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Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)
http://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2008/teresa-of-avila-1515-1582/ ^ | October 7, 2008 | John M. Brentnall

Posted on 10/13/2013 8:17:11 PM PDT by jodyel

Introduction

Teresa of Avila calls for our consideration on several counts:

Her writings are increasingly popular amongst unconverted but professing Protestants who find her ‘mystical spirituality’ attractive in their own ‘pursuit of God.’ We are thus alerted to a dangerous ‘enemy within the gates.’

She is revered by Romanists as ‘a quintessential Catholic’, ‘a revolutionary mystic’, ‘a saint and doctor of the Church’, and a co-patron of Spain. This gives us an inkling of the influence she wields over Roman Catholic hearts.

Her works, ‘long seen as merely devotional treatises . . . are now being mined more seriously for their theological content’ (Gillian Ahlgren). Her teaching now appears in books as ecumenically acceptable alongside that of Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, Bullinger and other Reformers.

As long as poor lost souls continue to drink in her deadly poison, we need to know how to point them to the water of life that alone can counteract it and save them from sin.

God commands us to expose and condemn all teaching that robs him of his unique and incommunicable glory.

Even a slight acquaintance with her writings should make us deeply thankful for our Biblical, Protestant and Reformed Faith. For these reasons alone she should be studied.

Her Life

The story of her life is most instructive. Born in 1515 into a devout Roman Catholic family in Castile, Spain, Teresa shared all the merit theology and religious fanaticism of her age and nation. With her younger brother, she tried to escape to ‘the Holy Land’ in the hope of being beheaded by Muslims. ‘When I read of the martyrdoms suffered by saintly women for God’s sake’, she explains, ‘I used to think they had purchased the fruition of God very cheaply, and I had a keen desire to do as they had done.’ Prevented by her parents, she devoted herself to religious games in which she was the heroine.

At sixteen she entered an Augustinian convent, where she suffered a severe illness and contemplated marriage; but learning of the ‘Church Father’ Jerome’s advocacy of female convent life, she entered the Carmelite Convent of Avila without her parents’ consent (1538). Distressed by both the nuns’ loose living and her own ‘prayer life’, she again fell dangerously ill, and in emotional turmoil became afraid to wake up in hell.

Burdened with guilt, she was introduced to the Third Spiritual Primer of the Franciscan monk De Osura, which was shot through with Islamic Sufi mysticism. Under its influence she strove hard to detach herself from everything but God, in the hope that he would reveal himself to her. ‘De Osura’s inspiration was to be the foundation of Teresa’s mystical and spiritual life’ (Caroline Marshall).

For twelve agonizing years she struggled under this legalistic delusion. Even her priestly confessors suggested that her strange notions came not from God but the devil. A change of direction was ushered in by a new Jesuit confessor, who recommended a more personal and emotional approach to her quest. The decisive moment came in 1555, when she saw a statue of what purported to be the suffering Saviour; her response was a broken heart. The numerous musical settings of the Stabat Mater Dolorosa [The Mother (of Jesus) stands weeping] in the Roman Catholic repertoire all seek to reproduce the kind of sympathetic suffering Teresa then felt.

Abject at her ingratitude at his sufferings, she pressed on. Her perseverance was rewarded four years later by her ‘transfixion’, in which a cherub allegedly pierced her heart with an arrow, leaving her with a burning, quenchless desire for marriage with God. Bernini’s famous Ecstasy of Saint Teresa solidifies this experience in a marble sculpture of great sensual power.

After encountering much opposition, but encouraged by the dubious blessing of Pope Paul IV, Teresa in 1563 opened the Reformed Carmelite Convent of St. Joseph [the Virgin Mary's husband], whom she had appointed ‘her spiritual father’ (Diarmaid MacCulloch). There in Avila her discalced [shoeless] nuns lived under the revived primitive rule of their order under a rigorous regime. With her zeal for reform burning at full intensity, she soon founded sixteen sister houses elsewhere in Spain. Determined to undertake something distinctive to recover Rome’s waning power under the Reformation onslaught, ‘she would pray the Church into new life, and she would create an army of women to do so’ (MacCulloch). This frenzy of activity, known in her circles as ‘the Teresian Reform’, incurred the wrath of the papal nuncio in Spain, who called her ‘a restless gadabout.’ She was even accused of heresy by certain inquisitors, whose paranoia dreaded female domination, but the support of King Philip II prevented them from proceeding against her.

