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Similarity #1: Both the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic Churches Adhere to Holy Tradition
Vivificat - From Contemplation to Action ^ | 24 August 2012 | Te骹ilo de Jes鷖

Posted on 08/24/2012 5:28:22 PM PDT by Te骹ilo

Brothers and Sisters: Peace be with you!

The first similarity between the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches I wish to explore is the commitment that both Churches have to receive, transmit, and revere Tradition as the all-encompassing vessel in which the Church hands down God’s Word, in writing and orally, to every generation of Christian believers.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council had much to say about the relationship in the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation - Dei Verbum. This is just one of the things they said:

10. Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 2, 42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort.

Later, the Catechism of the Catholic Church enshrined the teaching of the Council Fathers regarding Tradition as follows:

76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:

- orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";

- in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".

. . continued in apostolic succession

77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority."35 Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes."37 "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."

Similarly, Eastern Orthodox doctrinal sources emphasize the reality, character, and purpose of Holy Tradition:

Q. What is Holy Tradition, and is it absolutely essential to faith?

A. Holy Tradition consists of those things which Christ delivered to his Apostles and which they transmitted to their successors orally. It is absolutely essential to faith, because it is the source of the Holy Scripture and we cannot understand all of the Holy Scripture correctly without the help of Holy Tradition. Since the Protestant Churches reject Holy Tradition, they have no authoritative judge for the explanation of Holy Scripture. Each has his own opinion, and on this account they differ among themselves, although they have the same name, Protestant. And they will continue to be subdivided in the future as long as they do not restore Holy Tradition to its proper place in the Church. (CA)

There is also this handy definition:

Holy Tradition is the deposit of faith given by Jesus Christ to the Apostles and passed on in the Church from one generation to the next without addition, alteration or subtraction. Vladimir Lossky has famously described the Tradition as "the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church." It is dynamic in application, yet unchanging in dogma. It is growing in expression, yet ever the same in essence. (OW)

And this one from Russian Orthodox sources:

17. What is meant by the name holy tradition?

By the name holy tradition is meant the doctrine of the faith, the law of God, the sacraments, and the ritual as handed down by the true believers and worshipers of God by word and example from one to another, and from generation to generation. (PD)

Convergences and Contrasts

The similarities are striking: authorities from both Churches affirm the objective reality of Tradition as a “deposit of revelation” forming a unity, yet transmitted flowing through two channels which converge in the end. Authorities from both Churches also understand that Revelation is not exclusively contained in Scripture alone, and that the living transmission of God’s Word in action and liturgy, as well as the understanding of the Fathers (and Doctors) of the Church constitute a fundamental and necessary means for the understanding of the written Word and its application to different times and places.

Both Churches also receive an “interpretative” Tradition from the first seven Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church, as well as “the form” of the Liturgy, and with the exception of one (pesky, little, but oh so divisive!) word, the same Creed is proclaimed in the liturgies of both Communions.

Although the Churches have common views on the nature of Tradition, they hold different views about the identity of the custodians and authentic interpreters of Tradition/Revelation. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council expressed the normative Catholic view in the aforementioned Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation - Dei Verbum:

10b. But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, (8) has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, (9) whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.

It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God's most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.

Orthodox Church authorities wince on the intimate connection between Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church, preferring to see the entire Church, and not only the bishops, as the custodians of Tradition:

18. Is there any sure repository of holy tradition?

All true believers united by the holy tradition of the faith, collectively and successively, by the will of God, compose the Church; and she is the sure repository of holy tradition, or, as St. Paul expresses it, The Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Tim. iii. 15. (PD)

Orthodox Christians believe that by making the entire Church the custodian of Tradition, a system of “checks and balances” – although they don’t use that phrase – exist to check any misuse by bishops of their teaching office that would go beyond that which the Church has received and the Fathers explained. As a consequence, the Orthodox Church is adverse at the Catholic notion of development of doctrine as described by Cardinal Newman in his classic essay of the same name:

Unlike many conceptions of tradition in popular understanding, the Orthodox Church does not regard Holy Tradition as something which grows and expands over time, forming a collection of practices and doctrines which accrue, gradually becoming something more developed and eventually unrecognizable to the first Christians. Rather, Holy Tradition is that same faith which Christ taught to the Apostles and which they gave to their disciples, preserved in the whole Church and especially in its leadership through Apostolic Succession. (OW)

Incidentally, note how the author of the above quote from the Orthodox Wiki article on Tradition assigns a more active role to the hierarchy in the transmission of Revelation. Nevertheless, this other quote also expresses the Orthodox reluctance to consider dogmatic development:

Q. Which Church is right with regard to the sources of the Catechism?

A. The Orthodox and the Anglican, whereas others are in error, because no one has the right to change the dogmas which Christ gave to us, either to add to them or to subtract from them, or to pervert them; since, if we are sufficient of ourselves to find out what the dogmas are, and which are needed for our salvation, the Incarnation of Christ would have been superfluous. (CD)

Notice that when Father Demetry composed this catechism, the Orthodox Church and the Church of England where closer to each other than with the Catholic Church, something no longer true today.

Criticisms

Although, as we have seen, both Churches hold to an understanding of Tradition that is essentially the same and in generally agree as to the means of its transmission, the Churches differ on one significant point regarding how interpretative Tradition is preserved and handed down. Orthodox Christians would say that the formulation of interpretative Tradition occurred during the Age of the Fathers of the Church and that no further interpretative development binding upon the Church is possible after that age. The task of the bishops, those in holy orders, monastics, and lay people are to hand down this patrimony without deviation, and to hold other likely theological explanations of faith and morals not contained in Tradition as theologumena or non-binding theological hypotheses.

However, the Catholic Church teaches that authoritative doctrinal development is not only possible, but also necessary, as the Church faces new situations never before contemplated by the Apostles or the Fathers, and that this authority resides within the Successor of Peter in the Roman See, and in the bishops in communion with him. Both positions are susceptible to measured criticism.

Criticism of the Eastern Orthodox Reception and Transmission of Tradition

The Orthodox fear that doctrinal development leads to a faith …eventually unrecognizable to the first Christians is legitimate, but their own adherence to this principle has been inconsistent from time to time. For example, the doctrine of the divine energies as taught by St. Gregory Palamas – in which he drew a difference between God’s essence and his energies – and as recognized by a number of synods in Constantinople between 1347 and 1351, to which many Orthodox ascribe ecumenical authority – at least for them.

Personally, I have nothing against St. Gregory’s teachings. The Catholic Church would hold them as theologumena because Catholic theologians have given scant attention to St. Gregory’s teachings, and although many Catholic theologians of the past have held these teachings in contempt, I don’t think this would be the case today.

My point is that if the test for doctrinal continuity in the Orthodox Church is that an emerging teaching must be also recognizable to early Christians, then St. Gregory’s doctrines regarding the distinction in God between his essence and energies would fail this test. For what I have been able to ascertain, early Jewish and Gentile Christians would not have recognized St. Gregory’s teachings as part of the Tradition handed down by the Apostles. In fact, I argue that the Apostles themselves did not know, nor did they either explicitly or implicitly proclaim St. Gregory’s teachings in any way.

St. Gregory’s doctrine is clearly a dogmatic development, necessitated by internal conditions and controversies within the Orthodox Churches in the 14th century. St. Gregory’s teachings received their seal of apostolic authenticity and continuity from what some Orthodox theologians call “the Ninth Ecumenical Council”. In my judgment, this is not far from the Catholic position, that a teaching might have been neither known nor knowable to the primitive Church, but that the bishops’ judgment in a later age that a given theological “proposal” represents in fact a logical doctrinal development in continuity with Apostolic and Patristic teaching, is enough to proclaim the proposal a dogma of the entire Church. The Orthodox Church has done what the Catholic Church has done. Therefore, the synodal sanction of St. Gregory’s teachings set a unique precedent in the history of the Eastern Orthodox Church after the Great Schism regarding doctrinal development.

Furthermore, I think that the joint guardianship that Orthodox monastic and non-monastic clergy and lay people exercise in their Church has elevated to the status of “Tradition” many things not belonging to it, with dire consequences not only for Catholic-Orthodox reconciliation, but for intra-Orthodox conflicts as well.

For example, the monks of Mt. Athos hold a de facto veto to any ecumenical initiative led by Orthodox hierarchs that may lead to recognize the Catholic Church as something more than a “sister church” – in the words of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, no doubt influenced by the stance of the monks of Mount Athos, this designation granted to the Catholic Church must be understood that the Catholic Church is a separate, independent, different “ontological” reality from “the real Church”, that is, the Orthodox Church. Both churches are two different species of bird, so-to-speak.

The Athonite monks discourage a priori any dialogue tending to mutual recognition that does not include total capitulation by the Catholic Church to Orthodox ecclesiology, and exalt along the those Orthodox saints who expressed this viewpoint, like St. Mark of Ephesus. The unofficial, but highly-regarded parallel magisterium of the Athonite monks represents, in my view, the principal obstacle facing Orthodox-Catholic reconciliation today.

Moreover, the Orthodox view of Tradition has had unintended consequences in intra-Orthodox conflicts as well, many of which have led to ruptures of communion within the Orthodox Church.

First, consider the schism of the Old Believers in Russia. At its root, the schism of the Old Believers from the Russian Orthodox hierarchy is a failure to distinguish between adiaphora – inconsequential teachings or practices of a devotional character – and Apostolic Tradition. Historians like to illustrate the schism with “two fingers”: the Old Believers taught that the Sign of the Cross must be done with two fingers; reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikhon of Moscow in the 17th century, made the Greek manner, with three fingers, as normative in the Russian Church. How much persecution, deaths, and suffering this little difference caused in the history of the Russian Church by one finger, the difference between two and three! In fact, the schism resembles in all of its milestones the political and internecine conflicts in the Latin Church of the Middle Ages and of the Renaissance. We are more alike than what we are willing to admit.

Of more relevance today is the schism of the Old Calendarists. The central issue here is which calendar will govern the liturgical feasts of the Orthodox Church: will it be the Julian calendar, the modified Julian calendar, or the Gregorian calendar – the one the rest of the world uses. The Old Calendarists do not exist in a vacuum, for they appeal to three Patriarchal and Pan-Orthodox Synods in Constantinople in the 16th century that condemned the Gregorian calendar, and Pope Gregory who issued it. We might ask how is this attachment to a tool to measure the position of the sun in the sky related to the Apostolic Tradition. Why is the calendar a reason for breaking communion and launching anathemas between people who otherwise believe the same things? Again, this is due to confusion about the contents and character of Tradition in the absence of strong episcopal authority, critical study of the Christian sources, and the empowerment of ill-defined teaching authorities found in Mt. Athos and in popular anti-Catholic sentiments across the traditionally Orthodox lands. Hatred or distrust aimed the Catholic Church is now part and parcel of the Eastern Orthodox Church understanding of Tradition.

Criticism of the Catholic Reception and Transmission of Tradition

The teaching of the Catholic Church vis-à-vis the transmission and guardianship of Tradition is also susceptible to some criticism and therefore, to improvement.

I think that concentrating the guardianship of Tradition in the Catholic Church on the hands of the Magisterium – the Pope and the bishops in communion with him – the role of the Christifidelis laici, – Christ’s lay people –devolved into a mostly passive role, one of passive reception and acquiescence. The consequence has been twofold: on one hand, the rise of theologians and even bishops who have had little understanding and love for Tradition. The other consequence has been the rise of schismatic groups who isolated a limited portion of the Latin Catholic Tradition, staking their claim to exclusive, self-contained orthodoxy within their tight dogmatic boundaries. From this stance, these so-called Catholic traditionalists stand in judgment of the rest of the Church, not unlike the Old Calendarists of the Eastern Orthodox judge their fellow churchmen for pretty much the same reasons.

This tenet should be axiomatic for all: those who misunderstand Holy Tradition will not love Holy Tradition. They will not see themselves as stakeholders in its reception and transmission.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council perceived this danger. The original purpose of the Council was ad sources, resourcement — meaning the return to the sources of our faith, to Scripture, liturgy, and the Fathers. Instead, we got the ascent of theological celebrities like Hans Küng, Charles Curran, Mary Daly, Archbishop Rembert Weakland, and the whole coterie standing behind the so-called Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church and like-minded organizations (e.g. the Leadership Council of Women Religious).

Why did this happen? Again, it happened because those who do not know or misunderstand Tradition will not love Tradition; they will, in fact, hate it. They have no use for Tradition, claiming instead direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit to justify their quests for renewal, and the autonomy of their individual, subjective conscience over and against the teaching of the Church. For these dissenters, Tradition is no longer a vehicle of the Holy Spirit transmitting the mind of the Church throughout history, but an antiquated notion to be ejected in their particular quests for liberation and emancipation from an oppressive, patriarchal hierarchy.

Schismatic traditionalists – which I must distinguish from those who remain within the Church in mind and heart – represent the other side of the dissenting coin. Schismatic traditionalism is a reaction to the excesses of the above crowd: these Catholics blame Blessed John XXIII and the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council for the failure to return to the sources of the faith and the confusion unleashed during the years after the Council. Their solution has been to isolate the Latin tradition reformulated in the Councils of Trent and First Vatican and proclaim it the standard of Catholic orthodoxy. For them, the Greek Fathers and the Greek Church before the schism were Roman Catholics who happened to think and speak Greek, not a diversity to be celebrated but to be Romanized, much as many Orthodox feel that reunion with the Catholic Church will be possible after the latter’s capitulation to the Orthodox ecclesiological self-understanding.

