How do you reconcile your beliefs as a Christian with your beliefs as an anarchist? Because I know a huge motto of sorts for anarchy is "no gods no masters" and I'm curious as to how you fit into that and what led you to your beliefs.
Oh man, this might be a really lengthy, complicated answer.
I think that any honest reading of the Bible results in AT LEAST some kind of socialism. If you just look at the Hebrew Bible, the Prophets demanded justice for the poor and had many woes for rich oppressors. In the New Testament, Jesus had nothing good to say about wealth accumulation, and added together with the Epistle of James, the Acts of the Apostles, and Revelations you get a pretty healthy smackdown of wealth and private property. The earliest apostles, who we are supposed to emulate, lived communally. Affirming capitalism, which is entirely based on wealth accumulation and private property-based injustice, is an untenable position.
I discovered this when I took my first sociology class and started to really understand the injustices that are going on due to capitalism. I was already deeply Christian, and so I looked at what Jesus said and realized that this couldn’t be the kind of world he wanted. We are nothing like the “kingdom of God,” which Jesus said we should build within ourselves and on earth.
So I became a sort of soft socialist, and I started reading up on Marxism. I toyed around with Marxism-Leninism for a bit, until I took a Soviet history class and realized that I didn’t agree with the way they implemented or interpreted Marx. I discovered Peter Kropotkin when I read deeper into the Russian Revolution, and then I read The Conquest of Bread (read the Bread Book!).
I really enjoyed the Conquest of Bread, and I thought that was the closest to anything I could really get behind. And then I started to read into some liberation theology, and I realized that so much of the message of Christianity was originally very anti-empire and anti-state, so I started to understand Jesus as a sort of proto-anarchist communist.
And I’ve understood Christianity through that lens ever since. As far as the “No Gods, No Masters” thing goes, I obviously disagree with it, but I do think that people are often talking past each other when they talk about God. Like, if you think that God is an autocratic dictator, ruling over the universe with an iron fist who demands worship - then I agree, we shouldn’t be worshiping that, and such a God would have to be abolished. But most religious people I know view God as the benevolent and creative force in the universe, the ground of all being, or something similar.Opposing God, in that sense, would be as ridiculous as opposing Gravity or any other natural existent thing in the universe.
Theologically, I think Christians often forget how naturally radical the entire Christian language is. We call Jesus the “Son of God,” and that was actually one of the titles for the Roman Emperor. We are essentially calling a poor, homeless, itinerant preacher from Nazareth more powerful than the Emperor of Rome. That was a direct challenge to Imperial power. So much of the Christian worship service and language is really a direct challenge to Roman Imperialism, and so it is a huge tragedy and terribly ironic that Christianity was eventually adopted as THE imperialist religion writ-large.
But I don’t think that makes the Christian language bankrupt, at least not to me. Jesus is still the prime example of the Divine Love resisting the abusive powers of this world. And the Gospel narrative shows that Divine Love defeating those abusive powers. That’s just super inspiring!
I’m actually not the only one to come to this kind of conclusion, either. There are tons of Christian Anarchists in history, most notably Dorothy Day and Leo Tolstoy.
So that’s my story, and basically how I think it works out theologically.
TL;DR: Jesus was a Communist, Jesus was a Pacifist, Jesus didn’t like the rich.
Luke is one of the Four Evangelists - the traditionally ascribed authors of the canonical Gospels. The early church fathers ascribed to him authorship of both the Gospel according to Luke and the book of Acts of the Apostles, which would mean Luke contributed over a quarter of the text of the New Testament, more than any other author. The New Testament mentions Luke briefly a few times, and the Pauline epistle to the Colossians refers to him as a doctor; thus he is thought to have been both a Greek physician and a disciple of Paul. The Roman Catholic Church and other major denominations venerate him as Saint Luke the Evangelist and as a patron saint of artists, physicians, and surgeons; his feast day takes place on 18 October. X
Solemnity of Pentecost – 4 June 2017 – Wishing you all a Holy, Blessed and inspired Pentecost! The Solemnity of Pentecost is the birthday of the Church:
The Church was made manifest to the world on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Spirit ushers in a new era in the “dispensation of the mystery” the age of the Church, during which Christ manifests, makes present, and communicates his work of salvation through the liturgy of His Church, “until he comes.” (CCC, #1076)
Pentecost is not just an isolated feast of the Holy Spirit but an integral feast of the Easter season. Pentecost is also an elementary feast — not as in getting to back to the basics or beginnings of the Catholic Church but can be described elementary as in the four elements of Aristotle: earth, wind, fire and water.
