Every Papal Roman Catholic can be his own pope on every matter - so being a 'Cafeteria Catholic' is fine!
More facts on martyrs burned at the stake by Papal Rome for daring to produce Bible translations!
The truth is clear - no Papal Roman Catholic knows when a pope speaks or teaches infallibly because even your apologists reveal that they do not know for certain or exhaustively what the pope has infallibly taught and therefore exactly what it is that you are required to believe. You cannot even agree when or why a pope speaks ex cathedra, let alone possess an infallible set of criteria by which you can determine that a pope has spoken infallibly, or an infallible means of interpreting the criteria, whether they consist of two, three, or more factors.
You essentially asked us to produce an infallible list of the canon of the Bible yet the facts reveal that no representative of Papal Rome ever knew what the canon was in their day and when your best qualified scholar, Jerome, identified a canonical list he was repeatedly over-ruled by even the most inadequately gifted representatives of your religion! Conversely, if 'Protestants' produce a list, you try and claim it to be a concession that an elementary part of Christian knowledge (i.e., the canon) is contained outside of Scripture and this is alleged to be a denial of Sola Scriptura. Papal Rome supposedly does not have this problem because the 'infallible' Council of Trent declared the canon of Scripture, and that is how a Papal Roman Catholic knows with certainty that which the Protestant cannot - the canon of the Bible. But the truth is the reverse - Papal Roman Catholics cannot know the infallible canon of what comprises Verbum Dei, the Word of God, because a very small portion of that canon would have to be a list of ex cathedra papal statements. Some Papal Roman Catholics attempt to give an opinion of how many times the popes have exercised this gift and we have seen the examples of Scott Hahn - who lists only two; Staples offers a canon of at least four, but seems to suggest there might be more; Rumble offered a canon of possibly 18, most likely 16, but possibly only 14; and Miller thinks it might just be 11. But these are all the mere opinions of fallible men. The obvious question to ask is: why hasn't a contemporary 'infallible pope' given a list of the genuine ex cathedra statements made by all the genuine popes? Apart from the obvious problems of contradiction, heresies, and anti-popes that exist in the history of Papal Rome! The truth is that an infallible list of ex cathedra papal statements does not exist anywhere within Papal Rome's three claimed sources of revelation: the Bible, the Magisterium, and Tradition. While many might think that this leaves Papal Roman Catholics to struggle with an issue they can never solve, because their teachers simply cannot tell them how to solve the problem, the real truth is that they can only resign themselves to the same answer all followers of cult leaders have to accept: whatever the truth might be they can never discover it and they have to blindly accept that fact.
Clearly there is an embarrassing fundamental error in Papal Rome's system of beliefs for this factor of 'ex cathedra infallibility' exists outside of the supposed revelation already claimed. While the Papal Roman Catholic blindly believes that Sola Scriptura is self-refuting 'because the list of the canon of the Bible exists outside of Scripture', by your own standards you prove, instead, the insufficiency of Rome because something fundamental to your belief system actually exists outside of your only sources of revelation. You are therefore forced to rely on information which you attempt to gather independently of the Magisterium, the Bible and Tradition in order to understand fallibly what it is that your religion might be teaching you! QED!
Papal Rome's answer to Sola Scriptura is Sola Verbum Dei, or 'The Word of God Alone.' And Papal Rome believes that the Word of God is contained in the Scriptures, Tradition, and in her Magisterium - including ex cathedra papal statements. But you cannot produce an infallible list of ex cathedra papal statements from within this supposedly defined source, so you must appeal to something which is not contained in the Word of God. Logically, your Sola Verbum Dei becomes self-refuting by the standards of your own apologists and you have therefore been found guilty of adopting the very practice you accuse 'Protestants' of employing. QED!
So, while you hurl 'Every one of you ['Protestants'] is your own pope!' at those outside of your cult, we have clearly defined just four, out of many, 'virtual popes' in the Papal Roman Catholic apologists referenced above. Because Papal Rome fails to produce an infallible list of ex cathedra papal statements, every sincere apologist you have has to make a 'best guess' at which ones are truly ex cathedra: Hahn, Miller, Staples and Rumble have all had to play the pope and determine for themselves what the pope might have taught infallibly! Rumble, when asked whether or not the infallible list of ex cathedra papal decrees could be known, answered: 'Normally, of course, the doctrines of the Catholic Church are made sufficiently clear in the Creeds, in the Liturgy, and in the ordinary teachings of the Church' (ibid. p81). Conversely, insisting that a pope is necessary while being unable to produce infallibly that which he has supposedly taught infallibly is to deny the ability of the pope to convey his teachings, or his people to discern them!
While accusing 'Protestants' of each being 'a little pope' because they dare to interpret Bible passages without the supposedly required authority of 'Apostolic Succession' or Papal authority, Papal Roman Catholics believe they have a pope for such a task. We have already proven that the Lord Jesus Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would lead believers 'into all truth' (ref. John 16:7ff.) - all truth, not partial truth - without a jot or tittle in any verse about any necessity of 'Apostolic Succession' or a 'pope'. The solid hermeneutics and exegesis that exemplify orthodox 'Protestant' interpretation ensures that the wild speculation and blind groping of Papal Rome is excluded and the solid teaching of the Word of God ensues. While denominations who split from Papal Rome took some un-Scriptural baggage with them as they slowly fumbled their way into the most important aspects of Biblical truth at least, this contrasts with the sad plight of Papal Roman Catholics who have been fed on continued contradictions and mangled interpretations of Scripture throughout the long history of the Roman cult.
If Papal Rome was really led in the way you claim you should be able to reveal all of these supposed 'infallibly' interpreted Bible verses. Do you really think you are capable of authoritatively listing every single verse of Scripture that Rome has 'infallibly' interpreted? The truth is that an infallible list of infallibly interpreted Bible verses simply does not exist in Papal Rome - as we have repeatedly proven!
Pope Pius XII stated that 'there are but few texts whose sense has been defined by the authority of the Church.' (Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu, paragraph 47, promulgated September 30, 1943). Roman Catholic apologists Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl attempted to identify those verses in their book, Catholic Biblical Apologetics, but listed only seven verses which have been definitively interpreted: John 3:5, John 20:22 and 20:23; Luke 22:19; I Corinthians 11:24; Romans 5:12; and James 5:14 (Flanagan, Paul & Schihl, Robert, Catholic Biblical Apologetics, 1985-1997; q.v. http://www.cbn.org/apology/catholic/ cabiapbk.htm )
This repeated inability to answer this question has been repeated so such an extent that 'Protestant' apologists know that Papal Rome does not have an infallible list of Biblical verses that have been declared ex cathedra by a pope or promulgated by an ecumenical council and claims that as many as 42 verses exist are simply wishful thinking or pure falsehood. A list of 'little popes unto themselves' exists in Papal Rome and none of them know how many verses have been 'officially infallibly interpreted', or what the interpretation really means. Obviously this also applies to the world's one billion Papal Roman Catholics (of whatever ilk, 'cafeteria' or 'fundamentalist'!). Papal Rome is clearly incapable of changing this situation today or in any other century.
Since absolutely no one in Papal Rome, whether they be pope or new born babe, can tell us how many Bible verses have been officially interpreted by Rome - because no list exists - then your popes have abdicated all teaching responsibility and have left every Papal Roman Catholic to be his own pope on this matter, and therefore for the entire Bible. It is impossible for you to play down the need for an infallible list of infallibly interpreted verses because you have already claimed that Papal Rome is the sole reliable teacher of all of Christianity. Papal Rome clearly fails to be the interpreter of a fallible list of interpreted verses, as well as for the rest of the Bible, for her people and this means you can only concede the 'Protestant' position that no infallible human interpreter is necessary for the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the same way that we have proven that the faithful of Papal Rome are utterly in the dark as to the number of times the pope has taught ex cathedra, we find that her followers are also left not knowing infallibly what more than 99% of the Bible means. We can find no infallible consensus by Papal Roman Catholic apologists on the meaning of the remaining fraction of Bible verses (far less than 50 verses!) either. It is crystal clear that every Papal Roman Catholic has to 'become a pope unto themselves' (a phrase Papal Roman Catholics are so find of hurling at 'Protestant' apologists) to discover the true meaning of the Bible's tens of thousands of verses because their popes and councils have uniformly failed to live up to the claims of Papal Rome.
Contemporary popes, e.g. John Paul II and Herman Benedict, have also failed to 'infallibly' interpret the Bible, Apocrypha, or ex cathedra statements for their followers, or even furnish an 'infallible' list of interpreted verses, and their statements and actions make it clear that they do not believe that they ever held the charism to do so anyway!
