Saturday, February 25, 2023

How Seventh Day Adventists changed the Sabbath (and blamed Catholics) - kind of a big deal Pt.3

From my recent posts (here) and (here) discussing the clear distinction between what takes place at the synagogue versus what takes place at the Temple, it has led me to consider the Seventh Day Adventist's claims about the Sabbath. One of the SDA's central accusations is that the Catholic Church allegedly "changed God's day of worship from Saturday to Sunday". But if "worship" wasn't taking place on Saturday (particularly not at the synagogue) then the SDA's entire foundation is obviously deeply problematic. 

First, let's consider the Seventh Day Adventist official website's Fundamental Belief #20 "The Sabbath" (here), and the parts which I think need to be highlighted:

The gracious Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation. The fourth commandment of God’s unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. (Gen. 2:1-3; Exod. 20:8-11; 31:13-17; Lev. 23:32; Deut. 5:12-15; Isa. 56:5, 6; 58:13, 14; Ezek. 20:12, 20; Matt. 12:1-12; Mark 1:32; Luke 4:16; Heb. 4:1-11.)

The Sabbath is a day of rest, reflection, enjoyment and worship for God’s people. It dates back to the seventh day of the creation week, when God stopped His work and took time to rest and savor it.

When God rested on the seventh day, He set for us an example. He gave the weekly Sabbath as a day of rest and worship for all of mankind.

“He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law…” Daniel 7:25

When Jesus lived here on earth He kept the seventh day Sabbath. However, just a few hundred years after His death and resurrection, early Christians began keeping Sunday as their day of worship just as Daniel foretold. 

The change of the Sabbath as the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday happened in the year 321 A.D. The Roman Emperor Constantine issued a decree that all Christians were to begin observing Sunday as a day of rest.

[Seventh Day Adventists] decided they would begin to keep the biblical Sabbath even though most churches worshipped on Sunday. Keeping the 4th commandment became a distinctive part of their [SDA] worship

Notice that throughout their doctrinal explanation the SDAs use the word "worship" with regards to the Sabbath and the 4th Commandment ("Keep the Sabbath"). But what if terminology like "worship" is never to be found in any of these Biblical passages they cite as their primary proof texts, especially the 4th Commandment? That would be deeply embarrassing.

You can look at all twelve proof texts they have cited above (here). Notice that the language of "rest" and "do no work" appears multiple times. Yet, nowhere does the term "worship" or related language appear in any of these passages. This is kind of a big deal. From the outset, it looks as if the Seventh Day Adventists went around inserting or projecting the idea of "worship" onto the Sabbath day, when in reality the Bible only sees the Sabbath as a time of "resting". How could they make such a blunder?

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Synagogues aren't Temples - kind of a big deal Pt.2

From my recent post (here) discussing the plain distinction between the synagogue versus the Temple, it has let me to look into the "Biblical details" more of each institution, including the key passages which were already cited. This study is important because if the Bible does use worship type language in regards to the synagogue, then it would mean the prior post would have to be significantly retracted or modified. However, if the Bible does not use worship type language with regards to the synagogue, then the prior post is more firmly established.

To begin, the Greek word "worship" appears about 60 times in the NT, and it is largely used to refer to people "bowing down" in reverence. That said, "worship" is clearly tied to Jerusalem, and specifically the Temple, is clear from Luke 2:37; John 4:20-21; 12:20; Acts 8:27; 24:11; Heb 9:1;  Rev 11:1 (1 Cor 14:23-25; 2 Thess 2:4; Rev 15:4-5). Worship is associated with "religion" and "altar" (Acts 17:22-23). Worship is "regulated" by "covenant" and holy places (Heb 9:1-2).

I did not see the synagogue mentioned in any of these verses, implying "worship" (in the Biblical sense) does not take place in the synagogue. So far this data fits with the Catholic thesis that I wrote about in the prior article. Now onto the next word to look at.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

The synagogue is not the Temple - kind of a big deal

The New Testament speaks often of Jesus and the Apostles visiting various synagogues, but the synagogue is not mentioned in the Old Testament. Isn't that strange that a major facet of Jewish life in the New Testament doesn't get any (clear) mention in the Old Testament? This got me thinking about the origins and meaning of the Synagogue.

The various encyclopedias that I've come across say the synagogue originated around the time of the Babylonian Exile (600BC). Thus, while the term "synagogue" (and "church") literally means a gathering or assembly, the term synagogue referring to a "house of worship" (as we now think of it) didn't come around until 800 years after the Israelites left Egypt (1400BC). The Catholic Encyclopedia says on Synagogue:

It was probably during the Babylonian captivity that the synagogue became a national feature of Hebrew worship. Afar from their Temple, the exiled Jews gathered into local meeting-houses for public worship. Sacrifice was denied them; prayer in common was not. The longer their exile from the national altar of sacrifice, the greater became their need of houses of prayer; this need was met by an ever-increasing number of synagogues, scattered throughout the land of exile. From Babylonia this national system of synagogue worship was brought to Jerusalem. That the synagogue dates many generations earlier than Apostolic times, is clear from the authority of St. James: "For Moses [the Torah] has been proclaimed in every city since ancient times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath" (Acts 15:21).
The consensus of most sources is that since the Israelites were removed from the Promise Land and their Temple destroyed during the Babylonian exile (600-530BC), they obviously could no longer worship as they once did, and thus they needed to improvise. During the Babylonian exile, they were allowed to gather somewhat, read Scripture somewhat, have sermons, pray, etc, and so this became a new standard feature of Jewish life. Since many Israelites/Jews were scattered abroad and never returned home, the synagogue system became especially necessary to carry on their faith. 

