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Posted in Some Tricky Bible Verses on 2003-01-02 06:54:32

I am a Catholic, but in my pure regard for the truth I am going to play to the Devil's Advocate and discredit this poll.

Matthew 16:5-12 "5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. 8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." Can you always take God's word literally?

Yes, you can always take God's word literally, even this bit. First, the literal meaning of the Bible is the meaning the authors intended. The natural import of the words constitutes the literal meaning. So the literal meaning can sometimes be figurative, if you would normally understand a certain expression to be figurative. For example, if I told you it's raining cats and dogs outside, the literal meaning would be that it's raining very heavily, not that canine and feline organisms are really falling from the sky. Second, you should always take God's word literally unless there is a clear reason to take it otherwise. Jesus makes it clear that He didn't mean He was talking about literal bread. We would also understand the literal meaning in the context of the whole Scripture. Jesus discoursed in other places on how HE was the Bread of life.

Mark 14:22 "And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body." Is the Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation supported by Scripture?

Many Protestants believe in the Real Presence without believing in the heavily philosophical interpretation of Transubstantiation. Martin Luther believed very firmly in it. But why should it be taken literally.

For as often as you shall eat this "bread" and drink the "chalice," you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come. (1 Corinthians 11:26, DRV).

Paul doesn't refers to the communion elements as "bread" and "chalice" and describes their purposing as "showing" the death of the Lord. This makes a symbolic view like transfinalization or transignification just as plausible as Scholastic transubstantiation. The literal meaning of Scripture must take into account ALL of Scripture.

John 20:23 "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." Jesus is speaking to his disciples. Does this support the Catholic practice of Confession?

Why should this be understood as supporting Confession? First, how do we know that Jesus' words to the Apostles don't apply equally to all Christians, not only to ordained priests? Second, how do we know that he wasn't referring to the proclamation of the Gospel and not to the pronunciation of absolution in the confessional? Maybe he was saying, you have the power to remit sins in the sense that when you proclaim the Gospel people will be saved by accepting Jesus as the personal Lord and Savior, and when you remain silent people will remain unsaved because they haven't heard the good news.

Matthew 2:23 "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene." Where is this prophecy found?

Jeremiah 23:5--Most plausible. Matthew was drawing a connection between the word "branch" (nazir) and the word "Nazarene."

Job 9:6 "Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble." Compare this to Isaiah 40:22 "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth..." What does the Bible say about the shape of the earth? (And if you choose the second option, how did the original hearers tell the difference?)

It is a flat circle, standing on pillars. I have read somewhere that the ancient Hebrews had this belief.

Genesis 3:22-23 "22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken." According to this passage, were Adam and Eve immortal before they sinned?

This passage is simple. Adam and Eve were immortal before they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But God told them they would die if they ate from that tree. So when they ate from it, they became mortal. But if they could eat from the tree of life they could become immortal again and counteract God's threat. So He exiled them from Eden so they would have to remain mortal. There is no difficulty here at all.

Exodus 21:22 "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine." Compare this to Exodus 21:12 "He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death." According to the Bible, is abortion murder?

Abortion is murder and these verses are perfectly consistent. But Exodus 21:22 is apparently referring to an UNINTENTIONAL incident. Apparently, two men are fighting and a pregnant woman is accidentally hurt, and an abortion follows. The abortion is an accident. Therefore the punishment is not as stiff. But Exodus 21:12 is referring to a DELIBERATE act. If someone smite a man, so that he die. The words show that the murder was deliberate. Abortion is murder, but if it isn't intentional the death penalty shouldn't be applied to it.

James 2:10 "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Compare this to I John 5:16-17 "16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death." Are some sins more serious than others?

