Is Purgatory in the Bible?

January 17, 2014 | 275 comments

This may well be the most common single question I receive concerning our Catholic Faith whether it be at conferences, via email, snail mail, or any other venue. In fact, I've answered it twice today already, so I thought I might just blog about it.

We'll begin by making clear just what we mean by "Purgatory." The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

All who die in God’s grace, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven (1030).

This seems so simple. Its common sense. Scripture is very clear when it says, "But nothing unclean shall enter [heaven]" (Rev. 21:27). Hab. 1:13 says, "You [God]... are of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look on wrong..." How many of us will be perfectly sanctified at the time of our deaths? I dare say most of us will be in need of further purification in order to enter the gates of heaven after we die, if, please God, we die in a state of grace.

In light of this, the truth about Purgatory is almost self-evident to Catholics. However, to many Protestants this is one of the most repugnant of all Catholic teachings. It represents “a medieval invention nowhere to be found in the Bible.” It's often called "a denial of the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice." It is said to represent "a second-chance theology that is abominable." We get these and many more such charges here at Catholic Answers when it comes to Purgatory. And most often the inquiries come from Catholics who are asking for help to explain Purgatory to a friend, family member, or co-worker. 

A Very Good Place to Start

Perhaps the best place to start is with the most overt reference to a “Purgatory” of sorts in the Old Testament. I say a “Purgatory of sorts” because Purgatory is a teaching fully revealed in the New Testament and defined by the Catholic Church. The Old Testament people of God would not have called it “Purgatory,” but they did clearly believe that the sins of the dead could be atoned for by the living as I will now prove. This is a constitutive element of what Catholics call “Purgatory.”

In II Maccabees 12:39-46, we discover Judas Maccabeus and members of his Jewish military forces collecting the bodies of some fallen comrades who had been killed in battle. When they discovered these men were carrying “sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear” (vs. 40), Judas and his companions discerned they had died as a punishment for sin. Therefore, Judas and his men “turned to prayer beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out… He also took up a collection... and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably… Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.”

There are usually two immediate objections to the use of this text when talking with Protestants. First, they will dismiss any evidence presented therein because they do not accept the inspiration of Maccabees. And second, they will claim these men in Maccabees committed the sin of idolatry, which would be a mortal sin in Catholic theology. According to the Catholic Church, they would be in Hell where there is no possibility of atonement. Thus, and ironically so, they will say, Purgatory must be eliminated as a possible interpretation of this text if you’re Catholic.   

The Catholic Response:

Rejecting the inspiration and canonicity of II Maccabees does not negate its historical value. Maccabees aids us in knowing, purely from an historical perspective at the very least, the Jews believed in praying and making atonement for the dead shortly before the advent of Christ. This is the faith in which Jesus and the apostles were raised. And it is in this context Jesus declares in the New Testament:

And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:32, emphasis added).

This declaration of our Lord implies there are at least some sins that can be forgiven in the next life to a people who already believed it. If Jesus wanted to condemn this teaching commonly taught in Israel, he was not doing a very good job of it according to St. Matthew’s Gospel.

The next objection presents a more complex problem. The punishment for mortal sin is, in fact, definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed in Hell according to Catholic teaching (see CCC 1030). But it is a non-sequitur to conclude from this teaching that II Maccabees could not be referring to a type of Purgatory.

First of all, a careful reading of the text reveals the sin of these men to be carrying small amulets “or sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia” under their tunics as they were going in to battle. This would be closer to a Christian baseball player believing there is some kind of power in his performing superstitious rituals before going to bat than it would be to the mortal sin of idolatry. This was, most likely, a venial sin for them. But even if what they did would have been objectively grave matter, good Jews in ancient times—just like good Catholics today—believed they should always pray for the souls of those who have died “for thou [O Lord], thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men” (II Chr. 6:30). God alone knows the degree of culpability of these “sinners.” Moreover, some or all of them may have repented before they died. Both Jews and Catholic Christians always retain hope for the salvation of the deceased this side of heaven; thus, we always pray for those who have died.

A Plainer Text

In Matthew 5:24-25, Jesus is even more explicit about Purgatory.

Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny (Matthew 5:25-26).

For Catholics, Tertullian for example, in De Anima 58, written in ca. AD 208, this teaching is parabolic, using the well-known example of “prison” and the necessary penitence it represents, as a metaphor for Purgatorial suffering that will be required for lesser transgressions, represented by the “kodrantes” or “penny” of verse 26. But for many Protestants, our Lord is here giving simple instructions to his followers concerning this life exclusively. This has nothing to do with Purgatory.

This traditional Protestant interpretation is very weak contextually. These verses are found in the midst of the famous “Sermon on the Mount,” where our Lord teaches about heaven (vs. 20), hell (vs. 29-30), and both mortal (vs. 22) and venial sins (vs. 19), in a context that presents “the Kingdom of Heaven” as the ultimate goal (see verses 3-12). Our Lord goes on to say if you do not love your enemies, “what reward have you” (verse 46)? And he makes very clear these “rewards” are not of this world. They are “rewards from your Father who is in heaven” (6:1) or “treasures in heaven” (6:19). 

Further, as St. John points out in John 20:31, all Scripture is written “that believing, you may have [eternal] life in his name.” Scripture must always be viewed in the context of our full realization of the divine life in the world to come. Our present life is presented “as a vapor which appears for a little while, and afterwards shall vanish away” (James 1:17). It would seem odd to see the deeper and even “other worldly” emphasis throughout the Sermon of the Mount, excepting these two verses.

When we add to this the fact that the Greek word for prison, phulake, is the same word used by St. Peter, in I Peter 3:19, to describe the “holding place” into which Jesus descended after his death to liberate the detained spirits of Old Testament believers, the Catholic position makes even more sense. Phulake is demonstrably used in the New Testament to refer to a temporary holding place and not exclusively in this life.

The Plainest Text

I Corinthians 3:11-15 may well be the most straightforward text in all of Sacred Scripture when it comes to Purgatory:

For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble—each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

No Christian sect I know of even attempts to deny this text speaks of the judgment of God where the works of the faithful will be tested after death. It says our works will go through “fire,” figuratively speaking. In Scripture, “fire” is used metaphorically in two ways: as a purifying agent (Mal. 3:2-3; Matt. 3:11; Mark 9:49); and as that which consumes (Matt. 3:12; 2 Thess. 1:7-8). So it is a fitting symbol here for God’s judgment. Some of the “works” represented are being burned up and some are being purified. These works survive or burn according to their essential “quality” (Gr. hopoiov - of what sort).

What is being referred to cannot be heaven because there are imperfections that need to be “burned up” (see again, Rev. 21:27, Hab. 1:13). It cannot be hell because souls are being saved. So what is it? The Protestant calls it “the Judgment” and we Catholics agree. We Catholics simply specify the part of the judgment of the saved where imperfections are purged as “Purgatory.”

Objection!

The Protestant respondent will immediately spotlight the fact that there is no mention, at least explicitly, of “the cleansing of sin” anywhere in the text. There is only the testing of works. The focus is on the rewards believers will receive for their service, not on how their character is cleansed from sin or imperfection. And the believers here watch their works go through the fire, but they escape it!

First, what are sins, but bad or wicked works (see Matthew 7:21-23, John 8:40, Galatians 5:19-21)? If these “works” do not represent sins and imperfections, why would they need to be eliminated? Second, it is impossible for a “work” to be cleansed apart from the human being who performed it. We are, in a certain sense, what we do when it comes to our moral choices. There is no such thing as a “work” floating around somewhere detached from a human being that could be cleansed apart from that human being. The idea of works being separate from persons does not make sense.

Most importantly, however, this idea of “works” being “burned up” apart from the soul that performed the work contradicts the text itself. The text does say the works will be tested by fire, but “if the work survives... he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss.” And, “he will be saved, but only as through fire” (Gr. dia puros). The truth is: both the works of the individual and the individual will go through the cleansing “fire” described by St. Paul in order that “he” might finally be saved and enter into the joy of the Lord. Sounds an awful lot like Purgatory.

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Tim Staples is Director of Apologetics and Evangelization here at Catholic Answers, but he was not always Catholic. Tim was raised a Southern Baptist. Although he fell away from the faith of his childhood, Tim came back to faith in Christ during his late teen years through the witness of Christian...

Comments by Catholic.com Members

#1  Isaac Hernandez - South Gate, California

I read your background and was curious, what made you leave the Southern Baptist Church of your youth?
What caused you to convert to Catholicism in 1988 instead of proving it wrong?
What proof did you find, or what caused you to consider Catholicism as the correct form of Christianity?

January 18, 2014 at 7:21 pm PST
#2  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Isaac, I left the Baptist ecclesial community when I fell away from my faith in my teen years. I came back to faith in Christ in the Assemblies of God when I was 18.
It was meeting a Catholic Marine when I was serving in the USMC that caused me to study Catholicism seriously and led me to see the truth of Catholicism.
It started with little things like seeing why Catholics call priests "father." It moved to seeing the truth about contraception being contrary to God's law, praying to saints, salvation by faith, but not by faith alone, etc. It was really a doctrine by doctrine process for me culminating in seeing the error of "sola scriptura" and the truth of both the Papacy and apostolic succession.
The last hurdles for me were the Marian dogmas, but I found each of them to be entirely biblical. From there, there was no where else to go but home to Rome.

January 18, 2014 at 10:34 pm PST
#3  Sharon Legere - Leland, North Carolina

I find it interesting that in your description of how protestants have responded to purgatory as cleansing of sin, that they may retort:
"There is only the testing of 'works'. The focus is on the rewards believers will receive for their service..."

Interesting in that they are the first to discount 'works' as being worthy of any consideration regarding salvation, and yet they would use the 'works' card to defend a different argument (purgatory). I wish they could view themselves on tape or really listen to these discussions because they truly contradict themselves so often. Many have tunnel vision it would seem.

January 19, 2014 at 1:52 pm PST
#4  Isaac Hernandez - South Gate, California

According to Catholic Doctrine, the Purgatory is a place where sins which were not cleaned are destroyed before a soul is able to enter heaven, because sin cannot enter heaven.
You have stated Matthew 12:32, that there are sins that cannot be forgiven, such as sins against the Holy Spirit.
According to the passage, the Pharisees slandered the Holy Spirit by knowledgeably attributing His work to the Devil, thus committing the "unpardonable sin."Their sin was not an act of impulse or ignorance, but the result of a continued and willful rejection of the truth concerning Jesus. It was sin against spiritual knowledge, for they had ample evidence of the truth from the words and deeds of Jesus. In deliberately choosing to insult the Spirit, they forfeited His ministry in their lives and will not be forgiven.
John 3:16, as you know states: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
What Jesus did on the cross has brought salvation to any one who accepts, and believes in Him, and chooses to carry their cross and follow Him.
On the other hand, those who sin against spiritual knowledge, such as the pharisees, who had much evidence of the truth from the words and deeds of Jesus, and still reject and insult the Spirit, and do not accept Him for who He is;will not enter heaven.
For Jesus is the way the truth and the life, no one will go to the Father but by Him.
The Pharisees will not enter heaven because they have not accepted Christ. They will not be forgiven in earth, or in the day of judgement because they have rejected His teachings.
There is no way they can enter heaven, and no possibility of being cleansed in "purgatory", because I believe it is only heaven or hell.
What Jesus did on the cross was enough to forgive All the sins of All humanity, and all we have to do is accept His gift and carry our cross day by day.
The Pharisees did not enter heaven because they did not accept Jesus in their heart, and there is no other way,not even purgatory, but by Jesus Christ.
http://www.jashow.org/wiki/index.php/Does_the_Bible_teach_that_there_is_a_place_called_purgatory%3F

January 19, 2014 at 4:52 pm PST
#5  Ted Gehan - Jenison, Michigan

I'd like to comment to Isaac. Protestants consider forgiveness of sin and the debt due to sin (or necessary penace) as the same. It is of course impossible for us to completely pay for the debt due to sin, but God wants us to participate. It is no different then if you raise your child to have to work off having broken a window (which you alone can actually fix) by him doing some chores. It is the leason that there is a need to make amends, take responsibility and reconcile.

In the case of purgatory substituting for God's forgiveness, that is a mistake. One must be sorry for their sins to be forgiven, and purgatory is for purging imperfections prior to being admitted to heaven. The Pharisees must have asked for forgiveness at some time up to their death to be saved. If saved, they would then need to be purified. If they were obstinant in their sin, there is no purgatory. Purgatory is only for those saved. Sinning against the holy spirit is the unforgivable sin when you persist. The holy spirit calls you your whole life, trying to inspire, direct, love and teach you. When you cooperate with the holy spirit you experience the fruits thereof. The twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit are charity (or love), joy, peace, patience, benignity (or kindness), goodness, longanimity (or long suffering), mildness, faith, modesty, continency, and chastity.The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude (or courage), knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord

January 20, 2014 at 7:03 am PST
#6  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Good points, Ted. Isaac seems to be under the impression that Purgatory is a "second-chance theology." It is not. Those who die with mortal sin on their souls will be separated from God for all eternity. Purgatory is only for those who have been saved (they have faith, if they are adults, and have been baptized - see Mark 16:16; I Peter 3:21), and are in a state of grace (using St. Paul's words from Romans 5:1-2, they "have obtained access to this grace in which [they] stand...").
Their eternity has already been determined at death. They are going either to heaven or hell. Purgatory refers to the just or "saved," who have minor imperfections that need to be cleansed or perfected.
According to I Cor. 3, these will be saved, but they have to go through the "fire" in order to purify any imperfections that would not prohibit them from going to heaven ever (i.e., a mortal sin). For those who die in mortal sin, Purgatory is not an option.
I Cor. 3 is talking about minor defects that would prohibit them from heaven if not purified, but it speaks of these defects that can still be purified after death. Thus, God purifies these who have these minor defects so that "they might be saved, but so as through fire."
And all of this occurs only through the merits of Jesus Christ, our one and only savior.

January 20, 2014 at 11:30 am PST
#7  Mike Wright - Rapid City, South Dakota

The doctrine of Purgatory is NOT a Christian doctrine it is a Catholic doctrine. God's Word clearly states that What He (Yeshua) did on the cross is total, complete and final in dealing with our sin. Hebrews 9:27 states this VERY clearly. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:Hebrews 9:27" There isn't anything we or anyone can do to change the eternal position of a person once they have died. The thief on the cross didn't go to "Purgatory" if he did then once again Jesus would be a liar. "Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."
Many Catholic doctrines make Jesus a liar if the Catholic doctrines were to be true. I left the Catholic church in 1979 I became a Christian in 1986 and witness to the few Catholic family members I have left.

January 25, 2014 at 6:44 pm PST
#8  Mike Wright - Rapid City, South Dakota

To believe in Purgatory is to go directly agains God's Word

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

What Yeshua did on the cross cleanses us from all sin, past, present AND furture. Praise His Holy Name.

January 25, 2014 at 6:47 pm PST
#9  Pegon Zellschmidt - Covington, Louisiana

Mike- According to you, making 'Jesus a liar' is immaterial to getting into Heaven. Those who convert to Catholicism, 'making Jesus a liar' by their acceptance of Purgatory are still going to Heaven. Once saved, always saved" as the saying goes.

January 27, 2014 at 8:55 am PST
#10  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Mike, you made at least seven mistakes. 1. Purgatory is alluded to in the Bible in I Cor. 3:11-15 as I said in my post. 2. Catholics are the first Christians, so if its Catholic doctrine, it's Christian doctrine. 3. We agree that Christ is the propitiation for our sins, but we still have to apply what he did on the cross to our lives by our cooperation (see I John 1:7-9). Purgatory is another way the finished work of Christ is applied to our lives. 4. Once we die, our eternity is sealed. If we have reached the age of accountability, there are only two possibilities: heaven or hell. Purgatory is a clean-up station on the way to heaven where the merits of Christ and his saints serve to cleanse members of Christ who are in need so that they may "walk with [Christ] in white" (Rev. 3:4; cf. 19:8). So if you are objecting to our prayers being able to take someone from hell to heaven after death you are correct to object. That would be false. But if you are saying our prayers cannot aid someone who is in need of final purification, you are wrong. As members of the body of Christ we can indeed "ask, and God will give him life... whose sin is not deadly" (I John 5:16). 5. We agree that there is an immediate judgment after death as Heb. 9:27 says, but I Cor. 3:11-15 includes this state of purging as part of that judgment. 6. The thief on the cross may not have needed further purification after death. He suffered greatly on the cross and his penance may have been sufficient, but the text does not say. It only says he would be with Christ "in paradise" that day. That would have represented the "holding place" that all of the Old Testament dead went to before the resurrection (see I Peter 3:19). He would not have been able to attain to the beatific vision until the resurrection (see Romans 4:25) three days later. He may well have suffered in Purgatory in that time, or he may not have (if he had no need). God alone knows. But your argument is moot. Moreover, the sufferings in Purgatory can be more intensive and last a lesser amount of "time." Again, that's God's business. 7. I'm sorry to hear you left the Catholic Church. You need to come back to the Church Jesus Christ established (the Catholic Church) rather than attend these man-made denominations founded upon "the traditions of men."