The Mosaic Law foresaw the Israelites worshiping through a Sacrificial Priesthood, which after arriving in the Promise Land became centered in Jerusalem at the Temple (Jn 4:19-21; Jn 12:20; Acts 8:27; 24:11; Rev 11:1). Sacrifices are a prominent theme from the earliest pages of Genesis, and sacrificing to God was a central theme in letting the Israelites go free from Egypt (Ex 8:25-29 - 1400BC). Even coming back from the Babylonian Exile (530BC) had prioritized getting the Temple back up and running as soon as possible, and the Feast of the Dedication (Hanukkah) was about re-consecrating the Temple just 150 years prior to Jesus. So to just stop sacrificing is not really optional, and in fact it is a serious deformation of the Israelite religion to not have sacrifices going on (e.g. the book of Leviticus is dedicated to priestly sacrifices). Since the synagogue system was never about sacrifices this would strongly suggest it is not an actual (nor approved) replacement of sorts for the Temple sacrifices. The fact that during the ministry of Jesus the Temple sacrifices were going on at the same time as synagogue attendance even more strongly indicates they are not the same in the (ancient) Jewish mind (John 18:20; Acts 24:12). This realization, namely the the Synagogue is clearly distinct from the Temple, has serious ramifications for how we as Catholics (and Orthodox) view both the Jews and Protestants. 

Thursday, December 8, 2022

By a single offering he has perfected them - Does Hebrews 10:14 refute Catholicism?

I was reading an article where a Protestant pastor cited Hebrews 10:14 as his primary proof text against the doctrine of Purgatory. The verse says: "For by a single offering he [Jesus] has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." The pastor's interpretation was something along the lines of: by that one single sacrifice on the Cross, Jesus has perfectly saved us, leaving nothing unfinished, and thus there is no room nor need for us needing forgiveness later on (e.g. such as in Purgatory). This reading is understandable, and quite common for Protestants to make against Catholics. So I think it's a good idea to take a look at how to address this claim.

The first thing I would point out is that Christians can still fall into sin and still need to repent of any new sins (e.g. forgive us our tresspasses), as we see throughout the Bible. The congregations in Corinth and Galatia had fallen into sin and needed to repent (2 Cor 12:21). Jesus even sends John to warn the 'seven churches' of Revelation ch2-ch3 of repenting of their bad behavior. So it is a well-established fact that forgiveness is not something that takes place only once in a Christian's life. Thus, we have good reason to not interpret the "by one offering he perfected" of Heb 10:14 to mean your sins are perfectly forgiven the moment you first accept the Gospel. On top of that, even Protestants admit that our growing in inward holiness is a 'work in progress', since each day we must strive to uproot sin and become more holy, which is a very slow process, meaning Christians are far from perfect. And without the Cross, we would be unable to make any steps towards holiness at all. But then we must admit "the one offering" did not perfect our sanctification, and thus we see a second reason why the Protestant interpretation cannot work against Purgatory. With the Protestant interpretation largely discredited, that opens up the door for us to explore alternative interpretations of what Paul is saying, because it seems like a very big deal to say that the Cross perfects us.

The next reasonable step in our study is to consider the possible meanings of the words that 10:14 uses, because often times we incorrectly assume the modern day English meaning of a Biblical word. The key word of this passage is "perfected," which Greek term is found 24x in the New Testament (here), and has a range of meaning along the lines of "to complete, accomplish, finish, bring to the end goal". If you look at the verses, this Greek term "perfect" is not used in any of these verses to mean nor suggest "without sin, flawless," such that a Christian is absolutely perfect now. Consider that Jesus told his Apostles that He was 'not yet perfect' (Lk 13:32; Heb 5:9; 7:28), which obviously cannot mean Jesus was not yet sinless, but rather that Jesus had yet to attain His final goal (Cross & Resurrection). And Paul says he as a Christian has not attained perfection yet (Phil 3:12), which obviously contradicts Heb 10:14 unless we admit "perfect" can have a range of meaning. So at this point, we can safely say that Heb 10:14 means that Christians have been brought to some goal or accomplishment stage, but that is not a state of sinless perfection.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Introduction to Old Testament "Feast Days"

I think it is tragic how unaware we are of the basic details of the Old Testament holidays. I think it would greatly improve our education as Catholics to learn a bit about them, especially so we can see that living liturgically has deep roots in the Old Testament, and how these OT holidays were foreshadowing of Jesus. For this post, I have decided to do some research and share what I've found, since I have never really looked into this myself and was never taught much on this subject. I might have a few details that need correction, so I welcome your feedback! 

The most important chapters on the Jewish holidays is found in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 28. First we'll look at what Moses says in Leviticus 23 as God Himself lays out the Seven Major Feasts:

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Abraham and the Sacraments - another beautiful example of typology in the OT

As I was reflecting upon the fascinating chapter 17 of Genesis, where God first introduces the covenant of circumcision, I realized that the very next chapter introduces even more:

Genesis 17:26 That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. 27 And all the men of his house, were circumcised with him. 18:1 And the Lord appeared to him as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth 3 and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, 5 while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on - since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.”

With the chapter breaks, we generally don't read Genesis 17 in context with Genesis 18, but clearly there is a connection. In the very first words of ch 18, we see Abraham was most likely recovering from circumcision the day(s) prior, mentioned in the closing of ch 17. What we see is that immediately after getting circumcised, Abraham has a mysterious visit from three men, which he welcomes into his home and has a washing of feet and banquet. As with my other OT foreshadowing posts (e.g. here), we should be looking for deeper spiritual lessons when we see 'strange' things happen in the OT. In this case, I believe the Catholic tradition would happily see the New Testament Sacraments hidden here. Following our baptism, we immediately welcome the Holy Trinity into our life, and this sets us up for receiving the Eucharist and washing of the disciples feet. It is well known that Genesis 18 is a foreshadowing of the Trinity, and I'm sure there are other images here that I'm missing, but I've never seen anyone mention the circumcision/baptism connection before, though I'm sure others have.

After Abraham welcomes the "three men",
he is told Sarah will miraculously conceive


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Does the Bible limit the Sacraments to only Baptism and Eucharist? (Sola Scriptura)

Protestants generally hold to only two Sacraments, claiming that Baptism and Eucharist are the only two "ordinances" that Jesus commanded. Reformed pastor R.C. Sproul's ministry has a reflection on this, which says (here):
Now that we have explored the sacraments in a general sense, we are prepared to look at each sacrament in more detail. Yet before we do that, we must determine the number of sacraments revealed in Scripture. Christ instituted two sacraments: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (The Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 68).

