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When Did Belief in the Virgin Birth Begin?
http://www.fultonsheen.com/Fulton-Sheen-articles/When-Did-Belief-in-the-Virgin-Birth-Begin.cfm?artid=15 ^ | unknown | Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

Posted on 09/21/2009 4:50:40 PM PDT by stfassisi

In the study of law one of the most important subjects is evidence. One of the reasons why so few have arrived at a truth in which they believe absolutely is that they have forgotten the importance of proof. Evidence is one of the important divisions of theology. No belief can be accepted without proof or a "motive of credibility." One might say that the greatest skeptics are the Christians, for they will not believe in the Resurrection until they see the crucified and dead Man arise from the grave by the Power of God Himself. One could take any doctrine of Christianity as an example of proof and of evidence, but we will take one that the modern world has rejected for the last three hundred years (after believing in it for the first sixteen hundred years), namely, the virgin birth of Jesus from His Mother, Mary, who is a virgin.

Before adducing our evidence, it is important to realize that the Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, does not derive her belief from the Scriptures alone. This will come as a surprise to those who, whenever they hear of a particular Christian teaching, ask: "Is it in the Bible?" The Church was spread throughout the entire Roman Empire before a single book of the New Testament was written. There were already many martyrs in the Church before there were either Gospels or Epistles. An authoritative and recognized ministry was carrying on the Lord's work at His command, speaking in His name as witnesses of what they had seen, before anyone decided to write a single line of the New Testament.

To the early followers of Our Lord, and to us, the authority of the Apostles was equal to the authority of Christ, in the sense that it was the continuation of His teaching. Our Lord said: "He that heareth you, heareth me." The Apostles first taught and then later on, two—and only two—of the Twelve left a Gospel. To His Apostles, Our Lord said: "Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world" (Mt 28:19, 20). And again He said: "As the Father hath sent me, I also send you" (Jn 20:21). The Apostles were the nucleus of the Church, the new Israel, the first visible manifestation of Christ's Mystical Body. That is why on Pentecost they chose one out of the community of 120 to take the place of Judas. The successor had to be an eyewitness of the Gospel events; that was the absolute condition of being an Apostle. The Church was an organic body of cohesion, the source of unity and authority, with Peter presiding because he was Divinely appointed. It would still be almost twenty-five years before the first of the Gospels would be written; hence those who isolate a single text from the Bible from this Apostolic tradition, or study it apart from it, are living and thinking in a vacuum. The Gospels need tradition as the lungs need air, and as the eyes light, and as the plants the earth! The Good Book was second, and not first. When finally the Gospels were written, they were the mere secretarial reports of what was already believed.

Pick up the Gospel of Luke, which was written sometime before the year 67, and read the opening lines: "For as much as many have taken hand to set forth in order, a narration of the things that have been accomplished among us: According as they have delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word: It seemed good to me also, having diligently attained to all things from the beginning, to write to thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mayest know the verity of those words in which thou hast been instructed" (Lk 1:1-4). Luke did not write to Theophilus to tell him something brand new about someone who died over thirty-four years before. Theophilus, like every other member of the Apostolic Church in the Roman Empire, already knew about the miracle of the loaves and fishes, about the Resurrection and the Virgin Birth. It is similar to this. If we pick up a history book that tells us that in 1914 World War I began, it does not create that belief in us, it

just confirms what we already know. So, too, the Gospels set down in a more systematic way what was already believed. If we had lived in the first twenty-five years of the Church, how would we have answered this question: "How can I know what I am to believe?" We could not have said, "I will look in the Bible." For there was no New Testament Bible then. We would have believed what the Apostolic Church was teaching, and, until the invention of printing, it would have been difficult for any of us to have made ourselves so-called infallible private interpreters of the book.

Never once did Our Lord tell these witnesses of His to write. He Himself wrote only once in His life, and that was on the sand. But He did tell them to preach in His name and to be witnesses to Him to the end of the earth, until the consummation of time. Hence those who take this or that text out of the Bible to prove something are isolating it from the historical atmosphere in which it arose and from the word of mouth that passed Christ's truth. If there are three persons in a room, there are also in it six legs and six arms—but they never create a problem because they are related to the physical organism. But if we found one arm outside the door, it would be a tremendous problem, because it is isolated from the organic whole. So it is with certain Christian truths that are isolated from the whole—for example, the doctrine of penance if it is isolated from Original Sin. It is only in the light of the circle of truth that the segments of the circle have a meaning.

When finally the Gospels were written, they recorded a tradition; they did not create it. It was already there. After a while men had decided to put in writing this living tradition and voice, which explains the beginning of the Gospel of Luke: "That thou mayest know the verity of those words in which thou hast been instructed." The Gospels did not start the Church; the Church started the Gospels. The Church did not come out of the Gospels; the Gospels came out of the Church.

The Church preceded the New Testament, not the New Testament the Church. First there was not a Constitution of the United States, and then Americans, who in the light of that Constitution decided to form a government and a nation. The Founding Fathers preceded the Foundation; so the Mystical Body of Christ preceded the reports written later by inspired secretaries. And incidentally, how do we know the Bible is inspired? It does not say so! Matthew does not conclude his Gospel saying: "Be sure to read Mark; he is inspired, too." Furthermore, the Bible is not a book. It is a collection of seventy-two books in all. It is worth opening a Bible to see if we have them all and have not been cheated. These widely scattered books cannot bear witness to their own inspiration. It is only by something outside the Bible that we know it is inspired. We will not go into that point now, but it is worth looking into.

When finally the Gospels were written, they did not prove what Christians believed, nor did they initiate that belief; they merely recorded in a systematic manner what they already knew. Men did not believe in the Crucifixion because the Gospels said there was a Crucifixion; they wrote down the story of the Crucifixion, because they already believed in it. The Church did not come to believe in the Virgin Birth because the Gospels tell us there is a Virgin Birth; it was because the living word of God in His Mystical Body already believed it that they set it down in the Gospels.

