Friday, August 20, 2010

Is the account of Lazarus and the Rich man in Luke 16 perfectly literal?

This article is just to demonstrate that Luke 16 is not an absolutely literal account told by Jesus.  I am not denying Hell.  This is just an attempt at Scriptural exegesis.

First here is the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus:

 First of all we can say Luke 16 in a sense is parabolic since it is a story Jesus told to teach us about what happens to the righteous and the wicked when they die.  I do believe Hell is real and eternal, however I do not believe that Luke 16 is literal in it's telling for a few reasons.

Jesus is telling a story where people die, they get buried, then are taken off to the holding place of Sheol.  The Rich man is hauled off to the bad part with fire which Jesus called "hades" and Lazarus being just is taken by angels to Abraham's bosom where he will relax until Judgement Day.  How do I know Judgment Day has not come? Because Lazarus would be in Heaven if it did, however, he is not--he is only in Abraham's bosom.  Since Judgement Day has yet to arrive they should not really have their bodies back yet--however Jesus presents them as having bodies.  The Rich man asks Lazarus to dip his finger in water, however, how does he had a finger?  And water? What do disembodied spirits do with water? And how is the rich man already tormented in the flame?  And there is a huge chasm separating them.  
What Jesus is doing is he is describing it in physical term so we can understand the spiritual joy and pain of Sheol in terms of physical joy and pain. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Question and Answer

The following are questions/claims about the Catholic faith and the Bible that I have encountered and answered.
Q1. Only God may be called "good" since Jesus says, " Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." Calling someone good means they are God.

A1. Christ is most likely saying this to say Goodness comes from God. He could not be saying we cannot call men good, and He is definitely not saying being called God means you are God. Here is the verse in the Greek, with the word "good" in bold:

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῶ, τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; εἷς ἐστιν ὁ ἀγαθός. εἰ δὲ θέλεις εἰς τὴν ζωὴν εἰσελθεῖν, τήρησον τὰς ἐντολάς.
Now here is Acts 11:24, speaking about Barnabas in the Greek:

ὅτι ἦν ἀνὴρ ἀγαθὸς καὶ πλήρης πνεύματος ἁγίου καὶ πίστεως. καὶ προσετέθη ὄχλος ἱκανὸς τῶ κυρίῳ.
Here is the translation of Acts 11:24 into English:

for he was a good [ἀγαθὸς] man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord.--Acts 11:24
Hence we conclude it is not wrong to call a man "good" since the Holy Scriptures themselves call a man "good". We just need to understand God is the source of Goodness.
Q2. Men can never do good works since our "righteousness is as filthy rags." [Isaiah 64:6]

A2. Usually it is a Calvinist or Reformed person that will make this assertion. However, it is based on isolating the verse from the previous verse. Here is how the whole passage reads:

You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, We continued in them a long time; And shall we be saved? For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.--Isaiah 64:5-6
Notice the Prophet Isaiah writes in the previous verse that God meets "him who rejoices in doing righteousness." The reason their righteousness was called "filthy rags" (or menstrual rags as some say) is because the people fell into sin and stayed there. In Catholicism we call this being in a state of mortal sin. Doing "good works" in mortal sin does not help your salvation and God does not remember to your favor the righteous deeds you once did as Ezekiel 18 and 33 point out. In short, righteous deeds is called filthy rags here because they became that way by falling into sin.
Furthermore, throughout the Scriptures we are told to do good deeds, not filthy rags. Christ said do good deeds in private and your Father will reward you. And we were ordained unto good works (Ephesians 2:10) not filthy rags.

Q3. Mary was a sinner because she called Jesus her Savior! (alluding to Luke 1:47)
A3. Protestants often believe this verse is a silver bullet against the Catholic doctrine of her Sinlessness and Immaculate Conception. However, the solution to this was solved before Protestantism even existed by people such as Dun Scotus.
Yes, God is the Savior of the Blessed Virgin, but this does not require her to have sinned. In Catholicism we do not hold that sinning is necessary in order to have a savior. The Virgin Mary had God as her savior because He gave her the sufficient grace so as to not sin. Essentially, Jesus is Mary's savior since He prevented her from sinning.
The analogy is that a group of men can walk into quicksand, then a man throws them a rope so he can pull them out of the sand. However, one person comes and the man with the rope escorts them around the quicksand.  The man that threw the rope is the savior, but he is still a savior by making it so the one person that walked around the quicksand did not fall in. The latter is the Immaculate Conception, where God made it so that the Virgin Mary did not inherit the Sin of Adam from her mother and father.
No man can be saved by his own power, God's grace is necessary for everyone. Had Adam and Eve not sinned, they would have only been able to do so by the Grace of God, making God even in this case their savior.
There is an example of a preventative savior in the bible--Joseph. Joseph was called "savior of the world" by the Egyptians because Joseph interpreted the dream of the Pharoah and told them how to avoid dying away in a future famine.

Q4. The Vatican has a room full of gold that raises to the ceiling! Why don't they give it to the poor!

A4. I have heard this claim a few times, I ask them to send me some pictures of it, or some form of evidence...they give none. Furthermore, the Vatican has been in debt. People can make any claim they want...and will be enraged if they are asked to provide evidence.

Q5. The Immaculate Conception is the Catholic belief that Mary was born of a virgin!

A5. An anti-Catholic women, who used to be Catholic, made that claim to me! However, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is that Mary was born without original sin. Catholics believe Mary was born of her mother Anna and father Joachim (aka Heli, Eliakim) and was NOT born of a virgin, her mother however, was barren, and they were in the same situation as Zechariah and Elizabeth, Abraham and Sarah in dealing with the woman's barrenness. Here is a link to the Papal Definition of the Immaculate Conception. Here is what the Catechism says:

Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:
The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135
Q6. It would be a great blasphemy to imagine God in any form honoring Mary....God is not an idolater.

A6. To give honor does not necessarily require worship, such as the command to "honor thy father and thy mother." Certainly Christ, being a man and having a mother would have done so. Regardless, this concept of God giving honor to righteous humans is Biblical as we see here Christ says:

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.--John 12:26
Here the word for honor is τιμήσει, which is typically translated "honor" or "value," it is the same exact word Matthew 15:6 uses for honoring your mother and father. The same word in different form is also used various times throughout the New Testament simply to mean giving honor to God, or to your parents. The KJV always translates the word with "honor" except in one verse in the New Testament, where it says the Children of Israel valued Christ at 30 pieces of silver.(Matt 27:9)
Regardless, Biblical, according to Jesus God will "value" or "honor" the servants of Christ, among of which include the Virgin Mary.

Q7. When the Bible says baptism is for the remission of sins, it does not mean forgiveness, it means remission in the sense cancer can be in remission.

A7. The word remission can mean both forgiveness and the alternate meaning. However, forgiveness/pardon is the meaning when dealing with sins. Here is the origin of the word remission itself:

early 13c., "forgiveness or pardon (of sins)," from O.Fr. remission, from L. remissionem (nom. remissio) "relaxation, a sending back," from remiss-, pp. stem of remittere "slacken, let go, abate" (see remit). Used of diseases since c.1400.
But, this is not so helpful since this is just a translation of the Greek. The Greek word used in Acts 2:38 that bibles like the King James Version and the Douay Rheims for what the translation as "remission" is λήμψεσθε. λήμψεσθε simple means to let something go. Mark 3:29 uses this Greek word in the sense the eternal sin can never be "forgiven" it would not make much sense if this eternal sin were only suppressed or whatever other secondary sense exist in English. In fact the King James Version translates λήμψεσθε as "forgiven" a few times Acts 5:31, 13:38, 26:18, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14. It means forgiven.

