Monthly Archives: September 2008

Proof surrogates and the Fed Bailout Plan…

I had to figure out an excuse to blog about the Fed Bailout Plan, so I’ll throw in a Logic lesson.  I’ve already blogged on some other rhetorical devices, and here’s another: Proof surrogates.

A proof surrogate is worded in such a way as to try to convice others that you’ve offered actual reason, evidence, or proof for something, when indeed you haven’t.  Examples of proof surrogates include; “everyone knows,” “people say,” “studies show” (without giving the actual studies or authors), “clearly,” “it’s obvious,” or just repeating the same thing over and over to try to be convincing, etc….

The spokespeople in the congress are providing a lot of proof surrogates, as well as those in the news media.  The politicians are at a loss as to why their constituents do not want this bill passed.  Well…at this point it is because the American people are being logical, and asking for actual reasons and explanations of this whole mess.  I firmly believe we aren’t against aiding the system, per se, it just feels like we are receiving a whole lot of rhetoric, and not enough info.

If I hear the proof surrogate, “this important piece of legislation” one more time, I’m going to throw up (that’s hyperbole, by-the-way, I’m not really going to throw up).  That’s the point; we don’t know if it is an important piece of legislation or not…no one is giving us real evidence or info.  This is non-partisan; both sides are doing it.

“If we don’t pass this important piece of legislation, it will be bad…really bad.”  Yeah, that’s convincing.

If the Gov’t was really interested in getting the people on board with this they need to hire at least two people; an independent (not connected politically) business genius, and an independent psychologist to come up with an advertisement or spot that can be ran on the media outlets.  They would do a much better job giving us actual facts about the business implications, and do it in a way that we would pay attention to, and care about. (Oh, for a Ross Perot graph!  Never thought I’d say that.)

I understand the fundamentals, but that’s not good enough in this case.  Why?  Because they are taking my money to do it, an if there’s one thing I know about finances is that you don’t blindly give your money to someone else to invest for you, unless you know alot about them and what they are going to do with your cash…and yes, that may be a big problem…we know what the Gov’t likes to do with our money…

“This is going to affect main street, not just Wall Street.”  Proof surrogate.  Precisely how is it going to affect main street.  It’s going to limit the amount of money we can borrow from banks…it limits our credit.  Well!  Wasn’t all this fast and loose credit how we got into this in the first place?  Give me more details!  Why don’t we loan the taxpayers money to those small businesses instead of those big businesses that lost all their money through poor management and bad loans?  Go interview someone that knows something, throw in some interviews with an actual middle class person that this is destroying their lives right now, even as we speak…oh, wait, the stock market was up today…

I have no doubt that the economy is bad.  I have no doubt that the greed of those in positions of power in these private companies did bad things.  I also know people are living too far above their means, taking out loans that they never should be taking out, and our gov’t wants us to be a bunch of consumers.  I’m sure a good plan could be devised that doesn’t turn us into a bunch of socialists, and that preserves the free market I know and love…and maybe this bailout plan is it, but we wouldn’t know because we are being treated like children, and to logical arguments with real evidence is being presented to us.

Get on the ball Washington!

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Rosh Hashana is today; The Feast of Trumpets…

Yes, ’tis that time of year again, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana is at hand. Leviticus 23:23 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. 25 Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.

The shofar (the “trumpet” in the Feast of Trumpets) is sounded, this one showcases the traditional blasts:

Posted by mesitampabay at youtube.

And of course many of us Christians that believe in the Rapture, that Christ will come with the sound of a trumpet think it may sound something like this?  This one is more “free form.”

Posted by crossoverproductions at youtube

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Two great videos on the cell…

Here is a vid from several years ago, you’ll need to click on the link to read the article and watch the video.  Cellular Visions.

The second vid was posted by VipChannel on youtube, my hubby “The ‘Shrink” spied it first, and put it up on his blog; Intelligent Design:

We are truly without excuse! Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

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Catholic verses? Part 5a…

In the first part, I explained that Marcus Grodi, a convert to the Roman church (RC) and host on The Journey Home, has a list of ten verses that influenced him to consider conversion to the RC. The fifth verse is Matthew 16:13-19

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

First, let me say that there have been whole books written on these passages, from all sides of the issue.  Marcus focused in on verse 18; the infamous “rock” passage.  There are several views on this as it relates to exactly who or what is the foundation of the Church?

There are many theories as to the answer, including:

  • 1) Peter is the foundation upon which the Church is built
  • 2) Christ is the foundation upon which the Church is built
  • 3) Peter’s confession of faith is the foundation upon which the church is built
  • 4) Something else is the metaphorical foundation upon which the church is built; this includes all miscellaneous theories…such as Christ referring to the literal land, the rocks He and the disciples were standing on, as a metaphor for a Jewish/Gentile Church.