A second fact to be remembered is that this Mystical Body of Christ has a memory, as we have a memory. If our physical life extends back forty-five years, we can remember two world wars. We speak of them as a living witness, not from the books written but from having lived through them, and maybe through having fought in them. We may later on have read the books about these two world wars. Yet they are not the beginning of our knowledge but only a recalling or a deepening of what we already knew. In like manner, Our Lord is the Head of the new humanity, the new fellowship, or the spiritual organism that St. Paul calls His Mystical Body. To this Mystical Body Christ is associated, first in His Apostles, and then in all who believed in Him throughout the centuries. This Body, too, has a memory, reaching back to Christ. It knows that the Resurrection is true because she, the Church, was there. The cells of our body change every seven years, but we are the same personality. The cells of the Mystical Body, which we are, too, may change every fifty or sixty years; yet it is still Christ that lives in that Body.

The Church knows that Christ rose from the dead and that the Spirit descended on the Apostles on Pentecost because the Church was there from the beginning. The Church has a memory of over nineteen hundred years, and this memory is called tradition. The Apostles' Creed, which was an accepted formula in the Church around the year 100 and which summed up the Apostles' teaching, is as follows:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right Hand of God, the Father Almighty, from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Note the words "conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary." The truths expressed in the Creed were essential for entrance into the Church. Everyone who was baptized early into Christ's Mystical Body believed in each of these truths. The Virgin Birth was as much an accepted Truth as the Resurrection in the first Christian centuries.

There is not one single quotation of the Gospels in the Creed. The early members of the Church were recording the early Christian tradition, of which the Gospels were only the literary expression. There are also several volumes of writings from within the first hundred years of the life of Our Lord; for example, the writing of St. Clement, one of the successors of St. Peter, who wrote in the year 92; and also Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, one of the successors of John the Evangelist; and Irenaeus, who names the twelve bishops of Rome; and Ignatius of Antioch, who said that he wanted to be "ground like wheat between the jaws of lions to be a living bread for His Savior."

Many of these writers do not quote the Gospels. We have fifteen hundred lines from Clement, and yet only two texts of his are from the New Testament; he was recording the Christian beliefs, accepted by the witnesses of Christ. Polycarp quotes the Gospel only three times, for he lived on familiar terms with many who had seen Our Lord, and he wrote what he knew and had learned from the Apostles. Ignatius of Antioch (who lived within seventy years of the life of Our Lord) wrote: "Our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived of the Holy Spirit… and was truly born of a virgin."

There is a double evidence from which we can draw, to learn true Christian teaching: one is the revealed Word of God in the Scriptures—the other is the continuous teaching of the Church from the very beginning, that is, her living memory. Just as lawyers, in proving a point, use not only the bare statement of law but also the way the courts have understood and interpreted that law, so too, the Scriptures are not a dead letter but are living and breathing in the beautiful context of a spiritual fellowship.

In the year 108, there were still many living who had been boys when Our Lord was crucified—who as young men saw and conversed with the Apostles before they were martyred—and who, in scattered parts of the Roman Empire, were already familiar with the Christian tradition passed on through the Church. Some of the other Apostles were not martyred until later—John did not die until the year 100. Some of these early writers were closer to John and other Apostles than we are to World War I. And this much is certain: if the Apostles, who lived with Our Lord and who heard Him speak on the open hills and in the temple—who listened to Him preach on the Kingdom of God forty days after His Resurrection—did not teach the Virgin Birth, no one else would have taught it. It was too unusual an idea for men to make up; it would have been ordinarily too difficult for acceptance if it had not come from Christ Himself!

The one man who might be most inclined to doubt the historical fact of the Virgin Birth on natural grounds (because he was a physician) was the second Evangelist, St. Luke. And yet he tells us the most about it. From the beginning Our Lord had many enemies. Certain aspects of His teaching were denied by heretics, but there was one teaching that no early heretic denied, and that was that He was born of a virgin. One would think that this should have been the doctrine first attacked, but the Virgin Birth was accepted by believers and early heretics alike. It would have been silly to try to convince anyone of the Virgin Birth if he did not already believe in the Divinity of Christ; that is why, probably, it would have been unwise for Mary to speak of it until after the Resurrection, although Joseph, Elizabeth, and probably John the Baptist already knew of it—and, need we say, the Son of God Himself, Who brought it all to pass.

"One-texters" say that the Bible speaks of Our Lord as having brethren; therefore, they conclude, He was not born of a virgin. But this claim can be answered. When a preacher in a pulpit addresses his congregation, "My dear brethren," it does not mean that everyone in the Church has the same mother. Secondly, the word "brother" is used in Sacred Scripture in the wide sense, to cover not only one's relatives but also one's friends; for example, Abraham calls Lot his brother: "Pray let us have no strife between us two, between my shepherds and thine; are we not brethren?" (Gen 13:8). But Lot was not his brother. Thirdly, several who are mentioned as brothers of Christ, such as James and Joseph, are indicated elsewhere as the sons of another Mary, the sister of the mother of Jesus and wife of Cleophas! "And meanwhile his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen,

had taken their stand beside the Cross of Jesus" (Jn 19:25). Fourthly, James, who is particularly mentioned as the brother of Jesus: "But I did not see any of the other apostles, except James, the Lord's brother" (Gal 1:19), is regularly named, in the enumeration of the Apostles, as the son of another father, Alphaeus (Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:15).