Furthermore, Latin traditionalists see themselves as loyal dissenters not unlike their liberal counterparts, who also stand in judgment of the Church, like the Old Calendarists of the East. The Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (FSSPX) is the principal representative of this trend in the Catholic Church, while other extremists within this movement also claim particular private revelations, as well as byzantine – pardon the pun – conspiracy theories to justify their often bizarre views.

Healing the Great Schism between East and West will heal Holy Tradition

I believe we can conclude that the confusion and exaggerations found both in the Western Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches can be laid at the doors of the Great Schism. The rupture also ripped apart our common Tradition and disrupted its transmission in both our communions. I am convinced that healing the schism will also heal the confusion and discontinuities in the transmission of Tradition which in the end, is the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We can conclude the following: Healing the schism will heal the Tradition; also, the mutual healing between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches will occur when what is best within one Church is applied to the other Church. The Great Schism left in each of our Churches a void in the shape of the other. As we look into the “shape” of the schism, we can tell its contour, much as we can tell that eastern South America and western Africa “fit together” like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle.

For example, the Catholic Church can benefit from the Orthodox understanding of Tradition as something received, guarded, and transmitted by the whole Church, while the Eastern Orthodox can benefit from the more critical distinction that in the Catholic Church is made between Tradition and “little traditions” that, although beautiful in their diversity, are not intrinsic to Holy Tradition. Moreover, the Catholic Church will also benefit from the Orthodox concern for preserving a faith that would still be intelligible to the first Christians as note of Orthodoxy, while the Orthodox may indeed grow in their understanding of Holy Tradition if they were to acquire the Catholic understanding of dogmatic development, as one conducted in continuity with the Faith of the Apostles.

Finally, all concerned parties must agree that Christianity’s first dogma is Love: the love of God for us and of us for Him and of our neighbor as we do ourselves. The Master said that this is the summary of the Law and the Prophets. Love demands that we don’t only tell the truth to each other, but also attempt to understand what each other is saying. I trust this rather long essay will signify a step in that direction.

In the next post, I will discuss the equal love the Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Churches feel for their apostolic origins.


TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism; Orthodox Christian
KEYWORDS:
Brothers and sisters: I've started a new series on the blog, entitled "Twelve Similarities Between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches." You may read the introduction here.

As always, blunders, typos, mine.

1 posted on 08/24/2012 5:28:26 PM PDT by Te骹ilo
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To: YellowRoseofTx; Rashputin; StayoutdaBushesWay; OldNewYork; MotherRedDog; sayuncledave; ...

PING.


2 posted on 08/24/2012 5:30:38 PM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo

fascinating! thanks for posting this!


3 posted on 08/24/2012 6:04:32 PM PDT by Elendur (It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Te贸filo

Very good.

Two comments.

I don’t think the comparison of any Catholic Traditionalists to the Old Believers is valid. At most we have a distant similarity: both appeal to the liturgical practices on the verge of being discarded. The rest are all dissimilarities:

- Catholic Traditonalists also and with equal force object to theological innovations. One can argue whether the Vatican II teaching on ecumenism is the principal reason for liberal innovations, but certainly innovations exist. In contrast, the Old Believers did not have and do not have today any theological objections to Patr. Nikon, merely liturgical formalities. (As a result of the Schism in Russia, sectants resembling the Western Reformers began to be mixed up with Old Believers, and they did hold different and incompatible theologies).

- The divisions between Rome and the Catholic Traditionalists were treated for most part with mutual respect, steps such as re-adoption of Latin Mass were taken and the dialog continues today. In contrast to that, the Old Believers were treated like criminals. I am not aware of any serious effort to re-integrate them into the Russian Orthodox Church.

My second comment is about the internal dynamics in the West and in Russia. In the West, it is mostly conservative Catholics that have a desire for the Western Church to become more Orthodox. For example, we see how Eastern Catholic Churches thrive while the Roman Church seems to always be on the verge of liberal takeover. In the East, however, it is the most liberal element of the Orthodox Church that is open to an ecumenical effort. This means that the present movement toward reunification cannot be successful: the people who are driving it on each side differ in their view of the Church, and their motivations are only superficially similar. I used to think that a reunification is a possibility within our lifetimes, but having paid closer attention to the state of affairs in Russia I no longer think so. We should especially beware of an apparent reunification that will be rejected by the Orthodox faithful who would feel betrayed by their patriarchs. For example, Patr. Kirill in Moscow may opt for ecumenical posturing, but his popularity is in decline; the outcome might be similar to the Florence fiasco. We don’t need a second one.


4 posted on 08/24/2012 6:07:22 PM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: Te贸filo; scottjewell; ebb tide; Sirius Lee; lilycicero; MaryLou1; glock rocks; JPG; Monkey Face; ..
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5 posted on 08/24/2012 6:15:20 PM PDT by narses
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To: Te贸filo

I’m inclined to agree with annalex’s comments, but, as always, you have said your piece very well. Thank you, as always. Keep ‘em comin’, Teó.

Dave


6 posted on 08/24/2012 6:23:01 PM PDT by sayuncledave (et Verbum caro factum est (And the Word was made flesh))
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To: annalex

Just one note: I didn’t compare Catholic traditionalists with Russian Old Believers. I compared them with Old Calendarists. These are a different species. :-)

-Theo


7 posted on 08/24/2012 6:27:40 PM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo
Holy Tradition consists of those things which Christ delivered to his Apostles and which they transmitted to their successors orally. It is absolutely essential to faith, because it is the source of the Holy Scripture and we cannot understand all of the Holy Scripture correctly without the help of Holy Tradition. Since the Protestant Churches reject Holy Tradition, they have no authoritative judge for the explanation of Holy Scripture. Each has his own opinion, and on this account they differ among themselves, although they have the same name, Protestant. And they will continue to be subdivided in the future as long as they do not restore Holy Tradition to its proper place in the Church. (CA)

Disagree. Actually, the churches that formed after the Reformation in the sixteenth century were very much in favor of the traditions of the orthodox Christian faith and they held to ALL the tenets described in the Nicene Creed. To just dismiss "Protestants" out of hand like this while discussing the differences and similarities of the Eastern and Western Churches is gratuitous, I feel. There most certainly IS an authoritative judge for the explanation of Holy Scripture and it is BOTH the traditional views of early church fathers and the early creeds as well as the present indwelling Holy Spirit, who illuminates the Word to our hearts. Just because there are many denominations under the umbrella called "Protestantism" doesn't mean there are the same number of different "interpretations" of these main tenets of the Christian faith. I mean, either Jesus is the Son of God and God incarnate or he isn't. Either the Holy Spirit is God, or he isn't. Either we are redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our sins or we aren't, and so forth - how could there possibly BE thousands of different interpretations? We may disagree concerning order of worship and leadership modes - but so do you guys and the Roman Catholics. Just as there are organizations that call themselves Christians, doesn't mean that they truly are and hold to the tenets that define Christianity. There have ALWAYS been breakaway sects but the unity of the faith IN Christ is what unifies His body.

My point is that I don't see why threads have to needle "Protestants" for what is mistakenly thought about them when you're talking about repairing the east and west schism. Are you intentionally wanting to draw us into the dialog or was it said as a sort of salve to at least say something you both agree on?

Holy Tradition is the deposit of faith given by Jesus Christ to the Apostles and passed on in the Church from one generation to the next without addition, alteration or subtraction. Vladimir Lossky has famously described the Tradition as "the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church." It is dynamic in application, yet unchanging in dogma. It is growing in expression, yet ever the same in essence. (OW)

THAT is what I also believe and I am a non-Catholic. The dogmas and doctrines I hold to along with my fellow Evangelical church members is identical to the "faith given by Jesus Christ to the Apostles and passed on in the Church from one generation to the next without addition, alteration or subtraction" and the way I know that is true is because what the Apostles taught, what Jesus taught them, they made sure was recorded in Holy Scripture. The church is supposed to be the bulwark and upholder of the truth and this truth is what the Word of God says about the written word:

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (I Corinthians 4:6-7)

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (I Corinthians 10:11-12)

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. (II Corinthians 4:13,14)

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you (II Peter 3:15)

I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. (I John 2:14)

But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. (I John 2:20,21)

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (I John 5:13)

Thank you for the informative post. I firmly believe that the Orthodox churches have the right idea about tradition. Have a good weekend.

8 posted on 08/24/2012 11:58:01 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: boatbums

Hi:

I rejoice on the fact that many Evangelicals are retracing our steps on the way to understanding Holy Tradition.

My quote was from an Orthodox source. I quoted it in its entirety to keep the integrity and the context of the quote, not to “needle” Protestants.

~Theo


9 posted on 08/25/2012 6:19:41 AM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: boatbums

“....and they held to ALL the tenets of the Nicene Creed”

REALLY?????

The Nicene Creed says “ we acknowledge ONE baptism for the remission of sins”

for 2,000 years, The Church has taught baptism is for the remission of sins as taught by Peter in Acts 2:38.

in the 16th century, false teachers who did not believe in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church arose and started teaching that there are two baptisms and not one baptism, that something called “water baptism” is NOT for the remission of sins and it to be obedient and for a public testimony. this teaching was unheard of for 1,500 years up until that point.

sound familiar BB???? so this “faith” that these evangelicals hold is not in keeping with historical Christianity and does not adhere to the Holy Tradition received from the Apostles and passed down to every generation since.

BB, saying it doesn’t make it so.


10 posted on 08/25/2012 6:58:15 AM PDT by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: Te贸filo
I compared them with Old Calendarists

I apologize for misrepresenting your article, but the points I made remain the same. The Old Calendarists, like the Old Believers, have objections that only to them themselves look theological, and that in fact are liturgical.

11 posted on 08/25/2012 10:38:45 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: boatbums
There most certainly IS an authoritative judge for the explanation of Holy Scripture and it is BOTH the traditional views of early church fathers and the early creeds as well as the present indwelling Holy Spirit, who illuminates the Word to our hearts

When the Protestants, even one particular sect of them, subscribe to the overwhelming teaching of the Holy Fathers on the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, or on the necessity of good works for salvation, or on the hierarchical and sacramental nature of the Church, then, dear, you can begin to compare the revolting heresies of Luther to the differences we Catholics have with the Holy Orthodox Church, or pretend that there is any illumination occurring in Protestant hearts.

12 posted on 08/25/2012 10:47:42 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex

I wished to compare more their attitudes toward the greater church thant the content of their dissent.

~Theo


13 posted on 08/25/2012 11:08:19 AM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: Te贸filo

I don’t think the Old Calendarists are in any conciliatory mood. Of course, given that their objection is outwardly liturgical, there is no way either side can reconcile. The Christmas either is on December 25 Gregorian or it is not.

Nor is the Church of Greece trying to be nice to them. Last I heard, Old Calendarist Esphigmenou Monastery was raided by the Greek Government with full support of the New Calendarist Greek Church.

In contrast, the SSPX under Fellay is always extremely deferential, send the Popes “rosary bouquets” and seem to negotiate in good faith. There is a sedevacantist faction among the Traditionalists and some fairly anti-Papal websites that fashion themselves true Catholic remnant, but to a casual observer, the SSPX under Fellay is the face of Catholic Traditionalism and it is very, very non-confrontational: a model of ecclesial dissent.


14 posted on 08/25/2012 11:19:46 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism
You saying it doesn't make it so, either. If you had been paying attention to what I said as well as ALL the past discussions we have had on this subject on the Religion Forum, you would understand that the “church” had differing ideas about what the “one baptism” meant. Even today, Roman Catholicism teaches that one CAN be saved without a formal baptism in the church. Sound familiar???
15 posted on 08/25/2012 2:19:10 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: annalex
When the Protestants, even one particular sect of them, subscribe to the overwhelming teaching of the Holy Fathers on the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, or on the necessity of good works for salvation, or on the hierarchical and sacramental nature of the Church, then, dear, you can begin to compare the revolting heresies of Luther to the differences we Catholics have with the Holy Orthodox Church, or pretend that there is any illumination occurring in Protestant hearts.

Well, thank you, dear, but if you were really familiar with the majority of the early church fathers, you would acknowledge that they did NOT hold to those tenets you claim they do. One of THE most important ones being that salvation is by grace through faith alone APART from works. What you call "revolting heresies" of the Reformers such as Martin Luther CAN be traced back not only from many early church fathers but, critically, the Bible which states such in unequivocal terms. That the church of Rome perverted that doctrine and formalized it at Trent is revolting to me as well as, I am sure, the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul even calls it an "accursed" gospel. Scripture overrules what man's traditions have invented.

16 posted on 08/25/2012 2:33:28 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: boatbums
they did NOT hold to those tenets

Salvation is by grace alone while both faith and works are divine gifts in us constituting human response to grace.

[5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ, (by whose grace you are saved,) [6] And hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus. [7] That he might shew in the ages to come the abundant riches of his grace, in his bounty towards us in Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God; [9] Not of works, that no man may glory. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them. (Eph 2)

Show me a Father of the Church who taught salvation by faith alone in which good works play no role, but rather are a mere consequence of faith, and we can discuss if he meant the same thing as Luther or not.

