The Bible out of Context

by Steve Ray on May 3, 2014

When reading the Bible devoid of its historical and textual context, there is no context except the context which any person might supply for it.

or put otherwise,

A text without a context is a pretext.

I always get frustrated when self-proclaimed Bible students or teachers start pontificating about the meaning of the Bible and theology without a clue what they are talking about or what the Bible is talking about. We had a classic example of this in our family this week. A Fundamentalist condemned us Catholics for emphasizing the need for good works (cp. James 2:24) using verses like Romans 3:28 that says, “For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.”

IMGP0964.JPGWith great ignorance the Fundamentalist said “This verse proves you Catholics wrong. We are saved by faith alone and not by good works.”

Such blithering nonsense has nothing to do with Romans 3:28 — which is not a Catholic-Protestant debate but a Jewish-Gentile debate. But in an argument like this the Fundamentalist ignores the historical and textual context. He uses the Bible verse as a club–as a proof-text to promote his Fundamentalist traditions of men. He creates his OWN context to the detriment of the historical and textual context. It is his argument to trip up Catholics who are not well catechized in their faith.

In Romans and Galatians (and Acts 15) this is the argument: Can an uncircumcized Gentile become Christian (follower of the Jesus the JEWISH Messiah) without first becooming a Jew by being circumcized and obeying all the Laws of Moses and regulations of the Pharisees?

circumcision.gif“Works of the Law” is a technical term. It refers to those actions that made Jews distinct from the Gentiles. Paul says we are not justified by “works of the Law” or Mosaic circumcision and prescribing to all the 613 laws of Moses, but rather by faith.

This is how the Catholic Church understands the New Testament and why the Fundamentalist who takes verses out of their context plays the fool and twists the Scriptures to their own confusion and the confusion of all those who are foolish enough to listen to them.

For more on this read my earlier blogs “Flint Knives and the Gospel” and “St. Paul Did Not Write to Us.”

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah November 13, 2009 at 9:21 AM

Very interesting. As one who grew up in an Evangelical/Fundamentalist home, this was certainly one of the arguments against Catholicism (Mary, praying to Saints, purgatory, etc., etc. were the others :) and it is still one I come across frequently as a convert to Catholicism within my (still not Catholic) family.

About this same topic – some fringe relatives are becoming more and more involved in celebrating Jewish holidays and feasts as Christians (I know celebrating Passover and having a Seder have become relatively common, but this is celebrating Rosh Hashanah) and stating that “they have not yet been fulfilled so they feel obligated to celebrate them and they feel terrible they never realized it before.” basically. They’re also subscribing to magazines like “Israel, My Glory.” I would love to get your viewpoint on this. I am certainly pro-Israel, but am a little dumbfounded by these claims. I’ve tried to encourage them to consider Christian feasts that celebrate the same things or prepare them for Christian feasts (like Advent, for Christmas, or even the Embertides, since the Autumn Embertide falls at about the same time as Rosh Hashannah) but was met with statements that they were man-made and basically abominations.

Nice.

So, I’d love your insight on a Biblical, Catholic viewpoint of this situation! At the moment, I’m just keeping my mouth shut because I’m not enough of a Biblical scholar (especially of the Old Testament) to argue my point with them. Neither of us would get anywhere but frustrated.

Thank you so much for all you do (my husband and I are big fans of your show on EWTN and I often listen to you on the radio) – it’s always a joy!

Best,
Sarah

Anil Wang October 4, 2012 at 7:42 AM

I’ve been thinking about this issue for a while.

Assuming that the Fundamentalist is honest, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Fundamentalist that takes Bible passages out of context must believe that it must be consistent with “the general sense of scripture” or “his reading of scripture”. That’s Martin Luther’s excuse for adding “only” to Romans 3:28 so it would read that man is justified by faith alone and it is consistent with how fundamentalists repeatedly read all passages related to faith as proving faith alone. In Martin Luther’s case, he readily admitted that he was struggling with sexual temptations and he was looking for a way out of hell (since he assumed temptation was a sin), so he was vulnerable to misreading scripture to find that escape hatch. But most people (Catholic or Protestant) first learn the tradition handed down by their parents and Churches, then read the Bible using the hermeutics handed down by their traditions. Few people become Christian by picking up the Bible and start reading, and if they try, they have to have some help since it gets pretty tedious in some books of the Pentateuch .

Louie the Lip October 6, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Peter J. Rubinstein
Senior Rabbi
Central Synagogue
652 Lexington Avenue
55th Street,
New York City
New York
USA.

Shalom Rabbi,

Don’t you think we’ve got chutzpah calling Christians anti-Semitic, when they criticize Talmudic Judaism? When was the last time you looked at the things that are written about Jesus of Nazareth in the Babylonian Talmud? Well, just in case you haven’t, I have gone to the bother and you can read all about it at your leisure.

Louie

QUESTION: Is Judaism based on the Old Testament Scriptures?
ANSWER: No. By the time of Christ, Judaism was based on the “Oral Law.” The New Testament speaks of this as the “traditions of the elders.” Jesus Christ denounced and condemned the “traditions of the elders” in the Gospel of John Chapter 5 and in the Gospel of Mark Chapter 7.
After the Jewish leadership crucified Jesus Christ, and their subsequent killings and persecution of Christians throughout the Roman world, the rabbis committed to writing the “traditions of the elders” which formed the first part of the Talmud called the Mishnah.
This occurred in Babylon toward the end of the second century A.D. All subsequent books of the Talmud were composed in Babylon from the third century until the end of the sixth century A.D.
Q. Is then Judaism based on the Talmud and not on the Bible?
A. The hermeneutic system of Judaism is not based on the Bible but on the Talmud. This must be understood when dealing with the rabbis and their submissive flock. Judaism, though much in vogue with Evangelicals and Roman Catholics, is totally alien to the only Biblical religion on earth today, Christianity.
Q. You said above that Jesus Christ denounced the traditions of the elders? How so?
A. The rabbis teach that the revelation granted to Moses had been delivered in two forms, a smaller revelation in writing, and the larger one kept oral.
The rabbis claim that the so-called “oral revelation” had been transmitted by the leaders of each generation to their successors—by Moses to Joshua; and then to the elders; to the prophets; to the men of the Sanhedrin; to the leaders of the Pharisees; and finally to the earliest rabbis who saw themselves as heirs of the Pharisees.
This supposed transmission of the Oral Law, the “tradition of the elders,” was challenged by Jesus who termed it “commandments of men which nullify the Word of God.”
Thus Jesus made the tale of the transmission a fraud. It is a lie concocted in hell to claim that Moses issued two sets of law, one written and public – the other oral and secret. In the entire Bible there is nothing to support this imposture.