The so-called brethren of Our Lord are nowhere mentioned in the Scripture as the sons and daughters of Joseph and Mary. Our Blessed Lord Himself used the term "brethren" in a large sense. "For one is your Master; and all you are brethren" (Mt 23:8). "And stretching forth His hand towards His Disciples He said: 'Behold . . . my brethren'" (Mt 12:49). Nowhere in Scripture is it said that Joseph had begotten brothers and sisters of Jesus, as nowhere does it say that Mary had other children besides her Divine Son.

The Gospel of St. John assumes the Virgin Birth. We humans can be born twice: once of our parents and once of the Holy Spirit, given to us by Our Lord in Baptism. This is what Our Lord meant when He told the old man Nicodemus that he must be born again, the first birth being of the flesh, the second of the spirit. What makes us Christian is this second birth through Baptism. But notice how it relates to the virgin birth of Our Lord. St. John, in the beginning of his Gospel, says that Our Lord gave us the "power to become the Sons of God." Then he tells us that this happens by a birth. But he immediately distinguishes, saying that it is not like a human birth, because there is in it neither blood, nor sex, nor human will, but solely the power of God. This statement of St. John assumes a common knowledge of the Virgin Birth. But how could any Christian understand such a birth, if it had not already happened? No one who at the end of the first century read the beginning of the Gospel of St. John was amazed that he should speak of a new generation without sex. For by this time, the whole Christian world knew that that is how Christianity had come into being. The Virgin Birth is God's idea, not man's. No one would have thought of it, if it had never happened. Pagan religions have no idea of it; their myths are of the union of gods with women, who bore children following a sexual union. All the love stories of Zeus and the other gods were of this anthropomorphic character. Nothing could be further from the truth than to represent these births as "virgin births."

St. Paul also implies the virgin birth of Christ by the use of a different word for "birth." Speaking of the earthly origin of the Son of the God, he writes: "That Gospel, promised long ago by means of His prophets in the holy Scriptures, tells us of his Son, descended, in respect of his human birth, from the line of David, but, in respect of the sanctified spirit that was His, marked out miraculously as the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead; Our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 1:14). "Then God sent out his Son on a mission to us. He took birth from a woman, took birth as a subject of the law, so as to ransom those who were subject to the law, and make us sons by adoption" (Gal 4:4-5). "He dispossessed Himself, and took the nature of a slave, fashioned in the likeness of men, and presenting Himself to us in human form" (Phil 2:7). Whenever St. Paul describes the early incarnation of Our Lord, he never uses the ordinary word to describe birth, which word is used in every other New Testament passage: namely, the verb gennao. But in the four instances where he touches on the temporal beginnings of the Son of God, he uses an entirely different word, genemenos, which comes from an entirely different verb, ginomai.

Never once does he employ the word gennao of Our Lord and His Mother, the word meaning "to be born," which is used throughout the New Testament; but when he speaks of the coming of Our Lord, he uses a form of the verb ginomai which means "to come into existence," "to become." In one passage (Gal 4:23, 24, 29) he uses the verb "to be born" three times, to describe the birth of Ishmael and Jacob, but refuses to use it in the same chapter and context for the birth of Christ. The New Testament thirty-three times speaks of the birth of a child, and in each instance uses the word gennao, but it is never once used by St. Paul to describe the birth of Christ. St. Paul absolutely avoids saying Our Lord was born in the usual way. Our Lord was born into the human family; He was not born of it. God formed Adam, the first man, without the seed of a man, so why should we shrink from the thought that the new Adam would also be formed without the seed of a man? As Adam was made of the earth, into which God breathed a living soul, so the body of Christ was formed in the flesh of Mary by the Holy Spirit. So firmly rooted was the Virgin Birth in Christian tradition that none of the early apologists ever had to defend the Virgin Birth. It was believed in even by heretics, as surely as the Crucifixion, because it stood on the same footing as a historical fact.

There are two birth stories in the Gospel: those of Jesus and of John the Baptist. But notice the different stress in each story. The Gospel story of John the Baptist centers on the father, Zachary. The Gospel story of the birth of Jesus centers on the mother, Mary. In each instance, there were difficulties from the scientific point of view. Zachary was an old man, and his wife had long since passed the age of bearing children. "And Zachary said to the angel: 'By what sign am I to be assured of this? I am an old man now, and my wife is far advanced in age'" (Lk 1:18). "But Mary said to the angel, 'How can that be, since I have no knowledge of man?'" (Lk 1:34). Mary was a virgin with the vow of virginity. The power of God had to operate in both cases, with Zachary doubting, and Mary accepting. For his doubt, Zachary was made dumb for a time.

No one ever makes a fuss against Zachary and Elizabeth bearing "the greatest man ever born of woman," but some do fuss about the Virgin Birth. This is not because of the human difficulties, for to God these are surmountable. The real reason for incredulity is that the attack on the Virgin Birth is a subtle attack on the Divinity of Christ. He who believes that Our Lord is true God and true man never is troubled with the Virgin Birth.


TOPICS: Catholic
KEYWORDS: bishopsheen; sourcetitlenoturl; virginbirth
Before adducing our evidence, it is important to realize that the Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, does not derive her belief from the Scriptures alone. This will come as a surprise to those who, whenever they hear of a particular Christian teaching, ask: "Is it in the Bible?" The Church was spread throughout the entire Roman Empire before a single book of the New Testament was written. There were already many martyrs in the Church before there were either Gospels or Epistles. An authoritative and recognized ministry was carrying on the Lord's work at His command, speaking in His name as witnesses of what they had seen, before anyone decided to write a single line of the New Testament.
1 posted on 09/21/2009 4:50:40 PM PDT by stfassisi
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To: Religion Moderator

Please remove the first thread I started where the paragraphs did not transfer


2 posted on 09/21/2009 4:52:35 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: AveMaria1; Friar Roderic Mary; fr maximilian mary; Kolokotronis; Carolina; sandyeggo; Salvation; ...
When finally the Gospels were written, they recorded a tradition; they did not create it. It was already there. After a while men had decided to put in writing this living tradition and voice, which explains the beginning of the Gospel of Luke: "That thou mayest know the verity of those words in which thou hast been instructed." The Gospels did not start the Church; the Church started the Gospels. The Church did not come out of the Gospels; the Gospels came out of the Church.

