. This is what revolutionized Paul's heart and mind. That Jesus didn't take equality with God as something to be exploited, but rather that equality with God means to give your life as a sacrifice for others in the most humble way imaginable. God could have redeemed us any way he wanted to, but on the cross we are shown the embodiment of divine love. Jesus didn't just die on the cross to take the place of our sin, he did it to show us our call to divine love. We receive two commandments from Jesus in the new testament.

Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.”
-Luke 22:19 (NABRE)

Jesus tells us to "do this in memory of me". The other commandment we receive is this.

I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
-John 13:34 (NABRE)

We have to think about how Jesus loves us. He gives himself as a loving sacrifice for us. When the father raises Jesus , it is not just the vindication of an innocent man. It is the Fathers endorsement of Jesus's interpretation of divine love. So often we talk about the importance of faith, and we should , but even Paul tells us what is more important.

So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
-1 Corinthians 13:13 (NABRE)

Thank you for reading.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Did Jesus leave authority with his disciples, or did he want his church to flounder in the wind , and go in any direction it pleased? Is there a need for a hierarchy? I was listening to an old broadcast from Allistair Begg today, Allistair Begg is a preacher on XM radio's Christian station. He quoted a commentator on the state of modern Christianity. She said "The mainstream of American Protestantism is in danger of losing all of its biblical foundations. It is now possible in this country, to carry on the expected work of a Protestant congregation with no reference to the bible whatsoever. The worship services of the church can be divorced from biblical models and become the celebration of the congregations life together. Art forms and aesthetic experiences can be used as substitutes for communion with God. The preachers opinions and ethical views can be made replacements for the words of biblical texts. But the amazing thing is that no one in the pews even knows".
As I heard this, I couldn't help wonder if this problem comes up in Protestant circles. If every church is saying that the bible alone is the source of authority, how is it that there are 33,000 denominations getting something different from the bible. Yesterday I posted an article of a pastor losing his church because he took a stand supporting gay marriage. I've read of other churches that support abortion. These are two issues that the bible is clear about, but when ordinary men start a church they immediately claim that they alone have the authority to interpret scripture. I hear all the time that the Holy Spirit is our guide to interpreting scripture, but if that's true all churches would believe the same thing. Either the people are misinterpreting it , or the Holy Spirit can't make up it's mind. The bible tells us that Jesus would send his spirit to guide us in all truth, but who exactly did he give that to?

But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.
-John 16:13 (NABRE)

Where is the truth promised? Either Jesus lied to the 12 , or there is a place where truth can be found. I don't believe any Christian would call Jesus a liar, so let's look at the evidence. First off let's see what happens when we try to read scripture without the apostles.

2 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 2He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
-Acts 8:30-31 (NABRE)

Obviously reading scripture proved to be too difficult for a layman to understand. But the apostles are no longer with us either, so did Jesus leave a way for us to know which interpretation to accept?

Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
-Matthew 16:17-19 (NABRE)

Many people don't realize that Jesus was quoting an old testament reference here.

1I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder;what he opens, no one will shut, what he shuts, no one will open. 1I will fix him as a peg in a firm place, a seat of honor for his ancestral house; 1On him shall hang all the glory of his ancestral house:descendants and offspring, all the little dishes, from bowls to jugs.
-Isaiah 22:20-24 (NABRE)

The keys given to Peter were the keys to the kingdom of David. If we read the opening to Matthews gospel we see him giving the lineage of David up to Jesus. Jesus then hands those keys to Peter. Many argue that Peter was not the first pope. I think the scriptures reveal more than we realize.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” [Jesus] said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”
-John 21:15-19 (NABRE)

Here Jesus is clearly singling Peter out to lead his flock. After the ascension , Peter is the first to speak.

1During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said,
-Acts 1:15 (NABRE)

1For it is written in the Book of Psalms:‘Let his encampment become desolate, and may no one dwell in it.’And:‘May another take his office.’ 1Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.”
-Acts 1:20-22 (NABRE)

Here not only is Peter the first to speak, but as the first pope , he establishes the act of succession. If the office of judas had succession , wouldn't Peters' also? Notice also that Peter is first to preach a sermon, and baptize a gentile. Many argue that when Paul came and corrected Peter for not eating with the Gentiles it proves he wasn't the pope.

The apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter. 1 After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to them, “My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.
-Acts 15:6-7 (NABRE)

What we have here is the first church council. We know from Paul's letters that he was the one to correct Peter. But even though Paul had corrected him, it was Peter who stood up and made the decree. But even if Peter was the first pope, what kind of authority does his office hold?