I am going to put #3 and #2 together, as I see no real distinction; Peter’s confession of Christ, and Christ Himself are intimately connected.  As such, I’m going to narrow this discussion down to #1 and #2.  In part 5b (in another blog post) I’m going to address if this passage supports Peter in a Pope-like primacy position or not.

So, of course now Marcus sees Peter as the foundation of the church and believes that when Christ says “this rock,” He meant Peter.  One of the first things to do is go to the Greek and attempt an answer that way: does the Greek support Peter as being the rock?.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (Petros), and upon this rock (petra) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The obvious point is that Matthew chose not to use the same words here.  Ah…but wait! Yes, the common response is that Jesus spoke Aramaic or Hebrew, not Greek, so it would have been the same word if the Aramaic or Hebrew was recorded.  First, that is pure speculation, we literally cannot know that.  Secondly, that is saying we don’t trust Matthew when he recorded, in Greek, a blatant difference in word use.  He could have made the point very very clear in the Greek; Thou art Petros and upon Petros I will build my church is simply not what Matthew recorded.

Another point.  We cannot know if Jesus used any clarifying gestures.  For instance laying His hand on His own chest when saying “this rock” or pointing to the rock underneath His feet, or nodding or pointing to Peter when saying it…it is impossible to tell from this passage.  Regardless, the use of petra makes it plain that it is referring to the metaphorical foundational rock on which the church would be built.  So, from immediate context it is impossible to know precisely whom or what Christ was referring to; though I believe Matthew’s change in word does not favor the Peter hypothesis.

How else can we tell?  Is there anything else in the entirety of scripture that can tell us what or who the church is built upon?  Yes, there is.  In the Old Testament, there is a common theme; that of calling God the Rock. Just as one tiny example; 1 Samuel 2:2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

How about the NT?  Any talk of who the foundation is?  1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Jesus is even underscored in the NT as the Rock in the OT; 1Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Are the Apostles and prophets a part of the metaphorical church “building” made out of stones?  Absolutely, and Peter was privileged to play a role in that, but even in the “building” of the church metaphor, who is labeled as the chief cornerstone?  Jesus.  We also have Peter’s own words, who points this out readily and calls all believers who are a part of the church; stones;

1 Peter 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed

Note that in verse 8, the word “rock” Peter uses is petra, the same as in the Matthew verse, and it is referencing Christ.  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock (petra) of offence…

Others rightly point out that it is Peter’s faith reactions that determine Christ’s reaction to him, not Peter as a person…meaning that here, when Peter hearkens to God, his faith is praised; however, a few verses later, what do we find?  Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

To me, this supports the idea of Christ and the confession of Christ to be what the church shall be built upon.  Taken all together, one thing is definitely clear; Jesus Christ is the foundation of the church, and the chief cornerstone, there can be no other when taking all of scripture into account, and Peter himself agrees.

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Jehovah-rapha; The LORD that Healeth

Jehovah-rapha, The LORD that Healeth…as in the other names I have already covered (Jehovah-shammah, Jehovah-rohi, Jehovah-tsidkenu, and Jehovah-nissi) this name is to help us grasp a fundamental nature of God and His character. He is the LORD that healeth, and further more, this is one of His names that He revealed about Himself; He is the one that uttered, “for I am the LORD that healeth thee,” to the Israelites.

This name is revealed in the book of Exodus, after the Israelites were journeying away from Egypt.

Exodus 15:22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, 26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee. 27 And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

Now, it is important to read those verses to get the context of this revelation. The Israelites had seen the plagues of God released upon the Egyptians that kept them as slaves, here God promises to never do this to the Israelites if they hearken to His word.

Notice that this revelation of His name is connected to another event; the miraculous occurrence of making the bitter waters sweet. I’ve blogged about water before, and how it is intimately connected to life itself, and of course we have Christ as our living water. Here we have a people that are desperately thirsty, and who see this body of water, and who are devastated when they realize it is unfit to drink.

God then “heals” the water by directing Moses to place the “tree” in the pool, which makes the water sweet, and fit to drink (wouldn’t you love to taste that water! ). Many see the parallel with Christ, who was raised up on a tree to heal us, and to offer us living water through His life, death, and resurrection.

Yes, God is the LORD that can healeth even our physical bodies, as He has shown abundantly through scripture and even in our own lives, or in the lives of those we know. However, the emphasis on healing both in the Old Testament, and even more so in the New, is NOT on physical healing, but on spiritual healing and renewal.