As ‘repression and renewal went hand in hand’ within her immediate environment (Patrick Collinson), Teresa set down her ideals and experiences in writing. The Way of Perfection stresses her conviction that it was a prime duty of her nuns to save their church from Protestantism. Horrified by reports of Protestant destruction of church property in northern Europe, yet ignorant of their theology and unable to distinguish Lutherans from Calvinists, she urges all to practice radical poverty and ceaseless prayer as means to this end. In The Interior Castle, described by an admirer as ‘a classic of mystical thought’, Teresa’s interior wanderings approach hallucinatory boundaries. Her soul is a crystal castle containing seven apartments, each within the other. In the central apartment lives God. To reach him she must forge her way through the other six [these are stages of prayer] till she is joined to her maker in complete union. The Biblical content in this highly imaginative journey is both minimal and misunderstood. [See page 275 of Tony Lane's Lion Christian Classics Collection].

By the late 1570s Teresa’s zeal had won over an influential ally, John of the Cross, who became a Carmelite monk. Together, they fought off much opposition to further their mystical aims, and in the end ‘managed to hang on inside the official Church’ (MacCulloch).

Towards the close of her earthly life, her Order of Discalced Carmelites won official recognition, and with its future security in mind, she penned The Book of Foundations, a constitution for the nuns to live by. She died in 1582.

Her Theology

Living under the dark shadow of the repressive Inquisition, forbidden by the Index of Prohibited Books to read the Word of God in her native tongue [she knew no Latin], terrorized by Spain’s frequent autos de fe [burnings of 'heretics'] and convinced that no-one’s wickedness could equal her own, Teresa was forced into the only route known to her and the medieval female mystics whose devotional writings she could read – that of vision-inspired mysticism. Out of this interior darkness, similar to that of ‘Mother’ Julian of Norwich and the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing, emerged a theology that cannot be pressed into the standard categories of Reformed Systematics. We shall therefore try to evaluate it in the light of Scripture as it presents itself to us.

Salvation

There is something peculiarly Spanish in Teresa’s Roman Catholicism, fostered as it is by deeply personal yearnings for union with an unknown God and informed by the mysticism of Judaism and Islam. Here is her version of it:

Originally created in pristine purity, ‘like a diamond or very clear crystal’, the soul by its fall into sin is now unrecognizable, like a diamond caked in mud or a crystal covered by black cloth. Yet its native beauty remains [echoes of Pelagius!], and to realize its God-intended potential it must return to its divine source, ‘the shining sun … in the centre of the soul.’ As it journeys inwards, knowledge of both self and God increases, till at journey’s end union with him perfects both. Throughout the entire journey, all depends on the power of the human will. Even though grace is ‘the initiating impetus for spiritual growth’, it is the individual’s response that ultimately and ‘essentially constitutes the whole of the Christian life’ (Gillian Ahlgren). In another of Teresa’s favourite images, the soul is God’s garden; and we must cultivate it ‘so that the Lord will take delight there.’ That is, the potential to attract God is embedded in all mankind, and by an ‘asceticism of love’ we must make him want to walk in us.

Only a few critical remarks are necessary. God does not dwell in any merely sinful heart. Neither does he call us to seek him within. The glory of the gospel is that he comes to us from outside; first in the person and work of his only-begotten Son, portrayed in the Word; then in the personal indwelling of his Holy Spirit, who takes of the things of Christ, shows them to his elect, and creates within them a new heart able to receive him. Furthermore, grace does not merely initiate the ‘good work’; it continues and perfects it. The whole process – from nature to grace to glory – is secured by God’s grace, not man’s will. Lastly, Scripture expressly informs us that we do not make ourselves attractive to God; he makes us attractive to himself, by clothing us with his own comeliness. In a tragic example of Roman Universalism, Teresa applies to all mankind what in the Song of Songs is confined to Christ’s chosen Bride.

The role of visions in Teresa’s theology is the fruit of Rome’s stubborn refusal to give her people God’s Word in their native tongue. For her, visions are God’s own substitute for his written Word. A ‘flash of spiritual insight’ is as much a message from him as any amount of Biblical instruction. Indeed, it does more than enlighten the mind; it inflames the heart with love pangs for God. The ultimate experience comes when the soul, ‘immersed’ in a ‘mansion in an intellectual vision’, meets all three persons of the Godhead in a ‘cloud of great clarity.’ Teresa’s boast: ‘this is no imaginary vision’ indicates how completely captivated she was by her delusions. Even the apostles never attained such heights!