1 [Jesus] said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 1 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. 1 Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
-John 20:21-23 (NABRE)

As the father has sent me , so I send you. How did the father send Jesus ?

Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
-Matthew 28:18 (NABRE)

So Jesus leaves them with the power to bind and loose things in heaven and earth. That means Jesus is telling them that he will change heaven according to what they bind on earth. This has to mean that the Holy Spirit wouldn't allow them to bind anything false.
This is the basic catholic argument for papal authority, it goes much deeper, but I don't have the time. Protestants get angry if they hear the term papal infallibility. Papal infallibility does not mean that the pope is sinless, or any different from any other human. What it does mean is that the Holy Spirit prevents him from teaching false doctrine from the chair of Peter. If you look at all of the changes we see in Christian churches today, you also will notice how little the catholic church has changed. I know there are many things that seem mysterious to outsiders, but the deposit of faith that Christ left on earth is the same.
Thank you for reading.

Abiding in Christ.

And now, children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming.
-1 John 2:28 (NABRE)
Abide in Christ. What does it mean to abide in him? It means to remain in him. If we do not remain in him, are we saved? Is our salvation really a guarantee? Only if we abide in him can we be assured.
For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift and shared in the holy Spirit and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to bring them to repentance again, since they are recrucifying the Son of God for themselves and holding him up to contempt.
-Hebrews 6:4-6 (NABRE)
So many verses in the bible show that we can lose our salvation.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
-John 15:1-2 (NABRE)

In other words , they were part of the vine but didn't produce fruit , so the father took them away.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
-John 15:1-2 (NABRE)
ABIDE in me, as I ABIDE in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever ABIDES in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not ABIDE in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. If you ABIDE in me and my words ABIDE in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father loves me, so I also love you. ABIDE in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will ABIDE in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and ABIDE in his love.
-John 15:4-10 (NABRE)
Before I get into how we are to abide in him I want to speak about what salvation is. Salvation is more than just being forgiven and let into heaven. Salvation is being forgiven, BEING ADOPTED INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD , and being let into heaven.

See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.
-1 John 3:1-3 (NABRE)

Salvation is an ongoing process. It can't be reduced to a single moment in time. That doesn't mean that saying the sinners prayer , and accepting Jesus Christ as your personal lord and savior isn't necessary. We all need to do that. For me this was a pivotal moment in my life , when i made a conscious choice to follow Christ. It was a profound and meaningful experience. But it does mean that salvation can be lost after this experience.

Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.
-2 Peter 1:4 (NABRE)

We are made partakers in the divine nature. We are truly made part of the family of God. But we can be cast out by falling away.

So then, my beloved, obedient as you have always been, not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
-Philippians 2:12 (NABRE)

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Be careful not to fall away.

Therefore, we must attend all the more to what we have heard, so that we may not be carried away.
-Hebrews 2:1 (NABRE)

This is echoed throughout scripture. The warning of holding to the things we have heard and believed. We must remain in him. Never forget the things we were taught.

So how do we abide in Christ ? I think the only way to know this is to return to scripture. There is only one other time in the gospel where Jesus speaks of abiding in him.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood ABIDES in me and I in him.
-John 6:56 (NABRE)

We have to realize that John doesn't put anything in his gospel that is a throwaway line. It is the inerrant word of God. And it is no accident when he uses the same word in the bread of life discourse that he uses in the farewell discourse. Abide.
Does this mean that nominal Christians that receive communion are abiding in Christ. Certainly not. But those nominal Christians that put no thought into communion are doing something worse.
Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.
-1 Corinthians 11:27-29 (NABRE)

Please think and pray about what Paul is saying here. Did Paul believe the lords supper was just a symbol?

1The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 1Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
-1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (NABRE)

I know this will be the last time a lot of my readers check my blog, but I have to follow my convictions. I only want people to see the gift Jesus left us. So often we make scripture conform to our beliefs instead of believing what the scripture says. The true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is not a new belief. Every Christian believed in it until the year 1520. Even Martin Luther believed in it. The teaching of symbolism is the new teaching. I truly believe the only way to make Christians unite is through the Eucharist. As the apostle Paul said 1Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
-1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (NABRE)
Thank you for reading.

Friday, June 1, 2012

we can\'t redefine the family.