Q. So the oral tradition of the Jews is not consonant with the Old Testament?
A. Not at all. The spurious claim of an oral “tradition of the elders” bequeathed by God to Moses is anti-Biblical, just as Jesus asserted.
Christ very simply illuminated the fact that if the Pharisaic tradition had indeed been from Moses, then they would have become Christians. For Christ rebuked them saying, “Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?”
Here Jesus annihilated in one stroke the basis for the religion of Judaism and its conceit of an oral tradition given to it by Moses. For had such a tradition existed it would have testified of Jesus the Messiah. Instead, Christ tells them point blank that they do not follow Moses!
Q. When speaking of the centrality of the Talmud in Judaism, you refer to the “rabbis and their submissive flock.” How then does the Jewish secularist figure into this submissive flock?
A. All of those within the polity of Judaism, even the Jewish secularist, give tacit allegiance to the rabbis. How often have we heard from any of them when challenged with the Messiahship of Jesus, this response: But the rabbis do not believe in Jesus!
Well of course they do not believe! How could they? For as Jesus stated in his reproof to the Pharisees, their tradition is a denial of what Moses wrote about the coming of the Messiah in the Person of Jesus Christ. Moreover, as regards the Jewish secularist, he exhibits the same chauvinism and racism as the Talmudists.
Q. With the Talmud being the basis of Judaism, how then does one bring the Gospel message to the rabbis and their followers?
A. When presenting Old Testament proofs of the Messiahship of Jesus to the rabbis and their followers – one must penetrate the iron-clad grid of the Talmudic mind-set which according to Christ’s assertion makes the Scriptures of none effect.
From the outset, the Christian must realize that the rabbis and their followers do not know their own Scriptures, and for that matter, do not care to know them. For they view the Talmud as superceding the Scriptures. Much patience is required when bringing the Gospel message to them, and perhaps at times, stern reproofs are necessary.

Q. What do you mean by saying that the Jewish secularist exhibits the same chauvinism and racism as believers in the Talmud?
A. The main tenet of Judaism is Jewish self-worship. Judaism has as its “god,” not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but the worship of the Jewish people.
Jewish self-worship is at the core of the Talmud. The secularist amongst them shares in this self-worship. For the Talmud teaches that the Gentile is a lower form of humanity. They all believe that they have this special-ness about them, believing the myth that they, not the Christians, are the “chosen people.”
Coupled with the false notion that they are the “chosen people” – regardless of their unethical conduct, their gross distortions of the God of the Bible, their unbelief, their hatred of Biblical Christian culture, (which has afforded them asylum in Christian nations), and their persistent rejection of Jesus the Messiah – the Talmud teaches that those within Judaism are of a higher form of humanity than others. For they pray both in the synagogue and in their homes, “I thank Thee O God that Thou has not made me a Gentile.”
Q. You say that the Talmud has made the Scriptures of none effect. How so?
A. In the Gospel of Mark Chapter 7, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees saying, “You make the Word of God of none effect by your tradition that you have handed down.” There is little in the Talmud which refers to Old Testament Scriptures – but rather, teachings that are contrary to the Scriptures.
The Talmud teaches that a Jew may *kill, **steal, and ***lie to non-Jews with impunity -yet all of these actions are in violation of the 6th, 7th, and 9th commandments of Moses. Here is but one example of the Oral Law making the Word of God “of none effect.” [*Tractates Sanhedrin 58b; **Baba Mezia 24a; **Sanhedrin 57a; ***Baba Kama 113a]
There is also the Talmudic nullification of the sin of King David, by which sin, Christians have learned to shun the sins of adultery and hostility, reciting the penitent words of King David in Psalm 51. But the religion of Judaism will have none of this! For the Talmud states: “whosoever says King David sinned is mistaken.”
According to the Talmud the practice in those days for men going to war was to give their wives conditional divorces. The Talmud states that Bathsheba was no longer married and hence decrees that King David did not sin.
What the rabbis are actually saying is that it is God who is mistaken–yet the Word of God clearly declares that David sinned by killing Uriah the Hittite and committing adultery with his wife: “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house because thou hast despised Me and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.” (II Samuel 12)

Q. Is it true that the Talmud blasphemes Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary?
A. The Talmud indeed blasphemes Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. Tractate Sanhedrin 106a says that Jesus’ mother was a harlot: “She who was a descendant of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters.” Also in Tractate Shabbath 104b of the Talmud, it is stated: “Miriam the hairdresser had sex with many men.”
As regard the Talmud’s treatment of Jesus Christ, Tractates Sanhedrin 107b and Sotah 47a say: “Jesus was sexually immoral, worshipped statues of stone and brick, was cut off from the Jewish people for his wickedness, and refused to repent.” And even a more vile blasphemy is written in Tractate Gitten 57: “Jesus is in hell, being boiled in hot excrement.”
Q. What attitude then should Christians take towards Judaism?
A. Christians must understand that the religion of Judaism is anti-Biblical. The true religion of the God of Israel is Christianity not Judaism. Judaism is simply a perversion of God’s original revelation to the Hebrew nation–it is the very religion of nullification of the Old Testament.
Now what fellowship has light with darkness? What fellowship has Christ with Belial? What fellowship has the true worship of God with idols and “Judaism’s strange gods?” None!

alan almeida October 6, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Doesn’t the Roman Catholic church takes verses out of context and teaches that its Baptism that saves when its not the whole truth? Verses taken our of context become pretext and prime candidates for breeding heresies.

Erick Ybarra October 6, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Hello everyone,

I am new to this site, so I just want to quickly introduce myself. I was raised Catholic, became a protestant evangelical as an adult, was trained in theology from the camps of the modern reformed baptists such as D.A. Carson, Douglas Moo, R.C. Sproul, John Macarthur, etc,etc.

I am very eager now, having learned much about history, to join the Catholic Church. However, there are many road blocks. I’ve read many books by Catholic apoologists and have found many arguments unconvincing. Obviously the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is true. There is no contest to that.

However, with respect to the doctrine of justification, I am afraid that your friend there had it right. However, I think he is wrong to downplay the necessity of works in the Christian life. Every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

That being said, if you read through St. John Chrysostom on Romans, you will no doubt see that he believed in justification by faith alone because of God’s mercy and righteousness which comes to the sinner because of the death and resurrection of jesus Christ. Consider the following quote on Romans 4:1-2

What shall we then say that Abraham, our father as pertaining to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory; but not before God.

He had said (5 manuscripts ?????), that the world had become guilty before God, and that all had sinned, and that boasting was excluded and that it was impossible to be saved otherwise than by faith. He is now intent upon showing that this salvation, so far from being matter of shame, was even the cause of a bright glory, and a greater than that through works. For since the being saved, yet with shame, had somewhat of dejection in it, he next takes away this suspicion too. And indeed he has hinted at the same already, by calling it not barely salvation, but righteousness. Therein (he says) is the righteousness of God revealed. Romans 1:17 For he that is saved as a righteous man has a confidence accompanying his salvation. And he calls it not righteousness only, but also the setting forth of the righteousness of God. But God is set forth in things which are glorious and shining, and great. However, he nevertheless draws support for this from what he is at present upon, and carries his discourse forward by the method of question. And this he is always in the habit of doing both for clearness sake, and for the sake of confidence in what is said. Above, for instance, he did it, where he says, What advantage then has the Jew? Romans 3:1 and, What then have we more than they? Romans 3:9 and again, where then is boasting? It is excluded Romans 3:27: and here, what then shall we say that Abraham our father? etc. Now since the Jews kept turning over and over the fact, that the Patriarch, and friend of God, was the first to receive circumcision, he wishes to show, that it was by faith that he too was justified. And this was quite a vantage ground to insist upon (????????? ????? ??????). For for a person who had no works, to be justified by faith, was nothing unlikely. But for a person richly adorned with good deeds, not to be made just from hence, but from faith, this is the thing to cause wonder, and to set the power of faith in a strong light. And this is why he passes by all the others, and leads his discourse back to this man. And he calls him father, as pertaining to the flesh, to throw them out of the genuine relationship (?????????? ???????) to him, and to pave the Gentiles’ way to kinsmanship with him. And then he says, For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory: but not before God. After saying that God justified the circumcision by faith and the uncircumcision through faith, and making the same sufficiently sure in what he said before, he now proves it by Abraham more clearly than he promised, and pitches the battle for faith against works, and makes this ……”

Notice how St. John recognizes that Abraham was adorned with many good works at the time of his justification, and yet St. John recognizes that they had no justifying power, but only faith. This right here is very early testimony and source of communion of the protestant doctrine of justification. This is one that Catholics just have not gotten right.

