Skip to comments.Testimony of a Former Irish Priest
Posted on 07/18/2010 6:04:05 AM PDT by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus
The Early Years
Born Irish, in a family of eight, my early childhood was fulfilled and happy. My father was a colonel in the Irish Army until he retired when I was about nine. As a family, we loved to play, sing, and act, all within a military camp in Dublin.
We were a typical Irish Roman Catholic family. My father sometimes knelt down to pray at his bedside in a solemn manner. My mother would talk to Jesus while sewing, washing dishes, or even smoking a cigarette. Most evenings we would kneel in the living room to say the Rosary together. No one ever missed Mass on Sundays unless he was seriously ill. By the time I was about five or six years of age, Jesus Christ was a very real person to me, but so also were Mary and the saints. I can identify easily with others in traditional Catholic nations in Europe and with Hispanics and Filipinos who put Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and other saints all in one boiling pot of faith.
The catechism was drilled into me at the Jesuit School of Belvedere, where I had all my elementary and secondary education. Like every boy who studies under the Jesuits, I could recite before the age of ten five reasons why God existed and why the Pope was head of the only true Church. Getting souls out of Purgatory was a serious matter. The often quoted words, "It is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from sins," were memorized even though we did not know what these words meant. We were told that the Pope as head of the Church was the most important man on earth. What he said was law, and the Jesuits were his right-hand men. Even though the Mass was in Latin, I tried to attend daily because I was intrigued by the deep sense of mystery which surrounded it. We were told it was the most important way to please God. Praying to saints was encouraged, and we had patron saints for most aspects of life. I did not make a practise of that, with one exception: St. Anthony, the patron of lost objects, since I seemed to lose so many things.
When I was fourteen years old, I sensed a call to be a missionary. This call, however, did not affect the way in which I conducted my life at that time. Age sixteen to eighteen were the most fulfilled and enjoyable years a youth could have. During this time, I did quite well both academically and athletically.
I often had to drive my mother to the hospital for treatments. While waiting for her, I found quoted in a book these verses from Mark 10:29-30, "And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life." Not having any idea of the true salvation message, I decided that I truly did have a call to be a missionary.
Trying To Earn Salvation I left my family and friends in 1956 to join the Dominican Order. I spent eight years studying what it is to be a monk, the traditions of the Church, philosophy, the theology of Thomas Aquinas, and some of the Bible from a Catholic standpoint. Whatever personal faith I had was institutionalized and ritualized in the Dominican religious system. Obedience to the law, both Church and Dominican, was put before me as the means of sanctification. I often spoke to Ambrose Duffy, our Master of Students, about the law being the means of becoming holy. In addition to becoming "holy," I wanted also to be sure of eternal salvation. I memorized part of the teaching of Pope Pius XII in which he said, "...the salvation of many depends on the prayers and sacrifices of the mystical body of Christ offered for this intention." This idea of gaining salvation through suffering and prayer is also the basic message of Fatima and Lourdes, and I sought to win my own salvation as well as the salvation of others by such suffering and prayer.
In the Dominican monastery in Tallaght, Dublin, I performed many difficult feats to win souls, such as taking cold showers in the middle of winter and beating my back with a small steel chain. The Master of Students knew what I was doing, his own austere life being part of the inspiration that I had received from the Pope's words. With rigor and determination, I studied, prayed, did penance, tried to keep the Ten Commandments and the multitude of Dominican rules and traditions.
Outward Pomp -- Inner Emptiness
Then in 1963 at the age of twenty-five I was ordained a Roman Catholic priest and went on to finish my course of studies of Thomas Aquinas at The Angelicum University in Rome. But there I had difficulty with both the outward pomp and the inner emptiness. Over the years I had formed, from pictures and books, pictures in my mind of the Holy See and the Holy City. Could this be the same city? At the Angelicum University I was also shocked that hundreds of others who poured into our morning classes seemed quite disinterested in theology. I noticed Time and Newsweek magazines being read during classes. Those who were interested in what was being taught seemed only to be looking for either degrees or positions within the Catholic Church in their homelands.
One day I went for a walk in the Colosseum so that my feet might tread the ground where the blood of so many Christians had been poured out. I walked to the arena in the Forum. I tried to picture in my mind those men and women who knew Christ so well that they were joyfully willing to be burned at the stake or devoured alive by beasts because of His overpowering love. The joy of this experience was marred, however, for as I went back in the bus I was insulted by jeering youths shouting words meaning "scum or garbage." I sensed their motivation for such insults was not because I stood for Christ as the early Christians did but because they saw in me the Roman Catholic system. Quickly, I put this contrast out of my mind, yet what I had been taught about the present glories of Rome now seemed very irrelevant and empty.
One night soon after that, I prayed for two hours in front of the main altar in the church of San Clemente. Remembering my earlier youthful call to be a missionary and the hundredfold promise of Mark 10:29-30, I decided not to take the theological degree that had been my ambition since beginning study of the theology of Thomas Aquinas. This was a major decision, but after long prayer I was sure I had decided correctly.
The priest who was to direct my thesis did not want to accept my decision. In order to make the degree easier, he offered me a thesis written several years earlier. He said I could useit as my own if only I would do the oral defense. This turned my stomach. It was similar to what I had seen a few weeks earlier in a city park: elegant prostitutes parading themselves in their black leather boots. What he was offering was equally sinful. I held to my decision, finishing at the University at the ordinary academic level, without the degree.
On returning from Rome, I received official word that I had been assigned to do a three year course at Cork University. I prayed earnestly about my missionary call. To my surprise, I received orders in late August 1964 to go to Trinidad, West Indies, as a missionary.