Teresa’s claim to have been converted by gazing on a statue of Christ, though every bit as real and vivid to her as Luther’s conversion through the Word, was unquestionably spurious. God simply does not convert sinners in this way. Is he expected to draw them to himself in the very act of disobeying the second commandment, as they prostrate themselves before such idol images? When the Holy Spirit enters the heart, one of his first works is to convince people of the sin of breaking God’s law, and to turn them away from such vanities. Furthermore, not one conversion recorded in Scripture springs from ‘sympathetic suffering with Christ’ created by gazing on a lying depiction of him. Yet who has not heard of professedly evangelical Christians claiming to have been converted by seeing a vision of Christ at the foot of the bed, or in a coal cellar or cathedral? O to be on our guard against Satan’s lying wonders!

We may safely conclude that Teresa’s doctrine of salvation is based on works. By contrast, salvation that is of the Lord is by grace through faith, ‘not of works, lest any man should boast.’

The Church

It remains for us to consider Teresa’s teaching on the church in which she was reared and to which she devoted her life. Her view of it was frankly sacramental. That is, through its ministry the seven [not two] sacraments become channels of grace to all within its communion. In this connection she inherited a long-standing tradition of female mystical experiences triggered off by attendance at mass, the central sacrament of all. Reception of the wafer god [the people, as distinct from the 'clergy', were forbidden the cup] was to her a profoundly emotional experience of consuming his broken body, re-crucified for her.

Her dedication to convent life, too, formed part of her allegiance to a church that without divine warrant robbed thousands of families of the beauties of family life ordained and blessed by God. The rigours of life behind convent walls have nothing to do with self-denying imitation of Christ. Only by gradual transformation into his likeness are we made wholesome leaven ‘in the world’, without being ‘of it.’ True, Teresa was not blind to the crying need for reform within her church, and she made strenuous efforts to remedy some of its defects. But she lacked both the divine authority and divine blessing needed to succeed. All church reformation must affect God’s people as a whole, not an enclosed and exclusive community. Besides, it always occurs through obedience to God’s own appointed means, not through man-made rules and regulations. One writer concludes: ‘Teresa maintained a strong loyalty to the Church … as the most powerful symbol of universal salvation offered in Christ.’ This fair assessment is condemnation enough.

Conclusion

The fanatical fervour that drove such Jesuits as Ignatius Loyola and Francis Xavier to extreme feats of proselytism and the Spanish Inquisition to diabolical acts of cruelty also gripped this mystic nun. Her ‘mystical visions of Christ, angels and saints in her search for the profound love of God’ (Michael Collins) along with her falling into trances while praying, mark her out as a poor lost soul, duped by Satan’s lying wonders and an active tool in his hand. While we warn precious souls against such soul-destroying, experience-based deceptions, we feel nothing but compassion for them, and long for them to know the liberating wonders of God’s saving grace, channeled to us through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, and received by faith alone. O that they would come to know, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, the riches that lie concealed in the words: ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’

Taken with permission from Peace & Truth, the magazine of the Sovereign Grace Union, 2008:3.


TOPICS: Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion
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1 posted on 10/13/2013 8:17:11 PM PDT by jodyel
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To: CynicalBear; metmom; smvoice; MHGinTN; BlueDragon; daniel1212; Elsie; Delta 21

Ping


2 posted on 10/13/2013 8:18:05 PM PDT by jodyel
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To: jodyel

i love Teresa of Avila... i found a beautiful book about her life several years ago... i think i will read it again...


3 posted on 10/13/2013 8:21:00 PM PDT by latina4dubya (when i have money i buy books... if i have anything left, i buy 6-inch heels and a bottle of wine...)
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To: latina4dubya

I think you must not have read the article then.


4 posted on 10/13/2013 8:34:52 PM PDT by jodyel
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To: jodyel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teresa_of_Avila


5 posted on 10/13/2013 8:42:43 PM PDT by Arthur McGowan (If you're FOR sticking scissors in a female's neck and sucking out her brains, you are PRO-WOMAN!)
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To: jodyel

http://youtu.be/A9xJe_aabaI


6 posted on 10/13/2013 8:51:36 PM PDT by Arthur McGowan (If you're FOR sticking scissors in a female's neck and sucking out her brains, you are PRO-WOMAN!)
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To: latina4dubya; jodyel

The wise search the Scriptures with great diligence to see if what they have been taught is true. (Acts 17) A Christian is by definition a lover of the truth, for He is the way and the Truth. Christians are to worship in spirit and Truth. Let us never be like those described in Isaiah 30:8-11: “And now, go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever. For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord; who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things,prophesy illusions,leave the way, turn aside from the path,let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)


