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"Have you not read?" The Authority behind Biblical Interpretation
Coming Home Network ^ | Robert Sungenis

Posted on 03/28/2008 3:55:36 PM PDT by annalex

"Have you not read?"
The Authority behind Biblical Interpretation

By Robert Sungenis

Driving in my car the other day, I turned on the radio and came across one of the local Protestant stations. A preacher was expounding on John 3:5 where Jesus says, "Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."

In his exegesis, he was absolutely sure that John did not mean physical water. Instead, he proposed that John’s water referred to the "word of God." He cited Ephesians 5:26 and claimed that because Paul referred to "washing her with water by the word," water was a symbol for Scripture. He transferred this meaning back to John 3:5 and concluded: unless one is born of the word of God (hearing and believing the Bible) and the Spirit (being "born again" by accepting Jesus in your heart) he cannot enter the kingdom of God. So, forget baptism with water as a necessity for salvation.

But how can this radio Bible preacher be so sure that his exegesis and interpretation is the true one, that it should be trusted by his radio audience? What about the other interpretations given by both Protestant and Catholic scholars to this passage? The Catholic Church, along with many Protestant Churches, have taught constantly since the Early Church Fathers that the water of John 3:5 refers to water baptism, which is not a symbol but the very means to receive the grace of God to cleanse one from Original Sin. By what authority does one confidently determine which interpretation is true?

We could approach this question by debating whether the Bible alone is sufficient as the final, infallible rule of faith for man, or whether the Church and her Sacred Tradition are to be considered on equal footing, as taught by the Fathers of the Church. This would draw us into a discussion about Church authority and/or the validity of Oral Tradition, discussing passages like Matthew 16:18-19 and 2 Thessalonians 2:15, which deal with Peter’s prerogative to ‘bind and loose’ and the preservation of oral tradition, respectively. However, this might cause us to elude the primary hermeneutic issue being questioned: can we determine by logical principles of textual exegesis whether John’s water refers to effectual water baptism and is neither referring to the Bible nor a symbolic ceremony signifying salvation?

If you are game for this, let’s begin by examining some principles the Bible itself teaches about interpretation. A good passage in this regard is Mark 12:18-27. Jesus is in a discussion with the Sadducees about the resurrection. Trying to prove their belief in no future resurrection, the Sadducees pose a seemingly unanswerable question to Jesus concerning a woman who was married to seven men, each dying before they had children with her. They ask Jesus whose wife she will be in the resurrection, knowing that he cannot commit to one of the seven, thereby giving themselves a reason to deny the concept of resurrection. Jesus answers by saying, "Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?" He then proceeds to tell them that those who rise are no longer in the married state, but are like the angels in heaven who are attached to no one. What is important to note is that we will search in vain to find any information in Scripture which denies marriage in heaven or that we will be like the angels. Scripture does not cover this particular aspect of the Sadducees’ question and thus Jesus is relying on his own divine knowledge. Is it not safe to conclude, then, that part of Jesus’ answer is not based on Scripture, and that he isn’t therefore relying on "Sola Scriptura?" This is not unlike what the Catholic Church does today when she answers questions which Scripture does not address or on which Scripture does not give precise information, e.g., abortion, contraception, cloning, surrogate motherhood, polygamy, slavery, etc. The Catholic Church claims authority to teach in these area of faith and morals, relying on divine guidance outside of Scripture in order to give correct answers to its people.This is the first principle Jesus teaches us.

Now watch what Jesus does as he teaches us a second principle of interpretation. After answering the "marriage" question, Jesus proceeds to the "resurrection" question. It is only here that he uses Scripture. But as we will see, Jesus’ does not merely cite a ‘proof text.’ Rather, Jesus uses his own reasoning ability to draw a conclusion that is only implicit in that Scripture. He says:

Now about the dead rising — have you not read in the book of Moses, in the account of the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!"

The above text does not explicitly say there is a resurrection. Rather, Jesus reasons, and expects the Sadducees to accept his reasoning, that Exodus 3:6’s statement can only be true if Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still living in conscious existence, albeit in another realm, even though their bodies are in graves. The separation of their consciousnesses from their dead bodies is, according to Jesus, a "resurrection." What is Jesus doing? Well, having

already answered the question about whether people will be married in heaven, Jesus goes beyond the Sadducees’ original inquiry to an aspect of resurrection they have probably never given much thought. Jesus shows that resurrection is more than raising a physical body; it is also raising a soul to heaven. In fact, the resurrection of the soul is the more critical of the two, since it must precede the resurrection of the body for the latter to occur.

In his usual manner of teaching, Jesus is ‘killing two birds with one stone.’ The first ‘bird’, is the use of extra-scriptural information to nullify false belief. The second ‘bird’, is showing the Sadducees they have misinterpreted Scripture, and are probably not saved themselves, because they have never understood the primary message of the Old Testament: that one first has to be changed on the inside, in his soul, to experience the resurrection. If you can’t believe in the resurrection of the body, then you certainly can’t believe in the resurrection of the soul, which also means that you have not become a child of God. Conversely, if you experience the resurrection of the soul, then you will also enjoy the resurrection of the body to eternal life. The Sadducees got so bogged down with irrelevant religious minutia that they lost sight of the true essence of resurrection, not unlike their counterparts, the Pharisees.

Notice what is happening. Interpretation depends on the reasoning ability of a thinking person. Reasoning is the ability to gather independent facts and determine how they relate to each other. Scripture itself cannot "interpret" Exodus 3:6, because Scripture cannot reason or think. Scripture can only give us the testimony of what God said in Exodus 3:6; it cannot, in fact, "interpret itself." Jesus’ reasoning is astounding. Without Jesus’ penetrating interpretation, someone could read Exodus 3:6 for a whole lifetime, as the Sadducees apparently had done, and never extract from it the conclusion that Jesus reached. Since Exodus 3:6 does not explicitly, only implicitly, teach that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have already experienced a resurrection and are alive with God in heaven — perhaps more "alive" than they were on earth since they are not subject to sin or death any longer — we see that "interpretation" depends on much more than cataloguing facts from the text. In fact, we should all stand back in abject fear because of what has just been revealed to us about the nature of interpretation. We have discovered that Scripture is far deeper and mysterious than we may have imagined. We see how easily it can be misinterpreted or even ignored. As far as we know, no one before Jesus ever used Exodus 3:6 to prove the resurrection.