Q8. Polygenesis is not condemned and can be believed by Catholics

A8. It was condemned and popes have said we have no right to believe in it. (Also, polygenesis is hard to reconcile with Original sin, but insists it is possible)
St Paul in Acts 17:26 describes how God:

...made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions--Acts 17:26
The prayer of Tobiah and his wife says:

“You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended.”—Tobit 8:6
Papal Statements:

“For I confess that all men from Adam, even to the consummation of the world, having been born and having died with Adam himself and his wife, who were not born of other parents, but were created, the one from the earth, the other [al.: altera], however, from the rib of the man [cf. Gen. 2:7, 22],”—Pope Pelagius, Humani Generis to Childebert I, April, 557, Denz 228
“When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.”—Pope Pius XII, Humanae Generis Paragraph 37 August 12, 1950
Furthermore even the Catechism teaches monogenesis.
For those trying to justify polygenesis by the fact that Cain had a wife, who's parents are not noted, they need to answer as to why the Holy Scriptures say otherwise. Simply, Cain married his sister, that's how it is traditionally understood, and must be assumed based on the Scriptures.

Q9: An ex-Catholic named Suzanne44, who attended a "bible college" (that caused her to be filled with much false information) on Paltalk claimed the reason the Catholic Church made Mary immaculate was because a pope did not know how to explain how Jesus did not get Mary's sinful blood.

A9. This woman holds to the view that blood is sinful, not metaphorically as in the bible where people like Abel had "innocent blood," but rather she believes that sin is LITERALLY passed down in the blood. She assumed the Catholic Church taught this, however, the Church, nor the popes taught this. Suzanne44's view of original sin seems GNOSTIC, because it teaches that a part of the material world is inherently evil. The Catholic Church does not claim to know how original sin is transmitted other than by propagation, we do not claim the blood itself is sin. Mary's Immaculate Conception was proclaimed because of Scripture and tradition. One of the verses she uses to justify this false doctrine is Acts 26 where it says "from one blood..." The problem with this is that most bible manuscripts do not use the word "blood" and furthermore it would be another assumption that the blood was the means of transferring sin.

Q10. Same ex Catholic claimed the descendants of Adam and Eve were no longer made in the Image of God because of the Fall, and because Genesis 5:3 has Adam begetting Seth "after his image," she says that proves its not after God's.

A10. Man was and still is made in the Image of God. Notice Genesis 9:6
If anyone sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; For in the image of God has man been made.
That verse should be good enough.

Rebuttals to KJV only claims

There are pamphlets circulating called "fighting back!: A Handy Reference For King James Bible Believers" by James Melton and they are posted on "KJV believer" website and other KJV supremacists that are typically fundamentalists.

My rebuttals are .pdf and they are in two parts.
Part 1 or here (Answering some claims)
Part 2 or here (Answering claims about new translation, some embarrassing)
Later I hope to add to these.

Hopefully, they will later be converted to html for easier reading.

Anti-Christian claims

Some time during the latter part of July I met a man on paltalk that seemed to be basing his knowledge of Christianity on some nonhistory book that was greatly flawed.

Here are some of his claims and my responses:

Claim:Nicea believed Christ only saves men (males) since the Creed states "for us MEN and our salvation"

Answer: This is an English problem since "men" in English used to mean humans, people that were both male and female, not exclusively male since the language is traditionally male dominant.

In Greek, the language the Creed was written in does not states "male/men" rather it states humans:

Τὸν δι ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ σαρκωθέντα ἐκ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου καὶ Μαρίας τῆς Παρθένου καὶ ἐνανθρωπήσαντα.

ἀνθρώπους meaning "human."

Strong's says: From 435 and ὤψ ōps (the countenance; from 3700 ; manfaced, that is, a human being: - certain, man.

Thayer's says: 1) a human being, whether male or female

this is likewise true with the Latin text of the Creed

Here is some notes of other things he babbeled about:

858 woma souls, constantine, aliens, nephilim kill mother, sarah feared watchers holy ones birth, mandrake not plnt that kills myth

His claims were based on Jewish Apocryphal writings which no group accepts as Holy Scriptures

St Augustine was not Calvinist

Often among Protestants when I hear them discussing Calvinism they will bring up how Calvin simply adopted his theology from Augustine who they believe was pretty much a Calvinist himself. Both Calvinists and Arminians perpetuate this mythological understanding on St Augustine. St Augustine was nothing more than a Catholic, since Calvinism did not even exist in his era. This article will show that St Augustine of Hippo explicitly denied many Calvinist doctrines and held to some exclusively Catholic doctrines, doctrine which Calvinists typically deny.

The Perseverance of the Saints: Here is what Calvinists say about this doctrine “can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.”(Westminster Confession, Chapter 17, 1)

Now notice St Augustine absolutely rejected this doctrine by saying lying causes you to LOSE eternal life:
“suppose a man should seek shelter with you who by your lie may be saved from death? For that death which men are foolishly afraid of who are not afraid to sin, kills not the soul but the body, as the Lord teaches in the Gospel; whence He charges us not to fear that death: but the mouth which lies kills not the body but the soul. For in these words it is most plainly written, "The mouth that lies slays the soul." How then can it be said without the greatest perverseness, that to the end one man may have life of the body, it is another man's duty to incur death of the soul? The love of our neighbor has its bounds in each man's love of himself. "You shall love," says He, "your neighbor as yourself." How can a man be said to love as himself that man, for whom that he may secure a temporal life, himself loses life eternal? Since if for his temporal life he lose but his own temporal life, that is not to love as himself, but more than himself: which exceeds the rule of sound doctrine. Much less then is he by telling a lie to lose his own eternal for another's temporal life. His own temporal life, of course, for his neighbor's eternal life a Christian man will not hesitate to lose: for this example has gone before, that the Lord died for us.”—Retractations: On lying
Some Calvinists falsely claim St Augustine changed his view of salvation near his death, however, even near his death around 431 he still denied Perseverance of the Saints according to Calvinism. Notice here St Augustine even more clearly says a person can be regenerate and still wind up in Hell:
"It is, indeed, to be wondered at, and greatly to be wondered at, that to some of His own children--whom He has regenerated in Christ--to whom He has given faith, hope, and love, God does not give perseverance also."—On Rebuke and Grace, Chapter 18, c AD 427
Another issue Calvinists deny is baptismal regeneration. Baptism is necessary to become born again in Christ and it necessary to be saved and for the remission of sins. Did St Augustine believe likewise that baptism did not regenerate and was not necessary? No:
"It is this one Spirit who makes it possible for an infant to be regenerated through the agency of another's will when that infant is brought to Baptism; and it is through this one Spirit that the infant so presented is reborn...'Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit.' The water, therefore, manifesting exteriorly the sacrament of grace, and the Spirit effecting interiorly the benefit of grace, both regenerate in one Christ that man who was in one Adam."--To Boniface, Epistle 98:2(A.D. 408)

St Augustine, unlike Calvinists accepted the books of Maccabees as Holy Scripture, prayed for the dead, and relied on Catholic Tradition, even should a particular thing not be found in the Scriptures:

"In the books of the Maccabees we read of sacrifice offered for the dead. Howbeit even if it were no where at all read in the Old Scriptures, not small is the authority, which in this usage is clear, of the whole Church, namely, that in the prayers of the priest which are offered to the Lord God at His altar, the Commendation of the dead has also its place."-St Augustine, From the Retractations, Book ii. Chap. 64, On the Care of the Dead

Notice, the above statement was said in his Retractations, which were written near the END of his life!