The Church preceded the New Testament, not the New Testament the Church. First there was not a Constitution of the United States, and then Americans, who in the light of that Constitution decided to form a government and a nation. The Founding Fathers preceded the Foundation; so the Mystical Body of Christ preceded the reports written later by inspired secretaries. And incidentally, how do we know the Bible is inspired? It does not say so! Matthew does not conclude his Gospel saying: "Be sure to read Mark; he is inspired, too." Furthermore, the Bible is not a book. It is a collection of seventy-two books in all. It is worth opening a Bible to see if we have them all and have not been cheated. These widely scattered books cannot bear witness to their own inspiration. It is only by something outside the Bible that we know it is inspired. We will not go into that point now, but it is worth looking into.

3 posted on 09/21/2009 4:54:48 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: stfassisi

Isaiah 7:14, so 700+ years before Christ or the Apostles walked the earth.

Not hard!


4 posted on 09/21/2009 5:04:34 PM PDT by ROTB ("By any means necessary" apparently includes helping pimp underage sex slaves, and serial lying.)
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To: ROTB

That was the prophecy and not the actual fulfillment that was witnessed by the Church. It’s important that you pointed that out though ,dear friend.

We can also use the typology to give credibility too.

Like this ...

There was a virgin, Gen 2:22-25 = There is a virgin, Luke 1:27-34

Shows the parralles to Mary as the New Eve coupled with the writings of the early church Fathers.

Such as....

“He became man by the Virgin, in order that the disobedience which proceeded from the serpent might receive its destruction in the same manner in which it derived its origin. For Eve, who was a virgin and undefiled, having conceived the word of the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy, when the angel Gabriel announced the good tidings to her that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her, and the power of the Highest would overshadow her: wherefore also the Holy Thing begotten of her is the Son of God; and she replied, ‘Be it unto me according to thy word.’ And by her has He been born, to whom we have proved so many Scriptures refer, and by whom God destroys both the serpent and those angels and men who are like him; but works deliverance from death to those who repent of their wickedness and believe upon Him.” Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 100 (A.D. 155)


5 posted on 09/21/2009 5:12:02 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: stfassisi

The second Gabriel said, “You will be with child by the Holy Spirit...” (maddie10 paraphrase)


6 posted on 09/21/2009 5:12:25 PM PDT by madison10
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To: stfassisi
how do we know the Bible is inspired? It does not say so!

"All Scripture is inspired by God..." 2 Tim 3:16

"inspired" = theopneustos = God+breathed

7 posted on 09/21/2009 5:23:02 PM PDT by LiteKeeper (When do the impeachment proceedings begin?)
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To: LiteKeeper

“All Scripture is inspired by God...” 2 Tim 3:16

You only believe this because the Catholic Church gave you New Testament Canon.Thus you trust the Catholic Church that all scripture is inspired


8 posted on 09/21/2009 5:40:39 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: stfassisi
Never once did Our Lord tell these witnesses of His to write. He Himself wrote only once in His life, and that was on the sand. But He did tell them to preach in His name and to be witnesses to Him to the end of the earth, until the consummation of time.

Um, this claim is based entirely on the written narrative of the Bible. Kind of circular, really. We have no way of knowing if he ever wrote notes or messages to his mother or family or to the apostles. We can only know what was recorded, not what was not recorded.

9 posted on 09/21/2009 5:46:12 PM PDT by Valpal1 (Always be prepared to make that difference.)
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To: stfassisi; LiteKeeper
“All Scripture is inspired by God...” 2 Tim 3:16

You only believe this because the Catholic Church gave you New Testament Canon.Thus you trust the Catholic Church that all scripture is inspired

Not me, my friend.

My belief in the Virgin Birth is soley the result of the Bible, and the fact that when I believed the Gospel, God saved my soul, forgave me my sins, and most importantly, changed my heart in effect making it meet the criteria stated elsewhere, that old things have passed away, and all things have become new.

So since God kept his word about saving me when I believed him, that is all I need to know that the Bible is the Word of God, and by extension, what is says about the virgin birth, is God's truth.
10 posted on 09/21/2009 5:47:45 PM PDT by SoConPubbie
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To: Valpal1
Um, this claim is based entirely on the written narrative of the Bible. Kind of circular, really. We have no way of knowing if he ever wrote notes or messages to his mother or family or to the apostles. We can only know what was recorded, not what was not recorded.

Except that the narrative was passed from one generation of believers to the next. First from those who had witnessed the event, and then to those who chose to believe the Gospel and let God change their hearts and minds thereby proving the validity of the Gospel as written by the first witnesses and so on and so forth.

There is no circular logic when you take this into account.
11 posted on 09/21/2009 5:50:05 PM PDT by SoConPubbie
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To: Valpal1

You need to thank the Catholic Church for what was recorded and canonized -without the Church there would not be a Canonized Bible. What is recorded and canonized is there because it lines up with tradition of what was taught in Catholicism


12 posted on 09/21/2009 5:50:28 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: SoConPubbie

“”My belief in the Virgin Birth is soley the result of the Bible, and the fact that when I believed the Gospel, God saved my soul, forgave me my sins, and most importantly, changed my heart in effect making it meet the criteria stated elsewhere, that old things have passed away, and all things have become new.””

That’s a great testimony.dear friend,but without the Catholic Church you would not have the Bible.

Think about all the Christians who believed in Christ and were saved before the Bible,they did so by word of mouth and tradition.