Red Easter: Pentecost closes the Easter season and not in an anticlimactic fashion but in a grand finale. We so often tend to look at this feast as a separate entity for the Holy Spirit but the Church integrates this feast into the Easter season as a whole. there is significance in the number of days and weeks during the Easter season and in the eyes of the Church, the 50 days are viewed as “one feast day.” The Italian name for Pentecost, Pasqua rossa (Red Easter) is a great reminder of this connection.
22. The fifty days from the Sunday of the Resurrection to Pentecost Sunday are celebrated in joy and exultation as one feast day, indeed as one “great Sunday.” These are the days above all others in which the Alleluia is sung.
23. The Sundays of this time of year are considered to be Sundays of Easter and are called, after Easter Sunday itself, the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Sundays of Easter. This sacred period of fifty days concludes with Pentecost Sunday. (From the General Norms of the Liturgical Year and Calendar).
The Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is closely linked to the feast of the Resurrection, our Passover Feast:
On the day of Pentecost when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ’s Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance. On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #731-732)
In reading the account of Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles, there is very pronounced imagery. It is easy to recognise the wind and fire but all four classic elements of Greek philosopher, Aristotle, are present at Pentecost, earth, wind, fire and water.
First in the account of Pentecost from Acts 2:1-11 came the wind: “And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.”
Most Biblical renderings of the God or the Holy Spirit is through a gentle breath, such as Jesus breathing on the Apostles in the Resurrection appearance in the Upper Room. At Pentecost it is the same room, but here the Holy Spirit comes as wind of strength and power.
There is nothing subtler than the wind, which manages to penetrate everywhere, even to reach inanimate bodies and give them a life of their own. The rushing wind of the day of Pentecost expresses the new force with which divine love invades the Church and souls (p. 592, In Conversation with God, Volume 2, by Francis Fernandez).
Next came the fire: “Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.” It is this combination of wind and fire that is the gift of tongues. One of the optional readings for Pentecost is the story of the Tower of Babel. Pius Parsch, as quoted on the Catholic Culture’s Pentecost page, explains that is was the sin of pride that separated and divided those at Babel. The Holy Spirit brings unity and love, which allows those languages to be spoken and understood by all.
The liturgical color for Pentecost is red, the color of fire and blood and the symbol of love. The last time we have seen red vestments outside of the feasts of martyrs or apostles is Palm Sunday and Good Friday. The red for those days recalled the blood of Christ. Today the red recalls the tongues of fire and we ask the Holy Spirit to ignite our hearts, just as we pray:
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy Faithful; and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love….
“In medieval times, many churches had a “Holy Ghost Hole”, a small circular opening in the ceiling of the church. The holes would be decorated on Pentecost, with various items symbolising the Holy Spirit lowered through the hole. This practice calls to mind the elements of wind and fire. Father Francis Weiser describes the tradition (emphasis mine):
In medieval times the figure of a dove was widely used to enact in a dramatic way the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday. When the priest had arrived at the sequence, he sang the first words in a loud and solemn voice: Veni Sancte Spiritus (Come, Holy Ghost). Immediately there arose in the church a sound “as of a violent wind blowing” (Acts 2, 2). This noise was produced in some countries, like France, by the blowing of trumpets; in others by the choir boys, who hissed, hummed, pressed windbags, and rattled the benches. All eyes turned toward the ceiling of the church where from an opening called the “Holy Ghost Hole” there appeared a disc the size of a cart wheel, which slowly descended in horizontal position, swinging in ever-widening circles. Upon a blue background, broken by bundles of golden rays, it bore on its underside the figure of a white dove.
Meanwhile the choir sang the sequence. At its conclusion the dove came to rest, hanging suspended in the middle of the church. There followed a “rain” of flowers indicating the gifts of the Holy Spirit and of water symbolizing baptism. In some towns of central Europe people even went so far as to drop pieces of burning wick or straw from the Holy Ghost Hole, to represent the flaming tongues of Pentecost. This practice, however, was eventually stopped because it tended to put the people on fire externally, instead of internally as the Holy Spirit had done at Jerusalem. In the thirteenth century in many cathedrals of France real white pigeons were released during the singing of the sequence and new around in the church while roses were dropped from the Holy Ghost Hole (Weiser, Holyday Book).