Furthermore, St Augustine was a loyal subject to the Papacy, unlike ALL the reformers and all Calvinists, believing it was derived from the Holy Scriptures:

"Number the bishops from the See of Peter itself. And in that order of Fathers see who has succeeded whom. That is the rock against which the gates of hell do not prevail"---St Augustine, Psalm against the Party of Donatus,18 (A.D. 393),in GCC,51

"I am held in the communion of the Catholic Church by...and by the succession of bishops from the very seat of Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection commended His sheep to be fed up to the present episcopate."—St Augustine, Against the Letter of Mani,5 (A.D. 395),in GCC,78

"Carthage was also near the countries over the sea, and distinguished by illustrious renown, so that it had a bishop of more than ordinary influence, who could afford to disregard a number of conspiring enemies because he saw himself joined by letters of communion to the Roman Church, in which the supremacy of an apostolic chair has always flourished"—St Augustine, To Glorius, Epistle 43:7(A.D. 397),in NPNF1,I:278

"If the lineal succession of bishops is to be considered with how much more benefit to the Church do we reckon from Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer it!' For to Peter succeeded Linus, Clement...Damsus, Sircius, Anastasius. In this order of succession no Donatist bishop is too be found."—St Augustine, To Generosus, Epistle 53:2(A.D. 400),in GILES,180-181

"The chair of the Roman Church, in which Peter sat, and in which Anastasius sits today."—St Augustine of Hippo, Against the Letters of Petillian, 2:51(A.D. 402),in GCC,78

Also St Augustine wrote on purgatory, praying for the dead, the real presence.

In fact on the issue of purgatory, St Augustine states Pelagius (a favorite villain of Calvinists) was charged with heresy by the Bishops in Palestine for seeming to deny it! Notice 1 Corinthians 3:15 was used even then!

Another statement was read which Pelagius had placed in his book, to this effect: "In the day of judgment no forbearance will be shown to the ungodly and the sinners, but they will be consumed in eternal fires." This induced the brethren to regard the statement as open to the objection, that it seemed so worded as to imply that all sinners whatever were to be punished with an eternal punishment, without excepting even those who hold Christ as their foundation, although "they build thereupon wood, hay, stubble," [1 Corinthians 3:12] concerning whom the apostle writes: "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he shall himself be saved, yet so as by fire." [1 Corinthians 3:15] When, however, Pelagius responded that "he had made his assertion in accordance with the Gospel, in which it is written concerning sinners, 'These shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into life eternal,'" [Matthew 25:46] it was impossible for Christian judges to be dissatisfied with a sentence which is written in the Gospel, and was spoken by the Lord; especially as they knew not what there was in the words taken from Pelagius' book which could so disturb the brethren, who were accustomed to hear his discussions and those of his followers. Since also they were absent who presented the indictment against Pelagius to the holy bishop Eulogius, there was no one to urge him that he ought to distinguish, by some exception, between those sinners who are to be saved by fire, and those who are to be punished with everlasting perdition. If, indeed, the judges had come to understand by these means the reason why the objection had been made to his statement, had he then refused to allow the distinction, he would have been justly open to blame.

To be continued...

Abuse of Speaking in Tongues

This article is not going be concerned as to whether the gift of tongues exists for today or not. Some of the Fathers of the Church spoke of the Gift as something that had its time; others seemed to have had the gift. This article will assume the gift is for today, although, personally, I am suspicious of people that do claim to speak in tongues.

In my experience on Paltalk in a predominately Protestant chat room (much of which were Pentecostal or had leanings) I have experienced some things said over the microphone that have caused me to suspect the authenticity of the persons “speaking in tongues.” Now, this does not necessarily prove they do not speak in tongues, but it does show that they violate the Holy Scriptures rules on Speaking in Tongues and prayer.

One Protestant minister, who claims a doctorate in theology, said on the microphone he had whole congregations speaking in tongues! Sounds impressive. However, the Bible explicitly forbids this from being done! St Paul in 1Corinthians explicitly states that no more than three are permitted to speak in tongues at a time, and those tongues are to be interpreted.

“When you assemble, one has a psalm, another an instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Everything should be done for building up. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let it be two or at most three, and each in turn, and one should interpret. But if there is no interpreter, the person should keep silent in the church and speak to himself and to God.”—1Corinthians 14:26-27

Now unless this Pentecostal minister’s congregation had only about 4 people, then what was being done was against the Scriptures. Then again, how can one interpret if the whole congregation ‘speaks in tongues’?

The same minister on several other occasions (as well as others in the room) has ‘spoke in tongues’ on the microphone with several dozen people in the middle of his prayers. (I have recorded this “tongue speaking” being done on 2 occasions.) Now there is nothing wrong with his prayer besides this ‘tongues’ incident. He spoke in tongues, yet there was no interpretation given that I am aware of. (When I compared it to previous instances of his “tongues” they were very similar to his previous instances of ‘tongues’) Now another explanation I have been given as to why people ‘spoke in tongues’ on the microphone was that it was a personal praying where the person speaking was getting edification for himself by his tongues. If this is the case, according to Jesus Christ in Matthew 6, this should not happen. Christ said:

"When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.—Matthew 6:4-7

So, if people do pray in tongues in their own personal prayers, then it should be done in private, not outloud so as to draw attention to oneself. I included verse 7 in my citation because I believe if these tongues are being faked, or done as a result of some purely emotional reaction, then these “tongues” many modern day Pentecostal leaning believers are merely “babble” or gibberish. Some older bibles translate this verse as “vain repetition,” however, Greek Lexicons and more modern translations say it refers to ‘babbling’ or ‘stammering.’

Also, some Pentecostals have the habit of tarring and feather people who suspect THEIR tongues as being non genuine by labeling these skeptics as ‘mockers,’ “scoffers,” or people that "blaspheme the Spirit".  People that are skeptical of the ‘tongues’ of the modern Pentecostal movement do not do so because they are mockers, but because they observe there is no interpreter, and the persons speaking tongues seem to be speaking out of emotional reaction. I tend to believe speaking in tongues has not completely ceased as a gift, I just believe the majority of these individuals claiming to speak in tongues are not really. In fact, I have been told by some ex-Pentecostals that they simply faked tongues, one told me he was coached to do so (say ‘aaahhh’), and another woman told me she was pressured to do so by several people surrounding her until she did so. I have been told that there are videos of people with the devious intent of infiltrating a Pentecostal group with the intent to fake tongues and upon doing, so people within the congregation were able to “interpret” this intentional gibberish, nonetheless.

Some others, sometimes Pentecostal, tell me something to the effect: “You cannot control when you speak in tongues.” This too is wrong. St Paul says,

 “Indeed, the spirits of prophets are under the prophets' control” (1 Corinthian 14:32)

after addressing people speaking in tongues and making prophesy. So why should not these ‘speakers of tongues’ be likewise able to control when they do so? One man, who I know personally, claimed that, for instance, when he drops a can in the supermarket he starts to speak in tongues Of course, this is likely an emotional response. But, this person I know is less to blame because of the particular condition he is in.

Furthermore, some Pentecostals have told me that every Christian is supposed to have tongues, or the ability to speak in it, however, this too is wrong. According to St Paul, tongues are only for SOME people, not all.

“Now you are Christ's body, and individually parts of it. Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then, gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way.”—1 Corinthians 12:27-31

The answer to St Paul’s question is clear: NO. Not all are prophets, not all are apostles, nor teachers, etc.. And neither do ALL speak in tongues.

Finally, I give you the same warning my father (who's been a Protestant his whole life) was given: “Be weary of charismatics.”

Nicolaitans Myth

Some anti hierarchical Protestants like to push the myth that the Catholic Church is the Nicolaitans mentioned in Revelation 2:
But you have this in your favor: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.-Revelation 2:6
Likewise, you also have some people who hold to the teaching of (the) Nicolaitans.-Revelation 2:15
They claim Nicolaitian means "nico" =over, and "laitian"=laity, so they claim Nicolaitan refers to a system when there is a difference between clerics and the laity, a hierarchy. This interpretation is new, it was probably invented by Scofield.

The fact is Nicolaitans is a group named after a man named Nicholas, just a people are called Christians in the Bible. The name Nicolas is a Greek new testament name:
masc. proper name, from Gk. Nikholaos, lit. "victory-people," from nike "victory" + laos "people."
My interlinear explains the name means "conquer people." Could this sect be named after a man named Nicholas? Well there is a Nicolas in Acts 6:5
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism.--Acts 6:5
In Greek Nicholas is spelled νικόλαον, the sect of the Nicolaitans in Greek is νικολαϊτῶν. Let's compare νικόλαον and νικολαϊτῶν.