Bill912 October 7, 2012 at 6:32 AM

Alan Almeida, would you care to elaborate, so we can better understand your meaning?

Erick Ybarra October 7, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Yes, Im sorry.

That was a quote from St. John Chrysostom on justification. It seems from St. John Chrysostom that we are justified by faith alone. For he believes that Abraham was justified by faith, apart from any works that Abraham had. In other words, he recognized that Abraham had many works at the time, but that they had no justifying power in God’s sight.

alan almeida October 8, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Bill912, Yes I can elaborate, But first let me see what you understand about baptism as taught in the Catechism and its relation to the baptism in the New Testament. Is baptism, the only Christian Initiation requirement?

Bill912 October 9, 2012 at 6:25 AM

“Yes, I can elaborate…”

But you declined to do so. Nice attempt to change the subject, though.

Julie October 9, 2012 at 7:19 AM

Erick, I am so excited for you! And I hope you continue to investigate. You have come to a good place. Steve is so very knowledgeable about the Catholic faith. Christ be with you on your journey.

alan almeida October 9, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Hello Bill912, Here goes…
As a base example, Let’s take the teaching of the CCC #1215 that relies on Titus 3:5 and John 3:5 and lets us see why these verses have been taken out of context.

First and foremost Titus is an epistle letter, and unlike other epistles, were written to people who were already Christians (believers). And so we cannot lead un-believers into Christian initiation thru any of the the Epsitles. By Christian initiation, I mean “How to become a Christian”, “How to enter the Kingdom of heaven on earth, “How to begin the Christian life”, “How to be born Again”.

Now we are left with John 3:5 – the Gospel. We see that John the Baptist preached the “Baptism of Repentance”. During the period covering the Gospels, people were baptized with John’s Baptism after producing “fruits of repentance” – Mathew 3:7-9. In other words, people who came to John’s Baptism after believing, were made disciples, first John 4:1 (showing fruits of repentance), and then they were baptized subsequently. Unlike in the Roman Catholic Church its totally topsy-turvy and therefore not compatible with New Testament Baptism.

Also those people baptized during the period covering Gospels, had to be re-baptized again. I can elaborate more, but i’ll keep it for next time should the need arise

alan almeida October 9, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Erratta ###

Hi Steve,
My post above, 2nd last paragraph – scripture reference needs to be shown as John 4:1 and not first John 4:1.
Thanks.. Alan Almeida

The Sarge October 9, 2012 at 3:15 PM

“…Titus is an epistle letter, and unlike other epistles, were written to people who were already Christian…”
ALL of the epistles were written for people who were already Christian; non-Christians had no reason to read or accept them.

Alan Almeida: You show no evidence that you have any understanding whatsoever of the Catholic doctrines about Baptism. Perhaps some research on your part would help you to understand and explain what you are talking about.

De Maria October 20, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Hi Louie,
I am a devout Catholic. I disagree with your claim that the tradition of the Jews disagreed with the Old Testament Bible. Your logic is flawed and your interpretation about what Jesus said is simply wrong.

First of all, the only part of the Old Testament that was written by God was the Ten Commandments which He wrote in His own hand, on a stone.

The rest were transmitted by word FIRST and then were written down, much later. If you read the text in context, you see that some of the writings attributed to Moses could not have been written by Moses since they were writing about the time when he died.

Deuteronomy 34:7
And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

Therefore, except for the Ten Commandments, the rest of the Old Testament was first taught by word, handed down in tradition and then written down. And it was taught by Word and by Scripture through the centuries. Simultaneously. Just as the Catholic Church continues to do so today.

Leviticus 10:10-12
King James Version (KJV)
10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;
11 And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.
12 And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy:

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria October 20, 2012 at 10:29 PM

I hope this doesn’t post more than once. Having a bit of trouble with the wifi at this hotel.

Hi Sarah,

You said:
Sarah November 13, 2009 at 9:21 AM
Very interesting. As one who grew up in an Evangelical/Fundamentalist home, this was certainly one of the arguments against Catholicism (Mary, praying to Saints, purgatory, etc., etc. were the others :) and it is still one I come across frequently as a convert to Catholicism within my (still not Catholic) family.

Hm? I guess I missed the reference. How do good works argue against communion with the members of the Body of Christ?

About this same topic – some fringe relatives are becoming more and more involved in celebrating Jewish holidays and feasts as Christians (I know celebrating Passover and having a Seder have become relatively common, but this is celebrating Rosh Hashanah) and stating that “they have not yet been fulfilled so they feel obligated to celebrate them and they feel terrible they never realized it before.” basically. They’re also subscribing to magazines like “Israel, My Glory.” I would love to get your viewpoint on this.

I have no opinion on that score. I’m not familiar with those magazines.

I am certainly pro-Israel, but am a little dumbfounded by these claims. I’ve tried to encourage them to consider Christian feasts that celebrate the same things or prepare them for Christian feasts (like Advent, for Christmas, or even the Embertides, since the Autumn Embertide falls at about the same time as Rosh Hashannah) but was met with statements that they were man-made and basically abominations.

That’s a different story. I don’t know how Advent and Embertides could be considered abominations, since they are seasons of the year which the Church has set aside for us to focus on God and doing His will. Christian feasts are all based upon the life of Jesus Christ and are a fulfillment of the feasts of the Old Testament. If any sin is being committed it is by those who sacrilegiously call Christian feasts abominations.

Nice.

So, I’d love your insight on a Biblical, Catholic viewpoint of this situation! At the moment, I’m just keeping my mouth shut because I’m not enough of a Biblical scholar (especially of the Old Testament) to argue my point with them. Neither of us would get anywhere but frustrated.

Well, from a Biblical vantage point, these feasts of the Old Testament are foreshadowings of the life of Christ. They point to Him. The clearest one, is of course, the Passover. Jesus, the Lamb of God, is sacrificed for our sins. We eat His flesh and are saved to eternal life.

Is this the type of information you are seeking?

Thank you so much for all you do (my husband and I are big fans of your show on EWTN and I often listen to you on the radio) – it’s always a joy!

I’m a big fan myself. I hope my response helped a bit.

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria October 21, 2012 at 9:49 PM

Anil,

Your explanation of how a man learns his faith makes a great deal of sense. Most of us are not, to my knowledge, blessed in the womb as St. John was when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. We learn our faith as we see it practiced and explained by those we love and in whom we have faith. Therefore, those people who claim that our faith must be gleaned by studying the Bible alone, are wrong. And if that is the meaning of the doctrine of Scripture alone, then it is false on that basis as well.

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria October 21, 2012 at 9:58 PM

Hi alan almeida,
You said:

Doesn’t the Roman Catholic church takes verses out of context

No.

and teaches that its Baptism that saves when its not the whole truth?