If only Papal Roman Catholics believed what Scripture so clearly declares through the Apostle Paul (ref. Acts 17:24-31; NASB):
24 'The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.' 29 'Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30 'Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.'
The Holy Spirit clearly assists His children when they thirst for His Word (1 Thessalonians 1:5; NASB):
5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.
This personal witness of lives following the example of Christ and His Apostles made the truth of the Word they followed clear to all who read any portion of the Scripture. Conversely, it reveals the utter falseness of the teachers of Papal Rome who have failed to teach the Bible 'infallibly' to those who they have lured into their counterfeit sheepfold. By God's grace we pray that any reading these words on the Internet over the coming years will recognise the false teachers of Papal Rome and seek out the true Gospel from the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to do exactly what Christ declared He would do and lead them 'into all truth' (John 16:7ff.)!
While you rage repeatedly and accuse 'Protestantism' of proliferating denominations and factions it is almost beyond belief to see the web of utter blindness that Satan holds you and your ilk in over these matters. The sheer contrast between 'Protestantisms' united understanding that God has given us His Word in the Bible alone as our guide for faith and morals and the clear evidence that Papal Rome's followers cannot even agree on the content of their Revelation, much less on what it means, reveals how far she really is from the True Saviour God and His Almighty Gospel Truth.
While you trot out pretenses of unanimity in Papal Rome the truth is that it is the lay Papal Roman Catholic who has to 'become his own pope' because he cannot know what the pope has 'infallibly' taught him from the Bible (etc.!) and can only guess at how many times the pope has claimed to have spoken 'infallibly'. Genuine, orthodox, Christians follow the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and call no one on earth our 'Papa' or seek to 'become popes unto ourselves' because we believe the warnings of our Saviour which apply just as much to the false teachings of the priesthood of Papal Rome as it did to those He spoke of in these Words (Matthew 23:2-12; NASB):
2 ... 'The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 4 'They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 5 'But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6 'They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. 8 'But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 'Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 'Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 'But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 'Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
The pomp and power exhibited by popes for centuries reflects the actions of the 'scribes and the Pharisees' who, despite 'hav[ing] seated themselves in the chair of Moses' at least earned partial 'approval' from the Lord Jesus Christ when He said: 'therefore all that they tell you, do and observe' thus showing that they were nowhere near as inaccurate in their teaching as Papal Rome has shown itself to be. Papal Rome has gone even further in error, relying upon every variety of deception including the use of fraudulent documents ('The Donation of Constantine' and the 'False Decretals') to ensure the continuity of their reign, even after their exposure as deliberate counterfeits betrayed how little these 'vicars of Christ' cared for truth.
Papal Rome's claims, regarding the Magisterium and the Scriptures, has been shown to be as easily and thoroughly refuted as those made for the importance of 'Tradition'. The truth is that the average churchgoer in Papal Rome is hardly in a better position than of the average trained theologian of Papal Rome for both are left to sort out the canon of 'ex cathedra papal statements' on their own. Papal Rome holds that she is the infallible custodian of the teachings of the Church, but even in something as simple as a list of 'infallible papal statements', every member - and that includes the pope - is left to grope blindly. This is equally as true for the genuine Scriptures (i.e. the canon proven by 'Protestants' and even the oft wayward Jerome!) and the Apocrypha. Apologists for Papal Rome have claimed popes have interpreted less than ten verses of the Bible 'infallibly' and this clearly leaves the lay Papal Roman Catholic with the problem of being 'their own pope' and attempting to identify the remaining thousands of Bible verses for themselves without an 'infallible' interpretation ever being available. The addition of the un-Canonical Apocrypha simply adds to the problem the Papal Roman Catholic has in seeking the truth by providing even more 'unknown' material for them struggle to reason out - much more, obviously, than any 'Protestant' ever has to deal with but - most crucially - without the leading of the Holy Spirit who they have almost certainly grieved (Ephesians 4:30) if they already hold rigidly to the errors of Papal Rome, such as the Mariolatry which insults our only Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Our prayer would always be that God's grace would open their eyes to such 'grieving of the Spirit' but, if the figures of >980,000,000 people claiming to be Papal Roman Catholics are true, this may happen to only a very small number who have their eyes opened - just as Jesus revealed (Matthew 7:13-14):
Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it.
Jesus then went on to spell out a clear pattern of behaviour and appearance of false prophets and teachers - a description that fits the popes of Papal Rome as much as any other false leader in any other cult (Matthew 7:15-23; NASB):
15 'Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 'You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 'So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 'A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 'Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire 20 'So then, you will know them by their fruits. 21 'Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 'Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 'And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'
Doubtlessly, all convinced Papal Roman Catholics will try and protest that their popes and church have produced an overwhelming surfeit of 'good fruit' and try to minimize the 'few' bad deeds by a 'few' bad eggs. They may try - but it will all be in vain, as our previous pages and this reply reveal all too clearly.
An organisation with a priesthood that has murdered millions in the recent past and, to this day, has been found guilty of abusing thousands of children while their leaders have 'practiced lawlessness' to the nth degree in robbing the innocent of their lands, property, wealth, families, and even their freedom, fits the prophesy to a tee as well as fitting the description of the 'woman who rides the beast' (Revelation 17:3).
Thus, Papal Rome's claims to be the infallible teacher of all Christendom through their Magisterium and definition of the Scriptures are proven to be worthless but, when interpretation of 'Tradition' as opposed to 'tradition' is concerned, the problems intensify for Papal Rome. The beauty of Papal Rome's distinction between 'Tradition' (upper case T) and 'tradition' (lower case t) is that, like the 'Emperor's New Clothes' fairy-tale, it requires absolutely no verification. 'Tradition' is claimed to be 'infallible truth' received from the apostles, preserved in the 'Deposit of Faith' and revealed in the liturgy and form of the Church, while 'tradition' is equally vague and tenuous, such as the varieties of Mardi Gras and origin and use of 'Christmas trees' or 'candles'. While 'Tradition' is considered to be infallible, as it was supposedly spoken by the Apostles, proving that it was quickly and accurately recorded is more than a little problematical. While the inspired writings of the Apostles were carefully and widely copied by many who also verified that they had heard the same teachings from them orally, it is a fact that there is no single infallible compilation of 'Tradition' anywhere within Papal Rome. So, even when a pope defers to 'Tradition', he has no exhaustive infallible text or archive which can be produced to prove that he has taught truth. All he has is his belief that his citation is really 'Tradition', and not merely 'tradition'.
Any Papal Roman Catholic attempting to find a true definition and infallible proof of a Tradition from the Magisterium will discover that this supposed third 'infallible' pillar of Divine Revelation also fails Papal Rome. The truth is that there is plainly no infallible way to determine what is 'Tradition' and what is 'tradition'.
Clear examples occur in the history of Rome, such as the transformation of meatless Fridays and the Latin Mass from 'Tradition' to 'tradition' in one generation. There are many non-cafeteria Catholics who might call themselves 'traditional Catholics' (or is that 'Traditional Catholics') and who would love to hear an explanation for these blatant contradictions, because they had been taught and still believe that these teachings are 'Tradition' and cannot be overturned - not even by a fallible 'infallible' pope!
It is a proven fact that there is no 'canon of Tradition' and Papal Roman Catholics can never discern infallibly what criteria can be used to discover if and when a 'tradition' can be found to be 'Tradition' or, obviously, when it can be downgraded from 'Tradition' to 'tradition'. It is clear that Papal Roman Catholics can never know with certainty what their Church has, or has not, taught them! While many Papal Roman Catholics have written to us demanding that we quote from the Catechism we find nothing there that supports your case for a second, for we read:
'Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God…' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 97);
'The apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them 'their own position of teaching authority.'' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 77);
'This living transmission, accomplished through the Holy Spirit, is called tradition…' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 78);
'Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 82).
The constant claim that the 'infallible Magisterium' and the office of the 'Infallible pope' cause Papal Roman Catholics to be led on a wonderfully clear and consistent path while the 'countless denominations' of sectarian Protestantism blunder along in confusion makes it very odd that the evidence reveals that any Papal Roman Catholic who hopes to know what 'Tradition' is finds that, even if they had an entire lifetime to search for the answer, they would not find it! It is obvious that the records of Papal Rome contain an enormous expanse of Papal teachings, as well as writings stretching from the time of the equally fallible 'Church Fathers' and their successors, so it is clearly impossible for a Papal Roman Catholic to ever know if he has believed or discovered all that is necessary for salvation. Unless Papal Rome provides a canon of ex cathedra papal statements, an 'infallible' and exhaustive interpretation of the Scriptures and an 'infallible' compendium of 'Tradition', the Papal Roman Catholic can never have certain knowledge about anything.