7 posted on 10/13/2013 8:53:49 PM PDT by .45 Long Colt
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To: jodyel

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-jYFT7T_1nbA/T98Ntz8tvwI/AAAAAAAABV4/yGu5FByrUFY/s400/leglourdescrutches.jpg

http://wwwdelivery.superstock.com/WI/223/4048/PreviewComp/SuperStock_4048-5165.jpg


8 posted on 10/13/2013 8:59:40 PM PDT by Arthur McGowan (If you're FOR sticking scissors in a female's neck and sucking out her brains, you are PRO-WOMAN!)
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To: jodyel

Having read “The Interior Castle” I did not see it in the same way the author did. To me it was about even though we know Christ how we struggle each day in life - how things get in the way so to speak of a more perfectly realized (from our perspective) union with him. From this book there is no mistaking the woman’s deep desire to know Jesus and to walk perfectly with him. As the writer points out Biblical translation in ones own tongue was scarce at this time yet this woman sought God with every fibre of her being. Would that I had such desire that I too would be though diabolical in my zeal for Him as Christ was also thought so by the religious of His time!


9 posted on 10/13/2013 9:14:44 PM PDT by melsec (Once a Jolly Swagman camped by a Billabong.)
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To: latina4dubya; jodyel
His name is spelled Francisco De Osuna. His Third Alphabet, a major influence on Teresa of Avila, is available in English for those who wish to read it and see if it contains the Islamic heresies the essayist claims:

Third Spiritual Alphabet

BTW, he fought under Pedro Navarro against the Muslims to capture Tripoli for Spain before entering the religious life.

10 posted on 10/13/2013 9:19:56 PM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: Arthur McGowan

http://www.shoutingfromtherooftop.com/satanic-healing.html

http://www.projectrestore.com/library/radiant_living/11_counterfeit_healing.htm


11 posted on 10/13/2013 9:21:42 PM PDT by jodyel
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To: jodyel
Believing that God may have set up the universe in such a way that we His creations can somehow use free will and our own actions to affirm our faith in him is somehow where the human race went off track?

Maybe this was where everything started going to Hell...

The Unintended Reformation

12 posted on 10/13/2013 9:23:33 PM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: jodyel

My Lutheran Sunday School teacher was our next door neighbor growing up, so we knew her quite well in and out of church. When she came to our wedding [I received First Holy Communion on that same day too], along with our gift she gave us a handwritten quote (on a 3x5” index card) from St. Teresa of Avila. A swell and thoughtful gift from an incredible Christian.


13 posted on 10/13/2013 9:32:26 PM PDT by mlizzy (If people spent an hour a week in Eucharistic adoration, abortion would be ended. --Mother Teresa)
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To: mlizzy; alphadog; infool7; Heart-Rest; HoosierDammit; red irish; fastrock; NorthernCrunchyCon; ...
+

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.

14 posted on 10/13/2013 9:34:53 PM PDT by narses (... unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.)
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To: jodyel

http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/John-10-20/


15 posted on 10/13/2013 10:52:44 PM PDT by Arthur McGowan (If you're FOR sticking scissors in a female's neck and sucking out her brains, you are PRO-WOMAN!)
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: Talisker; jodyel

My, my...I wonder if Teresa of Avila would approve of such nasty attacking of another Christian? Somehow, I think not.


17 posted on 10/14/2013 12:13:45 AM PDT by boatbums (God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.)
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To: mlizzy

She was not evangelistic then I take it. :)


18 posted on 10/14/2013 1:21:06 AM PDT by jodyel
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To: Talisker

Wow, thanks for that fascinating input, talisker!


19 posted on 10/14/2013 1:22:06 AM PDT by jodyel
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To: Arthur McGowan

http://www.gotquestions.org/blasphemy-Holy-Spirit.html


20 posted on 10/14/2013 2:19:41 AM PDT by jodyel
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To: jodyel

To whom did Jesus speak his warning about the “sin against the Holy Spirit”?

He gave the warning to those who, having witnessed his healings, attributed them to Satan.


21 posted on 10/14/2013 2:31:50 AM PDT by Arthur McGowan (If you're FOR sticking scissors in a female's neck and sucking out her brains, you are PRO-WOMAN!)
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To: Arthur McGowan; jodyel
2 Thessalonians 2: ... 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

****

1 Timothy 1: ... 3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. ...

1 Timothy 2: ...1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. ...

1 Timothy 4: ... 1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. ...

22 posted on 10/14/2013 2:53:39 AM PDT by WVKayaker ("The only place that the left hasn't placed the blame is on their agenda..." -Sarah Palin)
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To: Arthur McGowan

http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/John-10-20/

I am filled with the Spirit and in this verse you basically called me mad and having a devil.