Except for the burning bits, some of these practices have been revived in these older churches. In parts of Italy and Sicily, red rose petals are dropped through the hole. This is an especially spectacular sight in the church in Rome dedicated to St. Mary and the Martyrs that was formerly the Pantheon. There is an opening in the dome and the rose petals are dropped, filling the church and covering the floor.
Red and fire are the dominant images used in Pentecost celebrations. In many places of the Northern Hemisphere, this is height of strawberry season and the red fruits shapes like tongues of fire seem perfect for the feast day that falls in the warmer months.”
The earth element doesn’t seem to be as obvious with the connection more as it relates to God’s creation. Pentecost, which means “Fiftieth Day” in Greek, was a Jewish festival marking the 7 weeks or 50 days after the Passover. It was a harvest festival, offering the first fruits in thanksgiving to God. Later the feast also commemorated the giving of the Law or Ten Commandments to Moses at Sinai. Our civilization has become less agrarian but this “earth element” should be a universal reminder to us as respect and thanksgiving for creation. Pope Benedict explains and elaborates:
“From its earliest prehistory [Pentecost] has been a feast of harvest. In Palestine the crops were ripe in May; Pentecost was the thanksgiving for the grain harvest. Man sees the fruitfulness which results from the interplay of heaven and earth as the miracle by which he lives and he acknowledges that gratitude is the appropriate response to this miracle….Has this become meaningless today? If we think of “Holy Spirit” only in terms of Christian inwardness and of “harvest” only in terms of technology and commerce, our view of the world has become schizophrenic. At Pentecost the church prays a verse from the psalms which runs: Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth. Initially this refers to the creative Spirit which has called the world into being and maintains it in being. It is important to have a new reality of this at Pentecost: the Holy Spirit who came down upon the apostles is the same Spirit who fashioned the world….”
Against this background we must also understand that, in Israel, Pentecost was the remembrance of the arrival at Sinai and the celebration of the Covenant which had set out a path for Israel to travel in the form of the law. Christians have always seen their Pentecost as a continuation of this idea: the New Law is love, breaking down barriers and uniting people in the New Covenant. Love, too, is not formless or arbitrary; it is a formation from within, a wakefulness of the heart which takes up the rhythm of creation and perfects it. (Seek That Which is Above, 79-81)”
The final element, water, is not an image of the Holy Spirit but a direct result of the coming of the Paraclete upon the Disciples. After they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they left the Upper Room and began to proclaim the Gospel. And on hearing their words, 3000 were baptised that day. The matter of baptism is water.
From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and administered holy Baptism. Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching: “Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
26. The apostles and their collaborators offer Baptism to anyone who believed in Jesus: Jews, the God-fearing, pagans. 27 Always, Baptism is seen as connected with faith: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household,” St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi. And the narrative continues, the jailer “was baptised at once, with all his family” (CCC, #1226)
With every baptism comes the reminders of the first Pentecost. Today is also a good feast to celebrate our reception of the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. ( Jennifer Gregory Miller)
It is the largest extant medieval manuscript. It is
assumed to have been created in the Benedictine monastery of Podlažice in
Bohemia (Czech Republic). It was probably written in the first third of the
XIII century. In 1648 during the Thirty Years War, the work was taken and is preserved at the National Library in Stockholm, Sweden.
is also known as the “Devil’s Bible” for the
great illustration of the devil contained inside and why according to a legend,
the scribe was a monk who broke his monastic vows and was sentenced to be
walled up alive. In order to avoid this penalthy he promised to create in one
day a book to glorify the monastery (the story stems from the fact that it was
the medieval belief that the copying of the texts was a privileged way for the
atonement of their sins). Near midnight, he understood that his task was not
possible, so he made a prayer to Lucifer asking him to help him finish the book
in exchange of his soul. The devil completed the manuscript and the monk added
the devil’s picture out of gratitude for his aid. In popular fiction, the 8
missing pages are rumored to contain an apocalyptic text called “ The Devil’s
It is contained in a skin covered with wooden cover,
with metal decorations.