It is a great pity that so few Papal Roman Catholics believe the warning given by the Lord Jesus Christ:
'And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition' (Mark 7:9).
When you hold to fallible 'Tradition' as Papal Rome has done it is inevitable that rejection of the 'commandment of God' will follow. We challenge Papal Rome to produce an 'infallible compilation of Tradition', an 'infallible compilation of infallible interpretation of Scripture' and an 'infallible compilation of infallible papal teachings' Such infallibility does not exist in Papal Rome but what clearly does exist is a denial of the Words of the Lord Jesus Christ who repeatedly affirmed His Truth with - 'It is written …' (Matthew 4:4,6-7,10; 11:10; 21:13; 26:24,31; Mark 1:2; 7:6; 9:12-13; 11:17; 14:21,27; Luke 2:23; 3:4; 4:4,8,10; 7:27; 19:46; 24:46; John 6:31,45; 8:17; 10:34; 12:14).
Many other questions can be raised by your attempts to make it appear that Papal Rome has real concern, now or in the past, for the accurate transmission of the Word of God. But, of the many ironies these attempts raise, the most damning is that the modern Papal Roman Catholic Church clearly teaches that it is not necessary to join Papal Rome to go to heaven - if you question this then you have clearly been living underground during the entire reign of several recent popes! This being a plain fact, then the obvious conclusion we draw is - why should any person on earth bother joining it? According to your recent 'infallible' popes, your priesthood, Mary, the saints, the Mass, statues, novenas, etc., are not essential for salvation and anyone can make it to heaven through their own sincere faith in whatever they choose to believe, whether it is worshipping the God of the Bible or the 'gods' of Hinduism! So, why should anyone bother converting to Romanism? According to at least one 'infallible' pope - and that's all it takes to prove Papal Rome to be built on lies - it doesn't matter too much what anyone believes as long as they are 'sincere', 'good' people - despite the clear controverting evidence of the Bible! But do not bother questioning why the Lord Jesus Christ had to come to earth and go to a cruel death on a cross to pay for the sins of the world as the Bible clearly reveals - according to 'infallible' popes His sacrifice was unnecessary!
Papal Rome has become irrelevant in the modern world. Many are old enough to remember Papal Roman Catholics who believed they were in danger of going to Hell if they ate meat on Friday. But an 'infallible' pope overturned the rulings of other 'infallible' popes and the rule was dropped!
'Outside of the Church [of Papal Rome], there is no salvation' used to be a crucial doctrine (which has still been hurled at us many times in recent years!) and, as we have revealed, many 'Protestants' were killed during the Inquisition because of that dogma which has now been overturned to the point of 'Universal salvation' for almost all.
How many past saints, such as Saint Christopher, have been approved by past 'Infallible Popes' but have now been debunked by 'Infallible Popes' in this century? Saint Christopher, a 'Saint' of the third century and supposed Christian martyr, was said to have carried people across a stream and, when he unwittingly carried the Christ Child, was given the name Christophorus ('Christ Bearer') and made 'patron saint' of ferrymen, travellers - and motorists! But he was abolished from sainthood by Pope Paul VI in 1969 and his annual festival, held strongly by the Greek church on May 9th, was suddenly out of favour and churches carrying his name now had to seek another moniker!
Probably all but the most seriously brainwashed Papal Roman Catholic can work out that neither the Bible, nor 'Papal infallibility', 'Tradition', or 'tradition' can be cited as the authority for such contradictions. Clearly, all the supposed authoritative foundations of Papal Rome are a myth. And this means what history reveals very clearly - the present generation of Papal Roman Catholic leaders can do whatever they want just as previous generations did because, in their own eyes, they are the highest authority on earth. If the present pope wished, he could declare Mary to be the fourth member of the Godhead, for past Popes did not need Scripture or any other authority, such as 'Tradition', to teach that she was sinless or that she ascended into heaven. The facts of history reveal that arbitrary authority produces arbitrary laws and doctrines.
As already proven, the Papal Roman Catholic Church cannot produce an 'infallible' list of 'infallible' papal decrees and the few Papal Catholic apologists who try to come up with a list cannot get their list declared 'infallible' by the Magisterium. And without an 'infallible' list drawn up by the supposedly 'infallible' Church, 'infallibility' means nothing.
Since the Papal Roman Church cannot produce an 'infallible' list of 'infallible' interpretations of specific passages in the Bible it is logical and irrefutably proven that all the interpretations given by Popes, Bishops, prelates, priests, and apologists are not 'infallible' per se, but only their own private opinion of what a specific passage means. It is therefore utterly impossible for Papal Rome to condemn a 'Protestant' or anyone else for doing the same thing?
When Papal Roman Catholic apologists try and debate 'Protestant' apologists and ask people in the audience to turn to a passage in their Bible as proof for some Catholic doctrine they are clearly approving the practice of Sola Scriptura for, if you appeal to the Bible as your authority for popery, you are clearly making the Bible a higher authority than popery!
Even the doctrine of 'Papal infallibility' is an exercise in circular reasoning for, logically, a pope is 'infallible' only when he is apparently 'infallible' but, as soon as you catch a Pope in error, he is excused because he was 'fallible' at that time. Thus, logically, you cannot prove or disprove papal infallibility!
Apologists for Papal Rome, such as Patrick Madrid, claim that Papal Roman Catholics do not worship and adore the statues and relics of Mary and the saints and that they are not guilty of idolatry. But it does not matter if an apologist or theologian uses different Latin words to defend the practice they have encouraged and defended for centuries, for the average Papal Roman Catholic neither knows nor cares about such fine distinctions in Latin and will kiss and adore the statues of the Virgin Mary, or the saints, as sincerely and fervently as any Hindu does the idols representing his 'gods' and 'goddesses'.
Careful study of the false gospel of Papal Rome reveals that not one of their apologists understands the grace of God and, like the many Papal Roman Catholic they have taught just as blindly, all their hope of heaven is based on their being a loyal Papal Catholic and a 'good person'. The Papal Roman Catholic Church does not preach the Gospel and utterly fails to teach it to the their people. By contrast, for centuries 'Protestant' churches preached the Gospel with clarity and, if they strayed from this truth, they were thoroughly exposed by ministries such as ours IF their own Bible-believing elders and deacons failed to correct them! Sadly, the Great Apostasy is upon us and more and more un-Biblical teachings are creeping into these churches which were once true ekklesia. So where would a Papal Roman Catholic reading this devastating material go to hear the true Gospel - check out our links!
By contrast, the many un-Biblical practices, replete with pagan rituals and superstitious practices, of Papal Rome are tolerated, encouraged, and defended, by the popes of Rome.
When Jesus used severe language (Matthew 23:33-36) to condemn the religious leaders, calling them snakes and a brood of vipers whose eternal destiny was Hell (literally 'Gehenna' the place of eternal punishment - cf. Matthew 23:15; 5:22), He made it clear that the evidence that they were deserving of Hell would be their continual rejection of the truth. The Lord Jesus Christ made it clear that the Godhead promised to send prophets and wise men and teachers whom the leaders of apostate Israel would reject and even kill; they would also flog and pursue others so that their response to the proclaimed truth would justify the judgment coming on them. Jesus spelt out how Abel was the first righteous martyr mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures (Genesis 4:8) and Zechariah was the last martyr (2 Chronicles 24:20-22) - the important point being that 2 Chronicles was the last book in the Hebrew Bible and, by this statement, Jesus attested the Old Testament canon!
Finally, even as we complete this work, your new pope, Francis, says that sincere atheists will be accepted by God. Writing to Eugenio Scalfari, founder of La Repubblica, the pope declared: 'You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don't believe and who don't seek the faith. I start by saying - and this is the fundamental thing - that God's mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience' ('Pope to Atheists: See You Upstairs,' National Post, Canada, Sept. 12, 2013). He also had this gem of un-Scriptural wisdom to impart to those foolish enough to seek any kind of advice from the Papacy:
'Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.'
Perhaps 'Francis' can explain how atheists can deny the existence of God yet somehow please Him by 'obeying their conscience' while rejecting the only way to heaven through faith in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ who is equally God?! Jesus made it very clear that those who deny Him do not have the Father:
John 6:44: No man can come to me, except the Father who has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
1 John 2:23: Whosoever denies the Son, the same has not the Father: but he that confesses the Son has the Father also.
2 John 1:9: 'Whoever goes beyond, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son.
Atheists do not abide in the 'doctrine of Christ' anymore than the Papacy has ever done, so none following such 'doctrines' will ever know the Son or the Father!