It does not seem intentional, but that is a loaded question. It insinuates that a partial truth is somehow wrong. But it isn’t A partial truth is wrong if mixed with a lie. But a partial truth which simply leaves out other details is not a lie. For instance, a person can say that he lives in Texas and although that is only part of the story, there is no sin. The fact that he only lives their one half of the year, is another detail which does not make the first detail false.

It is true that Baptism saves. It is also true that anyone who is baptized and then falls away from the faith and from the grace of God, that person may lose his salvation:
1 Timothy 1:19
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

2 Peter 2:22
But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Verses taken our of context become pretext and prime candidates for breeding heresies.

I agree with you. But the Catholic Church teaches the fullness of truth. It is Protestants which teach heresies.

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria October 21, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Hi Erick Ybarra,

You said,
Hello everyone,

Hi,

I am new to this site, so I just want to quickly introduce myself. I was raised Catholic, became a protestant evangelical as an adult, was trained in theology from the camps of the modern reformed baptists such as D.A. Carson, Douglas Moo, R.C. Sproul, John Macarthur, etc,etc.

I am very eager now, having learned much about history, to join the Catholic Church. However, there are many road blocks. I’ve read many books by Catholic apoologists and have found many arguments unconvincing. Obviously the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is true. There is no contest to that.

Good for you! It is good that you have not checked your brain at the door of Protestant heresy and are considering the teachings of the Catholic Church. I hope I can be of service in providing answers to your questions.

However, with respect to the doctrine of justification, I am afraid that your friend there had it right.
No, he is wrong. We are not justified by faith alone.
1. Faith alone DIRECTLY contradicts Scripture:
James 2:24
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

2. Scripture EXPLICITLY teaches that we are justified by faith and works:
Romans 2:13
King James Version (KJV)
13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

In that verse, faith is assumed, since the fruit of faith is works.
James 2:21
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

3. Protestants misunderstand the Sacramental teachings of St. Paul and attribute to them the idea of faith “alone”. But St. Paul is simply stating the Catholic Truth that no one is justified by works. For a more complete unpacking of these explanations, please see these articles.
Manner of Speaking

Justification by faith and the Sacraments

However, I think he is wrong to downplay the necessity of works in the Christian life. Every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Agreed.

That being said, if you read through St. John Chrysostom on Romans, you will no doubt see that he believed in justification by faith alone because of God’s mercy and righteousness which comes to the sinner because of the death and resurrection of jesus Christ. Consider the following quote on Romans 4:1-2

Nope. Justification by faith “alone” means one thing to Protestants and another to ancient Christians.

Protestants deny the validity of the Ten Commandments. Whereas the ancient Christians all understood that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of the Christian faith.

A man who does not keep the Ten Commandments can not be justified. Only those who keep the Ten Commandments are justified without works, in the Sacraments of Jesus Christ.

A man who does not keep the Ten Commandments can not be saved. Only those who keep the Ten Commandments are saved by God on the day of Judgement.

What shall we then say that Abraham, our father as pertaining to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory; but not before God.

Here he quotes Scripture. This is a Sacramental teaching of St. Paul. We don’t save ourselves by our works. It certainly doesn’t mean that Abraham didn’t work. St. James proves that and Scripture doesn’t contradict itself.

He had said (5 manuscripts ?????), that the world had become guilty before God, and that all had sinned, and that boasting was excluded and that it was impossible to be saved otherwise than by faith.

Because to an ancient Christian, meaning to say, to an ancient Catholic, because we believe the same thing today that they did back then, faith implies works. Scripture is clear:
James 2:14
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

He is now intent upon showing that this salvation, so far from being matter of shame, was even the cause of a bright glory, and a greater than that through works. For since the being saved, yet with shame, had somewhat of dejection in it, he next takes away this suspicion too. And indeed he has hinted at the same already, by calling it not barely salvation, but righteousness. Therein (he says) is the righteousness of God revealed. Romans 1:17 For he that is saved as a righteous man has a confidence accompanying his salvation.

That right there is the key to understanding this teaching. How is righteousness achieved? Is it achieved by “claiming to be faithful”? Or by keeping the Commandments?

Now, you’re going to say, “there were no commandments when Abraham lived.” But Scripture would prove you wrong:
Genesis 26:5
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

And he calls it not righteousness only, but also the setting forth of the righteousness of God. But God is set forth in things which are glorious and shining, and great. However, he nevertheless draws support for this from what he is at present upon, and carries his discourse forward by the method of question. And this he is always in the habit of doing both for clearness sake, and for the sake of confidence in what is said. Above, for instance, he did it, where he says, What advantage then has the Jew? Romans 3:1 and, What then have we more than they? Romans 3:9 and again, where then is boasting? It is excluded Romans 3:27: and here, what then shall we say that Abraham our father? etc. Now since the Jews kept turning over and over the fact, that the Patriarch, and friend of God, was the first to receive circumcision, he wishes to show, that it was by faith that he too was justified. And this was quite a vantage ground to insist upon (????????? ????? ??????).

In other words, the Jews thought that Abraham was justified by circumcision. But St. Paul proves that Abraham is justified by his faith. St. John knows, as does the Church and all Catholics, that this faith was proven in works. Read Heb 11 and read Gen 12-22. They show that Abraham obeyed God’s voice over and over again. Abraham proved his faith and in Gen 22, God fulfilled the promise spoken in Gen 15:6:

Confused? Please read this:
James 2:21-23
King James Version (KJV)
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

For for a person who had no works, to be justified by faith, was nothing unlikely.

There are so many negatives here that the sense is confusing. I think he is saying that it is not possible that a man without any works will be justified by faith.

But for a person richly adorned with good deeds, not to be made just from hence, but from faith, this is the thing to cause wonder, and to set the power of faith in a strong light.

But here, he is expressing the Catholic teaching and wondering about it. The man who keeps the Commandments is not justified thereby. He is justified by the faith he has exercised in so doing. It is because of his faith that he keeps the Commandments:
Romans 4:18-20
King James Version (KJV)
18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:
20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

Not being weak in faith, he joined to his wife and produced his son. Even though his body was almost dead and Sarah had never conceived in almost 100 years.

And this is why he passes by all the others, and leads his discourse back to this man. And he calls him father, as pertaining to the flesh, to throw them out of the genuine relationship (?????????? ???????) to him, and to pave the Gentiles’ way to kinsmanship with him.

As I understand it, Abraham is the father of the Jews according to the flesh because the Jews are derived from him in descendance.

But all who come to Christ are descended of Abraham according to faith and are therefore Spiritual children of Abraham.

And then he says, For if Abraham were justified by works, he has whereof to glory: but not before God. After saying that God justified the circumcision by faith and the uncircumcision through faith, and making the same sufficiently sure in what he said before, he now proves it by Abraham more clearly than he promised, and pitches the battle for faith against works, and makes this ……”

Notice how St. John recognizes that Abraham was adorned with many good works at the time of his justification,

Correct. Ask yourself, would God have considered Abraham a just man if Abraham had said in Gen 12, “Oh, God, I believe you, but I’d rather stay in Ur with my Dad.” What do you think would have happened in that event? Faith is proven by works. Faith is proven by obedience. That is why Abraham was justified in Gen 22 not in Gen 15:6. Here is what St. Paul also says:
Heb 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Abraham was tried and proven just in Gen 18. Gen 15:6 is only a narrative comment anticipating the justification which would Moses, the author, full well knew was coming in the future.

and yet St. John recognizes that they had no justifying power, but only faith.