Do you know what the real irony of this whole thing is? Scripture itself (that is, Mark 12:18-27), is telling us about the nature of interpreting Scripture! Scripture is warning us that we can read a Scripture for a whole lifetime and never know its true meaning, unless someone divinely gifted in interpretation reveals it to us, as Jesus did with the Sadducees. No wonder 2 Peter 3:16 says that there are some Scriptures "that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." For this reason Catholicism has always insisted that only a God-directed, infallible Magisterium be given the first and last word on the interpretation of Scripture. One glance at what is transpiring in Mark 12:18-27 should make everyone drop to their knees in utter humility concerning the nature and interpretation of Scripture.

With this incident in the background, let us now go back to our radio preacher’s interpretation of John 3:5. If we could speak with him directly, we would ask him, as Jesus did to the Sadducees: "Have you not read where the prophet says, ‘I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:25-26). Now if the water of John 3:5 is merely symbolic, why does the prophet say that it is the water which is making the individual clean from impurities and providing a new spirit to rest in him? One might protest that this is merely in the Old Testament. But so were Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3. In fact, in John 3:10 Jesus says to Nicodemus, "You are Israel’s teacher and you do not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen," implying that Nicodemus should have known these truths from the Old Testament. Just like the Sadducees, we have another case of someone who, though very familiar with Scripture, missed its true interpretation.

Now are we saying that baptism was practiced in the Old Testament? No, but we are saying that the Old Testament foreshadowed baptism and its spiritual effects — effects which apply to people both in the Old and New Testament. Have you not read in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2: "...our forefathers were all under the cloud and they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea." And have you not read in Acts 16:22 what Ananias says to Paul, "Get up and be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name." Now, why would Ananias say that Paul’s sins were washed away precisely at water baptism if the water represented only the word of God or was merely symbolic? Have you not read what Peter says in 1 Peter 3:20-21 in explaining the flood waters of Noah’s day, "and this water is the antitype of baptism which now saves us." Why would Peter say "baptism saves" if the water was merely symbolic or represented only the word of God? Moreover, if one insists that the water represents only the word of God, have you not read in John 1:31-34 and John 4:2 in which baptism was administered with physical water? Is it not unreasonable to think that the water of John 3:5 so suddenly takes on a different meaning, especially since it is surrounded by a context that only refers to literal water?

The question may now arise, "Okay, I see your reasoning, but how do you know your interpretation is correct? How do you know for sure that the water of John 3:5 is not the word of God and that baptism is not merely symbolic? You’ve only given me a possible interpretation from your defensible exegesis of the texts."

Ah! Now we’re getting to the essence of our issue, for we can begin to see what mere human interpretation does. It only gives plausible answers, but we can never know for sure if the plausible answer is the correct answer, unless we have help from another source. What is that source? That source is John the apostle. After discovering all the exegetical possibilities, we have to go back and ask John what he meant when he used "water" in John 3:5.10  But how does one ask John? He’s dead. Granted, but we know the people who knew John. They wrote down what John taught them. For example, Polycarp writes about knowing John the apostle personally, and Ignatius was a disciple of Polycarp. Justin Martyr also lived during that time. These Fathers said they received their teachings from the apostles and they passed them on to other Fathers.11  In fact, did you know that all the Fathers who dealt with John 3:5 understood the water as referring to water baptism and the means by which God infuses the grace of salvation? So, you see, we know our exegesis of John 3:5 is possible by using sound principles of exegesis, but we can only be sure that this interpretation is correct because we have the recorded testimony from those closest to John.

"But what if some of the Fathers disagree on a doctrine?" Well, that’s where the divine guidance that Jesus promised to special people in the Church comes in. Have you not read what Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 16:19, "whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven"? Well, the Church has historically understood this statement as applying to the interpretation of Scripture, among other things.12  Have you not read what Jesus said in John 14:13: "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of Truth," and John 16:13: "But when the Spirit of Truth comes he will guide you into all truth," and Paul in 1 Timothy 3:15: "...the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." You see, Jesus said the Spirit of Truth would be with us "forever," and his work is to guide the Church in her interpretation of Scripture so she can be the "foundation of truth." Jesus is clear that the Spirit’s guidance to the Church would transpire till the end of time. The Spirit will tell the Church, out of all the plausible interpretations of a passage, which one is true. In this way, Scripture, Tradition and the Church all work together to provide God’s truth to God’s people.13 

"Then what does "washing with water by the word" mean in Ephesians 5:26?" Well, the way it has been historically understood is in reference to the ancient formula said at the time one is baptized: "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Without these words, the Church says there is not a legitimate baptism. So you see, the "Word" is very important, probably even more important than you thought previously. The "word" does not necessarily refer to a general knowledge of the Bible, but nothing less than the audible invoking of the Trinity to effectuate the baptism unto salvation.14 

"But how can a little water actually save someone — make them ‘born again?’ Many today are born again when they walk forward, say the sinners’ prayer, and accept Christ as their personal savior. Why would God use such an insignificant element to bring salvation?"

Well, there is a principle God uses when he deals with man. Paul explains it for us in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29:

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

You see, salvation is not a matter of pomp and circumstance, for it can come to a little baby, or to a 105 year old great-grandmother, neither of whom can walk or talk very well. God uses the very things the world takes for granted, like water, to show the "wise" that they must humble themselves before God to receive salvation.

So, what do you think. Do you want to become Catholic now? "Well, maybe someday, but there’s this doctrine about Mary. You know how you Catholics worship Mary and you..................."

EndNotes

 1Catholic Catechism, Sections 1213-1228.

 2Catholic Catechism, Section 82: "As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, ‘does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scripture alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."

 3Since they didn’t believe in the resurrection, and therefore, could never enjoy the bliss of heaven, that is why they were: Sad, you see! (I thought you might like a little humor to carry you through this article).

 4Catholic Catechism, Section 113: "Read the Scripture within ‘the living Tradition of the whole Church.’ According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church’s heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God’s Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture..."

 5This is similar to what happens when the Church formulates explicit teachings from implicit information in Scripture, for example, on the doctrines of Mary. She is relying on powers outside the raw text of Scripture to arrive at truth. These powers are

guided by the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus was guided by the Holy Spirit to answer the Sadducees.