The Bible makes the truth about sin very clear (Romans 3:23): ' ... for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;'
Romans 5:12: 'Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned '
And there is only one way to escape death (which is the 'second death' spoken of in Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8 - and is eternal separation from God in the 'lake of fire'):
Romans 6:23: 'For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8: 'But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.'
And the only way to accept this free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus is through 'heart faith' and 'public confession' (even as late and brief as the 'thief on the cross' demonstrated - cf. Luke 23:43!):
Romans 10:9: 'because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved '.
Robert Mickens, the Vatican correspondent for the Catholic journal, The Tablet, claimed that the pontiff's comments were further evidence of his attempts to shake off the Catholic Church's fusty image, reinforced by his extremely conservative predecessor Benedict XVI. 'Francis is still a conservative,' said Mr Mickens, 'but what this is all about is him seeking to have a more meaningful dialogue with the world.' In a welcoming response to the letter, Mr Scalfari said the Pope's comments were 'further evidence of his ability and desire to overcome barriers in dialogue with all.'
In July, 2013, Francis had signalled a more 'progressive' (i.e. totally un-Scriptural!) attitude on sexuality, asking:
'If someone is gay and is looking for the Lord, who am I to judge him?'
This statement received wide coverage, but there is nothing new that the previous Papal incumbent and heretical 'Protestants' have not been saying for decades. This is simple one more way in which Papal Roman Catholics are 'coming together' with others of all persuasions - including atheists - to build the end-time, one-world 'church.' In his 2011 book, Love Wins, 'Protestant evangelical' Rob Bell taught that atheists can be saved without being born again. Richard Mouw, President of another flabby liberal 'Protestant' organisation, 'Fuller Theological Seminary', told USA Today that 'Rob Bell's Love Wins is a fine book and ... I basically agree with his theology' ('The Orthodoxy of Rob Bell,' Christian Post, Mar. 20, 2011). For many decades, 'Protestant' heretic Billy Graham has been declaring that it is possible for someone to be saved without personal faith in Jesus Christ, and there has been no resulting outcry from 'Protestant evangelicalism', including Graham's own denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention. In an interview with McCall's magazine, January 1978, entitled 'I Can't Play God Any More,' Graham said:
'I used to believe that pagans in far-off countries were lost - were going to hell - if they did not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that. ... I believe that there are other ways of recognizing the existence of God - through nature, for instance - and plenty of other opportunities, therefore, of saying 'yes' to God.'
Graham repeated this same sentiment many times in interviews in 1985, 1993, and 1997.
There can be no doubt that Papal Rome today, as in long past centuries before the days of the 'Reformation', denies salvation through faith alone in Christ and equally denies the sufficiency of His finished sacrifice upon the cross for our sins.
This is the same Papal Rome that signs pointless documents uniting with 'Protestants' and almost any other religion and, as always, adds works to faith as a condition of gaining heaven and claims that forgiveness of sins is dispensed only through the Church, through her priesthood and rituals and in accord with her dogmas. Yet, after centuries of torturing and killing those who denied these claims we now find popes telling dissenters that there are now other ways for them to get to heaven! The Apostle Paul would pronounce the same anathema upon today's Rome as he pronounced upon the Judaizers in Galatians, Chapter 1.
The Papal Roman Catholic Church has clearly lost the whole plot and arguments you began over the Apocrypha and 'the Canon', and the many apostate 'Protestant' denominations, many of whom are in bed with your popes, are proven to be utterly superfluous to the point where you have nowhere to go with any point whatsoever. QED!
TCE: 18th October 2012
Subject: E-mails to The Christian Expositor in 2012
we would have hoped to find the time to devote to a reply to your last e-mail before now but have been over-run with e-mails in the last year.
However, we still hope to send a reply before the year is out!
If this is too tardy for you, or you do not desire to receive a reply, we would appreciate a reply to that effect (although we intend to complete a reply some time in the not-too-distant future!).
This is one of many e-mails being sent out to those who have written to us, so we appreciate your patience.
Again, thank you for your time and effort.
In Christ Jesus
Clark replies: 18th October 2012
I will be waiting for the reply and I am very patient. Be sure to address all the points, and not just a select few things. Anyways, I also hope for a reply to the below as well.
World English Dictionary
1. chiefly ROMAN CATHOLIC Church a person who maintains beliefs contrary to the established teachings of the Church.
The Protestants burnt the great Christians at the stake and tortured them for not believing in Protestant heresy. The Bible does not say what you say. It is unfortunate the Protestants enjoy to pick and choose whatever portions of history they like, and then discard the aspects they find inconvenient. You demonstrate a poor understanding of history which is so common to the Protestant.You paint a broad and inaccurate brush.
The word 'Bible' is derived from the Greek expression 'the books' (biblia) and it came to designate the whole sacred volume of the 46 books of the OT and 27 books of the NEW TESTAMENT at the Third Council of Carthage by the Pope in 400 AD, and in the Latin the neuter plural for biblia, Genesis. 'bibliorum,' came to be designated as a feminine singular noun (biblia, Genesis. bibliae) in which singular form the word has passed into the languages of the Western world. He decided which texts were or were not inspired, from a multitude of writings. The Bible never came with a Table of Contents. The writings on the designated texts, as Canons, were transmitted into Ecclesiastical Latin. This Sacred Volume, the Vulgate and Bibliotheca Divina (The Divine Library), was ever since then known as the Bible (The Book). Before that, there was no Bible. Historically, etymologically, linguistically, epistemologically, and scripturally: the word 'Bible' only refers to the Sacred Scriptures of the Catholic Church. It refers to the Sacred Scriptures [canonized] in one language and book form (Ecclesiastical Latin). St. Jerome was ordered by Pope St. Damasus to collect all existing copies of scripture. He collected 35,000, not 3,500, but a whopping 35,000 manuscripts and it took him 34 years to translate the texts into one single language. Before 382 AD there was no such thing as 'the Bible' but only a mass of contradictory copies of texts and uncertainty as to what the inspired texts of the New Testament are. The Council of Rome (382) defined the canon, the Council of Hippo (393) reaffirmed the canon, and it was the Third Council of Carthage that reaffirmed it again and put in [sic] into one language and book form (400 AD). The canon they defined is what is found today in the Church, but not int [sic] the Protestant federations.
There is Absolutely no Salvation Outside of the Catholic Church see www.vaticancatholic.com
TCE replies: 20th November 2012
We have already built an irrefutable foundation of evidence against the claims of Papal Rome that you regurgitate and will therefore reply briefly:
1. Papal Rome first instigated the murderous killing of those who refuted her false 'gospel' and then the breakaway 'Protestant' cults, from the days of king Henry VIII to the times of such as Calvin and Zwingli, merely followed these murderous acts which they had learned from the popes!
2. As you have clearly revealed, it is blinded Papal Roman Catholics who 'pick and choose whatever portions of history they like, and then discard the aspects they find inconvenient [and who] demonstrate a poor understanding of history [and] paint a broad and inaccurate brush'.
3. We have examined your claims and the many aberrant sources you [partially and inaccurately] utilise and notice that you are doing no more than continuing in the same vein when you claim: '[Jerome] collected 35,000, not 3,500, but a whopping 35,000 manuscripts and it took him 34 years to translate the texts into one single language'. Find the evidence that this was what he actually did and then try and differentiate between what your sources call the years spent on the New Testament and the Old Testament and his many other endeavours! Then try and explain how the Biblical canon, which you claim was protected by the popes of the church of Papal Rome and 'Apostolic Succession', could first have fallen into such a sorry state that 'a whopping 35,000 manuscripts' of variable content existed! And then, when Jerome had supposedly produced the 'perfect Vulgate' ('one single language'), the record shows that Papal Rome was so utterly incapable of protecting the Word of God that multiple versions of this 'Vulgate' appeared through the centuries - produced by the incompetent and biased efforts of multiple monks who were trusted to copy the manuscripts!
4. Your claims for 'the Bible' and the 'mass of contradictory copies of texts and uncertainty as to what the inspired texts of the New Testament are' have also been thoroughly and completely refuted.
5. We have given the true account of what 'The Council of Rome (382) ... the Council of Hippo (393) ... and ... the Third Council of Carthage' actually did - as far as the existing records can affirm - and the facts do not support your claims!