So you did not take what a Spirit-filled believer told you was truth but instead called it of the devil.


23 posted on 10/14/2013 3:26:20 AM PDT by jodyel
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To: jodyel
Her writings are increasingly popular amongst unconverted but professing Protestants ...

WHAT???

24 posted on 10/14/2013 3:42:33 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: latina4dubya
i love Teresa of Avila... i found a beautiful book about her life several years ago... i think i will read it again...

i love Jesus of Nazareth... i found a beautiful book about HIS life several years ago... i think i will read it more and more...

25 posted on 10/14/2013 3:43:42 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: who_would_fardels_bear
BTW, he fought under Pedro Navarro against the Muslims to capture Tripoli for Spain before entering the religious life.

Meanwhile; back at the ranch...




26 posted on 10/14/2013 3:46:24 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: mlizzy
A swell and thoughtful gift from an incredible Christian.

Here are others:


Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil ... a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment.

Tolerance applies only to persons ... never to truth.


America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance — it is not.

It is suffering from tolerance.

Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos.

Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.


"A Plea For Intolerance" (1931)
--Bishop Fulton J. Sheen


27 posted on 10/14/2013 3:49:47 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Talisker
Protestants determin through their religious calculus that the infinite God cannot possibly grant the experiences reported by Theresa...

Mighty broad brush you have there!

I'd say that MOST of us will determine 'experiences' as to whether they line up with biblical teachings that have been in place for CENTURIES.

28 posted on 10/14/2013 3:52:22 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: jodyel

The spirits HISS!


29 posted on 10/14/2013 3:53:12 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Arthur McGowan
To whom did Jesus speak his warning about the “sin against the Holy Spirit”?

To whom did the Holy Spirit (through John) give the admonition:

1 John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

30 posted on 10/14/2013 3:55:17 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: jodyel
I am filled with the Spirit and in this verse you basically called me mad and having a devil.

You are in GOOD company!!!

"For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He has a devil."

"I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."


31 posted on 10/14/2013 3:57:08 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: jodyel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lourdes_Medical_Bureau


32 posted on 10/14/2013 3:57:14 AM PDT by Arthur McGowan (If you're FOR sticking scissors in a female's neck and sucking out her brains, you are PRO-WOMAN!)
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To: jodyel

For informational purposes only.


33 posted on 10/14/2013 3:59:27 AM PDT by Arthur McGowan (If you're FOR sticking scissors in a female's neck and sucking out her brains, you are PRO-WOMAN!)
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To: Arthur McGowan

I see...right.


34 posted on 10/14/2013 4:56:58 AM PDT by jodyel
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To: Arthur McGowan

Many, many deceived peeps....and officially deceived at that.

To be Forewarned is to be Forearmed

http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain38.htm

The basis of some people’s Christianity is if a miracle takes place, it is sufficient evidence for them to believe it is from God. They never check it out or test it; something that God commands us to do. The Bible teaches us that Satan uses this method to deceive the naïve, the immature, and the ignorant to remove them from walking in the truth of the word. Someone who argues that miracles are from God 100 percent of the time is already open to deception. This becomes a major flaw from those who are willing to accept all miracles that happens is from God. To avoid testing is to neglect many of the Bibles commands for our safety. Jesus warns us about a movement in the last days that will be done by many coming in his name (Mt.24:5-6) and include miraculous signs taking place. Matthew 24:23-25: “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christ’s and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” If a Christian neglects this they will be deceived.

The Scripture gives us insight into the power the enemy can have. The first beasts deadly wound is healed. It says of the second beast “He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” (Revelation 13:12-14). Great signs-Counterfeiting the glory of God would be very convincing. FIRE- consider what you hear today at the miracle meetings.

Not all things supernatural experiences are from God. Just because one receives a dream or vision does not mean it is from God. Satan can give dreams and visions, he even did to Jesus to tempt him to receive his inheritance by a short cut. “Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time” (Luke 4:5). The misconception is that if it is from Satan, its always going to look evil, when it is more often the opposite. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). Satan can look like the real deal and the only way to protect oneself from his deception is to discern, by testing him with the word of God..