Actually, faith doesn’t either. The faithful, who have proven their faith in works of love, are JUSTIFIED BY GOD. God justifies. We don’t justify ourselves by either our faith or our works. God justifies the faithful man who keeps His Commandments.

This right here is very early testimony and source of communion of the protestant doctrine of justification.

1. You’ve only picked one Ancient Catholic father.
2. You’ve misunderstood his message.
3. If you read the other Catholic fathers on the same subject, you’ll see where you are making your error.

This is one that Catholics just have not gotten right.

The Catholic Church has it perfectly correct. It is Protestants who continue to misunderstand because they impose upon the word of God their traditions of men.

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria October 22, 2012 at 6:32 PM

Erick Ybarra October 7, 2012 at 10:44 AM
Yes, Im sorry.

That was a quote from St. John Chrysostom on justification. It seems from St. John Chrysostom that we are justified by faith alone. For he believes that Abraham was justified by faith, apart from any works that Abraham had. In other words, he recognized that Abraham had many works at the time, but that they had no justifying power in God’s sight.

That is the Catholic Teaching Erick. Have you ever heard of the Council of Trent? It is the infallible Catholic Teaching of the Justification of Adults:

CHAPTER VIII
HOW THE GRATUITOUS JUSTIFICATION OF THE SINNER BY FAITH IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD

But when the Apostle says that man is justified by faith and freely,[44] these words are to be understood in that sense in which the uninterrupted unanimity of the Catholic Church has held and expressed them, namely, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God[45] and to come to the fellowship of His sons; and we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously,

because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification.

For, if by grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the Apostle says, grace is no more grace.[46]

At the same time, unless you do the good works which God wills for all mankind, God will not justify you.

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria October 22, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Hi alan almeida,

You said:
Yes I can elaborate, But first let me see what you understand about baptism as taught in the Catechism and its relation to the baptism in the New Testament.

Mark 16:16
King James Version (KJV)
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Is baptism, the only Christian Initiation requirement?It begins with God’s free gift of grace. That gift is faith. Which if exercised by the individual, results in his turning to and seeking God.

Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

After which the seeker begins to study the faith of Christ in order to be approved:
2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Then he learns to do God’s will and keep the Commandments:
John 14:21
King James Version (KJV)
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Having learned God’s will, he asks the Church for Baptism and has his sins washed away calling on the name of the Lord.

Acts 22:16
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Afterwards, he continues to learn about his faith and adds to his faith knowledge and virtue:
2 Peter 1:4-10
King James Version (KJV)
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

Is that what you were asking?

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria October 22, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Hi alan almeida,

Hello Bill912, Here goes…
As a base example, Let’s take the teaching of the CCC #1215

1215 This sacrament is also called “the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God.”

that relies on Titus 3:5 and John 3:5 and lets us see why these verses have been taken out of context.

Ok.

First and foremost Titus is an epistle letter, and unlike other epistles, were written to people who were already Christians (believers).

All the Epistles were written to individual Christians or Church communities. True.

And so we cannot lead un-believers into Christian initiation thru any of the the Epsitles.

That doesn’t follow.
1st. CCC1215 simply describes Baptism. It doesn’t say that one must study the Epistle of Titus in order to become Christian.
2nd. Titus 3:5 is a description of the physical and spiritual actions which take place in Baptism. The water washes our skin as the Spirit washes the sins off our soul. It does not address Christian initiation. That is addressed in other Scriptures. And Christian initiation is not synonymous with Baptism. Baptism is the climax of Christian initiation.
3rd. In the Epistle to Titus, St. Paul instructs St. Titus to instruct a Christian community. All Christian communities follow the Great Commission of Jesus Christ, to make disciples of the world.

By Christian initiation, I mean “How to become a Christian”, “How to enter the Kingdom of heaven on earth, “How to begin the Christian life”, “How to be born Again”.

To understand the process of conversion which leads one to Christian initiation and concludes in Baptism, please read the documents of the Council of Trent.

Now we are left with John 3:5 – the Gospel.

One verse of the Gospel of John.

We see that John the Baptist preached the “Baptism of Repentance”.

True. But John 3:5 doesn’t even mention John the Baptist. So, what are you talking about, the Baptism of Christ or the Baptism of John?

During the period covering the Gospels, people were baptized with John’s Baptism after producing “fruits of repentance” – Mathew 3:7-9. In other words, people who came to John’s Baptism after believing, were made disciples, xxxxx John 4:1 (showing fruits of repentance), and then they were baptized subsequently. Unlike in the Roman Catholic Church its totally topsy-turvy and therefore not compatible with New Testament Baptism.

Really? That’s what you think? Most Protestants castigate the Catholic Church because the Catholic Church requires everyone who converts to go through the Rite of Christian Iniation for adults (RCIA).

The best way to prove you wrong is to have you go to any Catholic Church and request Baptism. See if what you claim is true.

Also those people baptized during the period covering Gospels, had to be re-baptized again. I can elaborate more, but i’ll keep it for next time should the need arise

Only those Baptized by St. John. There is no indication that the Apostles, whom we assume were baptized by Christ, were ever re-baptized by water unless they were first disciples of St. John.

Sincerely,

De Maria

alan almeida October 24, 2012 at 3:51 AM

Hi De Maria,
Thanks very much for your response. I see at least you have the acumen of responding. Which is good indeed.

In taking verses out of context, I stated John 3:5 because that’s one of the footnotes at the bottom of the CCC, the Catholic Church relies for scriptural support in respect to baptism. John’s baptism of repentance is found in Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3, Acts 13:24, and more specifically Acts 19:4.

So i am simply pointing that John 3:5 is out of context because you cannot lead a person to become a Christian because John’s Baptism of Repentance was during the period covering the Gospels. Why?? Simply because during the period covering the Gospels, the Lord had not risen and glorified as yet. Therefore the Holy Ghost was promised only after his Ascension. Christian initiation actually starts in the the Book of Acts and not the Gospels. That is why St.Paul stated it in Acts 19:4. In fact there has always been a four-fold pattern Jesus and his Apostles always consistently preached a pattern in the entire New Testament. i.e REPENT for you sins, BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus, Be BAPTIZED, and RECEIVE the Holy Ghost. This is the correct pattern we can see on location how the Apostles led inquirers to the Christian faith (Acts 2:38, Acts 2:41). In fact Jesus and John the Baptist always pointed to that four-fold pattern but scattered throughout the Gospels, Acts and the Epistles. But in the Book of Hebrews Chapter 6 they surprisingly appear in that order.

Really? That’s what you think? Most Protestants castigate the Catholic Church because the Catholic Church requires everyone who converts to go through the Rite of Christian Iniation for adults (RCIA).

OK so you talk about the RCIA. Does this means those baptized as babies have also have to compulsory undergo RCIA? Does the RCIA follow the Biblical pattern I’ve covered above?

Also please note that during John’s baptism in Gospel required one to first become a disciple of Christ and then be baptized, by first showing “fruit meets for repentance” – Matthew 3:7-9. Does the RCIA cover this?