It is easy to see why the Heidelberg Catechism singles out these ordinances as sacraments. After all, the Gospels reveal explicitly our Savior’s command to baptize disciples and to partake of bread and wine in His memory (Matt. 28:18–20; Luke 22:14–20). Some churches, in addition, have viewed foot washing as a third sacrament. Other churches do not invest foot washing with sacramental significance, although they may have special foot-washing services during the year. Both groups cite John 13:1–20 in defense of the practice.

What shall we say about this? Clearly, whatever freedom churches might have to engage in foot washing, no church body may impose it as a sacrament upon its people. First, the early church did not see in John 13 a command for the church in every age to wash feet. Acts, for example, records the disciples administering the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper (2:37–42), but this New Testament book never records Apostolic foot washing. Second, Dr. R.C. Sproul notes in his commentary John that the majority of the church has not regarded foot washing as a sacrament.

Finally, the Roman Catholic Church adds five sacraments to baptism and the Lord’s Supper: penance, confirmation, marriage, holy orders (priestly ordination), and extreme unction (last rites). Of course, Roman Catholicism is right to see some of these acts as helpful to Christian growth. A godly husband, for example, rightly regards his wife as one of the most sanctifying influences in his life. An ordinance such as penance, however, denies the gospel because it calls for sinners to make satisfaction for their sin.

While the above claims are standard Protestant claims, there are some obvious problems with the above claims that we should take a look at. First of all, the use of the terms "sacrament" and "ordinance" are not used in Scripture with regards to Baptism or the Eucharist. So it is somewhat of an "oral tradition" that Protestants are appealing to when they dogmatically apply "sacrament" to these two things. Second, the only time the Bible uses the term "sacrament" in regards to these is when Paul speaks of Marriage as a "great sacrament" in Ephesians 5:32, where the Greek term mysterion ("mystery") which is precisely what the Latin term "sacrament" means (see here). So this is another blatant inconsistency.

Third, the teaching of Jesus to wash the feet of others in John 13:1-20 does sound like something of a sacrament, especially in 13-14, where Jesus says: "If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you." This is an outward ordinance or ritual, that Jesus expressly commands, and is clearly tied to being washed of sins and being part of the community (v8): "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me." This line of Jesus is especially noteworthy, because while Peter was already a believer in Jesus, here we see Jesus tell Peter that if Peter refuses to have his feet washed, then Jesus will disown Peter. This passage not only poses a problem for 'once saved always saved' but it also exposes the Protestant bias and inconsistency in their theology. And even if it is not a sacrament, the Church has historically seen it as an official part of the Liturgy, particularly on Holy Thursday, also called "Mandate Thursday" in Latin because Jesus "mandates" (commands) the washing of feet. So this is not "optional" for the Protestant side, yet most Protestants do not even practice the foot washing rite in any formal/concrete manner.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Did Clement of Rome teach Faith Alone? - Revisiting Abraham's faith reckoned as righteousness - Part 6

I am excited to have yet another unexpected post in my Revisiting Abraham's Faith Reckoned as Righteousness series (see the prior series HERE). This short essay was inspired by a Lutheran channel who had recently posted a YouTube video (here) arguing that Clement of Rome taught the Protestant doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone. This Lutheran was quoting a well-known passage within the early church father epistle 1 Clement, chapters 31-33, especially verse 32:4, where Pope St Clement of Rome says:

31:1 Let us cleave to his blessing, and let us see what are the ways of blessing. Let us consult the records of the things that happened from the beginning. 2 On what account was our father Abraham blessed? Was it not that he wrought righteousness and truth through faith? 3 Isaac, with confidence, knowing the future, willingly became a sacrifice. 4 Jacob, with humility, flying from his brother, went out from his own land and journeyed unto Laban and served as a slave, and there were given unto him the twelve tribes of Israel.

32:1 If any one will consider these things, he will recognize the magnificence of the gifts that were given by him. 2 For from Jacob came the Levites that serve the altar of God. From him came our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh; from him came the kings and rulers of the tribe of Judah; and the remainder of his tribes are of no small glory, since God hath promised, Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven. 3 All these, therefore, have been glorified and magnified, not through themselves or through their works, or through the righteousness that they have done, but through his will. 4 And we who through his will have been called in Christ Jesus are justified, not by ourselves, or through our wisdom or understanding or godliness, or the works that we have done in holiness of heart, but by faith, by which all men from the beginning have been justified by Almighty God.

33:1 What, then, shall we do, brethren? Shall we cease from well-doing, and abandon charity? May the Master never allow that this should happen to us! but let us rather with diligence and zeal hasten to fulfill every good work. 2 For the Maker and Lord of all things rejoice in his works. 3 By his supreme power he founded the heavens. The earth he separated from the water that surrounded it, and fixed it of his own will. The animals he commanded to be by his ordinance. 4 Man, the most excellent of all animals, infinite in faculty, he moulded with his holy and faultless hands, in the impress of his likeness. 5 For thus saith God: Let us make man in our own image, and after our own likeness. 6 When he had finished all things, he blessed them, and said, Be fruitful, and multiply. 7 Let us see, therefore, how all the just [righteous] have been adorned with good works. The Lord himself rejoiced when he had adorned himself with his works. 8 Having, therefore, this example, let us come in without shrinking to his will; let us work with all our strength the work of righteousness.