Even when there was a Canonized Bible it was read in the Catholic Church because Scripture was never given to individuals. Did God hand out scrolls to everyone? No, God gave His Word to particular men and women, who shared it with the community at large. This was written down and shared with the future communities. The Bible is NOT EVER shown as something given to each individual of the community. If you want to follow how the early Church did things, then you ARE to comply with the leaders of the community.


13 posted on 09/21/2009 6:01:10 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: SoConPubbie
BTW,
You have a marvelous homepage. I never realized Mc Cain was that corrupted.

It makes me wonder if he was planted by the communists

14 posted on 09/21/2009 6:07:31 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: stfassisi

Before the Birth of Christ, to answer your question


15 posted on 09/21/2009 6:38:01 PM PDT by JSDude1 (www.wethepeopleindiana.org (Tea Party Member-Proud), www.travishankins.com (R- IN 09 2010!))
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To: stfassisi

So what is your point?

Of course the Virgin Birth of our Lord Jesus, as a fact, preceded the church and preceded the writing of the “New Testament” of scripture.

And, of course, the first Christians, the earliest Church, preceded in history the writing down of this “New Testament” part of our Bible.

We who were born centuries after these events have no other way to know of the Virgin Birth, or of His death on the cross, or of his Resurrection and Ascension - except by the Scriptures.

Isn’t it wonderful that God has deemed it fit to transmit His truth in the written Word of God just as He deemed it fit to come to this earth, as the Son of God, sent to redeem lost sinners - He the LOGOS of God - the LIVING Word of God - the expression of God!

How marvelous and wonderful are His ways!


16 posted on 09/21/2009 6:46:51 PM PDT by Freedom'sWorthIt (Obama's Deathcare ---- many will suffer and/or die unnecessarily.)
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To: stfassisi
The Bible is NOT EVER shown as something given to each individual of the community. If you want to follow how the early Church did things, then you ARE to comply with the leaders of the community.

While I have not argument with your statement that the Bible is here because of the Catholic Church, I do take umbrage at your statement "then you ARE to comply with the leaders of the community".

God is gracious, righteous, omnipotent, and merciful, and if the Catholic Church had failed, God would have still found a way to get his Word into the hands of the common man.

Jesus came to give salvation directly to the individual, with or without a priest, pastor, or Pope.
17 posted on 09/21/2009 6:49:45 PM PDT by SoConPubbie
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To: stfassisi
Please clarify your use of "Catholic Church". Do you mean the "Universal (meaning of the word catholic)" Church of all believers in Jesus Christ or just the "Roman Catholic" Church? This is a very important distinction since the church of Rome did not set herself up as the "one true church" until nearly 400 years after Christ. Eastern Orthodox churches still do not recognize Rome as such. The church, or called-out assembly (ecclesia), is the body of believers in Christ and not a specific religious affiliation.

God, who, I'm POSITIVE inspired scripture, also ensured it would be kept and preserved for eternity. He used his human children to do so.

Matthew 24:35 (New International Version) 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

18 posted on 09/21/2009 6:56:53 PM PDT by boatbums (Not everything faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed unless it is faced.)
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To: SoConPubbie

Nope, it’s still illogical. That particular statement jumped out at me. The writer categorically states that Jesus wrote only once in his life. The writer has no way of knowing this with any degree of certainty. The bible records only this one instance but does not state this is the one and only time Jesus ever wrote anything.

The fact that He wrote in the sand means He knew how to write, which means He must have practiced the skill while learning it, so the event recorded was logically NOT the only time He ever wrote anything.

We can only know what was recorded, not what was not recorded.


19 posted on 09/21/2009 6:57:11 PM PDT by Valpal1 (Always be prepared to make that difference.)
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To: Freedom'sWorthIt
So what is your point?

God is not a pluralist.He founded a Church,not many churches and many interpretations of the Bible that came 300 plus years after Christ died.

Once you know this you're going to be faced with a decision to either ignore this and follow your own ideas or follow the Church that gave you the Bible

20 posted on 09/21/2009 7:01:17 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: stfassisi

You are joking, aren’t you? God gave us His word, through men of old. The Church came after the inspiration, not before.


21 posted on 09/21/2009 7:05:05 PM PDT by LiteKeeper (When do the impeachment proceedings begin?)
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To: stfassisi

Absolutely not. Sorry. As a follower of Jesus Christ, it is HE, the living Word, whom I follow. And when I follow Him in the pages of Scripture, He leads me, oh blessed thought - by His Holy Spirit.

The Church is His body on this earth but is NOT my “dictator”. The Lord Jesus is my one and only King of Kings and Lord of Lords and His Word, Holy Scripture, is the ONLY authority to which I must bow.

Sola Scriptura


22 posted on 09/21/2009 7:06:17 PM PDT by Freedom'sWorthIt (Obama's Deathcare ---- many will suffer and/or die unnecessarily.)
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To: boatbums
Please clarify your use of "Catholic Church". Do you mean the "Universal (meaning of the word catholic)"

It means "universal" and it does not resemble anything protestant that was NOT borrowed from Catholicism first,dear friend

God, who, I'm POSITIVE inspired scripture

Imagine yourself in a court of law trying to prove that scripture is from God without any original autographs.

You would be laughed out of court

The only chance you would have is from the witnesses of the Catholic Church who says the Scriptures are from God,not from some protestant denominations 1500 plus years after

23 posted on 09/21/2009 7:09:36 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: stfassisi
The virgin birth of the Messiah was prophesied way before Jesus was born and I know of no major Christian affiliation that denies it. It is a major tenet of the Christian faith. Now if you are speaking to “Mary” as being virgin born (to somehow prove she was sinless) or Mary remaining a virgin for the rest of her life, there is no Scriptural backing for that and only traditions of the Roman Catholic Church.