Then, show me where Bible Alone is taught by the Fathers. Or where the Eucharist is taught to be a memorial snack rather than the sacrifice of Christ. Or where priests are taught to be merely pastors who explain the Bible. Or where saints are not to be venerated.

Till such time, stop whitewashing the Protestant error, buttering up to the Orthodox and slandering both Churches in the process.

17 posted on 08/25/2012 5:44:24 PM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex

“....human response to grace.” Thank you.

That’s what is so often overlooked or ignored.

Gift and response.

Reciprocal love.


18 posted on 08/25/2012 6:12:34 PM PDT by Running On Empty (The three sorriest words: "It's too late")
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To: annalex; Te贸filo
Show me a Father of the Church who taught salvation by faith alone in which good works play no role, but rather are a mere consequence of faith, and we can discuss if he meant the same thing as Luther or not. Then, show me where Bible Alone is taught by the Fathers. Or where the Eucharist is taught to be a memorial snack rather than the sacrifice of Christ. Or where priests are taught to be merely pastors who explain the Bible. Or where saints are not to be venerated. Till such time, stop whitewashing the Protestant error, buttering up to the Orthodox and slandering both Churches in the process.

Attributing the motive to me of merely "buttering up to the Orthodox" is rich indeed! I can easily answer ALL your assertions - even those that have been misstated. They HAVE all been addressed in other threads MULITPLE times but I can predict that no matter who I quote to answer your false claims, they will be cast aside for one empty excuse or another. I do not want to hijack Teofilo's thread since it is an interesting topic though, perhaps, this could be why you are wanting to change the subject.

For those genuinely interested in the answers for this discussion, here are several links that speak to them:

The Church Fathers and the Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture

DID I REALLY LEAVE THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH? The Journey into Evangelical Faith and Church Experience

Justification - The Contrast Between the Biblical Teaching and Roman Catholicism

General Articles - Roman Catholicism

19 posted on 08/25/2012 6:57:02 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: boatbums

“differing ideas about what that ‘one baptism’ meant”

hmmm....let’s think about that statement for a minute.

that statement would make you think the author believes there is only ONE baptism as the Curch received from St Paul in his letter to the Ephesians and which the Fathers at Nicea affirmed as the Catholic Faith handed down from the Apostles.
aw, but anyone who has read past posts by the author, knows she holds to the 16th century Baptist teaching that there really are TWO baptisms for the Christian:

1. “spirit baptism” which is for regeneration
2. “water baptism” which is for obedience and an outward display of the salavation which has occurred already.

of course, this “two baptism” theory is foreign to the Scriptures and the Holy Tradition handed down from the Apostles.

no, the Catholic Church ( both Latin and Greek ) has taught and believed that here is ONLY ONE baptism and it is for remission of sins and receiving the Holy Spirit and this has been the consistent belief since Peter spoke in Acts 2:38.

the fact that some people took the Catholic Bible in the 16th century and started a new “two baptism” teaching doesn’t change the truth at all, anymore than the Jehovah Witnesses taking the Catholic Bible in the 19th century and attacking the divinity of Christ changes the truth.

i know it is uncomfortable for those who claim to be Christian to realize that hold to a “faith” unknown to anyone before the 16th century ( after all, 1,500 years is a LONG TIME for no one to realize what baptism is for! )just as it is uncomfortable for Mormons to realize they follow a “faith” unknown to anyone before the 19th century.

but i am always willing to learn, so i would ask BB to produce JUST ONE person in the WHOLE WORLD who lived between 95ad and 500ad who believed:

1. that there are two baptisms, one spirit and one water.
2. that baptism is not for the remission of sins.

JUST ONE PERSON, please.


20 posted on 08/26/2012 8:20:06 AM PDT by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: Running On Empty

Thank you.


21 posted on 08/26/2012 11:32:18 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: boatbums
For example, form the first link

So, tradition, as defined by Irenaeus, is equivalent to the faith handed down from the apostles, which he often refers to as ‘the rule of faith.’ This rule has a very specific content, all of which is contained in Scripture. He makes no mention of other and purely oral doctrines that are essential for the faith
Protestant sleaze. First, I see multiple quotes from the Fathers about how important for dispute resolution, and, of course, inspired, the Holy Scripture is. That also happens to be the Catohlic teaching. Then Webster quotes Irenaeus on the Holy Tradition being the deposit and the rule of faith (again, the Catholic teaching), and attaches to it his own thought that the entire deposit of faith is "inscripturated". But Irenaeus never said that, -- at least Webster is not quoting it. This is methodology of a charlatan and a liar.

I ask again: post a quote from a significant father of the Church that expressly, and without sleazy insertions by Webster Shembster teach Protestant main tenets in opposition to the Catholic and Orthodox treatment of the same topic. I know books have been written by your co-charlatans on the topic of the fathers. So it shouldn't be difficult for you to pick two or three direct quotes so that we can discuss the quotes and the context. If you have done so in the past, just show me a link to such post. If you think it would be off-topic, start a new thread.

If chest-beating ("I can easily answer ALL your assertions") is all you've got, don't insult the readers' intelligence and show us.

22 posted on 08/26/2012 11:50:50 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism
i know it is uncomfortable for those who claim to be Christian to realize that hold to a “faith” unknown to anyone before the 16th century ( after all, 1,500 years is a LONG TIME for no one to realize what baptism is for! )just as it is uncomfortable for Mormons to realize they follow a “faith” unknown to anyone before the 19th century.

No, no discomfort at all simply because I KNOW what the Scriptures say. That there ARE numerous early church fathers who held to the same Scriptural view, is beyond dispute. Of course, having danced around the maypole with you on more occasions than I care to remember on the Religion Forum concerning this subject - as have MANY others to the same result - you have demonstrated that no amount of proof will be accepted. For a mind that has already been made up, no facts can disturb. Just in case there are others reading this that are open to knowing the truth, the following link discusses the subject: Baptismal Regeneration. It says:

    The belief in baptismal regeneration was apparently held by the majority of the early church fathers. Although one could debate writer by writer through the first few centuries as to whether this was indeed an apostolic teaching, in brief, the larger question would be as to whether an individual is saved (regenerated) by faith alone or by faith and baptism. The answer to that question is simply found by examining the scriptures to see whether salvation is imputed to those who believe and are baptized, or to those who merely believe. If the baptismal waters are indeed necessary for salvation, as even some writers proposed, then we should not find any cases in scripture where individuals are "saved" apart from baptism. There are, of course several glaring examples. The thief on the cross (Luke 23:40-43), as well as those in the household of Cornelius who believed and were filled with the Holy Spirit before they were baptized with water (Acts 10:43-48) are two clear examples. There are also numerous examples of Paul’s missionary endeavors, where he preaches and many believe, yet there is no reference to water baptism. With this being the case, we must conclude that water baptism cannot be equally an agent to salvation, since there are cases of individuals being saved by faith apart from the waters of baptism. Neither can the act of baptism carry salvific power in and of it’s self, since there are scriptural examples of individuals receiving baptism at the hand of the apostles, yet that individual still declared to be perishing because their heart was not right with God (cf. The Story of Simon Magus, Acts 8:9-24).

    Why then did so many early church fathers attribute regeneration at the point of water baptism? We could speculate that the hostile anti-Christian culture may have had a role to play. In the early church, baptism was the public profession before all that the individual was joining themselves to the Christian community. They were declaring that they were dead to their old life of idolatry and paganism. For many, it was the act that destined them to a martyr’s fate. Culturally, there was also the de-emphasis of such rites with many of the Gnostics. Those Gnostics that did have a baptismal ritual (Sethians and Valentians) had it so "super-spiritualized" that it would be construed by many to be a polemic against the normal, orthodox baptismal practice. We would consequently expect an increased emphasis on the act of baptism itself, certainly far more than our culture would remit. It could also be that the significance of water baptism is not derived so much from the agency of the water, but from the agency of faith and public profession of the Lordship of Christ. "If you confess me before men, I will confess you before my heavenly Father" (Matthew 10:32). In any respect, I would deduce that the emphasis on the ritual of baptism with respect to regeneration by the fathers was more a product of these cultural forces than actual apostolic teaching.

    In summary of the issue, we can see that the post-apostolic church may have had a deeper awareness of the mechanics of salvation, without the burdens of some of today's debates. This is not to say that everyone in the first three centuries understood the magnitude and glorious liberty of salvation in Christ. On the contrary; salvation by faith was one of, if not, the first foundational tenet to fall prey to the apostasy. Very early in the third century, because of the necessity of bearing up under persecution, we can see references to good works (ie. public profession) being necessary for salvation. By the middle of the third century, the regeneration of the believer was ascribed most commonly to happen at baptism. Ultimately, as the Roman Empire broke apart in the fifth century, and the church assumed the role of maintaining order in that civilization, eternal salvation was joined to the reception of the sacraments. Later in western history, this would give the papacy exceptional control over the princes, barons and kings throughout Europe. If a certain ruler would not side with the demands of the Pope, the Pope could vow to withhold the sacraments from that ruler and his subjects. Although that might not have struck fear into the ruler, the prospect of eternal damnation for an entire duchy or kingdom would create a panic and terror among the masses, and the ruler's hand would be forced to reconcile with the Pope.

    Today there is need to renew the original apostolic understanding of salvation. The gospel message, as typified by the Pauline revelation of grace, righteousness and adoption, is forever coupled to the truths borne by the act of baptism, that of self-abandonment and death to the old life, so as to fully serve God in the newness of life. So many have tried to reinterpret the gospels as merely a means to the end of raising one’s self-esteem, or instilling dignity and human worth. For others, it is a "feel good" message, brimming with warm snugglies of how much God loves us. All though there is truth in both views, we cheat ourselves of the fullness of our common salvation when we see it as less than a total redemption, of the total man, to be fully adopted into Gods’ family as a true child of God. Likewise, we cheat God when we respond with anything less than laying down every aspect of our old life and being, in complete service to God, for His glory alone.


23 posted on 08/26/2012 4:22:57 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: boatbums

“That there ARE numerous early church fathers who held to the same Scriptural view.......”

Numerous????

if there were “numerous” early church fathers who believed in the two baptism theory, it should be EXTREMELY EASY for you to name ONE!!!

i am just looking for ONE that believed this, over a 495 year perid.

you state “this is beyond dispute”

again, if it’s beyond dispute, that would mean you should be able to produce JUST ONE church father that believed in two baptisms.

JUST ONE?????


24 posted on 08/26/2012 6:44:20 PM PDT by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: boatbums

as an aside, i do have to laugh when in one post you make the case that the Reformer’s were holding to the tenants of the Nicene Creed and the Holy Tradition and then you post an article that says apostasy crept into the Church in the early third century and by the middle of the third century, no one basically understood salvation and baptism.

the irony truly would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.


25 posted on 08/26/2012 6:52:00 PM PDT by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: boatbums

Born Again : Baptism in the Early Fathers


Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (John 3:7). What did our Lord mean?

Modern Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christians, while agreeing with Catholic Christians that a spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit (or the “new birth”) is necessary for salvation (e.g. John 3:3-8; 2 Cor 5:17; Titus 3:5), generally disagree that the Sacrament (or what some call “ordinance”) of Baptism is the means by which the Holy Spirit regenerates and saves the person, and all sins committed prior to Baptism are forgiven and washed away by the power of Christ (John 3:5; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom 6:1ff; 1 Cor 6:11; Gal 3:27; Eph 5:26f; Col 2:11ff; 1 Peter 3:21; etc). There are exceptions of course (such as Evangelical Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, and Church of Christ groups who hold some form of “baptismal regeneration” — and certain of these practice infant Baptism, as do most Reformed or Calvinist Christians).

Many of these modern Fundamentalists and Evangelicals suggest that accepting or “receiving Christ” as one’s “personal Lord and Savior” by faith alone is what our Lord meant in John chapter 3. The Sacrament of Baptism is seen as merely a “symbolic” gesture with no inherent spiritual efficacy.

Catholics, while not denying the importance of the “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ (you cannot get much more personal than receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist) and clearly emphasizing a holy life after Baptism, understand the Gospel text on “born again” as a reference to the Sacrament of Baptism. Catholics note our Lord’s words that one must be “born of WATER AND THE SPIRIT” as clearly equated by Jesus himself with the phrase “born again” (compare verses John 3:3,5,7). The surrounding context of the first four chapters of John’s Gospel also show that by “water and the Spirit” that water BAPTISM is what our Lord meant (cf. John 1:29ff; 3:22ff; 4:1ff), which Sacrament was instituted by Christ himself at the Great Commission where he commanded Baptism in the name of the Blessed Trinity (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16). This is shortly followed by St. Peter the Apostle’s command to be baptized in order to receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Catholics accept the plain and literal meaning of the biblical texts.

The Catholic understanding of Baptism is also the unanimous teaching of the earliest Christians who immediately followed the apostles. Every Christian, all the Church Fathers, bishops, and saints who lived after the apostles (and some while the apostles were still alive) interpreted our Lord’s words in John chapter 3 that to be “born again” and “born of water and the Spirit” refers to the Sacrament of Baptism. There are no exceptions. And Protestant scholars frankly admit this fact (note the relevent sections on Baptism in Reformed/Presbyterian scholar Philip Schaff’s History of the Christian Church, Anglican scholar J.N.D. Kelly’s Early Christian Doctrines, and Lutheran scholar Jaroslav Pelikan’s The Christian Tradition).