To many humans the physical side of healing is the end all and be all; but I submit that to those of us in Christ, it is the spiritual healing that is the awesome thing. Christ Himself put forth the teaching that the physical healing was symbolic of a deeper, more important healing…that of the forgiveness of sin.

Matthew 9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

When we are sick in our physical selves, should we not cry out to God to see if He will heal our bodies? Of course! However, we must be very very careful, for there are those “teachers” out there teaching a false message; if you aren’t healed then you didn’t have enough faith. How despicable!

Paul himself prayed for healing, but was answered in a different way; 2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. Does it matter precisely what kind of infirmity Paul was praying to be healed?  The idea still stands; God has His reasons in all things, and in all answer to prayer.

The new covenant in Christ is beyond our physical selves, it is so much more. Christ, the Great Physician, offers healing on a much more fundamental level…and yes, for those that have faith in Him, someday everything about us will be healed fully when we are home; our physical selves, our minds, our wills…everything.

For now it is enough that we recognize that by giving ourselves to Him, and making ourselves a living sacrifice, that He is the one in control, and that He can either physically heal us or not, according to His will. This name of His; however, shows us that healing is in His very character, and we should never be ashamed or hesitant to call upon Jehovah-rapha to heal us in any way.

He is the one who makes the waters sweet, Who cleanses us from our sins, and makes us whole in Him. As always, Jesus contains this aspect of God made flesh. He walked amongst us, healing as He went, again, to underscore Who He was and is, and that He has the power to heal spiritually as well as on the “surface.” He also took upon Himself all of our sin, and went through a torturous death…He sacrificed His own health for us.

He heals situations as well…He uses them for good, even if they are bad situations, Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. We are not ever promised perfect lives, or perfect physical health when we become believers, quite the contrary. But, we are promised that He is with us, He is The LORD that heals on many different levels, and that He can use all things for good. We too, to really tap into this promise, should hearken to God and His Word, and put all our faith in Christ. Then we truly can be content in whatever situation we find ourselves, and also possess the knowledge that we can indeed call out to Jehovah-rapha, and He does indeed hear us.

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Catholic verses? Part 4

In the first part, I explained that Marcus Grodi, a convert to the Roman church (RC) and host on The Journey Home, has a list of ten verses that influenced him to consider conversion to the RC.  The fourth verse that he cites is 2 Thessalonians 2:15

2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

First, Marcus jumps on the word “tradition” here and holds that up as proving that we can indeed, and should indeed follow the traditions handed down by the Apostles, even if it was oral.  To that I say, I agree, now tell me how I can hear Paul, Peter, John’s, etc… words that were not written down.  I can’t.

The common response is; well, what about those in the early church who were not apostles who wrote things down? What about them?  We know for an absolute fact that just because a person was taught directly by an apostle, and claims to be a believer that it does not guarantee correct teaching.

The early believers were warned again and again that corruption and false teaching would soon spring up, and we get to see a record of it first hand in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, which was to a whole group of apostle-taught believers. This is a very very serious matter: Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Paul goes on to underscore the importance of sticking to the gospel message. Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. To put it in English; if anyone, including an apostle, preaches any other gospel let him be damned.

What else doe Paul have to say? Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. So, how are we to know if someone is speaking, preaching, and teaching truth?  We can emulate the Bereans for one thing: Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. In my last post, I already gave scriptural evidence that certain NT books were already considered scripture in the eyes of early Christians; such as Paul’s epistles.  Assuredly the scriptures spoken of in Acts 17 were OT scripture, but the teaching is sound; search scripture to see if what someone is teaching you conflicts with it.

The emphasis in 2 Thessalonians was on the gospel; the word “tradition” means “that which is given over” in the Greek. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

The ideas here are that their word lined up with their written word; therefore, there cannot be contradiction between doctrine and scripture and if there is contradiction we should lean on the scriptures.  This idea is a very protestant one.  For example, there was a time in the RC church that people owning their own Bibles in their mother tongue was frowned upon…everything in scripture supports the idea of the truth of scripture, and that is one way we are to test for the truth, hence, I submit that 2 Thessalonians 2:15 in no way lends itself to a RC view.

Tradition can go both ways, it can be a good thing if supported by the truth, or Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. God inspired tradition lines up with God’s word.

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Catholic verses? Part 3

In the first part, I explained that Marcus Grodi, a convert to the Roman church (RC) and host on The Journey Home, has a list of ten verses that influenced him to consider conversion to the RC.  The third verse he talks about is 2 Timothy 3:14-17

2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Marcus makes a point that I do agree with, but that doesn’t lend itself to one side or another; protestant nor RC; he says that the scripture refered to in verse 15 would have been the Old Testament (OT).  This is true as far as it goes; the scriptures that they would have known since being children would have only been the OT, since the NT hadn’t yet been written.