If a church's traditions contradict Scripture, I have to side with Scripture as being the authority.

24 posted on 09/21/2009 7:09:52 PM PDT by boatbums (Not everything faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed unless it is faced.)
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To: stfassisi
It means "universal" and it does not resemble anything protestant that was NOT borrowed from Catholicism first,dear friend

So, I can assume, that when you use the term Catholic Church in your posts, you DO mean the Roman Catholic Church specifically?

So therefore, you believe, the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church that ever existed and ever will exist and any other faith that calls itself Christian is heresy? Just to be clear.

25 posted on 09/21/2009 7:19:16 PM PDT by boatbums (Not everything faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed unless it is faced.)
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To: SoConPubbie
God is gracious, righteous, omnipotent, and merciful, and if the Catholic Church had failed

You're correct that God is gracious,omnipotent, and merciful,dear friend,but He could not create a church that failed and the ONLY church that is still standing since our Blessed Lord was crucified is the Catholic Church as our Lord has promised

26 posted on 09/21/2009 7:20:28 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: boatbums
“”So, I can assume, that when you use the term Catholic Church in your posts, you DO mean the Roman Catholic Church””

They are one in the same

Here is a good explanation ,dear friend..

How Did the Catholic Church Get Her Name?
http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/churb3.htm
by Kenneth D. Whitehead

Excerpt;

The Creed which we recite on Sundays and holy days speaks of one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. As everybody knows, however, the Church referred to in this Creed is more commonly called just the Catholic Church. It is not, by the way, properly called the Roman Catholic Church, but simply the Catholic Church.

The term Roman Catholic is not used by the Church herself; it is a relatively modern term, and one, moreover, that is confined largely to the English language. The English-speaking bishops at the First Vatican Council in 1870, in fact, conducted a vigorous and successful campaign to insure that the term Roman Catholic was nowhere included in any of the Council's official documents about the Church herself, and the term was not included.

Similarly, nowhere in the 16 documents of the Second Vatican Council will you find the term Roman Catholic. Pope Paul VI signed all the documents of the Second Vatican Council as “I, Paul. Bishop of the Catholic Church.” Simply that — Catholic Church. There are references to the Roman curia, the Roman missal, the Roman rite, etc., but when the adjective Roman is applied to the Church herself, it refers to the Diocese of Rome!

Cardinals, for example, are called cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, but that designation means that when they are named to be cardinals they have thereby become honorary clergy of the Holy Father's home diocese, the Diocese of Rome. Each cardinal is given a titular church in Rome, and when the cardinals participate in the election of a new pope. they are participating in a process that in ancient times was carried out by the clergy of the Diocese of Rome.

Although the Diocese of Rome is central to the Catholic Church, this does not mean that the Roman rite, or, as is sometimes said, the Latin rite, is co-terminus with the Church as a whole; that would mean neglecting the Byzantine, Chaldean, Maronite or other Oriental rites which are all very much part of the Catholic Church today, as in the past.

In our day, much greater emphasis has been given to these “non-Roman” rites of the Catholic Church. The Second Vatican Council devoted a special document, Orientalium Ecclesiarum (Decree on Eastern Catholic Churches), to the Eastern rites which belong to the Catholic Church, and the new Catechism of the Catholic Church similarly gives considerable attention to the distinctive traditions and spirituality of these Eastern rites.

So the proper name for the universal Church is not the Roman Catholic Church. Far from it. That term caught on mostly in English-speaking countries; it was promoted mostly by Anglicans, supporters of the “branch theory” of the Church, namely, that the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the creed was supposed to consist of three major branches, the Anglican, the Orthodox and the so-called Roman Catholic. It was to avoid that kind of interpretation that the English-speaking bishops at Vatican I succeeded in warning the Church away from ever using the term officially herself: It too easily could be misunderstood.

Today in an era of widespread dissent in the Church, and of equally widespread confusion regarding what authentic Catholic identity is supposed to consist of, many loyal Catholics have recently taken to using the term Roman Catholic in order to affirm their understanding that the Catholic Church of the Sunday creed is the same Church that is united with the Vicar of Christ in Rome, the Pope. This understanding of theirs is correct, but such Catholics should nevertheless beware of using the term, not only because of its dubious origins in Anglican circles intending to suggest that there just might be some other Catholic Church around somewhere besides the Roman one: but also because it often still is used today to suggest that the Roman Catholic Church is something other and lesser than the Catholic Church of the creed. It is commonly used by some dissenting theologians, for example, who appear to be attempting to categorize the Roman Catholic Church as just another contemporary “Christian denomination”—not the body that is identical with the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of the creed.

The proper name of the Church, then, is the Catholic Church. It is not ever called “the Christian Church,” either. Although the prestigious Oxford University Press currently publishes a learned and rather useful reference book called “The Oxford Book of the Christian Church,” the fact is that there has never been a major entity in history called by that name; the Oxford University Press has adopted a misnomer, for the Church of Christ has never been called the Christian Church.

There is, of course, a Protestant denomination in the United States which does call itself by that name, but that particular denomination is hardly what the Oxford University Press had in mind when assigning to its reference book the title that it did. The assignment of the title in question appears to have been one more method, of which there have been so many down through history, of declining to admit that there is, in fact, one—and only one—entity existing in the world today to which the designation “the Catholic Church” in the Creed might possibly apply.

The entity in question, of course, is just that: the very visible, worldwide Catholic Church, in which the 263rd successor of the Apostle Peter, Pope John Paul II, teaches, governs and sanctifies, along with some 3,000 other bishops around the world, who are successors of the apostles of Jesus Christ.

As mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, it is true that the followers of Christ early became known as “Christians” (cf. Acts 11:26). The name Christian, however, was never commonly applied to the Church herself. In the New Testament itself, the Church is simply called “the Church.” There was only one. In that early time there were not yet any break-away bodies substantial enough to be rival claimants of the name and from which the Church might ever have to distinguish herself.