2 Thessalonians 2:9-10: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders” The power and energy exhibited by Jesus in his miracles will be counterfeited by the Devil, in the meantime before he shows up his servants that look like men of righteousness are at work among us.

“Why would the Devil heal people when the Bible says the Devil comes to kill, steal and destroy.” Contrary to what we hear that the Devil afflicts and only God heals is not the total truth. The argument used is that “the Devil can’t heal; He comes only to kill, steal and destroy.” However, miracles take place in cults, by Occult means and in other religions (also by shamans, witchdoctors, gurus and spiritualists, etc.) it happens all the time. Those who deny Christ and the essential teachings of the Christian faith perform them. Can anyone believe that the true God healed someone in a cult or religion that teaches blatant false doctrine?

We are warned in Deuteronomy 13 v 1-5 “If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place,” Consider what God is saying. It can take place, they are accurate, you do see a display of power- God says it is not from him. Moses goes on to say and he says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.”

He is leading you to a completely new perspective of God by giving you new revelations, from angels or telling you that you can visit heaven when you want. By listening to this revelation, or dream or vision you are showing that you reject God, you have no respect for his word and have strayed from Him.

What is real does not always mean it is true or authentic. People judge the authenticity because of what they perceive are healings and miracles; exactly what the Devil likes to see happen. Because if they judged by doctrine – the word of God and not just what they see they would come to a very different conclusion.

This is why I’m not not going to be influenced in my judgment by how many people testify they are healed or how many miracles they have seen take place because we do not validate what is from God by this alone. A subjective experience or knowledge that confirms what is true is not how a Christian is to test a supernatural experience or story. There are Scripture and principles that God uses to prove what is of him and what is from another source. We should carefully examine what we see or hear to see if it is really of God. Those who have seen both the real and the counterfeit explain that the ONLY way to tell is by careful scrutiny from the Word. If someone claims Christ and does miracles, we need to know what the person really believes on the core teachings of Scripture. The person the healing came by should hold and practice the core doctrines of the faith. If they fail this test, no matter how remarkable the healing or miracle you are to separate yourself from them. We need to confirm that the person is orthodox and that it is actually God who has used the human vessel. If one does not test the spirits the way the Bible tells us to- they will be deceived, just as Todd and others surrounding him are. The bottom line, your body can be healed. A Christian can be deceived by a false teacher and a false representation of God can be portrayed to us as authentic through a deceived believer. And you can lose your soul if you follow a false teacher. Therefore there must be another explanation for what we may see.

We need to look at the supernatural from a biblical perspective. It is inconsistent with God’s character to permit His supernatural power to accompany false teachers/teachings that deny what He has so clearly said in His word. Satan can perform lying signs and wonders that exhibit power just as the apostles did. If Satan cannot do these miracles then how can we explain the incredible success the Anti-Christ will have? Lying signs and wonders only endorse the person as a messenger from God when they are not questioned, when one is willing to overlook any false teaching.

Someone can convince them-self that by feeling no more pain or having a temporary energy boost, they are being healed by God. However, healing may come from another supernatural source, the Devil. That’s right, Satan who afflicts us can temporarily can alleviate that same sickness or pain to increase deception and demonic influences within the person’s life. It can look like a healing because he afflicted a person and then relieves them of it. That is why it is called a lying sign.

Who is to say the Devil does not give up a pawn in order to gain the queen in his deceptive game of chess. This way his kingdom is not divided but is advanced. Satan certainly has the power to put his hand on individuals to make them ill; he also has the power to take his hand from that individual, thus manufacturing a bogus “cure.” It can be convincing enough for those who unaware of his deception and power. And those who do not test it are under his cruelty.

A lying sign often brings glory and prominence to an individual or ministry, not Christ, even though He may be mentioned. They may say “in Jesus” name which leads them into further false teaching. When you are under deception, you are able to justify any action as long as Jesus’ name is attached to it. If we look at the apostles, they did not preach the Word for the signs and wonders to take place; the Word was preached and signs would follow––when the Lord was willing. We are to preach and teach first and let the miracles be up to God. Advertising the miracles to attract people already gives us insight to whether this is of God or not. A lying sign or wonder is a miracle claimed to be from God. A miracle in itself cannot reveal the source of its power. It must be tested, by knowing what the person whom the miracle came through believes. If someone’s doctrine of Christ is wrong, if there practice is wrong, God will not express His supernatural power by or though that individual. Then the source of the miracle is not from God. That is- God does not use false teachers or false teaching to pour out his power through. We can tell by how they mishandle scripture, it is what they want it to mean not what it actually means from the author. A tell tale sign is the abundance of new revelation and the misuse of words to make it sound like it is from the Bible.