I want to present what I hope are fresh & unique insights to this seemingly slam-dunk Faith Alone passage in 32:4, which I hope will be edifying and convincing to all sides. While I think there is beneficial insights from the typical Catholic reading against 32:4 (e.g. see Bryan Cross great blog here, and Erick Ybarra's great blog here especially touching on the Romans 4:6-8 aspect), I think they mainstream Catholic reading get things mostly right but need to add some key details. Here are my insights:

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Were David's future sins forgiven at the moment of his conversion? (Quickie Apologetics)

I'm not sure if I have posted this before, but I want to make a quick post about it. I'd say that 'moderate/intermediate' level of Catholic apologetics knows that when Romans 4:6-8 speaks of the justification of David in Psalm 32, that this prayer in Psalm 32 was not the first time that David came to faith. Instead, David had been converted to God since David was a young man (1 Sam 17:33-37). In this case of Psalm 32, David was praying about repenting of his adultery/murder in 2 Samuel 12:13-14, where as an adult David committed mortal sin and needed to repent. Thus, if Psalm 32 is talking about Justification, as Paul says it is, this can only mean David lost his salvation by mortal sin and regained it when he repented. This refutes/undermines the standard Protestant claim that Justification cannot be lost by our sin (or regained by Repenting). This brilliant insight was first made by Robert Sungenis about 25 years ago in his published book Not By Faith Alone.

That said, certain Protestants like James White insist that David's future sins were (also) forgiven per David's words of Psalm 32, which is a serious presumption since the Bible only ever talks of past sins being forgiven. That's because the Reformed are forced to teach all future sins are forgiven in order to uphold their other erroneous views, namely Faith Alone and Imputation (discussed many times on this blog). But what if we can look even further into David's life, years later as King, and see him falling into sin again? That would obviously cause serious problems to the White/Reformed thesis. And indeed there is such a text, discovered by the Catholic blogger [HERE], where he points out that the final chapter of 2 Samuel, specifically 2 Sam 24:10, speaks of an elderly David disobeying God in another serious manner:

10 But David's heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O Lord, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have done very foolishly.” . . . 17 Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, “Behold, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand be against me and against my father's house.”
It is clear that David had sin/iniquity on his conscience before God for his bad behavior, and David was again praying for forgiveness. It is clear that God was even punishing David for his sins and had to do Penance to fix it (2 Sam 24:24-25). This is impossible if David's future sins were forgiven years earlier when David prayed Psalm 32. This is impossible if David was "covered by Christ's imputed righteousness" such that God doesn't see David's behavior but rather only sees David as righteous at all times. I think this is a wonderful find and believe it raises a Catholic to 'advanced/expert' level when he includes 2 Samuel 24:10 along with pointing out that Psalm 32 was about David's sin in 2 Samuel 12. We simply must make use of powerful arguments like these, because they can be very effective against Protestants.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

The Achilles Heel of Seventh Day Adventism: 1844

The Seventh Day Adventists are best known for their promotion of "Seventh Day" (Saturday/Sabbath) Worship (which I've discussed Here), but surprisingly that Sabbath teaching isn't even their most important doctrine! Since SDAs are quite often militant against Catholics, I think this apologetics piece will be quite handy in stopping them dead in their tracks. The key is to look at the other half of their name: Adventist.

The SDAs have "28 Fundamental Beliefs" [Here] which are basically their unique set of dogmas that are required believing for any SDA to be in good standing. While everyone is aware of their Sabbath teaching, what is far less known is that the SDAs have a dogma concerning the year 1844, and the reason why you don't know about it is because it is quite embarrassing for the SDAs. The full text of the Fundamental Belief #24 says:

There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle that the Lord set up and not humans. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. At His ascension, He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and, began His intercessory ministry, which was typified by the work of the high priest in the holy place of the earthly sanctuary. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry, which was typified by the work of the high priest in the most holy place of the earthly sanctuary. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In that typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent. (Lev. 16; Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:6; Dan. 7:9-27; 8:13, 14; 9:24-27; Heb. 1:3; 2:16, 17; 4:14-16; 8:1-5; 9:11-28; 10:19-22; Rev. 8:3-5; 11:19; 14:6, 7; 20:12; 14:12; 22:11, 12.)

You might be having a hard time understanding what is being said in the above FD#24 about this "Investigative Judgment" (I.J.), but that's because it isn't meant to make sense. The dogma is complete nonsense, reworded in order to save face as to the original meaning. If you read the official page dedicated to explaining this IJ [here] you will see that it spends many paragraphs saying nonsense. However, it does give us some details as to what it all originally meant, such as the following quote (trimmed back for length): 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

The limitations of the Nicene Creed in the Filioque debate

There is a great Catholic channel on YouTube called Reason & Theology and they recently featured a discussion on the Filioque (here). They have multiple episodes on the Filioque and other related topics, but this episode stood out for its unique insights by guest speaker Nathaniel. Most discussions on the Filioque tend to cover the same points, so it was great to hear what I now believe is the most important point, which I want to present here.

The Eastern Orthodox say the Filioque is not merely unauthorized modification of the Creed, but even that the Filioque is actually heresy because the EO claim that "proceeding" is a technical theological term that is reserved exclusively for the relation between the Father and the Holy Spirit. So in their mind, "proceeds" is used as the 'unique identifier' for the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. Similarly, the EO hold that "begotten" is reserved exclusively for the relation between the Father and the Son, so "begotten" is the 'unique identifier' for the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. The terms "begotten" and "proceeds" are 'actions' performed by the Father alone, and these two unique actions are the only 'thing' that distinguish the Three Persons in the Trinity. For example if there are two persons being "begotten" by the Father, then this would mean there are two sons in the Trinity, which is heresy. So the Holy Spirit must be something different than "begotten" by the Father. Similarly, it is said if the Son can produce a Person, then the Son would become another Father, which is also heresy. So the EO hold that the only way to prevent duplicate persons is the "Unbegotten Father; Begotten Son; Proceeding Spirit" understanding of the Trinity. This argument is fair and relatively straightforward. The main problem is that there is no official definition for what "proceeding" is, so it is actually impossible to formally say the Son cannot also be involved in some way with "proceeding," and some Catholics have argued that without the Son's involvement, then "proceeding" would be indistinguishable from "begetting". Historically, the bulk of the Filioque dispute with the EO has been over what "proceeds" actually means, since without having agreement on that term, it is extremely difficult to come to doctrinal agreement.