January 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm PST
#11  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Mike, to answer your next points, the Bible never says what Jesus did on the cross "cleanses all of our sins, past, present and future," if by that you mean there is nothing we have to do in order for Christ's sacrifice to be efficacious in our lives. In fact, the context of the very text you cited makes that clear. "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves... If we confess our sins, he... will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Verse 7 says, "If we walk in the light as he is in the light... the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us..." We must "walk;" we must "confess," in order for Christ's sacrifice to be applied to our lives. I Cor. 3:11-15 includes suffering in that mix as well (as does Romans 8:17; Heb. 12:10-14; II Cor. 1:6; Col. 1:24, etc.).

January 27, 2014 at 4:10 pm PST
#12  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,
You have made at least 7 major errors here.
1. The concept of Purgatory pre-dates Christianity as I said in my post. You find the concept in II Macc. 12:39-46. It was alluded to by Jesus Christ in texts like Matt. 5:24-25 and 12:32. And it was taught from the earliest years of the Christian era. We have found prayers to and for the deceased on the walls of the catacombs where persecuted Christians often had to flee in the first three centuries of the Christian era. Indeed, some of the earliest Christian writings outside the New Testament, like the Acts of Paul and Thecla, and the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity (both written during the second century), refer to the Christian practice of praying for the dead. Tertullian taught prayer for those who have died in ca. AD 200. St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine asked her son, in the fourth century, to remember to pray for her soul in his Masses after she was to die. St. Augustine taught on Purgatory in depth (fourth and fifth centuries) as did Pope Gregory the Great, who reigned from A.D. 590–604. And this is just scratching the surface of what we find long before the 12th century.
2. We agree that we cannot save ourselves apart from Christ. Purgatory has nothing to do with that. Purgatory is one of the many ways Jesus Christ has chosen to save us (I Cor. 3:15, "... he, himself will be saved, but so as through fire").
3. We agree that Jesus Christ is "the propitiation for our sins" (I John 2:1-2). It is the blood of Jesus Christ alone that takes away our sins. However, we have to "walk in the light as he is in the light" in order for his blood to cleanse us (I John 1:7). We have to confess our sins in order for his blood to made effectual in our lives (I John 1:7-9). And we have to be "wholly sanctified, spirit, soul, and body" (I Thess. 5:23, Heb. 12:14), whether in this life or the next in order to go to heaven and finally be saved (I Cor. 3:11-15).
4. St. Paul disagrees with you that there is no judgment for Christians. II Cor. 5:10 says, "We all must stand before the Judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body." I Cor. 3:11-15 describes that judgment for Christians. Notice, this is for those who will be finally "saved." The good is rewarded and the imperfections are burned away and this occurs after death. Sounds like Purgatory because it is Purgatory.
5. The judgment of I Cor. 3 is not the same as the baptism of fire that Jesus was going to go through. The "baptism of fire" refers to the persecution and ultimately the crucifixion that Jesus experienced. The apostles and Christians down through the centuries will experience that. But Jesus was not judged after death. He is God. He is the judge. He is judged by no one. I Cor. 3 speaks of judgment after death.
6. The "sale of Indulgences" is a myth invented by the Reformers. Tetzel's presentation of Indulgences was flawed, but he never taught, nor is it even possible, Indulgences to be able to be bought or sold. I would suggest you get my CD set called "God's Perfect Plan: Purgatory and Indulgences Explained," for a thorough historical and theological explication.
7. Again, yes, Jesus is the propitiation for our sins. He died on the cross for us. But the Bible teaches we must cooperate with what Christ did for us in order for it to be made effectual in our lives (I John 1:7-9, I Cor. 10:15-17, etc.).

February 9, 2014 at 11:01 am PST
#13  david pruit - dallas, Texas

Dick, think about this for a moment using your heart. God the Father is so gloriously and amazingly perfect, so unimaginably bright, He is a burning fire that sin and imperfection cannot coexist with. Purgatory is not a bad thing. It's out of God's own infinite love for us that it is necessary. Any tiny bit of sinfulness remaining in us upon our death would cause us to burn in pain standing face to face with the almighty creator. Yes we are washed in renewal by Christ, but we still live in a fallen world and are subject to our sinful tendencies. How merciful of God to cleanse us fully before entering into His presence? This is a process which does not have a defined amount of "time" as we understand time. God created time and is outside of time. It takes just as long as God wills it to take. Some suggest this to resemble "the twinkling of an eye". Others suggest more to the journey. "Time will tell", but God will certainly have a time to judge man by their heart. So just as we in this life seek to "run the race" diligently awaiting the return of our master, it is this purgatorial arena where our final training is completed. Note that purgatory in no way shape or form detracts from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, it is through grace that such a thing exists; a place where our cooperation with grace can finally be perfected. In some ways, I look forward to this time, even if it is simply a chance to share in some portion of our saviors suffering, it is well worth it.

February 9, 2014 at 10:44 pm PST
#14  Lewelyn Fidler - Lehi, Utah

**********************
ERHHHRR Boy's read this post from top down, you talk about Sin and Christ as the "way" to cleanse them, dieing on the cross....?

BUT are you not forgetting of a "event" several hours before he was put up?

The Garden? is this not where Christ suffered the "cost" ie "paid the price" of Sin. Our Father, even He is bound by Natural Laws of the Universe, Sin has a price that has to be paid, this cannot be "so-called " waved away with a flick of a finger or everything that God and His son have created, built and the Sacrifice that of our Brother Jesus paid...would be for not or just on big cosmic joke played out...

In the Garden Christ show His mercy and the TrueLove He has for us took upon and bore the punishment so that you and you and I along with the rest of Humanity will not have to, bled from every pore....that is pain I never even want to see it!

Christ had to be put up on the cross, the innocent sacrifice thus the Laws are satisfied, C.S. Lewis Narnia gives a very good illustration of this concept.

February 11, 2014 at 5:38 am PST
#15  david pruit - dallas, Texas

Dick, a couple questions. Why would God be opposed suddenly to some form of middle grounds if He wasn't opposed before? (1 Pet 3:19, regarding "limbo" of the fathers?). What do you make of what Paul says in 1 Cor 3:15 regarding being saved (note the future tense) but only as if through fire? As another article here put it, It is entirely correct to say that Christ accomplished all of our salvation for us on the cross. But that does not settle the question of how this redemption is applied to us. Scripture reveals that it is applied to us over the course of time through, among other things, the process of sanctification through which the Christian is made holy. Sanctification involves suffering (Rom. 5:3–5), and purgatory is the final stage of sanctification that some of us need to undergo before we enter heaven. Purgatory is the final phase of Christ’s applying to us the purifying redemption that he accomplished for us by his death on the cross. As I said before there is no contradiction that Christs sacrifice was once and for all totally sufficient. Our suffering in sanctification does not take away from the cross. Rather, the cross produces our sanctification, which results in our suffering, because "for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness" (Heb. 12:11). And what of other passages, such as such as 2 Thessalonians 2:13, which declares that God chose us "to be saved through sanctification by the Spirit." Sanctification is thus not an option, something that may or may not happen before one gets into heaven. It is an absolute requirement, as Hebrews 12:14 states that we must strive "for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."

All cleansing, all sanctification, all salvation, all "purgatory" whether in this life or immediately following, is ONLY possible THROUGH Christ. It does not take away from Him and place responsibility for us to atone for our own sins. Rather we must work through and with his redemptive grace. You see its a blessing, this process we are in now, of becoming continually closer to Him through Christ. "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. (1 cor 13:12-13).

I am also interested on your take of present and future tense salvation passages. Please reference 1 Peter 1:8-9 "Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving ... the salvation of your souls." Or Phil 2:12 "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" or any of the following: "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." (Romans 5:9-10)

"And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed." (Romans 13:11)

"If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." (1Corinthians 3:15)

" ... deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (1Corinthians 5:5)

Surely you must have an explanation for each one of these that fits the dogma you are proposing?

February 11, 2014 at 5:40 am PST
#16  david pruit - dallas, Texas

Lewelyn, if we are to be united with Christ, should we not also rejoice in our sufferings? Romans 5:3-5: "not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us"

Note that its not our suffering that reconciles us to God. Christs suffering ONLY can do that. But we can be more united to Christ through suffering. And that is the point.

February 11, 2014 at 5:51 am PST
#17  Lewelyn Fidler - Lehi, Utah

The Atonement is, what as his, Mercy will allow us and everybody entry into our Fathers House, this is why Christ stated; "only" threw Him is the doorway open, He opened this door from the Cross to his Resurrection, part of the Millennium (1000 years) is becouse many will need all of the this time to be "purged" thus part of the "Purgatory" (or the Parideice that Jesus allured to upon the cross) and why this space will be needed.

Repentance... first confession, amends if possible or needed, promises of not repeating...this is the critical, many will say Christ already paid the price so I am "covered" thus recommitting the sin, Christ forgave the adulterous but what did he instruct to her? "sin no more" no Christ has not paid unto and including the future becouse He has instructed us to "sin no more"

February 11, 2014 at 6:10 am PST
#18  Lewelyn Fidler - Lehi, Utah

Rejoice and Rejoice, still does not mean that I will purposely run straight into and or directly seek it out, I already know It will come by upon of its own!

I seek/look for Christ becouse I KNOW and want to "know" Him, for is not he my elder brother, is it not He that volunteered to be the one for the sacrifice so that I, you, everyone else does not be the one to "bleed from every pore" To Have Jesus at my side as my Advocate before Father Judgment Bench? for this is exactly what Christ as to become, Love so pure to hols and to sway the Fathers wrath for my sake!

February 11, 2014 at 6:20 am PST
#19  Lewelyn Fidler - Lehi, Utah

I know that I am not here on Earth to spend a entire life time no matter long or short to "suffer' THEIR IS ALSO joy TO BE HAD! Joy as I have help all four of my children as they where born, they Joy of receiving that new truck straight from the factory that I ordered (all bells and whistles) 6 month before and the sorrow to give it up short time later for the sake of my family, took me eight years to earn the Class * truck, suffering come along enough that I do not have to actively seek it out. Now I enjoy time with my children much more for time I now have.

Suffering makes the Joy much more appreciated...

February 11, 2014 at 6:29 am PST
#20  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,

In your comment #15, you make several more errors. The first is perhaps my fault because I was not clear enough. I did not say "Indulgences" were invented by the Reformers; I said "the sale of Indulgences" was invented by the Reformers. "Alms Indulgences" as they were called, or giving alms as part of what is involved with the remission of sins is certainly biblical and historical, as long as they are truly given "from within," as Jesus said, and not just for show. In Luke 11:41, Jesus said precisely this. In Acts 10:1-4, alms was part of what the Angel Gabriel gave as reasons why Cornelius was "acceptable to God" (see also Acts 10:34-35). The idea of our good works being involved in the removal of sins both for ourselves and for others, which is what Indulgences are all about, is entirely biblical (I John 1:7-9; Col. 1:24; II Cor. 1:6; Luke 7:47; Rev. 19:8, etc.). Alms is just one among many just works a man can perform in and through the power of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. The Church discontinued "Alms Indulgences" because of the misunderstandings surrounding them, but that does not mean alms are no longer meritorious before God. They are. They are as much a part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as any other teaching. Moreover, almsgiving is still meritorious for making atonement for sins just as any other good work is (see also Proverbs 16:6; Psalm 106:30-31; Matt. 10:42; James 2:24, etc.).

2. When you said "The Catholic Church has admitted 'the Apocrypha' is not inspired by God," you are correct. "The Apocrypha" refers to ancient texts that were excluded from the Canon of Scripture by the Church. However, the Church has always, for 2,000 years, acknowledged the inspiration of I and II Maccabees, Judith, Wisdom, Tobit, Baruch, Sirach and the parts of Daniel and Esther the Protestants removed from the Bible. Those books are not part of "the Apocrypha." They are part of the Bible.

3. Christians were also referred to as "Catholic" as is evidenced by the fact that St. Ignatius, an Eastern bishop, used the term in AD 107. And this was no surprise to anyone. This was just part of Christian vocabulary in the first and second centuries. The term comes from the description of the Church given in Eph. 1:22-23, "the body of Christ, the fullness of him who fills all in all." "Catholic" comes from the Greek terms "kata" (according to) and "holokos" (which means "complete" or "full," which is where the word "holocaust" comes from). The Church is "Catholic" because the Church is as Eph. 1:22-23 says, "The fullness of him who fills all in all." In other words she is that which is "kata - holokos" or "according to the fullness." The Church is Catholic because Eph. 1:22-23 says she is. "Catholic" is a term that describes how Eph. 1:22-23 describes the Church without the biblical text actually using the term just like God is described in Scripture as a "Trinity" before the term was ever adopted. "Trinity" describes what we see God to be in Scripture.

3. Yes, Theodosius declared Christianity to be the religion of the Roman Empire in AD 380, but he did not only permit Christianity in the Empire. It is true he neither condoned or condemned the destruction of pagan temples that ensued, and that was wrong, but he did not declare being a pagan to be "atheistic, illegal, and traitorous" as you claim. There is no record of that. He had his flaws, but that was not one of them. In fact, he showed humility in submitting to confession and penance when St. Ambrose confronted him about his unjust dealing with the Thessalonian riots of AD 390. But this has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

4. When I say Purgatory is "one of the many ways Jesus Christ has chosen to save us," the key is "Jesus Christ has chosen" to do so. It is Christ who saves us "by grace through faith" as Eph. 2:8-9 says. This is not denying Jesus is the only way; it is acknowledging that Jesus uses grace and faith as his instruments of salvation. He also uses our "obedience" (Romans 6:16; Heb. 5:8-9), our suffering in union with him (Col. 1:24, II Cor. 1:6, Romans 8:17, Heb. 12:10), our perseverance (Matt. 10:22, Rev. 2:10), the Eucharist (John 6:53, I Cor. 10:15-17), our cooperation (I John 1:7-9), etc. I simply acknowledged that I Cor. 3:15 also says the just who have minor imperfections on their souls "will be saved, yet so as through fire." That's simply what the Bible says. So, yes, Jesus is the only way to salvation, but Jesus uses many different avenues to bring his salvation to us.

5. Yes, Jesus said in John 5:24 that the faithful "have everlasting life" and he that believes in Jesus "does not come unto judgment," but you have to see that in the context of all Scripture and not just take this alone. Jesus is here contrasting those who will be raised "to the resurrection of life" verses "the resurrection of judgment." It is the damned that will experience "the resurrection of judgment." That is why he says the just will not experience "the judgment." It is not that they won't experience any judgment; they will. Jesus makes that very plain in Matt. 25:31-46 and St. Paul makes that very plain in I Cor. 3. You are taking this out of context.
Also, any and all who are in Christ experience everlasting life right now, but they can also lose everlasting life through sin as Jesus also makes clear in Matt. 24:45-51 and St. Paul makes clear in Eph. 5:3-5.
And yes, we who are baptized and have received the Holy Spirit in Confirmation are "sealed unto the day of redemption," but we can choose to walk away from, or break that seal, and be lost as St. Paul warned in I Cor. 9:24-27, and St. Peter warned in II Peter 2:20-22.

6. When you say, "any cleansing that needs done has been done for you by JESUS," you give only a partial truth. Yes, Jesus "took away our sins" as "the lamb of God" of John 1:29. He is "the propitiation for our sins, and not only our sins, but the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:1-2). That is true objectively. Jesus died to take away all sins of every human being that has ever or will ever be born. But not everyone will be saved. Why? Because we have to do something (a lot of things, in fact) in order for the blood of Christ to actually cleanse us subjectively. I John 1:7-9 says we have to "walk in the light" and "confess our sins" in order for the blood of Christ to cleanses us from all unrighteousness and in order for God to forgive us of our sins.

7. We do not reject "Jesus' full and total payment" for our sins. We simply acknowledge that he requires us to freely make a withdrawal from Jesus' account by doing what he tells us we must do. And BTW - Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not "the only sin that will take you to Hell." There are lots of them that will get that job done (see I Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:3-5; Col 3:5-8; Rev. 21:8, etc.).

February 11, 2014 at 5:17 pm PST
#21  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Lewelyn,
In your comment #16 you made a profound statement when you indicated that Jesus also suffered for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. You are correct. Though Jesus' death on the cross was essential for our salvation as well because "without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins" (Heb. 9:22), Jesus' entire life was salvific. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has an excellent summary of this in paragraph 517. You can check it out at www.scborromeo.org.
But I will take issue with what I think you are getting at in the rest of your post; and that is, that Jesus suffered and dies so that we don't have to. Jesus did not suffer and die so that we don't have to suffer and die; he suffered and died in order to make our suffering and death salvific (see Luke 9:23; Col. 1:24; Roman 8:17, etc.). Jesus empowered us to be able to suffer with him, in him, and through him so that we can be glorified with him, in him, and through him.

February 11, 2014 at 5:27 pm PST
#22  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Lewelyn,

You make some good points in your comment #19. It is only through Christ that we can be saved. However, the "1000 year reign of Christ" in Rev. 20 refers to the Christian era that began 2,000 years ago. Remember, the Book of Revelation uses lots of symbols and symbolic numbers. Purgatory only exists until the Final Judgment when Jesus comes. This is the Second Coming at the end of time. The "1000 years" of Revelation ends when Jesus comes back again.