We repeat, again, part of our thorough answer to this point 5 which we wrote earlier :
'While The Catholic Encyclopedia repeats the mantra that 'The Synod of Hippo (393) and the three of Carthage (393, 397, and 419), in which, doubtless, Augustine was the leading spirit, found it necessary to deal explicitly with the question of the Canon, and drew up identical lists from which no sacred books are excluded' it should be noted that the role which church councils played in the process is more than slightly overstated. These North African Councils were regional synods, not universal or ecumenical councils, and only about 50 bishops from the provinces of Africa attended each - and they did not have authority to speak for the whole fourth-century church. Claiming they 'drew up identical lists from which no sacred books are excluded' omits the inconvenient fact that the list of books accepted by the Council of Hippo no longer exists. Although the 'Council of Carthage' is believed to have repeated the same list and its decree on the matter still exists to speculate in the absence of solid facts is no substitute for facts. It is also important to note that by the time these councils addressed the matter at the close of the fourth century, the canon or list of books recognized as forming the New Testament was well-established, as Professor F. F. Bruce commented:
'What is particularly important to notice is that the New Testament canon was not demarcated by the arbitrary decree of any Church Council. When at last a Church Council - the Synod of Carthage in A.D. 397 - listed the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, it did not confer upon them any authority which they did not already possess, but simply recorded their previously established canonicity'. (F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments, London: Pickering Inglis, 1950, p111)
We have answered and refuted all of your points within our reply which was begun preceding your last e-mail. Repeating a poor, thoroughly refuted, argument cuts no ice, and we have endeavoured to avoid overuse of tautology, but it is a fact that it is often necessary because people simply do not read and inwardly digest carefully enough. The evidence of Scripture makes this all too apparent!
Further to our earlier points we add a few more details, such as this example pointed out by renowned Methodist scholar Adam Clarke to illustrate the kind of erroneous arguments that arose over the true canon because of the nature of the Septuagint. In this example, from Psalm 96:10 ('Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth') which was quoted by Justin Martyr, in his dialogue with Trypho the Jew, in this manner: Ειπατε εν τοις εθνεσι, ὁ Κυριος εβασιλευσε απο του ξυλου when he interpreted it as: 'Say among the nations, the Lord ruleth by the wood' Clarke comments:
'He claimed 'the wood' meant the cross and accused the Jews of having blotted this word out of their Bibles, because of the evidence it gave of the truth of Christianity. It appears that this reading did exist anciently in the Septuagint, or at least in some ancient copies of that work, for the reading has been quoted by Tertullian, Lactantius, Arnobius, Augustine, Cassiodorus, Pope Leo, Gregory of Tours, and others. The reading is still extant in the ancient Roman Psalter, Dominus regnavit a ligno, and in some others. In an ancient Manuscript copy of the Psalter before me, while the text exhibits the commonly received reading, the margin has the following gloss: Regnavit a ligno crucis, 'The Lord reigns by the wood of the cross.' My old Scotico - Latin Psalter has not a ligno in the text, but seems to refer to it in the paraphrase: For Criste regned efter the dede on the crosse. It is necessary, however, to add, that no such words exist in any copy of the Hebrew text now extant, nor in any manuscript yet collated, nor in any of the ancient Versions. Neither Eusebius nor Jerome even refer to it, who wrote comments on the Psalms; nor is it mentioned by any Greek writer except Justin Martyr' (ref. Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes).
Again, this is yet more evidence that 'Catholic hands' interfered with the Septuagint!
Clarke commented in detail on the struggle to identify the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews in this manner:
'III. I now proceed to the third inquiry, Who is the writer of this epistle? And many things offer in favour of the Apostle PAUL.
'1. It is ascribed to him by many of the ancients. Here I think myself obliged briefly to recollect the testimonies of ancient authors; and I shall rank them under two heads: First, the testimonies of writers who used the Greek tongue; then the testimonies of those who lived in that part of the Roman empire where the Latin was the vulgar language.
'There are some passages in the epistles of Ignatius, about the year 107, which may be thought, by some to contain allusions to the Epistle to the Hebrews. This epistle seems to be referred to by Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, in his epistle written to the Philippians, in the year 108, and in the relation of his martyrdom, written about the middle of the second century. This epistle is often quoted as Paul's by Clement of Alexandria, about the year 194. It is received and quoted as Paul's by Origen, about 230. It was also received as the apostle's by Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, in 247. It is plainly referred to by Theognostus, of Alexandria, about 282. It appears to have been received by Methodius about 292; by Pamphilius, about 294; and by Archelaus, bishop in Mesopotamia, at the beginning of the fourth century; by the Manichees in the fourth; and by the Paulicians, in the seventh century. It was received and ascribed to Paul by Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, in the year 313; and by the Arians, in the fourth century. Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, about 315, says: 'There are fourteen epistles of Paul manifest and well known; but yet there are some who reject that to the Hebrews, alleging in behalf of their opinion, that it was not received by the Church of Rome as a writing of Paul.' It is often quoted by Eusebius himself as Paul's, and sacred Scripture. This epistle was received by Athanasius, without any hesitation. In his enumeration of St. Paul's fourteen epistles, this is placed next after the two to the Thessalonians, and before the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. The same order is observed in the Synopsis of Scripture, ascribed to him. This epistle is received as Paul's by Adamantius, author of a dialogue against the Marcionites, in 380; and by Cyril of Jerusalem, in 347; by the council of Laodicea, in 363; where St. Paul's epistles are enumerated in the same order as in Athanasius just noticed. This epistle is also received as Paul's by Epiphanius, about 368 by the apostolical constitutions, about the end of the fourth century; by Basil, about 370; by Gregory Nazianzen, in 370; by Amphilochius also. But he says it was not received by all as Paul's. It was received by Gregory Nyssen, about 370; by Didymus, of Alexandria, about the same time; by Ephrem, the Syrian, in 370, and by the Churches of Syria; by Diodorus, of Tarsus, in 378; by Hierax, a learned Egyptian, about the year 302; by Serapion, bishop of Thumis, in Egypt, about 347; by Titus, bishop of Bostria, in Arabia, about 362; by Theodore, bishop of Mopsuestia, in Cilicia, about the year 394; by Chrysostom, about the year 398; by Severian, bishop of Gabala, in Syria, in 401; by Victor, of Antioch, about 401; by Palladius, author of a Life of Chrysostom, about 408; by Isidore, of Pelusium, about 412; by Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, in 412; by Theodoret, in 423; by Eutherius, bishop of Tiana, in Cappadocia, in 431; by Socrates, the ecclesiastical historian, about 440; by Euthalius, in Egypt, about 458; and probably by Dionysius, falsely called the Areopagite, by the author of the Quaestiones et Responsiones, commonly ascribed to Justin Martyr, but rather written in the fifth century. It is in the Alexandrian manuscript, about the year 500; and in the Stichometry of Nicephorus, about 806; is received as Paul's by Cosmas, of Alexandria, about 535; by Leontius, of Constantinople, about 610; by John Damascen, in 730; by Photius, about 858; by Ecumenius, about the year 950; and by Theophylact, in 1070. I shall not go any lower.
'I shall now rehearse such authors as lived in that part of the Roman empire where the Latin was the vulgar tongue.