Why don't dispensationalists ever claim that the Nicholas of Acts 6:5 is part of some evil hierarchy?, after all, the dispensationalists do tell us that Nicholas means laity conqueror.

The fact is it is more reasonable to believe the Nicolaitan's is a sect named after a man of that name. In fact the early Christians even identified the Nicholaus of Acts 6:5 with the Nicolaitans sect of Revelation 2.
A brother heretic emerged in Nicolaus. He was one of the seven deacons who were appointed in the Acts of the Apostles. [Acts 6:5] He affirms that Darkness was seized with a concupiscence— and, indeed, a foul and obscene one— after Light: out of this permixture it is a shame to say what fetid and unclean (combinations arose). The rest (of his tenets), too, are obscene. For he tells of certain Æons, sons of turpitude, and of conjunctions of execrable and obscene embraces and permixtures, and certain yet baser outcomes of these. He teaches that there were born, moreover, dæmons, and gods, and spirits seven, and other things sufficiently sacrilegious. alike and foul, which we blush to recount, and at once pass them by. Enough it is for us that this heresy of the Nicolaitans has been condemned by the Apocalypse of the Lord[Revelation 2] with the weightiest authority attaching to a sentence, in saying "Because this you hold, you hate the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which I too hate."--Tertullian, cAD 200, Against All Heresies, Chapter 1
"look also on Nicolas, sentenced in the Apocalypse by the Lord's own lips [Revelation 2:6]"--St Jerome, cAD 400, Letter 14
"There are, however, among the Gnostics diversities of opinion; but we have decided that it would not be worth while to enumerate the silly doctrines of these (heretics), inasmuch as they are (too) numerous and devoid of reason, and full of blasphemy. Now, even those (of the heretics) who are of a more serious turn in regard of the Divinity, and have derived their systems of speculation from the Greeks, must stand convicted (of these charges). But Nicolaus has been a cause of the wide-spread combination of these wicked men. He, as one of the seven (that were chosen) for the diaconate, was appointed by the Apostles. (But Nicolaus) departed from correct doctrine, and was in the habit of inculcating indifferency of both life and food. And when the disciples (of Nicolaus) continued to offer insult to the Holy Spirit, John reproved them in the Apocalypse as fornicators and eaters of things offered unto idols."-St Hippolytus, AD 220, Refutation of All Heresies, Book VII:Chapter 24
There are more references....

Baptism's Role

The Catholic Church since ancient times taught the doctrine that baptism is the sacrament that results in a believer's regeneration (being born again). Many Protestants reject the historical and Biblical doctrine that Baptism regenerates a believer in Christ and saves them. Some Protestants called hyper-dispensationalists even deny that using water in baptism is for today! Many Protestants treat baptism as a purely symbolic ritual. Ironically, they are the same people that reject calling Christianity a 'religion' because they believe Christianity is not a religion of rituals, despite the fact baptism and Communion are rituals Christ instituted.

There are a few Protestants groups that still recognize the value of baptism and hold that it does in fact regenerate, they include, but are not necessarily limited to: Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and some Pentecostals.

Before responding to the Protestants that believe baptism does not save, I will post several Scriptures showing the importance and value of baptism.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.--Mark 16:16
This verse clearly links baptism with the word "saved." However, in my experience Protestants will have 2 possible rebuttals to this: 1)the emphasis of Mark 16:16 is "belief," 2)this section is not part of the Bible.

To answer the first claim, to say the emphasis is 'belief' is just trying to ignore the fact baptism is even mentioned. This is more of a statement rather than a rebuttal. The fact is the sentence still reads "believers and is baptized will be saved." It does nothing to address the fact baptism is mentioned in connection to salvation.

The second claim is not very common since most Protestants still trust the KJV which includes this part of Mark 16. Once a Pentecostal minister told me this, then I later caught him quoting this same debated section of Scripture to lend support for speaking in tongues ie "speaking in new tongues" (Mark 16:!7). Even if, theoretically, this passage were an addition to Scripture, we do not rely solely on this passage to teach the importance of Baptism.

Now another verse that shows the role of baptism in salvation:
"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."-Acts 2:38
Peter here is making repentance and baptism necessary for the forgiveness of sins. This verse is also very straightforward in stating baptism's necessity for the forgiveness of sins. In my experience there have been a few rebuttals to this. One is the ridiculous claim that is saying sins are "remitted" in the sense of a disease, and they may come back somehow. Another rebuttal is that the word eis means they have forgiveness because they repented and because they have forgiveness they can be baptized. The third claim is a more modern and extreme claim by hyperdispensationalists who assert that this was only for that time, and now we have a "dry baptism," since it was intended for Jews.

In response to the first claim, the word remission is found in some older bibles like the KJV and DRB, however, even then the word remission typically means forgiveness, in the Greek the word remission is also used in Mark 3:29 for the forgiveness of the eternal sin, for more on this see the question and answer page on question Q7.

In response to the second claim, the word eis typically means "into" or "for." Their repentance and baptism causes their sins to be forgiven. The word is used about 1865 times in the New Testament, almost all the occurrences means "into" or "for."

In response to the third claim, Dispensationalism is false because Paul himself baptized people with water in Acts 19, 1 Corinthians 1, and Gentiles who were not proselytes to Judaism were explicitly baptized with water in Acts 10 by St Peter's order. There is no reason to believe they stopped or intended to cease water baptism. Also, the Christian baptism is not the same baptism as St John the Baptist since his followers had to be rebaptized with a Christian baptism in Acts 19.

Commentary on Matthew 7:21-23

The passage reads as follows:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?' Then I will declare to them solemnly, 'I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.'--Matthew 7:21-23
Most people take this passage to mean some people were never saved, even though they may have been perceived to be, or they themselves may have mistook themselves to be such. I have encountered believers in Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS) who used this verse to 'support' their position some odd way. Others I have met said these people were boasting about their own works before God and were damned or were never saved because they did so.

So, does "never knew you" mean he never really know them, hence they were never saved? Not necessarily. This is because it is quite possible Jesus was using an Rabbinical expression. This is noted by Samuel Tobias Lachs in his A rabbinic commentary on the New Testament, who on page 150 of his book notes that "never knew you" is "An expression of rejection used by the Rabbis, often as a form of a ban," then cites instances in Talmudic literature, such as MQ 16a (Mo'ed Katan), which has a story about a rabbi that told a person he knew that "I have never known thee." In addition, St Cyril of Alexandria commenting on Matthew 7:21-23 says:
"There may be some who, in the beginning, believed rightly and assiduously labored at virtue. They may have even worked miracles and prophesied and cast out demons. And yet later they are found turning aside to evil, to self assertive deception and desire. Of these Jesus remarks that he "never knew them." He ranks them as equivalent to those who were never knew by him at all...."--St Cyril of Alexandria, fragment 88
It should also be noted that Prophecy does not even necessarily show proof of salvation since the High Priest that sought the death of Christ in John 11 seems to speak prophecy, and 1 Corinthians 13 says:
And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.-1 Corinthians 13:2
Now, some claim these people are bragging about their works, so they cannot be saved. However, look closely, they are not!
Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?'
These people are attributing these deeds to GOD, not themselves!

Some will claim these are just false prophets, it could be they became false prophets, however, consider this, can a person fake casting out demons? Jesus accused the Pharisees of blaspheme for saying God is not the one that casts out the demons.

Conclusion: Though there are verses that certainly teach there are false converts, Matthew 7:21-23 is not likely one of them.

Constantine, the Church, Christianity

Some people assert that the Catholic Church was not started til the fourth century. They never in my experience will provide any evidence, some however will point to Constantine and the Council of Nicea.