Thanks and God Bless you,

Alan Almeida

alan almeida October 24, 2012 at 4:19 AM

Hi De Maria,

A few more things to add … :)

The Gospels are too early to rely on for a study on Christian initiation – the reasons i’ve already outlined in my earlier post above. We cannot also introduce a person to the Christian faith relying on the Epistles and the Book of Revelation either, because they were exhortations to those who were already Christians. So you can now see the Catholic teaching has lost its moorings. :)

God Bless you,

Alan Almeida.

De Maria October 24, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Hi alan almeida

You said,
Hi De Maria,
Thanks very much for your response. I see at least you have the acumen of responding. Which is good indeed.

Thank you.

In taking verses out of context, I stated John 3:5 because that’s one of the footnotes at the bottom of the CCC,

Correct.

the Catholic Church relies for scriptural support in respect to baptism. John’s baptism of repentance is found in Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3, Acts 13:24, and more specifically Acts 19:4.

Correct.

So i am simply pointing that John 3:5 is out of context because you cannot lead a person to become a Christian because John’s Baptism of Repentance was during the period covering the Gospels.

That would be a misunderstanding of John 3:5, Jesus is describing that which occurs in His Baptism:

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

St. John’s Baptism did not bring the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Baptism in the name of Jesus, does.

Why?? Simply because during the period covering the Gospels, the Lord had not risen and glorified as yet.

That is true. But Jesus was not explaining St. John’s Baptism, but His own.

Therefore the Holy Ghost was promised only after his Ascension.

Also true.

Christian initiation actually starts in the the Book of Acts and not the Gospels.

That is a mistake. Christian initiation began when Jesus started teaching His disciples. In fact, we can also say that Christian initiation began when St. John began preparing the way for Christ.

That is why St.Paul stated it in Acts 19:4.

Acts 19:4
King James Version (KJV)
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

He mentions that St. John was preparing people to believe in Christ. Which can be understood as a type of Christian initiation. Unless you have a specific and personal understanding of the term “Christian initiation”. For Catholics, it means an introduction to the doctrines and the faith of Jesus Christ.

In fact there has always been a four-fold pattern Jesus and his Apostles always consistently preached a pattern in the entire New Testament. i.e REPENT for you sins, BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus, Be BAPTIZED, and RECEIVE the Holy Ghost.

That is the same pattern which the Catholic Church preaches today.

This is the correct pattern we can see on location how the Apostles led inquirers to the Christian faith (Acts 2:38, Acts 2:41). In fact Jesus and John the Baptist always pointed to that four-fold pattern but scattered throughout the Gospels, Acts and the Epistles. But in the Book of Hebrews Chapter 6 they surprisingly appear in that order.

Why surprisingly? It is the pattern which has always been taught. It is Protestants who have deviated from that pattern with their so-called “altar calls” and denials of Baptism as the culmination of Christian initiation.

OK so you talk about the RCIA. Does this means those baptized as babies have also have to compulsory undergo RCIA?

Infants follow a different pattern. Throughout the New Testament, we see that Jesus saves children because of the faith of their parents. Example:

Matthew 15:28
Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Jesus saves infants because of the faith of their parents.

Does the RCIA follow the Biblical pattern I’ve covered above?

Yes.

Also please note that during John’s baptism in Gospel required one to first become a disciple of Christ and then be baptized, by first showing “fruit meets for repentance” – Matthew 3:7-9. Does the RCIA cover this?

Yes.

Thanks and God Bless you,

Alan Almeida

May God bless you as well,

Sincerely,

De Maria

De Maria October 24, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Hi alan,

You said:
Hi De Maria,

A few more things to add … :)

No problem.

The Gospels are too early to rely on for a study on Christian initiation – the reasons i’ve already outlined in my earlier post above.

I hope I’ve disproven that idea in my previous message. But it is also illogical for another reason. Christianity relies upon the knowledge of the person of Jesus Christ. And that knowledge exists mainly in the Gospels.

We cannot also introduce a person to the Christian faith relying on the Epistles and the Book of Revelation either, because they were exhortations to those who were already Christians. So you can now see the Catholic teaching has lost its moorings. :)

All I can see is that those statements of yours make no sense. They are simply opinions of yours which are disproven by the fact that throughout history, the Church has used all those writings to teach the doctrines of Jesus Christ to all who seek righteousness and eternal life.

God Bless you,

And you.

Sincerely,

De Maria

alan almeida October 24, 2012 at 3:51 PM

That is a mistake. Christian initiation began when Jesus started teaching His disciples. In fact, we can also say that Christian initiation began when St. John began preparing the way for Christ.

No it is not a mistake. Because God’s plan of salvation came to the Jews first John 4:22, Matthew 10:5-7 and than the pattern of the plan of Salvation moved towards the Gentiles, subsequently. Christian Initiation starts only in the Book of Acts, the Holy Spirit being manifested to empower the Church to proclaim and spread the Gospel far and wide. Christian initiation never began in the period covering the four Gospels simply because the four Gospels cover the jewish period John 4:22, Matthew 10:5-7 and not the Christian period. And also the four gospels cover a transitional period. Nothing was defintely settled as yet as Christ was not yet risen and glorified. The Comforter could come only after Christ ascension. If Catholic teaching is still stuck in the Gospels, its because it is not a Christian Church. its teachings are identical to that of Judaism.

That would be a misunderstanding of John 3:5, Jesus is describing that which occurs in His Baptism:

No He went to John’s Baptism even when John restrained Him. The Catholic Church wrongly interprets John 3:5 means baptism is the only ordinance required to enter the Kingdom of God. That would contradict other scriptures that Jesus and the Apostles taught on Repentance from sin, Believing on Jesus, and Receiving the Holy Spirit – the same four-fold pattern I have mentioned that was articulated throughout the New Testament. Because Jesus when he said “Ye must be born again..” He is saying.. that what happens to begin your spirtual life has some kind of parallel with what happens when you began your physical life.

In John 3:5 Jesus is having a conversation with Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in accordance to the Pharisee’s teaching- to be born of water meant to be born physically. This is proved by Nicodemus remark who thought to be born again meant a physical birth “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? In verse 5, Jesus proceeds to say, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee, believed like the other Jews that because he was born a Jew and kept God’s ordinances that he should automatically enter into the kingdom of God. However, Jesus explains this is not enough. In verse 6, Jesus Himself interprets the water as flesh (a physical birth) “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Jesus says of being born of water is to be born of the flesh. Jesus explains the difference, telling Nicodemus you have already had a physical birth, you are in need of a another birth “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ Literally from the Spirit above to enter the kingdom. You must be born again “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The new birth from above is a second birth which gives us eternal life.V.5 The new birth is invisible, he likens it to the wind. It is not from the water beneath (the flesh) but of the Spirit (literally, in the Greek, from above). He is contrasting the natural (flesh) to the spiritual (Spirit).There is always a distinction between water and Spirit baptism. Scripture tells us that John came baptizing in water but that, “There is one who will come after me. . . He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark. 1:7-8; Matthew 3:11; John 1:33). The flesh and the spirit are two different properties, two different things. So there are two births- one of the flesh and the other of the spirit that comes from God. John 3:6-7 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

You see.. what I have discovered is that streams of church life have just got hold of a portion of the truth and NOT the whole truth. And that portion breeds heresies. For example the Liberal stream of Church life emphasises on REPENTANCE, The Catholic sacramental stream of Church life emphasises on BAPTISM, The Evangelical stream stresses on FAITH, and the PENTECOSTAL stream emphasies on baptism twice of the HOLY SPIRIT. So if we stress say, only on, BAPTISM or REPENTANCE that saves, at the expense of cutting out the other two, becomes a text for pretext that eventually breeds heresies. All that four-fold pattern (REPENT, BELIEVE, BAPTIZE and RECEIVE the Holy Spirit) i have mentioned is necessary and it is the basis of the complete Christian Initiation as articulated. Note BELIEVE by Faith in the Lord Jesus is the most important of all the other three, but it (FAITH) also rests behind the other said Three.