 6Cf., John 5:25; Eph. 2:6; Col. 2:12.

 7Rev. 6:9; 20:4; Acts 7:59.

 8Catholic Catechism, Section 119: "For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God."

 9Catholic Catechism, Section 115-116: "According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral, and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church. The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: "All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal."

 10Catholic Catechism, Section 110: "In order to discover the sacred authors’ intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at the time, and the modes of feeling, speaking, and narrating then current."

 11Justin Martyr (c. 100-165 AD): "And for this [baptism] we have learned from the apostles this reason...and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; he who leads to the laver the person that is to be washed calling him by this name alone...And this washing is called illumination, because they who learn these things are illuminated in their understanding" (NPNF, First Apology of Justin, Chap. LXI, p. 183). See also NPNF, Epistle of Barnabas (c. 70 AD), Chap. XI, p. 144; NPNF, Ignatius of Antioch (c. 110 AD), Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Chap. VIII, p. 89; Letter to Polycarp, Chap. VI, p. 95.

 12Catholic Catechism, Section 553: "The power to ‘bind and loose’ connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgments, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church."

 13Catholic Catechism, Section 95: "It is clear therefore that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others." 2 Timothy 1:13: "Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us."

 14Catholic Catechism, Section 1239: "The baptismal water is consecrated by a power of epiclesis. The Church asks God that through his Son the power of the Holy Spirit my be sent upon the water, so that those who will be baptized in it may be ‘born of water and the Spirit.’" See also Section 1228.

 


TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism
KEYWORDS: robertsungenis; romancatholicism
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1 posted on 03/28/2008 3:55:37 PM PDT by annalex
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To: 353FMG; AlaskaErik; Always Right; Antoninus; ArrogantBustard; blue-duncan; CTK YKC; dan1123; ...
50 Days of Easter 2008 Celebration Ping

If you want to be on the list, but are not on it already, or if you are on it but do not want to be, let me know either publicly or privately.

Happy Easter. Christ is risen!

Alex.


Previously posted conversion sotries:

Anti-Catholicism, Hypocrisy and Double Standards
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part I: Darkness
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part II: Doubts
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part III: Tradition and Church
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part IV: Crucifix and Altar
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part V: The Catholics and the Pope
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part VI: The Biblical Reality
His Open Arms Welcomed Me
Catholic Conversion Stories & Resources
My Personal Conversion Story
My (Imminent) Reception into the Roman Catholic Church
Catholics Come Home
My Journey of Faith
LOGIC AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PROTESTANTISM
"What is Truth?" An Examination of Sola Scriptura

2 posted on 03/28/2008 3:57:40 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

I am posting a reply but Do NOT add me to your ping list.

The author misses the interpretation given in the passage by the Lord Himself. One must go beyond John 3:5 and read all the way to John 3:6 to the interpretation of verse 5. Here they are together:

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Born of water is physical birth: born of the flesh. Not washed by Scripture nor sprinkled with “holy water”.

Born of the Spirit is just that: born a new creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) by the power of the Holy Spirit, having been dead in sins (Ephesians 2).

No need to make it seem obscure nor allegorical.


3 posted on 03/28/2008 4:08:13 PM PDT by Manfred the Wonder Dawg (Test ALL things, hold to that which is True.)
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To: Manfred the Wonder Dawg
Born of water is physical birth: born of the flesh

This is spin; if Jesus wanted to say "physical birth" He would refer to "womb", just like Nicodemus does in his question. He would not respond with a riddle forcing Nicodemus to figure out that womb=water. The entire reference to borth of the water and spirit is a plain reference to baptism which combines these two elements precisely.

4 posted on 03/28/2008 4:21:34 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

I see how you interpret the Bible - by imagining what words the Lord should have used. The context is quite clear. The fact the water baptism is not mentioned here and is not required for salvation make your position indefensible.

But I forget ye be RCC and that religion’s dogma requires you to ignore clear Biblical meaning.

Sorry about that.


5 posted on 03/28/2008 5:26:21 PM PDT by Manfred the Wonder Dawg (Test ALL things, hold to that which is True.)
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To: annalex

Many thanks for the link.


6 posted on 03/28/2008 5:32:27 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED (TAZ:Untamed, Unpredictable, Uninhibited.)
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To: Manfred the Wonder Dawg
Your insistence that where the scripture says "water", "womb" or "flesh" should be read is comical in itself. As Catholic I read what is written, not what some half-educated reverend from a Bible college tells me.

But what your reverend thinks about John 3:5 is not even the issue on hand. This is what Sungenis writes:

But how can this radio Bible preacher be so sure that his exegesis and interpretation is the true one, that it should be trusted by his radio audience? What about the other interpretations given by both Protestant and Catholic scholars to this passage? The Catholic Church, along with many Protestant Churches, have taught constantly since the Early Church Fathers that the water of John 3:5 refers to water baptism, which is not a symbol but the very means to receive the grace of God to cleanse one from Original Sin.1 By what authority does one confidently determine which interpretation is true?

Later,

let us now go back to our radio preacher’s interpretation of John 3:5. If we could speak with him directly, we would ask him, as Jesus did to the Sadducees: "Have you not read where the prophet says, ‘I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:25-26). Now if the water of John 3:5 is merely symbolic, why does the prophet say that it is the water which is making the individual clean from impurities and providing a new spirit to rest in him?

And finally

The question may now arise, "Okay, I see your reasoning, but how do you know your interpretation is correct? How do you know for sure that the water of John 3:5 is not the word of God and that baptism is not merely symbolic? You’ve only given me a possible interpretation from your defensible exegesis of the texts."

Ah! Now we’re getting to the essence of our issue, for we can begin to see what mere human interpretation does. It only gives plausible answers, but we can never know for sure if the plausible answer is the correct answer, unless we have help from another source. What is that source? That source is John the apostle. After discovering all the exegetical possibilities, we have to go back and ask John what he meant when he used "water" in John 3:5.10 But how does one ask John? He’s dead. Granted, but we know the people who knew John. They wrote down what John taught them. For example, Polycarp writes about knowing John the apostle personally, and Ignatius was a disciple of Polycarp. Justin Martyr also lived during that time. These Fathers said they received their teachings from the apostles and they passed them on to other Fathers.11 In fact, did you know that all the Fathers who dealt with John 3:5 understood the water as referring to water baptism and the means by which God infuses the grace of salvation? So, you see, we know our exegesis of John 3:5 is possible by using sound principles of exegesis, but we can only be sure that this interpretation is correct because we have the recorded testimony from those closest to John.

