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.