Pride, Fall, And A New Hunger
On October 1, 1964, I arrived in Trinidad, and for seven years I was a successful priest, in Roman Catholic terms, doing all my duties and getting many people to come to Mass. By 1972 I had become quite involved in the Catholic Charismatic Movement. Then, at a prayer meeting on March 16th of that year, I thanked the Lord that I was such a good priest and requested that if it were His will, He humble me that I might be even better. Later that same evening I had a freak accident, splitting the back of my head and hurting my spine in many places. Without thus coming close to death, I doubt that I would ever have gotten out of my self- satisfied state. Rote, set prayer showed its emptiness as I cried out to God in my pain.
In the suffering that I went through in the weeks after the accident, I began to find some comfort in direct personal prayer. I stopped saying the Breviary (the Roman Catholic Church's official prayer for clergy) and the Rosary and began to pray using parts of the Bible itself. This was a very slow process. I did not know my way through the Bible and the little I had learned over the years had taught me more to distrust it rather than to trust it. My training in philosophy and in the theology of Thomas Aquinas left me helpless, so that coming into the Bible now to find the Lord was like going into a huge dark woods without a map.
When assigned to a new parish later that year, I found that I was to work side-by-side with a Dominican priest who had been a brother to me over the years. For more than two years we were to work together, fully seeking God as best we knew in the parish of Pointe-a-Pierre. We read, studied, prayed, and put into practise what we had been taught in Church teaching. We built up communities in Gasparillo, Claxton Bay, and Marabella, just to mention the main villages. In a Catholic religious sense we were very successful. Many people attended Mass. The Catechism was taught in many schools, including government schools. I continued my personal search into the Bible, but it did not much affect the work we were doing; rather it showed me how little I really knew about the Lord and His Word. It was at this time that Philippians 3:10 became the cry of my heart, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection...."
About this time the Catholic Charismatic movement was growing, and we introduced it into most of our villages. Because of this movement, some Canadian Christians came to Trinidad to share with us. I learned much from their messages, especially about praying for healing. The whole impact of what they said was very experience-oriented but was truly a blessing, insofar, as it got me deeply into the Bible as an authority source. I began to compare scripture with scripture and even to quote chapter and verse! One of the texts the Canadians used was Isaiah 53:5, "...and with his stripes we are healed." Yet in studying Isaiah 53, I discovered that the Bible deals with the problem of sin by means of substitution. Christ died in my place. It was wrong for me to try to expidite or try to cooperate in paying the price of my sin.
"If by grace, it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace.." Romans 11:6. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).
One particular sin of mine was getting annoyed with people, sometimes even angry. Although I asked forgiveness for my sins, I still did not realize that I was a sinner by the nature which we all inherit from Adam. The scriptural truth is, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10), and "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). The Catholic Church, however, had taught me that the depravity of man, which is called "original sin," had been washed away by my infant baptism. I still held this belief in my head, but in my heart I knew that my depraved nature had not yet been conquered by Christ.
"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection..." (Philippians 3:10) continued to be the cry of my heart. I knew that it could be only through His power that I could live the Christian life. I posted this text on the dashboard of my car and in other places. It became the plea that motivated me, and the Lord who is Faithful began to answer.
The Ultimate Question
First, I discovered that God's Word in the Bible is absolute and without error. I had been taught that the Word is relative and that its truthfulness in many areas was to be questioned. Now I began to understand that the Bible could, in fact, be trusted. With the aid of Strong's Concordance, I began to study the Bible to see what it says about itself. I discovered that the Bible teaches clearly that it is from God and is absolute in what it says. It is true in its history, in the promises God has made, in its prophecies, in the moral commands it gives, and in how to live the Christian life. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (II Timothy 3:16-17).
This discovery was made while visiting in Vancouver, B.C., and in Seattle. When I was asked to talk to the prayer group in St. Stephen's Catholic Church, I took as my subject the absolute authority of God's Word. It was the first time that I had understood such a truth or talked about it. I returned to Vancouver, B.C. and in a large parish Church, before about 400 people, I preached the same message. Bible in hand, I proclaimed that "the absolute and final authority in all matters of faith and morals is the Bible, God's own Word."
Three days later, the archbishop of Vancouver, B.C., James Carney, called me to his office. I was then officially silenced and forbidden to preach in his archdiocese. I was told that my punishment would have been more severe, were it not for the letter of recommendation I had received from my own archbishop, Anthony Pantin. Soon afterwards I returned to Trinidad.
While I was still parish priest of Point-a-Pierre, Ambrose Duffy, the man who had so strictly taught me while he was Student Master, was asked to assist me. The tide had turned. After some initial difficulties, we became close friends. I shared with him what I was discovering. He listened and commented with great interest and wanted to find out what was motivating me. I saw in him a channel to my Dominican brothers and even to those in the Archbishop's house.
When he died suddenly of a heart attack, I was stricken with grief. In my mind, I had seen Ambrose as the one who could make sense out of the Church-Bible dilemma with which I so struggled. I had hoped that he would have been able to explain to me and then to my Dominican brothers the truths with which I wrestled. I preached at his funeral and my despair was very deep.
I continued to pray Philippians 3:10, "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection...." But to learn more about Him, I had first to learn about myself as a sinner. I saw from the Bible (I Timothy 2:5) that the role I was playing as a priestly mediator -- exactly what the Catholic Church teaches but exactly opposite to what the Bible teaches -- was wrong. I really enjoyed being looked up to by the people and, in a certain sense, being idolized by them. I rationalized my sin by saying that after all, if this is what the biggest Church in the world teaches, who am I to question it? Still, I struggled with the conflict within. I began to see the worship of Mary, the saints, and the priests for the sin that it is. But while I was willing to renounce Mary and the saints as mediators, I could not renounce the priesthood, for in that I had invested my whole life.