You interpret and I interpret. You interpret "water" meaning "womb" and I interpret "water" meaning "baptismal water". The issue is not even whose reading is more plausible, the issue is that I can back up my reading with patristics and you can't.

7 posted on 03/28/2008 5:43:16 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

You cite a man I care not for (the radio preacher) and tout your foundation as the teaching of RCC men - which I also care not for. I rely on the text God gave John. Christ tells Nicodemus “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

Why would He speak of flesh and Spirit right after speaking of water and Spirit - while describing the same issue; unless He was explaining in verse 6 what He said in verse 5?

He says this right after Nicodemus asks about being born again in the flesh. The clear, plain teaching of this passage is flesh = water, Spirit = Spirit.

False teaching of men puts the weight of redemption from sins on water baptism. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can save anyone from sin. Trusting in the works of anyone else is false hope.

Paul makes this clear in Romans 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.


8 posted on 03/28/2008 5:53:35 PM PDT by Manfred the Wonder Dawg (Test ALL things, hold to that which is True.)
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To: annalex
Curious that the primary source is used to defend traditions when it is convenient for a particular point of view, but only when it is convenient.

In this case above, convoluted reasoning and out of context quoting succeeds in proving exactly nothing.

Being buried in water by baptism is the essence of the symbolism. The old man dies to sin and is buried in baptism and rises to walk in the spiritual life.

I understand that it is somehow difficult or impossible for many to grasp, but still, for some of my experience, the concept is simplicity itself.

Acts chapter 2 verse 38 pretty much demonstrates just what the symbolism of Peter being given the “keys” is all about. Most will not see this simple fact.

So go on and defend the practice of spiritually burying innocent babies, calling mortal men “Father”, redundant ritualistic prayers, and so on.

Meanwhile, the seven letters to the Church(es) in Asia will likely remain a mystery for all of your days.

Call me a cynic.

9 posted on 03/28/2008 6:09:21 PM PDT by Radix (How come they call people "Morons" when they do not know as much? Shouldn't they be called "Lessons?)
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To: Radix

I forgot to mention, I’ll be back on FR.com on Tuesday.


10 posted on 03/28/2008 6:13:22 PM PDT by Radix (How come they call people "Morons" when they do not know as much? Shouldn't they be called "Lessons?)
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To: annalex
The author of this article makes some astounding leaps of logic.
To point to one of the most obvious; The author asks in reference to John explaining his own use of terms,
“How does one ask John? He's dead. Granted,
but we know the people who knew John.”
The author names Polycarp and others but why not the
other apostles who heard Jesus’ words at the same time John did? Those who heard far more of Jesus words than are
available to us in the Gospels by John's own description.
Matthew recorded more of Jesus’ words concerning binding
in Matthew 18 and the disciple Luke tells how that loosing
took place in Acts 8,9,10,11.
So here is a principle of hermeneutics: Examine the Scriptures first , then draw conclusions.
11 posted on 03/28/2008 7:14:53 PM PDT by count-your-change (you don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Manfred the Wonder Dawg
Why would He speak of flesh and Spirit right after speaking of water and Spirit - while describing the same issue; unless He was explaining in verse 6 what He said in verse 5?

Because the theme is two births, one of the womb and not under a question, the other is the second birth that Nicodemus is questioning. The response in v.5 wholly refers to the question, the rebirth.

But again, whether water=baptismal water, or water=womb, or water=fish on Friday is more plausible is not the issue; the issue is that I can both explain why I think that water=baptismal water and also point out that disciples of Christ thought so, just as Sungenis argues.

You also bring us the discourse of whether circumcision of Abraham was salvific, which is neither here or there, and you interpret it wrong, too.

12 posted on 03/28/2008 7:52:00 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Radix
Being buried in water by baptism is the essence of the symbolism. The old man dies to sin and is buried in baptism and rises to walk in the spiritual life.

Yes, that is the symbolism. What makes you think I disagree?

If you want to discuss some other scripture, make it relevant to the topic on hand, and I will discuss it.

13 posted on 03/28/2008 7:54:34 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: count-your-change
The author names Polycarp and others but why not the other apostles who heard Jesus’ words at the same time John did?

Indeed, if there had been a single father of the Church not otherwise known as complete heretic, who believed that the water in John 3:5 is really womb, or if there were other scripture that said that water means womb, Sungenis's argument would disappear and the interpretation of John 3:5 as a reference to the necessity of baptism would have been speculative and not dogmatic. However, the water-means-womb interpretation is not supported by anyone till 15c at the earliest.

Incidentally, 1 Peter 3:21 "whereunto baptism being of the like form, now saveth you also" doesn't help the radio reverend's case either, although I am sure he got some spin to explain that away as well.

14 posted on 03/28/2008 8:01:22 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

**The entire reference to borth of the water and spirit is a plain reference to baptism which combines these two elements precisely.**

Our priest has been saying all week that John does not put anything into his Gospel without a definite meaning. I think you have the meaning here.

Blessings for the 50 days of Easter!