Philip Schaff (Presbyterian/Reformed) —

“This ordinance [Baptism] was regarded in the ancient church as the sacrament of the new birth or regeneration, and as the solemn rite of initiation into the Christian Church, admitting to all her benefits and committing to all her obligations....Its effect consists in the forgiveness of sins and the communication of the Holy Spirit.

“Justin [Martyr] calls baptism ‘the water-bath for the forgiveness of sins and regeneration,’ and ‘the bath of conversion and the knowledge of God.’ “It is often called also illumination, spiritual circumcision, anointing, sealing, gift of grace, symbol of redemption, death of sins, etc. Tertullian describes its effect thus: ‘When the soul comes to faith, and becomes transformed through regeneration by water and power from above, it discovers, after the veil of the old corruption is taken away, its whole light. It is received into the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; and the soul, which unites itself to the Holy Spirit, is followed by the body.’ ....”From John 3:5 and Mark 16:16, Tertullian and other fathers argued the necessity of baptism to salvation....The effect of baptism...was thought to extend only to sins committed before receiving it. Hence the frequent postponement of the sacrament [Procrastinatio baptismi], which Tertullian very earnestly recommends....” (History of the Christian Church, volume 2, page 253ff)

“The views of the ante-Nicene fathers concerning baptism and baptismal regeneration were in this period more copiously embellished in rhetorical style by Basil the Great and the two Gregories, who wrote special treatises on this sacrament, and were more clearly and logically developed by Augustine. The patristic and Roman Catholic view on regeneration, however, differs considerably from the one which now prevails among most Protestant denominations, especially those of the more Puritanic type, in that it signifies not so such a subjective change of heart, which is more properly called conversion, but a change in the objective condition and relation of the sinner, namely, his translation from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of Christ....Some modern divines make a distinction between baptismal regeneration and moral regeneration, in order to reconcile the doctrine of the fathers with the fact that the evidences of a new life are wholly wanting in so many who are baptized. But we cannot enter here into a discussion of the difficulties of this doctrine, and must confine ourselves to a historical statement.” [patristic quotes follow] “In the doctrine of baptism also we have a much better right to speak of a -consensus patrum-, than in the doctrine of the Holy Supper.” (History of the Christian Church, volume 3, page 481ff, 492)

Paul Enns (Dispensational/Baptist, Th.D. Dallas Theological Seminary) —

“Justin Martyr suggests Isaiah 1:16-20 refers to Christian baptism, apparently suggesting that this rite produces the new birth (1 Apol 61).....Very early in the Christian church, prominence was given to the rite of baptism so that many, in effect, taught baptismal regeneration. Justin Martyr taught that, to obtain the remission of sins, the name of the Father should be invoked over the one being baptized (1 Apol 61)...Although this concept was not as emphatic among the apostolic Fathers, it became increasingly so in the following centuries. Augustine, for instance, taught that original sin and sins committed before baptism were washed away through baptism. For that reason he advocated baptism for infants.” (The Moody Handbook of Theology [1989], page 415, 427)

J.N.D. Kelly (Anglican patristic scholar) —

“From the beginning baptism was the universally accepted rite of admission to the Church; only ‘those who have been baptized in the Lord’s name’ may partake of the eucharist [Didache 9:5]....As regards its significance, it was always held to convey the remission of sins....the theory that it mediated the Holy Spirit was fairly general....The Spirit is God Himself dwelling in the believer, and the resulting life is a re-creation....”

“Speculation about baptism in the third century revolves around its function, universally admitted hitherto, as the medium of the bestowal of the Spirit. Infant baptism was now common, and this fact, together with the rapid expansion of the Church’s numbers, caused the administration of the sacrament to be increasingly delegated by bishops to presbyters....We observe a tendency to limit the effect of baptism itself to the remission of sins and regeneration, and to link the gift of the Spirit with these other rites [Chrismation, Confirmation, and the laying on of hands — detailed analysis from the ante-Nicene Fathers on Baptism follows].....

“From these general considerations we turn to the particular sacraments. Cyril of Jerusalem provides a full, if not always coherent, account of the conception of baptism which commended itself to a fourth-century theologian in Palestine. The name he applies to the rite is ‘baptism’ or ‘bath’ [Greek provided along with references]. It is ‘the bath of regeneration’ in which we are washed both with water and with the Holy Spirit. Its effects can be summarized under three main heads. First, the baptized person receives the remission of sins, i.e. all sins committed prior to baptism. He passes from sin to righteousness, from filth to cleanliness; his restoration is total....Secondly, baptism conveys the positive blessing of sanctification, which Cyril describes as the illumination and deification of the believer’s soul, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the putting on of the new man, spiritual rebirth and salvation, adoption as God’s son by grace, union with Christ in His resurrection as in His suffering and death, the right to a heavenly inheritance....Thirdly, and closely connected with this, baptism impresses a seal [Greek provided] on the believer’s soul. Just as the water cleanses the body, the Holy Spirit seals [Greek] the soul. This sealing takes place at the very moment of baptism....and as a result of it the baptized person enjoys the presence of the Holy Spirit....These ideas are fairly representative of Greek and Latin teaching about baptism in the fourth and fifth centuries.” [detailed analysis from the post-Nicene Fathers on Baptism follows] (Early Christian Doctrines, page 193ff, 207ff, 428ff)

Jaroslav Pelikan (Lutheran patristic scholar) —

“Although references to the doctrine of baptism are scattered throughout the Christian literature of the second and third centuries, only one extant treatise from the period is devoted exclusively to the subject, that of Tertullian. And the most succinct statement by Tertullian on the doctrine of baptism actually came, not in his treatise on baptism, but in his polemic against Marcion....Tertullian argued that none of the four basic gifts of baptism could be granted if that dualism [of Marcion] were maintained. The four gifts were: the remission of sins, deliverance from death, regeneration, and bestowal of the Holy Spirit...It is noteworthy that Tertullian, regardless of how much a Montanist he may have been at this point, was summarizing what the doctrine of the church was at his time — as well as probably before his time and certainly since his time. Tertullian’s enumeration of the gifts of baptism would be difficult to duplicate in so summary a form from other Christian writers, but those who did speak of baptism also spoke of one or more of these gifts. Baptism brought the remission of sins; the doctrine of baptism was in fact the occasion for many of the references to forgiveness of sins in the literature of these centuries [references to Cyprian, Hippolytus, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr, Hermas].”

“With deliverance from death came a new life and regeneration. The phrase ‘washing of regeneration’ in Titus 3:5 was synonymous with ‘the baptism of regeneration.’ [references to Methodius of Olympus, Tertullian, Cyprian, and Origen].”

“Tertullian’s summary of these four gifts makes it clear ‘that by the end of the second century, if not fifty years earlier, the doctrine of baptism (even without the aid of controversy to give it precision) was so fully developed that subsequent ages down to our own have found nothing significant to add to it’ [citing Evans].” (The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, volume 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition 100-600, pages 163ff)

William Webster, a former Catholic turned Evangelical, in his 1995 book The Church of Rome at the Bar of History, freely admits the unanimous position of the Church Fathers as to what is called “baptismal regeneration” :

“The doctrine of baptism is one of the few teachings within Roman Catholicism for which it can be said that there is a universal consent of the Fathers....From the early days of the Church, baptism was universally perceived as the means of receiving four basic gifts: the remission of sins, deliverance from death, regeneration, and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit.” (Webster, page 95-96)

Let us take a look at the writings of the earliest Christians on the Sacrament of Baptism, baptismal regeneration, and infant baptism. All the major Church Fathers are covered through the fifth century.


THE EPISTLE OF BARNABAS (c. A.D. 70)

Now let us see if the Lord has been at any pains to give us a foreshadowing of the waters of Baptism and of the cross. Regarding the former, we have the evidence of Scripture that Israel would refuse to accept the washing which confers the remission of sins and would set up a substitution of their own instead [Jer 22:13; Isa 16:1-2; 33:16-18; Psalm 1:3-6]. Observe there how he describes both the water and the cross in the same figure. His meaning is, “Blessed are those who go down into the water with their hopes set on the cross.” Here he is saying that after we have stepped down into the water, burdened with sin and defilement, we come up out of it bearing fruit, with reverence in our hearts and the hope of Jesus in our souls. (11:1-10)


THE SHEPHERD OF HERMAS (c. A.D. 140)

“I have heard, sir,” said I, “from some teachers, that there is no other repentance except that which took place when we went down into the water and obtained the remission of our former sins.” He said to me, “You have heard rightly, for so it is.” (The Shepherd 4:3:1-2)

They had need [the Shepherd said] to come up through the water, so that they might be made alive; for they could not otherwise enter into the kingdom of God, except by putting away the mortality of their former life. These also, then, who had fallen asleep, received the seal of the Son of God, and entered into the kingdom of God. For, [he said,] before a man bears the name of the Son of God, he is dead. But when he receives the seal, he puts mortality aside and again receives life. The seal, therefore, is the water. They go down into the water dead [in sin], and come out of it alive. (ibid 9:16:2-4)


ST. JUSTIN MARTYR (inter A.D. 148-155)

Whoever is convinced and believes that what they are taught and told by us is the truth, and professes to be able to live accordingly, is instructed to pray and to beseech God in fasting for the remission of their former sins, while we pray and fast with them. Then they are led by us to a place where there is water; and there they are reborn in the same kind of rebirth in which we ourselves were reborn: In the name of God, the Lord and Father of all, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they receive the washing with water. For Christ said, “Unless you be reborn, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” ...The reason for doing this, we have learned from the Apostles. (The First Apology 61)


ST. THEOPHILUS OF ANTIOCH (c. A.D. 181)

Moreover, those things which were created from the waters were blessed by God, so that this might also be a sign that men would at a future time receive repentance and remission of sins through water and the bath of regeneration — all who proceed to the truth and are born again and receive a blessing from God. (To Autolycus 2:16)


ST. IRENAEUS (c. A.D. 190)

“And [Naaman] dipped himself...seven times in the Jordan” [2 Kings 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: “Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Fragment 34)


TERTULLIAN (inter A.D. 200-206)

A treatise on our sacrament of water, by which the sins of our earlier blindness are washed away and we are released for eternal life will not be superfluous.....taking away death by the washing away of sins. The guilt being removed, the penalty, of course, is also removed.....Baptism is itself a corporal act by which we are plunged in water, while its effect is spiritual, in that we are freed from sins. (On Baptism 1:1; 5:6; 7:2)

...no one can attain salvation without Baptism, especially in view of the declaration of the Lord, who says: “Unless a man shall be born of water, he shall not have life.” (On Baptism 12:1)


ST. CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA (ante A.D. 202)

When we are baptized, we are enlightened. Being enlightened, we are adopted as sons. Adopted as sons, we are made perfect. Made perfect, we become immortal....”and sons all of the Most High” [Psalm 82:6]. This work is variously called grace, illumination, perfection, and washing. It is a washing by which we are cleansed of sins; a gift of grace by which the punishments due our sins are remitted; an illumination by which we behold that holy light of salvation — that is, by which we see God clearly; and we call that perfection which leaves nothing lacking. Indeed, if a man know God, what more does he need? Certainly it were out of place to call that which is not complete a true gift of God’s grace. Because God is perfect, the gifts He bestows are perfect. (The Instructor of Children 1:6:26:1)


RECOGNITIONS OF CLEMENT (c. A.D. 221)

But you will perhaps say, “What does the baptism of water contribute toward the worship of God?” In the first place, because that which has pleased God is fulfilled. In the second place, because when you are regenerated and born again of water and of God, the frailty of your former birth, which you have through men, is cut off, and so ...you shall be able to attain salvation; but otherwise it is impossible. For thus has the true Prophet [Jesus] testified to us with an oath: “Verily, I say to you, that unless a man is born again of water....he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Recognitions 6:9)


ORIGEN (post A.D. 244)

Formerly there was Baptism, in an obscure way....now, however, in full view, there is regeneration in water and in the Holy Spirit. Formerly, in an obscure way, there was manna for food; now, however, in full view, there is the true food, the flesh of the Word of God as He Himself says: “My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink” [John 6:55]. (Homilies on Numbers 7:2)

The Church received from the Apostles the tradition of giving Baptism even to infants. For the Apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine mysteries, knew that there is in everyone the innate stains of sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit. (Commentaries on Romans 5:9)


ST. CYPRIAN OF CARTHAGE (c. 200 - 258 A.D.)

But afterwards, when the stain of my past life had been washed away by means of the water of re-birth, a light from above poured itself upon my chastened and now pure heart; afterwards through the Spirit which is breathed from heaven, a second birth made of me a new man... Thus it had to be acknowledged that what was of the earth and was born of the flesh and had lived submissive to sins, had now begun to be of God, inasmuch as the Holy Spirit was animating it. (To Donatus 4)

[When] they receive also the Baptism of the Church...then finally can they be fully sanctified and be the sons of God...since it is written, “Except a man be born again of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (Letters 71[72]:1)

[It] behooves those to be baptized...so that they are prepared, in the lawful and true and only Baptism of the holy Church, by divine regeneration, for the kingdom of God...because it is written, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (Letters 72[73]:21)


SEVENTH COUNCIL OF CARTHAGE (c. A.D. 256)

And in the gospel our Lord Jesus Christ spoke with his divine voice, saying, “Except a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” ...Unless therefore they receive saving Baptism in the Catholic Church, which is one, they cannot be saved, but will be condemned with the carnal in the judgment of the Lord Christ.