What is amazing about the argument made by Nathaniel in the YouTube discussion was that he explained that the Nicene Creed was never meant to dogmatize terms like "proceeding," but rather was focused more narrowly on affirming the Divinity of the Son and Holy Spirit. As long as a Christian affirmed the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit was Divine, then that Christian was orthodox. If Nathaniel's claim is indeed the case, then terms like "proceeds" cannot be turned into church-dividing issues, because such detail is outside the goal of the Creed. If you talk to the average practicing Christian who knows the Creed, they aren't even aware of such sophisticated details. Let's consider some reasons why the Creed never intended to turn "proceeds" into a crucial sophisticated theological term:

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Ukraine, Russia, and Jehovah's Witnesses

End times prophecy is such an important part of the Jehovah's Witnesses that they are one of the few groups who are excited to hear all the "bad news" going on in the world the past few years. Their featured story today on the Jehovah's Witnesses official website has an article "Russia Invades Ukraine: Is Bible Prophecy Being Fulfilled?" In that featured article, they link back to the May 2020 Watchtower Magazine where they said:
“In the time of the end the king of the south will engage with the king of the north in a pushing.”​- Daniel 11:40.

[Page 5]
During World War I, the United States and Britain were welded into a powerful military alliance. At that time, Britain and its former colony became the Anglo-American World Power. As Daniel foretold, this king had amassed  “an exceedingly large and mighty army.” (Dan. 11:25) Throughout the last days, the Anglo-American alliance has been the king of the south.  Who, though, has filled the role of the king of the north?

[Page 6] Soon after World War II ended, the new king of the north, the Soviet Union and its allies, launched his own assault on God’s people. In harmony with the prophecy recorded at Revelation 12:15-17, this king banned our preaching work and sent thousands of Jehovah’s people into exile. In fact, throughout the last days, the king of the north has poured out “a river” of persecution in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the work of God’s people.

[Page 7] The king of the north has supported the king of the south in one key endeavor; they “put in place the disgusting thing that causes desolation.” (Dan. 11:31) That “disgusting thing” is the United Nations. The United Nations organization is described as a “disgusting thing” because it claims to be able to do something that only God’s Kingdom can do​—bring world peace.

[Page 13] Note why we can say that today the king of the north is Russia and its allies. (1) They have had a direct impact on God’s people, banning the preaching work and persecuting hundreds of thousands of brothers and sisters who live in areas under their control. (2) Those actions show that they hate Jehovah and his people. (3) They have been competing with the king of the south, the Anglo-American World Power.

The king of the north and the king of the south continue to compete for world domination. For example, consider what happened after World War II when the Soviet Union and its allies gained influence over much of Europe. The actions of the king of the north forced the king of the south to form an international military alliance, known as NATO. The king of the north continues to compete with the king of the south in an expensive arms race. The king of the north fought his rival in proxy wars and insurgencies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In recent years, Russia and its allies have spread their influence across the globe. They have also engaged with the king of the south in cyber warfare. The kings have accused each other of using destructive computer programs in an effort to damage their economies and political systems.

[Page 14] In 2017, this current king of the north banned the work of Jehovah’s people and threw some of our brothers and sisters into prison. He also banned our publications, including the New World Translation. Further, he confiscated our branch office in Russia as well as Kingdom Halls and Assembly Halls. After these actions, in 2018 the Governing Body identified Russia and its allies as the king of the north.
Who Is “the King of the North” Today?

Much of this sounds like the typical Protestant reading of the Bible's two main "prophetic books," the books of Daniel and Revelation. Many Protestants are bringing up similar points today with Russia being the "king of the north" in this current Ukraine conflict. This kind of Biblical interpretation became popular in the 1900s with American & British Protestantism's reading of the Bible, as Protestantism had lost its place in Europe after the World Wars and needed to find an "explanation" for why these wars happened. So it is no surprise that the American Protestants who lead the Jehovah's Witnesses speak of 'finding' the United States and Russia within Biblical prophecy. You've got to admit, Protestantism has a way of being entertaining, and why we shouldn't entirely ignore this (though most of it is a complete waste of time).

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Brief thoughts on Fasting during Lent

I know I'm a few days late with this post, but I've just to share that Fasting has been on my mind a lot leading into this Lent. I've been praying about how to truly Fast this Lent, because too many years have gone by with hardly any effort put in, and that needs to change. Thankfully, I've been noticing various Catholic articles, videos, posts, etc, coming out encouraging "real" Fasting. The reality is, it is scandalous, shameful, and even partly sinful, the way the West has largely abandoned any meaningful encouragement to real Fasting. It is especially tragic when the "traditionalist" side has hardly mentioned Fasting, and has basically gone along with the bare minimum as well. This year, I want to really make a conscious effort to do some real Fasting during Lent, and have this become part of my life at other times of the year as well.

To give you a brief introduction to "real" Fasting, the historical understanding of Fasting had two components: (1) you avoided meat, dairy, sweets, and flavorings throughout Lent, and (b) that you ate roughly one meal and possibly a snack or two throughout Lent. The Byzantine Rites and Syriac Rites still require this type of "real" Fasting throughout Lent (and other times of the year) with some variations. The Latin Rite used to canonically require this type of "real" Fasting throughout Lent as well, but for reasons that I'm not aware of yet, the Latin Rite gradually relaxed the 'challenge' at a few key times. I recently read that just prior to the French Revolution (a major disaster for the Church and world), the Pope at the time said you could start eating meat during Lent as long as it was only at the main meal (and never on Fridays). The connection might be a coincidence, but then an even more drastic change happened in the late 1960s, just before the Sexual Revolution erupted the prior year the Pope said you only have to Fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. This really does make you wonder if many of the problems in the Church today are tied to the complete neglect to "real Fasting". To be honest, we cannot even use the term Fasting if we aren't talking about real Fasting. The Latin side should actually be ashamed of not Fasting in any meaningful sense for so long. And we can be certain that Satan rejoices in our neglect of Fasting, especially those of us who are otherwise practicing the Faith throughout the week.