However, the fact is we have the list of the Bishops of Rome (popes as they are more commonly called now) going back to the time of St Peter in Rome, in fact many of the major Sees are able to list their Apostolic lineage, such as the See of Alexandria can show their list going back to St Mark.

Some assert Constantine made Trinitarianism the doctrine of the Church, which is not true. Constantine himself may have been Arian. Though he did help the Church gather together for the Council of Nicea which condemned Arianism (the doctrine that denies Jesus is God Almighty), Constantine's own son was an Arian, and Constantine was baptized on his death bed by an Arian bishop, Eusebius of Nicomedia. Constantine also wrote letters expressing how the controversy was some thing "small."

Trinitarianism was taught before Nicea and the 4th century. In fact the precursor to Arianism was condemned, which was the heresy of Paul of Samosata about 5 decades prior to Nicea was convened.

John 20:22-23, Rebuttal to the Protestant interpretation

Perhaps, the clearest passage showing the Apostles were given the power to forgive sins in the Name of Christ, the origin of the ability of the priests of the Church to forgive sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) is found in the passages in St John's Gospel 20:21-23
(Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."--John 20:21-23
Many will object and assert that here the only thing Jesus is doing here is telling the Apostles that they can now forgive their brother when their brother sins against them.

This reading, however, is highly problematic. Their interpretation requires them to add two words into the verse to make it sins done against the Apostles. Let's see how their interpretation would read in they added the words to the text:
"If you forgive the sins done against you of any their sins done against you have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins done against you of any, they have been retained." (Protestant understanding of John 20:23)
The thing about this is that, if Christ wanted to say this He would have said this! Whenever the Bible speaks about sins done against God it simply says "sins against the LORD" or some variation of it, or simply says "sins" or some variation of sin like "trespass," "offend," etc. Now when they Bible says a person was harmed by another person it says someone "sinned against them", it always does so, so as to not confuse it with sinning against God. Here are a few examples:
But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.--Matthew 18:15

Then came Peter unto him and said: Lord, how often shall my brother offend against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?-Matthew 18:22

And Ruben one of them, said: Did not I say to you: Do not sin against the boy: and you would not hear me? Behold his blood is required.--Genesis 42:22
Furthermore, why would Jesus have to breathe on them to have the ability to forgive the sins of their offenders? They were already said to have this ability in the Lord's Prayer, and Jesus said shortly after:
"If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."--Matthew 6:14-15
It would seem if we were to follow the thought process no one had their sins forgiven since they did not have the Holy Spirit breathed on them.

Lifespans before the Flood

I made another PDF, this one of a table showing the line of Adam through Shem. It has the life spans of them, how many years they had passed since Adam's creation when they were born and died. Then. I made other columns showing how many years they before (or after) the Flood they died. I also show how many years they were born before the flood.

Here is the link to the PDF.

There is some debate whether or not we should take the number of years people in the Bible lived literally or not, some will point to the fact that in the ancient Near East we have archaelogical evidence showing they claimed their kings ruled for "thousands of years" one being around 46,000.

The Mother of God, what does this really mean?

Protestant Objection 1: Many Protestants claim the title "mother of God" means that Catholics must believe that Mary preexisted Jesus, if not God Himself! And then they assert it is an unbiblical belief.

Answer: However, this claim is not true.

The term Mother of God is derived from the term Mater Dei in Latin it is another way of saying the other Latin term "Gentrix Dei," which in turn is a translation of the Greek phrase declared at the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in AD 431, theotokos, meaning God-bearer.

In short, the term "Mother of God" means only that JESUS WAS GOD, even while in her womb. It is not an assertion that Christ somehow derived his divinity from Mary, since that is heresy in Catholicism. In Catholicism we say that the Son has two nativities (births): One as God from all eternity from the Father, and one 2000 years ago in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary.

Calling Mary the Mother of God is completely biblical and it is found in the Holy Scriptures when St Elizabeth, mother of the Prophet John the Baptizer, says to the Virgin Mary:

And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?--Luke 1:43

Who is the Lord but God? And to those who may suggest Elizabeth was wrong or errant, St Luke says she was "filled with the Holy Spirit" (Luke 1:41).

Here is the Logic behind calling Mary the Mother of God.

1. Jesus was and is God (even in the Womb of Mary)

2. Mary bore Jesus in her womb.

3. A person that bears of person in her womb is called a mother.

Conclusion: Mary is the Mother of God.

Protestant Objection 3: Sometimes I have met people that object, nonetheless, to calling Mary the Mother of God, since she only gave birth to the Son, not the Trinity. They say "if she is called the 'mother of God' she would have to give birth to the Trinity, and she did not therefore we cannot call her the 'mother of God.'

Answer: However, the problem with this assertion is that it is saying you cannot call any particular person of the Trinity is God, except the whole Trinity. The person of the Word, Jesus, can be called God in His person, otherwise why does the Father say to Him:


If would anyone even use the position that Mary had to give birth to the whole Trinity? If anyone adopted this position, then they CANNOT say "Jesus is God," but rather a part of God, since according to that logic "only the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit collectively can be called God." Furthermore, this logic would prevent one from say "the Father is God" and that "the Holy Spirit is God" for the same reason it would prevent a person from saying that Jesus is God. So why would anyone even use this argument? It would just dig them into a deeper hole.

Protestant Objection 4: Some will argue that Mary is only surrogate mother and cannot really be called His mother at all.

Answer: Mary was not a surrogate, otherwise Christ would not really be the "Son of David" or the "seed of the woman"(Genesis 3:15). Furthermore, even if Mary were theoretically a surrogate, which was not, surrogate mothers still considered themselves to be mothers, for instance Sarai in Genesis 16:2:

Furthermore, the Scripture writers call Mary his mother many times, here are a few:

And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there...When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine."--John 2:3,5

and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted-Luke 2:34

Protestant objection 5: Recently I heard a very strange one..."Mary stopped being Jesus' mother after He died"

Answer: How does someone stop being a mother? Regardless Acts 1:14 says:

All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.--Acts 1:14

Notice it does not say "Mary the ex-mother of Jesus..."

Conclusion: The phrase 'Mother of God' is simply an assertion that Jesus was God in the womb of Mary, something all Christians believe.

Does mighty God mean Jesus is not God? Rebuttal to the Jehovah Witness argument

ehovah Witnesses and other Arians (a heresy named after the 4th Century Coptic priest that denied Jesus was God) claim Jesus is a "god" not "God" since Isaiah 9:6 (9:5) calls him a mighty, not almighty:
For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.--Isaiah 9:6 New World Translation (NWT) (the poorly done Jehovah Witness 'translation')
At first their claim seems legitimate, since God is Almighty, but what they are ignorant of, or ignore is that God (Jehovah as they say) is called "Mighty God" in the very next chapter of Isaiah:
A mere remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God.--Isaiah 10:21 (NWT)
The Hebrew the words in Isaiah 9:6 (9:5) and Isaiah 10:21 for "Mighty God" both say אֵל גִּבּוֹר (El Gabor).

God, or YHWH, is called "mighty" (gabor) elsewhere for instance in Psalm 24:8, again from the JW preferred NWT:
Who, then, is this glorious King? Jehovah strong and mighty [ וְגִבּוֹר ], Jehovah mighty in battle. -Psalm 24:8 NWT
Since 'Mighty God' is used as a reference in Isaiah 10:21 to Almighty God their claim "Mighty God means not God" is an invalid argument.

Did the Catholic Church change the Second Commandment?

Did the Catholic Church change the Ten Commandments?
In short--no. People often assert the Catholic Church omits the second commandment which condemns worshipping idols. Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:



I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.3

It is written: "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve."4
[Taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church]
Note also that Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Orthodox Christians all have different numberings for the 10 commandments (as seen in this wiki article).
Some falsely claim that Catholic bibles omit these commandment however if you read the offical New Latin Vulgate the commandment is there:
Non facies tibi sculptile neque omnem similitudinem eorum, quae sunt in caelo desuper et quae in terra deorsum et quae in aquis sub terra.--Exodus 20:4 of New Vulgate
A commonly used Catholic translation called the New American Bible says:
You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth;--Exodus 20:4 NAB
The Douay Rheims Bible, another Catholic translation says:

Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. --Exodus 20:4 DRB
So, yes, the Catechism does include the commandment against making idols, and so do Catholic Bible include this verse.