Role of the father

What is the role of a father. Society today is trying to redefine the roles each member holds in a family. But a traditional family held within it a blueprint , a blue print set up by God.
1God created mankind in his image;in the image of God he created them;male and female he created them.
-Genesis 1:27 (NABRE)
The image that we were created in is a family. How often do we think about the trinity? We often tend to think of God as the all powerful creator and designer of the universe, but that's not what God is from all eternity. The universe had a beginning, making it finite , not infinite. So what was God before he began to create? He was and is a father. God in himself is a family. So when he created us in his image, he created Adam and Eve married.
God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth.
-Genesis 1:28 (NABRE)
Our first divine commandment was to be fertile and multiply.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh.
-Genesis 2:24 (NABRE)
They become 1 flesh so much that 9 months later that love produces life. This is the a foreshadow of the Holy Trinity. If we are created in his image then what else can we find in this earthly image? What is the main role of the earthly father? I can only give my opinion on this since many would disagree. I see the first role of the father as loving his family. Next I would say is to provide for that family. Put food on the table, a roof over their head and a loving environment. Does this tell us anything about our father in heaven? I'm going to paraphrase an analogy I heard. I don't have the text in front of me , but I'll do my best. How do my children know they are my children? Well they have my name, next they live in my house, my spouse is their mother, and they eat at my table. When we are baptized , we are baptized in the name of the FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT. this is when we are born again, we die to our old selves, and take on the name of the Holy Trinity. We are born into the family of God receiving his name.
And to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
-John 2:16 (NABRE)
Here Jesus tells us the temple is his fathers house. And since we know Jesus doesn't abolish the old testament , but rather fulfills it. I think it's safe to say the new testament church is still the house of God. So God provides a roof over our head. Now we come to my spouse is their mother. Part of the reason Catholics show such reverence to Mary is that we see her as Mother of the Son daughter of the Father , and spouse of the Holy Spirit. We see Mary as our spiritual mother. Without getting into a Marian doctrine discussion I'll ask that you be patient with this statement. Maybe that will come up in a later blog. So we have the Fathers name , we live in his house , his spouse is our mother, but do we eat at his table? In the old testament the Passover meal was a covenant meal that all Jews had to partake in. It was the seal of the covenant that God made with Moses. God commanded the Jews to repeat this meal annually to remember what he had done for them. This was also the foreshadow of the covenant meal that we call The Lords Supper. We must remember, Jesus doesn't abolish the old testament , he fulfills it. That means he not only fulfills prophesy, but also fulfills all of the old testament feasts. We see this plainly in Pentecost.
Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every family must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household.
-Exodus 12:3 (NABRE)

Your lamb must be a year–old male and without blemish. You may take it from either the sheep or the goats.
-Exodus 12:5 (NABRE)

They will take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They will consume its meat that same night, eating it roasted with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
-Exodus 12:7-8 (NABRE)

We all know Jesus is our Passover lamb, as I don't know any Christian denomination that doesn't proclaim this. But understand that it wasn't enough to only sacrifice the lamb in the old covenant. They had to consume it too.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.
-Matthew 26:26-28 (NABRE)
This is the only time in the new testament that Jesus uses the word covenant. In order for us to be part of the covenant we have to consume the Passover lamb. It is not enough for the lamb to be sacrificed only. This is why we were given the commandment "Do this in remembrance of me". This is the meal that the father provides. Jesus takes the old Passover feast and completely fulfilled it.
So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
-John 6:32 (NABRE)

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life"
-John 6:35 (NABRE)
So we see the image that the father created us , is the family. This family of Gods' comes to his table (the altar) to partake in the heavenly meal. The bread of life. So many Christians ask me if I'm getting "fed right" at the catholic church. All I can say is my Father in heaven feeds me in ways that only the angels and saints in heaven can understand.
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These words are true; they come from God.”
-Revelation 19:9 (NABRE)
When we celebrate The Lords Supper, we are partaking in the heavenly liturgy. We come to the Lords table along with the angels and saints at our side, and partake in the heavenly meal. (The Lords Supper) thank you and god bless you.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

History of the early church

I know my posts are sporadic at best, but I try to share things whenever I find something interesting. Today I found something I think is worth sharing. At some point in my walk I started reading about church history. The early Christians really had some amazing , and brave souls willing to die for their faith. One of these brave men was Ignatius of Antioch. St. Ignatius became the third bishop of Antioch, succeeding St. Evodius, who was the immediate successor of St. Peter. He heard St. John preach when he was a boy and knew St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. Seven of his letters written to various Christian communities have been preserved. Eventually, he received the martyr's crown as he was thrown to wild beasts in the arena.

"Consider how contrary to the mind of God are the heterodox in regard to the grace of God which has come to us. They have no regard for charity, none for the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, none for the man in prison, the hungry or the thirsty. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead."