C.D. Cole stated it well by saying, “People who are looking for miracles as a sign or proof of God’s presence and favor are putting themselves in a good position to be deceived. What is supernatural is not necessarily divine.” Certainly to hold the position that all healings are from God can be disastrous; there are counterfeits, and if they can take place outside the Church, there is no justification for saying they can’t take place inside as well, especially when Scripture tells us that they will. Paul writes of this in several places-2 Thess. 2 :8-10; 1 Tim.4:1; 2 Tim. 3:13.

If people gather to see signs and wonders, they are already removed from the prescribed order for a church gathering. God is interested in communicating truth not just His power. God’s Word is truth that has the power to change lives. God said He would lead us into truth through His Word, not through miraculous signs. God still does miracles but He will NOT honor falsehood by the power of His presence. Any sign or wonder must be questioned, and tested by the word rather than relying on the experience itself to validate it.

Many of those who are caught up in the miracle services say, “it is not for you to judge, God will stop or expose those whom are teaching incorrectly.” If one really puts all the correction on God then the next time you are in a conversation with someone who speaks wrong, say nothing and let God take care of it. Don’t correct your children, don’t correct yourself. don’t evangelize, don’t teach because God is capable of doing all of this without you, does this sound biblical or right to you?

The fact is, God tells us to confront those who have offended and hurt us. And false teaching leads people astray from the faith and it is far more serious than being offended or bruised by someone. We are told to EXPOSE the unfruitful works of darkness. I cannot think of a more applicable Scripture than this to what is taking place today “And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). You can’t know what not to participate in unless you judge by God’s word, and after you find out its wrong you are obligated to let others know.

The one thing that God does not say is to do nothing and leave it ALL up to him. He tells us to do what is right. One must be mature to do what is right.

1 Cor 5:12-13: For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges.”

John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ confronted the religious leaders, calling them a ‘generation of vipers’ and told them to repent. Were they wrong to pass judgment on them? It is not wrong to challenge false teachings by the Bible, it is something God says for all of us to do? Are we wrong for saying they are wrong or are they wrong for saying WHAT’S WRONG?

Was John wrong to write in 1 John 4:1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

The Bible even says in 1 Cor. 14:29 “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge”-

2 Timothy 4:2-3 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears”

“That you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). In other words if they have stories of Jesus, of heaven that are not of the Bible, it is another doctrine other than what the apostles delivered.

For those who have already subscribed their loyalty to his ministry, I have this to say. From the videos I have seen there is hardly any preaching of God’s word, but instead his EXPERIENCES. When the word is read it is applied to his EXPERIENCES. Bentley feels most comfortable when he is talking about his EXPERIENCES. In fact he is teaching others to have supernatural EXPERIENCES. There is no question—it is more about his EXPERIENCES than glorifying God.

Satan is not just a counterfeiter––he is an inventor, especially when it comes to religious-spiritual practices. He uses clever deceptive means to get us from one level of deception to the next. Satan has a counterfeit program involving signs and wonders that he has used throughout history. Contrary to popular belief that we need signs and wonders in order to convince people, it changed very few hearts in Moses’ time and Jesus’ day and it is no different today. People are motivated by selfishness to seek a sign and wonder and have a supernatural experience like mystic adepts. Signs for the most part were for unbelievers to attest what to believe, not for believers. The signs were to move the people to pay attention to what Jesus spoke not what He did. Jesus scolded them saying “Except you see signs and wonders you will not believe” John 4:48). He made it clear that it is an evil generation that seeks a sign! Nothing has changed in the word of God nor in the heart of man.

God can overwhelm someone with His presence if he wants to. However, when one presumes to represent the Spirit’s work and it is contrary to the word of God and is the opposite of what the fruit of the spirit produces we can know it is not of God. A true supernatural experience will compliment the word NOT contradict it.

Once again miracle and healing crusades are filled to the brim, but genuine teaching and evangelistic ministries continue to be poorly attended.

Many have come using the name Jesus in their false teachings and counterfeit miracles and you can be assured many more will. We can’t judge the motives of the people involved, they may have good intentions. Nonetheless, we need to make a decision from the Bible, not from our personal feelings or loyalties. To judge teaching and supernatural occurrences is to act in love. To stand by and ignore this while falsehood continues to spread and misleads and destroys many lives is negligence. It is the absence of true discipleship and compassion. True love is not silent when people are being misled or deceived.