What is also interesting is that these people that accuse the Catholic Church of changing to "deleting" the 10 commandments typically are not Sabbath keepers either! Yet commandment says to honor/keep the sabbath, I suppose they need to answer why they do not observe this.

Regardless, the Catholic Church does not make idols since we do not adore images or statues. The Bible does speak of making gold statues of the Cherubim in Exodus 25.

Make two cherubim of beaten gold for the two ends of the cover- Exodus 25:18

We see here that God commanding Israelites to MAKE a statue, thus showing God did not see this as a violation of Exodus 20:4, since He would not contradict His own Word!  Futhermore, we can see the temple was decorated with statues in 1 Kings 6:23 and on, which includes CHERUBIM!

We do make images to aide us in focusing on praying to Jesus or asking the saints to intercede on our behalf, and as well as to honor the saints, which is not giving them worship that is only due to God. I have another article on the intercession of the saints. 

Queen of Heaven

The Queen of Heaven

Several times I have encountered Protestants accusing me of having Mary as a pagan goddess simply because the Virgin Mary is sometimes referred to as the "Queen of heaven." They would quote Jeremiah typically where a pagan goddess is referred to as the Queen of Heaven.
The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger.--Jeremiah 7:18 (NIV)
In addition the term Queen of Heaven is mentioned in Jeremiah 44 where its mentioned people would "burn incense and pour out drink offerings to her".

However, the Virgin Mary is not a goddess to us, she is, however, the holiest woman ever made by God, but is not omnipotent. Catholic women do not make "cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven" as the pagans did for Asherah. Nor do we pour out drink offerings and burn incense offerings to her as the pagans did for Asherah.

In fact when there was a sect in the early Church called the Collyridians in Arabia that did offer to Mary "cakes of bread"-- they were condemned:
"For certain women decorate a barber's chair or a square seat, spread a cloth on it, set out bread and offer it in Mary's name on a certain day of the year"-St Epiphanius of Salamis, The Panarion [The Medicine Chest against Heresies] (AD 377)
He calls their practices "silly", "ridiculous," "extreme," and "idolatrous". This group may be the reason the Quran speaks of Mary as if Christians included her in the trinity.

The reason Catholics do call Mary Queen of Heaven is because of her Son, Christ, who is the King of Heaven, and in the Old Testament Scriptures the mother of the King was given a throne and was Queen (perhaps since kings had many wives in those days and would cause there to be many queens):
So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king arose to meet her, bowed before her, and sat on his throne; then he had a throne set for the king's mother, and she sat on his right.-1 Kings 2:19 NASB

Say to the king and the queen mother, "Take a lowly seat, For your beautiful crown Has come down from your head."--Jeremiah 13:18 NASB
Notice that Revelation 12 can be interpreted as Mary, since she did give birth to the male Child, Jesus:
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;--Revelation 12:1 NASB
Certainly we do not call Mary Queen of Heaven for no reason at all! (It is also interesting why Protestants do not wish to call her a queen in any sense if all saints in Heaven are given crowns and are called "kings" or "queen" in Revelation)

Though the term Queen of Heaven is given to a pagan goddess in the Old Testament, does not mean the term must be excluded to Mary? Let's consider some biblical titles given to people:

Who is the "King of kings?" Christ?, or a worldly pagan king?

Most assume only Christ can be called "king of kings"as seen here:
which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,--1 Timothy 6:15

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."--Revelation 17:14

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.--Revelation 19:16
HOWEVER, here we see it being applied to earthly rulers of the Old Testament:
Artaxerxes, king of kings, To Ezra the priest, a teacher of the Law of the God of heaven: Greetings.--Ezra 7:12

"For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: From the north I am going to bring against Tyre Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, with horsemen and a great army.--Ezekiel 26:7

You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory;-Daniel 2:37
Hence, following the logic of Protestants making the assertion the Catholic Mary is a pagan goddess just because she is called Queen of Heaven, then THEY would have to conclude THEY worship pagan kings because they call God "King of kings" or they would have to deny the Divine Inspiration of St Paul in 1 Timothy and St John in Revelation. Both of these points are ridiculous since just because two people are called the same thing does not require them to be the same person.

Let us continue with another, more controversial title found in the bible--Lucifer. Most assume Lucifer if the actual name of the Devil before he fell and became known as Satan, or the Devil. However, this is not the case as all, Lucifer is just a reference to the state of Satan prior to his fall, not his actual name. The name/word Lucifer is actually a good name, not to be associated with something sinister as a the devil, in fact in the early Church some Christians were actually named Lucifer. Most are surprised to know that Lucifer is not a Hebrew name, in fact is not even Greek or Aramaic--its Latin. The reason people associated the name Lucifer as Satan's proper name is because of the King James Version of the Bible, where in Isaiah 14:12 it reads:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
This is proof of the KJV is influenced by the Latin Vulgate which read in Isaiah 14:12:
quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer qui mane oriebaris corruisti in terram qui vulnerabas gentes
The King James Version seems to present it as a his name, the original 1611 KJV puts in in the margins an alternative translation "day starre."It also should be noted the person called Lucifer here is not necessary the devil, but a king being addressed.

Strong's Lexicon for the word translated in the KJV as lucifer states its definition as the following:
From 1984 (in the sense of brightness); the morning star: - lucifer.--H1966
The word Lucifer is Latin means "light-bringing" and "The morning-star, the planet Venus". The reason the word "lucifer" or "day star" or "morning star" is brought up is because these terms are given to the Lord Himself.

The Latin Vulgate, the origin of the word "Lucifer" gave the same title to Christ in 2 Peter 1:19:
et habemus firmiorem propheticum sermonem cui bene facitis adtendentes quasi lucernae lucenti in caliginoso loco donec dies inlucescat et lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris
The English Translation being:
And so, we have an even firmer prophetic word, to which you would do well to listen, as to a light shining within a dark place, until the day dawns, and the daystar [Lucifer] rises, in your hearts.
Lucifer being translated day star. The King James Version of Isaiah 14:12 and 2 Peter 1:19 are:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O day star, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!--Isaiah 14:12, KJV 1611 translation based on marginal note

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:--2 Peter 1:19. KJV 1611
Note the King James Bible applies the term "day star" to both a king/Devil (before his fall) and Christ.

Now more modern translations of the bible such as the NASB mention "morning star" in the following:
"How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!--Isaiah 14:12

So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.-2 Peter 1:19

And I will give him the morning star.--Revelation 2:28

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.--Revelation 22:16
In summary, yes a pagan goddess is called Queen of Heaven in the Old Testament, but in the Old Testament pagan kings are also called "morning star"(Isaiah 14:12) and "king of kings"(Ezra 7:12, Ezekiel 26:7, Daniel 2:37), which are both terms applied to Christ in the New Testament.

Christ was born December 25

In recent times liberals, atheists, anti christians, and Christians of anticatholic persuasion have sought to attack Christmas by asserting it is nothing more than a pagan holiday of a pagan deity's birth that the Catholic Church simply converted into Christ's birthday. Whether or not pagan deity was said to have been born December 25 is irrelevant, in fact most of the datings of the 25th seems to have existed after Christians first appeared.

The dating of Christmas is not pagan or arbitrary. The early church father St Ephraim the Syrian, writing in the mid 4th century, states in his Rythm the 4th concerning Christ's conception:

"Moses shut up a lamb in the month Nisan on the tenth day; a type this of the Son that came into the womb and shut Himself"--St Ephraim the Syrian, Rhythm the fourth (p.27)

The significance of this is that the 10th of Nisan can fall in either early April or late March. The 10th according to the torah in Exodus 12 was the day the passover lamb was to be selected.