15 posted on 03/28/2008 8:03:17 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
"Have you not read?" The Authority behind Biblical Interpretation [Robert Sungenis]
LOGIC AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF PROTESTANTISM [Fr. Brian Harrison]
Pope baptizes prominent Italian Muslim [Magdi Allam]

My Journey of Faith [Marco Fallon]
My (Imminent) Reception into the Roman Catholic Church [Robert Koons]
Thousands in U.S. to Join (Catholic) Church - Many Feel They Have Found a Home
TURN ABOUT (Carl Olson, former Evangelical and Monday's guest on EWTN's Journey Home)
Former Southern Baptist Pastor Now a Traveling Crusader for the Catholic Church [Michael Cumbie]

All Roads Lead To Rome (A Southern Baptist's Journey into the Catholic Church)[John David Young]
Allen Hunt, Methodist Minister ...Journeys Home (Catholic, Re: Real Presence)
The Challenges and Graces of Conversion [Chris Findley]
An Open Letter...from Bishop John Lipscomb [Another TEC Bishop Goes Papist]
Unlocking the Convert's Heart [Marcus Grodi]

His Open Arms Welcomed Me [ Paul Thigpen}
Why I'm Catholic (Sola Scriptura leads atheist to Catholic Church)
From Calvinist to Catholic (another powerful conversion story) Rodney Beason
Good-bye To All That (Another Episcopalian gets ready to swim the Tiber)
Bp. Steenson's Letter to his clergy on his conversion to the Catholic Church

Bishop Steenson’s Statement to the House [of Bishops: Episcopal (TEC) to Catholic]
Bp. Steenson's Letter to his clergy on his conversion to the Catholic Church
Bishop Steenson Will Become a Roman Catholic
Married man considers turn as Catholic priest
Pavarotti returns to the Catholic faith before dying

Searching For Authority (A Methodist minister finds himself surprised by Truth!)
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part VI: The Biblical Reality (Al Kresta)
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part V: The Catholics and the Pope(Al Kresta)
The Hail Mary of a Protestant (A true story)
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part IV: Crucifix and Altar(Al Kresta)

Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part III: Tradition and Church (Al Kresta)
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part II: Doubts (Al Kresta)
Conversion Story - Rusty Tisdale (former Pentecostal)
Why I Returned to the Catholic Church. Part I: Darkness(Al Kresta)
Conversion Story - Matt Enloe (former Baptist) [prepare to be amazed!]
THE ORTHODOX REVIVAL IN RUSSIA

Conversion Story - David Finkelstein (former Jew)
Conversion Story - John Weidner (former Evangelical)
12 Reasons I Joined the Catholic Church
Conversion Story - Tom Hunt
The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism: The Converts

John Calvin Made Me Catholic
Journey Home - May 21 - Neil Babcox (former Presbyterian) - A minister encounters Mary
Going Catholic - Six journeys to Rome
My (Imminent) Reception into the Roman Catholic Church
A Convert's Pilgrimage [Christopher Cuddy]

From Pastor to Parishioner: My Love for Christ Led Me Home (to the Catholic Church) [Drake McCalister]
Lutheran professor of philosophy prepares to enter Catholic Church
Patty Bonds (former Baptist and sister of Dr. James White) to appear on The Journey Home - May 7
Pastor and Flock Become Catholics
Why Converts Choose Catholicism

From Calvinist to Catholic
The journey back - Dr. Beckwith explains his reasons for returning to the Catholic Church
Famous Homosexual Italian Author Returned to the Church Before Dying of AIDS
Dr. Francis Beckwith Returns To Full Communion With The Church
laetare (commentary on ordination of married Anglican convert to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles) Father Bill Lowe
Catholic Converts - Stephen K. Ray (former Evangelical)

Catholic Converts - Malcolm Muggeridge
Catholic Converts - Richard John Neuhaus
Catholic Converts - Avery Cardinal Dulles
Catholic Converts - Israel (Eugenio) Zolli - Chief Rabbi of Rome
Catholic Converts - Robert H. Bork , American Jurist (Catholic Caucus)
Catholic Converts - Marcus Grodi
He Was an Evangelical Christian Until He Read Aquinas [Rob Evans]

The Scott Hahn Conversion Story
FORMER PENTECOSTAL RELATES MIRACLE THAT OCCURRED WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
Interview with Roy Schoeman - A Jewish Convert

16 posted on 03/28/2008 8:07:07 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: annalex
My comment was directed to the idea that the writer was citing Polycarp, et al, for explanations of John's words when the apostles were available and had the authority of appointment from Christ Himself.
Which one would understand John's teaching and knowlege better?
His attempts to reason out an interpretation of Jesus’ words to the Saducees are even worse.
As to the radio program, I can't address it as I didn't hear it.
17 posted on 03/28/2008 8:33:02 PM PDT by count-your-change (you don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: annalex

I am hardly comfortable denying the necessity of the Baptism, as Christ Himself said to “Go be baptized, and wait for the Holy Spirit”. But by the same token, there is something to be said for the radio pastor’s words.

While it is certainly best to be baptized, and to follow the prescription as laid out in Scripture, certainly there are times wherein baptism is not done, or is simply not possible.

By way of example, the OP lays a valid claim for the salvation of the Hebrew forefathers- That God is the God of the living, ergo, the Hebrew fathers are even now alive, and presumably saved- Even though it is unlikely that they ever experienced a baptism.

The criminal on the cross who was promised, “Today you will be with me in Paradise,” was probably not baptized, though admittedly that is a presumption on my part.

And one might further speculate that a soldier, mortally wounded on the field of battle, who truly finds his Savior in the final moments of his life would not be turned aside for wont of a bit of water and a priest to perform the duty.

In all of these cases, the symbolism of baptism is prevented by circumstance. But it is truly the Blood that saves. I cannot believe that in such a condition, the circumcision of the heart (which is undoubtedly the purpose behind the symbolism of baptism) would not suffice.


18 posted on 03/29/2008 12:33:36 AM PDT by roamer_1 (Conservative always, Republican no more.)
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To: annalex

Water spirit feeling springing ‘round my head
Makes me feel glad that I’m not dead

Witchi-tie-tie, gimee rah
Whoa rah neeko, whoa rah neeko
Hey ney, hey ney, no way


19 posted on 03/29/2008 12:50:58 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Manfred the Wonder Dawg
"Born of water is physical birth: born of the flesh. Not washed by Scripture nor sprinkled with “holy water”."

I have always believed this was the best interpretation. All the other interpretations read into the text what they want to find, this explanation is purely inductive which is how all scripture should be interpreted.

20 posted on 03/29/2008 7:58:49 AM PDT by joebuck (Finitum non capax infinitum!)
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To: count-your-change
Which one would understand John's teaching and knowlege better?

There is no apostle who would contradict the interpretation of John 3 as necessity of baptism either. In fact, there is plenty of corroboration of that belief right in the Acts, and 1 Peter.

The reason Sungenis mentioned Polycarp is to explain why the evidence of patristic thinking matters a good deal: they left books which, while not canonical, reflect the teaching they received from the apostolic generation and passed on.