I also get what you are trying to say when you say Christ has not "paid" for our future sins. But that is incorrect. Remember this: Jesus' sacrifice is of infinite value. He paid the price for all sin. However, what he did on the cross is not effectual in our lives until we apply it to our lives by confessing our sins and walking with him (see I John 1:7-9).

You are right we should "go and sin no more" as Jesus said. I know you are getting at the false notion that our sins are already forgiven, past, present and future. You are right to point out that error.

February 11, 2014 at 5:44 pm PST
#23  Timothy Yakich - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 Corinthians 3:11-15...here's what vv. 16-17 say :
16 Do you not know that YOU are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in YOU? 17 If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple YOU are. - Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)
And in Isaiah 64:6...We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
The problem with the Catholic Purgatory is that it is an offense to Jesus' redemptive work on the cross.
And please read Romans 6:9-11; Hebrews 7:27;9:12; and 9:26.
Catholics must ask the question: "If there really is a purgatory, then why did God have Jesus suffer and die on the cross? If He wasn't the Perfect sacrifice, once for all, then what was the point?"
If you're drowning in the ocean and the Coast Guard lowers the rescuer and you reach out to them to be rescued, on the way up to the helicopter, do they stop along the way to see if you are worthy or not? Jesus is our Savior. Nothing else needs to be done for us to enter heaven, just as there was nothing else the thief on the cross needed.

February 14, 2014 at 12:54 pm PST
#24  david pruit - dallas, Texas

So if I'm saved, then 10 years from now I decide it's not a big deal to go ahead and sin a little bit and heck maybe it's not such a big deal to sin a bit more and maybe even cheat or steal some stuff or for that matter who cares let's just live whatever life I want. I prayed. I believed. In fact I believe so much that no matter what I do now it doesnt matter. Still saved.
Does this sound like the gospel message to you?

February 15, 2014 at 5:29 pm PST
#25  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Timothy,
The fact that St. Paul warns us not to destroy God's temple, which is what we are as Christians means we must continue to live holy lives if we want to make heaven our home. See II Cor. 6:16-18, and Matt. 5:44-45.
Isaiah was living in a corrupt time and he was writing words of repentance when he said, in Is. 64:6, "We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." But in verse 5, he also said, "Thou meetest him that joyfully works righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways. Behold, thou wast angry, and we sinned;
in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?" This is simply a call to repentance.
Purgatory is anything but an "offense to Jesus' redemptive work." It is the application of Jesus' redemptive work, by grace, in the lives of the faithful. That is why I Cor. 3:15 says, "they shall be saved, but so as through fire." Those who endure the suffering of Purgatory are saved by Christ's redemptive work. You proceed from the false assumption that because Jesus died on the cross for us that there is nothing we have to do in order for his finished work to be applied to our lives. The Bible makes it very clear that we have to do something. We have to accept what Jesus did and allow it to transform us again and again (see I John 1:7-9).
We Catholics agree with the texts you cite that emphasize the sacrifice of Christ to be "once for all." But again, if we do not accept what he did in our lives, it is no avail to us.
You ask, "If there really is a purgatory, then why did God have Jesus suffer and die on the cross? If He wasn't the Perfect sacrifice, once for all, then what was the point?"
The point is that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission for our sins." It is only because of the shedding of Christ's blood that souls in Purgatory can be cleansed and saved. It is only because his sacrifice was infinite and perfect that its merits are efficacious before God when they are applied to our lives.
We are not talking about the Coast Guard, we are talking about almighty God. And in order to enter into his presence, according to Hab. 1:13, Rev. 21:27, etc., we must be fully sanctified. So to use your analogy, God saves us in a much more perfect way than the "Coast Guard." When we grab ahold of God's "rope," he cleanses us perfectly, takes away all of the wetness and grime from the ocean and makes us perfect before he hauls us up into the helicopter (heaven). That's what Purgatory is all about.
Yes, "Jesus is our Savior," but no matter who you are; the thief on the cross or anyone else, you must call out to Jesus in order to be saved, and you must be fully sanctified (Matt. 5:48). Whether the thief was fully sanctified through his suffering on the cross, or whether he had to be purified still when he went to "paradise," which was the holding place of the righteous, where the just remained until the resurrection (I Peter 3:19), the same Scripture refers to everyone. My suspicion is that he was fully sanctified through his suffering so there was no need for Purgatory for him, but the text does not tell us. All it says is that he would be with Christ in "paradise" that "day." But this in no way denies Purgatory's existence.

February 16, 2014 at 10:36 am PST
#26  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

David,
We agree as Catholics that we were dead in sin and trespasses and that we have been saved, born anew, through Jesus Christ.
We agree that we can do nothing on our own to save ourselves. We agree that we have become a new creation in Jesus Christ. We agree Jesus is the only way to salvation. We agree we can now call God Father as a result of being incorporated into Jesus Christ. We agree we can go directly to the throne of God in prayer. We also agree we can "know" we have eternal life, in the sense of having a "confident assurance" (see I John 5:14) that God has saved us and will save us if we remain in him (see I John 2:24).
But none of this means we do not still have to walk with the Lord in order to continue to be cleansed from sin. None of this means we do not have to confess our sins in order to be forgiven of our sins. None of this means that we do not have to forgive our brothers in order to be forgiven by God. None of this means we do not have to continue to love our enemies in order to be sons of God (Matt. 5:44). None of this means we cannot walk away from God (see II Peter 2:20-22; Matt. 24:45-51), and lose our salvation (Heb. 6:4-6). And none of this means we do not have to be fully sanctified, either in this life or the next, in order to make heaven our eternal home (Matt. 5:48; Heb. 12:14; I Cor. 3:11-15).

February 16, 2014 at 10:50 am PST
#27  Timothy Yakich - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Here's the bottom line, because we can go back and forth quoting Scripture verses until we're blue in the face. Do you trust soley in Jesus' redemptive work on the cross or not? Thomas doubted, as did others, yet Jesus' grace abounded and Thomas is in heaven because of it. If you want to believe that purgatory is needed for you to enter heaven, that's ultimately going to be between you and God at the time of your earthly death. I personally don't wager against God, because His promises are certain. I can't fathom how one could read Romans and Galatians (any Scripture fo rthat matter) and come away believing that God's promises, His grace (unmeritted favor), His forgiveness, and His mercy are not completely given to those who have faith in His Word. Jesus warns us not to be deceived, and that is a personal warning that each of us has to deal with. To those who rely on extra-biblical teachings, revelations, tenets, traditions, catechisms, etc. are walking down a path that takes their focus off of our Lord Jesus, which is an abomination to Him. It breaks my heart that Catholics have to add to Jesus' ultimate sacrifice on the cross. He alone is Lord and Savior. He alone gives us His grace. I know that this really all stems from how Mary is viewed by the Catholic church...Luke 2:7 states, "...and she [Mary] gave birth to her FIRSTBORN, a son." Why would the Word of God call Jesus Mary's firstborn if there were none who followed? Luke 11:28, to the woman in the crowd who called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you", Jesus says, "Blessed RATHER are those who hear the word of God and obey it." I implure you, please, fall on your knees and ask God to give you the strength to repent from your sins, then ask Him to forgive you for not soley depending on Him, and turn your life over to the One True God, Jesus Christ.

February 17, 2014 at 7:55 am PST
#28  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,
We agree that Christ is the propitiation for our sins and that his is an infinitely perfect sacrifice. But what you are missing is man's part. Empowered by God's grace, we must choose to say yes to God, and not just one time, but daily (Luke 9:23; Rev. 2:10; Matt. 24:45-51; II Peter 2:20-22, etc.).
We Catholics agree with all of the verses you cited. It is when you start interpreting them that you get into trouble and begin to err.

February 17, 2014 at 4:14 pm PST
#29  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Timothy,
The Catholic Church is not adding to Christ's sacrifice by saying we have to accept it and believe in it in order to be saved. It is Christ and his sacrifice that empowers us to accept Christ and his sacrifice and to believe. But we must believe nonetheless (John 3:16). We are not adding to his sacrifice by saying that we have to obey Christ because it is Christ who empowers us to be able to obey him. But we must obey, nonetheless (Heb. 5:8-9; Romans 6:16; Acts 5:32; etc.). We are not adding to Christ's sacrifice by saying we have to be holy because it is Christ who empowers us to be holy (Matt. 5:48; Heb. 12:14; I Tim. 2:15; etc.).
Actually, we are simply believing Scripture.
This does not stem from how Mary is viewed in Scripture. Mary is just the greatest example of how God saves us. If you notice, I never cited anything about Mary in order to demonstrate the truth about salvation.
But as long as you are going there, you've made another couple of errors. 1. Jesus being called "the firstborn" in Luke 2:7 does not imply there has to be a second-born. "The firstborn" was a title that was given to every firstborn male in the Old Testament, whether or not there was a second-born (see Exodus 13:1-2). In other words, the parents did not have to wait until there was a second-born before they could call the first male child the "firstborn." And if the mother died in giving birth to the "firstborn," he would still be called the "firstborn." 2. The Greek word translated "blessed rather" (menounge, in Greek) in Luke 11:28 actually means, "Yes, but even more so," or, "Indeed, but even more," pronouncing a double blessing upon Mary. Not only was she blessed in giving birth to the Messiah (and BTW, Jesus was not denying giving birth to be a blessing), but she is even more blessed for being the first example of one who "hears the word of God and keeps it" (see Luke 1:38).
If I were to interpret this text the way you see it, that would leave Jesus as nothing more than a false prophet. He would be saying Mary is not blessed, while Luke 1:42 and Luke 1:48 say she is. Jesus cannot contradict Scripture. Jesus is actually pointing out that fleshly ties are not as important as spiritual ones. Mary being the Mother of Jesus is not nearly as important as her being a disciple of Jesus. According to Scripture she is doubly blessed because she is both.
And one final word: We Catholics do trust entirely in Christ for our salvation. We just believe we have to trust in him and continue to trust in him by obeying him until death because that is what the Bible teaches (Rev. 2:10; Romans 6:16; Matt. 10:22; I Tim. 2:15, etc.).

February 17, 2014 at 4:53 pm PST
#30  Billy the Kid - Staunton, Virginia

Dick Martin: You are seriously mistaken about Mary having other children. First of all, Ezekiel 44:2 is very clear "no man shall pass through the gate by which the Lord enters the world." Tell me, if Jesus is God, as John 1:1 states, is Mary not the gate by which the Lord entered the world? So it is with the glory of the God of Israel, that no man shall pass through that way, because God entered it.

The "brethren" you speak about are not sons of the same Mary, but sons of a different Mary, the wife of Cleophas. While James and Joseph are mentioned as Jesus's brothers in Matthew 13:55, it is made clear in Mathew 27:56 and Mark 15:40 that their mother was another Mary. "Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee's sons" (Matthew 27:56). The word "brethren" is used ambiguously as "friend" and even "believer." See Acts 1:14-15: here we see Jesus' "brothers/brethren" are "numbered about one hundred and twenty." Tell me, are you going to insist that the word "brother" here means actual blood brother? Did Mary have 120 other children? By no means!

Mary is the Ark of the Covenant, as she carried Jesus, who is the New Covenant Himself (Hebrews 9:15). The Ark of the Old Covenant was so holy that it was made of pure gold (Exodus 25:11-21). In 2 Sam. 6:7, the Ark is so holy and pure that when Uzzah touched it, the Lord slew him. This shows us that the Ark is undefiled. Mary the Ark of the New Covenant is even more immaculate and undefiled, spared by God from original sin so that she could bear His eternal Word in her womb.

If you are still not convinced, consider that Mary is the holiest among women, as Elizabeth proclaimed in Luke 1:42 (Greek: literally, exalted among women). We know that virginity is holier than non-virginity (Matthew 19:12, 1 Corinthians 7:34, Revelation 14:4). But tell me, how can Mary be the holiest woman if she wasn't a virgin when virginity is holier than non-virginity? Are you suggesting the Holy Spirit contradicted Himself?

February 18, 2014 at 7:48 pm PST
#31  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,
We all have a part to play in our salvation. Those who are not saved, if they have reached the age of accountability, must cooperate with God's grace in order to enter into Christ (Eph. 2:8-9). And those who are in Christ, must cooperate with grace in order to remain in Christ (I John 2:24; Romans 11:22; John 15:1-6).
You don't seem to understand what "co-redeemer" means. Scripture teaches all Christians are "co-redeemers" just as St. Paul says he and Apollos were "co-laborers" with Christ in I Cor. 3:9: "For we are God's fellow workers (sunergoi, in Greek, which means "co-laborers)..." In verse 5 he said, "What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed." It is that sense that all Christians are called to be "co-redeemers." We are called to be instruments through which others come to Christ. We bring those we can to Christ in our daily lives. Mary uniquely brought Christ to the whole world.
Mary was saved as Luke 1:47 says. She was saved by grace just like we all are. She was saved in a most sublime way, but she was saved nonetheless. So your point about me "not citing anything about Mary with salvation because you believe She is Co-Redeemer" makes no sense.
"Jesus is the Firstborn among many brethren" is from Romans 8:29, which says, "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren." This refers to Christians as being brothers of Jesus Christ, not to Mary having other children.
Yes, Col. 1:18 refers to Jesus being "the firstborn from the dead" and teaches Christians will also be raised from the dead. But that has nothing to do with Luke 2:7. Luke 2:7 refers to Christ being "the firstborn" son of Mary. That does not imply a second-born. That refers to the title that was given to each first born son in the Old Testament (see Ex. 13:1-2), whether or not there would ever be a second-born.
Mary is "our life, our sweetness, and our hope" because 1. She is our spiritual mother (John 19:26-27-Rev. 12:17) and as such contributes to our spiritual life in Christ analogous to how all of us are called to contribute to each other's spiritual life in Christ (I John 5:16; II Cor. 1:6; Col. 1:24; I Cor. 12:21-26, etc.).
She is "our sweetness and our hope" inasmuch as we see fulfilled in her all of the promises of God. God has saved her and assumed her into heaven as we hope to be one day as well (Rev. 12:1-2). We can look to all of the "cloud of witnesses" (Heb. 12:1 referring back to all of Heb. 11) as sources of hope because in them we see the faithfulness of God and it encourages us to "continue in the faith" just as St. Paul did for the first-century Christians in Acts 14:22. We believe all members of the body of Christ are called to encourage each other in the faith and as such to become a source of hope in and through Jesus Christ.
We call Mary our "advocate" just as all Christians are called to intercede or to "advocate" for one another in prayer. This does not take away from Christ our advocate because Christians can only advocate for one another in prayer because they are in Christ and empowered by Christ.
To her (and all the saints) we send up our sighs, mourning, and weeping, just as Rev. 5:8 indicates we should do. As members of the Body of Christ, we need each other (I Cor. 12:21). We "pray for one another in order that we may be healed" precisely because "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16).
We pray "turn then your eyes of mercy toward us" because we know Mary is merciful. She is in heaven and Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy" (Matt. 5:7). We know that she will pray for us in our time of need.
We do not place faith in Mary as the ultimate end of our faith. No. In that sense, we only place what the Church calls "divine faith" in God. However, we also place our faith in each other as members of the body of Christ in a lesser sense. I Cor. 12:21 says we "need" each other. We have to believe that God will work through other members of the body of Christ because we know God uses members of the body of Christ to heal each other. So, in that sense you are correct that we have to place faith in one another in a secondary sense. And this is biblical (see Exodus 14:31; Is. 51:1-2; I Cor. 4:14-16; I Cor. 12:21, etc.).
One thing we agree on to be sure is that God never changes. I can say "amen" to that!

February 19, 2014 at 4:47 am PST
#32  Timothy Yakich - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Mr. Martin, I believe that Mary is blessed; I believe Mary is the mother of Jesus, the man-God (not the mother of God...yes, Jesus is God incarnate, and Jesus the 2nd person of the trinity always was and always will be, so Mary can't be the mother of God or the Queen of Heaven, etc. because she would have had to have been BEFORE God, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last...and that just doesn't make logical, biblical sense), I believe Mary was born in sin, because her parents were born in sin because they came from the line of David, who was a sinner (born that way), and I believe that Mary is in heaven but since she is NOT omniscient, she cannot hear prayers, because prayers, according to the Bible, the Word of God, are only meant for the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ. God doesn't hear prayers from Ctholics because they pray to "saints" and Mary, none of whom are omniscient or omnipotent. I have reverence for Mary as I do for all saints, living and dead (alive in heaven), but it doesn't go beyond that. I pray to God the Father through my Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. BTW, I was born and raise in the Catholic religion, I am one of 7 children (I am 50 years old), went to Catholic grade-school, high-school, and nursing school, but once I started to read the Bible (not perfectly for sure) with a softened heart, it was revealed to me through the Word of God that Jesus Christ alone is my Savior and Lord because of His shed blood, that I give all glory to God alone, and that anything added to the Word of God is herecy. I read the 66 books of the Holy Bible and renounce and reject any other so-called bible, be it the Catholic bible and the catechisms and the tenents and the traditions and the infallibility of the pope's words, the Jehovah's Witness bible, the book of Mormon's, etc.