measures 92 centimeters long, 50 wide and 22 thick and
weighs 75 kilograms. initially it contained 320 pages of vellum, but 8 of these
The code seems to have been created by a certain
Herman the recluse of the Benedictine monastery Podlažice destroyed in the XV
century. The code indicated 1229 as the year of completion. The book appeared
later in the monastery of Sedlec and then purchased from that of Brenov. From
1477 to 1593 it was preserved in the library of a monastery in Broumov until it
was not moved to Prague in 1594 became part of the collection of Rudolph II of
At the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648 the whole
of Rudolf II collection was taken by the Swedish army.
It contains a full transcript of the Bible comes
almost entirely from the “Vulgate”, except the Acts of the Apostles
and the Revelation of St. John, taken from the Old Latin.
Also it includes:
1) Etymologiae of Isidore of Seville
2) Two of historical works of Josephus (Jewish
Antiquities and the Jewish War)
3) a history of Bohemia Cosmas of Prague
4) various treaties
5) list of the monks of the monastery Podlazicama
7) the greek alphabet, Cyrillic and Hebrew.
The book is written in Latin.
The manuscript includes thumbnails in red, blue,
yellow, green and gold. The initial capital letters are illuminated and often
occupy the entire page. writing is always the same from start to finish, the
handwriting is the same and this did suggest that the manuscript was written in
a short period and by the same person. Some scholars think that may be the work
of one man who has worked for over 20 years.
p. 577 or Folio 209 recto: contains an image of the
Devil to the entire page. Some pages are written on blackened sheets different
from the others. Directly opposite the devil is a full page depiction of the
Kingdom of Heaven. Several pages before this are written on a blackened
parchment with gloomy character, different from the rest. The reason for this
is that the pages are made of vellum. Vellum tans when exposed to ultraviolet
So you’ve decided to tackle one of the most influential books in human history. Now, it seems daunting (and it is), but the thing to remember about the Bible is that it’s not actually one book. The Bible is made up of 73 books (66 if you’re reading a Protestant Bible) all written by different authors, during different time points in history, and for different reasons. The best way to really understand the content of the Bible is to keep in mind the context of the book you’re currently reading. It does nobody any good if you treat the Book of Psalms (largely poetic hymns to the God of Abraham) with the same air that you would Deuteronomy (which should be read as sermons delivered by Moses to the Israelites). So, to help you, I’m providing this lovely outline which divides the books of the Bible into nice digestible chunks
Books marked with an ** are part of the deuterocanonical books (those found in Catholic Bibles but not in Protestant Bibles).
The Old Testament
The Pentateuch: The first five books of the bible, called the Torah by the Jewish people. Included in these books are the stories of creation and of the nation of Israel. It also includes the law given to the Israelites by God.
Historical Books: These books tell the story of the Israelites from their entry into the Promised Land until the Exile.
Esther** (deuterocanonical additions)
Wisdom Literature: These books are Jewish reflections of faith and God’s relationship with humanity.
Song of Songs
Wisdom of Solomon**
Prophets: The writings of the people whom God inspired to counsel and confront people and kings.
Daniel** (deuterocanonical additions)
Books of the New Testament of Jesus Christ
The Gospel Account: Four portraits and collections of stories and sayings of Jesus of Nazareth
Acts of the Apostles: consisting of one book, Acts is the story of the early Christian Church after the Ascension of Jesus. This is not a complete history of apostolic Christianity.
Letters (Epistles): Letters written by early Christians that show the problems and concerns facing the early Church.
Pauline Epistles (attributed to St. Paul):
Hebrews (author is anonymous)
Revelation (Apocalypse): A single book, addressed to people experiencing persecution and questioning the truth of their faith. Revelation offers hope that God’s deliverance will come as promised. Extensive use of symbols and images that early readers would have readily understood.
Hey, me again. Strong nihilist witch working through my upbringing with a crazy pastor stepmom. I’m just gonna ask bluntly, why is Paul such a fucking jerk? (You know the Paul I’m talking about) like.