APHRAATES THE PERSION SAGE (inter A.D. 336-345)

For from Baptism we receive the Spirit of Christ. At that same moment in which the priests invoke the Spirit, heaven opens, and He descends and rests upon the waters; and those who are baptized are clothed in Him. For the Spirit is absent from all those who are born of the flesh, until they come to the water of re-birth; and then they receive the Holy Spirit....in the second birth, that through Baptism, they receive the Holy Spirit. (Treatises 6:14)


ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM (c. A.D. 350)

If any man does not receive Baptism, he does not have salvation. The only exception is the martyrs, who, even without water, will receive the kingdom....for the Savior calls martyrdom a Baptism (cf. Mark 10:38) ...Bearing your sins, you go down into the water; but the calling down of grace seals your soul and does not permit that you afterwards be swallowed up by the fearsome dragon. You go down dead in your sins, and come up made alive in righteousness. (Catechetical Lectures 3:10,12)

Since man is of a twofold nature, composed of body and soul, the purification also is twofold: the corporeal for the corporeal and the incorporeal for the incorporeal. The water cleanses the body, and the Spirit seals the soul....When you go down into the water, then, regard not simply the water, but look for salvation through the power of the Holy Spirit. For without both you cannot attain to perfection. It is not I who says this, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who has the power in this matter.

And He says, “Unless a man be born again” — and He adds the words “of water and of the Spirit” — “he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” He that is baptized with water, but is not found worthy of the Spirit, does not receive the grace in perfection. Nor, if a man be virtuous in his deeds, but does not receive the seal by means of the water, shall he enter the kingdom of heaven.

A bold saying, but not mine; for it is Jesus who has declared it.

(Catechetical Lectures 3:4)


ST. BASIL THE GREAT (c. A.D. 330 - 379)

For prisoners, Baptism is ransom, forgiveness of debts, death of sin, regeneration of the soul, a resplendent garment, an unbreakable seal, a chariot to heaven, a protector royal, a gift of adoption. (Sermons on Moral and Practical Subjects: On Baptism 13:5)

This then is what it means to be “born again of water and Spirit” : just as our dying is effected in the water [Rom 6:3-4; Col 2:11-13], our living is wrought through the Spirit. In three immersions and in an equal number of invocations the great mystery of Baptism is completed in such a way that the type of death may be shown figuratively, and that by the handing on of divine knowledge the souls of the baptized may be illuminated. If, therefore, there is any grace in the water, it is not from the nature of water but from the Spirit’s presence there. (On the Holy Spirit 15:35)


ST. AMBROSE OF MILAN (c. A.D. 333 - 397)

The Lord was baptized, not to be cleansed Himself but to cleanse the waters, so that those waters, cleansed by the flesh of Christ which knew no sin, might have the power of Baptism. Whoever comes, therefore, to the washing of Christ lays aside his sins. (Commentary on the Gospel of Luke 2:83)

The Church was redeemed at the price of Christ’s blood. Jew or Greek, it makes no difference; but if he has believed, he must circumcise himself from his sins [in Baptism — Col 2:11-13] so that he can be saved...for no one ascends into the kingdom of heaven except through the sacrament of Baptism....”Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (On Abraham 2:11:79,84)

You have read, therefore, that the three witnesses in Baptism are one: water, blood and the Spirit [1 John 5:8]: and if you withdraw any one of these, the sacrament of Baptism is not valid. For what is the water without the cross of Christ? A common element with no sacramental effect. Nor on the other hand is there any mystery of regeneration without water: for “unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (On the Mysteries 4:20)


ST. GREGORY OF NAZIANZ (c. A.D. 330 - 389)

Baptism is God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift....We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God’s Lordship. (Orations on Holy Baptism 40:3-4; PG 36, 361C cited in CCC [1216])

Do you have an infant child? Allow sin no opportunity; rather, let the infant be sanctified [i.e. baptized] from childhood. From his most tender age let him be consecrated by the Spirit. Do you fear the seal because of the weakness of nature? O what a pusillanimous mother, and of how little faith! ....Give your child the Trinity, that great and noble Protector. (Orations on Holy Baptism 40:17)


ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (c. A.D. 344 - 407)

Behold, they thoroughly enjoy the peacefulness of freedom who shortly before were held captive. They are citizens of the Church who were wandering in error. They have their lot in righteousness who were in the confusion of sin. For not only are they free, but holy also; not only holy, but righteous too; not only righteous, but sons also; not only sons, but heirs as well; not only heirs, but brothers even of Christ; not only brothers of Christ, but also co-heirs; not only co-heirs, but His very members; not only His members, but a temple too; not a temple only, but likewise the instruments of the Spirit.

You see how many are the benefits of Baptism, and some think its heavenly grace consists only in the remission of sins; but we have enumerated ten honors. For this reason we baptize even infants, though they are not defiled by sin [or though they do not have personal sins] so that there may be given to them holiness, righteousness, adoption, inheritance, brotherhood with Christ, and that they may be His members. (Baptismal Catecheses quoted by Augustine in Contra Iulianum 1:6:21)


APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS (c. A.D. 400)

Be ye likewise contented with one Baptism alone, that which is into the death of the Lord [Rom 6:3-4; Col 2:11-13]...he that out of contempt will not be baptized shall be condemned as an unbeliever and shall be reproached as ungrateful and foolish. For the Lord says, “Except a man be baptized of water and of the Spirit, he shall by no means enter into the kingdom of heaven.” And again, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (6:3:15)


ST. JEROME (c. A.D. 415)

This much you must know, that Baptism forgives past sins, but it does not safeguard future justice, which is preserved by labor and industry and diligence, and depends always and above all on the mercy of God. (Dialogue Against the Pelagians 3:1)


ST. AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (c. A.D. 354 - 430)

By this grace baptized infants too are ingrafted into [Christ’s] body, infants who certainly are not yet able to imitate anyone. Christ, in whom all are made alive....gives also the most hidden grace of His Spirit to believers, grace which He secretly infuses even into infants....It is an excellent thing that the Punic [North African] Christians call Baptism itself nothing else but “salvation” and the sacrament of Christ’s Body nothing else but “life.”

Whence does this derive, except from an ancient and, as I suppose, apostolic tradition, by which the Churches of Christ hold inherently that without Baptism and participation at the table of the Lord it is impossible for any man to attain either to the kingdom of God or to salvation and life eternal? This is the witness of Scripture too.

If anyone wonders why children born of the baptized should themselves be baptized, let him attend briefly to this....The Sacrament of Baptism is most assuredly the Sacrament of regeneration.

(Forgiveness and the Just Deserts of Sin, and the Baptism of Infants 1:9:10; 1:24:34; 2:27:43 c. A.D. 412)

It is this one Spirit who makes it possible for an infant to be regenerated....when that infant is brought to Baptism; and it is through this one Spirit that the infant so presented is reborn. For it is not written, “Unless a man be born again by the will of his parents” or “by the faith of those presenting him or ministering to him,” but: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit.” The water, therefore, manifesting exteriorly the sacrament of grace, and the Spirit effecting interiorly the benefit of grace, both regenerate in one Christ that man who was generated in one Adam.” (Letters 98:2 c. A.D. 408)

Those who, though they have not received the washing of regeneration, die for the confession of Christ — it avails them just as much for the forgiveness of their sins as if they had been washed in the sacred font of Baptism. For He that said, “If anyone is not reborn of water and the Spirit, he will not enter the kingdom of heaven,” made an exception for them in that other statement in which He says no less generally, “Whoever confesses Me before men, I too will confess him before My Father, who is in heaven” [Matt 10:32]. (City of God 13:7 c. A.D. 420)


ST. FULGENCE OF RUSPE (c. A.D. 524)

From that time at which our Savior said: “If anyone is not reborn of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven,” no one can say, without the sacrament of Baptism, except those who, in the Catholic Church, without Baptism pour out their blood for Christ, receive the kingdom of heaven and eternal life. Anyone who receives the sacrament of Baptism, whether in the Catholic Church or in a heretical or schismatic one, receives the whole sacrament...

[But one outside the Church] must, therefore, return to the Church, not so that he might receive again the sacrament of Baptism, which no one dare repeat in any baptized person, but so that he may receive eternal life in Catholic society, for the obtaining of which no one is suited who...remains estranged from the Catholic Church. (The Rule of Faith 43)

These articles originally appeared in the August 1992 and October 1994 issues of THIS ROCK magazine (under the column “The Fathers Know Best”) with commentary by Church historians edited and added by Phil Porvaznik.


LET THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES!!!

from philvaz.com


26 posted on 08/26/2012 6:56:55 PM PDT by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism

Thanks for this post.


27 posted on 08/26/2012 7:21:38 PM PDT by Running On Empty (The three sorriest words: "It's too late")
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism
as an aside, i do have to laugh when in one post you make the case that the Reformer’s were holding to the tenants of the Nicene Creed and the Holy Tradition and then you post an article that says apostasy crept into the Church in the early third century and by the middle of the third century, no one basically understood salvation and baptism. the irony truly would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

I do hope you understand that stating certain false doctrines crept into the early church does not mean that the entire church was corrupt. There is nothing in the Nicene Creed with which I disagree outright and the ONLY objections I have are with those who READ INTO the words of the creed things that may not have been meant when it was written. Case in point is the term "one, holy, catholic and apostolic church". Roman Catholics get all giddy when they imagine everyone quoting this creed is talking about "their" Catholic Church, when it was NOT at all what the term meant. The word "catholic" meant the universal body of Christ and not, contrary to Papists' ideas, ONLY the Roman Catholic Church. So, while I can say I DO believe in a universal, holy and apostolic (meaning based on the teachings of the apostles with Scripture) called-out assembly (what the word church actually means), I am not acknowledging the Roman Catholic Church as that church.

The same goes for "one baptism for the remission of sins". I believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit that happens when saving faith in Jesus Christ is exercised and which is outwardly testified to by the act of water baptism. If you go back and review all those ECFS you quote from, and look at what some also said about justification by faith apart from works, you could put them together and realize that they would NOT have argued as you do for the sacrament of water baptism being NEEDED in order to be saved. I noticed you skipped past the point I made about the EXCEPTIONS cited in Scripture for those who were saved but had NOT been water baptized.

Another observation is with some of those ECFS speaking of the act of water baptism and the person preparing themselves for the ordinance by prayer, fasting and counseling - it ruled out babies being baptized, but which is either ignored or that particular piece of the ECF writings was skipped. It is a "piecemeal" picking and choosing what will or will not be considered whenever a dogma is being formulated. Ironically, some of those very same fathers being quoted were later tossed out for being "heretics". I can read what early believers wrote and can look at the times they lived in, what the conditions were, and their views can help me in some ways, but they will never take the place of God's Word. What Holy Scripture says is clear and plain to understand to those who have the Spirit of God as their teacher. I do not need ECFS to tell me what God's word says - I can read it for myself and understand through the Spirit's illumination to my heart. I know that I am saved by the unmerited and undeserved grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ and I know that I have eternal life because of HIM. I didn't need Tertullian or Augustine to confirm it for me.

The real irony is when people take the traditions of men over what the Bible clearly says and they believe that it is their own goodness and righteousness that saves them. That they will have all eternity to regret their false choice is the greatest sadness of all.

28 posted on 08/26/2012 9:55:50 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism
- Appealing to later sources you agree with doesn’t explain earlier sources for whom evidence has been offered of their disagreement with you. You can't justify your view of a passage like John 3:5, Acts 2:38, or Galatians 3:27 solely by appealing to what people like Irenaeus, Cyprian, and Augustine believed.

- The Bible covers a far larger period of time than the patristic era does, and baptismal justification is highly inconsistent with the Biblical view. If I think I’ve misunderstood what a Biblical author says about justification, I can look for clarification elsewhere in his writings. If I think I’ve misunderstood that author, I can look to another Biblical author. Etc. Before we even get to the church fathers, we have multiple documents from multiple Biblical authors giving us information and clarification. For example, Galatians is widely thought to be the earliest New Testament document or one of the earliest. And Paul’s letters circulated widely early on and were highly regarded even before the apostolic generation came to a close (Colossians 4:16, 2 Peter 3:15-16, etc.). If somebody like Luke or John wrote fifteen, thirty, or more years after Galatians was written, then we can take what he wrote as an indication of how he interpreted Galatians or would have interpreted it if he’d read it (assuming apostolic unity, which conservative Catholics and Evangelicals do). It’s not as though we have to wait until the patristic era to get some idea of how a book like Galatians was being interpreted early on. A portion of the New Testament can be a line of evidence as to how another portion of the New Testament was being interpreted. What does Acts or the gospel of John, for example, suggest about how Galatians was interpreted early on? Or how do Paul's later letters suggest that an earlier letter, like Galatians, should be read?