February 20, 2014 at 12:09 am PST
#33  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Timothy,

As Catholics, we do not believe Mary is the source of the Blessed Trinity. She is not the source of the Divine Nature of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity either. In fact, she is not even the source of the human soul of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity incarnate anymore than my wife and I are the sources of our six children's souls. They are each individually and immediately created by God. However, that does not mean my children have to call my wife, "Mother of my body." Why? Because my wife did not give birth to bodies; she gave birth to persons who are body/soul composites (Matt. 10:28). In the same way, Mary is not mother of a nature, or in Jesus' case, two natures; she is not the mother of a soul, or a body. She is the mother of one Person who is God, Jesus Christ.
When you deny Mary is the Mother of God, then what are saying about Jesus? Is he two persons? Not according to Col. 1:15-20. The same "HE" who is "the creator of all things" in verse 16 is also the "He" who died on the cross in verse 20. This is why we say Christ is one, Divine Person, but that he uniquely possesses two natures. He is not a human person. He is a Divine Person with both a human and a divine nature. If you say he is a human-divine mishmash person then you introduce change into the Divine Person, which is impossible and unbiblical (Mal. 3:6). If you say he is two persons, you create another Jesus that can't save anyone.
You are correct that Mary's parents were born in sin (Original Sin). That is why Mary had to be saved (Luke 1:47). But she was saved in a most sublime way. This is why she was named "full of grace" in Luke 1:28, she was revealed to be the New Covenant Ark of the Covenant (see Luke 1:43-II Cor. 6:9; Luke 1:56-II Cor. 6:11; Luke 1:44-II Sam. 6:16), New Eve (see Genesis 3:15, Jer. 31:22-John 2:5, 19:25-26; Rev. 12-parallels Gen. 3), and much more. She was filled with grace meaning without sin as a permanent state (given the name by the angel). She could not be stained by sin as the Ark of the Covenant, and could not have Original Sin because if she did, she would be inferior to her Old Testament type, which is impossible (see Romans 5:14; Heb. 10:1). And this is just scratching the surface.
Jesus "came from the line of David" according to his genealogies in Matt. and Luke. That does not mean he had to have contracted Original Sin.
Mary doesn't need to be "omniscient" to hear a "finite" number of prayers. She accomplishes it by the power of God similar to, though in a much more exalted manner, how Daniel was able to know both the dream and the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzer in Daniel 2.
Most importantly, the Bible reveals that those who have gone to heaven (the 24 elders of Rev. 5:8) are able to receive multiple prayers from multiple people coming up from the earth just as the angels do the same (in Rev. 8:2-5).
Prayer to God is qualitatively different from praying to saints. When we "pray" to saints, we honor them. When we "pray" to God, we worship (or adore) him. Praying to saints means honoring them and asking for their intercession to God. Prayer to God ends with God. That is as large of a difference as there is between a monkey and a man. The two are qualitatively different.
Another way of looking at it is to understand that praying to saints is akin to asking friends to intercede for me. By doing that, I am not denying Christ's unique intercession (Heb. 7:24-25); it is acknowledging that they can intercede for me because they have been baptized into Christ the one mediator/intercessor between God and men (cf. I Tim. 2:1-5).
We Catholics "pray to God the Father through [our] Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit" as well. We agree. But we also believe "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16) and that "where two or three are gathered in [Jesus'] name" (Matt. 18:19-20) there is power. So we ask for prayers from members of the Body of Christ both here and in eternity because we know "neither death nor life" can separate us from the love of God, which binds us together as Christians.
You say "it was revealed to [you] that Jesus Christ alone is [your] Savior and Lord." Well, that has been taught for 2,000 years in the Catholic Church. But we also believe Jesus uses us as members of his body to communicate that salvation. That is why St. Paul can say he "saves souls" and that we can "save souls" by cooperating with God's grace (I Cor. 9:22; I Tim. 4:16; James 5:19-20; I Cor. 7:16; Romans 11:14; Col. 1:24; II Cor. 1:6, etc.) Actually, there are 73 books of the Bible. The Protestant "Reformers" threw out seven books and parts of two others. That is not recommended in Scripture (see Rev. 22:18-19). There is no other Bible than the one the Catholic Church canonized. The only thing the Protestants could do is take away and misinterpret. Unfortunately, that is what you continue to do since you left the true Church that Jesus established.

February 22, 2014 at 10:09 am PST
#34  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,

I found a deeper and more personal relationship with Jesus Christ when I discovered the truth about the Catholic Church that he founded. I discovered that all of these other "churches" were founded by men and teach "traditions of men" like "sola scriptura" and "sola fide."
It was by spending time in his word that I came to see this, and with the help of a Catholic friend who showed me the word as I had never seen it before. And then, with the help of hundreds of great Christians over 2,000 years that I read preaching and teaching "one Lord, one Faith, and one baptism" like I had never heard it before. And I had about half the New Testament memorized when I was Protestant (see Acts 8:31). There is a difference between spouting off your own fallible opinions of what you think the Bible means (which is all any Protestant can do), and hearing the word of God from those who have authority to speak in Jesus' name (that means, with his infallible authority). That you only find in the Catholic Church (see I Thess. 2:13; Matt. 10:40; Luke 10:16; Acts 15:24-28; 16:4; Matt. 16:18-19; 18:18, etc.).
It is true that "only the sheep hear the voice of the Shepherd" so be very careful that you listen. Right now, it appears you can only hear your own voice, your own interpretations of Scripture, and the Shepherd's voice is being drowned out. Not entirely, because you do speak truth at times. Thanks be to God for that.
I can only encourage you to pray and listen to God's voice in his word and you will end up back home in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church that he founded, rather than remaining in the church of Dick.

I must say it good to hear you speak the truth such as when you said "The Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are born again it is the Power of God. God made Jesus to be Sin for us so that we could be the Righteousness of God in Christ. I am a New Creation in Christ Jesus." That is good and biblical.

The problem comes in when you begin to give your fallible opinions of what those biblical concepts mean.

I am confident that you are doing what you believe is true and good. I do believe you are on the side of the angels. But I must warn you not to reject the voice of the Master as you begin to see the truth of the Catholic Faith. Because if you reject the truth, you, or I, or anyone else, will be lost forever. I say that only because I love in Jesus Christ.

"Choose you this day whom you will serve... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).

February 22, 2014 at 10:29 am PST
#35  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Hello Dick,
You were actually "born again" when you were baptized, but we will have many conversion experiences throughout our lives. The apostles themselves were "filled with the Spirit" in Acts 2:4, but were "filled with the Spirit" again in Acts 4:31. How could this be? Because they leaked! I say that tongue and cheek. But we all sin and so we need to be filled with the Spirit again and again. We need to repent again and again. And again, we will have many conversion experiences with the Lord if we continue to walk with him.
Of course you give your fallible opinions because that is all you can do. If you teach your own opinions of what you think the Bible says, you are giving your own fallible opinions, unless of course, you claim to be infallible, which I don't think you even attempt to claim. If you come back to the Catholic Faith and speak with the mind of Christ in his Church, you will once again speak "the word of God."
And I did not call "fallible opinions... the Word of God." I called infallible teaching "the word of God." And notice, I did not capitalize "word." "The word of God" refers to Scripture and Tradition (I Thess. 2:13; II Thess. 2:15) that communicates "the word of God." "The Word of God," refers to the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity (see John 1:1-3; 14).
At any rate, I refer to the infallible teaching of the Church as the "word of God" because these teachings are Holy Spirit directed and infallible interpretations that tell us what the word of God means. Thus, the Trinity is "the word of the Lord" inasmuch as it is an infallible interpretation of "the word of the Lord."

February 27, 2014 at 6:51 am PST
#36  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Hey Dick,
Acts 8:14-17 speaks of Confirmation. The graces received at baptism are increased and perfected through this great Sacrament. This sacrament empowers us to be witnesses (Acts 1:8, Gr.-"martyroi") for Christ. You are correct that the Holy Spirit comes and lives in you when you are baptized (born again). But when you are baptized in the Holy Spirit (Confirmation) you receive an increase in grace and power (Acts 1:8, Gr.-"dunamis").

February 27, 2014 at 10:16 pm PST
#37  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

That's for discussion at my "Born Again, the Bible Way" blog post. I'll see you over there. :)

February 28, 2014 at 7:56 pm PST
#38  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Why does a Protestant believe a purification of the soul is a bad thing? I for one can not wait to have mine cleansed of the filth it has gathered here on earth!!! I know Jesus forgives my sins, but I also know I am not perfected yet, because if I was I wouldn't keep sinning! Perhaps the misunderstanding is that forgiveness and purification are two different things. If we were already made pure then what good would a judgement do? Who can escape judgment? What man believes he is so holy because Christ died for him that he no longer needs to be judged? That goes against everything in Scripture! Anyone who believes he is perfect holliness with all the temptations and sins we face everyday here on earth is only fooling himself. And any man who believes his sins have no consequences is even more delusional!

March 4, 2014 at 6:50 am PST
#39  david pruit - dallas, Texas

Actually Dick, It's pretty easy to scroll up on these posts and pick out dozens of examples where you spout off your own opinions (or those of your particular tradition ie denomination) and then selectively quote bible verses over and over again, and ignore all the other plethora of verses that we provide you that specifically denounce your position. And you conveniently sidestep specific questions by going straight Back to your same old statements that defy reason and scriptures that are out of context.

March 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm PST
#40  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Yes Dick, you are a bible believer, that is if it fits your own interpretation. We know you don't have Apostolic Tradition to hold firm to as St. Paul instructed us to do. Your traditions are the ones you create on your own. It takes a whole lot of ego and pride for you to believe your 39 years of reading Scripture is greater than the over 2,000 years of Scripture study and meditation by the Catholic Church. And you are correct, David is not saved yet, he is working out his salvation with fear and trembling just as St. Paul did.

Hey David, did you go to Mass on Sunday and recite the Nicene or Apostles Creed? I have some really good news to tell you if you did!!!

March 6, 2014 at 12:45 pm PST
#41  david pruit - dallas, Texas

Christopher, yes I did! Tell me, what is the good news?

The problem I see Dick, is that there are thousands of "spirit filled bible believing Christians" coming up with thousands of different conclusions based on their own interpretation of the Bible. And this is evident by the over 40,000 and growing different denominations that exist today. It's not that they are malicious in their intent; they really believe that they are following Gods "truth".
But there IS objective and divine truth that has been revealed to us, and Christ for the very reason of preventing division (1 cor 1:10) and fostering union gave the apostles and their successors the authority to "bind and loose" in Matthew 18:18. See also John 17:6-20, where Jesus affirms the call of a unified Church and the calling of the apostles and their successors to be set aside to preserve divine truth.

I have to ask the question; was it really Christ's intention to form a Church divided and splintered in dis-unity? You may say that they are all united by the Bible and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but if the Holy Spirit cannot lie, why would he lead men into chaotic dis-unity? The Church was never intended to be a Church of "me and Jesus". We are called "live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Eph 4:1-6).

Through Baptism, we are incorporated into Christ's mystical body (1 Cor 12:13) and into God's divine family. We are united to him in his death, and even more so now into his life (Rom 6:1-14). And we are called to "unity of the spirit" (Eph 4:3)

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work" (Eph 4: 11-16)

March 6, 2014 at 5:05 pm PST
#42  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

David, poor Dick seems really confused. He is an ex Catholic but yet he doesn't know what the Church teaches and I'm not sure his Bible has all the pages in it. I have no doubt he has good intentions but his theology is incomplete, innacurate, and confusing at best. For some reason he avoids basic questions and clings to a couple verses of Scripture. I can't for the life of me figure out why people, especially ex Catholics find it necessary to attack the Catholic faith when they can't even agree with each other as to why!

The good news (according to what Dick believes)... every Catholic is saved and can't lose their salvation!!! Yes even Dick was saved before he left the Church according to his theology! Why is that? Because according to him all we have to do is profess our faith in Christ. I can't help but smile when I think of the billions of Catholics professing not just Christ at evey Mass, but the entire Holy Trinity!!!! He must have forgot about the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed! As a matter of fact the entire Mass professes Christ as our Savior. Great news isn't it!!!

March 7, 2014 at 8:04 pm PST
#43  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

You had no problem judging my heart by telling me I was going to miss the train. Now you are judging other peoples prayers and worship as though you alone are qualified to speak for God. You say the Pope should repent, which contridicts everything you've already said in your previous posts. You believe Catholics pray to the dead when actually we pray to those in heaven, and there are no dead people in heaven. Your credibilty is shot! The more you say the more everyone can see how much displeasure you have with the Catholic Church.

March 11, 2014 at 8:35 pm PST
#44  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,
We don't pray to saints because they need prayer. We pray to them to ask them to pray for us, because WE NEED PRAYER.
You are correct that we cannot merit the initial grace of salvation that we receive through faith and baptism (Eph. 2:8-9; Romans 6:4-5), but you are incorrect to say we are not then required to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling" as Phil. 2:12 says, and that we will not be rewarded with eternal life if we continue to do good works until the end (see Romans 2:6-7; Gal. 6:7-9; Matt. 25:31-46; James 2:24-26; Matt. 12:36-37, etc.).
the Bible clearly teaches that eternal life is not only a gift, but it is also a reward for our labors we accomplish in Christ (that is what we mean by "merit").
We have no problem with justification by faith. John 3:16 is fine with us Catholics. It is justification by faith "alone" that is explicitly condemned in the Bible (James 2:24-26).

March 12, 2014 at 3:03 pm PST
#45  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Dick, the lack of understanding is not on my behalf but yours. Catholics do not communicate with the dead! Do you not agree that Christ defeated death? We do! It's funny that you keep saying all we have to do is accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior to be saved, then you keep telling me I will miss the train. By your way of thinking how can I miss the train when I have professed countless times that Christ is indeed my Savior! According to you I can not lose my salvation, I am free to sin as much as I want now and I can interperet Scripture any way I want! Yes, I can even pray to the dead or pull out a ouigi board and have no fear of losing my salvation according to you. And by the way, of course I'm offended when I give my whole life to Christ and there is nothing I love more, then someone like you basically tells me I'm going to hell! But hey, why would you tell another Christian brother you are sorry, why repent, right? Well, I do forgive you, because as Jesus said...if I don't, then neither will the Father forgive me! That includes before and after I long ago accepted Christ as my Savior!

March 12, 2014 at 8:55 pm PST
#46  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,
The Catholic Church is not saying, "I must add works + Jesus," we are saying we must "do works IN Jesus," for as St. Paul says it, in Gal. 5:6, "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love." Or, as he says it in I Cor. 7:19: "For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but keeping the commandments of God."
Before we enter into Christ, there is nothing we can do that amounts to anything (John 15:5; Eph. 2:1-4). But after we enter into Christ, we can do all things (Phil. 4:13), including meriting the reward of eternal life (Romans 2:6-7; Gal. 6:7-9; Matt. 25:31-46).
The reason why I am Catholic, Dick, among other reasons, is I found the Catholic Church is the only Church that truly takes all of the biblical texts into account, and not just the few that Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley... or Dick... like.

March 15, 2014 at 10:25 am PST
#47  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,
We agree that adding works before you are saved is heresy. Jesus said, "Apart from me, you can do nothing" in John 15:5. We also agree that our works "are accounted for reward only" as you said. We are making progress. What you now have to see is that one of the rewards we receive for doing good works is eternal life (Romans 2:6-7; Gal. 6:7-9; Matt. 25:31-46).
Also, we are not "eternally secure in Him," if by that you mean we cannot walk away from him. We can (see Matt. 10:22; Rev. 2:10; II Peter 2:20-22; Matt. 24:45-51; Heb. 6:4-6; 10:35-39; Romans 11:22; John 15:1-6; Eph. 5:3-6, etc.).
The Church does not teach "your works + Jesus = salvation," if by that you mean our works are done outside of Christ. The Church teaches only works done "in him, with him, and through him" (Romans 11:36) have any merit before God. That is why I said the Catholic position is Jesus and works done IN HIM are necessary for salvation.
It seems as though you are not even reading the biblical texts that I give you because you don't respond to the biblical texts, you just keep giving me your traditions that are not found in Scripture.
You say "the moment you are saved, your spirit becomes Perfect, Spotless, wrinkle-free, sealed, preserved, seated in heavenly places, redeemed, New creation, etc." We agree that at the point we first enter into Christ through baptism this is true. But we can then become less than perfect, wrinkled, and we can lose our state of grace. St. Paul says we can "fall from grace" in Gal. 5:4 (see also Heb. 12:14-15; Romans 11:22). In II Cor. 7:1, he says we must "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit perfecting holiness in the fear of God." That means that our spirits can become "filthy" and need to be cleansed in order to attain "the holiness without which no one shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14; cf. Matt. 5:48).
Once again, you directly contradict Scripture when you say, "Your statement "reward of eternal life" should say "reward for your works after your saved"." Romans 2:6-7 says, "For he will reward every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life." Gal. 6:7-9 says, "Be not deceived for God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap death; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap (the reward of) eternal life. Let us, therefore, not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap (eternal life), if we do not lose heart." See also Matt. 25:31-46. There is no way the Bible could make any plainer the truth that the reward for good works done in Christ is, among other things, eternal life. I have to go with Scripture over your traditions.
Can you at least see why we Catholics believe the way we do? How could you possibly think I would reject Scripture in order to follow you?