It’s funny because Paul is introduced and characterized as a mega jerk in the Acts of the Apostles. The dude was totally fine with literally killing Christians until an act of divine intervention. The fact that he was basically a cop turned Christian apostle because Jesus appeared to him should be enough to explain his tendency to think rather highly of himself and his own opinions. He spent most of his life persecuting Christians and other people. He’s totally new to being part of an oppressed group. Paul sort of recognizes this about himself - in 1 Corinthians he mentions that whenever he speaks “without love” it should be interpreted as a “clanging cymbol or gong.” So the New Testament itself contains a story about how shitty Paul is. He was so arrogant that the only thing that could convince him to humble himself is the appearance of Christ. It really is rather unfortunate that his letters make up the bulk of the New Testament, because while they contain really good shit about grace and forgiveness (which should be the main theme when it comes to Paul, who was given a ton of grace and forgiveness himself), they tend to distract from the Gospels and the other Early Christians.
somebody to love queen // act of the apostle god help the girl // i’m into something good herman’s hermits // i want to hold your hand the beatles // chemistry (acoustic) semisonic // footloose kenny loggins // blue eyes bleeding (demo) gin blossoms // safe and sound capital cities // talking in your sleep the romantics // you can’t hurry love phil collins // can’t fight this feeling reo speedwagon // believe it or not joey scarbury // darlin’ the beach boys // (i’ve had) the time of my life jennifer warnes & bill medley // space oddity david bowie
Hi father! I am interested in why st. Benedict's medal is considered to be a sacramental object that keeps away the evil and why you can be gifted with plenary indulgence on some days if you perform the conditions that Church gave. We believe it is not an amulet; therefore it is not magical, also we know that objects don't hold any power, but all the power is in God's hands. So why does the one who wears it can feel protected and can gain plenary indulegence? Like how does it hold such "power"?
You are correct Gabrijela. The medal of St. Medal is not an amulet, or a talisman, or some kind of magical object. Therefore, the object itself does not hold any power.
The same can be said for statues and icons of Jesus, Mary, and the saints. They are venerated as holy and special objects because of what they depict, and because of what they point to.
Art in the form of painting, mosaics, icons, statues, and even medals, point us to the people we love. We love our heavenly Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We love the Madonna and all the angels and saints.
We give thanks to God that He has brought us through baptism into a mystical family, with bonds of holy friendship, mutual concern, support, and protection. In life, St. Benedict had a powerful ministry of exorcism and putting the demons to flight.
Benedict gave His heart to Jesus and the Gospel, and worked to reverse the powers of evil, by spreading the power of love, sacrifice, mercy, giving, sharing, and serving the poor and needy. His special ministry was to liberate sinners from darkness and pray for them to draw close to the Kingdom of God.
Even though Benedict is now in heaven, he still has the same love and concern for his brothers and sisters who are under the bondage of the demons or under the threats of diabolical temptation.
So, wearing the St. Benedict medal, like all holy objects, points the Christian faithful in a certain direction–the direction of Christ and the protection of the Cross. The medal points us in the direction of invoking St. Benedict’s prayers and imitating his holy virtues. God does reward the faith of those who show respect to holy objects, because of His love for His Son and His friends, the angels and saints.
Even in the Apostolic preaching, God rewarded the faith of Christians who showed respect to the cloths that had come into contact with St. Paul:
“God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them” (Acts of the Apostles 19:11-12).
If we wear the medal, as a sign of our devotion to St. Benedict, and as a reminder to constantly pray to live as Christians and fight sin, then I’m sure that we can count on the powerful intercession of St. Benedict to enter the fight on our behalf, and help us to wage spiritual warfare against the powers of darkness. God bless and take care, Fr. Angel
So do you think that if we haven't spoken in tongues that we haven't received the Holy Spirit? I believe I am saved and have His Spirit inside of me, but I have never spoken in tongues.
Well fist lets define the biblical definition of tongues. The first occurrence of speaking in tongues occurred on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4. The apostles went out and shared the gospel with the crowds, speaking to them in their own languages: “We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2:11). The Greek word translated tongues literally means “languages.” Therefore, the gift of tongues is speaking in a language a person does not know in order to minister to someone who does speak that language. The gift of tongues is a real and intelligible language not some random gibberish.. Example of gibberish that is no where near the biblical definition of teaching in tongues: Teaching Tongues??
So do you have to speak in tongues to have the Holy Spirit?? No!