'Here, in the first place, offers Clement, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, written about the year 96, or as some others say, about the year 70. For though he wrote in Greek, we rank him among Latin authors, because he was bishop of Rome. In his epistle are many passages, generally supposed to contain allusions or references to the Epistle to the Hebrews. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, about 178, as we are assured by Eusebius, alleged some passages out of this epistle, in a work now lost; nevertheless it does not appear that he received it as St. Paul's. By Tertullian, presbyter of Carthage, about the year 200, this epistle is ascribed to Barnabas. Caius, about 212, supposed to have been presbyter in the Church of Rome, reckoning up the epistles of St. Paul, mentions thirteen only, omitting that to the Hebrews. Here I place Hippolytus, who flourished about 220; but it is not certainly known where he was bishop, whether of Porto, in Italy, or of some place in the east: we have seen evidences that he did not receive the Epistle to the Hebrews as St. Paul's, and perhaps that may afford an argument that, though he wrote in Greek, he lived where the Latin tongue prevailed. This epistle is not quoted by Cyprian, bishop of Carthage about 248, and afterwards; nor does it appear to have been received by Novatus, otherwise called Novation, presbyter of Rome about 251. Nevertheless it was in after times received by his followers. It may be thought by some that this epistle is referred to by Arnobius, about 306, and by Lactantius about the same time. It is plainly quoted by another Arnobius, in the fifth century. It was received as Paul's by Hilary, of Poictiers, about 354, and by Lucifer, bishop of Cagliari, in Sardinia, about the same time, and by his followers: it was also received as Paul's by C. M. Victorianus. Whether it was received by Optatus, of Milevi, in Africa, about 370, is doubtful. It was received as Paul's by Ambrose, bishop of Milan, about 374; by the Priscillianists, about 378. About the year 380 was published a Commentary upon thirteen epistles of Paul only, ascribed to Hilary, deacon of Rome. It was received as Paul's by Philaster, bishop of Brescia, in Italy, about 380; but he takes notice that it was not then received by all. His successor, Gaudentius, about 387, quotes this epistle as Paul's; it is also readily received as Paul's by Jerome, about 392, and he says it was generally received by the Greeks, and the Christians in the east, but not by all the Latins. It was received as Paul's by Rufinus, in 397; it is also in the Catalogue of the third council of Carthage, in 397. It is frequently quoted by Augustine as St. Paul's. In one place he says: 'It is of doubtful authority with some; but he was inclined to follow the opinion of the Churches in the east, who received it among the canonical Scriptures. It was received as Paul's by Chromatius, bishop of Aquileia, in Italy, about 401; by Innocent, bishop of Rome, about 402; by Paulinus, bishop of Nola, in Italy, about 403. Pelagias, about 405, wrote a commentary upon thirteen epistles of Paul, omitting that to the Hebrews; nevertheless it was received by his followers. It was received by Cassian, about 424; by Prosper, of Aquitain, about 434, and by the authors of the works ascribed to him; by Eucherius, bishop of Lyons, in 434; by Sedulius, about 818; by Leo, bishop of Rome, in 440; by Salvian, presbyter of Marseilles, about 440; by Gelatius, bishop of Rome, about 496: by Facundus, an African bishop, about 540; by Junilius, an African bishop, about 556; by Cassiodorus, in 556, by the author of the imperfect work upon St. Matthew, about 560; by Gregory, bishop of Rome, about 590; by Isidore, of Seville, about 596; and by Bede, about 701, or the beginning of the eighth century'.
'Concerning the Latin writers, it is obvious to remark, that this epistle is not expressly quoted as Paul's by any of them in the three first centuries; however, it was known by Iranaeus and Tertullian as we have seen, and possibly to others also. But it is manifest that it was received as an epistle of St. Paul by many Latin writers, in the fourth, fifth, and following centuries.'
'The reasons of doubting about the genuineness of this epistle probably were the want of a name at the beginning, and the difference of argument or subject matter, and of the style, from the commonly received epistles of the apostle, as is intimated by Jerome. Whether they are sufficient reasons for rejecting this epistle will be considered in the course of our argument'.
TCE: Regarding the Epistle to the Hebrews and 'Papal infallibility' we must ask Papal Roman Catholics an obvious question: If Clement, bishop and 'pope' of Rome accepted the work as Paul's and the ancient church supposedly accepted his rule over their bishoprics and churches, why did they not all accept his view of this book immediately he made this judgement?
How John Paul II came to 'apologise' (December 17, 1999) for Papal Rome's betrayal and murder of Jan Hus!
To conclude the whole sorry account of how Papal Rome failed to protect the Word of God we return to the 'Reformers' who used the new printing presses so that 16th century people could study the Bible for themselves and increasingly recognise the true meaning of verses that Rome had corrupted through Gnosticism (the false teaching that you had to have additional special knowledge to be able to interpret the Bible) and Greek philosophy which sought to hyper-allegorize the Bible. Sadly, the Reformers reacted so severely against all allegory that they tended to reject all allegory in a similar manner to the ancient patristic conflict between the allegorical and Gnostic Alexandrian school of hermeneutics and the literalist Antiochan school. The latter was plainly much better than the former, but neither represented the Jewish hermeneutics of the original Apostles and, while some individuals within the Papal Roman Catholic Church recognised this fact, they were consistently crushed or silenced one way or another. As mentioned on earlier pages, the 'Protestant Reformers' were perhaps sometimes ignorant of the fact that they were only discovering what a remnant of faithful, true, Bible-believing Christians had known long before Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli - people such as Denck, Hess, von Amsdorf, Zutphen, Propst, Esch, Voes, and many, many more.
For at least one thousand years before Luther, Europe saw persecutions, burnings, and drownings of evangelical Christians who had never been Catholics and who were never called Protestants - a label that was attached to those excommunicated from the Church for protesting its evils at a later date. Movements among priests and monks, who had more than glimpsed the truth from the Scriptures that they had been educated sufficiently to read, led to repeated appeals to return to the Bible. This occurred many centuries before the Reformation, just as Jerome had his disputes with such as Helvidius and Jovinian and others who recognised that his doctrines had strayed into error. 'Reformations' within the Roman Church can be traced as far back as Priscillian, Bishop of Avila, who was falsely accused of heresy, witchcraft, and immorality by a Synod in Bordeaux, France, in A.D. 384 (seven of his writings which refute these charges have recently been discovered in Germany's University of Wurzburg library). Priscillian and six others were beheaded at Trier in 385 AD and many other martyrdoms continued through the centuries.
This continued until, in the late 1300s, when John Wycliff (burnt to death by Papal Rome in 1384 AD), protested by initially making nineteen propositions, including affirming that Christ's followers have no right to exact temporal goods by ecclesiastical censures, excommunications of pope and priest are of no avail if not according to the law of Christ, that for adequate reasons the king may strip the Church of temporalities - and that even a pope may be lawfully impeached by laymen. He championed the authority of the Scriptures, translated and published them in English (almost as fast as Papal Rome burned them) and preached and continued to write against the evils of the popes and Catholic dogmas, especially transubstantiation, until he was betrayed and fell into the clutches of the popes.
How allegorization by 'Church Fathers' led to serious Papal errors!
Jan Hus, a fervent Catholic priest and rector of Prague University, was influenced by Wycliff and eventually excommunicated in 1410, and imprisoned and tortured cruelly and then burned as a 'heretic' in 1415 for calling a corrupt church and its popes to holiness and the authority of God's Word. The hatred of Rome continued unabated, for the letter from Pope Martin V (1368-1431) commanding the King of Poland in 1429 to exterminate the followers of Hus - the Hussites - and this was almost 100 years before the 'Protestant Reformation', reads:
'Know that the interests of the Holy See, and those of your crown, make it a duty to exterminate the Hussites. Remember that these impious persons dare proclaim principles of equality; they maintain that all Christians are brethren, and that God has not given to privileged men the right of ruling the nations; they hold that Christ came on earth to abolish slavery; they call the people to liberty, that is to the annihilation of kings and priests. While there is still time, then, turn your forces against Bohemia; burn, massacre, make deserts everywhere, for nothing could be more agreeable to God, or more useful to the cause of kings, than the extermination of the Hussites' (Cormenin, History of the Popes, p116-17, cited in R.W. Thompson, The Papacy and the Civil Power, New York, 1876, p553).
This miserable pope had to resort to such an utterly un-Christlike 'command' because, in 1420, he had gathered 150,000 men from across Europe for a crusade against these Bohemian rebels, but five times in the following twelve years they advanced against the Hussites - and five times they were defeated! The Hussites continued to resist Rome and their teachings lived on in the Bohemian and Moravian Brethren groups and set the stage for Martin Luther who declared that his teaching was not new but had been declared a hundred years earlier by Huss, as well as stating that:
'We are not the first to declare the papacy to be the kingdom of Antichrist, since for many years before us so many and so great men...have undertaken to express the same thing so clearly ...'
For example, in a full council at Rheims in the tenth century, the Bishop of Orleans called the Pope the Antichrist. In the eleventh century, Rome was denounced as 'the See of Satan' by Berenger of Tours. The Waldensians identified the Pope as Antichrist in an 1100 AD treatise titled 'The Noble Lesson.' In 1206, an Albigensian conference in Montreal indicted the Vatican as the woman 'drunk with the blood of the martyrs' which, of course, she continued to prove. Provoked by the licentiousness he had seen among the Pope and clergy in his visit to Rome, and by the sale of indulgences as tickets to heaven (financing the construction of St. Peter's basilica), on October 31, 1517, Luther nailed his 'Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences' (known as 'The Ninety-Five Theses') to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. Copies translated from the original Latin were widely distributed and incited heated debate all over Europe, particularly the appalling un-Biblical doctrine of 'selling forgiveness of sins'!