March 17, 2014 at 8:25 am PST
#48  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Greg,
When you quote Scripture, you are right on. It is when you give your interpretation of the text that you get into trouble. For example, you write: "2 Corinthians 5:21
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
That is right on. But then you add, "The bible teaches that Jesus exchanged His Perfect Righteousness for our SINS. Sin is a product of the 10 commandments. The Bible states that we can't Keep the Law . The law is called the Law of Death. Jesus fulfilled the Law for us."
You are wrong on multiple counts. 1. Sin is not "a product of the 10 commandments." St. Paul tells us that gentiles who have never even heard of the 10 commandments can either keep or break the natural law "written on their hearts" (see Romans 2:13-16).
You are correct that we can't keep the law, but only if we try to APART FROM CHRIST. Jesus and St. Paul tell us that we must keep "the law of Christ" (not the Old Law that has passed away in Christ), according to Romans 8:4; I Cor. 9:21; Gal. 6:2; Heb. 7:11-12, Matt. 5:48), which includes the moral law (Matt. 19:16, the law of the Church, Matt. 18:15-18, and the law of Christ).
When you write: "Hebrews 10:1
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect," you are right on. But when you add, "Why do you keep confessing your sins when they have been PAID IN FULL?" that is when you get into trouble and contradict Scripture. Hebrews 10 is talking about the difference between the Old Covenant sacrifices that could never take away sins and the Christ's sacrifice (once for all, according to Heb. 10:11, contrasted with animal sacrifices that had to be offered over and over again) that does. But that doesn't mean we don't have to continue to apply what Christ did for us to our lives as I John 1:7-9 says (and I Cor. 10:15-17, and II Cor. 7:1, and I Thess. 5:23, and Heb. 12:13-17, and Heb. 10:35-39, and Rev. 3:4-5, Rev. 12:11, and Rev. 19:7-8, etc.).
When you write: "1 Timothy 1:9-11
The law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust," that is great. But then you go and say, "If you are an unsaved person you are under the Law and you will be judged by the Law." In this case, you are correct if by "the Law" you mean the Old Testament law. But you are wrong if you think we are not under "the law of Christ," because the Bible says we are in I Cor. 9:21, Gal. 6:2, Romans 8:4, and Heb. 7:11-12. We will be judged according to II Cor. 5:10, and we must keep the moral law (Matt. 19:16) and we will be judged by the law of Christ, or "the law of liberty" in Christ (see James 2:10-14; Romans 8:2-4).
Again you are great when you quote the Bible, writing, "Acts 13:38-39
Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;
and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Hebrews 10:15-17
But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,”
then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” That's great! That's Scripture. You are also correct when you add, "If you died with Christ then you are dead to Sin. God says He remembers your SINS NO MORE. You are now in Him. Read Romans 8." Amen to that!
But what you forgot to say is that we can and still do commit sin, and if we do we must confess those sins in order for them to be forgiven. And if we don't, God won't forgive us. In fact, Jesus said, if we fail to forgive our brothers, God won't forgive us either (see Matt. 6:14). Thus, we have to continue to cooperate with God's grace in order to finally be saved (Matt. 10:22; Rev. 2:10).
When you write, "Romans 5:13
(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Romans 5:20-21
Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,
so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord," that is great! That is Scripture! And you got it right in our comments when you then said, "Eternal Life is a gift-Free." We agree! But then you kick in your tradition by saying, "Works require a Reward. No where does it say Reward from your works + Jesus = eternal life . It reads Jesus only = eternal life ;then you do good works to receive a Reward. It Jesus + nothing."
That's unfortunate. Eventually, you are going to read Romans 2:6-7, Gal. 6:7-9, and Matt. 25:31-46, because I am going to keep quoting them until you actually read them. The Bible says both faith and works are rewarded (if both are accomplished in Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit) with eternal life. You are contradicting the Bible with your traditions.
When you write, "1 John 3:4-9
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.
And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.
Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God." That is great! That is Scripture! But then you add your tradition when you say, "Are you going to reject scripture and follow the Church?" Huh? I follow these and all Scripture, and that is why I can confidently believe all that the Catholic Church teaches to be revealed by God.

March 17, 2014 at 11:30 am PST
#49  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,
This is the truth you have missed. We agree that "there is no condemnation to those who are IN CHRIST JESUS, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death," as Romans 8:1 says, but don't stop there. You have to read the surrounding verses to understand what he is saying. In verses 4-14 he goes on to say, "... who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit..." He goes on to warn that we can fall back into the flesh that will end in enslavement to sin and finally death (read verses 5-14). It is only those who continue to be "led by the Spirit" who are "sons of God" (verse 14), but, he warns, "To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace" (see verse 6).
What you are missing is the fact that we have to continue to walk with the Lord in order to finally be saved. We "have been saved" by grace through faith and baptism (Eph. 2:8-9; I Peter 3:21; Romans 6:3-4; Mark 16:16), we are "being saved" if we continue to cooperate with God's grace in our lives (I Cor. 1:18; I Cor. 15:1-2; II Cor. 6:1), and we "shall be saved" if we continue to walk in the Spirit until death (Gal. 6:7-9; Rev. 2:10; Matt. 10:22).
This is why St. Paul warned the Christians in Galatia in Gal. 3:1-3, "... Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh." In Gal. 5:1, he goes on to warn that they can fall back into the slavery of sin: "For freedom Christ has set us free, stand fast and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."
Thus, you can "submit to a yoke of slavery" again as a Christian and be lost, or "fall from grace" as St. Paul describes it in Gal. 5:4. If you do fall back into sin, you have to ask for forgiveness or you will be lost. In Gal. 6:7-9, St. Paul warns, "Do not be deceived, for God is not mocked, whatever a man sows that shall he reap. If he sows to the flesh he shall of the flesh reap death. If he sows to the Spirit he shall of the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not, then, grow weary in doing good, for we shall reap if we do not lose heart." He is speaking to Christians.
I don't know what else St. Paul could say?
Yes, our spirits are "made perfect" when we come to Christ, but we then tarnish them through our sin. That is why St. Paul said "Having these promises dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit perfecting holiness in the fear of God" in II Cor. 7:1. Perfecting a "holiness without which no one shall see God" (Heb. 12:14; Matt. 5:48). That is why St. Peter says in I Peter 1:22, "Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth... love one another earnestly from the heart." We continue to be purified through our obedience, by "walking the light as he is in the light" (I John 1:7), by confessing our sins (I John 1:9), etc.
We agree that "we have been set free by Christ" and empowered to be able to fulfill the law (not of the Old Testament, but the law of Christ that we are under n the New Covenant according to I Cor. 9:21; Gal: 6:2; Gal. 5:6, I Cor. 7:19, etc.) according to Romans 8:4, "that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." But the question is, what happens when we sin? When we sin we have to be forgiven of those sins (I John 1:9).
We agree that when we sin "Jesus has our backs," but he does not force us to confess our sins and so to be forgiven. We have to choose to do that; otherwise, we will not be forgiven (I John 1:9; John 20:21-23; Matt. 6:14, etc.)
We also agree that "sin has been dealt with." But we have to cooperate with what Christ did on the cross for us for it to be effectual in our lives (II Cor. 1:6; I John 1:7-9; Matt. 5:44-45, etc.).
We also agree that Jesus made "an end of sin" according to Daniel 9:24. This is another way of saying that Jesus Christ is "the propitiation for our sins, and not only our sins, but the sins of the whole world." Unlike the Old Testament sacrifices that "could never take away sins" (Heb. 10:4), Christ's sacrifice did. But that doesn't mean everyone in the world's sins are taken away. By no means! His infinite sacrifice must be applied to our lives and that requires our cooperation. So only those who apply what Jesus did to their lives will be saved.
You badly took a part of Hebrews 10:2 out of context. But I would encourage you to read the entire verse, not just part of it, and I would encourage you to read the surrounding verses. What it actually says is, "For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered? If the worshipers had once been cleansed, they would no longer have any consciousness of sin. But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year. For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins" (Heb. 10:1-4).
The context makes clear that the inspired author is comparing and contrasting the sacrifices (plural) of the Old Testament that could never take away sin, and the "once for all" (see verse 11) sacrifice of Christ that does take away sins. In fact, he says the Old Testament sacrifices were a reminder of sin. Christ's sacrifice takes them away. So when we confess our sins, our sins are taken away. We no longer have a "consciousness of sins" that have been forgiven in the past. They are gone. But this does not mean that we don't have to confess our new sins. It simply means that in Christ they can be taken away if we confess them (see I John 1:9).

March 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm PST
#50  Greg Herwaldt - South Elgin, Illinois

Tim the question that I have is this WHY did Christ have to die ??? If you answer for our sins then why ??? In 1John 1:6-10 If we claim to have fellowship with ( Him) yet walk in the darkness, ( We Lie) and do not ( Live By The TRUTH). BUT if we walk in the ( Light), as He is in the Light, Tim what does it say next ??? ( We have Fellowship with one Another, And The Blood Of JESUS, His Son, PURiFiES Us FROM ALL Sin. I want to stop for a minute It says that ( His Blood the Blood of Whom Jesus Christ The Son of GOD The Father Tim it Says What PURiFiES Us FROM What All SIN. ) I Know this being raised in the Catholic Church going to a Catholic grade School and High School that we were taught We are Saved, by WORKS and good Deeds , and Baptism and Don't worry Purgatory will be there for you. When you die people on earth Will pray you out of Purgatory. When my Mom and Dad died I couldn't believe all the masses and money the Church got to pray them out of Purgatory into Heaven. My Dad was very well known in the town by a lot of people. Let's finish 1John 1-8 If we claim to be Without Sin, We Deceive ourselves and the Truth is not in us. TIM Verse 9 Is VERY Important!!!!!!! If WE Confess Our Sins, He Is Faithful And Just And Will Forgive (US) OUR SINS And ( PURiFY) (US) FROM ALL WHAT??? UNRIGhTEOUS !!!!!!! HIS Death on the Cross was to ( PURiFY) Our Sins. His Blood was Shed for the Sins of Those Who will Believe Only . JESUS with his own words in the Book of Matthew 7:13-14 says Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that Leads TO Destruction, and MANY Enter Through it. This Last Verse is very, Very important Jesus says= But Small is The Gate And NARROW The Road That Leads To Life, And Only A Few Find It.

March 20, 2014 at 9:57 am PST
#51  Brady Commock - Columbia, Pennsylvania

Tim Staples and Dick,
I did not take nineteen hours out of my day to read your complete argument, as it is longer than the entire Bible anyway, but let me just say:
1. Purgatory is not mentioned in the Bible.
2. If it is in fact implied by Old or New Testament texts, why was the name later made Purgatory? I think if it was an important part of salvation, it would have been more thoroughly explained by someone- perhaps John in Revelation, not by some barley credible evidence from some flimsy old story from a book not even included in most of the world's Bible.

SO

You sit here arguing- like two men standing on a street looking at a shadow on a wall, cast by an unseen object that lies around the corner. They argue about what it is, but no amount of debating will change what they find when they go around the corner and see it.

If you ask me, it matters not what happens after death. I know I'm not going to go burn in Hell forever (If you care to someday pick up your Bible and read it, you'll find that in Revelation is says all whose names are written in the Book of Life will not be affected by the second death. If you say that burning forever in eternal torture in the lake of fire is the second death, notice that its called the second DEATH. Its not called the second LIFE of endless torture. Its a DEATH. That means you DIE. You're GONE. You're DEAD! Understand?)

So, why don't you quit arguing and go do what Jesus Christ called us to do? (Hint: Its not spending your whole time alive talking about what's going to happen after you die.)

March 20, 2014 at 6:04 pm PST
#52  david pruit - dallas, Texas

Brady, the Trinity isn't in the bible either. Nor is the statement that if it isn't in the bible then it's not true...so did Catholics "invent" the Trinity too? (By your same reasoning we must also condemn the Trinity)

March 21, 2014 at 3:00 am PST
#53  Brady Commock - Columbia, Pennsylvania

I never said the Bible is the only source of truth. I never said everything in the Bible is true. And I really don't care about whether or not the trinity is in the Bible: IT HAS NO AFFECT ON MY LIFE WHATSOEVER.

The Bible speaks about God in three forms- the father, son, and spirit. Catholics have named this trio if identities the trinity, just as we have come up with terms like "The Last Supper" and "Holy Communion" which aren't mentioned in the Bible.

March 21, 2014 at 6:20 am PST
#54  Brady Commock - Columbia, Pennsylvania

As far as I'm concerned, whether or not you believe in the trinity, in purgatory, or in most other highly debated and unimportant topics does not have any affect on my fate after death.

Romans 10:9- Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

According to this, I don't have to believe in purgatory or the trinity or anything else other than the fact that Jesus is Lord and alive to be saved.

ALSO- on the subject of truth- Do you think it wise to blindly accept everything in a big compilation of ancient texts written down by men without thinking about it for yourself at all?

I was raised in a Christian home by the way, however I have not allowed my mind to become enslaved to one narrow-minded way of thinking.
And surely the Bible is not the only source of truth- Where does it say in the scriptures: A water molecule is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom? That is true, yet not found in the Bible.

Furthermore, Jesus spent his entire ministry rejecting what was written.

March 21, 2014 at 8:10 am PST
#55  Brady Commock - Columbia, Pennsylvania

Well- ok he didn't reject everything that was written, in fact he sited the scriptures often, but he did not obey the stupid laws of Moses.

March 21, 2014 at 8:13 am PST
#56  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Brady,
So all you have to do is "call upon the name of the Lord?" Why did Jesus say, in John 17:3: "This is eternal life, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent?" In other words, we have to know who God is to be saved. And God is revealed to be a Trinity in Scripture.
Moreover, if all we have to do is "call upon the name of the Lord" to be saved, why would Matt. 10:22 say, "... he that endures until the end shall be saved?" Why would Rev. 2:10 say, "Be faithful until death, and I shall give you the crown of life?" Why would St. Peter say "... baptism now saves us" in I Peter 3:21? Why would Ananias say to Paul, "arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins" in Acts 22:16? Why would St. Paul say "repentance" leads to salvation in II Cor. 7:10. Why would St. Paul say "suffering" leads to salvation in II Cor. 1:6. And this is just a small number of the many biblical texts that say we have to more than just call upon the Lord to be saved. We need to call upon the Lord to be saved to be sure. The Bible says so. But that is not all the Bible says. We Catholics believe all of it. Does that make sense?

March 22, 2014 at 6:58 pm PST
#57  Brady Commock - Columbia, Pennsylvania

John 3:16- For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.
That is the clearest criteria for receiving eternal life in the Bible. Baptism is a physical act that one can receive to symbolize their unity with Christ, but it is the internal connection and devotion to Christ that matters. Are you saying that if you are not baptized you cannot be saved? Because I am positive there are numerous occurrences where people have been baptized but don't actually experience a spiritual transformation within them. They are baptized only because their religion tells them it is necessary to escape being sent to hell, so their fear prompts them to be baptized.
John 3:16 does not say "For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in purgatory, the trinity, baptism, many other man-conceived ideas, and him will not perish but have everlasting life."
My question is: According to your beliefs, must you be baptized to be saved?

March 23, 2014 at 11:12 am PST
#58  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Brady, doesn't believing in Jesus mean believing in all that He taught and all that He commanded? That means believing that Baptism is more than symbolic. Symbols do not wash away sins. Here is a good foreshadowing of Baptism from the prophet Ezekiel 36:25-27...

"I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees."

That sure sounds like the same thing Jesus says about being born again of water and spirit and believing in Him. There are several verses that clearly state Baptism has an effect, to wash away sins.

I really don't understand the mentality that everything has to be just a symbol all the time. All throughout Scripture God uses physical elements to deliver His grace and accomplish His intentions. Everyone needs to remember our God created everything and not everything has to be invisible all the time. God can and does heal us any way He desires, just like Christ healing the blind man with spit and mud when He could have just said the word. Why would He not use what He created and what belongs to Him?

Another good point to make is to read what the early Church Fathers said about Baptism. They sat at the feet of the Apostles and not one of them taught Baptism was just a symbol. Who would know better than those who learned from the best. They didn't have Bibles and did not come to conclusions from self interpretation, they were on fire with the love of Christ and consumed with all that Jesus taught, their ears were still ringing from the words of the Apostles.