Nowhere are we told to have grace for false teachers and allow them to continue with no challenge or exposure. Let them repent and we gladly accept them back. But if they do not let ,everyone know of their heresy. That is the Bible’s command

Paul wrote in Phil. 3:15-17 :“Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule let us be of the same mind. Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.”

Paul used himself and the other apostles as our primary examples. Paul could not deal individually with the many false teachers springing up like weeds in the different areas. Paul said to follow his example as he followed Christ. Christ openly showed what is false, so did Paul, and so did the other apostles. Much of the New Testament was written to publicly correct false teaching within the Church itself. Every second epistle written by an apostle is for correction or judging false doctrine. It is up to us all to watch over the household of God and help the brethren, by doing this we show our love for them.


35 posted on 10/14/2013 5:17:54 AM PDT by jodyel
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To: jodyel

http://en.lourdes-france.org/deepen/bernadette-soubirous/the-intact-body


36 posted on 10/14/2013 6:37:21 AM PDT by Arthur McGowan (If you're FOR sticking scissors in a female's neck and sucking out her brains, you are PRO-WOMAN!)
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To: jodyel

http://en.lourdes-france.org/deepen/fundamental-texts/love-is-the-main-thing


37 posted on 10/14/2013 6:47:55 AM PDT by Arthur McGowan (If you're FOR sticking scissors in a female's neck and sucking out her brains, you are PRO-WOMAN!)
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To: jodyel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_Lanciano


38 posted on 10/14/2013 8:56:23 AM PDT by Arthur McGowan (If you're FOR sticking scissors in a female's neck and sucking out her brains, you are PRO-WOMAN!)
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To: Arthur McGowan

Easily one of the creepiest things of the RCC.

Why is a layer of wax necessary? Perhaps because she is more decayed and not presentable to be seen as she was.

Never have understood the Roman Catholic fascination with all things dead.

Pretty disgusting.


39 posted on 10/14/2013 11:03:15 AM PDT by jodyel
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To: boatbums; jodyel
My, my...I wonder if Teresa of Avila would approve of such nasty attacking of another Christian? Somehow, I think not.

I'm not wishing such a scenario on jodyel - my point is that that is how I see jodyel ACTING, towards himself and others, while claiming it to be spiritually superior, when all it is is mean and absurd.

40 posted on 10/14/2013 12:00:54 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: Talisker; boatbums

It is never mean or absurd to tell the truth, whether the hearer believes it or not.

I am not superior, just born again and filled with the Spirit, and that is all I want for Roman Catholics.


41 posted on 10/14/2013 12:09:17 PM PDT by jodyel
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To: jodyel
Never have understood the Roman Catholic fascination with all things dead. Pretty disgusting.

It's because they're not dead.

And concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken by God, saying to you: I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And the multitudes hearing it, were in admiration at his doctrine.
-Matthew 22: 31-33

42 posted on 10/14/2013 12:17:23 PM PDT by Pyro7480 (Viva Cristo Rey!)
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Comment #43 Removed by Moderator

To: Talisker

Discuss the issues all you want, but do not make it personal.


44 posted on 10/14/2013 12:52:34 PM PDT by Religion Moderator
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To: Pyro7480

They are incredibly, indubitably dead.

Their souls are in heaven or hell where they know not what is happening here.

By Catholic standards, Lenin should be a saint then too.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0304/lenin.asp


45 posted on 10/14/2013 1:11:14 PM PDT by jodyel
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To: jodyel
Their souls are in heaven or hell where they know not what is happening here.

They don't know what is happening here? How is that the case with the blessed in Heaven? What are you basing this on?

By Catholic standards, Lenin should be a saint then too.

That's not how it works. The recognized (canonized) saints of the Church's lives of sanctity are well documented. Lenin's wicked life is as well, so unless he repented, and we don't know it, there's a good chance he's in hell.

46 posted on 10/14/2013 1:17:54 PM PDT by Pyro7480 (Viva Cristo Rey!)
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Comment #47 Removed by Moderator

To: jodyel

Need to reformat and repost.


48 posted on 10/14/2013 1:48:54 PM PDT by jodyel
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To: Pyro7480

Need to reformat and repost my reply. Waiting on mod to delete.


49 posted on 10/14/2013 2:11:26 PM PDT by jodyel
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To: Pyro7480; jodyel
>>It's because they're not dead.<<

LOL I think consensus is that the body in that box is pretty much dead.

50 posted on 10/14/2013 2:13:03 PM PDT by CynicalBear (For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ)
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