St. John’s Baptism did not bring the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus the Son of God was empowered by the Holy Spirit after he came out ouf the water of John’s Baptism.

Why surprisingly? It is the pattern which has always been taught. It is Protestants who have deviated from that pattern with their so-called “altar calls” and denials of Baptism as the culmination of Christian initiation.

No one denies baptism because simply its an ordinance commanded by the Lord. The only pertinent thing to note about baptism in the New Testament that it is:

1. A Believers only baptism in Christ Jesus only.
2. Christian Baptism began from the Book of ACTS; not to be confused with John’s Baptism.
3. It is so called Christian baptism because one identifies himslef as a disciple of Christ ALONE by indentifying with his death/burial and resurrection.
4. Its an outward testimony of what God has done to our regenerate our inner-self by grace through faith in the finished redemption work of Christ on the Cross HIM being a substituinary atonement for us.
5. It is also outward testimony that we de-link from the dark past and begin a new clean life in Christ living in us through his in-dwelling Spirit.

All I can see is that those statements of yours make no sense. They are simply opinions of yours which are disproven by the fact that throughout history, the Church has used all those writings to teach the doctrines of Jesus Christ to all who seek righteousness and eternal life

I see you simply don’t understand and it is simply not my opionion. One can see clearly that the Epistles and the Book of Revelation where meant for those who already became followers of Jesus Christ. In the Epistles were writings the Apostles of Jesus wrote to those early Christian churches dealing with warning of false teachings and ravening wolves in sheep clothng inflirtating thir ranks, spreading a false gospel. Offcourse the contents of other epistles were exhortations on how a Christian must have to endure suffering, persecution and living the Christian life – these things cannot be taught to persons who were not already Christians. They had to become Christians and that is only documented in the book of Acts how Jesus Apostles who lead potential non-Christians to become Christians. This is not my imaginations as you claim. Its proveb from contextual reading of New Testament scripture itself.

God Bless you abundantly.

Alan Almeida
.

De Maria October 24, 2012 at 11:54 PM

Hi again alan almeida,

No it is not a mistake.

The problem, Alan, is that you have not divulged your definition of the term “Christian initiation”. I asked you above. But that is thequestion you ignored.

Once you reveal that, we can come to an understanding as to why you are coming to all these erroneous conclusions.

Because God’s plan of salvation came to the Jews first John 4:22,

True. But it is besides the point. Christian initiation began in the Gospels when Jesus Christ began to teach His doctrines to the Apostles. They were the first Christians. He initiated them into His faith.

Matthew 10:5-7 and than the pattern of the plan of Salvation moved towards the Gentiles, subsequently.

True. But that has nothing to do with the fact that Christ Himself initiated the Jews and a few Gentiles into Christianity.

Christian Initiation starts only in the Book of Acts,

NO. It starts in the Gospels. And Christ brings the Apostles to a sufficient knowledge of His faith that He can command them to pass His doctrines to the entire world:
Matthew 28:19-20
King James Version (KJV)
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

the Holy Spirit being manifested to empower the Church to proclaim and spread the Gospel far and wide.

To culminate not to initiate the disciple into the Body of Christ.

Christian initiation never began in the period covering the four Gospels simply because the four Gospels cover the jewish period John 4:22, Matthew 10:5-7 and not the Christian period.

The Christian era begins with Christ. In fact, it can be said that Christian initiation begins with the herald. St. John the Baptist.

Luke 3:16
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

And also the four gospels cover a transitional period. Nothing was defintely settled as yet as Christ was not yet risen and glorified. The Comforter could come only after Christ ascension. If Catholic teaching is still stuck in the Gospels, its because it is not a Christian Church. its teachings are identical to that of Judaism.

If your group has set the Gospels aside, it is your group which is not Christian. The Gospels contain the foundational knowledge of the Christian faith.

No He went to John’s Baptism even when John restrained Him.

John 3:5 depicts Jesus explaining the Baptism which He instituted.

John 3:1-10
King James Version (KJV)
1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

The Catholic Church wrongly interprets John 3:5 means baptism is the only ordinance required to enter the Kingdom of God.

I’ve never seen that teaching in Catholic literature. If you claim it is true, show it to me from official Catholic sources. Otherwise it simply amounts to you arguing against something you made up yourself.

That would contradict other scriptures that Jesus and the Apostles taught on Repentance from sin, Believing on Jesus, and Receiving the Holy Spirit – the same four-fold pattern I have mentioned that was articulated throughout the New Testament. Because Jesus when he said “Ye must be born again..” He is saying.. that what happens to begin your spirtual life has some kind of parallel with what happens when you began your physical life.

That is true. And the sign of that spiritual birth is the water.

In John 3:5 Jesus is having a conversation with Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in accordance to the Pharisee’s teaching- to be born of water meant to be born physically.
That is a secular teaching as well. It is called the “breaking of the water” when a child is born.

This is proved by Nicodemus remark who thought to be born again meant a physical birth “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?

That is true. Nicodemus was confused.

In verse 5, Jesus proceeds to say, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Again true. This is a typical double entendre of Jesus Christ.

1. The first birth is by water.
2. The second birth is by water and spirit. Water signifying the birth by the Spirit.

Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee, believed like the other Jews that because he was born a Jew and kept God’s ordinances that he should automatically enter into the kingdom of God. However, Jesus explains this is not enough. In verse 6, Jesus Himself interprets the water as flesh (a physical birth) “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

You have misunderstood. The verse prior has associated water with birth. Not with birth of the flesh only. Jesus, in verse 6, simply says that one must also be born of the spirit, that is “justified” by God in order to be received into eternal life.

Jesus says of being born of water is to be born of the flesh.

No, He doesn’t. You are reading that into the Scripture. Jesus uses water to signify birth and spirit. The child emerges from water in physical birth. The spirit is “living water” and the soul emerges from the living water in spiritual birth. That living water is signified by the physical water. That is why the Apostles insisted on “water” Baptism. Because that is what Jesus taught in the Gospel.

Jesus explains the difference, telling Nicodemus you have already had a physical birth, you are in need of a another birth “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ Literally from the Spirit above to enter the kingdom.

Absolutely. But Jesus said by “water and spirit”. And in the next Chapter, Jesus and the Apostles went to Baptize where water was abundant:
John 3:22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. 23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

You must be born again “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The new birth from above is a second birth which gives us eternal life.

That is true. That new birth occurs in the Sacrament of Baptism.

V.5 The new birth is invisible, he likens it to the wind.

True.

It is not from the water beneath (the flesh)

The water signifies birth and spirit. It does not signify flesh.

but of the Spirit (literally, in the Greek, from above).

It is a double entendre. It means “again” and it means “from above” as well.

Jesus is saying, you have been born of water. Now you will born of the Spirit when you submit to the water of Baptism.