March 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm PST
#59  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Brady,
Thank you for your questions.
You say John 3:16 is the clearest criteria for salvation in the Bible. We agree that faith is necessary for salvation because John 3:16 and many other texts say so. We agree. We just do not believe it is the only criterion because the Bible is equally that there are other things that are necessary for salvation. I don't know how the Bible could possibly be more plain than to say, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved" in Mark 16:16. "Baptism now saves us" in I Peter 3:21. "We were buried therefore together with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." These texts never say baptism is "a physical act that symbolizes their unity with Christ." That is not in the Bible. We Catholics have to go with the Bible.
As for your question: "Are you saying if you are not baptized you cannot be saved?" That is a good question. The Catholic Church teaches that we must be baptized in order to be saved because the Bible says so. But we also acknowledge that people can be saved who are not baptized through no fault of their own. Jesus talks about how, in John 15:22, "If I had not spoken to them, they would have no sin. But now I have spoken to them. Their sin remains." This indicates we are only responsible for what we know or for what we ought to have known. Thus, it is possible for folks to be saved by God via means we may not even be aware of. But that in way changes the necessity of each of us to be baptized. Those who know about it and refuse it will be lost. So in that sense, baptism is necessary for salvation, again, because the Bible says so. We cannot ignore the plain teachings of the Bible. We harmonize all of them.
As far as people "experiencing a spiritual transformation," that is a separate question from baptism. The Bible says we must be baptized to be saved. Period. But we also believe in free will. Just because someone is baptized, has a transformative experience, or doesn't have a transformative experience, that doesn't change what Scripture teaches about baptism either.
The fact that some people are transformed and some are not simply reflects the fact that some people cooperate with God's grace and continue with the Lord and some people do not (see II Peter 2:20). Baptism confers a sacramental seal upon the person baptized and God offers sanctifying grace to that person to transform their lives. If they choose not to cooperate with those graces, that is their choice. We must choose every day to take up our cross and follow Jesus according to Luke 9:23. We can also choose to walk away as Matt. 24:45-51 says.
Purgatory, the Trinity, and baptism are not "man-conceived ideas." These are each found in Scripture and in the Tradition of the Church handed down from the apostles.

March 23, 2014 at 4:36 pm PST
#60  Brady Commock - Columbia, Pennsylvania

So, you're saying that whether or not you believe what the Bible teaches you'll be saved if you're baptized? When Catholic Missionaries invaded the New World and forced thousands of the natives to be baptized, were the natives saved even if they didn't believe in their hearts anything the missionaries said?

I'm sorry. I do not believe I can be saved by a physical act. It does not make any sense.

March 24, 2014 at 5:02 am PST
#61  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Brady,
You said, "So, you're saying that whether or not you believe what the Bible teaches you'll be saved if you're baptized?"
No, I never said that. We Catholics believe all of the Bible, not just some few verses. We believe we have to be baptized because the Bible says so in Mark 16:16, etc. as I've said before. "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." We believe we can believe and be baptized, but if we do not endure faithful until the end we will not be saved because the Bible says so in Rev. 2:10; Matthew 10:22, etc., as I 've said before. "You shall be hated of all men for my name's sake, but he that endures until the end shall be saved."
You have not read history. The Catholic missionaries who brought Christianity to the new world believed it was wrong to force baptism. In fact, the great Franciscan missionaries were the ones protecting the natives from the conquistadors. The natives converted by the millions because of the love of Jesus Christ and the miraculous apparition of our Blessed Mother in Guadalupe in 1531. She taught them to give their lives to Jesus.
But if anyone is baptized, but does not believe when they are old enough to do so they will not be saved because, again, we don't believe in baptism alone any more than we believe in faith alone, or obedience alone, or enduring until the end alone. We have to do all Jesus commanded us, not just some things (see Matt. 28:18-20).
You say you do not believe you can be "saved by a physical act." You are correct if by that you mean you can be saved by baptism apart from faith. But you remind me of Namaan the Syrian who had leprosy and the prophet Elisha told him to dip himself in the Jordan river and he would be healed. He did not want this. He was angry. He wanted the prophet to, "come to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and cure the leper (himself)" (see II Kings 5). The prophet told him if he wanted to be healed he had to do a "physical act," which was a type of baptism. Finally, when he dipped himself into the water he was healed just as the prophet said he would be.
In the same way, the Prophet Ezekiel prophesied that there would be a "physical act" involved in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant in Ez. 36:25-26, "I will pour clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness... A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you..."
When Jesus was baptized (a physical act) we see the Spirit descend upon him in Matt. 3:16. When Jesus teaches on baptism he says we must be "born of water and the Spirit" in John 3:5. Ananais said to Paul, "Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins." St. Peter said, in Acts 2:38, "Repent and be baptized each one of you... for the forgiveness of sins."
I find your aversion to "physical acts" to be very much in opposition to the Scriptures. Jesus uses "physical acts" all over the place in order to communicate his healing, whether it be the
deaf man in Mark 7:31ff where he used the laying on of hands, spit and touching his tongue, the blind man in Mark 8:22ff where he used spit, the laying on of hands, and the touching of his eyes, or the blind man in John 9 where he used mud made out of his spit, and anointing his eyes with the mud in order to heal them.
In James 5:14, St. James talks about anointing with oil as an instrument to communicate healing and the forgiveness of sins. I could go on, but these are all "physical acts." You're surprised that Jesus would ask us to do a "physical act" in baptism in order for us to be healed spiritually?
It does not make any sense to me that you would say this.

March 24, 2014 at 9:41 am PST
#62  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,
In answer to your #84:
You are missing the point that John's baptism consisted of BOTH repentance and water baptism.
I notice that you don't quote any Bible verses to back up what you are saying about baptism really meaning "being changed... and becoming a new creation" apart from actual water baptism. You can't because so many of the verses I have already cited make clear that water baptism is the instrument God uses to communicate this change.
I agree with you that there is a baptism of fire which indicates suffering persecution. I believe that because Jesus taught it in Luke 12:49-50. And it does mean as you said, "going thru persecution for being a Christian." That is a good point.
But once again, I have to say, I can't reject all of the verses that refer to water baptism as saving us because Jesus elsewhere speaks of a baptism of fire. As Catholics, we believe all of the Bible. We don't just select individual verses we like and ignore the rest.
I also agree that there is the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit," but that is communicated through Confirmation, or "the laying on of hands." The apostles first received it uniquely from the Lord in Acts 2:4, but then we see it ordinarily communicated through "the laying on of hands," for example, in Acts 8:14-17, and 19:6.
But again, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands does not do away with all of the other verses that speak of water baptism. Again, we Catholics believe all of the Scriptures, not just some to the exclusion of others.
While I don't exactly agree with you that "Baptism is another word for being born again" (that is biblically and linguistically incorrect), you are getting close here. It is more proper to say baptism is the instrument God uses to communicate the new birth. But again, you are getting close here.
But then you miss the boat entirely when you say in order to be born again, you have to "confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus..." from Romans 10:9-10
Romans is not talking about how you get born again. "Born again" is no where to be found in the text. It is talking about the necessity of belief and confessing Christ in order to be saved. And we Catholics agree that we have to do that.
The key thing that you are missing here is that it says, "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you WILL BE SAVED. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made UNTO SALVATION."
Notice, it does not say if you do this you ARE SAVED. It says you "shall be saved." And, "with the mouth confession is made UNTO SALVATION." The same exact words are used all over the New Testament to indicate that there are other things we have to do as well that "lead unto salvation" or that if we do we "shall be saved."
I will just give a few of them. St. Paul says he was glad the Corinthians were made sorrowful when he called them on the carpet for their many sins in II Cor. 7:8-10. He says, "sorrow leads to REPENTANCE UNTO SALVATION" (eis soterian, in Greek, the same words used in Romans 10:10). Romans 6:16, by the way, says "obedience" for the Christian "leads unto righteousness" with the same words used in Romans 10:10 "with the heart man believes "unto righteous" (eis dikaiosune) as well. That's an added bonus for you.
Also, as I've said before, there are many things Scripture says that if we do we "shall be saved." Matt. 10:22, "... he that endure until the end shall be saved." So we must not isolate Romans 10:9-10 and forget about the other texts that indicate there is more to the story.
What we know God uses baptism as his instrument to first bring us into Christ because not only does Mark 16:16 say, "He that believes and is baptized SHALL BE SAVED," but notice, I Peter 3:21, "Baptism does now save us" (see also Romans 6:3-4, Acts 22:16, etc.). And notice how Acts 22:16 specifically says baptism "washes away our sins."
Once again you say "water baptism does not saved you," but I have to go with St. Peter over you, "Baptism does now save us." Let's see, should I go with Dick or Scripture? Hmmmmmm
I think you know the answer to that question. I have to follow Scripture.
I do like the way you say baptism is "a way of confessing Jesus before men, So Jesus will confess you before the Father." There is some truth to that. I think that is taking a little bit of liberty with the Scriptures, but if you think about what you said there, you are getting closer to the truth. It would follow, then, that if you refuse baptism Jesus will not "confess you before the Father."
You better be careful what Bible verses you quote. If you want to keep your own little religion you've created, you're going to have to be more selective in your Bible reading. If you believe all the Scriptures you are going to end up Catholic!
But I do appreciate this discussion!

March 24, 2014 at 10:22 am PST
#63  Brady Commock - Columbia, Pennsylvania

There are as many religions in the world as there are people. Tim, you have your own religion just as Dick does and I do. There are no two people on Earth that will agree with each other on everything. We are all different.
Well, anyway we all disagree with each other. No amount of arguing will change any of our minds and everyone is allowed to believe what they want.
So, when we die we'll see what happens.

March 24, 2014 at 11:09 am PST
#64  Brady Commock - Columbia, Pennsylvania

Also Tim-
You say to Dick, "As Catholics, we believe all of the Bible. We don't just select individual verses we like and ignore the rest."

How about the second commandment?

How about I Timothy 2:5- "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus."?

How about Mathew 23:9- "And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven."?

March 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm PST
#65  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Brady, those are old and wore out lines. Come on! There is only one mediator between God and mankind and that is Jesus Christ! We Catholics are very aware of that, but as I asked my Protestant friend the other day...did you Baptise yourself? Thank God we have a God of inclusion instead of a God of exclusion! Yea, our God loves us, and shares His mediatorship with us. He isn't stingy, rigid, or selfish.

And we know all about the verse in Matt 23:9 about calling no man on earth father. What do you call your mothers husband? Are we not told in the ten commandments to honor our mother and FATHER? Someone better get the hammer and chizzle out and fix it huh? No, that wouldn't be a good idea! The thing to do is read the WHOLE verse in context with what's before and after it! Those poor ole Pharisees were always getting scolded by Jesus for being hypocrits and taking titles without humility!

March 24, 2014 at 6:15 pm PST
#66  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Brady,
In response to your #87:
I really appreciate what you say here because I used to believe the same way. When you say, "There are as many religions in the world as there are people," that is rooted in your experience of a "sola scriptura" Protestant world-view. It is true that IN PROTESTANTISM there are virtually "as many religions... as there are people." Luther himself lamented over this years after he had started his rebellion. He said "Now there are as many religions as there are heads."
But the truth is, in the Catholic Church, we Catholics have to submit to the authoritative teachings and disciplines of the Church just as Jesus taught in Matt. 18:15-18. This is why we have had one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (Eph. 4:5) for 2,000 years. There is no human explanation for that fact. Only God could keep the Church together in the same essential form for 2,000 years without a single contradiction on infallible teaching.
Thus, I do not "have [my own] religion." I have the true Faith. That does not mean all Catholics agree on everything. We don't. But when the Church "binds something on earth," we do agree.
And by the way, we don't have to die in order to "see what happens" or find out the truth. Jesus gave us the Church so that we can know the truth now. You don't have to die to know the truth; you just have to become Catholic.

March 25, 2014 at 7:33 am PST
#67  Brady Commock - Columbia, Pennsylvania

Christopher Travis-
Well then it looks like the Bible contradicts itself, no? It goes to show the book is only a book. Although I believe it is a great book, filled with wisdom and truth backed up by archeological discoveries, it was in fact written down by men and put together by men. Why did the men in the Council of Nicea get to be the ones who decided what was divine-inspired and what wasn't. They were only men appointed by Constantine.

March 25, 2014 at 7:49 am PST
#68  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Brady,
In response to your #91:
Yes, the Bible was written by men, but they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, God is the principle author. The human authors really did write them, but inspired by God.
Actually, the Bible doesn't contradict itself. It is a book, but it is not just your average book. It is inspired by God.
It was not the Council of Nicea that that canonized the Bible. It was a Synod in Rome in AD 382, the Councils of Hippo and Carthage in AD 393 and AD 397 that canonized them on a local level. The Council of Florence would later reiterate the canon and the Council of Trent would define it infallibly.
But the reason why the Church could give us the canon is because Jesus gave his authority to the Church to speak for him. That is why we have the canon of Scripture.

March 25, 2014 at 9:32 pm PST
#69  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,
In response to your #92
The Catholic Church agrees with you that we can KNOW we have eternal life as long as you understand "knowledge" in the way St. John uses it in I John 5:13. The Greek word for knowledge (Gr.—eideitei) in I John 5:13 does not necessarily equate to absolute certainty. We use the verb “to know” the same way in English. For example, I may say I know I am going to get an A on my Greek exam tomorrow. Does that mean I have metaphysical certainty of this? Not at all! What I mean and what the verb “to know” can be used to indicate is that I have confidence that I will get an A on my test tomorrow because I have studied the material thoroughly and I know it very well.
The context of I John makes it abundantly clear that this is how “knowledge” is being used in I John 5:13. In the next two verses, St. John draws a parallel between the “certainty” we have concerning our salvation and the “certainty” we have when we petition God in prayer:

And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.

Does this mean we have absolute certainty we will receive what we ask for when we make requests of God in prayer? Obviously not! St. John says we can have “confidence,” but not absolute certainty. We cannot always know with strict certainty that our request is truly “according to his will.” Moreover, Psalm 66:18 informs us: “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” I John 3:22 says, “… we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” Can we always be certain we have not “cherished iniquity” in our hearts, or that we have not done anything that may have displeased the Lord?

2. Our salvation is contingent upon many things according to the Bible. This indicates the certainty of our salvation is not absolute. Just a few examples include I John 1:8-9:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

The text says we will be forgiven if... Thus, the sobering truth is: un-confessed sin will not be forgiven. And the Bible is very clear that no sin can enter into heaven (see Hab. 1:13; Rev. 21:8-9, 27).

I have heard it said that if is “the biggest little word” in the English dictionary. Well, there are lots of them in Scripture. St. John, for example, also says:

Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life (I John 2:24-25).

This passage is plain. Our eternal life is contingent upon our choosing to abide in God. Can we choose the opposite? Absolutely! St. John goes on to explain:

No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous. He who commits sin is of the devil… No one born of God commits sin… (I John 3:6-9)

I should note here that on the surface, this text seems odd. We have already heard John say that everyone who is born of God does sin. Indeed, “all” sin. Yet, here he says those who are born of God do not sin? Is John contradicting himself? No. St. John makes a distinction between mortal and venial sins in this same epistle. In I John 5:16-17, John gives us remarkably plain definitions of both mortal and venial sins.

If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal… All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal.

In this context, we can reasonably conclude the one who is born of God does not commit mortal sin. If he were to do so, he would be “cut off” from the body of Christ and would need to be restored via confession to a state of grace (Cf. Gal. 5:4, Eph. 3:3-6, John 20:21-23).

Colossians 1:21-23:
And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard…
I Corinthians 15:1-2:

Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast—unless you believed in vain. (See also Matt. 24:44-51; Luke 12:41-46; Romans 11:22; Hebrews 3:6;14; Rev. 2:10; 25-26; 3:1-5; 22:18-19, for many more “ifs” and contingency clauses.)

II Peter 2:20-22:

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first… It has happened to them according to the true proverb, the dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.

Context, context, context.

The Bible is clear that we are secure in the Lord and he will keep us by his power until the end if we let him. However, the Bible is also clear that we can walk away from his power and protection if we want to.

March 25, 2014 at 9:47 pm PST
#70  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,
When you quote the Scriptures you are right on. It is when you interpret them that you get into trouble. Yes, we are given the opportunity so that "we might become the righteousness of God." II Cor. 5:21 says so. But that does not take away the fact that we have to persevere in him in order to finally be saved. If we sin, we have to confess those sins in order to be forgiven. I John 1:8-9 cannot be any more plain.
The reason why I am Catholic is that the Catholic Church takes all of the Scriptures, not just some of them.
You say salvation is "a one-time event." The Bible disagrees with you. The Bible teaches it is a process. We "have been saved" (Eph. 2:8-9), we are "being saved" (I Cor. 1:18; Romans 13:11; I Cor. 15:1-2), and we "shall be saved" if we endure until the end (Matt. 10:22; Rev. 2:10).
You are correct Jesus "will never leave us nor forsake us," but we can leave him (Matt. 24:45-51; II Peter 2:20-22; John 15:1-6).
I can't go with Dick; I have to go with the Bible. That's why I'm Catholic. I'm sure you can understand that, right? Why would I reject the Bible and follow Dick? That would be absurd.