And to be more honest, I think we are all capable of "real Fasting", but we are spiritually immature and are afraid to try it. I think for too long we have made excuses or turned a blind eye, or proposed alternatives like giving up social media. All this to avoid "real Fasting". I'm not saying any of this to brag or put down people who have genuine needs and have to modify their needs. The point is that we need to be discussing this more and encouraging each other. This encouragement needs to include setting your Fasting goals high, rather than starting so small that you really aren't being challenged. This encouragement needs to also include how we should stop deluding ourselves by finding loopholes that actually mock the Fast, including avoiding things such as (a) meat-substitutes that taste as enjoyable as the real meat, such as veggie burgers, (b) flavorful alternatives such as McDonalds Filet of Fish (not to mention the meatless fries and soda), and (c) any restaurant or food that is generally enjoyable to eat, including sushi, grilled cheese, veggie pizza, etc, and (d) enjoyable drinks, including sodas, alcohols, beers, juices, etc. (I think coffee, tea, etc, can be permissible depending on what stage you are personally at.) We need to be honest with ourselves that if we are enjoying the taste of our food, that is a warning that we are probably not Fasting. I speak as one who has repeatedly made excuses many years, but this year I want to really make an effort to avoid meat, dairy, flavorful foods, and regular sized meals, throughout Lent. I am well aware how weak I am at resolutions, so I'm not pretending to be a guru or that I will not fall at times, but I know other people can be more strong, and I hopefully can encourage them. I wont pretend to be at the level of avoiding spices, and eating only bread, water, rice, etc, during Lent, but that is a beautiful thing to aspire to.

Fasting has many beautiful elements to it, including key parts in Scripture, such as the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve had to "fast" from eating of the Tree. Fasting is tied to proper experience of Liturgy and Prayer, which means Fasting is tied to truly experiencing God. Our Lord Jesus says some evils can only be driven out by "Fasting and Prayer". Paul says he fasted many times (2 Cor 11:27). Spiritual masters in the Church have even explained that Fasting is the key to breaking our main sinful struggles, including sexual habits and pride. We must stop neglecting Fasting if we want to make real change in the Church and ourselves. I would say it is impossible to grow spiritually if one main pillar like Fasting is completely ignored. With things so unhealthy in the Church these days, we have to encourage each other individually, and God Willing soon the Church will make things more mandatory, so we can Fast as a community, not merely individually.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Is Eastern Orthodoxy's view of the Church tearing them apart? (Autocephaly & Patriarchate)

As many probably know, there was a schism within Eastern Orthodoxy in 2018/2019, when the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) held a synod which decided to sever ties with the Patriarchate of Constantinople (Ecumenical Patriarchate). The cause was that the EP believed it had the authority to grant "Autocephaly" to the churches in Ukraine (which the MP claims is Russian territory), while the MP said the EP did not have such unilateral authority. While we shouldn't be happy about such events, it does provide for some Catholic apologetics material when dealing with Eastern Orthodox. Here are some things to ponder.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Why Mormonism shouldn't be tolerated in Utah

When people think of Utah they typically associate this with Mormonism (Latter Day Saints). This is because Mormons set up their headquarters in Salt Lake City, where they have been for about 150 years, shortly after Joseph Smith died in 1844 in Illinois. However, what most people don't realize is that Mormonism was never meant to be in Utah. This realization I came upon accidentally, which I have never heard anyone else share, but I think is extremely valuable in witnessing to Mormons and refuting Mormonism. 

The standard apologetic that Catholics have used against Mormons is that their cornerstone (Protestant) doctrine, the Great Apostasy (which demands the Church needed restoration in later times), is simply untenable since it: (1) goes against the promise of Jesus to never abandon His Church; including (2) prophecies such as Daniel 2 talked about HERE; also (3) there is no Biblical evidence for the Great Apostasy; and (4) it doesn't fit within the historical record, hence why Great Apostasy advocates cannot even give the century when it occurred. This is all well and good, but the Catholic fixation on the Great Apostasy doesn't do well against the principally emotionally driven Mormon (and Protestant) mindset. So here is where my new apologetics argument has a lot of potential, which I'll now discuss. 

Mormons are very aware that Joseph Smith never came to Utah, though many non-Mormons don't know  this. For most of us non-Mormons, we aren't even sure how the Mormons ended up in Utah, though many people know Brigham Young played a role in getting the Mormons there. Official Mormon history teaches that Joseph Smith began the Mormon Church in New York in around 1830, and after traveling nearly 1,000 miles, Smith had moved the congregation to settle down in the city of Independence, Missouri (just outside Kansas City) around 1836. Why did Smith settle down officially in Independence, Missouri? Because Smith had some visions of divine revelation how Independence was actually the official location of the Garden of Eden! Not only that, Smith received further divine revelation this same city was to be the official site of the Second Coming of Jesus! And further divine revelation revealed that this was to be the true City of Zion (since in the Bible Jerusalem was located on Mt Zion). See what the Mormon Scriptures say (all are divinely revealed to Joseph Smith):
Doctrine & Covenants ch57: 1 Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints. 2 Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion. 3 Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the courthouse. 4 Wherefore, it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the saints, and also every tract lying westward, even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile; 5 And also every tract bordering by the prairies, inasmuch as my disciples are enabled to buy lands. Behold, this is wisdom, that they may obtain it for an everlasting inheritance.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Was Abraham wicked in Genesis 15:6? (Another look at Rom 4:5)

Continuing on the same Romans 4:5 "justifies the ungodly" theme, since this verse is seen as a Protestant stronghold for Imputation of Christ's Righteousness, I want to present multiple reasons why the Protestant reading is untenable. Just as a reminder, the Protestant side insists that "justifies the ungodly" means that Abraham was a wicked ungodly unregenerate vile man at the time of Genesis 15:6, and thus had no good works of any kind to justify himself, and thus the only way God was able to justify Abraham is by imputing the Righteousness of Christ to Abraham. But if Romans 4:5 is not actually saying Abraham was wicked (such that he had no righteousness within or righteous behavior), then the Reformed reading of Genesis 15:6 fails, and thus so does Romans 4:3-5, their chief proof text for Justification by Faith Alone and Imputation. 