He is contrasting the natural (flesh) to the spiritual (Spirit).

He is contrasting the flesh to spiritualized flesh. Christ did not teach Gnosticism. There is such a thing as a spiritual body:
1 Corinthians 15:44
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

There is always a distinction between water and Spirit baptism.

Not in the Baptism of Jesus Christ. In the Baptism of Jesus Christ there is a connection between the two. The Baptism of water signifies the Baptism of the Spirit which the soul undergoes when he arises from the water.

Scripture tells us that John came baptizing in water but that, “There is one who will come after me. . . He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark. 1:7-8; Matthew 3:11; John 1:33).

Absolutely. Baptism means to wash. One can not wash without water.

The flesh and the spirit are two different properties, two different things.

That is true. But what is your point? You have drifted from claiming that Gospels did not initiate anyone into Christianity all the while using verses which point to Chrisitianity in the Gospels. Note that YOU posted that St. John the Baptist prophesied that Christ would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Note that YOU brought up John 3:5, wherein Jesus was teaching a Jew, Nicodemus, about His Baptism.

That is initiation into the Christian faith.

So there are two births- one of the flesh and the other of the spirit that comes from God. John 3:6-7 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

Absolutely! And one is born of the Spirit when one is Baptized in the Sacrament of enlightenment. The washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. The washing of water and the Word. Amen!

You see.. what I have discovered is that streams of church life have just got hold of a portion of the truth and NOT the whole truth.

The Catholic Church has the entire Truth. That is why Scripture says of the Church:
Ephesians 3:10
King James Version (KJV)
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

The Catholic Church is that Church which teaches the Wisdom of God. If your church is not, that is a sign it is not of God.

And that portion breeds heresies. For example the Liberal stream of Church life emphasises on REPENTANCE, The Catholic sacramental stream of Church life emphasises on BAPTISM, The Evangelical stream stresses on FAITH, and the PENTECOSTAL stream emphasies on baptism twice of the HOLY SPIRIT. So if we stress say, only on, BAPTISM or REPENTANCE that saves, at the expense of cutting out the other two, becomes a text for pretext that eventually breeds heresies. All that four-fold pattern (REPENT, BELIEVE, BAPTIZE and RECEIVE the Holy Spirit) i have mentioned is necessary and it is the basis of the complete Christian Initiation as articulated. Note BELIEVE by Faith in the Lord Jesus is the most important of all the other three, but it (FAITH) also rests behind the other said Three.

You are confused and confusing yourself. The four fold pattern you claim to have discovered has been known for centuries. And you stress that pattern to your own demise. Because there is much, much more to the faith of Jesus Christ than that which you teach. You have bred your own heresy by “stressing” your “personal stream” of understanding.

Here is another tenet of the Christian faith:
Hebrews 13:7
King James Version (KJV)
7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

So, tell me, who taught you the faith which you follow? Sounds to me as though you think you discovered the Christian faith 2000 years after Jesus appeared in the flesh.

How about this tenet which no Protestant can stomach? Do you accept it?

Hebrews 13:17
King James Version (KJV)
17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

So tell me, to which ruler of the Church do you submit and obey and admit that he must account for your soul? Oh, I see, you follow no man. Yet Scripture is clear that you must follow the men who taught you the faith and who follow Christ. And submit to them as they give account for your soul.

Jesus the Son of God was empowered by the Holy Spirit after he came out ouf the water of John’s Baptism.

The Holy Spirit appeared as a sign for the people to see that He is the Son of God. It was for their benefit. Christ is God from all eternity. Christ was empowered by the Father.

No one denies baptism because simply its an ordinance commanded by the Lord.

You haven’t talked to many Protestants. You probably have a small circle of like minded people with whom you discuss religion. But there are thousands if not millions of Protestants who deny the necessity of Baptism.

The only pertinent thing to note about baptism in the New Testament that it is:

1. A Believers only baptism in Christ Jesus only.

They who don’t understand the Scripture come to that conclusion based upon one verse. Mark 16:16. But it is a false conclusion.
a. Baptism is the circumcision without hands:
Colossians 2:11In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

b. Jesus said:
Matthew 19:14
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

c. Jesus pours His grace unto children by the faith of the parents:
Matthew 15:28
Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

2. Christian Baptism began from the Book of ACTS; not to be confused with John’s Baptism.

On the contrary, Christian Baptism was introduced by Jesus Christ in the Gospel of St. John chapter 3 and commanded in the Gospel of St. Mark verse 16:16 and in the Gospel of St. Matthew 28:19-20.

3. It is so called Christian baptism because one identifies himslef as a disciple of Christ ALONE by indentifying with his death/burial and resurrection.

a. I have yet to see the words “Christ ALONE” in the Scriptures.
b. Scripture says:
1 Corinthians 11:1
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

and:
Hebrews 13:7
King James Version (KJV)
7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

4. Its an outward testimony of what God has done to our regenerate our inner-self by grace through faith in the finished redemption work of Christ on the Cross HIM being a substituinary atonement for us.

Sacramental Baptism is an outward sign which causes an inner reality. Jesus Christ has associated the Baptism of water with the washing of the Holy Spirit.

5. It is also outward testimony that we de-link from the dark past and begin a new clean life in Christ living in us through his in-dwelling Spirit.

That is true. But it is also a culmination of a process of learning to show oneself approved (2 Timothy 2:15) and of seeking God in faith (Hebrews 11:6).

I see you simply don’t understand and it is simply not my opionion.

It is simply your opinion. It is not the teaching of Christ nor of the Church. Nor even of Scripture.

One can see clearly that the Epistles and the Book of Revelation where meant for those who already became followers of Jesus Christ.

They were addressed to believers, true. But why? Why did St. Paul and the Apostles edify the Church? Here is the answer in a nutshell:
2 Timothy 2:2
King James Version (KJV)
2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

Apparently you have forgotten the Great Commission of Jesus Christ:
Matthew 28:19-20
King James Version (KJV)
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

But, if you are committed to this strangest of ideas, please show me a verse in the Epistles or in the book of Revelations or in the Gospels, which should not be taught to non-Christians and explain why. Perhaps you can show the Scripture which says, “Thou shalt not teach these things to non-Christians”.

In the Epistles were writings the Apostles of Jesus wrote to those early Christian churches dealing with warning of false teachings and ravening wolves in sheep clothng inflirtating thir ranks, spreading a false gospel. Offcourse the contents of other epistles were exhortations on how a Christian must have to endure suffering, persecution and living the Christian life – these things cannot be taught to persons who were not already Christians.

Why? The only reason I can see is your own opinion. There is nothing in the Scriptures which forbids teaching any of the Epistles to non-Christians.

They had to become Christians

Where is it written?

and that is only documented in the book of Acts how Jesus Apostles who lead potential non-Christians to become Christians. This is not my imaginations as you claim. Its proveb from contextual reading of New Testament scripture itself.

You have simply adopted your own personal interpretation of the Scriptures. But Scripture is clear:
2 Peter 1:19-21
King James Version (KJV)
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

God didn’t inspire the Apostles so that you could re-interpret their teachings in your own personal way. God established a Church, the Pillar of Truth (1 Tim 3;15) to teach His wisdom even in the Heavens (Eph 3:10). And He also warned that those who did not obey the Church, would be treated as the heathen (Matt 18:17).

God Bless you abundantly.

And you also,

Sincerely,

De Maria

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