March 27, 2014 at 8:14 pm PST
#71  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,
In answer to your #97:
When you quote verses like Mark 11:24, you also have to quote I John 5:14, which adds, "according to his will." Sometimes God says no like he did with St. Paul in II Cor. 12:7-10.
I agree that "he will never leave you nor forsake you" means even when we sin, but he will not force us to come back to him. We must freely do so like the Prodigal Son who was "dead" and brought back to life again when he came back to the father.
I agree with Scripture that says he will never leave us. But I also agree with Scripture that teaches we can leave him and be lost (Matt. 24:45-51; Gal. 5:4; Heb. 6:4-6; Heb. 10:26; II Peter 2:20-22; Romans 11:22; John 15:1-6; I John 2:24, etc.).
When you talk about salvation being a one-time event, you are not seeing the whole picture on salvation. The initial grace of salvation is a one-time event, no doubt. Through faith and baptism we are taken from death unto life (Romans 6:3-4; Acts 22:16; Eph. 2:8-9, etc.). But we then enter into a life of grace (Romans 5:1-5), where we can either grow in grace (II Peter 1:1-4), or "fall from grace" (Gal. 5:4; II Peter 2:20-22). St. James talks about our justification as a process as well. Even though Abraham was justified in Gen. 15:6 (Romans 4:3), he was justified again in Gen. 22 (James 2:21-26). Justification/Salvation is also a process (I Cor. 15:1-2; I Cor. 1:18; Matt. 10:22; Romans 13:11). You have to take all of the Scriptures, not just the ones you like. You even have to take the ones that you don't agree with and you have to be transformed by the renewing of your mind in Christ Jesus (Romans 12:2).
Amen to the fact that when we come to Christ, we enter into a relationship with him. We are new creations, all of our sins are forgiven. We agree. But we then have to allow Christ to live his life in us so that "the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:4). You're not seeing the whole picture yet.
You say good works are "for rewards only." But what you are not seeing is that one of those rewards, according to Scripture, is eternal life (see Romans 2:6-7; Gal. 6:7-9; Matt. 25:31-46).
You say salvation is a free gift "without works," and we agree. Eph. 2:8-9 (which is what you were referencing) is talking about the initial grace of salvation. However, once we enter into Christ, we can then begin to merit reward as Phil. 4:13, Romans 2:6-7, Gal. 6:7-9, Matt. 25:31-46 say.

March 28, 2014 at 5:14 pm PST
#72  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,
In answer to your #98:
We agree with you that, as 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "For he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
And we agree that when we enter into Christ through faith and baptism that we are made perfect. However, we then begin to sin as I John 1:8 says. And we must confess those sins in order to be forgiven of them as I John 1:9 says. We also have to forgive others in order to be forgiven as well as Matt. 6:14 says. We have to "walk in the light as he is in the light" (I John 1:7), etc.
You say, we are, "Born from above with the ability to stand before God wearing the Robe of Righteousness Your instantly made perfect."
Yes, but according to the Bible, we can soil that robe of righteousness. Jesus said, in Rev. 3:1-5, to the church at Sardis:
"I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead. Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; keep that, and repent. If you will not awake, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you. Yet you still have a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He who conquers shall be clothed like them in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; I will confess his name before my Father..."
Sounds awful Catholic to me!

March 28, 2014 at 5:25 pm PST
#73  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Dick,
This is my last post on this thread. There is nothing God could ever say to you to get you to change your mind. You have your man-made doctrines, and if God's word can't change your mind, I certainly cannot. So again, this is my last post here. I was encouraged that you acknowledged I John 5:14 to be "exactly true," as you said. That is one positive.
But when you said St. Paul actually had authority to command the messenger of Satan to flee from him, what can I say? St. Paul disagrees with you in II Cor. 12:7-10. He says God willed to send the messenger of Satan and when he asked the Lord to remove it, the Lord said his grace is sufficient. St. Paul acknowledged that this "weakness" and "infirmity" was allowed by God to keep him humble. But again, you have your belief. There is nothing St. Paul could ever say to change your mind.
When you said, "Matt.24:45-51 has nothing to do with being Lost and coming back, these were servant of a master not SON's." All I can say is, "Wow!" This is one of Jesus' many parables to teach the truth to us. It warns that anyone can fall away and be lost. You say it has nothing to do with Jesus. Jesus is only speaking of people who are serving some unknown "master" that is not Jesus. Wow! This goes to show what happens when people follow traditions of men. They then deny the word of God just as Jesus warned us in Mark 7:6-8.
When you said, "Gal.5:4 Is someone who would not let go of the Law," you are correct. But you missed the point. The people being spoken of were Christians who had "begun with the Spirit" (Gal. 3:3-5), and who he is exhorting "do not submit AGAIN to a yoke of slavery (Gal. 5:1). He says those who go back to the law to attempt to be saved, "fall from grace" (Gal. 5:4). You have to be in grace to fall from it.
As far as your interpretation of Heb. 6:4-6 goes, once again, you are simply denying what the text actually says because of your tradition. You say "if they could fall away then there is no hope." Huh?
When you say Heb. 10:26 says they "received" the knowledge of the truth, not that they "believed" the knowledge of the truth. Wow! Really?
First of all, the inspired author includes himself. "If WE sin willfully..." Second, how many times does the word of God use "receive" to mean to accept and it includes faith? I would suggest you do a word-study on "receive," "received," "receiving" in the New Testament. Here are a few examples to show you that "receive" here in Hebrews 10:26 means to "accept with faith." (Matt. 10:40; 13:20; 18:5; Mark 4:16; 9:37; 10:15; Luke 9:48; 9:53; 18:17; John 1:11; 12; 3:11; 27; 32; 33; 5:43; 12:48; 13:20; 14:17; 17:8; Acts 2:41; 8:14; 11:1; 17:11; Romans 3:25; I Cor. 2:14; 15:3; II Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:9; 3:14; Phil. 4:9; Col. 2:6; I Thess. 1:6; 2:13; Rev. 3:3)
As I said before, there is no way the Bible could say it any plainer than it does, but you want to hold on to your traditions.
Because of your "faith alone" tradition (that denies James 2:24 explicitly), you go on to miss it badly here. You interpret "receiving the knowledge of the truth" to mean "rejecting the truth." There is nothing I can do to help you here. If the Bible says, "white," you will say "black" and then justify it.
I agree that the inspired author is warning people not to reject the truth of the New Covenant in order to go back to the Old Covenant law, sacrifices, circumcision etc., but this was about more than just faith. It was about the obedience that justifies and the disobedience that separates us from God as well (see Heb.4:6; 11; 5:8-9; 10:35-38, etc.).
It is true that Hebrews is warning Christians not to leave the Mass (the one sacrifice of Christ) to attempt to go back to the Old Covenant sacrifices that could never take away sins (Heb. 10:1-11). So if they do, then there is "no sacrifice for sins" for them because they are rejecting the true sacrifice. But you are missing the point of the warning. Christians can fall away from the truth after having received it.
Then you claim that II Peter 2:20-22 represents people who did not "believe." They only "knew about the Lord" but they were not really saved. This is simply not true. II Peter 2:20-22 uses the same language of II Peter 1:1-4, in describing Christians, so that there can be no doubt that these people who "have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior" were Christians (compare II Peter 1:1-4 - Peter 2:20-22).
When you say "everything in the Gospels before Jesus' death was Old Testament," all I can say is, "Wow!" Really? Jesus IS the New Covenant, but he was old Covenant? Jesus is God, but forget about everything he taught? That was Old Testament? This is not worth refuting. But I will say this. At least you are honest and admit that you reject the teachings of Jesus Christ. Now we see your tradition by which you justify it. All I can say here is be warned. No number of traditions of men can nullify Jesus' word. He said "heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away" (Matt. 24:35). You can reject his words as "Old Testament" all you want, but you will judged by them, and you will discover one way or the other, that they are God's word that bind you.
As far as Romans 11 goes, you are correct it speaks of Israel's rejection of God and the Gentiles being received. However, what you miss is the fact that St. Paul then applies this rejection to the lives of individual Christians and warns all of us that we too can fall away, as individuals (read Romans 11:17-24, and note how many times he speaks of individual "branches" and "you" singular).
You are correct that we are not under "the law," but under grace. But that (you refer to Romans 6:14) refers to the Old Covenant law. We are under "the law of Christ" (I Cor. 9:21; Gal. 6:2; Romans 8:1-4; I Cor. 7:19; Matt. 19:16).
You are correct that John 15 "is about bearing fruit or producing good works." And there is a valid connection between this text and I Cor. 3:15. However, where you miss it is that this text does not only speak of the possibility of Purgatory, it also speaks of Hell for those who does not continue to "abide in him." Those will be cast into the fire. Purgatory is for those who are in Christ. Those who are not in Christ will end in Hell. That is what John 15:6 is about.
There is no question in I John 2:24 as to whether God will leave us. He will "never leave us nor forsake us" as Heb.13:5 says (and by the way, that is citing Deut. 31:6, but that did not mean that Israel could not walk away from him). I John 2:24 is teaching the fact that we have to continue to choose to "abide in him." This is not about him "forsaking us;" This is about us choosing to walk away from him.
When you say, "Didn't it say He took our Sins and Gave us his Sinlessness or ability to Stand With Jesus's Perfection and to ability to Go directly into the throne room of God with all our wants and desires." You are basically correct here, though you word it strangely. But then you conclude from this that "you cannot soil the Robe of Righteousness?" Huh?
The fact that Jesus "took away our sins" and offers his obedience for our disobedience has nothing to do with us having to allow him into our lives in order for all of that to be effective in our lives. We have to continue to "walk in the light as he is in the light" in order for that to be so (I John 1:7-9).
Finally, I love the way you quote Rev. 3:5 and ignore the first 4 verses. Oy vey!
I have thoroughly enjoyed this discussion, but I see now that it has reached the end. You have amazed me with your ability to obfuscate the truth for your tradition. I am sure I will hear from you on other threads, but I will not comment again on this one.
God Bless!

March 31, 2014 at 4:42 pm PST
#74  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

1Timothy 3:15...the church of the living God is the pillar and foundation of the truth! Do you believe that?

Mat 18:15...if a member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, and if he refuses to listen to the church let such a one be to you as a Gentile or tax collector! Do you believe that?

John 6:53...amen amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you! Do you believe that?

2 Peter 1:20 ....know this first of all , that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of self interpretation! Do you believe that?

Malachi 1:11... From the rising of the sun to its setting, my name is great upon the nations, incense offerings are made to my name everywhere! Uh oh Dick!

James 5:16 ...therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed! Uh oh again!

Once again failure to recognize ALL of Scripture is a colossal mistake. The more you blog Dick the more it opens eyes to the FULLNESS of the truth. Jesus wasn't joking when He said the gates of hell would never prevail against who? THE CHURCH ! Ain't but one church Jesus founded and it wasn't the church of Dick.

April 6, 2014 at 7:43 pm PST
#75  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

That's very kind of you Dick, first class all the way!!!

April 7, 2014 at 6:38 pm PST
#76  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

My life is my faith, your life is attacking other peoples faith by saying nasty things. You are foul and lack the spirit of charity. You should head over to blogs where there are like minded people and stop pestering Catholics.

April 12, 2014 at 6:54 pm PST
#77  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Yes Dick, my life is my faith. Everything in my life is devoted too and revolves around Christ, my Saviour. If that's my problem then I couldn't think of a better problem to have!!! Despite our differences in theology you are still my brother in Christ, so I hope you and your family have a great Easter!! May the peace and love of Christ be with you!!!

April 16, 2014 at 4:41 am PST
#78  Ged Narvaez - Daraga, Albay

That's Catholic!=)

April 22, 2014 at 6:21 am PST
#79  Ged Narvaez - Daraga, Albay

Yes, Grace is what we need. Go therefore, and let the holy sacraments of Our Lord, be known and made. An outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine Grace be upon Us.

Siblings in Christ. Please let us not fight with each other but be united All and on all. please

April 22, 2014 at 6:43 am PST
#80  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Yes, all God has to do is say the Word and His will be done, just as in Genesis and all the many miracles Christ did, such as turning the bread and wine into His flesh and blood. Amen.

April 23, 2014 at 3:13 pm PST
#81  Erik Martin - O'Fallon, Missouri

So I stumbled upon this by accident when I was looking something up for school. I may not be the most well educated on the teachings of the bible, only barely making it past the table of contents, but I noticed throughout the comments, many people were saying that the Protestants are wrong, and that Catholics are right. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the main difference between the many religions of today, as far as the ones that study the Bible are concerned, is that is that it is an opinion based off of their interpretations of the Bible. And having said that, faith and religion are really just ones own beliefs about the unknown, and in order to have the truth 100%, one would have to die before they actually know the truth. I am religious myself, but it irks me to see that Catholics tell others that they're wrong. I do side with the Catholics, but I find it wrong that they believe they have the right to tell others they're wrong. Personally, I believe that everyone is entitled to think as they like, but no one has the right to tell someone they're wrong unless its an obvious fault, like two plus four is a monkey in a tree. Also, I had a question that I was too lazy to google. When I skimmed through the Bible, I never caught wind of them saying what would happen to soldiers, who fight in wars and kill people. Technically, killing is a bad thing, but as far as defending your country, I don't see that as a sin, as long as its not an unnecessary death.(I.e. needlessly killing civilians or wounded soliders that pose no threat.) Do these people go to hell for the people they've killed, or does God cut them a little slack?

April 25, 2014 at 7:42 am PST
#82  Ged Narvaez - Daraga, Albay

To tell you the truth, an unconfessed mortal sin leads him to his pitfall. This is the logic of own free choice. It is murder that chains Him. By saying and believing he has faith in God, but not cooperating (e.g. no repentance, unfaithfulness, being uncharitable, disobedience, presuming forgiveness and continuing grave sins, being hateful and not loving) in the power of God, His Divine Works, is indeed not truly faith in God.

Try to read to CCC 2258 -2283 Respect for Human Life, CCC 2284-2301 Respect for the Dignity of Persons. 2302-2317 (Just War Doctrine) Safeguarding Peace.

In brief, CCC 2318 "In [God's] hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:10). CCC 2319 Every human life, from the moment of conception until death, is sacred because the human person has been willed for its own sake in the image and likeness of the living and holy God. CCC 2320 The murder of a human being is gravely contrary to the dignity of the person and the holiness of the Creator. CCC 2321 The prohibition of murder does not abrogate the right to render an unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm. Legitimate defense is a grave duty for whoever is responsible for the lives of others or the common good.

May 10, 2014 at 10:12 pm PST
#83  Ged Narvaez - Daraga, Albay

"Do you not know that Jesus came to fulfill the Law? Do you not know that the Righteous in Christ are not under the Law?"

-Yes, and yes, I know.

But didn't you know that the righteous person, is genuinely righteous because he can follow the law.
Is the law made to be broken? If its is, then it is not a law. Is he himself the reason that anyone can violate the law, thus no honor the law? No! Christ is very clear on that.. He even allow himself to be baptized!

Jesus came, though not subject to Law, but fulfill His own law. Does this allow us to disregard His law, God's law? If your truly in Christ, you will also fulfill his law, such as God himself fulfills them, though he is not under the law, as a humble example.

Are you a true follower of Christ? Then follow Christ!

Chawder: I can pass the entrance test.Don't worry... It's just all about enthusiasm..

"Righteousness is not in the Catechism and is not taught in any of my 12 yrs. of Catholic School or even Today. I've shared this in a lot of Blogs and have had no one to explain it according to Bible definition. This Word is critical to your salvation."

-That's a pretty neat trick. Just because you said it, it doesn't mean that it's not there. It's alarming that you don't hear and listen to your teachers very well.

"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—"

-Yes, that's it!

"(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law."

-Um, by nature, Law is there. You cannot say by yourself nor create your own -a no law. Father, in unity and in trintity created divine laws. Even Jesus is so humble that he follow his Law. Why us, said faithful servants of Christ, do not follow.

"Did you know that sin comes from the law?"

-Your wrong here pal. It is from its omission, it is from His choice to offense.

Joker of the Century: If I faithfully follow the Law, I receive the sin. If I do not the will and spirit of the Law, I receive nothing. Therefore sin comes from the Law.

"Absents of the law there is no Offence."

-Again, you cannot on you own nor create own -a no law. Reason tells us that such is not sound.

"Do you know that the very smallest sin is as big as the biggest sin ?"

-The weighing scale have spoken.

"If Jesus is your Savior ; Sin is no longer a Problem. Jesus came to make you Free. Free from what? God does not want you to struggle through life-Being IN then OUT. The Church Does not want you to know this because they want to control you."

-Your very presumptuous.

Jesus is Our Savior. Jesus is Our Example. Jesus is humble, Jesus is Life, Jesus is Obedient, Jesus is Just, Jesus is Our Teacher, Jesus is not a Lawbreaker. Why are not following Jesus?

COME IN.

May 11, 2014 at 5:29 pm PST
#84  Ged Narvaez - Daraga, Albay

Barnes: For until the law ... - This verse, with the following verses to the 17th, is usually regarded as a parenthesis. The Law here evidently means the Law given by Moses. "Until the commencement of that administration, or state of things under the law." To see the reason why he referred to this period between Adam and the Law, we should recall the design of the apostle, which is, to show the exceeding grace of God in the gospel, abounding, and superabounding, as a complete remedy for all the evils introduced by sin. For this purpose he introduces three leading conditions, or states, where people sinned, and where the effects of sin were seen; in regard to each and all of which the grace of the gospel superabounded. The first was that of Adam, with its attendant train of ills Romans 5:12, which ills were all met by the death of Christ, Romans 5:15-18. The second period or condition was that long interval in which men had only the light of nature, that period occurring between Adam and Moses. This was a fair representation of the condition of the world without revelation, and without law, Romans 5:13-14. Sin then reigned - reigned everywhere where there was no law. But the grace of the gospel abounded over the evils of this state of man. The third was under the Law, Romans 5:20. The Law entered, and sin was increased, and its evils abounded. But the gospel of Christ abounded even over this, and grace triumphantly reigned. So that the plan of justification met all the evils of sin, and was adapted to remove them; sin and its consequences as flowing from Adam; sin and its consequences when there was no written revelation; and sin and its consequences under the light and terrors of the Law.
Sin was in the world - People sinned. They did what was evil.