Gryffindor: For the Brave: Australia - The Shins // Wolf Pack - The Vaccines // Oxford Comma - Vampire Weekend // Lions - The Features // Is It Really So Strange? - The Smiths // Joyriders - Pulp // All These Things That I’ve Done - The Killers // Tonight’s The Kind of Night - Noah and the Whale // Two Fingers - Jake Bugg // This Year - The Mountain Goats // Song Against Sex - Neutral Milk Hotel // Simple Song - The Shins // Wetsuit - The Vaccines // Moves - The New Pornographers // Gold on the Ceiling - The Black Keys // The King And All Of His Men - Wolf Gang
Slytherin: For the Ambitious:Ain’t No Rest for the WIcked - Cage the Elephant // Lonely Boy - The Black Keys // Weirdo - The Vaccines // Femme Fatale - The Velvet Underground // White Collar Boy - Belle and Sebastian // Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks // Bad Kids - Black Lips // Little Jack - The Velvet Underground // A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours - The Smiths // Little Miss Queen of Darkness - The Kinks // Raised By Wolves - Voxtrot // Cecelia - Simon & Garfunkel // Family Friend - The Vaccines // I am A Rock - Simon & Garfunkel // The State I Am In - Belle and Sebastian // Oh No - Andrew Bird
Ravenclaw: For the Wise:Bookends Theme - Simon & Garfunkel // Act of the Apostle II - Belle & Sebastian // Fools - The Dodos // Where Is My Mind? - Pixies // A Well Respected Man - The Kinks // The Wrote & The Writ - Johnny Flynn // These Days - Nico // The Sword & The Pen - Regina Spektor // Lost In My Mind - The Head And The Heart // The Blues Are Still Blue - Belle & Sebastian // Blue - First Aid Kit // Chicago - Sufjan Stevens // Love Love Love - The Mountain Goats // Pale Blue Eyes - The Velvet Underground // To Ramona - Bob Dylan // Exit Night - Juliet’s Theme - Emmy The Great
Hufflepuff:For the Loyal:2 Atoms in a Molecule - Noah And The Whale // I Like Giants - Kimya Dawson // The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) - Simon & Garfunkel // Jorge Regula - The Moldy Peaches // I’m Sticking With You - The Velvet Underground // God Only Knows - The Beach Boys // Arrow Flight - Boy & Bear // If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out - Cat Stevens // You’re Too Weird - Fruit Bats // Brand New Start - Little Joy // L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. - Noah And The Whale // Another Sunny Day - Belle & Sebastian // Simple As This - Jake Bugg // Don’t You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds // Where I’m From - Eels // I Found A Reason - The Velvet Underground
Acts 11:1-18 (HCSB) The apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles had welcomed God’s message also. When Peter went up to Jerusalem, those who stressed circumcision argued with him, saying, “You visited uncircumcised men and ate with them!”
Peter began to explain to them in an orderly sequence, saying: “I was in the town of Joppa praying, and I saw, in a visionary state, an object that resembled a large sheet coming down, being lowered by its four corners from heaven, and it came to me. When I looked closely and considered it, I saw the four-footed animals of the earth, the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky. Then I also heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat!’
“‘No, Lord!’ I said. ‘For nothing common or ritually unclean has ever entered my mouth!’ But a voice answered from heaven a second time, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call common.’
“Now this happened three times, and then everything was drawn up again into heaven. At that very moment, three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were. Then the Spirit told me to accompany them with no doubts at all. These six brothers accompanied me, and we went into the man’s house. He reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa, and call for Simon, who is also named Peter. He will speak a message to you that you and all your household will be saved by.’
“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came down on them, just as on us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Therefore, if God gave them the same gift that He also gave to us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, how could I possibly hinder God?”
When they heard this they became silent. Then they glorified God, saying, “So God has granted repentance resulting in life even to the Gentiles!”
Hello Fr. Can you tell me why sola scriptura is wrong? I have a family member who doesn’t like the Catholic Church, she’s a member of the Church of Christ. When we talk about religion, she says “I don’t see where it says that in the bible” or “where does it say to do that in the bible?”. Please help. Thank you. — weplayagamecalledlife
Well, if people are happy to individually study the Bible and seek answers under their own personal inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it would not be wrong for them. We know there are always Christians who are very content to study the Bible on their own and not have any church or any religious authority tell them how to interpret it or how to live.