You realize, of course, that St. John the Evangelist outlived all other apostles, and that St. Polycarp was one generation younger than him, and Irenaeus another generation younger.

21 posted on 03/29/2008 9:31:28 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: roamer_1
In all of these cases, the symbolism of baptism is prevented by circumstance. But it is truly the Blood that saves.

Yes. You are describing, more or less, the Catholic doctrine of baptism of desire and baptism of blood. The same can be said about the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist. They are all necessary when they are available, but if a person is prevented by some obstacle form receiving them, but wishes to receive them, we trust in the infinite mercy of Christ that the disposition of his heart will alone suffice. The sacraments of the Church are called ordinary means of salvation, that is, they are necessary in ordinary circumstances.

22 posted on 03/29/2008 9:37:55 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: joebuck; Manfred the Wonder Dawg
this was the best interpretation

People who listen to the Protestant propaganda beamed at them from every microphone and pulpit will believe that, and a tooth fairy, too. Why is it necessary to interpret "water" as anything but "water" in the first place?

23 posted on 03/29/2008 9:41:00 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
"People who listen to the Protestant propaganda beamed at them from every microphone and pulpit will believe that, and a tooth fairy...."

Sorry, I don't do popery.

24 posted on 03/29/2008 9:46:10 AM PDT by joebuck (Finitum non capax infinitum!)
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To: annalex
The Catholic Church claims authority to teach in these area of faith and morals, relying on divine guidance outside of Scripture in order to give correct answers to its people

Hmmm... this sounds suspiciously like modern revelation. In spite of sola scriptura, I had an FR poster tell me that evanglicals also rely on divine help for interpreting scriptures. The author of this article states that the Catholic Church claims to receive divine help as well in interpreting scriptures. Of course, the church receives such divine guidance by individuals within the church receiving divine guidance.

So both members of the Catholic Church and evangelicals claim to receive revelation when interpreting the scriptures. It sounds like a good thing to me.

25 posted on 03/29/2008 11:18:32 AM PDT by TheDon
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To: TheDon

This is an important step for the Evangelicals to recognize that they, too interpret the scripture using outside authority that they claim to be divine.

Once that step is taken, we could begin to compare the interpretations for historicity and apostolicity, or, conversely, poit out attempts at modern revelation, which, of course, should disqualify any given doctrine.


26 posted on 03/29/2008 11:32:19 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
This is an important step for the Evangelicals to recognize that they, too interpret the scripture using outside authority that they claim to be divine.

The "outside authority" they claim is the same as that which the CC claims, the Holy Ghost. Not much to argue about there. :-)

27 posted on 03/29/2008 11:36:36 AM PDT by TheDon
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To: TheDon

Claiming is easy. Proving is hard.

The Catholic Church, by the way, has rules about private revelations. In brief, a private revelation does not have to be believed, no matter what status is enjoys. It may be believed if it is approved by the Church, and it gets approved if it is conformant with the entire body of Catholic doctrine and leads the believer to Christ rather than away from Him. Such are, for example, visions experienced by saints, some apparitions of Our Lady, etc.


28 posted on 03/29/2008 12:15:43 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex

That seems pretty reasonable.


29 posted on 03/29/2008 12:45:16 PM PDT by TheDon
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To: annalex
The question wasn't whether baptism was necessary (it is)
or whether Jesus’ words at John 3:5 could reasonably be understood to refer to literal water (it can from the example of what baptism was, immersion in water) but
rather the matter of exegesis.
The order of events in Acts chapter 2 was repentance and embracing the word and only then baptism.
The writer of the article seems to point to baptism in and of its self as providing salvation.
Using the uncanonical writings of church fathers as a
standard along side or in place of the Scriptures has
brought about unscriptural practices like infant baptism and sprinkling as baptism.
Again, it the manner of writer's exegesis that I question since I think it leads to a faulty understanding of the
Scriptures.
Yes, I am aware of Polycarp and others.
30 posted on 03/29/2008 1:09:02 PM PDT by count-your-change (you don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: annalex
The sacraments of the Church are called ordinary means of salvation, that is, they are necessary in ordinary circumstances.

Then we are largely in agreement, with the exception being more a matter of degree, if at all.

Therein one might also cede some credence to the radio pastor as well. All of Protestantism recognizes the importance of baptism by water, but would consider the symbolism less important than the change within.

***----------***

In regard to the larger point, while there is value in the Catholic process of determining interpretation, the Protestants are not that far behind. I think that you are lumping Protestants together way too much.

Each denomination has it's own differences in interpretation, just as they may have differences in doctrine (one begets the other, no doubt). But each has it's own apologetics, whereupon a general consensus emerges. While the process is admittedly less structured than the Catholic method, it is infinitely more versatile. This may in fact allow heresy in, but it is much quicker at turning heresy out as well.

As an example, there is a large movement against replacementism in Protestant churches today. As little as sixty years ago, the lion's share accepted replacementism as sound doctrine, as a physical Israel seemed an impossibility, so this entire line of thought, that the Church was the true Israel came into being.

But the Prophecy intruded upon the well thought out plans of men, and the nation of Israel rose up from the ashes of WWII. In less than two generations the Protestants had the facility to remove erroneous doctrine and correct themselves (though I admit that argument is not over yet).

I would consider Catholic thought to be much more stratified, and more or less incapable of changing long held belief, even though there is much evidence to the contrary. The infallibility of the RCC, and of the Pope spring immediately to mind as an example thereof.

But in saying so, let me also state that I am not assured that one is necessarily better than the other, but only different. The Protestants owe much to that Catholic stratification, and the Catholics, I dare say, are sometimes prodded forward by their headstrong younger brothers. One can serve to correct the other, just as our Jewish brothers have standing to correct us both in matters regarding the Old Testament.

31 posted on 03/29/2008 1:35:03 PM PDT by roamer_1 (Conservative always, Republican no more.)
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To: annalex
Excellent post, if I may add: The Church teaches that the era of public revelation is over; that is, that the era of public revelation produced the Scriptures, thus, they are binding to the Church as a whole. The Church teaches that the entire deposit of faith was given at Pentecost, and our understanding thereof is what grows over time. This understanding over time is what produces the infallible pronouncements via councils and ex cathedra proclamations, however this should not be confused with or likened to "inventing new doctrine" and/or "public revelation", as there are no more doctrines/revelations to be revealed. Only our understanding thereof increases, not the actual deposit.