But sin is not imputed - Is not charged against people, or they are not held guilty of it where there is no law. This is a self-evident proposition, for sin is a violation of law; and if there is no law, there can be no wrong. Assuming this as a self-evident proposition, the connection is, that there must have been a law of some kind; a "law written on their hearts," since sin was in the world, and people could not be charged with sin, or treated as sinners, unless there was some law. The passage here states a great and important principle, that people will not be held to be guilty unless there is a law which binds them of which they are apprized, and which they voluntarily transgress; see the note at Romans 4:15. This verse, therefore, meets an objection that might be started from what had been said in Romans 4:15. The apostle had affirmed that "where no law is there is no transgression." He here stated that all were sinners. It might be objected, that as during this long period of time they had no law, they could not be stoners. To meet this, he says that people were then in fact sinners, and were treated as such, which showed that there must have been a law.

Poor boy: Sorry that I used 122 reflective and insightful form. Does 124 make you reasonable now?

May 13, 2014 at 6:52 pm PST
#85  Ged Narvaez - Daraga, Albay

Romans 2:13-16: For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified … on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:16: Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience which leads to righteousness? (Greek dikaiosunen, "justification")

Matthew 10:22: And you will be hated of all men for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Romans 13:11: For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him, while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

justification is revealed in Scripture to be a process rather than a mere one-time event.

May 14, 2014 at 4:23 am PST
#86  Ged Narvaez - Daraga, Albay

Gospel of Paul (see Rom 16:25) finds its center in salvation and justification through faith in Christ (Rom 1:16–17). While God’s wrath is revealed against all sin and wickedness of Gentile and Jew alike (Rom 1:18–3:20), God’s power to save by divine righteous or justifying action in Christ is also revealed (Rom 1:16–17; 3:21–5:21). The consequences and implications for those who believe are set forth (Rom 6:1–8:39)as are results for those in Israel (Rom 9–11) who, to Paul’s great sorrow (Rom 9:1–5), disbelieve. The apostle’s hope is that, just as rejection of the gospel by some in Israel has led to a ministry of salvation for non-Jews, so one day, in God’s mercy, “all Israel” will be saved (Rom 11:11–15, 25–29, 30–32). The fuller ethical response of believers is also drawn out, both with reference to life in Christ’s body (Rom 12) and with regard to the world (Rom 13:1–7), on the basis of the eschatological situation (Rom 13:11–14) and conditions in the community (Rom 14:1–15:13).

May 14, 2014 at 5:08 am PST
#87  Ged Narvaez - Daraga, Albay

Christian Life
Freed from sin; Life in God
* What then shall we say? Shall we persist in sin that grace may abound? Of course not!a
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How can we who died to sin yet live in it?b
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Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?c
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We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.d

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For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.e
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We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.f
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For a dead person has been absolved from sin.
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If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.g
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We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.h
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As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God.i
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Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as [being] dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.j
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* Therefore, sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires.k
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And do not present the parts of your bodies to sin as weapons for wickedness, but present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness.l
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For sin is not to have any power over you, since you are not under the law but under grace.m
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What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Of course not!n
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Do you not know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves,o you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?p
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But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted.*
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Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness.
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I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature. For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness for lawlessness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
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q For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness.*
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But what profit did you get then from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.r
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But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification,* and its end is eternal life.s
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For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

May 14, 2014 at 5:14 am PST
#88  Ged Narvaez - Daraga, Albay

* [6:1–11] To defend the gospel against the charge that it promotes moral laxity (cf. Rom 3:5–8), Paul expresses himself in the typical style of spirited diatribe. God’s display of generosity or grace is not evoked by sin but, as stated in Rom 5:8 is the expression of God’s love, and this love pledges eternal life to all believers (Rom 5:21). Paul views the present conduct of the believers from the perspective of God’s completed salvation when the body is resurrected and directed totally by the holy Spirit. Through baptism believers share the death of Christ and thereby escape from the grip of sin. Through the resurrection of Christ the power to live anew becomes reality for them, but the fullness of participation in Christ’s resurrection still lies in the future. But life that is lived in dedication to God now is part and parcel of that future. Hence anyone who sincerely claims to be interested in that future will scarcely be able to say, “Let us sin so that grace may prosper” (cf. Rom 6:1).

May 14, 2014 at 5:17 am PST
#89  Ged Narvaez - Daraga, Albay

The majestic chapters of Ephesians emphasize the unity in the church of Christ that has come about for both Jews and Gentiles within God’s household (Eph 1:15–2:22, especially Eph 2:11–22) and indeed the “seven unities” of church, Spirit, hope; one Lord, faith, and baptism; and the one God (Eph 4:4–6). Yet the concern is not with the church for its own sake but rather as the means for mission in the world (Eph 3:1–4:24). The gifts Christ gives its members are to lead to growth and renewal (Eph 4:7–24). Ethical admonition is not lacking either; all aspects of human life and relationships are illumined by the light of Christ (Eph 4:25–6:20).

May 14, 2014 at 7:08 pm PST
#90  Ged Narvaez - Daraga, Albay

Please do not discredit and spoil the gospel. You have said many more scriptures. I am stating part of ephesians that you have not cited.
Also read James, this will definitely reveal what you are trying to hide.

James 1:22-27

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.

James 2:14-24

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

I will no longer post in this blog. You have heard enough. May God enlighten you.

May 15, 2014 at 6:02 pm PST
#91  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Prediction: Dick will say works are for rewards only. Then he will tell us James was talking about works when not already saved vs saved, although James mentions that nowhere.

The whole message of the Gospels is to be a doer, thus the two greatest COMMANDMENTS...(not sugestions)

Matthew 22:36-40

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus replied "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and all your mind. This is the GREATEST AND FIRST COMMANDMENT. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

Even the most simple minded can figure that one out. For what else can the greatest and the first mean? It can only mean one thing... It is at the top, nothing is of more importance. NOTHING in all of Scripture is above or takes precidence over this commandment, absolutley nothing! Not crying Lord, Lord, with your mouth, not being baptised, not reading Scripture, NOT ANYTHING! This is it, the whole enchilada, this is why we were created! To LOVE AND SERVE our Lord. There is no other reason Dick! God knows who He is, He doesn't need you just professing who He is, He doesn't just want you to tell Him who He is, He already knows who He is, but He wants you to show Him how much you love Him, just like He shows you! It is so simple!!!!!!! I can tell my wife I love her and profess it from the mountain tops with my mouth all day long, but my love for her WITHOUT WORKS is dead, my love would be meaningless if I didn't do the things it takes to show her I love her. Come on Dick, are you going to tell me you fulfill this greatest and first commandment with just your mouth and a one time experience? Really? Are you going to tell me you are above this FIRST AND GREATEST commandment, that you can announce you are saved and the commndment no longer applies to you? I have some harsh words for you if you believe you deserve eternal life with our Lord and dont have to love Him after all He has done for you! My gosh, He didn't suffer and die for you to sit upon your thrown and cry "look at me, I'm saved, I can do what I want, or not do anything at all." That is arrogant, disrespectful, and in no way is a reflection of being a true Christian. It stinks of individualism and minimalism and is loath!

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, MIND AND SOUL, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF, PICK UP YOUR CROSS, FEED THE HUNGRY, CLOTHE THE NAKED, WELCOME THE STRANGER, CARE FOR THE SICK AND IMPRISONED...LOVE LOVE LOVE AND LOVE SOME MORE!!!!!!

Your mouth or qouting Scripture is not what makes you holy, your actions speak louder than words! And without holliness, NOTHING shall enter the Kingdom of God for eternity!

Now I am done with you Dick, and no Scripture you quote or argument will be worth your time, for the Lord has told me LOVE is the greatest commandment, not professing, and none of the law or prophets mean a thing without it! God bless and have a good day!

May 16, 2014 at 2:00 am PST
#92  Ray Matlak - Quail Valley, California

On the subject of the afterlife, there is the story in Luke 16:19-31 where Jesus talks about the rich man and the beggar, Lazarus. The rich man was in the fire and torment of Hades whereas the Lazarus was carried by the angels to heaven. Jesus quotes Abraham as saying when speaking to the rich man "between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us." Personally, as a Catholic, I find this to be the clearest teaching on the afterlife.

May 19, 2014 at 3:06 am PST
#93  Ray Matlak - Quail Valley, California

Dick, my response to you is that you do not know what I believe because we've never met and discussed anything. In addition, I know many Catholics that are Christians and follow the Bible. Let's not be painting with too broad a brush and saying "this class of people is unfit, or this denomination has it all together" because Jesus and the Bible itself would contradict us in taking such a position.

May 19, 2014 at 9:02 am PST
#94  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Ray, you will have to excuse Dick, he is stuck on thinking Catholics do not have Jesus in their hearts or profess Him to be our Savior. I would love for him to march his tail down to my parish and tell the God fearing parishoners they do not love Jesus, that would go over real well. Then maybe he could show his face at all the Catholic charities and inform them too. Then when he is done with that perhaps he could stop by some of the convents and monastaries where they do nothing but pray 24 hours a day and devout their whole lives to Christ and tell them they too don't love Jesus.

May 19, 2014 at 2:36 pm PST
#95  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Once again Dick you show why you are flawed in what you believe, or what you think you believe. Your theology is seriously flawed and your perception of what other faiths believe is just as bad. Jehovah's DO NOT call themselves Christians, and they do have a Bible, just happens to be a badly translated Bible. Something tells me your Bible is probably missing a few pages also.

May 21, 2014 at 4:25 am PST
#96  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

That's really random about the bank Dick, but Ok what ever you say. I have a friend who is a JW and he disagrees with you, but I guess you know more about them than he does just like you know more about Catholicism than Catholics. Have you thought about a career in politics?

I keep yo yoing, Ok that's a bit strange too. I'm going to hell according to you and I'm yo yoing, my side hurts lol. I've had a long day and that really relieved my stress, thanks Dick.

I'm not sure what non biblical book you keep pestering about but your very lost and making uneducated guesses about people. You should really stop and think before you start accusing. You are squating and this is becoming a side show, there is no sense, logic, or anyone buying what you say.

You and I do see the Word of God different indeed. The difference is that you have no faith in early Christianity while I do. You will not accept the preaching of those who knew the Apostles, I do. You follow your own whims while I follow over two thousand years of Church teachings AND Scripture. You can keep up the shananigans as long as you want but this rock won't budge.

You have a Bible and believe it to be the Word of God but you have no real way of knowing that. Who wrote the Gospel of Luke? Who wrote the Gospel of Mark? They were not Apostles were they Dick? How do you know who wrote those Gospels and that it actually is the Word of God? Do you believe in Scripture alone? And please do not tell us you have the Holy Spirit and we do not, that is narrow and speaks of arrogance and self pride.

May 21, 2014 at 7:31 pm PST
#97  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

And one more thing Dick, I'd rather have too many pages in my Catechism than not enough pages in my Bible.

May 21, 2014 at 7:34 pm PST
#98  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Dick is all hung up on the Catechism being man made writings. The Catechism explains our Catholic faith and no Catholic confuses it with Scripture, but rather an explanation of Church teachings. Church teachings are based on Scripture. What Dick is trying to say and make a fuss about is that we ought to reject the Catechism because it was written by men, on the other hand he wants us to accept his writings on here, which is also written by a man, Dick. Seems kind of hyprocritical doesn't it. Pot...meet kettle, kettle...meet pot.

May 22, 2014 at 3:39 am PST
#99  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

How pure and Holy is the Word of God, when it is not seperated from the Church in which it flowed from. How confusing is the Word of God when seperated from the Bride, and the Head is cut off from the Body. The Tower of Babel once again rises from the ruins, but it is built on sand, an individual grain of sand and not on Rock. The breathtaking Word of God knocks down these new man made houses like they were houses of straw, for the Lord of all says this...

Psalm 127:1 " Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain those who build."

Only the Divine has the authority to build, judge, and be executioner of His one, holy and apostolic Church. Dick has judged Christ's Church, rendered his own verdict, acted as executioner, and built a new church, one not of appostolic succession. Your church will not stand Dick, just like the millions of others that have been built over the last 2000 years. The ONE TRUE CHURCH, the apostolic Catholic Church will remain for eternity because it has this promise from Her founder, our Lord...

Matthew 16:18 " 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."

No matter how many negative posts you make against Her She will continue to be the beacon of Light set upon the hill for all to see. She will always overcome the darkness and remain until the end of time. She is built out of Love and built out of Rock, Her windows are spotless and Her Offering is purrer than any snow flake. Just like the morning dew fall, She covers the entire earth. She is there for sinners, and there for saints, She is there endlessly praying with out a single second of elapsed time of silence, and She is always there to extend Her hand to the least of thee. Every day, every hour, She calls us to the hevenly banquet, the feast of the Lamb of God, the Word made Flesh, ever so ready to feed and nourish our hungry souls. Faith, Hope, and Love are Her pillars, and Truth is Her way!!!

May 24, 2014 at 5:03 am PST
#100  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Why do you change the words of scripture Dick, other than to flat out lie. Jesus did not say "upon this revelation I will build my church." Jesus said "upon this rock I will build my church." Anyone who is has an honest intellect, which you do not, would ask what rock and what authority. He had just renamed Simon to Peter, and sorry Dick, it wasn't because Jesus thought his name was corny, it was just as with Abram to Abraham, our God had a special role for Peter to fill. Then our Lord gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. If given the keys isn't a proclamation of authority then I don't know what is.

Next your going to tell me all the Apostles had this authority, to which I will reply, that's what we Catholics call the Magisterium, and yes, they have an authority you and I do not possess. I seem to recall that Jesus told them this, "Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." You Dick do not listen and reject the authority established by Christ, the same authority that tells us which writtings were to be considered Scripture and which ones were not, the very Scripture you use against the authority that gave you Scripture to begin with.

Now about your narrow comment about the Church not being a building or orginization. Are you trying to say Christ did not want an organized Church but rather a disorganized Church? I hate it for you but the Bible isn't the Church established by Christ, it is a product of the Church, not the other way around. The Church established by Christ did indeed have authority to preach, to bind and to loose, to forgive sins, to ordain, it clearly had structure and was organized. Have you really convinced yourself that early Christian did not gather somewhere to hear the word of God and to break bread? If you are going to make such a statement then tell me what year you believe the Church introduced the idea of being organized and gathering to worship. This I've got to hear.

Matthew 18:15 ..."if a member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector."

Ouch!!!!! To tell it requires words to be spoken. To who? THE CHURCH. Individuals could not resolve their disagreement, they needed something greater than themselves for the truth. Jesus did not say take your disagreement to Scripture alone, He point blank said TELL IT TO THE CHURCH, that means with your mouth. So which Church? The imaginary invisible unorganized Church, or the visible Church that could be found and that had the authority of Christ to bind and loose, the Church that was organized. Take note how Christ finishes this argument...if the offender refuses to LISTEN, that means using your ears Dick, then let such a one be as a Gentile or tax collector. It can not get any more plain and simple than that! The CHURCH has the authority, not individuals who disagree. The Apostles and the holy ones they appointed ran the Churches, and they were in accord with one another, the same body, mind, and Spirit, these are the same ones Christ spoke of when He said whoever refuses to hear you refuses to hear Me. Unorganized....phooey!!

The Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. Hmm, would that be the non organized Church? Judging from the Scripture above the only conclussion is an organized Church. Once again the Church had to be physical in order to be found and to be able to hear, and the Church had to be physical in nature to render a verdict, a verdict that would come from the foundation and pillar of truth, THE CHURCH!

Dick, you might be able to fool yourself into thinking an organized Church never existed, but you can't fool history nor the founder of the Church. Even on the last day of His life he gathered His Church, the Apostles, and they had a liturgy, a ritual that had been in place since Moses. He did not abolish the Passover feast, He fulfilled it and passed it on to us when He gave the command "Do this in memory of me." Reading the Scriptures is great, actually hearing them and living them is heavenly. Christ is organized, and Christ gathers His flock for the Supper of the Lamb, sometimes in buildings and sometimes not in buildings in times of persecution. We will always gather, just like the angels and saints in heaven gather around the altar, either in plain sight or underground like the Catacombs. From the beginning of time our Lord never intended us to be isolated or unorganized in our worship of Him. He gathered his sheep and always had a feast, a celebration of life. Amen!

Time for me to go gather with my brothers and sisters and worship as one, in perfect harmony with those all around the world! Have a blessed day!!!

May 25, 2014 at 5:39 am PST

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