However, Marcus then tries to make the point that the scripture mentioned in 16 would be the OT, hence this verse cannot be used to support the more protestant idea of sola scriptura (scripture alone).  This isn’t the case, as he limits the use of scripture only to the OT, and that is not what the verse says, it simply says ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.  That does not exclude the NT; in fact two examples of how this is refuted are below.

Paul, in 1 Timothy 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward names the source of these quotes “scripture.”  The first part about the ox is found in OT, Deuteronomy 25:4, and the second part about the labourer is found in the NT books of Matthew 10:10, and Luke 10:7.

Peter, in 2 Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction declares Paul’s epistles “scripture” by referring to “other” scriptures.

Also, this passage in 2 Timothy does underline the importance of scripture.  One big point in protestant circles is that doctrine cannot contradict, or go against scripture.  True doctrine will line up with scripture, not conflict with it, any position that is of the Holy Spirit will not go against scripture, since it too is God inspired.  This is why so many of us Protestants turn to the scripture when looking at doctrine; there are some things that organizational churches do/don’t do that are not referred to in scripture at all…but, these things are different than a doctrine that blatantly contradicts scripture (OT or NT) ; that should not happen.

In short, I see nothing in 2 Timothy 3:14-17 to support an RC position over that of a protestant one, and in fact, these verses highlight the central role of scripture for every believer.

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Catholic verses? Part 2…

In the first part, I explained that Marcus Grodi, a convert to the Roman church (RC) and host on The Journey Home, has a list of ten verses that influenced him to consider conversion to the RC.  The second verse he mentions is 1 Timothy 3:14-15.  Again, it is important to see context, so I’ll add in some of the forth Chapter (remember, in the originals, there are no chapter breaks).

1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

Marcus makes a big deal out of the phrase, “the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”  “Which church?” he asks.  The verse tells us; the church of the living God.  There is indeed only One True Church, it isn’t limited to the Roman POV.  It is all true believers; the Body of Christ.

Marcus also acts as though this concept of the church being the pillar and ground of the truth is a surprising revelation…how so?  If we look at the Greek words used here, as well as the context, the meaning becomes clear; we support the truth and uphold it by proclaiming Christ to the world.  He is the Truth, that all true believers proclaim and support.  The Greek words here are: stulos for pillar, meaning a column, metaphor for support, and hedraioma for ground (not foundation); meaning a stay, prop, or support.

Notice it is not meaning the arbiter of truth, or the foundation of truth, or the end all be all of truth; no, the church is the support of truth, and that truth is Christ; as made clear in verse 16.  So, in context does the verse and meanings lend themselves to a protestant or RC understanding?  In general, as long as everyone agrees that the truth is Christ, and it is the church’s job (all true believers) to proclaim Him (1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.), then I don’t think it’d have to go either way.  Marcus seems to think, though, that “the truth” here isn’t referring to Christ, but to all kinds of doctrine, and uses the verse to support the RC.

So, keep reading in context. “some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” Apparently, forbidding to marry and abstaining from meats are not examples of the truth…so, as one example, the RC in fact forbids their special priesthood to marry. This doctrine, not being found in scripture aside, contradicts scripture and not just this one.

Are doctrines like this limited to the RC? By no means.  Just in this one example, there have been, and are, other “Christian” organizational churches, and individuals who try to get their members to abstain from marriage, even splitting up married couples.

So, the verse is proclaiming the church’s (ekklesia) role in upholding the Truth, which is Christ.  And making sure we do not stray into false teaching; which includes forbidding to marry, and trying to get people not eating certain foods.  As with the last verse, I do not see this as supporting the RC perspective that Marcus gives to it.  Read, study, pray, seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and decide for yourself.

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Marcus Grodi, 10 verses; part 1

As many readers know, I watch EWTN every now and again to see what’s happening in the RC.  One of the shows that I think is very well done is “The Journey Home” with Marcus Grodi.  It’s interesting, the interviews are well done, the set is pleasant, and I’m always curious as to what the guest is going to say influenced them into joining the Roman church (RC).

That’s the premise of the show, BTW; converts to the RC faith share their stories of conversion most episodes.  Their conversions are often from protestant Christianity, though they do come from other backgrounds.  Marcus, himself, is a convert, and he shares his story every now and again.