All sins are equally sinful, but John is talking about sins that cannot be forgiven just because they leave the sinner unable to ask for forgiveness. For example, if I committed suicide (which is an obvious sin unto death) I would be unable to ask for forgiveness, because I would be dead. Theoretically, suicide could be forgiven but since I'm dead I can't ask for forgiveness. There's no point in praying for me. Theoretically, murder is just as sinful as suicide, but it leaves the sinner alive. If the sinner is alive, he can fall to his knees and beg God for forgiveness. It isn't that murder is less serious than suicide. It's just that a murderer lives to repent, and so there's hope, but a suicide dies immediately, so there is no hope. John may have had other sins in mind but I'm not sure what they would be. But this example is probably sufficient.

When referring to the Bible, "in context" means making it say what the Catholic Church has already decided it must say to agree with its own official theology.

Basically, so is your old man.

Posted in Identity of the Antichrist on 2003-01-02 05:33:49

I tend to agree.

========== In Reply To ========== it's probably george w. bush.

Posted in Theotokos, Theotokos!!! on 2003-01-02 05:29:49

The Catholic Church teaches that Mary is the Mother of God because she gave birth to Jesus Christ--who is both true God and true Man. She was able to give birth to Him because He was true Man. In other words, she gave Him a human nature and human form. But she is able to be called the Mother of God because Jesus Christ was also true God, one in being with the Father. She is not Divine by herself. Some feminists have suggested that Mary is a Mother Goddess but this idea has been condemned by the Church. Mary was only human. She was an ordinary woman created by God. But God appoint her to bear His Divine Son, and for that reason she is called the Mother of God. ========== In Reply To ========== I couldn't choose either answer because I believe that Mary is the mother of God. She is not divine but chosen by the Divine to give His son his human nature. So, that is why I didn't answer you poll and be counted.

Posted in number of books in bible on 2003-01-02 05:14:40

It is true that the possible answers apply only to Protestants and Catholics. I hadn't really thought of the other groups at the time. I would have thought that Eastern Orthodox Christians shared the same number of books as Roman Catholics. Also, I would have thought Gnostics would take a more laissez-faire approach to Scripture, and wouldn't be too concerned about it. They seem to rely more on special insight ("gnosis") rather than on canonical texts.

I do not consider Gnosticism to be a legitimate variant of Christianity. First, the dissimilarities between Gnostics and other groups that call themselves Christian is too great. Second, most Gnostic ideas predate the birth of Jesus Christ. The mere profession of the name is not enough. I require convincing reasons that Gnostics are right to call themselves Christians and class themselves with Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Eastern Orthodox Christians.

The Christian Church was originally divided into five sections called patriarchates. Each of these sections were governed by the patriarch, who was bishop of a certain city that dominated the entire patriarchate. The five patriarchates were Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Antioch.

This was still one Church, and there was free and open communion between all the different parts of the Church. The Bishop of Rome, later called the Pope, was acknowledged as having a special primacy of love and honor over the others. He was often called "primum inter pares" (first among equals). But theological developments in the Roman Church came to understand the Pope as supreme and infallible. The Eastern Church, under the leadership of the Patriarch of Constantinople, resisted this trend and insisted on the equality of all bishops although certain arrangements were made for historical reasons. The tension reached its climax in the eleventh century, when a Roman prelate and the Greek patriarch exchanged excommunications. The Crusaders' attack on Constantinople in the thirteenth century solidified the schism. The Eastern churches developed into the Orthodox Church, which is a loose association of autonomous churches united in a common theology and liturgy. The Roman Church came to be called the Catholic Church, and grew to be the largest religious organization in the world. The Western Church (Rome) and the Eastern Church (Constantinople) still have not reconciled. Significant theological points are still being discussed and debated. These discussions often degenerate into apologetics and polemics rather than open and honest dialogue. The memory of the Crusaders' attack on Constantinople remains an emotional barrier to ecumenism for Eastern Orthodox Christians, prompting Pope John Paul II to officially apologize on behalf of the Church and ask that we all forget the past. I think Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn were Orthodox.

========== In Reply To ========== The possible answers governs only most Protestants and Catholics.

What about Orthodox? What about Gnostics? What about others?

The author is highly discrediting these other groups, particularly those I named, because they have been around too (The Orthodox formed at the same time as the Catholic; Gnosticism was of the first three Christian sects that formed in the 1st century ce).