"Letter to the Smyrnaeans", paragraph 6. circa 80-110 A.D.

"Take care, then who belong to God and to Jesus Christ - they are with the bishop. And those who repent and come to the unity of the Church - they too shall be of God, and will be living according to Jesus Christ. Do not err, my brethren: if anyone follow a schismatic, he will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If any man walk about with strange doctrine, he cannot lie down with the passion. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood; one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons."

-Epistle to the Philadelphians, 3:2-4:1, 110 A.D.
Although these letters are not considered inspired, or part of the canon, they give you a sense of what the earliest Christians believed. Ignatious heard John the evangelist preach as a boy, his letters are written while the apostles were still alive. I have learned so much about Jesus from my Protestant brothers and sisters. I listen to evangelical radio all day. I only hope I can return the favor to them, and help them see the truth about the catholic church. Every doctrine is scriptural. From papal infallibility to purgatory to Mary to the sacraments. Sadly not many Catholics know their own faith well enough to explain it. The Eucharist is Jesus's most beautiful gift given to us, and most Catholics don't even know what they have. If anyone is curious to know anything about the catholic church please ask. So many people have a misconception of what Catholics truly believe. Thank you all for reading my blog, especially Joyce , who always encourages me.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Why do Catholics call priests father

If it's wrong to call a priest father why does Paul refer to himself as father?
I am writing you this not to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
-1 Corinthians 4:14-15 (NABRE)
It's because Paul was a priest. Father Paul of Tarsus. Paul was consecrated as a priest in acts.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off.
-Acts 13:2-3 (NABRE)
Paul and Barnabas were both priests. When we look at the bible through Protestant lenses, we tend to overlook certain things. I hope I'm not being too pushy with my writings, but I've been discovering new things , and decided to share them.

Where is truth

I've been listening to a lot of evangelist radio lately, and I recently heard a sermon preached on truth. The pastor speaking asked a question about subjective truth. He asked, is truth subjective? Or is there a real truth. As Christians we believe truth is not objective. Meaning truth is universal, truth doesn't change with the individual. What's true for me is also true for you. If the subject is abortion the truth is that it's wrong, in any circumstance. I agree with what I heard completely. But what about the truth when it comes to Christianity? There are so many different denominations, and all claim to have the truth. Baptists believe once you're saved you can't lose your salvation, Methodists believe you can lose it. Some believe baptism is necessary some don't. If there is only one truth, there should only be one denomination. We shouldn't be picking a faith that fits our lifestyle , we should be picking a faith that proclaims the truth. The only truth.
Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth. “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.
-John 17:17-21 (NABRE)
Jesus's prayer in the farewell discourse was for us to be one. How is it that we can ever be one when so many break off to start a church that better fits a truth they can handle? There is only one truth, the question is, where is it found? I'm not here to promote any specific church. I'm only asking that we search for the truth. Which church most closely resembles the church the apostles set up? Research , seek, and find the truth.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi

My uncle recently went on a trip to the holy land. On that trip they journeyed to Caesarea Philippi. When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” -Matthew 16:13 (NABRE) He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” -Matthew 16:15-19 (NABRE) The rock in Caesarea Philippi was an ancient roman city where the Greek god Pan was worshipped. Pan was a Greek fertility god that was half man , half goat. The cavern in the rock was an opening that was said to be the entrance of Hades. It seemed to them, a bottomless pit. The roman city that once stood on this rock no longer exists. But the gates of hades still haven’t prevailed against the church Christ built. Until I get photo capabilities on my site, you can google image the rock in Caesarea Philippi. It's a giant mountain with a cave entrance. The cave entrance was used for human sacrifices to pan.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sometimes I find new things in the bible that excite me. I did a study on the gospel of John recently and found a few things I had never known before. Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need have we of witnesses? You have now heard the blasphemy; -Matthew 26:65 (NABRE) The act of the high priest tearing his robe is significant. I had never even thought of what it meant. In the gospel of John , John points out something only he knew. When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be, ” in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled [that says]:“They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots.”This is what the soldiers did. -John 19:23-24 (NABRE) John was the only disciple at the foot of the cross. He notices that Jesus's tunic is not torn. The tunic of the old high priest is torn, and the tunic of the new high priest is not. This signifies the end of the old high priesthood.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The crucifixion