Mary, the saints, and the priesthood were just a small part of the huge struggle with which I was working. Who was Lord of my life, Jesus Christ in His Word or the Roman Church? This ultimate question raged inside me especially during my last six years as parish priest of Sangre Grande (1979-1985). That the Catholic Church was supreme in all matters of faith and morals had been dyed into my brain since I was a child. It looked impossible ever to change.
Rome was not only supreme but always called "Holy Mother." How could I ever go against "Holy Mother," all the more so since I had an official part in dispensing her sacraments and keeping people faithful to her? In 1981, I actually rededicated myself to serving the Roman Catholic Church while attending a parish renewal seminar in New Orleans. Yet when I returned to Trinidad and again became involved in real life problems, I began to return to the authority of God's Word. Finally the tension became like a tug-of-war inside me. Sometimes I looked to the Roman Church as being absolute, sometimes to the authority of the Bible as being final. My stomach suffered much during those years; my emotions were being torn. I ought to have known the simple truth that one cannot serve two masters. My working position was to place the absolute authority of the Word of God under the supreme authority of the Roman Church.
This contradiction was symbolized in what I did with the four statues in the Sangre Grande Church. I removed and broke the statues of St. Francis and St. Martin because the second commandment of God's Law declares in Exodus 20:4, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image...." But when some of the people objected to my removal of the statues of the Sacred Heart and of Mary, I left them standing because the higher authority, i.e., the Roman Catholic Church, said in its law Canon 1188: "The practise of displaying sacred images in the churches for the veneration of the faithful is to remain in force."
I did not see that what I was trying to do was to make God's Word subject to man's word. My Own Fault While I had learned earlier that God's Word is absolute, I still went through this agony of trying to maintain the Roman Catholic Church as holding more authority than God's Word, even in issues where the Church of Rome was saying the exact opposite to what was in the Bible.
How could this be? First of all, it was my own fault. If I had accepted the authority of the Bible as supreme, I would have been convicted by God's Word to give up my priestly role as mediator, but that was too precious to me. Second, no one ever questioned what I did as a priest.
Christians from overseas came to Mass, saw our sacred oils, holy water, medals, statues, vestments, rituals, and never said a word! The marvelous style, symbolism, music, and artistic taste of the Roman Church was all very captivating. Incense not only smells pungent, but to the mind it spells mystery.
The Turning Point
One day, a woman challenged me (the only Christian ever to challenge me in all my 22 years as a priest), "You Roman Catholics have a form of godliness, but you deny its power." Those words bothered me for some time because the lights, banners, folk music, guitars, and drums were dear to me. Probably no priest on the whole island of Trinidad had as colorful robes, banners, and vestments as I had. Clearly I did not apply what was before my eyes.
In October 1985, God's grace was greater than the lie that I was trying to live. I went to Barbados to pray over the compromise that I was forcing myself to live. I felt truly trapped. The Word of God is absolute indeed. I ought to obey it alone; yet to the very same God I had vowed obedience to the supreme authority of the Catholic Church. In Barbados I read a book in which was explained the Biblical meaning of Church as "the fellowship of believers." In the New Testament there is no hint of a hierarchy; "Clergy" lording it over the "laity" is unknown. Rather, it is as the Lord Himself declared "...one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren" (Matthew 23:8).
Now to see and to understand the meaning of church as "fellowship" left me free to let go of the Roman Catholic Church as supreme authority and depend on Jesus Christ as Lord. It began to dawn on me that in Biblical terms, the Bishops I knew in the Catholic Church were not Biblical believers. They were for the most part pious men taken up with devotion to Mary and the Rosary and loyal to Rome, but not one had any idea of the finished work of salvation, that Christ's work is done, that salvation is personal and complete. They all preached penance for sin, human suffering, religious deeds, "the way of man" rather than the Gospel of grace. But by God's grace I saw that it was not through the Roman Church nor by any kind of works that one is saved, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
New Birth at Age 48
I left the Roman Catholic Church when I saw that life in Jesus Christ was not possible while remaining true to Roman Catholic doctrine. In leaving Trinidad in November 1985, I only reached neighboring Barbados. Staying with an elderly couple, I prayed to the Lord for a suit and necessary money to reach Canada, for I had only tropical clothing and a few hundred dollars to my name. Both prayers were answered without making my needs known to anyone except the Lord.
From a tropical temperature of 90 degrees, I landed in snow and ice in Canada. After one month in Vancouver, I came to the United States of America. I now trusted that He would take care of my many needs, since I was beginning life anew at 48 years of age, practically penniless, without an alien resident card, without a driver's license, without a recommendation of any kind, having only the Lord and His Word.
I spent six months with a Christian couple on a farm in Washington State. I explained to my hosts that I had left the Roman Catholic Church and that I had accepted Jesus Christ and His Word in the Bible as all-sufficient. I had done this, I said, "absolutely, finally, definitively, and resolutely." Yet far from being impressed by these four adverbs, they wanted to know if there was any bitterness or hurt inside me. In prayer and in great compassion, they ministered to me, for they themselves had made the transition and knew how easily one can become embittered. Four days after I arrived in their home, by God's grace I began to see in repentance the fruit of salvation. This meant being able not only to ask the Lord's pardon for my many years of compromising but also to accept His healing where I had been so deeply hurt. Finally, at age 48, on the authority of God's Word alone, by grace alone, I accepted Christ's substitutionary death on the Cross alone. To Him alone be the glory.
Having been refurbished both physically and spiritually by this Christian couple together with their family, I was provided a wife by the Lord, Lynn, born-again in faith, lovely in manner, intelligent in mind. Together we set out for Atlanta, Georgia, where we both got jobs.