A hundred and six years after Huss, Luther could also thank him for being the unfortunate who proved that neither Rome, nor those who were supposed to be allies, should be trusted with your welfare and life: Huss was betrayed by King Sigismund who did not keep his word and was seemingly more concerned to be regarded as the patron of a great council than to protect a Bohemian preacher. Writing with reference to the solemn pledge that the king had made to him, Huss wrote:
'Christ deceives no man by a safe-conduct. What he pledges he fulfils. Sigismund has acted deceitfully throughout.'
In September, 1415, the Council of Constance commented on the criticism that Huss' execution came after a solemn promise had been broken, by announcing that no brief of safe-conduct in the case of a heretic is binding for no pledge is to be observed which is prejudicial to the Catholic faith and ecclesiastical jurisdiction! Not one of the members of this Council is known to have uttered a word of protest against the sentence and, until fairly recently, no pope or oecumenical made any apology for it. No modern Catholic historian went further than to indicate that, in essential theological doctrines, Huss was no heretic - but his sentence was strictly in accord with the principles of the canon law!
On December 17, 1999, Pope John Paul II told an international symposium: 'Today, on the eve of the Great Jubilee, I feel the need to express deep regret for the cruel death inflicted on Jan Hus.' He commended Hus's 'moral courage in the face of adversity and death' and proclaimed that through the scholars' work, 'Hus, who has been such a point of contention in the past, has now become a subject of dialogue, of comparison and shared investigation.'
This might sound admirable to the ignorant, but the facts show that as long as the dogmas of an infallible Church organization and an infallible pope continue to be strictly held, no apology can be expected to mean anything. 'Dialogue ... comparison ... shared investigation'? This is pointless waffle, for the doctrinal issues that led to the murder of this innocent man were well known and are unchanged.
There is a clear pattern of testimony from the persecuted Christians and the Bibles they began to produce, men like John Wyclif (1329-84), Jan Hus (1373-1415), and Johannes Geiler von Kaysersberg (1445-1510), who believed the true gospel and began preaching it to their fellow Catholics until multitudes believed and remained true to their faith in the flames. These were all forerunners of the Reformation and it is only because Papal Rome has been unable to destroy all the written testimony to their lives that we can prove in far more depth that the truth has always been sought and found by the 'few' (Matthew 7:13-14).
It is in the nature of even the most foolish elements of 'Protestant Christianity' to confess perceived wrongs and, as far as is possible, make reparation for them. For example, when the Massachusetts court discovered that it had erred in the case of the Salem witchcraft in 1692, it made full confession, and offered reparation to the surviving descendants. One of the leaders of the prosecution in that evil debacle, Judge Sewall, apologised publicly for the mistake he had committed. The same court recalled the action against Roger Williams who founded Rhode Island after being exiled by law from Salem in the Massachusetts Bay Colony after being repeatedly hauled before their Court - of witch-trial fame - for spreading 'diverse, new, and dangerous opinions' that questioned the Church. Perhaps most heretical among Roger's many 'dangerous opinions' was challenging the King of England's claim to the American colonies with the counter-claim that the rightful owners of the land were the native Americans, not the King of England. The law exiling Williams was not repealed until 1936 when the Massachusetts House passed Bill 488, ending 300 years of exile.
In similar manner the Protestants of France eventually reared a monument at Geneva (in 1903) in expiation of Calvin's part (in following his Papal upbringing!) and passing sentence upon Servetus - a man who certainly held heretical views, but who should never have been persecuted or killed for being in error!
In a similar manner there are those labelled 'Protestants' by Papal Roman Catholic's who recognise that men are capable of error - no matter whether they are apostles or supposed popes (Galatians 2)! And men such as Luther and Calvin are no exception. The problem did not begin with Calvin but with the 'Calvinistic' doctrines that grew out of errors that he failed to shake off. One of his major problems was that his Bible was the official Roman Catholic Vulgate and he was a Humanist scholar who first authored a commentary on the Latin De Clementia (translated as 'On Mercy' in English) by Seneca, a Roman Stoic philosopher. It is easy to see in Calvin's secular work that he handled Scripture by the same rules of exegesis with which he handled pagan classic literature - hardly different from the methods used by Jerome and therefore capable of similar errors. To this day adherents to the 'Reformed tradition' of men such as Luther and Calvin use the 'grammatical historical' approach to Scripture which derived from Humanist scholarship, as if it derived from Scripture itself. While, on a primitive level, this 'methodology' works, it is not the way that Jesus and the Apostles handled Scripture and their interpretations of the Old Testament which carry into the New Testament use Jewish midrashic exegesis including a literalist approach known as Peshet (the straightforward meaning) in addition to the deeper spiritual meaning, Pesher. If you compare this with the fanciful methods employed by Origen, Jerome and Augustine their errors are easily recognisable.
Throughout much of church history Jesus' parables have been allegorized instead of interpreted and things have been read into them that were never intended by the Lord Jesus Christ. For instance, Augustine transformed Jesus' account of the 'Good Samaritan' (Luke 10:30-37) into a far-fetched interpretation in which virtually every item was given theological significance:
the man is Adam; Jerusalem is the heavenly city; Jericho is the moon, which stands for our mortality; the robbers are the devil and his angels who strip the man of his immortality and beat him by persuading him to sin; the priest and Levite are the priesthood and the ministry of the Old Testament; the good Samaritan is Christ; the binding of the wounds is the restraint of sin; the oil and wine are the comfort of hope and the encouragement to work; the animal is the Incarnation; the inn is the church; the next day is after the resurrection of Christ; the innkeeper is the apostle Paul; and the two denarii are the two commandments of love or the promise of this life and that which is to come (Quaest. 'evangelicals'. 2.19).
In a similar manner, Gregory the Great allegorized the parable of the barren fig tree (Luke 13:6-9) so that the three times the owner came looking for fruit represent God's coming before the Law was given, his coming at the time the Law was written, and his coming in grace and mercy in Christ; the vine-dresser represents those who rule the church, and the digging and dung refer to the rebuking of unfruitful people and the remembrance of sins (Horn. 31). Some, such as John Chrysostom of the school of Antioch and John Calvin did not allegorize the parables, but until the end of the nineteenth century allegorizing remained the dominant method of 'interpretation' of most of Scripture.
Allegorism, as represented in the works of Cyril of Alexandria, the Cappadocian fathers in the East, Hiliary of Poitiers, and Ambrose of Milan in the West, affected medieval exegesis in a particularly damaging manner and the ideas developed around Antioch provided the fertile ground for the dangerous work of John Chrysostom (ca. 347-407 AD), an eloquent speaker known as 'the man with the golden mouth' but not renowned as a theological thinker. He vigorously opposed the introduction of Judaization, but in such a way that he set a dangerous precedent that resulted in him being one of the people most responsible for introducing a strong anti-Semitic mentality into the church that Papal Rome has never shaken off. At a later point in history Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 AD) also claimed that the Bible was allegorical and continued to set standards of persecution of 'heretics' that prepared Papal Rome for the horrors of their Inquisition. After the time of the Apostles, the church drifted progressively further and further from its Jewish roots and the fact that increasing numbers of Gentiles became believers makes this demographically and culturally inevitable, but Paul warned (Romans 11) that it should never happen theologically.
Another schism was dealt with by Theophilus of Alexandria (398 AD) who directed a paschal epistle against the Anthropomorphists, a wild army of monks from the wilderness of Scete who had rushed into Alexandria and so frightened the bishop that he thought his life depended on immediate concession. From that time Theophilus appeared as a strong opponent of Origenism and, in his paschal epistle of 399, opposed the heresies of Origen in the most violent manner [Theophilus - 9]. The extreme literalism of the Anthropomorphists (interpreting what is not human in human terms) was a coarse reaction against the Alexandrian allegorism and (ca. 399-400) Theophilus held a synod at Alexandria, at which 'Origenism' was condemned, and he then wrote to Anastasius of Rome and Jerome, informing them of this outcome. Early in 401 AD he attacked Origenism in his Paschal Letter (Hieron. Ep. 96), a document which anticipated the Christology of his nephew and successor Cyril, while excluding all Apollinarian ideas. Theophilus traced to Origen the (Marcellian) notion that Christ's kingdom would have an end and denounced Origenistic Universalism and the obviously un-Scriptural notion that Christ would suffer again on behalf of the demons, and that after the resurrection human bodies would again be subject to dissolution! Now fortified by an imperial edict forbidding all monks to read Origen (Anastasius, ad Joan. Jerus.), he ordered the neighbouring bishops to banish the chief Nitrian monks from their own mountains and from the farther desert.