Very early in post-apostolic times, however. the Church did acquire a proper name—and precisely in order to distinguish herself from rival bodies which by then were already beginning to form. The name that the Church acquired when it became necessary for her to have a proper name was the name by which she has been known ever since-the Catholic Church.

The name appears in Christian literature for the first time around the end of the first century. By the time it was written down, it had certainly already been in use, for the indications are that everybody understood exactly what was meant by the name when it was written.

Around the year A.D. 107, a bishop, St. Ignatius of Antioch in the Near East, was arrested, brought to Rome by armed guards and eventually martyred there in the arena. In a farewell letter which this early bishop and martyr wrote to his fellow Christians in Smyrna (today Izmir in modern Turkey), he made the first written mention in history of “the Catholic Church.” He wrote, “Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church” (To the Smyrnaeans 8:2). Thus, the second century of Christianity had scarcely begun when the name of the Catholic Church was already in use.

Thereafter, mention of the name became more and more frequent in the written record. It appears in the oldest written account we possess outside the New Testament of the martyrdom of a Christian for his faith, the “Martyrdom of St. Polycarp,” bishop of the same Church of Smyrna to which St. Ignatius of Antioch had written. St. Polycarp was martyred around 155, and the account of his sufferings dates back to that time. The narrator informs us that in his final prayers before giving up his life for Christ, St. Polycarp “remembered all who had met with him at any time, both small and great, both those with and those without renown, and the whole Catholic Church throughout the world.”

We know that St. Polycarp, at the time of his death in 155, had been a Christian for 86 years. He could not, therefore, have been born much later than 69 or 70. Yet it appears to have been a normal part of the vocabulary of a man of this era to be able to speak of “the whole Catholic Church throughout the world.”

The name had caught on, and no doubt for good reasons.

The term “catholic” simply means “universal,” and when employing it in those early days, St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Polycarp of Smyrna were referring to the Church that was already “everywhere,” as distinguished from whatever sects, schisms or splinter groups might have grown up here and there, in opposition to the Catholic Church.

27 posted on 09/21/2009 7:25:40 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: stfassisi

How Did the Catholic Church Get Her Name?”

The Catholic church is a woman?


28 posted on 09/21/2009 7:46:04 PM PDT by philetus (Keep doing what you always do and you'll keep getting what you always get.)
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To: philetus
Here is a good explanation,dear friend. There is a lot of typology on this ,but It;s getting late and I need to sleep

My Mother-—The Church
http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/churc2.htm

The Word became Incarnate in the womb of Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit. This Divine Mystery is constantly reenacted as the Eternal Word is mirrored more and more perfectly in the Bride of Christ as she gives Jesus to her children in the Eucharist, heals their wounds in Confession, ennobles their love through the Sacrament of Marriage, makes mere men priests of God through Ordination and sons of God in Baptism, enriches them with gifts in Confirmation and then lightens their burden on their journey home through Anointing.

The Church is a Mother because she is a Bride who is forever bringing forth children of light, pillars of holiness, sources of inspiration, challengers of truth, and defenders of the Faith.

Yes, she has structures, laws, treasures, authority and human frailties mixed with Divine power, but we must look at the whole Church and not just part of her. What son of an earthly mother tells his friends that his mother is nothing but an ugly skeleton covered over with muscle and skin? What kind of son picks apart every fault and weakness in his mother and broadcasts it to everyone willing to listen? A child who concentrates only on the authority a mother has to correct and punish and refuses to see the deep love and concern behind the reproaches, leads an unbalanced existence a life of self-pity and childish peeves.

It is difficult to understand a child who criticizes the art treasures of his parents while partaking of the beauty of those treasures whenever he pleases. This would be especially true if those treasures were available for the poorest of the poor to see and enjoy. Would he be happier if all the treasures in the Church were sold to private collectors and hidden forever from the eyes of the poor? It is amazing how our human nature manages to concoct such tailor-made excuses to cover our antipathies for the Church. Many children hate their parents because they are corrected and directed by them and so it is with Holy Mother Church. When she speaks about the necessity for high morals, deep faith and self-control, human nature rebels and she becomes the mean step-mother the domineering parent, the epitome of archaic ideals. Then it is that foolproof reasons are created to explain their rebellion and make them feel justified. The garments of love, loyalty and humility are replaced with the hard steel of pride and the acid ice of arrogance. No gentle persuasion can penetrate this coat of steel, for these misguided people mistake themselves for knights in shining armor, championing the cause of the misunderstood and misrepresented.

A true child of this God-given Mother is not one who is blind to her faults, weaknesses and wounds, but one who is discerning enough to see her need for improvement for healing for greater zeal and for generosity; loving enough to see her virtues, grace, truth and power and zealous enough to do something positive to help rather than something negative to destroy.

We pride ourselves on building up those in despair, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and giving a cup of cold water to the thirsty. Why do we not render these same services to the Church? Does she not desire that her children thirst for the living water of holiness? Does she not look for her children to bear the fruits of the Spirit? Does she not feel the nakedness of her children as they are despoiled of Faith, Hope and Love by the spirit of this world? Does she not longingly wait for those who have left to return to the Father's house? Is her heart not broken as she sees so many of her children exposing their souls to the danger of hell? What anguish tears at her heart as so many refuse the healing balm of Confession or the angelic food of the Eucharist?

What madness possesses our minds and souls, blinds our senses, and hardens our hearts toward so good a Mother? We pride ourselves on our maturity, freedom and intelligence and then proceed to act like spoiled children who have been refused the privilege of playing with fire. We use our souls and our future like a game of Russian Roulette —pulling every trigger of presumption, pride and arrogance to see what happens! Unfortunately, like those who play the game, there is no turning back if one loses.