To prove that I'm not making this Protestant 'interpretation' up, consider the words of some respected Protestant scholars:
  • Dr R. Scott Clark (12/2018 on his blog):
    There have been times when the church has given the impression to her members and to others that only the perfect are welcome. She did that in the Middle Ages when many of their theologians concluded that we are right with God (justified) only to the degree we are holy (sanctified). In the Protestant Reformation the story was clarified to a great degree. Martin Luther (1483–1546) helped us see that Scripture teaches that all believers are at the same time sinful and declared righteous (simul iustus et peccator) by God, that, as Paul says, Christ justifies the ungodly (Rom 4:5).
  • Dr Sam Waldron (Spring 2021 in a Reformed academic journal):
    The word “ungodly” implies that Abraham himself was not justified because he was the paradigm of obedience. Instead, he was the ungodly person justified by faith. . . . It is a significant mistake for Hays, who follows Sanders and others, to bring the concept of the merits of the patriarchs to the discussion of Abraham in Romans 4. He says, “Abraham’s faithfulness was reckoned by God to the benefit not only of Israel (as in the rabbinic exegetical tradition) but also of the Gentiles.” To speak of “the vicarious effects of Abraham’s faithfulness” is to obscure or miss the whole point. Abraham is the ungodly man - not the faithful man - in Romans 4. He is not a Christ-figure with a treasury of merit, but a sinner with no merit in need of justification. His faith is not admirable faithfulness, but empty-handed reliance on the promise of God. . . . The tension between Abraham the obedient (James 2:21–23) and Abraham the ungodly (Rom 4:3–5) must be considered. . . . But what of the assertion that Paul in Romans 4:5 refers to Abraham as ungodly in Genesis 15:6? The plain record of Abraham’s grievous failures after his calling are relevant to the question at hand. These grievous manifestations of remaining sin are a reminder of what Abraham had been, what he was by nature, and that his standing before God was not grounded on the very imperfect obedience which grew out of his faith in God’s promises. Thus, for the purposes of being justified by God, Abraham was (from the standpoint of the stringent requirements of God’s law) ungodly not only before his call, but afterwards.
  • Dr John Fesko (Essay on Imputation):
    Abraham’s righteousness was not native to him; in fact, Paul says he was “ungodly.” So how did God consider him righteous? Because Abraham laid hold of Christ’s righteousness by faith. God therefore imputed Christ’s righteousness to Abraham. . . . This scriptural teaching stands in stark contrast to the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches that God justifies sinners on the basis of inherent, rather than imputed, righteousness. In other words, a person must actually be holy in order to receive the verdict of righteous before the divine bar. Yet, such an opinion conflicts with Paul’s testimony that God justifies the “ungodly” (Rom. 4:5).
  • Dr DA Carson (The Vindication of Imputation pdf):
    More importantly, it does not bear in mind Paul’s own powerful conclusion: it is the wicked person to whom the Lord imputes righteousness. In the context, that label is applied to Abraham no less than to anyone else. In Paul’s understanding, then, God’s imputation of Abraham’s faith to Abraham as righteousness cannot be grounded in the assumption that that faith is itself intrinsically righteous. If God is counting faith to Abraham as righteousness, he is counting him righteous — not because Abraham is righteous in some inherent way (How can he be? He is asebes / ungodly), but simply because Abraham trusts God and his gracious promise.
  • Dr Charles Hodge (Essay on Justification):
    As this righteousness is not our own, as we are sinners, ungodly, without works, it must be the righteousness of another, even of Him who is our righteousness.
  • Dr Joel Beeke (The relation of Faith to Justification):
    In the final analysis, if we base our justification on our faith, our works, or anything else of our own, the very foundations of justification must crumble. Inevitably the agonizing, perplexing, and hopeless questions of having "enough" would surface; Is my faith strong enough? Are the fruits of grace in my life fruitful enough? Are my experiences deep enough, clear enough, persistent enough? Every detected inadequacy in my faith is going to shake the very foundations of my spiritual life. My best believing is always defective. I am always too ungodly even in my faith.

These quotes are representative of mainstream conservative Protestant scholarship. These Protestant scholars are well aware of challenges to their interpretation of Romans 4:5, but the Protestant side is so stuck and has bet everything on Romans 4:5 in order to uphold Imputation that they cannot afford to budge. I can confidently say that the highest academic levels of conservative Protestant scholarship has no other hope than their desperate reading of Romans 4:5.

Here are some reasons I have gathered as to why “ungodly” in the case of Abraham in Genesis 15:6 refers merely to Gentile (i.e. uncircumcised) status and does not likely refer to something more severe or “morally corrupt” in Romans 4:5. These reasons are not mutually exclusive, but can overlap:

Friday, September 10, 2021

Justification of the Ungodly - a Reformed admission

I came across a wonderful admission from a Reformed article online [1] of something I've been saying for a while regarding the problematic situation of the Reformed reading of "justifies the ungodly" (Rom 4:5) that I'd like to share. The article is short, but I trimmed it down at spots to capture the most important points:
One of the most striking and comforting expressions in the Scriptures is that God justifies the ungodly (Rom. 4:5). Nonetheless, this statement creates a theological conundrum of sorts and has led in part some Reformed theologians, including puritans, to at least suggest if not advocate a subtle form of justification before faith. So what then is the problem?

Placing regeneration and faith before justification, as the Reformed do, appears to be incompatible with the fact that God justifies the ungodly. For how can a regenerated, holy sinner who exercises sincere faith and repentance be viewed as ungodly? Yet, placing regeneration after justification has its own problems, chiefly, how can a sinner dead in sins turn to Christ in true faith and repentance?