A Real Missionary With A Real Message
In September 1988, we left Atlanta to go as missionaries to Asia. It was a year of deep fruitfulness in the Lord that once I would never have thought was possible. Men and women came to know the authority of the Bible and the power of Christ's death and resurrection. I was amazed at how easy it is for the Lord's grace to be effective when only the Bible is used to present Jesus Christ. This contrasted with the cobwebs of church tradition that had so clouded my 21 years in missionary garments in Trinidad, 21 years without the real message.
To explain the abundant life of which Jesus spoke and which I now enjoy, no better words could be used than those of Romans 8:1-2: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." It is not just that I have been freed from the Roman Catholic system, but that I have become a new creature in Christ. It is by the grace of God, and nothing but His grace, that I have gone from dead works into new life.
Testimony to the Gospel of Grace
Back in 1972, when some Christians had taught me about the Lord healing our bodies, how much more helpful it would have been had they explained to me on what authority our sinful nature is made right with God. The Bible clearly shows that Jesus substituted for us on the cross. I cannot express it better than Isaiah 53:5: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (This means that Christ took on himself what I ought to suffer for my sins. Before the Father, I trust in Jesus as my substitute.)
That was written 750 years before the crucifixion of our Lord. A short time after the sacrifice of the cross, the Bible states in I Peter 2:24: "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
Because we inherited our sin nature from Adam, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. How can we stand before a Holy God -- except in Christ -- and acknowledge that He died where we ought to have died? God gives us the faith to be born again, making it possible for us to acknowledge Christ as our substitute. It was Christ who paid the price for our sins: sinless, yet He was crucified. This is the true Gospel message. Is faith enough? Yes, born-again faith is enough. That faith, born of God, will result in good works including repentance: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).
In repenting, we put aside, through God's strength, our former way of life and our former sins. It does not mean that we cannot sin again, but it does mean that our position before God has changed. We are called children of God, for so indeed we are. If we do sin, it is a relationship problem with the Father which can be resolved, not a problem of losing our position as a child of God in Christ, for this position is irrevocable. In Hebrews 10:10, the Bible says it so wonderfully: "...we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
The finished work of Christ Jesus on the Cross is sufficient and complete. As you trust solely in this finished work, a new life which is born of the Spirit will be yours -- you will be born again.
The Present Day
My present task: the good work that the Lord has prepared for me to do is as an evangelist situated in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.A. What Paul said about his fellow Jews I say about my dearly loved Catholic brothers: my heart's desire and prayer to God for Catholics is that they may be saved. I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based in God's Word but in their church tradition. If you understand the devotion and agony that some of our brothers and sisters in the Philippines and South America have put into their religion, you may understand my heart's cry: "Lord, give us a compassion to understand the pain and torment of the search our brothers and sisters have made to please You. In understanding pain inside the Catholic hearts, we will have the desire to show them the Good News of Christ's finished work on the Cross."
My testimony shows how difficult it was for me as a Catholic to give up Church tradition, but when the Lord demands it in His Word, we must do it. The "form of godliness" that the Roman Catholic Church has makes it most difficult for a Catholic to see where the real problem lies. Everyone must determine by what authority we know truth. Rome claims that it is only by her own authority that truth is known. In her own words, Cannon 212, Section 1, "The Christian faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound by Christian obedience to follow what the sacred pastors, as representatives of Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or determine as leaders of the Church." (Vatican Council II based, Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John-Paul II, 1983).
Yet according to the Bible, it is God's Word itself which is the authority by which truth is known. It was man-made traditions which caused the Reformers to demand "the Bible only, faith only, grace only, in Christ only, and to God only be the glory."
The Reason Why I Share
I share these truths with you now so that you can know God's way of salvation. Our basic fault as Catholics is that we believe that somehow we can of ourselves respond to the help God gives us to be right in His sight. This presupposition that many of us have carried for years is aptly defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) #2021, "Grace is the help God gives us to respond to our vocation of becoming his adopted sons...."
With that mindset, we were unknowingly holding to a teaching that the Bible continually condemns. Such a definition of grace is man's careful fabrication, for the Bible consistently declares that the believer's right standing with God is "without works" (Romans 4:6), "without the deeds of the Law" (Romans 3:28), "not of works" (Ephesians 2:9), "It is the gift of God," (Ephesians 2:8). To attempt to make the believer's response part of his salvation and to look upon grace as "a help" is to flatly deny Biblical truth,
"...if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace..." (Romans 11:6). The simple Biblical message is that "the gift of righteousness" in Christ Jesus is a gift, resting on His all-sufficient sacrifice on the cross, "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17).
So it is as Christ Jesus Himself said, He died in place of the believer, the One for many (Mark 10:45), His life a ransom for many. As He declared, ...this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28). This is also what Peter proclaimed, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God..." (I Peter 3:18).
Paul's preaching is summarized at the end of II Corinthians 5:21, "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.." (II Cor. 5:21).
This fact, dear reader, is presented clearly to you in the Bible. Acceptance of it is now commanded by God, "...Repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15).
The most difficult repentance for us dyed-in-the-wool Catholics is changing our mind from thoughts of "meriting," "earning," "being good enough," simply to accepting with empty hands the gift of righteousness in Christ Jesus. To refuse to accept what God commands is the same sin as that of the religious Jews of Paul's time, "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (Romans 10:3)
Repent and believe the Good News!
A native of Ireland he returned there in 1996 on an evangelistic tour. He now lives in Portland Oregon U.S.A. He teaches a workshop at Multnomah Bible College on "Catholicism in the Light of Biblical Truth." His greatest joy is door-to-door witnessing . He has produced three series of radio broadcasts. A fourth series is about to begin in the Philippines on D.W.T.I. and D.V. R .O. radio stations. He is co-editor of this book and founder of the ministry named "Berean Beacon."
BTW There's no way I can read that all now, but Tertullian is widely acknowledged by us to have gone off the rails.