So, a family member who does not like the Catholic Church, or any religious authority telling them what to do, would naturally say, “Show me where it says that in the Bible?”
You see, that person does not believe, and does not want to believe, that Jesus left any religious authority in the Church. From this non-Catholic point of view, Jesus established a faith where “everyone is equal” and everyone just makes up their own mind as to what the Bible tells them about Christianity. For that family member, the Pope or bishops would be an unnecessary “go between” who just interferes in your relationship with Jesus.
From the Catholic point of view, the problem with “sola scriptura” or “the Bible alone” theory is that, no where in the Bible, does it say we have to follow the Bible. The Bible talks about the importance of Scripture, and obeying the Word of God, but nowhere does it specifically say, “Follow the Bible” or even tell us which books are supposed to be part of the Bible.
Which leads to the interesting question–IF the Bible does not tell us what books are supposed to be listed in the Bible, WHERE did we get the list or canon of books that are in the Bible? WHERE did “the Bible” come from or how was it collected and composed? The answer, historically, is that the Church convened councils and synods in order to arrive at the decision of what is “canonical” Scripture.
That means that “sola scriptura” is cancelled or invalidated by the very fact that God used “Church authority” in deciding on what was the Bible to begin with. And if Church authority or Church Councils arrived at the canon of Scripture, it only goes to follow that in the history of the Church, Christians have ALSO RELIED on Church Councils to arrive at the proper INTERPRETATION of Bible or Scripture teaching.
The Council of Jerusalem described in the Acts of the Apostles, which allowed for non-Jewish members to enter the Church, is one such example of Christians turning to an authority, besides the Scriptures themselves, for an answer to Church problems. And this is the bottom line–church problems come down to this. Without an authority to interpret Scripture and present doctrine to Christians, each Christian will think his or her interpretation is the final say so.
If each Christian is having the final say so, and there is no authority, there is no possibility for the Church to overcome division and disagreement in the interpretation of God’s Word. In fact, the Bible even says there are teachings or deeds of Jesus which are not written down in the Bible:
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written (John 21:25).
In other words, if the Bible itself points to acts of Jesus which are not passed down in the Bible, then it must be that such teachings are passed down in the Church through other means, such as oral traditions and preaching not found in the Bible. And it is up to the Church to be the final arbiter or authority in matter of disputes, as Jesus said:
If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector (Matthew 18:17).
If one studies carefully the Acts of the Apostles, they will see that the discipline and order of preaching, ministry, and conduct was regulated by the authority of the Apostles and of the Church, not by “the Bible.” Here is this passage:
But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus.
And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.
The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch..(Acts 11:20-22).
Barnabas goes to inspect what is happening, and to report back to the Church. It was up to Apostolic authority in the Church to validate or sanction this preaching, not up to the individual believer to decide on their own. This leads us to believe that Scripture is inspired by God as a gift for the entire community of the Church to use.
Scripture can be read and studied by the individual Christian, but Scripture belongs first to the entire community of the Church, and according to Scripture the individual Christian is accountable to the community and the authority of the Church. It is this authority, succeeding to the chair of the Apostles, which has the final say so on Biblical interpretation, so that unity of Christians is preserved, as it is so beautifully preserved in the holy Catholic Church.
So I am working on the assumption that you mean my biggest arguments against Catholicism from the viewpoint of Christianity. This entire post can be wrapped up in a phrase, “I am against false teachings; those things which are contrary to Biblical doctrine,” and there are a lot of false teachings in the Catholic faith. I will start with two and pile on as necessary.
On the Heretical Tradition of Apostolic Succession
Nowhere in Scripture did Jesus, the apostles, or any other New Testament writer set forth the idea of “apostolic succession.” Further, neither is Peter presented as “supreme” over the other apostles. The apostle Paul, in fact, rebukes Peter when Peter was leading others astray (Galatians 2:11-14). Yes, the apostle Peter had a prominent role. Yes, perhaps the apostle Peter was the leader of the apostles (although the book of Acts records the apostle Paul and Jesus’ brother James as also having prominent leadership roles). Whatever the case, Peter was not the “commander” or supreme authority over the other apostles. Even if apostolic succession could be demonstrated from Scripture, which it cannot, apostolic succession would not result in Peter’s successors being absolutely supreme over the other apostles’ successors.