The Reformed officially teach that before a person can even believe, the Holy Spirit must first come and cause a radical transformation inside that person, taking them from spiritual death to spiritual life (Eph 2:5), born again (Jn 3:5), giving them a new heart (Rom 2:29), making them a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), and enabling them to exercise the gift of faith. This is called "Regeneration" or "Effectual Calling" in classical Reformed language. Only after Regeneration can they then believe in the Gospel and then get Justified. But this raises the question, how can someone so powerfully transformed inside by the Holy Spirit still remain "ungodly" in any reasonable sense? To remain "ungodly" would suggest that sin is more powerful than grace, which cannot be. So the Reformed must now explain how there can be an "ungodly" in the first place when it comes to the believer getting Justified.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Did God reckon Abraham's heart as faithful? (Nehemiah 9:8 and 13:13)

As you probably know, Protestants claim that since Abraham was "ungodly" he couldn't be justified before God by his sinful actions, and instead had to use his faith to receive the "imputed Righteousness of Christ" in order to appear righteous before God. While there are numerous proofs against Protestantism's perverted reading of Genesis 15:6 (Rom 4:3), I want to present two 'new' Biblical proofs that Protestant scholars and apologists quietly ignore. Both texts are from the book of Nehemiah, which is a fascinating new use for this book in apologetics.

The first text is:

Neh 9: 7 You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.
The term "faithful" here is the same term used in Genesis 15:6 - and in fact is the only time the term is used of Abraham in Genesis. The Hebrew term often means "faithful" and not merely believing. The connection to Abraham's "heart" being good further suggests that Abraham was not "ungodly" in the Protestant claim of being morally depraved, but rather being merely a Gentile (cf Rom 4:9-12). Also, the verse ends with God keeping his Promise (cf Rom 4:13), because God is "righteous". The connection with Promise Keeping and Righteousness suggests that the Righteousness in question here is more of a "faithfulness," rather than the Protetant error that claims Biblical "righteousness" means a lifetime of perfectly keeping the commandments (which doesn't even make sense when speaking of the Father's righteousness).

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Why could Moses not enter the Promise Land?

We all know that Moses was one of God's most beloved and important servants of all Salvation History, yet there is something unsettling about God excluding Moses from entering the Promise Land. We know from Numbers 20 and Deuteronomy 32 that God's reasoning for not allowing Moses to enter was because Moses lost his temper at the Israelites and in frustration struck the rock from which water flowed. 
Deut 32:48-52 & 34:1-12. The Lord spoke to Moses, “Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. And die on the mountain which you go up, because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there.” Then Moses went up to Mount Nebo. And the Lord showed him all the land of Judah as far as the western sea. And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab. And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed Joshua.
This seems unfair to us that Moses had to put up with so much sin, complaining, and drama from the Israelites for 40 long years, and that he devoted his heart and soul to serving God, that this one time that Moses slips up he loses everything. It just doesn't sit well with us. Many people over the years try to rationalize it, explaining why God was justified in punishing Moses. But I think there's a more satisfying explanation that the Catholic tradition has long been aware of.

As a rule of thumb, when something strange, outrageous, or even troubling happens in the Old Testament, this is often a sign that there is a New Testament lesson hidden therein (this is called Typology). A good example is when God told Abraham to sacrifice his only-begotten son Isaac, which is an outrageous command for God to tell someone to do. Yet, we see from this outrageous event that it was preparing us for an even more outrageous event, namely God giving His Son die on the Cross. In this case of Moses not being able to enter the Promise Land, there's a wonderful Catholic Youtube / blog called Reason & Theology (subscribe to it!) wherein the host Michael Lofton explains:
It was fitting that God prevented Moses from entering the Promised Land, so that we would know the Law of Moses could not bring us to the eternal Promised Land, but merely pointed us to it. It was, in fact, Joshua who brought the people to the Promised Land, so that we would know another Joshua (Yehoshua) would bring us to our eternal reward.
The second-in-command for Moses was Joshua, which in Hebrew is the same name for Jesus. He was ordained by Moses to become the new leader of Israel, who will mightily lead them into the Promise Land. So hidden within this apparently unfair narrative of excluding Moses is the bigger lesson that the Law of Moses only gets us to a certain point in Salvation (e.g. recognition of our sinfulness), and it is up to Jesus to take us the rest of the way (i.e. Heaven). If you don't see this New Testament lesson as the primary point of Moses being excluded, then I don't think you can ever come to a satisfying answer.
As a funny but very relevant side note, today the Times of Israel published a story of some "controversial remarks" from Pope Francis! It turns out some Rabbis were upset with what Francis had said in a homily! Here's the relevant portion: 
Francis said: “The Law does not give life, it does not offer the fulfillment of the promise because it is not capable of being able to fulfill it. The Law is a journey, a journey that leads toward an encounter… Those who seek life need to look to the promise and to its fulfillment in Christ.”

Rabbi Arusi sent a letter on behalf of the Chief Rabbinate to Cardinal Kurt Koch, whose Vatican department includes a commission for religious relations with Jews. “In his homily, the pope presents the Christian faith as not just superseding the Torah; but asserts that the latter no longer gives life, implying that Jewish religious practice in the present era is rendered obsolete,” Arusi reportedly wrote in the letter. “This is in effect part and parcel of the ‘teaching of contempt’ towards Jews and Judaism that we had thought had been fully repudiated by the Church.”
In a humorous twist of events, this is a time when Pope Francis says something controversial that all Christians and Protestants can agree upon!
Moses ordaining Joshua as his successor


Saturday, July 10, 2021

King David and the Sacraments - a beautiful example of typology in the OT

I came across a passage which I believe testifies to the Catholic approach to reading the OT, namely seeing New Testament signs hidden therein. This is known as OT 'typology', which some Protestants might cringe at but I think is perfectly legitimate:

2 Sam 12: 19 But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. 20 Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.
David was being punished for his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah, and had been fasting while his infant son was sick. When the fasting/penance period was over, David got up, washed, anointed, changed, worshiped, ate. This to me sounds like the traditional Christian practice of conversion, namely fasting as you desire to leave your old life behind, then baptism, anointing with oil (Confirmation), and putting on clean robe (Baptismal Garment), then gathering for the Mass to receive the Eucharist. I'm sure that I'm not the first to notice this, but strangely enough I've never seen anyone mention it. I just 'accidentally' came across it recently while reading the narrative. This is all I have to share for now, but I think this passage fits within my "reconsidered" understanding of the Justification narrative of Romans 4:6-8, which I've discussed (here).

Nathan telling David, "You're the man!" (not a compliment)