- Advocates of baptismal justification often try to focus the discussion on post-apostolic sources by making the Biblical sources seem less relevant than they actually are. It's often asserted, for example, that justification apart from baptism in the Old Testament era is irrelevant, since baptism didn't become a requirement until later and, thus, there's some discontinuity between the Old and New Testament eras accordingly. But that conclusion needs to be argued, not just asserted. The New Testament authors suggest a high degree of continuity between the means of justification in the Old and New Testament eras. They cite Abraham and other Old Testament figures to illustrate how people are justified today. Bringing in baptism as a new means of receiving justification diminishes that continuity. Such a diminishing of continuity needs to be argued, not just asserted, since Biblical authors like Paul and James don't suggest such a qualified continuity when they discuss the subject.

- Similarly, John’s gospel emphasizes Jesus’ statements about salvation during His earthly ministry (John 3:16, 5:24, 11:25-26, etc.), and John tells us that he wrote his gospel to lead people to salvation (John 20:31), using language similar to Jesus’ language earlier in the gospel. Yet, advocates of baptismal justification often argue that baptism wasn’t added as a means of justification until after Jesus’ earthly ministry. Again, adding baptism diminishes the continuity suggested by the Biblical authors. A reason why many advocates of baptismal justification want to place the adding of baptism after Jesus’ earthly ministry is because that ministry was characterized by Jesus’ forgiving, pronouncing peace, and healing people upon their coming to faith, without baptism. See here. The discontinuity that advocates of baptismal justification want us to accept needs to be argued, not just asserted.

- Josephus tells us that John the Baptist’s baptism wasn't justificatory (Antiquities Of The Jews, 18:5:2). Given the close relationship between John's baptism and Christian baptism, the non-justificatory nature of John's baptism is a significant line of evidence for the non-justificatory nature of Christian baptism. And here we also see an example of the relevance of extra-Biblical sources other than the church fathers (Josephus in this case).

- Even if we limited ourselves to data postdating Jesus' earthly ministry and limited ourselves to Christian baptism, we're still told that justification occurs through believing response to the gospel, prior to baptism (Acts 10:44-46, 19:2, Galatians 3:2, etc.). And there's no reason to conclude that such passages represent exceptions to a rule.

- If the advocate of baptismal justification has to exempt the entire Old Testament era, exempt Jesus' earthly ministry, distance the non-justificatory nature of John's baptism from Christian baptism, and dismiss passages like Acts 10:44-46 as some sort of exception to the rule, then we're not in a situation in which we're looking to the church fathers and other later sources to clarify something that's unclear. Rather, the Biblical evidence heavily favors justification through faith alone. The reason why the advocate of baptismal justification wants to make a series of dubious exemptions (exempting the Old Testament era, etc.) and shift the focus to post-apostolic sources is because the earlier sources are so unfavorable to his position.

- We find a few views of baptism and justification, not just one view, in the patristic sources. The view that justification is normatively attained at the time of baptism was popular, and I consider that popularity the best argument for the doctrine. But we also find the view that justification occurs prior to baptism and views involving at least a beginning of justification prior to baptism. See here.

- When a source like Clement of Rome or Polycarp discusses justification without even mentioning baptism, any assumption that baptism was meant to be included must be argued, not merely asserted. Including baptism in such passages isn't the most natural way of reading the text. And it can't be assumed that such men must have agreed with other sources who advocated baptismal justification. Why not assume, instead, that they must have agreed with the rejection of baptismal justification that we see in other sources, including earlier ones? Clement of Rome could be read in light of Justin Martyr or Irenaeus, but he also could be read in light of Paul or Luke.

- We can know what people believed about baptismal justification by a variety of means, not just how they interpreted a passage like John 3:5 or Galatians 3:27. For example, if a Jehovah’s Witness were to interpret a passage in Isaiah in a manner that contradicts the deity of Christ, we wouldn’t need to have an extant document in which Athanasius comments on that passage in order to conclude that Athanasius probably didn’t view the passage as the Jehovah’s Witness does. Since Athanasius affirmed the deity of Christ, we would assume that he didn’t interpret the passage in Isaiah as the Jehovah’s Witness interprets it. Similarly, we wouldn’t judge whether a patristic source saw baptismal justification in Galatians 3:27 solely on the basis of what he said when commenting on that passage in particular. Since some Christian sources of the patristic era did reject baptismal justification, we can conclude that they probably didn’t see baptismal justification in Galatians 3 without having any documents from them in which they comment on that passage in particular.

- Much of what Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believe on other subjects was absent or widely contradicted in early church history. See here. There’s far better evidence for early belief in justification prior to baptism than there is for early belief in the papacy or the sinlessness of Mary, for example. (http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2009/12/how-was-john-35-interpreted-prior-to.html

29 posted on 08/26/2012 11:06:13 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: boatbums; one Lord one faith one baptism
This

The belief in baptismal regeneration was apparently held by the majority of the early church fathers. ...[several long paragraphs follow]

is typical of the Protestant spin on the subject of the Fathers of the Church. The shysters first, - if there is any honesty left -- admit that the Protestant heresies have never been taught by the Fathers of the Church in anything that resembles a consensus opinion. The second step is to take the Catholic view and repeat it as if it were a uniquely Protestant view. Finally, a lengthy cogitation ensues that explains away the inconvenient evidence, and voila: a Protestant is seem to discuss the Fathers approvingly, -- so evidently the Fathers agreed with their theological fantasies.

Liars all.

I asked you, Boatbum, to please find a QUOTE -- you know what a quote is, don't you? that shows a significant Father of the Early Church to teach any Protestant nonsense in a way that is distinctly Protestant. For example: salvation is by faith alone without good works; doctrines not spelled out in the Bible are not valid; priests are not necessary to offer the Eucharist; the Eucharist is a memorial snack and not a sacrifice of Christ; or, if you prefer: Baptism is merely a confirmation of a person having been saved by his faith and does not itself save. Then we can discuss the quote, and then, if you must, you can post the Protestant spin on the quote.

30 posted on 08/27/2012 5:52:41 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: boatbums; one Lord one faith one baptism
When a source like Clement of Rome or Polycarp discusses justification without even mentioning baptism

In that long spin about the Fathers, this is the only time the cretinous author mentions the operative patristic text, without naming the book or the passage in question.

Yes, often regeneration is discussed without mentioning baptism that preceded it. I also at times discuss the car I am driving without any mention of how I got the driver's license. These people are shysters, not pastors.

So again, we have the same pattern: the patristics are discussed without quoting, then spin is made to make them all Protestant. That won't do. Get us a quote before you embarrass another "pastor".

31 posted on 08/27/2012 6:04:14 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: Te贸filo
Both the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic Churches Adhere to Holy Tradition

Except that one little Roman tradition of the primacy of Rome lol ...

32 posted on 08/27/2012 8:02:27 AM PDT by dartuser ("If you are ... what you were ... then you're not.")
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To: dartuser

The Primacy of the Roman See is common patrimony in the Tradition. The differences lare found in its scope.

~Theo


33 posted on 08/27/2012 4:47:20 PM PDT by Te骹ilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org - A Catholic Blog of News, Commentary and Opinion)
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To: dartuser

We both believe in primacy of the Pope as the Bishop of Rome. The Orthodox do not believe in his infallibility apart from the Magisterium of bishops. They believe along with us that the Church is infallible in her episcopal-consensus teachings, but they do not think the Pope can be infallible if the college of the bishops has a consensus opposing the Pope’s opinion, — which so far has never been the case, so the distinction is presently an academic one.

Of course, neither does the Catholic Church in union with the Pope believe that the Pope is infallible in everything he states. For the papal opinion to be infallible in the Catholic view, certain conditions must be met. If you want to learn more, ask, — someone here will answer.


34 posted on 08/27/2012 5:07:00 PM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: boatbums; annalex

all i can say is wow!

where to start?

certain false doctrines crept in??? i would say how one is SAVED is a pretty important doctrine, if the Church got it wrong for 1,500 years, corruption would be the least of it’s problems! of course this is stuff and nonsense, the Church is led by the Holy Spirit and it is the pillar of truth. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO FOOL THE ELECT! THE DEVIL CAN NOT BRING A FALSE GOSPEL INTO THE CHURCH. READ THE BIBLE!
now, i understand how someone who believes a different Gospel than historic Christianity HAS TO SAY APOSTASY OVERCAME THE CHURCH, talk to Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventist, etc. NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN.

Catholics aren’t giddy when we say the Nicene Creed and say we believe in the Catholic Church....it’s our Creed and it’s the same Church in the 1st century, 3rd century, 8th century, 21st century. we are originalists, the same way we want the Constitution read, we read the Bible and ECF’s the same way.
you can change the meaning all you want, Catholics read the Creed with the SAME FAITH AS THE BISHOPS WHO WROTE IT. the fact remains, anyone holding to the “two baptism heresy”, would not be allowed to worship with the writer’s of the Creed since they don’t accept the UNIVERSAL FAITH.

no name of any Church Father was produced that taught or believed the “two baptism heresy”, WHAT DOES THAT SAY FOR THAT 16TH CENTURY INVENTION???? it speaks volumes to me and should to anyone who wants to hold the same FAITH passed on from the Apostles.

notice the language employed by the Scriptures and Church Fathers about “baptism” and then look at BB’s post where she refers to “water baptism”!! the Bible never uses the term “water baptism” and neither do the Fathers, WHY????
because there is ONLY BAPTISM, NO ONE HEARD OF “WATER BAPTISM” AND “SPIRIT BAPTISM” UNTIL THE 16TH CENTURY.

“tradition of men”, we both follow the a tradition of men.
Catholics and Orthodox follow the tradition of the Apostles handed down to Polycarp, who then taught Irenaeus, who taught Hippolytus, etc, etc, to the priests who taught me 2,000 years later. an unbroken line of faith, SAFEGUARDED FROM THE DEVIL BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.

there are others who reject the Holy Tradition recieved from the Apostles and follow the tradition of men who came along in the 16th century. these men rejected the historical Christian Faith and attempted to draw men away from the Faith to follow them. these men claimed to follow the Scriptures, but rejected the unity Jesus prayed for in John 17, and Paul called fo in 1 Corinthians 1. they rejected the ONE BAPTISM Paul taught the Church in Ephesians for TWO BAPTISMS. they rejected baptism for the forgiveness of sins as Peter taught in Acts for their own baptism is a “first act of obedience” invention. they rejected the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, ignoring Jesus telling us “THIS IS MY BODY” and Paul telling us the bread is the BODY OF CHRIST, for their own “symbolic” teaching of the Lord’s Supper. so you follow this false tradition of men, i will stick with the historic Catholic Faith, believed always and EVERYWHERE FOR 2,000 YEARS.

btw, I don’t know anyone who teaches that one is saved by their “own goodness and righteousness”....CAN YOU TELL ME WHO TEACHES THIS?


35 posted on 08/27/2012 7:17:59 PM PDT by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: boatbums; annalex

A Defense of Baptismal Regeneration


I have planned to put together a piece that puts out the Biblical support for baptismal regeneration. The Bible is clear on the teaching of the saving power of baptism. This is what I hope to set forth in this essay. In presenting a Catholic defense of baptism, I intend to not only show this Biblical support for baptismal regeneration but to take on an attack on this agelong Biblical and Catholic teaching. Those Protestant groups who reject baptismal regeneration attempt to downplay the scriptural support for this. I recently ran into a web site one of whose missions is to ‘expose’ the ‘errors’ of Catholicism, and to lead people away from Catholicism, and into what they proclaim as ‘Biblical Christianity.’ Since the arguments that are used in the site are common for those who argue against baptismal regeneration, I thought it would be helpful to not only put out the support for this Biblical teaching, but to also deal with opposing arguments as well.
Across the web there are numerous attacks on Catholicism that purport to attack Catholicism from a ‘Biblical’ perspective. In all cases I have noticed numerous errors in their analysis of history, scripture and Catholicism. In order to correct all of their errors in these anti-Catholic sites, the amount of time used would be infinite. No one has that time. Often, someone will make a wild statement that is passed on as truth. However, I will just focus on one of these sites as an example of their errors on Catholicism and the bible. Press here to see this piece This site is in reference to the Catholic Catechism and how it supposedly differs from the bible. A former nun ‘Sister Sandy’ and Tracy Broadhurst write this piece supposedly ‘disproving’ the Catholic position of baptismal regeneration. Later on we will see that while trying to refute baptismal regeneration, they actually unwittingly quote verses which not only affirm the Catholic teaching on baptism, but confirm the salvific efficacy of the sacrament of the Eucharist. The reason that I will reference this site is because this site is representative of the Biblical attacks on Catholicism. True examination of the Bible will show Catholic teachings to be biblically founded. I will put in quotes those parts of their site that are quoted.

They start off by quoting on one side the Catechism which shows the Roman Catholic view of the necessity of Baptism. One thing I noticed very quickly is that they neglect to show the numerous scriptural verses that are quoted in the Catechism that show that this view is indeed found in the bible. On the other side they quote Bible verses which supposedly show that Baptism is not salvific.

Using the King James Bible (the only true Bible according to that site, which I believe is ridiculous as the Bible is abridged and cuts out 7 books, but that is another issue), what does scripture actually say about baptism and salvation?

They quote from the Catechism “Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte ‘a new creature,’ an adopted son of God, who has become a ‘partaker of the divine nature,’ member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit.” (Pg.354, #1265)”. Why did they forget that the Bible teaches this? See Mark 1:6, Acts 2:38-39, Gal. 3:27, Acts 22:16, 1 Cor. 6:11. Perhaps because it proves Catholicism true.