* * * * *

“So I now say to you: you are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.” (Matt. 16;18) Jesus had just asked the apostles who men thought He was. It was a good question and we see Jesus listening for their answer. It was Simon who said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus responded quickly. He told all the apostles that the Father had revealed this secret to Simon and then for the first time in history, an ordinary everyday word that meant “rock” became a name - Peter. Jesus promised us that this Church would last till the end of time and all hell would not prevail against it. The Church was then as it is now, an assembly of faithful followers of Jesus as Lord. As Jesus appointed Peter head, the other apostles looked to him from that moment as the one who had the responsibility of this assembly of people the Church. It was Peter whom Jesus asked to feed His sheep and lambs Peter who was given the keys of the kingdom to bind and loose, Peter who boldly preached to the crowds on Pentecost, Peter who punished Ananias and Sapphira for their deceit, Peter who made the final decision as to circumcision, Peter whom Paul sought out to assure himself that what he taught was correct.

There was a special deference for Peter among the apostles and we see this at the Resurrection. John was much younger than Peter. He arrived at the tomb before him, but waited — waited until Peter arrived and entered first. This deference is even more pronounced when we consider Peter had denied Jesus, had fallen deeply on a personal level. His human weaknesses had, for a fearful moment overtaken him and he was less than a leader should be. John, however, saw something in Peter that human weakness could not diminish and that was authority. That authority was given by the Father and only the Father could take it away. Peter's personal faults were something between him and God, but at that moment John saw the Vicar of Christ and only that Vicar would go into the tomb to assure himself and all ages after him that the Christ had truly risen.

As it was then, so it is now it is the prerogative of his successor to pronounce other mysteries of God to the people in order to assure that assembly of the truths God reveals.

After the Resurrection Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, the holy women and the disciples going to Emmaus, but the credibility gap disappeared only when the disciples heard the eleven assembled together declare, “Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Peter.” (Luke 24:34) The greatest mystery of Faith in the Christian religion was declared by the Eleven with Peter as their leader. Peter, who had special light from the Father to declare the Messiahship of Jesus, declared the Resurrection of Jesus because he had seen Him. There was no question about Peter's special gifts from God. He was set aside to declare the mysteries of God and the will of God to the assembly. This was a gift from the Father to Peter and was not dependent upon Peter's holiness, personality, temperament or character. He had his weakness, but when He spoke as one with special authority—it was the Lord speaking.

When Ananias and Sapphira lied to Peter about their sale of property, Peter said to them, “How can Satan have so possessed you that you should lie to the Holy Spirit...IT is not to men that you have lied but to God.”(Acts. 5:3,4) A strange statement from a man who just recently committed a greater sin by denying he knew Jesus. Was the one who was forgiven much unable to forgive or understand a moment of weakness? Or was it that Peter was not speaking as a man, but as Peter the Rock -the Leader? In that capacity he was the Vicar of Christ. In this light then Peter could rightly say that Ananias lied to the Spirit. Yes, we must ask ourselves the question, “Do those who hate the Church know they are only hating themselves, for the Church is the Assembly of people and they are part of the human race - the soul of the Church? In hating the Vicar of Christ do they not mock the spirit of Christ as He guides His people?

29 posted on 09/21/2009 8:22:55 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: stfassisi

Those who reject the Virgin Birth do so not because it is miraculous but because they reject Jesus as the Christ. For if he is who the Church says He is, then the manner of his birth is something minor. But they reject the Resurrection. They are left with explaining away the impact that he has had on history and continues to have. That is, because his Body, the Church, will not die despite all the would inflicted on it.


30 posted on 09/21/2009 8:41:37 PM PDT by RobbyS (ECCE HOMO!)
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To: stfassisi
Even when there was a Canonized Bible it was read in the Catholic Church because Scripture was never given to individuals. Did God hand out scrolls to everyone? No, God gave His Word to particular men and women, who shared it with the community at large. This was written down and shared with the future communities. The Bible is NOT EVER shown as something given to each individual of the community. If you want to follow how the early Church did things, then you ARE to comply with the leaders of the community.

That is (more) complete nonsense...

The Levites were chosen by God to be the copiers and caretakers of the OT scriptures...(That's one of the reasons why your mythical Septuagint is just that...It was NOT written by Levites...)

The NT was written on very fragile material but yet, 2000 years later, there are thousands upon thousands of manuscripts, whole and in part that survived...And these are the vast majority of manuscripts extant that agree with each other over 95% of the time...And they don't belong to your church...

History shows that your church has destroyed these manuscripts whenever it could get it's hands on them...

No, God gave His Word to particular men and women, who shared it with the community at large.

You're making this up...

31 posted on 09/22/2009 9:48:13 AM PDT by Iscool (I don't understand all that I know...)
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To: stfassisi
Never once did Our Lord tell these witnesses of His to write. He Himself wrote only once in His life, and that was on the sand.

Does the author seriously believe this?

32 posted on 09/22/2009 9:51:26 AM PDT by FTJM
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To: stfassisi
Hyam Maccoby, Revolution In Judaea: Jesus and The Jewish Resistance
33 posted on 09/22/2009 7:54:44 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: Iscool

Dear brother ,you ought to spend your time doing something other than guessing at Christian history.

Pray for an hour each day....you will find more truth in that rather than posting here on free republic and believing God is leading you to lie about history.

I have told you many,many times not to post me again


34 posted on 09/23/2009 5:37:17 PM PDT by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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To: stfassisi
Dear brother ,you ought to spend your time doing something other than guessing at Christian history.

Fortunately, there is church history that is NOT Catholic church history...And it doesn't agree much with Catholic history...

35 posted on 09/24/2009 5:17:09 AM PDT by Iscool (I don't understand all that I know...)
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