I recorded the episode where Marcus shares what he considers to be 10 Bible verses that influenced him to rethink the RC when he was a protestant…when I hear things like that, my ears perk up and I like to dig into the verses to see what’s up; as obviously, I’m a protestant (though as a reminder, I do believe I’ve got brothers and sisters in Christ in the RC).  In this series I plan to look into the verses Marcus brings up, and go through them one by one.

I’m doing this for several reasons; first, it is always a good and helpful thing to dig into scripture whatever the reason or subject.  Secondly, I’m interested to see if those verses really lend themselves to a RC perspective.

So, let’s start with his first verse reference: Proverbs 3:5-6.  I will add a bit more for context:

Proverbs 3: 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. 8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. 9 Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: 10 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. 11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: 12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.13 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

This one is an odd choice to me, because the meaning is pretty clear.  Don’t lean on your own knowledge, but on God; that’s the first lesson.  Also, in every way, in all ways always acknowledge who or what? Him.  If you do these things, He will direct your path.

So, does this verse line up more with a general RC understanding or with a general protestant understanding?  I have to go with protestant.  Why?

First, Marcus tried to make this a case to lean on the church’s understanding, because different protestant denominations teach different things, even on one verse.  But that is not what the verse clearly says.  We are to rely on God.  Has God given us a fundamental means to rely on Him for understanding?  Absolutely; the Holy Spirit (along with scripture, of course).

Is there context for my idea in the whole of scripture? Yes. Here is one example: 1 John 2: 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

I include verse 28 to show that he was talking to the whole group, not just one person.  The Holy Spirit is God Himself within us, and He is promised to teach each of us; as individuals even.

Why then the different teachings even within the RC (for one small example; the rivalry between the Dominicans and the Jesuits)?  Because there is a lot of “stuff” that gets in the way for us; bias, stubbornness, lack of attention, lack of comprehension, lack of searching scripture, lack of prayer, etc…  There are indeed some people more gifted at interpreting the Holy Spirit’s leading, but it isn’t a necessary thing to have another human teach us (as Holy Spirit indwelt believers) the basic idea of the gospel and how we should live, when our faith and our brains are in the right place.

The next part of the Proverbs verse is definitely supported more by a protestant understanding, IMO; in all ways acknowledge Him.  The RC teaches, by practice, that we should acknowledge other humans, like Mary, for certain things; for one clear example, Pope John Paul II acknowledged Mary for saving his life/protecting him during an assassination attempt; even going so far as to put the bullet in the crown of a statue of her at Fatima.

Proverbs is clear here; trust in God (not another human or even the True Church, which is all true believers RC or protestant) with all your heart trust in Him, don’t lean on human understanding, but on Him, and in ALL our ways acknowledge Him, then He will direct our paths; each of our paths as individuals.

Marcus sees this verse as opening the door to the RC as the one true church, with one “true” vicar of Christ who is still human but leads everyone in the church.  I don’t see it supporting that idea at all; instead it is underlining the need for each of us to attune to God, not just organizationally, but individually.  I also see it underlining the fact that worship belongs to God and God alone, not just as worship, but as acknowledgment.

Readers can judge (with the help of the Spirit) whether or not this first verse mentioned lends itself to a RC or protestant understanding.  Will continue on with the verses in the next blog posts.

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Filed under Apologetics, Conversion, Theology

Make a joyful noise…

Psalm 98:4 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

Well, as long as the noise doesn’t have to be in tune, I think I’m ok… Hehehe.  Do you notice how much music is a part of being human, and also how making music is one of the ways we are called on to worship the Lord?

Music touches a part of us that is beyond even the emotional; it is indeed on a spiritual level.  Now, I can’t sing…well, I can sing, but not in tune and not very well.  I can, however play the clarinet, or rather I could and probably still can.  But I haven’t in a long time, and every now and then I get a longing to make music, or participate in it at least (and no, the clarinet doesn’t fit the bill for me now…have you ever tried to make joyful music to the Lord on a clarinet when you don’t even like jazz? ;) ).

For a long while I’ve been wanting to learn another instrument; guitar, piano, or violin.  I’m also thirty years old…hmmm… too old to learn a new trick? I wonder.  So, I bit the bullet and went and bought me a guitar yesterday, and have tracked down a teacher.  So, should I jump in and really take lessons, or let my doubts and vanity get in my way?  You see, I have a non-Christian hang up with looking like a idiot, and I’ve no real idea about how, or what to start playing, I am truly a beginner, hence the lessons, hence the hang-up.

See, Christians are human too.  I thought if I posted about it here in my blog, it would light a fire under me, well, I guess we’ll see.  May the Lord be with my fingertips, and everyone else’s ears!

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Filed under Guitar n00b, Humor