 "This month shall be to you the beginning of months: it shall be the first in the months of the year.  Speak ye to the whole assembly of the children of Israel, and say to them: On the tenth day of this month let every man take a lamb by their families and houses."

Now this year, 2010, the 10th of Nisan fell on the 25th of March, (Here is a link to the Hebrew-Gregorian Calendar converter, a Jewish website.) this is the feast of the Annunciation on the Church Calendar. The Feast of the Annunciation is the celebration of the Incarnation, when Christ was conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Now assuming Christ went thru the standard gestation period of almost nine months, as most humans do, then he would have been born on or around December 25, if we are to use our modern calendar his gestation would be about 275 days, which is only 9 days longer than average, but still within a reasonable time frame for birth.

Now some believe that since there were shepherds in the fields when Christ was born that therefore He was not born in December, reasoning it would be foolish to keep a flock out in the winter. However, according to the 19th century convert from Judaism, Alfred Edersheim in his book "The life and times of Jesus the Messiah, Volume 1" pages 186-7 he states:

the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, was a settled conviction. Equally so was the belief, that He was to be revealed from Migdal Eder, ' the tower of the flock.'a This Migdal Eder was not the watch-tower for the ordinary flocks which pastured on the barren sheep-ground beyond Bethlehem, but lay close to the town, on the road to Jerusalem.A passage in the Mishnah leads to the conclusion, that the flocks, which pastured there, were destined for Templesacrifices, and, accordingly, that the shepherds, who watched over them, were not ordinary shepherds. The latter were under the ban of Rabbinism,' on account of their necessary isolation from religious ordinances, and their manner of life, which rendered strict legal observance unlikely, if not absolutely impossible. The same Mishnic passage also leads us to infer, that these flocks lay out all the year round, since they are spoken of as in the fields thirty days before the Passover—that is, in the month of February, when in Palestine the average rainfall is nearly greatest. Thus, Jewish tradition in some dim manner apprehended the first revelation of the Messiah from that Migdal Eder, where shepherds watched the Temple-flocks all the year round. Of the deep symbolic significance of such a coincidence, it is needless to speak. It was, then, on that 'wintry night' of the 25th of December, that shepherds watched the flocks destined for sacrificial services, in the very place consecrated by tradition as that where the Messiah was to be first revealed."
He further notes that:
 "There is no adequate reason for questioning the historical accuracy of this date. The objections generally made rest on grounds, which seem to me historically untenable. The subject has been fully discussed in an article by Cassel in Herzog's Real. Ency. xvii. pp. 588-594. But a curious piece of evidence comes to us from a Jewish source. In the addition to the Megillath Taanith (ed. Warsh. p. 20 a), the 9th Tebet is marked as a fast day, and it is added, that the reason for this is not stated. Now, Jewish chronologists have fixed on that day as that of Christ's birth, and it is remarkable that, between the years 500 and 816 A.d. the 25th of December fell no less than twelve times on the 9th Tebet. If the 9th Tebet, or 25th December, was regarded as the birthday of Christ, we can understand the concealment about it. Comp. Zunz, Ritus d. Synag. Gottesd. p. 126."

Calvinism and Limited Atonement, 1 John 2:2 disproves both: A response to the Calvinist rebuttal

Calvinism and Limited Atonement, 1 John 2:2 disproves both: A response to the Calvinist rebuttal

Calvinists hold to the TULIP--the L signifying “limited atonement.” People unfamiliar with Calvinism are often shocked to learn they do not hold that Christ died for the every person- as the Scriptures stsate many times. One of the most damaging Scripture passages to Calvinism is 1 John 2:2 which states:

and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Calvinists  commonly explain this verse with something along the lines that the Greek word here for world is Kosmos, which does not always mean the world and in this verse it should be understood to mean "all the elect" or the "elected gentiles" and that Luke 2:1 is an example of how 'world' does not mean everyone in the world! 
There are flaws to this claim. While, it is true that the Kosmos in Greek does not always mean the world or everyman, there is no reason to doubt St John's intention was to say Jesus was the propition for every human being (as I will show shortly).  Now what about this Luke 2:1 claim?  Luke 2:1 reads:

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. (ESV)

What Calvinists do not say is that Luke 2:1 does not even use the word Greek word KOSMOS, which is used in 1 John 2:2. The Greek word translated world in the ESV and the KJV (as well as many other older editions) is οἰκουμένην (oikoumeneen)! In fact, newer translations like the NASB translate Luke 2:1 as :

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.

The NASB notes say the inhabited earth refers to the “Roman Empire.”

Since Luke 2:1 does not even use the same word was 1 John 2 arguing from Luke 2:1 is futile on behalf of the Calvinists.  Furthermore, even if Luke 2:1 hypothetically were to use kosmos, it would not affect 1 John, since it is a different sacred writer, people do not always use the same word in the same sense and the word should be read in light of how St John uses it throughout his epistle.

Let’s go back to 1 John. Now here is 1 John 2:2 in English and I will provide the Greek, kosmos/world will be in bold.

καὶ αὐτὸς ἱλασμός ἐστιν περὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν, οὐ περὶ τῶν ἡμετέρων δὲ μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ ὅλου τοῦ κόσμου.
The English (which will be from the Calvinist preferred ESV):
and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

To understand how St John uses the word kosmos let’s look at the other instances in 1 John in which the word Kosmos is used:
μὴ ἀγαπᾶτε τὸν κόσμον μηδὲ τὰ ἐν τῶ κόσμ. ἐάν τις ἀγαπᾷ τὸν κόσμον, οὐκ ἔστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ πατρὸς ἐν αὐτῶ·. ὅτι πᾶν τὸ ἐν τῶ κόσμ, ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν καὶ ἡ ἀλαζονεία τοῦ βίου, οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἐστίν. καὶ ὁ κόσμος παράγεται καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία αὐτοῦ, ὁ δὲ ποιῶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. - 1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world [κόσμον] or the things in the world [κόσμ]. If anyone loves the world [κόσμον], the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world [κόσμ]— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world [κόσμου]. And the world [κόσμος] is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. -1 John 2:15-17
Before continuing, do you see any reason why Kosmos should be rendered in any of these verses as referring to the gentiles who are the elect, or the elect at large? If we were substitute the word 'elect' in for 'world' as Calvinists sometimes do with 1 John 2:2, the previous passage would be understood to say:
Do not love the elect [κόσμον] or the things in the elect [κόσμ]. If anyone loves the elect [κόσμον], the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the elect [κόσμ]— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the elect [κόσμου]. And the elect [κόσμος] is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. – Theoretical Calvinist rendering of 1 John 2:15-17
So obviously, we should not read kosmos in verses 15-17 as referring to the elect.

Now let’s go on with the occurrences of kosmos in 1 John:
ἴδετε ποταπὴν ἀγάπην δέδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ πατὴρ ἵνα τέκνα θεοῦ κληθῶμεν· καὶ ἐσμέν. διὰ τοῦτο ὁ κόσμος οὐ γινώσκει ἡμᾶς ὅτι οὐκ ἔγνω αὐτόν-1 John 3:1
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world [κόσμος] does not know us is that it did not know him.
Obviously, the kosmos is not the elect here either, in fact the elect ie “children of God” are contrasted with the Kosmos which do not know the world.

Moving along:
[καὶ] μὴ θαυμάζετε, ἀδελφοί, * εἰ μισεῖ ὑμᾶς ὁ κόσμος-1 John 3:13 *Many texts have the word mou here, but this does not affect the reading really.
Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world [κόσμος] hates you.-1 John 3:13
Again, Kosmos does not mean the elect, unless the gentile elect hates the Jewish elect, which would be ridiculous.