This is why there are no private revelations, such as approved apparitions (like Fatima, where a revelation was given to an individual or a group of people), that are ever going to be compulsory for any Catholic to believe. When approved, apparitions are given to us as an aid to our faith, something approved to "help" us, but never compulsory for our faith as a Catholic. This is actually where offshoots like the SDA church go wrong; they claim new prophets came to give the church (the Body of Christ) a "new revelation" binding on the whole Body, that is, compulsory for every Christian to believe; a claim that is contrary to historical Christian belief regarding prophets (no more public prophecy after the apostolic era).

32 posted on 03/29/2008 1:59:56 PM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: count-your-change
unscriptural practices like infant baptism and sprinkling as baptism.

They would be uncriptural if there was a scripture sayng "do not baptize children" or "do not baptize by sprinkling".

Adult baptism indeed is preceded by a catechumenate, that is period of instruction. In infant baptism the parents undergo instruction as appropriate.

33 posted on 03/29/2008 3:06:05 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: roamer_1

What you are talking about now are speculative theologies on topics not covered dogmatically; on these, Catohlics enjoy quite a wide berth themselves. The salvific nature of baptism is matter of dogma, and so is the patristic character of all scriptural interpretation.


34 posted on 03/29/2008 3:08:44 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: FourtySeven

Thank you, a much needed clarification.


35 posted on 03/29/2008 3:09:52 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
What you are talking about now are speculative theologies on topics not covered dogmatically; on these, Catohlics enjoy quite a wide berth themselves.

but you missed my point- In a wide swath of Protestantism, Replacementism was accepted fact, not a speculative theology. It was the ready ability of the Protestants to change direction that I was pointing to.

36 posted on 03/29/2008 4:12:52 PM PDT by roamer_1 (Conservative always, Republican no more.)
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To: annalex

That something is permitted simply because it is not forbidden is not a standard you would apply in other
cases, is it?


37 posted on 03/29/2008 4:40:03 PM PDT by count-your-change (you don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: roamer_1

You replaced one speculation with another. Happens at times in Catholicism as well. For example, the Pope recently reminded us all that the Limbo Infantorum doctrine is speculative rather than dogmatic.


38 posted on 03/29/2008 6:46:44 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: count-your-change

It is not as simple as that, but what you said is that these baptisms are unbiblical. This is a word that is thrown around whenever a direct prooftext is missing, and often even when a direct prooftext is to the contrary, basically because, supposedly, the Protestants read the Bible and the Catholics don’t. For the word to have any meaning it has to mean “controverted by the Bible”, hence my remark.

Catholics view baptism as a sacrament, that is something where God plays the decisive part and men play a cooperative part. An adult believer becomes a Christian through baptism not because he now knows Christ but because Christ knows him. So, he doesn’t have to be an adult at all. Thi sis not inconsistent witht he scripture where more than once entire families are said to have been baptized, which natuirally included children. Further, since baptism replaced circumcision, and circucision is done on infants, it is reasonable to extrapolate that baptism should be done on infants also. Finally, the early Church baptized infants, so who are we to presume to know better than them?

Sprinkling, one would speculate, would be the practice in arid Palestine, and immersion is hard to implement in a house when it serves as a church. In one instance — when St. Peter baptizes the first Gentile, I believe — the phrasing is “who would deny this man water to be baptized?” That is a curious turn of the word if the water were a nearby river, but comes naturally if water is to be brought in a bucket.

The Church teaches that when the equipment is available, full immersion is preferable, but either method is valid.

Off the subject, a curious fact about baptismal pools. Often they are of eight sides. Why? It is a reference to the “eighth day of the week”, that is Sunday also known as the first day of the next week. Why call it the eighth day? Because it stands outside of time, — it is timeless. Why is it timeless? Because Christ gave us eternal life on Sunday.


39 posted on 03/29/2008 7:02:15 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: annalex
Yes indeed, people like to toss terms like ‘unscrptural’ about when what they mean is ‘different from my view’ and
that is very wrong.
That example of Peter you mentioned I think is at Acts
10:44-48.
What meaning baptism has today for Catholics I leave to
Catholics to speak on. But the form, how baptism was done,
whether total immersion or sprinkling you might see what
The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907 or 1967 edition, has to say
on the practice. Specifically, Was total immersion the
form used in the early church? When did sprinkling come into use?
On the matter of circumcision and baptism (at any age)I can recall no instance in the Scriptures of anyone drawing any sort of analogy or extrapolation between the two.
One might also ask, Would a centurion living in a Roman seaport city like Caesarea have had sufficient water on hand to immerse a person?
40 posted on 03/29/2008 9:24:12 PM PDT by count-your-change (you don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: TheDon; annalex
So both members of the Catholic Church and evangelicals claim to receive revelation when interpreting the scriptures. It sounds like a good thing to me.

But did you notice the difference???

I had an FR poster tell me that evanglicals also rely on divine help for interpreting scriptures.

Compared to:

The Catholic Church claims authority to teach in these area of faith and morals, relying on divine guidance outside of Scripture in order to give correct answers to its people

There is no revelation outside of Scripture...But there are plenty of things in Scripture that have NOT been revealed yet...To anyone...And of course, there are parts of Scripture that are understood by some while others are blinded to the truth in those Scriptures...

And like you say, when Isreal became a Nation in 1948, it blew the socks off a lot of people...God is telling the world, heh, I'm not done with Israel yet...

Romans 11 took on a literal meaning then...It became understandable and believable...

That's one of the failings of the Catholic church and the Almost Catholic Protestant churches....They have their interpretations down pat and BAM!, some prophecy gets fulfilled...

Of course they can't accept what's happening...They didn't get the initial prophecy so they claimed Jewishness for themselves...They're not going to give it up now, regardless of what revelations become unveiled in the Scripture...

God is not done with the Jews and there are tons of scripture in the Old Testament and the New Testament that will be revealed to the Jews when God is done with the Gentiles...

Some people need to re-evaluate what the Scriptures say in light of the Israeli Nation revelation...Of course, many already have...