That's important to me because while he started out good, and even funny, he's kind of like Calvin in his biting wit, and he ends up renouncing anything like what I would call reason.
So I'm not surprised that he thought widows ought not to marry. When people go off the rails they often want others to be as miserable as they are.
The fact is that the early Fathers were mostly heretics!
The only genuine church fathers are the apostles and prophets their writings that were given by divine inspiration and recorded in the Holy Scripture. They gave us the faith ONCE delivered to the saints (Jude 3). The faith they delivered is able to make us perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We dont need anything beyond the Bible. The teaching of the church fathers does not contain one jot or tittle of divine revelation.
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The term church fathers is a misnomer that was derived from the Catholic Churchs false doctrine of hierarchical church polity. These men were not fathers of the church in any scriptural sense and did not have any divine authority. They were merely church leaders from various places who have left a record of their faith in writing. But the Roman Catholic Church exalted men to authority beyond the bounds designated by Scripture, making them fathers over the churches located within entire regions and over the churches of the whole world.
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All of the church fathers were infected with some false doctrine, and most of them were seriously infected. Even the so-called Apostolic Fathers of the second century were teaching the false gospel that baptism, celibacy, and martyrdom provided forgiveness of sin (Howard Vos, Exploring Church History, p. 12). And of the later fathersClement, Origen, Cyril, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, Theodore, and John Chrysostomthe same historian admits: In their lives and teachings we find the seed plot of almost all that arose later. In germ form appear the dogmas of purgatory, transubstantiation, priestly mediation, baptismal regeneration, and the whole sacramental system (Vos, p. 25).
In fact, one of the Post-Nicene fathers is Leo the Great, the first Roman Catholic Pope!
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In fact, one of the Post-Nicene fathers is Leo the Great, the first Roman Catholic Pope!
Therefore, the church fathers are actually the fathers of the Roman Catholic Church. They are the men who laid the foundation of apostasy that produced Romanism and Greek Orthodoxy.
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The New Testament Scriptures warns frequently that there would be an apostasy, a turning from the faith among professing Christians. The apostles and prophets warned said this apostasy had already begun in their day and warned that it would increase as the time of Christs return draws nearer.
Paul testified of this in many places, giving us a glimpse into the vicious assault that was already plaguing the work of God. Consider his last message to the pastors at Ephesus (Acts 20:29-30). Paul warned them that false teachers would come from without and would also arise from within their own ranks. Consider his second epistle to Corinth (2 Cor. 11:1-4, 12-15). The false teachers who were active at Corinth were corrupting three of the cardinal doctrines of the New Testament faith, the doctrine of Christ, Salvation, and the Holy Spirit; and the churches were in danger of being overthrown by these errors. Consider Pauls warnings to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:1-6 and 2 Timothy 3:1-13 and 4:3-4.
Peter devoted the entire second chapter of his second epistle to this theme. He warned in verse one that there would be false teachers who hold damnable heresies, referring to heresies that damn the soul to eternal hell. If someone denies, for example, the Virgin Birth, Deity, Humanity, Sinlessness, Eternality, Atonement, or Resurrection of Jesus Christ he cannot be saved. Heresies pertaining to such matters are damnable heresies. The corruption of the doctrine of Christ results in a false christ.
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Thus the New Testament faith was being attacked on every hand in the days of the apostles by Gnosticism, Judaism, Nicolaitanism, and other heresies.
And the apostles and prophets warned that this apostasy would increase.
Paul said, But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13). This describes the course of the church age in terms of the spread of heresy!
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Further, we only have a very partial record of the early centuries and the surviving writings have been heavily filtered by Rome. The Roman Catholic Church was in power for a full millennium and its Inquisition reached to the farthest corners of Europe and beyond. Rome did everything in its power to destroy the writings of those who differed with her. Consider the Waldenses. These were Bible-believing Christians who lived in northern Italy and southern France and elsewhere during the Dark Ages and were viciously persecuted by Rome for centuries. Though we know that the Waldenses have a history that begins in the 11th century if not before, their historical record was almost completely destroyed by Rome. Only a handful of Waldensian writings were preserved from all of those centuries.
. . .
It is not surprising, therefore, that the extant writings from the early centuries are ones that are sympathetic to Romes doctrines. This does not prove that most of the churches then held to Roman Catholic doctrine. It proves only that those writings sympathetic to Rome were allowed to survive. We know that there were many churches in existence in those early centuries that did not agree with Roman doctrine, because they were persecuted by the Romanists and are mentioned in the writings of the church fathers.
. . .
I forgive you.
You are welcome to scroll by.
The fonts etc. are highly unlikely to change. They help my aging eyes.
Origen is also a complicated figure in the history of the Church. If one had a couple of weeks to spare, he could start with this:
The whole thing is ridiculous because it argues from the conclusion. One possible topic for possible discussion, though is the admiration expressed for the Donatists. But, I need to do some actual work now.
Let's repeat --> You have posted only one pastor's personal views and opinions
these are not facts,
these are not statistics,
these are not even cross-verified observations,
these are personal opinions of some pastor with no backing evidence when he slurs a historical figure
and only statements saying "Oh, this guy in the 1st century practised and preached about infant baptism, but I don't like that, hence the 1st century guy must be wrong"
Ignatius . . .
1. He taught that churches should have elders and a ruling bishop; in other words, he was exalting one bishop over another, whereas in scripture the terms bishop and elder refer to the same humble office in the assembly (Titus 1:5-7).
2. He taught that all churches are a part of one universal church.
3. He claimed that a church does not have authority to baptize or conduct the Lords Supper unless it has a bishop.
These relatively innocent errors helped prepare the way for more error in the next century.
. . .