ὃς δ᾽ ἂν ἔχῃ τὸν βίον τοῦ κόσμου καὶ θεωρῇ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ χρείαν ἔχοντα καὶ κλείσῃ τὰ σπλάγχνα αὐτοῦ ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ, πῶς ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ μένει ἐν αὐτῶ;- 1John 3:17
But) if anyone has the world’s [κόσμου] goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18Little children, let us not.
Again Kosmos could not be stretched to say the elect, or the elected gentiles.

Another clear case where Kosmos does not mean the elect, if anything it is the opposite of the elect! Here is 1 John 4:1-6 (they will be posted like an interlinear since it is a length section).
1. ἀγαπητοί, μὴ παντὶ πνεύματι πιστεύετε, ἀλλὰ δοκιμάζετε τὰ πνεύματα εἰ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν, ὅτι πολλοὶ ψευδοπροφῆται ἐξεληλύθασιν εἰς τὸν κόσμον.
1. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world [κόσμον].
2. ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκετε τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ θεοῦ· πᾶν πνεῦμα ὃ ὁμολογεῖ ἰησοῦν χριστὸν ἐν σαρκὶ ἐληλυθότα ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν,
2. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
3 καὶ πᾶν πνεῦμα ὃ μὴ ὁμολογεῖ τὸν ἰησοῦν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἔστιν· καὶ τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ τοῦ ἀντιχρίστου, ὃ ἀκηκόατε ὅτι ἔρχεται, καὶ νῦν ἐν τῶ κόσμῳ ἐστὶν ἤδη.
3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world [κόσμῳ] already.
4 ὑμεῖς ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστε, τεκνία, καὶ νενικήκατε αὐτούς, ὅτι μείζων ἐστὶν ὁ ἐν ὑμῖν ἢ ὁ ἐν τῶ κόσμῳ.
4Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world [κόσμῳ].
5 αὐτοὶ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου εἰσίν· διὰ τοῦτο ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου λαλοῦσιν καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτῶν ἀκούει.
5.They are from the world [κόσμου]; therefore they speak from the world [κόσμου], and the world [κόσμος] listens to them.
6 ἡμεῖς ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐσμεν· ὁ γινώσκων τὸν θεὸν ἀκούει ἡμῶν, ὃς οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἀκούει ἡμῶν. ἐκ τούτου γινώσκομεν τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πλάνης.
6. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Notice verse 5 states “they are the world,” which is then contrasted with verse 6 “we are from God.” This passage of John treats being “of the world” as being a bad thing, as he does even in his other writings.

Now here are the last verse verses using Kosmos in 1 John 4:
ἐν τούτῳ ἐφανερώθη ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν ἡμῖν, ὅτι τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ ἀπέσταλκεν ὁ θεὸς εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἵνα ζήσωμεν δι᾽ αὐτοῦ.-1 John 4:9
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world [κόσμον], so that we might live through him.-1 John 4:9
καὶ ἡμεῖς τεθεάμεθα καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν ὅτι ὁ πατὴρ ἀπέσταλκεν τὸν υἱὸν σωτῆρα τοῦ κόσμου.- 1 John 4:14
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world [κόσμου].- 1 John 4:14
ἐν τούτῳ τετελείωται ἡ ἀγάπη μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν, ἵνα παρρησίαν ἔχωμεν ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῆς κρίσεως, ὅτι καθὼς ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐσμεν ἐν τῶ κόσμ τούτῳ.—1 John 4:19
By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world [κόσμῳ].—1 John 4:19
Notice the elect are in the world, but are not the world. Sometimes Calvinists will point to verse 14 to show “world” equates to the elect since the Son is the Savior, however it simply means Christ is the only means of salvation for the world, none other. Of course to equate the two would require a flagrant ignoring of the rest of 1 John 4.

Now to go on to chapter 5:
ὅτι πᾶν τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ νικᾷ τὸν κόσμον· καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ νίκη ἡ νικήσασα τὸν κόσμον, ἡ πίστις ἡμῶν. τίς [δέ] ἐστιν ὁ νικῶν τὸν κόσμον εἰ μὴ ὁ πιστεύων ὅτι ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ;—1 John 5:4-5
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world [κόσμον]. And this is the victory that has overcome the world [κόσμον]— our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world [κόσμον] except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.—1 John 5:4-5
Again the word kosmos does not equate to the elect, or the gentiles that are the elect. You must overcome the world to be saved.
Now to finish off St John’s 1st epistle:
οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐσμεν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος ὅλος ἐν τῶ πονηρῶ κεῖται.—1 John 5:19
We know that we are from God, and the whole world [κόσμος] lies in the power of the evil one.—1 John 5:19
Is this verse saying the elect are in the power of the Devil? No, because Kosmos is not referring to the elect. What is also interesting about this verse (the last verse of 1 John) is that it also says “whole world” just like 1 John 2:2 says. This verse clearly shows a contrast between being of God and of the “world” yet Christ died as a propitiation for the κόσμος ὅλος, that is- whole world!


The Calvinist rebuttal to 1 John 2:1 which claims world does not refer to the non-elect, but refers to the elect or gentile elect, or is ambiguous, is baseless and cannot be supported by 1 John, in fact 1st John is clear Kosmos does not mean the elect!

Call no man father?

"Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven."—Matthew 23:9

This verse has been used by anticatholics to claim it to be wrong to call a priest (or anyone) father, the verse previous would logically also prohibit calling men "doctor" since it means "teacher," but if Jesus was prohibiting calling men father then what about.....

"And say, if we had been in the days of OUR FATHERS..." (Matthew 23:30)

" worship I the God of my FATHERS..." (Acts 24:14)

When Elisha saw it happen he cried out, "My father! my father!* Israel's chariots and drivers!" But when he could no longer see him, Elisha gripped his own garment and tore it in two.(2 kings 2:12) *traditionally Jews regard both Elijah and Elisha as celibates.

When the king of Israel saw them, he asked, "Shall I kill them, my father?" (2 kings 6:21)

Hazael went to visit him, carrying a present, and with forty camel loads of the best goods of Damascus. On his arrival, he stood before the prophet and said, "Your son Ben-hadad, king of Aram, has sent me to ask you whether he will recover from his sickness."(2 kings 8:9)

"Stay with me," Micah said to him. "Be father and priest to me, and I will give you ten silver shekels a year, a set of garments, and your food."(judges 17:10)

"But Timothy's worth you know, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel." (Philippians 2:22)

"Look to Abraham, your father..." (Isaiah 51:2) **Abraham MEANS "father of many nations"**

And he replied, "My brothers and fathers, listen. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was in Mesopotamia, before he had settled in Haran, (Acts 7:2)

“Thus he was to be the father of all the uncircumcised who believe”—Romans 4:11 *Thos is an OBVIOUS reference to Abraham as being a spiritual father

"as well as the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised, but also follow the path of faith that our father Abraham walked while still uncircumcised." (Romans 4:12)

"For this reason, it depends on faith, so that it may be a gift, and the promise may be guaranteed to all his descendants, not to those who only adhere to the law but to those who follow the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us," (Romans 4:16)

"Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?" (James 2:21)

"To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." (1 Tim. 1:2)

"Do not rebuke an older man, but appeal to him as a father. Treat younger men as brothers" (1 Tim. 5:1)

"To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." (2 Tim. 1:2

"To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior." (Tit. 1:4)

I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have conquered the evil one. (1 John 2:13)

I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have manyfathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (1 Cor. 4:14-15) *Literally reads “I begat you in Christ..”

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him... then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." (Gen. 1:27, 2:7)

"When Adam had lived a hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth." (Gen. 5:3)

"Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.' And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" (John 20:21-22)

"Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands... guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us." (2 Tim. 1:6, 14)

Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophesy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood. (1 Tim 4:14)

Conclusion: Call no man father was not a prohibition against the use of the word father to human beings, if it were well....everyone of the Apostles and God Himself would be guilty of this.