This may very well be my last post. So I figured I'd explain what Calvary means to me. Christ doesn't obey suffer and die as a substitute to exempt us from the hardship of obeying suffering and dying. Rather Christ does it in order to endow us with his spirit. To reproduce in us his own life and love , his own sonship and suffering , his own death and resurrection.  Through the eyes of Luther , God unleashes his wrath upon the cross where he no longer sees his son  who was a willing victim. But God only sees our sin. This act in itself would be an injustice.  In truth we believe god saw his son, and his sons humanity never looked so beautiful .  He wants to impart that love to us, and enable us to partake in that divine sonship by offering our own lives as a sacrifice for the sake of Gods love. Christ makes up for what we lack, gives us what we need. Jesus then assumes what is ours, "human nature ". In order to impart to us what is his, "divine sonship" He does this through the holy spirit at baptism. It is not how much Christ suffered that brings us salvation. It is how much he loves us that does

Sunday, May 13, 2012

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. -John 19:26-27 (NABRE) Happy mothers day to our mothers here on earth, and our mother in heaven.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Today I want to share a little bit about a saying of Jesus. Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. -John 14:6 (NABRE) When reading this for the first time I thought Jesus was telling us that only Christians get to heaven. As I thought about this saying i realized it has a much deeper meaning.  How did men view God before Jesus came? He was like a master,we were his subjects. Think of it as a dog and his owner. You love your dog, but you can't make him your child If you're moving to an apartment complex that won't allow animals you will either give him up, or even put him to sleep. But Jesus showed us who we really are to God. Jesus himself is the revelation that God is father. Without Jesus as son, God is only known to men as a master and creator.  Jesus reveals the true nature of God. That God is father, son, and spirit. God the father loves God the son, and God the son loves God the father with the same love. That love that they pass to one another is the Holy Spirit.   None of the prophets revealed God as father. They were servants. But Jesus showed us that God is the eternal father. And he wants us to be his children.

Friday, May 11, 2012

My testimony

I grew up in a Christian home. My whole life I heard about Jesus. As a kid I believed because my parents told me to. When I reached my teen years I began to drift away, I eventually got so caught up in the world that Jesus became non-existent to me. At about 16 I was smoking pot , drinking, and pretty much being a typical rebel teen. By 18 my views on religion started changing drastically. I saw the bible as a bunch of children's stories that people believed because they feared dying. Once I convinced myself that there was no God life was pretty much a free for all. I tried to sleep with every girl I possibly could,I started taking pain killers, and pretty much became an egomaniac. I had a tendency to make myself look good by smashing someone else. I loved myself, I thought I was smarter, funnier, and better than anyone around me. At 23 I had a good job and a beautiful girl. Then she got pregnant. I did love her, so I married her. We wound up having 3 kids. This is where my testimony begins. See to me people who converted to Christ , did it out of desperation. They were drug addicts, alcoholics, or people that needed some kind of help, so somehow an evangelist got hold of them and convinced them of a higher power that they needed to redeem them. My story is different. At 29 I had 3 kids a gorgeous wife and a nice house in the suburbs. Life was great. I just felt something missing. Easter day 2011 my wife asked me if we were going to go to church, I said yes and went. It was a mediocre sermon and I left without any impact on me. It was the first time I went to church in about 6 years. I think my wedding was the last time I was in a church to that point. Anyway, that night my wife and I were outside on our porch talking, and I said to her " do you really think Jesus was literally raised from the dead?" I said it in a condescending way not believing it myself. I began to tell her my theories on it which were maybe he didn't really die on the cross, maybe he was unconscious and woke up later in the tomb. To me it was either that, or the whole story was invented completely. Either way The Word incarnate was not an option. My wife just kind of brushed it off and didn't make much of it. I think she had the mentality that a lot of people do. She didn't put much thought into it, but would never deny Gods existence. After our talk she went in the house, but I stayed outside. I remember looking up at the sky and saying "God, if you exist you'd better do something drastic to me, because the world seems too materialistic for there to be a magic man in the sky. I have 3 kids and if you want me to raise them with faith I need you to prove your existence to me, because I can't teach them something I don't believe." What happened next wasn't a huge miracle, or crazy divine encounter. But what did happen was powerful to me. I went inside and started flipping through the channels. I stumbled on a history channel documentary about the shroud of Turin. I had never heard of it before and it just caught my attention. All I can tell you is when it came on I didn't believe in God, and when it was over I did. God literally stirred up a hunger in me that I can't explain. I spent 15 years trying to disprove Gods existence to having an insatiable desire for him. It was as if he came down and dipped his finger in my brain. Over the last year the changes in my life are so incredible I can't begin to explain them. I have a thousand stories to tell, but I'll stop here for now. Please share your journey with me, and I hope you return for more of mine. Thank you, and God bless.