Tertullian lived in Carthage in North Africa (located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in modern Tunisia, between Libya and Algeria).
1. Though he fought against Gnosticism, he also exalted the authority of the church beyond that allowed by Scripture. He taught that the churchs authority comes through apostolic succession.
2. He believed that the bread of the Lords Supper was Christ and worried about dropping crumbs of it on the ground.
3. He adopted Montanism, believing that Montanus spoke prophecies by inspiration of God.
4. He taught that widows who remarried committed fornication.
5. He taught that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins.
6. He classified sins into three categories and believed in confession of sins to a bishop.
7. He said that the human soul was seen in a vision as tender, light, and of the colour of air. He claimed that all human souls were in Adam and are transmitted to us with the taint of original sin upon them.
8. He taught that there was a time when the Son of God did not exist and when God was not a Father.
9. He taught that Mary was the second Eve who by her obedience remedied the disobedience of the first Eve.
. . .
Following are some of the strange heresies of Origen:
1. He denied the infallible inspiration of Scripture.
2. He rejected the literal history of the early chapters in Genesis and of Satan taking the Lord Jesus up to a high mountain and offering him the kingdoms of the world (Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, Vol. III, p. 614). Durant quotes Origen: Who is so foolish as to believe that God, like a husbandman, planted a garden in Eden, and placed in it a tree of life ... so that one who tasted of the fruit obtained life?
3. He accepted infant baptism.
4. He taught baptismal regeneration and salvation by works. After these points, it is taught also that the soul, having a substance and life proper to itself, shall, after its departure from this world, be rewarded according to its merits. It is destined to obtain either an inheritance of eternal life and blessedness, if its deeds shall have procured this for it, or to be delivered up to eternal fire and punishment, if the guilt of its crimes shall have brought it down to this (Origen, cited by W.A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers).
5. He believed the Holy Spirit was possibly a created being of some sort. In His case [that of the Holy Spirit], however, it is not clearly distinguished whether or not He was born or even whether He is or is not to be regarded as a Son of God (Origen, cited by W.A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers).
6. He believed in a form of purgatory and universalism, denying the literal fire of hell and believing that even Satan would be saved eventually. Now let us see what is meant by the threatening with eternal fire. ... It seems to be indicated by these words that every sinner kindles for himself the flame of his own fire and is not plunged into some fire which was kindled beforehand by someone else or which already existed before him. ... And when this dissolution and tearing asunder of the soul shall have been accomplished by means of the application of fire, no doubt it will afterwards be solidified into a firmer structure and into a restoration of itself (Origen, cited by W.A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers).
7. He believed that mens souls are preexistent and that stars and planets possibly have souls. In regard to the sun, however, and the moon and the stars, as to whether they are living beings or are without life, there is not clear tradition (Origen, cited by W.A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers).
8. He believed that Jesus was a created being and not eternal. He held an aberrant view on the nature of Christ, which gave rise to the later Arian heresy (Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Origen). That Origen believed Jesus Christ had an origin is evident from this statement: Secondly, that Jesus Christ Himself, who came, was born of the Father before all creatures; and after He had ministered to the Father in the creation of all things,for through Him were all things made (Origen, quoted by W.A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers).
9. He denied the bodily resurrection, claiming that the resurrection body is spherical, non-material, and does not have members. He denied the tangible, physical nature of the resurrection body in clear contrast to the teaching of Scripture (Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Origen). He was condemned by the Council of Constantinople on this count.
10. Origen allegorized the Bible saying, The Scriptures have little use to those who understand them literally. In this he was one of the fathers of the heretical amillennial method of prophetic interpretation, which was given further development by Augustine and later adopted by the Roman Catholic Church. This destroyed the apostolic doctrine of the imminency of the return of Christ (Mt. 24:42, 44; 25:13; Mk. 13:33) and the literal Tribulation and Millennial Kingdom. It also did away with a literal fulfillment of Gods promises to Israel and set the stage for the persecution of the Jews by the Roman Catholic Church.
. . .
3. Many of the noted omissions in the modern versions can be traced to this period, including Mark 16:9-20 and John 8:1-11. After intensive investigation, Frederick Nolan concluded that Eusebius suppressed those passages in his edition (Nolan, p. 240). In fact, many textual authorities have identified Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, the manuscripts so revered by modern textual critics, as two of the copies of the Greek New Testament made by Eusebius. These manuscripts also contained the spurious apocryphal writings, Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas. Origen had considered these two uninspired and fanciful books as canonical Scripture (Goodspeed, The Formation of the New Testament, p. 103).
. . .
Modern textual critic Bruce Metzger says that the Greek manuscripts used by Jerome apparently belonged to the Alexandrian type of text (Metzger, The Text of the New Testament, p. 76). This means they were in the same family as those underlying the modern versions. Kenyon and Robinson also affirm this (Kenyon, The Text of the Greek Bible, p. 88; Robinson, Ancient Versions of the English Bible, p. 113).
This means that the Jerome Latin vulgate adopted by Rome represents the same type of text as the critical Greek text underlying the modern versions. These commonly remove God from 1 Timothy 3:16 and contain many other corruptions.
Jerome was deeply infected with false teaching:
1. Jerome followed the false teaching of asceticism, believing the state of celibacy to be spiritually superior to that of marriage, and demanding that church leaders be unmarried. James Heron, author of The Evolution of Latin Christianity, observed that no single individual did so much to make monasticism popular in the higher ranks of society (Heron, 1919, p. 58).
2. Jerome believed in the veneration of holy relics and the bones of dead Christians (Heron, pp. 276, 77).
3. Jerome took a leading and influential part in opening the floodgates for the invocation of saints, teaching distinctly and emphatically that the saints in heaven hear the prayers of men on earth, intercede on their behalf and send them help from above (Heron, pp. 287, 88).