They quote the Catechism again :”Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, and are incorporated into the Church...” (Pg. 342, #1213).” Then on the other side they quotes verses that supposedly disprove this. I ask why they did not quote Gal. 3:26-27, which says through faith AND baptism one becomes a son of God. Perhaps because it proves the Catechism true.

They quote the Catechism again: “By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin.” (Pg. 353, #1263. see also pg. 279, #985). Then they quote verses along the other side that supposedly disprove this. I ask why they did not quote Col. 2:12-13, Acts. 2:38-39, John 3:5, Titus 3:5, Rom 6:1-11, etc? Perhaps because it proves the Catechism true.

Here is a clear scripture that proves baptismal regeneration: John 3:3-5: 3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 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.”

What does the context of John show us? One must be born again, as stated in John 3:3; however, what does that phrase mean? Nowhere does the Bible say what I was taught that in order to be born again, you must accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus explained in John 3:5 what he meant in John 3:3. You must be born of water and spirit, that is baptism. How do we know that is what he meant? First, Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, who knew the Old Testament background to the meaning of water and spirit. In talking about the New covenant, Ezekiel in 36:23-29, writes about clean water being sprinkled, and God cleansing his people from all filthiness, in tandem with his Spirit being poured out, giving people a new heart, giving people the ability to walk in his statutes. Isaiah 44:3 also talks about the Holy Spirit being poured out with water and many blessings to follow. In John 1:29-34, Jesus is baptized, and the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus. John promises that Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit. What does Jesus do after he tells Nicodemus in 3:5 about being born of water and spirit? He goes out baptizing in John 3:22. This is the only time that Jesus and the disciples baptize in the gospels, emphasizing even more that being born of water and spirit means baptism (besides John 4, immediately following this). What does John do? He baptizes other people. In the context of baptism, John uses the same term “anothen” in 3:31, as was used in John 3:3 and 3:5. It can interchangeably be translated as “born again” or “begotten from above.” It would strain credulity to say that all this is a coincidence. All Christians until the 16th century thought that born again meant baptism. On the other hand nothing here or anywhere else in the Bible does being born again mean accepting Jesus as Lord in your heart.

Other passages proving baptismal regeneration include: 1 Peter 3:20-21. 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism DOTH ALSO NOW SAVE US (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be BAPTIZED, AND WASH AWAY THY SINS, calling on the name of the Lord.

Acts 2:38-39 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, AND TO YOUR CHILDREN, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

Mark 16:16 He that BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

1 Cor. 12:12-13. 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Colossians 2:11-13 - 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in PUTTING OFF THE BODY OF THE SINS of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 BURIED WITH HIM IN BAPTISM, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

Romans 6:3-4. 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Galatians 3:26-27. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have BEEN BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST HAVE PUT ON CHRIST.

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by THE WASHING OF REGENERATION, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

There are other references to the necessity and saving power of baptism, but if you take God’s Word seriously, and look at the above verses, you must admit that Baptism has salvific power. Quoting other verses do not cancel out these verses. Nowhere in these scriptures are Spirit baptism separated from water baptism. They are one and the same thing. Even if there was only one scripture (like Baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21) that shows baptism is salvific) it would be enough to settle the issue, but we have proved the point with much scripture. Not only that, but there are numerous other scriptures not even alluded to that likewise proves the saving power of baptism. Trying to explain away verses that are so blatantly Catholic is something that all Protestants must do in order to avoid Catholic truth, but it is dishonest to say one loves the bible, and then ignores what it so plainly teaches. So, unless one blinds him/herself to the plain meaning of scripture, one can only conclude that baptism saves, as the Catholic Church teaches, exactly as scripture and the Catechism states.

BAPTISM CLEANSES FROM SIN
They quote the Church belief that baptism cleanses from original sins, and washes sins away. They again ignore the scriptural foundation for this belief and quote other scriptures that supposedly prove that baptism does not cleanse from sin. Just a few to show that Baptism does wash away sins:

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be BAPTIZED, AND WASH AWAY THY SINS, calling on the name of the Lord.

Romans 6:3-4. 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Other references Gal. 3:27, Col. 2:11-13, 1 Cor 6:11, see above for quotation.

In prophesying about the New Covenant, Ezekiel reveals how God is going to cleanse one from sin. Does he write, well, one needs to say a salvation prayer, as long as you really mean it, and make an emotional decision to follow Christ? (Salvation prayers, altar calls, etc. are more manmade, Protestant traditions) nowhere found in the bible. On the contrary, Ezekiel concludes 36:25-27: 25 “Then will I sprinkle CLEAN WATER upon you, and ye shall be CLEAN: FROM ALL YOUR FILTHINESS, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a NEW SPIRIT will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

We see again that in the New Covenant that one will be cleansed exactly by water (it also mentions sprinkling) and Spirit. They are not separated.

They quote: “Whom [Jesus] God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past... Romans 3:25.” So here they say that what provides the remission of sin is Christ’s blood, and since it does this, Christ’s blood is salvific. So what remits sins is the means of salvation. Of course the Catholic church could not agree with them more. So let us see if they are consistent in interpreting the remission of sins as the cause of salvation:

Acts 2:38-39. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, AND TO YOUR CHILDREN, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call. For more info on why it is Biblical to baptize babies click here

OK, they said that Christ’s blood is salvific because it causes the remission of sins. What does baptism do here? The remission of sins!!!! So I take it then, that they now agree that they were wrong in saying that baptism is not the means of salvation. In order to be consistent, they must admit that baptism is the means of salvation.

We next see that when they mentioned all the verses that show that Christ’s blood is the means of salvation, they thus dig themselves deeper into problems in their attack on Catholic theology by inadvertently proving another Catholic doctrine.

EUCHARIST
They quote several verses that show the efficacy of the blood, and how it brings the forgiveness of sins (Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:14, 1 John 1:7) (as the Bible showed that baptism does as well). I wonder if the Bible says that you get the efficacy of Christ’s blood when you say a ‘salvation prayer’ and accept Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior.’ Nowhere is that stated in the Bible that they supposedly follow. But yet again, they do a very selective quotation of the New Testament scriptures. I wonder why? Let us look at elsewhere in the New Testament as it relates to blood, and forgiveness of sins.

Matthew 26:28: For this is my BLOOD of the New Testament, which is shed for many for THE REMISSION OF SINS.

So in the context of instituting the Eucharist, Jesus says that this blood is for the remission of sins. Remember they had written that the remission of sins means salvation. Well, according to Jesus, what effects the remission of sins? His blood in the eucharist!!! I wonder why they did not mention that!!! By the way, no mention of the eucharist as a symbol, (just like no mention of baptism being a symbol).

Mark 14:24 : And he said unto them, This is my BLOOD of the new testament, which is shed for many.

Luke 22:20 : Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my BLOOD, which is shed for you.

So how do we partake of this blood? Do we partake it by saying a salvation prayer, as long as you really mean it? No? Salvation prayers are nowhere found in the Bible and is another tradition of men. That is a tradition of men begun in the 19th century with no hint of it in the bible. Partaking of this blood is partaking in the eucharist (Mk 14:24, Luke 22:19-20, Mt. 26:27) which he commanded the apostles to do.

John 6:53: Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his BLOOD, ye have no life in you. 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my BLOOD, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 6:55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my BLOOD is drink indeed. 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my BLOOD, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

I wonder why this was left out of their description of blood. Jesus says whoever drinks his blood has eternal life. Whoever does not, does not have eternal life. Jesus reiterates the literalness of his flesh and blood despite the disbelief of not only the Jews who rejected him (v. 52) but also the disciples who left him (v. 67). Not once did Jesus say, oh, don’t go away, I was only talking symbolically. BTW, if they try to quote v. 63 which talks of spirit and life, not one time in the Bible does spirit ever mean “what I was talking about was only symbolic.” God is Spirit (John 4:24). Does that mean God is symbolic? Of course not, God is real, just as the eucharist that Christ promised. I choose to stay with following Jesus as Peter did, not as the disciples and disbelieving Jews did. His flesh is true food, his blood is true drink!!! Nowhere does Jesus say, oh well folks, I did not really mean I will give true flesh and true blood.

Only now does Jesus add that we must also drink his blood. Six times in this paragraph Jesus reasserts the necessity to “eat my flesh and drink my blood”, six times! Do you think he was trying to tell us something? Non-Catholics are fond of quoting John 3:3 “Except you be born again..” Why is it that ‘except’ is so important, and this ‘except’ isn’t. You can’t have it both ways, we must be consistent when interpreting Gods’ word.

1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the BLOOD of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

Paul says that the cup is communion of the blood of Christ. I wonder why this was left out of their analysis of blood and salvation.

1 Corinthians 11:25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my BLOOD: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me... 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

The new covenant is in his blood, the eucharist yet again. Does Paul see it as symbolic? Whoever unworthily eats this is guilty of the body and blood of Jesus!!!! How could something symbolic, be guilty of the body and blood of Jesus? And even further, we see that if one partakes of this blood unworthily, one drinks DAMNATION to himself, because they don’t discern the Lord’s body!! This makes absolutely no sense for the Protestant. However, this fits in perfectly with the Catholic view. The eucharist is the body and blood of Christ, as so clearly written by Paul. It is a holy sacrament to be treasured, not blasphemed.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”

We have seen what the blood of the covenant (it is the same Greek word, and in King James English covenant has the same meaning as testament) is. It is the eucharist. And their site loves to mock it. In fact, they called it a hated thing. Unless they repent, their punishment is stated very succintly in the above sentence. I pray that they do not mock what Jesus gave to his church.

BACK TO BAPTISM:
They quote Eph. 1:13 saying that the Holy Spirit is the seal, not baptism. Again they make an artificial distinction between the two. Every single person who studied the Bible for 1500 years did not see the seal as being a contest between baptism against the Holy Spirit. Every single one saw the seal being the Holy Spirit given through water baptism. Remember, Jesus said Except you be born of WATER AND SPIRIT. When Jesus was baptized, he was baptized in the water AND Spirit (John 1:34). Baptism washes away sins (Acts 22:16). Baptism is how we are sealed by the Spirit (also, compare Romans 4:13 where circumcision is called the seal of faith, with Col. 2:11-13, where baptism is called the new circumcision, thus confirming again that baptism is the seal of the Holy Spirit).

They then quote that Paul did not come to baptize, but to preach (1 Cor. 1:12, 17). The fact that Paul did not baptize everybody refutes what the Bible said earlier about baptismal regeneration? I think not. Yes, Paul did not baptize, but he let other people do the baptisms. Just as Jesus let others baptize (John 4:2) immediately after declaring the necessity of baptism (John 3:5). Paul did not write that baptisms are only valid through him, so the quotations of 1 Cor. 1:17, and 1 Cor. 1:12 are irrelevant. Paul did not write, ‘oh, this cancels out what I taught earlier’ in Gal. 3:26-27, Acts 22:16, 1 Cor. 6:11, Romans 6:1-4, etc. If he taught baptism was not salvific, as they say, he would contradict himself.

They again quote selective scriptures (they do tend to be quite selective) that show that belief only is the means of salvation. Well, I could quote Acts 22:16 which shows that Paul had his sins washed away not when he believed but when he was baptized. I could quote Matthew 19:16-17 in which Jesus is asked what one must do to enter eternal life. He in fact doesn’t even say you must believe. He says that in order to enter life, one must KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS. So using their logic, since these verses do not mention belief, can I say that belief is not necessary for salvation? Why also would they leave out Matt. 25:31-46, Rom. 2:4-13 and James 2:14-26 which specifically disprove the faith alone idea of salvation? The Catholic church puts all the verses together, and says, that belief, keeping the commandments (that can only be done by God’s grace) baptism, and the Eucharist (as already proven) are the means of salvation. Why quote verses that stress belief but exclude other verses when the very subject of salvation is the issue? What Christ did on the cross must be applied to our lives in a real way.

They write “•Water baptism symbolizes the believers death, burial and resurrection with Christ (Rom 6:12, Col. 2:12), symbolizes washing away of sins (Acts 22:16), and the answer of a good conscience towards God (I Peter 3:21).”

This article could not find one verse that says baptism symbolizes washing away sins. It is unbelievable that they quote those verses because they exactly prove the Catholic Church right again on baptism!!! He said arise, be baptized and wash away sins (Acts 22:16). Not a thing about symbol. In fact, Paul had already believed yet his sins were only washed away by baptism in Acts 22:16. Paul was not told, arise, get baptized to symbolically wash away their sins. He said, arise, be baptized, and wash away your sins. Col. 2 says that the new circumcision, baptism does not symbolically put off the body of sins, but actually does, Col. 2:12-13. A reminder in regards to 1 Peter 3:21, is that baptism does not symbolically save, it says ‘baptism doth now save you’..