Augustine's passage to faith in Christ came in stages that clearly left marks upon his interpretation of Scripture as he veered from Manichaean dualism, with its denigration of the Old Testament, followed by a period of academic skepticism prior to a Christian awakening (386 AD) that was influenced by the Neo-platonism of Ambrose of Milan (ca. 339-397 AD). While some argue that Ambrose's allegorical interpretation may have helped Augustine to accept the Scriptures more readily, it is clear that Augustine often made wild and illogical use of allegorism as a result. This misplaced spiritualisation of the text (through misuse of Scripture such as 2 Corinthians 3:6: '... as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life'), instead of emphasizing the underlying truth behind the symbols of expression, led to attempts to find 'deeper truths' unpacked through multiple meanings in the text given by the Spirit.
Perhaps 'The Song of Songs' reveals a diversity of opinion unequalled in the study of a Biblical work having been interpreted as: (a) an allegory, (b) an extended type, a drama involving either two or three main characters, (d) a collection of Syrian wedding songs, (e) a collection of pagan fertility cult liturgies, and (f) an anthology of disconnected songs extolling human love. 'Church Fathers', including Hippolytus, Origen, Jerome, Athanasius, Augustine, and Bernard of Clairvaux, viewed the book as an allegory of Christ's love for His bride, the church, with the details of the book intended to convey hidden spiritual meanings and with little or no importance attached to the normal meanings of words. In this respect those who criticise others for accepting the opinion of 'Jewish historians' such as Josephus for recording the facts as he knew them (facts no other historian is in a position to refute!), should note that the 'Church Fathers' they revere were effectively following Jewish tradition (the Mishnah, the Talmud, and the Targum), for they viewed the book as an allegorical picture of the love of God for Israel. Replacing Israel with Rome has no historical or Biblical basis, but Papal Rome has never let this affect its 'interpretations'! Origen set the standards which Augustine, et al, followed by, for example, writing that the beloved's reference to her being dark (Song 1:5-6) means the church is ugly with sin, but that her loveliness (1:5) refers to spiritual beauty after conversion. Others consequently said the cooing of the doves (2:12) speaks of the preaching of the apostles, while others suggested that 5:1 refers to the Lord's Supper! These examples show that the allegorical approach is subjective with no way to verify that any of the interpretations are correct. The Song of Songs nowhere gives an interpreter the suggestion that it should be understood as an allegory and, while others have viewed the book as an extended type, with Solomon typifying Christ and the beloved being a type of the church, this differs from the allegorical approach in that the 'typical view' sees Solomon as a historical person and does not seek to discover a mystical meaning for every detail in the book. As with the previous example of Augustine's false allegorical 'interpretation' that turns facts and logic on its head, it is clear that the Scriptures give absolutely no warrant for taking only carefully selected aspects of Solomon's life as divinely intended types of Christ while trying to ignore his clearly errant behaviour that has no parallel in the Saviour's life. The fact that allegorical interpretation is used by cults such as the Mormons and The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society (of Jehovah's Witnesses), to try and stand facts and logic on its head and prove whatever its leaders want to teach, probably reveals more about the foolishness of the method than any other contemporary facts might do!
It should be noted that allegorical interpretation to emphasize the contrast between Law and grace used by the apostle Paul from historical events (ref. Galatians 4:24-27) when he treated those two mothers figuratively (allegoroumena) did not, in any sense, deny the literal meaning of the story of Abraham. Paul was inspired to declare clearly how that story, especially the matters relating to the conception of the two sons, had an additional meaning and hence he compared the narrative to the conflict between Judaism and Christianity. This 'allegorizing' is a far cry from the practice of 'allegorical interpretation' used by Origen, Augustine, et al, down through the ages and into the present day, in which the historical facts are relegated to a lower, less significant level and fanciful, hidden meanings unrelated to the text, are considered vastly more important.
Calvin's followers, such as Theodore Beza, failed in a similar manner when they accepted Calvin's doctrine that taught that Christ was not the Saviour of all men but made God to be the author of evil, having created a select group of people with the intention of eternally torturing them in Hell! In the same manner that men such as Jerome and Augustine were led astray by embracing Greek philosophy, Calvin was deceived and created a similar theocratic police state in Geneva which was, in turn, imitated by the Puritans in England and the colonists of Massachusetts, America, and essentially following the same model as Islamic Sharia. Thus Geneva had the equivalent of the Mutawa, a religious police force which dictatorially enforced legalistic codes of religious behaviour and slavery was allowed to continue as an institution. The English Puritans also took Calvinism to a new level based on theonomic Reconstructionism and Reformed Erastianism where the state became a tool of the church as the church had been a tool of the state. But Rome had set the standards for such un-Scriptural behaviour! As a result the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa clung to these false doctrines until recent times and supported the un-Scriptural apartheid policy that horrified most of the world. Such errors, including 'marrying' the church to state, follow the same errors that Papal Rome initiated after Constantine founded her, but without plumbing the depths that the Inquisition reached in persecuting, torturing and horrifically murdering those who disagreed with her policies.
Jerome sometimes went as far as Origen in unscrupulously twisting both the written letter and history and sometimes entirely rejected the literal sense of the Word of God when it seemed ludicrous or unworthy to him! For instance, in his Letter to Nepotian, regarding the Shunamite damsel who warmed the aged king David, he understood (imitating Origen's allegorical obliteration of the genuine, historical, double crime against Uriah and Bathsheba) the ever-virgin Wisdom of God, so extolled by Solomon! As mentioned earlier, he took the clear recorded controversy between Paul and Peter (Galatians 2) and interpreted it as a feigned fight for the instruction of the Antiochian Christians who were present, thus making the whole episode a deceitful, staged act! Even Augustine took offence at such suggested patrocinium mendacii and the result was another exchange of letters, characteristic of the two men, in which they corresponded over two exegetical questions and managed to interchange sides, each taking the other's point of view!
In the dispute on the occurrence in Antioch (Galatians 2:11-14), Augustine represented the principle of evangelical freedom and love of truth, while Jerome initiated with the principle of traditional committal to dogma and an equivocal theory of accommodation. That these great 'Saints' could not recognise the simple truth from the outset reveals the depths of deception that had overcome such 'Church Fathers' through imbibing deceptions from the home of the spirits of the false gods of Greece. In their dispute on the authority of the Septuagint, Jerome held to 'true progress' while Augustine to regression and false traditionalism - but, incredibly, each afterwards saw his error and, at least partially, gave it up!
In his exposition of the Prophets, Jerome recognised many allusions to the heretics of his time (an error Luther duplicated in finding allusions to Papists, fanatics, and sectarians in the same works). Jerome also inherited from Origen a severe allergy against all chiliasm (Christ's thousand year reign) and thereby managed to avoid recognising the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He even limited the eschatological discourse of Christ in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, and Paul's prophecy of the man of sin in the second Epistle to the Thessalonians, to the destruction of Jerusalem.
Allegorical 'hermeneutics' of the kind practiced by Jerome, et al, led to such severe symbolic representation because the literal sense was unacceptable to the interpreter, i.e. they severely lacked faith! They could not accept and understand the actual Word(s) of God in their normal sense so they replaced them with a symbolic sense which resulted in a different meaning of the text, a meaning that, in the strictest sense, the text never intended to convey - a meaning that did not make sense to hearers of these men, but which they insisted be accepted because they were the words of the wise and, if you wanted to be wise too, you would also accept what they said the words meant, i.e. 'Emperor's New Clothes' hermeneutics. Thus it was that un-Scriptural 'transubstantiation' was swallowed by the 'ignorant and unstable' (2 Peter 3:16).
If used consistently, allegorical hermeneutics reduces the Bible to near-fiction, for the normal meaning of words becomes irrelevant and are replaced by whatever meaning the interpreter gives to the symbols. However, for the most part, allegorical hermeneutics is not practiced consistently or thoroughly - not even by Papal Rome or The Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of Jehovah's Witnesses. Even 'evangelical Christians' who use this system do so usually in the area of prophecy, while using normal or literal hermeneutics in other areas of biblical interpretation. The allegorical method originated from rationalism which owed its birth to the heathen theories of Plato. It deserved its name, for it made Scripture say something other than what it actually meant (the basic grounds of all deception which is from Satan - the 'father of all lies') and Origen borrowed it from heathen Platonists and from Jewish philosophers and came up with a method which converts the whole of Scripture, both the Old and New Testament, into a series of clumsy, vacillating, and incredible, enigmas. Allegory helped him to get rid of chiliasm and superstitious literalism and the 'antitheses' of the Gnostics, but it opened the door for even more deadly evils.
(Continued on page 338)