4. Jerome taught that Mary was the counterpart of Eve, as Christ was the counterpart of Adam, and that through her obedience Mary became instrumental in helping to redeem the human race (Heron, p. 294). He also taught that Mary was a perpetual virgin (Heron, pp. 294, 95).
5. Jerome believed in the blessing of water (Heron, p. 306).
6. Jerome justified the death penalty for heretics (Heron, The Evolution of Latin Christianity, p. 323).
As for his spirit and character, Jerome is described, even by a historian who had high respect for him, with these words: such irritability and bitterness of temper, such vehemence of uncontrolled passion, such an intolerant and persecuting spirit, and such inconstancy of conduct (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, III, p. 206).
It is obvious that Jerome had imbibed many of the false teachings and attitudes that eventually became the entrenched dogmas and practices of the Roman Catholic Church.
. . .
Augustine was polluted with many false doctrines and helped lay the foundation for the formation of the Roman Catholic Church. For this reason Rome has honored Augustine as one of the doctors of the church.
1. He was a persecutor and the father of the doctrine of persecution in the Catholic Church.
The historian Neander observed that Augustines teaching contains the germ of the whole system of spiritual despotism, intolerance, and persecution, even to the court of the Inquisition. Augustine instigated persecutions against the Bible-believing Donatists who were striving to maintain pure churches after the apostolic faith. He interpreted Luke 14:23 (compel them to come in) to mean that Christ required the churches to use force against heretics.
2. He was the father of a-millennialism, allegorizing Bible prophecy and teaching that the Catholic Church is the kingdom of God.
3. He taught that the sacraments are the means of saving grace.
4. He was one of the fathers of infant baptism. The council of Mela, in Numidia, A.D. 416, composed of merely fifteen persons and presided over by Augustine, decreed: Also, it is the pleasure of the bishops in order that whoever denies that infants newly born of their mothers, are to be baptized or says that baptism is administered for the remission of their own sins, but not on account of original sin, delivered from Adam, and to be expiated by the laver of regeneration, BE ACCURSED (Wall, The History of Infant Baptism, I, 265). Augustine thus taught that infants should be baptized and that the baptism took away their sin. He called all who rejected infant baptism infidels and cursed.
5. He taught that Mary did not commit sin and promoted her worship. He believed Mary played a vital role in salvation (Augustine, Sermon 289, cited in Durant, The Story of Civilization, 1950, IV, p. 69).
6. He believed in purgatory.
7. He accepted the doctrine of celibacy for priests, supporting the decree of Pope Siricius of 387 that ordered that any priest that married or refused to separate from his wife should be disciplined.
8. He exalted the authority of the church over that of the Bible, declaring, I should not believe the gospel unless I were moved to do so by the authority of the Catholic Church (quoted by John Paul II, Augustineum Hyponensem, Apostolic Letter, Aug. 28, 1986, www.cin.org/jp2.ency/augustin.html).
9. He believed that the true interpretation of Scripture was derived from the declaration of church councils (Augustine, De Vera Religione, xxiv, p. 45).
10. He interpreted the early chapters of Genesis figuratively (Dave Hunt, Calvin and Augustine: Two Jonahs Who Sink the Ship, Debating Calvinism: Five Points, Two Views by Dave Hunt and James White, 2004, p. 230).
11. He taught that God has pre-ordained some for salvation and others for damnation and that the grace of God is irresistible for the true elect. By his own admission, John Calvin in the 16th century derived his TULIP theology on the sovereignty of God from Augustine. Calvin said: If I were inclined to compile a whole volume from Augustine, I could easily show my readers, that I need no words but his (Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, chap. 22).
12. He taught the heresy of apostolic succession from Peter (Hunt, ibid., p. 230).
John Chrysostom (347-407)
Chrysostom was a leader in Antioch, in the Greek part of the Catholic church of that day, and became patriarch of Constantinople in 398.
1. He believed in the real presence of the mass, that the bread literally becomes Jesus Christ.
2. He taught that church tradition can be equal in authority to the Scriptures.
Cyril was the patriarch of Alexandria and supported many of the errors that led to the formation of the Catholic Church.
1. He promoted the veneration of Mary and called her the Theotokos, or bearer of God.
2. In 412, Cyril instigated persecution against the Donatist Christians.
A WARNING OF THE POWER OF THE CHURCH FATHERS TO LEAD TO ROME
You have to read your own posts to know what you have posted? All righty then.
This is an excellent example of the lack of objectivity and standards in the anti-Catholic apologetics. When one accepts as credible an indictment of "all of the "Church Fathers" by a marginal professor at an insignificant institution nothing more need be said about your case. It failed to show up.
A mishmash of stuff thrown out there in the hope that something would stick to the wall.
So let’s ask another question — does your pastor actually support the Donatists?
So what other Church did you think they were the fathers of?
I expected better from boatbums, but there was no counter proof given anywhere in her long post, it was only personal opinions of some pastor with no backing evidence when he slurs a historical figure and all the pastor said was “Oh, this guy in the 1st century practised and preached about infant baptism, but I in the 21st century don’t like that, hence the 1st century guy must be wrong”
And from such you should see that there is a need for an earthly authority, which is the pope in communion with the bishops under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Do you believe everything thing proposed or written by a Protestant theologian? Do you accept everything as truth simply because it was written by someone who had written a truth you felt was provable on at least one occasion?
The Church does not make up out of whole cloth doctrines of faith. It first sifts through such theology testing each written word against Scripture and Tradition and accepts or rejects through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
As there is only one God, there is also only one truth. As God is infinite, so too is truth. But just as God is definitive so too is truth.
Imagine if the Church just accepted all the theological posits of its members as truth. It would have to redefine itself minute by minute. Chaos would result.