Catholics point to Matthias being chosen to replace Judas as the twelfth apostle in Acts chapter 1 as an example of apostolic succession. While Matthias did indeed “succeed” Judas as an apostle, this is in no sense an argument for continuing apostolic succession. Matthias being chosen to replace Judas is only an argument for the church replacing ungodly and unfaithful leaders (such as Judas) with godly and faithful leaders (such as Matthias). Nowhere in the New Testament are any of the twelve apostles recorded as passing on their apostolic authority to successors. Nowhere do any of the apostles predict that they will pass on their apostolic authority. No, Jesus ordained the apostles to build the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:20). What is the foundation of the church that the apostles built? The New Testament – the record of the deeds and teachings of the apostles. The church does not need apostolic successors. The church needs the teachings of the apostles accurately recorded and preserved. And that is exactly what God has provided in His Word (Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:15; 4:2).
In short, apostolic succession is not biblical. The concept of apostolic succession is never found in Scripture. What is found in Scripture is that the true church will teach what the Scriptures teach and will compare all doctrines and practices to Scripture in order to determine what is true and right. The Roman Catholic Church claims that a lack of ongoing apostolic authority results in doctrinal confusion and chaos. It is an unfortunate truth (that the apostles acknowledged) that false teachers would arise (2 Peter 2:1). Admittedly, the lack of “supreme authority” among non-Catholic churches results in many different interpretations of the Bible. However, these differences in interpretation are not the result of Scripture being unclear. Rather, they are the result of even non-Catholic Christians carrying on the Catholic tradition of interpreting Scripture in accordance with their own traditions. If Scripture is studied in its entirety and in its proper context, the truth can be easily determined. Doctrinal differences and denominational conflicts are a result of some Christians refusing to agree with what Scripture says – not a result of there being no “supreme authority” to interpret Scripture.
Alignment with scriptural teaching, not apostolic succession, is the determining factor of the trueness of a church. What is mentioned in Scripture is the idea that the Word of God was to be the guide that the church was to follow (Acts 20:32). It is Scripture that was to be the infallible measuring stick for teaching and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is the Scriptures that teachings are to be compared with (Acts 17:10-12). Apostolic authority was passed on through the writings of the apostles, not through apostolic succession.
On the Heretical Tradition of Salvation Through Works
Paul made it exceedingly clear that Salvation, being “born again”, is singularly and uniquely through faith alone.
1 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.
3 What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness?4 Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:
“So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”
5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly,what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?7 Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?”8 Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!
No One Is Righteous
9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
4 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God.3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless,15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Furthermore, Christ Himself spoke on the matter.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” - John 11:25 and 26
He is clearly making a point here beyond “I am going to raise Lazerus” and this passage lends credence to my interpretation that what might be described as works is something we do to maintain our relationship because we are to live in belief and by belief and if we are indeed believers we will bear fruit, these works. But the fruit does not come first. You must first plant the tree and tend to it. Salvation is through faith alone. Christians will do works and they will show fruits of their Salvation but it is not through works that they are initially saved.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16
Once more, arguably the most popular verse in the Bible, “that whoever believes” there is no “and”, there is no “in addition to” or “while also”. Jesus Christ told you it was through faith alone that one is saved.
but yeah basically Marcionism represented a schism in the movement that would later be called “mainline Christianity” while Christian Gnosticism represented what was basically a primordial and parallel divergence that dates back to the Apostles. The Acts of the Apostles even mentions a man named Simon who converts to Christianity and then attempts to buy the power of miracle-making from the Apostles only to be rebuffed. Christian tradition identifies this Simon as “Simon Magus”, the founder of Christian Gnosticism and “father of all heresy” (and alleged practitioner of black magic) which would make Gnosticism date back so early that (alongside the “Jewish Christians” who continued to preach adherence to Mosaic Law) its hard to talk about it ever “schisming” from mainline Christianity but more that it is its sibling-faith.
oh also Marcion really liked St Paul and Pauline epistles (not necessarily the same ones found in the canonical NT) are the only other texts in his version of the Bible other than his edited Gospel of Luke while the libelous appearance of Simon Magus in Acts would suggest that the earliest Gnostics didnt exactly get along with Pauline Christians