41 posted on 03/30/2008 2:13:19 AM PDT by Iscool
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To: annalex
People who listen to the Protestant propaganda beamed at them from every microphone and pulpit will believe that, and a tooth fairy, too. Why is it necessary to interpret "water" as anything but "water" in the first place?

You guys constantly interpret 'baptize', or 'baptism' as water...What's the difference???

42 posted on 03/30/2008 2:15:17 AM PDT by Iscool
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To: Iscool
There is no revelation outside of Scripture...

That's what I thought most traditional christians believed. However, they've been telling me differently. Both evangelicals and Catholics having been stating they rely on divine inspiration to properly understand the scriptures. I think that is a good thing.

43 posted on 03/30/2008 8:14:41 AM PDT by TheDon
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To: TheDon
That's what I thought most traditional christians believed. However, they've been telling me differently. Both evangelicals and Catholics having been stating they rely on divine inspiration to properly understand the scriptures. I think that is a good thing.

Please see my post # 32 for a discussion of the distinction between private and public revelation. I think it may be helpful for you.

44 posted on 03/30/2008 11:57:27 AM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: count-your-change
I have to work on the gospel readings that I missed for yesterday for our daily mass thread, and I will return to this polemic later. Going through the Catena Aurea for Mark 9-15, the yesterday's reading, I found this in reference to Mark 16:16 "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believed not shall be damned":
BEDE; What shall we say here about infants, who by reason of their age cannot yet believe; for as to older persons there is no question. In the Church then of our Savior children believe by others, as also they drew from others the sins which are remitted to them in baptism. Catena Aurea Mark 16.

Granted, Venerable Bede (673-735) is not an early father.

***

Here is, for good measure, St. Chrysostom and Augustine on John 3:5, -- to neither one does it occur that water does not mean baptismal water:

AUG. As if He said, You understand me to speak of a carnal birth; but a man must be born of water and of the Spirit, if he is to enter into the kingdom of God. If to obtain the temporal inheritance of his human father, a man must be born of the womb of his mother; to obtain the eternal inheritance of his heavenly Father, he must be born of the womb of the Church. And since man consists of two parts, body and soul, the mode even of this latter birth is twofold; water the visible part cleansing the body; the Spirit by His invisible cooperation, changing the invisible soul.

CHRYS. If any one asks how a man is born of water, I ask in return, how Adam was born from the ground. For as in the beginning though the element of earth was the subject-matter, the man was the work of the fashioner; so now too, though the element of water is the subject-matter, the whole work is done by the Spirit of grace. He then gave Paradise for a place to dwell in; now He has opened heaven to us. But what need is there of water, to those who receive the Holy Ghost? It carries out the divine symbols of burial, mortification, resurrection, and life. For by the immersion of our heads in the water, the old man disappears and is buried as it were in a sepulcher, whence he ascends a new man. Thus should you learn, that the virtue of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, fills all things. For which reason also Christ lay three days in the grave before His resurrection. That then which the womb is to the offspring, water is to the believer; he is fashioned and formed in the water. But that which is fashioned in the womb needs time; whereas the water all is done in an instant. For the nature of the body is such as to require time for its completion; but spiritual creations are perfect from the beginning. From the time that our Lord ascended out of the Jordan, water produces no longer reptiles, i.e. living souls; but souls rational and endued with the Spirit.

AUG. Because He does not say, Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he shall not have salvation, or eternal life; but, he shall not enter into the kingdom of God; from this, some infer that children are to be baptized in order to be with Christ in the kingdom of God, where they would not be, were they not baptized; but that they will obtain salvation and eternal life even if they die without baptism, not being bound with any chain of sin. But why is a man born again, except to be changed from his old into a new state? Or why does the image of God not enter into the kingdom of God, if it be not by reason of sin?

Catena Aurea John 3


45 posted on 03/30/2008 12:10:30 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: FourtySeven
From the posted article:
The Catholic Church claims authority to teach in these area of faith and morals, relying on divine guidance outside of Scripture in order to give correct answers to its people.

You state:
The Church teaches that the entire deposit of faith was given at Pentecost, and our understanding thereof is what grows over time.

It is rather clear that the canon is closed for the CC and evangelicals, however, there are statements from both groups indicating that they receive "divine guidance" for interpreting the canon. After all, where else can you receive "divine guidance" except from the divine, and where else can you receive understanding of the things of God, but from God.

46 posted on 03/30/2008 12:59:08 PM PDT by TheDon
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To: TheDon
It is rather clear that the canon is closed for the CC and evangelicals, however, there are statements from both groups indicating that they receive "divine guidance" for interpreting the canon. After all, where else can you receive "divine guidance" except from the divine, and where else can you receive understanding of the things of God, but from God.

Quite correct, it is God the Holy Spirit that gives us Catholics guidance in these areas. The guidance given isn't "new revelation" however. It's guidance that protects us from erroneous interpretations/understandings (via the councils and Popes' vis a vis ex cathedra), and thus, He increases our understanding of the original deposit given at Pentecost.

You may be wondering, "Why not just call this 'guidance', 'revelation'?" This is to be certain to never confuse anyone by misleading them into believing we Catholics believe there are "prophets for today". There are no prophets for today who's words would be considered the Word of God. Knowing this however, if one wishes, one could describe the events of the Councils and the Papal decrees as "revelations", but only insomuch as to not confuse them with the Word of God. The ex cathedral and conciliar decrees are not the Word of God; they are clarifications of the original deposit of faith meant to teach us more about the original deposit, not to "reveal new doctrine".

47 posted on 03/30/2008 1:18:10 PM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: FourtySeven

Thanks for the clarification! It was very helpful in better understanding the CC beliefs in this area.


48 posted on 03/30/2008 1:27:16 PM PDT by TheDon
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To: TheDon

You’re welcome, thanks for the thoughtful questions!


49 posted on 03/30/2008 1:34:07 PM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: count-your-change

Whether the analogy between circumcision and baptism was drawn in the scripture or not, it is still a reasonable analogy as both are, besides everything else that separates them, rituals of entry into a religious community.

Whether a centurion had a pool nearby or not is not an issue, it is simply that to “deny water” seems to have a comnnotation that the water is brought in. I agree, it is not definitive.


50 posted on 03/31/2008 5:06:54 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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