Well, I don’t have to imagine, this is a reality called Protestantism.
You might as well just post a simple “EVIL!!!” to every Catholic’s post. It will save you a lot of time and energy. Just have it ready in your reply box and hit the post button every time a Catholic submits a post here. You could use the giant size font and make it bright red to emphasize the evil and scary Catholic teachings.
Good point JV —> bb, why do you accept this pastor’s version of truth without any cross-verification or proof?
Cronos, all Protestantism is opinion.
Declaring as heresy that which they do not accept is itself an opinion as they have no authority in which to fall upon.
This is why they have such a diverse number of sects which are loosely based on similar beliefs, but differentiated by the practices(traditions) to which they adhere.
Scripture is valid only in so far as it disproves Catholicism.
I am confident that her spiritual gifts and blessings are from God.
Thank you for pinging me to this sidebar, dear brother in Christ!
THANK YOU Reggie, for that. It seems the Scripture’s PLAIN wording isn’t enough. How hard can it be to read what the word says? Unless you don’t LIKE what it says. Then what to do? I guess one can always start a religion, based not on what God’s Word says but traditions that say something very different...
Of course it isn't or God would not have added to the revealed Word of God through Apostolic tradition and subsequent revelation.
To attempt to comprehend the entire revealed Word of God from Scripture alone is like trying to play solitaire with an incomplete deck.
THANKS FOR YOUR KIND REPLY.
A laughable declaration considering that the Catholic church predates the written New Testament. Also, considering that the “plain language” of John’s discourse on the Bread of Life are rejected by protestants.
No where in Scripture is God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit referred to as the Holy Trinity and yet Truth as defined by that very Church founded before the canon of Scripture.
THANK YOU Reggie, for that. It seems the Scriptures PLAIN wording isnt enough. How hard can it be to read what the word says? Unless you dont LIKE what it says. Then what to do? I guess one can always start a religion, based not on what Gods Word says but traditions that say something very different...
SOP—STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE
HIERARCHICAL, BUREAUCRATIC, POLITICAL, MAGICSTERICAL, ELITE POWER-MONGERING LED RELIGIOUIS HUMAN organizations.
Why did He ask him three times? It couldn't possible be because Jesus knew Simon would deny Hime three times, could it?
Well, the disciples who heard these words from Jesus but rejected them as too hard to accept had to go somewhere.
So not just the Catholics, but the Calvinists get led astray by the heretical church fathers? By the heretic Augustine?
What a hoot!
In fairness, many Protestants (traditional Anglicans and Lutherans) DO accept the Real Presence (though their beliefs are somewhat different from ours). However, the fringe Protestant groups that are only significant in their own minds think they somehow speak for all Protestants.
Yes, actually +Augustine does call Peter Petrus (=Rock in Latin). What do Unitarians call Peter?
An example of "Plain Wording"?
No religion more influenced with paganism than the Catholic Church. But you already know this.
Imagine if the Church just accepted the Word of God as its final authority. No doctrines of fallen man, no traditions based on years of feel-good nothingness. And no one between themselves and God but Jesus Christ, the ONE MEDIATOR between God and man.
Imagine if there was One body, and One Spirit, even as ye are called in One hope of your calling. One Lord, One faith, One baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. “(Eph. 4:4-6).
Imagine if there was ONE gospel that saves. “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8,9).
Imagine if there was a group of people called saints, and they were made up of all living and dead saved believers. And not some elitist group that fallen men have decided to label and VENERATE as saints.
Imagine if there were no group of people on earth claiming they alone hold the keys to the kingdom and no one is saved outside their Church.
Imagine if God’s Word was studied, rightly divided, so as to be an approved workman of God that needeth not to be ashamed. Imagine being able to do this without running to a Church for the “correct understanding” of God’s Word.
Imagine having the Holy Spirit guiding you in all truth and not councils, and meetings, and dogma and doctrines of men and traditions that could or could not be the same day to day, depending on who is in charge.
Imagine being able to rest in the Finished Work of Christ instead of not knowing if you’ll ‘make it’ or not in the end.
You seem to think there is no chaos in your Church. Look behind the pretty curtains. It’s a MESS.
I was thinking more like the chuck-a-luck tables at the latest bazaar. :-)
Yes, I was thinking in terms of the fundamentalists, and should have clarified that rather than using the broad term “protestant”.
Thanks for reminding me of that.
At this point in Scripture, Peter had already denied Jesus.
And so thrice, Jesus asks him so that he may be redeemed for each time he had made that denial.
There has been chaos and dissent since the beginning.
But, there is only one declared truth and all the chaos and dissent is brought about by individuals exercising their free will and thought to deny or reject that truth.
The Barque of Peter is constantly being tossed about by the winds and storms of falsehoods and wild waves of personal interpretation of Scripture.
That is why the papacy and the councils of all the bishops is so important.
I noticed the *marketing* that uses the info ‘you’ provide in the very first week I was on there and proceeded to omit most of it.
It does need to be searchable in order to perform as advertised.
Actually, the religion is influenced by culture, just as Judaism was before it. But before you high five the rest of your hallelujah posse ask yourself why God chose the Roman Empire as the incubator for His Church.
Look at you! With each post you and your fellow believers roll up your carts. laden completely down with your doctrines, creeds, dogmas, traditions, etc. I can almost hear the wheels squeaking and threatening to collapse under the weight of your beliefs. Which you need ALL of them, in order to make One point with Each post. And here we stand, one bible each, every day, giving you scripture and showing you the futileness of your “points”. I would say it’s almost unfair. Except for the fact that you choose to pull that cart around like it’s some kind of ‘cart of knowledge’.
You-hu-hoo may sayyyyy I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.......I hope some dayayay you'll join us, and the world will be one.......