Unbelievably they quote Acts 8:36-37 in support supposedly of faith alone, with no need of baptism. The Ethiopian Eunuch incident they say proves that “•Water baptism comes AFTER one believes on Jesus Christ. Water baptism always follows salvation:”

Let us see the context of which they write:

Acts 8:30-39: 30 “And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Actually, their citation of this scene shows two things that disprove their theological view. First, it shows that a person who reads scripture on his own needs an interpreter to explain the meaning. No sola scriptura here. Phillip had been appointed earlier by the apostles Acts 6:5-7. The appointed apostle thus had the authority to teach authoritatively. Thus when the Eunuch came to him, he did not say, ‘well, ask the Holy Spirit and he will guide you into it.’ Phillip had the authority to guide the Eunuch into the truth. He explained the doctrines that had to be believed in order to be saved. By the way, it does not say he became saved only when he believed. Second, notice what it does say. The Eunuch, after hearing this teaching on salvation said take me to the water. It is apparent to anybody reading this story that baptism is absolutely essentially to the process of salvation. First, for adult believers, one must believe (and Catholics also believe that adults must believe before getting baptized). Then, immediately after hearing Philip’s teaching, he gets baptized. If baptism was symbolic, why did the Ethiopian decide that he had to get baptized then and there? The only obvious answer is that Philip had explained that baptism was a part of salvation and the Eunuch had to be baptized in order to be saved. Philip was present, heard Peter’s message that in order to get sins remitted, one must repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38-39). If it was symbolic, and one just did it to show to the world that one had already been saved by just believing, the Eunuch would have been told to wait, until he could demonstrate this to other people. Immediately after the baptism is when the Spirit comes. Now true, it came upon Philip, but it is significant that at the time of baptism is when the Spirit came. He would not have rejoiced unless it was at this point that the Spirit came upon the eunuch as well. This is a fulfillment of Jesus’ saying that one must be baptized of water and Spirit.

Their attempts to separate baptism from salvation fails in another quotation: They write: “In Acts 18:8, Crispus believed and was then baptized, “And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, BELIEVED ON THE LORD with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” They again reiterate that one must believe before being baptized. Those who are of age are indeed required to be believed. But also, his whole house (which includes children who are not of the age to believe) gets baptized. Yet again, in the context of salvation, as soon as Crispus believed, he was baptized. So baptism is yet again a part of the salvation process. Their quotation of Acts 16:31-35 is a similar case that again proves this Catholic point. Part of believing is getting baptized. This again refers us back to Christ’s teaching:

Mark 16:16”He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

They then write of Acts 8:12 “Salvation first, THEN water baptism in Acts 8:12:” “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” -Acts 8:12” Here again there is no quotation saying what they wrote. Nothing in Acts 8:12 says, that when they believed they were saved, and only after salvation were they then baptized. Apparently Philip taught that baptism was part of salvation, because as soon as they believed they were baptized. If it was only symbolic, why the rush?

They then write: “•Performing some ritual like water baptism could NEVER save for we can not be justified before God except through saving faith in Jesus. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” -Galatians 2:16

They somehow equate baptism with works of the law. Nevertheless, they do not give one reference in the Bible that equates baptism with the works of the law. This quotation is therefore irrelevant. Works of the Law is another issue, but that is dealing with two things: People who rely on achieving salvation on their own power, circumcision and Old Testament rituals. Paul nowhere alludes to baptism as being of the works of the law. These were the Judaizers who sought to impose the Works of the Law. A good file on Works of the Law is Can be found by clicking here.

They also write that it couldn’t be baptism because it had to be faith. However, it is not faith or baptism, it is faith AND baptism. Remember, in this very chapter Paul writes Galatians 3:26-27. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For AS MANY OF YOU AS HAVE BEEN BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST HAVE PUT ON CHRIST.” So in order to put on Christ, one must have faith and baptism. So in other places when Paul talks about putting on Christ and the new self, the background to these verses is baptism (Col. 3:10, Eph. 4:24).

Baptism is seen unanimously by the Church Fathers as the normative necessary means of salvation. The Fathers all read the verses exactly as stated. When they read baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21), that it washes away sins (Acts 22:16, 1 Cor. 6:11), and causes the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), they all took it for what it said. There was not one isolated voice for 1500 years that taught against baptismal regeneration. The first person who taught against it was John Calvin and the Ana-Baptists. Why people who claim to follow scripture reject the plain meaning of scripture is because they have decided to follow a man-made tradition, against, Jesus, against Peter, and against Paul.

In sum, the Bible says that baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21). They say that baptism does not save. The Bible says that baptism washes away sins (Acts 22:16). They say that baptism does not wash away sins. The Bible says that one must be born of water and spirit (John 3:3-5). They say that water is not necessary. The Bible says that baptism causes the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). They say that baptism does not cause the remission of sins. The Bible says that baptism makes us sons of God (Gal. 3:26-27). They say that baptism does not make us sons. The Bible says that baptism makes one put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). They say that baptism does not make us put on Christ. The Bible says by baptism one puts off the body of sins (Col. 2:12-13, Rom. 6:3-4). They say that baptism does not put off the body of sins.

Who really believes in the Bible?

Thus the Catechism is proved to be true again.

There are many other allusions to the salvific power of baptism as well that I did not refer to as well (Mt. 28:19, Mk 1:4-8; Mt. 3:13-17; Jn 1:26-34; 1 Cor. 10:1-4; Eph 4:4-6; Eph 5:25-27;, and others). A good reference for further study of the verses mentioned is found in the book “Crossing the Tiber, Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church,” Ignatius Press, by Stephen Ray, an Evangelical who found the fullness of truth in the Catholic Faith. It can be purchased via Amazon Press at this url Ignatius Press also has a description of the book here and it can also be purchased by calling (800) 651-1531.

There was a critique of this article. Click here to see my response to this critique.

To all Visitors, Grace of Christ to You
Page created by: Matt1618. Send email with questions on this article to Matt matt16182@yahoo.com

THIS IS HOW JOHN3:5 WAS READ FOR 2,000 YEARS, REFORMATION OR NO REFORMATION.


36 posted on 08/27/2012 7:24:33 PM PDT by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism; annalex
You guys are doing exactly what I said you would. You show selective interest in what many early Christian leaders believed and, it seems, what Scripture clearly says. I have better things to do with my time than set up targets for you. You believe what you want to believe and so will I. You claim you have your religion to back you up and I KNOW what the Word of God says.

On some things we agree on others we don't. Yet I know that I have everlasting life because of what Christ did for me. I am justified because of God's unmerited and merciful grace and I am made righteous in Christ by faith NOT by works - INCLUDING being water baptized. Through His shed blood ALL my sins' debts have been paid in full - I have been washed in His precious blood. I know that the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to me and I am found IN Christ not having my own righteousness, but the righteousness of God in Christ. This blessed and glorious assurance is the birthright of ALL those who come to Christ in faith. It is not dependent on what church we attend or what prayers we say or even what "ordinances" we observe, but simply by faith in the one who makes us righteous through HIS sacrifice. Living a holy life is through God's grace and is evidence of a saving faith - not the cause of our salvation. My heart's desire is for all those who seek the truth will know it and will live their lives in victory, running this race with patience, knowing the author and finisher of our faith. Good night.

37 posted on 08/27/2012 9:00:09 PM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: boatbums; http://www.freerepublic.com/pe
by faith NOT by works - INCLUDING being water baptized

How are these quotes form the fathers coming? You can believe whatever you want, -- no one is stopping you.

38 posted on 08/28/2012 5:36:24 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: boatbums; annalex

Baptism is seen unanimously by the Church Fathers as the normative necessary means of salvation. The Fathers all read the verses exactly as stated. When they read baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21), that it washes away sins (Acts 22:16, 1 Cor. 6:11), and causes the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), they all took it for what it said. There was not one isolated voice for 1500 years that taught against baptismal regeneration. The first person who taught against it was John Calvin and the Ana-Baptists. Why people who claim to follow scripture reject the plain meaning of scripture is because they have decided to follow a man-made tradition, against, Jesus, against Peter, and against Paul.

In sum, the Bible says that baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21). They say that baptism does not save. The Bible says that baptism washes away sins (Acts 22:16). They say that baptism does not wash away sins. The Bible says that one must be born of water and spirit (John 3:3-5). They say that water is not necessary. The Bible says that baptism causes the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). They say that baptism does not cause the remission of sins. The Bible says that baptism makes us sons of God (Gal. 3:26-27). They say that baptism does not make us sons. The Bible says that baptism makes one put on Christ (Gal. 3:27). They say that baptism does not make us put on Christ. The Bible says by baptism one puts off the body of sins (Col. 2:12-13, Rom. 6:3-4). They say that baptism does not put off the body of sins.

these two paragraphs are really the money quotes from matt’s wonderful defense of Biblical Christianity from those who attempt to distort it at their own peril.

BB, you say we have a “selective” interest in “many” early Christian leaders..... LOL!! if by “many” you mean EVERY, i would agree with you, if by “selective” you mean ALL, i am with you.

YOU HAVE FAILED TO PRODUCE ONE CHURCH FATHER FROM THE FIRST FIVE CENTURIES OF THE CHURCH THAT REJECTED BAPTISMAL REGENERATION AND HELD TO THE 16TH CENTURY INVENTION OF THE TWO BAPTISM THEORY.

think of that, it is stunning!! WHAT A SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT!! JESUS SENT THE HOLY SPIRIT TO LEAD THE CHURCH TO ALL TRUTH AND ACCORDING TO YOU, HE FAILED MISERABLY. THE DEVIL WAS ABLE TO FOOL ALL OF CHRISTENDOM AND LEAD THE BODY OF CHRIST TO APOSTASY!!

i don’t claim to have “my religion” to back me up, I HAVE THE WORD OF GOD AND THE 2,000 YEAR UNBROKEN LINE OF THE BODY OF CHRIST TO BACK ME UP.

here is the problem you have, it isn’t JUST the fact that you reject the way of salvation that Jesus established, that would only affect your eternal destiny. NO, IT IS WORSE. YOU FURTHER REJECT THE WILL OF THE FATHER EXPRESSED BY JESUS IN HIS PRAYER TO THE FATHER IN JOHN 17 THAT HIS FOLLOWERS BE ONE, SO OTHERS MAY BELIEVE THAT JESUS WAS SENT BY THE FATHER.

so the rejection of the Christian Faith as taught by the Apostles and handed down in the UNIVERSAL CHURCH for 2,000 years and accusing the UNIVERSAL CHURCH OF APOSTASY has led to millions and millions being utterly deceived in the cults of Mormonism, Islam, Jehovah Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, etc, etc. I KNOW, I HAVE WITNESSED TO THEM AS THEY COME TO MY DOOR AND I AM TOLD EXACTLY WHAT YOU STATED - NAMELY, THE “TRUE” CHURCH FELL AWAY, WAS TAKEN OVER BY PAGANS AND FELL INTO APOSTASY IN THE FIRST FEW CENTURIES!!!

THEY BELIEVE EXACTLY WHAT YOU BELIEVE!!!

these are the words of Jesus, who you CLAIM to know:

I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, THAT THEY MAY BE ALL ONE; even as thou, Father art in me and I in thee , that they also may be in us, SO THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT THOU HAST SENT ME.
John 17:20-21

it does matter what faith you hold, it does matter what you accuse Christians of for 1,500 years, it does matter if one falsely accuses someone of teaching salvation is by anything other than grace, it does matter, it DOES MATTER.

if living a holy life is evidence of saving faith according to you, what is living a life contrary to the Christian Faith and the express wishes of Jesus evidence of??


39 posted on 08/28/2012 6:37:44 PM PDT by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: boatbums; annalex

to refute the accusation that is often made against the UNIVERSAL Church that it teaches salvation by works - here is my test i give to anyone who obviously has no clue what the Church teaches ( even some who claim to have been Catholic once - you know who you are ! )

a man has never prayed to God in his life, he utterly rejects God’s existance, he murders a man and is sent to death row. while on death row, he rapes a fellow prisoner and curses at God. the day before he is to die, he is witnessed to by a fellow Christian prisoner and is told the good news that Jesus Christ became man, lived a sinless life and willingly went to the cross as a Sacrifice for his sins to reconcile him to the Father. the Holy Spirit drew him to Jesus Christ and as his last wish the following day, one half hour before being put to death, the man requested a priest come and baptize him, which was done. one half hour, the prisoner went to his death. the prisoner NEVER DID A GOOD WORK IN HIS LIFE.

Here is the test to anyone who accuses the Church of teaching salvation by works -

according to the Catholic Faith, did that prisoner go to heaven or hell when he died????


40 posted on 08/28/2012 6:52:12 PM PDT by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: one Lord one faith one baptism

Thank you for these two posts. Amen.


41 posted on 08/29/2012 5:03:09 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex

pray for those who are so prideful that they think the Holy Spirit is leading them to a truth that no one else was led to for 1,500 years. it’s very sad.


42 posted on 08/29/2012 8:31:49 PM PDT by one Lord one faith one baptism
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To: Te贸filo; Reaganite Republican; Clintons Are White Trash; HerrBlucher; mgist; raptor22; ...
+

Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:

Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.

43 posted on 01/06/2013 6:11:18 PM PST by narses
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To: boatbums

44 posted on 01/06/2013 6:14:12 PM PST by narses
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To: boatbums

I agree that all traditional churches are more similar to each other (including Protestants), than many Protestants are to each other. That said, it seems that people from Orthodox churches, go to Catholic mass, marry, and raise their children as Catholics with no problem. That leads me to believe that Orthodox and Catholic churches have to be very similar in terms of traditions, respect, discipline, etc. Things that protestant churches have lost, or simply don’t have.


45 posted on 01/07/2013 6:31:50 AM PST by mgist
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To: Te贸filo

Good article,Teo

We must continue to pray for unity.We are closer then ever before!


46 posted on 01/08/2013 6:35:29 PM PST by stfassisi ((The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi)))
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